Archive for July, 2008

Belle, MO

July 31, 2008

SS and I went to scenic Belle, Missouri last weekend to visit our dear friend Chad. We frequently take our children on small trips so we are accustomed to getting lost travelling together and we always have a good time. Even when things go disastrously wrong. (Like the time two guys tried to break into our hotel room, while we were in it! Or the time, leaving a Chicago museum, that we got lost and saw a drug deal go down. Or the time SS hit a post in a parking lot and flipped me off!)

Wow, and I’ve been thinking I have nothing to blog about!

Luckily this trip was highly successful. For example, I caught four large bugs.

I may be driving my friends crazy with my new bug obsession. Truth be told, I’m a big weenie chicken when it comes to bugs. Well, at least I WAS until I started helping Taylor with his freshman biology “bug project.” Now I am like the “Dog the Bounty Hunter” of bug collection.

But taller, without the bad hair, or the propensity to drop the “N” bomb.

And my tools are ziplock bags, rubbing alcohol and my super fast reflexes instead of snitches, handcuffs, and tasers.

Okay, I’ll shut up about the damn bug catching for a moment, because our vacation was a success for other reasons, too. We met one of Chad’s benefactors at the artist’s residency, Katherine, and she was very kind and told us interesting stories about her life. “Interesting” as in, how can so much bad stuff happen to one person, during one life?

We drank Boones Farm wine, a highly sophisticated “apple wine flavored beverage” and played a couple of games of drunken Scrabble. The rules of drunken Scrabble are different in that you can play misspelled words and, also, abbreviations and slang. Naughty, naughty slang.

We went to a mall theatre, that, oddly, smelled like a nursing home and saw “Mama Mia.” It was the gayest movie ever! In a good way.

Then we went to Border’s and Chad talked, several times, to a cute boy, presumably to get directions to our next destination. (An “of age” cute boy, of course).
“How do we get to Missouri Avenue?”
“It’s the street in front of the store.”

Later he had asked again, to clarify:
“How do we get to Missouri Avenue?”
“It’s the street in front of the store.”

We left Border’s and went on a scenic tour of downtown Jefferson City; 6:30 pm on a Monday night is not a bustling time in good old “Jeff City.” (As those “in the know” call it.)

We did find one restaurant open and sat outside, sipping wine and flirting conversing with the waiter, Vince.

At the end of the meal, Chad, as collected and confident as could be said, to Vince, “I’d like to give you my number.”

Wow. SS and I were impressed. He was so casual, assertive, without being overbearing.

We stopped to get gas on our way home, and I caught a bug! Just imagine-middle aged woman, baggy in hand, chasing a large, scooting bug, across a parking lot, while squealing. The other gas pumpers were amused. The one with a car engine possibly on fire, yelled “Eat it!” (Yes, while you are pumping gas hearing the words “Is it on fire?” coming from the car next to you is a bit troubling.)

The next day SS and I had to head home. We had decided to make a pit stop at a St. Louis Trader Joe’s on the way; Mapquest said it only added 14 minutes and a few of miles to our trip. Fourteen minutes turned into three hours, due to an infelicitously placed roadblock, an unfortunate detour through a crowded neighborhood, and a deplorable dearth of restaurants in the area of our destination. We finally found a Chinese restaurant, ate a forgettable meal, and made it to Trader Joe’s.

The rest of the ride to Washington was uneventful. I dropped SS off at home, and headed back to P’ville, passing through awful flashfloods in East Peoria and arriving home to “What’s for dinner?” from my daughter.

A highly successful trip, not only due to the giant cockroach, grasshopper, green shiny beetle thingy, and random smelly bug in my glove compartment, but because SS and I were able to spend a lot of time with our wonderful friend Chad.

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The saga continues….

July 23, 2008

At lunchtime today I just happened to stop by the neighbor lady’s house where Taylor was doing his football-auction induced labor, ostenibly to bring him a drink, really to check up on him.

“X.” had already sent him home for the day, after a few hours of weeding. He’s going back tomorrow to trim bushes.

While I was there I had an interesting conversation with “X.”

First she said, “Oh, ‘S.’ (who happens to be the village clerk) is outside mowing her lawn during her lunch break.” I expressed my amazement at “S’s” energy; “X,” countered with “Oh, but she had to; I saw her the other day and told her her lawn is looking bad; the village is going to send her a letter.”

Then she brought up the football player auction.
“My husband, ‘M,’ and I were at the fair and he saw our friend ‘R.’ and waved to her. The next thing we knew the auctioneer was telling him he had won Taylor. ‘M.’ told ‘R.’ ‘I’m never waving to you again!'”

She continued “Some of those boys went for a lot of money. One was auctioned off for $400, but we didn’t spend that much on your son.”

Well, thanks for letting me know that you didn’t really WANT to bid on my beloved son and that YOU DIDN”T PAY THAT MUCH FOR HIM!

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July 21, 2008

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July 11, 2008

Yesterday Taylor won a stereo from the library’s summer reading program. In the five weeks of the program he had read 38 books. He should be thanking me for the technological grounding he’s had this summer, without which, he would doubtless have played many games of HALO and read few books.

On our way home we heard a shout of “Christopher!” which we ignored. Again: “Christopher!” It was our neighbor, “X,” and I realized she was talking to Taylor.

Silly me, I forgot that that’s his actual name.

I have a bit of a jaded past with “X.”

To make a short story long, last year a woman, “C,” came into our office and asked us to sign her petition to be on the ballot to run for our small town’s village board.

My boss and I signed it.

A few weeks later a long standing member of the village board, my neighbor “X,” came by to ask about our signatures. She was contesting the signed petitions of “C.”

My signature looks like a big scribble; her contention was that I only signed the last half of my hyphenated last name. I told her that was my correct signature and she handed me a piece of paper and asked me to sign it so that she could see.

Disapprovingly, she also informed that: “You are one of only eight people in the village with a hyphenated name.”

She also admonished my boss “You don’t live within the village limits, you shouldn’t have signed this!” M. said, “Well, we have village water.” “X:” “The village LET you have city water, despite being OUTSIDE the limits.”

Oh, boy.

And one time she complained to the village about the “weeds” behind our garage. Um, those “weeds” came in a packet entitled “wild flowers.”

Back to yesterday, she was calling Taylor/Christopher’s name to inform him that she won him in the football players auction at the fair and is now entitled to eight hours of his labor.

Oh, shit.

And she needs him to come and weed her garden before an open house she is hosting for “our next Congressional Representative.”

Aaron Schock.

July 9, 2008

As I’ve mentioned before, my daughter attends two local church-based youth groups.

And she’s an atheist.

Today one of the youth groups is going to see “Get Smart.” I encouraged Taylor to go, too, but the weirdo boy isn’t willing to put up with a little extraneous religion to go to a movie and have pizza.

This made me think about Reagan; is it immoral of Reagan to attend youth groups when she has no intention of believing in god or in converting to the religion? (And immoral of me to let her?)

Or, is it similar to those timeshare tours, where they are happy to have anyone attend, in the mere hope that the person will “bite?”