Friday, September 22, 2017

PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME


I'd just made myself a cup of tea, and was throwing away my teabag, when I noticed the empty peanut butter jar laying in the recycling bin. “We've started a new jar of peanut butter!” I cried.
My husband, Steven and son, Alex both gave me a confused look.
“I finished it last night.” Alex said. “Why?”
“So no one's opened the new jar yet?” I was almost gleeful.
“I don't know.” Steven went to the cabinet pulled out the new jar and handed it to me.
I slowly unscrewed the lid and saw the foil covering still intact. “Best day ever!” I cried as I peeled the foil off and looked at the smooth top of the peanut butter. “Do you know how happy this makes me?” I smiled at both of them as I set the jar down on the counter and went into the cabinet to get an English muffin. “When you grow up in a big family, like I did, it's rare to have an untouched jar.” I explained as I popped the muffin in the toasted and slide the lever down. “When I was growing up the peanut butter jar always had crumbs or jelly in it.” I shuddered. “It was disgusting.” I leaned against the counter waiting for my muffin to be toasted.
“But our peanut butter jar never looks like that.” Alex argued. “I use a knife for the peanut butter and another knife for the jelly. I never mix the two.”
“I know.” I smiled at him. “That's not the point. It's the joy of a new jar that I'm talking about.”
Alex went into the cabinet and got out a box of cereal.
I pointed to the box. “Cereal was another thing that I only wanted to eat if it was a brand new box.”
“Why?” Alex took a bowl out of the cabinet.
“Because, back then, a lot of cereal had prizes in them.” Hearing the pop of the toaster I turned around pulled the muffin out, being careful not to burn my fingers.
“I remember that.” Steven said, he looked over at Alex. “They'd have all kinds of weird stuff. Nothing really great but everyone wanted it.”
“I'd come downstairs for breakfast, really looking forward to a bowl of Frosted Flakes and the bulging box would be open on the counter top. You'd just know, by looking at it, that someone was elbow deep digging around for that stupid prize.” I shuddered again as I spread the peanut butter on my muffin. “That would be the end of wanting to eat out of that box!”
“That is pretty gross.” Alex admitted.
“Oh that's just the beginning.” I took my peanut buttered muffin to the table as Alex came over with his bowl of cereal. “Getting breakfast with seven kids running around was just crazy.” I shook my head.
“Well, don't worry it's not like that anymore.” Steven said, sitting down at the table to visit with us.
“Yeah.” Alex agreed. “I've stopped drinking right out of the milk container years ago!”
“What!” I could actually feel my stomach flip just thinking about it.

“Just kidding.” Alex laughed as he patted my arm to reassure me. “Just thought I'd bring back another childhood memory for you!”

Friday, September 15, 2017

KITCHEN TOOLBOX


I was in the hall bathroom hanging up a new picture when my son Alex walked in. “What are you doing?” he asked.
“Hanging the picture your Aunt Lizzy gave me.” I finished tapping the picture hook into the wall then picked up the 5x7 white framed picture. It had three pieces of sea glass that were made to look like shore birds standing on a piece of driftwood. I placed it on the hook, adjusted it to make it level, then stood back to admire it. “That is so stinking cute!” I cried. I looked over at Alex. “Isn't it adorable?”
“Sure, adorable.” Alex answered not sounding nearly as thrilled as I was. He picked up the tool I'd used to hang the picture hook. “But why are you using a meat mallet instead of a hammer?” Alex looked confused.
I shrugged my shoulders as I took the mallet from him. “I haven't used a hammer in years.” I confessed. “No matter how many times I'd buy a new hammer it would be missing whenever I went to use it.” I held up the mallet and smiled. “None of you have ever thought of using this!”
Alex shook his head and laughed. “I guess as long as it works...” he went over to the vanity and opened the bottom drawer, I watched as the knob turned in his hand.
“How long has that knob been loose?” I asked.
“I'm not sure.”
I looked inside the drawer, at the screw that was holding the knob. “Perfect, it's not a Phillips head.” I looked up at Alex. “I can fix this for you in a second if you go into the kitchen and bring me a butter knife.”
“Okay.”
While he headed for the kitchen I looked over at the picture I'd just hung and noticed it was lower then I wanted. “Can you bring the metal tongs, too?” I called to him.
Alex came back with a butter knife and the tongs. “Okay, I get the butter knife.” he said as he handed it to me. “But what are the tongs for?”
“You'll see.” I took the butter knife, tightened the screw then closed the drawer. I took the tongs from him and clicked them together. “Pliers!” I took the picture down and using the tongs pulled the picture hanger back out of the wall. Putting the tongs on the vanity, I grabbed the meat mallet once again and 'hammered' the hook up a little higher. Hanging the picture once again I stood back to check. “Perfect!”
I gathered up my tools and headed back to the kitchen.
“So what else do you use in here for your toolbox?” Alex asked as he looked around the kitchen.

“I can't tell you that.” I opened the dishwasher and placed my tools in it, then walked over to him and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. “I'm afraid I've already given up too many of my secrets.”

Friday, September 8, 2017

HIGH-WIRE MOVE


I was walking past my living room window when out of the corner of my eye I noticed a squirrel scurrying across the telephone wire carrying something in her mouth. I squinted my eyes to try and get a better look.
It has always amazed me that a squirrel's twitching tail could take the place of the balance pole high-wire artists use. But no human, no matter how talented they are, could cross a wire at the speed that she was moving.
My squinting seemed to finally pay off because I couldn't believe what I saw. “Oh my gosh, she's got a baby in her mouth!” I cried.
I heard my husband Steven running into the room. “WHAT?” he cried.
I turned to see the panicked look on his face and was a little surprised by his reaction. “There's a mommy squirrel with a baby in her mouth.” I said pointing to the telephone wire.
“Oh, for God's sake!” He sat down on the couch trying to catch his breath.
It took me a second but I finally realized he thought I was talking about our across the street neighbors who'd just brought their twin babies home from the hospital the week before.
“Sorry about that.” I smiled and shrugged my shoulder. “I guess that did sound kind of weird.”
“You think?” he shook his head then got up to look out the window. We both watched the squirrel race back across our yard, up the telephone pole onto the wires and leap into the neighbor's tree. Moments later with another baby in her mouth she did the entire obstacle course all over again moving another one to the new nest.
“I've never seem a squirrel do that before.” I looked over at Steven. “I wonder why she's moving them?”
Steven was still looked out the window. “I bet it's because of the Cooper Hawk.” He turned to look at me. “I heard it in the back yard this morning.”
I grabbed my phone and headed to the front door. “I'm going to try and get a picture.”
“You're going to scare her!” Steven called as he stayed by the window.
“She'll never see me.” I reassured him. I got outside just as she was going back to the first nest for another baby. I tried to get a picture of her on the telephone wire with her carrying a baby but she was so fast I couldn't get the shot I wanted.

I thought I'd wait for her to make the trip again but when she came down from the new nest she didn't just race back to the first nest like she'd done before. Instead she frantically followed her route, seeming to be looking for a missing baby. I hadn't seen her drop one so I could not understand why she was acting this way. After checking the old nest once again she made the same frantic search on her way back to the new nest and her babies.
I came back into the house. “Did you see her drop a baby?” I asked.
Steven shook his head no.
“So how come she didn't know she'd gotten them all?”
Steven started to laugh. “I'm not sure if squirrels are known for their counting skills.”

“Oh, that's just great.” I sighed as I looked back out the window. “Now I feel like I need to go out and double check that she got them all.”

Friday, September 1, 2017

OAK GALL


I was outside filling my bird feeders when I looked down on the ground and saw something strange. It was perfectly round, the size of a golf ball and had the colorful look of a jawbreaker. I put the lid back on the feeder, tucked the bag of birdseed under my arm and scooped up my new found treasure.
Back in the house I placed the colorful ball on the counter and went to put the birdseed away.
Alex came into the kitchen. It seemed it was time for his hourly forage in the cabinets to see if anything new had appeared. He looked over at the ball. “What's that?” he asked.
“Not a clue.” I picked it up and began to examine it further.
Alex was opening and closing cabinets, clearly disappointed that nothing new had appeared.
“It's really pretty, don't you think?” I held out the strange little ball in the palm of my hand for him to see.
He looked over and shrugged his shoulders. “I guess.” then he continued his search in the refrigerator.
I put the ball down on the counter and took out my phone. “There's only one way to find out.” I snapped a picture of it, then opened my Facebook page. “There's a group I belong to that's just about plants.” I said as I began typing. “I'll post it there. I'm sure someone will come up with an answer.”
I looked over at Alex and could see the confused look on his face. “You belong to a group that's just about plants?” he asked.
“Hey! Don't judge!” I put my phone down on the counter.
Alex was still searching the refrigerator when my husband Steven came in. “What are we doing?” he asked then pointed to the ball I had sitting next to my phone. “What's that?”
“Alex is searching for an unknown snack and I'm waiting for an answer to that very question.” I picked up my phone to check, and sure enough I already had an answer. “Hey look, they sent me a picture of exactly what we have.” I held out the phone for them to see. “They say it's an oak gall.” I looked over at Steven. “Have you ever heard of that?”
Steven shook his head no. I looked at Alex, who gave me a you've-got-to-be-kidding-look.
“I'll just Google it.” Typing in “oak gall” I tapped on the first site and then began reading it aloud, “Okay, it says here that these things happen when the oak tree reacts to a non-stinging wasp that's layed its eggs on it's leaves or branches. The insects inject a hormone into the plant tissue which causes it to grow abnormally and encloses the developing wasp larvae.” I looked up at both of them my mouth twisted in a grimace. “Wow, that's gross.”
“Are you kidding me!” Alex cried. “You just brought a giant wasp egg in the house!”
Steven picked it up, opened the kitchen door and tossed it into the yard. “There!” he said as he closed the door and looked at Alex. “It's out of the house.”
Alex looked disgusted as he stood there just shaking his head.
“I'm sorry.” I cried. “It was so pretty, how was I to know?”
Neither of them said a word, they just looked at each other and left the kitchen.
I couldn't help but feel awful. “Dinner will be in an hour!” I called out to them, hoping that would make it all better. When there was no answer I added, “I'm making chicken parmesan!”
That seemed to do the trick.
“Are we having pasta with it?” Alex asked.
“Of course!”
“Sounds good to me.” Steven called.

I let out a sigh of relief. “And then all was forgiven.” I whispered to myself.

Friday, August 25, 2017

FALLING FEATHERS


It was after dinner and my son Alex and I had just returned from a walk in our neighborhood. We each grabbed a bottle of water and headed to the back porch where my husband, Steven was sitting.
“You two have a nice walk?” he asked as I sat down in my rocking chair and Alex sat down on the glider.
“Great.” I said taking a sip of water. “Oh my gosh! There it is again!” I cried pointing to a small white feather gently floating down and landing on the deck in front of me. “Alex, I told you a spirit was trying to let us know they were thinking about us!”
Steven looked over at Alex who shrugged his shoulders before answering. “Mom's talking to dead people again.”
“I'm not taking to them. ” I reached down and picked up the tiny white feather. “It's just a nice way to be reminded that someone's who's passed is watching over me.” I placed the feather on the table next to me then looked over at Alex. “How many feather's did we see on our walk?”
Alex shook his head. “Three maybe four?” He looked over at Steven. “I told her I thought it might be molting season.” They both started to laugh but quickly stopped when they saw I wasn't joining in on their joke.
Steven cleared his throat. “I thought you said it's when you see a cardinal?”
“That too.” I nodded in agreement. “It's also dragonflies, ladybugs, butterflies even pennies.” I added.
“Well...” Steven shook his head. “I'm pretty sure you can't leave the house without seeing at least one of those things.” Steven looked skeptical.
“I disagree.” I took another sip of water. “Days can go by that I don't see a butterfly or a cardinal.” I looked over at Alex. “And I haven't seen a ladybug in months.”
Alex looked over at Steven then back at me. “But aren't you the one who pointed out that our front lawn always has dragonflies buzzing around on it?”
I waved my hand dismissively. “We're not talking about dragonflies right now.” I leaned over and picked up the tiny white feather and held it up. “We're talking about feathers right now.”
Just then several more feathers floated down from the trees. Steven and Alex both looked at me.
I watched as they landed in a small pile in the grass and had to cringe. “Okay maybe that's not a loved one trying to get my attention.” I said sadly.
Steven leaned forward and looked up in the trees. “Okay I'm glad you realize that.” He sounded relieved. “Because I'm pretty sure those are from whatever the Cooper Hawk just snagged for his dinner.”

“Well, that was disgusting.” I said as I grabbed my water bottle and headed for the kitchen door. “Maybe you should check the front lawn for dragonflies.” Steven suggested.

Friday, August 18, 2017

VICARIOUS VACATION


My sister Liz sent me a picture of a waterfall. “Just checked into our hotel! Here's the view from our terrace!”
There was no texting back for me. I picked up the phone and called her. “Where are you?” I cried. “It's beautiful!”
“I booked a quick weekend get-away. We're up along the Hudson River in New York.”
I was happy for her but envious. I loved the Hudson River. There were so many mansions to tour, so much history to learn, so many shops to explore. “What are you planning on doing? I asked.
“Well, we're in the car headed for a two hour boat ride.” She said, I could hear her leafing through some papers. “It will go past a few lighthouses, under some really pretty bridges and past a bunch of mansions!”
“What a great trip!” I looked out my kitchen window to double check the weather. “It's beautiful here. How's the weather there?”
“Perfect! A little overcast but not too hot.”
I was really happy for her, she worked hard and deserved some time away.
So, even though I was standing in front of a sink filled with dirty dishes and looking over at the huge grocery list that needed to be purchased, I decided I was going to go on the trip with her. Not literally but vicariously.
“Send me pictures every step of the way!” I cradled the phone against my shoulder as I began running water in the sink, rinsing the dishes before stacking them in the dishwasher.
“Hey, it sounds like you're near a waterfall yourself!” she paused for a moment. “Eww, please tell me you're not in the bathroom!”
I had to laugh. “No, I'm rinsing a sink full of dishes before I head out to the grocery store.” I turned off the water and wiped my hands on the dishtowel. “Please snap pictures of everything you see on the boat tour.” I asked. “Especially the lighthouses!”
“Of course!” she had to laugh. “It'll be just like you're here!”
“Exactly!”
We hung up the phone as I grabbed the keys and the shopping list before heading out the door.
I was unlocking my car door when my phone dinged. I had a text from Liz. It was another picture, this time of the boat they were about to get on. “It's called the Rip Van Winkle!” she wrote. “How cute is that?”

I climbed into my hot car, started it up and turned the air conditioning on high. “Wish I was getting on a boat right now.” I grumbled to myself. But instead I texted back. “Adorable! Keep the pictures coming!” I added three smiley face emoji's just to let her know how happy I was for her.

I put the car in reverse and began backing out of the driveway. “Pictures of her trip are going to be the only thing making grocery shopping on a day like this even slightly bearable.” I sighed.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

USELESS TRIVIA


It was late in the afternoon when my husband Steven walked in the front door. “I'm home!” he called as he dropped his keys on the foyer table.
“I'm in here!” I called from the living room where I was sitting on the couch, still in my pajamas with my laptop propped up on a pillow on my lap.
“What have you been up to today?” he asked picking up the pile of mail from the coffee table and leafing through it.
I was busy scrolling though some news-feeds. “Did you know Jim Carey was also a painter?” I asked as I turned the screen around to show him some of his paintings.
Steven looked confused. “Jim Carey? You mean the actor?”
“Yup.” I turned the laptop back to facing me and began tapping on the keys again.
“What made you look that up?” He dropped the mail back on the table and sat down next to me.
I shrugged my shoulders. “A friend of mine posted a video on Facebook of him painting. At first I thought it was a role he was playing but then I realized it was his work.”
“So you've spent all day looking at paintings he's done?” Steven looked at my pajamas. “When I left here this morning you had a whole list of things you wanted to get done.”
“Not just paintings he's done.” I pulled a blanket over my bare feet. “Once I saw what he'd done it got me thinking if there were any other actors who like to paint.”
“Really?” I could hear by his tone he wasn't impressed.
That didn't stop me from sharing more of my new found knowledge.“Did you know Sylvester Stallone likes to paint in the nude?”
Steven shook his head, giving me a look of disgust. “Why would I want to know that?”
“No reason.” I said shrugging my shoulders again. “I'm not a big fan of his work but I thought the nude thing was pretty interesting.”
Steven laughed as he took a pillow and placed it behind his back. “So who else paints?”
“See...I told you it's interesting!” I went back on the site I'd found earlier. “Did you know Anthony Hopkins started painting when he was in his 60's!”
“I did know that one.” Steven said.
“What about David Bowie?”
Steven nodded his head. “Knew that one, too.”
“Well...” I scrolled through the site. “What about Johnny Depp? Or Stevie Nicks?”
“Nope didn't know about either one of them.”
“See!” I smiled as I as I shut off my computer and placed it on the table. “Now I've given you some useless trivia you can feel free to share with friends and family!” I stood up and stretched.
“Thanks.” Steven got up and headed into the kitchen. “What's going on for dinner?” He opened the refrigerator and looked inside.
“Well...I got so busy with my research that I didn't get a chance to go to the grocery store.” I admitted.
“So we're ordering out?” Steven was headed for the drawer we kept the take-out menus in.

“Nope!” I opened the freezer and pulled out the frozen pizza I liked to keep on hand for just such emergencies. “Dinner will be ready in twenty minutes!” I turned on the oven. “Once I get this in the oven I'll have just enough time to jump in the shower and put on a clean pair of pajamas before dinner!”

Friday, August 4, 2017

THE ART OF PIT SPITTING


Our son Alex came out on the back deck carrying a bowl of cherries. “Look what I found in the refrigerator!” he said placing the bowl on the table between my husband Steven and I. He looked over at me. “Did you get these today?”
“I did! I picked them up at the farmer’s market, don't they look good!” I popped one in my mouth and pulled the stem off. Spitting the pit into my hand I got up and went into the house coming back out with a few napkins. “Does anyone else need a napkin?” I asked placing them on the table next to the bowl of cherries.
“For what?” Steven asked as he took another cherry from the bowl.
“The pits.” I said.
Steven and Alex looked at one another before they began to laugh. “We don't need a napkin.” Alex turned his head spitting the cherry pit over the rail and into the yard.
“Nice!” Steven said then spit his own over the rail. “But I think mine went farther!”
They both turned to me. “You want to try?” Steven asked pushing the bowl of cherries closer to me.
“I've never been very good a pit spitting.” I said popping another cherry into my mouth, taking the stem and placing it on my napkin. When I spit out the pit it tumbled unimpressively just a few feet from my chair. “Told you.” I said picking it up and tossing it into the yard. “I've never been a gifted pit spitter like you two.” I grabbed another one from the bowl to try again.
“You've got to tip up your chin up a little more...it helps you get some distance.” Alex demonstrated what he was saying as I watched another one of his pits go sailing over the railing and landing in the yard.
I tipped my chin up and spit. The cherry pit dribbled out of my mouth, down my chin and landed on my shirt leaving a red stain where it landed. “Oh, great!” I said flicking the pit with my fingers. “That's going to be a stain I'll never get out!” I complained.
Alex looked over at Steven. “She really can't do it.” he sounded almost amazed.
Steven shook his head. “Nope, she really can't.” He shot another pit out of his mouth and we all watched it sail over the railing in a perfect arch. “It must be like the tongue curling gene. You either have it or you don't.” He curled his tongue and looked over at Alex.
“Oh yeah! I can do that too!” He curled his tongue and they both turned to me.
I stuck my tongue out, of course without a curl. “Nope can't do that either.” I sighed as I took one last cherry, popped it in my mouth and spit the pit into my hand before dropping it on my napkin.
“Maybe if you practiced.” Alex tried to sound hopeful.
I looked down at the cherry stain on my shirt. “Nope, not worth it.” I shrugged my shoulders, “Besides, it's not really very ladylike.” I sat up a little straighter, brushing an invisible speck of dirt off my pants.
“Really?” Steven turned his head, spit out another pit then looked over at me. “That's what you're going with?”

I smiled as I placed another stem on my napkin. “Yup! That's exactly what I'm going with!”

Friday, July 28, 2017

NOT A GARDEN


We'd invited some friends over for pizza and Steven had made some appetizers. As he put the plate of tomato, mozzarella and basil drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil on the table he proudly announced. “This came out of Kathy's garden!”
“Oh, the tomatoes!” Nicole asked as she scooped one off the plate.
“No, the basil.” Steven said and smiled at me.
“The tomatoes came from the grocery store.” I admitted.
“But she's growing some great looking cherry tomatoes!” Steven said. He looked over at Nancy. “Would you like to see her garden?”
“Um...Steven there's not really much to see.” I said passing the plate of olives to Nancy's husband Frank.
“Oh, come on...you're not giving yourself enough credit.” Steven got up and tapped Nancy on the arm. “Do you want to see?”
“Sure.” Nancy got up and followed Steven out the back door to our deck where five pots of cherry tomatoes were tied along the deck posts.
I handed the plate of cheese and crackers to Nicole's husband Jake before following them out to the deck.
I opened the back door and could see Nancy patiently standing next to Steven as he proudly pointed to the dozen or so cherry tomatoes ripening on the vines. “It's a pretty nice crop she's got coming in!” he said.
Nancy nodded and tried to look impressed.
“And her basil's right over there!” Steven pointed to the pot of basil next to the rocking chair. “Oh that's nice.” Nancy agreed.
“Hey, Nancy! Can I get you a glass of wine?” I asked as I stood in the open doorway.
“Oh, that would be great!” She came back into the house with Steven following her. I let Nancy in and stopped Steven at the door closing it quietly so the two of us were alone on the deck.
“Didn't Frank and Nancy have a huge garden when they lived in Connecticut?” I whispered to him.
“Sure they did.” Steven looked over his shoulder. “It was probably the size of our whole deck. They grew everything! Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers!” He shook his head trying to remember. “I think he even tried pumpkins or watermelons at one time.”
I groaned as I smacked my hand to my forehead. “So do you really think Nancy wanted to see my five tomatoes plants and a container of basil?” I groaned even louder. “I can't believe you even called it a garden?”
Steven patted me on the shoulder and reached for the doorknob. “Hey, don't be so hard on yourself. Last year you only had two tomato plants and this year you have five. I'm proud of you!”
I laughed. “Thanks.”
“Hey, just think maybe next year your garden will be in the yard and not on the deck.” Steven gave a hopeful smile.
I just shook my head. “Let's not go crazy. I can barely remember to water the five plants I have.”

As he opened the door we heard the knock at the front door. “Pizza's here!” we called in unison.

Friday, July 21, 2017

LAUNDRY DAY EVERYDAY


I walked into the laundry room and saw the laundry basket overflowing with clothes. “Oh come on! I thought I caught up with the laundry yesterday!” I cried as I began sorting the dirty clothes into piles.
“Are you talking to me?” my husband Steven called.
“I am if you're the one who dumped all the dirty clothes in here!”
Steven came to the door. “I only threw in what I used when I showered this morning.”
By now I had three separate piles. I held up a pair of my son Alex's shorts. “I'm pretty sure I know who did this.”
Steven backed out of the doorway and headed to his office. “Hey, I'm just glad it wasn't me.” he called over his shoulder.
“ALEX!” I called up the stairs.
“What?”
“Didn't I ask you to put your dirty clothes in the laundry room yesterday?” By now Alex was at the head of the stairs.
“I did.” he stood there looking confused.
“Yesterday?”
“Oh...um...maybe it was this morning.” He gave me his most charming smile. “Sorry.”
“Nope, not going to work.” I said motioning for him to follow me. “I would have done it for you yesterday but now you get to do it yourself.”
I was pretty sure I could hear a slight moan behind me as Alex followed me. “I don't want to hear any complaining.” I cautioned. “I'm tired of having to do laundry everyday. It's about time you did your own.” By now we were both walking into the laundry room.
Steven was already there taping up a sign on the shelf over the washing machine. When he saw me coming he pointed to the sign. “I made this for you.” he said than smiled.
In bold print the sign read: HAVE YOU EVER LOOKED AT THE LAST FEW LOADS OF LAUNDRY AND CONSIDERED JUST THROWING THEM AWAY?

“Amen to that!” I said looking at Alex, then down at his three piles of dirty clothes. “That's exactly what I was thinking when I came in here this morning! I adjusted the sign so it was centered on the shelf. “I think I just might go out and get this thing laminated!”

Friday, July 14, 2017

BACK ROAD WARRIOR


It was noon and my son Alex was just coming out of his bedroom.
“Want to go down to the beach and grab a hot dog for lunch?” I asked him as he came into the room rubbing the sleep out of his eyes.
Alex looked out the window. “It looks like a perfect beach day.” He began to stretch. “So, I'm going to say no.” He stifled a yawn.
“What?” I was confused. “But you just said it's a perfect beach day?”
“I know.” He wandered into the kitchen and I could hear him rummaging though the refrigerator. “Do you know what the traffic's going to be like getting down there?” he called out to me. He finally came back into the living room. “Do you know there's nothing here to eat?”
“I know. I didn't feel like going grocery shopping this morning.” I explained. “That's why I'm suggesting the hot dog.” I smiled at him.
Alex stood there for a moment thinking about it.
“What if I told you I could get you to the beach without hitting any traffic?” I added.
Alex didn't seem convinced. “How?”
“Your Grandmother was the original back road warrior and she taught me all her tricks.” I got up and grabbed the car keys. “It's time I passed this knowledge down to you.”
We were in the car backing out of the driveway. “Knowing all the local shortcuts is the best thing about living near the ocean.” We were stopped at a traffic light of a major highway that led to the beach. “Now, off season we'd just go straight to the beach.” I pointed to the highway that now looked like a parking lot as cars jockeyed for the better lane. “If you go that way now, you're talking about getting to the beach in about an hour.”
“I know, that's why I don't go down there in the summer.” Alex grumbled.
“Well, that's just sad.” I said. “We live by the beach we should be able to enjoy it too!” By now the light had turned green and I crossed over the highway. “We're going to weave our way though a few towns, take the roads less traveled and be eating a hot dog in less then fifteen minutes!” I looked at Alex and smiled. “I promise!”
Cutting through two developments, and taking roads parallel to the direct beach route we were pulling into the parking lot of Windmill Hot Dogs in less then fifteen minutes.
“Wow!” Alex said as he got out of the car. “I didn't think we'd be able to find a parking space.”
I smiled as I pointed to the sign on the light pole. “That's because this lot is only for customers, and they really do tow you if you park here and go to the beach.”
“Did you know that before we got here?”
“Of course, or I never would have suggested coming down.” I pointed to the line of cars driving up and down Ocean Avenue looking for parking spaces. “You think I want to be one of them, waiting to see if someone's pulling out soon?” I shook my head no as we headed into the restaurant.
Once we ordered our hot dogs we sat outside to eat and listen to waves crash against the beach.
“Isn't this nice.” I said looking over at Alex and taking in a deep breath of ocean air. “This is how locals enjoy it here.” I sighed.
Alex laughed. “So after the hot dogs do you want to go get some ice cream?”

“Sure.” I smiled at him. “I'm pretty sure I know a short cut.”

Friday, July 7, 2017

KIKI AND THE CATBIRD


I'd been sitting on my back deck trying to enjoy a beautiful summer morning when I couldn't take it anymore. “Okay, you two! It's time to knock it off!” I cried.
Steven looked over at me. “Who are you talking to?”
I pointed to the catbird sitting on our grill top, screeching at the top of it's lungs at the open window that our son's cat, Kiki was sitting in. “They've been at it for the last twenty minutes!”
Steven looked over. “Huh, I hadn't noticed.” He went back to reading the newspaper.
“You hadn't noticed?” I got up to shoo the bird away. “How can you not hear that!” The catbird's wailing was deafening.
Steven shrugged his shoulders. “I don't know, I guess I just learned to block out things I don't want to hear.”
I turned back to look at him. “Well, there's a conversation we might need to have.”
He looked up from his paper and smiled. “What? I'm sorry, I didn't hear you.”
“Yeah, right.” I laughed and turned to shoo the catbird again. But as I got closer to the grill I could see Kiki wasn't yelling at the bird at the same time. They were taking turns. I stopped and looked over at Steven. “They're having a conversation!”
“What?” Steven looked over at me.
I pointed to the window. “I swear, I think they're having a conversation!” I watched as the catbird cried several times then stopped. Then it was Kiki's turn to meow a few times then stop and wait for the catbirds response.

“Oh, great.” Steven shook his head. “Now you're going to tell me what you think they're saying to each other, aren't you?”
“Well, I could.” I began waving my arms until the catbird saw me and flew away to the nearest tree branch. “But that would mean I'd have had to listen to that screeching for a few more minutes and I can't do it.” I went back to sit in my chair and listen to the pretty sounds of birds chirping by the feeders. “Ah...isn't that better?”
“Sure.” Steven handed me a section of the paper.
It had only been a few minutes before the catbird was back on the grill yelling at Kiki. “Oh come on!” I cried.
“The bird's probably got a nest nearby.” he looked at me and shrugged his shoulders. “It's just doing what come naturally to it.”
We continued to listen to the screeching a few minutes more. “Oh, I can't take this!” I got up and went to railing of the deck to scream at the bird. “The cat is locked in the house! There's no way she's coming out! Give it up, she's not a threat!” Both the catbird and Kiki looked over at me, then the bird flew away again.
When I turned around Steven was looking at me. “So you decided to be a part of their conversation?”
“Hey, it worked didn't it!” I smiled as I sat back down.
Moments later the catbird landed on the grill again and started back up. Steven looked over at me.
I held up my hand, “Don't say anything.” I warned him.

Steven just shook his head. “What would I say? I don't hear anything.”

Friday, June 30, 2017

LEMONADE STAND


Alex and I were driving into our development when we both spotted the lemonade stand set up down the street. Two little girls, both holding signs, were waving and calling out to us.
“Should we stop?” I asked Alex.
“Sure, an open pitcher sitting out in the hot sun for who know how long sounds like a great plan.” Alex turned his head to me. I was pretty sure he was trying to avoid making eye contact with the girls as we drove past.
I took a quick glance at the pitcher and noticed that it was uncovered and that there was no ice floating in it. “Wow! You've got good eyes spotting that so far away.”
Alex shrugged.
“I just feel bad for them.” I said as I looked in the review mirror and saw their sad faces looking at our car driving away. “Remember how excited you were when you had your lemonade stand?”
Alex laughed. “When did I have a lemonade stand?”
“Are you kidding me?” I couldn't believe he'd forgotten. “It was in January and you set it up in our living room!”
Now Alex was really laughing. “January? Why did you let me do that in January?
Now it was my turn to be surprised. “Let you? Are you forgetting how determined you get when you get an idea?”
Alex nodded and shrugged his shoulders. “How old was I?”
I thought about it for a moment. “I'm going to say around three.”

Alex shook his head. “I must have needed some money for something.” He looked over at me again. “Did I get any customers?”
Now it was time for me to laugh. “You had plenty because while you were dragging your Little Tikes picnic table into the living room I was on the phone calling all our friends and neighbors to come over so you wouldn't be disappointed!” I looked over at him and smiled. “You looked so cute sitting at your table patiently waiting for your customers.”
“Thanks for making that happen, Mom.” He patted me on the shoulder. “I guess when you're three you don't think about a marketing plan, huh?”
I smiled as I pulled into our driveway and put the car in park. “Hey, that's what Mom's do.”
Alex was quiet for a moment. “Well, now I feel bad about not stopping at their stand.”
“I can fix that too!” I smiled as I put the car in reverse and backed out of the driveway.
Alex laughed, then looked a bit concerned. “We don't have to really drink it do we?”
“Of course not.” I shook my head. “You just smile and say you're going to drink it in the car then we'll get rid of it when we come back home.”

Alex reached into his pocket and pulled out a few bills. “In that case it's on me!”

Friday, June 23, 2017

CLOVER FLOWERS


I was sitting on the back steps of my deck watching two bunnies nibbling away on some clover flowers when Steven came out and sat down next to me.
“Aren't they adorable?” I sighed as I pointed to the bunnies. “I just love watching their little faces scrunch up when they chew.”
Steven didn't answer so I looked over at him. He wasn't looking happy.
“Are you okay?”
“This was suppose to be a lawn!” He made a sweeping gesture with his arm. “Not a field of clover!”
“But I love the clover!” I argued. “It's beautiful!”
“Do you know how much money I've spent in the last year putting down sod and seed?” He was shaking his head in disgust.
“But look at the bunnies!” I cried. “They're so happy!”
“Yeah...the bunnies are happy.” he said in a monotone voice.
Just then a couple of chipmunks darted by. “See? They like running through the clover too!” I smiled over at him.
“They've also dug fifty holes in the lawn that I just spent a ton of money fixing!” he complained.
I decided to stop with the mammals and looked at the bees landing on the clover flowers. “See we're also helping the honeybees!” I looked over at him. “You can't deny that the honeybees could use all the help they can get right now.”
“They're not helping if I want to walk barefoot out in my yard.” he complained.
“Man, you're a tough sell.” I shook my head and watched everything else that was loving our clover but him. “Well, I think it's pretty.” I leaned back and watched a butterfly land next to the bunnies.
“They're still weeds in my expensive lawn.” he grumbled.
“Weeds or not I'm going to check and see if I can find any four-leafed ones.” I stood up, brushed the seat of my pants off and headed for the first patch of clover.
“Didn't my brother Donnie already explain to you that a four-leafed clover is nothing but a genetic defect in the roots of the plant?”
“Yup, and I explained to him that a genetic defect like that is nothing but good luck for me when I find one!” I bent down and began gently brushing my fingers through the clover. It wasn't long before I found one. “Yeah!” I gently pulled it out and held it up for Steven to see. “I just had a feeling there was one in this patch!”
Steven came down from the deck. “Wow, that was pretty fast.”
“Told you it was lucky!” I looked around our yard, a sea of white clover flowers. “I think our lawn is beautiful.”
Steven shook his head. “Well, I guess if you're happy with it I can try and start to like it too.”
“That's what I'm talking about!” I handed him the four-leafed clover and bent down to find another one.
“But I still can't believe how much money I spent...”
“Nope.” I interrupted him as I scanned the patch of clover for another one. “You're negativity is messing with my luck meter right now.”
Steven laughed as he headed back to the deck. “Luck meter.” he mumbled.

That's why I'm sure he was surprised when I called out, “I found another one!”

Friday, June 16, 2017

OIL CHANGE THERAPY


I was having a busy errand day, and one of my stops was an oil change for my car. The sign in front of the garage promised it would take only twenty minutes, and I was counting on them to keep that promise as I handed my keys to the mechanic.
I went into the tiny waiting room and noticed another woman sitting next to the magazine table. We did the customary smile-and-nod to one another before I found a magazine I wanted and sat down to catch up on which movie star was breaking up with whom.
I'd only been there for a few minutes when the waiting room door opened and a gentleman walked in, sat down and asked, “Do either of your ladies watch Dr. Phil?”
I peeked over my magazine to see which of us he was talking to. Luckily it was the other woman, so I brought my magazine back up to cover my face.
“I watch him every once in a while.” she admitted.
“Well, he's the reason my girlfriend broke up with me.” he complained as he moved a chair closer to his new confidant.
“Oh, I'm sorry.” she answered.
Now I have to admit their conversation was more entertaining then the three month old magazine I was holding, so I continued to eavesdrop, my eyes peeked over the top of my magazine.
“Why do you think Dr. Phil had anything to do with it?” she asked.
“Because she watches that show every day and whatever he says, she does.” he shook his head sadly. “He must have been talking about the kind of relationship we had because she broke up with me that very night.”
“Maybe it wasn't about Dr. Phil.” she sounded as if she wanted to help him.
“So you think it was something I said?” He sounded confused. “Because I'm not a real big talker, so how could I say anything that would have upset her?”
I was still peeking over my magazine and could see him shaking his head disgust. “Man, I hate that Dr. Phil guy.”
He looked my way and noticed I was peeking over at him. “Would you let some guy on the television tell you what to do?” he asked me.
I looked over at the other woman hoping for some help, but she was looking at the mechanic who had come into the waiting room holding her keys.
“Your car is ready.” he said, handing her the bill.
She gave a sigh of relief as she grabbed the bill out of his hand and ran to pay the cashier, leaving me alone with In-Need-Of-Therapy-Man.
“So would you?” he asked again.
“I'm sorry,” I looked back at him. “Would I what?”
“Would you let some guy on the T.V tell you what to do?”
“Well, no.” I put my magazine down. “I'd make up my own mind. But I really don't know what your girlfriend would do.”
“EX!” he said a bit too loudly.
“I'm sorry. I meant to say your ex.”
“I thought all you girls listened to Dr. Phil.” he shook his head again. “Or do you watch some other stupid talk show instead?”

I was beginning to see why his girlfriend broke up with him as I longingly looked at the waiting room door, wishing the mechanic would come in and save me too.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

MIND GAMES


“It's happening!” I cried. “This is the second time today that I forgot where I put my car keys!”
I was searching the counter tops moving canisters and the toaster, but not finding them.
“Aren't they in the basket?” Steven asked as he came into the kitchen to help me.
I held out the empty basket where the keys were usually kept. “Nope.”
“Where did you have them last?” he asked.
I thought about it for a minute. “Well, I had to have them when I came in from grocery shopping.” I reasoned.
Steven looked out the front window. “Maybe you left them in the car?”
I shook my head. “No, because I had to unlock the front door to bring the groceries in.” I kept searching the counter top.
Steven had gone to the front door. “Found them!” he called.
“Oh great!” I went to the front hall, thinking that I'd dropped them on the table in the entry hall.
Steven was standing with the front door open, pointing to my keys hanging from the lock.
“Oh, come on!” I reached over and pulled them out of the lock. “Who does that?”
“You.” Steven laughed as he closed the door.
“I'm serious, Steven. I'm having way too many senior moments.” I tossed the keys in the basket on the counter.
Steven shrugged his shoulders. “Maybe you need to exercise your brain?”
“What?” I laughed. “Constant worry isn't exercising it enough?”
Steven laughed as he opened the refrigerator, took the container of pineapple out, grabbed a fork from the drawer and stabbed a chunk from the container. “That's why I do crossword puzzles.” He popped a piece in his mouth.
“I hate crossword puzzles.” I grumbled. “I can never seem to finish one.”
“They aren’t the only brain games.” he reminded me.
“I know, I tried Sudoku but that was a giant fail!”
“What about search-a-word?” he stabbed another piece.
“I thought those were for kids?” I leaned against the counter and took the fork from him, stabbing my own piece of pineapple and popping it in my mouth before handing him back the fork.
“They make them for adults.”
I shook my head, I wasn't feeling the search-a-word angle.
“You could learn a new language?” he suggested.
“I barley passed Spanish in high school.” I complained.
“Learn an instrument?”
“Started the ukulele.” Shook my head. “Lost interest.” I said sadly.
Steven tossed the fork in the sink and went to put the pineapple back in the refrigerator. “I don't know what to tell you?” he leaned back against the counter. “Oh, by the way, do you know where my blue suit is?”
“It's in the downstairs closet, left hand side, still in the dry cleaners bag.” I was a little confused. “Why do you need your suit?”

“I don't need it.” He said with a laugh as he walked pass me and gave me a quick kiss on the cheek. “But now you know you still have a great memory.”  

Friday, June 2, 2017

SQUIRREL STANDOFF


I was sitting on my back deck, bouncing back and forth between feeling annoyed and resigned, while I watched a squirrel hanging upside down on my bird feeder. “How long can he do that?” I asked Steven, who was sitting next to me.
“What?” Steven looked up from his newspaper.
I pointed to the upside down squirrel. “He's been hanging like that for almost twenty minutes.”
Steven shrugged his shoulders.
“You'd think he'd feel like his head was about to explode!”
“It doesn't seem to be bothering him.” Steven went back to reading his paper.
“It's bothering me.” I grumbled. “He looks like he practicing to go on the Ninja Warrior obstacle course.” I was staring at the squirrel whose legs and arms were tightly wrapped around the cylinder bird feeder. He slowly turned his head and looked at me before going back to eating the seeds. “You know. Where the contestants wrap themselves around the giant log and it spins really fast, trying to knock them off.”
“Uh-hum.” Steven said, but when I looked over I could tell he wasn't really listening.
“He'd win.” I grumbled.
“Uh-hum.”
“You're not even listening to me.” I cried.
“I am.” Steven put his newspaper down. “You hate squirrels. I've got it.”
“I don't hate squirrels.” I corrected. “I just don't like when they eat out of the bird feeders.” I pointed to all the birds sitting on the tree branches waiting for the squirrel to leave. “I wouldn't even mind if he just took turns. But he'll hang upside down, eating until the feeder's empty!” I looked over at Steven. “How's that fair?”
“Oh, you want a fair squirrel?” Steven began looking at his phone. I assumed he'd gotten a business e-mail so I went back to staring at the squirrel, hoping he'd finally do the right thing and leave.
Just then my phone pinged. Picking it up I could see it was a text from Steven. I looked over at him. “Why are you texting me? I'm sitting right next to you!”
“Just open it.” he said, then smiled.
I opened the text and it was a picture of a tiny Adirondack chair hanging from the side of a tree with a squirrel sitting on it, eating a ear of corn. I held the phone up to Steven. “Are you kidding me? You want me to get a squirrel feeder?”
“No, but if you want him to stay away from the bird feeders it might be the only solution.” Steven looked over at the upside-down squirrel. “Do you really think he's enjoying his meal?” He pointed over to my phone. “Of course he'd rather be lounging in a chair when he eats.”
I thought about it for a moment. “Nope. Not hanging a tiny chair on a tree.” I shook my head no.
Steven shrugged his shoulders. “Well, then I'd get used to Rocky over there eating all your bird seed.”
It was right at that moment the squirrel did a little back-flip, landed on the ground and scurried away.
Steven pointed to the now empty feeder. “It looks like you'll need to refill that.”

I sighed then looked back at my phone. “The little chairs are kind of cute.” I admitted as I began scrolling through the site. “I wonder if they come in different colors?”

Friday, May 26, 2017

CROWS ON POLES


“What are you looking at?” Alex asked as he came into the room and saw me looking out the window and up into the sky.”
I pointed up to the top of the telephone pole that was next to our driveway. “Do you see the crow sitting on the top of the pole?”
Alex came over to the window. “Oh, yeah. I wonder what he's doing?”
“He's building a nest.” I had to look down for a minute because my neck was getting a kink in it. “I've been watching them come and go all morning.”
“On the top of the pole?”
“Nope. Keep watching.” We both looked back up as the crow began to caw.
Finally another crow landed on the pole and looked at the stick the first crow had delivered. After a moment the crow seemed to give some sort of approval because the first crow took off with the stick and flew across the street to the big pine tree in our neighbor's yard. “I think that's where they're building their nest.” I squinted trying to see better. “See, this is where I wish you'd let me use my binoculars!”
“We've talked about that.” Alex reminded me. “You can't be the creepy neighbor who looks out your window with binoculars.”
“Fine.” I was still trying to see where they were in the pine tree. “It could also be their decoy nest.”
Alex looked confused. “A decoy nest?”
“Isn't that wild?” I couldn't help but laugh. “Crows are that smart! They build the decoy so that after the babies hatch, if a hawk sees them flying with food they just go to the decoy nest and the hawk thinks the babies are gone!”
Alex nodded his head in agreement. “Sounds pretty smart.”
Just then another crow landed on top of the pole and began to caw. “It's not just the couple who build the nest, but the babies from last year help, too. It's like a barn raising! The whole community comes out to help!” We both looked up to see what this crow brought. It was a large white thing that he'd pick up, then put down and caw, then pick up again.
“He seems pretty excited about his find.” Alex said. We waited for the approval bird to show up.
When he did, he was only there for a moment before he sent the first bird away without his donation. The crow, left on the pole, watched him fly off, then quickly pushed the white thing off the top of the pole before flying away himself.
I turned to Alex and started to laugh “Rejected!” I looked back out the window. “I have to see what it is.”
“Really?”
“Of course!” When I got across the street and saw what it was, I couldn't help but laugh as I came back into the house. “It was part of the bone from a T-bone steak!”
“Seriously?”
One hand on my heart the other palm facing him, “I swear!”
“Wow! I thought you said they were really smart!”
I shrugged my shoulder. “I guess one of them in their group didn't get the memo on approved nesting material!”
We watched as another one landed on the top of the pole with what looked like string.
“But I have to say, now that I saw that, I like crows even more!” I cried.
“Why?”
“Because he didn't want to hurt his feelings so he waited until he flew away before he pushed it off the pole.” I looked over at Alex. “That's so sweet!”
Alex looked at me for a moment. “How do you know he didn't call him stupid before he told him to fly away?”

“Well now you're just trying to ruin it for me.”  

Friday, May 19, 2017

HOT OR COLD?

This was the beginning of the week! We are now in a heat wave!!!

It was after dinner and Alex and I wanted to get in a walk before it got too dark.
“I have my keys.” I opened the front door. “Do you have your phone?”
“Got it.” he said walking out of his room zipping up his heavy hooded sweatshirt. He stepped outside and was ready to close the door.
“Do you really think it's that cold out?” I said second guessing my light jacket.
“I think so.” He held the door open. “Do you want to go back in and get something heavier?”
“Naw.” I said heading down the front steps. “They say you burn more calories when you're cold.”
“Who's they?” Alex asked catching up to me.
“You know, experts.” I said rubbing my arms to keep warm.
“I think you might be wrong about that.” Alex put his hands in his pockets to keep them warm.
“No, I'm not.” I argued. “I can feel myself burning more calories as we speak!”
“Okay, you can believe what you want.” I could hear the doubt in his voice.
“I can prove it!” I stopped and held out my hand. “Give me your phone, we'll Google it!”
“Are you sure you want to do this right now?” Alex asked handing me his phone.
“Why wouldn't I?” I found the Google app and tapped on it.
“Because, right now you don't mind being cold because you think you're burning more calories but when you find out it's not true then you're just cold.”
“I'm not wrong.” I began tapping on the keys. “I'll just type, 'Do you burn more calories when it's cold'.” I hit send, waiting for the right links to come up. It didn't take long. “Oh, Damn!”
Alex started to laugh. “I told you not to look it up right now.”
“It says you may feel like your body is working harder to keep you warm but you don't start burning extra calories until you start to shiver.” I clicked off his phone and handed it back to him. “That's just great.” I sighed and began walking faster rubbing my arms, trying to get warm.
“Sorry.” Alex was walking next to me.
We were walking on the shady side of the street. “Maybe if we walk in the sun I'll feel better.”
We crossed the street and walked a little further. “Nope, not any better.” I complained. Now I was sorry I'd put my hair up in a ponytail because my ears were starting to get cold. “Well, it did say if I start to shiver then the extra calories start to burn.”
Alex looked over at me. “It's 52 degrees out, I'm pretty sure you're not going to start to shiver anytime soon.”
I marched on, feeling cold.
A few moment later Alex began to unzip his heavy sweatshirt. “Wow, maybe I did over dress.” I looked over and could see the sweat on his shirt.
“You're sweating!” I cried.
“Hey, this sweatshirt's really heavy.” he complained.
“I hate Google.” I grumbled.
Alex started to laugh. “You love Google!”

“Fine.” I huffed. “I hate Google today!”

Friday, May 12, 2017

MOTHER'S DAY MAGIC

I didn't feel like cooking dinner, and it was only going to be Alex and me eating. So I picked up a sub sandwich on my way home from work.
I came into the house and dropped the sub shop bag on the dining room table. Alex came over with two plates and some napkins.
“You're the best.” I said as he put a plate in front of me.
Alex laughed. “I'm the best because I gave you a plate?”
I had to laugh. “I guess that's was a little over the top.” I handed him his half of the sub. “So I'll say thanks instead.”
We both sat down and began eating in happy silence, both unwinding from a long day. After a few bites I put my sub down. “Do you have any plans for this weekend?” I asked as I shook a few potato chips from the bag and passed it to him.
He looked confused for a moment. “Isn't Mother's Day this weekend?”
I smiled. “It is!”
I have to say, ever since I've had kids I've loved Mother's Day. It's the one day I don't feel guilty not cooking, cleaning, doing laundry or running errands for everyone. I can sit on the couch reading a book or watching television and no one is going to say a word about it. Believe me, the only other time that happens, guilt free, is when I have the flu. Not a cold, mind you, because technically I can still function with a cold. It has to be the flu, where no one wants me around them so I can hide in my room and read my book or watch television. But sadly it's the flu, so it's not like I'm having fun.
But Mother's Day, yeah!
“So what do you want to do?” Alex asked.
“Well I'm hoping the weather's good and we can do our usual picnic in the park.” I said.
Alex got up and went over to the cabinet. “You want a water while I'm up?” he asked.
“Oh, you're the best!” I had to smile. “Yes, please!”
He just shook his head and laughed as he handed me a bottle. “Wow, I'm the best again.”
“Hey,” I shrugged my shoulders. “What can I say, I'm just excited about Sunday where I'm not going to have to do anything but relax.” I looked down at my plate and pointed to the rest of my sub. “I don't think I can finish the other half of this.”
Alex looked at his. “Me either.” He got up and got two zip lock bags and handed me one. “Aren't you going to say, 'Who's the best?' or your other favorite 'Who's the man?” He laughed as he put his leftovers in his bag.
“You're just lucky I'm so easy to please.” I said as I put the rest of my sub in my bag.
“Are you?” he took the bag from me and went to put them both in the refrigerator. “So if I just made you a macaroni card for Mother's Day you'd be fine with that?”
“Oh my gosh, I would!” I cried. “It would remind me of all the little handmade things you made me when you were younger!” I began thinking of all the little trinkets I had in a box in the closet. “Remember the puzzle piece pin you made me and the clay heart necklace?” I had to smile just thinking about them.
I looked back at Alex who was leaning in front of the refrigerator, his arms crossed looking at me. “So you're saying you'd really be okay if I just made you macaroni card?”
I thought about it for a second. “No, probably not.” I admitted as I got up to put our plates in the dishwasher.
“That's what I thought.” he smiled as he headed back to his room.
“But that doesn't mean I'm still not really easy to please!” I called after him.

I'm not sure but I think I heard a faint laugh coming from his room.

Friday, May 5, 2017

THE GRATEFUL TRIP

I was going down the hall to my bedroom when Alex walked out of his bathroom holding a towel around his waist and an armload of dirty laundry.
“Great,” I said as I passed him. “You're out of the shower. I'm going in next.”
Alex stopped. “You're taking a shower now?” he looked concerned.
“Yeah, why?”
“Well, I just got out.”
“So?”
“I might have used up all the hot water.” he admitted.
“Oh, come on! How long were you in there?”
Alex tossed his dirty clothes on the floor of his room and grabbed the towel tighter around his waist. “Well, if I'd known you wanted to take a shower I wouldn't have stayed in as long as I did.”
I just shook my head as I headed to my room. “I have to go out soon, so I guess I'll be speed showering again.” I complained.
“Sorry.” Alex called down the hall after me.
I was in and out of the shower in a flash feeling like I'd just participated in a rodeo event, only instead of rope tying a cow I was shutting off the water and holding up my hand to stop the clock, screaming “TIME!”
I was dressed and ready to go out when Alex came into the kitchen. “Sorry about the shower thing.” he said. “If you'd just let me know you wanted to take one I wouldn't have been in there so long.”
“You know when I was growing up we only had two bathrooms with nine people and a very small hot water tank.” I reminded him. “My Dad used to bathe my two sisters and I together in one tub just to save water.”
Alex rolled his eyes. “I know, you've told me this story before.”
“Well, obviously it hasn't made much of an impression.” I shot back. “The house your Dad was raised in had one bathroom and five people sharing it!”
“I know, I know.”
“Does your Dad need to take you on the Grateful Trip again?”
“No.” Alex started to laugh. “I've been on that trip twice!”
When the boys were younger he'd take them around his old neighborhoods showing them the small houses he was raised in and the route he had to walk to school when he was only in kindergarten.
“Well, try to remember that the next time you're lollygagging in the shower. Our hot water isn't endless.”
Alex started to laugh, “Lollygag? Is that even a word?”
That caught me off guard. “Yes, it's a word.”
“Who says that...lollygagging?” he was still laughing.
“Obviously I do.” I leaned against the counter and tried to think about it for a moment. “Come to think of it.” I finally said. “I think I remember my Dad using that word when we were kids.”
“Well, it's a good one.” Alex began walking back to his room shaking his head. “Lollygagging.” he repeated with a chuckle.
“Hey!” I called after him. “Nice job distracting me from being mad at you for hogging all the hot water!”

“Your welcome!”