Weekend Review

A lot of people complain about Mondays, but I really don’t because my “week” starts on Tuesday. It is usually the day that I sit back and reflect on the happenings of the weekend.

“Golf” With My Son

I came home from work on Saturday morning and slept for a couple hours before going to pick up my youngest son. As I mentioned in a previous blog, I haven’t really got the chance to see him much, so I was excited to have a day with him.

He is currently taking golf lessons and hopes to make the school golf team. I bought some foam practice golf balls for him to whack around in the back yard. He didn’t bring his clubs, so I let him hit with a few of mine. He’s actually not bad. He tends to overthink on occasion, but when he gets all the mechanics right, he can really connect with the ball.

I’d really hoped to find time to take him on the course this summer, but it never happened. I realize that there is still time and it is actually cheaper with the fall rates, but with the baby due any time, I don’t want to make plans.

I am actually happy that he has taken such an interest in the game. It is one thing that, if he continues, I know we can do together. We don’t get too much time together, and a round of golf would be perfect for spending quality time together.

He’s quite the video gamer, and probably spends too much time playing them. I have a golf game that I play on the XBox that I love. It is a perfect way for me to relieve some stress. I can play a full round of golf in about 20 minutes.

I let him try it this weekend and he loved it, too. I like the game because I actually shoot better on it than on a real golf course! In the game I shoot more birdies than bogies….in real life, it’s the other way around.

I took him home early Sunday because he was supposed to go the the orchard with his mom. Later that night I texted him and asked if he had fun at the orchard and he responded that they didn’t go. That made me feel bad, because it would have been nice to have spent more time with him.

Good Deed

Not my mower….

Our neighborhood has a Facebook group page. On Sunday I noticed that there was a neighbor that needed her lawn cut. After checking with my wife to make sure she didn’t have me running errands, I responded and said I could come and cut it. She asked how much I charged, and I told her I wasn’t going to do it for money. I just like being a good neighbor. We have so many people who help us with little things (more on that in a second), that I like to help when I can.

Come to find out the neighbor’s husband had surgery recently and is unable to do much walking. He can’t really cut the lawn right now. They had someone who cut it for a while, but they were not available this week.

I had been out walking with Ella and saw the house while I was walking. There was a big wood fence, but I wasn’t sure if it swung open. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get my riding mower in the back yard. So I called her at the number she posted. I asked if that gate moved and she said yes. Ella was playing in the back ground and she heard her.

Once I laid Ella down for her nap, I drove my lawnmower four streets over to cut her grass. As I started to go into the back yard, she came out to talk. Her husband was out in the backyard and she introduced me to him. We had a pleasant chat and she said that was going to leave a bag on the side porch for Ella.

When I got home, I placed the bag on our porch and cut our grass. When Ella woke up, I showed her the bag, which contained some chocolates and a unicorn Beanie Baby. She thought that was so cute. My neighbor didn’t have to do anything at all, I was just glad to be able to help her.

A Step in the Right Direction

Not our step.

Our neighbor two doors down is the best! He helps everyone. When I first moved in with Sam, he was mowing her lawn with his riding mower. One day I was outside with her and he drove up on the mower. He told me to sit down on it and he showed me everything I needed to know to mow. He told me I could come down and use it whenever I needed to. Since getting my mower, I have been able to help him out and let him borrow mine when he is down.

At any rate, we both happened to be outside and I was about the fix the side porch step. I had searched in the garage for some wood screws I thought I had, but couldn’t find them. He walked over and there was some small talk. I asked if he had any wood screws. I showed him the porch and he said he would be right back.

He came down with pieces of left over composite wood from when they built his deck this summer. He also has his saw and corner square tool. He pulled up the old wood, and measured out the size we’d need and cut a couple of pieces from that deck wood. He secured them with some really good screws and the job was done in like 10 minutes. I asked him what I owed him and his answer was the same that I gave the lady whose grass I cut – “Nothing.”

Needless to say, that step is about as secure as it has ever been and I am grateful for such great neighbors.

A Morning Spring Walk

I’ve been struggling with a few things lately. I decided to listen to my own advice and take a step back and look around and appreciate the little things. So this past week, I put Ella in her stroller and we took a 2 and a half mile walk around the neighborhood.

She loves going for a walk and it was very beneficial for me as well. The first thing I did was focus on the sounds of spring, which were all around us as I walked!

The Sounds

As I was putting Ella in her stroller, the sounds of the birds singing rang loudly in my ears.

As I listened to them, I could here the songs of different types of birds. One, in particular, reminded me of early mornings in Caseville. I remember walking out of grandma’s trailer and hearing this one particular bird sound. Funny how you can remember that almost 40 years later.

At one point during our walk, the church bells began to chime.

It is not odd to hear the church bells/chimes begin to play hymns during the day. I recognized the hymn as being Blessed Assurance.

The weather was nice, so naturally, some neighbors were out mowing the grass.

This allowed me to experience not only the sounds of the lawnmower, but the smell of fresh cut grass.

There were also plenty of neighbors out working in the garage. I loved walking by and hearing the sounds of a small radio playing from inside the garage.

I remember my dad always had the radio on when we were outside on the weekends. If he was washing the car, working on the yard, painting, cleaning the garage, or fixing something – the radio was always on. I remember many Sundays listening to Casey Kasem and American Top 40 while we helped outside.

The Sights

Along with the sounds of spring, there were plenty of sights, too!

Ella always gets a kick out of the squirrels running up a tree or around a yard.

There are plenty of squirrels in the neighborhood – and many that run around my yard!

The Robin is the Michigan State Bird. We always look for the “first robin of spring.” They are all over now. They were hopping all around the yards and bird feeders we see along our route.

Along the way, we also saw many neighbors out doing yard work.

I truly wish that I had the time and energy to do what some of my neighbors do! I’m lucky if I get the leaves out of the flowerbeds by late summer! It is SO much work! Yet, there are neighbors who line their walkways with tulips, fill their flower beds with every flower imaginable, and have hanging flowers that are beautiful all spring and summer long! We bought hanging plants one year and they died within two weeks. I obviously do not have a green thumb.

Kudos to my neighbors! I love looking at the product of your hard work when I walk.

There is one house I always walk by with Ella. I do it because there is always this old hound dog outside.

The dog is either laying along the fence or up on the back porch. It always looks up when we walk by, but it is old and content to just lay there soaking up the sun. We have no idea what the dog’s name is, but she gets a kick out of seeing that dog on our walk.

Sadly, the dog is really old and I’m not sure how many more walks we will be seeing him/her out there.

The last thing I really enjoy seeing when I am out walking is people sitting out on the front porch. I’m not sure why more people don’t do this, but it seems to be more and more rare.

Before Ella, we would sit out on the porch in the morning and drink coffee. That doesn’t happen too much anymore. There is something about sitting out with a hot cup of coffee, my Bible, or a newspaper that is so relaxing. I don’t need a rocking chair, any chair will do.

I guess the only beef I have with sitting on the porch lately is the recent increase in the number of bees and wasps. I’ve walked around the house and looked to see if there are nests, but I can’t seem to find any. I read somewhere that peppermint oil will repel them. Maybe I need to find a way to put that around the porch?

The walk around the neighborhood really helped me relax. Noticing the sights and sounds instead of being lost in thought was a big part of that. I’m looking forward to my next walk …

I Hope They Don’t Have to Blast!

When you work mid-nights like I do, you look forward to winter. I sleep better in the winter. The only thing that can really wake you up outside is the garbage truck or a snow plow. In the summer, however, you have kids outside playing, people weed whacking and mowing their lawn, and extremely loud motorcycles. You can imagine what went through my mind when I walked outside today and saw this a couple doors down…

Not one huge machine – but two!

Over the summer, our neighbor was having some sewer issues. It seemed like they were always doing something in their front yard. Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen people out with big trucks in the middle of the street. One day they stuck some huge tube-thing down the sewer for a while before leaving. Obviously, something is up and they will be tearing up the street.

I began to think about my sleep (or lack of) for the next few days (or weeks, depending on what they are doing). I actually chuckled as a movie line popped into my head. In Back to the Future Part III, Marty is told by future Doc in a letter that the Delorean is in an old abandoned mine. Past Doc says to him, “We may have to blast.” They do.

Back to the Future III

At any rate, I got to thinking about how often dynamite was used in comedies and cartoons. Dynamite and laughs seem to go hand in hand. The Three Stooges used dynamite more than once…

Moe, Larry, and Shemp

Dynamite was a staple gag in cartoons like Bugs Bunny…

and Tom & Jerry…

And how many explosives did Wyle E. Coyote use trying to catch the Road Runner??

It was not just used in comedy, though. Dynamite was always something you would see in old Westerns…

I have never seen this Western ….

In the 70’s, it was a TV catchphrase…

… in the 80’s, two good old boys blew up things with dynamite arrows…

The Dukes of Hazzard

and even though TNT is technically different than dynamite, AC/DC still had an explosive hit with …

… and who can forget our favorite nerd …

As a kid, dynamite seemed like it was something that was something very easy to get. I mean, all you needed was an ACME catalog and you could get it from them. I wonder if the coyote had a charge account with them?

Anyway, I know it’s gonna be loud in the neighborhood this week. I just hope they don’t have to blast….