Me, Sher, and Ad

Me, Sher, and Ad
Bro Adam and sis Sher, my rocks!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Creatures in the Garden

It marvels me at what lives in my yard and garden. Being on the edge of the woods, I do get a greater variety of animals, birds, and insects, but it really brings out the science geek in me every time I garden. I trimming back chives the other evening and disturbed a small nest of little white spiders. They weren't mites, but actual spiders. I also came across several nesting sets of earwigs in my flower beds, specifically in the hyacinths. They weren't in the chives or the daffodils. I guess the rent was too expensive. Very interesting. I am a true believer of "God's creatures" so I do not try and disturb as I go along. By the way, I am a bit hypocritical as I still will kill cockroaches, mosquitoes, and the random wasp which singles me out for the kill.  Note to myself, I really must clean my gardening gloves. They still smell of chives four days later. The odor, not that unpleasant, lends it self to a garlicky onion aroma but is hard to get off of me once I have worn those gloves.

I have a bat I named Bob which flies about the yard each evening. I know I am assuming that he is a boy, but I like the name Bob the Bat. He uses the yard as a sort of arena, eating up insects with each circular pass. I thought he whizzed by me tonight, but I think it was just a random bug. It certainly wasn't a cicada. I know they aren't out yet. I was digging up a new fire pit on the edge of the woods and dug up a juvenile cicada. He was clearly disturbed, and not ready to be exposed to the world. I felt kind of bad, so I buried him in a mossy area by one of the flower beds. Hopefully he will live and continue his life cycle emerging in August to keep me awake at night with his songs.

I have at least two chipmunks. I say at least two because I have seen four, two alive, and two dead. One dead one was smashed in the road next to the mailbox and the other was curiously dead out by the far flower bed by the road where we had a magnificent red rhododendron.  There was no sign of struggle or fight, he was just lying there ... dead. I buried him in his flower bed. Poor little guy. We have one in the flower bed nearest the fire pit. He watches me every know and then as I dig or weed. The last one is right by the garage. I see him walking across the driveway, comically at a very slow pace. He is unafraid of me. I figure they must all be related: cousins, brothers, sisters, etc.

Speaking of furry creatures, the other evening I left the water on and cursing silently under my breath, I went out with my flash light at 12 midnight to turn it off. After doing so, I decided to check out the woods in the back of the house. One night I had seen a deer right on the edge of our property. Startling it, it bolted into the woods, scaring me just as much as I scared her. (I didn't not see antlers, so forgive me for the assumption that it was a doe). The evening of turning off the water, I did not see anything in the deep woods but in the tree right in our property line I clearly had disturbed something which screeched at me. I aimed the flashlight up into the tree beside me and what did I see? A flying squirrel! I was so excited! I recognized him from his white underbelly, brown overcoat, and flappy furry skin between his arms and legs. He had these large luminescent eyes, glowing from the light of my flashlight, and a small little puggish nose. He was beautiful, and oh so rare. What a treat! And in an instant, he was gone. I may never see another one and am so lucky so see that little guy!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Well I am 40! I survived the evening and guess what? I am at peace and feel good. I have a sense of serenity about it all. It's all good.

Friday, June 4, 2010

ok, 1 hour till the birthday

Yes, I am buzzed. But ... not too buzzed to notice that I am on the edge of a new era/time in my life. I am TURNING 40!!!! I figured I could accept it philosophically or drunk. Well I am accepting it philosophically AND drunk. Do you know what made my day??? I have a robin's nest with babies right by my front door. That is just so cool.

My life is becoming exactly what I want it to. I love my home and my garden. My rose bush is BLOOMING! I am so excited I didn't kill it! LOL. I have a great garden. The house is coming along! I am realizing that the key to succeeding in life is to decide on your dreams and THEN MAKE THEM HAPPEN. I want to be a writer and I am succeeding. I am effing writing my effing blog! LOVE IT. Even if two people read it, the difference is that I am writing it for myself. BUT .... I would love you to read it too! :)

The cats are great. Max is a healthy bruiser. Miss little Moxie is not so little. She is on a diet, but we have lost a pound and are on our way to her goal weight. LOL.

SO ... what will the midlife crisis be about? One word: work.  I am OK though as I am, excuse the repetition, working on it. I have a goal and as I said before, you must decide on your dreams and THEN MAKE THEM HAPPEN.

Thanks for all the support friends.
By the way ... the weekend has just started!!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

My First Job at Wenonah Elementary School

I started my first job at age 15 at Wenonah Elementary School as a custodial assistant. Yes, I worked as a janitor for one summer and one summer only! I can't believe I would even admit to it now after such disastrous results, but I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I worked with one of my close friends that summer, Mike. He had actually gotten me the job. We were to help clean the school during summer recess:  painting fences and walls, scraping desks, fixing ceilings, mowing the lawn, polishing floors, well, you get the idea. We worked for a crusty old curmudgeon of a custodian named Mr. Brown. He was miserable, smelled like sweat, turpentine, and cigars, but was kind of nice when he let his "grumbly" guard down. He was constantly on us because the school council and administration were constantly on him about his "schedule" to get things done before the fall.

Mike and I worked hard that summer, sweating everyday doing manual labor. We had to do some very difficult jobs, like tarring the roof and climbing into the school boiler to clean it. I am sure that child services would have had a field day with this! It was 1985 and no one was really concerned about the work-related health problems of two gangly 15 year old boys. The pay was alright, I think. I really didn't know as I had nothing to compare it to. Luckily, the school was big enough where we could hide and take frequent naps after mornings of hard work. It was a fun job and Mike taught me a lot about fixing things. The most I had fixed before then was the tire on my bike. Mom and Dad were so proud I was working at such a physical summer job.

One day, while Mike and I were scraping the semi-hard red and brown gum from the bottom of the desks, Mr. Brown sent me to the other side of the school to polish the hallway floor with the floor buffer. This floor buffer was a behemoth of a monstrosity! One has to understand that I was only an adorable little 15 year old, 5'7'', and 125 lbs, if that! The floor buffer easily outweighed me by 50 pounds! I looked at Mr. Brown, and said "Huh?" I think he saw fear in my red, puffy eyes (my allergies were so bad during the summer.)

Mr. Brown, in his gravely voice while puffing cigar smoke in my face, responded, "I'll be back in 30 minutes to see if you have figured out how to turn it on!" He gave me a disconcerting look up and down, which seemed to say "Why on earth did you take this job, kid?"  I was beginning to wonder that myself. With one last puff of his cigar, he turned around and lumbered off like a grizzly bear with arthritis. I stood there coughing up what was left of my fragile teenage lungs. No wonder I developed asthma down the road.

Being equal parts machine and monster, if this floor buffer were in the movies, it would fight against Godzilla. Buffing the floor was one of those tasks that I just did not know where to begin. I couldn't even find the start switch much less "buff" with the thing. I eventually found the huge toggle-like switch and with a couple of grimaces and muffled squeals, I managed to flip it on. The floor buffer shook like we had a 7.5 earthquake happening right under the elementary school. . Now the idea, or so I gathered, was to hold it back on two tiny wheels, get a grip of this machine, and then put it down, gently sweeping it back and forth on the floor, all while buffing to your heart's content. Well ... obviously that's not the way it happened.

The floor buffer had a mind of its own. It was going to control me and not the other way around! I learned that buffing may be, to some, a subjective term, one that actually requires a knowledge of "how to buff." The floor buffer, once gently put down on the linoleum floor, took off and immediately crashed into the left side of the hallway, taking my limp jellyfish arms and spineless body with it! The jarring of this impact felt like someone had pulled my skinny arms out of each socket. While I was reeling in shock from the first crash, the buffer seemed to "grab" the floor once again and this time crashed into the right side of the hallway. Now numb and dazed, something inside of me told myself it would be a good idea to let go while standing, ehr, quivering and shaking, next to it. Bad idea! The floor buffer "grabbed" the floor again and instead of the bottom part spinning, the top part decided to give it a whirl! The 4 foot-plus handle swung a large arc counter clockwise and clocked me in the left side of the head! I, in turn, made contact with the closest concrete wall. That was the last I remembered, besides the stars ... lots and lots of stars.

When I came to, a crumpled former shell of my already weak little frame, I had a splitting headache resonating from both sides of my head. There was the floor buffer, victorious, spinning slowly above my crushed body.  This was when I decided that custodial maintenance would not be the glamorous summer career that I had hoped for. Somewhere in my head, a bell clanged. Maybe it was from the impact? But no ... lo and behold, it was the bell from the other side of the border! The Taco Bell! My next summer job would mark an auspicious beginning into the sophisticated world of restaurants, food service, and hotels! Or so I thought ...