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.