Thursday Thoughts

Treasure Hunt
Tuesday was the final day of their fall break, so I talked Dagny and Maggie Faith into going geocaching with me. When I say talk, please understand that all that is required is for me to ask, because you’ve never seen two girls more ready to tackle this very fun treasure hunt. The day was glorious, with a bright blue sky and temperatures in the high 60s or low 70s. As we walked towards our first find, Maggie said, “I love geocaching because you can be outside and get some exercise and fresh air and use your imagination to try and find the hidden caches.” I’m pretty sure the traditional trip to Sonic following a geocaching event helps sweeten the pot. We not only had a ton of fun, but we found seven caches out of seven searches. Some days you’re lucky and some days you’re not. I should have bought a lottery ticket. ….

Maggie’s cache is almost as big as she is!

Bon Appetit
Once a year about this time Bill and I go out to dinner with Dave, Jll, Allen, and Emma to celebrate the birthdays that are clustered around the end of the year. Each year we choose a different restaurant. This year I chose a French restaurant in honor of our newest daughter-in-law who hails from Paris, France. The restaurant — La Merise French Bistro — was lovely and the food was amazing. In fact, we had what might have been one of the best things I’ve ever eaten in my life as an appetizer. The moules mariniere — mussels with garlic and cream sauce to us Amurikins — were so good that as the waiter was getting ready to remove the bowl, I was digging in with my spoon to get the last drop of the cream sauce. While I love to hang with my grandkids, we always have fun at this all-grown-up meal. Happy birthday one and all….

Smile For the Camera
Speaking of grandkids, some photos just make me happy. Here is a photo of Bill with Joseph and Micah during their recent visit to attend Allen and Emma’s wedding reception that I look at about 10 times a day because it makes me smile every single time. Micah looks like Jimmy Buffett must have looked as a kid….

Eating With Chopsticks
Yesterday I had lunch with my daughter-in-law Alyx. We ate at a Korean restaurant. I don’t believe I’ve ever eaten Korean food before, but I knew I would love it because I haven’t yet met an Asian cuisine that I haven’t liked. And like it, I did. As an aside, Alyx showed me this photo of Kaiya, who is perhaps the fussiest eater I’ve ever met. She does, however, like Orange Chicken from Panda Express. And she eats it with chopsticks, thank you very much. Her Cambodian heritage comes through…..

Ciao.

Treading Water

Because my swimming skills rival those of Michael Phelps, I will use a swimming analogy: for the past four days, I have been treading water.

Since last winter I have had it on my calendar. Watch Court’s kids for four days while he and Alyx are in San Diego at her friend’s wedding. For months, I would swallow the foreboding feeling that arose as I anticipated the event. As the date neared, I fought heart palpitations and nausea. Two-year-olds are scawwy.

Don’t get me wrong; you KNOW I love my grands. And I spend as much time as I can with them, and gladly so. But at the end of a busy day, they go back – filled full of sugar and content with a life with few boundaries – to their parents, who then have to deal with the after effects. It’s our revenge for the nights we laid awake listening for their car and all of the bad report cards.

But this time there would be no handing over of children, at least not for a number of days. Bill and I would be IT. Those three children would be our charges for FOUR SOLID DAYS.

We lived, and so did they, but I’m not too proud to say that I am very tired.

It’s rather a blur, I will admit. I had thought we would be doing all sorts of activities and taking field trips that would rival those of a Montessori school. I envisioned healthy snacks and cooking adventures. What I got was four days of keeping them alive, reasonably well-fed, a not-completely-horrifying bedtime hour, lots and lots and lots of laughter, and a few tears.

In the midst of all of the unanticipated chaos, I vaguely recall making several trips to Panda Express for orange chicken and McDonald’s for hotcakes (both for the same meal). At some point Cole fell off one of the kitchen chairs, hitting the back of his head on the ceramic tile below. I immediately began reaching into the depths of my brain to recall Court’s health insurance information. By the time I picked him up to comfort him, however, the tears had nearly stopped. He, my friends, is the toughest kid known to man. Probably comes from being the littlest in the family. He didn’t even have a bump.

Speaking of Cole, by Sunday afternoon, he was calling me Mommy. I guess he figured he could have done worse. Jen came Sunday for the day and spent the night. When I became Mommy she was promoted to Nana. Pecking order in the mind of a 2-year-old.

Bill, who like me, appreciates the predictable order of his days, showed great patience and restraint. He spent quite a bit of time in his office with the door closed. And he hardly grimaced at all when I told him Saturday night that the toilet was backing up. Kaiya and Mylee were a big help as they ran around holding their noses and squealing in horror. Too much toilet paper and it was fairly easily fixed. Says the woman who didn’t have to touch the plunger.  I had a talk with the girls about just how much toilet paper is actually necessary in this first world country.

At various points of the past few days, the cousins stopped by as well. And this was much to Kaiya’s and Mylee’s delight. Cole finds the attention offputting. I’m just a normal boy, he seems to be saying to Dagny and Addie, both who want to smother him with love. Addie, sensing the kids needed something interesting to keep them busy (perhaps seeing the fear in my eyes), at one point set up a little outdoor classroom in which she demonstrated making a volcano using some of my kitchen supplies. I recall corn starch, vinegar and water leaving my pantry. The kids loved it…..

addie-and-zierks-volcano

They also loved making slime. A simple activity involving nothing more than Elmer’s glue, Borax, food coloring, and water…..

making-slime

Then there was the fashion show, featuring an enthusiastic Kaiya, Dagny, and Maggie Faith, and a less-than-enthusiastic Mylee, donning various scarves and other paraphernalia they gathered from my dress-up box. At some point, one of them happened upon my make-up bag and let me just tell you there was lipstick involved. And lots and lots of fragrance. Much fragrance. Fragrance that at some point becomes not fragrant.

But Monday night, I tucked Kaiya and Mylee and Cole into their own beds in their own bedrooms in their own house, kissed them goodnight and reminded them that when they woke up the next morning, Mommy and Daddy would be there.

I would do it again, my friends. Just let me catch up on my sleep and get the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme song out of my head. Oh, and finish cleaning up the slime that I still find in unexpected corners.

Janis Joplin and Staring at Walls

Bill and I flew home separately on Tuesday. Bill’s last minute decision to join me in Denver required that he be somewhat creative in obtaining affordable airfare, so he flew back on Spirit while I flew back on Frontier. His plane left two-and-a-half hours before mine, so I had time to kill. He killed time on the other end.

If you have flown in the past few years you know that the price of a plane ticket merely gets you the right to walk onto the plane. They will decide where you sit, likely between a 350 lb. man who smacks his gum and smells slightly like beef jerky and a 68-year-old woman wearing strong perfume that smells like roses in a funeral parlor and breathing through her mouth. By time you select a seat, check a bag, and buy a bag of M&Ms, you might as well have departed for Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris.

There is nothing Bill likes more when flying than to be in the front of the plane. It matters not in the least that in the event of a crash, he will turn into dust as the plane dives nose first into the ground. He, being that optimist that I always tell you he is, presumes the plane will NOT crash and he will be the first one off. Spirit Airlines is the king of airlines if your definition of royalty is requiring any passengers with legs to be happy chewing on their knees during the flight. So he is more than happy to spring for the $25 fee to sit in the front row where there is actually leg room. “Look at this,” he said as he showed me his ticket indicating his seat number was 1C. I sadly looked at my seat assignment of 20C. Oh well.

I love watching the people at airports. Only 1 in 100 passengers is not connected in any way to technology as they await their flight. Me included (in the 99, not the 1). What did we all do at airports before cell phones? Drank heavily and read tattered paperback books, I guess. You see all manner of folks. Lovers. Loners. Families. Happy people. Grouchy people. People praying rosaries (oops, that’s me). People playing Janis Joplin songs from his iPad without benefit of earphones (oops, that’s the person sitting next to me). Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.

After I kissed Bill goodbye at his gate, I went to kill time by eating lunch. I had decided to enjoy a nice meal including wine, so I wandered to the airport chapter of the Denver Chophouse. “One,” I said to the greeter at the restaurant. “Would you like a table?” she asked me. As opposed to rolling out a blanket on the floor? “Yes please,” I answered. I should have smelled a rat right then and there and turned around and headed for Panda Express where we are all equal.

“Will this be ok?” she asked me. I answered in the affirmative, though it became quickly apparent that I should have said no. I was seated at a tiny table in the back corner, facing the wall.  I’m actually not kidding…..

airport table

But I enjoyed my salmon and cheddar mashed potatoes, and my wine was yummy. I read a book through my whole meal anyway. I must admit, however that I was quite surprised when I turned around to leave after paying my bill to see that there were a multitude of tables available that wouldn’t have required me to face a wall. I am woman, hear me roar.

But it occurred to me that if this was the worst thing that would happen to me that day, given I will be 30,000 feet in the air flying over the Rocky Mountains, it wasn’t so bad. The wine was good.

My plane came from somewhere else, and it arrived well on time. We boarded quickly and were ready to pull out of the gate a couple of minutes before the scheduled time. Except that we didn’t.

The captain’s voice came over the loudspeaker.

“Hello. This is your captain speaking,” said the captain. “You may have noticed that we’re not moving. That’s because there is a City of Denver truck parked behind our plane, and no one seems to know who is the driver and where he is, exactly. But we’re looking.”

Bathroom break, perhaps? It didn’t occur to the driver that perhaps parking behind a passenger jet wasn’t a great idea if you need to go potty?

Happily, they quickly rounded up the driver and we were on our way only a few minutes late. All-in-all, it was better than something that happened to my niece Jessie recently on a trip home from the Bahamas.

She was on a red-eye flight, and it had been a long day. The plane she was on wasn’t moving. Time was ticking by. The captain (apparently always the bearer of bad news) came on and explained that there was a crane parked at the end of the runway. They were trying to get the crane removed, he assured them. They waited a bit. After quite some time, the pilot came back on the intercom. Here’s what he said (or at least my version of what he said)….

Ladies and gentlemen, the crane is still parked at the end of the runway. Here’s what we’re going to do. We are going to turn off the air pressure and get our speed up as fast as we can. We think by doing this we SHOULD be able to fly over the crane. Have a nice flight.

The it might be a good time to grab a rosary and pray your ass off was implied.

See? When flying, things can always be worse. The plane, by the way, did successfully make it over the crane.

Add flight attendant to the list of occupations I never would want to have.

Thursday Thoughts

Arachnophobia
The other night when Kaiya and Mylee had their sleepover, we went out for pizza. While we waited for the pizza to be served, Kaiya had my cell phone and was googling images of various things, primarily insects. At one point she brought up an image of a black widow spider and asked me if I knew what it was. I impressed her heartily by being able to name the displayed critter. I suggested she google tarantula, which she did. She proclaimed that she thought the furry spider was cute and not a bit scary. “I’m not scared of spiders,” she proudly proclaimed. However, when I dropped them off at their house following our Children’s Museum adventure on Wednesday, there were a couple of daddy long legs on the side of the porch, minding their own business. Hysteria from both girls ensued. Such hysteria, in fact, that I was unable to convince them that spiders had a right to live outdoors, and it necessitated my stomping my foot on the side of the house to kill them (the spiders, not the girls). So much for no fear of spiders. While I heartily dislike most insects, spiders don’t particularly bother me. Well, unless they are of the black widow or tarantula variety.

Hello Rex
handsome rex
Since my computer updated its operating system to Windows 10 a while back, I have sort of stumbled around trying to figure out how to do the simplest things. The other night, Kaiya was fooling around a bit on my computer, and I wasn’t paying much attention. Wednesday afternoon when I turned on my computer, instead of finding the expected display background of a photo of my grandkids, there was a huge picture of Bill’s father when he somewhere in the neighborhood of 21 years old staring me in the face. It was one of the photos in the box of old pictures that we recently received, and I had scanned it and it lived somewhere on my computer. It was quite startling, and more so because I had no idea how to get rid of it and put something in its place. Like a picture of the grandkids. It took me a long time to make the change, but I am no longer greeted by a picture of Rex. Handsome as he was, it isn’t what I want to look at each day when I turn on my computer.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
The morning following Kaiya’s and Mylee’s sleepover (which was the same morning that I was awakened by Mylee at 4:45), I was rushing to get them dressed, teeth brushed, etc. at the same time that I was getting ready. We were headed to the Children’s Museum. Sometime during the getting-ready process, Bill mentioned that I had something white on my lip. I quickly forgot that he said anything. Later that day, following the morning at the museum and lunch at Panda Express, I happened to lick my lips. I tasted mint. Apparently I had been running around with a large glob of toothpaste on my lip the entire morning and into the afternoon. Perhaps it would behoove me to actually look in a mirror on occasion. Would it have killed Kaiya to point it out to me? She doesn’t miss anything else!

On the Road Again
We leave tomorrow for a fairly quick trip to Arizona. We usually go in October to open up the house. This year Jen beat us there, and whipped things into shape last week. But it will still be nice to see everyone and get somewhat settled in. We will fly back, leaving our car there so that we don’t have to drive on Christmas day when we will return to Arizona for our 4-month winter stay. My plan is to continue posting each day, but if you don’t hear from me, don’t worry – you will soon!

Ciao.

 

Sleepless Night

Mylee the PerpI’m embarrassed to tell you that the past 48 hours have been kind of a blur. No, I’m not embarrassed to tell you this for justifiable reasons such as I’ve been overcome by alcohol. No, the reason my life has been blurry is that two of my grandkids had a sleepover night before last and it took me 24 hours to recover.

For reasons I can’t exactly understand, Kaiya and Mylee love to sleep at our house. I don’t really get it. We do nothing exciting. But the doorbell rings and there are those two girls pulling their little Hello Kitty suitcases full of pajamas, stuffed animals, hair paraphernalia, and the like, with the happiest smiles on their faces. They run up to check out “their rooms” and make sure everything is the way it should be, and before I can say bibbity bobbity boo, one is busily preparing Play Doh food and the other is elbow deep in the Legos container. Life is good.

The biggest reason my life is a blur is that I am unable to sleep when they are guests in my house. I try, but one ear is always listening for a sound from one of the bedrooms. It rarely happens, but I’m ready if it does!

Yesterday morning at 4:45 a.m., heavy breathing awakened me from the sleep that has finally come. I open my eyes, and Mylee’s face is about six inches from mine.

“Nana, my tummy hurts and if I don’t drink some ginger ale right away, I will throw up,” she solemnly greets me.

Here’s the thing. I have emetophobia. It’s a thing, I promise. A phobia of vomiting, and I have it. I always have. God blessed me because my son Court only rarely threw up when he was growing up, and then he ALWAYS made it to the bathroom in time. I feel compelled to say that I have heard his stepmother talk about Court throwing up all the time, so I think it was simply a case of good luck and good planning. It’s okay though, because she doesn’t have emetophobia.

So I shot up like a rocket and headed her towards the bathroom.

“No Nana,” she said. “I just need some ginger ale.”

It’s 4:50 a.m., and there isn’t a ginger ale within a five mile radius. But by this time I had figured out that she wasn’t actually going to throw up (Court had warned me she had thrown up the night before), but that she had simply awakened early and wanted some ginger ale. And some company. She got company and a Coke Zero.

It is the girls’ Fall Break, so I took them to the Children’s Museum as a treat yesterday morning. Kaiya had a grand time. Mylee began pooping out about 11:30, because see above. A 4:50 a.m. rising time isn’t conducive to Children’s Museum fun-and-games. After lunching at Panda Express, I took chipper Kaiya and increasingly cranky Mylee home. A tired-looking mommy answered the door.

“Shhhh,” she said, holding her fingers to her lips. “Your baby brother just went down for his nap. He threw up all over me.”

Did I mention I have emetophobia? And now I know that Mylee throwing up the other night wasn’t just a random thing, but the beginning of an EPIDEMIC.

I have only gone through two cans of Lysol spray thus far. My house smells like a hospital ward.