Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Home Town Tradition

Thursday of this week was a unseasonably warm day. We took it upon ourselves to get some outside work done. The side of our house that doesn't get much sun was showing signs of mildew and some mold was forming. We pre-determined to get that cleaned up on the next nice day we had.
Since we have a two story house we had to use a very long ladder. Which meant waiting for sweetheart to come home as one needs to stabilize the ladder for the one that is scrubbing.
I mixed up some bleach and water and filled up one of those garden/bug sprayers with the solution. Sweetie climbed up, up, up! It didn't take us more than 30 minutes to get the side of the house done! It was fun actually.
We had gotten a quote to get the side done. $100! Well, we just saved. I was able to get bleach for .76 cents each in three gallon containers. We only used one! That mold/mildew mixture rinsed right off.
As it was now nearing 6:30 pm and I had been outside helping I didn't have dinner ready. Sweetie and the boys didn't want to wait on me to fix anything either so they collectively decided to go out to eat.
I had a treat in mind. Sweetie and our middleschool son had never been to Johnny's Big Burger. Clarksville icon, right? For those of you who aren't familiar, Johnny's is a college kid hangout/burger institution as it is located across from Austin Peay State University. Many famous folks have eaten there as they were told this was a "Clarksville must do". The most famous thing there is the burger of course, but also the honeybun with icecream! Grinning from ear to ear our youngest son and I couldn't wait to introduce them to Johnny!
Johnny has all sorts of things to choose from, you can get breakfast, a shake, burgers, ect. You get the picture. As you enter the diner, you immediately see the grill and the big bar and the bar stools that many a person has graced over the years. There is a jukebox in the corner crooning out tunes, over to the left is a sitting area with some booths, and a few videogames. Mrs. Pac Man anyone? Also one can pause for a moment and check out the old photographs of the many athletes that have visited and left there mark here.
We sat at the bar. Somehow I can't bring myself to sit in the back. All the converstaions happen in front of the grill. Tonight the topic of conversation was about the basketball game between APSU and Mississippi. Last time they were here, APSU lost, so they were ready to bring it on again tonight! One of Johnnys waiters took our orders of cheeseburgers and crinkle fries. We then took the time to look around and get involved in conversations with the others at the bar. How fun! Quick as a whip our food was ready. MMMMM! We dove in! Once finished with that, the boys got chocolate shakes and Sweetie and I shared a honeybun with icecream. Johnny takes a honey bun and puts it on the grill so it gets nice and warm! Then he scoops out a big blob of vanilla icecream and puts it on top of the bun! YUMMY!
What a great way to spend an evening!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Flat squirrel

Today is February 26, 2009. On my way home from taking our eldest to middle school, I ran over a squirrel. I killed a squirrel.
There he was chattering to his little friends on the shoulder of the road. I just knew it wouldnt jump my way. But it did! Uggh!
I was on a two lane road. There was a car on the other side so I couldn't get over. It was horrible!
Poor little thing won't he high fiving anyone in the center of the road, like on the commercials. He ran under my tire.
It was horrible.

There I still don't feel better. I hope he was scooped up by something today so it will not be there for me to see.

Monday, February 23, 2009

My Ghetto Rental

I dropped off the family car on Monday early morning to be repaired from the semi blown tire damage to the hood and grill. Meaning no vehicle. So.. rental.
First one I was given was a joke. I have never seen something so icky. Icky meaning dirty. Just looking at it from the outside I protested. It had that marker stuff on the front windshield like it does when one gets a car from an auction. The windows were all fingerprinty and there were numerous dents and dings, missing paint ect.
The gal from this rental place is amused with my walking around the car taking pictures while asking are you sure this is my rental?
"Your husband signed off on it." was the snotty reply.
Knowing my sweetheart as I do, and doing a quick inventory of the last few days I knew I didn't do anything to deserve such treatment. However, I was in a rush to get kids to school so I hastily checked the paper to see if indeed my sweeties signature was there. Yes it was.. hmmmph. Next make sure chickie there had notated all the dings and missing paint..
I pointed out some stuff she didn't notate and she says, "If it is two inches or more then I write it down"
"Hmmph, I will not sign this paperwork until these are noted." I insist.
I can feel this womans distain for me and all that is good on this pretty cold Monday morning. I can read the curses for me written all over her face.
" Just sign the paper" she insists, " It is fine".
" umm no its not."
Okay I haven't mentioned that I had son #2 with me did I? He was very interested in what I was going to pick up, and he wanted to be driven to school in style. Son # 1 was dropped off earlier so he missed out on this pleasure of seeing me all torked.
Son #2 is now finding great pleasure in helping me find issues with the car to show the lady. Now that she has two of us making her Monday morning special she stomps her foot and says, "Please it is cold out here".
I toook the clipboard from her (to her pleasure) and made my own notes on the side. Then I initialed off on it. Noting the time on my watch.
She handed me the keys and turned on her heel and marched off.
Ookay... this car had obviously been sitting awhile, as there was dirt and frost and somthing had walked across it in the night. Oh, on the front of this car was a California license plate and on the back in the window was a temp tag. (thats illegal a sympathetic friend pointed out) Great... as I drive this in the getto observation dome that it was... someone would think I purchased this piece of ick! Humble.. humble.. humble.
So, I go over to unlock the door.
Ewww.. ya know how sometimes when you open something the smell just hits ya! Well, guess what? Yeah... add to the ick. Second observation is that the floorboards are dirty and there is trash in the floor.
Out loud I say, "Surely this is not the car I'm supposed to drive".
Son # 2... starts humming, "bah ba bada badda buh budda budda" Okay if your brain hasn't picked on that tume its the theme song to Sanford and Son.
He opens the passenger side door. "Mom its sticky".. now we are laughing.. this is going to be an adventure. We start getting silly wondering if it will backfire when we start it, or will it start?
BTW, getting to school on time is out the window at the moment.
Snicker, snort.. "Look there is something hard and boogery looking on the window, Mom I can't get the back door open. Can I sit up front? Guess what I found? Oh Mom loooooooook!I'm telling Dad this isn't a nice thing to do to us" Son #2 spouts from the other side of the car. Its true the two back doors will not open. Hee hee. Go figure.
Yes, I'm laughing. What else can I do? I stick the key in the ignition. To the cars defense it starts. While we are waiting on the windshield booger blast to melt off we check out the rest of the car. Doors open now so that it will air out. (the back doors took some work, but we got them open. The big trash I put in a walmart bag to show to chickies boss later. Where did I get the bag? I found one.. it had blown into the chain link fence almost two totaled cars down. Closing the doors using the handles from the inside was like getting pranked..ya know with the jelly stuff?
The stearing wheel had obviously been used by someone who didn't wash their hands. Ick..
We put the car in drive. Ha! carefully I made my way out of the parking lot and to the closest car wash. I splurged and got the package. It would at least look better on the outside. Then I purchased some roach bombs and set those off.. just joking. I did get an air freshner and about made us choke on the fumes.
In this scarey but outwardly clean car we made our way to school.
"Mom just drop me off quick".
"No problem son, I dont want anyone identifying me in this either!"
I dropped Brian off so quick I'm sure I voilated some school speed rule.
I drove home, prayed the neighbors weren't looking and parked it in the garage.
This is where the serious work started.I vacuumed out that puppy, Lysol'd the stearing wheel and door handles. Then I scrubbed it down. Oh yes. If I was going to drive this ick, it would at least be clean.
Now, proudly I had a clean previously slimed used rental car.
To finish this story properly, I need to let you in on the fact that chickies boss was talked to about the car, sweetheart did this for me as he knew.. he KNEW I would have a field day in that man's office and possibly free rentals!
Sweetheart did good and so did the manager. Sweetie came back to me with a 2009 Nissan Maxima. Good job.
This car was clean..smelled good.. go figure.
Moral to this story? Make the best of what you are given, take notes, don't sign until you are satisfied, and don't let folks get away with slacking off at their job.
Oh and keep a can of Clorox wipes handy you never know when you might get into an icky situation!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Look how much our little Sasha has grown! She will be a year old end of April, she is now up to 5 pounds. I've found out she is actually a toy rat terrier. The breeder called her the runt. I look forward to visiting her birthplace in the spring and seeing what her brothers and sister look like. (unless they have been adopted)
Her parents weren't very big either, but I bet they were ten pounds...
Sasha likes to play catch, is protective of her family, and keeps us laughing a lot. She likes to go for car rides and take the boys to school in the mornings, likes walks with me, she snuggles under her blanket on Dad's lap every evening during TV time, and she enjoys being spoiled by her Aunt T and Uncle D.

Happy Valentines Day Chester!

Chester had just finished eating his lunch when he saw a big red heart on his calendar. Looking closer, he noticed that the very next day was Valentines Day. Chester thought about Valentines Day while he washed his face and paws. A smile lifted his whiskers as he remembered this day last year. Chester and his friend, Dart the bluebird had found a bag of candy hearts. Each heart was a different color and each had a message on them. Together, Chester and Dart gave one to each friend they met that day. What a great day that was!
Chester was happy as he prepared for a nap. Chipmunks take lots of naps. It is one of their favorite things to do. Sometime between brushing his teeth and fluffing his bed of leaves, Chester remembered he wasn’t ready for Valentines Day. He hadn’t seen Dart today, and he didn’t have any candy to give away!
“What will I do?” thought Chester; “and where will I find a valentine gift?’ Chester sat down on the edge of his bed and put his head in his paws so he could think. Soon his left ear began to twitch, then his right ear. He had an idea!
“I will make a special valentine all by myself!” he said aloud. Chester’s excitement grew as he thought about his friends and family and the gifts he would make for them. “Hmmm… there is Mom, Dad, my little brother Boomer, and my best friends Dart and Turtle.” Chester said to himself as he scampered down one of his tunnels.
He ran to the left, then to the right, all the way to the end where he stopped. There it was – Chester’s treasure room! Inside this room Chester’s ‘treasures’ were stacked on little shelves. See, Chester likes to collect things. Almost every time Chester goes out he finds something interesting to bring home. Just last week he found a ribbon under some leaves, a dime, and a shiny gold button over by the lake. On gloomy days Chester liked to come down to his treasure room and just look everything over, and wonder what it was. Thanks to Dart and Turtle he learned what most of them had been used for, but he couldn’t understand why anyone would leave them in the woods.
As Chester looked around his room, he found several things that his friends and family might like to have. Chester got very busy, he cleaned, he scrubbed and he created. Several hours later, the very sleepy chipmunk was finished!
Chester filled his little wagon with his valentine gifts, and pulled it up through the tunnels back to his bedroom. There was a small pink mirror for his Mom, a warm scarf for his Dad, a shiny red toy car for Boomer, and special handmade Valentine cards for Dart and Turtle. As he snuggled under the leaves he thought about all the fun he would have giving his friends and family the valentines he made all by himself! Sweet Dreams Chester!

Happy New Year Chester!

Our story opens as heavy snowflakes slowly waft down from the skies over Clarksville, Tennessee. Excitement is in the air as children awake to a ground covered in snow. It wasn’t long before the neighborhoods around town are filled with their screams of delight as snowball fights and snowmen are built. Even parents could be seen racing sleds down the snowy hillsides.
Chester is awake. He yawns and then reaches his front paws up, up over his head, and then stretches each leg one at a time. He is ready to start his day.
What is that? He hears a familiar voice! “Chester, Chester!” His ears twitch as he hurries to the entrance of his home. Waiting there for him is Dart the bluebird.
“Chester! Look! It snowed last night!” Dart said as his head turned from side to side. “It looks like this all over town!”
“Hi Dart! “ Chester took a step out and sniffed the snow with his nose. “Oh it is cold!” he laughed. This wet, white stuff was everywhere. It was on the ground, the trees, the bushes, everything.
Dart watched as Chester explored the snow. Timidly at first Chester took a step, but once he realized there was nothing to be afraid of, he ran around in little circles, and even rolled around in it.
“Can we eat it?” asked Chester.
“If you want to, but it is just frozen water” laughed Dart.
“I’m hungry!” replied Chester. Chester scooped some snow into his mouth. Yes, Dart was right, it was just water. Chester giggled. “Something as neat as snow should somehow taste different, don’t ya think Dart?” Dart nodded as he hopped about in the bush looking for worms.
“Hey, there are some yummy berries over by the lake, want to go get some?” Dart asked.
Chester enjoyed seeing his friend. Since Dart could fly, Chester could always get the latest news from him.
“Sure!” Chester said as he and Dart headed off through the woods. It was a beautiful morning. The sunrays were streaming down between the trees and the snow just sparkled. As the friends walked together they saw lots of berries on bushes.
“Why do you want me to come all the way to the lake if there are plenty of berries here for us to eat?” questioned Chester.
Dart stopped, and cocked his head sideways, “Because I want to show you something,” he said as he flapped his wings and soared into the air. Chester loved to watch Dart fly; it was hypnotizing. Chester stopped, sat on his haunches and watched.
Chester’s tail swished in excitement as he remembered the last time he went to the lake. He had gone with his family this summer. He remembered he had seen ducks and turtles and that there were nuts and berries everywhere.
“Are the ducks going to be there?” Chester asked.
“Most have flown south for the winter, but there may be a few” said Dart. As the pair rounded the corner they saw a new piece of wood sticking out of the ground. Curious, they both stopped.
“What does it say, Dart?”
“It says Dunbar Cave State Park,” replied Dart.
Before the two had time to wonder what that meant they heard a loud “Surprise!” Chester could see ducks, geese, squirrels, and a turtle waving at them. “Surprise Chester!” they repeated.
“Happy New Year!” said yet another familiar voice. Chester turned and there behind Dart was his Mom, Dad and little brother, Boomer!
“Did we surprise you Chester, did we?” asked Boomer running toward him.
“Yes you did!” Chester said as he hugged his family. “Now I know why Dart wanted me to come down here to get berries!”
“See why I wanted you to hurry? Your family wanted to spend New Years Day with you!” laughed Dart.
For the rest of the day Chester ran and played with his friends and his family around the park. He explored new tunnels in the leaves with his friend Turtle, played hide and seek with Boomer, and ate lots of berries with Dart.
What will you do with your family on New Years Day?

Merry Christmas Chester !

Chester the chipmunk was tired of being down in his burrow. See, just last month Chester had gotten brave and ventured out past the bushes and had been seen by a human, and chased by a dog!
Chester stretched, and yawned, and wondered. "Should I go out again? What if the dog or that child is still up there?" He held very still and listened. All Chester could hear was a clicking sound.
Click, click, and click. It was a steady sound, but still one he had never heard before. Chester was curious. What do you think Chester did? Yep, he slowly climbed his way out of the hole.
As he came to the top, he could see it was a cold day by the frost on the leaves blown up by the old oak tree. "Brrrrrr" he thought, as he backed down just enough so his nose and little black eyes could still see out, but his little body was still in the warm ground.
Chester's ears were searching for the sound. Then he heard it. Click, click, and click. It was coming from the other side of the bushes. "This time I will wait before I run out there again." he thought.
Good thing he waited, as soon, he saw boots. They were worn by a man who was making the clicking sound. Chester's eyes grew bigger as he watched the man hang something over the bushes.
It was green, like the bushes, but had little light bulbs on it. Chester watched as the man finished, and then walked away. Where was he going? What was this new green thing? Chester was curious.
He crept out of his hiding place and ran under the bush. It was safe there, and he could watch and see what was happening. The man was placing more of these green things on each bush, and now he was hanging them up in the trees.
Chester stayed under the bush all afternoon watching as the man worked in his yard. Then he heard it, the barking. When Chester turned his neck as far to the right as he could without turning around he could see the dog was on the front porch of the humans' home. This time the dog wasn't chasing him! He was barking at something else!
Chester watched as a big yellow bus pulled up in front of the house, and a boy and a girl got off. Before the children had a chance to talk to the man, the dog had bounded over to them, jumping and licking their faces.
Chester could hear something about school being out. "What is school?" Chester thought. The children appeared happy, so Chester was happy for them. Then he heard something about holidays. "What is a holiday?" he said to himself. Chester was curious. Chester watched as the children went inside the house and the man continued his work.
Chester must have gotten very comfortable there under the bush, as the next thing he knew, it was getting dark outside. Chester had never been outside in the night before.
The human family was inside the house; he could see them by the light coming through the windows. Chester wondered what they were doing. It looked like they had a tree inside their house! They did! "Why do they have a tree in their house?" he wondered.
Then the most beautiful thing happened! The tree in the house lit up, there were so many colors! He had never seen anything like that before! Chester's eyes widened to take it all in. "Wow!" was all that came out of Chester's little round mouth.
Then, just as quickly the lights came on outside! Chester looked up toward where the moon usually was, yes, it was still there! The chipmunk then realized that the bushes and trees, and even the humans' house were all glowing! "Oh!" he exclaimed as he saw that even the bush he was under was all different colors.
Chester was scared, but excited all at the same time. He ran around his little hideaway under the bush in little circles trying to figure out if he should stay and look, or go back home.
Instinct told him to go home, so he quickly darted back to his home under the oak tree. Once; down deep under ground, Chester circled his bed one, two, three times before he drifted off to sleep dreaming about all he had seen that day.

Clarksville's Chester the Chipmunk

When I was kid, I read everything I could get my hands on. The librarian knew me by name, and eventually let me in on helping her order books! Awesome! Once, I got to go to a book fair with her in Nashville to order some upcoming books! Oh that was a true treat! So, my dream to become a published author began.
It lay dormant for several years. I published some poems my senior year in a poetry book, but nothing since. I've got jounals with all sorts of partial ideas. I refer back to them, one day I hope to compile them into a book of sorts. Or maybe several books!
Last year I was graciously given the opportunity to write short stories for a local magazine, The Clarksville Family. This is where Chester began. I've been asked to post my Chester stories on here also, so folks out of town can read them. Thank you!
Okay here goes! :

Chester Takes A Chance

Chester the chipmunk was in a hurry. The weather was turning cooler and the leaves were falling which meant it was time to gather all the nuts and seeds he could find. The winter months weren't far away and he needed to have a good supply.
Chester was having a good morning. He had found lots of acorns. As he stuffed each nut into his cheeks they got bigger and bigger. When he couldn't hold another one he scurried over to his secret tunnel under the old oak tree.
Chester made his home deep underground. Using his paws he pushed his acorns out into a nest of leaves. Covering them up he scampered back out to look for more. He discovered some seeds and a few berries on the bushes near the edge of the forest. It didn't take him long to gather all the fruit from the inside.
He knew if he wanted more he would have to go to the other side of the bushes. The problem was that they were out in the open which meant he would risk being seen.
"Maybe if I was real quick I could get those big juicy ones." Chester said as he stuffed his latest goodies into his nest. Then he remembered his mother warning him to not go outside the safety of the forest.
Making his way back toward the bushes, Chester argued with himself. "Should I, or shouldn't I?" he thought.
Slowly he crept between the bushes. He sat very still. He saw a dog and a boy playing with a ball not to far away. Even closer he saw a few birds picking some berries for themselves.
If they weren't scared, then he wasn't either! First he stuck his nose out, whiskers twitching; then every so slowly he eased his little body out in front of the bush. The birds kept eating berries and the boy and dog didn't even see him.
Chester happily scampered about selecting the biggest and juiciest berries he saw. Every so often he would look over his shoulder to see if anyone was paying attention.
Soon his tummy and his cheeks were getting full. He should head back. But there it was... the biggest blackberry he had ever seen. He wondered how he had missed it before. It was on the bush closest to the boy and dog.
With his ears laid back, Chester ran as fast as he could toward the bush. Quick as a wink, he grabbed that blackberry, stuffed it in his cheeks and was heading back when he heard the barking. The dog must have seen him.
Chester didn't dare turn around he just ran and ran. He didn't stop as he dove down into his hole under the oak tree. As he emptied out his cheeks he could hear the dog barking near the tip of his hole.
A small amount of dirt slid down the inside of his hole. The dog was trying to dig down into his house. Chester crawled deep down into his nest of leaves and hid. He was glad his tunnels went deep into the earth. He would be safe, but he was still scared.
He listened to the dog until he heard a child's voice. After what seemed like forever, it was quiet again. Chester decided he had enough nuts and berries to last him all winter. He had learned his lesson. He would stay in his hole for awhile. Or.... would he?

Etiquette Training at the Symphony

In the life of our boys, they never know when their mother will spring some sort of "grown up/learning experience" upon them.
Since our oldest son is 11 and our youngest 9, I figured they were old enough to behave themselves at a two hour music program put on by our local university. So, last night.. off we went.
We had to be there at 6:30 so that we could attend the discussion before the presentation. Which meant, hurry up with the homework, choke down your dinner, and lets go! You aren't wearing that are you? Uhuh. Some battles are not worth it. Besides, it was a community event and there were lots of college students in jeans who behaved worse than anything the boys dreamed up. I was able to overhear one highschool/college kid saying to a professor about not dressing as he should, " I was born in the 80's, our generation is more laid back." Which then lead into another discussion I wasn't privy to, besides that my sweetie was beside me snorting about the kid born in the 80's! ha!
The Gateway Chamber Ensemble, conducted by Gregory Wolynec, performed Mozart's "Gran Partita" serenade was played in full. Which means all seven movements were played over a 45 minute time frame. We were also treated to Serenade in Eb, Op.7 by Richard Strauss.
Oh it was beautiful! There were obo's, clarinets, horns, bassoons, flutes, basically it was a wind instrument event.
First order of business was to explain the "etiquette" of such an event. When to clap, when to be still, (stop laughing!), when one was allowed to move about the auditorium. Just because I'm anal.. I explained no loud talking, whisteling..ect.
With those rules swirling around their little heads, I ended with, "Remember enjoy yourself!"
Wow. Only a Mom!
Overall they were awesome. Our oldest is really into music, so he enjoyed himself. Our youngest? He shifted, asked why they didn't play something faster...(I believe he takes after his father). Oh yes! He fell asleep. He lasted through the Strauss piece, and the discussion, but not the Mozart piece.
Since we got in around 9:20 I popped in a classical music CD for them to listen to as they drifted off into dreamland. I truly hope exposing these type of environments to the kids will help mold them into well rounded leaders in the future.
Born in the 80's! Ha! Our boys were born in the late 90's and they had better be dressed the way they are supposed to for such an event!