My Unique “Dear Photograph”


Little Guy has one of those motorized vehicles, a yellow Jeep, that he received several months ago and loves driving it around the back yard. Ironically, the Teenager, back when he was Little Guy’s age actually had the same Jeep in red. It occurred to me that I had a photo of Teenager driving his Jeep in the backyard circa 1998. I thought it would be a fun to take a photo of LG in his Jeep in a similar position as the old photo of a then young Teenager in his in the very same backyard. Not to mention the irony in the fact that back when Teenager rode around in his red Jeep he gave his Winnie the Pooh a ride; the very same Pooh that I kept and passed on to LG.

As I was forming this idea in my mind, I heard about the new website Dear Photograph where you take a picture of the present at the same time as holding a picture from the past. I thought my idea would be a unique take on this and pretty special considering my situation of having two sons, nearly fourteen years apart with one now in college and the other in Kindergarten. It makes it even more nostalgic when you add in the very same backyard and the same stuffed bear and the kid from the past in the present photo all grown up. Surprisingly, the folks at Dear Photograph have not yet posted my photo. I don’t know if they just haven’t gotten to it yet but they are clearly missing out on a great photo to post to their site. I don’t want my readers to miss it, so I’m going to share it here with all of you.
 
 

A little bit of trouble

So far, little guy has been doing quite well in school. He enjoys it, has never complained about going or had an issue with being left there. He’s learning, coming home singing cute songs and so far has avoided most trouble. We’ve only had a couple small incidences. The most recent incident involved his teacher pulling me aside and trying not to smirk too much as she proceeded to tell me that he’d gotten himself into a bit of trouble... for kissing girls. Oh dear. We’ve tried to explain to our very affectionate little boy that we just cannot do that in school and that while it’s okay to hug and/or kiss our family and perhaps close friends outside of school, at school it’s not okay. He was slow to comprehend this concept and we had to more emphatically state that’s it’s a rule, a school rule; “No kissing”. He looked at me quizzically and said; Okay Mommy, but…. where’s the ‘no’ sign?  It took me a moment to understand that he was talking about one of these;













Apparently he felt that if school was going to have a no kissing policy there should be clearly posted ‘no’ signs indicating this. Despite the fact that I had to impress upon my child that he could not do this and it wasn’t okay, as a parent the humor was certainly not lost on me. I have to admit he’s got an adorably amusing point.

Do 3 Things

It’s nearly Fall which readers know is my favorite season. I am so excited for cooler weather, crispy leaves and burning my Fall candles. I have been gathering together all my favorite Halloween and Harvest decorations and am looking forward to putting them up shortly. Before that happens I need to clean house. It has that “a bomb went off inside” look to it right about now. That would be due to our ridiculous list of projects we’ve got going on and my lack of staying on top of the day to day chores because I’ve become too involved in all the side projects. It’s time for a Fall spruce up around here so I need to get with it.

As stay at home moms know all too well, it’s difficult to stick to a routine of getting certain things done when you don’t have the forced structure of a work day. I’m trying to change that by implementing a new rule for myself. I’m currently typing this blog post on my self-allotted “lunch hour”. Yes, that’s right, I’m giving myself a lunch hour (and setting the timer!) I ate, read a few articles on-line, looked at when my last blog post was published (Yikes! Sorry about that!) and then decided to write this post for you people on my remaining time. See how thoughtful that is? I could be reading some more interesting articles on Yahoo but instead I am blogging/complaining about to my to-do list.

Speaking of to do lists, I’m implementing another rule for myself which I’m calling “Do 3 Things”. I plan to both whittle away at my to do list and do a better job at my daily stuff by requiring that I get three things done each day.  I’ll let you know how it goes after I work out the bugs. The first bug I see is how to number each “thing”, since at the moment I can see that while “picking up the house” might be thought of as one thing right now I think it qualifies as all three, if not more. The main point is this system will allow me to accomplish three things (either to-do projects or daily household tasks) on a daily basis. I’ve been thinking about this for awhile and finally decided that since I am a person who likes structure and has been a bit lost without it, I need to self impose structure back into my life so I can actually get things done. Beyond my normal, daily tasks I have some special projects I would like to tackle, but they are things I can’t feel comfortable doing when I have other more pressing things left undone.  I should also mention that some of the special projects are going to allow for some interesting upcoming blog posts. So, be sure to “stay tuned” because good stuff is coming up!

Well, my lunch hour is almost up and I’ve got a family room to pick up, some laundry to fold and find one other “thing” to do!

Lines by Little Guy: Kindergarten Homework

Little guy is enjoying school so far and all seems to be going well. That is until the homework hit. I don't recall there even being homework in Kindergarten years ago when the Teenager went, as I think it's a more of a recent thing. But it's probably a good thing to get them started on it early considering how much knowledge we're trying to cram into their little brains from an early age. So the other day, Daddy was supervising Little Guy as he worked on his assignments and this is what I heard:

   "Daddy, I don't like homework. Can we get a dog so he can eat my homework?"

Kindergarten & College

It’s an ironic distinction to have a toddler and a teenager, especially when they both begin school and one goes off to Kindergarten and the other to college. I knew this day was coming but wasn’t quite sure what it would feel like when it did. Basically it feels delightfully quirky. It’s odd, but at the same time, fun. As I return with little guy to the very same elementary school that Teenager went to, it’s familiar but new at the same time. So many years have passed and so many things have changed, most for the better. As a very young, first-time mom, I recall back in the day taking my firstborn to Kindergarten and being so unsure of myself and my life. It was right around that time that I’d made significant changes which although difficult to live through at that time made me the stronger, happier and more authentic person I am today. As I look at our family, in all its delightful quirkiness, I am filled with joy for the life we now have and despite the various challenges I wouldn’t trade it for the younger me who back then had so much to sort out and deal with.

So, back-to-school dates were a week apart for each kid this year, but other than that their schedules are nearly identical. Last week was the first day of Kindergarten for Little Guy. It also just happened to be his fifth birthday. There’s nothing quite like saying; “Happy Birthday, kid! Now go to school.” We sent him with cookies to share with his class and things seemed to go well overall. Of course when I dropped him off at his classroom there were a lot of tears, but I stopped crying after a few minutes.

Now, little guy has the first week of school down and Teenager has ventured off to college. I should note here that he hasn’t actually gone “off” to college as thankfully it’s in the same town, so it’s not like I have to say goodbye to him. I did want to be able to get a “first day of school” photo of him though; you know, posed in front of the school sign with his backpack and all. Apparently he had a problem with this so now I have to resort to hiding in the bushes with a telephoto lens. I’m kidding of course; we don’t even have a camera with a telephoto lens.

I did however get this shot just before taking little guy to school and minutes before teenager needed to run to catch the bus to his first class.

school 2011 (2) 

Yep, those are my boys; a kindergartener and a college student. I am very, very proud.

Craigslist Scammers

Last year when we started listing some antique pieces for sale on Craigslist I learned about a common scam out there. Within a short time after placing my ads I’d get several emails that all went something like this:

I would like to buy your item so please consider it sold and remove the ad. I would have loved to meet you in person but presently I am out of town for business. I will like to proceed with payment cashier’s check which you will receive in 4-6 business days. I will include an additional $20 for the delay. Please send me your full name, address and phone numbers so that I may have the payment sent to you. I will have my business associate contact you to pick up the item as soon as you’ve cashed the check.

I’ll be awaiting your info.

I quickly learned that you can generally avoid this whole ridiculous situation by simply not having an email to respond to and requiring actual buyers to phone instead. Placing “cash only” in your ad also lets scammers know you are not going to accept their phony payment method.

Recently I placed an ad on Craigslist for a dresser and forgot to check the box so there would be no email option. This time the email I got was one I just had to share. First, I got the initial “feeler” email asking if the item was still available. I went ahead and answered that it was available, fully expecting this to be the scam I suspected. Sure enough it was and here’s the actual email I received.

Hello

I appreciate your response to my inquiry. Am interested in buying it from you. I would love to come and check it myself but I just got married and am presently on a honeymoon trip to Hawaii with my husband.Pls do withdraw ,with immediate effect, the advert from Web as i dont mind adding $50 for you to do that, so i can be rest assured that the item is held for me. I should believe it is in good condition as stated. I will be making the payment via a Certified Check, which my secretary will mail across to you. I'll be picking the item from you with the aid of my mover. My Mover will be coming to pick it from you once the Certified Check has been cashed.

Pls I will need both your full name and physical address to issue out the payment. waiting to hear from you soon.

Best regards

Patricia

So here’s my response:

Dear Patty,

Congrats on your recent marriage! I think it’s awesome that you’re spending your Hawaiian Honeymoon looking for used furniture on Craigslist. I also went to Hawaii on my Honeymoon and I too couldn’t wait to whip out my laptop and peruse the Craigslist ads back home. The hubby complained a little but I told him to pipe down because I was going to find us some good deals! I’ve been saving him money in this marriage ever since. But I digress. I’m impressed that you have both a secretary and a mover to handle the transaction and the pick-up and delivery of a $200 used dresser. However, I have a better idea. Tomorrow at exactly 9:01 pm place an empty fast food bag containing $200 in small bills in the dumpster behind the Safeway. Then, just three minutes after my associate picks up the fast food bag, my mover will pull up in an unmarked white van, the back doors will swing open and my mover will shove the dresser down a ramp. It’ll be rolling pretty fast, so be ready at the bottom of the ramp to catch it before my driver starts to peel out. Also, if you see any other unmarked vans pull up and aren’t sure which one contains your item, the secret phrase will be; “The pink pig squeals at noon.” Any questions?

Remembering

My dad has been gone fourteen years now. It was shortly before my thirtieth birthday that he passed on, in his eighties. As I look back on the memories I have of him, they are a mixed bag of good, not-so-good and bittersweet. My folks were divorced just after my 12th birthday and I did not spend any time with my dad until after I graduated high school, so my main memories were as a young child.

It was summer 1975. I was seven years old. We lived in a cute old house with an awesome yard in a not-so-great area. 

housefront 

I remember how I’d spend hours and hours in this yard. It was large and had a huge persimmon tree. Mom made lots of persimmon cookies. I distinctly remember how the house sat on a corner. The front door on one street, the back yard along the side street where there were four large palm trees, two on either side of the driveway which was adjacent to the back yard. There was a large iron gate that closed off the yard near the street. I’m not sure why, since you couldn’t really drive into the yard, but that was how it was configured. Today the house has a wooden gate and a smaller entrance gate next to it, which makes much more sense as that is private and a slatted iron gate is not.

house

I’m not sure if on this particular day the gate was left open or just unlocked or what. But all I remember is one minute playing in my yard and the next minute two big teenagers had grabbed me under my arms and started hauling me off down the street. I screamed as loud as I could. I don’t remember any words beings spoken, all I remember was the teenagers were laughing and I was screaming. I’m not sure how long this went on, but I recall being quite a ways down the street, well past all the palm trees.

housefromback

Then I saw him. My Dad. Running, full speed towards me. Now you need to understand I had never in my life seen my father run and in fact I don’t recall ever seeing him walk very fast. He was 54 when I was born, so he was 61 at this point. He was sprinting. He'd had to come out the front door of the house and around the corner past the yard entrance. As he came barreling down the street the teenagers spotted him after he passed at least a couple of the palms. They dropped me and took off. It was over.

It's odd because I don’t remember the fear of being snatched out of my yard or the terror that I surely must have felt at the time from being dragged down the street . All I remember is my old dad ran. And he saved me.


Unapologetic

I ran out to the grocery store this morning for a few essentials. This is my least favorite store, but as irony would have it, naturally it's the most convenient and least expensive. One of the reasons I'm less than thrilled to shop there is the ridiculous lines regardless of what time of day it is.

As it turns out, I ran into a unoccupied line with an older man as cashier. Just before I'd approached, he'd sprayed down his conveyer belt and started cleaning if off during his down time. As I got in line, he joked about how he figured as soon as he did that, he'd get a customer! I laughed and told him not to worry, and that it was the kind of thing that would happen to me. I then told him how shocked I was he had no one in his line since usually their lines are three and four deep at least. He made a comment about no one being in his line because he's cranky  having reaching a point in life which no longer takes any crap. I told him I'd reached that point much earlier in life.