Sunday, September 29, 2013

Random Ramblings (really random, but at least I posted something!)

Whew!  It is dusty in here!  I had to sweep the cobwebs off of my blog space before I could find a spot to sit and write.  It has been TOO LONG!  Way too long.

Summer happened.
And then moving happened.
And then I just got out of the habit of my weekly blog posts. 
But I miss those weekly writing dates, so here I am again.  I used to write many of these posts from my side porch at my old house.  I loved that space to write.  I do miss that porch.  But, I am writing today from my new back porch.  There are horses, cows, and a bull grazing in the field in front of me.  My little green pond is sparkling in the sunshine (well, the few spots that aren't mucky with algae are sparkling).  Matt is perched atop our "utility" vehicle (which is really mostly a toy), and my children are being carted along behind in an attached wagon.  A pretty little bird with the unfortunate label of "titmouse" is pecking at food from a feeder.  Luke, exhausted from chasing frogs and butterflies and cicadas, is conked out in the sunshine. 

It's not been all sparkly ponds and butterflies since we moved here, mind you. 

First of all, it was a rocky road getting this place--I won't bore you with the details.  It's been a struggle, too, being further away from family and friends.  Jack has had to start out in a new school.  I am taxiing Amélie 45-minutes away each week for a homeschool co-op and piano lessons.  Matt's job has been crazy.  I know absolutely no one in this town (I email Jack's teacher to ask things like, "Does this town have a pharmacy?"  And, "Where do you take your kids to the pediatrician?")  I haven't found a place yet to get Jack's hair cut, so yesterday I hacked at his hair with safety scissors (because my scissors, apparently, are still hiding in a box).  A week ago our sweet, dear 13 1/2-year-old weimaraner died. 

So, we're adjusting and coping and grieving and stumbling through our days with klutzy grace. 

One weird side effect of living here is Jack's strange conviction that "Missouri kids" are different than "Kansas kids."  He is wrong, most likely, that Missouri and Kansas kids are truly different, but there is definitely a difference between "suburban" kids and "rural" ones.  For example:
Jack came home asking for a bb gun with which to shoot cans the other day.
He desperately wants a bow and arrow.
He asked to watch Duck Dynasty because that's what some of the kids in his class watch (which we did on Friday night--I was both repelled and strangely attracted to that show).
He was AMAZED at all of the camouflage in Wal Mart (yes, Wal Mart.  I hate Wal Mart.  But I am temporarily lifting my avoid-Wal Mart-at-nearly-any-cost ban, partly because I am still figuring out where to grocery shop, and partly, quite frankly, because I already have to sell my soul and trade in my Costco membership for a Sam's Club membership).  Anyway, so yes, the Wal Mart Supercenter five miles down the road is practically decorated in camouflage.  There's a camouflage deer stand perched outside the store.  The sporting goods section is HUGE, and while curiously wandering through it the other day I found a pink camouflage flask for sale.  For real. 

I am a little worried about Jack out here.  It's not that I have anything against hunting or Duck Dynasty or even shooting cans with bb guns.  But his dad and I are lost in this world.  I mean, we don't even kill bugs, mostly.  Last week I found a massive garden spider in my bathtub, so I caught it under a glass and released it into my yard.  Amélie couldn't handle the trauma of watching frog hunting during Duck Dynasty (And who can blame her?  We love our little frogs!  I could never chop off their heads and eat their legs.).  I can't imagine that we will ever buy a gun, despite the fact that the previous owner said we would need one for snakes and raccoons and skunks.  We are those weird people who try, in vain, to use those humane live traps. How in the world are we going to fit in here?  Is Jack going to start sobbing when he goes out hunting with his friends and they kill a deer? 

Please don't misunderstand me.  If you know me, you know I am not a vegetarian.  I do try to buy meat that has been humanely raised, and you can't get much more "humanely raised" than killing a deer that has spent its life wandering a forest.  I literally went YEARS without buying any sort of ground beef because I ate venison from deer that my grandpa had shot.  So I'm not against hunting or meat or even pink camouflage flasks.

It's just not me.  And I worry that we won't fit in.  Mostly I worry that my kids won't fit in.  I'm sure I worry in vain.  I'm sure they will be fine.  I'm sure one of these years Jack is going to find a bow and arrow under the Christmas tree.  Amélie might add "pink camouflage hoodie" to her Christmas list.

You know, actually, the truth is...
Matt is the one who really doesn't fit in.
He needs a bigger truck. 

P.S.  So, this just happened, I kid you not (I am typing out this "P.S." several hours after writing this post):  The guy from one of the three other houses on our gravel road just drove down in his (big) truck to see me.  (Let's ignore the reason he was coming to see me, because it makes me nearly hyperventilate with anxiety.  He, super nice guy that he is, was checking to make sure Luke had made it home, because my dumb dog, who is trying to make me die of anxiety, decided today that 5 acres isn't enough and that he also needs to explore the half-mile one-lane road we live on AND the country road our road leads to.  It's not a very busy road, but my neighbor told me he heard a horn honking, and it was because Luke was in the middle of the road.  Are you kidding me?  We had one dog die of a bowel obstruction seven months ago and another dog die seven days ago.  We cannot have another dog die.  We cannot.) ANYWAY, my neighbor was drinking a can of beer while talking to me (still in his vehicle--is it illegal to drink and drive on a private road?) and I swear to you there was a rifle sitting in the passenger seat.  I am, actually, all for gun control (go ahead--shoot me), but for some reason I just found it amusing that my neighbor was driving down to see me while drinking a beer and carting around a gun.  What is happening to me????? 
Let me just say this now: if you ever see me driving a big truck with a can of beer in my hand and a rifle in my passenger seat, would you please stage an intervention?  Thank you. 

P.P.S.  For the record, this post is a bit tongue-in-cheek.  I know that I am stereotyping "rural" kids and "suburban" kids.  I know there are suburban kids who shoot bb guns and I know that there are rural girls who don't wear pink camo.  Also, if you love Wal Mart, I still love you.  And if you drink from a pink camo flask and drive with a rifle in your passenger seat, I still love you.  I think. 


  1. I LOVE that you are writing again. Your post made me smile! I have LOTS of comments about this post! :)
    1. I completely agree with you about Duck Dynasty. The boys LOVE it. I think it is stupid and scripted, but light-hearted. They are never cruel to each other. Did you see the Duck Dynasty section at Walmart? I've been informed it is HUGE. JD bought a DD t-shirt at Kohls yesterday, and it looks like a Jack Daniels t-shirt. How's that for irony?
    2. When Luke is a few months older, thing about getting him a shock collar. He is going to wander. You are going to worry. He is going to come home smelling like manure or dragging somebody's deer carcass. OR smelling like a skunk. I've only had to shock Trooper a handful of times and Anna once. It wasn't cruel, it didn't scare them--just got their attention, and now they are very happy to stay on our property and away from the chickens. They don't even wear the collar anymore. They spend more time outside because I know they are exactly where I want them to be.
    3. Get a .22 or a shotgun OR make sure you have your neighbor with the rifle on speed dial. We have only had to use ours twice, besides knocking down cans. Once was with a raccoon that was acting VERY strangely. The dogs found it during the day in a snowstorm. When you find a raccoon acting strangely in the day (when it should be sleeping), you can't take the risk that it isn't rabid. JD shot it. Second time was a chicken that was egg-bound had to be put out of its suffering. I tried to help it, but it was beyond my help. When we had our problems with skunks, we used a live-trap and had 4 skunks carried FAR away, and I NEVER let the boys kill snakes, so I agree with you about killing creatures that are just being normal critters. But in all likelihood you will at some time run into a situation that requires a gun, so you might think about how you and Matt would handle that situation. There may not be time to call Animal Control--which would probably take several hours to come. A call to the neighbor with the rifle might be the best solution...
    4. We just got a big truck. But it is missing the rifle and beer in it. Actually, we bought my grandpa's truck. :)

  2. I used to spend my summers in Warsaw, MO...I loved it there. Not because I wanted to be an unmarried teen mom, or because I dreamed of spending every waking moment eating deep fried things on a stick while the fair or carnival was in town, or because I loved wearing jeans two sizes too tight and a inappropriate short tank top to show off my muffin top. I love the people that you run into at wal-mart in the camo section...or any section for that matter. I love that your neighbor WILL drive over to check that your dog made it home, and that you know that in a pinch you can call him when the racoon is trying to move in under your porch, and he'll bring his gun to take care of the problem for you without charging any more than dinner and a hearty "thank-you". There's something about being in the city that forces us to be so private in our little world in our house that it's difficult to even say "hi" when taking out the trash at the same time as your neighbor. Sad.

    You will come into your own style. It doesn't have to be a big truck or camo hoodies or not shaving your legs, but as long as you remain willing to help with open hands and a smile, you'll fit right in.

    By the way, being able to shoot a can with a BB gun is not necessarily a bad skill to have...many habits and traditions of country folk were born out of necessity...just keep that in mind :)

  3. Kelly,
    I was actually going to text you about the shock collar thing. I don't really want to shock him...but I REALLY don't want him to wander off, and it's not like we could fence our property. Does he have to be older for me to get him one?

    YES, I have seen the Duck Dynasty section at Wal Mart. It was humongous.

    I am actually not totally opposed to the idea of getting a gun (which is funny and totally ironic, since I claimed in the post that I am for gun control. Obviously what I am in a mass of contradictions). I don't really want to tangle with a rabid raccoon.

    I love it that you have a big truck. :) We borrowed Matt's dad's big truck for awhile to help us haul a trailer, and we got sort of attached to the thing.

    You are SO RIGHT about the people here. What I should have said in that post is that we have honestly met the kindest people here that I have ever, ever met. The people at Jack's school have gone out of their way to make Jack feel welcome. I have not met one cranky person at the post office or the grocery store. I am so grateful that my neighbor, whom I have only met once, took the time to drive down to my house to make sure my dog is OK. Everyone here is so nice. I love it.

    I will make sure I email you as soon as Jack gets a BB gun...which I am guessing will be sooner rather than later. :)

    And also, for the record, I LOVE it out here. I don't live in a totally backwards little town. People generally speak proper English and have all of their teeth. :) I don't want my tongue-in-cheek essay to make it sound like I am making fun of this town. Because I'm really not. I adore this space and this place.