Monday, April 28, 2008

Silent Auction

I went to a silent auction on Friday night. I was outbid at the last minute on a Pampered Chef stoneware bar pan. Rats! Duped again.

I have a whole cabinet full of pans for bars, but I sure wanted that one.

When my daughter Katie was in elementary school, my wife and I were working the food line at the annual school carnival, serving up pizza and hot dogs and corny dogs and nachos. We weren't able to get away to the silent auction, so Katie took my wife's secret number and went to check it out.

Katie's concept of a silent auction was that you bid what you thought each item was worth, and the closest bidder wins the item. She was curious that everyone else was not also bidding on each item.

My wife got a call the next Monday with the good news that she had won 14 of the items in the silent auction. And, the school secretary said, "You really gave me a run for my money on that big Mary Kay basket!"

After lengthy discussion and negotiations, my wife was able to talk her into only paying for the 6 items for which there were no other bidders -- and let the second place bidders claim the other 8 items.

Our 6 prizes included a very large stuffed goose, a wire basket with a big square of bird seed suet, lunches with 3 different unpopular teachers, and one item so awful we can't even remember what it was. Please make your check payable to Kimberlin PTA for $49.

Katie (now in college) and her boyfriend Joe were at the silent auction with us on Friday night. It was also an art show, and my wife was there selling her original artisan southwestern turquoise jewelry. Katie said, "Why did you bid on that Pampered Chef pan? Shaina's mother sells that stuff and will probably give you one. Hey, what's your secret number, anyway?"

I'll just stop there and let you figure out the rest of the story.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Wild Morning

Big storms last night in Garland, but they were over and out of the area by 4:15 when I left for my run this morning. Everything was washed clean. A few large tree limbs down.

Sometimes a black plastic trash bag looks like a skunk when you're out running, and sometimes a skunk looks like a black plastic trash bag, the former always being better than the latter.

This morning, I experienced the latter. Luckily, the skunk didn't spray, but I surprised him, and he surprised me. He jumped about 2 feet in the air, and I jumped about 4 feet in the air.

Hootie the owl in the top of the tree off in the distance must have seen it all and thought it was pretty funny (a hoot) because he immediately started hooting. And, he hooted until I was up and over the hill.

I don't know if wild animals have some kind of special communication or not, but when I got home, a raccoon was crossing the street in front of the house. He stopped and looked at me, and I was close enough to see a kind of smirk on his face, like he was thinking, "you goofball."

It was a wild morning for a run.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I'm Jamie Lee

Do you remember this scene in the movie Halloween? Jamie Lee Curtis had been to the house across the street and seen the horrific carnage, and was stumbling back across the street to the house in which she was babysitting. Michael Myers was following her, zombie like. She got to the house and couldn't get the front door open, and here he came.

I was Jamie Lee this morning.

I had finished my run and was finishing up my "newspaper ministry", putting several neighbors' newspapers up on their front porch. I was at the house directly across the street from mine and was headed back home when 3 mean-looking dogs ran through the yard between our and my neighbor's house.

They turned and headed down the street away from me, so I thought, "OK. Just walk slowly to the front door, and everything will be fine." I eased my keyring out of my pocket, and it jangled. Drat it all!

They turned and looked my way, and then started running towards me. Bah!

I rushed to the front door, pepper spray in one hand, key in the other. For the life of me, I couldn't get that key in the door, couldn't concentrate enough on the lock to stick in the key! They were barking now as they got closer. Gaaa!!!

I finally got the key in the lock, opened the door, and pulled the glass door shut right as they got to the door. Noseprints all over the glass door.

I really prefer that my morning runs be a lot less exciting.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


I was in Chicago this week. I don't have a traveling job, so it was unusual for me to be there. I don't mind traveling if I can drive, even if it's a long drive. But, I really don't like the whole airport thing. Though I've often considered it, Chicago is really too far to drive from north Texas.

I don't know what it is about business trips that entice me to eat a pint of Ben & Jerry's every night in front of the TV.

Thursday evening wasn't a particularly good one. I fell asleep watching a show about Alaskan king crab fishermen. What a terribly dangerous, and awful, and exciting job that is. I could envision myself doing that job. Working with some real men. Trying to be one of them.

I forgot to call home.

At 4:15 (I looked at my clock) on Friday morning, the girls next door came flip-flopping down the hall (it was warm this week in Chicago) to end their evening. I couldn't go back to sleep, and I was crab fishing again.

At 4:30 my bed started to shimmy a little. Hmm... Must be a big truck. Then, my bed started to shimmy quite a bit, like I was sleeping in a bowl of Jello. Hmm... This wasn't good. At one point, I thought I should probably get my clothes on and get off the 21st floor. But, I just got up instead and had a cup of that awful hotel room by-the-cup coffee.

Never heard a peep out of the girls next door again.

They said it was the first earthquake in the area in 24 years, not just the normal swaying of tall buildings. I'm just lucky that way, I guess.

1-stories in Garland, Texas are great. No earthquakes, and no sway.

It's interesting to learn, after I've gotten back from a trip, what little things I do that irritate my wife, but that she lets me slide on.

My smelly running shoes were in the garage. Big Yank, my 20-year-old heavy hooded sweatshirt jacket and friend wasn't hanging over the utility room door but was back in my closet. All my CDs, books and other junk I pile up on the kitchen cabinet were put up.

I'm happy to report that this morning everything is back in its rightful place, including me.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


We're out front weeding the flower beds, fixin' to plant some begonias. It's a glorious day in Garland.

Case, the sweet little 3-year-old next door neighbor boy, and one of our babies, is helping. Case said, "Kelly, you know what?"


"We don't say bad words."

"That's right. We shouldn't say bad words."

"Kelly, you know what?"


"I don't like soap."

"You don't? Why not?"

"It tastes bad."

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Perhaps it's sleep deprivation, or maybe the aging process. But, I'm not that old (47). My memory is slipping. Does anyone remember Tom Hanks as "Mr. Short-Term Memory" on Saturday Night Live? That's me.

Grocery lists are only any good if you take them with you to the store. I make some great lists -- I just seldom take them with me.

Some days I get to work and can't remember if I brushed my teeth or put on deodorant. Sometimes I get to the back of the house and wonder why I'm back there.

At dinner I'll say, "Uh, excuse me. We need to say the blessing?" "We already said the blessing," they reply.

We went to Ash Wednesday Mass and received our ashes. My wife and I were in the bathroom getting ready for bed, and I was brushing my teeth. I looked up in the mirror and said, "Good grief. I've got something all over my forehead!"

I think I'm going to start sleeping in more often.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Our kids had scored virtually perfect scores on several standardized tests, so we were at the elementary school for the gifted program in Garland getting them registered.

One of the counselors asked my wife and I if we were members of Mensa. I said, "No, we have Blue Cross," and wondered what in the world that had to do with anything.

They knew one thing right away -- these two exceptional children had not been home schooled.


We're expecting thunderstorms tonight.

I enjoy a thunderstorm now that I’m an adult and thunderstorms mean much-needed rain and nitrogen for the grass.

As a child, I was terrified of thunderstorms, and often slept on the floor at the foot of my parents’ bed. Until one night my father got up and almost stepped in the middle of me and from then on I was banished from their room during thunderstorms.

I started spending thunderstormy nights in my older brother’s room. My brother wasn’t afraid of anything, and also kept an old blanket pinned up over his window during thunderstorms.