Sunday, January 31, 2010

My Spring

Oh how I do love spring in Central Florida! My spring is the season of tiny lime green frogs called Spring Peepers, that cheep their little hearts out from dusk 'till midnight. My spring offers crisp dewey mornings to hurry outside and hang sheets in the breeze. Camelias, with their dark waxy leaves burst from every vase with pink goodness throughout my home. Spring is a brief warning to Floridians that mosquitoes and sunburns will soon follow.

Elvis Has Left The Building!

Yesterday was a long day that involved loading and unloading a 14' moving van and two SUVs, packed to the hilt with the furniture and belongings of Robert and Vanessa, each from their parents homes to their own digs.  Robert moved into his good friend Joshua Kitain's home and Vanessa moved into a 3rd floor rental condo, located two miles apart.  They chose an area near UCF for the convenience of his school and her work, which is 32 miles from our home. (Vanessa's parents live just a few blocks from our Apopka neighborhood.)  After a late Friday night of filling boxes, and all day Saturday moving, last night we were completely exhausted! 

Robert is almost 26, an adult that and needs to live away from the parents.  Being a full-time law student is demanding and they discourage working, so our son increased his loans to cover expenses.  He's fortunate that attorneys make a pretty good income, as he'll owe over $100,000 in school loans when it's all said and done.  Private law school is expensive!  The house is nice, a split-plan ranch.  As the home owner, Josh has the master suite, and the two other bedrooms are seperated by the great room with leather sofas and a huge television. Robert has a bedroom and guest bath, and they share the third bedroom as an office. The kitchen is roomy and has a nice work island and breakfast nook with an oval oak table and chairs, and the large dining room has been converted into a billiard room with full-sized pool table and couple of autographed pictures of Mike Ditka on the wall. All Robert had to bring was his bedroom furniture and desk, which is good, as that's all he owns!  All the other furniture he had in his last apartment was sold or donated when he moved home.  Robert has some kitchen stuff (crock pot, knives, etc) that he will blend in with Josh's things.

Vanessa rented a private condo.  It is on the third floor at the end of a unit, which gives her a really nice wooded view from her bedroom window and great room, with double-glass doors that lead to a screened in patio.  The great room is open to an eating area, and counters seperate the kitchen, with ample cabinets, pantry, and a laundry room.  Vanessa's bedroom is big, with a walk-in closet and a pass-through door to the bathroom, that also opens into the living area. She also has a nice coat closet in the small foyer entryway.  She has an alarm system and the safety of being on the third floor.  They moved her things in, put her bed together, dressers in place, etc., as I unpacked some of the kitchen things.  It was rainy, and I am a klutz with stairs, so once I got in, I stayed.  Vanessa has bedroom furniture, a wire "butterfly" chair,  desk, coffee table, TV stand with large TV, and in her dining area, a heavy-duty plastic-formed card table and chairs from my garage.  All she needs is a book shelf (hers fell apart) a couch and chair, and eventually a real dining room set.  She estimates that after March, her home will be complete. Her 23rd birthday is next month, maybe she will get some things for her new home.

We are very proud of Robert and Vanessa, but will miss their cheerful personalities in our home.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Spring Blog Gift Giveaways

Bella Vista is celebrating their her anniversary of blogging. A ceramic chicken set is being given away.  Check it out!
Americana By Candlelight is honoring spring with a pretty bird plate giveaway.  Check it out!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Moving Weekend!

Robert and his girlfriend are moving from parents homes to their own places this weekend!!  Robert is going to share a house with one of his best friends, Joshua Kitain.  He and Josh have been friends and neighbors since kindergarten.  Vanessa is renting a condo of her own, no roommate.

Robert and Vanessa each have bedroom furniture, and lucky for Robert, his friend's home is already furnished.  Vanessa will be sitting on the floor for a while until she can afford to furnish her condo.

David is excited about moving out this summer and we have yet to pin down an exact date.


The misery of my education does not affect my adult life. I can sew beautiful quilts, knit scarves, cook delicious food, and do just about anything on the computer. I can run a business. All of these skills have been self-taught. When I join a committee, I somehow end up being the chairman. My checkbook stays balanced, I love books, and I can follow a map and rarely get lost. Unless we have a time schedule or I need to speak a foreign language, I’d say I’m successful at being a confident adult.  Until now, my adult friends had no idea about my difficulties in school, .

Without a clock, I have no idea what time it is, or how much time has passed. It’s like my time measurer has broken, a skill I have never posessed. I’m easily sidetracked, and without feeling the difference between five minutes and a half hour, arriving on time is always a challenge.

When I was a child, Catholic Mass was still being said in Latin with the priest's back to the congregation, lest he turn his back on the Holy Cross.  I learned Latin in parochial school, then French in junior high, and finally Spanish and then 1st year French again in high school. “Madame Grek” (Mrs. Greek), was my high school French teacher. It was hard to learn French when the teacher wouldn't translate; "total immersion", she refused to speak English to her students, even if we bumped into each other in the grocery store. I was glad for the rudimentary French I already had. Mdme Greek would dramatically wave a silk scarf in her hand with each word she uttered, as daily (really!) she wept about the beauty of France. I’d like to blame my foreign language skills on crazy teachers. I can say parts of Latin Mass and count to 100 in either French or Spanish. Although I can understand these languages, making a sentence in the correct language is impossible, as I mix them all together: “Toute el caritas Dei, arriver a la escuela at uno heure es imposible. Kyri eleison para moi”. Loosely translated, I think what I just said (purposely in 3 languages) is, “Even with the help of God, arriving at school at one o’clock is impossible. Have mercy on me!” This language can be best described as SPLENCH.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Bright kids need challenge, and sitting attentively with little hands folded on my desk didn’t work for me. My grades were poor, as I couldn't stay still long enough to pay attention. I was a bicycle-riding, roller skating, hoola-hooping, jump-roping champion! I liked being outside and active. Good grades and advanced classes remained always beyond my reach, surely due to a poor learning foundation, some hyperactivity, and probably a learning disability somewhere in the reading comprehension department. I went to college and made A's in what interested me.  I was poor at learning by rote, typical of untrained smart minds. I have often felt robbed, as I know, given the right direction, I could have been a great student, or at least, understood why I wasn't succeeding.

I don't feel that the actions of a crazed substitute and desperate mother caused me any psychological damage; however the misery of second grade stays fresh in my memory.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Empty Nest Please

My sons will be a year older in late spring and I haved such exciting news, THEY'RE MOVING OUT!!  Do you know what this means??  Mark and I will have the house to ourselves for the first time in 26 years!

Robert went away to college at 17, graduated college, went to work for a couple of years, and then moved back home to cut expenses when he began law school.  I guess a year and a half is all he could tolerate.  David was born and just never has left. Currently 22-years old, David is planning on moving into an apartment after this school sememster ends (summer?). Currently 25-years old, Robert is working on moving into a friend's house right now, just ironing out the details.  With them goes their furniture.  I'm good with that!

I walked through the house today and looked at the two messy rooms that will soon be MINE ALL MINE!  David's room can be bright and cheerful and will become a sewing room.  Robert's room is a little darker, and this will be the perfect guest bedroom.  I think I'll put a in a trundle bed, which looks like a twin, but can be two twins or a king!   I'll have three empty closets to move things into.  I will put coats and off-season clothes in David's closets.  Robert has a walk-in closet with shelves, which will hold photo albums and some books. Oh goodie, goodie, goodie!  We need to start looking at paint colors!

We will miss David, the quiet repairman. We will miss Robert's exhuberance, a party waiting to happen. What we won't miss: David stays up late at night and sleeps all morning.  Robert cooks stinky onions for his morning omlette and doesn't relize how much he bangs the pans.  It's hard to share a house with other adults!  How wierd will it be to open the fridge and actually find a container of yogurt?

On Being a Wiggly Kid

We went through a slew of substitutes for the remainder of my second grade year.

Staying seated in my desk was very difficult for me.  Especially on one memorable day.  I needed a Kleenex. I had to throw it away. My shoe fell off. My pencil needed sharpening… Our poor inexperienced substitute-of-the-day was at her wit's end, so she took an extension cord and wrapped it around and around to secure me in my chair, and for added security, plugged it into itself, telling me that if I tried to escape, I would be electrocuted. It worked and I stayed very still. I took a note home and was promptly spanked. Imagine if this happened today! The teacher and my mother would both be in jail.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Silver Springs

Mark and I have annual "Silver" passes to Silver Springs. Silver Springs is famous for the springs of course, and glass bottom boats to view what is under the water.  Each weekend there is entertainment, and this weekend it was Chris Cagle, a country singer.  No, we don't normally listen to country music, but any live concert is a fun concert to me! The first picture is of the band performing before the big audience. There were so many more people than you see here.

We arrived with enough time to take the boat ride, looking into the many deep springs.   We saw underwater movie sets used in Sea Hunt, The Creature From The Black Lagoon, and of course, Tarzan.  We saw an alligator lazing in the sun on the river bank, lots of fish and a few turtles under the water, beautiful blue herons and not so beautiful cormorants drying their wings on the water's edge.  The weather was perfect and as you can see from the pictures, the skies were clear and blue.  The final photo is of the springs and shows one of the boats riding over the biggest spring.  We learned that this spring produces enough water daily for each person on earth to have three 8-ounce glasses of water every day.  Wow.

PG Again!

Our second grade teacher didn't come back after Christmas. As soon as a baby bump was noticable, it was time to become a housewife, and without a goodby to her students, she was gone. It was a time when most brides were virgins, little girls wore ironed white pentafores over sky-blue puff-sleeved dresses, and men wore skinny ties and Vitalis in their hair. Think of the movie, Pleasantville. Unless you were a doctor, saying the word pregnant was impolite. The first pregnancy was called "gonna have a little baby,” the second was "PG," and any additional pregnancy was "PG again!" Already the mother of two little girls, when momma was pregnant with me, people probably whispered, "Martha’s PG again. Maybe this time it'll be a BOY!"

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Chapel Veil, Empty Head

That little second-grader in morning mass wearing a Kleenex on her head because she lost her chapel veil was me.  Although I never missed a spelling word and my handwriting was perfect, I couldn't read or write a complete sentence. Momma would “tsk tsk” to her mother and sisters that I seemed like “such a bright child." I remained in the lowest reading group with mediocre grades. I was compared to my sisters and cousins and, although this sort of torment may make other children strive for goodness, I just clammed up and wondered if I truly was a Dumb Dora.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

When the Cat is Away, The Mouse Will Play!

I was busy packing Christmas ornaments and decorations (finally!!) and I ignored Juliet as she begged for attention. I should have stopped and played or taken her on a long walk, but instead I left her at home and ran some errands. What a surprise when I got home!  Julie-Jet ran from me to the bathroom, urging me to "Come see! Come see!"  She was so pleased with her new game, what could I do but take a picture? 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Organizational Vacuum

My commitment to organize my house was quickly squelched by my friend Bonnie, owner of a travel agency.  We advertised last week for a couple of different cruises and the calls came in faster than she could get the paperwork done.  I am the queen of paper and computers!  Needless to say, Christmas decorations remain in the house, boxes pushed against the wall.  I sent a text to son David that I was tired of Christmas music, as the kitchen clock plays a different tune every hour, and tonight when I got home from work, I saw that he had taken down the Rubbermaid containers for me to fill with all the Christmas Crap.  He also changed out clocks, hanging the bird clock.  I like hearing a different bird whistle every hour.  When the house gets dark, the birds sing softer.  It has been a long day at work yesterday and today, and I'm too tired to put stuff away.  Tomorrow...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Air Potatoes Galore!

Inspired by Ravine Gardens State Park's Annual Air Potato Rodeo, I offered the neighbor kids two cents for each air potato they found under the trees around the pond in our front yard..  Eight children started filling grocery sacks in what looked like an Easter egg hunt.  They collected a total of 1,200 egg-sized  tubers.  Each potato is a potential tree-choking vine that grows thick and blocks my view of the water.  I passed out coins totaling $3 each, plus a dollar prize for the funniest (a snowman), and a dollar for the largest potato.  Addison, who just turned four, was so excited with pocket full of dimes and nickels, and asked if she could keep looking for more tomorrow.  I left the deal open: two cents a tater for the sweetest little blue eyed charmer.  "Forever?" she asked.  "Yes, forever," was my solemn promise.

Clutter Update:  Today was a holiday and Mark didn't want to do any work, so I tagged along on his errands to Costco, Home Depot, and Office Max.  Once home, I cleaned out the fridge, started working on a new way to organize the filing cabinet, and threw away a bunch of magazines.  Hey, it's a beginning!

Spring Has Sprung

It was such a nice day yesterday that we opened he windows to let our house breathe out the old stale heated air of winter and deeply inhale the new spring! 
Big plans for Spring Cleaning have been announced and I was too excited to go to sleep last night.  I am a list-writer, and so I had imaginary "things to do" lists flipping through my mind's eye as I layed awake and listened to the frogs until they settled down after midnight.

The social life of our pond frogs was in full swing!  Every sort of frog rose their voices to loudly announce that Spring Has Arrived in Central Florida!  The loudest, and what one would imagine would be the final crashing crescendo of their symphony would be followed by one lone bull from in the middle of the pond. He sang out loud and clear, "Come on in!"  It was the deepest alto one could imagine, and sung over and over again in his sexiest and most relaxing Barry White voice.  Dozens of spring peepers chimed in nervously, warning "Too deep, too deep, too deep!"  A teeming melodious chorus of every frog voice one could imagine joined in, beatboxing the suggestion "Better go around! Better go around! Better go around!".   The pond's edge didn't have an empty seat and the water must have been shimmering from the vibration of constant sound. 

It is morning now and the sun just rose.  The air and the trees are still, too tired from all the nighttime excitement.  Frogs are sleeping in, nursing their frog party hangovers.  An occasional chirp from a waking bird is hushed by the rest, wishing for just five more minute of peace.  Even the squirrells have slept in.

I sit quietly in my house, collecting my thoughts. My sleeping dog is in action at my side, her tiny paws move as she dreams of chasing bunnies. A fan drones on in the next room, and the coffee maker with it's familair gurgles, is telling me a busy day is about to begin.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Productivity Challenge

Clutter has taken over my world and it is overwhelming!  There is a drawback to having a big house: I get one room organized, then another overflows.  In a pitiful attempt to gain control, I decided to do a little self-punishment and report the embarassing details here in a daily journal. 

My plan of action starts tomorrow, getting Christmas decorations into the attic, something I cannot do by myself.  The Christmas tree displaced some furniture and we need to put things back in place. 

Each day I will report on my progress as I chip away at the following:  My bedroom needs organization and I want to move the furniture.  Closets need to be purged.  Taxes need to be compiled, and I have a plan for the paper that piles on the counter, a filing system I found online from a book called Start Over/Finish Rich. 

Winter's End

It was almost dawn when I stepped outside, and what a lovely surprise; happy birds were singing at the tops of their lungs!  I can't imagine missing mornings.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Shot By Moose Hunter on Honeymoon

 For our honeymoon Mark and I took a car tour of New England and Canada.  The year was 1981 and we crossed the Maine/Quebec border during the height of the language war between French and English speaking Canadians.  Mark drove up, cranked down the window, and gave a hearty "Howdy!", to which the French Canadian border patrol twisted his narrow lips into a snarl, clicked his shiney polished boots together, and uttered an indignant "Bonjour!"  He looked like cartoon character Dudley Do-Right, complete with wide brimmed hat.

"What is your business in my country? Do you have any alcohol, drugs, bla bla bla?" And Mark explained that we were on our honeymoon, and we had a half a bottle of cold duck...  The policeman handed back our identification and cut short Mark's explanation with a brisk "Be on your way! Au revoir!"  So Mark, in his London Fog windbreaker and me, in my tweed business jacket (as those were the warmest clothes we Floridians owned), headed off into the beautiful wooded backroads of Canada.  An occasional snowflake floated down and we were happy as clams.

It was early and the morning sun burned through the big windows of our turquoise Pacer, making it like a warm little hothouse, and although it was was an icy mid-October day, we had the windows cracked open to enjoy the fresh air.  We cheerfully bounced down the two lane road, paved with big chunks of gravel mixed with asphalt, and laughed at the moose warning signs that dotted the highway.  Locals we passed had bumper stickers with funny slogans like, "I Brake For Moose."  It was the beginning of Hunting Season, and moose hunters with huge rifles that looked like they were meant for elephants, were leaving their trucks on the roadsides to wander into the forest.  Mark and I thought their red plaid hats, with ear flaps pulled up and secured with a bow on the top of their heads looks oh so silly.  Occasionally we heard a shot, some very near and some far away. I had just commented to Mark about gun safety, when BANG!  I was shot!

Mark skidded our car to a stop on the soft shoulder as I clasped my hands to the back of my neck, feeling how quickly I was covered in warm blood.  A million thoughts raced through my head, which was expected, as I was about to die. 

My high school Biology teacher was a Viet Nam veteran, and he once mentioned that being shot in the head wasn't terribly painful, as the brain lacks pain receptor nerves.  It was my medulla oblongota, and no, I was not in pain, and miles away from civilization.  I thought about the headlines at home, "BRIDE KILLED BY MOOSE HUNTER ON HONEYMOON" and I thought about my pitiful husband who was trying his best to pry my hands from the spout that would soon empty all of my lifebood if I ever let go.  Through Marks fearful "I love you's" and heaertfelt pleads with God, I hung on for dear life.  I wondering what words I should say as my final goodbye to my true love?  Would my words come out normally or would they be garbled from brain damage?  I remained in shocked silence.

Mark finally pried my fingers free, stopped fretting, sat back and said in a blank flat voice: "There's No Blood."  No blood? How can there be no blood?  My fingers were drenched with warm blood, and although I didn't want to, I brought my hands before my eyes to see.  Nothing! 

It was then that Mark plucked the champagne cork from the collar of my jacket.

Home Always Smells Sweetest

I am the youngest of the Wise Girls, three well-behaved, stair-step sisters who spoke when spoken to, and practiced good Southern manners.  I just started school and longed to lay beneath Leslie’s ironing board in our den, where I would feel an occasional cool splash from the water bottle with a sprinkle head, and smell the wonderful warmness of hot iron on damp cotton.  Leslie would rock her oversized body and sing gospel songs in a deep round earthy voice that could only belong to a big, sweet black woman who loved Jesus and "her babies."  These are my most pleasant memories of the sweetest sounds and smells on earth.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dysfunction in Black and White

In the 1950's Jackie Gleason starred in the popular TV series, The Honeymooners..  Nobody thought Ralph Kramden was an abusive sot for drawing back his balled fist and threatening to hit his wife, yelling red-faced (actually deeper shades of gray), “One of these days, POW, right in the kisser… To the moon, Alice!” -insert canned laughter here   Alice would snap back with sarcastic personal jabs about his fat stomach and poor income from his miserable job.  It didn't occur to me that this show was the poster child for dysfunction junction until years later.

I was dealing with my own dysfunctional family, with an alcoholic father (minus hitting and laughter) and nervous perfectionist mother. I thought our roller-coaster life was normal.  It wasn't until 8th grade, when I spent a few weekends with a friend, that I realized their Leave It To Beaver life was the epitome of a normal family.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

After Christmas Update

I went to my rheumatologist the week before Christmas and got the bad news that since I showed no signs of imprivements after two Rituxan IVs, this would be discontinued. A new medication is suggested, Humira, but like Rituxan, the price is overwhelming. I will have to wait and see if there is some sort of grant money to help me pay for the shots. With insurance, my part of the bill for two shots a month will be almost $600, and this is for medication that may or may not help. What a huge waste of money!  Merry Christmas.  I am bummed.

After returning January 4th from ten wonderful days in knee-deep snow in the mountains of NC, I am nearly recovered from a pretty significant chest cold.  Nyquil at night and some non-alcohol cherry chest congestion liquid by day seems to have done the trick.

We found our septic tank had backed up into my shower while we were away.  How totally gross is that?  I ruined my favorite black slacks when I ran into the bathroom and sloshed bleach in the shower, holding my nose all the while, and causing instant orange spots on my pant legs.  The septic tank truck couldn't come until morning, so Mark squirted the air with disinfectant spray and blocked the bathroom door with towels to save the bedroom off from the offending odors.  I spent my first night in 28 years on the couch, as I felt that breathing the nasty odor would further injuure my sick lungs.  The septic tank guy did his job and also unclogged a pipe, $295.  It seems like a miserable job.  I would have asked for more!

The washing machine began banging and walking with a small load of towels, so I called the appliance repairman after the septic tank man left.  Mr. Maytag arrived the next day and a $50 service call, he showed me a simple spring that had broken.  It would take two weeks and cost an additional $200 for the repairs.  I went online and found the same springs (6 of them) for $20 on ebay.  I spoke to the online appliance store, and was told that the springs were a simple install with a pair of pliers.  I ordered the springs and cancelled the Maytag man.  The new springs should arrive tomorrow, but in the meantime, dirty laundry was piling up fast!  I sorted out tons of laundry, shoved them in the back of my SUV, stopped by the bank for quarters, and started washing!  Everything went smoothly until all twelve loads were dry all at once.  Talk about speed folding!

When My Boys Were Screaming Banshees

I have two very smart sons, but raising them had a very bumpy beginning. Robert was diagnosed with an extreme case of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. David has ADD and is Learning Disabled. Being LD is not Forest Gump stupid, far from it, simply stated, it is a different way that that the mind learns; an oval peg for a round hole. It fits after some fancy manouvering.

Our first born son was a beautiful little maniac that was cheerfully taking our house and our lives apart. It was as if the “terrible twos” started early and never ended. Bright blue eyes would dart about and then roll back, his arms would flap, and he would go into a wild loudly vocal trance, “iiieee, iiieee, iiieee,” swirling in circles and knocking anything down in his path. He was always so happy and acted as crazy as a loon, with possibly a seizure disorder! My friends would tell me that if they didn't know how very strict and structured I was with him, they would have assumed that I let my child run wild! My son was expelled from three preschools before I gave up and, out of shame, just kept him home. Our pediatrition would suggest books about how to improve my child-rearing techniques. I read everything and it just got to the point that I remained quiet, lest once again pointing out my lack of parenting skills.

My husband had begun a new job, and using the ruse of work as his escape, he could pretty much stay out of the range of fire as much as he wanted. Mark was the “fun guy” and didn’t want to deal with behavior problems (housewife’s job), but constantly questioned what I had done to make our son so wild every evening when he got home. Was I hepping him up with too much excitement? Red food coloring? Sugar? (No, no, and no!) It is amazing our marriage survived, as my husband admits that he really didn’t believe me at the time, and thought I was just a lousy mother.

Friends and family didn't want to be around me with such a crazy child, but I was too exhausted to be lonely. During the quiet times, I taught my three-year old how to read my first grade John and Jane reader, so I knew there was a spark of intelligence buried in him somewhere. That, and he spoke in complete sentences at age one. During his wild moments, in desperation, I would imagine throwing my little boy against the wall and he would slide to the floor, unconscious. It sounds terrible, but this kept me sane and kept him from being abused. Remember, the first pediatrition gave me books (I read every one, nothing worked!) when I complained about his behavior, my friends avoided me, and I had no support system.

We moved to Central Florida when Robert was 3 years old, and his new pediatrician, a wise old man named McPherson, saw my child in action. He secretly watched as I protected his infant brother David from sure death, while Robbie squealed and laughed as he went through whirling trances and running and singing six different songs at once, as he instantaneously dismantled the waiting room. It was as if we walked into a room and books and toys flew off bookshelves, possessed. Everywhere we went, mothers of normal children would self-righteously comment, “She can’t make that child behave!”

I was horrified when the new doctor placed a call that went like this: “You gotta see this one…” Dr. McPherson told me that I was doing everything right and there were drugs that could make my son normal. I broke down in tears and asked for drugs for me too. Every day was a battle. We were invited to drive straight over, and so I packed my baby and my wildchild up, leaving quite a mess behind in the waiting room.

The year was 1987, and Robert was the youngest child that the head of Child Psychiatry in Orlando had ever put on Ritalin. My son was quite a find for this doctor! He rhapsodized that Robert's IQ was beyond genius, his singing was in perfect pitch, and he was quite enthusiastic about how extremely ADHD Robbie was. “On a 1 to 10 scale, this young man is a 20!” A magic little pill (and a lot of psychological consults) was the cure. What a gift to learn that my son was not crazy and that I was not a horrible mother, but I must admit that raising him was not without a lot of heavy-duty challenge. School was fun for Robert, who made straight A's and attended gifted enrichment classes. He is now 25, a law student, and still takes magic little pills.

Our younger son David did not like being an infant. He didn’t like being handled and screamed for seven months straight. I fed him and dried him, swaddled him and placed him in the swing, where he rocked back and forth, the screams coming and going. He was not sick, didn’t have colic or a rash. He just was totally unhappy. He screamed from the time he woke up until he passed out. Sure, there were some moments that David was quiet, but then he’d realized he was trapped in an infant’s body and the screaming would once again commence. As soon as David could sit himself up and reach for a toy, he was a very happy camper!

David was such a sweet natured boy, quite a relief after his whirling dirvish big brother. If David spoke at all, it was in a whisper, totally enjoyable. He was such a tender hearted boy, and was easily hurt if you scolded him. David disliked eye contact and was extremely slow to warm up enough to talk to people, so we took him to phychologists. He wouldn’t respond to his (very kind) kindergarten teacher for nearly a half a year. He was diagnosed with ADD in first grade, incredulous to me, as it was like comparing a still candle to a raging forest fire. Without Adderall, David is in a cloud. Although his disorder appears milder than his brother's, David does not function well without medication.

Thinking he was behind because of his silent/control issues, it wasn’t until second grade when we learned that although David has an above-average IQ, he had some pretty severe learning disorders. Oh how I wish we caught them earlier, and wonder if this would have made a difference. He always has to work twice as hard to earn only average grades. Understandably, David hated school and college. He finally found his niche in technical school. David is 22 and will soon have all the certifications needed to get a plum IT job. Computers suit him in a hands-on, no chit-chat required sort of way. David’s friends adore him (who doesn’t love a listener?) and girls find his silence mysterious and attractive, like a good spy novel that never ends.

I cannot fathom how some people pick a favorite child.  It changes by the moment!  Robert has book sense and charm, David oozes common sense and steady sensibility. David is a hands-on learner and Robert absorbs knowledge through the miracle of osmosis. Robert has an outgoing personality, a comedian that entices loud belly-laughs from his always-present posse of friends. David is calm, quiet and private, and has an amazing dry/wry wit that makes you wrinkle your eyes in wonder at his quick sideways glances. Robert chooses his clothes for style and color and texture. David pulls on a comfortable t-shirt that makes a statement. Raised the same way by the same doting parents, isn't it funny how differenly these two boys turned out? I like their individuality. What they do share is the same blindingly glamourous smile and they love each other. *little hearts floating around me*

Get Well Pills

Second grade at Assumption Catholic School was a misery for me.  I was in the Blue Bird's reading group, which meant I was a poor reader, a total embarrasment to my two big sisters. I didn't want to be a poor reader, but it just wouldn't click.  I was unhappy to have a "Lay Teacher" and not a nun with arms crossed beneath the front sheath of a flowing black and white habit, and rocking in sensible black shoes, and softly talking in such a lovely Irish accent.  I was going to be a nun!

I never liked school and often faked illness to get to go home.  When my mother couldn't be found, as she was very active at the Southside Woman's Club (eventually becoming the President), my Aunt Louise would be called.  Aunt Louise would come in her light blue car with fashionable tailfins.  I climbed in next to my baby cousin, who was happily hanging in a wire and cloth baby seat.  It was more to keep baby from crawling all over the car than it was for any semblance of safety. If Chris got fussy, Aunt Louise would slip the keys from the ignition of the running car and give them to him.  Uncle Paul, a young service man on leave, popped in to visit his sister, and fed me M&M's for my pretend stomach ache.  He called them "Get Well Pills," and called my bluff.

I Was a Bad Brownie Scout

First grade at Assumption Catholic School, and the mean lunch lady that slammed her big spoon on the tables for "silence" was serving something icky, and the boys flipped pickle slices onto the ceiling, so I, in my little Brownie uniform, walked across the busy 2-lane highway to Krystal for lunch...

Msgr.Jordan must have been called, as he appeared and sat beside me, ate a mini-burger and chatted with me and then held my hand as we walked back across the street. 'Turns out we weren't supposed to leave campus, and since I used my Brownie dues (fifteen cents) to pay for my meal, it was decided then and there that I was no longer a Brownie. "Good!" I thought, as I hated that ugly uniform and silly crafts! I never told my mother the real reason I quit.

Years later, Msgr. Jordan performed our wedding, and Msgr. Jordan and my 6'6" husband stood eye to eye. I never lost my love for Krystal burgers and tall and gentle men. 

Friday, January 8, 2010

Trees and Goats and Blogs I Read

Do you ever come across a blog that just sucks you in, and you waste an otherwise wonderful day musing over someone else's days?  I found two today. 

I especially like Rain's murmuring trees.  She moved from Quebec to Prince Edward Island (And who doesn't love PEI after reading Anne of Green Gables??), but I have yet to figure out a reason for the move, other than a dislike for the French Quebec natives and a life that before this move was perhaps without reason.  She may have been depressed before, but she is reveling in her new life and all the lovely things that surround her.  Rain can ramble on about anything and her gift of words just sucks me into a time warp, where the computer is God and I am his servant.  "Turn the page." "Okayyy." "Turn the page." "Okayyy..."

I am supposed to be doing laundry.

I found Rainy Days through another even more talented blog writer named Lali that has a wonderful blog titled My Green Vermont. Lali is talented beyond what's allowable, and I surely hope she writes a book one day, because I think I'd like to read it! 

There is something about Vermont that calls to me.  We loved Vermont when we passed through on our Fall Honeymoon 28 years ago. I guess we should go back for another visit.  Maybe it is Uncle Bill, one of my favorites, who was from Vermont.  He always said nice things about that state.

Lilu is about my age I am guessing.  She and her husband have a small farm that includes chickens and miniature goats that she used to milk until recently.  Milkmaid's shoulder, from a very short animal.  I'd like to take a walk in her shoes, and her blog allows me to do just that.  But I'm glad not to have goats.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Drama Drama Drama

We left Christmas Day to go to Jacksonville, spent the night there, and finally drove to our home in Beech Mountain, NC.  It was a wonderful snowy week!  It snowed and snowed and snowed and we shoveled and shoveled and shoveled!  It was an enjoyable week with Robert and Vanessa, David and Audrey, and Mark and me.  We got home on Monday after about ten days away.

Now here's the drama --- septic tank backup!  Ugh!  The closest place to the septic tank is our master bath, and the lowest spot would be our big walk-in shower.  It's a lot like a gym shower, about six feet square, and there is no need for a curtain or glass doors.  The floor of the shower had some gross stuff sitting in it and P.U. did it smell awful!  The next morning the septic tank cleaning guy came with his big truck and cleared out the clogged pipe and emptied the tank.  I wanted to move, but instead tackled the mess with a jug of bleach.  Slosh, slosh, slosh, then run away fast!  What happened?  DRAMA!  I was wearing my favorite black slacks.  Well, they are now polka-dotted.  Sob...  The bathroom is clean, the odor is gone, and sanitation is under control.

We brought home all the dirty sheets and towels from NC.  Add to that a bunch of pre-Christmas dirty clothes, dirty winter clothes from NC, and we have a total of 12 loads of laundry begging to be washed.  I have it all sorted and in baskets in the family room.  So I started the first load Tuesday morning and whump-whump-whump!  What the heck was that??  I called the appliance repairman and he found that we needed new springs at the base of the washing machine tub.  A set of six runs $200 with installation, and the springs would arrive in five to seven days.  I went online and found that exact set in an ebay store for $20 and ordered it.  The man told me on the phone (from ebay store) that they are simple to install with a pair of pliers.  The springs I purchased will arrive in three days.

My dog is bad!  She walks outside to go potty and takes a whim to walk away.  I wonder if she's hard of hearing?  I can yell my head off, and she only looks back if I squeak a toy.

Bathroom, Finally!

Yep, our master bathroom is finished!  My neighbor Cathy's brother is in town and he has the gift of being handy.  He painted my brown ceiling white, installed both vanity lights, ceiling lights, vents, etc, and hung all the towel bars.  It  looks terrific in there!  Yay!