OK, I know this year has brought a few things our way that some might view as bad luck. Cool, backed into a pole and knocked my rear view mirror off my van, he went in the ditch one morning on the way to work, my aunt almost died, Cool went to the ER with chest pains, the garage was on fire. It all depends on how a person views life as to how they handle these life situations. I have viewed these all as, "We were extremely lucky. Someone was really watching out for us." Some might say I was living life with my glass half full. Not today. What happened today is where I draw the line.

Let me back up. It all started yesterday, when we got home from all our errand running. Cool and I were on the driveway talking to some friends when Spear went into the house and came running back out yelling, "There's a dead bat on the floor!" What could we do? We had to be adults and take charge so Cool and I went in to find a dead bat. :shudder, gasp, spew: 5 minutes of debating the subject of who was going to pick it up and get rid of it happened after the shuddering. Speculations were made as to how a dead, bloody bat actually made it's way to the the kitchen floor. Speculations were also made as to why it ended up under the kitchen table. This will go down in history as an unsolved mystery as we interviewed the three cats and didn't get a straight answer. It seemed that none of them wanted to take the credit. We went to bed thinking, "That was strange."

We woke up today and lived life normally until about 4:00 when Spear says, "There's another bat!" (Now, I don't know why Spear has the ability to I-Spy all the bats but he has a real knack for it) I look down and see in the mouth of my sweet, little, innocent kitten, a horrible, ugly bat! He was pretty damn proud of himself and would show off by putting the bat down and pouncing on it as it would try to take off. Oh God!

Chip would say great and wonderful things such as, "Notice the way "Killer" keeps biting at the bats neck? He is trying to break it but he just isn't done playing with it yet." Oh God!

I ran to the neighbor and asked if he could come over and help. He was walking out the door and couldn't right away, but he would when he got back. Oh God!

Now, this is embarrassing to admit but I am gonna tell ya. I sat down and cried full fledged tears. In my kitchen, under a clear Rubbermaid tub is one pissed off bat. I am afraid of bats. Two of my picklets are afraid of bats because their brother was bitten by one two years ago and are freaking because the bat is hitting the sides of the container. The picklet who was actually bitten by one is a freakin' bat encyclopedia and keeps spewing bat facts at me. All I wanted to do was yell "SHUT UP!" and bury my head in the freakin' sand. Alas, I am a grown up and couldn't do that. So I cried. I cried because Cool wouldn't be home until 10. I cried because my neighbor was busy. I cried because I was afraid.

After feeling sorry for myself for a while I called the librarian to see if her husband could come over and take care of the flying rodent for me. "He is deathly afraid of bats," she tells me, "but I will find someone for you!" Half an hour later (when I was just thinking I would have to live with a bat in my kitchen for the rest of my life) she called back and informed me someone was on their way. OH YEAH!

Up the walk came "JP the bat taker person". "Are you my knight in shining armor?" I asked. "Nah, just JP." LOL He inspected the situation, moved the Rubbermaid tub, moved it again, looked all around and asked me for a towel. I dug through my drawer trying to find the perfect dish towel to sacrifice to the God of Rodents. He nonchalantly picked up the corner of the Rubbermaid and picked the clicking, hissing bat up. I asked casually, "do you want to flush it down the toilet?" He says, "No, I will just let it go." OH GOD!

Very calmly I ask, "Do you think you could do that somewhere else?" He looked at me, a sparkle in his eye, and said, "Yeah, I think I can do that. I will just return your towel tomorrow." I laughed and replied back, "no need...you can just toss it!" He chuckled and said, "OK, I understand!"

And off my went my knight in shining armor, down the street in his 4 door sedan with a bat wrapped in my kitchen towel. Oh God!
I still view these little quirks as "Shit Happens." Life is constantly moving and if you don't hang on with both hands and yell, "WOOOHOOOO!" sometimes, it is gonna leave you behind. So, I am gonna hang on tight, yell, "Oooohhhhh shiiiiiiiiit!" and enjoy the ride!

The predator guarding his prey.

Update to the bat story. As I was writing this I hear Cool yell, "Oh shiiiiiiiiiit." I go to the living room, hoping that Cool is just enjoying the ride as I have vowed to do, only to find yet another bat! Yes, bat number 3! Killer was chasing him, Chip was spewing bat facts and Spear was disappointed he didn't spot him first. Sweet the lucky, slept through it all. I hid in the bathroom and yelled, "What's going on now?" Mr. Bat was captured on my picture frame, taken to the park by the resident bat expert and released back to the wild. I am holding on tight!

Ice Storm (2-07) 12/16/2007

A winter storm came through the area this past weekend. It was more of an ice storm than anything. We had an inch of ice on EVERYTHING. The town is a mess. There are trees down, electric poles down and no electricity for thousands upon thousands of customers. We lost electricity at about 11:00 Saturday morning and got it back at 6:30 Sunday night. We were lucky. All of the towns and farms around us do NOT have electricity and are not expected to have electricity for up to 10 days. Yes, we were lucky! When the windows started looking like this and the electricity had been off for a while, we snuggled in my bed and took turns reading stories to each other. The picklets were happy to have daddy read to them.

Cool and I decided to go out and clean up some of the brush that had fallen from the trees in the yard. Upon opening the door we saw at least 3/4 of an inch of ice covering the grass and sidewalk.

It covered the outside toy box.

The basketball hoop.

The solar lights.

And was plain beautiful.

After coming in, the picklets made deviled eggs by candlelight.

And finished up the president's Day file folder (by candlelight).

It was down to 55 by bedtime and so the picklets snuggled down on the floor and slept in the living room. Camping at it's finest!


Milk in a Bag 12/16/2007

One of the memories that stands out from visiting my Grandma and Grandpa is the "milk in a bag".

In that brick house, in the small redone kitchen, smelling the smell that you only smelled at Grandma's house, I enjoyed many a glass of milk. But not just any glass or any milk.

There were two glasses we grandchildren were allowed to drink out of. Both of them rather smallish in our large eyes. No matter how much it was stated that in fact, we could drink much more than just the small amount of milk the glasses would hold, we had two choices: 1. Drink out of one of those or 2. go thirsty. 2nd's and 3rds were always allowed in Grandma's kitchen, but not bigger glasses. The rules were simple, yet were always challenged.
Grandma (and it was always grandma, none of us grandchildren had a nickname for her, grandma just seemed perfect) always bought milk in a bag. And she didn't buy it at a grocery store. Nope, she bought it at the gas station a block down from the corner grocery store. Now for those of you who don't know what milk in a bag is, let me explain. Milk in a bag is milk, in a heavy plastic bag. Simple, huh?
I was the only grandchild who didn't live within a 20 mile radius of my grandparents house. I didn't get milk in a bag in the metropolis where I lived and because of that I always found the milk intriguing. I am almost positive my cousins thought I was crazy for making such a big deal about milk. They were used to milk in a bag though. They didn't understand that where I came from milk came in a jug. It had a handle and a lid. They didn't understand that my mom bought her milk in a grocery store on the same night every week. Their mom bought milk at the gas station too. Living in the rural farm area afforded you luxuries like milk in a bag that I just wasn't able to get living in the city.
I would examine the bag upon each and every milk pouring. I can still see the bag sitting in Grandma's gold colored Tupperware 2 quart pitcher, in the refrigerator section of her side by side refrigerator/freezer. I can hear the freezer door open and shut (whoosh) the way it always did when the refrigerator door was opened. I can see the white glass bowls of leftover peaches sitting on the shelf with cool whip lids covering them. She didn't put the left overs in the actual cool whip bowl, just covered her white and gold corning bowls with the lids. I found that intriguing too.
When I would get thirsty after doing important kid things like playing tennis on the school wall or climbing on the school roof to retrieved the lost tennis ball, I would take the milk out of the fridge (listening for that whoosh from the freezer) and put it on the yellowish island next the the basket that always had half a grapefruit and half a banana in it. Grandma would hand me the appropriate glass and I would pour the milk from the 1/4" slit in the corner of the bag. I would lift the glass to my lips and drink. Oh that wonderful bagged milk! Often times I would pour a second or a third. Whoosh, I would put the milk back to await my next thirsty spell.
In 1999 my Grandma died. There was no more bagged milk to be had. And the sad truth is I had completely forgotten about it until last weekend. On the way to see Geppetto I saw a gas station out of the corner of my eye as I turned a corner. Could it be? OMG...it was THE gas station. The milk in a bag gas station. I told mom we had to stop there on the way home. Confused, she agreed but asked me why. I told her the whole story of milk in a bag. The wonderful, calcium filled memories. The dreaded glasses, the gold pitcher, EVERYTHING. She had no idea I had such memories. It seems Grandma deprived her of milk in a bag. Ha! I always knew she loved me more!


So, on the way home I bought milk in a bag (from a gas station). Now they have handy little pitchers to put the bag in and a slit in the plastic to close the milk up. I cannot tell you the rush I had. It was pure exhilaration! I bought skim white milk, chocolate milk AND orange juice.

I put the bags in the refrigerator and there they sat. Each day this week the picklets would ask, "when can we drink that milk mommy?" Each day I would answer, "Later honey." I didn't want to open it. I didn't want to drink it. It was a comfort to have it in my side by side refrigerator/freezer. I just wasn't ready.

This morning I decided today was the day. I took the chocolate milk (my grandma would NEVER have bought chocolate milk, "you can make your own much cheaper at home"), put it in the pitcher (that came FREE with the milk), cut a 1/4" slit in the corner and poured it into the wonderful milk glasses that I was given from Grandma's house. I swear she was standing there telling me to take care and not spill.


My picklets and I shared a glass of calcium enriched milk and a wonderful memory that was started in a brick house, in a small kitchen, with my Grandma handing me a glass. And just for a moment I thought I smelled that smell that only my Grandma's house had.