Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Real Man

Where have I been? Oh, glad you asked. I've been ogling this sight. These are the type of people I love. LOVE! Why? Because their hands are rough. They have prematurely aged skin from sun exposure. They get up hours before the rest of the world starts hitting the snooze button. They wear chaps....chaps and cowboy boots and they drive trucks and wear chaps. At the end of the day they probably smell a bit like axle grease, manure and horse sweat, but it doesn't matter cause their wearing chaps.

Now, let's go back to the rough hand comment. I'm married to a man with big, dry, rough hands. I prefer to hold a warm, dry, rough hand. When I shake the hand of a man and it's soft, silky and (God-help-me) dewy or moist or clammy or sweaty or lotioned, my view of him changes. I instantly wonder if he ever works with his hands. Work that extends beyond a keyboard. Work that would require him to break a sweat, use his muscle or end up in the emergency room from oh, lets say, slamming his hand in the spring of the garage door he is repairing while the rest of the house is still asleep or jumping off the roof because his wife just screamed that their toddler fed an open safety pin to the baby. You know, common stuff like that.

My husband comes home from work everyday sporting a dress shirt and tie with his leather bag strapped over his shoulder and his ipod plugged into his ears. But, on weekends when he's working on a project and he pulls on his Carhart pants and leather tool belt (which is the closest thing to chaps around here...grrrrowr) I think, "Now there's a man!". I love watching him wield a chainsaw or chop firewood or, my favorite, when he single handedly schlepped what seemed like ten tons of shingles up a ladder to our roof.

I love that he will discard his white collar appearance and get down in the muck to fix anything. Now, he doesn't always do it right the first time and we have had to call for help more than once, but he's willing to try to accomplish just about any repair job or need around the woodsy existence that we call home.

With that said, this weekend he's got big plans to slip into his Carharts (grrrowr), sharpen the blade of his ax, round up the evil rooster and kill him. Not quite the same as cowboys working cattle, but close enough. Do you all want me to take pictures? Who's up for a chicken dinner?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

My Desirae

Friday night I took my daughter shopping. She is so amazing. I often look at her and wonder how on earth is she turning out to be such an incredible person with me as her mother??? Honestly, she is the girl I always looked up to. Why, that would make her Desirae Henderson!

Desirae was this smart, sweet, buck-toothed girl that I grew up with. She always did the right thing. She studied hard, she practiced her piano, she made friends easily, she wore simple clothes but always looked cute, she loved people and showed her loved to others with pure genuine Christian spirit. She loved her family and was respectful and obedient to her parents. She was good at everything she tried and she made you want to be a better person. Now, I have my very own Desirae living in my house!

As we stepped into the mall Ellen noticed all the teenagers loitering. She looked at me and rolled her eyes and made some sort of gagging noise about all the kids there. She even wondered why so many young kids were there without their parents.

We bought some skirts and then found a store with much better buys and she happily agreed to return the other skirts so we could save some money. She by-passed trendy clothes and picked out plain t-shirts and a polka-dotted skirt.

We sat in the food court and ate Japanese food. We talked and laughed and even made fun of each other. I called her "Metal Mouth" and she called me "Zit Chin" we bantered back and forth calling out our physical discrepancies while gasping at the shrewdness. I love that she can make fun of herself and me.

We called home and everyone was sleeping. We went to the book store and sat in front of the antiquity books and thumbed through some classics, finally purchasing Virgil's Aeneid that she needed for school.

We bought coffee and sneaked it into the 10:30 showing of The Astronaut Farmer. We were the only people in the theatre. I told Ellen that I had rented the place out just for us.

On the way home she said, "Thanks Mom", but I should have thanked her for being such an incredible girl. For being My Desirae.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Scary Man!

My husband had to pick my daughter up from a friend's house last night on his way home from work.

When Clay rang the bell, the sweet little sister of Ellen's friend came to answer the door. She took one look at Clay and ran back up the stairs yelling, "There's a tall scary man at the door! And he has an Afro!!!!"

Ellen said, "That's my dad!"

It didn't matter. She was too terrified to come back.

This is the scariest picture I could find of him. Warning: don't let your young children view this, they might not recover from their fright.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


I'm a complete contradiction unto myself. Given a situation, oh let's see, how about we start with the driveway.

1.If the driveway is covered with snow and I need to get somewhere I will..

A. bundle up against the arctic winds and tackle Mt. Everest with salt and shovel until I can safely pass the summit with my minivan.

B. completely forfeit any ambitions that lay outside the threshold of my front door.

C. Both

2. If the children are being quiet by watching a movie and the house is a mess, but I need to get some work done, I will....

A. allow them to continue to bask in their coma-like state in order to assure that I won't be disrupted and therefore all things are peacful.

B. cringe at their slothfulness, pull out my whip and start cracking it while yelling orders and demanding a reply of ,"Yes Mam, Mother Mam!" while stressing about getting my work done.

C. Both

3.Since I really shouldn't eat sugar in order to maintain a healthy mind and body..

A. I eat only whole grain foods and avoid all processed sugar.

B. I desperately cram discarded half eaten candy that my children leave lying on the floor, counter, top of the trash or under the car seats into my mouth and pretend like I'm not eating anything, but rather having a coughing fit.

C. Both

You see where this is going? If you chose C for all the answers, you are a genius and also must have a strange insight into my world.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Workin' on it

My husband programmed a play list on my ipod for me to workout to. Tonight, with great enthusiasm, I put on my external cushiony headphones, cause those white things that come with the ipod do not fit in my small ear holes. That’s right, the one small part on my body, is my ear holes. I filled up a toddler sippy cup with water, I know, I’m a rockin’-hip mamma, I closed the door and hopped on the treadmill.

After I choked for a bit from the dust and cobwebs that came rolling off the belt, I got my groove on. I hate just walking or running. So, with my new debut “work-out program” or, as Clay named it “Get Funky Go Crazy”, I started doing some mighty fine jazz hands and arm swooping. Then I threw all caution to the wind and did some grapevines with my feet then a few ball-changes. To my surprise I only fell off once when I wiped the sweat off my face with the bottom of my shirt and forgot to keep moving my feet.

I finished a twenty minute session and wanted more. I spent an hour walking, running, dancing, feeling a need to hurl and then catching my second wind. My daughter caught me with my arms raised to the heavens, hands forming something between the ‘hang-ten’ sign and the ‘I love ya’ sign while mouthing the words, “Don’t cha wish you’re girlfriend was hot like me?”…..I know, hangin’ my head in shame. I was thinking more appropriately fitting lyrics could be;
“Don’tcha wish your toddler could scream like mine?”
“Don’tcha wish your chickens could crow like mine?”

Anyway, here are the other songs I got groovy with. He did a good job.

1. Holiday by Green Day- Great way to get the blood pumpin’
2. Hollaback Girl by Gwen Stefani- Hearken’ to my cheerleading days.
3. Suicide Blonde by INXS- This was Clay’s choice
4. Sisters are Doin’ it for Themselves by Eurythmics
5. Vertigo by U2
6. Real Gone by Sheryl Crow- this is the theme song from the movie Cars…it’s cool.
7. Don’t Cha by The Pussycat Dolls- great for practicing your high heeled model cat walk on the treadmill.
8. Tight by INXS
9. Hella Good by No Doubt
10. My City Was Gone by Pretenders- this is probably the only one I want to take off
11. Would I Lie to You by the Eurtythmics
12. Don’t Change by INXS- do you see a pattern here, yea, Clay likes his INXS
13. Hold Me, Kiss Me, Thrill Me by U2

Then I cooled down to James Blunt….except it’s kinda hard to cool down to him grrrrrrr.
When I was done I went to work in the office for a bit. I kept smelling roast beef. Did I forget I was cooking something? No, it was me. I was sweating the smell of roast beef. I can’t explain it.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

You and Me

I distinctly remember saying to myself when I was in high school that I would marry a guy from Missouri. I don’t know why, I just did. Maybe because…

They didn’t have you where I come from
Never knew the best was yet to come
Life began when I saw your face
And I hear your laugh like a serenade

I met you in Drawing I the second semester of my freshman year at college. You were taller than anyone I’d ever met and so incredibly skinny, even thinner than usual from the near-death bicycle accident you suffered a couple months before. It tore your face to shreds and left you unable to eat solids for a few weeks. You still have a hint of that angry oval shaped purple scar high on your right cheek bone. I distinctly remember your Ralph Lauren dungarees that were rolled tightly around your ankle, the white Chuck Taylor’s that you had lovingly repaired with Duck Tape and the long sleeved cotton shirt with tiny Cadillac emblems on it. All those crazy things and I haven’t mentioned your most defining characteristic; the auburn hair. It was clipped very close to your big head except for the long frizzy tuft of bangs that fell down to your cheek. .

How long do you want to be loved?
Is forever enough, is forever enough
How long do you want to be loved?
Is forever enough?
Cause, I’m never, ever giving you up.

We sat in a circle straddling drawing benches that had built-in easels to rest our drawing boards against. The subject of our drawing was in the center of the circle. It could be a pedestal with a pile of nails, a group of geometric shapes or a naked person. The class was three hours long with two 15 minute breaks. There was plenty of time to get to know the person sitting next to you. The first week I sat next to a very nice boy named Brandon. We chatted through the class and afterwards walked to the Union Bookstore where he bought me a kneadable eraser for our class.

I slip in bed when you’re asleep
To hold you close and feel your breath on me
Tomorrow there’ll be so much to do
So tonight I’ll drift in a dream with you.

One day I found you sitting on one side of me and Brandon on the other. You’re presence didn’t register on me at first. Then you started talking and I realized you were actually pretty nice. I asked what you had done over the weekend and you said, “Well, I went to church and played some ping-pong.” That’s when I woke up and rubbed the dullness from my eyes to see who you were. I don't remember anything about Brandon from that point on.

How long do you want to be loved?
Is forever enough, is forever enough
How long do you want to be loved?
Is forever enough
Cause, I’m never, ever giving you up.

We spent Monday, Wednesday and Friday of the next two weeks talking for three hours. We didn’t leave the room during the 15 minute breaks we just talked right through. The whole time I didn’t know your name. I was afraid you had told me and it slipped my mind. I glanced at your open art box hoping you had scribbled your name somewhere, but it only contained the same supplies as mine. I didn’t know at the time, but you were trying to solve the same mystery with me. Finally, you were brave enough to admit your ignorance. We both laughed at our stupidity. From the moment it left your lips, I loved your name. I didn’t know it at the time, but later my name wouldn’t sound the same without yours coupled with it.

As you wander through this troubled world
In search of all things beautiful
You can close your eyes when you’re miles away
And hear my voice like a serenade

I didn’t realize what your intentions were, since I had a boyfriend back home, you weren’t anything more than a sweet friend to me. In fact, I had hopes that you might take to my sister, since she had a thing for auburn-haired-green-eyed boys. It was easy to be myself around you. I never felt the need to impress or persuade, so you obviously got the real me. Slowly, we just came to be us. There was no fancy dating or courtship, it was just you and me and nothing else mattered.

How long do you want to be loved?
Is forever enough, is forever enough?
How long do you want to be loved?
Is forever enough?
Cause, I’m never, ever giving you up.

One night as I was praying I thanked God for you and then said, “I sure do love that boy.” I paused and thought about what I had said and realized then that God had softly, but surely brought you to me. Never would a day pass from that point that you wouldn’t be in my life.

How long do you want to be loved?
Is forever enough, is forever enough?
How long do you want to be loved?
Is forever enough?
Cause, I’m never, never giving you up.

Lyrics from Lullaby by The Dixie Chicks*

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Weekly Bruise Update

Last week it was, and still is, a big purple-black-green whopper on the bottom of my foot from planting my big honkin' self on top of a sharp edged toy. I'd like to tell you what toy, like it was a block or Lego or train, but I was too blinded by pain when I stooped down to pick it up and hurl it at the wall while screaming, "DAMN KIDS!". They were all upstairs sleeping like angels, so I sat on the train table and whimpered while I held my foot. I would have kissed it, but I spend too much time with my foot in my mouth as it is.

This week, in fact just moments ago, I inflicted what could be several bruises to my left side while falling off the driveway. Do you see my banner? Yeah, it's still icy, snowy and freakin' cold here. I tried to take my daughter to school, but then realized no fool is going to take their kids to classes in this. So, I went to the store to stock up on things like milk, bread and hair products. Ellen begged me not to go down the driveway. I parked at the top and we unloaded most of the groceries and started our treacherous descent. I made Ellen promise to carry me to the house if I fell and broke my leg. I was starting to slide just a bit to much on the black top and thought a wiser choice would be to walk in the ditch where the leaves and sticks could at least give a bit of traction. I immediately fell down in the ditch. "Did you break your leg?" asked my daughter. "No, but thanks for your concern. I think I killed the bread."

I pulled myself back onto the driveway and equalized the weight of my grocery sacks. "Okay, here we go, baby steps, baby steps...ahhhhhh, ahhhhhh,(breath) ahhhhh,ahhhhhh!!!" When I stopped sliding, skiing and screaming all I could hear was my daughter's laughter behind me. I made it down the hill, but she was still inching herself along the slope.

We made it into the house and my son greeted me with the news that all classes had been canceled. Now, as I sit and defrost I can feel some stinging on my left leg and my shoulder feels a bit sore. I wonder how much damage I inflicted to myself? I didn't buy any Advil, so I might need to drink the entire bottle of infant Motrin.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Only six?

Jesse tagged me. I'm supposed to list six quirky things about me. Good grief, where do I start. I like how Jesse was so sweet at the beginning of her post by saying how quirky is all in the eye of the beholder, but I have to disagree wholeheartedly. I know that I do some really quirky stuff and I know others that do even more. But, I'll stick to me.

1. I flush all public toilets with my foot. Then I get out of the stall as fast as possible while holding my breath because I'm afraid I'll inhale the toilette vapors. This gets a little tricky when you 're holding a baby because you didn't want to bring the car seat into the bathroom and set it on the floor.

2. I think chemical hair treatments are some form of cheating. This was ingrained in my head from my beautician mother. She would never let me get a perm or color my albino white hair when I was young. I finally had my hair foiled for the first time last year and I felt so guilty that I openly admitted what I did to anyone that would listen. Even if the conversation had nothing to do with my hair.

My neighbor- "Hi April, how are you?"

Me- "I foiled my hair, see? My sister made me do it. She said I wasn't blond enough anymore. It took a really long time and I didn't know what to expect, but I think it's okay and maybe I'll do it again, except it kinda dried it out a bit, but that's okay, and I think it's sorta natural and I'm older now and need a little help so it's okay. Really, how are you?"

3. I sent my kids to public school, then I sent my kids to private school, then I threw in the towel and homeschooled my kids. And aren't most homeschoolers just a bit quirky...just a bit?

4. I like to sing in a very loud operatic voice to give instructions to my children. Sometimes, my husband joins in and adds harmony. One friend told me that being at my house is like watching a musical. My oldest son has picked up on this quirky habit, and I must say it's quite charming and can turn a bad day into a funny day very quickly.

5. Even as outgoing and loud and funny as I am; I get really uncomfortable in large groups. I even get panicky about going into unfamiliar territory like an office party or large get together with people I only know sorta well. I'm terrible at small talk, just awful. I know I'm supposed to ask people all sorts of questions about themselves, but I just draw a blank or ask really stupid questions. And the worst is I'll just start blurting out stories, I know, that's not hard to believe, but then I'll laugh inappropriately too loud, too long and too hard. Good grief!

6. I can imitate a lot of people I've known in my life. I pick up on details like the way they walk, their hand gestures, the pronunciation of certain words. I even remember stupidly small details about people like the color of their teeth, skin texture, if they have a mole on their arm, the shape of their feet and on and on. It's like a way of placing a person in my memory that I want to remember. I'm usually one of the first people to complement or comment on a new hair cut, a tan, an injury or even *gasp* an enhancement or two.

I know you all want more, but it said six, so that's all I'm givin' ya. I bet you all thought I was gonna to start talking about bodily functions and fluids, didn' cha? I held back.

Awaiting Thy Spring

I've said to myself that when the view out my window no longer matches the snowy scene (minus the rockin'-rad red barn) on my header that I will change it. I'm still waiting. Good God enough of the cold already! I'm ready for some outdoors.

I've received my seed catalogs. I look at every variety of vegetable and flower and then I spend a few moments daydreaming about where I will plant. This year my darling husband is going to build four square raised beds for me. He's excited about it, which means it may actually get done. He likes the construction and I love the planting. I want to make a big square with 3x3 and 4x4 squares, then I'll put three foot mulched paths between the squares. The real kicker will be a picket fence around the whole thing. Ooh, I get all giddy just thinking about it.

I also received the catalog from The Cackle Hatchery. Lordy, how I do love some poultry. This year I'm going to order two turkeys! Gobble gobble! I kind of want a peacock, but I can't get a consensus on that, so I'll wait. I'd like to order some different varieties of chickens this time. We've been very fortunate that our flock has remained disease free. We still have 21 hens and that gawd awful rooster. Oh, and on that note, yesterday we watched a flock of 13 wild turkeys peck around in our back yard. Ed, our rooster, was having a fit. The turkeys didn't seem to be effected by his carrying on.

I read the most delightful book The Land of Milk and Omlettes, by Ken Kraft. It's a biographical account about the author and his wife, Pat. They bought a farm 43 miles west of St. Louis and taught themselves how to be small acreage farmers. I was so sad when it ended. If you like reading books about farm life, gardening, house renovations and funny country folk, this book will not fail you. I don't even know if it's in publication now, my sister gave it to me. The pages are yellowed and brittle, even more reason to love it.

And lastly, we are still sporting runny noses and coughs around here. We've used four boxes of Kleenex, toilette paper, napkins, the inside of t-shirts and of course the back of our hands to stem the tide of mucus.....yummy.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Man and Woman in My House

I hab a code...... a code, you dow a code in my node and my node is ready sore.

Sorta what we said.....with some author's embellishments.

Me- I'm sick.
Him- I know. We all know.
Me-hmph! I need you to feel sorry for me.
Him- You don't mess around when you get a cold, it just comes gushing out.
Me- Oh, I'm so glad you noticed. Maybe I'll gush on you.

Me-Did you know my New Year's resolution was to make up the bed everyday? Have you noticed?
Him- I did notice. Good job.
Me- What was your New Year's resolution? Oh, wait, I remember, it was to never hurt my feelings? Right?
Him- Yes, but that only lasted a few minutes. So, now my new one is to be nicer to you.
Me-Even when I'm a giant pain in the batutsky?
Him-Your always a giant pain.....I mean yes sweetheart, even then.
Me-You have your work cut out for you. I wish you luck. I plan on seeing your resolutions demise by the end of the day.
Him- Oh honey, I'm stronger and more patient than you. You're only going to hurt yourself.
Me- Does bringing me to exploding frustration count as being mean to me?
Him- But frustrating you is so fun, I can't give that up.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Take out the papers and the trash.....

We hall our trash cans to a dumpster in our subdivision. It's not a big deal, until the cans are over flowing and we all start chucking trash bags out the door to land near the cans in the garage. The chucking of trash bags really gets my husband into "lecture mood", which he rarely does. I have to remind him that the barrels do have to be emptied in order for the "chucking" culprits to obey his demand of stuffing and compacting the trash in the barrels to the point that no air pockets remain and never leaving the lid ajar or trash in the garage for the raccoons, chickens and whatever other woodland creatures that invade the garage to rip to shreds. We attain maximum capacity of trash about every four days. However, my husband only halls the trash when our garage resembles a land fill.

Last night I calmly stated, "Hon, the trash cans are full, so don't lecture anyone about the bags out there."

The next thing I see is my husband preparing to head out the door in the freezing cold to take the trash. Moments later my daughter peered out the window and asked what her dad was doing. I explained with exasperation that he was taking the trash,. Why do they have to ask me so many questions about obvious things? Then she said,"I think he's stuck. The back of his truck is in the creek."

I looked out and sure enough there was the truck with one back wheel in the creek. My reaction was subdued. This is the third time this has happened. I took the old van for a couple swims that amounted to an ungodly amount of repair that left the oil pan jammed back into the nether regions of the undercarriage. I was relieved it wasn't me this time.

I put the kids to bed and then stepped out in the cold to yell if he was answer. What was he doing? I put on my coat, gloves, cowboy boots and headed out in the snowy night to see if he was still alive. I stepped carefully off the driveway and into the icy creek to see him jacking up the truck and shoving logs under the tire, to raise it up enough to get the differential of the driveway. Our conversation was reminiscent of an old Clint Eastwood western. We spoke in quiet monotone without any facial expressions.

Me- Did you back off or slide off?
Him- Slid off. Couldn't get any traction.
Me- *#! driveway. Need more logs?
Him- Yeah.

I hauled logs while he hammered them under the tire with the blunt end of his ax. I poured salt across the creek so the truck would get some traction and held the jack while he drove the truck a couple feet closer to the driveway and then had to start the process all over.

He eventually got the truck back on the driveway and we sat in front of the space heater watching David Letterman.

Him- I need a four wheel drive.
Me- No you don't.
Him- We need a normal driveway.
Me- Yep. So, did you get the trash taken out?
Him- Funny.