Around Here.

tree lined
After a week of being sick, I’m ready to get back on track.  What better way than to put up a new post? 

Driving home a few weeks ago, Mr. Stuck and I laughed about a particularly amusing incident that happened four or five years back on the same stretch of county road we were on.  I thought I’d share the story.  First, some background:

We live in a mostly rural area (“the boonies”) where horses share the road with logging trucks, bicycles, Volvo wagons and Harleys.  In the summer we have a farmers’ market in the center of town, near the liquor store, medical marijuana clinic, and post office.  The civic center houses tennis and tae kwon do lessons as well as a museum, Friday night skate nights and crab feed fundraisers.  Historically, the people who live in our community have prided themselves on their independence and resourcefulness; mini farms dot the landscape, and the ‘old ways’ of homesteading are alive and well.  The area itself has a very interesting history of radicalism, alternate philosophies, and anarchists.  It is for these reasons, aside from the beauty here, that I love where we live and where we chose to raise our family.

It is also for these reasons that not a lot of things surprise me out here anymore…except for this one night, several years ago.  Mr. Stuck and I had been out and about, running errands, I suppose, with Numbers One and Young at home.  It was dark, probably 10:00 at night, and the night was cool, but dry.  I was driving toward home on a two-lane road that proceeds downhill past the power lines and wends its way back up to meet the state highway.  Posted speed limit is 40 mph, but it’s really easy to go faster as you gain momentum, so you have to be careful.

There was nobody on the road that night but us.  I was just past the crest of the hill and heading down when my headlights caught something up ahead in the road.  It was big and light-colored; I slowed way down as we tried to figure out what it was.  Just my luck — as we approached, we realized it was a man, standing in the middle of my lane.

In a squirrel costume, head to toe.  Smiling.

I gave him wide berth, moving into the other lane to avoid him.  He didn’t move; he merely stood there, facing me, as I slowed to barely a crawl.  It rather freaked me out, because it wasn’t Halloween, and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why a man would be dressed in a squirrel costume and standing in the middle of the road in front of an oncoming car, unless he had some dastardly plan.  (What the plan was, I had no idea, but I knew it had to be dastardly.)  When we were merely feet from him, he waved genially with his squirrel paw, turned, and sauntered away.

After we exchanged puzzled looks and said, did we really just see that? Mr. Stuck and I laughed and talked about it all the way home, and for long afterward.  We were glad that we had been together that night, because had we been alone and seen it, nobody would have believed the story, and we might have doubted our own eyes.  However, since we could each corroborate the other, we could assure one another that no, we weren’t crazy — or, at least, we weren’t delusional.

There really was a man-squirrel in the road that night.

This, friends, is my life.

Early Bird or Night Owl?

Clocks

4/27 Daily Prompt – Your Time to Shine
Early bird, or night owl?

I haven’t kept up with the Daily Prompts very well, and I would say that part of the reason is that I’m a night owl in an early-bird world.  I get up before anyone else in my household, and I am often out the door and on the way to work before anyone has rolled out of bed.  It’s not as early as, say, the barista down the road at my favorite espresso stand, but to me, it’s an ungodly hour, and it’s difficult.  Thank goodness for coffee.

Years ago, I made it clear to my family that on weekends, if there was no reason for me to get up early (vacation, appointment, or chauffeur duty), then I was to be left alone until at least 8 or 9 a.m.  Sometimes I have the luxury of sleeping in much later, especially if I have stayed up late the night before.  You see, that is part of my problem — I like to stay up late, but I’m not very good at it anymore.

I’m afraid I’ve fallen victim to what my sister would call, “Oldness.”  Oldness is waking up early, even when you don’t want to, and even without an alarm.  Oldness is wanting to stay up and watch that movie on Netflix, but falling asleep before it’s halfway through.  Oldness is knowing that having one beer makes you want to have two; but having two makes you want to take a nap.

I fear I am becoming more of a hermit as I get older.  I used to like going out with friends, dancing and drinking, having a few laughs, and coming home in the wee hours.  When I was in my 20’s, I would stay at the club until closing time, and then hit the local diner with my friends for some fries and a Coke.  I could stay up for days if I wanted to, and I did on a few occasions.  But now, I’m ashamed to admit that I when I go out, I start looking at the clock around 10 or 11.

Number One Son is a night owl like his sister, and like I used to be.  He was the one who, as a toddler, insisted he wasn’t tired as he fought to keep his eyes open.  He would stay up as late as he could if I would let him.  Of course, that means he also likes to sleep late.  Number Young Son, on the other hand, was always an early riser as a youngster, and he would go full speed until he’d drop, asleep, in the middle of whatever he was doing.  Now that he’s a teen, he likes to stay out late but he is still an early riser, especially compared to his friends.

When I was a kid, one of my older, teenaged sisters liked to sleep in late, much to my parents’ annoyance.  They, of course, always rose early.  One of my father’s favorite sayings was, “Anybody who sleeps longer than me is LAZY!”  My sister’s bedroom was right above the kitchen, and my mother would take the broom handle and pound on the ceiling to get her up.  I remember one time my father, frustrated that she was ‘sleeping all day,’ went upstairs to her room.  He threw the covers back.  Much to his surprise, she had slept in the buff.  In one sweeping motion, he pulled the blankets back over her and hurried out, horribly embarrassed.  He never did that again.  (I remember something about dousing her with a glass of water, too, on occasion, but I would have to ask her if that was truth or rumor.)

There is one time when I do like to be up early in the quiet of the morning: when we are at our lake property.  Sometimes I will wake before the sun is quite risen, and I will quickly dress and go out to start the campfire.  I enjoy watching the day begin over the calm water, with fish rising and ospreys and eagles looking for breakfast.  If I have a cup of coffee, it is that much better.

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(Oh, and I meant to post this yesterday, but I stayed up to watch Skyfall, and before I knew it, it was 1 a.m.)

clock photo credit blue2likeyou