Welcome to “Foolishness and Mayhem” which is not only my blog….but my life. There is always something crazy going on around me. Either because I’m the cause of most of it – the foolishness and mayhem part – or I just happen to be in the “right” place at the “right” time.
I am a proud mother to eight children and the EXTREMELY PROUD grandmother to four. My husband (often referred to as “Scrubby” since I have a sideline hobby of scrapbook making which I often drag him into helping me with my creative prowess) is the light of my life. He and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary last year and it sure doesn’t seem like we’ve been married that long.
We are a “blended” family which includes five of my kids (his really), that live mostly in Colorado with a straggler or two in Kansas, and three kids (mine actually) that live in Arizona with a straggler that lives in California.
Joe (Scrubby) began driving semi trucks for a REAL living in 1998 as an Independent Contractor for a Drive-Away company. Before that he was an aerial crop duster and self employed with his own business, then he worked in the electrical transformer field, and now in his later years in life is an over the road truck driver.
I started out my working life as a teen with the Neighborhood Youth Corp in Colorado and had a taste of clerical work which I enjoyed. Nearly made my foster mother swallow her toothbrush when I walked into the bathroom she was in with a floor length green wool hooded cape. Similar in style to the gorgeous cape worn in the recent movie “Red Riding Hood” or however it is titled.
Yes, that was my very first purchase as a wage earner in 1969 making a whopping $1.25 per hour. I paid $125 for that wool cape and like to have sweated to death in it. But I loved it. Made me feel like one of those heroines in a historical romance. I even wore it one Halloween to a haunted house and was NEVER so thankful for the hood that nearly covered my face. I missed a lot of the scary monsters that jumped out at me after I had the foresight to pull the hood up over my head. Couldn’t see where I was going most of the time and ended up grabbing one or two of the scary monsters just to keep my balance. Gave a few of them a fright when I latched my hand around their wrist and held on for dear life so I would not fall down and cause a bottleneck in the procession of scare-ies trying their best to flee the place.
I waited tables in various restaurants from 1972 through 1979. Met my children’s father in one and made the terrible mistake of latching my life with his. The only good thing that came out of that six year union were my children and I thank God for them daily.
I went to a Community College in 1979 to become a secretary. I wanted out of the food service industry in the worst way. My youngest daughter was two days old when I began my education. During that year and a half I waited tables, drove a taxi, and took in sewing. During my spare time I studied to keep my grades up and did the best I could in taking care of my newborn. I had a wonderful babysitter at the time and I am thankful for “Grandma Dovey” who loved my little kids.
I held clerical jobs for the next 11 years that barely kept a roof over our head but I did it.
Through those 11 years I had my share of heartache, and wishing I could just die. One other thing you need to know about me….I can be a real DRAMA QUEEN.
Just a few months after I began Business School my children’s father sent his youngest sister (my children’s Aunt) to come and get them for a day trip to the zoo. They disappeared for the next 12 years and I had no idea where they were. I did have my newborn and we toughed out those years together.
Having totally sworn off men (someday I will tell you what my thoughts of men were at that time) it was just my daughter and I. That is until she met her BFF in grade school and those two were utterly inseparable. Those two girls wanted to be sisters in the worst way and began concocting ways of getting the BFF’s father and me together. It worked and has continued working. So I have to say Thank You to God, and my daughter, once again for intervening in my life. We were married in 1990.
During my life with Joe (Scrubby) I’ve been surrounded by children all clambering for my attention (which was a bit hard to take for quite a while…especially since I had lived so many years in relative quiet). Up to my elbows – and sometimes head first – in an electrical transformer can either pulling the guts out to be baked in an oven to remove built up moisture, or putting the guts back in and filling the can with mineral oil used in electrical transformers. Mostly I was covered head to toe in paint dust because it was my job to sand the cans and lids nearly down to bare metal so Joe could repaint them in preparation for delivery back to the utility companies they came from.
I was daily getting complaints from my Scrubby because he couldn’t find his tools and wrenches. I knew where they were. They were in a metal coffee can where I put them since it was, also, my job to take the transformers apart before they could have the guts removed.
I do have to confess that I had not a clue what a 9/16 open ended wrench was when Joe would ask for it. If I saw what he was needing it for I went to my coffee can and handed him the wrench he was looking for. I knew because I had taken most of his wrenches out of his tool box to see which one fit the nuts. When I found the right one, it went in my coffee can and it stayed there.
And yes, for any guys reading this, I did put Joe’s wrenches back in his tool box. Mostly they were put back in the right place, at least the place where I thought they came from.
One of the things that Joe had to learn about me is that I’m a squealer when startled by a loud noise. It never fails. A loud pop and I jump and yelp, even as I watch what is happening and am expecting the noise. I still jump and yelp.
Joe did the welding on the “Pad Mounted” transformers. He had to use a wheel grinder to cut an opening in the tank so I could get the guts out. Then he’d have to weld the opening closed. Each time he got the welder started and it popped I’d yelp. I’d yelp from the office in a different room, I’d yelp from outside while I was sanding a can, I’d yelp all the time. His welds would show my yelps, because I startled him with all my racket.
To this day I yelp. In our line of work I yelp when the carry chains we put on the trucks we are towing bang and pop. Electrical sparks make me yelp and RUN. The electrical sparks happen when I’m attaching the cables to a trucks battery to power the hydraulic motor used in raising my boom. Joe has so much fun and can’t resist. He engages the motor by pushing the lever while I’m walking with the cables to attach to the battery. I’m good when I put the negative cable to the negative post. But when I put the positive cable to the positive post and it sparks….well, I’m gone and I leave a trail of yelps in my wake.
See, foolishness and mayhem.
In 1999 I began going on the road with Joe. All our children were grown and away making their lives happen. I was bored at home all by myself. For the next year and a half I worked with Joe in getting his work done. Slinging chains, getting greasy, sweating buckets, getting filthy, have mud rivulets streak down my face from the sweat and dust. I loved it all. It was like a honeymoon for me. Getting to spend all that time with the love of my life and work with him as a team.
That is until he badgered me about getting my CDL so I could drive instead of just ride along.
In August of 2001 I began my career as an over the road truck driver following Joe on the highways that crisscrossed the United States. We would drop by our children’s homes (and by this time all my children were present and accounted for and in my life and had been since 1991). I’ve seen a lot, been to many places I would normally not have a chance to go to, and I’ve been able to meet some really awesome people, and a few not so nice ones.
For the past three years I have taken the winter months off to do the mounds and mounds of paperwork that are inherent in this business and get them ready for tax time. I also get my paper crafting fix during the winter months while I’m at home. THAT is another totally awesome part of my life that, in itself, is filled with a different brand of foolishness and mayhem.