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.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Racing Head First Into The - PAST

Well, we did it.  We sold our house, our civilized lives, our good school system, and what little bit of sanity we may have had and moved lock stock and barrel back to the 1880's.  Granted it was beautiful with its thirteen acres, woods, rock formations, and solitude, but thinking straight we were not.

If you don't count the kitchen floor, we did have a fairly stable house and barn, but the lack of heat, a working bathroom, running water, telephone, or television reception certainly did not promise a bright future.  We did have electricity and a working stove and refrigerator but that is where the conveniences stopped. 

Our first few days passed relatively well and we adapted, not that we had a choice, but as best we could.  We found the well and managed to carry buckets full of water into the house to do dishes and a pan big enough to keep a pot of hot water on the stove all the time. We cleared a path from the back door to the "outdoor spa", not that any of us wanted to use it.  We scrubbed and swept, aired and polished, unpacked and tossed.  Hubby went to work everyday so it was left to the kiddies and I to make this once abandoned house into a home.   Funny how the lack of television makes your kids more available to help.

Somehow, after about a million setbacks, we did make some sibilance of a livable home out of what was once a sows ear.  There were lots of mishaps and scares, fumbles and bumbles, but we were determined to make this work.  Never mind the mice we'd find drowned in the water pot we kept on the stove, the late night teenagers "parking" in our mile-long driveway, or the people who looked at us and said "Are you crazy", this was our life and nobody was going to change our minds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, May 25, 2012

You Can Never Find A Realtor When You Need One

So we knew this farm was for sale.  We knew the owners had died.  We had no idea who was in charge of the estate or if there was a realtor involved.  But that was not going to stop us.  After driving the fifty miles to the farm every weekend and a very exhausting interrogation of just about every neighbor, law enforcement officer, postal worker, and grocery store clerk we managed to get the name of an elderly sister who lived in Florida - that's about two thousand miles from us.

So we wrote letters to this, did I mention she was elderly, very nice but confused lady.  At first I am not sure she knew what we were talking about but eventually we managed to get through.  Her letters were full of childhood memories of her and her brother, sad stories about how his wife died of pneumonia, happy times spent at the farm with them, and how terrible they never had children to whom they could leave this wonderful place.

So along about the fifth letter we finally managed to get her to give us the name of the realtor who was handling the sale for her.  And after months, and months, of having doors slammed in our faces, people looking at us like we had lost our minds for even wanting to buy a place so isolated, and dealing long distance with an elderly, confused, but very nice lady in Florida we found out our long lost realtor, are you ready for this, lived two doors down the street from us.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Being Self-Sufficient In A Dependent World

Along about the time we managed to get four kids in school and under control hubby decided we needed to "get back to the basics", become self-sufficient, buy some land - lots of land.  It was the 70's after all - everyone was getting back to nature and learning to recycle - why should we be any different.  Maybe the fact that we were products of our grocery store, paved roads, everything at our fingertips dependent environment should have clued us in. 
Hubby's younger brother told us about the "perfect" place.  It had thirteen acres, a barn, a three bedroom house, woods, and a driveway a mile long.  Hubby was sold sight unseen.  Good thing because he didn't even get to see the house on our first trip there.  His brother, in the car in front of us, got stuck in the snow, IN THE DRIVEWAY.  The tow truck we called to pull him out got stuck in the snow, IN THE DRIVEWAY.  We called another one and he managed to get all the snow stuck vehicles back to the main road.

While we were waiting for the last tow truck I took my son Eddie and we trekked the remaining driveway back to the house and broke a window to get in.  No, it wasn't my intention to break the window, it just happened so we manage to get in.  The house had been empty for about six years and the couple who had lived there had both died.  The house was musty smelling and did not appear to have a working bathroom, fortunately there was a spare one out back.

By this time you must be thinking we had enough sense to leave and never go back.  Forget that thought, we aren't that smart.  However, we did have enough sense to wait till Spring to go back.  I should tell you the driveway was muddy then with the Spring rains.  About as muddy as it was snowy in the winter. 

We did make it back to the house this time and we knew how to remove the broken window in order to get in.  Again hubby was sold.  No neighbors in sight, only trees, beautiful rock formations on the other side of the creek that ran through the property, and a water falls over the rocks. 

So we were to begin our life in the country - and, as they say, the rest is history. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Never Send A Talker To Kindergarten

It was nice around the house when the three older children were in school and only little Elizabeth was home with me.  That is until she realized she was the only one there to entertain me.  And entertain she did.  She talked.  She talked.  And then she talked some more.  There wasn't anything she couldn't and wouldn't talk about.  "Mommy, why are there ants on the sidewalk"?  "How come daddy snores"?  "Why is Timmy's mommy so fat"?  No, Timmy's mommy was not pregnant, she was fat.  Sometimes Elizabeth even managed to ask these questions when others weren't around - unfortunately the Timmy's mommy question was not one of those times.

So the time finally came for Elizabeth to go to Kindergarten.  I would like to admit that I was going to miss all that chatter, but I can't.  I was really looking forward to some peace and quiet and being able to visit with Timmy's mommy again.

All the joy I had in my new found freedom ended quickly.  I ran into her teacher one day in the grocery store.  "I have never seen a child so helpful to others as your Elizabeth is".  Wish she had given me a little more time to relish in that good news before she shot me down.  "But does she always talk so much"?

"Yesterday we had show and tell and Elizabeth decided to tell us about her family.  She shared with us that you never shave your legs, her grandma smokes cigars, and sometimes her daddy sleeps on the couch".  There were a few more things she chose to share but suffice it to say I never shopped in that grocery store again.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Really Bad Hair Day

It was such a simple request.  One that would save us some money.  One that would make our already beautiful daughter just a little bit prettier.  So I said yes, you can perm our little girl's hair.  She did a wonderful job.  She was a professional after all.  She was a good friend.  Lynlie was cute as a button - for a day or two at least.

Problem was I was not a beautician.  I was a mom.  So when we washed her hair it didn't go back to the way it was in the pretty stage.  It just went boing.  Poor Lynlie had curls that went up, down, out, and over.  They just didn't seem to go down.  And that wasn't the worst of it, the next day was picture day at school. 

So we rolled it, twisted it, brushed it, sprayed it, covered it, headbanded it, and put a hat on it (which wouldn't stay on because it just went boing).  It is one of those things that we can laugh about now - everyone but Lynlie that is - but it sure was not a happy time way back then. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Help! I'm A Den Mother

What possesses a reasonably sane woman to volunteer to take six young boys into her home and try to teach them the ways of Boy Scouting.  I still don't know to this day many, many years later, but that is exactly what I did.  Once a week for about five years I did all I could to take them from Cub Scouts to the "Be Prepared" stage of trailblazing and tent building.

I threw pizza parties, camping trips, and helped sell candy, popcorn, and who knows what else.  I made so many cookies for den meetings that I could rival Mrs. Fields.  One thing I learned early on in my mentoring was that little boys can eat like there is no tomorrow and they have more energy than Hoover Dam and those hot shot energy drinks put together.

I managed to keep most meetings from becoming riots but occasionally my nerves were tested beyond any normal limits.  One such meeting centered around the only foreign member of the group who apparently was having a really bad day and decided he should not be the only one.  Now this young man had spent the biggest portion of his short life in the states and spoke perfectly good English, but this day he elected to resort to his native tongue and some very old world ways.

I won't go into the gory details but suffice it to say the other five better behaved young boys (at least for that day anyway) learned some words in a second language that I am sure their parents were not pleased with and how to use the bathroom outside in front of God and everybody.

Surprisingly I kept right on being a den mother.  Of course there was certainly a lot of explaining to some irate parents and one very understanding scout master.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Slumber Party From - Well A Much Warmer Place

It was time for Renee's ninth birthday and she wanted a slumber party.  Sure, no problem, how hard can this be.  It's been so long ago I don't really remember how many little girls were invited, but having lived through it I have come to understand that more than one nine year old overnight female guest is one too many.

The party started about seven with hamburgers and snacks which they ate politely and even helped me clean up.  Then they all retired to the family room downstairs where I was sure they would behave like little angels and do each other's hair, paint their fingernails, and quietly talk about boys, school, and all the snobby girls that had not been invited.  Oh, the lesson I was about to learn.

This group of nine year old girls were apparently not into nail polish and new hair dos.  They were more into eating too much and summoning spirits from the - well a much warmer place.  Along about the time I decided I needed to check on this group of future Ghost Whispers they had eaten more popcorn than a nine movie cinema and were sitting on the floor in a circle chanting like they were howling at the moon.  It could, of course, have been moaning and groaning from the half a pound of butter and tub full of popcorn and bowls of birthday cake and ice cream each of them had consumed.

It took me all of two seconds to grab Renee by the shirt collar and let her know that not only was this activity totally inappropriate but I was sure her father, the preacher, would have her hide - and mine as well.  I managed to get them pointed in another direction, but only after tangling with the ring leader who was immediately angry and tried to climb out the upper basement window to go home.  It wasn't that I didn't want her to climb out the upper basement window and go home, but I figured if she was this angry at nine, what must her parents be like and I knew I would have to deal with them if that were to happen.

At this point I knew it was going to be a long night.  So after a kazillion games of Clue, Old Maid, and I Spy the girls started dropping like flies.  All of them that is but angry ring leader and a neighbor girl with the most upsettest tummy I had ever seen - or had emptied on my favorite jeans. 
About nine o'clock the next morning angry ring leader came up to breakfast and over a plateful of pancakes decided I wasn't such a bad person after all.  Upsettest tummy decided she could also eat again, although she wasn't too happy that I limited her to three pancakes.

Someday Renee's two younger sister's may get to have a slumber party of their own - maybe.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fire Drill

Apparently, after the fire that Eddie, Jr. thought was so cool, his teacher thought that was a really good reason to teach fire safety to her students.  She even brought in a fireman.  Eddie paid attention.  For months afterwards he was our expert on exposed electric cords, lit candles, and leaving pans on the stove.  I have to admit I was impressed with the little guy - and thoroughly irritated at the same time.

After school was out that summer my twin nephews came to visit.  They are six months older than Eddie.  Not to be outdone by his older and wiser cousins, Eddie decided he should teach them proper fire safety and set about to plan a usable escape plan.

I was sitting in the living room visiting with my sister when we noticed the three young adventurers come in the front door and run up to Eddie's room.  Lost in talking about various family members and old school mates, my sister and I barely noticed when the boys repeated the same routine a few minutes later.  We come from a very big family so sis and I had a lot to talk about and weren't paying much attention when this happened several more times.  Now we are reasonably good mothers, so it did finally dawn on us that while we were seeing the boys come in the front door we weren't seeing them go out the door.  She went to the front yard and I went to the bedroom - just in time to see one twin jump out the window and grab the other one before he made the same escape.  I arrived back in the living room just as my sister was dragging the other two doomed suspects in the door.

Seems our future "firemen" decided the proper escape route was to jump out the bedroom window (fortunately it was a split level so it wasn't a full second floor fall) and they were having so much fun they just kept doing it.  Unfortunately for them, they spent the rest of the visit sitting on the couch - listening to the mama and auntie discussing the pitfalls of misbehaving!

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Fire

Early one morning, one of those mornings when I was sleeping soundly (which is really rare), we were suddenly awakened by loud pounding on our front door.  Great, I thought, I have two more hours before I have to get up and some idiot thinks they can come for a visit.

So Edward jumped up and ran to the door.  Good thing he did because our garage was on fire.  I grabbed my robe and ran for the kids.  I found three.  I could not find Lynlie what had run into our room to find us.  Once outside I could hear the sirens coming round the corner.  A neighbor, wife of the man who pounded on our door, came over and took the kids.  Edward and I stood as firemen put out the flames and other neighbors gathered to make sure we were okay.

And okay we were.  The fire was contained to the garage - where alas we lost poor old George, the moose head - and most of the things we lost were old, useless, unnecessary, and replaceable!

Edward and I got the older children ready for school, fed them breakfast and watched them as they walked down to catch the bus - but not before Eddie, Jr. made one of his most memorable statements - "I can't wait to get to school and tell everybody about the neat thing that happened to us this morning".  Out of the mouths of babes.

Once the yellow bus pulled away, we trekked back into the smoke-smelling house and began the tasks of cleaning up all the charred wood, old luggage, and George pieces.  We threw away some of those old rusty nails Edward had brought from the old house and about two hundred dollars worth of melted Tupperware.  I lost an old Easter bonnet and Edward shed a tear or two over what was left of the new shelving he had built (to hold his tools and those old rusty nails).

After bathing the children and getting them in bed, then showering away all the grimy filth that covered my body, I sat down beside Edward to talk about rebuilding the garage and how to get the insurance company to replace my old Easter bonnet and what we would declare an honest value for old George.  It was then that I began to sob - "We had a fire.  We could have all been killed."  Edward put his arm around me, "I've been waiting for this all day.  I knew it was just a matter of time". 

I am not the strongest of people and my survival skills were minimal back then, but I did learn something that day.  I can be counted on in a crisis, but you'd better watch out when it is over because I am going to fall apart. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Today is St. Patrick's Day (so obviously I am fast forwarding again).  I think I am Irish, at least a little bit, so I should be celebrating.  However, I do not drink so that is out.  I just realized I am not wearing green today so I may get pinched like the kids do in grade school.  I am too old and too tired to throw a big party.  So I guess, for this St. Paddy's Day at least, I must be content with my memories of Ireland.

Four years ago this month we made our one and only trip to Ireland.  We loved it.  We want to go back someday.  We want to see all there is to see in Ireland. 

We have many happy memories of our short trip.  Traveling with my sister and brother-in-law and cousin and her very funny hubby.  Eating fish and chips in local pubs.  Finding a souvenir wine glass lying along a path (free souvenirs are great).  Visiting all the castles, especially Blarney Castle, even though a bad knee kept me from kissing the Blarney Stone. 

One of my hopes when we went to Ireland was seeing a leprechaun.  I know, they are fictional creatures, but I just wanted to say I saw a little short guy in a green suit and a funny hat.  I came close while looking over a bridge when a little man in a black suit came up to me trying to explain why a long-legged bird was able to remain standing in a spill-way under the bridge.  Only problem was this little guy spoke only Gaelic and, well I was having enough trouble with the normal Irish brogue. 

However, my hopes were granted at the airport waiting to board for our trip home. A little short man, trying to pass through the check point, was setting off all kinds of alarms. He was wearing an Irish sweater and beret type Irish cap, and carrying a gnarled black Irish cane,. He was trying to convince the TSA's that he did indeed need that cane, he could not possibly walk without it. When they took it away he grabbed the sides of the metal detector, thus the alarm blaring everywhere. So finally, convinced they were going to have an old man falling down and suing them, they let him pass, gave him back his cane, and sent him on his way.

It was only when I was completely out of sight of all the airport personnel did I stop and wait for my dear hubby who was so afraid they would take away his precious, newly purchased Irish cane. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Infirmary

Shortly after our move our oldest daughter Renee, then in second grade, brought home an unexpected surprise - Chicken Pox.  I was thrilled - to say the least.  Renee had a total of sixteen spots on her entire body.  She never felt bad and was hard to keep in bed.  Two weeks later Eddie came down with them.  Two weeks later Lynlie came down with them.  Two weeks later Elizabeth came down with them.  Spots, to this day, give me shivers.

Eddie and Lynlie had lots more spots than Renee, but poor baby Elizabeth had a hundred times more than all three of them combined.  To make it even worse, she was cutting teeth at the same time.  She wanted to be held all the time and if she fell asleep and I laid her down, she screamed like a banshee.  I cooked with her in my arms.  I cleaned with her in my arms.  I dressed the other children with her in my arms.  I even slept in a rocking chair with her in my arms.

Back in those days they had long sleeved undershirts for babies and you could fold the sleeves over their tiny little hands so they couldn't scratch themselves.  Scratching chicken pox tends to leave scars and I didn't want that.  She was so cute when she rubbed her little sleepy eyes with her mittened hands.  She was not so cute when she banshee screamed when I laid her down.  So we rocked and she slept.  We rocked and she cooed.  We rocked and she pooed.  We rocked and I changed diapers.  We rocked and she ate.  We rocked for two solid weeks before the spots were gone, the teeth were through, and she was content to sleep in her own bed. 

Just about the time things settled down and we were free of the chicken pox and I thought my nursing days were over for awhile, guess who came down with a cold.  I couldn't breathe.  I couldn't lay down.  I couldn't stand up without getting dizzy.  So for the next two weeks I rocked and I rocked. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Moving Day

It was hard to leave our home and fifty-two acres in the country.  There were so many reasons to stay.  There was one reason to leave - snakes.  By now you know Edward hates snakes - the rest of us followed his lead.

So between building the new house and having a baby we managed to pack up our belongings and prepare to move a family of six and all their belongings.  No easy task but knowing their was always a possibility of finding another snake in our basement was all the motivation we needed.
We gathered all the family and friends we had who were under sixty and packed up a moving van and every pickup we could find.  It was wonderful.  By nightfall we were all exhausted and various members of the moving crew were dropping like flies.  There were still beds to be made and babies to bathe.  So I feed our voluntary crew and sent them on their way, wishing I could keep them all for the next few weeks to help sort boxes and organize a new life.      

Alas, it was me who unpacked those boxes, put away towels and pans and lots of memories.  I left the garage for Edward.  Those boxes were his responsibility, especially when I realized he had packed up half a moving van of rusty nails and tools too old to be much use but not quite antique quality.

So here we were, sleeping soundly in new rooms, cooking meals in a kitchen much smaller than I was used to, and not doing laundry on a cold closed in back porch.  However, the best part of all of this was not having to worry about coming face to face with SNAKES! 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

When Houses Attack

Okay, so it wasn't the smartest thing we have ever done but I am sure if we stopped to think about it we could probably find a few things dumber - but not many.

About a week after Elizabeth was born we decided to make a trip to see the progress on the new house.  It was what they called a split-level dwelling.  The living room, kitchen, and garage were on one level and up a few stairs to the left of the living room were three bedrooms and a bath.  To the left of the kitchen and down a few stairs were another bedroom, the family room, laundry room, and another bath.  It is this part that got us into trouble. 

Elizabeth was tucked into her car seat sitting in the emptiness of the kitchen and the other three were exploring the upper level - still delusional enough to think they could have anything they wanted for their bedrooms.  Edward and I took the few steps to the lower level and found about a kazillion sheets of drywall stacked against one wall and an almost equal number of doors and windows against the other wall which made for a very narrow walkway between.  Here is where the dumb part comes in - we walked down that narrow passage.

We had gotten about halfway when we heard a rumble and turned to see the drywall slip and before we knew it we were pinned against the doors and windows, me facing one way and Edward's nose against a door.  I don't think even the two of us could have pushed out way out and there was no way I could move that drywall all by myself.  So we did what any self-respecting victims of drywall smashing would do, we screamed.  The children came running, but no one else.  Finally reason took over and we stopped screaming and calmed the children down as best we could.

When we realized no one was around to hear us so we sent two and half year old Lynlie to sit by baby Elizabeth who was now crying and convinced Renee and little Eddie they needed to go for help.  Now I am sure you are all wondering why we didn't just use our cell phones - THEY HADN'T BEEN INVENTED YET!

About fifteen minutes later they came back with help - a couple of seven year old boys playing football in field nearby.  I am sure they only came because Renee convinced them because I knew Eddie well enough to know he just wanted to stay there and play football with them.

It took awhile but the boys and I managed to push one sheet at a time off of us so Edward could get out and fix the stack so it didn't topple again.
We thanked the boys and sent them on their way and we scrambled out of their as fast as our feet would carry us.  We didn't go back until we were assured the walls were all in place.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Saving The Hardest For Last

When you wake up your husband in the middle of the night and say, "Honey, its time", he's supposed to jump up and get all excited, throw the dog in the car, put out the suitcase, and in general go completely idiot-like knowing he is about to become a new daddy.  Not Edward, he just groaned, rolled over and went back to sleep.  So I got up, showed, dressed, pulled three sleepy toddlers from their warm beds, packed their clothes, packed the car, let the dog out, and then tried again to wake up the soon to be new daddy.

By this time the sun is beginning to rise and he is coherent enough to understand that not only are we about to have a baby, I have been in labor for several hours, and this is our FOURTH CHILD!  So he jumps out of bed and becomes all idiot-like looking for the suitcase, the dog, and three missing toddlers. 

We drop the children off at his brother's house and drive another forty-five minutes to the hospital only to find my doctor is on vacation in Ireland and I am put in the care of another obstetrician that I have neither seen nor heard of before.  I go to the labor room, hubby heads to the waiting room (where I am sure he napped), and Elizabeth, our soon to be new addition, rolls the wrong way, becomes stubborn and will not cooperate (signs of things to come?).   

For the next eight hours I walk, sit down, stand up, lay down, roll from side to side, beg, plead, and do everything I can to convince this little one to roll over.  Nothing doing and she made her appearance with a smug little smile on her face as if to say, "Nobody tells me what to do".  And to this day, nobody has. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The New House And The Blimp

So with the new baby coming we decided not only that we needed a new house but that we needed to actually build a new house.  They say that having children and building a new house are really hard on a marriage and we were silly enough to believe we could handle both at the same time. 
Hormones rage during pregnancy.  Delusions of grandeur rage when you are building a house.  Homicidal ideations rage when you are pregnant and building a house.  I quickly found out I had champagne taste on a beer pocketbook - or in my case as a fundamentalist Baptist preacher's wife, Perrier taste on a tap water pocketbook.  So every time I showed up requesting another closet or switching a room from one side of the house to another, my contractor would just smile and say sure, have your husband give me a call.  Every time I asked my husband to upgrade to granite counter tops or gold bathroom fixtures, he'd just say sure, just call the contractor - who would then say sure, have your husband give me a call.  I was at the point of murder, and I was going to claim insanity - theirs not mine.

Along about the time I realized what I was up against and that I was not going to get anything I asked for, I'd reached my due date.  I decided I would make one last trip to see the new house before delivery so we packed a picnic lunch and piled the other three little ones into the car and headed to what would soon be our new home. 

We finished eating and the kids spent some time running from room to room listing all the things they wanted for their rooms (they were more like their mama than I thought), and hubby pulled out the movie camera to add to his video diary of the new house.  I had just finished packing up the food when he called me outside.  I lumbered my way down the makeshift steps, across the unsodded front yard and looked up to see what he was filming.  There making its way across the sky was the Goodyear Blimp like it was announcing to the world that we were coming to town - well, actually it was proclaiming the opening of a new tire dealership but I was still in that delusions of grandeur stage.

Months later when we were in the new home and watching the completed video diary, I noticed that day's section was labeled "The New House and The Blimp".   I thought that was pretty special (back in those days you didn't often get to see a blimp) that is, until I saw the video - all kinds of pictures of the house and the kids playing and then there I was - big as the side of a barn - and no sign of the Goodyear Blimp anywhere! 

(My apologies to all of you who have been reading my blog.  I have been a little slow with additions lately.  I have just had my second knee replacement and while I am doing quite well, I am not as young as I used to be - my doctor's words - and some days I am too tired to write.  I hope as I improve I will soon be back to my daily ramblings.  Thank you for understanding.) 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Moving On

As much as we loved our country home and its fifty-two acres, there came a time that we knew it was time to move on.  For me it was the morning I had to run for the bathroom before I lost my breakfast.  That's right, pregnant again.  Precious blessing number four would soon grace our family with love and joy and laughter like you would not believe.  We had stretched the limits with three children in a two bedroom house - four would never work.  

For Edward it was a more sinister awakening.  The basement of this house was little more than a cellar and none of us liked to go down there.  However, a blown fuse or water heater gone awry would necessitate a trip for Edward.  On one such an occasion Edward made the trip down those rickety old steps and into the abyss of damp, smelly darkness.   He managed to fix the problem and decided as long as he was down there he would just clean up a bit.  He had straightened up a shelf along the wall and turned around to dust off the old furnace and duct work.  Needless to say he was slightly surprized to find two eyes staring back at him.  There he stood, no hoe in hand, nothing but an old broom, face to face with yet another snake.  It took him all of thirty seconds to run up those rickety old steps, yell "we're moving", and out the door he went.

By the end of the day he had calmed down, the snake had been "disposed of" but the determination to move was still there.  We started house hunting the next day.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Goodbye Gertrude

 There comes a time in every family's life when they have to say goodbye to a loved one.  The pain and mourning that goes along with these departures is generally unbearable and sometimes causes you to do some very strange things. 

Gertrude's passing was one of those times.  I mourned, Edward mourned, the kids cried, and even Eli the dog mourned, albeit for different reasons.

Early one morning I walked Edward to his car and waved as he drove out the driveway.  Eli was barking so I decided he needed to be fed before he woke the children.  I made my way to his dog house and stopped dead in my tracks when I spotted poor Gertrude laying just a few feet in front of me.  I stifled a scream knowing that would cause the children to come running.  Hers had not been a natural death, it was obvious to even my untrained eye.  I knew I had to do something.  There was no time to wait for the authorities.  I scooped up poor Gertrude and ran behind the garage and dug as fast as I could.  I wrapped her poor body in a trash bag and placed her lovingly into the shallow grave.  Then I ran back to the dog house and raked up the billowing reminders of this once graceful lady and placed them in the trash bag.

I was just patting down the last shovel full of dirt when I heard the children beginning to stir.  Wiping my eyes, I started for the house trying to decide what I would tell them.  It would have to be a beautiful story about how Gertrude had loved them and enjoyed living with them - but that sometimes bad things happen, even when you are a beautiful goose and you wander too far from the pond and strut your stuff too close to the Labrador Retriever.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

One More Animal Story

Seems like we had a lot of animals around that country house - George the moose head to all the snakes.  Yet early one winter morning I had an encounter with one of the most vicious of all animals. 

I was pregnant - yet again - with just a few weeks to go and went back to bed when hubby left for work.  I hadn't much more than crawled into bed when I sensed that something had crossed the room.  Out of bed I lumbered, the only way I could do anything those days, and searched the bedroom then all the rooms upstairs - nothing.  Back to bed I crawled thinking I had missed out on twenty of those precious extra minutes I had before the other kids work up.  I loved those extra minutes.

I drifted in and out of dreamland, visions of sugar plums turning to size two ballgowns and tiny feet dancing on air.  Suddenly I knew there were eyes on me - watching me - in that very room.  Slowly I turned over and there they were - two enormous eyes right on me. 

Needless to say I was out of that bed in a shot - well as fast as my swollen feet and enormous girth would allow.  I ran out of the room and pulled the door shut behind me.  I was sure whatever was in there could easily take me down and carry me to whatever living arrangement that species preferred.   

I called my brother-in-law who lived nearby to come a runnin' and to bring his elephant gun with him.  When he showed up with just a flashlight I felt sorry for him but said he was on his own and pointed to the bedroom door  as I was going into the kids' room to protect them.

It took him all of about five minutes to take care of my invader but I am sure it was hard work to wrestle that window open and shoo that tiny baby owl back outside where it belonged.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Mama Don't Swim In Yukky Water

Early one bright, summer morning I watched from the kitchen window as Edward pulled out the canoe and proceeded to tug and drag and finally get it into the pond and start rowing around.  Now this pond was very small and the water was not exactly pleasant but if hubby wanted to row around I decided I would fix him a light breakfast and go outside to watch him while the little ones were still sleeping.  Not bothering to change into some more "outdoorsy" clothes I threw my terry cloth robe over my see-through nightie (this was back when what you could see through was, well much less and a whole lot better than it is now) and headed out the door.

Hubby was so proud of the fact that his 135 pound body had managed to get the 400 pound canoe into the water that he wanted to take me out for a spin.  He rowed over to the edge, took his breakfast, and instructed me on the proper way to enter a boat.  I failed the course.   I had just managed to slide my foot over the side when my foot slipped on the morning dew and I fell into the canoe head first.  Not to be outdone in the "how not to do it" department, hubby jumped up to help me and Eli the dog jumped in - not to help but to get the bacon and egg sandwich now laying unguarded on the floor of the canoe. 

Tragedies happen on days like this.  People are found years later at the bottom of dried out farm ponds.  Good dogs like Lassie get people to follow them with their "Timmy's in the well" whine.  Not today.  Instinct kicked in and just as the canoe flipped over, papa went one way and mama went the other - Eli was on his own.  Edward managed to contain the canoe and keep it from smashing us on the head.  My terry cloth robe pulled me all the way to the bottom - remember it's yukky water and mama don't swim in yukky water  - so I yanked that robe off and fought all the way to the top.  Okay, so I just stood up but it is so much more dramatic to say I had to fight my way out than to admit I couldn't, and still can't, swim a lick.  I lost my shoes, my dishes, the sandwich, an entire glass of expensive orange juice, and the best cup of coffee ever made. 

It was not a pretty picture as we drug the canoe out of the water and made our way back to the house soaking wet.  It was not until I realized hubby's clothes were sticking to him that I remember my see-through nightie.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

From Another Galaxy, Far Far Away

We were still living in the house in the country when man first walked on the moon.  There were lots of people who did not believe this was possible and that it was just a stunt thought up by the government and Hollywood.  Even Edward, who is generally pretty open minded (okay that part is a lie), refused to believe it was possible to get a spaceship all the way to the moon, some men were able to get out of the spaceship and walk around uncharted territory, and then those same men were still alive and able to get their spacecraft safely back to earth.  No, he was not believing any of this and he proclaimed it adamantly to the news reporter who called us randomly to see what we thought.  In all fairness to hard headed Edward, he actually thought it was his sister playing a trick on him but it sure kept us from being interviewed ever again.

I, on the other hand, believe not only was it possible to travel in outer space but I had first hand knowledge of this extraordinary discovery.  No I was never an astronaut but we were "visited" by a spaceship when I was a teenager. 

One summer morning when I was about fifteen my father came home from the night shift at the machine shop where he worked.  My sisters and I were still in bed since school was out for the year but we could hear daddy ranting about our leaving the garage door up during the night.  Mother assured him we had not because she had checked it just before she went to bed and it was closed.  This went on for several mornings even though all of us checked the door before turning in.  After several irate calls from my father, Sears made house calls to check out the opener only to declare it good as new - yet each morning the door was opened.  Perhaps, Sears announced, one of our neighbors had purchased the same kind of opener and it had somehow latched on to ours too.  None of the neighbors had automatic openers.  More irate calls to Sears, perhaps someone was playing a trick on us and was driving by at night, pointing their opener at the garage and viola, open door in the morning. 

We had just about decided we were going to have to buy a new opener, when we started to find the door open in the middle of the day too.  More irate calls, more house calls, more good as new diagnosis, same irate father.

My older sister, the one who never does anything wrong, decided one day she would climb up into the attic and wait to see who was doing this dastardly deed.  Up, and sometimes down, went the door.  Nobody there.  Up, down, nobody around anywhere.  More irate calls.  More promises to check into it. 

We were certain by this point that Sears thought they were dealing with an entire family of certified nuts who didn't have a clue as to how to operate these modern conveniences.  In fact they admitted such to us - eventually.

A few weeks after these strange events began Sears came back.  The repairman could barely contain his laughter when he told us that he had seen everything that he thought he could possibly see in his job - until now.  After much research Sears determined that the circuits of the Russian spaceship Sputnik had somehow linked to our garage door.  In the middle of the United States, in the middle of Ohio, in the middle of the smallest town in the entire world, Russia was linked to our family.

It did not take us long to get a new garage door opener. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Can You Digress Forward

I thought I'd move into the future for a day after Edward had some concerns about my title - Retiredandstillcooking.  I thought it would be obvious that I meant I have grown older, retired from a fantastic job, all my children are grown with families of their own - but I am still cooking and making fantastic (if I do say so myself) meals for lots of people.

Our grandson Ed, that's right there are three Edwards in this family and you can imagine how confusing that is, lives with us and is an absolute joy to have around.  He is so pleasant that half the young men in town like to come over, play video games, take a nap (or stay the night), and eat.  So I do a lot of cooking.

There are also all those family get togethers, church gatherings, writer's groups, parties, potlucks, and midnight snacks.  I just plain love to cook - eating is not so bad either.

Edward, great husband and protector that he is, has taken exception to my title.  He says all the old men from here to Timbuktu will be reading my blog and become very interested in me.  "Oh, I see," says I, "they will know that I am old and can cook."  "No," says he, "they will think you are old and still cooking".  "That's right, I am old but I can still cook".  "That's what I mean.  You're retired and old men will think you mean cooking. You know - cooking."  So after I picked myself up off the floor from laughing so hard, I guess I could see his point.  So I will digress forward long enough to say, I am old, I can still cook, but my heart belongs to only one old man.  Happy Valentines' Day honey, I still love you after all these years. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

What's Your Phobia?

There are a lot of phobias in this family.  Spiders, heights, tight spaces, well, you name it and somebody has it, but nothing, and I mean nothing, frightens us more than snakes - especially hubby.  Now the first time I witnessed this paralyzing phenomenon caught us both off guard, as do most snake attacks I am sure - nasty old sneaky creatures.

We were outside just after a heavy rain.  Our two older children were running through the front yard trying, not to successfully, to miss the puddles of rain water.  All of a sudden I spotted what I was sure was an anaconda it was so big.  It was headed straight toward Eddie who had just  managed to not avoid a very muddy puddle.  I proved to be no help at all as I stood there dumbfounded but a quick shout from hubby brought me out of my stupor just as Eddie came flying through the air and straight into my arms.  Renee quickly came over the side of the porch and hubby went running for a hoe.  I have never seen such vengeance in a man's eyes as hubby raised that hoe and came down right behind that snake's head.  I am not sure but I think I saw that snake laugh.

Time after time hubby brought that hoe down on the snake and time after time the snake turned a little closer toward hubby.  Finally, in much frustration hubby hit the snake enough to stun it into submission and long enough for him to douse a nearby pile of leaves with gasoline and with one last effort toss the stunned reptile into the fire.  Too crazed to do anything the snake lost the battle and hubby had won the war.  No we did not have roasted snake for dinner.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cooking - Kid's Style

My children were always wanting to help me cook.  Problem was they never wanted me around when they did it.  Like the time Renee wanted to make us breakfast in bed so she got up really early to make us scrambled eggs and toast.  She was about five and knew that eggs were cooked in a skillet on the stove.  So she, the sweet child that she was, took a dozen eggs from the refrigerator, drug a chair up to the stove, grabbed a spatula from the drawer, climbed up on the chair, put the eggs in the skillet, took the spatula, and beat the stuffing out of the eggs - shells and all.  Fortunately she did not know how to turn the stove on so fire was never a worry.

When her little brother Eddie got up he was ordered to make the toast which turned out very well except the toaster wasn't plugged in.  However (there is always a "however" where my children were concerned), he loved butter and sugar on his toast so that was exactly what he was going to do.  He took a stick of butter and the sugar bowl and climbed up on the kitchen table - I guess to be closer to the toaster - and put the butter on the table then dumped the entire sugar bowl on top of it.  Since he was only four he did not realize he was going to need something to mix this up with, but his hands were there and they were better than a spoon any day.

Not to be outdone Eli, our enormous black lab, wanted his breakfast too.  There was a fifty pound bag of dog food standing in the corner that we had not yet put away.  So, with the faint smell of raw eggs and sugar in the air, Eli pounced on the dog food and ripped the bag just enough to spread fifty pounds of hard, meat flavored chunks all over the kitchen floor.

So this is what we found that very early cold winter day.  What a picture that was!

(Sugared toast was a treat my mother made for us when we were very young.  She would butter slices of bread and sprinkle a little sugar on top.  Then she would put it under the broiler until the sugar just started to turn slightly tan.  We had a hard time waiting until it cooled.) 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Day The Moose Came To Call

No it wasn't a real moose -  we live in the Midwest for goodness sake - but it might as well have been.  My father, always a giving man, decided that our children needed George.  George was the stuffed head of what must have been a very large moose.  It had hung in our garage since I was a teenager - one of those "somebody needed money and had to sell something" items my father was always bringing home.  Why he found this particular time to give George away is beyond me but our family became the recipient.

We piled George in the trunk of our car, thank goodness we were not stopped on the way home because I don't think a policeman would have understood why we had this moose head protruding out over the highway.  Then we piled the sleeping children into the back seat.  We reversed this process when we got home tucking the children into their warm beds.  George unfortunately had to spend the night sitting on the floor because we were just too tired to hang him properly - I'm sure a terrible disgrace to any self-respecting moose.

The next morning our pajama clad little ones came running down the stairs.  Renee, oblivious to anything out of the ordinary, ran straight into the kitchen for breakfast.  Eddie on the other hand noticed everything.  He ran through the living room, around the corner, and came face to face with George who looked like his head was sticking up out of the floor. Absolutely every bit of blood drained from poor Eddie's face, he came to a dead stop, and immediately started to back up like a cartoon character who was leaving grooves in the floor.  He managed to back himself into the couch and couldn't go any further just about the time I caught up with him.  I think he left claw marks on my back. 

I can't say that George and Eddie ever came to be close friends but they did learn to tolerate each other - especially after Eddie learned that he could swing from old George's beard once we hung him on the wall.  Poor George, what a disgrace to any self-respecting moose.   

George paid the ultimate price many years later when he died one last time in a fire.  Poor George, may he rest in peace - finally.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Christmas And The Big Tree

Christmas at our house was a real treat.  One in particular is most memorable.  We had two children and had moved to the country.  I was pregnant with our third child, but then when wasn't I pregnant.  We decided we would take the little ones to a tree farm and cut our own tree.  I had also been having trouble with a wisdom tooth trying to work its way through my very sore and swollen gum.  Not to worry, I would rush to the dentist, have the nasty thing yanked out and be back in plenty of time to join the family for a trek through the isle of misfit pine trees. 

All went well at the dentist in spite of the fact that my grandmother, two hundred miles away, was having palpitations because pregnant women should never have a tooth pulled and she was not going to rest until I was safely home and in bed for the next week.  I don't remember why teeth pulling and pregnant women didn't go together, but Lynlie looked okay when she was born.  I mean she didn't have antlers or three eyes or anything like that.

We bundled the kids up so tight they could barely walk and we were not much better - but then I was out of shape, weary from tooth pain, and very front heavy.  We walked and walked.  We picked the kids up over and over when they tripped in the snow.  We walked and walked, picked up, and rested.  Finally we found the perfect tree.  It was about twenty-five feet tall, round and full.  It was absolutely beautiful, problem was our ceilings were only ten feet high.  So hubby climbed about half way up and chopped and sawed, then huffed and puffed, then chopped and sawed, then... oh well, you know what he did, and you probably also know he wasn't happy about it at this point.  It took a long time but it eventually fell down splashing snow all of our giggling children and their very frustrated mama. Finally we could go home and it was a good thing because I was about nine months pregnant and I really had to go - SOON!

Along about the time the tree hit the ground, the pain pills wore off and my tooth, or lack of a tooth, really started to throb.  Edward and I grabbed the biggest limbs and Renee and Eddie pulled on anything they could latch onto between falling down and being too bundled up to stand back up on their own.  So we walked and walked, picked up, and walked and walked.  Finally we were at the car and tied the tree on top as best we could.  The trip home was a lot of fun because it was like driving through a forest with all the branches laying on the windshield.  Did I mention the frustrated husband.

I don't remember how the tree came off the car when we got home because I was making a mad dash for the bathroom.  I do remember that once we cut off a couple of feet and set up the tree it took up about half of the living room - and the room was about twenty feet long.  It was so big we nailed it to the floor and tethered it to both walls.  We didn't have nearly enough decorations for it so we only put them around the front and sides.  The kids and I made paper chains and ornaments and strung popcorn.  It looked very much like Charlie Brown might have helped us, but we loved it and I think the kids played hide and seek inside it's branches when we weren't looking.
It was the best tree we ever had.

Lynlie was born three days later, so I took grandma's advice and went to bed for a week.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Our First Meal

Our first night in our little bungalow was very memorable.  Edward had allotted me ten dollars to buy groceries for the week.  I spent a little over nine dollars and managed to fill the cupboards fairly well - again, remember this was a very long time ago.  Between a few wedding gifts and some donated books of trading stamps we had managed to have some basic dishes, glasses (the ones I had to grab every time the train went by), silverware, and pots and pans.  The only problem was that we did not have a can opener or sharp knife.  I had planned to have potatoes and corn with some kind of meat (too long ago to remember what kind) but I had no knife to peel the potatoes or can opener for the corn.  What to do?  What to do?

Being the ingenious woman that I am I searched until I found an old army can opener for the corn - the kind that takes you eleven and a half minutes to open one can and I scrubbed the potatoes and cooked them with the peels on.  A little salt and butter and hubby was none the wiser for my turmoil.   

Since Edward had worked his way up to assistant manager at the grocery store we were often the recipients of  "gifts" from the store and its vendors.  Sometimes it was in the form of dented and unlabeled cans, some display item like the colander (from a macaroni company) that I still have, and finally an old knife from a sympathetic butcher, I still have that too.  The neighborhood children loved it once a month when an dairy vendor would give Edward an entire case of ice cream.  We had a very small refrigerator with the smallest freezer compartment I have ever seen.  There was no way we could eat all that ice cream so we passed it out.  We were the most popular people in the neighborhood, with the kids anyway.

A long time has past since then and if you could see my house now you would wonder why someone with so much experience living as minimally as possible would ever end up in the house we live in now.  But, again, that's a story for another blog.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Our first home was by a railroad track and very small, only a living room, bedroom, kitchen, and a bathroom so tiny the shower stuck out into the bedroom and you practically had to back into it if you wanted to use the facilities.  I loved it there.  Of course we only had one child then and she was so small I could contain her in very small spaces.  The train would go past about  noon and midnight and it was so relaxing to hear it rolling along and the gentle whistle blow as it crossed the intersection.  Okay, so it was nice for a day or two then it became a royal pain.  The clack of the wheels nearly drove me out of my mind.  The dishes in the metal cupboards rattled and sometimes came close to shaking themselves out off the shelves.  Sometimes the train was so long it held up traffic in front of the house and the horns would start to blow and shouts could be heard from angry drivers anxious to get where they were going. 

The house served us well for a short time - until we found out there would be two little ones under foot and we decided we had to move on.  Besides its a little hard to potty train children when you both can't fit in the bathroom at the same time. 

Many houses have come and gone since those early days but none has drawn us as close as the little bungalow by the tracks.  Of course, had we stayed there I am sure we would not have the family we do today - one of us would have strangled the other. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Our Youngest

Elizabeth, our youngest, was born with a head full of dark curls and a desire to talk.  When they laid her on my stomach I did what most mothers do, I threw up.  If babies were in fact able to talk, I am sure she would have yelled "Hey what's up with that?"  In all fairness, I threw up every time I had a baby so this was nothing special.  Along about three weeks I think Elizabeth did say her first words and she has not stopped since.  In fact, I think she was giving the doctor instructions on how to conduct her six week checkup and that she was quite capable to taking care of herself from then on.

I went to many parent-teacher conferences while I was raising my children.  I grew quite familiar with phrases like, such a wonderful child, a model student, wish I have a whole classroom of students like your child, always helping and putting others first.  I loved these compliments for my children.  However, we were soon hearing some new qualifiers to these compliments.  Things like, I have never heard a child talk so much in my entire teaching career, she's very helpful to the other students except she wants to do the work for them, does she talk this much at home, she tries to do my job teaching the other kids, can you do something to keep her from talking so much.  Of course I know she talks that much, no I can't do anything about it - I've tried, yes she does tend to take over. blah, blah, blah.  Why do you think I sent her to kindergarten at age 3!

Somehow we always knew all our children would be leaders and successful in life, however, we also knew Elizabeth would take over the world.  She is grown now, an excellent and talented ICU nurse.  Yes she still talks, more than most people, and she is very passionate that things are done right at her hospital.  So if you break the rules or go against the policies she will see to it you are fired - just ask the Chaplain!  But that is a story for another blog. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Middle Daughter

Lynlie was our smallest baby at seven and a half pounds.  She was tiny and had very thick, dark hair.  When an older cousin saw her for the first time he said she wasn't a baby it was just a toy doll.  We invited him to touch her wiggly toes, he did and promptly stated that her foot was real but the rest of her was still a toy.

She was a good baby but an even better child growing up.  We never had to worry about her.  If she told us she was going somewhere, that's exactly where she went and she came home exactly when she said she would.  Well, there was that time when she was eighteen and went to a birthday party and told us she would be home at 9 pm.  Needless to say when it got to be 9:30 and she wasn't home, we absolutely panicked.  We were just grabbing our coats to make a frantic search for her when she finally pulled into the driveway.  We didn't even have a chance to ask where she had been when she blurted out, "Don't worry, I'm okay.  I was with the police and because of me none of us had to go to jail".  Then she  turned and started off to her room like that was all the information we needed to hear. 

Turns out Lynlie and the girls from the party had decided to go visit another girl who had not been able to come and they were a little late leaving so they were still driving after curfew at 9 pm.  A young policeman, wanting to strut his stuff in front of a car load of teenage girls, pulled them over.  He was in the process of reading them the riot act for being out past curfew without an adult when Lynlie stopped him, showed him her driver's license and revealed that she was eighteen and therefore they did indeed have an adult with them.  Embarrassed he let them go and they went back to the party and Lynlie came home. 

That was the one and only time she gave us any cause for concern. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Our Son

 Little Eddie was born on a Sunday evening just about thirty minutes after we arrived at the hospital.  Not a lot of extensive labor like his older sister but we managed to get there in time for daddy to watch Bonanza while I was breaking the sound barrier trying to get to the labor room in time.  We soon found out that speed was going to be a vital part of this child's life. 

By the time our son reached a whole year old he had given up his bottle, his crib, and afternoon naps.  He had also learned how to terrorize his sister, open locked doors, ride a tricycle, and present partial bird carcases to his mama for approval.

He also managed to cause speed in other people.  Like the time he decided there were too many people in the pet store and he was not able to see the animals as quickly as he would like.  So, in his bright male dominate mind he just ran through the store yelling, the snakes are loose, the snakes are loose.  After that he was free to view all the animals at his convenience.

He was a beautiful child, wavy blond hair, and a smile and dimples to die for.  That's why it was so hard to believe such innocence could reek so much havoc.  But those are stories for more (many, many more) blogs.

Our Oldest

Have you ever had the feeling that no matter what you need to do you aren't going to do it right?  Well that's exactly the feeling I had when we brought our first child home from the hospital.  Renee was born a long time ago, back when new mommies got to stay in the hospital for a full five days, the babies slept in the nursery where the nurses fed them at night, and there was always some medical professional nearby to help when you needed to rest. 

Renee was a really good baby.  She hardly ever cried, spit up, or made disgusting bodily noises.  Well there was that time she tinkled on her great uncle Charles, but we don't talk about that.  She started sleeping through the night at age one and a half weeks.  That's the truth.  She would sleep from about 10 pm until 6 am with no problem at all.  However, I should explain what led up to this phenomenon.  You see, new daddy decided he should get up to feed her so I could get some rest.  He changed her and made her toasty warm while her four-ounce bottle was warming.  After being satisfied the bottle was just right he picked her up and headed for the rocking chair.  Unfortunately in order to get to the chair he had to cross the bedroom and tiptoe past the old radiator that heated the apartment.  The problem was that he didn't tiptoe past the radiator, he tiptoed into the radiator and stubbed his toe, knocked my fuzzy slipper into the heater where it immediately fused to the heated metal, stomped off to the rocker, fed the poor child the entire bottle, did not burp her, and put her back in the crib where I am sure she realized if she was going to make it in this world she'd better not tick off her new daddy. 

I knew then that God was listening the day we brought her home and I whispered this prayer, "God, please don't let this child do anything that you and I can't handle together".  So far He has done just that.

Friday, February 3, 2012


My husband Edward is the sixth of seven children.  He weighed just under three pounds when he was born, stayed an entire month in the hospital,  and slept in a box near the stove when he came home.  He has put on a few pounds since then but still likes to be wrapped up tightly when he sleeps - and he does like to sleep.  Our youngest granddaughter says if she doesn't get her sixteen hours of sleep each night then she can't function.  Grandpa taught her that. 

Hubby and I met while we were both in high school, rival schools.  I went to the good one and he didn't.  Surprisingly they are both still in existence today and mine is still the best.  He was working at the local grocery store.  My sister (the one who never does anything wrong) and I trapped him one day and asked where the canned peas were (not that we didn't already know) and managed to keep him talking for a few minutes.  Long enough to bat our eyelashes and sway a little back and forth so our poodle skirts and crinolines would swish around.  Unfortunately, we forgot we were both carrying a gallon of milk.  Now for those of you who don't remember, milk came in glass jugs in those days.  Our swishing and swaying was good for flirting but not so good for glass.  My sister swished and I swayed and BANG!   Suddenly there was a lake of milk everywhere and my poor hubby had to clean it up.  He tells people he's been crying over spilt milk ever since.

Don't let him fool you.  He loves every minute, why else would he hang around for 47 years cleaning up my messes?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Outhouse

About two weeks after the Ark settled and the waters dried up, Jane was born.  My mother was a housewife (that's what they called stay-at-home moms back then) and my father was an engineer on a river barge hauling coal up and down the Ohio River.  One of my first memories was the day daddy (who was handy with most household jobs) built a well house so mother wouldn't have to do the laundry on the back porch.  He was very proud of job he did laying the blocks and putting on the roof.  Then he poured cement on the walk between the house and the new laundry room. 

Wet cement and five year olds do not mix - anyone ever tell you that?  It became too much for me to bear and with a little help from some cousins I decorated the walkway.  Names, world class artwork, even our new found talent to write our ages all became a part of that masterpiece.  Little did we know that daddy, tired and impatient, would not be pleased and see the future importance of our art.  As soon as we heard him come out the back door we knew we were in trouble.  Where could we go, where could we hide?  Safety for us came in the little two-holer (we were high-class back then) at the back of the yard.  We ran as fast as our little legs could carry us and slammed the door behind us.  Since there was no lock on the door it took about three seconds for daddy to rip the door open, actually nearly off its hinges, and pull us one by one out the door and spank our little bottoms until we ran crying to mother who was about two steps behind him.  Now this also included my older sister who, like most oldest siblings, never did anything wrong.  And yes, in the case, she had indeed not done anything wrong and had just chosen that particular moment to use the little two-holer at the back of the yard for what it was intended to be used for. 

I believe that was the one and only time my sister ever got into trouble and it was my fault.  Of course my parents never found out that she held that over me (still does to this day) and I became her own personal slave from that moment on.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

In The Begining

On the suggestion of my beautiful, middle daughter I am creating this blog.  She thinks that since I have reached the ripe old age of... well never-mind, I am now capable to advise the younger generation on how to grow old gracefully and not go insane in the process.  I have managed to stay married for forty-seven years so far, raise four plus children (the plus will become evident in future posts), stay employed at one job or another for over thirty years, and become the matriarch of the very best family God ever created.  Now I am sure most of you think the same thing about your family but, no, it's mine - all mine.

It is my hope that I can produce some solid suggestions on the proper way to raise a family or, more accurately, confess my failures so you won't become the same bumbling, "fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants" kind of mother that I was.  Oh the lessons I messed up, and boy do I have a lot to confess to.  Did I mention this blog is supposed to be humerous.  So when I write about syrup on the walls (yes, I did that) and oatmeal and Ajax from the kitchen to the bedrooms (yes, the grandkids did that) I hope you have a good laugh at my expense and can relate to the joys of being a mother.

So sit back and enjoy all those "one day you will laugh about this" events that have caused my cognitive functioning to be non-existent and my being able to say "I've earned everyone of these gray hairs".