Friday, 20 May 2016

School's Out!

  After 35 weeks of slogging through history and learning to write effective essays, and tackling the ever elusive lowest common denominator, we are officially done school for the year! 
  To celebrate, the boys voted that we spend the day at the mall and then head to Golden Coral for lunch. We made a quick stop at Walmart and I cut the boys loose while I picked up some groceries   It was fairly easy to track where they were in the store even though I couldn't see them.  I simply listened for the overhead announcement for "security sweep in area G".  That translates to - "large group of teen boys seen in the electronics isle".
  We'll be doing some math review for the summer, but mostly I'm dreaming of sleeping in, swimming and not teaching a single thing.


Wednesday, 6 April 2016

She's Driving!

After a fairly long, but successful trip to the D.M.V we have another new driver! 
Emma is about the 15th person I have taught to drive.
James decided many kids ago that he was not going to participate in driving instruction.  He obviously has a stronger sense of self preservation than I do.

It really is the absolute scariest part of parenthood. Harder than labor, tougher than the terrible twos and the closest I have ever come to looking death in the face.
Some of the kids have been harder to teach than others. I will mention no names but they know who they are and why I have grey hair.
Three more left to learn and then I'm done. I might actually survive this.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Good Things Come in Twos

   Today is a birthday for two of our kids. Both Emma and Samuel were born on April 5th.. 6 years apart.
   Emma is embarking on that much anticipated and overrated journey into adulthood. Happy 18th Emma - enjoy the freedom and endure the responsibilities.
   Samuel is the youngest of the heap of children and still not a teenager, turning 12 this year. Happy birthday Sam, can you stay this age forever?

   Lots of cake and presents and another year goes by.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Fun with Vultures

  I really enjoy living in our rural West Virginia neighborhood.  It's peaceful and beautiful and the land is so fertile you get the sense that carrying a machete might be useful if you should wander off the road. People here don't try to grow grass - they spend hours every week trying to get it to stop. You won't often see a truck with a "Lawn Care" sign travelling around, but you can bet there are as many John Deer mowers as there are pick up trucks parked in the yards. We are hemmed in by the Blue Ridge Mountains rising about the Shenandoah River, which was apparently striking enough to cause John Denver to immediately write a song about it. 
  All this beauty is not without its flaws.  With the trees and grass come deer and gnats. I really hate them both. The gnats are forever in your face and the deer seem to take bets with each other to see who can cross the road in front of your car without getting hit. They usually loose that bet.

But lately a new pest has invaded our land...vultures. They are huge, ugly, they eat dead stuff and their poop is everywhere.  They roost in our pine trees every evening and they give me nightmares.  My friend Nancy,who has a interest in getting rid of these birds due to her fear they might fly off with one of her small dogs, found a great on line store that sells "bird repellents" because, believe it or not, vultures are a protected species. They probably have some environmentalist's cat held hostage to maintain their status. 
Anyway, I sent away for the 15 mm double shot Scare-Away Launcher and 
the Screamer Siren ammunition.   

The gun sends an incredibly loud shrieking, whorling ball of pyrotechnics into the air. The first time I fired it, about 60 vultures flew out of the pines in my backyard, across the street and into the trees behind my daughter's house. It was very impressive and many of the neighbors came out to watch as there was nothing else going on that night.
I've shot it a few more times and the thrill of watching them fly up flapping their enormous wings as they leave, only gets better. I smartly purchased 100 rounds, which should provided
entertainment for the better part of the summer.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

I Was an Auction Virgin

Until today I had never been to an auction.  I have this friend, Samantha, who talks about all the things she's gotten at such great deals. She's talked about it for years.

But today, something she said made me want to go.
And that is dangerous.

 I can only liken it to the best deals of Goodwill, combined with gambling, which of course I don't condone on any level and fierce competition and wow! The heady feeling of beating someone else out and getting some amazing thing at a ridiculous price - it's just pretty much the best thing EVER. I felt a little bit of an addiction coming on as I drove home with my new couch and love seat ($20) and 5 boxes of assorted crap and treasures ($10) and a flying pig ($30). The pig was a little over the top expensive but he was there and I had to have him. I don't really understand why either.

Apparently I have to be a bit more savy when it comes to bidding.  Samantha gently told me afterwards  that I need to be subtle about the things I really like and not bring attention to them as the bidding begins. Maybe I was a little too excited.  I really loved the way the cool auction people did the imperceptible head nod thing when they bid. I can do that.

I heard there was another even better auction next Saturday.

Should I be worried that I can think of nothing else?

And I had never driven our pick up truck before today either. It was a big day.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

My Locket Her Locket

 Having 21 grandkids is pretty much amazing. They seem to me to each possess remarkable character....some speaking eloquently at a young age, some with a sense of humor that surprises me, some are kind and sweet and some quiet and self assured and others are feisty and wild. I find it harder to not be biased toward my grandkids than to my own children. Maybe the freedom to just enjoy them rather than having to worry whether I  was doing everything right. Or maybe I'm getting old enough to worry a little less in general. 
All of this is to say that I really like them all - greatly.

 Leah, grandchild number 18, lives right across the street and we see each other every day.  She has always loved my heart locket and told me that she wanted me to get her one for Christmas and she wanted my picture and hers inside.

Okay - grandmother melting right there.  So of course I got it for her.

Merry Christmas to Leah and Grandma Kate.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

WOW Samuel - You Stink!

  Samuel, being the 11 year old youngest of this very long-large family, has the distinction of doing everything for the last time. This is the day he outgrew his car seat. His oldest sibling is 42 and so I am often very very very glad to see the end to a phase of parenting.
 Today while heading out to town we all smelled something. Something evil and wretched. 
It was Sam. It was B.O.

 I almost cried, both from the smell and the realization that my baby needed deodorant. 
Aahh. Another rite of passage.