Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Canine Nanny

I’ve probably mentioned this, but we have dogs in this house, and one of them is a Black Lab. Being now a senior dog she is often sprawled out on the floor somewhere. Sometimes she’s in the way.
Whenever I have to step over her I’m reminded of another dog, a long time ago.
Jim Boy, a German Shepard (mixed, because he sure looked like a timber wolf) came into our lives when he followed our brothers home from the park and proved he was very protective of little kids. The youngest boy back then was only a toddler.
The dog stayed and we kept him through a number of moves. It was in the last house he lived in with us that I think he found his greatest joy.
The upstairs hallway led to three bedrooms and the one full bath in the house. By laying across the hall floor at just the right spot it was impossible to get past him by side stepping into the kitchen/dining room so you had to 1) step over him, 2) crawl over him or 3) move him somehow.
The three youngest in the family, all under 6 or so, all opted for the second option. Great fun for them and he let them crawl all over him all the time.
The three tallest family members, could grab his collar and move him or simply step over him. Even if he decided to stand up they were tall enough to straddle him, though he never seemed to do that to any of them.
Bonnie and I were the remaining two family members.
We were too old to crawl over him and not big enough to physically move him. I personally never liked the idea of waking him up, but then I didn’t have to. As with the tallest family members, he’d often just stay still, but sometimes, just for me, he’d get up and move as I approached him.
No. Jim Boy’s fun was with Bonnie.
For her he wouldn’t move. Not ever. She couldn’t even wake him when she tried.
But the second she was straddling him, he’d stand up.
Now you have to understand, between our lack of height and his sheer size, his shoulders came to our waist, so standing up toppled Bonnie. 
Jim Boy adored her.
She got mad at him and eventually refused to step over him ever again, but I really think he enjoyed it. Bonnie was the only who could never get him to move. So I’ve always assumed it was his way of having fun, at her expense.
But I’ve got enough dogs now to recognize that they each have a unique personality. I simply can’t imagine Jim Boy not liking her.
I mean he always sprawled on the floor and let the little kids crawl on him. He jumped to protect the biggest of those three kids (since following him home from that park) enough times to know he adored little ones. So how he treated each family member was a reflection of how he felt about them.
And he wanted Bonnie to crawl on his back like the little kids he adored and protected, and yeah, he protected her too. Dog are pack animals and their family is their pack. Bonnie was one of his puppies.

At least that’s how I see it. What do you think?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Generational Gap part 2

Unlike my sister, I don’t have kids, so I don’t have any experiences about people thinking I’m a grandmother. Though the other day I stopped by where one of our cousins works, but she wasn’t there. When one of her co-workers asked if she could help me I informed her I was still thinking then I asked after my cousin.

She informed me said cousin had gotten off early that day, then asked me if I was my cousin’s mother. I mean, dang, I am older than her. I am in fact older than all but one of my cousins, however, I’m not that much older than the one in question.

Considering I have cousins who were in grade school when I finally got married at the age of twenty-four, I can see where I could be mistaken for their mother, but the cousin in question isn’t that much younger than me.

But I figure the woman needed her eyes examined, since more often people don’t believe me when I tell them my age.

Like an incidence, admittedly a few years ago where I had arrived at church for a dinner just for the women, which hadn’t started yet, and a bunch of the women not on the committee to set it up were just sitting around visiting.

Most of these women were older, and somehow the topic turned to the joys of menopause. Then the daughter of another cousin of mine entered. At the time she was a newlywed, and one of the ladies looked from my cousin’s daughter to me then said, “This isn’t something you have to worry about, this is something your mothers are going through right now.”

I was dumbfounded. I mean I’ve never been able to spout off any witty comebacks on the spot, but this time I didn’t know what should I tell the lady. Should I say that my cousin whose daughter had just entered was younger than me? Or that said cousin’s daughter was not quite seven months old on my wedding day? Let alone that my doctor had informed me I had officially entered para-menopause earlier that very day.

And yes, the lady who made that comment knew the young lady was related to me. I just couldn’t figure out how she thought the granddaughter of my aunt, who was also present that day, was of the same generation as me.

Of course, not looking our age is something my twin and I have always dealt with, much to the annoyance of our older sister.

Once, when we were teenagers, our sister and our mother had been downtown shopping when they ran into someone our mother knew from work, and that someone asked our mother if our sister was her sister. Way back then our sister thought it was funny while our mother fumed.

The tables got turned a few decades later when said sister was helping me run some errands and we ran into an old acquaintance of hers. I stood there waiting as these two caught up on old times. When the woman finally took note of my presence, she asked my sister if I was her daughter!

Man was my sister mad. But I couldn’t stop laughing. She’s only sixteen months older than Konnie and I.

And since my husband died I’ve received tons of comments on how sad it is to be such a young widow, and few of those have even said something along the lines of how it wouldn’t be so bad if I were over fifty. Such a statement would make better sense if they’d said over sixty or over seventy, because I am a young widow, just not that young. :)

And I can certainly come up with a whole lot more stories where people thought I was younger, sometimes way younger, than I really am. So far, just my cousin’s co-worker has considered me older than I am, so I’m guessing she isn’t a good judge of age. What do you think?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Generational Gap

In recent months I’ve had a couple of funny experiences with my kids. One time I took my youngest to the eye doctor’s office to get his new glasses. The technician took him back to fit them for him and when he returned to me he look rather perplexed. He said the woman had said something about him going back to his ‘grandmother’.
He asked, “Do I even have a grandmother?”
The simple answer is yes, everyone has two. For my kids the answer is, they’re all dead. My youngest can’t remember those who died in his lifetime. But it got me thinking about how old I really looked.
Then I had the second experience. I was at the store with my youngest adult daughter. At one point as we neared the entrance she must have stepped past me without me noticing. I looked around to see where she was and couldn’t find her.
Then a young man nearby said, “Ma’am, ma’am. Your granddaughter is over here.”
I think I gave him a nasty look as I spotted my daughter getting a cart.
Do I really look old enough to be a grandmother? Of adults?
Okay, grant it most people wouldn’t assume any of my daughters are adults. So we’ll assume they thought I was the grandmother of a high school aged girl. Do I really look that old?
Okay, so I have visible grey hair. Not as much as I always thought I’d have at this age and I’ve earned every strand. I am in my fifties after all. And that’s probably the point. I was nearly 39 when my youngest was born. My three youngest all tell me about classmates with grandparents my age.
Assuming you waited to be an adult (18) to have children, and your child did the same, you could still be a grandparent at 36, and therefore at my age have grandkids in high school. Nowadays kids aren’t even waiting that long.
I got married at 28 and my oldest was born when I was 29. So yeah, I guess I am old enough to be a grandparent. Only thing is, unless you count those covered in fur or feathers, I’m not one.
So the whole situation got me wondering. When I’m out running around with my grandkids someday are people going to assume I’m their great grandmother? Or, since my kids aren’t rushing into marriage and family either, will people assume I’m their great-great grandmother?
Then again, even with the grey hair, people assume I’m younger than I am, though it’s been awhile since anyone has told me what they guessed my age to be. Although a couple of years ago a gentleman I know said something about his old body and I responded saying something about having arthritis in my back for over 40 years.
He said, “How can that be if you’re only 39?”
He may well have been teasing me, but I was over 50.

Now ask my identical twin about people assuming she was closer in age to our cousin’s adult daughter than to our cousin. Our younger cousin.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Momma Bear Part 2

I have mentioned in the past that I grew up protecting my shy quiet twin, and after her post of last week, you might be a little confused, since shy and quiet doesn’t seem to coincide with a momma bear personality, but I can attest they do.

The first hint I had of this side of my twin was in our early teens. At the time, we had several cats of various ages and sizes and one day Konnie got mad at one our bigger cats that kept attacking her kitten.

At the time, I was heading toward our front door to enter the house, when suddenly the door flew open banging against the metal siding of the trailer and the offending cat in question went sailing past my head while from inside came a rather loudly pronounced swear word. And I wasn’t the only neighborhood kid staring, stunned. One of the boys nearby turned to me and asked, “Was that Konnie?”

I answered, “It wasn’t me,” which only added to the oddity of the event, you see, me swearing in anger was pretty common back then, but to this day it’s the only time I’ve heard Konnie swear.
Though it isn’t the only time I’ve seen her lose her temper. The next time was in our late teens and the victim was the oldest of our brothers. He deserved it, but instead of helping, I decided I was safer to let her have at it. Meek and mild Konnie is scary when she’s that mad!

And I found that very confusing, since I’m known for flying off the handle. Back in our early teens, one of my tirades was a fairly regular thing, generally about once a month.

In fact, I knew my husband was the perfect man for me when he took one of my tirades all in stride – before we were married. He didn’t run and hide, but he didn’t try to stop me, he just calmly waited until I took a break then he’d ask me if I was finished, feeling better, or whatever fit the situation, which did get annoying sometimes, but then so did his approach to unsatisfactory service. Instead of voicing a complaint, he just never returned to that establishment. My opinion was they can’t improve if you don’t tell them what they did wrong, but sometimes that isn’t needed.

A case in point is an incidence, which happened while he was stationed at Great Lakes. We decided to go out and found a local branch of a national chain. The host seated us and a couple minutes later seated a family of four not too far away from us.

And we waited. A few minutes later, a waiter approached the family and took their order, passing right by us without stopping. After he’d served the family their drinks, I stopped him and informed him no one had taken our order yet. He informed me we weren’t his table and that he’d tell our waitress and we waited some more.

When that family of four got their meal, Tom announced he’d had it and we left. Which is when I learned maybe Tom’s way did work, as we left the parking lot I spotted the manager storm out the back of the building and start to berate a waitress having a smoke break, and I learned to calm down.

Of course, I also don’t have anyone who needs my protection anymore. I think that helps.