Posts Tagged With: raising children

~ Picnic In A Hurricane ~

It all started with the small idea that we go to Lowes and buy a simple $90.00 picnic table for Pop-Pop’s cottage at the beach.  A table where the kids can eat without getting yelled at for doing so in wet, sandy-butted bathing suits.

My Captain got that familiar look in his beautiful eyes and said in his deep, quiet voice, “We could build one way stronger than anything on the market.”

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The next thing we knew, he and Varmint and Critter were doing math computations, and trying to say “3 and 3/16ths” three times fast.

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There is something you should know about My Captain:  He has more structural engineering background than one OCD man should have… and when he has a structural challenge before him, he takes it seriously.

Perhaps a little too seriously.

This anal-retentive trait served him well when he was the Task Force Leader for Maryland Task Force One during the rescue mission at the Pentagon on 9/11.  This served him well when he was working the rubble pile at the OK City Bombing.  This came in handy when he was at Hurricane Katrina’s Search and Rescue efforts.  But when he takes on a small task like a picnic table….it becomes a little overkill.

He was putting struts and braces on his struts and braces.  He was using a heavier wood than would normally be required…and more of it. He had impact drivers and hammer drills out.  He used pulleys and mechanical advantage systems.  There was rebar littering the deck, and he wasn’t even using concrete.

He was building a picnic table so structurally sound, it could withstand a Class V hurricane….complete with Tsunami….during a tornado.

But we love him and his good intent, and cheered him on the whole time.

After day one, we thought he was finished.  Silly, silly us!

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Apparently, he had just begun.

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On day two, he added cross braces and more diagonal struts.

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On day three he added double reinforced cross supports for the umbrella stake.

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This table, I kid you not, weighs at least 2 tons.

And after day three, he turned to me and said, “Ok, you take it from here.”

I blinked innocently, and he handed me the Dewalt Sander.

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And I’ve been sanding ever since.

You see, all of those cross braces and struts and double reinforced thingy-ma-bobs have hard, splintery edges that are kid unfriendly.  My job is to make it kid friendly.

And in the shower, while I’m picking saw dust out of crevices on my body that would prefer NOT to have saw dust, I can’t help but wish a hurricane would come to test the table.

We’re THAT proud of it.

Obviously we need to get out more……

 

Bethany Beach, DE, USA

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

~ Critter Vs The Rooster ~

We are taking care of chickens this week.  For a friend. A friend who thinks we are responsible and trustworthy.  A friend who thinks enough of my children to invite us into this wonderfully fowl world of hers.

So we gather eggs.  We change water.  We spread calcium pellets.  We scatter feed.

We watch out for the resident black snakes who are known to show up from time to time.

And we avoid the rooster.

The Rooster.

THE Rooster.

Let me tell you something, my critter is not a calm child.  He is a bundle of energy, full of impulse and joy.

Roosters, apparently, do not appreciate these qualities in a human caretaker.

We had finished up the work and egg gathering portion of our visit this morning, and were embarking on our talking-to-the-hens portion, when Critter, in his usual exuberant fashion, bounded from the door of the barn to the coop.  The Rooster, who was coming in the exact opposite direction, took umbrage to this and attacked Critter’s calf.

There was horrible squawking.  There was gut-wrenching crying.  There was blood.

Fortunately, My Captain had come with us this morning, and hightailed Critter to our car and it’s very-oft used first-aid kit.  Critter’s wound had to be well cleaned because Rooster claws are full of, well, CRAP.  Nasty, bacteria-ridden chicken crap.

Varmint and I stayed at the coop and calmed all the occupants down, with a watchful eye on The Rooster From Hell, otherwise known as RFH.   Frankly, it was already business as usual to them.  Even the RFH, who simply strutted and cocked around like “That’s right!  And there’s more where THAT came from!”

Critter eventually stopped crying and asked me in the most pitiful voice I’ve ever heard him use if we could boil the eggs we gathered this morning so he could eat them for lunch.

“That would make me feel a lot better, Mom.  It would serve him right, too.”

I guess the lesson here is that revenge isn’t best served cold.  It’s best served Hard Boiled.

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

~ Varmint and Critter and The Bee ~

What a weird evening.  I spent it at a spelling bee.

Both of my children entered the Monocacy Elementary School Spelling Bee.  Both of them made it to Finals.  Both of them made it to the winner’s circle.  Varmint got 3rd, and Critter got 2nd.

Understand something….let me be VERY CLEAR:   If it were not for Spellcheck, you would not be able to discern half of the words I write on Mama Boe.

Clearly they got their orthographizing talents from their father.

I was not looking for an entertaining evening.  I mean, let’s face it, I’ve gone from exciting nights out on the town in my 20’s to an evening at the elementary school spelling bee in my 40’s. I really did not have high expectations for the evening.

But talk about excitement! Holy. Stinkin. Moly! It was more stressful than going to the racetracks.  I mean, I was on the edge of my friggin’ seat.  And to have BOTH of my kids going head to head on the stage…there isn’t enough Xanax in the world for that kind of pressure.

Varmint got taken out by the word ‘Cemetery’.  Critter got taken out by the word ‘Stomach’.  Neither one of them will ever ever ever spell those words incorrectly again, that I can promise you.

And then at the end of the evening, the school had a raffle.  One of the prizes was “Vice Principal for the day.”  Critter won it, and was overjoyed.

Before we left, I asked Varmint how she felt.  She was pleased that she had given it a try, and pleased that she had gotten to the winner’s circle.  I could tell that she was a little disappointed, though.  I had watched her study the word lists, and watched her nerves and hopes throughout the process.  She was a real trooper and doing her best to be mature about not winning first place.

Then I asked Critter how he felt. He said it was good that he got Second place, because red is his favorite color and that was the color of the medal around his neck, but what he was REALLY psyched about was winning Vice-Principal for the day.

So, let me get this straight:  He survived longer than all but one of the many contestants on the stage after several gruelling rounds of spelling bee, but what he was most proud of for the evening was winning a raffle? Winning a game of chance?

I thought Varmint was going to punch him for sure.

It’s a good thing he’s fast.

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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