Do you know what that means, sweetheart, when mama says she's wearing a dress?

I think I should just call this the summer of East Texas rocking chairs.

Here we are last week, celebrating Kid 1's 15th birthday with some summer fun, Texas style, and homemade peach ice cream.  And I did, for the sake of women everywhere, ask the young man who took the photo to please include a portion of my dress in this one so all our summer photos don't look like mom became a nudist.  

Then we went to the Buc-ee's Travel Stop which is the largest convenience store you have ever seen in your life.  

So large that you have to use your phones to locate lost family members.  Kid 2 called me when I was in their world famous bathrooms - the sign really says that - hoping to meet up somewhere in the mid western quadrant of the place.  So I asked him where they all were and I would've sworn he said they were by the wild Texas goats.  To which I replied that I didn't know we even had wild Texas goats.  

But turns out they were at Barbeque island and we eventually hooked up.  And they all bought food in to go boxes and ate in the car in the parking lot.  What other 15 year old gets to celebrate his big day like this?

We also celebrated Fathers Day in the same Walters tradition... by not doing much of anything really other than lunch, and a photo in the rain.  Which I love. 

And we had plans to go to a movie but the rain talked us out of it so we ended up on the couch watching Star Wars and I took a sitting up nap.  I kinda love days like that.  

And I took Kids 1 and 3 to get new contacts and glasses which took 2 hours off our lives.  The kids say it was 3.  I eventually made them leave for fear of what the breakage would cost me so they went next door and kid 3 bought a pair of shoes with his own money.  So it turned out to be a lesson in patience, independence and budgeting.  

And we went swimming at a local pool with a friend and her kids and lots of people with tattoos and some with purple hair.  

And yesterday we sent Kids 1 and 3 off together for a week of Boy Scout camp.  Now our house seems unbelievably clean and quiet. 

Wow this is a lot of boys.  

Which left me alone with kid 2 who wanted to go shopping for church clothes after church today because this is about the 14th week in a row that the kid has had nothing to wear.  Today he went with a school uniform shirt, khaki shorts and flip flops for that carefree summer worship look.  So we went shopping before lunch and about halfway through trying on this pair of jeans and that pair of khakis, mama's blood sugar was plummeting and I was considering the Godiva chocolate bars by the cash register.  So I ended pretty much telling him he looked handsome in everything, in a 13 year old male model kind of way.   And we just bought stuff to look at closer at a later date.  Always keep your receipts.  That's a mama rule the boys already have drummed into their heads.

Then we mistakenly timed our trip to the cafeteria too far behind when the 11 AM worshipers let out for lunch and right in time for the late crowd that feels the spirit till about 2ish gets hungry.  So we stood in line for 30 minutes waiting our turn to order.   Which definitely firmed up my plans for an afternoon nap.  

Anyway, as we sent the brothers off to camp in one direction of the state yesterday,husband, kid 2 and I went to enjoy a beautiful lake day with dear friends.  Again, more East Texas.  Kid 2 ran into a gas station in Sulphur Springs to get me a diet coke for my growing headache and came back to report that the cashier was about 8 feet tall and had missed his calling in professional sports.  I told him this gas station job is probably just off season work when he's home visiting his mom. 

And the day was beautiful with a lake and a canoe and a zip line and a big tree swing and good food and a porch with fans and a beautifully air conditioned log cabin all decorated in Pottery Barn's finest.  Which is totally my way of living the outdoor life.  

Husband and I went out on the canoe a couple of times and I've found the most difficult part of that being how to get out of it.  Which I couldn't do at all with any sort of grace till a stranger on the dock took my hand and assisted, and I told him I love him.  I sometimes think I might be a bit of an embarrassment in some areas to my husband but he's generally kind enough not to admit it.  Did I dream this or did this really happen?  I swear husband said that if he had a ukelele with him that I could row the boat and he could play me a song.  But he later killed a bug for me so I know down deep inside how he really feels about me.  

And all day kid 2 kept asking me to try the swing and the zip line and I kept telling him I was wearing a dress and how un-ladylike that would be.  But he insisted till I finally pulled him aside and mentioned that mama can't get up there and swing through the air in mixed company because I am wearing a dress.... Do you know what that means, sweetheart, when mama says she's wearing a dress?  It means mama is just wearing a dress.  And nothing else.   Because man it's hot out here at the lake.  He won't ask me to swing again, I guarantee.  

And on the way home we got stopped for speeding in a tiny town east of somewhere but west of another.  And since husband was perfectly lovely to the constable who asked him if he knew he was going 63 in a 55 mph zone, he decided to only issue a warning.  Which I decided was just a short reprieve till we pass the next constable up the road and we better start using cruise control pronto.  

Then I had a bathroom emergency and the only place to go was the grocery store where constable #2 was parked, but temporarily unavailable for arrest or ticketing as he was in the pizza place next-door.  So I told husband that to be safe, considering his history in that town and our expired inspection sticker, to just park far away and go in the store and buy some milk while I find the bathroom.  Kid 2 can stay in the car and plead ignorance if the need arises.  So husband and I escaped into the grocery store just like I think Bonnie and Clyde would've done had Bonnie needed to go to the bathroom and the family needed milk.  

Then we learned that Texas Highway 80 is a scenic 2 lane road all the way home and we finally got home to a starving dog at 10ish last night.  But without a speeding ticket and with a gallon of milk that traveled from afar.  

It's a fun summer around here.  I'm still working each day but I get home around lunch and have truly been enjoying my time with these fellas.  Except for when I don't.

Naked mom in a rocking chair

Just a little second week of summer catch up.... or in other words, the two weeks that the Walters spent seeing too many doctors so we still don't have a tan.  

We started the summer in full swing as any mother of three boys would.... by scheduling everyone a dentist appointment because I know no one has really brushed their teeth worth a darn in months.  And two kids had cavities which would have taken too long to fix right then while they were already seated and weighted down with a heavy lead xray vest, so husband scheduled 2 more appointments for me to return them to the dentist for fillings.  But husband actually ended up taking them, and while he waited he and the lady dentist had a heart to heart about MY teeth y'all.  Which if you are a long time reader here and already know all my intricacies and secrets, you know that I am a cavity machine.  Though I hold the Guinness Book of World Records for greatest number of times a human has brushed and flossed in  a given lifetime.  Because I am a complete freak of nature.  But the dentist understands and we girls stick together as I have so often stated before.... and she told husband that it's not my fault that I get unsightly dental decay... it's those damned deep grooves.  I actually think she used those exact words.  

Anyway, I'm not even sure husband knew I had another cavity as it wasn't something I was proud of so I didn't rush home to brag.

And of course I had my mammogram and decided at that moment to get my ear pierced again as a reward.  You already heard that story.  And for the record, cartilage piercing still hurts 2 weeks after the fact so think long and hard before you go freely piercing anything of importance.  (And about that mammogram.... please, if you haven't yet scheduled yours - do it.  And if you're a man, thank God that you don't have to be smashed and squeezed in such a manner then go schedule yourself an appointment for whatever you need to get checked.) 

Then I dropped off paperwork at the pediatrician to be filled out so kids 1 and 3 can go to Boy Scout camp.  But apparently I've forgotten to schedule Kid 1's check up for about the last 2 years and the doctor wouldn't fill out the papers without an office visit so we also went there.  To which Kid 1 complained that he is always the oldest kid in the place and much of the time the only one not in a diaper.  He is absolutely correct but scout camp is knocking on our door with no time to waste so I told him to just go do what has to be done and leave a urine sample on the way out.  

Then I had my own doctor check up where the doctor left me waiting for 90 minutes in a paper gown in the exam room without any decent magazines to read.  And I told her that I birthed all 3 of my babies in less time than that.  And that she now owes me a big favor so can she treat my summer sinus infection while she's at it and just write it down in the chart as an extra lady part?

Anyway, so many doctors, so little summer time.  But we've managed to go to the park and out to eat and swimming a couple of times and we had a fun day at the lake with friends as well.  

And here is where I posed naked for a family picture on our lake day.  

I'm calling this one Naked Mom in a Rocking Chair.  I'm actually in the cutest ever swim suit that I got tons of compliments on - and coordinating floral skirt ready for Hawaii if anyone invites me.  But strapless tops look like nudie shots in photos and I told my host for the day that if anyone asks I'm saying that it was a clothing optional party. 

We'll talk soon, y'all.  Happy second week of summer to you. 

Survey results and an exclusive interview with Fireman Dave

And the survey says....

The results are in and I am a girl in love.  And if I knew who you were and where you lived, I would come to your house and hug you.  And then ask to stay for dinner.  And can I bring the kids?  So consider yourself hugged with words of thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and opinions with me.

Here are the basic survey results....

most of y'all have been reading this blog for more than a year...which tells me you know way too much about the Walters by now.  It also tells me we need to get some new readers on board.  

Most of y'all read less than 5 blogs and I am thankful to be among your choices.  

75% of respondents think that once a week posts are just right.  Lucky for you because that's kinda my master plan anyway.  But 25% of you say you would like to hear from me more often.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  But I don't think I have that many interesting things to say.  

The funny thing is that all of y'all said you enjoy reading the day to day adventures of the pirates and thieves.... and a great number of you like posts that make you think and feel.  But no one voted for posts about Christian faith, which surprises me because most of my posts circle and dance all around that subject anyway.  

Here are some things I knew even before I put the survey out there:

1.  Both men and women read here.  Though I dare to say most of the readers are women because I think that's true of most blogs.  I think men read my stuff to better understand their own women.  And I have no idea if I am any help to you in that at all.  But bonus points to you for trying.  

2.  Some readers actually know me - apart from the blog - and they know I am as normal a person as can be.  Ask them.  They know me from the neighborhood, from church, from being a parent at a common kid event, from work, from family..... and they tell me that they read my stuff and it's an added level of communication between us.  Like a conversation we wouldn't have time to have otherwise. 

3.  Some readers come from afar - like the wisemen traveled to see Baby Jesus.  And some readers I have no idea where they come from.  I just know by the numbers that you're here.  I've gotten comments from places across the world that always surprise and excite me. 

4.  And then finally, there are readers that actually know me - from all the same common places as mentioned above, but they don't tell me they read the blog.  But I know they do because they look at me funny like they've seen me in my underwear and hate to admit it.  I love these readers too, and they are welcome here always. 

And a message from husband, aka, Fireman Dave......

He wants me to tell you that he is not an ogre.  Or a gigolo.  He's worried you might think that.  Especially after the last post .  But I vow to you that he is perfectly wonderful most of the time.  Because none of us are wonderful all the time.   In fact, he is so worried what you think of him that he agreed to sit for an interview with me - to be seen here, exclusively on the blog.  And here it is....

Kristi:  Honey, how would you describe yourself to the people reading the blog?
Husband:  I am a sensitive, empathetic, and passionate individual.

Kristi:  What are you passionate about? 
Husband:  My Wife.  (Long pause for effect and to make sure wife is listening).  Oh, and my children.  

Kristi:  On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your sensitivity?
Husband:  I give myself an 8.  
Kristi:  Especially if you happen to be watching an episode of Little House on the Prairie, right?  That gets to you every time.  

Kristi: How do you feel about being regularly discussed on the blog?
Husband:  I'm fine with it.  It doesn't bother me.  (right shoulder shrug to indicate carefree abandon)

Kristi:  What's your favorite thing about me?
Husband:  That you carry my wallet and keys in your purse.

Kristi:  Would you throw yourself in front of a moving train to save my life?
Husband:  In a heartbeat, my love, because you are the woman of my dreams, lovely in every way, and I can't resist your charms.*

Kristi: Would you put your head in the mouth of a lion to prove your love for me?
Husband:  Hell no.  You'll have to take that new diamond ring as proof enough.**

And the elephant in the room.... Is she or is she not in a mid life crisis?  (Subtitle:  Is Kristi menopausal?  The audience wants to know.)

The answer to both questions is no.  But I think if I am in a crisis of any sort, it started ages ago, as I am the same as I have always been.  A sweet and salty mix like pretzels and chocolate.  And no, I am not menopausal.  But thank you for asking.  Hormonal, yes, I'll give you that one.   My predominant symptoms being skimpy eyelashes and adult acne.

Item #4:  drum roll, please....

Some of y'all are worried about me.  Which you well should be because I live with 4 men who are messy, loud and can't flush toilets.  But that's a small price to pay for this beautiful life I have been given.

There was some question about my moods.  I think women as a species can claim moodiness as an inherited characteristic and wear it like a coat that we take on and off depending on the weather.  But y'all, mostly I am sweet and soft spoken, unless I just finished teaching my 4th class and haven't eaten in hours.  Or the checker at the grocery store won't accept my coupons. 

And when I talk about things that readers may interpret as a mood, that's mostly just me and my emotionally fiery soul.  I am also extremely jealous, snippy, and speak sarcasm as a second language.  But y'all, I'm good.  I'm fine.  Thank you for your concern, it means the world to me.     

And of course things make me sad.  If they didn't, then I'd worry.  I have a heart that feels the good and bad of life, all feelings learned by living through the good and bad of life.  But when I say words like jumping off a ledge in a statement on here, never fear.  I've never been the ledge jumping type.  When I say things like that, I really mean more that I may eat some chocolate chip cookies, or do an extra spin class to get rid of some energy.  Husband says I'm the biggest exaggerator he has ever known.  And to his dismay, kid 2 has inherited that quality from his mama. 

Oh, and just to let you know.... my boys want you to know that they do not think I am funny at all.  

Thank you for responding and for always sharing your valuable time with me.  As always, please feel free to share this blog and invite other readers as well. 

* answer may or may not have been embellished for effect by the interviewer.  

**answer paraphrased.  Husband actually lectured me on how if I truly loved him I would never ask him to put his head in the mouth of lion to prove it.  He has a point.  But he should be wary of invitations to the zoo. 

You might not want to ask your wife if she's in a mid life crisis

My vow of no sugar lasted all of a few days.... as I already fell off the wagon last week when I broke down and bought a bag of chocolate covered pecans at this little place outside of town that I like to go and sit a spell.  Like the Beverly Hillbillies might do when they sit out by the cement pond.  It's a family owned and run place outside of town that has lots to offer, including rocking chairs on the porch that just call my name.    

But I ended up buying the pecans because I got there with the intent of eating lunch on the patio -  But when I got there I saw someone that I used to know ages ago that I didn't really feel like talking to so I put on my movie star dark glasses and tried to wait her out.  But she stayed longer than forever and I was starving so I ended up eating what basically amounted to candy for lunch.  Vote for me for the most terrible person of the year.  

Onward and upward, however....  

So far what I've learned from the survey is this.... that y'all like to wallow in misery with me because it makes you feel better about your own.  And to that I say, Hallelujah, and of course, Let's wallow together.   I'll be sharing the survey results in a separate post soon.  I know you'll want to look that over.  I certainly did.  I'm drawing smiley faces and hearts in the air just thinking about it....

But today I'm calling this post.... You might not want to ask your wife if she's in a mid life crisis. 

Because he took me to breakfast one day last week, and we talked about the kids and their new cell phones that are their very first ones ever, and how they now have a one way ticket to the world at their fingertips and how that makes me a little weary to think of all the danger and possibility. Then he ambushed me with what should've been talk of our love or how good the biscuits are at this place. 

But he popped the question, somewhere between bites of bacon and garlic cheese grits, asking me if I think all my thoughts and actions of late, which have apparently been red flags of worry to him, may be the result of a mid life crisis.  

But he didn't give me time to answer so I kept sucking on the straw in my ice water and debated when would be the best time to pour it on him.  Then he calmly explained to me how even men have these same kinds of feelings, and when they do, they've been known to get surgeries and new hair and sports cars.  Some even get new women, I've heard.

And he told me it's natural to feel this way....  and then the walls started closing in on me. And all I heard was blah blah blah and saw a smiling face as if showing me his teeth may lessen the blow to my ego.  Or talk me down from a ledge from where I may jump.   

And just sayin', for the record, I've heard from other firemen about Fireman Dave's bedside manner if you will... the voice he uses when dealing with irrational fear or crazy people.  Rumor has it that he becomes the Latin lover who isn't Latin and slips on his smooth, look deep into my eyes and fall in love with my command of this emergency situation voice.  

The Rico Suave' of fear and doubt.  He may even unbutton his uniform shirt and show some chest hair for effect.  I have no idea.  But I hear it works 9 times out of 10 to make the the ladies forget all about that giant gash in their hand from cooking dinner, or that heart irregularity they were worried about.  Because they know my husband will lead them through the fires of life and right on out to safety.  Then he straps them down on a stretcher where they can't escape and he turns back into regular ol' Fireman Dave again. Then goes back to the station to finish cooking dinner.

But his charm was lost on me  - so very lost that I couldn't even finish my pancakes - and when I couldn't hold it back anymore, I excused myself to the bathroom and cried.  Cried the tears of an insulted and scarred woman cursed with life crisis symptoms of which I was unaware.

And there was no window in the ladies room to climb out of and escape as in the movies.  There was only him and he had the car keys. So we left together, without speaking, but about a block down the road he tried to talk to her.  Her, meaning me, but the upset side of me that you shouldn't really try to talk to until you're hidden safely behind a wall.  And I told him I just wanted to go home.  But it really came out more as blubber blubber home, blubber blubber home

And then I did what every angry and frustrated wife would do in lieu of killing him, and went to the dentist and asked if they would be so kind as to squeeze me in to freshen my dazzling whites.  So I had my teeth cleaned and charged that little prize to husband's credit card.  Then I bought a new dress, thanking him for that as well.  He should probably be on the lookout for charges at Neiman's and a splurge on a massage coming soon.  And for the record, I have since that day, had at least two beautiful compliments on my gleaming smile.  Take that, middle age. 

So let me back up.....

Here were the tell tale signs of my impending crisis.  Furniture refinishing, some occasional furniture rearranging, and the admission that I get a little bored around here sometimes.   Because being the maid has it's limits.

And last week I found out my very dear friend has lung cancer.  And I feel sad for her.  And for me.  Because I'm selfish and I had prayed long and hard for a real friend.  Then she appeared in the school yard out of nowhere one day acting like we were already the oldest and dearest ... and well, I knew God had heard my prayer of loneliness for a kinship that I had been missing out on for way too long.   

And I guess boredom + sadness can make a girl think.  Think about things as I sat in the waiting room waiting for my mammogram - looking at magazines and finding pictures of darling clothes and haircuts and yes, an adorable ear cartilage piercing.

Think about things as I watch my kids grow up, one finishing elementary school and one finishing middle school, and starting new phases of life.  

Think about things as I work and write and dream about all that I have to say being shared to God's fullest promise. 

So all that being said, my aforementioned friend, feeling well and strong, and also being a bit of a bad influence on me, kept me company at the tattoo and piercing salon one afternoon between the 5th grade awards ceremony and kid 2's orthodontist appointment.  

What's that saying my mom used to say? 
I need that (fill in the blank) like I need a hole in my head. 
Well, I have a new hole in my head.  Added to my collection.  And after it all heals up, I have big sparkly plans for that hole.  Diamonds really are a girl's best friend.   

This one joining my already large collection of piercings - 8 in total now, all on the ears, of course...  

Because, #1...  I was a child of the 80's and we just did stuff like that then. 
And #2, with the pain I felt with this one, I can't even imagine piercing anything more delicate than an ear.  

But if you see me around, you'll rarely see me with any of  my bedazzles in my ears. Because over the years, I got busy raising kids and taking care of people and obviously forgot some parts of who Kristi is.  She's the one with the 8 ear piercings and the girl who has, on several lovely occasions, dared to be bold in some of life's more important areas.  

I forgot about her.  Till I remembered.   Maybe husband forgot about her, too.  

Maybe that's the only crisis.  

Remembering the beauty of being me......  but this time with very sore ear cartilage. 

survey results coming soon..... I love love love what I learned!  Can't wait to share. 

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