Sunday, October 30, 2016

Facebook and other flashbacks

Love it or hate it, Facebook is a fun tool. It helps you remember people's birthdays; it keeps you informed of your distant friends and families and it offers you up flashbacks from time-to-time that are hilarious glimpses of days gone by.

It's also possible that you learn more than you want to know about your co-workers (or friends and family); can get into political or current events fights with people you don't even know; and I'm sure there are the times when those flashbacks aren't so much fun.

But I had a good Facebook week.

I got a flashback to a  photo of Ali, Jenna and Bree from their Day Nursery where they wandered over to see a good friend: Governor Joe Kernan. They were 2 or 3 in these shots. JEK, of course, is timeless.

Joe is actually the third governor Ali had held hands with. Frank OBannon, of course and Judy knew her from the start. Mitch Daniels got charmed with her one day when she was with Jeff in tunnels between the state office buildings. (I'm still conflicted about that) I'm hoping she'll be just as tight with our next governor: John Gregg.

She'll be able to vote for him when he runs for re-election.

I was also  reminded by Facebook that on October 27, 2011, Alison Reed informed me that "When I grow up and am allowed to curse freely I am going to create an alphabet of curse words and post it on YouTube."

She was 10 then. At 15, she tries to hide her profanity but I'm certain her school mates believe her destiny will include a berth on a ship on the salty seas. I'd like to distance myself from this particular habit of hers, but I fear I am partly to blame. She just scored straight As on her benchmarks -- a mid-semester kind of check to gauge how the students are doing.

The photo below is of her with some of her HHS friends at the homecoming dance. The event started at 7 Saturday night. Shortly after lunch, she and I were in the family room catching up on Chrisley Knows Best when her phone started blowing up.

"Man, some of these people are starting to get ready," she said, snuggling into her couch. "That's just crazy."

I woke her up from her nap about 4 p.m. "Hey there. Do you want to think about getting ready?" I asked, knowing her outfit but thinking she would want to shower and shampoo.

"Nah," she said. "I still have time." She looked super cute in leather pants, slightly heeled suede black boots and a camisole under a men's vest. She borrowed my velvet bow-tie.

She demurred posing for me, though, so thanks to her friends who took pity on me and sent me this.

In other non-Facebook reminders, Jeff got a photo from an old law school/judge advocate general corps with a few gems when he was a twenty-something. He's the one in red shorts looking at the ball.

"Mom! Dad had a six-pack," Ali exclaimed. "He should work on getting that back."

 Here she is with me. I had a Halloween work event. She was dressed for homecoming week. It was a 4-day week with each school day a different theme. Her Black Widow had Jeff wanting to keep her home. Her Slytherin Quidditch player scored me a new broom and her Genie unearthed her 7th Grade Play production. She wore flannel for spirit day.

I wore a hat and Ginny Reed's gifted, glitter witch shirt. Not exactly the same effort but fun nontheless. Yeah. I know it's sideways. The damn thing wouldn't cooperate.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Arachnophobia - Leg 2

So we've established that Alison doesn't like spiders, right?

She's been on Fall Break and as all good mothers do, I took some time off to hang out with her. So of course she wanted to clean her room.

Which of course gave me time to do the work I'd left behind. So there I was at the kitchen counter, working away on my laptop when I hear a terrible scream and then a series of bam! bam! bams!

I cocked my head and listened again. Her room is steps away from the kitchen. Bam! Bam! Bam!

I sighed. Saved my work and stepped closer to her door. "Argh! Ick. Bam!"

I open the door. There she is, baseball bat in  hand, pounding away on the floor. Emboldened by my appearance, she pounded harder. "Die! Die you evil spawn of Satan." (or words to that effect.)

I interrupted to inform her that whatever she was killing was dead already.

Mysteriously, she remained on her bed, which was minus its coverings as she'd really been cleaning her room.

"Oh my God, mom. That thing was in my room. No telling how long it was there. It was there while I slept!" she wailed.

I considered asking her if she'd checked for eggs. But she was in fine form. So I let her go on for a while. She wound down after a while and I asked her if she was going to clean up the spider guts she'd spread around or collect the legs that had gone their separate ways.

She just looked at me. Safe on her mattress. I sighed and got a Kleenex. She's still kind of freaked out about it and has attempted a few times to brag about her prowess with a bat. Against a speck of an opponent.

Other than the spider, it's been an uneventful Fall Break. Good, though. She ended up making plans for a sleepover, which I thought was well timed when I thought Jaime and Lee -- and only Jamie and Lee -- were coming up and staying over while they visited Becca, our current Butler University student.

But Jaime and Lee brought the cousins and a few extras. We had a great time when their Saturday night plans fell through. The girls and I played cards and games while Jeff, and I quote Lee Weir here, "seduced him with bourbon."

The "men" were in the kitchen. We were in the dining room. So we could hear each other easily if we wanted to listen.

At one point, Beth (Lee's sister) leaned over and said to me, "They've been talking for two hours. About alcohol!"

An hour later, she said, "They're still doing it!"

Beth and Allen (her husband) went home about 11. Lee and Jeff kept it up until after midnight. It was actually a ton of fun. The only regret I have is that I didn't plan very well and Ali missed it all.

But at least her room is spider-free.

Monday, October 17, 2016


Alison and I have been trying to time our arrival home so well that I can glide the car into the garage without having to brake.

Her job is to get the door up in time. My job is to turn onto the driveway at a slow enough speed to get there smoothly.

It requires the top to be down, of course. We have a couple more days of unseasonably warm weather to give us a few more tries.

Today, I thought we had it but chickened out at the last minute, braked, and waited for the door to rise more fully.

Alison lost it. "Come on! We had it! We could have done it! I can't believe you chickened out!!!!"

She got out of the car, just ranting. "I can't believe we're in the same gene pool!"

The word coward was invoked right about the time she went to push the garage door button to close the door. And saw a teeny, tiny spider.

To say she screamed like a little girl is to do a disservice to little girls. She quickly tasted the irony.

I, of course, burst out laughing and inquired as to who, exactly, was the coward. She has long despised spiders and while I roll my eyes at her squeamishness, I do understand that people have phobias and they're real. 

Also real is the fact that I live with the Captain. And the day I have to explain to him that I crashed into the garage door is a day I don't care to experience. That's not cowardice. That's plain, old-fashioned smart decision-making.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Feeling bruised

A few years ago, Jeff and I were volunteering to build the Angie's List garden. It was early days and we had to use a motorized post-hole digger to install the raised beds that have been the best idea we ever had for that garden.

If you've never used a motorized post-hole digger, I invite you to try. It's harder than it looks and if you don't pay attention, it will whip you around like a bathtub in a tornado instead of bore into the Earth. No there is no video. But I'm pretty sure I hadn't felt so whip-lashed since I was a baby and toppled into the washer.

Jeff saved me from the post-hole digger. My sister Diana (I think) rescued me from the washer. I don't actually remember that. I just know the story.

My one and only daughter was laying on the living room couch recovering from a sore throat when the motorized lawn aerator got hold of me today. She said she'd never laughed so hard in all her life.

My neighbor, Jason, called me this morning saying a friend  had loaned him an aerator and wondered if I wanted to use it, too. It looks a lot like a roto-tiller. He said it looked pretty easy to operate.

So this afternoon, I put on my lawn sneakers and headed across the street. He was mowing but told me I could go first. He'd never used one either, and gave me a duplicate of the lesson he'd had that morning. I offered to do his yard as I was grateful for the loaner but he demurred, looking forward to the challenge.

Like my mower, it had a bar you push down to propel it. I couldn't get the damn thing to go down so he did it and then sauntered back to his mower. So off I went. Except the machine kind of took off without me. Before I knew it, I was clear across the yard and had murdered two of my ceramic pumpkins.

For a moment, I was afraid the damn thing would aerate its way right through the picture window but I wrangled it down. It took me a while, but I thought I had it under control and headed around the yard.  I got back to my point of origin and meant to turn to make another pass.

Let me just say that the thing doesn't corner. I had one foot on the curb as I pulled heaved to get it to make a turn. Victory was within inches when it lurched forward like a gazelle who's just smelled the crouching lion. I went tumbling down the street, ass over tea kettle.

That's apparently when the young redhead glanced up from the couch.  Jason had moved on to his back yard. I laid there, dazed for a bit. I don't know how long. I don't wear a watch. Probably just a second or two. I really don't know. At the time, I thought I'd escaped notice.

I scrambled up, dusted myself off and stared down the still rumbling, spawn of Christine. I opted to continue, but this time, just made wide circles in the yard. No more corners.

Did I aerate my yard effectively? I guess we'll find out next Spring. There are plugs of dirt all over it. When I was done -- OK I might have given up -- I still couldn't get the damn bar to move. So I left it snarling in my yard and went to get Jason. He was a little surprised I was done so quickly, and I felt compelled to warn  him that the device might be demonic.

A few hours later, I got a text from him. The machine, he said, "that aerator is very aggressive and has a mind of its own."

I rubbed my backside and agreed, silently happy no one had witnessed my exposure to said aggression. That's about the time I ran into Alison, who was still chortling.

I'm raising a demon.