Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Just a few more gray hairs...

Yesterday my bachelor buddy and I took a drive down to the Swedish particle board wonderland that is known as Ikea. Since our neighbor from Sweden is just an hour down the interstate, this seemed the perfect opportunity for 'Computer Boy' to log some driving time... Not to mention the chance to jockey for lane positions with a plethora of 18 wheelers.

It should be noted, the boy had driven on the interstate only once prior to our trip yesterday and that was with his driver's training instructor... So needless to say, this was going to be a first for ME.

Things started off a little rocky when he nearly missed the turn to get to the interstate. A turn our family has taken umty-gajillion times! But I guess if you're a passive passenger like my son, you tend not to notice things like, where the vehicle is taking you at any given time.

I should also mention that our trip TO the interstate had the added joy of being tailed by an irate driver who didn't much like the fact that my son was unwilling to IMMEDIATLY turn right at that red light. Thanks for the horn dude, like this trip wasn't stressful enough already.... Aye Carumba! I made a mental note to, in the future, always try to be tolerant of other drivers.

Anywho, our trip down the interstate was blessedly uneventful but that still didn't manage to allow for relaxing even one muscle in my body... Remember? Control FREAK!

Now the problem with getting to Ikea FROM the interstate, is that one must cross 3 lanes of traffic almost immediately after exiting. How does one teach a new driver how to merge across heavy traffic coming at you from behind? I don't know and I wasn't ready to try. So I had him make a right at the light and then make a U'y.

Once we were in IKEA we sat on a couch for 10 minutes so we could just TRY to relax. Apparently I make him tense... Really? Who knew? After a tour through the labyrinth that is IKEA we ate ourselves some Swedish meatballs and I began to mentally prepare myself for the ride home. Initially he said he was too tired and asked me to drive. I tried not to display any visible signs of relief, but then he changed his mind. So then I tried not to display any visible signs of stress.

I didn't mention this earlier but to get to IKEA, one must drive across the 'Millard E. Tydings Memorial Bridge', a bridge that spans the Susquenhana River and to anyone who might be a bit squeamish about high bridges, it's a terrifying ordeal to cross. Was I tense going over it southbound? You bet! Was I tense going over it northbound? Well I was pretty much okay when we were in the center lane but when the boy changed lanes... mid-span... for no apparent reason... to the slow lane... the lane right up against the guardrail... which is FAR TOO CLOSE to a certain drop of death to the river below... Well I was Freakin' TERRIFIED!!! Especially since the boy has a habit of riding the right side of a lane marking. Now because I didn't want to make any sudden moves or comments which could result in him losing focus... We're talking CRITICAL focus... I somehow shakily peeped up with, "Could you move to the center of the lane more, puhleeeeeeaaassee!" You know, I think he made that lane change on purpose!

Good news though, I lived to blog about it.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

We're Bachelors Baby!

For some time I've listened to my Mother-in-law, Sister-in-law and my husband sit around and talk about how great it would be to visit New England. When my husband was young his family spent 13 summers on the Cape and seldom is the time when we're all together that someone doesn't bring up some aspect of those summer vacations with their cousins. In fact, when my husband and I were dating, we'd sometimes walk from my house, across the street, to the elementary school. We'd sit in the warm sand beneath the playground swings and he would tell me about those wonderful summers on Horse Neck Beach in Massachusetts. My husband would woo me with tales of swimming, fishing, running his little boat into hidden coves and blueberry picking.

After we were married he did take me on that trip to Massachusetts for a family reunion. Unfortunately, our trip coincided with one of the hottest, muggiest, most inhospitable summers in New England's history. Our accommodations consisted of a run down, moldy beach house where the only method of bathing consisted of an outdoor shower with three flimsy walls and a nasty shower curtain, all situated on a cement pad, which allowed every manner of bug, access to the water around your feet.

As fo our bedroom, it was situated in a screened porch so that when it rained, our beds could've passed for the steerage level of the Titanic. Accomodations aside, nothing compared to the horror of blueberry picking. The very same past-time which my husband spoke of with such longing was, for me, one of the most miserable 2 hours of my life. I remember standing in a grove, on what was the hottest, muggiest, most soul crushing day in New England's history. As I clutched my pail tightly between clenched fingers, I stifled screams as gigantic beetles dive bombed all around me. The sound of their approach was equal to WWII Kamikaze pilots. So as not to appear the major whimp I truly was, I kept my screams to myself and repeated the following mantra in my head: "Just pick your bucket of berries and get the HELL out!"... "Just pick your bucket of berries and get the HELL out!" And no, I haven't been blueberry picking or anywhere near the Cape since.

So back to my husband and In-laws. A month or so ago I planted the seed and told my husband that he and my daughter should take a trip together somewhere. I thought it would be a wonderful bonding opportunity. After a lot of thought on his part (before he makes ANY decision he has to spin it around in his brain for a while.... a Loooonnnnggg while.) and a bit of discussion on mine, we thought it would be a wonderful idea for his mom and sister to be a part of the trip. And since there's been years of romanticizing about New England, it seems the perfect destination for them all.

So this week, thanks to a LOT of nudging on my part, my husband, daughter, Mother-in-law and Sister-in-law are off on a New England Vacation. It took a LOT of prodding on my part because... DAMN, this group would've NEVER made it as far as the Delaware border without my persistent "Go Already!" So that, along with my mad skillz at internet searches and hotel booking gave them the incentive.

They're of course, wondering why I might seem so desparate to send them off on vacation without me? I'll tell you why, because for a glorious week my son and I get to 'Bach It' (as in bachelors.) There are no demands to meet and since it's just the two of us? No food planning other than, "Which fast-food franchise should we patronize today?" So, in the spirit of 'Bachelorhood' I leave you with these:

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

It's Like Magic

The Scene -
Getting ready to watch a video with 'Computer Boy.'

The Dialogue -
Between a boy and his mom.

Computer Boy: "Where's the remote for the dvd player?"

Me: "Um, I don't know, I haven't seen it in a while."

Computer Boy (after sitting in the same spot for roughly 5 minutes, announces): "That's SO frustrating, I've looked everywhere and don't know where the dvd remote can possibly be?"

Me: "You've looked EVERYWHERE?.... Are you kidding me, you haven't moved from that spot."

Computer Boy: "No, but I'm thinking about where it COULD be."

Me: Looking under the coffee table I spy the missing remote, grab it and hand it to Computer Boy along with a major eye roll.

Computer Boy: "See, I knew it would come to me."

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Life Lesson at the Tip of My Finger...

Yesterday I spent a glorious afternoon propped between two lawn chairs on my deck, reading a book. The weather was absolutely fabulous, a cool breeze, a glass of iced tea and a blank 'To Do' list.

Whilst I lounged there reading away, I was interrupted by the tug of skin at my fingertip... "Damn, a hangnail!" I pulled at it a bit until it felt uncomfortable. I thought to myself, "You know, you should run upstairs and grab a pair of clippers to take care of this." I argued back with myself, "But I'm so comfortable sitting here, *whiny voice* I don't waaaant to get up." Back and forth, back and forth, this little argument played out in my mind until I finally made the decision to pull at the hangnail until it opened a sizeable painful opening on the side of my finger.

Had I taken the 2 or 3 minutes to run upstairs and clip off the offending tag of skin, I wouldn't be left feeling the nearly constant annoying burn, of the open cut on the side my index finger on my right hand... That would be the same hand I use for just about EVERYTHING I do.

2 or 3 minutes of physical effort were saved but I'm paying for it with a day or two of pain.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Just Muggling Through*

*Spoiler Alert
So last night the family decided to take a second mortgage on the house and fatten the coffers of the already engorged Harry Potter franchise... Which is to say, we went to the movies. (Great! Now I've got that damnable song from 'Annie' playing in my head...."Let's go to the moooovies, let's go see a show... ARGH!)

Anyway, First let me lay it on the line... Harry Potter? Meh!

I read the first couple of books but I'm just not that good with 'Fantasy' reads. I have a hard time conjuring up in my head something which doesn't exist in the real world. So I guess you could say I lack 'Imagination' (sure you can judge but I think it's fair to say, I had my imagination beaten out of me as a kid, so give me a break.) Therefore, at some point I determined it was just easier to see the Harry Potter 'movies' in which I left all the interpretation up to the directors.

I'm the type of person who gets caught up in the frenzy of media hype. So yes, I started reading the 'Half Blood Prince' reviews following its debut in London. The reviews were more than favorable, stating this latest installment was the "best yet." "Not as dark as the last movie." and was "The most humorous Harry Potter so far." Since I like humor and I'm not too wild about movies with 'Dark' situations, I figured this could possibly be my favorite Harry Potter movie thus far.

So what did I think of the movie? Well, I think I went to see 'Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince' but there were several aspects of the movie which left me wondering if I weren't in fact watching 'Lord of the Rings'... "Wait, is that Dumbledore or is it Gandalf?".... "Did I just see Harry fighting off Gollum, 10 Gollums, a 100 Gollums?" "And hey? That Deatheater on the screen, he's really an Orc, isn't he?" And now Harry will have to spend the next two movies (one book, split into two movies because the studio wants to ride this money horse for as long as possible.) chasing down six different 'Hoorcrux' and believe it or not, there was something that had to do with a 'Ring' which belonged to Tom Riddle aka Voldemort. I'm not sure what though, because all those heavy british accents had me repeatedly turning to my daughter asking, "What did he/she say?"

Allow me to expound a moment on my thoughts about 'Lord of the Rings' (yet another fantasy book series, I just couldn't get through.) I've seen all the installments of LotR, my husband is a geek, uh I mean fan... and Linda H., I know you're going to disagree vehemonously with me but, OH MY GOD! I get so incredibly frustrated watching those movies!!! It's like, GET TO THE FREAKIN' FIRES OF MORDOR ALREADY! I'm sorry but, I've got enough examples in my life already of the 'One Step Forward, Two Steps Back' theory. I certainly don't need to spend 16 hours watching somebody else do it. Frustrating it's just FRUSTRATING!!!

Back to Harry Potter... There was one part of the movie that unintentionally made me chuckle. Dumbledore is lamenting to Harry about how he's aged since they've first met. Harry looks up at him admirably and says something like, "Oh no Dumbledore, you haven't changed a bit since the day I met you." And I'm thinking, "Well there was that period where you looked an awful lot like Richard Harris and then you suddenly looked at lot like Gandalf, uh, I mean Michael Gambon... How do you do that? Oh right, you're an all powerful wizard, much like Gandalf the Grey or the White? Oh bloody hell, I don't know." I know I should be cutting a break here because you're kinda left hanging when a lead actor dies but why would you want to point out in the script that he's always looked the same?

Now here's the big spoiler and if you don't know this, you've been living under a rock or just care a lot less about Harry Potter than even myself. Dumbledore dies and I actually heard people in the theatre supressing sobs and the sniffling was everywhere. Now I must tell you that I am the BIGGEST wuss when it comes to sap. I cry at the drop of a hat. I cry over music videos, Hallmark commercials, sappy e-mails even... But at this point in the movie, I felt nothing other than a brief query as to when Dumbledore the White would appear. Then when all of the principals gathered around Dumbledore's lifeless body, (which included lengthy close-ups of the side of his face, in which I could tell he was still breathing... Awkward!) and raised their wands, lit up rock concert style? I was wondering when I'd start to hear strains from the lead guitar and well, it was all I could to supress the laugh that was welling up from the bottom of my cold, muggle heart.


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Let's Take A Walk

Much to my husbands dismay I brought my camera along for our walk last night. He didn't feel he'd gotten quite the workout he hoped for with me lagging about snapping pictures here and there. So indulge me if you will, while I show you some sights along that 'Walking Park' we 'Drive' to most evenings.

Parking at the 'Walking Park' is getting more and more difficult... Clearly we aren't the only ones who 'Drive' to 'Walk'. We started our walk off near the Tennis and Basketball courts. Haven't seen anyone playing tennis yet but the basketball courts are always crowded in the evenings.

Next we wind our way around toward the most heavily wooded portion of the path. There is a portion of the pathway here that branches off into an unpaved trail (Freedom Trail) which meanders through the woods. The trail is just long enough to give you the impression you've left civilization completely except for the fact, the park has provided wooden bridges to aid in crossing over creeks beds. It's one of my favorite areas in the park and few people who visit seem to know about it. Most everyone sticks to the paved path. Sorry though, we didn't take the 'Freedom Trail' last night.

Next we meander our way around a large opening which skirts the tree line. It hasn't rained for a week or so but if it had, the ponds along the trail might be teeming with frogs and other creatures.

Winding our way around, we come to another branch off the trail which we call 'The Hill.' It's not too terribly long and not too terribly high. Just enough to give some folks an option for optimum fitness. Such as the guy we watched last week, who had weights strapped to his ankles and wasn't running up the hill he was JUMPING up the hill. I kid you not, he was making his way to the top by jumping with both feet together, taking great leaps, one after another in succession... WITH ankle weights! We've seen other guys with weighted vests running up and down 'The Hill' too. As for us, we didn't take 'The Hill' this time but we have in the past. I don't care for it too much because it cuts off a portion of the 'Walking Trail.'

Having made our way past 'The Hill' we now work our way toward what I call 'The Grove.' It's a stand of trees which completely ensconces the trail... You can see it's like walking into a tunnel. Should you have wandered here on a hot day and brought along sustenance, inside 'The Grove' are a couple of picnic tables.
Okay, so now we're beyond the grove and on the back corner of the course. The path is raised here and travels along marsh on either side. I'm not sure either of these mom's were all that thrilled I was taking pictures in their general direction, so do me a favor and don't click on the this pic because I don't think they'll be very happy about it.
(You just clicked on it, didn't you?)

I took the opportunity to snap a pic of she, who is clearly the better photographer in the family.

I am however, pretty proud of this shot I captured of the backside of 'The Hill.'

This is what most would consider the 'Front' of the 'Trail.' It wanders along the main highway but they did a pretty good job of masking it with low trees and bushes they left intact. There's a large portion of the 'Walking Trail' I left off here. Someone started complaining about how walking with two photographers was really cutting into his 'workout' so I put my camera away... Until we saw this gorgeous sunset and he agreed it was too good to pass up.

Thanks for joining us for a walk... And aren't you glad, you didn't even have to drive to get there.

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Driving to the Walking Park

Sounds a bit insane, I know... But yes, our family has taken to driving 5 miles up the road so we can walk. But why not walk in your own neighborhood? Meh! Been there, done that. It's just so much of the same ol' same ol'. Whereas the 'Walking Park' is 300 acres of parkland. It has a nicely paved trail that winds for just under 3 miles around trees, marsh, basketball and tennis courts and a playground for the younger set. There's an area called the 'Freedom Trail' that winds through the woods which I find very pleasant. It's difficult to walk in the woods around our neighborhood because they're part of the golf course and unless I want to risk having my skull caved in by some Moe who fancies himself the next Tiger Woods, the only time I can walk the course is long after the sun has set. So, the Walking Park it is.

The park is brand spankin' new and in some areas, still a work in progress. It can get pretty crowded but that's the fun of going there. There are all walks of life and all shapes and sizes. It's nice to see people doing something good for themselves and it feels nice to be doing something good for me.... But driving somewhere so you can walk?... Crazy, I know.

Here's a pic of the trail I found online but when we head out for our walk tonight (and I know we will) I'll try to capture something a bit more interesting with my camera.

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Friday, July 03, 2009

The Sweet Taste of Lime

What's that you say? Lime isn't sweet, it's sour? Not the Lime I'm referring to. I'm talking about Lime as in Michelle from House of Lime. Whilst heading south for a trip to the beach, Michelle stopped by the ol' treehouse for a visit and I can attest to the fact she's anything but sour. No, she's bright, sweet, tangy and a real pleasure to be with. I'd say she's a bit of a tart but that's just me trying to be funny.

Anyhow, it's an interesting thing when bloggers meet. I had the opportunity to meet 'Lime' face-to-face last summer. We had a lovely lunch at a nearby eatery where it would be safe for either of us to make a hasty exit should they find themselves face to face with crazy. Fortunately, Lime wasn't just normal, she was lovely, fun to be around, good natured and best of all, neglected to detect the crazy in me... Which is odd, because by my account, I didn't do a very good job of hiding it. So imagine my surprise when she contacted me last week to let me know she'd be passing through town again.

So Wednesday night, two bloggers came together once again but this time Lime got to meet the whole family for dinner at the actual 'Treehouse'. Since my husband wasn't sure what to expect, unbeknownst to me, he logged on to my computer, found my blog roll and spent some time familiarizing himself with 'The House of Lime.' Which added quite an element of surprise to our dinner conversation.

Fun huh? Bloggers getting together for an actual face to face. Or as Lime's daughter like's to refer to us 'Freaks in a Box' makin' it real... Even more fun is when blogger friends bear gifts.

Look! She gifted each family member with a pair of tie-dyed tube socks... Now THAT'S a really special splash of Lime!

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