Saturday, May 24, 2014

What Do Lumberjacks Wear?

During the week between my son Tyler’s college graduation from the University of South Carolina and my step-brother’s wedding in St. Simon’s, Georgia, we had to move Kelsey home from college in Vermont and then my husband Jay had a birthday.  A lot of planning, airports, driving, carrying an endless supply of dorm necessities down three flights of stairs, waiting for a cat to give birth, visiting family, spending money, etc., all within one week bookended by two eventful weekends.  I normally plan birthday gifts in advance, but this time Jay was an after- thought.
When I finally thought to ask, Jay came up with his usual request.  “I really need a white dress shirt and a tie.” Again?  Well, this year that would be okay with me, given how stretched I was feeling.  I asked one more time after returning from Tyler’s graduation and before our trek to Vermont to move Kelsey.  “Well, maybe a new chain saw.”  Really?  Now you tell me? 
One of my husband’s favorite past times is playing lumberjack.  He loves to split and stack firewood, always preparing us for the long cold winter by stocking up for the wood stove which supplements our heat.  The last time he purchased a chain saw was in 1985, a Stihl which still worked.  He wanted another Stihl of course.  I said nothing to indicate that I was thinking anymore about his birthday, but called Jay’s friend Curt.  Curt is my gift advisor for Jay when it comes to fishing gear and power tools.  I know enough about the stuff to know I know nothing (can we hear it for using the same word three times in one sentence?)
Since Kelsey and her dorm contents had to be crammed into our van which drove a total of eight hours on Wednesday, I had only Thursday to pull this off.  Thursday was Jay’s birthday.  Curt and I drove out to the Stihl dealer to pick up the chain saw he’d selected as the best for Jay. 
As we returned, Curt asked me how I was going to give it him.  I mentioned the Lumberjack Song as performed on the Monty Python Show many years back.  Curt gave me a blank stare so I sang the one verse I remembered, the verse I sang to Jay when I felt like teasing him about his hobby:
                Oh, I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay

                I sleep all night and I work all day.

                I cut down trees
                I wear high heels
                Suspenders and a bra.
                I wish I were a girlie,
                Just like my dear papa.
Curt has a good sense of humor, but having never heard the song before, I got a look.  It was very similar to the response Kelsey gave me when I told how I was thinking of presenting the chain saw to Jay, although she added the teenage eye roll at the end.  I didn’t care what they thought, my idea cracked me up and in the end, that’s all that really matters when it comes to satisfying my warped mind.

That evening, we took Jay out to dinner then came home for Reeses ice cream cake, joined by Curt.  Kelsey gave Jay a T-shirt which read on the front, “I’m sorry for what I said when I was hungry.”  I gave Jay a funny card with a piece of paper enclosed which had the following typed on it:
You asked for a shirt
And also a tie
That’s all you wanted
But we know you lie

To get your gift
You’ll have to work
High and low you’ll look
But please don’t twerk
You get three clues
About your present
If you guess right
You get to open it

Your first clue resides
In a special place
Under lock and key
Where you record the fish, rivers and lakes 

Now my doubters, Kelsey and Curt, perked up.  This was going to be fun after all. They didn't know the location in the clue, but Jay certainly did.   Jay went right to the armoire where he keeps his fishing flies, rods, and the fishing journals he’s maintained for decades.  There he found a wrapped present which revealed the new Vera Wang shoes I intended to wear to the wedding that weekend.  Confusion, but another clue lay with my pumps.
Oops! Not quite your size
But this is clue Number One
Number Two is where
Number two is done 
Easy clue.  In the bathroom Jay found a pair of rainbow suspenders wrapped in tissue paper (purchased from Goodwill that morning).  What? Curt started teasing Jay about what he needed to wear to the next fishing club event.  Next clue:
Clue Number three
The final one
Has keys a plenty
But none you turn 
Found in the piano bench (it wouldn’t fit with the piano keys), wrapped in tissue paper, was one of my bras and the last clue.
Your three clues…hmmm
Now use your head
If you’re right
It’s in the shed
Jay started to go outside to the shed.  I stopped him.  “Solve the riddle.  No present until you guess based upon your clues.”
“Hmm.  Shoes, suspenders and bra... Suspenders.  Bra.  Wait a minute! ”  Ding ding ding!  “The Lumberjack Song!  You got me a chainsaw?”

Watch the Lumberjack Song skit on You Tube

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Things My Mama Taught Me

On Mother’s Day I celebrate being a mother and having a mother.  Every year, we thank the women who brought us into this world and raised us, influencing us in ways they probably never thought they would.  Child and parent have different memories of those formative years, so I thought I’d make a list of some of the lessons I have taken from the marvelous woman who brought me into this world.

Take care of your teeth as they are the only ones you get

Write thank-you notes after receiving a gift

Wearing sunglasses regularly will prevent premature wrinkles around your eyes caused by squinting

Thank you for not only allowing me to try the bang-trimming method I’d read about in a magazine on you, but for forgiving me when I royally screwed up your hair

Allergies are all in my head (well, technically I guess they are)

A bug in your food is just extra protein and not a big deal

Snakes, mice, spiders and other creatures are fascinating

Learn how to fix basic stuff around the house by yourself

Grow a garden in the summer

If it looks like your outfit doesn’t really match but your mother assures you it blends, don’t wear it

You never truly appreciate how patient, calm and tireless your mother is until you become one yourself

Don’t judge other people; there is good in every one

If you are critical of others a lot, maybe it’s yourself you aren’t happy with

Compared to all the other kids’ moms, mine was always the prettiest (still is)

It’s okay to call out to inanimate objects and ask them where they are hiding

Don’t be afraid to try new things

Love animals

Be stoic and don’t complain

Practice piano, flute, violin, etc. for at least 30 minutes a day

You can’t play until you’ve completed your Saturday morning chores

You should always have a Sunday-go-meeting outfit and loud dress shoes

If you can’t pay attention, then draw during church so you don’t disturb everyone else

Respect adults, but don’t assume they are smarter than you

One month after cancer treatment, go on a Caribbean cruise

Learn how to properly wrap gifts

Never miss the opportunity to make a snow angel

Put your napkin in your lap, don’t chew with your mouth open or sit on your knees at the table

If you’re tired, take a 10-minute nap

You don’t need to know the top 40 songs on the radio as long as you know church hymns and Broadway songs…all the songs from every musical soundtrack we owned memorized, in order, verbatim

If you see a baby locked in a car on a warm day or a man passed out in the park, call the police

Love your children unconditionally

Cuteness is not just a characteristic of short people; a 5-foot, 10-inch tall woman can be adorably cute

Never tire of telling the story of your child’s birth to her and recalling how perfect her little toes were

If your daughter was born 5 days before Christmas, always celebrate separately and wrap the presents in birthday paper

Eat breakfast

Hike to the top of a mountain on your 60th birthday

If someone prepares a nice meal, it’s “fancy”

If you enjoy your food, hum and make appreciative noises while eating

Never use racist language or swear

If you don’t want to wait until Mom gets out of work to pick you up, either walk or get a ride home from after school sports and activities

Bactine and Pepto Bismal cure all itches and ills; anything else is an evil drug

Don’t get in the water until 30 minutes after eating or you may drown like your great uncle did (I found out later he really drowned because he didn’t know how to swim)

If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all

Flatulence means someone has to go to the bathroom, referred to back then as “dirty work”

My brother Paul must have had to go A LOT