Never Too Old To Party

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Last Sunday we had a really rockin’ sermon on finding time.  I say rockin’ because we now go to “church lite” which comes complete with a rock band and disco lights.  I can’t complain about the content because our pastor delivers the most loving, funny, informative sermons I’ve ever heard.  I just miss the old hymns with all four stanzas in three quarter time, with the music director making those Baptist music gang signs as we sing.

This message pertained to how we live our lives and use our time.  In it he quoted a book by a woman who has worked in hospice for years.  The book is all about the regrets of the dying.  Of course, everyone wishes they’d lived their lives differently and used their time for different things other than work.  This caused the Goose to roll his eyes a bit and ask who would have paid for things if he hadn’t worked so hard, but the rest of us got a lot out of it.

I had already been thinking of this and have been trying to have more fun and less stress.  The Goose will be really be rolling when he gets to this line because, apparently, I have a stress free life anyway.  I am less stressed because I’m made that way.  I am optimistic, usually see the bright side (except for those sad dark weeks of January) and know things will usually turn out okay.  Still, it’s easy to slide into the drudgery of everyday life.  Most mornings, my friend the Trophy Wife will call to see what i’m up to.  Every day, I mean every single solitary day, we say the same dialogue:

Good morning!

What’s up?

Nothing, cleaning up the kitchen, you?

Same.

How does this happen?

Because no one knows where anything goes but me.

Same here, or to paraphrase, word to your mutha.

It’s said by every woman everywhere at exactly the same time.  While men in other countries are simultaneously bowing toward Mecca, woman are muttering “why can’t anyone put anything where it goes?”. Someone really should work on getting us synchronized and it’d be a lot more fun.  Maybe someone could add music like they did for that guy who said “hide yo kids, hide yo wife”. .

One of my favorite movie lines is from the Addams Family where someone asks Morticia how things are going.  She replies, shrugging her shoulders, “oh, you know, I just wish I had more time to seek out the dark forces and join their hellish brigade”.  I feel her pain.  There is just no time for anything it seems.  I am not half as busy as I was 10 years ago, but seem to get nothing done.  Saturday night we had three delightful invitations, all would have been great, but 8:00 saw both the Goose and me, in our jammies, in the bed, watching mindless tv.  This just is not right.

This sermon has made me renew my efforts for fun with great devotion.  I’m really not sure what he was going for was that we try to party more, but that’s what I’m taking from it.  This year, I’m going to have more fun whether my house is straight or not.  While I am going to continue to berate my children into cleaning up their mess, I’m not going to restrict them from having friends over until a 24 hour “clean quarantine” period has passed after maid day.  I’m going to sit in my yard, drink more wine and watch my animal kingdom cavort.  I may or may not pull out old prom dresses, or I might try something new.  This might be the year for big hats. I’m going to go OUT, into the big world, after 8:00 on some weekend nights. I’m going to wear my good shoes in the rain and not save them until my dog chews them up.  I will use my grandmother’s crystal every time I have a pretty drink and sometimes just when I’m having water.  I will visit friend’s houses and not look at the clock, feeling the need to pull a “homing pigeon” and run home to see that a stray crumb has not fallen on my floor.  There might be days when I don’t make my bed, but most likely not as I want to enjoy life, not live like someone from 16 and Pregnant.

I am NOT going to lie around, in my lovely lavender bed jacket from Neiman Marcus (take heed, Cricket, the one that matches my purple earrings) and not have any (more) wild secrets to tell my hospice nurse.  I want her scandalized enough to be unable to look me in the eyes.

World beware, I’m pulling out some stops.

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Kids

I’ve never been very, um, “mommy”.  I mean, I was a good mom when the kids were little but I didn’t lose myself in being mommy.  Maybe it was selfishness, maybe immaturity, maybe it was a deep desire never to wear high waisted jeans or drive a mini-van. I stuck to my bimbo code and the kids dealt with it.

I’ve mellowed, become more tolerant and find that I’ve had so much fun with my kids as they’ve gotten older and now there are lots of kids that I truly love.  There are so many friends of my kids who have become like my own.  I wash their clothes, feed them, yell at them, play sardines with them, chauffeur them around on the boat and listen to their secrets, hopes and dreams.

In return, the kids that I love have drawn giant genitalia in my front yard.  They have written dirty words on my car and let me drive around with truck drivers honking and nodding at me.  They have changed my status to “I’m gay” at least 400 times.  They changed my Apple password to “Penis” and I now cannot figure out how to change it back.  Every time I walk into see a Genius, I have to mumble this to them while their whole demeanor changes and they sneak sideways glances at me. They have set their carpet on fire, set the car seat on fire, set themselves on fire.  They have thrown up vodka and blue juice onto the carpet in my basement.  They’ve turned over the ATVs, grounded jet skis, and one has had crying fits worthy of an oscar, but I’m not saying which.  They constantly add mess and confusion to my household, glasses stuck to nightstands, plates with pizza stuck to them, clothes everywhere, friends everywhere. I am single handedly pulling my son through high school using threats, manipulation and little treats, just like I trained my Jack Russell.

In the shadow of all the tragedy surrounding us lately, both in our community and in the country, I’ve been looking at things differently  I think of all the moms that won’t have kids come home to annoy them. Their kids won’t make messes, won’t make mistakes, won’t embarrass them.  They won’t be there to spontaneously grab their moms, pick them up and squeeze them  until they scream.  They won’t share sweaters, won’t borrow their cars, won’t remind them of the stupid things they’ve done, repeatedly.  Their kids won’t ever become smarter than their parents and be there to hook up technical devices.  They won’t still snuggle and watch a movie, even though they’re almost grown. The enormity of that makes me want to fall to my knees and be thankful that I have one more day with my babies.

This makes me forgive all the craziness and realize that this is what makes life fun, watching them make mistakes and learn from them.  Watching them struggle through senseless biology and math. Seeing their hearts get broken and then seeing them rise above it.  It makes me want to hug them until they say “Mom, this is awkward”. I’m seriously thinking of asking if they want to climb in and sleep with me and their dad tonight, but anticipate rejection and looks of concern.

My son, The Boy, recently said “Mom, we’ll both be gone in two years.  What will you do?  You’ll have no life.  Who will play with you?”.  It caused me to feel sad and go straight to bed because they’re right.  I think I’m one of them.  Who is going to play with me?  The thing I hold onto is that, unlike those poor moms for whom I can’t stop crying and praying, I’ll still be able to call my kids once, twice, maybe 26 times a day.  I can sleep over at their dorms and apartments.  Oh, and I will.

Also, the Goose is going to have to step up and get me a puppy.

Close the Door, PLEASE!

I had a funny situation last weekend that has caused the Goose and me to laugh repeatedly.

I saw an article the other day, written by a recently divorced man, giving advice to married men.  Ironic, I know.  Most were nice, hold hands more often, open doors, etc.  One, however, caused me to blanch.  It said, “do not use the bathroom in the same room as your spouse”. Actually, it was more descriptive than that.  WHAT THE HECK???  Please tell me who, in the world, would do this?  Does this actually go on?  Even my dog, Matilda, will not “use the loo” with anyone looking.

There are certain subjects that are not broached in my house.  I grew up that way, my children grew up that way, we’re just that way.  The bathroom is one of those subjects.  Until I had babies, neither the Goose, nor I, had ever mentioned any bodily function that goes on in the bathroom.  We’d already been married eight years and had traveled to strange countries and eaten a variety of unsettling foods and had still managed not to make any bathroom references. If someone feels the call of nature, we seek out the farthest, most secretive and unused restroom in the vicinity.  Jiminy Crickets!  There are just some things that don’t need to be discussed or announced.

Our drama began when I took NyQuil the other night.  It’s my sleep drug of choice when I need one.  I adore that velvety blackness with a lack of hangover then next morning.  NyQuil is more than welcome to call me for a paid endorsement. The Goose is a nighttime grazer.  I can’t imagine a scenario when I would find the call of cookies more important than sleep, but the Goose gets up every night and eats.  This night, I was out of it.  I awoke in the night, after several glasses of water and had to visit the powder room.  Since it was dark and I was groggy, I didn’t even look for the Goose in the bed.  I slipped, zombie like, into the bathroom and there most likely continued what could only be considered a drug induced trance.  It’s warm in there.  There’s a heat vent and the room is small.  I might have dozed off for a second. The Goose was coming back from the kitchen and saw the light on and opened the door to turn it off.  He didn’t know I was in there, of course.  I was quiet.  I am lucky I wasn’t in a coma.  Seeing me, he tried to quickly close the door but his movement caught my eye and I issued the longest, most blood curdling B movie scream that’s ever been uttered at my house.  At any house.  I mean I wailed. Loudly and for a long time. I scared the Goose into screaming too.  It was a confused, nighttime terror as we looked anywhere but at each other, both bawling and bellowing like when Drew Barrymore sees ET for the first time. The Goose, still hollering, slammed the door and I continued my shrieking for a good minute or so.  By the time I got to bed, though, we were giggling like a couple of stoners.

Then, the Goose got a text from our daughter, Cricket.  The kids’ rooms are far away from ours and we didn’t think they could hear us.  Apparently they can. This brings up other questions that we are choosing not to address.

Cricket called the Goose from her room and the Goose, genius that he is, clicked decline.  She called again, he accidentally did it again.  Then she texted: I am hiding in the troll door in my closet.  I’m scared!”  This caused us so much enjoyment that we were literally limp, cackling and howling.  During the time we ignored her, she called her boyfriend to tell him that we were being murdered downstairs and he got up ready to come kick some burglar ass.  Finally, we managed to text her what had happened to which she texted back “freaks” and it was over.  We still lay there giggling for a good half hour though.  I might interject that during this entire episode, which went on for a while, Cricket did not go and make sure her brother wasn’t being killed, and for this, I will tell him that he is the favorite, for at least a week.

My point, and to bring it back around, according to the divorced man’s article, I would say that there are apparently weird people out there with no shame whatsoever.  Some things are private and I am pushing the bounds of privacy by even writing this. If this is you being disgusting, stop it.  It’s not nice.  It’s gross. If you wonder why the zip is gone, this could be the reason.  Close the door, LOCK it!

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Hallowiner

ImageSo I’m lying here, enjoying Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin and relishing the fact that I’m not out walking little kids around door to door, freezing and trying to balance a flashlight, a two grubby little hands and a wine glass.  Really, I’m just happy about the missing the cold.  It’s a little sad to see that my mommy Halloween packed up it’s candy bag and left years ago.  (This is where I’ll thank you, Cricket, not to bring up the fact that I sometimes let your dad take you and I stayed home to man the door with my friends and cocktails!)

I don’t understand those folks who claim to hate Halloween.  I can’t even begin to address those who believe it’s evil.  I grew up Baptist, my mother was perfect and thought Halloween was just fine and I’m sure she got that information directly from God.  I went to Christian school and I know that NOWHERE does it say “thou shalt not dress as a Power Ranger and collect candy”.  

Why, in the world, would anyone not want to put on a costume?  I’ve frequently been known to whip on an old prom dress or glittery majorette costume just for Friday night cocktail hour.  It just makes things more fun.  The other day I had on a gown with a 6 ft. train and walked several times around the kitchen and considered it a good floor cleaning. 

The Goose refuses to dress up.  Twice, I’ve had him in a Halloween costume.  When we were first married and he still could be moved by “a look”, I made him a Jolly Green Giant costume by dying a pair of long underwear green and making him a leaf dress to wear over it.  I then covered him with green paint and went with him as Sprout.  We went to a party at his boss’ house.  Just this weekend I was reminiscing with his boss and he had the audacity to bring up the fact that there were parts of his house with traces of green paint, on carpets and walls for years.  I am assuming he was commenting on our exuberant dancing and the Goose’s “nap” on the carpet sometime in the wee hours.  I wish I still had a picture of it. 

Several years ago, when he had become immune to “the look”, Cricket asked him to dress up and he did, briefly, wear a pair of fairy wings while downing some beers.  Fifteen minutes, tops. I DO have a picture of this, but am not allowed to post it lest the Goose’s business associates realize he has a fun side and a family.  

When the kids were little, we would become so overcome in the costume isle that I couldn’t say no and we would go home with a 2nd mortgage’s worth of costumes that required a change every hour.  As Shep wore his for some part of everyday for two years, I felt I got my money’s worth. The child wore a batman cape and frog boots for two solid years, ever day.  Everywhere.  The costumes, the pumpkin candy holders, the nip in the air, neighbors, wine.  I loved Halloween with little kids. I loved Halloween as a child.  I really liked it as a teenager (except for the two month’s worth of trouble I was in afterwards…sorry, Mom and sorry to my date for all the throw up in his car.  I mean, really, you make a drink that tastes like peppermint schnapps and expect kids to know when to say when? Seems like some kind of conspiracy to me!)

You know what else is great about Halloween?  Parties.  Parties where everyone dresses up, there’s lots of good stuff to eat and drink and, best of all, NO GIFTS!  There is absolutely no stress about what to take and give.  No wrapping, shopping, guessing if what you’ve brought is adequate.  I love that.  You just throw back a shot or two, put on a wig and, voila, good times.  My love, the Trophy Wife and her husband, Big Poppy have a party that beats all others.  In years past I have misbehaved to the extent that my children and husband have chastised me greatly for weeks.  This year, I was SO good that I remember all parts of it and it was fantastic.  

Wrapping up, Halloween is good and bad.  On the surface, it’s fun, but  it’s the sneaky little holiday that makes us think the oncoming winter is going to be okay.  By Black Friday, most of us realize we’ve been duped and are already longing for spring.  So it’s a good thing to give this scary night it’s homage.  Now, it’s November, though, and I can’t help but think of the ugly woman with her make-up off on the morning after.  Things just look bleak and scary with just the cold and the talk of the election.  Ugh!  Somebody hand me a fluffy dress, quick!

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LOLZ

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I’m here to talk about my handicap.  I was recently chastised so thoroughly for it that I am still hanging my head in shame.  I’ve tried to control it, tried to reel it in, tried desperately to hide it, but it keeps surfacing at the most inopportune times.  

 It’s my daughter, Cricket, who has the biggest problem with it. Several years ago, it overturned the very nature of our relationship and she fully took over the role as adult. When Cricket was 16 and went to get her driver’s license, I dressed accordingly and went along to cheer.  While she was testing, I prayed, crossed my fingers, stroked voodoo dolls and sacrificed mental chickens so she would pass.  Upon passing, we were ushered into a smaller area where she would have her picture taken.  All was going swimmingly until…  until… we walked into this small quiet room.  Therein lies the problem.  Usually a quiet area can pull the chain on my problem.  Also solemn circumstances. Or the need to keep still.  The woman awaiting us caused such a visual surprise to me that it caused Cricket to whip her head around and glare at me seconds after we walked in.  She knows my disability well. It would not be nice to describe this lady, but circus sideshow should give you some kind of hint.  Not that there’s anything wrong with the circus, well, except the shameless torture and exhibition of animals, but I digress. This is why Cricket is partly to blame because it signaled the stupid part of my brain to start the code red “do not laugh, do not laugh, do not laugh”.  Now, I wouldn’t laugh at somebody normally.  I am a super empathetic person to both people and animals.  But, if there is something slightly off kilter, say an incongruous wig sitting crookedly upon a head, size 24 women in tank tops made for tweens, toupees of any type, grills on teeth, I start thinking “well, what if I were the type of person who would laugh?  How inappropriate would it be?  How horrible would it be if I just lost it? “.  Then I do.  

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I came unglued at the DMV in such a spectacular way that I just stood there, unable to speak, tears pouring from my eyes, shoulders shaking, my face beet red, while Cricket pursed her lips and explained to the exasperated woman that I was emotionally and mentally damaged.  She then grabbed my arm in a strangling grip, ushered me outside the building and gave me a stern talking to. Strangely, I had a repeat performance at the DMV again with Shep.  Maybe they pipe something into the AC unit there. 

Last Sunday night, the family went to a Japanese restaurant.  Let me say at this time that hearing impairment and speech impediments are not funny.  My dad was almost completely deaf.  I cannot hear from my right ear due to an injury inflicted upon me by the Goose pulling me behind the boat on a tube.  I wore a headgear in kindergarten, now that’s harsh.  I’m saying, I’m sympathetic.  However, a deaf man, with a lisp and a sibilant “S” should not be the one informing Shep and me about the glories of his sliced seared salmon.  I caught Shep’s eye and had to put my head on the table.  This elicited such distain and fury from Cricket (who was born a 53 year old woman) that it just got funnier.  Apparently, I am impossible to take in public.  

Church?  Forget about it.  Everything is funnier in church.  Small things become hilarious.  I once took Cricket to a small Southern Baptist church in hopes of hearing some great music.  The preacher was unintelligible.  There was some floor flopping and some garbled blabbering and anyone should have seen the humor.  Not the woman sitting beside me, apparently.  Another venue we had to leave, another lecture for me. Church proves to be an especially bad problem because the Goose like to whisper something inappropriate to me and then glare at me when I laugh.  I was spanked almost every Sunday after church by my mother for my giggling conduct until my dad realized he could remove me during the sermon under the pretense of my bad behavior but really sneak out for a smoke. 

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What I’d like to know is how others have conquered the voices in their heads that say things like “oooh, guuurll, don’t dare laugh now!  Better not crack that smile!  Is that your lips starting to grin like an idiot? What’s the worst thing you could do right now?”  Just thinking about it, I am grinning.  It has happened in parent teacher conferences (which gives them insight into Sheps issues), it happened yesterday at the doctor’s office when the girl had an impossibly squeaky voice and a walk that would have made Mrs. Wiggins jealous, it happens, horribly, at funerals.  Just the sniffles of grief cause my face to crack into an idiotic grin.  I laughed so hard once when I got pulled over that I had to take a breathalyzer. 

What’s wrong with me?  I have no idea.  I’m sure there are others with this affliction that has caused me to sit in halls outside classrooms my entire life.  I am labeled hopelessly immature by my family and I know they no longer have any respect.  My children have inherited my problem by breaking into laughter, along with me, anytime I try to discipline them or tell a serious tale.  The Goose no longer trusts me to go to dinner with clients and I spent weeks in disgrace for giggling at his Mother’s funeral. (Those of you who know me…well, better let that one go.) 

I am hoping that I just slip gracefully into my dotage, giggling and smiling, surrounded by dogs, friends who laugh and bring wine, and wearing great shoes.  I mean, it could be worse, right? LOLZ!

 

 

 

Frat House Summer

This summer I lived in a frat house.  It sounds like more fun than it actually was.  

My son  goes through life in a giant traveling circus of chaos.  Early on, I made the decision to be “the house” where kids hung out.  My house was “the house” when I was growing up and I always enjoyed it.  The thing I didn’t take into consideration was that I was a girl.  I was an only child.  Also, my parents just, well, cared more?

I have given up, somewhat, it’s true.  This is strictly because of my selfishness and because multiple children just wear one down.  People used to tell my mother that having an only child just didn’t really count and it would make her furious.  I have news, it’s just too easy, especially if your child is a girl, and those of you with singles really should be more put together and help out the rest of us by vacuuming for us or bringing us meals. 

I have several friends with six, yes, six kids.  My son Shep’s best friend is one of six.  This allowed him to spend over 75 nights with us during the summer without his mother knowing he was gone.  

Shep is a social creature. His circus consists daily of a band of about 6 boys, over 20 pairs of their shoes, all over size 12, that take up the space of a Buick in my mudroom, a wardrobe of preppy clothes that would make a Kennedy jealous (all needing dry cleaning), an ever changing cast of “hot girls” and about 41 gallons of milk.  You know how, in those old Bible movies, a swarm of locust would arrive and decimate a town in about seven minutes?  Uh huh.  That.  

Boys are hungry.  My oldest, a girl, lives on air and french fries.  The Goose and I eat out mostly but we are left with the problem of the boys.  They are ravenous.  They want to eat every single day.  Creating a meal would be a mystery that I have no wish to solve.  I don’t know how other moms do it, but I am living for the day that some smart girl with kitchen skills finds Shep and begins cooking for him.  Maybe he can bring something home for us?

The fantasy I had of just hanging out at the lake all summer with the boys, like something out of a Hardy Boy’s book, just didn’t pan out exactly that way.  I pictured snapshot moments of bonding and wholesome marshmallow roasting. It went more like an 80s rock video. 

This summer I chaperoned, chauffeured, pulled kids on wake boards, ordered pizza, washed clothes, washed towels, washed towels, washed towels (did I mention that I washed towels?) and then did it all over again the next day.  The boys had a rotating wheel of girls so beautiful and, um, well, mature looking, that I felt like Mrs. Doubtfire in their proximity. Since Shep will start driving on his own next week, this was probably the last summer I’ll be needed as an integral house mother at the frat house.  He won’t need me for the hour and a half transport.  I won’t be driving when they forget I’m in the car and blurt out everything going through their boy minds.  Since I now know what’s in their minds, I feel this is a good thing for all of us.  As for me, I am trying to forget the lyrics to every rap song ever played. 

I hope, though, when the boys look back through the lens of time, they’ll remember this summer as the best one ever.  I hope it’s the jewel at the end of their childhood and I certainly hope they forget the language I used when asking them, over and over, to please clean up their $^!(!Image

My Darling Clementine

ImageWhen I finally moved to the country 15 years ago, we built a barn.  Not having anything to put in it, I set about changing that.  During my years as a designer, I sold many English paintings with sheep.  I had come to love anything with sheep in it, paintings, prints, etchings, lamps with porcelain sheep, sweaters with sheep (yes, you know the one, 24 white sheep, one black one, a fashion embarrassment if there ever was one) and sheep “doodads and geegaws”, including sheep soap.  One day, I saw an add for sheep in the paper.  The Golden Goose and I loaded up our small children and took off to claim our sweet, wooly little lamb.  When I got there, there were no lambs to be had, but a field of muddy, hairy, smelly sheep, crying and running from the farmer like he was Satan.  (Turns out he was.) We had driven 92 miles with a daughter who had gotten carsick and thrown up in her brother’s hat.  This caused her brother to cry because it was his favorite hat and he wanted it back, barf or not.  Also, I have to stop a lot to go to the bathroom.  I don’t know what it is about getting into the car with the Goose that makes me have to pee, but he says it is to counteract the skill with which he passes every car and a deep seated need to undermine his dominancy on the road.  Whatever it was, we weren’t leaving without a sheep. 

The farmer told me I could “pick me out one” and I chose one that looked exactly like every other sheep in the pasture.  He then told me she would probably not like me for a while and that sheep weren’t all that smart or friendly.  When I asked when and how she should be sheared, he just laughed and said “lady, these ain’t wool sheep, these is EATIN sheep”.  As a vegetarian with veg kids, I almost passed out.  Suddenly, all these sheep in the pasture needed to be saved.  I cried, the kids cried, but the Goose steadfastly refused to buy all 300.  So, we folded our large sheep into a dog crate made for a small dog.  She none too happy about this.  We put her in the back of the Goose’s truck for men who want to seem manly but really want a luxury car inside and she baaaahhed and cried all the way home.  Upon stopping at a Dairy Queen to use the loo, she startled the entire ice cream eating crowd.  After she was unloaded, though, she defied the evil sheep eating farmer by looking at me with love and commencing to follow me everywhere.  She was lovely! That was 12 years ago.  Clementine is still with me and is, by far, the most intelligent animal I’ve ever come across.  This includes labs, all other dogs, small children, and my in-laws. 

Many know my problem with animals wanting to come into the house.  I’ve been described as the lady with animals in her house.  This is not true!  As a designer, I must say I have a great house.  It’s clean and normal and really pretty.  Things do get in from time to time though and one night when chaos was happening with my kids, kids’ friends, and adults with  cocktails, Clementine got in.  She doesn’t really look for me but goes straight to the pantry for cookies.  She has a terrible sweet tooth.  The Goose’s way of dealing with her is to herd her by standing behind her and bumping her towards the door, muttering and swearing (both of them).  On this particular evening, the pizza delivery man arrived at our glass door just as the Goose, bent over Clementine, bumping her on the behind to move was trying to exit through our mud room.  The man gaped while the Goose stammered an explanation for why he had a sheep in a scandalous rear chokehold, but the man didn’t want to know.  He just took the cash and left in haste.  

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Last Valentine’s Day the Goose was forced to give me real little lamb.  (Forced because we saw one gamboling on the side of the road on the way home from dinner and a man who has FORGOTTEN all the accouterment of Valentine’s Day really can’t argue with a seething wife.)  Clarence is not intelligent.  He is needy.  This is because I allowed him to stay inside (it was cold!) for a few days provided he wear a diaper which I firmly affixed with damask duct tape.  Yes, I know, it’s wrong, but he, like every other animal, is affronted that he cannot come in and lie by the bed.  

I don’t really have a zingy wrap up here, only to say that sheep are individuals, just like people.  The fact that people eat lamb, one of the cruelest things I’ve ever heard (what they do to those babies before they hit your plate is unthinkable) makes me sad.  Imagine your yellow lab cut into bits and covered in mint sauce and order a salad next time!

 

…and a ‘possum in the dishwasher

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I can pull it off pretty well in public, being normal.  In my real life as a designer, I seem okay.  My big southern hair is usually in place, I often wear lipstick and matching clothes.  I like to wear shoes that cause other women to rethink their entire lives.  I like earrings sparkly enough to make Amish women sin in their hearts. All normally goes well until I’m consulting with a client, slip up and something like this tumbles out, “I LOVE dark stain on a floor with a high gloss finish.  I have that myself.  It usually looks great but yesterday, after I mopped, the stinkin’ oposum climbed up in the dishwasher, got her feet all wet, and tracked it all over the floor”. Uh huh, that awkward silence that lets me know this was outside the parameters of what my clients were expecting when they contracted for design services.  What I do in my “other life” has crept into my big girl life and I’m getting that look from a volvo driving client who is over her head at home with just her goldendoodleschnitzapoo.

Several years ago, I got my wildlife rehabilitation license from the GA DNR because people just kept bringing injured animals to me just because I have a barn, opossums among them.  And it’s true, we did have an opossum who lived in our house for years.  I retrieved her on a rehab call with her bottom jaw stuck in a fence.  She was so glad to receive my help that she snapped and growled her appreciation throughout the entire removal process.  Although I knew I should probably euthanize her, I worked on her for weeks.  She lost a good portion of her lower jaw giving her an overbite and a lisp that would have made Drew Barrymore proud.

Glamorously named Jawbone, she refused all attempts for release and found every possible way to get into the house.  Periodically, I would look up to find her reclining on my 18th century living room sofa with the $200 yard velvet, with her tail curled provocatively around her while she opened up a $6.00 truffle I refused to let my kids eat unless a special occasion rolled around.

My daughter was in high school at the time and threatened law suits, emancipation and/or dressing me polyester and not plucking my whiskers when I get old if the secret ever got out.  Once, when she brought a new boy home and he was standing in the kitchen Jawbone sauntered through the dining room behind him.  There was a moment of panicked filled eye swearing while JB continued through the kitchen, daintily plucked a treat from the cat’s dish and continued on in what I can assume was an errand of the utmost importance.  The boy never knew what happened, although I have put aside money in a special fund for epilation after age 65.

I love opossums.  I can’t understand why they are abhorred by people everywhere.  They could be the mascot for the south. They’re not rodents, they’re marsupials, just like a kangaroo, the only ones in North America.  They don’t carry disease, they’re slow and steady and eat all the garbage in the world.  I love anyone who will clean up after themselves and have yet to train anyone one or any animal in my family to do so.  They’re slow, I admit, but cause no harm and only hiss and drool because they’re afraid. They almost never bite and will occasionally do that really cool thing and get quiet and play dead, a great talent for anyone.

Great southern women have big hearts for all living things.  Southern women are not namby pamby, scardy cats who faint when a ground hog climbs up on our porch.  We don’t hesitate to get out of our cars, in our high heeled shoes and move a turtle across the road, flippin’ our hair while we save a life.

Show me a woman who is afraid of an opossum and I’ll bet she’ll be the same woman who will refuse to dress up in a prom dress after a glass or two of wine.  Give me a woman with an opossum in her house and I’ll show you a woman who will blurt out something at a party that will cause her mother to alert the prayer chain.  Now, that’s fun.