Saturday, May 17, 2008


OK so here I am back at Momma's like I am every weekend. It's 4:45 PM and we are eating the meal that's too late to be lunch and too early to dignify with the name supper. Just for the record the other meal earlier was also between normal meal times.

Anyway, L's clock suddenly starts bleating from the other room. The same freaking alarm clock I turn off every Saturday afternoon. Can't help wondering though. Why would the alarm clock go off in the middle of the afternoon? Well, this time around the clock is blinking from a power outage and seems to believe the time is 12:03 which is still an odd time to have the alarm going off.

For the record, today I've gotten five containers out of the fridge for good. Two were leftovers that I combined into a new dish with the addition of a little canned soup and cheese, one was leftover bean salad, two were jars of applesauce and spaghetti sauce that had gone moldy. So while I've not washed any dishes (hey, I rinsed off or put to soak all the dishes we've used), I did do my part towards cleaning out the fridge. Anything from this meal left on Momma's plate will become dog food or compost.

And that's all the news that's fit to print. *grins*

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy Mother's Day Retrospect

I have two children, Sugar (32) and Kiddo (28). Yeah, I know that given their ages it stretches the imagination a bit when I say I'm 30 but just remember that I was a child bride.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. I love my kids but I'm finding the less I'm around them, the more I savor the times we have together. I can't help regretting that we didn't keep the doors locked when their father and I moved to the new house. I tried real hard to leave their stuff behind in the old house but their dad let them move it into the new house. Heck, we didn't even have the roof on when they were walking around in the upstairs bedrooms figuring out how they wanted to arrange their furniture. As I type this, Kiddo is asleep in the room above me.

Sugar lives with an elderly woman in town. Between teaching at Montessori and seeing that B has the help she needs, Sugar is kept pretty busy. Sunday she and I took time to just be together. We ate at a Chinese buffet and went and dug flowers out of a lady's yard. NO, we didn't steal them. *grins* We visited with the lady for maybe an hour, oohing and aahing over her handwork and then came home to have time with both Sugar's grandma's and assorted other family members. Kiddo came home for a short time (snuck away from work, he did), so I got to see both my offspring yesterday as well as having some time with Momma.

Momma was back in her right mind by yesterday and having a good time.

Twas a good day. My mother's day gift from the kids was a totally cool drum. Yeah, I know, most moms receive flowers or chocolates but I'm special. My kids got me a cool drum with a lizard on the head.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Another Weekend

Here I am, back at Momma's. It has all the makings of a long weekend.

I'm reminded of back when the children were young and Mrs. Brown was still our neighbor. We would go to visit her and take her small gifts from the kitchen or garden. I'd sit and listen to her stories. What comes back to me now are the stories she told of her husband's advancing dementia.

She said, "He'd sit out there in the lawn and point across the road carrying on about how they were rolling up that field and just carrying it off."
She said, "He doesn't drive any more. The last time he drove he swerved to avoid a truck that wasn't even there. I thought if he is seeing things that aren't there, is he seeing things that are?"

Momma is having mini strokes and they are more pronounced than they were. We think three this week. This morning she sits on the sofa snoozing. Between sleeps she says odd things.

"I think I've got it all messed up."
"If we avoid the lake we can go wherever we need to."
"There's a lot of people out there, are we going to church?"
"Someone's going across the lake." (which would make sense if there was actually someone out there in a boat)
"Now, is it time for me to start getting ready to go home?"
"Maybe I'm going to have to walk home, I don't know."
"Now that tall tree down there has a tree growing out of the side of it."
"I don't believe I want to walk on that lake."
"Who passed by me? Someone just passed by me."
"I don't know how we're going to when the time comes. They haven't done anything to get it ready." I look at her blankly confused. "When we walk, they haven't done anything. I guess we'll figure it out when the time comes."

God grant me the ability to laugh where others might cry, the tears to cry when I should, and the wisdom to know which I should do when.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Politically Correct

My brother, who was born in Kentucky, informed me it is no longer politically correct to call him a hillbilly. He says from now on when he has to declare his ethnicity on legal (or illegal) forms he is going to put down Appalachian American.

I've given this a lot of thought. I live in southern Appalachia but I wasn't born in the South. I reckon from now on, just to be politically correct, I'm gonna list myself as a Damnyankee (all one word). I've been told (by honest to God Southerners) that a Yankee is one of them consarn Northerners and a Damnyankee is one of them consarn Northerners who fergot to go back. Yep, that's me alright.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Looking Back

I was just over at Regurgitated Alphabets and now I'm eating a bit of humble pie. If you want to know more, go read her posts about Joe C. Anyway, she has set me thinking, remembering.

Ya'll know I'm a teacher. People who watch me work with these kids say I have so much patience. I remember back to when I lost my patience completely. (I'll save my rant about the "p" word for another post.)

I remember the year I fired one of my employers. Actually one of Sugar's employers since she was the one teaching the two little boys. Sugar is a really good teacher. She has a heart for the kids and a knack for reading right through their little games.

So she gets this little kid in for his first lesson and he doesn't want to do what she asks and says "I'll throw up." She looks at him and says "Fine, just be aware that after you throw up you will be cleaning it up because neither your mother or I will do that for you." The kid decided not to throw up after all.

Then a few weeks later she was sick and I got the kid. She had told me about his little power play and I was ready. The kid gets angry at one point in his lesson and starts slamming his violin around. Now, you don't abuse violins in my presence. I don't take it kindly. So I took it out of his hands and told him very firmly that he would not behave like that. I really don't remember a lot of what went on after that but the kid was behaving badly and his mother took him out of the room for a bit of hands on persuasion then brought him back and told him to apologize to me. Well he didn't want to do that. So I ended up on my knees in front of him with my arms over his shoulders just so he couldn't disappear. He finally spat out "I'm sorry." and I said "No you're not. I can't accept that apology." I ended up telling him that I loved him too much let him behave so badly. By the time the lesson was over, he had broken and cried, then apologized and I had hugged him and assured him he was forgiven.

The next week Sugar asked me what I had done to him because he was a changed boy.

We worked with him and his brother for several years, trying to help them overcome their anger issues. This was all well and good and they really did make good progress. Problem was, we couldn't completely counteract the influence of their parents.

During the years we taught them, Sugar went off for three months of training and I had all her students as well as my own. Once during that three months the mother went completely off on me. When I went home that day I thought she had quit and I'd never have to deal with her again and honestly, I wasn't unhappy about that. I spoke with Sugar on the phone and she begged me to not pitch them, that the boys needed us and so we had to put up with the mother. I came to understand that about once a month this mother would go off on Sugar, leaving her bawling her tender little heart out.

So Sugar came back from her training and resumed her teaching schedule, including these two boys. Again the mother went off on her one evening and she came home bawling her eyes out. I'd had enough. I told her she couldn't teach these boys any more. I called our music director and asked her to phone this mother and let her know that we would not be teaching them any more. The momma gets the phone call, calls me, I stand firm, tell her she's made Sugar cry for the last time, Sugar cries some more. She has finally reached the point that she doesn't want to take them back either. That night I had to take Kiddo to a recital that his teacher is playing on (making it required). Sugar has been crying and doesn't feel like going out publicly so reluctantly I leave her home alone. Fast forward to 11 PM. I am coming up my rural driveway and see headlights coming out. Think I panicked? You bet your booties I did. The oncoming vehicle pulls even with me and stops, guess who? The mother says she was just talking to Sugar and doesn't seem at all upset. My blood pressure is off the charts by now. I practically pull into the front yard and race into the house. My daughter is near fetal position on the floor and has obviously been crying for hours!

The next day the mother phones me and spends hours, using every argument in the book to try and get us to take them back. She is obviously accustomed to getting her way. She hasn't reckoned with me though. You can usually push me pretty far. I'm a bit of a pussy. BUT... There comes a point where I not only won't be pushed any farther, but I will push off in a direction you don't expect.

So, the time came when I had been pushed too far. It is possible I would have let them come back if the woman hadn't come out to the house and battered my daughter for hours while I was off with her brother. Don't mess with my babies.

I feel bad for the kids. I know that we were an influence for good in their lives. Maybe, though, the mother needed that lesson. Maybe that lesson will somehow filter down to the boys and they will be better for it.

OK so there wasn't much humor in this once you get past the kid threatening to throw up, but that at least is still as funny to me as it was the first time Sugar told me about it.