Monday, May 15, 2006

We had a celebration this weekend. Kim, our dear friend and neighbor graduated from college with her teaching degree. And, she got a job last Thursday night! We are so happy for her and her family and excited for them as well.

They've all had a rough road, with mom going to school, working 2 jobs and trying to keep up with her family obligations. Kev and I have helped out as much as we could, watching the kids (while Bob worked nights, and Kim had classes). We've traded kids, vehicles, etc.

Kim wanted to celebrate by having a BBQ and bonfire. So Saturday night, we got together, relaxed around their fire pit, enjoying food, drinks and good company. Until Kim fell asleep--at 10:00. Yep, 3 hours into the celebration, the hostess, and honoree fell asleep.

Two years of stress, worry, and hard work were over, so she crashed. But, it was OK. I certainly understood and the kids were still having fun and Kev and I visited with Bob and watched the fire burn till 1 a.m. And Kim slept through the whole thing.

They've proven to be among our closest friends. We were all raised similarly, have the same values and ideas for our children. My mom commented that it was a rare friendship when I could discipline my neighbors kids just as I did my own, and vice versa. And, thinking about it, she's right. I have several friends who's kids I never discipline or correct. Their parents would come uncorked.

But Kim and Bob, nope, they just say "OK, then, thanks." and we move on. Of course they can do the same with OUR kids too. I like every member of their family. I like spending time with them, just chatting or doing some activity with them. They're more than friends, they are family.

Congratulations Teacher Kim. You've worked hard. You'll be an excellent teacher. We're very proud of you and are glad you and your family are a part of our lives.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Stupid Pigs

Yesterday was Weigh-In day. We had to weigh our 4-H pigs and goats to get a starting weight. In August, we will get a final weight at fair time. But, before you can weigh the pigs, you have to get them to the scales.

Not an easy task.

I had it planned. Kev had nicely pulled the trailer up to their pen. Short trip to the trailer from the pen. The kids (my 2 and the neighbor 3), would be blockers and form a wall. The pigs would be herded by me into the trailer. We'd use a simple bribe of some grain. Simple, well thought out, easily executed plan. Except I forgot to add the pigs to the equation.

Pigs don't herd well. Pigs can run. Pigs are fast. Pigs can get through small holes between children's legs. Pigs can move in tight circles and leave me in the dust. Pigs can also poop while running. Pigs can place poop in strategic spots where I step and slide. Pigs poop a lot. Pigs do not cooperate.

Phases 2 and 3 and 4 involved moving the trailer closer, getting old shower doors from Chicken pen to form walls to block in loading area, and stock panels from top of dog pen to form moveable walls to block potential escape routes.

I needed 10 more people. Two of my helpers would rather jump on the trampoline than help. They kept disappearing between phases. One of my helpers is becomming a young lady who doesn't want to get dirty. That left me with a 15 year old and a 10 year old. Both boys were troopers, but we couldn't do it alone. My neighbor and savior arrived after an hour of unsuccessful pig wrangling.

Together, with all the kids, we finally got those pigs loaded. One pig, we drug into the trailerby its hind legs. 100 lb pigs can kick and wiggle. Each of us had a leg. I'm sure it was quite comical to see two women struggling to drag a pig into the trailer. Pig was of course, squeeling and wiggling. We felt like we were wearing one of those old vibrating exercise belts. It was quite the workout. The other three must have been scared, because they herded better (this time) and we finally got them loaded. Only took another 20 minutes!

The goats were a breeze. We simply walked into their pen, picked up 3, shoved them into the dog kennel in the back of the pickup, and we were off to town.

Now the 4-H scales are made for large animals--cattle, sheep, pigs. Not goats. So we had a challenge keeping the goats in the scale--they could crawl out between the bars. But, they got weighed, tagged, and put back into their kennel. The pigs cooperated. They unloaded, got weighed, and loaded again. After all, they are professionals now. No big deal.

Unloading at home was just as simple. Kevin backed the trailer up for me, we again used the shower door walls, and the stupid pigs simply walked into their pen. Stupid pigs.

And if anyone is curious--

Goats: Monkey, female, (the bottle baby) weighs 26 lbs. Fireheart, male, weighs 24 lbs. Chaps, male, weighs 36 lbs.

Pigs: Not named, but weights range from 100 lbs to 106 lbs. When we got them 6 weeks ago, they all weighed 50 lbs. (and I could pick them all up and carry them too!)

Stupid pigs.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


I went into the grocery store to get a few items. Walked down the beverage aisle to get some soda and noticed a young man, probably 16-18 wearing shorts and an oversized hoodie sweatshirt. He had just picked up two single bottles of Mt. Dew and turned away holding one in each hand. I thought that was a little odd, but shrugged it off because at times, I've carried bottles like that. He walked back towards the back of the store.

My next stop was the chip aisle. As I walked down it, and saw the same young man walking toward me only this time, the Mt Dew was not visible. I smiled at him, started to make conversation, but he wouldn't make eye contact. He picked up his pace and walked quickly right out the door.

It was then I wondered where the MT. Dew was.

From his body language, I'm certain they were in his pockets. And I stood ther wondering what I should do. Confront him? Contact management? I wasn't sure.

I know that the law says it isn't shoplifting until you are out of the store. But, as a private citizen, do I have the right to stop this other private citizen and accuse him of theft?

I thought about going to management, but by then, he'd have been long gone.

I truly was stunned and wasn't sure what to do. Asked a friend of mine who is in law enforcement. He said that concealing is considered shoplifting, and that since no member of management was near by (they weren't) then I really couldn't do anything. He did say I could have called it in, but chances of catching this kid would have been slim to none.

So, I guess I did the appropriate thing. But was it the RIGHT thing? Should I have stopped the kid, should I have told management? I felt so helpless, so uncertain. I don't like feeling that way. But I also don't like knowing that I saw someone steal and didn't do a thing.

Monday, May 08, 2006

My daughter is why I have gray hair. She's why I feel so stressed and inadequate as a parent. It's a gift she has. A talent. If she had been our first born, she'd have been our last. I swear!

Case in point:

She needed white tennis shoes for her dance recital. I picked some up Friday night before I came home from work. I got cheap Hanes sneakers. Thin soled, light weight, perfect for dancing and jumping in. And, if she never wore them again, not out much money.

Boy am I stupid.

She went ballistic. "These are U.G.L.Y. I'm NOT wearing them."

I tried reasoning, reminding her that she was going to wear them once. ONCE. I reminded her that she never wears tennis shoes. She gripes all winter long about tennis shoes. I mush have been hearing things, because I was informed that she LIKES tennis shoes, that I never buy her any cool or nice ones.


So, Saturday morning, before practice, we ran to Walmart, returned the shoes, and she picked out her own pair. Chunky, clunky, boys tennis shoes. For a dance recital.

Whatever. She wore them, was happy, and managed to dance reasonably well in them.

This morning, I wrote out the last lunch check for the school year. $78.00. For Kat's lunches.

I was a "little" hot about owing so much money. Monthly lunches are $35.00. Why do I owe $78.00? Because little miss "responsible" had lost her April lunch check.

"Is it in your trapper?"

"No. I swear Mom, I turned it in. I swear."

"let me see your trapper."

"You never believe me. I turned it in. It's NOT in my trapper."

"Let me see your trapper."

"NO. It's not there. I TURNED IT IN."

"Give me the trapper."

Looking in the trapper, I find the check. Wadded up, shriveled up in the bottom of her trapper, April's lunch check. "Kat, what's this?"

"Oh. I don't know how it got there, I swear I turned it in."

Of course she did.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

growing old

I've had a lot stewing in my mind the last couple of weeks. You see, I spent 2 days at home with my folks helping my Mother who is overwhelmed with caring for others right now.

She's got my Dad with a broken, non-weight bearing leg. She's got my grandparents. One with dementia the other who is physically ailing.

Grandpa had to go see the eye dr. about getting a cataract removed. Grandma, who has dementia, was to stay home, but can't stay at home. And Dad--wouldn't be able to pick her up if she fell, and she's always driven him nuts. So I was the designated babysitter. Mom of course, had to take Grandpa to the Dr.

It's an odd feeling knowing you are babysitting the person who babysat you 30 years ago. It's strange to have to finally admit that Grandma has dementia. It's really hard for me to admit and accept that my grandparents are at the end of their lives. In my mind, they were always going to be there. No doubt about it because, well, they always have been there.

I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. With all 4 grandparents, but more often with these two. They lived 5 miles away while Dad's folks were 20. When Mom worked in Ashland or at the Englewood post office, I went to Grandmas. We had a routine. Mornings were spent feeding the chickens, I played outside with the kittens. We worked in the garden (which I HATED.) We fixed lunch. After lunch, they both took naps in their recliners. I never napped, but HAD to be quiet. So, I usually read a book. Afternoons were filled with different chores, depended on the day. Then Mom would arrive, and we'd go home.
Tuesday afternoons were ceramics day. Several friends of Grandma's came out to work on their ceramics. Those ladies were mostly older than grandma. Most of her friends were older than she. I thought they were ancient. Most were probably in their 60's and 70's.

Fridays were egg delivery day--in the mornings. And after delivering eggs, Grandma would get her hair done at Mary's Cut 'N Curl. I liked and hated delivering eggs. At some houses, we'd stop and visit for a while. All OLD people. I can remember the smell of Mrs. Osborns house. Mothballs and something else. Never have placed that smell. Effie's house smelled warm and sunny. Mrs. Butts house was always dark. Ming's house was always messy. We always visited with the Osborns. Sometimes Mr Osborn would give me home made bread and butter. And he always gave me a piece of doublemint gum. We would stay there forever. At times, we'd visit with other ladies, but always the Osborns.

Monday's were often Dr day. Grandma has always been "sick". Always. I hated Dr day. We had to drive 30 miles to Laverne OK. to see Dr Lenz. Your appointment might be at9, but you might see him by noon. Of course, I had to sit and be quiet. I hated going to the Dr. And, of course, we'd always see someone who was related to us or who was from home. So lots of visiting.

But even then, I knew the routine, I knew my grandparents would always be there. They just would. Other people died, but not MY grandparents.

And, now they are dying. Slowly. And I know I need to come to terms with it. Grandma really isn't healthy anymore. Grandpa, once so big, and powerful, is now smaller than I am. It's not supposed to be that way. They aren't supposed to ever leave me.