Thursday, March 29, 2012

H.E. meets The Wall

Engagement picture 3My mother turned 88 today.  That and a couple of other things got me to thinking about how much has changed in her lifetime.  Just this week, she’s learned at least two new things.

The first call came a couple of days ago.

“Chris (the washing machine repairman) says I need a new washing machine, and Tommy (my brother) said to call you.”

She went on to tell me that Chris told her that Hardwick’s (probably the only place in Camden, Arkansas, that sells appliances) carried Maytag, her current brand, and a new brand that he said was good but cheaper.  I asked her what this new brand was.  She didn’t know.  I told her I couldn’t help her until she found out, so yesterday she made a trip to Hardwick’s.

Turns out that the new brand was something called Crosley.  I’ve never heard of it.  She said it was $50 less than the comparable Maytag.  I told her for $50 to just buy the Maytag.  That was fine, but she was going to have to use some different kind of detergent.  I asked her what kind.  She didn’t know, but the saleswoman at Hardwick’s said she could get it at WalMart.

I asked her if H.E. sounded familiar.

“I believe she did say something about H.E.”

I explained that H.E. stands for “high efficiency” and that Tide makes an H.E. detergent; I use it all the time.  I tried to tell her what the H.E. symbol looked like, but finally gave up and emailed her a picture.

The second call came yesterday afternoon.

“I was looking at my email to see if you had sent that picture and there were all of these emails from Facebook.”

My Uncle Bill, her youngest brother, was in town visiting her last week and set her up a Facebook account.

“One of them said that Ken Kisamore has posted on my Wall.  What’s my Wall?”

It’s good to know that you’re never too old to learn something new.  Happy Birthday, Mother.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Don’t Bug Me

Vincent, the pest control man, was just here and shared a story about his last visit to my house.  It was around Christmas, and Walker, age 4 1/2, was here with his family.

Walker started following him around, asking questions along the way—things like “what are you doing?”

Vincent said that not knowing how Walker felt about bugs and stuff, he simply said, “Well, your grandmother doesn’t like bugs, so I’m trying to fix it so she doesn’t see any.”

Walker didn’t bat an eye.

“Well I think you’re killing them myself,” he replied.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Fuzzy Pumper Barber Shop

I know it’s late to still be thinking about Christmas and too early to be thinking about next Christmas.  Heck, we’re already past Valentine’s Day and well on our way to Easter.  But I’ve had this post on my mind for a while and just haven’t gotten around to putting it on “paper” so to speak.

Since we didn’t open our Christmas gifts until December 29, after all the kids and grandkids finally arrived, our oldest son Hunter had plenty of time to do his Christmas shopping for his nieces and nephew after Christmas.  Returning from a good half day trip to Target, he was quick to share his ideas for what makes the best Christmas gifts for young children.  He said he looked for opportunities to annoy the parents.

I immediately thought of the Fuzzy Pumper Barber Shop that my sister Margie gave Hunter one Christmas.  Made by Play-Doh, it came with bald headed plastic people that sat on barber chairs stuffed with Play-Doh.  A quick turn of the crank produced strands of Play-Doh hair that could then be cut and styled.


The problem for parents was that the tiny strings of hair ended up everywhere, particularly in the carpet.  This was the late '70’s when shag was still in style.  I can’t imagine how many vacuum cleaner bags I must have filled with red, blue and yellow Play-Doh hair.

Now here’s where I have a confession to make.  When LBeau and I learned what this little shop of horrors was all about, we immediately went out and bought another one.  When Margie’s son Matt was hold enough, he too got a Fuzzy Pumper Barber Shop for Christmas.

And for any of you out there who might be interested in annoying some child’s parents, you can still find vintage Fuzzy Pumper Barber Shops on eBay.  Happy vacuuming!

Friday, December 2, 2011

I Won!!

Shortly after returning from our early summer Alaska cruise, I entered Gastineau Guiding Company’s 2011 Capture Juneau Photo Contest.  The contest was open to anyone who took one of Gastineau’s guided tours.

Yesterday I got a phone call from Chris with Gastineau with the news that I had won third place with this photo.

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The whale watching excursion that we went on was probably my favorite of the entire trip, and the whale watching was spectacular.  We were fortunate to see two humpback whales bubble net feeding.  What magnificent creatures.

When Gastineau posts all of the 2011 winners on their website, I’ll let you know.  I’m sure they’re lots of spectacular pictures.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Say It With Flowers

roses 006 Last Monday, for only the second time since I’ve known him, LBeau gave me flowers.

The first time was early in our marriage.  We were living in St. Louis at the time, and LBeau was on his way home from work at Missouri-Pacific Railroad.  A street vendor was selling roses for 50 cents a dozen.  On an impulse, he bought some.

Since that time, I have given birth to three children and had too many birthdays to count, but no more flowers.  My friend Glenda is also married to an engineer, and we have often shared stories about no gifts and no flowers.  At least she has daughters who were sometimes dispatched to “buy something for Mom for her birthday.”  I have three boys.  Enough said.

Needless to say, I was shocked when LBeau appeared bright and early Monday morning, my 65th birthday, with a dozen red roses and a card.  As my oldest son, Hunter, said, “When you don’t expect much, the least little thing can make your day.”

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lightening the Load & Other Musings

For about an hour this morning I got into a cleaning out frenzy.  First I decided it was time to put away the summer clothes and get out all of the cooler (can’t really say “cold” here in Alabama) weather stuff.  In the process, I got rid of a lot of clothes that I didn’t wear all season.

It felt good to get rid of things, but the best thing I did was to clean off my key chain.  I had been carrying around all of this stuff.  Now having this whole wad of keys made it easy to find them in my purse, but it also added a lot of weight.  Besides I had no idea what half of the keys unlocked.

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I think I counted 15 keys, three rewards cards (notice that the Best Buy card was non-functional because half of it was missing), and other assorted fobs and stuff.  I’m now down to five keys, two rewards cards, one fob and my Arkansas Alumni Association Life Member tag.

If I’ve built or remodeled your house in the past four or five years, you may recognize one of the miscellaneous keys.  If so, just let me know, and you can have it back.

IMG_2218 Also today I completed my Halloween decoration.  Hey, I’ve been up since 4:30 a.m., so I’ve gotten lots done.  I found this inspiration idea on Pinterest (my newest mania).  The inspiration pumpkin topiary was made with fake pumpkins, but I decided I wanted to use with real pumpkins and live plants.

I found the pumpkins last weekend at the Farmer’s Market when we were in Memphis, and I already had a nice size pot.  So earlier this week I set out to buy wooden letters and glitter spray paint.  Well, let’s just say lots of other people must have seen this on Pinterest, because there was no black glitter spray paint to be found at Michael’s, Hobby Lobby or WalMart.

Fortunately, I only had to visit Michael’s in my quest.  There was a man there at the same time looking for the same spray paint for his wife, and he had already been to Hobby Lobby and WalMart.  Saved me a trip.  I ended up buying flat black spray paint and then brushed over it with glitter paint.

The letters were a different story.  The selection was not good because most of the styles had no “B’s” or “O’s.”  I had to settle for a less decorative style, but that’s what I get for getting a late start.  So here’s my pumpkin topiary.  I figure I can take the letters off, and it’ll be good through Thanksgiving.

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Speaking of Halloween, what are you going to be this year?  One house in my neighborhood has decided to be Christmas for Halloween.  Their decorations went up this week.

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Do you see the garland around their door and on the balcony?  They also have the mailbox decked out in the same theme—greenery, pine cones and red and green glass balls.  I mean, it’s one thing for the stores to put out Christmas stuff before Halloween, but that doesn’t mean we have to use it.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm

a6f392e9c6ae4527b712bb86e88be6f4 I’ve come across several head scratching moments over the last few weeks, so I thought I’d take the time to share some of them.  The most recent came this morning when I drove through Starbucks for a pumpkin spice latte.

Starbucks has this neat iPhone app where you can store your gift cards.  The barista (that’s a fancy name for a young person who dispenses ridiculously high priced coffee drinks) can then scan your phone for payment.  I’ve been reloading an old Starbucks gift card for years so that I didn’t have to pay with cash and wait for change, but I often found myself digging around in my purse to find which compartment I had dropped it into after the last swipe.  The iPhone app was a chance to further simplify my life.

Until today, that is.  When I got to the drive thru window, I was told that they could not scan my phone.  It seems that Starbucks has been sued by customers who have dropped and damaged their phones when they hold them out the window to be scanned.  So much for that great idea.

Head scratcher #2.  My recent work schedule has lately taken me to parts of the greater Birmingham area where I don’t normally travel at 7:30 in the morning.  On Thursday I was on Shades Creek Parkway about 7:15.  For those of you who are not familiar with Birmingham, Shades Creek Parkway, which becomes Lakeshore Drive, is a busy link between Highway 280 and I-65 and even points further west.

At 7:15 a.m. traffic heading west from 280 toward I-65 is heavy but moving steadily in both lanes.  But not this past Thursday, which happened to be garbage pick up day.  Most people think of Shades Creek Parkway as the home of Brookwood Mall, Samford University and Southern Living.  However, people also live along Shades Creek Parkway, and some of them evidently have earned the privilege of having their garbage picked up at their back door.

Unfortunately, I was in the right hand lane, just behind the garbage truck.  Every few feet the truck would stop, and the garbage man would run up the driveway to someone’s door.  Sometimes he would return with a sack or two, which he would toss into the truck, and sometimes he would return empty handed.  The whole process was painfully slow, and none of us in the right lane could shift to the left lane because of the steady stream of traffic.  I guess if you travel this route on a daily basis, you know when garbage day is, and you steer clear of the right lane.

And finally, there’s the group I will call The Mom Brigade.  This is a group of moms who live in Liberty Park.  Each day they transport their children about three blocks to and from the elementary and middle schools in golf carts.

I’ve never seen anything like it.  A couple of weeks ago I was at a job site in Liberty Park and watched a steady stream of mom-driven golf carts of all shapes and sizes pass down a residential street lined with a perfectly good sidewalk.

Back in my day, if you lived within three blocks of the school, you walked.  And it was uphill both ways!!