Monday, July 25, 2011


My mother, God rest her soul, had a number of interesting interactions with MY pets over the years.  Here is one of the stories.

In 1963 I was living with my parents in Palm Desert, California.  My first husband, and the father of my son, had just bailed on us and I came home to have our baby.

Ugly sitting on the deck by the pool.
I brought with me an unusual cat which I named Ugly.  She was a small irascible kitten when I found her and was extremely emaciated.  Her head and paws were much larger than the rest of her body which gave her a strange look.  Plus, she was a weird multi color (which, I found later, to be called tortoise shell) and had a short tail, (with a crook at the end) hence the name Ugly.  This cat NEVER uttered a single meow! Instead she would chatter like a squirrel!  She even had a  strange habit of flinging herself from trees as if she imagined herself to be a flying squirrel.  She was so in tune with me that she started labor when I did.  In fact, I had to deliver her 3 kittens before I went to the hospital myself.

This story happened around June of that year when my parents were having a swimming pool built in their back yard.  The pool crew had dug a gigantic hole in which to burry their debris.  It was about eight foot deep and several yards from the pool.  We all knew it was there and was very careful to skirt the pit during the day (key phrase).

One night Mom was out back doing some yard work.  You see, it was during the summer and day time temperatures were extremely hot d (and barely tolerable at night).  The yard had been landscaped with flood lights on various shrubs and trees (another key phrase).   The lighting cast a shadow across the area of the pit (see where this is going?).  As Mom cut across the yard she stepped off into hell!

I was in the front room which had a large picture window looking out onto the back porch and beautifully landscaped back yard.  The sound from the television and air conditioning made it impossible to hear anything from outside the house.   I sat comfortably, sipping iced tea (and probably watching Red Skelton on TV),  as Mom was hollering her lungs out .  The only one who came to her call was my cat, Ugly, and her three kittens (Larry, Moe, and Curly).   Ugly would appear at the edge of the hole,  peer down, chatter, and then disappear while her kittens ran around and around the edge knocking sand/dirt/gravel down onto Mom.  Ugly, would return periodically, chatter a message, and then disappear again.

Now from my vantage point I could see Ugly come to the sliding screen door and paw the screen, then she would disappear.  A few minutes later she would come to the screen door again and rattle it even harder.  This went on for quite a while and each time she would get more aggressive with the screen door.  Finally, she plastered herself two feet off the porch floor, in the middle of the screen and shook it like a crazed monkey on meth.

Finally, I got up to see what was going on.  When I opened the glass door Ugly took off, chattering up a storm as she darted off the back porch.  I stood there watching her disappear into the dark.  I was curious about her behavior but, not curious enough to step into the blistering heat.  Then, as I was closing the door I head a little sound and my mother's voice shakily uttering, "Hhhheeeelllllllpp!

 I ran out  into the scorched night and Ugly came up to greet me then took off again.  When I realized what had happened, I said, "Hang on Mom I need to get a light and ladder."  I reversed myself to the garage for a ladder and a flashlight.  Upon returning I gazed down upon a beleaguered, dirty, (no, muddy from the sweat) mother who still had a little spunk left in her as she said, “Well, hell!  "It’s about time you got out here!"

Ugly, sitting in the front room.
And, yes kit looks a lot like her.

Mom was OK, and what interested us the most was how the actions of my cat, Ugly, brought me to my mother’s rescue.  You see, it was not uncommon for my mother to stay out past midnight working in the yard.  In just a few more minutes I would have gone to bed and probably never found her until morning.   Who would have thought that a cat could deliberately communicate the need for help.

PS:  And you might as well say it, because I know you were thinking it.  Yes, I take after my mother.

Also, my regular followers are probably thinking that Kit looks a great deal like Ugly.....Yep, sure does!

Next Monday = #202 - ALL FIRED UP!
And be sure to see my favorite story on Aug. 29th 
kt 7/2011

Monday, July 18, 2011


Somewhere around the summer of 2003 I was doing something in the backyard at my grandson’s home.  I heard a crash, then “Awhhh, Mannnn!” and then some grumbling.  A few minutes later I heard the same thing again.  I searched out the source of the commotion and found my grandson, Gene, amidst a pile of rubble (tires, wood, boxes, etc).  When questioned he told me he was trying to build a club house.  To which I said, “Honey, Memaw will build you a club house!  Now, get out of this stuff before hurt yourself.”


I couldn't find plans for a small playhouse or fort so I purchased plans for a small storage shed (6ft X 6ft X 8ft).  Undaunted by the apparent enormity of the project I had chosen, I launched myself into it with my usual gusto.  It took me until November of that year to finish it.  And, it did give me a number of experiences I will never forget. 

Today, I will tell you something I learned about attaching siding to a building [I have already told you about stapling my glove to my hand during this project...see #38 aka 


When screwing siding on to the side of this shed I experienced a problem.   As the screw went in the siding pulled away from the studs.  I could not seem to keep this from happening unless I drilled a hole first.  I saw what kind of time that was going to take so I opted for another way (a gigantic mistake).

This is a picture of the clubhouse as it stands today.

With my ladder (see picture, above) sitting parallel to the wall I was able to put my foot up onto the offending siding.  As the next screw went in the siding started to pull away again.   I simply applied pressure and pushed with my foot to keep it fast.  It was simple all right...SIMPLE MINDED!

As I pushed with my foot my ladder SHOOTS away from the wall leaving me suspended in mid-air (Ok, the word should have been shot not shoots, but I wanted two shoots to go with the title).   I yelled,  "SHOOT!" (that is a substitute for what I actually yelled which also starts with an S= and fulfills the criteria for the second shoot).

"SHIT!   (woops) SHOOT!"

It all seemed to happen in slow motion.  Down I floated, with the electric screwdriver still (SEE COMMENT BELOW)

squealing in my hand.  I clutched that screwdriver for dear life as if it was going to belay my fall.  The potential of major pain looming in my near future, played out  before my eyes.  Luckily, the screwdriver turned off the minute the slow motion stopped and my body crashed to the ground.  Later, I found it hanging over a fence several feet away.

I lay there for a while taking time to assess the situation.  The ladder was lying on its side, but I wasn't!  I was lying on my back looking up at a dreary November sky and mentally searching my body for the injuries I was sure I had just sustained.  I was also searching for my breath, which had escaped into that dreary sky.  Underneath me was the damp soft ground, which, I'm sure, was sporting an indentation the same size and shape of my body.  Feeling no particular pain and seeing no angels floating by, I decided that I was OK and got up.  Not only that, I finished the siding that night.  

(AWH, MANNNNNN!  I didn't work a second ladder into the story so the title would fit.
So, just pretend that I got another ladder to finish the work.)

That is why, when I write THINGS I LEARNED THE HARD WAY part 2,  Number one on the list will be:  Never put your foot up on the side of a building while standing on a ladder!   (See #22-FRIDAY'S FLASHBACKS - Things I learned the hard way part 1).

 (COMMENT:  I tried to fix this paragraph 4 times and got no where so the heck with it.  It is those darned poltergeists again!)                                                         



Monday, July 11, 2011


Almost exactly a year ago my father fell, butt first, into the bathtub while pulling up his underwear.  This prompted my first story which I put in installments on my Face Book page.  For my family, I described the antics I went through trying to design and install a bar to put across the tub to keep this from happening again.  That particular story became blog posts number 12, 13, 14, and 15.  Well the bar prevented another dive into the bathtub, but... ... ...

Today, July 4, 2011, only a few days away from the anniversary of this event (and my first post on blogger... Yes, this is the anniversary month of my debut on blogger) my dad fell in the bathroom again, but NOT INTO THE BATHTUB.

Now, I know what you are thinking, "Karen, shame on you!  This is not a funny subject.  He could have been seriously hurt."  Well, yes I guess that is true but hang on, hear me out, and let me finish the story.

Around 7 AM I heard, "Oh...Oh...Oh....groan...Oh...Oh...groan...   ...  ...   "

Quickly jumping out of bed I rushed to the bathroom to find him on his knees in front of the comode, with his pants down.  It was not a pretty picture but with my concern for my dad this did not register in my brain, until later.

He was holding onto the edge of the sink counter and trying to get up.  Despite my insistence he remain still he kept trying to pull himself up.  It was definitely  impossible for him to achieve this, but he wouldn't listen.  I tried to convenience him to let me help him lay down on his side but he said he couldn't (his feet were straddling the toilet on the floor).  I ran to the phone (I swear I am going to put telephones in both of the bathrooms) and called 911.  While imparting the information I heard a thump.  Back to the bathroom I raced to find him laying on his left side in front of the sink.  I grabbed a pillow for his head just as a city police officer appeared at the front door.

When the paramedics arrived they asked him a few questions, like they do, to determine the mental status of their victim.  What is your name was the first question and the second question questions was, "Do you know where you are?"  Dad almost did a double take, gazed up at them over his right shoulder, (with an incredulous expression on his face) and said, "Well, of course. (pregnant pause) I'm on the floor! "  (you could tell by the tone of his voice YOU IDIOTS was implied in the pregnant pause).  That elicited a laugh from everyone.

They checked him out, found a few scrapes and bruises, but nothing more, then got him up.  

See, the tough old bird is ok, and delivered a great one liner in the mist of the possibly serious situation.
SEE YOU NEXT MONDAY... ... ... for  SHOOTS AND LADDERS... kt 7/4/2011  

Monday, July 4, 2011


One fourth of July (I think it was the summer after my son's 7th grade year) he had his first real supply of fireworks (they didn't allow personal use where we lived in California).  He was so excited he could hardly contain himself.  He emptied his entire supply of firecrackers into a pouch which, at one time, contained an old WWII gas mask.  It was perfect for his purpose (easy to reach, light then toss).  I cautioned him, had him do a few practice lights for me, and then let his do his thing.  He had a small punk and started his small imaginary war.

Watching from the window I watched him warm up until his skills gradually became like an infantry soldier lobbing grenades into the hoards of approaching enemy.  He ended up making a stand on the front porch and then something happened.  I was keeping an eye on him since this was his first real experience with firecrackers and I suddenly heard his yell, "NO!  OH, NO!" and then a whole battery of explosions started filling the air.

Firecracker_jumps.gif - (10K)When I quickly stepped out the front door I saw my son's ammunition pouch bounding all over the place as multiple little explosions erupted inside the bag.  My son was jumping around like he was lead dancer in Lord of the Dance, and the bag seemed to be attacking him.

The explosive dance didn't last very long as several were going off at the same time.  In less that a minute the chaos subsided and the pouch died a pitiful death on the cement floor with more holes than Swiss cheese.  My son dejectedly flopped down beside the smoking pouch and looked up at me with the most pitiful look I have ever seen.  "Mom!" he said, "That was my entire supply of firecrackers.  They were supposed to last for days."

When I asked what happened he said that he was holding the punk close to the pouch so he could light the fuzes fast, when the end of the punk broke off and fell into the bag.  He went on to say, "I thought I was dead meat because I couldn't get the bag from around my neck fast enough."

This was our first year in Missouri and money was tight since I quit my good job to move my children out of LA.  But, I managed to come up with enough to buy another smaller supply, knowing that my son learned a valuable lesson.   I was thankful that he still had his head and all his fingers......... HERE'S HOPING YOU KEEP YOURS TOO!...........

SEE YOU NEXT MONDAY......for "AN UNLIKELY HERO"  kt  6/23/11

(change in plans, next week is about something that happened today... ...