Friday, March 28, 2008

The Old Man and the Stump

It seemed like a daunting task. When our beautiful Bradford Pear tree was shattered in the ice storm, we weren't sure what to do with the stump. It was expensive to have a tree service come out and grind it down. For a while, we thought about disguising it as a bird bath, just putting a container on top and letting it be.

But SO couldn't stand the unsightly stump. Plus, it reminded him of the tree we'd lost, a tree we'd loved, a tree that had protected us from the harsh rays of the summer sun.

"I'm taking it out!" he declared.

He and the boys, armed with shovels and hand spades, attacked the base of that old stump. They dug for days (well, he did -- the boys gave up after about an hour) and finally exposed all the roots. Then, SO started hacking and sawing at the roots.

For such a young tree, it sure did have an intricate root system. I can't imagine what the root systems are like on some of the trees in our neighborhood that have to be at least 60 or 70 years old.

One evening after a rain, SO stood in the gaping hole in our front lawn, ankle deep in cold mud. He worked with an axe until the sun went down. When he finally climbed out of that hole, he almost fell over. His toes were blue and numb from the cold. But he had done it! It was ready to go.

Thanks to a kind neighbor, the stump was ripped from the ground via a chain attached to a truck. All that hard work had paid off. Now, we've just got to carve out some time to re-sod the lawn.

Or let the weeds take over.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wedding bells

My 3-year-old niece got married on Sunday.

Okay, she's in her early 20s now, but when I look at her, I see the toddler I adored when I was dating SO. She was precocious, red-headed, and full of personality. Now she's self-absorbed, beautiful, and the most talkative person I know. I'm hoping her new husband will handle her (with kid gloves) and be a loving stepfather to her 4-year-old son. I'm hoping he's a keeper.

The most disconcerting moment of the whole weekend was when the ladies were pulled into one room and shown the lingerie my niece got at her personal shower. After looking at all that lace and see-through nylon, I had to turn away.

"Where's the flannel footie pajamas?" I asked.

She looked at me with pity. I guess I did sound pathetic. And old.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Have a Bud Light, and don't throw the chocolates!

Enjoyed a rare Saturday night out when I participated in a fundraiser for Special Olympics. I signed up to be a member of a Trivia Team, and competed against 63 other teams. Our ragtage group assembled by 7 o'clock, and each of us were afraid we'd be the fatal flaw. Mel, our fearless leader, gave us an encouraging talk.

The first round of questions stumped us, and we only got 5 right, but the second round focused on Harry Potter books and we cleaned up on that. Okay, we missed two, but how obsessed do you have to be to know Harry Potter's birthday and the shape of Hermione's patronus?

We managed to do rather well the rest of the night, but the first round handicapped us. Other categories were Sports (I took that opportunity to run to the bathroom), TV Moms, Food, and Movies. I was disappointed in some of the categories. I was really hoping for History, Current Events, or Astronomy. Sadly, I couldn't put those parts of my brain to good use.

Group dynamics are interesting. Invariably, we came up with a number of answers for each question, and sometimes the right answer was discarded in favor of one that seemed correct but wasn't. No one played the role of bossy know-it-all, which was nice. I've known too many people like that when serving on library committees.

After 10 rounds and lots of donated beer, some of the tables were getting unruly. Our emcee had to chastize some of the Trivia Teams for throwing chocolate candies. It was like a scene from a high school cafeteria.

"Don't throw the chocolates! People are being hit in the face! They can be seriously hurt by the chocolates!"

Just about everyone at our table won a door prize. (No, not me. Of course not me!) A teammate -- a big woman -- won a tiny t-shirt. Seriously, it was probably made for a 2-year-old. Emblazened across the front was "Bud Light." We laughed so hard over that t-shirt. Can you imagine giving that to your baby grandchild to wear?

"Here you go, sweetheart. Have a Bud Light."

Monday, March 03, 2008

Just eat your apple pan dowdy

Another strange case of serendipitous reading. I was in the library staff lounge during my lunch break, and saw that someone had baked and left a generous serving of "apple pan dowdy" for us to enjoy.

Apple pan dowdy? What the hell is that? I'd never heard of it. It wasn't something my generation made for Superbowl parties or other get-togethers.

I picked at it with a fork and took a bite. Definitely not for me.

So, I sat down to eat my lunch and read my book, Free for all, by Dan Borchert, and when I turned the page, I came across the phrase "apple pan dowdy." Apparently, someone had baked one for the author and delivered it to his library via cab for the staff to enjoy.

What to make of this bizarre coincidence?