Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Fun Starts at Sunrise - PART 1


I drug myself out of bed, eyes still half open/half shut and stumbled to the bathroom. I stopped on the way by the linen closet, fumbled for a wash cloth, and continued to stumble until I reached the bathroom sink – which I knew – totally by feel. I fumbled for the faucet to turn on the water and I stood there, dead still, eyes closed, wondering why I ever agreed to this.

The water began to warm up and I wet my toothbrush, applied the toothpaste, and began to brush – again, with my eyes alternately open and shut. Upon completing that task, I was a little more alive, so I grabbed the wash cloth and begin to wet/soap it up to wash my face. Finally, I was almost human.
I trudged to the kitchen to start the coffee maker, because without that sweet hot java, the journey could not continue.

It was 4:30 in the morning and I was trying to be a human being. I was trying to behave like I thought what was happening was as good of an idea as I did the night before when planning it.  As some ideas always seem like so much more fun when I’m wide awake and raring to go.

The coffee had brewed, my cup was already full of what I needed to make it like heaven for me, Splenda and creamer, and I poured from the pot like an addict who needs a fix. As I took the first very small sip, because it’s hotter than a sidewalk in August, I felt the rush.  I could literally feel my veins begin to open up and my blood actively waking-up the rest of my body and my brain.

We climbed into the truck, it was still dark, and we headed out, face of the vehicle first, pulling our soon-to-be bundle of joy behind us. We stopped long enough for ice and the food of my pleasure and his, and we continued on our way.

We pulled into our destination, then we backed-in the rest of the way. We swapped positions, and now I was the driver and he was the receiver. We’d done this dance many times before, but it had been awhile. However, it’s just like riding a bike, you really don’t forget how, and it comes right back to you.

My window was rolled down and I could smell that deep, rich, intoxicating smell that reminds me why I loved it so. And as I breathed it deep into my lungs, I remembered exactly why I decided that THIS is exactly where I wanted to be before sunrise.

I had everything we needed in my bag, I was wearing my pink rubber Avon shoes and I walked the dock and stepped aboard. I could smell the fish just waiting for me to find the right spot, to find them. I found my seat, and as I was gripping my white cup full of green florescent worms in one hand and his bucket of creepy crickets in the other, the boat took off at a slow crawl. 

Tune in next week to hear the results!




Sunday, July 8, 2018

Meltdown


It’s only July and I’m already asking myself how in the world I ended up here. How could I not have known how intolerant I would become in my older years? And how is that I didn’t even realize it all those years ago?

Who was that person who years ago would intentionally lie out in it for hours, baking her skin to a brown crisp? Who would walk a mile, there and back, to the curb store down the road, just to get an ICEE that would be melted before we got halfway back home?

Now she’s the person that gets irritable and mad, thirty minutes before it’s time to get off work, because she’s going to have walk from the front door to her car, which is all of ten steps. Because she knows the second she opens the truck door, the heat that will come rolling out in waves of steam will almost knock her to the ground, and most certainly take her breath away.

She won’t even be able to touch the steering wheel initially, she’ll have to turn the air on high, roll all the windows down, and let the heat of the last eight hours, find its way out of the truck. She’s almost tempted to drive 80 MPH down Hwy 90 just so the circulation of air conditioner and the rush of the hot air coming in will at least move it out a little bit faster; even if it means sacrificing some of her cooler air to push it out.

As she drives down the road, she questions her entire intelligence on ever buying a black vehicle with black interior – as it seems to just soak up that heat and set it on fire, while it waits for her to come back to it every afternoon.

She told her mother the other day, she wonders how in the world she ever thought she could stand living here? And her mother said, but where would you live? Where it snows? And she was right, because gracious knows I’m not made for shoveling snow these days.

There has to be somewhere in between the fire breathing dragon of the south that we call Florida, and the snowbound north that could be most anywhere else but here.

And to top all of that off, we’ve been in a drought here for the last few weeks; but we finally got some much needed rain tonight. At least when it rains, it cools off the atmosphere for a bit.

But tomorrow will bring another day of waking up with the sidewalks steaming and the temperatures with highs of what I’d like to weigh again, instead of how hot it is.

I want to be able to strap a portable a/c unit to my back and just carry it everywhere I go. Can’t someone invent something like that? Isn’t there anyone who hates the heat as much as I do? Isn’t anyone else literally crying because we still have the whole months of July and August to get through before we see any relief? I don’t think I’m going to make it folks, I really just don’t.






Tuesday, July 3, 2018

God Bless America!


 
I said to someone a few weeks ago, that I have been to more funerals and visitations in the last ten years than it seems one should have to experience.  And somehow, as always seems to be the way, they come in groups, so that you can no more gather yourself and your emotions from one, when your right smack in the middle of another.

I have told you all before, that I am not exceptionally emotional; but a well preached sermon at a funeral, or even more than that, when family members say a few words from their heart for their recently deceased, well, I’m the next best thing to a sprung leak on a fire hydrant.

I don’t even have to know the deceased personally, it’s usually just enough that I know the person who is speaking, and because I can feel their pain and loss in my heart, it all becomes crazily enough, personal for me.

In addition to all of the above, I also cry almost every single time the National Anthem is sang/played. Whether I’m watching it on television and someone is singing it exceptionally well, or 
I’m standing in a set of bleachers at a high school football game, or a 4th of July fireworks event; it just happens. My heart swells with pride for where I live, my freedoms, and my ability to appreciate them both.

I recently attended a funeral of a close friend’s father and I was able to experience several things that day. I heard family talk with alternating seriousness, love and humor about the brother and father they both loved very much and would miss even more.

But after the funeral I attended my very first military grave-side service; complete with the presentation of the flag and the blowing of the bugles playing Taps. It was one of the most stirring services I have ever been to in my life. I, of course, had seen them many times on television, but nothing compares to the firsthand experience that I had that day. It was a huge representation of honor and respect for both who he was to our country in the past, who he was/is to all the family and friends in attendance, and how much he was appreciated by both for his service to our country.

It was an honor to attend, even as nothing more than a friend of the family bystander and watch the faces of each of the loved ones, and the love that was surrounding the entire service that day.

So, I’m going to close with this: I usually write about all the fireworks, the watermelon eating contests and the sack races every year about this time. And while that is a part of how we celebrate the 4th of July, it’s not why we celebrate the 4th of July.

We are celebrating our freedom that so many men and women died for over the years, and for the men and women today that continue that fight. That’s what the National Anthem represents – freedom; and our ability to enjoy it.  And it is my opinion that we are all responsible for at least respecting that freedom. God Bless America.


Sunday, June 17, 2018

Happy Father's Day


Who knows why you have to get older to realize how life really works? Who knows why you can’t recognize the genius of it all when it’s happening? And no matter how many times we say we won’t be like them when we grow-up, as we slam our bedroom doors; we seem to do just that anyway.

My daddy has taught me so many things; useful positive things. But you never only use/see the positive; if you’re honest with yourself, you also manage to pick-up some of the negative along the way. But both positive and negative learning's are necessary to be an adult. An adult who can make good decisions and sometimes, an adult who will so make new mistakes.

This is for you Daddy, and I hope it makes you proud, as that was my intention. For I am a huge mixture of mostly you; the good, the bad, and the parts that still need some work.
               

You taught me:
t
hat simply saying you’re sorry, is sometimes just not going to be enough.

temper, but you also taught me that one rarely fairs well when it happens.

love and compassion; and empathy to a fault.

how to worry, which led to learning how to pray.

to be truthful and to understand that I could not pick and choose when.


that I could do anything, and that if I couldn’t, be humble enough to ask for help.

intelligence + financial security = independence.

that family comes first, second and third.

that reason often comes with chaos, and openness sometimes needs a closed mouth.                             

to fight for what I believe in, even if I am the only who does.

to never put in writing, what I was not willing to sign with a signature.

that there is no such thing as “what is fair” in this world. If you work hard and do                                  right, good things will come and that’s about all that “what is fair” is really about and that self-            entitlement does not exist.

there are no silver spoons in our family. That I will always have to work for what I receive and I will be better for it. That being rich never seems to make anyone all that happy anyway.

that just because I love someone with all my heart, does not mean that they will always love me the same.

A
nd, you taught me that I will never be too old to learn something new, almost every single day of my life.

Growing-up with you for a Daddy was pretty tough some days, I will never say that it wasn’t. But you also taught me something else, something that was one of the most important things that I ever learned from you: to recognize when no matter what has happened or will happen, that someone’s heart was/is in the right place. That their intentions were honorable and good, and that they only wanted the best for you.

I won’t say I always knew that, but I’ve known it a pretty good while now, and I wouldn’t trade you as a Daddy, for any other man in the world.

Happy Father’s Day to all.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

And the rain it did come.......


For better than a week and a half, I drug our water hose and water sprinkler around our yard trying to revive the grass and keep all the flowers alive. The grass had already started to snap, crackle and pop when you walked on it, and there was no way after all that hard work spent planting all those new flowers, (not to mention the money spent which was a SECRET), that I was just going to not water and let it all die!

Of course, lots of bending and stooping was required in that process, so much so, that a couple of trips to the chiropractor was required. This back of mine is old and has seen it’s better days, and it nor my hips appreciate when I do all that yardwork; in fact sometimes I swear I can hear them screaming for mercy!

Needless to say, once all those days of dragging hoses and sprinklers had passed, getting sprayed in the face when I tried to move the sprinkler half an inch to the side, (either side, it didn’t matter, it’s never right the first time) because even though I have the hose “choked-off” as my husband says, I evidently, am not strong enough to stop all the water flow; so at some point a full-on body spray is going to happen. Not to mention the times I am trying to move it, judging by the two and the fro but somehow, my timing is off, and the fro-motion catches me still bent over, face down into the sprinkler as it comes back my way. I am sure during these times of struggle, I am my neighbor’s sole entertainment.

So of course, once the grass is all green, a tropical storm is announced and as it begins, it is expected to last for at least two weeks or better, with enough rain to water all the lawns and gardens of the world.

The week after all that happens, the rain is almost gone and the yard is beautiful, is when we will get the water bill. The water bill that reflects the 3 weeks prior when I had my own tropical storm flooding through our water pipes and into our ground.

Somehow my husband will not remember how bad the lawn looked before I started, nor will he remember the 10 days that I walked and worked that yard like a professional BEFORE the natural rains started. No sir, he will only remember the two weeks of God-given rain we received, without charge or effort on our part.

Oh the carrying on that will transpire once that bill arrives. He’ll be full of “if you had just been patient, the rain was coming”, or “we’ll have to take out a loan to pay the water bill”. He makes up a new line every year, so once the bill gets here, I’ll let you know what it was.

Until then, if you need me, I’ll be sitting at the curb, waiting on the mailman to come by, so I can snatch that bill first and prepare my “it had to be done” speech!


Saturday, June 2, 2018

Vacation Turns Into a Stay-cation


Most every year on Memorial Day weekend, we pack-up our suitcases, gather all the hanging clothes, varied shoes and purses that will match outfits of course, and gather up whatever goodies it is that we’re taking for little eyes and ears to look at and listen to.

We sort out our separate medicine containers, filling the individual compartment days with all the things that help us stay alive, along with a load of vitamins that do their best to undo and counteract all the bad things we may eat or drink. Next to that, a bag of snacks (many are the things that the vitamins are attempting to counteract), and a cooler of assorted sodas and water; because this is the way old folk travel. We are not about to spend $2.00 for a soda or $1.50 for a honey bun. We would almost thirst and starve to death first!

All will be strategically packed into the back of my truck, making sure that nothing gets crushed or left behind. And all will be placed in such a way that when I swivel to my left to get something out of the bag or the cooler, I won’t wrench my back out as we’re riding down I10 driving 70+ miles an hour.

And last, but certainly not least, will be the box fan. The contraption that ensures no matter how well the hotel air conditioner works/or not – whichever the case may be; I will not burn-up and it also drowns out all the snoring that we both swear to sugar goes on whenever either of us is asleep and the other is still wide awake suffering through it.

I made reservations weeks ago. Began preparing weeks ago. Sent out group messages arranging dinners and lunches with folks so that we could make sure we got to see everyone we needed/wanted to see. South Carolina was to be our destination; it’s where my husband’s roots were created and it was where he was raised all of his life and lived into early adulthood. All of his/now our people, still live there and it’s quite the drive, but I love going back home with him to see through his eyes, all the stories I have been told.

But it wasn’t to be. I had no idea when we made all of these plans three weeks ago that the second coming of Noah’s Ark was about to occur. That it was going to rain a deluge of water for seven days and seven nights right smack in the middle of our annual mini-vacay.

I will admit that I was already second-guessing the trip in my mind, worrying a bit about traveling in all that rain; but I’m a worrier, that’s what I do. But when my husband started voicing some of those same concerns and feeling me out about how I felt, I knew it wasn’t just me who was concerned.

We cancelled the reservations at the last minute and we surely hated to miss that trip. But sometimes as you grow older, you really do grow wiser, and listening to your inner voice is something you actually do.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Raising Children to Remain Children


I read an article the other day, and then later that night, I watched the actual televised story about that same article on the evening “big” news. The story was about a high school in East Hanover, New Jersey that experienced a parental disruption and outrage because their daughter was not chosen during the cheer-leading squad tryouts.

Long story short, it was decided that anyone who tried out for the cheer-leading squad would automatically be chosen and if that was not the way anyone wanted to handle it – there would be NO cheer-leading squad at all.

People, I am worried for this world. I am so very worried about what is to come, and as many days as I wish I was 25 years old again instead of the 54 years of age that I have reached, I stop and think again how glad I will be that I probably just won’t really know how most of this is going to turn out.

When children are small, and by small, I mean ages 4-8, I understand to a degree, the wide range trophy giving – in my opinion it’s used as an encouragement tool. It’s used as an example that everyone participated and everyone tried their best.

I do understand that a lot of teachers and coaches may not think the way I do, but I believe in incentives for smaller children. I believe at an early age, they need to be encouraged in any way possible to keep their faces out of the television and participating in more activities outside, that will teach teamwork, sharing, participation, respect, and the ability to follow simple directions and even leadership.

But here is where I draw the line; once you become any age that is trying out for school sports, cheer-leading etc., there are going to be disappointment’s. Everyone cannot play. Everyone should not be chosen. It’s not about the prettiest or the most athletic looking person (or should never be) it should be about who is the readiest for the task/position at hand.

I’m just not sure when it stops. What will happen to our need to compete, to be better, and the strive to be the best if we’re already, always “equal”. I believe in working for what you get in life and I’m completely convinced that the way we are proceeding down these new paths is only going to ensure – no one ever has to really try at all. What will happen when that almost 16-year-old child/young adult has his first job interview and is not chosen? Will Mommy still call and complain?

I raised my children to believe in themselves AND to expect to be disappointed sometimes – but to also TRY AGAIN. That if they really wanted something, to work harder, work faster, and work smarter; and slowly, as they grew older, they learned to set goals for themselves.

This new trend is not helping to create self-sufficient adults, it is crippling them. We are teaching them that everything is free – and I can promise you this – in the real world – IT IS NOT. Life is WORK – and in real life, things are never simply handed to you just because you showed-up.