Spring Break

Last week I cleaned my house, my barn and loaded up my tiny new car with two squirrels, two dogs and my giant new Betsy Johnson bag that’s so bright it brings a smile to my eyes and headed to the lake.  I went alone.  I listened to what I wanted to in the car.  I ate the entire spicy hummus by myself.  I experienced bliss.  Then, a few hours later my daughter, Cricket, arrived.  She’s not much trouble, but she is messy.  She burrowed into my bed, dragging 16 pillows and three more blankets, kicking and untucking the sheets.  She left her red plaid bag on my light blue chaise, causing me color dysfunction.  But I’m not complaining, she’s a fun girl and can be counted on to drive if needed, even if she can’t be persuaded to crash a regatta party.

Then, the boys arrived.  Lots of them.  Because I’m not stupid enough to allow my 16 year old to bust loose in Panama City, and because he has friends with parents equally wise, the boys are allowed to come up and do, basically anything they want, as long as they live through it and neither The Goose nor I has to wake up and take them to the hospital at night.  They arrived on Saturday, by way of the giant flea market, with tasers.  This caused me a moment of concern, but I bit my lip.  Sure enough, it only took a few hours until they had worked up the courage to tase each other.  One by one, they stupidly electrocuted each other until someone wet his pants, twitching and screaming.  And still they had the audacity to plague me with whiny questions about why I would not let them drive to PC, where girls are easy and plentiful and every night is a Girls Gone Wild video in the making.  Because no one required medical attention that could be found outside a psychiatric ward and because it didn’t make a mess, I just ignored them all.

The big story of the week, though, was that my stupid dog, Finn, got lost.  Anyone who has lost a dog knows that it’s a hopeless, miserable feeling.  We made this worse by imagining things out of a true life crime drama.  Several months ago, the elderly man next door to us at the lake, a nice, quiet master gardener, died, leaving the house to his, well, unsavory grandson.  Because I have never witnessed drug use, I must issue a disclaimer that I don’t KNOW he’s a crack head, but he has done some odd and unexplainable things.  By the time Finn had been gone for a few hours The Goose, the good neighbors and I were sure he had murdered Finn and removed him in a black plastic garbage bag.  We had the whole scenario mapped out, minute by minute.  The Boy and I worked up courage and went to the door to ask.  My courage was of the liquid type and The Boy’s courage stemmed from the fact that I was pinching him under the arm.  When we knocked at the door, we heard slow, shuffling footsteps and the door creaked open, 40 year old screen door screaming, and we tried looking through the smoky haze to see if we could see any signs of him.  We did see that the man answering was holding a giant glass vase, the kind with the coils and carburetor, and the house did smell decidedly like a Grateful Dead concert, but I’m not making any accusations.  He mumbled that he hadn’t seen Finn and closed the door.  Then, The Boy and I made a terrible decision.  We decided to scout around the house on our own.  We tiptoed around the house, like Fred and Velma, and came upon a large plastic bin with a lid.  A TERRIBLE odor issued from this bin.  I instructed The Boy to open the bin and he said something back to me which no boy should say to his mother.  I urged him again, politely, but he, again, demurred.  So, I opened it.  We both screamed a blood-curdling scream that would have assured us a part in any scary movie.  I shoved myself in front of The Boy and took off towards my house with him close on my heels.  We ran smack into The Goose, who had heard our screams, and yelled “THERE IS A DEAD BODY IN A BIN NEXT DOOR!” because what we had just seen could only be a torso, floating in blood. Therein followed a confusing “who’s on first” conversation, in whispered screams and demonstrative arm gestures, describing to him the width and color of the abdomen we’d seen in the bin.

The Goose isn’t easily rattled but we scared the pants off him and he did not want to go, hoping to let dead bodies lie.  We were pretty worked up by that time and there was no living with us, so he finally snuck around the back of the house, while we quaked and shook, and performed an inspection. We had 911 ready on speed dial and we were diagramming a home invasion and citizen’s arrest involving stun guns, fireworks and rope.  As it turns out, it was a giant catfish, in muddy water, but it COULD have just as well been a torso and we felt justified in our police work and still find him guilty on catfish murder and dismemberment.  Plus, gross, why?

The end result to all this was that our sweet neighbor found Finn two days later, bathed him and gave him a treat before waking us with the news.  There was lots of snuggling and smiling and everyone started packing up and going home, a few at a time.

And I am patting myself on the back for, once again, keeping five boys alive, averting any pregnancies, alcohol poisoning, head trauma, carpet stains, tattoos, STDs or exorbitant bail fees.  That, in my book, is a good spring break.

Hey, Big Girl, Back it Up! Come on Back it Up!

For those of you who have followed the big fabulous life of Babette, here’s another chapter.  Although I sometimes wonder why her life has become the source of pleasure for so many, once I turn on the news, I realize why.

DSC_0366There are reasons why people shouldn’t be tempted to buy sweet little piglets, even when they are tiny enough to wear a sock as a sweater and stand on one’s back.  (Why we let her stand on us, I don’t know, because now she cannot understand why she doesn’t fit in our laps.)   Sadly, like many of us over this miserable winter, Babs has grown large.  Quite large.  Neither one of us made an enemy of carbs this season.  We drowned our sorrows over the cold in Girl Scout cookies and other assorted snack foods.  She’s a big girl with big appetites and those who know me know I have trouble with the word “no” and even more trouble with that hateful buzzword, “moderation”.  If giving a pig a Hershey’s kiss and some cheese ravioli is wrong, I don’t want to be right.  I’ve tried.  Believe me. I am helpless when she bats her long eyelashes at me and oinks that lovable oink.  We’re about equally matched in size now and no force on earth can keep her from my cabinets.  She can now nudge the refrigerator across the kitchen.

Using her heart shaped pink nose, she has systematically plowed up three acres of grass and pulled out every expensive perennial, some over 25 years old.  I had a beautiful  peony, of the most delicate ballerina pink, that was planted by the original owner of my house years ago.  It must have been delicious.  If only I had planned to go into farming, she’d have been a great employee hired to plow.  But, the time of aeration and seeding arrives soon and I’d rather not look like the white trash we are rapidly becoming, and so I am being forced to introduce her to the barnyard.

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Babette is not popular there.  At the house, she was the undisputed queen.  Once she won the dogs over by showing them how to get into the cabinets, she reined supreme.  At the barn, she is hated universally.  Our large, old, rescue pig, Orson, has twice tried to kill her.  Orson has not been seen standing up in three years.  His eyes are mashed shut because he is so fat.  His tusks curl up in an evil smile.  He is rendered invisible because of the constant array of chickens using him for a warm perch.  I have hardly even seen him eat, yet something must fuel all that bulk.  He is really just a lump in the corner of the barn, noiseless and forgotten. When I am in the barn, he has always just pretended I wasn’t there.  Upon the arrival of Babs, he heaved himself up and came at her like a stealth missile.  He then came after me, just for being her friend.  My genius old sheep, Clementine, who literally walks on only two legs, has also arisen and bitten her repeatedly while Babette cries and wonders how she dropped into this nightmare.

One of Babette’s tricks is turning around to get a treat.  Usually, I have to ask her several times while she blinks and looks at me as if to say, “Really?  Why waste the energy?  You know you’re going to give it to me anyway.”. When she saw I was leaving, she commenced to spinning like a top to get my attention. Walking away from her squealing for me was worse than leaving Cricket on her first day of preschool.


At the end of the day, I went down and brought her back to the house to sleep in her bed.  She ran into the house and straight for The Goose.  Then, using the special noise heretofore used only with me, she began to tell him what I can only guess was, “Do you know what that @$%^& did to me today?  She took me to Hell!  She lifted me OFF THE GROUND (shudder) and then, she left me there, with no chocolate, no treats, with a bunch of ANIMALS! (another shudder)”  The Goose, sucker that he is, then lay down on the floor and proceeded to tell her how awful I am and how she doesn’t belong down there, princess that she is.

IMG_0257That pig is smart.  She flirted and shamelessly threw herself at him all night, rolling over to expose a giant swollen underbelly so fecund and obscene that I felt embarrassed and looked away.  When he sat in a chair, she tried to climb up into his lap.

When he left the room, she launched herself up on the sofa with me and tried to look interested in what I was watching. She pretended to bite my foot and then pulled back and chuckled to make herself seem funny and endearing. She struck several fetching poses accompanied with sighs so mournful one would think someone has uttered “bacon”.  She politely moved away from the dogs‘ bowls when I asked her to, and when I said “bedtime”, she marched purposely towards her crate, pausing only to root me lovingly.

IMG_0223I know what she’s doing.  I have raised two kids.  I know “being on best behavior” when I see it.

Still, I can’t keep her from destroying our yard and I can’t let her stay out when we travel and even The Goose won’t let her go to the lake with us, despite my deep desire to see her in a life jacket, thus, she is moving in with the animals.

It’s not forever.  I’m working hard to overcome separation and guilt.  I’ve only walked down to see her four times today.  I just  took her two doughnuts and some celery (she is on a diet, after all).  She can still come in and sleep at night.  She will always be welcome come out and chase balls with the dogs.  I am already envisioning a small barn addition, painted a buttercream yellow, with window boxes, a cushy paisley pillow and, perhaps, a bench for me. Just because one lives in a barn doesn’t mean one has to live like an animal, you know.

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Hey 19

In a shameless, sloppy lovefest, I’ll forgo blogging today to wish my darling Cricket a very happy 19th birthday.  You da bomb, my baby!

Willy Wonka Super Scrunch

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The Goose and I went away this weekend to do pre-spring cleaning at the lake.  Spring cleaning, for me, is a deep and labor-intensive operation, involving turning the entire house inside out and washing it.  It involves heavy duty laundromats, construction trailers, muriatic acid and bodily injuries.  It feels fantastic.

Usually, I spend a week, a glorious week, alone, cleaning from dawn until dusk, taking long runs, eating only what I want, whenever I want, directly from the container and then sleeping in the middle of the bed.

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Cleaning with The Goose, aka Edward Scissorhands, is much less intensive and usually involves washing one load of towels and him trimming down one of my plants that should not be trimmed, causing me to cry.

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This is really neither here nor there for my subject.  I’m just warming up.  On the way home, we like to meander through winding roads and rumble through thrift stores and flea markets.  We are single handedly trying to bring back the 70s and recreate our childhoods.  For instance, I love Hull china.  I get that it’s atrociously ugly.  It really is.   So much so that my mother threw all ours away when I was little, declaring it trashy.  My dad had bought it and he used it for our dinner every Wednesday night, when Mom was at choir practice.  It’s a great memory.  So, I snap up odd, ugly pieces at flea markets and I order it off Ebay.  I ordered so much one month that Cricket called it the “Hull of the Day” every time UPS came.  Same with anything plaid.  Thermoses, lunch boxes, bowling bags.  The Goose loves anything that reminds him of his Mamaw.  He recently bought tiny little snuff glasses like his grandmother would dole out thin, pulpless orange juice by the ounce in.  He likes pictures of Jesus holding sheep, collies howling at baby lambs and the Last Supper depicted in ceramic. He likes the jelly jars she would give him to hold the snakes he caught.  We have to be careful or we could actually veer into tacky…

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All this reminiscing got us talking about our childhoods today.  Somehow, I brought up the delicious memory of the Willy Wonka Super Scrunch candy bar.  I can taste it right now, plucked from the racks of the Majic Market in Tucker.  I was never a candy kid and still don’t crave sweets often, but that candy bar was da bomb. He remembered Gold Rush gum, in it’s great little bag.  Also, Gator Gum, that tasted like Gatorade.  How ‘bout  that gum with the liquid center?  It came in a blue that exactly matched my turquoise Gloria Vanderbilt pants AND shirt.  I chewed it every time I wore them, just for the matching sensation.

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We talked about how great it was that there were, seemingly, no rules.  Kids today never get a chance to try anything without getting in serious trouble.  A kid in my day could do literally anything and never get more than a stern talking to.  I once knew a girl that confiscated and consumed the entire wheel of her mother’s birth control pills in the Plantation Skating Rink bathroom, for what reason we could never discern, and got nothing but a swat on the tee-hiney and a night in her room, without her 8 track. No trip to the hospital, no DFCS investigation, no psych stay.  Life was just simpler.  She grew up fine and, I hear, had no reproductive problems later in life.

No bike helmets, no seat belts.  My mother actually told me that if the car caught on fire and I was wearing a seat belt, I might not be able to get out, so probably safer to just not wear one.  My dad used to let me ride, on top of 235 bales of pine straw, going 82 miles an hour, around 285 in the back of his truck.  I think the basic rules of gravity and centrifugal force might just have been different then.

Image     In these politically upsetting times, it’s just too bad that things can’t be cleared up in an hour by Keith Partridge and his manager. (I know, ladies, just take a minute and look at him.)  I feel sure the Monkees would have a better take on war and foreign policy and I know Ponch and John wouldn’t be so hard on kids today, just trying to have fun and grow up.  I, for one know that if I could, again, eat my lunch from an I Dream of Jeanie lunchbox, everyday would be just a little bit better.  I suggest everyone slip on their mood rings and call their senator, their congressmen, their principal, for goodness sake, and propose a bill to just stop and turn things back a little, just to the 70s.

ImageOh, gosh, even though my new blog is BEAUTIFUL, leaving a comment, nice, hateful or otherwise is tricky.  It’s done with the little heart up there in the right hand corner.  Very sneaky, sis.

Chicks!

 

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So today was a banner day.  At 5:00 this morning, the phone rings.  Normally, a call at 5 would mean something really bad, but all our relatives are already dead, the kids were safely tucked away in bed, and I could certainly hear The Goose snoring beside me, so I ignored it.  The call was from “blocked” and I can see no reason to answer a call from someone who wishes to remain anonymous.

Upon waking at a decent hour, I checked my messages.  The call came from the post office, telling me that I had a box of peeping chicks waiting there.  Now, there are many points of interest here, but let’s focus on the part about the post office calling me at 5:00 am.  Who would ever want to know a package had arrived at that hour?

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I rushed up to get them, all smiley and jumpy and smacked right into the wall of gloom.  There are three places, which should be friendly places, where one can be guaranteed to come face to face with the rudest, grouchiest, most miserable people ever.  They are, in order, any Christian bookstore, the public library, and the US Post Office.  These workers are always foul (yes, go ahead and enjoy the bird pun, take joy where you can).  Plus, the post office has the same frightening line drama as does TJ Maxx.  I live in fear of not going to the right person in time.  TJ Maxx worries the living dickens out of me, with the light system and the computer voice coming from different directions.  Someone always has to nudge me and point out where to go.  At the post office, they just look down and shout “next!” and then look away as if they never said anything. I swear, it’s a trick. This leaves me to glance around, point at myself and mouth “me?” and get nothing but blank stares in return.  Finally, someone usually screams out in frustration, “are you ready or what?” and I make it to the right helpful postal worker.

Today, I was on my game and got right up there with no issue.  I was so wiggly and smiling that I missed what she asked me.  “Address”, she said.  “Oh, no,” I said, “I’m here to pick up” and she rolled her eyes and stepped back like I was the worst thing she could have come across on this Thursday.  I was a little over the top, with a lime green coat, a periwinkle scarf, glitter boots and hot pink earrings.  I dressed for fun.  I finally comprehended what she wanted from me and she arrived back with a box of peeping chicks.  A whole heck of a lot of them.  More than I remember ordering on that gloomy night a few months ago.

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I whipped the top from the box, oogling and cooing and showing the woman next to me.  I explained that they were Polish Top Hats, fancy chickens with giant plumes on their heads, who sort of resemble Beaker from the Muppets a bit.  They are fabulous, flamboyant birds who belong on RuPaul’s Drag Race more than in a barnyard.  I hear Gloria Gaynor and Rick James playing somewhere when I see them.

The woman beside me did make the appropriate response but then ruined it and said “you’re going to get the bird flu”.  I restrained myself from letting her in on the fact that her horrendous hairdo did nothing to distract from her giant behind in glittery jeans.

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I know I might have a problem.  Several people plus my family have insinuated as much.  My running partner, Peaches, came right out and called me a chicken hoarder.  Seeing this giant batch, I find that might be true.  I just can’t help myself.  Those peeping little fuzzys set my soul on fire.  Even when grown, I find them absolutely fascinating.  I can lose hours in the barn, watching their little social groups and listening to the sounds they make.  Researchers have found that chickens have at least 30 individual sounds for different meanings.

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Anyone with chickens knows when an egg is being laid.  The entire barn erupts into a ruckus that means “an egg is coming, an egg is coming!”.  I have certain sweet hens who are the designated “setters”, sitting on everyone’s eggs while allowing other hens to remain carefree floozies. There are some who have some characteristic or pheromone so alluring to roosters that they have no feathers on their backs because of all the whoopie going on.
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Several years ago I got into a winter rut and found an incubator.  This allowed me to barge right into their cycle of life and, yes, feel a bit goddess like in the process. I find it hard to resist hatching their beautiful baby blue eggs and saving them from the refrigerator.  My family actually staged an intervention, asking me earnestly to just stop. So, mostly I stopped, but hatch one or two now or then for a quick fix and then hide the babies until they are bigger.

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Today, I have a set up a big bin in my sunroom, flanked by orchids and violets, much to the dismay of my dogs, so I can listen to these little guys peeping and scratching for a while.  I fear the looks I will be getting when The Goose, the kids and even Consuela, who will just shake her head and say “oh, Miz”, get here.  I am going to be sure to get Babette off her feather bed in front of the fireplace before anyone comes home, get my stubborn old nag of a horse, Gracie and her sidekick donkey, Bethlehem, back into the pasture, be sure Clarence the sheep isn’t in the garage and put the cats out.  I’m going to find my most va va va voom Victoria’s Secret bra and my lowest cut shirt to distract The Goose and put brownies in the oven for the kids.  Everything is okay here, folks, things are just fine, pay no attention to the chirping from the back of the house.

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Cough, Cough, Cough

I am: 

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There are several phrases that I say all the time.  One of them is “I never get sick”.  This has been true for as long as I can remember.  I’ve only had one true illness, and even though it lasted months, and was scary as all heck, I’ve been super duper healthy for the rest of my life.  I haven’t had a fever since 4th grade.  While others suffer with allergies, insisting that the pollen must surely be bothering me, I glide through the seasons.  I might get a sniffle now and then, usually because I stupidly use the blower in the barn, breathing in airborn dust and poo, but I just deny it’s happening and it goes right away.  

This is why I am so incredibly pissed off and, yes, embarrassed to be lying here on day four of what has been intense misery on the part of myself and, probably for my family, due to my whiny need to share my feelings. 

ImageAs a vegetarian, I have somehow come to the conclusion that I cannot allow myself to appear weak in any way or someone will point the finger and say “Ah hah! She needs MEAT!”  While other kids suffered through numerous childhood maladies, I would not allow my kids to exhibit a symptom, lest their bad grandmother, again, point her carnivorous finger at my parenting.  Luckily, though, they stayed well for most of their childhoods, never having antibiotics, never coming home with green noses, until middle school, where their romantic antics caused them to swap germs with those kids from sicklier families. 

The last two years I have had several colds.  Once, because a man sneezed directly on me in the dairy isle.  I turned to the Goose, who lives in fear of germs, and said, well, now I’m infected, and it turned out that I was.  I got sick from something that ejected directly from another human’s nose.  It’s too horrible to think about. 

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This go-round, I am lucky enough to be sharing an illness with the Trophy Wife, who is a few days ahead of me and can point out what’s coming next.  We’ve spent days on the phone, diagraming our symptoms, whining about our heads and coughing.  Oh, the coughing.  It has caused me to banish the Goose to the guest room lest he sigh ONCE MORE because I cannot control it.  Last night, he came into our room for company and TV.  So angry at his unfeeling attitude was I that I finally just licked my finger and rubbed it on him, to which he shrieked, not unlike a frightened drag queen, “oh, yeah, cut the throat of the Golden Goose”.  I kid you not, those were his exact words.  Hopped up on Nyquil, I couldn’t quite get my facial expression to convey what I was feeling about it, but I’m not surprised by his response.  He’s a weenie. 

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Being a man, however, even with me in my mother’s old bathrobe for comfort, strung out on various over the counter remedies, with dark circles, watery bleary eyes, hair that looks like an 80s rock video by accident, I am marginally sure I caught The Goose giving me “the look”, which only goes to show that a man really has no standards and will brave any danger just to get lucky. I don’t know if he got lucky or not, as I was well and truly knocked out by then, but I assume he felt sorry for me because when I woke up later, at least I was covered up and I thank him for it.

Sickness is disgusting all the way around.  In the old days, I would have at least gotten a satin bed jacket or caring nurse. When I have imagined getting sick, I have always thought I’d enjoy my time being quiet and lying around, which are not the norm for me. And, even though I have watched all three old Topper movies, which were wonderful, I find that I am swearing at my dogs, who cannot get their hot, hairy little bodies close enough to me, the cat, who has ignored me for 16 years and now wants to meow and slink around my head and that friggin pig, Babette, who just needs something all the time.  There really should be a place where people can go when they’re sick, an old fashioned sanatorium, with 1000 count sheets, lilies in vases, May breezes coming in through open windows and nurses who bring you omelets and champagne and schedule your massage. 

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My family refuses to believe I’m down and out and I hear them wondering why no one has gone to the grocery store. They are lost. They’re calling me to bring them the shoes they left behind to their schools, necessitating makeup so as not to frighten the attendance secretary there. They need me to shop for dresses with them when all I can think about are my cool sheets and black and white movies on AMC.  

So, today I combed my hair, and dragged back into life.  I found a dress for Cricket, I cleaned up the house, and, oh, yeah, I sneezed on someone in the dressing room. 

Now I’m one of those people, just sharin’ the love. 

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Little Boy Blues

The other day my daughter told me I was immature.  Nuh-uh, I said.  Yo mama.  This caused me to get thebleak look of pity”.  Unlike theblack glare of death” that she used to give me when she was in high school, this look just means that she loves me, she feels I’m slipping into my dotage and she feels sorry for me.

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Four or five years ago, I felt hip and with it.  Heck, even two years ago.  I blame the fact that sparkly bottomed jeans have gone out and skinny ones are in.  I just can’t make the jump.  It’s hard to feel sassy in pajama looking pants and flats.  Apparently, I had been relying on bimbo clothes to prop me up.

Also playing into my slippage is the fact that I’m not really as necessary at home as in the past.  I have become…well, I was going to say an eight track player, then I upgraded to a cassette and still felt I was shortchanging myself.  I am a CD player.  No one really needs them, but they are nice to have at home, hold some of our favorite memories and we spent a lot on them.  That’s me.

This weekend The Golden Goose and I went to the lake.  We went on Friday night and had a lovely evening to ourselves, complete with a roaring fire and wine.  On Saturday, our son, The Boy, came up with his posse, roaring into the driveway, music blaring.  I had so looked forward to this because I have spent years playing with these boys.  Instead of my sweet gang of boys, though, a changeling group of asshats and buffoons arrived wanting nothing to do with me.  The great evening out I had planned in my mind, eating dinner at the club by the big fireplace and sharing humorous stories over dessert devolved into debacle of Arby’s curly fries and muddy boots.

ImageWhile The Boy was telling a fascinating tale of  a drug lord at school, or something, I made the unfortunate choice to interject a question. He had the audacity to say to me “oh, Mom, you just don’t know about stuff, sitting over there in your little chair, with your paisley pants and your hair up, your wine, with those little glasses on your head”.  WHAT kind of poorly constructed, insulting sentence is that for a mother to receive?  The fact that I was sitting in a chair from which it’s hard to effectively launch oneself and, also, I didn’t want to spill my wine, is the only thing that kept his head on his neck.  Well, that and the thought of getting bloodstains out of the rug.


This has caused a great maudlin boohoo on my part and stalwart suffering for the Goose as he listens to my distress.  He has patiently explained to me that there is nothing in a 16 year old boy’s head but boobs.

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“My child no longer loves me” I’ve said, at least 40 times since we left the lake, envisioning his chubby baby neck and how he used to bring me tadpoles.  I’ve called him numerous filthy names, both aloud and in my head.  I have texted my daughter at work and told her how she is my very favorite and how I will never subject myself to a weekend alone with all that testosterone again.  She, being the first child, believes this has always been the case and has accepted my declarations with stoicism and a glinty eye aimed towards my will.  She has reminded me several times that I once said “that Boy will be sweet and snuggly all his life”.  Then she laughs the Cruella laugh.

The Goose, being, well, The Goose, reminded me of the fits of despair I went through when Cricket was in 10th grade.  She dyed her hair purple, bought stock in black eyeliner and black clothes and rolled her eyes at every breath I took.  Not one thing I said was cool or even bearable.  Now that she is 74 and has passed me in age, she finds me tolerable, if somewhat childish and is happy to share my wardrobe.

The Goose is right.  The Boy will come back around or wreck the car and need to be nice for a while.  He’ll fail math and need a bail out and I’ll be the hero again.  I’ll do research on thug lingo so as to appear cool and drop a word into conversation casually and shrug and I’ll be all that again.  He’ll grow up and leave and remember me fondly.  He’ll come home on weekends, hugging and glad to see me.  We’ll talk over old times and look at photo albums, tell stories of summers at the lake, of playing in the creek.  He’ll remember the snuggling, the building of forts and the fantastic childhood his mother made for him. He’ll have my picture in his dorm room.

Then, he’ll marry some tacky witch who just wants me to die so she can get my stuff.

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Downton Detox

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It’s true that I’m not a fan of TV.  While others discuss what went on last night on The Bachelor, I just smile and nod, exactly the way I did in math class.  I have never seen Survivor and I don’t know anything about any Housewives, no matter from which city they hail.  

I do confess to liking The Big Bang Theory and I do occasionally snuggle on the sofa with my giant son when Modern Family comes on.  (Okay, he’s not really snuggling me, he just watches it from the sofa and I will squeeze in next to him, clinging to the very cording of the cushion to prevent him from becoming aware and telling me to move on.  You moms understand.)

I had heard of Downton Abbey, duh.  I just thought it was another mindless show people tuned in to watch.  Never have I been more wrong.  It is surely a brainwashing time machine, made to make our very existences look dingy in comparison.  

On Sunday I came home from church and took to the sofa like a dowager needing smelling salts.  The weather was horrid, the house was cold and The Goose had said something VERY unchristian in the car that had made me despise his very soul.  The laundry was done, there was no sun to run, I had finished every book in the house, and so, I tuned in, to season 1, episode 1.  

At 11:30 that night, I went to bed wealthy, beautiful and dreaming of picnics and ponies after finishing the season.  

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In the morning, I waited for my valet to bring me something beautiful to wear.  Apparently, he was not available.  My lady’s maid did nothing to make my hair look any better, so I resorted to a ponytail.  My breakfast did not arrive on a tray and no one plumped up my pillows.  There was no fire in my fireplace and no one to warm up the house. I am sure my yogurt would have gone down a lot better from a porcelain bowl. 

I spoke kindly to both dogs, with an aristocratic British accent, even whilst plucking a no-no from underneath the piano.  They ignored me.  

No chauffeur was available to take me to the feed store, so I resorted to driving myself, in the pouring rain, and no footman told me the weather was unseasonably dreadful and produced a wrap for the car so I wouldn’t catch a chill.  At the store, I was asked to produce actual payment rather than just putting it on the house tab.  Horrors. 

I waited all day for cook to bring me something warm and delicious for lunch, but, after sitting alone in the dining room for a half an hour, decided to eat peanut butter on Ritz. 

This afternoon, as I was washing out the garage where my swine and the dogs had made muddy tracks, and the back door, that the pig had belligerently thrown her angry countenance against, repeatedly, until it was splintered and muddy, I thought to myself, huh, well this just sucks. 

This is the danger with anything period and English.  The Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, Rosamund Pilcher, for heaven’s sake.  They leave me feeling tacky and poor, with a bad accent and the make-up of a hussy.  Suddenly, my house feels small and dark and my family is horrendous.  It will take me days to recover from my Downton induced delusions unless I do actually awaken, in a country hospital, and this murky, shabby, cloud filled day has all just been a bad dream that came from a fall from my mount.   

Well, I must be off as I have to hurry and dress for dinner.  Ta!

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Ugh!

Ugh,

I am not whining, I promise, but this weather simply won’t work for me.  I heard a man at the store yesterday say “oh, I don’t do cold”.  Well, what the heck do you think we’re doing, Mister?  What did he mean by this?  How is he getting around it?

We all know this is coming every year.  I have gotten better at it but the lack of outdoor exercise, absence of sunlight, vitamin D, green trees, flowers, lawn mowing, absence of the smell of grass just gets to me after a while.

ImageSaturday, the unthinkable happened, and that beastly, feces throwing mammal, General E. Lee, our Georgia groundhog, predicted another six weeks of this limbo. I love groundhogs, have raised them, honk and wave at them when I pass them on the road and never wish any animal harm…except this one.  I think his stint of fame is done and it’s high time to usher in a new one.  His “wildlife sanctuary” is a particularly horrible place I’d like to see shut down as well, but I won’t get on my soap box. But don’t give them money.

I have certainly bemoaned  this season before and won’t be redundant and complain about it again.  So, constructively, this is what I’m doing to keep from crawling under the bed and crying:

  1. I ordered chicks.  This is really going to piss off the Goose, who feels we should be scaling back on all things animal.  I ordered top hat babies, sure to thrill and delight all.  The thought that they will be mailed to me on February 27th and, once more, the very proper man from the post office will call me and tell me I have a package that is making noise, this makes me happy.  I want chickens who strut around like they’re proud and look like David Bowie.  I want rock stars.Image
  2. I cleaned out my pantries and put in fabulous wrapping paper as shelf paper and I feel that if a surprise inspection by Martha Stewart should happen I would feel proud of my self before I ushered her rude self out of the house. (When reading back over this without my glasses, I thought I had written that I had cleaned out my panties, not pantries.  This has caused me to want to make a trip to Victoria’s Secret, which might just cheer me up, so hooray for poor eyesight.)
  3. I am looking at greenhouse catalogues.  This is a yearly ritual wherein I make the Goose drive me past several great greenhouses I know of and I say “gosh, her husband must really love her” and I sigh.  So far, it’s not working but I am adding the bonus pressure of telling him that Tortellini could live in there in the winter and save all that money we spend heating the barn.  I think if I could root around in there in the dirt I’d be happier.   images-7
  4. I go to Pikes and walk around in their greenhouse and just smell things. I do this because I do not have one of my own…
  5. I bake.  I can’t cook but I can make a cake.  Pink ones with pink icing, lemon pound cakes, chocolate with coffee icing.  I don’t even like cake, I just like to smell them and see them sitting on the counter on a pretty cake stand.  Somebody should probably stop me.  Cricket’s boyfriend commented yesterday that I was sure baking a lot and Cricket told him “she does it when she gets sad in the winter”.  She said it like one would say “poor ol’ Memaw, bless her heart, she likes to make puppy noises at the dinner table”.  Like I was pitiful or something.  All this baking really doesn’t help because I then feel grouchy that I have to clean up the pans and the entire mood is broken. Maybe I’ll just remove this one.Image
  6. I bought a shirt so bright that the Goose refused to be seen with me in it. It WAS an ugly shirt so I braved the cold and returned it. That didn’t help that much either.

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  7. I keep “birdsong radio” going at all times.  I am starting to whistle back and have been craving sunflower seeds.
  8. I am eating pills, rubbing on cream and keeping tablets under my tongue of mass quantities of vitamin D.  So far, I just smell like old person cream.
  9. I made jello shots in happy summer flavors like mango and lemonade.  This turned out so terribly that I can’t comment on it here without someone calling AA and turning me in as a suspect.  Let’s just say I’m on the wagon for a month or so and will never partake of jello again …

10. I’d like to come up with something else, but it’s cloudy and it’s cold, and, as happy a person as I am, I am definitely in a winter funk. I’d like to figure out why this number 10 won’t line up with the others, but really, does it matter in this dark and dreary world?

Even in my brightest sweater and even with the “year of the scarf”, I’m sick of this mess.

I know there is an army of my friends who will give me a good amen. I’d prefer they give me airline tickets to somewhere where the sun actually shines. Ugh.

A Rose by Any Other Name

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Last week I went to the dermatologist, Dr. Gross, who is anything but.  I find him a kind and adorable man who not only makes me look better, he always makes me feel better. I mention his name, though, because was it being Gross that caused him to go into a field that is thought of as, well, kinda gross?

This name thing is just out of hand. Consider the man with the big truck who comes to take away the large animals who die in my neighnborhood.  It’s pretty darn hard to dig a hole big enough for a horse or even a large pig. When one of our loved ones in the barnyard die, we will call on him to come and collect the remains and then do something, what, we do not know, with them. His name is Mr. Killgore.  Really.  Killgore, that’s his name.  Obviously the name came first, but did it influence him in this funeral direction?

What about Lorenna Bobbitt, who cut short the member of her philandering husband, as well as his philandering?  What about Representative Gary Weiner, who showed his to thousands over text?  Having that name did he just feel he had something to prove?  What about the urologist named Dr. Peters?  Could he have possibly become a gynecologist?

Some names are just bad and folks have to enter a profession that can handle it.  In Dekalb county, where the Goose and I grew up, there was a law enforcement official by the name of Dick Hand. Surely he needed some power to overcome that name.  What about Dick Trickle?  He’s been racing away from that handle for years, but hooray for the other race car driver so perfectly named Scott Speed.

I was very ill when my kids were little and ended up at an infectious disease doctor.  He was a super nice man who finally figured out what was wrong with me, but he had the incredible name of Dr. Dickensheets. Take from that what you will.

The director of the no-kill shelter that was recently fired for, sadly, killing dogs?  Lowanda Kilby.  Uh-huh.  Coincidence?  I think not.  And the devastating story of the pastor that was recently hit and killed on his bike?  Pastor Pray.

Guess the name of the man who invented the inversion board that decompresses one’s spine that you see sold on TV.  It’s Mr. Teeter.  A rowing coach at a high school I’ve heard of called Mr. Rosewell, is named even more aptly than my librarian at my elementary school, Mrs. Lovejoy.  It is most likely only fitting for me as no child ever loved the library more than I.

I love the whole name thing.  I know there are so many more that I’ve forgotten. I see hear one almost every day that just makes me shake my head.

I once had a friend who believed that eternal cosmic writers have just gotten bored with their jobs and are putting little treats like these into our lives just to see if we notice.

Oh, I notice and I wholeheartedly approve!

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