Saturday, May 24, 2008

Circular Notions

Sorry I haven't been around much the last couple of weeks, but I've been busy chasing my tail. It seems that every task I try to start results in a circular series of events. I'll TRY to lucidly explain my recent frustrations.

Our first obstacle has been this crazy spring weather. We're just now getting tiny leaves on the willow and poplar trees here. When it isn't raining or snowing, we've had days with 50 mph winds. We haven't had a single day that it's been dry or windless enough to rake our yard. Grass is now sprouting haphazardly amongst the leaves....*sigh*. I guess we'll just have to mow through this mess, THEN run the dethatcher blade over the lawn. Bassackwards all the way this year!

The picture above was taken 2 yrs ago. This is the area of our back yard where we tie out the dog. This has always been the low spot of our yard that flooded with every heavy rain. We had our contractor dump the soil he dug up for our garage into this area. We WERE going to immediately remove the rocks in the soil, rototill, rake, and seed this area.....

Two years later, this spot is overgrown with grass and weeds that can only be cut with a hand-held weedeater. This area is now the high point of the back yard that cuts off the drainage for the rest of the back yard. NOW, the rest of the back yard floods when it rains. Sooo....first priority--LANDSCAPE THE BACK YARD!

First step, put away the snowblower, and bring out the rototiller and lawn mower. Umm...yeah...the side yard is too wet to move this heavy equipment without seriously rutting up the side yard....SHIT! No problem...Z and I installed fluorescent shop lights and a wall shelf in the garage. NOW we can get the summer equipment ready to roll...except the rototiller won't roll ANYWHERE....busted belt....SHIT! L spends 2 mornings, before work, removing the old belt and running all over town shopping for a new belt. Then he discovers that he needs 4 more hands to install the new belt. Sooo, instead of tilling the yard last weekend, we spent an entire afternoon getting the new belt on the rototiller....DAMMIT!

The rest of the week we managed to untarp the camper, declutter the small shed, and fill in the ruts in the driveway. We have a 3-day weekend this weekend. According to the forecast, today will be the only rain-free day we have to: turn the compost pile, weed-eat, till, and mow. But first we have to dig the hose-reel out of the generator shed, so we can hose off the tiller tines between rounds. Hopefully it will now stay warm enough that the hose won't freeze up anymore. CRAP..we need to put air in the wheelbarrow WHERE did we store that inflater for the winter? At least I know where we put our leather work gloves....they're in the wheelbarrow. That reminds me...I need to bring out the rubber boots. As long as the boot box is open, I should put away the winter boots. Oh long as I have these boxes down, I might as well put away the winter coats I've washed. Yup, there goes ANOTHER hour down the drain. *sigh*
Maybe tomorrow and Monday we can build the CD/DVD storage unit for our living room. The completed plans are above(Yeah, I know my drawing is crude, but I'm the only one that needs to interpret the plans.) The wood, screws, sandpaper, stain, and polyurethane are purchased and waiting.... Oh wait...first we have to sweep the winter's accumulation of sand out of the garage, before I can stain and polyurethane....then we have to dig the sawhorses out of the big shed....
Aww CRAP! WHY can't anything be simple? I'm getting dizzy!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

My First Mother's Day

May, 1978. We were living in my mother-in-law's duplex in Minneapolis. L was in the middle of a 15-month Business Management course at the Minnesota School of Business, while working nights microfilming traveler's checks. I was baby-sitting our 13-month-old nephew for $1/hr. I also did all the sewing and mending for the entire family, in exchange for car repairs and other traded services. I also sewed all SME's clothes to supplement her wardrobe of hand-me-downs. L and I did all the yard and maintenance work on Ma's dilapidated duplex, in exchange for rent. We were living on less than $500/month, but we were ecstatically happy with our newly formed little family.

SME was 4-months-old and had just popped her first tooth on May 4th. Teething was an ordeal with SME. Each new tooth was accompanied by 104 degree fevers and severe diarrhea, which resulted in nasty diaper rash. By Mother's Day, SME had recovered from her first bout with teething and was a bundle of cooing, smiling, beautiful baby! Motherhood has always been my proudest accomplishment, and I was bursting with pride, and love, on my first Mother's Day.

My sister-in-laws planned Mother's Day. Since it was the first time in years that all 3 brothers and their families lived in the same city, we would make Mother's Day special for my MIL. That sounded like a lovely idea to me. Dinner would be a potluck. My contribution would be potato salad and my homemade baked beans. No problem! My MIL's contribution would be paper plates and silverware. Her boyfriend supplied a case of Fox Deluxe beer at $3.33/case, which I was in charge of chilling.

Mother's Day dawned beautiful, clear.....and HOT! I awoke early to turn on the crockpot full of beans that had been soaking all night. Then I peeled the potatoes I had boiled the night before, while boiling the eggs for the potato salad. Our east-facing kitchen quickly became an oven!

By noon, I had 2 gallons of potato salad chilling in the fridge, a crockpot full of beans simmering, the prepratory dishes washed, and a baby fed, bathed, and put down for a nap. L followed his normal Sunday routine by sleeping in, followed by coffee and the Sunday paper.

The festivities began at 3 p.m. We crammed 7 kids and 8 adults into Ma's tiny apartment. It was then that I discovered what my sister-in-laws contributed to our dinner. One brought a tray of cold cuts and buns. The other brought a store-bought cake and packets of Kool-Aid, which I had to mix up. Not much effort involved on their part, was there? I spent the rest of the afternoon running up and down the 2 flights of stairs to our apartment hauling beer, food, and Kool-Aid. The rest of the time I was trying to keep rowdy nieces and nephews from destroying the house, or running out in traffic, while their parents totally ignored them.

By 6 p.m. I was hot, exhausted, and more than a little miffed that L hadn't acknowledged my first Mother's Day AT ALL! It was then that the final blow fell. My in-laws decided that it would be a lovely idea to chill out in a nice, air-conditioned movie theater. Ummm....yeah.....but....what are we gonna do with the 7 kids? "No problem! You're so good with the kids, that I'm sure you wouldn't mind watching them while we go out for the evening." RIGHT; I wouldn't mind watching my 4-month-old, PLUS a 7-month, 13-month, 2-yr, 5-yr, 8-yr, and 11-yr(mentally challenged pervert). in our 3 room oven of an apartment, while you sashay off to the air-conditioned movie theater! NOT!!

I was STUNNED! I didn't say a word as I retrieved our dirty dishes and SME, and retreated to our apartment, locking the door behind me. I was sitting in front of the open kitchen window, bathing SME in my tears as I nursed her, when L appeared half an hour later:
L: What's up? You locked the door and the kids can't get in. We're gonna be late for the movie.
Me: WE?!
L: Well....yeah...there's no point in BOTH of us staying here. Why are you crying?
Me: How about it's my FIRST Mother's Day and you haven't even said "Happy Mother's Day"!
L: You're not MY mother.
I'll spare you the rest of this conversation, but suffice it to say that NOBODY went to the movies that night! I'm also happy to say that my Mother's Days have significantly improved over the years.

I don't know who set the dates for Mother's and Father's Days, but I'm certain that it was a woman. My first Mother's Day taught me to celebrate Father's Day in the same manner that Mother's Day is celebrated in our household. What goes around, comes around....mwahahaha...