Saturday, May 27, 2006

Memorial Day Weekend

A three day weekend, beautiful! Cranky and I wanted to go out alone and we decided to go to a veterans dinner in the next town. Great food, a little reminiscing, but we were the only vets that served since Vietnam. The dinner was delicious, no kids, and the bartender served us very cold beer. So why complain? I'm not. We had a good time.

Tomorrow we are getting a family picture taken. It's my mother's day present and I finally made the appointment. I'm trying to get the kids pumped up so they will smile. Bob is 3 and has never had his picture taken in a formal setting, except for the one taken in the hospital the day after he was born. Wish us luck!

We've been very busy lately. That is nothing unusual, but I haven't mentioned our ongoing home improvement projects. We are expanding our mudroom (an invaluable room between our garage and our house where we hang up our coats and kick off our muddy shoes.) Over the past couple of days I shingled the roof while Cranky put up the siding. My six yr. old mentioned to me last night that I should finish it this weekend since I have to go to work on Monday. This morning I went for a run and then got my ass back out on that roof so now it is done!

We also have a basement project underway. It was an unfinished basement when we bought this house 2 years ago. Now we have a guest room and the rest of the area looks almost inviting. Okay, the warm weather is here and in a house without air conditioning, a cool basement is always inviting.... We need some floor covering, a ceiling (Cranky is an awesome drop-ceiling-installer) and bookcases/entertainment center. Soon it will be the parent-hide-away!

We had just fixed our house in Atlanta the way we wanted it, and we moved. Now this house, while perfectly fine, has turned into another big project!

Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Gross Picture of the Day

Last night, my 6 yr. old son asked me to look at his back. Something was bothering him and he couldn't remember what had happened.

This is what I saw:

Lovely tick, huh? Just looking at the picture makes me cringe. I had to pull it out with tweezers, which was no easy task! The tick put up quite a fight! Raymond took it like a trooper, no tears shed. We saved it (in case Raymond gets sick later and we need to get it checked) and he wants to bring it to school for show and tell. I don't think so...

Monday, May 22, 2006

It Figures

I don't know if my info was on this computer, but this is just stupid. I could be listed twice. I was discharged from active duty in 1992 and then married Cranky in 1993, so I could be under "spouse info" as well.

I thought it was funny that they are going to try to send letters to everyone affected. Good luck with that...We'll be waiting.

Friday, May 19, 2006

I'm Easily Amused

I was painting the walls in the basement yesterday afternoon and I was running out of paint. No big deal, I hadn't finished "mudding" one of the walls anyway. I took what was left on the paint brush and wrote, "HI" in big letters on that wall. My daughter came downstairs and "caught" me in the middle of it. She said incredulously,"MOM, you're doing something fun!"

What is so shocking about this? Am I THAT boring?

A few minutes later my 6-yr. old son came down, saw the wall and said, "MARY! You painted on the wall?!" She said, "No, MOM DID!!! Can you believe it!"

Yesterday, for show-and-tell, my son decided to bring the notebook that the tooth fairy gave him the other night. I didn't think it would be very interesting, but he was very excited to bring it. When he got home from school, he told me the kids in his class liked that it had 70 pages! I asked what they thought of the blue cover. He said, "Nobody mentioned that. Most questions and comments were about the 70 pages." Only in kindergarten could there be a whole discussion about a blank notebook without the color being brought up!

Last night, Bob (age 3), could not get to sleep. I thought maybe his room was a little warm so I opened his window and said, "You can listen to the crickets while you fall asleep. Won't that be neat?" His expression changed immediately to one of concern, and he said, "Crickets?" After a lengthy cricket discussion, he decided the window should be closed. Fifteen minutes later he called to me again and after a little more cricket talk, I re-opened the window. After getting up this morning, he stood at the window and said, "I'm looking for the crickets."

Maybe I need to explain the size of crickets a little better...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

USAFA Summer Fun

During the summer, cadets don't go home and party. Okay, maybe a little bit, but only for 3 weeks and only if no classes were failed (summer school). Luckily, I never failed a class so I would pop home to NH for a quick visit and then back to Colorado for summer programs.

My favorite summer program was
freefall (skydiving). It was very demanding physically and we were dirty and tired at the end of each day. We practiced all our maneuvers for the jumps, while laying on our stomachs in the dirt. We ran everywhere -- to get drinks, to change training stations, etc. in the hot, dry Colorado air. But it was WICKED fun! When I finally got to jump, one of the pilots was my Japanese instructor -- he told me I was crazy to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. Kneeling in the door was the scariest part, but once out, it was absolutely exhilarating! After exiting the aircraft, we counted to 10 and pulled the ripcord. The instructors were watching everybody through binoculars and we were graded on the whole thing, right down to the landing. My first jump was the most memorable. It went something like this:

(Standing in the door) Wow, that's a long way down.

What? It's time to go? Okay.

(I jump out) I guess I should breathe now. That's better.

Oh shit, I forgot to count! How long have I been falling?

Oh hell, I don't know. I better pull the ripcord.

(I pull and the chute opens up) Ouch, my chin!

What a view!

Where's the dropzone? There it is!

The ground is coming up fast!


Woo hoo! What a blast! I want to go again! Woo hoo!

I gathered up my chute and went to get my "grade". My freefall time before pulling ripcord was 6 seconds. I had a small gash on my chin from "opening shock", but otherwise, everything was great! I went back to the dorms at the end of the day and called my mom to tell her what I had done. I loved to freak her out. I ended up with my 5 freefall jumps, enough to earn my jumpwings.

For the last 3 weeks of the summer, I went through SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape). It is the survival program all flightcrew members are required to go through and all Academy cadets do it in the summer between their first 2 years. Rather than send us all to Fairchild AFB, the survival instructors use upperclassmen as assistants, and put us through the program in the Colorado mountains. I won't give all the details of the training, but it involved learning how to survive and evade the enemy after crashing in enemy territory. We "evaded" at night and slept during the day. It was fun.

Here we are with the the rabbit we killed for dinner (I'm second from the left) This was during the survival part of the course.

We named the rabbit "Chestnut" because he would soon be roasting over an open fire...Okay, that doesn't sound very nice but we were hungry!

Here's a picture of my friend Tracy and me after coming back from the week in the woods (I'm on the right):

We were so excited to be back and within 10 minutes of being in a shower. We were quite ripe!

After returning, we were grabbed up on short notice and taken to an "enemy camp", where we were interrogated. I spent a lot of time alone in small boxes. Luckily I'm not claustrophobic so I managed to get some sleep. I also had a bag over my head whenever outside of my cell. Party time!

The following summer, as an upperclassmen, I got to work with the AF Survival instructors. I was an "aggressor". I got to hunt for evading cadets from the class of '89. Here I am at our camp:

Once again, I had a hard time looking tough. Camping was fun, but trying to sleep during the day was kind of difficult. Probably the funniest thing that happened to me was the time I caught an evading group by accident. It was dark and I was climbing down a rock. When I put my hand down for support, my hand fell squarely on top of someone's head! It scared the shit out of me! I gave them kudos for hiding so well and we all had a good laugh. Then back to business...

Each summer was something different, and most programs were a good time. Most were designed to motivate us toward a lifelong career in the Air Force, while learning valuable leadership skills. Others, such as the SERE course mentioned above, satisfied a future AF training requirement. Overall summers were very busy, but a welcome relief from the stresses of the schoolyear!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

No End in Sight

There's no sun in the forecast and it's making me crazy.

Yesterday the boys decided to play in the big puddles in the backyard. They had a blast so it was all good, until I had to peel the wet, muddy clothes off them! They went directly to the bathtub where more splashing and screaming ensued...

(Yes, it was cold enough for Bob to need a hat.)

Hope you are drier than we are...

Monday, May 15, 2006

It's Wicked Wet Here!

It's been raining since I got home from my trip on Thursday. Luckily we don't live too close to the many overflowing rivers in the area, but our yard is very soggy and we are monitoring our basement, which leaked a little bit last fall. Floods are north, west and south of us.

Everybody is tired of being cooped up in the house. Maybe today I'll take Bob outside to jump in the puddles...

Friday, May 12, 2006

Notsocranky and Cars

Last week when I arrived in Boston after 6 days on the road (Frankfurt trip), my '94 Honda Civic had a flat tire. I knew something was up with it before leaving home (I found it VERY low on air one morning). As many cars do, the Honda has one of those little "suicide" spares that, *ahem*, aren't supposed to be driven over 50 mph. There's no way I was going to drive 50 or less from Boston to NH, so I put an extra wheel (one of the 2 snow tires we have for it), properly inflated, in the trunk. I double-checked the jack and threw in the metal pipe I use as a breaker-bar. I was ready for it to be flat when I got back.

Sure enough, the tire was completely flat when I reached the employee parking lot. After a quick call to Cranky to let him know I'd be a little late, I went to work changing the tire, even noting the time to see how fast I could do it. Five minutes later it was jacked up with the lug nuts removed. But the wheel did not come off! WTF?! Apparently it was rusted on. I tried everything I could to get that wheel off, but I finally ended up calling a repair service. The guy needed a sledge hammer to knock it loose! So after 2 hours in a rainy parking lot, I finally headed home, greasy hands and all.

That car does not have air conditioning, and I had already decided I wasn't going to drive in Boston rush hour traffic any more, especially with summer weather coming. The flat tire ordeal was the last straw! Last weekend, I bought my neighbor's '99 Toyota Camry. The following day, I sold the Civic. Ahhh...

It's just the latest chapter in my history with cars. This is how it all began.

On a nice day* in March of 1966 my father took my 3 sisters to go buy a new car. He bought a '66 Chevrolet convertible, that we called "THE convertible". My mother was not with them that day, because she was in the hospital giving birth to me! How would I know what was going on the day I was born? Whenever my birthday came up in discussion, my sisters would say, "oh yah, you were born the day we bought the convertible."

(Ours was light blue, like this picture from this '66 Chevy ad.)

I guess from that day forward, I was hooked on cars.

When I was a kid, I used to go looking at cars with my father. My 3 older sisters liked to go shopping with my mother, but I was not interested. I came across this picture of me recently but I don't know where it was taken or even what kind of car it is:

When I was almost old enough to drive, my father thought it would be a good idea for me to buy my own car. My sisters had shared a car, but I was the only kid left at home at the time. My father paid for half of it, so he had a lot of influence in the selection. He thought I should have a Volkswagen because they were easy to fix and the parts were cheap. So I bought a '72 Super Beetle just before I turned 16. My dad gave me a couple of shop manuals** for it and I was now a proud car owner. I even rebuilt the carburetor! Here it is:

My friends called it the "pumpkin". :))

But the car I liked to drive most was my father's '64 Corvette. I'd been washing it for my dad for many years. I loved riding in it when I was young. He would let me drive it occasionally while I was in high school and when I came home in the summer from college, it was mine to use. (My mother had given away my VW when I left home.) He used to say he let me drive it so I would come home to visit.*** My friend Alexandra ("Alex") and I liked to take it to the CT shore:

After my father died, my mother couldn't bring herself to sell the Corvette so she called me. Since I couldn't afford to buy it from her outright, we came up with a payment plan and the car stayed in my mother's garage in Connecticut. Shortly before Cranky and I were married, we drove it from CT to Tacoma, Washington, where we were living at the time. It was a really fun road trip.

Now it sits under a cover in our garage in New Hampshire. I used to drive it when our daughter was young (and the only kid), but I haven't had time to get it running again. Maybe soon....

* I assume it was a nice day. Why else would my father take his 3 little girls, ages 4, 6 & 7, to go buy a new convertible?

** The official Volkswagen manual and a Chilton's manual. I could fix anything with all that information.

*** Alex told me this. She saw him washing the Corvette one day and he told her he was getting it ready so I would come home to visit. Of course, that certainly was not the reason I came home. I hope he realized that.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Cranky's New Toy

This is what Cranky bought while I was out of town. He calls it his "starter" bike since he only rode dirt bikes in his younger days. His next bike has already been found, and may also be in the garage by the end of the weekend.

If not, I'm flying again on Tuesday...