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Archive for August, 2013

Aug 30 2013

The Manry Dixon Line

Posted by Mugs @ 12:48 pm in Church,Family

Yes, it’s that time of year again. Time for the “toxic dust” campout.  Each year, members of our church camp together in the hills of Virginia. The Manry Clan has attended the campout for the last two years and I fear the only escape for me is to leave the country.

The campout is all about tradition: where you set up, what you eat, what songs you sing. Anyone who attempts to change the traditions is met with stiff opposition.

Last year, Pastor Ted proposed having a schedule of events: game time, swim time, song time. This “Are you crazy?” plan was fiercely opposed. “The purpose of the campout is to camp. All we do is camp. Other than Saturday evening church service, there is no schedule of events,” he was sternly informed.

I think his excuse this year: “We need to get the house ready. We’ll just come up for one day,” was greatly influenced by “There ain’t never been a schedule and there ain’t never gonna be a schedule.”

This year, the church has not had great success recruiting new campers. Church members give excuses like “My husband is out of town” and “We have baseball practice.” (Oh wait. Those are just the excuses of my very singular friend.)

I, of course, resent these non-attenders. If I have to suffer, shouldn’t they?

Another stalwart tradition is “This is where I always set up.” This is a holdover tradition from church service where “our row” is fiercely guarded by Gabe. Other families guard their rows as well. I suspect they really don’t like to see the pulpit from another angle. Some church members do not adhere to the “you must sit in the same place” church regulation, the Robyn for one. You never know where that girl is gonna turn up. She tells me it’s because she’s ninja.

New campout attenders have to guess where it is o.k. to pitch their tent for fear they will set up on “so and so’s spot.” The Manry Clan has not attended the campout long enough to be “so and so” and have taken other people’s spots in ignorance. This has resulted in a bit of grumbling.

(To be quite honest, Dale loves to create trouble and cause grumbling. Or as his family down south says “He loves to stir the pot.”)

Last year, our spot had one major fault. The fire pit was hidden behind the tent. This would have been perfectly fine if we only had adults sitting around our campfire, but we had kids playing the “let’s light a stick on fire and swing it around” game.

This game resulted in one burn scar on a child’s face.

Wanting desperately to prevent the “children get burned” campout tradition from starting, I talked to Denise about how we could set up together to give us both sight line of the fire pit. (This, of course, lines up with my “Ask Denise” life mantra.)

We both printed out a map of the campground and discussed the spots we knew people would already be set up in and which remaining spots might fulfill the requirement. We could not figure out the solution.

Then, last Saturday, I received a text from Denise. “Guess where I am?” it said and included a picture of the campsite. “I think these two spots will work just fine.”

It is a 2 hour drive from Denise’s house to the campsite. When I asked in disbelief, “Denise, you drove all the way out there just to figure this out?”

She replied, “I’m an Army brat. I know when I’m going to war, I have to survey the terrain.”

This year at the campout, there will be a Manry Dixon line. Cross it at your own risk.


Aug 28 2013

Limiting Her Drawer Space

Posted by Mugs @ 11:33 am in Family

The latest task of the “organize all parts of the house” goal was to clear out the bathroom cabinets. In the bathroom shared by my 3 sons and 1 daughter, I opened up drawers, medicine cabinets, and under the sink spots and discovered Abby’s stuff, Abby’s stuff, Abby’s stuff, and 4 empty retainer cases.

Why did we still have cases for retainers that were lost when they fell out of a lunchbox, accidentally wrapped in a napkin and thrown away, forgotten at some unknown location, and simply gone? It’s one of the mysteries of Manry Clan life.

Zeke’s toiletry items consist of medical supplies, lotions, a comb, a toothbrush, those ridiculous individual plastic floss holders, and 8 “brush your teeth for this long” timers.

Gabe’s toiletry items consist of a comb and a toothbrush.

Then there is Abby and makeup and hair gel and soaps and lotions and straightening irons and brushes and hair bands and sprays and…

I reclaimed one drawer back from her and gave it to her brothers.

“You have the drawer to the right. Your brothers have the drawer to the left,” I informed her last night. “You cannot have every drawer.”

The drawer on the left looks very neat. It contains two combs and a nail clipper.


Aug 26 2013

The Last of Summer

Posted by Mugs @ 11:03 am in Nature

My garden has been sorely neglected throughout the month of August. I take a daily stroll through, but the weeding, transplanting, mulching, deadheading, and new bed creation has ceased. Because God has sent me an abundance of rain this summer, watering has ceased as well.

My backyard beds are a weedy mess, and my wildflower meadow is a weedy mess too. The great thing about the wildflower meadow is that it’s acceptable as a weedy mess. I have termed it a natural habitat, and now have the support of tree-huggers worldwide.

My flower beds, however, would have Mom down on her hands and knees waging war with trumpet vine. I chopped down the 8 foot tall 30 year old trumpet vine tree awhile back, but all it’s little trumpet vine children pop up here, there, and everywhere.

The day I leave this garden is the day the trumpet vine and wisteria claim it. I just beat them back, but I cannot defeat them.

I must truly give God all the credit for the beautiful flowers that have bloomed this year from plants and seed. Each one is lovely to me and some bring me great happiness when they finally arrive.

From those that emerge from seed, I love the sunflower the most.

Aug 23 2013

If You’re Not Happy and You Know It

Posted by Mugs @ 12:39 pm in Family,school

Can you guess which member of the Manry clan was not happy to go back to school?

Take note of Gabe’s shoes.

The morning of the first day, Gabe told me his shoes didn’t fit and he needed a new pair. He has been telling me this periodically over the last several weeks. Unfortunately, my brain was filled with “What I need to do to get Josiah to college.” There was no room for “Remember to buy Gabe new shoes.”

Because his shoes no longer fit, he was forced to wear a pair of Dale’s shoes.

Dale loves shoes, especially running shoes. Throughout the 28 years I have known him, he discovers and rediscovers that the same type of New Balance running shoes he has always worn work for him, and all others do not.

However, at some point each year, he finds a new type of running shoe that convinces him they will make him the greatest runner ever.

He buys them.

A few weeks later, his hopes are dashed. Unfortunately, the belief in the perfect running shoe never is.

The obnoxious fluorescent rainbow running shoes Gabe is wearing in the picture belong in the “hopes dashed” category. Gabe thought they would be the best choice to wear on the first day at a new school surrounded by kids he doesn’t know.

“Gabe has entered the building!”

Aug 19 2013

Off to Uni

Posted by Mugs @ 4:29 pm in Family,school

“How did it go?”

“Longer than expected”

The goal was to leave at 1100. The last minute copying of piano music delayed the departure. We were on the road at 1145.

Unfortunately, everyone and their brother were on the road with us. Bad traffic, rain, cars with ‘CNU MOM’ and ‘CNU DAD’ bumper stickers accompanied us. Thankfully, Dale didn’t cut any of them off just in case one of the vehicles was driven by Josiah’s roommate.

2 hours and 45 minutes later, we arrived at CNU and once again experienced the school’s efficiency. We followed the signs, received a pass, drove up to the door of the dorm, and opened the van. CNU students unloaded Josiah’s stuff into a bin and onto a luggage rack, and wheeled them to his room where they unloaded it all.

We watched upright vacuums, full sized brooms and packing boxes full of stuff being unloaded from other vehicles.

Josiah checked in and then began to unload his stuff on the left side of the room. He got the window which Abby used as a window seat.

Gabe and I made the bed. Abby and Zeke put all items away in the wardrobe, drawers, desk, and under the sink. I drove to the store across the road to purchase the following forgotten items: trash can (CNU did not provide one), AAA batteries (I only brought AA), toothbrush holder, and hand soap.

The roommate, Michael arrived and put my packing list to shame. He had so much stuff, his siblings couldn’t fit in the vehicle and had to stay home. He had a keurig, a clothes steamer, 4 suit jackets, closet organizers, shoe rack, small exercise trampoline, printer, brita water pitcher, a chair cushion, and much much more.

Dale worked as IT support and learned a few things he did not know before:

  1. If you change the power setting on an asus computer, you disable the touchscreen.
  2. T.V. cable drops may be hidden behind a roommate’s wardrobe.

I watched Dale and already knew the following:

  1. My husband will sit in a chair, staring at a computer for hours and sometimes days until he figures out how to fix it.
  2. My son really wanted his family to “Hit the Road, Jack.”

I eventually dragged Dale away even though the touchscreen still didn’t work and the cable drop had not been found, because the rest of the kids were “starving to death.” It was 1800.

We hugged Josiah goodbye and gave our parting words of advice. My advice was “go to dinner” and “text me once a day so I know you are alive.”

We then drove 1 minute down the road to eat bojangles fried chicken. While we were eating dinner, I received the following text from Josiah, “I’ll have to get a coaxial cable for the t.v.” and “Fixed the touchscreen.”

I replied that we were just down the road and would drive to the store that all Manrys love, buy the cable, and have Abby run it in. While performing this errand, I received another text from Josiah

“Could you get me dinner? Everything is closed.”

We swung back by bojangles and Dale and Gabe brought the cable and food to Josiah while Abby, Zeke, and I waited in the van. Dale went back into IT support mode and hooked up the t.v.

We arrived home at 2200.

Everyone asked me if I cried. I did not. I was on a mission.

Mission accomplished.