"" Writer's Wanderings: September 2005

Friday, September 30, 2005

Not Me!

Yesterday my grandson got me into trouble. He's been going around saying, "Holy Sheets." At first, Mom and Dad were concerned that it was something else but once they established that the word was sheets, they asked him where he learned that word.

"Grandma Robbins."

I can see him sitting there saying it nonchalantly while playing with Thomas the Train, unconcerned that he may be putting a strain on family relationships.

I remember the days when my kids were developing their language skills. It was always a challenge to deprogram them upon their return from my parent's home. My mom and dad had some words in their volcabulary that did not carry over into mine. They were usually very good about not using them in front their grandchildren, but once in a while something would slip out. I'm sure my boys would have thought nothing of it, but Grandma and Grandpa made a big deal out of telling them not to repeat it. Right.

As kids do, they experimented with a few words. Thankfully we curtailed the usage of questionable volcabulary. Hopefully as adults, those lessons learned are keeping their language acceptable even when they are not speaking in my presence.

As for shouldering the blame for this newly learned phrase from my grandson, all I can say is, "Not me!"

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Baby Launched!

Right in the middle of my continuing saga, Take Me Away!, our fourth grandchild arrived. We dubbed him "the little taco."

He wasn't due until September 30, but at Leah's checkup, the midwife suspected the baby was breach. Sure enough, the ultrasound showed the baby folded like a taco, feet touching the nose. Rather than risk injury or an emergency c-section, they went ahead and scheduled a c-section for Friday, the 16th.

It's not going to be easy being a long-distance grandmother. I began pacing in my Ohio home as all the drama was unfolding in the Florida hospital. Almost two hours after the surgery was scheduled I got the call from my son.

"Mom! It's a boy! And I didn't pass out!"

My son was finally a father.

Now with four grandchildren, I should have plenty of stories for my new column. Beginning October 1, I am writing a column for www.inspiredparenting.net .

The topic: Grandparenting, of course!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Take Me Away! (7)

(This story is fiction--very loosely based on reality.)

“James?” I was so relaxed and sleepy, I could barely speak. “What was it you took from the mansion? You said you would tell me.”

“This, my love,” he said opening the picnic basket to display an elegant lunch complete with a little bouquet of flowers. He waved his hand across it. “All for you.”

I felt so special, but I was so tired. How could I even begin to eat all those lovely little sandwiches and cookies.

James began to play with a fuzzy weed he plucked from the grass. He traced it around my face. I closed my eyes. As the weed touched my nose, I felt a sneeze wanting to surface.

My wet hand grabbed my mouth.

Wet hand?

I opened my eyes.

“Meow.” Oscar swished his tail across my face one more time bringing me back from my fantasy world. I sighed deeply as the last vestige of James faded with my return to reality.

But, after all, without reality where would my fantasies take me?

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Take Me Away! (6)

I glanced again at the foyer wondering if I had been left behind. Suddenly James appeared. He nodded. I excused myself from the Duke and his affable companions and made my way to the door. James wrapped the fur about my shoulders and we left quickly.

He popped me into the Astin Martin and deftly rounded the car to jump into the driver’s seat.

“I’ve got it. Now it’s time to get out of here.” The tires spun as he sped down the driveway.

“What have you got?” I asked.

“Later, my love,” he said smiling. His eyes crinkled slightly at the corners. He was pleased with himself and somehow, I knew, with me.

When we had finally put a few miles between us and the mansion, James drove off the road onto a deserted lane. He stopped next to a beautiful grove of pine trees. He spread a blanket under the trees and retrieved a picnic basket from the car. Stretching comfortably across the blanket, he propped himself up on one arm and stared into my eyes.

The scene was so restful. The scent of pine was heavy. I lay back on the blanket. The feeling of a mission accomplished and a job well done was satisfying—but what mission had we accomplished?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Take Me Away! (5)

(This story is fiction--VERY loosely based on reality.)

Inside the stately white mansion, the walls sparkled with prisms of light. Beautiful mahogany steps curved upward to the balcony hugging the huge chandelier that resembled a shower of crystal raindrops. To our left was a large room, crowded and noisy with people. As we entered a woman’s voice called, “James, there you are.”

A tall woman in a black silk dress, diamond brooch and sparkling earrings, approached us. She had the beauty of one who has aged gracefully and has always known how to make the best of what nature dealt to her.

“Where have you been keeping this lovely lady?” she chastised James. “We have all been waiting to meet her.”

As she led us to the closest group of people, James leaned over and said, “Oh yes, by the way, today you are a writer with a bestseller about to hit the market. Can you pull it off?”

“Of course,” I said wondering where all my panache was coming from. I smiled and braced myself for the first introduction.

Sometime during the party, James disappeared. I was enjoying the attention so much, I had not noticed his absence. But now, I scanned the room for him as I listened to the Duke tell about his ancestral background which he felt would be a wonderful topic for my next book.

Had James left me? How would I get home?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Take Me Away! (4)

(This story is fiction--loosely based on reality)

“Casey,” he said softly, leaning over my tub full of bubbles. My pulse quickened. “Are you sleeping? You look wonderful in there but you must get out now. We have much to do.”

I opened both eyes. The deep masculine voice with the British accent sounded familiar.

“Who are you?” I asked.

“Bond,” he said smiling broadly, “James Bond.”

“What are you doing here?” I sank a little lower into the tub.

“We can talk about that later. First, don’t you think you ought to get some clothes on?” He grinned and handed me my robe.

Coming out of the bath into the bedroom, I was completely bewildered but deeply pleased. He was here—finally. All of my wondering and dreaming was coming true. I dressed quickly in the white crepe dress laid out for me. I looked in the mirror pleased with what I saw as the dress accentuated all the curves I thought I had lost to childbearing.

Hurrying downstairs, I met James in the foyer. He held a white fox jacket for me as I slipped into it. I could smell the wonderful scent of his cologne as I nestled against him with a sigh.

“Now, now,” he teased. “We must be on our way.” I whisked through the door he held open, grateful that we had not left through the rain forest in the kitchen.

His black Astin Martin glided smoothly over the country roads as the suburbs disappeared behind us. We turned down a lovely tree lined lane that led to a large white mansion framed by huge white pines. A man dressed in a crisp white jacket opened the car door and helped me out. James took my arm and together we entered a great hall.

I was awestruck, but where were we?

Friday, September 16, 2005

Take Me Away! (3)

(This story is fiction--loosely based on reality.)

I reached across the bed and grabbed the phone.

“Hello,” I said warily,

“Hi! This is Cathy,” a cheerful voice said. Great. Cheerful chatty Cathy who never lets anything get her down. Her cheerfulness was rubbing salt in all my morning wounds. “I called to tell you that Mothers’ Club is canceled this morning. Our speaker is ill and the officers decided to postpone the meeting until next week.”

“Thanks,” I said glumly and hung up. I sat looking at one stockinged foot and one bare foot. Should I finish or should I just put the sneakers and jeans back on?

A brilliant idea crackled over my brainwaves. Aha! That’s it! What I needed more than anything else was a bubble bath! A long soak in a foamy, silky bubble bath.

Unplugging the phone, I went into my bathroom and began to fill the tub with steamy hot water and mounds of bubbles. As I slipped into the delicious water, I cried, “Calgon, take me away!”

Relaxed, with my head resting comfortably on my bath pillow, I began to sense I was not alone. I opened one eye slightly. My heart began to pound. There standing next to the tub was a strange but wonderful looking man.

He was meticulously dressed in a dark blue three-piece suit that accentuated his broad shoulders and slim waist. Dark hair, dark eyes, and a strong jaw added to his mysterious charisma.

I closed my eye again. What do I do now?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Take Me Away! (2)

(This story is fiction--loosely based on reality.)

“Mom, you just took the luggage rack off the top of the van,” one of the boys said groggily.

“Can’t worry about that now,” I said making a mental note that I should count to 20 before putting foot to pedal.

One eye on the rear view mirror and the other scanning the usual radar outposts, I sped along. What, I wondered, would life be like without kids? There used to be a life before kids but my memory was foggy. I was sure there would be life after kids, but it seemed too far off to imagine. I felt trapped in time.

I congratulated myself as I finished the trip to school and back with no major catastrophes. So far my sanity seemed intact. Now I needed to check on Sandy and Timmy.

As I laid my keys on the counter, I noticed it was raining in the kitchen. Sandy will need her umbrella, I thought. But—that’s strange—it isn’t raining outside.

“Oh no!” I screamed and ran upstairs to the bathroom. The door was closed. Towels were rolled up and pushed against the threshold. On the door was a note that read, OUT OF ODOR.

“Timmy used the toilet and it happened,” Sandy said.

“Thank you,” I said weakly, knowing she had done the best she could. I turned to the linen closet and grabbed the rest of the towels to toss on the river that had run down into the floor register, across the heating ducts, and into the kitchen cupboards below.

With hasty hugs, I shoved the last two kids out the door for school and wheeled around to go upstairs and assess the flood damage. The towels had done their job. Good. I only had a few minutes to get dressed for the mother’s club meeting. At least maybe I can get some sympathy there, I thought.

The phone rang.

One leg stuck in my panty hose, I hobbled to the ringing phone and sat on the bed. Please don’t let it be the school calling, I prayed.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Take Me Away!

(This story is fiction--loosely based on reality.)

It was one of those mornings. You know—the kind where Murphy’s Law rules all. My three teenaged boys assured me they were awake, but fifteen minutes later when the caffeine from my second cup of coffee finally jerked me into awareness, I realized I did not hear the clumping sound of overgrown feet making their way to the kitchen.

Racing upstairs, I pulled the covers off each of them and did the old knuckle-twist-in-the-belly-button routine to make sure they were up. As the angle of their bodies became more perpendicular to the floor, I started for my own room to dress. Obviously, I would have to play the role of bus driver this morning.

Acting more like a cattle driver than a bus driver, I herded the boys to the table for a quick bowl of cereal and a little super glue for the eyelids. Undaunted, I marched into my younger children’s rooms and rousted them. Sandy and Timmy hit the floor running with the enthusiasm only the very young can muster early in the morning. At least there was some hope left for getting everyone to school on time.

“Now look, Sandy,” I said setting their cereal bowls in front of them. “You are going to have to keep after Timmy so he won’t dawdle this morning. I have to drive the other boys to school and I won’t be back until it’s almost time for your bus to come. Can you do that?”

A gleam came to Sandy’s eye. Of course she could do it. Having permission to boss Timmy around was a dream come true.

I counted three bodies slouched in the back seat, then hit the button to open the garage door. I gunned the engine. As the van shot out of the garage, I hear a strange crack and the sound of metal hitting cement.

What was that?!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Bond, James Bond

I've been doing a little cleaning out of old files. The contents have held some fun surprises. They are stories and essays I wrote so long ago that I don't remember penning the words. Some of them have potential. With a little updating and the right market, they might see publication. Others are either too personal or too crazy to consider submitting.

I'd like to share one of the crazy ones with you over the next few days. It's fun but a little outdated. You have to understand...well, hopefully you will...that I have always had a big crush on Sean Connery. I am not a swooner or groupie but I don't know what I'd do if I actually met him face to face sometime.

Connery is the only James Bond as far as I'm concerned. None of the others had the style or charisma or charm that set him apart. It still does in his other roles as well...and, yes, even with less hair.

So, with that in mind and remembering that I had five kids running around the house at the time I wrote this....well, you'll see...

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


I love my daughters-in-law. I have three. Two of them are the mothers of my three grandchildren. (The other is a mother-to-be.)

This morning I received a picture of my grandson holding his first work of art from preschool, a huge proud grin on his face. So much of him reminds me of my son at that age, but something in that grin touched the place in my heart that loves my daughter-in-law.

I finished my e-mail messages and hopped over to my Japanese daughter-in-law's blog. She posts pictures almost every day so that the family in Japan can see what our granddaughter is doing. She writes in Japanese and the Alta Vista Babel translation is sometimes hilarious. (Instead of wetting her pants--she's potty training--is says she leaks.) Today there is a picture of her being silly. It's the silly face I see her mommy giving her when they are playing and laughing together. I love finding my son in some of my granddaughters actions and appearance, but my heart fills with love when I see my daughter-in-law there as well.

And now I await the arrival of the fourth grandchild. I can be confident that s/he will have qualities of both parents and because of the special place in my heart for this daughter-in-law as well, I know I will love all those qualities.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Countdown to Baby Launch

We are waiting for another grandchild to arrive, the first for this couple. The arrival date is set September 30, but as most of us know, babies make their own decisions usually. This one will be a trip of some distance for us so we will probably not be able to be there when the baby is launched into this world.

It feels strange to have to keep saying "the baby," but our son and his wife have decided to wait until he or she arrives to know if they are having a boy or girl. Nowadays, it seems that everything in the stores is pink or blue or trimmed for a boy or a girl because almost everyone knows what they are having before it arrives. The suspense is killing me.

The other little item to mix into the suspense and drama of this expected event is that they live in Miami and this is the middle of the hurricane season.

"Not to worry, Mom," they tell me, "our prenatal course included information on emergency home delivery."

Katrina has already kissed Miami before destroying the Gulf Coast. Lee wandered out into the ocean and disappeared and now Maria is winking at them. I just hope that the baby's name won't end up being the same as one of this season's hurricanes because s/he is born during one.

You see, I had no idea there would be any kind of connection when I named Rob's brother Andrew. Andrew hit Miami a few years ago, not too far from where Rob and Leah live today. Thankfully, Rob was in Australia at the time when the storm named for his brother hit. But then Rob always managed to dodge Andy's punches when they were kids too.
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