Neighbor’s….

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Everyone has a foolish neighbor. You know, the one who only cuts his grass three times a year, or has decided peeling paint on his home is more fashionable than employing a quick paint job. Our foolish neighbor, whose backyard butts up to my dad’s property also enjoys hosting bonfires in his backyard using gasoline as his accelerant. So it really came as no surprise yesterday when his garage kind of blew up and then burned down.

The boy and I were driving home after picking up his tuxedo when we ran into a traffic jam of looky-loos, trying to see where the black smoke plumes were originating from or maybe they just wanted to rubberneck at the four emergency vehicles blocking traffic on the side street. Regardless, my street was stopped up with traffic preventing me from getting home. As we slowly moved up the road, I watched more commotion come from my father’s driveway, sparking more concern. “What the heck are they doing?” I said to the boy. A worried look crossed both our faces.

Parked at the end of my dad’s driveway, I watched two complete strangers manhandle my father into my sister’s car–in an emergency type fashion. Then one of them ran into the street to block traffic so my sister could back her car out of the driveway. “Oh God!” I thought, “Maybe the fire spread to his house…”  My sister then backed up straight back into the doll’s school parking lot and stopped. But as her car pulled out of his driveway there sat my dad’s best buddy–his rollator walker. “Something’s definitely wrong, he needs his buddy to walk!” I said aloud. Shocked that she had left the darn thing there on the lawn for anyone to take. “I’m getting out…” the boy said, quickly releasing his seatbelt and jumping out from our car to run towards my sister. Then traffic began to clear  and I drove four houses down to drop off my car, before returning.

“You left buddy…” I said as I approached my sister’s car, “Is he alright?” I asked, pointing to my dad. “Mar Mar…” My dad began, “I’m okay, but your sister here scared the hell out of me…” He said in return. “Well I was on my way to the bank and as I began to pull out of his driveway I noticed the flames. That idiot likes to use gas and there were a couple of cars parked next to his garage and I wanted to make sure he was safe…” She rambled. “Who were those people?” I asked. “I have no idea, just some people looking to see the fire, I suppose” she replied. With the fire almost completely out, I said, “I’m going to take buddy back up to the house. Why don’t you run to the bank with dad…” “Thanks, Marsha,” she replied and then we parted company.

Back to the neighbor…he blew up his old one-car garage when he attempted to start an old corvette he had stored inside. The car backfired, igniting the back of his garage on fire. Within seconds, the structure and car were engulfed in flames as heavy black smoke plumed into the sky. In addition, the heat from the fire was so intense, his next door neighbor’s vinyl siding on the backside of their home, melted, leaving our neighborhood to stink for several hours afterward.

Thankfully, no one was injured.

 

I’m not sure…

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Could someone please explain this to me? We are a water drinking family. Gone are the days when we purchased pop/soda for our enjoyment. Nowadays we drink primarily water or in the boy’s case, milk. But something doesn’t quite add up–primarily the number of half filled bottles of water I found around my home this morning. “Huh? What the…?” and “Who the heck is doing this?” came to mind each time I found a new/used bottle.

On average, I drink about 9 bottles a day in hope of reaching the gallon of water a day platform in my clean eating program. Sometimes less, hardly more, but always a full bottle to the end.

The boy, since his brush with diabetes, has eliminated almost all sugar filled drinks from his diet. On occasion, he’ll have a diet soda, but beyond that, he only drinks bottled water and milk. He averages about 5 bottles a day.

The doll, with her ongoing syncope issues, has upped her water intake as well, averaging about 5 bottles a day too.

Which leaves my husband. He averages about 7 bottles a day, between work and home. Every night before bed, he drinks a half a bottle of water, then finishes that bottle the next morning.

When I asked, “Whose half filled bottle of water is this in the bathroom?” last night, I was met with the “Not me’s” and the “I don’t know’s” or was generally ignored. “Am I asking a rhetorical question?” I said and apparently I was. No one claimed responsibility and I was too tired to find the culprit.

The only thing I do know for sure is now our dog drinks bottled water too… img_2732

 

inch by inch, step by…

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As we inch closer to Saturday; the prom, for the boy, I gave him a list of things to get for me from school, Sunday night at dinner. “Tomorrow, I need you to ask Alexa the color of her dress, her home phone number and her mother’s first name”. Looking back at me he replied, “Okay, but, could you write this all down for me?” “Sure…” I replied, but moved onto other things and forgot. Monday afternoon, up on entering the car, he said, “Mom, Alexa wasn’t in school today, ” which shocked me. The boy who’s favorite thing to say to any of my questions, “I forgot” didn’t forget.  I have to say I was mildly impressed.

Then yesterday, while admonishing him for his time management (or lack thereof) skills while we drove home, he yelled, “TEAL”. “What the heck?” I said, upset he not only interrupted me but seemingly was making no sense. “The color of Alexa’s dress is teal…” He said and then leaned forward and handed me a telephone number. “Is this her home number?” I asked. “Yes,” He replied; proud he managed to stifle my lecture and followed through with my earlier request. “Okay, so what’s her first name?” I asked.

Radio silence…

“Darn it!” He announced, but then added, “I can’t remember, but she’s a very nice woman”.

“Of that I have no doubt,” I replied before encouraging him to complete the task in the morning.

So now we wait… for the next page in this chapter.

 

 

“Hello pollen my old friend…?”

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Saturday I worked cleaning out my front garden, a task I kept putting off due to unforeseen circumstances. The doll had some good laughs at my expense as I chased squirrels away from my bird feeder–even going so far as to soap the pole from top to bottom. “Mom you might as well face it, that squirrel has your number…” She said as we watched that crafty devil make it up to the top of the pole, only to be thwarted by the feeder itself…oh and me chasing after the darn thing.

But all in all, everything around here is beginning to take shape. Flowers are blooming, tree buds are coming to life, birds that spent their winter elsewhere have come back to roost and insects have have made their presence known. 

Ah yes, Spring has certainly arrived, along with Rose fever, sneezing, allergy meds and inhalers. Thank goodness Spring is so beautiful as compensation. 

everything always…

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I’m sure you’ve all experienced the same phenomenon when everything always happens on the same day. Why does the universe do this to us? I mean really, what is the point of this exercise? To see if we can cover the spread or to find out if we’re losers at the gate?

This upcoming Saturday, April 30, the doll makes her Confirmation, which, if you’re unaware, is the rite at which a baptized person, especially one baptized as an infant, affirms Christian belief and is admitted as a full member of the church. Confirmation means accepting responsibility for your faith and destiny. Afterward, we plan on taking her and some invited guests out to lunch to her favorite restaurant to celebrate. In addition to the doll’s big day,  April 30th is also the boy’s prom and while the time between both events is several hours apart, I’m a little concerned getting the boy ready for his “date” with Alexa will cover more hours than the time we’ll be allowed.

In addition to both these two very big events, there is a job fair for 16-21-year-old boys and girls being held in our town’s convention center from 10 am until 2 pm, which could offer a great chance for my boy to find a job this summer. But tell me, just how am I supposed to get him to the event? “Mom, I had to sit through his Confirmation, he should have to come to mine…” The doll argued the other day. “Baby, that’s not why he should be in attendance. But, I hear what you’re saying”.

The boy meanwhile almost jumped with glee upon hearing about the job fair. “Mom, I’ll just turn on my charm…” He said. “Bay, first of all, you turned on your charm at the zoo and we haven’t heard back from them. Secondly, I’m not sure if we can even get you to the job fair to begin with. Your dad is working, everyone else is invited to the ceremony and since you do not have a driver’s license or common sense for that matter… Besides, this shouldn’t be your excuse for not attending her confirmation,” I added. “Mom, I’ve already sat through one of those, why must I sit through another?”

“Because she’s your sister and you love her…” I replied.

“Hmm, depends on the day…” He offered.  “Well, that day you’re going to really love her….”

“Grrr…” he noted.

 

 

the way things are….

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Thus far, 2016 has been a rather trying year.

In little over three months, the world has been forced to say goodbye to too many talented people. I looked at my husband following the news that Prince had died and said, “What the hell is going on here? Do they know something we don’t?”

Makes you wonder.

But setting aside the true devastation we feel over never hearing a new Eagles Album or seeing Prince live on stage, life is and always will be about perspective. While the musicians who helped shape me into who I became are now gone, their passing while sad does not diminish me one bit. Instead, I’ll simply pull out some of my old albums to listen and revel in the joy they produced when I was young and still resonate within me today.

Then there is my son, who’s picture should be in the dictionary next to the word “trying” when referencing my patience. When he was younger I used to say to him, “I should have named you PAYNE because you’re such a pain in the rear to me now!”

But I digress…

A few years back he decided he was going to walk the Appalachian Trail, following his Senior year of High School. The only hurdle in his path was getting into shape. On a particularly trying day, after he was caught lying to me, he begged, “Mom, please don’t let me give up on my dream to hike the trail. I know myself, please keep pushing me…” At the time, his request was a tall order, today it’s gargantuan.

So when his grandmother informed me “The boy plans to take the year off of school in between his senior year of high school and freshman year of college, not to walk the trail, but to do other things…” that I almost had an aneurysm. “He said what?” I asked but didn’t allow her to answer. “Oh hell no. Not on my watch!” I said. My husband informed me later that he could literally see steam rolling off the top of my head. “He is not setting aside possible scholarship opportunities to sit on his ass for a year….” I said beginning to pick up steam. Sensing I was about to blow, my husband grabbed me by the arm and said, “Let’s take a walk and talk about this…”

So we did and I calmed down enough to wait until later to discuss the matter with the boy. After all, I wanted him to realize this was a mistake; not push him closer to going that route.  “Bay…” I said to him last night, “Hey this plan you have about taking a year off from school…” I started. He turned and said, “Oh, I changed my mind…” “Yeah? You know that trail will always be there…you could take time next summer to get into better shape and maybe hike part of the trail…” I said. “Yeah, I’ll get to the trail at a later date”. He said sadly. “Bay, I think you will…but really, you don’t have to walk it all in one summer. Some people take years to complete it from start to finish. Slow and steady, dude…” I offered before exiting the room.

I’m glad he came to the better conclusion to get his degree (whatever that may be) while he was still in school mode, rather than trying to come back to that mode of learning. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t notice how bummed he sounded.

Unfortunately, just like our sadness after learning of all those talented people’s deaths, this is simply the way things are, whether we like it or not.

the little things…

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There are little things that bother the heck out of me that I try to ignore and move onto other things. Yet those little things are like needles that prick against my skin. At some point, I explode but then the world rights itself for a moment before the little things begin to pile back up.

Case in point, the boy; though not so little, has decided my bedroom is the best place for him to hang out. We recently replaced our memory foam type mattress and instead of throwing we’re temporarily housing it in our dormer. Discovering this the boy informed me he’s moving in. “Um, noo…you have your own memory foam on the bed,” I explained. “Yes but it’s only a twin and this is a queen and I love this mattress…” He said. Rather than argue with him that moment, I ignored the situation until dinner time. “Bay dinner!” I yelled up the stairs, to no reply.

Another little thing that bothers me is his inability to take the iPod headphones out of his ears. If he’s not connected to his iPod, then he must be asleep or dead. Thus, when I call him for stuff his usual excuse for not answering or coming in is, “It’s not my fault you bought me noise canceling headphones..” To which my reply recently has been, “Yeah and it’s not my fault I flushed that device down the toilet either…” But I digress.

When my husband came into the kitchen I asked him, “Did you tell the boy we were eating?” “I would think he would have figured that out when I left the room…” He replied. Taking it upon myself to extract the boy from my bedroom, I quickly approached the stairs and screamed, “BAY GET YOUR ASS DOWN HERE RIGHT NOW!” Then turned around and came back to the kitchen.

Immediately the boy stood at attention (as noted by the thump I heard when his head hit the dormer ceiling and the corresponding “Oompf” noise that he made) and yelled back, “Yes, Mom!” before quickly descending the stairs. As I walked into the kitchen, I noticed the doll and husband’s amusement at my method of extraction. “I’ve told you more than once that you both have no idea when I’m actually yelling at you. Now you do”. Once the boy joined the rest of us at the table, we had an actual sit down dinner where we conversed with every member of our household, for a change. Best of all, all electrical devices and headphones were set aside so we could be present with one another as well.

Yes, so you see, the little things like a family dinner can make all the difference in the world.