Sunday, June 29, 2014


Today we walked down to put in a shelf for a tenant. We blabbed for a while, and then came back up the street. We admired Angela's garden, and we looked for Mr. M, but he wasn't front porch sitting today. He's usually good for a friendly chat. An elderly, very thin man was sitting on HIS front porch though, and we called out a cheery hello even as I pointed a plant out on the other side of the street. "Tim," I said, "I'd like to have some of this at our house," even as Tim mused, "I think we had that stuff around the lamp post at the brick house, but it did not come back this year." Just chit chatting and walking along.

Suddenly, I heard, "Tim! Hey, Tim!" and we turned around to see the elderly man had come off front porch. Now these are interesting people, and I know that the woman herself has approached us about doing work for us. She likes to interior decorate. I had told her, "Well, really, we don't need a lot of interior decorating in a rental unit. The tenants do that for themselves, but thank you," and she headed back across the street to that neat as a pin front porch.

We stopped as the man approached us. He had noticed that we could use some weeding help. We could, actually. It's been so gosh darn rainy and between working at work, and taking care of William, and working at the brick house, well...sometimes things like weeding get moved down on the priority list. Turns out that he's been asking for work from Tim quite regularly.

Tim said, cautiously, "How much will you be charging us?" and the man mused and said, "$10? I just need something to stay busy." I imagine that Tim wanted to kick my tail when I said, "No. We'll pay you $20." It's hot and humid, and that's a considerable amount of work for $10. A couple hours, easy. Fair's fair.

So the man accompanied us home. Tim did not want him to use power tools, fearful of his frailty, and the possibility of injury, but the man went to work with a spade and a hoe. I took him out a tall glass of ice water, and I could see that he was winded. "Hey," I said, "you know, if it is too hot this afternoon, you don't have to do this right now. You can come back." He decided to do that and told me that he'd be back tomorrow. "Are you home all day?" he asked, and I said, "No, but you can do the work any time you want. I don't have to be here."  I gave him the $20.

Tim didn't say anything, but I could see that he would have done it differently. I watched the man carefully bag up the yard waste, and return the tools to the back porch. He went off down the street.

Tim and I are two very blessed people. Being generous is important to us, so the $20 is not a big deal, not really. This man will either come back or he won't. It is as simple as that. Either way, we will soon discover what his true character is.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Pointless Post

How long ago was it, that I wrote about this day? 5 years? It does not seem possible. In those five years, I have gotten to know the woman in the little red truck somewhat better. I worked with her sister, I go to the same church that they all do now. I enjoyed lunch with their mother. That is life in a small town.

I knew that her husband had been diagnosed with cancer earlier this spring, but they are such a cheerful couple, and it seemed like one of those cancers that was inconvenient perhaps, but highly treatable. I thought that it was nothing.

Tonight in a facebook post, I saw that he was in surgery. "I must have missed something," I commented. "I didn't know. Prayers!" Just a few minutes ago, I saw the words. "Jim is a very sick man and has a tough battle ahead. I love my guy."

I messaged her, and prayed for the two of them and their family. Outside the rain hisses against the street and the house. The thunder rumbles and the lightning flashes and I am reminded again that life comes with no guarantees. Sometimes the lightning strikes.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

This sucks.

I may have spent the best $2.00 of my life today. We had to stop by one of the rentals to grab some drywall tools, and I happened to see a yard sale across the street. Tim said, "Go ahead over there and see if they have anything we need." At about the same time, my eyes fell upon a bright green vacuum sweeper. We use these at work, for quick pickups, and they are great. I figured with all the hardwood floors, it would come in handy. The $2.00 price tag made it simply irresistable.

So I bought it, and set it in the front seat of the truck and thought no more about it. I spent the day at the brick house stripping wallpaper, scraping up tile floors, and basically doing what needed doing as Tim and Bill, our hired guy worked hard mudding drywall and planning out the kitchen (we picked up the custom cabinets today).

We got home, and Tim grabbed the vacuum out of the truck and brought it in. William saw it and said, "What you got for me, Grampa? You buy a little vacuum for me?" It made me laugh. I plugged it in and let him vacuum the bathroom. When I took it to get some spots he missed, he began to cry. "It is MY little green vacuum, Gramma!" I gave it back and set him to work in the hall. When he reached the end of his cord, I unplugged it, and he howled some more. He's vacuumed the kitchen. He's vacuumed the hall. He's vacuumed the livingroom twice, and just now decided he needs to vacuum the library.

It's kind of like having a roomba.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Wedding

As usual, LOTS going on here. So very much. More later as things unfold, maybe. Hopefully? Dunno.

It's a full week after the wedding, and the wedding was beautiful. The weather was beautiful. The ceremony was beautiful. The bride was beautiful. The...well...okay. Maybe I'm a little biased here. But it was a sweet ceremony.

Brittani and Dylan picked this trellis out, and we bought it for them as their wedding gift. We all liked the idea that such an integral part to the wedding will become a part of their home.

The best man is on the right. It is Brittani's brother Adam. Dylan and Adam were best friends. Dylan happened to meet his sister. He liked her a lot, but chose not to get involved because he was afraid it would wreck a friendship if it did not work out. As part of the wedding toast, Adam remembered when Dylan finally came to him and said, "Listen. Dude, would it be a problem if I dated your sister?" Adam's response was, "Dylan...we are going to pretend that we did not have this conversation." The fellow on the right is Jim, my sister Anna's boy. There are a ton of stories that I could tell you about this guy.

Brittani and her two flower girls (her nieces). One of them came down the aisle carrying a sign that said, "Here comes the Bride" On the way up the aisle, the sign was turned. It read, "...and they lived happily ever after..." So cute!

A better look at that beautiful smile and the eyes that my son promised to fall in love with again every single day of his life.

Brianna and William, who was the ring bearer and did a pretty good job of it. I promised him a party with cake if he helped Dylan and 'Aunt Bwitt-nee'. Which is probably why he got up front with his little pillow and began to say, "Where Aunt Bwitt-nee???" Several times. Insistantly. Because he was a little worried that she was going to screw up that whole cake thing for him.

More of the cute signage.

Saying their vows. The groom promised to rub her feet at the end of a long day, and to always laugh at her jokes even if they were the only two people in a crowded room laughing. She promised to watch football with him, and to always cheer for his team, even though they both knew that the team would lose. The ceremony was unabashedly romantic, and sweetly funny all at the same time, which perfectly reflected the nature of the bride and groom.

They are pronounced man and wife.

It is a terrible shot but a great party. With cake, just like I promised William.

It was such a happy weekend that I hated to see it end. The newlyweds are returning from their honeymoon to Bermuda right this very minute. They snorkeled shipwrecks and cliff dived. They came through the Bermuda Triangle on Friday the 13th under a full moon, and the groom thought that was about the funniest thing ever!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Super Hero bites the Dust

So, today at school there was super hero day, and William helped craft himself a red cape with a "w" on the back of it. "Super William" enjoyed that cape something awful and spent the day leaping tall building blocks with a single bound, being 'bwave'. He kept a eye peeled for anyone who might need 'wescued', and like all the best super heroes, he used the potty.

After work, William had supper with me, and he still had on his red cape with the big W on the back. He wore it to the brick house to do some work.

I shoveled for a time, but it was not long before Super William was pretty upset with the black flies outside, and so we came indoors. As I worked on some wallpaper removal, he noticed a spider web and began to get emotional about it.

I tried to appeal to him from a whimsical standpoint. "Do you see the very busy spider in that web?" He said, "No. The spider is hiding. It is going to get me." I assured him that it would not. He assured me that it would. Finally, from atop my ladder, I said, "Super heroes don't cry about spiders!" in an incredulous voice.

I looked down at him as he pondered this in a considering sort of way. He looked up at me and said very matter of factly, "I don't want to wear my cape anymore. I don't like it."

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A day that would make a preacher swear...

What a day. What a DAY! WHAT a daaaaaaaaaaay.

It started out with that subpoena I received last night. I went to the district magistrate's office, as per the instructions. The lady there said, "Well, we sent these out with the wrong address. You're supposed to be at the court house, sorry about that," and went on talking to the other woman.
I really try not to be grumpy, but I hopped back into my car and hightailed it over to the courthouse, and there was a sure and certain grumpiness starting.

I walked into the courthouse which is a huge building, with no idea where I was supposed to be. Luckily, I met the sheriff who gave me good instructions. I got to where I was supposed to be just in the nick of time and discovered that a friend was handling things. "Laurie," I said, "I hate to be a whiner, but I am not happy about this. I received this when I got home from work last night at 6 pm, and that is pretty short notice." Her eyebrows went up and she said, "Well, that is going to be discussed..."

Much to my surprise, it WAS handled and promptly. The police looked at it and took responsibility for their end of it (incorrect phone number was from their dispatch) and the delay in getting it to me was because they had tried to contact me by phone for a week before breaking down and bringing it to my house.

I had called the police on a fight next door that spilled out into the street. A ball bat was being wielded and there was much screaming and swearing. The young man has been in trouble for most of his life, w/ 3 arrests on 9 counts since the beginning of 2014. This time around, he stole money from a girl's hand, took off running, w/ the girl and her boyfriend in hot pursuit. He threatened them with brass knuckles. They returned to their car and called the police, which is when the second debacle happened, with the young man's twin brother getting involved. That is when I called the police. I explained to them that I was not a very good witness and could only testify to the screaming and swearing and the sound of that ball bat thumping and thumping. I did not think it prudent to go outside and investigate.

After all of that, turns out that the public defender had just found out that he had this case just yesterday and needed more time to prepare, so it was continued. I probably will not be called again, which is just fine with me since the whole thing was a waste of my time, really.

I went to work.

Dashed out to pick up my altered dress. Tried it on w/o a full length mirror, since I met her at the firehall where she was working. It felt big, but she assured me that it looked nice. I got home and looked at myself in a full length mirror and cried. I called her, got her answering machine, and resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to spend more money to buy another dress. In what has to be the quickest shopping expedition for a mother of the groom dress, I picked out a dress in the wedding colors and hied back home. In the meantime, the seamstress had called, asking me to return. I did. She made the alterations on the spot, bless her heart. I was correct. She forgotten two seams which were still marked, but unsewn. Now I have two dresses. If it's not raining, it's pouring.

Thrown into that is a gift card that gives you a balance when you call the customer line, but tells you that you have a 0 balance when you try to use it at the store (which is deucedly embarrassing), well, today was about as aggravating a day as you can have.

I got home to discover that my sister had been and gone, and I wanted to sit down and have a cry. If ever was a day when I needed to have a pleasant visit with my sister, well, today was it.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


I guess that it just flummoxes me a little bit. I came home from work to discover that I have been subpoenaed. In a case that is being heard tomorrow. At 9 AM.

I'm scrambling around trying to call bosses at home to let them know. Seems like only fair that they should give you a little bit of advance notice on stuff like that.

Monday, June 2, 2014

On death and dying...

My friend was a very private person. When she knew that she was dying, she began to matter of factly set her affairs in order. She sold a rental property to a man that she had come to admire, talking to Tim as he walked briskly up and down the street tending to his own rental properties. She sold her house at an extremely low price, a gift almost, despite the protestations from both Tim and I. She assured us that she had no need of the money and that in the end, it was ridiculous to consider such things. She was dying after all. She would not live long enough to spend the money.

But, the property did come with one 'requirement': To pay it forward.

We did come up with a plan to do just that. Women's issues, environmental issues, and education was very close to her heart, and we have plans.

We bought that house, and as big a blessing as it was to us, she assured us that it was a blessing to her as well. She went forthrightly about her business of disassembling her life, rehoming a dog with issues to the dog whisperer who had wrought the magic touch that transformed him into a good dog. A ceremony in church was held to honor that 'adoption'. Everyone there knew that it was as much about the woman as it was her dog. She was dying. She knew it. We knew it. This was the public admission of it.

Yesterday, we were up and down the street. That house bought from our friend is being gutted and rewired and put back together again. We have two tenants that switched apartments in another building, and we were taking care of small projects there. We were pulling a power washer up the street and talked to a another friend who happened to need a power washer. We made plans to lend her ours. The day unfolded in small chores, with plants to be planted and weeds to be whacked.

In the middle of that sweaty busy-ness, I saw a lady I'd met only a couple of times before. I had a bad feeling when she stopped. "Is it Joan?" I asked. And she smiled. Yes. But she assured me that it had been wonderful, that Joan had spent the day quietly, but that her eyes continually popped open and she would exclaim, "OH!!!" in a delighted voice. No more than that. But the expression on her face, the joy and delight! Those delighted discoveries lasted all day. The three people closest to her remained at her side for the weekend. Finally, they left to shower. Within minutes, alone, she passed quickly, in a business like manner. She died as she lived, guarding her privacy.

I am glad that my friend had such a beautiful passing. I am glad that her day was joyful. I am glad that she lived by her own rules up until the very last breath.

Godspeed, my friend.