Friday, December 23, 2011

It's Christmas Adam!

The other day, my neighbor called to chat with my husband.  He asked Tom,  “What are ya’ll doing for Adam?’   Tom was totally confused, and asked him what he was talking about… “Who is Adam?”  He was wondering if maybe our neighbor was referring to our daughter’s boyfriend, and had just forgotten his name.  But, he kept on asking “What are you doing for Adam?”   Finally, Tom bit and politely asked, (the way men do)...  “What in the world are you talking about?”

Well… ARE YOU READY FOR THIS?   Our neighbor thoughtfully explained… “Well, first there was Adam, THEN there was Eve.   So we celebrate Christmas Adam first!  We open one gift on the 23rd , Christmas Adam.  Then we open one gift on the 24th , Christmas Eve… Then we open the rest of our gifts on Christmas Day!”   Now… that my friend, is funny!    What a way to stretch out the holidays!

Yes… you learn something new EVERY day.   And, today I learned about Christmas Adam! How in the world did I grow up not knowing this?   I mean, this seems like something that a kid would definitely need to know!   Yet, here I am 50, and I’m just now hearing about it.  What ELSE have I missed?  I guess there’s a New Year’s Adam too?  Well, who knew?     

I definitely wish I had known about this before I scheduled WORK today!  I would have said I couldn’t work because it’s a holiday!  Why not?   Now that I know about it, I absolutely HAVE to celebrate it!  It a RULE!    

This time of year makes everyone crazy trying to shop and bake and find time to get everything done.  It’s not supposed to be this way, but it is!  So, take some time off  today and celebrate Christmas Adam!   It’s a good excuse to relax for a minute!  Why not?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Anniversary Card

Today, my husband and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary.   It’s been a wonderful, crazy, insane, wacky, tearful, joyful, happy, sometimes stressful, always exciting 27 years.  How do we do it?  Well, the truthful answer is… the hard way!  And that’s an understatement. 

It takes hard work, a lot of prayer and a good sense of humor to stay married these days.  And, we’ve managed to hold it together for a long time. When someone asks Tom how long we’ve been married,  he’ll reply “ONE HUNDRED and twenty seven years.”   This always gets a chuckle.  My standard reply is “Three of the best years of my life!  I’ve been married 27 years, but three of them were really good!”    Yes, we crack each other up.

September is one of our busiest months.  So, we usually end up working long hours right through our anniversary and we celebrate later with a weekend trip instead of a present.   Many times, we don’t even have time to stop and get a card.  A few years ago, after the kids left for school, we ran to Target to grab a card for each other.   We were standing there side by side reading cards and started laughing at the irony of the whole situation.  There we both were, trying to buy a sentimental card at the very last minute.  I just handed Tom a card and said “Read this!  This is card that I was going to give you.”  He handed me one and said “Here’s the one that I was going to get for you!”  We read the cards, shared a quick kiss and put them back.  We laughed all the way to Starbucks and spent the card money on lattes.    You can’t do that in the early years, but it makes for a very funny story when you’ve been married for a long time.   

This year is no different.  We have appointments all day.  We’re planning to celebrate Saturday night when things slow down a little.   Unfortunately, we woke up to a sick child, so the day started off with a quick trip to the Doctor to make sure she was OK.  This gave me an opportunity to grab a quick card for Tom.   (Surprise!)    But, when I got home, I was juggling a sick child, a work phone call and trying to sign the card before he saw it.   So… when he opened it, he chuckled when he saw that I had signed it “I love you!!!”  followed by my full legal, contract  signature.  LOL !   Like he wasn’t going to be sure exactly which Kathy the card was actually from???   Hey… I’m nothing if not thorough! 

Just because we don't have time to celebrate today doesn't mean we won't celebrate.  Life is good when you can laugh through the craziness.  And let me tell you, that’s a good thing at my house because it definitely gets crazy!   Happy Anniversary Honey!  You’re my lobster!

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Chocolate Mousse Explosion

Saturday night, my husband had a craving for something sweet.  Yes, I do realize that sounds very funny!  It’s usually me, the menopausal woman that has the cravings.  However, when he said he wanted something chocolate, I thought that I many have died and gone to heaven! 

So… we made chocolate chip cookies, and homemade hot fudge sauce and store bought vanilla ice cream. Well, this wasn’t quite what he had in mind. So, he decided to make some chocolate mousse.

We have one of those ISI whipped cream dispensers (with the CO2 cartridges) that are used to make fresh whipped cream.  So, Tom decided that he would make chocolate mousse in it.  We’ve done it many times, and it is wonderful.  So, after carefully measuring all the ingredients and putting it together, he gave it a few shakes to charge it. He squirted it out onto a spoon to taste.  It LOOKED wonderful!  However, one taste made it very clear that he had left out the sugar.  It was like eating Hershey’s cocoa straight from the container.  Bitter, bitter, bitter.   

Unfortunately, once the CO2 has been used to charge the dispenser, you can’t really open it to add anything.  But, Tom was going to try!   He put paper towels over the dispenser and tried to let off some pressure a little bit at a time.  He kept telling us that it was just not going to work.  But, of course we all wanted to see what would happen.  Rachel decided to pull out he iphone and record the experience.

So… Tom put it in the sink and let off a little steam.  A big wad of mousse came out under the paper towel.  It looked disgusting!  But before we could finish commenting, it EXPLODED!  It sounded like a cork popping off of champagne.  It scared the bejeebers out of us!  Chocolate went everywhere!  Brittany fell in the floor laughing.  She was covered in tiny little splashes of chocolate all over her face.  It was everywhere.  There were chunks of chocolate all over the counter, on the cabinets, on EVERYTHING that was sitting on the counters, on the ceiling, the lights, the chairs, the floor, the kids, the boyfriend, etc.  It went pretty much everywhere, EXCEPT the sink (of course!). 

We were laughing so hard we could hardly contain ourselves. It was so hysterically funny.   Then Rachel told us that she had captured the entire experience on video.  We played it, and replayed it, again and again.  It was funnier every time we played it.  Sunday morning, I was still finding little splashes of chocolate as far away as 8 feet.  Yikes! 

Well, I guess if you can’t eat your chocolate, you might as well wear it!    Enjoy the video!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Bowling for Geese

 About a week or so ago, we made a family decision to take up Disc Golf.  Before we made a commitment to buying 4 sets of discs, we rented some to see if we even liked it.  Well, the first night out, we were hooked.  We stink, but we were hooked none the less.  So we went back to the store and bought disc sets for all of us.

We have 2 parks close by that have disc golf courses.  In the past week, we’ve played 5 times.  The first course we visited is closer, but there are quite a few holes that are in the woods.   Now, this is absolutely great for the shear reason of getting out of the sun for a few minutes.   However, the trees are obstacles with a capital O.  For my friends that play golf, you know what it’s like when there’s a tree in the way… You can’t seem to focus on anything else, and no matter what you do, you still hit the tree.  Several holes only have about 20 feet clearance in some areas between the trees.  So, given that we’re rookies, we’ve hit a lot of trees!  Tom even hit a bat house that was secured HIGH up on one of the trees.  Yes… we’ve made our mark in the bark, that’s for sure.  And… one hole is beside a lake.  Talk about a BIG distraction.  All the discs just seem to bank left towards the lake not matter how far to the right we throw them.  It’s splash or crash on this course for sure!  

So, last night, we thought we would try the other park.  It is very wide open.  This course does have some really big ‘old growth’ trees, but you can easily throw around them.  Well, let me rephrase that… some people can easily throw around them. (ha!)  Yes, we’ve managed to hit them too, but hey… we do still kind of stink. 

Now… it’s the end of summer, we’re in a big open field, so who do you think joins us?  A crazy flock of geese, that’s who!  Can you believe it?  We’re heading up to one hole and there they are… about 40 geese eating the grass right around the basket.  From the tee, we’re not worried.  Not one of us can throw far enough to even scare them.  But, we were wondering what we should do when we got closer.  We didn’t want to hit them, but they just needed to get the heck out of the way.  So, as we started getting the discs a little closer, they would move a little bit.  And as we approached the basket, they started moving away as a flock.   OK… problem solved, right?  Well not exactly… They just moved to the next tee.  And as we finished this hole and moved to the tee, they moved towards the next hole.  It was like they just wanted to lead the dang Frisbee Golf parade!  Geez!  This went on for several holes.  These discs hurt when they hit you!  So the last thing we wanted to do was hit a goose.  But they would just not move on!  We were quickly running out of daylight, so we opted to skip a few holes and move past the geese (and all the goose poop) to the last couple of holes and quit for the night. 

We decided to give this course another try this morning. It’s a lot less crowded, and gives us time to practice without holding up other players.  We made it through the first 6 holes before we came upon the crazy geese again today.  This time, though, the geese weren’t so lucky. Tom threw a disc that faded off to the left and skidded right into the flock.  One goose jumped straight up in the air about 6 inches, then they all started running AND honking up a storm!  It looked like he was bowling for geese instead of playing disc golf!   I know, I know… we shouldn’t have laughed, but it was just way too funny!   They ran straight in the direction of the basket.  So the next throw was right at them again.  We are still new at this, so we just can’t quite control where our Frisbees go!  And let me tell you, trying NOT to hit a goose is one sure way for me to hit one!   Eventually the geese saw us coming and moved on to another part of the course.  Whew! 

We sure had a lot of fun, even if we don’t yet have any skills!  We’ll know that we’ll get better, because we surely can’t get any worse!  (Just kidding!)  But, we’ve definitely decided that we really need to focus on playing golf on the golf course and leave the bowling to the alleys!  No more bowling for geese… that’s a promise!  I cannot promise that the trees are safe though… At least not yet!   

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

BMXing with my Brothers

I grew up with two brothers and NO sisters.  So, even though I had my own things that seemed girly (ballet and cheerleading), I wasn’t really the girly, girl type.   I was always getting into whatever my two brothers were doing too.  They loved to play army outside, and ride their bikes and set up ramps to jump over, and all that fun stuff.  And, being the lone girl, I wanted to be a part of it all too.   And, let me tell you that neither of my brothers had any fear at all!

So, when they set up bicycle ramps and started jumping bikes in the street, I thought it would be fun to do it too.  Only, they had some crazy mad skills… and I didn’t.  Regardless, they were always willing to let me have a go at it. 

So this one day, Scott thought it would be fun to set up a ramp under a pine tree in the front yard.  His goal was to ride the bike over the ramp and get airborne high enough try to grab the lowest branch and just hang on.   It was going to be a super cool stunt if he could pull it off.   And he did!   But… I was not going to be outdone!  So, I wanted to try it…

So, I get on the bike and go over the ramp.  I reach up for the branch and SUCCESS!!! I grab it and let the bike go flying!  Hurray!... Only the next thing I know, I hear a loud CRACK!  The branch snapped and my big old fanny hit the ground with a huge thump.  But, I didn’t exactly hit the ground.  I hit one of the roots of the tree right smack on my tail bone.  It sent a wave of nausea through me like an army brigade!  I’m pretty sure that Scott and Chris were rolling on the ground laughing, but it was all a big blur to me.  They kept fading in and out as I was trying to decide if I would pass out or throw up!   I mean this knocked me SILLY!

Then they came over to help me up.   I tried to make my way into the house, but it truly looked like I had a big corncob stuck up my fanny.  And it hurt like crazy!   I went in to tell my mom that I fell on a root, and she just looked at me and said… ‘Well that’s what you get for doing crazy stuff.’   I got absolutely NO sympathy.  And, did I mention that my mom is June Cleaver?  So, for her to not be the doting mom meant that either: A… she didn’t believe me or  B… I had crossed WAY over the line!   I’m not sure which it was, but she wasn’t having any part of my complaining. 

Well let me tell you that sitting down for the next week was not easy!   Once I was down it was fine for about 5 minutes.  But after that, it would just start hurting again.  And getting back up was horrible.  Yowser!   I had a big bruise on my tailbone, and a lot of laughing from my brothers every time I tried to get up.   

My brothers continued to race their bikes and jump ramps and all that fun stuff.  And, they were actually quite good at it!  But… that was my last bicycle ramp.  I’m quite sure the boys don’t even remember, but they were glad to get the silly girls out of the mix anyway!   I still liked to ride dirt bikes with them, but I stayed away from all the ramps (and low hanging branches) from then on.    Hey… I’m not crazy!  One major butt buster in your life time is enough!   

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Girls Night Out

I had a wonderful dinner the other night with my best girlfriends.  It’s always a laugh a minute.  Being the trendsetters that we are (ha), we decided to visit this trendy restaurant downtown called Via.  Well, let me tell you that I am not so sure Via was ready for us! 
We got there and the very pretty waitress sat us at a table with cushy seats.   The lights were pretty low to create ambiance.  When she handed us the menus, we told her that we needed to see the dessert menu first.  Of course this always throws them off for about 30 seconds.   But, then they realize that we’re serious, and they laugh and comment about how cool it is that we eat dessert first.   And, sometimes, they even mention that they wish their moms were as cool as us. (hahaha!)   This night, however, the lights were so low that NOT one of us could even read the menu.  We tried our best, but finally, I had to get up and go over by the door to even see the menu.  And, the seats were so cushy that getting up was not so easy.  Picture this... we’re trying to look trendy, we’re old, we can’t read the menu, then we can’t seem to get up without groaning, and we want our dessert first…  You would have thought that we were there for the early bird special!  
Finally, a table opened up near the window, and our sweet waitress moved us over there.  Success!  We had enough light to see the menu.  And, it probably would have been better for everyone if we couldn’t.  We ordered  2 desserts to share,  Crème Brule cheesecake and some little donuts with raspberry and chocolate dipping sauce.  Yum… It didn’t take us long to devour this. 
Then, we started looking over the menu for our entrees.  Pat quickly honed in on French fries.   She said “Ya’ll listen…  last night I told Randy I wanted French fries, and he told me that I just needed to STOP!  He said I was Out of Control!   Who is he to tell me what to eat?  Well… I’m ordering a BIG plate of fries and then I’m gonna go home and tell Randy that I ate EXTRA fries just for him.  I may even dip them in chocolate! “  Ha!  You go girl!  So, when the waitress came back to remove our dessert plates and take our orders, we told her to leave the chocolate sauce (just in case).   
Oh my heavens, we ate too much and laughed a lot!  Thankfully, no one peed their pants at the table.  Although, I’m pretty sure Pat was close at one point!   Our reputations as trendsetters would have been tainted (for sure) if one of us had to put on the Depends!   J    All in all, a good time was had by all!  I’m sure that there were several guests in the restaurant that thought we were drinking heavily, even though we weren’t.     And our sweet waitress got to start her brand new job with 3 crazy ladies that ate dessert first, dipped French fries in chocolate sauce (yes, we did!) and didn’t care one bit if she didn’t know everything there was to know about the menu!   It will be a long time before she waits on anyone else quite like us. Fifty may be the new forty, but  French fries in chocolate sauce is the new broccoli!  Who says we’re not trendsetters?       

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Find your inner Bethany

This past weekend,  I watched the movie ‘Soul Surfer’ with my daughter.  If you haven’t seen it, rent it!   It’s a movie about Bethany Hamilton, an up and coming surfer that was attacked by a shark while surfing.  Yes… the movie was very well made, and very inspirational.  And, after the week I had, inspiration was exactly what I needed.

I was coming off of a very difficult 10 days of long hours, closing delays, people unable to move in because people DIDN’T move out, people that were mad at me because one owner decided not to rent to them because they had no income, etc.  There were a lot of things going on that were out of my control, but I felt like I had to fix it all!  And, in doing so, I completely exhausted myself and my husband.

Well, I sobbed my way through the whole movie.  Mind you, there were sad tears, happy tears, laughing tears, big tears, little sniffles, tears of triumph, tears of joy, and at one point, tears for NO REASON!   I felt like I was watching one long Hallmark commercial, and I just couldn’t stop!   I’m pretty sure Rachel looked up a time or two and chuckled at me.  But, oh the relief and joy I felt when it was all over.

This young girl’s indomitable spirit just hit a note with me.  Yes, she lost her arm to a shark attack.  She didn’t understand why such a bad thing could happen, or how she would ever make anything good of it. But she had an amazing spirit, and some amazing people perfectly placed in her life to help.  And, just when she felt like giving up, she had a milestone that made her realize she could go on.  And she did.  She inspired a lot of people who have roadblocks of one kind or another.  She inspired me.

You see, I’ve seen a lot of people lately that are in bad shape for one reason or another.  In fact, lately, with this real estate market, I see more people that are struggling than people that are not.  And I spend the good part of my day encouraging people to just hang on and we’ll keep trying.  And by the end of the day, I’m totally spent.  And,  with this market, there are days that I feel the same way they do.  But it’s not in my nature to give up.  So, seeing someone else conquer their disabilities always inspires me to fight past mine and to count every single blessing I have.   

There’s a line in the movie where her father tells her that a good surfer can just feel the wave and know that something big is coming. They have to get very quiet and just feel it.   I paused the movie and explained to Rachel that I completely understand that.  I come in from running every day and sit in my sunroom for some quiet time.  I use that time to just be still and listen to what God is bringing my way. I recharge, but I also listen.  And it’s in those quiet moments that I am reminded that  I can handle whatever is coming today.  

Sometimes, the best way to remember that you can get through your own challenges is to see someone else win theirs. And when you see someone like this precious girl, Bethany Hamilton, lose her arm, and fight back to find the good in it, it makes you realize that your problems aren’t so big. There are people out there that face bigger obstacles than we do every day and never give up.  Seeing someone else work through their challenges gives you hope.   Working through your own takes courage.  So, get in touch with your inner Bethany, and push through.   You just never know… when you find your own strength… you may inspire someone else to find theirs.  

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Waitress Fiasco

We were out of town for 2 days last week at a softball tournament.  And after sitting in the hot sun all day watching 4 ball games, the parents were looking for some liquid refreshment of the adult variation.  The coaches had planned to take all the girls to dinner for a “bonding” session and the parents were wanting to be anywhere BUT there.  We bond with our kids every day!  We wanted a night out. J   

 So… we ran across this little Irish Pub that looked interesting and several of us decided to try it out.  Walking in the door, we noticed that it was pretty empty, and so we thought we shouldn’t have a problem getting seated.   The sign said “seat yourself”  so we pulled a couple of tables together.   When the waitress saw that there were 9 of us, she just let out this huge sigh.  She was literally flustered before we all sat down.  And, when we told her that we would like separate checks (mind you only 4, NOT 9) she just looked at us like we were from another planet.  She wasn’t rude at all.  But it was pretty clear that we were adding the final straw that was going to take this girl right over the edge. 

Then she asked us what we wanted to drink.  Mind you, we’re in an Irish Pub that has a huge sign up advertising their new Cider and all the different drink combinations that you can make with beer and cider.  So one person asked for a drink off the sign.  She just gave a puzzled look and said “I’ve never heard of that!   You mix Guinness Stout with Cider? “    At this point, I saw one person at the table raise their eyebrows.  He laughed and said “It’s called a poor man’s Black Velvet”.   She still had this puzzled look on her face.  She wrote it down and went on the next person.  By the time she took our orders, she had learned about 4 new drinks from her menu.  And, she finally said,  “I don’t know any of these drinks, I’m a bud light girl myself!”   We all just chuckled, and blew it off.

Our drinks came to the table just fine, and then we ordered food.  She slowly wrote everything down as we ordered.  All was fine when the food came out.  Everything seemed right, and we were really enjoying our food.  She stopped by the table and asked if everything was OK.  When we said yes, she said “Well good!  Then I am not going to lie to you!  I’m going outside to take a smoke break!   Haha”… Again, we all laughed. 

The food was delicious!  But then it came time for the check.  She came to the table and handed us each our bills.  Everything looked OK, but she had left Tom’s meal off our check.   We didn’t want to cheat the restaurant, so I told her that she left it off.  So, instead of going back and fixing mine, she took all the ticket from us and went back to fix it. 

There was a mistake on someone else’s bill.  Then she took them back again.  Then again.  Then again.  Every time, she was completely flustered that she wasn’t getting everything right.  We didn’t mind, but it was getting a little comical.  After she thought she had everything right, she came back to the table and announced that she had paid our bill with someone else’s debit card.  Whew! Again, she collected all the checks to see what she did wrong.  Bless her heart!  Then she came back and said  “ I didn’t mess it up after all, , but now your bill just disappeared!  We can’t find it!”   What???   By this time, she went back to the computer to figure it out with her boss. Tom joined them.  When I looked over, she was crying.  Boy did I feel bad!   After 15 minutes of trying to figure out my bill, she had had enough.  I think the camel’s back was finally broken!

When she collected herself, she came back to the table, and she proudly announced “OK!  I’ve got it right now!”   And, to be honest, if she didn’t, I didn’t care!  I was willing to pay whatever I could just to GO!    While Tom was with them, they saw what was happening.   Every time she entered the “special of the day” it just would just drop off the check.   And once they discovered it was a computer glitch, I think it truly made her day to figure out that she wasn’t crazy!  This flustered waitress had a whole new attitude about her.  I have to say that I admired that she never gave up trying to make it right.  Even when she couldn’t figure out what she was doing wrong, she kept going back over it again and again.

So, did we tip her?   Of course we did!  She needed it!  And on the way out the door,  I just sent a little prayer that the rest of her night would be wonderful.  And, I’m sure it was!  It could only get better from here!    

Friday, August 12, 2011

Drive the Boat Linda!

When we were little, my dad bought his first boat and decided to take us all to the lake to learn to ski.  I don’t remember how old we were, but we were pretty young… maybe 6, 7 and 8 at the time. We were so excited!  We just thought this was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

When we got to the lake, Dad instructed us on how he was going to slowly back the boat (trailer and all) down the ramp with us in it.    Mom was going to be holding the rope, so NOTHING was going to happen to us.  But, we needed to be still and quiet so that we would not fall out.  We were all dressed in life vests, and every safety precaution had been made.  Mom was smiling, but let me tell you that she worries about EVERYTHING,  so I’m sure her brain was going about 100 mph. 

So… Dad backed the boat down the ramp and we are sitting there quietly (yeah right!)… We weren’t the quiet types.  We were too excited to be quiet.  And we just couldn’t wait to get moving.  But, while Dad was parking the car and trailer, we noticed that the boat was filling up with water.  It was coming in fairly quickly and we all started yelling.  Dad came running and jumped in to help us bail out water.  Mind you, it wasn’t THAT much water, but it was coming in faster than we could bail it out.  I wish I could tell you that we were calm… but that would be a lie, and I don’t lie. J  But, Dad quickly figured out that we weren’t sinking!  He had just forgot to plug the drain holes in the back, and water was coming in there.  Crisis averted… let’s ski! 

So… after we drove around the lake for a little while, Dad finally drove us out to the middle to let us figure out this skiing thing.   He talked to us about boating safety and asked Mom if she wanted to learn to drive.  Of course, she said NO WAY!  But, Dad turned off the boat, got out of the driver’s seat and sat on the edge of the boat.  He was bound and determined that she was going to drive.  He explained that she HAD to know how because if something happened to him, she wouldn’t be able to get the boat back to shore.  She quickly explained that SHE wasn’t going to let anything happen to him. (Smile)  Of course, we all WANTED to learn to drive the boat, and we wanted to learn to SKI!  So, we wanted them to get on with this lesson and get us in the water.

Mom wouldn’t budge.  She sat there and continued to say that she didn’t want to learn to drive.  So then my Dad made a fatal mistake!  He sassed my Mom!  I can remember it like it was yesterday.  He said “LINDA, you’re a chicken! You’ve got a yellow streak down your back as wide as you are! And it’s this wide! ”   Then he held up his hands pretty far apart.  OH NO he didn’t!  Oooohhhhh!  Mom was out of her seat in a flash and gave him a big shove.  Dad went right over the edge backwards.   Mom gave us the “Oh Crap “  look and we just sat there in SHOCK!    The next thing that happened was a blur. In one swift move, Dad came up and out of the water like a flying fish!  I tell you, it was like he pushed off the bottom and just landed in the boat all in one move.  And he was NOT happy!  He started emptying his pockets.  Bam… wet wallet on the floor of the boat… Bam!  keys… bam!  sunglasses.   He didn’t say a word.  NO ONE did!  You have never (and probably will NEVER)  see the three of us so quiet (or so still).  We were scared to death to move!  

Dad grabbed the keys, cranked the boat and drove back to the shore in DEAD silence.  We knew better than to whine about not getting to ski.  We knew better than to say a word!  We also knew better than to even look at each other because one of us would probably start crying, or worse… start laughing.   I’m pretty sure no one spoke on the way home either.  So, there we sat… in the back seat staring straight ahead for what seemed like hours.  But, as soon as we got home, we couldn’t hold it any more.  We ran to the boys’ room and started laughing.  Then Mom came in to check on us and she started laughing (and crying at the same time).  And eventually, Dad joined us and laughed it off too.

Yes, we did finally get to learn how to ski that summer.  And, over the years, we all learned to drive the boat.  (None of us inherited that yellow streak from Mom. Haha!)     Mom even learned to drive the boat so Dad could ski.  But, when Dad tried to belly ski and swallowed way to much water because his precious children misread his “stop”  hand signals and told her to speed up, she opted to never drive the boat again. J   Let me defend her… she wasn’t getting back at him for the chicken remark, I promise!  It was clearly our fault!   Yet, still to this day, when I hear someone say “You’re a chicken”… I just chuckle and hope they NEVER say it to my Mom. J 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The funeral

Yesterday, I attended the funeral of a dear friend and colleague. The room was full of people that came to pay their respects.  The pews were full and I was standing in the back.  As I listened to the eulogies of this amazing woman, it was clear that she was loved dearly.   She was, in fact, quite a dynamo, and it was no surprise to me that she was loved by so many people. 

So, why is it that when someone dies, you always stop to reflect on your own life for a minute.  Shouldn’t we be doing that every day?  But, we don’t… most of the time, we’re so busy making a living that we forget to make a life.  So,  as I looked around the room, I started thinking… (oh no… trouble, with a capital T). The first thought I had was “Begin with the end in mind ”  from the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey.  It’s the line of thinking that everything you do should be because you have a specific result in mind.    I was wondering…Would people be saying nice things about me?  Have I contributed to society enough that there would be people actually wanting to share a funny story about me?  There are plenty of people that could tell some stories, but would they want to?   

Then I wondered… “would I draw a crowd?”   Now how funny is that?  What would I care?  I would be dead.  Why would I even think about that?    So, I sat there and weighed the options, and I decided that I didn’t want to draw a crowd… I wanted to live long enough that there weren’t very many people left to come.  Ha!  The thought train took a selfish turn… imagine that.   But, I went right back on track when I realized that it would mean that I would lose a lot of wonderful people along the way, and I didn’t want to do that either.  Dang!   

Then I wondered… if there were actually people there, would they be celebrating my life or celebrating my death.  I certainly didn’t want anyone dancing and singing “Ding Dong, the witch is dead!”     But I wouldn’t mind anyone having a 5 second dance party or doing the happy dance to celebrate my life.  

So… as I left the funeral, I looked up and thanked my friend for bringing all these crazy thoughts to mind.  You see, she lived a life worth living. She was full of joy even to the end.  And, once again, she reminded me that I need to live a life that makes a difference to others too.   So, I made a promise to go out the door and do my best to be a blessing to others.

 Life is way too short to sit on the side lines. We need to handle people with love and patience.  We need to dance and make others dance with us!  Sing off  key!  Laugh!  LIVE!    Don't wonder if people will be sad when you go.  Just make them happy while you're here.   You see… we really have no control over how and when we go.  But, we CAN control how we stay.  J  

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Coach Tom's Hair Bows

My oldest daughter started playing softball when she was 6 years old.  Tom was her coach.  She loved playing, but I think he loved coaching more.  About the time she was 7,  we started playing at a new park so that she could play fastpitch instead of slow pitch.  Being new to the park, the other dads thought they could use that to their advantage during the draft and leave Tom with the players that hadn't really played much.  And, let's not forget to mention the fact that Coach Tom had a pony tail, and most of the other coaches were big brawny, clean cut southern boys. He didn't exactly look like he fit in.   Of course all the other coaches thought they had stacked their teams, so it would be an easy season for them.  But they were in for a surprise.    When they asked for everyone to pick team names,  again, we were left with the one  no one wanted... the Wahoos.   I thought it was a cool name.  I had no idea that a wahoo was a fish... but, it really sounded like a fun name!  

During the pre-season practices, it was clear that Tom was starting at square 1 with a few of the girls. But, this thrilled him.  He absolutely loved teaching them.  He had a drill for everything, and he made it fun for the girls.  As team mom, I felt it necessary to be the head cheerleader.  So before the first game, I listened in on Coach Tom's pre-game speech.  When he finished his pep talk, I stepped in and said, "Hey girls, if you win this game, Coach Tom will wear a bow in his ponytail for the next game!"  The girls all cheered. Coach Tom wasn't thrilled with me at all.  But he was a good sport, so he agreed.  And... Coach Tom wanted to win.:)    

The team name turned out to be absolutely perfect.  Everytime the girls did something good, we yelled "Waaaa Hoooo!".   It was annoying, but we loved it.  Best team name EVER!  It was fun!  And, to make it even cornier... the Hawaiian name for a Wahoo is the Ono.... So if the other team did something good, we would quietly say "oh no!"  and just chuckle!   Again... Best team name EVER!  Yep... these softball families didn't really know what to think of us.  

But all this cheering, and the promise of a hair bow, really made these girls try hard.  They won the first game!  And, before Tom could even say anything about the game, they sang  "Hahaha, you have to wear a haaaaiiiirrrr bow! "  So, any plans that they might forget went out the window.  

Before the next game, I bought some ribbon with our team colors, and glued a bow to a hair clip.  I bought extra ribbon and extra hair clips, just in case.  And before the next game started, we had a bow ceremony.  The girls all gathered in a circle and chanted  "Cooooaaacchhh Toooommmm,  Coooooaaaccchh Toommmmm" and did a little dance while I slowly clipped in the hair bow.  They were completely psyched!  Then came the question... "If we win again, will you wear the bow again?"  And, Coach Tom said  "If you win again, I'll wear 2 bows!"  And I chimed in... "we'll have a bow cermony after the win"  and held up the second bow! (Surprise Tom! )  

Well... this little team of "non-players" surprised a lot of coaches.  By the time the season was over, Coach Tom had 13 hair bows. He added one for each win.  They never lost a game!  The bow ceremony was more fun than the win at each game. The girls had a blast, and the parents had fun too.  Now, he REALLY didn't fit in with the other coaches... but he had their respect.

The co-coach for our team thought this was hysterical. He laughed and told Tom that he was glad that he had short hair so he didn't have to wear any hair bows.  But, he didn't know me very well!  I bought one of those ball caps with the built in pony tail, and clipped on 13 bows and presented it to him IN FRONT OF THE GIRLS!  Coach Dave had his own pony tail with hair bows for the championship game. 

Well... "Coach Tom with the Pony Tail" had a winning season.  And he had the hair bows to prove it.  But, he's not the only one that had a great season.  The girls had a blast!  They learned alot about softball, about winning with flair, and doing their best no matter what anyone else thought.    The tough country boy coaches learned alot too.  I think we all did.  You see, Coach Tom was there for the girls. He didn't care what anyone else thought, he cared about the team.  And... that is a true winner! 



Monday, July 25, 2011

Splish Splash, I was taking a bath...

I could probably write a book about all the funny things that happen when I’m showing houses.  One day, I might just do that.  I really don’t want to ever embarrass any of my clients.  But usually, the crazy things that happen are things that would just embarrass me!  One of the funniest things that ever happened involved a master bath tub and some scared little girls!

I was showing houses to a family that was looking to move into a bigger house in the same area.  We had seen several houses and were checking out the master bath in a nice home.  Their 2 girls, approximately 11 and 14 (at the time) were with us, and had taken a seat on the edge of the master bath tub while Mom and Dad were checking out the rest of the bathroom.  It had a HUGE walk-in closet in the bathroom, and they were very interested in seeing it.  I flipped the switch to turn on the lights in the closet, and all of the sudden, we heard this loud BOOM!  No lights came on in the closet either! (Blown fuse?)    The noise startled us, but it scared the bejeebers out of the girls. Both screamed, jumped up and looked like they had seen a ghost.  We were all in total shock for a few seconds.  Then… we saw it… both girls turned around to show us their backs.  They were SOAKED!  We thought the sound had scared them.  But apparently, the loud noise was the whirlpool tub coming on.  The switch that was all the way on the OTHER wall near the closet was actually the switch to the whirlpool tub.  When I flipped it, the jets came on (thus the noise), and the water that was remaining in the jets had shot out and hit the girls.  And, not only did it hit them with a great force, it was FREEZING!  
 There was water EVERYWHERE!  We all just stood there with dumb looks on our faces while we assessed the damage.  Praise the lord that it was a tile floor and no damage was done (except to the pride of 2 little girls that looked like cats coming out of a pool!)   

Now, it’s important to note that all of these discoveries happened in less than seconds, but it certainly felt like it was a lot longer than that.  At this point, I didn’t know whether to act cool like this happens all the time, cry, or just burst out laughing.  This was 100% my fault, and I was mortified.  I tried to maintain my professional composure.  After what felt like forever, we all busted out laughing.  I looked around for towels (NONE) and got on my hands and knees soaking up water with the only thing I could find…  toilet paper!   OK…so,  the professional composure went out the window.  Picture this… Dress, heels, toilet paper, hands and knees, water, etc… not really the image of professionalism that I like to maintain. Haha!   But, it would have been worse to leave someone else’s house in a mess!   

Needless to say, two wet children will definitely put a quick end to the evening, that’s for sure.  Thankfully, my clients are amazing people that laughed it off.  After I dropped them off, I called the listing agent to let her know what happened.  She laughed OUT LOUD!  Then she said “I told them they needed to mark that switch! Hahaha! ”    I took “mea culpa” ice cream coupons over to the girls the next day, and we all laughed about it again, and re-enacted the surprised looks on the girls faces a few times for good measure. We made a few jokes about bathing in someone else’s house, etc.    But, the next time I picked them up to see houses,  I had 2 large beach towels sitting in the back seat for the girls, just for grins.  J    

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Our Crops are Saved!

It rained at our house a few nights ago.  Now… that may seem like a non-event to you, but we haven’t seen rain in a while at my house.  We’ve seen black clouds all around us, and the adjoining town has gotten a lot of rain.  But, it’s been like there is a dome over our little piece of suburbia and no rain can get through.  Watching the radar has been very frustrating too.  There will be pop up storms all around us, but our little section is clear as a bell.  And, in the morning when I talk to my friends, they mention how bad the storm has been, and all we got was thunder!  

So that night, my daughter came running up the stairs and said “IT’S RAINING!  COME LOOK!”   I jumped out of my chair and ran down the stairs.  The kids were standing there with the front door WIDE open looking at the rain.  It was pitch black outside, but there we were looking like the Beverly Hillbillies staring at the rain.  I yelled “Rain!  Our Crops are Saved!”  and we just laughed and laughed.  Rachel asked us if we dared her to run across the street and touch the Real Estate sign in our neighbor’s yard.  And of course, we dared her!  So she ran down the stairs, across the sidewalk, down the driveway, and across the street to touch the sign.  She looked up and held up her hands in the “TA DA” fashion that she always did as a kid.  And again, we belly laughed.  Who does that?  Who dares someone to run across the street in the rain?   Well, apparently rain deprived people do, because we sure thought it sounded like a good idea.  And we were absolutely giddy because it was raining.  Of course, we also locked her outside on the porch for good measure.  Watching the rain was even funnier when we were inside watching someone else get wet!  Haha!

I found myself going out to the garage several times to just watch the rain.  It was amazing.  My garden had new life the next morning.  The flowers had more color in the yard.  It was like a miracle happened.   Even walking the next morning, my neighbor mentioned that they were in awe at the window watching the rain.  She said that she checked the radar and there was just this small little pop up rain pocket right over us (for once).   You see, the Beverly Hillbillies have nothing on us!  We were enjoying the simple pleasures for a moment.  We felt blessed.     But, last night, we were back to normal…Rain all around us and only thunder at our house!    

Isn’t it funny how you miss the things that you sometime complain about?  We seem to complain about the rain until we don’t have any for a while.  We complain about the heat until it gets so cold that we wish it was warm again.  Then, we complain about the cold.    Why do we do that?   Why is it that we just never seem to be satisfied with the here and now?    Maybe it’s my mid life wisdom coming into play, but I’m really trying to enjoy the moment.  Life is moving fast, and we’ve got to enjoy each day.  So… laugh in the sunshine and dance in the rain.  I dare you! 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Backspace Button

My backspace key has stopped working on my keyboard this morning.  It is very weird.  AND very annoying. Everything else works just fine, but I cannot back up.  So, every time I have a typo, I have to cursor over and hit the delete key.  Amazingly, I thought I was an excellent typist.     However, with this new development, I have discovered that I rely very heavily on the backspace key.   In fact, I tried to backspace 3 times in typing the last sentence alone.  I can’t keep my train of thought when I’m typing.  AND, knowing that I cannot backspace just makes me make more mistakes.  How weird is that?

So… of course, this made me start thinking about how this relates to life.  No backing up… no looking back… what does this mean?   There’s an old saying “ You can’t see where you’re going, if you’re looking at where you’ve been.”   True, we need to focus forward.  But, being able to back up a little bit and make a correction would be wonderful.  What if life had a backspace button?  What if every time you said something wrong, or did something wrong, you could backup and redo it?   When you accidentally told your spouse that they looked like they were getting fat, you could hit the backspace button and rephrase it.  Many a relationship could be saved by a backspace button.  Or if your kid did something stupid and you laughed when you were supposed to show concern, you could hit the backspace button and show the proper emotion ( then you could laugh without their knowledge when you retold the story to ALL your friends!)    Wow, life would be great with a backspace button!   Just being able to back up and act like nothing ever happened would be very cool.  

But, thinking some more… how slack would I be if I could just back up and retry every time I made a big mistake?   Would I ever learn anything?  I tend to the type of person that learns a whole lot more from my mistakes than I do from my victories.  And, I tend to look at each mistake as an opportunity to move forward with a little more knowledge.  And… I’m not really all that good at going backwards.  (Emotionally or physically).  
It is a known fact that I CANNOT back up my car to save my life.  I am the worst backer upper I know.  If you see me move the gearshift to R, then get the HECK OUT OF DODGE because it is dangerous.   In my defense, I have a small SUV and cannot see anything out the back that is lower than about 3 feet.  The side mirrors work fine, but I still have a blind spot right in the back.  I NEED a BACKUP camera or a backup alarm, and I have several dead mailboxes and a ding in my daughter’s FRONT bumper to prove it!    Knowing that I can’t  back up has added some stress to my life, but it has also made me concentrate harder, slow down, pay more attention and try to get it right the first time.   So, if life would just give me a back up alarm to warn me (and everyone else)  every time I was moving backwards, that would be great too.    

But, life doesn’t really give you backspace buttons or back up alarms or rewind buttons.  You’re kind of stuck with all the dumb things you do and say.  However,  we do have a replay button!  We can go back and replay all the special times in our lives and enjoy them as many times as we want in our head.  And women are equipped with a special DVR type recall button that lets them replay every mistake their husband ever made (and what she was wearing when it happened!) 

While we can’t always backspace and retry, we can be the kind of people that let other people have that second chance.  What if, every time someone you knew (or didn’t know) was allowed to “backspace” and try again when they messed up?  How peaceful would your life be if you allowed someone to backup and retry and TRULY know that all was forgiven AND forgotten?    WOW!  God shows us that Mercy, but do we do the same for others?   Well… maybe we should fix our backspace key and let others use it!  If  we can use the replay button, surely we can use that backspace button too!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Mashed Potatoes... That's Unusual!

I love a funny commercial.  Always have!  And, in my house growing up, we were really bad about repeating the funny lines from a commercial ad nauseum.   We would laugh and laugh, and basically, no one got it but us.   But, hey… who can complain about growing up with corny humor?  Not me, that’s for sure. 

When I was a teenager, there was this one Stove Top Stuffing commercial that came out that was that corny type of humor that we loved.    A man was sitting at the dinner table and his wife was serving food on his plate.  He said “Mashed Potatoes... That’s unusual.”   And the wife gave  him this really mean look and just plopped  the potatoes on the plate.  This commercial made me laugh out loud!  It’s not a very memorable commercial and  I’m not sure why we thought it was funny, but go figure… Some things just hit you funny, and you can’t explain it. 

So… wait… there’s more…  At Thanksgiving that year, we were all sitting at the table with all the bowls of food in the center, family style.   And my dad asked me to pass the potatoes.  So, I couldn’t resist.  I picked a big spoon of potatoes and said “Mashed Potatoes… THAT’s Unusual!”  and flung the potatoes onto his plate.  Only, it was an EPIC FAIL!  I missed his plate!  Potatoes went everywhere!  Some hit Dad, some hit the floor, and some hit the cat that was sitting at Dad’s feet begging for food.  The cat screeched, jumped straight up in the air, and came down hissing up a storm!  Dad just gave me a blank stare, and there was TOTAL silence in the room.  Scott, Chris, Mom and I all just held our breath and stared at each other in disbelief.  Basically, there are two good rules to follow at the dinner table.  One, don’t throw food, and two, NEVER throw food at your DAD!   We didn’t know whether to laugh or RUN!    The silence seemed like hours, but I’m pretty sure it was only seconds.  Then, Dad just busted out laughing!  Whew!  And my Dad has this amazing belly laugh that makes everyone laugh.   We could not contain ourselves at the table.  We were laughing so hard that no noise was coming out.   Dad was laughing about the cat and it was hysterical watching him re-enact the cat’s shock at being covered in potatoes.  We would calm down for a minute, then someone would snicker under their breath, and we would all just start laughing again.   I can’t even remember if we ever really ate.  We couldn’t stop laughing long enough.  

Yes…It’s true that the way someone makes you feel is much more important than what they say.  And, I have so many fond memories growing up in a house full of laughter.  Granted, we fought like normal families, but we laughed even harder.  It’s been about 35 years since this happened.  But, still to this day, when we have mashed potatoes, my Dad will pick up the spoon and say “Mashed Potatoes…. That’s unusual”… And it’s still funny!