Life Stories and Beyond

Our Bodies. Our Families. Our Lives. We all have stories we should share. We're more alike than we know.

first

March 27, 2017
lisakunk

10 comments

School Band: Great for improving Musical Ability, Physical Fitness, and Interpersonal Skills

By Lisa Batten Kunkleman (Originally Posted in The Charlotte Observer in 2014) Ready or not, high school class registration for next year is about to begin. Elective courses range from automotive services to yoga to oodles of other classes to consider– including marching band.  This isn’t yesteryear’s stereotype of geeky kids playing the school fight song. […]

31 comments

Parenting Invincible Young Adults

By Lisa Batten Kunkleman   Parenting young adult children is a whole new experience. If you think parenting and protecting children from birth through the teen years is tough, look out for the twenties.There’s a huge difference between being invincible at twenty and cautious at mid-life. I’m definitely in the cautious at mid-life stage when […]

And Then There’s Remodeling, Pt. 2

January 19, 2017


By Lisa Batten Kunkleman

When our “And Then There’s Remodeling, Part One” saga ended, we had just ordered granite choice number two by mistake. At this point in the process, did we even care? Not really. We had an island and cabinets sitting in the middle of our kitchen, ready to be topped with something. A large slab of just about anything would have been preferable to no top at all. We even threw a couple of our old,now removed doors on top to pretend it was finished. The doorknobs didn’t really work out.

The giant topless island didn’t slow down our young adult kids and their friends one bit. A Christmas cookie competition took place in spite of the mess. We carried on with meals cooked on our fifty-year-old appliances a little longer. Yes, you heard right. We had two fifty-year-old ranges that still mostly worked, minus a burner or two. Together they equaled about one and a half workable ranges. They really don’t make them like that anymore.

Then the painters came. Time to close off the kitchen from fumes and wagging dog tails. Lousy timing in a way, since they came on the same day as our son’s shoulder surgery. My husband and I had to divide and conquer. He stayed home with the painters while I tended to medical details, getting our son, Joe, through his difficult day.  Fortunately, Joe wore a pain pump which dripped continual medicine, blocking his nerves  for the first few days, so he was feeling pretty great. He did fantastic. And so did the painters. We all had a good day.

We arrived home from the hospital to “Acceptable Gray” walls in the kitchen and a “Ceiling White” ceiling. Real paint names.  Appropriate names. Plastic once again covered floors and cabinets, but what an “acceptable” mess to come home to. The ugly honeydew-green walls were gone. Forever. That evening, family and friends attended our oldest daughter’s band concert. Even the patient attended. He had promised his sister, “I’ll be fine to go after surgery.”

We all said, “Yeah, sure you will.” Dang if he didn’t.

Next up, painting the cabinets white had to be done before the granite arrived. There was a problem. The granite people called saying they must deliver early morning or put it off till after New Years, two weeks away. Oh no, that wouldn’t do as we were having a small gathering to bring in 2017, and we were tired of looking at a topless island.

They only had men available to lift the heavy stone during early morning. We came up with a compromise. Promising if they’d give us time to get the painting done that morning, the painters agreed to help them bring in the island top. Done deal. Poor painters had no idea how heavy the six hundred pounds of granite would be, but they grit their teeth and brought that monster in the house.

Counter top in place, the installers put on toxic-dust-blocking masks and sawed a hole in the stone for our cook top. I watched while sparks were flying out of the cut stone. Precision is essential. One wrong move and they can ruin a stone. High pressure work. Cook top in, granite topping the island, paint on the walls and cabinets, we were rounding the home stretch of this remodeling adventure.The kitchen part at least.

Along came Christmas. A needed break for everybody and continued use of our one remaining copper-tone colored range. We baked our multi-layer chocolate “Jesus cake” in that oven for a last hurrah. Seemed a fitting farewell.

We’re still not done. The saga is “to be continued.”

26 comments

Mom, Where Should The Ambulance Take Me?

By Lisa Batten Kunkleman I answered my cell and heard, “Mom, I kinda dislocated my knee. Which hospital should the ambulance take me to?” If only our son Sam’s kneecap were simply dislocated and not shattered into six pieces when he fell while doing pull-ups, that would have been almost delightful. This event was the […]

Walnuts and My Tom Sawyer Moment

October 23, 2016


 

By Lisa Batten Kunkleman

My twenty-year old son Sam walks barefoot in our backyard picking up walnuts with his long, thin, size thirteen toes. It’s a special talent I passed down to him with my own sizable hoof.

When the nuts fall off the black walnut tree, the nearly baseball sized hard green outer shell is a threat to an uncovered head. As the green shell dries to black and falls off the actual nut deep inside, the black shells become a nasty nuisance. It takes gloves and rakes to remove the staining shells then. It’s much smarter to remove them in the early hard stage instead of waiting till they dye your hands and shoes black.

A light bulb flickers in my head. I’m not Mark Twain and this is not really Tom Sawyer tricking folks into whitewashing his fence, but I can’t help thinking this seems like a good way to get the walnuts picked out of the yard.

I say to Sam, “Think you could hit that sweet gum tree with a walnut?”

“Which one?” he asks.

“That big one in that leafy natural area. The squirrels haul the nuts over there to chomp into the hard shells anyway. Never let a squirrel bite you. They must have teeth of steel.”

“Mama, I got bad aim,” Sam says after pitching the first nut to the right of the tree.

“Yeah and you also “got” bad grammar,” I tell my six-foot three baby boy who actually has impeccable grammar.

“Naw, my grammar’s all right.”

He throws one walnut after the other, hitting the tree and splattering the green outer shell about every third throw.

Next thing I know, here comes his daddy, saying, “Want me to show you how to hit that tree?”

This is working out even better than I expected. His father is not a bystander.

“There we go,” says Daddy Dan when he hits the tree. And I hear, “All right! Did you see that one, Sam? Did you see that nut explode when it hit the tree? Maybe that sweet gum tree will feel the pain and stop dropping spikey sweet gum balls.

“Hey! I want to play,” says our oldest daughter flouncing down the deck steps to join the competition. Perfect. Many hands make light work, as they say. And like Tom Sawyer’s friends, my family never even knows they’re working.

Save

15 comments

Hurricane Matthew Pictures: Show, Don’t Tell

By Lisa Batten Kunkleman They say a picture is worth a thousand words. They also say writers should use their words to show, not tell. These pictures of our family’s house at Lake Waccamaw, NC  and all the Facebook photos and videos, plus news reports speak volumes about the unpredictability of flood waters. Lumberton, my […]

August 17, 2016
lisakunk

4 comments

Pre Speech Aphasia Comedy Storytelling: Daddy Was a Talker

Goldilocks and the Seven Dwarfs Meet Rudolph With the Big Red Snout By Lisa Batten Kunkleman Before strokes and who-knows-what caused speech aphasia leaving Daddy (Papa Carl) with only about twenty-one words, he was a funny fellow. Downright embarrassing to his wife and kids at times with his humor. He liked to watch us squirm. […]

%d bloggers like this: