Monday, September 27, 2010

Has it really been that long?

I was so much younger than my cousins that I don't have memories of us playing together as children.  They lived in Iowa so we only got to visit once a year; we didn't get to many graduations or weddings, I never got to go to the hospital after one of my cousins had a baby.  That lack of family connection has always been a loss for me, especially because I feel so close to my immediate family.That said, I am completely in love with my hometown.  I always have been, when we were kids and my parents would talk about moving I would cry and cry, I just KNEW I'd never be as happy in some other town.  My Grandma Lois often reminds me that instead of just moving closer to family, I told her I would move Wilson closer to our family.  She thought this was so cute but when I think of it, whole families are the reason I love Wilson so much.  Families in Wilson have been there forever.  Everyone is a cousin to someone and the parents of my friends had many of the same teachers we had.  They went to the same high school building and shared the same traditions in that very town.  I've wanted to be a real part of that history as long as I can remember.
When I was a senior in high school, that dream came true for me; thirteen years ago this weekend I was Wilson's 1997 Homecoming Queen.  I know people joke about the homecoming queen but to me it was so special.  The two girls who were nominated with me were Joni and Tara, two girls I had known since we moved to Wilson in 1986.  They were both pretty and kind girls who had lots of friends and came from families just as special as they were, both families always treated me as one of their own. 
It would have been no surprise if either of them had been chosen as queen that year, but I was, and I'm so proud and thankful of that!  It was a dream come true for me, not just because I love being the center of attention or because I had always wanted to be a princess, or because it made me feel pretty and popular but because from that moment on, I cemented a place in Wilson's history.  I don't have a common last name or a family tree in Wilson but I felt officially adopted that night.
I think that will forever by my favorite childhood memory in a sea of great childhood memories!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Finger lickin' good

I have introduced Nadia and Luka to cinnamon/sugar toast.  Actually, we put it on mini bagels and the kids love it.  After giving Nadia a cinnamon/sugar bagel for a snack the other day I was helping her put on her shoes and socks when I noticed she had cinnamon and sugar on her ankle.  Like any good mother, I licked my finger and rubbed the streak. For some reason it didn't brush right off like I thought it would and we were in a hurry to get out the door so I re-licked my finger and started rubbing a little harder.  Just as I was licking my finger for the third time Nadia asks, "Momma, are you cleaning the poop on my leg?"
With my finger stuck halfway down my tongue, I realized why this smudge was so difficult to remove.  With my tongue still sticking out, I immediately smelled her leg then started wiping my finger on anything in site.  My mind started racing with thoughts of pink-eye, intestinal worms and my dog, Sleeves, chowing down on poop when he was a puppy. Yes, my darling daughter had been trying to wipe her own butt and somehow managed to track poop from her bootie to her ankle. Granted, it was a light (very light) smear, but the fact that she knew what it was and didn't ask for help to clean it is beyond me.  Also why she waited until I had already licked my finger before bringing it to my attention leaves me to believe she secretly hates me.
Finally, after what seemed like years of scrambling, I got to the sink and washed my hands, scrubbed my tongue, brushed my teeth and rinsed with mouthwash.  After I was able to put my tongue back in my mouth, the smell of her leg wouldn't leave my nose.  Even now as I write this I am afraid to breath through my nose for fear of smelling that terrible smell!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The time I painted a house

For some reason I seem to think that when making a decision, choosing the most difficult choices possible in life will make my life easier.  When I was 23 I moved to Hays, KS to finish my bachelor's degree.  I went house hunting and could not believe my luck when I found a little house on the corner of 13th and Allen that was only $450 a month.  The whole house had just gotten new carpet, fresh painted walls and a brand new electric fireplace with a blower.  I didn't have enough money for a deposit so I decided to offer to strip and repaint the entire outside of the house in lieu of a deposit.  The landlord agreed to this exchange (and why wouldn't he???) and my husband, my dog and his cat moved in within the week.  (Oh...did I mention that my husband at the time had survived a traumatic brain injury about six months before and was still very much impaired? or the fact that we decided to get married after only 4 months of knowing each other? or that the injury happened only four months after that?)  One might think that agreeing to strip and paint a house by yourself...literally, by yourself would be an unwise might think.
I decided to put my husband to work scraping the house with me.  I could only let him scrape the bottom 5 feet of the house though because he was still not able to get on a ladder without falling over; to be completely honest, he was barely able to walk without falling over!  So, he took the bottom and the top 15 feet or so were all mine.  As you can probably imagine, it was taking a really long time to scrape this I decided to rent a pressure washer!  Danny was a man who loved a powerful engine and since the accident he had not been able to work on his truck so this power washer was like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  I decided to let him use the washer first and after showing him how to use the thing, went around to the other side of the house to work. I came back to check on him and could tell he was having a blast and I could see so much paint just flying off the house like magic so I decided to go back to my side.  Who knows how long I went before checking on him again but when I came back I found a kind of mural on the side of the house.  By Danny's logic, if the power washer did such a good job of removing paint at the level I set it at, then if he turned it up all the way he could remove twice as much twice as fast!  (I once used this same logic in 8th grade wood-shop when I removed gigantic chunks from the top of my wooden step stool by re-setting the blade on the plane after the teacher had set it to the appropriate level.) Only this was a really old house and the siding was wood.  The powerful force of the water cut into the wood about 1/4 inch everywhere it went.  We had the most unique siding in all of Hays.  A company of professional painters would have either sanded all that siding (which I tried, for about a minute and a half to do) or replaced it.  I was not a professional or a painter and my landlord was really old and near-sited.