Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Fire Wife: Halfway Point

Officially.  We are half-way as of tonight.  The end of day 7 of a 14 day detail. 

Hot switched from night duty to swing shift today.  They will be on days starting tomorrow.  Here is what he reports:

1.  It is very hot.
2.  It is very sweaty.
3.  He ate breakfast (at 5:30pm) at Red Lobster.
4.  Yes, he had a cheesy biscuit thingy.
5.  Yes, it was delicious.
6.  No, I don't need to get the recipe from copykat.
7.  Alligators are creepy.
8.  Armadillos are tough.
9.  Running over frogs (or toads?) you can't dodge makes him sad.

I think he's happy to be switching to days.  He might get to do some real work instead of just monitoring dozer line and mop up.  He said there is a lot of fire they can see but can't get too because of the terrain. 

He misses us terribly and can't wait to get home.  Let's see..... 

Sunday, June 19:  Father's Day.  Left town around 1300.  Travel to Rapid City.  Arrive approximately 0100. 
Monday, June 20:  Travel delayed due to tornado warnings.  Arrive Shelby, Iowa.  (Behind schedule.)
Tuesday, June 21:  More tornado warnings and several detours due to flooding.  Arrive Nashville, TN.  Did not see Miranda Lambert but a cute blonde DID wave to them from a street corner.....  Definitely not a country music star.  Saw the ghost of Hank Williams, Sr.
Wednesday, June 22:  Arrive in Georgia.
Thursday, June 23:  Day 1.  Staying in Valdosta.  About an hour away from fire camp.  Georgia doesn't "camp out" crews... too many alligators and creepy-crawlies.  2 Alligators.
Friday, June 24: Day 2.  Moved to Park Lake, GA.  Still about an hour away.  10 Alligators.  Rained and it is so humid sunglasses fog up when you go outside.
Saturday, June 25:  Day 3.  5 Alligators and an Armadillo.
Sunday, June 26:  Day 4.  Stopped counting Alligators.
Monday, June 27:  Day 5.  Bugsy's birthday.  Sick and tired of the night shift.
Tuesday, June 28:  Day 6.  Last night shift. 
Wednesday, June 29:  Day 7.  Halfway.  Swing shift in anticipation of going to days tomorrow.  Did laundry.

Cars of Summer

I need some advice.  I'm having car issues.  Specifically.... car packing issues for summer. 

Or maybe this is more about generally summer activity organization.

I'm struggling.

Here's where I'm at.... tell me where I'm going wrong.

Daycare:  We have a daycare bag.  It's big and orange-ish and made by Keen.  It contains three Eagle Creek cubes... one for each kid.... with various gear.... socks, sweatshirts, spare panties, t-shirt, sweats, spare swimsuit.  It also has a small bag with a travel toothbrush/paste for each kid, some mylicon drops (I guess those could go), ambesol, lip balm and eye drops.  A spare diaper and some wipes.  A spare blankie and some pacis.  Sunscreen lives on the top of the fridge at daycare.

The usual car stuff:  hand sanitizer, spare paci, lip balm, dog leash, spare sunglasses, random coupons, gum, pen/pad, tissues, wipes, jumbo first aid kit, grocery store bags, coffee shack punch card, umbrella stroller.

Summer:  spare sweatshirts (x4),  fabulous 31 picnic blanket, spare water bottles.

Baseball:  Mitt, ball, hat.  Make sure you are wearing the right shoes.  Snacks.  Entertainment for the girls.  Game Days:  Uniform t-shirt, grey shorts, socks, hat, cleats.

Picnics:  Ziplock bag with knife, bottle opener, cork screw & can opener.  Plastic silverware and napkins.

Snacks:  Most often for baseball we have a soft-side cooler with ice packs and lots of snacks.  Sometimes we do this for going to Spring Meadow or the playground as well.

Swimming Lessons:  suits (2), towels, goggles, hair stuff, clothes for after.

Swimming at the club:  suits (4), towels, goggles & giant bag of toys and floaties, hair stuff, jammies for after, sunscreen if early in the day.

Swimming at Spring Meadow:  suits (3), towels, goggles & giant bag of toys and floaties, hair stuff, jammies for after, sunscreen, snacks or dinner.

All this planning and I still feel unprepared.  How do you pack for the day so you are prepared and can go with the flow regardless of what happens?  I need all this rigorous discipline (planning and packing) so I can be an easy-going mom (sure, let's do something fun on our bucket list tonight).... how does that compute?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Presents. Love the Presents

Do you go overboard sometimes?  I did.  The gifts for the big girl turning two.

Tinkerbell Tag Book
Baseball Mitt
Pink Softball
Mulan Movie
Three Sunglasses Cases
Six (or Nine) Pairs of Sunglasses  (Oh.... they didn't have the aviator ones when I ordered.... I need them.  Watch for a decent coupon and free shipping.... this is my parenting tip of the day..... and stock up.)
Squinkee Salon
Sqinkee Jumbo Pack

I love that kid.  Her favorite thing was the little sunglasses cases.  So sweet. Wait until you see all the stuff I got for Tuff's birthday.


Poor Bugsy.  Daddy missed her birthday.  We will have a cake party when he gets back but we had to do a little something to celebrate the day.

So we did it typical Homestead-style.

We went downtown for a walk and had dinner at Taco del Sol.  Bug loves their burritos.  Then we walked down to the Big Dipper and got a cone to celebrate the day.  Home to meet up with Nana & Papa and open presents. 

Bug had bubble gum ice cream.  Tuff had huckleberry.  Sweet had, you guessed it, vanilla.  And I had an ice cream soda.  We sat on a bench on the walking mall and talked about when she was born.  I love that baby.

Finally. Bloomage.

An almost-done iris among the mess....  I got a bunch of iris (irie?) last spring from my aunt.... I wasn't ready for them so they just got plugged in randomly.... and are producing some delight this year.

What is this little blue guy?  Is he a weed?

Look.  Mystery flowers are starting to bloom.  Yellow.  Still a mystery.

This is the "youngling" pair of peonies.... looking kinda leggy and gangly and like maybe the dog had a nap in the shade... might have to support this poor guy before he starts blooming.

Remember the pretty delphinium?  The one I hid behind some chives for deer protection?  Yeah.... epic fail.

Ahhh.... the bleeding heart..... save under net.... I promise you tomorrow I will come back with a picture of the top (above the net) nipped off.  Deer.  Sigh.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Fire Wife: Valdosta Georgia

Valdosta, Georgia.  That’s where the boys are staying.  In hotels.  (My sister said they are acting like heli-slackers…. Staying in hotels instead of camping out.)  Hot said his crewmembers are a little squirrelly from the drive down so getting to work today will be good for them.

Valdosta.  Like Voldemort kind of… (we watched the latest Harry Potter movie the night before Hot left.)  Hot said they were wishing they had Hermione’s bag that has everything in it.  Hot also really likes Dobby… go figure.

So they got there about 18:00 last night (4:00pm our time) and checked out the fire camp…. Hot said it was pretty unorganized.  They don’t camp out in the south.  Something about chiggers or dengue fever or African sleeping sickness or something…..  They are staying in a town an hour away.  And they are working the night shift.  That is, in my opinion, kind of a waste of their talent…. But whatever. 

I just talked to him and they are headed out to check out the situation and will go on duty tonight at 19:00.  So day 1 of 14 is today…. Not that I’m counting.  So far we are doing a good job of “holding down the fort” at home.  We went swimming at the Broadwater last night with a buddy and Sweet had a sleepover with him.  Tuff cried “NOT FAIR” so she is promised something wonderful this weekend.  I will mow the lawn this weekend and probably drag out the sprinklers tonight if it doesn’t rain this afternoon.  Thursday night is pasta night so dinner is planned and baseball practice is cancelled for tomorrow night so the rest of this week is pretty smooth and the weekend has some fun plans in the works. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Fairy Garden

The big peony bed

Same section of flower bed from two different angles... the first before weeding.... the second after.  I'm tired.

Epic Fail: The Grass Edition

Stupid grass.

Epic Fail: The Yarrow Edition

Is that YARROW sneaking in there?  I used to think yarrow as cool as long as it was a beautiful color.  Then my gorgeous tera cotta yarrow bred with a white-trash yarrow and turned WHITE... now I agree with Elle... yarrow=weed.

Epic Fail: The Russian Sage Edition

Seriously... wtf?  This was a gorgous russian sage.... had it for several seasons.... suddenly RIP.  I think the nasty weeds at the base (what ARE those?) may have killed it from the roots.

Finally. A flower.

Finally.  I can stop buying daisies at Costco....

Poor picture but.... what the hell is this?  Something from seed?  A weed?

Iris.  Almost there.

The only colorful thing in the flower beds.... a beach ball.

The chives are blooming....

I think this shot is just lovely.  For those of you "in the know" this is the south side of the porch..... right by the flower bed on the east side.

And here it is looking the other direction along the south side towards the road.... How funny is the "straight" line of grass along the edge.... I did that.  Apparently I was drinking....

A quick lilac update

I finally picked up a couple little bitty plants..... a tomato, some cilantro & a lemon balm.  I plugged the tomato and cilantro into the barrel on the decklast year the darn deer came up the front steps, across the porch, down the steps onto the enclosed porch and ate my salad garden.  Sigh.  I have NO IDEA what else is in this barrel..... some seeds got scattered at some point.  Or maybe it is weeds.... wait and see.....

Here's my sad lilac slash whatever-it-is tree......  still not blooming.... t-minus 10 days until July....

Here's a shot from the other side.  Hot got crazy with the chain saw and cleared things out.... makes a great little fort for the kids.  And, yes, that IS my internet cable there at the bottom of the photo.... what?

The Fire Wife

We have this odd transitionary time.  Between school getting out (June 8) and Hot going to his summer schedule (end of June).  Hot's summer schedule is ten days on, four days off, 9am-6pm.  Later in the summer he rarely gets 4 days (or any days) off. 

So we were just getting in the swing of things..... figuring out how to get the kids to daycare, getting my 40/week in, run errands, figure out a summer menu, make a bucket list of summer projects.... and Hot went on the national dispatch roster on Thursday.

Summers at our house have a different language.  Everything is in military time.  Hot says things like, "Copy that.  I'll tie in with you at 1800."  To "tie in" is to meet up.....  you tie into the fire line someone is digging. 

Summers mean never knowing what Hot will be doing.  Thank the beegeebus for cell phones. 

No dispatch came on Friday.  No dispatch came on Saturday.  Sunday his pal called to wish him Happy Father's Day.  They hung up, his pal called back and told him he was just kidding and they indeed were dispatched...... TO GEORGIA.

Georgia?!?!  Am I being punk'd?

Yes... the land of the Suwanee River and these guys.  I'm partial to Joe Collins because he looks (and often acts) a little like my dad.  My dad is greyer and much less prone to anything that might include an encounter iwth an alligator.... although he has had a few run-ins with rattlesnakes.

So off goes my guy.  He snagged all the cash I had on hand, grabbed the ipod and all the various chargers and had to stop at Target for some unmentionables.  Hot and two crewmembers, traveling as part of a 5 engine and one chase vehicle convoy.  17 guys in all. 


To Georgia.

The plan was to get to Rapid City the first night.  They left about 13:00.  Do you know how FAR it is to Rapid City?  You can drive 8 hours from here and still be in Montana.  They got in about 01:00. 

Then off the second day to St. Louis, in theory.  The reality was the Misouri is out of her banks and they had to take detours around detours in areas they didn't know. 

Are you with me so far?  Fire.  Flood.  So why not add....


Yes.  They were stopped (really, why stop?  Just keep moving away.....) by a tornado warning in Shelby, Iowa for the second night. 

In a very classy hotel.  With the scent of air freshener covering the odor of decaying bodies.  But no place to put a quarter to make the bed vibrate so it couldn't be that classy, right?

They were rolling by 06:00 this morning and they all still liked each other.

Friday, June 17, 2011

My big grown-up boy with his FAVORITE present.  His dad rocks.  They tested it out on Sunday.... you can see the results... poor paper gopher.

I don't want you to think we are JUST rednecks..... behold.... a game of strategy....

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Project: Yard

Project:  Mint is happening again this summer.  I had to get digging before Hot sprayed all the weeds by the barn. 
This is me, paused, in my monster trek from the bottom barn up to the house.....

Here are all the stupid baby weeds... you have a choice:  weeds, grass or bare dirt.  Someday.... grass.

Envision this.... Project:  Garden.  If we rip out all the wood from the old cattle chute and leave just the upright posts and the gate on the other end.... wrap it in deer fence and rehab the poor soil..... does it scream "adorable tiny garden plot" to you??  I should get to this project in about the year 2018....

Project:  Mint.  Complete.  This corner gets so hot it just fries any "real" plants.... so mint it is.  Also..... yes.... staining the porch is on the agenda for this summer.

Sad porch.  Needs loving.

The south side of the porch. Also in need of much love.  The horse is named Trot.

Sad fairy garden.  Needs less rain.

Also... needs a new deer proof shield.... ideas?

Really sad fairy garden camping outpost (what?  Fairies like to recreate too...)  The teepee actually washed away.... so much rain. 

Kids and Cats

The cats really like the kids.  You can't even SEE the cat in the second picture.  And poor Bug... she wakes up in the middle of the night saying, "Noooo.  Git.  Off.  Kee."