Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tales from the grocery clerk

As one always looking at the silly side of life… I had an interesting conversation at the local health foods market last week that I just had to share. I seem to have a knack for starting up conversations with random people…maybe that’s why I was nicknamed “Chatty Cathy” back in my youth. I actually had the doll too!!

So, anyways, I was in the checkout line and could tell there was something going on with the customer in front of me but not wanting to be “Harriet the Spy” (for you younger readers…that’s an old book… the kind with paper…not on an e-reader) I continued to place my groceries on the belt and minded my own business. The customer left and the clerk (probably in her late 50’s to early 60’s) looked flustered. I smiled and she, who has waited on me many times, very professionally says in a whispering grumble…. “I don’t mean to be a (blank) but who pays for a $20 order with 3 forms of payment?”  I chuckled and mumbled something about “gotta love working with the public” and she proceeds to go into a myriad of stories about customers. I could have sat there for hours and listened to her.
Ok, so forget not wanting to be Harriet the Spy, I dashed out to my car to write them down so I could share a few with you….
One day she had an older man come through her line and he wanted to use the credit/debit machine for the first time. She asked him if he wanted to pay debit or credit and he asks “Do I speak the credit card number into the box?” Hey….honest mistake…. It is called a Verifone. She encouraged him to try scanning it through the swipe-r  thing.

Another customer came through sharing with her a recipe for a “system” cleanse that involved lemon juice, honey and cayenne pepper. He said it worked wonders. Since when have we become so comfortable as a society to share those kinds of secrets??? He left and the woman behind got up to pay and said “Do you mean he doesn’t shower but washes with that stuff?” I can only imagine how that clerk had to explain what he meant by “cleanse” to her.

Lastly, a male customer was purchasing vitamins and asked her what the vitamin return policy was at this store. She explained it was 30 days. He then proceeds to ask her how long it takes for vitamins to start working. She then looks at the label of his purchase and reads  “Male sexual enhancement” and without looking at his face, hands him the receipt and tells him to call the number on the back of the receipt if he wants more info.
What kind of picture did you think I was gonna put up to go with that story?

Gotta love people!!! I sure do!!! Be kind to your local store clerks...they have a tough job.
Have a great week people and laugh…. It does a body good…. Immediately.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Memorial Day weekend....yeah summer is here!!

Yeah….Memorial Day weekend!!  Summer unofficially begins!! It’s my favorite time of year, with picnics and get-togethers, people gardening and spending their free time outdoors soaking up the sun. I pretty much love everything about summer….except lawn décor. I’m not a big fan of it. Never have been and probably never will. I guess I believe that nature needs nothing to enhance its natural decorations.
Today’s post will highlight for you why I’m not a fan. My apologies to those of you who are, this is nothing personal. I’m not talking about all lawn décor. Some of it can be tastefully done but the majority is..... well..... see what you think.
Back in the days of my youth, we used to have someone in my house that loved lawn décor. She loved those shiny lawn balls that sit on a pedestal. My sister used to make fun of them and actually got blamed when my father accidentally hit it with a rock while mowing the lawn and broke it but did not confess and let her take the fall. Ahhhh…gotta love my dad!!

Then there were the giant butterflies that were landing on the sides of homes a few years back. I can't find a picture of the ones I'm talking about but if you lived back east about 20 years ago....you know what I mean. If you’ve got butterflies that big on your home….call an exterminator….it’s a problem!!

How about the lawn jockeys? What is that like a monument to little people? Wouldn’t that be considered politically incorrect?

Or the pink flamingo? What does that say….your house is a zoo?

Or how about the tubs or toilets holding flowers? Not even gonna add my comments to that!!
Now…. I must confess my house is not exempt from yard décor. If you know my husband…. you will know that he loves to bring home his share of junk collectibles which he also proudly displays around the yard. Why do I put up with this…. Because I don’t want him bringing it in the house.

But here is what I’ve learned about life….as soon as you complain out loud about something…. God has a sense of humor and this is what He does. I walked outside one morning to see this in my neighbor’s yard and I get to see it EVERY morning when I get in my car.

                          Why yes, that is a dragon with a lawn ball ornament!!!

Have a wonderful Memorial Day and enjoy your summer!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I've been flagged

I used to work in customer service when I worked for a large corporate travel agency back in the 80’s. Back then, if a customer had a problem with any portion of their trip…it was my job to research and resolve the problem. It was a tough job- satisfying when the client was happy but not so much when I couldn’t fix the problem. It was difficult when my efforts were not recognized by the customer but life went on. I’m wondering what has happened to customer service over the last 20 years???
Last week I had a run in with my neighborhood tree service. Here is what customer service looks like in 2011. This is a large company who is contracted to work with our gas and electric company. That means they are paid well and they have lots of job security…I’m trying to be nice here.  For the three years that we have lived in this house, they come out twice per year and weed whack and move the dirt around the utility pole. Every time they come I remind them NOT to come in the yard unless we know they are there so that we can lock the dogs up in the back.
Yes...this is the dirt they weed whack. Not much grows here but still they whack it down. Job security.

Last week, the phone rang while I was in the shower. I checked the answering machine when I got out and saw no message. An hour later, I happened to be leaving my bedroom to go and let the dogs out when something orange caught my eye out the window. I looked out to see a workman on the property weed whacking around the pole.  Now, I have NO problem with them doing their job. We live in Southern California on a hill amongst avocado groves….. i.e.….fire danger is big here.  So I went out to speak to the young man and to let him know that he was about 10 seconds away from losing a limb if I had let the dogs out.
Our "guard" dogs.

This is what they recently did to the "Mailman" (that's what the toy was called):

 I reminded him that there were Beware of Dog signs posted on all three gates.
Yes, she is yawning beneath the Beware of Dog Sign but she does sound mean. Honest!

 He said that he called twice (nope once and no message) and he left a note on the gate (which he didn’t – I checked). I’m pretty sure if I’m inside the house… I won’t see a note on the outside of my gate. I stressed the importance of not entering unannounced for his safety and my liability. He was very polite as was I!!
I came back into the house and decided that I needed to put something in writing to further stress my point to the company that I was not going to be liable for their worker’s safety if I did not know they were coming. I sent an email to info@saidtreeservice.com as well as customerservice@saidtreeservice.com. Yes….I did send it to Customer Service.
Several hours later, I received a phone call from Nick the area supervisor. He said I’m calling on the complaint you sent in. I said that it wasn’t a “complaint” but a “concern” for his worker’s safety. I explained the conversation I had and that the young man had been very nice but apologetic and that since they always had new people working for them (ie- translation high turnover….maybe due to dog bites?) that I wanted them to put in our records that we have dogs and they MUST call before coming onto the property for their safety and my liability. Do you know what Nick did then? He said in his best customer service voice ….. “Yes, ma’am, I will put a note that you are a sensitive customer and they need to read the notes or call.” EXCUSE ME???? Red-flagged for being sensitive? Say that again…. And it won’t be my dogs that are biting!!!
I’m hoping after our little chat that followed that Nick got in touch a little better with his “sensitive” side…if you know what I mean.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Living Life In the Now

Do you know anyone who lives life in the now? I LOVE people like that.
 It’s good to plan for our future but some people just get caught up in always waiting for what’s next in the future and never really enjoy the “now”. Then when they get to the future, they spend time talking about what they “used to” do.  I’m not saying that it’s not fun to reminisce (hello….have you read my posts?) but life is about the now. Since I’ve had open heart surgery, I have spent time pondering life in the “now” and observing people who live that way. This is one woman who I feel exemplifies “Living Life”.
I was acquainted with Pat for many years (probably like 20) as we had gone to the same church but I didn’t get to really know her until I started to work at that church back in 2002. She came to daily Mass and would always be there volunteering. She and her husband were the kitchen managers and she does a lot of volunteering for Catholic Charities so she would load up her car and take food donations over there for us. You wouldn’t think working for a church would be a stressful job (maybe someday I’ll post about that but not yet-still healing) but it helped everyday to have Pat come to the office window and share her latest funny story or snarky comment. I looked forward to her coming by as it gave comic relief to my day.  
Pat has several grown children and several grand children. Family is very important to her, you can tell by her Facebook profile and by the way her family is involved in her life.  I can only imagine the eye-rolling her grown children do to some of the silly antics she does. She is married to the sweetest man, Rick, who supports her fun-loving spirit (like he has a choice!) and proudly wears his red cap. It says "I love my Red-Hatter".
Pat leads a group of Red Hatters which they continue to invite me to but which I can proudly say… “I am too young for that!!” I did go to a recent family event they had so that I could see a few people that I hadn’t seen for a while. The laughter and silliness is infecting.  I’m not sure where she gets her energy from??? Oh, maybe I do now....

They call her the Queen Mum of their group. I thought this was her nickname for herself until I saw this recent picture on Facebook. Now,don’t I feel bad for doubting her royal bloodlines?!

Pat sometimes gets herself in trouble.  You could say it’s her “I’ll give it right back to you attitude.” Don’t tell that woman that a woman’s work is in the kitchen….. no, really I mean it…don’t tell her that. She looks at life as a circus and she’s got front row seats.

Pat has had her struggles in life just like everyone else but rather than let them get her down she chooses to see them in a funny light. This photo is a perfect example of Pat living in the now…recently she was tested for sleep apnea which she doesn’t have. She chose to share this photo with her friends (and the internet) and with her permission…. I’m sharing it too.  Doesn’t it just make you giggle, even though you may not know her?
My favorite part is the Danger sign behind her.

Pat is a wonderfully fun-loving person and pure joy to be around.
 I hope you all can meet a friend like her.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

BLEEP that my sister gives me

Today’s blog is dedicated to gift giving. Some people are really good at it. They are the ones who plan way ahead of the event and think of ways to surprise and delight the one to whom they are gifting. They take as much pleasure in wrapping the gift in special wraps and bows and making the packaging look too good to open. These same people are usually the ones who decorate their homes like a magazine cover and now matter how many times you try to “surprise” them (because it can’t possibly look that clean and presentable ALL the time)…. It usually does. As you can probably tell from my tone…. I just can’t relate.
There are also the people who take special delight in planning and carrying out a totally bizarre gift. These are the  kind of people who spend way too much money on nonsense, on gifts where the postage or wrapping is worth more than the gift. I am related to one of those people.
You see, my family has always been practical jokers. We do things like sign my brother-in-law for the County Fair mailing list to receive information on...ahem…. Bull insemination products(yup, as in live animals). We will mail an orange leisure suit purchased at Goodwill back and forth at Christmas to each other. Tag you’re it!! Very immature but very fun!! But then there’s my sister….. I’m not sure what to think about some of the gifts I’ve received from her. What is interesting to note….. I still have them. Why? Perhaps so I can blog about them one day? Ok, today’s good...

            This was a little something she sent when I started my own business. She said I needed "Instant Respect".
                         This was last year's Christmas gift. She wondered if I wanted the whole outfit?

        Any guesses? A movable skeleton arm? Said it reminded her of the mannequin arm we stole...see earlier post.

Yes, a cork trivet.... finally something practical.
 And it may explain why/how she thinks of this crap...hiccup? What was interesting in this gift is that she strapped 6 small alcohol bottles to it and it looked like something TSA would definitely not have let pass through security.

I've saved the best for last....no words necessary possible.

Any suggestions for how to deal with this dilemma? By dilemma.... I do mean my sister.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Part 2 of Not Gonna Be Mother of the Year...again.

Part 2 of Why I won’t be chosen as Mother of the Year will be dedicated to my many years volunteering as Girl Scout Leader for my girls’ troops. Yes that is plural.... as in more than one troop.
I’m just sure hoping there is a special place in heaven for people who volunteer to work with children. This is certainly not to mean those who work in a paid capacity won’t be going to heaven…..no doubt in my mind that they have already secured their place. But today, I’ll just be talking about those people who truly believe that they are making a difference in children’s lives. Those that expect no payment, rewards, awards, and have no motivation to do so other than to make a difference in someone’s life. You see, I was one of those individuals who truly thought I was making the world a better place until….. my girls told me what it did to them to have me as their girl scout leader..
My oldest daughter was in kindergarten when I first became involved in scouting. The troop leader, Karen, asked if I could step in when her co-leader became ill. How could I refuse? What began with helping 8 little girls within a few years progressed to me being “promoted” to troop leader for TWO troops and an almost full-time commitment. I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older to “Just say no” but I didn’t know those words back then.

Karen and I.... didn't we look young and energetic!!

We had ceremonies, parties, badges and parades. We camped, hiked, and did numerous arts and crafts. The stuff young women were supposed to learn in order to become strong, independent, young women. But I didn’t want them to learn just the normal Girl Scout stuff…. I wanted them to have tons of fun too!!! Perhaps that is where I went wrong.
Mistake #1-
In an effort to keep costs down for the families, I chose a very small dues amount each meeting. We also recycled cans to earn money to buy our craft supplies. But…. if you’ll remember from an earlier blog….. I’m not very crafty so while my troop was making lovely homemade brooches from buttons and doilies and glue guns or garden glove dusting mitts…. My younger daughter’s troop was making lovely puffy painted planters or learning to cross stitch tops to put on mason jars and fill with potpourri. Apparently, sisters compare and my troop crafts did not match up.

What mother wouldn't love this pin?

If I was going to have to wear these pins as leader...those mothers could wear ugly pins too!

Mistake #2-
When planning costumes for Halloween or costumes for parades….. your children must look EXACTLY equal to or better than everyone else’s children. Even if mom is the troop leader and in charge of everyone else’s kids….. make sure your child looks good - first! Dressing your children in discount costumes…which they call “ghetto costumes” is not ok when the other troop leader’s daughter is in a Disney costume. Apparently, a big faux-pas on my end. What happened to homemade costumes?
             Wonder woman didn't realize that gold thing was to go around her waist...not a crown.
                      That is my little Tinkerbell in between the Disney princesses!!!
                 I'm sorry that you outgrew your Christmas parade outfit but you were so darned cute!!
Mistake #3-
When planning field trips….thoroughly research what the children will be doing. I found a local farm that would allow these “city kids” to work on a farm for a day. For a nominal fee, our girls could either learn about plants or animals. So of course, the girls unanimously voted to work with the animals. So it became my fault and the worst field trip ever when they learned that for the next four hours…. They would be raking… ahem…….goat excrement…. and laying down new hay. Apparently, if you call it a “character building exercise” they don’t appreciate it. We later had “Zucchini Day” when I had an abundant garden that year and everyone got to bring home a zucchini they had picked. I called it “Green Leadership” but the pun was lost on my girls too.
Mistake #4-
Troop leaders must not wear fanny packs especially if they advertise…. IDK….alcohol?
                   Yes, that does indeed say Captain Morgan Rum on it but I was drinking water out of that bottle! Honest!
Mistake #5-
When setting up a tent for the first time, without your husband present. Be careful not to bang tent stake into irrigation lines at campsite. If you should happen to hit one…. It will appear first as a slow water leak through your campsite all weekend… to which you will be oblivious. On the day which you will be packing to leave and pull up said tent stake…. it will then spring like Old Faithful and it gets embarrassing to flood the campsite and have to run down to the camping office while a troop of young ladies watches how you handle emergencies. Ok…. I’ve always know…not well but they didn’t need to see that.
                                       Nice campsite prior to flooding....just trying to "leave the place cleaner than we found it".
Mistake #6-
Invite women who have not been away from their families in a while to go on a mother/daughter camping trip and expect them to behave. The Service Unit (that’s many troops of one area) that we were part of decided that they’d host this campout in cabins that slept 10 or so. My troop was overwhelmingly excited to go. It was my troop parents that smuggled in “stuff” to the campground which we later found out was an alcohol rehab center. OOPS!!  It was my troop parents that put a whoopee cushion under their leader during the evening campfire sing-a-long, that hung each others’ bras and panties from trees, toilet papered the cabins and proceeded to haunt the other troops with a plastic rat on a string as they tried to enter the restrooms at night. Result- we almost got kicked out of our first campout. Ahem… moms just wanna have fun?

And so…. my children think I’ve done some damaging things… I say I’ve just made some incredible memories for them. So I guess that would be considered making a difference in their lives….

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Not gonna be mother of the year again this year.... Part One

So after my last post about my own mother's parenting faux pas, I was just sure my children wouldn't feel the same about my parenting skills. Boy, was I wrong!!

After enjoying a nice Mother’s Day dinner prepared by my husband and two daughters, they proceeded to reminisce about all the ways I have not measured up. But it wasn’t just fun to reminisce…. they wrote an entire list…. apparently, documentation always makes one’s point stronger. So I promised (in all honesty) to write about the ways that I have messed up my kids. It was either I wrote it or they were going to hijack my computer and guest blog and I would not have any say in what was revealed. So here goes…..

Things not to do to your children:
1.      Do not agree to catch your child when daddy pushes her from the top of the snow hill if there is a possibility there could be bees in the haystacks at the bottom of the hill (where you are standing to catch her) which may sting you causing you to forget about your child and they plow into the haystack. Apparently, they never forget this.

2.      Make sure everyone’s shoes are tied before getting on escalators, in case a shoelace gets caught in the escalator causing child to scream and cry while mom doesn’t notice. Apparently, they never forget this either. She lived and practices great safety around escalators to this very day - some lessons are just harder than others?

3.      Do not fool around with your teen while riding an escalator, because they can easily lose their balance and fall into the older gentleman in front of her. You will be blamed for this.

4.      Do not tell your children they are “unique” looking as they will interpret this as “ugly” and never let you forget it. Good adjectives to use are gorgeous, beautiful, good-looking, perfect, etc. but never say “unique”. In my day, it meant one of a kind beauty but apparently it means something different now.

5.      When your children make you a craft from popsicle sticks and it accidently breaks, repair immediately, whilst they are sleeping, because if you forget to do it and stuff it in a closet you will forget about it, they will find it a year later and never let you forget how unappreciative you are.

6.      Remember which items in your house were made by which child…. It is not good when you confuse which objects came from where/whom. Keep a spreadsheet if you need to…. It is easier than listening for years how mom broke the gourd I made in class and thought it was just a souvenir. Note--- it does not help to try and bail oneself out by saying that it was so good that I just assumed it was store bought. This applies to all gifts not just handmade.

7.      Learn to make a good gift opening face…. So that they can’t interpret your look to mean that you don’t like it. Even if you don’t like it…. Fake the look. They will remember “the look” and be waiting for it the next time a friend or relative gives you a gift you do not like and will exclaim “There’s mom’s I HATE IT LOOK” in front of everyone.

8.      It is not ok to be funny around your child’s friends… I mean really funny not corny funny. This may lead to their friends thinking that you are cool and your children will not understand and will not think this is funny.

Part two will be posted later in the week, where I share why I should have never been allowed to be a scout leader… apparently that messes up one’s children even more.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Mother Thought I was her "Special One"

Mother’s Day is here once again and I find myself spending time this year reflecting on the ways in which my mother influenced my life. She created beautiful memories for our family like wonderful holidays, family dinners especially on Sundays where everyone had to be present, camping trips and vacations. She worked hard at doing all things domestic like gardening, cleaning, canning, cleaning, baking & cleaning, sewing and did I mention cleaning? Yeah, her favorite!! She was a supermom, 50’s sitcom style.

But I realize as I get older, that no matter how much effort a mom puts in, there will always be a few things she didn’t get quite right. Those things that daughters will look back at and think “What was she thinking?” Those things that daughters will vow never to do to their own children and while we may not do them exactly…. We’ll come pretty close. You see motherhood is not cookie cutter easy. It is not for the faint of heart. Once you have the first child and are sure that you’ve got “it” figured out then along comes child #2 and you realize that you haven’t got a clue. Here is where I’d like to share a couple of my most--- ummm- memorable, strangest, therapy-inducing memories from my childhood.

As I said in an earlier blog, my mother loved to sew. She would have sewn herself into her sewing room if she could have. It was her release as she dealt with her five darling children. All of my outfits were handmade and hand-me-downs. I was delighted when just before my eighth grade graduation dance she said she was taking me shopping for a dress to wear. Hallelujah chorus here!! Really…. as in new with tags on it…and a label with the name of a foreign country (or anything that did not say “Stitched with love by Mom”????? So off we went, just the two of us, for our mother/daughter shopping trip. Now we lived in a very small town in Connecticut so there were not many choices but we were lucky enough to have had a new K-Mart arrive just a few years before. That is where we started although I didn’t ever remember seeing racks with long dresses/gowns there. Mom knew what she was doing, right? We walked through those automatic doors and headed like we were women on a mission, past the seasonals, past the baby and children’s departments, right to the…. Women’s loungewear? Patiently I waited while she looked through the racks, figuring she must be needing something new too. She pulled out a couple of cotton, smocked, paisley printed numbers and asked which one I wanted. Excuse me…. wanted for what? With the right shoes and sweater or shawl, it would dress up nicely, she said. Stuttering and stammering, my objections were met with reassurance that this would look great on and the price was right. In my eighth grade, adolescent mind this would have to be a “blue-light” freebie for anyone to consider wearing loungewear to a school dance. Can you picture me in pajamas in the scene from the Carrie movie as they drop a bucket of blood on me? Shoot me now!!! My attempt at faking sick did not work and I did in fact wear pajamas (excuse me…loungewear) to the dance.  Editor’s note… all pictures from this particular event in my life have been destroyed… you’ll just have to use your imagination.

                 Look, K-Mart still carries similar ones... but think long dress, spaghetti straps, paisley blue, yellow and  red print with loungewear label.

Now you are thinking, ok so everyone has a bad school dance experience. Her mother wasn’t so bad. Well… I’m not finished yet people.

Those of us who got “the talk” from mom or dad most likely had it watered down because they were so uncomfortable talking about such delicate matters with their child. Having been the 4th child and 3rd daughter, you’d have thought my mother had had some practice by the time I was ready. My two older sisters have warm memories of going with mom to a Girl Scout Mother/Daughter tea where they watched a film strip and got a take home goodie bag of womanly samples. I want one (of those memories, I mean)!!!

My mother’s sister was a school nurse and somewhere in their conversations, it came up that she had a great pamphlet that described it all in “beautiful” terms. My mother decided that she would hand me the pamphlet and tell me to read it because it had a “beautiful explanation and drawings” of what happens to a woman’s body each month and we would discuss afterwards.  My “talk” consisted of a pamphlet called “How to teach the Mentally Retarded Girl about Menstruation”. WHAT?????? Being the good daughter, I read something about birds and bees and flowers and God (yeah, throw God in there and it becomes a beautiful explanation, right?)  I looked at her incredulously…… what EXACTLY are you telling me??? I’m mentally retarded and no one bothered to tell me for the first 9 years of my life? Or was she telling me that because I was mentally retarded…my body would soon experience things that weren’t happening to everyone else???? Apologies for not using politically correct terminology right now but no words can substitute for the horror I was feeling at the time and in the 70's there was no political correctedness.  Needless to say, our talk after reading the pamphlet didn’t go so well. I wanted to hear nothing of what she had to say. My family, always big on teasing each other, was going to have a field day with this one so I kept quiet about my booklet for… oh, probably close to 40 years….until recently.

So… as I look back at the ways in which my mother influenced me…. I now understand that she viewed me as her “special” one. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!! Miss you Mom!!

 She has made me a better mother, because of in spite of my memories. And I’m confident that my children will not have horrifying stories to tell of my mothering….

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all the women out there giving it our best!!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Marriage Vows should have a Sports Clause

“For better, for worse…for richer, for poorer…in sickness and in health…except during soccer (insert your sport) season.”

What do you think? Changes are needed in those marriage vows as no man should be married during sports seasons. Now you’re probably thinking that I’m married to a sports fanatic and that I’m a virtual widow during said sports season. That would be a logical guess but no…. my husband was the one who was  almost widowed. Let me explain…

Growing up my family didn’t spend time inside watching televised sports… I think mom just wanted all of us kids outside…all the time. (So she could sew!) In fact, I was working in a bakery in high school when I first heard about this thing called the Super Bowl and a ka-jillion men came in one Sunday to buy their desserts for the big game. Never having been a huge fan of professional sports (how un-American, right?) it was only natural that I marry a man whose free time did not revolve around sports. That all changed a few years ago when our daughters started bringing home…boys... and the testosterone levels got all mixed up and now it’s all just a big mess! So, given the fact that I married a foreigner, his sport of choice was “futbol” that’s American soccer. And when Ecuador (very few times, Thank you Lord.) has made it to American televised sports programming….well that boy is in heaven!!

In 2006, his beloved team made it to the World Cup…first time ever I believe.

By this time, our daughters who played on recreational and school teams were very interested and were enjoying their bonding time with daddy over sports. For days, weeksway too long, they tracked those games at odd hours while they were played live in Germany. Now, it was getting down to the final few remaining teams and on this particular day, July 4, 2006, Italy played Germany. By now you are wondering, why a woman so turned off by sports knows so much about who played whom on which day? Good question…keep reading.

We had spent the morning of this particular July 4th working around the house, preparing for a wonderful meal I had been preparing of salads, fruit and barbecued chicken. Fernando and the girls sat down to watch the game and I decided that I would get in my favorite pool chair with a tall, cool gin & tonic and float around while they watched. Now I need to give you a quick description of the pool in relation to the house…. Believe me it’s important… in case I needed to go to court? The pool was about six feet away from the back door to the house. The backdoor opened into the family room where said man watched TV.
                          Notice the close proximity from pool to side of house....

While, the inside crowd cheered for their team…I made my way to the edge of the pool, put in my pool chair and proceeded to gracefully float away, drink in hand…. Well, not quite! I straddled the chair, drink in hand and as I gently lifted my feet to sit back – the chair took off in a backwards plunge. There I went feet flailing in the air as I yelled for my husband (that same man that recited wedding vows to me all those years before). Just as my feet went flailing, his favored team got very close to scoring a very important goal (or so the story goes). My dear, sweet doting husband upon hearing my screams… jumped from the couch (remember he’s 6 feet away) stood in that back door and proceeded to….watch me sink! Now on his behalf, I do have to say that he does have a conscience and I did see (as I went under) him actually shift from one foot to the other as he decided which he’d miss more….the goal or his wife. Well… I have to say…it wasn’t me that he chose.
                 Take a brief moment now and take in this scenario if you will...
                               cue in Titanic song here.

There’s me coming up out of the water with glass still in hand and lemon slice clinging to my hair (that I didn’t want to get wet),

our children faces pressed to the window with mouths gaping as they realized what dad had just done, and my beloved husband realizing the error of his ways…. comes over to the side of the pool to pull me ashore. He tried to look concerned but those little Ecuadorean eyes, all squinty and cute, had laughter written all over them.

It was a very quiet afternoon that Fourth of July… no one dared speak to Mom.