A Bit More

Because it is Sunday and I'm lazy, I'm giving you a few more pictures.


The front sidewalk with a bit of garden view and that field I told you about. Also some of the timber that wraps around to the back of the house.


A fall visitor. This was taken along the drive where we let nature do what it will. I have no idea what this flower is. It looks like an aster, but because it is wild I'm guessing some decorative weed. Pretty, nonetheless.


Welcome. The front door, in fall mode.

She Is A Sneaky Bitch

Drama. She is now picking on my family.*

Background. My new daughter-in-law (DIL) is just a sweetheart. Too much so, some would say. She is so sweet on first impression you almost think she's fake because, honestly, can anyone really be that sweet? That nice? I doubted it until I met this girl. She made a believer out of me. There really are people this nice in the world.

DIL works for a very large company. (I apologize for being extremely vague in this post but I want to get some frustration aired but really don't want to get anyone "dooced", if you get my drift.) She's doing quiet well for herself and we're all very proud of her. Being the generous spirit she is, when a friend of a friend mentions she is job hunting (we'll call her Twink, just for fun) DIL immediately mentions her company has job openings and encourages her to apply. A short time goes by and another friend of Twink who works at the same company (we'll call this friend Betty) also encourages her to apply for a job there.

One day DIL is minding her own business and happens to run into Twink at the office. She inquires what it is that Twink is doing there and when she finds out she's come to apply for a job, she offers to help her right then and there. DIL does some leg work, gets Twink an interview with her own boss, and subsequently Twink ends up with a different job than she originally was applying for  – at almost twice the salary! Happy happy! Joy joy! All was right with the world!

Six months go by. Big company has a policy that if someone you recommend for a job stays in the job for at least 6 months,  you will get a $1000 bonus. (No small peanuts, eh?) DIL is excited to know Twink is coming up on her 6 months. Twink submits the paperwork that she must instigate for the bonus to be awarded. The boss must sign off on this paperwork, also. But what is this? Twink has said Betty recommended her for the job? WTF? To their credit, the boss has sharp eyes and a keen sense of right and wrong and knows this is not true. The boss brings this to DIL's attention and tries to find out what is going on. DIL doesn't know, so asks Twink. Twink responds that "Betty told me to apply". Of course, DIL is sweet – but she is not stupid – responds "But I was the one who helped you get the job you have now, not the job you were originally applying for." At which time Twink has the nerve to say, "Well, that's because I'm just that good."

Excuse me while I gag.

The boss refuses to pay Betty the bonus because the boss knows it should belong to DIL. Twink refuses to put DIL's name on the paperwork. Therefore, no one gets any money.

It gets better. Now Twink is bad-mouthing DIL every chance she gets. So far, it has only been a couple of mumblings under her breath at work, but the grapevine has it that she went out drinking last weekend at an after-hours company function and said she was going to "Try and find some dirt on that bitch DIL and try to get her fired". People that were at this gathering have been coming up to DIL this week to tell her all about it. Now DIL is very upset because she knows she did nothing wrong but feels terrible that all this drama is taking place.

In discussing this it has come up that Twink has recently lost some good friends due to her tendency to drama. She has been known to drink heavily when they go out, and at one time even claimed she'd been 'roofied' when, in fact, she was with her girlfriends the whole time but simply drank too much to know what the hell she was doing. It has also become clear that she isn't quite the 'good worker' she thinks she is, so it may become a non-issue if she keeps, how shall we say, "shitting in her nest" and ends up getting fired herself.

I told my son to tell her, as did he, that she is a good worker and as much as possible to keep this out of the workplace and to stay professional and that it sounds to me if Twink continues this path she's sure to "step on her dick" (clarifying that this would be appropriate if she were a man, but sometimes there aren't the words to equal for a woman so you just go with the visual that fits). This may all be taken out of DIL's hands by nature. The survival of the fittest, if you will. Still and all? I just don't understand how someone as sweet as DIL can get such a backlash from someone like Twink who obviously didn't appreciate a good thing when it came knocking. Criminy.

 * This has nothing to do with persons formerly known as Heather or Thelma.

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are!

I'm living in a friggin' Disney movie. Snow White, I think.

I live in the country, surrounded by fields of corn and soybeans and some timber. Timber runs behind my house and along the creek which also runs behind my house. I've spoken before about the deer in the yard, the deer hitting my car, the various critters that come and go through the property.

A couple of days ago I was on my way to work at the butt-crack of dawn (one of my Hubs' colorful phrases). It was barely getting light out so I was driving slowly so as not to hit another one of those roaming deer. I had just gone across the little bridge that goes over the creek, when a huge shadow flew up almost hitting the corner of my car windshied. Of course, I freaked… then realized as it slowly glided in front of me down the road it was a great blue heron. I've seen them flying across the yard before, but never so close. Those things are huge!

Then on Monday I was once again going to work slowly in the pre-dawn hours when I saw a small fawn going across the road in front of me. I practically stopped, waiting for more to appear – there are usually more than one. Waiting… waiting… but it wasn't a deer that appeared, but a big fat raccoon! Followed right in the deers' path across the road.  I called Hubs and told him I was just waiting for the rest of the forest creatures to come ambling out. I swear, I felt just like Snow White!

E.T. Call Home (Who Cares if E.T. Calls?)*

In case you've been living under a rock and missed the memo, I have four grown kids. Two girls, two boys. They all left the nest at various ages, for varied reasons, and in completely varying states of mind. When they moved out I had a couple of rituals. First, the shopping. Second, "the talk".

The shopping was easy. I took them to the grocery store for their first go-round of basic shopping. I bought them staples that always cost a lot but get you by for awhile. Things like flour, sugar, salt, pepper, basic spices, along with canned goods and pastas and enough to know they weren't going to starve the first week or so.

"The talk" was as varied in nature as the kid I was talking to. Mainly, the jist was we love you, but we're not gonna bug you. You're an adult now and we think you should be treated as one so I won't call you – you call us. I never wanted to be the mom that bugged the hell out of their kids to call home or to come see me. I did try and let them know that this wasn't from lack of love or interest, just a desire to give them some space.

My kids have, for the most part, moved in and out through the years. Sometimes back home for a couple of days when they were having relationship troubles, sometimes for months when things fell through and they needed to re-group. I always wanted to be the kind of mom that was there if my kids needed me – for anything. My parents weren't like that and I remember what a helpless, hopeless feeling it was when they weren't there to turn to.

Anyway, when my youngest daughter recently moved out on her own again she mentioned my phone rule and said she didn't mind if I called or even stopped over. I did tell her that being a single, attractive young woman out on her own I might want to keep a bit more contact with her. Like… daily? My reasoning being a.) she's not living with anyone who would notice if she didn't come home without reason and b.) have I mentioned she's attractive? I accept all forms of proof of life – a typical text message conversation between us may go something like:

me: are you alive?

her: no. i'm dead in the alley by the dumpster

me: okay. as long as i know

So, yes, she too has the smart-ass gene. However, that is considered proof of life. I also consider it to be proof when she blogs. So, one child taken care of.

Youngest son farms with Hubs so he's pretty well under the microscope on a daily basis. Hubs not only knows what he's doing and where he is, but has probably told him what to do and where to be! If he isn't working, he's more than likely doing something related to his race car and can be found in or around the shop, the race shop, or watching someone else race. Occasionally his fiancé gets him to do something non-race related, in which case we're probably aware of it, too.

Now, the older kids I don't keep as good track of as I should. Mostly because they went out of the house under "the talk" and have been surrounded by other people.  My eldest, my daughter, is married and has a child and I don't have to worry that she will end up missing and no one would know. I know she's busy and I try to stay out of her way. She and her husband were the ones who got me hooked on World of Warcraft (thankyouverymuch) so when the i-net is cooperating I'm often able to 'chat' with her online while we play. That's been fun. Offline, I just hate to bug her. I try to get together with her at least once a month to talk and if we're lucky and organized enough we can get together in person and play and talk and laugh and eat and catch up on every little thing.

My eldest son is the one who recently got married. I have barely spoken to him since the wedding. We saw them in August when they came for Hubs' birthday, but haven't really spoken to him since – except the occasional photo message or text message. I get information 'through the grapevine' for what is going on with them, but hate to call. I always feel I'm bugging them. I know they both work hard and when they get home they just want to relax (don't we all?) and I hate to call and pester them about what's been going on in their lives. Still? I am interested. I really DO want to know. I felt better when I knew they checked the internet more often and read my blog – at least I felt they knew what was going on with me. Now? I'm overdue to be calling them and trying to figure out when I can call that won't feel like an inconvenience.

Last, I'm the worst one to talk about this. I can go for weeks without talking to my own parents in person. I'll e-mail them (which, half the time my mother loses the e-mail in the spam folder then writes to complain I haven't written for … weeks when it was actually just a couple of days). I try to go see them at least once a month, but it is a chore and I'm not comfortable doing it. (Yeah. You've heard about it, and probably will again.) My mother-in-law's phone calls get screened by me (thank God for caller ID!) but I really shouldn't do that. She almost always has some urgently burning question that I'm to drop everything and respond to – while she apologizes in 300 words why she shouldn't be calling me. Hubs said it once perfectly: The woman has more words to say less than any person we've ever met. Also, Hubs sees her pretty much every day so I'm not worried that she's going to disappear without anyone knowing either.

So… here's your quiz for the day.

  1. If you have grown kids, do you call them or do they call you? (Or do you just have a face-to-face relationship)
  2. If YOU are a grown kid, do you call your parents or do they call you? (Same as above – face-to-face?)
  3. Is the communcation strained or easy?

* If you don't know who E.T. is, you are too young to be reading this blog. Go away and tell your mom or dad about my site.

Another Random 8 Meme

This time I got tagged by Nikki. She's got a new blog about HER little red head and since we have that in common, we've created a blog-bond. Although I've done this one before, I'll try to think of new answers…

The rules:
1. Let others know who tagged you.
2. Players start with 8 random facts about themselves.
3. Those who are tagged should post these rules and their 8 random facts.
4. Players should tag 8 other people and notify them they have been tagged.

Right, here we go!

1.I never sneeze less than 3 times in a row, usually more, and always after a choking episode.

2.I like to cook, love to eat, and hate to clean up.

3.I can't eat fennel seeds. You never want to give me Italian sausage with fennel seeds. You don't want to give me a pizza that has Italian sausage. It isn't pretty. Trust me.

4.There have been two times in my life I have blacked out from alcohol. The first time my memory gradually came back in flashbacks. The second time it never did come back. Luckily, I was with my husband and he took care of me and told me exactly what happened. It freaks me out to this day that I can't remember it. After that it scared me so bad I rarely drink now and if I do, never to excess.

5.I'm a horrible friend in real life. I'm much better with animals.

6.I was a bad mother. I'm much better now.

7.I've never eaten sushi, but love seafood. I think I would like it.

8.I bite my nails so badly that I've worn fake ones for 25 years.

Wow! I feel purged!

Your turn! I know these go around a lot, so not sure who has and who hasn't done it. If you want to, let us know you will… otherwise I won't bug you to do it.

I’d Rather Be a Smart-ass Than a Dumb-ass

The title of this post is what my husband always says when he gets called a smart-ass. Yes, he gets called it a lot. It's pretty much a toss-up on which one of us passed on the smart-ass-y gene to the kids. He says me, I say him. The kids have taken it to a new level. 
At one point when our youngest (the son mentioned in the cornfield post) was in his teens, he was upset because he felt he wasn't able to keep up. When everyone else was smarting off, he was lost and couldn't come up with snappy retort. This frustrated him to no end. I can imagine he was feeling a bit different from the rest of the family and wondered for a short time if he possibly could have been adopted. (Not a chance. He is Hubs' clone.)  Well he came into his stride when he hit his 20's and now he's as quick-witted as the next one.
It is one of my favorite things when the family gets together. I even referred to it when I was interviewed a few days ago and asked what one memory I would like to keep. It was this – all of us sitting around the table being smart-asses and laughing so hard at each other (okay…um…yeah… WITH each other. Whatever.) … laughter is contagious!
Sometimes I pity the first time a "significant other" is brought in to meet us all. I am sure there have been conversations that went something like, "My family isn't typical. We're a bit weird. If you're lucky Mom will have clothes on and Dad will shut off the TV long enough to talk to you. Oh, yeah, and it gets really noisy and don't be surprised if you are totally embarrassed." By which point he or she is really wondering what they've gotten themselves into. So far, we've lucked out and the significant others are generally right in there smarting off along with the rest of us.
When MIL comes over it changes the chemistry a little. Because of logistics (she lives really, really close) and the fact that she has hearing like a bat (I swear she can overhear cell phone calls at 200 yards) she is often included. It just makes life easier. Trust me. However, she can be a bit of a wet blanket. She sits there and glares because a.) she doesn't approve the language, my kids we all cuss like sailors  and b.) she doesn't get half the references – sometimes we're talking about World of Warcraft, sometimes we're "sneakily" and "subtley" talking about the blogs without actually SAYING blog, 'cause, you know, that would just give it all away and we'd die slow painful deaths. Occasionally we'll be talking TV shows, none of which she's seen or heard of but maybe she thinks she wants to … until she finds out what they're about (Hello? Dexter?).
So. If you ever get invited over, don't be surprised by the total breakdown of the Heartland of America Corn Fed Squeaky Clean image. We just don't work that way. We're a bunch of smart-asses….but better than a bunch of dumb-asses!

Never a Dull Moment

Remember the whack-a-mole game I was tellin' you about just the other day? Melvin Mole popped up today to interrupt harvest in a most exciting way.

Can you say, "Combine Fire"?

Oh, yeah. Fun was had by all. Luckily, son noticed the smoke as he was going through the field and got right on the fire extinguisher.

Hubs and a hired helper weren't in the same field, but when son screamed "Fire! Fire! Fire! Fucking FIRE!" into the two-way radio, you can bet they both wasted no time getting there.

About an hour later after putting some chemical extinguishers, a water extinguisher, a broom, a leaf blower and several pair of feet to work, the fires were out.

Nerves a bit frayed, covered with thick dust, we're grateful that no one was hurt, we didn't catch any fields on fire, and the combine had minimal damage.

I really could stand to lead a little less exciting of a life.

Damn moles.

Weekends? (A Poll)

No, this isn't a poll to find out if we should have weekends. We already know the answer to that. My questions are more blog-oriented.

  1. Do you blog on weekends? (I notice several bloggers take the weekends off)
  2. Do you read blogs on weekends?
  3. What is the highest blog-traffic day on your blog?

See? If I keep asking these questions and you keep answering, eventually I may get the hang of this blog-thing.