Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Our Turn to Be Smug

To David:

Smugly stuffing your face you lost weight;
Burning every last morsel you found;
Now limiting the calories on your plate,
This week you gained back a pound!

Hahahahahahah!!!!!!

Welcome to the rest of us, honey pie.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Don't call her bluff. She's not bluffing.

Portland's public transportation system is called Tri-Met. And my buddy Ginny B. knows what it's good for. She's a Love and Logic mama if I ever saw one. I love this story she told me:

A few days ago my darling little baby boy borrowed my car so he could drive to night school. So, imagine my surprise when his teacher called and wondered where Andy was.

"Why, he is in school. I know because he borrowed by car to go to school!" Uh huh.

In strolls Andy just when he should, as school was out. When I asked him how school was, I got the usual response.

"Fine."

I like to think I am a rational person, but I had had two hours to stew over this situation. Imagining all of the places he was and all the trouble he was getting into. How he was running out all of my gas and would bring my car back empty.

I said loudly (but, not yelling), "Your teacher called twice! You have NOT been in school. You are NEVER going to drive my car again!"

His response: " What are you going to do, take me off the insurance?" He knows I would never do that.

"No," I said, "I will take you to school and bring you home, and you will still NEVER drive my car."

Today is Andy's 19th birthday. As I left my bedroom this morning there was a piece of paper dangling by a string from my doorframe. It read "Please, please let me borrow your car today! I need to go to the bank to get money for my birthday. Consider it my birthday present. Please, please!"

I quietly went into his bedroom and started singing "Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you" and handed him $2 for Tri-Met.

Friday, January 27, 2006

A Padded Room Sounds Nice

I am still alive. I know this because I'm typing, which is a positive sign that my vital signs are stable and synapses are firing. It's been a long day.

Handed the girls over to Mom after making them waffles, and drove to the clinic in Vancouver. Got two treatments today; the usual knock-me-over IV treatment, plus the one where Dr. M removes a unit of my blood, treats it and then returns it to my body. We usually chat during my treatment, and today we started talking about politics and religion. Wrong. While he and I share common ground in many areas, politics and religion are not included. It was still a friendly, although heated discussion but it distracted him while he was hanging my blood to be drained back in and the next thing I knew he swore and there was blood everywhere. It was on the tubing and on his gloved hands and on his pants. I don't even know what happened to cause the accident. He cleaned it all up but that wasn't the end of it.

While that was going on, my IV site occluded and a large clot developed in the end of the tubing. So he removed the tubing and attempted to reopen the IV with heperin without success. He had to insert a new canula. Then, he had to get the clot out of the end of the tube, trying not to lose the whole tube and more of my blood with it. Carefully regulating the stopcock, he opened the tube over a pile of gauze and tissue and the clot came out in a stringy glob. Naturally, the next thing that happened was that the entire tube decided to let lose and started pouring out before he could get the stopcock closed.

This time my blood was on the gauze, the table, my chart, and his lap top. Blood is such a beautiful color, one of the richest reds known in nature. I almost made that comment to him, but wisely chose not to as he wiped everything down with disinfectant again, with what sounded like an low growl.

Finally, everything was clean again and I got the remainder of my blood back. He then started the second IV treatment, with no discussion of politics and I went and sat in the treatment room without further incident. The treatment room consists of three recliners and one rocking chair and there is usually one or two other patients in there. Today a friend I haven't seen for a couple months was there and we had a nice visit, so it ended well.

Now I'm home and starting to crash from the treatment, physically and mentally, but it's the start of my real day off and I'm grateful. No matter what your religion is or beliefs are, you should set a side a day as a sanctuary in time. Don't give me excuses, I'm as busy as all of you. Just do it.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Three Link Thursday

If you have time to read it, this is a fascinating (and bittersweet) article, with great writing.

Notice this forecast. If, when in Portland, you are seen using an umbrella you will be marked as a tourist. Oregonians don't do umbrellas. If there is a downpour you just walk faster. About two weeks ago we had some very heavy rains (which is saying a lot) and many Oregonians realized that an umbrella might come in handy. The problem was we couldn't find them, buried forever among life's detritus of things used once and then forgotten; rollerblades, Flowbees, urns, umbrellas.

If you are easily queased, do not open this next link. I dedicate it to my sister, Mia. For the rest of you who are wondering why I would do something like that, let me attempt an explanation. She and I have very interesting conversations in which we solve most of the world's problems. In this case, we have discussed opening the world's most effective diet website and product line. (Anyone want to name this website?) The point is to keep the dieter nauseated at all times. Specially selected clips from Fear Factor would be included. This article would be included. It's genius. Stupid, yet genius (just like me and my sis).

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Thrill is Gone

Dear Spouse,

I'm not sure I like you. I admit that this past week I haven't tried to lose weight or get in shape, but I have been careful, suspiciously eyeing each morsel of food, and imagining each muscle fiber re-flabbing itself while I've been sick this week. I was anxious as I stepped on the scale this morning for our weekly weigh-in. I neither lost nor gained.

You on the other hand. One night you ate two plates of nachos before you went to bed. You drink large, undiluted glasses of juice. You've emptied our secret stash of truffles. All the cashews have disappeared. You had thirds of taco salad.

You lost two pounds.

I don't like you.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Sunday Poem -- "I Am a Shape" Part II

My spouse, so trim, has been gloating,
So slender he feels he is floating;
But don't ever impugn --
He gets moody each moon,
While my crotchety comes with more bloating.

Friday, January 20, 2006

When Parental Efforts Backfire


In this household, we BAM the grumpy bug. This has come in very useful over the years with tired and fussy girls.

"I think that naughty grumpy bug has been biting you. You need to BAM it!"

This is followed by little fists banging on the floor, wall, couch, wherever we happen to be. Sometimes, after a successful bamming, one of the girls will gingerly pick up the grumpy bug's carcass, pinched between her thumb and forefinger. They take it to the bathroom and triumphantly flush it.

"And DON'T COME BACK!"

Tonight the girls were in the tub. Summerlyn had definitely been bitten by the grumpy bug and was wailing away after some minor offense (such as "Sydney looked at me!!!" or "My toes are wet!!"). Daddy told her to BAM the grumpy bug.

"I don't want to!" Wail....

He tries again,"Oh, you really should BAM it!"

Sydney joins in, "Here it is!" and starts hitting the sides of the tub with her fist as hard as she can. "BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM!"

Summerlyn, wails, "No! That's not the grumpy bug. I am the grumpy bug!"

Most of you readers, being quite bright, have already figured the inevitable next scene. Yes, Sydney, cheerfully and with great gusto, BAMs the Grumpy Bug.

WAIL!!!!!!!

Lesson Learned by Summerlyn: Never claim to be the grumpy bug.
Lesson Learned by Parents: We'll let you know when we figure it out.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Three Link Thursday

I know of one dad who's getting nothing on Father's Day this year.

Health Duh moment of the week.

Crunchy on the outside, chewy in the center.

Life is More Neato with Spell Check

When I wrote that last post Spell Check gave me some very interesting alternatives to some of the words I used. My sister Mia called while I was writing it and we had a good laughing session with lots of chortles and snorts. Using words from my previous post I've written the following paragraph followed by a paragraph using the changes Spell Check suggests for my first paragraph. Follow?

My Paragraph
I'm so glad I enjoyed lounging around in the jacuzzi last weekend. The lodge has a nice selection of four hot steaming jacuzzi's that are so relaxing. I wish I had jacuzzi's at home. It would be nice to dangle my toes in the jacuzzi while eating a plate of deep-fried jalepenos.

My Paragraph as Paraphrased by Spell Check
I'm so glad I enjoyed lounging around in the jackass last weekend. The lodge has a nice selection of four hot steaming sausage's that are so relaxing. I wish I had a jockeys at home. It would be nice to dangle my toes in the jackass while eating a plate of deep-fried Calvinists.

My conversation with my sister got much worse than that -- the possibilities were endless -- but I try to keep this blog tasteful (I heard that snort, JoAnne).

Monday, January 16, 2006

Ahhhhhh


Friday night we dropped off the girls. We said "we're leaving now..." They just said, "ok," gave us the briefest of hugs and ran away to play. I wanted to cry out, "Don't you know that I issued you forth from my loins and I love you more than life itself??" But they would have just said, "ok," and ran away to play.

We drove up the beautiful Columbia Gorge until we got to Stevenson. Looming out of the misty dark was the great Lodge. Our bellman was dressed like a forest ranger and gave us helpful information as we wound through the vast halls to our room. Very tastefully appointed. Lots of wood, but not so much Western decor that we felt like we were trapped in an episode of Gunsmoke. The honor basket contained many tasty Northwestern-y treats, like chocolate covered hazelnuts, for outrageous prices. The Hotel Staff asks if you Please put your children on collateral for the potato chips -- enjoy your stay.

Oh the short-lived joy of charging everything to one's room. We went down to the more informal of the two restaurants and had a lovely meal. Then we wandered the halls, exploring the first floor with its vast Hearth room and the piano that David pestered me to play (I didn't).

Then the jacuzzi. The Lodge has four jacuzzi's and we chose the one outside which is irregularly shaped like a natural pool. It was lightly raining and misty that night. The near-full moon glowed in the clouds. Steam rising from the water. No interruptions of "Mommy, I've got to go potty!!" Ahhhh.

Deleted scene.

The next morning I woke up and had an epiphany. I had nothing to do when I got up. Is there much else as glorious as that? Of course there many days in my pre-child life that I had nothing to do when I got up, but it never felt as fantastic as it did after four and a half years of 24/7 responsibility.

Dear David made me breakfast in bed. Yes, it consisted of handing me a bowl of cereal with sliced bananas, but it was lovely. Then I got up when I felt like it. Ha! Take that, Responsibility, you unrepentant slave-master of maturity and other icky things. Ha HA!

We hiked (hike=walk at medium pace on moderately uneven ground with frequent panting breaks) along the Creek Trail which was muddy but beautiful with its swollen streams and gleaming ponds. Occasionally the trees would open up and we could see the forest clear across the Columbia River. I thanked God for this beauty.

Later we had virgin daiquiris (WAY to sweet for me, couldn't finish) and then found the library which was stocked with books and games. We started playing Scrabble and another couple sat at a table behind us playing their own Scrabble. I overheard the woman say, in quiet, dreamy tones:

"No baths to give."

"No Cheerios to dole out."

"No peanut butter in the hair."

David and I beamed at each other, in silent yet complete agreement with this stranger.

We sort of dressed for dinner and ate in the Very Nice Dining Room. The bad news is that the diet/fitness contest was totally ruined during the weekend. The good news is that my competitor joined me.

Outdoor jacuzzi in the moonlight again.

Deleted scene.

In the morning I got up leisurely, stretched. Pulled on my sweats and leisurely spun the elliptical in the gym for twenty minutes while freaks around me actually appeared to be chased by something, gathering actual sweat, and misunderstanding the whole spirit of rest and relaxation. I slid into the jacuzzi again and simmered until it was time to pad down the hall and get my....

First 80 minute massage. Oh mama. I'm too emotional for words right now. **dramatic sniffing**

Floated to my room, packed up and waved the gentle giant lodge goodbye. Stopped in Stevenson for lunch. Great Mexican food (El Rio Cafe), by the way. If I had ignored my higher powers of reasoning I could have eaten the whole plate of deep fried jalapeno's by myself, and even if I would have had my cardiologist and the Stevenson Fire Department by my side I still would have died.

Finally, we pulled into our friend's driveway. We saw little figures in the window peering out at us. We went in. You know how when a child is being brave and doing a great job in not crying but as soon as they seen their mommy they lose it? That's a good illustration on what happened next. The overwhelming joy, excitement and lack of sleep over the weekend hit them like a hammer as soon as we walked in the door.

Deleted scene.

The girls, weeping hysterically, asked our friend if they could stay for a week next time. We quickly moved in and extracted our progeny before our friend could hurt us. We wondered if the weekend had been worth it.

Oh yes.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Escape

David and I are going to Skamania Lodge for the weekend. This is the first time we've been away from our kids together as a couple. Feels good. Feels weird. The girls are spending the weekend at a friends house. There will be screaming, crying, and gnashing of teeth. But that's just the parents. The girls are so exciting about spending the weekend at their buddy's house they won't even notice we gone.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Three Link Thursday

I'm introducing Three Link Thursday, which will contain links that caught my eye for some reason and condensed into this blog for your viewing pleasure. The "three link" part will be rather loose, but it rhymes with Thursday, so works for me.

Green eggs and ham anyone?

And you thought cat calls were a bad thing.

No Really? You don't say. Detect a hint of sarcasm there? It's a nurse thing. OTC cough meds don't cure and aren't effective. Notice how some ads appear designed to make parents feel guilty if they don't give them to their child? But the drugs pad some corporation's golf fund, so hey!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Neverending Bedtime Challenge

This my extended response to Lawbrat's comment on The Bedtime Challenge.

The Neverending Bedtime Challenge:

Birth to 2 years:
Child: "Waaaaaaa!!!!"
Parent: "I'm sure it's your turn, dear."

2-7 years:
Child: "I'm thirsty!"
Parent: "For the eighteenth time, get BACK in bed!!"

7-13 years:
Child: "I'm not tired."
Parent: "For the eighteenth time, get BACK in bed!!"

13 years to adulthood:
Child: silence
Parent: "For the eighteenth time, get OUT of bed!!"

Empty Nest:
Parent: "I have to get up and pee AGAIN??"

I don't know about you, but I think I've just depressed myself.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

To Ginny B.


To my dear friend Ginny B. whom all the world must know is one of the loveliest angels to walk the earth. You have told me you don't think you are pretty but I tell you that beauty is not skin deep for your beauty radiates from the kindness and dignity in your heart and changes the world around you. I wish you a happy birthday and am honored to dedicate this poem to you.

She Walks in Beauty
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade more, one ray less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.
And on that cheek, and o'er that brow
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
Lord Byron (1788-1824)

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Bedtime Challenge

At this very moment the girls are doing their nightly routine called The Bedtime Challenge, also known as Who Can Drive Her Parents Insane the Fastest.

The twinlets are tucked into their tiny beds. We pull the covers up, kiss them, offer them potty break or water. Lights out, door closes. The Bedtime Challenge begins. The following phrases have been heard during this activity, but they experiment with new versions daily:

Door squeaks open:

"I have to go potty!"

"I'm thirsty."

"I love you a million and one!"

"I'm too hot!"

"I'm too cold!"

"Summerlyn fell asleep and won't talk to me!"

"My covers fell down. I need you to pull them up."

"There are small animals in my room."

"A snake bit me."

One time we saw the light on in their room and we opened the door. They whipped around and stared at us like deer in the headlights. They were kneeling on one of the beds, heads together, wearing hula skirts and fire helmets with the visors pulled down. Haven't a clue what they were doing. These are children who says things like "No Sydney, it's diurnal not nocturnal!" so for all we know they were planning the strategic overthrow of North Korea using only bendy straws and Play Doh. Keep an eye out for them in the news.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Round is a Shape


David and I are going to start a weight loss contest soon. For those who know us we expect to get the usual rolling of eyes and the "oh, please." Technically both of us are within the weight range for our heights, so really it's more of a fitness thing than a weight thing. We are totally out of shape. Today we were talking to people about wanting to go skiing again and David went on about the fact I've had three spinal surgeries and have a plate in my neck. Whatever. So I countered with:

"Are you in shape?"

He paused, then said brightly, "I'm a shape."

"Pear-shaped," offered a friend, whom he ignored.

The fact is, my back has less pain when I'm about 15 pounds lighter than I am. Plus I'm sure it would help me combat the (stupid, horrible, your-mama-is-a-slime-mold) Lyme Disease if I was in shape. I think I'm already all-muscle. It's just the jiggly, squishy, flabby kind.

I've already run into a potential problem in the contest. Not David; all I have to say is "chocolate" and he loses all sense of time and dimension. Tonight I told him he would have to walk for an hour to burn the calories from a chocolate bar. He said "Ooh! I could walk while eating the chocolate bar and be neutral! Whoohoo!" I also recall his comment, "I don't want to use the exercise bike: it makes my legs sore."

No, he won't be the hard part. It's the girls. They had two colds back-to-back and when they are sick they don't eat. They are slim girls, just like I was at that age, but they've lost a little weight and when you are growing but not eating you start to look like a stick bug. So here's the problem. I've got to plump them up while simultaneously not plumping me up.

The other day I made rice and beans for lunch. They also had tempura vegetables with dip, fresh guacamole, Mediterranean almonds, and coconut sorbet for dessert. I ate rice and beans. I tried to keep face in the rice while ignoring the forkfuls of lusciousness being stuck in mouths not my own. I've got to come up with a better plan.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

My name is Lolita and I'll be your server tonight

The spousal unit and I haven't gone out on a date for almost two years. I have grown very accustomed to not dressing up, although I used to love it. It's so much easier to dress like you're going to muck out a barn than go to a ball. I am pretty low maintenance and quite comfortable that way. I'd wear sweats to work every day if I could get away with it. And I mean old cruddy sweats, not anything in which J.Lo would be caught dead.

My work had a holiday party at a coworker's house. I decided this was my opportunity to dress up for once and I might as well go all out. The preparation nearly killed me. The initial shower took forever. I scrubbed every square inch with one of those scratchy gloves designed to exfoliate. I scrubbed off those dead cells with a vengence and wasn't satisfied until I saw gleaming bone.

Then there came the hair removal. If you took a Sasquatch to a spa, what tools would you use to defoliate him/her? Machete? Chain saw? I decided my three blade razor for women (because pastels remove female hair better than plain old black) would be sufficient, but how many boxes of them would I go through? I admit I get kind of lax about shaving in the winter when I'm covered from head to toe and no one but my husband sees the offensive fur unless of course I get in a car accident and brought to the emergency room which would, of course, only occur when I'm at my most furry and was wearing old and dirty underwear anyway. The ED staff would cut my clothes off and immediately decide that resuscitation wasn't that crucial after all.

I decided to start with the pruning shears then move to a hack saw for the more delicate work. Hours later I emerged from the shower bruised, weary, but fabulously smooth. Of course, my skin was now dry and flaking off like sawdust. Out came the creams. One for the face, another for the body, and another for the trouble spots. Spackled on the trouble-spot cream with a small trowel but didn't quite go through the entire five gallon bucket.

I looked in the mirror and found that I still had hair where it wasn't supposed to be. Says who, anyway? Why can't it be fashionable to look like you have a large black caterpillar crawling across your forehead? Or to look like you are wearing Ugg boots but you're not. Or to look like you've tucked chinchillas in your armpits but you haven't?

Nevertheless I plucked out each offending eyebrow hair until I stopped looking like a Frida Khalo impersonator. In third grade my archenemy told me I had a mustache. I spent a lot of time after that trying to find and remove it. Then I decided that if it wasn't visible to me, than it wasn't visible to anyone else. This logic is akin to believing if you have a bag over your head you're invisible, but it works for me.

On to the hair on the scalp. My stylist told me to blow dry until my hair feels too dry. So I did this until my hair crackled and started dusting my shoulders with ash. That ought to be good enough. I hadn't used a curling iron in a long time, so I bought one just for this occasion and cooked the remaining hair into pommes frites.

Then came the makeup. If you think this blog entry is endless, you should have sat watching me make an attempt at grooming. Or not. The concealer, the foundation, and again the trowel. My eyelash curler came from a Nazi physician's instruments kit. Mascara. Eye shadow! I last wore eyeshadow when I trying to woo my husband. Wooing now comes much easier ("honey, you feel like it tonight?" "honey, are you still breathing?") and so the eye makeup gathered dust. It was probably the dust that got smoothed over my lids oh-so-expertly. Lipliner. Lipstick.

Then the piece de resistance: false eyelashes. Since you have to squint to see if I have eyelashes, it seemed wise to make it look like they existed. Having never put them on before I think I did a good job and was able to finally get them on my lash line after removing them from my forehead and left nare where they first stuck.

I stuffed myself into a pair of control top nylons, a feat impossible had I not slicked myself down with the trouble-spot cream. Then the dress. It the gold damask dress my husband's mother wore to her engagement party in the 1960's. And gold heels, which I thought were rather tacky but since I was going for it I might as well go for it.

We went to the party and my husband looked good, but I explained to my coworkers that I felt like Hispanic Barbie. My boss accused me of missing the diversity classes. I didn't remind her that I was Hispanic and therefore deserved the right call myself Hispanic Barbie. Half the other people there were in jeans. But I gleamed like a sequin on a velvet Elvis painting.

I should have taken a picture. The hair has grown back in now, but I'll have witnesses that at least once in my life I looked like a real girl. Somehow that's twisted.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Gallo Pinto of Love


The recent dearth of postings has been caused by 1) the phenomenon of the holidays sucking time and resources into a black hole where normally only socks go; and 2) bone tired despite having one of the "good" IV treatments last week instead of the "bad" ones.

Friends of ours traveled to Costa Rica yesterday. Just before they left I sent them an email listing all the foods they need to try while they are down there. That led me to review Costa Rica's official website, which led me to their recipe page, which caused my salivary glands to produce at an astounding rate. Do you have any idea how much I love gallo pinto with Lizano sauce?? Or how unfair life is that I haven't had pejibayes or guanabanas for a decade??

My mother is Costa Rican. Her mother, my Abuelita, owned a boarding house in the little town of Puerto Jimenez. My American father traveled to Costa Rica with his parents in the early 1960's. His father bought property and had a farm in the country for a time and needed a place to stay while in Puerto Jimenez and thus found Abuelita's boarding house. To this day my dad believes that Costa Rican women are the most beautiful in the world and it didn't take long for him to notice that the boarding house woman's middle daughter very lovely.

Three months later they married in a local church. They moved to the States where my sister was born 11 months later and I nearly six years after that. Then, when I was still a baby, we moved back to Costa Rica and stayed there while I became plump with gallo pinto and platanos maduros. I must have felt that all of Costa Rica deserved tasting when I plucked a piece of dried mud off of my grandfather's shoe and ate it before my parents could stop me. Like all tropical countries, CR is full of naughty parasites and I had introduced my tummy to them. I soon became very sick and was hospitalized. The treatment that finally killed the parasite started destroying my kidneys and so I was brought back to the States where I underwent more treatment and recuperated, not to return to CR for more than twenty years.

In my early twenties my mother went to CR to visit her family for the first time since we'd rushed away. She came back with a jar of pejibayes. I didn't recognize those little palm fruits but I was eager to try them. When the first forkful hit my tongue I immediately recalled the flavor from my babyhood. Amazing! I was tickled and comforted at the same time. I loved pejibayes when I was a baby and my taste buds had a greater memory than any sight or sound. I went back to CR when I was 24 and couldn't get enough of the food. Dad and I sat in a local cafe and drank guanabana milkshakes. I stuffed myself with mamon (fresh lychee fruit), papayas and pineapple. I tasted cacao, the fresh fruit that becomes chocolate. I ate steamed pejibayes in paper cups from the street vendors. I devoured gallo pinto topped with salsa Lizano and a side of fried farmer's cheese for breakfast, mopping it up with bread fresh from the bakery. I brought home vanilla beans and made my own vanilla extract and vanilla sugar.

Excuse me while I'm mop the drool.

Why have I not made gallo pinto myself? This is a genuine mystery. But it is my resolution (it being a New Year, no?) to make a genuine Costa Rican meal. I've found that I can order a jar of pejibayes on the Internet, along with Salsa Lizano. It will be a while before I can take my own family to meet my Costa Rican family for the first time, but in the meantime my girls will become familiar with those wonderful flavors.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Deluge

So when we moved to the area we live in we had no concern of flooding. After all, we are in an upper elevation and on a hill, no less. No streams or rivers nearby. The weather people have been warning all of North California up to Washington State that a massive wet front will cause flooding. But we felt safe and cozy, up on our hill. Right.

Most of the driveways out in this country are gravel. We have a nice asphalt circle drive the previous owner decided to put in. For the most part it is very nice, a place where the girls can ride their bikes, no gravel to migrate into the lawn, etc.

The other thing the driveway does well is channel water from the hill above us. The uphill neighbor's gravel driveway has turned into a ditch. The water runs into it and turns the corner at the end of the street and goes through our gate. Then it runs down in a sheet down the length of the driveway until it is absorbed in the pasture at one end. It rained so much that the stream widened until it started going into my parent's garage. We got out pieces of wood and sandbags and diverted it back to the middle of the driveway.

Then we found the herb and strawberry garden was under water. Then we found that our large shop was also full of water on the floor. Dozens of boxes and their contents completely soaked. So guess what we've been doing. I've decided to be complacent about the whole thing, but I don't think my husband has gotten to that point yet, especially after he found his box of childhood items soaked and ruined. Well. When you look at all the property and animals lost on the coast (not even to mention Katrina), our problem can be put into perspective. And we have a nice dry warm house to live in. Life really is good.