Thursday, July 29, 2010

It's Gonna Eat Me Any Minute, I Tell Ya

Terror overtook me 10 minutes ago. And it taught me several things about myself and my oldest child:

1. I am trying out for the next Olympic track team. Look out FloJo. You got nothin on Katie in Crisis.

2. I scream loudly and resemble someone having a Grand Mal seizure when petrified.

3. My oldest child, if running ahead of me for safety without having a clue as to who or what may be chasing his mother, will slam the door in my face.

Folks, I'm more than a little scared of snakes. Some people do not like them. Others exhibit a healthy level of caution in their presence. Still others boast about how much they enjoy a good encounter with the slithery serpants. But me? No. No. No. I am PET-RI-FIED. Other than an out-of-body experience holding a friend's baby python on a dare, I have never seen one "in the wild."

Make that HAD never. Until ten minutes ago when I sprouted wings and my body transported itself from my front sidewalk to my kitchen in 1.27 seconds.

I think back now to my life PSE-- Pre Snake Encounter and it was good. The sun was shining. I had a bright red wagon filled with luscious topsoil and was all but whistling as I scooped it out and into the planters on my front porch. Until I looked mere inches behind the pot and spotted it. It was fifty inches around (ok, THREE) and rubbery and black and coiled up in the STRIKE position looking at me like an ice cream sundae. RIGHT THERE where I tend to my flowers and stargaze and moongaze and watch fireflies flicker sat The Biggest Snake I Have Ever Seen Except in National Geographic Magazines.

All I can tell you from that moment is that I tore off sprinting and screaming down the front sidewalk knowing that thing was right on my tail hissing and going 60 miles per hour on its slithery belly. I rounded the corner and Daniel dropped the broom in his hand and took off into the garage, into the house and proceeded to slam the door in my face. I mighta crawled through the doggie door at that point--it's all a blur. All I knew is that my offspring and I were safe in the kitchen and panting like we had hiked the Andes.

Until...............he looked up at me with his terror-filled saucer-sized brown eyes and screamed "MOMMY...............I NEVER CLOSED THE FRONT DOOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

(Katie's brain fades to black as the movie camera slowly pans the living room and then zooms in on the front door while the soundtrack to every teeny bopper movie where someone has been butchered to death plays omniously in the background....)

I peek around the corner, see the door cracked and--in an amazing fete of aerial artistry--run down through the entry foyer and leap into a karate-kick pose slamming the door closed with my foot. I'm pretty sure it was a move straight out of The Matrix.

Fast forward a few minutes and you will find my son and I sequestered in my office like the scene in Cujo where the rabid dog circles the broken down car while the mother and the little boy are locked up inside, sweltering and fearing for their life. My life is nothing if not straight out of a movie, I tell ya. (I would tell you Daniel is now playing Wii but it might dilute the seriousness of the situation at hand)

So, here I sit. Death staring me in the face and I have the presence of mind to write about it. Hopefully my courage will be lauded as my book is unveiled at Barnes and Noble. It has been nice writing for you and knowing you. Let me go ahead and hit "save" before...........................

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Just Add Water...

For someone whose life has been a crazy mess of traveling and running here and there, I have developed a cherished ritual that involves my youngest child...a twice-daily task that I now relish as a highlight of my day.

If there is one thing that you would not expect a frequent traveler to do, it's to go out and invest in live flora and fauna to care for. But that's exactly what I did this summer. Not only did we surround the deck with notoriously-hard-to-care-for rose bushes, but I added pots and planters of various sizes all around the deck and the front porch. It always makes me happy to come home and see the bursts of color that my new flower friends provide.

But, I am in a fierce battle against the sweltering heat of summertime. Thus, I water. I water those suckers religiously. That's where my new ritual comes in.

You see, I have a water baby. Jacob "H2O" Bodiford is enamoured by my water hose. To him, it is not simply a vehicle for transferring water from house to plant. Oh no. It is a Marvelous Magical Mystery Wand spewing forth drops of sparkling aqua goodness and he is hooked. If I am in a hurry, I try to be discreet and sneak out before he sees me but I've never--not once--eluded his keen eye.

"I wa-duh da bowers, Momma! I wa-duh da bowers!!!!" he screams as he drops whatever may be in his hands at the time. Tonight, it was a Hot Wheels race track. I smile as I watch him come tearing through the back door towards the back yard hose. "My turn!" he shouts, "Myyyyy turn, Mommy!!"

And so it goes.

Our ritual includes the flowers out back as well as hanging baskets by the driveway and four planters out front. Tonight was especially relaxing to me. I had handed off the hose for him to finish up the front "bowers" as he calls them... and I looked up to see a full moon over the hills to the east. The crickets were singing their usual song to us as hundred of fireflies glittered the front sloping hill of our yard. As Jacob swung the hose to and fro, the lights on the front of the house created a shadowy backdrop featuring silhouettes of the rocking chairs, the taller plants as well as my child who was content as a toddler can be.

That's when it struck me. Traveling and hotel-ing and seeing different parts of the world definitely helps break up the monotony of a work week. And I will not lie and say that, although it gets old, a night in a hotel with no laundry to do and no bathrooms to clean can sometimes be a treat. But standing on the front steps tonight under the soft glow of moonlight, I realized that no million-dollar hotel view can match the glorious sound of a 2-year old giggling as he waters a pot of flowers with his Mommy. With the hose going every which-a-way (including across both legs of my now-drenched pants), I smile in the warm darkness soaking in what has quickly become a favorite part of my day.

Because I know that one day all too soon, I will not hear the pitter patter of little feet running to help me do such a mundane chore. And "wa-during da bowers" will never be the same....