A short update, and life ponderings

There isn’t much to report as far as the garden goes. Surprisingly it is still producing, but the temperatures have been off the chart–106 yesterday, last I checked 104 today (probably higher), and more of the same forecast for the next several days. I don’t care how much you water, the plants are getting BAKED. I brought in two of my palm bushes/trees I had on the patio because they were getting bleached out from the heat, poor things. I harvested some squash, cantaloupes and yellow tomatoes yesterday, and there are watermelons, jalapeno peppers, bell peppers, more cantaloupe, squash and tomatoes out there, but it’s a toss up whether they’ll be able to make it through this heat.

Thankfully we have central air; in fact, I don’t know of any new construction down here that doesn’t have central air, as well as heat. The older homes (1950’s, 60’s or so) only had window AC’s and space heaters. With Texas heat, central AC’s are a must. Ceiling fans are a huge help, too. They can delay use of the central AC’s, and help them work more efficiently, too, by mixing the air and keeping a more consistent temp. We bought a new ceiling fan for the game room; since it’s at the top of the stairs, all the hot air congregates there and the old ceiling fan up there is anemic. Poor upstairs AC would run nonstop set at 80 degrees if not for a few well-placed fans. I’ll get to putting the new one up in the next few days or so.

Father’s Day is tomorrow, and I’m busy cooking now. I decided to make Emeril Lagasse’s “Manly Man Lasagna” for Father’s Day lunch, since hubby has to work, and Paula Deen’s Not Yo’ Mama’s Banana Pudding. The lasagna alone takes 5+ hours to prepare–it has everything in it AND the kitchen sink. The reviews from another site were top notch, and given I like to do special things for the special people in my life, I’m giving the lasagna a go, except I’m cutting the recipe in half. It says it feeds 12 to 20 people, but the reviews said it was more like 30, hence halving the recipe. I’ll get the different fillings/sauces cooked ahead of time, assemble it tomorrow and bake it. The banana pudding will be done tomorrow, too, along with cookies for hubby to take to work to share with the other officers. The lasagna supposedly freezes very well, so it might end up being something I make and freeze 5+ meals from.

Now, on to life’s pondering. I don’t mean this to be a downer, or offensive to anyone, so please don’t take it that way. However, since this is my blog, I’m using it to put down my thoughts/questions on life and my observations.

What I wonder is, if one’s childhood is easy, with everything provided, does it make one’s drive less? I don’t mean spoiling a child rotten, which I’ve seen plenty of parents do. But I wonder if there isn’t any adversity in childhood, even though good manners and values are taught, does it become a detriment to the child when they are a young adult?

I’m referring to my son. He is an awesome young man, no doubt about that at all. A gentleman, an honorable man, one who would go out of his way to help another in a heartbeat. He made it through his first year of college–some struggles/adjustments along the way, but got there just the same. There just isn’t a spark there…a fire…an excitement to go with the opportunities in front of him. Not a true appreciation of those opportunities, I guess is what I’m trying to express. He’s doing what he’s supposed to, but just has a laid-back attitude about the whole thing.

Believe me, I would have given my eye teeth and an extremity to have the opportunities he has at his age. Being raised by my Grandma, I had plenty of love, and early on we had enough money for the upkeep of the small house, etc. However, after my mother moved back in, and had multiple kids, there wasn’t enough money at all. How bad was it? I learned that roaches can be carnivorous when there’s nothing for them to eat. Nothing like waking up to one of them dining on the back of your knuckles…literally. Or when it rained, pulling out every pot, pan, bowl and trash can to put under the leaks in the roof. Try living with a 3 x 4 foot hole in the ceiling for years after the sheet rock caved in from the leaks. Kind of puts a damper on having anyone come over to your house because you have to explain the gaping hole in the living room. Trying to provide for 6 hungry mouths made food scarce sometimes, especially if unexpected expenses came up. The longest time we went without any food in the house was 3 days. Thanks to my great aunt, who had no idea how bad things had gotten, we had a large grocery sack full of tomatoes from her garden, which we ate for those 3 days until we were able to buy groceries again. Went through the embarrassment of being on food stamps for a while, though personally I preferred going hungry than being on state assistance. The roach infestation, which was the worst the pest control company had seen by the time we saved up enough money for a professional exterminator, was only a notch above the rat problem. Broken pipes remained that way for months at a time, unless an innovative fix could be thought up in the meantime. Washing machine dying? Washed clothes in the bathtub by doing the foot stomp/wine press method, and dried them on a clothes line outside. A car? Nope. Just the bus, or walking, and that included going to the grocery store, pushing the cart full of groceries home and then taking the cart back to the store.

I had it hard growing up, but it taught me to be strong, and to take the bull by the horns. So sometimes, when someone tells me *I* don’t understand, or I have no idea about the hard times they’re experiencing, it’s difficult for me not to take offense. But, since the extent of the problems I lived with for years isn’t common knowledge, I bite my tongue and try to let the negative feelings pass. The things I experienced, though, taught me to appreciate all the little things, and to be humbled by the bigger blessings in my life. My brother experienced far worse than I did, and he, too, appreciates all the facets and blessings he has. We don’t take for granted anything, because we know what it’s like to truly have next to nothing.

Which brings me back to kids who haven’t had adverse circumstances to deal with, the ones who have always had a roof over their heads, food on the table, and nice things in life. Is it harder for them to appreciate those things, since they’ve always had them? If I had had the opportunity to take any college courses I wanted, choose any career training I wanted, I would have felt like I had won the lottery…definitely not the no-big-deal “eh” reaction from some of the kids nowadays. I just don’t understand the lack of drive, initiative and excitement of being presented with any road you could possibly choose, and having the opportunity to travel that road.

Am I missing something? I’m trying to understand the lack of enthusiasm, but I’m just not getting it. I mean, damn…you got the entire world on a fricking plate in front of you, and all you can manage is an ‘eh’?

Here’s hoping for a spark…from somewhere.


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