Thursday, August 22, 2013

Don't Be Wasteful....

I told you yesterday of Bullet's aversion to the air we'll talk about his aversion to throwing things away. Anything. Everything. And by anything and everything.....I mean all of it.

Most of his issues come with food items, but he's also got weird little tendencies with other things too. For example, the newspapers. He doesn't save them for anything. They hold no significant value to him. He just doesn't throw them away.  But if I throw them away for him, he's okay with it. Wait....maybe he isn't a hoarder....just wants me to do his dirty work? Just kidding!

He also saves prescription papers. You know, the pieces of paper that are stapled to your prescription bag. Yeah, he pulls those off and saves them all in a pile in the kitchen. I'll go in there and before I know it he has 37 prescription papers piled up behind the rolling pin. And, I mean, why??? What in the world would he want those for?

With most material items we don't have an issue when I try to throw them away, but where we do quarrel is with food. He wants to save it forever, until it's eaten. And me....not so much.

Bob Ford grew up in a different era. He grew up through the depression and I suppose then you didn't throw things away. You couldn't afford to or you would literally be hungry. People didn't have the luxury of just going to buy new all the time. I reckon that's probably why he's so weird about conserving energy and all that too. But I'm here to tell ya, Bullet doesn't need to conserve near as much as he does.

When I first moved in with him back in November, I spent the first couple of months I was there trying to organize my stuff while also trying to give each room a good deep clean. I started with the kitchen. Grandpa has never been one for housekeeping, my grandma did all of that. So in the two years since she's been gone, it had obviously gotten a little out of control. Plus, in the several years before she died, her health wasn't good enough for her to keep all of that in order. She was diligent and meticulous about her home, especially her kitchen.  Things were always in their place and neatly organized. But, with her failing health, some of those things fell by the wayside. When help came in to assist in taking care of her, those things weren't a priority either. She was their main focus and if they had time they kept all of the obvious things clean, but cleaning out the pantry or the cabinets wasn't really on their to do list.

So, in those first couple of months I tried to clean out all of things that had been forgotten about in the last 10 years. The pantry was my first stop. I know my Grandpa pretty well and I knew this was not going to be an easy endeavor. When I was in high school, I used to clean their house for them once a week. My grandma was always good about leaving me a list and getting the things I needed. Grandpa however just wanted to know why I was using so many paper towels. To this day, I still hear him complain about the paper towels about once a month. It doesn't matter who is cleaning the house at the time, he just can not wrap his mind around how us women can use so many dang paper towels.  Maybe this is why he has bought us enough to own stock in them? Seriously, if you ever run out of paper towels, come to our house. He buys them in bulk. Because when the apocalypse know the things you are going to need most are paper towels, toilet paper, peanut butter, syrup, chocolate bar, and apple cider. Because....why wouldn't those be what he stocks up on?

The pantry took me two days to clean out. It would have only taken one, but I got everything cleaned out the first night, and promptly found it back in the pantry the second night. I hadn't been smart enough on round one to take the trash out before he realized what I'd done. He dug every single thing out of the trash can that I had thrown away and put it back in the pantry. Keep in mind, they were all canned or jarred items, but still, my disgust level was over the edge.

On night two, I'd learned my lesson. I waited patiently for him to go to bed and then I started my covert mission. And let me tell you, it was a mission. Bullet runs the philosophy that if it comes in a can, it never expires. word. I found jello from the early 2000s, honey from the 90s and even a can of evaporated milk from the late 80s. Shut. the. front. door. Let me just point out, I was born in '89.  That can of evaporated milk had made it through my entire lifetime without hitting a dumpster!

I went through all of the pantry....again....and ended up with 6....six....SIX....large black trash bags full of junk. That included the cleaned out fridge too, but none the less.....holy crow. Here's where my mission really gets going. By this point, it was about 2 am.  I knew I couldn't leave the trash again....he'd go through every dang bag and have it back in the cupboard before I was even out of bed the next day. the middle of November, I put on his coat and my snow boots, and went and got his truck. You all are dead wrong if you think I was putting evaporated milk from '89 on the carpet of my back hatch!

I tried to load everything as quietly as I could. But, as is pretty typical of me, I sound like a heard of cattle regardless of what I'm doing. Quiet has never been one of my strong points. So, at one point I conveniently didn't get one of the bags all the way onto the tail gate and it fell off on the road. Luckily, it was the bag full of glass jars. Idiot. I saw his bedroom light go on. In the middle of that, I wasn't paying attention and was fairly confident I'd fractured my tibula in 3.5 places. I started to shout....and stopped myself. And then quietly hid in the corner of the kitchen with the lights off. Like he couldn't see me if he came down to get a drink or see what the noise was from? My 23 year old body would be completely unnoticed in the corner of the kitchen. Genius.

Before long he was back to bed.  I finished loading the bags into the truck and off I went in town. At that point we didn't have a dumpster out on the farm. The only dumpster we had was in town at my dad's farm. Grandpa still burned all of his trash then. Since then, we've gotten a dumpster here too. Something about him carrying a blow torch at all times just didn't sit right. Once again, the blow torch is a whole different story but basically he freaking loves the blow torch. It just set things on fire so easily. Who knew? He would use it to set fire to anything. Trash, light a candle, melt some wire....just whatevs. He had lost the blow torch at one point and was sure someone stole it (as he is sure happened to most things he can't find). It finally showed back up in the back seat of his truck one day....miraculous that whoever stole it put it back there for him....but in the meantime he'd bought himself another one. I came home one day and saw both blow torches sitting on the table next to some gasoline. No big deal. Needless to say, we try to avoid the torch at all costs, and getting a dumpster was an easy fix.

But in November, I still had to trek in town at 3 in the morning to get rid of all that junk. I seriously felt like I was apart of Seal Team 6 and I was headed to take out Bin Laden. I was even dressed in all black, to be a shadow of the night. Turns out, it's a good thing I wasn't on the team to get Bin Laden though. In the middle of trying to throw the bags from the back of the truck to the dumpster, I had one foot on the dumpster and the other on the truck. Bad move, self. I gracefully slipped and did the splits between the two and managed to rack myself along the way. If I can't have children one day......I'll know why. A metal dumpster is less than ideal to the crotch bone. Take my word for it.

Once my mission was complete, he never even knew the difference. As long as he can't see you throwing it away, he normally doesn't pay enough attention to the food to notice.

Since then, we've had a few more incidents. Like the day I came home to find 3 jars of almost gone apple butter in the freezer. I wasn't quite sure what that was all about so finally I went and asked him. Well, actually he just hadn't used them fast enough and they'd started to get a little mold on them. He just threw them in the freezer and he was going to scrape that top layer off and then he'd be good to go.

I'm sorry, what? You have got to be freakin' kidding me. I told him that was unacceptable. I'd buy him some more apple butter. He didn't need to eat the moldy ones. We are not trying to take home the prize on Survivor.

Not a week later, I came home and saw where he had about four pieces left of a desert my mom had made the week earlier. He loves sweets and I really feel like it's a true dagger to his heart any time he has to throw some away. This desert was like a strawberry jello cake and it had real strawberries on top of the icing. The strawberries were past their prime and had started to in true Bullet fashion, he just scraped them off to the other end of the pan. When I asked him why he had done that, he said the rest of the cake was still good eatin' and it was too good to waste. No. No no. No.

We are not carpet baggers traveling back after the Civil War. We do not need to resort to moldy food. He looked at me straight in the face and without missing a beat he said, "Morgan Lea, do you know that before they had antibiotics, doctors gave sick patients moldy bread to get all the germs out of their system? It worked too....turned them back healthy as a lark. It's good for you. It cleans out your system".

I didn't know what to say to that. And as often happens when I'm dumbfounded by the nuggets of wisdom he throws at me on a constant basis, I just stared at him for a few minutes, pretended like I didn't understand what he said and continued to throw away the stupid desert. Eventually, he walks off and lets me do it anyway.

Which is fine by me, because all I know is that I'd much rather have him mad at me for a few hours for "being wasteful" as opposed to Lois Lea Ford haunting me for the rest of my life. Homegurl would be spinning in her stilettoes if she knew I let Bob Ford eat moldy food!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I Wish I Were A Camel......

So, as most of you may or may not know, I live with my Grandpa. We're roommates. And it's a trip.

Most days we have a great time. I do the laundry and the dishes and I make sure he eats more than cream horns for a full meal, he takes the trash out and deals with mice and spiders for me, and we watch Lawrence Welk together every Sunday. Except for when they decide to replace Lawrence with some stupid special like "Folk Favorites" and then Bullet is not impressed. But don't worry, he's got Lawrence on video so on those weeks, we just watch those. Any other night of the week you can find us watching the Dean Martin specials. He also owns every one on VHS or DVD, which is about 57 different tapes, but if you thought he watched more than just two of them over and over again, well then you've never been to Bob Ford's....because if you stop by, it's guaranteed you'll catch the episode roasting the Merchant of Venom, what's his name, Morgan Lea? Don Rickles. And that drunk....I laugh every time, Morgan Lea. What is his name, I'm having a stupidity attack (fist to forehead). Foster Brooks.

We go through this routine at least two or three times a week.

Like I said, most days he is my best buddy. But there are a few things we don't necessarily see eye to eye on. Molly Margaret would be #1. #2 and #3 would be the air conditioner and food. Wasting either of the two are severe infractions in Bullet Bob's eyes.

Today we are going to start with the air conditioner. 

At the age of 89.5, Bullet is somewhat cold natured.  It can be 110 in the shade outside and he'll have on a long sleeve shirt and his ear muffs while he's mowing. At night, in the summer or winter, he sleeps with a regular sheet, a heated blanket, a plush blanket, his comforter, AND a fitted heated blanket. There are only about 3 or 4 weeks out of any given year that at least one heated blanket isn't turned on. That's probably why Buddy loves him so much, he likes to cover up more than any other dog I've ever met.

At the tender age of 24, I'm not so cold natured. And there are times when I'm confident that I am hitting menopause early because I have raging hot flashes. I would rather be cold than hot. I love the summer best out of all the seasons, but body temperature wise, I would always rather set it at too chilly, because you can always add layers. Plus, I've never really found it to be a pleasurable past time to feel like I was hiking through the desert on a camel wearing a parka and moon boots with only three sips of water from one side of the Sahara to the other.

So basically, if the temperature reaches 75 degrees outside and the air quits moving, you can bet my air conditioner is getting turned on. This actually pains me to a certain degree, because I love having the windows open and opening up the house with all the fresh air. I do not however enjoy sweating my skin off. So the air conditioner wins. However, there are days when even the doors open are too much. The front porch is screened in and one of my favorite things about spring, summer and fall are the days where it's nice enough to have the front porch door open so we can go out and sit on the swing or have the fresh air through the house.  Any more than much of a breeze though and he'll lock that up and throw away the key, too. Homeboy is NOT a fan of being cold.

If there was ever a time I thought we might not make it as roommates, it was when summer rolled around.  We had a nice and rainy spring, so we did well for months because we were able to have the house open.  Even into the first few weeks of summer it wasn't able to get too miserable because it rained so much and it always kept a nice breeze. But then the heat set in. For about two weeks straight it was no less than 100 degrees outside.

At that point, he did turn on the air, so you might think the problems were over, but think again. Bullet runs the philosophy that if you aren't in the area that the air conditioner is cooling, then you really don't need the air conditioner to be on. So, during the day, the air in the bedrooms would be turned off. And at night, the downstairs unit would be turned off until morning. Or, if you left for the day you turned off the air before you walked out the door. But Bullet is used to living with my Grandma. She wasn't near as cold natured as him, but the heat didn't bother her as much when he'd get to flipping switches. 

Me, on the other hand, I am certain I now know what the depths of Hell must feel like. Sometimes he'll turn off the air when he leaves to go out and work for the day and not really think about it and I'm still home. So, all of the sudden I will feel like my skin is melting off and I can't figure out why. He's just turned off the unit. 

I think in his head, he thinks he's saving money. I've tried to explain to him that it's actually more efficient to turn on the air and leave it at a consistent temperature than to continually turn it on and off because it's constantly having to work to cool everything down again.  He either doesn't care or doesn't listen. Either way this is not good for me. I could fry an egg off my left thigh in the middle of some summer days. Meanwhile, Grandpa is in his chair with his heated blanket over his legs. No. Lie.

There are two things I can't do and be friendly about it when I am that hot and that is get ready to go somewhere or try to sleep. Even if I take a shower first, it doesn't do me any good by the time I actually get ready to go because you need a shower again and all my make up is melting off my face like I'm Mrs. Doubtfire or something. My hair sticks to my forehead like a whore in church, my eye shadow gloops together, and my arm pits smell like Muddy Waters' feet. Nothing puts me in a worse mood. It generally ends up in me having a complete emotional breakdown because I'm so frustrated and I'm basically sweating my balls off.  If I had any.

Sleeping is no different. Although the make up isn't an issue, the sweating is. I can't be comfortable when I'm sweating, especially when I'm trying to sleep, which means I don't sleep. I actually thought I had this problem solved though because I got my own window unit for my room. I thought it was a brilliant solution because he could control his room and I could control mine. No. He just goes and shuts mine off when I'm not paying attention. One day he actually shut it off while I was still in bed. He came in my room to let the dogs out and found it to be a bit chilly so he shut it off. Never mind the fact that he immediately walked back out of the room and shut the door so it being chilly no longer affected him.  Don't let him fool you, he's a sneaky little devil.

At one point this was also an issue for the animals. I have never had fur, so I can't say for sure, but I would think that being stuck inside a closed up house with no air flow is less than ideal. Poor Lola would pant and breathe like she'd just tackled a line backer. Molly would start heaving and having reverse sneezes....which she only gets when she gets too hot. Buttercup and Buffy just dealt with it, almost like they were used to it. But I knew it was bad when they were all but knocking me down to get OUTSIDE because it was cooler out in the sun than it was on the couch.

Most of you are probably thinking there are other alternatives, like a fan. Well, that would be a novel idea. Except any fans in the house get turned off once he realizes they are on. He doesn't so much have a beef with the air flow as much as he does the fact that they blow his papers off his desk or his newpaper off the kitchen table. And let me just clarify that his newspapers...let's just say, like many other things, he doesn't like throwing them away, so if I didn't do it on the sly, there would be newspapers from 1903 hanging out around the house. And his looks like an atomic bomb hit it on any given day of the week.....a piece of paper being blown on the floor would not affect his organization system, I can assure you.

The good part about all of this is that I tend to keep a later schedule than Bullet. He goes to bed at a pretty decent hour.  Even though he doesn't go straight to sleep, he goes and lays upstairs and watches tv, which leaves the downstairs unattended and he usually doesn't know until the next morning that I've turned it back on to keep things tolerable. But, that is a double edged sword for me, too.  He is always up before me and by the time I'm up and moving he's already mowed two yards and caught something on fire, so he's had plenty of time to turn off the air conditioner and let the house get to sweltering temperatures. 

After a few weeks he figured out my game anyway. I came home one night and couldn't figure out why the air wouldn't turn on. I pushed every button I could find. I eventually went to another window unit and tried that one. It didn't work either. No coincidence. Sly had unplugged them. By golly, if I was going to get that air back on, he was going to make me work for it!

Throughout the last few months, I can say I think we've gotten on a better routine. He doesn't mess with air in my bedroom anymore. He only makes quick comments on how cold it is in there, but doesn't touch any buttons. I don't mess with the air in his and as far as downstairs.....well we just constantly chase each other to turn it on or off.  I actually came home today and he'd turned it on himself!

Plus, I dug out my cool portable air conditioner named Larry that you can just take with you from room to room. It's genius. And if you're wondering, his name is Larry after my boss from my waterpark days.

And just like Larry.....I like to keep it cool when it's hot.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Molly Margaret

For any of you that know me, you know I love animals. If you know me well, you know that I also have a lot of them. If you're going to read this blog, you're going to need to like hearing about them and getting to know them too. They are my pride and joy. At some point or another you'll hear about all of them, but today you're going to hear about Molly Margaret Weller. The only reason I choose her first is because she has the most material. Home gurl is a rebel.

Molly is a 9 year old beagle. She's all but blind in one eye, she had heartworm and she's a little chunky. I've only had her about a year but you'd think I'd had her for years. She settled in quickly and became very attached. Prior to moving home, when I still lived in Champaign, I worked at the humane society. Molly and I's story is kind of fabulous. Obviously.  On my first day of work at the shelter, I was getting my tour of the building. When I walked into the dog kennels she was the very first dog I saw. For whatever reason, I immediately bonded with her. At first, I just wanted her to find a home.  She had several applications that fell through for one reason or another. Then I started getting attached in other ways. I would get sick to my stomach if people asked to look at her that were less than ideal. Before long, it didn't matter who wanted to see her, I would get nauseous. At that point, I decided it was probably time to bring her home.

On August 1st, 2012 I welcomed my third baby girl ; ). All the visitors at the shelter claimed that part of the reason they chose other dogs was because Molly didn't interact enough or she was too independent.  I have to disagree.  Out of all my girls, she's the most attached. If I move, she moves. She sits on my feet when I get ready in the bathroom to ensure she's the first to know if I make a move. Before coming to the shelter, she was originally turned in to animal control as a stray. I'm not sure what exactly she went through in her first 8 years, but I know it wasn't all great. She is very scared of loud noises or sudden movements and men sometimes make her nervous. Every once and awhile she has issues that I know are from her past, but for the most part it took her all of 33 seconds to settle into the good life.

Out of all of the dogs, she's the most easy going and laid back. And in the beginning, she was the easiest to deal with, too. That only lasted about a month. I should have known that was coming, given her namesake, Maythel Margaret Hunt, one of the kindest and sweetest women I ever got to know, but also one of the most stubborn and bullheaded. 

Molly quickly learned she could get away with basically whatever she wanted.  She started out slow with the trash cans. She'd turn them over to find whatever scraps she could and string it all over the house. But gradually she turned into a straight up rogue. At some point over the last year, I lost complete control over my sweet and innocent girl. And she turned into a first class heathen. What can I say, being a single parent is hard work.

I think it all started when we moved to the farm. Molly loves being a farm girl, and being a beagle she loves to get her nose to the ground. She also loves pretty much anyone she meets. Except Bob Ford. She and Bullet Bob are not besties. And let me tell you, the feeling is mutual. I'm not trying to place blame or anything, but it's pretty much his fault. Bullet didn't care for her from the start.  She doesn't listen real good and particularly not to him. The first week we were there, she started to take off across the yard and he got after her and yelled at her. He wasn't even near her and she laid on her back and started whimpering. He didn't mean to scare her, but after that they were basically arch enemies. Any kind of listening she did before, she definitely doesn't do now.

I can usually keep her in check until I have to leave. And then all Hell breaks loose. Bullet lets her out of the house before I'm even out of the driveway. Mainly just because he doesn't like her. I'm know I'm biased and all, but I know she's not perfect. He'll put her outside for causing trouble when all she's doing is sleeping. By the time I get home, who knows how long she's been outside by herself. Grandpa can't remember her name, he just refers to her as the "fleagle beagle". And he tells her every time he opens the door to go play in the heavy traffic.  I told you they weren't friends.

Sometimes, when Grandpa is thinking about something a lot, he talks to himself. I've heard him say more than once when he didn't realize I could hear, "I wish she'd left that fleagle beagle at the pound." Molly can't talk, but she's got this look in her eyes where she's basically telling the world to go high five themselves in the face with a chair. I've seen her give him "the look" on several different occasions.

For a few months he would put her in the basement. The basement in the house is off the kitchen.  The is a door that swings out into the basement from the upstairs. So when you are downstairs you have to swing it back into yourself to get up in to the house. For about two months, Grandpa tried to claim that she was opening the door and letting herself back upstairs, and in doing this she was ruining his door because she was scratching at it to get it to swing back to catch it and nose her way in. Now, I'm pretty sure my girl is a genius. But.....really? You'd think if she could do that she was a full blown human. Like she was Houdini or something.

For weeks he and I would go back and forth. I finally told him that if he hadn't put her down there in the first place, she never would have scratched the door to begin with. He finally quit putting her down there.  But about a week ago, I had to eat my own words.  I'd let her out to potty and she got inside and I could not figure out how. Not gonna lie, I was pretty sure there was either a ghost or a burglar in the house.  That is until I saw the cracked basement door.  When I opened that door, I saw that the door from the basement to the outside was fully open. She opened them both on her own. I have no idea how. My girl is smart. Maybe I should enter her into the circus or something.

But back to her shenanigans, Molly has given me at least 8 strokes. Luckily for everyone, none of them killed me. About a month ago, I was outside watering flowers. All the dogs were playing in the yard.  Buttercup and Molly tend to be a lethal combination. Unless I'm out there with them, I don't usually let them out together. This day they had been doing fine. Molly was laying under a shade tree just enjoying life. Molly doesn't exactly get in too big of a hurry to go anywhere. She waddles her way to and from at her own pace. But don't let that fool you, she can move when she wants to. All of the sudden she and Buttercup were off towards the milk barn. We have a few cats outside and I know that they often times hang out in the barn. Those two fools were up to no good and I knew it.  I finished watering my flowers (big mistake, I often underestimate how fast she can get herself into trouble.) By that time her howling was non stop. I knew they had cornered the cat, I just didn't bank on how exactly she'd done it. I got over there and could hear Molly's howling and the cat (Virginia) hissing. I saw the cat, and by that time Buttercup was off to the side acting like an innocent bystander. Lies. She is far from innocent. Molly was nowhere to be sound.  Heard but not seen. I looked and I looked and I looked. I finally looked up. That little brat had somehow climbed up all of the junk that is piled in that old storage barn and was on top of the garage door. On top of it. You know how garage doors go up and there is the door and then some space and then the ceiling. Yeah, she was just hanging out on top of that. How in the sam hell? Ole' gurl can't even get on the bed without the help of her doggie steps, but somehow she can get to the raftors of the milk barn in 60 seconds or less. This debacle went on for about 25 minutes. I climbed as high up as I could to be eye level with the door. She slid down the curve of the door twice and had to claw her way back up, and wouldn't ever come close enough to me for me to pick her up and climb back down. And I'm no idiot, my ghetto booty wasn't putting my body weight on that door that hasn't been used in 30 some odd years in the hopes it would support me. After awhile she just got tired and just laid down on top of the door. Jerk.

Once that was over, I thought we were in the clear awhile. Wrong. Molly doesn't believe in taking resting breaks of one shenanigan to the other. The next night I came home and she and Buttercup were both outside. Again, Buttercup was waiting for me at the door. Molly was nowhere to be found but her howl. When I went to let Buttercup in, she took off for the old machine shed. At first, I was less than impressed with this. I wasn't in the mood to chase them both. But I quickly realized B was in a panic. She kept pacing back and forth from me to the machine shed. I could hear Molly and by this point her howl was different, it was kind of panicked. I kept looking for her. I could hear her and I knew I was where she should be but still couldn't find her. I went outside the shed and then back in. Then it hit me. I glanced over to the left and saw a hole in the wall. It didn't go all the way outside but it was a hole between the outside wall and the inside insulation. Molly was stuck between the two. And that hole was not big enough for her to easily get out. On this day it was about 113 degrees in the shade. It was hot and no one else was home or around to help. I kept calm for all of about 7.3 seconds.  Then I quickly spiraled into a freak out. I could get her to come to me, but the hole wasn't big enough to get her out. She was hot and thirsty and pacing back and forth. I was afraid she was going to have a heat stroke. I was also pretty confident at this point that I was going to have a heat stroke. Also, it should be noted by this point, I'd been working at it about 20 minutes and I'd fallen into a complete emotional breakdown of hysterical crying. My baby was stuck and I couldn't get her out. My next move was straight out of Wonder Friends or whatever that show was called with all the super heroes. The metal wall was bolted down to the other metal wall.  It was old metal and it had rusted a bit but it was still metal. In complete panic mode I just started pulling at the wall. I eventually pulled the wall apart. And when I say apart, don't go thinking I'm the Hulk or anything, but it was enough to get her out. But not quite enough to get her out easily. I still had to put her on her hind legs and shimmy her out that way. She was wimpering because it hurt, which made me cry harder, but I couldn't get her out any other way. I finally got her out and we had settled down enough to head back to the house. Homeslice attempted to immediately take off after a cat. Not so fast, Margaret. I've had enough for one day.

The adventures of Molly were "to be continued" for awhile. Not like a summer hiatus or anything but at least until the next week, when she promptly cornered a raccoon in Grandpa's garage. Again, Buttercup kept running up to get me. At least she knows when they've gotten themselves in too deep of trouble. I grabbed the flashlight and headed out to the garage. I get there and find Molly, stuck between one side of the garage and the other. An animal or something had dug out an area to get from the outside of the garage to the inside. Apparently during the chase, the coon took a quick retreat into the garage through the hole and Molly followed. Well, bad idea on Molly's part because her slim self wasn't about to fit under that hole. I walked up to her wiggling relentlessly trying to get her bad self to the other side. This time I didn't so much panic as just stare at her like the fool she was. She got herself in to it she could get herself out. She had no sooner done just that when she and Buttercup both started trying to literally climb the walls. I flashed my light up towards the ceiling and was greeted with a raccoon clinging to the rafters like a koala and staring straight at me.  I have never jumped that high in my life, nor have I ever moved that fast back to the house. I've got some speed on me when needed. I thought Grandpa was asleep through this whole deal but quickly discovered otherwise when I got back to the house. I could hear laughing coming from his bedroom. I mean, he didn't come down to help me or anything as I was being attacked my wild animals, but leaned out his bedroom window to watch and laugh. I got to the mailbox and in between his laughs he goes, "I told ya you'd need that flashlight, Morgan Lea!" Then shut his window.  Thanks Pop.

This wasn't the last time she made have an encounter with a critter. The following week I let her out when I got home from work and she promptly had something cornered under the propane tank. I could hear it hissing and again assumed it was the cat. I went in to get the flashlight thinking if I could just show Molly it was her sister, she'd leave it alone. I bee bop on back outside and get down real close and shine the light directly into the face of a hissing opossum. What is wrong with her? Is she trying to get me killed? That O possum started moving and I moved a lot faster back to the house.

So basically my point is, Molly gets in to trouble on her own, but she'd get in a lot less if Bullet Bob would stop putting her outside. She will seriously make me die an early death. Or make all of my hair fall out, one of the two. And I don't look good with short and or no hair. I should have known she'd be like this when on the second day we were here, she was by my side in the yard one minute and within less than 37 seconds I looked up and she was a quarter of a mile down the road, on the other side of the road, elbow deep in the cattle lot. Brat.

I'm not sure what I'd do without her though. I'm guilty of babying her, I know. And no one else probably thinks her shenanigans are nearly as delightful as I do. I get annoyed at the time but it makes Molly, Molly. And that howl. Grandpa hates it, but it is my favorite. And if you can find any better feeling than coming home to her howling repeatedly because she's so excited to see me or to her being outside by herself and then seeing me for the first time and taking off in a full blown sprint towards me with her ears flapping the wind, well then I double dog dare you to show me what that is.

I double dog dare you, Molly style.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Stay Off the Grass....

So, yesterday as I was out checking my tomato plant and letting the dogs play, Grandpa rolls back in the driveway. Buttercup in the dashboard sunning herself. Buddy in the passenger seat like a human. They had been mowing.  It was around noon and it was starting to sprinkle so they had come home for lunch. My grandpa's favorite hobby is mowing. Everywhere. He mows the ditches of our property and all the lawns in the family. Sometimes he also mows things that aren't even ours. He just loves to mow. He doesn't so much pay attention to landscaping, flowers, or weed eating, so if you are looking for're fresh out of luck.  But as he's gotten older, it keeps him busy and it is a way to make him feel like he's still contributing. So it works out for everyone.

That is until he gets on the hill.

My parents live on top of a very large and steep hill that takes a couple hours to mow. My grandpa insists he be the one to mow it. My mother has a small stroke every time. People have come to us and told us they were worried about him. They have talked to us about having him stop. A few years back, my cousin Amber, who was the school counselor at the high school right across the road, saw him chugging along and I'm pretty sure she nearly died or peed her pants. She called Andy (my cousin and her husband) and my mom.  If you thought any of the three of them could do any good, think again.  We know their intentions are good and they mean well, but I double dog dare any one of you to go and tell Bob Ford he can't do something. Double dog dare. If you come out of that conversation and aren't crying, I'll kiss your feet.  I have seen him having a conversation with someone in public and they bring it up and he walks away....while they are still talking. Like I mentioned before, he's set in his ways. It angers him to be told he can't do something. I'm sure that has a lot to do with his age. He feels like people think he's too old or not capable anymore. But whatever the reason, it upsets him. Maybe we are wrong, but we let him do it. We hold our breath every time, but it makes him happy. And at his age, he should be able to do whatever he wants. If that means mowing that god forsaken hill, then so be it.  He'd probably tell you that's how he wanted to go anyway. On a tractor.  The best part is that my brother, Bobby, just bought a home...with another hill.  Super.

Grandpa told me yesterday he was glad he finished mowing before the rain started. If that hill is just the least bit slick he says, it'll send you for a joy ride. He followed that up with he didn't want anyone else on that hill either. If they aren't careful you could get in real trouble. If you are scratching your head right now, don't worry, so am I. If the hill is really that dangerous, it seems to be perfectly logical to have the 89 year old mow it. I never claimed we were a bunch of brainiacs. As he tells all of us, why the worry? He's insured.

All this mowing got me to thinking about when I first learned how to drive the zero turn mower.  Several years back, when I was still in high school, I worked at the waterpark as a lifeguard. My dad also decided that summer I needed to contribute around the farm. Fine by me. But if he thought I was painting fences or something, he had another thing coming. He decided I would be the family mower. This was before Grandpa did all the mowing.  At that time he was probably busy climbing the grain bin to check out the view or something. That's a whole other story....but up until about 4 years ago, he would climb the grain bin and just stand at the top with his hands on his hips checking out the farm. I think he loved the view and it was relaxing for him, but at the tender age of 85 and with no way of steadying himself once he was up there, it was a less than ideal place for him to be.  Apparently, he thinks he's Evil Knievel.

Back to my mowing adventures, this was when we had just gotten the zero turn mower.  Needless to say, I didn't know how to drive it. I'm not sure how I lucked out on this particular summer day, but my dad was busy and Bobby wasn't around. So, I scored Chris as my teacher. Rad. Not.

I love Chris. I really do. He's good at everything he does. But, God bless his heart for not becoming a teacher. Prior to the mower, the last time Chris and I had paired up as partners on the farm he needed me to pull some machinery to some other land we farm. My parents were gone on a fire board conference and Bobby was living in DC at the time.  I was his only option. He's not an idiot. He wouldn't choose me to be his hired man unless he absolutely had no other choices. I've driven a tractor or two, but aside from that I'm pretty much worthless with farm equipment.  Which is why it shouldn't surprise anyone that on this day, he needed me to pull the combine head half way to Jacksonville. That's right, the longest piece of farm equipment we own is the first piece of equipment I ever pulled anywhere.  I was pretty confident I was going to die that day. And so was my Grandma. Somehow I conned her into riding with me.  With my hands firmly locked on 10 and 2, she just kept giving me words of encouragement....while patting my leg and praying the whole way. No lie. 

Because Chris is good at everything he does, he's not exactly great at slowing down to show you how it was he did it. You pick it up fast or get left in the dust. Or in my case.....leave him in the dust. We started off great. He was showing me where all the important buttons were, how to start it, how to make it go, how to turn the blade on. He got through his little tutorial fairly quickly and painlessly and told me to go ahead and give her a little test drive. That's when it got sticky. That some buck was a little bit touchy on the go. I thought I could ease into in.....and instead I shot off like a bottle rocket. And Homeboy forgot to tell me how to stop it.

I took off at what I was sure was the equivalent of Mach 5, leaving Chris with a trail of dust and rocks to the face. By the time he could see again, all I could hear were cuss words.  Lots of them. I've never known anyone to put together a string of cuss words quite like Chris. It makes me laugh every time.  By then he was running after me trying to tell me how to stop it. I couldn't hear that part though. Probably because I was laughing, which he did not find funny, by the way. After a few seconds that seemed like years, I finally got that bad boy stopped half way across the farm. Once ole' boy caught up to me huffing and a puffing, I asked why he was so dusty. Again, apparently not the appropriate time for a joke. I think his exact response was, "what is wrong with you!?" I think the real question is, what's wrong with you, dude? You're the one that didn't tell me how to stop.

Chris is affectionately referred to as Hilter among the family. One might ask how that can be affectionate, but really it is. He's the work horse and the business mind behind everything. He's the responsible one and the serious one. The voice of reason, if you will.  Bobby and I are the ones that gave our mother gray hairs.  The ironic part of that is that Bobby and I are lucky to even be here, given the complete dirt leg of a child that Chris was. But none the less, he's turned into the brains of the operation and when he says he wants something done he means, like, yesterday. So, basically, he and I are perfect work partners because I am so skilled at manual labor and often handle things in a very mature manner (i.e., the laughing). Once he quit cussing at me for laughing at him and blowing rocks in his face, he did ask if I was okay. And then told me to get to work.

My next go at the mower went better. That is, until I put the mower in the pond.  Nobody told me that they were so touchy about a little wet grass.  Crap.  Plus, it wasn't even my fault. Someone left the hose on behind the dog kennel leaving a mass amount of water heading straight for the pond.  I hit that and there was no correcting it. I couldn't get ahold of my dad. And once again, Bobby wasn't around. Seriously, where is Bobby? He's the only one that relates to me when I get in situations like this. Mainly because he's already done them once or twice before.  Rule #1: Never leave a fellow crasher behind. Bobby! Why do you continue to leave me hanging? I tried revving the engine some thinking if I really gave it a good go, she might just climb out for me. No. I know this will stun you guys, but that actually didn't happen. I put myself further in the pond. So, I was forced to call Chris. He was on duty. If you can imagine how happy he might be to come pull me out of the pond on a regular day, times that by 10 when he's on duty. He. Was. Stoked. He pulls up and I was bee bopping to some jams on my iPod. He first question was, why was I still sitting on it. Well, to be honest, I didn't feel like getting my feet wet. I asked if I could do anything to help. He told me I'd done enough. Fun hater: party of 1. Needless to say, he pulled the mower out....with his squad car. Again, I thought that part was hilarious. He did not. I asked if he wanted me to finish mowing. All he said was "you're an idiot" and walked back to his car and went back to work. Apparently, it's not great on the engine to run it after you've given it a drink of water. Who knew?

My mowing adventures only lasted one summer. Grandpa took over shortly after that. Thank you baby Jesus for that blessing, because unlike Bob Ford, I am not insured.

Monday, August 12, 2013

I'm Basically an Author Now.....

I've never been one for brevity. It's well known. I can turn a 3 minute story into 30. Thank me later for the enlightening details. But I enjoy story telling none the less. I love the details. My life is no better or more entertaining than anyone else's, but I often find myself in comical or funny situations. For years I've written about them on Facebook. Remember when Facebook made you keep a status under a 160 characters or something stupid? That was my own personal Hell. Which is also probably why I've never really gotten into tweeting or "twitting" as my mom once said to me. Telling me I need to keep things under 140 is basically the same as telling me to go stick my head under water and fight for air. Anywho, now Facebook doesn't make you do that nonsense anymore, but I still sometimes cringe at my status after I've written a whole chapter. I mean, my story is obviously hysterical and worth the read, but the word "status" makes me think something short and sweet. I can make it one but not the decide.

So, instead, I've decided to write a blog. The chances of anyone reading it are slim to none, but I'm cool with that. I basically want it to be able to go back and look at later. To be able to remember and look back on the memories 20 years from now when things aren't as clear anymore. Something that will be written down so my family always has those stories.

Two years ago my grandma passed away. She was basically the defining figure in my life. And if you knew her, you know where I came up with the title of this blog. During the two weeks surrounding her death, my family all came together. In such a sad time, we all had so much fun together and made memories that I wouldn't trade for anything. There were so many funny, bittersweet and loving memories we made during those two weeks, that I always told myself I'd write them down and make a book out of them. When I say "book" it could also be a binder. I don't consider myself a pro or anything...but like I said....if you know me, you know I love to talk. I did write down all those memories in a bullet points version.....but I have yet to actually write out the full stories. I hope with time that I can actually get those stories on this blog. If for nothing else, for myself, so that I never forget how special those two weeks were to me.

Since then, I've graduated school and moved home. I don't have a real job or anything. Who needs one of those, eh? I'm having a little trouble figuring out that part of my life. I don't really know what I want to do...which is a real pickle when you're 24 and have been out of school for two years. I haven't had any luck finding a "career" so the time has come for me to figure out what I want to go back to school for to further my education. I'm working on it, but more on that another day.

In the meantime, I live with my grandpa, Bob Ford. He's 89 and "somewhat" set in his ways. In the beginning I didn't know exactly how this would play out. But I've found that it's pretty fabulous. I do his laundry and make his meals and he takes care of me. We're basically besties and he's one of the coolest sidekicks I know. But living with him also provides me with some great entertainment. It's something new every day. I also have my Grandpa Floyd. He's my wingman when I hit the streets. He's the equivalent of Norm on Cheers. Yeah, go and ahead and be jealous. Between them and the rest of my family, I could go on for days. They really are the best. And the funniest. I mean.....I suppose we also could be qualified as a little dysfunctional and a lot country. But.....we are fun. Don't hate.

I also love me some animals. Mostly dogs. But any animal really. I run my own personal zoo on the farm. My family is supportive most days....but let's face it.....I can guarantee they aren't exactly thrilled when I bring my 5 dogs for a visit. Or that I won't turn down a single stray. Hey, we all have our faults people.

I'm no dummy though. I know we won't be here I want to write those down while I have the chance. I hope in the process I can create a place that I can come back to and laugh, cry, and smile at my life. And if any of you fools are silly enough to read it, I hope that you, too, can get a smile and a giggle for your day.

Let the blogging begin!