Gold Mine

I recently made a trip up to Boston to help my parents clean out closets and storage spaces that contain the relics of my childhood.  In an effort to purge the no longer needed, my parents nominated me to make the call on what was too precious and dear to part with and what needed to find a new home in a hurry.

The major area that needed addressing was my sister’s and my old playroom that had become a resting place for furniture no longer allowed in the main part of the house.

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Things only got worse before they got better.

But, boy, did they get good.

I found some real treasures among 3 carloads, 2 truckloads, and dozens of 55 gallon trash bags by the curb of rejected items.

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This here is one of the Hanson brothers, also known as my little sister Eugene.

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I found an entire box of cards that my sister’s classmates had made her when she had her tonsils removed in the first or second grade.  By the volume of cards and the concern in her classmates’ scribbles, you would have thought she was having high-risk, open-heart surgery.  She had many a reminder to eat popsicles, which had some very creative spellings.  My favorite though, was this card from a young man who I deduce was named Harrison.  He seemed to have some top secret information for Eugene on the inside of the card as she was to “plees opon alone.”

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I found my Chapel signs from my senior year of high school.  Man were those a trip.

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This is me in 8th grade with my kindergarten buddy.  I think she’s applying to colleges now.  I feel old.

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Hard to believe since it was just yesterday that I was sporting pig tails and cat appliques.

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Who remembers Lisa Frank?! I used to love to buy this stuff at the school store in elementary school!

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I was unsure about this creature that belonged to Eugene.  I sent her this picture to inquire about its nature.

Me: “What is this here creature?”

Eugene: “A horse in a kimono, naturally.”

Right.  He was for sure a keeper.

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Cards congratulating my parents on my birth.  I’m not sure if it was a common thing to say back then (let’s hope), but a lot of the cards said, “take good care of her,” as if my parents were questionable guardians.   This kind of made me laugh/worry.

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This is a realtor packet from 1992 when my parents sold their first home in Maryland, where Eugene and I were born.

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Apparently I took interest in homes and real estate at a young age as it appears I added my own notes to the list of house features.

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I had a lot to add.

And that was only day one.

Y’all be good,

Sugarlump

 

 

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Christmas Traditions

This year marked a big transition in tradition for the Dyer household.   Instead of having our family Christmas at my parents’ house as we have always done, I hosted here in my new hometown of Nashville.

In my one bedroom apartment.

I didn’t foresee an issue as I have a large sectional that can sleep two people so I knew all four of us would have a comfortable place to sleep.

What I didn’t foresee was the blanket shortage.  I wound up sleeping under my robe.

It’s ok though.  Santa still showed up and we had our family Christmas.

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I may need a bigger place if I plan on hosting regularly.

After our family Christmas on Christmas Eve morning with just me, Eugene and my mom and dad, we headed to Kentucky for Christmas on Christmas Day with the extended family.

Got that straight?

We always sleep at my dad’s parents’ house on Christmas Eve.  My aunt, uncle and cousins live just down the road so they do their family Christmas early in the morning and then head to my grandparents for the big family Christmas on Christmas Day.

Christmas morning, Granny made sausage gravy and biscuits.  Man that stuff is good.  I certainly couldn’t eat it every day but then again my great grandparents did and they lived into their 90’s so maybe there’s something to that.  I’ll have to ponder that at a later time when I’m feeling less full.

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Per tradition, we started with our stockings.  Among other lovely items, there was a Starbucks gift card, which it looks like I could have used that morning if the nearest Starbucks weren’t over 70 miles away.

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After the stockings, we moved into the living room and the youngins passed out the gifts.  Eugene found a tagless gift, which was cause for great concern.

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My mom and Aunt Vickie received some money in shot glasses from Santa (Papa).  I found this hilarious.  I’m glad Aunt Vickie thought so, too.

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Granny got her box of tide with a dollar bill from Papa.  He’s been doing this for decades and I’m still not really sure how it started.  Maybe someday I’ll get to the bottom of it.

After Christmas at my dad’s parents’ house, we headed down the road (literally) for Christmas with my mom’s parents.

I went straight for a bourbon ball….or two.   I have a wicked sweet tooth and there’s no telling when it will strike.

We settled into the living room and opened our gifts.  It wasn’t the same without my aunt, uncle and cousin on my mom’s side, but we were certainly thinking of them and wishing they could have been with us.

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After seeing the photo that my parents sent out unsupervised in the family Christmas card this year where I look possessed, Eugene and I insisted that we supply suitable photographs for next year’s card.  We had my dad take about 437 photos and this was one of the better ones.

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With cameras retired for the day, we ate the delicious Christmas dinner that Grandmother had prepared for us.

Then I had a few more bourbon balls and a piece of rum cake.

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We played a game of Scrabble, one of our favorites.  I wasn’t on top of my game.  There’s only so much you can do when dealt X, B, J, H, L, L, T.  That, and most of the blood in my body was likely trying to aid in the digestion of the forty pounds of food I had eaten in the past few hours instead of pumping through my brain for a stroke of vocabulary genius.

And then I might have had another bourbon ball.

And then some leftover dressing from Christmas Eve dinner back at Granny and Papa’s.

And a piece of the jam cake cousin Lauren and I made on Thanksgiving and let ripen for Christmas.  It was scrumptious.

I think I’ll be full until next year.

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These things are the devil.

Y’all be careful,

Sugarlump

P.S. Thank You

The great thing about cleaning out my parents’ house as I prepare to move is finding little treasures like old pictures, cards and papers dating as far back as kindergarten.

The bad thing about cleaning out my parent’s house as I prepare to move is cleaning out my parents’ house.

We have accumulated a lot of stuff that has not been thinned since…..ever.

(WARNING: tangent ahead)

I’ve decided I like organizing, but not “cleaning out.”  Give me a closet full of items tangled up and in a heap and I will gladly put like with like and in nice boxes and baskets, all labeled, color-coded and sorted by occasion/season.  After all, I used to organize the silverware drawer just for kicks when I was in elementary school.  I know, I’m weird.  I can’t help it.

I do NOT, however, care for “cleaning out,” which includes deciding what to throw away, give away or keep, because this involves many messy (and HEAVY) piles, bins, trash bags, nosy cats and 459 trips up and down the stairs from the warzone to the garage.

After completing this process in several rooms this past week, I still have to organize and store what is NOT going with me to Nashville AND pack what IS going with me.  And THEN I have to drive 18 hours, haul the “keep” pile (mountain?) up TWO flights of stairs and UNpack it.  YIIIIKES!  Maybe I’ll just stay in Boston.

Oh wait, nope.

My love for the South is greater than my hatred for “cleaning out,” so I’m sticking to my plan (but apparently not to the point of this post.  My bad.)

Anyway, back to my first point: I have come across some real treasures in this “cleaning out” process, such as this card from my little seeester, Eugene:

Although she has no recollection of this card, judging by its content, her lovely cursive handwriting, and the fact that this card was created using a card program popular in our household at the turn of the century, I have concluded that this card dates back to the day after my sister tried to amputate her arm.

That may be an exaggeration.  It was her finger and it was unintentional (allegedly).

It was just after her 10th birthday, the height of her horse phase.  She had received several toy horses as gifts.  These particular toy horses come packaged as if they are going to gallop off the shelf, with layers and layers of cardboard, molded plastic and lethal plastic ties that keep the horses’ legs bound to the cardboard.  My sister was in the family room trying to free her toy horses from their boxy oppressors when her scissors slipped from the lethal plastic tie and launched into her left index finger which was holding up the box.

I was up in the attic on the computer when a calm voice and a trail of blood drops made its way toward me.  Upon processing this scene, I realized that this was not good but tried to keep my cool.  I was 13 at the time and obviously could not legally drive my sister to the emergency room.  Oh and my parents weren’t home.  Did I forget to mention that?  My mom was on a business trip and my dad was at a dinner in Boston and somehow in the 2 hours between when our nanny left and when my dad was due to arrive home, my sister and I found ourselves in a situation requiring professional medical attention.

After calmly escorting my sister down to the bathroom, I pulled the scissors out of her hand (turns out I should have left them in there, but I thought she might contract tetanus or something terrible) and wrapped her finger up tightly in a towel.   As she sat tight and with very few tears, I called my dad and asked him what I should do and he told me to call my neighbors to see if one of them could drive us over to the emergency room where he would meet us as soon as he could.

I then called one of my neighbors.

Ring, ring, ring…ring… “We can’t come to the phone right now, please leave a message.”

I figured maybe they were having dinner or something so I tried again immediately, hoping these back-to-back calls would communicate a sense of urgency.

Ring, ring, ring…ring… “We can’t come to the phone right now, please leave a message.”

Hmmm (translation: AHHH!).  I tried one more time and then decided they must not have been home.  Then I called my other next-door neighbors.  They did not pick up after several calls either.  I was about to lose my cool, but remembered that my sister was watching me very closely so I called my dad again and asked him what to do.

He told me to call 911.  All of the sudden, this seemed very serious and scary, but somehow I called 911 and the ambulance arrived a few minutes later.  As we were getting into the back of the ambulance, the second neighbor I called came running out of her house, got in the ambulance and traveled with us to the hospital.  At this point, I started to tear up, but my sister (the injured one) kept her cool.

We arrived to the hospital quickly and the doctor checked out my sister’s wound.  My dad got there shortly after.  After seeing my sister’s wound under fluorescent light and hearing the doctor say she needed stitches, I started to feel a little light-headed and had to go back to the waiting room until Eugene was all stitched up and released from the ER.

Even though she was the brave one for not freaking out when she stuck a pair of scissors in her finger, she made this very nice card to thank me for taking care of her.  The card was very sweet and thoughtful, but the P.S. note cracks me up:

As if I didn’t catch on to the sentiment on this card, she just wanted to be sure I got the message in the postscript.  I don’t know why I find this so funny, but I do. Even though that was not an evening I would like to relive (and I’m sure Eugene wouldn’t either), I’m so glad I found this card because it is so Eugene and it makes me smile.

To help you make sense of this post, I have put together a list of takeaways:

  1. Always answer your phone because it might be your panicking 13 year old neighbor calling about a scissors accident
  2. Deliberate long and hard before deciding to have children
  3. Packaged toys (particularly horses) pose a threat to your life and opening them may result in stitches
  4. Don’t move to a new place or you will be subject to some “cleaning out”
  5. “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”
  6. (what?)
  7. P.S. Thank you

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

Sugarlump