A Bird in the Hand

Recently we traveled from Florida to the outskirts of San Antonio for a long overdue visit with my dad and step-mom.  One of the perks of visiting the grandparents, are the grandbirds.  My children adore them.  In a bid to ease their empty nest, over the years my dad and step-mom have taken on the care of various types of small birds.  They are extremely tame since they have been hand fed since bursting out of their respective eggs.

You might say that they rule the roost, as it were.  They sit at the dinner table, and eat ice cream from spoons.  Which can give them the scoots.  And they are not house broken.  Nay.  This is why I always pack a canister of clorox wipes and make liberal use of them prior to setting the table for dinner.

Cooking duties happily fall squarely on my shoulders whenever I visit, and I know that a home cooked meal is appreciated by my dad and step-mom, who are both not in great health.  A horrible by-product of getting older is that your parents get even older.  These thoughts make me wish I lived closer so that I could help them more.

Right after we arrived, my first job was to peruse the pantry, refrigerator, and outside freezer to determine what I had on hand for dining options.  My dad and step-mom are of the generation that pretty much saves every scrap of food.  Poking around in their stuffed-to-the-gills freezer is often a flash back in time.  Although nothing is dated (except for an occasional expired expiration date), there is packaging that I’m quite certain belongs to companies long since dissolved.

But because I have a deep and abiding passion for food, this process is like a trip to Disney World for me.

I began poking around in the top section of the freezer moving aside the frost bitten corndogs.  There, perched atop the ice cream bars was a nondescript brown paper bag.  I peered inside and saw something wrapped in a paper towel.  I felt of it, but decided there was not enough to it to be deemed a protein source (or even a good snacking opportunity), so I crammed it back into the small open space at the top of the freezer shelf.

Just then I hear my father’s voice waft out into the garage, “DON’T BOTHER THE BROWN PAPER BAG!” 

“Why?” 

“There’s a dead bird in there.”  

I recoiled from the freezer.

“THERE’S A DEAD BIRD IN THE FREEZER?” 

“WHY IS THERE A DEAD BIRD IN THE FREEZER?” 

My dad, who has never been ruffled by my hysteria calmly replied, “We can’t decide whether to have it stuffed or cremated.”

“CREMATED?  WHERE? LIKE IN THE FIRE PLACE?”  He chuckled (like I was the crazy one) and moved on.

Okay. So there was a dead bird interred in the garage freezer.  Atop the Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches.  Allrightythen.

Bird_story1

I decided to plan my menu from fresh ingredients procured from the local grocery store, so I headed over to my dad’s desk for a pad of paper and pen.  I looked up to see my dad’s favorite bird, Jeffy, perched on a branch staring down at me.  Not blinking.  Ever.

Wait.  “Dad?  ISN’T JEFFY DEAD?”

“Yes, remember?  We had him stuffed.”

As opposed to flash frozen.

I forgot.  Jeffy met with an untimely death when he miscalculated the distance from the wall to the door a couple of years ago.  And so he now sits, watching over all who enter the room.

Bird_story2

Not at all creepy.

If you’ve ever wondered why I may be a candidate for psychological study, wonder no more.  This is just a small glimpse into my upbringing.

And why I cannot ever watch Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds without running for cover screaming MY EYES, MY EYES.

DeeDeeSig

Blood & Guts

I’m almost afraid to jinx it, but I’m proud to say that I’ve nearly gotten Emme successfully through her first year of high school.  With little to no trauma.  At least on my part.

I was able to outsource Science to our beloved weekly Co-op.  I don’t do Junior or Senior High Science.   Or really even elementary Science.

I am seriously blessed as a homeschool mom to be part of a Co-op that meets once weekly.  My girls have been able to take those classes that I’ve felt I’m inadequate to teach well (Science, Literature, Foreign Language, Art, and History).  (For the record, I did teach them all to read, so KUDOS TO ME. )  The tutors are outstanding and this group meets all of our academic, social, and dissecting needs.

Emme has been taking Apologia Biology from a very gifted and wonderful tutor.  She has a heart for  teaching and for her students.  And speaking of heart, her classes are well known for the dissection component of Science labs.  I really have no idea where she gets this stuff, but she comes in weekly with coolers loaded with all manner of fun dissecting options.

I only know that I’m going to do my best to remain on her good side.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of carting some of Emme’s teenaged girlfriends home from Co-op.  I’m often privy to some lively conversations.  This day did not disappoint.  It seems that the Anatomy class had been dissecting pig’s hearts (plural) in the church kitchen.  I will attest to this as I accidentally wandered through the kitchen earlier in the day and witnessed the aftermath of the gruesome crime scene.  The stainless steel kitchen island was still covered in blood.  I made a hasty retreat, and hoped that the pastor wasn’t in the mood to come in to make a sandwich.

Emme and her girlfriends had to enter the kitchen area to wash off their paint brushes after their art class.  “I looked down and there was a bucket of BLOOD on the floor,” I overheard between squeals as they relived their afternoon discovery.  I should note that all gag reflexes were fully operational.

If only their discussions of BOYS were littered with the same disdain.

And then it happened.  Emme’s Biology tutor announced an upcoming frog dissection.  The dissections had at this point been relocated to the great outdoors.  I happened to be loitering on campus and was able to stroll by every so often.  Emme was as green as her frog.  Kind of a putty green.

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That’s my daughter in the red bandana.  Please take note of her expression as her tutor describes the frog’s entrails.  The photograph is slightly blurred because the photographer may or may not have been stifling a giggle.

It’s those little parenting moments that make it all worth while.

I’m considering putting her into Anatomy class next year.  I’m really hoping that her tutor can produce a cadaver.  Just the thought of that will be enough to get me through the entire homeschooling year.

DeeDeeSig

April 7, 2015

Bride of Chucky

I stumbled out of my room this morning to find Emme (age 15) asleep on the couch in the Family Room.  My coffee making escapades caused her to stir.  I assumed she wasn’t feeling well, as this was Monday, which means ANOTHER HOMESCHOOL WEEK HAS BEGUN, and she is a well known hypochondriac when it comes to school work.  Alas, no, she reported that a bad dream had caused her to move out of her cozy warm bed to relocate to the ice cold leather sofa.

As the day wore on, I discovered that the cause of her bad dreams was her sister’s American Girl (knock-offs) dolls which still sit perched high atop the armoire in their room.  It seems that a certain blonde doll attacked an unsuspecting Emme in her dreams.  It was one of those dreams where the villain in question is walking all zombie-like, and you are running at break-neck speed and yet you can’t get away…

After a particularly trying day of homeschooling (as most Mondays are), it was at long last time for lights out.  I had to coax Emme off the comforts of the couch with assurances that a good nights sleep in her own comfy bed was what she needed.

This is what greeted her when she crawled into bed.

Bride_Chucky

I know.  It’s probably wrong.  But parenting paybacks are best served tepid.  With a side of paranoia.

DeeDeeSig

January 26, 2015

Beached

I should be embarrassed to admit it, but we’re enjoying higher than normal temperatures here in sunny Florida, on this the last week of the year.  I prefer cooler temperatures, as the comfort of my stretchypants and oversized sweatshirts hide a multitude of holiday sins.  But since we had friends visiting from up north, we really had no choice but to head to the beach.

My beach attire consists of a black rash guard, men’s board shorts, and oversized sunglasses, to help me remain incognito.  I may or may not have threatened my girlfriends to make certain they cropped me out of any group shots today.

I only wish there had been photographic evidence of the following scenario.

At some point I was seated comfortably in my beach/camping chair chatting with friends.  Suddenly I notice beach goers (including adults from our group) begin to rush towards a very deathly-still body lying prone at the water’s edge.

I stood up.  IT’S OKAY.  HE’S NOT DEAD.  HE DOES THIS ALL THE TIME.

The unmoving figure must have noticed that the sun was suddenly blocked by ALL THE CONCERNED CITIZENS.  He opened his eyes and looked up.  He offered an explanation of sorts, “I wanted the Seagulls to think I was a washed up fish!”

This is how he likes to observe nature up close and personal.

And age me far beyond my middle-aged years.

If you’ll recall, on a prior camping trip he was discovered lying in the road.  When asked what in the world he was doing playing dead in the middle of the roadway, he explained that he wanted to see if the circling Vultures would be fooled so he could see what they look like at close range.

Boys are different.

I have no doubt that Jensen will enter into the field of Zoology in some capacity in his adulthood.  It’s just too bad that the Discovery Channel has already filmed an episode of a man in a “snake proof” suit being swallowed alive by an Anaconda.  We will be banning the Discovery Channel for a while now, as we don’t need to give the boy any ideas.

DeeDeeSig

December 30, 2014

Life is a Beach

Over our Christmas break, we went to Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park.  Really.  Someone ought to tell Fiddledaddy to lighten up and have more fun…

DeeDeeSig

December 26, 2014

What’s wrong with this picture?

Village_carnage

Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the village
The creatures were stirring
and beginning their pillage…

With this heartwarming image seared into your retinas, I’d like to wish you and yours:

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

God bless you, my friends!

DeeDeeSig

December 24, 2014

Sleepy Hollow alert

Fiddledaddy has been a busy little bee this Fall, in his attempt to hunt and gather food for our little family.  He appeared in a couple of television shows, Sleepy Hollow and Resurrection.  Both of which scare the pee-pee out of me, but I’ve become addicted to them while doing research (use of air quotes) for Fiddledaddy’s upcoming episodes.

Which were fantastic.  By the way.  Only I forgot to toot a horn announcing them in advance.  I would make a horrible publicist.

Alas I just discovered that his Sleepy Hollow episode will air tonight (Monday).  So toot-toot.  He plays the dad of a missing little girl.  Can’t tell you what happens.

Tom-Hillmann-SleepyHollow-122214

(Is it wrong that I watch Sleepy Hollow through my fingers while curled up in a tight ball on the couch?)

DeeDeeSig

December 22, 2014

The day my son broke Wal-Mart

Walmart

I have a Sunday morning ritual that serves me well.  I drop my two teenaged daughters off at church early on Sunday morning so they can attend their own Youth service and be present for their respective volunteer duties.  Then I head to Wal-Mart to hunt and gather the weeks groceries.  (And before you begin, after the shopping trip, I dash home, drop the groceries, grab Fiddledaddy and son, and head back to church in time for the 2nd service.)

This has several benefits.  A) Most importantly, I employ the “divide and conquer” mode of warding off the inevitable stress of Sunday morning getting-ready-for-church drama.  The two teenagers get their drama out of the way by SEVEN PLUS CHANGE A.M.  Then we are generally gone before Fiddledaddy and Junior even stir.  B)  AWESOME PARKING SPACES can be found early at Wal-Mart and NO CROWDS, and C) having the teenagers serving as volunteers alleviates most of the guilt I might feel since I no longer serve in the children’s ministry.

(And for the record, I now serve on the Design Committee.  Which is why words have been scarce in this neck of the woods over the last few weeks.  What with Christmas sets and decorations to be made for the church.  And further for the record, I don’t so much design, as execute, what the Design Committee envisions.  So in essence, I’m on the Execution Team at church.  I like this term far better.)

(I will expound on our latest project later in the week.  When I’m quite certain that what I actually executed, you know, actually works. But it involved painting and power tools.  Two of my favorite things.)

Anyhoo.  On this particular Sunday morning, I needed to take young Jensen with me to Wal-Mart.  I avoid this scenario whenever possible because, well, if you’ve been here for any length of time, you know that if some disaster occurs at a public outing, Jensen is usually present.

Besides, I do love grocery shopping alone.  Just me, my coupons, my color-coordinated shopping list (arranged by aisle), and my neurosis.  Do not judge me.

Jensen is a rather high-maintenance, high octane, high energy sort of boy.  Wal-Mart provides SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES for inappropriate.  And he’s fast now.  Really fast.

We made it through this particular shopping experience without too much peril.  He was perturbed that I wouldn’t allow him to purchase a vat of fine point markers, and in giving me a hard time, I may or may not have grounded him until Jesus returns.  But, we were about to make our exit unscathed.

The cart was loaded to the gills, and after I checked out, I asked him to commandeer the cart while I fished my keys out from the black hole also known as my purse.  He took off like a race horse out of the gate.  With the fully loaded cart before him.  I yelled (yes, I yelled in Wal-Mart) at him to stop running, as I envisioned an elderly patron rounding the corner just as he were to crash into him/her.  He stopped at the corner, turned to look at me as I hurried my pace to take over the driving duties.  Then he hunkered down, turned the corner, and made a mad dash toward the exit.

This is when everything seemed to move in slow motion.  He was aimed at the closed automatic exit doors.  Doors that I know from experience do not spring open in the heat of the moment.  I yelled (again), and to his credit, he did try to stop.  And he failed.  He crashed right into the sliding automatic doors, still in the closed position, knocking them completely off the track.  For just a moment, I was glad that I did not have wine in the cart.

A rather horrified 9 year old looked back at his ashen mother.  A mother, who did consider for a moment, exiting through the fully intact entrance doors and pretending not to know the child who just broke Wal-Mart.

He apologized a good million times, and I made him march himself back into Wal-Mart to tell an employee what had just transpired.  She smiled, like it happened all the time.  I was rather hoping for security to be dispatched.  The security that carries an actual GUN.  But I don’t think we have anything like that at our Wal-Mart.  Pity.

On the bright side, I think we’ve come a long way since Wal-Mart trips of old.  At least this time I didn’t make the news…

DeeDeeSig

December 1, 2014