“When anybody asks, 'What are you writing about now?' if I try to reply, the book-in-the-works sounds so idiotic to me that I think, 'Why am I trying to write that puerile junk?' So now I give up; if I could talk about it, I wouldn't have to write it."
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet


Geek Talk

Friday, July 29, 2005

Back in high school, my Geek and his friends had their own language. Well, maybe not so much a language as a few original words they inserted into their everyday English conversations. The Geek claims rights to coining many of these words, and while I suspect some have been lost by the wayside over the years, I would like to share a few with you today.

I'm going to try to define/describe these words as best I can. Hearing them over the past 12 years of Geekwifdom, I think I've picked up on their meanings and proper usage pretty well, though once in a while the Geek will look at me funny when I use one of "his" words. "That's not how you use that word."

"Yeah," I reply. "Because Webster said so, right?"

"No, Webster didn't, I did."

"Oh yeah, I forgot. And you're the definitive expert on everything, right?"

"You got it, baby!"

Yes, my husband is the original megalomaniac. His signature line is "I know everything and I am always right. If there is anything I don't know then it does not need to be known." Yup, that's my sweetie.

So anyway, on with the Geek talk lesson.

Shrare (shrâr - rhymes with rare)
This word is the center of the Geek talk world. It is used more often than any other Geek word. Shrare is most commonly used to show ridicule or disdain for someone's absurd statement or action. For instance, if someone said to the Geek, "No, you're wrong and I'm right." The Geek would reply, "Shrare." Kind of like "As if".

There is a physical action which embodies the meaning of shrare: To place one's thumb and index finger in a circle and press it against someone's eye while yelling, "Shrare!"

Try it. Touch the tips of your thumb and index finger together (like the "A-OK" sign) and press your fingers against someone's eye, as if you were simulating a monacle on their eye. Then yell, "Shrare!" Congratulations! You have just completed your first shrare!

Disclaimer: I strongly suggest that you do not try this at work as your co-workers may not take it the right way and you will probably be branded as the office freak, or worse - if you haven't already been. I would also suggest that you do not do this to a person who is driving as it will obstruct their vision.

Darsh (därsh, rhymes with the way grandma said "warsh")
I am honestly not sure what darsh means. All I know is that you shrare it. One might randomly say something like, "shrare the darsh," or "shrarin' on the darsh." It is sometimes used in a statement of disbelief. If one were to unexpectedly discover the cure to cancer for instance, they might exclaim, "Well, shrare my darsh," similar to how Little B would say, "Well, bless my little pea-pickin' heart."

Gark (gärk, rhymes with hark)
Gark is an expression of frustration. If one is making dinner and one drops an egg on the floor where it breaks open and sprays egg all over the kitchen and then one accidentally slips on the egg and falls flat on one's tushie, one might say, "Well, gark."

Gark can also be used in conjunction with feef. (See following definition.)

Feef(rhymes with leaf)
Feef is another word which meaning I am not entirely sure of. It is generally used with gark, in a similar manner to darsh with shrare. Feef is never used with shrare, nor is darsh ever used with gark. For instance one would say, "Gark the feef," or "Shrare the darsh," but never " the Gark the darsh, or "Shrare the feef."

As with darsh, feef can be used in an expression of disbelief, as in "Well, gark my feef." If one experiences a particularly powerful case of disbelief, one might exclaim, "Well, gark my feef, and shrare my darsh!" This would be reserved for extreme cases, such as Windows booting up without crashing.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the Geek vocabulary, and there are a few other fairly common uses of these words, such as "Garking on the feefy shrae," with shrae being a derivative of shrare, but we do not have time to discuss this subject further today. Thank you for your attention, and as always, beware that I reserve the right to administer a pop-quiz at any time.


Public Restroom Etiquette

Thursday, July 28, 2005

I try to be a pretty easy-going person. Most of the time this comes naturally to me - a trait passed down from Daddy Warbucks. I do, however, have a few pet peeves. Most of them center around public restrooms. Today's post is part rant, part plea to those who misuse this modern convenience and make it a miserable experience for the rest of us.

I'm sure no one reading this is guilty, but sometimes these things just need to be said. Some of the points I make here apply only to women, some apply to
men, and some to both.

To managers and owners of businesses everywhere.
Use of public restrooms can be a very unsettling experience for your patrons. There are a few things you can do to help make our experience at your place of business a more pleasant one.

1. When the building is being designed (this may be too late but it still should be considered by anyone in the building/designing process), please ask your architect/designer to consider putting the sinks somewhere other than directly across from the stalls. There are almost always cracks in the stall doors and it is very uncomfortable to see someone facing a mirror that is facing the stalls, knowing that they can see you in there quite clearly if they are so inclined to look.

2. Another way to avoid this problem is by having a private restroom with no stalls and a single toilet, which you can get by with in a small business.

3. The stalls with wooden doors that close tight are a personal favorite - no peek-a-boo cracks - but I understand that these are expensive. If you can't afford this, please consider the first option listed.

4. Please keep an eye on the cleanliness of your restroom throughout the day, especially if you have high traffic. I know this is difficult if you are busy, but it could mean the difference between a return customer and a dissatisfied customer.

5. Please be sure there is always a fresh roll or two of toilet tissue in each stall. We don't like having to ask for paper from the stranger in the stall next to us.

6. Please be sure the soap dispenser is full. Not only do we like to be able to have clean hands after using the restroom, but it makes us uncomfortable knowing that your employees have no soap with which to wash their hands before returning to work.

7. Please stock each stall with paper seat covers. It could help to avoid some misuse of the restroom facilities (see following list, number 3), and it makes most of us more comfortable knowing we're not using the same seat as the previous stranger.

8. You can also help by posting the following list in your public restrooms.

Public Restroom Etiquette
1. When entering the restroom, please do not peer in between the cracks in the stall doors. Some of us do not appreciate being watched by strangers while we "use" the restroom.

2. If you have the option, it is always preferable that you would choose a stall not directly adjoining an occupied one. If there are no such stalls available, this rule does not apply.

3. Please sit on the seat (as opposed to standing above it), so as to avoid missing the opening and hitting the seat. The person after you has to use that seat and you are only perpetuating the problem by making a mess of the seat.

4. I have no idea how it is anatomically possible to get a "smudge" on the front of the seat, but however it is you manage that, please don't do it!

5. If, somehow, you miss the opening and get something on the seat, please use a piece of toilet tissue to wipe it up. I don't care if you think it's gross. It's your mess, clean it up. Honestly, would you treat your toilet at home this way? I didn't think so.

6. Please flush - always.

7. After flushing, please make sure everything goes down before leaving the stall. If not, flush again.

8. Please do not leave pieces of tissue strewn across the floor. I can't quite figure out the purpose or reason for this, but it does not make for a pleasant experience for the next person if they have to walk the maze, trying to avoid getting a piece stuck on their shoe.

9. Please wash your hands. I don't care if you don't think it's unnecessary. It is necessary. Trust me on this one.

10. When washing your hands, if the sinks are directly across from the stalls, please be considerate and don't use the mirror to peer through the stall door cracks. Really, why would you want to see that anyway?

11. Please try to avoid splashing water all over the vanity and floor.

12. If you do splash water all over the vanity, please take a paper towel and wipe it up. Otherwise the next person who comes along and sets their purse or child on the counter ends up with a purse or child with a wet bottom.

13. Please be sure you do not have anything greasy, grimy, wet, or otherwise gross on your hands before opening the door. The next person has to use that same handle and doesn't want your grime on their hands.

14. If you are a guy, please zip up before you leave the room - not as you leave and not after you leave - before. And washing your hands is not such a bad idea either.

Thank you for abiding by these simple rules. I am sure this will go a long way toward helping us all live more peacefully together. At the very least it would make the Geekwif a happier girl.


Prayers for Dillon

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Heather, whose blog I read regularly, has asked for prayers for her cousin's little boy Dillon. He has a rare disease called Alstrom Syndrome which is incurable and terminal. She has asked for prayers for him and I would like to pass this request along to anyone who might be reading. I know I don't have a huge readership, but I absolutely believe in the power of prayer and I'm asking you to join me as I join Heather in praying for him.

The Bible says, "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (Matthew 18:19,20) I'm confident that if "two or three come together" in cyberspace, it counts just as much as if they gather in a room. It's the "in my name" part that matters.

The comments flooding in on her blog indicate that people are praying and at least one other has already added this request to her blog. So, please pick up the torch and pray for this little boy, and if you have a blog of your own, maybe you will want to encourage your readers to pray as well. I would love to read a story of a miraculous healing over at Heather's blog one of these days.


A Place to Rest

Monday, July 25, 2005

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I've never really felt at home in our current house. We purchased with the intention of fixing it up and updating it in order to sell it for a profit later. That is precisely what we've done. We are now on the search for a buyer for what has become a lovely little house that someone will be able to call home.

Things have been said about home such as "Home is where the heart is," and that is certainly true. I do feel that my home is wherever my husband is. I'd rather be in a little old house in the hood with him than a nice new house in the country without him any day. In that way, this house has been home, because it's been a temporary resting place for the two of us together. But the operating word there is temporary.

Growing up, I never lived anyplace more than 5 years, and by the time I graduated high-school I had lived in 12 different houses. In our 12 years of marriage, we've lived in 3 different places. I'm so tired of
temporary. I'm ready for permanent.

Maybe rather than saying that I've never felt "at home" in this house, I should say that I've never felt settled. I've never felt like I could really sink back and rest. No matter how much I update and decorate, no matter how cute it is or how many flowers I stencil in the kitchen, there has always been that nagging thought underlying it all. "This is only temporary. Don't get too comfortable here because you're really only doing this so someone else can enjoy the place."

The home we are building is going to be permanent. We plan to grow old in this home. I know, "The best laid plans of mice and men...", but I finally feel like there is rest on the horizon. I can see it and I'm running toward it as fast as I can make my feet go. There are obstacles, but I'm still moving forward. They may slow me down, but by the grace of God, they will not stop me.

In the midst of these thoughts, I happened across a blog by a young mother named Shannon. She wrote a recent post about making your house a home. In it, she challenged her readers to make a list of 10 words or phrases that make you feel at home. (I'd love to see your lists! Feel free to comment with your list or a link to your list on your blog.) In light of our current situation, I thought this would be a fitting time to make my own list - in no particular order.

1) sunlight pouring through the windows and saturating the house
2) comfortable, cushy reading nooks (books included, of course)
3) the smell of fresh, clean, outdoor air
4) tall, old, gnarly trees
5) soft fabrics
6) kitties curled up nearby or in my lap
7) the sound of rain falling on the rooftop
8) the yummy scent of fresh-baked goodies
9) cuddling and/or conversing with my sweet Geek
10) a beautiful view of God's creation outside my window

Looking back over this list, every one of these things will be incorporated into our new home. It seems too good to be true. I'm almost afraid to believe it because it might get snatched away from me, but we own the land now and we are moving forward with the steps necessary to start building. By the end of this year, we will live in our home - the home we built together and will live in together for the rest of our lives. I can already feel myself beginning to rest.


Weathering the Storm

Saturday, July 23, 2005

This morning started like any other Saturday. It was a bit cloudy out. In keeping with my morning routine, I sat down at my Mac and checked It said it was cloudy (duh) with a 30% chance of precipitation and scattered thunderstorms in the area. Yeah whatever. Lately we've seen a lot of that kind of forecast. It means that it will alternate between cloudy and sunny all day, and if we're lucky maybe we'll get a fraction of an inch of rain. I didn't think much of it.

My Geek was out taking a class today, and I had some errands to run before going bead shopping with Blond Girl and her friend, Smoothie this afternoon. While I was getting ready to go, I called Little B who had been trying to get in touch with me all week. Our conversation continued on my cell phone as I left to run my errands. (Ah, the wonders of technology.)

As I traveled down the highway toward Blockbuster where I was going to return a PS2 game (Psychonauts - really cool game, by the way. And yes, I do play video games. I am the wif of a Geek afterall.), the sky changed abruptly from light gray to pitch black. I expressed my surprise at this to Little B and thought how it was strange to be under such a black sky with only a sprinkling of rain.

When I arrived at Blockbuster (still on the phone with LB and it was still just sprinkling), I snatched the closest parking spot (no more than 50 feet from the return slot), grabbed my keys and the game, locked my car door, and proceeded to the return slot by the door. By the time I turned around to head back to my car (remember, 50 feet - that's what, like 10 seconds??!!) the sky was dumping rain like God had just unplugged his tub and his bathwater was dumping out all over us. This was not mere rain. It was far more than a downpour. Deluge might work. Torrential rain, may cut it - maybe.

The wind was insane. There were large boxes flying across the lot. Not rolling, flying. They weren't touching the ground. There was a guy chasing a green shopping cart that was blowing across the parking lot from the Rainbow about a block away. He was pitifully losing the race as the cart was traveling faster than I would drive my car through any parking lot. Then, when I got about 10 feet from my car, the hail started. Yup hail, thwacking me in the face. Kind of like those hara-kiri-ing aphids I encountered in my garden, but without the suicide aspect.

There were some teenage girls running to the car next to mine. The girl in the passenger seat and I arrived about the same time and I didn't even let her open the door first like I might normally. It was survival of the fittest, baby. Every man for himself. I got my door unlocked first so I got in the car first. Of course I couldn't get my door closed tight because the wind was blowing so hard against my open door that I couldn't pull against it.

I started the car and immediately realized that I would be crazy to drive in this. I'm no coward, but driving in this would be just plain stupidity. The teen girls drove off. I hope they made it home safely. I, on the other hand, told LB I would call her back in a couple minutes (I didn't want to get my cell phone wet), grabbed my purse and made a mad dash for the Blockbuster door. I must have sounded crazy to Little B since she couldn't see what I was freaking out about. I have no idea what I was saying to her all that time. I was experiencing survival mode like I never have before.

I entered Blockbuster drenched from head to toe and asked the guys behind the counter if I could hang out there until the storm calmed down a bit. They said yes, by all means and directed me toward a chair I could use. I think they might have actually pulled out the chair and brought me an ottoman if I'd asked.

I called Little B back and told her what was going on as I walked around the store. (The "chair" was more of a wooden box and too close to a wall of windows for my comfort.) She got all excited. "I'll check the Weather Channel to see what's happening!" LB is happiest when she's helping others. I learned that it was a beautiful sunny day in Tennessee and the humidity in Texas was 97%. Finally she said, "Ooh here's something about your storm!

"Yeah, that's really bad."

Thanks B. Real helpful.

So she talked me through the storm. "Well, it's hit St. Cloud now so it should pass up the city pretty soon." She was right. Shortly thereafter the wind died down. It was still pouring rain, but it was safe to leave. I thanked the guys behind the desk. They wished me luck and hoped I'd stay dry. Yeah, good luck with that.

This afternoon Blond Girl, Smoothie and I swapped storm stories. Between that and bead shopping, we had a great afternoon, and since none of us were hurt, it turned out to be a beautiful day despite the storm.


Refrigerator Poetry

Friday, July 22, 2005

Yesterday we had our house appraised. The appraiser was very nice and very professional as he scoured every room, every nook, every cranny of what has been our home for the past 8 years. Normally I might consider this an invasion of my personal space (I'm fiercely protective of my personal space, whether it be my home or the 3 foot bubble around my person), but I've never really felt connected to this place. It's been a home because it's where my husband and our cats live, nothing more.

We bought this house with the intention of fixing it up and building some equity, and that's exactly what we've done. It's been more of a business venture than a nest. The good part is that this business venture is allowing us to build our "home, sweet, home". But that's not what this post is about. I'll write on that topic another time.

While the appraiser was in my kitchen, he noticed the magnetic poetry on my refrigerator. It completely covers the freezer door - completed poems on the left - unused words on the right, organized into nouns, verbs, adjectives, prepositions, articles, etc. (Note: it drives me nuts when people come and messLink up my magnetic poetry. Play with it - fine. Make your own poem - great. Put a noun in the preposition area - get out of my house now!) He told me that he knows the guy who invented magnetic poetry. Or should I say Magnetic Poetry®. Yup, the guy's a millionaire now. We agreed that we both wish we had thought of it first.

I remember the first time I encountered MP. I was mall shopping with my friend, Little B. As we approached Brookstone, I saw this sheet of metal on an easel with little words all over it. I was immediately drawn to it as if I was a giant magnet myself. Little B was abandoned to shop Brookstone without me. If I had been conscious of anything but those magnetized words, I would have felt horrible for leaving her to shop by herself, but I was completely mesmerized by those amazing little words.

I never bought a set for myself (I can never buy anything for myself without feeling horribly guilty) but I have received two sets as Christmas gifts - one from the Scholar, and one from Blond Girl - so now they are plastered all over my freezer door and I write a poem now and then when I can take the time to do so. I'm lamenting having to take them down soon so we can move them to the next place. All that reorganization will be a pain and tearing apart my beloved poems will be heart-breaking.
So today I share with you my magnetic poems, plus two by guest poets. In honor of my guests, I will start with theirs. Please note that the seemingly ill-placed spaces are where a new magnet was used for a prefix or suffix.

First, a poem by Mr. AD.

I like to drive our car with chocolate

and an egg and water on a trip to the
enormous smell ly & repulsive lake of peach es

And one by the Geek (a guest to my freezer door studio, even though his home is mine)

can you see the cool blue void

lie ing behind my languid dreams

And finally, my own poems

but for my man I could not say

what mad storm would manipulate

the wind within me

I recall spring love

as we whisper like sea spray

together under the diamond moon

I may drool in my sleep
but I do not scream

a thousand red rose s

like honey when crush ed

sing to a sweet purple sky

eternity shine s

and the sun let s me run

delirious ly in it s luscious light

a powerful forest love s a winter y gown

but summer s delicate dress is for me

these are the mist y white shadow s

who live only in vision s
moment s of weak ness


Where's My Focus?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

I told the Geek about the crackling weeds story. He chuckled mischievously and said, "Maybe there were cherubim in there." I rolled my eyes, "Riiight." I blew it off since I knew he was being sarcastic, but this morning as I was working in my yard I started thinking about it again.

For anyone to whom that cherubim statement made no sense at all, I will explain. My Geek and I are active members at our church - quite active actually as he is an associate pastor. People at our church tend to get excited really easily. I have no problem with that. Having grown up in Charismatic/Evangelical Christian churches, I'm pretty used to it. Cool stuff happens at our church sometimes and I get excited too, but I am more particular than some about what's worth getting excited over and I don't show my excitement outwardly very often. For better or worse, that's the way I am.

One of the things that people get really excited about is angels. Cherubim are a type of angel. Everyone at our church knows that the word "cherubim" is translated literally, "crackling ones". (Thus the Geek's wisecrack.) Supposedly they "crackle" in the presence of God. I'm not actually positive that this is true. I'm not saying it's not, I just don't know. I looked up "cherubim" in Strong's Concordance and it didn't say anything about crackling ones, but somewhere along the line someone said this and whether it's true or not, it stuck. I'm not terribly concerned about the truth of it, because it's not that important. No one's eternal destiny is determined by their definition of "cherubim".

Now here's where I get a little philosophical. While I don't think the literal translation of cherubim really matters, I do tend to get frustrated by what I see as people's excessive fascination with angels. Don't misunderstand me. I believe that angels exist. It's intriguing to know that there are supernatural things going on all around us. I think that angels serve a vital purpose on the earth.

And that's my point - they serve a purpose.

Angels are messengers. (That is a literal translation - angel=messenger - I know because my Geek told me so and he has a degree in Biblical Languages. Not bragging, just a fact.) They are God's work force - his henchmen, so to speak. They do His bidding among us whether it is keeping us from harm, gently nudging us toward a person in need, or just plain getting our attention. They are NOT to be worshipped (the Bible is very clear on this point!) and while I don't think people in my church worship angels, they sometimes step just one foot too close in that direction for my comfort.

Angels are another part of God's creation. He made them just like he made us. I suppose it's ok to get excited about angels - kind of like we would get excited if aliens came to earth. We wouldn't worship them (well, most of us wouldn't) but it would be pretty exciting in a "this doesn't happen every day" kind of way. But aside from that, it makes no sense to me to get that excited about something that is created by God just like us and is around us every day, even if we can't see them.

The leadership of our church understands the purpose of angels. I've heard it said from the pulpit that when we believe an angel is nearby (some people see them, some "sense" them, some even hear them) we should ask God what it's purpose is. Why is it here and what should my response be? Do I need to trust God in a scary situation because he sent His angel to protect me? Is there a person in need nearby that I can help? Have I gotten off track a bit and God is using an angel to get my attention and/or guide me back on track?

Frankly, if I'm going to get excited about anything at church or in my day-to-day life, I'd far rather it be about God. He's the Creator, not the created. He made the entire universe - stars, planets, plants, animals, people, me, the whole bit. As far as I know, an angel never made anything.

I hope this isn't too "preachy". I know I haven't talked a lot about my faith in this blog yet. It's the core of who I am so even if it doesn't blatantly appear in my posts it's always in my mind. This post is really just a random thought passing through my head that got a little out of control. I never want to forget what's really important, but it's easy to let your eyes wander in strange directions sometimes.

I guess what I'm saying is that if others can shift their focus to something less important than God, whether it be angels or some other distraction, then I could certainly do the same. I just want to keep my focus where it belongs.


What's Your First Memory?

Blond Girl asked this question in yesterday's post. As her friend, I feel that I should answer it. Ok, and it gives me something to do at 4:45 am since I can't sleep anyway. Hopefully the sound of keys tapping won't wake up my sweet sleeping Geek. He's a very light sleeper and it's happened before.

I suspect most, if not all of my early memories are a hybrid of actual memories and stories my mom tells. She loves to talk about me (I am an only child) and she loves to walk down Memory Lane on a regular basis so I hear stories about myself from her lips quite often. I usually try to judge if it is my memory or hers by whether or not I have a picture of the event stored away in my mind. Of course, this is not a guarantee either since I visualize pretty much everything I hear or read.

I have two very early memories and I am not sure which came first. One is of pictures lining hallways, like in a gallery. What makes this memory unique is that the pictures were all made of colorful "Indian Corn". I told Hot Rod Mama about this once, and she said that was the Corn Palace somewhere in South Dakota. We visited it when I was little but I'm not sure how old I was.

The other early memory I have is from when I was three. It was a blizzardy day and Hot Rod Mama took me out to the Piggly Wiggly (grocery store) which I think was a few blocks away. I remember walking out the door and thinking that the wind might actually blow me away. There is no fear in the memory, although I might have been scared at the time - I don't know. I remember being on a sled as she pulled me across the snow to the store.

While we were there she let me pick a book. It was a Little Golden Book with a mostly blue cover and that definitive gold foil binding. Like Blond Girl, I don't remember the name of the book. I don't even remember the contents of it. I've always loved books. Mom says when I was a baby I would throw all the dolls and toys out of my playpen and sit and "read" a book (even if it was upside down).

The next thing I remember (which Mom has told me was the same day) was sitting on my bed next to her and reading the book. She let me do the reading as she underlined all the words I could read by myself. I do remember seeing the lines under those words as she wrote them in, so I'm pretty sure this is a genuine memory, but HRM does like to tell this story. She loves to brag about how smart I was. I say it's because she read to me constantly.

Well, it's now 5:11 am and I've been awake since 3:45. I think I'll go try to get a few more zzzzs before waking up for good.

Or maybe I'll go read a book....


Great Expectations

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

With five cats, we go through an awful lot of cat food and kitty litter. I have become one of Petco's best customers. Today, I was out shopping and stopped at a Petco that I have never been to before. (There are about 10 of them in the Metro area.)

Normally, I don't have any problem walking through doors. I've been doing this for over 30 years now and have gotten pretty good at it. I'm especially good with those new-fangled automatic doors. Have you seen them? They open up when you approach them. It's crazy, I tell you. Yup, I can walk right through that door without a hitch.

So like I said, normally I don't have a problem with doors. Apparently today was the exception. As I approached the glass door it slid right open for me (like those doors in Star Trek - really space-agey) and I walked through just fine.

I found myself in a small space - maybe 7 x 7 feet - that was all glassed in. There was another fancy Euro2000AutoDoor directly in front of me, so I stepped forward fully expecting it to open for me. It did not. I almost smacked my face right into it. My first thought was "stupid disfunctional door", so I stepped back, and then stepped forward again. Again it didn't open. How frustrating!

This was about the time I actually looked at the door and realized it had a huge sign at eye level that looked something like this.
The sign was at least as big as my head and let me tell you, I do not have a puny noggin.

So, I was already starting to feel a little annoyed, embarrassed, and flustered at this point. I turned to my right, because that's what right-handed people do, and I saw another door. This one had a handle, so I started to pull. Yes, it seemed a little strange that it wasn't another SuperEuro3000AutoDoor, but remember, I was flustered and all this happened in a very short span of time, so I wasn't really taking the time to think over what the door should look like. I got that door open about 1 inch when I realized that the doggy salon lady was looking at me funny from the other side of the door while she brushed the long-haired society dog who looked at me as if to say, "Daahling, what are you doing? Can't you see I'm getting my hair coiffed?"

It didn't take long to let that door go. Now, since this was a rectangular room, there was only one option left. I turned around and there it was. The door that would actually open for me. I have never felt such relief to see a door open as I passed over it's SuperEuroTech4000SubterraneanSensors as I did this time.

It took a second to find the shopping carts - they weren't where I expected to see them - but I did find them. I finished my shopping and got to my car relatively unscathed. Upon emptying the cart, I realized that
a) there was only one cart corral, and the store was closer to me than it was, and
b) I was planning on going to the store next door anyway, so I might as well just return it to the front of the store. I got to the curb break, but the curb side was just slightly higher than the road side. I ran into it expecting to run right up on the curb smoothly. Instead, the cart stopped and I didn't. SLAM, my stomach hit the cart handle. Uggh. So, I tried again, knowing the cart had to go over it, and after three tries (I only hit my stomach the first time) it finally did.

I have no doubt that I was the best entertainment the employees of that Petco have seen in a long time. I'm sure there was some laughter in the lunchroom today. ("Did you see that woman who couldn't figure out the doors and then brought the cart back to the door and couldn't get it up the curb today? It was hilarious! I laughed myself silly!") I can't blame them. I'd probably have done the same thing.


Seeing Stars

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

I was outside in the heat pulling giant weeds again. Now I'm seeing stars. Yup, that's right. Every time I close my eyes something like this waits behind them.

It's vaguely star-shaped, right?

So now I've got good news and bad news. The good news is that the weeds are all gone now. Well, most of them anyway. It took a few days work but they are gone. Woo hoo!! The house is basically ready to sell. I'll mow tomorrow and clean up around the house a bit, and the appraiser is coming on Thursday, but then it's ready.

The bad news is that I've got nothing. Blogwise and brain-power-wise that is. Sorry folks, the weeding took it all out of me - in buckets of sweat. Perhaps tomorrow I will be able to sit down for a bit and finish a promising post which I started a while ago, but for now, my poor old bones - and brain - need some rest.


Revenge of the Invisible Garden Creatures (or The Many Uses of Water in a Garden)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

I should be painting the bedroom floor right now. I should be grocery shopping right now. I should be reading books about building a home right now. I should be making phone calls right now.

But I'm not. I will be soon. I just had to post this because I have had a rather harrowing experience this morning.

One thing I have learned about preparing to sell a home - especially when you are painting the house. It takes time. It takes a lot of time. In fact, it is virtually all-consuming. My garden has borne the brunt of that undertaking. I now have weeds as tall as me. You think I'm joking, but I'm not. They are literally as tall as me. My poor pretty white lilies are hidden in them - or at least they were until this morning.

I went out to continue the task which I started yesterday of pulling those wicked towering weeds. I armed myself with tools: the shovel which is of no use against soil as hard as rock, the trowel which is the equivalent of tearing down a mountain with a tablespoon, and my clippers, in case I needed to lop off the top of Jack's beanstalk along the way. The only tool that actually came in useful was the kneeling pad my parents gave me a couple years ago. Yes, the weeds were tall, but I've found the best way to kill a giant is by tripping him up at his feet.

So I knelt down and started pulling from the feet, very happy to find that the first patch of weeds was coming out cleanly by the roots. I love the very satisfying thwip of roots releasing themselves from soil.

After pulling a few weeds, I heard a strange noise - like a very quiet crackling. What was that?!! I've never heard a sound like that in my garden before! My mind immediately went to bugs of some kind. The one thing I truly despise about gardening is the bugs. I love most of the rest (with the possible exception of the weeds) but I really really hate the bugs. But what would make a noise like this?

By this time the crackling had stopped. I told myself I was just being paranoid and there was no crackling, so I continued to pull the next giant from it's foothold.

crackle crackle crackle

Aaaaccchh!! What IS that??!!

I peered into the forest of weeds, but couldn't see anything. Once again, the crackling stopped. I tried again with the same results. Crackle with every pull of a weed. Silence when I stopped.

I remembered the aphids I found on my rose (on the other side of the yard) yesterday and went to take a look. They were still there. I had sprayed them with a hose as forcibly as I dared so as not to damage the new flower buds, but the stupid little devil bugs were still there.

Aphids, I have found, are a huge pain in the butt. Not only that, but they look like they came straight from the depths of Hades. For those who may not be familiar with them, they are tiny little greenish-white bugs that hang out on your plants and eat them. I won't post a picture here - for the same reason Gandalf wouldn't speak the language of Mordor in the Shire - but if you are morbidly curious, here is a link to a picture of them. They are vicious little things and I both hate them and am totally freaked out by them.

Have you ever noticed that the creepiest of the creepiest bugs are the white ones? Those white spiders that hang out in my basement are the worst. It's like they spend so much time in dark places that they never develop any pigment. They are white - almost transparent - and they look like the minions of hell.

Anyway, the thought occurred to me that maybe there were aphids in those crackling weeds, so I went to take a closer look. Lo and behold, there they were. Those tiny greenish white bumps on the leaves that are hardly noticeable until they start crackling. The only problem was that I've never heard aphids crackle before.

I thought maybe they were jumping each time I pulled a weed, and the multitudes of aphids jumping simultaneously made the crackling noise. I've never seen aphids jump before, but I suppose that does not rule out the possiblility that they could. I could just see them in my mind's eye. "Oh no! Another one - the horrible monstrous creature is pulling another of our green leafy towers! Jump! Jump for your lives!!!"

Or perhaps it was more like this. "Here she comes. She's coming in for another strike! Attack!!! Attaaaaaackkk!!!!" That explained it best of all. The crackling was the sound of tiny aphid gunshots attacking me! Yeah, I think I've watched a bit too much Sci Fi lately.

I determined that I was going to win the fight against these creepy little creatures, so I just grabbed a handful of weed and pulled with all my might.

That was a mistake. The little suckers started hara-kiri-ing me! I was immediately assaulted with a bombardment of invisible ammo hitting my face. I felt it like teeny tiny pebbles spattering my face, but I saw nothing.

That was it. I'd had it. I wiped off my face with my oversize t-shirt, choosing not to dwell on the fact that it was probably covered with the aphids that were probably stuck to my face, and headed for the big guns. I had read that you can spray aphids off of your plants with a good spray of water (as I did with the rose yesterday) so I grabbed the garden hose, screwed on the sprayer attachement, and dragged it over to the weedy, aphid-infested garden bed.

And I sprayed the heck out of those little buggers. There were no rosebuds to be careful of, only weeds that were going to be pulled anyway, so I sprayed like there was no tomorrow. I probably looked like a crazy woman watering my weeds. I half expected a neighbor to wander out and ask why I was watering the weeds, but they must have all been sleeping in today. Of course I did the same thing when pulling weeds yesterday, but that is because, as every good gardener knows, weeds pull out of wet soil much easier than dry. (Consider this your goodwill gardening tip for the day.)

When I decided that the aphids had probably had enough, I put down the garden hose and started pulling the now-wet-and-soggy weeds.

No crackle. Aahhhh. (As opposed to Aaaaacccchhhh!!!!) The sweet silence. There were a couple of creepy crawly spiders, but they moved along fast enough once the light of day penetrated their hiding places.

It was a battle, but this time I won.

Geekwif 1
Aphids 0


The Insanity Has Begun!

Well, ye ole blog has been a bit erratic as of late. I apologize for this. My time is taken up with getting this old house ready to sell. We have given ourselves a goal of having it ready to show this week and it's not there yet.

There is also much to do to prepare for building the next home, starting with reading my handy dandy books, The Complete Guide to Contracting Your Home, Be Your Own House Contractor, the Natural Spaces Domes Home Building Information & Product Literature, and the Natural Spaces Domes Construction Manual. How exciting is my summer reading list?

Yes, we are contracting our own home. Yes, I am nervous, but I think I can do it. Yes, I have a lot of reading to do. Yes, the blog may suffer for it. I will keep it up as much as I can, but unfortunately, I may have to do some filler posts for a while.

On Sunday, we did stop by the lot where we will be building and took some pictures. I will be posting those as soon as I can get them prepped. Hopefully in the next day or two.


The Dome Geeks

Monday, July 11, 2005

I started thinking that there are some of you out there who might only be here for the dome home updates. It occurred to me that you might not want to have to wade through the sea of my insanity trying to find the dome updates, so I have spun off a new blog.

The Dome Geeks will be a joint effort between the Geek and myself. We will post updates and pictures of the dome building process there. This is for our friends and family to be able to keep up with our progress even when they can't be near to see it first hand. It is also for anyone who might be interested in the process of building a home, or especially in the process of building a dome home. I hope you will find it interesting.

I have added to the new blog edited versions of the dome entries that I have posted thus far. Future posts about the dome will ONLY go on the new Dome Geeks blog. For those who might be interested in both, I will add a note when I make an update so you know it is there.


5 Cats and a Purple Room

Saturday, July 09, 2005

In a comment to my 100 things post, Vicky asked for pics of my purple living room. I don't have any pictures of the room. I'd take some with my handy dandy digital, but the room's an embarrassing mess right now. What I do have, however are some pics of my cats with the living room in the background. So I get to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak - show off my beloved kitty cats and my pretty purple living room in one fell sweep.



BeethovenBeethoven (gazing down over his domain)

MozartMozart (on his favorite top step perch)


And while I'm at it, I have to show off my pretty kitchen too. Blond Girl helped me with the hydrangea stencils. This is the cats' favorite window. They have a great view of a shrub in the neighbor's yard that is always packed with sparrows.

Mozart in the window.

I try not to talk about my cats too much - I don't want to make people sick or bore them to death - but, you know, I had to show off my pretty house. Just keeping the readers happy.


The Fish and Fishwife's Great Adventure

Friday, July 08, 2005

There is something you need to know about me to understand parts of the following post. "In person" (as opposed to by blog), I am not a particularly social person. That does not mean I am not friendly. It does not mean I don't like people. It does mean that I am not gifted in verbal communication and that makes it hard to meet and get to know new people. I could write an entire lengthy post about this, but this is not the time. (If I did, it might be called, "Introverts Are People Too.) This post is not about me. It's about two people who have become very important to me.

Their names - for the purposes of this blog - are the Fish and Fishwife. They are my husband's parents. I don't like to call them my "in-laws". That term carries a stigma in my mind which insinuates that I am forced by law to get along with them because they are related to my husband. I am one of the fortunate ones who gets along famously with my husband's family. They are great people and I love them like my own family.

From the first time I met them, which was shortly after we were engaged (which was not long after we met - another story for another time), they welcomed me in and treated me like family. The truly amazing part is that I don't remember ever feeling uncomfortable around them. I always feel uncomfortable around people when I first meet them. This is an incredibly rare thing for me.

I say all this to emphasize how important they are to me - and how much I will miss them for the next two years.

Just a few short months after we got married, they moved to the opposite end of the country. We are about as far north as you can go in the US - they were as far south as you can go in the US. We visited them every other year for Christmas and they would come up here once every year or two. Despite the fact that we didn't see them very often, I have always felt at home when we visit them and always enjoy their company.

Three years ago they went on a short-term missions trip to Peru with a group from their church. They immediately fell in love with the local people. They went back the following year and decided they wanted to spend more than a week or two there. They made plans to go right after the Fish's retirement. He retired earlier this year.

They came back up here in the spring and stayed with her parents (my Geek's grandparents) for a few months. It was nice to have them here. We spent a lot of time with them and the Scholar (Geek's sister who also moved back recently from another state) - lots of dinners together at Perkins. It's been a great few months.

Yesterday they left for Florida. They will stay there for about a week and then they leave for Peru - for two years. Depending on money, jobs, flight fares, etc., we may or may not see them until they get back. I'm sure the time will fly by, but we will miss them while they are gone.

On the other hand, I am so proud of them. They never really struck me as missionary types before, but they are going in the true love of Christ. They will be helping the poorest of the poorest of the poor while they are there, living among them. The people they will work with are outcasts - mostly disabled people who were abandoned to this town because they were too much of a burden to their families. The Fish and Fishwife saw a need, chose to see these people through eyes of compassion, and are there to serve. I believe that is the true call of a missionary - to serve the people in their everyday needs in the love and compassion of Christ.

I respect them more than I can say for choosing to do this, despite the cost and the fact that there is no glory in it for them - no return on their investment but the gratitude of the people they have learned to love. I hope they have a wonderful experience in Peru, and I can't wait to hear all the stories they will have to share about the beautiful people they meet there.


My 100 Things - (Formerly known as the "Ace up my Sleeve")

Thursday, July 07, 2005

This was supposed to be done before Blond Girl, but I was too slow. And to make it worse, her life is SO much more interesting than mine! I don't have cute feet. I've never dated anyone on the internet. I don't count the laundry as I put it in the dryer.

Well, she did say some awfully nice things about me, so I suppose I'll have to forgive her.

Anyway, here are the 100 most interesting things I could think of about me. I hope you don't fall asleep.

1. I am married to a professional computer geek.
2. We got married the day after Christmas in 1992.
3. We were very young
4. I have never been on a date with anyone but the Geek.
5. Only one person asked and I turned him down.
6. My Geek and I met in August and got married in December of the same year.
7. We have a great marriage.
8. We have five cats.
9. Their names are Maestro, Diva, Beethoven, Mozart, and YoYo.
10. We call them Ro, Do, To, Mo, and Yo - in that order.
11. We also call them Furball, Sweetie, Fuzzball, Squirrelly, and Squirmy - in that order.
12. I'm an at-home vegetarian.
13. I've found it's difficult to eat vegetarian at restaurants and other people's homes.
14. I like writing refrigerator poetry.
15. I'll probably blog about the Magnetic Poetry on my fridge sometime.
16. I write songs.
17. I started playing violin when I was two years old.
18. I still play, but not as well as I think I should.
19. I play violin on the worship team at our church.
20. I also play flute, bass guitar and piano - none of them very well.
21. I have a purple living room.
22. When I was 19, I wore mostly shades of green and brown.
23. When I was 19, I wanted to have a boy and a girl someday with the names Willow and Aspen.
24. I have forgotten which name was for a girl and which was for a boy.
25. I love to garden.
26. I hate weeding, but I find it very satisfying when a weed comes out cleanly by the roots.
27. I love fresh veggies with no chemicals on them.
28. The Geek and I want to work towards being as self-sufficient as possible.
29. We're considering having a windmill or solar power to supplement our power supply.
30. We just sound crazy. We're really not.
31. I suppose number 30 is subjective.
32. I am an utterly devoted Christian.
33. I am an utterly devoted wife.
34. I am a mostly devoted Mac user.
35. I would never use Windows if I hadn't spent mega bucks on Photoshop before I got my Mac.
36. I sell Longaberger Baskets.
37. I am NOT a sales person by nature.
38. I only do this to feed my habit.
39. I love my digital camera.
40. I take WAY too many pictures of my cats.
41. My favorite clothing store is J. Jill.
42. I hardly own any clothes from there because it's too expensive.
43. My favorite ice cream is Breyer's Natural Vanilla.
44. I like it without any toppings.
45. My second favorite ice cream is Hagen Daaz Creme Brulee.
46. I think they discontinued that flavor. I can't find it anywhere.
47. We're building a dome home this year.
48. I'm the general contractor.
49. I don't know anything about building houses.
50. My grandma was one of my very favorite people in all the world.
51. My Geek is my very favorite.
52. Grandma died last year.
53. She was in 92.
54. I visited her for a couple weeks every summer from the time I was four until I was thirteen.
55. I rode the Greyhound bus by myself every year.
56. Things were a lot different then.
57. The fan that was in her living room while we played games back then, is now in my bedroom.
58. I really like the movie "Under the Tuscan Sun".
59. I have often thought that I might have moved somewhere far away on a whim if I hadn't gotten married when I did.
60. The reality is I wouldn't have because I'm too practical.
61. My husband does not think I'm practical.
62. He's probably right.
63. I really like living in the US, despite it's problems.
64. I hate the media.
65. They drive me crazy with their lies.
66. I hate talking politics.
67. I don't watch the news.
68. The news is worse than a scary movie because it's real.
69. I sometimes wonder how much of movies could be unintentionally prophetic.
70. When I was a little girl I used to wonder if I would ever wake up and realize that my entire life was just a dream.
71. I really like the first "Matrix" movie.
72. Based on #70, you can see why it freaked me out a little though.
73. I have an overactive imagination.
74. That can be good or bad, depending on how far I let it go.
75. I love smelly things like lotions and perfumes.
76. I have a lot of friends who are allergic to smelly things.
77. When I was 13, my favorite color was purple.
78. People thought I was a Prince fan, but I didn't have a single Prince album.
79. I never saw Purple Rain.
80. People are very protective of me.
81. A work friend's boyfriend once told her he would kill someone with his bare hands if they hurt me.
82. She wasn't jealous because he didn't have a crush on me.
83. I think it was just because I came off as a defenseless wimp.
84. I once went on an 8-hour hike in the Rocky Mountains with three guys.
85. I wasn't going to go, but someone told me I couldn't make it, so I went.
86. It was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life.
87. After sitting for a few minutes when we got back, I couldn't stand up again.
88. Someone had to carry me around the rest of the evening.
89. I was fine again in the morning.
90. I want to do that hike again, but I get tired after going up and down the stairs twice now.
91. I love to do crafty things.
92. Blond Girl keeps introducing me to new crafts.
93. She is responsible for my stamping and beading habits.
94. She is also responsible for all the scrapbooking stuff I have in a box waiting for me to use it.
95. I'll miss craft-shopping with her when she moves to another state.
96. I'll miss Sweet Girl just as much as I miss her mom.
97. I hate chocolate.
98. I don't like strawberries.
99. I'm really not a picky eater.
100. You've got to be kidding me! I actually came up with 100 things about me! Whooda thunkit.


The Little Thief!

I've been robbed!!! Blond Girl stole my Ace!!! She reached up my sleeve and stole it!!!
First she stole my ABCs, and now she stole my ACE! This is so far beyond retribution for the IKEA thing! She's crossed the line this time. In fact, she is so far past the line, she can't even see the line! The line is a dot to her!

Nevermind that it was a secret Ace and she doesn't even know she stole it. Never mind that she got her 100 things done while I was fighting to think of 100 things that are even mildly interesting about me.

I lost the Ace up my sleeve!!! Now what am I gonna do?


WOW - PG-13 My Butt!!!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

There is something you may or may not know about me, depending on if you actually know me, or if you only know me by my blog.

I am NOT a scary movie person!!!

It does not take much to scare me and when it does, one of two things is likely to happen:

1. I will not get to sleep until it's almost time to wake up because my mind is buzzing trying to convince itself that it really was just a movie and it can't happen to me and most people would never do the abominable things portrayed in the movie.
2. I will sleep, but I will have horrifying, wake-you-up-in-a-sweat dreams all night.

I don't know why I'm like that. I just am. So I generally try to avoid those kind of movies. If a movie looks interesting but might be too much for me, my Geek will screen it for me. Over the years he has gotten really good at judging what I can and cannot handle. There is one flaw in my avoidance plan, though - the group movie outing.

When it's just the Geek and me, I can easily veto any movie that I don't think I can handle. He loves me, he knows me, and he understands that I know when I shouldn't watch a certain movie. It's a different story in groups. It's not that my friends and family don't love me. They just don't know me like he does.

For instance, a few years ago we were going to rent a movie and watch it with a couple of friends. They wanted to watch a movie that I did not. I tried to convince them to rent something else, but I was outnumbered. They assured me that it wasn't too gory, so I grudgingly agreed to watch it. I don't remember the name of the movie, but after watching some guy's neck get broken, a girl's hand get severed, among other gory, nasty scenes, I spent the night tossing and turning from nightmares.

I swore I would never let myself be coerced into watching a movie against my wishes again. Tonight I broke that promise. We were out with the Geek's family and they wanted to see War of the Worlds. After they explained to me that it was rated PG-13, I agreed to join them. I have just one question.

HOW is the movie rated PG-13???!!

So as not to go into too much detail, I will just say that it is very graphic. There are times when the entire landscape is painted red. As in blood. PG-13? I don't think so!!

It is time for bed now and I hope to be able to sleep in spite of what I just saw - without nightmares. In closing, if you are also sensitive to terror and gore in movies, do NOT go see this movie! It's just not worth it.


5 Things

It's going to be another beautiful day here in the Metro area and I need to continue making our home beautiful for the person/people who will be buying it - whoever that may be. So, rather than a regular post, here are some things you may or may not already know about me. I will return with your regularly scheduled programming (and hopefully a picture of our landscape plans) tomorrow.

I borrowed this from Leesa who stole it from Stephanie

10 years ago, I....

1. was moving from a teeny tiny apartment to a slightly less tiny apartment.
2. was working at a medical supply company at a job I despised.
3. got my first cat with my husband.
4. had been married for two and a half years.
5. was about 40 lbs lighter than I am now.

5 years ago, I....
1. was very excited over the birth of my goddaughter.
2. was laughing with my computer geek husband at the people who panicked about the Y2K bug.
3. quit the stinky job I hated.
4. started tech school to learn the skills needed for a new career.

5. had not yet been disillusioned by the futility of that education.

Today I ....
1. am a homemaker.
2. will soon be acting as general contractor in the building of our new house.
3. use the skills I learned in tech school occasionally to make a few extra bucks.

4. know that life doesn't always take you where you think you're going.
5. am happy in the life I have with my husband.

Tomorrow, I will....
1. be one day closer to having our house ready to sell.
2. want to camp out on our new lot, just like I wish I could do every day.
3. paint, paint, paint.
4. clean, clean, clean.
5. take my in-laws to the airport for their 2-year missions trip 4000 miles away.

5 Snacks I Enjoy:
1. Breyer's Natural Vanilla Ice Cream
2. Cheez-its
3. tortilla chips dipped in hot refried beans with melted cheese
4. cheese
5. more cheese

5 Songs I know all the words to, even with out the Music:
1. Grace Like Rain by Todd Agnew
2. Gabriela by White Heart
3. Winter Wonderland
4. Silent Night
5. (do Christmas songs count?)

5 Things I would do with $100,000,000:
1. give a tithe
build our home debt-free and pay off other debts
3. buy or build new homes for our parents
4. give to Christian missions

5. invest for the future

Top 5 Locations I'd run away to:
1. our new beautiful lot that I can't wait to live on
2. the Scottish Highlands 300 years ago - minus any wars
3. the Italian countryside
4. a secluded cabin on a river in the Rocky Mountains
5. the Garden of Eden - thousands of years ago, before the fall

5 Bad habits I have:
1. eating more than I am hungry for
2. feeling guilty for everything whether I did or didn't do it

3. putting off washing dishes
4. setting clean laundry on the couch where the cats curl up on it and make it furry
5. blogging and reading blogs too much

5 Things I like Doing:
1. spending time with my husband
2. watching a good brainless romantic comedy
3. reading classic romantic novels

4. beading
5. cooking

5 Things I would Never Wear:
1. animal prints
2. anything peach-colored - it makes my skin look green
3. leather pants
4. ultra frilly anything
5. anything hot pink

TV Shows I like:
1. Firefly (yes, I know it's not on anymore)
2. Babylon 5 (see above)
3. Friends (see above)
4. Seinfeld (see above)
5. Battlestar Galactica (the new one)

5 Movies I like:
1. Under the Tuscan Sun
2. 13 Going on 30

3. Ever After
4. So I Married An Axe Murderer
5. Pride and Prejudice

5 Famous people I'd like to Meet:
1. Jesus
2. John (Jesus' disciple)
3. President George W. Bush
4. First Lady Laura Bush

5. Nichole Nordeman

5 Biggest Joys at the Moment:
1. my husband
2. peace in God
3. our new lot and the home we're building on it
4. our goddaughter
5. the hope of glory


Monday, July 04, 2005

to all my fellow Americans!

Today, let's remember just how good we've got it, and be thankful.


Where's the Popcorn?

Sunday, July 03, 2005

We spent a beautiful day out at the lake yesterday. The Geek's aunt and uncle live in a lake home about an hour and a half away from the bustling metropolis where we live. They hosted an early Indepence Day celebration for the family, so the Geek, the Scholar and I piled into the Scholar's car and headed for the country.

We had a great time! Food, family, and fun on the lake - how much better can it get? After lunch we were all out on the lawn and the kids were playing in the lake. The Scholar and the Fishwife went for a ride on the pontoon. It looked fun and refreshing so the Geek and I decided to do the same. We grabbed two life-jackets, put them on our seats and headed out to make a counter-clockwise turn around the lake.

Peddling was difficult since we were going against the current. There were several boats out on the lake and it was a little windy - factors that added up to a good workout for our legs. There was a small motor (very small) on the pontoon, but we didn't want to use that unless we absolutely had to.

We got out to the middle of the lake and paused for a while. We just basked in the sun, the fresh air, and that peace that can only be found in the center of a lake. It was beautiful. We could hear the laughter of family far behind us on the shore. We saw a magnificent blue-gray bird on the shore ahead of us, so we decided to get a closer look. Peddling again with all our might, we got close enough to see it was a crane, just as it took off into the air.


We turned around and continued our trek back across the lake. By this time our legs were getting pretty tired and we were fighting the current again, so we decided to use the motor. The Geek got off his seat and knelt down, lowered the little motor into the water, and started it. We heard laughter from across the lake - louder than before. We looked across to the family. The kids were jumping up and down in the water, laughing and yelling. Their words got lost on the water, but they sure seemed to be having fun. We figured the adults must be laughing at the children's antics.

As we slowly made our way across the lake, they continued jumping up and down and yelling. The laughter got more and more hilarious the closer we got. What in the world was so funny? We must be missing out on a great joke! We continued to approach the shore, and finally got close enough to hear their words. One of the kids yelled out to us, "How many life-jackets to you have?" I got a little defensive in my mind. I might be a novice on the water, but I do know that you always take one for each person on the boat! I lifted up two fingers like a peace sign. I was still sitting on my jacket and I looked over at the Geek's seat to see the other one.

It wasn't there. I looked at him, thinking maybe he put it on and I didn't notice. He wasn't wearing it. We looked at each other in wonder and horror. The family broke out in gut-busting laughter! The kids screamed, "Behind you, behind you!" We looked behind, and saw a tiny blue dot floating in the weeds - the life-jacket.

Great. Our legs were tired, but we knew what we had to do. One of the kids helped us turn the pontoon around and we headed back to retrieve the fugitive jacket. As we entered the weeds, the peddling got harder and harder. The weeds were mucking up the blades and I began to fear we might destroy their pontoon. Finally, I couldn't peddle any longer, so I switched places with the Geek. He peddled and I ran the motor. We approached the jacket and I reached out nervously and grabbed it, praying desperately that I would not fall off the deck. Cheers sounded from the shore followed by more racous laughter.

The little motor began to get bogged down with the weeds, so the Geek and I traded places again. He cleaned out the motor and we headed back to shore once again, guided by the oldest of the kids as the family just kept laughing. When we finally reached shore, we stood up, grabbed our life-jackets so the wind wouldn't blow them away again, and strode up the hill to face the ribbing we knew we were in for.

They laughed and laughed and told us that was the best entertainment they had experienced in a long time - better than any movie or TV, that's for sure! Later while eating ice cream and resting from our workout on the water, the Fishwife told us that her sister was about to go in and pop some popcorn so they could all be sitting there watching the Geek and Geekwif show when we finally made it ashore.

Well, I'm glad we could be entertaining. I'm sure we'll never live this one down!