Tag Archives: Red

The Clawson Sisters

IMG_0474 (2)Spike meets the Clawson sisters in book three, when he goes with Gus to handle a little plumbing problem the ladies are having. In book four, not only are the Clawson sister back, but you’ll know the whole story–how they came to live in the elegant Victorian home in the middle of Bluesky. But it’s not just their story, it’s the story of how the town of Bluesky came to be.

Here is Spike’s encounter with the Clawson sisters from Red, While, and . . . Bloopers.

“I hope you don’t mind if we make a stop on the way home,” Gus said. “The Clawson sisters are having a little plumbing problem.”

“The Clawson sisters?”

“Rose, Violet, and Daisy,” Gus said with a grin. “Some people call them the Flower Girls .”

“I can see why. Their parents must love flowers.”

“Yes, they did. Rose was married, but her husband died several years ago. Now the three ladies live together. Violet and Daisy are what we used to call old maids.”

Gus pulled up in front of a gray Victorian-style house with a peaked roof and gingerbread trim. It had a huge porch that went across the front of the house and wrapped around to the side. Rose bushes grew along the white picket fence and beds of daisies, bachelor buttons, and zinnias lined the walkway.

“Wow!” Spike exclaimed. “I guess they really do like flowers!”

Violet Clawson answered the door. She was wearing a bright fuchsia dress with a strand of pearls around her neck. The flower motif continued inside the house—pink mums on the wallpaper, vases full of flowers on every table, and even flowered floor coverings. Her sisters quickly joined her in the living room. “Good afternoon, ladies,” Gus said. “This is my friend, Michael.”

“Thank you so much for coming.” Rose invited them in. “We are having a slight problem in the upstairs bathroom.”

“Daisy dropped her teeth in the toilet,” Violet whispered to Spike.

“I’ll be right back,” Gus said as Rose led him away up the stairs.

Spike stood near the door while Daisy fussed with the vase of flowers on the coffee table. She hadn’t said a word since Gus and Spike arrived.

“She won’t talk without her teeth,” Violet said in Spike’s ear. “She’s so vain!”

“Michael!” Gus yelled from the top of the stairs. “Can you go get the wrench from my truck? They’ve got a little leak up here.”

Spike was relieved to have an excuse to go outside. He climbed into the back of Gus’s truck and took a wrench from the toolbox. In the bed of the truck, he saw the whoopee cushion he had thrown there that morning.  Spike picked it up. It was almost too hot to handle after lying in the sun all day. Spike tucked it in his pocket and went back in the house with the wrench.

“I’ll take it to him,” Violet offered, taking the wrench from Spike’s hand.

Spike sat carefully in one of the fancy high-backed chairs. When Gus came down the stairs with Rose and Violet, Spike stood up quickly, not noticing the whoopee cushion fall from his pocket.

“Okay, ladies,” Gus said. “I think everything is fixed.”

“Thank you so much,” Rose walked with Gus and Spike toward the door.

“Oh, look!” Violet exclaimed. “Daisy, here’s your hot water bottle. It’s still nice and warm.”

Before Spike could say anything, Daisy sat down on the chair he had just vacated. “Pfffbt” came from the whoopee cushion.

“Oh!” Daisy exclaimed. “Excuse me!” Daisy stood up and then sat down again. “Pfffbt” came from the whoopee cushion again.

Gus and Spike hurried out the door. “I guess I should have left the whoopee cushion in the donation box,” Spike said as they got in Gus’s truck.

“Why do you say that? Those ladies are gonna have fun with that whoopee cushion for days.”

The Handy Helpers book series is available at Amazon



Bad News for Bullies


In Red, White, and . . . Bloopers! Spike’s life is made miserable by a bully–his sister’s boyfriend, Todd. Spike tries to tell his parents what is going on, but they think Spike is over-reacting. They point out that Todd has two older brothers and he is used to horsing around with them. Spike only has sisters. He isn’t accustomed to Todd’s rough-and-tumble ways. As he gets away with pushing Spike around, Todd becomes bolder, until he feels entitled to force Spike to clean up his messy kitchen.  Eventually, Spike and Todd are able to work through their problems and by the end of the book they are actually friends. Todd admits what he has been doing and Spike’s parents acknowledge that their lack of action caused Spike undue anguish and feelings of helplessness.

Bullying is identified as a serious problem in our world today. School children, teenagers, and even adults find themselves the victims of bullies. Bullies hold power over their victims, causing them to try to protect themselves any way they can. This protection could be in the form of avoidance, but in extreme cases, it could lead to someone taking his own life. Bullying in any form should be taken seriously. The signs of physical bullying are more obvious–bruises or other injuries that are frequent, or not the result of normal play. The effects of emotional bullying are less obvious. Someone who is being repeatedly humiliated feels the pain as much as someone who is hit.

Parents and teachers should be the first line of defense in protecting children from bullies. Educating themselves to recognize the signs of bullying is the first step. Having an open relationship where a child feels comfortable talking to parents about their problems is vital.

In a HuffingtonPost article, posted October 17, 2013, and updated January 23, 2014, Franklin Schargel, a former teacher, school counselor and administrator, offered these suggestions to parents if you think your child is being bullied:

1.  Talk to your child about what happened. Listen to the whole story without interrupting. Be calm and validate what is being said. Remind your child that it is normal to feel upset but it is never all right to be bullied. Ask your child what he/she would like to happen, before you make any suggestions.

2.  Don’t expect your child to solve things on their own.

3.  Deal with each incident consistently. Never ignore or downplay complaints about bullying.

4.  Keep a log of the incidents, where the bullying took place, who was involved, how frequently, if anyone witnessed it. Do not attempt to confront the person or their family yourself.

5.  Contact the school. Find out if the school has an anti-bullying policy. Find out if the school is aware of the bullying and whether anything is being done to address the situation. Make an appointment to speak to a school counselor or school administrator.

6.  If your child asks to stay home from school, explain that it won’t help and it may make things worse.

7. Discuss bullying at school board meetings and with other parents (i.e.PTA).

Schargel goes on to say, “Schools need to assertively confront this problem and take any instance of bullying seriously. Addressing and preventing bullying requires the participation of all major school constituencies, school leaders, teachers, parents and students. By taking organized schoolwide measures and providing individuals with the strategies to counteract bullying schools can reduce the instances of bullying and be better prepared to address it when it happens.”


Cyberbullying can be even more vicious than the typical forms of bullying because it is shared with people outside the group involved in the bullying. We must all guard against aiding the cyberbully by being careful what we share on social media. Giving our support to efforts in schools, workplaces and on social media to prevent bullying is everyone’s responsibility.

The Handy Helpers: Red, White, and . . . Bloopers! is available on amazon



News from Spike

mqkTKySDzy7mUaLE6NWbfoA (2)Okay. Okay. I know I shouldn’t a done it. But having two older sisters is a pain in the butt. When they’re not bossing me around getting me to do stuff, like vacuuming they’re supposed to do, they’re telling Mom about something I did–usually something I didn’t mean to do anyway. Accidents happen you know. So Jennifer found my fake rat, Chuck, in the box of cereal. She didn’t have to make such a big deal about it. Then she got Mom all worked up. I had plans you know–plans to go fishing with my bros. But no! I got stuck washing windows! Then when I figured out a way to get it done quick, (I got some little kids to do it for me. They even paid me to do it.) Mom came home early and spoiled the whole thing.

I guess washing windows isn’t the worst thing to have to do. Anyway it’s summer–there’s plenty of time to go fishing. That’s not what’s really bugging me. What’s really bugging me is Todd. Todd’s Jennifer’s jerk boyfriend. Why he’s always hanging around here I have no idea. Doesn’t he have a home of his own? I’d think Jennifer would get tired of seeing his dumb face everywhere. I know I am.

The first time I ever saw Todd, he was trying to show off for Jennifer, doing tricks with the basketball. First he was dribblin’ tween his legs. That looked  stupid ’cause he kept hitting his leg and then he had to chase after the ball. When he finally shot a basket, it did go in a few times. But that wasn’t good enough. He had to show Jennifer how he could make a shot with his eyes closed. He opened his eyes just in time to catch the ball when it was rolling off the roof. His backwards shot bounced off the rim and hit him in the back of the head. It was so funny, I thought I’d die laughing. When he saw me, he threw the ball at me. “Let’s see you do better!” he yelled. I just threw the ball down and went in the house.

After that, me an’ Todd have been sworn enemies. Mom and Dad think he’s trying to treat me like a big brother–but they don’t know him like I do. He’s a jerk and a bully. I’ve gotta figure out a way to get him off my back. Anyway, Jennifer only keeps a boyfriend for three months. Todd doesn’t know it, but his days are numbered. When Jennifer drops him on his butt, I hope I’m there to laugh in his face!

My friend, Rosemary, asked me to write this blog. She writes down the things that me and my friends do as Handy Helpers. You can read about all the stuff we’re into in the Handy Helpers books. If you have any ideas about what I could do to get even with Todd, I sure would like to know.

Scan_20141120(The Handy Helpers books are available at amazon )