Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Twas The Night Before Christmas

It is 45 minutes before Christmas!! YAY! I meant to post this earlier in the day, but mom and son are here and it just didn't happen. This poem was in a Mad Magazine when I was a teenager and at one point I had it memorized. I am almost 60 now so I can't remember every verse (I still remember most of it though), it is still think it one of my favorite poems ever, even though it has not yet come to fruition, so hat's off to Al Jaffee and Mad Magazine years after they stopped production:

"Twas the night before Christmas, 
And all through the gloom 
Not a creature was stirring; 
There just wasn't room; 
The stockings were hanging 
In numbers so great, 
We feared that the walls 
Would collapse from the weight! 

The children like cattle 
Were packed off to bed; 
We took a quick count; 
There were three-hundred head; 
Not to mention the grown-ups-- 
Those hundreds of dozens 
Of uncles and inlaws 
And twice-removed cousins! 

When outside the house 
There arose such a din! 
I wanted to look 
But the mob held me in; 
With pushing and shoving 
And cursing out loud, 
In forty-five minutes 
I squeezed through the crowd! 

Outside on the lawn 
I could see a fresh snow 
Had covered the people 
Asleep down below; 
And up in the sky 
What should strangely appear 
But an overweight sleigh 
Pulled by countless reindeer! 

They pulled and they tugged 
And they wheezed as they came, 
And the red-suited driver 
Called each one by name: 
"Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! 
Now, Prancer and Vixen! 
On, comet! On, Cupid! 
On Donder and Blitzen!" 

"Now, Melvin! Now, Marvin! 
Now, Albert and Jasper! 
On, Sidney! On, Seymour! 
On Harvey and Casper! 
Now, Clifford! Now, Max"-- 
But he stopped, far from through; 
Our welcoming house-top 
Was coming in view! 

Direct to our house-top 
The reindeer then sped 
With the sleigh full of toys 
And St. Nick at the head; 
And then like an earthquake 
I heard on the roof 
The clomping and pounding 
Of each noisy hoof! 

Before I could holler 
A warning of doom, 
The whole aggregation 
Fell into the room; 
And under a mountain 
Of plaster and brick 
Mingled inlaws and reindeer 
And me and St. Nick; 

He panted and sighed 
Like a man who was weary; 
His shoulders were stooped 
And his outlook was dreary: 
"I'm way behind schedule," 
He said with a sigh, 
"And I've been on the road 
Since the first of July!" 

'Twas then that I noticed 
The great, monstrous sack, 
Which he barely could hold 
On his poor, creaking back; 
"Confound it!" he moaned, 
"Though my bag's full of toys, 
I'm engulfed by the birthrate 
Of new girls and boys!" 

Then, filling the stockings, 
He shook his sad face, 
"This job is a killer! 
I can't take the pace! 
This cluttered old world 
Is beyond my control! 
There are even millions 
Up at the North Pole!" 

"Now I'm late!" he exclaimed, "And I really must hurry! 
By now I should be over Joplin, Missouri!" 
But he managed to sigh as he drove out of sight, 
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

Happy Christmas Everyone! I hope your Christmas is absolutely wonderful!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Read Another Blog

I follow the Graceful Grandma blog and it is generally fan-damn-tastic, but the other day she out did herself. You have to read it. It is called the Christmas Shopper. You will love it. I swear!


Monday, December 15, 2014

Banana Jesus

So, I can't remember if I have mentioned my families affinity for bananas. Not eating them. Having one in your car. I was telling a co-worker about this and thought - Hey, that would be a good blog. So I tried to check my blog to see if I had mentioned it before and if I have, for the life of me I can't find it. So, I am risking repetition. If you know about bananas in my families cars, feel free to skip this. I completely understand. I will be brief in the event you just HAVE to read but know about our bananas.

Every time anything is mentioned about banana, my mind goes to my Mom and Stephen Colbert (a recent addition to the memory banks).
Many years ago my family, my sister’s family and my mom were getting together for something and we were going out to dinner when Amy (my sister’s daughter and mostly an adult) said something about already being hungry. My mom pipes up and says, “Well, I have a banana in my car.” (Which means, it was probably ½ a banana - because she NEVER finishes anything - and it also means it had been in the car at least several days because we were in Dahlonega and she had travelled from FL). Who would want to eat that??!! But she was absolutely sure that an old 1/2 banana was exactly what Amy needed at that exact moment. I think what Amy  - well all of us - really needed at that exact moment was TO GET IN THE CAR AND GO TO THE RESTAURANT!
I was in Walmart a short time after that and saw plastic fruit - including bananas. It was too perfect! If I bought ALL the plastic bananas at our Walmart, then we could all have a plastic banana in our car in the event that another banana emergency arose!

Fast forward a few years. We had another family get together for my Mom’s 80th birthday party this year, we were all sitting around and laughing about the banana (because we bring it up every time we see her) and making other ridiculous banana jokes and someone wondered what would be the weirdest thing a banana could be and someone said, “A banana Jesus.” We all laughed because I mean come on - what the heck is a banana Jesus. BUT, my mom did not laugh. She has no sense of humor about religion and she was so offended about the joke that just to mess with her, (yes, age is given no pass, we would mess with a 100 year old given the chance and the right joke!) we continued to insert the banana Jesus line in almost every conversation all weekend long. She eventually got over herself (not really). A few days after I got home from all the fun, frivolity and banana Jesus jokes, my sister told me I had to watch Stephen Colbert at Comic Con. It was unbelievable. Stephen actually was ‘fake’ plugging a movie about Jesus and Banana Man. I nearly lost my mind!! 

How coincidental is that?? He stole our idea!! Well, actually he ran in a direction my family would have never been able to come up with. But he came really close to thievery - real close...
Make sure you watch both parts.Thank you Mr. Colbert for proving to my family that God does indeed have a sense of humor.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Walmart Drive-By - Of Our Wallets

Do you ever feel like you have been in a drive-by – of sorts – after you have made your weekly run to Walmart? I guess I should include the ‘daily run’ humanoids if you are obsessive about grocery or personal item needs OR my husband. I also should not single out Walmart because they are not the only offender of this deplorable drain on my – I mean my husband’s – wallet. I also am going to add that I believe one my husband’s quests in life is to hit every Walmart in every town in the world; twice if he had the time. But no one has that kind of time.

Back to my story: Each time the cash register total for that day’s foray into consumerism is revealed, it has gotten so bad that it feels to me like I have been hit by a cash register bullet as the gunman cashier casually tells you the cost of the 3 bags of nothingness you have in your cart. A nameless shooter, I mean cashier (Stop prejudging me! Yes, I know they have name tags on, so technically I do know their name but I am trying to be dramatic here so go with it) who casually shoots my wallet with their outrageous total and then forgets their crime the minute I walk away with my bags and my (I mean my husband’s) empty dead wallet. I am not a person. I am a debit card.

This happens every Sunday when I accompany my main squeeze (aka husband, aka victim), list in hand, to Walmart to stock up for the week. Of course we never just buy what is on the list, but we don’t go crazy either. The most expensive thing we buy is Zantac. Thank you age and timeworn esophageal tissue. We don’t even buy that each time, but every week the cost of the aforementioned supplies ALWAYS exceeds our expectations, our budget and probably outdoes the total Gross National Product for the nation for any given quarter.

The problem? We don’t make that much money!! I have not gotten a raise in 2 years at my job. Heck this year, my employer is so tight on the budget we aren’t even getting the usual $20 Publix gift card. But then again the corporate wheels on the machine of supply and demand do not care if I got a raise or a $20 turkey. So, bottom line, my paycheck stays the same – but the cost of groceries goes up! Thank God – as I mentioned before – I don’t have to pay for them because my husband HAS gotten raises – so it is his job.

But me not paying for the groceries is not the point. I mean no one should have to focus on a problem that really isn’t their problem to begin with! But, don’t stop reading just because I am complaining about something that has absolutely no effect on my personal budget at all – or does it??

If my husband didn’t have to sacrifice obscene amounts of his ‘disposable’ income on necessities think of what I could have!! A tummy tuck, a quilt from The Country Store (so out of middle America’s income range) Dinosaur DNA, Glade Plug-In FANS (they don’t make them anymore – WTH), EVERYTHING from Pottery Barn, the diamond ring I found at the jewelers this weekend, a Tesla, retirement, RETIREMENT.

The list is endless. Well, actually it could all end at just retirement, but that again isn’t my real point.

I thought it was just my husband and I complaining about the cost of things. But yesterday as we were walking into Walmart, another couple was walking out. Guess what they were doing – guess. Nevermind, you are taking too long. They were looking over their receipt asking each other, ‘How did we spend so much money? We hardly have anything!” It was like watching ourselves. We stopped, we stared, we laughed, we danced, we sang, we asked the whole world to sing along with us…not really. We just laughed.

So, we are not alone in our sentiments. Not that I thought we were, but it never hurts to hear the exact words you have uttered repeatedly, come out of someone else’s mouth. It was another successful Walmart drive-by, but for a different innocent victim. I wonder how many there are. Why doesn’t it make the news? Wallets dead, all over the ground, shot, stripped of their cash and credit cards, slowly dying and no one fights for them! No one calls 911! What is wrong with the world? It is time to end the suffering. OOOOKKKK, definitely medication time. Sorry, got off track there.

All that does not support my goal of retirement, but it does help brighten today just a little bit by knowing someone else has to put off retirement too. I know you are judging me again for saying that, but I don’t care right now and doesn’t the old saying go, ‘Misery loves company?’ I want company!

In any case, give me a few hours (until it is quitting time) and misery and I are going back to Walmart to get something we forgot – need anything??? Never mind, I probably can't afford it anyway.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thankful - OR - Gee, Thanks A Lot - Your Choice

It is Sunday November 30th, and it is late. I can usually go to bed with the sunset, but tonight I can't seem to relax enough to sleep even with sleep medication and beer. I hate to admit that, but hey, we are friends and friends don't judge.

I was looking forward to a very relaxing Thanksgiving week. A calm pre-Thanksgiving weekend and then I would work Monday & Tuesday (doing virtually nothing) and finally have the rest of the week off from my job and for 5 glorious days I would relax. No relatives, no children, no cooking of a giant meal - I have never been a huge fan of the Thanksgiving menu and all the faldural - and I would get up late, take naps, eat what I wanted, watch TV, movies, lounge in the hot tub, and bake pies if I so choose (a skill I have mastered in every sense of the work mastered). On Thanksgiving my husband and I would go out to eat. Ahhhh, what could possibly come close to the sublime karma that surrounded my plans.

The one part of this plan that I have not mentioned is that my son was going to come home from college on Saturday and be home until Tuesday before going to spend the rest of his break with his sister and go to his Aunt's house for the Turkey Day celebration. No worries, This did not really affect my relaxation plans and as long as I got to see my son for any length of time, even just a few days, I was HAPPY!

"But the best plans of mice and men oft go astray". If you don't know where that quote comes from, you need to do more reading.

Austin left UGA around 4:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon. At the outside he should have been home 4 hours and 45 minutes later. I was alone at home as my husband went to see a friend earlier that day at 1 p.m. that afternoon and was supposed to be home in 'a little while" but 7 hours later I still had not heard from him and at about 8:30 p.m. Austin called. Not the 'I am almost home' call as I had expected. I was on the home phone with my husband asking where the hell he was when Austin called on the my cell. I answered, so now I was talking to 2 family members - trying to make the conversations work. On my husbands end I heard that he would be heading home soon. On Austin's end I heard only the words 'accident' and 't-bone'. My husband didn't have a chance. I literally hung up on him as he heard me yell the word "WHAT??"

As I talked to Austin he told me that a girl had turned left in front of him and he had t-boned her and he was in Eatonton. Eatonton is 4 HOURS AWAY from where I am at that moment - at 9 o'clock Saturday night - and I was alone in my house. I flipped out. My son needed me and I would not be able to get there for HOURS. He just kept saying he was OK, (so was the other girl that obviously doesn't understand the dynamics of turning left at a light), but it was not enough for me. I wanted to be there NOW. To hug, console, cry, give the stink eye to the girl that turned in front of him and to just generally have my son next to me.

I called and texted everyone I knew. No one was available. My sister eventually did leave her church service (her son was even preaching and I made her miss some of it) so I would have someone to talk to. I cussed like a sailor. I was mad, inconsolable, off the proverbial chain. My sister took it all in and tried to calm my nerves. She is a saint.

During all the back and forth calling with my sister, my son, my daughter, my son-in law and anyone else I could think of and getting no answers, my anxiety level sky rocketed. I needed someone who lived closer so that they could get to my son so he would not have to sit at a Dairy Queen for hours waiting for me to show up. Logan (son-in-law) finally got Sarah (my daughter - his wife) and she so graciously left a busy restaurant on a busy Saturday night (I am sure they were not thrilled) to go get Austin because she was at minimum 2.5 hours closer to him than I was. She retrieved him and his belongings and took him to her house. All that left me to do was to try to calm down and then get some rest and go to her house on Sunday to give him the long, hard hug that I needed to give him.

And so I drove to Atlanta on Sunday. And Eatonton on Monday to personally look at the car I loved that probably was no more. And home on Tuesday. And then there was car "looking" on Wednesday. Thanksgiving on Thursday - which I had to cook, because my son needed a good dose of home cooking.

Originally we had no intention of buying a car. I was going to drive a work truck and Austin was going to drive my Jeep Lola (She is a show girl - look up Barry Manilow and Copa Cabana if you have no idea what song I am talking about), although it would hurt almost as much as losing the 4 Runner in the prime of its life. But, I was trying to be practical. I could sacrifice my beloved Lola for a few weeks or months to save hassle and money. But of course it was not to be.

In our car 'looking' - which I really thought was 'looking' for me if my husband had his choice, I found that I did not like any of the cars Austin & I test drove. Not a one. Lola will always win in that arena. But of course Austin found a car he totally liked, but it was too much money. However - the car Gods were smiling down on the cute college boy - BLACK FRIDAY - apparently even car dealers are marking down prices for the once a year event; and mark down the price on the car he wanted they did. 

I saw the gleam in my son's eyes - but all I saw were dollar signs and hemorrhaging money in my eyes. But we have GREAT insurance company. Insurance company/bank/investment/anything you need company. We called. Believe it or not in less than 1/2 hour we had financing for this new car - in Austin's name - with a promise to refinance once we receive that payout (so his monthly payment would be less) for the 2001 Toyota 4 Runner for that 'total loss' - a tear still comes to my eyes over that statement.

We went and bought that car. We offered them less than the "Black Friday Special" markdown and they took it. I feel it was meant to be. So by Friday Austin had a new car - and they repaired the one flaw we noticed. He drove it home a happy man with a new lease on life. He is back at UGA now. His new ride got him there safely.

As for me, and I know I am being selfish, I am so sad about the loss of the 4 Runner, there is a history there, It is a great loss. I am also so sad that there was no 'time off' during this week. It was run, run, run, go, go, go. I was on the road or road testing cars for the bulk of the week. Not one nap was achieved. No resting, no relaxing, and to tell you the truth I really needed that.

But if you are like me, your world revolves around your children. They take precedence over everything and anything you THINK you are going to do. It is a double edged sword. A sword I would gladly wield until the very life drained from my body. There is nothing more important to me than that my children know I love them above anything else and would do anything - even sacrifice my life to help them.

That my friends, is what true parenting is. The situation could have ended much worse, but it didn't. I have my son. A car I can replace, my children I cannot. So in the end - Thanksgiving turned out to be a very thankful week indeed. No matter how tired I became in the end.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Going Off The Rails On a Crazy Train

Today there is no quest for happiness on my part. There is only the question why?!

This will not be one of my usual posts where I try to find humor in something or at least convey a situation that may not be humorous in a comical way. The voices in my head are screaming today and there is not enough white noise in the world to shut them up.

There was a shooting last night at FSU. Another shooting at a school; what the hell. What has transformed the minds of so many Americans that now the only answer to anyone’s pain or anger is to use a gun? I don’t understand it at all.

Every mass shooting I hear about makes me die a little inside as I wonder what has happened to our values and why we have gotten on some downward spiral into anarchy. Actually I know the answer, but it isn’t ‘politically correct’ so I will keep it to myself. Being ‘PC’ has also started to make me crazy because it has taken on a life of its own and it seems that no one is allowed to have an opinion anymore – unless it is also the opinion of whoever you are talking to. God forbid we ‘agree to disagree.’

This shooting hit me the hardest however because I live near FSU. It is just too close to home. I work at a small university that is about 30 minutes from FSU and my son goes to UGA.  I am too close geographically to the latest incident and my son is too geographically far away from me. So, we are both at schools and they seem to be escalating to #1 on the hit list.

My job is to collect tuition and fees. I am the one that gets all the angry phone calls from students and parents telling me I am wrong – that they don’t owe money – when I am right. So many times, even when I try to explain it calmly, the situation escalates; on the phone and in person. I have had to tell people ‘that I will never be able to tell them what they want to hear’ – literally. That never ends well. I have had to tell people that I will not talk to them until they calm down or until they stop cursing. The venom can be spewed at me for as little as $10. It has happened. It seems that hardly anyone is able to think rationally anymore – or do math.

I honestly wonder every day if I will go home that night. I wonder will I have made the wrong person angry. You just never know anymore.

I also wonder every day about my son at UGA. Will he be in the wrong place at the wrong time when someone loses their mind and wants to kill innocent people for no other reason than they are ‘hurting?”  How is that the answer to whatever pain they are in??!!

The news showed videos this morning that students had taken and streamed to their station. One was of a group of students huddling by the book shelves as the announcement played over the loud speaker about how there had been a shooting and what they were supposed to do. All I could think of during the video was what if Austin was one of those students? I am not the type of person that cries – ever. This made me cry.

It also made me think about when my daughter was at college and a tornado came through the town. Her call, from another person’s phone because she had to run to safety and she didn’t pick up her own phone, scared the living daylights out of me. She was fine, the town was not. But even so, I didn’t sleep for days. I still worry about her every day in Atlanta. Atlanta is a big, crazy city full of the same dangers.

But, I understand weather and what causes things like tornados (but it doesn’t mean I like them), conversely, this type of mentality – the shooting mentality – I DO NOT understand.

I grow tired of wondering everyday if this will be my last day on earth because someone else can’t cope. I am scared for the rest of my family. It seems no place is safe anymore and I hate that.

We are literally living the Ozzy Osbourne chorus of “Crazy Train”, and I am ready to get off.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Pain, Pills & Pies

I have been M.I.A. for a week or so. I was at my sister’s taking care of the poor wounded deer (I mean dear). Not that she can’t normally take care of herself – because she so totally can – WHILE she also takes care of everyone around her; but she had a broken wing and needed an extra set of paws.

Because of my metaphors, now you think we are animals – don’t you. WELL WE ARE! Tattooed, wild as they come, drug taking, drug smuggling, hard drinking, motorcycle riding ANIMALS. Wait a minute; what am I talking about? That is just me – she only has tattoos. But she wants to do all those things, she is just scared. Notice I didn’t mention anything about wild, crazy sex? Come on here – I am trying to realistic! Also FYI, I don’t smuggle drugs, it just sounded cool in that sentence, like I am a real bad-ass. I may not do all the other stuff either, just most of it, but I will leave that up to decide which categories you think I fit in. Don’t judge – you don’t know me.

Anyway, I took a few days off from my job (a.k.a. prison), rode up to my sister’s on my Harley (a.k.a.  2005 Jeep Liberty – but it has lots of awesome stickers on it!), while drinking some of the hard stuff (a.k.a. diet coke) on the way, after I had stopped at a my local dealer to buy a week’s worth of drugs (a.k.a. pies from the Mennonite bakery outside of town) because she had to have surgery for her broken wrist and needed my type of drugs (a.k.a. pies).

After assessing the situation (and unloading the pies) I initiated the taking care of the invalid; an invalid that definitely did not want to appear to be an invalid. But I coerced her or at least I tried. She would have none of it. This one armed wonder was a model of a three year old screaming, “BY MYSELF!” I took it as long as I could then I smacked her broken wrist (not really, I may be wild, but I am totally not mean to invalids and puppies) so she would take a pain pill (not pie this time) and




But like that aforementioned child, she slept all of about 20 minutes and then she was up again foraging for things she could do one handed – and find pie.

I was stunned and amazed at her resilience. She was like the Little Engine That Could.

‘I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”

And she usually always could!

I would have absolutely played the sick, infirmed patient that could not be bothered to move for as long as possible. “Give me a bell, so I may ring for service.” That would be me. “More pain killers please and also, bring me pie.” Peter Percival Patterson’s Pet Pig Porky would have been so proud. (If you don’t know what I am talking about – use this link: If you do – well – then we are BOTH old.

Once again my sister has totally defied the odds and amazed me. It takes A LOT to amaze me anymore. Everyone is so lazy, predictable and never offers you pie. They are so not like my incredible sister. My hat – or should I say – my cast – is off to you. I love you.

By the way, do you have any leftover pie I can eat? I need pie.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

This Is Long... - Part Deux - or - Again - For My Non French Speaking Readers

I don’t know what is going on around my house, but I am sure the spirits of the animals my husband have hunted have all congregated around and possessed my cats in an attempt to punish me for his crimes – and make me question my obsession with taxidermy. Chumps! It will never work! Never, I tell you!

So, in an effort not to tax my fingers too much today I will start by copying & pasting from yesterday (the only thing changed is the name of the day to protect the innocent):

Wednesday night, relaxing on the couch with my main squeeze when we heard a noise, a sound similar to – but not exactly like – a meow. I paused the TV. We wait motionless for more sounds and information. In saunters Stink, a limp animal dangling from both sides of his clenched teeth while he was barely meowing (because his mouth was too full), “Look at me! Look at me! Look what I brought you!” My husband and I said “SHIT” simultaneously. Not again! (see This Is Long, So Wait For The Next One If You Don't Have That Kind Of Time To Kill - But I Swear It Is Worth Reading)


Yep! Yet again, Stink graced us with a totally dead (or so we thought) flying squirrel. You can’t make this stuff up.

My husband immediately yells, “Oh my god, he brought back the same one from last night.”

“How is it possible that an old, overweight, and constantly vomiting cat could possibly catch ANYTHING? Let alone find the same exact squirrel and bring it home like it is now our new pet? I retort.

My husband countered with a scowl that kind of suggested that I couldn’t possibly believe this was NOT the same squirrel from the night before and if I didn’t believe it I must have to be drunk because no one in their right mind would not to come to that conclusion.

“Did he find a nest?” I asked ignoring his look of ridicule.

“Maybe,” he countered, although I could totally tell he thought I was an idiot for questioning his squirrel prowess. “It doesn’t matter though, this one is really dead. It is just laying here on the floor,” he added.

I peered in. Yep, curled up in the fetal position and not moving; a poor lifeless rodent. But, I have come to believe that what we think is dead – isn’t always dead.

I grabbed a large glass bowl (instead of the net - because nets are for LIVE animals) and quickly sat it over the poor departed creature because tonight, unlike last night, Stink was definitely trying to keep us away from his ‘dinner.’ It heightened the sense of urgency to do what must be done. As soon as I fully engulfed the poor unmoving creature in his/her glass coffin, he/she SAT UP. That is right, sat up, looked at me and said with his/her eyes – ‘Come on sister, make my night. I have teeth and I am not afraid to use them.”

I ignored the threat. I mean the creature was under a glass bowl on hardwood floor! It was a flying squirrel for heaven’s sake, not a ninja.

“IT’S ALIVE…IT’S ALIVE!!! I screamed in Dr. Frankensteinesque fashion.

My husband proposed that I take it back to the woods – like we did with the prior victim. Notice the suggestion was for me to do it? He had shoes on this time! What the hell?

However, it was at that moment it flashed across my cognitive reasoning, that this poor innocent living being may indeed be the same victim as last night and if it was and we only took it out to the woods again, would there not be the possibility that we may accidentally subject it to the same unthinkable fate tomorrow night? I cannot live in that kind of reality! I must break the cycle!

We must take it off. Far, far away to where murderers like Stink cannot find it; a place where it would be safe and loved. Well, at least safe. My husband thought I was crazy (like that is a new thought around our house). But I insisted. So he said if I would hold the Stink’s salvaged dinner, he would drive.

We traveled down the dirt road and came to a lovely grassy spot where the moon shone bright upon the trees full of nuts and berries while smiling woodland creatures with out-stretched paws waited to welcome the new member into their fold. I may have exaggerated there a little bit. But that is how I intend to keep that memory in my head so I can believe the little guy is safe and happy and living a carefree life in the woods. Never to be a surprise guest in my house again! Suck it Stink!

You would think it would all end there. No more near death, no more rescuing, no more animal emergencies! But you would be wrong my friend, you would be wrong. This morning I went to feed my son’s fish since he is away at college. I turn on the aquarium light and there they were – several dead fish. Seriously? You die now??? The flying squirrel - bird – flying squirrel episodes weren’t enough? I now have to have a toilet funeral? You have got to be kidding me! Plus, now I have to tell my son I am a fish murderer.

I now resign myself now to whatever comes. I have no control. I was a fool to think I had any in the first place. I am a slave to the whims of the animals I have brought into the place that is supposed to be my sanctuary. My only solace this is that during all of the horrors of the last 24 hours, I have been completely dressed. It is a great solace indeed.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

This Is Long, So Wait For The Next One If You Don't Have That Kind Of Time To Kill - But I Swear It Is Worth Reading

I love cats. I have 4. I want more. But I don’t want them more than I want to keep my husband. So I have 4. I adore my cats – most of the time.


Each cat gets along well with the other one although they were thrown together randomly and unannounced during their lifetimes. I have come to believe recently that I am in possession of several of the Winnie the Pooh characters in cat form.

Harvey – Grey/brown tabby - found in the Harvey’s grocery store side lot (or at least that is what I tell my husband). Thus his name. We were not very imaginative back then.  Friendly to only a few , sullen,  withdrawn and skittish since his near death experience by having half his neck torn asunder by some wild woodland creature. Probably the chupacabra that lives somewhere on our property and hates our cats. The vet calls him her miracle cat. He also is even more panicky since we installed the hardwood floors. Every sound sends him running for cover – or the top of my car. A.K.A. Piglet – the fidgety one.

Ava – White/Grey Blue Point Siamese mix – lovely blue eyes. She came pre-named as a rescue from the Humane Society on a buy-one-get-one-free cat weekend (or at least that is what I tell my husband). I only took her because who goes to the humane society looking for a BOGO special? I can pay for one animal and get TWO?? A person could come home with a herd if something like that took off! But, like I said; I wanted my marriage to remain intact, so I had to pass on numero dos. She is friendly to most, a hunter, a climber (you often find her in a tree), and a mostly “I want to be everywhere you are, but you better not try to pick me up or I will make you regret it and by the way, don’t you dare keep any doors closed because I NEED to know what is behind it although I don’t want to go in the space” kind of cat. A.K.A. Rabbit – the persnickety one.

Stink – Orange Maine Coon – fat. Found as a lonely orphan kitten under a chicken coop – his name explains his scent upon rescue. We were surprised with him as a gift from my niece (or at least that is what I tell my husband). He came to us after many moves to different houses and several owners – all of which were someone in my family. He is lazy, a part-time hunter who eats too much and throws up a lot (paper towels don’t fail me now). But he is kind and always in want of attention without demanding it. A.K.A. Eeyore – the thanks for noticing me one.

Little Rat – Calico – found as a kitten in a dumpster (or at least that is what I tell my husband). She is wild, crazy, playful, energetic, a climber and has many physical oddities. Like whiskers growing out of the top of her almost double nose. I like to think she may have almost been a 2 headed cat, which would have been awesome - but for some reason the split confined itself to her nose. She has a two toned face, a deformed paw and a tail with bone knots in it. A.K.A. Tigger – the bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun one.
 Stink, Ava, Harvey - May I have seconds sir, I am still hungry...

Little Rat - You want a piece of me??

I set all that up because the story I am about to convey in excruciating detail involves most of the above reference small bundles of furry insanity.

Picture this: Tuesday night, relaxing on the couch with my main squeeze when we heard a noise, a sound similar to – but not exactly like – a meow. I paused the TV. We wait motionless for more sounds and information. In saunters Stink, a limp animal dangling from both sides of his clenched teeth while he was barely meowing (because his mouth was too full), “Look at me! Look at me! Look what I brought you!” My husband and I said “SHIT” simultaneously. Not again! My husband decided to ignore it. But I was like - Oh, hell no. I am not hunting down the smell of a dead animal decaying in my house again so soon! We jumped up. Well, I jumped up and then pulled him up. We then noticed Stink walking out of the dining room looking like he was not doing anything more than cruising for catnip. WTH? Where is it? Where is the intruder you brought in MY HOME? Oh good, he dropped the dead thing. YAY! This one will be easy. Wrong. Nope, the animal we thought was deceased was ALIVE. Damn it all to hell Jim, I am a doctor not a live animal liberator! (Gratuitous revised Star Trek reference).  So after many minutes of trying to catch THE FLYING SQUIRREL we caught it in a net and in the dark of night I had to take it out the front door, across the lawn, towards the woods (because as my husband explained it, 'I was the only one that had shoes handy.' But what he was really saying to me was that he didn't want to go outside because he was scared of the chupacabra) while he was yelling, “Watch out for the dog poop!” Crisis and dead animal vomit averted. Back to NCIS.

Now picture this: This (Wednesday) morning, I was getting ready to relax in the hot tub before work. The dawn was just breaking, the cats had all had their treats – except Stink who was MIA – and I believed that I would have a lovely relaxing time slipping into the warm embrace of the water while listening to the world wake up as I gazed out upon the vast expanse of our beautiful property. I had been lulled into the belief that the catch & release party last night excluded us from any such activity again for at least a month. Wrong. I went out on the back porch to open the hot tub lid and I noticed in the faint light of early morning, that there is something on the lid that was not usually there. “Who threw up now,” was my first thought. But as I moved closer to inspect the mystery object and open the lid of the hot tub – off it flew. A bird. A hungry bird because I knew the porch door had been closed for at least 3 days. Poor thing. I had to save it, I had trapped it! But what I hadn’t counted on was how quickly the cats caught the scent and movement of the bird. Like a dart Ava and Rat went after the poor bird; up on the ledge, up on the screen, batting and swatting as they tried to take down their half starved prey. I ran out to the garage to get the net, yet again, to try to save this delirious creature from the ragged claws of those that would kill it. But as I ran back into the house and out onto the porch I noticed that neither the bird nor the cats were out there. As I turned toward the house I saw that the bird was happily perched on our ceiling fan – in the living room. Great, now everybody is in the house. The cats chased, I chased, the cats meowed, and I cussed until I finally got the bird back onto the porch. It was then, as I was trying to close the living room door that Rat came charging out full steam, took a leap off the back steps toward the flying bird and landed – you guessed it – IN the hot tub. Not missing a beat, she grabbed onto the half open lid, dragged herself up, eyed the bird again, took another leap and – you guessed it again – missed the ledge and fell spread eagle on the floor. She then bounced right back up (please review earlier Tigger reference) dripping and spitting as she went, after the bird again. Thankfully I had schussed the poor beleaguered bird out the porch door by that time. Rat followed right behind the bird to the outside but then turned to me as if to say, “Oh, did you actually see all that? I did it on purpose. Back to your uneventful life puny human.” Phew, crisis (and dead animal vomit) averted again. I wish I had managed to video it – it would have gone viral.


Wait, wait, wait. Did I mention that I was naked in 40 degree weather, walking on a cement floor for this whole incident? Forget the video. I don’t want anyone to see that horror. The sight may make the most stout of stomach want to poke their eyes out.

But that image aside, come on, laugh, you know you want to. I did.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Rocks and Wrists and Monkey Kissed

There was an accident in my family this weekend. It ended with a severely broken wrist. I cringe in pain just thinking about it. I cringe thinking about sitting in the waiting room forever – as is standard practice at hospitals. I think they do that so you have a long time to think about what you have done and how you never will do it again. It is their version of your mom's time-out. Unless - you were randomly attacked by some psycho that nearly kills you because then you clearly have nothing really to contemplate about what YOU have done because you were just walking around humming a tune in your head about what a beautiful day it was until this asshole came out of nowhere and attacked you; but then you have to think about how you are going to prosecute the mother fucker and take them for everything they have got unless they have nothing because they are a career criminal and they do this stuff all the time because they really don’t care and would do it to you again if you take them to court and look them in the eye and besides they want to go back to jail anyway because they feel safe there. But that almost never happens in my family,

I cringe thinking about how no pain medication was given during the ER visit. Even though they asked you if you wanted some! They like to play with patients like that. "Let us get you some morphine to ease your suffering - oops! never mind, we forgot because we had to go get coffee in the cafeteria to keep us awake because we have been on duty for 48 hours and we needed a pick me up. Why did I come in here? Wait, who are you again?"

I cringe thinking about the Chinese finger torture devise (you know that toy you used to trick your friends with where you can put your finger in – but can't get it out?) used to lift her wrist up while a nurse pushed down on her bicep as the doctor twisted to set the bone. This is exactly why people pass out in the hospital! You think it was torture getting hurt!? It is a wonder more doctors and nurses don’t get decked while they are trying to help. The agony inflicted by people you have to pay to have the problem fixed is 10 times worse than the original injury! I am sure it is why lawyers call it ‘pain and suffering' when you want to sue them for malpractice or negligence or them just being an holier than thou jackass. Pain is the injury itself – suffering is having to part with large amounts of your hard earned cash to pay them while they look at you smugly thinking, “Wow, what did this idiot do to break their wrist! I certainly would never let this happen.” They wink at you like they are God (or a Goddess) because they went to college for a hundred years longer than mere mortal people and can repair body parts. Like that is a big deal! I could teach myself in a couple hours. They charge you A LOT because I personally think they are trying to pay off their student loans – or buy a yacht. The next thing you know you we are going to have to pay the doctor AND pick up their dry cleaning.

But mostly I cringe at the fact that this beloved individual thinks that somehow SHE is the idiot and that she should have totally prevented this whole thing. That she feels stupid and inept. Hardly. I told her that is why they call it an ACCIDENT. Because sometimes you have no control over what fate hands you. Fate handed her a broken wrist, for no particular reason, just because it felt like it. Maybe she needed some rest. Maybe she needed her family to swarm around her and show her just how much they love her. Maybe, just maybe she needed me to buy her a swinging solar monkey. It is my 'monkey kiss' to her. Quit being so hard on yourself – it could happen to ANYONE!

Well, except for me, I don’t have that kind of time or money and I already have a solar monkey.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Altered States

I had a lot of time to think this weekend because I was ill. Here is how one conversation went – in my head:

Lightheaded me:  So, you need to decide. Do you want to retire near the ocean or in the mountains? Which is more important?

Me: I have vertigo right now. Do you seriously want me to make an important life decision when I can’t think straight?

Lightheaded me:  Why the hell not? It isn’t like you have made that many great decisions clear headed!

Me: Huh. Well then, let me throw this out. What about a lake – it is still water – surrounded by mountains.

Lightheaded me:  Good call, good call. But I am not clear on whether it is the water or the wave action you like.

Me: Can you leave the wave action out of it for now. I am about to barf.

Lightheaded me:  Sorry. I know you want to be near your sister, and if you choose the ocean I know your sister would be right there with you.

Me: Retire with my sister? What about my husband. What about her husband?

Lightheaded me: You and your sister are half Stiteler, you are going to live forever. Your men are moot. They will probably be long gone. If not, we could take them out.

Me: What? Wait a second.

Lightheaded me: NO! Make plans now! DO IT! Call your sister! Plan it out!

Me: Ummmm…just a second…Let me go get my vertigo medicine…

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Good Food = Happiness

This is so good it will make you want to slap my momma! (That thought runs through my mind on a continuous loop. Shhhhh)

Tomato-Basil Pie

Follow the directions with one refrigerated pie shell but only cook it half way. When you pull it out of the oven sprinkle 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese over the hot pie crust. This will prevent your crust from getting soggy.

Chop up 4 large tomatoes into small pieces and place in pie crust.

In a food processor combine 1 cup of fresh basil and 1 tablespoon of prepared garlic. Process until mixed well in small pieces. Using your hands sprinkle basil-garlic mixture over tomatoes.

In a bowl mix 1 cup of Hellman's Mayonnaise, 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon of white pepper. Carefully spread this mixture evenly over the basil-garlic mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. The pie should be golden and bubbly.

Let it rest for at least 20 minutes before cutting.

I have yet to get my fill of this...and I have eaten A LOT.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Sorry, I Didn't Hear the Phone Ring

I talked to my mother last night. She is 80. She is independent, mobile and for the most part is coherent. For the most part. The world loves my mother. I have yet to meet a person that doesn’t think she is wonderful. But then, they don’t talk to her as much as my sister and I do.

She is the person that I quoted about being lost on the roof in my earlier post of things you never thought you would hear come out of someone’s mouth. (I Need A Higher Class of Friends) Lost on the roof of a 1,400 square foot ranch style house; I mean really, that is virtually impossible! Now if it was a 10,000 square foot, multi-level, multi-winged mansion, then it becomes more believable. Sort of.

In 15 minutes last night I learned:

·       That her cell phone – internet/data not included – had a ‘virus’. Did she take its temperature? What symptoms was the phone exhibiting? How did she know it was a ‘virus’ and not just a bug that was going around. (or maybe just a mostly dead battery?!)

·       That she lost some of her birthday pictures that were on her phone because she took it to Walgreens and not CVS. I wish someone had warned her that Walgreens is evil! Their photo machines are masterminds at ingeniously stealing memories from unsuspecting victims. Damn their thieving programming! (Ummmm, operator error springs to mind actually.)

·       That she has been soaking her ingrown toenail for more than 2 weeks and she thinks she finally sees some results. (I think her toenail is just so sick of being given the waterboarding treatment that it just gave up and grew out of the skin hole it had put itself into. If I were that toenail I would have)

·       That her 2 friends who are 96 and 92 were still ‘active as ever’. (Not sure where to go with that)

·       That she was so happy that her best friend asked about me. Which is not surprising since we (BF & I) have a mutual admiration society going on between the 2 of us; but mom made it out like her best friend has completely lost her marbles and mostly just drools a lot now - but somewhere in the cobwebs of her confused memory banks she managed to muster just enough lucidity to ask how I was doing. WTH. (her best friend is as coherent as I am – possibly more)

·       That she had her ‘helper’ clear out the triangle between the 3 trees. No other explanation was extolled. (of course I know exactly where she meant on her expansive tree ridden property)

·       That my son called her to thank her for the letter that she said he “finally got.” I need to state that for 2 years he attended one college, graduated and is now attending a completely different university. She originally sent the letter to his first college – that he doesn’t attend anymore – because he graduated. But somehow it is his fault for not getting the letter sooner. Just sayin’.

Well, I think I have bored you enough. Every conversation with her is like a trip to some confusing amusement park. You are never quite sure what is real or if you have just ridden Mrs. Toad’s Wild Ride and your head is still spinning. Either way, she is my mom. I am sure I am a lot like her – which scares me just a little bit. I am lying – it scares the hell out of me. I just hope that when I get old and crazy, my kids pack me up, and send me a long journey to a land where there are no phones…