Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Chocolate Mint Explosion

The LB and our Middle Child decided to repaint what had been the Youngest Child's bedroom. Since she left home over six years ago and hasn't tried to move back yet, they felt it was safe to do some updating, and maybe add a few modern touches to make it over into a serviceable guest room.

In principal this sounded good, but when I was asked to help pick out paint, I knew something was amiss since my choices are always "white" or maybe "off-white". When asked why she needed me, the LB confessed that the salesman told her if she wanted the color she had selected, she had to bring her husband in with her before he would mix it. This aroused my interest to the point where I agreed to tag along.

At the paint display, we found ourselves at opposite ends of the samples. I was in front of the beiges and eggshells, and they went over to the dark side. Quickly, I was over-ruled (like I really thought I would have a vote!) and the decision came down to which flavor of paint they wanted...milk or dark chocolate?

Back in Naruna, furniture was quickly pushed into the center of the room, switchplates and outlet covers removed, and painting clothes put on. The first splashes of dark brown were applied to the mint green the Youngest Child had smeared on the walls while in high school, and after the first feelings of queasiness passed, it looked like nothing so much as a splattering of mint chocolate chip ice cream. Thankfully, the brown went on quickly and before long it was drying and revealing its true milk chocolatey nature.

After the first couple of coats dry sufficiently, it will be time to do some taping and trim work. I may even be allowed to help out with that since I won't have to make any strategic decisions...just put the paint on the wood!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Texas State Fair

Last weekend the LB and I headed up to Dallas to visit family and the state fair. We have gone to the state fair everywhere we have lived; South Carolina, Kentucky, Hawaii, etc.; but had never been to the Texas fair. This has really eaten at my Lovely Bride, especially since we were both born in Texas, raised in Texas, attended schools in Texas, married in get the idea.

I think what finally pushed her over the edge this year was when she found a list of events which was headed by "The Donkey & Mule Show". I don't know if I have mentioned it before, but my LB is not always rational when it comes to the subject of donkeys. After we went to see the movie, "Mamma Mia", our youngest daughter was told she had to have a "wedding donkey" whenever she finds the right guy. Finding that right guy may be more difficult after he finds out about his future mom-in-law and her donkey fetish. The LB is the only woman I know who carries plain granola bars in her purse just in case she runs into a little donkey in need of a snack.

When she discovered the state fair was hosting a show with all sizes and varieties of donkeys, she would not be deterred. She had to attend! And guess who was to be her sidekick for the weekend?

Dallas is usually not my favorite city in Texas, which probably stems from a bad experience with a blind date to the SMU football game during my freshman year at Texas A&M. However, one good aspect of Big D is the multitude of places to dine out. Naruna is a wonderful place to live, but if you want something to eat, you cook it yourself. I decided that if we were to be cruising the midway all day, we needed a decent meal beforehand, so made reservations at Lawry's. This is a great place so long as you are interested in large hunks of beef, presented with a little flair. We had a good meal, a good visit with family, and a good night's sleep before heading to Fair Park early the next morning.

The first stop after entering the fairgrounds was the Equine Pavillion, where all the donkeys were hanging out. Big donkeys, miniature donkeys, unhappy donkeys and sleepy donkeys. After roaming through the barn and failing to find any unsupervised donkeys small enough to slip into her purse, the LB decided to watch some of the competitions in the arena. Exciting as this was, and as cute as the little donkeys were, eventually we moved on to the exhibits and then to the main attraction...The Fried Stuff!

We wandered through the hundreds of food booths, in search of the perfect fair food. You could sample chicken fried bacon, fried banana splits, deep fried S'mores, deep fried grilled cheese sandwichs, and the list goes on forever. The possibility of suffering a grease overdose is everpresent, so careful planning is called for. We started with a smoked turkey leg and some fresh squeezed lemonade... health food. Our first fried food was a battered and deep-fried Moon Pie, drizzled with chocolate syrup and dusted with powdered sugar...a gooey and wonderful mess! Of course, no trip to the fair would be complete without a real State Fair Corny Dog since this is where they were invented and first served. The corny dogs were washed down with some fresh brewed root beer. After riding the ferris wheel, we found fried Jelly Bellys for dessert as we headed for the parking lot and home.

I can already tell we will need to allow more time next year for sampling(and digesting) all the interesting foods. Road trip, anyone??

2nd Anniversary

Warning! A great deal of whining and psychobabble follows:
Today marks the second anniversary of my most recent serious attempt to kill myself. I must quickly state that none of these attempts have ever been deliberate or premeditated...they just seem to happen. This has not kept family members from labelling me as suicidal or at least not very smart when it comes to engaging in risky behaviors.

Two years ago at about this time of day, I was lying in a bed in a large metropolitan trauma center, full of IV drugs, with more catheters and tubes than I had orifices, and was unable and unwilling to move any part of my body because everything hurt. I was in this condition after literally getting lost in the fog on the way to work and failing to navigate a curve I had gotten around without incident twice a day for the past eight years. When I awoke, my motorcycle was on top of me with the headlamp shining up into the fog, and my helmet was sitting upright in the center of the road. After awhile, a couple of guys on their way to work came along and called the appropriate agencies. A quick ride to the local hospital(where I happen to work-embarrassing!), was followed by a helicopter ride to what is dubiously called "the next level of care". After spending 5 or 6 days in the big city hospital, it was decided I was probably stable enough to survive surgery and to begin putting some of the more annoying broken stuff back together.

Now it is two years later, there have been a few more surgeries, and a couple more are still on the not too distant horizon. My body still feels much the same as it did two years ago, with everything still hurting, just not as bad. I still have to stop and think before starting up or down stairs about which foots goes first. Changes in the weather frequently mean sleepless nights with no pain free way of lying down, and a headache only attracts attention when it isn't "the usual".

Whining aside, I have returned to most of my pre-crash activities, and have had some real adventures. Going to Italy this summer for the first time was a fantastic experience, and even though it was physically demanding I would go again without hesitation. With the current economic situation throughout the world, I am glad we went when we did, even though it seemed costly at the time.

The one activity I haven't picked up again has been riding a motorcycle. I have been offered the opportunity a couple of times by friends, but I have pled physical infirmity. My old and beat-up BMW Airhead is sitting in the garage, still minus its fairing. I have intermittently worked at fixing it, but until recently haven't accomplished much. I want to ride it again. I feel I NEED to ride it again. But can I bring myself to actually climb aboard, fire it up, and head off into the sunset?? How much of my desire to ride again comes from being schooled in the John Wayne School of Stoicism & Moral Fiber?..."Get up and climb back on that hoss that just throwed you, Pilgrim!" As long as the bike isn't completed, the mental confrontation and anguish can be delayed and postponed.

I have decided I need to get the bike back together and running. That is the first hurdle. Until I clear that one, I won't think about the next which will be whether to go back to riding again. Now where is the number for that bike shop?