Sunday, April 24, 2011

Yard Work

There was a time many years ago......okay maybe not that many years ago, but some time has passed.....when the yard work was a different animal for our household. We bought our house because it was on a corner lot with lots of side yard for the kids to play and a pretty good size backyard (for our neighborhood anyway). I never really cared too much what the yard looked like as long as the grass was cut for the Nazi Association people! I know that isn't nice to say, but they are pretty ridiculous sometimes......come on, give me a break...grass in the cracks of my drive way!!??? Sometimes that was the only place grass would actually grow!

The kids used the sideyard for so many years as a football field.  Most of the time we never needed to mow except for up against the house because they trampled it all down.  After a rain the yard became MudBowl! One giant brown pit in the yard! We had the ugliest yard in the neighborhood but who cared....the kids had a blast.  There was a time when I had the Courthouse Rec League field equipment that we painted football lines on the yard.....yep....and the kids loved it.....neighbors....not so much.

The planting of our yard was never a pressing desire.  I didn't care for a bunch of flowers...mainly just shrubs and green plants. We didn't have any money for new plants anyway.  It just was too much non-initial expenses for our budget. When we first moved in the house we had these two MASSIVE pompous grass bushes on both sides of the driveway entrance near the street.  You couldn't hardly see to back out.  The kids often took the "spears" off of the plant, got on their bikes and used them as lances and they rode towards each other at break neck seed.  After many hours of chopping, whacking, weeding and pounding those big bushes were totally removed.  A stump remained for a long time after until we finally regained some strength to chop that out with a pick ax!

Other bushes around the house were pulled out and replanted in different places but never really any major plantings or mulch beds were created.  We did add a elongated mulch bed reaching from the corner of the house out to the tree in the middle of the front yard after we exhausted of trying to keep people walking RIGHT NEXT TO OUR HOUSE on the way to the mail box!  Kids I can understand....but ADULTS....come on.  I will admit we tied our KILLER DOG up to the tree many times to have him back and growl at everyone as they tried to navigate our front yard. (I got to tell you that after the mulch was added there was some who had to go out of their way to go around the mulch not out in the street....but actually right up against our house!.......They could have touched the window they were so close........GET REAL PEOPLE!)

Anyway, the back lawn always grew twice (maybe three times) as tall as the front.....Front was mowed because of the Association Police, the back grew with the added "dog fertilizer"...never was a important to mow...but did get quite high from time to time. The boys always did the yardwork for me. The mowed and weed-eated.  As long as it was cut, I was happy.  There were times when I tried to tell them about the details, but it really never sank in.  If I was ever out there mowing....everyone knew I must be MAD or something.....I never mowed.

All that has changed over the last several years.  Since the kids are all older, no more football practice evenings, no more football Saturdays, no more baseball days, soccer days, softball days, basketball days.....and on and on and on....they have grown up and moved on to school, mission field and marriage.  I now take care of the lawn. Yes, now I COACH the flowers.  I love the backyard.  I have pots, plants, vines, mulch beds, stone works.....and more. The backyard is my peace.

These last two weekends, I have worked to get the mulch beds in order for the season.  Re-planting some of the annuals, trimming up the dead or the over grown, digging up and transplanting, weeding, trimming and mowing all of the yard.  It is hardwork and I don't have the same stamina anymore but I like the results.  It is some what satisfying. I cut the lawn at different angle, spray for weeds, edge the mulch beds, trim the bushes and tree limbs. Finally after all these years, I can finally have a yard that the everyone, including the kids (when they come home) can finally be proud of. take care of the neighbors giant bulldog who keeps POOPING on my lawn! PEOPLE, COME ON ALREADY!  Have a great Summer my friends! MOW HAPPY!

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Probably not what you were thinking about when you clicked on the word SERVICE, but this post is about our amazing son.  SERVICE IN THE LORD.  That is his calling. I never thought he would be so bold but indeed he has become quite the evangelist.  We went to Lubbock Texas to pick him up from his 8 month training to prepare him for the Mission field.  Yep  Preaching the Word. I hadn't had the opportunity to see the school or meet the people.  Just heard about all the great stuff they were doing.  Christian introduced us to his team and his instructors.  I can say it was a bit overwhelming.  Obviously after 8 months of togetherness, they have formed some pretty close bonds and relationships.

Friday we got to see some funny skits they prepared to make fun of each other. When you are around someone for so much of the time, we get to experience their mannerisms and habits and quirks! Saturday, there wasn't much for us to do.  The class had to finalize some things and prepare for the last few times they were going to be together. Some lunch and getting to really know some of the Christian's team. There are six of them and they are heading to Bolivia. AMAZING! I look forward to making a trip down there to visit!

Main Street at Lockney TX
 Sunday, began real early....I mean real early because I missed up the alarm and set it for Virginia time......4:00 Texas time! Anyway, we headed out to PAC first near Christian's 'local' church in Lockney.  PAC is where they hold teenagers in detention.  This has been something Christian has been doing for some time.  There were about a dozed of us. They broke us all into groups and Christian and I spoke to two young men.  This is something that was completely foreign to me.  Christian was bold.  Pretty wild!  Then off to Main Street Church of Christ in Lockney.  We were able to meet all the people that he has been working with pretty much every Sunday. They had mentioned over and over, how amazing he is and such a hard worker.  Also how much growth they had seen over the time he has been there. Fellowship meal afterwards and then the drive back to Lubbock.

A quick tired.... and then for the closing ceremony. Basically they just SENT THEM OFF.  Head to the field! Pretty emotional.  We headed back to the motel since they had more work to do and wanted to spend time together.  The team will head out in 6 weeks, so they wont see each other for a bit.  The other members they wont see for 22 months at graduation....and some, possibly never again.

Monday was cleaning day for the apartment and then back home....again at a ridiculous hour....4:00!

You will have to check out Christian's information for the REAL story!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Traveling Pet Peeves

We are currently on a trip to Lubbock Texas.  Of course there are no direct flights from Norfolk to Lubbock....unless you want to pay an arm and a leg.....So the first half of this journey we will account for the pet peeves that always seem to pop up during our travel trips.

Smashed to Bits
What makes you grumpy when you’re traveling? Plain and simple, being smashed into a tiny space on a plane for 8 hours. It makes me excruciatingly aware of what my dog must have gone through being squished into a small cage for 12 hours when we run out the door for work. I am not a dog.

Hotel Noise
Doors slam at 2 a.m. The clock radio next door goes off at 4 a.m. with no one in the room. Beavis & Butthead have a drunken brawl in the hallway. Pop cans tumble down out of the machine like high-mountain landslides. The elevator pings. Just so happen we booked the motel with an all-star highschool girls softball team...yippee. Also, I think somebody has some sort of BIRD with them here in this motel....either that or we have a small rain forest just outside our door! Peace and quiet are the true unattainable luxuries in modern travel, and 5-star hotels are no better than Motel 6.

Grumpy Service
General grumpiness. I now expect the ticket agent, the flight attendant and the cab driver to be unfriendly. This should not be an expectation of travel. It’s a rare flight attendant who genuinely smiles and cares about whether I have peanuts or not. Or how about the people at the gate check in that says to me (without even a frown or oh, I am sorry) we don't have a seat for you yet?  What do you mean you don't have a seat for me yet? I bought my tickets 6 weeks ago.  You are confirmed but we don't have a seat for you yet? So what exactly does CONFIRMED mean? Sir we don't have a seat for you yet?  Yeah I heard that part....I see that the 14 flight attendants and pilots over here have a seat assignment, they aren't even servicing the flight! Sir, please step to one side while I help the people behind you.  Hey what about me....they shouldn't have a seat either if I don't....why don't you just anounce over the loud speakers that you don't have any more seats YET? Because you overbooked! Sir please settle down or I will have to tazzer you. Hey, when do the seats BECOME available.....can you find more inside that little computer you are hiding behind....come on, you aren't even looking at anything! You are probably playing on facebook!  ZZZZZaaappppp!

Buddy, Can You Spare a Bose?
Believe me, I get it. Portable music players are ubiquitous — you can’t walk 20 feet in an airport without seeing ear buds dangling from ears both young and old. Don’t get me wrong: I have gone through a few iPods. What I don’t love is hearing the song selections — invariably dominated by a pounding, drilling, headache-inducing bass — of the person sitting next to me on a plane. Just because you have your music turned way up to drown out the engine noise doesn’t mean you are in a sound bubble. Here’s a request from the two dozen people surrounding you in coach: If you can’t survive a two-hour flight without cruising your playlists at sound-barrier-busting decibels, invest in some noise-canceling headphones. I will even chip in a donation — or at the very least stop sending you dirty looks.

Human Stampede
My biggest travel pet peeve is when people plow over one another to get either on or off a plane, bus, boat, etc. Come on, don't you know the unwritten rule of airplane etiquette? If you are in a row behind someone, wait for them to get off first.....lady in landing in time I am going to run YOU over....but still smile in Christian love and say....OOPS.  Also....all you that have too much crap to store overhead....please step aside so I can get to my seat....PLEASE!

Human Megaphones
By far, a loud talker who thinks it is completely appropriate to discuss every detail of his/her (fill in the blank) with the whole cabin. Almost as a rule, such loud talker always comes with a voice so grating to the ear that you are not spared even if the chatter is in a language you don’t understand. The only thing that tops the above? When a loud talker meets another. Yes I am in air right now. Yes, there is a pair of loud talkers two rows in front of me. Thank Microsoft for the noise-cancelling headphones I picked up right before getting on the road!
 Exploding Bladder
Surely one of the most frustrating aspects of travel is the inability to find a restroom when you really need one.  Worse in a car....shouldnt have had the second cup of coffee.  Oh yeah, flight is late, connecting flight is located in the next county and I have 16 minutes to run like OJ Simpson to get there in time for potty break....dont need to actually.....until I finally sit down comfortably in my compact life vest inflating not really reclining seat located in the middle of two former linemen for the Florida State Seminoles....yeah....excuse me, excuse me, excuse me.  I think he is going to EAT me!

Overhead Bin Poaching
On the plane they wobble with their oversize carry-on. Spying an open bin at row 6, they wedge it in (coincidentally smashing my computer) and then traipse on back to row 75, pleased with themselves for saving $50 in baggage fees and outsmarting late boarders who actually are seated in row 6. The flight attendants do nothing — they don't want to be the police.

Recliners at 30,000 Feet

Flying coach is bad enough, but it's worse when the passenger in the seat in front of you decides to recline her seat back. It makes it nearly impossible to work on my laptop, enjoybeverage or watch a movie on a portable DVD player. Why shouldn’t we all make sure our fellow travelers are as comfortable as possible? As the announcement says, just keep your seat in the upright position — at all times. Didnt happen to me this time but to the guy sitting next to me....I thought they were going to get into a fight as he punched the back of the seat in front of him protesting his dissatisfaction.

Security Lollygaggers
People who can’t quickly and efficiently navigate airport security, they have a million things, they should have checked their suitcase, they don’t take their laptop out of their bag, they don’t remove their shoes, their belt, their coat, remove the change from their pockets, they are carrying a bottle of water … Come on, these are fairly simple rules, people. I actually felt a bit bad for Mira (retired mayor) and Roger her husband as they struggled through security.  Yep they were on our flight.  Poor Roger went back through that security 15 times before they finally had to pat him down.....Wasnt upset with him as much as the security...after 3 you think, you could of helped him to one side rather than making us all watch this sceen over and over again like GroundHog Day?

My greatest travel peeve? When things go right. I hate it when a trip unfolds exactly as the itinerary describes … then it is rinsed of adventure, washed of discovery, the wrinkles of danger and serendipity are ironed away. It’s like breakfast two weeks ago or that hotel room last month where nothing happened — impossible to remember. What makes a trip transcendental is when things go wrong, when we get lost, when we are challenged. One thing I know of travel is that we feel most alive when we can imagine our own demise. Then travel becomes sublime. Fortunately, our lives always become an adventure!