Hadley

The Path to a Broken Promise

 

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I know that I left readers hanging with a “Name these insects” post last month, but I must address a timely topic.

Approximately 8 1/2 months ago, I issued this decree: if Trump wins the presidency, we’ll make Ireland our new home.

That was back in February, when the kids and I were enjoying an Irish road trip, and the chance to stay sounded dreamy. (Sidenote: I did not consult Martin before making my grand announcement.) At the time, six Republican nominees vied for the top spot, though Trump’s outlandish comments and quotes dominated the news cycle. Despite his treasure trove of whacky soundbites, Trump was generally regarded as the big joke. Not a “real” candidate.

Which is why I made a bet I couldn’t lose. For certain, Trump’s political success had a short shelf life. And if by some miracle he bested his Republican brethren, so what?  What were the odds that he’d actually win?

It was impossible.

I didn’t worry a whit, even as the party’s nominees fizzled in the primaries and Trump stood atop the rubble. I didn’t fret during the summer or even yesterday morning, as the kids parsed the hypothetical move overseas — which barn cats would go or stay, which horses would make the move, and would we buy or rent a house. I remained confident about my sure-fire gamble.

Until last night.

As I watched the results roll in, I mulled over the fact that I’d bought the media hype and blindly assumed that Trump’s presidential success was impossible. In truth, it was implausible and improbable. But never impossible.

I decided that a salve for the kids would come in cash reparations. And I figured that $200 was the fair-market price for a broken promise of this magnitude. Sure, I’d be out $600, but it was worth it to buy back their trust.

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This morning I awoke the kids and prepared to grovel. But first, I turned on the TV and let them soak in the results. They were astonished and dismayed. In an agonized chorus they shouted, “Noooooo!” in response to the news.

Actually, they appeared to be in physical pain over Trump, and I hadn’t even mentioned my plans to reneg on my promise.

Hadley was dismayed to discover her hopes for a female president dashed, but she was easy to placate on the Irish front.

She accepted my apology. However, she declined a cash settlement.

“I don’t want money,” she said.

“You don’t? Well, what do you want?” I asked.

“I want a sleepover, with one of my friends.”

Manageable, certainly economical. “Done,” I said.

Brynn wasn’t nearly as conciliatory. In fact, she was outraged over both the outcome of the election, and my bait-and-switch tactics. “You promised! You CAN’T break your promise!” she yelled, slapping the coffee table for emphasis. “You said we are moving! So we are moving! We. Are. Moving. To. IRELAND!!”

“I know I said that, but we’re not. And I’m sorry. But what about money? I’ll give you two hundred dollars, instead. Two hundred dollars.”

“I don’t want money! You said we’d move to Ireland if Trump becomes president!”

“Brynn, we are not moving,” I said firmly. “It’s not happening, okay? What about a vacation? Another trip to Ireland this winter? How about that?” Cayden nodded with approval, while Brynn glowered.

“Fine,” she muttered with disgust. “We can go to Ireland on vacation,” she said, pausing before adding, “…as long as that vacation lasts for four years!!”

I sighed and tabled the topic so they could ready for school. But the issue remains unresolved.

And while my money is probably safe, my word is devalued, especially in Brynn’s eyes. It will take time to repair my tarnished reputation.

I think that I can bolster my back-pedaling, by pointing out that there’s really no escape from Trump. His footprints are everywhere — even on Irish soil.

He owns a golf club and hotel resort in Doonbeg, County Clare. There too, Trump plans to build a wall — a 20-meter wide barrier — to combat coastline erosion.

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Family Lingo

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In keeping with this week’s theme on words

…a few months ago, I wrote about going “Crafty Stitches,” which is the most recent addition to an ever-growing list of family dialect. Phrases that are nonsensical to anyone living beyond the farm’s boundaries, but laden with meaning among our crew.

Many of these terms evolve spontaneously, spurred by a single incident, but they take hold and cling to our family vocabulary.

Like what, you ask? Well, here are just a few:

 

 

Term: Purple Karate Belt

Definition: A lie, specifically a statement that one wishes to be true

Origin: When fetching the kids from camp a couple years ago, the counselors expressed admiration for young Hadley’s prowess in karate, specifically, reaching purple belt status. I clarified that she’d never tried karate, much less earned a belt of any color. Hadley later admitted that she told this tall tale because she really wanted a karate belt, and purple was her favorite color.

Sample of use: “Brynn, you’re telling me that your friend rides her pony to school everyday? Really? That sounds like a purple karate belt to me…”

 

Term: Going Crafty Stitches

Definition: Overly agitated; borderline irrational

Origin: Hadley’s sewing shop moved locations while Brynn was hospitalized. I assumed the store had closed and I wanted to harm the sewing store staff.

For example: See this blog post

Term: Donkey Traffic

Meaning: Traffic due to high volume, unrelated to an accident or an obvious delay

Origin: The local afternoon rush often causes a back-up at the stop sign in town; years ago, donkeys lived in a pasture along this section of road and we always got a good look at them as we inched along. Now it applies to heavy traffic anywhere.

For example: “Sorry I’m late. I was nearly home when I hit some donkey traffic.”

Term: Go Count Cows

Meaning: Go away, take a hike, leave me alone

Origin: When the kids were driving us nuts, Martin and I would tell them to walk up the driveway — at least as far as the neighbor’s field, which is often stocked with cattle or dry dairy cows. To this day, the term is used literally.

For example: “I have a work related call to make and you guys are way too loud. All three of you: go count cows.”

Term: Frogging

Definition: Farting

Origin: Big John, this is all you. Several years ago, the aforementioned let one go and told the kids that a frog was responsible for the sound.

For example: Do you really need an example?

Caveat: We have barn cat named Frog, and I have a friend nicknamed “Froggy.” Neither Frog nor Froggy are associated with the above reference.

So, there you have it. If you have a problem — I don’t care if you get stuck in donkey traffic — you better go count cows.  I don’t want to hear any purple karate belts about frogging. I’ve had enough today. Don’t make me go Crafty Stitches.

Going “Crafty Stitches”

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Now that Brynn has been sprung from the hospital (yesterday, with a picc line… think IV catheter), I can reflect on the week.

Over the years, we’ve developed a lot of family lingo — terminology that means nothing to you, but everything to us. This post is devoted to the newest vernacular:

Going ‘Crafty Stitches.’

Sleep deprivation and stress leads to irrational behavior, as I so aptly displayed last weekend. On Saturday, Martin took the hospital post, while I swapped him for Cayden/Hadley. (This was my first foray into the gen pop. Safe to say, I wasn’t myself.)

The game plan: drop Hadley at her sewing class in Virginia, while Cayden and I cooled our heels at a nearby cafe called “The Bean Bar.”  Then we’d reconvene at the farm and, with my mom, pilgrimage to Hopkins to visit Brynn.

(Sidenote: add “sewing” to Hadley’s resume. At Christmas she acquired a sewing machine and she wants to make her own clothes.)

Sleet was falling when we arrived at Hadley’s final session in a 10-week-long, dress-making course. But the sewing store was shuttered and darkened. I peered in the window and noticed that the equipment — a bank of sewing machines — was gone.

I called Crafty Stitches but the phone number was out of service. Seething, I dragged the kids to The Bean Bar. I ordered them breakfast, cracked open my laptop, and began drafting a message, delivered to every email address associated with Crafty Stitches.

In my own defense, I refrained from using profanity. And I didn’t directly threaten anyone. But the message was venomous and angry. I demanded the immediate(!) return of Hadley’s dress. Perhaps they’d moved locations, I speculated — though I doubted it… my words dripping with sarcasm. There was no sign on the store front and the phone was disconnected.

I assumed they were closed and I didn’t care about their business or the employment status of their staff. With a sick child in the hospital and another one despondent over her sister’s illness, I was FED UP.

I imagined the sewing machines — sold at rock-bottom prices to a competing business — and I pictured Had’s dress and other projects discarded in a dumpster. That really got my hackles up. I wanted the dress that Hadley had so painstakingly sewn and I wanted it, RIGHT NOW. And, I wanted to shove bamboo shoots under the owners’ fingernails.

As I drafted my message, I plotted my next move: if the email bounced back, I’d contact the realty agency. I’d demand contact information and I’d hunt these people down!

Often, you hear about impulsive emails — messages sent, then instantly regretted. I suffered no regret. I reviewed my missive… vetting it for typos… and pondered adding expletives. Then, narrowing my eyes, I hit “send.”

Two minutes later, as the kids tucked into breakfast, my cell phone rang. The caller identified herself as a Crafty Stitches employee. She quickly explained that they’d moved.

“Where?” I demanded.

“Do you know where the Bean Bar is?”

“Yes!” I hollered. “Yes, I know where the Bean Bar is!”

“Well, we’re two doors down.”

“Oh,” I said flatly. “Well, we’re be there… in about 30 seconds.”

As we walked into the bustling store, I apologized for my cloaked threats. (Turns out, the phone was temporarily out.)

“We sent emails blasts,” the employee explained.

“I never got those,” I said.

“We told parents,” the lady added.

“Well, you told my husband… that’s like talking to a piece of plywood,” I said.

“Look,” I added, hoisting my arms and cursing the tears welling in my eyes, “I’m sorry for the nasty email. I’ve got… a lot going on.”

Later, I shared the episode with Martin. He listened, then rolled his eyes and declared, “You’re a mental patient.”

A few days later, when Brynn’s hospital release sounded imminent, Martin mentioned that one test might not occur before discharge.

I bristled.

Martin made the “settle down” motion with his hand. “I already warned the staff that they’d be hearing from you,” he said. “Just go easy. Don’t go all Crafty Stitches, okay?”

I crossed my arms. “What? I’m not going to go all ‘Crafty Stitches’ on them! But she’s in for two more days and already, they can’t do this test? What’s that all about? I mean, WTF? I want those test results before she’s discharged! Is that too much to ask? IS IT?”

So no longer, do I “go postal,” or “Jeffrey Dahmer.” I don’t “chuck a mental,” (credit the Aussies for that one.)

Nope.

If I sense any push-back, I just might go Crafty Stitches on your ass!