Saturday, August 7, 2010

Buried Treasure

I like to metal detect. In the past few months, I haven't been out much, so I've decided to head out--yes, even in this heat--and hit the playgrounds, schoolyards, and parks again.

For the most part, metal detecting is a private, solo event. With my goofy-looking headphones clamped on over my ears, I can embrace my nerdy side and escape into a relatively quiet world of beeps.

But start swinging a metal detector around and you immediately become a magnet for inquisitive children. Quite frequently, I get the kid who shadows me and wants to talk. Apparently, I turn into a Pied Piper of sorts when I go out treasure hunting, so I'm not sure just how much quiet time alone I actually get.

"Hey, lady, didja lose something?"

"Whatcha doin' with that thing?"

"Can I help you dig?"

"If you find a nickel, it's the one I dropped last week."

Most of the time I just pretend I can't hear them and look right over their little heads. Most of the time, it works too. If I'm feeling especially snarky, I will tell them that I'm looking for a missing contact lens.

"Hey, Mom, this lady is looking for a lost contact lens!" (That usually gets me a dirty look from the mom.)

One time I overheard a boy ask his mother what I was doing. "Oh, that's a Geiger counter, son." Oh yeah, a Geiger counter. Apparently, I'm digging for radioactive material, right here in the city park. You just can't make this stuff up. Next time, I'll don a haz-mat suit and freak everyone out.

I come home with an odd assortment of goodies when I treasure hunt. Mostly coins, but sometimes I'll find sterling and gold jewelry. Of course, there is the occasional dog tag, Boy Scout neckerchief slide, or award pin. You just never know what is lurking under the soil.

I've kept a log over the years of what I've found and where. I haven't stopped keeping that record, but I stopped counting when I got to $1,500 worth of coins. And I haven't dug up the mother lode yet or that box of buried treasure, but I can always count on unearthing enough for a cup of coffee or a drink from Quiktrip on the way home.

So, kiddies, just keep swinging upside down on those monkey-bars. I'll be there tomorrow to clean up after you.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Little Orphaned Footie

Every family has one. Known only as "the sock bag", this bag holds the lost, orphaned mates to matched pairs. There they lie, in hopes that an eventual reunion with their mate may someday be made.

Our sock bag is monstrous. Our sock bag is the stuff of legend. You think I kid. Oh, I do not. I would not kid about something so serious as a giant, overstuffed sock bag. I present proof of this hideous, ever-growing monstrosity:

A full cubic foot of stray socks

Our sock bag started out small. A stray sock here or there, nothing major. I think that might have been 13 years ago when there were just babies toddling around the house. And then something happened. Something horrible. (Something that Stephen King might take interest in.) The sock bag began to mutate. Or so it appeared. One day, I decided to count: 70 unmatched socks in the sock bag. 70! But wait, there's more: the sock bag has now grown even larger.

I dare not count them now.

We will buy brand-new socks for our four children, and only a few weeks later one of the new socks will find its way into the sock bag, having already lost its mate. Orphaned so soon? How does this happen?

I was assured when we purchased our washing machine that it had a non-sock-eating feature, so they aren't being gobbled up by the washer. So where are all the socks? And only the childrens' socks go missing; my socks and hubby's seem to be unafflicted by this malady.

The other day, my oldest daughter pointed to one of the socks and informed me that its mate was chewed up by the neighbor's dog. Okay, that's ONE sock. Where are the other 70+? We've turned the kids' bedrooms upsidedown, we've made a game out of the Giant Sock Hunt, and even looked in places we've never thought to look. Occasionally, one or two might turn up, but so far, we are not making a lot of headway on reducing the size of our sock bag.

Where ARE the socks?!

Sometimes I will find a sock outside, where I will joyfully rescue it and bring it in. A few times I have spotted socks out under the deck, becoming "one with the earth", decomposing to the point of no return. Those socks make me kind of sad.

I'm very bothered by the sock bag. I'm one of those people who likes everything in its place. Missing game or puzzle pieces drive me crazy. So you can see why the sock bag sends me into orbit. Here's the sock bag, dumped out:

While taking this photo, I swear I saw the pile move!

I keep all the socks. I've never thrown any of them away--in all these years. There are socks in there--baby socks--that no longer fit any of our children. But I know--I JUST KNOW--that the minute I toss that cute little baby sock, I will find its mate. There's gotta be one of those Murphy's laws or something that covers that.

Perhaps the biggest problem isn't the size of the sock bag. Perhaps it's me. It is rather odd that a person continues to hold on to socks that no longer fit anyone in the family. Maybe I don't want to toss those socks because they once fit my children and I can't bear the fact that they are growing older and more independent (the children, not the socks). Oh, horrors: am I becoming one of those hoarders? *shudders*

Occasionally, I will sit a family member down and instruct them to find mates to the sock bag. Sometimes we will find a few matches, so there is hope that maybe the sock bag won't need to graduate to the next larger bag size. Here's my oldest, Alyssa, (note grimace), tackling the sock bag:

I'm afraid I may have to resort to bribery in the future. This task is becoming more and more distasteful.
Another theory as to why I hang onto the sock bag and all its lonely occupants may be that the sock bag is simply representational of my outlook on life: an ever-hopeful, optimistic outlook that believes every lost thing will someday find its place, its rightful owner...its home. Yes, perhaps that's it: the sock bag is symbolic!
Then again, maybe I'm just full of it. ;-)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Etta has arrived in Kansas! We were so excited to be a part of the infamous Meerkat World Tour. We were surprised at what a tiny, petite thing she is!

Etta has lovely manners, a charming British accent, and lots of stories about the U.K, where she is from.

Alyssa and Danielle welcome in the weary traveller!

Brenna and Collin listen while Etta explains that not all meerkats live in Africa.

As Cocoa gets to know her, Etta is thankful that she is stuffed with fluff and not catnip.

Hoping to not be mistaken for a rat, Etta peers warily over the couch at Serena.

Etta is more than happy to explain the different types of tea to us.

Since we are from Kansas, Etta was most interested in learning about tornadoes and "tornado alley". A quick homeschooling lesson ensued.

Etta understands the updraft/downdraft thing but isn't too sure about that cow.

Later, while we weren't watching, it appears that Etta may have hooked up with Teddy. You know these young kids: you have to supervise them constantly!

This looks suspiciously like a date to me. Etta honey, you know these long-distance things never work out. And you KNOW how your mother feels about inter-species relationships.

Later, I took Etta down to my jewelry shop, where her best to help me make jewelry.

Etta learned that observing is best before you jump in.

Later, after we got her detangled, Etta filled us in on all kinds of English lingo. Nappies are diapers, a lorry is a truck, and people in the U.K really do say "rubbish".

Etta is on her way to Texas next, but not before leaving with a Kansas trinket: a bead shaped like a toad. What else would you expect from someone who makes jewelry and has nine toads?

To see more meerkat cuties like Etta, please visit Heather and her very creative designs at

Beadstylin - out!