Monthly Archives: June 2020

Grandma’s rules

IMG_1835I have always considered myself a rather strict grandmother. I believe children thrive the best when they have rules of conduct. Above all, they should never tell lies…like the whopper their grandmother is telling right now.

Okay, so my grandmothering techniques are a little “lax”, should we say. I still have my own sense of order when the grandchildren are here. Like the prime rule: whatever the grandchildren want is what they get.

I was excited to have the children here for a week to visit, but it was an unusual visit, since their mother and aunt were coming with them. Arthur, the younger boy, was openly aghast at this arrangement. Explaining his chagrin to his mother may have given her some warning of what was in store, “But Mom, if you are there too, it will take away our fun!”

Stefanie, the mother in question, related the conversation to me, with a question in her eyes, but what could I tell her–I had no idea what he might have meant by that. She implied that perhaps the children and I were in cahoots against her, but that is just silly…isn’t it?

How things were going to be different this visit was clear from the first morning. Royce, the older boy, fixed his morning bowl of Fruity Pebbles (apparently they aren’t allowed this sugar..I mean, cereal at home) and was headed to the living room to watch some more Wild Kratts on television. Stefanie stopped him on the way past her at the dining room table.

“Where are you going,” she said with a severe look (okay, it looked severe to me). “We have a rule about not eating in the living room.”

Royce’s mouth dropped open as he stared at her, “Grandma doesn’t have rules.”

“THAT rule, that’s what you mean, right darling? You didn’t mean Grandma doesn’t have any rules, you meant she doesn’t have THAT particular rule,” and by this time in my mad rush to stop the leak in the dam, Mother, Aunt and grandson are all looking at Grandma like she is nuts. “Just remember, that the rule is you must eat on the rug in front of the television.”

With a small push, I sent Royce to the living room to sit on the rug that had never been designated as the eating spot before and I tried to smile nonchalantly at my suspicious daughters.

The week did not improve as the boys sought out their favorite activities at Grandma’s house, and I tried to convince my daughters that there were indeed rules to the game. For instance, the boys were allowed to play in the mud, but they were not to THROW mud at each other…of course not. We had never had a mud fight before, right boys? Also, when it came to tree climbing–they must stay on the low branches. Grandma had always forbidden them to crawl up further than that, because, of course, that would be dangerous and no fun, right boys?

Snacks were another issue. The boys thought they could avail themselves of the cheese crackers, toaster strudels, juice packs, etc., without any restraints. I set their mother straight on that early on, though, when I told her that their snacks were strictly regulated. I had distinctly told Arthur he could not have any more toaster strudels and I did not fix him the last two…his grandfather did! Certainly, the boys were required to eat a fair and nutritious meal when one was fixed, so neither I nor the boys could explain to her how those empty snack pudding packs had appeared in the garbage and why they weren’t hungry for the delicious dinner that had been prepared.

Okay, so my daughters may have discovered that things are a little loose around Grandma’s house when the grandsons are there, but the boys and I have come up with an ingenious plan for future visits: Mom will stay home and so will Aunt Tracie, because she might rat us out, too! Who loves you, boys??? Grandma does, and that’s the only rule around here!





Leave a comment

Filed under Humorous Column

Regarding the millers in Miller

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s been the invasion of the moths this last month. All at once, I went to the back door and found it covered in moths, all of them trying to gain entry to the house. This is a yearly occurrence but the yield of moths varies. This year, we have a bumper crop.

For those of you who are unaware, when I refer to millers, it is moths I’m talking about, not some hapless family named Miller. As a child, that is what we called them, but the wider world knows these dusty-winged little annoyances as moths.

It doesn’t really matter what you call them, millers or moths, everyone can agree that they are about as annoying as it comes. They fly everywhere, cover window and door screens looking for ways to get in and when they are in, they blindly blunder into the most inconvenient places at the worse possible times.

I  have heard from different people this year that they are finding moths, in abundance, everywhere. They are behind curtains, flying out of bookshelves and even following campers as they try to relax and get away. It is impossible to escape them.

My grandsons called them “gray butterflies” when they were small, but these nasty winged monsters do not resemble butterflies in any way outside of their ability for flight.  They love the lights, thus the phrase, “moth drawn to a flame,” but they have even worse obsessions.

I went to the garage the other morning and found a swarming army of them crawling over the window in the garage, blocking out the light and resembling something straight out of the outer circle of hell. Okay, I don’t really know what the outer circle of hell looks like, but I’m almost certain that if I were unlucky enough to be there, there would be moths crawling all over the windows.

For at least a week every year, the advent of the moths causes us to turn our house into a killing field. We chase them around with flyswatters, slamming them ruthlessly against lamps, windows, chairs and tables. By the end of any given evening our floors are littered with little gray bodies and we are stomping around like Godzilla in the streets of Tokyo, looking for more victims to feed our blood lust.

The worst moment came this week, when the vicious devil-monsters connived me into attacking myself. I was sitting under a reading lamp when I suddenly got the shadow of a moth flying across the page. I immediately jumped up and grabbed my fly swatter, ready to shoot that thing down like the Bloody Red Baron. The dog crammed herself under the sofa as usual.

I began swatting at the moth violently when I felt it fly into my chest. I immediately grabbed the front of my shirt to pull it out and look for the moth. It took the opportunity to fly down the open front of my shirt. When Roy stepped into the room a few seconds later, he was treated to the spectacle of my running around, trying to tear off my shirt while slapping myself repeatedly in the chest with the flyswatter.

“Moth,” I said, by way of explanation because of his incredulous look.

“I understand,” he said, “it’s miller time around here.”

Keep your heads down and your swatters handy!IMG_1860


Leave a comment

Filed under Humorous Column

Updating the Princess Diaries

If Roy and I ever decide to divorce (and believe me when I say he’s not getting off that easy), I will no doubt name his faithful dog, Josie, as co-respondent. The dog, known not so fondly by me as “the Princess,” is the object of more arguments between us than money or raising the children. All right, the children are grown, but money is an issue, and the dog and her antics outweighs it!


The dog is notorious for her antics around the house and Roy is notorious for defending her. Thus, “the Princess” has spent her life getting in trouble with me and wiggling out of trouble with Roy. Of course, when hunting season comes in the fall, she proves why she is so popular and I lose those arguments: she can chase and retrieve pheasants and I would rather be at ground zero in a nuclear blast than even try such a thing!

Her most long-standing trick has been her ability to plant her grubby front paws on the counter in my kitchen and check out whatever has been left there. She has an agreement with herself–if it’s food, it’s obviously just missed her bowl and landed on the counter, so she should not bother anyone and should just eat from there. If we happen to have left the butter dish open, she licks it so clean, you’d never know it was used. That’s just her being polite and neat.

She also enjoys dish towels, hot pads and particularly damp dish cloths. I don’t have to leave any of those things very long. She has a regular scouting cycle throughout the house and even when she doesn’t, she still has a radar. She can be lying prone on the living room floor, oblivious to all around her and I will lay a dishtowel gently on the counter and a five-alarm bell will go off in her head. Before I can make it from the kitchen to the living room, she is magically back, dishtowel laying peacefully by her side.\

Roy has been very indulgent about these forays by her. So while I am wiping the dirty paw prints from my counters and counting up the losses from her latest raid, Roy is sitting with the dog innocently at his side, piously advising me to better protect the things in my kitchen…that have every right to be on the counter…and not be confiscated by a stupid dog! He pats the Princess on the head, chanting, “Poor little dog…”, the dog sits beside him looking as if she would never dream of jumping on a counter, and I have visions in my head of both of them falling through a trap door into a large hole in a tragic “accident.”

This week, however, the Princess may have overstepped her bounds. I baked some banana bread, something that is close to Roy’s heart. We each had a slice or two of the fresh banana bread and the dog sat and pretended she wasn’t looking at us. The bread was carefully put away.

The next day, I got out the cutting board, knife, and bread and cut a couple of more slices. I just knew I’d want more, so I left it out and told Roy that it was there. He went out within two minutes and called back, “What, did you put the bread away already?”

I knew before I went out what I would find. The scene in the picture above only tells half the story; the rest comes in the form of a guilty-looking dog, standing in the doorway with crumbs still on her snout.

Roy was distraught. “I didn’t get to eat hardly any of the bread. How could you have eaten all of it!”

I walked past the Princess and gave her a pat on the head, “Poor little dog.” The kitchen wars continue.


Leave a comment

Filed under Humorous Column

My Mom-pants Mystery

IMG_1793It’s a well-documented fact that I am not much of a cleaner…I don’t clean, so much as I…oh, what is the word? Oh yes, I’m not a cleaner, I’m a collector….okay, I’m a hoarder. There, I admit it. My house is an explosion waiting to happen, loaded to the gills with half-finished craft projects, plastic bottles I don’t want to throw in the landfill and papers, magazines and books that I never will get completely read.

I’ve always known this about myself and I’ve been fine with it. But after this week, I have to wonder if there is some sort of “garbage gremlin” attempting to work evil within these walls. I’m not really all that upset about the idea, and that’s because other than this thought, the most exciting thing that has happened to me this week was that I opened a new container of Metamucil fiber powder!

It was the mom pants that really started this line of thought. I was cleaning the back bedroom in my house which kind of serves as a “catch-all.” Don’t know what to do with those canceled tickets to the concert? Toss them back there. No place to file those out of focus pictures of…someone’s birthday? Lay them on the desk. Can’t find a place to keep those plastic bottles and empty paper rolls that you just know you’ll find a use for? Plenty of floor space in the spare bedroom.

After a few weeks of this kind of treatment, the room begins to look pretty bad. At times, I forget there is even a bed in there at all.  So this week, I decided to clean (by that I mean shift messy piles around and make them neater piles). And always, when I clean, I come to each item and I can say, “Oh yes, I remember where this came from, I was going to sew the buttons back on this, so I could wear it again.” And I carefully place the maxi-skirt in the eleventh pile it has occupied in 30 years. But I always know where they came from and why they are there.

What I didn’t expect this week was the discovery of the strange grocery bag. Yes, I have plenty of grocery bags, but this one was from a store I’d never heard of. I cautiously looked inside, because occasionally when I don’t know the outside package, a mouse or other creature has been located inside.

All that greeted me was a box with “conversation starter” cards, you know, those suggestions for small talk like, “so, do you like the toilet paper over the roll or under the roll and do you believe this has a religious significance?” or perhaps, “did you do some type of drugs in the 60s, or did you get this confused unaided by chemicals?”

Those were not the largest mystery, however. I also found a pair of women’s jeans in the bag. Perfectly good jeans that did not in anyway resemble anything that I own. Keep in mind, I have an aversion to jeans…I would rather wear tight burlap sacks strapped across my legs and a little too short in the inseams. Add to that the fact that they were nowhere near my size….never mind what that is!

Of course, the obvious solution was that one of my daughters brought them on a visit and left them. I consulted immediately. The older of my lovely progeny immediately rejected them on the basis of size and name brand, but she did request that I send a picture, which, as you can see above, I did. On receipt of the picture, my lovely younger child dismissed the whole thing with, “What, you think I’d wear Mom pants?”

This brings us to the mystery. How DID these pants appear in my back bedroom? Pants that either don’t fit the people in my family or that are too…mature-appearing. What are mom pants, anyway? I repeat my previous statement–I must have a garbage gremlin who is depositing mysterious items in my private clutter. I am outraged. I want those mysterious mom-pants out of my house.

I’m keeping the conversation starters, though. And by the way, “if a tree falls alone in the forest, is it liable for damages?” Wait, that wasn’t quite right!

1 Comment

Filed under Humorous Column