Thursday, November 30, 2006

Letting them go.

The hardest part of being a parent is letting your kids grow up and go out on their own. Andy is 15. He has his drivers permit, he's gone to a couple of dances, he's hunting on his own, and now, he has a job.

I'm struggling. I want him to be safe, I want him to be a responsible person, but letting him strike out on his own, without me there to back him up is really difficult. Letting him drive to school isn't hard, but letting him drive in to town to work has proven to be more difficult. On school nights, he can only work until 7. But, when 7:30 rolls around and he's still not home, I worry.

Then there are those school dances. He went with a girl to the last dance a couple of weeks ago. The dance was over at 11. And I waited up...He was home by 11:15, but waiting for him to get safely home was hard. What am I going to do when he stays out past midnight?

Yes, he has a phone, but I don't want to be one of those parents who is always calling, checking in with their kids. I realize that sometimes, you don't get off work right away, that you don't get out the door right away, that you have to get gas, let the pickup warm up, etc. I realize that sometimes you need to drive slower home because it's foggy or snowy. But I can't help worrying! So many kids get killed in accidents. So many temptations are out there for kids to stumble into. There are deer that jump in front of vehicles. How does he know which decisions are the right ones? How does he know what to do when there are deer in the road, or if you skid on the ice. I can't protect him anymore and that's the hard to admit.

How do we parents DO this? I thought it was hard when they were babies, and we were up all night. I thought it was hard sending them to school, but letting them go, letting them be independent...that's the hardest part of parenting. And, I'm struggling.

Monday, November 27, 2006

My plans for Thanksgiving break...

I had the whole week off for Thanksgiving. That was so nice and I needed a break from work. So, being me, I planned activities to fill my time at home. Monday, I would clean the kitchen, pay bills, then sew some fabric bowls. Tuesday, I'd finish sewing, maybe cut out some doll clothes for Kat for Christmas, and spend a little time cleaning. Wednesday, the kids would be home, so together, we'd clean. Thursday, my folks and brother's family would be up, the Herron's would also be over for Thanksgiving. Friday, Mom and I would run to my Aunt Sandy's to see her kids and new grandbabies. We also make some popcorn balls and maybe some bath bombs. Saturday, they'd go home, I'd rest.

Would someone please remind me NOT to plan?

Monday started off well, I paid bills and cleaned the kitchen. Then Lynn called and asked me to help him take Lacey to the vets to put her to sleep. He's needed to do this, but wasn't emotionally ready to put his companion of 15 years to sleep. It was time. I went by to take them. Lynn put an afghan in the back of the pickup, laid Lacey down, and she died. Right then and there. So, I helped this big, strong, tough man bury his dog. He was pretty broken up. That took most of the afternoon, and then I spent the rest of the day running errends. So much for my plans.

Kat was supposed to have dance that night, but decided to throw up instead. So, the rest of the night, all night, I spent with her, patting her back, laying in bed with her, washing her bedding. Not at all on my list of plans to do. Can someone tell me why kids get sick when it's the weekend or vacation? I'd rather get a day off work to care for a sick kid rather than give up a "me" day. And yet, it was nice to snuggle with her on the couch. It made her feel better. It also made tuesday a very non-productive day. So much for my Tuesday plans.

She was back to normal by Wednesday, so we all dug in a cleaned. We even rearranged the basement. Somehow, I managed to con Kevin into helping with that chore! That is one day that went according to plan.

Thursday morning, as I was making my first ever butterscotch pie (using my great grandmother's recipie), I got a phone call. "This is R, Cody and Austin's stepdad. They might not make it, because Cody fell of the horse and broke his arm."

My brother's kids seem to have a deathwish on holidays. 2 years ago, Austin had to have stitches in his leg after gouging out a huge hole. Now, it was Cody's turn. So, it was my job to break the news to Mom and Dad when they arrived. But, Steve and the boys did show up about 5:30. Cody insisted they come, but it was obvious he didn't feel very well. He just wanted to be with us.

We ate without them. Lunch turned out really well too. Ham, Turkey, the works. 4 pies. Yum. Good times with family and friends. Except for Cody's accident, this day also went fairly well according to plan.

Friday's plans were shot though. We went to Sandy's early, becasue their day was full. So we visited with them about 2 hours, got to hold the babies, then drove our hour drive back home to discover more guests. Lynn's daughter and grandson were there to visit too! So, Mom and I never sewed, never made bath bombs, never made the popcorn balls.

Saturday, we got everyone ready to go home. And had more guests! Kev's brother and sister-in-law, stopped by. It was great to see them, but I was still in my morning sweats and tee-shirt. Hair not combed, etc. But, they didn't care. We sat and visited. Everyone was gone by 3 p.m. I sat and rested, until the Herrons came by, so we ate supper together (leftovers!) and watched tv till midnight. Well, they watched tv, I fell asleep. I think I had something planned for saturday, but I can't remember just what it was...

Now, it's back to normal. Back to work. Back to routine. But I haven't done any Christmas shopping, so I need to work on that plan...

Monday, November 13, 2006

No more 4:30 a.m. wake up calls!

Ok, I have to get this off my chest.

I'm worried about our kitten, Chubs. He didn't come in last night. He didn't come in this morning. He didn't answer us when we called and called. So, I'm afraid something has happened to the little twerp.

Chubby was born in May--and was orphaned before he was 3 weeks old. He and his sibling were so small when I started bottle feeding them, that I had to wipe their bottoms and rub their tummies to make them poop. The sibling died, but Chubs thrived. When he was 2 months old, he tried to play horsehoes with the menfolk. He caught a shoe as it was flying through the air, but broke his leg. So, we spent over $100 casting his leg and kept him in the house full time (as much as we could.) You see, Chubs discovered a small hole in the window screen, so he made it larger. We kept finding him outside, and kept telling the kids to quit letting him outside. Then, I caught him in the act, 1/2 in, 1/2 out of the window screen.

Since he's healed, Chubs has taken to sleeping with Kev and I. He curls up behind my knees, and just sings. He also watches me bathe, sitting right there, singing.

Yesterday, he was outside with us while we were cutting up deer. Haven't seen him since. I hope he's holed up out in the shop somewhere stuffed to the gills with deer meat. I hope so. But, I'm afraid he's gone. Stupid twerp.


Part 2--deer.

Saturday, we got up at the ungodly hour of 4:25 a.m. to go hunting. I decided to sit in the new treestand that I insisted we put up. No one's sat in it, and I felt that I'd better since I was the one who insisted that it was a good spot. It was an easy walk into it, along the old railroad tracks, the moon was up and it was bright. I was in the stand well before light.

Since it was a new stand, it didn't have a bow holder which was a pain. And, it is a platform stand, so it was not what I'm used to using, so it seemed like it took me forever to get settled. I never did get my safety belt wrapped around that dang cottonwood tree, so tied off to the ladder. If the platform fell, I would still be hanging there 15 feet off the ground, but, I'd be safe. I finally settled down in the comfy chair, to wait for daylight.

Just before shooting light, I saw a doe walking down the railroad tracks. She came toward me, from the east. She was kind to stop and give me a nice broadside view of her, but it was too dark still to shoot. So, I watched her, heard her, and listened to her leave. She headed south.

Shortly after daylight, I had a buck come by. He was out of my shooting range, but he just trotted from south to north. A little while later, I saw a doe come from the south, she was 50 yards out. She also just moseyed on by, also going north. Gene, one of our hunting buddies was sitting to the north east of me, and I hoped some of these guys would go by him.

Then I saw a doe coming hard--running. About 15 yards behind her was a nice 4 x 4 buck. Running after her, hard. She was not remotely interested in him. They went right on by. Gene rattled, but he was to intent on his girl to stop for competition. It was so cool to see this rut behavior! Way cool. (Last weekend, Gene rattled a deer in, he walked by me, I shot, but missed. But it was cool watching that deer look around to see just who was over there making that noise!)

I'd been standing, but decided to sit awhile. I was relaxed, watching the general direction all these deer had come from, when I heard some leaves rustle. Directly south of me, not 15 yards away was a nice 4 x 4. He was nice. On the railroad tracks. Looking straight at me. Dang. I'm really in the open, because if the deer is on the tracks, he's almost eye level with me. Probably foot level, but he defiantly will see me if I move. He turns to look away, I stood up, but he spooked and took off.

Gene rattled for him too, but he didn't stop.

I decided to stay standing up for a while. I looked back south and saw another buck in the trees. He was just wandering around, and I kept watching him. He finally cut way to the west and then walked straight north to me. He was smaller than the last one, but I was determined to get a shot off. He jumped the fence, walked up on the tracks. I pulled back. I was watching him, but not through my peep sight. Had to tell myself to watch through that peep sight. He turned to the east, I finally watched through the peep sight. Told myself which sight pin to use, (the first one), then I remember telling myself "now." I heard the arrow hit, thought to myself to watch where he went. But he didn't run off. Instead, he fell down the embankment and laid there.

"Ok, that's cool, we won't spend 3 hours tracking this guy." I said to myself. Saw the arrow, it was to high, and in his neck. But, he wasn't getting up. I'd severed his spine. His back legs were paralyzed. He tried to get up, but couldn't. I thought I heard him rattle in his lungs, but I didn't think my arrow looked like it was deep enough to hit a lung. So, I let him lay there --10 yards from my tree--for over an hour. I watched him, thinking he'd die. He didn't. Gene came over at 9. I got down and put another arrow through him, but we decided to slit his throat.

Kev, Lynn, and Andy showed up, we loaded him up and then had to go get Kev's deer. We'd both gotten one. Both bucks. Both 4 x 4's. But Kev's was a little bigger than mine. And, Kev had a better shot--a perfect shot. I'm disappointed by my shot, I'm disappointed in myself for not making a better kill. The guys all assure me that they've had bad shots too, but told me that any deer brought down with a bow is good. Maybe they are trying to make me feel better, maybe I'm too hard on myself. I'm proud that I got one, that I hit him, but sure wish I'd made a cleaner kill. He didn't suffer and hurt, because he was paralyzed, but I sure wish he'd died sooner. But, he's in the freezer now. We'll have fresh venison. That means more jerky, chili, fajitas, etc. And it means we can share our bounty with friend and family.

We all decided that since I saw 6-7 deer that morning, that this was a good spot for the treestand, but I told the guys we needed to move back a tree and up a tree. They agreed. I think we'll keep a stand over here, but move it to give the shooter more cover. And since the deer cut in front of me about 30 yards out, by moving up a "row," we'd have better and more shots, and would be farther away from the railroad tracks, making it harder to be seen. But, me, I'm done for the year. I might go back out with a camera, especially next weekend, because it's rut. And next weekend, we should be able to see LOTS of rutting behavior.

And hey, it also means, no more 4:30 a.m. wake-up calls! Unless I go camera hunting. Dang. Sleep or deer. Sleep, or deer. Sleep. No, deer. No, sleep. No...