Saturday, May 18, 2013


I'm a planner... not a big surprise given my OCD tendencies. When we decided the Hubby would drive north to pick up our daughter and her offspring, I made a plan to ride my bicycle to work the same day. Perfect opportunity to break out of my slug-like less-then-training routine. Its less than 6 miles and though its a busier street there is a bike lane the entire way.
As the day approached our children got involved. Son #2 says "its kind of far Mom". Uh yea that's why I'm not going to walk.  DIL and Son #1 chimed in offering a ride because its a busy street with lots of crazy drivers in this town.  I could get hurt.  Yea kind of like how you can get hurt on a motorcycle when you have to drop it in an intersection to avoid hitting a car running a red light... Yet someone in our household still rides a motorcycle and his sons don't fuss at him. Oh and then there was the weather forecast... Mike argued it would be too hot... Son #1 argued it would rain. Then Son #1 said he would accompany Dad on 6 hour trip one-way up and back. 
I am actually very grateful for his offer to keep Dad company. And in his absence he left me his truck.  As it turned out, the skies were not coorperating the morning I'd planned to ride my bicycle to work so I took the truck.

As I approached the truck I realized it was very HIGH in the air.  I stopped and gauged a graceful entrance strategy, briefly driveway, propelled my 6' self with my 36" inseam through the open door and onto the seat...  SUCCESS!  I even rated myself an 8 for the dismount (it was a little wobbly on the release).  

Once inside I became aware that the previous owner of #1 son's truck must have been a 350lb man.  The lack of springs in the seat was the first give-away.  The next clue was the view.  I found myself peering through the steering wheel, over the dash, to the great outdoors.  Yes.Me.  Struggling to even have the slightest opening.

I have an entirely new outlook on short people. 

Once underway I thought "this is a breeze".  I learned to drive with my dad's van, a 3 speed on the column and have been driving stick shifts ever since.  How hard could six speeds be?  Ok so that's a rhetorical question.  Turns out my son may or may not have mentioned to start the truck out in second gear because it was easier.  Fortunately there aren't many corners for the trip to work.  At one light I honestly gave myself whiplash, chugga, chugga, chugga, head and neck struggling to keep an eye on the road.  (Turns out it's harder to describe that motion in words than I first realized...)

The last corner into my work parking lot in view...  feeling confident I'd made it safe and sound.  To my horror I see a man parked in the empty area, which would be my destination, with a small dog pacing back and forth next to his vehicle.  I carefully rounded the corner, very aware of the gear I was shifting down into...  and managed to avoid the need for a neck brace but going into a much higher-lower speed, coasting the corner feeling out of control.  The only thing left to do was hang on, close my eyes and yell "Run Doggie Run"!

Thankfully I had twelve hours of work to recover before my trip home. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Lucy and Ethel... the Reunion

When we moved to Puerto Rico I was faced with a challenge.  Living on base, close quarters for anyone who wanted to scrutinize.  Think fish bowl.  Women my age, with young children were generally wives of junior officers.  Women who were married to my husband's peers were older.  The younger women felt intimidated.  Heavens I might run and tell my husband something they shared (as if he would care).  This was part of the deal when I married a man with a past.  Oh well. 

One day I was out walking near the pool and saw this woman with a little boy.  I knew we had a new family joining the Staff and where in housing they were moving.  I walked over and introduced myself.  The rest is history. 

Virginia and I enjoyed one another's company.  We walked our dogs at night along the mangroves. We sat pool side or in the sand with our kids.  Her son Joshua was aged right between Matt and Krieg.  When Erin headed off to school on the bus, we would jump in the car with the 3 boys and drive to San Juan, 2 hours away, for our Taco Bell fix, arriving back on base in time to meet Erin's bus on it's return trip.

After we retired from the Navy, Virginia and family visited us in Wisconsin a few times.  We met in Indianapolis for a long holiday weekend.  They moved from Virginia to Tennessee to Georgia.  We moved from Wisconsin to Idaho.  We have always stayed in touch.  When her daughter Jena was born we became proud Godparents. 

At one point her son told us when we sat with our heads together, giggling and scheming, or headed out on one of our antics, he was reminded of Lucy and Ethel.  For whatever reason it stuck. 

This year Ethel decided she was going to spend her 50th birthday with us.  Our Hawaiian option didn't develop but she took advantage of way cheap tickets to fly to Boise.

Mike took her out to Birds of Prey on Friday while I worked.  She got the whole tour. 

Saturday morning we got up and took in the Boise Farmer's Market.  Believe it or not I've never been.  I'm not a big visitor to downtown.  I may have to change this... 

Saturday night we had a Cuatro de Mayo fiesta - to celebrate both Virginia's 50th birthday as well as Krieg's father-in-law Mike Haxby.   We shared dinner with Karissa's folks, Kristen and Mike as well as her grandparents, Donna and Gary.

Our very creative DIL Britnee made both birthday cakes!

Tate and Karissa took advantage of the fire pit to make some smores.

Brit, Matt and Mike

Ethel and Lucy 

Karissa, Ethel, Krieg and Stanley

Ethel, Britnee, Matt and a very tired Taten

Sunday afternoon we took advantage of everyone being in town and went to Ste. Chapelle for the wine tasting. 
Belly up to the bar folks... 
Krieg, Ethel, Matt & Britnee

Britnee, Ethel, Karissa, Deb, Grandma Donna, Kristen and Shelbea

Tate didn't think much of the wine tasting... 

This is one landmark I knew she would love to visit!

View from Ste. Chapelle

Monday morning we headed north to meet up with our favorite Moscow-ites for lunch in McCall.

Along the river

Lunch date.  Ethel finally got to meet the youngest Grandchild.

Bear love

Chris, Erin, Calder and Ethel

And since Ethel is a Virginia Tech alumni she wanted to see the infamous Smurf Turf, where the team that beat the Hokies plays...  whatever... and I'm such a great hostess I went dispite my misgivings.  Even dragged our family Bronco fan.  

Taten and Ethel

Go Broncos Drahma!

From BSU we headed up to Table Rock where we could share a view of the city.  I think my last visit up there was 2006...  where did all those cell towers come from!? 

So now the reunion has come and gone. I'm sad but happy to have had so much time with  my 'forever friend'.  We are already discussing options for our next get-together.  Perhaps we'll be in a town near you?