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The Importance of Reliable Equipment

Eighth grade was my year to bloom. I went from little girl… my bras still had training wheels… to a woman with a perfect 36-24-36 figure. I must admit I was not unaware of the stir it created with the boys, and daily I was discovering the power of my new found femininity. But there was a downside to this metamorphic transformation… I also grew up. And not “grew up” in terms of mental and emotional maturity, but rather my physical stature approached what I believed to be at the time, Amazonian proportions!

My mother was short; she measured in at 5’ 2” if her feet were swollen. Bushia was short, as were most of my aunts. Pietrowski women were “petite”. So, when eighth grade rolled around, and I reached my mom’s height, I was thrilled. When I sailed pass it… not so much so. Okay, so I wasn’t the tallest girl in my class, but they weren’t my yardstick for perfection. My mother was beautiful, and I believed a large part of her beauty came from her diminutive stature. I saw youthful pictures of my mom and dad together. He towered over her, as it should be in fairy tale romances. So, if my mom was the princess at 5' 2", at 5’6” I would have to be the ogress.

One evening I sat around bemoaning my height. Because it bothered me so much, my brothers teased me unmercifully.

“God”, Keith said, feigning horror, “Look how long your toes are!”

My toes? I hadn’t realized there was something wrong with my toes. But looking down, I could see what he meant. After staring at them long enough, their length made them appear deformed and unsightly. I ran to the junk drawer and got out the tape measure. When I sat down and started to measure my longest toe, I realized the tape measure was broken, and the first inch had snapped off. So after taking the measurement, I did the logical thing… I added the broken off inch back on to the measurement. With the adjustment I made for the faulty tape measure, the length of my toe came in at an impressive 4 inches.

“Oh my God,” I moaned. “My toes are 4 inches long!” (A bit of an aside… I wish to point out, I was a whiz in math and very analytical. The fact that I had added instead of subtracted an inch from my phalange’s measurement, and then did not immediately see how inane a toe measurement of 4 inches was, speaks to my distraught state, not my intrinsic intelligence!) Anyway, as tears welled up in my eyes, my brothers were doubled over in convulsive fits of glee.

“4 inches”, Kev repeated. “They’re as long as cigarettes.”

“With toes that long,” Keith quivered, “you could scale telephone poles barefooted.”

Shame reddened my face, as scalding tears burned my checks. I went running out of the room, seeking the sanctuary of my bedroom. I should point out that my internal balance system was not yet calibrated properly to account for my recent height increase and mammary protrusions. Tripping over my own feet was a daily occurrence, and as I fled from the room, I failed to negotiate the metal rimmed step up. As my feet went out from under me, the shin on my left leg barreled into the step. This only fueled the laughter behind me, and as soon as I righted myself, I continued running upstairs to my room.

It was only after I got in my room, that I felt a hot trickle down the front of my leg. When I looked down, I was horrified. A thick stream of maroon blood trailed down my leg. The impact had been so intense, that it took several minutes for the pain receptors to transmit their signal to my brain. The tissue around the 2 inch cut (about the size of my toe) was swollen creating a linear crater. The flesh had retracted exposing my bone.

Later that evening, when my parents decided that I did not require a trip to the emergency room and had justifiably chastised my brothers for their grievous insensitivity, I sat on the couch with my injured leg on the ottoman. A towel filled with ice cubes rested on my injured shin. The atmosphere in the room was subdued, but out of the corner of my eye I could see the smirks my brothers still wore, and I swear I heard one of them whisper, “God, look how long her neck is!”

I still carry the 2” scar from that day to remind me of my “awkward stage”. I actually came to enjoy my height… as soon as the boys in my class caught up! Below is a pic of me at eighth grade graduation partnered with a prepubescent classmate!

What did you keep in a box?

As many of you know, Tim and I did not meet until we were in our mid 40s. Besides the obvious… he’d never be able to see the “killer bod” I had at 19… there were so many things we missed. Pregnancies and graduations, job interviews and college parties! So, on a regular basis, I would say, “Tell me something about you I don’t know.” Well, to begin with, it was a no brainer for him. Tim is never at a loss for words, except when he’s asleep. Nope, I take that back. Quite maddeningly, he talks in his sleep, too, but I only get to hear one side of the conversation! “Oh yes. I like that. I like that a lot.” I ask you… are we talking romantic interlude here or has a dream geek just shared a particularly concise line of code, and does the fact that that makes sense to me make me a geek by association? Sorry, not at all relevant to this blog! Anyway, over time, stories of Tim’s childhood and young adult life were shared. Some tales of woe and many of wonder, but as time went on the obvious recollections began to diminish. And because I wouldn’t relent, Tim got smart and started collecting memories to have on hand, so when I asked the inevitable, he was ready with an answer. And then one day, when I said, “Tell me something about you I don’t know”, it happened. His response… “I can’t, I’ve told you everything.”

Obviously, this couldn’t be accurate. So, my questions had to become more precise. “What board games did you play with your siblings?” “What did you do on snow days?” “Tell me about the first time you closed on a house.” See, tons of things I didn’t know yet! The other day I asked, “When you were a kid, what did you keep in a box?” His response, “How do you come up with these questions?”

Well, I thought this was a particularly pertinent question, and that the answer would be quite illuminating. Because, when you are a child, your most treasured possessions are stored in boxes.

Think back to the story of the Littlest Angel. You know the story. The day Jesus is born all the angels in heaven go to pay homage. Gifts are bestowed… impressive, magnificent gifts… gifts fit for a king. The Littlest Angel fretted because he did not have anything worthy of a king BUT then he had a thought. On Earth he had a special box he kept hidden under his bed with his most valuable treasures. Surely, if he only had that, it would be something worthy to give. An understanding grown-up angel heard the Littlest Angel, and made a speedy trip to Earth and returned with the little angel’s box. But when the Littlest Angel opened the box, he was filled with shame. What was he thinking? Here, in this tattered box, were treasures that certainly were not fit for a king. Inside laid a tattered collar from a beloved dog, a robin’s egg, a couple of smooth white stones and a wing from a butterfly. The Littlest Angel tried to hide the box, but to his horror, it was pulled from his hands by an unseen force and placed with the magnificent gifts near the Christ child. The Littlest Angel tried to skulk off, but he was summoned by God himself. Fearing a deserved reprisal, he approached, well aware of all the eyes that looked upon him with sympathy and pity. But, to his amazement, God did not chide him, but rather commended him for his selection of gifts. “This”, God said, “Above all other gifts, is exactly what a child, born of this Earth, will treasure the most.”

“So”, I persisted, “What did you keep in a box.”

As it turns out, and this in no way came as a surprise to me, on Monday mornings, Tim and his best friend traveled the neighborhood going through people’s trash at the curb. Tim was a resourceful lad, always on the lookout for… electronics! Some treasure butterfly wings some treasure transistors… tomato <pronounced toe-may-toe>, tomato <pronounced toe-mah-toe>. (As our son Mike pointed out, pronunciation is lost in the written word!) Anyway… when Tim was young, what he valued most was electronic parts that could be used to make an automatic sling shot or a battery operated space ship. So, although it appeared that Tim’s box was filled with discarded wires and transistors, switches and dials, it was in fact, filled with the things dreams were made of! Isn’t that, after all, what should be inside every child’s treasure box?

And, of course, it must be asked… what did you keep in your box? 

Edit: Tim pointed out that I never mentioned what I kept in a box. I kept the key to diary, a hair that fallen onto the lapel of my grandfather's burial suit, (okay, maybe a little morbid, but I was raised Catholic, and relics, like hairs and bone spliters, were big!) the bi-laws to a secret club I belonged to, and a letter I had gotten from Paul McCartney. (Okay, maybe his secretary, but when I was in 4th grade I assumed it was from Paul himself!)

As I grew up, I continued to have treasure boxes. And then, as a mother, I had a special tin. One day I was showing the contents of the tin to Tim. When I removed the lid, there was a very unusual smell. The contents included the first pair of glasses my pre 1 year old son wore, a hefty braid cut from my daughters hair, someone's retainer, about 30 baby teeth, 1 shriveled ambilical cord, and 1 ear tube.

Me: Yikes. This smells funky. I think this stuff is decaying. What am I going to do. I can't throw this stuff away.

Tim: You don't have to. Just put the top on it and never open it again.

He's so understanding! And so I did just that. I can't bring myself to throw its contents away, although its a rather macabre collection of paraphernalia, but I treasure what each of the items represents. So despite that fact that it needs to remain hermetically sealed, I know its contents marks major events in my children's lives. A pretty priceless treasure!  

Returning on Tuesday, April 7th

Just wanted to jump on and let everyone know that I will be back with regular weekly postings next Tuesday, April 7. This is the longest hiatus I’ve taken, I have missed it dearly! So, if your Tuesday mornings included a perusal of One Gen, I hope you’ll rejoin me. This week we will be making the switch over to the new server, and I’m getting the “old look” back! I swear, I TRY to change… Anyway, check back, and I look forward to catching up!

Mischief and Mayhem

I've reached another one of those OMG moments when I feel like I'm being pulled in so many directions that my tensile strength is being challenged! For that reason I'm taking yet another break from One Gen for a bit and focusing my efforts in a different direction.

Right now Michelle and I are investing tons of time at our crafting blog Wee Folk Art. So for the time being we're creating mischief and mayhem over there and I just run out of enough wakeful hours to do everything I want to!

But you know me. I can never stay away too long. So check back frequently. I am also going to use this time to have Tim change us over to the server where Wee Folk is hosted. Also, I'm sorely missing my site's "old look", uhm, not surprising, and Michelle has graciously offered to make it so!

So, in my absense, please take care, and stop by and visit at Wee Folk Art. I'll be back before you know it!


Just getting ready to close up shop for the night, and I had this nagging feeling like I was forgetting something. Hmmm, I let the dogs out, checked Wee Folk Art for spam, locked the doors, then Yikes, it hit me... I ALWAYS write my blog on Mondays and post it right before I go to bed so that bright and early Tuesday mornings, my thought provoking and oh so witty words await my readers.

Well... I have no excuse for my nonexistent blog this week, except to say, I've been in a bit of a kafuffle all day, and up is down, right is left and the blog did not get written. There is a highly unlikely possibility that I'll get to it tomorrow, but if I don't, I'm using my "Get Out of Jail Free" card, and I'll see everyone back here, same time, same place, next week!