Simply Silence

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls. ~Mother Teresa

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A view that no photo can capture… a perfect snowy night. 2/2015

Since it’s Friday, and my days have been filled with a lot of heavy, I wanted to step back and reflect.   Today, I awoke in the early morning hours to find another dusting of snow blanketing the world outside.  Gazing out the window, trying to wipe the sleep from my eyes, I was instantly warmed with nostalgic memories and a serene feeling.  All from watching the snow sit still among the darkness?  Absolutely!

It’s funny, just the other day, dad commented that he loved the late evenings, in the middle of winter, when everything is covered in snow and is at rest.  I’m paraphrasing for he probably said something along the lines of, “I always liked this.”  But I knew exactly what he meant.  He’s right, that time of day is the best!  Ever since I was a youngster, I’ve always held an affinity for those qualities to grace me with their presence.  That’s one of my favorites during hunting season, the dark hours, snow hiding all details of nature, and the silence that seems to accompany that exact moment.  I love it!

Last week, while I was trimming the blueberry bushes and the grape vines at mom and dad’s house, I let the dogs run around in the snow (mom and dad live in the country).  With the frigid days, our four-legged pals were suffering horribly from cabin fever, and I knew they needed to stretch their legs.  It was in the twenties, with little to no windchill, the sun was brightly shining overhead, and the yard had a healthy dose of snow.  All perfect conditions for playtime.

Well, naturally, I got involved in my work and unbeknownst to me, all three dogs made their escape, and decided to go on a walk about.  I never know if I should be insulted when they make plans without me, or happy because they’re getting exercise, but regardless, they made a break for it.  When the boys and Avery pull this stunt without adult supervision, there’s a 50/50 chance it will end well.  Although, on a good note, my cat, Storm, a.k.a. Lady Fluffington, had a blast running around the snow and climbing up on the grape arbor without the dogs chasing her around.  Luckily, we had the tracker on Avery, but it soon died and lost connection with our delinquents.

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Love the silence of the night, covered in snow! 2/2015

Anyway, after some time, I layered up and headed out to follow their tracks before it got dark.  Just as I approached the middle of the woods, a few miles out, I received a call from dad saying the hounds were back.  What?  It was now getting really dark and I knew dad had the fireplace blazing for them, yet, here I was stuck hiking through snow, in the middle of nowhere, while everyone warmed up and relaxed!  Did I mention, there were a ton of coyote tracks all around me, and in the distance I saw a fresh deer hide ripped to shreds?  Kinda scary, only because I didn’t have my pistol and my phone was ready to die, but then again I really didn’t care.

To be honest, I didn’t mind being in the woods, or even being in the woods with darkness hot on my heels.  Actually, it was a relaxing point in time, a moment of not worrying, for the dogs were safe, Kyle was accounted for, and I didn’t need to be anywhere, or do anything at that particular juncture.  My mind wasn’t racing and I wasn’t in a hurry.  In fact, I was were I needed to be at that point in time.  It was hovering in a state of simple silence and peace.  When was the last time you felt that?  God took a potentially bad situation, and blessed me with the complete opposite.

Did I care it was now dark among the trees?  No, actually I didn’t.  When I was little, Ryan, our cousins, some of our friends and myself (Nicole would sometimes make her appearance), would run through the woods all night long, mostly during the summer months and sometimes on the weekends in autumn, especially during Halloween.  We’d either play war and corn each other, explore and go on adventures, or simply scare each other.  It was our childhood, and the woods were our playground.

While walking back, the only sounds I heard was the soft crunching of snow under my feet, and the slight wind blowing past me, rustling loose branches and causing the treetops to clap.  The moonlight reflected just enough light from the snow to guide my way.  Everyone once in a while, I’d stop to take it all in, all the benevolence of nature.  I’d like to think Ryan was walking with me, for he too loved the woods and winter time.

Always try to look on the good side of any situation, for God always reveals a gem of delight found in silence among the noise and chaos.  Happy Friday!

 

posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Hiking & Outdoors,Hunting & Fishing,News,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Pets,Reminiscing and have No Comments

Laughing About Nothing … Hitchhiker

Make your mistakes, take your chances, look silly, but keep on going. Don’t freeze up.  ~Thomas Wolfe

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Kyle riding a motorcycle at Idlewild Park, Ligonier for the Gutchess picnic. 8/2004

Kyle always surprises me, especially with what he knows.  This time it’s what he didn’t that took me completely off guard.

Okay, I’ll set the stage.  Sunday night, I picked Kyle up from his youth group meeting and we proceeded to drive through Latrobe.  It was later, probably about 8:00 pm or so and definitely dark.  Why is this pertinent?  It is!  As we drove along, I barely noticed an older gentleman, who practically jumped into the street sticking his thumb in the air.  His white or silver hair  juxtaposed against his entirely black attire scared me.  I know smart right, head-to-toe in solid black, lurking in the shadows of the night, while practically playing chicken with moving vehicles.  I swerved into the left lane to miss him, before I stopped at our red light about ten yards away.  Yeah, I checked to make sure our doors were locked.  Check!

During this ordeal, Kyle was jarred a little from my fancy footwork behind the wheel, as well as me saying something like, “Whoa, buddy!” and “What the heck ?”  It really happened so fast.  While waiting for the light to turn green, I kind of reiterated the scene.  That’s when I found myself baffled and yet humored.

I made a comment about the hitchhiker and Kyle asked, “What’s a hitchhiker?”  What?  Yep, I’m totally serious!  He truly didn’t know what a hitchhiker was.  Then the conversation went something like this.

Me:  “He wants a ride somewhere, that’s why he’s hitchhiking or trying to, I almost hit him.”
Kyle:  “How do you know he was trying to hitchhike?”
Me:  Slightly sarcastic, “Because his thumb was in the air.”
Kyle:  “Does that mean he needs a ride?”
Me:  “Well, yeah.  You know, you’ve seen people walk along highways with their thumb sticking in the air, basically screaming, “Pick me up”, they’re hitchhiking.”
Kyle:  “I’ve never seen that before!”
Me:  “Really?  Well, that’s what he was doing.  Although, they’re usually not that aggressive.  He practically jumped up on the hood of my car.”

Let the silliness begin!  There’s always one moment with us that sends us over the edge to the land-of-no-return humor.  That was it.  Kyle looked at me with wide eyes, and a huge ornery grin.  So the ridiculous story unfolds!

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Kyle driving his bumper car around at Idlewild Park, Ligonier for the Gutchess Picnic 8/2004

Yes, we started laughing.  I’ll take the blame for initiating this one when I said, “What would you do if he jumped on the hood of the car and held on?”  Kyle and I busted out laughing.  Then, I started to make noises like a car while I faked me driving erratically from side to side, to shake the imaginary hitchhiker from the hood of my car.  Instantly, Kyle joined in adding to the sound effects and mimicking my motions.  He said, “Can you image Aunt Heather?  That would be so funny!”

Now, I’m taking it a step farther by adding, “Want me to pull over and have him ride in your lap?  What would you do?”  I was trying to get a rise out of Kyle, however he turned the tables on me with his wit.

It took Kyle merely a moment to concoct his own scenario,  “No Aunt Heather, we’d put him in the backseat.”  Laughing trying to properly express his thoughts to me, he adds, “With all three dogs!  And I’m in the front seat.”  Yeah, that made uncontrollable roars of laughter erupt straight from my gut.  Kyle really painted the picture when he described the scene.  “Can you imagine?  Our boys would be walking all over him and he wouldn’t have any room to sit.”  Kyle’s now really humoring himself, as well as me.  He even added my cat, Storm, a.k.a. Lady Fluffington, to the story.

Playing off of Kyle’s new direction, I declare, “Scooby would be in his face growling and the guy would be too afraid to move.”  I motioned with my hand toward my face, where Scooby’s face would be in relation to our fake hitchhiker.   “Avery would just sit there and drool all over him, and Seven would pay no attention and tramp him down as he pranced back and forth on the seat.”  That’s our dogs, exactly!  Kyle found this story hilarious.  He buckled over laughing.  Actually, we both did.

Now, the crème de la crème, I blurted out, “No!  We pull over, with you sitting in the front seat, and all three dogs in the back.  I open the hatch and tell him that’s his seat.”  We died!  “He might say, “No thanks, I’ll wait for the next ride.”  I love that moment of pure hilarity, whereas you can’t event catch your breath.  In fact, not a sound could be heard.  You know it’s gut stretching!

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Fort Jackson Bootcamp, South Carolina – Terry, Dad, Charlie Ferry, Pap. Summer 1969

Yes, all this excitement was going on while I was driving, but at least I got Kyle off of his video games to engage with me, even if it was imaginary.  We re-played that entire situation for the duration of the ride, changing things here and there and laughing at each new discovery.

I did explain that hitchhiking was more commonplace in his Gigi’s day.  I explained it to him, as I was told, especially with war veterans who came home and didn’t have a vehicle, so they hitchhiked.  I continued to explain that back in that day, most families only had one car, and sometimes not even that, and sometimes they needed a ride.  I also told him, since the olden days, it’s became less acceptable and now dangerous.  “So don’t ever pick up a hitchhiker or hitchhike yourself!”  Even though he didn’t appear to be listening, I know he was.

I’ve said it before, Kyle is the coolest!  I love being around him and under his thirteen-year old attitude, and general sluggishness brought on by poor eating and mind sucking video games, he has a strong personality and is really very funny.  His sense of humor still reminds me of his Aunt Nikki, very Saturday Night Live “esk”.  Nothing wrong with that!

Catch all the ridiculously funny stories!

Laughing About Nothing
Laughing About Nothing … True Story

Laughing About Nothing … Cats!
Laughing About Nothing … Truck Horn!
Laughing About Nothing … Dog in Space!
Laughing About Nothing … Our Dog vs. A Robber

posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Family,Observation & Imagination,Pets,Travels,Video Games & Games and have No Comments

Dog’s Perspective vs. Reality

All your life, you will be faced with a choice. You can choose love or hate…I choose love.  ~Johnny Cash

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Me & Joel with my dog Jill. We were on the swings in our front yard. 1980s

There’s always moments in life that just plain work your nerves.  Sometimes it’s Kyle, my family, work, a trip to the grocery store etc.  This time?  The dogs!

I mostly consider myself a cat person, even though I’ve always had dogs my whole life.  I appreciate those friendly barking beings and I most certainly love our dogs, Scooby and Seven, but they can sometimes be a pain in my bottom.  Both are Labradors, Scooby blond and Seven noir.  In truth, they are a couple of good dogs and I wouldn’t trade them for the world, but it would be nice to have a babysitter on speed dial, especially when their corks are heightened.

There are so many good things I can say about them and really mean it, like they are friendly (at least Scooby is with us), somewhat well-behaved (at least Seven is with me) and they are full of love (only Scooby with us, Seven loves playing with the neighbor dogs and kids).  But then they have their hiccups too, so let me vent for a moment or two or three.

I’m sure my perspective is off slightly, since I’ve also been watching Nicole’s dog, Avery.  I’ve had her for two weeks now and I still have another week to go.  At least, that’s what I’m hoping for.  I just found out Nicole may need to go out of town for work again, then after that out of the country for a month.  Guess where that leaves me?  Yep with a third dog.  When did I become the dog whisperer?  I’m going to have to add dog wrangler to my resume.

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My pap with his dog Pudge. 1970s

Avery’s a Rottweiler, pit bull, Doberman mix. (Something like that).  She’s a little over a year old, so she’s still a puppy.  A very vocal annoying puppy.  Nicole took her to be professionally trained by those who actually train dogs for the CIA and such.  Acorn (as I like to call her) knows how to listen and be good, but like all puppies (or kids) they know how to push major buttons.  Avery’s major malfunction?  She is constantly barking and whining, for no apparent reason and she chases my cat.  Major no!

I’m sure having Avery here with Seven and Scooby has caused everyone to be off his or her game.  Regardless, I’m going to speak freely about those actions that irritate me the most, mostly about Scooby and Seven.

There is the obvious, every time I go to lace up my shoes I get bombarded.  Both dogs instantly jump up, start panting and breathing heavy in my face, with their noses not even two inches from mine.  I can’t even get through their bodies to put my shoes on.  They believe every time, and I mean EVERY time I put on a pair of shoes, it’s so I can take them for a walk or a hike in the woods.  No!  I am not your personal walker!

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Seven & Storm (a.k.a. Lady Fluffington) Storm loves Seven! Seven could care less. Picking grapes…. 2013

They used to only do this when I would put on a specific pair of tennis shoes, the ones I walk them in, but somewhere they decided any shoe will do.  Then, they  jump around barking and crying in excitement, LOUDLY.  I can almost handle that, ALMOST.  Until they start knocking things over and jumping on my feet.  Let’s face it, a couple of nearly ninety pound Labs jumping in a small space leads to disaster, whether they are happy or not.  Unfortunately now-a-days, they get in my face even if I’m putting on a pair of stiletto heels.  Come on guys, I’ll let you know when it’s walk time!  Sad part?  They taught Avery to do the same!

Then, when I try to build the trust and give them some freedom to roam around outside in the yard, they all of a sudden disappear.  Even if I’m watching and simply take my eyes off of the hounds for a moment.  A SPIT SECOND!  They take off for the woods for a four or five hour plus, walkabout.  Forget it if they are spotted making their great escape.  Once they’re at a certain distance away, I swear they give me the middle finger and continue on their journey, only to find them on the porch hours later, totally muddy, panting and exhausted.

I will admit, I am relieved when they return, I’ve been through Dog Gone and Dog Gone Irony!  It’s also a great outcome upon closer inspection and they return with no signs of porcupine quills stuck in their noses or obvious injuries.  But seriously, what is wrong with them?  It’s not like they don’t get walks.  Does it have to be when they decide they want exercise?  Frustrating!

Moving on to the next pet peeve.  I like how every time I don’t have the door to the bathroom shut completely, they feel it’s their right to barge in, leaving the door hanging wide open!  Naturally, you are not able to get up and shut it at that particular moment.  So you sit there, with the door flapping in the breeze and a dog starring you squarely in the eyes and breathing in your face.  Love that!

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Scooby (blond), Seven (black) & Avery (annoying) out for a walk. The boys are old hands at it, so no need for a lease when running through the woods. 2013

While we’re on the topic of bathrooms, let’s continue.  Our dogs believe the rug in the bathroom is another bed for them to hang out on, again while you are doing your business.  Now since that is their self proclaimed, temporary bedding area, it’s always covered in dog hair, ALL THE TIME.  Then, every time I get out of the shower and my wet feet hit the area of cushion, I look down to find hairy hobbit feet where mine used to be.  Gross!  It’s not like I leave the rugs go for a month to be washed.  In fact, before I wash the hair catchers, I have to take them outside to give them a good shake first.  YIKES!

That’s the one time I can get a break from the dogs, when I’m in the shower.  They are terrified of water.  Funny, right?  Labradors who are afraid of water.  Yep, they hate baths!  They don’t even really enjoy doing their business in the rain.   Scooby will hold it until he’s ready to burst like a rain cloud, which is ironic, because my cat loves to hang out while I’m showering.  She’ll sit on the toilet (with the lid down) and stare in my direction.  She’s also the one who will go outside and walk around in the rain.  Comical!

Usually our Labradors are pretty good when it comes to their own bathroom time.  Usually, they try and go in the weeds or closer to the woods, keeping their piles of business out of direct line of my foot when I’m walking in the yard.  However, when we have to babysit my sister’s dog, who thinks it’s her right to crap next to the deck or by the front steps, things start to change.  The other day, I was getting the boat ready to go fishing Catfish Hunter and low and behold what did I step in?  Avery crap!  Which is not petite in the slightest.  I was beyond livid.  That’s the one thing that totally grosses me out and I can’t stand.

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Seven riding along in a car, he always gets the back seat, when Scooby gets the front. 2013

It’s very true I can do what every other American does and go out and clean up the crap to avoid such matters.  But then again, that’s the perk about living in the country.  We have the woods for them to do their business without clean up time and I don’t have to leash the dogs to take them for walks.  They are able to run free in the woods, which makes everyone very happy.

Going back to my previous thought, why is it when dogs actually have a good habit, it’s automatically turned to the dark side when the bad example is set by another dog?  Couldn’t the dog with the bad habit learn good?  Nope!  I guess the force is strong with Avery because when she visits, our dogs find it a need to crap closer to the house, apparently to show who has the bigger pile.

On a side note, I noticed my cat has been meowing to go outside, and now sometimes she uses the restroom near the dogs’ areas.  Nice!  I’m liking that Storm! a.k.a. Lady Fluffington.

Next item up for discussion, the kitchen.  I don’t particularly like cooking with dogs in the kitchen, not only because they always get in my way and are constantly begging, but because … well that’s usually it.  And the fact that their hair just flies through the air with the greatest of ease.  I can’t control where it lands.  Another gross!

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Scooby always takes shotgun, sometimes when someone else is in the car. 2013

How is it, when you say ‘Move!  Get out of my way?’ they instantly align perfectly centered with your body and stay a half a paw in front of you, so you’re walking on their heels?  This talent is particularly evident when I have a hot pan in my hand walking away from the oven.  Same goes for a pot that is too full and I’m rushing to the counter to only have a dog or two, instantly appear out of nowhere to trip me up.  Dangerous for all parties involved!  Stop that!

On the opposite note, my dogs insist on walking on my heels, literally.  When I’m wearing flip flops, that’s when I notice it the most.  Of course, there have been several occasions when I nearly shot myself forward due to a paw tramping down at the back of my shoe.

Personally, I never said it was acceptable to walk past me while I’m wearing shorts and lick my leg either!  Or when I’m lying on the couch and the tongue drags (usually Avery) across the bottom of my foot. Double gross!  This ambush is effective when I’m carrying groceries and I don’t have a hand to push them away, or worse wipe the spit from my leg, allowing it to just dry there as a reminder I need to jump in the shower and scrub.

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Me & Kyle washing Avery.. no this was not pre-approved by Aunt Nikki! 6/28/14

Again, I do like dogs, but I’ve never been a fan of dog kisses, licks or slobber, whatever you want to call it.  My old dog Jill, who was part Colly and part Coonhound, was the best!  Instead of lapping up my face with her tongue, she would do the gesture without ever making contact.  It was the thought that counted and I appreciated her for that.

However, when the dogs are fast asleep, they are pretty peaceful and worth it.  Especially when I’m having a bad day.  Even worth the effort to coddle Scooby when it’s storming out.  He is frightened of thunder and lighting (which is funny because that’s Scooby and Seven’s nicknames respectively) and he’s too fat to fit under the bed.  It is worth it when Seven cuddle’s up to me at night and it’s definitely worth it when I bring my sidekicks along for hikes.  Yep, I guess the dogs are alright, even Avery.  Well, Avery in small does.  They are apart of the family.

 

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Cooking with Kyle,Family,Hiking & Outdoors,Hunting & Fishing,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Pets,Reminiscing and have No Comments

A Near Fatal Mistake

There is a sacredness in tears….They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition and of unspeakable love.  ~Washington Irving

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Storm sleeping… not very ladylike. c. 2012

This story is no fun to tell and was certainly no fun to live through, however I want to share my tale to stop this situation from happening to another.  What happened?  I nearly killed my cat by mistake.

Accident or not, the results ended the same, with a near fatal blow to Storm, my cat a.k.a. Lady Fluffington.  First let me explain, Storm is a three year old short hair weighing in around nine pounds.  Our Labradors top the scales at around eighty to ninety pounds each.  Clearly they are in the extra large category, while Storm falls in the small or extra small category.

Let me explain the details leading up to this near fatal error, if for anything else to give myself a little leeway.  I have been sick off and on for nearly two months now.  I’ve had everything from bronchitis to sinus infects to tonsillitis, very unlike me.  For the past couple weeks, I was suffering from this really annoying cough.  The kind that hits you out of nowhere and you can’t stop coughing, especially in the middle of the night.  Needless to say, I’ve been pretty sleep deprived.  Last Tuesday, I woke up, from a not so good night sleep, very groggy and with a new surprise.  I opened my eye, yes only one eye because the other was swollen and infected with conjunctivitis.  Yes, in layman’s terms, pink eye.  Fortunately, I am now on the road to recovery, but not before I took Storm down with my sinking ship.

Continuing with the last Tuesday thought, I wanted to give the dogs and the cat their flea medication.  The weather is breaking and I didn’t want our pets to start off the summer with fleas and ticks.  Knowing the dog flea medication is lethal to cats, I always give Storm her dose in the morning, along with the boys, and let her out for a walk about, keeping her away until the medication soaks up in Scooby and Seven.

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How Storm got up on the deer head is beyond me. Dad would not be happy to see this, especially when I caught her gnawing on the horns c. 2013

A pretty solid plan.  That is, if done correctly.  I was half paying attention and took Storm outside and applied the flea medication to her neck.  As I was doing so, I noted there seemed to be extra flea medication in the tube.  At that moment, Storm jumped out of my hands, no doubt angry about the application and ran off.  My gut was telling me something was wrong, so I grabbed the wrapper and read, For Extra Large Dogs over 55 pounds.  Do Not Use On Cats.  What?  I messed up big time!

Actually, at first I thought I read it was for puppies under 55 pounds.  I had to look again to see correctly, that’s how out of it I was.  Upon this realization, my heart began to race and pure panic settled in.

I took off after Storm.  I didn’t want her to get too far in the woods or I would never see her again.  Naturally, she didn’t want held, so she sent me on a chase through thorn bushes, down into a creek and into my uncles field before I tackled her.

Running as fast as I could, I darted back to the house and nearly threw her in the sink and instinctively ran water over her fur, specifically the area with the flea and tick treatment.  Using Dawn dish soap, I began to scrub a very confused and stressed cat.  Trying to avoid her angry claws against my soft wet skin, I did the best I could before wrapping her in a towel and jumping on the computer.

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Storm relaxing in my lap while we watch Elementary c. 2012

Advantage II is made by Bayer.  I looked up the company and called their pet line.  Yes, they actually have a pet emergency line, obviously for careless individuals like myself.  Jessica administered to my call.  She was so sincere and helpful even at the point when my sobs caught up to me, and the tears were uncontrollable.  I felt horrible!  The entire time, Storm is soaking wet in my arms, ticked off.  I didn’t want to let her out of my sight until I knew she was safe.

The time frame, from applying the drug till I was able to give Storm her first bath was almost an hour.

Jessica instructed me to give Storm another bath with Dawn, which I guess was the only thing I did right that morning.  My question, what was going to happen to her?  Was she going to die?  Apparently there is an ingredient, permethrin, in the dog flea medication that causes muscle tremors and seizures and yes it could be fatal.  There is also no anti-drug.  It just needs to work its way out of the cat’s system.  However, I was instructed to take her to the veterinarian if the tremors got really bad.

To play it safe, I called the veterinarian’s office to warn them of the events from the morning, just in case.   The vet’s office told me to bath her again.  At this point, I did let Storm go off on her own in the confines of the house.  I kept running back to check on her after scrubbing her up again.

Now about two hours from the point of conflict, Storm was having trouble jumping on the chair and her face started to twitch.  Crap!

Calling the vet’s office again, they said they only had an opening at 1:45 pm.  It was roughly 10:00 am.  Ok, I’ll take the appointment.  However, no more than thirty minutes later, Storm really started to shake all over and convulse in complete spasms.  I called the vet’s office again to get her in now.  With a little bit of an attitude from the one girl at the front desk, she said, “Well, we’re really busy.  You can bring her in now but you’ll probably have to wait.”  There were a few choice words I wanted to say to her, but I didn’t want to waste my energy arguing.  I needed to get this cat some medical attention.

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Storm getting rest after coming out of the ICU. See her front paw was shaved for the IV. 4/23/14

The ride to the vet only takes about ten minuets.  In that time Storm really got bad!  She started to spit and then it happened, she had a full blown seizure in my arms!  What have I done?  I sped into the parking lot and ran into the office, again with eyes full of tears to only hear the one girl, behind the wall spitting with sarcasm, “O no, you can come any time, it’s not like we have appointments.”  Believe it or not, if Storm wasn’t about to have another seizure, I would have reached around the corner and grabbed her by the throat.  That was just plain wrong and she said those harsh words so I would hear her.  Didn’t anyone ever hear of an emergency?

Telling my parents about this later, my mom commented how strange that was since they are all normally very nice.  I guess not in an emergency situation when I move their cheese.

The vet, Doctor Ben, was absolutely amazing and kind.  He squeezed Storm in shortly after I arrived and explained everything to me with the blunt truth.  He didn’t want to get my hopes up for a positive or speedy recovery.  I appreciated that!

Dr. Ben took Storm for the day and gave her an IV to avoid dehydration and administered muscle relaxers to make her a bit more comfortable.  They had to watch her temperature so she didn’t spike a fever and monitor her sugar so it didn’t drop.  He also made the time in his busy schedule to have someone give Storm another bath, again trying to scrub the toxins off of her skin and out of her fur.  He even suggested that I call in the office at any time to check on Storm’s progress.

About 1:30 pm, Dr. Ben personally called me to give me an update.  Upon hearing, “Honestly, she’s getting worse.” I about died!  Trying to focus on Dr. Ben’s words, I held back my tears.  The plan of action was to keep Storm until right before they were to leave for the night at about 6:45 pm.  He would wait till the last minute to pull the IV and give her another dose of muscle relaxers to help her through till the next morning.

Dr. Ben reviewed how to take Storm’s temperature and what it should range.  He even prepared me for her appearance before he had her brought out.  Updating me on her progress during the day, he said Storm did spike a fever at one point but her sugar never dropped.  He wasn’t sure, but felt certain she might make a full recovery.  However, I was instructed to bring her in right away the next morning  if she looked the same.  Poor Storm, her entire body was shaking like she had Parkinson’s disease.

That night was a tough one, but as the hours went by, she slowly started to show signs of recovery.  Slowly might I add.  I was warned by Dr. Ben, who also called another doctor for a second opinion, and Jessica at Bayer all agreed that it would take anywhere from 24 hours to 48 hours to work its way out of my cat’s system.

An example of the cat’s reaction to the flea medication, which was totally heartbreaking to watch,  Storm’s leg involuntarily curled up under her and she fell over.  Then to hear her cry out in pain was nauseating.  There was a time Storm started to hiss and growl before a spasm hit.  She was in serious pain.

By daylight, Dr. Ben again personally called me to check on Storm and reassure me if I needed to bring her back in the office, just stop in.  Too bad his front desk girl didn’t have the same heart for this poor little kitty.

Throughout this process I kept petting Storm and massaging her muscles, which seemed to help.  Her body was still in spasms into Thursday, now two days later and twitching into Friday.

What a horrible ordeal.  I hope no one and no cat ever has to go through this.

Using my error as a learning lesson for Kyle, I told him the story when I picked him up last Friday.  I wanted to show Kyle that mistakes happen, but sometimes they are fatal and irreversible.  I’m not so sure that actually got across to my little immature man.  For some reason, probably sheer exhaustion, as I was telling Kyle the story, we both got the giggles.  Maybe I shouldn’t have demonstrated how Storm stiffened up in the car.  I didn’t mean for it to come out humorous, but there we were.  Poor Storm, laughing at her own expense.  Honestly, it was something I truly needed.  Kyle was concerned for our little kitty, but again, maturity runs lows in the Piper family and knowing Storm was fine, opened the doors for laughter.

Another funny, on Wednesday or Thursday, I received an email birthday card for Storm, marking her third birthday.  I nearly killed my cat on her birthday!

Another comical situation.  While Storm was making her recovery, I locked us in the bedroom, so she wouldn’t jump up on something, spasm and fall to the ground and get hurt.  Well, naturally she wanted out, even though the cramps were prominent and severe.  She was scratching at the door and meowing loudly under the crack to Seven, who was sniffing on the other side.  It was like she was calling out to him for help.  Just then, a stray cat from the neighborhood sat on the window seal outside and started to meow with a distressed sound.  Did Storm send out the bat signal to break her out of her temporary prison?

I’m glad I can breath a sigh of relief over what could have been a tragedy.

Thank you Jessica at Bayer and thank you Dr. Ben at Latrobe Animal Clinic.  Your support and guidance was very much appreciated!  I can not speak highly enough for both parties.  Storm thanks you too!

Here are a few clips I pulled of a healthy Storm.  She has this weird obsession with wool and any article of clothing containing the material.  I caught Storm trying to steal my sweater!

 

I heard a noise to find my cat pawing at the tub.  Why?  Who knows but she seemed to be enjoying herself.

 

 

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,News,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Pets and have No Comments

Planting the Trees of Memories

Aragorn: Gimli, lower your axe.
Legolas: They have feelings, my friend. The elves began it, waking up the trees, teaching them to speak.
Gimli: Talking trees. What do trees have to talk about, hmm… except the consistency of squirrel droppings?  ~Lord of the Rings J.R.R. Tolkien

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Kyle going through is basket, Easter morning…. Scooby helping. Keeping tradition with the books & kite! 4/20/14

Being sick now for weeks, I am finally on the road to recovery, even though these rainy windy days like today, make it hard to get out of bed, sick or not.  Recently, I was thinking back to what had happened over the last several weeks, while I was under the weather.  Actually, a lot went on.  Over the next few days, I will start to document the stories.

Sunday, April 20th was Easter!  A day I slept most of the daylight hours.  I did get to play Kyle at Quarto, a strategy game I purchased for him for Easter from a store in the Mall of America in Minnesota.  Naturally, Kyle won the first game.  I truly thought I had this game in the bag, but alas I was proven wrong again by a twelve year old.

On Saturday, however, it was a beautiful sunny day and I was feeling well enough to help dad in the yard.

The event of planting trees actually started way back in December over Christmas.  We purchased Chestnut trees for dad and had them mailed this spring.  Perfect Gift –  Chestnut Trees  Guess what?  They came in!  Boy was dad elated! He was looking forward to this day since he heard about his perfect gift.

What really makes these trees significant to plant around Easter, is that the orchard was always a big part of our Easter celebration.  Every year since Kyle was a wee one, we would fill multi-colored plastic eggs with money and candy and hide them around the orchard.  Yes mom and I would go out in the middle of the night after Kyle went to bed, usually late, and hide the eggs with the help of flashlights.  Then, it never failed, Kyle would wake up at 3:00 am, sometimes 4:00 am and want to go out and hunt Easter eggs left by the Easter bunny.  Even though the rest of the family remained in bed, I always got up with him, wrapped a blanket around me, slipped on my rubber boots, grabbed the flashlight and trotted out to the backyard.

Kyle always had a blast!  It was nice seeing the kid so excited in the morning, even though it was usually so dark it was hard to see him at all.  My job, was to count the findings to make sure no egg was left behind.  Although, it never failed, while mowing in the spring we would always find an egg or two.  I guess I didn’t do such a great job at counting.

This year that tradition didn’t take place, since Kyle is nearly thirteen, but it didn’t mean we couldn’t go outside and sit among our trees and freshly planted crops.

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Seven in front, Scooby behind him, Avery to the right, Gigi, & Aunt Nikki enjoying the shade while planting fruit trees. 4/19/14

That orchard holds a lot of memories, memories when Ryan was still with us.  Ryan helped to plant some of the original trees and he always mowed and weeded the area.  It was nice to have Kyle a part of that tradition and have his roots grow among the memories and stories of dad’s orchard.

When I say the family participated, I mean the entire family.  Nicole and Avery were home; the boys, Seven and Scooby; Storm and naturally the rest of us.  We all joined forces to plant the trees.  I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a pretty day, especially before Easter.

We dug up a couple of trees that had died over the years.  Dad was hoping each year would bring renewed life back into the brittle dead branches, but no such luck.  We pulled those out, believe it or not with the help of the pick-up truck.  Digging up the dirt around the roots to loosen the deceased cherry tree, dad wrapped a chain around the trunk and attached it to the truck, then gave it the gas.  With the help of Kyle and me loosening the dirt and pushing on the tree, the roots surfaced and we drug it to the burn pile, leaving a new hole for another life to flourish.

The day consisted of planting new trees, including finding a home for dad’s elephant ear tree and another chestnut tree.  There are about twenty fruit trees in dad’s orchard, ranging from paw paw to plum and peach and naturally apple.  He’s very proud of those trees and his blueberry bushes.

The weekend before Easter, I was in Minnesota for my good friend Davey’s wedding.  Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Seminary  That’s when Kyle helped dad plant the original two Chestnut trees purchased over Christmas.  They also planted a couple of mulberry bushes and a mystery tree that lost its tag.

During the day of playing in the dirt and hauling saplings back and forth, Dad kept saying to Kyle and the inadvertently the rest of us, “When I kick off, now you can go out and have a piece of fruit and think of me.  You’ll always have food with these trees.”

He’s right, it is nice having fruit trees in the back yard.  I enjoy them too, not only for the fruit but also for shade and the beauty of the trees, but more importantly for the memories of planting the trees with the family and watching them grow.  Perhaps that is the most valuable part of dad’s orchard.

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Kyle using the digging iron to open the hole where we pulled a dead fruit tree, to only replace it with another. Dad was supervising. 4/19/14

On a side note, during the day the neighbor boy Philip was out walking his dog Thor.  They stopped over to say hi and visit.  Avery was excited to see another dog, as was Seven.  Scooby on the other hand, had to be placed in dad’s truck for the duration of the visit, he’s not very nice.  We call him the enforcer or the grumpy old man.  While in the front seat of the truck, which he usually rides shotgun, no one would have thought Scooby, would do what he did.  He jumped out the window!  Yes!  He pulled an underdog and flew out the open window and charged Thor.  Dad broke up the little altercation without incident.

Personally, I stood in shock.  Our nonathletic, clunky and slow moving dog jumped out of a truck window, down on the side of a hill and was able to speed past us like the breeze.  Truly amazing!  I guess he meant business when he barked, ‘No one on our property’.

It was a great Easter weekend.  I continued the tradition mom started when we were kids by giving Kyle books in his Easter basket.  This year it was the rest of the Guardians of Ga’Hoole series by Kathryn Lasky.  Kyle started to read them and seemed to be enjoying the books, so I fueled his journey.  I love his love for reading!  Every chance I get, I reward him in books, and he’s excited about it!  Mom continued the tradition of receiving a kite, or two in Kyle’s case.

Can’t wait to enjoy the shade of our newly planted trees and pick the fruit they produce!  I was also told by Mr. Kyle that I would enjoy reading the Guardians of Ga’Hoole series and he wants me to read them too.  I guess I have a new series to start!

Happy Belated Easter!

posted by auntheather in Books, Movies, Shows,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Hiking & Outdoors,Milestone,News,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Pets,Reminiscing and have No Comments

It’s Called Hard Work for a Reason

It isn’t ever delicate to live.  ~Kay Ryan

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Kyle crashed… 6/9/12

Two weekends ago, well actually that entire week, I was working in my yard.  Yes, the very same yard work I should have done in the spring, or even the summer and yet here I am, trying to get it done before winter sets in and hunting season starts.  Luckily, we’ve had a pretty mild fall.  We’ve even been blessed with nice temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s and overcast with some sun.  Perfect for outside work.

I’m glad I got my work done because as of today,  the snow rolled in.  Only a few inches but still a pleasant sight.  I love snow!

You see spring always seems to sneak up on me and then I miss the boat with respect to tending to the lawn.  Then summer rolls around and I don’t handle the heat and the sun too well.  Literally!  Being outside in the sun makes me sick to my stomach.  I get really bad headaches and let’s not forget about my sun sensitive skin.  I have to be pretty well covered and protected from the harmful rays at all hours of the day, especially in the summer.  And those summer months, I am usually busy with Thrill of the Hunt events.  So there you have it, back to fall work in the yard.

What needed done?  The usual, mowing and weeding and trimming, which I have elected to do about once a month now-a-days.  I’m sure my neighbors love that sight.  Actually, they should be thankful, for I make their lawns look perfect!

Last Thursday night, early Friday morning we had one heck of a windstorm roll through.  It resulted in a tree branch taking down a power-line, right down the road from my parents.  Guess what?  I couldn’t work on my company stuff nor my freelancing work, since my “office” is in the corner of their kitchen with my desktop and my external drives.  Don’t worry, I always have something to do.  No free day for me!

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This was the beginning of my backyard steps… 2011

On a side note, I purposely set up my “office” in my parents house, as opposed to my house, to get me out, dressed and moving.  I want to make sure I never get lazy, especially with The Piper Corporation.  So I force myself to travel to my work station.  It’s perfect actually, I have a great view of my Uncle’s farm and a view of Saint Vincent College out looking through the picture window in the kitchen.  The best office space ever!  Plus my office companions aren’t too bad either, Scooby, Seven and Storm.

I recruited Kyle to assist me on Saturday at my house, since my parents were still without electricity.  I took this as a sign from God, telling me to get in the yard and finish it up.  After all I couldn’t work on the computer.

Starting my day as soon as the sun rises, around 6:00 am, Kyle and I went to work.  Yes it was not light duty chores.  It was hauling mulch and river rock, pulling weeds and walking up and down my back steps around my landscaping.  Truly hard work even for a professional landscaper.  So how did Kyle fare?

Well, at first it was a big argument.  He didn’t want to do the mulch and was seriously exaggerating his motions in such a way, I made him carry the river rocks while I took over the mulch job.  I knew I could get it done faster, making better progress than Kyle.  Then, I caught him trying to do the job half way, cutting corners that sort of thing.  I was livid!  There are few things I really truly can’t stand and detest, beside smoking, and that’s laziness.  I just can’t understand making that choice to wimp out, especially on something that is benefiting oneself such as my house.

Aunt-Heather-Piper-Backyard-Landscaping

My backyard while we were just getting started… before the steps. c. 2009

After about an hour of me loosing my patience, yelling and Kyle dropping his attitude and getting acclimated to the job of the day, he really began to work.  And I mean he worked!  That kid was on fire!  Really after, we got moving and he started to get into a rhythm and saw progress, he was such a hard little worker.  He was even proud of himself saying, “Wow Aunt Heather I think I’m getting stronger with each rock!  Soon I’ll be even better in the weight room!”  What a cutie!  I had to concur with his reasoning, because he was right.  The more work he did, the stronger he was getting.

You see, for the next few weeks Kyle is in the weight room at school for gym class.  They are teaching him how to lift and such.  He seems to really like it.  Kyle even asked me, “Hey Aunt Heather, how much can you do on the leg press?”  Truly not remembering I said, “Probably around 100 pounds or so.  Why how much can you do?”  With a victorious and ornery grin, Kyle responded proudly with “I can leg press 240 pounds!”  Wow!  Holy smokes buddy!  That’s great!  I really was proud of him.  He is a strong little compact bugger!  He said only one other kid did more than him and he did 260 pounds.  Still all very impressive.

With the weight room talk, it gave Kyle another incentive to keep on truck’in.  He was great!  All the way up until it started to rain on us.  I was almost done with the mulch, when I turned around to see my little man with his hoodie up, soaking wet carrying buckets of river rock and looking defeated.  We had to leave soon anyway.  Kyle was serving mass at 6:00 pm that night.  After seeing the look on his face, I said, “Go jump in the shower, we’re done for today.”  Shear joy fell over him.  Not to mention a sense of accomplishment.  Kyle did remark, “Wow Aunt Heather it’s actually looking nice.  We got a lot done!”  Yes we did buddy, especially with all his hard work.

Aunt-Heather-Piper-Backyard-Before

My backyard while in the progress of landscaping… ton of brush! c. 2009

As it turns out Kyle wasn’t done working, not by a long shot.  You see he had off of school on Monday for an in-service day.  So I took advantage of that fact and asked him to assist me again to try and finish the work once and for all.  Surprisingly, he was enthused to help me wrap up the yard.  That morning, we first helped my dad by stacking some wood before making our way to my dreaded lawn.

On another side note, sometime on Saturday I must have weeded out poison ivy and proceeded to scratch my face and my eye.  Yes my eye!  By Sunday, my face was all swollen, itchy and my eye looked like a big marshmallow.  Not believing in doing actual work on Sundays, I try to honor the Sabbath Day as much as possible, I took a few Benadryl pills and fell into a sleep coma.  By Monday, my eye was even worse and we had to make a pit stop at Med Express to get me on steroids again.  I really hate those things!

Yes, I worked like that with basically one eye since I could only see out of it with a sliver.  I figured, I would rather get in contact with the poison ivy again, now that I was on medication, rather than later when I was healed and had to go through this again.  Plus, I wanted to stay away from people with all my ugliness.  I even avoided the gym in the mornings.  But lucky for Kyle, I had no qualms about hanging around him.  I would even tease my little man by leaning in with my bulging eye and saying, “Go ahead and touch it.  Feel how squishy it is!”  He was grossed out and would squirm around me.  Eventually, we made a joke out of it saying “Don’t make me give you the stink eye.”  And then I would point my eye in his direction.  That cracked us both up! If you can’t laugh at yourself, then what’s the point in living.

While we were talking and working Kyle mentioned again about getting an apartment and buying land to build his house and huge fish tank on.  I said, “O buddy between me and your Aunt Nikki, we will probably have enough rental properties for you to live in so you don’t have to worry about it.”  Kyle took that as a sign that he will take my house.  It’s yours buddy, you earned it through sweat equity!

While wrapping up some of the work on Monday afternoon, Kyle started to comment about hard work and how hard our activity was.  Then, he started to get a bit sarcastic and threw out the attitude again.  He said, “This is suppose to be my day off from school and I’m not suppose to be doing work.”  Really?  Says who.  I retorted with, “What do you think most people do Kyle?  They work all week and do yard work in the evenings and weekends.  Welcome to reality.”  He had nothing to say on that note.

I get it, he was tired and not used to working that hard for that many days in a row.  I completely understood.  But I still won’t tolerate an attitude.

After that came the fury of Aunt Heather.  I asked Kyle to dump a couple of buckets of dirt up by my back fence in a mulch pile of leaves and branches.  Not wanting to walk up the hill, we both kind of laughed at the thought of making another trip there.  Finally, Kyle did what I asked and made the first trip, promising I’ll make the second.

Cow-Toilet-Found-on-a-Walk-Aunt-Heather-Piper

No this was not in my yard! Me & the boys saw this while on one of our walks… I LOVE IT!!

When I made my trip, to help him out and show he is not doing all the hard work, I noticed he dumped the dirt right in the yard, not even coming close to the pile!  Fiery anger shot out of me and resulted in a lecture on laziness.  I wanted him to understand that he has to train himself now, NOT to be lazy and to NOT take shortcuts, for it will always bite him in the butt in the long run, especially in a professional environment.  I went off explaining how I trusted him to do a job and I expected it to be done right and not to have to redo it.  Then, I went into a tangent about how he doesn’t want the reputation of being a lazy kid.  And so on and so forth.

When teaching a child to NOT be lazy, you’re actually teaching them more than hard work, you’re teaching a sense of worth and self-accomplishment, good foundation structures that I fully believe in to create a solid character.

Okay, granted I was tired too and it was a long few days, plus with all the poison ivy irritating my skin, I’m sure my nerves where just a little bit sensitive.  He felt horrible and kicked it up a notch until he was out of steam.  Seriously, I haven’t seen a kid his age work that hard in forever!  I was really proud of him, and maybe I was a little too hard on my man.  But I wanted to make a point, that it’s not just about my yard.  I am training his character, the man he will hopefully grow to be.  The one I hope him to be, minus any laziness.  And you know what?  I believe he will get there.  It was only at that moment, he was being a kid and a tired human.

Thanks buddy for all your hard work!  You earned every muscle you worked out and you earned both movies and popcorn.

This past weekend I took Kyle to see Thor 2: The Dark World and I believe the second movie of his choice is The Hunger Games – Catching Fire.  I even told him he earned popcorn, which he gave me a victorious smile.  I love paying this kid in movies.  It makes for a well deserved date night.

I never thought to get finished pictures of the yard, so once the snow disappears I will take pictures and do a comparison.

posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Pets,Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunts and have No Comments

Smallest Moments, Mean the Most

The true genius shudders at incompleteness – and usually prefers silence to saying something which is not everything it should be.  ~Edgar Allen Poe

Kyle-in-front-of-grape-barber-Aunt-Heather-Piper-9-2-13

Kyle taking a break from picking grapes… making grape jelly. 9/2/13

A part of loving a child, is really appreciating them for their humor, reasoning, intellect, innocence and for those unplanned, unexplained small moments that really bond adult and child.  At least that’s my opinion.  I mean there are many many more parts to loving a child like discipline, teaching respect, education and so on and so forth.  But if you don’t truly appreciate them for who they are, then there’s a part missing, because like I said, it’s a PART of loving a child.

I love all aspects, well maybe not the disciplining them, but it goes with the territory.  Recently, the small moments part really revealed itself to me through Kyle.  My last blog touched on it, Music Reinforces Our Tight Bond, but there’s been more!  I’m sure these small moments happen at a higher rate than I can see them.  Let’s face it with running around checking off my task list and getting caught up in the pace of the day, I’m sure I’ve missed more than I’m aware.  In my eyes, that’s fine as long as I catch and glimpse every now and again.

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Storm had a blast playing with us while we picked grapes! 9/2/13

Last Sunday Kyle was at my house, winding down for the day.  Lately, I’ve been struggling with Kyle regarding his reading.  He loves to read, but this summer he hasn’t found much interest to get lost in the books.  Now that school has started up, I thought he would get back to his routine and pick up where he left off.  Nope.  At least not just yet.

While sitting in the living-room Kyle got up and walked over to one of my bookshelves to examine the spines of the books.  Yes, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there’s nothing like the feel and the smell of an actual book, where you can turn the pages, makes notes in the margins, smudge up the pages with food and drink to later rediscover yours or someone’s past.  There’s nothing wrong with digital books, I think they are great for traveling and such, but I still have an affinity for the real deal.  The words on my pages and cover design will never change, unlike its digital sister.

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Storm getting ready to climb the grape harbor…Kyle was picking grapes to the left. 9/2/13

Anyway, Kyle started to read the titles and question me about them.  He saw the Mortal Instrument series and stopped and noted The City of Bones.  We just saw that movie and now his interest was peeked, asking me which books are good.  I love going through my past reads, introducing my old friends to my nephew.  Then, he stopped at The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy.  For some reason over the years those books keep catching his eye.  They are the old plain covers with a small symbol on each in muted solid colors.  Nothing flashy, yet intriguing to him.  Personally, I loved those books, immensely and I told Kyle so.  Of course, I had to sadly inform him they are more adult oriented and very violent, but really good reads.  He just nodded and continued perusing, until he came on an old book with a red cover entitle Works of Edgar Allen Poe.

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Kyle reaching to pick the grapes.. thinking grape jelly! 9/2/13

I’ve never seen another book with this cover, in fact I know it used to be a part of a larger collection of classic writers, but I have no idea what happened to the rest of the compilation.  Somehow Mr. Poe has been following me over the years, hanging out on my bookshelf.  It contains short stories, poems and essays.  I’ve read through the entire book several times, but I can’t say in the past decade.  During high school and college I would pull out stories and poems for a class project, but I haven’t sat and enjoyed his works in quite some time.

With a huge smile, I introduced Kyle to Edgar Allen Poe.  I said, “Here buddy let me read you a few poems.  Gigi used to read some of them to me when I was little and I loved them!”  I opened up the aged pages and the first poem I saw was The Raven.  Every time I think of that poem, the move The Crow starring Brandon Lee, the son of the famous Bruce Lee, comes to mind.  Recapping the movie to Kyle, I dove right into the poem, since he didn’t seem to have a clue what I was talking about, nor did he care.  When reading poetry, it’s so much fun to keep the rhythm and enunciate the words with gusto, to truly paint the picture.  I must say I am pretty good at it, at least enough to capture some of Kyle’s attention.

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Seven & Storm hanging out under the grape harbor. 9/2/13

After The Raven I moved onto mom’s favorite, Bells.  Kyle listened, but I could tell he wasn’t too into it.  He even said, “All I heard out of that was Bells.  Bells, bells, bells, the ringing of the bells.”  I laughed and said, “See!  You enjoyed it and even started to memorize it!”  I must say I was quite entertained and was loving the time, maybe not as much as Kyle, but I do believe he will remember it, just like I remember the first time I was introduced to Edgar Allen Poe.

I think I really lost him sometime around A Dream Within A Dream.  Asking Kyle if I could read him a short story, he quickly said “No!”.  I was really getting into this walk down memory lane and reading to Kyle once again.  So that was a major disappointment.  I’m not sure if it was the way I was projecting the poems, the idea of poetry or if the kind-of-creepy content threw Kyle over the edge.  Yes, Bells is rather upbeat and cheery, yet it has the creepy dead thing about the content.  Kyle hates suspense, thrillers or anything remotely scarey and disturbing.  I’m sure he picked up on it, especially from The Raven.  Note to self, maybe I should pick another classic to introduce to Kyle.  Regardless, I enjoyed our small moments of togetherness and having the opportunity to read to Kyle again.

Putting the book aside to turn on the stove, Kyle and I had a great time on Labor Day making grape jelly.  It was the day after we got back from our New York trip, What It Takes to Move a Tree Stand and What It Takes to Move a Tree Stand … Continued.  Before we left, dad mentioned the grapes were ready to pick.  So on Monday, Kyle had it in his head that he wanted to pick grapes.  Not really on my list of desirableness, but I thought what the heck, I was just sitting around anyway.

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Storm kept pouncing on our hands while we picked the grapes. 9/2/13

We actually had a great time.  It was nice and peaceful, except the two of us chit chatting occasionally.  Seven and Scooby came out to join us and run around, as did Storm.  She had a blast, running up and down the grape harbor, creeping among the leaves to pounce on our hands as we reached for grape bunches above our heads.  It turned out to be a nice time full of accomplishments.  We ended up with five or six brown grocery bags full of grapes.

Now what to do with them?  Initially, Kyle wanted to make grape juice, except we still had grape juice from years ago we never drank.  So we agreed upon grape jelly.  We only made a few batches and gave the rest of the grapes to my cousin Karen for her crew to use up.

It was a fun day in the kitchen, even though my mom would probably disagree.  I love knowing that Kyle is exposed to traditions, especially canning.  He was even getting creative by substituting the sugar for honey.   He was very proud of himself, as was I.  It turned out to be another unplanned time to bond, and for that I am very thankful and blessed.

You can’t plan these small moments, just realize when they are present and soak them up like the sun, for they’ll disappear before you know it, like grape jelly.

posted by auntheather in Books, Movies, Shows,Common Sense,Cooking with Kyle,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing and have No Comments

WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt & a Puppy In a Day

Learn what is to be taken seriously and laugh at the rest.  ~Hermann Hesse

WannaBe-80s-Scavenger-Hunt-Thrill-of-the-Hunt-Shadyside -Aunt Heather Piper

Me & Kyle at the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt Event in Shadyside. Great time! 8/17/13

This past Saturday proved to hold an exciting day!  My sister was on her way home with a new bundle of puppy.  The very same day, my company, Thrill of the Hunt, was holding another scavenger hunt event in Shadyside, in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, called the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt.  Not to mention a big day wouldn’t be complete without a little attitude and whining from Kyle.

Let’s start in the early afternoon with the arrival of Avery Piper.  This 20 pound cute playful puppy really turned the house inside out.  Scooby, being a grumpy old man was not too pleased to have the rambunctious visitor.  He was growling and nipping and just plain being a bully.  Pretty much everything we expected out of Scooby.  Seven on the other hand was curious and almost excited to have a new friend.  Maybe he remembered how hard it was to be the new doggie on the block.  Seven had to deal with Scooby solo and maybe Seven just wanted to be a mentor, a friend to Avery.

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Nicole hanging with Avery! Don’t let her cute looks fool you! She’s a stinker! 8/17/13

Then let’s discuss, Storm, my cat.  She is a year old and is not very friendly with other people, strange places and certainly not puppies.  She was clearly the one who was the most upset.  She sat up in her perch (This is a tree house type of structure I built for her.  It stands about six feet tall and is equipped with multilevel sitting areas and carpeting.  It’s a place for her to escape the dogs.) and puffed up till she resembled a soft fluffy ball of cat.  She was hissing, and growling, and spitting and swatting her razor sharp claws (I can attest to that!) at the completely ignorant puppy.  Did I mention, as far as we know, Avery has never seen a cat before?  So this was a real treat for her.  Her Avery, not her Storm.

Avery, a.k.a. Acorn (yes I already gave her another name to instigate my sister!) was just so happy to be hanging with all of us and truly didn’t understand the disdain of Storm and Scooby.  She was jumping on the furniture and wanting to play like it was a big party.  Even though I did soak up the playful energy projected from this short haired, pig tailed eared, clumsy, teething youngster, I was still concerned for the stress levels of my Storm.

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My perfect little Thrill of the Hunt assistant! He is a great businessman & he worked at the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt Event. 8/17/13

While all this was going on, Kyle and I needed to get ready for the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt in Shadyside.  It started at 3:30 pm, which means we needed to be there between 2:30 pm and 3:00 pm to set up, sell any last minute tickets and hand out brochures to continue to get our name out there.  Not to mention it takes at least an hour from Latrobe to get to Pittsburgh, depending on the traffic.

Kyle and I had the car packed and everything ready.  I am not a procrastinator, I figure why give myself added stress that I can control, when there is always something unforeseen or uncontrollable that inevitably pops up.  That’s enough excitement for me, so that’s why Kyle and I packed the car and ran through our checklist the night prior.  We also went through the same list one last time before heading out, to cross our T’s and dot our i’s.

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Pap & Avery taking a nap together! 8/17/13

God has really blessed us in our new adventure.  I mean it.  Recently, Thrill of the Hunt has been commissioned to develop and administer the Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt for Seton Hill University, the Pittsburgh Marathon is having Thrill of the Hunt build a scavenger hunt for the race expo, Exploring Inspiration Scavenger Hunt and for their 10k, 5k, Pet Walk in North Park this October, Witches Brew Scavenger Hunt.  Did I mention thus far, for all of our scavenger hunt events we’ve had perfect weather?  Yes!  I know the weather will never cooperate one hundred percent, but to start out and get acclimated to our scavenger hunt events, it certainly does help.

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I’m ready to get the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt on the way! We had a perfect day! 8/17/13

The WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt went off without a hitch!  It’s funny, Kyle was being such a kid during the day, wanted everyone to play his card game and wanted to sit on his iPod and play games and not practice his piano or read his Lord of the Rings The Two Towers book, yet when he was in the car with me and most certainly when we got to Shadyside to set up, Kyle changed his tune quickly, without being asked.  Kyle didn’t complain one bit, he went right to work helping to set up and he even started reaching out the pedestrians supplying them with brochures.  He was supporting Thrill of the Hunt in best possible manner.  When he met with people, he shook their hands confidently and truly was the perfect assistant!  I don’t know if Kyle likes the work, enjoys being part of the company or is just innately aware I would kick his butt if he misbehaved.  But he was a great business partner and the perfect assistant!

Kyle & Aunt Heather Piper TextingEither way, as like most times hanging with Kyle, we had a great time!  I try to be very approachable and friendly to potential clients when I’m representing Thrill of the Hunt.  I stand by my station ready to answer inquisitive looks and comments as those unknown to Thrill of the Hunt walk by.  Yes, I stand for the hours it takes to complete the scavenger hunts, unlike Kyle.  One of his weaknesses.  To keep his body from complete shock, I had him stand with me in little spurts before he would retreat to his bench to sit and relax.  I’m fine with that, for now!

Kyle cracked me up!  During the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt, the participants not only had to figure out the riddles, but they had online challenges to execute as well.  I also had to review the online activity to see if anyone was stumped or questioning a specific clue.  Yes, so while I was greeting “passerbyers”, I was also following the online activity.  During all this, Kyle was texting my sister to see the status of the mad house back home.  Then, to throw me off my concentration, Kyle began to send me funny text messages, like asking if my legs were tired and calling me a Bad Girl (inside joke within our family due to the labeling on the butt of my sisters underwear).  Kyle was cracking me up!

Side story.  The last time I was down at my sisters, we were commissioned to develop and administer to the Discover Scavenger Hunt for a five year old birthday party.  That Friday night, after I got in, I came around the corner to ask Nicole something, while she was in the kitchen and what did my eyes read?  Yep, Bad Girl written across her underwear as she stood at the sink.  Immediately, I lost it!  I could barely say, “Bad Girl” when Nicole instantly busted out laughing, while running to the bathroom.  She was laughing so hard she had to pee!  Now I couldn’t just let something like that only be shared between the two of us, so I told my family.  Mom, died laughing!  Even dad got a chuckle out of it.  But Kyle thought it was the funniest thing he’s ever heard.  Since then, everyone once in a while we just say, “Bad Girl!”.  It cracks us all up!  Especially Kyle, who loves being in on the inside joke.

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Me & Kyle promoting Thrill of the Hunt & getting ready for the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt in Shadyside, Pittsburgh Pa. 8/17/13

Well, the feedback from the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt participants were very positive.  I didn’t have a huge turnout, but enough to make the event fun.  It seems like I can’t give the tickets away for my scavenge hunt events lately, at least at present day.  Although I have a feeling, that comment will be just unbelievable and silly in the future.  Especially, when it catches on that these themed scavenger hunts are challenging, interactive and just plain fun!  Not to mention, my scavenger hunts also help to support and promote small communities and local merchants.  Win, win for everyone!

When we got back to the house, it was still standing and everyone learned to calm down a bit.  Kyle was back to being my fun little man again, especially after I was praising him for his help and behavior.  We celebrated with Primanti Brothers sandwiches and we rented The Burbs.  Perfect evening to a crazy day!

Please vote for Thrill of the Hunt!  We have a chance to win a commercial during the Superbowl!  We need all the votes!  Everyone can vote daily, so keep them coming!!

VOTE HERE!  Thrill of the Hunt

 

Check out the pictures / videos from the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt from our Gallery page, Facebook, Pinterest and Youtube!

Follow the Hunt!

                   

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments

Fishing Towards Independence

All there is to thinking is seeing something noticeable which makes you see something you weren’t noticing which makes you see something that isn’t even visible.  ~Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It

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Me fishing at Parker’s Dam. These were the only fish I caught… while dad & Kyle reeled in the big ones.  Yes it was very early in the morning!  5/18/13

Kyle amazes me, he really does.  Some days he is still the kid I’ve always known, maybe too much like a kid, and other days, he’s such an independent little man.  It’s really weird to say Kyle is independent.  He’s never really exhibited self-supporting behavior, ever.  Kyle has always been the type of the child that needed someone to join him in doing any activity, even watching TV and sometimes playing.   Sometimes he entertains himself, but he usually likes the social activity.  When he was really little, it was even difficult for him to walk back the hallway without someone by his side.  Nope, independent and Kyle have never been synonymous.  That is until recently.

Two weekends ago my family, including the dogs and my cat, went to Parker Dam for a short weekend get away.  My sister couldn’t make the camping and fishing weekend of fun, but there will be a next time.  Mom and dad got there really early Friday morning.  When I mean early, I mean early.  Mom said dad had her up at 3:00 am to leave early and get a head start on the day.  Not me, I had to pick Kyle up off the bus, before heading out and joining up with the parents, and Seven and Scooby.

Friday night was pretty uneventful, except for Storm.  She worked her way out of her harness, twice, and made a break for the woods.  The night went perfect when she came back unscathed.  In fact, she ran around all weekend, going in and out of the woods along side our campsite.  I was afraid of a coyote or owl or some other wild beast getting their claws in her fluffy middle, but to keep her caged up would be inhumane.  She loves being in the woods, much like myself.  Sometimes it’s hard to let go without hovering or controlling, but it’s a part of life.

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Scooby hanging out in Parker’s Dam. Ever since the tumor was removed from his chin, he looks 10 years younger! He got a facelift. 5/18/13

And so my story begins, at 4:00 am on Saturday morning.  The time dad felt was the appropriate hour to get everyone up to go fishing.  Yes, it was still pitch black and for some reason he wanted us to have our hooks baited before we drove down the road, maybe a half a mile to our fishing site.  All the while we were getting ready, Storm got out of the camper and was running around, jumping and leaping for joy.  She was like Houdini.

As we started fishing and getting our bearing straight, basically rubbing the sleepers out of our eyes and realizing we are dealing with little hooks attached to our four pound fishing line, something changed.  As I looked around, the sun rose over the misty still water, and as I was standing in the crisp morning air, life seemed peaceful.  It felt as if God Himself was squeezing my shoulder as if to say, ‘Things will be fine, all is in My hands.’  And you know what?  They were, they are and they will always be.  Even more than that, something was changing, was different.

Once dad began pulling a few fish from the undisturbed water, I looked around to see what was so unusual.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.  Everything seemed normal, and then the fog lifted and I saw it as plain as an early morning.  Kyle was fishing alone.  It was an interesting observation, a unique sight, a bittersweet moment.  Don’t get me wrong, I was happy he went off on his own, yet felt a ting of pain for such a shift in the normal.

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Kyle & dad fishing at Parker’s Dam. They both are fishing machines! 5/18/13

At Parker Dam where we fished, there are two different lakes if you will.  They are actually one connected by a tunnel under the road that separates them.  The same fish move between the two areas.  All along, dad who is really the only real fishermen between us, commented periodically to move around if we weren’t catching anything.  As he’s always done.  At first dad always tells us what bait to use and where to stand, only because he wants us to be as successful as possible.  Nothing makes dad happier than to have us out fish, or out hunt him.  However, dad is always open to our judgement calls, sometimes.  This time I was in a little bit of shock.  Kyle was sitting on the bank, of the opposite lake to me and dad, all by himself.  I never even noticed the change, even though I should have because up until that point, Kyle was talking nonstop and that sudden silence should have tipped me off of the break in the ordinary.  He was quiet.  Just sitting there fishing, I think enjoying the moment.  At least for that moment.

As I watched Kyle fish with his back toward me, all that popped in my head was the movie A River Runs Through It, when the Brad Pitt character, Paul went off fly fishing on his own for the first time to find his own rhythm.  And then I thought, ‘Boy he’s growing up!’  I must say, I am honored to be there for Kyle’s next step in life.  After all, I was honored having the 0pportunity of being there when he first rolled over, first pulled himself up, first learned to walk, his first words.  Heck I even took him to get his first hair cut, and now his first big movement towards independence.  Yes bittersweet!  It’s funny, at that moment I also realized the dad in the movie, out fished his sons, just like dad always does with us.

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Kyle just had to bring his new Lego’s camping & fishing in Parker Dam. I guess you can never take the Lego out of the boy. 5/18/13

Me, dad and Kyle had a great morning fishing.  However, after a few fish under his belt, Kyle decided he wanted to head back to camp.  What?  By himself?  Yes, he started walking toward our camp solo.  Dad and I both looked at each other as he crested the top of the hill, past the water, out of our site.  In fact, we were both taking bets if he would change his mind and just turn around to come back, or if he was going to complete his journey.  Keep in mind, there were boxes of Lego’s awaiting him.  So I’m sure that was his driving force.  Apparently, he made it to the rangers office, which was about the halfway point.  He said he couldn’t remember his way back so he call my mom to come and pick him up.  That surprises me because Kyle has a great sense of direction, much like my parents and not like me and Nicole.  But he did, and mom came and life was all good while dad and I continued fishing.

After we were done, we drove to a more remote part of the water running into a creek to clean the fish.  Dad and I scaled and gutted the catch of the day.  It was another moment that I couldn’t help think, this is what dad used to do with Ryan all the time.  I was even using Ryan’s knife.  It was a great day, and for most people, it was just about to start.

Now to lighten the mood, funny story.  When we got back mom was extremely eager to share a story with us.  She was already laughing so hard, she could barely tell it.  Intrigued, I gave her center stage and my fullest attention.  Apparently, when we left at the crack of dawn, mom and the boys went back to bed.  Go figure. (sarcasm)  Mom said all of a sudden her sleeping bag was pulled off of her and she felt the camper shake and lean to one side.  For the record we have a little pop up type of camper with the fold out sides.  She said the camper all of a sudden leaned to one side, she heard a thud and it bounced back.  Thinking it was us, coming back early and screwing with her, she popped her head up and looked around.  Then she noticed Scooby was no longer beside her.  She got up to find Scooby at the door, and as she opened it he ran and jumped in the opposite bed.  She figured that he was so sound asleep, he somehow rolled out of the side of the camper.  The area where the fabric is only pulled down over the foldout bed.  I’m guessing the slippery sleeping bag helped his escape.  He seemed fine, but he could have seriously injured himself.  But don’t let that stop us from laugh historically.  We are still cracking up over that story!

We had a great weekend of fishing, sitting by the campfire, walking the dogs, bike riding and hiking through the woods.  On one of our adventures via bicycle, Kyle and I were riding through the camp site to get down to a dirt road we found the day prior.  Kyle rode up beside me and started singing Jingle Bells!  I actually almost ran my bike off the side of the road from both, laughter and from shock at his choice in music.  Actually from any choice in music, since he doesn’t like exercise.  He was really enjoying himself!  That kid cracks me up!  One minute he’s showing his independence and the next he is still the small little man sitting in the backseat of my car, in his car seat singing Jingle Bells.  He never ceases to amaze me.

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Mom & dad hanging by the fire playing with the boys. Seven (black Lab) & Scooby (Blond Lab) Parker’s Dam 5/18/13

Then, he turns around and completely surprises me again!  Saturday night, we took turns watching the dogs and walking down to the showers.  Roughing it I know!  But when there’s a shower available, we’re all about it, especially after baiting hooks with maggots, wax worms, fish eggs and such.  As I staying at the campsite with the Seven, Scooby and Storm, through the black of the late evening, Kyle walked back.  Alone?  Solo?  Without fear?  Being in a little bit of shock, I said, “Kyle?”  just to confirm that it was indeed Kyle I was looking at.  He confirmed my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me and then my next question, “What’s wrong?  Where’s Gigi and Pappy?”  He said they were still at the showers and he wanted to head back.  What?  Kyle walk in the dark by himself?  Granted it wasn’t that far away, maybe 200 feet if that.  Again, that kid never ceases to surprise me!

Then to make me question if this was indeed my nephew and not an alien taking over his body, Kyle said, “Go ahead Aunt Heather, go shower, I’ll watch the dogs.”  What?  Is this Kyle?  Kyle Piper?  He was volunteering to sit in the dark, by himself (with the dogs and cat), with spotty cell phone service and wait for us to return?  Where did my little man go?

A little confused I made sure he was alright with the scenario and I headed to the showers, where I ran into mom.  A little confused, as was I a few minutes earlier, she asked me where Kyle was, and who was watching the dogs?  I explained the story.  Mom basically just said, “Ok?”  She hurried herself along with dad, as to not leave him alone for too long.  Of course, if anyone would mess with Kyle, Scooby would probably tear the perpetrators face off, but no need to take unnecessary chances.

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My cousin Heather cutting Kyle’s hair for the first time, while I hold him. He was afraid of haircuts for a long time! 2002

The next morning we got a little late start leaving around 5:30 am.  We are such slackers! (sarcasm)  We fished a little again in the perfect morning peace that we experienced the day before.  Not staying too long, since the fish really weren’t biting, we started to head back to camp.  Dad did stop along the creek to try his hand at the water hole just below us off of the bridge.  Once dad almost snagged himself another fish, Kyle was all about getting out his pole again.  Please keep in mind all I caught the entire weekend were a few, two and three inch blue gills.  The four inch sunfish was my prize. (sarcasm)   Kyle did manage to feed us a few trout along with dad’s catch for dinner on Saturday night.  Also no contribution from me, which humored Kyle to no end.

After casting our lines a few unsuccessful times, we headed back for breakfast.  Dad had some pretzels in the truck, which we were both nibbling on like starving fish ready to be snagged by a hook.  Just then Kyle turned to dad and said, “Your eating after you baited your hook?  That’s disgusting!”  I died!  That was such a sincere statement and too funny!  Dad just looked down at his fingers, then licked them and put his had back in the bag for more.  Yep, typical dad.  He is a true woodsman, never getting grossed out by anything and never getting sick by such acts.  Of course I was doing the same thing, and it didn’t bother me either.

Kyle is growing up before our eyes.  It’s always been happening, but sometimes there are moments that really stand out.  That weekend had many of them.  I wish my sister was there, even though she always is, even through spotty cell coverage and through stories and pictures and videos.

Apparently we are going back again, this time with the entire family.  I sincerely can’t wait!  Maybe I’ll catch a fish worthy of eating.

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Cooking with Kyle,Education & Learning,Family,Hiking & Outdoors,Hunting & Fishing,LEGO's,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments

Life’s Not Fair

I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.  ~Mother Teresa

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Life’s Not Fair… sometimes you get a bloody lip from your walking stick. Kyle & Nick were acting like Jedi Masters…my little Yoda 2013

“That’s not fair!” has been exclaimed from Kyle’s mouth time and time again.  In fact, I heard it proclaimed this past weekend at the fishing derby Gone Fishing!.  “Why is everyone else getting fish?  That’s not fair!  Why am I the only one?”  and on and on.  It’s fishing, no one ever in the history of the world said that every fisherman was suppose to catch the same amount of fish, let alone at the same time, all being the same size.  It’s called life!

I know, I’m guilty of muttering those words too, for various reasons, mostly from my youth.  Being an adult, I really don’t care to keep tallies and to track fairness.  I realized long ago, everyone has their cross to bear and what may seem unfair, is ultimately in the hands of the Almighty One.

Is life suppose to be fair?  It was never promised, by anyone at any time, not even in the bible.  Yes, it’s true it talks about being fair and just to others but that is instructed of us, the ones with free will who sometimes stray from what’s right.  Even with dictatorship rulings and socialist countries, everything is seriously not fair.  There are always going to be those born into wealth or have status and opportunities that others don’t.  Some are more intelligent and have great ideas etc.

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Dodge Ball, sometimes you win… sometimes you loose… sometimes you get smacked in the face. Kyle did twice! Planinsek Fishing Derby 5/11/13

Two Friday’s ago Kyle lost his molar.  Yep, poor kid will be going into the seventh grade and is still loosing baby teeth.  Maturity is not a strong trait in the Piper family.  Anyway, we went to see Iron Man 3, which was great!  He always has to get popcorn, except this missing tooth threw a monkey wrench in his behavior.  He said, “O man, now I can’t have popcorn with the movie!  Not with my sore gum.  That’s not fair.”  My parents said, “Just eat to one side.”  He wouldn’t hear of it.  That’s not the way you are suppose to eat, and he would not do it.

On a side note, Kyle is a bit of a weakling, putting it mildly, when it comes to any sort of physical pain.  No matter how minor.

As we drove to the movie theater, he commented again on how that wasn’t fair.  Really?  With all the poverty, starvation and lack of proper nutrition in the world and him not eating popcorn for a movie on opening night is not fair?  Someone needs to reevaluate his position.  Better yet, let good old Aunt Heather put it in perspective.  Keep in mind, this whole conversation was based on the fact he couldn’t eat popcorn!  He could very well eat the snack, he just needed to adjust his chewing.  That too ticked me off.  Before the whining could begin, and before I seriously lost my temper, I go into one of my rants of how children are starving and don’t have the opportunity to go to the movies, especially on opening night.  Kyle quickly dropped it, only because he didn’t want to listen to my ‘Everyone has it worse’ dissertation.  I stopped because I didn’t want to hear his ‘Poor me’ arguments.

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Kyle at the Friday night showing of Iron Man 3, we are big fans! 5/3/13

That got me thinking, life just isn’t fair.  And I’m grateful for that!  God made each and everyone of us unique in our way.  Every person has strengths and weaknesses, which means there will never be complete “fairness”.  He made us that way on purpose so we rely on each other to exist, to socialize, to be his children, his family.

Let’s discuss physical traits that can and cannot be helped.  Some people are short, some are tall, fat, skinny, fair skinned, dark skinned, and the list goes on and on.  Some may say, that’s not fair she has prettier eyes or a better smile than I have.  Those, ‘That’s not fair’ comments is what makes us all unique and different.  It brings variety to life.

Since the physical traits are all different, doesn’t the same principal go for all other aspects of life?  Example time.   Does everyone need to have the same amount of money as their neighbor?  I don’t think so.  I love the fact that I always worked, and worked hard for what I have, never accepting hand outs.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve received assistance in one form or another, but isn’t that what life’s about?  Helping our neighbor when they’ve earned it or in time of need?  I also don’t believe a ‘time of need’ is every minute of every day.  Sometimes you have to stand on your own two feet and pave your own path.  After all, how can you feel a sense of accomplishment, a sense of purpose, a sense of giving, when you are always taking?

Since everyone is different, and to the best of my knowledge that is a very true statement, wouldn’t each person treat all situations differently?  Maybe some people need to be driven or they can never accomplish anything or learn.  You always respect and appreciate the rags to riches story.  The person who came from nothing and made a better life for themselves.  Maybe that person needed to be put in a poor scenario to establish drive and motivation.  If that was taken away because of even distribution of wealth, then how would that life have ended?  Also wouldn’t the starting out in humble beginnings allows one to appreciate the flip side of life?  It may or may not instill a humility, but the option is now there,  as well as all the other lessons of life.

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Sometimes you get the toy you want… sometimes you give your turn up to another kid with only 1 prize. Way to go Kyle! Planinsek Fishing Derby 5/11/13

That’s what drives and motivates me, knowing I can reach a goal and be rewarded for it.  When I see a challenge I want to tackle it, taking it on ten fold.  If I have a goal to reach, I will work myself silly trying to reach it.  However, if I was just handed “things” and never felt the sense of pride or contribution, then I would not respect the handout as much, if at all.  I would never want to strive for what I think is better.  Worse, if what I worked for was taken from me, not by my choice, and given to someone else.  How would my actions change?

Sometimes lessons of life do not create a fairytale ending.  Sometimes they are just horrible and tragic.  But doesn’t that give us the opportunity to turn such darkness into light?  It’s not fair my brother died so young and sudden, for no apparent reason except God said it was his time.  It’s not fair that my nephew will never know his dad or grow up without a father.  Our family has made the most out of the cards we were dealt.  We never walk around saying, “It’s not fair.”  Never!  Instead, we’ve all stepped up our game, as with other friends and family.  I’ve been blessed to witness and be apart of such acts of kindness and sincerity over the years from others.  Sometimes it was just a pat on the back or words of encouragement and sometimes it came in the form of action and activity.  Even a simple invite or inclusion into an activity makes a world of difference.  I’m blessed in my life, and no it’s not fair but I’m fine with that.

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I made Kyle pose in the Monster’s Inc. display before we saw Iron Man 3. I was cracking up! 5/3/13

This is a bit silly and simplistic, but I think it’s just the story to put my thoughts into plain English, common sense.  My cat, Storm believes she is one of the dogs, our Labradors.  She want’s to do everything they do, including taking hikes through the woods.  Alas, this would not be safe for her if she ever wondered off while we were hiking, or worse, adventured off on her own at night.  She meows at the door and angrily flips her tail to show her disdain for the situation.  It’s just not fair.  Nope, it’s not but it’s the way it is.  Storm is allowed to do things the dogs can’t, like being on the furniture and she gets to take more car rides than the dogs and so on and so forth.  The dogs get to take hikes but get more attention than the cat.  I understand I am making a rather feeble attempt at an Aesop’s Fable (I have no idea if there is one similar to this story) but certainly worth the calories burnt to ponder the simple thought.

Instead of focusing on “Life’s not fair”, shouldn’t we be exclaiming the obvious question?  ‘What can I do to help my fellow brother or sister?’

My CCD teacher told us this story and I always come back to it.  Forgive me for butchering it, but the lesson is the same.  He was in a very poverty stricken area, I can’t remember where, maybe South America doing missionary work.  He told us of this small child who was bouncing a ball.  Just playing with this rubber ball up a dirt road, which overlooked a very steep bank filled with garbage, sewage and rats.  As the child was self entertained, the ball happened to hit a rock sideways and was projected out of control.  Yep, you guessed it, the fun bouncing ball made a direct course of action for the filth down in the ravine.  Lost forever!  Did the child whine or cry?  Nope!  The young person, wearing only rags, continued on their route toward their straw hut with a dirt floor.  That was the only toy the child had, and now there was no more.

Aunt-Heather-Piper-Holly-Great-Race-2012

Sometimes you win the race & sometimes you take it slow and enjoy the sights & conversations! Me & Holly at the Great Race 2012

My teacher was actually on the way to visit the family, helping with the child’s sick sibling.  That’s how he knew the living conditions.  What my teacher witnessed made an impact on me.  I can’t even imagine the thoughts that would have erupted, if I witnessed this story first hand.  Is it fair that some live in extreme poverty?  Nope but that’s why we are called to reach out with what resources we have, to make a difference.

Mother Teresa is a perfect example of that.  She wanted to make a difference.  She never said, “It’s not fair” that no one is helping me with the sick, or no one is giving me money.  Nope, she took the resources she had and made a difference.  Is it fair that she had such a strong relationship with God and I’m not that tight with him?  If I want that, then I need to work for it.  God gave us plenty of opportunities to establish and build that relationship.  Each one of us have a different purpose in life and are called for specific reasons.

So really, maybe ‘Life isn’t fair’ should be tied directly to respect?  If we truly respect one another and respected all the things we have, then we wouldn’t be saying ‘Life isn’t fair’.  We would be more willing to lend a helping hand or give generously.

If a friend bought me something, more often then not I would take extra special care of it.  However, if I was given the same gift without a face or a reason behind the charity, then it would loose some of its value and not be treated with equal importance.  Charity and giving is all about the intent.  Not the notoriety and certainly not for selfish reasons.

It’s our job to help our brothers and sisters far and wide.  To help, from one person to another.  That’s what really makes the impact.  Not being forced to give my money in the form of taxes or some other undercover way, even if it is to assist those in need.  Yes, helping others is the end game, but the road traveled to get there is equally as important.  Giving, should be benefiting both parties involved, those that gave and those that received.  Naturally, the rewards are very different, yet equally as important.

So I guess, when I see that something “is not fair”, that really means, there’s an opportunity there to make a difference.

posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Hiking & Outdoors,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments

Laughing About Nothing … Cats!

There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.  ~Albert Schwitzer

Nicole-with-Draco-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Nicole pocketing Draco

A few weeks ago, while taking Kyle to his piano lessons I realized there must be something about us together in a car, alone, with our imaginations that makes these stories.  Our minds go out of control.  I mean sometimes really silly out of control.  This time the topic was cats.  What got us on the subject of cats?  I have no idea, probably Kyle asking how Storm was doing.  Regardless, the stage was set and we were armed with humor, wit, and imagination.  At this point, no one can tell where the conversation was going to turn, especially us, but we always know it’s going somewhere.

We started talking about Storm and the next thing you know Storm was visiting my sister’s cat Toshi (I call him Lester) in the Washington DC Metro Area.  Keep in mind this is a completely fictitious story that we started to make up.  Why?  No clue, just to simply humor ourselves I guess.  As the story started to take shape,  I said imagine that conversation, “Storm would say meow, like a kitten and Lester would respond back with a loud ear piercing MEOW!”  We both started laughing.

You see, Lester has this really loud and annoying meow that doesn’t end.  I can understand the cat meowing when I’m visiting Nicole, being in his domain and all, but he does it while I’m on the phone with my sister.  Let’s not forget when I’m talking to Nicole on Skype and I swear I hear the cat when I email and text message my sister.  One time when I was staying at Nicole’s, the cat sat outside my closed door to the spare bedroom and meowed all night.  Lester just sat in the hallway and projected his really loud and drawn out meow towards me.  I’ve had cats all my life and I’ve never experienced anything like Lester before.  Finally, I told Nicole to take the cat in her bedroom, which she did only to find out it didn’t help.  The cat kept meowing just as loud, if not louder from Nicole’s room.  It sounded like Lester was meowing directly into an intercom, which hung over my head.  Again, I can understand this, because I was occupying his space, but he does it all the time!  Whether you’re in the living-room, bathroom or kitchen, there is no escaping Lester’s alarm system.  Due to this annoying and slightly entertaining behavior, he has been the subject of many conversations in our household, over the years.  Can’t imagine why? (sarcasm)

Lester-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Lester sitting in the ceramic bowl I made Nicole for fruit… guess Lester didn’t get the memo

There’s such a difference between Lester and Storm.  Mine meows only when she wants something.  Lester, lives to meow.  I swear that cat has meow “CATivated” paws, he meows with every step.  Either that or he has meow turrets.   (No disrespect to those suffering with turrets.)

I know what you’re thinking, it’s me.  Nope, Lester acts like that for everyone, not just me.  Mom, dad and espeicaiily Kyle has lived through the Lester siren.  Nicole said, during this past “Aunt Nikki and Kyle’s week of fun” Lester walked on top of Kyle while he slept and kept meowing.  I told Kyle he was probably saying “What is this large lump in my bed?”  To this day we still laugh over that one.

When I first got Storm, Kyle said we should take her down to meet Lester.  My sister chimed in saying, “He would think his time was up, he was being replaced.”  Well, this current conversation started with those words in mind and created another, little darker scenario.

Back to me and Kyle in the car.  I said, “Ya Kyle, the conversation between Lester and Storm would go something like this…

Storm: meow, meow (Hi my name is Storm, I’m the traveling kitty)

Lester: MEOW, MEEEOOOWW, MEEEOOOOWWW (I’m done, I’m being replaced!)

Storm: meow, meow (Where’s your litterbox?)

Lester: MMMMEEEOOW, MMEEOOWW (My time is up, this is just the beginning they have a replacement!)

Storm: meow, meow, meow (Do you have any kitty treats?)

Lester: MMMMEEEEOOOOOWWW, MMMMMMEEEEOOOOWWWW, (I’m going to starve to death!)”

Needless to say, we were cracking up.  Sometime in the middle of this conversation, it took a downward spiral.  Kyle said, “Remember what Aunt Nikki said, if we brought Storm down to her house, Toshi would just die?”  I busted out laughing.  My sister did say that!  I took it one step further and said, “Ya then Storm would have to do CPR on Lester.  She would have to rub her paws together to create a spark, then say ‘Meow’ which means clear and shock the cat back to life.”  We were dying!  I said, “All Storm would need to do it lay her paws on Lester’s chest and bring out her claws.”  Kyle following the story said, “Ya then Toshi would scream back to life MMMEEEEOOOOWWW.”

Ok, pretty stupid story but just picturing Storm leaning over Lester and administering CPR was too much for us to pass up.

Then two weekends ago when Nicole was home, dad asked her how her cat was doing.  He said, “Nik how’s your cat, is it dead yet?”  Nicole said, “No, he’s good but the other day when I came home, he scared me.  He wasn’t there to greet me at the door, like he always does.  I thought I was going to have to look around for a dead cat.”  Kyle and I lost it!  We are still rehashing that conversation.

Sometimes it’s animals that make life fun and exciting, even if they are stemmed from our imaginations.  Thanks Lester for the laughs!

*In the making of this blog, no cat was harmed.
**Since Lester has been ill, Nicole told me to be sensitive to his feelings and not call him Lester.

 Read more on our stupid humor

Laughing About Nothing
Laughing About Nothing … True Story

posted by auntheather in Education & Learning,Family,Observation & Imagination,Pets,Reminiscing and have No Comments

Raccoon or Cat?

I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.  ~Edgar Allan Poe

Rascals- Raccoon &-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Me & Rascals. My raccoon loved the kazoo! c.1993

It has been about four months since I brought home a little kitten called Storm.  In that time, her actions have flashed me back to my former self.  I think I’ve mentioned that I’ve always had cats.  My pappy used to call me old cat women.  So the true nature of a cat is not foreign to me, but some of the things Storm does reminds me of another pet I had, Rascals.

Rascals was our raccoon.  Yes I said raccoon!  She was amazing!  Is it legal to have a raccoon as a pet?  No, but it’s not like we went out in the woods and stole a baby raccoon from its mother.  My dad was a woodsman for most of his life.  He was the guy who cut down timber and hauled the logs back to the sawmill or wherever they needed to go.  Throughout his life he’s run into his share of animals, wild and domestic.  Yep, dad would come across cats that were starving in the woods because their owners would abandon them, so he would bring them home to give them a fighting chance at life.  Dad did the same with abandoned or injured wild animals, one happened to be a raccoon.

This bundle of helplessness came as a package of three newborn raccoons to be exact.  Unbeknownst to dad, he took down a tree with the babies, who were so little, their eyes weren’t even open yet.  Dad would never let these little babies lay there to die.  I mean who could?  They would have never had a fighting chance.  Ever!  They were just babies!

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Rascals loved Nilla Wafers c. 1993

I’ll never forget, this happened the day of my junior prom.  When I got home that night, well actually the next morning, there they were three little tiny critters, who needed to be bottle fed.  Unfortunately, two of the them died shortly after arriving at the Piper household.  They were also the two runts of the bunch.  Dad said they could have had internal injuries that we didn’t know about, or they could have already been sick.  Regardless, we did our best and with that, Rascals survived!

Trying to be responsible, we called the vet and asked if we could bring her in to get her shots, specifically rabies shots.  They told us, we are suppose to release Rascals back in the wild, even after we informed the vet of her age.  They informed us that she was not a domestic animal.  Really?  We had no idea! (sarcasm) Again, who would release a helpless baby and set her on the course for sure death?  Not my family. Especially after we bottle fed the animal to health.  Still denied!

Anyway, Rascals grew up fast and bad, she was a little stinker.  Little known fact to some, but raccoons are very intelligent creatures.  Almost too smart for their own good.  Just to share a few examples, if Rascals was out  in the garage, she would stand on a pile of boxes by the door leading into the kitchen.  She knew how to turn the door knob and push it open to let herself in, believe it or not!  I’ve seen it first hand.  Eventually, when she got to be too big for the house, mom actually had to lock the door to keep her out.  I felt so bad, I would sometimes unlock the door and let her find her way back in.

Rascals-raccoon on-Gun-Cabinet-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Rascals favorite place to hang out was onto of dad’s gun cabinet.

In our bathroom at my parents house, we have a tub with a shower as well as a shower stall shielded with a plastic curtain.  We would leave the door slightly ajar when taking a shower so Rascals could “sneak” in to play with the water running down the drain.  Can you imagine showering and all of a sudden you see these little feet peeking out from under the shower curtain trying to catch the water going down the drain?  It was too funny!  The first time she did it, I nearly shot out of the shower with surprise.  Considering I had my eyes closed, washing my hair and then feeling something grabbing at my feet!  It was kinda freaky.  But eventually it became a game and I looked forward to Rascals playing in the water while I showered.

Ok those are true raccoon traits, almost human like intelligence and logic, and the love of water.  Neither of which are Storm.  However, if I was talking about obsession with my hair and hair ties, that describes both of them to a tee.  Sometimes Storm likes to lay across the back of my neck while I’m standing or sitting.  She did it when we were at the vet, I stood and she was anchored between my neck and the wall.  She also did that when we were driving, between my neck and the seat.  Very Rascals like!

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The litter of raccoons, only one made it…Rascals c. 1993

Rascals loved being up by my neck, usually to play with my hair.  When I was in high school my hair length would vary from a little past my shoulders to boy cut short.  When we first got Rascals my hair was down to my shoulders.  Then at one point, I got my brown locks cut up to my ear lobes.  Needless to say she was upset.  Rascals would sit on my shoulder grabbing the empty space that used to contain my hair, and she would snort.  Apparently showing her feelings toward my new do, showing me that she didn’t like this change.  Storm doesn’t seem to care if my hair is up or down, but there were a few times already, I would wake up with Storm in my hair!  Yes, she would nestle her face and front paws among all of my curls on the pillow, either to sleep or I to play among my knots.  Believe it or not, it’s kind of relaxing.

Let’s not even discuss hair ties and such.  In high school I could never find my hair things.  They would always go missing, even while I was wearing them.  Sometimes as I sat on the couch, Rascals would creep up on the back of the furniture to play in my hair.  But then she would slowly move her paws up to the top of my head where my headband was resting.  She was quick, because before I could even read her mind, she grabbed the hair accessory off my head and was running away with it.  I would find my hair things in the 10lb bag of dog food, under the couches and in corners tucked away.  Recently, this same occurrence was happening again.  The other day, I saw something peeking out from under my bed.  When I got down on all fours to better examine the space, I found a big pile of hair ties!  Mystery solved.  My raccoon has been reincarnated into my cat.  I couldn’t believe my eyes!

Rascals-Raccoon Sleeping-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Rascals needed a nap. Spring 1993

The similarities don’t just stop there.  With both of those fur balls, my closet doors have to remain shut.  When Storm hears me getting ready in the morning, she will ambush me and run at mock speeds to get into my closet.  I don’t know if she thinks its a secret play land for her, but I don’t want her using my cloths, which are resting on hangers, to be her rock climbing wall.  Rascals used to do the same thing, except I would also lock her out of my room.  She would get into everything, even destroying my red lipstick.  I will admit, after I got over being mad at the pulverized new red lipstick, I did laugh at the raccoon wearing it all over her face.  It’s silly to say that I have to lock these creatures out of certain areas.  But I did with Rascals and I do with Storm.

Did I mention that Storm is a stripped kitten?  As she gets older patches of red/pink are showing up between the stripes, but her tail is dark and patterned with lines.  When she puffs up her tail, let me tell you, I feel like I’m staring at Rascals.  Even their fur is the same, course yet soft.

As the similarities unfold between Rascals and Storm, I’m sure I’ll be reporting on them.  It’s funny, I’ve known others who’ve had raccoons as pets.  Yep, I’m not the only one.  All the stories are very similar, the love of dog food and Nilla wafers,  the intelligence, the orneriness, as well as the realization of how amazingly smart raccoons are and how much fun they had with the creatures as pets.  Anyone who had the privilege of raising such a little critter loved their time with their raccoon, at least until they got older.  Although, that’s a separate blog post.  I’m not saying everyone should run out and get a raccoon.  Absolutely not!   And no one should ever approach a wild animal, but to have had the opportunity to really appreciate such a living thing was a blessing.  Rascals was an experience, one I would never have traded for anything, she is apart of me and who I am.  I love it that Storm brings back those memories.

 

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Hiking & Outdoors,Hunting & Fishing,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Pets,Reminiscing and have No Comments

Bad Decision – Storm’s Locked In

Sometimes I make bad decisions.  ~Heather Piper

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Storm ready to leap off of my books 2012

Last Wednesday, after a day at Idlewild Park with Kyle, (Round Up the Math at Idlewild Park) we headed back to my parents house to visit before calling it a night.  I will admit I was beat, not getting much sleep the night before, being up at the crack of dawn, and spending the entire day at Idlewild Park.  Mark this one in the calendars, Kyle wore me down!  Before we left mom and dad’s I started to fall asleep in the chair.  Kyle was gracious enough to wake me up and get me moving. (sarcasm)

As I gathered my things up, I headed out to the car with Storm.  Kyle gave me the “Ya I’m going, I’m going.” all while he was watching a cartoon on TV.  Me being tired and impatient, I waited in the car for a few minutes before deciding to extract Kyle from the house.  With a little irritation, I left Storm in the car to go back inside and find out what was taking Kyle so long, even thought I new it wasn’t a mystery.  During the entire time it took me to get my stuff together, wrangle up a cat and head out to the car and wait on him, Kyle still didn’t even get his guitar in the case!  He was glued to the TV.  I said, “Come on Kyle, it’s getting late.” as I turned off the TV to show my sense of urgency and irritation.  Just then, he jumped up and gathered his things and headed out with me.  As I proceeded to board the car, I was surprised to find it locked.  Locked?  Yep Locked!  At first I was sincerely confused, ‘Did I lock the door?’ Where are my keys?’ and the thoughts circulated until I came to the realization that this was BAD.  Instantly feeling sick, I found myself staring at Storm on the other side of the window with the car keys in the ignition.  I never thought about Storm hitting the lock button on the door and trapping herself inside! What the heck?

Poor Storm didn’t understand what had happened.  She was pawing at the window toward me and meowing.  She wanted out!  I wanted in!  O crap, really?  Not to mention, just before we left I didn’t realize she we up under the recliner and when I went to stand up, she got caught.  Yikes!

Storm-Sleeping-Aunt-Heather-Piper

My sleepy kitten 2012

Ok, I’ll admit my first reaction was to yell at Kyle.  Now on my defense, I said, “Kyle!  This is what happens when you’re slow and everyone is waiting on you.”  Only because Kyle is notorious for being slow moving and he takes FOREVER to get his crap together when we’re leaving.  On HIS defense, I know he doesn’t like to leave us and it’s his way of delaying.  I did comment, “I’m not saying it was your fault for the car being locked, but this wouldn’t have happened if you moved your feet!”  Again, not nice words especially since he didn’t do it, and in fact it was my fault for leaving the cat in the car with the keys.  But regardless, I’m human, and at that point, a tired grumpy one.

Evidently, while I was outside trying to think of a reasonable solution without freaking out, Kyle went inside to get my mom.  Later, mom told me that Kyle was saying, “It’s all my fault Gigi, It’s all my fault!” as he cried and whimpered.  At that moment I might not have noticed the obviously upset child, but now when I hear the story, it does break my heart.  He felt so bad!  It really wasn’t his fault at all.  It was an unforeseen accident.

Being desperate, I even tried to coax Storm to step on the button on the door.  I knew it was a long shot but I had to try something.  Even Kyle tried it too.  We checked all the doors and window because sometimes I am known to leave a window or two open.  In fact, while we were at Idlewild that day, I came back to the car with my back window down.  My car was an open book all day, but not now, now it was like Fort Knox.

Mom came out and said, “Let me take you to your house, don’t you have a spare car key?”  Just then, Kyle and I looked at each other because that morning when we were on our way to Idlewild, I happen to notice my spare house key in my consult.  I told mom, “When I came back from Seattle, my neighbor gave me back my spare key when I was heading out of the driveway.  I just dropped it in the console.”  All while I turned my head to stare at the sealed up car containing a stressed out cat scratching to get out.

So let’s get this straight,  I have my cat locked in the car, in my parents driveway, with the car keys in the ignition, with the house keys on that key ring, the extra set of house keys in the console, and I didn’t know where my extra car keys were located.  Really?  Not to mention it’s going on 9:30 in the evening, nearing my bedtime.

Mom tried to lighten the situation, more for Kyle’s sake.  She said, “You know Kyle, you did the same thing to us in pappy’s truck when you were a baby at the Piper Reunion.”  Mom gave him a very warming and understanding smile.  She said, “O it happens to everyone, even your Aunt Heather has locked her keys in the car.”  followed by Kyle saying with a quivering voice, “Ya Gigi, but at least a person locked in a car would understand to unlock the door.”  O my poor little man!  That really melted my heart!  I could tell he was not only upset because I was, but because Storm was a little on edge and he was nervous for her.

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Storm hanging out on some good reading material 2012

Mom, still trying to lighten the mood said, “Well, let’s think about this.  At least it’s not really hot, the sun is down, so we have a little bit of time to figure this out.”At one point I said, “Ok, what are my choices?  Either I break the car window to get in or I break into my house.”  Mom interjected by saying, “Well I can call a locksmith.”  I stopped her by saying, “But I have no idea how long it will take him to get out here and who knows how long to get in the car.  Plus it might be cheaper to pay for a broken window”  At that point, I thought if only I could get in my house, I might have the spare key to the car in my key display.  Mom again suggested for me to get in the car and she would drive me to my house.  However, I didn’t want Storm left alone.  I said, “It’s a waste of time for you to drive me to my house.  I would rather someone stay her entertaining Storm.  Give me the keys mom, I’ll be right back.”  Reluctantly mom handed over her car keys, to a very frazzled upset driver.  At that point, she knew I was going to go mock speeds to get to my house.  And I knew she knew that, because she said, “Please be careful.” with a serious look projected toward me,  as I grabbed the keys and threw myself in her car saying, “Ya Ya”.  Then I heard a “Do you have your phone?” as I nodded before backing out of the driveway.

Admittingly, I did floor it.  I don’t think mom’s car has ever exceeded the speed limit.  As long as I’m focused, I feel fine driving, which means no talking.  Perfect, since I was by myself!  Now things would have been different if Kyle was with me.  Even being upset and stressed out, I would have been more careful.  But he wasn’t with me so I was free to ride.

As I pulled in my driveway, I remembered I had another spare key at a local friend’s.  Excellent!  Once I retrieved that piece of the puzzle, I entered the house.  I immediately went to my key display, courtesy of my friend Lisa Zettelmayer who purchased it for me as a house warming gift, and started rummaging.  At that moment, I felt like light rays of sunlight were shining on me with music singing Halleluiah, like I just found the Holy Grail.  Now some stress was exiting stage right.  I almost grabbed my extra Honda key but then realized I needed my Nissan key.  Found it!  Great! Now let’s end this nightmare.

All along, God must have been on my side, because I never had to sit at a red light the entire trip, no wasn’t really any traffic, and all seemed to be turning for the better.  While I was on my way back to mom and dad’s, I wanted to call and let them know I had the key.  But alas being distracted would not have been a safe move, so I chose to wait for a red light, which never really came.

Storm-sleeping-at-Comptuer-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Typical cat, sleeping on the job. Storm 2012

As I pulled in the driveway, no one was out there!  Kyle immediately ran out  when he saw the headlights.  I jumped out of mom’s car saying, “Why aren’t you keeping Storm company?”  Looking sick and clearly upset, he replied, “Aunt Heather, Gigi told me to come in.  I wasn’t trying to be mean.  I tried to get her to stand on the unlock button.”  Ok another set of poorly chosen words.  Poor kid!

Now after all this stress and worrying, the funny part of the story.  I get the key and hit the unlock button and nothing happened.  Kyle and I just stood there stunned.  Then I remembered, I switched keys because the battery died on that key.  Kyle and I both stood there looking puzzled like ‘Now what?’.  I could tell his heart just sank when our only solution didn’t work.  The funny thing was, I didn’t think to use the key like it was designed to be used.  We live too much in an electronic remote control age.  What really struck me as humerus, I don’t think Kyle has ever seen someone use a key to unlock a car door.  Too funny!  He is certainly a child of the times.  After my moment of idiocy passed, I used the key to free the wild cat.

I don’t know who was happier, Storm or Kyle.  Or maybe Seven, when he saw I came back.  NOW, we were ready to head out.  During our car ride it was my chance to make sure Kyle was aware it was not his fault and I wasn’t mad at him.  I did say, “Well, I guess God wanted this to be a learning lesson.”  He said, “Ya Aunt Heather, it could have been worse.  It could have been in the middle of the day when it was really hot.  Or the car could have been running.  That would have been bad!”  I must say, he was right!  That all would have certainly been worse.  Ok, I learned my lesson.  Note to self, never leave the keys in the car with the cat inside.

Another funny part of the story. Kyle informed me that at one point Storm turned on the lights.  Still trying to lighten the mood, I said, “Was she planning on going for a spin?”  Kyle snickered, more out of relief than humor.  But he did manage to throw a smile my way.  I told him I don’t like him stressing so bad, especially over things out of his control.  I commented that moving forward, instead of worrying, I want him to say a prayer, or many prayers.  He needs to realize that ultimately God has control and he can change the situation in a heartbeat.  Have faith in Him.

Later on when I talked to mom about the situation, she said that Kyle was pacing back-and-forth while I was gone.  I guess he even asked my mom, “Gigi what kinds of toys do cats really like to play with?  What’s Storm’s favorite toy?”  Mom asked him why and he said that and apparently he was going to use it to distract Storm and try and get her to stand on the unlock button.

Mom: “Well she likes her fishing pole.”
Kyle: “I don’t know where that is.”
Mom: “What about her mouse.”
Kyle: “Ok”

Mom said Kyle would take Seven outside with him since he is scared of the dark, would pace around and then come back in.  She said, he was also waiting by the phone, waiting for me to call.  And I did manage to get the phone to ring once, but then the light changed before I even came to a stop, so I hung up.  I guess Kyle was right there and answered the phone.  Kyle walked around the house with his head hung low the entire time I was gone.

I am blessed to have such a caring and heartfelt little man!  I love Kyle with everything I have and then some.  He is a special kid.  I wish he wouldn’t carry the weight of the world on his shoulders, he’s eleven and he’s always been like that.  If that was me in his shoes, I would have been upset, but I don’t really internalize stress, not like he does. Dad was mad at me, blaming me for making him worried, however  I informed the old man that it was a learning lesson for all of us.  God spoke loudly and clearly!  Point taken.

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Pets and have No Comments
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