30 July 2001

Another productive day. What the heck is wrong with me? Hubs has been Mr. Motivated lately, and it's a bit contagious, I must say. We spent a bit of this afternoon cleaning the basement. It was nice and cool down there, but we've got about 50 years worth of the original owner's bits and pieces in the corners (the man saved-and labelled-everything, so if you need parts for a 1974 skil saw, just call) Add to that all our junk and bits of Cupertino all over the place, and its a bit of an endeavour. I got the cool mom award for catching a garter snake in the basement and letting the kids pet it before I took it out to the garden to eat my bugs. I'd rather have him in the basement than the spiders, but he did not look happy to be inside. I'm also 3 for 3 on toad catching once we ventured out into the yard after supper (Chinese buffet! Woohoo!--Thanks Pastor Robert!) Hubs and I got most of the front and south flowerbeds cleaned up. There's some nasty stinging thing in the back, so I got inventive and used the hedge trimmer (can't find the power cord to the weed whacker). We pulled and the kids hauled. Dumped weeds down the pit of the old outhouse. It's good for something. We are not very diligent gardeners, and this place sat empty for a few years before we got here last summer, so it's been slow going as we hack out.

My sister's method of gardening is working for me in a limited fashion. Every year she puts in tons of tomatoes and peppers, then ignores them. Weeds, drought or flood, every year she has TONS of food. I dug trenches and had the kids plant seeds I've been carrying around for a few years. I put in 2 tomato plants and waited. A lot of the stuff was too old and didn't come, and the beets and radishes went sideways instead of down--good leaves, no root. So far, we've had half a dozen nice tomatoes, and 5 summer squash and one zucchini. I had to pull out the zucchini plant because something was eating the roots and turned it to mush, but the squash plants themselves are all HUGE. Considering that I watered it once, and have pulled weeds very minimally (I went around and marked the plants, then mowed where they weren't) it's doing OK. This is the first year that patch was tilled, and it's too shady we found out after the fact, but so far--so good.
I'm in a much better mood today, but groggier. The second twelve hour night shift goes slower than the first. I cooked and putzed, and I am ready for bed now, but need to wind down a little.
Got news that my best friend from senior year has a new baby girl. Yay. Boy are they in for a good time. I get the baby itch once in awhile, then I remember how nice it is that all mine are out of diapers, finally. No more bottles or lugging a diaper bag. Well, I hear by the dulcet tones of my kids ("Get off me! Quit touching me") that the household is starting to waken, so I'll go pry them apart and give 'em a little mommy time before I settle in.

29 July 2001


On the night shift for the weekend. The work is fine, it's just getting adjusted to the weird hours. I feel fuzzy for a couple of days.

So far the response from the families has been guarded about our exchange student. We're broke. What's new? We feed the kids and we get by. Students are coming here to learn, and part of that is learning not all Americans have split level walkouts with 3 car garages. It's a lot of responsibility. Duh. So are three daughters. Pish. Oh well, gotta keep a positive outlook despite the grumbling.

28 July 2001

I actually got a good bit done today. Scrubbed out the spare room downstairs and gathered some furniture from about the house to put together a room for Bruno. It still needs a coat of paint, but we'll let him choose that. If we hate it, paint is twelve bux a gallon, and we'll change it when he leaves.

The best part of my day, tho, was talking to an old high school friend for the first time in 16 years. I get a quarterly alumni newsletter from my high school. It's usually a buncha "happy horsesh*t", as my sainted mother would say. "Here's all the economic development going on in town, don't you want to bring your business and tax dollars here?" But last time it mentioned that a favorite teacher had been in touch with my friend Jennifer ('85) and she is a successful author in SanFrancisco. (Of course, all LHS grads are highly successful and deleriously happy, to read the Alum news reports) So I emailed them to get her address about a month ago, and they sent it today. I tracked down her phone number online and called her. Gawd that was fun. We were neighbors my junior year of high school (her senior). She was smart, and funny and talented. She acted, played on the boy's baseball team, and took her biology experiment on fruit flies to the National Science Fair. She was outspoken and nonconforming, and no-one understood her, and like everything they don't understand, they feared and rejected her, and her family. They were the only Jewish family in a pasty white Minnesota farming town. Her little brother was in junior high, which is hard enough without a bunch of other little prepubescent creeps who've just found out the one thing that will always make you different than the other kids at school. Human beings are cruel and stupid creatures. Between whale jumping and name calling, we have some pretty strange habits... Anyway, digression aside, I've often thought of her over the years, and it was so much fun to catch up, compare kids, and find out she's done pretty well for herself. You go, girl!
I'm trying to stay up late tonight to acclimate myself to nightime hours for my weekend night shifts, but everyone else has gone to bed and it's kinda lonely to be the only one up. Maybe I'll do some online window shopping... I need slipcovers to cover where the rabbit chewed the sofa. Hmmmmm.

27 July 2001

(Should be titled, The Saga Begins...)
The Lord does move in mysterious ways. Hubs has always wanted to host a foreign exchange student, as his family did that when he was in school. I'm all for it, I was an exchange student with ISE. It was a short program, only went for 2 weeks, but it's still amazing what you can learn. We figured we'd host later on when we'd crawled out of debt a bit, and we're a little less strapped for cash. However, last night we get a call from a friend at church who works with IE. They needed emergency placement for a Brazilian boy. Yikes, I'm gonna be a momma. So we'll be rearranging the guest room a bit, and cleaning like mad, as he's due to arrive next week. I s'pose I'd better go get at it. This oughta be fun.

26 July 2001

And now, a happy story about one of my adorable children. We actually caught a couple elusive walleye, and were planning to eat them at grandma's house. Thing 3, who is having a "stage" decided to announce very loudly, "I don't like fish." "Fine", said I, "we're having chicken." So for the remainder of the meal, we made a big happy deal about calling the walleye "chicken", Thing 3 ate it without batting an eye, and we had a nice supper. About that time Hubs's aunt showed up, so we filled her in and asked her if she wanted some river chicken. She bent down over Thing 3 and asked her if she was eating chicken, to which the Thing looked up, all smiles, and said, "No, It's fish." Dang she's cute.

25 July 2001

Wow. What a day. A gentleman where I work fell today. He kinda sat down hard, and landed on his elbows. He said, "I'm OK." So I reached down to help him up, at which point he lay back, and quit breathing. I called the ambulance, and by the time they arrived, he had snapped out of it and wondered what all the fuss was about. The fuss was, you turned up your toes and lay upon the deck, dude. Yikes. After all was said and done and I had a chance to sit down and fall apart, I realized something. He made the exact same noises gasping for breath (before he stopped) that my father did. My dad collapsed while making breakfast and died in front of me when I was 13. The look on his face was the same, too. Too twilight zone for me. I don't know what point I'm trying to make here. I'm coming off really "drama queen", which serves no useful purpose I can think of. Geez, happy the hell up, chick.
Something happy in my life, I'm not in the middle of a divorce. One of Thing 1's little friends was over tonight. I visited with her dad for a little bit when he came to get her. He just sold the family farmsite to make ends meet. He looked so tired, and he gets to spend this weekend moving to town. Gawd, this is a ray of sunshine, too.
I actually got my bike out of the shed tonight, and got out the kiddie seat, still in the box, that I bought last summer. I cracked it open, and got the instructions read. I put all the pieces on the table in the porch. Baby steps. Baby steps. My weight is OK, but I am hopelessly out of shape. I've got a knee goin' bum on me, too. I'm too young to be this old.
In the "at least I'm not as stupid as other people" department, the 6:30 news out of the Twin Cities tonight closed with a little fluff tidbit, stating the government of Australia may be changing some laws to protect people who are too dumb to protect themselves. It seems some folk had pulled their boat alongside the carcass of a whale, jumped onto the carcass (now this is dumb enough) and then bent down to PET the GREAT WHITE SHARKS that were having a feeding frenzy upon said whale. While one of their buddies videotaped. Hubs and I just sat and looked at each other. How stupid are some people? The amazing part was that no-one was eaten. And if they had been, would it have been a media-labelled "tragedy" or a Darwin award?
Well, off to get the kidlets settled down. I need to leave the office. Husband made a fresh pot of coffee, and it smellss SOOO good, and there's real cream in the friddge, and if I have some I won't sleep well tonight. Found out the hard way last night. Good night and God Bless America. :)

24 July 2001

Well, looky there. With a little coaching, I got in and fiddled with the html in my template and stuck in some links to my buddies. And my husband. He's my buddy, too. Usually.
Went to see Grampa in the Marshall hospital. Not good. For those of you not familiar with my story, my dad died very young, my mom was sick and in a nursing home, so I went to live with my sister until the day I turned 18 and then ran like hell. My best friend's family took me in, and they have been my "folks" ever since. This Grampa is "Ma's" dad. He was always a good one for a joke, and fun to be around. They helped me move to college in their hometown and always came to my rescue if I had a car problem. He looks sad and tired and very pale. He's had a hard time for the past 8 years or so, one health problem after the other, and it's catching up to him.
I bribed my kids to clean their room today. I am a bit frustrated that I have to resort to bribery. I am working very hard at leading by example. I come from a long line of poor housekeepers, and every homemaking skill I have I've learned from Ma or picked up by myself. I don't expect to have a perfect house, but I'd like not to be embarrassed if people drop in unexpectedly.
I do talk about interesting things now and then, and not just housework and drudgery. I have some pretty relevant opinions, by gosh, and if you're not careful I might just tell you some of them.
Well, there is an adorable little blondie, whom I let nap too long today, chirping away beside me, and I'd be a fool to sit here at this keyboard when I could be giving her some attention. I'll be back on the morrow.
For those of you who I haven't pestered with links to this blog, a small introduction is in order. You can find a little bio on my web page (which doesn't exist in this form anymore) Eventually I'll figure out how to put links and stuff in here, but the whole reason I started using this instead of writing and posting my own pages was KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID. I can go into Home Page and piddle all I want with gizmos if I'm in a gizmo mood.
So I have a day off! Yay. Probably spend a good hunk of it visiting my grandpa in the hospital. He's 82 and has been failing slowly over the past few years. Then I can catch up on housework. Yuck. In between times I have to cram in some work on the variety show. I need to start peppering the town with posters. Low budget is the key here, so there will be a rash of 8 1/2 by 11 posters until I can scrape together some funds for a print run.
So, this is Minnesota, lets talk about the weather. I'm sure my friend John will cover it in his blog, but we may not share viewership, and the weather there usually follows the weather here by about 4-6 hours, unless the wind is doing something weird, so ya heard it here first, then. It's cooling off. As much as I love the hot weather, I like to be able to breathe, too, and the humidity lately has been nasty. We're getting a little break from both for a few days.
My husband is sitting behind me, grumbling and acting like he actually wants to use the computer for work or something silly like that. Ta for now!

23 July 2001

We've had a little crime wave here in Watson. (Yay, Watson, the home of happiness!) About a month ago I was teasing my next door neighbor about his car being stolen. It was taken joyriding by a group of teens, one of whom tried to give it to his friend as a birthday present (the title was in the glove compartment). This is a leave-the-keys-in-it sort of area, so they didn't wreck anything hotwiring it, and they took his beat-up Grand Am, and not the Collector's 70 Chevelle Malibu in the garage. He said he was glad they didn't drive it into the Sag, because it would've cost more to tow out than it was worth. We had a good laugh. Three weeks later, no-one in Watson was laughing.

A couple who lives one block over and one block down from us has a little boy who was in Thing 2's class, until his mom left his dad and moved to Willmar. Sunday night the dad was to return the little boy home after visitation, but didn't show up, so mom came to get him. Around 8 pm her mom called the sheriff to report her home late. At apx. 9:40 pm the sheriff forced the door and found a murder/suicide. Thankfully, the little boy was a few blocks away playing with friends, and his father had the foresight to lock the door. It's enough to give a person the creeps. "They" are saying he'd been depressed lately, but at what point does depression turn to that sort of despair, or rage? He'd been going to church lately, and "seemed" to be fine. Were there no signs that this man needed help? He has a history of battery with his ex-wife, before the boy's mama. Couldn't someone get him into counseling as a condition of custody? And I am ashamed to say, that in a town of 200 people, I didn't know him. His kid in the same class as mine, and I never took the chance to meet him. Could I have saved him? Probably not. Could I have had an influence on him? Maybe. Could I have prayed for him? Absolutely.