Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Writing Spiders

When I was growing up writing spiders lived in the camellia bushes surrounding our front porch. I have no idea who started this rumor but it was believed at our house that if the writing spider saw your teeth he'd be able to write your name in his web. Then, when it got dark, he'd come and get you. So that is why I sat in the swing on our front porch and talked with my lips stretched over my teeth. I must have done a great job because he never did come for me during the night.

And this memory jogged another. Every night before bed my Papa would tell me this little....diddy/nursery rhyme...not sure what it is:

To bed to bed said sleepy head
Wait awhile said slow
Put on the pot said greedy gut
Let's eat before we go!

Three O'Clock

Three o'clock is HARD. Three o'clock means:

Three kids who are hungry

Three lunchboxes to unpack and clean

Three sandwich containers to wash

Three thermoses to empty and wash

Three backpacks open with contents strewn all over the floor

Three kids who don't want to do homework

Three cats who think it is time to play

Three snacks to figure out

Three pencils to find and sharpen

And I am supposed to be there for all of it. Even if that means I am supposed to be reading the kindergartener a book, helping the 1st grader find his three lined paper AND calling out spelling words to the 3rd grader - ALL AT THE SAME TIME!

How do you do it? Do you stagger homework amongst them all? Do you just dive into the insanity? After they have dumped it all on the table, how do you know who's permission slip goes where? How do you know who needs a dollar for hat day and who doesn't? Do you always sign the folders, notebooks, and homework sheets so they don't get dinged on the behaviour chart the next day? Do you always remember when it is your turn for snacks? Do you stand in the middle of Walmart and try to figure out something that ALL 23 students would eat? Do you remember that nothing can contain peanuts?

My mind is just goo by 3:30! How do you do it?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I Hate Carpet

Before I go off on carpet I have good news. CSN Stores has given me another opportunity to spread the love. So, respond to this post for a chance to win a $35 gift card. CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find everything from cheap bedroom furniture to fantastic fitness equipment to cookware! And who couldn't use more of any of those things?

First of all, I have carpet. Thankfully, not everywhere - but we are too frugal (cheap) to take it out so when I rail on carpet it comes from personal, everyday use. Our carpet is confined to the bedrooms. We even chose to have it in our last house upstairs because we thought it would help keep the house quieter. And it probably did, but it also kept it dirtier and I'll take loud over dirt any day of the week. Who decided it would be a good idea to tack a semi-permanent rug to the floor and have everyone (pets included) walk on it every day? It can't be sanitary. Sure, you can vacuum, but that only gets up the loose stuff. When your two year old squirts cold medicine from the dropper onto her beige carpet and it is still visible 3 years later you know that is just nasty! And litter training two kittens resulted in a few permanent spots too. (GAG!) The absolute WORST feeling on earth is walking on wet carpet. (I seriously just shuddered thinking about it.) The kids walk out of my bathroom every morning, dripping wet, to their clothes on the floor in our bedroom. They leave wet foot prints. I leave the shower behind them and no matter how hard I try I end up stepping on a carpet wet spot. Gives me the heebie jeebies every single time! Then I go into my closet muttering about how when we build our next house it won't even contain a floor rug, much less wall to wall carpet.

My ideal floor was in our house in Englewood, FL. Terrazzo, baby! Totally the way to go! You could have spilled a bowl of salsa on that floor and nobody would have noticed. It hid spots, was cool on your feet, swept up like a dream and mopping it took 2 minutes with a damp Swiffer. Dream floor! Like tile with no grout lines. That house was built in 1969 when Terrazzo was all the rage. I've heard it is making a comeback but is rather expensive now. Lucky for us, the lady we bought the house from never liked it so we yanked out her old, gold shag carpet to uncover our shiny Terrazzo for the first time since 1969. Can you even imagine? I will admit to one drawback. SLICK AS GLASS! Don't jump out of the shower and run for the phone. You WON'T make it. But if Robbie had had the video camera going we could have won $10,000 that day.

Right now we have mostly hardwood floors. Eh. They are pretty, and warm (although I'd take a tropical climate and cool floors in a skinny minute) and pretty low maintenance. They do scratch though, and if you drop something on them they'll dent. Terrazzo doesn't dent, it just shatters what you drop, which I guess is drawback #2.

I like the look of tile, but sweeping out grout lines is a pain. We've got that in our bathrooms and laundry. Kitty litter in grout lines is frustrating. Grout stains too.

Something else that sounds nice, if you have to live in a place with winter, is radiant floor heating. Walking on a warm floor on a cold morning would be a nice perk, especially in the bathroom. I've heard it is pricy too. Why do I always crave the pricy? My mom used to say she could line up 20 items of clothing and I'd always ask for the most expensive without even looking at the tags. It's a gift, I suppose! LOL

So, what are your ideal floors? Mine would be the self cleaning type, if they existed. I do think those toe kick vacuum systems would be a great idea when building. I do NOT like my central vac though. If I weren't so cheap I'd spring for a regular vacuum. But I just KNOW the next time around I won't be needing one. Oh PLEASE let the day come when I only need a broom!!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Brought to You by the Number 3

Bert and Ernie. Batman and Robin. Scooby and Shaggy. When you think of best friends who get along you usually end up with two people in mind. I know. I know. There were the Three Musketeers, way back when. But three usually doesn't work out nearly so well. That whole 'two's company, three's a crowd' thing is real, folks. I've known this for a long time, practically my whole life. But the daily grind kind of put it on a back burner until the perfect example entered our lives lately. We had TWO cats. Now we have THREE. And three just does NOT work here. The third cat is obviously hated by the other two, that is a given . But now the first two are picking on each other. The new cat has thrown our whole pet equilibrium into chaos. And it reminds me of my children and my childhood. The reason I've known the phenomenon of three not working is because my mom has bemoaned the fact my whole life. She had three girls. And we fought. Constantly. And the day I brought Natalie home from the hospital she said, ever so gently, "You know you have to have another one, right?" And I ignored her and denied the same dynamics were at play because I had two boys who would surely love their new baby sister. It HAD to be different in our situation, I was sure of it. And I was WRONG!

Forget the Three Musketeers, we are more like the Three Stooges! (This is not going where you think, there will not be a fourth!) The Stooges will have to make do until someone moves out but the dynamics of trying to get three children to cooperate is FUTILE. Sometimes it is the boys who get along great. But as soon as you add sister, it all falls apart. Sometimes Key and little sister can work on a puzzle together and talk like old pals. But as soon as Andy enters the room the gig is up. And I don't think I even remember a time when Andy and Natalie ever got along!

So, mom, you were right. How you survived three girls, with all the drama that must have entailed, is beyond me. One drama queen here is quite enough, and probably the reason there isn't a fourth Goodson child anyway.

I gotta run. Doors are slamming and cats are hissing. No, really, that is what is happening RIGHT NOW. Arrrgggh.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Childhood Memories, Part 2

I had such a good time strolling memory lane for my last post I thought I'd do it again. This time I am going WAY back. In fact, I've been meaning to write this down for a long time and it occurred to me I could do it here. I'm sure if I had written this years (ok, decades) ago it would be a much more comprehensive list but if I wait any longer my list will just shrink even more. I even had to do research, like a real writer. Okay, I called my dad. This post is all about my paternal grandfather, Addison Buford Crocker, and the memories I have of him. It won't be a narrative, because I remember him in short segments. So, that is how I'll share him now.

My first memories of him revolve around his chair. He had a brown recliner that we sat in together and watched TV. Then we'd request ice cream from my mom and she'd bring it to us. Normally we ate neopolitan. The strawberry part was my favorite. In fact, it still is.

Another good thing about his chair was that if I got in trouble with my mom, and could make it to his chair, I was out of trouble. I was always safe in his arms, he wouldn't let her punish me.

Once, my parents took me out to eat at the fish camp. When we got home I climbed in Papa's lap for my nightly ice cream treat. He told me that you should never eat fish and ice cream on the same day, it would make you sick. I insisted on the ice cream. I threw up all night long. I have NEVER had fish and ice cream on the same day again, and I never will.

Papa helped in potty training me, but not in a hands on type of way. He said I could start going places around town with him when I didn't wear a diaper anymore. My mom says it didn't take long before we were traveling companions.

Papa had an old, white Chevrolet truck. The bed of the truck had wood slats instead of a metal bottom like you see today. There were small pieces of wood missing and I enjoyed watching the road or the field beneath the truck as we flew along.

I learned a valuable lesson in the back of that truck. Never blow a bubble gum bubble when you have ponytails flapping all around, flying along in the wind.

Papa always dressed nicely. I remember him in overalls too, but for the most part I remember him in a nice white dress shirt and slacks. He also wore a belt with his initials. ABC. I assumed he put ABC on everything in order to honor the first three letters of the alphabet. It confused me to see others mix all those letters up on their monogrammed items.

Papa and I used to eat at Self's Cafe. He always ordered me a BLT and we always sat at the counter. It was off Main Street and you parked by the railroad tracks.

Papa always had a special treat in his pockets. If you were extra good you'd get your choice of a caramel square or a silver bell. Silver bells have since been renamed Hershey's kisses, but I think they tasted better when they were silver bells. He kept his stash on the second shelf of the china cabinet. For years it still smelled like caramel when you opened it. It might still.

Papa and I liked to get up early and have coffee and egg sandwiches. I drank my coffee from a plastic red mug with Scooby Doo on the front. (That mug was later repurposed as a toothbrush holder and served faithfully for years.) I've never drank coffee without him. Can't stand the stuff! Mama says I would eat livermush with him too. If I did, I only did he because he did first.

Papa and I liked to take walks across the road to visit my cousin Ron and Aunt Carolyn. I'm sure we'd have visited Uncle Ronnie too, but he was at work.

Papa hated prickly pears. He'd throw a shovel in the back of the truck and we'd go off looking for those tresspassers in the pasture. When we spotted one he'd dig it up and put it in the back with me. I don't really remember what we did with them but I am sure they didn't get the chance to spread.

Along those same lines, he also couldn't tolerate fall webworms in his pecan trees. They had to be removed and burned.

Papa's room is where our piano room is now. He had a high, four poster bed, if I remember right. And he had a bolero type, leather rope tie that hung on one of the posts. I liked to get it down and play with it. His bedspread was white.

He always bought me gifts for special occasions. Well, I thought he did anyway. Those were my favorite things, usually clothes. I learned much later that my mom bought it all and put his name on something.

Papa got me my first pet. I barely remember some dogs chained up down at the smoke house. I think they were brown. My dog, Scooby Doo (of course!), was a puppy to those dogs. We brought him in when he was tiny, and I was tiny too. Apparently he peed on the floor and was banished to the outside pretty quickly. Me and Scooby had about 12 good years together. He was a small white dog with a black tail. Eventually, as he aged, his tail turned white too.

To pass the time, because we both had a lot of it on our hands back then, we'd sit on the front porch swing. We played a game where one of us would pick cars and the other would have trucks. Then we'd count how many of each that passed by. We lived out pretty far and didn't get a whole lot of traffic so it wasn't a fast paced game. Trucks usually won.

We'd also sit out there at night a lot too. Remember, we didn't have air conditioning. He'd swing me til I fell asleep and then usually my dad would carry me up to bed. I remember wearing blue Raggedy Ann pajamas. He might have given them to me! ;)

I remember being at my maternal grandmother's house one night. She was babysitting us, which was EXTREMELY rare. My parents were at the hospital with Papa. It was August 1975 (I had to get that date from dad). Papa had a stroke and passed away. I remember lots of people coming to our house and it bothered me that they went in his room. He didn't let just anybody in his room. I was about to start 1st grade.

I may remember a few more tidbits, and if I do I'll add them here. But, for the most part, this is what I remember about Papa.