Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Step: A Six Sentence Story

"Watch your step," he said, steadying himself with the handle of the shovel he used as a walking stick and holding her elbow as he guided her through the stillness of the woods, thick with hickory and oak, with grapevines growing up from the brushy undergrowth and weaving a canopy from tree to tree, last fall's bed of oak leaves disguising the unevenness of the ground beneath them and crackling beneath their feet.

"Are you sure you saw mushrooms way back here?" she asked him, stumbling slightly in her impractical shoes. "And what's the hurry? You could have at least given me a chance to put on sneakers and get a bucket or something to carry mushrooms back to the house."

"See, right there!" he said to her, pointing to a spot near a pile of soft earth, and she bent to get a closer look, frowning slightly at the absurdity of him dragging her into the woods in her nice shoes to see some mushrooms that he very well could have brought back to the house to show her. 

The swish of the shovel broke through the quietness of the woods, and the impact that followed startled a few birds from their perch in the trees; after circling high above the spot where she lay, they settled back down onto their branches and watched, uninterested, as he carefully and thoughtfully moved the soft pile of earth, covering the impractical shoes last. 

Linking up with Ivy at Uncharted for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "step."

Wordless Wednesday 7.29.15

Friday, July 24, 2015

Thankful For Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer

When did summers go from being lazy and carefree to being insanely busy? It's been good kinds of busy, but a whirlwind, nonetheless, yet leaves room for many thankfuls. Here they are:

1. My daughter had team volleyball camp at Missouri State this week. It's really a gargantuan volleyball tournament, with teams from public and private schools all over the state (states, actually, since Arkansas was represented as well). They didn't always win, but they played hard and grew as a team.

Okay, the only picture I took all week of volleyball and it's
(a) blurry; (b) has Coach Travis's shoulder in it and (c) although
she was standing when I started to snap the picture, by the time
the picture took, she had sprawled on the floor to get a pass.
She missed....

Varsity girls are silly girls.

2. I stayed at the lake house while Emma was at volleyball camp. It was only a half hour away and I could run up there and watch a few games every day.

3. I stayed at the lake house ALONE. ALL BY MYSELF. No one else there to ask me about food or tell me they're bored or fight over the tv or come in and change the channel when I'm watching something and no one drank out of my glass except for ME.

4. I stayed at the lake house all by myself and only got a little bit scared one time.

5. Thankful for my Shark Navigator. I love that vacuum cleaner! 

6. There were some mystery stains on the carpet in the hallway at the lake house, and I got them out with only vinegar and baking soda. Pinterest win!

7. My kitties missed me while I was gone! Best part was when Fletcher wanted to sit in my lap, which was already occupied by Ruby. She grabbed his feet and tried to bite them, but he ignored her for the first time in EVER and sat anyway. ON HER HEAD. It was pretty funny, as she was rendered immobile for a minute before she got over the shock of having a 15 pound cat sitting on her head and got up.

A very determined Fletcher sitting on Ruby's head.

Close up of Ruby with Fletcher's ass planted on her head.

8. I GOT A MICROWAVE THIS WEEK! My microwave (the installed, over the range kind, not a counter top style) died towards the end of April, and I know this is a First World problem, and I know my mom and others before her heated up leftovers without one, but I NEVER HAVE BEFORE, and it's realllly harrrrrd! My mother in law finally felt sorry for me and bought me a new one.

9. The last one was worth two: one for the microwave, one for the mother in law.

10. Going back to the lake house this weekend and spend a lot of time at White Water, a pretty nice water park there. Fridays and Saturdays, they are open until 10 p.m., so we head over there around 5 or 6 and spend several hours cooling off without worrying about sunburns and excessive heat.

I'm going to spend the weekend soaking up summer and pretending it doesn't feel like a blast furnace outside. (Bonus thankful: my hair is easy to fix this time of year, as there's no fighting the curls with a straightening iron when it's this hot and humid outside.) Join our link up. Not a blogger? Click on any of the links below and read thankfuls from a variety of bloggers in a variety of styles.

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Trunk, Version 2: A Six Sentence Story

"Don't be late to pick me up," he teased, since the first time he came to visit she was, indeed, late to pick him up at the airport, and she assured him she would be waiting at the gate as he walked off the plane.

He was flying in on the red eye, and the plan was that after she picked him up, they would make the nine hour drive to their hometowns to meet each other's parents; in preparation for this, she took her little two-door car for an oil change, then, because it was unseasonably warm, she decided to get the car washed as well.

Overnight, however, the spring-like weather was replaced with arctic cold, and when she went out to the car at daybreak to head to the airport, she found that water from the car wash had seeped around the gaskets in the doors and they were all frozen shut. 

She cried first, because the minutes were ticking away and she was most definitely going to be late to pick him up at the airport, and then she had a brainstorm and tried the trunk, which opened with a slight crackle of ice breaking. The trunk was tiny and she was tall, but she crawled in on her hands and knees, turned over onto her back, and wiggled like a cockroach into the trunk, pressing the lever that lowered the back of the back seat flat, rolled into the car, crawled between the bucket seats and gear shift and into the driver's seat, where she started the car and took off for the airport.

In spite of her being late once again, pulling up at baggage claim to find him standing patiently, his luggage at his feet, shaking his head and smiling as she walked towards him, tears flowing, babbling about frozen doors and trunks, he knew that this blubbering mess was HIS mess, and he needed to spend the rest of his life with her.

Linking up with Ivy at Uncharted for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "trunk."

Trunk, Version 1: A Six Sentence Story

It was part of his job to keep the fleet clean, washing the outside and vacuuming the inside of each vehicle before every funeral, so after washing the outside of the hearse, he opened the back door, climbed in on his hands and knees, and was picking up some dead leaves from a previous casket spray when the heavy door fell shut. 

There is no handle on the inside of the door in the cargo area of a hearse, as the usual occupants are in no condition to need one, and he was in a panic, as he was not only alone in the basement, he was also the only one in the entire funeral home; it was after normal business hours, and he was responsible for answering the phone if a death call came in.

Beads of sweat began popping out on his forehead, and he wondered how in the HELL he was going to get himself out of this predicament when he saw that the sliding window separating the front seat from the cargo area was slightly ajar. He worked the window open as far as it would go.

He was not a small man, but he was a desperate man. He worked and maneuvered and squeezed until he was finally delivered into the front seat of the hearse, dripping with sweat and panting, but free.

Linking up with Ivy at Uncharted for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "trunk."

Monday, July 20, 2015

Golf Stinks And So Do Buffalo

My husband works as a fundraiser, and when he has a special event, he recruits as volunteers the three of us who live under his roof (he bribes us with promises of food, usually, and we fall for it every time).

This past weekend, he was in charge of a benefit golf tournament. We were conned into helping him not only with the promise of food, but with the promise that we'd get to drive golf carts around the course.

Sucker born every minute, right?

Here's what I've come away with from our two blistering hot days on the golf course:

I hate golf, but I love golf carts.

The tournament was held at a very upscale golf course. Part of the course was landscaped with creeks and waterfalls, all of which you would swear occurred naturally and all of which were man-made. The other part of the course was made to look like prairie, complete with buffalo, which is oddly interesting, since the course was built on high ground in the Ozark Mountains and nowhere near where buffalo once roamed on open prairie.



Real turkey.

The buffalo are segregated from the golfers. Pretty sure from two days of observing them that this is not for the buffalo's protection. The fencing around their share of the course was made from timbers, close to 6 feet tall and double thickness, and included an electric fence strung up adjacent to the wooden fence. You might look at that and think "suspenders AND a belt," but five minutes of buffalo watching will tell you that may not be enough fencing.

In the morning, some guy drives out to the top of a ridge in a Gator and puts feed in several troughs located there. As soon as the buffalo see that truck, they come a-running. 

There is a frightening similarity to a running buffalo and a running 25+ pound cat.

Buffalo are basically assholes. When they are eating at the trough, they push each other around and chase each other away, including pushing the babies away from the trough. When they aren't eating and biting each other, they are plotting how to start a stampede and kill all the humans (except maybe sparing the guy in the Gator).

You know how baby animals are always so cute? Not true with buffalo.

Not even so ugly it's cute. Just ugly.

They grunt like pigs, although any other comparison of a buffalo to a pig would be insulting to the pig.

Okay, one more comparison to a pig: buffalo smell much, much worse than pigs. My nose has now had experience with both

In spite of their bulk, they have rather dainty ankles and feet.

I found myself fascinated by them nonetheless, and made it my project to get one to come to the fence so I could feed him a pie.

These are surprisingly delicious.

Unlike a Dillon, buffalo cannot be bribed with pie.

The face of someone who spent two days
trying to get a buffalo to come get a pie.

The temperature was already 90 degrees as the golfers were arriving. When one of the golfers opined that he might melt out there, I told him the grounds keepers scoop up any golfer who collapses on the course and feed them to the buffalo. He thought that was so funny that he stole my line and used it on his golf partner without giving me any credit.  

The current trend in golfing is for men to dress like Easter eggs.

Golfers would much rather see the cheer cart with the beer on it than the golf cart with water and Gatorade, even if you also have pie.

These bottles on the side of a golf cart are not urinals.

Guys, don't pee in these. They're for
pouring sand into divots.

My kids drive golf carts like they're on a NASCAR track.

Emma driving another volunteer around.

No, I do NOT want to see how you can drive the
entire course only using the brake twice.

There is a thing called "skins" when playing golf, and it has nothing to do with playing without your shirt. Won't make THAT mistake again.

There was a report of a 6 foot blacksnake on the rocks around a tunnel under the road, but thank you, baby Jesus, we didn't see it.

The tunnel plus a considerable portion of the inside
of the golf cart. Trying to get a picture before
Mario Andretti roared on through it.

The weekend confirmed that I am not outdoorsy. Anyone surprised?

Friday, July 17, 2015

Ten Sizzling Hot Things Of Thankful

Hot. Hot hot hot hot hot.

That's my introduction. It is. I am, and I'm trying to remind myself how much I HAAAATE being cold in the winter, but it's not helping all that much. Still gotta be thankful, so here goes:

1. My daughter and I stayed at the lake house for an extra day after my husband and the College Boy headed back home last weekend. Shortly after they got home, I got a text from my son that he was sorry to inform me that there were ants in the kitchen sink and on the counter. Thanks to the A to Z Challenge this past April, I knew how to handle this! I told him to put peppermint essential oil on a cotton ball, smash the hell out of all the ants he could with it, then wipe down the places where he found them with the cotton ball. Which he did. And which (insert drumroll) HAS ERADICATED THE ANTS (knock wood, even though I'm not superstitious, but hey, just in case). 

2. That was two thankfuls in one: thankful the Challenge led me to this all natural cure and thankful that it actually worked once again.

3. Emma and I went to the movie theater Sunday evening and saw "Inside Out," which was sweet and sometimes sad and often funny. We haven't seen a movie together in quite awhile, and it was a good choice for a mother/daughter date night. 

4. "Inside Out" opens with a short called "Lava." I would buy a ticket to see "Inside Out" again just to sit and watch this little gem. It isn't available online yet, and believe me when I say I exhausted all avenues before I made that declaration, but the moment it is, WATCH IT, if you haven't already. You will get an attack of the feels like no other. And the song sticks in your head, but unlike most songs that get stuck in your head, you're actually okay with that.

5. So Emma and I are sitting in the theater, watching "Lava," laughing and crying at the same time, but mostly crying, because it's that good, when this man, sitting with his little family at the end of our row, accidentally dumped his entire bucket of popcorn on the floor. Stunned, he looked at it and just said, "Ohhh." It was just what we needed, and our tears turned into snickers and snorts of laughter. 

6. The water stopped rising at my parents' lake house. The big lake above the dam has held steady at 3-1/2 feet below the top of the flood gates, and the water that the dam has released into the lake below the dam, which flows in front of my parents' house, has not caused that lake to rise. If we continue with the insanely hot, dry (as in no rain, not no humidity) weather we've had THIS week, then all should remain good.

7. Last week, I reported that the dock next door to my parents' took off when the creek flooded and headed downstream. This is the second time that dock has made a getaway, having done so in 2008, stopping about 6 inches from my parents' dock, which had taken off and headed INTO the creek with the help of a rather violent eddy. This afternoon (and yes, we're at the lake house again this weekend; I SWEAR we haven't moved in, although my parents are beginning to wonder), my dad hollered to come look at the lake, and there was that damn dock, looking like it had been beaten up but good, being towed by a little barge back to its home. The prodigal dock is temporarily tethered to some trees, having traveled about half a mile downstream before stopping, obviously violently. I'm not really sure why this is on my thankful list, because it isn't my dock, but it made my day to see it reluctantly dragged home again, obviously against its will.

Battered but not beaten.

This remind anyone else of the movie "Popeye"
with Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall?

I don't anthropomorphise much, do I?

8. This weekend, my husband is in charge of a benefit golf tournament, and the kids and I are volunteering. There is really not much to be thankful for on this one, because it's been unbearably hot, I'm sunburned in spite of using sunscreen, and I hate golf in general, but I do believe I have enough material for a post about it, so I'm thankful for that.

9. I am especially thankful for Ivy's Six Sentence Stories link up. I joined this hop a few weeks ago, and I'm enjoying it more than I ever could have imagined. Thank you, Ivy! 

10. We didn't bring the cats with us to the lake this weekend. The cats are, collectively, in the dog house, so to speak, as not long after Emma and I got home with them on Monday, I took dirty clothes to the basement and found a little puddle of kitty pee on the floor by the dryer. Whichever one did it didn't sign their work, so I don't know who the guilty party was; I only know it was done out of spite for the two hour drive home, so all three cats got punished (or won, whatever the case may be) and didn't come with us this weekend. Having no cats in the car allowed Emma and me to stop and buy some things she needed (volleyball knee pads) and wanted (Nike dri-fit shorts). I miss having the kitties here with me, especially Ruby, of course, but I know they will be especially happy to see me when I get home.

She sleeps, I write.

How was your week? Hot enough fer ya? Link up your thankfuls with us!

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Letter: A Six Sentence Story

The waiting had seemed interminable, day after day, the young man's hopes rising and falling with the steps of the postman. Spring had turned into summer, and the summer days melted into fall, and still there was no letter.

On the first crisp day of October, as Mr. Sullivan raked the fiery maple leaves from his yard into long rows along the gutter, and Mrs. Jackson leaned over the porch rail and shook the dust from a throw rug, the postman made his way down the street, slowing as he reached the yellow house with the picket fence, its gate ajar, as though it were waiting for just this moment.

As the postman turned into the gate and made his way down the sidewalk, the front door swung open, and the young man cautiously emerged, stepping onto his porch as the postman extended a letter towards him.

The exchange wasn't lost on Mr. Sullivan or Mrs. Jackson, and after a quick glance at each other, they made their way towards the yellow house, but as the young man opened the envelope, they stopped, Mrs. Jackson's hand reaching out to touch Mr. Sullivan lightly on his arm, neither hardly daring to breathe.

The young man slipped a letter out of the envelope, his eyes sweeping swiftly across the words, his face expressionless, and with a glance at his neighbors and the postman as they stood watching, frozen in place, he silently returned to the house and softly closed the door.

Linking up with Ivy at Uncharted for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "letter."

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Rains Came Down And The Floods Came Up

And the rains came down and the floods came up....

Anyone remember that song from Sunday School?

We have had rain nearly every day for the past couple of weeks. Lots and lots of rain. All that rain has to go somewhere, and one of those somewheres is the lake on which my parents' home sits.

College Boy and I took a flying trip there on Tuesday afternoon with over 300 pounds of sandbags in the back of the van. The creek next to my parents' house, which flows into the lake in FRONT of their house, was rolling. The lake was high and the water chocolaty brown. This lake, Taneycomo, was formed when Powersite Dam was built on the White River in 1913. In 1958, Table Rock Dam was built upstream, which created (very large) Table Rock Lake, and which changed Taneycomo from a warm-water lake to a cold-water lake, filling it with water from the depths of Table Rock (200 feet deep at the dam) through electricity-generating turbines. Taneycomo looks more like a wide, serene river than a lake, especially when it's flooded and the water, no longer serene, is flowing from a combination of water coming from Table Rock, the area creeks that empty into it, and the water going over Powersite Dam at the other end. 

College Boy and I arrived here shortly after the dock from the house next door, on the creek, was pulled away from the shore and took off into the channel of the lake and headed off on an adventure of its own. (This dock tried to make a get away seven years ago, but it stopped at the mouth of the creek, six inches from crashing into my parents' dock, which tried to go on its OWN adventure by heading INTO the creek, pushed by a violent eddy caused by flood waters coming OUT of the creek.) 

The creek crested shortly after we got there, and by morning, the lake was down about a foot. We (meaning the College Boy) sandbagged the back door and went on home.

Then it rained some more. Lots more. And THAT water is mostly running into Table Rock Lake, which is rising rather rapidly. After some pretty devastating flooding in 2011, the Corps of Engineers has been more proactive, and they have not been dumping water into Taneycomo from Table Rock. Yet. As of this moment, Table Rock has about four more feet it can rise before it flows over the flood gates. Fingers remain crossed that when this happens (odds are that it will), the water is able to flow right on down the lake and make its way to the Gulf of Mexico without stopping to come into my parents' house.

Is that ten thankfuls? Or is it only half of one, since we're still waiting to see if we have dodged the flooding or not?

Here are some pictures from my week to make up for my lack of real thankfuls:

Sunday evening sunset, as rain clouds build 
in the west.

Same evening, looking southwest. The
broken trees are from the tornado.

Volleyball tournament. School ball.

The fog is masking the brown of the flood waters.

In 2011, the water rose to just this side
of the bird bath.

Muck that washed out of the creek and
into the empty boat slip. 

College Boy using a 10 foot pole
to knock the muck out of the boat slip.

He couldn't resist getting involved in
muck removal.

There should be rocks and stuff along
the shore line.

The neighbor's dock used to be at the foot
of these stairs. Hmmm.

Top: lake as usual. Bottom: lake with
too much yucky water.

Top: the point across the creek where people
often sit on the rocks and fish. As you can
see, no rocks. All under water.
Bottom: The next morning, after the rain water
quit flowing out of the creek and the lake
level went down a foot.

While we're here, waiting to see if the sandbags were overkill or a necessity, you write your thankfuls and link them up, below.

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