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Friday, August 30, 2013

Snakes, Algebra and Smoking Toddlers?

Well here we are on only the fifth day into the  new school year and I already have my first patient. Dracen got in the car yesterday sniffing, complaining and informing me his nose bled a little. I assumed it was allergies (he's allergic to the school, I swear) so I gave him a Zyrtec and made him start back on his Flonase but this morning he is worse and running a low fever. 

And so the fun begins...

I would consider homeschooling him but since he's convinced he already knows more (at the age of 10) than I ever have or will, I highly doubt that would end in success. Plus I would never, under any circumstance, allow snakes into my classroom like his cool new science teacher. 

He was in a near manic state of excitement when I picked him up Tuesday and again on Wednesday. All thanks to the snakes. All the way home I learned more than I will (hopefully and God willing) ever want or need to know about venomous snakes in our area. 

Then of course there's the algebra which I barely survived the first time. (I think the snakes frighten me less) I just spent over a hundred dollars on a TI-84 calculator for Devin's algebra homework. I had no idea such complex (and insanely expensive) calculators even existed but I'm thinking I maybe could have benefited from one way back in 1986 when I flunked my first attempt at Algebra II. 

And I think that's just about enough talk about snakes and algebra. I never know where my mind is going to take me when I start a new post but I sure as heck never imagined I'd end up talking about the likes of these two subjects. 

So moving on...

My mom and I got together a couple of times over the summer, and again yesterday, to go through and label some old black and white photos, many of which I had no clue about the subject's identity. And we even ran across a few that she did not know since some of them belonged to her mother/my grandmother who passed away in 1975. 

I ran across one a few weeks ago, after my mom had left, that had me in a serious state of WTH. It was a tiny photo (like 2 x 3) which I guess explains how neither of us remembered running across it over the years. Anyway, I misplaced it back in the big box so I could never ask her about it until yesterday when it showed back up while she was here. 

She had no recollection of it though we think it's possible it was her best friend's older brother and the only explanation we can come up with is that "a man was behind it" (her words) because while I know they didn't understand how bad cigarettes were for you back then, surely to all that is holy this child was not really toking on a cig whilst sporting his high top baby shoes and riding around town on his trike...

Is that not all kinds messed up pricelessness? If only photos could talk...

Have a safe and happy Labor Day Weekend!

And please don't let your kids pedal and smoke,

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Squirrels do what?

Well we all survived the first day back, Devin didn't get lost in the big high school, and it only took me an hour to fill out all that paperwork with the same information I give them every.single.year. They still have the same dates of birth, parents, race, relatives, address, phone numbers, birthmarks, eye colors and fingerprints yet somehow the school system insists on us hand printing out ALL this stuff again...and again...and again.

For the love of Pete, it's the 21st century. Shouldn't we now have the capability to, say, I don't know, update any changes in an online database? It's 2013! Who does not have access to the internet? Come on, we are making bank deposits, reading novels, watching movies and crushing candies on our tiny handheld phones so don't tell me we can't pull this thing out without involving all those innocent trees.

Oh and speaking of trees, Dracen and I were outside with the dogs Sunday afternoon when we suddenly heard something come crashing down from the big trees in the front yard and land with a thud. I assumed it was a branch and would have never thought any more about it but Dracen, being the curious inquirer that he has always been, investigated further and found that it was not a branch but what appeared to be an old rib bone with tiny gnaw marks on the side.

I was completely weirded out but Dracen seemed to think it was a perfectly normal experience, explaining to me that squirrels will sometimes get bones and chew on them.  Okay. You learn something new every day and apparently I am still not smarter than a fifth grader. 

I am still a little baffled, however, as to why the squirrel felt the urge to hurl its bone at us but I have a feeling it had something to do with the dogs, specifically Brisco Darling who practically lives to chase squirrels. This wiener dog chases squirrels in his sleep, complete with barks, whines, growls and leg movements.

It is quite entertaining. Though not so much when he wakes himself up at 2:30 a.m. and then proceeds to wake us up, jump down out of bed, prance around and claw at the door until we give in and let him outside to stand watch over the backyard just in case the dream squirrel really does exist. 

The weekend before last he got the biggest squirrel thrill/tease of his life...

Dracen informed me that Popaw had trapped a squirrel in his cage so he was going over there to assist him in "disposing" of it because it had been eating his corn. Well I, being the sap that I am, told him they should just bring it on over to our house and let it loose. So about an hour later they showed up toting that cage, complete with a crazy-eyed squirrel inside.

Dracen came running through the door, swooped up Mr. Darling and carried him out into the backyard and held him in place on the ground a few feet back from where Popaw had placed the caged squirrel. I've never seen him so beside himself...even in his middle-of-the-night-imaginary-dream-chases. He was licking, smacking his chops, whining and shaking like a Polaroid picture. And I'm up on the deck yelling, "Don't let him really catch it!"  Popaw assured me I had nothing to worry about.

And he was right because when that cage was opened that squirrel took a near flying leap to and up the closest tree in sight. I thought for a moment that that little wiener was actually going to attempt to climb the tree. He stayed out sniffing the ground and staring into the trees for two hours, refusing to come in the house (in spite of the bee sting he took to his rear foot) until he was sure he had exhausted all efforts and was forced to throw up his white flag, allowing the squirrel to live (and hurl bones at us) another day.

And to think I lobbied for his life...Ungrateful rodent!

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Monday, August 26, 2013

And off to school they go...

I am officially the parent of a fifth grader and a ninth grader today. (HIGH SCHOOL!!!) And here's to hoping and praying the high school years go down a whole lot smoother than those two years of middle school because I'm not sure that one nerve I've got left over could withstand another year (or four) like that. 

It was a long summer break for us this year (a little over 3 months) but most of it was spent indoors due to the insane amounts of rainfall we endured in these parts. My deck (the one I spent hours painting and grueling over last summer) has been coated with a lovely shade of green funk and I didn't have to water the flowers once all.summer.long. Craziness, I tell you.

But today, just in time for the kids to be back in school all day long, the sun is finally shining and there is not even the hint of a cloud in the sky. Go figure.

We did, however, get lucky with the weather on our vacations to Oak Island, NC and Lake Santeetlah. So there's that.

We spent four nights at the beach in July, over the boys' birthdays...


No more single digits. 
That teeny cheesecake was Devin's choice. He's not a huge dessert lover and has never really cared for cake. How I have a biological child who does not eat cake is completely beyond me but true it is. 

You can't tell in the photo but those 14 candles (yes, I got 14 on that itty bitty thing) were gold. He picked them out at the Ingles there at the beach and it was the very last box in the store which put Dracen beside himself with envy. Oh, the candle drama that ensued! We (no joke) spent a good 20 minutes trying to find a box of suitable candles for the lemon pound cake Momaw Pat had made and sent to the beach with us. 

Luckily, the restaurant where we had their birthday dinner had plenty of crab legs for the two of them...

And the ocean and beach were still big enough to hold them both at the same time...

The first week in August we traveled (for the first time) the three hours to Lake Santeetlah in Robbinsville, North Carolina. I first heard about the lake in an article in Southern Living last summer and wondered how in the world I had lived so close to it all my life without having ever heard of it before.

It did not disappoint.

Never have I seen a more beautiful, clear, and peaceful lake. Eighty percent of the shoreline is protected national forest, hence the peacefulness...

We rented a boat for a couple of days and the boys learned to knee board... 

While we were there we visited the nearby Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, home of the biggest trees I've ever seen (or hugged), some of which were more than 400 years old...

Dracen kicked off his shoes and demonstrated his climbing and toe-gripping skills. I don't call him Monkey for nothin'...

So aside from the massive amounts of rain that fell, it was still a pretty good summer around here and I always hate to see summer end. 

I am anxious to see how the first days of fifth and ninth grades go. I think I was more nervous (and definitely more emotional) than Devin but I did manage to choke back and swallow the tears I felt welling up behind my eyes as we pulled up to that great big high school this morning.

I tried to snap a couple of first day pics on the way out the door but realize now that I had left the camera on the wrong setting (story of my life!) but ah, it is what is...

and the time keeps marching on...

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