Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Feline Hospitiality

Tessa's cat, Stormy, has an appetite for bugs. He always seems to have in his mouth some buzzing insect that had the poor judgement to happen through our yard. Tessa, ever the diligent kitty-mama, keeps telling him, "Stormy, it's NOT polite to eat your guests!" But he stubbornly maintains his entemological menu. Tessa says this is why he can't have parties!

At right: As I wrote this, Stormy was having a small june bug as a light snack!

Crocheted Toilet Paper Covers

My ex-husband is getting re-married soon. I'm happy for him. I wish him every happiness. Part of why I divorced him was that I wanted a happiness for him that I couldn't give him. He's a good guy. He deserves happiness. We all do.

My oldest daughter, Emily, who is 15 and all full of vim and vinegar, lives with her father. He's got a longer fuse and a stronger hand with her. That and the fact is that she hates me.

What didn't occur to me when I first heard of Matt's marriage plans was that, when Matt moves in with "Betty", Emily would be moving there too! My child will be living in another woman's house.

And then it started to really freak me out: My baby will be living in a house I can't even picture. I don't know where it is. I couldn't get there in an emergency. I won't know where she sleeps, what her room looks like, what her experience is, what her LIFE is like.

And then the spiral deepened: what if SHE ("Betty") has a crocheted toilet paper cover? Gasp! You know the kind, don't you, a lacy, hand-made-by-an-old-lady, multi-sherbet colored, "hat" for the spare roll of toilet paper, the height of silly and tacky to my mind. This imaginary yarn confection became the metaphor for my fears.

Visions of episodes of the TV show "Roseanne" swam through my head. Upholstered furniture on front porches. Cars parked in the front yard. Car parts strewn around. Ashtrays full of "coffin nails". Bar brawl scars and stories. A pantry full of giant, economy-sized cans of "WhoopAss"!...

Ok, wait a minute!

The crocheted toilet paper cover that I envision when I think of them belonged to Matt's aunt Honey (short for Henrietta, in case you were wondering). I loved Honey. She stood in for her departed sister as my daughters' doting grandmother. When the girls were little and went through that stage where they want to talk on the phone all the time but couldn't really quite talk yet and defiinitely couldn't carry on an interesting conversation, Honey would take their calls (long distance) and listen to them for hours -- always with a smile on her face and a sweet word on her lips, like she was in on the greatest thing ever. And Honey's crocheted toilet paper cover was made by another family member whom I also love. And she made it as an act of love and as a gift for our sweet Honey.

And I loved "Roseanne". That show was all about showing the humanity and the best qualities of the people whose economic challenges put them in the midst of the tackiness the comes of necessity. It was a lesson in not judging a book by its cover and not being a snob. My children could learn some valuable lessons in that house.

At the moment there's an armchair on my front porch. It's not a permanent fixture, mind you -- it's there to protect if from the elements for a few days in transition from one staging project to the next -- but it IS there now. So I guess I qualify.

There's not a car parked in my front yard but there is a car parked in my side yard. My 1989 Honda Prelude with the 4-wheel steering and the sun/moon roof was a 40th birthday present from Matt -- replacing my 1988 Prelude that my mother had bought new and that I drove during my graduate school days when I lived in Laguna Beach, California. It was my favorite car off all time. It was SO much fun to drive (and I spent 3 hours a day commuting back then). And then Matt totalled it (it wasn't his fault). So he surprised me with a new one when I turned 40. And I was able to say "I'm 40 and I have the mid-life-crisis sports car to prove it!"

There are some Prelude rotors and a starter and some something-brackets on the bench under the front arbor over the gate in my white picket fence right now (there's some really warped stereotype and metaphor clashing going on there!). They were on their way from my minivan to the trunk of the Prelude when they got heavy and I was waiting to have Mark help me move them. Ok, so I'm guilty there too.

And "coffin nails"? My mother smoked. And it killed her in an indirect but definitely-related way. I loved her dearly. After 20 years I still miss her desperately. She was trapped in the grips of nicotine addiction. She wasn't strong enough to break out of it.

Don't have any experience with bar brawls or cans of "WhoopAss" but I'm sure if I did I would have some compassionate understanding of a few more things than I do now.

It's easy to judge. It's easy to judge harshly. And it's usually not fair.

"Betty" has been very good to my girls. Emily says she "rocks". Tessa and Sara-Grace like her. She values the good things in Matt. She owns a restaurant and I'm so thrilled for Matt that he's marrying into the restaurant he's always wanted to have. I overheard a voicemail "Betty" left for Emily once -- just checking on her and saying to call if she needed anything. I was touched that she was looking after my child. And if "Betty" is willing to have Emily live in her house and serve in a caregiving way toward her then I owe her a debt of gratitude.

I just hope that she and I can be on good terms with each other. We have my children in common. I wish her happiness. I may give her a crocheted toilet paper cover for Christmas.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Politics of Teeter Totters

In a shady corner yard on the unfamiliar side of town sits a relic from the time of my parents' childhoods. A creation styled in such a way that in my own youth I would have easily and unconsciously recognized it as "old": A red metal slide with circular handles jutting skyward at the top. Right out of 1942! Right off the pages of a Dick and Jane primer. An artifact of generations of children.

I remember slides like that (or similar but more "modern" versions) on every playground and every schoolyard of my childhood. Learning the personality of a slide was regular and intrinsic part of being a kid. Was it fast or slow? Was the slope steep or slight? Was there going to be a burn or a wet bottom involved in the process? Was there a mud puddle at the end? Would I bump off the end and find myself sitting embarrassed on the ground after a sudden dropoff? Or would I gracefully dismount and land on my feet at the end? Would I have to gather my courage at the top? Would I be sorry at the bottom? How would it feel on the way down? Would I want to run back around to the ladder and do it all again as soon as possible?

When I had my own kids I learned a new dimension of slides: terror that one of my precious babies would fall off the top and "break their brain", as we say. None of them ever did but I'm convinced that was entirely due to my neurotic vigilence. There was always that brief stage in their development where my toddlers would try to simply hurl themselves into space at the top of the slide without knowing to sit down first and certainly without any instinct to hold on!

I won't even go into the horror of those awful spinning "merry-go-rounds" that are so beloved to my girls in their memories but that are also, blessedly, no longer a reality in their world! I could kiss the park board members who eliminated that little deathtrap from our neighborhood park! One of them is both my friend and my stock broker. I may call him to say thank-you after I post this piece!

But I digress. As usual.

Just beyond the vintage red slide with the circle handles in the aforementioned corner yard, under the fluttering elm leaves, statuesque in the dappled sunlight of a July afternoon, stand not one but TWO teeter totters. When I spotted them earlier today my mind immediately transported me to my grade school playground and to a different age and lifestage. I could see the peeled patches and the chips in the thick forest green enamel paint and the aged, gray-brown, worn-smooth grain of the heavy wood plank in the spots it was worn bare of paint. All the details of teeter totters came cascading back to me. I had completely forgotten about teeter totters! How long has it been since I've seen one? How long has it been since I was ON one? I hadn't even realized that all the teeter totters of the world seem to have disappeared over the last couple of decades. I understand why but... oh the nostalgia!

And I started wondering... have my kids ever even SEEN teeter t0tters? Have they ever been on one? So I just asked them. Both my girls had to clarify, each with a quizical look and an angled arm, that I was talking about "that thing that goes up and down". Tessa (12) remembers playing on one with Emily (15) at Woodward Park in Tulsa, the primary park of my childhood, which we went to a few times on visits to my father's (ah the repetition of the generations!). Sara-Grace (8), our youngest, claims to have never been on one. Noah (9) has. Kota (16), the oldest, has too, he informed me non-chalantly with a distinct "duh!" in his voice. Ok, so maybe I'm not quite so ancient. I guess teeter totter eradication is a child of the most recent decade.

What will happen to a world without teeter totters? There is so much about life that I learned the teeter totter! How will my little one ever learn all those things that were traditionally learned on teeter totters? How will she know all the delicate politics of putting the lighter two of a threesome on one end? Or the compassion and tact involved in trying not to make the overweight kid feel bad about needing several counterparts to achieve balance? Or the pride of being bigger enough than the younger kids that it took multiples to even out the other side? Or the intricacies of just getting on the thing?

What about the betrayal of someone jumping off the lower end to send the elevated end and it's human cargo crashing to the ground? We all knew not to get on with the mean kid or someone who had a grudge against us. We all learned to gauge other kids in terms of the potential risk of the teeter totter!

What about learning the care of making sure nothing important (mostly body parts) are not underneath the contact point? Remember when someone (probably the grown victim of a bad landing!) finally got smart and put old tires underneath?

What about the judgement necessary to figure out when and how far to sit in front of the handle to balance out unequal weights? Or when one might need to employ and extra strong or extra gentle push-off ?

What about the balance acquired by learning to walk from one end to the other or trying to balance the thing horizontally while standing at the middle? I'm sure I built some important muscles and motor skills doing that! And I still believe that some contemplative thought processes can only be accomplished in this stance!

How will my baby learn all the trust issues of teeter totters? The choreography of getting on and the getting off. That moment of realization that your counterbalance is about to let you down -- literally! And there there is the comeraderie of long chats with a whole group of kids (sometimes forgetting to continue the motion) on at the same time.

The teeter totter was the leisurely respite from the motion of the swings, the speed of the slide, the exertion of the monkey bars, the competition of the basketball hoop, the itchy grit of the sand box, the nausea of the merry-go-round! It was an impomptu desk on which to scribble down the answers to that forgotten math assignment, study for a particularly ominous spelling test, or fold a piece of notebook paper into a fortune teller (which one of those boys would it tell me I'd marry?). The tetter totter could even be a descent place for a brief nap if you put your feet on the wrong side of the handle, stretched out on the plank, and could remember not to roll off the side!

All rythym and partnership and dangling feet, the scales of childhood justice somehow hinge on teeter totters! They are somehow representative of the way the world goes around (or up and down) in so many ways! The teeter totter was always the place to identify a bully or establish a bond with a new pal. Somehow an interval on the teeter totter could be the beginning of relationship building. There was always something sort of intimate about getting on a teeter totter with someone. There was a bond and a partnership implied. There was a budding of something on the teeter totter. It was where sleep-overs were planned, playdates devised, and new friendships concocted.

And the cadence of the inevitable teeter totter chant! "TEEE-ter TOT-ter, TEEE-ter, TOT-ter!" Be it verbal or non-verbal, that chant was always present on some level! I'm not sure I ever took a spin on the teeter totter without that chant in my head or on my lips. And when I look at the moving arm of a oil pump going up and down out in a wheat field or a cow pasture somewhere out here in the oil country of western Oklahoma, I can't help but hear the teeter totter chant in my head in relation to their similar motion.

I think all the relationships in our lives could benefit from a spell on a tetter totter! I think I need to put one in my yard as a marital aid -- a demonstration of how, usually, one spouse is over-functioning to some degree while the other is underfunctioning to a complementary degree. And then the proportions change! Maybe I'll send my kids to the teeter totter to work out their differences or to learn that many things in life are on a continuum.

Does anyone know where I can buy some teeter totter hinges? Maybe just a log and plank would suffice for now...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

419 S. Taylor

We spend so much time in Enid and SO much money on hotels that we've been seriously considering buying a house in Enid to use as our own little "guest house". It would be fun to have a little "playhouse" where I could play with renovations and decorating on the inside and Mark could play with the landscaping on the outside.

We've lost the last two houses we wanted. Neither owner would rent to us until we can buy. Both sold to other buyers. I can't even drive past them I'm so disappointed.
In the wake of the second loss a few days ago, I went for a drive around my target neighborhood to try to drain out my sorrows and air myself out. AND I FOUND A HOUSE! A little, teeny, tiny, cute, quaint, bungalow cottage of a house! And that was that.
As of today we have a verbal agreement with the owner to rent it until we can buy. We can move in tomorrow.

Both of the houses we didn't get were much larger. But this tiny thing seems much more manageable and, therefore, even more fun. The bills will be small. The cleaning minimal. Mark's very wise father had said to me a few days before, "All you need is just a little two bedroom house." That didn't sound like fun to me at the time -- and, remember, we have FIVE kids! -- but we're all used to staying in one hotel room together and this house has possibilities for up to FIVE bedrooms if I work it right. So it's just perfect.

The house is about 800 square feet and was built probably somewhere in the teens. It has two bedrooms - three, if you use the back sunporch as a bedroom (which we will!) and four and five if we finish out the partial basement and the detached garage. The back sunporch is lined with solid windows on two walls. I've always wanted a room like this so this one will me mine (and Mark's, of course!). The house has a bath and a half (well, technically, a 3/4 bath and a 1/2 bath). The larger bath is the only thing in the house that has been completely redone. I would have preferred original fixtures but it's probably for the best in terms of resale. There's a partial unfinished basement, a sunny, enclosed front porch, and a darling 8' x 18' one car garage that would make a cute guest house for the guest house! The back yard is just quaint, quaint, quaint - all cool and green and shady and old-fashioned with three tiered levels. There's even a little log playhouse in the backyard that's really old and very authentic. I love all the original features: the woodwork has never been painted over, The windows are original (there's nothing worse than cheap new aluminum windows on a vintage house!), the kitchen is original, the closets (which are only 18" deep!) are lined with wall paper from the 20's to 40's era.

We plan to paint it pink - a nod to John Mellencamp's song "Little Pink Houses". Somehow John Mellencamp has sung the theme songs of our relationship since back when he was known as John Cougar and sang "Jack and Diane" which was all about US! We'll have to send him a picture of our little pink house! Oh, and it needs a white picket fence too! I always have to have a white picket fence! Gotta court the metaphor, you know!
A note about the address (419 S. Taylor): 4 is our lucky number, 19 is Mark's birthdate (November 19), South is warmer than North, and Taylor is Mark's ex-wife's maiden name! Haha! Actually, I thought about naming Emily "Taylor" if she's been a boy so I've always liked it. Maybe Traci (Mark's ex-wife) will feel honored! Oh! And it's just a few blocks from where Traci and Mark's boys live which we're thrilled about! And it's also in the neighborhood my mother grew up in and a couple of blocks from the park as well!

Here are a few photos. They ended up posted in reverse order which is annoying but too time-consuming to change. So I only moved the picture of the front. This will hopefully explain why the order seems so weird! Also, I took the interior shots thru the windows so they're not that great. Now, before you look at the photos, keep in mind that there will be MANY changes to this house. The carpet will be removed to expose the wood floors. The walls will ALL be painted. Things like that!

Kinda side view. Can't you just SEE the picket fence and all the flowers? And I'm hoping to find a way to put a ladder up to that little attic space with the windows up there. I think the kids would love to have that as a little play loft or sleeping loft! Hey! A SIXTH bedroom!

A litttle peek at the tiny kitchen. We have a wonderful vintage green Kelvinator refrigerator that's just been waiting to be the star of and inspiration for this kitchen! We paid $29.74 for it (yes, under $30)!

Side yard. I can't wait until Mark works his magic here! You can't really see it but there's an old iron fence and gate at the front.

Rear view of house with sunporch windows. The little single window goes to the half bath.

The cute little garage. I'd love to put french doors on this side and open it up to the yard. Wouldn't it be the cutest little guest house?

The log cabin playhouse. Very old and authentic!

The back yard. Can you see the fireplace in the center left of the photo?

Front view of the garage and side view of the sunporch. Too quaint!

One side of the enclosed front porch. It's about 8' x 22'. Love the purple carpet! Picture black slate floors here instead!

French doors to the front bedroom off the living room.

View of the living room, then the dining room, then the kitchen, and then on into the sunporch. Dark and drab, I know, but wait for the "after" photos!

NOW, HERE'S THE TWIST: I am planning to fix up and decorate this house for FREE, using only found items, free items, or things bought with money from the sale of free and found items. I have wanted to take on this kind of challenge for years and I can't wait to get started! Don't be scared -- the point isn't just to furnish the house for free. The point is to make it look like it should be IN A MAGAZINE -- for free! Stay tuned for a new, additional blog that will document the process!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Cross Purposes

This morning I went for a walk and stumbled across a revelation.

I was upset and discouraged and was trying to walk those feelings off -- hoping to find some direction along the way and maybe also running from my problems to some degree. And if all that failed, I could hope that it would at least be good for my heart and my hips!

The street I was on has house numbers painted on the curb in front of each house. It seemed that some industrious minor league entrepreneur had been through the neighborhood at some point, making his ends meet by painting house numbers because, though the colors and numbers were different, the style was the same. Apparently, he also offered to paint the homeowner's choice of insignia as part of the deal because there were OU (University of Oklahoma) houses and OSU (Oklahoma State University) houses and even an upside down Texas longhorn (a symbol from the traditional rivalry between Texas and Oklahoma).

But one house was different. One resident went beyond football fanaticism and rivalry and put their heart on their sleeve -- or, rather, their soul on their curb! One house has crosses next to their house numbers. My foot landed right next to this painted rectangle as I walked by and I walked on with this image of a Roman cross painted in metallic gold with black shadowing on my mind.

Something about that gold outshining the black stayed with me and I began to contemplate. Isn't it interesting that Christianity has taken the cross, an instrument of the brutal murder of Jesus, as it's most holy symbol? Have we FORGOTTEN what that cross was used for? Anyone who watches the History Channel knows full well that crucifixtion is a brutal, horrific way to die. It is murder AND torture. It is NOT pretty.

I really struggle with the whole crucifixtion concept. It just doesn't seems right to my mind that we are all so horribly bad that someone had to DIE for our sins. And that God would sacrifice his only son to a horrible death because we are so awful makes it even more challenging for me to reconcile. This part of Christianity has just never made sense to me and I have really worked at making peace with it but I keep hitting walls.

God has his own little laugh about me, I'm sure. Stuggle as I do with the whole crucifixtion thing, I also have a love for and collection of (you guessed it!) CROSSES! I have groupings of crosses hanging in two different places (one inside, one outside) around my house and a dozen or so pendants. They just fascinate me. It started as a collection of all things that people consider lucky or sacred: a four leaf clover, a rabbit's foot, a rune stone, a Native American medicine bag, a Bhudda figure, a St. Christopher medallion, a rosary, etc. But somehow the collection settled into just crosses. They're everywhere! I find new ones all the time. I guess that's because Christianity is so important to so many people. And this thought is what keeps me coming back to trying to make peace with Christianity in general and the crucifixion in particular. It must be a big deal to the masses because there's really something valid in it.

So as I walked I turned the contradictions of the cross symbol over and over in my head. Crosses were involved in the murder of Jesus. Crosses are a symbol of resurrection. Hmmm... And then something clicked: IT'S ALL ABOUT MAKING SOMETHING GOOD OUT OF SOMETHING BAD! Jesus's death was a horrible, brutal, tragic thing but God used it to show us something wonderful and beautiful: the renewal and transcendance of the Ressurection. Maybe I don't have to go around feeling all insulted that God thinks I'm so bad that only Jesus's death can save my soul. Maybe I can just focus on how God is showing me that there can be great good that comes from great bad. And even the worst bad (at least to me), death, ends up good in the end because we get to be resurrected somehow.

Sometimes, in down moments, I wonder if the point of life is just to see if we can pass the test of getting through all the trials without becoming totally discouraged, hopeless, and cynical. Sometimes bad things happen and I don't know how to make sense of it and I end up all bitter and angry with God. But maybe the answer to all these situations (and I haven't thought of an exception yet!) is that the point is to try to make something good out of something bad!

Let's test this theory for a minute. What's the worst thing that could happen? I could die. And what if I die? Well, that's ok somehow because I believe I'll either go to Heaven, to another incarnation, or into spirit form in the presence of God.

Professor Randy Pausch (author of The Last Lecture) got the death sentence of pancreatic cancer. Instead of plummeting into despair and curling up to die, he spun it to the positive and wrote a best-selling "gift" for his children, inspiring millions.

If you live in this area, you know the name Colleen Nick. A decade ago, her six-year-old daughter, Morgan, was abducted, was never found, and was, presumably, murdered. Colleen Nick rose above the horror and the despair and founded the Morgan Nick Foundation to give support to families with missing children (and she was given a new house by the TV show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition for her good work as well).

Once upon a time, Mark found himself in hard times. The only job he could find was as a minimum wage night stocker at Walmart. Finding oneself in this position could spiral even the best of us into hopelessness and depression. Mark walked in the first night with determination and the throught "I'm going to run this place someday!" He worked his way up to Manager in record time and, in the process, found his true passion: retail marketing and merchandising.

Ok, smaller examples now.

One day I was getting out of my car to go into Barnes and Noble where I like to write. As I juggled my purse, books, and computer getting out of the car my pen rolled under the car -- not just a little way under the car but right at the very mid-point of the car from both side to side and front to back. And this was not just any pen: it was the silver monogrammed pen that Mark had given me that I adore. DARN IT!

So I put down my load and crawled under the car to get it. I was frustrated and exasperated and all sprawled under my car retrieving my pen when a thought came to me: this is happening for a reason. Like one of those thoughts where you wonder if the reason you hit every red light was that God was delaying you enough to keep you out of that major accident, I felt strongly that the pen had jumped out of my grip and positioned itself in a challenging spot for a reason.

Now this was exciting! I knew that SOMETHING was about to happen and I had been given the awareness to get to watch it unfold! I recovered my pen, re-gathered my belongings, and headed for the front door of Barnes and Noble in heightened awareness... just in time to run smack dab into my friend David. David had recently, inexplicably, severed out friendship and cut off communication. I desperately needed some resolution and to make some peace with him. There was no other way I would have been able to see him. We talked briefly, cleared up the issue, and went on our way on good terms again. God had given us the gift of "coincidence" and reconcilliation. All because I dropped my pen!

I feel like I've been given a great answer by God: You see, Anne, when things get tough you're just supposed to try to make something bad into something good. It's THAT simple! And that's what you're supposed to do when you don't know what to do or how to handle a difficult situation.

Thank-you God. Now I understand. Now please just help me to remember that in a pinch!

Oh gosh! That last line sounded almost like a prayer! Prayer is another thing I'm struggling with. Maybe God has a two for one special going on today! If so, I hope you get yours too!

And one last thing! That guy who made some money painting house numbers on curbs. I'll bet you that wasn't his dream job. I'll bet that was an endeavor that came out of financial desperation. The lesson is: if you fall on hard times and have to resort to painting numbers on curbs, maybe you'll make the money you need. And maybe you'll give someone walking by a HUGE revelation from God! He will never know how he touched my life today!... Which reminds me of a story I'd like to tell you about a guy who stood on his head in front of a Coke machine outside a grocery store. Tune in for that one soon!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

My Hometown Photo Essay

I talk about Enid, Oklahoma all the time on this blog so I thought I'd give you a little tour of it -- or a stroll down memory lane if you're an Enidite!

The photos got scrambled when I put them onto the blog template and, since it took me forever and many tries to get the pictures loaded, I got tired of fighting them so I just let them find their own order!

Also, my apologies for the formatting lunacies. It's 1 a.m. and I'm going to bed without fixing them because they don't seem to want to be fixed and it could take all night if I tried!

Hope this gives a glimpse of where I run off to and, perhaps, an understanding of why!

My favorite house in my favorite neighborhood in Enid. I would hope that any house I renovated would end up this cute!

The old Enid train station. This building was vacant for as long as I can remember until recently when they found a wonderful use for it: the Farmer's Market. I always wanted to fix up this building -- even in high school!

Enid High School. Class of 1984! We ALL went to Enid High: my parents, Mark's mother, Mark's son, all our siblings. My step-grandfather graduated in the class of 1914 from this very building (built in 1911) which just got air conditioning in the last few years. It was barbaricly hot! But you've got to love a school with vintage features, marble bathrooms, and an observatory on the roof! I wouldn't trade it!

One of the houses we have our eye on. It's abandoned. It's purple. It has amazing woodwork and all those wonderful sunroom windows. We think we could buy it for somewhere in the range of $12,000 - $20,000! It would be a FUN project!

Another of the houses we are interested in renovating. Price tag: $36,000 for 2700 square feet! I LOVE Enid real estate prices!

One of Enid's wheat elevators. When you're in the middle of wheat country you need someplace to put all that wheat!

DeWitt Waller Junior High School. This is where Mark and I met. This is where it all started!

Inside Waller Junior High. Down that hallway is where Mark and I first laid eyes on each other. He remembers it. I don't.

My grandfather's office was in this building for decades. The same little old lady operated the elevator for my entire life! It was always special to get to go to Papa's office!

3101 Whippoorwill Lane. We called this "the house on the hill". This is where I lived from age 12 to age 18. The trees were little then. It was the last house in the neighborhood which kinda made it the last house in town. There was a wheat field and a horse pasture behind it when we lived there (now there are houses which is still weird to me).

Mark's parents' house. Mark cooking hamburgers out front. This is where we hang out when we're in town.

Mark's family has lived here since 1973 when he was 8.

Another of the old Enid train station (Wow! A two-train station town!). Just included it because I think it's fun architecture... and because it says "Enid"!

One of the three tall buildings in Enid's downtown. The second floor ballroom (far left in the photo) is where we had most of our high school dances -- AND our wedding reception!

The Garfield County Courthouse. Our marriage license came from here. Mark says the jail in on the top floor. I'm not sure how he knows that.

Our ugly, dinky library on the main square. Last year the roof caved in. But they fixed it. Darn!

My step-father's store was just across the street.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dumpster Diving

I'll admit it. I am not ashamed. I am a Dumpster Diver. A PROUD Dumpster Diver! I adore the treasure hunt of it. I love finding the redeeming qualities in some "whatever" that someone else rejected or gave up on. I can find the good in anything... and anyone. That's who I want to be. I'm proud of that.

Whenever Mark and I are in Enid, Oklahoma, our hometown, on a Sunday we hit the dumpsters behind the thrift stores. Enid has the BEST thrift stores and, therefore, the best dumpsters!

Because it's Sunday, we often end up in the dumpsters in our chruch clothes. Well, actually, Mark usually does most actually spelunking into the dumpsters because a skirt and heels aren't exactly conducive to it. I love a man who will climb into a dumpster in a coat and tie to fish out a treasure for me!

One Sunday we were in the thick of the hunt, Mark standing waist-deep in the dumpster, me directing from beside, when a battered blue 70's farm truck went rumbling by. "Dumpster divers!" a male voice yelled from inside as the truck sped by and disappeared behind the yellow bricks of the building next door. Mark and I didn't even pause in our digging -- just gave each other a mildly confused look. "So?" was all I could think. A minute later Mark said, "Was that supposed to be an insult?... 'cuz I'm kinda proud of it!" ME TOO!

Among our dumpster finds are: two McCoy pottery pieces (a planter valued at $30-$40 and a vase valued at $75-$85), four matching curtain panels (see them in the photos of my master bathroom remodel in an earlier post called "My Happiness"), vintage "milk glass", a globe, cool vintage suitcases, an old GMC pickup tailgate (which is totally great because I've always wanted to use one for a headboard), a pair of new balance tennis shoes is good condition in Mark's size, scissors (who throws away scissors?), a 3 foot tall plastic Frostie the Snowman that lights up, bags of name brand clothes (I sold the best of them to the consignment store and made $60!), a small wicker trunk, and a vintage twin bed with headboard, footboard, and rails (actually, TWICE!).

Things I most hate to find in dumpsters: kitchen scraps and, worse yet, NOTHING!

NOTE have a wonderful photo of Mark sitting next to the dumpster in front of the mini storage on an old bench seat from a 70's pickup. Alas, I have been through thousands of photos in the last 24 hours and cannot locate this particular photo. So, just imagine it in this space and I'll post it if and when I find it! Darn!

Out of the Mouths of Babes: Cursing for Three-Year-Olds

While scanning the local Salvation Army store yesterday I came across a wonderful, hardback coffee table book on extinct animals full of beautiful botanical-style drawings of obsolete species (for a dollar!). The cover image brought back an old, deep, early memory for me.

When my sister, Katie, and I were very, very small, we would occasionally have some clash that would find one or both of us fuming, red-faced with anger and just plain spitting mad. In our fledgling innocence we would wrack our shiny new brains for the most scathing words we could think of, find almost a pitcher's stance for the presentation of them, and then wind up to deliver our ultimate explitive, the very WORST thing we could think of to call each other: "You, you, you... DODO BIRD!"

Illustration from A Gap in Nature: Discovering the World's Extinct Animals by Tim Flannery and Peter Schouten