Monday, December 31, 2007

Happiness is...

... a warm Calcifer curled up on your computer desk, getting in your way, and sleeping peacefully in spite of everything...

Happy New Year to all my friends, and family, both online and RL.



Thursday, December 27, 2007

If You Give A Kid A Camera...

This is what happens when you give your child a digital camera for Christmas

The Impossible Son... a self portrait, thanks to Fisher-Price's Kid Tough Digital Camera!

Friday, December 14, 2007


You know, every time I make Kool-Aid for my kids, I suddenly remember that some twenty odd years ago, when I was in my late teens, early twenties, we used to mix Kool-Aid with conditioner to color our hair. Because you couldn't go out and buy green or purple hair dye. You had to make it yourself.

And my kids are drinking this.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Calcifer Steps Up

Calcifer, despite having been fixed today (and oh, wasn't THAT an adventure!), has decided to take over the Shmoo's duties and become the Impertinent Daughter's nightly guardian.

The Shmoo was a black cat with bright green eyes that we had for ten years. He was a sibling to Sir Edmund, and was one of the original Triplicats. Sir Edmund, Mischief Herself, and... the Shmoo. Now... the Shmoo fit his name. He could fit himself into any place or situation, and unlike his quieter siblings, for all that he was pitch black, he had a very Siamese attitude. Very talkative. Very clingy. And probably one of the most hilarious cats we'd ever had. We used to call him the Door Bandit, because at our old house in Houston, he loved to perch on top of our doors, and wait for the unwary to pass by. Any victim who approached would either lose their hat or their hairstyle.

He also had a ridiculous love of turning on lights.

I could practically hear him when he'd leap up to grasp the cord that hung from the lightswitch in the little room off our kitchen that led into the backyard. The light would come on and I could swear he was cackling, "Ha ha!! The power is MINE!! I CAN TURN ON THE LIGHTS!!!"

Yes, he was a goofball.

But, he was also incredibly sweet.

The Impertinent Daughter does not like loud noises. Never has. She hated fireworks until we decided to bring our Labrador Retriever along to the city fireworks show, and they sat together, watching the fireworks, she with her arms around him, he standing between her and the bright lights. She wasn't so scared any more... but she still didn't like the big booms. And when we got home, well, at the time, we were living out in the country, out of the city limits, and therefore, in a place where folks could set off as many bottle rockets, etc, as they liked, for as long as they liked. Provided the county wasn't under a burn ban. She hated the noise, and either the Husbandly One or I would have to lie in bed with her, our hands over her ears, until she went to sleep. Shmoo watched this for a couple of years. Then, when she was four, going on five, just before the Impossible Son made his appearance, Shmoo watched her crying during a particularly loud and boisterous New Year's celebration. I was very, very big, being overdue (Mr. Manzie was really comfortable in there, and saw no reason to change the status quo) and therefore, very slow.  The Husbandly One was trying to do seven things at once.  The Shmoo made up his mind and jumped up into the bed with her, walked up to her pillow, then settled himself so that he was laying across her head, covering her ear.  He laid his tail across her neck, under her chin, and began to purr.  She opened her mouth to protest, then closed it.  She couldn't hear the loud bangs, and snaps, and rat-tat-tat-tat-tat of fireworks any more.  All she could hear was a deep, rumbling, happy purr, and the next thing I knew, she was asleep.  He did the same thing with thunderstorms, wrapping himself around her head and purring until she went to sleep.  Soon, he was jumping up in the bed when she had bad dreams, and then, he had the other cats joining in, as well as Max.  It wasn't unusual to wake up and find her curled comfortably between a large dog, and three cats.  

It was a real blow five years later when he disappeared because someone left a door open, and he got out.

He never came back.

We had lost Mischief to cancer the previous year, and I sometimes wonder if he went out looking for her.

Ed did what he could, but he had to divide himself between two children and two adults.  Not easy, even for a big, loving cat like Ed.  And... it wasn't the same.  Miss Priss and the Shmoo had a very special bond.  He was her Trouble Cat.

So, she's had trouble sleeping since Shmoo disappeared.  Stuffed animals are just not the same.  Nor are little brothers (too squirmy).  We talk before bed, and that seemed to be helping, but... I'm not Shmoo.  And sometimes, what a kid needs is someone who will listen without offering advice, who will stare up at them sympathetically and lovingly, while purring like a Cuisinart on steroids.  I can purr but... it ain't the same!

Tonight, I was tucking her in, kissing her, and doing our usual good night ritual, when Calcifer jumped up on the bed, stared intently into her eyes, then got up on her pillow and curled around her head in the exact same way Shmoo used to.  With the added exception that he gripped her head between his paws, and licked her forehead a couple of times before settling himself comfortably, and purring.  Her face relaxed, and she just barely managed to say, "Night, Mom," before she was out like a little light.

This after having his equipment rendered redundant.

I scratched his head, turned out the light, and said, "Take care of your girl, Cal."

He just purred.

I think they're going to be okay.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ahhhh... better....

Okay, everybody stand up and get ready to applaud.

I took my first deep breath in over four weeks... and it didn't hurt.


Yes, yes, thank you, thanks, I'll be here all week, I'd be more than happy to do it again, yes... thank you, really, you're too kind.


Well, it is a big deal to me!!

In other news, Calcifer and Muta have an appointment with the vet on Wednesday to curb their boyish enthusiasm. In other words... they're getting FIXED! Because, they are startin' to do that thing that young male cats do when they suddenly realize... they're male.

*insert blues guitar, and a deep, gravelly black voice that sounds like it came from the bowels of the earth*

"I'm a man..."


I spell M..."







Yes, Calcifer and Muta have discovered... hormones. And their genitals. And what they can do with them. With each other.

Yes, apparently, my cats are gay.

I mean, there's Yuki, sitting there like, "Well, here I am, boys! And I can't get pregnant, either!"

They look at her, sniff, then say, "You smell funny," and promptly pounce on each other.

The Impossible Son watches this and says, "Um, Mama? I thought you said cats only did that if they were trying to make kittens..."

"Yes, yes, I did say that." And I'm scrambling around in my brain for an explanation that won't get CPS called on me when he repeats it at school.

"But... Calcifer is a boy... and Muta is a boy... and boy-cats can't have kittens..." His brow is furled in concentration and I'm flailing my brain desperately. Then..."Are they like Uncle Artist and Uncle Scientist?"

"Er... not exactly... no."


"Well, see, honey, it's more like this..."

He looks at me doubtfully, like, is this going to be another one of those amazingly technical explanations that I never understand? So, I stop myself and say, "What do you think is going on?" And brace myself.

He thinks about it, watching them, and oh, gods, do I ever want to throw a towel over them, or get the waterhose! Thanks, guys, for teaching my son about a side of biology that I haven't gotten around to explaining yet! "I think it just feels good, so that's why they're doing it. And they're doing it with each other, because Yuki still doesn't feel good after being fixed, so they're being nice to her. And they know each other, so it's okay."

"Exactly," I said, and he smiled.

"Yeah, that's what I thought. Why didn't you say so in the first place?"

"Because I wanted you to figure it out on your own," I said, crossing my fingers behind my back. Geez.

Sometimes, parents freak out when their kids present them with life questions the parents aren't ready for yet. It's not that we haven't explained that Uncle Artist and Uncle Scientist are life partners who are practically married, and live together like Mama and Papa live together, with all the getting-closer mushy stuff like Mama and Papa ("Ewwww, you're kissing! On the mouth!!), except, they're both guys, because we have. But you know, it's one thing to know it about your favorite uncles, and another to see a live, wild-kingdom version demo on the floor in your bedroom next to your teddy bear.

And yes, we have covered the het version, too, thanks to a couple of dogs who thought our front yard would be a most excellent place to do some parallel parking. Thanks, Fluffy and Zongo, for the live-action condensation of how babies get in there!!

So, I am sorry, Calcifer and Muta, but those furry dice hangin' on your chassis? Gotta go. No more marking Mama's side of the bed as yours. No more marking the Impossible Son as yours. No rubbing your... family jewels against parts of us that we immediately want to go find wet wipes for.

Fun times, I'm telling you!

Monday, December 3, 2007


My son has the ultimate faith in my ability to cook.

Ever seen the movie "Spirited Away?" There's a scene where the main character, Chehiro, is sitting on a balcony with her friend, Ren, and they're eating these hand pastries stuffed with meat or something. I have no idea what they are called, but you know, just about every society has some sort of meat-roll or pastry that can be held in the hand.

Anyway, the Impossible Son came in here and asked me if I remembered those things. Took me a minute (between coughs), and I said, "Okay, yes, I remember them."

"They look really good, huh?"

I have learned to be cautious. "Ye-e-es," I said slowly.

"Could you make those for me?"

*blink blink*

"Right now?"

"Yeah!" he said with great enthusiasm, his head bobbing as he smiled at me, full of confidence that Mama Can Do It. After all, I brought kittens back from frozen death, what's a few Japanese meat rolls, right?

"Er... well, hunnybunny, um... for one thing, I'd need a recipe..."

"Great! I'll get your cook book!" And he was off to the kitchen.

I do not have a Japanese cook book. Yet. And I knew the book he was heading for, which admittedly (and surprisingly) has a few Japanese recipes in it, but... um... not what he's looking for. It's a Fanny Merritt Farmer Boston Cooking School cookbook that I lucked into at a Half-Price Books in Houston, published somewhere in the 50's with all these references to the original publication in the 18 70's or such. Great book. One of the luckiest finds I could ever make, because it fell open at certain pages and had foodstains on it... meaning, it was used a LOT. In other words, a family treasure that some thoughtless person had tossed into a box to be sold without realizing what it was. Oh, well, their loss is my gain!

Anyhow, Mr. Manzie comes trundling back with that book in his hands, beaming with confidence, and I'm just... stumped. "Here, Mama! You can make it now, right?"

How on earth did I ever produce this person??

Flailing mentally, I said, "Well, there's still the problem of ingredients, and you know me, Little Man, I like to sort of study over a recipe for a few days before I decide to give it a whirl."

"Oh," he said, nodding wisely. "You want to fiddle with it."

He knows me so well!

"We'll see. Let me do some research on the Internet and see what I can come up with."

So... I've bought myself some time, but... if anybody out there knows what the hell those things are, and how to make them, please, please, PLEASE give me a clue!! Knowing Mr. Manzie, he'll pop up in three days... "So, Mama, you ready to make those things yet?"




How do I love thee?

Oh, let me count the ways...

I love thee for the books you buy me, books that no sane husband would buy for their wife, but you defy convention and buy them for me, because you know me so well...

I love thee for the fact that for my 29th birthday... you bought me a computer. And the happy, surprised look you got on your face when I hit my knees to show you how much I appreciated it...

I love thee for truly awful puns you toss out that make me want to rip my brain out and stomp on it to relieve the pain, and how I have to "out-pun" you to shut you up...

I love thee for the way you mince around the playscape when you're playing with the kids, pretending you can't run fast enough to get away, and then surprise them when you turn and sweep them up in your arms to dump them in a pile of sand or leaves.

I love thee for not protesting when I refuse to play cut-throat Monopoly with you and the kids. And for the truly ridiculous scenarios you come up with when we're playing Pickle.

I love thee for not complaining when I shove my icy cold feet under your thigh to warm them up when we're sitting on the couch together, even though I can see you want to scream and hit the ceiling to escape them.

I love thee for getting me truly awful birthday presents, like the severed finger necklace, and the Ubangi warrior earrings you got me six years ago that turned my ear lobes green.

I love thee for understanding me and my intimate relationship with, and hopeless addiction to chocolate. Thank you for dropping everything to find some when I get a Chocolate Jones. Because the world as we know it would end if Jo didn't get her chocolate!!

I love thee for accidentally putting on my jeans and wandering around the house, completely mystified as to why your jeans were suddenly too long. (my legs are longer than his, even though he's taller than me)

I love thee for making that sinfully delicious pumpkin cream pie... and then saving the last piece for me, hiding it from the kids so you could be sure I got it.

And finally, I love you because you get me, you know me, everything good and bad, and you still love me anyway.

Just thought I should tell you.


The Wifely One

a.k.a. Me

Friday, November 30, 2007

Just to let y'all know...

I'm sorry I haven't been replying to comments. I'm only up for such short periods. Mostly, I'm in bed, dozing, or coughing, depending on which version you prefer. So, I tend to post, then go pass out for a few hours, get up, read, pass out again... you know the routine. So, here's another of my quick bursts.

I got the results of the X-Rays, and so far, it looks clear. Now, if you will excuse me, I'm going to crawl back into bed and curl up under the quilts and sleep. Or something.

Oh, and just to make y'all chuckle, the Impossible Son has started, for lack of a better term, styling his hair. He wets it, and carefully combs it to look the way he wants. (I'm trying real hard not to giggle here, because it makes me cough, but it's so FUNNY!) So, this morning, I'm driving the kids to school, I had just dropped off the Impertinent Daughter, and Mr. Manzie says, "Mom, we have to go back home."

"Why?" I said, peeking at him in the kid mirror I keep clipped to the rearview mirror.

"You'll see when we get there."

"No. If we go home, you'll be late. Why do we need to go home?" I'm thinking, did you spill your drink on your pants? Are you going to throw up? Is this going to make me want to cry? Because I really wasn't feeling up to dealing with whatever crisis was imminent, you know?

*Big dramatic sigh* "I need to comb my hair ...again!"


"Huh?" was my intelligent reply.

"I need to comb my hair!" he insisted. "It's...messed up!"

I look in the mirror. It looks just like it did when we left. "Nope, sorry, not going home for that, dude. Just fix it with your fingers."

"MOM!! I have to look good for my girlfriends!! DUH!! I can't do it with my fingers!!"

Yes, I almost had an accident while struggling not to burst out laughing, coughing, or otherwise imploding. "Yes, officer, that's right, I ran into the Johnson's house because I was having a coughing fit induced by my struggle not to laugh about my son's hair care issues."

That would go over well. Apparently, the Impossible Son has a harem. This explains why, when I go to pick him up, he's surrounded by a circle of giggling six year old girls. He's very gentlemanly with them, bowing to them when he says goodbye, kissing their hands before he steals their toys... *shakes head*

Okay, I have to go lay down now. Have a good day, y'all!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

He loves me, really... I think... yeah...

Okay, so... the Husbandly One is understandably worried about me. And he's feeling sort of... helpless. Now, to me, this should translate to something constructive like... a back rub. Oh gods, y'all, I would kill for a good back rub, because you know, with all the coughing, I feel like someone's been whacking my back and chest with a baseball bat! A back rub... yeah... Maybe with warm oil...

*tries not to whimper*

Anyhoo... a back rub would be good. But, THO is also concerned about how tired I've been, and my lack of bounce and feistiness, etc. So... his solution? He stopped at a Walgreens on the way home.

*insert ominous music here*

The first I knew of it, he came into the bedroom with a glass in his hand. A glass of something cold, and fizzy, with a nice, citrusy sort of smell. However, he had this sort of... manic grin on his face. You know, the kind serial killers get when they're giving you the sleeping drug that will knock you out just enough so you're helpless, but not enough to let you be unconscious and not be able to scream when they turn the chainsaw on? Yeah... that one.

He brought it to me in a way that made me think it should have been in a crystal glass on a silver platter, and he should have been in a coat and tails, with white kid gloves on... except, he'd just look so totally wrong like that.

*tries not to laugh*

Anyway, I looked at it suspiciously and said, "What's that?"

"Look!" he said with enthusiasm. "It's fizzy!"

"Yeah, so's nitro," I said, frowning. "What is this?"

"It's good for you!"

"Then I'm definitely not drinking it," I said, getting nervous. "What were those papers you made me sign yesterday?"

He shook his head and said, "It'll boost your immune system! It's got lots of vitamin C and other good stuff in there! Drink it! You'll drink one every day... right?"

Uh-oh, he's using that "I'm the man, you're the woman," tone of voice. And he's got that manic, "I'm doing this because I'm trying like heck not to panic because you're sick and I can't fix you," look on his face, so, I pretty much just suck it up and pick the glass up.

"Okey dokey," I said and took a sip.

It... was... VILE!!!

ZOMG, it was so awful, I almost cannot describe the depths of awfulness it contained. It smelled so good to be so vile!! It was like... drinking flying monkey piss, I swear!! If flying monkeys pissed, that is what it would taste like, I kid you not! It wasn't that it tasted like that immediately. It hits your tongue, and for a nano-second you think, "well, kinda bland, but... not too bad..."

Then the aftertaste hits you, and ...*gag* Like drinking sweat, eau de gym sock, hangover tongue, with hints of grimy armpit...

And yes, I drank the whole damn glass.


The things I do for love. Because he stood there and watched me drink it. I think I'm going to get a plant to put on my nightstand, where I can safely dump the damn stuff... except, I think it might kill it.

It lets him feel like he's doing something to help me. So... *grits teeth* I'll... drink as much as I can, and tip the rest out the window. Or make sure packets conveniently disappear during the day.

To make up for it, he made me a nice, hot toddy. So, I'm pleasantly squiffed right now. Perhaps he did it in the wrong order. Hot toddy first, get Jo squiffed, then give her the vile, nasty, Snape-worthy potion. Better yet, skip the toddy, give the whiskey to me straight and with my extremely low alcohol tolerance (i.e. non-existent, because Jo is the world's cheapest date), I won't care or even notice the vile, nasty, Snape-worthy potion, I'll knock it back and say, "Gimme another! WOO!!"

Maybe I'll just hide the damn box before tomorrow and give him my best innocent look when he asks me if I know where it is.

Yeah, that'll work. Heh...

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Blues....

We were supposed to drive into Houston today for Thanksgiving. I was really looking forward to seeing my folks, and my sisters... okay, well, the Blonde Sister, mostly, but I'm glad to see the Practical Sister, too, though she tends to pick at me... and criticize... I know she means well, somewhere in there, but... it's hard not to bristle.

However, I've been doing a bit too much the past couple of days, and so, I've had a wee bit of a relapse. The good news is, the stuff in my chest is breaking up, finally, so now I'm coughing with purpose! The bad news is... we had to stay home.


The Husbandly One let me think I was going to make a pie today, then artfully steered me into the living room to watch TV. After a while, he came into the living room to look at me and said, "You are feeling bad."

No, I wasn't feeling feisty enough to snap back with sarcasm. I just sighed and said, "How can you tell?"

"You've been sitting still for the past thirty minutes, and you're too tired to snark at me."

So he put me to bed.

I am thankful that...

... sometimes, my kids can get along when they know we need the break, and they will help out, whether it's helping in the kitchen, or helping their sneaky papa make sure Mom stays put by cuddling with her, or asking her to listen to them read a book, etc...

... that my husband is not only a good cook, but he enjoys cooking, and is actually quite efficient at it. He made Thanksgiving dinner without our usual team-cooking effort, and I am not only extremely impressed, but I'm very proud of him, too. It was delicious! (he vacuums, too, and actually picks things up off the floor, rather than vacuuming around them!)...

... that we are living in a house that is sturdy, sound, and snug. Because we have lived in houses that weren't, and though we managed, I have to tell you, living in a house that doesn't have a howling gale of a draft going through it during the winter is a gift in and of itself!...

... that the Practical Sister was too tired after Thanksgiving dinner was over to call me and give me a piece of her mind for being too sick to travel. After which, she would then scold me for not taking better care of myself, remind me that I need to rest if I expect to get better, and what the heck am I doing on the phone talking when I should be in bed resting and giving my poor, abused throat a break?? Yes, Bets is a bundle of contradictions, she drives me nuts, but sometimes, I think I actually love her.

And yes, I am going back to bed now.



Monday, November 19, 2007

We are starving... STARVING!!!

Cats are sometimes the most pathetic creatures on the planet, especially male cats.

I took Miss Yuki in to be spayed today (no, no, I am done with having a herd of cats. Three are just fine, thank you, and I refuse to lose another female to uterine cancer!). This meant no food after 10 pm last night, which mean picking up the food bowls and water dish at 9.

I'd fed them at 8:30, so I figured hey, no problem.


When I picked up their dishes, Calcifer and Muta especially were all like, "Hey, wait, what?? You're picking up the food?? You're not putting more in them? What is this??"

Now, dogs are different. When you pick up a dog's food and water, they're like, "hey, what? Wait a minute..." then they look at you mournfully and go, "well... okay... fine. If you insist. You're the master, and I really, really don't understand why you're doing this but... okay." Then they go lay down in a huff and stare at you mournfully, occasionally going to where their food dish was and look around hopefully, as if it will all rematerialize, then return sadly to where they can stare at you mournfully some more. And that's it. You might get a few hopeful bounces with a lot of tail wagging every time you go to the kitchen, but eventually, they figure out it ain't gonna happen, and stop.

Cats, though, are more... proactive.

Every time you get up, whether it's to go to the kitchen, to the bedroom, the bathroom, or just to scratch your butt is met with cats leaping to attention and prowling around your feet, complaining noisily about their mistreatment. "We're STARVING!! We're DYING!! Can't you see the flesh just MELTING OFF OUR BONES??? We're little kitty-cat SKELETONS!! Oh, you cruel human, how can you do this to us???"

You go in the kitchen, and they are there, swarming your feet, trying to force you to head to the cabinet where the food is, crying and meowing pathetically the entire time in a cat chorale of gastronomic distress. "Oh, please, please, PLEASE!! We are DYING!! You MUST feed us before we whither away, our bodies shriveling into little dried husks!! You will feel MOST GUILTY when we die of hunger! Who will warm your feet? Who will knock over your water glass? WHO WILL LEAVE WHITE HAIR ALL OVER YOUR BLACK SWEATER??"

I can't tell you how many times I was awakened during the night with the intense feeling I was being... stared at, and opened my eyes to see a feline nose inches from mine. I could just hear the kitty hypnosis.


The Husbandly One got up for a late night piss, and I heard muffled cursing from the bathroom, then he said, "Don't let Calcifer get in the bed!"

That was enough to get me up, because I had a feeling what had happened. I grabbed a towel and threw it over the cat as he ran out of the bathroom. Yep, he jumped up on the toilet seat at the wrong time, all while meowing piteously at THO about his situation. Interrupted in mid-yowl, pretty much.

Getting up for any reason, to answer a call of nature, or a call of child, was complicated by felines winding between our feet and trying to herd us to the kitchen, all while meowing in minor thirds about their mistreatment. And having to listen to it all morning long while trying to eat breakfast, trying to make lunch for the kids, trying to just walk through the house without falling... it's a good thing I like cats!

So, when I got back from dropping the kids off at school, and Miss Yuki off at the vet's, I fully expected two very hungry and talkative felines at the door to drag me to the kitchen.


I walk in. "Hey, who's hungry?"


Now, if it had been dogs, I would have been met with noisy, "Yay, food!!" barks, much tail wagging, jumping around, and other demonstrations of canine joy.

I walked into the kitchen to find two feline corpses draped dramatically over the dishwasher door and the floor. Calcifer barely moved his head. "Sorry... can't talk... too weak... so hungry... the end... isn't far... I loved you... goodbye..."

*insert eye-roll here*

I got out the food dishes and set them on the floor. Muta opened one eye. "Oh... now you're going to feed us... when it's... too late. Ah... the cruelty of a she such as you... ah... goodbye, cruel world."


I poured food into the dishes and was nearly bowled over by two feline bodies flying over my shoulders. They pretty much just shoved their entire faces into the bowls and inhaled the food. Geez, maybe you should chew first??

They are now pretty much laying about and sneering at me. "Yes, you finally fed us, but we are not speaking to you, because you have abused us by starving us! So, just for that, we will not warm your pretty little toes as you type, nor will we try to lay on your keyboard. HA!! TAKE THAT!!"

Oh, yes, I am well and duly punished. *snorts* Just wait until it's THEIR turn!!


Monday, November 5, 2007

The Things We Learn...

I can get a snapshot of what's going on in my daughter's life with glimpses into her sketchbook. One day, there might be a sketch of a girl looking at a whirling dervish that's flying around her feet, and she's saying, "Geez, all I said was I ate the last bag of cheddar bunnies! SHEESH!"

Another, there might be a figure that looks suspiciously like me, bent over a computer keyboard saying, "Just one more paragraph, let me finish one more paragraph and I'll make you some chicken nuggets, geez!!"

Today, there was a very irritated looking girl with her hands on her hips scowling at two rather excited looking boys. And she was saying, "Yes, they're real. Yes, they're small, and no, you can't touch them unless you want a broken nose!"

*sniff* I'm so proud!! She's just like her mom!! And yes, she's talking about her schnoobs!

*laughs heartily* I'm going to have to ask her about that one!

Monday, October 29, 2007


I had the worst phone solicitor ever call me this morning. It was barely ten a.m. Just picture this...the phone rings. I look up from my contemplation of the morning paper, and answer.

My first impression was the person on the other end had just woken up, and was apparently confused as to whom had called whom.

"H'lo? Who ishthish?"

I blinked. "I have no idea. You tell me."

"Oh!" What little of her brain that had not been pickled in whatever she'd been drinking for breakfast kicked in. "Oh, uh... my namesh Alisha, an' I'm callin' fer Holiday Villish...Villifff... HOMES, an'... an'..."

"Who is this?" I asked at my most repressive.

"Um... I'm Alish... Alishes... Alish-sh-sh-shaaa, and I'm calling fer... fer..."

"Maybe you should read your little card," I said helpfully.

"Oh, can't read that, ish all blurry an' keeps moving..."

"Maybe you should move with it."

"Makes me shick..."

"Sounds painful."

Weak laughter. "I'm... I'm calling why'm I calling you?"

"Because you're drunk and you have no idea what you're doing?"

"Oh, yeah, I'm drunk. Heh. An'... who're you, again?"

Sigh. This is too easy. "Britney Spears. I want you to arrange my comeback."

"Oh. Bummer. Can't stand Britney Spears. She's all fat an' can't sshing worth a damn-fuck."

"Then perhaps you'd better hang up."

"OKAY!!" Click.

Like I said, too easy. Geez, I know a job as a phone solicitor can suck, but how bad does the job have to be that you have to get drunk before you start making your calls?

I know, I know, I could have played with her mind a whole lot more than I actually did, but you know, I was enjoying a peaceful morning, feeling kinda happyish, and not really in a snarky mood. Hey, I did the best I could with the materials I had to work with!! I admit, the reason Britney Spears popped into my head was because I was looking at an article about her mom writing a parenting book. I wonder if it's a reverse manual, as in, "if you want happy, well-adjusted kids... don't do this."

One can only hope...

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Job of Mom...

One of the toughest things for me to do, as a mom, is allow my children... to fail.

You have no idea how hard that is to do. I mean, here I am, Mom, a kid's biggest cheerleader, telling them that they can do anything they put their minds to, that they can achieve just about anything if they're willing to work at it...

But, they have to be willing to do it. And that's where allowing them to fail comes in.

I am not a nag. OMG, my mom was, and is, and the very idea makes me shudder. If I start to nag, my gods, I hope someone shoots me before I can do any damage!!! That being said, I do remind my children when they have homework, when they need to study, or to practice, etc, etc. But... I only do it three times. The first one is a gentle reminder. The second one is a bit more firm. The third one is, "Okay, now, you know you have to do X. Get busy, and get after it!" or some variant thereof, and usually works.

But sometimes it doesn't.

After three shots across the bow, so to speak, I figure they're on their own, and they can learn from the consequences. It's actually highly effective. You see, I've learned that experience is a pretty damn good teacher, and sometimes pounds those lessons in harder than I ever possibly could, so whenever possible, and within reason, I let experience do the teaching. They remember it better that way.

So, my daughter has learned, the hard way, that there is a reason I want her to do her homework pretty much right after she gets home. She figured out, when you do your homework right away, you remember it better, you get a snack with it, PLUS, your entire afternoon and evening is completely free to do whatever you want. You don't end up staying up way later than is good for you, with cranky parents grumbling about going to bed, wishing you'd told them you were having trouble with math, and then getting up exhausted and LATE the next morning because you overslept. Yeah. It all works out.

My son is going to learn today that when you do MOST of your homework, but you keep blowing your mom off when she tries to help you learn your vocabulary words... well, he's going to learn that you don't do well on your test. I know, it's not a big thing... but it is to him. He's done really well on his past vocabulary tests, because we take about five minutes every day to go over them, to spell them, to read them, etc. But this week, well, he was being Contrary Man. He did his regular homework under protest, but that third warning was most effective. However, it was powerless when it came to studying his words.

I recognize those days when studying is just going to go out the window. It happens. Sometimes, he's headachy, which I understand, or he's restless and just needs some fresh air. Fifteen minutes of racing around in the backyard, chasing squirrels, or dribbling his soccer ball, is usually enough to get him back on track. But, there are some days where he's just... well, I hope my supply of patience doesn't run out. So, I sent a note to his teacher this morning, explaining the situation, and my philosophy about it. He's going to be unhappy. He's going to hate it, because he's so proud of how well he does on those tests.

What am I going to say to him?

"Well, hmmm... can you think of a reason that you didn't do so well on that test?"

Sometimes, you have to let your kids fail. It's how they learn. You make mistakes, and you learn not to do it again. What I WANT to do is force him to study, or to keep trying, or to stop climbing on that, or to make him put that down...

What I do is step back, and let him learn. I make sure he's safe, and I let him learn. I shove my hands in my pockets so no one can see me clenching them into fists, bite my lip to keep from crying, and watch. When it's over, I pick him up, brush him off, kiss the boo-boo better, snuggle him close, and we talk. And I let HIM tell me what went wrong, and what he could have done to prevent it/do it better/avoid it.

It's one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life.

It's my job. I'm a mom.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Pong, Part Deaux

I had a very good reason for appealing for all of y'all's help the other day, and thank you, those who answered me. I've figured out what to do for the shoes... now to figure out how to deoderize the shin guards, which have reached degrees of awfulness that would boggle the human mind.

I had noticed this... odor... floating through the house. It was oddly familiar, and yet... I couldn't place it. It was driving me nuts though, and I kept looking and looking for the source, because it got stronger, and stronger, and worse and worse, until I began to dread that something had died under our house, something large like... an elephant. A large, semi-decayed elephant must have died under our house after being force-fed Limburger cheese... and sauerkraut. With onions. At high tide. On a manure pile. You get the picture.

The Husbandly One joined me in my quest, walking around the house, sniffing, frowning, lifting things, thinking maybe one of the kids (possibly the Impossible Son) had left a food bomb somewhere, even after all our lectures about throwing things in the garbage, etc. Or maybe one of the cats had killed a rat/mouse/rodent of unknown origin and it was rotting next to the elephant.

I pretty much stumbled over the answer. I was walking through the hall between my kids' rooms, and fell over the Impossible Son's shoes, shinguards, and socks, which he had let fall in a little pile against the wall. I started to walk past it when the central air came on, and I paused to look back at the little pile, frowning. Took a minute for it to click. They were all lying in a little pile RIGHT UNDER THE INTAKE VENT!!! In other words, there they sat in a reeking little pile, emitting nearly VISIBLE clouds of eau de PONG, and IT WAS BEING SUCKED INTO THE AIR CONDITIONER AND CIRCULATED THROUGH THE HOUSE!!!


You bet your BIPPY, I picked the pile up, dropped it in the laundry room, then went to open the windows and air out the house!!

I think I would have preferred the dead elephant!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Pong

All right, you lovely folks who live where excuse me, FOOTBALL is as ubiquitous as baseball is here... I need your help. I need your help with... the Pong.

Yes, that's right, that's what I said. The Pong.

It's the shin guards and the cleats. Oh my gods, they have like... a life of their own. I've tried Febreeze, and the Pong takes the Febreeze by the neck and beats the shit out of it. After a game, when my kids take off their socks, shin guards, and cleats, the Husbandly One and I frantically roll down the windows and hang our heads outside while our eyes water and our lungs try to escape our bodies. Dear Merlin in the Summerland, it's... it's... awful. Please, please, please tell me y'all have a solution that doesn't involve a bonfire?

Or a flamethrower? HazMat suits?

Can I just throw the shinguards in the washing machine? Alone? I mean, I don't want to pass the Funk along, if you know what I mean. But...their shoes, oh, geez.... it's just... horrifying.

I don't think there's enough deoderizer on the PLANET!!! The Pong is starting to take over. The cleats and shinguards are no longer welcome in the house.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Little Man Boogie

My son's latest Dance of Joy is to a song by the Japanese group, GreeeeN. It's called "Unity" and I have to say, it's a good thing I like that song, too, or I would seriously lose my mind.

He loves dancing to it. He literally flails around in ecstasies of joy, arms flying, mouth open in a big ol' snaggle-toothed grin, until he falls, exhausted and panting, onto the floor or the nearest piece of furniture. The moment he can breathe again, he shouts, "AGAIN!!"

It's hilarious. And sometimes, he gets me in on the action, too, though I have to admit, my flailing isn't quite as abandoned or enthusiastic. It's exhausting, but fun!

He even got me to send it to a friend, saying, "I think he'll really like it. It'll make him happy, and want to dance every time he hears it! He'll put it on and think, 'yay, dance party' and he'll jump around, just like we are, right, Mama?"

Note to Friend: You have to put it on, think "Yay, dance party!" and jump around your kitchen/bedroom/living room, whatever, and wave your arms over your head (just think, "what kind of dancing will embarrass me most and make me feel like a complete idiot if anyone sees me?" and you've got it down) and just be generally silly, while chanting, "Oh, oh, oh, o-o-oh, OH!!" with the chorus. There will be a test on Friday.

I had to listen to it four times on the way to school this morning. Not that I mind. I'm just glad I don't have to listen to, say... Britney Spears. Or gansta rap (oh, my pounding head!). We listen to a lot of different stuff on the way to school, thanks to our rather eclectic musical tastes. Miss Priss has taken to listening to a J-Pop boy group called "Arashi" and also conditionally likes the Jonas Brothers. I say conditionally, because she (1) doesn't want to admit to it, and (2) says she can only listen to them if she doesn't have to look at them, or think about what they look like.

*merry laughter*

Looks like my kids are going to have as wide a musical taste range as their parents do.

Little Man Boogie

My son's latest Dance of Joy is to a song by the Japanese group, GreeeeN. It's called "Unity" and I have to say, it's a good thing I like that song, too, or I would seriously lose my mind.

He loves dancing to it. He literally flails around in ecstasies of joy, arms flying, mouth open in a big ol' snaggle-toothed grin, until he falls, exhausted and panting, onto the floor or the nearest piece of furniture. The moment he can breathe again, he shouts, "AGAIN!!"

It's hilarious. And sometimes, he gets me in on the action, too, though I have to admit, my flailing isn't quite as abandoned or enthusiastic. It's exhausting, but fun!

He even got me to send it to a friend, saying, "I think he'll really like it. It'll make him happy, and want to dance every time he hears it! He'll put it on and think, 'yay, dance party' and he'll jump around, just like we are, right, Mama?"

Note to Friend: You have to put it on, think "Yay, dance party!" and jump around your kitchen/bedroom/living room, whatever, and wave your arms over your head (just think, "what kind of dancing will embarrass me most and make me feel like a complete idiot if anyone sees me?" and you've got it down) and just be generally silly, while chanting, "Oh, oh, oh, o-o-oh, OH!!" with the chorus. There will be a test on Friday.

I had to listen to it four times on the way to school this morning. Not that I mind. I'm just glad I don't have to listen to, say... Britney Spears. Or gansta rap (oh, my pounding head!). We listen to a lot of different stuff on the way to school, thanks to our rather eclectic musical tastes. Miss Priss has taken to listening to a J-Pop boy group called "Arashi" and also conditionally likes the Jonas Brothers. I say conditionally, because she (1) doesn't want to admit to it, and (2) says she can only listen to them if she doesn't have to look at them, or think about what they look like.

*merry laughter*

Looks like my kids are going to have as wide a musical taste range as their parents do.

Friday, October 5, 2007


Dear Practical Sister,

YOUR parakeet is an anti-social, semi-suicidal, psychopath.  She doesn't like people, she doesn't like other birds, and she has a thing about taunting predators ten times her size.  I do not like your bird.  In fact, my semi-tolerant dislike has now morphed into active hatred.

YOUR stupid bird taunted the cats most of the morning with her "Na-na-na-na-na, you can't GET me," chirp, shaking her tail feathers at them and just being generally... well... DUMB.  And I kept them off her.  But I had to take the kids to school, and in the rush to make sure they all remember their stuff, and to get them out the door AT THE SAME TIME, I wasn't going to stop and put her in the bathroom and close the door, though I may have to from now on.  Because when I got home, her cage was on the floor, and I was treated to a cooperative venture between three cats who were working industriously to open the top of the cage.

The moment she saw me, she flew OUT the open door of the cage (which the cats hadn't noticed) and STRAIGHT AT THE CATS (which they DID notice).

The Impertinent Daughter would have said I should have just stood back and told you later that she died of natural causes.  Because, of course, what is more natural than being killed by predators??

But I didn't.  I rushed in to save your stupid, brainless, VICIOUS bird, and what did I get?

Blood, Bets.  Lots and lots of blood.  MY blood.

I do not mind losing a little blood in a good cause.  This was not a good cause.  Your bird BIT ME!!!  She BROKE THE SKIN!!  And I might need stitches!!!  DAMN BIRD!!!!

I almost made a parakeet pancake.  But I didn't.  I won't squish YOUR bird.  And I won't let the cats have her, if I can help it.  But next time you have a pet you decide you can't keep?  Don't call me.  Really.  Don't be surprised if you wake up one morning with a bird cage on your front door step, because I drove all the way up to North Texas to abandon it on your doorstep.

And in case I didn't mention it before???


No love,

The Brat

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The way things are...

There are days when I don't mind my hearing difficulties... and there are days when I hate it with a passion. 

My hearing problem isn't mechanical.  It's not a fault in my ears, necessarily.  It's neurological, and really, there is no fix for that.  It's a glitch in my brain.  I mean, I hear just fine.  It's just that a lot of times, what I hear comes to me garbled.  

It's like this.  The Husbandly One will say something to me.  Like, "I am going to the store.  I am buying a loaf of bread.  I am buying a gallon of milk.  I am coming home."

Simple, right?

This is what I hear.  "I am going to the store.  I am buying a loaf of bread.  I am sliding in a wallow of silk.  I am coming home."


He'll repeat the entire thing to me, and I will continue to misunderstand the third sentence every time he repeats it, no matter how many times he repeats it.  What I have to do is read his lips, make him stop talking, repeat it to myself with the lip movements, and then finally understand he's telling me he's also going to buy a gallon of milk. 

I read lips a LOT.

Now, as you can imagine, this involves a great deal of frustration, for myself, and for those around me.  I repeat sentences back to people, not because I'm making fun of them, but because I'm trying to figure out what the hell they're saying.  Because I know a complete stranger didn't walk up to me and say, "Can you smell a beery sensation??"

More like, "Can you tell me the nearest gas station?"

Though the first sentence sounds a lot more fun.

Still, mostly my family and friends are very patient with me, and understanding.  They know immediately when I look like I'm about to laugh, when they didn't say anything funny, or panic, when they didn't say anything scary, that I didn't understand them, and they kindly repeat whatever they said for me, until I get it.  But sometimes... sometimes they lose patience with me, and oh, doesn't that hurt?

I can't help this glitch in my ears.  I wish I could.  I wish there was a magic bullet to cure it.  Hearing aids?  No, see, then I would just misunderstand you... LOUDER.  

Sometimes, I get so frustrated, I find a nice corner to hide in and have a good cry.  Or a bad cry.  Whatever.  Sometimes, I just... avoid everybody.  It's easier.  Sometimes, I wish everyone came with teleprompters glued to their foreheads so I could figure out what they're saying.

Want to know the real reason I don't watch tv anymore?  Do y'all have any idea how many characters speak with their backs to the cameras?  Oh, and then, there's loud music blaring over their words, so the garble gets even worse.  Subtitles are wonderful...except, you miss half the action, because you're busy reading the words at the bottom of the screen.  

I know, I'm whining.  It's just. some days are easier than others, and today is a really crummy day.  The Husbandly One lost patience with me, and when I bit my lip hard, trying not to cry, he snarled, "Oh, get over it!" at me.  He wasn't trying to be mean.  He was just... frustrated.  

And I got frustrated right back.  I had to leave the room, because I really, really didn't want to cry in front of him, and snapped, "Yes, I should get over it, because I should be used to people snapping at me because I can't understand them, right?"

No, not a good day at all.  

And I am a terribly sulky person sometimes.  After I'm over my mad, I'll come out and want to be friends again, but right now?  I'm going to pout and sulk, and just be generally unpleasant for a while.  


Friday, September 28, 2007

The Things That Go BANG In The Night

You know how it is, when you finally get to bed, you're so very tired, and your head hits the pillow? You pull the quilts up over your shoulder, snuggle into your warm, significant other, and just dive into sleep? It's wonderful, actually.


There I was, drifting into one of those truly puzzling dreams I sometimes have, where this lady from the local feed store kept squawking, "Ye'gotta put yer hand up the chicken's cloacha (she pronounced it loudly, "clo-WACK-uh") and feel your way to the omnibus..."


And THEN... there was this resounding BANG!! CRASH!! CLAAAANG!!! from the living room. I thought, damn, did the cats knock the cookie sheets off the counter?? Then I thought, no, they knocked the stereo off the bookcase, dammit. Then, I heard the frantic squawking, and sat up to shake the Husbandly One awake. "They knocked the bird cage down again!!"

He didn't want to get up. I can't blame him, really.

So I got up and went into the living room, turning on lights, fully expecting to see a slightly dismembered, though apparently still alive, parakeet hanging from either Muta or Calcifer's mouth. The cage (which is huge by the way) was on the floor, top off (because the cats have figured out how to take it off), there was bird seed, bird poop, and water everywhere, as well as potting soil, DVD's, and inexplicably, my kids' soccer shoes. The bird was behind the entertainment center, scolding the cats furiously, who were all stalking her, and I swear they all had that same smirk on their face that the Grinch gets when he's plotting something evil!! I grabbed the Instrument of Cat Discipline and started squirting like mad while shouting, "Honey, the cage is down, the bird is out, the cats know it... HELP ME, DAMMIT!!!"

It was not fun. Have I mentioned that this bird is psycho?? At one point, I had her in the kitchen, and almost got her to perch on my hand. Almost. At the last second, she flew shrieking at my face. I ducked, she flew into the dining room, the hall, and into the bathroom. As I followed, I discovered the dog had left me a nice, squishy, smelly, and still warm present in front of the bathroom door. It was not my night, was it?

The Husbandly One corraled Miss Stinky Anti-social Parakeet by taking the top part of the cage and slipping it over her in the bathroom. She flew up to escape, and thus became convinced she was trapped in her cage again. Apparently, thinking up diabolical plots to dismember us all with her beak takes up all her teeny, tiny brain power, and therefore, she was incapable of thinking, "Hey, all I gotta do is fly down and I'm outta here!!"

Stupid bird.

We got the cage put back together and she's back on her high spot. My morning will be occupied with removing bird seed and other... things... from the living room floor, the couch, the fish tank, the window sills, the ceiling fan, and probably a whole lot of other places I'll discover as I clean.

Did I mention how much I hate this bird?

*grabs broom, dustpan, bucket, sponges, and other cleaning supplies, muttering imprecations under her breath as she departs for the living room*

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Give him a hand... or a finger...

When it comes to buying gifts for me, the Husbandly One is either hit or miss. When he hits, he hits it right on the nose, as we saw when he got me the FIFA rules of soccer book. But when he misses? Oh man, does he do it spectacularly!!

Case in point, this morning. As is his usual habit, he left my birthday present where I would find it when I got up this morning. On the computer keyboard. The card made me snicker, and then I opened the beautifully wrapped present and then the box and stared at it, thinking, "WTF??"

I know he's always nervous buying jewelry for me. He shouldn't be. All he has to do, really, is look at what I already wear. It's not like I wear a lot of jewelry. Mostly earrings, sometimes a necklace, bracelets... It's not rocket science.

So, I found myself staring at this... necklace. It's got these HUGE chunks of what the card inside said were red coral (I hope not, because then it would be illegal, unless it was made from recovered, pre 1960 jewelry). But, the chunks don't look like red coral so much as they look like the stumps of bloody fingers.

Yeah. That's exactly what I said.

My first thought was, "Why does my husband want me to wear bloody fingers on a chain around my neck???" I looked around the bedroom almost fearfully, in case there were more boxes. After all, maybe this was part of a Halloween costume, and maybe I was going to be a wild Malay pirate, or a cannibal, or something. A serial killer with trophies, perhaps??

Then he came in the bedroom, peeking around the door to peer at me hopefully. "Do you like it?"

Guys, I gave it my best shot. I tried very very hard to pretend it was the best thing since sliced bread, but y'all gotta know, I can't lie worth a damn. I struggled, tried to smile and say, "I love it!" but instead, what came out was a snort of laughter, then more, until I was laughing so hard I was in pain!! Yes, there were tears streaming down my face, and he drooped, which made me laugh even harder, and he said, "You don't like it."

"I'm sorry," I said, trying to be coherent. "I'm so, so sorry, honey, I'm trying my damndest, but no, I... oh, this is just so not me."

"Well, it's art jewelry, so, I thought you'd like it!" he protested.

OMG. No, no, no, no. I am not a big, chunky jewelry type person. Never have been. Not even with bracelets. And I do have some art jewelry, made by artists that I know, and some of it I wear, and some of it I don't. But, no, not a big chunky jewelry person. Especially big chunky jewelry that looks like dismembered body parts!

Fortunately, he still had the receipt, and he literally ordered me to go exchange it today, so I have done that, and got something a little more my style.

What a birthday this is shaping up to be so far, I must say!!

*still laughing*

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


I have almost no memory at all of last night.

I do remember being extraordinarily tired. This is not new, because I have been very, very tired lately, literally putting the kids in bed, then going and falling face-first into mine and not being conscious again until morning. But I hurt my back yesterday, don't ask me how, because I have no idea, none at all! And so, though I was very tired and wanted desperately to go to sleep, it wasn't going to happen because... the pain would keep me awake!

Thing is, after a certain point, everything got kinda hazy, and I just can't flog my memory into helping me out. That's kinda frustrating.

This morning was entertaining, but only in an, "oh geez, I hate mornings like this," kind of way. The Husbandly One shook me awake (he's a Morning Person, and I am not) and left to do his thing. I got up, shuffled into the kitchen for caffeine, and went into my morning routine. This means sitting down at the computer to check my LJ while my brain wakes up, then getting up and finishing the kids lunches. So, there I am, looking at my list of "things to do" and I have the Impossible Son's lunch box open in front of me, pondering what to put in, and I think, "You know, some nice fresh fish would be just the thing!! The fresher, the better!!" So, I put on my hip waders and go out into the backyard and walk to the lovely stream that is running through it. It's a nice stream, about three feet wide or so, and about knee deep, and it's just FULL of fish!! YAY!! I conveniently remembered to pick up the bucket by the door on my way out, so I wade out into the water and bend over and start catching fish with one hand, checking them carefully before either dropping them back in the water, or into my bucket. It's about half full when I decide I have enough. "Mr. Manzie is going to love this!" I think happily, and start to climb out of the stream, when I feel this extremely sharp pain in my back, and then the Husbandly One shakes me and says, "Honey, you went back to sleep again. Wake up!!"

I hate mornings like that! I hate it when I dream I'm awake, and go through my morning routine, except it's slightly off, but I don't notice it until it gets really weird or someone wakes me up!!

Fish? I think the Impossible Son would go ballistic!! Not to mention the smell!!

I think I'm going to go soak in a tub of hot water and see if I can't shake this back ache!!

*hobbles off to the bathroom*

Saturday, September 8, 2007


To the 150 year old guy who was joggin' down the street behind my house in a pair of Speedos...

Please, please, please, put on some shorts. I know you're proud of the fact that you're 150 years old, and hung like a horse (OMG!!!), but really, we don't need to see that. I'm sorry, but your bits do not bounce around in an appealing sort of way, and sweet young things (to you, that is) like me aren't the least bit... attracted... when you turn, wave, whistle, and say, "Hey, babe, how ya doin'?"

I felt like I should have gotten a big stick and started beatin' him down for prizes, you know what I mean??

And to the lovely lady (I'm bein' REAL sarcastic here) who just HAD to walk her darling Poochie-Poo on the walking track, that is for PEOPLE ONLY...

If you're going to do that, then pick up Poochi-Poo's business. I don't wanna step in it, and nobody else on the track does, either. And you know, most of those folks will get right in your face and tell you and your walking dust mop where to get off. I was nice. I stopped by my car and got a trash bag for you, and no, I wasn't gonna pick it up. It's YOUR dog's shit, YOU pick it up. If you don't want dog shit in YOUR yard, then... don't have a dog!! When you have a dog, or a cat, or any pet animal, shit happens. They do not come with self disposals. It's their human's job to pick it up and dispose of it properly. I can tell you were once a mom, you changed your kids' diapers, poop is poop, GET OVER IT!!

And to the teenaged boy who nearly nailed me with his truck as he turned into the parking lot, talking on the phone while the stereo was cranked up ALL THE WAY...

I know your mother, son. Enjoy that phone while it lasts, because by the time you get home, it's gone, baby. You're lucky I'm agile and move fast, and that you DIDN'T hit MY parked car, and the car next to it as you swerved into, and took up, two empty spots. Grinning at me and saying, "Yo, my bad," doesn't cut it. And the truly sad thing is, the school district thinks you're a good example to the other kids, and they're trying to get all the other kids to look like you with their cookie-cutter dress code. Too bad the packaging looks nice, but the contents suck.

Give me a Goth kid any day!

Okay, rant over. That just... just... chaps my hide when stuff like this happens before my day is good started!!!

*snarls, and goes to look for chocolate*

Sunday, September 2, 2007

These Dreams...

 I had the oddest dream this morning.  For some reason, the Blonde Sister and I had gone to a particular great-aunt's house, Great Aunt Nosy, I've called her in previous posts.  Because she was.  Incredibly nosy, that is.  One day, I might devote an entire post to her, but today is not that day.  Aunt Nosy has been dead for about 17 years, but in this dream, she was still alive.  Gosh, that would make her, like... 110, I think!  

Anyhow, Aunt Nosy had been in a nursing home, and for some reason, she was told she could go live in her house again.  My dad was worried about her being alone in her house, so the Blonde Sister and I were the suckers er... the ones deputized to go check on her.  The Practical Sister was conspicuously absent.  So, we went to her house, and knocked on the door.  We heard these clunking and thumping sounds from inside the house, as if some large, heavy person with really big shoes was walking around the house.  We knocked, and knocked, and just kept hearing the clunking sounds.  So we went around to the back, and argued about who was going to go in first.  Finally, the Blonde Sister claimed executive privilege, and declared that since I was a tomboy, and well versed in climbing trees, it was MY duty to go in first.  I wanted to know what climbing trees had to do with unlocking doors.  She pointed out that we had no key, and that I would have to climb the tree by the back porch window to get in through the unlocked window.  Never mind that this didn't exist in the real life version of this particular house.  So, I found myself climbing the tree and falling into the house, where I heard the thumping and clunking sounds, and hurried to let my sister in, so we could both be ridiculously frightened together.

What else are sisters for, right?

Now, I'm not sure how it happened, but at some point, when we crept into the kitchen, calling out softly, "Aunt Ruby?  Aunt Ruby?  Are you there?" my sister decided to open the silverware drawer.  And she frowned.  "What the heck is this?" she asked, scrunching up her face as she lifted the item.  I stared at it, and as she was turning it in her hands, she flicked a switch and it started buzzing.  We stared at each other, and burst out laughing as we realized what it was.  It was a really huge, kinda scary looking VIBRATOR!!!

Then the truly surreal part happened.  A large, woebegone Labrador Retriever like dog came into the kitchen, and he was wearing these really HUGE shoes on his feet.  ALL FOUR OF THEM!!!  Men's shoes, and they had been taped on with duct tape!!  As we stood there, clinging to each other and laughing helplessly, our aunt came in and said, "oh, hello, were you the ones knocking?  I'm movin' kinda slow today, I'm SO tired, it was SO hard to tape those shoes on old Rusty!"

Seems she had taped the shoes onto the dog so burglars would think there was a man in the house!  A very CLUMSY man who had ... TWO LEFT FEET!!

At that point, I woke up, probably with a puzzled frown on my face, and I thought, that's odd, I can still hear that dog trying to walk around in those shoes!  Then I realized, the thumping and clunking was coming from the kitchen.  Brave soul that I am, I got up to investigate, and found the cats had figured out how to open the kitchen cabinet where their food is kept, and they enjoyed that so much that they were abusing their power by opening it AGAIN AND AGAIN!!

When I finally got back to bed, it finally sank in on me just how damn funny that dream was, and I lay there laughing and laughing, disturbing the Husbandly One.  He thought I was laughing in my sleep (yes, I do that, too) and started to nudge me, which made me laugh even harder.  All in all, it took me a good hour to calm down enough to go back to sleep.

Which probably explains why my day today has been so surreal!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Tales of the Cookie Thief...

I baked cookies today.  Giant ginger cookies, big, chewy, gingery... the kids love them.  This is the second time this week I've made them, and they don't last long.

So, I had the first batch sitting on the cooling rack, heard the timer go off, and went to the kitchen to get the second batch out of the oven.  Now, the Impossible Son had come in a few minutes earlier to ask me a question, munching on a cookie he had filched from the cooling rack (no, he can't wait for them to cool off, he has to eat them RIGHT NOW!).  He wanted to know if his friends Sebastian and Gerardo could come in.  I said no, because I am also in the process of tidying up the living room, and ... well... baking cookies!  So, disappointed, he trudged back into the kitchen while I noodled around on the computer (translation, I was writing), and I heard a clatter.  "Hey, hands out of the cookie dough!" I shouted in the direction of the kitchen and got up.  The timer went off, and I walked into the kitchen, picking up the hot pads and looking at the cooling rack... and I stopped.  It was EMPTY!!  There had been 9 cookies sitting on that rack, cooling.  I heard the front door slam, and raced to the kitchen door to look out the front window.  There he was, racing across the front yard, bent over something that he was carrying in his arms.  I rushed to the front door, yanked it open, and bellowed his name just as he disappeared around the end of the hedge.  He reappeared with a mouthful of something, looking apprehensively toward me.

"Wha..?" he asked, bits of cookie flying out of his mouth.

"Where are the cookies?" I asked, trying not to laugh.

"Wha oo-ies?" he asked, manfully trying to swallow.

"ASK before you take the cookies, Little Man," I said.  I could already hear his friends yelling, "Hey, aren't you bringing the cookies?"

They ate them ALL!!

I guess I make some pretty good cookies.  And I tell you, this batch isn't lasting any longer than the ones I made earlier this week.  I give them another hour, maybe.  For now, I think I better hurry back to the kitchen if I want to get at least ONE of the products of my labor!

Friday, May 25, 2007

How to Bathe a Cat...

First, buy a suit of armor...

Or wear heavy denim.

Make sure to take at least six shots of whiskey first, to dull the pain... oh wait... we haven't bathed the cat yet.

Okay... first fill sink with warm water. Have shampoo nearby, and have a partner nearby, also swathed in heavy denim, to catch the cat whenif it escapes.

Make sure partner isn't prone to fleeing and slamming door behind himthem.

Lovingly cradle cat to chest, stroking it gently, scratching it behind the ears while cooing reassureances into its ear. Don't let it see the sink full of water. Don't let it see the shampoo. Better yet, don't let it see the bathroom. Consider blindfolding cat. Give up idea when you realize you'd have to let it go to do that, and your partner won't come anywhere near you while holding annoyed cat.

Gently lower cat into warm water while keeping a firm hold on the scruff of cat's neck. This will keep them moderately still and allow you a modicum of control of cat while bathing. Hey! I SAID a MODICUM!!!

mod·i·cum (mŏd'ĭ-kəm) n. pl. mod·i·cums or mod·i·ca (-kə) A small, moderate, or token amount: "England still expects a modicum of eccentricity in its artists" (Ian Jack). [Middle English, from Latin, from neuter of modicus, moderate, from modus, measure; see med- in Indo-European roots.]

Okay, everybody got that?

SO, we're bathing the cat. Pour warm water gently over the squalling, struggling demon cat until coat is wet. Attempt to dribble shampoo over cat's body, but as the cat flails, end up actually squirting it in partner's eye. From four feet away.

Fight partner over spigot rights while also trying to keep cat from disembowling you with hind claws. Shove partner away from sink with a stern, "There IS a bathtub!" and resist urge to plunge cat's head under watersquirt shampoo in partner's other eye just for good measure.

Finally get shampoo on cat and start lathering, being sure to get all areas, including stomach, under the chin, neck, behind the ears and....

Suddenly realize you're going to have to let go of the cat long enough to shampoo the scruff of the neck.

Eye dripping partner speculatively.

Watch door slam as partner makes his escape. (He knows you far too well)

Let go of scruff and grab cat under chest to shampoo neck. Ignore water dripping into your shoes as cat flails and tries to scrabble up your arm to escape evil water.

Try to grab scruff again, only to confront the problem of... it's soapy, it's slippery, and... the cat is wise to you.

Look at tattered remains of denim shirt sleeves, and realize... you still have to rinse the cat OFF.

Look at furious cat, look at door, look at sink full of warm soapy water.

Look at shower speculatively.

Turn on shower, grab cat by slippery scruff, and hold cat under the shower.

Ignoring lacerations on arms, wrap cat in large beach towel and suffocate lovingly tell cat next time, I'll BURN the damn fleas offwhat a good kitty he/she is. Open door and hand struggling bundle to partner and call him a wuss ask him to dry the cat off, please.

Remove sodden, shredded remains of shirt. Eye shredded, bloody remains of arms. Decide next time cat needs a bath, LET THE DAMN VET DO IT!!!