Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Plunging into the Hodgepodge

Last week I took a break FROM the Hodgepodge because of  having too much to do. 
This week I'm taking a break FOR the Hodgepodge because of  all I've already done 
The smell of bleach is turning my hair blonde. Why?

A brief recap because I need to unload somewhere. Lucky you.

 (This is my third attempt at being brief.)

Yesterday:   After getting tires put on by Shop X last Weds, an alignment by Shop Y on Friday, and  the vehicle to the Hyundai dealer (Shop Z) for recall repairs on Monday, I ended up with scary wheels, a loaner vehicle , and a lying customer service rep at Shop Z.  She told me the right ball joint was BROKEN. I called Shop Y back (the one we've used and trusted for 10 years. He said if it was broken you wouldn't be able to drive it.

So I confronted the rep on for the truth and she said, "Well, it wasn't broken-broken. It was really worn. Maybe I should have chosen a different word."  

I refused service there (after saying that I would only do business where I felt the truth was being told. Drove it carefully and fearfully back to Shop Y for the emergency appointment. Had to leave vehicle overnight. while parts came in.

 My 7th grade son desperately  needed a  haircut--'desperately'  being MY word because of School Picture Day  (happening today). He hates to have his hair cut. Loves the sloppy look. I made an appointment, but without a car I needed my dad to come for the 6:15 appointment.  Remember hubby is in meetings till 8:30 pm. 

I get a text at   5:15 from the hairdresser at 5;15 that her mom's feeding tube came loose and was bleeding. She, of course, had to cancel. I felt so bad for her, but certainly didn't want hubby to come home at 9 to a boy needing a haircut.

But ...wait....there's MORE!! The toilets got clogged around 7pm . I texted hubby when the problem was just a drip from the foyer ceiling.  Hey, a bored guy in a meeting needs a shot of adrenaline, right? 

He came home to a MAJOR catastrophe of the plumbing type, He tried to plunge it out. He raced to Home Depot but their rental dept closes at 9:30. This was 9;50. The manager hands him some Drano bottles for free and says good luck. 

He thoroughly washes his hands and then cuts the boy's hair!! Oh, my goodness. What a guy. What a hero! 
Son is barking, whining, snarling saying this is the worst thing in the world, why can't he have hair down to his eyes and sideburns that touch his collar? You'd think he was getting a Bill Gates haircut from the look on his face. 
Oh, well, this is what you get when your mom tells you TWO WEEKS ago you need a haircut and you badger her with "it's fine. It can wait."

Hubby  goes to bed at midnight  with Youtube showing a toilet-unclog how-to videos. Then "Eureka! I can go in through the SINK!"  He got up and plunged, twisted, and snaked 3 bathrooms--flushing, cheering, upstairs, downstairs,  flushing again. Woohoo!   Problem solved.  It's 1 a.m.  I tell him he is the best in the world. He rolls his eyes. Seriously, businessman, crap conqueror, and hairdresser in the same day?  I give him hugs, kisses, and a much-deserved backrub.

and now...

The Lord's mercies are new every morning!

Today I've cleaned three bathrooms from "bow to stern"  or is it stern to bow?   The windows are open to air out the smell of bleach but I do have a raging headache. So...on with the trivia to balance all this mess out! 


Joyce, our faithful hostess who churns out these questions week after week, has birds on her mind this week. Not calling her a bird brain. That would be me.

1. My hubs spent last weekend pheasant hunting. Are there hunters in your family? If so, what do they hunt? Which of the following have you tasted-pheasant, rabbit, venison, duck, goose? Which of those would you most like to taste, or be most willing to taste?

Hunter? Only my brother-in-law (who is married to my vegetarian sister). He is recovering from a fall from a tree while hunting 3 weeks ago. The second surgery was last Monday--8.5 hours long! And not totally successful. Anyway, I've tasted rabbit and venison. Most willing to try goose. But not eager.

Vegetarians keep calm and Hodgepodge on.

2. What high spot have you visited that gave you a wonderful 'bird's eye view' of something below?

Some ridge overlooking a color-turning forest a couple weeks ago. My head hurts too much to remember exactly where.

3.  Do you have any birds in your home? These could be either real live pets or decorative, as in bird prints, knickknacks, fabric or pottery.

I love birds, as long as they're outside. I'm really scared of indoor birds.  You wouldn't know it to see my Facebook profile picture, though. I was at the vet's office with my friend Barb while in KS. They have  a very social  parrot who just climbed off the counter and onto my shoulder. I faked a smile for a picture but all the while was thinking, "Get this dumb bird off of me!" 

I decorate with bird prints on pillows and pictures and have a quilt in mind with a bird motif.  One time I had a bird clock in the half bath that made a different bird call or song every hour on the hour.  Barb came to visit me 
and had to pee right at 7 a.m.  That happens to be the mourning dove which says a long, slow, sad, "hoo....hoo". She sat down right as the clock "struck" 7. "Hoo...Hoo..." she heard as her butt hit the toilet seat. Scared the #$%@ out of her, she said!

4. Tell about a time you 'killed two birds with one stone'?

I've used a lot of this waiting-for-vehicle time to pray for various people who are really suffering.  Especially my little neighbor girls whose two little Chihuahuas were killed by one pit bull two weekends ago.

5. Your favorite song with a bird in it's title?

His Eye is on the Sparrow.  My grandmother sang it while seated next to me on the piano bench. Her singing was FAR better than my playing, but what a precious memory.   That song is  the inspiration for my sewing room decor.

6. What most recently gave you goose bumps?

Hearing my friend Bonnie tell about how she was visited by an angel named Gabriel.  I told the story in a recent HP. My head hurts too much to link it. Sorry. 

7. Halloween is this Friday...any plans? Did you trick or treat as a child? Carve pumpkins? Share your most memorable costume.

(excuse me while I take Bayer migraine pill before answering this... Wow, a short night's sleep and a dose of bleach is KILLING MY HEAD!)

I'm gonna skip Halloween this year. Too much death in my real life lately  I hate how it's glorified.  Did you see the "sexy Ebola nurse costume" on FB? Seriously? What is sexy about ebola? 

 My son wants to go trick or treating but I think he's too old. I told him I'd buy lots of  candy.   I went trick or treating a few times as a kid. Favorite costume was Marilyn Monroe. I wore L'Eggs eggs in my mom's bra, a big blonde wig, red lipstick. I was only in third grade--and the pastor's daughter. But oh well. I went bobbing for apples in that costume and one of my "eggs" fell into the water. I henceforth think of it as "BOOBING for apples."

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I lost another friend to cancer this week. Geoff was just a little older than my husband. A faithful Sunday school teacher for my older kids. A wonderful, generous man with a perpetual smile. 


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pit Bull Attack Next Door

What I am about to write is true and graphic. If you can't handle that, turn away now.  I have to write it in hopes that maybe I find healing in my mind in the telling rather than in the surpressing of  it. 


It was about 8:20 Saturday night, just this past weekend.  My youngest son and I were coming home from Target. As I neared our driveway, my headlights illuminated a little dead animal--the neighbor's big orange cat, I thought.  I hit my brakes. Someone had hit that cat, I thought. How awful!

Neighbors stood in the shadows. One large man. my son noticed,  had a pit bull by the collar as the dog marched on his hind legs away from the scene.

 I looked at the  dead animal again. It was not a cat.  It was a dog!  It was Kiki, one of my next door neighbors' two little Chihuahuas.  I heard a lady screaming. Wailing. Sitting on the curb. Rocking back and forth, running her fingers wildly through her hair.

I maneuvered my car around and parked in my driveway.  "Call Dad, Joel! Hurry!" But my husband was already outside on the porch.

I opened my car door.  I heard the woman scream, "Oh, my God! He killed BOTH OF THEM!" He KILLED BOTH OF THEM! What am I going to do? Oh, my God!"

I hurried to her and put my arms around her. "What happened?"

At the same time, the large man I had seen walking the pit bull came toward us. "I'm so sorry, Oh, God. I'm sorry, ma'am. I accidentally left the gate open--"

"It was YOUR DOG?" the lady yelled. "YOUR DOG KILLED MY BABIES!"

"Can I call an ambulance?" he offered, seeing that she was nearly hyperventilating.

I bent down and held the woman, whom I'd never see up close before. "My grandchildren!" she cried."They loved those dogs. They cannot see them like this. Oh, help me. Pleeeeasee help me!"
I prayed aloud, "Dear Jesus, please have mercy. Please bring comfort."  That's all I could think to pray in the moment.

She turned to the open door of her house, pointing. "I had just had them in my lap. I got up and put them out to pee and all of a sudden, this DOG comes running from across the street!....." She gasped.

I still hadn't seen the smaller one, Chichi.  All I saw was Kiki in the road, her bloody bowels hanging out. Lifeless.

I took charge. To one neighbor man I said, "Can you please get a box or something? "  To another I said, "Can you call 911?" (They said someone already had. Cops were coming.)  To the lady I said, "Let's go inside and call Shawn."

  I held her as we walked across the lawn in the semi-darkness,  fearing she'd faint. As we approached the door, I looked down to her walkway. There lay the littler dog, the brindle puppy,  in a pool of blood.

"He got hold of the little one--Chichi-- and just--"--she shook' her head violently like the pit bull had."I grabbed a stick and beat that dog! But he wouldn''t let go! Then he went after Kiki. Oh, KeeeeeeKeeee! She was SO brave! I know she was trying to protect me. She barked and barked. Oh, God, they were so helpless! She fought for her life!"

To be continued

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Healing in the Hodgepodge

1. What's your favorite time of day? Why?

I have two favorites:  from about 9 am till noon  because I  feel most alert (after my yummy cup of coffee), the  most productive physically, and the day is fresh.   I also enjoy from about 7 till bedtime when we sit and veg, watch TV, play on our screens, relax (unless there's homework that the boy needs help with). Sometimes I go to my sewing room or sit in the family room doing some hand sewing.

2. Waffle iron, toaster, coffee maker, mixer, blender...which small appliance would you say most needs replacing in your house? 

The blender is missing a small part (just the gasket, I think) that would be a cheap, easy fix, but since I hate to clean a blender (all those parts plus a sharp blade) I hardly used it after a slew of smoothies a couple summers ago. No appliance needs replacing right now, thankfully.

3. It's National Grouch Day (October 15)...what's something that makes you feel grouchy?

Honestly,   chitchat ad nauseum while waiting for a meeting to get started is something that makes me grumpy. The older I get, the more I appreciate when leaders "rein in" the talkers and get down to business.

4. Ever been to Canada? Is that a country you'd like to visit? According to Trip Advisor, the top ten best destinations in Canada are-Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Victoria, Calgary, Niagara on the Lake, Niagara Falls, Whistler, and Halifax. Which city would you most like to see?

One time I went to Toronto with a college friend and her mom and another lady to visit my friend's aunt.    We drove through the night so completely missed Niagara Falls except in the dark fog.  We stayed with the aunt who lived in an apartment above an electronics store on a busy city street.  Just as we were about to fall asleep,  we heard a loud crash and glass breaking, then a security alarm.  Burglars had broken the storefront window and grabbed stuff. And by "stuff" in the early 80's, I mean probably a Walkman or boom box.  Scared me to death. Not sure I slept in Toronto, but I've spent the night there!

I would like to revisit Canada, sans burglary, and see Niagara Falls in all its glory.

5. What was your favorite food (or one of your favorites) when you were a child? Is that still a favorite?

Grilled cheese sandwiches. 

6. Do you cry easily?  

I used to. I've toughened up with age. In fact, I am moved more toward irritation than compassion when anyone cries with very little provocation.   I just wanna say, "C'mon, get a grip."

Gosh, as I write this, it sounds like I've become quite the curmudgeon in middle age, huh? I used to cry over the littlest thing, but not any more. I may get choked up, but tears? Not so much.

Two things that get me every time though? Seeing a baby being born (even on TV) or watching  the baptism of a new believer.  I am undone.

7. Have you started your 
(gasp!) Christmas shopping? If so when, and how much? If not, when will you even begin thinking about it?

Yes.  I've made doll quilts all year to send in shoeboxes along with other little things for Operation Christmas Child.  I have also bought something for my daughter-in-law. I never really get into the whole swing of things until after Thanksgiving, though. I like to take one holiday at a time, thank you.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

A friend of mine gave a testimony in Bible study this morning. She has suffered chronic back and knee pain for many years, and yet perseveres to care for her disabled veteran husband.  And there's always a big smile on her face. (She's the friend who made the blue dress for me for my son's wedding--free of charge!) 

This past weekend Bonnie attended  a special service at her church, expecting something from God, but not sure what. 

Soon after sitting down (in great pain), she noticed a man near the front get up out of his seat--someone she'd never seen--and he came and sat down in an empty seat right beside her.  Bonnie said nothing, just observed. The man was shuffling some cards that said "hope" on each one, but was intently listening to the speaker as well. When the offering basket was passed, Bonnie noticed in his wallet a 50 and a 10. He put the 50 in.  At the break, she finally introduced herself. 

"Hi, I'm Bonnie." 
"Hello,"  he said, reaching to shake hands. "My name is Gabriel." 

That was all he said. He was friendly but quiet, and went back to shuffling the hope cards.  Bonnie turned to say something to her friend, Joan, on her left, and  then looked back to say more to Gabriel. But he was gone. It was seconds, literally, that she had looked away. 

Fast forward to after the meeting. She went to the car. Her friend Joan found her crying in extreme pain. Joan asked if she could pray for her. 


Well, Joan did, and then said, "I want you to get out of the car and walk around it. "

Bonnie balked. "Get out and walk around the car? But--"

She did, and as she walked, the pain was gone! No pain in her back. No pain in her knees.  

She went home and looked up Gabriel in the Bible. He's a messenger angel.  The hope cards were the message God had for her. Hope in God. Trust and obey. If she hadn't had hope, she wouldn't have gone to the meeting expectant. If she hadn't gotten out and walked around the car, she would not have experienced the instant healing that just took place. 

Is that amazing or what?? We serve a great and powerful God!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Peek-a-Boo Hodgepodge

Why this title?

Maybe it's because I was watching my almost 14-month old niece yesterday and she loves to play peek-a-boo.

Or maybe because you wondered if I'd dropped completely out of bloggy sight and just popped in to say, "Peek-a-boo. I'm still here."

Or maybe it's because I had a really, really embarrassing  peek-a-boo moment on the flight home from Kansas.  I blame it on my friend Barb whose 1904 Victorian home no longer has working locks on bathroom doors and they don't need them because it's just the two of them, usually, herself and her honey .All week long I got used to closing the door and not locking it.

Well, when I went to the toilet on the airplane, guess what I forgot to do? And guess what happens if you don't lock the door that triggers the "OCCUPIED" sign?

Guess what happens when the door opens while YOU'RE occupied, pants full down with a wad of airline Charmin in your hand?

I screamed, "HEY, STOP THAT!"  I didn't know what else to say.  Honestly I was so mortified I just wished there was a way to jump out of the jet. All I saw was a flight attendant's navy skirt and the back of a blue turbin of a Middle Eastern Muslim man  in the last row.  Did he see me? I hope not.
I had to get out of the bathroom because we were getting ready to land, but truly, I wanted to simply evaporate and then re-appear at home.

So that's my first of many last-week's-get-away stories. Somehow telling it is less,  or  just as more haunting than experiencing it firsthand, but it had to be told. For your levity, if nothing else. Because if I'm gonna be embarrassed, YOU'RE gonna be entertained, okay? Deal?

No jumping out of aircraft. How about I simply jump into the Hodgepodge?

1. Do you manage your own money or do you have a financial planner who helps in some way? Do those kinds of conversations stress you out? A lot or a little?

We have a financial planner, as of a few months ago when my financially savvy but stressed out hubby concluded that he'd rather pay someone to keep an eye on our "flocks and herds" and perhaps do it better than he can do with limited spare time and energy.   We went together for that sit-down conversation,  and I admit to trying not to have visibly glazed-over eyes.   Or to not suspect that this dude's aother Bernie Madoff.

All that finnacial business comes second nature to my guy, and he gets an adrenaline rush out of talking stocks, bonds, risk,  trust funds, yada yada.   My only input was  "do not invest a dime in Starbucks because their CEO made it abundantly clear that we don't share the same views on morality."  'Nuff said.

2. The second week of October is Pet Peeve Week. Off the top of your head, share TWO of your current pet peeves.

Gotta say, when I read this, my pet was chewing a new stuffed piggy that was SUPPOSED to go to a child for Operation Christmas Child.  So, any beast--or person--who takes stuff without asking--and then slobbers all over it--has committed a pet peeve of mine.

Another pet peeve? Poor grammar.   I just really can't stand it.  What was you thinkin' I's gonna say? Don't none o' ya'll be hatin' me just cuz I talk good. M'mama and m'daddy raised me to talk good and I'm pert near glad theys done did that.  I might not lock potty doors on airplanes likens I should, but heaven knows I even scream with good grammar.

3. What is one thing you'd like to learn right now, this very week if you could?

How to confront people, with grace and truth, when I know someone in authority has done something morally and legally wrong but won't admit it.   In short, how to fear God more than man.

4. How concerned are you about the recent health related news concerning Ebola? How about Enterovirus D68?

I'm really not.  I think the media blows it way out of proportion.  Sensationalizes something that people have been dying from for a long time, and will continue to die from once the hype has blown away.  If only the millions of babies still being aborted were receiving such attention!

I offered  a soldier my barf bag on the airplane when she had filled her own. (Sorry, TMI?) I felt so bad for her and she was just across the aisle. I didn't want her germs, but I didn't wonder "has she been to Africa?"  I handed her the bag without touching her hand, but I'd do that for anyone.

5. Garfield, Nemo, or Tigger-your favorite orange cartoon character?

Nemo.    I never liked Garfield and never attached to Tigger.

6. I'm going to see Gone Girl with my neighborhood book club this week. So often books made into film are disappointing. What's a book turned film you thought was well done, in that the casting was 'like you pictured' when you read the book, and the film plot remained mostly true to the book plot?

I'm REALLY dating myself here because I almost never see movies after reading the book, but when I was young I read "Old Yeller" and then saw the movie.  Old Yeller himself was just like I pictured.  Ha!

7. What is one story your family always tells about you?

They love to tell the tell the "time mom fell in the pool" story.   We were at a resort in Myrtle Beach many years ago, when the big pool got shut down because of FFM (Floating Fecal Matter).   Hottest day of the year, so everyone and their brother moved to the kiddie pool to enjoy the big ceramic mushroom sprinklers and knee-high cold water.

Well, I thought the bottom of the kiddie pool was only about 15 inches deep, but no, it wasn't. I underestimated.  When I stepped in, I lost my balance. Landed butt first in  22 inches of water, right under the mushroom sprinkler, which I hit my head on, and came up coughing and gurgling.  The family sat on their lounge chairs just guffawing all over themselves.

Now, when trying to get our 12 year old son to smile for a picture, someone just has to say, "Remember the time Mom fell in the pool?"

My embarrassment in exchange for their levity. See a theme here?

8. Insert your own random thought here.

All laughing aside, please pray for my brother-in-law Jay.  Last Friday morning he went hunting, and as he climbed to a height of about five feet up the tree, the peg snapped. Jay fell, full weight, onto the hard knotted roots of the tree. His ankle broke at a 90-degree angle to his foot, and he was all alone. Thanks be to God he had his phone on him and it was not crushed . He called my sister (his wife) and  his mother, neither of whom heard the phone at 4:45 a.m. Called his hunting buddy whose property it was, and then 911 . 

About 16 people in all finally located him, deep in the woods, as he screamed in agony. They tried to remove his boot thinking how swollen the foot was. But the pain was so excruciating that Jay threatened them not to touch his foot again.  Only morphine first and then doctors could do that.  Over rugged terrain they carried him on a country stretcher to the waiting ambulance. 

His ankle bones on the x-rays looked like Rice Krispies, my sister said. Jay is wearing an external fixator for two weeks and then will have surgery and months of recovery and rehab.  He is miserable from pain, and has an esophageal hernia causing chronic hiccups from screaming so loud and long.  The hiccups caused a panic attack--felt he couldn't breathe--which landed him back in the ER 3 hours after coming home from the hospital. 

He is miserable from sitting still .He is miserable that this happened at the beginning of hunting season . And they have a toddler and rambunctious black lab they have to keep away from his  bad foot.   Prayers are greatly appreciated for him, for my exhausted sister, and for the caregivers who are all pitching in to help as needed. 

Oh, and one other very important random thing: today is my parents' 53rd wedding anniversary. And yes, they are still madly in love. Daddy said they honeymoon hasn't ended yet.