My Day After Thanksgiving Post

On a typical day most of the sugar that I eat comes from fruit. Yesterday was not typical. The sweet potato casserole, the pecan pie (made with maple syrup and honey rather than corn syrup and very yummy!), the glass of Pinot Grigio… well, that was probably several days’ worth of sugar. (I count the wine because alcohol has the same effect on the bloodstream as sugar, or something like that.)

So, I had some rich food with my Thanksgiving meal and my stomach just went all stupid on me and acted like it didn’t know what to do with it. I felt fine, it just took forever to digest. It was like my stomach said, “Duh, what do you want me to do with this?” and I said, “Well, you could digest it! Your sister, my tongue, really liked it. Didn’t you notice that? Y’all are family so why not function, Family?”

I gave it extra enzymes and it was happy.

Weirdness at the Courthouse

I went to the courthouse today to pay my property taxes. (Who really owns what we own if we have to pay taxes to keep it? But that’s another blog for another day.) In order to get into the courthouse anymore, we have to go through a metal detector outfit that screens purses, wallets and bodies for metal objects. Because we had a shooting outside the courthouse, we have to do this to get in. Makes sense I guess, if your necktie is too tight. So, y’all can tell I’m not thrilled about any of this.

I greeted the fellows and put my purse in the plastic box and walked through the metal detector. They ran my purse through then handed it back to me and I started walking off when I was called back. They weren’t happy and said something about a knife in my purse. No. No knife. I don’t even have fingernail clippers. They ran my purse back through and told me I had a credit card knife in my purse. I told them they will have to show me what that is, because I’ve never heard of it.

I started pulling things out of my purse, even with them telling me not to. It seemed like they just wanted to gingerly poke around in it. I’m thinking, “Oh, no. I’m not going to stand here and play with this. We are going to empty my purse!” I am too old to be carrying things that embarrass men to see, so out it all came. All the notebooks, the Altoids boxes (one with Altoids and one with business cash), comb, coin purse, checkbook, measuring tape, calcium tablets, cards from every store around that wants to give me a card, Kleenex, etc. ALL of it. They were trying to stop me. Ha. No. We’re doing this. I know I don’t have whatever that thing is and they will know it, too, in a minute. They were a bit upset at first, and I don’t care for huffiness. I was as friendly as if we were all old friends having a picnic together in the park by the river on a beautiful day. No one needs to get aggressive with me, so I figured friendliness would diffuse that.

It’s kind of funny now that I look back. My ‘Jones’ kicked in. If you are related to me, or you know any of us Joneses, you know what that means. I really sort of took charge of things in a way, because over their protests, I emptied everything and told them to run it through empty, then put the stuff that was in the purse in the box a bit at a time and run that through, too. In the meantime, they kept trying to explain what those credit card knife things look like. I’m sure they thought they could find it if they looked, and I was acting like the stupid thing was invisible and could only be seen by their metal detector. They did run it through empty, then ran some of the stuff through just loose in the box. I even tossed in the Wet Ones pack and told them to scan that, too.

One of them (there were four or five guys making sure our courthouse is safe!) looked up credit card knives on his phone and showed me a photo of one. I told him I’d never seen one of those. They also showed me the screen, so I could see what they saw. I could identify keys and phone but I’d never seen that other thing. I told them it could be a dangerous thing in the wrong hands. They explained that you can buy credit card knives at convenience stores really cheap. There’s not much I want in a convenience store, so I wouldn’t know. The longer this mess went on, the nicer they all got.

They decided it must have been the purse before my purse and they apologized. I wondered what they thought they needed to do then, with contraband running loose in the courthouse! When I got my purse all packed back up (I told them it’s like packing luggage) and started to walk off, that’s when I noticed the line was out the door to get in. Gee, we kind of held things up. There was a man who came through as I was leaving and he told them, “I don’t like this new system!” and I said, “I don’t either!” He and I were headed off to the same place and I told him we just emptied my purse because they thought I had a credit card knife, but it must have been the purse before mine. Then I told him it’s not those guys’ fault, but I don’t think I could do that for a living. I’d feel like I was violating the Constitution.

Luscious Legs

Sometimes it’s more fun to leave the misunderstanding in place, rather than try to fix it. This was one of those times. Well, once I got over the embarrassment.

My youngest son always had the most chunky thighs I’ve ever seen on a baby. My mother-in-law said he didn’t have legs, he had hams. She was right!

One beautiful fall day, when he was about six months old, I was playing with him on the living room floor. I remember it was a nice cool day with low humidity because my front door was open, with just a screen door between us and whatever, or whoever was outside.

Just as I said to my baby boy in a high-pitched sing-song voice (with a very Southern accent), “You’ve got such luscious legs!” I looked up and saw our slightly overweight, red-headed mailman on our porch. He was enjoying the nice day walking around in his mailman shorts. Except he was not walking when I looked at him because he was too stunned to move. He just stood there part-way up my steps with my mail in his hand as his face  turned redder and redder. Eventually, his face was redder than his hair. He looked like he didn’t know whether to drop the mail and run, or dutifully risk his marriage or something, and put the mail in my box. Of course he didn’t look inside the house, so he had no idea I wasn’t talking to him.

Well, that was the embarrassing part. The fun part came anytime I was out and saw him on the route. He knew my car. I knew he knew my car because he went from startled to tense when our paths crossed. To this day, I bet that man thinks I had the hots for his legs. It still makes me laugh.

Joshua’s First Experience With Subtraction

When our three sons were growing up we homeschooled them. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the day that our middle son, who was six years old at the time, opened his math workbook and saw subtraction problems. He said, “What is this?” I said something like, “Oh, Joshua, I need to explain. That’s subtraction. It’s a bit different from what you’ve been doing. Instead of making more, you take some away.”

And before I could say anything else or show him how it works, he spoke up and said something like, “What? I don’t understand. What do these people want? Who wrote this? I don’t know what these people were thinking. What do they expect? I’m going to bed!” And he did.

I followed and talked with him for a bit and saw that he really needed to calm down about it before we tried again.

A couple of days later I got out the felt board and the felt fish and felt seashells that we used to illustrate math lessons. I called Joshua and his little brother to come see something. Without using the word “subtraction” or saying anything at all about the day Joshua went to bed, I  proceeded to illustrate subtraction. I showed them a group of five fish. While showing three fish swimming away from the others, I asked them, “If five fish are swimming along together and three swim away, how many are left?”

Joshua jumped up and said, “Where’s my math book! I want to do my math!” I was having fun with the felt, but he was already up and running to get his book.

I guess some of us just don’t always react with calmness to big changes that seem to be suddenly thrust upon us. Especially when we are young.

The Artist Is A Superhero?: a fish story

Hubby wanted to show me a place where he and one of our sons went fishing last month, so we went to this place today. It’s a wildlife refuge down by the beach. Nice! It’s quiet. We were sitting on a little fishing pier eating our lunch and I was thinking about how all I could hear were birds, the wind blowing through the grasses and the waves of the lake lapping against the rocks at the shore. No ghetto sounds, no traffic sounds. Nice. Quiet. Relaxing.

As we were leaving, we drove over a narrow wooden bridge where a couple of guys were fishing, and one, Fisherman #1, had hung something big. Hubby slowed down to see what he had on his line, but he couldn’t pull it in. He was hollering at us asking if we had a gaff hook. His buddy, Fisherman #2,  was headed over to him with a crab net. We didn’t have a gaff hook or anything that would be helpful, but out of curiosity, we got out of the truck and went over to see what he had going on there.

He had hung a good-sized gar on half a mullet. We watched for several minutes as he reeled it in and then let it run a bit, trying to tire it out so he could try to drag it up on the shore. During the battle, there was some discussion about what a fish tale this would be, hung a big gar on half a mullet with a 10-pound test line and a old ragged-out fishing rod. While all this was going on, hubby walked a few feet away just looking at the water, while I stayed there watching and asking how the fish would be cooked when he finally caught it. The two fishermen (possibly taking advantage of hubby being out of earshot?) decided to talk a bit rough about the fish and use the word “ghetto” two or three times. I wanted to laugh, but I know sometimes I shouldn’t do that, so I didn’t. I just thought that they must be trying to horrify me or something, which is what I thought was so funny since I live in the ghetto myself.

Then hubby came back over and they started talking about how if they had something to hit it with, they could konk it in the head and drag it on out of the water.  Fisherman #2 said if he had a pistol he could just pop it with that. I told him I was thinking the same thing. They looked kind of surprised and Fisherman #1 said he left his pistol at home. I said I did, too. Then we probably both wondered if the other one had a gun with them or not.

Finally, Fisherman #1 told his buddy to use the crab net to push the gar. He would get it close to the bank and his buddy could get the tail in the net and it would keep the fish from being able to thrash about, and with one of them pushing with the net and the other one pulling on the line, maybe they could get him out of the water. It worked! They got the fish out of the water, but he was on the bank and it was sloped and he was still close to the water and if he started flipping and flopping, he might go right back down the bank and back into the water and they’d have to start all over.

So, there was a big discussion about what to do between the two of them. That’s when my Jones kicked in. At some point, I become all action. I’m done with talking when I see what to do and I’m ready to do it. I forgot it wasn’t my fish and before Fisherman #1 could say, “Lady, what are you doing with my fish?!” I had moved over to where the fish was and told Fisherman #1 to keep the line tight. I stooped down and grabbed a fin behind one of the gills. Boy, that was slippery! I was surprised by how heavy this fish was, and said so, then I grabbed his gill, then his other gill and pulled. That’s how the fish got to the top of the bank.

So, now what? I just jumped in and did that and what would they think? Uh, I wasn’t sure. As I stood up, I said, “Y’all don’t tell nobody I did that!” That’s my ghetto talk. I didn’t think they would want to tell their friends that a 102 pound white lady just grabbed their gar by the gills and pulled him up a hill. They said, “What? Don’t tell nobody you did that?” Fisherman #2 said, “She wasn’t even scared!” and Fisherman #1 said again, “Don’t tell?” In the middle of all their surprise and discussion about not telling, and about getting this posted on some board someplace, I noticed the pretty pattern on the gar’s head and scales and so I told them, “Look at the pretty pattern, isn’t that pretty?” and I told them I’m an artist.  I’m sure it was all pretty surreal to them at that point!

Fisherman #1 was still not wanting to not tell, and along with a “God bless you” and a handshake, he said, “I’m tagging you on Facebook! What is your name?” I just laughed and told him I’m an artist. So, he said “The Artist” is what he would call me on there, and hubby and I left. Just like a Superhero, do the deed and skeedadle while everybody is still happy.

The New Haircut, or Why Are Men So Unobservant?

Well, it’s that time of year for what my dad likes to call “shear pleasure.” My hair was down to my shoulders and getting in my way constantly. The weather is getting hot and there won’t be any more cold fronts for a while. It was time to get a haircut, so I did that yesterday. I took our old video tape of the movie I.Q. with Meg Ryan’s photo on it to the lady who cuts my hair. I told her that’s what I want, so that’s what we did. I like it. It’s different and it’s cooler.

Yesterday evening, my son who is 29 years old, was in his room. I poked my head in and asked if he was eating supper with us. Then I went back to the kitchen and finished cooking. He came in there a time or two and we spoke. He also walked right past me a few times. He never said anything about my new haircut.

When we sat down to eat I kept looking at him until he asked, “Why do you keep looking at me?” I had a question for him. I asked, “Would you recognize your mother in a lineup?” He said, “You got your hair cut!” I continued asking questions just for fun. I asked, “Could you find your mom in a crowd? If your mother was lost and alone and needed help, could you describe her to people so she could be found?” We laughed and he said he likes my new haircut.

My husband, on the other hand, noticed it immediately. He’s learned that his life is better if he notices such things.

What a Day!

A different kind of Christmas tree this year, a stowaway, shopping for ankle weights, a really sore back and a Celiac-y me won what? Where did this all start?

Uh, maybe yesterday when I starting thinking about getting a Norfolk Pine, or some small something that we could decorate for Christmas, instead of the whole big tree.  I stopped in at a locally owned nursery to see what they had, with plans to ask hubby what he would like to do. The nursery had Norfolk Pines, and when I asked, hubby said he was all for something small. He works retail and he’s tired.

Today I was lifting a box. I did it like the guy in the drawing of how not to do it. You know, the one with the big X over the stick figure who is leaning out too far. What happened when I did that is all the muscles in my lower back that I overworked two days ago while pulling weeds went all wonky on me and got super tight. They were mostly better yesterday, but not anymore.

When hubby got off work today we went to a different nursery to see if they had more than Norfolk Pines because I’d had second thoughts about getting one of those. If I could keep the thing alive it would get too big for the room. We found a Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow shrub and got it. I am really excited about that because I’ve wanted one for a long time. When we are finished using it as a Christmas tree/shrub, it will go outside. This will involve moving a bunch of stuff in the front yard, like moving furniture, but a lot more work with shovels and such. I’ve been wanting to do that anyway.

After we got the plant we went to look at ankle weights. I got a book at Goodwill a few weeks ago, “Strong Women Stay Young,” and I need some ankle weights so I can do the exercises. I’m doing my best in that department – trying to be strong and sort of young. I used to hit the floor running in the morning. Now I try to hit the floor without a splat. So, here we are going into the store and I can barely stand up straight and I’m walking like I’m 99 years old on account of my misadventure with the box, but I’m going to look at weights. Really felt weird to be in such shape while shopping for exercise equipment.

Now, for the thing I won. There was a food drive yesterday and I contributed. A lady at the collection table told me to fill out a coupon for a raffle. This was after I’d been to the plant nursery. I saw a Norfolk Pine among the prizes. I thought I might win that and we could use it for our Christmas tree. I had a feeling I was going to win something. I did and it wasn’t the Pine.

I got a phone call today and was told that I won a bakery tray from the bakery at the grocery store where the food drive was held. I thought, “I can’t eat that and don’t want it in my house because I’m so sensitive gluten” but what I said was, “Oh! Thank you!” and I immediately began to think of who I could give it to. I decided my son and his girlfriend (who is also a friend of mine) could eat it and she could keep it at her house. So, tonight she and I went to pick it up.

Guess what? My photo as a raffle winner – taken while holding the (beautiful, delicious I’m sure!) bakery tray – will be on TV because one of the local stations was doing the food drive along with the Southeast Texas Food Bank. I was laughing. I had to tell the lady at the store who gave me my prize and took my photo that all my friends know I can’t eat gluten and here I’ll be on TV holding a bakery tray.

Oh! I almost forgot. The stowaway. He was a brown lizard and he was on the plant that we bought. I was taking the tag off and looking at the shrub when saw him clinging to a limb, and I’m sure hoping that I wouldn’t see him. I caught him and was going to put him outside when I noticed markings that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen on a lizard. I wanted to look him up so I decided to put him in a pickle jar while I looked up lizards online. He made a leap for freedom and I tried to catch him but the cat got him first.

Well, I reckon this is enough living for a day. G’night, good folks. I’m going to hobble off to bed now.

The Experience That Reminded One of My Sons of an Episode of Seinfeld

The following is a slightly edited version of what I wrote to one of my sons on Google+:

We came out of church Sunday to see a puddle under our truck. It was gas. We stopped at O’Reilly’s to get something to patch or plug it with until we could get it to Our Usual Place on Monday.

The leak was on the front tank which we don’t use because the pump doesn’t work, and/or the float doesn’t work. It was also up under the shield that is on the tank, so your dad couldn’t get to it to fix it. So, we had this drip, drip, drip going on and it was Sunday and Our Usual Place was closed.

We called Sears and Wal Mart. Neither of them mess with gas tanks. We called the gas station where your dad used to gas up trucks (after Hurricane Rita damaged the other place they went to for gas) but they are closed on Sunday. (They have also inspected our truck and done a couple of small repairs for us – windshield wiper motor and horn replacement.)

So then, we – your daddy, your younger brother and I – ran around here like crazy people trying to figure out what to do with all this gas. We couldn’t just let it sit out there and drip all night. They were gathering up buckets to siphon it out into while I was trying to find a way to avoid doing that. What would we do with 12-13 gallons of bad gas? It had been sitting in the tank since at least 2006, so it was too old to be any good.

It finally dawned on me that we could put a small container under it to catch the drips. I had saved a couple of empty dishwasher soap pellet containers from church, so we used one of those. We were letting it drip, but as least it wasn’t dripping on the ground.

Monday morning, your dad called Our Usual Place to tell them what was going on and that we needed the tank drained. He told the man who answered the phone his name, but this guy didn’t know him. The man he was talking to asked someone else about draining our tank, then came back to the phone and said they didn’t have the equipment to drain a tank safely and they couldn’t do it. What?! That made no sense to me because they said they could fix it before when it was just the pump or whatever and they could drain it back then.

So, here we were again not knowing what to do. I got the not so brilliant idea to call the fire department and your daddy was so desperate, he did it. So, here come firemen in the big truck to our house. All we wanted to know was who could do this. Oh, boy. So, I figured they were going to condemn our truck to the driveway until it’s not dripping gas.

While they were on the way, I called the gas station again, since it was Monday. They said they could do that, no problem! So, I went outside and told this to your daddy and the three firemen who were all looking underneath our truck when I came around the corner of the house.

They said they had some stuff to patch it but the leak isn’t accessible. We told them that we had the same problem. We discussed how I just found a place to fix it, and no, it hasn’t dripped more than that inch or so into the container since the middle of yesterday afternoon, and that it would probably be safe to drive it just to the gas station, and how your daddy wouldn’t even drive it a few blocks to visit his dad the day before because he was afraid to drive around a truck with a leaking gas tank, and how I’m like a Safety Officer because I’m a mom and I was always warning y’all about explosives and poison. So, they let us drive it to the gas station.

We borrowed Pawpaw and Granny’s car so we could get back home and took the truck to the gas station. (Thankfully, the one day your dad went in to work late this week was on Monday!) After a while, the gas station called. Your daddy answered the phone and talked to the man. Then he came in the kitchen and told me the gas station couldn’t do it because it would cost too much for the disposal. What?! What do people do with old gas?

Your daddy said since they wouldn’t do it, he guessed he would have to siphon out all that gas into buckets. I said, “And then what are we going to do with 12 or 13 gallons of gas? And the fire department knows we have a leaky gas tank and they have our phone number and address and everything and if they check up on us and we didn’t do this right, you’ll have the EPA and everybody after you!” (Notice how I went from “us” to “you”?)

Then it hit me! Call Our Usual Place and see if Our Usual Man is there and ask him what he would do! So I did, and he answered the phone. I said, “I am SO glad you answered the phone!” He didn’t quite know what to say because that was the first thing I said to him and he didn’t know who he was talking to or why. And I was, and sounded, mighty desperate.

I told him we have a leaking gas tank. It’s the front tank and we don’t use it and we can’t find a place to drain it. We took it to the gas station and they said they could, but now they said they can’t because it’s too expensive to dispose of the old gas. What would you do? We’ve even called the fire department and they don’t know what to do! We can’t drive around town with a gas leak! What would you do? We called y’all and y’all couldn’t do it and we have to do something and we don’t know what to do! What would you do if you had this problem?” I was about to cry. He hadn’t said a word.

Then, he said, “You called us?” I said, “Yes! You were our first choice! But y’all said you couldn’t do it and we don’t know where to take it or what to do. What would you do?” He cheerfully offered to put a new gas tank on the truck. (Yeah. They don’t have the equipment…sure. That’s what your daddy thought. They didn’t want to do a small job and didn’t know it was us who have been going to them for a gazillion years. I think they might have done it if we had just driven up to the place and asked. But I’m glad to know what we learned, so that’s OK.) I asked how much would a new tank cost? He said he could make some phone calls and find out and call me back. I told him two or three times that he couldn’t just put the old gas back in, it would have to be disposed of some way. He never said a word about that.

I told your daddy the man was checking on putting a new gas tank on it, and he said that would cost a thousand dollars! I said that I didn’t know what else to do. Then I said, “I know! I’ll call the gas station since the truck is already over there and compare the price for a new gas tank!”

I called the gas station and the man said he didn’t even know if he could get a tank for that truck any more. He also said he thought we didn’t want to use the tank anyway. I told him we didn’t want to, but no one could just drain it. He said he could drain it. He was just telling your dad that it’s expensive to dispose of the old gas, so that would add to the cost of the job. I told him I would expect that! So, he told me it would be $75.00 labor and $4-$5 a gallon for disposal. I told him that would be great, go for it.

Then I made my last call ever to Our Former Usual Place and told them the gas station could drain it; your daddy and the man on the phone just mis-communicated about the disposal. This mix-up saved me the phone call I was going to make. I was going to call and ask why they couldn’t drain it when they could have fixed it a few years ago and it would have involved draining it. It didn’t take long and the gas station had it fixed and now has a new customer.

So, how was your Monday morning?

God Sure is Patient

While ago, I was doing something that involved reading. I can see better without my glasses when I’m reading so I took them off and laid them on my desk. When I put them back on there was something interfering with my eye. I thought it was hair behind the glasses and kept trying to get my hair out of my way. Nothing was changing, so I took my glasses off and saw a piece of tape on them. (I’m keeping a couple of tiny pieces of sparkly cut glass on this tape. It’s a long story.) The tape was on my desk and it had gotten stuck on my glasses. I immediately thought of something similar that happened years ago.

Once when I was newly married, I was complaining to myself about my husband. Not out loud. Just in my thoughts. But God hears our thoughts. As I was complaining in my head about him being tight-fisted with money (which he’s not!) I sat down on the edge of the bed. At that moment I saw a penny on the floor. When I bent over to pick it up, I bonked my eyeglasses on the nightstand. The first thing I thought was that I needed to get the nightstand out of my own eye before I tried to get a splinter out of my husband’s.(Matthew 7:3-5)

Today, I was complaining in my head, when I took my glasses off… I’ve GOT to learn this lesson!

Roller Skating

I just remembered once when I was on roller skates and it had been a few years since I’d skated. Getting going is one thing and going where one wants to go is quite another. So is stopping. I was coming up behind a small child and I was going faster than he was and I couldn’t do a thing about it except catch him under his arms and take him with me, all while telling him, “It’s OK, Honey. I can’t stop.” I took him to the rail. We stopped. He was OK. I was embarrassed.

Another time when I was in the 9th grade, the school had a skating night for us. They had one night reserved for each of the four high school grades. My parents took me and, boy, was it crowded. They were sitting on the bench by the wall watching everyone when they decided they wanted to tell me something. Of course, that meant they had to get my attention and the worst thing that could happen is that they would get the attention of the entire 9th grade while fussing at me for not getting there fast enough. I didn’t have to worry about that. I took care of it myself when I tripped about 1/4 of the kids who were there, by cutting across the crowd. Yep. I did that. Biggest people pile up ever. And I was at the bottom of the pile, which was also the front of it. It went on quite a distance.

Then there was a certain song they always played at the skating rink, and I fell every time they played it. It became my goal to stay standing without grabbing the rail while “Rub it In” played. It’s an old song about someone putting sunscreen on someone else. It’s a long 2 1/2 minutes when you’re trying to stay vertical and not land suddenly on your own sacroiliac. And the beat is hard to skate to. Excuses. I know.

With absolute amazement, I watched those folks who could dance around the rink on their skates. I was doing good to cross my right foot over my left to make a turn. And not knock anyone else down while doing it.