The Giant Umbilical Cord

ImageJust a few weeks ago my son, The Boy, went away on a mission trip.  On this trip, they could not take their phones nor communicate back home in any way. They left on a Sunday morning and by Thursday, I was willing to fly, drive, swim or make smoke signals just to hear from him.  I picked up my phone to text him a hundred times and then sighed and put it back down.

ImageLet me digress by saying that The Boy and I are not in the best of places.  He’s been my sweet and snuggly child since birth.  Never any trouble, affable, effortless popular with his peers and a certified chick magnet.  My house has always been the place where his friends gather and I am close to them as well.  About the time he was fifteen and a half, he left for school and a demon came home wearing his body.  “Hi!  How was school?  I missed you!” I chirped when he came in the door, my arms flung wide for a hug, and something reptilian moved behind his eyes and he snarled and slunk to his room. A sullen, entitled changeling snuggled beneath the sheets on which I had used extra lavender scented fabric softener.  A demon sighed every time I asked it where it was going when it headed to its car (that I gave it). In its eyes, I ceased to be cool, which I know is not the case in reality, so I can only assume that The Boy had been possessed.

From that day forward, I’ve seen glimpses of my darling boy, sometimes weeks of sweetness, and then the monster gets control again.

I should have expected this.  Cricket went through the same thing, only her great rebellion was black eyeliner, screaming music and an attitude that caused her to be nicknamed “Black Heart”.  She popped right out of that at about 17 and has been the sweet dream she was most of her life since then.

I never thought it would happen to The Boy, though, the happiest child on Earth. No matter how much his monster is in control, we still do a fair amount of texting during the day and even that manages to convey a devilish snippiness.  A sampling of a recent conversation:

Me: Hey! Where are you?

Boy: In my room?

Me: Is that in question or are you confused about punctuation?

Boy: …

or

Me: Could you call me please?

Boy: I can’t, my phone is broken

Brilliant response, oh bright one.

Being out of contact made me realize just how much I communicate with my family.  Those experts who say that family communication is dead are just wrong.

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Cricket and I send approximately 2,000,000 text daily.  She texts me about what everyone is wearing in her class, whether it rained when she was walking to her building and what cute boys were at the gym.  Then, we discuss people we know.  I tell her I just used Soft Scrub on the sink and removed a troubling stain.  I tell her I’m at the carwash.  I tell her when I am mad at The Goose and why.  She backs me up.  Next, I tell her all is well and she agrees that he’s the best dad ever.  I tell her what her brother wore to school, what I think about the girl he’s dating, the fact that I had to stop for gas and my current calorie count for the day.  She texts me that her hair is frizzy and she’s not happy with her shoes.

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The Goose texts me his demands for the day.  Have I taken the trash to the street?  Are his shirts back from the cleaners? Did I call the gas company about a problem?  He tells me who he saw at Matthew’s Cafeteria at lunch.  He texts me links to news stories in which he knows I have no interest. He texts me to come upstairs to his office.  On the way up, I get a text that he needs a Mountain Dew and while going back downstairs to get it, another that he needs his glasses.  When he goes to the lake without me, he usually imbibes, out of loneliness from missing me I guess, and drunk texts me silly teenage type declarations of love that cause me to blush and giggle.

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The Goose talked with his mother daily.  I called it the “Giant Umbilical Cord”.  I kinda regret this now that my kids are almost grown because I can’t imagine how often I’ll contact them during the day once I don’t actually see them every day.

My point is, we communicate A LOT.

The Boy got a phone in the 5th grade.  Those of you without sin, just get over it.  He then proceeded to send 6 consecutive phones through the washing machine, in the pockets of his pants.  He would take his allowance and go right back out to Target and plunk down another $12.99 for a new one.  I kept waiting for the lesson to sink in.  Since then, he has continued to destroy phones, one after another, and our family’s DRAWER OF TECHNOLOGY SHAME is overflowing.  I confess that we have all contributed to this.  All just to stay connected.

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(I know, it’s embarrassing, our drawer of shame)

Here’s the thing.  Several days into the week, I had forgotten all the things about The Boy that have gotten on my nerves.  I remembered that he really is sweet most of the time, is a great kid, stays out of trouble, mostly, and chooses to bring his friends home instead of roaming the streets with hookers and drugs.  He actually does hug me often, even if it is the bone crunching, rib breaking kind.  He pokes me, punches my arm and stands next to me, commenting on my height, a teenage boy’s way of showing love. He was on a mission trip, not lying on a beach in PC wondering where his pants got to last night. He is a moral, funny, loyal young man who would be there for any of us in a minute.  Some of his friends stayed at my house, having chosen not to go home but to just wait out the week here, and I overheard them, lounging in their pajamas every morning, talking about how much they missed him and counting the days until he came home.  There is a FB page where they posted daily pictures of the trip and we scoured each one until we found him, looking cute in a straw hat.  At no point did I fume about the state of his closet or glower over the glasses and chip bags left in the basement.

Maybe there is something to “absence makes the heart grow fonder” because I arrived to pick him up an hour early, straining my ears for the sound of his bus and the sight of his tan, sleep deprived self almost brought me to tears. If a week can do this for a teenage boy,  maybe we’re all TOO connected?  Possibly this is why kids come home from college, husbands come home from business trips, even soldiers come home from oversees and seem all new and shiny, seemingly without their demons in tow. It is conceivable that we just communicate too much and should go back to a time when communication was just face to face?  Nah,   LOL.  TTYL. 🙂

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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Rock ON

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My friend writes a great and funny blog, Forever 51.  The other day she asked what the soundtrack of our youth was.  That got us talking because the kind of music we listened to says something about us.  

When I met my best friend in 2nd grade, I was introduced to “Black Water”.  This was pretty eye opening for me as my family only listened to classical music.  I had already had the fiasco of “Jeremiah was a Bullfrog” being banned at my house because of the wine reference and I was an empty cup when it came to music. Oh, I could belt out all four stanzas of hymns 1 – 345 in the Baptist hymnal and could hum a good many waltzes and concertos, but the Doobie Brothers were out of my realm.   My friend had younger parents and her house had music playing in it that made me feel cool and hip, like an after school special. 

When the disco era came along I was still in middle school, tucked away in private school where we belted out the tunes about sex and drugs and had no idea what we were singing about.  Barry Manilow and Abba ruled, it’s sad to say. 

Upon being sprung from the misery of private school, I threw away my preppy shoes and had the eye opening experience of public education.  Kids kissed and held hands in the halls, soon I kissed people in the hall. Kids could bring in a note that allowed them to SMOKE AT SCHOOL.  It was an orgy.  Peter Frampton rang out, The Who, REO Speedwagon.  My first concert was Journey, an event for which my date had to come into my house and convince my mother I wouldn’t die or join a cult from attending. 

If I had to pinpoint the band behind most of the shenanigans I committed in high school, though, I would say without a doubt, it was AC/DC.  I can hear the bells starting up Hell’s Bells and still get a mental whiff and taste of that time. I can smell my car, a sweet little black Camero with a great stereo, cracklin’s from Long John Silvers spilled between the seats, and a bottle opener magnet on the dash. Led Zeppelin tapes all over the floor mixed up with punk tapes like the Sex Pistols. I remember my Halston perfume and the smoke of the fantastic parties that seem to happen most weekends.  

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When I met the Goose, he was on a whole different wavelength.  He listened to Bruce Springsteen, who honestly causes me a bit of nausea, Jackson Brown, who makes my ears bleed and Jimmy Buffett, whom I’ve come to like in small doses due only to the fun I’ve had at his concerts and to his music.  The Goose didn’t know every word to Kashmir and didn’t consider it a holy song.  He didn’t know Moving in Stereo, Starship Trooper or any other long make-out songs. For a while, I won him over, most likely because of the making out, but several years into our marriage he produced from his mouth a sentence that could have spelled the end to our union.  He said, with all sincerity, “I really only like country music.”.  It’s true, that I’ve stayed married to him, whether out of pity or inertia, and tried to gently move him back into the light, but he persists, even asking me to “listen to the words” now and then.  It’s a burden I continue to bear and I say with all shame in my heart that my precious daughter, who in high school had purple hair and listened only to music that could take one’s skin off, has veered over into that twangy territory.  I find it uncomfortable to think about and embarrassing to admit, but my daughter is a country music fan and I love and support her anyway. I think there might be help group I can attend for this. 

I find that in my advanced years I listen to a lot of stuff, rap and Cricket’s old screamo when I run, Grateful Dead at the lake or with wine, but the two kinds of music I continually return to are those of my youth, classical, because my mother played in the Atlanta Symphony and I grew up with the screeching of a practicing violin, and the banging rock anthems of my high school sound tracks.  We all go back to what’s comfortable. I once heard someone say that we are going to be a generation of old people, sitting around in rocking chairs, holding hands, eating jello and singing along to Stairway to Heaven and I feel that, possibly due to the punishment our brains took, that time might be closer than we think. 

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The Scary Hag in the Kitchen

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This morning, after the cleaning massacre in three part harmony that occurred here yesterday, I laid around in my jammies and made a doctor’s appointment or two.  Or six.  

 

All my life, except for one small event, I’ve been super healthy.  I eat right, I exercise, I take a giant handful of vitamins everyday, twice a day.  I drink only water and, just a tad of alcohol.  No milk, no sodas, I never have. I juice kale, for crying out loud.  I have a LOT of energy.  Lots of it.  I know my family wishes I had a bit less. 

 

I’ve also been someone who scoffs at those with allergies, those with nasty, rashy skin, those complaining of aches and pains.  I am now shouting to the universe “I’M SORRY!!!!”.  I take it back.  All of it.  I’m sorry I made a mean high school girl’s face at people covered in pink calamine lotion.  I’m sorry I laughed at those with poison ivy woes, those with inhalers.  I really and truly apologize.  Please, karma, don’t let it be wine to which I’m allergic.  I promise to send in my St. Jude’s donation.  I promise not to swear at slow drivers (when they can actually read my lips and hand signals.  I feel that’s a good compromise.)

 

This summer, coming home from the lake, I developed a weird rash that covered me in pink camouflage by evening.  I went to a doc in the box, had a shot that hurt WAY more than it should, plus the added injustice of showing my spot riddled tee-hiney to a doctor half my age.  All was fine.  Then, months later, it happened again, out of the blue.  Again, I did the same thing but picked an older, less attractive doctor.  This Christmas, it came back with a vengeance.  This time, on my FACE.  My left eye swelled so that I resembled Marty Feldman.  I produced a bright red flush around my mouth that looked like I had forgotten to wash off Halloween makeup.  

 

So now, it’s returning.  This morning, I called an allergist.  I also called my breast care specialist, my gynecologist, my hormone doctor, my dermatologist because all this frowning has caused me to be able to form an expression and that, at least, I know can be remedied for four months with a shot!  I need to see the eye doctor, because I never have and I find that the world has taken on a fuzzy look but I found a really cute paisley pair of reading glasses at the dollar store and I’m just going to stick with that.  I’m scared of what I’ll see if I really can see.

 

Most of all, I called my hair dresser, who really can make a difference. 

 

The Goose was dilly-dallying around in the kitchen while I was making these appointments, waiting for his magic work pill to kick in, and I realized he was giving me serious and concerned glances.  Not the glances that say “hey, you’re looking kinda good here in this gloomy kitchen light” or “gee, I have never loved you more”.  It was more of the kind of glance Dorothy gave the Wizard when she pulled away the curtain.  

Girls, I realize now that I negligently made a classic mistake this morning.  Never, never, never let them see what keeps us propped up and looking like we’re 25.  Okay, 35.  Well, looking a little less like Mrs. Doubtfire.  I might as well been sitting there in a girdle and curlers with a cigarette hanging from my lips.  

 

I have no answers for how to remedy this.  I am scared of this old age thing. I was sure it would never find me.  I thought I was exempt since I still think I’m 16 inside. I’m going to work on it today, though. I will be braving the cold day with my top down (my car, not my shirt, dear God no), I am going to listen to rap. I might have to reach back into the knowledge of “What Would Doris Day Say?” and buy an actual negligée, I might have to wear gold lame, a push up bra and heels.  I know that I will not be bending over, with a giant swollen eye, in flannel jammies, picking up the poo Matilda left under the piano when the Goose comes back in tonight, though.  That probably wasn’t me at my best.  

 

What Would Doris Day Say?

ImageOccasionally, when my good family gets up to attend church, I decline.  In past years, I sometimes made up a headache (not always made up after Saturday night), a sore throat or female malady.  These days, I just decline on the basis of not being able to face my closet.  It seems monumental, especially in winter, to pull together an outfit.  So, sometimes, I opt to be home alone.  This allows for my favorite indulgence ever, the Doris Day movie event.

Inevitably, on any given Sunday, (take that, you sports freaks), there will be a Doris Day movie playing during the morning hours.  If the day is cloudy and cold, it is almost too delicious to bear.

I get that women needed to vote, I understand equality, I fully agree that women should be paid on level with men, but ladies, ladies, oh what we let slip along the way.

There are 11 truths that can be gleaned from Doris Day.  They are, in no particular order:

  1. Gold Lame goes with anything.  If you are wearing your husband’s t-shirt and boxers and whip on a gold lame wrap, you can achieve a glamour level of 7 or above in an instant.
  2. If you just use a soft voice and a lovely smile while you are plotting something devious, adding in a sexy nod of the head, you will certainly get away with it.  I’m sure DNA evidence and detailed autopsies will make this harder for today’s ladies, but, in the event of questioning, I’d again suggest the lovely toothy smile.
  3. Every woman should own and wear long silk peignoir sets instead of the aforementioned t-shirt and boxers.  Apparently, the sight of these render a man senseless and this, girls, is when you should ask for that kitchen remodel or new car. If you are asking for a new kitchen, I know a really good designer.
  4. A rich handsome man can always be reformed.
  5. If one is angry, there is no need to swear, crossing one’s eyes and blowing one’s bangs is enough to cause husbands, shopkeepers and milkmen to quake.  In this case, I’d have to agree.  Today’s TV has upped the epic tantrum level across the board and no one pays attention to an angry chick unless a car is driven through the garage door or something is thrown and broken.  I say, bring back the seething and the searing looks.
  6. There just can’t be enough satin, leopard prints, and kitten heels in our lives.
  7. Periodically, men should be coming home with gifts artfully wrapped where we can just lift off the lid and the box will remain beautiful.  There should be something really good in there.  Really good.
  8. Everyone needs a handsome gay friend like Rock Hudson.
  9. Women look great in hats.  When and why did we give up hats?  Women love accessories and we just let that one get away.  I submit that the emergence of the enormous handbag is overcompensating our phantom pain over the loss of our hats.  Can you imagine going shopping with your friend and getting a fabulous hat?  Taking it home in a box? How fun would that be?  If every woman went out today and purchased a glamourous hat and we all agreed to wear them, say, next Tuesday, we could change the world.
  10. All the remaining problems in the world, once we bring back hats, can be solved while talking on the phone to our best friend while sitting in a bubble bath.
  11. ImageSleeping with Cary Grant is the best revenge. Wait, that just slipped out.  Well, I’ll let it stand because, um, CARY GRANT! Without a doubt still the dishiest man ever.  Ever.

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So, by the time my family comes home I’m out of bed, a blue bird on my shoulder, wearing an apron and humming a tune.  If I knew how to bake a pie I would, but I don’t want to have to try out the toothy smile while explaining poisoning to the police just yet. These movies give me a happy feeling all day and it makes me think that we’ve gone awry somewhere.  Things just seemed lovelier back then.  I am longing for a big hairdo and a pastel colored car.

My Doris has, in fact, given us many life lessons not the least of which is why have we given up being glamorous?  Today, let’s all put on our gold wraps and false eyelashes,  don our heels and try out our lovely smiles and nods today and see just what we can get away with.

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Middle Aged Lunacy (or, Don’t Poke the Bear!)

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I think there’s an army of middle aged women out there set to pop. Perhaps it’s middle age that’s causing this.  Perhaps a change in hormones.  Maybe it’s when a well meaning hair dresser thinks you’ll be happy to learn that instead of the full on bimbo bleach she’s been using on your hair for 19 years she now thinks she should “weave in a little natural color since it’s mostly gray under there anyway”. 

Women who are late 40s, early 50s just don’t seem to have the same goals as our mother’s generation. None of my friends play bridge or own panty hose.  I may have missed it, but I feel certain I have never heard one of them answer “yes, dear” to any question posed by their husbands. 

I believe, my friends, that most of us spent our 20s and 30s in mostly the same way.  We got married, got cute little houses, got BMWs, got bigger houses.  We got kids, got them into preschool, went to Gymboree.  We spent Wednesday nights volunteering at church programs that caused us to scream at our children all the way there because they hadn’t learned their Bible verses.  We got bobs, boob jobs, facials, SUVs, yellow labs, made Superbowl food and had polite holidays with our in-laws that caused us to gobble leftover pain pills in the bathroom. We got our son’s baseball pants their whitest, their brightest. I was a cutout for a perfect wife and mother. 

I’m not sure when the rebellion set in.  I mean, I should have gotten this out of the way in high school.  Lord knows I partied hard enough.  Still, around 40, something uncoiled deep inside me, caused me to gain about 10 lbs and asked me to please uncork some tequila.  It has motivated me to swear like a sailor.  I recently called my son a name which was so foul, so obscene that it sent shock waves throughout the universe causing  my daughter and husband to have trouble getting enough oxygen.  

Recently an online newspaper asked a question about marijuana.  Before the minute was out 435 middle aged women had responded asking that it be legalized, taxed and sold in coordinating Lilly Pulitzer cases. 

Thankfully, the Goose never even suggested that I should drive a mini-van.  I believe this is responsible for the wrath of lots of women.  It’s too much to ask.  I think they should carry a warning that driving a minivan will cause you to lose your soul.  Also sensible shoes, rooms painted taupe, children’s programming on tv, and wall to wall cut pile carpet in a color that hides dirt.

Authority?  Can’t do it, can we?  I find myself mentally flipping off policemen, store clerks, school administrators and neighbors alike. I heard myself actually tell my husband he wasn’t the boss of me.  I said those exact words. I have my theme music all picked out for my police chase the next time someone attempts to give me a ticket. 

If I call a friend and want to rant, I can’t even get the first sentence out without them jumping on the bandwagon and asking if they can lock and load.  All they’re waiting for is a super hero costume and really, who among us isn’t? I just want it to come in Spanx material. 

We’re angry, we’re ready to party and we have the shoes and the wardrobe to do it with gusto.  We have the education and verbal skills to decimate the fool who attempts to argue with us.  We have American Express cards, AAA and, some of us, friends in AA who can drive us home.  It’s our time for fun.  We see the light at the end of our mommy tunnel and I, for one,  feel it’s now my children’s turn to take care of me.  Before I even conceive of the thought, I want someone to pour me a wine, put it with a box of Triscuits and send them to me on a Roomba, which is doing my vacuuming for me. 

I have no idea what kind of grandmothers we will become.  It’s safe to say this isn’t going to be the generation that takes kindly to someone spilling a juice box on our Seven jeans and 6” Betsy Johnsons!

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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!