Archive for the 'family' Category

ASL class




The pickins in the Oregon economy right after our return from Alaska

were dreary at best. I picked moss and sold it, shaved chittum trees

of their bark and sold that and I even packed said items into the side

basket of my old schwinn bike and cycled on my own power to the

local merchant to sell them. In case you are unaware, chittum bark

is what they make laxatives from. The bark back then sold for .32

per pound. Since we needed firewood anyway, and there did seem

to be a need for the um, end product in this country, I was able to soothe my conscience

over stripping these trees of their bark along with cutting them down and I went

about my merry but trail blazing way. I even picked up our goat milk on my bike,

fed the kids on brown rice, wild black berries and government commodities.

Our oldest daughter took the two little ones down to the river to catch crawfish

about twice a week and arriving home from the woods we would feast on a poor

mans miniature lobster dinner, with dandelion greens and taters dug from the neighbors

garden. But my apartment over the shop was too small, (boy did I have alot to learn).

We only had one vehicle that ran sometimes. It rained and rained and rained in the

winter. I had grown up with a steady pay check and we had never known the uncertainty

of not knowing weather there was going to be a paycheck or not. I had always worked

but now I had babies and I did not want to have someone else to raising them.

Hubby with all his multitude of talents and education could only find a job driving school

buses. The economy was really bad. And we both had student loans to pay off.

Needless to say, after dealing with students who shot spit wads,

toted hand guns, and cleaned their fingernails with machetes while riding

the bus, we decided it was time to move where he might find a more lucrative position.

About this time a friend from California called and offered Hubby a job at

the then outstanding wage of $10 per hour! Dollar signs clicked and rolled

over and over in our eyeballs. Though we didn’t move to Beverely Hills, we

did immediately pack our bags and embark on another grand adventure.


A bathroom is a bathroom is a bathroom. Right?  Before I tell you about our move to California, I feel I must indulge in a little out house tale. 

As I had mentioned in a previous story, our new home contained no toilet.   The apartment sat on top of the shop and looking out the upstairs windows sat the cutest little wooden shack with a crescent moon on the door. After having been instructed on the proper care and maintenance of said facility, I decided we had to make the building more, aesthetically pleasing.  No sense in becoming a barbarian after all.

Scrounging scrap paint my sister in law and I painted the interior bright yellow and hubby cut a window on the side to allow light in while accomplishing various bodily tasks.  We found a spare glass window to fit the hole and since this type of building was bound to be crawling with insects, I painted large lady bugs on the interior walls.  By golly if I had to deal with bugs at least some of them were going to be there by my choice.

A cute little toilet paper holder and a decorated can of lime, (keeps the odor down) completed our refurbishing task.  Not bad.  The only drawback to this tidy little domestic scene was my 6 year olds late night imagination. Add a daddy who was an incessant tease and trouble was bound to ensue.

The night came when she could no longer hold it till the early morning hours when there would be daylight to guide her.  We encouraged her to head downstairs while we turned on the flood lights.  We watched out the windows as she cracked the door open ever so slightly and looked around for monsters lurking in the dark.

Suddenly she leaped out the door and slammed it so hard the entire house shook.  Fast as lightning she bolted for the outhouse door!  SLAM! went that same door as she was safely inside, secure for the moment from dreaded demons of the night. Even they wouldn’t enter the outhouse.

Then daddygot this mischievous grin and said, “Watch this”. He waited with his hand on the flood light switch while our daughter finished up her task.  Just as she stuck her head out the door and checked left and right for monsters,  he flipped the lights out.   A scream pierced the night air!

If I had a stop watch I am certain I would have clocked her return speed at more than twice the original speed!  The door to the downstairs slammed even harder making all the windows vibrate. She was so furious with us she forgot that she had been frightened.  She did remember to carry her own flash light after that. This is when we all began to develop the habit of not drinking anything after 6:00 pm.  

Across the US Via Bicycle

Happy routine had settled quietly onto our now blended family.  Eldest daughter resided with her mom and step dad in Oklahoma. Second eldest daughter was delighting in being a big sister. This third baby was quiet, compliant and content. What could possibly disturb this domestic tranquility? 

When baby number three reached six months of age we got a phone call from my husbands’ sister.  She informed us that their dad was heading out on  a cross country trip on his bicycle and she was very worried.  Her husband could only ride with him to Idaho and then he would be on his own.  She then told her brother, (as only a sister can) that if he didn’t join their dad for the remainder of the trip, she would do horrible things to him and never allow him to forget it if any unmentionable  accident were to happen to their dad!  “But sis!,” appealed my husband.  “I havn’t found gainful employment yet and we are flat broke with a new baby”.   Sis volunteered to fund his portion of the journey and loan him her husbands bike. He could pay her back later.  Which only left finding a way for the rest of us to get all the way across the US.

Yes my husband and his dad really did ride across the US on bicycles. But this story is about our journey by bus across this great land of ours.  I had to borrow the enormous sum of $400 from one of my Aunts.   I think they only agreed to loan us the money so they could get a really good look at him when he got to the south eastern portion of this country. Kind of the same way you stare at zoo creatures. He was after, all a Yankee. By this time they were all beginning to wonder about him anyway.  Not only were we jobless, pennyless and had a brand new baby, they knew how crazy I was and were now rather concerned that I had married in kind.

I purchased the bus tickets and began the 3 day journey via Greyhound.  My older daughter and I kept looking out the bus windows for signs of Grandpaw and daddy. We had entertained the driver and many riders with our story about daddy and his dad riding across the country, so befor long everyone in the bus was  looking out the windows for the two crazy, I mean intrepid adventurers.

For me the trip was rather uneventful if you exclude the colorful characters that always lurk around bus stations.  The baby and my older daughter enjoyed the trip and I was young enough to endure three days of sleep deprivation.  The real fun began when we got to NC.

I picked hubby up at the bus station in Virgina as he was saying good by to his dad.   My did they look GOOD! Each had lost weight and were muscle toned down to their little toes. Grandpa flew back but we journeyed on by bus to NC. 

My family couldn’t understand.  My husband explained about his trip as only an ex-journalist could.  He was greeted by puzzled looks.  They were all thinking, “He looks intelligent enough. Doesn’t look like a mass murderer or anything crazy. There aren’t any warrants out for his arrest. Hmmmm.”  So all they could say to each other was, “Why did he ride across the US on a bike when he has a family to support and is as old as he is?”.  My mom always swore that if she hadn’t been awake when I was born she would have insisted that they had switched me with her real baby at birth. I was the only one so far to have married out of the South. And goodness knows you still couldn’t trust anyone north of the Mason Dixon Line.

 We stayed at my Aunts home where she treated us like Royalty. Various relatives kept slipping me money here and there while casting worried looks towards my husband. Of course I couldn’t say anything without appearing ungracious and up until then we were broke.  So I took their money. Actually had enough money to pay a few bills when we got home.  But I will never forget the loving looks of concern on their faces and the inquires to the police department.  All from concerned family members. Were we full of faith or just full of it? Some times it’s hard to tell.

Shortly after we arrived back in Oregon hub got a new job down in California.  Now he was a regular working stiff and my family all breathed a sigh of relief.  California should have been what they were worried about. Next find out what happens when you take a wild home grown nut like me and try to plant it in the land of Nuts!


So after the 4th false labor trip to Portland we were getting kind of bored with the whole process.  It went something like this.  Labor pains become 5 mins apart.  Start old VW by pushing it down the hill and popping clutch.  Drive to Portland. 

But the drive to  Portland was only a small portion of the ritual.  Since I was a gestational diabetic I had strict dietary guide lines that I was told could end when the pregnancy did. Since Baskins Robins was on the way and since we had been really strict diet wise during the pregancy it was decided that before we actually delivered, we would celabrate with a bananna split extravaganza!   (We knew the hospital was very strict reguarding how many calories could be eaten in the day and one BSplit would be the entire days fare)

Full to the brim with comfort food, we would arrive at the hospital ready for the next adventure only to have the contractions stop!  My husband was begining to think I was holding out for the chow! We were up to our 9th trip in the Bug and decided to make the routine stop for the um, healthy bannanas.

Certain that the 9th time was the charm we took our full and content selves up to OHSU.

By the time we were admited, my water had broken and contractions were going full throttle at less than 5 minutes apart.  We were ready! Hub donned the green paper fashion garments and prepared to snapp the gloves on when notified. I was poked, prodded, wired for sound and placed in an indecent hospital garment.  Oooh we were really jazzed!  Waiting for the next contraction to arrive on time we all gazed at the clock.

Seven minutes went by befor another one hit.  And with less intensity then the last. Can’t argue with that little graph on the machine.  Nurses, doctor and husband all looked at me with the same comment in their eyes.   “Would you stop that for crying out loud and get on with it?!”

“Look you guys it’s not my fault!  I’m  5 centimeters dialated, my water broke, and I’m 3 weeks over due! You figure it out! ”  The doc scratched his head and reviewed my chart. “You know,” he began slowly, “it says here you are diabetic and high blood sugar can stop labor,  so how about we test your blood sugar and you write down everything you’ve had to eat in the last 12 hours.”    He walked away to get the phlebotomist and my man and I looked at each other and whispered, “Uh Oh!”

I wrote every good thing I had eaten that day on the list in large letters.  Hub leaned over and said in a whisper, “Why didn’t you tell me high blood sugar stopped labour?! This is our 9th trip up here for cryin out loud!”   “Don’t you whisper at me in that tone of voice!,”I whisper/yelled back. “I DIDN’T KNOW IT EITHER”   “What are you going to put on that paper?”he asked me, leaning over.   “I’ve put all the good healthy foods I’ve eaten in a list like this….”   I began.   “Man you eat alot when your pregers!” he blew a quiet whistle.  “SHUT UP” I said out of the corner of my mouth.   “If you had eaten my other half of the bannana split like I asked you to we wouldn’t be in this mess…” I began. The doctor came in clearing his throat and asked if I was ready to get my blood drawn.  “Sure,” I said, as I finished my list by writting Bannana Split in teensy weensy letters at the bottom of the page.

Mr WetBehindTheEars youngster doctor drew my blood and sent it off to the lab. “Now,” he said, “lets take a look at that list while we wait for the results.” Hub and I hummed quitetly to ourselves and generally tried to avoid making eye contact.

He read calmly for a while, then looked up at me over the top of his glasses. I grinned. Crossing his legs, he pulled his glasses off and rubbed his eyes in a very tired way.  “Tell me seriously now,” he said, “is a bannana split really on your dietary guidelines?” “Well,” I said, trying to look sheepish enough, “bannanas are good for you.” 

That night, little Melody was born weighing in at 9 lbs and 4 and 1/2 ounces.  And the round, fat cheeks on that kid were to pinch for!  Must have been all them bananas.


bob.JPGThis The following is an unschedualed alert to inform readers of an insideous new plot by the PS3 Playstions all over the world to take over the minds of young players every where.   Bob Gentry was last seen over one week ago when he first got his new “TOY”.  Since interfacing with this device he has gradually lost all contact with the real world and his station has been replying on his blog for him!   Mothers all over the world must act now before it is too late.  I fear all is lost for Bob but mothers must unite now and go cut the power to your homes at the breaker box! Do it now before all is lost. Do NOT fail to heed my warning.


It was getting  close to my time.  I was having numerous contractions.  We were getting very nervous.   Also we lived about a two hour drive from the hospital.

The car we inherited was a 1963 green Volkswagen bug that only ran when it felt like it.  Let’s just say that the gas mileage was even better when we had to push.  Being so far away from the hospital was nerve wracking  but this was my second child so my man figured I knew what I was doing.  So did I.

Our first trip was sooo exciting!  Just imagine, our first child together as a family. After we had driven for one hour towards Portland  our fantasies of familial harmony and well being were suddenly put on hold as we were pulled over by the police.   A tall officer of the law strolled over to our vehicle and asked what the rush was?  “My wife’s in labour officer! We’re on our way to OHSU.”    He replied, “Really?” as he bent over sideways and  gazed at my belly looking like he thought I had stuffed a pillow under my shirt. “Were you aware you had a tail light out?” He asked in an accusatory tone.  “Yes Yes officer, I promise I’ll take care of that as soon as we get to the hospital! said hubby.  The man with the badge stood and considered this for a moment then said, “I think I better check your turn signals and make sure they are all in working order.”   He walked around back.   My husband whispered, “Great! What will we do now? The signals don’t blink  automatically!”  I wispered back, “Just slip your hand up there and move the handle up and down with the same rhythm of the blinker!”  My man managed to pull off this charade and the officer almost wrote us a warning ticket for the broken tail light.  I grabbed my huge belly and groaned. That got us outta there quick.  

When we began the ascent up the hill to the hospital, the bug died.  It was only a 6 volt machine and running here with the headlights on had severely taxed its’ capabilities. Hub slammed on the brakes (at least they still worked) and sat for a moment thinking.  Why did these things always happen late at night in the dark with no one else around?

“Ok, sweetie here’s what we’er going to do.  Let’s push the bug around the corner where there’s that really long steep incline and when the car is rolling good we’ll jump in and I’ll pop the clutch.”    I said, “Wait! Hold on a minute! You can’t pop the clutch going DOWN HILL BACKWARDS!  What if a car comes? Have YOU EVER done that?!”    He just grinned and said, “As long as you stand here and argue with me we’ll never know if it can be done, will we?”  I started to argue but was hit by another contraction and I decided to place some energy else where. 

We lined the bug up and began to push. (I wished I was at the hospital doing the other kind of pushing) Have you ever seen a 9 months pregnant woman pushing a Volkswagen bug backwards down a hill? It’s not a very pretty sight, I’ll tell you!

The car began to roll and just as I started to fling my rotund self into  the car the door caught on a hillside and bent on the hinge. I yelped and hub hit the brakes. “Great” , he said. Now we have to start over again. “And I’m soooo thankful you didn’t run your wife over with THE CAR!, I snapped. I got out and tried to close to bent door.

Getting into position again we began to roll down hill and we both leaped in.  Well, he leaped in. I threw my butt into the seat and hauled my legs in with my arms.  Then I held the bent door shut as we gained speed coasting down the hill. Popping the clutch the car sputtered to life and we chugged the rest of the way to the hospital.

I was dilated 3 centimeters but my labor had stopped.   The doctor looked at me and said, “Well this is highly unusual for someone whose had a child before. Sometimes over exertion or excitement will cause labor to stop.  Was your trip up here eventful?

We both looked over at each other , simultaneously shrugged our shoulders and said, “Nahhhh, Piece of Cake”.

Next blog, the last trip to the Portland Hospital.

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June 2019
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