End of the day goodness

End of the day goodness
Backyard travel

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Why I love my bonus parents.

This weekend has been planned for a while.  A nice Fall visit from John’s parents.  October is my favorite month; not too hot, not too cold, not too humid, not too buggy.  There is a good selection of inside and outside activities.  I am the kind of hostess who likes to give a smorgasbord of options and the weekend before Halloween is full to the brim with possible outings and back porch sitting.   

Thursday I cooked an edible meal for weary travelers and kids who needed to attempt an early bedtime with the excitement of celebrities being under the same roof.  Friday morning went smoothly, depositing the little darlings without a 4th tardy in 4 weeks which could apparently get my in big trouble (3 has me needing to grovel before some AISD people).  That left me and the bonus parents time to catch up and figure out the rest of the day. 

We opted for a small trek to McKinney to a restaurant on the Square.  Everyone’s food was good.  We made sure to eat only enough to leave room for pie.  A day that includes pie is an excellent day.  We topped it off by sitting in the middle of the square under an extra blue sky listening to old guys playing Blue Grass. 

I gotta tell you, at this point I am feeling pretty darn good about myself.  I had succeeded in that ever so brief feeling of creating a “perfect” relaxing weekend for people I love.  I had also succeeded in parallel parking my mini-van right on the square.  It took me a good ten minutes.  I got a standing ovation from two veterans with white hair and Army hats.  I failed parallel parking twice back in the day and I hate to admit my skills have not improved in 30 years.  In fact, I am not exactly known for my ability to maneuver a car.  I have run into the garage door and knocked my back window out.  I have run into the side of the garage and knocked the numbers off the brick.  I have run into shelves and caused a giant wire spool to fly onto the hood of the car.  However, none of these compare to what happened yesterday.

As I was saying, I was busy putting this weekend into the slam dunk category.  We came home, John succumbed to the afternoon pie coma while Jeanette and I had a wonderful conversation on the back porch.  As evening rolled around, we decided a pick up from Rudy’s would top off the day.  So, I blissfully backed out of the garage thinking all was right with the world when “BAM!!!” Into my MIL’s car I slam.  You know those moments where you wish you had a giant time eraser, a do over?  That was my brain.  My mother in law who is just cool looks at me and says “Let’s go get the food and worry about this when we get back.”  I can’t.  I have to look.  I do not have a big time eraser so my second hope is that there is no evidence of my crash on the CRV.   You know that thing Charlie Brown does with his mouth wide open going “ARGHHHHH!”, insert that here.  There was a bump, a scratch, and panel popped out that wasn’t going back in.  No, it was stubbornly there letting everyone know that yes indeed, a Honda Odyssey had made contact. 

There is no hope of a weekend being a slam dunk when you run into your in-laws car.  No hope at all. 

The next step was going to suck.  Telling John 1 and John 2.   Again, thank goodness for the wisdom of my MIL.  “let’s tell them after dinner.  It is just a car.  It will be fine.”  Her plan was perfect, no one had to deal with the indigestion of this horrible event through dinner but me, the responsible ninny.  Finally when we were done eating but sitting around the table I burst out “I HAVE DONE SOMETHING!!” and I covered my eyes.  The whole thing came out of my mouth and I actually watched the happiness drain out of my FIL’s face.  Of course my husband who has been around this particular block with me for 15 years just shakes his head.   My Father in Law makes the long walk out to take a look.  I irrationally hope the fix-it-fairy has come to the rescue.  I can tell from the look on his face when he returns, no such luck.

Now this is why I love these people.  I was a complete dumbass.  I backed out of my car into a parked car.  I had plenty of room to avoid it.  I had been avoiding it all day.  The only reason I hit it this time, as stated, I am a dumbass.  I know they were irritated and angry.  They had every right to be.   BUT, with great, great reserve, no one actually said out loud that I am a dumb ass.  No one said any of the true but horrible things they were thinking out loud.  Everyone took a giant bite out of their tongues and decided to let the weekend go on, making the best of it.  In fact, only a few moments ago Jeanette announced that today was a great day.  And it was.  I did not create the slam dunk weekend I wanted but my bonus parents did.  It is easy to know you belong when everything goes perfectly; it is something entirely different to be loved and forgiven when you screw up.

That said, I will have the left side of the garage cleaned out before their next visit.   I have never run into anyone parked next to me.  Okay, just to be safe I will park in the other garage.                   

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Same Time Next Fair

The Mom looked around.  She was balancing 2 giant lemonades filled to the brim, a ridiculous camera with the lens extended almost to her knees, and 7 and 8 year old girls with bright pink punch mustaches.  The Mom thought the yellow would be a nice addition to the pink that was already there.  Every table had at least one person sitting there, hmm, which to pick.  The guy at the far end made eye contact and did not seem to be wishing they would sit somewhere else.

“Can we sit here?”
“Please do.” said the man.

The woman sat and smiled to realize how welcoming a hard picnic bench and some shade can be after walking the state fair for a few hours.  Especially the Texas State Fair where everything being bigger isn’t always a good thing.   One of the girls started clapping the syllables out to le-mon-ade, clap clap clap.  Crun-chy ice, clap clap clap.  She made up a hand game that she coerced her Mom into playing.  Her sister was too busy drinking lemonade like a fish to be bothered with this silliness.  And it was silly and obnoxious, so the woman apologized to the poor man who was probably regretting sharing the table.

The man looked at her with amazingly blue eyes.  He had the look of almost every man she had seen as a child in west Texas; the men who would tip their cowboy hats at her and wink.  She winced a little, thinking how these men were a dying breed. So, she lingered a little longer in this man’s company than she normally would have.  In fact she was in no hurry at all to scurry her children off to the next crowded fair activity.

The 7 year old who could be shy whispered to her mom while looking at the man.  “She likes your hat,” said the woman.

“I wish I could give it to her.  I would rather wear my navy hat but some person in charge of things decided we should all wear the same thing.  52 different food businesses out here but we all have to wear the same thing.  All because this guy was a big shot at Six Flags so he thinks that is what we should do.  It confuses people.  They all think we work for the fair but we don’t. “ 

“Do you like working out her?” asks the woman.
“Been doing it for 25 years,” he says.
“Wow, have things changed much?”
“Yes they have.  Use to stay open until 2am and beer was served until closing.  It was only two weeks long…….it was just different.”  The woman could see him looking back.  She understood.  She wasn’t a young Mom.  She remembered how things were 25 years ago.  There were no bag searches and body wands.  25 years ago there had been the cool police riding on horseback smiling down and waving.  Now, there were serious police with reflective sunglasses every ten feet on high alert.  25 years ago had been a freer time. 
The man looked at the children and smiled.  “I took some breaks on and off during the 25 years.  I had my own business.  I had a massive heart attack.  I had a heart transplant.  My heart is only 31 years old, I just wish my 67 year old body could keep up with this young heart. “

The woman looked at him and thought he seemed younger and older than his 67 years.  Of course, someone who goes through that would have a worn face and young eyes. 

“Can you do everything you could do before?  Are there any problems or limitations with a new heart?  I guess if everything is working as it should you can do more.”

He shrugs, “Doesn’t seem to function any different.  I feel different, but that is because I am grateful.  I am grateful for everything.”  He says this with a depth that resonates like a note held indefinitely on a cello.   “Right now I am at 11 years.  I get to know 5 grandkids.  I got to see the oldest graduate from high school.  Of all five grandkids only the oldest girl will ride with me on my Harley.  The rest always say, ‘Not this time’, but with her, I never have to ask twice.  She has to wear pants.  I don’t allow shorts on there, too much chance of a leg burn.” 

The woman takes all this in.  It is a lot.  It is not often that life leads you to a picnic table with an easy going stranger who shares life’s core.  “It must be wonderful to ride around with your Granddaughter on your Harley.”  He nods.  They sit for a minute.  “My husband wants a motorcycle.  I told him if he can make 75 disappear he can have a Motorcycle.”

The man chuckles.  “Yeah, I am never that worried for some reason in traffic.  I get in my own zone and stay there.” 

“I am sure your zone is pretty safe but I don’t think there is a safe zone against texters,” says the woman.  For the first time since they started talking the man’s face goes dark.  Apparently he was run off the road by a woman texting.  She never knew she did it either.  He was too shaken in the ditch to catch up to her and have words.

The conversation lightens back up when they start complaining about Dallas traffic.  “I moved here from Houston.  I thought Houston traffic was bad until I drove to McKinney.  My daughter lives in McKinney.  I complained about this to her.  ‘Father, she says..’ when she calls me Father, I have crossed a line.  Rest of the time I am Dad, Daddy, but when I get Father, I have done it.  ‘Father, you are 200 miles closer than you use to be.  You can endure 30 miles of traffic.” 

The woman loves the amused twinkle he gets relaying his daughter’s frustration with him.  They sit for a moment more, but the kids are getting antsy and it is time to move on.

“Thank you for sharing your table with us.”

“Of course,” he says, “Lets get together for lunch.”  The woman, who is a bit devoid of wit looks at him confused. 

“Same spot next year?” he grins.

“Absolutely!” the woman beams, the light finally going on.   She hopes her smile conveys that nothing would make her happier.