July 31, 2007

Not Mary Poppins' Purse

Mrs. Who over at House of Zathras has a post about emptying her purse which reminded me of something that occurred while on vacation.

It is a tradition for us while doing our Southern Tour, and stopping at Morrigan’s, for us to stay and celebrate Mo’s beau’s (Flam from here on out) birthday. Well… we’ve done this twice now, so it is now officially a tradition.

I make an ice cream cake of one layer of coffee ice cream and the other chocolate chip, with an oreo bottom crust and crushed oreos in the center dividing the two layers. Morrigan makes his favorite meal. There are presents and the normal birthday celebration.

Well. There is supposed to be.

This year we put the cake on the table for him to blow out his candles and there were NO candles.

Holy crap. You can’t have a birthday cake without a candle.

And then something occurred to me. I realized… or remembered… I had a birthday candle in my purse! I have NO CLUE WHY, but I have a yellow crayola crayon candle in the pocket of my purse, amongst the 50 tubes of lip gloss, lip stick and lip liner (I have a problem… I’m aware and I blame it on my Mom), 10 dollars in change at the bottom of my purse making my purse weigh approximately the same as an anvil, thereby making it a perfect weapon, receipts from months of grocery shopping, a huge clip/magnet for the aircraft I am currently working, pens, pencils, and… I think that’s it.

But seriously, there was a candle.

So I scrambled and found it, washed it off and popped into the center of his birthday cake.

And it is now officially the birthday candle. Great. I found that Mo had washed it and put it back in my purse for next year.

A new tradition may have been born. Good Grief.

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Not Exactly Weapons of Mass Destruction

I have but three Webelos in my little den, which makes life very easy. I can cart the three boys around and, having three boys myself, it’s a piece of cake. I pawn off my other two boys, my flesh and blood sons, and take the three Webelos out and about.

And on a side note, which comes into play here, all three boys are of Celtic heritage, but the one boy, “Bobby”, his family is as Irish as the day is long. His Dad was also a Marine and according to Bobby, all four boys are going into the Marine Corps. That’s their career choice, although the baby is but 2, it could happen.

My Webelo den is working on something called, “The Arrow of Light”. It’s the only badge they can earn that can be worn on their Boy Scout uniform, should they stay with scouting. Since the school year is crazy busy, I’ve been filling the summer up with things for us to do in our quest to earn the badge.

Last week we visited a civil engineer’s office so the boys could see what they do. Today we had ‘engineering projects’ that I have devised. We were supposed to learn First Aid, but ran out of time when building our circuit. I bought wire, a switch, light bulbs, and batteries and had each boy build a circuit and explained the opening and closing of the circuit with the switch. I’d forgotten what a pain in the ass it is to strip wire if you can’t find your damn wire strippers. And the boys made snacks. It was a three hour meeting and they flat wore my ass out.

I try to start every meeting with their making their own snacks. This time I had them make S’more clusters, which I had seen over at Jody’s of IowaGeekOnline. They LOVED them. The only downfall being… they were so frickin’ hopped up on chocolate and sugar during our science projects I had to take a lot of deep breaths and continually refocus them. Next time we’re doing baked brie and pears. Good Grief.

Anyway, last week I said to the boys, “We’re making a marshmallow catapult” and IMMEDIATELY, Bobby said, “OH! Can we light the marshmallow on fire before we launch it?”

Folks, I have been collecting materials for these catapults for TWO weeks and NEVER ONCE did it occur to me that we should light the marshmallow.

I was relating the story to TGOO and I said, “Frickin’ Celt and son of a Marine, wants to light the damn marshmallow. I NEVER thought of that and that was the FIRST frickin' thing out of his mouth.”

There were no blazing marshmallow catapults. NO. No matter how much they begged…

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July 30, 2007

To Infinity, And BEYOND!

Other than the funny stuff, I don’t blog on work much, and even then it’s not a big part of my blog. I have a ‘do no harm’ policy and I never want something I post, that I’m laughing about inwardly, to hurt anyone’s feelings. I have to work with them and to date, I’ve got a very good working relationship with my co-workers.

I think most know I was furloughed end of June. Essentially work ran out on the project I work on and the higher ups thought they found more… and they did not. So although we all thought I’d be back to work in mid-July, not only am I not back, it appears it may be September or October until there is work for me.

And even then that’s if the planets are aligned correctly, the moon is blue, and it’s not raining. One just never knows.

Meanwhile, my tech-lead is scrambling to find anything to bring me back. I told him, “You best not be losing a wink of sleep over my not working. This is not your fault.” And its not. But we’ve known each other for going on 20 years and we work well together, and he’d like to bring me back if he can.

Which brings me to why I’m losing my job, for real. This is something I’ve not blogged on in the past and it’s difficult for me to step out and say it… I fear I reveal too much of myself and who I work for. I treasure the privacy of that, very much. But it doesn’t take a Rocket Scientist (no pun intended) for some of you to figure out what I do and what I work on.

So, without being too specific, in case you did not know, I will just say I work on military aircraft. What part… well, that is really irrelevant to what I’m about to post here because it effects all aspects of our military fleet… airframe, propulsion, avionics, weapon systems… all of it.

I’m losing most of my job due to outsourcing. Funny as I work for an outsource company. I don’t work for any of the big companies anymore… companies whose names you would readily recognize… Boeing, GE, Pratt &Whitney, Lockheed, General Dynamics, I do have job experience (12 years worth) with one of them and equally as much working with the others, but I work for a company that works very strongly with those big companies… taking their overflow and… outsourcing.

We are an American firm.

What has occurred however is that American outsourcing engineering firms are not as cheap as our overseas brethren. Our work is top notch, but our engineers demand more money. Companies can outsource engineering work to India, Puerto Rico, and other countries for less than $20 an hour. That includes overhead. Benefits. All of it.

Cheap engineering labor. It has taken a four year degree (which really takes five years) with tremendous studying and pressure, and turned it into cheap labor.

And as insulting as I find it to be… so be it. Free economy and all that… so be it.

So you think, “Surely not our military work, right? Our secrets to our military being outsourced?”

Ahhh. Well. It would seem logical we would not allow it and I do believe there are laws against it… but it is easy to skirt those laws when the big companies buy into outsource companies, owning a nice share so that the outsource company is now under the American corporate umbrella, even though the engineers are NOT American, not having ever set foot in America.

And that is how it is gotten around. So much of our military engineering is being outsourced to India, Puerto Rico and other countries. It is not just commercial, but military too.

Question me? Ahhhh, do not. The recent attempted bombing in Scotland had an Indian aeronautical engineer on the team. He worked for one of the foreign outsource companies that does work for Boeing and Airbus… to name just two. I know for a fact they work with others.

Of course there is some serious scrambling going on from the outsource company to assure their customers that American aero secrets are perfectly safe with them… of course.

But it brings to the forefront, that we are in fact outsourcing to foreign countries, our competitive edge… our military engineering and I find that most troublesome, and not just because I’m losing my job to it.

And some will say, but we are only giving them pieces or not giving them ALL the information and I will say in turn, “Where there is a will, there is a way” and “Reverse engineering is not that hard if the people are smart enough.” It is what it is.

So it would appear that I’m moving on. I’m not sure what is next. My tech lead is bothered. I can hear it when I talk to him, but I told him today, “It should not ever be lost on you, what you have done for me in bringing me back to the workforce three years ago. I thought I’d not anything to offer anyone, having been a stay at home Mom for 5 years, but you proved me wrong and I will always be appreciative.” And I meant every word.

I am hearing I could get on a space team. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I told him I’d like to play Spaceman Spiff! It could be fun.

And it is a wake up call to me. I will need to find permanent work eventually. This has been a GREAT three years. I love working with Company X, I love working FOR my current company, everyone is appreciative and treats me well. I come and go as I please. I make my own hours. They pay me very well. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d get to ply my trade and be a Mom, and not have the stress of when kids were sick, or vacation planning, or just… life vs. work. It has been a dream come true.

But with every plus there is a minus… our universe balances itself out… and with the wonderment of how great my job has been, I have the downside of the fact I can be let go in the blink of an eye when money runs out. As it has.

I’ll eventually have to go to a more rigid job, where I’ll have the worries of the usual working Mom. But we will see. Come September I might be Spaceman Spiff, moving from working periods of time in hours to seconds.

I may very well become a Rocket Scientist. How fun could that be?! What an excellent twist it could be in my journey.

But until then… I wait. And Hope…

Posted by Boudicca at 08:08 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

July 29, 2007

Danger, Danger, Danger!

A couple months ago, I received an email from one of my readers about The Dangerous Book for Boys. He recommended I take a look at the link and I did and I AM going to get this book for my kids. (Click on the link and click on View the Trailer. They did a great job.) Holy crap, it looks like so much fun!

After that, I think I received two or three more emails, concerning the same book, one of the emails came from my brother.

This weekend I received an email from Ted at Rocket Jones. He and a group of bloggers have started a new blog called, The Dangerous and Daring Blog for Boys and Girls. They hope to fill it with all the same type of goodness for boys and girls, as in the book.

So, stop by and take a look!

Posted by Boudicca at 08:41 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Deathly Realizations

I was driving the boys somewhere a couple days ago, when the discussion of my death came about. All these good deep discussions seem to happen in the asexual Mom-mobile. Forget the kitchen with family warmth and all that romanticized version of what family is about.

The big ticket items get brought up for discussion while barreling down I-95 going 75 MPH.

Anyway.

One of them said, “Mom, what happens to us if you and Dad die.”

Me: You go to Mimi and Big Daddy. Well, for the next three years you do. In three years, Big will be 70 and Mim 69, and y’all will be 15, 13, and 11 and it’s a bit much to ask people in their 70s to take on three teenage boys. So at that point, we’ll rethink it and you might go to Aunt Mo and Flam (aka, Mo’s Beau).

One of the three boys: Aunt Mo and Flam?

Me: Yeah, but we have to discuss it. The ghetto is not a good place for y’all to live. But if your Dad and I die, and they get y’all, that house isn’t big enough for them and three teenage boys, so they’d probably have to move anyway. We’ll see.

Silence set in the car for a good solid minute, which means with three boys, it felt like an hour.

One of the boys: So… what happens to the big screen TV if you die?

Me: *blink* Umm… well, it gets sold.

Ringo: It gets sold? Is that what happens to all the stuff in our house?

Me: Yes. The house would sell, there would be something called an Estate Auction, and everything in it would go and you’d go to whoever you’re supposed to go live with.

Another long silence ensued as the boys digested this information.

One of the boys: But… what happens to the entertainment center?

(Side note: it is a beautiful piece of furniture that takes up an entire wall… absolutely gorgeous.)

Me: It would have to go with the house… it’s too big to move anyway.

Ringo: But… but Dad and Uncle D (my husband’s younger brother) BUILT THAT with their own hands!

Me: I know. But it would not go. It would stay at the house.

Mr. T: Wow. Everything would go… the entertainment center…

Me: You know what boys, you all will be so damaged if I die, the last of your concerns is going to be the frickin’ big screen TV or the entertainment center.

Mr. T: Damaged? We’ll be damaged?

Me: YES. I’ll be DEAD!!

And at that point… everyone started to laugh. Go figure.


Posted by Boudicca at 08:24 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Food, Fun and Family

OK. I’m a jerk.

It was the first time I’d had all these people over. I had forgotten how they were a 2nd family to my husband while growing up. (His best friend moved away about 10 years ago.)

So…

Suddenly I had a kitchen full of Italian women and *Poof* the table was cleared, dishes washed and dried, and I put them away while orchestrating the dessert/coffee/fruit course. Even the men jumped up and helped… which does not happen often.

His best friend’s mother said to me, “You didn’t need this in your life. This big dinner for us to come over. We’d have been happy with hot dogs and hamburgers. I cannot believe the effort…”

To which my husband replied, ‘Maria, you did this all the time when we were growing up. How many big family dinners did you do?’

Maria, who is now in her early 70s, said, “Exactly! I KNOW how much work it is… and with your kids. You didn’t need this. But we do appreciate it.”

And I think what happened yesterday, when my husband was with his best friend, the memories flooded back of the big Italian family dinners, the pasta, the sauce, the eggplant parmesan, the fruit and dessert, the people, the noise, the laughter… and I think he wanted to bring it all back.

And so it was. Fifteen people, with kids at the kid table, and wine and food, and laughter and jokes about their childhoods and discussions about futures and everyone in the kitchen harassing each other… the way I feel certain it was when my husband grew up.

Sunday in an Italian family.

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July 28, 2007

Weekend Obligations

It started out with my husband informing me his best friend from high school was in town. It became that we wanted to get together with him for dinner... having him to the house seemed fine. I encouraged it.

It has become 15 people coming for dinner tomorrow night, including best friend's daughter, Mom and Dad, sister and her husband, and my husband's family.

I found out this afternoon.

I'm tired already. It is different when it is family coming. I don't necessarily pick up, and I don't do a big cleaning. I am who I am and they know it. But even then it is exhausting because push come to shove, too much falls squarely on me. (Side note, my husband is doing most of the cooking for tomorrow as ti will be a big Italian feast... his homemade sauce is cooking as I write this.) Add to the fact there are people who have never been to my home, there is a sense of having to take extra pains. Having this many guests, almost like a small dinner party, is not fun to me at all.

Sure, we will have a great time. The food will be great, there will be much laughter, but it is a lot of work for ME the day of and I have come to loathe it at times.

I would have made a horrible military wife. Or any type of corporate wife where entertaining is required. Some people thrive on it, love it, I actually do not. I find it intrusive on my space. I am not so extroverted and all the energy around me, the incessant talking and noise, wears me down.

So tomorrow the masses are coming for dinner and I'm already getting the table ready and... wishing it away. There will probably not be any blogging tomorrow. Quite frankly, I'm already feeling resentful and angry.

I hate entertaining.

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July 25, 2007

Rock Star to One... A Geek to Another

Filed under you just can’t make this crap up…

I really wish sometimes there was another adult in the car with me… someone I could laugh with. I laugh with Ringo, but it’s not the same, because although he found this funny, there is no way in hell he found it as funny and bizarre as I did.

The following conversation ensued in the asexual Mom-mobile this morning, to the best of my recollection.

Bones: And Elvis. He tried so hard to look like a Rock Star.

(My ears started to perk.)

Mr. T: I know.

Bones: I mean, what was up with that. He thought he was so cool…

Me: Wait. What Elvis are you talking about?

(My line of thought was that it had something to do with some contrived fake Elvis on Spongebob or some other show they’ve watched.)

Bones: You know. Elvis Presley.

Me: *Blink*

Bones: Thought he was so cool… trying to act like a Rock Star.

Me: Bones. He was cool. He was THE Rock Star. He was the KING of Rock. Everyone else in Rock is who they are because of HIM.

Bones: Oh.

Good grief.

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July 24, 2007

Irish, Scots and Vikings... Oh My!

TGOO had surgery today on his right hand for something called Dupuytren’s Contracture, also known as The Curse of the MacCrimmons, as the MacCrimmons were the pipers for Clan McLeod and pipers were second only to clan chieftans.

And… being TGOO is a piper, this particular ailment has been quite troublesome. He had surgery on his left hand four years ago. He has put off the surgery on his right as long as possible, his fear being, if it didn’t work, he’d not be able to play again. Plus, he is right handed.

But he had gotten to the point, where it really wasn’t an option. He had to get it fixed.

This particular ‘disease’ is a gradual and progressive thickening of the connective tissue just under the skin, in the palm. It is hard to describe… except it begins to look like the tendons in one’s hand are sticking out (although it is not the tendons)… thick, pulling the skin and eventually pulling the fingers towards the palms. Here’s a link of images so you can get a better idea.

TGOO and I were discussing this the other day in my 9 hour drive from Atlanta to West Palm Beach. We were kind of laughing as they say that heavy drinking and smoking can cause this as well. TGOO does not smoke, gave it up Valentine’s Day 1979 as a gift for us kids, and doesn’t drink heavily, a single glass of single malt scotch a night or perhaps a glass of wine is about him it for him.

But this disease is a Celtic disease and there is no denying his Celt, in particular should you meet him. It tends to run through people of Northern European descent, Celts, Northern Scandinavians, white people. Think… the Irish and the Scots... and throw in some Vikings. And that is what got us to laughing.

How in the world do you determine that a disease is caused by smoking and drinking when the lot it effects is known for their ‘having a good time’, most notably the smoking and drinking? How does one separate one from the other?

Heh.

Anyway, when it came time for his surgery four years ago, his ring finger had bent so low, when he held up his hand, he looked as if he only had three fingers. And being the good kids we were, we were not going to let that slide.

We were in the airport, picking up TN, he was coming in on Gate 4. TGOO looked up his flight on the monitors as Mo and I continued making our way down towards the gates (back when one could) and we looked over to him and said, “What gate?”

He held up his four fingers, and we said, “Three?!” and he said, ‘NO! FOUR!’, to which we replied, “Are you sure? Maybe it’s THREE?! You’re holding THREE FINGERS!” to which he smirked and yelled, “NO! FOUR” and then tried to bend his finger up to show us four.

An impossibility with the Curse of MacCrimmon.

And so the time came for surgery. And how did my Celtic father pick his hand surgeon? He decided there was no other way, than to make sure a Celt did the surgery, figuring they would be the leading experts on this Curse, and he flipped through the phone book, through the yellow pages, looking up hand surgeons, finding one with a nice Celtic last name.

No kidding.

And of course his choice was solidified when during his visit he found that said surgeon had studied hand surgery in Edinburgh.

‘Nuff said.

So today he sits with his right mit all bandaged up in a cast. Last I spoke he still had no feeling from the elbow down… just having received it back from shoulder to elbow. They do some sort of block which means they insert a needle into your armpit…. Gah! I didn’t need to hear the rest.

Lest anyone feel bad for him… do not. Feel more for my sainted Mom, who is having to deal with the loveable scoundrel with the bum right hand. He swears there are too many things he cannot do and only she can help him.

Gah! I told them Too Much Information!

Posted by Boudicca at 07:09 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Ground Rules Trimmed in Pink

Evidently there was not enough noise in this home.

Or we needed a change of noise.

For late last week we traded in two trumpets for one trombone and a bass guitar.

Gah!

Mr. T has only wanted to play slide trombone from the get go. This year he grew enough to reach the sixth position and so although the seventh is not attainable; it is not used quite so much right now, so we’re not worrying.

He is IN LOVE with his trombone.

Ringo has been playing trumpet for three years and was done with it. In his mind, and that of his classmates (because it’s all about peer pressure), there was a high geek factor being in band. In particular as he was the ONLY boy in middle school in band.

However, the geek factor is much lower, exponentially lower, if one is playing bass guitar, which is being offered, for the first time… I believe… for him. I suspect the band director figured out that this was the best way to keep him in band and so now we have the typical symphonic instruments and… a bass guitar.

We had to buy that one. I hated it… amplifier the whole nine yards. We have rented all other instruments. But we did get a starter kit. That made it a bit easier. When it came time to make the purchase, he said, “Mom, I want to come with you… pick it out.”

I said, “What part is hard about picking it out? Don’t be thinkin’ I’m spendin’ the big bucks on you. You don't even know how to play yet. You have to prove yourself.”

Ringo: The color, Mom. I have to help you pick the color. I don’t want pink.

As if.

As if I’d pick pink?

The boy who has every 3rd bracket band on his braces the color ‘PINK’. The boy, who during vacation did not have any clean socks, found a pair of my athletic socks trimmed in ‘PINK’ (we almost wear the same sized shoe) and said, “Oh, I’ll wear these!” I specifically bought ‘PINK’, even though I am not a Pink kind 'o gal, so that the boys would NOT TAKE MY SOCKS! And now he says he will? I was aghast. He said, “Mom, Pink’s tough.”

Right.

Back to the bass guitar.

Said I, “I thought you said Pink was tough…”

Ringo: Mom, you have to draw a line somewhere. I draw it at my bass guitar.

I’m glad we’re getting these ground rule established. Pink trimmed socks. OK. Pink bass guitar… Not.

Posted by Boudicca at 07:01 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 22, 2007

Little Red Chevette

I was quilting last night (a quilt post is way way overdo, I just keep forgetting) and decided the best way for me to get through the 48 more squares of hand quilting that remain, would be for me to pop in old movies.

Eh. Old is relative.

I picked Say Anything with John Cusack. I love his movies, but will pass on his new horror flick. I don’t remember the hair being so ‘80s’ in Say Anything, but then again, it came out in 1989, so there would be that. I’m glad I never had that big hair going on. Good grief. I’d be horrified looking at old pix. (My hair won’t do big hair.)

There is a scene in the movie where Lloyd is teaching Diane how to drive a stick shift and it brought back a flood of memories of my learning about life.

On a sidenote...And why don’t they make more cars in stick? Why is it that every car I’ve owned since my little Mazda, that I drove into the ground and outgrew in a family way, has had to have automatic? I really don’t think they make a stick shift mini-van, which just shows, I picked the perfect name for my vehicle, the asexual mom-mobile.

I prefer stick to automatic. That is easy to say of course, being a flatlander, but even when I lived where it was more ‘hilly’ I did prefer stick. It is a control issue. I’m in control of the motor when I’m driving a stick, telling it what to do. With an automatic, it does it on its own accord. One day I’ll own a stick again. Stick is sexy and powerful. Automatic mini-van… not sexy and very very… Mommish.

Anyway, TGOO owned a little Chevette that was manual transmission. I used to call it his ‘vette. That was his functional tool to get to work. Hubba drove the family car, which seated all five of us. We had a 1970 Lemans Pontiac as well that TN and I drove. (Morrigan is six years younger than I.)

TGOO took to teaching me how to drive his stick shift when I was 17 and… well… my brother and sister know how that went, because TGOO is not a patient person, a trait I admittedly inherited, and after much frustration on his part with yelling and ‘colorful language’ and my grinding that clutch, and conking out at inopportune times and never being able to get past a stop sign without doing a massive herky jerk in the car, I gave up. Some how we got the car home, and I said, “I’m done. I’m not going to do it.”

And I had no intention of learning. Ever. He tried to convince me. “I could not handle knowing there was a vehicle out there I could not drive”, he would say. And I’d ignore it.

I’m pretty damn stubborn.

I was finished and I sure as hell wasn’t going to get back in the car with him. It was too frustrating for both of us.

Then a year later my great aunt died. It was my father’s father’s sister. I wasn’t too fond of her. Actually, I didn’t really like her at all. She was cold and distant, unlike her husband or any of our other family. I think as an adult, I’d try harder, knowing people better, but as a teenager, I just knew I was not fond and when she died of brain cancer, I decided not to go to the funeral in Birmingham.

I had a job. I was a waitress at Quincy’s Family Steakhouse, my first job, and I could take off for the weekend if I had to as well as cancel classes (I was going to college in the summer as well), but I had no intention. And something else was going on, something with cars and for some reason there were transportation issues and I needed to know how to drive a stick if I was staying home or I had no transportation.

The no transportation thing was not going to fly. I had a job and school.

And there was no way in hell I was going to the funeral of someone I didn’t like when they were alive. No way.

So as the whole discussion was ensuing as to what we were going to do, I got TGOO’s keys, jumped in his little red 'vette and taught myself how to drive it. It took about 30 minutes of my going around the neighborhood, stop signs, hills, the whole nine yards.

Then I drove home, gave him back the keys and said, “I’m staying home and going to work.”

I learned a few lessons from that weekend. I learned how to drive a stick and actually preferred driving his car over any other at that point… I fell in love with manual transmission. My favorite car to drive at 18 was a frickin’ Chevette.

And I learned I should have gone to the funeral, even if I didn’t like her because… I loved my granddaddy.

A few months after the funeral I saw Grandaddy and he said, “Why didn’t you come to the funeral?”

I replied, “Grandaddy, I didn’t like your sister much. It would have been hypocritical for me to come.”

He looked at me and laughed, taking both my hands in his, and said, “Hell, you didn’t have to come for her funeral! You should have come to see me! I missed you!”

I regret to this day I didn’t go, just so I could see him. But it had to be learned and it was a lesson that HE actually taught me, one that may have been lost on me if I had not made that decision at 18.

Funerals are not for the dead, but for the living. You will notice that when someone I know dies, I try to never miss their funeral or viewing. I attend one of them… just to tell the family I remembered. I try harder to attend funerals and/or viewings than I do weddings.

It all stemmed from that weekend with the Chevette and my vast determination, in the summer of 1984.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:36 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

July 21, 2007

You Never See It Coming

As a parent, I thought it was just me. But I read other blogs, talk to other parents and realize… it is not.

We find ourselves saying the absolutely most utterly ridiculous things. Things so absurd, that after we say them, chill out and reflect, we think to ourselves, ‘Did I really just say that?’

Sometimes that period of time from saying to realizing what has been said is minutes… perhaps an hour. Othertimes it is damn near instantaneous… as the sentence is finished, at the end of the blurt, ‘BAMMO!’ the thought immediately enters the brain, no pause, ‘Holy crap, did I just say that?’

I’ve posted these type things here before. The two funniest I have read lately have been over at Grau’s today and over at VW’s the other day. Good grief.

And yesterday I heard my husband shout from the kitchen, out to the boys, “It is time to get this dirt out of my refrigerator! It has been in here for SEVEN WEEKS! Get in here and remove this dirt!”

It would appear that the simulated winter for the boys’ carnivorous plants is over. Let us see if they actually grow now… as they sit on the back porch in the tropics.


Posted by Boudicca at 07:53 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

$26 Mistake

The following scene took place yesterday, to the best of my recollection.

Cast of characters: Me and Mr. T.

Location: Mr. T is in the kitchen and I am in the kitchen nook at the table.

Mood: Mr. T is hungry and I’m just frickin’ drained.

-----------------------

Mr. T: Mom. Can I make Jell-o?

Me: Yes, but you know how. I’m beat. If you think you need me to do it, give me 20 minutes. If you’re going to do it alone, go for it.

Mr. T, holding up one of those medium sized Glad reusable/disposable/recyclable plastic containers that comes with a blue lid: Can I make it in this?

Me, looking up from the paper: Yes, that will hold two cups of water. That’s perfect.

A couple minutes pass.

Mr. T: Umm. Mom? When you cook it, is it supposed to burn from the bottom up?

Me: *blink* What?

I walked into the kitchen to find said Glad container sitting on the front eye of my stove. Evidently ‘making it in the container’ meant cooking it in there as well. And evidently, he forgot the part I showed him when we heated the water in a pot over the stove, first, and then POURED the hot water into the plastic container. There it was… melted all over the eye and although I have tried to get it off… it’s not coming off completely.

Today I bought a new eye. The other day, Mr. T had his first cooking fiasco and lesson. One does not heat plastic in the oven or on the stove. No. I just always thought that was a given…

Posted by Boudicca at 07:42 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 20, 2007

Magical Days

Today has been Harry Potter Friday.

We took the kids to see the movie today and we loved it. Much candy was consumed and it was all around a good time.

And tonight. I can’t even frickin’ believe this. I am taking my older boy to go wait in some line so we can get the book at midnight.

Holy crap.

This is insane. The weird ass crap we do for our kids.

I remember four years ago, when he was but 8 and had just read the first two books, when one of the new books came out, my brother called me and said, “So were you one of the masses waiting out there at midnight?”

My reply was, ‘Hell no.’

Yeah. Well. Now I am.

It is amazing what you will do when your child loves to read. It actually occurred to me a couple years ago, when he read each of the books over and over and over, that I’d stand in line for him. And when the last book came out, we were in Atlanta, and Morrigan drove out at midnight to pick it up, only to find that the store hadn’t put the books out. She came back and told him to wake her up in the morning and she’d go out with him to get it. I think by 6AM, he was kneeling outside the bedroom door, peeking in, wishing her awake.

So I am off to take my eldest to the book store, to wait with the masses for the final installment of Harry Potter at the stroke of midnight. There will evidently be 'events' tonight. Good grief.

One day I’ll sit down and read them. I’ve enjoyed the movies… one day I’ll actually read them as well.

**Update- We are home now, at 12:41. He walked out of Barnes and Nobles with his book at 12:18. He is in the den reading. I told him to read as late as he wants, but realize he has to be up at 9AM to do some family stuff. That should be interesting... I was looking for other cars on the road with an adult driving and a light on in the car with a kid reading. I suspect there are many of those tonight. Cracks me up... **

Posted by Boudicca at 07:53 PM | Comments (16)

July 19, 2007

Gators in the Yard... Continuation

On our way home tonight, I saw the gator. I knocked on the neighbor's door and told them where it was located. (Their next door neighbor's yard, at the edge of the pond.)

They are going to call the Florida Wildlife folks. I had spoken to her husband earlier and he said he didn't think they'd do anything. The wife said if its over 7 feet, they'll take it away.

It's definitely over 7 feet. It's big. So she's calling.

So... we'll see. I'm glad I live away from all the water... real glad.

Posted by Boudicca at 07:48 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Nobody Wants to Bottle THEIR Water

Pam over at Pamibe had a comment in my drinking water post about her Dad finding a dead rat in their well. Good grief… that comment so skeeved me out. You know how I am about rats. Add them to my drinking water? I’d have been damaged.

And Jerry, if there are rats on a farm, I’d definitely NOT have handled farm life. I can do snakes, some bugs (not roaches), and mice… but I don’t do rats.

Anyway, Pam’s comment reminded me of something that happened last week.

My aunt and uncle took the boys and me to my cousin’s house. They live in NE Alabama on a farm, a real farm like Jerry’s folks. My cousin (John and I share the same GGGG grandfather) and his wife are two generations older than I; he is in his early 80s and she in her late 70s. John is seriously active, still doing what farmers do. He’s not had any health set backs, lean and strong, so I’d say he’s in as good a shape as any many 20-30 years his junior although to hear him tell it, he’s not anywhere what he used to be.

We’ve started a tradition to see them every year when I do my ‘Southern Tour’ with the boys. The boys get to see the cows, run through the various fields, and hang out in the hay loft. I hang with John’s wife who is a master quilter and she shows me her quilts and gives me tips, while John takes the boys out on the farm.

John and his wife are good country folk. Holy crap, they are smart. He can fix anything and she is a tremendous writer. She has her own column in the local paper and has published books.

We were all sitting around in their home, which by the way, she was born in… they moved back into the home she was born and raised in… the house was built in the 1800s, and Johns’ wife said, “I don’t drink the water anymore. If you boys want some water, go get bottled water from the fridge. You’ll find it. Go look.”

John: There’s nothin’ wrong with our water, but you boys go get that bottled water.

His wife: Oh yes there is. It makes me sick.

(Keep in mind, they’ve been raising herds of cow on this land for God only knows how long. Also read this in slloooow southern drawl. I love how they speak.)

John: I drink it all the time.

His wife: Well, I got it tested and that young man came out here and said it tested positive for EEEE- Coh-lie. He said to drink it if it didn’t make us sick, but it makes me sick, and always has, so I drink that bottled stuff. It doesn't make John sick. He drinks it out of the tap.

I thought my aunt was going to spit. She’s a biologist and my uncle is a very straight laced engineer… they don’t do germs well. I think they both sat up a bit straighter. I know I was taken aback.

Water laced with E Coli? It so made sense, with their being on well and having all those cows around.

I said to my aunt as we got back in the pick-up to leave, ‘You remember those stories you and Dad told me about going to your aunts’ home and as an adult you realized the outhouse was on the top of the hill and the well was on the bottom? Well… that’s what it reminded me of here.”

Gah!

And on a side note… Pam is trying to win a contest and she speaks of it HERE. Please go HERE and type in ‘REFERRED BY way of PAM OF PAMIBE.COM’. If she wins by having the most commenters, she receives a painting of her dog, Tess, and if you know Pam, she loves her puppies and she’s a great gal. I want her to win. She did the graphics on this blog!

And well… it looks like some other blogger unleashed some sort of army over there to help them win and I don’t have an army, but I’d like to do what I could do to help Pam win. So… Go HERE, please, and type in your info and copy ‘REFERRED BY way of PAM OF PAMIBE.COM’ into the comment and hit enter.

Thank you!

Posted by Boudicca at 07:43 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

July 18, 2007

Not a Big Fish Story

This is not to freak out Jimbo. We were all a little freaked out. This is a conversation that occured at dinner tonight, to the best of my recollection.

No kidding.

Husband, eyes wide: I came around the bend today on engel street (our cul de sac is off of it), just past the small bridge and in the yard of that cream colored home was the biggest damn gator I think I've ever seen.

Me: I'm lost. Which house? Where? In their yard?

Husband: I'm not kidding, Bou. I swear it was 15 feet and it was this wide in the chest. (His hands were spread to 3 feet.)

Me: Wait. Where was this?

Husband: In that house past the bridge. In their yard. The guy who does such a nice job on landscaping and LIVES in his yard. If he gets on his tractor and mows his grass, he's coming face to face with him.

Me: In his YARD? Not on the canal?

Husband: I'm telling you now, I do not want a gator that big in my yard. You should have seen the size of his head. I've not seen a gator that big... not since going to one of those tourist gator farms when I was a kid.

Folks... this does not make me happy. We intentionally did not buy on any canals, lakes or ponds. To me it was a hazard with children... one more place they could drown. But also... I didn't want gators in my yard

I don't consider that a wild life bonus.

And I don't consider having a frickin' 15 foot gator a good thing on ANY level. We are going to keep a camera in the car in case we see him again. And if we see him again, I'm calling that neighbor and making sure he knows there's a monster in his yard. My husband thinks he knows... but I'm calling anyway.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:20 PM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

Whats for Dinner Tonight?

A few years ago, a friend of mine was in my kitchen as I was cooking. I was throwing some pasta into a big pot of boiling water when she said to me, “So what is your bug limit?”

Me: What?

Susan: Bug limit. What is the maximum amount of bugs you allow in your water before you throw out the pasta?

Me: What? Bugs? There are bugs in my pasta?!

And immediately I start scanning the pasta water, looking for bugs.

Susan: Yeah, sometimes there are little bugs. I get them out, but my threshold is about 7.

My threshold is about… None.

I don’t like bugs in my pasta.

Yesterday I bought fresh broccoli to use in a dish I was cooking for supper. As I was washing it, I noticed one head was full of bugs. I quickly threw it away and then dunked the rest of it in water, looking for bugs.

Gah! I don’t do bugs in my food. No. I do not.

And I know it is a mental ick factor. In other countries, bugs probably don’t bother them. But to me? No. I may end up back with frozen broccoli, hoping someone else removed the bugs. Frozen bugs… I can’t even go there.

Last month, TGOO emailed me and said something like, “Your neighborhood needs to get off well water and onto city water. When water starts going away in S. Fl, you want to be on city water.”

But the water in the city of West Palm Beach tastes awful. I mean like dirt. Truly, it tastes like dirt. But he had a point.

About an hour later, I was on the internet, looking at our local paper, and I read that the city, during the height of the water crisis in May, had decided to dump treated wastewater into the well fields, to help keep water levels where they needed to be to provide water for citizens.

I sent him and email with the link and said, “THIS is why I’m not on city water.”

OK. Who is NOT saying, “Ick”?

I’m sorry, but that is a big ick factor for me. I know, I know, they say it was fine. I read it. The mayor herself said it was all psychological.

And maybe this is the way of our future. Maybe treated wastewater is what everyone will be drinking one day.

But I am here to say, I do not like bugs in my food or the thought that sewage was EVER in my water.

Ick.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:41 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

July 17, 2007

Blogging Vacations

This vacation was a whirlwind. Bloggers really had a pretty big part, much larger than I ever anticipated. PT and his son went golfing with my husband and son. I met Mrs. Who and her husband Bitteroot.

And Sunday morning I went to breakfast with Denny, Zonker, Holder and Richard. I absolutely dropped the ball on breakfast. I knew Elisson was out of town and I wanted to see if his wife could join us. I think the world of her. But with the chaos in my head, I forgot to call her until Sunday morning and she couldn’t make it.

Zonker had gotten hold of Holder and Richard, however, the night before and they made the trek out to meet us with their daughters. I’d never met them before and it was a real pleasure. I’m glad that Zonker had the foresight. Richard comes across as cerebral and laid back. Holder is a SHARP woman and very funny. Nothing gets past her. And their daughters were so well behaved.

As we left, their eldest gave me a bit of a hug. It caught me a bit off guard. I have never ever wanted daughters. I have always been happy with my hand in life. More than happy, actually. When I was pregnant with my third, people used to ask me, “Trying for that girl?” It used to bug the crap out of me. I would always smile sweetly and say, ‘No, just healthy!’ But their daughter actually made me think, “Hmm. I wonder what it would be like to have had a daughter.” They were great kids.

The kids sat at one booth and we sat at a table. The restaurant was loud enough that we could talk and carry on so we bothered no one. The breakfast was very good and the conversation better than very good! As always, it was great to see Zonker and Denny. They always make me laugh and it’s an assured wonderful time.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:51 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Irish Folk Songs

My husband has a client that is an Irish folk singer. When I came home from vacation, I found a copy of his client’s CD sitting on the counter for me. His client had sent it home with my husband, so I could listen to it in my car.

It’s great stuff. It has my favorite song on it, “Black Velvet Band”. While not as good as the Dubliners, he is still very good and a pleasure to listen to.

So as I was coming back from the gym today, ‘What Shall we Do with a Drunken Sailor’ came on.

Folks… I think I learned this song in elementary school. I could almost swear to it. Am I the only one who learned it in music class? Early 70s. I think we had a rather unconventional music teacher. I could swear that’s where I learned it.

Of course as he got to the lyric of ‘throw him in the bed with the Captain’s daughter’ I had a flashback. I do believe, I recall, being in one Irish pub in Pensacola, Florida, with many many drunken aviators and having that verse sung to me.

Loudly.

Heh… for your pleasure, Christy Moore and The Dubliners and "The Black Velvet Band”. The video rots, but their voices excellent.


Posted by Boudicca at 09:32 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 16, 2007

A New Twist to 'Monkeying Around'

The Atlanta Zoo was on our agenda yesterday as we wanted to see the panda. We’d watched it on webcam for so long after it was born, we had to see her live now.

I wasn’t sure we were going to go, as it had been raining. It is not the rain that bothers me, but I cannot keep warm on some days, even on a hot humid southern day… it can be touch and go. I’m going to have to start carrying a sweat shirt with me always, as freakish as that sounds. Yesterday was one of those days where I was perpetually cold.

The zoo was not so crowded. It was nearly 3 by the time we got there and as I said, it had been raining, so the crowds had thinned. It made for a nice leisurely stroll… well, as leisurely strolly as it can be with three boys, one of whom is named Bones.

I have to say… I love elephants. I could watch elephants all day long. Otters are right up there as well. They are insane little creatures and I marvel at how much I *LOVE* otters and cannot stand rats. Otters just look like elongated rats… elongated circus rats!

We eventually made our way to the monkeys, which I always think is fun. Monkeys and apes. Holder had told us at breakfast a very funny story about visiting a zoo, the Orangutan exhibit, only to see this big furry mammal completely smitten with the female zoo employee who worked that exhibit, playing with himself as the visitors listened to the zoo keeper. We laughed at the story as she told it, it was a funny story, but Holder makes it funnier (she’s a good story teller and has great animated expressions), but I just didn’t think about our visit to the zoo, possibly holding any likeness to her story.

A bit of foreshadowing in her story, perhaps?

Because we walked to the monkey cage and there was this one male monkey, sitting off by himself, kind of slumped in a tree, sitting up right, however, but… very… mmmm… relaxed and a bit… slouchy.

When I’m not wearing my glasses, I can have poor depth perception. It’s not bad for big things… but with the fact I can’t see well far away, the whole depth thing can become a bit of an issue with smaller.

And so I walked to the glass with Mr. T and Bones (I’m not sure where Ringo was at the moment, although he did join us later), and I just kept staring. Was his tummy part pink? Was there a pink strip running up his tummy?

I was staring, squinting, until we got closer and I said, in a hushed tone, ‘Is… he… is he playing with his weenie?”

Bones was standing there with eyes wide open, mouth agape and Mr. T was standing on the other side, with mouth closed, eyes wide, eyebrows raised, and a quiet, “Yup” was elicited from Bones with a whispered, “Yeeeeees” coming from my 2nd son.

At that point, Ringo joined us… standing there staring as well.

It wasn’t long. Looking back, we probably all just stood there for a couple seconds. I really think I had flashbacks of the Street Master . And... I think mentally I was doing math.

I know. It’s the problem with being a mathematician.

I think it was along the lines of, “Holy crap! He’s huge. If humans and monkeys were proportionately the same… then…If a 3 foot monkey has a 5 inch dick, then a 6 foot man would have a…”

But, I was suddenly startled out of my math when the monkey, leaned down and… holy crap… started sucking himself. Good Grief. He actually bent down and put it in his mouth.

I think I stopped breathing. The two younger boys let out a gasp. And maybe I did too. At that point, I think it was Ringo, my 12 year old, who was grounded enough to say, “Ok, its time to go…” and we left.

If you ask the boys what they remember from the zoo, they name all the animals they saw poop. They also talk about the panda, the otters, and the meerkats.

If you ask me, and children are not around, I’ll tell you it was stumbling upon a masturbating monkey who tried to give himself a blow job.

I’m loving what I’ll get googled for with this post…

Posted by Boudicca at 09:06 PM | Comments (21) | TrackBack

July 15, 2007

Not a Clone for the Energizer Rabbit

I am absolutely exhausted. Good grief.

On Wednesday we made our way to Tennessee and on Thursday morning we met up with Eric, who rode in the asexual mom-mobile, providing direction on how to get to the Tellico River, where my boys SWEAR they discovered a new species of water bug, or varmint as Eric says, getting a 'Huh?' in response from my three city kids.

There was a small waterfall in the center of one section of the river, and with shoes and socks thrown up on the river bed, the boys proceeded to try to 'dam it up' with rocks and stones. They spent nearly two hours, hunting crawfish, trying to stop up that river, and skipping stones. And about 15 minutes into it, Ringo fell in... and within an hour, all were suitably soaked.

It was a wonderful afternoon and I cannot thank Eric enough. Last year when he did this for us, one of us took a picture of the three boys hunting for crawdads. TGOO blew it up and its hanging in Hubba and TGOO's kitchen. Hanging on the Tellico river is something my boys love to do... it is childhood memories and you can't beat that.

From there, after the Mayfield ice cream tour, we made our way to Atlanta where we are staying at the Little House in the Ghetto with Mo and her husband.

We've done the Georgia Aquarium, played at Sissy's pool with Sissy and her little sister (and I got to meet her Dad, step-Mom and grandmother which was a treat!), Mo and I went to The Whole World Improv Theatre that was fantastically funny and I highly recommend (I'm in awe of the quick wit and talent these folks have), but we didn't drag in until some horrible hour like... 1:30 AM. Ugh. I'm only up that late if I have a vomiting kid.

This morning we were up and met Denny, Zonker, Holder, Shadowscope (and the Holder/Shadowscope offspring who were the greatest little girls) for breakfast (more on that later), then the boys and I did the Atlanta Zoo (the panda is cute!), then home to celebrate Mo's Beau's birthday...

And we leave tomorrow bright and early for our trek back to West Palm Beach.

Sleep. Is. Needed.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:20 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 13, 2007

Backfiring WMDs

Mayfield ice cream is not made far from where Eric resides. He had told us that they gave tours and it was something I should consider doing with the boys. So yesterday he led the way to the Mayfield dairy plant, dropping us off as he made his way back home.

The tour was fun and short and was followed by each boy getting a scoop of ice cream, which they took a bite of and then threw away as their stomach’s were queasy from the curvy mountain roads, having been filled with a GREAT lunch at a little ‘hillbilly eatery’ (as Eric calls it).

Last night we had pizza for dinner and then took the boys to Dairy Queen… the first time they’ve ever had DQ ice cream. It will now be a ritual. Dipped cones are awesome, and I’d forgotten. (We don’t have a DQ near our home.)

Mmm… so I think I’ve mentioned that Mr. T is lactose intolerant. He can handle lactose in small doses, say, one piece of pizza. But, if he has a piece of pizza AND ice cream, it is deadly. To everyone around him. Paint peeling green gasses are emitted from his body.

Such nasty gasses that today Bones told my friend, PFB, that someone needed to put perfume between Mr. T’s cheeks. Oh, that was a lovely conversation. Having others hang with my boys is always a humbling experience. For me.

And another side note, Morrigan’s husband is very competitive and the boys LOVE to play tennis with him on his Wii. They trash talk each other like you cannot imagine.

And so the last few days the boys have been talking about how they really want to beat Mo’s beau. He has been out of town until this evening and the gauntlet had been thrown for tonight’s game.

And then last night when the boys were practicing, after Mr. T had eaten a couple bites of ice cream, followed by a large slice of cheese pizza, and followed then with a DQ cone, Ringo and Bones started to scream that they thought they were dying from the noxious fumes.

And it came to them. It was their secret weapon against Mo’s Beau. All day long, that is all they spoke of, their secret weapon. There was much laughing with anticipation. Ringo was the most excited, egging on Mr. T to no end.

Mo’s Beau came home to the boys snickering, KNOWING that they were going to literally kill their uncle… with fumes.

Unfortunately… Mr. T can’t release on demand. He had had a drink of milk, cheese fondue for dinner, chocolate for dessert… and nothing. When the boys were losing, Ringo would say, “We need the secret weapon!” and nothing. He couldn’t do it.

It was absolutely hysterical.

But funnier still was when it was bed time. Ringo and Mr. T are sleeping in the same bed while at Mo’s home. And it was at bedtime that… Mr. T’s body decided to release. He nearly fumigated poor Ringo out of the bed. All the planning, all the dairy, and… Ringo was the sole recipient.

We could not quit laughing.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:31 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

July 12, 2007

Lessons Learned

You'd think after all this time traveling to my folks' I'd have all the kinks worked out, in particular as I've been doing my 'Southern Tour' with the boys alone, for a few years.

But no. I don't.

So some things I'll change and some things I'm glad we did...

1) I will never take my 'skinny' clothes to my Mom and Dad's ever again. Since cutting out dairy from my diet, I had lost some weight. In a small frame like mine, even five pounds can make a big difference in my clothes. Yeah, well, five pounds comes back pretty quickly. Half the clothes I took no longer fit me.

2) I will pack more bandaids, BIG JUMBO bandaids, next trip, as well as knee and elbow pads for scooter rides down steep hills. Luckily, I had insisted everyone wear a helmet. We are flatlanders, so there was even a greater thrill seeing how fast their little scooters could go down hills... but they also stop quickly when hitting a hole and... well... thank God for helmets. I am the master of engineering bandaids to cover bloodied joints... knees, elbows, etc... where the surface area of the injury is FAR larger than a stupid large bandaid from a standard box. The usual medals of childhood.

3) Towels. I will pack towels. This is twice Eric has been good enough to take us to the river, and twice that my boys have gotten some part of them wet. Today... pretty much their entire bodies. In the river. Towels with boys is mandatory, just as baby wipes with babies is as well.

4) If in Chattanooga with children, you MUST do the Creative Discovery Museum. My kids were there for 4 hours. They had a fabulous time!

5) Sometimes memories from one's childhood do not lie. Sometimes that dessert you remember as a child, as being absolutely THE BEST treat,... really... was. Recipe to follow this week for... Eclair Pie. Mmmm...

6) Pack warmer pajamas. It may be summer time, but Good Lord, my aunt keeps the A/C on 'snow' after 10PM until 6AM. And what kind of mother am I? I joke all the time how sleeping with Bones means you are sleeping wrapped in child, we all joke how he must be in your space... even in sleep, yet I got so cold at my aunt's, that I found myself poking my feet into the warmth of the sheets he had laid upon previously... constantly searching to suck heat from him. I think I fell a couple notches in the Mom-o-meter...

7) It is not possible to emphasize enough to my offspring, that they will not bring river creatures into my car. No matter how much they say they understand ahead of time, push come to shove, when at the river, they will try to coerce me that bringing a rubbermaid container full of water or 'just a little bit of water' with some water bug/fish/thing, is a most excellent idea.

8) Twisty windy mountain roads makes people sick in the back of the van after they've just eaten lunches of cheese burgers, Pork BBQ sandwiches, and corn dogs. That's a fact. They'll even turn down ice cream at the Mayfield's ice cream tour. Even Moose Tracks.

We've had a wonderful vacation... but I am beat. And we have so much more we're doing!


Posted by Boudicca at 08:32 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 09, 2007

Vacation SOS

My kids are wearing my ass out.

We are going through band aids and neosporin at break neck speed.

So far none of them have been for me.

I need a vacation.

Advil works too.

A straight jacket might as well...

Posted by Boudicca at 09:11 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 08, 2007

Deep in the Heart of Dixie

I thought I'd be dark today, but I found service, so here I am. It will be sporadic, I am sure.

You know you're in the Deep South when you pass a billboard that reads, "Go to Church... or the Devil will get you!" alongside a picture of a red devil complete with horns and pitchfork.

You gotta love it.

The boys are having a wonderful time... drinking sweet tea with every meal, hiking through hills, looking for bugs (fireflies), and just being crazy kids. They are torn between running around outside and playing with my Aunt's dog. They love her dog, a little dachsund.

Of course Bones has his moments. I never know when I'm going to hear his little take on life. Sometimes he truly just speaks before he thinks... impulsivity and no filter from brain to mouth. Thought and output can occur nearly simultaneously.

My boys are aware that someone they know and think much of has enlisted recently. We speak about it a lot, but Mr. T seems to be trying to get a handle on it more. I grew up in a military family, so there was never any question as to why people did things.

But my children are products of a civilian atmosphere and although I try to make them understand the great honor it is to serve one's country, none of their friends' parents currently do. Many of them have served, but they didn't make it a career and are no longer serving.

So today Mr. T was asking a lot about joining the Army and why someone might, in particular as we're at war. And I explained to him again how it is an honor to fight for one's country. He is grasping that... and the following conversation ensued to the best of my recollection... of course ending with a Bone-ism.

Mr. T: But what if he dies?

Me: He's not going to die.

Mr. T: But he could.

Me: Yes, he could. But we will hold him in our prayers and we will pray he will be fine.

Mr. T: but what if.

Me: What if?

Mr T: What IF he dies?

Me: Then, love, he dies serving his country. There is nothing more honorable.

Bones: Like Jesus died for our country.

Me: *blink* Jesus didn't die for our country...

Bones: Oh... that's right. He died for the world...

I had to laugh.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:50 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

July 06, 2007

Lights Out

We leave my folks’ home tomorrow to head off to Guntersville to visit with my aunt and uncle. I’ll have no internet, that I know of, from Saturday through Wednesday, so blogging will… not be.

Wednesday I’ll be taking the boys to Chattanooga and then off to the Straight White House so on Thursday morning the boys can play in the river. They love trying to catch fish in this wonderful river that runs through a mountain near Eric’s home. Bones told me the other day he wanted us to take a bigger container with us up into the mountains so he could take some fish home.

Live. To live with us.

Phht, that’s not happening. I have no idea what the child is thinking sometimes. Like I’d let river water in my car. And fish. I think he thinks that if he hopes hard enough and keeps working on me, eventually I’ll acquiesce.

Not happenin’.

From there we are off to Morrigan’s in Atlanta.

So Wednesday it is, when you hear of our travels through NE Alabama and SE Tennessee. I’m sure tall tales are waiting to be made.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:11 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Happy Super Freakin' Birthday

Today is my Mom’s birthday. We had dinner of crunchy chicken, three cheese mashed potatoes, steamed fresh green beans, salad, and angel food cake with fudge icing and vanilla ice cream.

It was not low fat nor low calorie.

After she opened gifts and cards.

Bones got her one of those music cards. You think I’d learn. Morrigan says she sees a pattern emerging.

My not checking cards before they are bought.

I think I’m just a bit ‘slow on the take’. Dense. Simple. “Not the sharpest knife in the drawer”. You would think that after the Father’s Day card giving I’d have learned.

You’d think.

But no, Bones selected a card for Hubba and I didn’t bother to open it, just nodding that he thought the front was so funny. It’s funny to little boys that people may not wear underwear.

He was jamming to the song played inside, “Super Freak”.

Now what part of that picture there did I miss? What part didn’t clue me in to take a look at the inside of the card.

Yes, nothing quite says Happy Birthday as being a grandmother (a hip grandmother, I might add… but still the grandmother) and receiving from your 8 year old grandson a card that reads as follows:

Front, an elderly lady wearing a hat circa 1940s saying with a bubble, “As a matter of fact, No, I’m not wearing any underwear.”

Opening the card, you hear, “Super Freak” with the inside inscription:

‘If you can’t get your ‘Freak On’ today, when can you?’

Lovely. And just to kind of add icing to that wicked cake, we have a tradition where you must read your card out loud, so EVERYONE gets to hear it.

So here is my Mom, reading the front of the card, we were laughing, opening it up to Super Freak, only to hear her read the inside… I was laughing so hard I started to cry. There were many shocked expressions around the table.

The boys, clueless, thought it was funny, just because the woman admitted to not wearing underwear.

These ‘music on the inside’ cards are not so good. No.

Gah!

Happy Birthday, Mom! May all your birthdays continue to be filled with birthday cards about super freaks, butt scented candles, and fart jokes. Birthdays with three grandsons.

You gotta love it.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:10 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

New Meaning to, 'You throw like a girl!'

The younger boys were out skating today with their father. My eldest and I were at home. He was playing Morrigan’s Wii. She and her beau/husband always bring it home with them.

Ringo was playing baseball. He said, “You know whose almost a pro ball player in this game, Mom? Mimi.”

Me: Mimi? Well, she rates as a pro-bowler on the Wii.

Ringo: Yeah, but I needed a home run and she hit me one the other day. I think she’s a pro in baseball too.

I suspect when I’m a grandmother, I will not be able to fill those shoes…

Posted by Boudicca at 09:08 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 05, 2007

Taking Incompentence to an Art Form

VW had a post the other day on her upcoming surgery. This has been a long time coming. She summed up the entire fiasco pretty well. There is much that has been left out of the ordeal, but she hit the highlights.

Her surgery is tomorrow… if she doesn’t have a cold. I hope she is well because she’s been in EXCRUTIATING pain.

She called me when her General Practitioner sent her for a contrast MRI of her kidney, the thought being she might have kidney stones. She and I were talking and she said, “I’m going to that imaging center on Burns Road.” I replied with a story about a bad experience I had there and then added, “But how bad can they screw up a kidney MRI. I mean, they’re going to know where your kidneys are…”

But they did botch it up, not really taking a picture of everything the doctor needed. I had to shake my head.

About six years ago, my eldest boy was having some asthma problems. We ended up working through them, but we did go to an ENT to make sure nothing could be causing it from the head end… he obviously had some allergies. The ENT wanted to make sure his adenoids weren’t in bad shape, so he sent us for an X-Ray of his adenoids.

In I walked with my brood, ages one, three, and five. I had plenty of snacks and games to keep them occupied as we waited our turn. Our number was called and we walked in.

I heard one tech say VERY quietly to the other, “Adenoids. Wait. Where are those?”

There was much discussion, to my horror. They stood him up for a chest X-Ray and I said, “Wait! I might be wrong. I could be. I’m not in medicine… but I think that the adenoids are located in his face, behind his nose.”

They both gave me a blank look and finally one of them said, “Well, he’s so small, we figured we’d take an X-Ray from the waist up and we’re bound to get them…”

No kidding.

So they did. And they did capture them. I told my doctor the story at our next visit and he looked at me with the same stunned expression I think I was wearing when the entire episode occurred. I vowed never to go back there.

The whole lack of trust thing.

But when VW said that’s where she was going, I truly thought that they couldn’t botch it up. Kidney stones are so pervasive!

I called her the other day to discuss her diagnosis and she said, ‘I’m NEVER going back there again.”

Me either. And I’ll make sure nobody else I know does either…

Posted by Boudicca at 09:16 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 04, 2007

Faaarth of July!!!

Here is to hoping that your 4th of July was as wonderful as ours was here.

We have our family reunion every 4th with our ceilidh, but much less family was able to make it, which was fine as it was still fun and quite a riot.

There was hoola hooping, where I truly do believe, that you have to be the mother of boys to hear the following, “Boys! They are not weapons!!!” as I witnessed my boys chasing each other attempting to 'slice' each other with their hoola hoops.

We started with having a BBQ and then moved on to the ceilidh. Bones did a little thing that was very cute, and then with my aunt on keyboard, TGOO playing fiddle, and yours truly playing the flute, we murdered the Irish Washerwoman. It was bloody.

We had dance lessons from Mo and her beau/husband and then moved on to what TGOO had been planning for the better part of the year.

The Pirates Convention.

Have you seen this?

My brother was the emcee, which was hysterical and each of the men/boys had a question to ask him. Of course the answer always had the infamous ‘ARRRR’ in it somewhere. It was great.

Pirate Bones.jpg

Pirate Mr. T.jpg

Pirate Ringo.jpg

It ended with fireworks. For years my brother has announced the name of the fireworks before they were lit. “Screaming Devil!” and then this ear piercing firework would go off. Some of them were real… like Screaming Devil. Some of them were evidently made up.

Which I did not know.

Until today.

When Mo said, “You didn’t know he was making them up?”

Me: No! They sounded real to me!

Mo: They did? Even, “Like wearing a raincoat in the shower?”

Me: Umm… well, I don’t remember that one, but sure!

Mo: *Blink*

It’s amazing the things you learn at family get togethers…

Posted by Boudicca at 10:14 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 03, 2007

It's a Wonderful Day in My Neighborhood

Chaos can reign at times when I come to my folk’s home. We come and go, there are things we do as a family, and there is just never enough time for everything. Plus, when we come up here, it is time to decompress. The stress of our day to day lives is easily replaced by sleeping past 8, maybe taking a nap, and just… existing.

And because of this, when I come to Pensacola, I am not always able to look people up. Dinners are not possible… we always have a big family dinner. But lunch and/or breakfast is workable sometimes.

And a few weeks ago, I decided it would be my mission, to see if I could meet Mrs. Who and Bitterroot, who live about 30 minutes from my home. I’ve been reading them since they started blogging and I just have an enormous amount of respect for them. They’re the type of people that hit what others would see as a road block, and they keep on going. Through adversity, the two of them together, as a team, make it through.

They made the trek from their home to meet me at a Chili’s but 10 minutes from my folk’s home and I have to tell you, I wish I’d seriously sat down and made this happen a year or two ago.

I love them.

We had pretty much finished our lunch and as good fortune would have it, the skies opened up and we stayed longer. There was no way in hell we could leave in the stormy weather, and so we talked and laughed and it was… wonderful. Warm your heart wonderful.

They are funny, and gracious, and warm. And when you talk to them, you feel like you’ve known them your whole life and you think to yourself, “These are good people….” They are people you WANT as friends.

They are people you WANT to hug when you say goodbye.

And they are people you WANT to see again.

I hope to. I really do. It was such a pleasure. Besides, Mrs. Who and I grew up but a few miles from each other and although we know our paths have crossed, you can see from her post HERE, I know we know more of the same people.

I did have to rush home, as I’d been coerced into seeing The Transformers. Ugh. I so did not want to go. Actually, there are no words to explain how much I did NOT want to go. But luckily, with such low expectations, bottom of the barrel, in the cess pool expectations, it turned out to be a fun movie. I enjoyed it…

Rounding out with the family fish fry… it was a VERY good day! (Well... barring the whole drink your urine conversation... that was not so good...)

Posted by Boudicca at 10:13 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Icky Fished that Need Not be Fried

We had a fish fry tonight. My aunt and uncle joined us, and the entire family is now in town, my brother and my sister and her husband. Twelve of us total this evening.

And so we sat at our nice sweet family gathering and as dinner was wrapping up, the following enlightening, yet completely awful conversation occurred, to the best of my recollection.

Morrigan (to the boys): Well you can go a few days without food.

Mr. T: Yes, I know.

Mo: But not so long without water. Maybe only a few days.

Bones: 97 hours.

Me: Really? How do you know that? (Never underestimate the trivia one’s offspring can learn from Discovery Channel or Animal Planet.)

Bones: No… I guessed.

Morrigan, looking at Bones, who loves the Movie Dodgeball: Well, you could always drink your own urine.

Mr. T: Ick. No. It’s spicy.

Morrigan: *blink*

Me: *blink*

Morrigan: I don’t want to know…

Mr. T: Well I’ve never drank pee, but Bones has.

Morrigan: I really don’t want to know…

Bones, looking at Mr. T.: Yeah, but that wasn’t on purpose, that’s because you peed on my head!

Me: What?!

Morrigan: I really really don’t want to know…

Me: WHEN was this?!

Bones: Last year.

Mr. T: NOOOO. It was 3 or 4 years ago…

Gah. And it went from there. It was horrible. I’ve been damaged… perhaps more so as my uncle, one of the most straight laced clean cut, anal retentive clean clean clean, engineers I’ve ever met in my life, quietly listened to this completely awful conversation.

Blech.

Spicy.

Makes me want to vomit…

Posted by Boudicca at 09:52 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 01, 2007

Berries of Yesteryear

Today we had our annual blueberry picking tradition. Since Bones was one year old, we have taken the boys to a local blueberry patch, where you can pick for a dollar a pound.

Our picking yields a week’s worth of blueberry muffins, pancakes, cobblers, pound cakes and blueberries on cereal. To die for, really. Tonight we had a blueberry pound cake that I swear, is the best I’ve ever had.

We try to go early, as the hot Florida sun will surely bake you if you go much past 10. So we try to get there by 9AM, and finish picking when either there aren’t anymore berries to be picked (a new phenomena) or it’s too daggum hot.

For the last few years the former has been the determining factor of when we have departed. An hour is about all we can take before the heat is too much, but the last few years, the berries have had slim pickings. Last year’s crop was hurt by a broken irrigation system and lack of rain. This year from hoards of people who came before us.

Everyone seems to know of our little slice of blueberry heaven.

At the end of every traditional picking we take pictures of the boys with TGOO. We do a series of faces… Mad Face, Sad Face, Happy Face, Surprised, where everyone makes their face. The pictures go in the next year’s calendar.

I also take pictures throughout… and it is amazing to me, how something as blueberry picking can hammer home the growth of one’s children.

Bones in 2000
Blueberry 2000 001.jpg

Blueberry 2000 004.jpg

Bones Today
Bones and Berries.jpg

Mr. T in 2000
Blueberry 2000 003.jpg

Mr. T Today
Mr. T for blog.jpg

Ringo in 2000
Blueberry 2000 002.jpg

Ringo Today
Ringo for Blog.jpg

I know they make me nuts, but I am so in love with my boys.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:54 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack