You may remember or have heard about the multi-party phone lines from the early to mid part of this century, known as party lines because you could listen in on all the conversations happening on your phone line.  These party lines were especially common in rural areas like the small town where I grew up and now live.  And apparently, when the technology improved and they were phased out, the older generation here just couldn't handle it.  The local radio station still has a daily show called "Party Line".

This show is 30 minutes of pure shoulder-tensing, teeth-clenching, constant-cringing listening.  It's a free for all.  Anyone can call in and say anything.  They can ask for a recipe (for strawberry cake or homemade weed killer).  They can announce an event. Or they can spread a rumor.  It's kind of insane really.  If there is any kind of delay, it is not managed.  Cliff and I play a game to see who can stand to listen to it the longest.  Neither of us has much stamina when it comes to this show because the amount of uncomfortable you feel when an 82 year old is free-wheeling on live air is more than you can imagine.

Last weekend, I took it up a notch.  We were in the car and just happened to catch the live show.  A caller asked, "What is the number to the rock quarry on 3 South and how late is it open on Saturday?"  As luck would have it, we just happened to be driving down Highway 3 South and going right by the rock quarry.  I had the phone dialed and ready to go.  As we whizzed past the quarry, I was disheartened that the sign didn't have the phone number or the hours of business.  I quickly searched the internet for the answers to the caller's questions.  I couldn't wait to call in, and just like the regular callers, give a very long-winded answer about how I was driving past the quarry right at that moment and there were rock trucks going in and out and there seemed to be some new limestone to the south of the pit and that Jim Lathrop's cousin used to work down there...and just as I gathered the number from my Google search, another caller was on the air stealing my thunder.  And then another--because one person calling in with the answer isn't good enough.  A second know-it-all person always has to call in and repeat the previous caller.

So, I guess until I know what that new building structure is on the west side of town, I'm going to have to stay tuned in (for a few uneasy seconds).


We have taken advantage of the weekend--mowed the yard, trimmed some trees, planted some new trees, tilled and planted the rest of the garden, planted flowers and shrubs, recycled all our aluminum cans, cleaned the house, did some shopping and entertained some company.  We just finished mushroom hunting (with no success) and now Finley is out in the shop working on the tractor with his dad, Uncle Jacob, and Grandpa Grotewiel.  In these few minutes of peace that I have to myself I debated taking a bath, reading, watching Netflix, and taking a nap, but instead, I found myself here with a couple of funny parenting stories.

Going In--
Finley was exclusively breastfed until he was six months old.  So, the day he turned six months, I was pretty excited to try out some solid foods.  Those first couple of feedings, Cliff and I handled together.  A few days later, we were each going it alone when it was time for meals.  Cliff wanted to take his turns feeding Finley in the living room while watching tv.  Although the two of us end up eating many meals in front of Royals games on the tube, I told Cliff that I thought where and how we feed him right now is as important as what we feed him.  I explained my theory that this was the prime time to instill the good manners of eating and the proper way to do it.  Besides, he'll have plenty of time to eat in front of the tv when he's older, right?

Cliff agreed, but later when I overheard him in the kitchen I realized he had taken it to the next level. This is what I heard--
Cliff: Really?  I didn't know Betty Jean got divorced.
Cliff:  I agree.  I really liked her third husband best.
Cliff:  Well, if she wants to be that drunk in public, I guess that's their business.
Cliff: No, I haven't seen that movie yet, but I did read the book.  Was the movie any good?
I couldn't help but stand there and keep listening.  Cliff's one-sided conversation was hilarious.  When I finally went into the kitchen, Cliff explained that they were practicing dinner conversation.


And Coming Out-- (I don't usually write about poop, so this is new for me...)
We are extremely lucky that I am able to stay home with Finley.  Without going to a germ laden daycare, Finley stayed healthy all winter.  Last week, he came down with his first cold.  It started with some congestion and coughing.  Not wanting to give him any medicine, we tried a humidifier, saline drops, and Vick's Vaporub for a couple of nights.  He seemed to get better and then suddenly he was much worse.  He had a terrible cough.  He would have a coughing fit and then just scream and cry because it hurt so bad.  I suspicion that he had a sore throat also, but how do you really know?  After sitting up with him for three nights in a row (he would sleep much better if we were sitting up and holding him; us not so much), I finally called the doctor.  We got in that morning and his pediatrician ruled out RSV and ear infection and said it was just a cold virus that was going around.  He suggested we give him some Tylenol.  We had tried liquid Tylenol once before, and Finley would.not.take it.  He would scream, cry, thrash his head around, swat at me with his hands, and refuse to swallow it but instead spit it all back out.  Very frustrating because that stuff is seriously stickier than honey or syrup and every time he spit it out I would think, "There's four dollars running down your cheek."  Oh, and the whole screaming and crying thing was really horrible too.  So, the pediatrician told me about an infant Tylenol suppository.  After the battle with the liquid, a suppository sounded golden.  The pediatrician went on to tell  me that he didn't think they sold it in stores anymore, but the pharmacy there had just ordered some yesterday.  Oh, and Finley is so chunky that he needed a double dose.  
So, Finley and I went down to the pharmacy to get some of this newfound drug that was going to make all of our lives easier and better.  The pharmacy had it, but there were only six suppositories per box.  And these boxes weren't cheap, ya'll.  I knew we might need several though, and didn't want to drive the hour back to the pharmacy for more, so I just bought them out of their supply.  I was so confident in this stuff already.  I bought so many that the pharmacy gave me a discount like they were Costco and I was bulk-buying.  We got home and since Cliff was still in court, I administered the first dose by myself.  The doctor said I just needed to insert the suppository, hold his cute little cheeks together for about a minute, and we'd be good to go.  That rosy little picture was not the case. 
Thirty-five minutes later I had been pooped on four times and peed on twice, but both suppositories were finally in and melted.
Finley didn't cry once though, and to me, that was much better than feeling like I was torturing him with the liquid version.
When it was all said and done, we both just looked at each other and I know our expressions said: We just bought like a five year supply of that stuff...