Tag Archives: Sarah

I’m Sorry

Last week, my daughters were in town, and we stopped at Burger King then drove to a park to eat. When we got to the park, we realized that Sarah had not received the Impossible Burger she had ordered. So we went back. The guy at the counter offered to make us another, but I wanted to ask a manager how someone could put a beef burger in a green wrapper and not notice what was going on. The manager offered us a free medium Dr Pepper coupon and said he would speak to the cook. None of which answered my question. What had happened? It was inconvenient for us to have to go back and insist on getting what we had paid for.

The very next day we went to the lawyer. The receptionist said our lawyer was out of town, and someone should have called us. Then she went to see if someone else could help us. We waited. The lawyer’s assistant was able to help us. She started by apologizing, then halfway through our meeting she apologized again and then she closed the meeting with an apology. As I pulled up to work, I received a voice message from the lawyer herself, apologizing again. We had shown up on time, and waited about three minutes while they found someone who could do what we needed, and then had left satisfied. They apologized no fewer than four times, maybe five or six (more than the situation warranted for sure).

Then that night one daughter said something very unkind, in public, to my other daughter. Second daughter left in tears. An apology was deemed insincere. They didn’t speak at all the next day and the first daughter left town without having reconciled with her sister.

The guy at Burger King didn’t feel the need to apologize for someone on his end screwing up then offered a coupon that cost them 20 cents worth of product for having us drive across town twice to get the meal we ordered.

The lawyer who screwed up fixed the problem in less time than I would have expected to wait in the waiting room in the first place, then apologized to the point where it was almost uncomfortable.

And my daughters who love each other more than anyone else in the world were unable to reconcile in 20 hours, causing one to leave town in tears and the other to regret that her sister had left town early and without saying goodbye to her.

As you can see, everyone from fast food workers to lawyers makes mistakes. How we handle them makes a big difference. A simple, “Whoops, that should not have happened, let me fix it for you,” will go a long ways. A “I’m sorry you had to come back, here’s something of more than minimal value to make up for your inconvenience,” is also a classy move.

It’s difficult for most people to admit they were wrong. It hurts your pride and your sense that you are in control of yourself. But they are words, and as my kids on the speech team will tell you words have power. “I really screwed up, I wasn’t thinking and that was a very mean thing to say. I’m very sorry I hurt you that way. Can you forgive me?” Is it so difficult to say?

When someone you love hurts you, someone you know you will forgive, is it worth the heartache to hold a grudge? Maybe “I am still very upset with you, but I love you, and I expect you to do better, but I forgive you” would be good. I have never gotten apology flowers from a husband (the first was never wrong and the second hasn’t hurt me) but a grand gesture might not be a bad idea if it was an egregious wrong.

“I’m sorry you think I hurt your feelings” is not an apology, by the way.

So if you see me opening my meal to check while I am in the drive through at Jimmy John’s (it’s happened there too) or any other fast food place, this is why.

Last Week

January 6, 2007

I went home to visit my family after New Year’s Day. I stay with mom. Between the two of us, we had about a week’s worth of scrap booking and quilting and other things to do. I was only home for 3 ½ days. You would be surprised what we got done though.

To Do List

1. Get Mom’s vacation photos in a scrapbook

2. Make a quilt for Joy, the new Granddaughter

3. Make a quilt for Zach, the new uncle

4. Get my picture book under control

5. Go sledding and play in the snow

We stopped to see the new granddaughter on the way to Mom’s. She is pretty, although she looks like her Daddy, and he is not “pretty.”  I got to Mom’s around supper time Tues.

We spent Tues night putting pictures and mementos together from Mom’s trip to New Zealand. The Australia ones will have to wait. I left some pre-made pages so Mom can do some herself too. I am not a huge scrap booker person, but I have plenty of stuff. I try to keep it down to what I can haul in one trip, using only a 12”X12” crate. Probably I should get something else to transport my stuff because the crate thing is pretty unhandy. There must be a good reason that I am the only person who carries a crate to scrap booking get-togethers. You could go broke scrap booking if you don’t watch out.

Wednesday I wanted to make a quilt for the granddaughter, Joy. I don’t know what else to give her. I quit making baby quilts for my friends a few years ago when I realized it was not actually possible for me to make quilts and raise toddlers at the same time. Way too many no-nos, and too much stuff to keep putting away and getting out again. I dug out my two plastic drawers with baby quilt cloth in them and packed them to Mom’s. As I sorted through the fabric, lo and behold, I had a quilt in there! It was not pieced, but I had a good start on it. We got the top put together and Mom plans to machine quilt it. She says whoever cut the pieces out didn’t do it very straight. (oops) We had supper with my Dad and his girlfriend and my Grandparents.

Thursday My kids’ paternal grandmother has 29 grandchildren and a handful of great-grand children, and that is only their Dad’s side of the family. From personal experience I know how hard it can be to keep everyone straight, so I made a book for Lydia called “Lydia and the Jam Jam Girls” I used photos I already had of Lydia and got photos of grandmas and aunts and cousins in their jammies and put it all together with a little plot about going to bed. I can keep adding as necessary. Since Sarah was supposed to be Tommy, and I didn’t want a bunch of pictures of guys standing around in their underwear, I called hers “Sarah Reads a Book” and I got photos of male relatives reading various things from a cousin with the newspaper sports section to my truck driver uncle reading a book on semis, while seated in the open door of his truck. Then along came Tommy and Zach. What to do for them…I decided on animals and pets for Tommy, we can do counting and species, then for Zach it will be hats and colors. We just keep adding to it, my first cousins and my kids’ cousin’s children and my step-father’s family and baby sitters. I was pretty organized through Sarah, but it fell apart after that. Mom and I spent all our free time Thurs getting that put together, so I can complete Tommy and Zach’s books. We also worked on Joy’s quilt, and played in the snow a little.

Friday I told Dad we would go out to his place for the morning. He lives where I grew up, a ranch 30 miles from town.  The ladies played with their vintage Little People collection and Tommy flirted with breaking the lower hanging glass Christmas ornaments until noon, which was soup and “girl” cheese sandwiches, as the ladies call them. The kids took a nap and then Dad went to town, leaving me to take everyone to town in my car so we could meet him for supper. I spent all day using their wireless internet with my laptop, and getting five year’s worth of digital photos sent to Walgreen’s for printing via wireless rather than dialup. (Only $15 for 142 photos, not bad I thought, and they were ready two hours later!) We had Mexican for supper, I always want to do that when I go back.  After I got back to Mom’s we put together Zach’s quilt. Mom had done the cutting, and I just sewed. We make a pretty good team, one of us pinning and ironing and the other sewing. She had a pattern for a quilt that she said would go together very quickly for Zach, and it did, in just an evening. The back of it is a map of the US. When it is all tied and bound, I will post a photo. I have managed to make a baby quilt for each of my babies, but have finally resorted to making only the occasional Christmas stocking for my friends, see my Christmas photo for examples.

Saturday My cousin had a baby Friday, so I went to see her in the hospital. I thought she was only about six-years-old, but she says she is 26, so that must be old enough to be a mom. It is hard to believe that she is all grown up, I remember when she was born. She had a beautiful 5 lb baby girl, causing me baby envy as well. Zach was nearly twice that. Mom drove with us after lunch to meet my Stepdad who had escaped the chaos at his own home to his son’s house to spend time with his other grandkids. My stepbrother lives somewhere near half way between mom’s house and ours. That worked well for me. Five hours by yourself in a car with four kids can be a little rough.


December 26, 2007

Christmas found us with a cedar tree from the pasture. Since Husband decided we were going primitive with the tree, I decided to go primitive with the decorations. We put up lights, popcorn/cranberry strings and paper chains. I had forgotten how frustrating it is to string popcorn. Husband wanted to hang ornaments, but I decided since I get to take the tree down by myself, I was not going to do any more than I had to. Frankly, I think it looks pretty nice. I was opposed to the whole cedar idea, but we “aged” the tree two weeks in the garage, and most of the smell had dissipated by Dec. 23, when we brought it in. Pine has a nice scent. Cedar smells like you could make vodka from it and I have a perpetual headache now.

December 07-11.jpg

Sarah got the fish she asked Santa for. A close look at the aquarium will reveal what genetic modification can do. Unless they came up with a fish tattoo… Regardless, we overheard something about “fwopping on my bwankie” from the other room. A quick count revealed all four were back in the tank, but one still looked pretty nervous. We had made the mistake of leaving the net beside the aquarium, and the temptation was too much for Sarah. Remember this is the kid who likes to experiment. I guess we will keep the aquarium in the kitchen. I could put it behind the computer and use the light for a desk lamp, it does get a little romantic in this corner. I am a little afraid that Tommy will be tempted. He is a climber.

Fish with heart

Tommy was completely enthralled with his Little People Gas Station. He is a fan of anything on wheels these days. I took everything out of the boxes and constructed it several days ago. It took me 30 minutes to get the garage out of the box and about 20 to put it all together. Altogether, I came out nearly 30 twist ties ahead, but I lost nearly an hour of my life. Toy packaging has gone from obnoxious to plain old evil.

December 07-12.jpg

Santa got each kid a toy, and we bought each kid a toy, so we didn’t accumulate too much. Lydia was a little lost, I think she was hoping for something more, but she didn’t know just what. She got her train and a doll with clothes. We got the ladies Groovy Girls dolls. Lydia fell in love with Laila Ali this last spring while she was on Dancing With the Stars. We even wrote her a fan letter, but she didn’t reply. I got Lydyia a darker skinned doll and a sparkly gown.

The biggest hit was the flashlights. We play safari sometimes before bedtime. I take a bunch of stuffed animals and hide them around the living room. I then turn off the light and let them look for the animals with flashlights. This is huge fun, but the best part is our grownup flashlights will still be operational should the power go off.

My favorite gift was the one from the person who had the least understanding of Christmas. Zach slept from 11:00 until 5:30, and in his bassinet! Husband got me something I really didn’t need, or have room for, but he did put thought and effort into it, so I won’t complain. He got me plates, about seven or so. My dishes were premiums at grocery stores or gas stations in the 1940s or 1950s. They are nothing special, you can find them in antique stores all over. They usually run about $7 each. I have 12 plates already. This means I can go a looong time between washing dishes! He was looking for a butter dish, but didn’t find one. I would rather have a teapot, but they are maybe $100 or so, and pretty rare.

I got Husband a cordless drill. That is what he asked for, and in that many words. When he opened it, he cautiously mentioned that it didn’t have certain features he wanted, like being ½ inch and having more volts or whatever. I showed him where the receipt was attached and explained that I had about 30 to choose from and knew he would be taking it back. No harm no foul.

My sister-in-law and her friend came over for dinner. It was a nice meal, but not too big. The friend ran interference with the kids so we could get the meal put together. I made a homemade sour cherry pie. MMMmmm. She brought leftovers from her meal last night. After dinner, we loaded the dishwasher and looked at the pile still towering on the counter. I told her it wouldn’t bother me a bit to let them sit until the dishwasher was empty again. She was ok with that, so now I have to get them washed.

Not In The Christmas Spirit

December 22, 2007

Bah Humbug. I have hardly put out any Christmas stuff, not even the pretty lighted tree for the front yard. We have the stockings up, a wreath on the door, the manger set up and a quilted wall hanging in the dining room. That is it. I don’t dare put the village up, since Tommy is into everything. The tree is actually in the garage, for just that reason. I guess that isn’t very fair to the kids, but I just am not up to it this year. I think we’ll bring the tree in this weekend, otherwise Sarah’s goldfish will get cold when Santa drops them off. I am thinking we’ll do the old fashioned thing and just use popcorn, cranberries and paper chains to decorate the tree. I did get my cards out. I do a newspaper looking thing, in third person. Hopefully it’s not too offensive, I would rather read a Xeroxed letter than look at nothing more than somebody’s signature at the bottom of a card.

I got everything sorted out among our six kids, and put together Tommy’s car/ramp thing. I can’t wait to play with it! Still need to do all the wrapping. Kari, a senior in High School is getting a tool box with tools. I got a floral handled screwdriver for Christmas last year, and Husband has been coveting it. It was made like a tool for a man, not a cheap “girly” tool, so I got one for her, and some other tools, including a 7oz hammer, just the right size for a woman. I also got her the Daring Book for Girls. It looked like it had some practical advice for the college freshman. Don’t know what to get Chris. Might wait until after Christmas, if he is not coming anyway.

Betcha didn’t know that I am a grandmother. Yeah, neither did I until last week. Step-son Chris and his girlfriend had a little girl this summer. We really like the girlfriend, and we are the last people to judge someone for an unexpected baby, as two of ours were just that (although we were married), but Chris has been reluctant to tell us, actually he hasn’t yet. The girlfriend sent us a Christmas card with her and her daughter’s names and a photo.     I have since spoken with her on the phone. Husband last spoke to Chris November 9, after Zach was born (and Husb’s birthday), but he had not been in contact much for several months, and it is worse now. The kids live in different towns, about two hours apart, but they are dating again. They broke it off for a while, and got back together after the baby was born. I hope they can make it work. Babies need Daddies, and when Chris grows up some, he will be a super father! He was great with our kids when he lived here last fall. He didn’t do diapers, but maybe on his own kid it would be different. {an aside…The sexiest thing I have ever seen a man do is change somebody else’s baby’s diaper, seriously.} Chris is currently selling vacuum cleaners door to door. That can’t be an easy life. She works at a gas station and as a nanny and is completing an associate’s degree online from a local college. Just writing that makes me tired.

I guess I will try to see the baby as I will go through their town on my way to see my folks, who live two hours beyond. Maybe I could see my step-daughter as well. I miss her. I did find out that although she won’t answer her cell phone, or return calls, she does return texts. Immediately. I told Husband that is was worth 10 cents a pop to me to be able to communicate with her. I actually texted her when I opened the card from the girlfriend. She called as soon as she got out of school and did some explaining. It is a long story, and there is no need to repeat it, as that horse is out of the barn and over the hill.

My mother is excited to make a quilt for the baby. We need to make one for Zach too. I guess I will go visit back home after Christmas.

OurFamily, Inc.

December 19, 2007

My children are very different from each other. We think of Lydia as the Manager of the crew. Sarah is in Research and Development and Tommy currently serves as the Beta Tester.  Lydia will decide what they should do, Sarah will figgure out how to accomplish it, and Tommy is the guinea pig.  So far, at 5 weeks, Zach has shown little interest in interacting with his siblings.

The oldest, Lydia, lives up to what you expect an older child to be, a leader. Once we went to the library for story time, but the volunteer did not show up, so there were two moms and four kids. Lydia organized the children into a semi circle around her then she “read” a couple of books to her audience. When she was done with the books, she took the kids over to another area for a “craft” project then she had them sit in front of the TV (which was off) so they could “watch” a video. The children were happy to mind her and follow instructions. Lydia was 3 at the time, Sarah was 2, and the other children were 3 and 1 years of age. My husband says Lydia will be the first woman president of our country. I hope this is not so, not necessarily because of the current candidate, but in the next 30 years, surely some woman will be elected president!

Sarah is as independent as they come.  She wants to do it herself, by inventing a new way, and in her own sweet time.  She does not like to conform, and plays dress up every single day of the year. Two stories illustrate her personality. We went to an ice cream shop to order sundaes when Sarah was 3. She listened carefully to everyone else then confidently ordered an “I cweam Tuesday.” She is mechanically inclined, at 3 Sarah figured out how to buckle herself into her car seat. I am not convinced that at age 5 Lydia could operate the latch, I know my mother can’t.

Even the names my girls give their dolls illustrates their differences. Lydia, the girly girl, has dolls named Emily, Billie, Denise and Abdul. No nonsense Sarah is more interested in animals, and has Zebra, and Sad Baby the polar bear. Sad Baby gets his name from the little bear mouth sewn into his face. Her dolls really don’t have names except for Pink Doll, who is, yes you guessed it, pink.

Tommy, at 17 months, is too young to have solidified his specific aspirations. He spends a lot of time defending himself and his rights with his sisters (non-verbal tattling). It will be fun to see where he fits into our “company”. Advertising?  Marketing?  Finance?

If you go to a Chinese restaurant and read the paper placemats, you will find that Lydia and I are dogs, Husband and Tommy are horses, Zach is a pig, and Sarah, well she is a monkey.

I made gingersnaps today and we invited our neighbors over for cocoa (which they gave us for Christmas) and cookies.  It was nice to visit with them.  She was a teacher, and she asked if I had made a school decision.  Lydia will be in Kindergarten next year.  Boy is that hard to believe!  We are in one school district, school #1, but we are on the far edge of it.  We are just as far from two other schools.  School #2 is in the community to which we belong, where we have friends and neighbors.  School #3 is a parochial school with 25 kids, where we also know people.  School #2 has a bus stop down the road a ways, saving me driving 7 miles to drop off a kid at school #1.  Actually it would be 9, since I would probably take the highway.  Husband and I both attended public schools the same size as school #3, and Lydia went to pre-school there last year.  I wonder if they have a sibling discount, tuition would kill us!  I am not opposed to public school, nor do I feel strongly about parochial school, heck it isn’t even our religion.  It is actually the size which appeals to me, and their lunch always smelled so good!  I need to do some investigation, and I need to ask questions, but which ones?  Two babysitters from school #2 told me that it is really clique-y, and they were happy to transfer to school #4 for high school.  Neighbor taught in school #1 and worked as the computer guru in school #2.  Of course, their granddaughter attended school #3. 


December 16, 2007

We went to church today.  They had a pageant, Lydia was Mary and Sarah was the angel.  They were the only two girls in our little church old enough to participate in the pageant.  Sarah is so little, and she was so intent on her role of walking up the aisle, it was cute.  Zach seems to have no intention of sleeping tonight.  He wore his tuxedo to church, and the little girl his age wore a beautiful dress, it looked like baby prom.

When we got home, Husband and I performed open door surgery on the dishwasher.  He was the surgeon, and I handed him instruments and cleaned the gunk out of the parts he removed.  It was nearly as gross as real surgery.  I run vinegar or koolaid through on a regular basis too.  He put it all together, ran a rinse, took it apart again and recleaned the thing and put it together again.  My glasses are transparent now!  You know, I don’t remember my parents doing this sort of thing, did we buy a cheap diswasher or are they making them cheaper these days?  This is the second time we have done this since 9 years ago when our old one went out over Thanksgiving and we bought this one new.  Maybe I should look into changing soaps, but I am not good at changing these types of things.  I still wear Levis, because I wore them in grade school. 

The only other excitement around here is that I am going with some friends to a larger town to shop tomorrow.  I hope to find myself some clothes. I have either been pregnant or trying to loose pregnancy weight since 2002, and my wardrobe looks like pre 2000.  I am not much of a group shopper, but I think I need advice on what is in style since it is no longer the 1980s.  I also need to pick up some gifts for my step-kids.  I haven’t seen them much in the last 24 months, so it will be hard to find something appropriate.

I guess Tuesday I will try to decorate for Christmas.  If I keep putting it off, it will be unnecessary!  I did take down the last of the Autumn stuff today.   Well, Zach is not happy, I better see what I can do about that.

All I Want for Christmas

December 6, 2007

This looks to be a long night, Baby Zach is wanting to be loved, and definitely not wanting to sleep.

Today we went to a party where Santa made an appearance.  Lydia told me it was a guy in a costume, not the real Santa.  I told her not to spoil it for anyone else.  All three of ’em sat on his lap and enjoyed it.  Zach slept, looking back on it, maybe I should have got him up for the occasion.  Since we don’t get Nickelodeon or Disney or anything like that, my kids are at a loss as for what they “should” want for Christmas.  Lydia asked for a train engine to pull her Daisy train car around, and her own set of tracks, the second part is not likely to happen, but maybe we can add to what we already have.  Sarah asked for, get this, a goldfish.  I am thinking we can swing a goldfish, not sure where to hide him though.  I really should get a satellite dish.  Santa had a gift for each child, we got Connect 4, Chutes and Ladders, and Memory. 

Three new games inspired me to clean out the game closet.  We have a zillion games, and didn’t have any of those we received.  I found all sorts of things, the hat from our Monopoly game and the missing piece from the Barbie puzzle which has been lost since Kari put it together 10 years ago.  I got rid of some games that the step-kids have received.  I moved them to a less accessible closet.  The games fit in their two shelves like one of those puzzles where you have to put the tiles in the right order by sliding them around.  Only I can get anything out of the closet.  I did leave the Jenga and Dominoes towards the front, because those are favorites to use as blocks.

My husband did a lousy job of shopping for my birthday present this year.  I am not a huge snob about getting gifts, but when someone says, “I need ideas, and it has to be something I can get between 9 and 10 on Sunday morning” you know you are in for something special.  Especially when your birthday is Tuesday.  I made him go though, because I made a big deal about gift shopping for him with the kids.  His b-day was Friday of the same week mine was.  I got a notepad with flowers on it.  I had asked for stationery, like what I could use for thank yous and such, but I guess I will just use a plain envelope.  Today I looked through my Williams-Sonoma catalog, and circled a few things, (I am hoping for the knife) and wrote “Christmas Ideas” on the cover with a magic marker then left it on his dresser.  If they have overnight shipping, I guess I could come out ok this Christmas.  I still don’t know what to get him though.  At least I am thinking about it now.

All By Myself

November 2007

Drumroll please. The moment you have all been waiting for…how will she fare by herself with four kids under 5-years-old? A quick reminder, Zach is nearly three weeks old, Tommy is nearly 1-and-a-half, Sarah is 3-and-a-half and Lydia will be 5 this weekend.

I spent Sunday mostly alone, my first day with nobody around since we came home from the hospital. All four kids and I made it to church, everyone who had teeth had ‘em brushed, everyone who had hair had it brushed, and everyone’s shoes matched. Can’t ask for much more; we were on time for 9:30 church, the ladies helped with the service which was kind of a pageant. Tommy, Zach and I held down the pew. Half way through the service Tommy wanted to run in the aisle, so a nice lady took him to the nursery. Our church is really small, so the nursery is not staffed, but you can watch though the window and listen to the service.

Monday went fairly well, we stayed home all day. For supper I managed to have a meat dish, a vegetable dish, and fruit slices, on the table at the usual time.

Tuesday the ladies had school at 8:45. As they were getting dressed, Tommy decided to finish off Sarah’s dry cereal. Lydia came out with capris on. After explaining that it was 19 degrees outside I finally convinced her to put on long pants, and admonished her not to do everything Sarah told her to do (this is a new thing, as Lydia is usually the boss). I put Zach in the nursery and laid out some clothes then went to get Tommy. I helped him off the chair and asked him to come to his room so he could get dressed. I then went to dress Zach. When Tommy didn’t show up I sent Lydia to see what was going on in the kitchen. She called out that something was wrong with Tommy’s tongue. I finished dressing Zach and went to investigate. Sure enough, Tommy was staggering around with his tongue hanging out. He had spilled the pepper on the table and I could see fingerprints in it. Two plus two equals “pepper is not meant to be served by itself, or on cereal.” He didn’t want to drink water or milk from his sippy so I left him alone to fix his little problem, and he did, somehow.

We were running on schedule and I had three kids buckled in the car. When I went into the house to get the last of my stuff I found out Sarah had taken off her coat and was trying to stuff Sad Baby into her backpack. I hit the roof, she doesn’t have a clue where her library book is, but she wants to take her polar bear to school! On the way into town, I was informed by Sarah that she was “going to live in her pink house, and she was taking Zach with her.” The as yet unbuilt pink house is across the street from Grandma.

We made it to school on time, then I went to run some errands. I put Tommy on his leash (which looks like a puppy backpack) to go into the grocery store, as he had dirty pants. They were cleaning the bathrooms which gave me a chance to check out the dark chocolate selection (lacking) and peruse the wines (well stocked). Once everybody was back in clean undies, I put Tommy in the cart and headed down the aisles. I was looking for a greeting card when out of the corner of my eye I saw Tommy take a nose dive out of the cart. I caught him by his beltloop as he was headed for the floor. That could have been ugly.

I picked up the ladies and fed the baby in the school parking lot. I hope their surveillance camera doesn’t go that far! We then drove to the newspaper office, to place an announcement of Zach’s birth in the local tattler. I parked on the street, as the parking lot is about two blocks from the front door. Keep in mind the weather here.  (The street is one-way through town, if the next part doesn’t make sense) I took all four kids into the office with me, then visited with a friend for a while. When it was time to leave, I put the baby in the driver’s side door and told the others to wait for me. We waited until traffic was safe and then proceeded as a group to the passenger door of the van. I lifted Tommy in and turned around to find Sarah dancing in the middle of Highway 30. Well, you can imagine how that went. She is getting a leash too, a monkey one.

A side note, Zach is the pottyingest kid I know. He has tinkled on me no fewer than six times. I gave him a nice warm bath the other night and he pooped in the towel! Then he tinkled! I have learned that tinkle follows poop fairly shortly, and it is best to wait a few minutes before changing him.


October 2007

Here we have Sarah as the ballerina in too tight shoes, Tommy as Bob the Builder and Lydia as Laura Ingalls.  Thanks to hand me down dress up clothes, last year’s dance recital and a mother who won’t throw away good clothes, the cost to me was Zip, zero, nada….Priceless.  My grandmother made me the Laura dress in 1976.  It is a teeny bit long on Lydia.  Tommy’s hat looks like a fireman’s hat, but it says “construction” on it.  Since we live in the country, we just trick or treated our neighbors, and we were probably the only ones most neighbors had.  We still made a haul that will last through Easter.

As kids we usually t-o-ted in town,  near my grandmother’s house.  Occasionally we would stay overnight with a friend from school, and they would t-o-t in our rural neighborhood.  Mae Sakurada was the one who made popcorn balls for each kid she expected (and a few extras) then made up little packets with lots of other goodies as well.   I still remember her fondly.  This year we accidentally found that neighbor here!  I think she only has her granddaughter usually, but we gave her a heads up and each kid came home with a rice crispy cookie with a face on it, and a little packet of goodies.  We will be back next year! 

September Thoughts

October 2007

This must be a good year for toads. We have them all over the place, and the darn things eat mosquitoes, so I hate to step on them, but it is hard to avoid. They are quarter sized on up to prince-kissing size (maybe that was a frog). We probably have nearly one per square foot of lawn, well maybe less than that, but they are everywhere. Maybe we are low on garter snakes…Dad always said the coyote and rabbit populations were dependant on each other. I haven’t seen many snakes this year, but not because I was looking for them either.

I am ashamed to admit it, but we have had 17 extra inches of rain this year, timed pretty well. Our annual rainfall is around 22 or so. I feel bad for the people at the other end of the state with 5 inches so far this year, about half of what their average is. We did not water our lawn this year, until last weekend, and then just a few dry spots under the trees. The rest of it looks pretty healthy, but we aren’t expecting a Golden Spade Award any time soon.

It is a good thing we live in the country, otherwise our neighbors would be calling the city on us for not maintaining our property and causing adjacent property values to decline. We let our lawn get way too tall sometimes, then I have my homemade automatic mulcher, which involves a tarp strap holding the grass shooter up so the grass scatters. When the lawn gets too tall this leaves attractive windrows of dead grass in the lawn. I let it cure for a day or so then mow again, scattering the dry grass further. I have learned that if I don’t fertilize my lawn, I don’t have to mow it as often, same goes with watering. Our garden can become an eye-sore being right along the road and full of 6 foot weeds.

Somewhere in Nebraska there is a line, on the west side of the line, rural people just have a yard that looks ok, not especially nice. East of that line (where we live) rural people haven’t got the memo that they live in the country and they keep their lawns up like town folk do, but probably using stronger chemicals, available only to farmers. Our neighbors water their lawn pretty much every day, and mow it probably twice a week. Sounds like a waste of water and fuel to me, but their lawn looks great.

I lived on a farm in Wyoming where my boss actually ran the swather across my lawn a couple times a year, followed by the bailer. It doesn’t take long to mow when you have a 30 foot wide mower. The bales were pretty small though. We have too many trees for that to work here, otherwise I would be tempted…

Right now I am outside, and one-year-old Tommy has the hose. He is learning all about fluid dynamics, and how to spray himself in the mouth. He is having a blast. He is a mower man as well, climbing up on the lawn tractor every chance he gets. I turned my back the other day then when I looked back, all I could see was the soles of two feet disappearing on the far side of the mower. He has some sort of rolling head-first dismount figgered out, because he was not upset in any way and he landed on the concrete. We better keep it parked on the grass I guess.

I looked out on the deck the other day, and there was Ariel the Mermaid sunbathing in the nude. It seems her natural pigmentation would preclude such behavior. When Sarah went out to get her, she wasn’t even burned. Now I am jealous. Most of my ancestors came from England, so I didn’t develop the tanning gene. I don’t do much of anything, unless I burn, so I stay out of the sun. I guess it is probably safer that way. My husband never burns, he just gets darker and darker. Someday we will probably be visiting a dermatologist as a result of this, but he isn’t worried.

Tommy moves so fast these days, the other day he disappeared. He decided to walk around the corner of the house, and down the driveway to greet Daddy returning home from work in his huge pickup. We need to put a little fence thing in that part of the yard. He doesn’t come to his name yet, so if he wanders, you have to go searching. We have asked the county to put a Slow Children sign in front of our house, but they are not in a hurry to do that. Even if people don’t slow down, maybe they will keep an eye out, if only because they think my kids are slow.