Category Archives: On the Home Front

Again with the Absent-mindedness!


Good morning Everyone!

As most of you who follow this blog will remember, I am particularly gifted with the character trait known as “absent-mindedness.”  Here are the latest instances:

1) On my way to work, there is a restaurant, one of those small places that always has something moving into and out of it.  For about two weeks, I had been driving by it, absently noticing that the sign read “Coming Soon:  Mandolin Cafe.”  Each time I passed it, I wondered if the town where I work really has room for another Chinese restaurant….until my mind insisted that I notice that “mandolin” and “Mandarin” are two different things!

2) Have you ever wandered around the house swearing because you can’t find your glasses  – only to realize that you’re wearing them?  Funny – me neither!

3) I wanted to download some pictures onto my computer today, so I pulled out the Nikon camera, found the cable to connect it and started my task – only to have the darn thing run out of battery on me!  Digging through the camera bag for the charger, I found it missing.  Kayla was the last person to use the camera, so I began the necessary cross-examination to try to establish exactly where she might have left the charger while grumping that if we couldn’t find it, we had a very expensive camera we couldn’t use – only to discover that the charger was on the table in front of me where I had taken it out moments before in order to reach the camera!

4)  I was in a tearing hurry about two weeks ago, but I had also reached the point where the gas gauge in my car had gone from gentle reminders to crawling in the desert gasping for  fuel.  I whipped into the gas station, used the “pay at the pump” feature, hung the gas pump hose back up, got my receipt and tore out of the parking lot to cross the major U.S. Highway separating the gas station and the fast food place.  Once I was in line at the drive-thru, however, I realized I couldn’t find my wallet anywhere.  Panicking, I stepped out of the car for a second – where I discovered my wallet sitting on the roof of the car, where it had remained safely while I drove from the gas station to the fast food restaurant!  (And yes, I said a devout prayer of thanks for that one!)

Have a great day!

Nancy

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A Letter from my Fourth Grade Self


Good morning Everyone!

Mark is steadily working on getting the garage unpacked so that we can get both cars in – winter is coming, and neither of us are fond of scraping ice or wiping cold wet dew off of our car windows.  While we were working on unpacking, we came across a box of keepsakes I got from my grandparents after they both passed away.  In it was the following letter to them from me in fourth grade.  I thought I would share it with you.  While I cannot, alas, replicate the handwriting on the computer, I will faithfully follow both the capitalization, color and spelling in the original.

Page 1 of Letter

Page 1 of Letter

Dear Grandma and Grampa, 

How are you?  I’m fine and am feeling happy.  It’s the “Fourth of July here and the time is 18 min. before 9:A.M.

Cheryl is going in to 2nd Grade.  I drew a picture of a Cat and it is good.  Guess what?  We have a dog for a little while.  Stacy is go to kinderegarden.   I have a bulliten board.  How is Clyde?  Cheryl and Stacy are fine.  I am going into fourth grade and know a little division.

Page 2 of Letter

Page 2 of Letter

Is Debbie Joe there?  Tell her that I’m taking sketching lessons and bowling lessons.  I wish you could call us and say hi and a few other things but most of all I wish you could come over and see us.  Debbie might like to here about Chinese Operas so I will tell abuot them.  They are rather noisy and the singing tone mostly in a high voice.  Shopping at the Exchange is fine, though I have not done it much.  Stacy is bugging me for a peice of paper

Page 3 of Letter

and just now got on from Dad.  Our Amah is vacuming the rug.  At night I like to listen to the Crickets and sing myself to sleep.  It’s pretty noisy just now.  I’ll write a story for you.

Yours truly,

Nancy Merilynn Linn

The Magic Book

Once when Language had not been invented but was just invented there Lived a Lovly maiden named Napoli  Now, once she had been free to do what she wanted

Page 4 of Letter

but a witch locked her up.  There was only one way to get her out of the cell and that was to find the book the Wisard of Os.”  Now a handsome prince came galloping along one day and every night came forth and Said “Come forth, Come forth please thee, Sweet Napoli.”

“And she would answer”

How Can I,

When Can I,

The cell cannot be unlocked by Poetry.

Countined in next Letter.

A few explanatory notes:

1) We were living in Taiwan at the time, the early ’70’s.  It was hard and expensive to make overseas calls from the United States.  There was no such thing as the internet, home pc’s or e-mail.

2) Stacy and Cheryl are my sisters.  Debbie Jo is my cousin.

3) Clyde was a dog that used to be ours but whom Mom and Dad had given to Grandma and Grandpa when we moved somewhere with base housing that didn’t allow pets.  Grandpa and Clyde, in particular, were great buddies.

4) An “Amah” is a live-in housekeeper.

5) Alas, a follow up letter with a story continuation either a) did not survive, or b) was not written, so Napoli remains locked up to this day!

Have a great day!

Nancy

Why I Enjoy Being the Mother of a Seventh Grade Girl


Good morning Everyone!

Here is my list of some of the reasons I enjoy being the mother of a seventh grade girl.

1)  I am no longer the most absent-minded person in the house – seventh graders apparently can hold only one thought in their head at a time for a maximum of 20 seconds.

2)  I live with 10 children for the price of only  one – happy girl, tired girl, sad girl, mad girl….

3)  In the person she is today, I catch glimpses of the wonderful woman she will be and the child she used to be – often in only a five-minute span of time!

4)  I can beam with pride when she does something extraordinarily thoughtful, like the sweet note she wrote and delivered to her dentist and her staff yesterday right before they pulled four of her teeth…..

5) While wondering at the same time exactly what information she missed in what class that day while writing said note.

6) I have her convinced I’m psychic.  When she’s mad at me but can’t say anything, I tell her to stop thinking what she’s thinking and am spot on.  She hasn’t yet realized that I remember myself at that age.

7)  The social world of the seventh grade girl and her friends is even more exciting than General Hospital when I was in college – without the murders, of course.

8)  The list of chores she is capable of doing has expanded from individual tasks to whole rooms.

9)  We’ve started a family pool betting on the exact date on which she will be taller than me – and I am on the inside track to win said pool!

10)  She still will hold my hand and sit on my lap sometimes – and I really love that!

Have a great day!

Nancy

Growing Up


Good morning Everyone!

growing up cartoon

Photo Credit: http://www.clickartonline.com; hand colored by me

My beautiful Kayla is steadily growing up on me – she is already taller than my mom and my aunt, is probably taller than one of my sisters and I fully expect her to end up being an inch or 2 taller than me or my other sister when all the growing is over with.

Growing up is fun (when you’re a kid, at least), but it does have some negative consequences.  A series of those happened this week – for the last three nights, Kayla has come back out of the bedroom crying after she went to bed.

Last night, as she was wiping her eyes, she looked up at me and asked, “Mom, am I going to cry this way every night until I’m over with puberty?”

Exactly how do you answer that?

Have a great weekend!

Nancy

Mid-Move


Good morning Everyone!

I just wanted to let you know that I haven’t forgotten you; over the past two weeks, we have been moving from our rental house to our old house that never sold – and we are VERY happy to have been doing so!  As soon as we get settled ( and we’re getting close to that now) and I get my new schedule ironed out, I will be back posting regularly.

refrigerator

The refrigerator in the rental house

In the meantime, I have at least one funny story to share from the move.  One of Kayla’s jobs before the movers came was to clean out the rental house’s refrigerator and freezer.  When she was given the task, she disappeared and then reappeared in about five minutes, informing us that she was done.  Both Mark and I knew that there was no way she could have cleaned the fridge and freezer that quickly, so we sent her back to do the job right, much to her chagrin.

In doing so, I specifically asked her if she had gotten the ice cream out of the fridge – someone had put softened ice cream back in the freezer at some point, and it had dripped onto the freezer bottom.  She admitted she hadn’t.

When we kicked her back into play the second time, she was gone for a little while longer, but again returned, announcing she was done.  We went on to the next task.  By the end of the day, we had accumulated several garbage bags worth of trash, so Mark and I put them into the dumpster.  I noticed that two of the bags were very heavy.

When I opened the refrigerator and freezer that night, I was stunned – not one shelf had been wiped off, and the ice cream drip was still on the freezer floor.  However, there was not one single item left in either the refrigerator or freezer – besides the residues that needed to be wiped off, the fridge and freezer were empty!

After Mark and I called Kayla back into the kitchen for the third time to clean the fridge and freezer, we retired into another room where we could laugh without seeing us.  She certainly had cleaned OUT the fridge and freezer, but not in the way we meant!  The good news is that nothing in my fridge and freezer now is out of date.

Have a great day!

Nancy

Tips for a Successful Marriage


Good morning Everyone!

Roses, Dozen Roses, Flower Arrangement

Anniversary Roses from Mark

June is the season of weddings.  On June 27, Mark and I will have been married for 27 years.  While 27 years of marriage may not be as impressive as 50 or 70, we feel like it is an accomplishment and have enjoyed every minute of it.  In honor of our 27th anniversary, here are some random tips for a successful marriage.

1)     Have separate bathrooms.

2)    If you can’t have separate bathrooms, at least fight for separate sinks and vanities!

3)     When you are in the unfortunate predicament of having to share one  bathroom with one (teensy tiny) vanity, keep your sense of humor.

Once, when Mark and I were sharing a tiny  bathroom, I came home to find a piece of paper pinned to our bathroom door entitled “1o1 Things Martin Luther Would Have Objected To Had He Shared Your Bathroom.”

4)     Men, if you have to share a small bathroom, do NOT  ask your wife what takes her so long to get ready.  The answer, gentlemen, is that you get up, wash your hair, get dressed in one of three or four suits that look identical and go to work.  We, having lost a vote somewhere along the line that no one can remember now, must get up, wash our hair, dry our hair,  style our hair, put on our makeup, get dressed in a distinctively different outfit every day and go to work.  Just do the math!

5)      Be best friends as well as lovers.

Romance is wonderful and exhilarating and necessary but it only goes so far.  When one of you has the stomach flu, it’s friendship and love, not romance, that has the other one doing everything he or she can to help.

6)     Never get grumpy and out of sorts at the same time.

We have been spared who knows how many spats simply because we tend to take being grumpy and cross in shifts.  Those few times when we are both grumpy and cross at the same time requires each of us to bite our tongues to the point that we have an oral surgeon on standby.

7)    Before you have a child, raise a puppy.

 You learn an awful lot about parenting by raising a puppy together.  I would put a puppy up against a two year old any day in terms of the amount of damage it can cause when unsupervised.  If both you and the puppy survive the puppy eating the arm of the recliner you got from your grandfather down to the wooden frame (Woof did that), you can survive anything a child will throw at you.  For those out there who are not dog people, I suppose a kitten might accomplish the same thing.  Never having had one (although I wouldn’t say no to a Maine coon cat), I can’t say.

8)      Love is a verb, not a noun.

Love is not a feeling; love is getting up to refill your husband’s drink even when you are tired yourself because you know how badly he is hurting from his arthritis.  Love is mowing the lawn because you know it has to be done even when you are having an arthritis attack.  Love is seeing beyond the outburst of the moment and holding your spouse close because you know she is doing the best she can to fight her depression.  Love is all the little things that you do for each other that over time add up to the big conclusion that your spouse cares about you.

9)     Put on blinders.

A super organized spouse living with those of us not given the gift of organization needs to wear blinders at least part of the time.  To quote Jessica from Roger Rabbit, “We’re not bad; we’re just drawn this way!”

10)     If you ask your wife what’s wrong, and she answers “nothing,” be afraid.  Be very afraid.  Use risk-reward analysis to decide whether it is worthwhile to pursue the discussion any further.

11)     If your wife hits the side of the garage with the mirror of the Hyundai Sonata multiple times, refuse to lose your temper – no matter what you may have to say to yourself later locked in the bathroom alone.  And if she has a little fender bender on U.S. Highway 280 with the same car during the same time period, try to focus on how grateful you are it wasn’t worse.  Suggesting additional driving lessons is not a good idea.

12)     Never, never, never give up!  (borrowed from Winston Churchill talking about something else.)

Have a great day!

Nancy

 

The Bear Comes Out of Hibernation


Good morning Everyone!

We are back from what was a delightful trip to Destin, and two days out Mom is here to pick up Kayla and take her to Washington D.C. to visit a family member.   They need to be on the road by 8.

I woke Kayla up and she was rubbing the sleep out of her eyes when I walked out of the room.  About ten minutes later, an indistinct roar/moan/groan has emanated from the hallway – proving that Kayla’s nickname, Bear, still remains apt!

For those keeping score, I had Mom’s coffee ready before she got up, so she is in much better shape than Kayla is!

Have a great day!

Nancy

All in a Day’s Work


Good morning Everyone!

Our Old House

Our Old House

In the very near future, we are going to be moving again – back to the town and house we reluctantly left two years ago. Needless to say, we are very excited about getting to go back home, but I am not looking forward to the pre-moving “happiness is a full trash bag” stage. Mark has a new job, back in Montgomery, with a very interesting company that I may write about some day if Mark doesn’t mind, and our house in the old town never sold – and it was on the market for over two years! Our rental house has been fine as far as it goes, but I still think of the prior house as home.

However, our “pre-moving” goals got an unexpected boost the weekend before last. Over the two years, we had slowly moved everything out of the old house, and had just gotten the final batch moved this March, which meant that we had a patch of 12-15 boxes in the corner of the garage by the water heater and the air conditioner drain. Friday night, as I got out of the car to enter the house, I noticed that a couple of the boxes weren’t standing flat any more – they looked like they had buckled under from the bottom.

So Saturday, Mark, Kayla and I sallied forth into the garage to figure out what was going on – and were not pleased with what we found. The air conditioner drain had become clogged, and had been spilling water onto the floor of the garage for an undetermined period of time.  (I missed the “what to do when the air conditioner drain clogs and floods your garage” episode of This Old House, didn’t you?)  The boxes were “buckling” under because the bottoms and bottom sides up to a point had gotten wet and collapsed, while much of the sides still remained straight.

So of  course we had to pull out all of the boxes that were wet, open them and check (and redistribute into the house) the contents thereof. I was pretty worried, to be honest with you – there were precious artifacts in those boxes that I really did not want to lose, especially pastel and acrylic paintings Kayla and I had done, family photograph albums, loose family photographs and my (and Kayla’s) most precious books – those we decided were so important to us that we wanted them nearer to us than the storage room we rented for most of our surplus stuff from the old house. Miraculously, NONE of those items were ruined, and only a very few of them were even damp! What was damp and mildewed were clothes and sheets and bedspreads/comforters that had somehow ended up at the bottom of every box. All of those have been pulled out and washed so that we can decide what to do with them without the mildew/must/mold in the dampness triggering the worst of our allergies. What a relief!

During this very long day of pulling out stuff, unpacking it, putting it away, throwing it out or washing it, Kayla was an absolute trooper! Mark had a doctor’s appointment first thing in the morning, so when she and I were ready to get “up and at them,” it was just her and me there. I simply told her that we both had to do things we didn’t like to do that day, but they had to be done and I needed her help. That’s all it took – she was very helpful the entire day, vacuuming the house for me while I started in the garage during Mark’s doctor’s appointment, then coming outside to help both of us once he was home.

The door to the kitchen had to be held open during some of this activity; Darwin and Mandy tried to escape out it once during all of this. Darwin stood at the door wagging his tail, looked directly at Mark as Mark said, “No!” then sashayed out into the garage just far enough for Mark to discipline him. Mandy, who was only seconds behind him, stopped dead in her tracks just before she crossed the threshold and then started grinning and backing away, beaming because she hadn’t got into trouble for escaping but Darwin had. However, if you disciplined dogs based on intent rather than execution, she would have fully been equally as guilty!

After a long day, the garage was cleaned out, the drain was fixed, the wet boxes unpacked and removed and everything tidied up generally, which is what we meant to have happen anyhow at  some point before our move.

So I guess it all worked out for the best. However, I am watching our garage floor like a hawk now for any traces of moisture in case the drain decides to repeat its clogging performance – and the floor around it has several feet of clearance on most sides.

Have a great day!

Nancy

The Dysfunctional Kitchen – Kayla Learns a Lesson


Good morning Everyone!

dysfunctional kitchen

The Dysfunctional Kitchen
from http://www.clickartonline.com

Kayla learned an important lesson yesterday.

Do not put regular Palmolive in the dishwasher even when you are out of dishwashing detergent.

I think Mark and she finally got all of the suds out of the kitchen after about two hours, but I have been running additional rinses this morning just to be sure.

Have a great day!

Nancy

Snit Fits, Melt Downs & Cross-Examination


Good morning Everyone!

Our school system decided that the students would make up one of the many days missed because of weather electronically.  Each teacher put a special assignment up on the EdModo website.  Students have to turn them in today, April 30.

As you can guess, Kayla still had assignments to finish up last night.  When I got home from work, she was wandering around in the kitchen, where she airily informed me that she was going to do some cooking before she did her assignments.  I nixed that idea and told her she couldn’t do anything until after she finished her Edmodo assignments.  Snit fit #1.

30 minutes post snit fit #1, she informed me that she was done.  I checked the (single) assignment for completeness.   Cross-examination #1 established that there were other class assignments out there, leading directly to snit fit#2 which resulted in her being sent to her room to complete her math EdModo quiz.  After she reached her room, but before she could start her quiz, we achieved obligatory math melt down #1.

30 minutes letter, after math melt down #2 in the middle of the quiz, Kayla submitted the quiz answers on-line, and then started wandering around the house again aimlessly.  This behavior led to the simultaneous appearances of cross-examination #2, snit fit #3 and paternal parental lecture #1, the upshot of which was a telephone call by Kayla to a friend to obtain the vocabulary words she was supposed to define and use in a sentence.

Once completion of the vocabulary words was verified, Kayla again announced that she was done.  Cross-examination #3 and #4 (please insert paternal parental lecture #2 here) discovered that there was one assignment left to complete – a timed quiz that Kayla had accidentally opened days ago and now could not complete because the 60 second quiz had timed out somewhere around 190 hours, which led to snit fit# 4, melt down #2, paternal parental lecture #3 and bed time.  Maternal melt-down #1 was allowed to commence thereafter.

Have a great day!

Nancy