Origins of a 2%

Quite a few people have asked me where I got the nickname 2% from (ok, not really but it makes me seem more important starting the blog out this way).  I got the name from my best friend after one of my many “episodes”.  She had been watching tv and one of those pharmacy commercials came on that said something to the effect that adverse reactions only happen 2% of the time, she quickly surmised that that is my life story!

The truth is, until we met our best friends I thought I was normal…that everybody gets themselves into the types of predicaments that I do (and always have), apparently not.  After talking about it, we figured out that my condition must be hereditary, and I must have got it from my father.  The first incident that I can clearly remember happened on a trip my father and I took to pick up our camper when I was about seven.  The beginning of the trip was fairly uneventful.  The return trip started out the same way, until we passed through the friendliest town EVER.  Seriously!  Everyone in this town was waving like crazy!  I figured that mom must have really done my hair cute that day, so I sat up on my knees to get a better view and gave my best Miss America wave (elbow-elbow-wrist-wrist).

As we left town, and dad and I were still talking about how nice they were, I noticed quite a bit a dust blowing up on my side and remarked so to dad.  Suddenly his whole demeanor changed, “Are you sure its dust?”  I looked closely into the side view mirror, “That’s all I see, daddy.” 

“Mel, stick your head out the window and make sure.”

Really!  Could this day get ANY better?  I excitedly cranked the window handle and lowered the window as fast as my little hand could.  Deciding to take advantage of what I was SURE would be the only time I would get to lean out of window without getting in trouble, I thrust half my body out the window, hanging onto the interior of the van with one hand and pulling my bangs out of my face with the other.

“Yea, daddy.  It’s dust…or it could be smoke from the flames.”

Or how about the time my dad drove over a mattress on the interstate and managed to get it lodged under the van, causing blue/grey smoke to billow from behind it?  Course that one ended with dad calling the nearest fire department on his bag phone, racing to a stop in front of the firehouse and me being rescued and carried to safety by a muscular, uniformed fireman so I’d say that time the 2%ness was definitely in my favor.

Incidents like this plagued my life so one could easily understand how, to me, this was normal.  I didn’t know that spraining your wrist and getting strep throat the week before your wedding, then while on your honeymoon discovering that your allergic to nuts and coming down with a stomach virus was abnormal.  Or that when other people had tonsillectomies they didn’t have adverse reactions to the medicine, have a seizure and fracture the ball thingy that holds their shoulder and arm together (course that ended up fun too ‘cuz whenever someone would see my arm in a sling and ask me what happened I’d just say, “I had a tonsillectomy.” and leave my bf, Carla, to explain!).

Since these are only like, 2% of the 2% moments of my life (it would take a novel to cover them all) even I must conclude that the nickname fits. 


Recycling–Farm Style

Recycling, on a farm, has a whole different meaning than city-slickers definition of  gathering all their paper, plastic and glass and sorting it into the appropriate tubs.  Miss Fay can find more uses for items that normally I would trash, than any person I know!  Paper take-out bags become gift bags filled with fried pies, cool whip tubs become take-home containers for dinner leftovers, grass clippings become hay for the mules and horse; the list is endless (and perhaps because I’m hungry when I write this everything today seems centered around food).

One of the most ingenious, I saw the other day.  After our work is done for the day Hila Fay lives for us to pull out the old, duck-taped pool (which we recycled from the old house), fill it with ice-cold water from the hose, jump in with no aversion to the frigid temperatures and dance around with Aunt Lisa.  She’ll play for a good half-hour, until her finger-tips wrinkle up and we pull her out.  Then we transfer the water to a fifty-five gallon barrel and make one more trip to the garden where we dip the water out bucket by bucket and quench the thirst of the tomatoes, beans, squash, potatoes and every other plant that looks the slightest bit droopy.

Recycling definitely takes on a new meaning out here.  In fact, it brings to mind the trendy phase that I see being tossed from the designer’s mouths on tv, “re-purpose”.  It tickles me a little, thinking that Miss Fay’s way of life is now a popular craze!


I have spent the most glorious week working out at the farm.  Each day after Hila gets up from her nap, we’d wait for daddy to get home from work them eagerly gather our stuff and head out.  Some days we’d gather hay, some we’d tend the garden and one day we did nothing but feed the animals and laugh as Hila played in the little swimming pool that Chuck found in the old house.

Life on the farm is filled with hard work, but I’ve realized several things about it.  Despite the fact that the work is sweat drenching tough, it is freeing and enjoyable.  Everybody chips in and the work goes by fast and is usually filled with laughter and playful teasing.  Chuck, Fay & Lisa may be some of the hardest-working people I know, but they put just as much effort into having a good times…even if it means Fay spending each afternoon cooking over a hot stove so we can have full bellies, or Lisa and Chuck racking their brains to come up with a swimming pool for little Hila who cannot get enough of playing in water! 

If I never make it big, or have hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank to pass on to my daughter when my time of roaming is done, if I never have priceless gems or great works of art to leave her; then I can be content knowing that I have been able to pass on a way of life that will always sustain her.  She will learn everything she needs to know, right there on the farm.  She’ll learn to love and trust God with all her heart.  She’ll learn that with determination she can live off the land.  She’ll learn the value of hard work, responsibility and good times.  She’ll learn that love is unconditional, and if she’s lucky she’ll learn how to make Big Momma’s 1/2 moon fried apple pies!

Commen Sense Hay

I have never been known for my common sense. I once spent several hours on a hot Arkansas summer afternoon washing my husband’s truck as a surprise for him. When he got home from work I was disgusted because, despite my best efforts, I couldn’t figure out how to stretch my short arms enough to reach the top of his cab. He approached me with his slow swagger, and sweet smile, and after I explained my dilemma he opened the truck door, stepped up and washed off the top. Really? I had tried everything BUT that, including attempting to climb up the hood and jump far enough forward while standing in the bed (I’m sure it was quite the site for anyone who happened to drive by).

Yea, I’ve pretty much always done things the hard way or paid for things because I didn’t know how (or couldn’t think of a way) to do them on my own.  So I was brilliantly surprised the first time I heard that Chuck’s mom, Fay, and sister, Lisa, had gone to rake up some “hay”. Here we were paying forty-plus bucks every week and a half for hay when all we really had to do was wait for the county to come out and mow around our rural roads and fields and there was plenty for the taking!

Sometimes the most brilliant ideas are the simplest. 

A Mother’s Metamorphose

Isn’t is amazing the changes our moms’ go through as we age from an infant in their arms to being mothers of our own? I remember how as a child my mother was all knowing!  She amazed me how she could solve all of my problems, even if it was just with a hug or a cool cloth on my head.

Somewhere around my pre-teen years, though, my mom started losing it. She fell from that super-hero status and began giving crazy advice that would have set me to being the laughing-stock of the entire school! By the time I had become a teenager I found that I now knew more than her.  Her condition remained the same through my early twenties and didn’t begin to improve until I got married.

I reckon maybe the shock of seeing me in my white dress, committing my life to another was enough to rattle some sense back into her because suddenly some of her advice began to make sense again.  I am proud to report that even though it took the birth of my own daughter to help my mother once again see the light, she has finally recovered from her “lapse” and is once again the all knowing, cape-wearing, superhero of my early childhood days!

Things My Toddler Has Changed for Me

*as inspired by the game of “Things”

10.  Amount of stretch marks

9. Body parts that sag

8. How I now look at every object she touches and think, “Which orafice could that be shoved up?” AND “Could it be retrieved?”

7. What I’m willing to go to Walmart looking like/covered in

6. How I now understand those parents who can hold a conversation, without pause, while their kid hollars at the top of their lungs

5. How every parent thinks their kid is the cutest EVER (only mine really is)

4. That nothing can wipe away a bad day like a spontanious kiss

3. Making her laugh is addictive

2. One can get accustomed to living in a constant state of fear, especially when their toddler enters the climbing stage

1. How I want to be a better christian/wife/mom, just so I can be worthy of her adoration.


For the past four years, one day a week, August through May my husband has been attending “Electrician” classes. I have watched him stress and struggle and fret through increasingly tougher texts and got the joy of watching him graduate from his apprentic-ship on his way towards Journeyman and then Master Electrician.

The affair was simple, dinner at a local restaurant with the graduates and their one alloted guest; but the pride that overflowed the room was hard to ignore.  Everyone of the graduates managed to attend (and pass) the classes while holding down full-time jobs, and most of the men had families. Their dedication and determination to make more of themselves is something to be admired.  Despite the popularity of taking the easy way, these guys stuck to it and have walked away knowing that the past four years were not wasted.

I have a new respect for electricians of every type.  They work hard regardless of the elements around them, they hold in their heads a wealth of information and work around dangerous equipment in dangerous situations all so that we can see with the flip of a switch, or water our fields in the midst of a drought.  So here is for the electrician, whether you are starting your journey or nearing its end…thank you for a job well done. 

Chicken Doodles

A couple of weeks ago my bf’s son (who is the UBER country salesman) talked my husband into buying some chicks off of him.  Now we are the proud owners of nine chickens. Hila and I are fascinated with the little squawkers, checking on them whenever we go to hang the laundry on the line. Hila kneels down and points at them saying, “cheekin” trying to convince me to let them out to play.
Problem is, I’ve never actually had much experience with them. The squeemish city-girl in me just knows that as soon as I pick one up its gonna poo all over me! Mind you, I have no problem going knee deep in mule-poo to get my beloved Minnie, but something about chicken poo on me sends me to shuddering.
Hila, apparently, has no such objections as she tries to shove her chubby fingers through the chicken wire to “pet” the birds (which to her means squeezing their heads).
I do like the idea of being able to step outside and watching the chickens scramble towards me as I sprinkle their feed around, and gathering fresh eggs for my recipes…as long as there are no evil roosters that send me running for my life and Chuck comes home to find me and Hila up the maple tree!