Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Momentous Occasion!

Yes, indeed, this is a momentous occasion today. A darned good reason to celebrate, for sure.

What's to celebrate, you ask?

Well, at 6:30 a.m., 17 years ago today, my oldest grandchild was born!

For many years, I always referred to him as my "little prince" and yes, he was then and still is, Grammy J's "prince"!

I remember the evening before he was born quite well too as his parents were here at my house, along with daughter, Mandy and her then current boyfriend, a guy named Spencer. Bill, aka "Big Daddy", Carrie, Mandy and Spence were all working in the yard, mowing the lawn, raking and Spence was using a weed eater that everyone was joking about how it seemed with almost every stroke he took with that thing, he was clunking it against a rock or brick or stone of some kind!

It was a very fun-filled evening and unbeknownst to Mandy and me, shortly after Carrie and Big Daddy got back home, around midnight, she went into labor. The last thing we had said to her was to be sure to call us immediately as soon as she knew they were heading to the hospital, but that night, no phone call came. We tried to call her early in the morning and got no answer so Mandy and I immediately thought then that something was in the wind and she called the hospital to see if Carrie had been admitted and that's how we learned that the grandson was definitely on his way into the world.

Actually, shortly after learning that, we did get a call saying he'd arrived right around 6:30 a,.m. and that mother and son were both doing fine. So was Big Daddy but he's generally a pretty calm, laid back kind of guy, so we figured he'd be the epitome of a proud new father but also, a very unflappable new dad too.

Although I was supposed to be at work early that morning at the University, I called my supervisor and told her I'd be in sometime that morning but not until after I stopped by the hospital to see my first grandchild. My supervisor, whose name is also "Carrie" knew that my daughter was due any day and she knew then my grandson had been born and told me to take as long as I wanted to visit with my daughter, son-in-law and little Alex!

Even then, he was far from being little as he weighed in at well over 8 pounds! I don't recall today the exact weight, but I think it was 8 lb 11 oz and he was also 23 inches long!

From the time I got to the hospital until I finally left there several hours later, I spent the bulk of that time mainly just staring, in awe, at this little guy! He was beautiful, absolutely beautiful. Even in those first hours spent with him and his parents (as well as his paternal grandparents and his paternal great-grandfather and more relatives than you could shake a stick at from Big Daddy's kin who had to stop by and view him), it was evident from the start that he looked very much like his mother! Well, I could see that since I knew and remembered quite well what she looked like at that same age too, ya know!

I did get a chance to hold him as they had him in a bassinet in Carrie's room, right by her bed. but I also had to share that holding privilege with Pappy John (Bill's stepdad) and Grammy Marge, Bill's Mom, and Bill and Mandy too, who ventured in to meet her first nephew.

I finally left around noon-1 p.m. to go to work, feeling I was calm enough to be able to do some work and also, because I gave up on getting to see him open his eyes because the entire time I was there, he kept those eyelids clamped tightly shut!

Actually, he was three weeks old before I finally saw him open his eyes in my presence! Guess I was way to scary sounding perhaps for him to dare to take a look at who this crazy old lady was who would come back their home and try to coax him into opening his eyes!

Today, Alex stands a little over 6'4" tall and is a big built young man. Still just as handsome as he was on that first morning 17 years ago too!

But tonight, he's darned lucky he's still able to breathe!

I had been expecting him and his mother to come to the house this evening after his Mom got off work tonight around 7 p.m. And, as often happens to me when I sit down in my recliner with a plan to work on my current embroidery project and listen/watch whatever might interest me on the tv simultaneously, I forgot that doing that often does something else to me too!

It frequently puts me to sleep.

And that's exactly what happened as I fell asleep in the recliner and didn't know that they had arrived at my house. The dog, good old Sammy, didn't even know they were here either as he didn't let out a single bark!

When they pulled the car in the parking spot (Alex was driving as he just got his license about 2 months ago now) and they both had figured I would probably be in the middle of a little cat nap, so he had turned the lights off on the car and even sort of glided it into the parking area with the engine cut off.

A sneaky attack approach ya know!

And, Alex very quietly made his way into the house while his mother stood outside at the bow window, watching as he came up behind my chair, grabbed the back of the chair, shook it and yelled at me!

Both of them then just howled laughing as they witnessed me actually almost leaping out of that chair -at least a foot or two in what seemed like I was airborne!

I told him then, "Boy, you are so lucky that I love you as much as I do because otherwise, I'd probably be trying to strangle you for playing a trick like that on me!"

And that then set the tone for the three of us for the next couple of hours as we sat and talked, told stories about the morning Alex was born, joked about the line we used on Big Daddy for many years too about his "having priorities" because as Alex was being born, Bill felt he had to call his boss and tell him he wouldn't be there to open up the shop that morning as his wife was having their son right then and there!

Alex had Carrie and I laughing over and over again tonight too as he regaled us with things he has done and said to his Dad on numerous occasions that pretty much tended to leave his Dad at a loss for words or just sputtering, trying to find a retort to some of Alex's comments to him. All good-natured teasings really but funny as all get out to listen to Alex tell these stories about his Dad!

Carrie finally went up to bed about 11 p.m. as she was exhausted, having worked a 12 hour shift at the hospital on her regular job along with pulling an 8 hour shift last night, on the graveyard detail, at the nursing home where she used to work. The girl is either a workaholic or more than a touch insane I think to have scheduled herself to work 20 hours straight.
Alex and I each then had a big bowl of ice cream and decided we would save the Boston Cream Cake I got for a birthday cake for him and the pies I baked this weekend for today -for his actual birthday celebration!

And I am ever so grateful, so happy, so proud too, that this handsome, polite, very funny too, young man is my grandson!

Wouldn't trade him for the world or all the tea in China or coffee from Brazil or any gems either because he is simply the gem that lights up my life more and more the older he gets!

Hope I get to spend many more birthdays with this now "Big Prince" in my life!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Please Return My Memory!!!

The events in my life as of yesterday are pretty much confirming my suspicions that I am either losing my memory or, possibly my mind!

Here's the timeline that led up to this discovery of my missing mind and memory capacity.

First off, there is the commode in the bathroom and it is one of those that is supposed to be a "water saver." That is a farce! Trust me when I tell you that.

It is almost inevitable that when you flush the commode here, it takes at least one more flush, and often 3 or 4, for it to work properly and send everything down the tubes to the sewage line.

Now tell me this -how does this then qualify as something that "saves water" usage?

Sometimes, you even have to get the old plunger out in order to get it to work properly. And the plunger is actually what this post is about now.

Sunday evening, I was having issues with the commode -getting it to flush everything down -so I got the plunger out to use it and lo and behold, the darned thing was no longer usable as it had come apart right in the middle!

So, I put this on my list of things I needed to purchase -in my mind, ya know -so I would remember to purchase a new plunger then when Maya and I had to run to Clearfield to the Walmart yesterday to pick up two of my prescriptions there.

Well, luckily the memory bank was working okay and yesterday, while at Walmart, I actually remembered to put a new plunger in my cart.

Got to the checkout and run through the checker, paid and got my bags into the cart and loaded the stuff into the trunk of my car.

And here is apparently where my memory decided to malfunction.

Maya and I got home and I brought the bags into the house. I stopped momentarily outside to pick up yesterday's newspaper laying on the parking area and put it into the bag holding the plunger.

And that was the last time I saw the darned thing -the plunger, that is!

I then spent the bulk of the evening searching the downstairs of this old house -looking in any kind of place that would be big enough a hiding place for a plunger to take refuge from being moved into the bathroom but all to no avail!

That damned plunger had decided to hide from me and considering the fact that as of noon today now, it's still in hiding and I have run out of places to look for it now too!

Where on earth could that item have gone to anyway?

That, my friends, is the $64,000 question that remains unanswered in this house!

Now, it looks like I'm going to have to include another stop at Walmart to get another plunger and hope to the high heavens that a new one doesn't grow legs and move out on me before I have a chance to put it in its designated container in the bathroom.

Darned good thing the commode isn't all plugged up though is one aspect for which I am right now, thanking my lucky stars!

Good thing it wasn't an expensive purchase too or I'd really be sunk, wouldn't I?

Monday, August 11, 2014

An Apple a Day?

For the past four years, since I started walking my dog, Sammy, usually twice a day, I discovered something along the route we usually take. Nothing really unusual in this discovery, just something nice I found along the road.

A little ways down the road from my house, where the paved road ends and the dirt road that will take you on down to the ghost town of Peale, I found there are two big old apple trees along the left side of the road, and another good-sized apple tree on the right side, along the driveway to the trailer where a father and son live.

Three summers ago, Mandy and I started bringing apples home from these trees and I started cooking them down to make applesauce and then, bagging the results in ziplock baggies and then, freezing it. The grandkids loved the homemade applesauce as these apples, it turns out, are really good cooking apples. And, by bagging it up like that and freezing it, we often had homemade applesauce throughout the winter then whenever we wanted it!

Two years ago though, we had an early spring that was then followed by a really big, bad, very cold snap and because of the early spring, the apple trees were beginning to bloom but all of the blossoms on, not just these trees I had been raiding, but throughout the entire area, froze and that summer, there were no apples free for the picking anywhere around here!

Now, that was a really revolting development.

Last year, the trees blossomed again and there were apples once more but not nearly as plentiful as they had been two years before that.

This spring, I worried about if the trees would produce or not because we had a very cold spring - lots of cold rains, interspersed even with some snow too at times.

But the blossoms apparently were unharmed because now that the apples are growing on the trees, it is apparent to me that this is going to be a good year to make applesauce and freeze it.

Once I see there are apples forming on these trees, I begin to try to count the apples present then when Sam and I walk down there. The tree furthest down the road doesn't have an over abundance of apples on it but the fruit on it appears to be of a larger sized apples than the apples on the tree just a little before that one. The first tree seems to have gone into over production this year!

Today, I counted about 100 apples on the one tree and on the other tree, with the smaller apples, I counted at least 850 apples! More than enough that if I had a cool place and lots of bushel baskets, I could hoard more than enough apples to have one a day plus, enough to cook applesauce to freeze and fill my freezer to the brim with homemade applesauce!!!

To prove that yes, these trees are going to supply me with a lot of apples to cook things -pies, crisps and of course, applesauce too, I took some pictures of these trees and their yield this year!

This is the tree with apples a bit larger but not as plentiful in the production line!
The tree with over 800 apples on it! Notice you can see there are several groups hanging here with 5-6 apples all clustered together! 
The bottom pictures are of the tree with the smaller apples but really plentiful! This particular apple does not produce fruit that is solid red but rather, looks kind of stripes of red against the green. I have no clue whatsoever as to what kind -name -of apples these are, just know that they are darned good and also, that they are there, free for the taking!

I already warned my son to be prepared to bring his truck down and we will go down and knock apples off (because they are too high up to reach to pick) and let them fall into the bed of his truck or on the ground and we can run around trying to pick up as many as we can then and bring them home to my applesauce factory that my kitchen will soon likely become!

Wish I knew how to can this stuff (and had the equipment too) but the canner that used to be here in this house has somehow managed to disappear. Plus, I like freezing the applesauce better because the ziplock bags hold just enough to serve along with a meal.

Looking forward to smelling the apples cooking down already now!