Watermelon Roses

A collection of random thoughts, commentaries, and journaling. There is a lot to explore here, including links to other sites of mine. These are mostly for my own benefit, but guests are welcome to browse and explore as much or as little as they like.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

"It's just a yard fire ..."

On our way to feed the ducks this evening, I noticed a lot of smoke coming from the backyard of one of the houses in our old neighborhood. I slowed down to study it since it seemed to be a lot more smoke than a grill would normally put out, and saw flames coming from under the brick boundary wall that divided the yard from the road. I pulled over to the side of the road and called 911 while K went to knock on the door and make sure the tenants knew they were on fire. As the first police car arrived on the scene (within moments ... I wonder if it was the police officer who lives across the street from the scene of the fire,) K came back and informed me that the woman who answered the door was very calm and informed him that "it's ok, it's just a yard fire." The 911 operator assured me that the fire department was on its way, and since the thick smoke was making it hard for oncoming traffic to see that we were stopped in the right lane, we decided to clear out.

At the playground over a mile away, we could smell the smoke when the wind blew in the right direction, and we could hear the siren when the fire truck came. I don't think the owners of the house had any intention of calling for help, so I wondered whether they were able to control it after all, and whether I had wasted the time of the authorities, or whether I might have done a good thing, in case the fire was harder to control than they thought it would be. This is one of those things that I'll never know, but at least the fire never reached the house or the neighbors' houses!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Battalion XO

Battalion XO Justin

My Justin (who is now approximately 6'2" and taller than his father) was promoted to executive officer of his school's JROTC battalion tonight. A battalion executive officer (XO) is second in command and assumes command in the battalion commander's absence.

In a very rare and (at times) very awkward congregation, my mother, Justin's father, and I sat down together for a formal dinner before Jerry and I were called upon to pin Justin's new ranks to his uniform (he was previously a 1st lieutenant.) We spent most of the social hour before dinner taking pictures, not one of which turned out as well as I would have hoped (note the crooked tie and red badge on the photo above.) Justin then escorted my mother and me through the receiving line, sending his father ahead of us on his own after failing to persuade any of us that it would work better for Jerry to escort my mother as his date. Yes, that was one of the awkward moments. As it was, Jerry was instructed by our uncharactaristically etiquette-minded son that he was to stand any time any of the women at the table stood, and that he was to hold my mother's chair (she was seated to his right) every time she sat down. Despite the awkward moments, the evening was very pleasant overall, and we were all very proud of Justin.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Ego Check

Just in case my ego was in danger of becoming over-inflated, I can thank my Nana and my 3-year-old for keeping it in check.

My grandparents and I went to see the
Vocal Majority in their spring show on Saturday night. My mom came to my house to pick them up afterward, and as I leaned into the car to kiss my grandmother's cheek goodnight, she flinched and pulled away, looking terribly repulsed. As I stood there trying to remember if I had eaten anything with too much garlic recently, she exclaimed, "Oh! I thought you were a big dog!" Mmhmm. Good thing I have a sense of humor. I don't think anyone has said that to me since junior high!

We spent a long weekend in Grand Prairie trying to get some work done on the house we need to sell, though since the air conditioner gave out a couple of hours after our arrival, I was pretty useless. I don't handle heat very well at the best of times, and being eight months pregnant, trying to keep two small children in check in a barely furnished, stagnant house is not exactly the best of times. Have I mentioned that I really dislike Texas summers? This promises to be a long one, seeing as how we only had about 3 days of winter and a couple of weeks of spring this year. On the bright side, our young magnolia tree has well over 20 flower buds preparing to blossom, the first of which opened this morning and was the object of much happy sniffing throughout the day. Our magnolia tree is the envy of all the other young magnolia trees in the neighborhood.

Anyway, as we finally headed home in our blissfully air-conditioned car, an Alanis Morrisette song finished playing on the radio well before I was finished singing along, so I lowered the volume on the subsequent commercials to better appreciate my own voice. As I was priding myself on my ability to remember the lyrics, Layth requests from the back seat that I "turn it up, make it louder," which he often requests for songs he likes. Happy to be appreciated, I started singing that much louder, until he said, "No, the commercial, turn up the commercial!" Apparently that annoying Lennar commercial's version of "Old McDonald's Farm" has a much greater appeal to a 3-year-old than my version of Alanis's "Head Over Feet." Fortunately, I was so happy to be sitting in front of an air-conditioning vent that nothing could bother me.

I hope my ego is manageable enough now that no one else sees the need to check it for a while. It's feeling a tiny bit fragile at the moment.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Catching Up

The longer I go without writing, the more daunting the thought of trying to catch up on all that was missed. I'll try to summarize now so that I can get back to writing in detail when the mood strikes and time permits. I say that as though time actually permits sometimes rather than being stolen from sleeping, chores, or children, but you get the idea.

December: K passed his board exam, Maya cut her first tooth, my Uncle Nelson died, I bought my season pass to Scarborough Faire, Maya started saying "uh oh," and we went to San Antonio for our 10th anniversary/New Year's celebration.

January: Maya stood unsupported, we joined a gym, I signed up with a personal trainer, K's new office opened, we moved into a nicer but smaller house near the new office, I turned 36, and poor Maya had a rotavirus.

February: We bought new appliances and furniture, K gave me diamonds for our 10th anniversary on Valentine's Day (though I completely missed it and didn't discover them until days later,) K's parents came to stay for a few weeks, Maya celebrated her first birthday, and Layth started swimming lessons again.

March: We toured the maternity ward, I accompanied Justin to a college recruitment dinner, Maya started walking.

Presently: Maya has four teeth, toddles everywhere, and is a general delight. She has started play classes at Gymboree, and loves them. Layth is nearly four, loves to test parental limits, and antagonizes his sister on a daily basis. He can be sweet when he wants to be, but he can certainly be a handful, too. He reminds me so much of Layla, especially since he's catching up to the age she was when we lost her. Justin is thinking more about college, and at the moment has his sights set on the Air Force Academy in Colorado, with the goal of a military career and a future with NASA.

I'm feeling great for the most part, though it's getting harder to bend over and tie my shoes these days. This has been a very easy pregnancy. We're about 5 weeks away from our anticipated induction date now, with no decision made about a name for the baby. There are two we like, but I'm tormented by the probability that K's parents won't like either of them. It's very easy for people to tell me that it's my decision, not theirs, but they don't face the prospect of living for 6 weeks under the same roof with them.

My grandparents have moved from Virginia to Ft Worth so that my mother can help take care of my Nana, but it's a difficult transition for everyone. My parents and grandparents are stressed, depressed, and feeling the strain on their marriages, and I'm way over here on the other side of the metroplex feeling sad for everyone with no way to help.

K's practice is doing well, but he's very busy promoting the new office and meeting local doctors. We're trying to clean up the old house in our spare time (ha!) so that we can sell it and get out from under that debt. Paying the mortgage on one house and the rent on another are really slowing down our plans to pay off credit cards.

That pretty much summarizes everything. My apologies to the anonymous reader who has been wondering where I've been. I've just had my hands full, and still do! I can't promise any regularity with updates, but hopefully it will be better than the past few months.