sand pail by sand pail

I always wanted a horse.

Birthdays, Christmases.

Politely, year after year, I asked for a horse.

I never imagined any further than actually wanting it, I just wanted it.

***

Our neighborhood streets were lined with tall, full chestnut trees. The roots of the massive trees would cause the sidewalks to erupt into a variety of dangerous angles. And on top of the disheveled sidewalk were the fallen chestnuts, more chestnuts than you could imagine.

We collected the chestnuts in small plastic sand pails and then transferred them into a metal washtub in the backyard where we’d spend hours processing our haul. Before peeling, the chestnuts needed sorting. They certainly did not fall from the tree in a ready-to-be peeled state. As we sorted, we watched for the best ones. The “split greens” were favorites because those were the easiest to peel. They most likely held the doubles, too … smooth, shiny, a pair of chestnuts butting up against each other so tightly it gave the illusion of just one … less elusive than a falling star but definitely just as magical.

Once all the split chestnuts were separated and peeled, we’d wait a day and hopefully more would split overnight. It rarely happened, but we still wished.

The next morning we’d dive in again. Collect, sort, split. Day after day.

Eventually, we’d use bricks to smash the prickly stubborn shells open. We’d arrange the chestnuts on the sidewalk, stand on a picnic bench, and drop the brick onto the chestnut shells hoping the stubborn outer casing would finally crack.

Towards the garage, there were old screens set on top of cinderblocks. We’d lay the peeled chestnuts in a single layer on the screens. We’d watch them, we’d rotate them, and if any of them developed worms we’d scoop them up with our plastic sand shovels and pitch them into the alley.

The outer shells eventually ended up in the neighbor’s compost pile along with old tomatoes, coffee grounds, assorted egg shells, apple cores, and orange peels.

Once dried, the chestnuts went into brown paper bags and sat on the shelf in the garage.

And when the leaves were off the trees and the temperatures started to drop significantly but before the snow fell, that’s when we used the old paint-splattered step ladder to haul the paper bags down, one at a time, from the garage shelf and empty them into the old wooden coal bin on the side of the house.

And sand pail by sand pail, we’d return the dried chestnuts to the front yard for the squirrels. We’d walk up and down our block and disperse our harvest for the those that hadn’t planned as properly as they should have.

***

That color, the dark brown of a dried chestnut, that’s the color horse I wanted.

NaBloPoMo November 2016

Seriously? The world is falling apart and I’m folding towels?

We’re hustling over here, there’s a fundraiser/car wash tomorrow for my son’s team. Emails have been exchanged all week long in anticipation:

  • I don’t think we have enough hoses, we need at least four and we only have two.
  • Baked goods are coming in, heavy emphasis on brownies. Any cookie makers in our midst?
  • We’ve got a cooler that we can fill with bottled water for the volunteers, does anyone else have that covered? If not, we’ll do it.

We’re good, we’re planning, we’re communicating, we’re parents of teens and we’ve got this.

Last year during this annual fundraiser, we had suffered a shortage of dry towels. I chased back and forth with the saturated ones, spun ’em dry and returned ’em. This year I am sorting through my towels and in hopes of bringing more than what we could possibly need.

My towels are divided into three categories: the good, the bad, and the very ugly.

The good ones are mine. Stay away from them because they are not going anywhere, not even to a new friend’s pool party so you can make a remarkable first impression. The bad ones are threadbare with bleach stains, some life is left in them but they’ve seen better days. And the very ugly ones, they are just plain ol’ ugly. They are for one-time-only-use, like if we have to clean up puke. Or spilled nail polish. Maybe broken egg remnants from the kitchen floor. Or even an oil spill in the driveway. You know, life’s daily dirty stuff.

And after the most current email update, I hurriedly put away my brownie-making supplies while I retrieved my Rice Krispie ingredients. I officially made the decision to donate my “bad towels” to this weekend’s fundraising car wash after realizing that today’s currently good towels will eventually become tomorrow’s bad towels in no time at all and the stash had the potential to replenish itself.

Now it’s been said that I make the best Rice Krispie Treats in all the regions of all the lands. Maybe I said that myself, I don’t know but praise is praise even when it comes from within. Double the butter, that’s my secret but let’s just keep that between us.

And as I supervise the melting of the magical excess butter, I sort through towels and put them into laundry baskets for easier transport … multitasking at it’s finest. As usual, I turned on the tiny television in the kitchen for background noise.

Surfing through channels, I see France’s current aftermath. I stop mid-step, catch my breath and mutter to myself, “Seriously? The world is falling apart and I’m folding towels?”

I saw the early footage last night, but this fresh film today featured another angle. And there I was, frozen in time, staring at the newscast as I held my breath.

I was raised by a single parent in the early sixties. Armed with nothing but a handful of phone numbers to call in the event of an emergency, right or wrong, she always took matters into her own hands.

She sheltered us during the evening news by scooting us into the kitchen so, alone, she could watch our tinfoil-enhanced rabbit-eared black and white television as Walter Conkrite’s voice narrated the grainy images of the war in Viet Nam. And then she’d quietly turn the television off, sit in silence for a moment, come into the kitchen, and we’d all clean. And then we’d move to the next room and clean some more.

I think we were the only kids that scoured and scrubbed our way through the Viet Nam war. We were young and we were vulnerable but we felt safe and protected in our organized nest as a sense of normalcy, partnered with occasional cleaning frenzies, ruled our tiny land.

In 1970,  Madison, Wisconsin’s Sterling Hall bombings rocked America. Less than three hours from our front door, national tragedy had struck and we started deep-cleaning again, we sorted through our closets and drawers and purged what was no longer necessary.

We renewed our library cards and carried them with us at all times and even at twelve, I knew that in the event of an emergency my library card is what local officials would use to identify my remains. And if my remains were intact, and I had my wits about me, well, there was a dime in my pocket so we could use a payphone to call home and let everyone know we survived whatever unforeseen misfortunate had fallen upon us.

And we forged forward, we went to school dances, searched for the perfect plaid bell bottoms, and ironed our parted-down-the-middle hair. We kept going, with a library card and a dime in our pockets, we kept going.

In the early nineties, AIDS coverage was mesmerizingly overwhelming. I watched the news within my home, not knowing what to do. Quilters were making commemorative panels and pro-active safety kits were added to school halls. Meanwhile, I’m over here cleaning the home front as I try to explain to my own kids that they need to stay safe.

Armed daily with fresh lectures, Ziploc bags stuffed with latex gloves, along with their library cards and enough money to call me tucked securely within their backpacks, I sent them off into the world while I tried to keep a sense of normalcy at home … steaming hot soup, fresh warm bread, and a clean happy house to return to at the end of their day. I couldn’t cure AIDS, hell, I couldn’t even understand AIDS, but I could provide a sense of normalcy.

And in 2001, the Twin Towers disaster had me retrieving two children from two different schools. Home. I needed them home as much as I wanted to believe they needed to be home. We stayed in the kitchen all day. We made cut-out sour cream cookie dough, chilled it, and made cut-out cookies that we then sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. I wanted to be their news source, I wanted to interpret these current events once I understood them which apparently I still don’t. But I tried, we did normal things and through tears I attempted to explain, right or wrong, I always took these matters into my own hands.

Spring of 2013 finds me explaining the Boston Marathon bombing to pre-teens. Stay safe, be aware of your surroundings, report anything suspicious. And, in hindsight, 2013 was the year we started cleaning and never stopped.

And now, again, France.

This time we’re cleaning and we’re cooking. And we forge forward, continually aware of our surroundings, always on alert. I lecture non-stop now. Do not touch unattended backpacks or briefcases. If an adult asks you to carry anything into school, and you do not personally know them you must get find a school staff member or an authorized adult in charge … even if you are now taller than most adults in charge.

And now, for me, normalcy must prevail because my children need us to be strong.

Not every one of us has to march publicly, some of us are better here on the home front. It doesn’t mean that we don’t care. We care deeply and passionately and often we have the power to care about many things at the very same time.

We can care about France, Germany, and Turkey while we still care about Florida and Texas. And we have the ability to mourn yet another victim of horrific child abuse and still be outraged when we learn that one more dog was left to overheat in a vehicle that had the windows closed.

And we can care that summer is coming to a quick close while we do our best to stay current on issues plaguing our LGBT communities.

We can have genuine hope that we will see one world with racial harmony while we cherish that rare fifteen minutes of silence alone in a car as we sip coffee between the never ending carpooling to events.

We can care quietly, without retweets. We can care deeply, without social media shares.

And we can quietly mourn the losses of others as though they were our loses, because they are our losses, too.

There’s a balance here. The voices of the advocates and the activists next sharing space right next to us, the quiet ones, in the trenches, struggling to maintain normalcy because there are fundraisers to plan and attend. And summer music lessons that have to happen. And local rec department classes that must carry on because normalcy must prevail.

a loose, side braid

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The day of her funeral it was sunny and bitter cold, even for Wisconsin’s January standards. We had what I call “snow sparkles.” It wasn’t a true snow, it was more like the intermittent essence of snow that swirled in mid-air and you could really only catch glimpses of it when the sun hit the tinier than usual flakes at just the right angle.

Her funeral was a two-day event, the showing in the evening and the mass the next morning. That is a long time to smile, even for me, but my two-day smile was sincere. Hundreds and hundreds of people, taking time out of their lives as they stood in line for what must have seemed like forever just so they could pass her small casket and hug our family, which now numbered four.

It took two decades for me to re-open her autopsy, but that morning I was ready. Twelve pages in length yet relatively inconclusive, the final sentence declaring her to have an undiagnosed degenerative neuromuscular disorder. She was seven years old.

And once again, I’m smiling. Even though I just finished reading a technical document that reduced my daughter to nothing more than body parts, tissue samples, organ weights, and measurements … I’m smiling.

And it is a huge, genuine smile because nestled within the first page, second paragraph of the autopsy I read these words, “Her auburn hair was in a loose, side braid.” You see, I braided her hair that night and I never braided her hair.

My little girl had a lifelong posse of incredible caregivers. There were six nurses doing eight-hour shifts, three shifts a day, seven days a week. And in addition to being stellar home health care providers, these women knew how to braid, they were fast and efficient. The could make fat braids or skinny braids, even those thick and close-to-the-head braids that looked just like a flat headband made out of hair. Oh, they were good at braiding. And they knew it.

That night, her very last night, after seven years of illness, shortly after my only daughter died I unbraided her hair one final time. With her nurse’s assistance, we slipped her into clean jammies.

Together we gently placed her in the center of a homemade quilt, one that I labored over specifically for this very moment in time, and then packed it away until needed. It was a simple log cabin pattern in shades of deep purple with just a little bit of sage green and a splash of vivid yellow, the three colors she always wore best.

I quietly asked the nurse to step outside for a few moments and then all alone, for the very first time, I braided my daughter’s hair. It was slippery hair and there was a lot of it. Each strand had a decent sheen to it, too.

I rearranged her hair as I finger-combed it, watching it , mesmerized as it bounced back into a tight curl each time I straightened it. I gathered it off to one side and with a little bit of a twist I started braiding right below the earlobe and I kept braiding until there just about an inch left before I tied it off with a tiny brown, elastic band.

I realized my final, most intimate act maternal act, had happened just moments after she died and had been captured as the prelude to her autopsy.

Her auburn hair was in a loose, side braid. That was my braid, she was my daughter.

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my first thong

I went to my friend Barbara Christine’s house for a well-deserved night out. Sure, we spend a lot of time on the phone but our “In Real Life” moments were, at that time, rare. We plopped down next to each other on the same love seat, and it felt like home. And I do not mean literally home, but more like when I slid into that love seat next to her I felt like I just ran the bases at Miller Stadium and did a fabulous slide into home plate. That kind of home.

Barbara Christine knows just about everything there is to know about me because for the greatest part of it, she was right there. In my old neighborhood, you could see the second and third-floor of her home from my second-floor front bedroom window. That is until the trees came into bloom. We were constantly lending each other flour, sugar, dish soap, even Hershey’s Kisses.

At least a decade ago, Barb and I were supposed to attend the same neighborhood Christmas party and I was so far behind on my laundry that I didn’t think I would have clean unders in time for the event.

We laughed and joked about it, saying that I might just have to go to this very Christian holiday gathering without any underwear because my washer and dryer were old and decrepit. They ran slowly, didn’t wring things out adequately, and took forever to dry because the heating element was just about shot.  As usual, we discussed our clothing options, continually returning to the fact that I may not be attending because of my lack of unders.

That evening, Barb and I arrived at the party within minutes of each other. “Do you have on underwear?” she asked. I started laughing, “Of course, I do.”

Now, typically I consider myself to be as religious as the next guy but this neighborhood Christmas party was taking place in the home of the most religious people I know. Oodles of parishioners were in attendance along with a decent assortment of priests.

The children from this house were begging to put Baby Jesus  into his manger before Christmas morning. Eventually, one of the older priests who may have gotten tired of the whining said that it would be alright if Baby Jesus laid in his manger for a couple of hours and then got “put away” again.

For this particular family to allow Baby Jesus to get to the manger before Christmas morning is a HUGE ordeal. My personal preference would be to have Baby Jesus out all year long because I love the wide-eyed open-armed look of Him with the glowing halo. It used to bother me the way Baby Jesus had eyes that followed you where ever you were in the room, but I got over that during my mid-thirties. How? Simply put, if you don’t make eye contact with Baby Jesus, you tell can no longer see where the holiest of all holy cherubs is looking.

So as we all gather around the Christmas tree and the three wise guys and their camels get moved closer and closer, the room gets more and more quiet. I understand that once The Star became visible the Christ Posse had more of a purpose and couldda/shouldda/wouldda picked up some speed once they were given permission to arrive earlier than planned, but this re-enactment needed to be more accurate because Good Wise Men never arrive early. Even to get there on time is nothing short of a miracle itself.

And Barbara Christine whispers in my ear, “Did you get your laundry done? Do you have clean underwear?” And I whispered back to her, “Maybe I am swaddled in the only available cloth just like Baby Jesus.”

Thus began the inappropriate laughing which could not be contained. Granted, watching these near teen-aged children moving camels across a white sheet underneath the Christmas Tree had me on the edge already. “We Three Kings” was playing on a cassette player in the dining room and I knew we had to get hysteria under control because after all, this was supposed to be a reflective time.

So I pinched the inside of Barbara Christine’s arm and motioned with my head that we should mosey on over towards the source of the music thinking that if we stand on the opposite side of the boom box our snickering and giggling would be veiled. Well, that would have been a fine plan if there hadn’t been extension cords laying all over the place to keep all the crock pots and roasters warmed and ready to go. All Christians know that nothing symbolizes the safe arrival of Baby Jesus like piping hot cocktail wieners.

So like two wise women, Barbara Christine and I proceeded with our travels over to the music source. That’s when my heel got caught on an extension cord and the power strip came out of the wall socket. As I quietly bent over to plug it back in there was a teeny tiny spark and then the power went out in the dining room. I did what any religious holiday-loving Christian would do at this time, I lied. “Oh my goodness, I was just standing here and I saw it spark.” Now I guess that comes in under the category of lying by omission which is more a White Lie than a Standard Issue Lie.

Barbara Christine had vanished. Like magic, right? She just took off and went into the bathroom because of her escalating laughter which was a good choice on her part because I heard one of the priests declare that he would bless Baby Jesus during this small power outage which the teenagers were declaring as some type of miracle.

Barbara Christine and I reconnected later in the food line. Someone had put the jello squares way to close to the crock pot of German potato salad so the red and green layers were rapidly melting. An elderly parishioner who was well-intentioned but irritating kept trying to rearrange the food on the table to make more room. She must have had visual problems because she picked up the platter of partially liquid Jello Jigglers and added them to the cucumber salad while declaring, “We certainly don’t need two bowls of cold salad, now do we!” Makes a person wonder how some elderly people even manage to make it through a day. My guess is it takes a lot of prayer and faith.

While we leaned against a wall eating, Barbara Christine and I had this conversation:

Barbara Christine: So, are you wearing underwear?
Me: Of course, I am.
Barbara Christine: Are they clean?
Me: Yes.
Barbara Christine: Doesn’t it feel great to be caught up on laundry?
Me: Oh, I’m not caught up on laundry.
Barbara Christine: *Audible Gasp*
Me: I’m wearing clean unders, they just aren’t mine.

And I quickly walked away because my abdomen could not handle any more shaking around. And with perfect timing, it was announced that we would now begin singing Christmas carols. We were treated to a fabulous mini-concert by one of our city’s charismatic piano players as he belted out tune after tune after tune.

The final song of the night was Sleigh Ride and the crowd just let ‘er rip. One of the teens from the hosting family had some vintage sleigh bells and we were having one of those unexpected lake effect snows that would have ordinarily upset me because I walked to her house and now there were near white-out conditions, but it fit right in with the festivities.

Dashing through the snow
In a one horse open sleigh
Over the hills we go …

And as we get to the line, laughing all the way, I hiked up my beaded holiday sweater, stuck my thumb in the waistband of the unders I was wearing and poked Barbara Christine in the ribs to get her attention.

She let out the deepest, hardiest laugh of all times because I was wearing my (then) husband’s Fruit Of The Loom Tighty Whities. Oh yes, I was. Uh huh.

Trust me, I had finished my laundry, but I knew this would be the last thing Barbara Christine ever would expect.

For the first couple of hours of the evening, they were remarkably uncomfortable and really bunchy and I was full of panic that if I slipped in the snow on my walk home and was rendered unconscience and had a compound fracture in my leg there would be a good chance my pants would have to be removed and everyone would wonder why I was wearing these ridiculous tighty whiteys.

Then I realized that I felt secure in my femininity and so what if all the emergency room people saw what I had on … once they heard I wore them to get a laugh from my friend, they would understand.

A few days later when I was checking to see if the mail had arrived I discovered a tiny Victoria’s Secret gift bag between the two front doors. Inside was the oh-my-gosh teeniest red thong. Of course, I knew this was from Barbara Christine.

When I called her she was laughing so hard that all I could hear was wheezing and snorting and I seriously wondered if I should be concerned for her safety. I was finally able to understand the three words she was sputtering, “emergency spare pair.”

**

And, yes I still have “My First Thong” and I keep it right in my underwear drawer close to the front so I can see it right away. I’ve never worn it, partly because it didn’t come with a manual that would explain how I should wear it but mostly because I plan on giving it back to Barbara Christine someday when she is least expecting it. For now, it stays where it is because for me it feels like home.

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the most evil elf of all

When we were young, my grandparents had two Christmas trees. The one upstairs was a handsome “company” tree with gold balls and ribbons, long green needles and white flocking.

The tree downstairs was an inexpensive bottle-brush tree for the kids. It was packed with elves. Elves with red and white striped socks and green smocks. Elves with red smocks and green and white striped socks. Elves holding elves. Elves holding their knees tucked up in an elf-like position.

My grandmother called them pixies, but I called them elves. There were dozens of them on an artificial tree and they all had plastic heads. Most of them had exaggerated noses and red mouths wide open with false tongues and fake laughter on their faces.

And there were a couple of Evil Elves. They had bigger heads than the other elves. Scary heads, too, with bodies that were very bendable. They had ornament loops coming out of their Evil Elf Hats, but to be really demented they would bend their arms so they could hug the branches.

Many years ago, I was gifted the gold balls and the box marked “pixies”. The first year I put out the standard-issue elves and it was cute and a conversation piece because these vintage sprites were well into their twenties or early thirties at the time. We aged, these pixies never did. Ah, they were timeless. That first year I didn’t have room on the tree for all the little guys so I just unwrapped the ones on the top of the box. End of season, re-wrap them, return to the attic.

download (8)When decorating the following Christmas, I dug further into the box and found the Evilest of all the Evil Elves. The Giant Evil Elf himself. I distinctively remembered him. My grandmother always seemed to hang him at MY eye level. There was no escaping his glare.

I didn’t hang King and Ruler Evil Elf, but I showed my boys and they thought it was pretty funny that I was afraid of him. That year, my kids wreaked non-stop havoc by hiding Evil Elf in the least likely of places, including but not limited to:

* my morning coffee cup so that when I went to the cabinet his big ol’ head would be grinning at me

* the next full roll of toilet paper featured this vile Evil Elf Lord of All Unholy stuffed into the cardboard tube glaring out and daring me to make eye contact

* tucked nicely beneath my next available pair of unders so that when I pull my new pair out, that perverted imp has his arms wrapped around tomorrow’s pair all ready to hang on with gusto and sneak along for the free ride

* throw back the covers and there he is tucked in between the bed pillows, curled up and ready having a staring contest with me using his powerful Evil Elf eyes

So, the holiday season progresses and my kids are having the time of their lives with Evil Elf that year until suddenly he disappears, which is very odd when you consider he showed up twelve to fifteen times a day. At the same time, way too much of my “good” wrapping paper also vanishes along with way too many boxes and way, way too much Scotch Tape.

And, guess what does appear at this time. Yes, the most beautifully wrapped present that two pre-teen boys could manage. Sure enough, they let me open my present early and, after a series of expensively wrapped boxes containing additional expensively wrapped boxes, there he was … The Supreme Ruler of all things Horrific, the Evil Elf.

Now about this time, someone gave me a gift of Bath and Body Works Sugar Scrub Scrubbing Sugar or some type of slimy body-exfoliating slop that, in addition to cleansing your follicles would also make your shower extremely slippery.

All it took was one experience with this crap and I knew my body didn’t have the flexibility necessary to be exfoliated in this manner. While scrubbing one leg, the other leg slipped out from under me, and I slid from the tapered end of the bathtub to the faucet end of the bathtub so fast I exfoliated my entire back without even using my arms.

Once I could walk again, I dumped this goop down the garbage disposal and ran the cute jar that it came in through the dishwasher. Nice jar, I can find a use for it that so the entire gift wasn’t a complete waste.

And as I was unloading the dishwasher later that night, I reach in the cabinet to get a towel to dry out the water that stays in the top of the coffee cups which is really the bottom of the coffee cups unless it is in the dishwasher then it is the top of the coffee cups.

You also need to keep in mind that I damn near killed my exfoliated self in the shower moments after I unwrapped an elf that was buried in about $140 worth of foil wrap and matching ribbons and since I already wasn’t in the best of moods to begin with, there was that peckin’ Evil Elf in the drawer with the dishtowels. I had hit my limit, I picked up Evil Elf and popped him into the jar and hid him in the Beverage Region of my kitchen cabinets. Eventually my kids tired of looking for him and the poor little sucker hid behind the Swiss Miss for almost a year.

I don’t know who found him and set him free, I think it was Travis who would have been excited because he found my stash of hot chocolate mix.

He removed the Evil Elf and left the Jar From The Goop sit on the counter with the lid open so it looked like The Crowned Head of Hell, The Evil Elf himself had escaped.

Thus, our family began another non-traditional tradition. Once it becomes the holiday season, someone always springs Evil Elf from his glass prison and the festivities begin. And you would think I would get used to it.

No, I live in constant anxiety from now until late January. Sure, I might have greater anxiety than most people but then most people aren’t living with this level of stress for four months out of the year either, are they?

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Lessons Learned, Unconditional Love

I met Linda while I was working at a local college, our paths crossed briefly. She had a large, delightfully bearded husband and two young daughters twenty months apart in age, gorgeous children with non-gender-specific names. We had our kids together for an afternoon of lunch and play at their country home.

Linda’s oldest daughter was banging repeatedly on a vintage piano, opening and shutting the cover for the keyboard. At least a dozen times Linda politely told her daughter to stop, but being a toddler, of course, her daughter didn’t stop. And the ending was predictable, the little girl slammed her fingers beneath the clunky keyboard lid.

Linda yelled at her crying daughter, “I told you not to do that! I told you that you were going to get hurt!” She scolded while she got the ice pack. She lectured while she blew her daughter’s tiny nose. Then she scooped her daughter up, grabbed a blanket and sat with her in an antique rocker.

In a very soft voice, Linda told her daughter she was sorry she got angry. She apologized for sounding so scary. “I wish you would have listened to me when I was telling you to stop slamming the piano key lid. I wish I would have taken you away from the piano and put you in the time out chair because then you would not have gotten hurt.”

And then she apologized. She said, “I was angry, but I had every right to be angry. I’m sorry I got mad and raised my voice, but you need to know that there are going to be times that you are going to make more mistakes. Bigger ones than this, mistakes where you will hurt yourself or someone you love. And it doesn’t matter how big the mistake is, I’m here. Don’t ever be afraid to come to me. And someday you’ll be too grown up to sit in my lap but we’ll just sit next to each other. Through thick and thin, I will always love you. Don’t ever be afraid to come to me. Mistakes and are mistakes, plain and simple. It is how we grow. Today you learned why you shouldn’t bang the keyboard cover. See, you’ve learned something today. And I had one more chance to tell you that I’ll always be there for you. No matter what.”

And for the first time, the very first time, at the age of thirty, I was able to fully understand unconditional love. Never in my life had a witnessed such an intimate parent/child moment. And I learned, as a parent, you really should talk to your children about unconditional love.

Even though you feel it, don’t assume they know about it.

Explain it, live it, repeat as often as necessary.

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shotshell reloader ~ candid re-sale

Just like your city, my city has a multitude of Facebook groups where you can post your buy/sell/iso items. These are my actual posts. I removed some of the details, but these are my items listed for sale along with my pictures partnered with my words.


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(SOLD)
MEC 600 JR Mark5 Shotshell Reloader
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Do you trap shoot? Me either.

Do you know someone that does trap shoot? Then tell them about this little gem I’m offering for re-sale.

Here’s how you can easily accomplish that scenario:

“Hey, does Dick still do that trap shooting thing, or was that just a phase, because I saw a sweet ass 600 JR Mark5 Shotshell Reloader on a facebook re-sale page.”

And then you send them a screen cap of this post. Easy peasy trap shoot squeasy.

This item currently retails at Cabela, brand new, at $200.

Well, I’m not Cabela, and this is not brand new so I’m offering it for a drastically reduced price.

But here’s the deal. I was going to list it at a reasonable price and we all know some Dick would come along and say, “Can I take it off your hands for half that price?” Guess what, Dick … I already took the half off in advance. You’re welcome.

And yes, that is a stock photo that I pulled off the world wide web. And I know that is frowned upon, but it is really hard to get a decent picture of the 600 JR Mark5 Shotshell Reloader.

Now, who wants to pony up what it is going to take to move this out of my home because you are about to make some trap shooter’s dream come true.

And that’s just a guess. I don’t know your trap shooter. Or their dreams.

 

 

 

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legit vintage ornaments – candid re-sale

Just like your city, my city has a multitude of Facebook groups where you can post your buy/sell/iso items. These are my actual posts. I removed some of the details, but these are my items listed for sale along with my pictures partnered with my words.


20151205_143956 (1)(SOLD)
140+ Legit Vintage Ornaments
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Looking to decorate ala vintage this year? Here, let me help you.

These are truly ornaments from the 1960s and they do show wear. The coloring on them has faded in spots. If you are young and fresh, you need to realize that as a human, this will happen to you someday, too.

There are 70+ gold ornaments and 70+ colored ornaments in a variety of shapes and sizes. You guys, that’s a lot.

I’m guessing that maybe a dozen of the ornaments are missing the little metal dealio that goes on top of the ornament so that you can slip your hook-thing through that region. Maybe a dozen. Maybe more, but not too many more.

Those ornaments without the metal dealio were then displayed lovingly and carefully in a glass basket that is not included. Look, I’m cool but not cool enough to sell all my shit at rock bottom prices.

SONY DSC

untraditional traditions, the one we never repeated

Santa comes to our house on Christmas Eve morning. That’s correct, December 24 at the crack of dawn.

It was a tradition that started out of necessity and just continued because of the convenience. The children were told that Santa always delivered to his favorites first.

One particularly hectic Christmas, I was behind schedule. Alright, to say I was further behind schedule than usual would be a more accurate statement.

By 2:15 a.m. on December 24rd:

* I had wrapped the last present
* I took a Santa-sized bite out of a frosted cookie
* Drank an appropriate amount of Santa’s lukewarm eggnog
* Presents semi-neatly arranged under the tree (it had to look like Santa rushed and not lingered)
* Tree lights turned on

At this point, I could have crawled into bed.

At this point, I should have crawled into bed.

But I didn’t.

Instead, my sleep-deprived, inner child decided it would be fun to run through the house screaming, “He’s been here, he’s been here! Santa was here.”

In My Mind: Why should I lay down for about three hours and have a posse of kids wake me up? Wouldn’t it be fun to turn the tables and wake them up when they least expect it? Let them see what it feels like to be jolted from slumber by someone screaming about Santa?

In The Real World: I did run through the upstairs screaming, “He was here, Santa was here!” I had teens staring at my like I lost my mind. I had pre-teens squinting. I had a really confused family. Very slowly, one by one they trickled to the first floor. Very slowly they curled up under blankets on the couches. Without much enthusiasm, they opened gifts.

They remained dazed and confused until they became crabby and intolerable. They went from sleepy, heavily-lidded children to holy terrors on this Holiest of all Holy Days. What seemed like a brilliant idea, well, it wasn’t. I, too, remained dazed and confused until I became crabby and intolerable.

By noon,  we were napping and the remainder of that day was a blur for me.

In theory, it should have worked. In reality, not so much. For the most part, we still have Christmas on the morning of December 24th, just at a more traditional time slot.

nativity small

small nativity, children display item – candid re-sale

Just like your city, my city has a multitude of Facebook groups where you can post your buy/sell/iso items. These are my actual posts. I removed some of the details, but these are my items listed for sale along with my pictures partnered with my words.


nativity small

(SOLD)
Small Nativity, Children’s Display Item
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

It’s hard to put a price on Jesus, but that is exactly what I’m going to do today.

When closed, this little nativity scene is a mere 5.5″ tall and 7″ wide and it can safely house Baby Jesus and his posse. Open, we are looking at a full 14″ inches and that is plenty of room for two sheep, a camel, three wise men, an angel, the obligatory shepherd, and the Holiest of all families, Mary, Joseph, and sweet baby Jesus.

Now this nativity, although it is ridiculously cute and appealing to children of all ages, is more for display than for actual action-type rough-and-tumble biblical reenactment.

Need a little Jesus in your life? Look no further, he’s right here. And as soon as you open your wallet, he can be with you.

Amen.

 

NaBloPoMo November 2015