Archive for December, 2011

Christmas is TOUGH on Grandmas!

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I Ain’t Had a Chance to Celebrate Kim Jong Il’s Demise…

So maybe y’all can join my dance party:

Well, at least we know where he be now!

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Nostalgia and Other Wastes of Time

This song was popular in my high school days. By the time I was a senior, I had a fiance in the army, a boyfriend at Cornell who assumed we were gonna get married when he graduated, the man that I was really head over heels in love with who didn’t care about me at all, and another man who was head over heels about me that I didn’t care about at all!

When my kids were in high school, I just couldn’t understand them. “Why do you only date one person at a time? How are you gonna figure out what sort of person is right for you if you only date one at a time?” It just seemed to be an inefficient use of time to me. I always was a multi-tasker.

Well, one thing stayed the same. Daughter complained that everybody she dated wanted to get married while all she wanted was just to go out and have fun!

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Zombeans, Farts, and Other Observations From a 4-Year-Old Boy

We never know what our four-year-old grandson is going to come up with when he’s asked a question. For example, we were in the drive through at Chick-Fil-A trying to make an order for three grandchildren Saturday. After the food order was completed, SwampMan asked “Y’all want three chocolate milks to drink, right?” Dylan spoke up loudly for the speaker. “Not for me. I’ll have a beer!” Where’d THAT come from? Nobody drinks in his family, his other grandparents, uncles, or aunts, or in ours. We don’t know. It just came flyin’ out with no warning whatsoever. “Yep, that’ll be three chocolate milks,” responded SwampMan, fairly unflappable, although I was a little worried that the folks inside were taking our license tag to report to the police about how we were giving beer to a 4 year old as a mealtime beverage.

On the drive back from picking up the grandchildren for a stay with us, the subject of zombies came up. The four year old explained to us the different types of zombies (or zombeans, as he calls them). “There’s reglar brain sucking zombeans…” “It’s ZOMBIES, not ZOMBEANS!” his brother interrupted. “And then there’s eyeball sucking zombeans…” “ZOMBIES!” “and there’s gut sucking zombeans and there’s face sucking zombeans.” “There’s no such thing as zombies!” declared his 7-year-old brother, Jacob. “But there’s no such thing as zombeans!” agreed Dylan, because his big brother knows EVERYTHING.

SwampMan decided to change the topic of conversation from types of zombies to driving safety for a teaching moment. “Should I stop at the stop sign, boys?”

“YES!” they chorused.

“Why should we stop at the stop sign?”

“So we don’t get killed by other drivers!” said the 7 year old.

“Should I stop at the stop sign even if I don’t see other cars coming?” queried SwampMan.

“Yes!” said Dylan.

“Why?” asked SwampMan. Oh, no! Another direct question!

“Because,” explained Dylan, “When you’re stopped, it will be safe to fart if you have to.”

Maybe they should put that in the driving manual.

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Group Homes

One of the students that I know and have worked with in the past will be placed into a group home over the Christmas break. Another, in the care of an elderly aunt with severe medical problems, is on a waiting list.

When I found out about the little girl being placed, I immediately came home and asked my husband if we could keep her. He pointed out that we ain’t exactly spring chickens, and this young girl will require a lifetime of care for she will not be capable of independent life. She was too much for her own grandparent to handle, and her grandparent is younger than we are. I was not alone in my instinct to take her home and protect her. A male substitute (retired from teaching) that had worked in that class cried at the thought of what would happen to that vulnerable child placed in a group home. He and his wife would take her but they, too, were too old.

It is hard to hear this.

I was not able to be there to say goodbye.

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Bittersweet Changes

Every year my husband’s family, wherever they are, turn into homing pigeons the weekend before Christmas and head home to my mother and father in law’s house. They have presided over the Christmas festivities for years….well, since before I entered the family, and I’ve been attending them for 34 years now. We’ve quietly discussed changing the location or having different folks host the meeting but all of the females (who are the ones that do the fixin’ and cookin’, after all!) work outside the home. Indeed, two of the women of my generation couldn’t be there this year due to their work schedules and, because their husbands are unemployed this year, they dare not insist on having the day off. We fear that their husbands, due to their age, will never work again. Many of the younger generation have neither the space nor the inclination to host a crowd.

My mother in law was having a very difficult time this year. It came as no surprise to me, therefore, when my father in law announced that they could no longer continue to host the celebration of the family.

I wish that I could step up and take over but, dang, between work, livestock, grandkids, ailing parents, and looking for a second job, I barely have time to take a shower, let alone cook for a small army. Maybe we could have a housecleaning, decoration, and spaghetti party. I cook the spaghetti, they clean and decorate the house? Something tells me that isn’t exactly going to catch on.

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Another Morning to Remember at the Swamp Household

This morning was the kind of morning that I just loooove when I’m lying in bed and don’t have to get up to go to work. The rain was pouring down, the wind was blowing it sideways, and it was COLD rain. Unfortunately, today was not a day off. To say I was not happy to have to get up extra early and go outside into the pouring rain to remove two pit bulls from my pasture after Puppy awakened me would be putting it mildly.

The first time I went out, I yelled at the dogs and they ran off into the darkness of the horse pasture. I checked the sheep, who were alarmed and standing like statues in a tight flock after retreating into their own pasture away from the horse barn where they usually spend the night with the horse. They were unharmed. I closed the gate behind them, sealing them away from the dogs. There were no duck bodies lying about, either. Since Mom was outside, the sheep trustfully figured everything was okay and felt confident enough to get out of the rain inside their own barn.

I went back inside, my clothing soaked completely through, to start cooking breakfast. Puppy alerted me again, so back outside to the horse pasture. This time I called the two dogs to the gate. They were delighted to see me and wagged their back ends all over in doggie joy with happy open-mouthed doggie grins. “We’re lost! We like it here! Can we stay?” was the message. “Oh, HELL, no!” was the answer. I called them outside the gate then slammed it behind them, breathing a sigh of relief, then fed the horse and what poultry were out and about in the deluge (ducks). I decided to leave the old sick ram confined to his barn in case the dogs came back with murder on their minds. I was pretty uneasy about the possibility. The ewes are pregnant, and being scared like that isn’t good for them. The possibility also existed that I would come home and find them all slaughtered by playing pit bulls. Ah, well, back inside to cook, towel dry, put on my third set of dry clothes, throw my jacket in the dryer, and try to get the hair blow dried before time to leave.

When it was time to leave, I dashed out into the rain, SwampMan a couple steps behind me. He had parked at the barn last night and had a longer distance to travel in the rain. I opened the house gate to drive through. The two dogs had been waiting in the darkness in the pouring rain, and ran through the gate and attacked Puppy. I started yelling and screaming and chasing them all through the yard and mud puddles in my dress pants and dress shirt and dress shoes while the rain was pouring down. I caught the biggest pit bull by the scruff of his neck and dragged him outta the yard. The smaller one followed the leader, as I knew he would, then I slammed the gate closed. Now I was back to my original problem. They were back outside the gate, waiting anxiously for me to open the gate to drive out so that they could come back inside. I was going to be late for work. And I was soaked to the skin again.

SwampMan came driving up to the barn gate from the barn and put his hand on the chain to undo it so he could open the gate. The doggies did not waggle their rears at HIM and grin in doggie delight. The brown pit bull leaped for his hand, snarling, then leaped at the fence, threatening to tear out his throat if he dared open that gate. SwampMan is not really a morning person, either. He stomped to the truck, took out a 12-gauge, and fired a shot over the fence BLAM! I started yelling “Woah! I’m over HERE! Do NOT shoot ME!”, uncertain if he could see me in the dark and pouring rain. SwampMan is hard of hearing, so I was yelling REALLY loud. BLAM! BLAM! One of the dogs took off running down the street. The other one ducked under the neighbor’s fence back into our pasture. SwampMan was cussing dogs and rain and Mondays when I drove off.

It took me until about noon at work for my clothes to dry out. When I got home, I was inside changing into my feeding clothes when Swampman called. “I’m at the gate. You must be exhausted. Let’s go pick up something to eat tonight.” We were going down the driveway when Swampman said that he had had the shotgun ready in case the dogs were at the gate or lurking out around the barn. I started giggling.


“Um, remember this morning when I was yelling “HEY! Don’t shoot me!”

“Yeah, I heard you. So?”

“And then you shot several more times?”


“You do realize that we were right behind the neighbor’s house at the time.”

He started laughing, too. “I guess they’re used to it by now.”

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