Month: May 2014

Stretch

Today I saw someone put his manual shift S10 into neutral before turning it on. It reminded me if my dad’s S10 and how he loved turning it on long after we started rolling down the driveway, or how he’d shut it off and coast into the parking space a mile before we got there.
We used that truck for farming purposes for as long as I can remember, and I’m pretty sure it’s still running today. I don’t know if it’s ever been insured or the tabs ever were updated. That’s the beauty of living in the country. I started driving at 5 years old sitting on Dad’s lap. When I got too big, he just sat next to me and told me what to do.
My parent’s house is heated with an outdoor wood burning stove. It has a little shed, and before Dad starting buying a cord of logs, we went and gathered firewood from the woods with the truck. My brother and I would try to get into as much trouble as possible while working for Dad.
One time while fetching firewood, Dad had to run home to fix something on the chainsaw. Travis and I found a potato fork and decided to play a game our grandpa taught us.
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Stretch.
The basic idea of the game is to throw a sharp object into the ground as close to your opponent’s foot as possible. Your opponent will slide his/her foot to the place where the knife/sword/potato fork stuck into the ground. This goes on until one of you fall. The faller wins, because the other couldn’t stick the blade close enough to the faller’s foot.
So Travis and I are chucking this potato fork at each other’s feet. I’m winning, because the fork is stabbing RIGHT next to his foot. In fact, it was making little cuts in the side of his shoe. My legs were getting further and further apart. I’m sure you know where this story is going. I threw a wild pitch, and I cut off my brother’s baby toe.
Or at least I would have if Travis hadn’t been curling his toes closer and closer to the opposite side of his shoe. Instead, I simply gouged out a healthy chunk of skin.
Travis and I raced home for him to clean up the wound, laughing the whole way and calling me mean names that I deserved. He put on a bandaid and proceeded to bleed through two pairs of socks.
We were back at the woodpile before dad had any idea of what was going on.
Image Credit: DeWit

 

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Summer

I waited at the bus stop this morning shivering. Not because I was cold, but because I’ve never waited for a bus while it wasn’t freezing out. Buses remind me of school. The only time I rode regularly was when I was a student. But now I’m working and still riding the bus. I’ll have to get used to a different kind of bus-stop-waiting.

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Summertime is knocking on our door here in Minnesota. I’m getting geared up for it by putting away my winter clothes too early. It happens every year. We get a taste of 40° weather, and Minnesotans are running around in shorts and t-shirts. I’m not that guy, but there are a lot of them. It was pushing 55° this morning and I was still shivering.

Once that taste of warm weather comes, I throw my long johns and bulky winter coat in the attic, only to face an onslaught of -30 days for the rest of the month.
But the mood swings of the thermometer are over now. We just have a gradual warm up from here until October. Then we’ll wake up one morning and we won’t be able to feel our noses. Because we didn’t close the bedroom window the night before, and Summer took the last train to paradise.
For now I’ll enjoy my few blissful months before I have to pull out my coat again. I hope the bus gets here soon.
Image Credit: MESI

Birthdays

Birthdays are my favorite. I had one a couple of days ago, but I tend to celebrate the entire month. The only other person I’ve heard of who does that is my aunt Lisa. She may have given me the idea. One year I called her every week for her birthday. I think after three weeks it got kind of old.

This year my wife bought me tickets to see Eddie Izzard. I’m a huge fan of his standup. I’ve been a giddy school girl for two days now, and I don’t think it’s going to subside until several weeks after the show. The show is in June, so Dana has a lot to put up with from now until then.

Birthdays are my favorite in the same manner that storytelling is my favorite. I think I like my birthday in particular because it comes with a good story. Not a lot of people get a good birthday story, so I appreciate mine. Anyone who knows me gets the one-sentence version, but if they ask questions they get the long version. Growing up, I heard the story every year. When I turned 8 I decided that I didn’t mind hearing it every year. I always thought it was lame that I had to hear how I came into the world every time I had a birthday, but then I realized that none of my siblings got story time as an annual gift. I was the lucky one.

Without any further ado, the one sentence version: I was born in the back seat of a station wagon in my neighbor’s yard on Mother’s Day.

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This, unfortunately, is not the same wagon, but you get the idea. The first thing I’m introduced to is wood paneling on a car. And, you aren’t going to get through this post without getting the long version. It’s my birthday, it’s my blog. I’ll do what I want.

I am the fourth child of six. My mom had to get the other three kids up, ready for church and over to grandpa and grandma’s before making the 45 minute drive to the hospital. But that’s when she realized that 45 minutes is a lot longer than she and daddy-o had before meeting their brand new bundle of Mother’s Day joy.

Lucky for them (and me), the neighbor’s daughter was visiting with her husband for the holiday. Mom knew that Gail was a midwife assistant. She may have never delivered a baby herself, but she sure knew how.

Dad and mom flew up the driveway, screeching to a halt and laying on the horn. “We need to get her inside! The baby is coming!”

With one look, Gail said, “No time for inside, Kevin. Your baby is being born right here in this terribly dated vehicle of yours.”

And I was. I arrived before the ambulance.

A few days later, my parents called Gail and her husband, Ben, to tell them the good news. “We named him ‘Benjamin’ after you!”

“Well that’s great! I’m honored!” replied Ben. “But my name is ‘Bennet’.”

We kept the station wagon up until I was 17. As a kid I would play in it, but I would never to to the back where I first saw light. I didn’t know what else I would find back there, and it creeped me out.

All in all, I seemed to have turned out alright. I do have a tendency to leave the door open when I leave the house, though. Whenever someone challenges me on it they say, “What, were you born in a barn?!”

No. Not quite.

 

Image Credit: ASWOA

Rhythm

“Rhythm” is one of my favorite words because it doesn’t have any vowels. I know, I know, “y” can sometimes be a vowel, but I choose to regard it as a consonant in this word just to break the rules.

I’m writing about rhythms tonight because I’m trying to find mine. It’s been over a week since I’ve posted my last post, and I don’t like that. I’ve started a new job, and cutting 40 hours per week out of my free time is killing my blog productivity.

But that’s enough about work. My wife just reminded me of a story that I rarely tell, and my imaginary dog is giving me puppy eyes that beg indulgence.

 

The Cough Drop

Cough Drops Isolated

Before Dana and I were married, I went to her apartment for dinner with her and her roommates. I wasn’t feeling the best, so I stopped at the Cub Foods in North Minneapolis to pick up some cough drops before I arrived. If you know anything about the Cub Foods in North Minneapolis, it’s not a place you want to be after dark. Or before dark, for that matter. “Sketchy” is one word to describe it. But if you’ve got a sore throat, it does have supplies.

I got to Dana’s just before dinner was finished and cracked open my new bag of Halls. I got the jumbo pack for the better deal. I struggled to rip open the plastic when Dana kindly informed me that it was already open. In fact, there was a clean cut on the back of the bag exposing all of my medicated lozenges to the world at large.

We’ve all heard the horror stories of people being poisoned by unprotected Tylenol, causing the trend of sealed over-the-counter drugs, so I didn’t want to take a chance. I did purchase these lemon flavored droplets at one of the shadiest grocery stores this side of the Mississippi.

So I counted them. I was shooting for 40 cough drops, as per the package statement. How many did I get?

Forty-one. No kidding, folks, I counted it three times. So did Dana. So did 3 of her 5 roommates. We had 41 out of 40 cough drops, and not one of them was going to sooth my ailing throat. Because God knows that that cough drop would have been the poisoned one.

Instead of walking the three blocks back to the store to return them, I just threw them all away. I didn’t know what would happen to bag of tainted pastilles, so I got rid of them and suffered with my sore throat.

I know exactly what happened, too. Someone thought it would be funny to make a cut in the back of the package to make it look like this particular bag was on the top of the box of other bags. Some unsuspecting customer would purchase the cough drops and assume that the slash was made by a box cutter, not a devilish villain. The innocent invalid wouldn’t think twice about counting the cough drops. That would be ridiculous! They’re fine, just eat them! Ha! The villain’s work is done. The person with a sore throat now is a person without a beating heart.

Thankfully I’m alive today to tell you this story.

 

Image Credit: Pharmacy Tech Resources