Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell May 29, 2007

This has been a full week for us. We were privileged to go to the Martina McBride concert in Wichita on Sunday. Jim and I took in all of the work that went on to get the show ready for the performance, and all of the trucks and busses and personnel that it takes to put on a show. The promotional people- caters - roadies - custodial and of course, the security is very tight and no one can get in without the correct paper work. It does not matter who you are or your connection with the performers. Rodney Atkins was the first to perform. He sang “Lil’ Buckaroo” and “If you’re going thru Hell“ along with a few other songs on his album. Little Big Town was there to open for Martina, as well. They were all wonderful.
The newlyweds came home Friday after five fun filled days in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. They were happy to be home and anxious to get their lives started as a couple. They returned home to find the house they were to begin married life in, not in the condition that Jeff had left it. Neil Baker, Jim and I had mowed their yard and I got his laundry caught up and just tidied up a bit. But when the kids got home something very odd had occurred. Someone had moved the cement horse to the front door and put balloons around his neck. They had also moved their trucks, back bumper to back bumper and chained them together. There were empty cans strung on the trucks from side mirror to side mirror. The trucks were also plastic wrapped together and also over the cabs so you could not get in without tearing the plastic wrap off. The perpetrators also switched the ignition keys. Since Jeff had no canned goods the ‘vandals’ purchased some and removed the labels. Inside there were a few other things done, all in good humor. Jeff and Chelsea were shocked that some of the people that they know would take the time to tantalize them. Well, maybe not shocked- as Jeff would probably have done the same thing to any of his friends.
Wedding pranks are not always funny I have heard of some really awful shenanigans. It seems that it is traditional to decorate the vehicle that the couple drive away. Some have had their vehicles hidden, while others had theirs filled with packing peanuts, newspaper and assorted other things. This was one the worst that I have heard of- the newlywed couple got in their car and someone had lined the vents of the air conditioner with pepper and the fan was on high so it would blow the pepper right at them. The only problem was it blew directly into their eyes. That put a damper on their honeymoon. When you take off in a limo that does not arrive until the happy couple are ready to leave then the pranksters must do something else. So they feel the urge to go to the couples home or apartment to short-sheet the beds, put Vaseline on the doorknobs- put clear plastic wrap over the toilet seat- switch all labels on canned goods- unscrew all of the light bulbs in the house- and just move everything around. So it is important that the bride and groom keep their sense of humor. You know the saying ‘do not get mad get even‘.

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell May 23, 2007

This has been a good week- Jim and I have gained a new daughter in-law. We had a great time helping with the wedding- The Hucks were gracious enough to allow us to be a part of the arrangements. Chelsea is going to be good for our family as she is incredibly organized, and we are in great need of some structure. She has been planning this wedding for quite some time. She had told me that she would like to have lights on the ceiling at the Veterans Building, which is where the reception was to be held. I told her no problem. I had several strands of lights - but at Christmas I had to throw most of them away. But I was shopping the after Christmas sales and found net lights. Net lights are used on bushes and trees so you do not have to string lights in and among the limbs. The lights come in 4x 6 pieces. I thought that would work just perfect for the ceiling. I thought and figured - made a call to city hall and asked for the dimensions of the large room in the Veterans Building. Then I figured and thought some more. Since the nets lights were 90% off I bought all they had. The way I figured I had enough to cover the entire ceiling. Since math is not my strong suit I had made an error and I did not have near enough- but Chelsea being easy to work with said that she wanted just a portion of the room lit up and what I had purchased would be just the right amount of light.
Wednesday I thought that while Chelsea was out of town I would start on the ceiling with Jennifer’s help. Now I had planned this all out and the way I figured it would not take too long- after all- we had to do was to unroll the net lights and hook them together and attach them to the ceiling straps. It even looked good on paper- how hard could it be? Well, let me tell you- I did not know that the plugs were all on the same side and only three sets could be connected together. Now that does not sound so bad until you are there and trying to get everything to come out right. Jim was in Dodge with Jeff getting the Tux’s and they called late in the evening to see if we needed anything. I realized that we need a huge amount of extension cords. So they brought home as many as they could. By this time I had nearly destroyed my relationship with Jennifer. We gave up and decided we would have to do the lights another way and I was racking my brain trying to find enough lights for the ceiling-When Jim got home late that night I was telling him how hard it was and he said that he could do it- So the next morning he and Jennifer with the able assistance of our nephew, Jason Blundell, and about 8 hours later had it done- but not without several unkind glares and many unkind remarks. So here is a little hint if you ever want to hang the net lights. Plug them in and make sure that they work- not all of them do even if they are brand new and do not pull them to stretch them in the 4 x 6 rectangle that they are suppose to be and hang them with the lights on, even though they get very warm, they have a tendency to go out for no apparent reason. This may help save your marriage or maybe you will decide not to go with this brilliant idea. I was not sure that my marriage was net lighting proof. But we made it- barely.
Jeff had made plans early this past fall as regards to the rehearsal dinner and he was delighted to tell me that he it all figured out and I would not have to lift a finger- He had talked to the BBQ man and he was going to cater the meal. I was thrilled. Well, the BBQ man is from Greensburg and, well, you know the rest. The BBQ wagon had blown away and even if it had not, the man and his family lost their home- They had more important issues to worry about. We had burgers, hot dogs and chickens breasts on the grill. They were not nearly as tasty as the BBBQ mans food but it filled the bill.
When it was all said and done we were pleased with the results and all we had to do was to enjoy the wedding.
Being the Grooms mother is not as easy as it looks. I have been told that the job of the groom’s mother is to wear beige and keep her mouth shut- I do not wear beige often and I have never been able to keep my thoughts to myself. So what is a mom to do?

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell May 15, 2007

Another Mothers Day has come and gone. This one was uneventful- but it was the last one that we will have with Jeff as a single, foot-loose, fancy-free man. He is certainly ready for the big day- Jeff and Chelsea will get married this coming Saturday. We have been anxiously waiting for this day. The next time I write this article I will have a new daughter in-law. I have never had a daughter in-law and I hope that I can be a good one. I really do not want to be the kind of mother in-law that the jokes are about. I do hope that she does not hold me totally accountable for Jeff. His father and I tried and tried to do the best we could- but I make no promises- and there are no warranties, either. Jeff is just who he is and there is no changing that. I always thought that if a boy did or did not do things like I thought they should be done then the mother did not do her job correctly. I was unaware that sometimes they come out of the womb being difficult. So I want Chelsea to know that we tried and we tried hard!
Actually, Jeff has been a delightful son and he is a good son. The first few years of his little - loud- defiant life was just a tiny bit annoying- but I have a remedy for that. I did the Mothers curse - I wished that he would have many children just like him- So you see, I already must apologize to Chelsea for that- I had no idea that he would find such a nice girl. But I can wait a few years for my revenge.
Chelsea wanted baby pictures of Jeff for the wedding. I told her she would have to ask Jeff why there were so few. I should add that I think that photographers that work with children have a very special place in heaven. Jeff hated to have his picture taken even as a baby. He was the little kid who stirred up the other kids while waiting in line to get their pictures taken. There would be a sweet family of 4 in their Sunday best and not a hair out of place and there I was with Jeff. He would start out behaving then he would decide that he would like to have something that belonged to photographer. After I told him no - that’s when he got his tail feathers ruffled - he would yell and tell me that it was not fair and that the photographer was being selfish. Then, this would get all of the other kids to cry, yell and worst of all- whine. Then I would get the look- all of you mothers know that look- It is the look no woman ever wants to see. It is the look of total and pure disgust. The other mothers had worked so hard to get their children ready for a photo and here in just a few short seconds my son has single-handedly destroyed all of their efforts. Kids would be howling and then I would have to take little Jeffey out of the line and try another day, but usually that day never came. I know how my dad would have handled the situation. It would not have been pretty- at all -and the photo would have been something to remember. But if I would have followed all of his advice and parenting skills- I might be out of my 10 to 20 year prison term by now - if I had implemented most of his suggestions. So that is why there are not many photos of Jeff.
But Jeff has grown into a fine, hard working, young man and I know that he loves Chelsea dearly. I know this because she got him to take engagement photos and he did it without causing a scene.
His father and I wish the newlyweds all the luck in the world. And I know that the family of Jeff and Chelsea Blundell will never be boring or quite- And who would want it any other way?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell May 8, 2007

This has been a frightening week. Our hearts go out to the people in Greensburg. I would like to let our emergency teams know that how proud we are of them- whether it be the storm spotters or the ones who at a moments notice was ready to drop everything and use their own equipment to help out. We are so fortunate to have so many selfless people who give the use of their equipment, talents and time. Never once thinking that they might profit from it or receive recognition for being heroic. Every one of you are HEROS in anyone’s book. I am pleased to say that I know you.
Every generation has a storm story to tell our kids about. Dad was jittery when the storm clouds rolled in as he remembered the tornado that hit the Platt Ranch in 1927. He had many stories about all the strange things that happened. The same kind of stories that we are hearing from the residents of Greensburg. In 1949, there was the tornado that hit Wilmore, but of course, I was just a mere twinkle in my daddy’s eye. When Vickie and Virgil were little they went to the cellar many times. I only remember going to the cellar once, if I went that many times. I do not know if it was because that the storms were not as severe or if the cellar was so icky or if life had lost its luster and Dad was just too tired to care.
I recall the blizzard of 1971 and now this one. The blizzard was devastating, but not as horrible as Greensburg storm. Mother Nature has all kinds of ways to show us her power.
A few years ago we had just finished working calves at my house. Dad had just left to go home and the air felt funny. There was an odd cloud in the southwest. I told the kids to get in the house and shut the doors. The cloud was coming fast and it was red in color. It was the most eerie feeling when the wind hit- the red in the cloud was dirt and it was a peculiar and scary sensation watching the storm coming closer and closer until it has consumed everything around us. When it hit I could not see 10 feet in front of me. When these kinds of storms strike you feel so helpless and powerless. There is nothing you can do but ride it out. Obviously, it was nothing like what happened Friday night, but at the time I did not know what was going to materialize next.
One time Virgil had decided to take a hike- I was annoyed as I wanted to go with him. He was a boy scout and was going it alone. The last thing he wanted was a little sister holding him back and more than likely whining all the way. He was prepared - he had his compass - his flashlight- and other very important items. He was in his uniform and hat. It was a little cloudy out and Mom had said that she did not think that this was a good idea for him to go out and face the world alone. But never fear the Boy Scout was ready for anything. Well, Mother Nature saw this proud little scout and thought she might play with him. She threw down the some of the biggest hail stones she could find. We watched out of the picture window looking for the brave lad. We looked down the lane and saw the scout who was ready for anything- running like the wind, with lightening striking, thunder booming and the wind blowing as he was being beat to a pulp. He should have had a hard hat on and he might have been able to stay out in the elements. However- there was no shelter for him to get under or beside. I am not sure if he ever finished his hike.