Sunday, June 27, 2010

Near to Nothing

My husband is building some kind of large boat in our backyard that has a striking resemblance to Noah's Ark.   At one point in time, it was someone's party barge, but now it has been disassembled, lengthened and a large steel frame has been built on top.   This maiden ship already has a name on her side, "Near to Nothing."  Oddly appropriate, I must say.  I know there is some mathematical formula for buoyancy and I'm not sure that the weight of the steel won't top this thing over and send us all straight into the lake.  It is one thing to have a hobby and work on a project.  It is another to be in the backyard with steel frames, pontoons, a welding torch and pairs of animals watching on in great interest... or possibly fear.  I'm unclear of exactly what the look is that the animals have, but I realize I have a similar expression on my face as I stare at this floating box.  I believe it's the look of uncertainty.  I had the same look when he arrived home with a horse for our daughter.  Note, we have no pasture - just a large backyard.  Something deep inside me said "This is never going to work." I donned that look once again when he tried to teach an injured red-tail hawk how to fly.   After weeks of nursing this bird back to health, he tossed the bird into the air in hopes that it would spread its mighty wings and take flight.  It did a kind of spiraling helicopter plunge straight to the ground.   Deciding that height was the missing factor from this equation for success, he and the bird took to a branch in a tall tree in our front yard.  The animals and I watched on with great interest wondering which one would spring forth from the limb.   After a very long wait, the bird was tossed into the air, flapped its wings and made another spirally descent to the ground.  This went on for weeks until one day, as my husband sat on the limb for the last time, he tossed the bird into the air and, like magic, it took flight.  Our looks of uncertainty changed to expressions of amazement.  To this day, a large winged bird flies low by the house in the afternoons.  We believe it to be our feathered friend swooping by to say thank you.   I'm not sure, but if it is an ark that we are building, I'm certain there will be a place for the hawk, the horse, and the many other critters that have found safe haven at our home over the years.   I have learned to embrace my husband's projects even when they defy the odds.   I may look on with uncertainty, but I never doubt that he will be successful in the end.  If ever one needed to be rescued from a flood, a broken wing, or from someone else's reigns, it is this man that they would turn to.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Luck of the One Legged Cricket

This morning’s activities included hunting for a one legged cricket that has moved in under my couch.  I understand it is supposed to be good luck to find a cricket in your home.  I’m not sure if that is a real belief or one I made up for my kids.  I’m bad about making up traditions and beliefs that will ensure my kid’s happiness and probably land them in therapy one day.  (unless they  have a one legged cricket in their house)  My kids also believe it is good luck to be the one to get the last red Popsicle or wake up and all the numbers on the clock are the same.  At 11:11, your greatest wish can come true.  As I type this, I realize the damage I may be causing my children.    Can you imagine the luck if you woke up with red stained lips, glanced over at the clock and found a one legged cricket sitting on top of it at 11:11 p.m.?    I don’t know that we could stand so much good luck!  But... back to the cricket hunt….  When the last nerve in my brain had endured eight hours of the cricket’s singing, it was time to find this critter.  We saw him jump by on his one powerful leg and take cover under the couch.  The goal was not to kill him, but to scoop him up and place him outside in a bush where he could sing all day.  The next scene was highly entertaining to anyone not directly involved in the hunt.  I’m on hands and knees chasing this thing around the floor.  My kids are armed with fly swatters and baseball bats, like we are taking on a tiger.  My daughter is screaming, “Don’t kill it Mom” as she swings the bat precariously close to my head.   I snatch the bat out of her hands about the same time the cricket jumps in my blouse.  (How can he do that with one leg!) The rest is a blur…. Flying swatters, girly screams, me doing some ancient ceremonial cricket dance to remove him from my blouse and the sudden disappearance of both the critter and the luck that came with him.  I’m certain he is probably somewhere in my pocket or waistband sitting quietly as post traumatic stress disorder sets in.  He’ll show up again – probably as I’m standing in front of a group of co-workers later this morning – jumping from my blouse right into my boss’s coffee.  Then again, he may be hiding quietly waiting to terrorize us again tonight as we try to sleep.  This carrier of luck has been singing his high pitched cricket songs in the middle of the night keeping us all awake for weeks.    Of course, I can’t place all the blame on the one legged cricket.  It’s a wonder we get any sleep from all the voices in my house at night.  (note – I did not say the voices in my head)  My daughter has a pink furry Barbie phone that rings randomly.  It is not uncommon at two in the morning to hear the phone ring and hear Barbie’s voice echoing down the hall asking if we want to have a party.    And… Mr. Potato Head is buried somewhere in the playroom with battery acid, I’m certain, oozing into his head.   He will randomly cry out “Pick a hat…Pick a… hattttt…...”    The most grounded people and toys can go mad living here.  (But what fun we have!)  Saturday night we had tornadoes in the area and while the weather alert radio was telling us to take cover immediately, we were in our beds under the wrong assumption that the toys were talking again.   Thank God for the luck of that one legged cricket or we might have been blown away! 

Early Retirement and the Great Resignation

        At the age of 57, I stared at my 35 year career, whispered a polite thank you to the heavens and hit the send button on my retiremen...