Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Car 54 Where Are You

About twelve years ago, my then husband and I used to take our kids into Manhattan on Thanksgiving Eve, to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Balloons get inflated. We always worked Tahnksgiving mornings, and this was a nice traditional twist to the whole parade thing. We would hop the train and meet my sisters and their families. We would have dinner and cruise the streets eyeing the balloons. Sounds simple and fun, right? Not always.

Maybe ten years ago, we were running late from work and we scooped up the kids and literally made a mad dash for the train station. We boarded in Ronkonkoma, which is a huge depot with massive double sided parking, and plenty of crowds at rush hour. We actually squeezed in to the train, kids in tow just in the nick of time.

We got to Manhattan, met our families, and feasted our bellies and eyes on the magical sites of Manhattan at holiday time. Trust me, if it's something you've yet to do, you simply must try it at least once. Manhattan becomes transformed at this time of year in to a magical wonder land! The kids were always awed and amazed at the sites and sounds!

This particular year was no different. After dinner and wandering frrom one wonderous site to another for hours, we said our goodbyes and made it back to the train station. We arrived back in Ronkonkoma around midnight, and that's where the fun really began!

In our haste to catch our scheduled train , we broke my first rule of parking. We did not pay attention to where we parked. We had simply bolted for the train without so much as a glance at a marker! We searched that lot, with two hungry, tired, whiny kids in tow, for over two hours! We went up and down, down and up every aisle there, and by two am, as the lot was becoming more and more sparse with cars, it became quite apparent.... Our car was simply not there!

We finally called the police, and after thiry minutes of more hungry, tired, whiny kids and now hungry tired, whiny adults as well, a police car shows up, but on the OPPOSITE side of the tracks, which happens to be seperated by fences. We call the police to say hey!!!! Copper!!!! We're over HERE! to which dispatch informs us, Hey! That's a different jurisdiction, and said cop is not ALLOWED to cross the tracks!!!! Another car is then dispatched.

Finally, a police officer who is allowed on the right(?) side of the tracks arrives, and our car is officially recorded as stolen. Now all we had to do is hail a cab, and $60.00 later, we were home. Hungry. Tired. And of course Whiny!

The next morning (or really, only a few hours later), my then husband and I head to work, where fellow colleagues commiserate in our nightitme woes and misadventures.

After work, I suggest we pass by the train station again...Things always look better in the light of day. We approach the train station parking lot from a different entrance than the one we departed the night before. On the opposite side of the tracks. And lo and behold, there, sitting All By Itself, is our car. One lonely vehicle in a near empty parking lot, right where we had parked it. Apparently in our haste to board our own polar express to hell, we neglected to remember climbing the overpass to approach the train. Not only that, the first cop had practically been sitting on top of our car when dispatch informed him that he was in fact not the man for the job.

How embarassing....We actually considered leaving the car there....eventually SOMEBODY would steal it.

But no, I drove it home, with my then husband following, hoping I wouldn't get pulled over and arrested for driving my OWN stolen car!

Once home, we called the police to say "Oops a daisy, false alarm,, my bad", but apparently that's not quite good enough. And so, in the interest of good police work, we waited at our home for another hour for a police officer from I don't know which side of the tracks, came to OUR HOME to view said stolen vehicle, to verfiy that it was in fact found. It doesn't get more embarassing than that, and no, officer, for the third time, we were NOT drinking, just stupid!

Needless to say, that was our last Thanksgiving Eve excursion to Manhattan. These days the family tends to stay home, drinking hot toddies, and baking pies. And rest assurred , I check every hour to make sure those cars are in the garage where they belong!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ads that Make Cents

Okay, just a quick side note-----Why is ADSENSE running an ad about how to be a better parent on my blogsite? Which one of you (few) readers squealed?

I Just Called to Say I Love You

In keeping with the start of Opening Week for Deer Season, I'll stick with what I don't know....(as usual!)

I'm not a seasoned hunter's wife---Well, I am the wife of a seasoned hunter, but I myself am new to the game. For three years now, I watch as the holiday season approaches, and my honey gets increasingly excited over the prospect of heading even further north than we are, simply to spend days on end freezing his butt off in the hopes of maybe catching/sighting/ hitting something other than a friend. He packs long- johns, sweat shirts, camoflauge coveralls, gloves, hats, super thick socks, guns, and some times ammo. Although the joke is- one trip you get the gun, the next you get the ammo, but never the two together!

He will sit in a tree stand after walking for miles (yep--miles-this from a man who thinks tv remote switching is an olympic sport!)-for miles he will walk in deep snow...all alone in the deep woods day after day in hopes he may even catch something other than a cold!

The first year we were together, I gave this expedition of his a lot of thought and came to a very logical conclusion! This really was not a hunting trip, per se. This was simply a long planned weekend away with the boys (which by the way was a heck of a lot easier to understand than freezing one's buns off for sport!)

Of course! They'd be drinking, and eatting out at fine restaurants, playing cards till all hours, and making up tales of the 12 pointer that got away. The dress clothes were probably packed at the bottom of that duffle bag, and I'm pretty sure at least one of those shotguns projects a simple flag that says "BANG!" when fired.

So, off he goes, my mountain man, headed in to the wilderness (Uh-huh , said I, try to stay warm, snicker, snicker!)
This left just myself at home with a house full of kids and dogs to while away the hours with. So what's a girl to do? A couple of phone calls and a quick trip to the liqour store, and we had all the makings of an afternoon party going on---after all, I wasn't the only hunting season widow in town.
Well, party animals that we were, the house was pretty much empty by nine, and I had quite the little buzz going, so I had an IDEA! I would call honey, who I'm sure by now was knee deep in scotch and poker, and say good night.
Well, I dialed the JUST FOR EMERGENCIES phone number he left on the fridge, and waited for about six rings. It's a one room bunk house, so I figured they really were deep in the beverages and couldn't find the phone. What I got on the other end of the phone was a very sleepy hunter who was quite amused that honey's new girlfriend had called hunting camp in the middle of their night's sleep. Apparently opening day begins around 3 am, and they had all been fast asleep since seven!
After a real quick hello/goodbye honey, as all his buddies poked fun and jabbed him with testosterone filled "wifey called" barbs I selpt soundly in the knowledge that those fools really did enjoy walking for miles in layers of clothing so thick you can't bend over, on the slim chance your fingers won't be too numd to actually pull a trigger should the occasion occur!
Oops, my bad.

Oh, but the NEXT night (and every hunting night since) Honey is SURE to call me before they go to bed, just to say goodnight. Ain't he sweet? Of course, should he ever forget to make that call, I could always call him around, oh say, nine thirty! Sweet dreams, baby!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Come Back Here You Wascally Wabbit!

Hunting season is upon us. Now my husband has been hunting since he could practically walk. He's been to lots of different places all over the world, and he's hunted all kinds of game. But, as he's gotten older (haven't we all?) he suspiciously has come home with less and less prizes. He is a great hunter, and he only hunts what we (ok-mostly he and the kids) will eat. He is great with a cross bow, rifles, practically Rambo in First Blood. He HAS gotten Boar before. Maybe he IS Rambo? I never have seen them together.

Anyway, as with anything else, you would think your skills improve over time. But increasingly, hubby goes hunting and returns from a week in a VERY rustic cabin with the boys (5 of whom have sleep apnea---I can't imagine there's a deer for miles that's had a good night's sleep while they're there!) and yet he returns having killed nothing more than a bottle of good scotch. The only thing that get's bagged is him.

A few years back, he's up at Camp Catch a Buzz with four of his buddies. It's freezing, there's a good bit of snow o the ground, and each hunter goes off before the crack of dawn in a different direction, so as not to pull a Dick Cheney. They huddle in tree stands for hours, not moving, freezing off various body parts,...and hopefully they sight and bag something other than each other.

Well, his brother and friends all head out, and hubby decides to wait for the sun to come up a little and warm the unfriendly skies some. At one point, hunny decides to go outside to check weather conditions(probably to make another exscuse not to be freezing in a tree stand some where 50 feet off the ground. He looks out the door, and what does he see right next to their truck, but a beautiful 8 point buck. He reaches inside the door to Camp Kill a Bottle, grabs his rifle, makes a perfect kill shot, while still in his skivies (now, dear reader, that IS a sight!). He's back in front ot the fire with a glass of scotch as the others return mid day with frozen facial hair and empty hands. Rumor has it, he made the shot through the two open front windows of his brother's pick up. He swears he would've made the shot whether they were open or not!

He fancies himself a man's man, my baby-love, (no, we are NOT talking Broke back Mountain---I don't think!), and he prides himself on his fishing and hunting prowess. He is a big, burly, handsome man who takes pride in filling his family's freezer. And we are immensely proud of his talents.

Of course, not every year does the game come to you, and thus as he heads to Camp this year, it is more likely that he will carry home a hang over and not much else. Thank God we have King Kullen to pick up the slack!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Games People Play

Okay---I've always been some what of a game player--not board games-they kind of make me bored, but games of skill, luck, something you could bet on---Poker has always been fun for me, blackjack, foos ball, dice , (left right center is my absolute favorite-something about little kids banging on a table at holdiday time yelling lefty lefty lefty-) and good old pool.

My obsession with pool goes way back to when we were little kids, and Grandpa East Rockaway (don't know why, but OUR grandparents always assumed the identity of the town they lived in-Thank God they didn't move to the same neighborhood as the Grandparents Baldwin!!!) anyway, Grandpa (of the) East Rockaway Grandparents had this huge regulation then state of the art slate covered pool table installed in his otherwise cavernous but empty basement--(I'll never know how we played hide and seek down there- the only place to hide was behind the stairs---and we ALL hid there whenever WE weren't it!!!) Okay, I never DID say we WERE bright kids!

Any way, we would go over to Grandpa's house and play pool for hours on end, and on Sunday mornings, for some strange reason, I used to watch Fats Domino(?) play professional pool on t.v. with my Dad...I'll bet you didn't know that pool used to be a spectator sport! Yup. othing like the quiet that fell over a room as Fats managed to sink every ball on the table without ever touching the cue ball. As I got older, my skill and love for the game increased.

Eventually, we had our very own state of the art slate covered pool table in our own not so empty basement. Now we could play with our friends and cousins all the time. Of course, we were young , and easily bored, and some times we liked to put a different spin on the game that involved 16 hard balls, slate, and cushioned sides.....

Well, one day, one of us not so bright cousins developed the game of war, in which you would place your fingers over the cushioned side of the table, while another not so bright cousin would ram the balls trying to smash your fingers before you had the chance to pull them out of the way....At the same time, you would be trying to smash the unrpotected fingers of your cross table opponent---This had all the makings of any great sport....skill, determination, and an urge to hurt yourself doing something that otherwise seems foolish!

As you might imagine, someone was bound to get hurt...And you would be right...Someone would have broken fingers...Well not quite...Remember how I mentioned pool as a spectator sport? Well, we WERE professionals!!!! Of course we had an audience...And that audience of course had to be those cousins too young to actually play (not because we were ensuring their safety, but simply because they couldn't see above the table!)
Well, the under five crowd was cheering and the balls were being whipped back across the table in both directions at furious rates of reckless speed.
Little lesson in physics here---do you know what happens when two fairly weighted objects are propelled towards one another and meet with great impact? Well, I can attest that at least once, one of those objects will become a pop fly and land on the head of the littlest (and by far the favorite ) cousin.

Of course the sound of that cue ball smacking poor Jo's cute little head was punctuated by a one second delayed WWWWWAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!! Once, again, the thoughtful, ever mindful, concerned bunch of hoodlums that we were, we all ran right over to her, with hands over mouth to SHUT HER UP before the grown ups heard!!!
Have you ever tried to stifle a hysterical4 year old who now not only has a goose egg on her head, but is practically being smothered by her beloved siblings and cousins? Think Regan during her exorcism!!!!!

Needless to say, our new found game was NOT a big hit when the s..t hit the fan, and I pretty much remembered playing MY own trump card as the parents started screaming (after all, I, too, was one of the babies of the family...I was just a little taller, and therefore not sitting on the couch when the fireworks started, and shouldn't my parents be grateful that I also was not injured ? As near as I can remember, I (as usual) escaped unscathed, as opposed to my older siblings and cousins who SHOULD KNOW BETTER! WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH THEM ANYWAY? WHAT WERE THEY THINKING???

Well, our war pool days came to some what of a halt after that, but that's okay...we soon found that you could ride Big Wheels (remember---Two huge plastic tires spun by hand levers with you plopped in the middle ---helmets? what were those?)--any way, wouldn't it be great to ride those bad boys down our front driveway that just happens to end at a 90 degree angle to our closed (of course) underground garage door! Sounds dangerous??? Don't worry... we sent the little kids down first to test it out!!!!!