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You had to be there…

You had to be there…

True story…Once when my mother was hospitalized, my three sisters and I all showed up at her home to give our help, support, and love.

Of course we didn’t mind, but we lived in different states and it had been a while since we had all been together. We took advantage of the situation as a time of bonding between us again.

One night, after a long day at the hospital, we found ourselves home at the same time for a meal. Over dinner we decided to exterminate for bugs while we were there. A few unwanted insects had gotten our attention and after all, we were there to help, weren’t we? We didn’t want Mother to come home from her stay in the hospital to a bug infested home.

One sister – I won’t name names – always read directions and ingredients, and expiration dates before using any items. She wanted to make sure we were using the right product for the right bugs, and that the can was in date.

Among other various insects, this product in hand was also “good for confused beetle bugs.” Yes, I guess that’s a thing, but it set us off into a fit of laughter. We questioned why these beetles were confused and what did they look like? This was also BG (before google). We were on our own with this.

Now that we have google I know what to look for when spraying for confused beetle bugs!

After laughing hysterically for a few minutes, we finally calmed down. Poor Mother was in the hospital and it looked as if were having a party!  What would she think of us? 

No we had not been drinking, but anyone who would have come to the door would have thought so.

After spraying for the bugs – hopefully all confused beetle bugs saw the red flag and headed in another direction – preferably out of the house. We decided to call it a night. Tomorrow was another long day and we needed to be at the hospital early.

I remember waking about midnight and smelling something like fire, but not quite fire. Following voices and the smell, I ended up in the kitchen along with my sisters. We didn’t see fire or smell fire. It was more of an electrical smell, but we could not locate the source.

My youngest sister said we should call the fire department. We all knew the fire chief so she made the call. Now this was a small town and everyone knew everyone. I don’t believe she even gave him the address.

“Thomas? This is Tish Knowles. We are staying at Mothers while she is in the hospital and we smell fire. It’s more like an electrical smell. Could you send someone over here to check it out? Give us about fifteen minutes so we can get dressed.”

I kid you not. Those were her words! We were in various states of undress and all scrambled to throw on clothes. In only a few minutes, we heard sirens and saw flashing lights coming toward the house down Mothers driveway. They were not taking their time as Tish had suggested and the entire fire department with ladder trucks and hoses had shown up. They were not going to let Mrs. Knowles house go up in flames while she was in the hospital.

While firemen were searching through the house in every nook and corner for the “fire” we had called in, one of us had the thought to call my brother who lived right down the road. We didn’t want him to be alarmed and think we had set the house on fire.

He calmly asked if we had the florescent light over the kitchen sink on because that is probably what we had smelled. He had not had time to fix it and no one told us not to use it. It took him just a few minutes to show up and apologize to the fire department for an unneeded trip.

After the confused beetle bug dilemma and an almost fire, I think we all overslept and were late getting to the hospital the next morning.

I thought about this story today when I was brainstorming about the sequel to Avoiding The Tilt. I think Evie and Leo need to have an almost fire. It’s right up their alley.

Sometimes when we all get together it doesn’t take much to set us off into fits of hysteria! How about you? 

Stay tuned for the shopping basket incident and the need for a hair appointment. 


Full House

Full House

My home has never been fuller than it has been this summer. In June, two of my daughters, Kerri and Amie, and their six children combined, plus one of Jessie’s, came for a visit. Yes, all at the same time!

I encouraged them to stay here rather than waste money on a hotel. There was a total of eleven people – seven of them adult size – under the roof of a one thousand, forty-five square foot house.

I could have benefited from triple decker bunk beds, more square footage, and less sand, but that wasn’t an option. Instead, we pulled out the sofa bed, doubled up in the beds and the one blow up mattress on the floor, with the big ones with the little ones, and everyone slept peacefully.

Meal time was another magic trick. With the youngest being eight and the oldest eighteen, they could prepare their own plates as long as everyone didn’t end up in the kitchen at the same time. By the time the first shift finished eating, the second shift was ready to sit down. I won’t say it worked smoothly, but no one starved.

Getting everyone bathed after our daily trips to the beach took some imagination with one full bath and one half bath between eleven people – all girls except for H. What can you do with a half bath but use the toilet and brush your teeth?

A day at the beach!

Luckily, we had the option of an outside shower in the back yard. That’s all though, a basic shower. No enclosure. No fancy soap holder. No towel rack. We made do and held up a towel for the little girls and washed sand off bodies and out of hair while the big girls stood in line outside the bathroom door for their turns. No one went to bed dirty, but there was still sand in the sheets. It goes with living so close to the gulf.

Beach Day!


I had a few weeks rest after that crew left and then in July, my daughter, Jessie, and her husband and four children came for a visit, at the same time Andrew was home for a few days.

The oldest turned eight while they were here. She wanted to make her own cake and we let her! Yum-yum! Happy Birthday Cadence! The youngest is ten months and not walking yet.

Happy Birthday Cadence!

Sleeping arrangements were easier this time. Davey and Jessie got the Philadelphia room with Pierson in the Pack and Play. Andrew slept on the sofa and gave his room up to Cadence and Ethan with Sydney sleeping on her fold-out cot next to them.

We never made it to the beach with this crew so sandy bodies didn’t pose a shower issue. We did the Armament Museum, Big Kahunas, the Science Center, and fed turtles at the park.

Playing Star Wars Monopoly

Feeding the turtles

There were only three less people in this bunch and I found that small people can be tucked away much easier than adult size, but they do need more supervision and attention. Especially, during the second Big Kahuna trip of the summer. Good thing H and I bought ourselves season passes!

After they left, Andrew was here for a couple more days before leaving to work a band camp for two weeks. There was no line at the bathroom door, meals were eaten sitting down at the table, and the sofa was not used for sleeping purposes.

Although it has been a hectic summer, this is what I learned.

  1. Teenage girls are not that hard to talk to and they gladly help out with younger siblings and cousins – well, not always gladly, but they did it.
  2. When Jessie is fifty and I’m almost dead, we’ll visit!
  3. Andrew now eats peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and mustard on his hot dog – two things I’ve never seen him eat before.

Andrew feeding Pierson at Big Kahunas

My daughter, Terri, and her family won’t be visiting this summer. After reading about this circus, she may decide it was worth it!


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