Friday, December 29, 2006

Sad anniversary

This is the day that my dad entered a fight for his life - and lost.

This is the day that we got the 10 PM call from my daughter in law that Grampa was put into the hospital. She didn’t know what was really wrong at that time. It was about 3 AM we learned he had a really bad case of pneumonia.

I was amazed that he was so ill. I had seen him two days before and saw no sigh of respiratory distress. Now I was five hours away. It was my nightmare coming true. He needed me and it was not easy to get there.

All plans had changed. The family Christmas party was off. We scurried to pack up and close up the house. G’s brother and wife were there trying to do whatever, and in a swirl we were off.
I got to the hospital, and there he was. Fairly alert. I waited for the doctors. They gave no real hope.

Ultimately, I had to make the call that we use the DNR (no life supports). I never dreamed that decision could be so hard. But it was. Even though the Alzheimer’s had taken my dad from me, the shell was still there.

The real nightmare had begun. He would linger for the next two weeks, unable to swallow, but his condition not warranting a food tube. It a was the most distressing time of my life. It was a time of complete self doubt.

Here in the end, I really believe my actions were correct. I am no longer second quessing myself. My beloved dad was 93 and in the absolute end stage of dementia. With that feeding tube, he would have lingered until another catastrophic infection came on. He would probably have had the foley (urinary tube) in for the rest of his life. That possibly would have been the next infectjon.

It still boils down to one thing. Even though I began losing Dad at least ten years ago, the finality of it still is fresh. I so miss him, and on this anniversary the pain is still fresh.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

I'm scared

I have to share this fear even though there is so much guilt associated with it. I finally went for my well woman check. I got a call from the doctor’s office. My mammogram was suspicious, and without other films to use for comparison, today I have to go for more detailed tests.

Putting this check up is so very easy. I know most women would rather do anything rather than hop up on that table and put her feet into those stirrups. I have had an additional problem of connecting with a physician that I really could connect with.

I have finally gone with the one all the other females in my family uses. I met him when Monkey Boy was born, and I really liked him then. I have been through the examination, and I do like him.

This mammogram thing is something that has really grabbed my attention. I realize now how foolish I was to wait so long. I flat lied when I told them I haven’t been seen for this check up in five years. It is more like ten.

I understand that many women have these additional tests. One is a more extensive mammogram and the other is ultrasound. There was no real tumor, just a mass and some calcification. It is very probable that there is nothing to be too alarmed about, but there is the other possibility.

If there is a problem, I hope I was able to catch it early. I certainly didn’t help myself though. I was so very foolish.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Off we go!

It is almost that time again. It is almost time to load up the 500 pounds of food (well, it seems like it, especially to G) to take to the SSB for the extended family Christmas/New Year’s Eve party. This year is expected to be a big one again, with only my nephew missing. He can’t get off work.

I wouldn’t even bat an eye at this if it weren’t for G. When we first put the place up, it seemed that on each trip we were heavily laden with "stuff." It seemed we would never get completely moved in. There was always more things to take up.
We have finally gotten most of the "stuff" there with the exception of a few things every now and then. This trip that includes the beautiful Texas star with our name on it that the kids gave us for Christmas. But for the most part there is not too much more that we need.

But for some reason, I feel that I have to take all the food that we will need with us. I could go into town after we get there, but I just don’t. So I went foraging at my Mega Mart and Wholesale Club yesterday. I was so loaded down that I had to begin putting things in the back seat, not just the trunk.

It was probably just as well however. I needed clam juice for the gumbo that we are going to have Sunday night. I was hard pressed to find it at the local Mega Mart. I know that the closest little town would not have it at all.
What is really sad about the amount of food that I am taking with us is that I am going into the little town to buy food for the remaining time we will be spending there. Our little family will go home on Monday, but we are staying through the week.

So beware! On Saturday the loud expletives deleted you hear will come from my ever loving husband, G when he loads the two ice chests and plastic bin into the truck for our little get together. He will once again ask me if we will ever get moved in!

I guess not.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Mixed feelings

Christmas is such a mixed bag of emotions for me at this stage in my life. While there is still the childlike unbridled joy of the season, there is also the dark memories of events in the past, namely the dewaths that occurred around the holidays.

Watching Lady Bug getting ready for Christmas brings childhood memories. Dad was a letter carrier for the Post Office, and this season would bring long days for him. He would be home late on Christmas Eve because there was so much mail for him to deliver. That would put me into a tizzy waiting for him. You see, Christmas Eve was the night we would open out presents. That could not happen until after dinner which could not happen until Daddy was home. The anticipation was just too much to bear.

He walked his mail route, and even though we have a mounted route here, I cannot help but be taken back to those times waiting for him to come home when I see one of the mail trucks.
My mother was one who loved decorating for Christmas, and I followed in her foot steps there also. You wouldn’t know it now. For the last couple of years, there has been a wreath on the door and some lights thrown onto the shrubs. This year, my tree is a one foot thing that I had gotten for V when she way dying three years ago. Two years ago, I did put up a tree. Thankfully it was artificial because it stayed up until almost Easter. I was going through a bad time with my arthritic knees. We are gone so much I just don’t see any reason to go through that again.

The sad times wrap themselves around me like a dark cloak. My mother died before Christmas 34 years ago. My "step-mom,"V, died two days after Christmas. Last year my dad was put in the hospital on December 29. I knew it was the end. He died January 13.

Even with the joy of the season, even with the joy of the grandchildren, even with the gifts, there are those ghosts lurking there reminding me of the frailty of life. Dad’s death is still so fresh. I find myself grieving now almost more than I did when he died.

Give your loved ones an extra hug this season. It may be the last time you can.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Last Friday evening we went to the Christmas party at Wide Spot in the Road Community Club. B and C were with us, and I was wondering how they would reach to the entire thing.

There is always a "Chinese Gift Exchange," and this year was no exception. Normally, the sequence of events is that we have dinner, a short business meeting, and then the gift exchange. This year, the hosts must have decided to cook dinner at the meeting place.

We gathered and had the business meeting where the old business was postponed, as usual. It is time for a new slate of officers to be given. The nominating committee slipped up on the job and had not met. Birthdays and anniversaries are announced at the end of the meeting and it handled by the historian of the community. He is a wonderful 80 year old (plus), and was having considerable difficulty. This group is fast with the joking barbs, and he was not spared. B got great enjoyment from the quips that were flying!

We were to have eaten then, but the food wasn’t ready. The menu included pork loins, salad and a medley of potatoes. It was the potatoes that were not done. So it was decided that we would start the gift exchange. Numbers were chosen, and we were to begin.

But everyone began visiting, and no gifts were being chosen. Suddenly it was decided the food was ready, and we should line up. In reality, the potatoes were still not done, but the flavor of the food was excellent. Absolutely no one complained. Then they hit the dessert table. There were certainly no complaints there.

B and C only had one gift, so I got the one of those for the family New Years’s Eve Christmas party for them to take with the other. B and I both had number 3, and we knew if we got something good it would be gone. Mine was a candle set and it was taken right away. I went to choose another. I knew after opening it I would go home with it. It was a box of crackers and a bottle of raspberry chiplote sauce.

B had some really great gifts. I lost count, but I think he had four totally. I don’t think he minded losing most of them, and in the end he ended up with a really nice towel ring that will go great when they get a house. C got an incense warmer that she donated to the house.

All the way home he kept remarking about how he didn’t expect all the barbs that group can sling, and how much fun it was to be there. It really was a wonderful evening of laughter and fellowship. They are all very sharp, and they all care about one another. Shoot, most are related. There are only about 2 families in the area that aren’t.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Talking about the weather, again

Once again I find myself ranting about the weather. Last week it was so cold, The temperature never got out of the 40's.

This week, the week I promised I would bake cookies for G's co-workers Christmas gifts, the temperature will top out in the 70's!

Last night, sleeping was difficult because it was too warm for the heater and too cool for the air conditioning. I simply could not get comfortable. I tossed and turned all night.

I know this is typical Texas weather, and especially typical for Swampland, but gee!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Difficult gifts

Things always get hectic around here during the holidays, but this year seems to be worse than ever. I really thought I was on top of the game. I had completed most of my shopping. All I had left to do was to pick up two gifts for the party at Wide Spot in the Road. That became my most daunting task.

Last year, I didn’t put much thought into those gifts. I went to the Less Than A Buck store. Simple. As the gifts were being unwrapped, there were some really neat things, and I began to wish I had put more thought into my offerings. In fact, I walked away with the cutest reindeer plates.

So I set out to get some drop dead great gifts. I went to Mega store yesterday thinking I could find something that would do for a male’s gift, but forgetting that everything they sold came by the gross. I stumbled on some beautifully packaged truffles that met the price constraint. I thought that would be great. After all, who doesn’t like chocolate? Other than G I mean.

When G came home, I showed him the package and told him what was in it. He replied that should have been the woman’s gift - chocolate is for women. Now I am thinking I shouldn’t have gotten that as a gift. I had been trying to get him to give me an idea, but nothing. I guess I could have gotten a screw driver set or ratchet tie downs.

Anyway, I think my woman’s gift will be a hit. I found a set of candle holders that are really pretty. I think they will be sought after.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Joy has come at last

Oh the news people here is Swampland are gleeful. They have a story. It’s about the weather. We have had one of our Blue Northers blow through the area. Even though we didn’t have a hurricane, this is almost as good.

The weather gurus talk about how low the temperature will go. They are able to give freeze warnings. The regular news reporters are able to go out to the stores to talk about how many people are buying space heaters, and the anchors are then able to caution people about the dangers of those space heaters. They warn to keep them away from bedding and other flammable things. Then they warn about carbon monoxide and advise home owners to get their heaters checked.

Now all these warnings are needed, just as the warnings about hurricanes are needed, but, as usual, are over worked. It is as though there is nothing else happening in the city, state, or world.

Not only do they report on conditions here, they borrow reports. Since we didn’t get freezing rain, sleet or snow (drat it all they say), they imported reports from the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. We were given images of cars careening off roads, and had guest reporters standing out in the freezing rain. You know we just don't believe how bad the weather can be without someone standing in it!

It is so nice that Mother Nature sometimes graces these people with something to talk about. Otherwise, in this area at least, the weather is the same: hot and humid.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


I am thankful that Thanksgiving is over. I spent four days getting ready to move the feast 5 hours away, and now four days recuperating from it. When you total up the time we were together, the sum is on the positive side.

When you take six adults, two children and two dogs and place them in a 1700 square foot house, there can be good and bad, and that’s what happened. There was good, and there was bad. We laughed and got along, and we rubbed on each other’s last nerve.

Now we are getting ready to do it again for New Year’s Eve, only lets add another five adults and four children, and that includes the new born twins. At least that addition will only be for an evening. It should be fun - no, really it does!

Thanksgiving also brought news that I am not allowed or ready to share. It is bittersweet, and I haven’t come to terms with it yet. It is something that really should be beautiful, but it was unintended, and was easily prevented. Procrastination caused it. I am working to be happier, but at the same time, it doesn’t directly effect my life.

I hope after all the dishes were done, and all the turkey has been consumed, you can say that your Thanksgiving, when added up, had the sum on the positive side.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


In the part of Swampland where I live, commercialization has happened faster than the streets can accommodate. There are 18 wheelers abounding that try to turn onto little two lane previous country roads. The two just don’t mix.

This morning I was taking Simone for her grooming. I was second car on one of these little streets when an 18 wheeler was going to attempt to turn onto that road. I knew he couldn’t make the turn, but he turned never the less. The woman in the little toy car in front of me just sat there perfectly still. It was total gridlock. She wasn’t moving, and he couldn’t complete the turn. In addition, our light had turned green.

The car in front and I were both trying to make a left turn. I finally was going to go around her, but I was afraid she would dart out also. The truck driver finally got agitated enough that he honked at her and I also honked in unison with him. The dunderhead finally got the message and moved to the right so that he could clear the intersection.

I really wonder what was going through her head. It was obvious that he could not make any more forward progress without taking off the entire front of her vehicle. I guess she was intending to just sit there through the entire day. I wonder how she got a driver’s license.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

'Tis the season

I knew it was time, in fact way past time. I knew there would be problems, but I couldn’t help it. I especially knew there were problems when it took the pool guy an hour to complete this week’s service of the pool. The leaves were falling - rapidly. What’s more, there was no cover on the pool.

G said he was going to put the cover on two weeks ago. I should have known to read between the lines with that. That meant I would be putting the cover on the pool. I (silently) refused.

Last year, I would take the cover off for us to swim, and then I would turn right around and put it back on so that our little 15 year old American Eskimo dog would not fall in and almost drown - again. It is hard work. Putting that thing on is like putting a size 10 foot into a size 7 shoe. It has little eyelets with metal things that go into an eyelet. That is if you pull with all your might to get it to the eyelet.

K and S volunteered to help this year. I didn’t skip a beat. I took them up before they could change their minds. This afternoon, S showed up because the kids were napping. K stayed home - the coward.

We got it into the pool, and I put the floats that keep it out of the water in place. I then left it to the men. After ten minutes, S was sweating profusely. The TWO of them were going around trying to get the little metal pieces into the little holes. They were both about to fall out.

At one point I heard one of them remark that they didn’t know how I was able to do that job. I quipped back to S that at least he had G to help him. I did it alone!

As he was leaving, S said that job took the place of going to the gym tomorrow. No kidding! Been there - done that, several times last year. Not doing it again either.

I think I earned a little respect from those two men today!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Just a phase - I hope

I keep telling myself it’s just a phase, but I don’t remember Lady Bug going through it like this. I feel that I am number one on Monkey Boy’s hate list. He gives me the least affection of anyone in the family.

Last night I was going to baby sit them while the parents went to the Rocket’s game. I walked in, sat down and we made direct eye contact, and smiled. I don’t know, but perhaps it’s like a dog - don’t do that. He immediately began crying and saying "no, no, no." I could tell it was going to be a loooooong evening.

He is also allowed to watch the cartoon movies over and over and over. The parents deny themselves TV time so that he is occupied with the movies. Monkey Boy comes by this honestly however. His father can watch movies over and over and over. If it’s not a sports program, you guessed it. It is some stupid, old movie.

Instead of starting the movie over when it ended, I went through every add in that was on the DVD. I was really trying to bore him silly. I was not going to miss "Ugly Betty," "Gray’s Anatomy," and "ER" for mercy’s sake!

They both trooped off to the bathroom after I switched on the regular TV. He decided to brush his teeth. This was going to be a chore that seemed like it would fill the rest of the evening. When I convinced him to leave the bathroom, the tooth brush had to come with him. Hey, I’m a Grandma. I choose my battles. This was not to be the one.

Several meltdowns occurred. I gave up trying to keep track of them. The crying was really out of hand, but the one that was the funniest had to do with the cats. For some reason, he has developed a fear of the cats. Perhaps it’s because he has been allowed to fine tune his ability to knock the wowie out of things with anything that resembles a bat. Gotta have the jock, you know. He was about to beat one cat senseless with a clothes brush until I stopped him. When she turned around, he was getting away. He was afraid of her.

He had just finished up a snack when he confronted the other cat in the breakfast room. He came flying back into the den, crying, of course. Lady Bug was going to get him to face his fears (I guess - who knows what runs through the brain of the five year old big sister). At that moment, the cats got into a yowling scuffle. Both kids were scared out of their minds.

They came flying back to me, and for the first time in months, Monkey Boy wanted to be in my lap. He clung to me. The parents walked in at that moment. SIL was so touched that Monkey was loving on Grandma. I assured him is was simply a fluke, and things would be back to normal today!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


What was begun is now (finally) finished. Back on September 18, we left SSB with the thoughts that when we returned two weeks later, we would have new floors. Well that has finally been accomplished, but the ending date was November 13!

I have finally gotten the grout dust fairly under control, but now there is the dust from the laminate. OMG! It is everywhere. I dusted the furniture, began the floor, and it was back on the furniture! One day . . .

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Good weather brings sad people

As the days rush toward the end of the month, which signals the end of hurricane season, you can see the weather people around here becoming more and more dejected. The impossible has happened. No major hurricanes. No mass destruction.

They have had to, instead, focus on some locally drenching thunderstorms which produced some localized street and small stream flooding. There was no washing away of homes. No power outages lasting for weeks. There was no major story, but they surely tried to make one.
With every cold front that approaches, you can see the gleam begin to flicker in their beady little eyes. They are trying to salvage stories of destruction. Perhaps this one will be the front that stalls, then backs up bringing with it even more rain - more flooding.

When the day turn off clear and crisp, the disappointment is palpable. It hangs in the air for all to see. So they turn to the fact that it will heat up during the day. We will reach into the mid 80's today - with a wide grin It’s as if to say "you people won’t be treading water, but you will be sweating."

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Oh yes, in less than twenty-four hours I managed to make K angry - again. She said she would be responsible for ordering the flowers to send to my niece E following the birth of her twins. I was alright with that. K is such a penny pincher. I wanted her to be the one who decided how much we would spend. I was a little afraid that when I told her she owed me a certain amount, she would respond in such a way that she was not happy about the extravagance of the flowers. I know how much it costs to send flowers!

My best friend’s son and girl friend are having a baby this month. I wanted to send them a gift, and I wanted it to be a very nice one. D is not only my best friend, but she respected my teaching ability that she saw to it that I taught her children. I taught this son, and I care for him very much. Since I am an only child, I have adopted D as a sister, and her children are much like nieces and nephews for me.

My children wanted to be included on this gift. Sunday evening, I asked B and C how much they wanted to spend. They told me $25. OK, that’s fine. I wanted to send the stroller that was put on the registry. K found the registry. She asked me if I wanted her to go ahead and order. I was hesitant because I didn’t know what she wanted to pick out.

She was already angered by the time she spent trying to send the flowers (and by the amount it cost, I really believe). When I was hesitant, she got irritated. She cut the call very short. I called her back and assured her I would take care of the baby gift.

Later she called. We were on the same page basically. She was looking at the stroller or the bassinet. To put an end to this story, I am sending the stroller. The amount I owed on the flowers will be put to the stroller, I will get the $25 from B and C, and we are all even. More than that, we are speaking - in a normal tone - again

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Tuesday mix

A mother’s work is never done. I have, once again, stepped on my daughter’s toes even though I tried to carefully bring up a subject. She is looking at having her sister in law, C, watch Monkey Boy beginning in January.

I asked her if she knew why C was not going to be keeping the children she is keeping now, and K said no. I tried to tell her as much as I knew, and that was that C felt the little boys were not disciplined. K immediately jumped on me asking if I thought her children were undisciplined. I tried to explain that people sometimes have different ideas about discipline, and I just wanted them to be on the same page about what the expectations are. She will probably say something to C, and I will be the one who is out. Oh well, I guess I can be an equal opportunity bitch, or so they may think.

Thursday is set to be a busy one. I am finally getting the guy out to check the furnaces. I forgot to get them to check the air conditioners all season. Oh well! I just hope the technician that comes is not the guy who went to high school with B. They were really good friends, but S has changed. He has become a really needy guy who would just show up at their apartment, unannounced, at all hours of the day and night. If S is the one, he will ask for B’s phone number. If I were to give it to him, I would be on B’s list too!

In theory, the floors will be done at The SSB. Stacy, the installer, said he would be completed on Wednesday. We will know Friday afternoon. I wonder if they will have replaced the toilets with the right ones this time? The ones that are presently there, the ones that came with the "manufactured home," are similar to the one we had in the travel trailer. It seemed like it was 6 inches off the floor. My arthritic knees have a real problem with the ones that came with the house. We are trying to get a "handicapped" toilet - especially in the master cave, er, bathroom.

I wonder how I can get K started today. I guess I could say something about S (her husband)!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Babies, babies

They are here! I’m referring to me niece’s twins. They are health and big, but then we really expected that. The boy is 19 ½ inches and 7 pounds 12 ounces. The girl is 19 inches and 6 pounds 14 ounces. My poor niece is only about 5 feet, three inches tall. I don’t know where she managed to carry those babies.

She has been ready for a month to have them. She tried and tried to get the OB to go ahead and take them, but he refused. He had set November 2 as the date he would take them. We knew she would not be able to deliver naturally, especially since she couldn’t with her first. But she went into labor naturally, and her contractions were one minute apart by the time she got to the hospital. They are here, and all are well.

K and I have been so interested - fascinated actually. We know people who have twins, but we have never been able to follow the process through the pregnancy. I am even more amazed when I find twins while doing my genealogy. Knowing what E had to do to ensure the health of the babies was really something. It’s amazing twins lived way back then.

I keep thinking the pregnancy was really the easy part though. I just can’t imagine caring for two babies. One was always enough for me. She is getting a good taste immediately though. Even though she has a Caesarian, the hospital does rooming in. She really has gone from the proverbial frying pan into the fire.

Now I can’t wait to see them. G said since we will be going to The SSB, we will stop in the Capital City for a short visit. I just can’t wait!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Those words

Those were words I never expected to be spoken from my daughter’s mouth. I was shocked, but, in reality, I should not have been surprised. I just don’t know if they will really come into action. I really hope not.

She said she would file divorce papers. She said that she should have listened to the little voice in the back of her head shouting that they were from different social levels. They were voices that told her he would never be able to shed the lessons learned from his parents.
What brought this to be? Was it cheating with another woman? No, quite simply it was keeping a devastating secret - again. S does not know how to handle money. He has never been taught the proper way to manage any money.

Several months ago, K called me after finding a collection notice for S. He had taken out, without her knowledge, a credit card. He was $13,000 in debt, and the company was going to collect. She was crushed. She had been fully aware of his poor credit rating, and it was their decision that she would handle the money.

In the beginning of their marriage, there wasn’t much money to handle. They didn’t make much. Over the years, they have had their salaries increase, and through K’s careful handling, they are in good financial shape.

She arranged to have the debt paid off over the course of several months. In fact she was making the final payment on that debt when she thought she would run their credit reports. That’s when she found them. Two open credit cards, each with outstanding balances on them again.

She felt she had been cheated on. I really don’t think she would have been hurt more had she found he had been having an affair. She felt so crushed because he had hidden something like this knowing how important it is to her.

His family does things like this. They open accounts, then never pay them. His parents, to get utilities, would open accounts in their children’s name, and then not pay. They would manage to get cars, only to have them repossessed. It has come to light that once they bought a refrigerator and used one of S’s friends names as a reference. The friend got the calls when they skipped out on that debt.

As of now, she is giving him another chance. She will pay these off as well, but she cannot take another fall. He claims he wants to be more like our family, but it seems this leopard cannot lose its spots.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Quiet Halloween

I cannot believe how quiet our Halloween was. I believe since it came so quickly on the heels of the time change, that made it even quieter.

I have not given out candy in several years. Part of the problem was that when you teach middle school right in the middle of your neighborhood, you may not want to open the door to some of your students.

More than that, I really am not fond of opening my door to five foot ten men with masks on. My own children were often upset with me when I refused to let them trick or treat after they reached middle school age. I am a firm believer that trick or treat is for the little ones.

I turned on my light last night. I was prepared for several children, but after an hour and a half, only two little ones made an appearance. At seven, I grew tired of waiting, and turned off the light.

I didn’t get any tricks either. I think the older ones were simply too tired after having their sleep patterns disturbed for three days!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Time is a fascinating attribute of life. We often consider it an unchanging master. A thing that is a constant. We set appointments by it; we go to bed and arise to it. We often eat according to it. Our entertainment marches to its tick. Yet it does change. We have just, in most states, gone back to standard time. As we move around the world, we travel through different time zones.
Time in small town America is a totally different beast, and in our neck of the hill country it is almost non existent. These people have their own sense of it, and this grandma from the Swamp land just can’t find the key.

Now, I would believe that perhaps the intuitive part of my brain has perhaps rusted from the thirty odd years it has been sitting here in Swampland, but even as a yong thing living in the Alamo City, which is much closer to the Hill Country, time seemed to be pretty much in keeping with other places in the world. I feel better when my sister in law, who lives in the Capital City, also just doesn’t grasp "Little Community Hill Country" time. It is a beast of it’s own.

We are having our floors replaced with hard surfaces. The tile that was to cover the kitchen, eating area, bathrooms and utility room is in. Other than not allowing the dishwasher to assume it’s dedicated niche in the kitchen cabinet because the floor is an inch higher than it was, and the vertical blinds needing to be moved higher, the tile is beautiful.

It was in the last time we were there. Not too bad since it only took a month from the time we were told the materials had arrived. After all, we only contracted the job in July.
I was expecting great things now that the dam had opened. There would be, surely, an outpouring of work to complete the job. As we pulled up to the door Friday evening, I could tell that nothing had been moved since we were last there. When we opened the door and walked around to the living room, we saw the carpet was still there, with its moat around the tile. Absolutely nothing had been done.

Now this time warp also causes communication glitches. When messages are left for someone, they must evaporate because there is never a call back. And this time warp also must be hard on people’s health. Mr Floor Man at the store never returns calls, and is always out sick. Strange doings in this time warp. It may be just as well that we only spent a few days at a time in these places.

We made an unexpected visit to the store. We met the installer in person. He was there to pick up the laminate. He said he will begin at 5:30 this morning. I wonder what time that it here?

Oh, by the way, the same general company is contracted to build our barn. They were going to begin in September, after the cows were off. Would you like to guess how far the barn has progressed?

Friday, October 27, 2006

A new life

Having kept the grandchildren when they were babies, I still have three baby gates. They have found a new life! They are now cat gates!

Due to my lack of technological knowledge, I am unable to link to the previous post, but at one time I wrote about Sasha, my son’s cat who I am fostering. She loves to make objects commit suicide by knocking them off the counters. Oh, how I wish I could catch her red pawed, but I can’t. So I ordered the "kitty jail" otherwise known as a cat playpen.

It works well. In fact, she comes to get into it when it’s time for bed. I think the yummy wet cat food may have something to do with that.

The problem is what happens when we are gone from home for an extended period of time. We don’t make her live in the jail. She loves to foul her water among other reasons. So she would be out while we are gone.

This is where the baby gates come into play. Our house is very open, but I can shut the door to the living room. That leaves only one other opening to the living areas of the house. That is the door way from the same hall to the den.

I found if I use the three baby gates, I can stack them so that they seal off the doorway. Then I close the door to our bedroom, the office and hall bath. Then they are in the area I intended for them - the upstairs. I close the door to the craft room (my son’s previous bedroom - he’s not coming back to live!). This works very nicely.

It’s amazing how with a little thinking "out of the box" objects can gain a new lease on life. Now if only B and C would move to a place where they could have their cats!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

At one time, I was a very efficient packer for trips. In fact, I was so good, that I was prepared for anything we could possible encounter on our trip. Well most of the time, but that’s another story.

In our last trip to Austin for the family reunion, I almost forgot to take a change of clothes. I am so accustomed to going to the SSB that I don’t remember I don’t have a closet of clothes waiting for me at my destination.

When we take off to SSB, I do have to pack food. That wasn’t too different for the reunion as it is a big covered dish dinner. So I had that covered. Going to SSB, I take my train case with my pills, but that’s it. Everything I need is there. I dress in whatever "good" clothes I will need. If we go to community club, I wear what I came in. If we go to church, that will be a different group of people, so I wear what I came in. Neither group will know I have worn it twice on the weekend.

Fortunately, I began thinking ahead the night before. The realization came quickly. I had not planned clothes! I would have had nothing to change into! Not even underwear. I wouldn't have had a change of outer clothes for the next day, and we would be with the same people.

We either are going to SSB too often, or not going other places often enough. I’m out of practice!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Busy times here

I believe I am experiencing what a business traveler already knows. That is how little you can get done when you are only home for three or four days a week. We were at SSB one weekend, we came home and I began the preparation for the colon thing, then we were off to Austin for the family reunion. We will be here three days, and then it’s back to SSB to make sure nephew stays on his own place. I haven’t gotten anything done. If a burglar were break into my house, he would leave in despair because it looks like it has already been ransacked.

Our trip to Austin was really fun, but just like the 150th anniversary of Wide Spot in the Road Church, the weather couldn’t cooperate. It was chilly the day before, and cold the day after, but the day of the reunion the temperature reached 91! We were at a state park, so there was no air conditioning. But all in all it was fun, and there were more people than usual. There were so many little kids around.

I was struck by one thing at the reunion. As I looked around at our generation, my thought was "my goodness, we are old. We have become the elder generation." It is true. We are now the parents and grandparents where G’s parents and aunts and uncles had been. I can’t help but wonder what will happen to this reunion after we don’t organize it anymore. I wonder which of our children’s generation will want to take the responsibility. I hope someone. Families are flung so far afield these days. Reunions are the only way to try to bring some singleness to them, but can seeing one another once a year help?

While we were in Austin we visited my poor niece Sunday morning. She is due to have her twins any day now. When the doctor measures her belly, it makes her equal to 48 weeks of gestation for a singleton. She is so ready for them to be born. K and I have been almost voyeurs because we are so fascinated by a twin pregnancy. Neither of us have known someone pregnant with twins so intimately. It’s been an education for us too!

Sunday afternoon we took the train trip offered by the Austin Steam Train Association. We had taken the hill country trip several years ago, but this one goes out toward Manor. It was a lovely day, and the people on our car were an interesting group. The volunteers that worked the car were very entertaining. It made for a wonderful afternoon. IF you are in Austin on a Sunday afternoon, go downtown and board the train. It boards in the middle of the street at the Convention Center at 1:30 pm. They are hoping to have their steam engine back in about a year, but even the diesel puller makes a great trip in vintage railroad cars.

I just can’t get over how wonderful the weather is here in Swampland. Clear and cool, verging on cold. How wonderful. I hope you have good weather also, and by the way, make contact with someone in your family you haven’t seen in a while. It will be good for both of you!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

High five

Just returned from my little out patient procedure done on a certain part of my digestive anatomy. After the "prep" things went smoothly. My physician has a split preparation for this little thing. One part beginning at 6 pm the night before, and the second being three hours before you leave home to go to the hospital.

My scheduled arrival for the hospital was 7 am. That means we leave by 6:30 am. Since I woke at 2, I decided I would take the remainder at 2:30. Boy was I glad I did too! I wasn’t sure that I would make it even at 6:30, but things went well. I may not have to have this done for five years. That is wonderful news.

The weather decided to cooperate, so we didn’t have to take the tank, but it was first out, just in case. The rain stopped at 4:30, and yes I was awake. I was making many trips to the water closet. Now it is cool and crisp out, but still overcast.

"God’s in his heaven and all’s right with the world." I hope for you too

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

So, what's new with you?

Whew, it’s been a real whirl wind time. The weekend was a busy one. S and K left before us, so they were already at SSB when we finally got there. G chose what I thought would be one of the worst routes toi get there, but since he is the diver he can go however he wants. It took us an hour longer - that means 6 hours on the road. The worst part of that is that his mood when we do arrive is less than stellar.

Things went from bad to worse. SIL and great nephew were there visiting the kids when we arrived. Then we began seeing all the things that were not right after the tile had been put in. The vertical blinds were over a bed, but worse than that was that the dishwasher will not go back into the space for it. There is no extra space allowed for the extra inch of floor. The first few minutes were not pleasant at all.

Saturday we were going to see some of the skits at the Wide Spot in the Road church, but we got there in time for dinner. We did make church on Sunday, and it was a long service. When that church was built, people were much shorter. My knees were rubbing the pew in front of me.
We did get some blissful rain up there, even though it was flooding here in swampland. We managed to only get the tail end of this.

Today I am on clear liquids only getting ready for my procedure tomorrow. I just hope the floods hold off. I surely don’t want to go through this prep (including the laxative treatment), and then not be able to get to the hospital. More than that, I hope the physician makes it to the hospital!

I just noticed they had put barricades up at both ends of one of our streets that runs along the bayou. Hmmm, I guess our city is expecting the worst. That's why I put my low slung car next to the garage and have the tank ready to go in the morning.

Friday, October 13, 2006

But the rivalry is still real

All right, I over reacted yesterday while moaning about spending the weekend with the unknown man I perceived as a serial murderer. As it turns out, he will be going to Capital City to see his son, so our situation is going to be normal. It will just be family - which is strange enough.

And by family I mean family. SIL, BIL, grand nephew, MIL and FIL. Oh my! Perhaps unknown man has ESP and decided we were too weird to spend a weekend with. I don’t know how MIL and FIL will be since we have had no contact with them since the third weekend of last month.
The only problem lying ahead is the possibility of three dogs in my house at once. I think K is bringing her dog, and I know MIL and FIL will have theirs, Pepe. This is a dog they got after their poor 17 year old finally was able to be allowed to die. Pepe is from the other dog’s blood line.

Pepe is also wild. He had been put through a month’s intensive training. We knew quite a few things. Before training, he thought the place to potty was the house, and that outside was to play. After training, he was at least house broken, but knew how to act like a civilized dog.
Pepe is not a civilized dog now. He is back to chewing on shoes, pillows and hands. He will jump up on MIL and eat off of her plate! I couldn’t believe that actually happened until we visited just before they moved back home.

BIL does not like animals, mostly because he is allergic to their dander, but he especially does not like this breed (notice I am not identifying the breed?). Last time they were up in the country, the in laws went to BIL’s house. Pepe walked in and immediately relieved himself (both ways) in the middle of the living room carpet. That did not go over well. FIL suggested putting Pepe out in the yard. The fence is a country fence - 4 strands of barbed wire. It wouldn’t have contained that dog!

Well, if I do end up with Pepe in my house, at least I know the carpets will be gone within a week.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but some of you already know my news flash. Sibling rivalry does not go away. So if you have young children clamoring for your attention, prepare yourselves. When you can, move away and leave no forwarding address! My two children are 30 and 33, and the green eyed monster of sibling rivalry still rears its ugly head, especially for my daughter who is the oldest.

Back in July, my son asked if his friend, J, and the friend’s fiancee, C, could come to Sunday night dinner. First, when I am asked about an hour before hand, it is difficult to say no. Second I was playing piano for their wedding, and C wanted to talk about the music. There was a reason. And C brought food and wine. She is a very thoughtful young woman.

I would have preferred the dinner be family, but J has been around here since junior high school. He is practically family, and C is just as accepted. It turned out to be a lovely evening. My daughter, however, was incensed. She thought it was terrible. How insensitive of her brother.
Well, now the shoe is on the other foot. My son in law is good as gold, but sometimes he can go over the top - especially when he is with friends or his family. He can begin to wear very thin. They have his high school friend staying with them right now. He is beginning a new job here, and they decided he would "rent" a room from them until he decides where he would like to live. This should not be a problem for us, right? Er, no.

On Sunday, she called with the same question: could the friend come to Sunday dinner? As fate would have it, he didn’t come in until Monday. Side stepped that bullet. We are all set to trundle off to Rancho SSB this weekend. They were going to have him just stay at the house and take care of the dog. Guess what! He will be coming along.

We don’t know this man from Adam. We know nothing about his personality. We know nothing about his background. We get to spend the weekend with him in a 1700 square foot house.
If S acts the way he usually does around his friends and family, it is going to be a very long weekend. His brain turns to absolute mush. He will revert to being 17 years old again. He will be loud and obnoxious. He will make up more stories to impress everyone than ever. If they begin reminiscing about high school, I think I will be physically ill. I just hope they have already gotten that out of their systems.

Now, if I express my feelings to my daughter, she will (as is a Texas saying) swell up like a toad. She will say that we allow her brother to bring friends. She will say that we allowed his mother in law and her boyfriend to accompany them to Rancho. She will claim I treat her brother better, and I dare not challenge her on that front. She might even refuse to come herself.
I really thought at some time, the rivalry would stop. For some reason, she tends to feel it a lot. Perhaps it’s because she and I talk more, and she tells me. I know my son is threatened by my son in law because he does so many things at the Rancho. I guess I should just put a pillow over my head. Then it would all go away.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Getting better

This virus is interesting. None of us have had the same symptoms, and I am praying it will be just 24 hours for me, but I don’t know. I was pretty miserable yesterday, and when G came home I told him I wished the colon procedure I have next week would be today! I get to go through this again, but hopefully without the headache and stomach tenderness.

I am really excited about the coming weekend. We should have nice cool weather at Rancho SSB. I really enjoy the cooler weather. I surely am ready for a break from the hot, steamy days we have had.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Tag, I'm it!

Well, the incubation time for this little bug going around our family is four days. It was Friday night that I inoculated myself with it by eating Lady Bug’s left over enchilada. Now I am paying the price. Monkey Boy was over it by Sunday, Lady Bug only suffered one day - Sunday, K was suffering a bit on Sunday, and S was very ill Sunday night. I had a suspect symptom yesterday morning, but it has hit in glory today. Not throwing up, nope, it’s the other end of the digestive tract!

Enough about that. Yesterday was a teacher’s inservice day. K didn’t want to pay for Lady Bug to go to day care, and she really couldn’t take another day off, so I kept Lady Bug. She is a trip!
We had to take the tank to the shop for its oil change and so on since we have another pilgrimage to Rancho SSB. We try to get it in by 7:30, so we go to the restaurant next door for breakfast. Lady Bug and I split a breakfast. They are so large that I need to split one with someone anyway!

We had no sooner come back home than she primly sat on the sofa, and asked where we were going for lunch! That’s my Lady Bug.

She decided to come in here to play some computer games, but since they had not been installed on this computer, she became inpatient. She was off to make her jewelry from her little kit. Of course, I had to tie the knots, and she was upset that I didn’t join her with my own jewelry making things. But we got a choker and matching bracelet made.

Then we moved on the "Go Fish." She beat me more often than not! But she loved it. We did go to lunch, then to a movie rental store where they had a big sale on previously rented movies. Of course she got one!

All in all it was a great day, and now the porcelain throne is once again calling my name.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

In sickness . . .

There seems to be a virus going around my daughter’s house these days. Monkey boy got sick on Wednesday right after lunch at day care. He was sick through the night, but he seemed to be better for the most part on Thursday. His class is passing the bug around, and they are falling like flies. I feel sorry for his teachers next week because this bug causes some nasty diapers!

They came over for dinner last night, Lady Bug and I "shared" the left overs of out meal. I never thought about it as I ate part of her left enchilada. This morning K told me Lady Bug didn’t want breakfast, and she is lying down. She just doesn’t do that!

I wonder when it will hit me! Oh well, I guess it will jump start my diet.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Simone - again

As a reminder, be sure to go by Ronni’s place for more information about the Elderblogger phone conference. It should be a fun thing. The address is below.

In other events around here, there is the almost constant UTI that Simone has. She had been on a new treatment of meds with a change of diet - again. It is still the prescription dog food, but a different formula.

This morning, I had to obtain another urine specimen to take in. I was at a loss as to the best way to do this little task. I decided I would completely throw her schedule off, and I was successful. I first gave her the Prevac*d. That part is pretty normal. The difference is that I didn’t let her out immediately. She was quite confused, especially when G left for work. Then I gave her breakfast. She looked at me as though I had lost my mind. Then I finally took her out, taking a hint from the vet’s office when I helped them get a sample. I took an old, small baking sheet that wouldn’t ever be used again for food. Since it is one that is prone to rust, I put a grocery plastic bag over it. It worked like a dream. I got the sample.

I took it to the vet’s office right away. My problem was when I returned home. After months of carefully monitoring her intake (no more socks and paper napkins, please), I came in to find an empty can of peanuts on the floor. I forgot to put them up. She found them on the coffee table, and they are now history! Fortunately there was only about a handful and a half, but now I am wondering when the vomiting to occur! I would have rather she had taken to the couch again.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


It is so incredibly easy to lose contact with friends. When either you or they move away, you pledge you will keep your friendship alive and vibrant. Then, over the months and years, things change and you lose contact.

This was brought home to me today when I had an email message from a person who was one of my dearest and closest friends. We went through so much together. We had a deep closeness, despite our age difference. We were really like sisters.

Our friendship was attacked and managed to survive. We had people come into our lives who tried, and did succeed, to break up our friendship. It was a truly unfortunate situation because it involved our teaching careers as well. In the end, I guess it really did succeed in closing out closeness.

It was a very stressful time, and we ended up parting campuses first, then she finally moved away from the area. We would correspond for a while, and then that became more and more infrequent. The email I got from her was nothing of a personal nature. It was one of those warm, fuzzy chain thingies that you send to a certain number of people assuring you good luck.

It made me think of my best friend now. Our friendship is crumbling. The horrid truth of the matter is that we are letting it. She only lives four blocks away, and yet we are letting go of communication. We, again, were co-workers. But we began to see how our lives paralleled one another so much. Her son and my daughter were best friends in high school. When I retired, she also quit teaching. She went into IT work, and her hours are long and hard now.

We emailed a lot at first. Emailing is easier than talking on the phone because of her schedule. Now that has dwindled. I wonder how she will react to the warm, fuzzy chain thingie?

Friday, September 29, 2006

Problem solved

I had a surprise phone call last night. It was from our flooring installer. He explained the delays, and I feel much better about making our regularly scheduled trips to SSB. He does the flooring as second job. He is normally a firefighter. That means he has lots of days off, and this is his second job. Having a second job is not at all unusual for fire fighters. Having a second job is not at all unusual for young people in that particular area of this state either. It is rather expensive to live there, and salaries (if you have one meaning you are not a rancher) are low.

I won’t have all my floors one until the end of next month, but the house will be inhabitable when we are there. That is the best thing!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Trip cancelled

We were all set to trundle off to SSB to prepare for the upcoming hunting season. For those of you who are deathly opposed to hunting, we’ll deal with that issue sometime later. I am the only one who doesn’t hunt, but it’s not because I am opposed to it. I am just afraid of only injuring the animal. OK enough for now.

We are having all the carpet removed from the house there. I gave the ultimatum a couple of months ago that if I found another grass burr in the carpet with my bare feet - every last inch of carpet was coming out of that house. Well, guess what.

So we contracted with a company in Fritztown to put tile in the kitchen, dining room and bathrooms (oh how I hate carpet in the bathroom). I am putting laminate in the rest of the house. They were to have started on September 18. When I had my living area here tiled, it was done it 3 days. This area is bigger than the tile work I wanted done there.

On Monday we began calling the company. Sunday night, daughter in law asked if we had floors yet. That set me to thinking, so we began calling. We called again on Tuesday. No return call. I called again on Wednesday. No return call. So we called the neighbor on the other mountain who is having carpet installed by the same guy, on the sly, when he completes our job.
Guess what! He is not finished with the tile, and we have no toilets. We are replacing them as well because our "manufactored home" maker installed ones that would normally go in a trqvel trailer - about three inches off the floor. Not good for Grandma's knees - especially after five hours on the road. S and K were leaving this evening with the kids. Wouldn’t that have been great? The adults could have used the hunters’ out house - I guess (not me!), but can you imagine 5 year old Lady Bug using it? Especially since the out house is 50 feet from the house.

So now we are hoping and praying that the tile will at least be finished by October 14 because that is an important celebration for the church in Wide Spot in the Road. I don’t know. Things progress on an entirely different time measure there!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Cheese time

Be warned - this is going to be cheesy. Sometimes I simply am overwhelmed by life, but in a good way. I took some pictures the last time we went to SSB. It got me to thinking about nature, and the amazing beauty. Then I got to thinking about more things. And I was able to bring one of the pictures into this post! Amazing!

I got to thinking about the universe, and how small we are in relation to it all. My mind has great difficulty getting around the size of our universe, but to think of OTHER universes out there is more than I can even begin to think about. My brain wants to shut down at that thought.

Then I get to thinking about this thing called life. To me, this spark, whatever it is, is really something. Especially when I think about something being alive one moment, and perhaps not alive at the next moment.

I think about all the things that have changed over my lifetime, but they are not nearly what changes my father saw. I try to think what it was like to be alive in 1912 which is the year he was born. Then I think of all of the advances that have been made during that time. It boggles my mind!

Sometimes I just have to get these thoughts out. The wonder of it all just overwhelms me.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Sasha update and news flash

Look at the bottom for a news flash about Elderblogger PhoneCon '06!

Sasha is a weird cat. Now some people think the words cat and weird are synonymous, and they may be absolutely correct. If you recall, back on August 23, I ordered a kitty jail for her. If I knew how to link to that post I would do it!!

For Sasha, it seems it is a love/hate relationship. At first, finding her was a trick. Then one night, she was asleep - on top of it! Talk about easy to put her in jail! After we went to SSB last week, her fascination with her jail, er play pen, was quite diminished. We had to go on search and seizure missions.

Now she is fascinated with the enclosure again. In fact, she was standing in front of it while I was gone Saturday night, and G could just lift her in.

Today, she exhibited some really bizarre behavior. She was standing outside of the bars reaching in to play with the water bowl. I know she has a fascination with water. She has been known to flush toilets and turn over water bowls. She plays with the water in water bowls, but to decide to play with that particular water bowl was quite interesting to me!
I guess with B and C do get a house, which is looking more and more likely to be soon (yea!), the play pen will have to be part of their house!

Mark your calendars! Go to the site below (I still don’t know how to link). Ronni at Time Goes By is organizing the Elderblogger PhoneCon ‘06, Go over and get the info!

Monday, September 25, 2006


I think I have finally recovered from my wild Saturday night. I babysat Lady Bug and Monkey Boy! I went to their house because mine is really not Monkey Boy proofed - at least for more than two hours.

Lady Bug spent the first three hours "playing school" with me being the kindergarten student. Her imagination is really something. I really wasn’t up for the game, but she went right on. She really didn’t need someone to play with - she was going to play!
Monkey Boy did exceptionally well - at first. He didn’t cry when they left him. He hugged me often and played well without giving me a heart attack. He did little climbing on the furniture. He never scaled all the way up the back of a chair. He just got every noisy toy he owned out. He ate well. I was really surprised. Normally he just grazes.

Then it came to an end. He was unhappy, and definitely did not want me. Lady Bug tried to play mother to him, and we try to discourage that. She usually ends up either accidently hurting him or getting hurt herself. But at that time, she was the only one who could console him. OK Lady Bug, get to work!

As it ended, he quieted and things went well after that. I never did get them to sleep however! That is an entire other thing with those two!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

And I thought children were difficult!

It seems there is a recurring theme here - Simone and her associated health problems. She has another UTI, only this time the vet found there are crystals in the urine which may be the problem, or the fact that some idiot bred her constantly may be the culprit. She obviously escaped a puppy mill. Oh I hope these people that run these puppy mills burn for all eternity.
Finding the crystals means yet another change in her food. Great. I have 20 pound of dry she cannot eat. At least the remaining 10 cans of wet can be mixed with the new diet so we can (snicker) avoid stomach upsets. Oh how I wish!

Last Thursday night, just before the trip to the SSB, she was sick as a dog. Now I understand that saying. She was fine, then suddenly sick. It seems among other things, she managed to eat a sock. I have no idea where she found said sock, but she produced one, After telling the vet, he told me how bad they are. He said he had a standard poodle that he had to operate on about once a year - for ingestion of a sock! Great - one more thing to look for.

Last night, she was fine, until . . . Suddenly she had a reflux moment. I was, again, up with her most of the night. I thought all this ended about 25 years ago.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Weekend with the inlaws

We have returned from our pilgrimage to the SSB (sting, stick or bite), and it was quite a weekend. We were hosts to the Wide Spot in the Road Community Club along with SIL and BIL. G’s aunt wanted to host with us, so they were there also. I was quite amused when Aunt got out a 5 pound bag of ice, and had two containers of tea. It was over 90. It proved to be way too little. Fortunately we had 30 pounds of ice, and the tea bags to quickly brew more tea.

We began to worry about the food also. You never know how many people will be attending, so you run the risk of having too much food, or almost run out. Some younger folks are moving in, and they have children. That’s where it is really hard to judge food. Being kids, they often take more than they can eat, but that can put the hosts into a real tizzy when the line of adults grows and grows!

MIL and FIL actually made the two hour trek. They seemed to enjoy seeing all the relatives. There are only about three families that are not relatives in the area. They stayed for quite a while until FIL had heard all he wanted to hear from the program.
I really believe SIL thought I was crazy when I kept telling her that MIL was very unhappy being back at home. SIL invited them and us to breakfast. We didn’t go because we had to go to town to check on our flooring that is being installed as we speak (I hope). The in laws went, mostly because they can’t even make coffee at the sister’s house much less work the tv. SIL got MIL alone, and as soon as they were alone, MIL broke down into tears.

As sad as this is, there is nothing we can do. SIL tried several different strategics to get MIL to come to Austin, at least for a couple of days. Nothing worked. I decided that if a Phd psychologist, who is the favored daughter in law, can’t effect a change, I certainly can’t. I just don’t see them being in that house long after Christmas.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Another memory

A video clip that often appears on shows that are made of such videos is a child being frightened by something appearing in a window. While the effect is amusing to those witnessing, believe me it not amusing to the subject.1

One Christmas season when I was about 8, my dad thought I would get a kick out of seeing Santa. I still don’t know where he found a garish Santa mask, but he did. Our house had the kitchen in the front of the house, and the window over the sink was about 6 feet long. It almost covered the entire front wall with the exception of the cabinets on each side.

On this particular evening, I went into the kitchen to get a glass of water. The curtains were open, and as I drew the water I looked out. There was this terrible apparition. It scared me so badly. I immediately dropped to the floor, and then scurried out of the kitchen. Needless to say, he was quite amused. I don’t remember what my mother did.

I don’t know how he managed to time it so perfectly. I don’t know how he got out of the house and got around to the front in that short span of time. He told me he thought I would like to see Santa. Right! To this very day, I find it difficult to look out of a window of a lighted room into the dark of night.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Driving a stick -shift that is

It is time to stop dwelling on the unpleasant things that are happening in my life! Today is a day for remembering, and I am going to remember my dad and his teaching me to drive. When I began driving, you could get a "learner’s permit" when you were 14. I remember taking the drivers test right there in the cafeteria of my junior high school! Oh we thought we were really something.

When I was 14, my dad had a ‘53 Ford with light blue body with a dark blue top. I remember it so vividly. It was a standard shift, and I decided I really needed to know how to drive a standard shift. In those days, the emergency brake was similar to many that are out today meaning it was not foot operated. IT was called an umbrella brake I think because it resembled an umbrella handle. It extended from the floor board to the underside of the dash. You would pull the handle toward you, and the emergency brake was applied. To let it off, you twisted the handle to the right and let it go (or pushed - I don’t remember) back into place. All of this was located on the left side of the car, meaning away from the passenger.

San Antonio has many hills. My dad thought I should learn to drive the standard on the hills. OK! I was up for the challenge. We had one particularly steep hill in the neighborhood, and at the very top was a, gasp, stop sign. I got to the stop sign just fine. I stopped just fine. Then I had to try to let off the brake while letting out the clutch while applying just enough gasoline - not too little, not too much - to get through the intersection. What a disaster.

After killing the engine several times, Dad suggested I pull out the emergency brake so at least I wouldn’t roll all the way back down the hill. That sounded like a plan. Except then I had to add letting out the emergency brake slowly also. This was a true test of my coordination. I really thought I would spend the rest of my life at that intersection.

I did finally make it, and had great pride in myself, but to this day I get really nervous if I am in a standard transmission car and have to stop on a hill.

Thank you Daddy for all your patience. I appreciated it then, but I more fully understand it now.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A lesson well learned

I hope and pray that we never experience another day like yesterday. Worse things have happened, but yesterday was very stressful. G and I took my car to the shop for routine maintenance - oil change, etc. We then took the "tank" because it had a recall for the cruise control, and we need it this weekend to go to the SSB.

We were returning home, and I was driving. My phone rang, but I couldn’t it right away since it was hidden in the bowels of my purse. When G finally retrieved it, it displayed K’s cell. I called her back, and there was complete panic in her voice. She wanted me to go to her house to get her bill payment file. Her purse had been stolen.

I was stunned. As I was heading to my house to get her key, she told me she left her purse in the van when she went to visit the store. Her job involved sales of a product and the store’s relationship with the manufacturer. She is provided with a van for this job. She had left her purse and laptop bag in the van - as she and most of her coworkers do. Someone broke out the van window and took her purse and the computer bag. They were efficient. They could do this without even setting off the alarm.

All credit cards were stopped. The bank was notified. The police were called. But the experience was still stupefying. The feeling was that of total violation.

About two hours later when she was home taking things out of the van, a car appeared in her driveway. Two men were in the car. One immediately held out her purse. They had found it discarded on the side of the road. The only thing missing was her digital camera. They also found the laptop bag. Everything was in place with the exception of the camera and a cd that held some recently downloaded pictures. The thieves were looking for something they could easily hock. Apparently they thought they were getting a computer, and hopefully a cell phone in the purse. They didn’t want credit cards. Too many thieves are getting busted here using stolen cards.

Things turned out to be alright. It spurred all of us to get our affairs in order: to be sure we have lists of credit card numbers and contact numbers, to be sure we never leave anything of value in plain sight in the car. Take our experience and vicariously learn by it. Prepare yourself for emergencies.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Forgiving or not

K and her family were late to dinner last night, but that is not something unusual. I was getting a little concerned because she is not normally 30 minutes late. Plus, I was getting hungry!
When they got here and the pizza was distributed, we sat and talked. She had called the In Laws. She could tell she got MIL by herself. She said FIL was outside with the blasted dog. MIL told K she was absolutely miserable, and she was sure that they had made the biggest mistake of their lives by moving back to the house.

When K told her that FIL told his sister he was happy, she responded that he certainly doesn’t act like it. He is still just as grumpy as ever. He doesn’t seem happy. Now I am worried that he will become a mean dementia patient. I was lucky with my father. As he descended further into dementia, he became more mellow. I just don’t know what the future holds for the In Laws, but I do know that there is a crisis looming even larger on the horizon.

The good thing that came out of the conversation was MIL admitting she never treated K as she should have. It was obvious to K all through her life. All of the cousins are close in age. K and her cousin are the furthest apart with there being three and a half months difference in ages. B and M are only about two weeks apart.

During the summer months, the In Laws would ask to keep the kids for about a week, and they would have all four for a week. It was so obvious that MIL deeply favored E. Everything was done for E. Even Christmas presents were along what E wanted. There was never any thought given to what K wanted. The In Laws would travel to Austin for all holidays and birthdays, never to Houston. But it was that way for G growing up. He was the least favored child, and that attitude carried over to his entire family. I was never treated as well as my sister in law.
I was so happy for my daughter that she finally received the confession she needed. MIL told her she never appreciated K for all the things she did. Now she sees that K is a loving and attentive granddaughter. I hate to be bitter, but it’s about time. It’s just a shame that the realization finally came as MIL is facing her death. Death bed confessions just don’t do it for me. But my daughter has such a big heart. She can forgive all the hurting times from her grandmother. Good for her. I’m proud. It is more difficult for me because not only did she hurt my children, she constantly has hurt her son, my husband.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Well, my cable provider which also provides my internet is down. I am using my neighbors unsecured WiFi to be on. I certainly appreciate them moving in and providing me with service! They haven't been in for a month yet.

Tonight is Family Dinner night. B and C won't be joining us. He worked at his day job yesterday, then played a club last night with an old friend. They ended up staying out really late. It's just as well. Tonight is going to be really easy. Pizza from one of the places around here.

One of the reasons for the pizza is that my arthritis is really talking to me today. My arthritis is a strange affliction. I have it in my fingers, knees, and neck. Some days I don't even notice it. Other days I am really crippled with it. Today is one of those bad days. So dinner is going to be e a s y!

I helped K with Monkey Boy this morning. She had her Sunday School class to teach. I told her I would take him to his class. We began with the opening that was in the sanctuary. I was nervous, but Lady Bug goes into it as well. He was remarkably well behaved. I then went to his class with him. I was quite impressed with his teacher. She had 4 two year old children, and really tried to teach them a lesson. It was quite cute. I didn't enjoy the miniature chair however! Monkey Boy was completely oblivious to the lesson, but then he is only 26 months. One of these days. I was apprehensive, but he was great with me. He and I haven't bonded as Lady Bug and I did. I just couldn't keep him during the day as long.

Here's hoping for a better day tomorrow. I want to go back to not hurting and being more mobile. Getting old is not for the weak!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Nice day

After so many dry days of searing heat, this morning is like a fall day here in Swampland. It is dreary and drippy. The sun is far behind think clouds, so it looks like dusk outside. It is not really raining, but it’s not dry. Believe it or not, I love it especially since it’s Saturday, and we don’t have to go out at all if we don’t want to. Just a change is nice, but a break from the infernal heat is wonderful.

I had been planning to go help out at the boxer rescue adoption taking place at one of the mega pet stores, but I don’t know. I am rationalizing that they have a pretty set group of those who foster some of the dogs, and therefore really don’t need me. When I was able to go the last time, there were about seven people who were there.

It’s not that I am trying to get out of helping. There comes a time when there are simply too many people doing one task. I love seeing the dogs, but that comes with a price. I then want to take another one, or become a foster for one (or four). I don’t really think that would sit well with Simone, and definitely not G. I enjoy visiting with people who also have a passion for the breed, but that’s not the purpose of the day.

I think I may just settle in here and enjoy the weather!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Crisis on the horizon

It seems to me that as one ages into old age, it is the opposite of aging as a preteen. Preteens can’t wait to be older and often claim they ARE older. Some elders deny they are getting older. They deny the problems they are having due to their age.

Yes, I am talking about the In Laws now. FIL had gotten his way. He found someone to move them back to the house. He is in hog heaven. He spoke to one of his sisters and ranted about hoe much he hates the north side of town and is so happy about being back on the south side where he grew up.

I really believe the problem is rooted in the fact he was deathly afraid of getting lost. I am not the only one who is seeing memory problems with him. He may have grown up on the south side, but he will get lost there soon.

He claims MIL is delighted to be back in the house as well. I know for a fact she is not. She has problems with that house. It is difficult for her to get in and out. I know there are no ramps even now. The bath is not easy for her. I know that has not been done, and further more it won’t be done.

We have a crisis just waiting to happen. I was so sure we had averted something really bad, but it’s back - looming on the horizon. FIL is just blind to it.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Strings attached

I am sitting here waiting for my daughter to come by to pick up my cell phone. You see she has once again gone over her minutes. This is a almost monthly thing. After all, she ONLY has 3000 minutes on her plan. So I will be without a phone for the next two days until her billing cycle of over.

You may ask why I would willingly give her my phone. It’s easy. She pays my bill. My phone is the one they got for step granddaughter M. When she abused the privilege, it as taken away. My old phone was about 7 years old and needed replacing at some point. When M left, I was given the phone.

Basically I have a great deal. The plan is a good one for me. It includes national no roaming charges so when (and if) we leave the state, I can still be in touch. The best part is not having to pay for it at all. I really don’t like the phone, but when you don’t pay . . . The battery life of this particular phone is very short. More often than not, I have a phone with me, but it is deader than a door nail!

We’ll see how long it lasts today!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Can't fool me

I think Mother Nature is playing with us. Yesterday was cool and overcast - just as a fall day should be. When you look at the calendar, you see it is only September 6. Anyone who has lived in Texas, and especially the normal swamp of Houston, for any length of time knows that summer lasts until Thanksgiving - sometimes Christmas.

We were so lucky to have spring hang around through May, and even a little into June, but to expect fall to come in September is more than we can get our minds around. Does that mean the children will be able to wear costumes on Halloween without having a heat stroke? That would be really something.

I have memories of wearing the really pretty velvet Christmas dresses my aunt would give me when it seemed like it was 95 outside. I was so hot, but I would have nothing but that dress. What if it were cold? Two years ago, we had SNOW on Christmas Eve. Could we get used to that?

I think this is just a small tease of what will be here in January! I’m sure next week we will be turning into large puddles of sweat.

On another front, Sasha usually sends me on a game of hide and seek when it’s time to go into her "playpen." Last night she made it too easy. She was on top of it most of the evening. When it was time to go in, she was sound asleep on top. Too easy!

Friday, September 01, 2006

My new obsessiion

My life seems to have come to revolving around how I can outsmart a cat. That is really ridiculous. I have won the last round at least.

I carefully ascended the stairs, all the while looking for the elusive Sasha. I was in luck. She was still in the Kitty Room. I quickly advanced to the door and closed it behind me. "You’re mine" I gleefully thought.

I put extraneous furniture on the bed - no one uses it anyway. I mean the bed, but the furniture too. I picked up the bed skirt on the far side of the bed and heard her thump on the wall fleeing from me. I scanned the entire room until I heard another thump.

That thump came from the bathroom. I slipped into the bathroom and closed that door. "Gotch ya!" She thought she was completely hidden behind the toilet. As I reached for her, she hissed with all her might. You foolish kitty - I have had cats for over 50 years. You are a newcomer, and I am the master. You don’t scare me.

I swiftly reached in and plucked her from her hiding place. She continued to hiss, but soon realized the game was over. Her fate was sealed. She was going back to jail after breaking parole.
So last night, by 8 PM she was safely ensconced in her 27 cubic foot jail. This morning G put me on enough of a guilt trip to let her out at 6:30.
The game will be on again tonight!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Kitty wars

Last night Sasha was free - totally free. I was so tired from not sleeping the night before, I couldn’t muster the energy to do anything but shower and fall into bed. Tuesday night she made my life miserable. I never caught her.

I went to the Kitty Bedroom, and she immediately dove under the bed. I went after her. I heard the "thump" which meant she ran downstairs. So I went down the stairs after her. I searched and searched. All I knew is that G said she went into the entry hall.

I checked the dinning room, which at this point is the staging area for donations to our local charity. It is chocked full of hand me downs from MIL. No Sasha. So I headed for the living room. I finally saw her under a chair. I put up the baby gate so it wouldn’t be as easy for her to get away, but get away she did. G couldn’t catch her.

It was back upstairs. That meant I made the trip up twice in ten minutes. Not a good thing at all. I got smart and closed all the doors up there. She dashed back down the stairs. Moan.
This time she headed for the living room again. When I tried to get her, she ran into the utility room - or at least in that area. We searched and searched. We couldn’t find her at all. I swear she can become invisible. All this is happening while I am trying to watch the Spike Lee documentary. Drat.

As I am searching for the dear, sweet kitty, G announces he is going to bed. How dare him! He left me to find the da*m cat!

So I gathered all three baby gates to barricade the open doorway to the den. She wouldn’t be able to get back to the stairs. Ha! Can’t out fox me little kitty.

After a bit, I turned off the TV and sat very quietly so she would think I had gone to bed also and come out. Nothing. Absolutely nothing!

When Simone had to go out at 6:30 (thank you my princess dog - even though I had slept only about 3 hours), there were no signs of anything having committed suicide. Hmmm. I think I was out foxed.
My knees and (gasp) hips were hurting so badly I was not able to get into a comfortable position to sleep. So last night I, as I said just went to bed. At 5:30 this morning, nothing had been killed, but by 7:30 she had struck again.

I have a plan for tonight. I will enter Kitty Bedroom - and close THAT door.