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  • Sugar And Spice Woulda Been Nice

    August 31, 2007

    I didn’t want a boy.  I wanted a girl.

    It never even occurred to me that I would not have a girl.  I love girl stuff.  I love Barbies, I love dress-up, I love sugar and spice and everything nice. I love pink!  I am a girl.  I know about girls, I would know how to mother a girl.  But a boy?

    What would I do with a boy?  A boy!  A boy that would bang his little cars on my coffee table, a boy with a jelly face and grimy hands, a boy who would bring me worms and bugs.  And the noise! Oh, the noise, it would be like living in Walter Middy’s head.  No thanks!

    I put in my request for a girl early.  I picked out her name.  And then I waited.  And I dreamed of a pink chintz Laura Ashley nursery and ballet lessons.

    And I got a boy.

    Yet more evidence that God knows what he is doing. And has a sense of humor.

    Just in case you don’t already know, I am delighted beyond what mere words can express with my little boy.  I love love love being the mama of a boy, this boy.

    But when I go clothes shopping for my little boy and there are 25 racks of adorable little girl things for every one rack of picked over little boy t-shirts and denim shorts — it is then that I get a touch of little girl envy.

    I sometimes even go up and down the racks and pull out little dresses and pet the ruffles and fluff the bows.  And I sigh.  And I think, wouldn’t it be nice?

    In Search Of Beauty

    So then, after our weekend on the White River, we spent a few days at Hacienda de Gigi in East Texas where Antique Daddy and I practiced the fine art of goofing off and Sean enjoyed being a country boy and roaming around barefoot and unsupervised.  One afternoon while we were there I gave myself an assignment to discover beauty and so I took my camera and set off. These are a just a few things that I found.  I challenge you to discover the everyday beauty in your life this weekend.

    Photos Temporarily Unavailable

    Antique Schmuck

    August 29, 2007

    There are two things as a parent that I don’t tolerate very well.  Well actually there are many more than two, but in the interest of my short attention span, let’s just go with two for now.

    The first thing is disobedience of the willful variety and the other is disrespect of any variety.  There is just something about a smart-mouthed rude child that is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me and I must make it stop before my head explodes and boy what a mess of confetti that would be.

    So far, Sean has been a pretty good boy in that regard, but as he approaches his fourth birthday, he is daily testing the boundaries, to see if they are the same as yesterday. And every day I am required to prove to him that indeed I have not given up, although about once a day it does cross my mind. Giving up and going out for happy hour instead.

    Photo Temporarily Unavailable

    At any rate, now that Sean is potty trained — yes, that’s right, completely potty trained — we have been shopping for the bunk beds and the Corvette that I had promised him.   So just recently we found ourselves at the local furniture store where there was an antique truck parked in the lobby. He asked if he could go look at it and I agreed.  As he was standing on the running board and looking in the window, I called to him to turn around so I could take his picture.  He is in the anti-picture taking phase and what I thought I heard him say was “Oh be quiet!”

    So I marched over to the truck and gave him a swat on his itty bitty behind and said in my stern don’t-mess-with-me mommy voice, “What did you say to me?”  And oh, the look of surprise on his face.  And hurt. With big round blue eyes, tears puddling up to the brim, he whispered, “I said can we buy it.”


    Antique Schmuck.

    I got down on one knee and I hugged him and told him that I had made a terrible mistake and that I was very very VERY sorry.  And then I asked him to please forgive me. He squeezed me tight around the neck and said, “That’s okay Mommy. I forgive you. You didn’t know what you were doing.”

    Oh he has no idea how true that is.

    White River Butterflies

    August 28, 2007

    From Under The Laundry Pile

    August 27, 2007

    This past weekend I drove through little Arkansas towns with names like Pickle Gap and Toadsuck Hollow on my way to the White River where we went rafting with some friends.  We had a great time but today I am tired and I have a mountain of laundry that smells like Toadsuck, so I’ll be back here in a day or two!

    Easily Amused Old People + Baby + Camera =

    August 22, 2007

    Photo Temporarily Unavailable

    My computer died suddenly Friday night after a long and protracted illness.  She had been sick for some time with the vapors but late Friday, she gave one long loud gasp and she was gone.  So Saturday we took the money we should have spent on tires for my car and got me a new ‘puter!

    At any rate, I now have room for all of my pictures on my computer and as I was downloading them (uploading? whatever) I came across a few pictures that reminded me just how far we’ve come as parents which is to say, not that far.  Not only is Sean a yummy delicious tax deduction, but he is an endless source of entertainment.

     Here’s one of Sean in MeMaws store window when he was about four months old that we took to amuse ourselves and passers by  in Downtown Tuna.

    There Were Clues All Along

    August 21, 2007

    Once upon a time there was a young boy named Richard in elementary school in East Texas.  One day Richard was suffering from a bad case of spring fever and all he could do was lean on his elbows with his chin in his hands and stare out the window at the beautiful blue sky.  “Richard!” snapped his teacher, jarring him back to reality. “Pay attention! What kind of job do you think you’re going to get staring out the window at the clouds all day?” she admonished.  Richard is Sean’s Godfather and today he flies commercial airplanes — he sits in the cockpit and stares out the window at clouds all day.

    When my brother was a little guy, my parents bought him a toy tool kit for Christmas one year.  His favorite hobby became disassembling anything he could get his hands on. Today he makes his living taking helicopters and airplanes apart and putting them back together. 

    One of my earliest memories is going to the grocery store with my mom. I was fascinated by the cashier. Back in those days, before scanners and bar codes, the cashier manually pushed buttons for the price of each item.  I thought being a cashier would be a great job if it meant getting to push buttons all day.  Today I spend a lot of time sitting behind my computer pushing buttons.  On the other hand I wanted to be a nun too, so maybe it’s just coincidence.

    What did you want to be when you were growing up and are you doing it?

    Trash Day Is So Yesterday

    August 20, 2007

    One of life’s big thrills for Sean since he was a little bitty guy has been watching the trash truck.   On trash day we listen for the growl and grind of the big truck to alert us to their impending arrival and then we run to the front windows to watch the beauty and magic of waste management.

    Last week, Sean was busy playing in the den and didn’t hear the truck, so I excitedly called him to the front windows.

     “Sean! Look!  Here comes the trash truck!” I enthused.

    He ambled into the dining room and with his hands on his hips.  He watched the garbage men hoist our refuse on to the truck and then drive away.  When they were out of sight, he turned to me with an expression of pity and boredom and said evenly and sarcastically, “Well, isn’t that neat? [you simple simple easily amused woman]”

    And then he ran off to attend to more esoteric matters.

    The thrill of the trash truck might be gone for him, but not for me.  I know what’s in those bags.

    Summer 2007

    August 17, 2007

    Photo Temporarily Unavailable

    Leftover Tuna

    How To Be A Rock Star In Tuna

    If you ever find yourself in Texas, and you’re really hungry and you want good food and plenty of it, what you do is drive to the nearest small town, check the obituaries and then head to the church for the post funeral feeding. Wear an outdated and ill-fitting suit of clothes and look appropriately pitiful and you’ll blend right in. If you arouse any suspicion, you can always deflect it by complimenting the potato salad:

    “I’m sorry, but I don’t believe I know you. How did you know Bubba Ray?”

    “This is the best potato salad I’ve ever eaten! Who made it?”

    “Whell! (sniff) Erleta Winslow made that, and it’s okay, if you like your potato salad dry and bland like that, bless her heart and all. You wait right here (calling over her shoulder). Let me get you some of my potato salad. I make mine with a pinch of dill. Can I bring you anything else? Refill your tea maybe? Some pie?”

    Before you know it, you’ll have four or five church ladies armed with bowls of potato salad fawning all over you. Small town people take their recipes very seriously and the church cookbook is the Who’s Who In Greater Tuna. The absolute worst social faux pas in Tuna is bringing store bought cookies to the church picnic. Your reputation would be forever sullied. Prayers like this would be offered up on your behalf in the ladies groups: Dear God, please bless poor Leona Fay. Either her oven or her mind is on the blink and we just ask that you restore her either way.

    George, my father-in-law, is a Tuna rock star. He’s got so many recipes in the First Avenue Church of Tuna cookbook that they finally set a limit. Sitting in his den the other day, he leaned forward in his recliner and beckoned me towards him. Then looking over each shoulder, he whispered to me in a low voice and confided that he had submitted some of his recipes in my mother-in-law’s name to get around the limit. I might have gasped and clapped my hand over my mouth if I had understood what a scandalous thing this was. It wasn’t scandalous that George was blatantly swan diving through a church cookbook committee loophole, but that my mother-in-law goes to The Second Avenue Church of Tuna. So in my ignorance I said, “Oh really?”

    Small town churches have a rivalry that goes far beyond that of Texas high school football, which is saying a lot, since both are considered religious activities. Being a Midwestern Catholic, I don’t really understand either. This became obvious when I attended the funeral of an elderly relative awhile back.

    After the funeral, the family gathered in the basement of the Second Avenue Church of Tuna for the post funeral feeding. One of the church ladies sashayed by my table to refill my tea and asked me how my meal was. I told her it was wonderful, especially the potato salad, and thank you so much for doing this. Instead of just shutting up like a normal person, I asked her if the recipe was from the First Avenue Church of Tuna cookbook (Antique Daddy, quit kicking me!) which is so good and has so many good recipes (would you please quit kicking me?) I’ll bet this good potato salad came from the good First Avenue Church cookbook (stop with the nudging and the kicking dude) and maybe I could buy one while I’m here. In fact, maybe I’ll buy several for gifts, they’re just that good!

    She stopped pouring the tea, slammed down the pitcher, looked me squarely in the eye and through gritted teeth hissed, “Whell! I wouldn’t know!” Then she spun around and marched off.

    I turned to Antique Daddy who was leaning on his elbows with his head in his hands. “What just happened here, dude?” I asked. “I just complimented the potato salad. Isn’t that what I was supposed to do?”

    He shook his head at my embarrassing blunder. “This is the Second Avenue Church of Tuna,” he said hanging his head. “We’re never going to get pie now.”

    * * *

    Originally published Augst, 2006.

    Hungry for more Tuna? Go to the Best of Antique Mommy to see the whole series.