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Just one of those days…or weeks…or maybe a month….

Just one of those days…or weeks…or maybe a month…Jackie Wells-Fauth

For the first time in a while, I slept soundly and straight through the night last Tuesday. That may not seem like much, but for someone of my age and activity, that’s darned near a miracle. And there was a good reason for it that was not in any way connected to miracles.

It all started when I got up for a school activity on a Saturday morning. For me to get to the bus and meet the students at 7:00, I must be up and moving by around 5 a.m. This was the start of a very long few days.

After marking down the names of the students who had the foresight to stay home that early morning, I set out with the rest of the group. A long day of competing and trying to stay awake was followed by an evening of errand running before I made my sleepy way home, avoiding the various deer, skunk, possum, etc., as I went.

Sunday was my “day off,” so I celebrated by putting up two dozen pints of applesauce. Then I did about three loads of laundry. After that, I relaxed by baking and freezing some bread.

Monday, undeterred by my weekend activities, I took another group of students to competition over the afternoon and evening. I knew we were in trouble when the leaders of that competition announced, “We have a new system that will save a lot of time.” We left that competition approximately two hours later than normal and were not home until almost midnight.

After the students left, I searched for my car keys as I needed to take the half-hours’ drive home. No keys. I searched my bags, my purse and my pockets frantically. Still no success. It was almost certain I had left the keys in my room within the school…which I couldn’t access because I had also lost my key to the building.

After searching out a co-worker and pounding on her door after midnight, I was able to obtain a key to the building and then to discover my keys on the desk…one problem solved. I returned her key and headed home, reaching the house somewhere after one o’clock in the morning.

The following morning I picked up my purse, checking as I normally do for my cash and my pouch containing my credit cards and driver’s license. It was gone. I looked again. No pouch. I frantically tore through the car, my school bags and my pockets. The pouch was completely gone.

I got in the car to leave for work, still worrying about who could have my credit cards. I put the car in gear and backed up…into the garage door…which I had forgotten to open.

It was at this point that I knew that the bad day was stretching into at least a bad week and I was at the point where I was afraid to ask “What next?” because I might find out!

I poured out my troubles to my co-workers as I prepared to call my husband to cancel my credit cards because they were missing. After I was done with the phone call, my co-worker said, “You didn’t tell him about the garage door you ran into. Don’t you think you should?”

“No, not until I have secured the best divorce lawyer possible,” I answered.

“Surely he’s not going to divorce you over a wrecked garage door,” the co-worker scoffed.

“Maybe not,” I answered firmly, “but after the week I’ve been having, I’m not taking any chances!”

 

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November 28, 2016 · 2:06 am

Thank you, God for Election Day

I read somewhere a long time ago that someone in some foreign, unstable place would fix elections by chopping off the index fingers of unlucky voters. Why do this, you may ask? Well, it seems they marked off those who had voted by dipping the forefinger in ink. If you had no forefinger, you could not prove you didn’t already vote, so you couldn’t vote again.

I’m really hopeful this is a made-up story, but it does illustrate the complete ease with which we are allowed to cast our vote and speak our mind in this country. If we can escape all the political hype without being traumatized, we can step into a small, quickly erected, metal framed space with a red, white and blue curtain just covering our behinds and fill in the ovals for the people of our choice.

As I write this, I have indeed made my choices and cast my vote, but I don’t know who has won and you know what? I find it doesn’t matter nearly as much who won as it matters that I was allowed the chance to peacefully join my voice to millions of others.

Of course, there are any number of other reasons to be thankful for election day. One is that I can quit listening to non-stop political ads, and looking at political memes on Facebook filled with so much childish invective that I was hard-pressed to hold the line of silence and I just barely refrained from writing on posts telling me why my choices were stupid, “Oh yeah? Well, your candidate eats their own boogers, so there!”

In addition to that, I survived the polling place. Now, I have to tell you that election polling places scare me. I want a nice, quiet place to do my voting and try and puzzle out what all of those amendments are about. Instead, I have to produce identification to prove I am whom they have already written me down as, then I receive a stamped ballot and I am directed to that line of feebly erected booths.

With the curtain unable to cover my lower body, I must attempt to stand still and not wiggle as I wrestle with Amendments, Law Changes and Initiated Measures. After a few minutes of trying to figure them out, I frequently mark “No” just to get done. I can’t find the one that the politicians are bringing in just to steal my money or the one that was funded by “dark money” (whatever that is) from some super-secret spy place in the heart of the North Pole. 

As for presidential candidates, I so wished they would have had a line marked “Other”! I worked hard to fill in the proper little ovals, but I either didn’t fill it in enough, or I accidentally colored outside the lines. And the reason for this is because the people in the other little metal booths kept moving and shaking the narrow little table!

I did discover, however, that if you grab the whole metal structure and pick it up and holler, “Stop shaking the table!” they will ask you to leave. Apparently this “upsets the other voters,” and “creates an unsafe environment at the polling place.” Some people are so picky! I was done anyway, so it didn’t matter.

Now all that’s left is to sit back, thank God for the chance to vote, and wait for the election results, with both eyes shut and all my fingers crossed.

Happy election day, everyone and I sure hope that Lincoln fella wins! Four more years, Abe!

 

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Farmer Boys

Although my husband and I were both raised on a farm, we are the last generation in our immediate family to do so. My daughters were both raised in a small town and they have since moved on to the Twin Cities, so my grandsons are bona fide “city slickers” by farm standards.

While visiting Grandma and Grandpa’s house in a small town last month, the grandsons were then invited to visit at a small farm nearby. This is when the differences became painfully apparent.

The boys were greeted by two farm dogs when they arrived. The dogs were polite and friendly, checking them out as they arrived on their territory, but the boys were charmed by the fact that they didn’t knock them over like their grandpa’s hunting dog did. Then, the cat joined in, rubbing against their feet as they walked. They seriously wanted to take that friendly farm cat home—to their third floor apartment.

The best was yet to come, though. Standing and lying in the first fence were two cows. Those were bigger than anything those two boys had ever seen. With big eyes and cautious feet, they went around the large livestock with great respect and no interest in approaching them. They were invited to pet the lambs and they did so tentatively, but even these were a little awe-inspiring to a couple of boys who live in the city.

The pigs were fascinating. They were having a nice mud bath when the boys got there and there was nothing they would have liked better than to have joined them. They loved the soft grunting noises and the older one had to be persuaded that these grunts were indeed the oinks that their “Old Macdonald” song had led them to expect.

Their reaction to the chickens was the best, however. They loved the fact that they had found an animal on the farm that was more afraid of them than they were of it. In addition, they were fascinated by the notion that this animal would lay eggs (yes, just like the ones they got from the store). Unfortunately, a quick check of the hen house revealed no eggs at that time, so they tended to look upon the whole egg-laying theory as a kind of an “urban myth” if you’ll forgive the expression.

The chickens proved to be a wild good time. The boys chased them all around the chicken coop and before they were done with the cackling, flapping birds, they had even shaken up the sheep until they joined the race and ended up squeezing themselves out of the henhouse and into the chicken yard via the chicken door flap. They were highly confused by this, but the boys were thrilled. Arthur stuck his head out the window of the chicken coop calling, “Here chicky, chicky, chicky,” with no regard to whether he was addressing chickens or sheep. In all fairness, I think the chickens and sheep were pretty confused too!

Arthur discovered that he could crawl under and climb over most of the fences, and when he was given a dozen eggs laid by the hens he was happy with his visit. He became hysterical when we got home, however, when he saw me crack one of the eggs and put it in food. “The chickens gave me those eggs and you broke it.”

Royce was somewhat quiet after we had come home. He didn’t say too much about the animals and when asked about it, he just said the farm was fine. When it came time for bed that night, however, he said, “Grandma, I don’t want you to be a teacher. I want you to be a farmer.”

“Really?” I replied, my mind obviously not following his.

“Yeah,” he said enthusiastically, “because then you would have all kinds of animals.”

That’s my little farmer boys!

 

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Did you pack the…of course not!

I am getting ready to take off for an extended vacation in the next week or so, and therefore it has become my painful duty to do the one thing I hate the most in the world…plan ahead.

I have never in my life gone on one single trip where I was not encumbered by the necessity of either doing without whatever I forgot, or running out to frantically try to replace it. The number of drugstores in strange cities where I have been seen, running down the aisles, searching frantically for pantyhose, a headache remedy or some sort of makeshift gift would be a staggering figure.

This last weekend may illustrate my problems with remembering. We were on a trip to the Twin Cities, but we were going to an unfamiliar area. We had all kinds of maps and instructions, but we decided we should take the GPS anyway. Roy gathered the chargers, the stand, etc. and put them in the car. Halfway to Minneapolis, he turned to me and said, “Did you pack the GPS in the trunk?”

“GPS?” was my vague response.

We made it where we were going, but it was touchy. It’s the same every time. It’s not because we are more than ordinarily forgetful; no, our problem is much more elementary: I do everything last minute, including packing. It doesn’t matter how much warning I’ve had, I still wait until the very last minute and then I try to remember everything.

Sometimes I make a list in advance. This is extremely helpful. I make the list, promptly lose it and so my last-minute packing leaves something out. This has resulted in my wearing sneakers to a wedding, using my fingers to comb my hair and always and inevitably forgetting my deodorant!

The upcoming vacation (and it’s coming fast) will include several days of camping before an air trip to New York and some Broadway plays. That means I must remember camping equipment, food, and dress clothes…all in the same trip. I just hope I don’t show up at a Broadway theater in my walking sweat-suit!

I have a daughter who likes to be meticulously organized. I maintain that someone switched her at birth because she cannot be mine. She makes lists (and hangs on to them), plans her events down to the last detail and is always months ahead of time in her arrangements. I wish I was like that, but I am not.

So, on the last day before I leave for vacation I will be frantically throwing fry pans, eggs and bacon, dress theater jackets and my favorite ratty old pajamas in the suitcase and it won’t be until I’m well on the road that I will remember that I should have brought the coffee and that I don’t know if my dress shoes are in the suitcase or not!My husband has been asking me not-so-subtle questions all week like, “Do you have all the laundry done that you need?” (I have been known to throw dirty clothes in the suitcase and rinse them out in a motel sink). Or, “Say, dear, have you brought up the suitcases yet? You know, so we can get started packing?” (That’s so silly, because frequently I will not have unpacked from a previous trip, so when I get the suitcase, I find not so fresh clothes in it or discover that THIS is where my spare toothbrush went.)


I’ll get around to packing for this trip, but I know without a doubt that my husband is going to turn to me when we are in the car, much too late to turn around and go back, and say, “Oh, by the way, did you pack…oh, never mind, we’ll have to get along without it!” Happy vacationing, everyone!

 

 

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Slipping through my fingers

I always have the television on when I am home, mostly for the background noise. I was working this morning and the movie, Mamma Mia! came on. Most people won’t admit it, but I for one, kind of like this loosely-woven story wound around some good songs—mostly ABBA. My favorite song in that movie is one I can’t identify by title, however. It’s the song Meryl Streep sings as she’s helping her daughter get dressed for her wedding, contemplating the rapid passing of time.

“School bag in hand, she waves goodbye with an absent-minded smile,” go the words, ending with, “Slippin’ through my fingers all the time.” Sentimental thoughts, but for nearly every parent alive, so true. We get so lost in the day to day tasks of being a parent, that we forget the fact that our children grow more each day into the human beings they are going to become.

I remember worrying about my daughters getting good grades, making friends so they would be happy and achieving things, the evidence of which I could hang on the wall and claim bragging rights. I look back now and realize that sometimes I lost the valuable moments in a flurry of worry about things that in the long run don’t matter. Their grades will be what they want, friends can sometimes be more of a burden than a joy and all those accomplishments are intended to shape their character, not inflate mine.

What I remember best, though, are the times I sat deliberately alone in the bedroom, because I knew one or both of them would show up. Sometimes we talked, sometimes we read books, sometimes we just sat together. I took them out to breakfast on Saturdays, because I liked doing that, and I think at times it made them uneasy, but I remember some real conversations there, too. And how fast it went; those fleeting years when they still believed I knew what I was talking about. And there was me, forgetting that it was ‘slippin’ through my fingers.

Young mothers, frazzled, worried, harried, are told over and over, “Enjoy them, because it goes fast.” Most times they look up from whatever childish disaster they are fielding and nod, but it frequently doesn’t sink in until that child is wearing a mortarboard and gown, or perhaps wedding clothes. Sometimes it’s just when the child heads out on their first adventures alone.

Perhaps that’s why grandparents indulge their grandchildren. They get a second chance to pour too much ketchup into the plate if the child wants it or serve morning Fruit Loops on an upturned laundry basket, because the child wants to watch cartoons in the living room with breakfast. Personally, I send boxes of treats to my grandchildren, not because they need anything, but because I remember being that age and loving to get a package of anything in the mail.

For the most part, children turn out the way they are supposed to, perhaps in spite of us as parents. As parents, however, we have a duty to ourselves to appreciate every moment, when they are small, when they are growing and when they establish lives of their own. I love that song, even if it’s part of a not-so-great movie, because it reminds me that no matter the age, we must not let the time go “slippin’ through our fingers” without savoring the moment. “School bag in hand, she waves goodbye with an absent-minded smile….” Yes, I love that song and I love that thought.

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Signs that YOU TOO may be an insomniac!

Well, folks, it’s 1 a.m. and here we are, up and at ‘em instead of down for the count. The world of the insomniac is something that is difficult to explain and it’s something that cannot be fully understood unless you, like me, suffer from chronic insomnia. However, I’ll attempt to give you some idea of the problem if you’d care to listen and for me at least, I’m not doing anything else, like sleeping, so I’ll take the time.

Where I should be sleeping...

Where I should be sleeping…

There are signs that you could be a chronic insomniac. They include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. If you find yourself watching the clock at 10, 11, 12, 1, 2…maybe even 3, you could be a chronic insomniac. In fact, a chronic insomniac can tell you what time it is without the necessity of looking at the clock. They judge it by the grit in the eyes and number of times they’ve twisted over in bed.
  2. If you find your mind racing on such wildly diverse and ridiculous topics as whether or not Donald Trump will make all of us wear our hair in stupid styles if he is elected president, you might be a chronic insomniac. If you get up and go to the bathroom and actually try out some possible hairstyles just in case, you are definitely in our league.
  3. If you worry in the middle of the night about how much time you spend worrying, you might be a chronic insomniac. If you worry about being up in the middle of the night, worrying about the time you spend worrying, you may be too far gone to get help!
  4. If you are currently experimenting with at least three different aids to help you sleep, you may be one of us. If those aids include Melatonin, muscle relaxants and warm milk, you are probably up in the top ten of chronic insomniacs.
  5. If you spend your late nights surfing the Internet, exploring such fantastic sites as “Ten things you didn’t know about Leave it to Beaver,” you are definitely suffering the late night, non-sleep blues.

I’ve tried everything from meditative yoga, to regular bedtimes, to eating or drinking certain things before bed. Did you know that if you eat egg yolks and drink pink lemonade two hours before bed, you will have a full night’s sleep? Of course, it doesn’t work, but I like pink lemonade and egg yolks, which is more than I can say for straight vinegar, which is another suggestion!

I have come to accept that being a chronic insomniac is a part of my life’s makeup and, just for the record, I hope it’s not a part of yours. However, if it is, come on over about 1:30 a.m. I’ll be drinking a big glass of vinegar and watching the “Ten Things I Didn’t Know (and didn’t want to) about Leave it to Beaver.” On second thought, just play the re-runs…that would surely put me to sleep!

© Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In the Well, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In The Well with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Because Every Lucy Must Have Her Ethel…

Everyone has at least one of them. That person, the one person with whom you can be in the worst situation with and you can turn to them and say, “Don’t worry, once we get out of this, I’ve got an even better idea,” and they are with you! Lucy had her Ethel for these things and I have Diane.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Diane and I are not out there, doing illegal things, trying to get on to “Ricky’s show” or something, but we do have a great deal of fun with the adventures we do concoct.

Although Diane is my cousin, I really don’t remember us growing up together. I began spending time with Diane when I was in college. She was in the midst of raising three little boys, I was getting my college degree and not enjoying the experience. Until I began spending time at Diane’s house. Those are some of my fondest memories of my years in college. We could talk about anything, laugh at what her boys were doing and dream of how we would be in the future.

Diane saw me through romances,  my wedding, my first child; she was always there and she always seemed a little smarter than me(which I believe she is). She was always the voice behind when I concocted wild ideas. It was never, “No, you can’t do that.” It was more like, “Well, okay, we’ll do it that way if you want, but maybe we should try….” Definitely, she was the Ethel voice of reason behind my Lucy wild ideas.

Jackie and her Cousin Diane

Jackie and her Cousin Diane

Then, it was time for Diane and her family to move on and have their own adventures. I thought perhaps our friendship would fade, but happily, I was wrong. We spent hours on the phone—not every day—but often enough. We would have each other rolling on the floor with our descriptions of the things going on in our lives. So many nights I would crawl into bed late, my sides aching with laughter and a smile on my face from our conversations.

Children, careers and grandchildren take up so much of our time these days, but nothing wipes out this friendship. We don’t get together as often as we should and frequently when we do, it’s to go shopping. Diane should have been a designer with her artistic eye. She can put an outfit together and make it look good on me faster than anyone I’ve ever met.

I’m sure we’re quite a sight in the stores, with Diane flitting on ahead, giving her infectious chuckle as she exclaims, “Oooh! Look at this! Look at these skirts..oh boy, the clearance rack!” I’ll be dragging along behind going, “No, Diane, stop looking, I can’t buy any more…ooo! Where did you find that; it’s gorgeous!”

I imagine that Diane and I will remain friends until we’re little old ladies, shopping for dentures and hearing aids and good back braces together. Whatever we find, though, as long as I let my “Ethel” do the choosing, this “Lucy” will be one fine-looking old lady!

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