Monday, August 23, 2010

A niece says thanks

How can I summarize 75 years into one column?
How can I write what I want to say and convey to you why a man like Doug Seneker made such an impact on so many?
I don’t think I can. My black and white words will not do justice to the colorful lifetime of memories made.
My memories of my Dunkle Bug (which is how I pronounced his name when I was little and it stuck) are entangled with that of my Grandpa Don, his identical twin brother.
Literally two identical peas in a pod.
Since my grandpa’s sudden death in 2002, I have taken comfort in the “identicalness” of the two.
While I know that my uncle was devastated by the loss of his brother, he worked very hard to be there for the family in a way only my grandpa’s twin could be.
Unspoken understanding is one of the most unique attributes of the Senekers. I never spoke these words to my uncle but I know he knew.

Dear Dunkle Bug,
There is peace in my heart today because I know you ran the race set out for you.
You got all the “goody” out of this life and were blessed with a wife, children and grandchildren who love you.
Your obituary is filled with your accomplishments and accolades.
What a fine man you were. A dandy.
Thank you for your “extra presence” after Grandpa died.
You were larger than life. Funnier than most. Intelligent. Interesting. Interested. Insightful.
I am a better person for knowing you.
With much love
and respect,
As seen in the Lawrence County Record.
Doug Seneker’s complete obituary can be found on The Record's website:

Monday, August 16, 2010

Borderline OCD? Try 20/20 system

I don’t technically have obsessive compulsive disorder, but I’m for sure a borderline case.
Four kids, a husband who wears cow patty-caked boots, an indoor cat and two floppy-eared bunnies later, I’ve been forced to learn some coping mechanisms.
A day, hour or even a minute doesn’t pass without something someplace being moved from where I placed it. And since the kids and animals are home all day, our home can look more like a barn when the sun finally sets.
Time to clean conveniently arrives when it’s also time to go to sleep — at least that’s what I’d prefer to be doing.
So to motivate myself, (because nothing can start my day off worse than a messy house) I’ve implemented a 20/20 system.
And it is serious business to me!
Real serious.
Ask Matt.
He came home one evening to find me flinging and literally sprinting back and forth across the house like a mad woman, cleaning to beat my timer.
That’s the point. I set our oven timer for 20 minutes. Then I try to accomplish as much cleaning as possible in that time.
When the timer goes off, I stop. Period.
Then I set it for 20 more minutes. I can do whatever I want during this time. Usually, I read or play online.
The cycle repeats itself until I’m completely finished with my chores.
I LOVE this system!!
Besides motivating me to get the chores done in a quick amount of time, it allows my sick and twisted brain to know exactly how long it takes to clean a particular room or fold a basket of laundry or iron a pile of clothes. Because it never really takes as long as you think it does.
My kitchen can be swept in two minutes. The dishwasher unloaded in about three minutes, and I can fold a basket of clothes in just a whiff of time.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love to clean. I’ve been known to offer (and actually follow through with) cleaning people’s houses. I love the transformation — making something better.
But even the most borderline cases of OCD become paralyzed with the workload. And everybody is tired. At least it seems like everybody is always complaining (like me) that they are tired.
This system has allowed me to persevere when I feel like giving up. And I have given up at times. Left the clothes overnight in the dryer. Counters littered with that evening’s takeout. Yes, I’ve been guilty.
But I never sleep well when the house is a wreck. So, mostly, I push through, and it’s always worth it.
At the end of the night, when you slip between the cool sheets of your cozy bed, I will almost guarantee the lemon Pinesol smells of your spotless house will lure you to sleep.
And the satisfaction you feel will make all the crazy running through the house you just did worth it.
— As seen in the Lawrence County Record

A bunch of bitter cucumbers

Cucumbers. That’s all I think about. My bitter, heart-breaking cucumbers.
I know it seems pathetic (it really is). But I can’t help it.
Besides planting, weeding and watering, I really grow to love the plants in my garden.
I have been known to fly out of the house, broom in hand, to scare away the winged, egg-laying creature creeping too close for comfort.
So it’s very personal to me when I pick a half a dozen beautiful, green cucumbers (which are almost my favorite thing) and they are all inedible. Bitter is a kind word, really.
It’s very sad. I have to throw away tons and tons because cucumber plants put off tons and tons of produce. I still diligently collect them, though, and have gotten into a routine. I peel the center of each cuke (the name people in “the business” call them), cut them in half and taste the center (supposedly the least bitter part).
If it is bitter, I throw it away. If not ... well, I haven’t had that problem yet.
I’ve eaten so many bites of bitter cucumbers lately I’m starting to forget what they are supposed to taste like.
If I think and squint my brain eyes really hard, I can imagine the sweet and tangy flavors of cucumbers mingling with onions in a bowl of vinegar and sugar.
I can still hear the crisp crunch as I take a bite of the refreshing cuke, drenched in ranch.
And that’s it. Fantasizing about my summer cucumbers is all I have left. That and a bunch of bitter cucumbers.
I’ve tried pickling them. Yuck! Didn’t work.
Tried to eat them anyway. That didn’t work either.
So I need your help. What do I do? Is there any hope?
Have any of you fixed this problem or know of a way to prevent it in the future?
Call me if you know.
I know the “cause” is stressed plants and lack of water. So, we upped the water and are praying for divine intervention on the stress-relieving part.
g g g
Like my cucumbers, life on the farm has been anything but a summer breeze.
I don’t know of any profession that has so much to do in such a small amount of time and in such conditions.
My hat goes off to all you farmers who are working hard in the hay fields, planting your beans, corn and all the rest and praying for rain.
Growing up as a “city girl” I had no clue of the amount of work that goes into a farm — especially during the warm months.
The days are long, and the work rarely gets caught up.
Matt will work at the yards all day and have to go back out as soon as he scarfs dinner to water and feed. Then his weekends are spent hauling hay or building fence or doing something else labor-intensive.
I don’t think I would survive due to my air conditioned-weakened temperature gauge.
I’m thankful I married such a motivated, hard-working guy.
And just take a ride through the country and you’ll see several other hard-working, motivated farmers who are working and sweating their tails off to get it all done.
Don’t you worry about me overworking myself in all this heat. I can be found standing over the sink in my air-conditioned kitchen tasting bitter cucumbers.
— As seen in the Lawrence County Record