The Boring Life

There is something to be said for the boring life. To some people, this is the worst thing that can happen. For me, it is a blessing. I’ve had enough excitement and trauma to last me a lifetime.

When I was young, I couldn’t wait to get away from my parents. That isn’t to say I wanted or needed to leave the community as it was large enough to get lost in. I just wanted to get away from them. Getting away, as it were, became a whole adventure. Not one I’d care to repeat. Exciting? Try terrifying.

As I grew older, I would think vacations were a nice thing and would enjoy the places I would go and the new things I would see. I have seen many parts of the country and enjoyed them all thoroughly…to a point. Ironically, coming home became the best part of the trip.

Some people are adrenalin junkies. They must have excitement in their lives all the time. They push themselves to the limit. They see adventure and promise in every new twist and turn and when they don’t, they become bored. They feel a life that isn’t full of the “rush” isn’t worth it. They are constantly on the move looking for new sights, new tastes, new adventures. They climb the highest mountains and swim the deepest oceans and still crave more.

For me, it’s the little things.

Watching how my sons’ eyes light up when he talks about his race. How excited I get when I know my kids are coming for dinner. Hearing my kids laugh when they’re all together is better than any concert I could attend…and the warmth I get from them is so genuine it brings tears to my eyes. Seeing them fall in love and getting to know the people they have chosen to share with us… blissful.

My ‘rush’ is catching my husbands’ eye from across a crowded room and realizing he’s been looking at me. Accidentally meeting him on the street where I didn’t expect to see him or having him walk into work to take me to lunch. When he takes me in his arms and holds me close and tells me he loves me… or that I look especially nice today… or that he is so content just being with me.

I find joy in my home… a dream for so long, finally realized. The thrill when I see a beautiful bird at the feeder that I may have never seen before – or am delighted to have return When I see my pups running around the yard being silly, I can laugh out loud. The contented faces on my kitties when they’re sleeping and the purrs that I elicit just by gently touching their fur. I see beauty in each new bloom in the garden and get such a feeling of renewal when they all come back in the spring or I plant something I never have before and it grows bigger and better than I ever thought possible. Or that walk in the woods that leads me to find a surprising new tree or plant that nature has decided to grow in my back yard.

I am a self-described techno-nerd, I admit, but I really have pretty simple needs to make me happy. Give me my family, healthy, happy. Give me a bunch of silly critters. Give me a warm fireplace in the winter and beautiful flowers to enjoy in the summer. Give me a book. Give me a few people who know me and can stand me anyway. Give me a man who really is my ‘better half’. Give me a fast internet. (Okay, so I can do without the last one… )

Give me a boring life. I can make it exciting enough for me.

Guns Don’t Kill People – People Kill People

When I was young – and up until just a month or so ago – I was scared of guns. All guns. It didn’t matter if they were long or short, big or little, loaded or empty. I was afraid of them. Irrationally so.

I never personally knew anyone who had been shot, or who had accidentally been killed by having a gun. I heard about shootings on the nightly news, but even in my fairly rural state that wasn’t something that occurred often. Usually we only heard about shootings when it was some hunting-related accident or a suicide, and not even many of those.

Now, that’s not to say my imagination couldn’t be vivid. I did go pheasant hunting a few times with my dad and granddad when I was a kid and the fact that I was the “dog” didn’t slide by me. My dad was in no-way a professional hunter, so it was a little bit risky…

Still, I don’t think that’s where this fear came from.

I never had much exposure to guns until I met my current husband. Not to indicate rural red-neck was stamped on his backside, but yes, he did have a gun rack in his bedroom when I met him. Feel free to laugh. I did. No, he did not have one in his pickup. That scored him a point or two.

I convinced him a lovely glass enclosed locking gun cabinet was a better choice for me and the guns, and they quickly were removed from the sleeping quarters. It didn’t hurt my feelings to know they were locked up, either, although the locks are pretty chintzy and I don’t think they’d keep anyone out who really wanted in – except maybe the kids – which was another one of my motives.

A few weeks after we were together, I was sitting in the living room quietly reading when I heard my now-Hubs going into the bathroom down the hallway from me. I hear him open the window (no screen) and KA-BOOM! I about fell off my chair. He was shooting a ground-squirrel from the bathroom window. (Yes, we are talking rural.) After picking myself up off the floor, I proceeded to give him an earful. First, I told him that wasn’t a fair fight – to let the outside cats take care of that problem. We had no outside cats. We soon had some. No more ground-squirrel problem. Then, I proceeded to tell him how I didn’t appreciate him shooting things at all – especially when I was not aware he was going to do it!

He agreed, and peace ensued.

He was a hunter. Not extreme, as some of his friends who will travel the country shooting anything that moves. He did go pheasant hunting and deer hunting and I have had the trophies (read heads) to prove it. He did it for several more years after we were married and it never really bothered me. We always ate the meat and he didn’t shoot more than he was allotted.

One morning he got up in the wee hours to meet his hunting buddies, left to go have the “early breakfast strategy meeting”, and a couple of hours later – much to my surprise – was home! He’d not been feeling well, and he said he was sitting in that tree stand, cold, miserable, and just asked himself if he really needed to be doing this. He hasn’t been hunting since. It just lost the fun for him.

A few years ago, at my request, he took me out and tried to help me learn to shoot. I was shaking so badly I couldn’t even pull the trigger. We put it away and he never brought it up again. I always felt in the back of my mind that since we did live in such a rural area, that I should know how to shoot. We have rabid animals come around occasionally that need to be shot, and it doesn’t hurt to have it around when the rabid humans come around too.

It never came up again. We moved, we bought a new gun safe, we moved all the guns, and it never came up.

Until a couple of weeks ago. I don’t know why, but I got it in my head that I wanted to try again. Suddenly, the fear was gone. Just like that, it was gone. Hubs took me outside, showed me all about the gun, loaded it, and by golly – I pulled the trigger. Several times. It’s going to take some practice before I can hit anything, but at least now I know if I had to I could load it, aim, and probably scare the living shit out of most anything – except possibly myself.

I’m still for keeping the guns locked up – especially if there are children around. I’m still for registering them. I’m all for keeping the really wicked ones out of the hands of the bad guys. But I do feel it is a right to have them if you want. I do feel it is a right to protect your own property in whatever manner you have available. At the moment, I actually feel pretty good about the gun… and the fact that I’ve learned how to use it makes me feel a whole lot better about it.

It Isn’t Even a FULL Moon

Tossing and turning. That was my night. No particular reason that I’m aware of. My subconcious must feel differently, though. I dozed, not awake enough to say ‘to hell with it’ and get up and go read, but not asleep enough to totally zonk. Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, Hubs gets up and heads for the bathroom complaining about the moon shining right in his eyes. It’s shining in mine, too, and I’m cursing the fact that I still have nothing better than a sheer at the slider.

Three hours later, I, too, get up to go to the bathroom and realize that the moon is still shining in our bedroom, but from the wrong angle. It appears to be going backwards across the sky. Now, we all know that isn’t possible, so my little brain has to think about that one as I stumble through the house to use the far bathroom (so I don’t disturb the pups sleeping in the one right next to my bed.) Yeah, I realize how stupid that sounds. One of these days that may change…

In the bedroom, I draw the blinds on the windows – effectively shutting out the moon. Back to bed where I ponder the moon phenomena until I realize that it was shining in the window all the time, but when Hubs saw it, it was being reflected in picture glass. Me, without my glasses, didn’t realize it was too far over to be the slider or I would have thought of the glass, too – as it’s happened before.

It wasn’t even a full moon – only half. But, damn, that thing was bright last night. Tonight, I shut the blinds… and I see a nap in my future.

If You Don’t Like Sappy, Leave Now

As previously determined, we have a weird family. Our immediate family – Hubs, me, four kids (yes, they will always be “kids” to me) and by extension, their spouses and/or significant others. We not only love each other, but we like each other. That is a very important distinction.

Few people can say that about their families. It’s sad, but true. There is usually one black sheep, or one person who doesn’t get along with the rest of the “kids”, or everyone hates Dad/Mom. There are feuds over property, feuds over favoritism, or feuds just to have feuds. There is the “Mom always liked you best” line made famous by the Smothers Brothers. (If you don’t know who they are, ask your grandparents, smartasses .) Somehow, at least so far, we’ve avoided all that. (I will put a disclaimer in here – this was not always the case. Our family had it normal ups and downs when the kids were young and as an only child I was always in fear they would kill each other, but it’s amazing how it all worked out – per Hubs’ promise. I should have just relaxed and listened to him.)

The youngest daughter made the observation once that all of them had different interests which kept them from competing with each other. That’s probably part of it. They really do take pride in each others’ accomplishments and support each other 100%. They also each have our family’s unique sense of humor. It’s warped a bit. We’re a bit dark. We’re a bit smartassy. But we all understand each other when it comes to it, because we’re all the same in that regard. (Occasionally I do pity the spouses and/or significant others when they get caught up in the whirlwind – some, however, can keep up really well on their own! Hense, they are in the relationship they are in. )

The other thing we do is we open up to each other. We tend to talk things out… even if it hurts. Sometimes it has to be said on a blog, but it still gets said and we get it out in the open. We’ve learned to try and say what we mean and mean what we say… (unless, of course, that smartassy thing gets in the way. )

I love our family. Sappy? Yeah… Hubs keeps saying after that valentine’s post that you all probably are getting sick of this. Can’t say I didn’t warn ya. You know, right up there…. in the title.

…and the Evil Spreads…

My kids came this weekend, as promised. In the course of talking to them all, it was determined that the younger daughter might be a likely candidate for WoW-ing with us… (insert evil laugh)

Yes. Yes we did. We got her hooked. Now, even though she lives in Kansas, she will now be able to get online and kick butt with the rest of the family. Now if we can just get her little brother hooked…

We’re workin’ on it.

It’s Snowing!

My apologies in advance to Livey, who, I know, hates the snow. I would too, if I had to go out and shovel it off my roof. Thankfully, all I have to do is sit in the house and watch it. They’re calling for a large amount today,but it’s coming later than expected and only just started about 6 o’clock this morning. As of now we have a couple of inches, but more on the way. This is my kind of day.

Soon there will be homemade veggie soup on the stove, homemade bread baking, and already the fireplace is lit and the books have been started to be read. The kitties are chasing bread wrapper twisties around and being silly, and the internet hasn’t gone down. I braved the fierce wind and biting cold this morning to let the pups out, and even they didn’t stay out long! Then I forced myself to go out back and fill all the near-empty birdfeeders so my feathered friends would find sustanence in the snow.

Did I mention my kids are all coming over this weekend? The Kansas crew are coming in late tomorrow night and the rest are flocking over on Saturday to watch movies on the big-screen TV. We’re going to have good food and the best of company. I’m so excited I can hardly wait. It doesn’t get any better than this… well, I suppose if we won the lottery that would be nice…

If at First You Don’t Succeed, Destroy All Evidence That You Tried*

I admit it. I’ve become a WoW addict. (That’s World of Warcraft to you innocents). I sat at the dinner table a few months ago and listened as my eldest daughter, Manda, and her hubs talked about this online game they were playing and how much fun they were having. Although I have always been a computer geek, I never quite made the transition into the gaming community. I never could manage to run a Nintendo controller or anything remotely like it. I felt inadequate somehow by this lack of skills. I mean, have I mentioned I’m a computer geek? Yeah.

So without warning it was a bolt from the blue (I think that may have been redundant) to receive the software for WoW for Christmas. It sat, untouched, on my desk for a couple of weeks as I looked at the box and dared myself to actually open it and see what it was all about. It taunted me with the pretty colors and vivid graphics on the box to the point where I almost…. Almost…. opened it. Fear made me hold back.

Pshaw. What a fool. I was.

Manda came over and helped me install it and after some technical difficulties, I was finally online. With lots of hand-holding from her and her Hubs, I have been gradually working through this mysterious world of elves and humans and gnomes and strange animals. I’ve been a hunter, a mage, a shaman, a warlock, a paladin and a warrior. I’ve gone to other realms and been undead and a troll. I’ve been good and I’ve been evil… and, by golly, I’ve been having a blast!

Who’da thunk? Certainly not my son-in-law! To his credit, he’s been very good about this. He’s offered online support and encouragement, and put up with every stupid question I could come up with. He’s tolerated days when I’ve gone to their house and plugged my laptop into their network and played for hours with Manda, then stayed and eaten supper with them and played hours more with them both. He just puts on this cute little secret smile he’s got and keeps playing…

With the new addition to our family room (big TV) Hubs is now pretty much a permanent fixture there. I sit down there with my laptop as I get the best internet signal there, and I play alongside the TV blaring the history channel, ESPN, or NASCAR. I wear earphones, but they don’t block out everything, but that’s okay… I enjoy being able to do something I like to do and still visit with Hubs. I think he’s getting used to me cussing when I get dead again, or someone takes away a special prize I was working for… He’s learning what it means when I say, “my imp got killed” or “my pet ran away”.

Me? Let’s just say it’s gotten bad. When you wake up in the middle of the night trying to figure out a strategy for completing quests in an area that you have been getting killed pretty regularily in, or you lay there trying to decide if you want to get rid of one of your characters or develop a new one, this is bad. When you dream in WoW characters, family members and work-related issues all rolled into one bizarre dream, this is bad. When you know more people by their character names then you ever have in your life by their real names… this is bad? Oh, hell, maybe not. It’s FUN, people! It’s fun… Addicted? Yep… I’ll admit it.

*Murphy’s Law #?

Do Not Marry a Person That You Know That You Can Live With; Only Marry Someone That You Cannot Live Without*

With Valentines’ Day around the corner, I wanted to mention a few words about Love. You know, Love with a large “L”. I am lucky. I’ve got someone that is just perfect for me:

  • He thinks I’m beautiful. This, as any woman will tell you is priceless. I am not the 125 lb. waif that he met 26 years ago. I do not wake up every morning and immediately put makeup and contacts on in fear he will see me without them. I actually do not wear contacts hardly ever anymore because I’ve grown into bifocals and have astigmatism to the point that even with contacts I must use reading glasses when I want to actually read something. Have I mentioned I read all the time? Yeah. It’s like that. He teases me when I ask him “does this make me look fat”… and holds out his hands, saying “yep, here’s the minefield. Step on it.” To his credit, tho’, he’ll tell me if something just isn’t working.
  • We agree on just about everything, but not everything. This is a good thing, trust me. I’ve been with people who agree with me 100% and sometimes I just argued the in the wrong to try and draw them out and make them disagree with me. They wouldn’t do it. I honestly can’t handle 100% agreement. Even if I’m right.
  • He does not expect miracles. Read into this whatever you wish. I know what I mean.
  • He does not complain about things that don’t get done as quickly as perhaps he feels they should be done, and we never, ever, ever leave “honey-do” lists for each other. Ever.
  • He doesn’t complain about my cooking. He eats virtually anything. He’s honest if he doesn’t care for something or if he really likes it and would like it added to the “regular” rotation. He doesn’t put up a fuss if I tell him it’s “his night to cook” – which can either be him actually cooking (he has a short list of things he can do without supervision) or take-out meals or a restaurant dinner either one will count as him “cooking”. If I do cook and am feeling pathetically lazy, he doesn’t have a hissy fit when it becomes shit-on-a-shingle night or frozen pizza. To my credit, when I try, I can be a good cook. At least both of us now have the girth to indicate this.
  • We agree on sex. ‘nuf said. I don’t need people finding me from “hot sex on hot nights” or I used to tease him about farm boys being very close to their cows and called him a “cow-kisser”. Then there is the ever popular question “why do we keep getting handcuffs from the Christmas party grab bag and what are we going to do with them?”. Yeah. Those of you who have gotten those searches understand.
  • He is surprising. Just when I think he’s spaced off the whole Christmas / Birthday / Anniversary / Valentines’ Day thing… he’ll surprise me and send me flowers or a nice card or will let me know he really has put some thought into it. Of course, I love him enough and understand him enough to know he’s a man and sometimes these things just slip right through the sieve and get lost in the flotsam and jetsam of his life. I’m a good forgiver, too.
  • I mentioned it in detail the last posts, but he and I have the same belief system. Having said that, he was supportive when I wanted to try church again and he was supportive when I wanted to quit. That’s my guy. Supportive. 100%.
  • He is smart. This man has forgotten more stuff than I ever knew in the first place. He irritates me sometimes because he is one of those people who is a chameleon. He can “dumb down” when talking to just about everyone else in the universe so he doesn’t intimidate them, but damn! I hate that he sounds so “hick-like” when I know he really is intelligent.
  • He is funny. He makes me smile every day, if not laugh out loud. It isn’t that he is a comedian; he is just – as we say in our family – a smartass. (Yes, I can hear him now… better than a dumbass. Also a family line.)
  • He doesn’t tolerate bullshit. Okay, that’s a lie. He tolerates immense amounts of bullshit from his family, and he tolerates it. Doesn’t mean he likes it, just means he tolerates it. Me? I’m with him…
  • He hates secrets. Which is fine, ‘cause I don’t like keeping them. (Except the blog – whatever you do, don’t tell his family about the blog!!!)
  • He is good at sharing. This is nice, since I have “only child syndrome” and don’t like to share. He finds this humorous and doesn’t mind when I become rather childish about *my* things. HEY! I said, stay OUT of the chocolate or lose an eye!
  • He is softhearted. The man is a marshmallow. Seriously. He is not afraid to give his kids a hug and tell them how much he loves them. He’s not afraid to share his innermost thoughts with all of us and let us know how he ticks. He would yell at the kids (sometimes still does), but then would sneak up to their room before they went to sleep and apologize for his anger. He couldn’t sleep until he talked to them. He suffers from withdrawal if he doesn’t hear from them or about them at least every couple of days. He finds a way to lurk on their blogs or make me get in touch with them… yeah, real subtle. He has become an animal nut and loves our critters as much as I do (of course, a couple of them have become ‘his’ by default…).
  • He loves me. I love him.

It’s a nice feeling when you know you’re with the right one. Hope you all have the right one… or, at least, can see a glimmer of it on the horizon. Having said that, I’ve nothing against those who wish to be alone. There is something big to be said for being with the wrong one, too, and in many cases alone is better than that. If you’re happy that way, then more power to you!

Have a good Valentines’ Day tomorrow… and don’t worry about the candy or the flowers or the cards or all the crap that has turned it into a Hallmark Holiday Extravaganza. All it takes is a hug and a kiss and an “I love you”.

*Anonymous

You Win Some, Lose Some, and Wreck Some*

This weekend was the awards banquet for my youngest son. I know I’ve mentioned at various times throughout the summer about Hubby going to races… and even a few I managed to get myself to. Well, this was the night he was recognized for his hard work. He won the track championship in the stock car division.

We had a nice dinner, some good conversation with people you are usually racing against, and he received a large trophy, plaque and some money. All in all a nice evening.

He’s 22. He’s competing against guys who, for the most part, are 10-20 years older than he is and have been doing this a lot longer. The guy has natural talent. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him go pro someday, but I won’t push it. It’s his thing… I just wanted to mention how proud I am of him. He’s a good guy and a helluva racer. A clean racer, which in this day and age means something. He’s gotten a lot of respect from these guys he races against and as a mom, I appreciate that.

Way to go, Jon!

*Dale Earnhardt