Chickens in the Basement

I love to write and I love to laugh. When I write, I get to the point quick. My stories would fit on the back of a postcard. They usually make me chuckle. And you know what they say, "It's all about me!"

Monday, August 31, 2009

Wind Tunnel Sky Diving

I have tried three times to upload the DVD from our sky diving adventure at Paraclete's on Saturday but have had no luck. So now, I'm faced with trying to find the words to explain how much FUN this event was.

We had five people in our group and added on with two other women for a training session. I thought it was interesting that they were about my age (44 for those of you who don't know). Apparently, us forty-somethings are quite the daredevils! We had a quick instuctional video, then Shawn, our professional, laid on a table to show us the pose he wants us to take when we enter the tunnel.

Next step, make sure you look the part! We got elbow and knee pads, a very cool jumpsuit, goggles and a helmet. This is our group and the only photo we have of all of us. Once we entered the waiting area of the tunnel, no cameras were allowed. The wind is not kind to cameras.

On to the tunnel. There are benches along a glass wall that are similar to the ones in a plane. The first person is closest to the door of the tunnel. That was my Rick. Since all of this was his idea, he had to go first. He stood at the door, leaned in and took off. It was so cool! Shawn helped him get his form right then let him float around. We rotated in and out in one minute cycles. Rick's buddy, Joe, was next. My butterflies were working overtime! (I visited the potty before I put the jumpsuit on just in case!) Will was after Joe. Each boy got their form right and were having a ball. When Will came back through the door and it was my turn to go in the tunnel, I didn't have time to change my mind. I got close to the door and Shawn pulled me in.

Grown-ups don't get as much floating time as the kids do. He got me in the correct position, let me float for a few seconds, then gave a signal to the guy in the booth that controls the air flow. He told him to jack it up, grab hold of my leg and shot both of us to the top of the tunnel. The wind really flaps your face around. You're supposed to keep your mouth closed so spit doesn't fly out of your mouth. I am a chronic grinner and being in the tunnel did not change this. I was having so much fun, all of my teeth were showing. Let the spit fly! I think I squealed a lot, too! My 60 seconds were gone in no time. Shawn guided me to the door and I pulled myself out. Tony was up next and very quickly learned to float around in circles. He got to shoot up to the ceiling, too.

We had 10 minutes of flying time and it was wonderful. By the time we finished, the boys had shot to the ceiling and were kicking off the wall. Shawn had Tony and me feeling like yo-yos when he grabbed hold and flew us up and down and up and down so many times I lost count.

We were so amped on adrenaline we couldn't stop talking and grinning. We didn't realize how loud we were until we stopped at the Lone Star for lunch. We were starving. When our appetizer arrived, we all started eating and realized there was dead silence in the restaurant. We had been so loud before our food arrived, it could have been happy hour.

In the words of Will and Rick, "When are we going back?" I think we should build a wind tunnel in Raleigh! What was that movie that said, "Build it, they will come." I'll be there!

Since I couldn't get my video to up-load, visit the website so you can see how much fun this is! If you decide to go, let me know and I'll meet you there!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Public Toilets...GAG!!

This morning, we were up early headed to Fayetteville for our first indoor sky diving experience. Since we managed to get out of the house with plenty of time to spare, we decided to "dine in" at Bojangles. They have the best fast food biscuits in town!

A country ham biscuit, bo-rounds and half a cinnamon twist, and I was happy!

Knowing we would be in the car for the next 2 hours, I decided to visit the facilities. One stall was closed, so I took the other. After pressing the flush lever three times, the pee and paper from the previous visitor finally left.

I got down to my business just in time for my neighbor to make a sound like she was hocking a loogey. Then she gagged. This was just the beginning of her soliloquy. All kinds of nasty sounds came from next door. My mouth started running water faster than I could pee! Dear Jesus, get me out of here without letting me see my ham biscuit and bo-rounds in liquid form!

With heaving sounds still coming from my neighbor and me silent-gagging, I quickly hauled up my pants, did a half-assed job of buckling my belt and ran for the door. Forget washing my hands and checking my lipstick!!! I made it to the car and opened the door where I had to untwist my belt, make sure I was zipped up and found a bottle of Purell. It did nothing to make me feel cleaner!

Since I survived that, surely I can survive a minute in an air tunnel. Right?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Look What's in My Yard

Riley Dog is my faithful old dog. He hangs out with my while I work in the yard but always keeps his eyes open for that feisty rooster,
After suffering through a few months of being ostracized by the girls,
Don't even think about touching me!

he finally managed to father a couple of babies.

Hazel is near Ruby and Chrissy is off on her own. We are trying an experiment...naming the babies with girls' names in the hopes that this will make them girls. So far, there have been no cock-a-doodle-doos! Woohoo!

The chickens are great at eating up the ticks. Riley really appreciates that. However, there are a few buggy things that are a little too large for them to dine on.

You have to sort of cross your eyes to see this guy good, but he is gorgeous!
No arachnophobia here!

Here's the underbelly of the same guy. See all of the zigzags in the web?
I think these are called writing spiders.
My bumper crop of lemon balm is in the background.

This guy was under my grill cover. I was going to pick him up and move him to a cooler location, but couldn't make myself touch him. When Rick moved in, the praying mantis took flight and landed on my wind chimes.

I don't know why they intimidate me so much. Maybe it has something to do with the female biting off the head of the male after mating.

I grew this beautiful cantaloupe in my yard this summer. It's the only one that grew, but it was the biggest and best melon I have ever eaten. Thank heavens for friends who make their children listen to NPR. Not knowing when to pick the melon, Julia said I should smell it. After a whiff, I knew it must be ready. BINGO! It was big enough to feed us two nights.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Where Did I Put My Mind?

In an effort to get my youngest son to be a bit more adventurous, I asked him what experience he would like to have. He told me about a reality show he had seen on TV where the guys went to a wind tunnel and practiced sky-diving without jumping from a plane. He wants to give it a try.

Well, before I found out I was pregnant for the first time, we had planned to jump from a plane with a friend of Tony's who was in the Australian military. He was stationed in Fayetteville and was going to take us up. Having children ended my desire to jump from a plane forever. But, a wind tunnel should be safe. Right? We'll do it!

I went on-line and found a place in NC that has a wind tunnel. Check out their web-site... My baby was gung-ho, so I signed the whole family up. This Saturday, we will get the experience of jumping from a plane without actually doing it. I have no idea what to expect. Should I look for someone to talk me out of it? What are the chances the wind from the giant fans won't hold me up? What if I get in there and can't figure out how to get out? The experience comes with a DVD. I'll need proof since I probably won't ever try this again!

Sure is Quiet in Here

Even though it is usually very quiet in my house until about 11:00 am when the boys finally role out of bed, today, there is no snoring, no need to tiptoe or keep the radio quiet. At 6:15, the alarm clock so rudely screamed in my ear. I in turn, screamed up the stairs for boys to rise and shine. After the four of us stumbled and mumbled for about ten minutes, we managed showers, breakfast and tooth brushing. Backpacks had been loaded after a trip to WallyWorld and left by the door, so no thought had to go into those. At 6:55, Tony and Will pulled out of the driveway (Will's bus comes at 5:45 am, so Tony takes him!). At 6:56, Will was back to get one more thing he had forgotten. At 7:00, Rick and I were sitting at the end of the driveway waiting for the bus. At 7:12, Rick was whisked away.

Summer doesn't officially end until Labor Day, but for us, school means it is DONE, DONE, DONE, DONE. I'm home alone for the first time in months and didn't expect to be lonely! I'm going to sit in the yard and talk to Skippy the Rooster and Riley Dog. I can't wait to hear that bus lugging up the hill at 3:30! It's just too quiet in here!

After 10 minutes of moaning about homework and bickering over the remote control, I'll be ready to send them back to school again!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dermatological Dramas

For about 6 months, I have had a note to myself sitting on the bathroom counter to schedule an appointment with my dermatologist to have various spots and marks checked out. Last time I called to schedule an appointment, I was told it would be several months before I could be seen. I thought that was too long, so I didn't schedule. When I finally got around to calling another doctor (6 months later), I expected to be put on the schedule for some time in December.

After 3 phone calls and time to work up a bad attitude trying to work through the doctors phone maze, I finally got a live person. My first words to her were, "Do you know how bad your answering service is?" Fortunately, she was very nice and suggested I tell her office manager who was not available. In an effort to make up for the sucky electronic secretary, she gave me an appointment to see Dr. Connor on Monday. That wasn't even a week away!

With no time to get stressed out about what I might hear, I set out to mentally map my body so I could ask questions and point out spots that haven't always been there. Some I only see in my car. Others I can't see but can feel. And what about that red thing in the crease of my boob? Last time I had spots checked, I had to get completely undressed. I was already feeling sorry for Dr. Connor because she would have to see me nekid!

Afraid I would forget one, I pulled out my pen and began circling my imperfections. Thank heavens there weren't any on my face! That would be hard to explain.

It was the second time I had seen Dr. Connor (the first was for dry skin...she told me about this wonderful but expensive lotion called Cera Ve. It works!) She is very speedy and didn't require me to take my clothes off. Bonus points for her! I showed her my circled spots and she examined. No cancer! Yea! Age spots! Boo! Only removed if I want to pay for it with no help from my insurance. I will learn to love my spots. I did have to take my shirt off so she could check my back. All clear. And that spot under my boob has a long Latin name which means something like red dot under boob.

I was out of there in less than 30 minutes with all of my spots and peace of mind! Now, I'll write a note to myself to schedule a hearing exam.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pregnant at 44? Aw, Hell NO!

This morning, I had an appointment with my dentist for my annual cleaning. Each year, they give me the same form with various questions about my health. As I was filling it out, I came upon this question:

Are you pregnant? __yes ___no

I started to write in "HELL NO" but thought that might be rude so I scratched a huge X in the NO blank! Yesterday was my 44th birthday. If by some miracle I fell pregnant, I would go into a massive tailspin! I'm too old, too comfortable, and too selfish to return to that time in my life. Plus, I'm happy to have boys old enough to understand my requests and the consequences should they choose to ignore them...and, they can tie their own shoes!

After my dentist appointment, I stopped by the library to trade in some books on CD. Apparently, it was story time because there wasn't a single empty parking space in the lot and lurkers were getting nasty and aggressive whenever a car backed out.

Once inside, I was surrounded by moms pushing double strollers, often empty and trying to chase down it's riders. Other mothers had their youngest babies strapped to their bodies while they carried piles of children's books and tried to keep sight of their more mobile toddlers. If I had more time, I would have sat down and watched the escapades, but I would have had to remove one of the little girls competing to show off their hand stands and yoga poses from one of the child-filled chairs.

The little girls were the most entertaining, I guess because they are such foreign creatures to a mother of all boys. One cutey had on her pink dress and red cowboy boots (NOTE: It is August and 102 degrees today). That mother learned what I also learned early on...choose your battles! Will (my oldest) wore his cowboy boots with shorts the entire summer of his 3rd year. (NOTE: Foot odor starts at a very young age!) Another little girl was walking around in her satin, poofy princess outfit. I guess anything goes at story time. In the bathroom, I nearly dropped a little girl to the floor when I opened the door to my stall while she was leaning against it. She looked at me like I was the meanest old lady in the world.

On my way out the door, I got behind a mom who looked like she pulled on shorts with the shirt she had slept in and never thought to brush her hair. I offered her a sympathetic smile, but her tired eyes were so glazed over, she never even saw me. She carried a little baby and was followed by a 2-ish year old little boy. He dropped one of the books he was carrying, bent over to pick it up, then changed his mind and laid on the floor to read. Thank heavens my reflexes are good! I nearly stepped on him.

My advice to any 44 year old woman considering having a child? Go to the library on Harp's Mill Road in Raleigh at 10:00 on a Tuesday morning, stand in a corner and watch. Then, go to the mental health section and check out a book on finding your lost mind!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Jet Fire

This morning, I was in the back yard pulling weeds in my veggie garden. We are under the flight pattern for Raleigh Durham Airport, so planes flying overhead aren't unusual. What WAS unusual was the noise coming from the plane flying over.

Often, we can hear the landing gear being engaged. It was louder on this one and followed by three loud pops. When I looked up, flames burst out of one of the engines. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. My whole body started shaking.

I ran to the phone and called 911. The guy answering kept asking what the location of the emergency was. I explained that a plane had just caught fire over my house. He wanted to know where I lived. Again, the plane is in the air. He said he would call RDU and notify them.

I kept waiting to hear an explosion but didn't. Thank God! Does anyone know if a plane can put out the fire in an engine while in the air or land with only one engine working? I have been watching the news, but don't see any dramas.

I'm done pulling weeds today! I need a Diet Coke!

Note: After I posted this, I heard from Em and Jenny. They had read about it on WRAL's website. Turns out, the plane flew out of RDU to Minneapolis, encountered some engine trouble and turned back to RDU for an emergency landing. The engine that was on fire was shut down. The wonderful pilot was able to land safely. According to one of the passengers, they were told to assume the position for a crash landing. He could hear a lot of praying going on. Prayers were being sent from the ground, too. I love a safe and happy ending! Thanks Em and Jenny!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Proud to Be an American

Tony, the boys and I loaded up for the INS office in Durham to watch Tony participate in the ceremony that would make him an American citizen. He had jumped through all of the hoops and passed all of the tests.

The security at the office is similar to that of an airport. The only time cameras are allowed in is for the citizenship ceremony. I had to run back to the car to get mine. While waiting, Tony confessed to being a little nervous. It hadn't occurred to me that I cry whenever I see these services on television, and now, here I am in person! Of course it will be emotional for Tony.

The guests were allowed to enter the room first. Then, about 25 people who would become new citizens filed into the room. Men and women, young and old, wearing scarves on their heads and wearing US soldiers uniforms.

Once the service started, the announcer asked why these folks were becoming citizens. One man (not Tony) said, "To vote." Another woman said, "To participate fully in the country." An older woman with a thick European accent tearfully said, "To be in a democracy." I cried!

All citizens-to-be stood and took the oath. Then, the American soldier who had just become a citizen lead the group in the Pledge of Allegiance. A video of new citizens and the song Proud to Be an American made me cry a second time. Barack Obama welcomed all of the new citizens via video. Finally, we could hug and welcome our new citizens.

As we went to find Tony, I touched the woman who had been crying on the arm and congratulated her. We both cried! Several soldiers found their wives who were now citizens. Children found grandmothers. We found Tony in his red, white and blue polo shirt and congratulated him.

I am now married to an American man with an Australian accent!

Excuses for NOT Posting Regularly to Blog

  • A weekend at Oak Island
  • Band camp
  • Out of town visitors
  • Kidney stones
  • Immigration meetings
  • A weekend ear infection
  • A week at Pamlico
  • The Fourth of July
  • Gardening

I need a week to sit and write. Unfortunately, I have forgotten more than I remember!

Happy summer!

How's That Working for Ya?

Third time's a charm! Ruby finally managed to hatch some chicks. Two out of the 7 eggs she was sitting on hatched earlier this month. Since 13 out of th 16 chicks hatched by Shakira turned out to be boys, I decided to take a different approach to getting girls. The babies now have girly names. I'm hoping this is going to hold some influence. I know it's not very scientific, but come on! We are due a couple of girls!

The solid black chick was named by my friend, Katie. She came up with Chrysanthemum. Since this is a little long to holler at bedtime, I shortened it to Chrissy. Sharon, Katie's mother, named the chick with white wing-tips Hazel. Not only are these good girl names, they are good hen names, too. Now, I just have to pray that they don't start throwing their neck-feathers forward and talking back to Skippy!