Wednesday, July 30, 2008

All together now can be too close for comfort!

We just returned from a family vacation where we went and joined my brothers and sisters and their families (as many as could come) for a family reunion at my parents home. One dinner we counted between 25 and 30 people present. Now, our parents have a small, two bedroom, 1 1/4 bath home that is all of about 1000 sqaure feet or so. Needless to say, personal space was at a premium. The kids favorite saying was, "Move your feet, you lose your seat!"

We had a table and chairs set up in the front yard, five tents scattered around the perimeter, and at night it looked like Nightmare on Elm Street, with bodies lying everywhere in the front room. To add to our claustrophobic dilemna, there were several days when it rained--hard--most of the day, keeping us all inside.

We survived. We even had fun doing it. We talked, played games, watched old (and some new) movies, and caught up on what we had been doing with ourselves for the previous year.

We'll all do it again next year, and in fact look forward to it. We like making our parents happy twice--once when we come, and once when we leave.

Take care. Luv yer guts! Stick.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Twisted Up

Our hallway bathroom sink has a problem with water pressure in the hot water line. We thought it was a bad valve, that wouldn't turn on right. SO I bought the valve, turned off the water to the house, took off the old valve (with many an exclamation and contortion to get to it under the sink), found out I bought the wrong replacement valve, went and got the right replacement valve, vcame home and put it on (with an equal number of contortions and twisting of my body under the sink into positions that a body my shape does not wish to be twisted into)--still no water pressure.

We called my father-in-law, who is a plumber (among other things), he thinks we may have a flattened pipe, or something blocking the pipe. He says it could be anywhere in the line. Terrific.

We'll deal with the low water pressure.

Take care. Stick.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sleepless in ....

Every so often lately, and I'm not sure if it is allergies or what it is, I have trouble breathing at night, and I wake myself up constantly. This doesn't happen every night, but often enough that it is a pain. SO here I am again, 5 am. in the morning, and wide awake, and have been since 3:30.

I have found that when this happens, I can usually go to the basement, and lie down on the couch and fall asleep again. I'm not sure if it is the harder surface of the couch, the cooler temperature of the basement, or just a mental thing, but it usually works. Not tonight.

So, I'm lying on the couch, eyes at half mast, 4:00 am., and my youngest son's alarm clock goes off, and off, and off. Realizing that he is not going to wake up and turn it off, I get up and go into his room to do it myself. However, in the dark, I hit the wrong button, and switch his clock from alarm to radio. Loud, static filled radio. This wakes him. He and I fight in the dark to turn off the radio, and finally succeed. He is back to sleep in 2 minutes. Me, still awake an hour later. There is no justice.

Take care. Get some sleep. Stick.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

More Joy

I wrote that my youngest son had an intestinal flu the other day. Since then, his brother got it. My wife got it. My youngets daughter got it, and now, I have it.

The only bright spot in this is that it moves fast. After 24-48 hours, it's gone. In the meantime, suffer in silence, and don't get too far from the bathroom.

Take care. Stick.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Key to Success

My three youngest daughters went to a friend's house tonight to roast marshmallows and play games. They went out to get in our van to go. Two minutes later, they came running back inside telling me that something was wrong with the brakes in the van.

My immediate thought was, Great, another repair that we don't need right now. I went out to see if I could find out what was happening. I got into the driver's seat, took one look, and reached down and turned the key to start the van. I said, "It helps if the motor is running."

Keep smiling. Take care. Stick.

Under the Knife...Again Hop-a-long

My third daughter under went her second surgery yesterday. This was to correct the Haglan's deformity on her other ankle. Everything went well, and the Doctor is happy with the way the first surgery is healing.

The problems come because she now thinks she is an old hand at this. She doesn't want to stay down with her foot elevated. She hasn't been keeping the ice pack on it the way she is supposed to. She hates the boots, so she keeps leaving them off. In other words, she is ignoring the Doctor's post op instructions that helped her heal so quickly on foot number one! We keep telling her that she is going to be sorry if she doesn't do what she needs to do, and we are constantly nagging her to either put the ice back on, or the splint.

Only time will tell if she listens and what will happen if she doesn't. I'll keep nagging.

Take care. Stick.

Joyful! Joyful!...Awful!

I tend to be a creature of habit, at least up to a point. Every morning when I get up, I go downstairs and get on the computer to post and write. I check my e-mail, read blogs, etc.

As I walked down the stairs this morning, it smelled like an open sewer. I thought, Oh great the toilet is backed up, or the drain is clogged. It was worse. My youngest son had caught a case of either stomach flu, or food poisoning. He had tossed his cookies no less than four times in four different places. This was not the worst part. Every time that happened, he also lost it on the other end. I found him laying on the floor wrapped in a blanket. Thank goodness for carpet cleaners and washing machines. After a half an hour cleaning, things are better, but he's not. I can only hope that he will make it to the bathroom if he has another spell, and that he gets better fast.

Take care. Stick.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Slip of the Lip

Last night at the dinner table, my wife was questioning the kids about the whereabouts of her manicure/pedicure set. My youngest son piped up saying that he had seen his older twin brother with it earlier, to which the older boy began to deny immediately and repeatedly. This is usually a sign that he is guilty, so we questioned him about it.

Me- "If you didn't have it, where didn't you have it at?"

Him- "It would be on the fouton downstairs if I didn't have it."

So much for denial.

Take care. Stick.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Origin Of Pick Up Sticks

I have had people ask me why my blog is called "Pick up Sticks". If you look at the actual IP address, it is wordcarvin.blogspot.

When I was growing up, one of the people that I admired was an "Uncle" who carved wooden chains and other things. I was always amazed at what he could create with a pocket knife and a piece of wood. When I got to college, I became invovled in an outdoor youth program, for which I worked as a counselor for four years. During this time, I began to whittle, trying to create some of the things that I had seen my "Uncle" create. I think the first thing I ever carved was a wooden spoon, which I used while out in the mountains on this outdoor program. I carved a new spoon each week, and they gradually began to get more elaborate. I even carved one for my director's new born son that had a ball in a cage in the handle. Before long, I had started trying other things, including the wooden chains that I so admired. My initial creations were quite rough, but I was as proud of my first five link chain as of anything I had ever done.

The program I was working for required a great deal of hiking, and in fact I added up the mileage that I covered during that time to somewhere around 2400 miles in my association with the program. Naturally when hiking that many miles, and liking to carve and whittle, I started carving walking sticks. Again, my initial efforts were just basic sticks, functional, but not much to them. It became a tradition for me to burn this stick in the middle of the last campfire of each week. Then, one week, my co-counselor for the week (we were paired up as "ma" and "pa" to a group of participants) aksed if she could keep the stick rather than have me burn it, and I agreed. The next thing I knew, every counselor in camp was asking for the next stick. So as not to disappoint anyone, I agreed to carve walking sticks for anyone who wanted one as long as they found a good serviceable stick, and told me what they wanted it to look like. This tradition continued over the next four and half years and beyond. I have carved over 300 sticks. Some more elaborate than others. Some just had the person's name. Others had eagles, bears, and fish.

I don't carve as much as I used to now, I just don't seem to have the time, but I still watch for a good sound walking stick whenever I am out in the mountains, and I still carve for people who are special to me. SO remember the rules: Find a good sound stick (I prefer to carve aspen); decide what you want the stick to look like; give me the stick with your description.

I don't guarantee a work of art, just a work of heart.

Take care. Stick.