“How’s Dori doing?” George asked his brother. “She hasn’t come to see me yet.”
Mike shifted uncomfortably in his chair. Despite the tropical location, the beach, and the nearby bar, Mike just couldn’t relax.
“Everyone is dealing with this in their own way. I’m not sure coming here was the best idea,” Mike said.
“You couldn’t get Mom and Dad to come?”
“Mom and Dad don’t even understand what this is. Bastard is one word they use to describe you and what you did.”
Always the salesman, George flashed his winning smile, “Look, it’s better now. How great is this?”
Mike looked around. It was certainly a beautiful place his brother now found himself in. There were women in bikinis everywhere, endless drinks and the weather was perfect. Mike considered what he had to look forward to. Back home, everything was grey and bleak. Even his high-rise office window just looked into another high-rise office window.
“This is definitely nice. You can’t beat the view, I suppose,” Mike said, then he took a sip of his drink.
“My brother, ladies and gentlemen. The king of understatements!” George clapped.
“I suppose I’ll keep coming as long as I can. I still don’t get why you did it. The scenery is better, but that’s all it is. I gotta run. I guess I’ll see you next month.”
“I’ll be here!”
Mike took the virtual reality helmet off and returned it to the undertaker. He wondered if the bikini girls were dead too.
The old man stares at the upright storage unit in the corner. He can still remember the ads.
Need a short break from the constant whining and fighting? Try our new Time Out Spot! Kids will relax in a state of pure calm while you…
…Mow the lawn!
…Catch up on work at home!
…Even take the wife out for a lovely dinner!
The last phrase bites him as he recalls it. He bought this Time Out Spot shortly after her death. The seal on the window broke 20 years ago, so he can only see a blur inside as he looks from across the room. He remembers the struggle the first time he put his child in, but not what it was about.
The last time he let the child out, it screamed and wailed. All the while clutching that damn bear she had bought him. Hardly the behavior for a 5 year old, he thought. He frowned.
A knock awakes him from the memory. He grabs his cane and slowly stumbles towards the door. Clear cords run down his shirt and into a levitating oxygen chamber. He gently tugs at them to catchup as he opens the door.
A burly man in a jumpsuit asks, “Is he ready?”
“Guess so. It’s over there in the corner. You’ll take good care of it? Doc says I’ll be gone by week’s end.”
“Yeah, we’ll make sure he’s set up someplace real nice. Sign here.”
So, my 38th birthday weekend was quite fun. On Friday night, we made s’mores over an excellent fire in the fire pit. We followed up by our first non-cartoon outside movie – “Back to the Future”. The kids liked it and actually were rapt for most of the movie. Anna laughed loudly when Doc set fire to the miniature car during his demonstration.
On Saturday, we went swimming at my parents’ house and then vegged out in the evening. Julie and I watched “Jack Reacher” for free on Amazon Prime. It was pretty good.
On Sunday, Julie had friends over for a cooking party and I played Lego Marvel with the kids on Xbox. In the evening, Julie and I played “The Wolf Among Us.” I was surprised to the decisions Julie made during the game, even after being together so long.
All in all, not too shabby! I wish there were more weekends to watch movies outside, but it has been too cool this summer.
Julie has had a garden now for a couple of years, but right from the start, groundhogs were a problem. They dug up and under the raised bed, wreaking havoc. They jumped into our true raised bed, which was about 2 feet off the ground. After many years of having a less than successful garden due to these pests, it was time for a change.
Julie attended a Saturday morning training session at Rodale on building raised garden bed frames. They provided detailed steps and let her practice with a partner. She brought home the plans and we started thinking about how many we wanted. We settled on 6 total in 2 rows of 3. We ripped out the one artificially raised bed entirely and pulled out the middle walkway of the other, but left it for potatoes and other plants that critters might leave alone. We rototilled a new area behind where the new raised beds were going (about 16′ x 24′) for corn. This is where it got interesting.
We rented a sod cutter and rolled up strips of sod two at a time. We laid down chicken wire on the exposed dirt, overlapping sections, and rolled the sod back overtop. This gave us our base to ensure groundhogs couldn’t come up from underneath.
Next, we built the 6 beds (4′ x 8′) and leveled them out by cutting out sections of sod that was already lifted from the sod cutter, leveling the dirt on the low side and filling in the gaps on each side. The raised beds were then placed on the chicken wire and were filled with dirt.
To build the fence, we stained over 50 planks of wood and stained and cemented in some 4″ x 4″ posts. We made fence sections to go in between the posts. The fence sections were frames built with rabbit fencing between. This required 10 frames to be built with 2 doors, one in the front, one in the back.
I tore up the sod under each frame as it went in, pulled up the chicken wire and leveled the dirt out. We then placed the chicken wire overtop of the leveled dirt and ensured it was right up to the fencing. This way, no critter could dig underneath the fence.
We just finished doing the touch up on the stain tonight, but it looks awesome. Hopefully our planning was well worth it, but only the season will tell!
Like a rite of passage for all the Sekol kids, Liam completed his preschool circus program as a seal (Nora was a lion, Anna was a pony). He actually participated, but didn’t sing the songs, which was par for the course. He did smile insanely wide when he got his diploma. I’m not sure whether it was Mrs. Snyder tickles or his sheer joy at being done that got him there, but for a few seconds, he was on top of the world!
Anna has very bad eyesight and we were told the glasses would be slightly less than granny’s old bottle cap style. These actually aren’t nearly as bad at all. They are purple and quite cute. So far, she’s very excited. As for Nora, she’s very jealous.
Anna can’t wait to show them to her Kindergarten teacher tomorrow!
Today is Mother’s Day 2014. We all headed down to Grandpa Joe’s and Grammy Terry’s house to swim. It was a little early for the adults, so only Joe and the kids went in. Nora was our otter though. She was in and out and down the slide a ton. She outlasted everyone else. Here she is at the end of day. I wonder what she’s thinking?
After Nora and I completed the Color Me Rad in Bethlehem last year, we convinced the others to join in. We practiced getting ready the night before and come morning, it was 1. Get Up! 2. Get dressed! 3. Get in the car! We ate breakfast on the way to our 7:40AM start time, but hopped into the 7:20AM one instead since we were early. The kids had a really good time. We walked most of it, but ran some too. I had to carry Liam only twice and not for very long, but by the end, he was pretty exhausted. It also didn’t help that I put him in a puddle and Anna got yellow powder in his face. Here’s hoping there’s another one this fall!
This is another dream based microfiction story, similar to the story 3:13.
“Grandma?” She was the last person I was expecting to be on the other end of the phone.
“Yes, it’s your grandma. How are you doing, honey? How are the kids?”
I fall into a nearby kitchen chair and wave my wife over. I tilt the earpiece towards her so she can hear.
“Gram, is that really you?”
“Of course it’s me.” My wife looks at me in disbelief and leans in closer, moving her
hand over mine. My grandmother’s high pitched voice is unmistakable.
“This is impossible, I haven’t heard from you in five years. You died last week.”
“I’m not sure what you’re…” She doesn’t get a chance to finish. I hear the phone hit the floor and tap it several times. It reminds me of the corded phone that she kept in the kitchen at her old house. The cord was just long enough that if you dropped it,
it would bounce like a bungee cord that was too long.
I can hear her distant voice over the phone. She’s in a panic. I hear her say “No” several times and she’s crying. There’s a commotion of movement and I can hear a man’s voice. It’s deep and ancient, but I can’t understand what he’s saying. The
phone is being picked up.
I stand up screaming for her. She yells out “SCS! SCS!” The next thing I hear is the line drop dead. I stare at the phone.
“What the hell was that?”
It appears that the blog updates have fallen behind yet again…. Plenty going on – birthday festivities (Matt’s and soon Nora’s), preparing for first experience with preschool (Nora), broken bones (Liam), toddler tantrums (Anna) – yep, the Sekol house continues to be full of activity and adventure! Just lacking on the time to document it all.