Myrtle May Long, Long Gone

Oh the memories, the memories.  Myrtle May homely and white… what a gal.  She was always there for me.  If ever I had a spontaneous thought, she was right there to encourage me to go for it.  She was more than willing to ride out the storms that came and went.  She was there when I would break out in uncontrollable laughter.  She was there for me to lean on, to cry on.  When I found myself missing my grands she took me to see them.  She took me to take care of my son while he was in cancer treatment.  She carried me to my dad’s funeral.  She absolutely loved to go camping.  She was hardy and robust; she could pull a hill that made most men shiver.  I loved Myrtle May.

In 2012, she lost all control.  It was raining one morning.  She and I were percolating along until she hit the old treacherous stuff we call black ice.  She never saw it coming.  Off we went about 12 feet down.  She kept me cradled and snug.  I walked away without a scratch.  Myrtle was not so lucky.  She was unable to move on her own.

I begged the techs to not let her died.  They said they would do what they could but it really depended on the insurance and what they were willing to approve. (Typical, right?)  I cried as they took her away.  Hub thought the worst, as did everyone else.  Two months went by and still no word.  Hub took it upon himself to try and take my mind off of her.  He decided to bring a new man into my life, Chris.  Hub introduced me to him on the night before Christmas.  He was there, in the garage, with nothing on but a big green bow.  Not a word was spoken.  My emotions were mixed.  I looked at my husband with disbelief.  He was worried.  He did not know how I was going to react to this new man he had brought into my life.  All at once the reality of Myrtle May not pulling through hit me like a ton of bricks.  Husband’s eyes were apologizing for the loss but he encouraged me to befriend Chris.  I gave Chris the once over.  I asked Hub where he came from.  I mean he looked so sleek…so different.  Then I looked at my husband.  I ran to him, I squeezed his neck; I kissed him all over and thanked him for his thoughtfulness.

I did lose Myrtle May but not to the accident.  I hooked her up with a younger man.  The first time he saw her he feel in love and promised to care for her as much as I did.  She and he can be spotted around town every now and then.  You never see him without a big smile on his face when they are together.  It was a good decision to be the matchmaker for those two.  And Me?  Well, Chris and I can’t be happier.  He definitely knows how to treat a lady.  He is handsome, smooth and rugged just like I like ‘em.  Wait, are you wondering about Hub and how he fits into this threesome? Well, in the driver’s seat of course.  Other than a little bling on the steering wheel he is crazy about Chris too.

Please let me introduce you to Chris

Chris, it is short for Christmas Present

Chris, it is short for Christmas Present

 

Stella loves him too.  She says he reminds her of Santa’s big red sleigh.  She also pointed out the turn signal sounds just like reindeer hoofs clomping on the ground.  By golly, she is right, it does.   And just like Santa’s sleigh it will never get lost because we have a star named SYNC to guide our way.

Soon I will be going back to Memphis for my granddaughter’s graduation.  This will be a true test of his manhood because not only is he taking me he is also carrying my three girlfriends and their luggage!   I hope he can handle all this Womanly Awesomeness.

Note: I wrote about the new car back at Christmas but I wanted to follow up with the conclusion of Myrle May.  Also, our busy season is about to start so I have no idea when I will post again; however, I will be reading all of yours as they come in.  Later, Ruthie

Freshly Laundered

freshlylaundered

A couple of days ago I read an article on The Daily Post and came to the conclusion that I will never be featured on WordPress‘s Freshly Pressed, of that I have no doubt.  To start with, I can not spell and my use of grammar is, well lets just say, iffy at best.   If my professors could see my blog they would have to ask how in the name of all that is academically sound did that girl ever pass English?  All I can say is that it was all by the grace of God that I got out of there with decent grades.   Not only am I dealing with that problem, I am inconsistent with my posts.  If nothing happens to me, there is nothing to write about.  And lets face it, the blog content of the life and times of Life is a bowl of Kibble is not profound or earth shaking.

I started writing on Blogspot.com.  I wrote like I did in college.  I would get a comment once in a blue moon but it was for some Work At Home opportunities.  I had one follower and that was my bestest friend.   I tried writing articles of importance, editorials of current events, the weather, anything I could think of that would catch the interest of the masses.  Deafening Silence .  But how could that be?  I could command a room full of people if ever asked to speak at a gathering.  I could talk on various topics and never see a fidgety person.  WHY could I not reach out and grab the attention of some wonderful reader that can’t wait to tell me how great the story was or to cuss me out because I wrote something that was propaganda worthy?   Because, I am a southerner.   I have a southern rhythm that you could not hear in writing .  I speak with an accent that most can’t understand and I dare say that some can’t stand to hear.  I am not lecturer.  I do not have some divine knowledge that can peek a tear or move a soul.  I am a bit on the airhead side,  full of adventure,  I flirt when I talk and use my accent to its fullest potential and with all that southern flirt I found I could make people laugh.  In a world of daily tragedies, laughter is a universal sign of hope and goodwill.  It motivates me to look for the funny in life.  It moves me and it can peek a tear from my eyes to hear a person laugh even in the face of death. (r.i.p. mom)  With this realization, I changed my writing style and blog home.  Unfortunately, I could not change my fundamentally challenged grammar and in a way I do not seek to.  It makes me…me.  And this is just a part of the many reasons I would never be considered for Freshly Pressed.

Would I really want to be freshly pressed?  Well when I started blogging, on WordPress.com, I read a Pressed article about being Subscribed into Submission.  Heck, I know that feeling.  I Hit 90 subscribers in just months of starting this blog and it scared the bajesus out of me.  I could not think of a thing to write.  I felt an overwhelming responsibly to all the good people that liked me as much as I liked me.  (wink)    I could tell stories to folks in the park or at the store without a hitch but putting me, the real me, into words time after time was HARD.  This ambitious undertaking was doing me in, hence the lack of daily, weekly or sometimes monthly post.  This is yet another reason I will never make it.  I have come to the conclusion that my subscribers, my followers make me feel Freshly Pressed everytime they like or comment.  They are what makes me feel good each time I hit publish.  They accept me for me with all my spelling and structural  mistakes.  Thank you for making me feel worthy enough to come into your life.

To conclude, I now declare myself as being Freshly Laundered by all that follow me.  May I never let you down and always keep you laughing or at least donning a smile.

Ruthie

Love who you are

Another shorty:

As you know by now I am battling with a living diet.  I know, that so sounds like an oxymoron but so is losing weight.  I am going on two trips this year.  One to Santa Fe and then one to Memphis.  I need new clothes……

On the way down the hill today I tell Stella I need clothes for my Santa Fe trip. She yells , then go buy you some! I say I am so big nothing looks good. She ponders this for a minute then says,  Mom go to one of those big and tall store. Nothing will fit but instead of hating yourself for being fat you could love yourself for not being big enough. I love her mind ♥

Ruthie

Pay Phone

ClassicTelephoneBoothLast night daughter and I were  coming home from a day of shopping and dinner.  On the way up the mountain we were listening to the Top 20.  The song “Pay Phone” came on the radio. I asked her why in the world would they call it that? Kids nowadays have no idea what a pay phone is. We then started talking about how different the world was back when I was a kid.  It was a few minutes later when Stella  asked,  how in the world did y’all remember all those telephone numbers?  I laughed and told her you can do anything if you put your mind to it and if your teacher put the fear of God into ya.  I tell her back then you had to know your phone number by heart in the first grade.  They would go down the line several times a year and have you tell your phone number, date of birth, and address.  If you were wrong, it was curtains.  Then I started telling her I could still remember my phone number from when I was in 1st grade.

Genuinely and without skipping a beat, Stella asks, 1?

Funny but so mean!

The Mid-night Riders

MIDNIGHT RIDERS.   Sounds cool, right?    Well, it was anything but cool for me.

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I went out of town for a few days with the girls.  While I was away, Hub grew a beard and signed me up to take the kid, Stella, on a midnight run to Alamogordo.  He prepaid for the early release of Assassin’s Creed.  Early release… as in 12:00 am Tuesday morning.  You could just imagine my surprise when I walked in the door and I was greeted by a bear and a kid tickled to death to be “with the geeks” , her words not mind.  From this point on, I will be referring to my Hub as Bear.  There is now not one spot covered with hair except the top of his head 😉  And I will think of myself as olden.

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It is rare that you see Stella excited about anything.  Oh she knows how to laugh but prefers to make us believe she never acquired that skill.  It is a teenager thing or so I have been told.  Tonight however she through caution to the wind.  She smiled and giggled a little devilish giggle all the way down the hill.  I on the other hand, was downing my third cup of coffee, wiping my eyes and yawning at about every mile marker.

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At 9:00 pm we jump in the car.  The instructions on the receipt  said to be down there by 10:00 to get a ticket.  I am wondering how in the world this kid of mine can talk me into things like this.  About that time, I remembered it was Bear that got all this started.  Truly, I was okay with it all.  I love to see her happy.  An hour later we are pulling into the parking lot.  The parking lot is full of people.  Some were dressed as characters from the video (Stella was in that bunch) others barely dressed!   They were from 16 years old to me, and believe me that is a huge age span.  We  go in and get a ticket.  We were assigned line two.  Normally I am the center of attention with my out spoken personality but not tonight.  It became very apparent that my time had come and gone.  These young people had twice the energy and double the stories to tell and they all had something in common that I had no clue about ……Assassin’s Creed.  I listened for a while then tucked my tail between my legs and moseyed on back to the car. I watched Stella from the driver’s side.  She was in her element.   It is hard to watch her grow up but also very rewarding.  I grabbed my phone and tried to convenience myself I was still young and hip.  I mean heck, I had a smart phone and I knew how to use it.

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On the way home she must have noticed I was feeling a little left out because we talked about history.  Assassin’s Creed is a game involving history from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War and beyond…at least I think that is what she said.  It did the trick.  I was not feeling so rejected.  If there is one thing I know about it is history. I mean I practically lived it according to the kid!

Thought for the day:  The most aggravating thing about the younger generation is that I no longer belong to it. … Albert Einstein

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Holy Toledo Don’t Move

If you follow me, you know that I have a few dogs.  Mutt is the biggest of all three and the biggest chicken of them all.  This scaredy cat syndrome she has leads to a lot of uncontrolled barking.  My neighbors hate it and so do we.  My husband had threatened for years to buy one of those shocking dog collars for barking, but I forbade it.  All I could imagine was the ‘youtube’ video where the dude had the collar on and he barked.  Each time he barked louder and each time he was shocked with more intensity.   The poor guy was crying uncontrollable by the time he got it off.  NO WAY WAS THAT HAPPENING TO MY BABY GIRL. PERIOD.

Mutt is totally afraid of everything and everyone.  If she sees white on the ground, she refuses to go out.  It does not help that she was clobbered by a 2 foot avalanche of snow off the roof one year.  When she sees anything out in the yard that has not been there all her life, she spazzes out especially if it is black.  In out, in out, barking for one of us to come see what is in her space.  Fall is the worst.  Leaves…do I need to say more?  She has a dog door but you can forget about her using it after sun down.  In the rare cases she has tried to brave the night, she has high tailed it right back in with eyes as wide as apples, hair ruffled on her back, and barking to beat the band.  Heck, half the time she is running so fast and out of control to get back inside she misses the dog door completely and smacks her head into the door facing.  She is definitely my 80 pound chicken little.

One day I came home from work.  Hub was avoiding eye contact.  I knew something was up right then.  He only does this when he has done something he knows I would not approve of.  I looked all over for evidence to support my suspicion.  I found nothing.  As I was fixing dinner, I noticed Hub was becoming more fidgety and shifty eyed.  Hmmmmm.  I served dinner and all were in attendance except Mutt.

MUTT.  I look at Hub. Not a word escaped his lips.   He had that deer in the head light look.   I got up and looked out the back door.  There was Mutt in the corner of the yard pressed against the fence.  She was just sitting there not doing anything.  I opened the door and called her in.  She came walking on her tip toes.  What the heck was going on?  I asked Hub if he had beaten my dog.  He looked at me as if I had asked him if he’d killed one of my kids.  “Of course not!” he said with disgust.  Mutt comes in with a mixture of calm and defeat.  I thought maybe she was sick.  I resumed eating.

It was not until later that night I realized she had not uttered a sound all evening.  She went out and came back in without incident.  What in the world was going on?  I called her over to the couch.  She jumped up and laid her head in my lap. And that is when I saw IT.  Hubs had gone and bought that shock collar!  I throw my evil eye upon him and he immediately started with his defense.

He pointed out the fact that we had not heard a peep out of her all night.  (evil eye).  He pointed out that she has calmed down to a normal dog’s energy. (slight evil eye).  And the most important thing was the collar seemed to have a calming affect on her that made her a bit braver and more confident.  (Are you kidding me?  Huge Evil Eye!).  He gave me a little cockeyed smile.  I went to take it off but he forbade me.  Oh boy, but I went along with it.  I was going to trash it as soon as he went to sleep.  However, something happened that night.  She did seem a bit more confident.  She went in and out the door with ease.  No barking and no frightened looks.  It was as if this collar was protecting her at all times.  I’m sure in her mind everything around her was getting shocked too and therefore nothing would dare move or grab her.  I did not throw it away.

Next morning, I asked him about her reaction to the collar.  He said she was barking her fool head off at something, probably a falling leaf.  He put the collar on and walked back inside.  She started to bark again and got a surprise!  It shocked her and he said she yelped.  She tried it one more time, yelped, then never barked again.  It broke my heart to hear this but she was being quiet and acting very content.

Over the years she has become friends with it.  She knows the collar gives her more freedom and willingly comes to you to put it on.  (we can let her out without fear of the neighbors complaining)   You can even ask her where it is and she will look around the room as if she is really looking for it.  She has figured out she can bark but only intermittently.  The collar gives her a couple of times before it shocks. Please don’t think of this as cruel the why I did at first.  We give her the bark time she need to be queen of the back yard and, at least for my dog, it has helped her and us so much.  Now to the reason I started this story.

Jeff, our Pomeranian, has a vocabulary of about a billion barks. He loves to continually show off his aptitude.  Today was an extremely vocal day for Jeff and Hub had reached his limit.  He snatched the collar off Mutt.  She gave him a surprised look.  He then proceeded to adjust the size to fit Jeff.  No! No! I yelled. Mutt started walking in circles.  I kept telling Hub he was too little.  It would hurt him.  But Hub continued with his mission.  Before you knew it, Jeff was sporting a new shocking device around his tiny little neck.

I was freaking out.  Hub started laughing and I looked at him with contempt only to see him pointing at Mutt.  Mutt was sitting on the couch reared back with the whites of her eyes showing.   She and Jeff had locked gazes.   Her ears were lying down and she was so still she was not even breathing.  It looked as if she were telepathically warning Jeff not to make a sound or make a move.  And Jeff obeyed her every telepathic thought.  He stood there frozen stiff.  It was as if she had told him all about that collar.  He never made a peep.  And she never took her googly eyes off of him.  After a few minutes of laughter, from both of us, Hub felt sorry for him because he told me to take it off.  I did and off he went out the dog door to educate the backyard critters with his verbal skills. All I can say is I sure am glad the boy knows how to keep his mouth shut when it counts.

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Until next time remember this: When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person, err, dog who can live in peace with others.

Baby, take a walk on the dog side

A customer walked into the store the other day with her little poochie.  He was precious, fluffy, and smelling good.  His mom told me his name is Bandit and he was just groomed yesterday.  Boy, he really smelled good.  Ya know how they say sights and smells can spark memories, well this reminded me of the time I came home to an intruder in my house!

My house was a wreck from a weekend of our own dog grooming session.  With three dogs in the house, it gets hairy.  All get baths and one is shaved.   It is an ordeal, to say the least, since none of them like baths.  What am I saying?  They hate water.  If it is raining or snowing you can forget about going out for any reason.  This makes life hard when bathing them but it is an awesome correction tool.  Water in a spray bottle and a firm no makes them sit up and take notice.

Fortunately for us, the weekend we all dreaded was behind us and my babies were clean and smelling good.  My house did not fair as well.  Morning comes early in my house and time waits for no man, eer,woman.  We bid goodbye to the pooches, the messy house and left early for work.  Around 11:00 I became ill with a stomach virus and had to come home.

I drove up the drive and hit the garage door opener but nothing happened.  It had rained earlier in the day and I figured it knocked out the electricity.  The only way to get into the house is through the garage.  We don’t have keys for the house; however, we do have a small –let me stress that again– a small dog door in the back.  I would have to use it to get in.  No worries I have done this before with no problems.

I stick my head in, so far so good.  My shoulders go in one at a time.  Hmmm, I had not remembered it being so small.  Let’s not discuss all the weight I have gained since I last tried this.  I then wiggled my top half all the way in.  OH MY!  It was really getting tight.  That is when I realized I still had one arm at my side.  I would have to back out and start over.  One problem, I was stuck.  Really stuck.  I laid there for a minute wondering what to do.  The house was quiet.  Hey wait, THE HOUSE WAS QUIET.  My dogs were not in the house.  I could not imagine what was going on. Adrenaline started pumping and I jerked myself right out of the hole and started over.  It is all a blur now but somehow I got in.

When I got into the living room I smelt it.  It is an unmistakable smell.  It was a man’s cologne and it was strong.  OH my lord!  There is a man in the house and it ain’t my Hub! My house was in shambles.  Somebody broke in, let my dogs out and burglarized my home!  WAIT, maybe he is still here.  My adrenaline was going ninety to nothing.  I grabbed a knife out of the drawer and crept down the hall.  As I was tip toeing  to my room I started questioning myself,’  What the heck am I doing?”  What am I really going to do if someone is in here?’  ‘Why would a burglar smell so dang good?’  Then I told myself, ‘Call the PoPo!’,  ‘Turn around you fool!’,  but I just kept on walking toward the pending doom.
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Before I knew what was going on, all heck broke loose.  I was pounced on and knocked to the ground.  My face, arms and hands were covered in wet goo everything was loud and confusing.  I finally got my wits about me and realized it was my DOGS.  They did not know it was me because the garage door never opened.  I guess they were trying to hide from the burglar.  I was never so happy to see them in my life but the house still smelled like a man.  I shushed the dogs and kept looking.  Mutt’s, (Lab/Weimaraner/Chicken mix),  back hair was standing on end.  She was tippie toeing on my heels and sniffling dog sniffles.  Jeff, (Pom/old man mix), was following with a bewildered look on his face but he was quiet too. Lucy’s, (Rat Terrier),  nails were tapping an eerie sound on the hardwood floor short, deliberate and brave.  Each door held a mystery, I would reach a door then quickly throw my head in… shaky knife leading  the way.  Then return to my position behind the wall.  A scene right out of Cagney and Lacey minus the Lacey.  After I was convinced the intruder was gone, I looked to see what valuables he took.    A room by room search reveled nothing was missing.  I guess no one wants a 15 year old TV or an awesome cassette player, dirty underwear and dog toys.  When I approached the last room in the house to be searched, I was overcome with the man’s cologne.  Maybe I was wrong and he was in there.  He could have been hiding behind the shower curtain and I forgot to check it.  (insert Psycho’s shower scene here) I slowly twisted the knob, my heart was in my throat, my little butter knife up and ready.  The door slowly opens……… and then I come FACE TO FACE with the source of that man’s cologne. The intruder!
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It was Tommy Hilfiger, well, it was his cologne sitting on the sink.  NO ONE IN THIS HOUSE WEARS COLOGNE!  Wait, wait just a minute, upon further inspection I saw it was really a bottle of Timmy Holedigger Dog Cologne!!  Son had bought and sprayed Jeff with it that morning before he left.

TIMMY HOLEDIGGER DOG COLOGNE….FOR HEAVEN SAKES.

Oh and about my house being in shambles, it was the mess that we did not have time to clean up.  I guess in all the excitement I did not recognize my own mess.

Thanks everyone for the pep talk from the earlier post that I have now removed.  You have no idea how much you all helped me.  Much love and peace sent your way.

What The Heck Is This Pony Tail Doing Here? or I’ll Get You And Your Little Dog Too!

Warning: this post may not appropriate for young viewers or men or women with weak stomach or anyone with a fear of Chaetophobia and or Gerontophobia. It contains grossness, in a gross way… also as in repel, revolt, freakness and or disgust.  You don’t want to read this.  Okay, you have been warned.  This courtesy warning was brought to you by Legs,,,, long, long, legs.  I found out quickly that gross types of post need to carry some type of rating system.

Yesterday while I was driving down the mountain, I started sorting out the evils of the day, when all of a sudden I felt a tickle.  I gave it a swipe and forgot about it. On the way back home I had to crank up the heater fan to warm these old bones and that is when I felt it again. I flipped down the mirror but saw nothing. For 40 miles I worried with this occasional flutter.

That night I was walking to the bathroom to do my night time routine and I felt it again. Earlier in the day, I had looked in the rear view mirror several times to find the source of this irritant but it was not to be.  Then I thought, maybe I am having a stroke.  I don’t have time for a stroke!    Nope it had to be a hair or a spider web.   I was bound and determined to find the source of this annoyance. So I started feeling all over my face. I finally  found it. It felt like a string attached to my cheek…maybe with syrup. Hey, it could happen!  As my fingers fondled this string, I noticed it was about a mile long. Well, that is what it felt like but in reality it was only about 3 inches long (that is around 7 cm for the rest of the planet).  How in the world did a 3 inch string get stuck on my cheek with syrup and managed to evade my searching eyes?   I ran to the bathroom mirror to get a better look.  I quickly found out it was not a string at all it was a hair, however, this was no ordinary hair. NO! Oh no, it turns out it was a cluster of little locks. ON MY CHEEK!  And there was not a hint of syrup anywhere.  This mane was attached with FOLLICLES.  I had a sinking feeling this was going to be one of those, your getting way old, moments so I locked the door and stared at the reflection before me. How in the world could a CLUSTER of hairs be growing on my cheek at a measurement of three inches with out somebody, anybody noticing.  I am not talking where the cheek meets the hair line. I am talking right in the middle of my cheek!

Wait, maybe someone did notice but was afraid to tell. OMG.

The shame of it all.

I began contemplating how to handle this. To shave, would open Pandora’s box. You remember don’t you? Mom always said if you start shaving your hair will grow back twice as dark, twice as fast, and twice as much. Twice as much?  That would be 6 inches!  No way was I going to shave it. After what seemed like hours of agonizing scenarios,  I decided to wrap, yes that is what I said, wrap it around my finger and yank that frigin’ pony tail right off my face.

And I did.

Remove the pony tail.

Hurt like no bodies business.

Son of a Bisquick eater!

OUCH.

To add insult to injury, literally, I was really surprised to see that it was not blonde. It was not even dirty blonde.  It was a painter’s palette of several shades of  gray strands;  some were so gray they were white, others were shimmering in the bathroom light and still the others were just plain old gray with a bit of character to them.  By character I mean, kinky little wiry hairs some stiff as a board others just waving in the wind.  It was a pony tail,  I tell ya, of mixed origins !

That is me third one from the end

I guess I should thank my lucky stars that I did not have a Papa Smurf beard.  And after further inspection I did not find any sign of a fu manchu, goatee, mutton chops, soul patch (okay my mind just went somewhere it should not have gone), or any other volume of hair worthy of the Y chromosome.  I did notice a bit of a ‘stache on the upper lip.  I’m going to have to keep an eye on that.

In conclusion: I am finding out that growing old comes with a few perks but it also carries with it a few surprises. So check out your face daily.  Take it from me, no one is going to want to tell you about that full-on pony tail you got growing on the side of your jowl.

Move over Wicked Witch of the West there is a new gal in town. (insert wicked laugh here)

You Want Thighs With That?

Back in 2010, I went to Memphis for a couple of months. My son had just been diagnosed with cancer and my mom was dying. I went to help take care of them both and keep my grandbabies for the summer. One day while visiting mom…..

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“Honey could you go get me some chicken livers? I have had a craving for them for the last three days.” mom said while drinking her coffee.

” Do I have to cook them or is there a special restaurant you buy them at?” I asked with reluctance in my voice. I hated using her stove.

“Down at the market is where I usually buy them. Back in the deli.” she says.

Cool, I didn’t have to monkey around with that stove from the 1800’s. I hated cooking on her stove and frying liver was the worst. I love to eat them I just hate to cook them. As I was heading to the deli, she adds to her order.

“Could you get some toilet paper, soap, milk and have them add some taters on that liver order.”

“Sure mom.” I call out as I race to the door. I knew my mom. If I hung around I would have a list a mile long and be going all over Memphis picking up this and that. Things not really needed but she felt compelled to get.

With grands in tow I headed to the deli. I get to the counter and a 20 something, beautiful blonde, blue eyed, gorgeous smile, little girl asked me,”May I help you?” with that familiar southern drawl I grew up with.

I asked if they had chicken livers today. She pointed at the food in the hot deli case between us and says

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“Why, yea-us we do.” and points to the livers in the corner. The case was full of southern fried goodies from fish to twinkies. She informed me that I could get chicken livers and two thighs for $3.99. I said okay thinking that I might have one for lunch. After second thought, I changed my mind and ask to change my order back to just livers and to skip the thighs. She looked at me with a confused faced and asked, “Where did you get thighs from?”

“From you.” I said. Now she is extremely perplexed and at a loss for words. I repeated her words back to her verbatim. “You can get chicken livers and two thighs for $3.99?” She started to laugh so hard she almost dropped the prongs.

Then she says, “No, s-i-d-e-s.” which she spelled slowly, “sides” she repeated in her southern drawl. Of course, that made sense. I mean that is a huge meal for $3.99.

“That will be fine.” I say looking around sheepishly to see who, if any one, was watching this interaction. Lucky for me only about a dozen people were in hearing range. I quickly move down to the veggies. As I was peering in to the food case for the “SIDES”, I found the potatoes and something else that caught my eye. It was a strange type of pea brownish red in color with snap beans surrounded by little tom tom tomatoes. I looked up to her cheerful face and asked her, “What is that?”

“That is what I was talking about the sssiiidddeeesss.” she said with a long and drawn out pronunciation of the word, as if I were deaf or from a foreign planet.

I said, “No what is it?”

Again she says, ” A SIDE” this time with a much sharper tone in her voice.

At this point, I am laughing so hard I can’t talk. I finally get out the words, “What kind of vegetable is it?”

“Oh that is just peas, honey.” she says.

As I drove back to mom’s, I came to the conclusion that even though I have one of the thickest southern accents in the little village I call home, I apparently have lost my ability to decipher the southern dialect. O mama.

Rest in peace mama. Your laughter was the greatest gift you ever gave me.  February 18, 1936 – September 7, 2010

Until next time,

Birdie

I have taken on another job.  I will be posting but  it will only be on Mondays until I can rearrange my life’s schedule again. I will for sure be reading your post.  You guys are one of the few things that brightens my days.  You may only see a -like– icon but know that I am either laughing, crying or saying hmmmm while reading you.  Wish me luck on this adventure.   I can never turn down an opportunity even if it is down a long and unknown road.

Letters to My Children

I know, I know, this is a very long post but please bear with me.  I promise, if you stick with me, you will find it amusing and eye-opening.

Every once in a while you meet someone you immediately bond with.  You find them funny, intelligent and warm.  Normally, you would have this new friend come over for dinner.  You would make plans to get the families together for game nights and cook outs. That is what you would normally do but my friend and I have never met face to face.  We met via the internet.  He is not a blogger but, lawd, can he write!  I meet him through Facebook of all places.  He is not a complete stranger.  He went to school with my husband.  I believe he was a year or two behind him but this is a tiny school and everyone knows everyone.   We became friends through Farmville and a couple of other FB games.  It did not take long before I friended his wife and his beautiful daughter.  Through Facebook I read about his grandkids, his amazing son, parents and a couple of goofy dogs.

Soon we were FB chatting and emailing.  Like most friend we talked about a variety of subjects our jobs, our town, our hobbies and, of course, our families.  I went through a couple of really rough patches and he was there trying to pick up the pieces hundreds of miles away.  An internet friend who I had never met face to face was putting himself out there for me to lean on.  Now that is a friend.

One thing he did was send me letters.  These letters were intended for his grown children but they related to my struggles.  I was spellbound.  I could not get enough.  Soon I forgot all about me and started thinking how wonderful these letters would be in a coffee table book. This is a book of inspiration. These were life lessons at its best from a tough yet gentle father.  I asked him why he wrote these letters.  He said all the men in his family passed away just as their children we reaching or just beginning their adulthood.  If this legacy of early retirement continued, he wanted to make sure he could leave them a piece of his wisdom. When he wrote these letters he never intended them to be published  for the world to see. He only wanted to help his children  navigate through a tough world without him to lean on.  You can defiantly tell who his audience is when reading his words.  Wow, what a man and a dear, dear friend.

He has a book deal brewing but has consented to write or let me have a couple that may or may not be included in the deal.  Since he is working with a publisher, I am only going to blog a couple of stories on my Monday post.  This book takes his children on a journey through issue they may have with working with people, his own childhood memories, the  love he has cultivated for his family and friends, and he sometimes bring us uncontrollable laughter during these lessons of wisdom.  Whatever he brings to the table it is with a sometimes humorous and always in a loving manner.

I hope you enjoy reading “Letters to my Children” by Tony Oliver

This is Tony and his grandson.

I am merely a guest there

In the second Jurassic Park movie, one of the scientists came to the conclusion that they had accidentally expanded the perceived territory of the T-Rex, and as a result, it would now feel the need to defend its new territory.

That was bad news for them, but it is good news for us, because it explains an age-old problem we have as couples…our perceived territories and our need to defend them.

Your mom never tires of being amazed when I expect to be noticed for helping around the house.  For thirty years now she has thanklessly, endlessly and pretty much anonymously done everything required to keep the household running.  As a result, she looks at me like I just grew a third eye when I want a pat on the back for washing a load of jeans.

For years we wondered why it mattered so much to me that she knows I am contributing.  I whole-heartedly dispute that it is evidence of brain damage, and thankfully the dinosaur illustration in the movie really made it easier to explain.  We each have our perceived domains, and we do not compete for who is in control in those specific areas.

I think most guys perceive that most of the house is “her” domain because she wants control over what happens in the house.  If you don’t believe me, let a guy bring something from “his shop” and leave it somewhere in “her house”.  Whether it is a chainsaw, or a welder, or whatever; it will be treated as an invader…something that does not belong.  The drilling questions, the sarcasm and chilly responses will not end until the invader is removed and returned to “his” domain.

I think that in most homes, men are little more than a guest.  As a result, we don’t feel responsible for its day-to-day operations.  Think about it.  If I showed up with a new couch for the living room without including your mom on the decision, she would be miffed.  When, out of the blue, she shows up with a new entertainment center, I am expected to be thankful and appreciative.  Her domain.  If I walked in to where she is doing laundry and told her she is not using the correct soap, she would look at me like I just climbed off a space ship.  Her domain.

If I were to decide to take apart something greasy, and do so right in the middle of the living room floor… Her domain.  In my shop, I can take something apart and leave it there until I decide to move it.  She could care less.  That is my domain.  The living room is not. Any room in which she is perfectly comfortable haranguing me for making a mess is not my domain.  I am merely a guest there.

If I don’t load the dishwasher correctly?  Her domain. If I don’t dry the clothes on the correct setting?  Her domain.  If I have the wrong pan for cooking something? You get the idea.

It is further illustrated by putting the shoe on the other foot.  Imagine that she went out into the wood shop when I wasn’t around (my domain) and swept the floor and emptied all the trash.  Now, do you think she wouldn’t be expecting me to at least notice and to thank her?  I have news for you, if she cleaned my shop and I failed to notice and to thank her profusely, it would never happen again.  The reality is that she would be just like me when I do occasionally make the bed.  She would expect me to notice and to express my appreciation that she went above and beyond her responsibility and did something for me in my domain.

It also explains another conundrum.

She has wondered out loud for years how I could walk by a full trashcan and not notice that it needs to be emptied.  Yeah, yeah…again with the brain damage.  If she points it out to me, I am happy to deal with it.  But unless she says something, I don’t even notice.  Not my domain.

In my defense, imagine going to a bathroom at a sports venue and after you wash your hands you go to discard the paper towels, but the trashcan is overflowing. Do you think, “hmm…somebody needs to empty that!” or do you think, “hmmm… I should empty that!”

Of course you don’t think you personally need to empty that, because this isn’t your domain.  You are simply a visitor there.  You don’t control anything.  You have no say in how things are handled.  You feel no responsibility for how well things are done.

That is exactly how I feel in your mom’s domain.  I don’t purposely shun emptying the trash, it simply doesn’t occur to me because it is not in my domain, and therefore not on my radar.  I am a visitor in the kitchen.  I have no control and feel no responsibility.  Ask for my help and I am happy to help, but you have to ask; it is not natural for me to notice things outside of my area of responsibility.

If we were to agree that the kitchen trash becomes my domain, then that is different.  Let me take ownership of it, and it will be on my radar.  But, if it is my domain, I will have to be free to do it how and when I want.  I might even want to buy a different trashcan.  My domain.  Or switch to a different kind of trash bag.  My domain.   I might want to take it out when it is only ¾ full…or maybe my style will be to overfill it and smash everything down until it is difficult to empty…but if I am not free to do it my way, then it still isn’t my domain and I won’t own it.  I won’t feel responsible.

A friend once told me of the strange way that her husband washed the dishes.  He would fill the whole sink with soapy water and wash everything.  Then, with the clean dishes still in the sink, he would drain the soapy water and refill it with clean water.  He would do that several times until the rinse water was clear.  I had to admit; I had never heard of dishes being done that way.

She stated that when they were newlywed, her mother warned her to not say a word.  My friend’s mom very wisely explained that he should be left alone to do the dishes as he pleased, lest she end up washing the dishes herself.  30 years had gone by he was still washing the dishes every day.  He does it his own way. He owns it.  It is a credit to her and her mother for being wise enough to understand how this worked and letting it play out.  She gladly let him have dominion over the dirty dishes.  He was the boss, he did it his way, and he owned it.

Upon hearing this one of her co-workers blurted out “That is stupid.  If he were my husband I’d tell him how it should be done.”  We asked her, though, and sure enough, her husband never washed the dishes.  She would never relinquish control and he was happy to let her keep it.  I’m betting he never helped with the laundry or making the bed either…just a hunch.

Once you understand the concept of perceived domains, you and your spouse can use it to your advantage instead of endlessly ridiculing or resenting each other when things don’t go as expected.

It doesn’t mean that you won’t still have issues…there will be some tasks that neither of you want to own.   There will be other areas where you both want dominion and you will have conflicts over control.  You will have to be mature enough to work through those issues, but for all of the other areas, especially as they relate to doing things around the house, if you will recognize the concept of letting each have their own domain, it will be easier to cooperate and not leave one or the other with an unfair share of the load.

Then, maybe – just maybe – she will quit implying that you rode the “short bus” to school every time you feel inclined to leave the vacuum cleaner out…just so that she’ll notice that you’ve vacuumed.

Next Monday

Yeah Right!  Opposites fight!

p.s. I look forward to seeing your comments on this post, as with all my post.  However, this one is dear to my heart and I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.  As I stated earlier, Tony does not have a blog so I have asked him to reply to any comments on this post.