Friday, July 30, 2010

A Cinderella Story...Of Sorts

My girl is a planner. The Children's Parade was two days ago. Gracie and her friends decided on the Cinderella theme. Days of preparation. Costumes were assembled. Lots of phone calls. Decisions as to who would be Cinderella, the stepsisters. Then the "float" building. Her Radio Flyer wagon was to be the mode of transportation. Scott, Gracie and her friend Abby began the arduous task. A trip to Home Depot. Chicken wire, zip ties and a couple of hula hoops and they were off. Within a couple of hours the shape of the pumpkin had been created. Did I forget to tell you that the parade was in Appleton? And the pumpkin was born in Madison?

The precious produce/float was loaded into the back of the truck and secured. This is where the story gets interesting. As I'm driving through the streets of Madison I am getting the most rewarding looks. You know. The what the heck is that looks. Lots of smiles. I in turn smile back thinking if you only knew what this was. As I get on the highway and reach the 65 mile an hour speed limit, my phone rings. It is the co-creator of this masterpiece---Scott. As we are talking, and yes I know I shouldn't talk on the phone while driving, I look in the rear view mirror. Oh no. Scott, I have to go, the float is flying off the back of the truck. It is literally hanging by a bungee cord. It's riding the rail of the right side of the truck.

This is where it gets a little movie like. And by that I mean dramatic. I look at the girls in the back seat. They are oblivious to what is happening. Ipods are rockin'. I know this float is going to fly off the truck. I check my left side view mirror. No one in the lane next to me. I do this Starsky and Hutch maneuver and jerk the truck to the left. The wagon falls back into the bed of the truck and I take the next exit. We stop and I send the girls into McDonald's for refreshments. Scott and I talk and try to come up with better ideas for tethering. I think I've got it and off we go.

Seven miles later, not so much. That baby is shaking. I don't want to have this thing fly off and hurt someone---or worse. Exit again. This time in the middle of nowhere. I pull off on a country road. I'm readjusting and getting frustrated. After a few minutes my Prince Charming pulls up in his silver truck. I have a silver truck. I'm partial. Now, I'm a one Prince Charming kind of gal, but every once in a while you just need to have another one come into your life---for a few minutes. He says, trouble? I say, not with my truck but with my cargo. He looks at the float and is too polite to ask. So I explain. It's a float for a kids parade and that two girls will be pretty sad if it doesn't arrive safely. To work we go. We lay the thing on its side. We work with bungees and ratchet straps. It finally feels secure. He tells me that he kayaks. Nothing works better to tie down than good old fashioned rope. I'm getting some. I may even carry some in my purse from now on.

He says he wishes that he could do more. He wishes he could drive this float to Appleton for us. I reply, so do I. More importantly he says, and the girls are listening, because he would have loved to see the finished float and see the parade. They smile ear to ear. So do I. I shake his hand and thank him profusely. Off he drives into the sunset. Well, not quite. It was 11:00 a.m. And as I drove off, I thought, I should have gotten his name. I could have sent him a thank you card. I think he knows how thankful we were. The kindness of strangers. Paying it forward. I'm touched.

The rest of the trip was uneventful. We made it. A little bent out of shape. The pumpkin---not me. A little scratched up---yes, me. Rough edges on chicken wire. Nasty. The final decorating went well. Orange plastic table cloths were used to cover the shape. A stem was made out of an empty paper towel roll and some green tissue evolved into leaves. The float and the girls were a hit at the parade. A day to remember. So many Cinderellas, so little time.
©2010 Ann M. De Broux

Thursday, July 29, 2010

He Loves Me

I'm a tough gal. I'm not big. I'm 5'4". I don't know what I can bench press. But I know that I am strong. I can move furniture and do heavy tasks. I'm a worker. I'm independent. And I am lucky to have a man in my life that is the yin to my yang. He, too, is strong. Almost six feet. Broad shoulders. The kind that you can count on. Especially when a girl has a need to lean on them.

He came into my life almost 19 years ago. I knew right away that I loved him. He was from a family like mine. We liked the same things. He loved me even though I couldn't cook. He laughed at my jokes and got my quirky humor. He appreciated my soft feelings for kids and older folks. He waits patiently. Not because it takes me a long time to get ready, but because it takes me a long time to leave places and people. I'm an extrovert and love to visit with people. He on the other hand is an introvert and likes to visit, but has his limits. He loved his mom more than words can say. She died in 1994. He loves my mom. And my dad and sister. He isn't afraid to show it.

When we found out that we would be having Gracie he took care of us. He came home every day, three times, on every shift and checked my blood pressure. This allowed me to stay home and await her birth and not to have to stay at the hospital. He took a picture of Gracie when she was less than a week old in her bassinet without me knowing and had it blown up. It's in our living room now. It can still bring a tear to my eye. It's my favorite. He calms me down when I get fired up. I've been known to be stubborn. I am also a terrible back seat driver---with him. He has this endearing, and at the same time annoying, quality of looking at me while he's talking and driving. Freaks me out.

He respects my opinion. He keeps me safe. He loves our daughter with a passion. He loves our pets. He's kind to strangers. He goes the extra mile. He embraces challenges. He keeps me grounded. I knew I loved him right away. And lucky for me he loved me, too.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Perfect Store For Me

Yes, you read that right. I've found the perfect store for me. And for my husband. And I must say my girl, too. I have to do a little back tracking to set the scene for you. It was a couple of weeks ago. I was letting my almost 17 year old dog in the house and he needed a little boost up a step. As I leaned over to assist I did something to my back. It felt like an electrical shock across the small of my back. The pain actually took my breath away. A day later Scott was rubbing my back as I lay on the floor. Pure torture. I pleaded with him to not rub so hard. He said, "Ann, I'm hardly touching you at all." Of course he wasn't. He would never hurt me. He said we're going to urgent care. And we did. Muscle strain. Rest and relaxers were prescribed.

On to the perfect store. My back was hurting. I was a bit crabby. But I figured the best position for me to be in was standing/walking. We needed to get an iPod charger for Gracie. Off to the Apple Store. Shoot me now. Put me out of my misery. First of all, I don't really like to shop that much. Secondly, an electronic/technology store. Give me break. I said five minutes, no more. I mean it. I know that you are going to find some rocket of a computer system that you just can't live without. Not tonight. I'm in pain. You know I have a high threshold for pain. For Pete's sake, I had a c-section and all I took for pain was Tylenol. This is a BAD back ache. In to the store and out.

We were helped by a guy named Topher immediately. He walked us right over to the display of chargers. Yep, we'll take that one. He said, are you done shopping? I can check you out right here. He pulled out his little iSomething and typed in our purchase. He then slid my debit card through the side of his iSomething. His next question---would you like a paper receipt or should I send one to your email. No way. Of course I chose the email option. Then he slid his iSomething across our package and demagnetized it. No bag needed. OK, I'm now sucked in. Scott says, let's get you home. I say, not so fast mister. I need to check out this iPad thing. They are right there for you to look at and touch and fall in love with. I received another gentle reminder from my guy---shouldn't we go? I said, isn't there some rocket of a computer system that you want to check out?

So after about fifteen minutes, even though I said no more than five, I think I have found the perfect store for my family. We would all find something that would fit us here. Amazing customer service. No frills atmosphere. Nice and bright and simple in that store. I'm hooked.
©2010 Ann M. De Broux

The Links

Have you ever asked a child about a trip and expected to hear about something great? Instead of hearing about a landmark or seeing someone famous or hearing about something historical, you get an answer of, "I ate cereal at 1:00 a.m. at the diner!" Some may say, is that all this day meant to her? Of course not. This little thing was the gateway to all of the big things that happened to her that day. The moments that made her history with her grandparents. But this little thing is what started the converstation.

Little things are important. The little chocolates on the pillow in your hotel room. Someone holding a door for you. Letting a car in your lane in busy traffic. These things mean a lot. It's crazy how these little actions can make your day. I think that I'm going to start calling these moments links. These links get you to a bigger picture. I read a story once about a man who's phone rang. It was a wrong number. Most of us would politely end the conversation and hang up. He asked who she was calling. In the course of the conversation the women said she was calling a person to say goodbye. She was planning on killing herself. The man who answered kept her on the phone. He listenend. When the time was appropriate he told her that he was a counselor and that he could help. She agreed. Talk about a link!

So these things that we may call little are actually our links to other people and maybe a much bigger story. You meet a new friend that knows someone you know. A city is mentioned and sure enough, you've been there. It happens all of the time. If you let it. Take time to let the natural little moments---or as I like to call them---the links happen for you. May the links be with you.
©2010 Ann M. De Broux