My House is a “No Sparks” Zone

I love our country and appreciate all the freedoms we enjoy (and mostly take for granted). I’m very thankful that Independence Day for us wasn’t a day of terror, sorrow, and loss as Bastille Day was in France. I firmly believe there were many terrorist plans in place and that we were protected by Homeland Security and by our country’s intelligence community and military. But I’m not writing about politics today. I’m writing about fireworks.

I’ve been a nurse my entire adult life, and if that has taught me nothing else it’s taught me that helmets should be worn on motorcycles and fireworks should be set off by experts. Organ transplant programs here flourished when the state across the river didn’t have a helmet law. Bad news for the wind-in-their-hair donors, but good news for those waiting on lungs, livers, hearts, kidneys, etc.

We also have a spectacular hand transplant program here. I’d never given the hand transplant program much thought until I read a news article many years ago about a particularly successful transplant. It had a picture of the young man smiling and showing off his “new hand”.  The article mentioned that he’d lost the hand during an accident involving fireworks. As I read on I discovered that most transplant patients (at least around here) have lost their hand while setting off fireworks. Not operating dangerous, complicated machinery; not while  repairing cars or farm machinery; not even while arc-welding, righting overturned train cars, or other dangerous occupations. Setting off fireworks. Head-up: picture of actual damage to hand from fireworks below.

 

fireworks damage

I called the non-emergency number for my local police this year after being kept up half the night by a trembling, terrified eighty-pound dog trying to burrow inside my skin three nights in a row (and it wasn’t even the fourth of July yet!) I didn’t complain, just asked politely if the noise ordinance after ten-o-clock would be enforced after the holiday was over. I was told that they “pretty much let people do what they wanted unless they started shooting fireworks at each other.” That’s helpful.

I live in an old neighborhood, by the way. With overhead power, cable, and phone lines, and lots of flammable mature trees. And the fire station is close, but just across the railroad tracks. So a fire truck or an ambulance could be three minutes away or “damn, that took out a dozen houses” slow. So although we don’t do amateur fireworks shows we’re still at risk because of neighbors.  Same neighbors every year. At least these days I’m not getting up at three on weekends and holidays to go to work.

So here’s my advice for your family’s health and happiness: Buy some sparklers for the kids, and warn them they truly could kill each other with them. Eat watermelon, burgers, and hot dogs. Decorate a wagon for a neighborhood parade. Have three-legged races, water balloon fights, and enjoy yourselves. Just leave the fireworks to the professionals so you don’t end up in the E.R. with everyone referring to you as “the dumbass in Room 3”.

A Few of My Favorite Things

7qt_lyceum_v2

— 1 —

pixie ladder
Here’s my very first pixie creation! It’s a twig-and-twine ladder leading down to a storm drain with a few magical pebbles and a seashell. It’s supposed to convince an 18-month-old pixies followed him home from the beach, but so far the dog is the only one convinced something’s amiss. (tip: Soak your twigs in water first, or the dremel tool will set off the fire alarm. For little sticks these put out an awful lot of heat!) check out my Pinterest board for future plans!

— 2 —

There was a Hancock’s Fabric’s going out of business near me, so I went. I perused every single aisle. To be honest, I was looking for sari fabric. It calls to me. I’d love to use it for a gored skirt. Maybe purple (of course), maybe turquoise, or maybe goldenrod! Sadly, no sari, much fleece. But I did find my first-ever birdcage! Another woman (a girl, really – maybe 20) was there and had picked up the other one. She said we were “birdcage buddies”! She asked my opinion on a whale shelf (“Not unless you are moving to the beach”) and I asked her opinion on a frog in a yoga pose (“Peaceful, but won’t last outdoors”). I considered buying enough yarn to crochet everyone slippers for Christmas, but instead decided to buy the end of a roll of gorgeous upholstery fabric (originally fifty bucks a yard, got two yards for seven dollars!), which I’ll use to re-cover the throw pillows on my couch. I never could crochet properly, anyway!
upholstry fabric

— 3 —

I was binge-watching Orphan Black (completely awesome), and since I was in bed watching on my iPad trying to FF through commercials was more trouble than it was worth. So by the last episode I was convinced I needed a Subaru, and that I had failed not only as a human mom, but as a dog mom. Heck, I haven’t done anything on my own bucket list, let alone helped anyone else with theirs. Clearly a Subaru will make all this possible. I really should not be allowed to watch commercials.
dog bucket list

— 4 —

John’s Senior pictures are coming up. He has one quick session at the school (all guys wear tuxes, all girls wear drapes) for the yearbook, and then a quick mini-session in downtown LaGrange for me.  I’d struck out at my favorite Goodwill location (Brownsboro Rd), but then hit gold at by favorite for the guys (Taylorsville Rd). John has my coloring, and looks great in yellow. I don’t wear yellow because I think it makes me look jaundiced, but on the rare occasion I wear it near my face I always get compliments. Go figure. So I got him a yellow designer dress shirt, and then found another slim-fit shirt in his size in a color he’s never worn. He loves it. Michael’s going to take him to the photo shoot, because it’s on a Friday night and I need my baby snuggles. And with only 15-30 minutes of the photographer’s time I’d easily spend half of that yammering. Michael will shut up and let her work.

— 5 —

Pokemon GO. . . does anyone else think this is like a Stephen King novel? Just locally we’ve had several accidents per day at a particular intersection, teens and pre-teens hit by cars because they walked out into traffic while following a Pokemon. My hubby is a courier, and he called me earlier this week quite stressed because he’d had to dodge a half-dozen individual kids just driving through downtown Middletown (a very small town). He said it was clear they were all playing the game because all they were focused on was their phone and their feet. And, of course, there has been crime.  Any lazy criminal can hang out at a Pokemon location and pick pockets, lift purses, even do a little carjacking with forced ATM withdrawals like my eldest experienced six years ago.

And the game has only been out a couple of weeks. Things are going to get worse before they get better.  I tried to get John to take my picture with a Pokemon for this post, but he (supposedly) lost the picture. This gives me a great excuse to stick to him like glue if he goes Pokemon-hunting! Unless he goes on foot, of course, since I can’t make it to the nearest Pokemon 🙁 Yeah, I’m getting a little obsessed by the whole phenomenon. I’m SOOO glad John isn’t really into it (it’s not a game for the impatient), but it’s something I want to know more about. Why are our tweens and teens so easily lured into something like this??

— 6 —

The recent violent acts and the racial tension I see on social media astounds me.  Our culture has come so far past this! Politicians and the media have created unrest that doesn’t exist. Yes, there are exceptions to every rule. I’m sure that there are racists in every profession, including police officers. But those are the exceptions, not the norm. I live in Louisville, Kentucky. Maybe we really do live up to the hype as one of the most tolerant cities, because here are the only two examples of racism I’ve experienced as an adult: The morning after 9/11, while everyone else was quietly gathered around the TV in the doctor’s lounge getting their morning dose of caffeine a Middle-Eastern cardiovascular surgeon I had known and respected for years burst through the door laughing. “I guess you Americans finally got what was coming to you!” I haven’t seen or heard from him since.  And a local African-American personal trainer who I’ve found to be brilliant and compassionate makes no bones about the fact that he will do business ONLY with black-owned businesses if possible. Since I had recently approached him about a business opportunity I messaged him privately to ask if his response would have been different if my skin were darker in my profile picture. In a more verbose way he said that yes, it would. I love that I live where almost no one cares about my race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, or political affiliation. If you can’t say that, move to Louisville. There’s a house for sale just down the street!

— 7 —

I get to “do” some shelves today! I’m so excited! You know the final part of Fixer-Upper, when the whole house has been demo’d and rebuilt, walls are painted, perennials planted, furniture arranged, and fixtures hung? When Joanna “fluffs” stuff and moves things around so it all balances? Yeah, I love that. I’ve got two huge bags of “pretty” books the guys are going to have to load into the car before I go over. I’ll take pictures!

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum!

My Mini-Me

johns keyboard and sock
My mini-me is seventeen, taller than me, and should shave more often than he does.  But that’s as it should be since I look like my dad, who is 6’2″ and has had a full beard most of his adult life.

But we both have an extremely dark sense of humor – some of our best bonding moments have been while watching Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead. We like many of the same books, but he’s a better writer than I am. What I got a little whiff of he got in spades and I’d love to see him use it.

The same things annoy both of us, and that’s a double-sided ax. If I want to get a response from him when he’s ignoring me (as most teens do their moms on a regular basis) I can get results in five seconds flat. Clearly, he can do the same to me.

So unless we are just messing around we both tend to use our understanding of the other’s psyche for calming purposes. Otherwise we just freak Michael out and make him all twitchy.

Our list of similarities is too long to list, but this one kind of covers it all. When Michael and I were first married we had these tiny gray throw pillows on the bed. Because you do that kind of silly shit before you have kids. Anyway, we had a water bed (yes, I am that old!). I put the throw pillows next to the bed before I got in. We had a tiny apartment, close to 300 square feet. If I thought of something I’d need to remember the next morning I’d just throw a pillow into the hall. Michael thought I was insane.

But the other evening he happened to see John throw a dirty sock at his computer. He asked him why. John said it would remind him to do thus-and-so the next morning. He had his smart phone in his hand, but the sock was better. That’s my boy!

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Anything worth doing can be done in jammies!