SNOWBIRDING – PROS AND CONS?

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Last Friday, on April Fool’s Day, we got another 14 1/2 inches of snow. Sure, I go on and on about the glorious snow around Christmastime but it gets REALLY OLD this time of year! While my friends down south are talking about planting their gardens, we’re still dodging falling icicles.

We were supposed to spend this winter in Key West but things just didn’t work out that way. Now that Frank is graduating, we’re thinking about becoming snowbirds – migrating south in the winter and back north again in the summer. If any of you do this, I’d love to hear from you. There are probably all sorts of things to consider that we haven’t even thought about.

I have good news this week! Mason, who is 4 1/2, is reading quite well! Some kids just take to reading while others don’t. Two of our children read early, one read right on time, and another started reading really late (after much cajoling, begging, bribes, and even private tutors). Mason already knew his sounds, and how to put them together, from watching two awesome DVDs, Leapfrog’s Letter Factory and Word Factory. They’re engaging cartoons with catchy tunes and, if your kids are like mine, they’ll watch each one a zillion times and they can’t help but learn their sounds!

I bought Mason the book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, but found he’s already advanced beyond most of those. We are sticking with it, however, just in case he missed any of the building blocks associated with learning to read. He can sound out most 3-letter words and he read his first sentence just last night! It was: I SAT ON A BAT.

He thought that was sooooo funny! Why did he think that was funny? Well, you see, last week Mittens came inside with a bat. We were all watching TV that night and Ali’s boyfriend noticed Mittens had something. He casually said, “Whatcha got, Mittens?”

I looked over just as two small black wings spread and…ACK!!!! The poor thing was still alive (barely) and I immediately called for Frank (age 18), our resident pest catcher (and rehabilitator). Mittens brings in birds and rodents ALL the time but this was his first bat. I got a plastic grocery bag and Frank used that to pick up the bat. He put it in an aquarium to see if it would make it (it didn’t) while I mopped up blood and other bodily fluids from the hardwood living room floor using Clorox wipes. No, I didn’t have plastic gloves on (we didn’t have any).

Frank and I washed our hands really good but I honestly had no idea you could get rabies from casually touching a bat (or any animal). No, they don’t have to bite you! After posting a note about it to Facebook, two friends wrote to me saying you can get rabies from a scratch in the skin and even from exposure to your mucous membranes. What?! ACK AGAIN!!!

That night, Barry the Bat died and, the next morning, I called our vet. They said they’d call me back. Just a few minutes later, I got a phone call from the CDC, telling me exactly what to do with Barry and where to take him. I had to go out to the backyard and dig him up (hey, I’ve done worse!) and I put him in 3 Ziploc bags and 2 plastic grocery bags. I then hung it on the wall by the back door with a sign that said: DEAD BAT! DO NOT TOUCH!!

The next morning, Richard and I drove the 90 minutes to Augusta and dropped Barry off at the Department of Health. That afternoon, a nice technician there called me to say Barry did not have rabies. Shwew!! If he did, Frank and I would have needed rabies shots. While the casual contact would have made the chance of infection pretty remote, we weren’t going to take any chances since rabies is almost always fatal.

When Mittens catches one of Barry’s relatives in the future, we’ll will know to be MUCH more careful.

This Week’s Masonism:

Mason woke up the other morning, crying, and saying he had a bad dream.

I hugged him and asked, “What was your dream about?”

He sniffed, saying, “Somebody stole my cookie!”

I asked, “Who stole your cookie?”

He cried, “DADDY!!!”

The next day, he woke up and said he had another bad dream. I asked, “What was this one about?”

He whined, “I couldn’t get on YouTube!”

Hugs to all

Angela

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