Monday, March 26, 2012

My Grass Got Kicked

If anyone tells you that they enjoy push-mowing their lawn, you should immediately demand some of the crack they are smoking. Or ask for the name of their landscaper.

Y'all, let me tell you something. I would rather do just about anything than push-mow a lawn EVER again.  I mowed our front and back lawns this morning as a gift to my sweet husband, but I think I will still to baking cookies and making sweet tea for him to enjoy after HE mows from now on.

Long story short, I am off school today and the lawns need to be mowed.  House needs to be cleaned too, but my thought process was--mow in the morning while it's relatively cool, clean in the afternoon in the air conditioning.  Seemed like a good idea at the time.

Heard that one before? 

I dutifully cleaned up all the dog business in the yard, a pre-mowing ritual at our house.  Then I dragged the little red mower out of the shed and put it in position.  I pulled back the little handle, and pulled the cord with all my might, but nothing happened.  Ok.

I repeated the process.  Nothing.  Ok.  I checked the gas.  Plenty.  I repeated the process.  Nothing.  Ok, little red mower.  I have two degrees and wrangle 7th graders for a living.  You will not outsmart me.

Well, the mowing was supposed to be a surprise for Brian, but do I want to surprise him more than I want to accomplish the task? Not today, my friends, so I called him to ask how to start the darn thing.

"Well, did you choke it?" he asked after he picked himself up off the floor from the shock of my intention to mow the grass.  "Uh, choke, you say?  What is the choking you speak of?"  I replied. 

Apparently there is a little red button on the front of the mower that "primes" the machine after it's been sitting.  Ah hah.  Push one, two, three.  Repeat the starting ritual, and voila!  A live lawn mower! 

I proceeded to mow the top tier of our lawn with little trouble, but there are places that will benefit from the attention of the weed eater.  The May flies were taking off the grass by the thousands as I rolled along, and I discovered one shouldn't have their mouth hanging open while mowing the grass, struggling for breath the hard way.  Oh well, a little extra protein never hurt anyone. 

My next challenge was the bottom tier of the yard.  Narrow and down about 5 steps.  I wrestled the mower down there and chopped down the enormous, gnarly weeds.  But the grass was a little too dewy still and it bunched up under the mower and trapped the blade.  I did discover this after turning off the mower.  I still have all my digits, but they are a bit stained from the kelly green wet mess I had to extract from under the mower.  Grrr.

Next was the front yard.  In the hot morning March sun.  Neighbors I have never seen before are waving as they drive by as if to say, "Howdy!  Bout dang time you did something about this lawn, lady! Making the neighborhood look bad!" 

I'm also not real good with the grass boundary with the neighbors, so those lines look a little like I was drinking a Stella while walking along. Unfortunately, I am not that coordinated or I might have tried.  (I miss the riding mower.  There was a cup holder on it.  Sigh.) 

But, the grass is mowed.  You can't say it isn't.  I haven't attempted the weed eater yet, but something tells me that Brian will have to do that.  I have some cookies to bake.

My grass is kicked.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy O'Remission Day to Ya!

I took Brian to San Antonio on Friday.  He knew that part through a slip o' my big mouth, but he didn't know the other details.

He didn't know he was staying at The Menger Hotel, across from the Alamo, until we pullled up in front.  He was delighted, but his first question was, "Hey, uh, isn't this place haunted?"  Uh, heck yeah it is, but I didn't want to tell the big scardy cat that.  He has his gun and handcuffs, right?  He'll be fine....I hope.

I had been antsy the whole trip down, and you would think it was the traffic--at least that is what Brian thought, thank goodness.  Actually it was the concern we might see one of his surprises on the way down there.

You see, back in December, I asked his two best friends and their wives to meet us in San Antonio as a surprise.  I had no idea I would be able to keep a secret that long, but I did.  Chris and Cathy live in Burleson and had left about the same time we did. 

Turns out that even with a stop at Jason's Deli in San Marcos, another luxury we usually do not afford ourselves on road trips, we still beat them down to SA. 

After checking into The Menger, we ambled on in to The Menger Bar to enjoy the ambience.  Teddy Roosevelt recruited some of his Rough Riders in the cozy little bar.  It is quite dark in there, especially when you first walk in from outside, but the bartender poured generous vodka tonics.  We sat down to enjoy each other's company and unbeknownst to Brian, to wait for his surprise to come walking in.

Matt and Wendy, our other friends, could not join us until the next day, but fortunately they don't live very far from San Antonio.

As we sat there and talked about how great it was to be there and celebrating one year of remission, Brian looked up to see one of his best friends amble through the bar.  He looked happily confused for a minute as Chris walked right past him.  Cathy was a few steps behind. 

Surprise!!  Whew!  Now I could tell him everything!  I had been about to bust for weeks!! 

That night we went to Waxy O'Conner's on the Riverwalk for dinner and drinks.  Chris tried the 30 year old Glenfidditch for a measly $50.  Yikes!  I'm not a whiskey girl, but it was all right.  Apparently you can really taste the oak.  I will stick to vodka tonics...or Smithwick's or even Guinness...but never all in the same evening. 

Next morning Matt and Wendy arrived and the party was complete. We went to The Alamo at noon for a wreath laying ceremony for the Irish Americans lost at The Battle of the Alamo.  After lunch there was a little parade on the river.  Then it was time to fight our way back into Waxy's for the evening.  The boys didn't have to wait long for a table. 

Pipers came and went throughout the afternoon up and down the river.  It made Brian think of Scotland and how we will soon be there.  Another side effect from his illness--carpe diem.  He does not believe in wasting a moment. 

We drank and talked and ate, thoroughly enjoying the party atmosphere and ever cognizant of the gift it all was.  Brian gave us all a good scare, and I think it's affected each of our little group a little differently.  One thing I can say for sure is that we don't take each other or our lives for granted.

It was a wonderful weekend. Great friends, beautiful city, no ghosts.  We are thinking of upping the ante next year and heading to Chicago for St. Pat's. 

No matter where we go, we will not forget the preciousness of life and great friends. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

One Year On...

This weekend is St. Patrick's Day.  March 17th.  My nephew's 6th birthday.  A day to be with friends and drink too much kelly green beer.  A day to wear green and pinch those who are not. 

And Brian's one year remission anniversary.

I have been planning a trip to celebrate since January.  He's pretty impressed that I have kept a secret this long. So am I, to be honest.  I would tell you all about it, but he reads this blog and there are lots of details he doesn't know yet.  So--you will have to wait until we get home Sunday to hear the details and how much he loved it!

One year cancer-free.  And even as he makes the one year mark, one of my students is diagnosed with leukemia.  Fortunately, she will be cured as well.  I was devastated by my husband's illness.  I cannot imagine going through it with a child.  She is a brave little girl and her mom is upbeat and supportive.  We plan to get Fight Like A Girl orange bracelets to remind her that though she cannot be at school with us for now, we have not forgotten her.

Speaking of going through cancer with a child, my mother in law went with Brian to his latest maintenance treatment.  It stresses Brian out if anyone but me goes with him; he feels the need to entertain them when he should be resting.  When I go, I have to entertain myself and I know the routine. 

He likes to sleep through a lot of it, and I cannot blame him.  But his mother needed to see what happens to him in a treatment, needed to see what he went through, and I cannot blame her either.  He didn't get to sleep much because she had so many questions, but it was important for her to be there.  You can try to describe the experience, but it's hard to really understand unless you have been there. 

I think Wilma feels a little better seeing exactly what Brian endured...and will still 5 more times before it's all over.  We have a PET scan in May.  I am not afraid of this one like I was the one he had last March.  Last March was the all clear scan, the one that told us the nightmare was over.  This one will just confirm that we still are living the dream. 

Tune in Sunday to hear how he liked his surprise!  It's going to be so great!! Slainte (Cheers) to remission for all!!