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.