Friday, April 29, 2005

Gimme A Break!

When Carl came home last night from CBAP I thought, "Ahhh! "Finally I can relax and get some sleep. I don't have to worry every time the siding crackles in the wind or the house pops at a temperature change or the girls start arguing over who gets to play with which Barbie. Carl is here to save the day and/or back me up when necessary." I mean, the insomnia was really getting to me. I was so loopy last night when my Mom called, I think she thought I was drunk. I sounded drunk, but I wasn't. Honest, Mom. All I'd had to drink all day was peach flavored Propel fitness water, regular water-flavored water, and a Diet Mountain Dew. Mom told me I'd better get some sleep. I assured her that, as soon as the girls were in bed and things quieted down, I'd go upstairs for a good night's rest.

Well, I tried. I watched CSI, then part of the news, and turned off the TV and lamp when I felt myself getting drowsy. But wouldn't you know it, I laid there staring at the ceiling going, "OK, sleep, you were just here, where did you go?" Beats me where it went. I think it must have wandered over to Carl's side of the bed, because he was asleep and snoring halfway through CSI. I'm not sure when I finally fell asleep, but I slept very lightly, waking every 1 1/2 hours or so. And in between waking I had stress-induced nightmares, you know; like you're in Finals Week at college, and you have to take a test in American History, but you haven't been to class all semester, you haven't read the book, its too late to drop the class, and you know you're gonna flunk even if you do show up for the exam. I don't know WHY I had those dreams. Carl was home, safe and sound, and I was relieved to have him there. So why was I stressed and insomniac? I doesn't make sense. Sooner or later this lack of sleep is going to catch up with me, and when it does, I'd best not be driving anywhere. What will probably happen is I'll be working along, doing something, and suddenly I'll ... gjihtuirtnbbu

*head crashes on keyboard*


Wednesday, April 27, 2005

CBAP Widow's Insomniac Theme Song

With apologies to the remaining Beatles. To the tune of "I'm So Tired"

<>I’m so tired, I haven’t slept at all
I’m so tired, my mind’s not on the ball
I wonder should I get up and wander down the hall
No, no, no

<>I’m so tired, and kind of nauseous, too
I’m so tired, I think I’m gonna spew
I wonder should I e-mail you but I know what you will do

<>You’ll say you must go to work
Yeah well I know that, but I’m going berserk
You know I can’t sleep, I’m frying my brain
You said its five days, but I’m going insane
You know the fellows with the padded truck are gonna be here soon <>

I’m so tired, my stomach is upset
Although I’m so tired, I’ll eat another Raisinette
Then run off to the bathroom, ‘cuz the trots is what I get <>

You say you’re earning a check
Yeah well I know that, but I’m really a wreck
You know I can’t sleep, I’m frying my brain
You said its five days, but I’m going insane
You know the fellows with the padded truck are gonna be here soon
The fellows with the padded truck are gonna be here soon
The fellows with the padded truck will take me to the moon

Wha' Happened?

It amazes me how things can go from happy/calm/serene to catastrophic/disastrous in a matter of minutes. Just a little while ago I was blogging along merrily, describing the wonderful day I had as Hannah's VIP. Then I went upstairs to change from my "nice" clothes to my "painting" clothes. I was half undressed when Hannah started screaming "My Barbie pool is leaking!" Normally, this wouldn't be a problem, except one of this household's parents (not me) gave Hannah permission to have a water-filled toy pool ON THE DESK IN HER ROOM!!!! So I went flying down the hall to find water running off the back edge of Hannah's desk, soaking into the carpet. Hannah had overfilled the pool and when she tried to stuff a towel behind the pool, she pulled the side down and the water came rushing out. I stopped the flow, cleaned up the mess, and then pulled the desk away from the wall to discover that water had been leaking out for some time; there is water damage to the wall, carpet, and the bottom of the desk. To say that I was furious is to make a major understatement.

Then, to add insult to injury, Mary decided to play "Barbie pool" by using a water filled bucket in the bathroom sink. No problem, except that she dunked her talking Dorothy doll in the water. Now Dorothy can't tell Toto that they're not in Kansas anymore. I pulled the batteries out of the doll and laid her on a towel to dry out, but I don't know if the damage can be reversed. I know for dang sure that if the doll is permanently mute, I will NOT replace it. To Mary's credit, though, she'd gotten her shirt wet and instead of just making more mess she changed shirts and brought the wet one down to me so I could hang it to dry in the laundry room.

So now the girls are grounded from playing in water until Sunday night, and I'm venting my frustrations to my blog site. I appreciate you taking time to read this.

I feel much better now.

Thank you.

VIP for a Day

Today was VIP day at Hannah’s school. This is an event where each student is allowed to invite one VIP to school with them for the day (which, by the way, was an early dismissal day) and they have special programs and events geared toward fun and silliness. First is the student program, followed by some special entertainment. Then there’s lunch, after which we all go home.

<>This year’s VIP theme was “The Circus”. The kids all wore red foam noses and performed various songs. At one point, they had a group of “featured singers” do a song, and Hannah was in that group. I was amazed by this because Hannah’s so shy she won’t even tie her shoes in front of a crowd. But the student program was super – cute, well planned and hysterically funny. The fifth grade classes (Hannah’s in fifth grade) did a song called “Take Me Out Of The Bathtub” (sung to the tune “Take Me Out To The Ballgame”). Some of the kids had towels, some had duckie-shaped pool floats, and some (including Hannah) had squeaking rubber ducks. But Hannah was the only one wearing swimming goggles. I wish I’d have remembered a camera, but I’m still suffering the effects of insomnia, so I forgot. Sorry!

So once the kids were done, they split the crowd into two groups. Preschool through 3rd grade went to the lunchroom, and 4th through 6th stayed in the gym. They brought in two special entertainers and had them perform before each group. We got Sparkles the Clown first. He’s a professional clown, and he used to work with my aunt and uncle as a pastoral clown at St. Luke’s Hospital. He did some magic tricks and made some balloon sculptures (which ended up in the school office). The kids just loved him. After Sparkles they had a magician (I didn’t catch his name) who doubled as a comedian. He was great. I’m still kicking myself for forgetting the camera.

I was really impressed with the job the kids and teachers did with this program, and I’m really proud of Hannah getting up and singing in the “featured” group. They do this every year, and since I’ve had a turn as her VIP, Hannah will need someone else to join her.

Any volunteers?

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Insane Insomniac Ravings

With apologies to Cyndi Lauper, and She-Bop

We-hell seein' Collins guys in Dockers slacks
'Round the table checking all their facts
They've been thinking of a market scheme
Whuppin' Honeywell is their corporate dream
Oop! C-BAP

Do they wanna make money? Yes they do
Yanking out ideas from the blue
Brainstorming ways to pull out more cash
Turns their brains into corned beef hash

I don't really understand

Hey, hey, they'll never leave the conference room (maniacal laughter)
Screwing competition is their doom
Yes they're stuck down in their ruts
Chairs have fused onto their butts
Oop! C-BAP

Insomniac Blues

And I thought Sunday night was bad. Last night was the worst bout of insomnia I've had in years. I went to bed with a book, hoping it would lull me to sleep. Usually, if I'm tired enough, a book will knock me out in 15 minutes, 30 minutes max. But not this time. I didn't even start yawning until 4:25 am. It was kind of neat, actually, seeing the almost-full moon at that time of the morning. It was very bright and cast faint shadows across the yard. Very pretty. But it wasn't helping me get to sleep. I suppose it didn't help that the book I was reading was No Place Like Home, the newest Mary Higgins Clark mystery. That was a real page-turner. But even so, at some point my body should have shut down and fallen asleep. But it didn't, not until 4:30. Once I started yawning my brain quickly shut down and I started dozing off. But just as I was on the verge of sleep, I heard something whistling. My first thought was, of course, that something was wrong with one of the girls, and I woke up immediately. But it was just some stupid bird who figured out that I was about to fall asleep and, well, he just couldn't let that happen, not when dawn was just an hour away. Nice try, bird, but once I discovered that it was you and not one of my daughters, I flopped back down and passed out almost immediately. After two hours of sleep, the girls came in and woke me up. I got them ready for and off to school, and then sat down on the couch to finish the rest of Mary's book. It had a great yet unexpected ending. You really must read it.

I feel my train of conscious thought about to derail. I don't know if I can together put sentence a coherent. Barking mutt is at truck delivery. continue can't must lay down zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Monday, April 25, 2005

Insomniac Blatherskite

Carl is off on a business trip this week. No, not Brazil, but a place that's almost as dangerous and evil - Iowa City, liberal black hole and home of the University of Iowa. This is a town that could really use a high-quality campus minister. (hint hint, John!)

Anyway. Carl is at CBAP, which he says means Collins Business Acquisition Program. When he told me he was going, I started thinking up other things that CBAP could stand for, like:

Canadian Beer Acquisition Program
Could Be Another Problem
Can't Beat Adversity, Period
Challenged By Anal-retentive People

Help in coming up with other CBAP's would be appreciated.

But I digress. So Carl's off to Hawkeyeland, stuck in the Sheraton Hotel (poor baaaaaby!) with a bunch of other wild and crazy Collins guys, and it's their job to brainstorm ways to beat the everlivin' aeronautics marketplace snot out of Honeywell, their main competitor. And I am at home, holding down the fort with two girls who think their main mission in life is to get me to laugh so hard Pepsi comes spewing out my nose. For example:

Last night we were watching TV, and the commercial for the Smart Spin storage system came on. I hate that commercial because I think the Smart Spin is a big waste of money. It may be a completely useful item for someone, but not me, and the girls know it. So the commercial comes on, and I mutter for the zillionth time, "I don't need that thing. My house is organized just fine." Then I think I must have said something about intellectually challenged people buying it, because Hannah pipes up and says, "Yeah, I'd never marry anybody that stupid." Mary added, "Me neither!" and I about fell out of my chair laughing. Maybe you just had to be there. (My apologies to anyone considering buying the Smart Spin. I don't mean to denigrate your cerebral capacity. Really!)

And tonight, getting the girls ready for bed, Mary was acting up; wiggling, falling out of bed on purpose, that kind of thing. I told her to stop, that she was a smart girl and she knew better than to do that. I said, "You know you're a smart kid, right?" And she wrinkles her nose and says reluctantly, "Yeah". I pat her on the behind and say, "That's my girl!" Then she says in a sarcastic voice "Big fat hairy deal." I didn't know seven year olds could BE that sarcastic. But I was laughing really hard. Again, maybe you just had to be there.

But whenever Carl goes out of town I get insomnia. Last night I had it really bad, and I'm not looking forward to tonight because I can already tell I won't sleep well. I'm tired but I don't feel sleepy, and every little creak in the house makes me jump. I can't wait until Thursday, when Carl gets home.

Then maybe.... I..... can.........zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.............................

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Post-Rabbit Update

So after the opera ended (HA!) I called the Iowa State University Extension Office in Linn county. I spoke with their Master Gardener, and she said:

1) I should prune the sucker branches off the bottom of my purple ash tree
2) I might not have perennial tulip bulbs. I need to search around and find some to plant in October.
3) She doesn't know if rabbits eat "hen and chick" plants, but they do eat tulips, especially the blossoms.
4) She doesn't know if dog urine is a good rabbit repellant or not. My neighbor says it is, I tell her, and she says, well go ahead and try.

So I try, but Judah's been scolded so many times for peeing on my plants that he refuses to do it now. Poor pooch, he's probably confused. So I gave him another Milk Bone and sent him back out to the back yard. Then I spent the rest of the morning working down in my studio. And that's it.

My life is soooo exciting.

Kill The Wabbit!

Opening music: Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries
Players: Judah as Elmer Fudd (EF) Rotten Rodent as Bugs Bunny (BB)
The setting: The perennial bulb bed in front of my porch

Music plays.......

EF: Kill the waaabit! Kill the waaabit!

That rotten little rodent has been in my flower bed again, nibbling on the "hen and chicks" plants that I have been trying to get established. I've been trying for TWO YEARS. They'd grow faster if they weren't being eaten. At least the little bugger hasn't bothered my irises. However, my tulips aren't coming back this year. Last year they were beautiful, but this year, maybe one blossom, otherwise nothing. Stupid flower-eating rabbit.

EF: With my spear and magic hel-mutt
BB: Magic helmet?
EF: Magic hel-mutt!
BB (sarcastically): Magic helmet.

A-ha! I see you, vermin. I can't get you now because I'm driving Hannah to the bus stop. But just wait until I get back.

EF: .... and I'll give you a sample!

I'm back. The rabbit is still by my flower bed, but I've got a surprise for him. I go to the back door of the garage, stuff Judah's chain leash in my sweatshirt pouch, open the door and grab Judah by the collar as he comes in. I tell him "Shhh! Easy, boy!" as we sneak through the garage and into the front yard. Stealthily we round my flower bed, and then Judah sees the rabbit. I let go of the collar and yell, "Get him, boy! Get him!"

EF: Oh Bwunehilde, you're so wovely!

The rabbit takes off. Judah takes off. I run around to the west side of the house in time to see Judah disappear around the north side of the Cejka's house. I call him back. He comes immediately. I put him on the chain leash and lead him to the back yard. I send him back out with a giant Milk Bone clenched in his jaws.

BB: Yes I know it. I can't help it.

If only the Milk Bone was that stupid rabbit. Oh, well. I'm going to Menard's tonight. I'll just get a bottle of rabbit repellant spray.

Until next time, rabbit...

BB: What did you expect in an opera, a happy ending?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Blatherskite Again

First, I want to correct an error. When I had my Ames deja-vu moment, I was driving up Second Street, not Third Avenue. Third Avenue is the street you take past the Lutheran church so you can get "turned around" and approach the elementary school from the north (ie the passenger side of the truck).

Update: Hannah got a new "radio". It's an MP3 player-memory stick-FM radio tuner gadget that Carl helped her buy at Wal-Mart. Carl programmed some radio stations for her, and downloaded some CD's, too. Carl had so much fun playing with it that now he wants one. (That's fine. He works so hard, he deserves one.) But its kind of weird, driving Hannah to her bus stop and hearing a voice echo from the back seat, a voice that is not Hannah's and in fact sounds somewhat disembodied. Yeek.

I had to replant asparagus in the garden, since the first batch didn't come up. This kinda ticks me off because of all the plants in the "garden that's not my garden" I wanted asparagus the most. I love asparagus. I hope it grows. It takes two years for asparagus to become established, so I have to wait. Fortunately, Carl came to the rescue yet again and picked up some asparagus at the Morgan Creek vegetable stand. We had some last night. Yum!!

Well, that's it. Nothing else really to blather about, so I shall go and finish my laundry. It takes me days to do laundry because we have lots of clothes that can't go in the dryer, and I have a very small drying rack. Oh, well. At least I have something to do that will keep me out of trouble. I hope.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Time Passages

I meant to write this last night, April 15. But after a day of lawn mowing, I put the girls to bed, went to lay down for just a minute...and...well...ZZZZZZZ.......

I don't know why, but for some reason April 15 is a day marking many events. As I was thinking about some of them, the Al Stewart song Time Passages was playing in my head. What events was I remembering? Well...

Today is Tax Day, and it has been for I don't know how long. I'd like to see it vanish, replaced by either a flat tax or a national sales tax, but I doubt that will ever happen. When the hog is used to gorging from the trough you find it's hard to put him on a diet.

One year ago today we lost our neighbor, Dave, in a motorcycle accident. Dave was a good guy. He was honest, faithful to his wife Angie, and a great father to his four kids: Taylor, who is in fifth grade with Hannah; Dave Jr, in fourth grade; Ben, in third grade; and Samantha, who's around two years old. His family seems to be getting along OK, but I can't imagine how it must be for poor Angie. Fortunately, they have lots of relatives and friends in town, so she's always had someone around to help out.

Three years ago today my parents moved from their farm to a house in town. We had a big crowd there to help, but since its been three years I can't remember who all was there. But I seem to remember my brother Bob was there, with his daughter Shannon and her husband, John. I also remember that it was a really hot day for April, and we had all the windows in the house open. I also seem to remember a birthday cake...

Yes! It was twenty-some years ago today that my nephew-in-law John was born. I'm not sure exactly how old he is, but for a twenty-something guy he's alot more mature than most guys his age. Yet, he's not a serious-pouty type of guy either. He's a good fit into our family. (i.e. he's kinda screwy.) Although, this I must ponder: on Shannon's birthday, he and Bob always play the Beatles' birthday song for her. Do they play that song for John, or do they play the Beatles' Tax Man? I'm sure someone will tell me. (hint hint)

It was 7 1/2 years ago today that my daughter Mary was born. We have no special music that we play. But when I was pregnant, and we were choosing names, Carl wanted the baby to be named Jason, if she turned out to be a he. I agreed, then someone pointed out that the baby was to be born in October and if the baby was born on Halloween, and named Jason, well, there could be some stigmatism for that child later in life. Fortunately she was born on the 15th, and she was and is a she, and is named for her grandmothers.

And lastly, but not leastly, it was 3 1/2 years ago today that my grand-nephew Luke was born. We don't get to see him much, but whenever he and Mary get together, they always have a good time.

So here's to April 15, a day to remember, because if you forget you'll forget special moments, special people, and you'll have Federal IRS agents breathing down your neck.

Buy me a ticket on the last train home tonight...

Thursday, April 14, 2005

I Shoulda Known

I should have known it was going to be one of those days when Hannah forgot her trombone.

It started last night. Since I was going to be running errands today, I offered to dump our used motor oil at Wal-Mart. So Carl loaded the oil (all eight gallons of it) into the back of the pickup. (He got to drive Candy today.) And this morning I said "Sure!" when Hannah and Judah begged me to take Judah along in the back of the pickup when I took Hannah to the bus stop. (Her bus stop is at the elementary school, one mile away.) No problem, this happens all the time. But today Hannah forgot her trombone on the most important music day of the year. Tonight is the big Festival of Music concert, where all of the bands, from 5th grade up, play at the High School; and this morning they had a big group practice. As soon as Hannah got off the bus that takes her to school, she got on another bus and went to the high school with the rest of the 5th and 6th grade band members. But she forgot her horn, and when we got to the bus stop we realized the problem. I had a only a couple minutes to run home and get her horn and get it back to the stop before the bus left, and I couldn't drive fast because Judah was in the truck bed and I'd hurt him if I stopped suddenly or turned too fast. So I went home as fast as I could, ran in, grabbed the trombone, jumped back in the truck and left again. Judah was still in the back because I couldn't spare the time to let him out, chase him down and put him back in the yard. But I got the horn to the bus stop just as the kids were loading up. Whew! By the way, Judah loved the trip. He loves riding in the back of the pickup, period.

Anyway. So Hannah's off to school. Then I helped Mary finish getting ready. Bless her heart, she pretty much had everything done by the time I got home. After she left, I put together my shopping list, grabbed my stuff and headed out.

Or so I thought. Halfway to Cedar Rapids I realized that I'd forgotten to put the camper key out for the insurance guy. (We had some water damage. Long story.) So I was muttering about that when I got to my first appointment; a meeting with Tom, an architect friend of the pastor's family. Our congregation wants to do some remodeling, and I drew up the floorplan sketches to show him. When I got to church, I quickly revamped my schedule to accomodate the insurance guy, and then reached for my drawing case, which held my sketches. Except that the case wasn't there!! It was then that I realized that I'd forgotten my case, with my sketches that I'd worked on for A DAY AND A HALF. Grrrr!!!! But I had some older computer generated drawings with me, and I showed Tom my changes on those, and he thought what I had was good. I'll make some minor changes, then mail the drawings to him for approval and signatures. THEN maybe the City of Cedar Rapids will give me my ding-dang permits.

Well, after that, the day wasn't so bad (until later). I went to Wal-Mart, Menard's and Fareway, no problem. And I got a "Buy one get one free" bottle cap when I bought a diet Mountain Dew. Yippee for me! I went home, unloaded, put stuff out for the insurance guy, and left again. I was doing more research at a couple RV places (trying to repair the camper damage) then I went to the insurance agent's office with estimates for him to fax to the Des Moines central office. Great. I was out of time, so I postponed my trip to Sam's Club. But when I started the pickup to go home, the "Check Engine" light came on. I went into Freak Out Mode, and called Carl on my cell phone. He said, "Just try to get it home." I managed that, and made it home 10 minutes before Mary's bus came. I've been running around like a chicken with my head cut off ever since. The stress of the day gave me a bad headache, so Carl and Hannah went to the concert. Carl will videotape it for me, and besides, now Mary won't get to bed late.

Maybe then I can unwind. AIEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Talkin' 'Bout My Generation

I have two older brothers, Bob and Keith. When I was a girl about Hannah's age, the two of them would get together and play rock music on their stereo, and they played it LOUD. This really ticked off my Dad, who'd come busting in yelling, "Turn that crap down! How can you listen to that garbage, you can't even understand the words!" Well ...

Last week, Hannah was complaining about how the other kids on the bus were bothering her. She's autistic (barely) but in crowded situations she likes to withdraw so as to avoid becoming overwhelmed. On the bus, she likes to watch out the window, and she tries to listen to the bus radio, but she can't hear it over her screaming classmates. So when she came home upset, I offered her the use of Carl's old (ancient, really) AM/FM stereo cassette player. (The precursor to the Sony Walkman) This thing's about 25 years old, and it doesn't work that great anymore. It's hard to keep a station tuned on it, and there's a short in the volume knob. But Hannah said she'd try it anyway. She took it to school for the first time today and was disappointed because it didn't work right. I thought I'd offer her one of my old cassettes, so I said, "Well, what about Mommy's music? Do you like any of Mom's music?" And she said, "No!" I asked "Why?" and she said "Because I can understand the words to your music, and I don't want to have to understand the words." I about fell down laughing, and I'm still not sure that Hannah understands why. But I thought that was one hysterical moment. However, Hannah's still mad, so I promised her that soon (soon?) Daddy would take her to Best Buy and help her get an MP3 player with her allowance money. I can't do it because I know nothing about MP3 players and besides, I wouldn't want to deprive my wonderful hubby of a trip to the Ultimate Guy's Toy Store. But isn't it odd, and true......whatever goes around, comes around.

Heading for the 90's, living in the Wild Wild West. Which way did the 90's go, anyway?

Observations on a Grey Morning

I had a deja vu moment today. I took Mary to school, and as I was leaving, the radio started playing the song Boys Of Summer by Don Henley. I love that song. Every time I hear it, it takes me back to my college days in Ames, Iowa. (Iowa State University) Back to the days when I was slender, my hair was long, brown and curly, and I had no responsibilities other than keeping my grades up. Every time I hear Boys Of Summer I can see Welch Avenue and Campustown in my mind's eye. Well, the song played, and I backed Candy up and turned down Third Avenue to go home. Third Avenue is lined on both sides by older homes and big trees, just like Welch, and as I drove up the hill I suddenly felt like I was back in Ames and I would see the Towers Dormitories when I crested the hill. Of course I didn't - what I saw was Main Street, and beyond that, the new housing addition north of Park Ridge Road. But it was a neat sensation, for a split second, to be back in Ames and 21 years old. Ah, the good old days.

Speaking of the "good old days" and the new housing addition, I'm starting to have a little problem with my little town. It's not so little anymore. Carl and I starting building our house nine years ago (July) and since then the development where we live has filled in, and contractors have started three new additions: the Poker Flats Addition (north) the Ridgeview Addition (east) and the Feather Ridge Addition (west). The size of our town has doubled since we've moved here. Seriously. And there's talk of putting in a "strip mall" on the west edge of town. We have a nurse practitioner here, and she wants to build a new office out there, along with a fitness facility and a sub shop. Not bad for a town that was around 900 people when we moved here. But Atkins is growing fast, almost too fast for its infrastructure, and is becoming a bedroom suburb of Cedar Rapids. I never wanted to live in a Cedar Rapids suburb, and I'm starting to feel trapped. Plus, it's noisy. Not noisy in a big-city-honking-taxis-booming-rap-music way, but in a constant-sound-of-machinery way. Sitting here now, at my computer, I can hear the rumble of earth moving equipment that's about three blocks away. It sounds like a diesel engine UPS truck is idling right outside my window. Two years ago, that sound would have meant that the UPS truck was here, or else the farmer who owns the field just south of us was out working, but those sounds would end and then it would be quiet. Not anymore. Now the rumble is constant, and is becoming very annoying. So I've been praying that, if it's God's will, He'll show us a nice farm somewhere, one that we can afford, that's away from all the noise. Who knows? Maybe it's God's will that we stick it out here, and eventually the building will stop, and it will be quiet again. Only time will tell. Until then, though, I think I'm going to be investing alot of money on ear plugs.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

My Second Blatherskite of the Day

Today is a nice day. It's supposed to rain later, and get colder, but its nice now. So I decided to take in some exercise. Now, I know I've been exercising alot lately - shoveling rock, battling rototillers, and swinging small sledgehammers. But that's work exercise, not recreational exercise. So I got out the leash, packed up Judah's training bag, and headed off down the street. We went north into the "new" section of town, then turned west toward the "old" section of town.

It was then I discovered something that my dog and my kids have in common. Whenever they want something, they get this intense "Please Please PLEEEEEZE!!!" look on their faces, and they stare, with shining eyes, right at you. When Judah and I turned west, he suddenly stopped mid-block and gave me "The Look". I said, "What do you want? You show me what you want." Judah promptly dragged me across the street to the entrance of the rail trails that run in the woods just north of town. The boulder at the trailhead says "Round House Recreational Trail". This is because our town was, during the late 1800's & early 1900's, a railroad hub. The town had a roundhouse and railyard back then; you can still see some of the buildings' foundations. Actually, the town was founded and built by the railroad so their workers could have a place to eat, bathe and sleep. Too bad the railroad pulled out in 1982.

But I digress. So Judah drags me over to the trailhead, pees on the boulder, and then drags me down the path. The trail has two entrances, and this one runs along a small creek and behind some very expensive houses until you get into the woods. Its a very peaceful setting, and the homeowners are above the creek's "bench" so there's no fear of getting flooded. Once we got up into the woods, we could go in a couple different directions, but since Judah likes to go east, we went east. Then I let Judah run off leash. He loves that. He thinks the woods are his private playground: The Sniffenpee Dog Resort and Spa. He goes barreling down the trail and crashing through the underbrush, looking for things to chase. (In the past, he's chased countless rabbits and squirrels, and even flushed out a couple turkeys.) I walk down the path, listening to and watching the birds. Today I could hear and see woodpeckers, red winged blackbirds, cardinals, bluejays, and robins. Aahhhh.......

So we go east until the trail splits. I take Judah's water bottle and a pie pan out of the bag, and give the mutt a drink. Then I ask him "Which way do you want to go now?" Stupid question. He always goes back south, then west, along the "Gooseberry Trail". I call it that because this trail runs along one of the many small creeks in this wood, and along this creek you find gooseberry bushes. He stays off leash until we come in sight of the six-figure homes that I mentioned before, then its back on the leash, stop at the bridge for another drink, and back home. By now Judah's exhausted; his tongue is lolling out, he's panting and drooling, and walking very slowly. But it's been good exercise for him, and me. Relax. Unwind. Listen to the birds. Enjoy springtime. Aahhh......

Observational Blatherskite

My dog will eat just about anything. He likes to eat birdseed, which doesn't digest well, and then he eats his, well, the recycled birdseed. Yuck. So I moved the bird feeder into the center of my garden plot so Judah can't get to the fallen seed. I put up fence posts yesterday; today, as soon as it got light, Carl and I went out and put fencing on the posts so as to keep the dog and rabbits away from the veggies and birdfeeder. I made a "gate" so we can get in and out of the garden, so now it's all ready for seed. As a matter of fact, this morning I put in six asparagus crowns and 80 onion bulbs, so the seeding process has started.

Wait a minute. Did I just say this was "my" garden? This wasn't supposed to be my garden. It was Carl's idea to have a garden, a place where he could spend time with the girls and teach them the things his folks taught him. But because of his job, classes and PTA responsibilities, getting the garden started fell to me. But that's what spouses are for, to pick up the slack when the other gets overwhelmed. And poor Carl is overwhelmed. His boss and his boss's boss (the department head) put Carl on some project that's due mid-April and he's been stuck in meetings that last sometimes until 6 pm. Then he has to come home and do homework and PTA stuff. Well, not so much PTA stuff now that carnival is over, but he still has lots of homework. Plus, somehow he got pegged to be the guy who compiles everyone's pictures from Brazil and put them on DVDs, so everyone can have a copy. Everybody, all together: AAWWWW, poor CAAARRRL!!! Thank you.

But I must admit, it feels good to know that I'm actually helping Carl get things done. I finished the river rock project - that was a nasty one. When I bought the rock, the guy put too much rock in the pickup and I was afraid I was going to blow a tire on the way home. But I made it, and got most of the rock off the truck by the time Carl got home from work. He helped me get the rest of it off and spread around, and it looks really nice. And we were done in time to watch North Carolina ROB the championship from Illinois. Good grief, what was up with the referees? Sean May threw I don't know how many elbows at Roger Powell (knocked him on his butt once) and he NEVER GOT CALLED FOR THE FOULS!!! But if James Augustine so much as breathed heavy on an opposing player he got called for the foul, and eventually fouled out without scoring a point. I was NOT a happy camper Monday night. But I'm happy now. The garden is tilled, the sod clods removed and dumped in a hole that needed filled, the planting has started, the feeder's been moved, the fence and posts are up, the rock is down in the ditch, the truck has been washed and my "to-do" list is empty. I can finally relax.

You'll find me in my painting studio. Of course.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

On Being Busy, Part 2

It's been a busy weekend. It started Friday, with the our elementary school's PTA carnival, their yearly big fundraiser. Carl is PTA treasurer, so he was busy with business, and I was busy with the girls. Yesterday Carl and I raked the front yard and prepped the east ditch (we're putting river rock down) and I put three coats of polyurethane on a metal mailbox I'd painted. Today Carl washed Candy, and then the two of us cleaned and repaired the grill. I scrubbed down the grill and changed out the lava rocks, and Carl made and installed a new wheel. Seriously. One of the grill wheels broke last fall so Carl cut a new wheel out of a piece of treated 2 x 8 and put it on the grill. It works perfectly, despite the fact that it looks like something from the Red Green show. And yes, I find Carl to be both handsome and handy. Carl also took our old mailbox off the post and put our new, beautifully painted mailbox on. And to top off the weekend, Carl is taking the girls for a bike ride to the park. Yeehaw!!

It will be a busy week, at least until it rains. I'm displeased with the job I did tilling the garden, so I'm hoping to find a rental tiller that really is front-tine and has fewer than 5 horsepower so I can handle it. I need to make at least four more passes to really bust up the clods. Also, I get to go to the quarry and buy the river rock, and then I get to shovel it all into the ditch. Carl would help, but his slave-driving bosses won't let him take any time off. Poor guy - stuck in a climate controlled office, sitting in a cushy chair, tapping madly on his keyboard. Kinda like at home, except no one at work cooks his meals or washes his dirty, stinky underwear.

Speaking of stinky things, I was very unhappy with the outcome of the Michigan State/North Carolina game. Poor Spartans. I read somewhere that, as a motivational tactic, Coach Izzo smashed the game tape showing MSU losing to Iowa in the first round of the Big Ten tournament. Didn't help. Next year, coach, you can sacrifice your tape on our newly repaired grill. Anything to help.

So now it's up to the Illini to avenge my Cyclones loss to North Carolina by completely annihilating them on Monday night. I really hope Illinois wins. Wouldn't that be cool, winning the tournament the very first time your team makes it to the championship? GO ILLINI!!!

I just hope that, after all that yard work, I'm not too tired and sore to cheer, yell, rant, scream and jump up and down.