Tuesday, July 28, 2009

All in a week's time ...

Forgive me readers. It’s been one week since I’ve blogged.

Here’s what happened during that time –

My kids went to camp.

I tried some new medicine for migraines that gave me a migraine (not to mention made me a little crazy).

My husband went out of town.

I realized the house was so quiet that all I could hear was myself think, which I didn’t find peaceful; I found nerve-wracking.

Wrote 1,000 words on my novel

Did zero housework

Forgot to feed my kids’ fish and guinea pig while they were at camp

Found out my mom broke her femur and shoulder on her first day of vacation

Learned mom’s ambulance broke down twice on two separate trips with her in it. Our family is snake bit, my father says, which means unlucky (not that I need to explain that).

Played tennis and lost

Got to see Alan Jackson in concert on the lake

Got highly annoyed with a friend and a vice versa

Wrote three articles; procrastinated three more

Clapped when my daughter won "Camper of the Week"

Explained to my son what the word "instigator" means, when he brought home the "Instigator of the Week" award

Cried remembering a teenager who died in a plane crash

Water skied until my legs hurt

Texted and called my daughter a dozen time until I determined she’d been kidnapped

Learned her phone had been stolen

Talked on the phone with my sister for two hours and realized how much I miss her

Took my Girl Scout troop to Savannah, survived a storm and made lots of memories

Watched taffy being made

Wished I had more time to spend with my middle daughter

Shared some laughs with a good friend

Made it home safe and sound

Learned my son’s friend fell on the concrete and hit his head and is the hospital in serious condition

Laughed as my son tried and spit out the sour cream and onion cricket I bought him as a joke

Covered his horrible case of poison ivy with Calamine lotion

Tucked the kids in and promised to read to them tomorrow

Pondered the meaning of life

Ate some leftover boiled peanuts and vowed to blog more, write more, clean more and love more

All in a week’s time …

Monday, July 20, 2009


I heard over the weekend that “chicken” is the funniest word in the English language. I don’t know how researchers conducted their study, but they certainly never asked a mom whose child has chicken pox.

My son, along with his sister, have been signed up for summer camp since, oh, January. This would be the first time they’ve both gone away from home at the same time, which means I keep a calendar in my office with big X’s marking the countdown until the first day of camp - not for them, for me.

To say I was excited would be an understatement. Not that I don’t love them dearly but a week free of sibling squabbles, bedtime battles and guilt that I haven’t taken them to Six Flags sounded very, very good to me. I had a brief scare early in the month when my college-aged daughter called and said, “Oh, they’ll be gone for a week? When? I may be coming home…” In my mind, I screamed, “NOOOOOOO.”

Alas, that bullet was dodged, the kids were packed, and all was well. I decided that during their absence I would get a pedicure since my first and last one was seven years ago. Since my husband would be busy part of the week with business, I also decided that I would take myself out on a date to my favorite restaurant. I could bring a book, order a cocktail and eat without having to cut up someone else’s meat. More importantly, I would be eating food prepared by someone else, served to me by someone else, and, the piece de la resistance, cleaned up by someone else. Ah, yes, that would be the life!

As fate would have it, however, I looked over at my son at the breakfast table the morning before camp. He had complained the night before about itching, and I chalked it up to chiggers. If you don’t know what those are, count your blessings. So, I glanced across the table and saw that my son was covered with little red dots.


“Syrup?” he answered.

Immediately, I got up and pulled up his shirt and saw that they were on his truck, neck, legs, and, of course, I asked the question, the one only mothers do, “Are they on your private parts, too?”


“Oh, I’m sorry. Go ahead and finish your pancakes, son.”

“I’m not really hungry now,” he said.

To add insult to injury is the fact that I had not taken him to the doctor for his second chicken pox vaccine.

“For heavens sake, it’s not like measles or mumps or rubella. When I was growing up, we all had chicken pox,” I told the nurse, the principal and the candlestick maker.

Since it was Sunday, and no one gets sick on Sunday (yeah, right), I took him to the Minute Clinic. I waited an hour and a half for the very sweet nurse practitioner to tell me that she could not treat him. I needed to go to the Urgent Care Center.

Since it was lunch time, I asked him, “Are you hungry?”

“No, ma’am.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Five minutes into our two and half hour wait at Urgent Care, he declared he was starving. And he was itching. And he might die at any minute from either.

Finally, in his misery, he exclaimed, “I’ve seen better service than this in a graveyard.”

I exploded with laughter, causing the room of poor sick folks, which included a man whose wedding band was stuck on his swollen finger, a guy with a five-inch gash in his leg and a coughing six-year-old girl to look at me like I was crazy.

Turns out there is humor in the word “chicken,” after all, especially when pox turns out to be poison ivy. One shot of cortisone in bottom, and the boy is off to camp. Unless he chickens out, that is. And that is definitely not a funny thought.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

After the honeymoon - Advice to new grooms from an old wife

By Meredith Leigh Knight

1. If you don’t like something she cooks, just eat it anyway. Don’t ask if it’s a new recipe, don’t make a big production of scraping the burned part off, and, for heaven’s sake, don’t brag about it! She’s eating it, too, and knows it tastes bad.

Once my husband ate a casserole with raw chicken just so I wouldn’t get upset. Don’t go to this extreme. It has the opposite effect on women. When I saw the raw chicken on my fork, I was horrified. My husband, who was half-finished with his meal, said, “Yeah, I was afraid to say anything.” To which I responded, “You mean you’d rather get SALMONELLA than tell me the chicken is raw! Do you think I’m that crazy? Do you? DO YOU?”
Then I ran to the bedroom in tears.

Later in your marriage, you might think one of your wife’s failed cooking stories is funny and decided to retell it in front of her friends from the Junior Service League. In which case, you will be eating raw chicken from now on, and she will no longer care if you catch Salmonella.

2. If your new bride is running late, don’t repeatedly tell her the time. She knows she is late. And don’t go to the car and honk. This is not helpful, because then she will get angry and forget what she is looking for, which most of the time will be something that you need. Either ask what you can do or get out of the way. And, if she asks, her dress looks beautiful, and, please, try to be sincere when you say it.

3. When you are both in a hurry, do not ever jump into the shower right before she does. It doesn’t matter if she uses all the hot water. Trust me, jump in before she does, and you’ll throw her off her game, and you’ll be late. And it will be your fault.

4. No matter how frustrated you get at her (and, yes, you will), do not whistle, sing or hum the lyrics, “Now, I’m praying for the end of time” from Meat Loaf’s Paradise by the Dashboard Light. Not only will this make her mad, it will make her want to laugh, which will make her furious.

5. Do not try to be an interior decorator. That is her job. I don’t care if you hate the color red. She will, too, in a year and want to change it anyway. By the way, it’s mauve, not pink, and it’s a great bedroom color. And, yes, blue and brown go together now.

6. Always buy her a gift for her anniversary, even if she says she doesn’t want anything. If you agree to not exchange gifts, then buy her a card, a sweet one. Funny is okay as long as it’s funny-sweet. Yeah, I know, it’s subtle. Do not get her an IOU unless you intend to let her cash it in the next day. Otherwise, it’s a piece of paper.

7. When she is talking to you about her day, and you are tuning her out (and you will), make some kind of reply such as “Wow.” “Really?” “How about that?” “How’d you find that out?” Say anything, but do not ignore her. If she has to ask mid-sentence, “Are you listening to me?” then you are ignoring her. And that means raw chicken tonight.

8. Do take her out to a nice restaurant now and then. That pricey appetizer and small steak will not only make her happy, it will probably allow you a few trips to Hooters in between.

9. Take the trash out. Do I really need to put this one on here?

10. Tell her good morning even when you are grumpy, good night even when you are tired, and I love you even when you don’t feel like it, and you’ve got the makings for a long and happy marriage.

Best wishes and God bless.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Just when I was wondering what to blog about next, someone rings my doorbell. It’s a “college student” who is selling cookbooks to pay for his tuition. Uh huh.

Unbeknownst to him, he was REALLY barking up the wrong tree. First of all—cookbooks? Second, that was no college student. Third, I loathe door-to-door salespeople! At least he didn’t pretend like he was from the neighborhood. I had the last person who did hauled off to jail.

Several years ago, when my children were smaller and my patience thinner, I watched a man sit on the curb of my lawn and smoke a cigarette. Then I watched as he put it out and threw the butt in my yard. Not a good way to start a sales presentation.

He sauntered up to the door and knocked. I spoke to him through the glass, as he tried to explain to me how he was the Johnson’s son, and he lived next door to Honey (the name of another neighbor’s dog). Fortunately, we are a close neighborhood and had just had our directory updated. There’s a Honey the dog, but no Johnson family.

I called his bluff, and he got very angry. One might say irate even, waving his hands around, getting louder and louder. So, I did what most wives would do, went around back and told my husband on him. As my 6’ 4” 250 plus husband rounded the corner, you’d think the sales weasel would have enough sense to be frightened, and, perhaps, he was, but it didn’t stop his mouth. He crossed into the neighbor’s yard, shouting profanities along the way.

I called 911 and within a matter of minutes, a young gung-ho police officer was ready to nab the fugitive. And nab him, he did, as soon as he emerged from the inside of someone’s house. Yes, someone had actually let the guy in. The policeman, who was obviously looking for some excitement on a boring Sunday, pinned the guy down, before proceeding to put him in the back of his patrol car. I actually had to peep into the backseat of the car to identify him, which I admit creeped me out a bit.

Yet, I lived to tell about it and became somewhat of a neighbor hero when it comes to ridding the world of unethical, smart-mouthed door-to-door salespeople. I guess the word got out in that circuit because we didn’t have any more unexpected knocks on the door for the rest of the summer.

That’s been a few years ago, and now this is obviously a fresh batch of “college students” because when I told the guy, NO, he actually asked me if I could get him a bottled water! At least he didn't back talk me when I shook my head, although I had already picked up the phone and was headed out back to tell my husband, just in case.

Monday, July 6, 2009

When I grow up I want to be an old woman

“When I grow up I want to be an old woman…”

I love that song, which is featured on a Kaiser Permanente commercial encouraging women to get mammograms. Actually, I had to look that last part up, but the song by Michelle Shocked celebrating old women is just great, and the fact that it is encouraging women to “spread health,” makes it even better.

I have a friend who once said she couldn’t wait until she and her husband were senior citizens. As a person who clings tightly to her youth or, rather, perceived youth, I couldn’t believe my ears. Who would want to be old?

But the older I get, the more I wonder, just what is old, anyway? Is it an age or a state-of-mind? I have cousin who’s just a few years older than I but acts as if she’s ready for the nursing home.

On the flip side, I spent the Fourth of July with a group of woman whose very presence made me hum the “When I grow up” song. These margarita-sipping, hot wing-making women ranged in ages from 65-82, with the oldest not looking a day older than the youngest.

These are not your typical grandmas. These ladies can hit the heck out of a tennis or golf ball. They ran in the Peachtree Road Race just a few years back. They look good and know it but could care a less. They are incredibly witty and funny. They embrace their age with such grace and humor; one can only hope to grow up to be like them.

Since the other women at this particular party had very young children which rendered them unable to have a conversation without having to chase after them mid-sentence (Oh, how I remember those days), I sat on the hill with the senior set and watched the Fourth of July parade and soon found myself enjoying eavesdropping on their banter. (By the way, when you are a writer, it’s not being nosy; it’s research.)

Much of it was playful; some of it bittersweet. Here are some snipits:

“It so funny to hear one talk about the other one,” they said of an old married couple. “Each one thinks the other is slipping. When, in fact, they both are!”

“Did you hear so-and-so had a stroke?”

“No, I didn’t. This getting old is not for sissies.”

That quiet moment was quickly broken by a float with an American flag.

“America! We still believe in you!”

“About the only thing that hasn’t been taken away!” cracked one of the ladies.

The parade was a bit of a dud this year with car after car of little beauty queens, beginning at the age of 18 months.

“I think this is more for the mamas than the babies,” said one.

“Why, all you have to do to be in the parade is have a convertible and a title,” said another lady.

“Well, I’ve got the convertible,” replied the oldest.

“We’ll get some crowns and be ‘Ms. Aging America!’”

“I wanna be Ms. Congeniality,” said another. That brought a big round of laughter because apparently of all things, Ms. Congeniality she was NOT.

“Can I be runner-up?” I asked.

“Oh, honey, you’re too young!”

And for once in my life, I felt disappointed to hear those words.

To watch this priceless commercial, click the link below:

Thursday, July 2, 2009

4th of July resolutions revisited

Oh, my stars! It's July already. Not only is this year half over, this time last year I decided it would be a lot of fun to have New Year's in July (click here to read my full post from 2008), and I didn't just mean by indulging in alcoholic beverages and standing too close to fireworks.

I actually made 4th of July resolutions, and right now, I am thinking, what a great idea that was! Not only did I make them, but I put them out on the World Wide Web. I realize, all too painfully, that I'm the only person who remembers this post, but when it comes to resolutions, I guess I'm the one who matters most. Below are last year's resolutions. Let's see how I did:

  • 2008--Train for next year’s Peachtree Road Race—2009--(Ah,ha,haaaa,haaa,haaaa,haaa,haaaa!! Need I say more?) However, the other night when I was walking, it started to get dark, and I realized I had forgotten my cell phone, so I got a little nervous and ran home. Does that count? Nevermind, don't answer that.
  • 2008--Visit the lake more often—We haven’t gone as much because we have to pack, load the car, unpack—In short, we have been too lazy to go to the lake, which is pretty darn lazy. 2009--I'm proud to say that this year, we have indeed gone to the lake more because I've left my bathing suit there, along with some towels and a toothbrush, and no longer have to pack. Whew, what a relief! One resolution down.
  • 2008--Start my Christmas shopping—I just put that one on here to make me laugh. 2009--Still makes me laugh, just not as hard as the road race. And I was serious about that one!!
  • 2008--Catch up on my teenager’s scrapbook (grades 3-12) before she starts college in the fall—okay, now it’s your turn to laugh. 2009--Too late for the first child. Catch up on my middle daughter's scrapebook before she starts middle school in the fall--make that before she graduates from high school.
  • 2008--Hire a maid—Sounds easy but first I have to clean the house. I don’t want the maid to think we are slobs. 2009--Wow, have times changed! After a major termite infestation, I'm just thankful to have a house to clean.
  • 2008--Print out my digital photos, put them in a box and forget about them until the kids are about to graduate. 2009--That one remains the same.
  • 2008--Take the kids to a pick-your-own berry farm. I’ve always wanted to do this, but have you seen how good the produce looks at the new Kroger? (Plus it’s air-conditioned) 2009--Excuse me? My kids don't even eat fruit!
  • 2008--Work less, play more—Now this one I can handle! 2009--Strangly enough, this one has been the hardest, and the one I need to accomplish the most. Maybe it's a good thing 4th of July came around to remind me of it once again.