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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Shoe Polish On My Breath

Other than the idiotic Daylight Savings Time messing with my sleep pattern, I woke up with a start at 3 am this morning, as my brain randomly brought up my last blog.  My brain informed me that I may have or surely had insulted my siblings with my suggestion that they needed 6 weeks lead time to think up an excuse for not helping me with Mom.  WOW, what a boneheaded statement and certainly not true at all.

In my effort to be witty with my blog, I ended up being sh...y instead. I have no reservations about how wonderful my siblings are and either available one would not need 6 weeks, or even 6 seconds lead time to decide to help me with Mom if I needed then to.

So in the spirit of the great politicians' standard comeback when they say something boneheaded, "I misspoke", but better than that, I crapped in my hat then put it on and wore it all day until last night when I finally smelled myself.  Shewweeeeee!  You lose all bowel control when you stick your own shoe in your mouth, complete with foot and sock.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Feeling Lonely

So, the wife sez: "my plan has changed" , regarding going to visit her mother. I thought she might have worked out a plan where I could go with her. NOPE! She meant she had figured out a way to combine her trip with work and instead of being gone 2 nights, she will now be gone 5 nights (5 sleeps for the kids reading this).

It seems that the older I get, the less I want to be separated from my better half. This time will be especially trying because my mother is here with me, demanding to go everywhere I go (except to work). My other available siblings are not available without 6 weeks notice, leaving them plenty of time to invent a suitable excuse why she can't stay with them. Hence, my longing for my wife to calm me down whe I get frustrated with Mom.

It is quite frustrating with Mom because everything I say must be repeated 3 times - slowly with loud, correct inunciation! Otherwise I'm accused of mumbling. Then, 5 minutes later, she'll ask something about what was just said, saying she didn't understand what I said. Repeat 3 more times, until I simply quit responding to her inquiries.

Mom's excuse for such activity is that she's "old". She plays the old card like the ace of spades. Game, set, match!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Rain

There’s something about rain wherever we live. This is something I’ve been thinking about for some time now, but haven’t revealed my suspicions until now – it doesn’t rain where we live! 

It all began when we lived in Houston in the late 70’s into the late 80’s.  Oh, it did occasionally rain, but there was definitely a drought when we lived there.  I remember visiting Houston when I was in junior high and it rained every day.  Everybody said it was normal, so when we moved there, I expected the rain and very humid days to be a normal part of our lives.  Nope – we went into a drought.  In fact, we went through a hurricane and it barely rained.  The weather guys reported that it was the driest hurricane in modern history.  Go figure!

We moved to Wylie in 88 and it started out in a drought.  It was raining when we were looking for a home because I remember tracking black mud on some new carpets in the homes for sale.  In fact, it rained so much that the local lake (Lake Lavon) was flooded and we couldn’t use our boat for 2 years.  But once we signed on the dotted line and bought a home, it quit raining.  The weird dirt there was actually shrinking from around our house and we had to circle our slab with soaker hoses and “water our slab” to keep the foundation from cracking.  I put in a fence around our yard and I ended up with tendonitis or tennis elbow from digging the holes for the fence posts because the ground was so hard packed from the lack of rain.  Tumbleweeds were part of our landscaping!

Fast forward to now.  We’ve been living here on beautiful Lake Travis for 10 years now.  The occasional rain will keep the lake actually looking like a lake until the last couple of years – you guessed it, we’re in a drought.  It’s raining like crazy in Houston and Wylie, but not here.  It’s so bad that you can actually see the rain coming at us and at the last moment, it splits, goes around us and comes back together to rain in Austin.  The TV weather guys announce a great rain event in Austin and we’re drier that a popcorn toot.  The lake has shrunk so much that we have to take a bus from the camp down to the lakefront to keep from getting so tired or flipping our ankles on the dry rocks that should be under water.

I wonder if there is a place in the United States that gets too much rain?  We can sell ourselves as rain stoppers and for a fee, we can move there and make the rain stop.  How many times have we seen or heard stories about dry places hiring rain makers to come and make it rain – we are the opposite, but I believe just as valuable a commodity in the weather business!!  Now don’t say Seattle or some crazy liberal place like Portland, Oregon, I’m talking about a nice quiet place in Middle America that could use our services.  We could be “Weather Consultants”  or “Weather Therapists”.  We could be actually appreciated for our talent!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Where Did The Time Go?


When I started this little blog, I thought I could sit down and whip out a witty post every few days when I felt full of "it" and impress all my followers (poor souls). Well, so much for my lofty goals and back to reality! It has been since October since I last felt witty and I'm not so sure I feel that even now, but here goes nothin'!?!



It's now May and it looks like this year is shaping up to be a carbon copy of last year in the weather department. It's predicted to be 97 today even though it is currently raining (if you can call it that). In fact we've had very little rain this year, just some early to get the flowers going and now today, having skipped the whole April showers thing. The flowers are now all reduced to brown dried up weeds and leaving behind their seeds, many in the form of fuzzy balls that like to clog up in your shoe laces (for those of you that only wear Crocs, shoe laces are what are used to hold real shoes on your feet). Worse, this year has yielded a bumper crop of spear grass. There was a time that this would be a time of rejoicing because spear grass made a fine weapon to fire at unsuspecting friends when they weren't looking. Now, it is an annoyance to remove from your shoe laces (see above) and socks, except they make you immediately remove them because of their nice little sharp points (see above #2).



Back to today's rain, we had 3 inches of thunder and lightning and 1/4 inches of actual moisture, if that! The earlier rains actually added 6 or 7 feet of water to Lake Travis, helping our water wells mostly, but still 40 feet below full. Since we are a summer camp, we depend on water to get us through the summer. But, alas, the lake is getting lower again, headed for that historic low water mark established 3 or 4 days after I was born in 1951. That's right, I'll be 61 on my next birthday!



But enough about my/our problems, there are things to be celebrated! My son-in-law was blessed with his dream job on January 1. Now he's complaining about having to work too much and go too many places, poor baby. Our eldest grandchild will graduate high school at the end of this month. The entire Libby clan again visited us at Easter. Tres and Kate are enjoying their first foster children (a 3 yr old boy and a 2 month old little sister)! Dolly the border collie has 5 little miniature Dollies, born this week. I can retire in 6 more years.



Notice, I said nothing about summer camp being less than a month away. Summer camp is a blur and this will be my 10th summer working at the camp. I'm now in a "responsible" position with several people reporting to me, hanging on my every word, waiting for direction and wisdom. This has worked so well that I have 2 key staff members leaving right before camp starts. I hope to have them replaced, but having someone in their positions is little comfort when I have to try to train these guys when the blur of camp actually starts. It's like being kicked in the unmentionables and having to keep smiling. Oh well, nobody said it would all be fun and games. Just 6 more blurs to live through and I can kick back and enjoy life again!



There are some joys between summer camp seasons, but our camp keeps trying to eliminate those too. We've tried to fill up our calendar with little episodes called "outdoor education" or what I like to call mini summer camps, all consuming and designed to suck the life out of those of us awaiting retirement. Oh, the kids love it, but these little mini summer camps grind on through the fall and spring with our regular weekend retreat schedule still intact and the annual camp rehab season still trucking right along. Leaving us in the position trying to get ready for the camp season with one arm tied behind our backs or as busy as a one armed wallpaper hanger. Or another metaphor, as busy as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.



It's not all bad, we still have our annual homemade ice cream bash coming up!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Grandkids

Being a senior citizen now, after 60 long years of life, I sometimes wonder what my reward will be when I retire. I've decided that I already have my reward for working all these years, raising kids, and trying to keep the family provided for - it's GRANDKIDS!!!

Nothing can bring a smile to my face faster than seeing or just thinking about my grandyounguns! The things they say and do, simple as they might seem, bring great joy to my heart. If only they didn'nt have to grow up. It's like having a new puppy (or kitten for you cat lovers). I mean who else can you let you steal their nose or pull your finger? Who else will run full blast and crash head on into your crotch? Who else can get a laugh out of you by just sticking their tongue out and going "thpppppppppppppppppppp" or stand in your lap and barf on your shirt? And when they make a doody in their diaper, you just hand them back to their parent(s) - payback!

You can even dust off some of the stuff you did with their parents and play with your grandkids like it was new. My thing was to wrestle around on my bed with my kids everyday when I came home from work - great therapy for me (as long as they didn't fall off the bed on their heads). With the grand kids it started off the same with GK#1 who called the game "jump the tummy". That worked pretty well until she got big enough to smush me into pain when she stood on and jumped on my tummy or my other pain inducing organs in that same region. Then GK#2 came along and changed the name to "steam roller". This variation of the game is still in play and involves GK#2,4,5, and 6, sometime all at the same time. This requires a soft bed and me as the monster. The game is started with me staring at one of the GK's and giving out a low growl. Then the fast dash for the nearest large, soft bed where I lay flat on my stomach and the kids body slam me as I roll slowly back and forth on the bed trying to smush the GK's. Then one of them will attach themselves to my back and I have to try to shake them off like a bucking bronco, not my most photogenic moment, because this part has been known to cause a wardrobe malfunction. It's also a good calorie burner.

There are some down sides. Like when "Nana" comes into the room. The term "who am I, chopped liver" comes to mind. Or, "who needs Santa when you've got Nana"! I'm second chair in the grandparent band. Do they run to me when they get hurt? Noooooo, it's always Nana. She does sometime delegate her fun things to me like when a splinter needs to be extracted or a tooth pulled. That way the painful part of being a grandparent is associated with GRANDAD. Oh, I fix stuff too. That way I get a little glory when the broken object is returned to the GK "all fixed"! Sometimes I break things on purpose like the little Thomas the train that gets turned on and gets set down and continues to tik tik tik tik.....until my brain explodes. By that time the little demon object has driven itself under the sofa, gets stuck, but continues to tik tik tik tik...until my brain explodes. But guess what, a new one always seems to appear, remember, who needs Santa......

Monday, September 26, 2011

Weddings and Funerals

The only places and/or events where I wear a suit are weddings or funerals. Weddings are slightly more fun than funerals, so I went to one last Friday evening to witness my neice get hitched up to a fellow that looked a lot like Russell Crowe. My son officiated the event way up in Oklahoma City.

The event took place on Friday evening instead of the traditional Saturday evening because the wedding chapel was booked solid. That meant that we had to hustle up there on Friday, so I chose to fly us up on Southwest Airlines, my second favorite airline. They would be my favorite airline except for the seating arrangement. They have 3 seats on each side of the aisle and Judy likes the window seat. That shouldn't be a problem except for the fact that SW flights are just about always full, making me have to take the middle seat with mystery guest #1 getting the aisle seat. This time it was ok because a nice lady took the seat and the only flaw with her was that "OU" was painted on her looong finger nails, obviously a Sooner fan!
There was a home game in Norman on Saturday and the cows were coming home to the barn for the game.

Anyway, we got there with plenty of time to spare, courtesy of Tres and Kate picking us up at the terminal. Even had time to take a little nap at the hotel prior to the event - travel being so tiring and all. So around 6 we headed over to the chapel for the festivities, suit and all. Immediately, I saw I had over dressed because everybody was wearing blue jeans. Then I remembered that "formal" in Oklahoma means WASHED jeans, really formal is starched and ironed jeans. This was a really formal Oklahoma wedding and I had overdressed! Now, all these formal rules I've mentioned apply to guys. Formal for gals on Oklahoma means really tight, short - did I say tight, dresses. This is normally paradise for a single girl watcher guy, but murder for us married old codgers - I had to avert my eyes when the brides' maids stepped up on the 3 steps to the stage - did I say short dresses.

My neice was stunningly beautiful and the groom was so nervous with anticipation. Tres did a marvelous job with the wedding, no flubs or goofs which would have happened if I had been up there, but he is a man of the cloth (preacher man to you Okies) and used to such pressure. The festivities were followed by a reception complete with DJ and an open bar. The pressure was over, the alcohol loosened up the folks, a few a little too much, which is a mystery to me because the beer is 1/2 strength in Oklahoma. Not to worry though, the deputy sheriff was there to help keep things under control, or he would have if he had ever finished at the buffet (trough for you folks in Oklahoma)!

So maybe I need to change my thoughts about wearing suits, especially if it's in Oklahoma!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Vacation - Is it better to stay home?

We just got back from vacation in the Great State of Maine.  Everybody in Texas should go to Maine to see what life should be like where it rains and actually has seasons.  That's why I chose Maine for vacation, probably a recurring annual event!  As guests of John and Kim Libby (2 of the most wonderful people in the world and the parents of my daughter-in-law, Kate), we spent 4 days on Matinicus Island, the most remote inhabited island off the coast of Maine, about 23 miles.  The schedule each day was exactly what I wanted it to be, nothing at all!  Oh, we hiked, played cards, ate lobster and slept a lot, but only when we wanted to. The only thing I had to do was come home because our time was up and we couldn't drag it out another second, so we left reluctantly.

While on the island, as I mentioned, we hiked.  That is probably a little misleading, since our hikes on the island included the shoreline.  There are maybe 3 small beaches on Matinicus Island and a hike along all of the beaches (if they were all lined up side by side) would take maybe 5 minutes.  The rest of the shoreline is solid rock - granite - which must be climbed, not simply walked on.  The island is all of 2 miles long and just about a mile wide at its widest part.  Any other island this size would be circumnavigated in a couple of hours, but not Matinicus.  Oh, what I didn't say about Matinicus is that the island is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and those waters are the richest lobster beds in the world.  Meaning, of course, that the island is surrounded by zillions of lobster traps with their associated floates, ropes, and etc.  Anyway, those traps are constantly being lost and the tides and currents bring those traps, etc. to the shoreline, beach, rocks, what have you. So, any hike along the shoreline involves not only climbing rocks, but avoiding a fortune in crushed, crumpled, whatever you want to call it, lobster paraphenalia. However, we successfully navigated our way down to the southernmost rocky tip of the island for a picnic lunch, complete with stray dog sniffing around us.  To get back to the cabin, we hiked along the rocky shoreline, all the way, having sufficiently prepared us for a nice afternoon nap!  Oh, and the lobster!!!!! Yum Yum - I'm supposed to be alergic to shellfish, but who cares - I'm on vacation.

Despite the perils encountered on our first hike along the rocks, we decided the next day to hike north from the cabin to the most westerly tip of the island, known as West Point.  More rock climbing, but it was worth it because the day was beautiful and I wore shorts for the occassion - dumb idea.  Even dumber was Kim deciding to wear flip flops on this hike.  Having recovered from the hike to the point, the decision was made to find and hike along a trail through the forest over to the island's landing strip - dumbest idea yet, but fun nonetheless.  What we found for a trail was a small indentation in the heavily overgrown vines that covered the trail and those vines were from the blackberry plant, and those of you that are familiar with blackberry vines know that they have stickers, or a better description might be small fish hooks on the vines.  Another contributing factor to this hike is the fact that the forest is a spruce forest and a fungus (amongus) is attacking the forest and killing the trees rapidly and those dead trees like to fall across the trail in the hundreds.  Previous hikers have used chainsaws to clear person sized gaps in those dead trees so that people can pass easily.  However, nobody has chosen to provide that service in a while and there were more uncut trees than cut ones.  Meaning - we had to climb over or crawl under them, mostly crawl, sometimes on our elbows and knees.  Thank goodness there are no snakes on Matinicus Island!!  Because I'm writing this, you will understand that somehow we did make it and you'll understand why wearing shorts on this fish hook vine, dead tree infested forest trail were bad ideas!  We all survived to tell this tale and I'm sure one day we'll look back and laugh about this (as soon as the arm, leg, knee and elbow wounds heal).

When time forced us to leave the island behind, we headed to the mainland and eventually ended up at the Oxford County Fair - a true county fair, complete with chainsaw competion (boy we could have used those guys on our hike!!) and ox/steer pulling contests.  So we watched in amazement as men and women handled chainsaws, with motors belonging to small cars, cutting 12 inch square logs 3 times through within 5 seconds, some less than 4 seconds.  After wandering through barns and show buildings, we were attracked to loud noises and followed our ears to an area with a tall pile of dirt and a small almost vertical ramp.  With little notice, a young man on a snowmobile came zooming toward the ramp and shot up in the air almost 50 feet, landing safely on the pile of dirt, and then he did it again, and then another young man did a back flip while in the air ( did I say they were 50 feet in the air and no net) - crazy.  And just as fast as we were attracked to the spectable, we grew bored and moved on to a more interesting activity, eating supper.  We topped off our exciting visit to the fair by finding the barn where the pulling contest was being held.  We watched as men and a woman drove pairs of steers over to a metal sled with large concrete blocks for weight and when sufficiently attached to the front of that sled, coaxed their animals to pull the sled about 6 feet.  They continued until the teams were eliminated because of the ever increasing weight.  Exhausted from the excitement of the last event, we made our way back to the Libby's home in Freeport, Maine for a good night's sleep and the sad preparations we had to make in order to come home to Spicewood.

One more exciting thing I was able to witness was the Bush compound at Kennebunkport, Maine.  John drove me by there and I am here to testify, the place is worthy of 2 ex-presidents and then some.  That whole area reeks of money.  You couldn't even afford one of the estates around that area if you won the biggest lotto out there.  You have to be born into the kind of money it would take to have a place there, and to think that the Bush compound on Walker Point is a vacation home!!!  Anyway, I'm glad I got to see it.

A nice lunch in downtown Freeport and off to the airport for a long plane ride home.  Made it just after midnight.  So to answer my original question, "Is it better to stay home?", heck no - go for it - and by all means, get to Maine if you can.  All the beauty we once thought was in Texas has moved northward to Maine AND it rains there!!!