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Archive for May, 2012

May 31 2012

Deja Vu Driving

Posted by Mugs @ 8:25 pm in Family

On Tuesday, I began teaching Abby to drive. I sat in the passenger seat and opened up the small notebook I had used to record Josiah’s 45 driving hours last summer. In the log book I had written the start date for Josiah as May 29th, 2011. It was now May 29th 2012 and there I sat with Abby – very strange.

Last year with Josiah, Dale had done the initial instruction, and I assumed Josiah was ready for advanced material. Our very first driving experience was merging onto and driving on I95 to Cody’s house. I still praise God that I survived that day.

With Abby, I am preceding at a much slower pace. Abby is a cautious driver and takes things very slowly. I wave at the people behind us to let them know we are not trying to intentionally annoy them. When I told this to Gabe, he asked me why I believed that waving would inform the people behind us that this was drivers ed. I had no answer to that one.

The initial parking lot driving is always a bit unnerving for me when the gas pedal gets confused for the brake pedal and the over turning of the steering wheel prevents us from driving in a straight line.

“The dogs are all going around, and around, and around. ‘Go around again!'”

Today, Abby was driving in a nearby subdivision at 10 mph practicing right and left turns. It was going pretty well until a school bus pulled up behind us. The bus was grinding its gears to stop from running into our rear fender. Abby did not want to drive faster so I had her make random right and left turns in an attempt to lose the bus. No matter what random turns she made, the bus stayed on our tail. Finally, the bus was forced to stop to let off a kid and I directed Abby onto a road with no outlet to escape the bus.

Then, I decided now was a good time to work on driving at a faster speed. We drove the straight road back and forth at ever increasing speeds until Abby finally reached 25mph on a downhill. Having finally reached 25 mph, I declared the day a success and we switched places.

One of the amusing car facts we discovered as we were putzing along is that the automatic door locks will not trigger until the car reaches 15 mph. When Abby hears the click, she knows she is cruising.

May 30 2012

Here We Go Loop De Loop

Posted by Mugs @ 11:17 am in Family

Life went unexpectedly pear shaped in May. Although May had much expected busyness: weddings, graduation parties, concerts, exams, class field trips, and rose gardens. It was the unexpected events: car accident, leaking water heater, and Dale’s infected wisdom tooth that made life a bit too much to handle. Thankfully, I can rest assured in Mom’s unfailing belief that bad things happen in threes, so I have now filled my bad thing allotment.

The day prior to Mother’s day, Josiah drove Abby, Gabe, and Zeke to the flower nursery to buy me plants. They got into an accident on the way. The car was totaled, but we praise God everyone involved walked away from it with only minor aches and pains. On Mother’s Day, I was immensely thankful to have four living children. Throughout the accident aftermath, Abby conducted herself with level headed action: making sure everyone was alright, calling 911, and calling me. The girl proved herself sensible in an emergency.

Two Saturdays ago, I was in the basement digging through Gabe’s bucket of rocks looking for some rocks to use in a craft project and noticed a trickle of water running down the water heater. “I don’t think it’s supposed to do that,” I said to myself. The sight of it brought back memories of when I was 9 months pregnant with Abby praying for my water to break. The prayer didn’t get answered quite as I expected. My water heater broke instead and flooded the basement.

I showed the leaking water heater to Dale the next day and he said, “That doesn’t look right.” Mr Shaw had put the water heater in before he sold us the house. It had a 6 year warranty. This was the 7th year. Home maintenance is not a Manry strength. After standing and looking at the problem for a bit, we realize we are in over our heads and are inspired to call in people who know what they are doing. Thankfully, we have numerous friends at church who fulfill this criteria, Denise being the most practical of them all. She sent her guys out to our house and I soon had a new water heater.  This water heater has an 8 year warranty. I’ll make sure to look at it again in 9 years.

Although both the car and the water heater where costly breaks, it was the infected wisdom tooth that really threw Dale for a loop. Dale had been training for the Marine Corps half marathon for four months. The Wednesday prior to the race, he went in to get his teeth cleaned at the dentist, and the dentist discovered a hole in his gum leading to an infected wisdom tooth. On Thursday, Dale went in to see the oral surgeon who wanted to remove the tooth the next day. Dale decided this would not be a big deal and he would be recovered enough in two days to run the race. From the time when he was a cadet at West Point to just prior to retiring from the Army, he had been repeatedly told to get his wisdom teeth removed. After 24 years, he finally consented to have one taken out.

Dale does not drink alcohol and had never been sedated prior to the wisdom tooth removal. I had to accompany him to the appointment to drive him home. From the moment they sedated him until 5 hours later when he made a coherent remark sitting in his recliner in the family room, he remembers nothing. For five hours, he was completely loopy. The funniest moment was when he first came out of surgery. The nurse would ask him questions and he would answer. I knew he had no idea what he was saying. At one point, he answered using an inside joke between us. He then looked right at me and winked.

The nurse got him out to the car by repeatedly telling him to open his eyes and walk. He held onto her for support. I got him into the house the same way. He vaguely followed my directions, but was not really there behind the eyes. For several days the nausea prevented him from eating anything but apple sauce and yogurt. I picked up his race number and tshirt, but even he had to eventually admit, if he couldn’t get out of his recliner, it was not likely that he could run 13.1 miles.

May 17 2012

Crazy Rose Ladies

Posted by Mugs @ 12:07 pm in Family,Nature

I gave Mountaineer Mary a tour of my roses when she stopped by during a run to refill her water bottle. After her tour, she asked me how many roses I had. I was afraid to count.

Today, I counted. I have 35 roses. Admittedly, that’s a bit crazy, but I have found a full proof way to feel better about myself. Whenever I realize I’m slipping over the edge into crazyness, I go to see someone crazier than myself.

A few Sundays ago, Abby, Fearless Leader Mary, and I went to the 2012 open garden day at the crazy rose lady’s house. The crazy rose lady has 800+ roses. Therefore, I’ve got a long way to go until I’m a crazy rose lady.

Dale may disagree with that statement.

Abby took all the rose pictures at the garden, and she got some great shots. I approach the Hartwood Rose garden like a treasure hunt. There are roses of every shape, size, and color fighting for survival. It is fun to scramble about looking for a rose I’ve never seen before and may never see again. The sheer scale of the roses and the sheer number of blooms is an amazing sight to behold.

It’s a great day with only one draw back: my list of “I should get that rose” grows longer and longer and longer.

May 15 2012

Everything’s Coming Up Roses

Posted by Mugs @ 10:41 pm in Family,Nature

Thanks to Mr. Shaw’s legacy, my garden during March and April is full of lovely spring blooming flowers, shrubs, and trees. When Mr. Shaw sold me his garden and Dale his house, he left me with one rose. The rose didn’t bloom well because of too little sun. My memory told me the one time I saw it bloom, it had red flowers. After the pear tree accident created a new garden bed, I dug the rose up and moved it in the middle of the hot dry summer. My neighbor was convinced I had killed it and it did look almost dead. However, the next May it bloomed hot pink and close to the ground. It had tricked me, it was a flower carpet rose. I dug it up again that summer and moved it to cover an old stump near the back patio, a much more appropriate spot for its ground hugging nature. It looked mostly dead that summer as well, but the next spring it was once again happy and bloomed in all its hot pink gaudiness.

That’s how it started, with a relocated rose that required buckets of water and periodic pep talks on why it shouldn’t die. The next step towards rose madness was Dale’s anniversary gift to me of roses planted in front of the porch: two Fourth of July climbing roses and a Sally Homes rose. They have been there for four years and are finally growing towards their potential, even though they do not get quite enough sun. Soon, I started buying roses in bags or as bare roots and planting them here there and everywhere. Some lived, some died. I water, fertilize, prune, and periodically weed, but I do not spray for insects or disease. I do not pamper my plants. Now that I think about it, I do not pamper anything. My husband, my kids, my pets, my plants: It’s all a bit of survival of the fittest around here.

However, I decided if I was more educated on roses, I would make better choices and have a higher rose survival rate. I read books from the library, I visited rose gardens and asked questions, I read comments online. I learned about rose cuttings at a local historic home. I started buying roses grown on their own roots instead of grafted roses. I chose varieties known for disease resistance especially against blackspot which we have in abundance in Virginia. I tried to be sensible, but then the form, color, or scent of a particular rose will begin to entice me. “Look how healthy it looks sitting here in the greenhouse or on the computer,” I tell myself full well knowing it has been treated to the max and grown in idyllic conditions. I know all its accolades are too good to be true for someone who provides only spotty care. Often, I buy it and regret it. When I grow irritated with a particular rose because it is full of disease and won’t bloom well, I move it into the bed of despair behind the sun room where only ditch lilies grow in profusion.

Over the course of these last four years of rose growing, I have discovered I am not very good at growing the tea roses one would buy in a bouquet from a florist. I love them for their form and scent, but they need too much work and I am too lazy.

I am fond of my hybrid musk roses: Sally Holmes (peach to white) and Belinda (bright pink). My most reliable roses are my Rainbow Knockout (pink and yellow), Canadian Explorer Champlain (red), climbing miniature Jeanne Lajoie (light pink), and floribunda Betty Prior (deep pink). I also grow a few good shrub roses: Home Run (bright red), and – my kid’s favorite – Black Ice (dark red). I love my hybrid perpetual rose Sidonie (pink) for its beautiful scented flower.

This year I had success with two purple roses: the rambler Veilchenbleu and the centifolia The Bishop. My climbing Fourth of July roses (Red with yellow and white stripes) always make me smile when they bloom, but they get blackspot afterwards. Last year, I planted the rambler New Dawn (silver pink). It is a huge rose. If you have a fence or wall to cover, it can’t be beat.

Dale likes to purchase strange colored roses for me to plant. The strangest one is the floribunda Cinco de Mayo (smoke and rust). It clashes with everything and hurts my eyes, but it’s sure to grab your attention.

Yes, I have a lot of roses. Yes, I have gone a bit rose crazy. Many of my roses have not proven their worth. I fear to make a list of those that have died or been relegated to the bed of despair.

The one rose I would recommend everyone grow is the shrub rose Quietness (light pink). The bush has a nice form and the flowers are traditionally tea shaped with a light scent. It has proven resistant to disease and quite hardy. It brings quietness to the chaos of my garden and encourages me to stop planting, debating, hurrying, and scurrying. Quietness always reminds me to stop for a bit and enjoy God’s creation.


May 05 2012

Zeke the Rockhound

Posted by Dale @ 11:01 pm in Uncategorized

Here’s Zeke getting a single:

A few action shots worthy of baseball cards: