Cul-de-sac Chronicles

Moving Day

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Bella Rum

Scary Wind

I’m sitting here listening to the roar of the wind as it whirls around the house. It’s so loud that it sounds like a train at times. It makes me so happy to be inside, safe and warm.

It’s been this way since last night. We lived only a few minutes from here when my son was young, and we only ever got the usual weather that everyone around us got. Now, only two miles from our first house, we get ridiculous winds. There’s something different about this place. We are often the only location in the area that sustains wind damage: uprooted trees, siding flying off houses, roof damage, downed traffic lights, power outages, etc. We get straight-line winds occasionally, too. In the aftermath, the house is plastered with debris, and limbs are scattered across the lawn. We seem to be in a corridor that attracts wind – the Bermuda Triangle on land.

Last night, the wind howled and whipped and carried on like a spoiled child having a temper tantrum in the checkout line at the grocery store. The Grand Trio loved it. These are urban kids who can’t get enough of nature and the out-of-doors when they visit. They were so excited, the older ones making up stories of tornadoes to scare themselves, and the Baby Grand just loving anything that creates excitement. She’s always ready to go along on the ‘wild and crazy’ ride. She’s going to be the one who takes the family car on a joy ride.

We had a delicious meal last night, if I do say so myself. I baked a chicken and made a salad with mixed greens, mandarin oranges, walnuts and raspberry vignette. H made the mashed potatoes, and I made the gravy, and we had rolls and corn. The kids loved H’s cookies. He made peanut butter, oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies last week and froze them until their visit. They were wild for them.

I don’t know what’s on the agenda for today, but we’ll start with blueberry pancakes. I do know we will be inside. It’s 7º and the wind isn’t going to abate anytime soon. Most likely: games, videos and cookies in front of the fireplace. Life is good.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Hope you all have a sweet day!

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Preparing

The kids will be here tomorrow. I talked to my son last night. He’s been sick all week. He said he felt much better than he sounded, which was audible but as rough as a rusty washboard and scratchy as athlete’s foot. Yesterday, washboard voice and all, he gave two speeches. I don’t believe he’s contagious. The voice (or lack thereof) is all that remains, but you can bet that I will not drink from his glass. I told him that homemade chicken & rice soup would cure what was left of it. He agreed and asked if I knew where he could get some of that. :)

It’s been a busy day. I made deviled eggs and chicken & rice soup this morning. Then I went to the grocery store (s). There are certain things each of them loves, and I always try to get them.

Then to Home Depot to grab a “bolt & gasket” kit for the toilet. Remember that puddle of water on Monday? It wasn’t the seal this time. It was the bolts at the bottom of the tank.

We got a few flakes of snow yesterday. It was pretty on the way down but zero accumulation. My brother called this morning to wish me a happy Valentine’s Day. He said it was 16º there. I don’t know what the temp was here, but it’s usually a few degrees cooler.

We’re expecting lousy weather while the kids are here: rain tomorrow, cold and windy on Sunday. I see Twister, dominos and Parcheesi coming out of the old trunk in the family room. They are high tech kids who love low tech games when they’re with Grandpa and Nona. Playing to the old crowd. Sweet.

Grands and Hair

The kids are coming this weekend. I usually make a lot of food ahead of time, and the fridge is always packed with yummy things. Not so much this time. I’m doing a baked chicken and salads and vegetables and such. H did make cookies for the little ones, but that’s the only dessert. I’m not making cupcakes or cheesecake and no potato salad. Just plain food. We’ll still have sushi one night. I can’t stop that train, nor do I want to. I’ll just be selective, and show restraint. How’s that for being a grownup.

I’m pulling an old recipe out of the recipe file. It’s been ages since I made it. I’ve heard it called copper pennies, but I always called it carrot salad. It has a sweet and sour marinade over carrots, and a little chopped green bell pepper and chopped onion. I hope they like it; most likely my grandson will. He seems to like most things. The baby grand can be adventuresome. She tries most things. Sometimes she likes and sometimes she doesn’t, but the eight-year-old, the senior grand, is very skeptical about anything new. I consider it a triumph when I get her to try something, and she ends up liking it.

And…

I’ve reached that critical point. I can’t stand my hair. I hate to leave my hairdresser, but she just isn’t cutting the mustard. I want something a little more stylish. I’ve had enough of this old-lady hair. I was in the grocery store the other day when I spied a cut I liked. I headed her off at the cheese and lunchmeat section, and asked her where she got her hair cut. It’s a salon that’s only five or ten minutes from my house. Score! So I plan to make an appointment. I have a photo of a cut I like. We’ll see.

It’s time for a total makeover. New hair, weight loss and a few new duds will do the trick. By summer, I should be stylin’!

A Mishmash

It happened. A couple of days ago, while chopping veggies for a salad, H cut his finger. I heard the yelp and looked up to see blood – a goodly amount. The knife slipped and cut his pinky. The cut is less than a half-inch long, but I suspect it’s deep because the gap hasn’t closed yet. I think two little stitches would have done the trick, but he refused to go to ER (my last visit was $400 out of our pockets), and he refused to let me stitch it up for him.  I just don’t understand why? :( So I make him keep Bacitracin ointment and a Band-Aid on it.

H has to get his truck inspected today. We’ll have a cup of coffee, and then I’ll follow him down to the mechanic’s shop. The sticker expired in December. Can you believe that? It’s been sitting in the garage. He starts it up occasionally. He hardly drives it anyway, just to the golf course or the dump, and he hasn’t done either of those all winter. Spring is coming, and we’ll eventually catch a day that’s warm enough for golf, and then there’s yard work. That will start soon.

Talk of spring reminds me. I bought the prettiest red Japanese maple last spring. I’ve wanted one for years. I always love that bit of red in the green landscape. When the gypsy moths finally killed my poor ‘Forest Pansy’ Redbud, I knew exactly what I would replace it with. H planted it for me at the end of the porch. Small though it was, I admired it with great hopes. On their last visit, my oldest granddaughter (8-years-old) came in the house, head hanging and my son one step behind her. Almost tearfully, but not quite, she said, “Nona, I broke the limbs off your tree. I thought it was dead.” She was so remorseful.

Stuff happens.

I was in the grocery store a couple of days ago, and a thirty-something dad was in the checkout line in front of me with his little boy. The dad’s pants were down below his butt crack. Now, this wouldn’t normally be a unique sighting, but I don’t mean just the top of his crack. His buttocks were hanging out, and he wasn’t wearing underwear. I swear, the entire set of melons were winking at me. And… every time he moved, his hoody rode up and exposed an x-rated amount of skin for my viewing. The whole experience was a little icky. He was wearing NO underwear and no shirt under the hoody. Really? He must have been in a hurry.  Did you ever have a strong urge to do something outrageous, something that could get you confined to a mental institution? I had such an urge to pants that guy. I really wanted to roll up one of the tabloids on the shelves that line the checkout aisle and wallop the heck out of him with Brad Pitt’s face. Somebody needs a time out until he learns how to wear his pants.

Last thing:

I went into the bathroom yesterday and stepped into a puddle of water. The toilet is leaking. H will have to change the seal. Toilets are a pain, but indoor plumbing is sweet. So.

Very last thing:

H just checked the weather and guess what? They’re calling for ice first, but then snow today. I’ll believe it when I see it.

I’ll Chop this Onion the way I Want to, Buddy

Guess what I saw yesterday. I was washing dishes at the kitchen sink when I looked out the window and saw a pretty, little robin sitting on the deck railing. What a sight for winter-weary eyes. We saw a few the other day when we walked. They were hopping around on the ground, pecking for worms. Are there getable worms this time of year? At these temperatures, it must be like eating ice cubes. This first sign of spring made me smile. A little while later, he was in the same spot again. Maybe he will be a regular visitor.

Just as I thought and mentioned before, I can see that H’s new hobby will result in a lot of new gadgets and pans and appliances in ‘my‘ kitchen. I’ve cooked with the same old stuff for years, but there’s a new kid on the block. I can’t hold him down much longer. Now he wants a ‘dark’ cookie sheet because he wants to make these brown sugar chocolate chip cookies that will only spread out into concentric rings if he has a ‘dark’ cookie sheet. Do you believe this? Today it’s a cookie sheet, tomorrow it’s a pasta maker. Gift choices should be easy for the kids on birthdays and Father’s Days for awhile.

The other thing that cracks me up is how he finds recipes, makes them and  then adjusts them to our tastes. I know we all do that, but I never thought I’d see the day… He uses a few of my recipes, too, except I don’t have recipes. I often use a little of this and a little of that. I’ve tried to figure out how much of this and that and write recipes for him, but…

So he’s going to the masters for help. And remember the first time one of your children came home with knowledge you didn’t give him? And remember the first time he knew something that you did NOT know? The day that he actually taught you something new? That day is coming. He’s going to surpass me. And to think he used to sweat it if I asked him to check the squash casserole to make sure it wasn’t burning.

For him, cooking is new, something that’s different from his norm. He’s having a good time with it, and I’m enjoying it, too. Not being the only one responsible for all the cooking is fine by me… except when he tries to boss me. Then it’s, I’ll chop this onion the way I want to, buddy.

I’m off to the grocery store. He’s coming along. You know my bill will be more than I was expecting, don’t you?

Go Red for Women: Fight Heart Disease

One in three women die of heart disease and stroke each year. Today is National Wear Red Day. Raise awareness about heart disease by wearing red.

Weight Loss, Wind and Lubrication

I lost zero pounds this week. A big goose egg. Nada. Nuttin’, honey! My weigh-in day is Wednesday. I kept my portions small and even exercised last week. You know that’s a big deal for me. I prefer to have litter bearers carry me from room to room, so lazy am I. I lost 1 1/2 half pounds earlier in the week and somehow managed to gain it all back. It made no sense.

In view of all this heartbreak at the scales, in an act of defiance, I decided I would eat a little more yesterday. Always a wise choice (note sarcasm). So I relaxed a little tiny bit yesterday. This morning I weighed in, and lost 1/2 pound. Too late. Wednesday was yesterday, but I’ll take it.

So this morning I decided I should walk. It was windy. No, not windy. It was Diane-Lane-Unfaithful windy. Remember that scene in Unfaithful when she first met her lover? The wind was blowing and gusting so hard that it blew her into the arms of her very sexy, ill-fated lover, played by Olivier Martinez. I always think of that scene when it’s extremely windy.

That’s how windy it is here today, but I’d made up my mind to walk, and by golly, walk I would. I lotioned up. I put moisturizer on my face, hand lotion on my hands, lip moisturizer on my lips and eye drops in my eyes. After a certain age, it’s lubricate, lubricate, lubricate. I’d dry up and blow away if I didn’t consistently lubricate every part of my body, even my eyes.

My face felt like it was frozen in the first couple of minutes. The branches on the trees were swaying to and fro in a wild dance. I had my hat, my scarf, my gloves, but it cut right though my clothing. We made it to the end of our street where even H said it was crazy and unsafe. We turned around, went down one small cul-de-sac and then came home. Good thing we did. Our front door was wide open, and the wind was gusting through the house.

No one belongs outside today. I can still hear the wind whipping around the house, even howling occasionally. I’m happy to be here with my second cup of coffee and a heating pad tucked behind my back. Shelter is a wonderful thing. Aren’t we lucky?

One more thing.

We were sitting here last night. I was on the computer, and H was going through some papers when I heard him say, “Ut-oh.” Ut-oh never means anything good. I looked up, he grinned at me, and there was a tiny, pointy, little thing where a tooth used to be. Right in the front! A cap had fallen off. Oh, Lordy! He called his dentist’s office this morning, and they gave him an appointment at noon. I swear, I think his dentist would meet him at midnight in a cemetery with slobbering Rottweilers guarding the entrance if H asked her to, so lucrative is his business. His is the mouth that keeps on giving. At least it wasn’t an implant.

 

Blogging, Walking, Boys and Girls

I looked up my old blogs on Blogger. I had four. One was Cul-de-sac, two were named Red Umbrella. Go figure. And the third was name temporary with a lowercase “t”. What? One Red Umbrella had only one post. I’m guessing that I went mad one day and deleted everything? The other Red Umbrella had 442 posts. Cul-de-sac had 411. There were zero posts in temporary. Maybe they were transients, got a hankering to move on, and are now kicking back and sipping a little Jim Beam out of a paper bag in some other temporary blog.

I read a few posts. That was a mistake. I was in a pretty grim place back then. Awful. And as serious as a heart attack. No humor, or what passes for humor here. I wrote about how Dad refused to get out of bed or eat when I was in the hospital with a vertigo episode. It was hard to go anywhere for very long. He was so dependent.

Who knows why I set up a blog called temporary. Maybe I was doing something highly secretive. As I lose my memory, I hope to imagine that I had a more exciting life than I did. There should be some advantage to aging.

We’ve started walking around the neighborhood. This is the perfect time of year for me. I cannot do it in warmer weather. By the time we walked this morning, around 11:00 AM, it was in the thirties. I wore what, when I bought it, I thought was the cutest hat ever, but now it makes me look like Gabby Hayes. At the sight of myself in the hall mirror, I decided to disguise the rest of my face. I donned sunglasses with tiger-striped frames that I found in a drawer, I must have thought they were chic when I bought them, and a scarf that came up over my chin. You could only see my nose and mouth. I sincerely hoped that these precautionary measures would be sufficient to protect innocents from falling into shock and awe at the sight of me.

Anyway, I got out there and took the bull by the horns. I’m pathetic when it comes to exercise, but I have to say, it was a beautiful day. The sky was blue, the air was clean and there was no wind. Yesterday, the wind was so strong I expected to see Dorothy and Toto fly by my window.

On our walk, I saw a mother with two boys about 10-years-old and a little girl around seven or eight. As we approached, we heard the mother saying to the boys, “She’s never going to learn if you don’t let her have a turn.” With that she stretched her arm out in front of the boys, who were barely able to contain themselves, in an attempt to hold them back. She tossed the ball to the little girl who attempted to toss it in a basketball hoop. As soon as the ball left her hands, the boys were on attack. The mother threatened to take the basketball away if the boys wouldn’t take turns.

I couldn’t help but think the little scene was emblematic of the way men and women approach life. Boys are all about competing and girls are about cooperation and everyone getting a turn. Those boys would teach her to play basketball alright. She would get the ball in her tender little hands when she was able to snatch it from their clutches, not one second before. I had to laugh at seeing it so early and so starkly.

Lean in, girls!

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