Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bubba The Penguin

Fire Trucks and Goldfish

The girls and I went to a fireman's carnival last night. There is something about those that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside-especially when we gathered at 7pm for the parade down main street which consisted of several fire trucks from surrounding towns and counties. The pride these people have in this just amazes me. I have so much respect for these folks who take time out of their busy day to make these events possible. In this day and age when life is so fast paced, its just refreshing to stop for a couple of hours to experience life in a small town. Although I only recognized a few people , I can tell by most of the faces they are hardworking, uncomplicated folks that put their heart and soul into everything they do-they have so much love for their community. And they love their families and spending time with them. I am in even more awe as I watch my girls stand on the corner and wave to the firetrucks. They are at an age where they are so innocent and unaware; the only thing they worry about right now is what flavor of sno-cone to pick, or what game to play at one of the fundraiser booths. They are not self-conscious or obsessive about things the way young girls can soemtimes be. They are just having fun being kids, and living in the moment. Again, I have that feeling of wishing time could just stand still for a while, so they will never have to feel bad or worry about anything more important than what to eat or how to win a goldfish at the local fair.

The parade procession takes a turn down the street and the girls jump up and down with anticipation. "Lets go to the carnival!" they shout, jumping up and down with big smiles on their faces.

The first game we play is the one with the spinner. M and E place their dollars on the table, choosing their numbers carefully. E's number is a winner. The choice of prizes are huge stuffed animals of which E chooses the largest one (of course!). M tries her hand again, but no luck. This doesn't seem to phase her in the least. She takes my hand and drags me over to the goldfish toss where she proceeds to win not one, but two goldfish.

Unfortunately, the weather is not cooperating, and we are forced to cut our evening short. M decides to give her fish to a friend to put in a pond at their farm, where they will have a much better chance at survival than with us. You see, we tried this last year, and with perilous results.

Flashback to last July. Almost exact scenario, except we arrive home from the carnival with two fish. The girls decided to call one Hillary, and the other one was Bill, (I think) You'll have to forgive me, the facts are not so clear a year later. You know how it goes. Fish go in small bowl; mom decides that they need some place bigger to live; one trip later home from Walmart and we now have a 10 gallon aquarium complete with gravel, filter and of course, decorations! And, they must have the proper food! The fish that cost us twenty five cents has now become
a hit to the pocket of at least thirty five dollars.

Time goes by, and Bill and Hillary appear to be the happy couple, until one sad morning when we find Bill floating lifelessly at the top. After a few fitting words and proper burial, life resumed as best as it could. M and E were very concerned about the well-being of Hillary, though. "She needs a friend," E says, with a wrinkled brow. M agrees. We decide to make yet another trip to Walmart.

Hillary's new companion arrives home in a signature plastic water-filled bag. He is a small, black moor with protruding eyes-pretty comical looking really, and he was carefully chosen as the perfect friend for Hillary. We carefully introduce (pour) our new addition to his new home. The two fish regard each other quietly for a moment-Hillary is much larger than he. "What should we name him?" M wondered. We all sat for a moment, just like the fish, and thought.

"I know!" E laughed. "Lets call him Obama!"

I had to admit with all the recent political coverage, my eight year old's choice seemed quite logical and fitting. Ahh, a child's innocence. How sweet it is.

At that moment, Obama, recovering from what must have been the initial "Nemo" like shock of being-in-some-nice-pond-somewhere-then-in-a-tank-in-Walmart-to-some-crazy-woman's-house-in-a-fishbowl, decided he was mad as heck at the hand he had been dealt and became hell-bent on taking it out on Hillary. He began chasing her around the tank. this went on for about an hour, until Hillary retreated into a little cave purchased on our recent Walmart excursion. (I swear she was panting.) "Oh, they're just getting used to each other," I said. Little did I know that this was going to be standard operating procedure in fishworld.

Some days were better than others, and I actually thought that things were starting to look up for Hillary, that is, until one rainy night......

We came home from my parent's house in Maryland where we had been visiting and having dinner. E, upon entering, always checked the fish tank. This evening, something was terribly wrong. Hillary was nowhere to be found. We frantically searched on the floor, questioned the dogs and tried to see if they looked guilty. They just stared back at us innocently-(and trust me, I have enough experience with them to know if they are guilty or not.) Baffled at Hillary's disappearance, we all retired to bed.

In the morning, my youngest woke up with a theory. "I think Obama chased Hillary and made her jump out of the tank," E said. "I think she was trying to jump into the kitchen sink so she could get down the drain." (Because all drains lead to the ocean, right?) Except, sorry to say, our drain was also a garbage disposal, and as I quickly made some rough calculations, I decided it was time to get my husband involved. There was no way I was putting my hand down that drain! I dragged him down the stairs, briefing him like they do on CSI so he would be completely up to date on the dire situation at hand.

He bravely reached his hand into that gaping hole. "Yep," he nodded his head. "E was right on." He pulled Hillary's lifeless body out in his cupped hand. Thankfully, I had not run the garbage disposal as I originally thought I had.

"I wonder if this will be any indication of how the real election race is going to play out?" he mused with a grin.

So, in summary, when you go to a fair or carnival and let your kids play that game where you win a goldfish, beware! Have a back up plan or you may just get more than you bargained for.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I wish I Could Be This Clever

A Magical Journey in Post-It Notes

How to Get Crickets and Neighbors to Leave You Alone

A typical day in the summer for our family starts out something like this:

I get up around 5 a.m. with my husband; he leaves for work, and I have some quiet time to do catch up and get organized in my home office. I am an independent contractor for a lady who needs assistance with some of her administrative duties. It's a temporary position and she has guaranteed me work through the end of this year, but after that, I will be exploring new opportunities. (This is one of the many reasons I began blogging.) I should also add that I occasionally fill in at the local hardware store , as well as a lovely bed and breakfast down the road from us as a hostess. (So, if you thought that any part of my day included sitting in front of the tv or eating bonbons and talking on the phone, well, one out of three is better than nothing.)

My girls, M and E, age 8 and 11 respectively,(I will argue with anyone here that they are actually going on 18 and 21),usually start waking up about 7a.m., regardless of what time they went to bed the night before. The fight for who will go on the computer first, or for what show will be watched on television commences. At this point, I am still in wake up mode and am trying my best to tune out the arguing, which quickly becomes a frenzied crescendo. I try the calm, loving approach. "Goodmorning girls, how are you doing today? Lets go make the beds, get dressed and have some breakfast. Its going to be a wonderful day!" I say this sweetly and full of as much enthusiasm as I can muster while bracing myself for what I know will be coming in about one minute,ten seconds.....

Oldest:"I never get to go on the computer first!"

Youngest:"Yes you do, you stupid head!."

Me: "We do not say the word stupid." This is stated in a monotone voice as I am trying to navigate through the mountainous paperwork on my desk.

Youngest to Oldest: "You always get to do everything first! I never get to do anything first-you were born first, you got to eat first, you got to get hugged first....."

Me to youngest: "This morning you're going to get your bottom smacked first if you don't stop whining!"

The argument ensues until both are sobbing and crying and the youngest is chasing the oldest around the room and trying to hit her. At this point I stand up and scream "ENOUGH! I AM TIRED OF OUR DAY STARTING OUT LIKE THIS!!!! GO GET DRESSED AND GET DOWN STAIRS FOR BREAKFAST!" At this point, any birds that were singing, or crickets that were chirping, or neighbors that were trying to have a nice, quiet start to their morning have all promptly stopped doing what they were doing, attempting desperately to regain the use of their hearing and retreat as far out of range as possible. This is the downside of living right in town. Often, in the early morning, before things heat up, I have the windows open (we have A/C units, not central air.) This leaves most of my life open to interpretation for anyone within earshot.

Minutes later, while I am trying to locate my head which detached from my body shortly after it began spinning and shooting flames in every direction, I hear the girls giggling in the other room, like nothing ever happened.

I can't help but wonder if I will end up somewhat like that guy in the movie Groundhog Day, who relives the same scenes over and over....its not even 8 a.m. and I am totally worn out already.

We're Going To Miss You, Randy

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I'm Sorry

I just couldn't resist putting this on. I am such a sap for this kind of stuff, especially because I love animals so much.

I'll Take One of Those, Please. Cigarette and All

Not much more I can add to this except, Wow! If I had just been born, like, 20 years earlier, I might have had a chance.....


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Thoughts on Organic Flyspray, A Country Home and Catching Fireflies

I bet you don't know too many people who can touch on all three of these topics in one day, but I managed!

For those of you with equine companions, I have a dear friend (I secretly call him the "horsewhisperer") and, he gave me a great tip for making my own flyspray and it is just as effective as any that you would get at a store:

4 oz Skin So Soft
1 oz citronella oil
12 oz vinegar
12 oz water

Not to mention it smells good and keeps your horse's coat nice and soft! (And if you are wondering, yes, John really does look like Robert Redford. His wife Alice is a very lucky gal -although he insists he is the lucky one :0)

And, speaking of horses, you know you need a gorgeous weekend country home.....this recently went on the market. Here's a description I took from the website:

"Built in the 1880's, the grounds at Cornerstone were used by Confederate troops for encampment after the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg. Bordered by streams on both east and west, this farmland offered troops and cavalry a much needed source of water and safe haven.Located just seven minutes (four country miles) from downtown Gettysburg, Cornerstone Farm is close to the Battlefield and various tourist attractions but just far enough out of town to assure peace and privacy. Enjoy the quiet patios, beautifully landscaped gardens and pool. Spectacular view of sunsets over the South Mountain Range. Plenty of fields for horses, a lovely winding country road for strolling, just an incredible setting . Own a piece of history- Cornerstone Farm is one of if not THE most beautiful farms in historic Adams County, Pennsylvania."

Let me know if you want any more info and I will be happy to get it to you because, did I say I was really hoping I would hit the lottery or I would discover some long, lost relative had left me a nice inheritance so I could purchase this for myself.

Unfortunately, the money tree I planted in my back yard did not produce anything yet, but I will be anxiously waiting for the first dollar bill to unfurl, (sigh!) I seriously thought about setting up a donation button here for those of you interested in helping me to make my dreams come true, but I don't think that is exactly legal.

So, I will leave you with this one suggestion for today:

Enjoy the simple moments

Last night, my husband was working late-(he's in retail so that unfortunately happens alot-it used to be that people didn't even believe I was actually married because he would always be working weird hours that coincided with any social events, so I would always have to attend solo.) The kids and I were playing with our dogs, Ella Bear and Kaylee (they are a whole different post-they are australian shepherds and have loads of energy and have to be exercised at least an hour a day or they will drive you nuts) It was my favorite time of day, twilight, and the fireflies started coming out. The kids were laughing and chasing them, the dogs were at their heels, the locusts were buzzing like they do in late summer, a flock of geese was making its way home overhead. It was all so beautiful, and so fleeting, like most good things. And I wished there was a way I could make time stand still and keep it that way for a while. It made me realize how quickly my girls are growing up, how fast things change, and that I would never, ever be able to relive that experience again. I tried to just take it all in, the smells, the images, and how peaceful and happy I felt. It really helped me to realize what is important; and even though I might not be rich in money (at least not yet), I have so much more than most people have, and for that, I am grateful.

Sometimes, the best things don't cost anything at all-