Sunday, August 27, 2006

Rain man

What do you do when a tornado siren goes off? You run outside with an umbrella to see the show. Actually, we did head to the basement first until things seemed safe. We had just said goodbyes the friends and family who had come for Sunday supper. (23 of us altogether.) We had no clue that the weather was turning serious until Robert's sister, Sandy, returned moments later, followed by another sister, Susan. Sandy, hearing the news on her car radio, decided not to take a chance driving home; Susan had just forgotten her purse. So we had a little crowd in the basement, though no one would sit tight. Susan took a cigarette break. Beau wanted to watch the skies. My mom went upstairs to get her dog. While you're up would you bring me a cup of coffee, please?

I suspect we all doubted a tornado would touch down in our neighborhood since nothing that exciting ever happens here. I had the craziest fleeting wish for one to selectively rip away the sagging railroad-tie retaining wall around our swimming pool: It's an eyesore screaming out to be repaired. Instead we got a leak over the family room from the torrential rainstorm that followed.

Susan's son, Joe turned 18 today, so we celebrated with chocolate cake. Then the girls cleared the table to begin working on addressing invitations to his upcoming Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony. That's right, Eagle Scout. We all think that's quite an achievement and are proud of him, especially with the hardships he has endured. Susan relayed a recent scene where another Scout mother offended her with the catty comment that 18 is a little late to be receiving that rank. "Well, I guess he was a little occupied with his dad's recent death and my recovering from a brain aneurysm," she shot back. Yikes. Susan-- always good with a quick come-back.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Homeland Security

Robert and I have been looking at trading our suburban house for a condo in mid-town. Like a lot of modern folks we're re-thinking our lifestyle and wanting mobility, low maintenance, and no yard work. Every other high rise is being converted to condos lately. But if we're to live in a big tall box at least let's have a great view, says Robert. And that means a higher floor. I prefer nothing higher than three floors so in emergency it's possible to jump for it. We've found a unit (occupied for years by an elderly woman) we can maybe afford since it has not been remodeled and still has blue carpet (in her bedroom). It's on the 18th floor. Robert goes window to window examining the views, while I follow checking the stability of the aging window latches. "A person could fall out if this was open," I mutter uneasily. I'm imagining escape routes and ropes, calculating how many bed sheets it would take to descend 18 stories. This particular unit has two entrances and I praise this not for convenience, but for something else entirely--in case some bad guy comes in the one door I can run out the other since there's no jumping out the window and scampering away.

With friends we toured another building which had incredible views from the 19th floor, but it was the unit on the second floor that had the favor of the women that day. Lindsey and I echoed each other's observation that the entrance overlooked the lobby--good in case you need to yell for help in case a bad guy gets in. We amused the guys with our silly attention to homeland security. Guys don't pre-think escape-and-run strategies. A baseball bat by the bed is the extent of Robert's personal security plan.

But like many of my observations about male behavior, I am wrong. Men do have strategy other than "take-it-on-when-it-happens." I got a little glimpse of it today from Robert while pricing cabinetry for Beau's sales office. At Home Depot he tells the salesperson he wants the service counter to be extra high. "Why?" I ask. And I learn it is better to have a high counter to make it harder for some bad guy to jump over and fight you. I smile a crooked smile and feel vindicated.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Gotta get moving

I realize I am probably disappointing my readers who want to hear about life in Loreto Bay, but life in Kansas City is where we are right now though not for long. Soon we will leave the midwestern flatlands for Colorado. Our revised plan is to live in the Rocky Mountains for the autumn months leading to Christmas holiday when we plan to return to Loreto Bay for the winter. We share a condo with friends in Summit County and we've managed to snag it for the next several months (except for Thanksgiving break when we will fly home for the week.) Allison will attend public school; Robert and I will once again look for things to explore, which should be easy.

I love the mountains. Robert loves the ocean. This is the year we both get to indulge ourselves. I want to hike and fish and take lots of photographs. I will edit a video project for a good friend who has put together a genealogy study of her Irish-immigrant family. Later, when it snows I want to cross-country ski and take Allison ice-skating and sledding. The local school she'll attend has nearly 50% Hispanic students whose parents are most probably workers in the service industry that supports the ski resorts. We could send her to a more prosperous school, one with higher test scores and a lesser free-lunch tally, but some interesting research persuades me to withhold a blanket judgement that this school is inferior. Half the kids there are learning English as a second language. They may have parents who (hopefully are legal immigrants) are not proficient in English. Therefore, reading and writing may be a challenge to many of these students. Doesn't mean they are bad or dumb, simply means they have a challenge.

I researched the district schools as much as I was able to online and interestingly I came across the minutes from a year's worth of district meetings that altered my misgivings about this "lesser" school. The discussion was about high-risk behavior among district students. It was the consensus that the problem behavior was occurring in the middle class white student population, none in the Hispanic. The reasoning? "...the Hispanic students are generally involved after-school with babysitting or other means of providing for the family." That touched me and reminded me of the fondness I felt toward the Mexican children we met at Colegio Calafia. Good kids. Unspoiled kids. Kids I wouldn't be reluctant to let my daughter hang around with. Of course, I have to check it out first. I will be leaving with Allison in the next few days. Robert will come soon after he finishes some work here.

I need to get going because every day that I'm here I fall deeper into old patterns and desires. I'm watching a lot of television and my lust for consumer goods is reawakening. I'm looking at real estate and dreaming of condo remodels on the Plaza. Time to go.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Bring out the big toys

Forget my idea to hire a tree trimming service; Beau had a cheaper solution--plow the trees over with the bulldozer. "Now, you're thinking," says his dad.

Not the neatest results, but the scrubby trees are no longer obscuring the view to the warehouse.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


The consultations continue. Robert and Beau discuss plans for the outside of the warehouse. Robert suggests Beau take a chain saw to the scrubby trees in the field adjacent to the highway to open a better view to his business.

But there's an enormous amount of poison ivy lurking out there. Beau's been battling against it all summer with repeated trips to the doctor for shots, medicine, and ointments.Maybe we should call a tree cutting service, I say.
That's a good idea, they both say.

It happens sometimes, I say.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sharing the Vision

Robert examines Beau's progress on the warehouse exterior and offers his ideas--which of course are expansive.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Excuse me, Allah.

It's two a.m. in the morning and I can not sleep after marathon news watching. British intelligence foils a terrorist plot to blow up planes flying from the U.K. to the U.S. Now innocent travelers live in fear and mothers are requested by airport security to sip their baby's formula before boarding to prove it contains no explosive agents.

I am so angry at the situation in the Middle East; so alarmed by the idea that people there want us dead. How do you deal with people who believe Allah is on their side to annihilate "the infidels?" How do you negotiate for peace? My response is to want to wipe them away, destroy them before they destroy us. Maybe it's my American sense of entitlement that demands I should live in hard-earned peace and prosperity. Who are these terrorists who want to kill us?

It's surreal to me to be juggling these thoughts in my head while simultaneously living days filled with light-hearted behavior. I take my nieces ice-skating, order pizza, walk the dog, visit with friends, buy hats. Who wants to take that happiness from me? Something in me defiantly says, Just try to mess with me. Bring it."

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Girl stuff

Lunch with Kim and Diane. They both look great. We had a lot of catching up to do. As usual, we met at the boutique Kim works at and walked across the street to a favorite cafe. And, as usual, after lunch, Kim lured me back into the boutique to try things on. This time, she had some serious help from Allison who has quite the opinion on what suits me best. "This will look good with your skin tone," she says, and I'm speechless.

I bought her a hat and colored "one size fits all" tights. "They'll fit me, Mom--I'm one size!" I came out empty-handed I think because I have lost my desire to dress pretty. I'm letting myself go, I tell my friends. Living near the ocean in a warm climate will do that to you. Who's to impress? I believe that's the point of escaping to Mexico--you want to hang all that up. But, I am home now, and should probably get with the program and get my sorry self in for maintenance: pedicure, manicure, facial, haircut, highlights, teeth whitener, waxing, new shoes, clothes, earrings, eyeglasses, sole supports, botox, collagen, dermabrasion, a facelift, or whatever else is necessary and recommended at my age.

Or I could what men do when they need a boost--buy a new car. Probably no more expensive.

Friday, August 04, 2006

My girlfriend's back...

Allison's girlfriends discovered she's back in town. These two sisters were staying overnight at their grandparents house two doors from us. They saw we were home and came running. Michelle stopped by later with her toddler granddaughter and we had a impromptu girl party. My sons rolled their eyes and left the house to us.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Gimme shelter

Who changes like a changeful season
holds fast and lets go without reason
Who is there that can give adhesion

We left one blasted hot place only to return to another equally oppressive one. This afternoon, my mother flew home to Arizona for the weekend where it's cooler. Ha! Me, I feel stuck in limbo; home but not home. I'm tucked back in my familiar shell where I'm practically hiding should somebody notice me and drag me back into this old familiar seabed. I'd thought I'd escaped. Why am I so reluctant to get back into the swim?

Loreto Bay already seems like a distant memory, yet a life is waiting there for me to pick back up. I think about our little casa sitting fully furnished and appointed, waiting like some time capsule to be reopened. I'll hasten back when I'm able... to snuggle back in. It was a nice fit, I remember.