Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What the Heck?

In my 18 years of parenting, I'm accustomed to finding bizarre things in even more bizarre locations.

There was the "toilet incident" when I found a treasure trove of things in the bottom of the bowl when it was necessary for me to stick my hand deep into the stool. Ack. I shudder at the thought. But, I'm not sure what was more disturbing - what I found or where I was placing my hand. I fished out a AA battery, rocks, fifty-three cents, a safety pin, two buttons, and a marble. Granted, it was a very old toilet that had been in the house since probably the advent of indoor plumbing, but a battery? I don't even want to know which of the things were once ingested. (Why was I digging around in the john, you ask? A bottle of Frizz-ease fell into the toilet and someone tried to flush it. So in lieu of pulling the stool, I went fishing.)

I pulled back the shower curtain once to find a motorcycle helmet in the tub. I've found lunch meat in the cupboard and bread in the fridge. Okay, okay...so I absentmindedly did that. Point being, things turn up in odd locations when you have children running around.

I found this today in the middle of the living room. A tiny little skeleton foot. I've no idea where it came from. No one else seems to know either. It's slightly reassuring that it is indeed plastic and not actual bone. At first glance, I wondered what a cat killed and when.

It's another one of those great mysteries that leaves me scratching my head and asking, "What the heck?"

Friday, December 12, 2008

Oh, Honey...It'll Be Alright

My grandma died three years ago last week. It was two days before my oldest son's birthday. About a month after this, my old dog Bart that I had for most of my adult life died. 2005 and early 2006 wasn't a good time. Combine my general dislike for the holiday season with these events, and this time of year is such a freakin' joy for me. Ho, ho, ho...bite me.

Or something like that.

There was no funeral service for Grandma. No graveside services. No memorial. No one was allowed in to say good-bye, with special thanks to her second husband at the time. She was whisked off to be cremated. She didn't want gawked at lying in a casket, and maybe she had a point. Her ashes were interred at some point beside my grandpa.

I noted the day last week, if nothing more than looking at the date and thinking she's been gone for three years now. I've managed to come to terms with not saying good-bye, and I don't think maybe that you need a funeral service to do so. I don't imagine there's a week that goes by that she doesn't cross my mind. I'd say a day, but maybe that would give it all an air of drama. That's not my intention. After all, I'm pushing 40 years old and shouldn't be crying like a little girl who can't find her babydoll.

I do think of Grandma often since I live in the house where she dwelled for some forty years. It's also the house I spent a lot of time growing up in. I was scrubbing the kitchen counter and it crossed my mind this was the same counter that she must have scrubbed thousands of times. I heard her voice in my head, "Oooh, now be careful you don't scratch it."

I think of her sometimes when I open the cupboard and take out the bread. "I've got some nice fresh bread, honey. Do you want a cold meat sandwich? I've got an Eckrich smorgas pack that's nice and fresh. Are you hungry?"

She pushed food on me like a drug dealer, though I never gave the appearance that I was wasting away to nothing. "I've got some candy bars. Do you want some candy?" she'd pressure me if I turned down the sandwich and a nice bowl of Campbell's soup.

I miss her. Not to incite pity or create the illusion that I'm the only one who has ever grieved or lost a loved one because I understand I'm not. But, I do really still miss her. It hits me at the strangest times.

Like while scrubbing the counter.

I can glance in the corner of the dining room and remember the green box that held her old Eureka vacuum cleaner. It smelled of oil and the workings of an old machine. Even when it stopped working, she left it set right there because she used the box as a stool when she talked on her old dial telephone.

A walk through the yard in the summer time, my steps releasing a fragrance from a plant (a weed by most other's estimation that grows like crazy in this yard, and I won't have my husband weeding and feeding that area or resowing it), reminds me of days past playing "Mother May I?" or "Red Light, Green Light" as she sat in the glider swing and played the part of Mother.

When I was sad, hurt, discouraged, angry, in the midst of teenage angst, or ready to pull my hair out being the mother of two boys, she'd reassure me with her words. "Oh, honey, I know. I know. It'll all be alright. It'll be okay. Life gets tedious sometimes. I know."

She treated me like gold. I was the daughter she never had. She was the mother who didn't bear me, but considered me hers, nonetheless. Grandma's house was a safe haven. A place where I could do no wrong and was always welcome. Not only was she on my side, but she was my biggest fan. Her love was as unconditional as it gets.

I try not to shed too many tears when I think of her because I know she would hate to be the cause of any boo-hooing. As they say, I try to look at the bright side and remember her fondly. That's not always easy because I do miss her, but I know it'll all be alright, and that's what she'd tell me.

"Oh, honey...it'll be alright."

Raise Your Hand If You're a Dumbass

Well, it's been a while.

Let me first say you don't want this flu crap that is going around. It does horrid things to one's body. Terrible, horrible things emit from various orifices. Trust me. I had it. In fact, I celebrated my oldest son's 18th birthday by hurling out the back door because I knew there was no way I was going to make it to the bathroom when the wave of nausea hit me out of nowhere.

I'm just not one of those puker sorts, either. I will actually will myself not to pay homage to the porcelain god. "I'm not going to throw up. I will not throw up. Nope. I'm not going to throw up. I refuse to throw up," will be the thought process as I'm talking myself out of it. When this hit, I didn't even have time to think about it.

Take your Airborne. Spray yourself down with Lysol. Don a surgical mask. Drink your O.J. and load up on vitamin C if necessary because I can't emphasize enough how much you do not want this particular strain of the plague.

In other news, my poor old laptop went off to the great computer graveyard in the sky. I'd had it for quite a number of years, so I shouldn't have been surprised. But it's par for the course that this time of the year something will decide to go off and be with Jesus. One year, it was the water heater. The next, it was the refrigerator. Another year, it was the stove when my oven stopped working.

It was something in the ability to run off A/C power that caused the problem. The battery would charge so long as the laptop was not running. My husband even tried hardwiring it, but to no avail. I wish I could get excited about this new one. It's nice and all, but it was definitely not something I wanted to add to the monthly budget this close to Christmas. Luckily, I was able to get my files off of it. That's a relief all things considered.

Another fun bit from the past week involves the attic panel that resides in the utility room ceiling, my left hand, and my skull. I'd fixed it once, which is probably why what happened did actually happen. The trim pieces that serve as a lip to hold it in place weren't doing the job. I prodded around a bit, and since the ceiling is so low, I was able to stand on my tippy toes while doing this. I thought I'd had it positioned correctly and securely, but after seeing stars, I knew I was wrong.

It was all because of instincts that I tried maiming myself. The dryer buzzed, and like an idiot, I turned my head to the direction of the sound. It's not like I hadn't heard that infernal buzzer buzz a gazillion times or more because laundry is my life. Anyway, I looked, and looked back up just in time to see the panel, which weighs no less than 30 lbs, plummeting towards my noggin.

As I've learned in my life, you can't fight gravity or human instinct. My caveman genes said to me, "Protect your head, you damned fool!" So, listening as one is apt to do when the danger is present, I raised my left hand to shield my grey matter.

My first thought was something like $*$% @ %$^% &^@ @! &*$%, which loosely translate into, "There. I've gone and done it. I've finally broken something besides my little toe."

I had quite the lump on my head for a few days. My hand is still a bit bruised and tender, but I don't think it's broken. I seemed to have regained use of it for the most part. And the attic panel? Still not fixed. The pain killers? Absolutely wonderful.

One might wonder why I didn't just take a step back and avoid the whole scene? That I can't answer. It didn't occur to me to flee. Nope, I just stood there like an idiot raising my hand as if to answer "Who's the dumbass? Raise your hand."

I've been raising my hand a lot these days.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Humanitarian

I had to go to the grocery today. I mean I absolutely had to. The kids were going to turn into cannibals. The cats would elect the smartest one to open the cupboard and start eating through boxes of cereal and the half loaf of bread that remained. I'd been putting it off all week under the guise of "Let's clean out the freezer and cupboards a bit and eat what no one wants to eat."

The lines were long, but the plus was that my favorite wine was on sale for $5.99 a bottle, marked down from it's normal $8.99 price. This was good.

I didn't think I was ever going to get out of the store, so I started bagging my own groceries, using the same skills I've witnessed time and time again by other baggers, when my cell rang. No one ever calls me unless I'm in line somewhere. Never. I can't remember the last time my cell rang and I wasn't standing and waiting on someone to hurry the hell up and scan my items so I could get the show on the road.

It was a friend of mine. I said I'd return the call just as soon as I was on the road to home. What I forgot to mention is that I was on a mission to find red thread and some needles. After a stop into Dollar General and CVS, I was slightly frustrated. One - because they didn't have what I was looking for. Two - I did not want to drive across town to Walmart for thread. And three - it had to have been "Idiots Day Out."

This chick was ahead of me in line at CVS. She possessed one of those coupons that spit out on the receipt when you use your Extra Care card. It was for a free bottle of lotion. The thing was, if you read the small print, that it didn't cover the tax. So, her total was 20 cents.

She didn't grasp what the clerk was telling her. "Huh? What do you mean? It says free. Why do I have to pay?" she kept asking. I was ready to give her the 20 cents so I could get on with my life.

I left CVS and tried calling my friend. There was no answer. I sent a text.

Me: Tried calling. I had to go to CVS. Must have been idiots' day out.

Friend: It's drive you nuts day. Didn't you get the memo?

Me: Isn't that a daily event? Behind this girl who had no concept of coupons. I was ready to give her 20 cents to cover tax.

Friend: What a humanitarian!

Me: Yeah, I probably would have bounced the change off her skull, but yes, that's me. I'm very giving by nature.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Things I Dig

Now, I do realize I'm not a "woman of color," unless you consider "pasty white" without a tan a color. I've always loved Pantene shampoos, and I really liked the line for curls, until they did something and changed the formula. At that point, it just didn't do it for me anymore.

Anyway, one day, I found some shampoo and condtioner on clearance in the "women of color" line. I thought hmm, the price is right, I'll try it.

I've always had wirey, coarse, thick hair. (Read "on the verge of making good on my promise to shear my head on a good day.") The shampoos and conditioner are wonderful, but I do caution to change it up every couple of days because it does tend to get a good build-up going on.

Next, I discovered that itty bitty section in our grocery for "women of color." Because, honestly, we are a rather light-complected community, so I suppose the 2 x 6 area devoted to these products is deemed adequate. And let me tell you something, I get some bizarre looks when I purchase these products. The checker-outer will look at the product, look at me, look at the product again, and get a slightly perplexed look upon their face.

One day while getting the strange look, I said, "I'm not ethnic, but my hair is, however that happened."

That'll teach them to look too closely at what I buy.

Anyway, I digress. This Olive Oil pack is a gift from the heavens above. I use it every couple weeks, and for 99 cents a packet, it's cheap and does the job.

While perusing that little section, I noticed this shampoo, "Dark and Lovely," was a close-out clearance. I imagine I'm the only person shopping that 2 x 6 section in our entire county. I thought what the heck, for $1.50, I wouldn't be out much if I didn't like it. Other than the fragrance being a little mediciney, it's also a great shampoo. Again, I can't use it many days straight without looking a bit like I dipped my head in an oil slick, but it's good stuff.

I did have my doubts, initially, that these products would work. After all, I did try those mane and tail shampoos meant for horses, and well, they didn't do anything for me. Didn't even make me whinny or stomp. Ok, just kidding. I did crave a salt lick. Ok, not really.

So, if you're like me - a nappy headed white girl - don't be afraid to check out these products. You might get looked at funny, but they do work miracles.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The SAHM Saga Continues

Once upon a time, about three months ago, stay-at-home mom was well on her way to becoming "The Crazy Cat Lady," so SAHM decided to look for part-time employment outside the home. She wavered a bit on whether to quit her weekly column, but she kept telling herself it would all get better, she'd adjust, and find time for writing.

SAHM found the almost ideal part-time job working 9-2 daily at a powersports distributor about two months ago. It wasn't too far from home, and she even commented that when the gas prices dropped, she was actually making even more money. While the work wasn't rocket science, and calling out to customers was sometimes a bit gruelling, she was adjusting to the routine. She managed to find some balance between house-work, work-work, and writing-work. She was far from superwoman, but you know what? She adjusted and was getting better at doing what needed to get done.

SAHM revelled in getting some new clothes and shoes for work because it was a casual dress atmosphere, so she was able to get some nice sweaters and boots. She found it was great to get out of the house and be someone other than "Mom" or "Hon." She revelled to the tune of almost blowing an entire paycheck on clothes, shoes, and jeans.

SAHM really dug the folks she worked with, too. The office manager was a youngin', but not in that annoy-the-piss-out-older-chicks way. She was, in fact, pretty damn cool. The two guys who worked in the warehouse were equally cool, and it was a fun atmosphere full of practical jokes, sidling up to scare each other. The latter of which was pretty easy considering one of the warehouse guys was deaf in one ear and didn't hear anyone approaching from his left side.

SAHM watched two people get laid off, but she was assured that she wasn't going anywhere. So, she started enjoying the fact that she was making some extra money. She bought a new bed for herself and husband, and even bought some new flooring for her dining room floor.

On Monday morning, she commented to the office manager it was really a great time to start working for the company because things had been slow. Orders had picked up the past few weeks, and instead of being frazzled, she sold four-wheelers and dirt bikes with ease. She learned which units were manufactured by which company, and even was learning the Chinglish that the workers for those company tended to speak.

Around 1:30, about a half hour before she was due to leave, she was looking up a go-kart when the warehouse manager came to the front office holding two sets of papers. It was then the bomb was dropped that SAHM was getting laid off.

And not just the SAHM/customer service representative, but the office manager as well. This was a total shock. But SAHM didn't cry even though she was slightly perturbed. She was even asked to clock out before her daily five hours were up. This seemed rather shitty, but the office manager was asked to vacate the premises, too.

After a conference call with the main man, SAHM collected her things and left. She sent texts to those important to her to deliver the news. She returned home, still in total disbelief, when she made a phone call from home to the main man. Perhaps, in March, they would call her back to work. She did the math on her fingers. Three months was a long time to be sitting around again.

She was glad, however, that she didn't quit her weekly column. She did appreciate the letter of recommendation she was given that stated her dismissal had nothing to do with her work performance, and she was highly recommended to other places of employment.

SAHM isn't enjoying being home this morning. Even after running the kids to school, doing the dishes, starting a load of laundry, sending two resumes, she's a bit lost.

She usually subscribes to the notion that everything happens for a reason, but she's not seeing a bright side this morning. Nope, instead, she's wondering what to do next.

Perhaps, she'll concentrate on some writing once again. Maybe she'll do a deep cleaning of the house. Who knows what she'll do next, but it's apparent she's going to miss working outside the home.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What Was I Doing Again?

It used to be that either that I was at home or I wasn't. Where "wasn't" seemed to equal at the grocery. Thankfully, work has added some spice to my existence, so now I'm either at home, at work, or at the grocery.

Let's not forget one more location where I might be found - I'm either at home, at work, at the grocery, or sitting on a bleacher.

Wait, it seems like I'm spending a lot of time driving these days. So, I'm either at home, work, the grocery, sitting on a bleacher, or sitting on my ass driving. It's wrong. Wrong, I tell you. If I don't get out and have some fun soon, I really can't be held accountable for my actions.

Consider that a warning shot fired. Must.have.some.fun.soon. Or else. Where "else" equals I'll just bitch about never doing anything fun on my blog some more.

So, tomorrow night is the regional round of the football play-offs. We are heading in a northwest direction about a hour and a half away. This is a slight relief because we could have been heading in a westernly direction towards IL, about 3 1/2 hours away. I'm nearly as nervous as my kiddo is about this game. I hope they take the field and play hard and strong, taking away another victory.

Oh, and where was I again? Yeah, after hauling a kid to wrestling practice, mopping the kitchen floor so that no one gets ptomaine poisoning from it, and doing some laundry, it was only then I realized I'd been blogging.

Adult A.D.D., anyone?

Anyway, here's the deep thought of the month:

Recently, I found myself in contact with a girl who was a classmate of mine in high school. We were never close, though as small schools go, we did share many of the same classes throughout the years. We had a couple mutual friends, and she was in band when I was in Color Guard. Yeah, okay, so I was a band geek one year if you count twirling a flag as being a band geek. And in my defense, I didn't even do it well. Hence, my one year tour in Color Guard.

I'm realizing some things. For one, teenagers are incredibly self-absorbed. I had no clue about her struggles. She had no clue about mine. I don't know that I ever stopped to think about what another kid was going through. The blinders were on focusing me solely on cute boys, fashionable clothes, and the school dance. Or, my nose was firmly planted in a book or writing in a journal.

And for two, well, I don't know yet, but I've enjoyed the conversations immensely. It's like taking a walk down memory lane with someone who saw the same landscape and landmarks much differently.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Don't Patronize Me, Cookie

My husband and I had a mutually desired outing to Lowe's yesterday. Typically, he's dragging me there. Or vice versa.

"Let's go to Lowe's," he'll suggest to me. This translates into, "Let's go roam every single aisle aimlessly with nothing in mind, and no extra money to spend."

When I suggest, "Let's go to Lowe's," it translates into a specific mission - getting paint, something to plant in the flowerbeds, bug killer, etc.

I think I lost the female shopping gene during childbirth that used to give me the undying desire to go walk around a place of business with only a few dollars in my pocket as a source of entertainment.

I wanted to go look at paint and flooring for the dining room. He wanted to go get a piece of plywood for the well-housing in the garage. I'd informed him when I started working that I most certainly would not be in the mood to thaw pipes in the morning before heading off to work, and that we needed to work on further weather-proofing around here. He concurred when I got a bit homicidal after crawling under the house several times last winter because of a frozen elbow going to the tub.

After leaving Lowe's, he asked me, "Anything else?"

He seemed to be in a good mood, so I said, "Stop by Fashion Bug. You can sit in the truck when I go in. I need a sweater."

He obliged. I guess since I was in there long enough to pick up a couple jackets, three sweaters, and two pairs of shoes, he worked up an appetite sitting there waiting on me. We went into the Chinese buffet place next door.

Man, I love that place. I don't eat red meat, and it's like heaven on earth for me with all the seafood and chicken. And crab rangoon? I could make a meal of that alone.

They brought the bill and the fortune cookies while my husband had excused himself to the little boys' room. I waited for him to return before I took a cookie, cracked it open, and read the fortune.

It read, "You are talented in many ways."

I chuckled. "What's so funny?" he asked.

I read it out loud to him, and he commented that yes, not many people can trip over their own feet, and that just might be considered talent.

"Isn't that a bit like being told 'you're special'?" I asked him. "I think my fortune cookie just patronized me. This cookie essentially says I'm special."

It reminded me of a text message a dear friend sent me a while back:

I don't care if you lick the windows, take the short bus, or occasionally pee on yourself. You hang in there, sunshine. You're friggin' special!

It's pretty bad when you're picked on by an inaminate object.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Crazy Kids, Crazy Neighbors, Crazy Mothers

My 17 year old has lost his flipping mind. Now, I'm not necessarily saying that there's no way I could have birthed this child. I've been known to teeter on the edge of sanity. Okay, I've been known to thrive there.

He came home from football practice, showered, and was off to a mandatory meeting at the nursing home where he works. While he was gone, I watched election updates, though I wasn't paying much attention.

He bursted through the front door rambling about biblical prophecies, Nostradomas, Muslim leaders, the end of the world, the Mayan calendar, and building a bunker.

"What in the bloody hell are you talking about?" I asked him.

He explained how this theory matched up with this one, and how the bible told him so, and oh my gosh, I was ready to find a sedative for him after he sat down at the computer and started looking things up. "If Obama is elected, we're all going to die. It's the end of the world, I'm telling ya. Just you wait and see. It says so right here."

"I read it on the internet. It must be true!" I told him.

I suggested that he get a grip and simmer himself down. He's known to work himself into quite a frenzy. No, I've no clue where he gets that. Nope. Not a one.

Last night, at 11, when they projected Obama the president elect, I nudged the youngest child from his sleep and told him. Then I went to the eldest child's room and tapped his leg until I roused him.

"History was just made," I told him. "Obama is president."

"Nu-uh. No way. You're lying," he replied.

"No, really," I told him and went back to bed myself.

I'd just settled in under the covers when I heard what sounded like gun shots. It wasn't, but someone around the corner was setting off one hell of a firework display. This didn't set well with the dog, and I must admit that my heart raced a bit because I did think it sounded like someone had been shot before I realized it was merely my neighbors celebrating. Idiots.

I must say I was unsettled. Though I had a bit of a hard time picking what I considered the lesser of two evils in this election, I had to wonder what was going to happen next. The loud noise ringing out into the night frazzled my nerves a bit, and I had a hard time drifting off to sleep.

"We're all dead," my son told me this morning as he surfed the web looking for more theories and predictions. It didn't matter what I told him, he's convinced the signs are there. I'm not sure which signs he's talking about, but he tells me they are there.

I gave up trying to calm him down. Instead, I started singing some R.E.M.

"It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine...."

After all, singing always seemed to calm him when he was a wee one.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Reader's Digest Version Update

This is Miss Yvonne. Yes, named after a character on "Pee-Wee's Playhouse." Good golly, I loved that show.

Anyway, Miss Yvonne is a pest. She's not one to light. Instead, she does her rendition of pacing on my lap. Or my chest. Or on my shoulders. As you can see, she doesn't mind having her ears flipped back to expose the biggest tufts of ear hair that I've ever seen on a cat, or on any animal for that matter.

This is how I amuse myself after a long five hours at work.

Yeah, work. It's going okay. Two people have been laid-off/let go/dismissed/your-services-are-no-longer-required. Sales are slow due to the economy. I'm told I don't have to worry about going next.

Though, I must admit there's a small part of me who longs to be at home working hard at nothing all day once again. Honestly. I've acclimated somewhat to the whole getting up and going to work thing. I'm still trying to strike some sort of balance between housework, grocery shopping, and working. Writing is still a struggle. I'm mentally exhausted when I get home. I think my brain has grown old and tired.

In other news, my son's varsity football team remains undefeated. Friday night is the final sectional game. If they win, we're off to regionals. I'm told we may have to go almost to the IL border for that game. But if they win that, semi-state will be at home. At the beginning of the season, it was said of the team that they could be the sleeper team of the season. It's truly a wonderous thing, and I'm so glad my son is having this experience. When they won the conference championship title, it was pointed out to me by a good friend that not many people can lay claim to being the champion of anything.

And, I guess, if nothing else, it gives him something to talk about when he's sitting around talking about those glory days. I'm thrilled for him and all the other boys on the team.

That might very well be a truth - that not many people win a championship. I've never been a champion anything.

Well, maybe not unlike Miss Yvonne, I'm a champion pain-in-the-ass.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wardrobe Malfunctions and Other Fun

I think it's probably time that I go shopping for some new undergarments. I'm not one of those can't-get-enough-of-Victoria's-Secret kind of gals because well, if you're bigger than a size 2 and wear anything other than a 32D, the secret is that you're not going to look good in them.

And besides that, I found a kind of drawers that I loved - a nice string bikini type of underwear - and suddenly, they are nowhere to be found. Next were some nice boy-cut panties that I liked, so that's what I've gone with. But wouldn't you know it? I haven't seen anything similar for eons.

Now that you're up to speed on my choice of underwear...we'll moving right along here.

Point being, I don't think about needing new bras and underwear all that often. It's apparent I do, though. I walked in the front door of work the other day, and boing, there went the front clasp on my bra.

Okay, so it wasn't much of a "boing," but I suddenly became aware the my add-a-cup-size cup was making me appear as though I had boobs below my actual boobs on my ribcage. It appeared that I had a second set of boobs. Yep.

I quickly excused myself to the restroom where I snapped things back into place. It was only a temporary fix because dang if I didn't have the same problem while sitting at my desk.

I asked if we had any duct tape, and the office manager went back to the warehouse to see what she could find. She came back with a huge roll of packing tape. I took it into the bathroom and tried to work some magic.

It was short-lived. I finally got my hands on some duct tape, and I mean to tell you, I taped that clasp up so much that it wasn't going anywhere. It was only slightly embarrassing when the warehouse manager asked me why I needed it, and that he heard something about me having a wardrobe malfunction. I'm pretty sure I blushed when he asked me to explain how one's bra breaks and can be fixed with tape.

When I got home, I had to rip the bra off my body before tossing it into the trash.

My underwear, later that week on Friday, made their appearance in the varsity football team's locker room. No, I wasn't wearing them at the time.

My son is superstitious. He will do, wear and eat the same thing from Thursday morning until the game begins on Friday night under the lights. This meant he needed a particular cut-up t-shirt. It was in a load of laundry I'd taken out of the dryer on Friday morning.

He packed the shirt in his bag, didn't think too much about it, and went on his way to school. When he was changing in the locker room, he pulled out the shirt and there my drawers landed on the locker room floor.

Ugh. That same night I had the honor of going out on the track with all the other parents with their senior football playing sons. Yeah, the sons who'd probably gotten a good look at my delicates.

According to my son, it was my fault. I do the laundry after all, so I should have kept my undies from mingling with his clothes. I bought some dryer sheets with hopes of alleviating this problem in the future. Now if I could just find some undergarments to my liking, I'd be good to go.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Random, Cold Medicine-Fueled Thoughts

1. I was scrounging for something in the cupboard that would make me feel better, or at the least make me not care that I feel as though I spent last night moonlighting as a speed bump on a busy thoroughfare. (We don't necessarily have thoroughfares in IN, but it sounds like I'd be sore if I had laid down on one.)

I found one of these heat packet things. I must have gotten it free in mail ten years ago or more. It was made by Playtex, and designed to stick on the inside of your underwear to combat cramps. I tossed it in the cupboard, mainly thinking should I ever wear granny panties or have female problems as such that I needed a mini-heating pad in my drawers, I might consider using it.

I didn't really think it would still produce heat, but lo and behold, it did. And it felt wonderful on my neck and shoulders. I stuck it on the inside of my sweatshirt, and moved it around enough that it stopped sticking.

"Lasts up to 10 hours..." my ass. Maybe because it was so old, but I did appreciate the heat while it lasted. I wish I knew where the heating pad was because I'd likely wrap my head and neck in it.

2. I looked up from the couch at one point today to see a cat lounging in a hanging potted plant. She didn't seem to mind that I'd just watered it earlier today when I noted the center plant had been obliterated by some force unknown. I'm sure she had something to do with it. She sat up there in the basket, sort of like a baby in that nursery rhyme about the baby and when the bough breaks, the cradle will fall, and down will come baby, cradle and all.

Two times I got up and reprimanded her. She'd wait for me to doze off, and she'd climb back up there. I gave up. Fine, sleep in the damn plant, I don't have the energy to keep getting up. When I don't feel so dizzy and foggy, I shall find a higher location for the bracket it hangs from. Though by the time she's done with it, I imagine I'll be less one houseplant, anyway.

3. I've reached the conclusion that there are always going to be people who disappoint you, let you down, and not live up to your expectations. I used to think it was my fault for having too high of expectations, maybe setting standards too high for any other individual to achieve, which made me an impossible to please, "wouldn't be happy if I were hung with a new rope," sort of bitchy bitch. I thought it was okay to expect absolutely nothing from those in my life because hell, who do I think I am thinking I deserve being treated as though I have feelings and that I'm actually human? If my feelings got hurt, then obviously I should have known better. Expect nothing and then you aren't disappointed when that's exactly what you get. Right?

But more and more, I don't think it's my problem, after all. I mean I don't think expecting kindness, respect, and common courtesy fall into the realm of impossible to meet expectations. Some people will never get "it," and I'm the idiot if I tolerate it or continue to make excuses for what I feel I deserve from them.

"Oh well, she's not good at expressing her appreciation for her friends."
"Oh, he's not good at expressing any emotion, so I shouldn't take it personally."
"I know she didn't mean to make me feel bad. It wasn't premeditated, so it's alright."

I'm also the dumbass for thinking if my thoughts fall on deaf ears that screaming a bit louder is going to make it sink in.

4. When the kids wanted to go to Taco Bell last night, I told them no, that I needed them to stay home. Now, basically, I didn't want a phone call from them that required me to get out of bed and go rescue them for any reason. My oldest said to me, "Why? Do you think you're going to die or something?" when I told him to stick around.

"Do I look like I'm dying?" I asked.

"I don't know. Maybe," the oldest spawn replied. "I think we could make it to Taco Bell and back before it happens, though."

That's my child. Always thinking.

5. There was something else I was going to bring to light, but I don't remember what it was. Which proves I did find something that made me not care that I'm feeling so poorly.

Editted: Oh, I remember now.

6. Yesterday at work, the general operations/warehouse dude gave us all his cell phone number in case we needed to get in touch with him. I was storing it in my cell after that, when I happened to think, hmm, wonder if he has text messaging. So, I asked the other girl, and she said yes.

"Do you think we should mess with him?" I asked. Because honestly, it's painfully slow at work, and we all find ways to provide entertainment during the course of the slow, slow days.

She agreed we should, so I sent him a text.

"Hi =)" I sent.

"Who is this?" he replied.

"I was wondering if you had any 150s."

"Who is this?"

"And parts. I need lots of parts," I replied.

At this point, I heard someone out in the kitchen area using the microwave. He shot me a look into my office, and I did my best to appear innocent.

I walked to the kitchen, just to be sure someone else wasn't in there using the microwave. Nope, it was him. He'd sat down in the manager's office while he was waiting on his food.

"Whatcha cooking?" I sent.

He walked up to my office and asked me if I'd been texting him.

"Now why would I do something like that?" I teased, and then admitted that yes, it was me.

"I was starting to get pissed, but I knew it had to be you when I read the last one about cooking."

I explained we'd toyed with answering "Your secret admirer" or "Your worst nightmare" in response to who it was. I drew the line on sending, "Hey big boy, you look mighty sexy in those Levis." Of course, we did have to read about sexual harrassment in the employee handbook.

"Really," I told him, "it was mild in comparison to what we might have said."

He laughed, shook his head, and gave me one of those "you're such a pain in the ass" kind of looks that I'm accustomed to getting.

Did I mention I really do like my co-workers?

Blog? What Blog?

Yesterday, I arrived home after work around 2:30ish. I went around and tended to some laundry, a general picking up, and slopping the hogs (the dog and cats). I sat down on the couch, and I couldn't figure out why I couldn't get warm. I'd commented several times at work that I was cold. I was assured by both of the girls in the office area that it was not cold, and in fact, they were a bit on the warm side in short sleeves.

I felt particularly pissy and achey, too. I figured I was a little stressed because my shoulders and neck were singing.

I covered up with a blanket after checking the thermostat. It was a balmy 73 in the house. Despite huddling up on the couch, I was still shivering. At 4:30, I crawled into bed in a sweatshirt and jeans, and burrowed under three heavy blankets. Nope, still couldn't get warm.

At 6, the kids got home from football practice. I instructed them to bring me a cup of hot water and a packet of Thera-flu. At 8:30, I was still miserably achey, and I asked for one ibuprofen. By 10, the boogers were still not in bed. I knew this because I heard them arguing in the living room. I beckoned for a couple night-time Aleve. I gave careful consideration to over-medicating myself, but all I wanted was some relief.

I woke up sometime around 3ish, sweating like a whore in church on Sunday. Not only do I look like something the cat dragged in this morning, but I smell like it, too.

I didn't want to have to call into work today, but I did. I don't know who I have to thank for giving me the plague, but here's a big freakin' THANK YOU to the bearer of said germs. I never get sick like this. I might feel a little poorly, but very seldom do I lie in bed if it's not for sleeping at nighttime purposes. Whatever this particular strain of flu is, it's kicked my ass.

My husband thinks it's because I'm not used to working outside the home and keeping up with everything else around here, including football games twice a week. I've managed to get 8 hours of sleep a night. I haven't had any booze to speak of, other than about a third of a bottle of wine over the weekend. I was too tired to stay up and drink more than that.

The jury is still out on this whole working outside the home thing. I like the extra money. I like the idea of serving a purpose outside of these four walls. But, there's always a but....but, it seems like either I'm working or cleaning. Working or doing laundry. Working or stopping at the grocery, so I can get home and repeat it all the next day. I have a great amount of respect for single working women because that's about what I am with my husband gone all week for work.

I suppose I need to try harder to get into a routine, and the difference is that typically, I waited for inspiration to write to strike. I need to train myself to write when I have the time, I suppose.

I'm sure I'll get it figured out eventually, but for now, I'm going to hold down the couch for the remainder of the day, drink plenty of fluids, and take some good meds.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Why Everyone Should Have a Dozen Kids

So, it's my fourth day of work, and I'm working through my lunch so I can leave early to come home and then head off to a freshman football game.

The phone rings, I answer, "This is Kelly, can I help you?"

I hear, "Uh, mom?"

I knew it wasn't going to be good. It's my senior...calling from the principal's office. He got a "green slip." The child has never been in trouble at school. EVER. First time he's been in the office.

He dropped his wallet in the hallway, bent over to pick it up, and said "piece of shit wallet" because his debit card fell out of it. The principal was standing behind him.

He ended up with four lunch detentions where he sits for 30 minutes alone. That was so he didn't get after school detention, miss football practice, and not be able to play in Friday's game against our biggest rivals. I am assuming he'll have to sit out a few plays on Friday.

I guess he did learn one thing from me, though I shouldn't be proud - he's learned to cuss like a drunken sailor when he's irritated or annoyed. And yet, my lessons on hydroplaning, and other worthwhile words of wisdom seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

Hey, but I did tell him, "No cussing. One of these days, you're going to let it slip, and then you'll be in trouble."

Did I call that one or what?

Really, I don't know why everyone doesn't have a dozen or more kids.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

She Lives

I'm alive, kinda. I probably should go get a mirror to breathe on just to be certain. The whole having a job thing is really cutting into my squandering-time-online thing.

Next week will be better, though. My hours will go to part-time. This week has been training as three new girls will be taking over the office duties come Monday morning. Yes, that's with one week of training. Ack. If I think too much about it, I get a little nervous about how things will go when we don't have someone on hand who knows what she is doing.

Even though I'm SO.DAMNED.TIRED, I do like the work. It's not rocket science, and I don't mind so much talking to customers on the phone. I also like the people I work with. It's a very laid-back atmosphere. It's a power sport distributor. I take orders, start the paperwork, and then things like ATVs and scooters get shipped out.

The best part is that I can wear jeans and flip-flops with a nice shirt.

Did I mention I haven't worked outside the home for almost two decades? I did some substitute teaching here and there, but to get up and go to a 8-5 job, nope. My body revolted the first two days. I was mentally and physically exhausted. Since I wasn't sleeping so great, nerves and all, I took two Benadryl last night, and it knocked my ass out. I slept a good 8 hours. The bitch of it was that I woke up shortly before 5 and didn't need up until 5:30.

Next week, though, I will have one hour after the kidlets leave before I have to leave for work. Then I'll be home alone for about 3 1/2 hours before they make their appearance after football.

The pay isn't bad, either, considering I'm reentering the ole work force. Even though I'd so much prefer being home and writing, at least I'm getting some work experience back on my resume, making some extra bucks, and getting out of these four walls. Which the latter is probably a good thing because it narrows down the chance that my husband will come home one day, find me sitting in a corner eating crayons, or having the cats dressed in matching sweaters and rocking them to sleep.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Channeling Stuart Smalley

I had the interview today. I have to say it was the most challenging interview of sorts that I've ever had. All six women who were interested in the two positions showed up. We were initially interviewed by the owner via phone and email from TX. Essentially, we went in for the office staff to show us around, show us the building, meet the other staff, etc. They probably also wanted to make sure we didn't show up in tube tops and cut-offs before offering employment sight unseen.

I made an effort to speak up and try to ask intelligent questions. I'm guessing if you're applying for a customer service position, it's not a wise thing to appear about as personable as a bump on a log. I'll admit when I walked in ten minutes early, and almost everyone was there, I about resigned to my defeat.

I was thinking c'mon now, I haven't worked in an office for 18 years. Why would they want me?

But I put on the happy face, remembered that I vowed to put on the big girl panties, and I gave myself one of those SNL Stuart Smalley pep talks. "I'm good enough. Smart enough. And doggone it, people like me!"

Fortunately, I kept that as an internal dialogue. But I have to admit, it was odd standing around there with these other women knowing that only two were going to get the jobs.

We were told we'd know something by the end of the day. So, I came home, made some phone calls, sent some texts, worked on my column, and headed off to the tanning bed. When I returned, I had a voicemail.

I got the job - part-time hours, but a full week next week for training. I'll be taking phone calls, placing orders, checking up on payments, and general office duties. Sometime after October, I'll be offered full-time or another person will be hired.

I was torn between doing a touchdown dance or puking in the trashcan.

It's been a long time since I worked. A long, long time.

So now instead of working on everyone's last nerve, I'll be working at a job outside my home and bringing home some bacon. I hope a little change does me some good.

Where's Stuart when I need him?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

News, and in Other News

Tomorrow, I have an interview for a "real" job. I had an email interview last week. Today, a phone interview. I must have done well since I'm scheduled to go in tomorrow.

I've been doing the stay-at-home mom/writer thing since 1990. That's a lot of years. Well, I did do some substitute teaching...until other people's little heathens started sucking the life force right out of me. I don't intend on giving up the writing, though, should I find employment.

I'm a tad bit nervous. I won't jinx myself by going into details, but it sounds like a pretty cool place to work. It would be in an office, which is what I did B.C. - before children.

Cross your fingers, toes, eyes, whatever you feel like crossing for me. Send me good Karma, good wishes, that kind of thing. I could use it.


Now, here's something I want to know.

My husband had control of the remote last evening, and he was watching "Entertainment Tonight," or something of that ilk. I was getting up to go stir dinner on the stove, and I hear, "Want to recreate Sarah Palin's look? Stay tuned, and we'll show you how!"

I said to no one in particular, "Uh, why would you want to recreate her look?"

I walked back into the living room and said to myself, but loud enough so my husband could hear me, "Oftentimes, I have this undying urge to look just like Peggy Hill."

This annoys him when I refer to Palin as Peggy because he's one of those die-hard Republican sorts. And well, as he puts it, so long as I have my internet connection and computer, and the occasional monster margarita, I'm pretty happy with life.

I'm not saying she's an unattractive lady if you compare her to say, oh, maybe Hillary Clinton. I'm assuming it's the whole "school teacher/naughty librarian" thing that is playing into men's fantasies here. The bun, the glasses. She looks much older than she actually is. Didn't she get the memo that the new 40 is the old 30?

But please, I beg of anyone to shoot me should I decide that I need to get me some glasses like hers and start wearing my hair up like that. I'm just saying. I'm 39, and I've no desire to look like an old spinster.


Speaking of old, this aging thing isn't really agreeing with me. I've always prided myself on my quick wit and memory like a steel trap.

I was in the utility room, and my youngest son was standing there talking to me as I transferred clothes to the dryer. I realized I'd washed a pencil.

It was a pencil, alrighty. Yellow, had an eraser, a pointed tip of lead. I'm certain I know what a pencil is. Pencil - the thing you write with when you can't find a pen and you're desperate to jot something down. Yes, that's a pencil.

But what did I say? "Oh great, someone decided to leave a pizza in their pocket."

A pizza? Uh. I wasn't hungry. I didn't have pizza on the brain. I didn't just eat pizza. No one had just mentioned pizza. I hadn't read the word pizza. Yet, I called a pencil a pizza.

Uh, yeah. I need help, I suspect.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Boys I Want to Marry, III

This edition is brought to you by Chantix. I had some funky dreams last night, which has prompted today's offering of Boys I Want to Marry.

This is Dan. Dazzling photography, wouldn't you say? Actually, I snapped both photos from yearbooks. In the bottom one, he's playing a carnival game at Street Fair our junior year. I was there when my friend Dave, our yearbook/newspaper photographer, snapped this photo of Dan getting ready to slam the rubber frog into flight to win a prize.

I dreamed about Dan last night. I walked up to him in the dream, and said, "Oh Dan, I'm so sorry."

He gave me a perplexed look, and I said, "You don't recognize me, do you?"

When I told him who I was, he gave me a hug.

I'll spare you the rambling details, but let's just say, part way into the dream, I realized that Dan is dead. Though, in the dream, my friend and I were attending the funeral of Dan's five-year-old son. No, I don't pretend to understand the finer workings of my subconscious, either.

It's been a while since I've thought of Dan. Strangely enough, a few weeks ago, oh hell, maybe it was a few months ago...the older I get, "just the other day," could mean 1999.

Anyway, I went to the kitchen to do kitchen-type things, when I noticed a yellowed newspaper clipping on the floor. I picked it up and read the headline from Monday, January 2, 1989, "Hunting Accident Fatal, Despite Ardent Rescue."

I don't know why or how it ended up on the floor. I can't remember the last time I saw the article. However, I did have each of my kids read it, especially my younger child who has a penchant for hunting.

New Year's Eve day, 1988, I was 19 years old. The class of '87 had been out of school for about a year and a half. Most of my classmates were home for Christmas break. New Year's Eve parties were planned, and at the time, my friend Ryan was at my apartment when there was a knock on the door.

Ryan answered as I was making myself pretty, and my neighbor, another classmate of ours, announced the bad news - Dan was dead from a shotgun blow to his head. Overcome with disbelief, I had this guy repeat what he said three times.

I didn't know what to make of it. Ryan dismissed my neighbor, as he was a bit on the annoying side. His attitude was, "Shit happens, let's go celebrate New Year's Eve."

It wasn't the most joyous New Year's I've ever celebrated. Rumors circulated as to what happened, and I didn't find out for sure until I read the newspaper article. He'd been hunting, and when one of the beagles started eating a rabbit he'd shot (as reported by the kid who'd been the hunting partner that day), he used the stock of the gun to hit at the dog, some briar thicket caught the hammer of the shotgun. As they say, the rest is history. The shot struck his left temple.

I took some time off work to attend the calling before the funeral. It was our first class reunion - the room was packed with those I'd gone to school with.

It would be the first funeral I ever attended. I stood at the casket, his mom put her arm around me, and I fought back the tears. I had a silent conversation with him, mainly asking him what he was thinking being so careless. A photo of his nephew, who'd been accidentally backed over by a car when he was about two years old, was position in Dan's hands. There was no evidence that his temple had been blasted away, though I resisted the urge to stand on my tippy-toes to peer to the other side of the casket.

I'd known Dan since kindergarten. While I had the warm fuzzies for him during much of elementary school, he was never my boyfriend. I've tried to explain it many times, but when you are a classmate with someone for 13 years, and the class size for 7 of those years was maybe 25 students tops, if you don't become boyfriend/girlfriend, you become a bit like siblings.

Dan was a goofy boy, which was part of his charm. His feet grew years before the rest of him caught up with them. Seems like he was always tripping over them. He almost always appeared to have a tan, and man oh man, could he feather his hair. He was always bringing in trophies and ribbons he'd won in 4-H and other farming or hunting contests. A few times, his mom actually brought in some of his pets for show and tell.

Fourth grade was the beginning of my crush on him. I don't recall the specifics, but I know I was smitten with him. Perhaps there was no other reason than he was a cute, nice boy who had lots of pets, wore cowboy boots, and rode horses. In sixth grade, I secretly fantasized about sitting with him during the "Friday movie" and holding hands with him. (We watched a movie or some sort of film on the old projector every Friday. They weren't even educational flicks, unless you count learning to hold hands learning something.)

I don't think I ever heard him utter a bad word about anyone. He was a sweet country boy who always had tons of friends. In high school, I'll never forget him still tripping over his clunky feet, with a trail of notebook paper, likely assignments, from his locker and textbooks.

The funeral was held in a large church. Even though a group of us walked the block from the funeral home to the church, we had to take a seat in the balcony area. By the time the service started, it was standing room only.

I totally lost it standing on the steps outside the church after the services. While others had a few tears flowing, I couldn't stop mine. Classmates who barely spoke to each other during the course of our high school years, comforted each other on those steps.

My apartment was across the street, and instead of going on to the graveside services, I opted to go home and mourn alone the loss of the boy I wanted to marry.

Note: "Boys I Want to Marry" is not to be taken in a literal sense. If your first thought is, "Oh my gawd, she's married and she's making blog entries about other boys she wants to marry, why I never!" you shouldn't be reading my blog in the first place. It was merely how I expressed myself as a young girl. When I was seven years old and watched Rick Dees perform "Disco Duck" on TV, I announced to my grandma that I wanted to marry him. Because of course, I was young, and when you loved someone, it was in my estimation that the logical thing to do was marry him. My immature mind and vocabulary limited my ability to express triggered emotions. Perhaps they still do.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Old Lady

When we went back to school shopping, the 15 year old child didn't want to go. He couldn't give a crap less really what he wears. T-shirt and jean shorts, no problem. T-shirt and "non-gay" jeans, no problem.

Try as I might to pick out things that don't push his boundaries on being too stylish, there's usually at least one t-shirt he doesn't like. I usually end up wearing it.

This time was no different. A grey shirt with shiny, big block red lettering of "OLD NAVY." Think late 70s style lettering. He hated the shirt. I said fine, I'll take it.

I got dressed one morning, put on the t-shirt, and made my appearance in the living room.

My husband said, "Got that right."

"Huh?" I asked, because I'm eloquent like that at times. Sometimes, he does blurt out strange things. It could be Tourette's. I don't know. Oftentimes, I think he thinks he's only thinking, but instead, he says out loud something strange and random. Any day now, I expect to dementia to fully set in and he'll be calling out random phrases from the cold war like "Run to the fall-out shelter!"

"The shirt. Got that right," he repeated.

Yeah, I had no clue what he was talking about. "Yes, I'm usually right. Thanks for noticing. What ARE you talking about???"

"The shirt. It would be correct."

He thought the shirt said OLD LADY.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Something is Irritated, Alrighty

I've not had a good week, and I don't mind saying as much.

Last week at a football game, the girl who works in the eye dr.'s office turned around and asked me how I liked my contact lenses. (She has a son who plays on my youngest son's team, so it wasn't like she was just randomly at the game. Because that would be a little odd. Anyway, what compelled me to say as much probably sums up my state of mind about right now.)

I proclaimed that I didn't like them. I've had nothing but trouble with them since May. The two-week disposable with a name that rhymes with Acuvue 2 didn't come close to lasting two weeks. They seemed to move about my eyeball a good bit. They weren't comfortable, and I'd find myself having to take a few days rest here and there from contacts.

You see, Bausch & Lomb discontinued the contacts I had been wearing. Those that I loved. Those I could wear up to 30 days and not go blind. They fit perfectly. Didn't tear. They had a nice visi-tint so those of use who are blind as bats could see them to insert them.

"Oh, you should come in," she told me. "I'll pull your chart and let the dr. know."

I like her.

So, the next day I called her and made an appointment to go on Wednesday.

During a follow-up appointment, I'd told the eye dr. I wasn't too thrilled with my new lenses. I explained they weren't all that comfortable, and oftentimes, I'd find myself with the strong need to get the son of a guns out of my eye like ten minutes ago. He didn't seem overly concerned. I all but begged to get a Bausch & Lomb lens as a replacement.

I brought in the pair that lasted ten days before I couldn't bear them any longer, which had no appearance of an abundance of build-up or debris on them. He poked around my eyes some, and had me take the lenses out.

As I've mentioned, I suffer from vasovagal syncope. You can read my rantings about it here. What happens is if someone touches my eyeball, I drop like a fly. There's a post-it note on my file that says, "Don't touch her eyeball. She will pass out."

It sort of makes me pull one of these numbers, except without the benefit of cuteness or alcohol.

He tells me he's going to look at the inside of my eyelids, which I just about took the same opportunity to do. He sort of rolled my eyelid up in a wooden swab like an old-fashioned blind. I sort of squealed, "Don't forget my passing out thing!"

He asked if I were okay, and I had to say not for much longer. My ears started ringing. I started getting dizzy. Ugh. Thankfully, he didn't feel the desire to check out both eyelids.

I left with a prescription for steriod eyedrops. My corneas are irritated. After I was grilled about taking proper care of my contacts, and professing that I learned the hard way years ago that one shouldn't go on contact wearing marathons and should actually follow the cleaning directions, he thought perhaps the poorly fitting contacts have caused my corneas to revolt.

I knew something wasn't right. I knew the contacts didn't feel like those I've worn for the last 20 plus years.

So, here's another fun part of this whole experience. I'm supposed to go as many days as possible without wearing contacts (he gave me another pair of Acuvue, these are Oasis, though), and use the drops four times a day. I go back next Thursday.

Well, this only poses a small problem. I don't do glasses. I have a pair of old ones that are good enough for first thing in the morning and before I retire in the evenings. There's that, and if I want to see what I'm running over while driving, it's generally a good idea that I wear contacts. I don't see worth a gee golly darn with glasses.

Oh, and not to forget that I look like this wearing glasses.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

'Memba This Song?

"Time and Tide" was released in 1987 by Basia Trzetrzelewska, known only as Basia. That's a good thing because I couldn't even begin to pronounce that last name.

I'd say this was my favorite song in the fall of '87. I remember it well. I bought the cassette, and was terribly disappointed that the rest of her music didn't have the same feel as this song.

When I happened to think of it today, I even remembered all the words to the song, though it's been eons since I've heard it. I've never seen it compiled in playlists of one-hit wonders, but I'm guessing it was her only hit in the US, anyway.

It was one of those obscure songs that either you loved or hated. I happened to love it.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Music, Books, and Such

I really can't emphasize enough the impact that music has on me and my mental well-being. While the notion of "music therapy" might easily be poo-poo'ed by most, it works.

For example, back in the day when mornings around here were rough with two youngins' who didn't want to get out of bed, much less cooperate with me, I'd put on some music.

Rather than spend the time mired in arguments and fit-throwing, I'd put on some tunes. This often garnered me the title of "cool mom" as we all danced to "Busta Move," "Baby Got Back," or "It's Tricky." Really, how can you have a bad day if it starts with jamming to some Run-D.M.C.?

Sometimes, I will carefully construct a playlist on Rhapsody, picking out what I want to hear. Other times, I'll click "add playlist" and let some stranger decide on my music repertoire.

Today, I picked one called "Hey Old Guys." I promised myself that I wouldn't be offended if I did indeed enjoy the musical offering. I clicked shuffle and let the music take me where it would.

Several songs into the list, I caught myself smiling, wowing that I hadn't heard it in ages, and doing a little head-bobbing here and there as I folded some laundry. Song after song, I might have been mistaken for Cuba Gooding Jr. in "Radio."

"That's a goo' one. C'mon an dance. That's a goo' one!"


In other news, I stopped by the local Salvation Army type place. It's ran by the Ladies' Auxillary of the hospital. They take donations of clothing and small items from the community.

One thing I can say about their clothing selection is this - we are a poorly dressed community with no sense of fashion whatsoever. It was Hoosier Hillbilly Heaven. (Though, I must admit I almost bought an 80s style jean jacket, but my motivation was that it was almost like the one I once owned. I came to my senses.)

The book section is hit or miss. The last several times I've gone in, I've walked out with nothing. Today, I had my arms loaded up when I made my way to the check-out. You can't beat 25 cent paperbacks and 50 cent hardcover.

I beg of someone to analzye my selections because this is what I walked out with:

100 Ghastly Little Ghost Stories - they appear to be fictional and not true accounts.

Sybil (The true and extraordinary story of a woman possessed by sixteen separate personalities) by Flora Rheta Schreiber - I can't recall if I've read this before or not. I do remember reading the one about the faces of Eve. Not sure about this, however.

Carrie by Stephen King - This was the second book by King that I read in high school and became an avid fan. Should I get bored, I'll give it another go.

Cell by Stephen King - I read mixed reviews about this, so I didn't rush out and get it in hardcover. Then it came out in paperback, and I guess I forgot about it. (Well worth the $2.50 I spent on all of these.)

Resistance by Anita Shreve - So what? It's a love story. I dig her prose. Something about a passionate love affair conquering all in a Nazi-occupied Belgian village.

Give Me My Father's Body (The life of Minik, the New York Eskimo) by Kenn Harper - The forward is by Kevin Spacey. I've been having a secret affair with him since I saw him sing on a tribute to John Lennon show. Yes, so secret that he doesn't even know about it. I've not clue what is so incredibly sexy about him, but I'd do him. The book is something about Robert Peary and his dumping off Eskimos as "live specimens" to be gawked at by the paying public at the American Museum of National History.

If life is a bowl of cherries - what am I doing in the pits? by Erma Bombeck- This was the first Erma book I read. I think I was about 10 and I picked it up off my mom's stack of books. I didn't really understand why it was so funny since I wasn't able to relate as a mom and wife, but I knew there was something about Erma that I loved even as a child.

And lastly....

The Benham book of Palmistry by Wm. G. Benham - Ehh, who knows what drives my interests. An Indian guy in a bar read my palm back one night in the summer, and it was fascinating. Perhaps it'll shed some light on my Simian line.

We Interrupt Regular Blogging to Bring You This Warning

Precautionary warning, brought to you by me:

If you happen to buy Pine-sol in the scent of "Wild Flower Blast," and you happen to have young children, or even an adult prone to dementia about the house, keep it out of their reach.

I'm not even close to kidding when I say that when I opened it, dumped some in my mop bucket, I had this bizarre urge to drink it.

I'm not the kinda gal who goes around drinking household cleaning products, but if you smell it, you might understand why. It's a sweet, fruity punch, berry Schnapps sort of fragrance. Don't get me wrong, it smells wonderful. Perhaps it would trigger this urge in someone who has a fondness for said Schnapps, not that I speak on personal experience on this. No, not me.

I'm not suffering from pica (an abnormal desire to eat things that should not be consumed, like lint, dirt, or chalk). I would rather like to think I've got a generous amount of my wits about me, but I couldn't help myself to say aloud to the dog, "This smells good enough to drink." Seriously. Of course, he didn't offer his opinion.

It's not the first time a cleaning product hasn't made me worry that I might absent-mindedly pour myself a glass of cleaner. The "Fabulouso" line of cleaners makes a red and blue one (not sure of the fragrances) that I once bought and thought hmm, Kool-aide. I'm not so sure a child or an Alzheimer's patience might be able to use the restraint that I did not to inadvertently ingest it.

Thus concludes this friendly advisory.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

'Memba This?

Okay, so maybe it's a nostalgic sort of day for me.

I read about Mr. Bubbles going out of business over at Tony's blog. Mr. Bubbles, by the way, was the work of the devil. Let's just say I wasn't one of those kids who couldn't sit around in a tub of bubbles and not experience distress later on. I was red. I was itchy. And no, you don't really want to know where it burned.

Anyway, I thought I had this vague memory of this bath foam sort of stuff. It was like shaving cream, and in my head, I could picture the Super Friends or Superman on the cylinder-like can.

Thanks to the internet, which I would marry if it were a tall, dark, and handsome man and not a thing, I found what I was looking for.

Crazy Foam! This stuff rocked and was so incredibly cool.

I guess after the Mr. Bubbles episode, my mom wanted me to use it sparingly. It might have been a whole lot less time, but I think that can I had lasted me from about the age of 7 throughout my early teen years. Did she ever ration that out at bath time.

But, I suppose when you've listened to your young daughter boohoo about her hoohoo, you don't take your chances.

Aye, Yi, Yi...

...we look like...cartoons!

Remember Kidd Video on Saturday morning cartoons? Cousin Oliver, Robbie Rist, from the "Brady Bunch" was on it. You can watch a video clip here.

There's nothing more to do with that. I just happened to think of it while I was aye, yi, yiing.

My 15 year old walked in yesterday after football practice and presented me with a folded up piece of paper.

"What did you do now?" I asked, sure that he'd gotten in trouble already for doing something senseless and utterly teenage-boyish. Undoubtedly, it was something that required my signature acknowledging that the school knows that I know what a heathen child I have raised.

"Look what I drew," he sniggered.

Now, it's been years since my baby has come home from school and presented me with artwork. As a matter of fact, he never brought his masterpieces home from art class. He'd throw them in the trash when he got back to the classroom, or stuff them in the bottom of his locker. Whenever the teacher deemed his locker as a health or fire hazard, he'd come home with a grocery sack full of crumpled construction paper.

How sweet, I thought. He's giving me something. A bonding moment, perhaps. I was touched by the sentiment, but I can guarantee it was short-lived.

I unfolded the paper, very unsure of what I might find.

The kids went through a period of time where they loved to draw pictures of each other, typically doing something gross. The both had a penchant for doodling scenes of the other one farting. No, I never really got what was so funny about that either.

Then they drew each other's socks, with vapors emitting and big holes, sometimes a big toe sticking out with a very nasty toenail.

After that, it was funny to draw each other holding hands with a fat woman. They'd mark the woman as so-and-so's girlfriend.

I don't understand boys. Never did, really. And, I guess it's fair to say I don't understand most men, but that's a whole 'nother rant.

So, anyway, no idea what his crafty little self is offering me.

There on the page is an elephant. I must say it was a decent drawing. A whole lot better than what I could do.

I noticed the elephant is drinking something. Looks sort of like a paint can. I held it up and out from my face because well, you know, I'm seriously considering getting myself a pair of those reading glasses because my vision sure isn't what it used to be.

I squinted a bit and read the label of the bucket, "ANTI-FREEZE."

"Umm, why is the elephant drinking anti-freeze, or do I want to know?" I questioned.

He laughed and said he didn't know.

"Okay, then. Great. This will come in handy one day when the psychiatrist asks if there were ever any signs of you being mentally disturbed," I said.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Schlitzie's Stone

This is Schlitzie. I didn't know him from Adam until I read about him here. He worked, or rather I assume, landed unceremoniously in the sideshow circuit. He also appeared in several movies.

Yes, yes, I know. I've got some bizarre interests.

He was born with microcephalus, or a smaller than normal-sized head. His mentality was said to be that of a 3-year-old. For many years, he worked the "freak shows," but you can read more about his life through that link.

After his legal guardians passed, Schlitzie found himself in the care of friends of his deceased guardians. In 1971, he died at approximately the age of 71, and was buried in an unmarked grave in Rowland Heights, CA.

I read stories like this and think how sad. Obviously, it's hard to know just what kind of life Schlitizie actually had. By some accounts, those whose worked in sideshows and carnivals loved the work they did, and they actually made the best out of the physical deformities they were born with. I'd like to think others were kind to him and he wasn't taken advantage of or treated poorly.

I would wager large sums of cash that Schlitzie helped to rake in some dough in his days; so what I found terribly sad was that his remains were buried in a unmarked grave. A grave that he shares with two others.

Evidently, I wasn't the only one who felt this way.

Self-professed "Death Hags," (a term coined for those who get into visiting cemeteries, gazing at dead bodies, and reading about both), rallied together on this forum and started chatting about Schlitzie and the fact there was no headstone set in rememberance.

"There are no family members to give permission," one person suggested. But that didn't stop them. So what did they do? Someone started making phone calls and checking around.

A member named "Colicky" found out that since it was a pauper's grave, someone could in fact reimburse the county for the burial and assume responsibility for Schlitzie's grave.

The problem, which didn't turn out to be such a problem, was coming up with the money. For $378.37, a headstone could be placed on his grave. A paypal account was set up, and the donations came in, even with some extra to purchase some flowers for the marker.

I checked the thread frequently, noting the account balance and how much more money was needed to meet the goal. The members celebrated via a message boards, congratulating each other, and taking pride in the good deed that was done. In a month or so, the stone remembering him will be set.

There are definitely some people who don't take "can't" as the ultimate truth. There are some people like myself when told, "You can't do that," will take it as a personal challenge, a throwing down of the gauntlet, if you will. Though, the self-inflicted "can'ts" are the worse, I think. When you convince yourself that you can't do something. Perhaps the "can't" is rooted in fear. Fear of stepping outside one's comfort zone. Fear of failure, too.

I'm not saying there aren't instances where something can't be accomplished. But, as illustrated by the quest to get Schlitzie a headstone, sometimes it doesn't hurt to try.

You just never know what you can do and accomplish.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

You Can't Dance and Stay Uptight

My writer friend Kristen asked me today, "What do you do for exercise?"

I'd emailed her sharing that I'd been feeling a bit on the depressed side as of lately. Actually, to say I have felt down would be misleading as I've felt downright miserable with everything in general. I lamented that maybe exercise would pull me out of my funk.

If someone asked me, "What's wrong?" about the only honest answer I could give them was, "Everything."

I don't need someone else to kick me when I'm down. I do a grand job of kicking myself. Following my no smoking campaign, and no diet soda, I couldn't see things getting much worse.

I suppose I could have remained in a proverbial heap on the floor, hoping some kind and gentle soul would come along, pick me up, dust me off, and set me on my own two feet. But quite frankly, I don't know of one individual who is equipped to deal with me when I'm in a mood, much less coax me back to reality. Some do try, but until I decide I'm done hosting my pity party, it's futile. (I do appreciate those who care, but one must do battle with her own demons.)

Monday, when I got the kids off to school, I put on some music. I didn't have too many opportunities this summer to crank some tunes and enjoy. It's unfortunate because I'm highly motivated and moved by music. It's like therapy to me. No, it's not like therapy. It is therapy to me.

Dion seranaded me from the living room as I did dishes:

"Oh, I'm the type of guy who likes to roam around. I'm never in one place. I roam from town to town..."

As he did, something funny happened. I felt like dancing. By the time Jerry Lee Lewis was suggesting I "shake it, baby shake it," I was wholeheartedly. Before I knew it, I dragged out my dumbbells and my aerobic step. One hour passed. I was left winded, sweaty, and exhilirated.

I explained to Kristen that I have my own work-out program. I dance, incorporating moves I've learned from all those videos in a previous post. I've got doing dishes and folding laundry while dancing down to a science. The dog and cats, after being kicked and stepped on inadvertently, have learned to keep their distance.

I really challenge anyone to listen to any of the following songs and not want to dance (a sampling of today's selection):

Keep Your Hands to Yourself - Georgia Satellites
Wild Thing - Tone Loc
Get Down on It - Kool & the Gang
Crazy Bitch - Buck Cherry
Hey Ya - Outkast
Walkin' on the Sun - Smash Mouth
Love Her Madly - The Doors
Brandy - Looking Glass
Dancing in the Moonlight - King Harvest

I know some people find it very bizarre that I'll dance around the house when I'm alone. I certainly wouldn't do it with an audience, and I guess that I'm lucky I have the time alone to indulge.

Today, as I listened to "Crazy Bitch," I took down my hair and flipped it around as I danced. You know, like a rocker chick might do in a heavy metal video. It was likely the most insane thing I've ever done in the privacy of my own home, but strangely liberating. (As the evening progresses, perhaps a little hard on the ole neck, too.)

"You can't dance and stay uptight," is a line from "Dancing in the Moonlight." It's so very true. While I might benefit from hitting the gym or following a more ridgid routine, nothing makes me feel better than doing the twist or a little cha-cha'ing to get the blood flowing.

History of a Fat Girl

This is Joannie Greggains. She had a show called "Morning Stretch" back in the 80s. If you'll notice, this is a work-out LP, and I happened to own a copy of it. Though the information I can find says that it was released in '83, I think it was the summer after sixth grade when I acquired it. I know I wasn't very old.

My friend's mom had a copy, as well. We'd put on the record, being careful not to jump too closely to the stereo and make the needle jump, while we listened to her instructions and tried to follow along in the booklet to see what move we should be doing next.

One particular memory is of "picking daisies." A move done while standing, with one's legs spread-eagle. Then with great momentum, you move your arms from above your head to some point between your legs and well behind them. I adequately jammed the ever-lovin' heck out of my middle finger doing this.

I suppose one might question why a 12ish year old would own a copy of "Aerobic Shape Up." The answer is quite simple - I was the fat kid. Okay, so I wasn't obese, but I was chubby. I knew this, and at the age of 12, I felt great pressure to try to "slim down."

But before old Joanie came along, and by old, I thought she looked damn near ancient in the early 80s, there was this guy.

Say hi to Richard. He had a show on television back in the day. During summer vacation, I watched it religiously. It ran from 1980-1984. Richard loved me, and he wanted me to drop those pounds. He got so emotional over fat women, that he'd sit around and cry with them. If I recall correctly, he devoted a whole ten minutes of his show to exercising. Of course, it never occured to me that I probably needed more than ten minutes a day. The weight never came off no matter how often I tuned in.

I struggled with my weight throughout my high school days, though I was never bigger than a size 13. But there's a lot more to that story than warrants being told, so I won't digress. We'll just say once I got out on my own, I had control over what food I put into my body, and being allowed to exercise. (Yes, I had a step-mom who banned exercising in the house.)

I had various work-out cassette tapes at this point. I started riding my bike. I even started making my own work-out routines based one what I'd absorbed from other sources.

This is the first VHS work-out I ever owned. "Shape up, it's fun and easy. Shape up, you'll like what you see. Shape up! And here's Mary Hart...."

Then I graduated to Jazzercise with Judy Shepherd.

Bless Denise Austin's heart for motivating me after I gave birth to our oldest son. I'd record her 30 minute work-outs, and do three of them a day. Annoying, yes, but it worked.

Along came "Buns of Steel" with Tamilee Webb after I birthed child number two. I managed to work off the 50 plus pounds of baby weight between this workout and my exercise bike.

This guy romanced me briefly when I got caught up in the TaeBo craze. Effective work-outs, I must say, but when my VCR bit the dust, I never replaced it. No more Billy and feeling that burn.

I did actually replace some of "The Firm" workouts with DVDs. They say you can see a difference in just ten workouts, and I'd agree with that, however sadistic the routines are.

I've sweated to every oldie that Richard Simmons has put out. I find them the most helpful when I'm getting back into the work-out groove. I figure if those people on the screen can dance and sweat, so can I. Some might not care much for Richard, but his workouts are fun. I love the music. I love to dance.

Doing the math, I've struggled with weight issues for a good 26 years. I suspect I always will. At least technology has granted me the luxury of putting in a DVD. That's a far cry from those days of being afraid I'd scratch my record while doing jumping jacks.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back to School

So, I got these children back to school on Monday, and as usual, it remains a bittersweet experience for me. Sure, they drive me this side of insane on a good day. I haven't had much time alone this summer. It's always an adjustment to go several hours without speaking to another human being. Not that I'm complaining because honestly, I do love solitude. Besides, my husband seems to be calling me every ten minutes or so.

But, this year is a bit different. Seems like just the other day I was ushering my oldest boy out the door to get on the bus as a kindergarten. Yesterday morning, I stood on the porch, wished him a good day, told him to be careful, and that I loved him. Instead of wearing a backpack bigger than him and climbing those steps on the bus, he hopped into his truck to start his senior year of high school.

The youngest boy climbed in the truck beside his older brother to venture off as a freshman in high school. My baby is a freshman. I don't know how it's possible. Aren't people who have kids old enough to be freshmen and seniors in high school like our parents age or something? Goodness.

"I'm proud of you boys," I told them as they left this morning.

"Oh, gawd, get in the truck. Hurry up. She's going to start bawling and telling child birth stories if we don't get out of here," the oldest said.

In all actuality, I'm proud of myself that I choked back the tears and realized kids grow up as they are all prone to do. And that growing up is at breakneck speeds. Open your eyes and they are wee little babies. Close them, open them again, and they grown into young men who will be making decisions on what to do with the rest of their lives.

Of course, it was a fleeting, emotional moment that lasted about long enough for me to move the coffee table out of the range of the ceiling fan before I danced on it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Gazing at the Lizard King

I've found myself in the evenings not tired enough to sleep, and not bored enough to watch TV. While there are stacks of books here and there, there's nothing I feel like reading. This usually propels me to sit down at the computer and do some surfing.

I stopped back at Find A Death, only to realize they had a forum. After wading through posts about Lucille Ball, Marilyn Monroe, and John Belushi, I happened up Jim Morrison.

I'd always loved The Doors' music, but I'd never been compelled to read up on Morrison. Following one link to another, I was left with several thoughts. The first being it was absolutely amazing the writing he did in his short 27 years. I'd never realized he was so young when he died of an apparent drug overdose.

I also had no idea he was married in a "handfasting" ceremony. His story, however sad, was interesting. Then I started clicking on images because despite the fact he's been dead many, many years, he's quite pleasant to look at. I always felt as though I'd been born in the wrong decade, and the 60s would have been so much better than the 80s.

I came across these photos of him:

They proved to be quite "revealing." Giggling as I did it, I had to forward them along to FlipFlopMomma with a note confessing I saw the pics one night, and went back to find them again. I knew even if I couldn't quite formulate the words, she'd know just what I was driving at.

And, I was pretty sure that she would notice what I was noticing because she once did a blog post about "crotch gazing." She learned in those "growing up, congrats you've got your period" talks in elementary school that it was never nice to stare at a boy's crotch. You didn't want to make them feel bad that they were having changes going on with their bodies, as well.

Her response went like this, "His lady was a lucky woman. I can't stop looking at the crotch. I've got to go back and look some more."

I never got the lesson that she did about what you should or shouldn't look at. And, I've got to say, my eyes don't necessarily gravitate to that general area unless it's something so obvious such as these Morrison pics.

I've had several conversations with friends over the male parts and finer workings thereof. (So yes, if a woman says she never talks or thinks about such things, she's lying.) We've tried to figure out how it's something they can be so aware of, and then again, be so oblivious to.

One time, one of my friends carted her boyfriend off to the drug store. He was wearing those pajama bottom type of pants and going commando. She looked over just in time to see his pride and joy poking out, flapping in the wind. When she questioned him how he didn't know it, he said he had no clue. We really did assume that he would have noted a temperature change at the very least.

I've had to point out to my husband a time or two that he had a hole in his shorts and I could see the boys. When questioned, he totally denied that he knew anything about the hole and "how the hell was he supposed to know?" I was, of course, accused of checking out the merchandise and having a dirty mind always thinking about sex, but how couldn't I notice?

I can't draw any great conclusions about these photos of Jim Morrison, and whether he knew at the time he was going to get the desired reaction out of a couple chicks 37 years after his death. The one thing I do know is that Flip Flop Momma and I both have a sneaking suspicion why he called himself "The Lizard King."

Chantix and In Other News....

I mentioned in previous post that I'm taking Chantix.

A few other things I'm noticing is that it makes things taste bad, which I don't suppose is a bad thing. I've not really been hungry, and even something like a piece of cinammon gum just doesn't taste right. Now, I don't know if this is because my tastebuds are healing, but I don't recall going through the same thing in the past when I decided to quit smoking. I've been a little nauseous, too, which is a possible side effect.

The bizarre dreams, though, boy. I'll tell you, I've never dreamed the way I have this past week. It would be great if I didn't wake up feeling like I'd spent the entire night having deep, meaningful conversations instead of sleeping.

A few have been on the scary side. Take last night, for example.

Witchiepoo from H.R. Pufnstuf was driving a UPS truck and ran over my dog.
Yes, that Witchiepoo. She scared the holy hell out of me as a child. In fact, my mom had to place a ban on the show because she got tired of digging me out of the toybox or the hall closet when I got scared.

Witchiepoo got in my head and for whatever reason, my subconscious decided she needed to drive a UPS truck and take out my dog. Disturbing, really.

In other news, I've tried to run away from home twice unsuccessfully. The first day, I'd had my fill and thought I'd go for a drive. My mistake was once sneaking out of the house, I decided to get the mail at the post office first.

About that time, my youngest son saw me, and hopped into the car. We ended up going to get milk.

Again today, I tried to slip out to go to the grocery...alone. And again, I was caught and the youngest child again insisted he go. I really, really wanted to hear myself think, even if I had to do some grocery shopping to accomplish this. I didn't want a sidekick. I wanted to be alone. I don't mind saying this annoyed me, and it was probably apparent in the parking lot of the grocery store.

I was out in this bigger expanse of the parking lot when I notice this Taurus was heading directly my way at quite a clip. I was where I needed to be, but ole grandma must not have been paying attention or her eyesight was failing her horribly.

I stopped, and in that moment I felt like I was channeling Kathy Bates' character in "Fried Green Tomatoes," in some sense. I really didn't think she'd hit me, but then I started doubting myself because this old broad didn't seem to notice.

And when she did realize she was dangerously close to hitting my car, she swerved and smiled. Yes, she smiled.

"Oh, a smile is going to make that all better. Almost hit me and smile. Just smile. Opps, almost had a wreck, but I'll smile to show how sorry I am. A big smile makes everything all better," I rambled to myself.

"Just pay no direct attention to where you're driving or what you're doing, but be sure to smile big," I continued.

My son then said, "Uh, mom, you're weird. I'm not going with you the next time."

"Promise?" I asked.