Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Around My Yard

Busy week this week. We're celebrating my oldest son's 29th birthday this Thursday, my youngest son is heading off to Washington DC on Friday, I've been trying my hand at other creative projects (Moviemaker, Photobook) . . . so this blog is going to be more of a photoblog.

That's my patio tomato in the first picture. I love tomatoes, big ones especially. Hopefully this tomato plant will deliver. I built the plant stand it rests on (second picture) using some two-by-fours and the extra leaves of a kitchen table that crumpled during a rough card game of spoons. How about my petunia basket. Love my super-petunias. Our marigolds aren't doing too shabby. And, of course, my rock garden. I try to collect rocks from various places we visited, e.g. Yellowstone and the Great Smoky Mountains.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Travails of Motherhood

I’ll get to the picture above in a little bit. But I want to tell another story first.

So I’m riding my bicycle near the high school this past week when a killdeer swoops down in front of me and begins to stagger in almost a drunken manner, turning this way, turning that way, all the time its wings hanging like they’re broken or injured or something.

I’ve seen this killdeer act enough over the years to know what it means. This is a mother killdeer who has a nest or babies nearby and is trying to lure me, the predator, away from them.

But I’m on pavement in the middle of parking drives and parking lots, bozo! As I’m thinking that I see some commotion off to the side.


Well, I’ll be. Skittering parallel to me, on the street, was a baby chick killdeer. He could run really fast, but fly or hop the curb when he got to it? Forget it. I angled off and rode some distance, then stopped to watch.

I could see now there were three baby killdeer in the same area, with the mother urgently trying to corral them so she could lead them to safety. You heard of the term “someone herding cats?” That person had it easy compared to this mama.

Eventually she got them near a handicapped ramp that would take them out of the street and into the safety of some nearby grass and shrubs. But the babies ignored their mother’s tweeting pleas, and continued to peck here, wander there, seemingly happy to play in the street. I don’t know how the story ends because I rode off then.

Fast forward to another bike ride, and note the picture at the top of my blog here. As I rode past the crosswalk you see abutting the sidewalk, I saw a young mother stride purposefully into that tall grass beyond the sidewalk, near a tiny creek just out of view there.

What could she possibly be looking for that in that bug-infested muck, I thought to myself. I turned my head as I kept riding and saw her reach down into the tall grass and pull out . . . a kid! She set him down in the cut grass then returned to the tall grass, reaching down again and pulling out . . . a tiny bike with training wheels!

Now it became clear what had happened. The kid must have gotten a head of steam riding his bike across the street and when he came to where the crosswalk ended at the sidewalk, he just kept on going, ending up down in the swamp.

Made me think, millions of years of evolution, but the role of a mother hasn't really changed.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

As Father's Day Nears

With Father’s Day approaching this weekend, I appreciated an e-mail I got recently from my eldest son Greg. Under the subject heading ‘Your Job Is Done’ he asked, “I’ll bet that’s how you feel, right? I know I would.” He was saying that because his brother had just graduated from college and had accepted a job out east.

I’m not sure the job of a father is ever really done, at least the worrying part, but with Scott poised to begin life on his own I can at least take a deep breath.

Now I can witness as Greg finds out firsthand what fatherhood is all about. And it seems like his son Grant is going through a sensitive phase right now at four months plus. At least with me. If I as much as frown in his direction or raise my voice a decibel above Mr. Rogers from Mr. Rogers neighborhood it throws the little guy into a lengthy crying spell.

Grandma Wendy does much better with Grant than I do. So it was funny this past Saturday when Wendy had to leave while babysitting the little guy, leaving him with me and Uncle Scott. Grant and Scott actually get along pretty well but Scott’s nervous watching him without an experienced caretaker present. And I'm not sure Scott thinks I qualify.

Not more than a few minutes after Wendy left, Greg called.

“Let me talk to mom,” he said

“She’s not here,” I said, explaining how she had gone to her sister’s. I could sense a little bit of concern growing in Greg’s voice as he asked how Grant was doing with just his uncle and grandpa there. I passed the question along to Scott who was trying to keep Grant entertained in his little bouncy chair.

“I don’t know,” Scott replied and I passed that along to Greg.

“I’ll be there in 30 minutes,” Greg responded, the time it would take to get from his own hometown to where we were.

Happy Father’s Day, Greg. Heh, heh. The first of many to come.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Make Me Smile--NOT

“How can I make you smile today?”

That’s an unusual way for a business to answer the phone. And it was particularly ironic for me too since I was calling the local business that re-roofed my home four years ago to tell them that IT LEAKED.

So I passed my problem along to the lady who answered the phone. And I could tell . . . she wasn’t smiling.

She took only the scantest (hmmm, spell check says that’s okay) of details and after telling me that it would be a $100 service call if it turned out NOT to be my roof, the conversation ended.

Of course it was the roof. I had a bucket filling with drips falling from the family room ceiling. Good thing my son Scott was home to rescue our newly carpeted floor from serious water damage. Well, maybe not serious water damage but it always helps to be overly dramatic on the phone with businesses, I’ve learned.

The woman had promised me that someone would be contacting me to set up an appointment to come over and check it out. Hmmmm, I hadn’t even given them my phone number. They did find me in their computer. Maybe my phone number was there. After a few hours had passed, I was thinking of following up when I got a call from my son Scott.

“Dad. Did you call the roof people?”

I told him I did. “Why?”

“Cause they’re up on the roof right now.”

Whoa, so much for setting up an appointment. To their credit, they did call first--Scott let it go to voice mail--and they knocked on the front door too. Scott ignored the knocks, figuring they were salesmen. Only when he saw ladders going up and people climbing up the side of our house did he figure he should investigate.

So after I convinced Scott that all was cool, he met with the roof people. And he found out, much to my dismay, it WASN’T the roof leaking. Turns out that the caulking over one of our upstairs window had pretty much failed to the point of being non-existent. The rain was running underneath the siding and finding its way into the family room below.


So that piece of news cost me $100. At least they caulked the window before they left.

But still, I wasn’t smiling.