New Driver

Our oldest grandson’s sixteenth birthday and newly acquired learners permit brought to mind some of my own driving experiences as a sixteen year old.

One of my earliest times driving on snow-covered roads, I came to a stop sign, slowed, braked, and slid into the intersection. But I wanted to turn the corner, not keep going straight. Turning the steering wheel as usual made the back of the car slide faster than Continue reading

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If It’s Red…

Although dreading the loss of several hours that morning, I took our Rav 4 to the dealer’s garage for a courtesy check-up. Although it seemed like everyone had brought their car in that morning, the garage mechanics finished with our vehicle in record time.

The man at the check-out desk handed me the lone key and pointed. “That’s your car, over there, hidden behind the other vehicles.” I followed his gaze and spotted our car’s red roof in the farthest garage bay.

Anxious to get on with that day’s to-do list, I hurried around the other vehicles and hopped into ours. I slipped the key into the ignition, but something seemed off kilter.

Then I noticed Continue reading

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The Elephant Cake

img_3690A sob erupted deep within and tears rolled down my cheeks. Not one to cry easily, my reaction to seeing the “with picture” elephant cake recipe caught me by surprise. Especially since I was looking for Christmas cookie ideas. Although I’ve never made that cake, my mother did when I was a young child.

Seeing the elephant cake recipe and picture bought back Continue reading

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The Challenge

He said it as a challenge rather than a command.

I pondered his words. The challenge seemed simple, or was it? How hard could it be to Continue reading

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Kids Say the Darndest Things

IMG_3515Some things never change.

Decades ago Art Linkletter penned the book, Kids Say the Darndest Things, using quips from the children on his show, Art Linkletter’s House Party.

And kids today still say the darndest things, as several tykes recently reminded me.

Last week, a friend and her three little ones came over to use our pool. Since swimming always makes kids hungry, we took a snack break.

An Oreo dropped to the ground and I knelt down to pick it up. The six-year-old hurried over, eyes filled with concern, and asked, Continue reading

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The In-law Cometh

IMG_3384She only came to help, to watch the grandkids for a few days while Son and Daughter-in-law (henceforth referred to as THEY or THEM) enjoyed a time away.

She didn’t mean to mess up things, it just happened.

It began with the dishwasher, or rather the dishwasher soap. Mother-in-law (MIL) uses powdered soap in her machine. THEY use little packets of soap wrapped in plastic.

“Just pop one of the packets into the soap container,” THEY said. So MIL did, every night before running the dishwasher. Then she noticed a strange thing. The plastic didn’t fully dissolve, which left a lot of soap unused. MIL decided something must be wrong with the dishwasher.

She showed THEM one of the half-dissolved packets on their arrival home. After an incredulous stare, THEY burst out laughing, and patiently explained that it’s important to remove the plastic before using.

Nothing else was said, but MIL noticed a new dishwasher in place on her next visit. Oops!

On another Grandkid Watch, MIL carefully wrote down THEY’s instructions to find the approved TV shows for the grandkids. Although MIL knows how to use her own DVD player and TV, she doesn’t have cable, or Netflix, or anything else. THEY have it all.  And it all seemed simple enough as THEY explained it.

Then THEY left for several days. That afternoon, MIL turned on the TV and changed the channel. As least she thought that’s what she did. TV snow and noise filled the giant flat screen.

Eventually she managed to find the grandkids’ Netflix shows, complete with picture and sound. Relief! But from that moment on, the TV setting only had snow and noise. MIL only hoped THEY could figure out what happened and fix it.

And yes, she explain the problem to THEM on their arrival home.

On MIL’s most recent Grandkid Watch, she decided to cook pierogies for supper. After dropping the stuffed noodles into boiling water, she hunted for a slatted spoon – unsuccessfully. A good improviser, she decided to use a slatted spatula instead.

While stirring the pierogies, she realized part of the spatula was gone and the food smelled a bit strange. Had that piece of the spatula melted? She fished around in the pan for a blob of plastic, but found nothing.

MIL couldn’t feed the grandkids pierogies cooked with melted whatever-spatulas-are-made-of. The food made an unplanned trip to the garage disposal.  Now, not only did she have to come up with another side dish for supper, but she needed to replace the melted utensil as well.

THEY arrived home before MIL could buy a new spatula. After explaining what happened, she found out the utensil had been cracked. Maybe the piece simply fell off and she couldn’t find it in the boiling water. Maybe it did melt. Either way, THEY said not to get another spatula, THEY had a spare.

Even though all the mishaps…and yes there are more, THEY keep asking MIL to come for a Grandkid Watch. And that’s good news, because I am MIL.


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The Unexpected

I spied it at a garage sale as Hubby and I drove to the bank. Although not quite what I was looking for, it would work – after a face-lift.

Hubby NEVER stops, or even slows, when passing a garage sale. But this one happened to be within walking distance of our bank, albeit along a major two-lane road. Hubby parked the car and headed into the bank. I trotted off down the road.

In a few minutes I stood in front of the white, three-shelf changing table. It seemed solid and plenty sturdy to use as a plant-potting table. I bought it.

The changing table didn’t weigh much, only awkward to carry – until I flipped it upside down and carried it on top of my head. More than a few stares and odd looks came my way while walking to the bank. But at my age, who cares!

IMG_3316Now for the face-lift.

First, it received a soapy scrub-down and hose-off.

Then I spray-painted it a bright, bold red. Next came waterproof liners for each shelf.

IMG_3348It looked bright, but boring. A piece of leftover border print, sprayed with outdoor varnish, added the perfect touch.

After months of wanting one, I finally had a potting table, although through a process much different than expected.

That started me thinking.

At times, life hands us the unexpected – usually something not wanted, planned, or easy. Yet it’s our choice on how to handle it.

We can moan, groan, and complain. Or we can use it to develop our character and deepen our understanding of life. By working through the unexpected with a positive mindset, we’re then able to walk alongside and encourage someone else experiencing the same or similar difficulty.

However, sometimes the unexpected is welcomed and enjoyed. Like finding a potting table and the lesson it taught.

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