Saturday, November 22, 2014

When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Bake

I made the trip to Mayberry yesterday and I will be here through Thanksgiving weekend. I wanted to be here, today, because it is Mom and Dad's anniversary and I wanted to spend it with Mom. When I asked her what we should do today, we both agreed that staying busy would be best, so, we did what we have always done prior to a holiday: we baked.

Mom taught me how to make her famous crescent rolls. Well, actually mom demonstrated to me how to make them; I won't actually consider myself to be capable of making them until I am required to do it on my own one day...many, many years from now (rolls are Mom's domain until the day she can no longer wield a rolling pin, y'all).

Now, the kitchen is warm and toasty and smells a little bit like what I imagine Heaven to smell like. Dad would be proud.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thursday Throwback

About a million years ago (that's, like, six years in Blog Time), I used to do a weekly flashback post on Fridays. I called it the Friday Flashback (because, well, duh) and I enjoyed writing it. Since I have become a half-empty nester, I have found myself lacking for blog content, so, I thought that I might bring back the flashback posts.

However, Fridays tend to be a hectic day around here, and this will only get worse with the Man-Cub's basketball schedule, so, I am going to aim for Thursday.

And, hey, look! Today is Thursday!

So, here is a little something that I actually wrote for Rocky Mountain Moms back when it was a functional website (ah, the days of being an unpaid community blogger)....

Yesterday, my eleven year old son arrived home from school later than usual and in tears. Actually, he was more than just in tears, he was sobbing, sobbing so hard that it was difficult to understand what he was saying and, the story that he told me once I finally managed to get him calmed down made me want to sob.
Which, ok, that's a lie, it made me want to scream and, eventually, I would.
So, the story is this; while riding his scooter home (we live less than six blocks from the school), he spotted a dog sitting on the roadside. Thinking the dog might be lost, he approached, leaned his scooter up against a tree and proceeded to check the dog's neck for a collar and tags. The dog barked and my son backed away from him which is when an old man across the street started yelling at my son to "stop kicking his neighbor's dog".
My son tried to explain that he hadn't hurt the dog and was merely looking for a collar but the man was on a roll and began yelling at my son to shut his mouth and to stay where he was because the man was going to call the police.
So, because he has been taught to obey his elders, my son stayed right where he was while the man, who clearly had no intention of (nor reason for) calling the police, glared at him from his front porch. From what I have gathered, my son remained in that position, crying his eyes out, for fifteen to twenty minutes before following the advice of two neighborhood girls and scooting home to tell me what had happened. 

As he related the story, he was shaking, his breath hitching in his chest and he finished with "I was just so scared!"

I have never really understood  "I saw red" as a figure of speech until precisely that moment.
I hustled my son into the car, drove to our hardware store and told my husband what was going on (or, as our employees would have you believe, I stormed into the store, demanded that my husband "get in the car right. This. Instant!") and we drove to the man's house to what? Demand an apology? Shame him into oblivion? I didn't know but I knew that I couldn't let the matter stand for two reasons; one, my son wasn't in the wrong and I wanted him to know that we will always stand up for him and, two, when an adult uses the threat of calling a police officer to scare a child when no crime has been committed, he had damn well better be prepared to have a police officer show up on his doorstep to call him on it.

Which is why my husband called the officer on duty and asked him to meet us at the man's house.
We met the officer in the drive-way, explained the situation and, aided by the neighborhood girls who had witnessed the entire scene and who were more than willing to give statements to the facts; approached the man to get his side of the story which ended up being a total denial of having said anything at all to my son or to the girls. He was also about three sheets to the wind and not very bright which may, or may not, have contributed to his actions which included calling my son a liar.
Thus commenced the screaming.
I am not a violent person by nature. I avoid conflict whenever possible and believe that harmony and goodwill should reign supreme but, let me assure you; I will not stand idly by and allow an adult, who should know better, to terrorize my son for no better reason than to entertain himself (the neighborhood girls informed us that the man had laughed when my son scooted off crying. He was actually proud of himself for making an eleven year old kid cry).
In defense of my cub, I said some not-very-nice things. Rather loudly.
The man did not apologize but I am relatively certain that he will think twice before threatening another kid.
My son appears to have recovered from the experience and now understands that he doesn't have to obey every adult and that certain situations dictate that he simply walk away lest his mother have another opportunity to go she-bear on some poor old drunk lacking the common sense that God gave a titmouse.
I just wish there had been a less painful way to learn the lesson; my throat is really sore today.
This is an original post to Rocky Mountain Moms Blog. Michelle can also be found at Ms. Congeniality where she is currently formulating a plan for World Peace, one angst-ridden teeanger at a time.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

When Do You Give Up?

Our tree light dilemma appears to have been mostly solved; Hugh changed out a couple million tiny bulbs and the problematic strand is now 99% functional.

Unfortunately, the minute that problem was solved, we noticed that a large section of lights in the middle of the tree was dark. Because, of course.

Hugh gave the branches in question a solid smack and the lights blinked back on. Obviously, this does not bode well for the longevity of the tree.

Indeed, as I sit here typing this, I steal an occasional glance at the tree, and, I have to admit; the poor thing has seen better days. There are bare spots, where the branches are no longer flexible enough to stand up tall, and the shape of the tree is less triangular than it is irregular. I know that it will look fine once I get the decorations on it, but, I have to wonder; how much longer do I make something look good on the surface when it is so clearly broken at the core?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Karma Really IS a Boomerang

Hugh attempted to put up the Christmas tree last night. I say "attempted" because; when he got to the final piece-the top of the tree-the lights wouldn't work. Wait, that's not entirely accurate: half of the lights wouldn't work. How does that happen? I have no idea. What I do know is that we have had more technical difficulties while putting up the decorations this year than in any year that I can remember. I'm talking breakage, lights that don't work, missing items, etc.

It has been quite frustrating.

It has also been a little humorous, mainly because I keep picturing Dad laughing and laughing at my irritation.

I can't help but think that this is karma for all the times I teased him about bellowing out "You sappo mother!" every time he was frustrated by our old Christmas tree.

I never thought I would be thankful for karma, but, there ya go. Stranger things have happened, I guess.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Grateful For Apparently Having Had My Shit Together Last Year

Yesterday, I climbed into the attic to pull down the boxes of general Christmas decorations. Through the transparent lid of the first tote, I noticed a piece of paper and, out of curiosity, opened that box first. On top of the items in the box was a handwritten list of the contents of the box, which, made it really easy for me to decide if the box was worth hauling down the ladder, down the stairs, and into the living room (I use different decorations year-to-year, depending on my mood or theme).

I vaguely remembered writing the lists last year, and, by vaguely, I mean that I had the following conversation inside my head: "Wow! Did I do that? I don't quite recall doing that. Shit! That is amazing! Look how much work Past Me just saved Current Me! Go, Me!".

Past Me kind of rocks.

Current Me is super grateful.

And, long story short (ha! Too Late!), the house is 99% decorated for the holidays. The final 1% will happen later this evening when Hugh and the Man-Cub pull the tree out of the attic and we get it trimmed.

Hugh even made sure that everything that plugs in is on one of three channels of a remote, so; my goal of walking into the house on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, pushing a button, and lighting up the neighborhood like the freaking Griswold's is within my grasp...

...this excites me more than it would excite a normal person.

I'm not normal; I own that.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Grateful for Possibilities

Had my brother lived, today would have been his 45th birthday. I am also 45 and will be for the next fifteen days, so, we were totally twins!  Irish Twins, but, you know, close enough.

I called my mom earlier this evening to see how she was doing and we chatted a little about how Dad must be enjoying his first opportunity to spend his son's birthday with him. I'm betting there was a ball of some sort involved. Or, beer. I guess it all depends on your idea about Heaven and how it works up there. I personally believe that we see the people we love in the form that we want to see them in, and, I believe that that form can change, depending on what we need to see.

If I'm right, Dad will watch his son grow up, finally.

I can't think of a bigger blessing, today.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What Would Martha Stewart Do?

As I have been slowly decorating the house for Christmas, I've made a conscious effort to avoid the areas of the house that are still decorated with fall colors and Thanksgiving decorations. I've done that because, as I was putting away the Halloween decorations, I casually informed Hugh that my plan was to skip the cornucopias, pumpkins, pilgrims, and turkey décor because decorating for three holidays in two months was just too much for me to handle; might as well skip straight to Christmas, since getting it out early was the plan.

Hugh? Not so much on board with that plan.

I think he was worried that it was some sort of sign that I was shutting down or spiraling down into a deep depression from which I might never Martha my way out. The alarmed look on his face when he asked me if I was, you know, serious, was enough to make me rethink the plan.

So, the house is currently sporting both Christmas and Thanksgiving décor. It's somewhat bi-polar, but, thankfully, my reputation as a Homemaking Diva is intact.


What a relief. Am I right?