Mark had been talking about getting an AR-15 for several years. Hunters use them to stalk feral hogs at their deer leases, farms, ranches, etc. Turns out, feral hogs are actually domesticated hogs that were just let go in the wild and boy do they multiply like rabbits and wreak havoc on people’s land. They root up crops and roads and are a serious problem here in Texas. Well, Mark didn’t want just any AR-15, he wanted his BFF Don to build one for him as Don had started a hobby of making guns. (BTW: I have a feeling it is against “man law” for guys to refer to each other as BFFs, especially these two which is why I put that in here.) 🙂
As a surprise for Mark, I emailed Don to ask if he would have the time and possibly be interested in building one for me for a Christmas present for Mark. He quickly replied, “Sure! All you need to do is go to a gun store near you called Cheaper Than Dirt and purchase a ‘stripped lower’ for it. Ship it to me and I’ll get started.” I wrote the part name down on my weekly shopping list: Fall Wreath, New Bed Sheets, Black Platform Peep Toe Shoes, “Don’t forget to get a S-T-R-I-P-P-E-D L-O-W-E-R” – Check.
There is a reason for this following part, so work with me here:
I usually like to save my serious shopping days for one particular day of the week. I’m not talking grocery shopping but the kind of shopping you do for Christmas, party planning, special projects, clothes and the like. I like to get dressed up and “go to town”. It feels good to do this because being a housewife now, I will actually go days without even putting on shoes much less make-up, so it is a healthy thing for me to do. On this particular day, I paired fun grey denim leggings, with a sexy off one shoulder ala Flashdance, pale-geometric print shirt. I completed the outfit with pretty, high-heeled black ankle boots and my black Prada bag.
I went about my shopping day from Michaels to Bed, Bath and Beyond, to you name it and ended the day, as planned at Cheaper than Dirt. It’s a much smaller store than say a Cabelas or a Bass Pro Shop. It is more the size of a small pawn shop. Now, I’m sure it wasn’t completely like this… but this is actually how I felt — As I walked in, I did not see any hunting gear, etc. as I’m used to seeing when accompanying Mark to gun stores. What I found was a bunch of men who looked like they were involved in militia/biker groups and one guy who looked like he was employed in personal security and/or maybe the mafia. Not one of them was wearing cammo.
The surprise must have shown on my face, because the store manager came up to me with a raised eyebrow and in an are sure you’re in the right place type voice said, “Can I help you?” I said, “Yes. Give me a sec.” (as I fished through my Prada bag for my shopping notes finding and reading the note to him) “Yes, I’m here to purchase a stripped lower for an AR-15?” His eyes immediately shot up in surprise and he said “Oh-kay then, follow me.” We passed a customer looking at what looked like a SWAT team vest, and another seriously contemplating Bowie knives while carrying a gas mask and turned down a random non-descript aisle. In the center of this aisle, passed all the pre-packaged doomsday survivor food, we came up to a locked glass case. I seriously did not recognize anything in it. When Don said I needed to go get this gun part, I thought, I don’t know – I really didn’t think… but I guess I would have thought it looked like a gun that needed finishing – whatever that means.
Anyway, the manager opens the case and gets out the part and says, “This, is it.” It looked like a random extra part you’d find yourself left with after taking apart your own car engine and putting it back together again. He does not hand me the part but says, “You know, you will need a background check for this?” I laughed a silly Ha-ha laugh as if I knew he was surely joking. He replied without smiling, “I’m being totally serious.” I couldn’t believe it! I told him, the guy looking at Bowie knives looked like he’d need a background check sooner than I would for this little random God knows what part for a friend to build my husband a surprise present. His reply, “Well, you see – this actually is the firing chamber of the gun.” Okay – learning something new today…
Well, I thought it would be an in-and-out type store purchase and was not planning to spend an hour or so filling out paperwork, so I looked at my over-sized Men’s sparkle watch with the faux diamond ring around it and asked him how long it would take. He said, “Well it shouldn’t take very long or be a problem (pause) unless – you have a record?” I told him “Of course not!” He then paused and said “I don’t know how to ask this but do you know if your gun-building-friend has a felony record? Because, it would be a felony for you, yourself to supply him this part if he does.”
“What?!” Now, I’ve known Don for 30 years. He is the salt of the earth, church goin’, God fearing, great guy and I was pretty sure he had no record, but for a minute or so I got to dialoging the following to myself. “Hm. Why didn’t Don just get the part himself? What if h…… Naaaaaw, he’s fine…… Well, he is into building guns now for fun and most certainly part of some government watch lis……. Naaawh, he just likes to hunt big time – Don’t be crazy, D’Ann….…” So, after this hesitation, I told the guy I’m pretty sure he’s fine, let’s fill out that application. As he took the signed application from me, he said, “You can just walk around and shop while I call into the State.” I looked around the store and then at him and said, “What do you seriously think I’d shop for?!” – He laughed at me and told me I could just stand by him – it would be okay.
Well of course, I was cleared and went to grab the part off the desk. He stopped me short and said he actually had to walk me up to the front to the cashier. Now, the guy working the cashier’s desk was this HUGE, tall black guy. I’m not saying huge as in fat, but the don’t mess with me; I’m a bodyguard type guy build. The manager placed the stripped lower on the counter and said, “This lady would like to buy this, please.” The cashier looks at the part, looks up at me and without a smile and a raised eyebrows asks, “You? Building a gun today?” I looked him straight in the eye and said, “Why yes, I am. I was at Michael’s and I bought a few things to make a Fall wreath for my front door and just thought I’d go ahead and purchase some faux beads, jewels and a hot glue gun. I want to surprise my husband and not only make, but also bedazzle an AR-15 for him for Christmas.” He/we all laughed our butts off at this point. I’m sure when I left that store; all the guys in there were all rolling their eyes and thinking “’em G-Damn yuppie women…”
I could not wait to get in my car and on my cell phone, so I could read Don the riot act for not warning me about any of this and laugh about it… I also couldn’t wait to give Mark the gun, so I could tell him the crazy story of what I had to go through to get this gun made for him. I might just hot glue a little pink jewel on it someday when he’s not looking just to finish it off and put my own unique mark on it…
The funny thing in hindsight is that I’m now probably on some list as owning an assault rifle and I haven’t shot a gun in years!
This last year, we put in lush perennial flower gardens in our backyard and added them to our front yard beds, as well. They’ve become a haven for hummingbirds, butterflies, bumblebees, dragonflies and rabbits. We have a lot of rabbits here where we live. I don’t mind them because they seem to only eat our weeds, thankfully. I like to think of them as our very own full-time gardeners. Late spring, we noticed a burrow hole under one of the AC units on the west side of our house. This area has 3 units and is covered by a large hedge to hide the equipment. We were pretty sure it was the rabbits moving in because we see a lot of them.
One late night a few weeks later, Rylie (our female Yorkie) had to go the bathroom at 3:00 a.m., so I took her out. (This rarely happens.) Out of the corner of my sleepy eye, I saw a faint shadow with a bushy black tail. I thought I was seeing things, so I dismissed it. But, a few nights later, Mark had to do the same again with Rylie and sure enough, he did see in his words, a Cute Little Baby Skunk in our backyard. This worried me, because I didn’t want Rylie to get bitten, but even more so – SPRAYED. I can’t imagine how to begin to get that smell out of a Yorkie’s lush coif. I had hoped that the skunk we saw was the lone ranger and just passing through.
A few days later, I trimmed up the front yard flower beds and this included that hedge by the AC units. I was on a small 2-step ladder with electric trimmers working away on all sides including the back behind the hedge for 2 hours even on my knees raking out leaves from the bottom and so on. That same evening at dusk, I received a frantic phone call from my neighbor saying that she had just seen a Momma Skunk with at least 5 baby skunks walking out from that AC unit/hedge in single file along the house as if going on a fun field trip to our front yard! That was too close a call on my part and I freaked out – Getting rabies, etc. from yard work? Really?!
The country boy in Mark wanted to take care of the situation himself and asked me to go buy a skunk trap at Tractor City. I was reluctant on so many levels, wondering the following:
- How’s Mark going to deal with trapping and not getting sprayed himself? I had visions of him going to a meeting with a Wall Street Stock Analyst at work the next day reeking and there being a big, white, skunk elephant in the room…
- Where is he going to take them once he traps them? To the country getting caught for trespassing… He would have probably taken them to the girls locker room if he was still in high school as he seriously did this with a possum when he was a teenager.
- And, if he brings a gun out, will the neighbors alert the local Police SWAT team that a crazy man is waiving a gun around in the neighborhood?…
- Also, he had back surgery a few weeks before this and was Vicodined up so much that he wasn’t quite his coherent self to do basic things around the house much less Skunk Extraction.
Reluctantly, I went to Tractor City, bought a cage and got on Facebook knowing surely that my Karnes City friends and family must have experience in this area. 🙂 I did get a lot of good advice. One of Mark’s classmates said that skunks just love bacon grease and that is what “his own mother uses”. Hm. I was also told by my Dad to just quietly sneak up behind the cage with a tarp in front of me and completely cover the cage and I wouldn’t have a problem as “he does it all the time”. Another – Hm.
So, Mark and I cooked up some bacon – put it in some tin foil in the back of the cage, got an old tarp ready in the garage and set the cage outside the AC units on our driveway. The next morning, Mark got up at dawn and went out just in time to see torn up foil everywhere – an un-sprung trap and a nocturnal skunk going back into the AC area for his daily rest, but not before stopping to look back and aggressively rearing up his tail as if to say: “Get us more bacon damn it!”
I knew we needed to up our game, so I called our County’s Animal Control division. They said it was too hot in the summer to deal with this type of thing and they gave me the name of a good Animal Extraction Company that they even use: Trutech. I called and made an appointment. An adorable young man came out. He, as with all technicians in this company hold college degrees in Wildlife Management and he had recently graduated from Texas A&M – a plus on our part.
We talked Skunks. I asked him how much right off the bat… Now, if a person doesn’t just come out and tell you the cost, but says “okay, but first let me tell you what this is going to entail” – you know to just hold on because it is probably going to be pricey.
So, the plan was this: We would sign a contract with him to hire him out as our Skunk Hitman. He said he couldn’t let them live because the State of Texas would not allow for it – turns out that they can’t be vaccinated for rabies… He would come out for up to 10 to 14 days… He’d place traps at the entrance to every burrow – which turned out to be a Plush, 3 Bedroom Condo, as they had made beds under every AC unit. Once they are were all trapped and “discarded”. I’m guessing in a river with little cement shoes, he would double check to make sure they were all gone… He would then fill up the holes with Sakrete to ensure that their friends/extended family don’t follow them as if by time-share to the Williams’ house…
The cost? $600 or $100 per critter! Mark said any redneck from our area would love to make $600 doing what he would be doing every Saturday night, anyway. Spotlightin’ creatures, deer no, really creatures for sport and cash… A dream job! My hair dresser said, “Pay the man!!!” He once had a lab get sprayed and before he could catch him, he ruined his master bedroom comforter and a number of area rugs, trying to get the smell off himself. That certainly put the price tag in better perspective for me.
Anyway, everyday, the tech came out and texted me a picture of his catch. One day he caught 2 for one. They were so cute, I felt mildly bad – but just mildly.
Just so you know, here is what I learned that the experts do:
They place the small traps which are wrapped completely in a Black Trash Bag cut up and taped to all sides except the front panel to make them blacked out, for ease of removal and to keep the animals calm and cozy… They also place little movable everyday used flower bed panels on either side of the cages from the entrance of each burrow to herd them directly into the cage like an airport ramp to an airplane… He said they don’t really need food, but if he thinks it may help – he uses Cheetos. I shrieked and asked what their favorite was: “Crunchy or Puffy!?!!!” As I’m a crunchy Cheetos lover and think puffys are for whimps (Mark likes puffy)… 🙂 The hitman laughed and said it really didn’t matter, however I’ll never think of Cheetos the same way again.
In a week, we were skunk free and I learned the fine art of skunk trapping not that I’d ever do it, but at least I can pass this $600 advice on to you… Let me know how it goes.
Several years ago, a long-time friend of mine, Kathleen and I decided to start taking Girls Trips together each September, after we drop our kids off at their college(s). We’ve been friends for 22+ years. Our husbands worked together, we both had our last babies at the same time – would sit on the phone for hours and talk about Oprah’s latest topics – our latest explorations into whatever fad/topic of the day from Andrew Weil’s holistic medicine approach to whatever Psychobabble Guru of the Day was selling and would delve into our wounded inner-child(ren) at length… We have one of those easy friendships that just picks up quite easily no matter how much time has passed. A real gift and blessing.
2 years ago, another oil field wife and also a long-time friend, Stephanie joined us for a trip to England, as her baby girl went off to Baylor and the trip was a great distraction from her trepidation over the milestone. We skipped last year for financial reasons on my part. Mark and I had put in a pool, cabana and backyard flower beds in our blank canvass of a backyard and needless to say it dried up any available funds for travel.
This year, we went on a Viking River Cruise through Central Europe – the name of the cruise was “Romantic Danube”. It wouldn’t have been my first pick but my friend Kathleen, a gypsy-free-spirit has travelled the globe, and this area was new to her.
After it was all said and done, I highly suggest going on a Viking River Cruise. You get spoiled, pampered and spoon-fed your vacation and the history of the places you visit. It is intimate with 150 or so guests. The food is great and when you aren’t touring a castle, church or hamlet, you enjoy literally watching the beautiful world go by as the boat putters to your next destination. Viking plans to expand to even the Mississippi River and when they do, I’m going to book for sure.
Turns out, these river cruises started out just in the 1990s and one can tell that they have been a great boon for the local towns’ economies that they visit. For example, I would have made plans to visit Vienna maybe, but never to visit small but richly important towns like Melk, Regensburg and the like. I’m hoping the same for the US towns along the Mississippi if Viking pans out here in the US. It will be interesting to see what happens…
We went through 42 locks going down the Danube. According to Wikipedia, A lock is a device for raising and lowering boats between stretches of water of different levels on river and canal waterways. Most of the locks we went through I slept right through, but passengers spoke of the loud noises they made. Pretty extrodinary to experience, but I would maybe inquire how many locks you would have to endure for whatever cruise destination you are considering if they are a bother and keep you up.
Our British Airways’ Luck
I was dreading the trip because I don’t like having to fly cooped up in a small space for so long. I was miserable on our flight to England two years ago and had planned to knock myself out with sleep meds. Kathleen reminded me that I’m in the car for hours when I drive home, what’s the difference. She had a good point there, but… Well, we got to the Houston airport early to see if we could upgrade to Business class at a discounted price. It was still pricey, but so worth it! We could get pampered even in the airline’s private Lounge at the airport and on the plane we were able to stretched out and just relax for the 10 hour flight. In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have upgraded, because I don’t ever want to fly economy again!
I’d like to introduce you to a long-time friend of our family, Eric Opiela. Eric and my own family, the Janysek’s, go back to the late 1800s. Our families were pioneers and settlers who bravely departed from their beloved homeland with a desire to live in freedom. This bold move and the success that came from it did not come without a lot of hard work, faith and visionary hope that the future would be bright if one stayed the good course.
Eric’s mother had a great impact on me, as she was my 1st grade teacher and taught me how to read. We saw Eric and his family at church each weekend and rallied with them on the sports fields during the week. Together we celebrated marriages and laid those in our families to rest. Our Dad’s would talk about the things farmers and ranchers talk about when they could find the time to do so, usually after church – the rain forecast and faith, crops, cattle, whether the dove hunting was going to be good this year and more. A rural way of life has been the center of Eric’s family, and my own for more than a century.
I had the distinct pleasure of working side by side with Eric starting three years ago as one of the founding board members of the Karnes City ISD Education Foundation. Both of us giving back to the community that gave so much to us. Eric served as founding President of the Foundation. He is a man that walks the talk and has lead us to where we are today. Each of us helping to pay it forward for the youth of tomorrow. I speak from experience on Eric’s work ethic. His word is his commitment and he is hard working, visionary, follows through on his promises, reflective, always composed and respectful, fiscally responsible, intelligent and well-spoken. This is hard for me to say as a person rather partial to the Aggies; but I have to say that he does those Longhorns proud having graduated from UT Law School!
Mark and I both whole-heartedly support Eric as candidate for the office of Texas Agriculture Commissioner. He was born into a rural Texas as a way of life. His experience is grounded from those values. Eric has spent many years serving at the State, County and local levels and also served as Executive Director of the Republican Party. He served as Chief Counsel for George P. Bush in his bid for Texas Land Commissioner before resigning to pursue the office of Texas Agriculture Commissioner. We are confident Eric will inspire others to safeguard our resources and encourage us all to make our great State of Texas even better.
Eric recently came out to talk our Prosper friends about the importance of the Texas Agriculture office and its impact on helping Texas’ with its current drought/water issues. Now is an important time to face this issue and we can’t think of a better candidate that can help navigate our state through this issue.
Please join us in endorsing Eric, as many great leaders have come from the position of Texas Agriculture Commissioner!
To Make an Online Donation: Click Here
To Mail in Your Donation, click here to print out a Donor Flyer:
We invite you to visit his website to size him up for yourself: www.ericopiela.com
Mark and D’Ann Williams
P.S. Check out the 2 following YouTube videos that his campaign has put out – the 2nd video is Funny!!
Madison’s dream was to attend engineering school at Mark’s alma mater, Texas A&M. Alas, she was turned down because she was not in the top 10% of her rather large high school’s graduating class (she was at 13% with non-stop highly competitive soccer level 24/7) and the engineering school is the first to fill up. Very hard to get into. So, she opted to attend the same school her big sister attended and had a great experience while at the University of Oklahoma. OU is a Greek school, so Madison joined a sorority, something she would not typically do and decided to just try and reapply to A&M the next year.
She was doing well at OU, so well that a prof told her she didn’t make sense, as she was: Blonde, In a Sorority, Had Social skills and Charm – yet she rocked Physics like nobody’s business. I congratulated her but also cautiously advised her not to go to his office if he asks her to come over because he wants to “discuss a paper”. LOL!
As soon as she could, at the beginning of her Freshmen Spring semester, she applied to Texas A&M……………………………CRICKETS……………………….Not a word or letter for weeks………………………she made multiple phone calls and got lost in the maze of “call centers” over and over again………………..Not even a rejection letter…………………….. She was clearly heart broken, but resigned to stay at OU.
In mid August, we moved her into her Sorority House on a Saturday so she could work to get ready for Rush as all Sophomore sorority students are required to do (to help recruit freshman candidates for the new year). Now, we received not one negative word from her, her entire Freshman year at OU, but within 1 or 2 days of working Rush – I received several whiney phone calls from her at her sorority house:
“MOM! They are making me bounce and clap!!!!!!”
“MOM! They are making me smile all the time and practice engaging in conversation with strangers!!!!!”
and the ultimate desperation call:
“MOM!!!! THEY ARE MAKING ME DO CHEERS AND SING!!!!!!!!!!” Hahahaha!!
Needless to say, Madison is not “that girl” which isn’t surprising, she is more of a pragmatic person. Not one to giggle, gossip, preen and pose. My heart broke for her. I told her she could certainly quit, but she said she would get through that one week of Rush as best she could and try to get the back kitchen assignments that most girls would hate. 🙂
That Monday, I was doing bills and a “Texas A&M Engineering School” magazine came in for my husband Mark, a Petroleum Engineer. It broke my heart to see the magazine come in and brag about how great Texas A&M’s Engineering schools were – blah, blah, blah…. Whatever. 😦
I found the editor’s name of the Engineering magazine and while I was at it, the editor of alumni magazine, as well. I told them about the situation and ask that they take us off their mailing list until further notice because right now it just hurt to much to see it all… I did tell them about Madison’s situation in a straightforward, proactive way and basically said: “You have a rare ‘FEMALE’ Mechanical Engineering Major who has a high GPA, is already at a Junior level because of all her hard work and is already on the radar for an internship with a major coorporation yet NOT ONE WORD – NOT EVEN A REJECTION LETTER from you. It’s your loss, you clearly don’t deserve her.”
Within in 24 hours, Madison received a phone call from Texas A&M apologizing for the mix up and asking if would she mind attending Texas A&M after all. They even humbly talked to me and admitted that their was a disconnect on their side (at the time) to work in transfer students. A sign for any good person or organization I think, to admit when they make mistakes and work to improve.
So, we went back 3 days after moving her into OU and moved her out! The sorority sisters were all so sweet to her and even helped her move out. They were probably secretly glad that the “SORORITY GLEE BUZZ KILLER” was going away before Rush hit. Hahaha! I can’t help but get this image of Wednesday Addams from the Addam’s Farmily working Rush – which Madison is clearly not like, but you get my drift. Gotta laugh looking back on it all!
Ok Timeline – Review:
Sunday – Move in to OU – (5 hours round trip)
Monday/Tuesday early – Whiney Phone Calls regarding bouncing and cheering
Tuesday Afternoon – A&M calls Madison on her Cell Phone
Wednesday – Move out of OU – (5 hours round trip)
Thursday – Travel (3 1/3 hours one-way) to Texas A&M to: Meet with the registrars office —– Find an apartment that needed a roomate—– Get her a schedule worked out even though the classes were all full (they just worked her as best they could) —– Get her Books and supplies —– all in 1 to 2 days time Because school starts THE FOLLOWING MONDAY!!
The Next Weekend – 2 SUVS packed yet again to the max to re-boot the move-in (6 hours round trip)
What did I learn from this? Needless to say it was rather stressful, but it was a positive stressor. I was so happy for her that she was getting her dream. So thankful I wasn’t working a full-time job anymore and could help her navigate through it all as calmly as we could. Yes, this may all be last minute and messy, but it will all get done. It always does.
The registrars were so nice and apologetic on the phone with us that we brought them a “Calming Care Package” with soothing lotions, candles, etc. and acknowledged to them that we realize that they really have a lot on their plates. One of the ladies even offered to be Madison’s Mom Mentor at Texas A&M should she need any help or advice. 🙂
Now her 5th year Senior year, the rest is history. Madison ’til this day says she is so glad I was a Momma Bear on this one and butted in.
And, I did email the editors. I thanked them for helping out even though that was not my intention and asked them to put us back on their mailing lists.
1st – Get them a Personal Checking Account when they turn 16 and are still in High School:
College kids already have so much to transition into besides having to learn a crash course in money management. I witnessed this first hand with a sister struggling to learn how to budget her money in the first few months of college and the un-needed and added stress it brought on her and my parents. Also, I offer this as food for thought: Imagine the stress if you never knew what your paycheck was going or wasn’t going to be each month…. the added stress on what decision to make or not make not knowing what would or would not come in — Add onto that —- Stressful last-minute phone/email/text conversations asking for money — and you as a parent having to make an unexpected, surprise quick run to the bank or computer transfer…
We sat down with each of our daughters when they turned 16 during their Sophomore year of high school. We had a calm discussion about what they felt they spent on average throughout an entire year (holidays included) going out with friends to movies, gas, clothes, you name it. We’d come up with an amount and then we placed a set amount in their checking account on auto-pay on the 1st and 15th of each month. The amount was not generous, but it was adequate. During this time, we taught them how a debit card works, how to balance a checkbook, etc.
Our oldest daughter (now age 29) ended up buying a pair of Doc Martens with her very first allowance when she was 16 and found herself asking me for money to go to the movies the following weekend. Saying sorry and not giving her more money was hard to do, but it was important that she learn. Needless to say, she never did that again.
As time and grades would allow, the girls both started working a fun job that they liked to earn extra money. Over time, they became proud to say that they actually paid for Mom/Dad’s gift themselves or were able to buy a few more of those designer jeans or whatever because they contributed to the ability to do so and the satisfaction that comes with it.
2nd – Get them a Personal Savings Account at age 16 and in High School:
With our youngest daughter, we immediately also set up for her to transfer $25 from her own checking into her own regular savings account on the 1st and the 15th of each month via auto-transfer. It may not seem like much but, $650 a year add ups for anyone much less a teenage. We told her not to spend it as if you dip into savings too much, the bank will make you pay a penalty. She didn’t touch it until late in her Freshman year of college when she need a deposit ASAP for her new apartment that she was moving into and she needed use it to bridge until our transfer to her checking account came through. She did put the money back into the account after we reimbursed her.
The summer before her Freshman year, and subsequent summers after, she worked at the Buckle and would put extra money away in her savings. During the Holidays, Buckle would call her to ask if she could help out again and over time, she just automatically, on her own would put money away for Spring Break fun, etc.
The Fall of her Sophomore year in College, she proudly told us not to worry about buying her college books and supplies anymore, as she was able to do that herself. She has paid for her books for all of her Sophomore, Junior, Senior and now Super Senior year.
This summer as a 5th year Senior she got a summer internship in her industry. She found herself earning $32 an hour in her full-time job, summer internship as a Mechanical Engineer. She was astounded at how much money she was bringing in on her own and approached us to just stop her allowance completely, as she had this easily on her own for the rest of the entire Sept. to May school year.
I’m not saying that they were perfect angels at money management, but I feel that doing this did help alleviate some of the stress of what we needed to put aside each month for them to handle the day to days of school and what they needed to work within as best they can…
Hope this helps.
About a year or two after Madison went off to college, Mark and I found that we had pretty much moved into a comfortable Sunday morning routine: I read the Dallas Morning News pretty much cover to cover, except for the Business and Sport sections. While, the latter mentioned sections are all Mark cares to scan. And then, when quickly done, he watches all the Fishing shows that he has accumulated throughout the week. The background noise on the fishing shows on Sunday mornings is so in-grained into this routine that when it is not there now, something feels out of place.
One Sunday morning stands out, because of a surprise knock down, drag out that occurred:
First let me say, Mark and I do get snippy with each other. Who doesn’t? However, after 30 years of marriage – for the most part we’ve pretty much settled down, grown up, given up or are just don’t have the energy to care passionately about the things we use to – so when a real fight happens with raised voices. Wow – it must have been rather serious.
The background on this spat: I’m a devout People Magazine reader and can’t wait for the magazine to show up in my mailbox every Friday. I’ve been reading it for years, which accounts for why I cannot answer basic trivia questions like, “Who was the president during the Civil War?”, but can tell you what shoes Duchess Kate was wearing while she delivered the future King of England, recently.
The answer: “The LK Bennet Sledge Shoe in color – Nude”… (Okay, don’t really know what Kate wore, but that is her go-to shoe for major events.)
Mark on the other hand reads B.A.S.S. Master, of course and the occasional AAOP Flight magazine. When he became an empty nester, he got his pilot’s license and his whole goal now while flying with me is to “not allow the bitch to come out” because of some surprising manevour he does that I am not anticipating (another story for another day).
On a recent Sunday morning, Mark came reeling into the breakfast area from the garage with a Pilot magazine rolled up and clutched in his hand yelling, “WHY is THIS in the recycling bin?!?!?!?!” Rather surprised, I answered, “Well, because I’ve seen that particular magazine sit on the coffee table for few weeks without being read. So, when I cleaned house this week, I tossed a few of those out and when this new one came in, I just tossed it, too. Why?”
“Do I ever throw your People Magazines away?!?!”
“Of course not, but you know I read them. I don’t’ see you reading yours!”
“Do me a favor, don’t throw away any more of my Pilot magazines without asking, okay?!?!”…
“Oh-Kaaay…” (insert eye roll here)
I finished my Sunday newspaper ritual, walked to the recycling bin in the garage to dispose of it and I’ll give you one guess as to what I found on the very top in the recycling bin?
You guessed it, My Own CURRENT issue of PEOPLE MAGAZINE! Hahahahahah! I couldn’t help but march into the living room with said People Magazine and laugh my butt off with Mark in a fake fight about it all at that point…
You gotta laugh… but don’t tell the judge….
First, I’d like to say that the title to this blog is absolutely, 100% true!!
Mark actually refuses to go to rehab with me because he feels, in his words – “too shy having me witness him go through his therapy while I go through my own”…
Okay, here is the deal:
Mark had a level 2 fusion of his lower spine a month ago. In layman terms, he had two artificial disks put in, with his own stem cells and they are fusing the disks together like in marriage, until death he does in-fact part. Not something you go into without seriously thinking it over. The benefits… The Risks… Do you want to be joined forever?…
He is undergoing physical therapy because of this and will be doing so for some time. I’m happy to report that he is thankfully doing better than ever. We are really glad he went through with it.
4 days after he got home from the hospital, he decided that “we” need to clean the pool. Now, we have a professional guy come out once a week to do this task, but he felt “we” needed to go out and take things into our own hands. 4 days after coming home from ICU, he could barely walk, get out of a chair much less clean a pool. So, the “we” meant – him sitting in the cabana with the ceiling fan going and the TV on, while I brushed the pool in the sweltering heat and got the areas that he noticed I was missing… I was surprised he could notice much at all with that much Vicodin going through his veins. My guess was that he really needed to feel like he was being productive, so I was determined to be patient and was just happy he felt like going outside.
30 mins before our professional Pool guy showed up and CAUGHT us in the act of doing HIS JOB, I missed a step while brushing the bottom of the pool and fell from the upper deck of our pool, to the lower deck. The force of hitting the pool step was so strong that it broke my sandal and sprained my foot, as I carreaned off the ledge; my knee then slid along the rock coping leaving a large apple sized contusion-slash-scrape on my knee; I then landed on my back shoulder with such force that pain pierced me immediately to the core and then finished off the “falling event” with a knot on the back of my head behind my ear. Thankfully, my head hit the grass and not the patio. All areas affected – were on the right side of my body.
Mark did not see the trauma event happen because he was watching TV, but he did hear it and came shuffling slowly over, asking me if I needed help. Now, he cannot pick up anything heavier than a gallon of milk for at least 6 weeks. The offer was sweet, but we both knew I was on my own. It was one of those falls in which you don’t get up right away. You check out extremities one at a time to make sure that they won’t go “compound fracture” on you if you stand up. I limped to the kitchen, got a large cold gel pack and another give away cold pack that said (ahem) “Botox” on it, limped back to the cabana and rested during which time the Pool Guy shows up.
Mark and I had considered letting him and his services go, as we felt we could do this on our own easy enough. But, now we embrace him and his services 100% and are so glad when we catch him in our backyard. Happily writing our monthly check to him putting a smiley face and a big “THANK YOU!” in the “memo” section.
2 weeks pass, I was resting my shoulder et.al., taking Advil, not doing my P90x2 and all was going well until I vacuumed the house this last Monday. My shoulder went back to square one so badly that Mark offered and I actually illegally and happily – took one of his Vicodin and made an appointment to see our family’s shoulder and knee Orthopedic surgeon, ASAP. Yes, our family has one. If you remember, we had 2 daughters in soccer for 15+ years???? I rushed to see him and he prescribed physical therapy and prescription strength nsaids.
I came home to tell Mark that thankfully there were no breaks. I had worried as I sheepishly came into the Orthopedist’s office that they would end up talking about “that late 40s female wack-a-do patient who came in with a combination neck and shoulder fracture 2 weeks post injury” during their next office meeting.
Anyway, I casually asked Mark when he had his PT scheduled and where, as I thought I’d just do my neck and shoulder rehab at the same time as he does his back PT. I thought maybe we could “bond over a mutual activity”, something that has helped throughout our marriage – a series of mutual activities that we can discuss, talk about, explore, because if we don’t – I end up reading book after book while he watches Rangers games and Fishing shows… Anyway, to my surprise Mark vehemently said “not only no but HELL NO!” When I asked (shocked) what the big deal was, he said he was too shy and didn’t want me to see him go through it all.
I could sort of see the masculine guy not wanting his wife seeing him labor through the pain, whereas ironically she was more than happy to demand he watch her very painful labor and deliver—— a story another blog. But, the truth is I bet he was thinking and 100% correct that as he was working with his own physical therapist, he would have a nagging wife clear across the PT room on a machine yelling at him to “stand up straighter – you are doing it wrong!!!!” Followed by comments at home of “I overheard your PT saying you should or shouldn’t be doing this.” LOL!!
And can’t say that I don’t blame him for putting up a boundary as it would in-fact maybe hurt our marriage for me to go there……
Not to worry, I myself am doing fine today. In fact, my sister Nadine is about to get here to squire me off to an area resort for spa and pool time, leaving Mark to fend for himself for a few days. I should be cleaning up but instead I am happily procrastinating on the computer doing this…
Mark and I made a date to go the Dallas Farmers Market this weekend to buy Summer vegetables to “Put up”. I’m going to have to Google a bunch of “how to(s)”… Supposedly they have a really good BBQ place there.