The Jig is Up

Sunday Evening:
Savanah- Mom, I lost my first molar!
Me- Awesome! Let’s see.
S- What should I do with it?
Me- Put it under your pillow for the Tooth Fairy.
S- OK.

 Monday Evening:
S-Mom, the Tooth Fairy forgot my tooth.
Me- Well maybe she was just backed up and busy from the weekend. Leave it there, maybe she will come tonight.

Tuesday Evening:
S- The Tooth Fairy forgot my tooth again.
Me- Really? She must be really busy. (inside my head-‘Crap!’)
S- Mom…..You are the Tooth Fairy……and you’re Santa Claus.
Long awkward look passes between us.
Me- I don’t know what you’re talking about. That’s craziness!
S- (Eye Roll)

Wednesday Evening:
S- Mom, just take the tooth. You don’t have to pay me.

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Surviving the Storm

I am now a college student. Very surreal.  Anyway, I am taking English comp this semester, which consists of an 8000 minimum of written words. Here is my first official college written essay.

Surviving the Storm

I was pregnant with my first child during the summer that I was thirty years old.  Midwest summers are not kind to a pregnant woman close to term.  The heat and humidity levels were unbearable.  I spent the summer seeking any means that I could to stay cool.

My sister, Beth and her husband, Jeff had just bought a houseboat. They were going to spend the 4th of July weekend on their boat and invited us to go to the lake with them.  I jumped at the chance, imaging myself floating weightless in the cool water of Truman Lake.

My husband, Keith and I loaded up our travel trailer and headed to the Sterett Creek Marina and Campground.  The campground was located on the gentle slope of a hill rising up from the lake and the boat docks below.  The sound of the waves lapping on the bank made me feel cooler already.  We spent the beginning of the weekend basking in the warm sun and floating in the lake.  The nights were filled with cicadas singing and each other’s company. It was turning out to be the perfect weekend.

On the morning of the 5th, just before dawn, I woke to the sound of rain drops patting on the roof of the camper.  I love rain storms.  I lay there; comfortable in the bed listening to the rain and watched the light slowly build outside the window.  The wind gently rocked the camper like a cradle.

It wasn’t long before the wind picked up and I had the thought that we needed to roll up the awning on the outside of the camper so it would not get damaged.  Keith was already one step ahead of me.  He slipped on his shoes and headed outside while I stayed snuggled in the bed.

Within a moment, I realized that this was no ordinary storm.  The wind had escalated even further and was suddenly a massive force shoving against the broad side of the camper.  I heard Keith yell for my help from outside as he struggled with the awning.  I rushed out.  He was unable to get the awning rolled up because the wind was lifting it like a sail.

“Hold it down!” he screamed over the roaring wind.

I grabbed one side and hung all my weight on it.  The next several gusts of wind lifted me off the ground with the awning rising up above me like a balloon.  The entire camper would flip over if we did not get it rolled up soon.  Just then, the vinyl finally gave way under the stress and ripped more than half way across.  Keith motioned for me to get out of the way.  He grabbed the awning and tore it the rest of the way off the camper.

We rushed back into our tiny refuge and huddled together to ride out the storm.  Everyone that lives in the Midwest knows to seek shelter underground if you can during a tornado but there was nowhere else for us to go and no time to do it.  We were in a camper on top of a hill!

The storm ended as quickly as it began.  I was in shock as we emerged from the camper.  I looked around and the campground was unrecognizable.  Was this really the same place that surrounded us when we went to bed last night?  I felt like Dorothy stepping out of her house into the Land of Oz.  Only this was not a happy scene before us.  It looked like a war zone.  The huge beautiful 100 year old oak trees were down everywhere.  Some were actually twisted off half way up their massive trunks.  Limbs and foliage covered everything in a sea of green, crushing vehicles and campers in their wake.

I felt numb. There seemed to be no sound and everything was moving in slow motion.  My ears were ringing like I had been to a rock concert.  I turned around and saw that miraculously our camper was intact.  A tree had fallen right in front of it but the tips of the very top branches fell just short of hitting us.  If the tree had been ten feet taller, it would have crushed the camper beneath it.

“Are you OK?” Keith asked with concern.

I blinked at him as if he was speaking a foreign language.  Suddenly time and sound caught back up to me and everything seemed to spring to life around me with the emerging sunshine. I was aware of the approaching sirens and the sound of a chainsaw someone fired up to start clearing the road.  I nodded at him.  Yes, I was fine.  Keith was fine.  But where were Beth and Jeff?

I started down the path to find them.  I could see that the huge metal docks were now in twisted piles of wreckage.  Boats were scattered across the cove, some partially submerged.  I quickened my pace as panic began to set in.  I was so terrified at what I would find ahead of me. Suddenly I saw Beth coming towards me among the refugees on the path.  We started crying and rushed to hug each other fiercely around my enormous belly.

It was a long, slow trip home.  It took us nearly all day although it was only 45 miles.   We crossed the tornado’s path several times and had to stop as the road was still being cleared of trees, mud and debris.  The tornado had bulldozed a clear path through the timber for miles.

It seemed like a dream as we watched the 5 o’clock news that night.  Jeff was interviewed.  It was so surreal to see him on television.  Only one man had lost his life.  Rescue divers found his body wedged under the dock the next day.

I am reminded how precious life is every time I look at my beautiful daughter who survived a tornado before she even took her first breath.

I must be crazy…

I must be crazy. I am considering going back to school. I think that Mark must be speaking to me from the grave because when he was alive; I told him he was insane to think that I would take a (single) college class. I didn’t like school when I was there the first time and that has been 21 year ago.  I always said that I would go to college if they would let me take the classes that I want to take and not all the shit that they say I have to take…and now I might take anyway.  As if I have time.  I can’t spin around three times and hit myself in the ass; how am I going to take any college classes??!!??

 

FYI- spinning around three times and not being able to hit yourself in the ass is a major insult in my family right up there with needing a Plexi-otomy.  In case you don’t know what that is:

 

Plexi-otomy(Uncle Bob): where they remove the front panel of your abdomen and install a sheet of Plexiglas so you can see where you are going when you have your head up your ass.

 

So that being said, if I have a plexi-otomy, I should be able to score decently on the compass math testing…..right!  Math.  As in that is the skill that my Father and Sister possess.  Not I.  (Extreme anxiety and stress=more alcohol to relieve symptoms.)  Because I have taken the sample tests when I am able to take my break at work (= only free time I have)…..I passed the first sample test 100%. That one is like % and if there is interest and you amortize etc etc. etc….= my $$$$ and I know what the hell you are talking about here. The second test was 2y+4z=6x.

 

WHAT?!

 

Is this Portuguese?

 

Because I could learn that much easier. David Lee Roth knows Portuguese. So like I am sure that I could do that….but this shit….is like aliens sent down a language that only certain people who have alien blood in their veins could interpret (my Father and my Sister) (nothing personal)(but seriously…who speaks this shit?!).

 

And then there was a bunch of logarithms and other stuff my nightmares are made of…..OYE!! 

 

Shannon+college= no way.

 

HELP.

 

Sinking.

 

On top of all my other life stuff…

 

My aunt Kathy says that time passes no matter what, so you might as well be earning you degree. J

Fork It over Obama. Because I think that you have bent me over enough that you owe me something (did I just say that out loud?). Someone should benefit from your f*#$ups. Why not me?

 

……and now for something completely different:

 

SOOO… I wrote down my list of things to get done today (that’s what extremely self-critical people do in the wee hours of the morning before they get out of bed or want to wake their spouses). I had a list of 15 things. I completed 4. I started on a few others…but you don’t get to cross them off until they are complete (don’t believe me; check the overachiever hand book). So technically I only finished 4. Now mind you, this weekend coming up is a holiday and I am planning on having time to make up lost time because isn’t that what holidays are for?

 

And this is where my Granddaddy should send a lightning bolt down to strike me because I remember when I was little thinking ‘why is he still out there working? When the rest of us are in the house?’ But her I am and I can’t seem to help myself.

 

I built a chicken water not freezing in cold temperature thingie.

Gave Isaac a hair cut.

Cut up T-shirts to make a rug (don’t ask)

Cleaned the kitchen (not on my list- doesn’t count)

Worked on GS

And really the rest is a blur….

 

So back to bed now…..till my next list (which is running FYI. A running list. Until the page is full and then I transfer the unmarked items and start a new one)

(oh PS-I roasted a deer neck bone- but we didn’t eat it. It is in the fridge.)

One sided conversation.

Me to Jay: We did the cutest craft in Girl Scouts today. Do you want to see it?…… Of course you do…… That’s why I’m going to show it to you….. See……

Jay: Yep that’s cute.

In his defense I really don’t give him a chance to answer I just go from one sentence to the next without drawing a breath.

Mark H. Bennett

We all know that the funeral business is a racket and Mark would not want any money spent on any kind of stupid funeral services. He always said, “Why should I pay to die when I can die for free?!”  So instead we spent a lot less on a lot of food and beer and shared with the neighborhood. He would have been proud.

He was a great man whose heart was bigger than his barrel chest could contain. He would give you the shirt off his back, even if that shirt was one of 47 that he bought 30 years ago when they quit making them and he cleaned the entire chain of Big and Tall stores out of stock.

He had many sayings that I hated when I was younger and came to love as I grew. Pato Sopa! There is no free lunch! He told me, “Wimpy, if you are wrong, say you are wrong and do your best to make it right. But if you are right; scream like HELL!”

He taught me the importance of a hard day’s work. That it will take you farther in this life than anything else ever can. He taught me how to dig holes in the ground, patch drywall with phone book pages, build a fence and how to change my tire. He also taught me that it doesn’t take blood to make a father.

He has left behind a very large pair of bibs to fill.

As he would say, “I don’t do grief.” and “If you don’t have humor; you don’t have anything.”

The last time I spoke to him was two days before he passed; we had a 30 second phone conversation. So to quote the last words he ever said to me in this life:

What did one snowman say to the other snowman?

Do you smell carrots?        

Talk to you later.

Vampires

I am taking the steak out of the package for dinner and the absorbent pad is stuck to the bottom.

Me-Yuck (as I peel it off)
Sav- What’s that?!
Me- The pad they put in the package to absorb all the blood and juice.
Sav- (shocked!) Why would they do that??!! That’s the best part!!!

Me- (Giving a high five) Yea!! Grantpa would proud!

Later over dinner…

Sav- What if they didn’t put those pads in the bottom of the package and we could have all the extra juice-sauce for ourselves.

(oh in a perfect world…)

Chopped

A couple of days ago I made a pot of not the best I have ever made Mexican rice.

(happens sometimes)

Upon discussing it at the table my oldest son ended with the comment, “You’re chopped!”

Lol.

Non one else got it.

My children make me laugh.

This is kind of a confusing back-story story so I will try to sort it out so you can enjoy it as much as I did at the moment. 

I have left over pork roast that I thought would make some good enchiladas. Matt recently told me how much he likes enchiladas. So why not.

Problem today: out of enchilada sauce.

Solution: Recently read blog post on how to make homemade enchilada sauce on one of my favorite blogs The Daily Garnish by Emily Malone. (Mental note to self – ask super smart blog and computer savvy cousin to explain to me how to do a link on my blog.) (That’s you, Jeannie.) Daily Garnish is a vegan blog and Emily adapted her recipe from Emeril to be vegan. Research Emeril’s recipe and then come up with my own version between the two. Never made home-made enchilada sauce before but everyone else keeps saying how easy it is so why the hell not. Right?

*time elapse*

 Enchilada sauce made. HOLY COW!! This crap is good.

 Me – “I could eat this stuff like a bowl of soup.”

 *time elapse 30 min and another taste test*

 Me – “I am not cooking dinner tonight. I am just going to drink enchilada sauce and you guys can fend for yourselves.”

More tasting on corn chips this time. Did I say Yum yet?

More back story. Recently Isaac and I had a grilled cheese cooking lesson. The new food of choice for Isaac is grilled cheese. He has gone through more than one loaf of bread and almost a pound block of pepper jack in the last couple of weeks. He is grilled cheese master.

Ok so back to my quote…

“I am not cooking dinner tonight. I am just going to drink enchilada sauce and you guys can fend for yourselves.”

 Isaac, “OK. Fine with me. I’ll have grilled cheese.”

 Me, “We need to work on expanding your culinary horizons.”

 Isaac, “My culin is fine.”

 Matt, “My culin smells bad.”

Me – Almost spit enchilada sauce out of my nose.

Extreme Facial Treatments or Present Day Donner Party

The boys were racing in Reno this past weekend. Stead technically – which is outside of Reno. Dusty, Hot or Cold (nothing in between), Windy. That pretty much sums it up. I have spent time in the high desert before. This serves as a reminder as to why I did not like it.

Between the wind and the sand, I feel like I have had a micro-derm abrasion treatment. They actually charge a lot for those treatments. We all are sunburned, wind chapped and dried out.

 

Anyway………..

 

The guys left on Wednesday to drive over. The girls left on Saturday morning with Pop and Nan and flew in Pop’s plane.

 

Sounds fun.

 

It was a beautiful flight. I took some pics in the beginning to show you just what a beautiful place I live in…

 

I am not afraid of flying in the slightest. Heights = no problemo. The issue I have is motion sickness. I get air sick and car sick. Large planes are not so bad. Small planes….Ug! So this was the only issue I was concerned about.

 

I must concentrate on breathing. In and out. Stomach calm. Don’t talk to me. I can’t answer questions. I can’t talk except for simple one word answers. I have to focus on a focal point with my eyes and stay there. If I turn my head or look away, that could be it. The straw that broke the camel back. That is all it takes. When I am riding in a car, I have to see the road. No reading. No funny business.

 

That is why before the flight I warned Savanah – you can not talk to me, I can not answer a lot of questions.

 

Big planes are usually no problem. Taking off I have to concentrate on breathing. But once we are in the air. Piece of cake. Unless there is a lot of turbulence………..My issue with big planes is the claustrophobia. LMAO. I have a lot of issues. All those people in that tube sucking up MY oxygen. Seriously I can not comprehend how they are not all a panicky mob. That is just me. When they are all sitting it is better. When you taxi to the gate upon landing and they all stand up…..OMG!! Because it is a well known fact that people use more oxygen when standing. My oxygen. That is why I sit as close to the front as I can, so I am the first one off the plane.

My sister is the same way. Only Worse. As far as the motion sickness goes. I really don’t think she has my deep-seated issues of claustrophobia and suffocation.

 

 

Savanah on the other hand has never been motion sick. I used to puke in my car seat as an infant. I was so happy that she was never afflicted with it as I am. She did get her father’s stomach. I would say that is a good thing. If I had to choose what she was going to inherit? Stomach and height are good points.

 

That is why I was so surprise when she tugged on my sleeve mid-flight, disrupting me from my meditative state, and I looked over and she was green. Until this day, I have never seen someone literally turn green. Now I know what they were talking about. She was green. I saw her mouth the words, “Momma, I think I am going to be sick.”  I instantly reached for a barf bag and opened it, handed it off just in time. Whew.

 

Pre-Green Pea.

Boy oh Boy, I thought I was going to lose it while she puking the first time. But I made it through. And the second time. I made it through. It was so close. I almost made it through the whole flight. Until our final descent. It was pretty choppy and I couldn’t hold it anymore.

So three barf bags and an hour and half later we landed safely in Reno Stead airport.

Kiss the ground hello and the barf bags goodbye.

Onto more fun stuff.

It was a very exciting race weekend. Matt took first in Comer80 class. Isaac had a great race and passed, I want to say, 6 karts, before he got spun out. Darn it. Next Race is in Monterey in August.

We packed up and headed home with the intention of taking the scenic route and camping a night on the road. Fate had different plans. The truck started acting up a little before Donner Summit. We spent the night there. The next morning we tested it and did not get much farther down the road. We pulled off the road a little past Donner Summit and Dad worked on the truck while I cooked breakfast for everyone. While cooking I could not help myself from thinking, “How many meals do we have in the camper?”

We were at Donner Pass after all.

 

Should we eat the Corgi first? She does mind well and really there is more meat on a kid.

But we kept ourselves entertained while Dad fixed the truck.

Reading and playing in the shade.

Working on bicycles. Working on the truck.

Jay was having so much fun, too!

Of course he got it fixed and we were back on the road after a day’s interlude. And we didn’t even have to eat the dog. Or a child.

My Pen Pal

When I lived in our little house in town in Montrose, I became friends with my neighbor. He was an elderly gentleman by the name of Gereon Koch. He got a kick out of my garden and my huge Labrador Retrievers. He used to come over to visit all the time and we would talk about the weather, gardening, his family; really anything. He grew up in Missouri, was one of many children from a very large Catholic family. He was very committed to his faith and trust in God. He would walk everyday. When the pecans were dropping, he would collect pecans on his walks and give bags of shelled pecans away to everyone at Christmas time. Even though he could not eat nuts himself due to his false teeth. I never baked him anything with nuts in it. He thought it was funny that I carved so many pumpkins every Halloween even though I didn’t have any kids then.

When I moved to Arizona, we became pen pals and wrote each other regularly until about a year ago he could not see well enough to write any longer. I continued to write to him and someone would read the letters aloud to him.

His 98 birthday was June 28th. When the birthday card I sent to him was returned I feared the worst. He passed away the week before his 98th birthday.

We were friends for so many years that I would have to think and count to figure it out. He was a gracious soul that never stopped caring for others or believing that there was good in this world.

This was taken in December of 2010. He wrote on the back that he was 96 years, 5 months, 17 days old.

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