Monday, February 27, 2012

Trouble in Paradise Revisited

My sister Toni and her husband Tim celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary this weekend and took a trip to St. Augustine, Florida in celebration. It brought to mind a few years ago when they still had a young son at home (who I now in college) and needed a babysitter for the weekend. I have Toni to thank for saving this piece I wrote about that delightful experience. So, here goes.

It has been a long time I have cohabited with an 8 year old boy. Even when I did my boys did not talk to me all that much. Figuring that this was why they had friends, there was only parental communication between us. You know the drill, I gave orders they patently ignored. I would find myself giving the same order over a short period of time until it was ultimately obeyed. It was a war of wills between us, a war I usually won.

My sister Toni and brother in law Tim had a business meeting to attend in Boone. NC this particular weekend (or at least that was what I was told) and they figured my father would benefit from the company of his grandson for several days. He arrived on Saturday. It is now Monday and he is not with his grandfather, he is with us. My father, who likes the pleasant buzz of familial activity, likes it from behind his closed bedroom door. He was worried that Alex would fall in the pool and drown, that one of the dogs would bite him in his over exuberance or that he could not escape the endless chatter of said child. It turns out he didn't need to be the one worrying about any of those things. He simply took to his bed and called for back up.

So here I am with a very precocious 8 year old boy whose favorite activity is talking. He talks very well. If I could find one thing in common with a small boy this would be an outstanding situation. I like to talk, too. But as I have mentioned, my boys did not do much talking to me. I had no interest in Batman then and I find I have even less interest in him now. I am perfectly content on my day off to play in my garden until it gets to hot and then move my playtime to the computer. I have enough competition for computer time with Mac, and now I find this little person staying with us also likes the computer.

I also learned this little person is a picky eater. He doesn't much like vegetables of any color. He explained to me that his parental units were teaching him to eat vegetables, a lesson he should have learned in infancy, but he is a slow starter in that area. (I have to remember to tell the parental units they may have procrastinated to long on this one.) I found that the one vegetable he will eat is corn and then only on the cob or creamed. He likes chicken. I of course fixed Roast beef. He likes yellow rice, not white. Two guesses what color the rice was and the first one doesn't count. He will eat tomatoes if they're in spaghetti.

I had them sliced. Raw. When he saw the okra he very politely turned up his nose. This was after he had very cleverly asked what that green slimy stuff I was slicing was and if it was a vegetable. I should have told him it was a fruit and maybe he would have at least tried it.

Supper being a dismal failure, he continued his pursuit of the cat children. They, being of sound mind and good sense, hid from him. Duffy had long since pleaded guilty to a charge of child endangerment and was sentenced to the back yard.

The phone rang while I was cooking. Joyce wanted to know if I wanted to come in and work third shift for an officer who had called in sick. The answer was a resounding yes...I did want to but I simply could not. Mac, who had had even less experience with 8 year old boys than I have, would never have understood. I feared he would run off to Daddy's and lock himself in with him.

Toni called a little bit ago. She asked how it was going. I lied. I told her all was going well...great in fact. I told her if I was a bit sharp it was because I was in pain. My shoulder and neck had been been giving me a fit for about three days. I told her it wasn't that I didn't want to talk to Alex, I didn't want to talk to Mac either. In fact I wished that everyone would leave me to my own devices and let me suffer in peace. Alex came to speak with his mother and wanted to know when they were coming to pick him up. He said he thought he was making Aunt Sandi nervous. I suspect Toni now knows all is not well in paradise.

And  now our Alex has reached his majority...he his now 21...a college student with a bright future in front of him because he loves to talk... now I wonder which side of the family he gets that from...Happy Birthday darling boy...we love you...
Aunt Sandi and Uncle Mac

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sorry...Wrong Number

It was late one evening in Beaconsfield, England (the county of Bucks) and we had just retired for the evening.  I had my book in hand and Mac had brought up the Daily Mail.  He always read the paper in bed at night since he had to leave so early to "go up to town" to work.  "Up to town" was London, and it was an hour long train ride every day.  Both ways.  We had only been living in England for three months and I was still suffering from Jet Lag.  (I capitalize it because I am certain it must be the actual name for an actual disease.)  I don't think I overcame the symptoms of said disease for at least a year.  I found myself yawning at odd times during the day and wanting to curl up on the divan like a cat...why you may ask?  Because I simply was not resting well.  On this particular night, the phone was ringing.  Now, imagine watching a lovely British show on PBS and hearing the phone ring that peculiar "bringgggg brinnggg...bringgggg bringgg."  It still caused me to catch my breath every time I heard it in my own home.  There was something so foreign in the burr of the ring that you don't hear in our phones .  Of course now you hear everything from bagpipes to Ding Dong the Witch is Dead"  but that is now and I'm talking about then...1980.  Anyway, the phone was doing that thing that it does when it actually DEMANDS that you answer it.  Now, we only had one phone in the house, it was on the foyer table at the front door.  It had a lovely long cord so that if I wanted to carry on a conversation of any length it would easily travel into the lounge by the fire.  So the phone is ringing and Mac says, "now who  is that at this hour?"  I gave him the sideways look and told him the crystal ball was downstairs with the phone, but I'd certainly consult one or both of them to see who it might be.  I answered the phone in the accepted way by saying the phone number...Beaconsfield 4650.  A voice from the other end asked to speak to John.  I told him that I felt he may have the wrong number and he asks "are you American?"  I assured him that his wrong number was actually ringing in the UK and not the USA and he began to tell me about his dearest Aunt who was now living in Buffalo New York and asking me if I knew what it was like there.  We had a very nice conversation that lasted about forty five minutes.  I went back upstairs and climbed into bed and Mac roused himself enough to ask who had been calling.  He didn't bat an eye when I told him it had been a wrong number. 
Now, why this old story has come up is because something happened the other day that brought it to mind immediately.  Monday we were going into Hartsville and I called my friend Cathie from my cell phone to hers to see if she wanted to ride along.  The phone rang once then went to voice mail.  I left a quick message about why I was calling and thought no more about it.  I tried to call her again on Wednesday to firm up plans to go to the Smokehouse on Wednesday and the same thing, straight to voice mail.  Wednesday afternoon Cathie called me and asked if we were still on for dinner.  I assured her we were and would pick her up at 5:30.  So we're on the road and I told her about the calls going to voicemail and she said she had checked and that it didn't show my calls.  I  took out my phone and flipped it open and dialed her number and the same thing...but the phone in her hand didn't ring.  I hung up then opened it and called out the number that I had entered.  It was off by one number.  We laughed over the mistake and then suddenly my phone rang.  I answered and a lady said "you know you've called me several times this week and I just couldn't figure out who you are."  I explained to her that I had entered the wrong number in my phone and apologized for the bother.  She laughed and said, "well I was just going to say if you still want to go to WalMart's, I wouldn't mind."   Too bad she lives 193 miles away.  But I'll keep her number, her name is Gillian and she sounds a treat.  I make more friends this way...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Giveaway!!

Gill, That British Woman, is having a giveaway at her place and it's easy to join the fun~!  Head on over and enjoy the read, while you're there!
Here's how

Friday, February 3, 2012

Babysitting the Big Kids

Babysitting for the big kids.
I know that most people go onto Face book for the interaction with friends, the games and the (let's face it) gossip, but I have a whole different reason for falling into the Face book trap.  If not for Face book I'd not have one danged clue as to what my kids are up to.  Okay, so they're not exactly kids, they are well north of 20 and I've not paid a babysitter in years.  But I still like to know what is going on in their lives.  I don't want to be the last one to know that in the interest of health older son Wallace was entered in the Marine Mud Run last year.  I wish I could show you the picture of his new lean self covered in mud and it wasn't a beauty treatment. Oh, wait...I can!   Or that baby son Michael had changed jobs and was now working not to far away from our home, but a fair trip from his own home.  I haven't worked for the Sheriff in over 10 years so no longer have my brothers in khaki  or grey to keep me posted on their comings and goings.  (One of my favorite troopers once  labeled Michael the Road Warrior and then proceeded to give me details.  I don't care for details.  They keep me up nights.)

So anyway, the babies are no longer in need of babysitting, the teens are no longer in need of a shadow but I find that I no longer have a clue what is going on with them without Face book.  For instance...last week I went onto older son's page and saw a picture  of him that looked suspiciously like being seated in an airplane seat.  So, I asked him in the comment section "are you on an airplane?"  Hmmmm....seems  Sara (my Daughter((in-law)) was chosen to be a contestant on Jeopardy (May 28th is when the show airs) but did I get even a clue that they were leaving for LA?  Yeah, right.  Face book was in the dark...
Son Michael bought a new car not to far back.  The old truck was beating him to death on the trip from Florence to Cheraw, and I found out when?  Yep, there he was on Face book standing next to his new ride.   So,  what do I have to do to get my kids to talk to me?  I don't nag them to call, but a call every so often would be nice.  Till then, I guess Face book will be my information highway and my babysitter of choice.