What Not To Do...

I love reading and books of all kinds, therefore, I cannot resist stopping to browse through bookstores. While doing that very thing this week, I ran across some quite interesting titles; they all began in a similar manner: "What Not To Do in Polite Company"," What Not To Name Your Baby"," What Not To Do In Love" and "What Not To Do When You Graduate". I HAD to pick up a copy of the "What Not To Name Your Baby" book...just to see if my name was included in it (you know you would do that too!) And just as I had suspected...there it was. The list included the name and then beside it was the "bad side" of naming your child that particular name. I already knew without looking what the "bad side" of mine was; the "nicknames". Barb, Babs and Barbie. OK, so I agree...I HATE ALL of these "nicknames" and always have! Anyone who knows me, KNOWS that they just don't suit me at all! I'm just Barbara...please call me that. However, discovering these books, gave me an idea for another prospective "What Not To" book. It would be called, "What Not To Do As a Mother-in-Law".

Personally, I think that I am not equipped to be a mother-in-law. I believe I am too young and not mature enough yet for the "responsibilities" that go along with the title. OK, maybe it's not the "responsibilities", but my MOUTH! Robby is constantly telling me to "check my attitude"...Hmmm, what's that supposed to mean? I checked and I still have one. I must first state, that I think that we mother-in-laws are a bit misunderstood. You know, like the wicked witch in the play, "Wicked". She was not really wicked (as everyone in "The Wizard of Oz" would have you believe); that was just the perception that people had of her. Anyway, I have a few suggestions that I would include in such a book and they go as follows:

1. Do NOT give your opinion on ANYTHING, even if they ask for it. Because this could be a
trick. And once you have opened your mouth and given your opinion, you can't take it back;
It is yours forever and they will REMEMBER it...they have a "memory like an elephant" and
this one thing may come back to haunt you for years to come.

2. Do NOT be "too nice". Have you ever heard of that old saying (also a song in the play,
"Wicked"), "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished"? ENOUGH SAID!

3. Do NOT tell your son or daughter ANYTHING you would not want repeated, because they
WILL repeat it. And then you are back to "The Elephant Clause".

4. Do NOT expect "time sharing" among the couple's families to be "fair". It will not be and I
have been told many times that, "Life isn't fair". I believe it.

These are just a few of the suggestions that I would have for the book, but I have also learned a thing or two about joining two families. I understand why there are problems adjusting (just as many for the "in-laws" as the newly weds). We are all people coming from different backgrounds and we have all been raised differently...and, of course, we all want our own way (you know, what we consider to be the only RIGHT way to do things). WAIT A MINUTE!!! I have heard all of this somewhere before...oh yea, the speech I gave the future newly weds at the rehearsal dinner (CRAP! Don't you hate it when your own words come back to haunt you?) I think what I said, was to "embrace your differences" and learn to grow from them (Did I really say that?? Had to have been the red wine talking). Well, I suppose I will try to take my own advice as I embark upon this new adventure as "Mother-in-Law Extraordinaire"!

Everything I Really Need To Know...I Learned From Sharing a McDonald's Happy Meal

The other day, I was talking to a friend of mine and she said, "You know, our kids are spoiled." I suppose my face must have registered shock, because she repeated her statement with a little more force this time (along with facial expressions)..."Barbara, now you know your kids are spoiled." I sort of disagreed with this statement. I thought to myself...that depends on what your definition of "spoiled" is. Did my kids have more than I did growing up? Heck yea! I didn't even have cable T.V. ; didn't know it existed (we got a local channel clearly and another one that was fuzzy with rabbit ears...don't know what rabbit ears are? You're young; ask your parents!) However, when one discusses the possibility of an individual being "spoiled", the word MUST be defined.

Let me first begin by saying that although we were not wealthy, we were always happy and content with where we were in life at any given time. From our first home, a low income apartment, to a mobile home and then on to various houses over the years, we enjoyed life as a growing family.

My children wore hand-me-downs and I shopped the sales to purchase new items and even sewed a lot of their clothes when they were young. When I took them with me on shopping outings, they did not scream and stomp their feet for a new toy because we just never started that "buying a prize" if you're good thing...not only because we couldn't afford it, but why does a kid NEED a new toy every time they enter a store? AND "reward" them for being well-behaved?!? Their reward was not getting a spanking (I know...many of you new parents may not agree with this, but remember we were "old school". And if there were any kids that needed a spanking...it was mine!)

We didn't have a problem with childhood obesity (or adult obesity for that matter). That was due to the fact that we didn't eat much red meat...not because we didn't like it or were doing it for health concerns; it cost more. I told someone one day that when chickens would go on sale at the grocery store, we would stock up. And by stocking up, I mean at one point our whole freezer was full of chickens! And I knew how to make almost every chicken dish known to mankind. Exercise was not a problem either. The kids got theirs from running around outside all day, while I got mine from chasing after them.

But the thing my oldest son said one day was one of the best examples of living "tightly" amidst a large family. The kids had to share almost everything...clothes, rooms and even food. From time to time, I would take all four of them to McDonald's before Wednesday night church activities. It was a great place to go on Wednesdays for more than one reason; it was next door to the church and it had a playground. The order for dinner was always the same...2 kids meals and a couple extra small drinks. I would then proceed to cut the hamburgers in half and give each child their portion, along with dividing the kid meal size fries into four equal portions; they each got a drink. This became our routine when eating out during the middle of the week...UNTIL one day Justin (who was in elementary school at this time) asked, "Hey, Mom, when do you think I could have my own Happy Meal?" Well, it hadn't even occurred to me that a child his age perhaps would want (actually was hungry enough) to eat a WHOLE HAPPY MEAL. So, I decided at that point that maybe it was time to begin letting each child have their own! But up until this point there were really no complaints.

So, do I think that my kids are "spoiled"? It still goes back to defining the word. Yes, my children did more activities and owned more material items than I did growing up, but they were and have always been "sharers" and "carers". I taught them to think of others and not take things for granted. For me, the definition of "spoiled" would mean ruined or rotten (as in milk). So, I must say...speak for your own kids, Sista; cause I don't think mine fit that definition (But, I'm probably a little prejudice too!)

That First Child...

I have often reminisced with others about how that "first child" a couple has differs from other subsequent children. New prospective parents are information seekers upon learning that they are expecting. They arm themselves with classes, books and now information from the Internet (we didn't have that when I gave birth to ANY of my children) to guide them in their preparation for parenthood. My oldest son, Justin and his wife, Sarah attended a childbirth class this past Saturday.

Justin informed us that he would be taking the day off from work on Saturday to attend a childbirth class with Sarah. Their daughter (we know this because EVERYONE uses the technology available to find out early these days the sex of the child...no surprises), Parker Ann is due in approximately 5 weeks. I commented that he would most likely learn a lot at the class when he then informed me that he already KNEW a lot and had even see "The Film". He went on to describe "The Film" as an "under the sheet view" of child birth; definitely something he did NOT want to see again! Hmmm...I pondered this for a while and then had to ask, "Where and when would you have seen something like that?" He promptly reminded me that his concentration for his bachelor's degree was in behavioral sciences and that he had practically taken a classes in every age group. SO...he actually received college credit for this?! I really didn't think much more about the childbirth class until Robby was reading the newspaper Saturday morning and announced that the class apparently was from 9:30 until 4:30...WOW! I thought, "That sure is a long time." Justin has a difficult time sitting in his office for long periods of time doing paperwork. This should be interesting.

Robby and I, having been left with an "empty nest" again (David is on his honeymoon, Ryan just left for dental school and Caitlin is in Honduras), went out to lunch and then a movie. Upon leaving the theatre, we decided to give Justin a call to see how the class had gone. One has to first understand that Justin tends to speak a little like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh...Ho Hum...Life's a Bummer...I Can't Believe I had to waste my time doing this...You get it? So, when he began to regale us with details of the class, we knew it was going to be a humorous tale of negativity.

The first thing Justin told us was that the class was SO LONG...for no good reason. There were only about 4 other married couples there, with all others attendees being single mothers; one with a boyfriend and the the others with their mothers. One of the married couples attending was the youth director from our church. He kept receiving text messages from a friend instructing him to LEAVE when they got ready to show "The Film". As classes usually go, there were many questions (I'm reluctant to say silly or ridiculous ones because as a teacher, I am supposed to say,"There are no silly questions..." HA!...Yea, Right!) asked with attempted answers by the instructor. Here are just a couple..."I know you "whup" the baby when it's born, but how long can it go without oxygen before getting brain damage? 30 seconds, 1 minute, 2 minutes? (GEEZE!). "How many people can go into the delivery room with me because my dad wants my sister to go in with me. You see, she is having sex and he thinks it might be a good form of birth control! (To which Justin said to me, "Yea, maybe you should've done that and then you wouldn't be knocked up right now; his words...not mine). They also taught them how to change a diaper...REALLY?! Are there people out there who don't know how to change a diaper?!? That's pretty "self explanatory" and I'm not sure that someone who can't figure out how to change a diaper without taking a class should be having a baby. And then, after taking a tour of the women's center, the moment had arrived...it was time to view "The Film". Justin said, "OK, I've already seen this, so I'm leaving now." The youth director turned to him a little startled and asked, " YOU'VE seen "The Film"...where did YOU see it?" Justin replied, "Oh, I saw it in a college class." "A COLLEGE CLASS?!? What kind of degree do you have anyway?"

Well, after discussing this eventful and informative day with Justin, Robby told him that one thing was certain; women had been giving birth for years and the baby was going to come whenever it got ready. Words of wisdom...spoken not from a medical professional, but a future Poppe!

Honduras Holli (Caitlin Holli, That Is!)

Those near and dear to us refer to many of the stories told about Caitlin as, "Caitlin-isms". Caitlin is the "original" Elle Woods from "Legally Blond". When she was in junior high school, Caitlin came home one day with three small photographs. The photos were of Hispanic girls, and showing me these photos, she very excitedly announced that they were "giving out" foreign exchange students from Guacamole (yes, she thought the name of the country was Guacamole instead of Guatemala) and she wanted one. She went on to talk about them as though the process of choosing one of these students was as simple as selecting a puppy from a litter. Her reasoning for getting one of these students had nothing to do with broadening her cultural awareness, but instead everything to do with fashion. Yes, you heard me correctly! She was interested in choosing a girl who was "cute and about her size" so that they could wear each others' clothes. Well, her father told her in no uncertain terms that we were NOT getting a foreign exchange student; that she was "foreign" enough for us and we didn't need any more drama in our lives.

Although she was denied being able to have that foreign exchange student, she has always remained fascinated with people of other cultures. In fact, she insists that one day, she will adopt a Chinese girl. Recently, she set her mind on traveling to Honduras with our church on a mission trip that would allow her to work with children who live in an orphanage there. Thinking that the trip had already been filled for this year, she was determined to go next year. THEN, on the 4th of July weekend, we got a telephone call. Someone had to cancel out on the trip and that left a vacancy. They asked if Caitlin would still like to go. We were right in the middle of wedding preparations, but were able to get all of her papers and required documents in order to go. So now, the week after all of the wedding hubbub, the packing, preparations and precautions (from me) have begun.

A few years ago, Robby and I actually went as sponsors along with Caitlin and our church youth group to Alabama to a mission camp. Although these trips are very worthy and rewarding, this is just not my "gift". And so, my precautions to Caitlin for traveling to Honduras go something like this...

1. Wash your hands...you might get germs.

2. Don't drink the water...you might get a parasite.

3. Use hand sanitizer; water might be contaminated (refer to #1 and disregard)

4. Be careful what you eat...possible parasite and/or food poisoning (just had this recently, so it

is ever on my mind)

5. Don't open your mouth while showering...possible contaminated water; remember what

happened to Charlotte in "Sex in the City" movie.

6. Wash your feet frequently and shower with flip-flops on...you could get some sort of worms;

just saw a show on different types of worms on the Dr. Oz Show.

7. Braid your hair every day and don't wash it too frequently...lice; you know, they like clean


OH...and while you're at it, HAVE FUN!

OK...so, you get it, huh? My "germ-a-phobia" has kicked in BIG TIME and I am not even the one going!

So, as I send my baby off to another part of the world, packed with Teddy Grahams, Goldfish and Rice Krispie Treats (you never can be too careful about the food there), I truly wish her and everyone involved with the trip the BEST. Going out to do mission work is a "gift" and I will support them with my love and prayers. WAIT A MINUTE...There's a map on the back of the group shirt they are wearing. It shows that Honduras is close to Nicaragua. Don't they have guerrillas there? And I'm not talking about the hairy animal kind!

On A Quest For Endorphins...

I admit it...I am a bit of a health fanatic. Diet and exercise are a big part of who I am. I go to the gym 5 days a week and sometimes attend a class on Saturday or ride my road bike. I go to the gym for not only health benefits, but also on a "quest for endorphins"...you, know, those things that make you feel so good after you exercise. People who are "gym junkies" can be put into a couple of different categories, I guess. The category that I would fall into, would be "the regular". The "regulars" are those people who can be found there on a daily basis, doing their same thing, day after day. Then, you have the "sporadics". You know these people, and many are even your "gym friends", but you only see them every once and a while. Regardless of the category, each person who goes to the gym, has their own little routine, which includes activities they enjoy participating in or find useful for their purpose. For some, it is weight lifting, others only attend classes and others are simply cardio addicts. My routine includes a little of all of these activities.

This week, it was particularly difficult for me to get motivated to go to the gym, although I desperately needed those "endorphins". The wedding had worn me out, so that I couldn't even THINK of going to the gym on Monday. Monday is the day that I take my Pi-Yo class. Well, I only take it when my favorite instructor is going to be teaching it. I always make sure to check the schedule to make sure "The Beast" isn't teaching. We call her this because this instructor MUST be on steroids! I mean, can't she see that when she's on the 50th push-up in a row, that things are becoming a "one man show"? It is her up there doing push-ups by herself, while everyone else is either laying on their mat in cardiac arrest or cheating (that would be me because I don't want her to think that she's beaten me). COME ON...REALLY! Can you expect to get "endorphins" while being so ticked off at the instructor? So, upon discovering that "The Beast", indeed would be teaching the class on Monday, I opted out.

By Tuesday, I was ready to tackle a little cardio and do my weight work-out. Usually, I head straight for the elliptical machine (you can burn a lot of calories fast on this machine), but was still kind of tired and went to the bicycles instead. I have found that Mondays are fairly busy days at the gym. I suppose that either everyone has good intentions to start the week out right or they are trying to "pay the piper" for transgressions made on the previous weekend. Anyway, I thought that riding the bike would be a little easier than the elliptical, so I headed toward them...only to find ONE available. I don't usually like to get onto a machine right next to someone, but what choice did I have...it was either that or possibly passing out on the elliptical. So, I hopped on the bike, took my Kindle out to do some reading and began pedaling. It wasn't long, however, that I heard some grunting sounds (that's one of the problems with getting on equipment too close to another person). I used my peripheral vision (you don't want to just TURN and STARE at the person...well, you want to, but you CAN'T!) to see where it was coming from and WHAT it was. The man on the bike next to me was really struggling. I just decided to try to ignore the sounds and kept pedaling and reading. Then, I heard him say (to apparently no one), 60. OK...so, I had to look a little closer to see if he had one of those blue tooth ear pieces in...nope! I kept pedaling and then heard the worse thing of all...him wiping his face with his hand and the sound of sloshing sweat! OH NO...I couldn't afford to get off of my bike now, because my heart rate was finally getting up and I was burning calories. BUT, if he sloshed ONE DROP of sweat on me...I was DONE!

Finally, I heard him say, "New Record" (to himself, I suppose) and he got off of the bike to hit the track. I couldn't figure this guy out, but was relieved that he had finished his work-out without slinging sweat on me. Glancing over, I then noticed his bicycle mat...it had BUCKET LOADS of sweat on it! It reminded me of the day I let my yellow lab into the house and he hiked his leg on my artificial tree and peed a RIVER in the living room. YUCK, YUCK, YUCK!!! SURELY, he would come back to clean this mess up. He didn't. I made a mental note to self: ALWAYS clean the equipment before using it.

Two days later, upon entering the gym again, I noticed one of the television sets on the bikes was turned on. As I walked closer, I determined what "Sweaty Man" had been doing. It was a virtual race! Really, now...I must admit, that is pretty cool. I might even try it myself one day soon. Oh the things we go through on our "quest for endorphins"! But, it is definitely worth it in the end!

The Naked Gunslinger...

We've always lived out in the country; with the exception of when we were building our last house. There is a very good reason for that. You see, when all of the kids are home, we are not very conducive to living in a neighborhood...it goes back to that "rules and regulations" thing. Living out of the city limits has allowed us to raise all sorts of animals and my children did not grow up in front of a televisions set, but outside, running and playing. One would assume that by living in the country, experiencing "riff raff", usually reserved for the inner city, could not be found. Not so...or at least not for us. One such incident occurred merely less than a year ago.

Robby and I had gone to bed, while Ryan was still up watching the best "feel good movie" of all time, "Rudy". We were sleeping peacefully one minute and the next...WHAM! BAM! Ryan hit our bedroom door with full speed banging on it while screaming, "They're murdering her!" Although Robby and I jumped straight out of bed, I clearly was not awake. You know, your eyes are open and you can speak, but you are still really asleep. We were all in a PANIC standing there. Robby quickly opened our closet door and pulled two pistols out of their holsters (still not really sure why 2...maybe he thought he was in one of those "Die Hard" movies.), told Ryan to run upstairs and grab the shotgun and gave me instructions to call 911. Heading out of the bedroom, armed with his two pistols, I became acutely aware of something...Robby was wearing NOTHING! I brought this to his attention and he remedied this by donning his red swim trunks (well, it least it was SOMETHING). As he headed for the front door, I became afraid of who he might find there and stayed in my closet and called 911. Upon speaking to the dispatcher, all I could tell him was, "I don't really know what's going on. Someone was beating on my door and saying something about someone trying to murder them." They would send someone out.

Still sitting in my closet (because I was afraid to get close to a window, for fear of being shot), I finally became awake enough to sneak just outside my bedroom door. I sat in a corner, on the floor, with my oversized T-Shirt pulled over my knees and became a little more aware of my surroundings. I could see around the corner that Robby and Ryan were standing there holding their weapons. "Pssst...Robby, did ya'll ever find out who was beating on the door?", I whispered. "YES, BARBARA...she's sitting right here in your living room!" I peeked a little further around the corner to indeed find a young woman sitting between the 2 armed guards. The woman spoke in a very rural accent saying, "I hope I don't get no blood on this here chair, 'cause I hit my head when I jumped outta that truck and this man here told me to sit in this chair and not to move." GREAT! This poor woman had apparently just jumped from a moving vehicle and now she had two guys (one physically wide-eyed and shaking...Ryan...) standing over her like prison guards.

Well, the story was, that 2 men (one her ex-boyfriend who had just been released from jail that day for aggravated assault...I know, go figure) had beaten her up and then were taking her to the lake (just down the road from our house) to drown her. There were some fishermen night fishing, so they decided to make the loop and go back; this is when she decided to jump and ended up at our front door. FINALLY (good thing no one was having a shoot-out or actually injured) someone from the sheriff's office arrived. The officer reminded me of Barney Fife...sort of. He emerged from his vehicle wearing every piece of equipment that had most likely ever been issued to him. As if this was not enough to weigh him down, he was also quite portly, as well. I'm glad that the "suspect" was not lurking around somewhere, because I'm not certain that this guy could even defend himself, must less any of us.

Upon interviewing this poor girl, the officer decided that she needed medical attention (no kidding...she had just jumped from a moving vehicle!) so he called for an ambulance. He took her outside to fill out some paperwork and we followed along to wait for the ambulance. And then we watched it pass our house and go into the neighborhood just up the road! Perhaps, this was because the sheriff didn't have his car lights on to indicate where he was located... OK, so Mr. Sheriff, for some unknown reason, decided to try to catch the ambulance...on foot! He began running UP the hill toward where the ambulance had turned. Robby and I turned and looked at each other in awe, as Robby said to me, "We will have to call for another ambulance, you know." "Why?", I inquired. "Because that guy is going to have heart failure and they will have to attend to him." Well, he finally came to his senses after running just a ways and made it back to our house...breathing quite heavily and sweating profusely. Robby offered him a bottle of water and Ryan pointed out that we had some Twinkies in the pantry that might be of some interest to him too.

The ambulance did make it back to our house and the EMT's got out and began to examine our patient. By this time, she had come down off of that "adrenaline rush" and was slumped in the middle of our driveway, leaning against the sheriff's car. They were filled in on what had happened to her and began putting a neck brace around her neck when I heard one say," Hey...did you hit your head...it looks like it's cut! OH MY GOSH!!!

Well,this was not the first( and I'm sure not the last) late night incident that has ended up at our
front door. We may not live in the city and have robberies or drive-by shootings, but we do have woods and a lake...and apparently this is a big draw to some criminals!

A New Driver For Miss Daisy...

Several years ago, I had the great misfortune of having to be the one to tell my mother that she could no longer drive a vehicle. Now, don't get me wrong, although my mother is currently 82 years old, her mind is still as sharp as a tack (perhaps sharper than mine is). However, Mother had been diagnosed with macular degeneration some years back and had been seeing a specialist for quite some time. She had been in the hospital and during her recovery, I noticed that her vision appeared to be worse than usual. Previously, she told me that her eye doctor had given her instructions to only drive to place close to her home that she was very familiar with, such as, the grocery store, drug store, etc. The very next day, she drove to her sister's house...approximately an hour away. Defending herself, she told me that she was "very familiar" with that road...YEP! You see where I'm going with this now, don't you?

I did go to the specialist's office with her the next time she had an appointment. As they tested her eyes, I asked, "What exactly is her vision?" They not only told me that, but also told me what the requirements were for being able to legally drive. Upon hearing the results, I wrote down a question on a torn off piece of note paper from my purse and as we headed to the next room, held it up and showed it to the nurse. The note read, "Should my mother be driving?" She shrugged and silently mouthed, "You'll have to ask the doctor that question."

The appointment was coming to an end and the doctor was telling my mother that not much had changed since the last visit and that he would see her again in 3 months. I then piped up and asked, "What should my mother's driving limitations be?" He very calmly looked at me and stated, "They should be limited to her driveway." OH MY GOODNESS!...She was absolutely FURIOUS with him! Enough so, to seek out another specialist (even though the results were the same) to whom we had to travel an hour away to see now. I drove her back home and told her that I didn't want her driving any more and that I would be more than happy to find and pay for her a driver to take her around wherever she wanted to go. "NO!", she said. I told her that if she could not promise me that she wouldn't drive, I would have to take her car keys home with me because I didn't want her to have an accident and harm herself or anyone else for that matter. She was sitting in her recliner at the time and popped the footrest down, jumped up and promptly informed me that she would "Whip my butt with her cane" if I took her keys away! WOW! We both made a break for the key hanger on the wall...I was NOT believing this!!! I now had a 5th child...and she was going to be worse than any of the others all put together. " Why, oh why did I have to be in charge of this job?", I thought. She told me that she would rather sit in her chair every day than have a driver. OK...so, this was NOT working and I finally said, "That is your choice; just do whatever you want to do...but you are NOT driving." I even tried to call in reinforcements (my sister and her son), but my sister just sat there crying because she couldn't believe that Mother was saying such awful things, while I said it didn't matter to me what she said...I was NOT GIVING IN! (guess that strong-willed child thing can work for you sometimes after all). Then, something happened...my nephew reminded her very calmly that she had gotten him a job when he was in college doing that very thing; driving for an elderly couple. I had forgotten all about that! And perhaps that was what got her wheels to turning and at least THINKING about the possibility of having a driver.

Eventually, Mother agreed to have a driver. She likes to "go" too much to allow her stubbornness to stand in the way. David happened to be home for a few months and took the job. He was very organized. He kept a day timer to keep up with her appointments, took her to the grocery store and even worked with medicare to help solve some of her problems getting medications. When he got ready to move to Kentucky for medical school, he asked me if Codi could take over his job. I said, "You'll have to ask Mam-Maw; it's up to her." She was agreeable to the idea...yes, the lady who did NOT want a driver was now not willing to do without having a driver! So, for 2 years now, Codi has been "Driving Miss Daisy". David presented her with her very own day timer and I must say that she was even better than David was at keeping a "Mam-Maw pace". She never rushed her, allowing her to shop for as long as she wished at the grocery store, shoe store and department store. She even set her bills up for her in a file and wrote check and mailed them on time (because now she could not see well enough to even do this). They usually also ate lunch out on these "errand days" and very quickly, Codi was calling my mother Mam-Maw too! She was absolutely a Godsend.

Now that Codi and David have married and will be moving to Mississippi, the task of finding a new driver was at hand. Then, Codi called and asked..."Could my sister-in-law be Mam-Maw's new driver?" Once again I said, "You'll have to ask Mam-Maw; it's up to her." And once again, she said, "OK, I'll try it."

I know that Mother and Codi grew very close during these past two years and she will miss her greatly. I also know that growing older is very difficult, because I understand that one does not want to give up their independance. However, changes occur even when we don't want them to. So...beginning this week, we have a new driver for "Miss Daisy" and I am both anxious and hopeful to see how it works out.

A Special Text For Mom

A text message came across my cell phone at 7:50 this morning. It read, "You are the greatest mom ever. I hope you had a good time last night." My David! He could never know how much I needed to receive that message from him today. It put a smile on my face and joy in my heart. For, after all the vows had been spoken and the dancing had been done, I found myself feeling a little sad. Although David has lived off for some years now (Texas, Pennsylvania and Kentucky), getting married is just more permanent.

The wedding day, itself, was a very busy one. Four of David's friends from medical school (who had just taken their boards the day before), were driven in by one of their professors. Along with them, there were 9 other people at the house already that morning. Robby quickly began making a huge breakfast consisting of biscuits, 3 pounds of bacon, 3 dozen eggs and numerous pots of coffee.

While this cooking fest was going on, I had other plans of my own to attend to. I had scheduled 3 back to back to back hair appointments for Catlin, Sarah and me...so, I needed to get on the road pretty quickly. As I was about to leave, David reminded me that I needed to drop Codi's wedding band off at the jewelers that morning also. Oh...did I fail to mention that they took her wedding band to the jewelers the day before to have it cleaned (I know...it's brand new; why have it cleaned?) and 3 diamonds fell out and had to be put back in the day of the wedding? Well, I dropped the ring off and jetted back over to the hair salon, where Caitlin was already waiting. She was definitely "multi-tasking" that day...getting her hair done while eating a sandwich AND polishing her nails all at the same time. She was in a rush because the bride and all of her bridesmaids had to go prepare themselves for the wedding at Lloyd Hall (an historic plantation, approximately 45 minutes away). RUSH was the word of the day!

Just as we were about to leave for the church, I heard the rumblings of thunder (what is it with storms and wedding days with us?)...and then the rain began. It didn't last very long; just long enough to cool things off a bit, which we desperately needed. I arrived at the church just in time to help all of the guys and grandmothers get their flowers pinned on. And then, the chime rang 6 times to mark the hour, the music began and we were lined up to enter the sanctuary. Prior to entering, I kept telling my mother and mother-in-law that I really did NOT want to light the candle. You know, in my mind, so many things could go wrong. OK...WHAT IF the heel of my shoe caught on the carpet? WHAT IF I slipped on the steps going up to where the candle was? WHAT IF that candle wouldn't light? This "candle thing" really had me worried. Well, they told he, "You don't have to WANT to light the candle...you just HAVE TO DO IT (ugh!). So, nervously I made my way toward that dreaded candle and just as I suspected...it didn't want to light! The air conditioner vent was blowing so hard that I had to just stand there trying until it FINALLY lit. The processional began and before we knew it...our babies were Mr. & Mrs. After what I thought was a reasonable amount of time taking pictures, we left for the reception...my "Favorite" part!

The reception was held at the Art Museum and it was PACKED! The first floor was very crowded due to the fact, that was where the food could be found. So, I headed to the third floor where the band was playing. I found so many people I didn't even know were there! We danced the night away. So much so, that the bottom of my feet were BLACK (now that kind of freaked me out knowing that the floor was that dirty...and I'm not really a bare foot kind of girl usually either). BUT...FUN we had indeed!

Eventually, we made it home to find two things awaiting us: First, there were a number of people swimming and hot tubbing AND second...the main air conditioning unit in the house was OUT! Well, normally I would have pitched a fit, however, I was WAY too tired to really even care if it was hot...and luckily it wasn't too bad with the ceiling fan blowing on us.

So, the text that David sent me was the BEST gift I could ever get from him on the morning following his wedding..."You are the greatest mom ever...WOW! And I DEFINITELY had a GREAT time with him on his special day!

T'was the Day Before the Wedding...

T'was the day before the wedding
And all through the house
EVERY creature was stirring
EXCEPT for the mouse...and that was because he was afraid he would be stepped on.

The rehearsal dinner (my "official" part) is over and FINALLY the "Big Day" has arrived. I've come to terms with my piled up laundry and items strewn from one end of the house to the other (well, not really...but what choice do I have?)

Yesterday, I awoke to sleeping guys all around the house, wherever an extra bed or couch could be found. It was very reminiscent of the old days when the boys were younger and everybody would end up crashing at my house. Sixteen of them had golf tee times lined up for that morning; groomsmen, dads, grandfathers, friends and cousins. I was up early because I knew that I had the rehearsal dinner to organize that day. While moving around and making coffee, I glanced toward one of the couches. Then, I heard a "moaning" sound coming from that direction. Hmmm...suddenly, up jumped a groomsman, running toward the bathroom. I listened and heard throwing up. "NO WAY!", I thought. Robby had done his "David (and other)Duty" well the previous night, having everyone home by 10 o'clock. No one was impaired when I went to bed...how could this be ?! He didn't come out of there for a very long time and the others began to get ready for their golfing adventure. And I say "adventure" because if you knew all of these guys...well, they probably shouldn't even all be in the same vicinity of each other at the same time.

Very soon, we realized that the "sick in question" had a stomach virus. OH NO! I put him to bed (as Robby says, I always put the sick in an "isolation room"), gave him some medicine and David set an ICE CHEST (what was he thinking?) beside the bed just in case he threw up again. THEN...the spraying began! I'm somewhat of a "germ-a-phob" and yes, my family makes fun of me because if this. However, Lysol is my best friend in situations like this. So, I disinfected all I could (including the patient) before I left to prepare the Melady House (a local historical plantation home) for the rehearsal dinner.

I had lots of assistance with my preparations and everything looked lovely as we all left to dress for the dinner. Upon arriving home, I checked on my patient. It was 3 o'clock and he was still in bed, but the symptoms had subsided. I knew I had to get him up and moving to get to the church. After making him get in the shower, I began stripping linens, raising windows and spraying so much Lysol that one of the dogs began coughing and choking. Getting a little Sprite and crackers in him, we all left for the church.

Once there, it was a bit chaotic (imagine that!). I'm pretty sure I was the only one listening and when it gets time for the actual ceremony, no one will know where to go or what to do, BUT regardless...the show will go on in all of its grandeur!

David Duty & M&M's

This is your challenge...if you are so inclined to accept it (actually you have no choice; you MUST accept it). These are the words I spoke to Robby Wednesday night. His job would be to keep David by his side for the following 72 hours. After noticing how "hyper" David was, he said, "I don't think I signe on fo this." "OH YES YOU DID!...When you became his father, you signed on for this," I stated.

You see, these "wedding festivities" have put a little stress on all involved (And this is from the groom's mother speaking). And, I for one could see the lid about to blow off of the pressure cooker. I realize that most brides would like for their wedding day to be "perfect". However, when one sets their goals too high, sometimes things come tumbling down at a very rapid pace. And I could see this happening with our little upcoming event.

Earlier in the week, David was running (physically; perpetual motion) around trying to appease Codi , helping with last minute wedding details and I...well, I had absolutely chewed the end of my tongue off, biting it; to keep peace, you understand. Just when I thought I would have to resort to using sign language (because of having no tongue left)...the pot blew, my tongue had new life (kind of like how a lizard's tail regrows) and IT WAS ON! the screaming, hollering and hand flailing began with a fury. It was as though a tornado was swirling through the place. Apparently, it was a catharsis of sorts because everyone went their way, cooled off and all was well by the evening meal. At that point, I decided that the new rule would be (I KNOW...I'm not really a "rule person", but that's only if I'm not the one making the rules): No one is allowed to get married in this family again for at l.east 3 years! It takes that long for me to recover.

Just when I thought I was at the very end of my finely frayed rope...I got a text message (yes, although my husband HATES this habit of mine, I absolutely LOVE text messaging; it's kind of like writing notes in school). It was from my very best friend in the world...Lori! Lori had actually just arrived in town from Dallas to prepare all of my floral arrangements for the rehearsal dinner. You see, our families have been good friends for over 20 years (Wow! that makes me sound old). Lori and her husband have 2 identical twin daughters who are right between the ages of David and Justin; both are married. She also has another daughter who is a year younger than Ryan. Lori is a floral designer in Dallas and is extremely creative; she does beautiful work. Lori is that friend that loves all of the things that I love; antique shopping, unique dishes, cute little cocktail napkins...and she finds the BEST bargains ever. Whenever Justin got married, Lori met me in Hot Springs and started a new tradition for us..."M & M Day". She scheduled us both 30 minute massages, made us luscious white chocolate martinis and we ate M & M's. Upon getting her text, I sent back..."YAY!" Finally I would get to have a little down time. When she showed up (we made sure all of the guys were gone), she came bearing 2 brand new martini glasses (one for her and one for me)...and a brand new drink to try..."Coole Swan". All I can say is, YUMMY!..

Although there was no massages this time (where could we get those at that time of night?), we sat and talked and had a really nice visit. Then, suddenly the door burst open and all of the guys came barreling in! The magical calm moment was gone. However, Robby had done good, even though he said he was worn out from "David Duty". He complained that it was a very difficult job and he didn't know how much longer he could handle it. To which I replied, "48 more hours! Those are the most crucial hours leading up to the wedding, you know."

So...we are now 1 day and counting until the wedding bells ring. Let's hope that Robby has the stamina to keep up!

So...My Daughter is a Prize Fighter?!

David's wedding week started out with a "BANG", so to speak. After the fireworks display on the 4th, Ryan, Caitlin and a couple of other friends decided to head down to the Marina. The Marina is a local watering hole for young and old "river rats", alike. People meet up with friends and hang out on the deck or shoot a little pool inside. One can find a volleyball sand pit set up on a permanent basis, but on the 4th of July weekend, there is also a D.J. playing music outside and the owner can be found grilling hamburgers and hotdogs underneath a tent; free to anyone who happens to show up.

After their grandmother inquiring as to what one does at the Marina (to which Ryan replied, "socialize"), they headed out. Upon arriving, things were going pretty well...UNTIL Caitlin's ex-boyfriend arrived on the scene. You know, break-ups are never good and some are worse than others; this break-up was one of the latter. At the same time he arrived, several things were going on simultaneously. Ryan approach the "ex" just to let him know that he held no hard feelings toward him because ot the break-up. I know...GUYS! They handle things so differently than us girls. Their calm and logic totally baffles me. However, while this conversation was taking place and Ryan had returned to visit with some old high school buddies, across the room, a very different convesation was going on. Some girl sitting beside Caitlin when the "ex" came in said, "You know, I'm really glad you decided to break up with him because he was cheating on you...with one of your sorority sisters!" Immediately tears sprung to Caitlin's eyes and before anyone could have imagined what would happen next, she had jumped up on a stool and announced to the entire place what a lying, cheating loser he was (while also pointing him out, I might add) and then announced WHO he had been cheating on her with! Hopping down from her perch, she stormed across the room and demanded to know if it was true, to which he replied, "No." "WRONG ANSWER!", she shouted, as her fist came back in position to punch him. However, Ryan saved the day! He reached her before her fist reached the "ex's" face, jerked her little 95 pound body over to a chair and FIRMLY sat her down. "Now, you're acting like a redneck...sit down and behave", he said. About that time, one of the high school buddies he had been talking to before (one half of the team he refers to as the Bash Brothers; this from their constant tendancy for fighting) tapped him on the shoulder. "Hey, I don't know what's going on and I don't really want to be the one to throw the first punch, but if someone else did...I think we could take 'em." Wide eyed and shaking his head, Ryan thought, "Oh my goodness...we have got to get out of here. I won't be going to dental school if a fight breaks out, but we'll all be going to jail instead."

Well, they did finally make it home and from what I understand woke the entire house up when they arrived; well, all except me for some strange reason. However, the next morning, I was filled in with all of the details of the previous evening. I was not terribly shocked because I suppose my boys (and Caitlin to some extent) have worn me down and broken me in over the years. Again, I will say, "I'm not that parent that says...oh, not my child; they would never do that. I say...OK, now, how were you involved?" Caitlin felt bad about the situation the next day and did go and apologize to the owner (who had already seen the incident on his video). He told her no one was hurt and no damage was done and he actually said that this was the first time that anyone had come to him to apologize to him for something like that. THAT, perhaps is what sets us apart...we are as "normal" (whatever that is...) as the next person, but we do have a sense of responsibility and own up to our faults.

Justin & Sarah's Wedding: PART II: The Wedding Day

The "family breakfast" was not to be. It sounded like a good idea at the time, but I really should have known not to "plan" another event for the day and just "go with" whatever happened. It was to be an afternoon wedding, so there was a lot to get done in a very little amount of time. That morning, it poured rain. In the surrounding cities there were tornadoes, so the skies were black and the wind was whistling as the rain came down. Finally, just before it was time to leave for the church, the weather broke an the sun came out. We were about to leave our room when Caitlin (a bridesmaid) removed her brand new shoes from the box. As she slipped them on her feet, she discovered that one of the straps was broken...GREAT! I was still running around doing last minute things, so Robby sat down with a needle and thread and began sewing it back together...THEN, we were off to the church. We arrived in plenty of time to not feel rushed; I was relieved about that. However, as we were exiting the car, I heard Caitlin say, "OH NO!" (Hmmm...now that's never good). She bent over to grab her purse on the way out of the car and the zipper on her dress had broken in the middle! As we stood outside the car with the wind whirling around our heads, we tried desperately to move that zipper one way or the other...NOTHING (except, perhaps the gaping hole got a little larger). Rushing into the church, I knew we were there ONLY an hour early (funny how I went from being relieved at being early to being concerned at ONLY being an hour early) and I had to do something quick! Upon entering the vestibule, we saw the wedding coordinator cheerily heading our way. "And how are we all doing this morning?", she asked. "WE are not doing very well right now, for you see, Caitlin has broken the zipper on her dress," I stated. The smile slipped right off of her face as she moved forward to examine the damage. She also attempted to move the zipper, to no avail. Then, she looked at it and said, "What should we do?" GREAT! Time was ticking down, we had a broken zipper and NOW I've got to tell the wedding coordinator what to do?! "Get me a needle and thread", I said. "I will sew her into the dress." She found me a little sewing kit (the kind you would find in a woman's purse) and we hurridly set off toward the bathroom. BUT as Caitlin moved her foot...her OTHER shoe strap broke! (they obviously just don't make things the way they used to...but still charge premium prices for them). Robby snatched it off of her foot, got his own needle and thread (he even made the wedding DVD...him sewing the shoe) and we headed to the bathroom. I hiked my dress up, got on my knees and began sewing. During this time, people came in and out to check on the status of the dress, but I couldn't stop to look up...I just kept putting stitches in. I'm not sure how many times I threaded that needle, but I sewed Caitin into that dress from her neck to the top of her hips (we had to cut her out of it that night). Lucky for us, the bridesmaids had a wrap they were to wear with their dresses that covered my handiwork. We eventually walked out of that bathroom with only about 10 minutes to spare..but we had made it! I didn't get to mingle, so I wasn't sure who all was even in attendance. As Justin ushered me down the aisle, all I could chant in my head was..."Just let me make it to the reception...just let me make it to the reception..." And we did...FINALLY!

I have found that weddings can be fun, but they can also cause a great deal of stress. We are presently 3 days from David's wedding and things ae really beginning to "heat up" around here. I told Robby that I am a veteran at this wedding stuff now (a shell-shocked veteran, perhaps) and I have a "plan" for Friday and Saturday. I'm going to buy some handcuffs and he is to handcuff himself to David for the duration (only unlocking them for the ceremony). Surely this will alleviate some problems...you think?

Justin & Sarah's Wedding: PART I "The Rehearsal Dinner"

With David's pending nuptials quickly approaching (4 days from today), I began to think back on the weekend that Justin and Sarah tied the knot. Actually there was not much "thinking back" involved because you see, some events are etched into my (and others') mind forever.

Sarah is from Hot Springs, Arkansas, so when they became engaged and started planning their wedding, that was to be the site. I traveled back and forth about 5-6 times leading up to the event; attending an engagement party, various showers and ultimately planning the rehearsal dinner. As the week of the actual wedding approached, I decided that I should travel to Hot Springs a days early so I wouldn't feel rushed or too "under the gun", so to speak. I arrived on the Thursday before that Saturday; that would hopefully give me an extra day to breathe. Now, I had to bring not only the entire family's wedding attire, but also floral arrangements, candles,table scarves and other decoration for the dinner. Upon arriving, I managed to talk the hotel management at The Arlington into letting me into the ballroom a day early so I could have all of my decorations done ahead of time. Things seemed to be coasting along very smoothly. BUT...with this motley crew, one should never be lulled into a false sense of calmness. For, remember what they say...the calm comes just before the storm.

Despite all of Robby's efforts to try to convince the boys (and there were many more than my 3) not to "howl at the moon" until AFTER the wedding was over, something went terribly awry. The actual rehearsal dinner went quite well with approximated 80 guests in attendance. Towards the end of the dinner, however, I did notice that David (sitting at the very end of the family table...that was on a stage) had partaken of a little too much wine. He told the waiter that he hated to see him have to come back and forth to refill his glass, so just got him to leave the bottle with him; I guess I should be thankful that he wasn't turning the bottle up and drinking directly from it.

The real drama began AFTER the rehearsal dinner was over. It was horse racing season in Hot Springs and dowstairs in the lobby of The Arlington, things were really hopping. There was a Big Band playing and a class group of dancers swing dancing. The air was electric. Perhaps, a little too electric. For you see, David (Justin's best man) and Sarah's sister (the maid of honor) began to have "words". Well, Robby (the self-appointed warden of these inmates) had already told Justin it was time for him to go to his room (yes, Warden Robby was smart...he got their room adjoining our suite so he could have a room check). On his way to the elevator, he said in a very calm voice, "Daddy just sent me to my room...I don't know why." And there my compliant child went. So, when "words" (alcohol induced words) broke out between David and Sarah's sister, Robby told David the same thing; "It's time for you to go to your room." Well, strong-willed, middle child (and alcohol impaired as well), David popped up and said, "If you want ME to go to MY room...you're gonna have to kick me in the balls!" AND Bada Boom, Bada Bang...There You Go...DONE! There amidst alll of the music and dancing and commotion, David fell backwards on to couch moaning with Robby still standing over him. A lady rushed over, saying that she was a nurse and offered her assistance...to which Robby replied, " Mam, we don't need any help here." David ended going back to a friend of our room; which was probably a very good idea.

The next morning, my sister was sitting in the lobby when David arrived on the scene and plopped down beside her. Looking around, he told her that he was there for the "family breakfast". "I'm pretty sure that has been cancelled," she said. Yea, he supposed so. The actual day of the wedding had arrived and it continued to be almost as eventful as the previous night...TUNE IN FOR TOMORROW'S BLOG to find out more about the events leading up to the wedding ceremony.


A few years ago, we finally purchased the "lake house" we have always wanted. We (the family) did a few home improvements to make the house more aesthetically appealing. This got our new little place looking more updated in no time at all. We also decided that year to begin a new "family tradition"...a 4th of July celebration! We generally have somewhere between 20-40 people of all ages show up; mostly family, but also some close friends as well. Oh, we go all out...food, fireworks, volleyball, horseshoes, swimming; you name it! This year, the 4th just happens to fall 6 days prior to David and Codi's wedding day (what was I thinking???) Also, a couple of months ago, we decided to embark on a more extensive remodeling project for our quickly expanding family. Eventually we will have 6 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms...however, for now we are down to 1 bathroom. I told Robby that the one issue I could forsee during the weekend might be with this. He said he was sure that it wouldn't cause too many problems...SURE! (considering that half of the people in attendance have IBS). So, I stocked up on toilet paper and was also thankfully able to get the plumber to install the continuous heating hot water heater; since 9 of these people would be staying overnight in the house...for several days.

People (and 5 dogs) began to filter in and the single bathroom didn't seem to be too much of a problem...at first. The next morning, things became a little more challenging. I don't know about you, but when my feet hit the floor in the morning, the first thing I need to do is "potty". So, peeking out of my bedroom, I noticed it was vacant and I hurried toward it, not knowing when I might be able to get in there again. Soon after, I began making coffee and Robby began cooking breakfast and everyone else started waking up and moving around. I heard Caitlin ask Ryan if she could go ahead and get in there a take her shower first; she promised not to be long. After quite a while, a could hear Ryan knocking on the bathroom door and reminding her that she SAID she wouldn't be long (define long...). "Well, I had to shave my legs...and wash my hair. But, I won'tbe much longer". "OH MY GOODNESS!", he said. About this time, Justin appeared on the scene and announced that if he couldn't get in soon, he would just go off the back porch! Then, Ryan becoming more agitated by the second, finally asked exactly how long could it possibly take to shave your legs. And then stated that he was about to take off running and ram the door with his body AND he didn't care if she was sitting in the sink and he knocked her to the floor. Sitting in the living room quietly, holding his little 3 pound poodle and watching television, Pa-Paw (who is 75 years old) said, "If that door opens, could somebody just throw me my teeth so I can eat breakfast?" Well, EVENTUALLY Caitlin did exit the bathroom, but catching it available when you needed to "use it" became more and more difficult as the day wore on. But, we did not let a little thing like this ruin our "Fun Family Forth of July Celebration". However, quite frequently, you could hear deals being made around the corner..."Hey, what do you have to do Number 1 or Number 2 ?!?"

If You Wait Long Enough...You Might Just Find Out!

I was the "original" strong-willed child. Oh, I know that I said David is my strong-willed child...BUT who do you think he got it from? I've always just hated being told what to do. The minute someone says I HAVE to do something or I see the word, "required", the hairs on the back of my neck start prickling. Why, even as a baby, (I'm told) my mother tried to get me to drink a little glass of prune juice...which from my highchair, I promptly struck from her hand. I knew I didn't want that stuff and haven't had any of it to this day. And because of our very nature, both David and I have landed ourselves in some pretty tough spots over the years. I don't know if it's the fact that our mouths tend to open at exactly the wrong moment or that we just have that "authority problem"...or perhaps, a combination of both. Our motto has always been, "It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission " (although, I must admit that asking forgiveness at times had been quite painful). Anyway, we are always somehow landing in trouble. Yes, I know for some of you, this may be hard to believe...but even at the age of 48, I can still end up in trouble. I have, however, settled down some over the years (I can see Robby rolling his eyes, even as I'm writing this), but as a teenager, I seemed to be riddled with troublesome situations. As a junior in high school, I went to live with my sister and her family. I only lived there that one year, but while doing so, I encountered a few...shall we say, "little incidents". You see, I was not a big "fan" of school (I know...why the heck did I become a teacher then...), although I made decent grades. So, I made friends with the girls who lived across the street from my sister, who would also be my new classmates. That year, we actually became carpoolers back and forth to school. As time went on, I became bored with going to school EVERY day. All of those RULES...so institutional. So...to remedy this problem, I decided to start taking a few "Fun Days" every now and then. There was a little church around the corner from where my sister lived and this became the drop-off, pick-up point for my little "Fun Days". You see, I would have my new friends take me to meet an old friend...and we would head out for the day. OH, don't worry...to cover all my bases, I would go immediately to a local convenience store, use the pay phone (this was before the day of cell phones) and call myself in sick for the day to the school secretary (I know...kind of Ferris Buhler-ish). I'm really surprised that this worked, what with all the big trucks whizzing by and causing such noise. But, it did indeed work...and quite well for some time, I must say. UNTIL...I got a little carried away with my adventures. My birthday was coming up and I really got into the spirit of things by calling a whole group of my friends to join me for a little birthday celebration (this is most likely where I went wrong...groups attract attention). The plan was to go into town that day and do some shopping, visit the record shop and then eat a little lunch at Pizza Hut. I must say, it was a truly GREAT day. However, much to my surprise, that evening after dinner, I was called into the living room...and the conversation went like this: "Barbara,where were you today?" OK, I'm thinking...NEVER let them see you sweat; stay calm. "At school", I replied. "Are you sure?" "Yes". Then my sister said, "Well, SOMEONE told us they saw you in town today. Did you skip school?" YIKES!!! OK, I have my story and I'm sticking to it. Probably that school bus driver friend of theirs..."No, it wasn't me. Who said they saw me anyway?" I was told I really didn't need to worry about "who" told them, but that they were really disappointed in me (suppose for both skipping school AND lying about it...although I never confessed). They decided that they were not going to punish me; that I would just have to earn their trust back. WHAT??? Did I hear that correctly? PERFECT! I LOVE that kind of punishment. But still, for years I wondered...who could have seen me out and about? I always thought they had lied to me about it not being their bus driver friend. However, much to my surprise and when I least expected it...I found out. 31 years later, while sitting around visiting with my sister and the rest of our "Birthday Club" members, one of the members said, "Remember that day when I came back to work from lunch (she and my sister worked together back then) and said I thought I saw Barbara dancing around the water fountain at the old Green's Department Store?" All of a sudden, the room became very quiet. My sister's eyes got wide. And then this HUGE smile came across my face. My sister told our friend that she had never revealed her source all of these years. And I said, "Mystery Solved...Case Closed"! If you wait long enough...you might just find out what you've always wanted to know!

A Case of Mistaken Identity at Office Depot

I used to teach school. Frist, I taught English at the junior high level and then I moved to teaching second grade. I love teaching school, but my "problem with authority" (as Robby would say) caused me to quit teaching much earlier than I thought I would have. The first year after quitting my teaching job, I home schooled Caitlin. She was in the 6th grade and this was a great experience for both of us. I thought about how nice and relaxing the next year would be with not having to have an agenda everyday, since I would not have an every day job. Well, as fate would have it, Robby's secretary had to quit and Robby told me that the job would now be mine. OK...so, why would you want me doing your books? I'm the girl who never reconciles her personal checking account (not because I can't, but I just don't want to). "You will learn to use Quick Books and I will show you how to do everything", he stated. GREAT! I guess that meant that I had to learn to use a computer too. Well, go to work for Robby, I did. And I also quit at least once a month! I would take out a piece of paper and write the following note and then lay it on his desk: Dear Boss, I Quit! Sincerely, Barbara. Robby would read this note, crumple it up and say, "You can't quit." OH MY GOSH!!! What kind of job do I have that I can't even quit?!? You see, Robby's mind runs at 5 millions miles a minute and he very intense; classic Type A Personality. His desk always looks like a bomb went off on it...BUT oh, don't ever try to straighten it because then he will never be able to find anything (go figure!). I, on the other hand, have a neat, organized desk and there must be a rhyme and reason for everything I do. I cannot get in a hurry because if I do, I might forget a step in my routine and something won't get done correctly. You get it now, don't you...Felix Unger and Oscar Madison; that's us! In my organization, I like to use all kinds of folders, labels, sticky pads, highlighters, etc. On one particular morning, Robby asked me if I would be stopping by Office Depot on the way to work. "No, am definitely not going by there, so if you need something, you should just go by yourself." With that issue settle, I went about my business and continued to prepare for the day. Unbeknownst to me, my husband was wreaking havic across town. He did indeed head down to Office Depot to get his supplies. However, while there, he saw me...or should I say "someone" who "appeared" to be me. I must interject here, that Robby is "famous" for thinking he sees someone he knows; I'm just usually there to save him from himself before he frightens some poor, unsuspecting soul. On this particular morning, he was not that fortunate. As he wandered into the store, he headed toward the aisle where the copy paper could be found. And low and behold, who should he see standing there (with her back to him, of course), but his lovely wife. "So...she decided to come by here after all", he thought. And then, he proceeded to "surprise" me (her). I can still imagine this (since I was not actually there in person). He squatted down and snuck for aisle to aisle and endcap to endcap until finally he was right behind her. And then...BAM! He popped her right on her butt! And yes, it can get a little better...after the POP, he gives her butt a hard squeeze and shakes it! The lady (who is NOT me), turns around and as they come within inches of each other's faces, they both JUMP back and SCREAM...AHHH!!! "You're NOT my wife!" Well, lucky for him, this woman had a very good sense of humor. He called me right away to tell me about this woman who looked EXACTLY like me...from behind!