Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Scooby Run

Earlier I took Pierson to Emergency Road to run, since he's in cross country now.  Next thing you know, sisters, dogs, and bikes all jumped in the truck with us and we're toodling through town with windows down and tongues lolling (dogs, not necessarily me). 

While the kids are dumb enough to run in this heat, I'm not. In fact, my idea of exercise is watching those Zumba videos. Those are so much fun! I followed behind them in the truck to make sure no one got hurt.  Even this was a bit too much exertion for me, as my dear Bubba Wayne Jr. doesn't have air conditioning.

So, you're following me that the windows are down, right?  That stupid five pound rat terrier, Scooby, has been yipping his annoying yip since the kids left the truck.  "Take me! Take me! Take take take me me me!"  Before I could slap the rat out of his terrier, he leaped over me and out the window.  Let me make it clear, Bubba Wayne is not pantsy waist truck. He's a 4x4 with a lift kit. Scooby is six inches tall and five pounds of annoyance.

With my awesome reflexes, I grabbed at Scooby as he sailed past my nose, not because I wanted to save him necessarily, but because I didn't want my kids to think I was a Scooby killer.  I know they would have thought I chucked him out the window on purpose. And maybe it had crossed my mind, but I'm not admitting to that, okay?

Well, I grabbed something warm and squishy.  Teensy tiny Scooby balls. Ewww!  In reflex (I swear not on purpose), I flung him far and wide. He hit the pavement and did one of those squishy ball imitations - you know, completely flat, like in cartoons?  Then he popped right back up, smiled cheekily at me, and with tongue sticking straight out he took off and did a  full-blown Scooby run for the kids. 

At the pace those little legs carried him, he caught up with the kids at the finish line.  They oohed and aahed over what a superb athlete he was until I pulled up, then all three kids turned to me as one entity.  "How could you? He could have died!"  Yeah, well, not for lack of trying.

The house was quiet.  The kids were out playing by the pond and my mother was at the grocery store. Peter was working a temporary job on an Air Force base about four hours away, so we only saw him on weekends.  We were living in a twenty year old rv parked my parents' backyard until we found out where we going to be permanently located with the Air Force.  It was a trying time, living day by day with no answers.  But it was a good time too. Lazy days spent fishing with a few hours of homeschooling and lots of Maw Maw and Paw Paw time for the kids.

The phone call came about mid morning.  Uncle Jim stated, plain as day, "Your dad passed away last night."

I was in the kitchen, and I looked around at the shelves by the ceiling decorated with old tin cans and boxes of Ritz Crackers and Cracker Jacks.  "Oh, okay. Thanks for letting me know." 

He paused a second and seemed a bit baffled when he said, "When are you coming up?" 

Looking at the red and white ceramic salt shakers of a fat old man and a fat old woman kissing, centered perfectly on the small round kitchen table where so many meals were shared, I said, "I'm not."

He didn't say anything, I didn't say anything.  Finally, since he was just trying to be nice, I added, "I already told Aunt Connie I wasn't coming back."

"You're not coming to your own dad's funeral?"

"No." I'm a talker, so this brevity is a shocker, even to me. But I didn't feel the need to elaborate.  I felt nothing. "But thanks for letting me know.  Please tell the family I'm sorry for their loss."  The family. Not me. I'm not family.

We hung up, and I started to head out the back door when I saw him. On the porch. My stepdad was sitting in his favorite chair, the gnarled bare feet obtained from the lifetime of hard work propped on the rail, sipping his iced tea and fanning himself with his silly straw hat.  My armor cracked a little.

"Thank you, Father.  Thank you for not taking Donald. He's my dad."

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Vacation or Field Trip?

The following conversation was relayed to me:

Ainsley:  This week we're going on vacation!  We going to the beach in Alabama and we're going swimming and staying in a hotel with a pool and everything!  But first we have to go some place called Tuskegee and spend a whole day learning about some dead guy that grew peanuts.

Luke:  How come your mama is always trying to make you learn stuff?  Everytime you go somewhere, you have to learn something.  Why can't you just have fun like normal people?

Ainsley:  (glumly) I dunno.  It's just the way my mama is.

Make no mistake, my dear readers. The purpose of our trip is to learn about the dead peanut grower.  Out of the kindness of our hearts, Peter and I decided to detour through Gulf Shores on the way home, pay for another night in a motel, and let the kids have a day at the beach. Otherwise, there would be no "vacation", no beach, and no pool. This here is a glorified field trip is what it is.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Computer crash

*Disclaimer - I wrote this on Saturday*

There’s something wrong with my computer!   The internet won’t work.  Sure the computer has been telling me for days that there’s something wrong with it, with little pop up windows and warning flags with skulls and crossbones on them and big “DANGER!!!” signs, but I thought it was just joking.  Now I can’t even get into the internet because it says I have malicious spyware/security breach/hacking stuff going on.  I’m currently running my McAfee (that I already had and didn’t say a word, not even a whisper).  So far it’s found 56 cookies violations, at 22% scanned. Nice to know I’m “always” protected. Geez.
Anyway, at the first sign of problem – and by that I mean the first time I couldn’t get into Facebook – I called my hubby-man.  He’s offshore working 12 hour shifts and usually longer so I can hang out on the couch all day with my laptop, remote control, and Dr. Pepper.  A good man, he is.  Anyway, as usual, I expected him to drop everything and help me with my problem as this was a real emergency, much more important than the safety of the 256 employees on board his glorified tugboat.  He’s an IT/ET (that’s and Information Technologist/Extra Terrestrial, for those of you not in the know) so he’s knows about computers, and how to communicate with me. 
He told me not to run the pop up windows because they are actual viruses, and if I click on them they’ll actually invade my laptop with the viruses they claim I already have.  Well, duh!  I already know this; I’m not dummy.  I learn quick and I found out after destroying the last three computers that the warnings were bogus.  My problem is that until McAfee stops running and fixes the problem, I can’t get into the internet.  How am I going to play Gardens of Time?  What if my Coliseum is ready to upgrade?  What if I waste my energy?  What if - *gasp* - someone passes my level because I haven’t been keeping up?  I just can’t live with these thoughts.
Peter the Jerk is not the least be considerate of my dilemma and says something to the effect of “get a life” and how he has to go because he’s working and how I should try it some time.  I’m working!  I’m building a huge garden complete with Roman guards and a coliseum.  ‘Tis no easy feat.  So I don’t understand what he’s saying.   There seem to be some undertones there, but what I’m not sure.
I try to pass the time quicker by watching a Lifetime movie.  I’ll be locking my windows tonight, for sure. And checking to make sure my guns are loaded.  And I’m thinking a German Shepherd named Cannibal might be in the plans.  After the movie, I check McAfee – 30%.  Good grief, I’m bored out of my skull.  At this rate, I’m going to get so bored I’m going to resort to the lowest of all forms of entertainment….laundry.  Say it’s not so.
My inner conscience says to toss a load in and fold a load and then check the status of the scan, but my out conscience beat the crap out of the inner self until the urge went away and I played a few games of Freecell, checked again – 33%.  I closed the laptop and beat it against my head for a moment and decided to write my deepest feelings about my experiences. 
I wrote this. Checked McAfee.  93%!!!  We’re in the home stretch!  Yes yes  yes!  Pretty soon I won’t have to care about my feelings anymore and I can just gossip with other people about my dog eating the guinea pigs and my kids annoying me and more interesting stuff than that. And then maybe at some point I’ll wash enough laundry that my kids can have clean drawers for church tomorrow.