Category Archives: Aaron

When a Nonna Wants a Rocking Chair . . .

I wanted an old rocker. A rocker that had already put generations of babies to sleep. I had one many years ago – my grandmother’s, in fact. But our family will always have at least one female chocolate lab and our first, Millie, ate everything. Her preference was loafers with tassels, and she didn’t care if there were feet in them or not. Her second choice, though, was wood. She preferred it nicely painted or stained. The runners on a rocking chair were a snout-level snack when we were all away during the day *sigh*.

Anyway, I had my first grand-baby flying in from Austin (oh, and her parents) and I was by-God going to have a rocker here when they arrived. So I’d been stalking rockers on my fave online estate sale auction site, Everything But The House. Just in time I scored an old rocker we picked up about ten minutes from our house. I was glad Michael had insisted on coming with me, because there was no way I could have moved this baby on my own. I couldn’t even lift it!

It was covered in cobwebs and dust, and someone had clearly given it “a lick and a promise” with some leftover white paint about a decade ago.

Ornate curlicues had been knocked off (probably by a basketball that wasn’t supposed to be in the house) and replaced by someone who needed new bifocals.

It has an embossed leather inset seat that had been painted (EEK), has at least three major cracks, and has plain upholstery tacks holding it in place in a completely random pattern. Or perhaps Morse Code. Or by the same person who painted it after a few too many beers. Decide for yourself.

It also has lovely decorative carving on the headrest, and is way comfortable. Since I can’t sit in an ergonomic desk chair for more than fifteen minutes, this is high praise.

The chair, without even a sponge-off, went to the Graduation / Welcome Baby Emma party along with Emma’s great-great-grandparents’ card table. While I was there the rocker was never empty, despite the overstuffed chairs and sofas in abundance.

Cut-throat card games are a traditional activity at all large Ballard family gatherings, and we were packed in there like sardines. I left before the card games started, but Michael and John didn’t get home until nearly midnight. The party started at 2 p.m. – LOL!
So my question, I guess, is where do I even start? Is the embossed leather salvageable? If so, do I need to remove it and restore the wood and leather separately, then replace? The chair is very sturdy, but this section is split.

Fill with sand-able, paint-able wood filler/glue, right? Ideally, I’d like this beauty to be a deep lake blue, about the darkest blue in this upholstery fabric I bought when a local craft store went out of business. I plan to use it to cover the throw pillows on my chocolate brown sofa (matches the dogs)

But I want it distressed all to hell so it doesn’t matter if a little one scratches it with a fork or colors on it with a crayon, or if I get a bit of nail polish on the arm. And I would like brown leather on the seat, with decorative nail heads or something equally pretty and comfy. I have a large number of creative high school grads I can put to work on this project. And it can be done in stages. Emma is hopefully only one of many children to be rocked in that chair – why not leave room for each to add his or her own touch?

When Your Youngest Graduates

Seven years ago (almost to the day) I wrote a poem about my eldest growing up and being ready to graduate high school at the same time my youngest graduated to middle school. Note to young parents: Do NOT have children seven years apart. It may seem great timing early on, but it also means you will have a teen inhabiting your home for fourteen consecutive years. And they will go through major life events at the same time. This year my eldest and his wife made me a Nonna (Italian for Grandma) in April, and my baby will graduate from High School in May.

I thought my hair would surely turn grey with all the stress of the past eight months or so, but I still have just my few silver strands I’ve had for years. My daughter-in-law has a hematologic genetic issue (MTHFR mutation) that predisposes her to difficulty conceiving and increased chance of miscarriage, and she ended up delivering three weeks early due to uncontrolled pregnancy-induced hypertension. It was terrifying being so far away, but I think it made us all that much more thankful when everyone was confirmed healthy!

My youngest has had two good friends in his Senior class commit suicide this year. One was early in the year, the other was just a few weeks ago. He just wants high school to be over, to never set foot on that campus again. Fortunately, I’ve talked him into going to most of the Senior events. I think he’ll even agree to a graduation celebration as long as it’s while his new niece is there to steal the spotlight. Yes, he performed in a local musical in front of a sold-out crowd of six hundred when he was a kid, but he’s too much like me sometimes. I can speak in front of thousands of people, but am uncomfortable with a hundred people paying attention to me, not what I’m saying.

I got to look at his yearbook last night, and it was an incredible publication! I pulled out my own Senior yearbook for comparison mine was pretty awesome) but was blown away by the creativity these students showed. Yes, there is digital technology available now that wasn’t available in 1984, but there are a lot of things included in both that really define the feeling of the time period. Kudos to all Yearbook staffers everywhere!

John still has Prom, Senior Walk (I think this is a Louisville thing) and Graduation to go. Sadly, Graduation is on a Wednesday at 5:00 pm downtown, making it nearly impossible for extended family and friends to be there even with the huge venue (Freedom Hall). BTW, 1984 Defender yearbook staff, I do want to correct one error in the coverage of our graduation at Rupp Arena. The Assistant Principal who shook our hands was given six hundred pennies, not marbles. Marbles would have been dangerous. I brought and passed out the pennies myself because he wouldn’t let the picture the school-contracted photographer happily took be included in the yearbook.

Check in with Mama Kat for Throwback Thursday this week!

72 Hours of Fear, then RELIEF!

I started bleeding on the way home from John’s jazz band concert Saturday afternoon. It worried me, since I hadn’t had a period in years and my labs had been in the post-menopausal range for two consecutive years. But I was too exhausted and in too much pain to really give it any thought that day. I’d had a really demanding week physically and mentally. A lazy week compared to my pre-constant pain life, but really tough compared to my current isolated, in bed twenty out of twenty-four hours life.

The next day the bleeding was heavier. I stayed in bed all day. But I used my iPad to Google possible causes for vaginal bleeding after menopause. When I didn’t find any answers I liked I started selecting my own causes and Googling them. “Hypertension causes vaginal bleeding” – improbable stuff like that. Then I pulled up a medication app on my phone and checked every medication I’m on to see if any of them could cause vaginal bleeding, even though none of my meds have changed in six months. All that was left was the answer to my very first search: Uterine Cancer.

Monday the flow seemed lighter, so I put off calling my doctor. I shaved my legs and did my nails, just in case. When my hair was mostly dry I put it in a sock bun. Out of the way for procedures, still looks nice when it comes out of the bun later. I don’t care what anyone tells you: Medical professionals appreciate a well-groomed patient. Then I made the call and they arranged an ultrasound for today.

After the ultrasound the nurse practitioner assured me that not only did I not have cancer, but that the bleeding was just a rebound effect from having my IUD removed a month ago.  She said to call if the bleeding kept going or stopped and then returned, but clearly did not expect that to happen.

I called my husband with the good news from the parking lot. I’d prepped him for bad news since I thought is was inevitable. His voice was shaking when he answered, as I’m sure mine was just a few minutes earlier.

So I now have shaved legs, OPI Cajun Shrimp nails, and my tummy is full of celebratory hamburger. I think that went well!

See other takes on this week’s writing prompts at Mama Kat’s.

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