Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I Ain't Got Time To Bleed!

Remember Jesse Ventura........ wrestler, turned governor of the great sate of Minnesota? He became an author, too. Never read any of his work, just remember the title, "I Ain't Got Time To Bleed". The title did not make me want to read his book and the only reason I mention it is that I feel that way, too.

Yesterday my right ear was giving me a fit. My tonsils have been swollen since I awoke on Saturday morning. No pain, just really hard to swallow. Felt like I had a set of testicles in my throat. I didn't feel good, but I didn't feel bad either; so I did what every self respecting woman does and ignored it. Sunday brought throat pain and no hearing in my right ear. I took a decongestant and kept going. It was just a scratchy throat and the loss of hearing in one ear....... I could still hear out of the other ear--problem solved. I was a little off-balance, but any one who knows me already has that opinion, so I once again ignored it. Felt really crappy yesterday and the ear was achy, but not unbearable. The left ear went out on me, but now I could hear out of the right ear. If you read yesterday's post you will note that I was a little on the surly side.

At about 5;30 this morning the left ear captured my full attention. I could not get in any position that didn't hurt and I got up. I was counting the minutes until the doctor's office opened so I could call. I took some Sudafed and 800 mg of Ibuprofen and downed two cups of coffee. It was bearable when I called the office and got an appointment for this afternoon. So, here I sit after taking the antibiotic, another decongestant, more Ibuprofen and nasal spray. I feel like a walking pharmacy. I have a middle ear infection in both ears. I thought it a little sadistic that he told me that my left eardrum was bulging with blood behind it, because I now have a mental picture of what it looks like to associate with the pain. I think the visual image in my head enhances the pain.

And I truly do not have time for this. I have a holiday weekend approaching. I have picnic tables to paint, a garden to weed, a house to clean, and grass to mow. All I feel like doing is sleeping and that won't be a possibility for at least 5 more hours. The good news in all this......... they always make me mount the dreaded scales and I have lost 7 lbs.

The pool is at maximum capacity again today. There was a birthday party in progress when I left love of my life in charge to go visit the doc. He said with all confidence that he would have all the end frames of the picnic tables done upon my return. He completed only one and got a good taste of what my life behind this counter is like.

Another tent camper with half a dozen heathen children. I tried to deny her..........my instinct tells me that I am going to have trouble with them. She cried. She is near hysteria. It is her child's birthday and she promised a night in a tent and swimming. I give in. I do warn her that I have strict rules that the children will have to adhere to....... She is not listening to me and I know this will no doubt be a mistake, but my bulging eardrum wants her to leave...right now.

Why, why did I think this would be fun?

Monday, June 29, 2009

I Overslept!

I struggled through the day yesterday with my ear hurting and feeling wretched. I was glad it was a Sunday and I would close at 6:00. Love of my life was at work. He always seems to be absent when I could really use some help.........

Didn't close until 7:30. I waited for a late arrival and did laundry for one of the pipe-liners. He likes a heavy starch in his shirt and I volunteered to take in his laundry. I like the extra money, but I like the whole laundry process. I feel very accomplished when I fold and neatly stack the items. I like the smell of freshly laundered clothes and I especially like to iron. I find the monotony to be relaxing. It makes the day not seem as long if I have a something to do while I cater to the swimming crowd. Enough about my weird fetish.

So, when I finally closed I rummaged through the medicine cabinet and took what I hoped was cold medication that would allow me to sleep. Must not have been, because I was wide awake at 11:30 when the husband came home. It was starting to wear off by then and I watched TV until I finally feel to sleep. I slept until almost 9:30. That is a rare event and I am now paying the price for that sleep.

I dragged my near voiceless self into the kitchen and stood watching the coffee drip ever so slowly into the carafe. I poured a cup when there was enough to pour and started to really wake up. Intending to indulge myself in some serious blog reading, I arranged myself and my canine followers upon the couch with the laptop and flipped on the Today show to see even more coverage of the death of the famous child molester........... I really need an hour to gear up for the day ahead. I like to be able to brush my teeth and wash my face before asked to present myself to the world at large. Alas, it was not to be. Two cars of women and children arrive at barely 10:00. I am still sipping my bitter brew, clad in my trusty nite shirt that asks "Y are you such an idiot?". I refuse to respond to the door--I don't open until 11:00 and it is clearly posted on the door. I gather myself reluctantly and throw on some shorts and a shirt.

My early morning intruders chose not to wait and simply went to pool. It should have been locked, but love of my life was so tired last night he didn't look for the key. We let the robot clean while we sleep and pull it out in the morning. It is powered by electricity and by all standards should be safe, but I don't want anyone in the pool while it is still connected to power..... you know for safety. More than that, though, I don't really want kids playing with it and breaking it. And all this is moot, since the pool wasn't officially open and therefore they were trespassers.

Suffice it to say that this did not start my day right and I had to bite my tongue to keep my sarcastic nature under control. I politely told them that I was concerned for the well being of the children with the robot still connected to power and that we have a cleaning process we perform each morning before we open the pool. They seemed to find this amusing and told me that they were early risers and wanted to get the day started. I then apologized for my apparent tardiness and told them that I am normally up and about much earlier, but that due to the fact that I have been ill all weekend I seemed to have over slept. They took my sarcasm as a joke and chastised me for not being up when they wanted to be here. No. I kid you not. I simply walked away before my other personality came forth to slay them.

And so begins another week in paradise. I sit here counting nickels and dimes and telling children who are clearly pubescent how many items of nutritionally valueless food their money will buy. I wonder aloud to one girl (the same one who wanted me to hook up a garden hose for her to play in, because the water in my pool wasn't cold enough) about the grade in school that teaches the children to count money and make change. She proudly informed me that she was "way past" that in her studies. I suggested that she take a refresher course. This comment went "way past" her mental capabilities.

I used to worry about offending these people and losing their business. I have come to realize that it would be impossible to do so while sinking to their level of comprehension. I need to lock up for awhile and go pull weeds or some other menial task and get a grip, so that I can acquire a better attitude with which to finish the day. I read this and think that I sound a little surly....... no, that's not it........... I think the word I am looking for is bitchy.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Heat Wave

It is hot outside. It is hot inside. As the temperature rises, the pool goers increase. Such a shame that they leave their intelligence at home (that is if they had any to start with). I cringe to think what kind of mess I will encounter at the pool this evening........

The woman enters the store with a toddler in her arms and she has a look of total panic on her face. We make eye contact and I wait to see what atrocity she is about to report. Nothing. She just gazes at me, so I ask if I can help her. Same look of panic when she says they want to swim. I ask how many people. Four. I tell her the total is $10. She gives me a 20 and 2 ones. I hand the ones back to her and give her a ten. Expression has not changed. She still looks panic stricken and now she appears to be confused about the money. This is the kind of clientele this day is bringing. I prefer to stay in here and not even look at the pool. I hear a banging noise and go out to investigate. A child of maybe 8 years is systematically beating the cold drink vending machine with a huge bottle of water. Not a parent in sight of this little dear to monitor his activities. "What are you doing?" I ask. He keeps hitting the machine and just gazes at me as I tell him to stop, then yell at him to stop. The yelling got his attention.

I feel like I am starring in a bad sci-fi movie and there is something in the water that is turning people stupid. It has been this way all week. A young girl comes into the store yesterday to tell me that it is too hot at our pool. She wants to hook up a hose and play in the water. She apparently thinks this a reasonable request and cannot believe it when I say no. One of the campers tells me that last weekend she had to leave the pool area with her children because a couple was having sex in the pool! Don't tell me this after the fact when there is nothing I can do. Tell me when it happens so that I can publicly humiliate the two and kick them out of the park. She goes on to tell me that the were tossing their baby around like a beach ball. I can't fix it if I don't know about it. Really, I am in a bad movie.

So I am sitting here in my prison, hiding from the reality of my world, counting the hours left in this day. I am looking forward to having all the pipeline workers living here in the park. It will be nice to have a sense of community and see the same faces every day. I think I have camp host burn-out. Little things annoy me greatly and the constant destruction of property is getting to me. I feel like I never catch up on any project. I am working on new picnic tables currently. WE bought 10 kits of pre-cut, pre-drilled 2x6 lumber. We assembled the first one and I decided that they would be easier to paint in pieces. We have to replace tables frequently, as some folks will actually set a grill on the table top and end up setting it on fire. They will also take a hatchet and chop wood and end up chopping the table. I am not kidding, you can't make this stuff up!

Fifty one swimmers today and a full campground. The door to the store is open more than it is closed. It is only 3:15! How can that be? I feel like I have been here for at least 12 hours! Guess I should at least run a broom through the bathrooms and stock the toilet paper. My throat is still sore and I am not having fun!

Friday, June 26, 2009

So Sorry, Louise..........

This is a copy of the letter I sent to the animal hospital the day after Louise was euthanized..........

June 27, 2008
To Whom It May Concern,
I am a pet lover. My pets are part of my family and enrich my life immensely. I take good care of my pets and they lead a very pampered life.
Earlier this year we were faced with that awful decision that comes at the end of a pet's life. Our Collie, Sarge, was almost 14 years old. He was going blind and having trouble making it out the door in time to relieve himself. We knew the day was coming soon, but didn't dwell on it. We continued to love our old pal and clean up his messes. He wasn't in pain and we were just happy to have him with us for as long as we could. All this changed on April 12th. Sarge apparently had a stroke. His brother dog, Oscar, brought his plight to my attention and we spent our last weekend giving Sarge all the love we could. On Monday we called your facility and made the dreaded appointment to euthanize our beloved pet.
I don't remember the name of the vet that day. This was my first experience and I was understandably emotional. What I do remember is how sensitive and compassionate she was. She explained the entire procedure before she began, allowing us to say goodbye to him and tell her when we were ready to proceed. The entire staff was wonderful, allowing him to die in our presence with the dignity he deserved.
Our 11 year old Saint Bernard began refusing food and water in late June. She had been mourning the death of her brother, Sarge, and never really returned to her old playful self. She was whimpering in pain from her arthritis and this made our decision. I once again made that dreaded appointment. My husband couldn't accompany this time, but after my first experience I felt I could handle it. My good friends, who also loved Louise, insisted on going with me.
We arrived 10 minutes early, knowing I would need help getting her out of the car and into the building. I had given Louise some Benadryl, along with her pain medication. I went in to let the receptionist know that we were there and would need assistance and was told that someone would be out soon. After 20 minutes I asked again for some help and was told it was coming "soon". After 40 minutes I decided to simply leave. This decision was hard enough to make without having it prolonged. It was then that the vet, Dr. Sherry, appeared with her assistant and a back board. Fearing that they would drop my big dog and cause her even more pain, I eased her down out of the car to walk her in. She was disoriented and I was gently nudging her along when the vet decided to lasso her with a leash and try to drag her into the building. She was in pain and I could see no reason for the sudden hurry, so I removed the lead and continued our slow progress. After waiting 40 minutes, I felt that they could wait for her to walk as slowly as she needed to. We were escorted to a room and I sat down on the floor to ease her down. I ended up with her back end half in, half out of my lap. With no communication to me at all, they shaved her arm and injected her and pronounced her "gone". The assistant who had been holding my dogs head away from the vet, stood to leave and simply let her head fall to the floor. I will never forget the sound as it echoed in the room. We were told to leave when ever we were ready.
I cannot express to you how horrible this experience was. I own my own business and know that feedback--whether positive or not-- is important. I hope that you will consider my experience when dealing with grieving pet owners in the future.

As of today I have received no response to my letter. I found it harder to grieve given the circumstance. I carried guilt that I let my sweet old girl be put down in such a matter. Nothing I can do about it. I keep a copy of this letter at my desk and if asked for a recommendation for a vet, I will hand it to the person and tell them that I can tell them where not to go..............

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Missing Louise

This is the only picture I could find on the computer of my sweet old girl. This is right after we moved here to the campground. Louise never minded change in her life, she just went with the flow. She was sweet and affectionate, if a bit slobbery.

I remember the first time I saw her. She already weighed 55 lbs and was no longer what you would think of as a puppy. I never intended to get a dog that day. I was on a mission to get a St. Bernard puppy for my grandson. My kids grew up with a St. Bernard named Saint Nicholas. They are wonderful dogs for children. We drove to a house out in the country in Wisconsin to claim our puppy for Gage. My daughter, Jill, had already decided that the dog should be male and there were three puppies.... two boys and a girl. All Gage had to do was choose his puppy.

"Look, Mommy, a horsey!" cried Gage as he spied the father of the pups. We were led to a makeshift pen in the back yard where the pups were contained. Gage chose his puppy right away and he was named Crash. I was enchanted with the female pup. I kept petting her and asking Gage if he was sure about his choice........ "Go on, Mom, you know you want her." My daughter urged me to indulge myself and I did.

We piled into my sedan with a two year old in carseat, a seven year old , me, my daughter, and two 55 lb puppies. It was a long wet ride home with lots of slobber landing everywhere. These dogs had never been inside and I knew that the first order of business would be a bath for my dog. Jill named her dog Crash because she had a cat that Gage had named Burn. I was given a choice to name my dog Thelma or Louise.

Louise settled nicely into our family. It was hard not to love her. She was so affectionate that one would tend to overlook the chaos she created. She love to chew wood. She ate my coffee table, she ate the firewood. Once she ate what remained of a BBQ dinner, plastic butter tubs and all. She hated storms and would crawl into my lap for comfort. She was sneaky and loved to gain her freedom to socialize with the neighborhood.

I had only had her for a couple of months when she developed a pronounced limp. I checked her toe pads, thinking to find a thorn. We ended up at the vet and discovered that she had osteochondrosis, a genetic disorder. She had a piece of cartiledge free floating in her shoulder joint and had her first surgery when she was less than 8 months old. I was told to put her down....that her life would be filled with pain and misery. I cried all the way home with her in a goofy sedated state. She recovered and thrived. She lived to be a happy 11 years old and never complained even when I knew her joints hurt. She was a sweet, loving old girl to the end.

Tomorrow will mark the first anniversary of her death. She mourned the loss of our Collie, Sarge, who had died in April. She went downhill fast after he died. She would simple lay on the sofa all day. She began to have trouble getting up and down. She still loved to cuddle with Emmy and Emmy groomed Louise's face daily. She thought Emmy was her baby and Emmy enjoyed that role. She would often hide in Louise's neck if she thought she was in trouble.

I am missing my old girl. She was a wonderful pet and made my life all the richer for having had her in it. Losing two dogs in such a short period of time was almost more than I could bear and Louise's euthanization was a horrible experience. I had expected a similar experience to the one I had when we chose to have Sarge euthanized. It could not have been more different. I mourned for Sarge, but I felt that I had somehow failed Louise. It made her death even more difficult to accept. But I know that she forgave me with her sweet generous spirit.

Thursday, The Weekend Cometh

Still have the sore throat. I sound like a smoker when I cough and talk. I got up at 5 am and let the dogs out. I toyed with thought of putting on the coffee and starting the day, but my longing for sleep won out and I crawled back in bed. The ringing of the phone awakened me less than an hour later. I made it to the office in time to hear the message.............

One of the campers is calling to report that the person occupying the site next to them hit the power supply and water when they left and their is a geyser spewing. Wonderful. The sleeping one is awakened to investigate. He gets the water stopped and is now waiting for the campers of last night to leave so that he can shut down the water to the park and rebuild the mangled water. They did indeed run over the whole shebang, flattening all to the ground and tripping the breaker.

While he is ranting about the damage I quickly go through my registration forms to see if I can determine who the faulty driver is............ I didn't assign anyone to that site, but........... All my registrations are accounted for and did not create the damage. This means that not only did someone steal a site for the night, but created quite a bit of damage in their haste to leave. Short of staying up all night to monitor the comings and goings I don't know what else to do. We do have surveillance cameras on the night check-in and one directed towards the parking lot to try to see a licence plate; but we lack the big screen and all the equipment used by CSI. Not only that, I doubt that the law enforcement would pull out all the stops and aggressively pursue the thief. Maybe we should get up every few hours all night and patrol the park. Those parked without registering could be awakened and made to pay............. or we could slash their tires and wait until morning. Those held captive by vandalism would then find it necessary to pay while they ask for assistance.

Awwww fantasy. Since I am feeling less than chipper I find myself listening to the Today show. It seems that the governor of South Carolina has lied!!!!!!! What did they expect? He was having an affair. They seem to be emphasizing the lying and telling his staff that he would be one place, while he was not in that place. Did they think he would confide to them that he was leaving the country to carry on with a woman not his wife? More to the point, why is this the forefront on the news broadcast? Yes, it is high profile because he governs a state, but I am sure that in his absence the state did not falter. The caption under the image of the governor reads "Why do men cheat?" What? Are we going to be treated to the answer this morning? Wouldn't you think that the answer to that question would be as unique as the person who does the deed? The woman speaker is expounding on the ego and thrill aspect, while the man who happens to be black is saying that although men are created equal, that some men (like the governor?) think that they are created a little more equal. Blah, blah, blah, yadayadayada. On and on they go, analyzing the confession and taking this man's life apart, dragging his family through the mud. Health care, a war, unemployment. We have other issues that need attention in this country. I do not condone what the man did, not at all. If his absence created a problem for his state, then his constituents should show their displeasure and impeach him. His wife should handle all the rest. Perhaps we should all let her handle this privately and stop the voyeurism.

Enough of this I must go and paint the picnic tables, pull the robot out of the pool, clean the bathrooms............and make the donuts?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wednesday, It is Wednesday, Isn't it?

Such a strange day. I woke early with a sore throat. I feel like my tonsils are touching inside my throat. I don't feel all that good, but it was cooler than it has been and the grass is growing.... and the garden is full of weeds and the pool needs to be cleaned.......

I forced myself out the door to clean the bathrooms and noticed that one of the pool umbrellas was in the parking lot next to our truck, inside out. I wonder briefly about it, but time's a wastin' and it won't get any cooler for mowing than it is right now. Out of gas, so I have to wake the sleeping one and inquire about fuel. We have many fuel cans here, but I never know which might have a diesel mix for whatever. I would label them , but what do I know. While he found gas for me I weeded one of my neglected flower gardens. As I was mowing my side yard I see him head to the dumpster with the umbrella in hand.......... "Wait!" I call out, "we may be able to fix it." He looks at me as if I have grown horns!

To his utter amazement I was able to salvage it with his help. Now if I can keep my pool patrons from stealing the lounge chairs.......... Yes, that happens. Makes one wonder if these people were raised by a criminal band of thieves and they steal just for the sake of stealing. My favorite stolen item thus far is the used toilet bowl brushes. It was a Mother's Day weekend a few years back; making me wonder if some lucky mom got a rather unusual bouquet..........

I mowed my yards and prepped all the areas that are hard for Drew to get near and came in dripping wet with sweat, donned my trusty swimsuit to go cool off........ and then I was distracted by my vegetable garden. I pulled on a pair of shorts and began hoeing and weeding as if my life depended upon it. I finished digging the last row of potatoes and turned all the soil and readied it for beans. From there I actually made it to the pool, but I had my handy clippers with me, so I got wet, then started trimming the vines that were overtaking the fence. While doing this task I discovered a nest with three tiny blue eggs. They resemble Easter candy and aren't much bigger than jelly beans. I was told by a camper that they are Robin's eggs. I left them there, hidden in the vine. Some local child might try to eat them if discovered. Oops, did I write that? It is true, though. There are some strange folk out there and I seriously think there is some inbreeding happening along with the rampant drug use in this county........ allegedly speaking..........

All this to say that I now have a sunburn on my back, so that along with the swollen tonsils and sore throat I am having chills when the cool air hits me inside this prison that is my office. The pool goers held off today until 3:00. I actually fell asleep in my chair and dozed for maybe 20 minutes. It was wonderful, but left me longing for more. Now I can't seem to gather enough energy to accomplish anything that needs doing....... just in a strange place today.

Maybe I need to skinny dip or have a twinkie....or two..............

Sweet, Sweet Baby Zara

This has to be the most pleasant baby I have ever been around. This is Baby Zara and she is asleep in Papa's arms about to get a kiss.....or maybe he just wants to sniff that delicious little head. No, it was a kiss.
When she wasn't sleeping, she was walking and smiling. Just happy with her world.

Even when she was tired.... look at those little eyes.....she kept a smile on her face. She wanted to say, "Hey, old man, put me down, I have a world to explore!" She was always busy, this baby. Watching the big sisters to see what to do next. Running after the dog who stole her pretzel and laughing all the way.

"How do those big people open this thing?" Those cold cans look like they would be fun to roll around on the floor! She had a popsicle and only got a little on her.

Watermelons for Maya, butterflies for Jada and ducks for Zara. I miss my girls. They didn't even forget anything! I have long since washed the towels from the pool, but they held no scent of sweet little girls....just chlorine.
When they made the very first visit here to see us Maya wasn't two yet and Jada was a little baby. I was warned that the shower had lots of curly black hair left in it. I carefully removed several of the curls and stuck them to the bathroom mirror so that each morning I would be reminded of my sweet babies as I brushed my teeth. Love of my life wondered why their was hair on the mirror ( I won't say what kind of hair he thought it was!) and was going to clean it off. I forbade him the use of Windex and the little curls stayed there for several months.
These girls have a big sister in college. I have witnessed the squealing of her name (Kenzie, Kenzie!) upon arrival back home and the mad dash to her arms to be held. My son is the only male in this household.....even the cats are female. I think he likes it this way. I know I love to see his face when he hears them all call out...."Daddy, Daddy....."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

All Caught Up.....and New Discoveries

A long afternoon of checking in swimmers gave me the opportunity to read all the blogs I missed in the last two weeks. Like I said in an earlier blog, I don't need to check out as many books at the library now to keep myself amused.........all you guys take care of me now!

The heat and humidity are still very high and lots of the local folks have been out to swim. The water is looking cloudy now and we will certainly have to double shock it tonight. The heat makes pool maintenance even harder. I need to go out and sweep the area again. I picked up all manner of trash and "souvenirs" this morning. A dirty pair of men's socks, three beach balls, two rafts...... and a partridge in a pear tree. I feel a song in the works. I will have to give it some serious thought!

I made an amazing discovery last night. I had been out in the heat painting the base coat for a sign. Hot yellow oil based high gloss paint. I want to capture the attention of those who enter my park. The sun had long disappeared and I climbed the hateful ladder and slapped the first coat on. I do not like heights and I do not like the ladder that I was using. As a result of that and the mosquitoes I encountered, I got paint on my hands. I couldn't simply wash it off, but did the best I could with some Lava soap. I decided to remove my mustache with a depilatory before showering. And yes, women my age get facial hair, so what!

Back to my discovery, though. The depilatory will remove oil paint!! Isn't that a handy thing to know? I have tried many things including mineral spirits. Mineral spirits work, but dry out my skin. I bought some liquid Goop hand soap, but I am unimpressed with it.

Love of my life is always into something that requires more than the hand soap all of us keep at each sink. Lava has a liquid hand soap that works great and is a little spendy, so I thought the Goop hand soap would do the trick and it was a lot cheaper. Drew put it in the shower and I accidentally used it instead of my moisturizing body wash. I don't recommend it. It has a pleasant orange scent and I was squeaky clean, but the next day I noticed that my skin looked as scaly as a reptile.

Almost time to shut the pool down. I always have those that linger and don't want to leave, so I keep a bottle of algaecide handy to start pouring in. That will do the trick. I tell them it will burn their skin....hey, maybe it does. I am off to clean the bathrooms and pool area. Another day gone!

Middle Child....Center of the World?

Not the baby and not the oldest, my granddaughter Jada is the middle child. This makes her the center and she asserts her position daily. She is funny and confident and never allows her self to be pushed aside. She will always make sure that she is heard. I would want to say that this is because she is the middle child..... I don't know. I have a child much like this and she is the baby of our family. It is fun to watch the personalities emerge as these little girls grow. Jada is four years old now and is quickly becoming the person she will be. She is going to be a beautiful woman one day and break many hearts. The first one will be her Daddy's. Caution will never be a word used when describing this one. She has no problem claiming what is hers and does so with great gusto.

I love to talk to Jada on the phone. She has the sweetest little rasp to her voice and will talk about whatever is going on in her house. She will giggle and sigh and respond to my questions with lots of details. She is a social butterfly, my little Jada. She likes the role of big sister.... in brief intervals. She would rather be doing what her big sister is doing, though, always striving to keep up with the older kids. She is trying to hold Baby Zara still for a photo here.

While big sister likes watermelons on her dress, Jada wanted butterflies. Gramma tries really hard to please her girls. Nothing brings me as much pleasure as sewing for my girls. I picture them in my mind opening the fat envelope with the slip of cloth it takes to make them happy tucked inside. I am missing them today. The visit was too brief. Gramma needs more kisses and bites of giggly girl flesh. Sweet arms around the neck and whispers of important secrets in my ear. I am holding Miss Jada in my mind today. Today I will start to cut out some lime green fabric with snails and happy worms dancing upon it and Jada in my minds eye..........

Monday, June 22, 2009

Could This Day Be Longer?

The temperature is approaching the 100 degree mark as the humidity soars. I painted the back side of a new fence this morning and finished just as the first car full of swimmers arrived. I still have paint on my toes and I think in my hair. I was awash in sweat and haven't been able to grab a quick shower yet. It is 4 PM now, so I give up on that shower until bedtime. I will paint more as soon as that wicked sun goes down.

"I can't believe the crowd in that pool!" says the woman, as she signs herself in, along with three children. She repeats this three times as she also is exclaiming about the heat. I cannot help but wonder why she finds the fact that so many have escaped the heat of the day in the pool so fascinating. Does she think that her idea to cool off is unique? Now she is going on and on about how nice the air conditioning feels in here.....as she stands half in, half out of the door. I have to tell her to please close the door, that it defeats the purpose of the air conditioner to have it open. She agrees whole heartily while still standing with her body in the door. I finally had to go and kind of push her along to be able to shut the door. It has been a very long day and I would love to tilt back this chair and doze off. Only ten minutes would refresh me. It is not to be. I have spent the entire day reminding folks to shut the door to the wicked outdoor heat or to shut the freezer or cooler door and view the contents via the clear glass.

I long for winter on days like this. My mind is racing with things that need doing and I am being held prisoner behind this counter. Children roam in and out unattended by adult supervision, twenty dollar bills in hand..... They have no clue how to count change and I could easily rip them off and they would be none the wiser. The saddest part is that the parents probably wouldn't know either. A child just handed me two quarters and a five dollar bill for a candy bar costing 75 cents. I gave her the quarters back, then 4 ones and a quarter back from the five. She was so confused. She looks to be about 11. Don't they teach children how to count change and handle money in grammar school? Her father teaches at the local grammar school.......... go figure.

All this humidity and extreme heat have combined to make the mosquito population reach untold capacity. The bat population that used to keep them at bay has diminished due to some sort of cave fungus.....but I am selling a lot of bug spray and have found that people will pay almost anything for a can of Deep Woods OFF. I am down to my last can and have sent love of my life on a mission to obtain more, along with the nasty frozen pizzas and burgers the local pool goers feed their children. I have one family that comes here every day. The kids will eat a pizza or burger while they are here, followed by ice cream and candy. Before leaving they will purchase another pizza or burger to take home. Besides the lack of nutrition involved in this, how does one afford to do this every single day. Who am I to question?

Now that Drew has left to pick up supplies.... RV's are checking in and I have no doubt that something will go awry now that I am on my own. Cynicism seems to be the mood of the day.....

Daddy's Girl, Gramma's Love

Meet Maya. This is my 51/2 year old granddaughter. She is the oldest of three adorable little girls that belong to my son and his wife. She is Daddy's girl and Gramma's love. She is sweet and sensitive with a shy little voice and long,long legs. She is cautious with her smiles and kisses. She is the helpful big sister and Gavin's best cousin. She came into our lives shortly after she was born and we all fell in love with that tiny little peanut that she was.

Awhile back she asked me to make her a dress with watermelons on it. She even saw some fabric while we were choosing a pattern. It was all wrong for the dress she wanted.......it was pajama fabric. My son and I carefully steered her to a different selection and she was happy with what we bought that day (I think because Daddy chose it), but Gramma has been on the lookout since for that illusive watermelon dress.

A thorough search (pawing through) of my stash yielded no trusty substitute. An on-line search failed, as well. Found some, but Gramma is a thrifty soul and didn't want Maya to have a dress she couldn't run and play in and rip and get dirty without Gramma having a small stroke.

Aha........ Gramma spied the trusty fabric from afar and could not resist fulfilling the long ago request. Gramma even paid full price! This is unheard of! Gramma always shops the bargain aisle! But, Gramma loves Maya. The pre-shirred fabric is designed for an older and taller child. Gramma has such a dilemma! She stands in the fabric department holding the bolt of fabric by her side and imagining where Maya's sweet head would be next to her. It is way too long. Gramma lays the bolt on the cutting counter to think as she strokes the watermelons. Gramma has an epiphany!! She will lose the black border and use the applique stitch to "hem" around the watermelon rinds with a thick green thread. Problem solved!

Perfect length. "Don't turn around, Maya, the back of your dress is dirty!" Little girls love to play in the sand and rocks and ride their bikes. Little sister Jada has asserted herself into the picture and Mommy is holding Baby Zara who's kissable little feet are in the picture.
My sweet little granddaughters have gone home and I am ready to sew another batch of dresses to play in! I miss them. I miss the little arms around my neck. I miss the noise and the chatter of little (and not so little) voices. I miss the trusting eyes that allow me to help wash little hands. I miss the sweet weight of a sleepy baby and the feel of her tight curls against the pads of my fingers as I rub her little nappy head and swoon with that tender love that only a sleeping child can induce.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Flossing, Snot and Intimacy

I was just catching up on my blog reading. Sane without drugs' last post was about her last student teacher. He would blow his nose and ask her if the color of the snot indicated a visit to the doctor. I commented that I felt snot viewing to be sort of intimate. Along with other things such as flossing and putting on make-up. These are things you would only do around close friends and family..... if then. I wear make-up to cover my flaws and I have witnessed myself flossing and it was not a pretty sight. I am a nurse, so viewing snot or inquiring about the color of it doesn't really bother me. The whole purpose of this intro is to say that it brought back a memory I wanted to share...

I worked for a fabric chain along the east coast many (20!!) years ago. I rose from a lowly clerk to a store manager to a district manager. I only went to work there to get the employee discount to feed my fabric fetish that I still have to this day. My district was on the panhandle of Florida and we lived in Tallahassee. My district included two stores in Georgia, one in Alabama and 4 along the gulf coast. Lots and lots of time spent on the road, needless to say.

My immediate boss was this guy from Wisconsin, unfamiliar with the ways of small southern towns and good old boys. Most of my employees wondered about his sexual preference so much so that I asked him and he said he was not gay, not that I cared one way or the other. I have noticed that southern men in particular tend to be homophobic and judgemental.....just an observation of the southern men I have encountered, not a generalization.

On to the story. This meticulous guy from Wisconsin was way into dental hygiene and would floss his teeth while I would drive. I found it to be amusing at first, then annoying. He was on a live forever diet plan that involved a bushel of fruit in the morning, a couple of serving bowls of salad for lunch, then salad again with either potato, bread or meat for dinner. At one point he said that he had all his women on this diet--referring to all the district managers he managed, as if we were a harem of fat heifers to be brought down to a controllable size.

After one meal at a decent dining establishment (cloth napkins!), he must have been out of floss because he picked up the napkin and began cleaning his teeth.....right there at the table! I looked around discreetly to see if anyone else thought it to be in bad taste and saw several folks gaping at him. He seemed not to notice. That weekend I told the family about this bizarre behaviour and we all had a good laugh. Several weeks or so later we ended his visit in my home town and he wanted to go eat supper, so I swung by and picked up my kids....he was, after all, paying. My kids were all typically well behaved being 12 and 15 years old. They joined the conversation and everything was going fairly smoothly until the end of the meal.........when in unison they all three picked up their napkins and began cleaning their teeth. I think I blushed. I was so embarrassed. Can't tell those kids anything!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

SHAM WOW and Solitude

I am enjoying blessed solitude as everyone sleeps in. It is almost 10:00! Woke up early when I heard my little guy rummaging through his suitcase. He fell asleep on the couch last night and I didn't wake him to pee. He had a little accident, so I helped him change and put him in bed with me. He snuggled close to me and hugging me, fell asleep again. It has to be the most wonderful feeling in the world.....a sleeping child on your shoulder. His bony little elbow dug into my breast and the weight of his head on my arm will leave a tingle for days. But it was all worth it to feel him relax and go back to sleep. I lay with him for awhile, just kissing his sweet head and sniffing his hair. I remembered something while I lay there with that sweet weight on my arm. When I was a little girl and we would arrive at my grandmother's house for a stay, the first thing she would do was pull me into her arms and say, "Come here, let me smell you." I finally know what she meant.

I will miss him when he leaves. I was so busy last night, trying to juggle cooking dinner, checking in customers, delivering firewood and answering the phone. Hard enough when I am alone, but more so when I have the safety and well-being of Gavin always in the forefront of my mind. Love of my life will be here to help tonight and things will be easier. Then, on Thursday my daughter-in-law will be here with my granddaughters. I can't wait to see them. Maya is five and a half, Jada is four and baby Zara just turned one. I hope the weather will cooperate and I won't be wringing out my SHAM WOW towels all weekend. I would rather be holding Zara and smelling all their heads as my grand mother did to me. My son has to stay behind and work..... because like his Dad, he did not listen to his wife and request the time off when she told him to. We will commiserate together while she is here. Her Mom is coming along with her, so we will have lots of eyes on these precious little ones. I am so looking forward to the visit. Only a long weekend and it will fly by, I am sure.

I hear a familiar little voice and my solitude is ending. Soon the sound of cartoons will fill the house and breakfast will be in demand. I am thinking to sneak off for a bit to purchase Father's Day cards for the men in my life. I don't like to drive in the rain, but I am running out of time. And it is time to ring out the SHAM WOWS. Maybe we should line the roof with them at the leaking points................ good thing he doesn't read this, he might think that this is a good idea!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Product Recommendation

When I said I had flood zones in the house I was not kidding. The grandson was gleefully splashing through them as he went about the morning.... going out of his way to hit the huge, growing puddles of water. The kitchen is the "baddest", as Gavin was eager to share the news with Papa. It was seeping out from under the cabinets. I was trying to sop it up with the mop and getting nowhere, so love of my life went to the local store boasting the aisle of goodies as seen on TV and brought a box of SHAM WOW towels home along with the requested milk and cheese that we were out of.

I immediately threw down the first towel to see if it worked as well as advertised. Of course a customer came in and I discovered that he who did not fix the roof when it was dry had wrung my SHAM WOW out. Not trusting the opinion of a man who has once again failed to listen to his wife, I got another towel out and tested it myself. They do, indeed hold a lot of liquid and absorb it quickly. I highly recommend this product. All 5 of the towels are now in use, trying to catch the water as soon as it enters from above. It is supposed to rain the entire week, then turn very hot and humid. Oh, joy. This does not bode well for the occupants of this house, as I am becoming increasingly irritable. Close quarters and a five year old with no volume control, a woman unhappy with her husband, and a brave ten year old who begged to stay with me and help with the five year old and is now bored out of her mind. Well, you get it.

I really need sleep. I am thinking that if I could have six uninterrupted hours of blissful sleep I would feel so much better. The child in the cot at the foot of my bed slept like a log. His dog, however would not be still, jumping into my bed to greet me with his cold wet nose, then hopping back down to the cot to root around the child before settling down and then repeating the whole process every few hours. The husband slept through it all. In his defense, he is exhausted from all the work in the park as well as his job as a lowly store clerk. He spent the morning creating a new chart for them to count and keep up with cigarettes at work. This from the one who can't be bothered to organize anything here.

To say I am annoyed is putting it lightly. He won't be rewarded for his efforts in any form. He never gets his 15 minute breaks required by law and consistently works far longer than eight hours. The "manager" remains clueless about her responsibilities and told him that his evaluation for the past year has been done. These "evaluations" are not shared with the employee. Some higher secret society has performed them. What is the purpose of an evaluation, if not to share with the employee the areas of his job that are being done correctly and the ones that need improvement? He makes a whopping $7 an hour. No shift differential and no overtime for the 10 hour shifts he puts in unless he exceeds 40 hours a week. Able Oil Company. Just in case some OSHA person out there is addicted to blogging.

Sorry about that, SHAM WOW, this was supposed to be about you!

It's Raining, It's Pouring, and Yes, He Is Snoring

I thought about taking a picture of him, mouth gaping open as he snores the morning away. That would not be nice....and I can't remember where I put the camera.

The gutters have failed and I have three flood zones IN the house. They did not seal around the vent pipes properly on the roof and I get wet floors when it rains. Not always, but enough to let me know exactly where the leaks are. The roof has the same priority as the gutter did; meaning I will have to express my displeasure loudly for it to receive the attention it needs. I am suffering from sleep deprivation again thanks to the fleas and sick dogs. I am on the third cup of coffee and thinking about brewing another pot as I wade through the kitchen and into my office. The mop head is new and is not sucking up the water. Maybe I should go purchase SHAM WOW and layer them through out the house. I swear this "house" is trying to kill me.

Had a call yesterday from a nice lady inquiring about a tent site for the evening. I like that she told me what she wanted and I didn't have to play twenty questions. I gave her my rates and she quipped, "Oh and that includes breakfast and dinner." I laughed and told her it sure did, that I would be happy with whatever she prepared. It is so refreshing to talk to people who "get" it. When they arrived I was outside shoveling rock (I told you this was a glamorous lifestyle) and her husband put down his window and asked if this was the campground that provided meals. Oh, no sir, you must be at the wrong place" I said, laughing. "Well, she said you did!" He said as he pointed to his wife. "Oh, her," I said, "She's delusional." We all had a good laugh as they checked in. Nice people...... so refreshing. Like the gentleman I checked in last week, coming in from weeding. I apologized for my ever dirty fingernails and he didn't miss a beat as he told me they looked a lot better than his.......... He had no hand, but a hook mechanism that he was very adept with. I like my job when I get to meet people such as these.

Some one asked what the dumbest question I had ever been asked was. I thought for a moment and almost chose the woman who wanted to know if she should exit the pool in the event of lightning (she phrased it differently). I think the absolute dumbest would be "Is this a campground?" I have been asked that on the phone after answering the ring with "Kan-do Kampground, may I help you?" and by someone who has pulled into the park, passing the signage that says this is a campground and looking around at the various campsites occupied with tents and RV's. This question is usually followed by "Do you let people camp here?". I bite my tongue a lot. Sometimes I just can't help myself and I will give a witty reply which is usually received with a blank look indicating they have not a clue what I am talking about.

Now I must go and mop. The pool and the pond are over flowing and we have a washout on one of our roads. Love of my life is up and no longer snoring blissfully. He is on the bobcat. He thinks he can stop Mother Nature. I think he will just create a bigger mess. I cannot convey this to him, though. I refuse to speak to the man until he fixes the roof. Let's see who can last the longest.....

Saturday, June 13, 2009

As I sit upon the throne.............

Bathrooms. You can learn a lot about people when you clean bathrooms. You can discover things that you never wanted to know. I use a lot of bleach. A lot. I don't dilute it much. I wear gloves.

Today started at 6:30 when someone tried to enter the locked store. Woke me up, of course. I stayed up waiting for a late arrival. Had to, as love of my life didn't think that the posting of signs indicating site numbers on the new sites was a priority. We got to bed around 1:00. I am exhausted, so I was less than thrilled when I heard the buzzer sound. I did not respond to the silly camper that thought I might be open at that hour, but I could not go back to sleep.

They were persistent and at 8:00 I sold them the ice. Big sale......$3.00. For that I had to be awakened. Already in an unpleasant state of mind I head for the bathrooms to clean them before I officially open. After 3 interruptions and 4 phone calls I am done and enthroned upon my chair here for the remainder of the long, long day.

Speaking of "thrones"..........I will return to the subject of this post. Upon entering the ladies room (and I hesitate to use that term, given my clientele of late) I encounter a funky odor and a trail of ants. Hmmmm........wonder what surprises await me? I decide to follow the trail of ants (the yellow brick road?) and end up at the trash can sitting next to the toilet. The can is small and lined (thank goodness) and is for, you know, personal items to dispose of............not for plates of food remains! Making me wonder...........did someone sit upon the throne eating what looks to be beans and a hot dog? If they did, why? And if they didn't, why would you put it in an open trashcan when there is on with a lid on it right outside the bathrooms? Oh, it gets better, so stay with me.

I dispose of the garbage and grab a new liner along with the paper product to restock and head back to begin the scrubbing of the facility. After scouring the toilet bowl and cleaning the seat I put the lid down to discover that some kind soul has smeared feces all over it. Nice. It is all dried and I have to spray it and let it sit while I scrub the shower and the sink and finally got it clean again with a little elbow grease and a lot of bleach. Just in case there may have been graffiti on the walls at some point during this delightful dining experience I washed all of them as well.

The men's room held no surprises and was a normal clean-up, save the black paint on the floor that the kind man apparently got on his feet when he ignored my wet paint sign and used the facility anyway. I don't know why I waited to get out the mineral spirits and clean it up. Maybe I was hoping for little elves to come in the night and magically make it disappear. No such happenings in these parts, so I cleaned that up as well.

Just a little insight for you to mull over if you are thinking of going into this business........

Friday, June 12, 2009

So Sad

The man comes into the store and heads for the ice machine. He doesn't say a word. He has on overalls and a cap. He glances my way and doesn't say anything. I sense that there is something wrong and that I should keep quiet. His eyes are very bright and he walks to the wall and would appear to be studying the merchandise. I would normally ask if I could help him find something, but still, I feel that I should simply wait.

I checked him in for the weekend a few hours before this visit to the store. He has his grandchildren with him and they are excited to jump in the pool. He is repeat customer and one of those good campers that I don't remember so much. I recognize him when he comes, but only exchange the mundane niceties about weather and such. Just a nice man who takes his grandchildren camping.

He seems to be composing himself as he approaches the counter with a couple bags of ice and a package of swim goggles for the kids. I tell him the total and he tells me that they will be leaving a day early and not staying all weekend. He goes on to say that after everything that has happened he just can't stay here, he is too upset. Thinking that something is amiss on my end, I , of course, ask what happened. I always need to know if there is something that can be fixed by us.

He blinks rapidly as he tells me that he accidentally killed his little dog. I feel that awful stab to my heart as I blink back my own tears. I lay my hand on top of his as he lays the money on the counter and tell him how sorry I am. Drew walks in as he tells me that he was going to back up his truck and did not see his beloved pet under the tire and ran over her. I have my hand over my mouth and Drew is now blinking back his tears. I gave him a refund. He didn't ask for one and I don't think he expected even the gesture that came with it. He is staying this one night for the grandchildren, but he is heart broken over the little chihuahua that had been his little pet for twelve years.

It certainly puts a different perspective on my petty little grievances of today.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Full Moon.... Forever?

Stuck here in this chair listening to my grandson sing the same lyrics over and over while checking in customers, I have discovered a new ability to respond to people without listening to them.....

Gavin talks non-stop and that is no exaggeration! He talks throughout the check-in process and I am learning to phase him out so that I can concentrate on the absurd requests I seem to be getting. I talked about the strange weekend of the full moon and I only touched on it. After the people of the crazy hormonal pregnant woman left it continued. A very nice older gentleman came in and wanted a site for the night on Saturday. No reservation and I was a little on the full side, so I like to take a look at the RV so I can place it the park with some efficiency to space. I like to leave some pull-throughs open and available for those travelers towing vehicles so that they don't have to unhook in order to fit into a space. I asked the nice man if he minded backing in to a spot since he was driving a small class C that was self-contained. He was agreeable and I asked Drew to escort him, since you can't see the site number when you are backing in.

I will emphasize again that the man was so nice......... Drew comes and takes them to the site and I put them out of my mind. Phone rings, love of my life tells me to give them their money back. He is highly agitated as he conveys this to me. When I ask why, he tells me that the woman is a crazy bitch and can't be pleased! He tells me that when they pulled in, she jumped out and started yelling that she did not come camping to be around "all these people". The nice man comes back into the office where I am prepared to give him his money back. He sheepishly asks if I have any other sites because his wife didn't like "that one". I show him the map of the park and hi-lite all the sites that are currently occupied. He chooses a double site and I tell him that I cannot guarantee that the other site will stay unoccupied. He tells me that his wife doesn't want to be close to other people.......... I squelch my urge to tell him if that is the case, perhaps he should consider going home.

He tries the next site and once again she expresses her displeasure to Drew and once again I count out his refund and have it ready in my hand awaiting the return of the poor nice man. Drew seizes the opportunity to place them in one of the brand new sites on the other side of the park and off they go to settle in. They are successfully isolated from the other campers.......

Mission accomplished? No, now she wants a discount because we put them away from everyone else!!!!!!!!! I give the nice man 10 percent of his money back, although I feel they should have to pay more for being such a pain. The rest of that afternoon I made it my mission to populate the area around them and was able to put a huge group of tent campers close to them. Ah, sweet revenge.

It has been like this all week and as it is Friday again I find myself dreading this afternoon when the weekenders will start pulling in. Yesterday I checked in a couple and the husband comes back to say his wife is afraid of electrical lines that run overhead. They want a shady site and the shady sites were built in the 60's before it was prudent to run all the lines underground. the new sites are shaded.....but no sewer hook-ups and they can't be without that they say. They are only staying one night and could dump their tanks before leaving, but that would be too inconvenient. I give up.

A couple of hours later as it is getting dusky outside a truck pulling a camper shows up. I watch from the window as the man sits in his truck for at least 10 minutes before finally coming in. Then he stands talking to me, telling me that he needed to get away for awhile and he stopped here because he saw my sign on the interstate. Okay........ He then tells me again that he needed to get away and he doesn't know how long he will stay here, but "let's start with one night". I push to registration form to him for the third time as he tells me that he has been talking to his wife and telling her that he doesn't know when he will come home. When I can finally get a word in I tell him to fill out the registration, please (PLEASE, PLEASE). Still talking, his flips his wallet open and tells me his daughter just died and that she was only 38. He displays her picture for me as I murmur "I am so sorry". I don't dare ask how she died as I am afraid that he will tell me and be in the office all night. I am thankful that my daughter is in the living room watching TV and is only a shout away. The guy was making me uncomfortable and Drew was at work.

He fills in the required information slowly talking all the while. He is disabled. He is a veteran. He can stay at the state park for only $14 a night. He paid $40 for a spot at a KOA last night. I don't care. Just pay and go park, PLEASE.

Have you ever been talking about some one and they suddenly appear? Well, that JUST happened! You will all be happy to know that the aforementioned guest has decided to head home and help his wife figure out what to do with their granddaughter...... What a guy!

My daughter has informed me that I am not supposed to be blogging while she is here...... Whatever, she is laying by the pool with a new found friend and her child is with Papa. I am taking my morning break after shoveling rock and cleaning bathrooms. It is Friday and I am stuck in here for the remainder of the day and I will blog if I want to. So there.


The weather has cooperated and Gavin has gotten swim time in...when he wasn't following Papa. Yesterday did not look promising with cloudy skies in the morning. Then it cleared up and became sticky and very hot. The pool was awash with swimmers and Gavin spent some time there with a group that included another Gavin. When they left Adrienne and Gavin came in, too.

Gavin was proud to show me all his swimming expertise. He is so darn cute!

The storm broke last night and gave much needed relief from the heat. It is still stormy today, with bouts of lightning and drizzle. I see a car drive up and then suddenly children appear with all manner of pool paraphernalia in hand with swimsuits on! The parents are exiting the vehicle all ready to go out to the pool and sit in abandon as their children splash the afternoon away..... But it is currently raining with low rumbles of thunder and lightning streaking the sky and yet here they come......... Love of my life heads them off and explains to them that the pool is closed due to the weather. "Who knew that on June 11th it would rain!" says the father in astonishment. I want to reply, but restrain myself because it would not be nice and he wouldn't understand anyway.

The last group of two women with some atrocious children yesterday left some interesting debris poolside. They apparently let the children walk through my flower gardens and pick the blooms, scattering them between the lounge chairs at the pool. Capri Suns were on the edge of the pool and in the skimmers. I wish I could staff the pool. Did you know that having a lifeguard will make your liability insurance premiums go up? I already have several families in the community that aren't allowed back to my pool, but they will sometimes slip in with another group and I won't be aware of them until I actually see them in the pool. At that point I don't want to look like an ass by kicking them out.

After the flower picking, one little boy about three tried to climb the gate that separates my private entrance from the store. Gavin's bike and shovel and rake are on my porch along with our shoes and such. He was trying to get to the toys I am sure. Adrienne told him to get off the gate, that she was afraid he would get hurt. The mother was right there watching and saying nothing, so she told him to get off the gate again. The child finally got down, still no help from mom and proceeded to mount the 4 wheeler. Adrienne is nothing if not persistent, so she told him to get off (no niceties involved) that he could not be on it. The little boy just looked at her and told her that he didn't care while the mother still stood looking on. I suppose she thought Adrienne would simply give in or give up. No way. She told the child that she didn't care that he didn't care and to get off. I was surprised that she stopped at that and didn't admonish the mother of the lovely young child!

I admit that I have been known to look at these parents that grace my pool with their unruly offspring and ask them what is wrong with them. Does no good though..... ignorance breeds ignorance. That being said, there are some nice families here and I do enjoy seeing them come out. Today I am thankful for the break the weather is giving me.

Chaos and........fleas!

Adrienne found a flea on Wall-E yesterday. I spent an uneasy night dreaming of fleas. I hate bugs in my house and most especially in the bed! This morning I sent love of my life to the store for flea shampoo and all the necessities to prevent re infestation. While he was gone I put the granules that kill fleas, tick, and ants all over the back yard and around the fence on the outside. I stripped the bedding, tossed the dog bedding outside along with all the rugs in the house.

I started washing everything in hot water and am now on loads 8 and 9. I have every washer and dryer on the property going non-stop. I decided to fog my bedroom as an extra precaution. I got out clothes for love of my life. Got out everything he would need. Got my underwear and a pair of capri's for me........ no shirt. Set off the fogger.

After an unpleasant bath time with the animals, I climbed into the tub and decided to scrub it as long as I was there. I showered and dressed, minus a shirt. Love of my life told me to run into the bedroom and hold my breath to get a shirt. No kidding, that was his solution to my topless situation! I am on maintenance medication for my asthma and am allergic to tons of things......

I waited for the clothes in the dryer and have on a shirt that doesn't particularly match. You might wonder why I reacted this way over fleas. I brought them home from the local vet last year and spent the whole summer and fall battling them. It was like a mutant strain that would not be killed and I was going nuts! Every night found me holding down a dog while dragging a lice comb through their hair and killing the vermin manually between my nails. We probably resembled monkeys grooming each other. My poor babies had to be bathed and dipped every other night and I didn't get relief until the temperature dropped below freezing. And yes I used the Frontline and every other remedy on the market. I even called Hartz and was told that I was doing every thing right and that I wasn't the only one with this problem.

I tell you they have mutated, these fleas!

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Week With My Little Girl

This child of mine has made herself quite comfy here at this end of the world. She has already met several people pool side and even went to church with a new acquaintance Sunday. Several folks are trying to convince her to move here!

Adrienne has always found it easy to make friends. She was always the one who would volunteer to go up to a house to see if we were at the right location on a first visit to see someone. She does not get this from me! She is much like her Dad in that respect. I am a little more cautious, though after living with Drew for the past 35 years I am less so than I was at her age.

This past weekend hosted a full moon and with it came all the slightly deranged acts of the borderline sane. A family had come to use our swimming pool while staying at the state park several weeks ago and had made reservations to camp here this past weekend. She had stated a preference for a particular site and it was rented out to someone staying on a monthly basis in the meantime. This does happen from time to time and I offered another site for her tents as well as a separate site for her pop-up......... for the same amount she was going to pay for the one site. I was giving her a deal as it was, since she wanted to set up four tents. The woman who had come in to register was pacified with this and commented that the new site would fit their needs even better since her daughter was 6 months pregnant and the new location was closer to the bath house. Problem solved? Not so much.

After about 30 minutes or so, the family arrived in my store en masse. The store is not large and I was occupied with other folks trying to check in. They were unconcerned with the niceties involved with politely waiting to be helped and bullied their way to the counter. The lovely one with child was intent on a verbal attack and proceeded to berate me for what she deemed a miserable site. I offered to let them choose any other site in the park that was not currently occupied, I offered to refund their money......... She kept at it, though, and would not be appeased. What she wanted me to do was to move the tent off the site she wanted and I was unwilling to do that. I offered anything else, but she kept repeating that I had put them in the direct sun and that they would be miserable and that the only site that would be okay was the one I would not give her.

My protective daughter stood this as long as she could before asserting herself into the tirade and saying that I was trying to accommodate them. This didn't go over so well with the hormonal one who continued with her attack and finally asked why my daughter was concerned. "Because you are rude and you are being rude to my mother!" The husband even tried to pacify the woman and told me that they would go look at some other sites. In the midst of all this Adrienne had checked in another customer who was watching the side show and I assigned him to a site that was already spoken for.........

I was torn between the unreasonable pregnant woman and my daughter who was now shaking with frustration. I sent out love of my life to correct my mistake and the nice man moved to another site without a problem and even decided to stay another night. It has always been my experience that when someone makes an ass of themselves and I refuse to respond in kind, I end up with a little reward and they still look like an ass. Just a little observation.

The story doesn't end here. This family was here for over 2 hours looking at sites and berating me. My work campers showed up and seeing these people debating with each other in the parking lot offered assistance. They were also treated rudely. Finally they return to the office for a refund. As I was cheerfully completing this transaction, the deranged one with child began berating me once again. Now she was ticking off all the inconveniences I had caused her. They would have no pool, they would have to purchase a fishing licence, and it was costing them more to go stay at the state park. She wanted me to compensate them for all this........ I gave them a bag of ice.

As they were leaving (finally) Adrienne commented that if this was the way this woman was while pregnant that perhaps she should consider not becoming that way ever again.........

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Hey, Papa I Want To Ride!

Gavin loves his Papa.......... Gavin loves equipment that makes lots of noise......... So does Papa!
The men in my life are happy and content , while Mom and Gramma yell at them to be careful!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Boy And Dog Reunion.....

I know I said I was taking the week off , but I couldn't resist. I had worried that Wall-E wouldn't remember his boy....... All that was in vain!
"Gramma, he's heavy!" Just look at the joy on that sweet little face!
Sweet little face is awake and hungry..........poptarts, anyone? Bacon and eggs, I think.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Happy Chaos

Just a quick post to say that my daughter and sweet grandson arrived about 5 hours ago.........
happy chaos is the order of the day. Gavin was excited to see that his puppy had grown, but still remembered him. Wall-E was enchanted that his boy was here and followed him as he demonstrated his skill on the bike with no training wheels.

They are in the pool now and things have quieted down a tad, but I don't delude myself that it will last more than a moment........... I hear from Gavin that we are to have s'mores and a campfire tonight. He has a new friend, Cody and they are now joined at the hip. I think he will have a great time.

I will probably take the week off from blogging............

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Crazy Fruit

I picked these strawberries yesterday. They weren't in a crowded situation, which made me wonder at their funny shapes. Am I growing mutant strawberries? They taste good and I guess that is all the matters.
This is what is left of the 3 quarts of cherries I put up yesterday. It takes a lot of cherries to make 3 quarts! That means that I was pitting for what seemed like hours on end yesterday. It was overcast and a little chilly...... a day off for me. I processed the cherries and 2 quarts of strawberries. I weeded and mowed and painted the door to the men's room. It was a very productive day and I was glad to get some of the work out of the way.

Love of my life had an equally productive day. He rented an excavator and dug up the offending sewer pipe. The back-up is no more! Seems our predecessors used half inch PVC pipe to try to clear out a main and the pipe broke and remained inside the larger pipe. They apparently made several attempts as there were several pieces in the larger pipe. Geniuses, don't you think?

So all was going well yesterday with a minimum of interruptions. I volunteered to mow the sites and take care of the pool. Things that he usually takes care of, but I wanted him to have a half-way decent day off. Well, we were winding things up and he left to get fuel to put in the excavator while I was sweeping the pool area. I finished that task and went on to clean the restrooms and gave the dogs a bath. Jumped in the shower and then went on to wash the dishes. Where is he ? I thought maybe he had gotten into a conversation at the gas station and was a little annoyed. He didn't answer his cell and I was about to go look for him when he came in.

"What took you so long?" I asked. "I knocked myself out." he said calmly. I thought he was joking until I saw the knot on the top of his nearly bald sweet head! He got his foot stuck in some mud and when he yanked it free his head hit the boom on the excavator and he has no idea how long he was out. He came to lying on the ground. Of course he refused to go to the ER, so I had a very restless night checking on him. I swear this place is trying to kill us!

Another day too cool for swimmers and I am taking advantage of this opportunity to get a few things done.......

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Midnight and WalMart

The pool is open every day now and we are staying busy. Not busy every minute (I am, after all sitting here blogging), but the kind of busy that requires a presence in the store during the time that people are in the pool. The pool opens at 11 am and doesn't close until dark. Most people will be gone by 6 pm to attend to, well, life. Last night every one left by 6:30 and I went out to harvest more cherries and got to thinking that as long as I was feeling pretty energetic and had no pending reservations to wait for that I might as well make a WalMart run.

I usually only leave the park this time of year when Drew is here to take care of anything that comes up. So, I put aware my bounty of cherries and gathered my list and coupons and was blissfully walking out the door when a car with two young men pulled in and wanted to know if it was too late to get a site for the evening.......... I wasn't thrilled, but I escorted them into the office to register them. When I asked what kind of site they were looking for, the young smart alec asked me what kind of sites I had. So I recited the list of possibilities and got that blank look. So I said, "I am assuming that you want a tent site since you do not appear to be pulling any type of RV behind you. I just need to know if you want electric or primitive for your tent site." This required a long discussion between the two about the virtues of electric versus non. After they decided that they did not have anything to plug in they wanted to know if I had any cabins. No. Do I know if the state park has any cabins and if they do how much they would cost......... Finally after another discussion they decide they want to stay and one of them starts filling out the registration. "I'm only 16, is it legal for me to be here? He's 26, but I am 16." Now I am beginning to wish that I had simple told them I was closed. Instead I ask why he would ask such a question and was told that somebody told him he was minor. Finally we finish the transaction while the older beefy guy is regaling me with tales of his fishing prowess. I think I am going to get out and lock the door.....I was so close. Now they want to buy bait. Oh, no, they spied the soda machine. It is equipped with a glass door on the front allowing one to see right through it to the contents. These two will have none of that as they stand with the door opened wide to accommodate another discussion on which flavor to buy and whether to get a plastic bottle or a can. They decide to share a 24 oz Mountain Dew and I think my trial is over............. Hot dogs. They see that I have hot dogs. They fondle both packages and I can feel another debate brewing. Beefy guy really wants steak. I advise him that I don't have steaks for sale before he can ask and tell him to go into town to the grocery store.

As I am all but shoving them out the door the younger one looks at me and says, "I bet you camp a lot, huh?" What? I didn't answer, just wished them a lovely evening and wondered about the thirty minutes of my life that I will never get back. Perhaps this was an omen and I should have simply stayed home and pitted my cherries. but, no, I hopped into my ride and headed for WalMart. I did call love of my life to tell him to have the state patrol do a drive through. I thought the two were harmless, though not really big in the smarts department. A show of law enforcement couldn't hurt.

I strolled through WalMart, list in hand and soon had the cart overflowing with camper necessities. The store is always easy to shop this time of night and I carefully considered the clearance aisle since you never know what treasures lay hidden. I had vowed to stick to my list and do no impulse buying. I was not going to go near the fabric, no, I was not! But I had to walk by the outer aisle to get to the grocery department, didn't I? Last year Maya asked for a dress with watermelons on it. I saw, out of the corner of my eye, some watermelon fabric. It was the pre-shirred sundress fabric. I don't care for it so much, but it has watermelons......... She is only a little slip of girl and the dress will probably hit her ankles, but it only takes half a yard for her size and if I use the applique stitch for the hem and do away with the black band at the bottom it should work. Of course I bought it! Been looking for watermelon fabric every time I get a chance.

Buying fabric always makes me happy and it was with a light heart that I headed for the check out. Only one full service lane is open and self check out is not an option for me since this is a tax exempt purchase. Two people ahead of me with not much stuff....why is it taking so long? I stack all my stuff on the belt and give her my card. She studies it and then perches the reading glasses hanging on the chain around her neck on her nose. Peering carefully she enters the numbers one by one and then stands staring at the machine. Finally she hands me my card and starts scanning the merchandise ever so slowly, sooooooo slowly. I knew I had at least $300 worth of stuff and was really tired and wanted to get done and go home. She was old and I know that if I am lucky that I will be old one day, too (and if I am REALLY lucky I won't be scanning on a check-out in a WalMart!). I look behind me at a line forming and mouth "I'm sorry" to all those waiting. I don't know why I feel guilty, but I do.

She scans the last item and I give her the coupons (and say I'm sorry to the people behind me, some of them are now sitting on the floor). She tries, she really does. I had several free items in the coupons and I tell her to give me the copy she has pulled up and I will find them for her. She is by now in total confusion as she scans the coupons without stopping to enter the prices of the free items. Up until this point she has scanned and then watched it appear on the screen before moving on. I know that she has missed a couple of the coupons and I figure I will take care of it later since I have now spent more time at the checkout than I did shopping. I also had some frozen food I was worried about.

I drove home a little slower since I don't see all that well in the dark and I was tired. I finished unloading the car just as husband came home. He headed out to shock the pool and toss in the robot to clean it and I put away all the cold stuff. Then I climbed into my freshly made bed all ready to relax and peruse my receipt. I found that she some how charged me 4 times for one item that cost $10.88 and none of the free coupons had been credited on the receipt. Over $35 was due me, so, like a good consumer I called the store and got a "manager". He sounded all of 15 years old and was rude. I offered the receipt and transaction number and was told that the only way he would help me was for me to bring my receipt to him. Then........ he hung up on me.

I was, indeed, going to take my receipt to him, but love of my life would not let me. Instead I e-mailed a complaint and followed up with a call to the store this morning and spoke to the manager. I reminded her that an error was made last year when I was credited with $50 too much and called promptly and offered to drive back with the money. I knew the cashier's drawer would come up short, and I let them know right away. They are issuing me a gift card for the money due me. Other than firing the little jerk who hung up on me, that's all I wanted.

No, I'm Sorry I Can't.........

If you have been following me you know how annoyed I am at my husband's "boss". Love of my life works as a clerk at the local gas station. Quite a step down from being a national sales manager for a leading communications company, then owning his own business. He works because we cannot afford health insurance. He is required to work an average of 24 hours a week in order to receive benefits. The pay scale is lousy, about what you would expect for the position. His "boss" is the manager of that particular location. This is what is commonly referred to as middle management and when all is said and done, it is really a headache of a position. I do understand this because I was once in that same position with a fabric chain on the east coast.

My management style was to make my employees happy. I worked around whatever their particular needs were and rewarded them when a job was well done. I never expected them to do anything that I was not willing to do. I worked my share of late hours and weekends. I always made my quarterly sales and payroll bonus and was eventually promoted to district manager and was in charge of 7 stores along the panhandle in Florida. I can safely assume that I did not get there by displaying a superior attitude towards those who made it all possible.

This woman totally lacks people skills. She is rude and abrupt and demanding. She left a mandate on the answering machine for my husband to call immediately because she needs someone to work tonight. This his day off. The gas station is her problem to deal with and I wish I had been available to answer the phone when she called so that I could explain that our primary concern is our business and that if no-one else can work the shift that she should do it herself. She doesn't work any weekends or holidays or anything other than the day shift, setting a stellar example for the people she expects to make her store a good one. I guess you can tell that she gets under my skin.

Back to the title of this post. Not long ago I had a conversation with my daughter. She works part-time just because she likes having a little cash for her pocket. Her boss is much the same as her Dad's. She was telling me that when some one would ask her to fill an extra shift and she told them that she was unable to, that they would ask why. She felt that this was intrusive and none of their business. I agree. My daughter will simply say, "No, I'm sorry, I can't." with no further explanation. Now she needs to teach her Dad to do the same.

Why he gave his cell number to these people I have not a clue. They installed a new computer system not long ago for the cash registers and he was getting calls at home when they would encounter a problem. I would have told them to call their manager. She called him on his cell as he is out picking up supplies for our business. He made up a story about renting equipment to "get out of working"! I wanted to tell him that she is not his teacher and he doesn't need a note from home. Just say NO.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Not Just Another Day

Thirty-one years ago today............. I walked into the OB/GYN office and announced that I would not be leaving until they removed the child. Child # 5 she was. I had been in labor since early May and still the baby remained safely tucked inside.... growing. According to the technology of the day, she was two weeks premature and they tried to send me home. After a small fit, they agreed to admit me and do a "trial" induction.

After a whole day of labor pains that seemed to get us nowhere, they unhooked the magical Pitocin drip and sent me to a regular hospital room. Brought me a tray of food and the smell, the very smell made me push the tray away and call for someone to get me back to Labor and Delivery. At 10:02 she arrived, all 9 lbs 2 oz of her. She was, just as I had suspected, a three week old baby.

We named her Adrienne ReNee'. She has had many nicknames over the past 31 years, but to me she is still "the baby". She towers over her short Mom and is almost as tall as her Dad. I have told her many, many times throughout her life that had she been my first child..... she still would have been my last! To this day she leaves an impression where ever she goes. Tongue-tied at birth, she didn't have much to say until her tongue was freed at 18 months. She started talking, non-stop, and is still going strong. Being the last baby I would have, I tried my best to savor each and every moment of baby hood. Adrienne had different ideas in her head as she raced to grow up. She was and is extremely independent, always hard to keep up with, this child of mine.

At age 25 she struck out on her own and moved to Tampa. We took the bulk of her belongings to her after she had been there awhile. We only got to spend a few days with her, and as we left I sensed that maybe for the first time since she was an infant, she needed me. I started writing stories of each and every memory of her on the way home as love of my life drove. If he attempted a conversation, I would shush him, so intent was I on my new project. I wrote it all down long hand in a notebook. When we got home I began pulling out pictures and they prompted more memories and I kept writing what I began to refer to as the "Book of Adrienne". I had this project spread all over my house and decided that I would pair the stories with photos and present this to her at Christmas.

She moved back home before Christmas carrying a gift of her own for our family. He was born 6 months later, 8 days after her 26th birthday. He is the Gavin of Wall-E, the dog's blog, "Letters To Gavin". Although he looks nothing like his mom, he shares her stubborn determination and leaves his own impression where ever he goes. They will be here this weekend and I am so excited to be able to share a birthday celebration with them both.