Thursday, June 27, 2013

All Over But The Shouting!

Well, I'm relieved and relatively happy now too, as the appraisal on my house and property is now over and done with!

I've been pretty much a nervous wreck trying to get things accomplished to make the house generally appear a bit nicer but man, that's one stiff ticket to write, ya know -especially with all the boxes and stuff sitting around that are part of Mandy's impending move, plus the general upheaval that comes in a matter of minutes, sometimes, with a seven-year-old and an almost ten-year-old loose in their respective bedrooms!

Both the kids informed me this morning -well about noon -that their rooms were all picked up. I'm so glad I didn't go upstairs and check that out or I would have been downing several xanax tablets in a row to calm my frazzled nerves. (In case you're wondering, my version of "cleaned up" and their versions -definitely do not match! They don't even come close to thinking about matching or meshing!

But anyway, it's done. And on a wing and a prayer -maybe a lot of prayers will be needed, I really don't know how the place fared with the appraiser although she did seem to like the dimensions, plus that the windows are fairly new throughout the house, furnace is pretty new too, fully insulated now as well so I hope those are enough plus things to carry me through to the end of this process now!

Then, by the Grace of all that's good and plentiful, one of the first things I'm going to do -after hopefully being able to take care of one really major house job (translate "roof"), I'm going to figure out some way to take care of some of the issues of PC performance and maybe, hopefully, add to the G-space (I think that's what it would be called -increasing the number of gigabytes this unit has) and maybe this puppy will last a few more years for me then!

Just so all of the efforts leading up to today and the plans for some repairs I need to get taken care of, want to tend to, don't all end up as a "wish in one hand and crap in the other and see which one fills up first" type episode, ya know!

So with that in mind, I'm off to relax by getting my dishes washed up and supper fixed for Mandy, the kids, Carrie and Alex will also be here for supper tonight -so we can then relax a bit more, kick back with some popcorn or cake (pineapple cake with vanilla icing that I made at 11 p.m. last night) and wait to get the news, hopefully next week sometime, as to whether I'm home free or have to look at the aspect of becoming homeless!

Pray for the former to be the one, will ya please?

Crazy, Crazy and Funny Too!

This week has been more than a bit on the nutso-whacko side!

Starting with Sunday afternoon when my ex-son-in-law came down and was supposed to get the kids however, before he could do anything, he had to work on my car and repair a broken brake line! (It went out on me Saturday night as I was leaving Philipsburg and I had to drive the 12 miles to home with very little brake power on the car. But, believe it or not, I managed and didn't have to use the brakes -and then, just very sparingly, until I made the descent into Grassflat. Fun and games, ya know. No, not quite but interesting, that's for sure.

So anyway, after Bill got my car fixed with a lot of help from Kurtis -and even a little from Maya too -he then had to check our weed eater as well as our lawn mower -neither of which has been used in over 2 years!

Found the problem with the weed eater, then got the lawn mower up and running and by that time, it was going on 8 p.m.

I was so impressed with his getting the lawn mower to work -and since it is also a self-propelled and Bill told me how to make it work properly so you really don't have to push it hard or slough through really high weeds and grass, I decided to check it out by cutting some of the patches that the kid who had been doing our mowing had been missing when he did the lawn.

Major announcement here about me running the lawn mower as it was the first time in over 11 years that my hands have touched a lawn mower! How's that for avoidance of summer work?

Monday evening, the neighbor's nephew, who is now going to be our regular lawn mower person, came down to work on weed eating the ditch area and he really did a bang-up job on that! I got the lawn mower out and started working -again -on the really high patches present and got a good bit of that mowed down too. Then Mandy joined us and began raking up the grass, loading it into a wheel barrow and letting Kurtis then take the wheel barrow down to the big burn pile and dump the grass there. He was totally enjoying "working" and helping Mom and Gram and Nathan.

When Nathan left, after Mandy and I had both commended him for a job very well done, we came inside and Kurt came in the kitchen door -stopped in the middle of the kitchen and he hollered out to us "Hey! Great job, Everyone!" (We figure he probably overheard us telling Nathan that and so, decided it was an appropriate thing for him to say then too!

It's been busy here between play practice every evening in Philipsburg for 2 1/2 hours for Maya and running back and forth to get her there and picked up and the kids fed too in the process. Very hectic, for sure.

Tuesday afternoon was my day for the June luncheon with several girls from my high school class. There were five of us from my class plus one girl who graduated two years behind us and she brought her granddaughter along too. We met this month at a new restaurant here -"Six Yellow Chairs" which is located in the old K&J Coal Office out in Lanse. A very nice new addition to the area, attractive, good food and needless to say we all had a great time sharing news as well as lots of memories too of those good old days!

The weather turn crappy on us while we started to enjoy our lunch with a lot of thunder, very black skies and storm clouds and a lot of illumination too from the lightning flashes -the main thing I truly hate and cringe when we have a bad storm! Three of us had to sit and wait inside for the storm to begin to subside a bit before we could then make a dash to the parking lot to our cars and leave!

I had to then head over the mountains to State College to the Building Supply center where my older daughter's fiance works and pick up a box of ceiling tiles so that a friend of Mandy's could come down here Wednesday a.m. to fix the drop ceiling in the bathroom. It's called getting ready for the appraisal, ya know.

Wednesday morning, the excitement around here continued though.

Mandy was up around 6 a.m. to get ready to go to work and was doing a little playing on the computer when her thoughts were interrupted by a loud, crackling sound. She turned around and as she looked out the front window, she saw a big old branch from the maple tree in front of the house drifting down to the ground in the front yard!

I even have a photo of the tree branch laying in the front yard however, I can't find it on any of my photo files now on the computer! It shows up on my Kodak Easy share but not in any of the files in my Photo gallery! Go figure that one out!

Anyway, yesterday morning, Elizabeth stopped by and dropped her boys -all three of them - off here and while they were here, Kurtis surveyed the tree situation and came in to tell me that he was "Pretty sure if the family all works together, we can move that tree branch down to the burn pile!"

And with that, 7-year-old Kurtis and the 8-year-old twins -none of which are extremely big kids -took off and the three of them did drag and push the branch down and got it loaded onto the burn pile!

How's that for a show of perseverance and determination plus ambition too!

I was really proud of those three boys and the efforts that it took for them to take care of that branch.

Now, let's hope for a calmer day today!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Sunshine Fun!

Today, the kids and I were supposed to go to a big event at the local park here -a tournament of Little League ball teams from around the area along with games and some other fun activities plus, something else really important (to me, anyway), a chance to get some good foods -like Haluski and Halupki and pierogies too!

This event started at 10 a.m. and I believe it was to run until 6 p.m. However, due to some other issues here at home that I was having, we were a tad late getting there!

My day began to go slightly awry around 11:30-noonish, when we were walking the dog as I started getting severe cramps in my abdomen. This is not really unusual as it does happen from time to time but today's were exceptionally strong while I was walking. When we got home they seemed to ease up for a bit but then around 2 p.m. they started up again and until they finally let up around 3, there was no way I was going to take the kids out to the park and spend time standing there while in that kind of pain.

The kids were a bit anxious to go though because my son's girlfriend's twin boys both play on the local Little League team and the kids wanted to see them play and also, to be able to cheer them on.

I hadn't planned to go out to the park to spend all day there as I knew no matter what or how I felt, my system wouldn't have been very appreciative to me for being out for about 6 hours in the hot sun and the humidity factors ongoing today wouldn't have helped that matter. But, I hadn't figured we would be as late getting there as we were either.

If we'd arrived there even by noon, I still would have needed a good pair of costa del mar sunglasses along with a whole bunch of sunblock for the kids and myself, that's for sure!

But getting there as late as we did, we missed all the ball games that were involved in today's tournament. However, my son informed me that the team the twins play on took the championship for today! So the boys were both very happy and excited over that!

Truthfully, I think Maya and Kurt would have been a bit bored with the ball games as neither of them has clue one about the game of baseball so they wouldn't have understood much about that then.

But getting there when we did, they still had enough time to use some extra tickets that Elizabeth (my son's girlfriend) had purchased for the boys so that gave Maya and Kurtis some time then to play some of the "games of chance" that the sponsors of the event had planned. And the nice thing about that is that Kurtis won a prize while playing two of the games and Maya won a prize at playing one of the same games as Kurt has been successful with!

Here's Maya, playing the little "fishing" game. Kurtis had had a fun time playing that game too.

Here's Kurtis showing off both his prizes. He sure was proud as a little peacock that he won these little things!

And here's both of them displaying their prizes. (Maya actually won at another game but by the time she got there, many of the games had actually run out of prizes so she had to be satisfied with the one prize she got. (The twins were disappointed too when they were playing the games as they had concentrated heavily on a game that the prize was a goldfish for each game the kid won and they had their hearts set on winning enough goldfish to expand their aquarium at home but the fish supply had been taking a heavy hit and I don't know if they even got any goldfish, although they had won enough were they should have received 12 goldfish!)

So even though we got off to a very sluggish, somewhat painful start (for me anyway) and were late arriving, both kids still managed to have a very enjoyable afternoon at the Memorial Tournament today!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Eminent Departure

Looks like it won't be much longer now and I will be residing here alone.

Mandy got word yesterday that their application to rent some house down in the Harrisburg vicinity has now been approved and they can pick up the keys to that place on July 1st.

When, exactly, they will be actually facilitating this full move is still unknown to me. But, as you can well imagine, I am totally dreading the day they do move away from me.

The grandkids are like most all other kids of their age ranges -9, almost 10 and turning into a bit of a smart mouth at times and age 7 and learning how he can also bedevil his sister as well as others around him too. Nothing unusual in that is there?

 They can also be so doggone sweet and innocent along with really comical at times too -and it's those actions of theirs I am going to miss the most.

Yesterday however, with the two of them here was one of those days that I don't particularly relish as it was filled with a whole lot of nitpicking, tattling on each other over NOTHING, absolutely nothing and in general, pretty much driving me to the brink!

At one point yesterday, when the three of us took Sam for his walk, we walked a bit further than we normally do -out along Cooper Two Road -and once again, I was deluged then with questions -all kinds of questions but primarily this time the topic was about the mines that used to be located out along that road.

Between them about wearing me out with all the questions and also, walking a lot further than usual, by last evening, I was really tired and it was most noticeable in the aching of my back and legs. So I asked Maya if she would please rub some lotion on my legs to try to alleviate some of the discomfort I was experiencing.

She went and got a tube of lotion and as she began to put it on my legs, she asked me if she would get anything for doing this for me -meaning was I going to pay her anything for her being nice to me.

I laughed at her and told her that she had already gotten paid for her efforts. Confused, she asked me how that could be.

So I told her, "Well, I cooked supper for you and saw that you were fed, then I took you to Philipsburg for your play practice and finally, I didn't kill you or your brother when you were acting bad all most all day!"

Amazing how quickly she got quiet then!

Getting Ready....

Well, things are definitely moving right along now with the Reverse Mortgage thing!

I just need now to phone the realtor in this area who will do the appraisal and then wait for that to get over and done with. After that, things should get finalized rather quickly.

Now, here's hoping the appraisal goes well! Please don't let her see all kinds of things that are part of the house (and its little quirks, ya know) that will deter from the home's value.

Wish an appraisal of one's home would be more like taking a gem someplace -like for diamond engagement rings to be given the one-over and the true value be determined somehow like that.

To me, this old house is worth way more than can ever be determined by putting a dollars and cents tag on it as it contains memories that are absolutely priceless for me.

Wish there were a way to put a value on those many, many memories and have them included in the value of the house.

I'd really be sitting pretty if that could happen, ya know!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Questions -by the Miles...

Really, I should be used to some things by now, wouldn't you think?

But when it comes to the kids -my grandkids here, Kurt and Maya -nothing should be unexpected!!!

The other night, when I took Sam out for an evening walk, Kurtis went with me. Holding my hand the whole time as we walked and also, asking more questions that you could shake a stick at too.

And these were not easy questions the boy was asking me either. Frankly, they made me feel really, really stupid as I had no way to respond to him with a reasonable answer to many of his queries.

"Gram -what makes the sky the color that it is?" And dummy Gram replies with what was to be pretty much the standard answer that evening -"I don't know, Kurtis."

Then it went to questions about the clouds and the sun and where is the sun, how hot is the sun, where does this road go and why is it here? What was here before this What kind of tree is that? How do apples grow? Does this tree grow fruit?

"Can we go see the pretty rocks?" To which question I had to stop and ask him what the heck pretty rocks was he talking about anyway? Turned out the rocks he wanted to see are big stones of gravel-type, used to create a drainage ditch down from the backfill that took place a couple of years back down along the road to Peale -the local ghost town!

Along the walk, I pointed out to him some Mountain Laurel bushes like the one in front of our house except these had already begun to bloom a bit and he was fascinated by those pretty blossoms.

Today, he and Maya and I set out around 1 p.m. to take Sammy for a walk as well as to drop off a  birthday gift for my friend, Kate, who lives two doors down the road from me. Turned out that Katew as not home this afternoon though so we left her present on the porch swing and she can retrieve it when she gets home. I'm thinking maybe Jim -her husband -may have taken her out to lunch perhaps to give her an early celebration of her birthday.

After leaving her house, we headed on down the road but today, we veered off what has become my normal path and walked out to the foot of Cooper Mountain on Cooper Two Road before we turned around to come back towards home.

And the whole time we were walking, I was being bombarded with qyestion after question after question!

Don't get me wrong because I am actually very happy that both the kids are as inquisitive as they are.

But I do wish they would find some questions that Gram has a clue about how to answer them without fabricating a whopper of a story in the process!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Signed and Sealed....

Well, things are nearing completion now. I have completed all the paperwork and just have one last form -signed by yours truly -to drop in the mail in the morning and then wait for a phone call from the appraiser to set a date for having my property appraised.

Please say some prayers that the value in the appraisal is good and true and high, as well!

In case you weren't aware of what's going on here, I am in the process now of applying for a reverse mortgage on my property which will give me the ability then to remain living in my house but not have to worry about payments on the mortgage I have on the place.

The main requirements for me are that I be over 62 years of age -check that I qualify easily for that -and that I maintain the property taxes and home owners insurance too on the place. In addition to that, I have to remain in residence here -fulltime -for a minimum of one year, at least. My intent -hopefully it will work this way -is for me to be able to stay here as long as I am able to take care of myself!

Or, as my late aunt always said about her and her house (which had been my Dad's family's homestead) that the only way she intended to ever leave that house was to be carried out of it. And she almost did that too. Well, actually, she was "removed" from the house because it was unsafe for her and her daughter to stay there alone as they both really needed to be in a nursing home so she was, in essence, carried out but she didn't go quietly.

Nope! She went kicking and screaming pretty much the whole time and who knows, but that might be me too someday.

At least, one thing I don't have to worry about is filing bankruptcy or anything like that with this reverse mortgage. And I definitely don't have to concern myself over things like Delaware bankruptcy laws - primarily because I live a state away -in Pennsylvania!

So now, I'm just waiting for the phone call and to get the appointment set up for the appraisal and then, things should be all completed.

I'm definitely ready now to take this next big step in my life!

Sweet Lola Rae!

Today, I had the fun and joy of taking the stepgranddaughter, Katie, and her little baby girl, Lola Rae, to Lola's 4-month check-up.

I apologize for not having shared very many pictures on here of my great-granddaughter, but I haven't really had much of a chance to get any pictures of her with my camera. Mandy has posted quite a few photos on her Facebook of Lola but that's because she has a camera on her cell phone and heaven knows, she definitely does not go anywhere but what she doesn't have that cell phone glued to her body someplace!

All the questions the doctor had for Katie about Lola and the markers she's at now for her age were good -no raised eyebrows by the pediatrician at all! Seems Lola has grown 3 inches and gained 3 pounds in the two months since her last check-up and the doctor said she is in the 67th percentile in terms of height for a baby her age.

The drawback to today's visit was, as it normally is with babies and these check-ups in that Lola got some shots today. Katie was semi-prepared for her to throw a royal fit, screaming, holding her breath -the whole nine yards ya know and when she put her down on the examining table, she turned to me and told me that as yet, she had never held Lola and watched them give her shots before.

The look then in Katie's eyes -well, I can understand how she felt since I've been down that road before with three babies of my own plus, with Maya and Kurtis too. I asked her if she wanted me to hold her and try to comfort her and she nodded her head that would be a good idea.

And so, there I was, holding her little wrists to try to keep her from moving around too much and thus, making the shot process a bit more painful in the process. First off, they gave her some type of oral meds that I don't recall what that was for and when they first tried to put the syringe in her mouth, she objected a bit until she got a taste of the stuff. Then, she settled right down, allowed the nurse to give her the whole thing and smacked her little lips after each little bit more hit her tongue and lips!

The shots went as can be expected with her letting out a very loud shriek almost instantaneously but as soon as they were done and Lola was picked up and cuddled, she calmed down almost immediately!

Katie was shocked as she said the last time she got shots she screamed bloody murder and also, held her breath too for what seemed to Kate to be at least 5 minutes! Pretty much a typical reaction though from little babies where injections are the plan of the day.

But anyway, when we got back to Katie's apartment, I did manage to get three snapshots of little Lola and wanted to share them with you so you can all see how adorable she really is and that way, you'll know I'm not lying to you when I write about her from time to time!

The bottom picture of these three is my favorite as I love the looks she gets on her face so often -very quizzical much of the time, she seems to be and these were all taken after she'd had the needle procedure so you can see she was a happy little camper then after all!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Wish in One Hand....

There's something missing in my life. For openers, I wish I could put my finger on exactly what it is but I can't -not completely, anyway.

Actually, truth be told, there really are several things missing in my life and some that are about to become part of the missing things too sometime in the fairly near future, I guess. I'm not really of a mood to discuss the upcoming "missing" things as I'm too busy either trying to condition myself for when the time comes to say goodby or else I'm simply trying to ignore the facts there in hopes that by wishing really really hard, it will all go away and turn out to be just a bad dream.

Okay -in my view, a nightmare I guess would be more accurate a description. But I'm trying NOT to think of it that way.

I'd love to find a job -just about any kind of job would do except one that is fulltime as I don't think I could easily readjust to working that many hours every week right off the bat anyway.

Heck, I'm not even sure if I can handle 20-25 hours a week, of maybe 4-6 hours a day either but I'd like to find something that wouldn't be too physically demanding but rather, would utilize some of the other skills, talents and knowledge (I think I do have some knowledge in that round object that rests on my shoulders) don't 'cha know?

But what is it that I am capable of doing anyway?

Apparently nothing it would appear.

Or at least there is nothing showing in the want ads nor on any of the job sites I get e-mails from that offer anything along the lines of those "skills, talents and knowledge" words I mentioned above.

Now this is where the wishful thinking comes into play tonight.

I really wish the lady who had owned/operated the little monthly newsletter in this area would find it within her powers to start that little newsletter up again!

I loved doing various articles for her, for the newsletter! I truly loved it! It gave me something of consequence to work on, to learn all kinds of neat things about the area where I live, to delve into more and more of the local history here and also, a chance to talk to lots of different people as well!

It was utopia for me. Yes, it truly was!

Maybe I should talk to her and tell her she might be interested in looking into something like for web to print to see if she could see any potential to something like that to get the newsletter running and rolling off the printers once again?

I dunno if she's even still interested in trying to revitalize it again or not but I do know this much that a whole lot of locals here still ask me if there's any possibility that she might reinstate it again!

Kind of nice ya know, after 5-6 years of not writing anything that is going to be printed for more than family, friends or blogger friends to read to walk into a store or down the street and have someone ask you if you're ever going to write anything again, ya know.

Maybe the wishful thinking is just that I want my ego to get a boost?

Could be, that is the case but then again, is there really anything wrong with that?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Best Possible....

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this before but today, reading all the "Happy Father's Day" wishes on Facebook got me thinking about the way my life has been -with respect to my Dad.

I never knew him and he only saw me once before he died. I was ten days old when he saw me and a week later he died of stomach cancer. So I had no father to be there for me, beside me, to wish Happy Father's Day to, to celebrate birthdays or Christmas with and many other things that kids in a normal family setting can usually enjoy.

But at least my Dad's absence was not something he was able to step in and do anything about and that -compared to how a whole lot of kids today grow up -makes a lot of difference in the perceptions one may grow up with concerning a parent that is absent.

I did though have a whole lot of surrogate fathers in my life and in that respect, I consider myself to have been extremely lucky.

First and foremost, there was my maternal grandfather and my Mom and I lived with him and my maternal grandmother until he died when I was a little over 12 years old. I adored him!

He was, unlike me, a quiet man -very soft-spoken. His voice, when he sang, was a beautiful bass and all my life, I have always been drawn to men who have deep but low and rather quiet voices. Way back, when I was in high school and was one of the worst organists our church has ever had, I was also the "choir director" then too and I used to make sure the men in our choir who sang bass sat right next to the organist's bench so I got the full impact of their beautiful tones and music!

My Grandpa was also quite a gardener too. Every spring, he planted as large a vegetable garden as our open lots here would/could hold! Potatoes, corn, cabbage, tomatoes, leaf lettuce, peas, carrots, green beans, beets, cucumbers and acorn squash were the items I remember he always had in his garden. He also had a separate patch set aside for strawberries and a nice row too of raspberry bushes along side a couple of currant bushes and a rhubarb patch! And whatever he planted, always did well and grew easily -or so it seemed -for him! Me? I now plant a little bit of a garden in my plot that is maybe 9x10 foot in size or so but in which things sometimes grow -more often than not, they don't do all that well sometimes. But, I keep trying. This year, so far, I have only planted some yellow summer squash, a small row of cucumbers, two short rows of green beans and lettuce, of the leaf variety just like he always grew, of course. I also got 4 zucchini plants this year and got them planted last week so maybe I'll have a little luck with them as they generally seem to grow almost like wildfire for everyone else around here and who knows, maybe they will do okay then for me.

Grandpa also had a lot of flower beds around this place -in front of the house, along the east side of the house, over in the side yard -where he planted all kinds of flowers and they too, like the vegetables he planted year after year, also thrived under his skilled hands. His prize flowers though were a row of rose bushes he had growing in the front of the lot adjacent to our house along with a rose bush that grew along a trellis in front of the sunporch -right by the window there where Grandpa always sat, with the window wide open in the summer and the aroma of roses would waft through the sun porch over the time that plant would bloom. The rose bushes are long gone now -don't really know exactly when -or how -they disappeared, but they did. One of the rose bushes was a yellow rose that he planted and it was supposed to be my rose bush because he knew I loved yellow roses. Doubtful that I will ever try my hand at growing any roses anytime though as my reputation around here concerning flowers is to "Take 'em home, nurse 'em and kill 'em" as my one neighbor likes to say about my lack of a green thumb!

There are two things my Grandfather taught me though and that I do love. He loved to read and passed that love on to me and he also loved history and somehow, he shared that passion with me too!

When I was a kid -about 9-10 years old -one of my Dad's brothers, who was very talented musically -loaned me a fiddle he had that was stored in the attic of my Dad's family homestead so I could take violin lessons from the music teacher we had at our school. Thankfully for Grandpa, his hearing had begun to deteriorate or I'm afraid he might have not been very happy to witness my practice session on the violin! Anyone who has ever had to listen to someone just trying to learn to play that instrument can understand what I mean when I say how terrible the sound and musical quality was that I got out of that fiddle! But Grandpa would sit and listen to me struggling to get even just one note out correctly and not his head then, telling me, "You're doing good, Kid!" My Mom meanwhile was probably searching for something to make her self a set of ear plugs to prevent her from hearing the racket!

In addition though to my Grandpa, I also had some of the very best uncles ever put on the planet who were from time to time, surrogate Dad's to me. My Mom had three brothers -Bert, Ralph and Clarence (aka Cookie) plus both her sisters were married so from them I acquired two more uncles -Albin and Ed. On my Dad's side I had more uncles - Eck (Scottish for Alex), George, Rab (Scottish for Robert), Bill and Arch plus the uncles I acquired via my three aunts marriages -"Hungry," Jonesy and Bob! I never knew my Uncle Bill as he died back in 1930 from a kidney ailment and complications from losing his leg in a mine accident his first day in the mines and my Uncle George, I never knew him either as he lived about 90 miles from here, had a family of 10 children and died when I was five. Of the other uncles though, Uncle Arch was the one who really looked after me the most along with my Dad's sisters -who spoiled me a good bit too whenever they got a chance. Uncle Arch had the sweetest smile of anyone I can think of and came up to about my chin I think! I generally felt a bit like a giant around my Dad's family as they were all very short and also, usually a good bit on the slim and trim side too whereas I apparently inherited my Mom's Swedish genes as I was taller than all my relatives on my Dad's side of the family at a whooping 5'6"! Didn't really take much to be taller than people who ranged in height from 4'9 to 5'4" ya know!

I also gathered others who I pretty much was around enough growing up to consider them to be like father-figures to me too. There was our neighbor 2 doors over -Howard -and our next door neighbor, Cyril, both who had children my age and around my age and I camped at their houses frequently enough that maybe either one of them could or should have been able to claim me as a dependent on their income taxes each year! Cyril and his wife had 13 children -11 girls and 2 boys -and Howard's family consisted of three girls and two boys. Those two families always treated me as much like a member of their family as they possibly could without my completely moving in with them, lock, stock and barrel. They, along with the other families along this road, pretty much treated every one of the kids who grew up on this street though in that same manner. Thus, as an adult much later in life, when Hilary Clinton wrote the book about It Takes a Family - and got so much flack for it too -that I wished I could talk to her and tell her about the neighborhood and the people who lived here, around me then (and now too) to show her how right she was in her assertion about raising kids!

All of those people I mentioned above here are now long gone. My kids only got to know a couple of my uncles but the did get to know Howard and Cyril -my neighbors and they had their own special names for those two men and their wives. Howard and his wife, they called "Little Grandpa and Little Grandma" because one of their granddaughters -who was friends with my older daughter, called them that and for Cyril and his wife, they called them "Pap and Grammie Little!" Pap and Grammie's one granddaughter was married to my ex-husband's brother so, of course my nieces and nephew called their great-grandparents that and as a result then, my kids called them that too! And the neat thing was that in both cases, these people who had treated me like a daughter, also treated my kids like they were also their grandchildren too! So my kids ended up growing up and loving pretty much the same family, the same friends, as I had done too!

So today, on Father's Day, to my Grandpa, my uncles, my surrogate fathers and yes, to my Dad too, wherever you are now, I hope you all are having a grand celebration for Father's Day and that maybe you can somehow touch others on the shoulder to pass along the love and consideration you alway gave to me so that someone else whose Dad is missing can know that caring feeling too, some way!


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Running Amuk

Okay - so last night, I finally gave in and took Sammy -the mutt -into the bathroom to give him a good, really good, scrub-down! This was something that was out of necessity not just to give him a bath to clean him up, generally, but to get rid of the stink he had about him that was so strong, if he laid anywhere near you in a given room, it provided an aroma that would have a person up and looking around all over the place for some pile of doo-doo that you were convinced he had to have deposited at some juncture!

 Phew! The smell was worse that the manure smell you get when the farmers prep their fields in the spring, ya know!

So after a couple latherings and running the shower hose on him to rinse all the suds from the flea/tick shampoo plus a dose of the odor-removing oatmeal shampoo we also have for him, he was very ready to get out of the tub.

 Jumping out, it was all I could do to grab him and throw an old beach towel over him to try to sop up some of that water he was hell-bent on shaking off all over the bathroom! Finally got him a little dried off -very little, actually but enough to turn him loose and away he went racing and chasing through the living room, dining room, kitchen, after both the cats trying to get them enticed into his big game of rip and tear around.

At one point, he hopped up on the couch and then promptly burrowed his nose under the pillows along the back of the couch so as to be able to flip each pillow off he couch and on to the floor. Both Mandy and I were cracking up watching all the acrobatics he was doing in his jumping and racing and chasing around the house to the point we were thinking another move like the backflip he seemed to be trying to do and we were going to have to invest in some kind of orthopedic dog beds for him in the very near future!

 He really is comical though to watch how he reacts when he gets a little suspicious that Mandy or I are planning on giving him a bath as he will start to sort of slink around the house, looking for a hiding place, it seems. Then, when you get him into the bathroom and have the water running in the tub, he is very calm and will follow you right to the tub and hop in and then stand there, so patient and quiet, waiting to get the ordeal over and done with!

But boy, as soon as he gets out of that tub, it must do a heck of a good job on refreshing and re-energizing him because then, he's definitely off and running, romping all over the place!

And he does provide some darned good entertainment then in the process!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Count Is On....

How do you calculate the number of days of your kids' summer vacation? Today is the last day of school for my older grandson -who will be a wise old-timer in the school game next fall when he returns there as big man on campus -a junior! Maya will be going into 4th grade and Kurtis, into 2nd -and neither of those seems possible to me to have gone by this quickly. Perhaps I'm not counting things correctly? Well, for me -about the only thing I do count would be the days, Monday thru Friday -which during the school term are "school days" and when their summer vacation begins, I count only those same weekdays then. So, by those calculations, today is Maya and Kurt's third day of their summer vacation! And thankfully, thus far today, we have had no major issues, no big fights, no whining, crying, moaning about life not being far. Sorry but I can's say the same for Day 1 and Day 2 though of their vacation time as both days, Maya got order to go to her room and "think about what was said (or done)" to warrant being exiled for a while! Part of the reason for the better behavior today though I attribute to the efforts of Miss Dawn (Kurt's TSS) who was willing to play "Hide and Seek" -in the house -with both kids. Kurt and Maya were totally enjoying this game although Maya sort of cheats a bit when she counts as she speeds her counting up to where the 30 seconds of counting turns out to be more like 15 seconds, or 20 tops. The only near calamity from their playing this game was the fact that all three of them did their counting out loud and it was interfering with some rather important counting I was doing -as I was counting stitches as I was knitting along, working on a "Feather and Fan" baby afghan! Don't believe that's a problem? You try counting in your head as you work each stitch -of 138 stitches on your needle -and upon hearing these other people counting loudly, see if it doesn't eventually throw you for a bit of a loop too! (And with this pattern -which does have a lot of little loopy-dos -the last thing I need it to come up with MY count being off! But the main thing through all of this is -for me -if the rest of the days of the kids' summer vacation proceed relatively smoothly -kind of like the past couple of days have been -I'll be a happy and very thankful Grammy! However, I do know from past experience, this is most likely going to turn out to have been pretty wishful thinking and that, most likely, will be something I really can count on!

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Reconstruction Ahead

Just in case I never mentioned this before -although I think I probably have at least alluded to this from time to time in the past -my son is a gear head!

It's just been in the past couple of years or so that I first heard this terminology but as I understand it, it applies to people who just totally love automobiles!

In my son's case, he's a bit of a Chevy or GM guy but his true love, in terms of cars, has to be Volkswagons and please, let them be old -preferably older than 25-30 years -and also, he prefers ones that would be called Baja Bugs!

He had an old VW when he first moved back to PA from Arizona back in 2000 that he had restored and I have to admit this but it was a cute little thing. It rather shocked a lot of the neighbors here -as well as a few other folks in this region too (like a certain town cop) because there was no hood (or cover) over the engine on that bug! As a matter of fact, one of the town cops in a small town a few miles from us pulled him over one day under the guise that he was operating that Bug illegally. And, the reason the cop figured that to be so was due mostly to the open-air process that my son had with that vehicle. (However, there were a couple things that were really illegal with it at that time too -like my son hadn't yet changed the car's registration from Arizona over to Pennsylvania -but the whole procedure of his getting pulled over really stemmed from the car's appearance.)

My son still has most of that car in his garage at his house but he's always -or so it seems -wheeling and dealing to trade things he has for more VW's that he finds along the way.

About 5 years ago, his Dad -who lives in Nevada -had a 1971 Chevy pickup truck that he had restored and he offered that truck to my son at a very good price. So, the boy flew out to Nevada to make arrangements with his Dad to buy that truck and then, he drove it cross-country to bring it back to Pennsylvania.. And let me tell you, he babied that truck -and he loved it too, ya know.

However, a few weeks ago, in his meanderings online, he came across a guy up in Michigan someplace who had an old VW for sale that caught my son's eye. After a few discussions back and forth about the VW and my son's truck, they decided to make a trade -my son's truck for this VW Bug!

To do this, my son had to rent a U-Haul trailer to tow his truck to Michigan on that and then, load the VW on there and tow it home. To be able to tow the trailer holding his truck, he then had to use his girlfriend's Dodge Ram pickup truck.

I was under the impression initially that the VW he was getting didn't even have a motor in it and I really thought my son had totally gone off his rocker to trade his pretty pristine Yellow truck for a vehicle that had no motor in it but thankfully, I learned after he got it home that it does have an engine in it and it works fine but the problem with this new-to-him-VW has to do with something under the car that needs to be replace -that is if he wants to run it as a sort of Baja Bug!

I have no idea what all he will have to replace there -has to do with the undercarriage and stuff that I generally pay absolutely no attention to whatsoever but at any rate, I figure this reconstruction process he's going to be doing on this Bug are probably going to call for a whole bunch of parts -like maybe stainless steel u bolts along with most likely a whole bunch of other things too! Better him than me having to go to all this work just to have what I would consider to be pretty much a glorified dune buggy! (That's my interpretation of this whole process anyway!)

When he was down here tonight for his pretty regular Sunday nite visit before he goes back to work for the coming week, I said something to him to remind him that next Sunday, being Father's Day, that he and his sisters better make sure to call their Dad then to wish him a Happy Father's Day. That's when he voiced to me his concern -sort of a concern he says -about calling his Dad as he's not sure if maybe his Dad might be upset with him for having traded the yellow truck that Dad had restored for this Volkswagon.

Hmmmm. I suppose that could be something to be a bit worried about but then he said maybe -he's hoping this anyway -his Dad will understand his motive(s) in making this wonderful (his thoughts on the trade) deal he got with the VW.

You see, apparently this "gear head" syndrome is a genetic thing because as I think about this now, that's very much the same terminology one could easily use to describe my son's Dad, along with his favorite uncle too! Both of them are "gear head" guys from way, way back! And both of them are, truth be told, very good at being masters of the gear head set too! Darned good mechanics, for sure!

My son isn't quite up to the same caliber in terms of being an automotive mechanic as are his Dad and his Uncle, but he does have the book knowledge that entails about everything and anything about Volkswagons!

Well, I suppose once he gets this VW now all fixed the way he wants it, he claims this one is "THE" one he wants to fix and keep and love!

Yeah, yeah! I've heard those lines before and it definitely is a family type thing this love of vehicles! Next up will probably be the grandson, Kurtis, who has a big dose of "gear head" in his genes as Kurt's Dad is also a Gear Head Guy!

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Notes From Home....

This past Sunday I had to run up to the local grocery store to pick up a Sunday paper as well as a sandwich from the deli there for my delightful lunch.

I gathered up the items I wanted/needed to purchase and got in the checkout line. As I reached into my purse to pull out my bank card, I felt a piece of paper on the top of my wallet. I pulled it out and glanced at it and could see it was a piece of floral note paper that Mandy and I have on the computer desk here.

Turning it over, I began to read the message written there and as I read, I started to snicker. By the time I finished ready the note, I was totally cracking up laughing.

There was a note, printed by Maya -my lovely but also vain and at times, more than a bit spoiled granddaughter and this is what the note contained.

"Things I need but I will NEVER get:
Hair tyes (not plastic) (that's her spelling of "ties")
Drummer shoes
Flip Flops

I showed the note to the cashier -who, by the way, is familiar with both my grandchildren, Maya and Kurt, and she looked up at me and asked "Did your Granddaughter write that?"

I told her yes and we both then had a great chuckle over Miss Maya's requests.

The drink thing at the top of her list of things she needs but will NEVER get is because every blessed time she and her brother get in my car, within 5 minutes, if that, of the car being in motion, Maya announces that she needs a drink and will I stop and get her something to drink -meaning juice or something along those lines. And each time we go through the same conversation with me explaining to her that no, I am not going to stop and run in the store and get her a drink every darned time the car engine starts up!

The hair ties is something that I figure some kid in her class must have some kind of special hair ties and Maya absolutely has to play the "Keep up with the Jones" routine, ya know. She has a drawer full of all kinds of hair ties and sure as heck doesn't NEED more in my book. But we all do know too, don't we, that our book and items needed in a child's book, rarely -if ever -coincide!

The Drummer Shoes -now that one set both Mandy and me back a notch as neither of us know what the heck they are. That is, until I posted this little message from Maya on my Facebook and a couple folks informed me what she meant by that name -pretty much, marching shoes type things.

The flip flops though is something else that she definitely DOES NOT need any more flip flops as she has several pair already along with many, many, many other types of shoes too! This child is definitely not ever going to be in need of shoes at the rate she has them accumulated now. And I know she hasn't been visiting her aunt recently to get ideas on how many pairs of shoes the well-dressed girl/lady must own because if she were to view the accumulation Aunt Carrie has, well suffice it to say, it would only make Maya's demands much, much stronger to keep up with that set of the "Jones Family" ya know. (Her Aunt Carrie sort of obsesses too about shoes! LOL)

Anyway, we -the whole family really -have gotten a lot of laughs all this week over Maya's little note of her needs -but more so because of her saying that she will "NEVER GET!" these items! Not until she really needs them, that's for sure! And that isn't going to be anytime soon.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Apples and Oranges....

Two years ago this year, we had a fun time harvesting lots and lots of apples that we found growing on three trees along the roadside where I normally walk Sammy.

The apples were really good and especially great for making homemade applesauce too! Maya and Kurt both loved the applesauce I made and that fall, I gathered loads of apples, made several batches of applesauce and froze much of it as well, so we were able to enjoy that applesauce for quite a long while that winter and into the spring of last year.

Last year though, the apple trees blossomed quite early and then, in April, we got hit hard by a late winter snow storm that managed to kill all the apple blossoms not just on those trees along the road where I walk but virtually every apple tree around here was done for then and there were no apples to be gathered then last fall!

Rats! What a disappointment that was to me and the family!

This spring, I've been watching these three tree like a hawk -following the progress as they began to blossom then praying when the weather was supposed to get colder again that it wouldn't kill the apples two years running.

Maya, who has frequently been going with me in the early evening to walk the dog, has also been paying a lot of attention to those trees too as she knows, she remembers, the good tasting applesauce I was able to make from those fruits!

As a matter of fact, the two of us have been watching them so closely that our counting skills might be on a par perhaps to do accounting work! Okay -maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration but trust me when I tell you this, we have definitely been keeping very close tabs on the potential apple crop along our road here this year!

And, as to the reference to oranges, just let me tell you this little tidbit too! I got a nice bag of naval oranges the other day and wow, they were so good and sweet, very tasty, that I went a bit haywire perhaps one night and ate three of the oranges. I don't think I'll do that again as later that night, I had really bad pains in my stomach -not in my abdomen, but in the upper area in my stomach. Took a couple hours for it to calm down and go away. But, trust me when I tell you this though, those oranges sure do make for some really good fiber content and you know how important a bit of fiber is in one's diet don't you?

Definitely keeps things moving right along!

At a Standstill!

Ever have one of those days when no matter how you try to get a schedule set for yourself for the day, no matter what you do, it all tends to fall apart?

That's what's been bothering me way too much lately and as a result, I seem to get nothing, absolutely nothing, accomplished.

Yesterday, I had a visit that lasted close to 2 hours with a lady who is a notary with one of the mortgage loan companies I've talked to in the past week or so. She brought with her virtually a REAM of papers for me to sign in order to begin the preliminary work on a reverse mortgage on my house. Holy rip! Talk about writer's cramp. When you sign and date that many papers in that time span, it sure does get tiring.

Shortly after she left, I received a phone call from yet another rep at yet another mortgage loan company and I told him I had just finished signing the preliminary papers to begin the process for a reverse mortgage so of course, he launched into a big sales pitch. When I told him the company I had done this with, he then informed me that they had just recently been bought out by some firm from India that has, according to him, a very bad reputation for their customer satisfaction area and he even sent me a website too for a Consumer Reports Reviews section on said Indian company.

That report really upset me very much as I was very disappointed in what I read there! Complaint, after complaint, after complaint and really harsh realities from people whose homes had been taken from them with no recourse. I had really liked the first rep I had talked to with the company that sent the notary out yesterday with all those papers and the lady who was here was very thorough in what she explained to me too, so learning all this bad stuff was quite a disappointment to me.

Now I'm going to do a bit of research online for the company I spoke to first as well as the one that the guy who gave me this information about the firm I was figuring on dealing with as well! Just something else that takes up beaucoup time from me during which I could/should be doing other things that need done very soon too.

Last night, because the oil light on my dash has been coming on a good bit lately, I thought I'd see about getting that checked out so I went up past my son's place in hopes he might be there, be home for an hour or two, but not luck. So I went out to the garage of the guy from whom I had purchased this car but he was not around either. So, up to the gas station I went -I needed to get gas anyway -and I had the attendant there check the oil.

Talk about a strange episode though, that was one for the books for sure!

Each time the attendant put his arm in under the hood to pull the dipstick out, he would jump back suddenly and shake his hand/arm and do a little dance -almost like the heebee geebee dance Mandy does when she encounters a spider! What the heck was that all about?

Finally after 3 or 4 tries to check the dipstick, he came and told me he was unable to remove it because the battery on my car was bad and kept shocking him. What? Talk about being confused, that would have been me at that point, for sure. But anyway, I figured just to be a bit on the safe side, I'd have him add some oil for me, which he did.

Today, I took the car down to a mechanic who is good friends with Mandy and surprise, surprise -first thing discovered was the thing the gas station attendant was trying to pull out -supposedly the oil dipstick -was actually the thing that measures the transmission fluid! How he managed to put a quart of oil in and not see that the cap to the spot where he put that oil also had the dipstick for the oil there too! Amazing, huh? But anyway, that took up a good deal of my time this morning then as I then had to run into town so as to purchase more oil -3 quarts to give to Mandy's friend for having dumped that much oil into my car and an extra 2 quarts for me to put more oil then too into my buggy!

Now, I am planning to take the car early Monday to the garage in Clearfield where my ex-brother-in-law works to have them "clean" the engine so it can then be checked over kind of with a fine tooth comb, ya know, to see if I actually have an oil leak or to figure out if maybe the car is burning oil and if that's the case, the outcome then isn't going to be pretty. Just something else for me to worry about there, ya know.

Thankfully, I didn't have to cook tonight though as we all, plus Miss Dawn (Kurt's TSS) ventured up to the local Moose for supper. I had initially been figuring on just having a nice big old cheese steak hoagie that they offer there for a very reasonable price (and boy, are those babies ever good too!) but instead of getting that, which is pretty much my standard order there, we ALL dined on the Friday night buffet they had. WOW! A small soup and salad bar but hot entre items in abundance! From chicken wraps to bbq chicken, roast pork, roast turkey and stuffing, macaroni and cheese, baked ziti, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans and for dessert, strawberry shortcake or cookies! And the buffet was very good, indeed!

Trying to squeeze in time to write this post earlier, I got interrupted by my son, who showed up driving the "new-to-him" old volkswagon bug he drove to Michigan last weekend to pick up and haul home and for which he traded his 1971 bright yellow Chevy pickup truck that his dad had restored and which Clate had bought from his dad a few years back. (He had flown out to Nevada to get the truck and then, drove it cross-country to bring it back home then! I thought he would never part with that truck but apparently his love -worship, really -for volkswagon bugs is stronger than his worship of anything GM or Chevy!) So if I get a bit more disjointed than usual in my post tonight, it's because my train of thought earlier about this post got interrupted for about 5 hours due to my son, then supper, and a few other things in between too.

The last thing that interrupted my post tonight was to first walk the dog and upon getting back home from that, go find the big garden rake and try to start smoothing out the ground in my little makeshift vegetable garden so I can eventually -pretty soon -get the few things I have decided to plant this year into the ground so that they can, hopefully, grow into some veggies that can be enjoyed later this summer! I'm only planning on planting some leaf lettuce, green beans, yellow summer squash and cucumbers this year. Maybe, if I can find some, I might consider picking up a few banana pepper plants too, but that's debatable.

Now, looking over what's happened that took up much of my time today (and last evening), I'm trying to figure out how I can compact these things that crop up in my life and take time away from other things I need or would like to be doing!

Now, I need to get to bed because I have to be up early in the morning to take Maya into town for her play practice there from 9:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. That means get up at 7:30 in order to shower and get dressed and get the kids loaded into the car and head to town where I'm gonna be sitting then for that 90 minutes and hopefully, not fall asleep sitting up on one of those hard folding chairs there! (Wouldn't that just be a lovely sight for old Grammie to nod off, drool running down my chin no doubt, in full view of upteen parents and kiddos practicing for this little musical to be put on in late June?)

Maybe, I can take the book I've been trying to sandwich in from time to time and get a few more pages turned on it or, perhaps take my knitting (along with the pattern book, pen and pad to keep track of what row I'm on with that project) and get a little further along with that.

I should be happy at least going to Maya's play practice means I can sit down and maybe do something, even if it's wrong!