Tuesday, July 20, 2010

This Is Why God Blesses All The Little Children

Thursday night I was sitting on the side of a soccer field, watching The Governor play. As his team was receiving what can only be called "a thrashing", my attention wandered, and I started talking with another mother who was also trying to focus on something other than the blood bath in front of us. We started discussing soccer and I mentioned that I still played in a couple of leagues.

Her young daughter (perhaps 7?) looked at me and asked, "Are you a teenager or an adult?"

I'm sure I could have sold energy back to the electric company with the wattage coming from my smile.

Wonderful child.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My Lunch with Gary

I've been staring at a blank "Compose Post" screen for six minutes now...Starting is always the toughest part. No wonder it's so easy to ignore a blog.

I had an interesting lunch date on Tuesday, and I was all set to write about it, but after waiting a day it no longer seems all that absorbing. I'm fairly certain I will need to add the line, "I guess you had to be there" at the end of it all. Oh well. I was reminded recently that this blog will be a wonderful way to record memories, and if I frighten off my last remaining reader...he can only blame himself; it was his suggestion.

There was nothing particularly amusing or dramatic about lunch, it was more of a purely interesting experiment. I had never dined with a blind person before.

A little background: a few years ago I took our family hound up to the local nursing home for pet therapy visits. Hoocher and I made our rounds for nearly three years and then life got busy, Hoocher got old, and I decided to call a halt to it all. I missed the visits, but many of our regulars were starting to pass away and then Hoocher got a tumor and I thought he was next. As it turns out, Hoocher did not pass away. A year or two went by, and this past March, I brought Hoocher back. Only he is simply too old to do it any longer; his hips give out and he's fairly deaf. And he hates baths so much that I felt it was just too unfair to force him into one each week. So Hoocher has officially retired, but I still go up to the Manor once a week to visit with one particular gentleman we met.

Gary is only in his 50's, but due to a medical condition, he cannot live on his own. He lost his vision a few years ago. He probably is more suited to a home of some sort, but he does not relish independence. What he does relish is food, and the understandably institutionalized nature of the Manor's kitchen leaves him with nothing kind to say.

One might suspect that Gary is a bit of a gormet. One might be wrong. This is the same man who informed me that he considered it a high treat (in his seeing days - living with his mother on the family farm) to warm up cocktail weiners with barbeque sauce in the microwave and eat them with Saltines. The odor of hypocrisy lingers in the air.

Many times, our visits turn into a cataloging of what restaurants we like, which we don't, and which ones we wish we could try. After the barbeque weiners story, I wasn't surprised to learn that Gary and his mom ate out fairly frequently.

As a treat for him (and a respite for the long-suffering kitchen staff at the Manor), I took Gary out to lunch at our local pizza parlor.

The most interesting part of the meal was not the actual eating of food, but the logistics of getting Gary from the Manor to the restaurant and then to the table and back again. In addition to being blind, Gary also uses oxygen, so a portable tank went with us on the outing.

The Senator (11) and The Governor (8) came along to assist. They were invaluable help as I was a bit nervous about leaving Gary unattended while I went to get the car or when I left the table to fill his plate at the buffet. The Governor took a great interest in watching Gary. Before we arrived at the Manor he had asked, "But Mom...if he's blind...how does he eat?"

Well, Gov, his mouth works; only his eyes don't.

"But Mom...how does he know where to stick the food?"

Gov, if you close your eyes, do you think you could bring a cookie up to your mouth?


And when we arrived at the Manor and were heading down the hall to fetch Gary:

"Mom - how do you get him through the building?"

He'll walk.

"But I mean, how do you give him directions? Do you say, Go north or Go South?"

Valid question, Gov. I tend to use Left and Right versus North or South.


So while Gary was unaware of it, he was under surveillance the entire time. And not just by The Governor. Everyone in the restaurant was giving us glances. Small town, after all. Thank goodness my children were along for chaperones.

The trip went quite well. I think Gary was so happy to be eating out somewhere, we probably could have taken him to the gas station for pre-packaged sandwiches and he would have considered it a high treat. He did consume an incredible amount of pizza and fried chicken. I hope we didn't do any lasting damage to his internal organs.

I'm sure we'll re-live the adventure next Tuesday when I go for another visit. It would beat listening to the BBQ weiner story again.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Child Protection Services Are On The Way

This morning I received an email from an old reader - happy to see a few relatively recent posts and encouraging me not to abandon the effort altogether. I told him I felt like a bad parent who remembers, half way through the mall, that my child was still strapped in a car seat in the parking lot. The blog...oh dear.

With the onset of summer vacation, computer time is at an all time low. Not only do soccer, baseball, the lake, and nursing home visits compete for attention, but when we are home, I must compete for keyboard time with members of The Alliance and The Horde. If you don't understand that last bit, you are in good company. I don't either. It is unnerving to listen to The VP and The Governor (now 8!) carry on a discussion about Level 80 Death Knights and whether or not Bloody Breakout is a worthwhile quest and who has enough Emblems of Frost to purchase a new piece of chest armor.

To be fair...they tried to include me. I have my own World of Warcraft character, but I never play. I lost interest after my first quest. Fortunately, at any time I have three family members who are willing to take up my slack and age up Saint Kate to a Level Seven Warrior.

(As I type this, The Governor is reading over my shoulder and said, "Technically, Mom, it's not "the Bloody Breakout," it's just "Bloody Breakout." Thank goodness for my crack editoral staff.)

I hope you all...oh heck...I should probably just adress this to you, W.M., since you are most likely the only one reading it...I hope you had a terrific 4th of July weekend. And thank you for gently prodding me to return to the car and fetch my child.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


It didn't take long for this resolution to get thrown under the bus. I don't feel very guilty; I've found a new outlet. Last fall I contacted AnySoldier.com and found a group of guys in Iraq that share my sense of humor and overall immaturity. I send them action figures; they send me PowerPoint presentations of the figures. If I could figure out how to do it, I'd post Jawas Rampage here for you all to enjoy. It is rated R, however. I may have to omit the slide of the Jawas sharing a post-coitus smoke with Amanda Waller.

Saturday I spent nearly the entire morning pasting copies of one soldier's Facebook profile onto the bodies of models in a men's health magazine. I hope he finds it amusing. Cracked me up for hours.

The Governor and I were watching some Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network or something on Sunday, and the network had a little feature on "Top Ten Most Annoying Things Your Parents Say or Do." Number One was "..when they don't act their age." And I thought about how I can spend an hour posing an action figure for a funny photo and came to the conclusion that my kids are doomed. Poor boys.

Monday, May 10, 2010


We are temporary landlords to a bunch of pigs.

And yes, we do call them "Bacon" and "Sausage" when we bring them scraps.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Of Course

Tomorrow night is my first outdoor game of the season. Forecast: rain and cold. Of course.

I'm not sure there exists a greater form of sport than playing soccer in your long johns in freezing rain. I'm willing to allow for the possibility, but my skepticism runs deep.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Need to write

So...I think that by waiting for more than a year between posts, I've managed to evade any readers. Which is fine, because this is just an exercise. Scratch paper. I have found that I miss writing a lot. Last fall I started sending letters and packages to some soldiers in Iraq. One soldier was kind enough to email back and tell me that my letter was read and re-read; he and his buddies enjoyed it a lot. That made me feel great, because I had a very amusing time writing it. I'm glad they share my sense of humor.

So I miss writing to amuse myself. And others. And I miss having a record of what my family has been doing. I saved copies of all my old blog posts, and it has turned into a journal that helps prod my faulty memory. I won't lose all the funny (and not so funny) stories about how my boys have grown.

To update: The Senator is now 11 and in 5th grade. He's the tallest kid in his grade, and possibly 6th grade as well. This is his first year in the middle school. He's not fond of school. He is fond of hunting and fishing. He may not be able to balance a check book when he graduates high school, but he'll have the envious ability to sit in a deer stand for hours and look for turkeys.

The poor boy also suffers from acne. Already. I haven't seen any of his friends similarly affected. I can only hope that if he did hit puberty early (his voice is changing too), he'll come out of it sooner than his friends. And when his senior year prom rolls around, he'll be the only one with a clear face. Is that evil?

The Governor is now 8 and in second grade. We just finished celebrating his birthday. We rented one of those bouncer/moonwalk inflatable things. Talk about a low-maintenance party. "Go bounce." Sit on the front porch with a soda. Every once in a while yell, "Take 'er easy in there!" Grill hot dogs. Eat cake. Send boys home. I highly recommend it.

We also celebrated with a family dinner at Benihana - the Japanese steak house where the food is cooked right in front of you. We went last year for The Gov's 7th birthday and he loved it. Well, he liked the chicken. And the spatula-flipping chef. And the ice cream. He wouldn't try much else. This year, it was a different story. He ate the soup. He ate shrimp. He ate his father's shrimp. He ate mushrooms. He ate zuchini.

I couldn't believe it was my son. I guess he's growing too.

Old Hoocher (the pet therapy dog) is still here, but he's showing his age. I tried taking him back to the nursing home, after a couple of years off, but we stopped after a couple of weeks. He can't jump up into the car anymore without help. And frankly, he hates baths so much, I just can't do it to him week after week. I think he's earned his retirement. He still loves to go for walks. He eats a lot of table scraps. He rolls in the grass, and chases the deer, although he has completely give up on the rabbits. He's a good dog. A filthy dog, but a good one.

The VP and I are enjoying having older children. We've started leaving them alone for a couple of hours at a time. I'm not sure they realize we only do it when we know their grandparents are home next door, but to them it's the greatest freedom in the world. Not that they do anything differently...but NO PARENTS! A couple of times I've come home from work just a few minutes after them, and it tickles me to watch The Governor's face fall when he sees me. "You're home already?!" That one will have his own apartment the day he turns 18. Unless The Corps has him first.

Well, how's that for a comeback. No promises. I might just wait until 2011 before I post again. But I hope I can make it a habit. I still wish I had my old site; I loved posting pictures on that one. It's just not the same on Blogger. But we'll see.

And just in case...Hi Matt. :)