Saturday, May 4, 2013

Flash Forward

We are on vacation.  In fact, we have been on vacation with our middle daughter and her family all week.  Today is our last day here.  We are at the beach - about five hundred feet from the Atlantic Ocean.  The house we are staying in has eight bedrooms, eight and a half bathrooms, a living room and kitchen overlooking the ocean, a media room, a laundry, and an elevator.  It is absolutely beautiful. 

Our vacation has been just about perfect.  We have gone shopping, eaten out some and had some really excellent food my daughter has cooked, had fun with the grandchildren, watched some movies, read a book, and been to the beach.

I thought you might be interested in my beach attire.  Given the fact that I am older now and never did have a bikini figure, the clothes I wear to the beach do seem to cover me more than most people think necessary to go swimming or sun bathing.  We drove the five hundred feet to the beach because the sand is very hard to walk in and there are very high sand dunes to climb that I can't do anymore, and there are wild horse here that are beautiful to look at but dangerous to get close too.

Our daughter is married to one of the best sons-in-law I could ever ask for.  He brought a beach chair for me to sit in and placed it next to the car so I could get out of the wind if I wanted to.  Now why, you ask, would someone want to get in out of the wind at the beach.  Maybe if I tell you what I wore to the beach you might understand.  I had on socks and shoes, jeans, shirt, sweater, windbreaker, hat with the windbreaker hood pulled over top of it, and I sat in the beach chair with a heavy blanket wrapped around me.

You see, it is May in North Carolina but somebody apparently forgot to tell Mother Nature to turn off the winter winds so we could romp in the ocean and go home with just a hint of a tan.  The weather man also got it wrong when he said it would be in the 70's and 80's this week.  Last night we sat in the hot tub where my wonderful daughter and son-in-law fashioned a tent from the heavy cover so that we could have a hot tub cabana and not be hit by the frigid air. 

So now I must go and pack up my capri pants, thin shirts, and sun tan lotion so that they will be ready for our next trip to the sunshine and surf.

Friday, April 5, 2013

A New Kind Of Mousetrap

Prior to our moving in, our country estate had sat empty for about seven years.  While it was still in livable condition, there were a few issues we had to deal with.  The first, and most important in my opinion was getting rid of the unwanted house guest who had made our home theirs during the inhabited years.  I'm talking about the little, furry, scurrying kind of mice. 

Now I didn't mind that mice had congregated in our home while it sat empty, I did mind that they didn't just pack their bags and depart once we moved in.  I felt we had enough mouths to feed without having to share our larder with old yukky, furry critters.  So begone with you for goodness sake.

We worked very hard to get rid of these nasty creatures but there were more of them than there was of us - and they were winning.  So we got cats.  Lots of cats.  I am allergic to cats.  My eyes swelled shut.  I sneezed.  I coughed.  I cried.  I got rid of the cats.  The mice stayed.

We tried poison.  That worked - to the point that they slowed down, very slooooowwww.  They no longer scurried, they shuffled, stopped, and fell over dead at our feet.  No a good impression if we had company.

Next we tried traps, the snap kind.  I quickly found out I was not the trap emptying kind of country woman, and since hubby was away from home so much during the day, guess who had to empty the traps.  It wasn't going to be me.

Finally, one cold winter's morning, Elizabeth, our youngest, came upon the perfect solution.  Walking into the bathroom I found her, sitting on her throne, reading a book, and occasionally looking up long enough to announce in her firmest kindergarten voice, MEOW, MEOW, MEOW.  And that, folks, is how we got rid of our mice problem. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Going To Church

It seemed that every time we planned to go to church something would come up and we could not go.  We would over-sleep, one of us would get sick, we'd get company, or Satan would throw a stumbling block into our path.  One such block came our way one snowy winter morning and we were already half way out the lane.

There were a few inches of snow on the ground but the lane was mostly clear of the ice and white fluffy powder.  Notice I said mostly.  We had just rounded the corner and had one more incline before we topped the hill and turned one last time to head for the main road.  Almost there.  I remember thinking of the little engine that could.  Alas, the Volkswagen van couldn't.  We tried so hard, hubby pushed the pedal to the floor and the rest of us straining against the seat belts leaning forward as far as we could.  Inch by inch we struggled - until we came to a complete stop just short of the top!  Hubby hit the brakes but we kept right on going - BACKWARDS!

Now I am sure the VW vans have improved a lot over the last thirty plus years but back then they were like iceboxes and it was not uncommon to have to scrape the inside of the windows.  Hubby could barely see going forward, let alone see enough to maneuver backwards.  So he opened the drivers side door - just in time to see the back tire slip right into the ditch - pulling the front side along with it - with the open door.  Now anyone knows a vehicle sliding backwards with the door open is going to keep right on sliding and the door is going to jam into the side of the ditch and stay put.  That is exactly what our van did.  By the time we stopped we had one inside out driver's door flattened neatly against the front fender.

Knowing we would once again not be going to church, we all piled out.  Hubby stayed in and swayed our bright orange van (like the hippies drove) back and forth trying to maneuver his way out.  No luck.  So, knowing the routine, I and my four beautiful, Sunday go to meetin' dressed kiddies trudged to the back and started pushing our wounded van out of the ditch.  We pushed and pushed and piled big rocks behind the tire (to keep it from rolling any further back and killing us) and little rocks in front of the tire (to give it some traction) until we, with hubby pushing the gas pedal as far as it would go, finally managed to get it moving forward and out of the mire.  All was well, if we didn't mind being seen in a hippie van with practically no driver's door and in clothes that said tire spinning rescue had deposited about six pounds of never coming out mud and mire upon our Sunday go to meetin' clothes. 

A Phone - Finally

We purchased our hideaway paradise before school started and immediately set about to secure all the utilities so we could move in.  Actually that only consisted of ordering the electric and phone since heat came from a dilapidated old fuel oil furnace and what wood we could chop and water came from a spring feed well pumped into the house by way of a garden hose laced through the kitchen window and taped to the faucet on the sink.  Pretty ingenious, not very attractive, but we no longer had to carry it from the well in five gallon buckets.  Hot water was heated on the stove - again, we didn't have to carry it and it was hot.

The electricity worked fine, the furnace worked okay after the initial lighting when hubby ordered us out of the house and halfway up the mile long driveway while he stayed behind in case said furnace exploded and blew him and all our worldly goods into the next county.

The telephone was a different matter.  Since it had been ordered before we moved in - and told they would be there at the first available opportunity - we were a little surprised when that opportunity did not arrive until the following March.  Thankfully they had all the appropriate markings on their truck and I was sure they would not be coming into the house since I just knew our first phone would be placed atop a pole outside our window like the one on the TV program "Green Acres".   You can imagine I was again surprised when they did come in and installed the phone in our living room.

They had been working on the outside pole for about an hour when low and behold the phone actually rang.  I ignored it, thinking it was the installers checking to make sure it would ring.  It rang and rang and I ignored and ignored.  Finally I got tired of the constant ringing and grabbed the received and practically yelled into it "am I supposed to answer this".  Hubby, God love him, replied, "well, isn't that what you are supposed to do when a phone rings".  I am sure the installers were listening in and must have thought I was the county bumpkin just like I thought they were. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Blizzard

Our first winter in the wilderness was about as cold as it could get.  Hubby still worked an hour away and I stayed home minding the house and kiddies.  I also guarded the fire to make sure there was enough wood inside to keep it going constantly lest we all freeze to death.  There was very little fuel for the rumbling furnace so I saved that in case the wood ran out.

One bright and sunny morning hubby made the fifty mile trip into work only to find his coworkers who lived much closer could not make it in because of the wind and blowing snow.  It would be three days before we saw him again. 

Shortly after hubby left the radio announced school would not be in session due to heavy, drifting snow.  I looked out the window to find only about an inch or so of snow on the ground.  Have I mentioned that our driveway was a mile long and mostly downhill.  So apparently all the bad weather was blowing overhead and across our valley.  I also need to remind you we still did not have a phone.

Along about six o'clock, dinner was ready, the kiddies had played nice all day, and I was in a good mood and waiting for hubby to come home.  I was still waiting at seven, eight, nine, and ten.  We did eat around seven and the little ones went to bed on time.  I finally drifted off about midnight with no sight of my husband.

At ten o'clock on Saturday morning I heard a knock on the door.  It was a very tall man and a young boy.  I looked around and there was no car in the driveway.  I hesitated but finally opened the door a little, after all how many bad guys bring a child along.

"Hi," he said, "I'm the sheriff."  Now by this time I had not seen my husband for two days.  I had no phone to check on him, we could not get television reception, and the only outside world info I knew was what I heard on the radio.  So when I heard the sheriff was at the door all I could think of was that hubby was  wrapped in bandages, lying all alone in a hospital somewhere, and the weather reports were telling me there was no possible way I was going to be able to get to him. 

I won't keep you in suspense.  Hubby was fine.  He had called the sheriff to come check on us and let us know he was unable to get home due to the weather.  He was staying with a bachelor friend of his in a nice warm (modern furnace, running water, television, indoor bathroom, telephone, and everything convenient) house not far from his office. 

The weather broke that afternoon and hubby was finally able to make it home on Sunday when the roads had been cleared.  Needless to say we were all happy to see him and the milk and diet coke he brought with him.  He was surprised that we still only had an inch of snow on the ground but he was even more surprised that all we wanted to hear about was what it was like to live in a modern house again.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner - Almost Prairie Style

Things went along fairly well for awhile and we were becoming more content with our country estate.  Things were going so well we decided to have Thanksgiving Dinner all by ourselves.  I woke early to put the turkey on, bake a pie, peel potatoes, and generaly prepare our little abode for our first holiday.  After breakfast we took a long walk through the woods, watched a mama and baby deer meander through the fields, carried in some firewood, and tried to pretend we were early pioneers on our way to visit the Indians.

Our day was nearly idyllic - until dinner.  Not that the dinner itself was not perfect, I am a good cook afterall, but among the treats of candied yams, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and my world famous gravy, I started to notice something was slightly amiss.  Hubby and I are just about the same height but as I was shoveling, I mean daintly putting, a spoonful of corn pudding into my mouth I noticed that he appeared to be growing taller across the table from me.  Ordinally I would have thought this was a good thing but I knew in my heart something about this was not going to end right. 

Not wanting to alarm anybody, I kept my fears to myself and just kept right on eating.  Okay, so maybe I was just hungry, but I still didn't want to scare anybody.  Along about my second slice of pie I looked across at my sweet hubby was at least four inches higher than I was.  I was beginning to have trouble shortning my fork to mouth stride so no one else would notice that I was coming surprisingly close to eye level with my Cool Whip covered cherry pie.

Fortunately dinner ended and the children scooted off to listen to old reruns of "The Shadow" on PBS radio.  It was then that hubby looked across and made the astute observation, "are you shrinking"?   Duh, do you think?  "I think I am going to need some help getting out of my chair." 

Turns out our kitchen floor had some weak spots.  Many weak spots we were to find out.  Since winter was coming upon us we decided to put carpet squares over the weak spots until Spring when we could replace the entire floor.  At first we had no trouble, once we moved the table, missing the carpet squares but the longer winter drug on the less uncarpeted space we had.  In fact, by the time we replaced the floor, it was almost completely carpeted.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Good 'Ole Golden Rule Days

As much as I knew I was going to miss them, the time came when the kiddies had to go to school.  So early one September morning I scrubbed and polished four reluctant youngsters and drug them into the car.  I drove to what appeared to be an old wooden dormitory for the WPA but said "School House" on a big sign out front, and yes it did have a bell, and smelled of coal.  I realized right away we were out of place.  My girls in dresses and patent leather shoes and my son in a cotton shirt and khaki slacks would be no match for the bib overalls, combat boots, and straw hats running through the hallways trying to get to class before the bell rang. 

After what seemed to be an eternity I managed to get the little ones settled into their own classrooms, surprised that there was more than one.  The staff was efficient and seemed more than happy to have four new students so, with minor reservations, I left them and drove off to enjoy the solitude of pampered days all by myself.  I did have to smile as I left the school yard and passed a little boy running up the school lane.  He was dressed in bib overalls, red flannel shirt, red hair, and freckles and I knew beyond a doubt that Howdy Doody was alive and kicking.