I Needed a Mother, not a Geeper

For several days my arms were red and quite itchy. In all fairness, David did comment on them and asked if he should find some lotion for me. I slapped some aloe gel on the irritated spots and tried to ignore them. It was at church that a mother-like comment was made by a person who grew up in Brooklyn, of all places. Neil asked, “Is that poison ivy?”

Bingo! Why didn’t I think of that? I know why. Beth pointed out several poison ivy plants, and I stayed far away from them. There must have been others that I didn’t see. The internet suggested making a paste of equal parts baking soda and water to apply to the affected areas. My arms now look like a clown face with stark white makeup. Whether white or red, my arms could be the laughing stock of any gathering. Thank you, Mother Neil, for a correct diagnosis.

I didn’t take a photo of David while we ate lunch, so I got down on the floor for a selfie as he half-reclined in a chair.

David with Goofy Gran Goon

Visit Wrap-up

When brother Bob and Beth went home, they left my house in much better shape than before. Bob cleaned one bit of the bathroom ceiling that was discolored, balancing on a ladder while doing it. I was holding the cleaning solution, so I was glad I didn’t look at him. That would have been nerve-wracking.

Bob volunteered to trim the Wicked Wisteria, and I accepted with alacrity. That wild vine is always reaching out for me and running shoots underground in every direction. He made short work of it by putting his trimmer on a pole. John would have been amazed, because he and the grandsons used a ladder and loppers for the job.

I took a photo of them just before they left, needing to show that they seemed unscathed by all their hard work here. What you can’t see is their very smooth exit. We sat on the front porch for a few minutes, waiting for the proper time for them leave to meet their granddaughter. She had just started college in Asheville, and they visited her before driving home. Bob and Beth simply got up from their chairs, hugged me, walked to their car and drove off. Do you realize what was missing? There was no visible packing of suitcases, numerous trips to pack the car, last check for missing items, mad dash to get something from the bathroom, or calling a cell phone to locate it. They must have packed, loaded, and stripped the bed while I was dressing or putting breakfast on the table. Amazing!

David and I were going to our church via computer. We’ve done it many times, but this time it didn’t work. We could participate with the live chat feature on the side, but the rest of the screen was blank. David quickly whipped out his phone with no better luck. He tried to hook up with our former church in NY, but that service was already over. Missing only the first hymn, we watched St. Thomas on Fifth Avenue. It felt like homecoming. When we lived in NY, we’d go to evensong there five or six times a year. It was marvelous to hear that glorious music again, as well as a good sermon. Something we wouldn’t have seen in person was a view of the organist’s hands and feet. We sat on the porch with the waterfall quietly splashing in the background and birds and butterflies flitting about. Worship sometimes happens in ways you never imagined.

Water Falls Again

I didn’t think I was going to keep the waterfall behind the house, but I clipped the evergreen branches back and pulled up the weeds around it. Once it was exposed, I cleaned out the four top pools. John made it for me when we moved to this house, a gift of love because he knew how much I enjoyed the one at the last house. It leaked about three years ago, and he never found the source of the leak.

Brother Bob and Beth looked at it with me. Bob cut an old milk bottle into a scoop, and before long he was down to the muck. I could not have reached to the bottom of the pool as he did. Beth and I took turns encouraging him and taking photos.

We made sure the electric outlet was working and held our breath when I plugged it in. The pump did not work at all. Beth checked on line to see if we could get one like it. We all went to Lowe’s, picked out a new pump, and bought stones for a different project. Bob hooked up the new pump which promptly showed a leak in the old pipe. It spewed seven inches into the air. Taking a break from that, Bob spread stones in the pathway near it. I had begun avoiding that walkway because I found it hard to balance, going from one large stone to another. The little stones filled in the area, and my feet were happy with it.


We returned two bags of excess stones to the store and bought new tubing. Before they left the next day, Bob took off the old tubing and attached the new one. We stood in awe and listened to the water splash down the course. We did it! When I get up the courage, I’ll dig up the old tube and see if I can use the “y” connection to make the water go to a second pool, currently by-passed.

Neighbor Dawn saw and heard the waterfall the next day. She was enthusiastic and offered to help with replacing the surrounding slate. She likes working with slate and stones! Isn’t that marvelous? I’m so glad I didn’t take out the pools and return the area to more growing space.

Here are two photos from 2016 when John watched Nathaniel dig and after John added surrounding slate.

Walking with Logan before School

I walked a little earlier than usual, hoping to see Logan (12). If he is not late and it’s safe, Shawn or Bob stop their car to say good morning. I wanted to see Logan’s haircut, since he mentioned when he brought over a treat last night that his mother was going to cut his hair. As I walked in front of neighbor Joyce’s house, I heard running footsteps behind me. Logan caught up quickly and walked with me. His hair had been cut, and it looked very nice. I’ll bet Shawn is much quicker than I was when I cut son John $pencer’s hair.

Logan spoke of having gone to bed early last night because he was tired. He listed all his routine tasks for morning – getting dressed, brushing his teeth, making up his bed, letting the dogs out, and feeding them, and packing his lunch. I don’t remember that he mentioned breakfast, but I probably missed it in the fast chatter. That led to his favorite lunch right now, peanut butter and honey. As we passed jewel weed bushes, he said neighbors Lisa and Harmony used a spray made with jewel weed on his poison ivy. It was effective. Soccer is a favorite sport, the one he preferred above track and field this year. He mentioned how much you run. I think he said the average amount could be six miles in a game. He noticed paw prints in dried mud and thinks they were probably made by a dog. Perhaps he and I wished to see bear prints. Several nights ago a bear roamed around our street, going on neighbors’ porches and helping himself to birdseed and sugar water from the hummingbird feeders. Our conversation ended quickly as Bob stopped the truck for him to hop in and go on to school.

Can you think of a nicer way to start a day? I enjoyed every minute.

Outside Transformation

Daughter Lise whipped the inside of our house into shape, and brother Bob and wife Beth began putting the outside to rights. On the front porch, she removed a robin’s nest, and he took out bunches of nails that had been used for patriotic bunting in past years. Beth also removed dirt dobbers’ nests and killed wasps.

Bushes thought no one would ever contain them. Branches reached through the railing about eight inches, trying to grab people. No more! Beth brought them under control. David found the charger for our trimmer, and I plan to trim hedges and bushes when they need it again. Beth made it look simple. I know it won’t be that easy for me, but I am determined to do my best.

Both of them trimmed and cleaned up the small holly bushes along the front. Neighbor Bob and brother Bob conferred about a wobbly post behind Beth’s back.

By walking in and out of the garage door for eight years, we scattered gravel until there was a depression there. Bob replaced gravel so that I won’t stumble going in and out. It now blends in better after a good rain.

I was impressed with their shopping at Lowe’s. Although they had never been to our local store, they walked straight to each department where we needed things. We overestimated the amount of gravel we needed, and they knew the procedure for easily returning two bags. You should have seen Bob sling those bags of stone onto the dolly. He is two years older than I am!

There was plenty of time to chat over meals and after we quit work for the day. Bob and I laughed over family memories and found out similar things about Beth’s family. I wish I could have met her parents, but they had moved to Florida before I came to this area.

Goofy Goon Escapes her Geeper

Lise changed the spelling of Keeper to Geeper, fitting for a keeper of a Goon. She is back in Denmark, but she would have kept me away from the kitchen if she had known what would happen. I had punctured the yolk and covered the dish, but the egg exploded with a loud bang anyway. This could not be classed as dangerous, however the inside of the microwave was a MESS! Climbing on a stool, I cleaned it thoroughly. I cooked another egg successfully and put the bits left in the first dish on top of the good egg. I added this photo of the exploded egg onto the Aura frame, so David saw it before he reached the kitchen and knew his breakfast was going to be goofy.

I promised myself, and maybe Lise too, that I wouldn’t do anything dangerous in the garden. I have a tendency to work too long, instead of doing one project and quitting after 15 – 20 minutes. Without paying attention to balancing on uneven ground, I have almost fallen several times. I had my phone in a pocket, a cane in the vicinity, and an awareness of what I was doing. Success! There was no before photo, but here is the after one with the debris scattered over the path. All the pools of the waterfall were exposed for the first time in two or three years. John had been either too busy doing other things or not well enough to try to fix the leak. The question is should I attempt to fix it or just remove it?

David and I both had haircuts today. I thought you might like to see us transformed into fairly normal-looking people. You never know when the goofiness is going to surface, because David has the goofy genes in his DNA.

Lise’s Last Days Here

Daughter Lise and I had errands to run the day before she left. What better way to start the eating day than getting a sandwich from Burger King? This was a treat, the only time we went out for breakfast. David handed us our bag with a smile.

Her flight didn’t leave until 20:00, so we had lunch at Watami Noodle in town. While waiting with her in the airport, David fixed her shoelace.

She was told to be in the terminal three hours before departure, which seemed excessive to us. We chatted and played a few word games until she went to her gate. As usual, I dreaded her leaving ahead of time, days three and four to be exact. I was sad and a little depressed. As David and I left the airport, I realized I was too tired to be sad. I would just remember all the things Lise accomplished and the great pleasure we had in being together.

The Goon and her Keeper

I had done something foolish or stupid and told daughter Lise I was just being a goon and needed her as a keeper. We laughed. For the rest of her stay, I referred to myself as a goon, not knowing we began with a different definition of the word. It became obvious that we were talking past each other, so I looked it up. To me a goon was someone who was idiotic or silly. To her a goon had an American definition, a henchman carrying out the wishes of a mobster. Both were correct, so from then on I called myself Goofy Goon.

I couldn’t possibly remember all the instances where I said or did something silly, but attributing it to Goofy Goon sparked our laughter. It was obvious I needed help with all the details that had to be attended to. Lise could easily read and understand legal terms, organize John’s funeral, make phone calls to get a refund from a nasty propane company, find where to go to register John’s estate, deal with medical bills, and confront a bank that gave us conflicting information. The Goofy Goon wants to publicly thank Lise for keeping her focused on tying up loose ends and getting ready to live in the altered state of widowhood.

Celebrating in Charlotte

It was marvelous that grandson Nathaniel and girlfriend Sarah came to visit us for several hours, but it left us longing to see more of them. It took about two and a half hours to get to Charlotte. While waiting for Sarah to get off work, we visited in Nate’s new apartment, his first after graduating university. He was still in the process of moving in, as were his two roommates.

David, Lise and Nathaniel

Nathaniel chose a wonderful restaurant to celebrate Sarah’s birthday. The food was excellent, and we could hear each other talk. I no longer take that for granted. The place was not busy, so the staff didn’t mind that we ate leisurely and stayed to chat.

David, Nathaniel, Sarah, and Lise

We enjoyed a tour of the apartment complex, and the young folks willingly posed for a photo with the pond in the background.

After seeing the swimming pool, they spontaneously balanced on a railing. I asked for a repeat to get a video.

All the youngsters, Lise included, were so much fun to be with. We three also talked all the way there and back. Family times are glorious, and I enjoyed every minute.

A Day to Play

We had worked hard for weeks, so on David’s day off we went to Dill Falls. It’s on the other side of the mountain from our favorite falls, and David’s car was high enough that it didn’t scrape on rocks on the gravel mountain road. I was happy we could drive near and needed to walk only a part of a mile. We accepted when a young couple offered to take our photograph.

I thought I had hidden the cane.

I liked Lise’s selfie of us.

We are the ones who like lightning and thunder, so it was appropriate that there was thunder as we looked at the rushing water. A lovely roll happened as I took a video, but the camera could not capture the sound.

If the day had been hot, I would have loved to wade in the cold stream.

Without our knowing, Lise took a shot of David and me as we walked the trail back to the car. It’s not flattering, but it’s the way we navigate among roots and rocks. David is always very attentive, giving me a hand on rough patches. I don’t normally walk with a cane, but it did provide welcome support that day.

We went to one of our favorite restaurants – The Square Root in Brevard. While eating, David and I shared a Maclin Pat over something silly. I can’t think of a day that we didn’t laugh. Although I have been accused of stalking people with a camera, Lise took far more photos than I did. I will miss that.

Shells of boiled peanuts were left on my plate.