Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Family Planning Conspiracy

I was in my backyard today, inspecting my garden and fruit trees. All the fuzzy fruit babies are coming right along. The apricots are starting to blush with color. After a lousy harvest last year, the grapes are plentiful. I suspect they have some kind of 'every other year' thing going on. The apples are getting heavy, and are worm-free this year! Wah-hoo! The blackberries are getting black.But all was not well in the garden. It was here that I discovered something shocking. A family planning conspiracy!!! Yes, you read that correctly. Do you remember in the news a few weeks ago, a story of a pregnancy pact a bunch of girls made in a high school back east? They all apparently decided to get pregnant and raise their kids together? Well, the same thing has happened in my garden, except in reverse.
That's right. These girls decided that the whole 'multiply and replentish the earth' thing didn't apply to them. I don't know if they wanted more time, maybe they didn't feel ready. Perhaps they didn't want to be burdened with fruit while they were still so young. Whatever the reason, eight tomato plants decided to abstain. I did everything I could to set the mood: manure, plenty of water, a little mulch here and there, to no effect.
Thank goodness this gal didn't get the memo in time. She let one lone tomato squeak by. Thankfully, the rest of their neighbors haven't been swayed by the tomato gang's dangerously radical example.
The zucchini family are really cranking them out.
The peppers are expecting twins!The eggplant family haven't announced anything yet, but I think I see a little swelling there, a little bloat. What do you guys think?
The Tomatillo's have been having a fiesta over their good news.I wasn't going to say anything, but Mrs. Spaghetti-Squash is getting bigger by the day! Do you think that's all baby?
Who knew my garden would supply so much juicy gossip?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


That's how hot it's been over here. No, I'm not talking about the weather. I'm talking about the core temperature of this little guy.

On the 4th, he started to get a bit warm, and by Saturday he was doing the whole fever thing with gusto. When I felt his head, I knew this was no ordinary fever. He was pretty delirious with bright red patches on his neck and chest. When I saw the numbers on the thermometer, I couldn't believe it. I called the ER to find out if this was an ER problem or an urgent care one while my husband bathed him. The ER lady wasn't fussed at all, and told me to save money and go to urgent care. The Dr. there wasn't very worried either. "Can't find anything wrong with him but the (insanely high) fever," he shrugged. "Probably a virus." I sounded a bit shrill when I asked him about the danger of hearing loss and brain damage. "Nah, don't worry about that. Just keep him hydrated. He'll be fine in a couple of days." Huh?
The couple of days passed and he was far from fine, he was only getting worse. Today I finally followed my instincts and took him straight to the ER. He was burning up, and no one there told me it was no big deal. They ran some simple tests and found a raging infection that was easily treatable with antibiotics. I felt so vindicated! He's already feeling better too.
Lesson for the day: If someone tells you it's no big deal, but your gut tells you it is, it is.

Ick, Ick Ick!

In this heat, I've been trying really hard to stay hydrated. I'll keep a giant glass of water on the counter so every time I walk by it's there waiting for me. This evening I walked by and took a swig. As I lifted the glass and the water filled my mouth, I noticed an object in the bottom. A round, walnut-shaped object. I really didn't want to know what it was, I just spit the water in the sink and found another glass with which to drown my thirst. I'd forgotten about the surprise in the glass until my husband walked out of the kitchen with a brown walnut-sized object between his fingers. What was it?

Are you sure you want to know?

I didn't. But now I do.

A LIVE freshwater clam one of my kids brought home from camping.

Monday, July 7, 2008

What are you laughing at?!

My six year old giggled and squinted up at me. "Your fat stomach."
"What? Fat stomach? Baby, this isn't fat, this is love. This is sacrifice! These stretch marks are proof of what I went through to get all you boys here!" He just rolled his eyes. Then I regaled him with stories of my six pack from bygone days. I could out-crunch my husband in a contest. He would crumple in defeat and I would quit when I was bored. I sure wish I'd taken pictures.
Sigh. Anyway, back to my story.

We were camping. In paradise. Isn't this strip of grass between asphalt beautiful? We'd had a traumatic 2 1/2 hour drive in search of a campsite in 106 degree heat. The tip we'd been given of a fantastic place to camp didn't pan out, so we'd wasted half a tank of gas and we were grouchy. So we tied the boys up high in a tree to protect them from predators, and turned in. Just kidding, this guy rigged himself a cool pulley system. After a rough night's sleep, we were anxious to salvage the trip. My husband proposed an adventure. "Put on your shoes, boys, we're taking off!" And he walked out into the bush. And cactus. I didn't know we even HAD cactus here. But we do. And rattlesnakes. This was their home we were walking through. I coped with my fear by serenading them, announcing my presence. "Oh, snakies, stay away from me!" I got the silly tune stuck in everybody's head. Nothing bit us though, so it works. We found our own private beach. The water was so shallow, you could walk out 100 feet and it would only be up to your knees! I watched all this, fully clothed. Sweat ran down my neck. The sun beat down on my head. I tried to roll up my jeans, but what I really wanted to do, was swim! Luckily, my husband had packed some swim trunks, and he graciously lent them to me. The boys were riding driftwood, trying to balance on it and screaming with laughter when they rolled in the water. My husband took driftwood and built a raft.

I watched as long as a could, then I'd had enough. I went to the bushes, stripped off my shirt and hit the water with just my bra on top. Only my oldest looked twice, with a little suppressed grin. No one else batted an eye. That is, until my little six year old came up close for some sun screen. Then he couldn't help but stare and the beauty that is my wrinkly white stomach.
I guess this trip will live on in his memory for a long, long time.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Why Jello Shots, Fire Crackers and a Dry Field are not a Good Combination

We had a fun 4th of July. We went to the condo of a friend of ours, Nanny Pam. (This photo speaks to me. It says, "Honey, step away from the cookies. And keep on walking. Don't you hate pictures that make you think that? It's our only picture of the night, so I'm stuck with it. Anyway, back to Nanny Pam.) It's right by the river, where our town's firework display is. The kids brought her cool rocks and leaves, and dazzled her with their wit. We sat and chatted on her patio and watched as the sun set and darkness deepened. The condo next door, however, was a party in every sense of the word. They drank and drank, getting rowdier and more festive as the night wore on. They looked like clean cut, nice enough people, don't get me wrong, but by nightfall, they had their 'groove' on. Then they did us the great favor of providing a fantastic object lesson. They started letting off fireworks into a tinder-dry field. Of course it caught fire, it's been over 100 for a week! Their reaction was the best part. They stood there, flummoxed, telling each other "We need water." Duh. After a minute or so of this, my husband lets out a snort of disgust, and walks through the crowd next door, grabs their hose, turns on the water, walks to the field and puts the fire out. Neighbors on the other side were yelling at the partiers, calling them idiots, and we couldn't help but agree. It did make for a very productive conversation on the way home though.