Those eyes

I’ve heard of husband eyes but hadn’t really experienced kid eyes until the Christmas tree deal.

This eyes thing shows up when someone is sent to a location to look for something and they can’t find it.

Story_squareMy older son, who is now a husband himself, tells me that his wife accuses him of that. This came up after he went looking for a box in a storage room.

“It’s not there,” he told me when he came back. “Although I’m told I have husband eyes so you might want to look.”

I found the box.

But it’s not just the guys.  Our youngest daughter came home from school to ask, “When did you take the Christmas tree down?”

“Three weeks ago,” I said.

“No way.”

Yup. So she pulled her younger brother away from alien attacks in the computer room. “When did Mom take down the Christmas tree?”

He looked up, his eyes wide. “The Christmas tree is down?”

They waited until their father got home to verify this amazing discovery. “Dad, did you notice that Mom took the Christmas tree down?”

He met both their faces with a calm smile and patted our daughter on the shoulder. “Did I notice?” He grinned at them both with that confident look that fathers get when they know the answer. “Did I notice? No.”

Family eyes. They all have it.


The new puppy

My nephews met me at the door of their house. Well, they bounced to the front door and shook their hands like wet rags while they rebounded like pogo sticks. I let myself in.

“We have a new puppy!” said the five year old.

Story_square“He’s our very new puppy. We have a new puppy!” said the four year old.

I gathered that he was new.

They were pointing down the hall to their bathroom. “Um, where is this new puppy?” I asked.

“He’s getting a bath!” said nephew #1.

“Mom is giving him a bath!” said nephew #2.

They were more excited than a hog waiting for the feed bucket.

“Can I go see him?” I asked them.

“Mom’s giving him a bath!” said nephew #1. “We have a new puppy.”

“New puppy,” said nephew #2. He didn’t get the whole sentence out. I guess he was tiring from all the bouncing.

I wanted to see the new addition so I called to my sister. “Are you done?”

“Done,” she said. “Here he comes.”

A long brown leg stepped into the living room.

“Our new puppy!” the boys squealed and wrapped arms around each of the dog’s front legs.

Apparently if you’re four or five years old, all dogs tower like giant sequoia trees.

Because this new puppy turned out to be a two-year-old Great Dane.

Saber’s Idea

The reason the boys were ready for me when I pulled up in the big van was what they held in their hands.

“We found these!” Saber unfolded his palm to show me a rubber ball on an elastic band.

Story_squareI’ve seen plenty of rubber balls. I began a jaded smile and then he threw the ball down. It bounced high over the building roof with the elastic band unfurling to let it kiss the clouds before rebounding and bouncing again. This little contraption had more energy than a litter of hungry puppies when mama pokes her head into their view.

The boys had finished a week at church camp and I was bringing home a gaggle of eleven-year-olds. Well, if a gaggle was seven, I was bringing a gaggle.

Each of the boys launched a ball above timberline blended with giggles. Boys really can giggle.

I’m a mother. I could see the potential here.

“OK, guys. No bouncing the balls in the van.”

They all nodded and their arms went into hyper drive to get bounces done before they loaded.

Finally we pulled away from camp and made our way down the mountain. All was well until I pulled up at a stop light in town.

Traffic was heavy and I had been watching cars surround us. Then I noticed giggling from behind.

Saber waggled his arm out of the side window. His ball ricocheted off car roofs and zig-zagged between lanes. The elastic band kept the ball in sight but not mannerly.

It took him a minute to retrieve the ball after his driver threatened to dunk him in the lake if he didn’t get the contraption back inside. The strap was pretty easy-going and not easy to gather. Maybe a little like Saber.

Then he rolled up the gadget and stuffed it in his backpack, giving me a smile fit more for angels than gaggles of boys. “I didn’t bounce it in the van,” he said.

No, but he had run the risk of kissing the clouds.

Not so ordinary

There were no ordinary days with our youngest at age five.

I was fixing dinner one evening when he wandered into the kitchen.

“What’s that?” he asked, studying the pan on the stove.

Story_square“Hamburger patties.”

He tilted his head. “Can I call it sook?”

“Those are still hamburger patties.”

But for dinner that night we had sook on a bun.

Another day we went shopping. He carried five pennies into the store and laid them on a shelf. As we were leaving, he discovered his loss and we had to backtrack in search of his loot. We searched long and hard but could only find four pennies.

“We need to go.” I finally laid the law down.

He went, with a long face. “I’m going to miss that penny.”

Not long after that, he came to me with eyes drooping and mouth downturned. “I’m sorry, Mom.”


“I’m sorry, Mom, but I can’t fly.”

How did he figure that out?

We were eating  breakfast when he announced over scrambled eggs, “Do you know what a Gurgler is?”

I had to admit my ignorance.

“They’re a machine that sucks down people and things.”

“Yuck,” I said.

“I hate to tell you this but if you meet one, you’ll die.”

“Oh, no!”

“But it’s OK because they live on the other side of the world.”


“Mom,” he said. “They’re on the movies.” He rolled his eyes while I wondered what movies he’d been watching.

He liked to help me bake so one day we stirred up a batch of muffins using a whisk to mix. Soon the batter stiffened and he lifted the whisk with the muffin ingredients clumped onto it. “Look! I have a lunk!”

He ate the lunk, too, after it baked.

Then came the day when he rushed into the kitchen, his arms flailing and his face red and hot. “Mom! Betsy says I’ll get wigworms if I drink my potty!”

I still can’t get that scenario figured out.

But I’ll bet it wasn’t an ordinary day, either.

Almost heaven

We were looking for a church home. Our five-year-old son was looking for heaven.Which he found at the church we visited.

It had many children to play with plus a huge box of donuts sitting on a table, free for the taking. This was his definition of heaven.

Story_squareWhen the service began, he joined us but, before the second song, he headed to the back. His father followed and found him in the bathroom, heaving his breakfast.

“Are you OK?” my husband asked.

He was. He washed his face, straightened his shoulders, and nodded.

“What happened? Are you sick?”

Our son shook his head. “No, I ate too many donuts.”

“How many did you eat?”


His father laughed. “Wow.” And then he seized the parenting moment.  “So did you learn anything from this little episode?”

“Yep,” he said. “Stop at six.”

About that treasure

Buying an old house is a little like the first vacation after you get married: you’re not really sure what you’ll discover there.

But that hasn’t slowed my husband and me. I am referring to buying old houses. Our first vacation is so far behind us that we can actually laugh about all those expectations.

Story_squareBecause my husband is a construction genius, we like the ugly houses that we can either renovate and flip or remodel and rent out.

We bought the house on Beaver Avenue through an eviction/foreclosure. The contents of the house had been hauled out to the garage with the door left open. The idea was that people could rummage through the stuff and take what they wanted.

In the six months before the house was sold to us, nobody went through the stuff. Not only do we live in a small town, we live in a pretty honest small town.

That meant that the garage contents were ours. Yippee. If the previous tenants didn’t want them and the neighbors wouldn’t loot them, we knew we’d find  some real treasures.

So we began the sorting process.

Would you believe we found a tattered wedding album and an x-ray among the treasures?

It was like an archeological dig but without the little brushes and tomb curses. As the slave labor (OK, they were our kids but that’s what they called themselves) dug their way through the pile, they picked up a scent.

“Maybe it’s a body,” said the boy. He was always good for a new explosion or creative bloodshed.

His sister wasn’t intimidated. “Hope it’s on your side,” she said.

They tossed aside more trash and dug deeper into the garage. The smell morphed into a definite stink.

When it crossed over from stink to stench, they bailed.

That’s what mothers are for, right?

So I donned mask and gloves for the final exploration. Some yo-yo (and I’m being really nice here) had pulled a frozen turkey out of the freezer at the eviction, wrapped it in a plastic bag, and left it in a trash can at the back of the garage. For six months.

Buying an old house isn’t a vacation after all.  It might be about tomb curses, though.