Monday, September 27, 2010

The Best Thing We Ever Did

About 42 years ago, my mom had a little baby boy named Scotty.  He had a spinal disorder similar to Spina Bifida, and so part of his spinal cord was unprotected.  Spinal fluid gathered in a big blister on his back.  Anyway, he lived to be about four months old and then he died.  The funeral was a whirlwind. Being so far away from the graveyard, and having had five additional children after his death, she actually didn't ever see his grave again until I was 16 years old, or 25 years later. She was horrified to see that his little grave marker said "Scott J. Hexum".  My grandparents took over the funeral arrangements because they lived pretty close to the graveyard and also my parents were very young.  They never thought she should have named him Scotty.  (They reasoned that he could be called Scotty, but he should have an official name.)  Well she disagreed and named him Scotty anyways.  But then they got him a grave marker that said "Scott."

So now for 17 years, she's been meaning to get him a gravestone, but just never got around to it.  WELL, us wonderful kids secretly plotted to get this superman:

Kay Owen, Genius - Minneapolis

To spend a million man-hours designing and HAND CARVING this beautiful stone:

And then we plotted for over a year to get it up to the graveyard and have it set so that it would be a nice surprise for my mom.  My dad hates surprises and so I told him about it pretty early on.  So, I told my mom that Kay had some "work" to do up in Roseau, MN and that he and his wife would be coming to stay at our cabin.  Kay got up in the morning and left for "work" and his wife Josette and I went to "coffee"  (a stretch because the town their cabin is in has 160 inhabitants and we always just have coffee at home with my mom, but whatever.)

Then Kay set the stone, and my sister Kim and her daughter Hanna arrived and we all non-chalantly had lunch.  Afterward Kim suggested we go to the "grocery store" (here is a photo):

Which was weird because my dad NEVER hops in the car to go to the grocery store, but whatever.  Then Kim drove straight to the graveyard and my mom didn't even ever get suspicious.  We started walking around the graveyard and hoped she'd notice the new stone. 

It went off pretty well.  She saw it and then started bawling and we cried and she was SO happy.  The moment was very touching, even though my dad kept saying that "a dog already peed on it!"  And then later she said it was the best present she ever got from us kids.

The end.
(Shortly after the reveal.  "How about a hug for the blog?")

Friday, September 24, 2010

Dumb Way to Die

When I was in high school, I was super into star-gazing.  So much so that one night in the car, I had my head out the window and was marveling at how black the sky was and how bright the stars were.  The trouble was, I was driving.  I had all my passengers looking at the stars too.  Suddenly my friend said, "M...MMM...Mooo...MOOOOSE!!!", and slapped me on the shoulder.  In front of our car, not 20 feet away was a moose, standing broadside, looking at us.  The photo above is not my own, but illustrates just how big these things are.  I pulled my head back in the car, yanked the wheel and we went around the beast into the ditch and then got back on the road.  When I looked back the stupid thing hadn't even blinked.  It would have killed us.  Killed us. 
Thank goodness somebody happened to glance at the road.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Feeling like a Nomad Again...and the story of my old bedroom

* Yes that is a zumba box, clothes, a journal and my laptop on my bed. So?  Oh, and this is funny: as I was scanning my room to look for dirty underwear so it wouldn't show up in the photo and trying to exclude that bra you see on the left, I noticed the reflection in the window was me in my underwear.  Glad I saw that before I published.

We packed up all my bedding for the cabin and so now I'm using my sleeping bag.  I am leaving International Falls on Friday, so I am trying to get ready to go, except it's confusing because I still have two weeks in fall weather, but I need to pack for summer weather.  My room was a series of confusing piles:

1)  Give to Hanna
2)  Bring with on trip
3)  Store
4)  Garbage
5)  Put in one of the other four piles
6)  What should I do with this thing?
7)  Dirty sock
8)  Old purse

Well I got sick of that and so I put all the piles into my cupboard dresser that my mom had built for me when I was 13.  Please notice that all the cubboard doors open 'down' so that a 13 year old can't leave them hanging open all the time to irritate her mom.  Can I just mention that it was the bane of my existence then and it is the bane of my existence now?  How many minutes do YOU spend staring at your clothes, trying to decide what to wear?  Try doing it kneeling down with a cupboard door on your head.

Also notice the Eat, Pray, Love poster I hung with tape to be ironic but nobody got to see it so where's the irony in that?

Upside about this room: it's just my size!

Downside: lots of bumping your head on the ceiling.

This is the vent in the floor.  My room was freezing (in 1990) and so my dad cut a hole in the floor to create a down draft for me.  But it also created a great spying tool, since it overlooks the entryway and is in perfect hearing range of the kitchen, i.e. the 'kids-punishment-discussing-quarters'.

*There's that pesky bra again.  oops.

When it was new and fresh cut (in 1990), there was plenty of sawdust that you could slowly blow on so that it would fall down onto the heads of company and then you could giggle at how funny you were.

I stupidly decided to put my underwear (in 2010) in the upper left compartment of the cupboard wall, directly above the vent.  So after a shower, naked, standing over the vent looking for underwear was uncomfortable, especially if somebody came in the front door unexpectedly.  Then it was all about jumping out of the way in case they looked up.

So anyways, I go to the cabin for the weekend, and then it's to Minneapolis for a week, Hutchinson for a couple days and then I fly out October 5th.  Sayonara USA for 8 months!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Roller Girlz

Hanna and I had a blast at the Roller Derby in Fort Frances.  I think my roller name should be "Slap-a-Ho", though Hanna thinks it should be "Scratchy Butt".  In the end, I condeded to "Wimpy."

Y'all should check it out.  It's pretty fun!  And, slightly dangerous.  If you haven't seen Whip It, (Drew Barrymore's directorial debut), put it in your Netflix Queue, now.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Meet Rock.  The lovable, adorable Chicago-an who spends parts of every summer at the Lodge where I work.  He's in his sixties, and has a full-on "DA BEARSS" accent straight outta Soldier Field in Chicago. 

When you read these quotes, you gotta read them in that accent:

"You're built for speed."

"You could make big time babies wit your hips."

"I'm telling you da trooth."

"You look like you come from a healthy gene pool."

"I'm just an old fart that loves nice lookin' women.  Like you.  I'm telling you da trooth."

"You got dimples in your cheeks.  Ya know what dat means?  Dat means, I bet you pull down those pants and you got dimples in those cheeks too."

"You have all the physical attributes."

"You're a great lady."

"You're a great baby maker."

"I love that posterior."

"I love you."

"I'd love to propegate wit you."

"You're unique."

"Take it fromma guy that's 62 years old.  I'm tellin' you da trooth."

All these Rock-isms came at me over the course of maybe two hours.  And yes, I turned around and wrote them on a napkin so I wouldn't forget them.  When I did, I got the posterior comment, and also this one. 

"You're a southpaw.  Southpaws are brilliant, ya know."

So did I get offended and slap him across the face?  No.  I smiled and laughed.  Like all of this is witty, hilarious and charming.  Because I'm a bartender.  And that's what we do.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Good News / Bad News

Good News:
"Hey mom!  I got a modeling job!"

Bad News:

Hal-isms, Vol. 9

"Every light in the kitchen on, every light in the entry way on, every light in the bathroom on."

"I don't do any of that and I live fine."  (facebook).

"Ham. Ham. Ham. Ham. Ham. Ham.  One day warm and the next day cold."  (On what he would make if he was the cook in this house.)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Clamato Jugs and Other Valuables

Cleaning out my dad's garage was pretty tough. He saves lots of seemingly worthless things. But, in his mind, they are priceless. Because everything has a use. If he needs to fix something, he always has just the right 2 X 4 to nail to it or the right screw to screw into it. He even has excess lawn mower handles in case the lawn mower's handle needs fixing he can just weld a new one. Even though the current lawn mower is 20 years old and has never needed a new handle. But throwing stuff away hasn't been easy for him. The quote I kept hearing over and over was, "it's not worth anything, but it's valuable. Valuable."  My sisters and I boxed up a bunch of stuff he couldn't part with, and joked that we should just label every box, "VALUABLES." Here's an example of the kinds of conversations we were having all week:

Me: "Dad, why are you saving all these Clamato jugs?"

Dad: "For peein'."

Me: "Can I throw them away?"

Dad: *faints*


Dad:  "These riggin' straps ain't worth anything, but they're valuable."

Me:  "Can I throw them away?"

Dad: "Kady!  the Value!"


He's very organized.  And every little box contains a different kind of nail or screw or hook or cord or tack or what-have-you:

And here we have a bag of 27 plastic crow decoys.  For shootin' crows.  (They got packed for the cabin):

My dad has a TON of bungie cords. He will pull over on the freeway if he sees a stray bungie cord to pick it up. I don't think he has ever paid for one. He just collects them, and according to my mom he has never and will never use them. One time they were hauling something somewhere and were trying to figure out how to tie whatever it was down. My mom suggested they use one of his bungie cords. He about fainted. Right now, they are boxed up to be moved to the cabin. Not loose, to use for the move.  Boxed up, to be moved. And hung. In the new garage. For not using.

Tonight's Hal-ism: "My achin' a**. My achin' legs. My achin' knees. I'm a dyin' man. And now I'm throwing away valuable Clamato jugs."

Selfishness in the Hospital

When I stayed with auntie Julie in the hospital, the first night I slept with Keri in the guest waiting area. The second night I slept in the room with Julie and Keri slept at Matt and Laurissa's place. The third night I slept in the room, but it was hard to get any sleep because I was directly under the air conditioning plus I didn't have a pillow because selfish heart-surgery-Julie had to have ALL the pillows propping up her arms just so her stupid incision didn't hurt so bad. (I never told her I didn't have a pillow.) Plus, Julie was having trouble sleeping in the hospital bed. She just couldn't get comfortable. So they brought in an awesome recliner for her:

The thing is, when you have heart surgery you can't just like, get out of bed. You have to hug a pillow and use ONLY your legs to get up and down. So being in the recliner was nice because she could be sort of upright, and then when she needed to get up it was easier. And secretly I was happy because then I could sleep in her hospital bed and I did.  With ALL the blankets. I slept and slept for days and days.  (Two days).  And when the nurses came in I would say, "I'm not the patient." Just in case they got any crazy ideas to check MY glucose or blood pressure.  But they never did.

It was the most comfortable bed in the whole world. I kept wanting all the nurses to sort of think that I was a spoiled brat and that I was in the hospital bed because I made Julie get out, and that she was abused and that's why she got out. But nobody seemed to care who was in the hospital bed and so it was hard to fool people into anything.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hal's Cornfield Pooping Advice

As much as I tease my dad, I sure do love him.  Look at this cutey cute cute photo of him when he was a little boy.

Notice the little muzzle on the puppy. 

Yesterday my brother and he went bear hunting and when they got home my brother had a hilarious story to tell about how he had to go poop out in the corn field.  It was urgent and he really couldn't wait so he really had to go poop in the corn field and there was no toilet paper and so he tried to use a corn leaf.  It made me laugh because he said that he wiped up.  Nothing.  He wiped down.  Nothing.  Then he wiped sideways.  Nothing.  Then he was forced to take a knife and cut his t-shirt into strips of toilet paper.  Look:

My dad said that he should have just put one leg on each side of the corn row and walked and walked until he was all wiped up.  That made me laugh again.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Expired, Schmexpired, Vol. 2

Hmmm, I think Durkee has changed their logo...

You probably can't see this unless you click to enlarge the photo above, but that Sure-Jell expired in August of 1994.  And I remember making cookies with those Food Colors when I was a little kid.  So they're at least 25 years old.  I'm going to see if I can talk my mom into throwing them away.

(I guess I see where I get it from. Remember this old story?)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Hal - 12, Crows - 0

Today a crow cawed in the distance and my dad said,  "Come over here and say that, Crow, I'll shoot ya."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

They Look Like Alien Hands

I was sitting in the kitchen this evening listening to my sister Keri and my mom flip channels in the other room.  They started talking about somebody's crazy fingers and my ears perked up.

"What?  Her thumbs are HUGE!  I had no idea her thumbs were so big!"

"Look at her hands.  Oh my GOSH they look like alien hands!"

"Gross!  I can't believe Uma has such gross hands!"

So of course I got up and ran into the living room to see what the heck they were talking about.  They rewound and paused the TV show for me.  And then I had to explain that Uma was just playing a girl who had big thumbs and those weren't really her actual thumbs:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Now that's Good Parenting

When Keri was a little girl, my mom said that she got off the bus one day and was very sad because all the kids had a nickname but her.  And the bus driver would say hi to each kid's nickname ("Hi Moose, Hi Crazy-Hat", etc.)

So my mom said, "you have a nickname!  Keri IS your nickname!" 

And Keri got so excited and she beamed and asked, "but then what is my real name?"

And my mom said, "Carrot."

Saturday, September 4, 2010

When Stealing is OK

One day I was shopping at a particularly disgusting grocery store in a particularly sketchy part of St. Paul. Suddenly I had to go pee but my cart was completely full and I realized I couldn't wait for the bathroom at home and I would have to go in their bathroom. ICK!

Careful to not touch anything, I sideways-ed it into the stall and hovered over the seat. Like I said, I was in a hurry, and so I didn't notice until it was too late that there was no toilet paper in the stall. AACK! As you know, I don't like getting wet and part of that aversion means that I am not the kind of woman who can just NOT WIPE. I started to cry. Nay, hyperventilate. 

Panicked, my eyes darted through the stall. Like some sort of weird amazing miracle, I found a stray roll of toilet paper on the flood, under the back corner of the toilet. EW, but YAY! I would simply have to bite the bullet and unroll a few layers, toss those, and then use the inside part for my purposes.

Question for the reader: How do you hold a loose toilet paper roll for dispensing paper? You stick two fingers inside the roll, grab the end and start pulling, right? Right. So that's what I did. But it felt wet. And so I yanked my fingers back out. And looked at them. And saw poop.

Then it was time to cry AND hyperventilate AND flap my clean hand while I simultaneously held the poop hand as far from my body as possible. Finally I somehow managed to use the clean hand for the original task of unrolling the few layers and then wiping. I RAN to the sink to scrub my contaminated hand. You guessed it, NO SOAP. I one-hand washed those fingers as best I could with the hottest water I could get. Then I ran back into the store. The closest aisle was the cleaning supplies aisle. I squirted 409 into my fingers, but didn't feel like that did anything at all. Frantic, I searched every product, continuing to cry and flap and hyperventilate. Duh! "Soap", I thought. I felt justified in stealing a SoftSoap Antibacterial from the soap aisle, and went back into the bathroom to properly wash my hand.

I collected myself, held my head high, paid for my groceries, went home, cut my hand off, poured bleach in the bloody stump and then took a full shower.

The moral of the story: Never EVER stick your finger(s) into an unknown stray roll of toilet paper without at least looking first.  Also, stealing is OK, but ONLY in an emergency and as long as you give the soap right back to the bathroom of the store you stole it from.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Kady Hexum Got Grossed Out

Not possible, I know.  But tonight I heard a real doozie at the Lodge.  APPARENTLY, in Southern Indiana and other parts unknown in this country there are MEN who FREEZE bloody TAMPONS and thaw them out when it's time to go deer hunting.  Then they tie them to tree limbs and wait for the big bucks to come in.  These poor bucks think there's a doe having her embarrassing time and they go NUTS.  And then the hunters shoot the big bucks.  When I heard this story I buried my head in my hands.  I could not believe it.  GROSS!

I have a few questions:

  1. What woman saves her used tampons for this purpose, or any other?
  2. How do these women give the used tampons to the hunting men?  Ziplock baggies?  Tupperware?
  3. Where are they frozen?  The kitchen freezer, alongside popsicles and brocolli?
  4. Does the hunting man touch the bloody tampon with his bare fingers?  To tie it to the tree?
  5. Where does the bloody tampon go once the deer is shot?  Do they remain in the tree for all eternity?
  6. Just how many bloody tampons does it take to lure a male deer?
  7. Why do men, when talking about tampons, always call them "Tampax"?
  8. Why can't I stop thinking about this?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Reasons For Not Going to Central America, By Hal Hexum

"Some guy is gonna grab you guys and want me to pay 500 bucks.  I ain't doin' it."

"Well you're goin' to Pina Colada.  I think that's why my urine isn't stopping.  It's all the stress of it."

"You're gonna get kidnapped and stuck on a spit like a pig."

"You'll end up in a moss-eaten grave in some cave-mountain."

"You ain't coming home."

After reading this post:  "Well, it's all true."

This Poster Reminds me of my Dad

This reminds me of when my dad said that he was very "open minded", because he would be happy to listen to me while I changed my mind.
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