Tag Archives: Seasons

Winter, we are never, ever, ever getting back together

I’m out of denial.  Summer is gone.  Even though we are STILL playing baseball (some horrid thing called “fall” ball a fanatic dad probably created to continue living his missed opportunity through his son – yeah Baseball is awesome) my beloved summer has passed away.

I ignored the colder weather.  I pretended like the shortening of daylight wasn’t really happening.  I refused to look at the changing of the leaves screaming at me in all of their colored glory.  Until one crisp morning I almost did a pajama-wearing-butt plant (because PJs are what all of the real Mom’s wear) right in our driveway in perfect view of all of the neighborhood parents on bus patrol (and their children who would surely howl and ridicule my dear son for years to come).

Yep.  The culprit was several of the huge, wet, majestic, red colored leaves that came into contact with my rebellious flip-flop wearing feet.

As I flapped my arms around like ineffective wings and bent back and forth trying to stabilize the potential crash and likely fracture of some important bone, I finally screamed,

OKAY, IT IS FALL…YOU HAVE ARRIVED.  I ACKNOWLEDGE YOU!!!

And, almost immediately, I regained control.  Bam, just like that (which is a miracle for anyone aware of my level of coordination and control).

Don’t get me wrong.  I actually like fall.  I was married in the fall.  The fall is beautiful.  BUT it signifies the end of summer and eminent evil.  It is what comes after fall that I abhor….hate…dispise…detest…

Old man Winter needs taken off of life support where he can die a quick, painless or painful (I prefer painful) death.  Because each winter a small chunk (yes, chunk – I have more chunks in the winter) of me dies.  Dead.

Don’t believe me?  Have you tried pumping gas in the dead of winter?  I guarantee you my fingers had frost bite (I’m sure on the edge of gangrenous).  It’s torture!  You clench your teeth, groan a little, tap dance and giggle while trying not to draw unnecessary attention or trip over the gas pump spilling gas all over yourself (told you coordination wasn’t my gift but in my defense it was a very windy day).

Wait, what about cuddling by the fire-place with your honey navel gazing? Ha-ha. In what world? Harlequin Romance? Sorry, we are real world here.  By the time you make the fire, that is, if you can do so without smoking out your house, the desire to spend one more second by the smoke pit has long evaporated along with your intracellular fluid and you spend the rest of your evening in the kitchen guzzling water and getting stomach cramps.

Now, a gas fire-place does add a nice touch to a freezing house but don’t you dare try to cuddle beside me.  I like my space and two adults trying to cram onto a couch is not only uncomfortable but is also an unwanted chiropractic adjustment waiting to happen.  Blanket on the floor?  Ouch, no.  There is nothing romantic or cozy about winter.

Beautiful snow?  Give it a few hours and this “beautiful snow” becomes a nasty, sloppy, brown (or yellow depending if you have dogs) sludge that is dirty and messy and melts all over your faux hard wood floors creating a dreadful warped appearance.

I could go on forever so just trust me, winter is evil.  Granted I didn’t always feel this way.  As a gullible kid I thought I loved winter because my brother, cousins and I were brain washed to play outside in sub-zero temps for hours.  This time of extreme cold exposure (I KNOW I had frostbite as a kid) was created to give our housewife mothers a brief glimpse of sanity sans kids.

We found ourselves bundled up and shown the door.  And when we complained that our cheeks hurt or our lips bled each time we talked or smiled, we were slathered with vaseline and informed that cold weather was good for us and killed germs.

Just in case you weren’t aware, we were the first humans to develop extreme sled riding.  Our version of extreme sled riding was slightly different from most and involved a 100% grade hill…located in a functional cow pasture with barbed wire at the bottom.  FYI, frozen cow patties add quite a vertical lift and ample air time to any sled riding experience.  But if you accidentally hit your head or limb off of a patty be prepared for a concussion or fracture at best.

The barbed wire in our extreme sledding is a different story.  After a near decapitation incident, I decided that maybe extreme sled riding wasn’t the best sport for my non-coordinated body to partake in.  My brother offered to ride with me and promised to stop long before the decapitating barbed wire.  However, it only took me one ride (one ride too many) to discover that his idea of stopping actually meant hurling me off until I formed my own moving snowball avalanche.

Wait, what?!? Some of you guys actually enjoy Old Man Winter?  Seriously?  What do you like about the old dude who seems to find a way into each and every anatomical crevice regardless of the layers of wool or goose down?

Ok, well you can have him.   ’cause as Talyor Swift sings so well (no doubt, I’m convinced about old man winter)

We are Never, Ever, Ever Ever getting back together…like ever!!

You know you’re a redneck when…

Alas, the evil pink eye bug has left our abode.  I think the chickens and all their filth scared it away.  You know, germs like it at the top of the filth hierarchy and these chickens have that market cornered.  There was no room for promotion for Mr. Pink Eye so he left to find another clean home to infest.

How are the chickens you ask?  Ok, because YOU asked I will fill you in on all of the latest happenings but don’t palpitate, I promise not to make this a chicken blog.

I think pictures (even crappy ones taken on my cell phone) speak volumes so here ya go:

These dirty (notice the film of dusting on the light? That's mild people) suckers are escaping!

Oh yes they are!  They fly now and the big 50 gallon rubber maid container is an easy escape!

Now, do you notice that there are more chickens than the originally planned eight?  Why?  Well, you see I have become quite the chicken whisper during this experience.  And I just knew (who cares that it is near impossible for the experts to determine) that some of these babies were roosters.  I just knew in my knower that they were.  One look in their beady eyes and I was screaming “I have at least 4 roosters!!”  So I did what any insane reasonable person would do.  I went out and bought 6 sex links (guaranteed hens) for a grand total of 13 chickens (I know 8 + 6 = 14 not 13 but I could only get 7 chickens to start with not 8 so I’m doing the right math but thanks for your concern regarding my IQ).

Here’s another voluminous photo:

Now how did that little sex link escape? If she can do it so can I. I'll just use this water dish as a stepping stone to success!

After waking up to free ranging chickens in my HOME I decided it was time for Mr. Pavlov to get his cute little rear in gear and build me the run.  We have the coop but just needed the outdoor run to complete their palace.  He obliged (and called a friend to help…Thanks JIMMY!) In the meantime, I placed a crib rail over the container halting all future free ranging.

The palace. Sorry to the neighbors down wind of the palace 🙂

Even Diva constructionista is at work! When she works you know she must want 'em chickens OUT!

I’d rather allow the chickens to free range but I’m quite sure that a neighborhood lynching would occur so we decided to build a nice sized outdoor run.  Plus the girls (roosters free to good home) would most likely get into these…

My precious garden beds getting ready for planting!

The weather has not been cooperating and the run is not finished.  Yes, that means the stinky chickens are still in my home although I am contemplating other facilities.  On the positive side, one these things leave, my home will seem imaculate!  I cannot even begin to describe the layer of pentrating dust they create.  It gets everywhere and on everything…think dry wall and you have an idea!

How do I cope?

Drowning out dust, filth and smell one sip at a time!

And Mr. Belvedere helps me cope with the realization that I am becoming a redneck.  You know you’re a redneck (maybe even Queen redneck) when you have chickens free ranging in your home.

I need another sip.

The heat and the power of endorphins!

I caught a quick glimpse of the TV yesterday (while I was vacuuming and dropping sweat that could fill a man-made lake) as the youngest was channel surfing (yes, he is male and inherited this trait from his father’s gene pool).  The quick flash I saw was of the USA pictured on a weather map and the entire country was lit up red with 90’s and 100’s across the board.  A meteorologist was standing in front of the weather map speaking to the camera and wearing a look of concern in addition to his slightly wilted and crumpled suit.

That’s all I got.  I couldn’t hear him and before I could power down the sweeper and make a request that the little TV dictator keep that station on for a minute,  he changed the channel.  I debated on using my rank to overtake him and seize power of the arc of the covenant but decided to continue working and sweating.

Sweating has been a part of daily life.  But I’m not complaining (thank God for A/C).  Although apocalyptic, I love the heat.  Ok, so this might be a bit oppressive (we live in the arm pit of the world) but I’d rather have this heat than the horrid blizzard of a winter we had to endure.  Actually, I’d rather have my butt planted in Arizona where there is zero humidity.  The humidity is what kills us here.

Well some of us more or less than others.  My middle child, Dos, cannot handle humidity in any form and Mr. Pavlov was birthed and raised in the heat ridden, humid, tropical Philippines.

Dos is a big boy and an avid sport player.  By big I do not mean McHeffer, I mean large for his age.  At 12yrs he is 5’7″ and 160#  The boy is solid.  Think hitting a brick wall and you’ll get it about right.  He is also freakishly strong.  I already cut his hair so I know for a fact that we don’t have any Sampson going on here (and he has also taken sips of fermented drink – another non-Sampson trait).

Thanks to his size, power, attitude and natural talent, he is readily accepted into the sport arena and plays just about everything known to mankind.  I have the mileage on my newer Clown Car (the non-affectionate name for our 5 seater downsize after the death of our beloved Honda Minivan) to prove it.  Currently he is on a basketball league.  Outdoors.  An outdoor basketball league. Clear?  Outdoors.  He had a game yesterday in the 100+ degree hot and humid temps.

My Mama heart was feeling a bit sorry for my big sized baby.  Hey, I still remember the day he was born like it were yesterday.  His head and shoulders are the most vivid of the memories (I will remember them forever!) but he will always be my baby no matter how large he becomes.  So when he came to me all pathetic looking asking if he could sit this game out, I knew my sports crazed kid was suffering from the heat.  Was it truly worth it?  Making a kid who sweats buckets, becomes easily dehydrated and then vomits up the attempts at rehydration play in this dangerous heat index?  The image of him hurling all over the court and the other players sealed the decision for me.  I told him he could remain at home.  Indoors.

Now Mr. Pavlov is a heat eating machine.  I think he possesses a mutant tropical gene that enabled him to live (as in play outdoors) in the Philippines. The man is unphased.  He is also an avid participant in sports and his true love is cycling (think Lance Armstrong as in cycling NOT his true love…just so we’re clear!)

He would sleep with his bike if I permitted her in our bed….but I don’t and she is confined to the garage or on the trainer in our family room.  He cycles 25 miles to work “just cause” and pushes himself regardless of the heat index.  He laughs at the sun and the gnats don’t even attempt to buzz his head, dive bomb his eyes or lodge in his sweat.  They know better.  Mosquitos don’t touch him either (I’m thinkin’ the mutant gene repels them).

He is an outdoor god.  But I’m not quite ready to place an image of him in my garden or erect a totem pole just yet.  Even though these next few pictures are totally statue worthy:

What heat?

Unzipping is my secret for ventilation

Feel the breeze baby!

On basketball day he came home from work wearing similar garb to the above photos.  Yes, he cycled to work, again.  His cycling suit was unzipped (see above)and he was joyfully sweaty.

I wondered how long the joy would last once I informed him that I permitted our heat intolerant child to skip his game.  Without further delay I spit out the information.  Mr. Pavlov looked at me, then glanced at Dos lounging on the couch wearing only his basketball shorts and playing with his ipad (nice presentation Dos!), then glanced back at me.  I waited for the speech about team commitment, keeping kids active and off of brain numbing computer gadgets and TV (Mr. Pavlov is also ex Airborne) but instead he nodded and replied a simple,

“Yea, it is hot.”

I offered Mr. Pavlov a glass of water and told Dos he should be thankful for a little thing called endorphins!

Summer, Hippies and Hoes

I was outside today (exactly one week into our summer vacation) and, as I hit my leg on the hoe, I smiled.  Smiled?  Yes, a big toothy smile.  Why?  Because I was reminded of this post that I posted last year at this exact time.  The next time you see a hoe, I bet you will smile too.

The place of my conception???

Our summer is in full swing and I love it!!  I love the carefree schedule that summer brings.  The chill out, peace, love and be happy days of summer.  The more I think about my emotional make-up I become increasingly convinced that my parents were closet hippies and my conception took place in a flower power van during a make love, not war convention.  I am so chill that reefer could be my middle name…but I’ll stick with Ann.

The clouds part, the heavens open, a light shines forth and a majestic voice is heard saying "I can't believe she is fishing!!"

What have we been doing?  Absolutely nothing yet everything!  We take this time to focus on the important things in our lives which are people.  Our days are filled with family, friends, devotions and of course fun! Fun that is, until I hear the expected words sung throughout our home– the aggravating wails of “I’m BORED” — and just one mere week into summer break too!  So this chilled out person kicked everyone outside equipped with hoes, rakes, diggers and whatever I could find in the shed and told them to go show my garden and yard some love.  I felt proud.  I nipped that boredom in the bud. Yes. I. Did.

Buuut, then I realized this single act of forced labor may come back to haunt me.  Why?  Because my youngest could be heard shouting “c’mon hoe let’s go love on mom’s yard.” 

Yep.  Priceless, I know.  And I even laughed…a little, until I visualized the repercussions of being out in a very public place and…you get it.  He loves to repeat new-found adjectives and has done so before (click to read)…quite well!

Of course these words spoken in innocence caused the older two to burst out into convulsions of uncontrollable laughter which encouraged him to shout even louder…aaannnddd a vicious cycle is born.

Sigh, note to self: NEVER give a 5-year-old a hoe and tell him to love on your yard because he’s likely to form a complete sentence.

I perfected my maniacal laugh thanks to Sears

After months and months of ark building rain, we have finally received a hefty dose of hot weather.  Spring was non-existent.  We went from 50’s to 90’s within days and most bodies convulsed at the extreme shift.

Not this body because this previous tar roof, baby oil drenched sun bather loves the heat.  The hotter the better!  You see, heat tolerance is my mutant power.  I may drip gallons of sweat that gross little gnats and other bugs get stuck and drown in but I can handle high temps like I was born in the jungle.  However, every mutant has an achilles heel and mine is that I like my sleep.  Somehow suffocating temps and sweat filled sheets tends to interfere with my rest and sanity.

When the thermometer reached mid 90’s you could hear the sound of A/C units coughing and sputtering from their winter slumber.  Instinctively, Mr. Pavlov and I headed for the thermostat to usher some cool climate into our hot box home.  But the “cool” blew out warm air.  We stopped and looked at each other with horror filled expressions as we said in perfectly blended harmony….

….”Sears never came!!!”  Ah Sears, stupid Sears.  Somehow we got roped into a price match from Sears that included a 10 year warranty replace/repair plan on the central A/C we purchased in 2002.  We should have trusted our screaming inner voices and stuck with the local heating and cooling company.  Two years ago our A/C unit began to leak cooling agent and the incredibly intelligent Sears repair men informed us that they would continue to add cooling agent until [insert big burly laugh] “AHAHHAAA-HERRR-HERR-HERR Your warranty runs out then your can pay to have it replaced.”

Um, AHAHHAAA-HERR-HERR….NO! We pushed the issue and after jumping through every imaginable hoop and hours of phone conversations, we were told the A/C would be taken care of and replaced.

Remember the little /repair listed in the warranty? Well it seems that someone, somewhere found the exact part that our A/C unit required and Sears decided to opt for the repair rather than the replace.  Sounds reasonable enough?

The “Part” took 9 MONTHS to come in!!  I think they dug it out of a land fill somewhere.  Sears decided to make us wait 9 months through the heat of summer because they found ‘The Part” in some remote corner of the globe.  Yes, we went without A/C the entire summer last year and after the second day of not sleeping due to suffocation and sweat drenched sheets, this heat walker got a little cranky.  I began to experience flash backs of my childhood days where cool cloths draped all over my body became necessary in order to sleep.  I got twitchy.  I called Sears daily and laughed a maniacal laugh when they informed me it would be a “few more weeks.”  I cried.  I threatened.  I sweated…buckets.  I regretted making fun of my dad for placing a ceiling fan in every room of their home.  I dug out the old school floor fans and tried to make the most of the injustice.  I slept outside for a few minutes until the mosquitos and their all you can eat buffet forced me indoors.

Old school A/C

Finally in December they came to our home with “the Part” and made the repairs to the A/C.  It was DECEMBER and due to the 10,000 feet of snow that buried the outdoor unit, they were unable to adequately charge it.  They were freezing and had frosted snot droplets on their nostrils.  I smiled but then became serious as questions regarding their job performance formed in my mind.  On a normal day I question the quality of their work and somehow I believe freezing temps and frost bite would render these men A/C repair impotent.  But before I could become too concerned, these highly dependable Sears employees said they were finished and would come back in April or May to fully charge the beast with the cooling agent.  They informed me that we were placed on the April/May schedule and they would automatically return.  I nodded and shut the door.

Enter MAY 29th and Mr. Pavlov and I stood staring at each other as beads of sweat formed in our crevices and our A/C blew tropical warm.  SURPRISE!!!!  Sears never came or we’d be feeling some Polar Bear happy temps.  I made the calls while squeezing my stress ball.  Somehow this highly dependable company with its well-trained employees “forgot” about our situation.

Day three of 90 degree weather and we are becoming oddly comfortable with the suffocation and our wet sheets.

Sears said they will be here tomorrow.  Santa Claus is real and so is the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy….and I love my sleep deprived state!

Germs, Poo and Resurrection

My daughter is a germaphobe freak.   Actually, two of my three kids are germ freaks. My second born (and middle child) is the only one who has a cavalier attitude toward microbes.  He was fed enough spiders from his loving older sister at a tender young age before resisting her was possible.  Initially he would furrow his brows and smack at the object while wearing a mixed look of curiously disgusted.  Occasionally Most times I caught feeding time and performed the perfected parental finger swipe retrieving the object.  I’m convinced it was this constant diet of nasty that lowered his freaking-out threshold. 

My germ loving son NEVER gets sick.  That child has a nazi immune system.  And it seems he has been rewarded for enduring all of the meals provided by older sis because nothing in nature, of nature, around nature, or containing nature touches him.  He is the nature whisperer!

Older sis?  Not so much.  She attracts nature just by breathing.  Payback?  Maybe, but we often attract that which we fear or place our focus on.  Whatever we place before our eyes and elevate in our lives, we empower.  It’s like the child who fears becoming like a parent and declares “I will never be like my parent!” They focus so much on the behavior of the parent that often times they become the very behavior they despised.  

Think about it…Have you noticed that there could be a group of people gathered outside but it is always the people who fear bees or are allergic to them that get stung?  The people who fear dogs attract them like Cesar Millan (minus the “ssssttttt” of course).  The people who are afraid of water usually are the first to fall off the boat.  And the people who fear heights too frequently find themselves in nosebleed situations. 

Could it be that the bee people proclaim “I know I’m going to get stung!”  The dog people utter “Dogs are always after me.”  The aqua people respond “I’m going to end up in the water…I just know it.”  And the height people confess “I’m afraid of heights and I know this lift is going to stop!”  All of these people share two things – fear and belief.  Fear of a situation and the belief that IT WILL HAPPEN.

Fear is a powerful emotion.  It is the opposite of faith (some say fear is faith in the wrong kingdom) so it should come as no surprise that fear works.  Hebrews 11:1 tells us in the new living translation that “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”  Now doesn’t the fearful statment of “I just know….[insert feared expectation]” sound very similiar to the faith principal?

I came across this quote a few years  ago and I found it enlightening:

“Fear imprisons, faith liberates; fear paralyzes, faith empowers; fear disheartens, faith encourages; fear sickens, faith heals; fear makes useless, faith makes serviceable and, most of all, fear puts hopelessness at the heart of life, while faith rejoices in its God.”

So what of my daughter who breaths and nature responds?  What could be the worst for a clean-freak germaphobe to experience while taking a leisurely walk through heavily populated Central Park?  Take a look:

It's a direct hit - Bird Poo fresh from Bird Butt!

 Heavily populated Central Park and the bird chose her for this special gift.  I was right beside her…shoulder to shoulder…a few cm and I would’ve been blessed with the gift.  I felt the wind from the falling “load” brush past me but it was not until I heard her wails of disgust that I fully understood what had occurred.

We laughed as we washed off her boots and she said “I’ll never look at these boots the same again….I can still see where the spots are!” 

As we celebrate Easter this weekend I am faithfully thankful for a Savior who has not only [permanently-residue free] washed away my sin and spots, but also is blinded to my sin and never looks at me the same again [I am new]!! 

I am a new creation in Christ. Old things have passed away and all things have become new! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Tanning beds make my white parts tingle.

My daughter, Uno, has wanted to prostrate herself on the hedonistic bed of lights for a couple of years.  I understand her desire for some vitamin D because I began my heated affair with the sun in 8th grade. Actually, the tan was a bi-product of my devotion to stalking the hunky older neighbor boy during his outdoor activities.

I was a dedicated voyeur who spent hours peering at the bronzed god through my Uncle’s high-powered hunting binoculars and subsequently became very tan!  After experiencing the sun’s kiss, I was a committed follower who didn’t cheat until  reaching the age of 16yrs.  At 16yrs I entered my first tanning bed in the name of Prom preparation.   The then 30 min (gasp) fake bake occurred during an era prior to public awareness of the dangers associated with sun exposure.  Given that education has enlightened me on the evils of tanning, I really don’t want my virgin skinned daughter to fry. 

Being the awesome mom that I am [and showing nauseous pictures of old prunes and oozing skin cancer], I have always managed to divert her longing for skin sabotage.   Plus, the child is 1/2 Filipino.  She merely has to look at the sun and she bronzes.  But let’s face it, winters are too long and that type of parenting [fear based pictures of nauseous prunes threatening oozing skin cancer] only works so well for so long…and I knew it.

The day came when she could not be deterred any longer.  Well, I am PARENT and deterrence is always an option but I figured the bake would be a good learning adventure.  I parent the leave and cleave way. Life must be lived. Lessons must be learned.

Sun trackers

We walked into the tan place prepared.  She didn’t falter even when the girl presented Uno with the sun tracker (stickers applied to track tan progress) choices of a Playboy bunny, heart, star, or Hemp leaf.  I knew the heart and star were nixed and I was hoping she didn’t select the porno bunny.  That left the Hemp leaf.  

Wait, what mother secretly hopes for their daughter to pick a brain cell killing marijuana leaf?  The kind who takes her to a place that kills skin cells.

I waited. 

Uno said, “No thanks.  I don’t like any of them.”  Success!  Now, that’s the beauty of proper parenting and preparation baby!

However, what I wasn’t  prepared for was Uno’s “Hey Mom, will you tan with me ’cause I’m kinda afraid.”  Ugh, I have spent years absorbing UV and have the fine lines and wrinkles to prove it.  Miraculously, I appear much younger than my birth age and I’d like to keep it that way.  

How about you?  Do you guys take the risk and tan or avoid the sun at all costs?

My soon to be 40yr old face

With continued tanning this will be me in a few years

Utlimately the yearning for that UV high of old (and Uno’s begging eyes) outweighed the developing lines and wrinkles. Before I could exhale, I found myself horizontal, butt naked and dermally absorbing some rays.

Uno was happily golden after one exposure and with my white parts tingling, I remembered that I deeply dislike tanning beds.