Father’s Day was yesterday and we celebrated by going to church and then to the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Carmina Burana. If you have never heard it, google it.
It’s with fond memories that I look back at our time as parents. We had very little money but a rich life. We did a lot of camping at Kettle Moraine, WI. We would play hide and seek with our kids and the game of “It” at the playground.
It was a warm summer with no rain when we went up to Devil’s Lake. We had an old used pop up camper but Larry said,” It’s such a nice night, let’s sleep under the stars. We did that for two nights and then we made our way up to Peninsula Park in Door County. I said, “Don’t you think we should put up the camper.” “No,” said Larry. “It’s such a beautiful night, let’s just sleep out under the stars.” About 2 AM I heard the sound of chewing. I looked up to see a skunk nibbling on a Brillo pad I left on the picnic table. I didn’t know what to do. To throw something at it would guarantee a smelly spray. I watched as it finally scurried away. Then I said, “Enough of this star-gazing. It’s time to put up the camper. We are in the wild up here and I don’t want my children to lose their fingers.” Yes, lifewithlarry has always been an adventure. Happy Father’s Day
It was a cold winter morning and we decided to grab a cup of coffee at Panera before heading off to church. We finished our second cup while perusing the Tribune. I looked at my watch and said, “It’s time to go.” Larry promptly refilled his take out cup of coffee with lots of cream and at least 5 teaspoons of sugar. I followed him to our gold Honda Odyssey van. He was surprised that the door was not locked and the rug had been moved. But he slid in and put his cup in the holder.
I made my way to the passenger door and noticed two big gashes. I yelled out, “How did this happen?” Larry came over to inspect my door and said, “Someone really banged it hard. Look how deep these gashes are. ”
I opened the door and saw an electronic device. “Larry, when did you get this?” I said. Larry has a habit of buying things and then quietly bringing them into the house out of my sight. Our house is filled with plants. He just can’t pass up a deal on a plant or one that is wilting and he thinks he can save.” So my accusatory tone was well within reason.
As I lifted the electronic devise to examine it more closely, Larry said with frantic in his voice, “This is not our van.” I quickly put down the devise and slammed the van door. I looked around to see if the police or owner would apprehend us. We scuttled off to our van two cars down and quickly made our way out of there. We were on Rt. 14 and safe from apprehension when Larry said, “My coffee, I left it in the other van.” Now I imagined the owner who forgot to lock his door settling in and seeing a cup of hot, steaming coffee in the holder saying, “Where did this come from?” Sure hope he likes his coffee very, very sweet.
While writing this entry, I’m sitting downstairs in front of a roaring fire in our wood burning stove which feels good today considering it is November 15th and we woke up to 18 degree temperatures. Not exactly what one would expect this early in the season. But that has not deterred Larry. For the last two weeks, he has been gathering and cutting wood. We have enough wood for the next three years; but he just can’t control himself. The free wood is calling out to him,”Come get me. I may never come this way again. ” Yes, the power company in the Fox River Grove/Barrington area has been cutting down whole trees under the power lines. This may not happen again for another 10 years.
Now Larry not only cuts wood for himself but for the elderly neighbor across the street and people he doesn’t even know on Lincoln Avenue. He just can’t stop gathering and cutting. What should I do? Is there any therapy for WOOD LUST??
I woke up this morning to the strong smell of “no” not coffee, but Bruce’s Hard Wood Ever Ready Polish. Larry had difficulty sleeping, so he decided to polish the living room floor. I bet there are a lot of wives out there who would love to wake up to the sight of their husbands polishing the living room floor. I am blessed with a 6′ 2″-240 lb.husband who is much more domesticated than I am. Larry cleans, cooks, and sews. Did I mention that he built our home? When I woke up at 8 AM Sunday morning, I thought I was smelling shoe polish on some very large shoes. But instead, he decided that our cleaning equipment was old and out of date, so he went over to Menards and purchased a new mop and broom. The house looked pretty good by the time I woke up. Feeling a measure of guilt, I took off to play tennis with a friend while he went to war against spiders and box elder bugs who have made their residence with us. The wood burning stove has been going all day making the house cozy with branches he cut down this summer. The neighbors call on Larry to cut down trees and branches—which means wood for the stove. I sure hope he sleeps tonight, but then again maybe I’ll wake up to the smell of fresh paint instead.
We just got back from a family reunion in Glacier Park and it reminded me of a previous summer in the wild West. Larry bought a kit at Cabellas for making his own beef jerky. He spent an afternoon making some pretty tasty jerky for our hikes out in Montana. We eagerly looked forward to a family reunion. Our son, Aaron, rented a newly built rustic cabin tucked away in the woods and surrounded by rivers, hiking trails, and the Crazy mountain range beckoning us to adventure. The spacious Bennett Cabin outside of Clyde Park in Montana is a work of art. Its sturdy 80 year old logs are accented with green cedar shingles. It’s very reasonable to rent since it’s devoid of plumbing which means a 2 AM run to the outhouse.
Aaron and his wife Lynelle climbed out of their van with our three energetic grandsons August, Jasper, Isaac and their trusty chocolate lab, Gracie. Family fun would now begin. But it didn’t take long for Gracie to discover a strange substance she enjoyed chewing. She also rolled into some foul smelling pond and only a bath in the nearby stream could get rid of the stench.
We shared Larry’s delicious beef jerky with the family while hiking along the stream. But after a half hour or so we were stopped by fallen trees that were the result of a June tornado that swept through the area. That evening, we came across the journal where visitors describe their time at the cabin. We were told to look for a fantastic view of the stars, a visiting owl, and an occasional bear sighting. But what caught our attention the most was an entry from the previous week. It went something like this.
Entry 7/8. We were sitting around enjoying coffee and conversation when a very polite forest service man informed us that our serene time was coming to an end. A downed tree caused by a tornado killed a cow and now they, meaning the forest service, were going to have to deal with it. Yes, they were waiting for an expert to arrive from Bozeman who would help them with the situation as a resident bear had discovered the beast which made it unsafe for cabin residents like us. More trucks began to arrive— some seven or eight of them donned with helmets and chain saws as they cut through the tree. They then covered our cabin windows with plywood and asked us to park the cars behind the cabin suggesting we take a hike. We went toward Target rock over fallen trees not knowing what to expect. Soon an explosion ripped across the mountain—-an earth shattering and auditory resound of military impact. What we were hearing was the sound of an exploding cow. An exploding cow! It took a legend to blow up one single cow. There was enough gusto to take down a herd of cows. Any resident bears must have fled completely out of the Crazies for good——with need of therapy. We went back to our cabin and were greeted by a considerate and good humored forest service employee informing us that the danger was now over. I felt it was my duty to walk to the gate where the deed was done to investigate. The dirt road was strewn with clumps of red meat the size of salmon servings and flies were swarming in mass. The smell was prehistoric. I was witness to something that looks simple, but is complex. Now little critters will nibble the bits. As for bears—the therapy continues.
Now we understood why Gracie was having such a feast. The mysterious substance was nothing other than—Montana beef jerky. Her last treat resembled a cow’s ear—Yuk! Coming from Illinois and chewing our own beef jerky, we knew we were witness to the aftershocks of an event done only Montana style.
A green and white neck brace encompasses Larry’s 171/2 in. neck making him look like a turtle. He does the impression quite well. His large head pokes in and out like a Sesame street character.
His speech is sometimes garbled, but I’ve always had to interpret for Larry whose original language is mumble. The neck brace doesn’t allow for much mobility. Although his neck fusion happened in January, 2010, he continues to wear the brace occasionally to deal with yet another problem: swallowing his tongue.
Yes, I controlled his every move for a month or so. I was the Siren in charge of his destiny. Even if I’m not quite five ft. and he is six-two and-a-half, he cringes at the thought of me driving his 4×4 testosterone laden King cab pickup truck. It has a special button to raise the pedals enabling me to drive. This is good because Larry refuses to add blocks with electrical tape like my dad did when I rode my first tricycle. I have to adjust the side mirrors which I haven’t quite mastered. Scary, since the rear view mirror is useless. He has to submit to my wonderful driving techniques. We had a Fox River Grove policeman as a neighbor who would stop me on the way to school telling me my stops were totally sloppy and what was he going to do, give me a ticket? For some reason, I was always in a hurry.
When we take off, Larry holds his head; otherwise it might fly off and topple to the ground like the headless horseman in a future horror flick. I threaten to push him out in the snow if he complains one more time. I have waited years to get even. This is the man who, while laughing, throws my pillow down the hallway a half a block when I get up at 2 AM. My secret desire has been to exchange weights and heights for at least a week to get sweet revenge.
Every once in awhile, he takes off his neck brace and turns into a frog hopping from one activity to the next. Maybe if I kiss the frog, he’ll turn into a handsome prince. But the doctor’s orders are that he remains a turtle for at least a month.
So now I eat with a turtle
I sleep with a turtle
I drive a turtle around town
If he doesn’t behave, I threaten to turn him into turtle soup. Control over men is what Geoffrey Chaucer has said every woman desires.