Skip to main content


Showing posts from July, 2012

Yellow Car

If necessity is the mother of invention, desperation is its grandmother. I’m driving home from picking up two grandsons from school.   They are both strapped into the back seat when the yelling starts.   I hear a swat, then a howl followed by a bloodcurdling battle cry, and the scrimmage begins. I’m merging onto a stretch of expressway that resembles a French braid and our three lives depend on my total concentration.            “Let’s play a game.”   I shout over the battle of fists coming from the back seat of my Jeep. They answer with another smack and another cry of pain. “There can only be one winner; everyone else will be losers .” I singsong the word “losers” knowing that might divert their attention. I merge left thanks to the kindness of a young man in a yellow car. The older one asks over the screams of his younger brother, “What kind of game?” “Let’s count trucks.   We like trucks.” I try not to sound desperate. “That’s no fun.   That isn’t specia


Alone won’t let you wear your fancy bracelet, the kind that has a latch and needs three hands to get it onto your wrist.   Alone says no to that becoming dress, the one with the tight bodice that won’t give so you can scootch it up in back, and you can zip it all the way to the top.   Alone thinks it’s a bad idea to bake your favorite cake recipe or that meatloaf you love to make with real mashed potatoes and the green bean casserole - unless you want to eat it all week long or freeze the remainder into a dozen plastic lunch containers. Alone won’t listen to your joke or your story, and it gives useless advice on your latest wacky idea.    Alone doesn’t care if you steal the covers, hide the remote, or lie about the bathroom scales. Alone gladly gives up the second seat at the theatre or the symphony so you can use it for your purse and coat. Alone lets you be the hero of your life’s story, wear the pants, be the boss of you. It gladly lets you swat at the spider, s

Raising Jake

             Jacob’s mommy needed a babysitter for the next eighteen months while she returned to college for an advanced degree, and I was two months into a hard-earned retirement and wasn’t very excited about this request. My baby grandson was five months old, so he couldn’t talk, couldn’t crawl, and couldn’t stop filling his diaper.   Up to now, his life had been spent eating, sleeping, and smiling at everyone around him.   If I couldn’t take care of him, the alternative was to send him to a daycare. I had announced my retirement after thirty-seven years in education. I took the engraved clock I was given as a memento for all my dedication (it has never worked and only gathers dust), and was looking forward to doing nothing but recovering my health and sanity. I suffered from a nervous tic in my right eye, a compulsive eating disorder, and work-induced PTSD. I no longer smiled nor slept and my blood pressure read like a Texas Lotto billboard.   I don’t know who needed who m

My Summer Vacation - The Up-To-Now Untold Story

To get to the pagoda, we had to march through a Chinese village. Our tour guide warned us to ignore the gauntlet of street peddlers and beggars, then he asked us to turn on our voice boxes so that he could lecture as we walked. I wasn’t feeling well, so I was already grumpy about the strenuous trek ahead.   Thirty minutes later, we reached a long suspension bridge and beyond it was the pagoda. We all started across, and the more we jumped and stomped, the more it moved and swayed – not a good thing for those of us who suffer from vertigo and were already feeling queasy. I yelled at all the frolickers in my mean, teacher voice, and everyone made it to the opposite side a little more subdued. Our guide rattled on about the wonders of the pagoda and how nowadays visitors approach via the bridge and the easy walkway, but the monks who once owned the well-protected fortress had to climb the rock face using only hand and toe holds. According to legend, those who venture inside and

How to Celebrate the 4th of July

Dad, as Man of the House, you are In Charge of Entertainment and Grilling, so 1.     Take off early, use Mom’s sedan, and head out of town.   Stop at the first fireworks stand that looks clear of the peering eyes of local law enforcement.   Buy the big, deluxe package of fireworks for the big kids (you and your buds), and a couple of dozen sparklers for the little kids. Stow the loot in the trunk of Mom’s car and take a circuitous route back into town in case you are being followed. 2.     Stop at the first Home Depot or Lowes you come across and buy an American flag kit.   Make sure and read the instructions and get the one that says “Easy to install.”   Also stop by the garden department and buy heavy-duty yard spray – something that will kill all biting insects within a 200-yard radius. 3.     Next drive to a Wal-Mart and buy charcoal, lighter fluid, a Bic lighter, and (again) an easy to install yard game (horse shoes, a volleyball kit, water guns). 4.     Drive home.