Sunday, May 2, 2010

Stories from Kentucky and Snickerdoodle Updates

First, let me begin by saying that as we have entered the month of May, with pending SOLs, cleaning up and closing up classrooms, taking in textbooks, etc., plus the rush to get assignments in, get them graded, etc., my blogging will be hit or miss.

Now, for the fun parts...

While I was in Kentucky, my mom, Sydney, and I all stayed with my uncle. He has a 200 year old house that he has remodeled and refurbished. It is a beautiful house, but as with all older houses, there are stories that go along with this one...

Previous owners (I'm not sure how long ago) were unhappy. The male committed suicide by hanging himself from the top of the banister, which broke away from the wall in the process. Uncle Jim has tried, numerous times and various ways, to reattach the banister to the wall at the top of the stairs, all to no avail.

According to my uncle, and to my aunt (his sister), who visits regularly, the man who hanged himself (yes, it is correct - pictures are hung, people are hanged) walks the halls still. Aunt Beth was in Lancaster visiting when my father first went in to the hospital, and she says the man actually sat on her legs one night while she slept. She bolted upright, turned on the light, and told the man to leave her alone.

A woman has also been spotted, but I don't know if she is related to the same ghost as the man who hanged himself...but that's not the interesting part.

My sister and her family were also staying with Uncle Jim while I was there. She has 3 children, the oldest of which has autism. I was downstairs in the kitchen with my sister and her husband when I asked if they knew the story of the banister. My mom, Sydney, and I were in the bedroom at the top of the stairs, and Dawn and her family were in the adjoining bedroom, where the ghost sat on Aunt Beth's legs. She had not heard the story before and was fascinated by it.

That night, Sydney didn't sleep very soundly, and I was up a lot. The next day, Dawn and I were talking and I asked if Sydney kept her up at all. She told me that they didn't sleep well, either, but it wasn't because of Sydney. They were awakened in the middle of the night by their autistic son who was scared. They were able to learn that he was frightened of the man at the top of the stairs.

No children were around when I told them this story. They were all soundly sleeping in their beds. How could Nate have known about this man??

While we were in Kentucky, there was one day of horrendous storms. A cold front and a warm front meeting up with each other is always fun when the landscape is flat enough to allow the air to engage in a tango. We were all sitting around after dinner - I had finally gotten Sydney down to sleep, alone, at the top of the stairs and was enjoying the remnants of dinner. Everyone else had pretty much dispersed - errands to stores, different rooms for tv, reading, emailing, etc. Uncle Jim came in and sat down across from me.

Both of us were wiped out and kind of staring listlessly into space when I heard a siren. Now, for those of you who are unaware, many communities use a tremendously loud siren to warn the townspeople that a tornado has been spotted. When I lived in Wisconsin, we used to have tornado drills that utilized the siren, which was located on the school grounds. I know that some communities use the siren, but it is to make others know of a major fire and to ask for assistance from neighboring communities. Regardless, it has been years since I've heard a siren like this.

Sitting across from Uncle Jim, I looked straight at him and thought to myself, "They don't have a train nearby, do they??" He looked me in the eye and said, "That's a tornado siren." Suddenly, as though someone hit fast forward, all the adults were rushing around, grabbing kids, blankets, laptops (to view the weather forecast), flashlights...all I could think of was the fact that my son was alone at the top of the house. I raced up the stairs, grabbed him and a blanket to put over his head (he was fast asleep - I didn't want the lights to awaken him) and rushed back down the stairs to the hallway with no windows. Uncle Jim doesn't have a basement.

I was so scared at that moment, and it wasn't because I had never done this before. It was because now I was responsible for getting through anything safely with my infant son. Poor Snickerdoodle.

We had to retreat one more time that night - just as we were coming out of the hallway, the siren sounded again and we hid for another 30 minutes. Sydney slept through it all until we were done, then woke. And then, it was a bear to get him back down! But I can't blame him at all - he had a new tooth, was still teething, had come in to contact with numerous people he didn't know and he smiled for every one of them. He was off schedule in new surroundings, and he was still behaving angelically. My baby boy did so well while we were gone.
So, he has his first tooth. Holy cow did that hurt at first. But after two days of reacting in pain when he decided to bite down, he started to temper his biting. He now only does it when he's feeling mischievous - and gives me a sly smile before he does it. Boy are we going to have our hands full as he grows.

He's also "bouncing." You know...on all fours and wanting to crawl, but now quite sure what to do next. I can't believe how quickly the leaps in development take place - once you reach a certain point, the stages come right after the other. Then, you plateau for a while before jumping past another 2-3 milestones.

Last, Steve, Sydney and I all went to the Chili Festival this past weekend. It was a lot of fun - we really enjoyed ourselves and got to try a plethora of various chilies. Hands down, though, we feel that the Kazim Shrine White Chili was the best, with chicken and monterey jack cheese. YUMMERS!! Wouldn't mind having a bowl of that right now...

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