Sunday, September 27, 2009

Reason # 958 Billion That I Hate Walmart

I know, I know...I haven't posted in centuries. Either my life is busy or my life is boring. I'll let you figure out which is the truth.
So, today I went to Walmart to pick up mulch and lawn bags, certainly not a complicated errand. Except that it's Walmart. Ugh! I eventually find the aisle with trash bags - and I say eventually because nothing is in a logical place and there are no actual employees to ask. There are two shelves full of various size kitchen trash bags, but none of the ultra sturdy lawn bags I need. I figure they must be in the garden center, so I head that way to get mulch and bags. I get five bags of mulch (and on a side note...there was an employee in the garden center. He didn't offer to help me, but he did stand and watch me lug 5 huge bags of cypress mulch onto the cart. Do you know how much wet cypress mulch weighs? I'm not the tiny thing I once was, but I'm also not likely to be mistaken for a female weight lifter anytime soon. Geez Louise, offer a girl some help!)
Where was I? Oh yeah. So I go to the garden center check out and ask where the lawn bags are because I cannot find them. Mr. Walmart informs me the lawn bags are in hardware. Actually, maybe sporting goods. No, hardware close to the sporting goods. 'Cause that makes sense. What kind of crazy people would put yard care items with the yard stuff?
So, I leave my big cart of mulch and trot over to hardware/sporting goods. I cannot find bags anywhere in the area. I finally pass an employee, wandering through hardware, and ask about the bags. "Ugh, I don't know...what kind of bags? I don't know if we have those. You can ask Brooke. She knows that stuff". Brooke. Of course. Because I know exactly who Brooke is and where to find her. I do eventually find a woman who may or may not be Brooke. She also does not know where the lawn bags are, but she does know that kitchen bags are in the middle of the store. She suggests I look in the garden center for lawn bags. Very helpful.
After 20 minutes of attempting to buy stupid bags, I pay for my mulch and drive to Target. I walk to the trash bag aisle ( and was stopped by an employee who offered to help, though I already knew where to find trash bags in Target) and there they were, trash bags of all strengths...including the super ultra tough lawn bags. I grabbed a box and was out of there in five minutes. Yay Target. I heart you much!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Gender Differences

Prince Charming leaves for camp tomorrow and needed some new towels. I mentioned this as we were about to leave the house and he decided to stay home. I almost asked if he was sure he didn't want to pick out his towels, but Little Runner Girl had to be somewhere, so I didn't. Little Runner Girl hopped in the car and said "Prince Charming's not coming?" I said "No, I have to go buy him some towels." Little Runner Girl rolled her eyes and said "I would want to go so I could pick out my towels. Boys are so weird." Apparently, towel color and design are not exactly a big deal to almost twelve year old boys.
Of course, I am sure there are some girls that age who don't care either. I just don't happen to know any. But here is what really made me laugh...Prince Charming called me while I was at the store. "Hey Mama? I need another bathing suit, too. Will you get one while you're at the store?" I guarantee a girl would never wear a suit she didn't pick out for herself. Boys. They are weird.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lake Water

My friend Knight Errant recently posted his memories of a lake that was part of both of our childhoods. His memories are beautiful. Most of my memories are rather mundane.
My father grew up in a very small town near the lake, only the lake did not exist during his childhood. A dam was built in 1964 and the lake was born. Strangely, I have more memories of Brooken Mountain (which isn't much of a mountain) than I do of Lake Eufaula, though I am sure we spent far more time at the lake.
During my childhood, spotting the lake meant we were nearly at my grandma's house, nearly at the end of our long imprisonment in the car. Grandma's house had chickens, cows, the occasional sow and piglets and, when I was very small, a horse. I loved taking the kitchen scraps out to the sow, watching the piglets tumble over each other when she stood up to eat. I loved climbing to the very top of the hay bales in the barn, loved the sweet soft eyes of the cows, loved riding in the back of the truck to the feed store because the lady there always gave me candy.
There were also things I didn't like about visiting Grandma's house. I didn't like collecting the eggs. I don't know why, but the chickens scared me and I thought it was very unkind of us to steal their babies. (Bizarre as it may seem, I was not bothered by watching my Grandma kill chickens, a rather freaky process.) I also didn't like being sent down into the cellar to get canned goods. The cellar combined two of my greatest fears...being underground in a small space and spiders. Ugh! The third thing I didn't like about Grandma's house was the lake.
Actually, the lake was fine, as long as I did not have to be in the water. I loved playing along the shore while my Daddy fished, finding treasure...hooks and pop tabs. tackle and bottle caps. I loved picnicking and napping in the sun. I loved riding on the front of my cousin's bike, feeling like a big kid because we were allowed to go out of sight of the grownups. I learned to skip stones on that lake, caught fish, chased butterflies, watched people jump from the bluffs. There was only one problem. Lake water. You can't see to the bottom of the lake. Especially if you're a little girl who needs thick glasses to see anything. And if the little girl reads far too many stories about sea monsters and Nessie and evil merpeople, has a wicked older cousin who tells her gators live in the lake and has a vivid imagination? Complete terror. And doesn't a wooden dock, with it's
shadowy water and slimy posts seem like the perfect place for a lake monster to make his home? Of course!
My most vivid memory of the lake? I was about eight years old. We had gone swimming off the dock, jumping as far off the end as possible to avoid the lake monster's lair. I don't know how long we were in the water, but when it was time to get out, I wanted to stay in the lake. Why? Climbing up the dock was far more frightening than staying in the open water where I could possibly escape. I finally worked up the courage to climb up, but my heart was racing, waiting for the slimy grip on my ankle that would pull me to a watery grave. Something brushed against my thigh and I jumped up onto the deck and started running. I can picture myself, wet braids flying, running for my daddy who was shouting "Don't run!" Of course, my feet slid out from under me and I fell backwards into the lake, scraping my back and leg on the dock as I fell. I truly don't recall how I got out of the lake the second time. I think my uncle may have handed me up to my Daddy. No surprise, this incident did nothing to dispel my fear of lake water. In fact, I do not remember ever swimming in that lake again. My sister would swim while I would stand at the edge of the lake, splashing water on myself to cool off and then retreating to the safety of dry ground.
I do wonder now if Knight Errant and I ever saw each other. I was the skinny little girl in a bikini and braids, riding a bike instead of swimming.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Monday evening I was leaving Vacation Bible School when a mom came up to me and said "Oh great. You served red Koolaid. I can't believe you did that. It makes Sneaky Pete (her son) so hyper". I told her that if I had known, I would have served him something else and would be glad to give him something else for the rest of the week. "Oh, no. It's no big deal. I'll just have to deal with him being crazy at home". I found the whole situation quite irritating for several reasons...
#1. I have known this woman since she was a child. She was an obnoxious, violent, tantrum throwing brat. Her children behave exactly the way I remember her behaving.
#2. Sneaky Pete's issues are not due exclusively to red Koolaid. She knows this, I know this, everybody she knows knows this. And if they were, I am exactly the person to understand and help.
#3. Even children who have been diagnosed with some type of disorder or disability need discipline. Her kids really need discipline.
#4. (And this is really the point of my post) As a parent, it is my responsibility to make sure my child doesn't eat or drink things she shouldn't. And to also educate my child and any adults caring for my child.
Little Runner Girl happens to be allergic to red food dye. (Yes, same stuff as in red Koolaid.) Actually, it would be more accurate to say she has a sensitivity because red dye isn't life threatening to her. It just causes her to loose her mind. Which might be funny except that it is hard to find the humor in the situation when your toddler seems to need an exorcism.
Once we discovered this, we made sure to avoid exposure as much as possible. We read food labels. We told anyone who took care of her. We helped her learn which foods she could and could not have. (You would not believe the crazy things that contain red dye. Vanilla icing. Waffles. Chips. Read some labels. You'll be amazed.) We brought special snacks and drinks for her to parties, sleepovers, soccer games, VBS, etc, etc. Yes, it was a pain. Yes, it would have been nice to send her off without ever giving it a second thought. But here is the kid, my responsibility. I made sure that anyone entrusted with her care was aware of the situation and people were very understanding. No one was ever offended when Little Runner Girl brought her own juice or treats to a party. Her friends were sweet and very understanding.
The only person to ever say anything unkind was another child with special dietary needs. This child, Pudge, told Little Runner Girl she was weird for drinking water instead of Koolaid at a party. Right around that same time, Pudge's father wrote an editorial in a local magazine complaining about how unfair it was that his child had to follow certain restrictions to her diet. His solution was to force everyone else to follow the same restrictions. He even wanted other parents to make sure that party favors weren't in any way tempting to his child. Strangely, the favors Little Runner Girl got at Pudge's 10th birthday party contained more of the restricted item than I have ever seen in any other favor bag.
Prince Charming has two friends with life threatening food allergies. These wonderful mothers have given other moms food lists, provided their own treats and educated their children. One of these moms has to provide absolutely everything her child eats, or eats from, anywhere he goes. She brings utensils, plates, cups, etc. She has to bring his personal toaster to sleepovers. No it isn't convenient, but this is her kid. She can't expect everyone else to have completely uncontaminated cookware. So she does what she has to because she loves her kid and his well being is ultimately her responsibility. Unfortunately, I know another child with life threatening allergies whose parents seem to think mentioning the allergy to one adult in the school office should be enough.
Fortunately for my family, Little Runner Girl seems to be outgrowing her problems with red dye. And she understands the connection between what she puts in her body and how she feels later and, at the ripe old age of fourteen, knows exactly what to look for on labels. But until she is on her child, my responsibility.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I have absolutely nothing to write about at the moment. Or maybe I just have a wicked case of writer's block. Yawn.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


They met at a Christmas party. He wasn't dating anyone special. A buddy had offered to fix him up with a girl, but she didn't sound like his type. She was dating a few different boys, but none of them were special.

He had grown up in the country and loved country music. She had grown up in the "city", a small town near Amarillo and loved jazz. Jazz was playing at the party and, with his usual lack of tact, he said "Who's stupid music is this?" She said "It's my music. And it's my house. I like it. If you don't want to hear it, you don't have to be here". He turned to look at this sassy girl and fell. Hard. She had beautiful blue eyes behind her thick glasses. She was little and curvy and the cutest thing he had ever seen. She liked big, muscular guys. This guy was ridiculously skinny, but he had laughing green eyes and a wicked grin.

His buddy told him later that this was the girl he had wanted him to meet.

They went on a total of three dates that December. He had been cordially invited by the United States Army to become a soldier. He was going to be leaving for basic training right after New Years. He proposed on their third date. He said he didn't want her dating anyone else while he was gone. She said she didn't want him dating anyone else. He said "Well then, I guess we should get married." Not romantic, but it worked.
She had to break a date with another boy later in the week because they got engaged.
Their marriage wasn't perfect, but it was still wonderful. They had two little girls. He had a career as an engineer. She had a career making their house a home. Most of all, they had each other. The two truly became one.
Two months before their 43rd wedding anniversary, she left him. Sat down in his chair, put her feet up, closed her eyes and left him. And left their girls and their sons-in-law and their grandbabies. And left a gaping hole in the lives of everyone she knew.
It has been one year, two months and six days since she left. His girls have told him it is OK if he wants to start dating. He says she was it for him, his only love. He goes to church, to the doctor, to visit friends and family. He is doing alright for a man walking around with only half of a heart.
He still misses her every day. He still wears his wedding ring.
So Happy 44th Anniversary to my Daddy. I wish Mama was here to celebrate with you.


So, my children were bickering this morning, as usual. I don't even no what it was about, but it ended thus...
Prince Charming said "It was a rhetorical..." Little Runner Girl interrupted and said "That wasn't even a question!" To which Prince Charming replied "You didn't even let me finish. It was a rhetorical phrase!"