Grandma Judy Calls the Roll

I went to Maria’s softball game this week. This is her first year playing fastpitch, and I’m thinking she may want to work on her self-confidence in the batter’s box. She appears as likely to wait for the walk as to swing at any given pitch. Not a bad strategy actually, and one I can relate to, but connecting bat and ball seems sort of core to the game. On the other hand, the girl can run once she gets on base.

Christian, who turned eight this week, is feeling miffed that his march to adulthood hasn’t equated to something more than bigger sneakers. As he told his mother, doggone it, he is old enough for the 12-inch sub at Subway now.

Grace was at Maria’s softball game, although she wasn’t exactly in thrall of the action on the field and as a result spent a good part of the time capturing the local color with my camera. Which is how I end up with photos like this of some random bald guy…

and the now ubiquitous, but always riveting shot of Gracie’s feet…

Cosette spent the week fixating on her birthday, still three months away but why wait till the last minute. It was the subject of numerous phone calls, with instructions on finding Thomas the Tank Engine toys (Aisle 2 at Target), the theme for her cake (Thomas the Tank Engine), and where to park when I get to the party (not in the street but in the driveway next to the neighbors’ flowers, Daddy will show me where).

Bret Jr.
Toddler Bret remains as exuberant as ever. Recently he conked me in the head with a cookie. (I know it shouldn’t hurt, but it did.) We were at a birthday party where they passed out big hard cookies in plastic bags, an open invitation to reckless cookie swinging and I should know better than to bend down to talk to a toddler in those circumstances. It wasn’t as painful as the time Toddler Christian broke my nose, or even the time Toddler Maria clobbered me with a hair brush, but it smarted. So don’t go giving toddlers potentially harmful cookies in plastic bags. Just don’t.

A small bird has built a small nest in the ivy growing up a pillar outside my front door, and now I can’t get up on a ladder to pull the wayward ivy off the house without risking being pecked in the eye. And so it goes.

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Dumb Wildlife

For the third day in a row I’ve had to pull a pile of twigs out of my newspaper box. Some clueless but determined bird fills it up about as quickly as I can empty it. While I don’t mind a persistent bird as much as persistent hornets, who continue to try to establish a hive in the eaves over the kitchen window despite the fact that I keep blasting it off with the hose, obviously I cannot allow wildlife to nest in the newspaper box. Even if I had the carrier throw the paper in the driveway until the baby birds had hatched and flown away, the mailbox is part of the whole setup, and I can’t have some territorial mother bird dive-bombing the mail carrier. I am not going to the post office to pick up my mail just because a stupid bird can’t figure things out.

One fall some Swifts built a nest in my chimney. They made a racket up there and, convinced it was a raccoon, I sent up an exterminator, only to find out that Swifts are protected and cannot be removed from your chimney no matter how much they annoy you. You just have to put up with it until the whole family picks up and flies away. Forget about having a fire.

I don’t know why the creatures of this earth want to torment me. There was a turtle in the garage last week. It had parked itself under the car and I was afraid to back out, because the last thing I need to come home to is a dead turtle. I think it’s the same one that’s been hanging around since Mother’s Day, when daughter Jessica spotted it in the driveway and made her boyfriend John reluctantly put it in a bucket and then transfer it into a plastic kiddy pool to show the grandkids; except that it looked so pathetic trying to scramble up the sides of the pool that they let it go and it crawled off into the raspberry bushes to hide, which was ridiculous because any one of my grandchildren could have been the inspiration for Lord of the Flies. Well, not Grace.

Since then I have seen the turtle plowing through the grass, parked on the front walk and lurking in the rock garden. Yesterday it was back in the raspberry bushes. At least I think it’s the same one. They all look the same, green and neurotic. Stalked by a turtle, besieged by things that fly. No wonder I’m a mess.

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