Evidently, I’m My Mom

Every time mom calls me, and tells me to go buy something for her, I end up getting hit with suggestions for other similar things.  Evidently, buying some replacement “skis” for her walker is enough to send me email for wheelchairs, and all manner of canes and crutches.  Ordering the very specific hard to find facial moisturizer with SPF10 that she insists upon is far easier done online than driving to three or four bricks and mortar stores, but it also means that I get bombarded with suggestions for anti-wrinkle creams by at least a dozen other manufacturers.

I’m no spring chicken, but seriously, I’m not in the market for any of that for myself.  An ordinary bottle of eye drops from a dollar store works great on puffy eyelids, under eye bags, and crow’s feet.  So does a slice of cucumber.  As for mobility, I can still scamper up and down stairs just fine.  Yeah, I’ve had a few knee and foot injuries that sort of made me wish I had a cane while they healed.  Still, I could hobble around just fine without one.  Stairs get a little interesting when it hurts more to go down them than up them, but it’s temporary, and if all else fails, you can descend them slowly, on your butt, then get up, and carry on.

When mom tells me one of her “skis” is broken, it probably means the nut on the bottom of the bolt fell off, and she can’t fix it herself.  She can’t change a light bulb, either, even if it’s at waist or chest height, like some of them are in her kitchen.

I do her bidding, and she does repay me for the cost of what she asks me to buy for her, but some of this is ridiculous.

She once drove her car through the front end of her garage, leaving a nice big hole in the wall, then told her home care assistant that I was the one who did it.  I’ve never driven her car in my entire life.  I did repair the hole in the wall with tape and spackling compound for her, but it wasn’t my fault, let alone my responsibility to repair.  And, I resent being blamed for something that happened when I was at least 45 miles away at the time.  She does shit like this all the time to me.  The good news is that we only have to visit every other weekend, and on holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.

Kale, Swiss Chard and Collard Greens

My neighbor brought over a huge armload of this, plus a couple of really gorgeous looking cucumbers.  I had to look up recipes for the leafy greens.  Seems it can be done by de-veining it, chopping it up, and sauteeing it with bacon and garlic.  Sort of like you’d do with Brussels Sprouts.  I always thought that stuff was fed to rabbits.

Anyway, I thanked him for it, stuck it in a 5 gal. bucket with water, and told him that he was welcome to come harvest whatever he wanted out of our herb garden, since our veggies aren’t ready for harvest yet.  Basil, oregano, sage, thyme, mint, and rosemary are all there for the harvesting.  I don’t care how much he takes.  We’ll dry the annuals, and sort-of-annuals in fall.  We can’t use all of it fresh in marinara, salsa, and on chicken before then.

We will bring him real produce when our garden gets a giddy-up.  He’s got his own garden, but we don’t grow all the same things.

Yukata

The last time we visited my mom, she sent us out to run some errands for her, because it really was too hot and muggy for her to last more than 10 minutes outside.  This really wasn’t my reward for doing that, but she gave me a yukata that used to belong to my deceased father.  “It’s really long, so it might not fit you, but if you want it, it’s yours,” she said.

I wore one of my dad’s old yukatas in a grade school production of The Mikado.  I was a Geisha.  The way my mom dressed me up, tied up my hair, and stuck a couple of wooden knitting needles in it must have looked fine to anyone who wasn’t Japanese.  That old yukata is long gone.

This one has probably never been worn in 50 years, so the cotton fabric is still really stiff.  It’s obviously a men’s version, though, given the sleeve length.  Still, the hem barely comes down to the top of my ankles, so there’s no possible way I could trip over it.  I tie the sash the way I want to, though, not by some prescribed ritual.

I am not engaging in any cultural appropriation.  If my dad’s Japanese business contacts thought that would bother them, they never would have gifted it to him.

This could use a run through the washer to soften up, but otherwise, it’s fantastic!  It makes for a great summer robe, or pool cover-up.  I freakin’ love it!  Besides, it’s a lovely reminder of dad.

Independence Day

I am so goddamn sick of reading about how awful the 4th of July is, and how horrible it is to have a parade in D.C. that has the usual fireworks, but also displays some army vehicles instead of beach Boys music.  Thank you, Jim Acosta for your Beach Boys memories.  I’m also ticked off about how the Betsy Ross flag is suddenly racist.  It’s not just U.S. lefties claiming this.  The Brits have joined in about how horrible this all is.

There is nothing at all racist about the Betsy Ross Flag.  Blacks fought in our Revolutionary War, our Civil War, and every war in which we’ve since fought.  That flag has 13 stars, and 13 stripes, symbolizing the 13 former colonies, which became states.  Obama flew two of them during his 2013 inauguration.

If the weirdos have their way, not only would the entire upper left corner of our flag be obliterated, but also the 13 stripes.  Well, if they want to fly a solid white flag of surrender, they can, but I’m going to fly the Stars & Stripes.  This is my country, and I love it.

The three states in which I was born, raised, and moved to as an adult are all among the original 13.  There’s a lot of history around here, especially where I now live.  I don’t want to see it wiped out by whiny pantywaist milllennials who think this country sucks because it doesn’t give them what they want, for free.

Rant over.

Enjoy your Independence Day!  Have a cookout, a beer or two, and watch whatever fireworks are in your area.  I’m going to shoot off a few fireworks of my own, but nothing that requires a mortar launch.  Those are perfectly legal here, but they’d have every dog within a half mile radius thinking it was Armageddon, and spook my cats.  Not worth it.

BBQ/Cookout Vetoed

I really wanted to host a BBQ/cookout for a few neighbors, but my other half vetoed the idea.  First, he didn’t want to invite his boss and wife, plus the office manager and her husband.  It’s a three person company.  The excuse was that his boss’ wife would be assessing the quality of our china. glassware, and silverware (not that I personally give a shit what she thinks).  Knowing her slightly, having met her a few times, that might be accurate.  She is a little snobby, but I like her well enough.  Still, the rest of the guest list was okayed a month ago.

Then, yesterday, the royal command was issued to not to send out any invitations, because my other half didn’t want to host neighbors we barely knew.  Gee.  The whole point of the thing was to invite neighbors we had met a few times before, who had done at least one of the following:  invited us to their parties, dropped off Christmas cookies, free range eggs, traded trailer loads of cured sheep shit for our wood chips, or gave us excess produce of their own.  It was supposed to be a way we could get to know them a little better in a casual setting, outside on our patios, over the course of a few hours, while reciprocating their favors by other means than dropping off things like half a cord of firewood, or excess squash, peppers, etc. for them.

This time, the excuse was “but we already gave them something to return the favor.”  Not the couple diagonally across the street from us, we didn’t.  I sent them a handwritten “thank you” card for the Christmas cookies, asking if they’d be willing to share the recipe for those scrummy-licious chocolate peanut butter bars.  Got a card back in the mail that enclosed the recipe.  We haven’t done a damn thing for them to return the favor.

I’m a little pissed off.  Three or four hours out of your life to provide a little casual hospitality to a dozen or so neighbors isn’t going to fucking kill you.  Hell, we got invited to a Christmas party, and again a couple of days later for dinner by the people across the street who we had never before met.  I cannot imagine that anyone on my proposed guest list would not behave themselves.  Those of us who aren’t quite old enough to qualify for Social security are damned close to it.  The worst thing that could happen is a glass or two gets broken, or a game of frisbee breaks out.  Sheesh.

My Gardens Rock This Year

We have an herb garden, a veggie garden, a separate asparagus one, and another for the strawberries and potatoes.  The veggie garden got started a couple of weeks late this year, because it was so cold and rainy, and an 18″ carapace  snapping turtle decided to lay her eggs next to a tomato plant last week, before making her way back down to the pond.  The herbs are going gangbusters, though, and the three varieties of hybrid strawberries we planted are producing, and should all summer long.  Two years worth of failed asparagus taught me to buy nice big beefy dig-ups from Burpee this time around, but hoo boy, are those “ferning” out beautifully.  We should be able to judicially pick some next Spring, and thereafter, have at it.

Mmmm … asparagus, tomatoes, peppers (sweet and hot), squash, cukes, strawberries, potatoes, etc. are going to be so tasty.  So are all the fresh herbs.  I’ve already canned nine 8 oz. jars worth of strawberries as jam.  The red and black raspberries just grow wild around here, as do the blackberries, so we’ll harvest and process them when they are ready.  So far, they are looking good.

Berry season!  And sugar snap peas.  Not much else, yet.

Paisley

I finally met my next door neighbor’s renter, with her two dogs, when my dog dragged me over there.  She’s got a full sized Doberman, and an itty bitty French Bulldog.  What a great way to meet … my dog dragging me across the lawn between our houses to their fence.  Our dog was on leash.  Hers were within the fence.

Her Doberman is a doll.  Really, he is.  His name is Paisley.  As is typical for a Doberman, he stood back a few feet, watched me for a while, then decided to come up to the fence, sniff the back of my hand, and give me a slurpy kiss.  When he did that, Ben spooked him by barking.  Goddammit, Ben!  I suppose the good news is that both dogs are 10 years old, and are as spunky as ever.  Not bad for medium sized breeds.

Not the best way to meet a new neighbor, though.  Hopefully, I will be forgiven, and she (and the house owner) will be able to attend my cookout later this month.  It’s one of those things this time of year when you invite 20, and a dozen can make it.  Even a dozen is good for a casual friendly afternoon with food and booze.  Dogs not welcome, and we will keep ours indoors, but kids are welcome, and they can find kid-friendly food, along with a frisbee.  Going in the pool will not be allowed w/o parental supervision.  Dem’s da rules.

Great Glasses

I wish I was talking about gold or silver rimmed brewery logo pint glasses, but I’m not.  On my way to my dentist this afternoon, I got something wedged under one of my contact lenses.  It felt like pollen, which, if you’ve ever seen it under a microscope, looks like the business end of a mace.  Couldn’t do a damn thing about it while I was driving, so after I got the car parked in the lot, and dashed in, I popped out the offending lens to clean it.  No dice.  Tried again another three times while I was waiting, to no avail.

Got my teeth cleaned, but by then, my eye was so severely irritated that I couldn’t drive home w/o my polarized sunglasses because of increased light sensitivity, and to cut the sun glare.  Finally had to take out my contacts, and go fish a pair of glasses that are as old as Nikita out of a drawer.  I must have scratched my cornea; that’s how badly my eye hurt.  I’ve done it before.  These glasses are so old that they look like the ones Lynda Carter wore on Wonder Woman.

it’s a little trippy.  I can see through them just fine, and read like usual, through the middle of the lenses, but peripheral vision is a bit off.  Straight lines look a little bowed.  Depth perception seems fine.  Oddly enough, it is legal for me to drive while wearing my glasses instead of contacts, although I’d much rather not have to do it.  Hopefully my cornea will heal by Friday, when I have to go back to my dentist to get a front tooth chip repaired.

I really like my dentist.  She’s an immigrant from Ukraine who had to get re-certified in the U.S., but boy does she have the expertise to do anything but implants.

Anyway, Ol’ Rusty’s going to look like a fly face for a day or two with these damned glasses.

Alien Life Form

My mom had wanted me to kill what she thought was an alien plant life form out of Star Trek, so I brought over my hori-hori, pruning shears, and some weed killer.  Turned out the damned thing was a hosta, with three baby hostas popping up around it.  *groan*

So, I dug them up, then she wanted the rest of the stuff in the general area hacked out, too.  The clematis was easy to rip out, but that Martha Washington geranium had something like 200 stems.  I knew the Martha Washington geraniums liked shade, but never knew they could get that big, and I didn’t think they were perennials.  Maybe that’s not what it was, but that’s what mom said it was.

“Use your pruning shears on it.”

“Are you kidding me?  I’d have brought my machete if I’d known you wanted me to take out that one, too.”

So, I hacked away at it with the hori-hori, and got the job done.  A machete would have been so much more efficient.  At least we Americans are allowed to have gardening tools.

I wish my mom would describe her “problem” a little bit better when she calls me over to solve it, so I could actually be prepared for it.  Her retirement community has gardeners, but I have to do 70% of it for her, anyway.  It wouldn’t be such a chore if I didn’t have to drive over an hour to get there to accomplish her “honey do” list.

Oh, well.  At least I can top off my car’s gas tank in her state on the way home, ’cause it’s at least a quarter cheaper per gallon than here.

Woo-Hoo Memorial Day Weekend

Theoretically, Memorial Weekend is Saturday through Monday.  Ours was from Thursday to Tuesday, because we had to drive ~1200 miles each way for the annual family shindig in Minnesota.  That was five and a half days away, 42 hours of which were spent driving.  We got rained on in MN, IA, IL, IN, and OH, on the way back, but WV and PA took pity on us, and let the sun shine, sort of, even though the tornados were chasing us East.  Dayton, OH, got nailed as predicted, but by the time it did, we were at the eastern end of the state.

This weekend was probably the best family gathering we’ve ever had.  Aside from the BBQ, my brother-in-law rolled out the best lawn game ever.  It was basically a trailer mounted giant water balloon slingshot.  Yeah, there were a few inanimate targets set up, but the fun really began when people went out on the lawn, and took turns standing there as a target.  Who wants to aim at a trash can lid when you can aim at a relative?

Points were awarded for direct hits only.  There were no teams, but it was pretty obvious the women were better at it than the guys.  The guys just wanted to … um … shoot their … water balloons.  We women “dialed it in”  visually before we let go.  This was a slingshot, but it sort of works like a longbow, except that you pull it back with your fingers horizontal instead of vertically.

I came in second.  Ashley won.  The best guy came in fourth.

I volunteered to be a target, but nobody actually hit me.  When my b-i-l joined me out there, he got nailed three times.  Either nobody really wanted to drench me, or he was a bigger target.  But, at 70 yards away, neither of us were that easy to hit with a slingshot.  *shrug*

Damn, was that fun!

So far, the only nasty weather we got besides torrential rain is … not a whole lot that is unusual for this time of year.

Fantastic holiday weekend!