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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fate Strikes Again

Several years ago, we took a family vacation over the Christmas holidays, and visited New York City.  I would recommend this trip to anyone with high school and college-aged children.  Who doesn't love visiting this vibrant, active town?  Well, I imagine there are THOSE people out there, but I am not sure I want to meet them!

As I typically do, I read everything online about the place we are planning to visit, and plan out minute for minute what we should do.  It has worked well for us in the past.  And no one in the family questions my selections.  It's kind of neat that way.  So, on this trip when I suggested we walk around the Columbia University campus, no one blinked an eye.  In hindsight, it was kind of a quirky choice, as we had no connection to the school, the location wasn't too close to others places on the agenda.....I just felt that it might be important to see the school together.  So we went.

It was windy and cold the day of our visit.  We took pictures on the central courtyard and on the Alma Mater statue and then left.  We were hungry and it was on to lunch!

As fate would have it, starting this August, my oldest son will be attending graduate school in their famed Real Estate-Finance- MBA.  Turns out this is his field of interest and Columbia University has the top program in the country!  Who knew?!......

We all look at this picture now and recognize the irony of it all.  I happen to think that there are higher powers above us who somehow knew going to see this campus would be important to our family.  I like to think that 'someone' guides my direction and thoughts and helps me out in decision-making.  It's rather comforting, don't you think?

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

My Dog is Throwing Up Money and How to Drown a Toad

Not all mornings are created equal. Depending on how you look at it, this morning ranks up there with the one of the most bizarre we've had in the Southworth house for a long, long time. 

I have been taking one Motrin PM nightly and enjoying a full night's sleep for almost a week now.  No night sweats, no bathroom runs, just peaceful uninterrupted sleep until the alarm chimes at 5:30 am.  Only this morning I am awakened by a strange sounding owl.  It's not really a hoot hoot, it's more of a gurgling sound and I suspect this is no owl at all.  It's not a ribet, ribet sound either.  This creature is of French origin as he's rolling his r's and there is a guttural sound to it. (Wasn't I just dreaming about river barge travel in France?).  Instead it's my dreaded enemy, the Colorado Toad!  I have history with this nasty creature.........

Many years ago, when my children were quite young and our first golden retriever, Hampton was only 5 years old, we first encountered the toad in the worst way.  Bill and me were at work and Darcy, our nanny, was playing with the three kids in the backyard. Hampton spotted the big toad and decided to test the theory that the toad would taste just like chicken.  The toad was in the dog's mouth for about 5 seconds when Darcy raced over and forced Hampton to release the gross toad.  The dog almost immediately went into a catatonic seizure.  Darcy splashed water from the pool all over Hampton, gathered up all three little children, loaded them into the car and within 5 minutes, arrived at the vet's office.  The doctor later told us, had she not gotten the dog to help so fast, he probably would have died!  I will be forever grateful to Darcy and her heroic efforts.  Best.Nanny.Ever.   

Ever since that episode, I have been wary of the dangerous toad.  It was 4 am when I was listening to this toad and his bizarre chant to the bright, full moon.  It got louder and louder as if he was saying, "I own this backyard, this pool, this's all mine!"  Just about the time I was considering waking up Bill, I hear in the living room a grunting, convulsing sound.  What now?!  But, I know this sound all too well.  It's the sound of Wrigley (second golden retriever) throwing up.  For those of you who do not know Wrigley well, he'll eat anything.  And I mean anything! Whole socks have gone through his body.  Once he pooped out a lovely beaded necklace my daughter and her friends made at one of their sleepovers.  It's always a delicious surprise when picking up his excrement. So, I race off to the living room to see what surprise awaits me.....

My living room is a rather large room with wood flooring and a smallish area rug.  Of course, Wrigley has selected a nice corner of the rug for his surprise dropping.  I shoo him away and begin to pick it up before he tries to eat it again.  (Hope it's not lunchtime for you now!) I discover a few twigs and a squished up piece of paper money.  I am curious to see what denomination of money he has decided to swallow, so using the paper towel, I unroll it and discover it's a $1 bill.  I decide to throw it away.  I thought, if it was a $20, I'd wash it and lay it out to dry.  But, I draw the line at $20.  What does this say about me?  I must be some spendthrift person, throwing money away.  Money doesn't grow on trees!  But, I just couldn't imagine how I would ever use that piece of money once it was washed and dried.  Imagine handing it over to the girl at the Starbucks counter!  Ugh....  

Fifteen minutes later, I have spot cleaned the rug, washed my hands and have returned to bed.  Bill says, "anything special?" but I say, "only a dollar bill".  At this very moment, the toad's lullaby starts up again.  I sit up and say, "Bill..........."

I don't have to explain this to my married readers, but to the rest of you, I'll explain.  Wrigley threw up in the house....the women of the house picks it up.  A poisonous toad is in the backyard, the man of the house must go out and dispose of the toad.  This was determined during the 60s and 70s................................ 

So, at 4:15 am, Bill heads out to save our kingdom from the enemy.  The 4" toad is lallygagging at the edge of the pool.  He is wet as he has already taken a dip in the pool.  Bill, in his undershirt and boxer shorts takes his long-handled pool net and scoops him up as he tries to make a mad dash into the pool to escape.  But to no avail.  Bill has caught him in  the net and now traps him in using the side of the pool.  And then he waits......

4:30 am, I step out and ask if Bill wants some coffee.  He is standing there with his pool net and the captured toad and looks at me as if I had 3 eyes. Well, I didn't know what else to say!

4:55 am, the toad has drown.  It's kind of sad, but survival of the fittest, right?  Anyway, for a brief moment I feel sorry for God's ugly creature.  We fill the pool with a large amount of chlorine... and I am not sure I will be swimming anytime soon.

The morning is just about over and the house is beginning to fall back into its regular pattern of life.  Or has it?  (During the writing of this post, a tiny 2' baby bird flew into the Arcadia door.  I took out a paper towel and placed him in a shaded and protected area, praying he lives).

I am almost afraid to start the afternoon......... 
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Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Museum of BS

Don't worry, you will not be forced to see a program that showcases all the wonderful aspects of my life to date.  As I was trying to open Intel's new program (Museum of Me), the little opening-rolling ball thingy on my computer kept rolling and rolling until I finally had to go take a short power nap!  Upon my return, the program still had not opened and I took this to be a sign.......a sign that no one cares about the Museum of Beth Southworth, er, BS, for short.

But, I will tell you a few things about the Museum of BS:
  • The museum has an open-door policy.  People come and go as they please.
  • There are no set hours; the Owners are known to be up at 3 am most nights but may also be sound asleep at 3 pm.
  • If you really want something done in the museum, all it takes is three simple compliments.  
  • The museum does not fear a premature closing; it's staying open forever that it's scared to death of.
  • The museum loves being full of people who can enjoy all that the museum has to offer and feels bad when it sits empty with no one to appreciate the insides.
  • The museum would love to be closed for the hot summer months so that it could travel and explore other museums.
  • The museum sometimes worries that the managing partner will give up hope for the museum and leave for another newer, more shiny museum someday.
  • Some parts of the museum are falling apart but there is not enough money in the budget to fix all that needs fixing, so somehow it must make due with it's good "bone structure".
  • Dogs are most welcome in the Museum of BS.  Cats are not.
  • This museum is a wonderful, happy and sometimes, mysterious place.  Some say, once you've can never leave...................
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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

This is NOT a Wedding Report

As I sit in front of my computer screen, hazy from the weight of the wedding sugar cookies and endless glasses of whatever alcoholic drink people brought to me, I can honestly say, that Andy and Kim's was the best wedding.....ever!

I write to you not to share a blow-by-blow accounting of the craziness and happiness that surrounded this particular wedding, but to tell you that as a parent, it is so worth it to get involved in the plans and the chaos of your children's wedding.

I have been an empty nest Mom for three years now.  There are good days and there are devastating days.  And no matter what kind of day who are having, they are always EMPTY of your children.  Of course, this can be considered a good thing, depending on the child and your unique relationship with that child.  I am lucky to have great relationships with all three children at the moment.  I can honestly tell you that I miss them every single day.  I don't cry everyday, but the lump in my throat occurs at least once every single day that goes by without them living under the same roof anymore. 

Getting involved in a child's wedding does have it's negatives: you'll end up spending $$$ and you may end up in an argument about some ridiculous ritual or activity.  So what, everyone's human.  It's what life's all about.  In the end, everyone grows and becomes closer, just as long as everyone gives in at some point.  While my husband might disagree, the money you spend is worth every penny. 

Another negative is when the big event is all over and the last favor or tux has been returned, you can hit a new low.  I think that is where I am now.  Tired, no I take that back, exhausted and trying to get back to work for my clients.  My head is filled with the recent memories of family and friends.  It is a great feeling.  And the pictures take about a month, so just as the memories start to fade, they all will come bouncing back with each still shot taken.

I am happy that the kids allowed me to wallow in the details of their special occasion.  I do not feel at all empty; in fact, I feel filled to the brim with happy emotions.  I am tired to the bone.  I am blessed with a wonderful family, no matter where they now reside. Thank you Andy and Kim and to Jonathan and Laura!  You all are the best and I hope your lives are filled with joy and laughter.      
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