Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Stand in Dad

I was 16 and had just started dating this boy named Mark when I met his parents at a Christmas party. 
Shirley and Bob. That was the begining of a relationship that left a print on my life that is still there many years later my relationship with that family...

I dated Mark  for 5 years.  I loved him.  But I REALLY loved his family.
 His Mom,  Shirley would call me out just as quick as she would give me a hug, and she was always buying me little things, a shirt, some perfume, a book.  His sister Debbie showed me how to do my hair in a "Farrah Fawcett" and we would talk for hours about music and movies and boys. 

But his Dad, his Dad Bob was the man. 

He was the stand in Dad.  
He looked like Bob Hope and smelled like soap. 
He used Corn Huskers hand lotion and bag balm  because he was a mailman and his hands would get dry from the mail but his nails always were clean and short, and his fingers  a little callused from working on the car or the boat or the house. 
 He was perpetually tanned and had great legs from all of his walking.
 His eyes would crinkle from laughing and he wore his feelings on his face like a sign. I very rarely recall him being in a bad mood because he considered it his job to make sure everybody had a great time...

 Everytime I saw him he would give me a big hug and say "How you doin kid?" 
The first time I ever came over to their house I sat in this  chair by the door and Shirley yelled "Oh TIGER!"  I felt something move under me and it was this big old fat cat. I jumped up horrified and Bob just laughed and laughed and for a long time when I came over he'd say "Check before you sit down!" and wink at me, he was a big teaser and loved a good joke he'd watch Benny Hill , Saturday Night Live , and Monty Python on TV with all of us kids. He was the reason there were always so many of Marks friends at the house all the time, he had a young spirit.

He taught me to water ski and back a trailer and how to put gas in my car, how to fold a paper air plane, and one time I got something in my eye and it hurt so much he gently looked in my eye with a flashlight til he found it and got it out. He let me raid his closet and "steal" all his shiny disco shirts. He slipped me a beer at family cookouts and always made sure there was Dr. Pepper in the cooler it was my favorite, he would tell us stories and make me laugh til I would be laying in the floor. He would slip me a little cash if I needed it and send me home with groceries when I got my first apartment. When the power went out in my aprtment I loaded up my kitten and my roommate and we came over at three in the morning. He didnt even act surprised to see us, just let us in and got us some blankets.  Always taking care of someone...

Because that was his job. And he was SO good at it.

I always called him Dad and knew he was there for me.

Even after Mark and I broke up I still would go over and see them and Bob would tell me "I sure missed you tell me what you have been doing." And he really really wanted to know about my life. He never acted like it was awkward for me to be there, I was just one of his kids.

The last time I saw him was after his daughters wedding. It was a big party and I went out to the backyard to sit on the picnic bench and Bob came out. We sat on the bench together for a little bit and talked and laughed  and he reached over and took my hand and said "I hope you know you are and will always be my family." I was a little drunk and teared up. We hugged for a long time and then he went back in because it was his job to make sure everyone was happy and having a good time. 

Because that was his job. And he was SO good at it.

I found out today he passed away and I was sad and I know he will be missed so much by his family.  But I also know he lived his life well, squeezed out every drop of laughter, and happiness he could teaching and loving, and laughing.

Because that was his job. And he was SO good at it.


Robert G. Ludwig Beloved Stand in Dad 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Dogs and Boys

We have friends who have been traveling allot the last 6 months and we  have been doggy sitting their three boy Corgis.
 Conor my son,  is a big help because he just loves them. 
They go outside and play this game called "Bad Sheep" where Conor runs one way around the garage with Zero and Deuce,  and Uno runs the other direction and they all meet in the middle where the three dogs circle around and around barking hysterically while Conor laughs at their long sloppy tongues and short legs  going every which way.

Zero and Conor
 I got to thinking about how ALIKE my boy and these boys are. 

They love to play outside and the dirtier the better. The dogs run right for the mud and  If my kid goes outside he does not even have to roll in it like the dogs do he just walks out and the dirt jumps right onto his clothes and body. Doesnt bother him at all.

They love to jump on people. Zero and Conor  will run up and jump on you or flop on you even if they just saw you five minutes ago. They act like its been a month.

The dogs will just flop down anywhere and so will he.
 I never know where I will find Conor asleep. I have found him in the shower, sitting in a lawn chair, laying by the pool, once I went to the bathroom and came back to bed. It took about an hour before I noticed he crawled into his Dads warm spot and buried himself under the covers.

They are highly food motivated. They will go right into their beds for treats. We use treats to get Zero to do his litany of high five, shake, rolly over, barrel roll.
Zero, Uno, and Deuce
lawn torpedoes
 COnor will do almost anything if it involves his favorite food. Whenever we have to go to the Dr. I always take him to Panera. If I need to run an errand and I know he does not want to go  all I have to say is I'll take you to eat and Conor is in the car in 30 seconds ready to go, waggin his tail, and ready for adventure. He would probably hang his head out the window if I'd let him.

Dogs don't care if your hair looks bad, or you  want to wear pajamas all day and not take a bath, or eat a ketchup sandwich. They will even lick your plate for you. Conor is the same way. Well minus the plate licking.

 And Nobody is as loyal, or happy to see me or always up for affection like my son the puppy<3

Or the Corgis....

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


I don't know if you noticed but its been awhile since I have blogged. I have been occupied trying to keep a 13 year old boy entertained when he's not allowed to play video games, go to movies or exercise for two weeks. Its a feat in and of itself. We have watched a lot of TV, had a lot of conversations, had a lot of lunch date shopping trips for boy stuff and taken afternoon naps.

My son fell while walking, just walking across a bridge with no rail . He fell onto a concrete bottom of a creek/drainage area. He could have broken his neck or his back he could have died it could have been really bad. We went from a peaceful summer day to a trip to the ER for X-rays and CT scans. He didn't know the month and was confused about the day. He looked at me with his sad scared eyes while holding a zip loc bag of ice on his head and I smiled and reassured him while inside I just wanted to scream or puke or both. I learned allot about Closed Head Injury and also about another thing they don't really tell you about called contrecoup which is what occurs when basically the head hits a fixed object and then smacks into the other side of the skull on the rebound. grateful his was minor. But still.

 We have spent a lot of time focused on each other and I have discovered this, he is entertaining. He has an amazing mind. I have learned so much about the comic books he likes, the Big Bang Theory ( a TV show he's obsessed with). We have conversations about if you could go live on another planet and have superpowers and be a hero would you do it, the pros and cons of film VS digital and the history of film and movie making and Steven Spielberg compared to George Lucas. He wants to be writer and he likes to tell stories just like his Mama. My son knows so much about so many things he blows me away. He's like a little genius.

When I thought of his brilliant spark being snuffed or his beautiful mind being damaged it was like a 2x4 hit.

OK life you got my attention.

You really really did.

Thank you.

 Color me grateful....