Minutes and Seconds
Updated: 5 min 51 sec ago
Recently, two of my kids headed home to join me on a trip to Sioux Falls, SD. My daughter Maggie left Rochester with her 17-month-old daughter and stopped in Tracy to pick up her brother Nick, all so we could go watch their little brother Matt’s band Some Peoples Kids open for the group Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.
While I absolutely love the fact that my kids are so supportive of each other, it also caused the usual chaos and mayhem I associate with having all three of them in the same place.
This time, however, it was my wardrobe that caused the problem.
“Don’t you have anything besides Mom clothes?” Maggie asked, digging through my closet.
Um…. No. I guess I don’t. Maybe because I’ve been a Mom for almost 28 years. When I answered, she didn’t like the response.
“I’m a mom, but I still have clothes that don’t scream it,” she said. “I am so taking you shopping.”
She then proceeded to pick out an outfit for me, by trial and error, trying to find something that made me look… younger? Skinnier? Less mom?
Since my wardrobe basically covers work clothes and jeans and t-shirts, that was quite a challenge. I ended up in black capris pants, a black blouse and a pink belt I bought in a moment of silliness. I was allowed to wear my favorite tennies, but only because they are ‘cool’ DCs that the youngest kid talked me into buying from him when he worked at a shoe store. As it turns out, he used that to sell them to other “old ladies,” who thought they might be a little loud, telling them his mom had a pair.
During the process of Maggie trying to ‘cool’ me up a bit, my son Nick just sat there rolling his eyes, then gratefully bolted for the garage when his dad showed up.
Later, on the way to the club, Maggie asked Nick if she looked like she was trying too hard to look like a teenager trying to look like a grown-up.
“You look like an extra from ‘Scooby Doo,’” he replied.
I almost stomped on the brakes.
“And you let her dress me?” I yelled.
I’m not sure why, but I’ve been listening to the Beatles a lot lately. I think it’s because a phrase from the song “Let it Be” popped into my head early this week, and while perusing some files, I brought the album up on youtube for a little background music.
My husband is not a Beatles fan, so I rarely listen to them at home. My mother was (and still is) a fan, so I grew up with this stuff. I didn’t’ realize how many of their songs I can sing from beginning to end. Odd.
Speaking of my mom, just days away from Easter I’ve been seeing notices about a bunch of egg hunts, and they make my smile. I can’t think of an Easter egg hunt without thinking of my folks. Not because of hunts they staged for me and my brothers, but because a few years ago my youngest son hid eggs for his grandparents to find. My mom had mentioned that she had never hunted eggs as a child, so Matthew bought some eggs and loaded them with jelly beans and other goodies. Nice kid.
A sight I will never forget was watching Mom and Dad sprint from opposite sides of the lawn toward a bird bath that contained a blue plastic egg, racing to see who could get to it first. I don’t know when I’ve ever laughed so hard. They were swiping eggs from each other’s baskets when the other one wasn’t looking, and later on, my mom took all of her favorite candy from my dad’s eggs. He gave her a suspicious look when he spotted her sitting close to his basket chatting with the kids, then cautiously checked an egg.
She just gave him an innocent look.
I sent a few goodies to my granddaughter Layla, just because it’s fun to get a package in the mail. A few hours after it arrived in Rochester, my daughter posted a video of Layla zooming around the house on a major sugar rush after eating a Peep. “Thanks a lot, Mom,” Maggie says as her hyped up 15-month-old flings herself around the room.
No problem, honey.
Have a great Easter, everyone, with plenty of smiles.
I’ve always said one of the hardest parts about being a parent is not laughing at inappropriate moments.
Like when a 4-year-old walks into your kitchen, opens the cupboard where you keep the cake pans and pulls out a Batman cape (much to your bafflement), then expects you to take him seriously when he yells, “I’m Mattman” and flies around the house. Or when your 3-year-old hands you his brother’s mismatched tippy cup parts and says, “Something is completely out of control here.” Or when your young daughter calmly explains to you that God makes rocks and stuff out of wood he just has lying around in his garage like Dad.
Yep, good stuff.
Now my husband Eric and I have the luxury of laughing to our heart’s content, especially at our daughter, who is battling her own stubborn and darling baby girl.
Maggie messaged me yesterday to tell me Layla was not speaking to her. Given the fact that Layla is 15 months old, this was not a real shocker. But apparently it’s deeper than that.
Layla was mad. Very mad. Mommy took away her bottles. Time to adjust to tippy cups. Every time Maggie would give Layla a tippy cup, my sweet little granddaughter would let out a mighty roar and pitch it down the basement stairs.
I asked why she was in such a hurry to wean the baby off a bottle. Apparently the pediatrician said babies can damage their gums if they stay on a bottle. I am so glad I didn’t know this back when my kids were little. I’m lucky I didn’t do irreversible damage in my ignorance. (Yes, that was sarcasm.)
Then Maggie told me dealing with Layla’s unhappiness (as the kid screams bloody murder in the background) is part of the ‘parenting journey.’
My reaction, of course, was to laugh my butt off. Then tell Maggie’s dad, who promptly called her to laugh at her. It’s our reward for not laughing at inappropriate moments.
Life is about balance, I think. For instance, I can deal with reading through multiple project cost summaries regarding the district building a new school as long as I have Molly Hatchet totally jamming on my headphones. Or the soundtrack from Evita, a few tunes from Neil Diamond… whatever. I have eclectic tastes and moods when it comes to music.
Sometimes life is about karma, like when you go to a high school reunion and discover the snotty rich girl who made your life miserable in school because you were kindergarten buddies with her current boyfriend is now a thrice-divorced chubby woman whose disdain of people all of her life has gotten her just what she deserves.
And sometimes life just wraps around nicely, like in the case of my Uncle Bill. He put a story up on Facebook the other day that made me smile. He said when he got his very first job, with his first paycheck he bought a Milky Way candy bar and “chowed it down.”
Coming from a family with seven kids, I can imagine what a special treat it must have been.
Last week, Uncle Bill got his last paycheck. He is officially retired, and in a month, his wife will retire. Then the two are running away from home together. Literally. They are moving out of the United States.
When he got that last paycheck, Uncle Bill stopped in at a convenience store and bought himself a Milky Way candy Bar. He wrote that he doesn’t care for them anymore, so he handed it to a nearby youngster, then enjoyed the sight of the happy kid chowing down.
I love that story. I remember buying a 45 record when I got my first paycheck. I’m relatively sure that won’t be possible when I retire.
I haven’t seen my Uncle Bill in years – he moved to Las Vegas a few years back, and I didn’t see him last time I was there. Family is funny. Mine is large and a bit intermarried – my father’s older brother is married to my mother’s older sister. At one point, another brother was married to another sister, but that didn’t work out.
When Uncle Bill’s daughter Heather was born, I was a teenager. Somehow, I think because she was a pretty shy little girl, I ended up being her babysitter whenever the couple went out. They would come pick me up and I’d stay with my little cousin while they did whatever. When I got old enough, I’d drive to their apartment in Little Canada, sometimes staying for a day or two if it didn’t interfere with school. Heather was my little buddy, and when her brother Nathan was born I stayed with her for a couple days while her mom was in the hospital. I helped my aunt out other times, giving her a break from a colicky baby.
On my wedding day, Heather was about four years old, and I remember how much she loved my dress. As I stood in the reception line, she stuck pretty close, reaching out to touch it often. I’d look down and she’d be petting my dress with her little hand, all bright-eyed and shy smiles.
When it was time for my new husband and me to leave, I picked Heather up and hugged her, telling her I wouldn’t see her for awhile. It’s tough to explain the concept of becoming a Navy wife to a little girl, though, and all she understood was that I wasn’t going to come over to play with her anymore. She cried, and I did too.
I never saw her again. My uncle and his wife divorced, Eric and I moved around the country for a decade, and by the time we moved back to Minnesota… well, I didn’t even know where she lived. When I first hooked up with Uncle Bill on Facebook, I asked him about the kids, but I don’t think he ever answered that question.
Hmmm… I hadn’t really thought about that until just now. I guess you have karma, balance and sometimes just life.
Hopefully, at the end of the important junctures there are candy bars, no matter who does the chowing down.
It seems lately that not a day goes by without us hearing about another piece of legislature that has been introduced. The bills are often a mumbo-jumbo mess of legalese, recited by rambling politicians who try to explain why their bill is so important by stating why the opposition is against it.
I recently came across a piece of legislation the authors claim is to protect older Minnesotans from wire transfer fraud. A great idea, if the bill itself wasn’t a toothless piece of fluff.
Senior citizens are often the target of scams for a variety of reasons. According to conversations I have had over the years with law enforcement personnel who handle scam cases, seniors can be particularly vulnerable because they don’t always understand the latest technology, or what it is capable of. A cop friend told me once that the seniors of today come from a generation of people who were taught to respect authority, and the importance of communication by telephone was serious stuff. There are other factors, but in the long run, seniors can be more susceptible to scams.
The grandchild scam is a prime example. A grandparent gets a call from a ‘grandchild’ asking for monetary help because they are in trouble – in a foreign country arrested and threatened with jail, pulled over by a cop far from home, scared and alone in a bad place. The ‘kid’ begs the grandparent not to tell mom or dad, or some such nonsense. Then the kid asks for money to be wired.
It works often enough that scammers are still using it.
So politicians decided to tighten up wire fraud regulations, for no real reason but to appease AARP, as far as I can tell. Like I said, the bill has no real teeth and certainly won’t slow down your average scammer.
The new bill requires wire transfer companies to confirm that the location provided by the sender is where the money ends up. It provides more authority to the Department of Commerce to protect consumers by increasing penalties. It requires companies to provide a confirmation of money sent and who picked up the transaction. And it allows the sender to put on a ‘Do not send’ list to prevent repeated transfers.
Because it all seemed like a bunch of wordy nonsense to me – I could see the big old holes in all of the theories – I ran the bill past a detective I have known for years. He’s dealt with scammers who are brilliant, scammers that are complete morons and everything in between.
His response, paraphrased slightly on my part and delightfully sarcastic on his, pretty much sums it up:
1.) The bad guy will now tell grandma/grandpa their favorite grandchild was arrested in Point A but is being held at Point B; “Send the money to Point B.”
2.) Increased penalties? You sort of have to catch and prosecute somebody first.
3.) “Yes, we're confirming that Clint Eastwood or John Wayne or M. Mouse, etc picked up the $5,000 today in Bogata, Columbia.” Just like with TracFones - you need a name to buy service but it doesn't have to be a real name or your actual name.
4.) Yes, please put me on the no call list because bad guys get those lists in the mail and follow them to the letter of the law!
Good thing those politicians are working hard on solving meaningful problems. (Wow, I really need a sarcasm font.)
Maybe next time the donkeys and elephants want to solve crime problems, they’ll consider making it a bad thing to get busted for committing a crime. They’ll consider that use of actual prison sentences and not just threats might actually be a deterrent. They’ll realize slaps on the wrist really don’t hurt after the repeat offenders’ wrists have become numb from constant smacking. Getting caught committing crime should be a bad thing, right? Not just a chance for free schooling, legal knowledge and opportunities that your average blue collar worker can’t have.
Maybe someone ought to tell them that to get tough on crime, you actually have to get tough with the criminals.
They say you’re only as old as you feel, which means it isn’t about how old you look. But what about how you see?
I picked up my first pair of bifocals yesterday, which means… well, that my eyes are getting as old as the rest of me, I guess. But I’m OK with it. I’m not one of those people who obsess about my age, because it has been apparent to me since I was a kid that there are advantages to aging.
Take note, I did not say ‘to growing up,’ because I’m avoiding that at all costs.
But the aging thing, a process that starts at birth, has so far been a pretty cool deal. I started out bald and toothless and will probably end up that way barring any unforeseen accidents, but the journey from beginning to end has been interesting. Maybe because it’s all about learning.
We start learning from the instant we’re born. We learn to roll over, crawl, walk and run. We learn about empathy, love and humor. We also learn about sarcasm, which is pretty cool. Sure, bad things happen and we have to learn about pain, sorrow and anger, and we also learn that some people are jerks, but then we’ve got that sarcasm thing to fall back on.
So getting older is more of a blessing than a curse. Without getting older, there are certain things that couldn’t happen, like the beauty of falling in love and getting married, the joy of having kids and the awesome wondrous magic of having them leave.
Sure, there are trade-offs. I never battled weight until I hit my 30s. I creak, snap, crackle and pop these days. I’m more apt to nap than party once the sun goes down. And then there’s the whole bifocal thing.
But all in all, if getting a new pair of specs is the cost of getting older, I’ll take the grandbaby, the ability to leave for a weekend without getting a sitter, the better financial comfort, the ease of cooking for two… all of it, over being forever young.
So I guess I’m only as old as I see. And with the proper head tilting to accommodate the progressive lenses in my new shades, I can see everything!
I got up the other morning, did a bit of work on my computer, then looked at the clock and may have sworn just a little. Mornings are generally a hurried affair these days, even with getting up at 4:15 a.m.
I bolted toward the bathroom to turn on the shower, then pulled back the curtain and burst out laughing. Floating around and looking a little grumpy at being caught under a waterfall of cold water were three rubber duckies who looked like they wanted to swear, too.
I had forgotten to remove them from the tub the night before after pulling my granddaughter out of the tub and popping the drain. Sorry, little duckies.
The ducky armada was new at our house, because Maggie forgot to pack bath toys when she was loading her trunk with the 500 pounds of stuff it takes to send a 14-month-old baby girl off to Granny J and Grandpa’s house for a week. And somehow, Layla took the other bath toys home last time she was visiting.
This small error was noticed when I plunked her in the tub on her first night at our house. I put in a little bit of bubble, made sure the water was the perfect temperature and plopped her in. She batted at the bubbles for a few minutes, ate a few and announced they were pretty, then looked at me expectantly.
Oh, right. Toys. Um… looking around the bathroom.
I handed her a washcloth, since it was nearby and we needed it anyway. Layla declared it pretty, then sucked on it for a second, made an icky face and blinked her enormous blue eyes at me.
Hmmm…my old Mommy skills kicked back in and I yelled for Grandpa to come watch her for a moment. Then I grabbed a few measuring cups out of a drawer in the kitchen and handed them over. Perfect!
Layla mentioned they were pretty (do you see the theme, here?) and had a blast playing and eating bubbles and banging cups together. There was a moment of potential disaster when she accidentally dumped a full ¾ cup of water in her face, but she just humphed a few times and went back to her bubbles.
The next day, I found a bin full of rubber duckies at the store and picked out three of them. She still played with the measuring cups every time I gave her a bath, but she did it with cheerful company.
You know how every now and then you have an idea you just have to implement, knowing it’s going to add to your workload? Yep, that’s what I did. And I’m loving the results.
A couple of months ago I was singing along with the tunes coming out of the 93.5 Rock It FM studio while working on a news story, when my eyes landed on a CD I had brought to work. It was recorded by the band Close Clearance, of which my son is the drummer. They’re a group of guys out of Sioux Falls. I hadn’t gotten much of a chance to listen to it, so I popped it in my computer.
As I was listening, I started thinking about how much incredible talent there is in our little corner of the world. I’ve been involved with local theater productions in Slayton, attended others all over the area and listened to bands in a variety of venues. At churches and schools, voices lift in song so beautiful people become still just to listen. The amazing thing is that some of these people are your neighbors, your clerks at the local store, your UPS driver or that guy you pass on the street often enough to recognize each other. In the words of the crew from Sesame Street, they’re the people that you meet each day.
Still listening to my son’s drum riffs, I opened a new document and starting jotting down ideas for a new project featuring local talent. What if we put aside a segment of time to feature music by local artists? After all, how many bands out there made it because a local station was willing to give them a listen? Well, before Youtube, that is. I recently read that the Andrew Sisters (I know, old school) got their start on Minnesota radio stations. They later became an icon and inspiration for soldiers during World War II.
So, maybe Rock It could help launch some talented local musicians, right?
Because there’s no way this project could survive without him, I enlisted the help of Rock It DJ Jaime Salinas. He heard me out, and one eyebrow went up, signaling intrigue.
And so, a project was born. We started chatting about it on the air, Jaime and I, and a few CDs and mp3 files showed up.
Can You Rock It? premieres Feb. 16 on 93.5 Rock It FM at noon. If you aren’t within our listening area, don’t despair – this bad boy is live streamed. Just go to our website at www.rockitfm.comand click on the live stream link.
Now, to keep this baby humming along, we need more. If we get enough people sending stuff in, we could expand to a larger or more frequent session. If you know someone with local ties to southwest Minnesota or northwest Iowa, tell them to send us some tunage. Covers, original songs – whatever they’re playing. I’ve got great submittals from Spirit Lake, Iowa to Sioux Falls, S.D. If your kid grew up in Fulda and now lives in Florida, as long as he or she is rocking out, we’ll play their stuff. Does your nephew from Seattle who once visited you in Heron Lake know how to rock? Tell them to send me their stuff.
Bands can send stuff via the good old snail mail to 28779 County Highway 35, Worthington, MN, 56187. You can email mp3 files to Justine@myradioworks.net. And if you have any questions, give me a call at 507-376-6165.