Sunday, June 21, 2009

Family Vacation

We have been inordinately blessed to enjoy some extraordinary family vacations for the past two years. Two years ago we spent time in D.C. when Will was selling pest control in Maryland. Last year my older three kids "forced" me to take the whole family to Disneyworld so John could have the experience with them. They had been 5 times I think when their dad was alive so the experience was something they wanted to share with their brother, albeit missing their dad in the process. It was a wonderful time and we all agreed he was there with us enjoying the whole trip from a different perspective. It was great, which brings us to this year's adventure.

Charleston, well, Sullivan's Island, South Carolina. I have some of the most generous, thoughtful family (in-laws but I claim them as flesh and blood kin). This year my brother-in-law's daughter has arranged for quite a few of the Butler clan to meet at her place and share some fun. Unfortunately, I don't think Will can join us which is sad because he's so much fun and such a great part of any vacation (plus he acts as interpreter when I'm stressed out). Anywho, we will have lots of boy cousins and Reilly and this is great for John who loves "family". He is so excited to see cousins he's never met and to look for shells, dig for clams, fish, go shrimping, discovering new museums of course and generally hanging out with the guys. There are some boys close in age and this is what he really looks forward too since he hangs out with "an older crowd."

I'm not really what you call a beach loving person. I'm more of the nerdy "let's go visit an historical site" kind of vacationer. I don't enjoy frolicking around in a bathing suit nor do I like swimming in water I can't see through but I do LOVE sitting aground and reading a great book.

We've never been to this area of the country and I'm so grateful for family generosity to make it happen. Now, this is the really fun part. After I get to vacation for a week I get to come home and leave the kids there! That's right, I will stay a week and they will stay and additional 5 days. This will give me time to really do some significant work around here (I hope) and not worry about spending time with them, or cooking for them or other things that get in the way of big project work. Hopefully I can pull this off but I'm excited to try.

So let the countdown begin. Fourth of July at the Charleston Harbor will be awesome!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Curses, swallows again

I'm a tragic failure as a blogger. I just would really rather read what everyone else writes. It takes so much less effort. I thought I would love to blog but really I don't have that much to say and my observations are usually a bit warped and hard to follow.

Here's what I'm dealing with right now...a bird with an axe to grind. Last year like some dumb bunny, I let a "darling little swallow couple" make a really nasty, muddy nest on my front porch and raise their brood of obnoxious children there. I really should have done a little research and knocked that bird condo right off the porch but I didn't. I thought it would be fun to observe nature and the "circle of life" up close and personal. WHAT WAS I THINKING.

First, the reason swallows look so cute is to hide their vile temperment. They are mean and territorial and have a penchant for swooping really, really close to your head. Secondly, they poop like no tomorrow and no matter how much you scrape and sweep, there is still more POOP. Finally, and this was the kicker, they are prone to parasites, read this as bird lice and mites. We are probably all going to die an early death because of all the pesticides I had to use on my FRONT porch to take care of these parasites. They were marching all over everything. EEEWWW, I get the heeby-geebies just thinking about it. What is didn't know until this year was they COME BACK to the same place to nest. Over my dead body.

I've been knocking down their nest with mind single to this task. They have taken it personally and attack me when I do so. For two weeks I've had brooms hung up on my porch like a bad impersonation of a scarecrow. Then I got the idea to make "swallow shields". One of the reasons they like my porch is my set up for Christmas lights. I have hooks set to string them on and they are the perfect size perch for the little demons. I cut the bottoms off of milk cartons and cut them to look like flowers, more or less, and then I impaled them on the hooks. I took off all my "scarecrows", patted myself on the back and walked back into my house. Hmmm, bird problem solved. WRONG.

One of them has sworn a vendetta against me and is stalking me. I walked out the next morning and there, perched precariously on a "swallow shield" was the swallow. Not just perched but hunkered over, giving me the "dirty stink eye" when I walked out for work. Every morning there it sits forming it's horrible plan. I walk to the car looking over my shoulder because they dive bomb me when I'm in my front yard.

I refuse to yield and match him glare for glare. I just hope he/she eventually gets fed up with me and moves to friendlier climes.