Sunday, May 11, 2014

It's a jungle out there. Happy Mothers' Day!

If you are to fully understand how a 42-count box of lawn and leaf bags is a great Mother's Day gift, you'll have to understand that we are possibly not your normal American family.

Today is, in fact, Mother's Day. The day many families celebrate the matriarchs in their midst with breakfast in bed, fancy brunches, dinners, flowers, gifts and at least 12 hours of richly deserved R&R.

At my house, Jeff is playing basketball and Alison is finishing up her birthday thank you notes and getting ready for her stage debut at Young Actors Theater production of Jungle Book. It's at 2 p.m. downtown. So you have time to get there. Two more shows will occur Friday night and next Sunday. She's Mother Wolf in the adaptation. 

I am recuperating from a weekend that started with a great visit from Debbie & Steve, Annie & Justin and Leigh, who were in town for Annie's graduation from Butler University's pharmacy program. We'll miss her party on Sunday, so carving out time ahead of the festivities was huge for me. 

We're immensely proud of Annie. She's crazy smart and beautiful with a goofy streak that makes you like her despite her size 2 figure and athletic abilities. We'd planned to go to the Indians game but rain threatened so we ended up at our house watching the Pacers and playinng Big Bang Theory trivia.

At one point during the game, someone (I think it was Debbie) cursed about something and immediately looked at Ali and apologized.

"It's OK," Ali said, delighted. "I'm 13 now. I get to stay in the room!"

She then smoked us all at BBTT. She softened the blow by making bracelets for all the ladies with her Rainbow Loom. 

Saturday started early with a Mexican breakfast for the graduate followed up with a couple of hours helping prep the Angie's List garden for planting next weekend. 

Ali went along. She's been helpful in past years but we had record turn out this year. Alison's plan to work on homework ended up with her napping in the spring sunshine while the rest of us weeded and filled beds with fresh compost.  

While we'd been downtown, Jeff was doing the recyling and grocery shopping. Driving back home,  Alison woke up enough to say she was glad we don't have a "normal" family.  I asked her to expand on that.

"Well, you know, in most families, the mom cooks all the time and you hardly ever do. Dad does most of our cooking and I do most of our baking."

I cleared my throat. "I don't seem to be coming out too well in this scenario. Let me help you out a bit. Do you mean that while Dad cooks a lot and you do some baking, Mom also cooks sometimes, does most of the cleaning and almost all of the yardwork?"

She thought about that. "Well, I mean that we each do the kinds of things we like. One person doesn't have to do all the work. We all kind of pitch in where we like it best."

She catches on fast.

The AL garden work morphed into three more hours of my own yard work while Alison tackled her chores.  Our yard looks really good maybe three times a year -- covered in snow, in full summer when the black-eyed Susans and the day lilies are in bloom, and in the spring when the flox is in full bloom. The color distracts you from the mossy spots and sparse grass. I'll get to that one day.

Yesterday, I was lucky to escape the yardwork with my life. For the second  (possibly the third) time in my landscaping career, I cut through the fully power electrical cord that had poweried up my leaf blower. Times prior involved shearing it with the electric clippers. If you've never been showered in electrical sparks, you're missing a show. My sister Debbie can relate. She was actually struck by lightning once. Sure, hers wasn't self-inflicted, but I like to know we share more than a blood bond.

My most recent brush with electrocution had it roots in my own laziness. Jeff bought a bright yellow electrical cord to replace the last one I'd cut, thinking its color would keep me grounded and shock-free. But it's really long. I have a shorter green cord. Unfortunately, it was nestled in the ornamental (green) grass that needed shearing. It was there because I'd planned to blow out the clippings with the leaf blower once I'd evened them up. It seemed like a good plan at the time.

And by my standards, the spark wasn't much, and I didn't even get knocked down this time. So I guess it wasn't that big of a deal. The severed cord might argue that point.

To recover, we took Ali and her friend and fellow actor, Will, on a short bike ride with Brics ice cream in the middle. After Alison went off to a babysitting gig down the street, Jeff and I indulged in champagne and snacks far too early in the evening to take full advantage of the night. It did, however, give Jeff time to go shopping.

Before he left me on Mother's Day morning (with my full blessing) Jeff made me coffee, brought the paper, offered to bring fruit, and then he and Ali showered me with gifts.

The shower included a card from Alison thanking me for the many stories she'll have to tell her therapist later in life, a beautiful card from Jeff and the aforementioned trash bags. (Proof of yesterday's work in the yard is encaged in a series of kitchen trash bags becauseI was out of yard bags.)

What I've failed to tell you is that Jeff had already purchased tickets to see my anti-hero Eric Church in Louisville later in the year. They're my real Mother's Day gift and I wouldn't trade brunch or dinner or champagne for them. The yard bags were just a hilarious addition.

I'm pretty sure Eric Churc will give me an electrifying show. I'm hoping that one does knock me down.

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