Friday, August 23, 2013

FTSF + 7QT = 1RLP*

Linking with the ladies again today (Kate and Jen). 

*************** 1 **************

Our FTSF sentence this week is...

I wasn't really myself when I...

My brother is going to love that I am finally admitting to this.

I wasn't really myself when I was learning how to drive a manual transmission.  (Is that the scientific name for stick-shift?) 

I was living with my mom for one college summer break, and the only vehicle for me to use to get to work was her old pick-up.  In order to drive it, I needed to learn how to drive stick.

My mom took me out, and I had the basics down.  We spent a good long time working on hills, as I was quite nervous about them.  In the end, I was passable, and there were no hills on my way to work.

One day, my brother (five years younger than me) was with me when I stopped at the grocery store.  Driving out of the parking lot, we got stopped at the light.  The light was at the top of a short yet very steep hill.  As we sat there, I got nervous.

At first, it wasn't too bad.  No one was behind me, so if I rolled back before getting my feet to do what they needed to do in order to get us going forward, no big deal.

But then someone pulled up behind us.  He pulled up so close I could no longer see the front of the guy's car.

I kindly asked my brother to get out of the car and ask the driver to back up a bit.

My brother refused.

I not-so-kindly told my brother that he really, really needed to get out and ask the guy behind us to back up.

My brother refused.

I panicked.

Not just a little.

Full on, head spinning, completely ridiculously panicked.

My heart was pounding, I was so scared I would be unable to get the car moving forward before I rolled back right into that stupid car behind me.  I don't know why I was so worked up about it, but I was. 

Oh, was I worked up.

I cussed up a blue streak, pulling out the F and the D and every other cuss word I ever heard and flung them at my brother to convince him to get his butt out of the car and tell the guy to BACK UP!

After giving me a look that showed me I had lost my mind completely and utterly, he refused again.

I had never been so mad at another human being.

The light turned green, and in my fury, I hit the pedals with such force, we went bolting forward, practically knocking my truck into the car in front of us. 

I yelled at my brother the entire way home.

He chastised me for expecting him to talk to the guy, but mostly he chastised me for cussing.  By this time, he had become Mormon and reformed his ways.  He was completely offended by my use of such foul language.

It was the one and only time I have ever said the words that came out of my mouth that day.

It was the one and only time I have ever panicked to such a degree.

My brother will never let me live it down.  As a matter of fact, he just brought it up at our August 10th 4th of July party. 

Fortunately, our family came up with a signal this year.  Anytime someone started telling a story we had heard one too many times, someone could raise her hand to make the person stop telling the story.  I totally raised my hand the second he brought up the pick-up truck.

************ 2 **********

As COW was heading to bed, something on our pink chair caught his eye.

Do you see it???  No, not the big, black thing.  The two little black things, that look a bit like the tips of something.

He got a little closer, than jumped back, saying, "I think there is a bat in the chair."

Me:  "You mean the glove sitting on the chair?"  (Now that I see this photo, it's clearly not a glove.  I have no idea what it is.)

Him:  "No, behind the cushion.  There is a bat wedged in behind the cushion!"

Me:  "Take a picture!"


What happened next pleased me beyond reason.  While I stood there taking photos, COW actually took care of the bat all by himself.  If you don't know why that pleased me so much, you may want to read about the time I discovered COW is petrified of bats.  (It was early on in my blog, so the writing is not the high quality you have come to expect from me.  (Ha! (But really, the writing is bad.)))

First, he covered it with the kids' butterfly net, then paused to ponder his next move.

He decided simply pushing the chair out the front door was the best solution.
"Can you please stop taking photos for two seconds and clear the crap out of the way, so I can get this chair over to the door?  Don't know if you've heard, but there's a BAT in this chair."
I don't have a photo of the chair on its back in the doorway.  It was really dark outside, so my camera wouldn't focus fast enough to catch COW in panic mode trying to fling the bat out of the chair and into the night.
I do, though, have a photo of the flung bat.
COW thinks he may have broken the poor bat's wing in the fling.  We never saw it fly, but it was gone in the morning.
Come to The Coop.  Conquer your fears.
There's a T-shirt in there somewhere.
********** 3 ***********

On Monday, the worst two years of Phoenix's life began.  He is now the unhappy wearer of a full set of braces.  After my own nightmarish orthodontist, I put the day off as long as possible.  Probably should have thought it through, though.  Getting braces on a Monday of the second week of school at the start of his first soccer season in high school probably wasn't the best idea I've ever had.

The poor kid can hardly eat.  At 5"11' and 123 pounds, he doesn't have any excess weight to lose.  He's had two soccer games this week, and only eaten about 2,000 calories all week.  Not good.

He's not exactly happy with me.

But he'll still cheese for a photo for me.  Such a good boy...

************** 4 ***********
Warning: Proud, gushing mom moment. 
Speaking of Phoenix playing soccer, I told you on Saturday about the high school soccer tryout debacle in which he was cut, then a whole week later asked to be on the team.  This week, they have had two games, each game being 90 minutes.  Phoenix is the only player who has not spent one single minute on the bench.  I couldn't be more happy for him.

************* 5 ************
The chickens and I now have a new routine.  Every morning, I go out to the coop to open the door, giving them free access to that gorgeous new pen COW and I made for them.

They refuse to go out, even when I tempt them with fruit.

So, we have resorted to shooing.  No pen of mine is going to go unused!

The first day, I cornered them in the room by the door, then moved in.  Chickens went flying, squawking their full heads off.  But, since there are 30 of them, a few had no choice but to go outside.

I brought in some help and scared even more out. 

In the end, I had about 15 outside.  Good start, I thought.

Since then, Cuckoo and I have gone out each morning for the shooing of the chickens.  It's to the point where some have even figured the routine out.  As soon as they see us, they head for the door.   Today, we managed to get all but 4 outside.

Of course, within 10 minutes of our leaving, they head back inside.

They are just lucky I have things to do.  Otherwise, I'd be planted right there next to the door, making them stay outside and enjoy the sunshine and the bug eating and the perfectly safe zone COW and I created for them.

***************** 6 *************

I have a new favorite phrase.  COW was telling me of a co-worker's sister-in-law who has moved in with his family.  Apparently, she has no job and no inclination to find one.  In the explanation, he called her a "never-do-good". 

I immediately stopped him.  "Did you just say never-do-good?"

Yes, yes he did.  Bless his heart.

In this house, we will forevermore call "a person who is ineffectual, unsuccessful, or completely lacking in merit" a never-do-good. 

Which means once a year.  Does anyone ever even say "ne'er-do-well" anymore?

***************** 7 ***************

Cuckoo is 4 years old today!

The birthday boy, in photos:

Loving the butterfly exhibit at the zoo

The boy has style...

and a sweet tooth.

Always trying to do things like the big kids.

He now collects shells.

Have a lovely day!

*1 really long post
Finish the Sentence Friday


  1. Happy Birthday to Cuckoo and I had to wear braces too when I was younger (trust me I was not a happy camper about that back in the day). And glad you got to raise your hand and opt out of having to relive that story again with your brother. Thanks as always for linking up with us!!

    1. Thanks! Really, I don't think there has ever been a person on the face of the earth who said, "Oh boy! I get to have braces!"

      It was the best idea ever, that raising of the hand bit.

  2. I re-learned how to drive a manual in a very hilly city totally on my own. It was a very victorious day when I went back to the hill-that-made-me-stall-out and totally conquered it. And now, it's no big thang.
    Found you via 7QT; would love for you to check out my blog (there's a giveaway today!) :)

    1. Good for you! While my family still lives in the area where I learned, I have yet to go back and conquer the hill. I don't even think anyone in my family has a stick-shift anymore.

      I'll be there soon!

  3. I actually picked up your post from Bloglovin not FTSF. I saw the thumbnail and said, "What IS that?" Girl now I am kinda freak out. I'm mean really. And the worst words you've ever said what having someone too close behind you while driving a stick? Oh my I would have had to apologize to my family and the neighbors if I had a bat in my chair. LOL!! I do understand about the stick shift. I learned to drive on one. I failed my driver's test the first time around because my leg was shaking and the car cut off for every point of the three point turn. There was a way the test guy sighed that I need he was done with me. I'm still feel a bit of panic today on a steep hill and I drive an automatic.

    1. Aren't you glad you checked. ;)

      Hahaha! It never crossed my mind to swear and carry on over a bat. :)

      Oh, a sigh is never a good thing. Ha! I do the same thing. And when stopped on a hill, I ALWAYS give the person ahead of me plenty of room.

  4. My husband taught me how to drive a stick shift in the mountains of West By God Vagina and to this day I can't believe our marriage survived that stress. WHOA, the bat is incredible. How in the world did it get stuck in the chair. More importantly, is the big black thing on the chair a sexay bra?

    1. I'm thinking it might be worse than putting up wallpaper in the marriage stress department.

      I have no idea how it got there. Very bizarre.

      Ha! If only... :)

  5. OK, the stick shift story was pretty funny, but "Come to The Coop. Conquer your fears." That was my favorite part of the fact, I had to stiffle my laughter bc my 12yo was taking a math test about 2 feet away from me and we don't need any distractions during math.

    That is, it was my favorite part until I read that Phoenix has played every minute of both his games = awesome.

    And that was my favorite until I saw that it is Cuckoo's birthday...Happy birthday, buddy! :) I know he's probably sad that I'm not there to give him a big hug today. LOL

    1. Hope the 12yo did well. :)

      I'm surprised you didn't hear Cuckoo. All day long, everywhere we went, he asked, "Do these people know it's my birthday?" If they didn't, he was more than happy to inform them.

  6. A big Happy Birthday to Cuckoo, and well done to Phoenix for playing every minute of both his his games. I'd love to know how on earth the bat got stuck down the chair; I love bats, think they are really cute.

    I didn't start learning to drive until just over three years ago - had no need to before then as I rode a motorbike and lived with someone who could drive. I failed my test the first time at traffic lights on a hill - set off in the wrong gear, stalled the car and couldn't work out how to start it again. It had a push button ignition, the button being just below the one for the hazard warning lights, and I pushed the wrong one! Both indicators flashing, cars going left, right, in front and behind me, other drivers blasting their horns at me - fortunately I kept calm but I knew I'd failed when the examiner had to help me out. I passed with flying colours not long afterwards, but to this day I blame my instructor for having a car with a push button ignition - if it had been the usual key my mistake would never have happened!

    1. Thanks! While I can't agree with the cute bat thing, I do find them to be fascinating, in a creepy way. I really want to know how it got there, but when?! It's the busiest room in the house after the kitchen.

      Well, I think you win the worst driver's test experience ever. Poor you. Stupid push button ignition. Although, I'm surprised you took the test in the instructor's car. Is it because you didn't have one? We take our tests in our own car here.

    2. I did have one - the big mpv I drive now - but it's automatic and the instructor's car was manual. I did think about learning in an automatic - not my own as no dual controls! lol - but if I'd passed my test in one I wouldn't be able to drive a manual without taking another test. I didn't want to go through all that again having passed once so a manual it was from the start. I'm glad I did it as now I can drive any car - came in handy when a colleague at work became ill and had to be driven home, I was able to take her in her own car which was a manual.

    3. You're the second person who has said she has to take the test in a manual in order to get a license to drive one. There are no special licenses here for that sort of thing. To drive a bus, yes. To drive manual vs. automatic, no.

    4. I guess it's because an automatic does everything for you so to speak, and you don't have to think about which gear you should be in at any given time, so to drive a manual without knowing what you're doing could be dangerous. We also have different licenses for larger vehicles - you can have an HGV license to drive a 40ft wagon but if you want to drive a bus you need to take another test for a PSV license which is different altogether. Also you can ride a motorbike on a car license but you can't drive a car on a motorbike license! Are you confused yet?? lol

    5. Just to confuse you even more - here you can tow a caravan or trailer weighing up to 750kg on an ordinary car license, either manual or automatic, but anything over that weight means you have to take another test for towing. Even if you have a license to drive a wagon or a bus you still have do another test, although the category (B + E) is added to the license you already have. And to drive a tractor you don't need a full license at all, you can drive one on a provisional from the age of 16. It was my proud boast at one time that I couldn't drive a car but I could drive a tractor! lol

    6. It sounds like the rulebook on getting a license is longer than the book on actual rules of the road!!

  7. ♪♪Happy Birthday to you,♪♪
    ♪♪Happy Birthday to you,♪♪
    ♪♪Happy Birthday Dear Cuckoo,♪♪
    ♪♪Happy Birthday to you.♪♪

    I love the truck story. A. Lot. Driving a stick shift can be trying indeed.

    Have a terrific day and weekend. ☺

    1. Thanks!

      It is trying. I have several stories of times when that truck gave me trouble.

      You, too!

  8. Argh! My college roommate tried to teach me to drive a stick. It wasn't going all that well, and when we switched places and I was watching her to see what I was doing wrong, I realized that what she was doing and what she was telling me to do were two different things. I was only in a position to need to know how to drive a stick once, but I couldn't do it - more to do with the fact that it was a huge truck and I couldn't reach the pedals (can't stand up and drive a stick). I was the only sober one in the group, so one drunk managed to get us to their house so I could pack up the rest of the drunks in an automatic and get them all home safely. :) My sympathies to Phoenix. I didn't realize they even still used braces like that. I thought they were all clear nowadays - not that it makes them any more comfortable. Sounds like soccer is going awesome so far. :) Happy Birthday to Cuckoo!! :) :)

    1. No, I can't imagine driving a stick shift would be possible if you can't reach the pedals. :) I'm guessing you were praying the entire drive to the other car.

      Yes, he has the same braces as almost every kid around here. Much better than the ones they had back in my day, though. :)

      It is going very well. Thanks!

  9. I LOVE that story! I never did learn to drive a stick, but I'm sure you won't be surprised to hear that if I had learned, the panicking and cuss-bombs would be a regular occurrence from me. :( i'm ashamed. The panicking and cuss-bombs happen to me for other reasons than stick-shift malfunctions... many of them are car related. The bat experience would likely be one of those experiences. I laughed out loud when I saw that there was a bat in your chair. Reminded me of something that would happen to Chevy Chase... :)

    1. No, I wouldn't be surprised. :)

      It's actually pretty unnerving to count the number of things that happen to us similarly to Mr. Chase. For example, we also had a relative pull up, park, and plug in her camper when she came to visit.

  10. Awwwwwwwwwwwh gorgeous 4 year old boy :) 4 is a lovely age.

    You're so lucky to have bats visiting you - it's so CUTE! Well done for getting pics.

    And, er, you can't drive stick shift? WOW! There was me thinking that after the fence and the 200lb dead pig, you could do anything! Just goes to show...

    1. 4 is lovely, isn't it?

      I'm thrilled to have bats...outside. In my house, not so much.

      Hey! I can to drive it! In college, one of my teammates had a horrible asthma attack while just the two of us were at the track. She didn't have her inhaler, so we had to drive back to her dorm to get it. I didn't have a car, so I had to drive her stick shift. I had to take a hill and everything, while the poor girl was barely breathing next to me!

      Of course, that was 22 years ago. I haven't driven one since then. Don't know if I could save someone's life anymore.

    2. I'm so happy that Niece is going to be 4 next year. It's gorgeous.

      For someone so unflappable when it comes to things like dead pigs and eviscerated *whatevers* in your back yard, you sure are funny about something as inoffensive and cute as a bat o.O

      And I take it back, then, you CAN do anything.

      (I also daresay that if you put me in an automatic I'd have NO idea what to do and make a hash of driving it)

    3. Did you get that part about it being in my house? In a chair, no less? I'd like to see how calm you'd be if you sat down, only to be goosed by a bat. :) (Not that anyone sat on it. THAT would have had me on the ground in hysterical laughter. Unless it was me who did the sitting.)

  11. Oh my goodness, that was really a BAT on your chair!!! Can't believe it, that's so awesome! Glad you rescued the little guy.

    Love the one on the manual transmission. Here in Germany, about 90% or more do their driving test on manual transmission. If you are doing the test on automatic, you can never drive stick shift, and auomatic cars are still a lot more expensive here. So when we moved, hubby had to learn it.. I tried to teach him, but it didn't work. One day I came home at night; he had looked a how-to manual up on the internet, got in the car and drove off. I must be a very bad teacher ;-)

    1. Yes, yes it was.

      Really? That's very interesting. I wonder why it's so much more expensive for automatic. Perhaps because Americans in general don't want to do any more work than necessary.

      Ha! The internet can teach anyone anything. Don't feel to badly. :)

  12. Aw, happy birthday Cuckoo! And OMG HOLY %$&^ while I love the story about you sitting at a red light on a hill swearing up a blue streak to your newly Mormon brother and can completely relate to being terrified of a stick-shift on a hill, I'm stuck on the bat. Because I would have freaked out completely. I think that your husband was brilliant to stick the chair outside and fling the bat off. SHUDDER. What if it flew back in and got in your hair? (I'm not very level-headed when it comes to bugs or rodents). Aw to Phoenix's braces. He'll get used to them (I had them for 2 years as well). Happy Friday!

    1. Ha! I'm cracking up about the number of people who would have my stick shift moment about a bat. The bat didn't bother me at all. Of course, it wasn't flying. A flying bat makes me a bit nervous. But, a bat wouldn't be the first flying creature to get stuck in my hair. I'd be fine. :)

      See you at the thankful link-up!

  13. UUUUUGGGGGHHHHH I have sat on that very chair in your house. That freaks me out (surprise surprise;).
    Jacob is "reading" over my shoulder and asked if you were trying to make the bat "comfy" by putting him in the chair.

    Happy birthday Cuckoo!!!

    1. The bat wasn't there when you were here. Probably. I have vacuumed the chair at least once since then. You know there will be a fake one in the house and a video camera rolling the next time you come over. :)

      I adore Jacob so very much.

  14. At least you learned to drive stick.
    A bat! Poor thing. I bet it was so freaked out. You need to put that on a t-shirt for sure!

    1. At the very least.

      I have no doubt it was petrified. All the relatives will get them for Christmas.

  15. 1. I had a similar stick shift experience, except I actually rolled backwards and whacked the car behind me. Taught him a lesson about pulling up too close! 2. I have been around more than my fair share of bats at preschool, but I have nevernevernever seen one burrow down into a chair. Probably rabid. 3. In two years, everyone will be saying, "Look at the gorgeous teeth on that varsity soccer star." 5. You are being mocked by your own chickens. 6. Ahh, you're married to a Mr. Malaprop, too. 7. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DARLING BOY!

    1. 1. I will be sure to tell my brother. 2. Why, exactly, are you around so many bats at preschool? Part of the curriculum? 3. They better. 5. It was only a matter of time before they joined the rest of the clowns on this farm. 6. First Lizzi making me look up Spanish, and now you go and fling Malaprop at me. 7. HE WILL BE SO HAPPY TO HEAR YOU REMEMBERED. :)

    2. 2. The church building is over 100 years old. The bats get in the attic, then make their way into the building on occasion. Never fun, always exciting.

  16. There was a bat in your chair! An honest to goodness bat!

  17. Ok, that bat is scary!! As in I think I would have just let the bat have the chair...forever. I would have kindly placed the chair outside and let the bat live in it happily ever after.

    3-2-1 Party

  18. Um how did it get there? Are u sure they dont live in there now???????


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