Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Homecoming

It's been a rough week around here after the horrid demise of two of the cats. The youngest son still isn't quite sure what to do with his anger. And honestly, I'm still devastated.

I'm a cat lover. Have been since I was an itty bitty thing. My mom has photos of me as a baby with a cat cuddled at my feet while I slept. Guess she didn't buy into that whole "cat stealing a baby's breath" thing.

A quick perusal shows even more photos of me always dragging around a cat, dressing it in doll clothes, and other acts of forcing the poor critters into submission by cramming my feline friends into doll carriages and highchairs.

Since we live in a small, rural sort of town, my home has become a revolving door of cat rescues and arrivals. If a cat shows up on my doorstep hungry, it gets fed. This drives my husband insane. It's come close to being grounds for divorce on several occasions. Yet, it doesn't stop me from taking care of strays.

About a month ago, Mr. Biggs came up missing. It wasn't so unusual not to see him for a few days considering he's a tom cat with tom cat business to see to from time to time. He'd show up for a few days, get himself a bite to eat, recoup, and hit the road again for a few more evenings out with the lady cats.

About a month ago, no more Mr. Biggs. Or Biggie, Biggie Butt, Biggsey Boy, or Nut Boy (which is what my husband called him). I'd more or less written him off as dead. It happens. And I know if you want to keep a cat alive and well, keeping it inside is the best place for it. But I figure if they're free-spirited enough to want to go roam about, I'm not stopping them. And if they were strays to begin with, well, I do my part giving them food and love. If they want to hang about outside, stop in for a while, then I'm okay with that, too. I've got a few "insider" cats, but most go out after they're done eating and napping.

Well, today, I was filling the outside food bowl when I caught a glimpse of a large tiger cat walking towards me. I paused as my brain tried to fill in what was wrong with the picture. It was then that I realized oh holy crap, Mr. Biggs is back!

I honestly didn't think I'd ever see him again. He'd been gone a long time. My son thought I was having some sort of fit at the back door, yelling and oh my gawding.

Biggsey came in, had something to eat, and plopped down on my son's lap where he proceeded to purr and drool incessantly. I guess he was so happy, he couldn't control his spit.

He got down and settled in for a nap.

He doesn't look too enthralled, does he? I think the look says, "Just what in the hell is that?"

That is Little Turtle, apparently the brother of the poor little yellow kitten who was murdered by the Pit Bull. Little Turtle is the new Shrek. My son is coercing the poor kitten into submission, trying to get him trained to sleep on his pillow and love him just like his poor ole cat Shrek did.

This is Gunter, or Gunnar, depending on whether you're feeling German when you call him by name. He's also Gunny, Gunny Butt, and Gunny Sack. Gunny was an orphan. His mother showed up, gave birth to him and five other kittens. She abandoned them, and he was the only survivor. He was taken care of by another mother cat. I also bottle fed the little crossed-eyed freak. God, I love him.

His look back to Biggs seemed to say something like, "Dude, I don't know where this thing came from."

Anyway, I've become one of those people who posts photos of their cats. Heaven help me, I didn't think I'd get this boring, but I'm glad Mr. Biggs is back. It warmed my heart to see him again, and helped to ease just a little bit of the grief.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Boys I Want to Marry

I'd been kicking around the idea of doing a weekly sort of thing here. This came about after I saw a photo of Haywood Nelson. He played Dwayne on the TV show "What's Happening."

It got me to thinking, as I'm prone to do. A lot. Too much.

The one thing I remembered was that he was cute. I had such a crush on him. Dwayne's "hey, hey, hey" could make me melt. I wanted to marry him. That's how I expressed mad, mad affection for any boy who happened to catch my eye when I was a youngin'. I was going to grow up and marry that boy.

This made me think of all the boys I found cute and wanted to marry, and what they inevitably taught me about myself, music, books, poetry, culture, or life in general.

I thought a moment and realized that Dwayne was not the first boy I wanted to marry. The first was Rick Dees. I'd been working on a write up about him earlier today. But as usual I got all sidetracked by trying to meet my column deadline and breaking up fights between these heathen children. Then I was totally distracted, so I started stopping by the blogs I read most often. I stopped by my friend's blog, Street Vein.

Mr. Street Vein and I happened upon each other on the internet. This is my favorite photo of him, and what I love even more is the caption, "Sinners Welcome."

He describes himself as a writer, progressive, thinker, intolerant of others, historian, left-wing, realist, humorist, skeptical, neurotic, pro-choice, anti-war, visionary, blind, dreamer, non-religious, out of style.

How could anyone read that and not want to be his new best friend?

He's even written a novel. And he's a fine writer at that.

One must go read his latest blog entry. Really, you must. Go ahead, then come back and finish reading. I'll wait.

Okay, now tell me how brilliant is that?

About a year ago, I got this wild notion to start stepping out of my comfort zone. I made it a goal to do something I wouldn't normally do at least once a week. I originally said once a day, but quite frankly, I tend to be wound as tight as an antique clock that's spring could inevitably inflict bodily harm when it finally uncoils. Throwing caution to the wind on a daily basis could have had me well on my way to a Xanax prescription.

Street Vein encourages everyone to make a list of rules we follow because they are conventional. Just sit down and start listing those things brought on by tradition. As the list becomes long, pick an easy one, and then break the rule.

He writes:

... Next, tell some jackass in your circle of “friends” that they are negative, unsupportive, and you no longer want to associate with miserable fucks like him/her. Admit to friends and strangers your deepest dreams and fears – screw ‘em if they think you’re weird. You are, but so are they.

... Speaking of uncomfortable positions – hang out with people you have nothing in common with and learn something about them, and yourself. The next time your gut says, “I’d like to try that,” but your mind says “No, you’ll look foolish,” go for it. Did I mention this will change your life?

Once a day, check off one of the stupid “rules” and begin to experience real freedom. You can thank me later.

I ask - how is that for a life changing revelation? Seriously.

So, Mr. Street Vein is hopefully one of many "Boys I Want to Marry" that I'll feature from time to time. No matter how cute Dwayne from "What's Happening" was, surely anyone can see why I made my choice today.

Get started on those lists. Let me know what you come up with when you decide to start breaking those traditions and what happens. I'm going to get started on my list, as well.

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.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

You Talk Funny

For the past couple days, I've noticed my 17 year old doing some weird pronunciations.

"What am I supposed to do?"

"I don't know."

"We're going to go to a movie."

I can't exactly explain what was tipping me off that he sounded different. It was the "o" sound. It didn't sound normal in some words.

"Since when are you from Minnesota?" I asked him. Not that there's anything wrong with being from Minnesota, mind you. I remember once meeting someone from the fine state, and there's was something about their accent that caught my attenion.

"I have no idea what you're talking about, Mom," he said.

"Sweden? Norway? Who have you been hanging out with lately who talks funny?" I inquired. (The italics and bolds are foreshadowing, but I'll stop that now.)

"The same people I've hung out with all summer," he snipped, getting annoyed with his dear, ole mom.

"I don't know, but you're talking funny," I told him and let it go.

The next day, I noticed again his odd pronunciations, mainly of the letter o. I pointed out he did it again, and he pressed that I explain. I said "go" as a normal person from these parts would say it. And then I said it again, how I perceived he was saying "go" but with a Minnesota, some place north of here, Scandanavian twang.

"Uh, Mom, there's no difference in what you've just said. Say them again."

I did, and said ok, whatever, maybe I'm just hearing things, and let him go on his merry way.

It hit me. I'm the one he's been around who talks funny. I've been told that I have a very distinctive voice - to the point that it has given me a complex. I've been told that while someone doesn't recognize my face right away, they recognize the voice as someone they know. At my fifteen year high school reunion, someone I had been friends with through much of middle and high school, didn't recognize me. (It's safe to say that I did my blossoming way after I crossed the stage and accepted my high school diploma.)

"I didn't recognize you, but I knew that I knew the voice," she told me.

I've been asked, "Where are you from because you sure don't sound like a Hoosier."

I don't know how a Hoosier sounds, but I do know that if I fall into the right crowd of individuals, I can land's sake, pert near, reckon, and ain't got with the best of them.

I have, in fact, been told I sound like I'm from Michigan or Minnesota.

My mother-in-law, from upstate NY, told me once that I talk funny. She assured me that the children speak just fine. But me? I talk funny, and she didn't understand how the kids didn't end up speaking the way I do, but she was glad they talked normal.

I've come up with several theories on this phenomenon.

My voice is slightly deeper than would expect coming from me. I was plagued with many, many bouts of swollen tonsils and strep throat as a child. It was to the point that the last time my mom dragged me to the dr. again with tonsilitis, the dr. said the next time, we really needed to consider having the tonsils removed.

This scared the beejeebers out of me. The next sore throat I got, I grinned and beared it because I wasn't about to tell my mom and be taken to the hospital. A girl told me in first grade that she had her tonsils out. She brought the jar to show and tell that held the contents that once resided in her body.

At recess, she told us they put her to sleep. Dogs were "put to sleep," and I wasn't having any part of that.

"But how did they get them out?" I asked. I couldn't figure how anyone could get their hands into one's throat and get them out. It looked to be close quarters to me, so I couldn't even fathom how a dr. went about it. And because I didn't understand the finer dynamics of surgery in general, other than they typically cut someone open, I had to ask.

"They put a needle up my butt, and got them out while I was put to sleep," she said.

That was it. It was all I needed to hear. No one, and I mean no one was going to put me to sleep like a dog and stick anything up my behind, much less a needle. I'd gargle with salt water on the sly. I'd take cough drops and throat lozenges from my grandma's house and self-medicate. I would have done anything to avoid the needle-up-the-rump.

Is it possible this ended up damaging my vocal cords? I think it could be an explanation. It took great lengths to speak in such a way that my mom wouldn't say, "You've got another sore throat again, don't you?"

Also, as far as my pronunciation goes - I've been told on many occasions that I do a great job of enunciating. "Did you go to school for broadcast journalism?" one person inquired. "It sounds like you've been trained to speak clearly."

While I've never been schooled on enunciation, I did grow up with great-grandparents close at hand. Great-grandparents who were hard of hearing. I do remember being expected to speak up, not talk so fast, and to speak clearly. One great-grandma was not only hard of hearing, but also blind. I've remained close to grandparents, one of whom is still living and doesn't care much for wearing her hearing aide.

So I suspect that's a fair explanation of my ability to enunciate. Perhaps that has led to my strange pronunciation of the "o" sound and other vowels. I don't know why it's taken so long to pick up on my son's mimicking my accent. Perhaps, we've spent so much time together this summer, I'm noticing it.

Regardless, I'm the one who talks funny who he's been hanging out with this summer.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Bedlam, Pure Bedlam

A pit bull tore through our yard and killed two cats yesterday. The dog managed, somehow, to get into our garage and infiltrate our stockade fence. You know, the area of your property that you somehow have this false sense of it being a safe environment because you've spent a couple grand on a fence.

My husband was trimming some tree limbs out front. My youngest said to me, "I think I heard Dad scream."

My first thought was great. He'd managed to maim himself by cutting off an appendage. I went out to investigate, just in time to see him opening the gate on the stockade fence. You know, the privacy fence that is 6' tall, wooden, meant to keep our dog inside and things that don't belong out.

"Did you scream?"

"No, but I think there's a dog killing a cat in the yard."

"Which yard? This yard? How did a dog get in there? In here or out there?" I rambled, not sure which direction to run.

I ran inside the fence to see the youngest son's cat Shrek being torn to shreds.

The dude who was chasing the dog showed up about then. I'm screaming, "Oh god, oh god," and just sobbing without any tears. Primal noises fueled by adrenaline. The dude is apologizing as I'm screaming the cat's name peppered with profanity. Pure Bedlam.

It happened so fast I couldn't even tell you which way the dog went, where the dog's owner went, or even what the dog looked like. I only saw the cat. The one he's had for about 8 years that was inside our fence. Every time the cat tried to get away, the dog lunged at it again. I could only scream.

Naturally, I grabbed for the cat, and took a bite to my wrist. Less one tooth because in the fight, the poor old cat had one knocked out. I have three bite marks. I've seen a dog kill a kitten with a nip and a toss up in the air, but never, never had I'd witnessed something like this.

There were other cats that stay outside milling about. I figured I'd better do a headcount to see if any others were killed. I walked into the garage and there lay a dead kitten. It was a stray that had shown up, and being the bleeding heart that I am, I'd been feeding it and loving it. The poor thing didn't stand a chance.

I carried its lifeless little body to where my husband was already digging a hole for Shrek. That's how he deals with dying animals. He starts digging. I sit and bawl my eyes out talking to the animal. He digs a hole deep enough to bury a small child and hide any evidence.

I couldn't contain the tears any longer at this point, and I wept openly.

"It wasn't even our cat," my husband said in regards to the kitten when he saw me sobbing.

No, it hadn't been, but I was devastated by what I'd seen, and to find another critter destroyed made me lose what little self-control I had.

"No, but that dog came right into our yard. Inside our fence. He killed everything in his path. It's our yard. He shouldn't have been in here," I cried.

Shrek didn't die right away because that would have been too easy. There was some discussion of taking him to be put down, but I knew he wouldn't survive a 20 minute car ride.

My son being a 15 year old boy who doesn't cry and doesn't show much emotion, didn't know what to do as we sat vigil in the yard. So he yelled at me. Told me to stay away from his cat. Threatened to find the dog and kill it. Punched the fence.

My husband walked down the street and found who owned the dog. A young girl, 16ish, who was visiting her grandma and had brought the dog along. She came to apologize. My son ran inside because he didn't want her to see him crying.

She tells me she's sorry. The dog kills cats. He's killed her cat, and she knows how rough it was to sit and watch a cat convulse and die. I tried to explain to her that my problem was it was INSIDE our yard. The dog trespassed and treaded where he shouldn't have been. A place where my cats would have been safe otherwise. I understand dogs get loose. I would have been less pissed if it had happened in our back yard. She promised to never bring the dog back to her grandma's again.

I've got other cats, of course. But what hurts is to see my son's pain. He's not generally a loving child when it comes to animals. He loved that cat with everything he's had.

I'm sure half the town heard my rant from my front yard about puppy mills and people breeding these dogs to make a buck, and how oftentimes, they end up violent and aggressive animals. I'm not so naive to not know there are dogs that take a special liking to chasing and killing cats. But holy fuck. This happened inside my yard. Too many what ifs. Like what if my old 11 year old dog have been out at the time. What if we hadn't noticed right away and he killed my four kittens that live in the garage? What if the dog turned on one of us when we were trying to rescue the cat?

We wrapped Shrek up in a Spongebob pillowcase that my son used to use, but has since grown too old for - because Shrek had spent his life sleeping on the top of his pillow in bed with him.

I can't formulate the words to convey how pissed off and violated I feel right now. I feel as though I've been raped or robbed.

I know it's not the dog's fault. As I later found out, it had been mistreated before they got the animal. It also didn't just nonchalantly slip away, either. The dog broke either it's leash or collar while it was being walked.

I'm honestly one of the first people to say that others' freedoms shouldn't be taken away. If you want to own an alligator, knock yourself out, but don't turn it loose in the creek or local swimming hole. But I'll also say, in my opinion, that there are some animals that are not meant to be pets. Wild animals aren't meant to be pets. Animals bred, and then inbred, for the purpose of killing aren't meant to be pets, either. But if you must have one, be responsible, and don't be surprised when you can't control the forces of nature.

It's like the greyhound that has spent a lifetime racing and is adopted. Sure, they are gentle, often timid creatures. But a greyhound has to be watched. Who knows what will trigger their desire to run like the wind. A leaf blowing across a sidewalk. A sound from the neighbor's house. Responsible owners know the dangers of letting the dog off a leash in an unconfined area.

Who knows what might trigger the trait for which the animal was bred.

I guess that's what bugs me the most. The lack of responsibility for these dogs. I know as with any animal, a lot depends on the owner. Not all pit bulls are destructive creatures. I've known several Chihuahuas that I wouldn't trust around a small child.

It was an unfortunate event for an otherwise peaceful Sunday morning. No amount of demanding the dog be put down will bring back our old cat. And I do miss him. He kept post in the kitchen while I cooked. When I sat on the couch, he often sat on the arm beside me. He was a fixture in our household, and yes, eventually old age would take him from us. But the way he died, brutally murdered if you will, is what makes me mourn him even more.

The girl's grandma stopped by today to apologize once again. I appreciated it, but I'm heartbroken and it's going to take some time to get over what I witnessed.

Poor ole Shreky. My heart breaks for you.

Don't Talk to the Inmates or Believe Everything You Read

I've been known to play coy. Play stupid, if you will.
It's in my opinion that it takes a truly intelligent girl to play stupid. I don't do it on a regular basis, but the ability to bat my eyes and say, "My, I don't have a clue what you're talking about," does come in handy in certain situations. I'm not sure what those situations are offhand, but I'm just saying that yes, I've been known to play dumb.

Okay, one example.

Suppose someone is telling me something, and leaving me a lot of room to infer what they're really saying. That might be one time that I might say, "I'm really not sure what you're saying. Explain, please."

It's because I want whatever is being said to not be said in so few of words. Instead of coming right out and saying, "Spit it out," I do the gum-popping, hair twirling, la-la-la I'm soooo blonde" naive routine.

I was not pretending to be naive or dumb when I snapped this picture on Saturday, and then promptly locked the doors of the truck.
I'd ridden along to the salvage yard with my husband. He'd gotten out of the truck and nearly had himself an altercation with a toothless broad who declared she was next.
She wasn't next in line, but despite that, my husband let her go ahead and get her aluminum cans weighed. I half-watched, while eyeing any prospective inmates, when the woman in dire need of some dentures got caught trying to weight their bags with some wire.
I kept looking around. Surely if there were inmates working at the scrap yard, wouldn't they be wearing orange or had something indicating they were criminals? Maybe they were on work release from the county jail. Perhaps they were a low risk when it came to escaping. I wasn't taking any chances, however, and I kept the truck locked. My husband left it running with the a/c on. I wasn't going to be a hostage if I could avoid it.
"Why did you lock the doors?" my husband asked, giving me one of those looks that I'm slightly accustomed to getting in the last 18 years of marriage.
"I didn't want anyone hopping in," I told him.
"Ummm, okay," he said.
"I took a picture of that sign over there," I told him. I explained to him I was really surprised our youngest son didn't say anything about it when he'd rode along when we were getting rid of some useless junk.
"Oh, the inmate sign. He didn't even notice it," he said.
We were waiting on our turn when this conversation transpired, and I reached over and hit the automatic lock on the door again.
"Why in the hell do you keep locking the damn doors?"
"Uh, do I need to read you that sign?" I asked him. "Inmates, duh."
He laughed. He laughed hard.
"You know that's just a joke, right? There really aren't inmates working here. Sheesh."
How was I supposed to know it was only a joke? From the looks of some of the guys working the yard, they could've been inmates. Honest mistake showing just how gullible I can be at times.
My husband claims its part of my charm, though he still can't figure out how someone can be so bright (he says I'm always three mental steps ahead of him) and so naive at the same time.
Yes, I honestly did believe the sign was real. So much so that I took a picture of it.
I never have to play gullible, that's for sure.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thoughts on Writing

Many moons ago, another writer and I decided we were going to write a book together. We were relatively new to concept of writing something longer than a weekly column, which is typically around 650-750 words. Your average book is about 300 pages. 250 words a page. When one does the math, that a hellva lot more writing than a copy in a newspaper.

We decided we were going to pen the next best seller about writing. After all, Stephen King did it. Yeah, we'll pause a moment here to realize that King might have actually had something to say about writing considering he'd been doing since the beginning of time.

For various reasons, the majority of them based on the fact the two of us had no business telling other writers how to do it when we weren't even sure what we were doing, it fell through. As Anne Lammott says, to paraphrase her brillance, few writers actually know what they are doing until they actually do it.

The thing about writers is that we aren't like others. Most creative sorts are much different than other individuals. I suspect we've been dropped on our heads one too many times, but that's just one theory why most writers, or even artists, tend to be the ecletic, if not eccentric.

I can't exactly speak for all writers when I say that I don't understand what it is that compels me to write. But...I think it is a general consensus with most writers. I can back up this theory by making an observation.

In books, even in movies, how many storylines revolve around a writer? Take King's work for example. In Bag of Bones, the protag is a writer. Lisey's Story is about a widowed writer's wife. Not to forget Misery, "1408" (a short story from Everything's Eventual), The Shining, The Regulators, Desperation, you get the idea.

Then there are movies like my favorite, "Something's Gotta Give." I could go on and on, but it doesn't take much brainpower to realize there are a whole lot of writers writing about writers in effort to understand what makes us writers.

I've been asked many times why I write. And every time, my answer is, "That's a good question."

I don't know why. While other kids were content with a box of crayons and a coloring book, I wanted a pencil and a tablet to write on. While other kids were hurrying off the bus to go watch TV or play, I'd run inside hoping I'd gotten a letter from one of many pen pals.

Writing has served as a means to preserve, understand, and express. Beyond that, I don't know what makes me tick or drives me to continue. But I guess I'm in good company because even Stephen King seems to be trying to flesh it out himself by writing about writers.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Note to My Children

Dear Children,

First off, whoever took my dustpan and small broom, I'd love to have it back. I don't care what you were using it for. I don't care what you did with it. In fact, I don't think I even want to know. I want it back. It would come in dang handy considering someone took it upon themselves to dump sugar all over the kitchen floor at some point this morning.

But, you didn't tell me that either, whoever you are who did that. Oh, no. I found out when I walked barefooted to the kitchen and my feet were reminiscent of cake donuts with a sugary coating. This did not please me. Nothing like sticky feet and a sticky floor to say hello.

Speaking of floors and cleaning up, the next time I tell you not to give the cat a bath, I mean it. Honestly, I don't speak just to hear myself talk. I realize this old cat doesn't have the best personal hygiene, and grooming himself is not up there in the top ten ways to spend his time. But, I was not kidding when I said the last time I bathed the cat, he tried going out the kitchen window - glass, screen and all. When I mentioned I had to bandage a few scratches, I wasn't exaggerating.

I'd also love to know how the process, yeah, the one I told you not to do, took four large bath towels. I know it's not a kitten, but geez Louise, you weren't bathing a tiger in the bathtub. I found two towels in the tub and two on the floor that were sopping wet. I don't think it's worth my while to ask why there were a pair of wet underwear in the tub as well. There are somethings I don't want to know.

There's this thing called "brotherly love." Oh, I do know that most of the time the phrase is used in jest, like right after you two try to beat the holy crap out of each other. Honestly, I believe whole-heartedly that some day you two will grow up and understand you're lucky to have a brother. One of these days, you two might need to count on each other for support. I know, I know, you can't pick your family, but sometimes you have to make the best of what you've been given. I know you think I'm full of crap when I say you should count your blessings, but someday, you might see it for yourself.

Could we please keep the Kung-fu ninja moves to a bare minimum? Must we raise our voices to speak to one another from a different room? Really, there's no need to yell out a window when you're affixed with two feet that could carry you out front to your brother to ask him what he did with the DVD player remote.

As you both might realize, summer vacation is almost over. I've spent many hours with you two this summer, and as you might notice, mamma's running low on tolerance and patience for your shenanigans.

Mamma is weary. She's tired of four loads of laundry daily when you change in and out of your swim trunks, only to put on clean clothes each time. She might burst into a fit of tears the next time you open the fridge and lament, "There's NEVER anything good to eat," even though I've filled every request you've made since the end of May.

Point being, your mother is close to her breaking point. She didn't want to see the movie "Hairspray" the second time, much less the eighteenth time. Same goes for "Super Bad," "Harry Potter," "The Simpson's Movie," and "Knocked Up."

No, I really am not going to take it upon myself to open a can of whoop ass, as I might have promised to do. As one of you little smart-mouthed individuals said oh so eloquently, "Going to eat your spinach, little lady?" But is it the slightest bit possible you could cut your mother a break?

It's nothing personal when I tell you I anticipate the return to school as much as hitting the lottery right now. Dirty clothes, milk curdling in cups, candy wrappers, and various handtools strewn about do not make me smile. We have things like hampers, kitchen sinks, wastebaskets, and toolboxes located at many convienient locations throughout our home. Please use them.

When my temples start to throb, it's not my heart beating with mad, mad love for you boys. It's a warning sign. It says take cover 'cause she's going to blow. A few minutes of peace and quiet, an effort here and there to clean up after yourselves, and no knock-down-drag-out-fights would be muchly appreciated. It's cheaper than mood-altering medications, and it would definitely make me smile.

So how about it? If nothing else, could I please have my dustpan back?

With much love,
Your Mother

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I've Got Bugs...and Other Confessions

I've got bugs. Not just any bugs, but horny bugs doing what is depicted in the picture. I've got Japanese beetles mating in my Chinese Elm hedges. At least it sounds like I've got some culture going on in my life. First Pearl Harbor, and now this.

This pisses me off. I discovered them last night when I was trimming the hedges. Because of course, if my hedges barely creep out towards the sidewalk, someone in this town will get bent out of shape because it somehow inhibits their ability to walk down the sidewalk. I'd just as soon prefer that no one walks down the sidewalk. Also, a little branch hanging out here and there slows down the retarded neighbor kids who must be on a mission to scratch the holy hell out of my car with their bicycles.

Hostile much? Why yes, I am today. Thanks for noticing.

I used no less than a half a can of flying insect killer last night on the little bastards. I went in search of some beetle bag to catch them, but wasn't about to drive to Lowe's from the south end of town when I couldn't find them anywhere. So I bought some more killer-in-a-can and saturated about a gazillion of the little suckers this afternoon.

Besides the fact that they are eating the leaves on the hedges down to nothing but a skeletal remain of a leaf, these things freak me the hell out. That green color. It's like something out of a bad B movie about alien invasion or nuclear warfare. Should one bite me, I imagine I'd transform into Beetle Woman, doing whatever it is that beetles do when they fight crime.

Speaking of being pissed, pissy seems to be the tone of the day.

When I went to the grocery in search of a beetle bag, and came out $65 poorer and beetle bagless, the young gay boy who was at the register did this nasally whine. "I've got alcohoool. Could you come over here and ring this up, pleaassse?"

You might have thought I'd asked him for a pint of blood rather than purchasing a twelve-pack of Bud Light with Lime. (Obviously, he wasn't old enough to sell me the booze, so he had to request help from someone over 18.) Well, freakin' excuse me.

And then, yes, then...he finishes bagging up my groceries, and leaves four bags setting there and starts ringing up the next customer. What the hell?

"Oh, don't worry about it," I said very sarcastically. "I'll get those and put them in my cart. Thank you!"

"No proooblem," he said, stereotyping himself without any help from me.

It's hot as a bitch today, and while it beats winter and being 30 below, I don't like sweating when I'm sitting still. I don't mind a little sweat from physical activity, but if only breathing is causing me to glisten, it puts me in a foul mood.

Think I'll go have a cold beer and kill some more beetle bastards.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

T minus 28 Days and Counting

By my calculations, the darling children return to school ONE MONTH from today.

This saddens me in a way because it means that summer goes by much too quickly. It means that winter is just around the corner, and don't get me started on the price of LP gas and how I'm probably going to have to go donate an organ or sign up for some beta drug testing program that will make me grow a third nipple to afford to stay warm when the snow flies.

Don't get me wrong. I believe that there's such a thing as too much time that people can spend together. I think we hit that benchmark two weeks after school let out for the summer.

When the children were younger, my husband would load them up to go camping at the nearby State Park for the weekend. Actually, he would hint that he might like to go, and he'd come home to find that I had the truck packed, provisions purchased, and ready to hit the road. This is because I enjoyed those weekends alone during the summer.

He didn't take them last year. Oh, he threatened a time or two to go, but he met great resistance from the youngins' who thought they were way too cool to go camp with their old dad. They haven't gone this year either, and I don't see it happening since the tent got trashed when it was stowed in an area of the garage that is the breeding ground for mold and mildew under a leaky section of the roof. Coincidence? I think not.

I've not had 24 hours alone for well over two years. This is wrong.

Maybe I didn't exactly know what I was getting myself into with this whole motherhood thing. Perhaps I didn't think the whole "stay at home mom" thing through as well as I might have. I'm not saying I wish I didn't have kids. I'm not saying that I regret spending those formative years with my children.

What I am saying, however, is that I've had someone up my butt 24/7 for the past two months. I could get up early for a little alone time, but the oldest child gets up at the buttcrack of dawn. I could stay up late to garner some peace and quiet, except the younger child stays up all hours of the night.

I shouldn't complain, I suppose. But boy howdy, when my husband announced that he was taking a few days off before the 4th of July, I thought okay, I can handle it. I'll somehow manage to survive him in my hair for five days straight.

Except he came home on that Monday evening and announced, "I'm taking tomorrow off too!" I thought I might weep. Six days straight with a holiday thrown in for good measure. Oh be still my beating heart. I was not mentally prepared for it.

So, I'll be counting down those days. Looking forward to my days of quiet where I can hear myself think and not be mentally drained from constant interaction. Sure, I'll enjoy it for a few days, and then I'll be a little lonely, and then I'll get over that, too.

T minus 28 days and counting...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Linus Sings

Amazing. But then again, I'm easily amazed and amused.