Monday, October 29, 2007

Cargo - Why I love my Mini-Van

About 1 1/2 pallets of food products with room for more! This is my dream car!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Go Fly a Kite

One of the best parts of being a parent is that you get to have a second childhood. Last year I rediscovered the thrill of kite-flying. We had a blast! I did learn a few tips.

  1. Bring a pair of work or garden gloves to protect your string-handling hand. It only took one good rope burn to learn that one .
  2. Find a large open area clear of trees and power-lines. Our local middle school athletic field works well for us. This took a few kite-eating trees till I got the hint!
  3. Wait for the perfect wind conditions. Not enough wind can be disappointing and too much wind can be hazardous. We lost a few kites due to crashes and string breakage.
  4. Bring a pair of scissors along. They will come in handy if you need to cut a kite string to try to salvage a kite that is tangled in a tree.
  5. Bring a notepad and pen in case you can not get the kite out of the tree and want to leave a note for the property owners.
  6. Have a few "spare" kites in reserve, especially in the "off-season". Last Fall when I could not get my oldest son's kite out of a tree, I could not find a replacement to buy in any store.
  7. Just Do It! We just got back from a test run for a new kite, where I took the above photos!
Next time someone tells you to "Go fly a kite!", no matter what the context in which it was said, thank them, grab your kite(s) and head to the nearest open field.

The Plant Rescuer

Newly planted Yucca-Rescue plants

If there isn't a plant rescue group for unwanted landscape plants, I think I will start one. I started yesterday with some Yucca plants.

My landlord at work is in the process of re-landscaping and had some of his men pull out dozens of new Yucca plants that have sprung up where a few large Yuccas had been pulled out a month earlier.The guys asked me if I wanted the new growths they were digging up.

Last month, the large, four foot tall plants were pulled out and put in a dumpster. I was sad that I could not salvage them. This was my chance at redemption. I could not save their "parents" but I could find new homes for these "orphans". The guys filled up 3 boxes of Yucca shoots. I loaded the boxes in the back of my van to take home.

When I got home, I found that I could only use one box of plants. This left me with two boxes to find homes for. I felt like a child with a box of kittens as I knocked on my neighbors' doors. I was not having any luck until I saw my next door neighbor and his mother who just came to their house to babysit. While these neighbors are not gardeners, it turns out Grandma was happy to take a box off my hands.

That left me with one box. I called David this morning and it turns out he had a spot at his house that was in need of drought-loving, low-maintenance landscape plants. He came to pick them up.

As I waved goodbye to my last group of babies, I was glad I was able to come to their rescue, and find them homes. I then had an 80's flashback to my college days and remembered the time my friends and I "saved" a plant from a campus bar.

An African Violet Named "Ursula"

My memory is a bit fuzzy. It was many years ( and beers!) ago. I was out with a group of my friends at our favorite campus bar, The Thirsty I. We were celebrating a birthday. I don't remember whose. After several pitchers of beer and "chair dances" later, we began to dance with the African Violet that was the centerpiece on our table.

My friend Mindy and I decided that our plant-centerpiece was not happy and needed to be rescued. We enlisted some guys that were waiting outside the bar. When the coast was clear, we handed the plant outside the window to our waiting friends.

We then exited the bar and were re-united with the newly liberated African Violet. We named her Ursula and took her bar-hopping. After what was probably the most fun night of her life, Ursula went home with Mindy and her roommate. I'm not sure whatever happened to Ursula. She may have had her life shortened by alcohol poisoning..... College life, go figure. Come to think of it, we may have been more of plant-nappers than rescuers. There is a statute of limitations on these things, right????

I'm not sure if this bar is still around but I am prepared to make full restitution. How about a box of Yucca plants?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pack Rat

Last week my my middle son announced that he needed to take a pillow to school. His fourth grade class was having a read-in as a prize for their fundraising efforts. Of course he waits to tell me this until five minutes before having to catch the bus! I quickly found an old pillow and was scrambling to find a large shopping bag.

" Don't we have any large shopping bags?!!!" I exclaimed in frustration.

" You can try my bed." my oldest son volunteered with a reluctant look on his face.

I ran upstairs to check his bed. Sure enough he had a large plastic bag from Macys tucked in a corner of his headboard. He also had a smaller one from Barnes & Nobel. What the hell is he doing? Running a shopping network?

The Home Shopping Bedwork
My two older boys share a room. To maximize the space, we bought loft beds so that the boys can have their desks and dressers underneath. My 10 year old prefers to sleep on top of his comforter with a Sponge Bob blanket on top. This way he doesn't have to make his bed. I don't complain because this is also less work for me.

I had noticed that my oldest is a pack rat and had a tendency to stash "treasures"in the gaps between his headboard and the mattress. As long as there are no food items, I have been o.k. with this. Today I decided to take an inventory.

  • a Rubric's Cube
  • Pokemon Cards
  • a set of miniature 8" tall football goal posts
  • a head lamp for reading
  • wallet
  • another book - SO YOU WANT TO BE AN INVENTOR
  • over a dozen clothing tags that "looked cool"
  • an electronic quiz game
  • Pajamas
  • a pair of gym shorts
  • a shopping bag ( minus the one I took)
  • a plastic Ninja sword hanging from one of the bedposts

My son came up just as I was finishing my list. " Whatcha doing? " he asked.

" Making a list of what you have in your bed." I answered back.

He peered over my shoulder and made a few corrections. " Make that two headlamps. " he said. " And you need to add a deck of cards."

" Why a deck of cards? " I inquired, as if everything else made sense. " What do you play?"

He told me that he used them to play War against himself. I guess this way he always wins.....Or does he? Do you think I should make him clean out his bed?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Santa Claus, the Nutcracker & the Tooth Fairy

Last Saturday afternoon, I came home to find my 6 year old son writing a wish list for Santa with a little help from his 9 year old brother.

I want all the Attactixs and Littlest Pets, a plastic Diamond, a set of Playdow a X-Box 360, a Wii and a Game Cube, a play station four and three and two and one.

I read his list and was surprised at all the electronic games he asked for. I guess he was trying to make up for our lack of video games.

"Why are you starting your list so early this year?" I asked.

Apparently the night before , he and his brother went to Walmart with their dad. It is not even Halloween yet and the stores are starting to put out Christmas merchandise. Well it worked!

My youngest saw lots of things that he wanted but realized they were " too pricey" to ask for from Dad. However, Santa usually comes through for him!

There was one item on the list that had me puzzled. " Why do you want a plastic diamond?" I asked.

" For my Nutcracker!" he responded " So that he looks nice."

I did notice that he had hung some Mardi Gras breads and a bracelet on his wooden friend. I guess the toy soldier is in need of more bling.

The Nutcracker was a gift from last Christmas.

Last year, I was given tickets to take my family to the Nutcracker. My two older boys had already seen it and declined. " It was sooo boring! I tried to make myself fall asleep!" my oldest son gave as his reason. My middle child agreed.

My youngest had not seen the Nutcracker and welcomed the chance to have a fancy night out with Mom & Dad. I bought him a cute 3 piece outfit with an argyle sweater vest, plaid shirt and corduroy pants. We had great seats and he was taken with the colorful characters and scenery.
At intermission I had thought about buying my child a Nutcracker but the lines were long and prices were a tad high. I opted for the concession stand instead.

The next day, I asked my friend David to keep an eye out for any deals on Nutcrackers when he was out and about. He found a two foot tall one for $10 at a local discounter. This was a great deal!!!

When this toy soldier magically appeared under our tree, my youngest knew who this was for! The Nutcracker became his favorite toy and went everywhere with this child. He kept guard in the bedroom, sometimes ending up in bed and when he went in the car, he was seat-belted in his own seat. The Nutcracker received so much "love" that an arm fell off and had to be re-attached.

When the Toothfairy was a no-show, the Nutcracker was blamed.

Last night I saw the Nutcracker stationed outside my son's bedroom door. I did not think much about it until this morning when my youngest boy woke up, looked under his pillow, got out of bed and angrily confronted his two foot tall friend.

"Bad Nutcracker! You scared her away!"

I then remembered that my son lost a tooth last night. Apparently he put the soldier outside of his room so he wouldn't scare the tooth fairy away.

" He probably scared her away!" I told him. " Nutcracker needs to be put in our room. Remember?" I was proud of my quick recovery.

" Oh yeah." he replied as he picked up his friend and put him in our bedroom.

Since this past Christmas, when the tooth fairy failed to show right away, this toy was blamed for scaring her away. We solved that problem by temporarily putting the Nutcracker out of our child's room and into the parental bedroom where my husband and I would trip over him on our way to bed. This always has a funny way of insuring that money and teeth will be exchanged overnight.

Tonight, on my way to bed, I spied our wooden "scapegoat" and reminded my husband that the tooth fairy needs to come tonight.

"Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive”. Sir Walter Scott