Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Greatest Christmas Gift I've Ever Received...

There have been many a great gift over the years that I have loved, but there is one gift in particular that stands out in my mind, because of who gave it to me, and its intrinsic worth. My sister, who early in her marriage and during many a lean year, didn't have loads of money to spend on gifts.  We've all been there.  Not a fun thing, but those times bring out the very best in people.

We arrived during one such holiday, many years ago, at our mother's house on Christmas Eve.  We patiently took turns filing through the kitchen, filling our paper plates to overflowing with delicious food and then gathered in Mom's living room to let overzealous children trip over one another while passing out presents.  Isn't that the way it's done everywhere?

That one particular year I was presented with a rather large present that was unusually heavy for its size.  As I opened it I wondered, “Was it bricks?  I'd never been given a brick before.”  Not your everyday gift, but I'm sure it had a purpose.  Well, as it turns out, it wasn't bricks.  Nope, not a one.  Instead, I found inside a well-seasoned, cast iron frying pan.  Not just any frying pan, it was my sister's frying pan.  Anyone who owns cast iron knows its value.  It's the pan of choice for many a Southerner, heck, many a anybody who likes to cook.  Cast Iron often makes "heirloom" status because it's one of the sturdiest cooking utensils around.  How often have you seen a broken cast iron pan?

I stared at it, with its beautiful shiny, dark patina.  It really hit home what I was being given.  I think I tried giving it back, insisting I couldn't take her pan.  In the end, I did keep it.  I still have and use it, frequently.  It's just as shiny and seasoned as the day she gave it to me.  The only thing that has changed is that it means more and more to me as the years go by.  Thanks, Lisa, for giving to me something so precious.  I love you. ~Gail

THE greatest gift---ever.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Car Wash Nightmare

This actually happened last month.  I posted it on my Facebook wall, to much glee and laughter, so I thought I would paste it here for all the world to see.  Bear in mind that I'm leaving it written in the frustrated and disjointed language in which it was originally written.


I went to the car wash, took a bottle of 409 with me to "pre-treat the bad spots". Got out, sprayed 409, pulled up to automated washer and inserted my card, "declined", tried again, "declined", pulled out another card, "declined", tried several more times, still the same. 409 is drying. Stupid broken card-reader. I look, machine only accepts $10, $5 or $1 bills. I have a $20. I pull into self-wash bay (have $2 in quarters in dash), machine says it takes minimum of $1.75 in quarters...&^$! The thing takes all my quarters before it starts. I soap up car well. Still soaping when it starts beeping for more money. I have no more quarters. I rush to switch to rinse, takes forever to get soap out of nozzle and rinse water going. Machine cuts off with most of car still soapy. Really getting ticked. Go next door to gas station, will use their automated washer. Pull up, it tells me to remove my antennae, push in mirrors, I do that. Go to insert card, it doesn't even take one.  I pull out the $20, it doesn't take $20's. I go into store to get change (soap is drying on car), stand in a LINE!!..., get to register, ask for change for car wash. They tell me it only accepts $1's, even though it says otherwise.  After Dinosaur-Era lady finishes slowly counting change, I run out, pull car into wash and begin feeding in takes $7 for an express wash. WHAT? HIGHWAY ROBBERY! It starts spitting out my $1's. They aren't "new" enough. Grrr. Finally manage to get them all in. Pull in. It makes two passes of the car, dimly misting it as a "rinse" so the soap isn't really good and off, esp. since it was drying on there before I started. Pull back over to world's lamest car wash next door, into a bay with a 7-watt nightlight (it's dark now), run to the change machine, feed it two bucks for some change, get into the bay and rinse. Get back in van. Will go to the CashPoints machine to get money out to repay Kait for the $20 I found in her wallet in the van. Pull up, waiting my turn. Sitting under a tree. Notice the loud sound of birds, realize there are 10 million+ black birds sitting in tree I'm parked under. Start seeing poop fall everywhere on car, quickly move, wait to get $ out and then rush home where I grab the water hose to wash off the new bird poo. We've got a water balloon nozzle on the end of the hose, it will give enough pressure to clean off car (again). I spray it, and in finishing, I toss it aside. It starts spraying me. "I'll just walk through it", I think. But the &^%$@!#! thing seems to be following me and sprays me soaking wet before I can cut it off.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Overlooking the Obvious...a Lesson in Slowing Down

Sometimes we all do something that is embarrassingly foolish.  Yesterday it happened to me and I've debated admitting to it online for the past 24 hours.  It's not something I'm proud of, but in hindsight, it paints a rather funny picture.

In a hurry to deliver cupcakes, of all things, I carefully loaded them into the van taking great care to place them in the floorboard.  I feared had I not, they would slide off the seat while driving and end up a confectionery mess.  At the same time, I was shooing Cullen into the car, telling him we needed to hurry because I also had to be at a school in another town to pick up his sister by a certain time.  He was jumping into the van as I was rushing around to get in.  Hopping into the driver’s seat, I started the car while simultaneously buckling up.  Throwing the van into reverse, I hit the gas---without looking.  That's when I heard a loud *CRASH* and the van jerked to a stop.

What the heck?  I hit the brakes.

That's when I remembered.  My older son had parked our truck behind the van.  I flung the car into park and glanced into my side view mirror fearing the worse.  It was bad enough I'd hit the truck.  Please don't roll.  Please, please don't roll.

It began moving.

We live on a hill.  I watched in horror as the truck began rolling down the driveway.  I jumped from the van and began chasing it down the drive.  I began to pray as I scanned the street both ways for people and vehicles.  Thank Heaven it was clear.  I look back now and wonder why I would chase it, because even if I could catch it, what would I do if I did?

It rolled as jauntily as any non-steered, out-of-control pickup truck would roll.  I imagined a cartoon face on the front of it smiling maniacally at me while yelling, "I'M FREE AT LAST!"  It narrowly missed taking out one of the dogwoods flanking the driveway and even more blessed, it avoided falling off the side of our drive and into our deep ditch.  By miracle of angels, it avoided hitting both our mailbox and the neighbor’s across the street.  It came to a roiling and bouncing halt across the street, in the neighbor’s front yard.  The front end of the truck rested at an awkward angle in their ditch with the tail pointing toward their house.

Arriving at the scene, I was desperate to get the truck out of the neighbors yard and parked somewhere other than behind the van.  Silently praying that no one had witnessed this debacle, I was opening the driver’s side door of the truck when a wide-eyed and shocked Cullen, who stood beside the van, a hundred or so feet away, yelled to me, "Permission to say 'SHIT'?" 

Disbelieving my ears I yelled, "What did you say?"

Cupping his hands he yelled even louder, "I said permission to say 'SHIT'?"

I stood there, dumbfounded and at a loss, trying to process it all, wondering how on earth this could have happened.  Lowering my shaking head I pondered, what the heck, just…just let it go.

"SURE, why not!"  I yelled back.

He did…very loudly and quite clearly.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

What is a "Goldilocks Day?"

Goldilocks Day...A Gift from God

An Autumn Goldilocks Day!
What is a Goldilocks Day?  It's a perfect day, which I realize is subjective, but to me a Goldilocks day is one where the sun is shining, there isn't a cloud in the sky, and the sky is an intense blue that looks like a page from a travel magazine.  Oh, and we can't discount the temperature either, they're literally Goldilocks temps, "not too hot and not too cold, they're just right."  So, Goldilocks Days are literally a gift from God.  I have tried explaining to my children that in each lifetime, God gives us a finite number of Goldilocks Days, designed for being outside, playing and enjoying non-singular activities such as video games and watching television.  So, since today is a Goldilocks Day, I'm going to end this post now and head to the great outdoors.  Wouldn't it be the icing on the cake if I saw a family of bears out there!