April 12, 2015

I know I haven’t been on here in a year. It was a rough year. I watched my father slowly deteriorate until he finally passed away at home. I am glad my brother was able to make it up this past fall for Dad’s birthday.

It was hard to see the strongest person I knew grow weaker and weaker. This is the man who could fix a anything and build anything all with one cup of coffee in the other hand or within arms reach. He was in and out of the hospital with heart and lung related problems for the past few years.

I drove up the week before he passed. It was during a snow storm and sat with Judy for 3 and a half hours before my father woke up. He was so swollen and had shingles sores on his head and side of his face. I saw him for 45 seconds and told him I loved him and left. A little over a week later I was stuck after my normal hours on a phone call at work. I heard the supervisor line ring and knew immediately what it was.

The wake and the funeral were small in comparison to what I had thought in my mind. I thought that more people would show up. They always seemed to be having friends over throughout the years, I pictured 60+ people. Just sad that most of the population doesn’t read the obituaries.

The services were beautiful. Dad had healed up and was in his dress uniform (Navy). He looked so at peace and I swear ten to fifteen years younger. I leaned over and kissed him good-bye, but couldn’t bear to be there when they closed the casket. Judy was the only one at the cemetery. It’s the way they both wanted it.

My step mother, Judy, keeps running into countless people, who all ask how Ed was doing, and then she has to explain he passed and not breakdown in the process. My father was Judy’s life. The past year or so he had to give up driving. She hasn’t driven in 30 years and shouldn’t start now. Thankfully she has friends who take her where she needs to go. They spent 24 hours a day for the past 5+ years since she retired. I know I am going to miss him. Of course he was my father. But my father was her everything.

Makes you stop and be thankful for who is in your life and appreciate them more.

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Winter and Sidney

It is cold out. No, it is freaking cold out.

As you can see,we haven’t posted anything, because we haven’t been up to much. Winter is reserved for our hot coffee, computer and movies. Sidney reserves it for time spent between his bed and the heat vent.

Sidney usually won’t venture out if it is cold out. Friday morning he was pestering me to go out. I was getting ready for work, so I pretty much ignored him. (Mostly because it is a false alarm.) Too many times have we gotten him harnessed and leashed, only for him to sniff as the back door opens and quickly put it in reverse. He goes nearly as fast backwards as he does forward. (Believe me, if you could see him race around the house in a blur, you would know what I am talking about.)

The second Gary came home from work he screamed and went running to the back door. I got his harness and leash on and to the back door they went. It was in the upper teens. I expected him to just sniff and run back into the house. I swear he just waltzed out the door to prove me wrong. He took Gary around the house out the front and over to the neighbors house to do his rounds. I opened the front door just in time to see Sidney and Gary at a full trot headed home. He ran right by me. That was weird because usually he stops to have his harness and leash off. Straight to the heat vent to summon the Heat Gods.

Sidney thinks he calls them simply by running to the heat vent and crying. Later, I found out, this is because when he heads to the heat vent when I am not home Gary jacks up the heat! (That explains why the propane bill was so high last time.)

Today he was cuddled up in bed, until I opened the can of tuna for the tuna macaroni salad. Like magic he appeared at my side screaming for tuna. From sound asleep to a screaming banshee in less than a second. After his taste of tuna the furnace kicked on and off he went to warm up. As we were eating lunch we watched him turn several times for even toasting. Once the furnace clicked off he went running to his bed and cried to be covered up.

So as Sidney is cuddled in his bed, I think it is time for a cup of hot coffee and a movie…

 

Aside

This morning I broke out my little steamer. Never ending fun to amuse myself. Seriously, this thing is the bomb! I found out how clean it gets things. This morning  I cleaned under the stove hood. This also included the filters for the vents.

These were items I do with that grease cutting kitchen cleaner, that evidently wasn’t worth the $5.00 I spent. The stuff that came off the hood was unbelievable! The shine! It is beautiful! I did the back splash, counters and the kitchen floor.

Then came the best part of all. Some months ago Sidney knocked over a freshly blown out candle.  Melted wax splashed into my beige carpet. I tried the ice thing, the peanut butter, the carpet cleaning machine. It helps but never really went away. Today I figured, what the heck, and finally used the steamer on it. Clean and fluffy. No spots! I am just hoping they don’t magically reappear. If they do my little friend will reappear and we will start over again.

As I admire my handy work I realize I have one large clean spot….. Seriously, this little machine needs a bigger tank!

 

A Little More from the Past

The small town I grew up in was a wonderful place to raise a family when I was young. Sadly most of the time I didn’t realize it. When I was a teenager I couldn’t wait to leave that small town behind. I left right after high school.

The places I knew and frequented aren’t there anymore. People have moved on or passed on. The house where I grew up doesn’t remotely resemble the house I remember. The beautiful rock gardens are gone. I remember going up to my uncle’s farm to get the fossil rocks. He hooked the wagon up to the tractor and out we all went. We combed stone fence lines in the pastures and gathered up all the interesting fossil rocks we could find and one big beautiful round white rock my mother took a particular liking to. On the way back to the barn we had to drive through a small stream. Down we went and then up we went and that big pretty white rock rolled right off the wagon and into the stream. I remember the look of horror on my mother’s face. It was gone. The flower bed, however, was still very pretty. It held Iris and may pinks, hens and chickens and a few other flowers my mother painstakingly planted. It was beautiful. Sadly, the new owners of the house didn’t think so.

The big beautiful house my great grandparents and grandparents lived in was sold and remodeled into apartments. Gone was the pretty rounded front porch on the front. All the shrubbery was overgrown and torn out. Nothing was planted in it’s place. Just open space seeded and naked. From the main road to the river just a naked house. The dealership next door was also torn down. The memories of riding up and down the sidewalk in the little hand pump car or the peddle car are still there in my mind.

The local store we grew up frequenting (as did everyone in town) is falling down. Empty and sad. There is no longer a gas station in the village itself. Every teenage boy must have worked there pumping gas.

The Elm hotel is now apartments. The  last time I went through town it was also a book store. I worked there as a bartender for a while while changes were taking place in my life. I remember seeing people from town. I knew who drank what who smoked what brand of cigarettes, who ordered what on their pizzas. It wasn’t the greatest time in my life but it made it easier to have some kind of social life in a small town without much to offer for work.

I ride through town on a visit used to bring me joy. Sadly, it no longer means home to me. Home is here. Where I bought a house, married my husband and make my life.

I received  updated pictures from both the Elm Hotel and the house my grandparents used to own. Sadly both of them are dirty, peeling and in need of repair. The floods have taken a toll on the town. Hopefully there are children growing up in town now, that will remember it fondly.

A Little from the Past…

I grew up in a small small town. People that I work with and see everyday here would be so out of their element there. Maybe it is just the times. 

I think of waking up hearing he neighbors beagle howling, hot on the heels of a rabbit. The birds chirping and the cows in the field next to us, just let out in the field after morning milking. 

Here it is quiet. We wake up to birds chirping. About two years ago it used to be a neighbor bob tailing in with his truck at 3 am. I do not miss that. Now the only noise we hear is a leaf blower or a lawn mower. I kind of like that. My neighbors don’t mow or blow leaves at 3 am.

The town I grew up in was small. Yes, everybody knew everyone and everything they were up to. My grandparents ran a car dealership in town. I can remember walking down to their garage. It was about a mile. At that time every neighbor on my walk down would wave. I think Mom had some kind of look out team for me.

 I would walk down and go into the Smokehouse. A small store across the street from the garage and Mrs Meyers would walk me across route 20. I don’t believe I was much more than 6-7 at the time. Going to the garage was a treat. My grandmother was the book keeper and gopher. If parts were needed we hopped in the panel truck and went into the city to get them. More often than not, she would be sitting with the books open and the pencil scratching away while I was pretending that I was typing on the typewriter. Sometimes I would go out to the garage itself and watch my grandfather and father working on cars. 

The garage smelled like oil and gas and I loved it. There was a deep pit that they used to drive the cars over to work from underneath. I stayed clear of that. I was so afraid of falling in. Dad would give me a dime and I would go to the Pepsi machine and get a 16 oz Pepsi. This was one you had to slide through the maze, by the top of the bottle, and then at the end after the dime was put in, the lever would release and you could pull the bottle up.

I was fortunate enough to be raised with all my cousins on my mothers’ side. We were a rowdy group when we got together. Our parents would vouch for that. We always had Thanksgiving at my Aunt Barbara’s and Uncle Herbie’s house. They had a wonderful dairy farm, and a big house. 

We all loved going there. We would get to feed the calves, and cows and if we were lucky we got to climb on top of my cousin’s 4H cow, Sky King. Cousin Jim might be surprised that I remember that cows name. She was a good cow and put up with kids hugging and climbing on her without as much as a swish of the tail.

Thanksgiving dinner was a big deal. Each family bought a dish or two, a pie or five…and it gave us all time to catch up on everything and see everyone all at once. We had tables in the kitchen dining room and picnic tables set up in their huge living room. I remember one time, we counted over 50 people, with other friends and neighbors stopping over for coffee and pie.

Pies were as mandatory as the turkey and a side of oyster dressing for my uncle. I remember one year my cousin Kathy and I were helping Grandma make her apple pies. We ate a few too many apples and were short for the last pie. Grandma simply peeled up some pears from the fruit bowl added them in with the apples and added some raisins. “This is a special pie just for you kids.” There, problem solved. I make this pie every Thanksgiving and Christmas now. “Here’s to Grandma.”

Eating Habits

Sidney is borderline junk food junkie. There are days when I am lucky to get him to eat a spoonful of the only canned cat food he will eat, and other days he expects to be fed each and every time he gets up from a nap. (I have the dish ready as he is in with his cat nap with Gary)

Sidney has tried and will eat: smoked almonds, cheese popcorn, potato chips, various corn and nacho chips. He will eat the occasional piece of cheese and perhaps a piece of imported ham, but nothing beats the other day when I came in the kitchen and found him with his head in a small bag of pork rinds. He as happily munching away and looking at me through the bag! He didn’t even try to hide it. He knew he was in trouble but those pork skins must have been worth the scolding.

I cannot and will not say I don’t have a spoiled cat. My mother will sign a sworn statement to the fact and  has told me numerous times. Yesterday I was busy doing the house work. Washing the bedding was one. Sidney’s pile of blankets was removed and the bed stripped. He wandered around crying so I put his bed back together and put it on the end of the couch. Oh no, not good enough. He paced around crying until the first load of laundry went into the dryer. (If you remember that is one of his spots if it is running or still warm.) As soon as that dryer clicked on he was there. He stayed there most of the day while I piled fresh clothes on top of him and the dryer. At one time all I could see was the tip of his tail hanging down from under the pile of sheets I was folding.

This morning when Sidney and I got up Gary was catching up on his TV shows that he had recorded. I went about the morning ritual of feeding the cat and making breakfast. Once that was cleaned up Sidney started pacing and crying. He is used to the week mornings where Gary goes back to bed. This kept up until the show was finished and Gary went into the bedroom to watch the next show. Sidney happily followed him into the bedroom with his happy meow, and  hopped up on the bed and climbed onto his blankets. Then cried to be covered up.

No, not too spoiled, is he?

Sidney’s Present

This happened some time ago…but now it is funny. It  wasn’t then. One weekend night my husband and I were sleeping. (yes same sleep shift on weekends)

Gary shook me awake about 3 am and said ” Don’t move” (too late! You wake me up…I move.)”the cat has a mouse!”  A freaking mouse in my bed!

I sleep with a c-pap machine. This means I have a face mask and a hose that goes to a little box that I sleep with. This also means that in .5 seconds, I was standing in the middle of the bed screaming with the mask on my face and the machine dangling from the hose, with a cat, a mouse and a swearing husband all dancing on the bed.

Finally Gary shook the covers and  the mouse got flung off the bed. Which really ticked Sidney off. He, me and Gary chased the mouse through the bedroom into the dressing room and finally cornered him in  the master bath.

I  grabbed a small broom and had the mouse pinned in the corner by the tub. Well… the mouse squeaked and that set the cat from hell off. He bit me, I screamed, Gary grabbed the cat and threw a coffee can at me. I don’t remember how I got the damned mouse in the coffee can but I did.

Then just about the time we got the mouse out of the house and things settled down we headed back to bed. As we were settling down, we heard a crunching under the bed. In less than 2 seconds we had the mattress and box spring off the frame.

It was the first mouse’s room-mate. They had a nice little home, in a rolled up area rug under the bed. Needless to say it started all over again. This mouse headed out into the living room. I let Gary and Sidney chase this one. Back and forth around and around. They kept it up for about 20 or 30 minutes. Gary yelling and Sidney meowing loudly the whole time. Finally, success. One more  mouse out into the cold dark night.

No, we did not go to bed. By now it is close to four in the morning and I am not letting anyone sleep until we find out how these little buggers are getting in.

We pulled out the stove, no openings, we pulled out the fridge, nothing there. We emptied the cabinet under the sink. Bottles of cleaners, cans of spray,  and various empty jars, and a multitude of other stuff. Bingo! There are openings around the pipes. We found out how they got in! We stuffed the holes with Brillo and duct taped the heck out of everything. They aren’t getting back in that way.

The sun was starting to come up when finally got to go back to bed. Just as I was about to drift off Gary says, “I bet they are coming in behind the washer and dryer, too.”

I almost hit him over the head with the c-pap machine.