Archive for September, 2009

Bouncing 65

Scott and I spent a wonderful, peaceful, relaxed weekend at Mt. Nebo in celebration of our 22nd anniversary.  I drove most of the way down, and guess what?!?!  Highway 65 is now four straight lanes wide (and 65 mph) all the way to Harrison!  Yippee!!  Then, coming home, Scott drove, giving me a bit more liberty to analyze the topography and road placement on that particular stretch of highway.

Now, we have driven between Branson and Harrison on Highway 65 approximately 728 times over the past fourteen years, and we are well-acquainted with every twist, turn, old farmhouse, slight rise, home, and  business along the way.  We even remember the really old days – when a four-lane highway in those parts was just a glimmer in some highway department engineer’s eye.  We remember when the big “mansion” north of the “Denver” turn-off was first built, we watched the fancy fence being erected around it, and we have watched that home sell to 11 different owners.  Trust me, we know that road.

However, I learned something amazing about the new-and-improved Highway 65, and I’m not kidding. It actually bounces.  Truly.  You’re tooling north, minding your own business, and Old 65 is off to your right.  You know this because out your right window, you recognize outbuildings and barns in the backyards of houses and properties that sit on the west side of Old 65.  Then suddenly, with no warning at all, you see Old 65 running along out your left window!   And to make matters worse, a few minutes later, there’s an intersection, and Old 65 crosses New 65 (complete with street sign and stop sign), but from right to left!!!

After the road bounced unexplainedly back and forth a few times, I finally gave up trying to figure it out and announced to Scott that those highway department guys in Arkansas must be much more impressive than we’ve previously been led to believe.  Now we finally know WHY it took them a generation and a half to construct and complete this road.  It’s the bounce factor.

I think it works a lot like water skiing.  The skier is behind the boat on one side of the wake.  Then, without any warning, he shifts his weight, crosses the wake, and spends a little while zipping along on the other side.  Sometimes, he does this in a slow and deliberate manner, maintaining water contact.  (This is like the intersections of Old 65 with New 65.)  Other times, he takes a flying leap and literally jumps completely over the wake.  (This is like the magic of New 65.)  The boat driver glances in his rearview and spots his skier first on one side and then on the other, with no witness as to how he got from Point A to Point B.    On New 65, the van driver experiences the exact same thing as Old 65 bounces madly back and forth

Sadly, those who have no memory of Old 65 will simply drive down the new version and be completely unaware of the bounce.

PKs score big with short team

Our loyal readers will no doubt be thrilled to know that last night the Promise Keepers won both games of their double header, wrapping up the final one at about 11:00 PM.  Team Roberts was there to cheer our guys on, and as usual, Yours Truly shouted herself hoarse.

Four of our regulars were gone (John – RC, Max – 1B/P, Jerod – LC, Dave – 1B), and another regular (Les – C) had to leave after the first game.  However, Jeremiah and Ryan stepped in to play outfield and second base, respectively, and with only nine guys, we stomped both other teams.

Jeremiah did take a hard tumble resulting in a twisted ankle, so, unable to run, he moved to catcher and the other gents rotated around.  There were several nice slides in to second and a number of great defensive plays on the base paths.  Several home runs were hit over the fence, and My Hero managed a two-run homer inside the park! Justin completed a lovely diving catch with body roll in left field, and Ryan caught the fly ball that ended the second game.

Congratulations to all the Promise Keepers on two jobs well done!

Wiggle room

Here’s an amazing fact.  I have been married to My Hero for 22 years, and I just learned that he’s never been able to move his toes inside his tennis shoes.  Can you believe it?!?!

It turns out that all these years, he’s been wearing shoes that are too small for him.  Ever since I’ve known his, he’s worn a size ten, but in recent months he’s been having a lot of trouble with one of his heels, and the physical therapist recommended a certain type of shoe.  When he went to buy the shoes, the salesperson sized him at eleven and half – the same size boats that cover the toes of Jo!  Scott eventually talked his way down to an eleven, but he came home shaking his head in unbelief and saying, “I’ve never been able to move my toes inside my shoes before!”

My toes can’t imagine being that cramped for 22 years.  I’m so glad his are finally free.  = )

Tooting Josiah’s horn

All three of you blog readers might like to know that yesterday, Josiah beat Scott at ping pong SEVEN TIMES IN A ROW!  I think there were some handicaps involved, but let me assure you that there was much rejoicing on the part of my son.

A carrot for non-fiction

I have been trying for eons to interest Andrew in reading anything besides Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes, and Astro Boy.  When all else failed – and I really did try everything – I gave in and began assigning him books to read.  I truly hated to do this, as I never gave any of the Big Three any reading assignments, and I always assumed that what worked well for them would work well for him.  I’ve had a firm conviction that kids – all kids – will read interesting things because they are interesting, and they’ll learn something in the process.  But no.

So for the past four months, Andrew has been dutifully reading the various picture books I have assigned, but he never seems to learn or remember anything from any of them.  This has been quite discouraging to Yours Truly, who, after successfully avoiding the school-at-home mentality for lo, these 12 or so years, daily resents having to “stoop” to it now.

But today, my brain must’ve stormed, because I came up with an idea that seems to have some potential.  I had in a pile on my desk several books Andrew had read in recent days, but which we hadn’t had time to discuss.  Before I took them back to the library tomorrow night, I wanted to make sure that A) he really had read them thoroughly, and B) he remembered SOMETHING out of each one.

I told him to write in his copy book today’s date and the title and author of the first book.  It happened to be about the skeletal system.  Then I asked him to look through the book and quiz me by asking me three questions that he thought would be important or interesting.  I would try to answer them, and then he would write those three facts in his copy book.

We covered four books thusly, and he said, “This is really fun.”  Wow.  Now we both know that adults have 206 bones; that Johnny Appleseed walked through Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana; that the Washington Monument stood unfinished for 25 years; and that Americans consume over a million pound of popcorn each year.

By the way, I missed three of those questions (and a bunch of other ones, too), but I am thrilled for Andrew to point out my many areas of ignorance, if it motivates him to learn.

It WAS a quiet weekend

Scott and I had lots of time to talk, relax, and re-connect.  The kids seemed to have a great time at Family Camp, and the whole gang is eating breakfast now.  The Tennessee guys will be leaving in a few minutes to do some sight-seeing and then head back.  I think their drive home is about eight or nine hours.

I am a little concerned for Andrew’s emotions, as the departure plans were changed after our gang came home last night.  He thought all the Family Camp folks would reconvene this morning for final goodbyes, but it turns out that that is not happening.  There won’t be any final goodbyes, and that kind of closure is important for Andrew.  However, we will have a relaxing day with no academics, and I’m sure he will rebound well.

We’ll be washing a lot of sheets and towels today!

Family Camp has begun

Our weekend looks to be quieter than normal during the days and a bit louder than normal at nights.  Jessica, Josiah, and Andrew are attending the AIM Midwest Family Camp here in Branson, and we are housing eight of the guys at night.

Actually, tonight we have four guys and a mom chaperone, but tomorrow we will trade her for a dad chaperone and a few more guys.  They all seem to be very nice folks and I’m sure that their cookies and milk will wear off soon and they’ll all crash and snore.  The troops will leave about 7:45 AM and return about 9:15 PM, so I’m thinking Scott and I will be able to accomplish loads of tasks and projects while we’re home alone – unchaperoned.   = )

Maybe this is our Intro to Empty Nest course.

O, to breathe again

Today I have returned to the land of the living.  That would be the land where I can go literally hours without actually thinking about breathing.

I don’t know if this virus we passed around was swine flu or not, but it was really a rugged beast.  I am thankful that I was only truly sick for three days, but even three days is a long time to struggle for each breath, cough till your back aches, and live in a fever fog.  (Be it noted for the Guiness Book that I did set a new world record by downing a full eight ounce bottle of cough med – two tablespoons at a time – in 30 hours.)

The virus left as suddenly as it arrived, and since all six of us have now experienced it in one form or another, I think we could each honestly say, “Thank God Almighty.  We’re free at last!”

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