Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Race Car Driver, Chauffer, Pilot and PA

Let me just start off by saying if they want to make it illegal to do distracting things while driving a motor vehicle.. they should start by demanding the installation of sound proof privacy glass between the children and their parents.

I drove all day today. 
Made 10 stops.  1 restraunt.  6 stores.  1 elementary school.  1 gas station. 1 Papa Murphey's.
Was almost hit by 4 cars.  Almost hit 1 car as it raced behind me while I backed out of my parking spot (so of course technically this counts as a 5th car that almost hit me)  Witnessed 1 near accident and 1, 2 car accident where one car looked as though, according to my 8yr old, "a monster truck had run over it".  And the other car was in the ditch upside down.

But the craziest happenings weren't those on the outside of my vehicle.  I had a 5, 6 and 8yr old in the car with me!

Between the fighting.. the playing.. the laughing.. the music to try and distract from the fighting.. the screaming.. the kicking of chairs.. the making of animal noises.. and the endless..senseless talking.. oh and the repeated.. "IF YOU TOUCH YOUR SISTER ONE MORE TIME!"...it was chaos.

Here's a little glimpse of our ride home from Colton.  Departure time.. 8:15pm.. estimated distance 40 miles.. ETA 9:15pm.

We left my sisters house and right away.. something was wrong.  The five year old had been moved to the "way back" of the van.  The two boys next to each other now begin giggling and swatting each other back and forth. 
We get to the curve in the road before my parent's road and the car ahead of us begins breaking.. I see smoke, flashing lights and cars parked all along the side of the highway.  I hear in the backseat, "Oh, I hope everyone is alright".. this coming from my 5yr old. 
We end up at the tail end of about 4 cars heading the same direction as us, waiting to be directed around the incident.. we couldn't see if it was car or house or what at this point. 
My mind begins panicking.  "Oh wait.  My 9yr old is at my Mom's house".  I call my mom.  Everyone is home, safe.  Oh, now I see.. it's a car accident.  But the neighbor, dear Grandma Jeannie, had just told my mom that her husband wasn't home yet.  I tell mom to hold on.. we were moving again.
"It's two trucks, a white one and a black one".. not Duke.. Grandma Jeannie's husband. 
Now we're moving again.. the kids had been quiet... but they resume their banter as soon as the flashing lights are out of sight.  I threaten once.
We are moving slow.. the rain is off and on.. it's pitch black.
After finally getting to the 4 lane part of the road and passing the extra cautious elderly man in front of us.. we begin flying through the night.. the accident in the back of my head... so I'm extra cautious.. for me.
The yaking and the banter keep up in the backseat.  I threaten again.  Then comes the first.. "I'm hot".. I change the back temperature setting.
We make it to Oregon City.  A cop pulls up beside me.. how long has he been there?  Now I'm doubly extra cautious. 
By the time we make it to the freeway.. the cop is ahead of us.  Good job cautious-ness-ing. (pat on the back)  I quickly move over to the fast lane.  Now.. I prefer the fast lane.  Not just cause it's fast.  Even in stop and go traffic.  I'm not the type to switch back and forth.. I prefer to stay in a lane where people are moving on only one side of my car and yes.. it's fast.
However.. it's night.. it's pouring.. and now someone is cold.. change the temp.  As I fly through the darkness I get the feeling that I am flying.. oh,, that'd be hydroplaning.. hold steady.. let off the gas.. wow.. that was a LONG puddle!  Now they're hot.. change the temp.
At about this point they stop bickering and begin chatting pretty pleasantly.  The "New Moon" soundtrack gently playing in the background their common ground.  "Oh, I like this one!".. "We hate this one.. oh but it was short.. only a minute".. "Mom can you turn it to #1.. that one is the BEST!".. "I like #5 the best"... "I'm cold.".. ugh.. change the temp.
The five year old asks if we are in Washington yet.  The 8yr old replies, "No, we're in Portland".  The 6ry old chimes in.. "I'm hot".  That's it.. enough of this.  I roll the back windows down a bit and blast the heat. 
The 5 and 6yr olds have their hands out the window.. "it feels like I'm getting a shot", says the 5yr old.. "It feels like I'm getting shot by a BB gun!", says the 6yr old.  The pavement makes a new sound beneath the tires.. "Are we on the bridge now mom?".. yes.. ALMOST home! 
At this point the rain began to POUR down.  Shrieks from the backseat let me know I NEEDED to roll up the windows "cause the van is getting soaked.. see?".. almost there.
I cautiously make the necessary lane changes to prepare for my exit.. 1..2...3..4.  Ok.. Here it comes.  The guy in front of me decides at the last minute that he wants to go the same way I'm planning to go and abruptly changes "lanes".. I use that word loosely.. because he went from a lane.. to a median.. to a lane.. missing the sign in the middle.  (mummbled complaining about how people are idiots flow from my lips) 
We get onto Mill Plain.. only about 3 miles left!  "What does.. F-R-E-B... M-E.." as the car begins moving.. "spell?".. asks the 5yr old.  "Fred Meyer" I tell her.  "What does T-A-X spell?" asks the 8yr old of his two inferior spelling siblings.  "ttt-ooo-ch..  Toch!" answers the 6yr old.  "No TAX!" the 8yr old replies.  "We're almost home!" the 5yr old notices.  "How do you spell..." Now. My brain is failing me and I can't remember the exact "conversation" that continued for the remainder of the trip.  But basically.. the 6 and 8yr old were playing the spelling game and the 5yr old was telling us all of an adventure or some thing she had thought was pretty cool.. but no one was responding to her.. she just kept talking. 
At this point I thought.. "I need to blog about this".. and then my mind was REALLY distracted!
We made it the remaining couple miles.. safely.  Came into our now, thanks to the weather change, warm house.  Got the kids ready for bed and called Daddy who is having to stay the night in "The Dowels".  After chatting with him they were ready to sleep.
Ahhhh... silence.. except of course for the click-click-clicking of the keyboard.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Thanks to all of my followers for following and commenting on my life posts. I watched Julie and Julia today and totally got her feeling of sending things out into cyber space waiting for someone to read it. It's nice to see a comment and get feed back.

So comment on! Please! ;)

"So Long" Grandma.

So, I've not blogged in a couple of weeks.  It's been rather busy around here. 

Our Papa Norman went home to be with Jesus.  Grandma June decided to move to California and we were blessed to be among those who helped her prepare her belongings for the movers to pack up and ship to her in Apple Valley.  Her and Papa lived there forever.. before they moved here about 5 years ago.

It was great to be able to spend time with her.  Bruce had lived with Papa and Grandma while he was a child for while.  He has fond memories of spending time with them growing up and was thrilled when they moved up here.  They both hold a dear place in his heart and with Grandpa going home.. he feels a great deal of responsibilty for Grandma's well being.  It meant alot to him to be able to spend these last days with her before she moved down there.

I didn't get much time with my grandparents growing up and virtually none as an adult.  So.. our time with them has been precious to both of us.  And getting to spend time with Grandma, helping her to go through all of her belongings, was priceless.  I can't imagine the difficulty level something like that rises to.  To have to go through years of magazine clippings and Christmas cards, family photos, Christmas ornaments.. not to mention having to decide not to keep any of the clothes that had belonged to her husband of 50 some years.  It was heartbreaking for me.  I don't know how I would handle myself in that situation. 

I've always thought that Grandma has narcalypsy (sp).. but I think that possibly she would just rather nap than do other things.  She would sit awake with the kids reading books.  Sit awake to watch football.  Sit awake to talk for hours at a time about days gone by.. memories of school teaching and child rearing.. even being a child.  However, put on a show she doesn't find interesting, or sit down to talk about necessary arrangements, or try and go through 84 years of life in a week.. and she could hardly stay awake.  Sometimes she wouldn't at all.  So, I've decided she may or may not have an actual diagnosable "problem" but she definetly has a very effective way of avoiding things. 

It was great to have her stay the night with us.  In our freezing house.. putting layers of blankets and heated blanket and heating pad on her to try and warm her.  She can hold coldness like no one else.  Her poor hands took FOREVER to warm. 

She brought a big bag of quarters with her.. saying it was part of the kids Christmas money.  She had Annah and I count out all 132.75 dollars worth of quarters.. and wrote a check for the rest.  The kids were excited to see that such a HUGE amount of quarters was theirs. 

She talked of her times in grade school.  What she had to wear for gym class, white shorts and white shirt.  Hiding her shoes in a bush on the way to school so she could go barefoot like the boys were allowed to do. 

She showed me a folder that she decorated in the fourth grade that had her schoolwork from grades 4-8.. drawings and papers, a spelling test that had 100 words.  She had 100 words a week!  Naomi has maybe 15! 

We found a locket in a jewlery box out in the shed.  The box had been in storage for the 5years they had been in Oregon.  The locket was gold, heart shaped, and had a photo of Grandpa's mother on one side and father on the other.  There was also a little lapel pin that his Mother wore while he was in the Navy.  There were Christmas decorations made by her, Grandpa's mother Grandma Fern, they were egg shells that had been cut out on one side, painted and then a little scene put into the hole.  These were stored in a Crystal light container.. wrapped in paper towels. 

Haha.. Grandma was always giving me Crystal light containers telling me they would make great crafts for the kids.. like a shaker or something.  She also once gave me a paper bag of plastic lids from margerine containers and such.. she said they were good for indoor play.  To toss or hide or something.  The kids loved those until I got tired of finding lids under the couch. 

Grandma also told me of her memories of where she was when Pearl Harbour was attacked.  She said she thought it was in Asia or something.. she'd never heard of it. 

She went with us to get our Christmas tree.  That was fun.  Muddy.. but fun.  She trudged through the field with us until we found the perfect tree.  She took us to lunch at Subway where she said she wanted a 3" meatball sub.  Fearing she wouldn't have the appetite for a 6".  I ordered a 6" assuring her it wouldn't go to waste.. she ate the whole thing.  Her appetite seems to be tied to her social and emotional well being.  She has lost alot of weight since moving here.. saying she doesn't have the appetite.  I feel bad having spent this time with her and seeing that if she had more company she would have eaten better.  I'm glad that being down with her family in Sunny Cali.. she'll eat well.

We also took her to Wendy's where she ordered herself a small chili with onion and cheese and a hot tea.  She ate the whole chili.. and some of Annah's mandarin oranges from her kids' meal.  She loved sitting in the sun.. and being there with her was one of those "mental picture" moments like Jim told Pam to take on their wedding day.

Hmm. that is a good way to explain this last week and a half.  Lots of beautiful mental pictures. 

So.. on Tuesday afternoon I took her to the airport.  She ordered a wheel chair and was taken directly to the gate to wait.. in case she fell asleep.  She said she'd read her book and stay awake.. but the attendants were notified which flight she was  to be on.. just in case.  She's in California now.  Where hopefully it's warmer.  It is the desert though.. as she told me in a tone which said what a silly girl I was.  We are planning on visiting her this summer.  I can't wait. 

My parents always say "So long" to each other on the phone.. instead of "goodbye".  Meaning they plan on talking to each other again.  That is what I said to Grandma.. everything in me planning on seeing her again.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ode to a Dog.

When Bruce was still living in Utah, just before coming to Oregon, he got a dog.  I don't know what kind of dog she was.  She was recently put down.  She was old and suffering.. and so it had to be done. 

I don't like dogs.  I don't like cats.  I learned to like our two cockatiels we had a few years back.. and then they ran away.  So, even if I choose to like them, it's no good for them. 

But this dog, who I didn't know of when we chose to name our firstborn the name which both of us loved and wanted to name our firstborn... I can't stop being reminded of her un-dog-like qualities.

Tonight as we were eating  dinner, Bruce told one of the kids to stop eating like a seagull.  To actually chew and enjoy their food, rather than one licking it and trying to swallow and then choking.  (children are odd)  This brought up a discussion as to whether any animal actually "enjoys" their food.  We decided that certain animals, such as dogs, will prefer one food to another.  But even when given a scrumptious piece of coveted meat.. so we're using a dog as an example.. they just gulp it down.  No chewing.. No savoring.. just gulping.

However.. this particular dog.. Naomi Dog.. she would savor certain things. 

She would lay in the pea gravel covered driveway and chew on... pea gravel.  She would just chew and chew and chew it.  Her mouth would get all frothy and so we thought possibly she was using it to "brush" her teeth.  Though, this didn't make sense.  Cause this dog had no other obvious sense of personal hygeine.  And her breath always smelled like she'd been chewing on skunk rather than rocks.

She would also enjoy the occasional apple.  How weird is that!?  What dog likes apples!?  But seeing as there were two in the driveway of the property that she "owned".. she would randomly find a fallen apple.. and chew on it. 

My children like berry and fruit flavoured tooth paste.. did she do this prior to her rock chewing habit?  I'm not sure.  But if so.. this wasn't her only childlike behaviour!

She was the WHINY-est dog God ever let live.  She would just lay around whining!  All of the time!  I always thought it was cute.. but like a stranger thinking some other kids cry is cute.  Her "parents" never thought it was cute.  They would hiss.. "Naomi hush!".. and she would... for a bit.  Then she would continue her whiny song.

I find it strange that out of all the adorable puppies I've known.  Out of all of the "normal" dogs I've known.  This whiny, stinky, rock eating mutt of a dog found a way into my heart. 

Maybe it was because I knew she had once belonged to my husband.  Maybe it was because she was my daughters "namesake"... I don't know.  But when I've gone out to the property since her (mysterious to the children) death.. I've missed being greeted by her.  Having to avoid touching her as I made my way to the house.

So, wherever she is.. I sure hope there is lots of pea gravel, apples... and skunks.  For that truly would be, for her, dog heaven.