The Good Hood

One summer, my dad built a wooden lemonade stand for me and my sister. We christened it, “C & S Cool Stand” probably with a fight about whose initials would go first. “S & C” would have been fine by me, for the record. The lemonade wasn’t a big seller but popsicles were. We sold box after box of Mr. Freeze pops. We had the neighbor kids knocking on our door after hours to buy them.

When we weren’t selling addictive liquid sugar, we played kickball and freeze tag in the yard across the street. A family of six lived there. They had children similar in age to our family. We walked to the same school near by and some of us were in classes together.

The youngest was a boy my age. If we stood facing one another we could have visually defined an opposite. He was tall. I was not. He had dark brown almost black eyes and I had light blue. His hair was shiny and dark. Mine was reddish gold. His skin was olive as if toasted to perfection. My skin was fair with pink hues. We were dark to light shades in a scale of contrast in culture and family life. His family went to church every Sunday morning and evening and gave an impression of a unified front..gatekeepers of their flock. They seemed to have a calm and organized life.

Across the street… my dad drove a company doughnut van and we all spilled out of a huge brown and blue oldsmobile station wagon. My older sister and brother had cool highschool friends who could drive and were always staying for dinner. They had paper routes and we’d help fold the papers into throwable tubes snapping rubber bands on before tossing them into their friends car. Our house was chaotic, noisy, wild with an unpruned yard. That was the last house my parents lived in together. Their relationship crumbled like the side of a mountain sliding into an inevitable separation… but have since chosen new and good for them spouses.

Back in the day this boy and I had so much fun together. We skated and rode bikes. We kicked the soccer ball at the stone wall in my yard for hours chasing and kicking it to bounce off again and again. We climbed the ‘laughy-taffy’ tree and played roller hockey on the street pausing every ten minutes to let cars pass. My sister and I would try to make him mad by calling him by his entire name -first-middle-last- and rhyming jokes. We played King of the Castle and jumped over the ferocious snapping alligator in the water drainage ditch. We played pogs and made tent hammocks. I remember details like his dog, Scout and the whistle melody his parents used to call him home. His mother was the most beautiful lady with roots from South America. She pruned trees and grew aromatic flowers. They were a good family..genuinely kind, nice and interesting people..some of my best memories were hurrying through dinner so I could go back outside and play. In the summers we stayed out until dark or when he heard the whistle from his parents porch or we heard the call to come back home.

One day last week I drove down the street on my way home from an appointment. The office was close to that neighborhood. I hear things every now and then about who got married or where they might live now. I had talked with my sweet opposite friend on facebook for a while. He had finished school, married a beauty and had gorgeous babies with dark hair and happy faces. That makes me smile to know all of that goodness was waiting for him just around his corner while we ate popsicles and played kickball. I like remembering that good things happened and more goodness could be around all of our corners…

Drivin and Cryin

According to my loving spouse, I do the following incorrectly:

drive

parallel park

drive

park

drive

and… drive

He makes me nervous in the car. I’m talking flash back to my 1995 driving test which I failed the first time. Hey, that doesn’t mean I still drive poorly. I was just…15. My current driving record is pristine, I tell you – Clean – Safe – Cautious. Here’s how nervous ‘A’ makes me about driving. We had just picked up the brand new company lease car which makes me nervous, too. He drives it out of the performance center, parks…then opens the door for me to get in and drive us home. My palms are sweating. I feel cold. I don’t want to drive with him as ultimate judgment passenger.

A: “Go ahead! Look, I picked this color for you! It will look good with your hair”

Me: “(aw) That’s so nice of you but go ahead. Break in the first few miles.”

A: “No. No. I insist. It’s your Ultimate Driving Machine. Now drive it.”

Me: ” Okay…creeping out of lot at 5mph heading toward highway”

A: “Get on it!”

Me: “Really?” ZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM

A: ” Holy @#$%^&*!

Me: “Pulls off to emergency lane — What? What!”

A: “Get out of this lane! Go. GO, babe. What are you doing?”

Me:”@#$%^&* Don’t yell at me. I’m scared. I don’t want to drive with you!”

A: ” Don’t cry. Are you going to cry? This is supposed to be fun!”

Me: “Don’t yell! You said punch it! So I punched it!”

A: “You floored it.”

Me:” When you’re in the car, I drive dumb and awkwardly. I feel like you might pull out a clipboard and note all of my mistakes. And you get that chauvinistic bring-up-the-curbed-rims-look.

A: Silence

Me: “Still mad?”

A: Exhales

Me: “Yeah. You’re still mad.”

Once upon a LONG freakin’ time ago, ‘A’ had a Z3 Roadster (before he even worked for BMW) and sometimes I would drive it to work. (This was back in the day when we were boyfriend/girlfriend) To exit my apartment you had to cross two speed bumps. I would carefully go over them and veer to the right on my way out and the left on my way in because I knew he had an expensive suspension kit in place. I didn’t know that I was curb rashing the rims on each side as I crossed (it made no sounds I promise!) I was so careful on entering and exiting I matched each side of the car rims with identical scrapes. How thoughtful of me! He hasn’t let me forget it. In fact every time I see a curb I look at him and he gets this pained look.

Another example is about backing out of a parking space and he GASPS this huge warning sound so I brake slam stop but he GASPS again so I get mad and pull forward too fast and we go UP ON the curb. I start nervous laughing and drive like crap all the way home.

I may or may not have hit our mailbox with side mirrors (since when did those stop folding in anyway?) and tippy tapped the garage wall with another car but hey who’s counting all of my minor incidents?

He is.

Mr. Ultimate judgment passenger is judging and that is why I don’t enjoy driving with him unless he’s passed out drunk or asleep. Preferably both. That way he can’t recall what happens but…nothing happens!

Stream of Palazzo Consciousness

So HAPPY to see beautiful, comfortable, airy, flowing PALAZZO pants in fashion magazines. I pulled a linen pair from the back of my closet and have been sailing through the day. They are so wonderful and multi-functional. I can dust baseboards and low shelving. I can sweep sidewalks and close car doors as I pass by, swaddle babies and give pets on sidewalks a quick wooshing wipe down. In an emergency I can slip them over my head and parachute to safety or parasail over a puddle of water and up, up, and away to a new destination. I really love wide, flowing breeze making pants. SO HAPPY

Spring break was here and gone…a festival we normally attend was rained out and it was cold rain so we wandered around the mall and library. We played rounds of wipeout on Kinect (MAJOR WORKOUT) and had a few friend play dates. We bought some crafty stuff to make art projects and relaxed around the house. When the sun finally shone we went to our city park only to find it closed for construction but…discovered we’re about to have a brand new bike trail called the flow coaster. http://towncreekpark.com/ our city also started rails to trails conversion bike path project to connect with neighboring cities so we can ride the Swamp Rabbit Trail from TR to Gville to Easley to Liberty to Pickens and probably on up to Clemson. Guess I better start stashing cash for bigger bikes. We’re growing out of ours.

My mom and I had a martini – mar-two-ni lunch like Sinatra would croon or was it Dean Martin? We relaxed at a café for over four hours with fantastic food and dirty, no make that filthy, Stoli martinis. How often does something magical like that happen?

My son is into money or trying to understand the concept of money. He looked at a tax statement and said– “Mom! We’re…wait, what’s that number? Wow. Mom. We’re thousand-airs”. I love it. Yeah, son. We are thousandaires.

 

 

 

 

This Is What Motherhood Looks Like

Like many mothers in America this Easter Sunday, I lined my children up for a photo beneath a white blooming dogwood tree. They were thrilled, THRILLED. It’s the photo happy ratio. I get two out of three every time.

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^ the littlest little was putting on such a show of ridiculous behavior we all ended up laughing at her (even her) but before that she ripped off her tights, messed up her hair and refused to cooperate. Lovely attitude for Easter, right?

Stream of Mindful Consciousness

Stream of Mindful Consciousness

The link has a well-written article about the history of Dogwood trees. Many Christians believe the blossoms symbolize a promise from God, like an old testament rainbow. I don’t agree with everything on the site but it has some interesting ideas about how the size of the trees may have changed after Christ’s crucifixion and about the shaping of the petals with small indentations on the ends.

What do you know about dogwood trees? Do you know which book of the Bible talks about Jesus making his own cross to carry up the hill? I didn’t find any references describing which type of tree was possibly used in Roman times.

And how did you celebrate Easter this year? ‘Sonrise’ service, home worship, family time?

Stream of Weekend Consciousness

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Early Saturday morning, 15 tons of gravel knocked on our door. The truck was so loud it shook our little house, waking up the kids who ran outside in their pajamas. We got a quote about paving our long, long driveway but the cost would total 20% of our current mortgage balance..so we paid a couple hundred bucks for loose gravel as a temporary fix.

Our local library hosts an annual bookmark design contest. Our kids entered. I just got a phone call that two of their drawings will be displayed during an evening reception this week. Fun, right? I’m going to make them get dressed up to attend.

Mary Had A Little Lamb, Hot Cross Buns and one tune I still can’t place is on repeat inside our home. 3rd and 4th grade music class introduces the recorder and my kids practice A LOT at the same time but different songs. You know when they blow so hard, spit flies out the end? That must mean musical mastery.

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I opened the mail offer shown above. What.A.Deal. Hope it doesn’t expire before I get the chance to take them up on it.

It’s spring break in the South! We hiked yesterday, got some sun and made a list of places around the city we want to visit. Just staying local…any suggestions?

Head Games

‘A’ is the best. Seriously, he is. He is intelligent, handsome, dreamy, sensitive, muscle-y strong and kind, funny and adventurous. Even though he really is all that and a bag of chips — he holds the uncanny ability to drive me insane. Like, snap your fingers, knuckle cracking crazAY. I’d be just as crazy if I let it continue driving me insane, right?

A: (thrashing through kitchen drawers)
“Where’s my Garmin? My GARMIN?”

Me: “What are you doing? Those are my junk drawers!”

A: “Clearly.”

Me: “There’s an actual order to those. School supplies, party stuff, thank you-wedding-birthday-cards and that one is the real junk drawer for batteries and…junk.”

A: “I just want my Garmin. I always leave it here to charge.”

*sidenote – he hasn’t used it in over two years. The last time I saw it there he tossed it down in disgust because the battery was low*

Me: “Is this the same Garmin you yanked off after a run and declared it to be a $200 piece of shit?”

*Another sidenote – Kids and I gave him that $200 piece of shit for a fathers day gift one year*

A: No answer — Just dumps out more drawers

I started this happy save thing…because he does this mad trash thing…He purges. Throws out stuff from his closet or drawers when he’s mad at it or if it malfunctions but is so mad in the moment he doesn’t remember getting rid of stuff.

Solution — Now I retrieve the stuff and put it in our room in a drawer and whenever he goes nutso about a certain shirt, belt, tool or whatever I am 100% certain it’s in that drawer.

A: Rummaging for over a half an hour

Me: (from the save bag) “Hey! Wow. Here it is AND the charger!”

A: “I knew I didn’t throw it out.”

Me: “Yep. Yup”

It’s just one of those weird remedies in marriage. If I didn’t care I’d let him search knowing it really was gone but I do care. Now he can rant and rage and later find and ‘reuse the worthless stuff’

Stream of Obvious Consciousness

Are you good at placing voices? Can you guess the actor/actress narrating the commercial before they show up at the end?

Right now American Express is offering a free online HYSA (0.80%) account. No minimum deposit with no required balance. Only takes ten minutes to fill out online app.

Kid report cards arrived. They worked hard. And now we’re in the last nine weeks of school. Just like that…

This might come across as superstitious but whenever ‘A’ has an improvement on his car or an upgrade, someone hits him or the car gets totaled. I took all the receipts to add to our auto insurance policy. SO tired of losing cash through car accidents. It adds up…a sway bar here, Euro shocks, high performance tires, upgraded suspension…ridiculousness in my opinion but important to him.

Everyone was in a meeting when I got to work. The lobby was peaceful and quiet for an entire hour. That was like a beautifully wrapped gift. Quiet. Peace. Time to breathe.

Wasted a gift card and spent money altering what I thought was going to be killer leopard print retro pants from JCrew — The café pant — DON’T. The print is very busy and they have awful creases and cuffs. Had the cuff taken out which flattened the front crease but it was a lot of work for the look I wanted. Just be warned — petite women the café pant doesn’t look anything like they portray. The cut will swallow you up. The Minnie fits better.

No one is sick in our house, bills are paid and we’re having good weather which keeps things rolling forward. Whatchu got?

An accurate BAC Chart

An accurate BAC Chart

Do you drink? Why or why not?

I am speaking of legal and responsible enjoyment of alcohol. I don’t judge others if they do not drink. I drink. And I enjoy drinking. Naturally, this excludes those who have struggled with an addiction to alcohol or have been hurt by those who have. Please, don’t misinterpret this. For the purpose of this blog I’m talking about responsible drinking. I wondered this while observing others this weekend for a work celebration.

There were men claiming ten beers won’t even buzz ‘em. Yeah…I don’t care if you’re 6’4 with 225 lbs of pure muscle….ten, twelve ounce beers is one hundred and twenty ounces of drunk. And there were women with that slurry purr after a second martini…That’s three or four ounces of straight up vodka in an hour on a 1xx lb female. That’s possible impairment. If you have any doubt at all of operating a vehicle — don’t. 

The myths of chewing gum, splashing cold water on faces, drinking coffee or eating bread is all junk. That points to a fix or a cover up which implies you know you’ve had too much to drink. Ask someone else, a trusted someone to drive. Call a cab. Hell, you just spent $80 on a bar tab but you think twice before paying for a taxi ride home?…adopt a safe routine before going out.

Here’s our plan:

- babysitter comes to our house so we don’t have to pick our children up after a party or work event or any event that has an open bar

- Hubs drives us to event (so I can finish make up in car)

- I drive us home because I drink less and tolerate less and he can cut loose knowing I’ll stick to our agreed designated driver plan

- Plan B call one of my available siblings or a taxi if for any reason I become intoxicated…sometimes 2 beers or a generous pour of wine can sink you when tired or hungry or have a low tolerance

*Did you know ANY bar or restaurant will call a taxi for you?*

What’s your tell? How do you know when you have had too much and should not drive home? And what’s your get home plan?

Stream of Engineering Consciousness

You know how you don’t care about something until it happens to you? I haven’t thought twice about run flat tires or the engineering and design work over decades that has rolled them onto streets today. UNTIL…something punctured…No, it obliterated my left rear tire…with my precious children in the backseat while traveling at 55+ mph. We all heard a loud ‘PPFFWTHUNK’ The sensors starting going off and it was scary but I never lost control of the car. We didn’t hit anyone else and we were able to keep driving and maneuver to a safe pull-over-place.

Now I care about run flats. I want to know how they work and about different model designs. How can an interior wall structure support the weight of a car when the outer layer of rubber/gases are gone? What is the material? Does it work better cold or hot? On paved highway or gravel roads? Would it perform the same on wet asphalt? What’s the difference in air pressure between a run flat and a normal street tire?

Most BMW’s are equipped with run flats and there is no spare in X series. After our experience I understand why. You don’t need one. The run flat can and will carry you another 50-100 miles. I can attest to that. I’ve also driven an older model car (’99 Honda Odyssey) with standard issue tires when a tire blew out because of road debris. The car wobbled to the right and sparks were flying out from where the tire rim was grinding the road. We were completely immobilized and ruined the rim. I’m glad I had that experience to compare to this one.

Michelin developed the ‘Tweel’ an airless tire supported by spokes which doesn’t use a bladder full of compressed air so it doesn’t leak pressure or become flat. It connects to polyurethane spokes which support an outer rim and these components assume shock-absorbing roles provided by the compressed air in a traditional tire. It’s been implemented on the Segway and Mar’s Rover.

There are many fascinating tire innovations since the idea first blossomed long ago…have you had an experience like this? What did you find out?

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