Sunday, July 2, 2017

(Well Deserved) Arachnophobiaaaaaaa!!!

Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick....

Is that the clock, ticking off the minutes before the end of the weekend and my chance to post my Ten Things of Thankful for the week?

Or a time bomb?

Or A DAMN TICK, the kind that crawls on you quite softly and hides in your hair and then you JUST HAPPEN to brush the hair at your temple away from your face after changing clothes, after retouching make up AND HAIR after a day spent out in the country at an auction and you feel something, SOMETHING, not right. Hard. A piece of a leaf? We were standing under trees quite often at the auction, it being the first of July in Missouri, and you pinch it with your fingers and flick it into the bathroom sink AND IT CRAWLS. AND IT'S REALLY BIG (for a tick) AND IT WAS FIXING TO ATTACH ITSELF TO MY HEADDDDDD!!!

Thankful #1: I got that little fucker before it went bottom's up into my scalp. It makes my stomach flip flop to think how close I was to having that happen. And it's not even that ticks harbor horrid illnesses, because they do, at least around here, and they can be deadly; it's because they're ICKY ICKY ICKY ICKY ICKY.

Maybe, MAYBE, I wouldn't have freaked out so much about the tick (it really was HUGE and blood thirsty) if I weren't already suffering at the hands (or mouths) of a cousin on the tick, a little something called an oak tree mite. What's that, you ask? It's a microscopic arachnid that blows out of oak trees and bites whatever it lands on. Not sure how I came into contact with an entire fleet of them for the first time in my life, but that's the best guess of the Nurse Practitioner at the urgent care clinic that I finally went to after a week of an increasing number of bites on my legs, from ankles to above the knees, and my inner arms, from wrist to bicep (apparently, they took a look at those guns and went the other way). I did a little yard work a couple of weeks ago, and it's possible that I had a delayed reaction to the bites. Regardless, my legs look so hideous that I can't even show you a picture. That bad. Plus, the itching was relentless to the point that my legs felt as though they were on fire.

Thankful #2: I got a round of steroids that seem to be helping.

Thankful #3: Because I haven't slept more than about four hours since starting the steriods (fun side effect), I have gotten all the laundry done and cleaned the washing machine with a toothbrush.

Thankful #4: Unlike straw mites, which my daughter and about a dozen of her friends contracted last fall at a bonfire, oak tree mites bite and go. Conversely, straw mites burrow into the skin, and when one gets them, one has to use a special cream and coat one's skin from neck to toes and then wash it off 8 hours later. Plus, they itch. Burrowed. Under. Your skin. 

Yesterday, my husband and I went to my dad's and the three of us headed to the aforementioned auction. It was out in the country, on a farm, with lots of shade trees (probably full of oak tree mites and ticks). Unlike the sale my dad and I attended a few weeks ago, this one had a number of items we were interested in, so we got our lawn chairs out of the car and settled in for the long haul. There was quite a bit of old furniture, a lot of which had been in storage in an outbuilding. I got a solid oak, antique dining table for $40. And I got an antique oak rocking chair (it was kind of a mistake; I was trying to tell my dad that my husband was interested in a bench that was going to be the next item auctioned, he misunderstood me and bid for the rocking chair, and we got it for $20 - fortunately, it's a lovely little rocker and is comfortable and the bench went for way more money that we were willing to pay for it anyway). My dad got a stool with a spinny seat for $5 that he is going to use in his shop at the lake house. We people watched. I scratched oak tree mite bites. We sweat. My husband and I lugged the table and rocker to the Sequoia and got them loaded, but not before we found out they were LITERALLY crawling with spiders. Big spiders, little spiders. Fat spiders, skinny spiders. Big spiders with long legs who were grabbing egg sacks and running with them. Oh, and egg sacks. We used a newspaper to beat them, poke them, swat them, shoo them, and otherwise (dear God, I hope) eradicate them from the furniture.

Just needs a little TLC

Thankful #5: as is common with auctions in these parts, there are always Old Order Mennonites there. The last auction attracted just men and boys, but at this auction, there were about half a dozen families there, including one family with five little stair-step girls (ranging in age from about 5 to a baby) that were completely precious. I got a picture of three of them walking by the tables together:

Thankful #6: I sweat so much I didn't have to avail myself of the porta-potties. 

Thankful #7: That this guy is not representative of everyone in the Missouri Ozarks:

I know he thinks his hat is very clever.
I wanted to set it on fire.

I was looking at some salt and pepper shakers and other collectibles on some tables and let my dad get out of my sight for ONE MINUTE (maybe just a few more), and I walked up just as he won the bid on some power tools: a router (which is big and heavy and was mounted on a bigger, heavier board) and a planer/jointer (which is bigger and heavier and was mounted on a board that was mounted on a metal stand). He only gave $20 for one and $10 for the other. The reason they were so cheap? They had been stored in an outbuilding FOR YEARS and were beyond filthy. The cords were frayed (in actuality, probably chewed by rodents). The planer/jointer weighed over 200 lbs. The Sequoia was full of a table, a rocker, a spinny stool, three lawn chairs, and spiders. Our only choice was to leave them there and come back the next day and try to get them home.

Frayed much?

This is a very old planer/jointer.

Thankful #8: Not long after we finally made it home from the auction (and lunch, because you've gotta have lunch), I had my tick encounter. This is not a thankful. The reason I was messing with my hair and make up was because we then spent the evening at the stock car races. It was a fun evening, not as dusty as last time we went, and there were fireworks during intermission.

Green flag.

This morning, the three of us trooped back to the auction site of the previous day, armed with an assortment of tools, so we could load the two saws into my dad's van. It had been determined that the planer/jointer would need to be dismantled in order for it (a) to fit in the car and (b) to be a manageable weight. We (okay, mostly them - I planned to take pictures and call 911 if necessary and no more) laid the planer/jointer on its side, removed a couple of bolts that attached it to the heavy cart, and cleaned it as best we could of mouse nests, ancient sawdust deposits, mud dauber nests, webs, and....spiders. Big spiders, little spiders. Fat spiders, skinny spiders. Big spiders with long legs who were grabbing egg sacks and running with them, and both unclaimed and empty egg sacks. Sigh. I used screwdrivers and a big crescent wrench to smash the mud dauber nests and smack spiders and remove mouse nesting, all while flinching and brushing myself of any and all spiders, oak tree mites, and ticks, real or imaginary, that could be crawling on me.

Thankful #9: We (okay, they) got the planer/jointer dismantled enough to load it in the back of the van, along with the router on the giant board and any spiders that survived my attempts at extermination.

During the dis-assembly, my dad immediately
noticed the sticker on this round thingy
showing that the former owner bought it
from my dad's old store.

Thankful #10: I hereby remain tick-free.

Scratch, scratch, scratch.

Linking up with Josie Two-Shoes and her Ten Things of Thankful blog hop.

Monday, June 19, 2017

A Food And Road Adventure Kind Of Week Of Thankfuls

I wrote last weekend's TToT before the weekend, so this 'un is going to wrap two weekends up in one. 

1. I went to my dad's last Saturday, and he and I went to an auction that afternoon about five miles north of town. We didn't stay very long (it was HOT), and there wasn't anything we were terribly interested in (it was some household goods and the rest was all taxidermy supplies, guns, and sundry other items), but country auctions make for great people watching and are very entertaining. This one in particular had drawn about 15 Old Order Mennonite men and boys, and it was particularly enjoyable to watch the boys sitting on and admiring some ride-on mowers and motorcycles that were up for auction. 

They can't ride them, but they can admire them.

Lots of men, standing around. 

Watching as guns are auctioned.

Horses and buggies tied up in the shade.

2. We left the auction with the intention of going back to the house. My dad rode shotgun and was in charge of directions, and we took a side trip past where my grandma had once lived, then ended up driving all over that part of the country, turning randomly here and there. We took gravel roads and one lane bridges, and eventually, we were close enough to the tiny town of Hume to make it worth going there for lunch. We went to Sisters & Friends Restaurant, and I had one of the tastiest hamburgers I've had in a long time. My dad got a pork tenderloin sandwich that was as big as a plate. We left full and happy.

3. My husband, dad and I went to the stock car races that night. THIS is small town living in the midwest and south! Didja know stock car racing began during prohibition, when illegal moonshine was transported in souped up cars, at night, with no headlights, along winding country roads, as the drivers eluded the "revenooers"? The last time we went to the races, the College Boy (still need a name for him now that he's graduated) was two, and he played in the gravel under the bleachers the whole time. My dad always loved going to the races; my mom, not as much, but she went with him. After they bought the lake house, though, they spent their weekends at the lake and stopped attending stock car races. I'm so happy we finally made it back there this weekend. Very little has changed with the track, and it felt a little as if we stepped back in time about thirty years.

Green flag.

Me and my daddy at the races.

4. The day had been hot, but there was a stiff breeze that made the temperature that evening quite pleasant.

5. So the Nevada Speedway is a 1/4 mile dirt track. Know what happens when cars go flying by a few feet away from you on a dirt track? You get some dirt thrown on you. When you factor in some wind, you end up covered with a pretty good layer of dirt. On your skin. In your eyes. In your hair, all the way to the scalp. In your teeth. It's okay; I'm washable.

Here's one improvement at the ol' Speedway: the bathrooms have been upgraded. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, the bathrooms were indoors, and they DID flush, but there were no doors on the stalls. No. Doors. NO. DOORS. So, SO thankful for the upgrade. SO thankful.

6. My dad really enjoyed the evening and had no problem walking into the venue or with the gravel under the bleachers. He said several times, "This has been a really fun day!" and he was right.

7. I met two friends for dinner one evening this week, and we talked and laughed for two and a half hours.

With Allison and Amy after our marathon dinner.

8. Emma and I drove to Kansas City (everything's up-to-date there, you know) on Thursday and did a little Going To College shopping. We love our girl getaways, even if it's only a day trip.

9. This weekend, my husband, the College Boy and I headed to the lake house, because my dad wanted to take us to an old grist mill turned recreation area (College Boy opted out of this activity and went to a water park with his girlfriend instead). It was 70 miles away by road, probably 40 as the crow flies, and took us two and a half hours to get there (we could have made it in two, but Barfy McBarf Barf in the back seat got queasy the last fifteen miles of twisty roadways, and I had to slow down considerably). The place is called Rockbridge and has lodging (cabins and such) and a restaurant, and the creek is stocked with rainbow trout. We couldn't go inside the grist mill, as the floods in April caused considerable damage to it, but we walked down to the creek and then ate at the restaurant, where I had yet another tasty hamburger to cap off my week.

Creek flowing over the dam at the grist mill.

Trout lurking in the water.

10. Before leaving for the lake, my dad came by my house so he and I could go to the Spiva Center and see a sculpture exhibit by the man who lives across the street from the lake house. His name is Tim Cherry, he's extremely talented, and if you ever hear that he will have an exhibit at an art gallery near you, go see it! 

All three of these are bronze sculptures.

Man, I had a busy week, but not too busy to give thanks.

Ten Things of Thankful

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Link: A Six Sentence Story

As I was mulling over my options for this week's Six Sentence Story prompt, my 18 year old daughter walked into the room, and when I asked her what she thought of when she heard the word "link," this was her reply:

"Link Larkin, you know, Zac Efron's character from Hairspray (she proceeds to sing "And I'm...LINK!"). Or link sausages, because I REALLY LIKE link sausages. Or chain link fence, or linking arms, because I like to do that. Oh, or that annoying email you get all the time that tells you someone added you on Linked In, but I'd go with Link Larkin."

Good choice.

Linking up with Ivy at Uncharted for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "link."

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Treasures From The Basement: Part 1

In April, my dad's basement flooded due to a monsoon-like storm (if you can have monsoons in the midwest; otherwise, I guess it was just a ridiculous amount of rain accompanied by lots of thunder and lightning, although the thunder and lightning part is irrelevant, except that's probably why it rained so much, so...relevant). 

This happened while we were worried about the lake house flooding from the same storm system and my husband and I had gone there to sandbag the house. The Corps of Engineers and Mother Nature somehow kept the water from rising as high as it did a year and a half ago (when the lake house DID flood), but unknown to us was the water making its way through the basement of the other house. 

My dad was in a rehab facility post-knee replacement surgery at the time, and we didn't discover that the basement had had water in it for another two weeks, so you can only imagine how much fun THAT was. All the cardboard boxes of stuff that were stored on the basement floor, some junk, some treasure, none of which were enhanced by the addition of rain water, were pretty much ruined. Mold growing. Smelly. Ugh.

Cleaning it out has been a chore. Or has it? Here are a few of the jewels I found down there:

Bona fide stereo with record still on it.

My 3rd grade math workbook ca. 1968

My brother's 6th grade ruler. I know this because
of the room number; he and I had the same teacher
and same classroom for 6th grade, which was
located in the basement - hence, the "B"

In 5th grade, we made maracas out of an old lightbulb
we brought from home. Instead of a normal household bulb,
my dad brought home a used bulb from Municipal Auditorium
in downtown Kansas City for me to use for the project. After applying
papier mache to the bulb and allowing it to thoroughly dry,
we cracked the bulb against our desk. The shattered glass inside
then made the shake shake shake sound of the maraca.
My guess is that craft wouldn't fly in schools today....

From 6th grade. See? Same classroom my brother had.

My Brownie bracelet. I lasted all of about four months
in Brownies.
My 6th grade notebook. The stick-on
hands and feet were furry.

I used to keep these on my dresser when I was
in elementary school. I discovered the little
dog is actually a salt shaker. Or pepper shaker.
How did I not know that? Where's the other shaker?
Is that why someone gave it to me? I'll
never know the answer!

One of my favorite finds: my brother must have
ordered this from Tiger Beat magazine.
Pretty groovy, huh?

You might be able to see why the cleaning out of the basement is taking me awhile.

There WILL be a sequel.... 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Woo Pig Sooie And More: Ten Things Of Thankful

Holy smokes! It's Friday already?! Where did the week go? Oh, yeah, now I remember. And it's part of this week's Ten Things of Thankful!

1. Monday was a rough day, as I attended the funeral of my friend's 12 year old daughter, who drowned last week while tubing on an area creek. I did get to talk to my friend before the service, and I am so thankful for that opportunity. She is beyond heartbroken, but hopefully, the healing process has begun.

2. Tuesday was a big day, as Emma and I traveled to Fayetteville, Arkansas, for college orientation, and it became very clear that my baby girl is going to be leaving me in two short months. The thankful here is that SHE. IS. READY.

Baby Girl in front of her dorm. Move-in date is August 11!

3. Another thankful: it only takes one hour and thirty minutes to get there, unless there is a lot of traffic, which there usually is. To get there from here, you have to drive through Bentonville, home of Walmart, and an insanely busy area with highways seemingly always under construction. But she'll only be ONE HOUR AND THIRTY MINUTES AWAY. That's not so bad.

4. When we first arrived at the campus and had to drag Emma's overnight stuff from the parking garage to the dorm she was staying in for the night, I wasn't feeling the thankfuls. But we made it (it was hot) and the check-in procedure went smoothly.

5. While we were in the check-in line, I was noticing all the Texas moms waiting with their kids. They were all tanned and hair fixed and cute clothes and, well, there's a "look." I was standing there, feeling rather inferior, when I noticed a mom in front of us who DIDN'T have the Texas look. We ended up chatting, our daughters ended up chatting, and Emma and I made new friends! They are from the Kansas City area, and we hung out for the two days of orientation, which made the whole thing SO much better!

6. I stayed in a hotel that night and had a king-sized bed all to myself. Ahhh!

7. The parent sessions were deadly dull (yes, it there IS such a thing as a stupid question), especially the morning session on Wednesday, but by noon when I met up with Emma again, she had met with her adviser and scheduled her classes for fall semester. She is now officially a student at the University of Arkansas.

8. We learned how to call the hogs. I am not a big fan of audience participation stuff, and believe you me, calling the hogs is something you have to do with 100% participation, but I did it and it didn't kill me.

(The following is short - watch it!)

9. I participated in Six Sentence Stories this week for the first time in a coon's age. If you want to read my entry, it's right here.

10. I found a new-to-me blueberry farm today, and I picked seven pounds of blueberries in less than an hour. In all honesty, I probably picked more like eight pounds, but a few ended up in my belly. Thank goodness they don't weigh you when you come in and when you leave!

Have you ever SEEN so many blueberries on one bush?!

Something did sting me today, however, which is a first in my many years of blueberry picking. I don't know what it was, since lucky for him, I didn't see him do it, but it's been twelve hours and it STILL hurts. Worth it, though.

Hey, safety first.

That was easy! Why has it been so difficult for me to do this for so long? 

The rest of my weekend is going to be spent going to Bushwhacker Days with my dad, then to the stock car races. Do we know how to have a good time around here or what? I will also do another round of basement cleaning while at my dad's. Yay.

Remember to be thankful for all things, large and small.

Ten Things of Thankful

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Lift: A Six Sentence Story

The two girls had it all planned, saying their good nights, punctuating them with overly dramatic yawns, and tiredly walking to the bedroom as soon as Megan's parents tuned into the 10:00 news. After softly closing the door, the girls clapped their hands over their mouths and laughed silently at their cleverness before carefully sliding the window open and pushing the loosened screen outwards enough for each of them to slip out and drop to the grass below. They tiptoed across the lawn, then made a dash for the shadows of the tree-lined road that led to town, to the party, where they could drink and smoke and press against boys and tease them with the possibility of more.

"Here he comes, right on time!" Megan whispered excitedly as they ran on sneakered feet to the corner just as the dark car pulled up, its lights doused, and the passenger door swung open. The burning ember from the end of a cigarette was the only visible light as the girls jumped into the front seat, latching the door as the car pulled away from the curb.

"Thanks for the lift," Megan said, turning towards the driver, and as the car sped away from the curb, she saw the face in the glow of the cigarette, saw what a horrible mistake they had made, and clutched her friend's hand as the car raced into the darkness.

Linking up with Ivy at Uncharted for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "lift."

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Thankful For Free Stuff And A Few Other Things

Proof that a thankful list doesn't have to be elaborate, here's mine:

$1 drinks at Kum & Go stores all summer.

Every seventh drink at Kum & Go is free.

My husband and I use the same Kum & Go Rewards account, and I scored the free drink twice in the past two weeks.

I found $3.00 on the floor at Walmart, and there was no one nearby and no way to know who dropped it; therefore, I scored $3.00.

In working on cleaning out the basement at my dad's house (that flooded a few weeks ago during torrential rains), I found some fun treasures. Details later in the week.

My dad set off his medical alert monitor today not once, not twice, but three times while sitting in his recliner and eating a bowl of hash brown casserole and resting the bowl on his chest and accidentally hitting the button. I'm thankful nothing really happened, because that's just plain funny! 

My dad's neighbor got a phone call from the company when the cancellation process didn't work properly, and she called me. I called my dad, at which time I found out what he had done (by the way, it had only happened twice at this point - HE DID IT ONE MORE TIME), and she was able to let the ambulance that was dispatched know all was fine. This is especially good, because he wasn't even home at the time; he was at the lake house when all this went down.

My dad spent the night at my house the night before he had to go back to his doctor for knee replacement follow-up. He tucked the monitor in his shoe and stuffed his socks into the shoe, because he didn't want to tempt Nora by leaving it on a table overnight where she might find it. Guess what? She found it anyway. I'm thankful he was able to get to it when he heard the voice talking to him (it detects falls or perceived falls when a kitten is playing with it), since we now know they send an ambulance to your house.

Nora LOOOOVES my dad's shoes and socks.

I am thankful he wears the monitor. It gives both of us some peace of mind, in spite of a few snafus.

Blueberry season has begun.

This week was a difficult one for making a thankful list, as a 12 year old girl we know drowned this week when the inner tube she was riding on during a family float trip on a rain-swollen creek overturned. It took three days for rescue workers to find her. My heart aches for the family. Rest peacefully, sweet Brooke. You are much loved.

Linking up with Ten Things of Thankful. Join us!