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The Day I Lost My Mind

Posted in Family, Hoss, Laughter, Memories, Uncategorized
on June 14, 2019

This is one of those posts that happened back in May 2018. It has taken me this long to see the funny and be able to write about it. 

We celebrate the boys birthdays big at our house. After all, it’s a celebration of their life! Some years it’s a celebration that we all survived another year, but it’s always a time to reflect on their life so far and what a blessing they are to our family. 2018 was the year to celebrate the start of Hoss’ 7th year. 

Anyone who has spent more than 15 seconds around Hoss in that year knows that he is obsessed with the solar system. He will sing you a song about the planets and the order they are in or he will regale you, ad nauseum, with facts about our solar system. Not interested? Yeah, it doesn’t matter. He’s got jokes for that. Needless to say, we planned a solar system party. Now before you go getting all jealous of the dorkiness of that concept, keep reading.

We picked a Sunday afternoon in May. That time of year when Boom has baseball about 8 days a week, end of the year school projects are wrapping up and due, parent/teacher conferences must happen, everyone you’ve ever known since birth has a kid graduating from something or performing in some sort of program you really should go see…let’s squeeze in a party.

And so we planned an Out of this World Pool Party. Kids have more fun when they are wet, right?  Area 51 – check, space themed play list – check, space foods – check,  party favors – check, balloons – check, six foot alien – check, space ship in the tree – check. Cake? So Hoss wanted a 3-D scale model of the solar system made of cake. Not happening, but we did agree on a sheet cake with orbit lines for the planets and a rocket ship. It was a compromise and a combination of about 87 cakes he yelled, “that’s the one!!” as we looked for ideas on pinterest.

We planned for months. I would do the food, music, favors and planning, Mom and Dad bought a bunch of the decorations for us and Vinniehoney was in charge of executing area 51, building the alien space craft and hanging it from the tree. No problem. Bases covered. What no one planned on was that one Sunday afternoon about a month before the party, I got out in the yard and cleaned out from under a hydrangea bush. It had been neglected too long and I really went after it. I sat down with my little claw digger and pulled out weeds until it was breathing fresh air all around. About four days later, I realized I was COVERED in Poison Ivy.

Apparently I had uncovered some roots, proceeded to sit on them while I was working, scoot over them as I worked my way around the bush and then, just because I never half do anything, when I got up off the ground I had dusted off my thighs and fanny, then my arms and I even wiped the sweat from my brow. I was miserable. It was truly all over me. ALL.OVER.ME. My Dr. gave me a shot to dry it up. A week later, still covered and spreading, I got another shot. One more week later, and now just a few days until party day and I was still covered and spreading poison ivy. So the Dr. gave me a steroid dose pack. It began to work and I focused my undivided attention on the party countdown.

By Thursday before the party I had my house pretty close to company ready. On Friday I baked the cake and did as much food prep as I could do in advance. All I had to do on Saturday was put the icing on the cake and cut the rocket ship out and a few other incidentals. I was in good shape. Saturday morning, I got up and got the butter out to soften. Boom took Sassy the Wonder Dog out and got her some food. I fed Hoss and swapped out laundry loads. Vinniehoney left to go drop off the balloons to be filled with helium for the next day. While the butter was softening I thought I’d be extra productive and fold the clothes that had just come out of the dryer, so I went in my room, spread them out on the bed and folded them into neat little piles for each family member. When I walked back into the kitchen is the moment I lost my mind and pitched what we southerners refer to as a conniption fit. Beyond temper tantrum, beyond hissy fit. This was a full blown, no holds barred, look out conniption fit.

Sassy the Wonder Dog ATE.THE.CAKE.

I lost it. I started yelling things like “I don’t know why I bother to try to do anything nice for anyone in this house. Nobody cares! I’ve killed myself to get this house ready for this party and y’all can’t even watch a dog for 15 minutes! I ‘m over it! Y’all want to live in a pig pen, have at it!!” It was at this point that I decided I needed to emphasize this verbal tirade so I snatched up the lazy susan full of candy and flung every last piece across the dining room in one sweeping motion. Boom instantly started trying to calm me down. I was having no part of that. I stomped into the office and flung about three stacks of papers into the air. Then, with Boom hot on my trail, I marched through the den. Hoss was in there watching the ipad and didn’t have his hearing aids in. He saw us and thought we were up to something fun so he jumped up and followed Boom down the hall as I barreled down on their rooms. It was about now that my normal inner Carie started getting loud. She was telling me not to do this, there was not time to recover from this if I destroyed their rooms, calm down and take a deep breath, you’re going to hate yourself in just a little while. Conniption fit Carie heard her and slightly adjusted her course of destruction. Instead of the devastation I had intended to lay down on their rooms, I merely grabbed the bookcase at the end of the hallway and dumped out every last book. I then headed straight for my room, threw on some clothes, grabbed my purse and keys, told Boom I was done and he was in charge and I left. I just got in my car and drove away.

To the barn. You see as I was heaving my mad self into my car, that normal gal in my head just kept talking.” You CAN’T leave those two boys at home by themselves and with all that mess you just created in your fit of madness. You aren’t that mom. You may have lost it, and they may be slightly scarred for life, and you’re going to have to ask for forgiveness and the dog only ate a tiny edge of the cake and you can bake a whole new cake if you have to. There’s time and you majorly overreacted.” Conniption fit turned up the radio and went right on to the barn. I don’t think I have ever been that mad. I called my mom and loudly and angrily recapped the events of the morning. Y’all it wasn’t even 10:00.

Mom held back her laughter and told me to stay put and she’d be right there. She always has my back, even when I’ve lost my mind. On her way to the barn she cut through the pool where dad was pulling weeds. She gave him the Reader’s Digest version of what she knew and he started laughing so hard he had to sit down. His only comment was that he wondered why I had gone to the barn at 60 m.p.h.

Mom got me calmed down and rode back to the house with me to see how to fix the cake. “Holy Cow” was all she said as we walked in to the utter destruction. Boom was on the ground gathering candy from under the dining room table. There were lollipops in the chandelier candle bases, there were chocolate eggs on top of the china cabinet. Across the hall, there were papers dangling from various places on my embroidery machine and cabinet and down the hall, Hoss was diligently shoving as many books as he could back into the bookcase in whatever manner he could. Boom had put Sassy the Wonder Dog in her kennel for her own safety and he had tried to trim and shape up the edge of the cake. Mom pitched right in and helped us recover the house, I figured out what to do about the cake and we were quickly back on track for an Out of this World party!

So what’s the purpose of telling this story on myself.

  1. ‘Roid’ rage is real y’all. I’m not using that as an excuse so much as an explanation. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve got a temper, but this was a temper on steroids. Literally.
  2. Even though I absolutely lost my cool and acted a fool, my family had my back. My mom and both boys jumped right in and Vinniehoney would have if he had been there. Surround yourself with people who’ve got your back.
  3. Asking for forgiveness is so important, especially with your kids. If you don’t take away anything else from this story, remember this. They see how you act. They learn how to act from your actions. Pitching a fit is never ideal, and I am in no way condoning violence or lack of self control. Don’t make this something that it’s not. But we all lose our cool sometimes. We all say things we don’t mean. Some of us fling candy across the house. The important part is to recognize that it was not an appropriate response. I had to stop the clean up with each boy in order to get their undivided attention and apologize and ask their forgiveness. They weren’t scarred for life. They don’t have fears about accidentally spilling the milk,  causing Mom to lose her mind again. They do understand that Mom’s reaction was not normal and it was not ok. They do know that I was very sorry that I acted that way and not just because I was sorry I made the mess. I was genuinely sorry for my conniption fit. They also know that I asked them to forgive me and I promised to do my best to not ever fling candy again. Kids learn what forgiveness looks like by being asked to give it and by receiving it. It’s a two way street folks.
  4. Keep your perspective. One of the first things Mom said when she got me calmed down was, “someday, this is going to be a funny story. Not today, but someday.” Best I can tell, it takes about 60-90 days for the funny to kick in but in the grand scheme of things, what appeared to be devastating and the end of the world, wasn’t.

When the party was over and the presents had all been unwrapped, Boom came in the kitchen to tell me goodnight. He hung around my neck for a while and just loved on me. Then he leaned back and said, “I’m really sorry that I wasn’t watching Sassy and let her eat the cake, but THAT.FIT.WAS.AWESOME!!!” So grateful that God’s love, patience and forgiveness is bigger than my failings every day! So grateful God and my kids love me in spite of my candy flinging ways.

My Nanny, the Thief

Posted in Family, Heritage, Laughter, Memories
on February 20, 2018

See that darling lady in the wheelchair in the middle of that picture?  The one with her mouth open because she wouldn’t quit talking long enough to take a picture? Well, that’s my Nanny. The genes from her side of my family are very strong, and so is the heritage. This was the very last family picture we took with her.  Hoss had been home from Vanderbilt for 3 days.  She loved her family, but she ADORED her great grandchildren!!

Nanny retired from JCPenney when it was still at East Gate Mall.  She had a best friend named Ruth Wright who was a good 10 years younger and was also retired from JCPenney. I called them the Golden Girls. I don’t know how things work when you retire from JCPenney now, but back in their day, you got to keep your employee discount.  Forever. No matter the sale price.

There came a day when Nanny could no longer see well enough to drive but she was plenty spry enough to want to go and Mrs. Ruth was more than able to drive, so go they did.  Occasionally I would happen upon them on an adventure, usually going 25 mph in a 40, totally oblivious to the mile of traffic backed up behind them, wearing their cataract sunglasses and headed to lunch.  They were wild things.

A couple of times a year JCPenney would have an associates shopping day, where the Golden Girls could get a little extra percentage off.  Well, now. They were there! Those two women could spot a deal a mile away.  They would hit the sale rack, get their associate’s discount, the extra special one day only discount, and sometimes combine it with a coupon from a mailer.  Y’all, they would get things no one needed just for the thrill of the deal. Nothing made them more proud than to get a $40 item for $5.27.

Just like any good southern Golden Girls, they would cap off their day by having a leisurely lunch. It was a treat for them to ride the escalator up inside JCPenney and make their way across the mall to the Piccadilly. Now you know how hard it can be to navigate a cafeteria full of tables and chairs while carrying a tray with a plate of food and a drink, so you can imagine doing it when you are in your 80’s and not quite as agile as you once were. Good conversation might have also played a factor in not always being fully aware of your surroundings. Add to that a shopping bag with your latest treasure from JCPenney and a sensible black handbag that smells like Freedent chewing gum and you will totally be able to understand how Nanny became a thief.

You see, when she sat down with her lunch, she could not find her silverware on her tray.  She was almost certain she had grabbed one of the napkin wrapped bundles, but there was not one on her tray. Chalking it up to having been distracted, a helpful waitress quickly fetched her a roll of silverware. After lunch, Mrs. Ruth delivered her safely home where she sat down in her chair, propped up her feet and may or may not have taken a little nap. Only later in the evening, when she unpacked her shopping bag full of “I don’t know who needs it, but it’s only $4.62” goodies did she find her silverware from the Piccadilly.  Apparently, in her effort to navigate the dining room while toting and talking she had tipped her tray enough that her original silverware had rolled into her shopping bag! She was horrified that she had “stolen” the silverware and promptly returned it on their next Golden Girls adventure. Still, we teased her about there being easier ways to get new silverware than stealing it from the Piccadilly one place setting at a time!

Fast forward a good ten years.  Hoss eats lunch at the dining hall at school everyday.  He’s not the picky one, so he loves the variety.  One day last week there was something on the lunch menu he didn’t think he would care for and he had been begging to take lunch like his Bubba, so I sent him lunch.  ABC’s and 123’s with meatballs, some grapes and cheese and some mini chips ahoy. I DID NOT send a spoon because they have those at school.  He loved it! It was the thrill of his week. As soon as he got in the car he told me all about lunch.  As soon as we got home and I opened his lunchbox, I realized that he may not have had the privilege of really knowing Nanny, of eating her cooking, hearing her hum while she washed dishes or playing with extra dough while she made biscuits, but he absolutely got her genes. And that is the story of how Hoss became a thief.

 

Boy Mom; Making Memories in the Kitchen

Posted in Laughter, Memories, The Boom
on February 11, 2018

Sometimes as a Boy Mom I have to consciously remind myself that I am not raising little boys, I’m raising men.  It’s easy to do everything for them.  I want to take care of them because they are MY babies and it’s truly what I love to do. However, some day, they will need to know how to take care of themselves and hopefully they will want to pass along some of the memories made and things they learned from their mama.

They are learning to contribute to the household chores…getting clothes out of the dryer, unloading the dishwasher and putting away the clean dishes,  wiping down their bathroom vanity with Clorox wipes and taking out the garbage. In defense of my washing machine, I do not encourage their participation in that chore. Ain’t nobody got time for a flood, money to repair a washing machine or money to buy new white clothes to replace the load that had one red sock….nope. Not gonna happen.

Recently Boom has showed an interest in cooking.  Now he may be the pickiest eater on the face of the planet.  He has very few food groups: Chicken, steak, pizza, fruit, ice cream and chips. He is PICKY!! What does he know about cooking? NOTHING!  But then I remembered another crazy nut who happens to be one of the best cooks I know.

JR learned a lot from my mama, who is a wonderful cook, and from my Daddy who is wonderful on the grill.  JR has combined the heritage of good cooking he was raised with and his willingness to try new things in an effort to replicate some delicious dishes at home.  For example, he grew up eating prime rib when we were out to eat, but I only remember mama cooking it at home a handful of times. JR has taught himself how to prepare a prime rib at home and when he fixes it, well, just pray for an invitation.  I’m not lying…it’s so so good. I’d venture to say cooking has become a hobby he truly enjoys and I know it has been an honor for him to be able to prepare meals for his love in the past nine months while she has been recovering from childbirth, open heart surgery and gall bladder surgery.

I grew up in various kitchens with one grandmother or another, my aunt or my Mama making memories and learning to cook. So I decided to encourage this new interest from Boom. Someday he may need to know how to feed his family! We started to get out the ingredients and I often play music while I cook. I hit play on my Boom’s Tunes playlist and the rest is history. Anyone who’s seen Boom play ball knows what he does when there’s music playing.  Doesn’t matter if he’s on the side lines or the pitcher’s mound.  When he hears a beat he just can’t contain himself.  Guess what? He does the same thing when he’s cooking!

So yes, it takes longer when he helps and it is definitely messier, but it is also much more fun. You almost never make priceless memories when you insist on doing everything by yourself!

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No Biggie, It’ll Wash

Posted in Laughter
on January 29, 2018

Just like most kids, I went through a phase where I thought my mom was an idiot.  I thought I knew everything.  I must have rolled my eyes to Texas and back at some of her ridiculous notions.  But then, I grew up. And it’s a good thing because it turns out she’s not as dumb as I thought!  One piece of wisdom she gave me when I was expecting Boom was to always remember that if it wasn’t going to matter in the light of eternity, it probably wasn’t going to matter in 5 minutes.

 

I’ve tried to remember that when dealing with my kids. I mean, I make messes occasionally, so why should I expect them to be perfect?  On Christmas morning I made this FABULOUS  vanilla hot chocolate in the crock pot. JR asked me to bring it to Mom and Dad’s house that evening, so I grabbed the leftover pitcher full from the fridge and started through the dining room with it.  Well, in my rush and with something in both hands, I didn’t realize I was slinging the pitcher around until I heard it splattering all over the floor in the foyer.  I turned to see a lovely rich and creamy vanilla trail all through the dining room on the carpet my Daddy had just cleaned the week before when I was having a party. I couldn’t believe I had done it, but being upset, stomping, yelling or saying things I couldn’t take back was not going to clean up the mess or make me feel any better.

When Boom was little, he would make messes, that’s what boys do. He would spill things and look to me for my reaction.  Instead of crying over spilled milk or equally as bad, blowing my gasket, I tried to always respond with “No Biggie, It’ll Wash”.  You see, in my mind, if I put him in clothes then let him play, eat, craft or whatever he was doing in those clothes, then I was really the one to blame if *gasp* he got messy.

I tried to anticipate what we would be doing when I dressed him.  If we got into an adventure that he wasn’t dressed for, I’d take his clothes off and let him be a kid. Otherwise, who cares if he just dumped an entire bucket of dirt on his head at the ball field? Here’s the thing: water dries, laundry detergent gets dirt out, floors can be cleaned and bubble baths get almost everything off of little boys. You can’t uncrush their spirit when you overreact to a mess.  You can’t unhurt their little hearts when you flip out because they spilled grape juice on their white polo shirt.  But you know what, in 5 years they won’t be able to wear that shirt anymore.  You might get pennies on the dollar for it at a sale, or not and that kid is more important that the $50 you paid for that shirt. So, take a deep breath and say, “No Biggie, It’ll Wash”.

Today when Boom got in the car from school, I could tell he was tentative about telling me something.  Then Hoss piped up to say, “Mom, Boom is FILFY!!” Sure enough, this was his shoulder…his entire side, arm and leg were caked with dried dirt. He looked to me to see my reaction.  I had two choices…anger and frustration or not.  I chose not and I looked him square in the eyes and said, “Whoa! That must have been one heck of a tackle! Did you at least get the ball?!” His whole countenance changed.  He chattered all the way home about the game.  He made a tackle, got the ball, somebody did something and somebody else did something else. I could have ruined our afternoon and damaged our relationship and lines of communication over dirt.

Having a Mom who doesn’t overreact to every little thing and who realizes accidents and messes happen is so important for keeping the lines of communication open as they approach those pesky pre-teen years.  And after all, isn’t half the fun of an adventure making a mess!?

I’ll be in the laundry room if anyone needs me!

Laughter IS the Best Medicine

Posted in Laughter
on January 26, 2018

Learning to laugh at ourselves is such an important thing.  In our family, we learn to laugh at ourselves from birth.  I remember my brother getting his feelings hurt when he was little and we would laugh at him .  Mom would tell him, “If you don’t want us to laugh at you, don’t be funny!” It wasn’t that we were making fun of him and laughing at him so much as he was a clown and we were entertained.

I come from a long line of crazy on both sides of my family.  My Mom’s mom, Granny, was always a rich source of funny experiences.  Once, when I was about 10 years old, Granny was staying with us while Mom and Dad were out of town for a few days. JR had a soccer game early on Saturday morning. We headed off to the soccer field, but it was a lot cooler than we expected.  So Granny dropped JR off with the coach for his game and ran me back to the farm to get some sweatshirts.

When we got there, I dashed in the house, got the clothes we needed and bounced back out to the car.  I told Granny I was going to walk up the driveway and check the mail. She said she’d turn the car around and pick me up at the mailbox. So I started up the driveway.  I was about halfway there when I heard tires squealing behind me.  I dashed behind the nearest tree and peered out expecting to see Granny go squealing past me only to realize she had never turned the car around.

Granny had burned rubber in the driveway, plowed down the 10 foot tall persimmon tree by the back porch, and was lurching and bouncing across the backyard toward the playground where she darted between the ladder and the tire swing, careened around the slide and headed into the garden. I held my position as she barreled through what would be rows of corn in the coming months and headed back across the yard toward the house.  She finally came to a complete stop right in the middle of the back yard.  I waited to be certain she was finished before cautiously approaching the car.  I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I’d never seen anything like that in my life.  It was better than the Dukes of Hazzard. I’ll never forget walking up to her window and, from what I deemed a safe distance, asking her if she was ok? She just laughed and said, “Yes, honey. I thought I had my foot on the brake and the harder I pressed the faster I went!”

Still stunned by what I just witnessed, I looked at her car and Y’ALL!!! IT WAS COVERED WITH SPLATTERED PERSIMMONS!!!! There must have been nine thousand persimmons on that tree! I laughed. Oh my goodness did I laugh.  I probably even guffawed a time or two. I know there were tears streaming down my cheeks and then when we tried to clean the windows…those persimmons were like glue!

She swore JR and I to secrecy. We were not to say a word to my parents. I couldn’t even think about it without cracking up, so that was going to be a challenge. As soon as Mom and Dad sat down in her living room, they asked about our weekend.  I’m sure my eyebrows shot up about three inches as I tried to force the grin from my lips. Granny very calmly and very politely started off the weekend recap by asking them, “Well, how attached WERE you to that persimmon tree?”

Needless to say Mom and Dad were just grateful that no one was hurt and when the spring plants arrived Granny bought them a beautiful Magnolia tree but, until her dying day, all someone had to do was mention persimmons and we would erupt into joyous soul healing laughter. Even Granny.

*The story of what led up to the laughter in these pictures and how Scott Burgess will never be the same are another story for another day!

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