Monday, May 11, 2009

Who Knew

Half days are the bane of my existence. Or at least one of the banes. What the hell is a bane? Anyway. What I mean by "half days" are those days that Mickey gets out of school at 11:30 am and arrives back at the store at 12:05 pm (the bus picks him up at the store at 7:35 am). I work till 3:00, Tom works till 4:00. What the heck do you do with him? Usually he comes and hangs out at the store till I get off work, but that is tiresome for both him and me. By 12:30, I've usually heard "Are you done with work yet?" at least a million times, if not a million and a half. This past Friday he had another half day, but luckily and thankfully, he did not have to remain at the store. Lisa Dupont, the mother of one of the boys with which Mickey rides the school bus offered to let Mickey get off the bus with her son so that he could join she and her sons on a fishing expedition to York Lake. Yippee! We were all very excited.

Whenever we visit Grandma and Grandpa Mansell in Kansas City or Grandma and Grandpa Masters in Wilmington, we make at least one trip to the lake (or golf course pond) to go fishing. When we fish in Kansas City, my brother, Kevin, pulls out Grandpa Laffoon's old fishing rods and tackle box for us to use. When we fish in North Carolina, Casey, Tom's nephew, brings along an extra rod and reel for Mickey to use. But since we now live in the country and near a number of fishing holes, Grandma and Grandpa Mansell gave Mickey his own fishing rod for Christmas, his Aunt Lisa supplied the tackle box, floppy hat and vest. At first, Mickey had little luck with his new rod and reel. The line would break under the least bit of tension. Even just a simple cast with a jig and a bobber would result in a broken line and lost tackle. I surmised the line had to be some sort of lightweight line they strung up every new rod and reel with just so they could sell it with something in place. So, I went to Kmart and purchased a spool of 20 lb. line. It's probably heavy enough to reel in a swordfish or humpback whale, but at least he won't be losing his jigs just because he casts them out into the water. I need to get one of those practice weights to tie on his line so he can practice in the yard, but for the time being, an old wooden drawer knob will just have to do.

Here's Mick practicing out in the front yard earlier this spring. Why he's casting left-handed I'll never know, since he's right handed, but he was still able to sling the drawer knob out a good distance.














Here Mickey's really getting into it, although he does look a bit like Isadora Duncan fishing for trout.


















I left Mickey's rod and reel and tackle box on the front porch so that Lisa could swing by and pick it up on their way to lunch before heading to the lake. I was to pick Mickey up at Lisa's house as soon as I got off work, but I got a call just before I got off work to let me know that they all were hanging out at the pond behind the Buggy Whip just down the road.

The pond behind the Buggy Whip is loaded with fish and frogs, the perfect place for boys to hang out. As I approached, it was clear the boys were being boys.

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Who knew frogs scream? I love watching that video over and over, especially the part where Mickey is hopping around himself. All I see is sheer joy. Fun. I also love the shot where Zachary has handed Mickey the frog instructing him to squeeze it hard, Lisa adding "not too hard" and Zach correcting his instructions with "not too hard" but continuing with "but, hard!" because he knows Mickey will let the thing go if he doesn't squeeze with all his might. And then Mickey holds the frog up for the camera and smiles. Makes me smile.














I think Mickey was just as pleased with himself holding the frog as I was. I mean, this is the boy who HATES bugs. Whoever thought he'd get great pleasure out of squeezing a slobbery frog? But he does, and he wanted me to take another picture.














Zachary is Lisa's oldest son. He's fifteen and goes to a different school than Mickey. Nolan, below, is Lisa's youngest son, goes to the same school as Mickey and rides the same bus. Here, Nolan is displaying a fat tadpole he's just caught, while Mickey barges into the shot displaying his cheesy smile.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Field of Dreams - Part One

Let's review. When we moved into our house, it was surrounded by verdant, green lawns . . .














and hillsides with lush, or shall we say, over lush vegetation.














There were trees . . .














and tree stumps.














And then the destruction began. We started small. We tackled the fire bush, wild rose bush and Japanese knotweed on the hillside just behind the house just so we could see what we were working with. Then we brought in the big guns and really tore the hell out of the entire place. Gone now is the verdant lawn and overgrown hillside as are the trees and tree stumps. For months, we were surrounded by mountains of dirt, debris, roots and rocks. But no more. In the movie below, you'll see we're moving mountains.

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