Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bad Luck Better Than No Luck At All?

It's official. I should NOT be on the sign up sheet at church to provide transportation to doctors' visits, etc. in Houston. It's the same theory I have that I should wear a warning sign on my back in the grocery store or any other line, as it will definitely be the slowest one in the store. Get in line behind me and I can pretty much guarantee a long wait. Last time I took a friend to Houston, she needed to be there by 11:30am, but she lives way out in the Bermuda Triangle and I had never been to her house before so I left about 9:30am from my house and only had to call 3 people for directions before I could find it (naturally, the friend's phone was out of order). The house number I had been given was 529. Their correct number is 215 (yes, they've moved since the paperwork was done). I finally pick her up and head to Houston. Smooth sailing. She was there in time and they took her right in. This is what getting cocky does for you.... She finished with the tests at the doctor's office about 5:30pm and we were able to find the car in the parking lot (don't take for granted that is an easy thing for me to do normally). I'm feeling pretty good about things when I turn the key and nothing. Not a click, nothing but dead silence, emphasis on the dead. Okay, we're on the 6th floor of the garage parking at the Medical Center ... who do I call? My younger brother, Dan is my go-to guy for rescues, but this time I thought of my brother-in-law extraordinaire, Brad, who lives closer and could get to us faster. He & my sister, Kat both come in a very short amount of time, but had to drive 'round and 'round trying to find the right parking garage because its hard enough in the day time, but at night .... well, thank goodness for cell phones. I finally went out to the street and flagged them down. Gives a whole new meaning to the term "street walker". Inside, it was first thought to be the typical culprit ... the battery. We jumped it. (that's like the expression, "me and Daddy killed a bear - Daddy shot it") No such luck. Brad determined it must be the starter. Great. Now what? Can't leave it here. Call a wrecker, you say... Kat did have towing service included in her insurance (for any car she was in) so finally, a break. When we called, they were concerned about the mere 7' clearing in the garage.... would have to get a "special" wrecker. When he came, Brad had to go down to the street and flag HIM in. He was great. Professional, courteous, and fast! He pulled my car to Kat & Brad's house in Rosharon, then I borrowed Kat's car to take my friend home and myself home, which was then about 10:30pm. Brad, an ace mechanic, fixed my car the next day and we met in Angleton to swap vehicles. Runs like a top now. It was just a little journal entry.....but ....
the last time I agreed to take a (different) friend, it went like this: She was confined to a wheelchair, so we went in her van to Houston. She was to see the eye doctor. No problem. Her husband had serious Alzheimer's disease, so he couldn't be left home and accompanied us. No problem. He is gentle, sweet and agreeable, so I was comfortable with his going. She saw the doctor, got a good report, so we are loading up in the van to go home when, behind me, she drives her motor-driven wheelchair around a post and down the concrete steps sideways, falling out and continuing to roll down to the bottom of the steps. She is hurting so they call an ambulance to take her across the street to the hospital. Oh yeah, I am informed later that the eye doctor had dilated her eyes! That would have been helpful information to know that she could not see! Well, long story short, we (and I do mean the friend, her husband who cannot be left alone for a minute and I) spent all the rest of the day and evening at the hospital with them running tests on her before they released her to go home. Since it happened on their property, I suspect they were especially attentive to avoid litigation. It is a true story. I couldn't make this stuff up.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Family of Excess

About 8pm tonight, I received an info flash from a friend informing me of an unadvertised special for strawberries on sale only until midnight, so I immediately put shoes on and pealed out in search of a bargain. Good for me AND good for Kroger. I found $85 worth of bargains! Now, my kitchen is covered up (until morning when my feet don't hurt as much) with Hershey's chocolate chips marked down to $.79 a bag (and freeze well) with other good deals I ran across. I also have buckets of grapefruit and lemons as the grandkids and I "harvested" the trees today, before the substantial freeze supposedly comes on Thursday night. It helps that the weather was just glorious... cool, with the sun shining brightly... what I like to call a "Sears & Roebuck day" (because you couldn't order a better one from a catalog). I had to climb a tall ladder to accomplish the deed ....I don't do heights well ... now I look like I've been hangin' out with Brer Rabbit in the briar patch from the thorns on the grapefruit tree, but the kids were fun and kept laughing and hugging each other and expressing their love for everyone while they were gathering the citrus... a little bit of heaven. So between Kroger and harvesting, we look like a family of excess. Today, I guess we are!

I read in Lisa's blog about my sixteen month old grandbaby, Amelia enjoying a banana, quietly and stratigically smearing it all over the place. It made me smile and brought to my mind the memory of a similar event some years ago with Amelia's daddy, Aaron. Its been well over ten years and it STILL makes me laugh.
My husband, Mike and I were relaxing in the living room of our home while our teenage son was out of sight, in the kitchen, concocting a delicious chocolate malt in the blender, as he often did. We heard the whirring of the blender, and then suddenly a loud crash, followed first by silence, then a sheepish chuckle when asked if he was okay. He said he was. If I live to be a hundred, I will never forget the sight I took in when I got to the kitchen to see what happened. Aaron, standing in front of the sink, absolutely dripping with malt, including his glasses (it looked like he desperately needed a tiny set of windshield wipers, like you might see in a cartoon). As I surveyed the area, it seemed like the blender had simply exploded, with droplets of malt on every wall and in every nook and cranny you could see with the naked eye. Malt was in places where most people don't even HAVE places!! Apparently, you really SHOULDN'T put a knife blade into a glass blender while in motion. That's how you know "experience is the best teacher" because you get the test first, and THEN you get the lesson. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that even a year later, I was still finding malt hiding where it had found its way that evening. So, Baby Amelia got it honest.

I should confess that I am not exempt from making a mess myself. A short time ago I was asked to make homemade rolls for a dinner. With my handy dandy Kitchen Aid, it is just as easy to quadruple the recipe as it is to make a single recipe (and again, they freeze well) so I made up the dough and set it in the oven (out of a draft) to rise. My brother wanted me to ride with him to my sister's house a half hour away so I told him I would, but that we'd have to get right back so I could finish the rolls. (I have 5 siblings who all live locally except one - the stinker lives in Yorba Linda, CA but the rest of us get to run around together often. I know, I am so lucky!) Anyway, you know things always take longer than you think they will, but I felt confident that if I needed to, I could always just punch the dough down and let it rise an extra time, so when we got back and I looked in the oven, I had not counted on the fact that the dough had risen all the way up to the top of the oven, including being tangled in the broiling coil and brackets, etc. What a mess! I felt like saying every bad word I knew and making up a few, but I didn't. There was nothing left to do but proceed to scrape and coax the dough out the best I could but it was at such an awkward height, I couldn't really stand up straight and sitting down was out of the question. You will be happy to know that when it was all said and done, I only lost about a cup of dough that I couldn't use. Seems weird, doesn't it? Its like when you find a tissue in the washer that you didn't know was in the pocket of your clothes.... how can a tissue be so tiny when you use it to blow your nose and so HUGE when you find it in the wash? I hate it when that happens! The moral of that story is that I won't be leaving my dough to rise for an extended period of time ever again... at least not in the oven.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Circle of Life

At my age and in my circumstances, I probably shouldn't consider it uncommon for the parent/child roles to be reversed. As strange as it feels sometimes, I am grateful for the careful and compassionate supervision I receive where certain things are concerned ... like anything having to do with the computer. Whether it is trying to order something online or establishing this blog for instance, I don't get very far without having to ask a question or for help in some measure from my kids. To date, not one of them have lost patience with me (at least not to my face). It amazes me, but it does not go unappreciated. Thanks, Kids!

As I am privileged to enjoy the company of two of my grandchildren on a daily basis while their mother works, I am often experiencing comical (albeit not always comical) events that I now have a place to share. Case in point, we were in the kitchen the other day and I remarked to the babies (now 4 & 5) that something on the stove was starting to burn. Immediately, Brennan (4) dashed across to the living room and threw himself on the couch with his face buried into the cushion, screaming "Fire in the hole!!" Where did he get that??

Earlier that day we were in the car, having one of those mindless "conversations" where they are talking a blue streak and I am only half listening when I realized we were slap in the middle of the topic of bees. Brennan informed his older sister(Ella) that the bees get the honey from flowers, so I steered the information toward the bees getting nectar from the flowers and then working hard to make the honey. He was quiet for a moment so I assumed he surely thought he had the smartest Nana to have ever lived when he asked another question. "So how do the bees make the Cheerios?" Trying my level best to not laugh, I informed him that a company named General Mills actually MAKES the Cheerios and then they coat them with the honey. There's GOT to be a commercial in there somewhere!