Friday, July 29, 2016

If you're happy and you know it.....

...clap your hands!! I'm in my study listening to Carter, Charlee, and Mammy sing Bible school songs in the den. Several years ago Debbie made a song bag. In the bag were small toys which represented all the songs her Bible class sang. For example, a plastic alligator to sing "Big Fat Alligator", a big happy face for "If You're Happy"....and on and on. She loves this bag and the little "students" love to grab into the bag to see which song they will sing. Her grandchildren love it too and haul it out of the play room real often so they can sing songs with their Mammy.

Debbie is so talented and creative. She is a perfect Bible school teacher for little kids. She also plans crafts, shopping trips, and nature "studies" when she knows the grandkids are coming. I think the Lord kept Debbie healthy after 51 years as a diabetic just so her grandkids could be with her and learn from her.

Of course I know the other half of Debbie since I've been around her for 50 years and married to her for 45 of those years. She does get worn out. She gets frustrated. I've even heard her say "CRAP" on more than one occasion....but never around her grandkids. One of her frustrations is her backyard flower beds. They are beautiful but there are way too many of them for her to give them the care they need. I guess I could help her but I did repeat over and over when I was turning the ground for all of them, "I will not work in these things!" My job is mowing. I never ask her to help me mow so it just isn't right for her to ask me to help with the flowerbeds. Don't you agree? Of course you do. After all, it takes me 30 minutes to mow that backyard. Then I have to trim which takes another 10 minutes. Then I have to put the mower away....we're talking about nearly an hour of work in the Texas heat. And all during this time what is Debbie doing? She's sitting in one of her flowerbeds pulling weeds, trimming off dried flowers, taming the Texas Lilacs. You know, simple stuff. I think she sits out there for hours on end just so she won't have to help me with the mowing. I do make sure she comes up on the patio with me every hour or so to cool off and drink some water. I worry about her while I'm sitting there watching her. She's a sweetheart!

One day Cody and I were sitting on the patio talking over the world's problems. Debbie was out in one of her flowerbeds. She had been out there for a couple of hours and I had kind of forgotten about her. She came walking up with mud all over her jeans, sweat sticking to her shirt, dirt across her forehead, and a red face resembling someone in heat stroke. She likes to scare me that way. As she walked up Cody said, "Mom, you look terrible!" I corrected him and told him she was the example of a perfect woman. They just don't come any better than that. She wasn't impressed. She thumped me on top of the head as she continued on her way to the shower.

I have suggested we let the flowerbeds go natural. It is too hot in Texas to have that many flowerbeds...without a professional staff to tend them anyway. She feels she has worked too hard to let them go. She responds, "You wouldn't let the lawn go would you?" I say "no". But I would. If we weren't interested in holding on to the property value I would let that yard dry up and blow away. We are too old to have a nice yard. We should be living in a retirement community where everything is done for know what I mean?! A nice place to sit and watch the world go by while our arteries clog and our waistlines grow. That would probably get boring and we would start looking for another that needs a yard....and flowerbeds. "If you're happy and you know it clap your hands..."

Monday, July 25, 2016

Religious Jokes...

Some days it's hard to find anything humorous going on in the world. I can typically take a mundane situation and find something funny about when Ted Cruz was in the middle of his speech when the 'booing' started. We know what he was saying but what was he thinking? Maybe his thoughts were "Well, that was stupid. How am I gonna dig myself out of this one? Sure wish I had gone potty before getting on stage." We don't know. It could have been what he was thinking.

I try to not get all stressed and out of shape when things go wrong. You have to visit the valleys in order to really appreciate and enjoy the mountains. With the news broadcasts daily showering us with "Republican this" and "Democrat that", it's easy to let yourself get caught up in the drama. You need to do the best you can, pray for wisdom, and vote for your candidate of choice. Try to not lock yourself into a party vote but support the best candidate. Well, enough about politics. I promised myself when I started this blog I wouldn't use it for political purposes. A person has to really work at finding the humor in politics....and I'm just too lazy to look for it.

Now it's easy to find funny stuff in religion. Sometimes the humor is subtle. Sometimes it slaps you right up the side of the head. I'm not talking about doctrine. I would need to start another blog to tell you about my faith...and I'm thinking about doing that. But this platform is for humor. What could be funnier than church stories?

When I was about eight and my brother Glenn was six we always looked forward to visits from our cousins, Jamie and Donnie. These two guys were the funniest people I had ever known. I could write a really long story about "Jamie-isms" but I'll do that later. What we enjoyed most was their combined ability to remember every joke they had ever heard....and they were always happy to pass them on to us. Generally after we were sent to bed for the night the show would start. Glenn and I laughed so hard we were constantly getting into trouble and told to "GO TO SLEEP IN THERE!"

One Sunday morning we had a hard time getting up and ready for church. We were so tired from laughing into the wee hours of the morning. I asked Donnie to please not tell me anymore jokes until after church. He just grinned. When we got there I asked him again to please not tell any jokes during church. His comment to me was, "Rusty, what kind of sinner do you think I am to be telling jokes during church?" He said this with such a weird look on his face that I started laughing. We made it okay during the song service but as soon as our preacher, Joe R. got up to preach Donnie leaned over and whispered, "Hey, I got a joke for you." Now, let me explain the situation. For some really stupid reason Jamie, Donnie, Glenn, and I were on the front row right in front of the preacher. Joe R. was a "hell and brimstone" speaker and really got into his talk. My uncle Frog had been coaxed to church by my mom that morning and was sitting behind us....and Donnie decided to tell me a joke.

I begged Donnie to not tell me a joke during church. He told me it was okay because it was a "religious" joke. That alone started my uncontrolled know what I'm talking about. It was one of those "hey I'm in church and shouldn't be laughing" giggles that just won't stop even if you hold your breath. Anyway, the giggles were full blown, which got Glenn giggling and Jamie and Donnie smiling like Cheshire cats. About that time preacher Joe slammed his hand down on the pulpit and told the crowd they needed to repent or face the fiery lake of hell. Full blown laughing erupted from my throat. I was embarrassed, Glenn was turning red holding his breath, Donnie was laughing, and (unknown to me at the time) my mom was....seething...yeah, that sounds like the right description. I got it stopped finally and took a deep breath. Preacher Joe had given me several serious looks before I got the laughter under control. I figured he was sending me to that fiery hell in his mind. Okay, it gets worse.....

As soon as I stopped laughing Donnie leaned back in and TOLD ME THE JOKE!!!! I won't tell it now but it involved an old time preacher, a kid, candles, and matches. It was already funny and he hadn't even got to the punchline! When he did get to the punchline, which was a sing-song "And the rats pee'ed on the matches", I completely lost it. I held my breath but the laughter came out my sealed lips in the form of spit. My shoulders were bouncing and I was doing everything I could to keep from doing my own peeing. Glenn was turning red and holding himself (you know where and why). Jamie and Donnie were sitting there piously listening to the sermon.

After church, but just before my mom grabbed me by the ear and dragged me out of the building, my uncle Frog told me, "You boys embarrassed me so much I doubt I'll ever be able to go to church again". As far as I know he didn't...sorry uncle Frog...but if you had heard the joke you would have laughed too.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Tongue in cheek...

First of all, thanks for my three new followers!!! I hope you don't regret signing on after you read this entry. It's just a thought I had while driving through the...uh....more affluent area of town to my north. I have to go through this part of town regularly because I live just along the border between poor people like me and rich people like the homeowners in the above-mentioned neighborhood. I am not a resident and therefore have no member handbook on how to behave in this exclusive area of town. After living here for many years and because I have to make more and more trips into this Promised Land, I have finally figured out all the rules for getting along where I'm not welcome and certainly not wanted. If you will follow these strict, yet simple rules you will be able to maneuver through the area without drawing undo attention to yourself.

1. All pickup drivers are idiots. Avoid them when possible. Snub them when you must.
2. All vehicles must be spotlessly clean, even in inclement weather.
3. Larger vehicles have the right of way unless said vehicle is less valuable than a Lexus.
4. Lexus drivers always have the right of way. (Special note here: Most BMW drivers incorrectly assume a higher ranking in the order of things. Mind your manners BMW owners or you will be asked to upgrade to something nice.)
5. Drive slowly through all neighborhoods. This is not for the safety of our children. They are too special to play outside. Drive slowly so we can stare at you and make you aware of your lower station.
6. Stay away from neighborhoods unless you have been invited by a resident. This is not a difficult rule to follow because all neighborhoods are gated and guarded by retired Navy Seals, none of which can afford to actually live here.
7. If you are invited to visit our town, have the courtesy to at least rent an acceptable vehicle for the trip. It has been reported that an outsider actually drove a twenty year old pickup, with dents AND rust through our neighborhood. The police have been informed and an APB is out.
8. Four way stop signs are mere suggestions for the residents. Be aware and proceed with extreme caution. BMW drivers won't see you.
9. Roundabouts were designed for the residents. They are not for the outsiders enjoyment. Find alternate routes or else you will be stared at with animosity by all Lexus drivers having to wait for you. BMW drivers won't see you.
10. If you try to go through the neighborhood in an American made vehicle, it absolutely must be the largest box ever designed for the road. Any American vehicle other than this is an obvious sign of outsider wannabees.

I hope these rules help you along the way. I also hope no one has been offended. If you have, I apologize and promise to keep my pickup on the poor side of town.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Where was I?

My old computer crashed and burned a few days ago and I know all seven of my loyal readers have been sitting in eager anticipation. Well, the new computer arrived about an hour ago and I think I'm going to like it. Enough about that. Let me tell you about our last cruise.

Our son Cody planned a cruise for this summer for two of his children and himself. He wanted the kids to have a vacation and knew it wouldn't be possible with a newborn. He thought a few days with the kids in tow would give Cayce a chance to rest and bond with Claire. Andy, his oldest, was way too cool to go on a cruise with little kids so he immediately found another important opportunity. Cayce would stay home with the Little Cricket because she (Claire) was too young to go on a cruise. Cody would be taking Carter, a lovable little four year old, and Charlee, a sweet little 'girls just want to have fun' who had just turned three. Luckily for Debbie and me, Cody felt nervous about a trip alone with two toddlers so he invited us to go along. We had no expectations. We knew we were going as babysitters but who cared??!! We were going on another cruise!

We left Hurst really early on a Saturday morning and drove to Galveston. The kids were sleepy but excited. Debbie was sleepy and...well, just sleepy. Cody was anxious to get on the road and I was a grinning old man with no responsibilities other than to keep Cody from falling asleep on the way down. You may have heard the sonic boom that morning because we made it to Galveston really fast. I think it was about twenty minutes but I'm not sure. When we left Hurst it was warm and muggy. When we got to Galveston it was one hundred and forty-seven degrees with one hundred and twenty per cent humidity.

Nothing much happened on the way to Galveston so there isn't much to tell. Well, I guess I could tell how we lost Carter at a Buc-ees only to find him in the parking lot putting on a Power Ranger demonstration. Or I could tell about Charlee throwing up all over herself as we entered the Galveston city we had to burn her clothes and find a pharmacy. Or maybe I could just start the story with us getting lost in the parking lot at the pier and wandering aimlessly with seventeen bags, a tired four year old and a three year old who kept saying, "My tummy hurts" in one hundred and forty-nine degree weather. No, I think all those things would bore you so I'll start the story after boarding.

Boarding was a piece of cake. We sped through the process like pros. It didn't hurt that Charlee kept repeating over and over, "Daddy, I need poopy". We have learned that condensing five hours driving into a twenty minute trip tends to upset Charlee's tummy and gives her gas....bad gas. We just moved through the crowds so easy!!

Once aboard we tried to go to our cabins but found out we couldn't get them until 3:30. It was about noon. We found a restaurant on board to wait. Debbie and Charlee visited most of the restrooms on that deck during our wait. All false alarms. Finally we were allowed our cabins and settled in. Debbie and I unpacked, had a refreshing beverage, watched all the activity at the port from our spacious balcony, took naps, and read. Cody sat in the bathroom with Charlee. Someday she will understand the difference between "poop" and "toot". Until then, I doubt Cody will take her on another cruise.

Before we sailed everyone had to attend muster. If you haven't been on a cruise I'll explain. Muster is required by Maritime law. It is a short meeting at your assigned lifeboat to learn how to calmly gather and board your lifeboat in an emergency. In other words, it is important to know where to freak out in the event the ship begins to sink. Muster on our last cruise lasted about five minutes with much camaraderie and laughter. This muster was not like that. This muster lasted nearly an hour, most of which time we were squeezed together like cattle in one hundred and fifty degree weather....waiting. And waiting...for one moronic passenger who was hiding. He didn't want to go to muster. During this time Carter got lightheaded from being pressed into strangers'....body parts. It ain't no fun being thirty-two inches tall in a crowd. I picked him up and put him on my shoulders where he played bongos on my head for the duration. Charlee also overheated and "needed to poopy". Cody picked her up and as she arced over his head to go on his shoulders she smashed her face into a window and busted her lip. She did not keep her discomfort to herself. Passengers on all decks heard her wail. To top off the activity the ship was "dumping the diesel". I have no idea what this means but I know what it causes. Strong fumes accumulated around our heads and everyone on our deck got sick. The captain later said, "dumping the diesel during muster was probably not a good idea".

Okay, maybe the first day was a bit all in all we were having fun. As the ship left port all the celebrations began. There were dozens of things to do and they would have all been fun. It has been determined by many observers that Debbie and I do not have a clue how to have fun. Everyone on board was either dancing, swimming, gambling, or playing organized games and activities. I wanted to try a trivia contest but Debbie didn't so we compromised and didn't do it. Even though I bought a new swim suit for the trip there was no way I was going anywhere near any of the pools. I was too old to mix with that crowd. I have never seen so much skin in my life. As a side note here, one day Cody, Debbie, and I were strolling the decks looking around. Cody saw a gate at the top of some stairs which led to yet another pool. He climbed the stairs and walked through the gate. A moment later he came back through the gate running all the way down the stairs and muttering, "topless pool, topless pool".

We stopped at Cozumel and Progresso. Cozumel was a day long stay with the kids. We went to a resort where the kids could play on the beach or in a pool. They did both. We watched a trained seal show and shopped. It was a great day. Progresso is a fairly new port still in development. It was very interesting to see the construction of the piers and the work the people of the city are doing to turn their hometown into a popular tourist attraction. Cody checked the kids into "cruise camp" for the day so the adults could roam about freely. Debbie got an open air massage (behind a curtain) for $10. While she was doing this Cody and I wandered the city and scoped out restaurants for us to try out later in the day. Before we left Progresso's downtown area and headed back to the ship we sampled some of the many shops. Debbie and I found ourselves in a jewelry store negotiating the price on a diamond ring. It was a small band with tiny diamonds wrapped around it. The opening price was $975.00. Debbie was amazed at my bargaining skills and beamed with joy when I finally got the price down to $675.00. I said "SOLD!" and Debbie walked out with a new ring. We had it appraised at our jeweler's in Hurst. I was quite the negotiator in Mexico. I paid $675.00 for a ring worth $425.00 here.  (Editor's note: Debbie swears we bought the ring in Cozumel. I am pretty certain we bought it in Progresso. It's my stays in Progresso.)

We spent a good deal of the cruise on the ship while it was moving from port to port. I watched Cody win and lose....and win and lose in the casino. Debbie and I did a lot of people watching and boy oh boy did we see some sights! Cruise ships seem to lower inhibitions in people. A man I met while boarding seemed like a librarian when I met him yet I ran into him several times on board. Let's assume his name was William. Librarian William was Wild-man Willie during the cruise. We loved all the music, the on board shopping, the FOOD!!!! Most of all, we enjoyed spending time with Cody and the kids. It was a great cruise....even though Charlee finally told her daddy "I need poopy" and meant it....she had a blow out on the sofa in Cody's cabin. The next day she threw up all over my shoes while we stood in line for pizza. She finally felt good....tummy ache gone. Good times!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


I have been typing for quite some time this morning. I had written a fascinating summary of our second cruise for the summer. It was really good....I mean it was REALLY good!! I laughed, I cried, I enjoyed the trip all over again and then....THIS COMPUTER, YES THIS ONE RIGHT HERE, DELETED THE WHOLE THING!!!!! I'm not giving up. I WILL continue to write. But I will never write with this cantankerous piece of worn out machinery again...never...that's it!

Please be patient and watch for my next post to the blog. It may take a few days but I need to go shopping for a new computer. Wish me luck!