Archive for May, 2010

Can I claim that I taught her how to drive?

This evening, Katie came home from working at Silver Dollar City on Memorial Day Sunday and said that she’d gotten to do something new and different at work today.  No, it wasn’t cleaning up a “spill”  (SDC term for puke patrol).

Because of lightning, the rides closed for a while this afternoon, with the result that a lot of people left the park.  Since she was not needed to run rides at that time, she was told to go up to the main entrance area and help with crowd control.  Arriving there, someone in authority asked if she had a driver’s license (yes), and told her to bring up cars from valet parking. I was suitably impressed.

She said she got to drive some really nice cars.  Our own cars are more than adequate, but even though we own a small fleet of them, none of them would be considered “really nice.”  I’m glad she got to spend a few minutes in some luxury mobiles.

Found the motivator

It’s only taken 11 years, but I have finally figured out that social interaction is THE definitive motivator for Andrew!  He likes food, he enjoys money, he’s passionate about cool clothes, and he drools over cool cars, but none of those things actually motivate him.  However, just tell him that if he gets his (______) done properly and on time he can be with a group of people, and then sit back and watch him cheerfully zip through whatever distasteful chore or academic has been assigned.

This is golden information!  Somebody please remind me of this when I’m frustrated that all the normal consequences, threats, and promises aren’t working.

Making a big splash

Remember those days when you’d give your toddler or preschool child a fairly nice birthday gift and he’d ignore the gift and instead have a grand time playing with the box?  I think I saw the adolescent version of that a couple days ago.

It was Andrew’s 11th birthday party.  Kyle (14) and John (13) were here, and they had already played on the trampoline, eaten pizza, gone swimming with Josiah (16) and Jessica (18), and – after following clues for twenty minutes – successfully located the treasure hidden in our hamper.  The treasure was water guns for Andrew, Kyle, John, and Josiah, so they all raced back outside to load them up.

I had bought three $1.50 buckets at Wal-Mart recently.   They would have been replacements for the three $1.00 Wal-Mart buckets (obviously purchased several years before the Recession of 2008 drove all prices everywhere through the roof) that we use for everything – filling the bird feeder, stashing the umbrellas, holding the trash bags, etc.  The older buckets had eventually been left outside, stepped on, run over, or eaten by varmints.  When the guys asked if they could use the new buckets to fill their water guns, I said, “Sure.”  (It’s a lot easier to fill a water gun by shoving it under water than by holding it under a hose; especially if there are four of you and only two hoses.)

Imagine my sheer joy when I looked out a few minutes later to see water guns on the ground and four boys jubilantly slinging full buckets of water everywhere:  over each others’ heads, onto the trampoline, down each others’ backs, and all over each other while bouncing on the trampoline!  They doused and soaked each other over and over and over, having such fun that when it was time for cake and ice cream, we had to drag their dripping selves into the house.  They sang, blew, inhaled chocolate cake and root beer floats, then begged to go back out with the buckets for the last few minutes till Kyle’s mom arrived.

If I had realized what a grand time $4.50 worth of buckets could provide, I would surely have skipped wrapping the water guns, writing 16 rhyming clues, carefully calculating locations for them, and racing around to hide them while the kids were swimming.  I would have just splurged and invested a full $6.00 so each boy could have his very own two-gallon weapon!

BTW, if you, too, want to buy cheap plastic buckets at Wal-Mart, do you know which department to visit?  It’s definitely not hardware, and it’s not housewares.  Of course, it’s also not electronics, grocery, or office supplies.  Jessica, The One Who is Able to Find Anything, proved that you must look in (drum roll, please). . .  automotive.

Sometimes Sam’s logic totally escapes me.

We came, we tubed, we conquered

Scott had the wonderful idea to go tubing on Bull Creek today.  We drove the van to the low water bridge and floated S-L-O-W-L-Y (and with some rear end dragging) down to the 160 bridge, following a fun time of “Beefsteak,” can openers, and diving practice at Big Rock.  I did not apply the sunscreen that I seem to be allergic to, yet managed to avoid any sunburn.  It was a fun and peaceful float, and Scott and I really enjoyed watching the kids play together.

Flashing sign

So, we were driving home from church on Wednesday night.  In the past month or so, there’s been a lot of nighttime road construction on Hwy. 65 in Christian County.  Those light-up, three-line-of-text signs are used to let you know what to expect when and where.  There are often lane closures around Ozark, so we are used to slowing down and driving carefully through and/or around whatever’s being done on Wednesday nights between 8:30 and 9:00 PM.

Well, we got down into the hills, and as we passed that huge log Branson ticket information place and headed down toward Busiek, one of those signs appeared, but this one was flashing violently.  It read, “DIAMOND GROVING AHEAD.”  Now, that was a curiosity to me.  What exactly IS diamond groving, anyway?  And does it mean that a diamond groves a certain head?  Just one head?  Any old head?  More to the point, was there any chance that the diamond might grove my head?!?!?

As our single lane of traffic neared the bottom of the hill, we did see a substantial piece of equipment or two doing something significant in the closed-off left lane, so I’m guessing that that was the diamond groving I’d been so strongly flashed about.  However, although I’ve evidently now witnessed diamond groving in action, I’m still not sure what it is.

Catching Up

I really hate to write these “bullet point” posts, but I guess if any descendants ever decide to read back through this, they will expect the high points to have been covered.  The problem is that DURING the high points, I don’t have (or make) time to write, and then AFTER the high points, there’s other stuff to write about – like DIAMOND GROVING AHEAD.

Here’s a brief run-down on the major events of Team Roberts in the past couple weeks:

Thursday, May 13 – Katie began her two-day drive home from PHC.  Scott’s mom arrived at 11:00 AM, flying into Branson (yippee!), the smallest commercial airport in the western hemispehre, where we actually got to stand on a deck and watch her plane land.  Talk about taking me back to my childhood!  Jessica and Andrew left their AIM practice (final presentation day, no less) to join me and Mom at the Methodist Church for our piano recital rehearsal.  I was stressed about the recital.  The AIM final presentation at the SAC was great – lots of new songs and our neighbors came.  Scott’s 9:30 ball game was rained out, which means his mom didn’t get to watch him play this trip.  = (  After spending a frustrating hour stuck in traffic in West Virginia, Katie made it to Indianapolis and lodged that night at a Fairfield Inn.

Friday, May 14 – Katie drove the rest of the way home, arriving around 5:30 PM.  We were all THRILLED to see her!  Andrew, Jessica, and I played in the piano recital that night.  We were so blessed to have not only Scott’s mom, but my folks, our friends the Howards, Courtney and Emily Brown, the Lilleys, and Tess Rolf in attendance.  Jessica was the main event, being the only senior on the program, and she played four (or was it five?) pieces – all very well.  She and I both received the gold medallion, and Jessica got the second-place trophy.  No slouch job!  We (family and extended family) then enjoyed some post-stress ice cream at Culver’s.

Saturday, May 15 – Katie began her summer career at Silver Dollar City as a kiddie ride operator (working almost every day at varying times, most commonly 9:30 AM – 6:15 PM), and my folks came out for a short visit.

Sunday, May 16 – Friday Night Light was moved to Sunday at our house, just for one week, because of the piano recital the previous Friday.

Tuesday, May 18 – Grandma and Andrew spent the day at SDC, Grandma getting in free by accompanying Katie when she went in to work.  They rode all the water rides and got thoroughly soaked.  Mom bought me the biscuit cutter I’ve been longing for.  = )

Thursday, May 20 – Aunt Kristy arrived (early, so we didn’t get to watch her land – boo hoo) on that same 11:00 AM flight into Branson.    That night, Jessica and Courtney celebrated their high school graduation in fine style.  Those two wonderful young ladies planned and executed the whole event, and it was really special.  Kristy gave the commencement address on the resolve of Daniel, Jessica and Courtney did a hilarious “medley” mime, several people shared memories of them, both silly and serious, and they ran out to the “Hallelujah Chorus!”  The reception afterwards was neat and fun, too.  That night, Andrew vomited from 2:00 AM till 9:00 AM.  It was a truly horrid night.

Saturday, May 22 – While Katie worked at SDC and I gardened at home, Grandma, Kristy, Scott, Jessica, Josiah, and Andrew went canoeing on Bull Creek.  The water was fairly high, it was a gorgeous Saturday, and there were some 15 other canoers and kayakers putting in at the same place.  I have never seen such traffic at Round Mountain Road!  They had a very adventurous float, with Kristy tipping out of the kayak TWICE; Scott, Andrew, and Grandma tipping once; and various episodes of Kristy bobbing down the creek, Jessica straining to hold onto watercraft and paddles, and Josiah nobly performing all duties of the rescuing hero.  They left their water jug in the van, but I took it down to Gaar’s crossing and left it on a rock.  With the sun out hot and temps in the upper 80s, they were all glad for liquid refreshment at that point.  It ended up being an almost four-hour float, and it’s fair to say that a grand time was had by all.  That night, Scott grilled Teriyaki pork chops and kielbasa, and we had Mom’s baked beans and creamy cheese potatoes on the side.  We also celebrated Katie’s birthday when she got home that evening.

Sunday, May 23 – We skipped church at Cornerstone and hung around the house, visiting, playing Bridge, and trying to figure out how in the world Mom and Krit could pack all their stuff plus some return clothes for Ian into only their carry-on bags.  We also switched out Grandma’s and Josiah’s phones.  Scott and I took Grandma and Kristy to the Branson airport that evening, and then tried to go on a date.  However, my stomach was too queasy to eat out; a major bummer.  We arrived home to a sick Jessica, who proceeded to vomit from 9:30 PM to 2:00 AM and sleep and run fever most of the next day.

Wednesday, May 26 – Andrew had off all his academics due to it being his eleventh birthday (!!!), and Jessica and I spent four solid hours totally organizing ALL the children’s church supplies.  We now have eight boxes, all neatly labeled, AND she has a nifty Excel spreadsheet in her computer listing everything in every box.  This should make things a lot easier for the folks who fill in on the planning and leading of children’s church while she’s in Hong Kong.  Not to mention, it will be a lot easier for Jessica during the month of June.

Friday, May 28 – Andrew is having his birthday party with a couple of his AIM friends as I write.  They will be here from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM, and the guys plan to do plenty of trampoline bouncing, bike riding, pizza eating, and (with Josiah as chaperone) creek swimming.  During the latter, I will hide clues for our traditional birthday party treasure hunt, which should wear them out and provide a bit more water recreation.

I think that brings things up to the present.

Promises, promises

A note to all six of my loyal readers:  I promise that I will soon create some new posts for your viewing pleasure.  They may be as short as this one, but they WILL be new.

Going out to eat

1.  Last night (Tuesday night), Scott, realizing most of us would be in Springfield Wednesday night and would need to eat something somewhere, suggested either Boston Market or Fazoli’s.  He asked Mom what she would prefer, but I didn’t hear her response.

2.  Katie had to work Wednesday 8:30 – 6:00, so there was no way she could make the 6:45 Bible study.  Therefore, she would not be going to Springfield.

3.  Wednesday morning, I got word from Scott that the dinner location would be Triple 8s, a non-buffet Chinese restaurant only a block from the church which he really likes.  Mom also likes Chinese, so that would be a good fit.

4.  Katie detests Chinese food, but as she would not be going, that was not a problem.

5.  Josiah’s not fond of Chinese food, but he eats what is set before him and generally smiles, especially if he’s not paying for it.

6.  Initially, I planned to drive up early (3:15 or so) to go to Sam’s and the library before meeting Scott at Triple 8s at 5:40.

7.  Jessica had to work 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM babysitting for Kelly.  She would be home at 4:30 PM, so she would need to drive up on her own in the unairconditioned Toyota.

8.  As I was not truly desperate for library books for Andrew’s academics (which are on hold this week in honor of our guests), I decided to take pity on Jessica and wait for her to get home, so she could ride with us in air-conditioned comfort.  We would leave at 4:30, hopefully race through Sam’s, and make it to Triple 8s around 5:45 PM.

9.  Josiah is  working for Scott as a programmer.  He is working fulltime for the rest of May, and he is a bit testy about being interrupted.

10.  At breakfast this morning, I told Josiah we’d be leaving at 4:30 and that he should be ready then.  He was morose, stating that he really needed to work.  I reiterated our planned 4:30 departure time.

11.  Concerning a cookout on Saturday, I told Scott that it might work better for us to go to Sam’s after church, in which case he and his mom (the primary carnivores among us) could pick out some appropriate meat to grill.  I’m really no good at selecting meat.  He agreed.

12.  The revised plan was to leave at 4:30.  If Jessica got home earlier, we might leave earlier (4:15?) and try to hit the library before and Sam’s after.  I warned Josiah at lunch that we might leave earlier than 4:30.  He sighed and said that he really needed to work.  We, of course, heard that statement several times before.

13.  At 2:30 PM, Jessica called to say she would be home around 3:00 PM.  Wow!

14.  Jessica came home and we discussed options for leaving even earlier, going to Sam’s and the library before supper, and getting home sooner after church.  We decided to leave at 3:45.

15.  Jessica told Josiah we’d be leaving at 3:45, and he was distraught.

16.  I told Jessica to give Josiah her car keys and tell him he could drive the Toyota up whenever he jolly well pleased.  He could meet us at Triples 8s at 5:40, or meet us at the church at 6:45.

17.  At 3:40, he still had not decided whether or not to ride with us, so we (Jessica, Andrew, Mom, and I) left in the van.  It had rained, which had somewhat improved the poop-mobile’s appearance.

18.  As we approached the south side of Springfield, Katie called.  She said she would be home at 4:32, she’d be ready to leave at 4:35, and would we please wait for her.  This made me sad.  I explained that we were nearly to Springfield and that we’d all (except maybe not Josiah) be meeting for dinner at a Chinese restaurant near the church.  Soundly mildly exasperated, she said that SHE thought we were leaving at 4:30 (true) and that we were either eating at Boston Market or Fazoli’s (also true).  I gently reminded her that change is constant, gave her the updated version of our schedule, and told her that if she wanted to come, she might want to ride with Josiah (or let him ride with her).  She said that she knew it wasn’t very spiritual, but given the prospect of Chinese food, she didn’t know whether she’d come to Springfield or not.

19.  Mom, overhearing all this, said that she wished she’d chosen Italian, and that the only reason she hadn’t was because of the cost.  (sigh)

20.  I asked Jessica if Katie liked Italian.  Yes.

21.  I tried unsuccessfully to call Scott to see if he would change from Triple 8s at 5:40 to Fazoli’s at 5:30.  Fazoli’s is farther from the church and Andrew was supposed to be there at 6:15 as a kids church helper.

22.  I called Katie and asked if she would or would not drive up if we were eating at Fazoli’s rather than Triple 8s.  She replied that she had decided to come up with Josiah to Triple 8s, but that yes, she would certainly come to Fazoli’s.

23.  As we walked into Sam’s, I reached Scott, who agreed to the change.

24.  Jessica called Katie back to confirm Fazoli’s at 5:40.  I would need to call Desiree and tell her Andrew would be late.

25.  We finished Sam’s, did the library, and utilizing three vehicles, all hit Fazoli’s at or around 5:40.  It was a great meal!

This is fairly typical of our lives in this season.


Our vehicles all live out on driveways, and none are under any type of man-made cover.  Of course, there are a lot of trees overhanging various portions of the two driveways, so there is natural (a.k.a. leafy) cover for some seven months of the year.

Birds like leafy cover, too, and this time of year is the height of flocks-aloft season.  It seems that a significant number of birds have decided that our van is located in their outhouse.  Today is Wednesday, and ten days ago, I drove the van through the VERY nifty “pull-you-through” car wash at Sam’s in Springfield.  We had stopped there to pick up some stuff after church.  Actually, I had a sore foot, so the rest of the gang did the Sam’s shopping while I got the van washed.  The main reason to wash it was that our feathered friends had made several unsolicited deposits to various glass surfaces, and few things are as gross as looking through bird poop while driving.

The van looked great after its Sam’s wash, and we brought it back home to sit in the outhouse under the trees.

At 2:30 PM yesterday (Tuesday), I walked out to the van to go pick up Andrew and Grandma who had spent most of the day at Silver Dollar City.  The van was COVERED with plops!!!  It looked like someone had attacked it with thousands of tiny snowballs.  Some of the “snowballs” were rather dirty.  I couldn’t stand to drive the van in that condition, so I ran in and grabbed Windex and paper towels and started to work – BUT not before counting the plops, which numbered 73; disregarding some of the minor ones located in less prominent positions.  I removed approximately 69, leaving only those that – given my height-challenged status – would have required a ladder.  Feeling pleased and somewhat smug that the van no longer sported a polka-dot motif, I did yea and verily pick up my passengers.  Who, I might add, did indeed comment on the bird poop high centered on the windshield.

This morning I went out to walk, returning home at about 8:00 AM, which was a mere 17 hours after yesterday’s latrine-scrubbing event.  I was appalled, shocked, and more than slightly embarrassed to find some 20 fresh plops on the van!  How discouraging.  Perhaps I should add some Immodium to the sunflower seed in the bird feeders.

There is obviously no point attacking this newest set of deposits until five minutes before our next departure, and although I’d really like to have a clean van when I pick up Kristy from the airport tomorrow, and although we do need to make another stop at Sam’s tonight, there may also be no point in visiting his VERY nifty “pull-you-through” car wash again.  Unless perhaps we park the van in a field somewhere and hike home.

Jesus reigns, but at our house, whitewash rains, too.

Disappointed devotee decries dead daisies

Actually, they are iris (not daisies), but that messed up the alliteration.

My parents were up for a brief visit last week to attend our piano recital, and Mom commented that she was MIGHTY tired of going to my blog and seeing “The iris are blooming!”  In fact, when she came by the house the next morning, she informed me in no uncertain terms that the iris are obviously dead.  Of course she’s right, and I really will make every effort to post something on a daily basis.  To that end. . .

Scott’s mom is visiting right now, and we are all enjoying having her here.  There are several predictable results of a visit with Mom:  few to no academics, wonderful meals and baked goods that I do not prepare, plenty of bridge (accompanied of course by plenty of bridge mix), the constant realization that every time you reach to wash the dishes or fold the laundry or straighten a room or iron some clothes, it’s already been done (WOW!), and ice cream at all hours of the day and night.  = )

The above go without saying, but it’s also fun to get to share with Grandma the kids’ AIM presentations, our piano recital, our home group fellowship, and – in a couple more days – Jessica’s GRADUATION!

Because my time is limited, I will add only that there are several non-iris flowers blooming in our yard right now.  Pansies, marigolds, and coreopsis I recognize, but the rest of them just came up in the front bed, and while they are quite pretty, I have no idea what any of them are called.  They are NOT called iris, however.  The iris are  – while technically not dead – done blooming for this year.

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