Snow days

Sometimes I worry about my kid. He says and does the strangest things. Then I remember… he’s MY kid… with the influence of Terry and Nikki and Millie and all of our friends. I suppose it’s only fitting that he be freaking strange. We’ve determined that he sounds like the psychos from Borderlands when he gets over-tired.

He will be ten years old in just a few short weeks. I can’t believe how time has flown. It’s baffling. We’re being bad parents and letting him see Deadpool for his birthday. Beyond that he said he wants to go bowling… so Terrace Lanes… here we come.

My story today is about my first winter in North Carolina. I wasn’t new to snow, we previously visited Maine one fall and played in 4 foot snow drifts. We didn’t get much snow at the brown house though. The very first time, my brother took me out to find a sled. We were too late. There had been a run on everything. We managed to find a little round one a few days later at ave hardware. Thinking back on it, we could have gotten away with using a trash can lid.

The next time, we were ready. School was out, Old Red Socks took the day off. “No one’s going to buy cars in the snow!” he huffed. Since my mom was a full time homemaker, the three of us decided too play. I wanted to go sledding, only there wasn’t a lot of snow on the ground. We climbed to the top of the hill in the vacant lot next door. I slid down a few times. There wasn’t even enough to make a good snow man.

The three of us piled into the car and started driving. My dad knew right where he wanted to go. He jumped on the parkway to head toward Mount Mitchell. We paused along the way to stop at Craggy Gardens. I didn’t know as a child that the frost covering the rhodedendron was called rime ice, or that it happened because of the high speeds of the freezing wind over the uniquely shaped crest. All I knew is that it truly looked and felt like a winter wonderland.

My dad would stand at the overlook, pretending to not be cold. “Look at that Jennifer,” (I grew up bring called jennifah in his heavy Maine accent) “ain’t that something special. Very few people get to see this sight.”. At eight years old, I believed him. The day was suddenly even more special than when we started out.

The snow was loose and fresh. The parkway was open almost to the top of Mount Mitchell. We stopped at the restaurant and carried the sleigh over to the field.

Where Craggy Gardens we’re covered in hard, unforgiving ice, the lawn here was coated in two feet of soft snow. We sled for what felt like hours – it might have been. We made it home and kicked on the heat and curled up after a great day.

A cool little break

Allow me to start this by saying that my son had never seen snow. He wanted so desperately to experience snow, that he even got excited by the snow on his Minecraft game.

I made him a deal, that we would try and catch a weekend where it looked like it was going to snow and turn it into a long weekend to play in the snow in Asheville.

I did not however expect it to show up so quickly.

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Work was okay with the short notice, I just had a bunch of make up stuff. I was going to make it just Ethan and I, because I didn’t want to submit Terry to an unseasonably cold snow front.

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Not only did he want to come, but he also enjoyed himself. He got to see the Asheville and Black Mountain that I grew up in. The rare snow day that you usually have to live there to catch.

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It was a great trip and I’ll never forget it. I can’t wait to make our plans come to life. Hopefully by this time next year, we’ll be able to have fun on ALL the snow days.

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Exploits from the Brown House

We were real original types when I was younger. We moved into a brand new little L-shaped house at the bottom of a hill when I was seven years old. It was dubbed the Brown House because of the natural wood siding. It had a back porch that stretched across the length of the home. And when you stood on that porch, you were able to take in the best view imaginable.

Sure the field behind the house was littered with abandoned cars. The cows would meander between them going about their business of grazing. Beyond that golden field and tree tops a pair of mountain tops rose into the sky. As a child, I never knew their names. I can now tell you that they were High Top and Lakey Knob. They were not famous mountains that someone put into folklore… and obviously the discoverer’s of these hills were as creative as my own family in their nomenclature. But these hills filled the artwork and dreams of a little girl for years to come.
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We ended up in North Carolina, renting this sweet little house because my family had money problems. At seven, I didn’t know what bankruptcy or foreclosure meant. All I knew is that it meant I had to leave my friends. I was upset all of about a month. The mountains whispered their promise of adventure to me and there was no more room for mourning.

Call in the pros

I often exaggerate how many times I’ve moved in my life. Part of that reason is because I forget from one moment to the next. I sat down and added up the number and it has come out to a conservative 21 times.

12 of those times was because of my dad, Old Red Socks. You see, when I was little, they had some money problems. I never knew any details, but it prompted a few moves. To save face, we moved to Black Mountain when I was 7. After that, there were some years we would move twice.

Old Red Socks was a car salesman. He claimed he had to go where the business was. Winters were too cold in North Carolina to sell cars and summers were too hot in Florida. But in truth he’d get irritated after a long hard freezing or sweltering day. “To hell with this shit! We’re moving!” And so we’d move. I went to six different elementary schools and two different middle schools.

Needless to say that I never had a lot of friends. After he and my mom split up, we continued to struggle financially and as renters, we would often have to move a lot.

I’m currently living in a home for the longest amount of time ever. We’ll be moving again soon. We have a plan this time though. A short stay with family, then downsize for a bit while we build the lady home that I’ll have to worry about moving into.

The prospect makes me giddy. The sooner we take the first step, the quicker we can save money. The closer I am to finally having a place to call mine. A place to settle and finally plant roots. A place that I can always come back to, that Ethan can always call home.

I held it together when I heard about David Bowie’s passing. It was a horrible loss of a man that inspired so much.

My heart is breaking though at the news of Alan Rickman’s death. He was a hero since my childhood. He was always one of my favorite actors.

Both will be sorely missed and my deepest sympathies to their families and friends. May your next lives be filled with as much magic and joy as you brought to others.

In a side note, congratulations to the the new millionaires from last night. Please be wise with your winnings and don’t squander your lives. There were numerous people that desperately could have used such a windfall, I hope you are one of them.

Very fallible

I love electronics. I’m not one of those social media obsessed zombies, but I’ve always had a knack for just understanding how devices work. I’ve built and repaired my fair share of computers. The devices however, don’t really like me. I can’t wear watches because they die. Cameras stop working in my hands and sewing machines cease function when I step into a room.

Needless to say, that any “smart device” has a few quirks in my hands. I believe there really are ghosts in the machines. I’ve come to terms with the strange auto corrects and odd things that my phone and computer do. But we’ve gotten to know each other, and get along pretty well now.

Recently there has been a new addition. My poor computer is slowly dying,and we found a great deal on a small tablet. It’s pretty quick and versatile. But it’s personality is starting to show. I’ve started a particular blog about five times. I remember starting it a few times. Once I even made it all the way through the post and scheduled it… yet the post does not appear anywhere. Not on WordPress, not in my Google drive, not in the notes… it just keeps vanishing.

For whatever reason, the tablet doesn’t want to share the story of my father. So this time I’m writing it on my phone. It’s a touch slower, but effective nonetheless… at least I hope. If it doesn’t update this time, then there is a higher power at work.

On a brighter note, I’m sitting here with a pair of tickets in my pocket that had the potential to change a lot of lives. People waste and squander their chances, end up going bankrupt, throw away every good thing that they once knew. The universe has a plan for us all, so despite all of the dreams I may have regarding the ticket I hold, I will only get to accomplish what I deserve. It might happen tomorrow, or it might have to be a slow and stay climb. But for today, I have a dream of it happening at once. If being able to actually do everything I’ve set out for instead of sacrificing my ability to give to others just to keep a roof over our heads.

Fingers crossed.

The epic of Old Red Socks

Children often idolize their parents and love them unconditionally. As they grow, their feelings mature. This isn’t a story about a hero, a great man, or an idol. It’s an ongoing tale on accepting people for their flaws and loving them despite their quirks. It’s a story about how difficult that can be.

My father was, and is, very charismatic with strangers. You know the old idiom “he could sell ice to an Eskimo”? Well while that phrase is not p.c. now adays, every aspect of it fits my father  (including the non p.c.ness of it).

Old Red Socks was a car sales man. He didn’t get his name from his favorite baseball team  (in fact he hated baseball) but rather from the think red socks he wore (wears) every day of his life.

Charismatic he may have been, but also opinionated, judgemental, prejudice and boisterous. He didn’t give a rats ass to who he might offend with his backwards opinions about the world. Luckily we had a very down to earth mother to mitigate any permanent prejudice scarring, and the four of us grew up relatively normal and open minded.

My father’s favorite phrase  (even to this day) was “Very few white people and no n*****s can do/see/experience this.” So that kind of sets the stage for you.

He grew up on a little farm in Maine with 8 brothers and sisters. His grandmother was from Germany, though the rest of his family was born in America. He settled in Florida after spending a tour in the army as a medic. This wasn’t to say he had any skill with actual medicine. He could wrap an ace bandage like nobody’s business and his miracle cure for everything was Raleigh’s Medicated Ointment.

I’m not sure how he met my mother, one of my siblings will have to fill that in if they know. She was eighteen and just out of high school. He was already 27. My sister came first, then my two brothers over the next 4 years. I was last, and I was adopted twenty years later.

Since my father was already fifty when I was born, he was already set in his way and close to permanently pickling his liver  (he has since some this effectively and I have doubts that he’ll ever die as long as he keeps drinking). So I have some wild and crazy stories to share about this good ol’ yank who lived each day like it might be his last. My family has agreed to share a few stories as well of our childhood.

So keep your eyes open, pour yourself a shot of scotch and understand these are not my views or the views of my siblings, but the views of Old Red Socks. And try to keep an open mind.