Monday, June 30, 2008

I may have to kiss my Maytag Man

I kept jonesing for a front load washer; I thought my life would not be complete without one. I envisioned all of the things that I would wash with one, and since I hate to do laundry, I just knew it would be the ticket to improving my life. I would be able to do more laundry at once (you’ve seen the ads: 17 PAIRS OF JEANS AT ONCE, I don’t think we collectively own 17 pairs of jeans). I would be able to do umpteen numbers of towels, I could wash king size comforters with ease. La, la, la.

Well, one fine morning, Danny and I went off on an innocent trip to the home improvement Mecca we know as Lowes to buy a FAN, yes a $19.95 fan, to sit on the deck to blow away the MOSQUITOS. There, sitting in the clearance aisle was my MAYTAG NEPTUNE FRONTLOAD WASHER and DRYER that I had been dreaming of forever and a day. And it was HALF. PRICE.

Beautiful Neptune went home with me that day and I tossed my old Maytag out into the garage like it was a red-headed step child. I wanted to wash in the NEW machine with the little window on the front and the fancy computer like buttons; and I wanted to hear it PLAY the little song when it was finished with each load of clothes!

My love affair with Neptune began to turn sour fairly quickly; right off the bat I realized that just to do a load of towels would take 59 MINUTES! Neptune told me that right on the little screen in bright green letters, the old scorned washer could crank out a load in 15-20 without much problem at all. Neptune also can’t soak a COTTON PICKING THING! Neptune is so STINGY with water and SPINS so violently that once clothes are done they are practically DRY. THEREFORE, the wrinkles that got spun in there are THERE TO STAY. Only starching or spritzing them with water or Wrinkle Release will coax them out!

That was just for starters, as our relationship continued Neptune developed some nasty habits, the most annoying of which is that when he spins he sounds as if he’s GOING INTO ORBIT. YES, he’s balanced; NO, we can’t identify the problem. IT’S DEAFENING. We cannot wash clothes and watch TV, nor can I start a load of clothes before heading off to bed…Neptune simply will not cooperate.

Neptune’s other peculiarity is that he eats change. LOTS and LOTS of change. I try and be a good laundress and check pockets, but you know, sometimes it just don’t happen that way. One would think that people making washers as long as say, MAYTAG, would have thought of this little snafu, and created some little screeny mabob that would prevent quarters, nickels and the like from getting to the pump on Neptune. BUT NO…they didn’t. Therefore, meet my Maytag Man:

Tonight Danny had to take Neptune apart for like the sixteenth time and clean his water pump out. He is very expert at this procedure. Neptune kept telling me SUDS! SUDS! SUDS! all day which meant that he was not draining properly. Sure enough, he had 30 cents in his little innards.

Danny put Neptune back together again and he’s in the laundry room getting ready for his orbit cycle. I wonder how long it will be before he has another illegal snack and develops a severe case of indigestion

And I sold the Red-Headed Maytag washer that had served me ’lo those many years, wish I could find it tell it that I’m sorry.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Summer is in full swing and here in our neighborhood there is no shortage of little girls looking for fun.

There are bikes and Wave-boards to ride, dogs to torment and a golf cart or two to tour on.

They also play some weird game called Butterball, which I don't understand at all. Monkey in the Middle gets played on occasion but Shelley is always a fly in the ointment, she wants to bark and herd.

My hope is that they are making wonderful memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Here's our sweet kitty Ben, who turned eleven back in the spring and is truly just an ornamental fixture these days. I brought Ben home from an outdoor party one night; he was an ugly, scrawny, half-starved stray only about six weeks old. He hung out all night long underfoot, trying to get on the food tables, I ended up carrying him so he wouldn't get stepped on and simply took him to the car with us when we left.

He grew to be beautiful and is one of the sweetest cats I've ever had (and I've had alot). Don't laugh, but I honestly think that blue/grey kitties have a sweet gene, almost every one I've ever known has had an awesome disposition.

Seven years ago Ben was diagnosed with a terminal illness, which involved a lot of money, expensive drugs and we were told we would have about a year more with him. Hmmph. Guess he wasn't listening!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Behind the Wheel

I heard something on television this Sunday morning that started the wheels in my head to turn. A music critic was talking about the summer that he got his driver’s license and the music and memories he had from that time.

I instantly knew what he was talking about; I closed my eyes and it was the Summer of 1978.

It’s hot, my friends and I are cruisin' town with the windows rolled down, the music is loud and we're circling the court square just ONE MORE TIME. The Commodores are probably coming through our speakers, maybe Player is singing “Baby Come Back” or Clapton is trying to get Sally to lay down. I’m not exactly sure. I DO know that we are singing along and hoping that the next song is really good - if it isn’t we might run in WSJP radio station and ask the DJ, Ronnie D. Payne, to play “our favorite”. Before long we’ll make a run for the Dairy Queen and get a Coke, hang out for a few in the parking lot, then we’ll be back to our endless circuit.

Gas was an average of 62 CENTS a gallon that summer. So, cruising and listening to the radio wasn’t an expensive pastime, besides, what else were we going to do?

I’m giving away my age here, but it will thirty years ago this week that I earned my “privilege” to drive legally (one that some say that I abuse!). Isn’t interesting how closely tied our experience of driving and music is? They just seem to go hand-in-hand.

All these years later, I’m still driving and still loving the music from the radio. Especially when the weather is warm and I can roll the windows down - ‘cause even now, when a certain song or two comes on, I can just imagine, for a fleeting moment, that I am sixteen again.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I can't hear you...

Syd has been fighting a severe case of swimmer's ear since we returned from the beach.

Monday morning bright and early she had an appointment with an ENT doctor because the pain just won't go away. Part of the work-up involved a check of her hearing - and I've never had my hearing checked, nor had either of my girls, so I didn’t know what to expect.

So, I go with Syd and the audiologist back to a small office with a sound booth, Syd goes in, you probably know the drill, enters the booth (that looks like a vault), puts on some head phones and the test begins.

They seemed to have gone through several repetitions of something when all at once this huge sound BLASTED through the building. I literally JUMPED OUT OF MY SKIN. Syd made eye contact with me and I am thinking that THIS is part of the test; they want to know if she can hear the BLAST in the SOUND PROOF booth. And, DAMN do the employees have to go through that EVERY single time they do a hearing test?

Then, the audiologist turned to me and said - we're having problems with our FIRE ALARM.

Oh, of course, I knew that....

Monday, June 23, 2008

Anything you say, sweetheart

As I predicted, this new hobby is proving to be like all the others. Danny is wheeling and dealing and selling paraphernalia from former hobbies to feed his new habit.

Late last week our favorite UPS man showed up out of the blue with these boxes.

Now today Danny has called and said UPS should deliver another box this afternoon. Would I please get it in out of the sun and not let the kids play with it. Why I ask? Well, umm, it's, kinda, umm, well, it's,'s gunpowder.

Alrighty then.

Squirrel Squadron

The Brigade agreed to take a break from patrol of their borders for a photo op. They take their duties very seriously and maintain tight control - keeping the area clear of pedestrians, neighbors, other dogs and squirrels.

Scout is special ops for H2O, he protects us from the underground sprinkler heads.

Trooper is a feline special forces guy, but calls in Nelson and Scout as needed.

Nelson reconnoiters for meter men and Syd's boyfriend.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Mr. Music Please

Rea and I were running errands the other day and we drove by a really expensive gift store that was going out of business. She asked me what kind of store it was and if I had ever been in. I told her that in fact that I had been in a time or two, but that I had quit going in because they didn’t play music. And, she was like - What? And, I said. That’s right. No music. It was TOO quiet. There was never anyone in there, just the lady behind the counter and NO music. And she WATCHED me and you could practically HEAR her hold her BREATHE each time I touched something breakable.

SO, I never went back and that’s why I think they went out of BUSINESS. (Well, in all fairness, one could also speculate that choosing to locate your upscale gift store at the site of a former driving range could factor toward the failure of said business).

So, she said you think they needed, like elevator music. And I said yes! But even better music than that. You know, not like Hollister, where you couldn't even HEAR the fire alarm if it went off, but you know, maybe a little MOOD music would have really helped them out.

I’m just sayin'…

Friday, June 20, 2008

Wash Day

I have a shocking confession to make in front of God and the internet. I HATE to do laundry. It has become the bane of my existence. Washing clothes has never been high on my list of favorite chores, but it seems that I like to do it less and less. I keep telling myself if I had a better workspace in which to do it, that I would be better about it, but I really think that is a mind game.

Part of my laundry problem, is that it just keeps increasing. I thought as my girls got older and they didn’t get as dirty, that my laundry volume would slow down. NOT! Who was I kidding? My sixteen year old thinks that just because she’s TRIED SOMETHING ON, that is now unfit to be worn, that it is SOILED, and UNFRESH, UNWEARABLE and must be RE-WASHED!

Little does she know that I often slip into her room and refold her dirty towels and put them back into her bathroom cabinet, or refold jeans and put them back into her drawer!

In her quest for clean clothes, she has become a bit of a Laundry Queen. She has started helping me with the laundry. She’ll gather up the dirty clothes upstairs, starts loads of clothes and will put them away. But, she discovered one of my dirty little secrets when she started doing laundry though:

Syd was quite appalled to discover that I was rewashing the same socks – again and again AND AGAIN. You know those Orphan Socks, we all have them. I have this theory, if you just leave them in the dirty clothes basket and keep washing them that eventually their mate will reappear. So, I just leave them there and hope for the best. She didn’t see the wisdom in my process; in fact she kind of called me crazy.

Oh well, it was good while it lasted.

But guess who’s in charge of the Sock Orphanage now?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Riddle me this, Batman

It’s been over two years since I’ve seen a deer near our yard. There’s quite a bit of construction going on behind us in a new phase.

So, when exactly do the little hooved beasties tip-toe into my yard and EAT MY HOSTAS?

Now mind, I don’t care to share my hostas; but don’t you think they owe me the courtesy of allowing me to watch them eat MY hostas?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Cat's Away

Well, Danny is out of town and I'm engaging in some of my favorite activities!!

I guess you are thinking that I've slipped out to get a massage or that I am getting a pedicure or a manicure. Or perhaps I'm just lounging around in my p.j.'s until just before he pulls back in the driveway.

Nope - I'm pressure washing. That's right. I have a pressure washing fetish, I love to pressure wash, and I got my very own, gas pressure washer for my birthday about four years ago. It's red, it's cranks really easy, and I LOVE IT!

The problem is this, I ruined the deck with it the first year I had it. It cost us $700 to have the deck resealed. I've also chewed up the driveway - it needs work now, which will probably be very expensive. My pressure washing habit has proven to be costly.

But I just LOVE the immediate gratification you get when you pressure wash. ONE SWIPE. Dirt gone. My friend Debbi shares my fetish, she loves to pressure wash as much as I do. We have plans to open a spa one day, part of the therapy there will involve pressure washers. Each woman will have her own - and a dirty stretch of concrete to take her frustrations out on.

So, back to Danny, my pressure washer is pretty much off-limits now days (for obvious reasons), but since he's in Cincinnati, I'm washing my little heart out!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Dad's Day!!!

My Dad is a simple kind of guy, born at the very tail end of the Great Depression, 1939 to be exact, in rural Western Kentucky. The memories that I know of his childhood, seem to involve lots of hard work, not much money, but a stable home and VERY mischievous little boy.

My Dad has the great privilege (I believe) to still live at the exact place where he grew up. I’ve often wondered what that feels like, to get up and look out the back door across the same yard that you’ve looked across for sixty some odd years? What a sense of place he must have. We moved to that house when I was a child of eight, and I can tell you, that place pulls me like no other on earth. I can’t imagine how it must feel for him. Not only was he born on this land, my Grandfather was born several hundred yards away on an adjoining piece of property. For someone who has moved nearly two hundred miles away, with probably no hope of ever moving back, it makes my heart yearn sometimes for home when I think of them. I know it’s just dirt, but it’s such a part of who he is.

Daddy has worked hard all his life, hard physical labor. He’s a fine carpenter, can do a little plumbing, imagines himself as an electrician, does a good job at finishing concrete, will try all types of mechanical work, you name it. He’s your typical jack of all trades. For several years he and my Mom also put out a tobacco crop, I don’t know if any of you have had the “pleasure” of working in a tobacco patch, but I’m here to tell you, there is no harder work that I know of. Now that he is retired, he can’t sit still, he has a big garden, mows probably four acres or so and piddles constantly.

Daddy would be a great Survivor contestant for a while. He’d have shelter built in nothing flat, I think he’d have them a fire fairly quickly. Even at 69 I think he’d probably be able to shimmy up a tree and fetch some coconuts, though the snakes would be a BIG problem, he’s really good in the water, his balance is impeccable, (I always loved to watch him walk rafters when I was a kid, and tier poles in a tobacco barn was nothing to him). His downfall in Survivor would be the alliances and the backstabbing. Once he gave his word and said that he was with you – that would be it. The nuances of the game would totally baffle him!

My Dad didn’t have the opportunity, or probably the desire to go to college. He isn’t scholarly at all, but he is one of the brightest people I know. If I’m ever stranded on a deserted island – Ronald is the man that I want with me! His ingenuity is second to none. Give the man a roll of duct tape and some baling wire and he’ll build you anything you need. He wastes nothing, his imagination is limitless, his mind is ever turning, and he sees everything around him. Want to know how anything mechanical works – just ask. He has a general idea. Not exact, not perfect, but he has pondered, to himself and wondered about it and will share his thoughts, BUT only if asked!

And honestly, I started this post to tell you some of the funny things that he has invented through the years; but there was no stopping point. There was simply too much at one time to do it justice, so I promise that I will pull out things from time to time and introduce Ronald stories to you. Many already know and have experienced them first hand, so you newbies, get ready!

So, I guess my point here is this; there is wisdom and knowledge in this world beyond academia that we should all value. Should we encourage our kids to go to college – sure. But the kinds of things that my Dad knows he didn’t learn in an MBA program or while studying for his dissertation. He learned it while living his life. He’s intelligent, inventive and as I’ve said, bright. Blessed with the kind of knowledge and work ethic that enabled generations before him to manage in much tougher times that we’ll ever face.

And he’s one smart cookie in my book.

Happy Father’s Day!!!!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Eyes in the back of your head

The girls and I, plus Syd’s friend Sarah, along with my Mom and niece Leana are on the way to beach. We’ve driven a good bit of the way and have decided to make a pit stop in Montgomery.

After dinner the siren song of the hotel pool was just too much for Leana to resist (she’s only six), so Rea went on down with her, while Mom and I got a couple of things together. When we got down to the pool a couple of minutes later, we walked in on a bit of confusion that was a little hard to sort out. There were several families in the pool and apparently one small boy had mistaken Leana for his older sister. We all make honest mistakes, but, his mistake was that he snuck up on Leana and then JUMPED her and then proceeded to try and DROWN her as only SIBLINGS can! Needless to say, Leana was just a little shocked. There were several parents at the edge of the pool, pulling him off of her, but she was let’s say - discombobulated.

Mom and I are thinking that Leana will never be the same, that she may need counseling. Small hotels next to the interstate may trigger panic attacks in the future. Who knows?

I am sure she’ll be watching little, blonde headed boys, that are missing their front teeth pretty damned close.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Charges may be pressed!

Poor Nelson and the Squirrel Brigade!!

They've had a trying morning - just caught Rea and her best bud Ashley (Scout & Trooper of the Brigade belong to her) trying to curl their tails with a CURLING IRON!!


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Today I need to send a birthday SHOUT OUT to one of my bestest friends in the whole wide world!

Don and I have been friends since 1974 when we started seventh grade together – we both share the SAME last name AND our first names both begin with D! So, we were alphabetically joined until we graduated from high school in 1980. It gets even better; Don’s whole name is Larry Don AND my Dad’s name is Larry Ronald!! Just for the record, they both hate the Larry part and out of respect we all avoid any references to it! Most of the time ;-)

Don and I were not only friends throughout middle school and high school; he MARRIED my best friend Rhonda from high school. He and my husband, Danny, and are great friends, he was and is an enabler in many of Danny’s hobbies (golf, tennis, fishing, he’s avoided skeet shooting thus far).

The four of us have had many adventures together, camping in monsoons, getting lost in San Diego, spending countless hours just floating on a life jacket on Kentucky Lake. I don’t know how many trips to the beach we have made together, involving untold sunburns and LOTS of headaches! Some of the FUNNIEST times of my life involve Don.

So, Happy Birthday old friend! I hope the fun continues…

Monday, June 2, 2008

Please Mr. Postman!

The clematis on my mailbox has cooperated for the first time in EIGHT years.

Something always seems to happen just before it blooms, but for whatever reason, the stars, moon and the U. S. Postal Service was all in alignment and it BLOOMED!

I left the most beautiful Henryii variety on the corner of our back deck in Mount Juliet, it bloomed twice a year. The blooms were huge, white, almost the size of plates. I look each year at all of the local nurseries for one and have never been able to find another. I hope it's putting on a beautiful show this year too!