Monday, February 27, 2012

Delusions can be fun

My youngest daughter is spending the night with my parents tonight. She's fine with this, which is surprising. See, she's sure I was kidnapped as a child. She tells me frequently that she saw my "real mom" at the store or asks where my "real parents" work. I've told her over and over that Lolli & Pop are most assuredly my real parents.

"Nope. Your real mom has white hair. I know. I sawd her."

I find this quite funny. I told my mom as she loaded my baby into her car this morning that she's not my real mom & explained why. The last thing I heard as she shut the car door was, "Yes, I am. I have pregnancy pictures." "No, you were pregnant with some other baby."

Now, logically, I should be worried that she'll willingly go with a stranger & decide they can be her other parent. But the kid is so completely sure of this - as she's convinced of the correctness of everything she says - that it's just plain fun to argue with her about it.

We debate facts all the time: Jesus & Moses went to preschool together, it IS fine for a five year old to climb a ladder onto the roof, peanut butter and spinach DO go together, she's a year older than her twin brother, and our next door neighbor is her real dad.

Wait, what? Whoa, kid, don't go sayin' that last one! Everyone will recognize the falsehood of your previous arguments, but don't you dare start rumors about me like that! Dang! Your dad IS your real dad, there is NO way anyone else is. It's just not physically possible.

See, if you want to start false rumors about me, here are some I approve of:
I weigh 135 lbs (at 5'11", I'd be a waif);
I am having a black-tie art show in Paris;
Nathan Fillion keeps trying to get me to be his BFF;
I was an astronaut;
Stana Katic calls me for fashion advice;
the Pope has me on speed dial for when he's confused about the meaning of a passage of scripture;
Clive Cussler & Michael Connelly run their manuscripts by me for advice & inspiration;
I can do handstand push ups;
my farts smell like roses;
I'm the ghost writer for the Richard Castle novels.

Shall I go on? Girlie, you get to have a pretend horse in your room, can't I have some delusions, too?

So... anyway... we talked about strangers and not going with them. Of course, she readily agreed to not go with a stranger. She'd meet them and make friends first. Doh! Of course, all my little people are good at meeting new people, a trait I have NEVER had. I avoid the phone, and I act like talking to someone new just might make me implode and melt into a puddle of sizzling green goo. I try to smile & nod at visitors at church - don't want to be unwelcoming; but I typically go refill my coffee during the time at church where you're supposed to hug everyone.

What flaming extrovert invented the "go hug your neighbor and spread the love of Jesus" time at church? I need to smack him. I don't remember a single time where Jesus hugged anyone. How would history have been changed if He had told Peter and Judas to go hug it out? The only people I have any interest in hugging grew in my belly. (And yes, little girl, I have pics and stretchmarks to prove you grew in my belly. You weren't kidnapped.) And I'll occasionally hug the man I married. That's kind of required. And Stephanie Forsythe, because she's the raddest chica I know. As for everyone else, keeping the coffee going is the best hug you can give me. 

The husband, however, will talk to anyone; and if you have ever met him and didn't piss him off, you are his friend. It doesn't matter if you met at a frat party 20 years ago, and you can't remember him from Adam, he will still remember your name and introduce you as his friend from way back. My kids totally inherited his extrovert genes. They make friends everywhere they go, oblivious to age, gender, or race. Everyone is their friend, and I love that about them.

I just can't let them play in the front yard without me. I can see it now: "Hey, kid, you want some candy & a puppy?" "Yes! You're my new best friend! Can I ride in your car?" 

That explains the treehouse, trampoline, balance beam, gymnastics mats, playhouse, hammock, firepit, and 10-kid swingset in the back yard. Surrounded by a privacy fence. Zipline coming soon.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Last Call @ 5pm!

I remember my brother being about 5 years old and peeing in his closet one night. It was the same path to the bathroom, he was just a few steps shy of making it out to the hallway that would take him to the bathroom door, and instead opened the closet door. I can still see Mom cloroxing He-Man and BattleCat.

Now my little guy does the same thing. He sleepwalks, but only when he needs to pee. It's hilarious, because he runs around the house, trying to find that dadgum elusive bathroom, trying to figure out where to pee, and we usually hear him, catch him, and take him to the potty. He gets the whole body shivers when he pees, too. We laugh at him, and he has no idea why.


It started about two months ago, somewhere between 10 & midnight, he was running around crying. He couldn't wake up enough to tell us what was wrong, couldn't calm down enough to pee, and we sat there soothing him and checking his temp and trying to wake him up and find out what hurt. He got hysterical, but finally calmed down enough to figure out that he did, in fact, need to pee.

It happened again the next two nights.

The fourth night, he didn't cry. He ran into his big sister's room and peed on the side of her bed. She has a jack-n-jill bathroom with the big brother, so maybe he thought he'd made it in there. I stripped the dustruffle and comfortor without her ever waking up. She was mortified the next morning when I told her. (Of course, I didn't tell her he just got the bottom edges, where's the fun in that? I said, "Hey M! A came in & peed all over your bed last night while you were sleeping in it!" Because I'm a fun mom like that.)

It has happened almost every night since then, too. I don't give him much to drink with dinner, and nothing after dinner; but obviously, we're going to have to cut off the drinkin' a lot earlier.

I've yanked him up in the kitchen starting to pull his pants down to pee in the garbage. He's tried to get out the front door. He's tried to go in the fireplace. He's tried to go on the side of my bed. He's tried to go in the cook island.

I'm almost always the first one to hear his feet and go catch him and carry him to the bathroom, but my husband usually follows, just to laugh at the poor boy. Who is still very much asleep with eyes wide open.

So tonight, at 8:57 as I'd just settled in for Castle, I thought I heard the pitter-patter of tiny feet. But it was quiet, and there was no fussing. So I paused. It was too early for him to be up already. And that, my friends, was my mistake.

I realized that the footsteps were quiet because he was calmly walking into the kitchen. "Aah," I think, "This is why he's having to go pee. He's going to get a drink after we put him in bed."

I hear the fridge open. Then I realize, "Oh, maybe he's gonna pee in the fridge!"

I run in there, the fridge is wide open, and he's whizzing all over the place.

I shout, "Stop!" and he looks up with those big blue eyes and says, "Why?"

"Because that's the fridge, not the potty!!!"

I hear my husband laughing his butt off.

Little Man just looks back at the fridge like, "Huh. What's that doing in the bathroom?"

I pull out the wee'd-on stuff and begin cleaning the fridge & hubby's Mtn. Dew bottles. Fortunately, that's all that was on the bottom shelf; but I had to clean the back wall, the bottom shelf, the crispers, and the floor of the fridge.

Meanwhile, I must have scared his little weiner sphincter, because he couldn't finish in the potty. So an hour later, I hear frantic running into the kitchen and catch him while he's trying to get his pants down, and we make it to the bathroom in time. He does his big shiver when he finishes, then turns around to hug me. I get his britches pulled up and carry him back to his bed. He lays down easily, because he never even woke up in the first place.

Yeah. Good times.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Why is this okay?

Early in my first semester in college, fall 1996, I pulled into the Walmart parking lot in Auburn, Alabama. It was a good night to go grocery shopping. While searching for a parking space, I noticed a group of five young men about my age standing in a group, laughing and talking.

One wore a nice brightly colored plaid Hilfiger shirt. One wore a nice Nautica shirt. All were well dressed in nice shirts and khakis.  I parked on the same lane and walked toward them to the store. The one in the Nautica shirt was laughing. I remember thinking he had a nice smile.

They all turned to look at me. Then they turned to face me, and I aimed to go around them. But they dropped their smiles as one said, "Hey."

I was a shy girl. I glanced down and back up, and answered, "Hi." I kept walking. They didn't look so nice anymore, but I wasn't really worried about them.

They fanned out, blocking my path. "You scared?" Nautica had a challenging tone in his voice.

"No." But I was thinking, A little. Should I be scared?

"Where you from?"


They smiled a little. "Ah. You cool." Their posture relaxed. "What school you go to?"

"Lanier." Well, I went to the magnet program on the top floor, but they didn't need to know that.

They all laughed, went almost limp, and moved to let me by. "Yeah, you cool."

See, this was a group of African-American guys, and I am as white as a porcelain baby doll. I produce a glare, I'm so white. Lanier High School, however, was about 90% black at the time, though the magnet program was racially balanced.

These guys were hanging out in the parking lot, scaring the little white girls who came from lily white schools in lily white towns who believed racial stereotypes because they hadn't been exposed to any different. And they were doing it for fun. When I answered, they knew I wouldn't be intimidated just because of their skin color, and waited for an easier mark.

I gotta admit, as soon as I realized that they were just playing a game, I thought it was funny.

In fact, weeks later, during Thanksgiving break, I was at a party with high school friends, and we discussed how weird it was to be at colleges where we were in the majority. It was uncomfortable to not have many black people around. We felt like foreigners. (A few years later, I went on a business trip to Columbus, OH, and really freaked out because I didn't see any black people for days. It was the freakin' Twilight Zone! My boss saw a nice black couple at a restaurant on the last day of our trip and pointed them out to me to make me feel better.) We all had friends and neighbors of every ethnicity. It was is normal.

Now I live in a neighborhood that's pretty equally mixed. My kids don't know about the concept of racism except in the context of Civil War and Civil Rights. (We are in Montgomery, Alabama, after all.)

The stereotype's not true, not even among today's teenagers. I'm around plenty of them.

But I've had the same thing happen since then, except they guys were in gang colors and didn't just fan out, they approached. They didn't tease, they mocked. I was scared, but hid it. I turned around and got security to escort me to my car. Maybe they were playing the same game as the boys in Auburn. Maybe not. My reaction wasn't because they were black, but because they were thugs.

So I'd like to pose a question. Challenging stereotypes is funny and necessary. But why do people choose to reinforce negative stereotypes? Doesn't that breed racism? People don't want to be judged by how they look, but then they do crap like these young men did, and make people believe the stereotypes.

Why would anyone WANT to propagate hatred and racial misunderstanding? I really, really don't get it. And I really don't think the game is funny anymore. It just creates more tension and misunderstanding. Our politicians eat it up, too. Seriously, if it provides fodder for politicians, shouldn't people with brains avoid it at all costs?

So what can we do to counteract these idiots? I don't think a hug-a-thon would go over too well. But holding doors open, being nice to the cashier at the store, making an added effort to be friendly to a colleague you don't know well... it helps.

Or be just as much of a jerk to the people of your own race. As my brother said once so eloquently, "I'm not racist. I hate everyone equally." Words of wisdom to live by, bro.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Top Ten Things You Should Never Tell Me About

To the craziest person in my life, I have prepared a list for you. Keep it by your phone, and refer to it every time you think to dial my number. If what you have to say is on this list, DO NOT CALL ME.

10. Insults about homeschooling. My kid knows more at 7 years old than most kids do by 7th grade.

9. Insults about crazy new-agers who recycle. It's not a fad, it's just responsible.

8. Telling me that if I hydrate my kids enough, their pee won't smell, then I won't have to clean the bathroom. Water & a Febreeze spritz just doesn't cut it.

7. Your belief of how everyone is out to hurt your feelings. They are, but only because they can't stand you and hope you'll leave them alone if they're just as rude to you as you are to them.

6. Racist crap. You wanna really know where you can stick all of that?

5. Your giant pimple. Lalalalala I'm not listening!

4. Your husband's bowel movements. People aren't going to pity you because you (meaning your underpaid and overly-insulted cleaning lady) had to clean up after a 96-year old. It's your choice not to live in a nice retirement center that you could probably afford to buy.

3. Anything about self-pleasuring. I think I might hurl.

2. Your bowel movements. Why would you even think I'd like to know about that?

1. That I owe you because you buy us stuff and drop it on our doorstep three times a week. You're not fooling anyone, you're checking up on us; and I don't owe you anything, because gifts shouldn't have strings attached. Especially Dollar Tree crap that goes straight into the Goodwill bag we keep by the door.

And don't ask me about my health, because unless I'm about to be fitted for a toe tag, I'm fine.

And really, I'd prefer for my phone to not ring. I've got stuff to do, and if I have a minute to sit down, I'd rather be catching the newest "In the Lyfe" with Jon Heurtas than holding the phone far enough away to not hear your bull but close enough to hear you pause so I can say, "Uh huh," and "Huh. Really?"

And since you tend to just randomly hang up on people instead of saying "Bye," I just wait until I don't hear you anymore, offer one more, "'S that so?" to be sure, then hang up.  It's been almost 8 years of actually listening, but no more... and I don't even feel guilty about it.

Be happy. Feel the love.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How to eat healthy the right way.

A few years ago somebody with a pyramid scheme - I mean a selling-overpriced-crap-at-home-parties business opportunity - for a company selling natural cleaning supplies called my phone. I remember telling her that I was fine using Clorox and Ajax, and she said, "Don't you care about how much your children are exposed to chemicals, and how much they can harm their health?" I said, "Um, not really." I mean, I've been contaminated by chemicals my whole life, and I'm healthy. Plus, I hate selling stuff. She gave up on me and hung up.

But, after learning all I can about neurological problems, causes, and treatments in an effort to help G, I have now reversed my opinion.

I now mostly clean with white vinegar and baking soda, and it works great. And I've taken the chemicals out of our diets.

I have always eaten healthy: not much fast food, lean meats, skim milk, not much fried food, Smart Balance spread instead of butter, and Splenda instead of sugar. I drank diet Mountain Dew like it was about to become illegal (like kids taking sack lunch to school - did you hear about schools taking kids' lunches and forcing them to buy chicken nuggets?). And I exercised fairly regularly.

But I couldn't get rid of post-twin-babies weight. (They were giants.)

So now I've gotten rid of all those "healthy alternatives" and the Dew. I tore out my pantry with my bare hands (and a Sawz-all: I am woman, hear me use power tools!) and added a second fridge, so I can buy fresh and frozen produce, nothing canned (except Campbell's cream of mushroom, because there's just nothing better in a casserole). I buy organic as much as possible and check labels for sodium and ingredients I can't pronounce. I drink coffee with homemade cream (today was almond-hazelnut-vanilla) that's to die for. I use real butter and olive oil and real sugar or stevia-in-the-raw. I make my tortilla chips and my granola and my bread. I eat bacon and cage-free eggs and put real maple syrup on my pancakes.

I planted a garden and have fresh spinach, broccoli, bell peppers, strawberries, blackberries, tomatoes, oregano, basil, stevia and garlic. The neighbors are impressed. I keep telling the kids I'm going to get some chickens, too, so we'll always have fresh eggs. How pissed would my neighbors be about that, ya think?

I have always hated to cook. But now things taste better, don't have chemicals, and - get this - I have lost weight. The more I tried to lose weight by eating healthier, the more it stuck to me. And, yeah, I go to gymnastics, but that's just two hours a week, so you can't really say I'm exercising more. Plus I'm sitting here typing far more than I ever have.

I've lost the equivalent of my right leg just by eating real food. I had a Whopper last week when my MIL wanted us to eat out with her (that hour and a half could fuel several posts - she's so friggin' nuts), and I felt like I'd swallowed hardened roadkill. Heavy, disgusting, nauseated. I haven't have any partially hydrogenated anything in so long that a little burger made me wanna hurl.

I eat as much as I want of whatever I want, and long as I make it from scratch. So pecan pralines may be calling my name from the page of the cookbook, but it's way to dang much mess to actually bother making it, so I don't bother. Hence, I'm not really eating sweets. Unless you count the cream in my coffee. Lord help me if I ever get a maid, though; I'll be as big as a house.

I still hate to cook. But I like what it's producing in me (which is less butt and more energy) so I'll keep eating bread and bacon and steak and pasta and white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. But I'm keeping it real.

I'm telling the truth. I've lost almost 3 jeans sizes. It really works!

**Here's a site with good natural coffee creamer recipes:

Monday, February 13, 2012

This is your butt. This is your butt on drugs. Any questions?

About a month ago, there was a news story of Darwinism at work. Two adult brothers get arrested. In the back of the police cruiser, with the camera rolling, the older brother reaches down his pants and pulls out a baggie with an ounce of cocaine that he had hidden in his butt crack. He tells his brother he has to swallow it because if he gets caught with it, it would be his third strike and he'd go to prison for life.

Now, to me, the "You're my brother, so you should help me" reasoning only goes so far. "Can you help me with painting my living room before the Candlelight Old House Tour?" Sure. That's reasonable. "Dogsit for me?" I hate dogs, but okay.

 Swallowing something - anything - from someone else's crack absolutely crosses the line. Let's, for a minute, ignore the fact that it's a bag of drugs he's telling him to swallow. Mules do it all the time, so it must be safe, right? Let's focus on the butt crack part for now.

If my brother Charles came up to me and said, "Hey, I've got a key to Nathan Fillion's house along with a written invitation for you to come visit him," and proceeded to stick his hand in his drawers to pull the goodies from between his cheeks, I'd decline taking them. I know some of you will call me crazy (Jen, Sarah, Laura), but there'd have to be major bleaching and a forensic blacklight test done before I'd even entertain the idea of accepting even those most precious of gifts. Even still, I'd probably send him to Kinko's for a copy of the invitation and Lowe's for a copy of the key.

But it wasn't just, "Here's something with butt juice on it;" it was that, plus, "now put it in your mouth and swallow."

Anybody just ralph a little in your mouth? That's just nasty!

I'd have to promise Charles I'd visit him in prison. Three strikes or no, bro would be outta luck.

But it was drugs. How stupid do you have to be to do that? Seriously? "Hmm, that sounds like a good plan. If I get caught, I get charged with possession, maybe trafficking. Whether or not I get caught, this little pouch of Cling Wrap could rupture once it hits stomach acid and kill me. Sounds like a plan. Gimme your butt drugs. I'll swallow 'em! Anything to keep you out of jail, because you're such a stand-up guy. I love you, bro!"

Of course, the baggie did rupture, and the guy did die like an hour later. So Third Strike is facing manslaughter charges along with the drug charges and whatever misdemeanor he and his brother were originally arrested for.

(Shall I digress and make jokes about how deadly his hiney is and how that might make him a little safer in prison? Keep him from becoming some big guy's girlfriend? No? Okay, I won't.)

But, truly, this story is one they could make commercials out of. It is an honest-to-God story of how crack cocaine kills.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

My funny funny kids

I've got four kids. The boy/ girl twins just turned five, there's a 7 1/2 year old girl, and a 14 year old boy. Since some of you don't actually know me, I'll use their first initials instead of their names. I considered giving them nicknames, but couldn't think of good ones that weren't sarcastic. The girls would be easy, though. They already call themselves "Drama Queen" and "Prissy Missy." My little boy could easily be "Superman;" I already call him that anyway. But if you've ever attempted raising a 14-year-old, you would understand my difficulty with thinking up a non-pejorative nickname for anyone of that age.  So the girl twin will from here on out be GA (G for girl), the boy twin BA, bigger girl M, and big boy G.

But they keep me laughing all the time, and I thought I'd share some recent conversations with you.

I was teaching BA how to bathe himself, and got to his boy parts.
Me: "Now wash your tinkler & nuts."
BA: "I have nuts?"
Me: "Um yeah."
BA: "Coconuts?!"
Me, laughing: "No, more like peanuts."
I showed him where. Now, little boys are handsy with themselves, it's normal, so he was already hands-on.
So I said, "See how it feels like there are two nuts in there?"
He looked up, totally shocked, and yelled, "There's food ?!"

A couple of Sundays ago, I felt pretty good after a decent night's sleep. Minimal make-up, and liked how I looked. Then, getting out of the car for church, GA looked at me & said, "Mommy, I think you need to put on more make-up. You not lookin' very specially bootiful this morning." Why, thank you, child. I appreciate that.

BA: "Did Pontius Pilate live in a plane?" Me: "No, why do you think he lived in a plane?" BA: "Because pilots fly planes." 

Me: "GA, you're turning five in a month. You're going to have to learn to drive a car and get a job." GA: "OKAY!!!"

BA: "I don't like cats. They always bite me."
husband: "Why do they bite you? Because you taste so good?"
BA: "I always bite them then they always bite me back."

BA reached down the front of his pants like he was about to flash me... and pulled out a harmonica. Then he started playing it with his nose.

Me: "M, don't ring the neighbor's doorbell. She works nights, so she sleeps in the day."
M: "Oh, so she's nocturnal!"
GA: "I'm a turtle, too!"

GA was playing quietly in her room. Suspicious, I peeked in. She was in her closet, but not throwing toys out of the toybox like I expected, so I let her be. I just went back to turn out the closet light, and every single article of clothing she owns is in the closet floor. Hangers and all. Yay.

My girls were rocking out to Trans-Siberian Orchestra, trying to combine headbanging and ballet.

Mr. Potatohead thought Woody killed Buzz and shouted, "You murdering dog!" Confused, GA asked, "What 'dog' mean?"
Husband said, "Just dog. Woof woof."
She asked, "What 'murderin dog' mean?"
"Someone who kills people."
"Not people, Daddy. Toys. He killin' toys," with a DUH tone to her voice.

BA was wearing a navy blue polo, an Auburn cap, and a headset mic over the cap. He said, "I a football coach."

GA - "Where does Santa live?"
M - "In the Arctic."

BA: "Knock knock."
Me: "Who's there?"
"Apple who?"
"I want apple wif my lunch."
Well, ok. I guess that was more fun than just asking for an apple.

GA: "I wish I could turn my eyeballs over and backwards so I could see my brain."

GA drew a picture, worked really hard on it, but I couldn't tell what it was supposed to be. So I asked what it was. "Mommy, it's called ART."

Hope I made you laugh!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Really smart, very savvy, haunting good looks, really good at her job, and kinda slutty

That's one of my favorite TV lines ever. ( Rick Castle is telling Kate Beckett what the character he's basing on her is like.)

In my mind (heh heh), it describes me, too.

I am really smart, a genius actually, and can recall stupid factoids like nobody's business and can quote conversations I heard when I was two. I avoid arguments by having them in my mind using quotes from last time we argued about a topic... so if my position hasn't changed, I already know how the conversation will go. Poor grammar bothers me immensely. However, I'm no longer impressed with my IQ that's higher than our president's, because who the heck wants to be around Sheldon Cooper? I love "Big Bang Theory," and I actually get the science jokes, but even I wouldn't actually want to be around Sheldon all the time without randomly punching him in the face just to see  him try to figure out why I did it. So I try hard to not be a nerd. (Judging by my appearances on boards & fanfic, I'd say I'm failing at the not-a-nerd effort, though.)

And I really enjoy writing, because I can pretend I'm savvy. When I speak aloud, I choke on my foot constantly (Oh, you didn't find it funny that I joked on yo momma? My bad. And did I seriously just say that I was a good girl in a way that implied your daughter was skanky trash? Oops. I meant it as a compliment; really, I did.) So, when writing, I can think before I speak and not get flustered and sound like I just lost 80 IQ points.

The good looks part, well, you can look at my avatar on fictionpress & decide that one for yourself. To each his own. While I think I'm cute, the only boy that asked me out from my high school turned out to be gay. Maybe I acted too much like Sheldon. Maybe I was too much of a tomboy. My mom thought I was a lesbian because I hung out with the girls from my church youth group who were also a little tom-boyish. And one of them turned out to be a lesbian. Huh. Can one of my high school friends clue me in on this? Guys in their 20's asked me out all the time when I was still jailbait, so I've gotta know what was wrong with you boys that I hung out with all the time! (Yeah, I said what's "wrong with you," because I'm awesome, so obviously nothing was wrong with me. Duh.) Heh heh.

What's next? Good at her job. When I give a crap enough to finish a job, it's pretty cool. I've got some nice paintings for sale, and I design a mean eco-friendly house. Does that count?

And kinda slutty? It was probably a good thing I didn't date much in high school. If you've read The Five Love Languages, you know that one of them is Words of Affirmation. That's all me, and if I don't get affirmed, I get terribly insecure. So if you comment, I write more. If you review a chapter and tell me what you want to see more of, I'll write it. I'm a two-dollar ho-bag in that way; except I take payments in reviews and put out with words. Does that make me cheap? I don't care. Like mosts cheap hos (what is the plural of that, anyway?), I'm an addict. Pathetic, hopeless addict. So, please be a good reviewer and give me my crack!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Carpetbaggers and scallywags

Do you have any memories of school that strike you as just plain weird? I remember very specifically (down to the color of the section title - blue - and font and the photo on the page of an ink etching... because I've very Sheldon Cooper that way) a section of my fourth grade history book about the Reconstruction, focusing on carpetbaggers and scallywags. I don't remember anything about voting procedures or martial law or rebuilding after the Civil War (I was probably bored and drawing flowers in my textbook), but I recall in vivid detail this clown-like hobo with an overstuffed duffelbag made of carpet. I remember the teacher talking about how homeless Yankees came down South with a bag full of clothes, a story about how the War ruined them, too, and a claim that they wanted to make a fresh start; then there were shysters with similar stories who showed up to prey on the people trying to rebuild, conning them out of what little they had left.

What's my point, you ask? Hell if I know. It was a random memory. But I'd like to bring back the word "scallywag." Castle could do it. Can you see him & Beckett chasing down a suspect in a New York alley, and Castle shouts, "Stop, you scallywag!" I might pee my pants laughing so hard.

But that memory was brought on by another random thought: it would be totally rad to be homeless. ...Homeless and rich. Because homeless and broke would really suck. But if I were homeless and rich, I could just say, hey, let's go be Canadians for a while. We'd put the plastic lawn chairs in storage under the top-of-the-line motor home and drive to Canada. On the way, we'd spend a few weeks in Charleston, Colonial Williamsburg, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Boston, and New York. We'd home school by visiting the Old North Church, seeing the Liberty Bell, walking Mt. Vernon and Arlington, seeing Jonestown, touching Plymouth Rock, practically living in the Smithsonian Museums, and standing in the spray of Niagara Falls.

We'd get to Canada and hike over a glacier and build an igloo and speak French in Quebec and go to the awesomesauce mall in Edmonton. (Really, that's my reason for wanting to go there.) There's a rollercoaster and waterpark in the mall, probably because if they were outside, they could only operate for one month of the year. Maybe they could open a luge park instead of a water park. That would rock.

Then when we got tired of  freezing our butts off, we'd drive down the West Coast, get coffee in Seattle, join a protest in Portland, geek out at Comic Con, bribe my way onto a particular set in LA (ahem), maybe enjoy a Sundae on the beach, and then make my way back to the Deep South. See the Grand Canyon and catch a show at Austin City Limits on the way.

No mortgage, no utility bills, no renters trashing the house I left behind while I took my road trip... yeah, it would be totally rad to be homeless.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Crazy: the gift that keeps giving; even when you'd prefer a gift card

My twins had their fifth birthday party yesterday.  My little girl, a self-proclaimed Drama Queen, loves all things Barbie and dress-up. My little boy, sweet and helpful, loves superheroes (especially Dash, since they favor) and sports. He had a bunch of Tonka trucks, but we gave them away since he never played with them. They also love puzzles and Play-Doh. They made out like bandits, and have been running around the house this morning in masks and capes, wielding swords and Barbie mermaids with equal vehemance.

Everyone who wasn't sure what to give them called and asked me what they'd like. Everyone except my mother-in-law. Now, you must know, she is the inspiration for the title of this blog. She can pile on the crazy like hot fudge on a sundae.

She got Drama Queen a Rapunzel dressup dress. Nice. And a casual dress. Okay. And a Tinkerbell that really flies (on purpose, not just if she throws it at one of the other siblings). Neat. And snow boots five sizes too big. Huh?

It's Alabama - we cancel school and shut down roads if there's a possibility of a flurry once every three years. Maybe by the time she grows into those boots, we might have a flurry?

And for my Dash wanna-be, she got him a Tonka-sized plastic Winn Dixie 18-wheeler. The connector for the trailer to hook to the cab is broken. He looked at what his sister got, then at what he got, and asked, "Where the rest of my present?" Because, even though he's not greedy or selfish, he could easliy see it wasn't fair, and didn't understand.

So my mother-in-law got mad. She said I could go get him something for TWELVE dollars - the twelve was important to her - and tell him it was from her.

I smoothed it over and said he just wanted to make sure we hadn't lost anything. (Like he wasn't thinking, "Why does my sister get four presents of things she likes, and I get one, and it's a lame grocery store truck?" He's just too sweet to say anything like that. Drama Queen, however, would have cried if it had been her getting the crappy gift.)

But this didn't surprise me at all. See, we've learned to prep the children before gift-time at Mema's. The 7-year-old and 14-year-old have low expectations, so they're occasionally pleasantly surprised. But the twins still think everything's going to be fantabulous, so they're frequently disappointed.

Think I'm being harsh? Here are some examples of gifts from her, just off the top of my head:

remote control truck, with no remote

walnuts; four of them from her yard, in a jewelry-sized gift box

Halloween decorations in their Easter basket

girls juniors medium Tinkerbell halloween pajamas, for me, for Christmas

2 plates for the teenage boy, flowery, from a cheap set of 1970's dishes

2 plates for me, that don't match the other 2

soccer gear for the teenage boy (he has mild Cerebral Palsy and Asperger's, and hates all sports)

soccer, football, and skateboarding shirts for the same kid

war toys for the little girl

skanky slutty clothes with suggestive phrases and writing on the butt for the little girls

helicopter with no rotor blades

lego sets that have been opened and are missing peices

Hummer missing a wheel

Power Wheels Jeeps that are burnt out and can't be fixed... she did this THREE times ("You can push
them around the yard!" Crap, I can barely push those heavy things!)

men's XXL clothes for me

women's L clothes for the little girls

women's clothes for the teenage boy

an Operation Christmas Child shoebox, empty

and another one filled with witches, skulls, and spiders from after Halloween sales (she actually sent this one in to Operation Christmas Child... can you imagine the quality control volunteer's face when they opened that Christmas present?!)

a check for $5.61

a check for $28.43

a check for $17.37

eighteen pennies and a nickel

her will, written on the back of a torn, used envelope

the other half of her will, given to a different child, written in circles around a different torn envelope

a polariod of a flowery granny couch for the teenage boy

half-eaten hamburger

open candy in the bottom of the gift bag, half melted on the clothes

mouse poop in the bottom of the same bag

dead roach in a different bag

cat toys (we don't have a cat)

cat costumes (for the non-existant cat)

dog toys (because she left her dog at our house without our permission and yells at us that we're not doing a good job taking care of her dog)

a mortgage, because her husband had it in his will for us to inherit the house we live in (he told us this early in our marriage, and we made major life decisions around it), as well as his other properties being left to other relatives, but he's got dementia now, so she decided to negate his will and have us pay for the house (but it's still a good deal, so my husband agreed)

cake mix... sixteen boxes of cake mixes... even though she knows I cook from scratch to avoid the additives and rarely eat sweets

canned hominy (what the heck is that?) and slimy carrots in my Christmas gift

big gaudy jewelry, even though I wear tiny barely-there real jewels IF I wear any jewelry at all, tied up in notes about how we're bad parents for not letting the special needs kid get away with bad behavior

receipts in most of the gifts... but the reciepts are never for the things in the bag

five bars of soap for the teenage boy (well, this is odd, but I totally understand it)

dried out tube of paint

sidewalk chalk, but was told not to open it, they had to save it for next summer

Valentine's cards with notes telling them they're bad for not getting her a Valentine's gift (now that says love!)

a bag of trash (this has happened several times)

a single loose sock (again, several times)

old newspapers

coupons for fast food (again with the I cook from scratch thing)

old VHS tapes

two personal DVD players for the teenage boy at the same time as three plates and one cloth napkin for the middle girl (that don't match the plates from the beginning of the list)

a nativity stable with wisemen and camel, but no Holy Family

a note that she hated being a parent

a note that we should raise our kids her way, because she's "perfect" (I kid you not)

grapes in with clothing

black fish-net mini-dress for the little girl

good nights diapers for the teenage boy who has never wet the bed

a dead moth in a jewelry-sized gift box, so they could investigate it

That's just in the last few years. And if I were to ask the extended family, we'd have a whole lot more crazy to add to the list.
I'm gonna get crowns galore in Heaven. Well, maybe not, since I'm making fun of her. But I'm nice to her, or I'm at least quiet. She's too much of a nutbar to realize that I'm staring at her like she's a nutbar.

At least the kids are learning how to be gracious even when they're disappointed, right?

 **My husband did just open the Winn Dixie truck. Even though the trailer doesn't attach, it's pimped out with lights under the carriage and has a working remote control that I didn't notice before. So he is having fun with it now. I'm just happy he's not disappointed anymore.

** I take it back. As soon as it hit a sidewalk crack, it broke. He cried. Then she brought over another gift for his twin sister: tap shoes and more too-big boots with High School Musical characters on them.

Friday, February 3, 2012

You should see what he did at Caiphas's house

People post random music videos on FaceBook, and I always click on them. It’s not some weird OCD thing – I’m not going to get the shakes or anything, and it won’t gnaw at me all day that I might have missed out on the world’s coolest song ever – but I still usually want to hear what everyone else thinks is good. FYI – most of you have bad taste in music.

(It's not like when people post Bible verses, and I feel like I’m going to hurt Jesus’s feelings if I skip them. I end up with a pretty good devo most days… or a guilt trip for skipping ahead to see what captions someone added to a screen shots of Howard from “Big Bang Theory” trying out nerdy pick-up lines.)

A few days ago, someone posted “It Wasn’t Me” by Shaggy from the late ‘90’s.  Remember that one? The idjit gave his girlfriend a key to his house, forgot, then cheated on her. She walked in and caught him in the act, and his defense was that it wasn’t him. It was stuck in my head for days. Now it’s going to be again, but it’s all good, because I’m sick of “tie me to the bedpost!” going through my mind for the 1000th time today.

So, Wednesday night at Bible Study, in our trek through the Gospel according to John, we arrived at the point of Jesus’s arrest. Peter and John follow Jesus and the guards to the high priest’s house, where someone sees Pete lurking in the shadows outside.

“Yo, homie, aren’t you one of Jesus’s disciples?”

Pete says, “Nope.”

Dude’s all, “Yeah, man, I just saw you in the garden a while ago when we arrested him.”

And Peter says, “It wasn’t me.”

Can you guess where my mind went? Peter in his robes looking like John Rhys-Davies in “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” throwing gang signs and rapping like Shaggy. Showtime at the Apollo on location at Annas’s house, y’all! 

The pastor looks at me funny like he knows I’ve got something going on in my head. I glance down to hide the smirk so he doesn’t ask me to share with the class. Can you imagine being asked if you had any thoughts on the subject when the scene in your head has spotlights, sequins, and bass woofers? Usually, I’ve got my Greek Bible open in front of me and have something insightful to add. But right then,  Peter was in oversized sunglasses, dancing all around the fire the others were warming themselves by, with Mr. T style gold chain necklaces and a sideways baseball cap. If he weren’t in a robe, his pants would be sagging. (It would be appropriate, considering how much he showed his a$$ in that scene, anyway.)

After the resurrection, when Jesus gave Peter the chance to redeem himself, in my version, Jesus asks, “Peter, do you love me?” And Pete replies, “Fo shizzle.”

Today at gymnastics

So I attend this adult gymanstics class at the same time as the kiddos. Usually, I scare the crap out of the coach, because there's a lot of stuff I just won't try because it would simply be too hard to get my oversized body to do... (Like uneven bars. I mean, seriously? What kind of crackhead wants to bang their hipbones hard against a wooden bar, flip over said bar like a giant Cabbage Patch Doll, then try to not fall face first onto the floor? Pssht. Right... sounds like a blast!) ...But then he'll tell us to try something on the vault or the trampoline, and I do it. 'S cool. So he wants us to do it again. So I add a flip or a twist and scare the crap out of him. Then he yells at me that I've got to tell him what I'm doing *before* I do it. And I laugh. Because it's friggin' hilarious to make the guy have a mild cardiac episode at least once a week.

Anyhoo, he finally gave up and began giving instructions like, "Ms. Laurie try a front pike, Ms. Moshie, work on your back tuck. Ms. Adrianna, try a front tuck. New lady - I forgot your name again - just try to go as high as you can to get used to landing after jumping off of this. And Ms. Tiffany, do whatever the hell you wanna do. Just don't kill yourself."

I may suck at the uneven bars, but this event, I've got this. I've got mad tramp skillz, yo. (So says Laurie, the uber-Christian, ultra sweet accountant, never says anything off color... except to remind everyone of my mad tramp skillz... and *always* blushes when she says it. It cracks me up every time.)

So today I was waiting for my turn on the stupid bars - where the coach can't even do the trick he was trying to get me to do (which I did actually manage, and didn't fall at all!) - and singing along to the music blasting from the craptastic local station over a boom box almost as old as me. They do occasionally play something I kinda like... but this song gets stuck in my head for days , which is irritating because I don't know but half the words and none of them make any sense: "Inside Out" by Eve 6.

What were they *on* when they wrote that song? "I would swallow my pride, I would choke on the rinds, but the lack thereof would make me empty inside. Swallow my doubt, turn it inside out, find nothing but faith in nothing. Wanna put my tender heart in a blender, watch it spin 'round to a beautiful oblivion. Rendezvous, then I'm through with you. Rendezvooooo-oooo. Rendezvoooooo-ooo."

So far, the rest of the group's still talking and ignoring my bad singing. "I alone am the one you don't know you need. Take heed, feed your ego. Make me blind when your eyes close, tie me to the bedpost." I swear, they just strung together random words.

But the other moms in my class finally took notice that I was singing along, right at the words, "tie me to the bedpost." Great. I didn't think I sounded *that* enthusiastic. I don't even have bedposts!
They laughed, I grinned, "No, that's not what those bruises are from!" while hiding the imaginary bruises on my wrists from them.

From there, we leave the bars of hell (because the Lord loves me) to head to the tumble track. Sweet! Now, the tumble track is a super-long trampoline that's only four feet wide and ends with a pit full of foam blocks to land in once you launch yourself off this thing. (It smells like feet and teenage boy. I have decided to try and jump over it to avoid it altogether. Yay! A new way to give the coach a coronary!)

Of course, the foam blocks cling to my pants like velcro, so the pit is like a vortex of warm taffy laced with super glue. And I can NEVER get out of the stupid thing!!! I give up and let the coach pull me out most of the time... after I make sure the dadgum blocks haven't grabbed hold of my pants to suck them into the abyss of stinkiness at the bottom of the pit. Again. (No one saw the first time. They just got irritated that I took so dang long getting out of the friggin' pit. They didn't know that I was engaged in an epic battle to keep my pants above my knees. I was like a Jedi knight fighting the Dark Side. Or at least the 'Let's Take Tiffany's Pants in Mixed Company' Side.)

So then I'm waiting my turn to do some kind of pure awesomeness off the end of this mile long trampoline, getting ribbed for my "mad tramp skillz that come from being tied to the bedpost"... when I hear one of my kid's coaches talking about his free time.

I spun around, eyes bugging in shock, and said, "Did you just say you make bongs for fun?" They all bust out laughing, because that's not what he said. Oh. "Bombs," he said. Like that's better. He has fun blowing crap up. (But, really, who doesn't?) But they're all still laughing with me (not at, because I'm pretty dang amused myself). And my kid's coach thinks I was excited, not shocked, at the prospect of him making bongs.

So, now, I'm apparently going to be known as that kinky stoner chick.
I hope they're just razzing me, because I'm neither, but I am fo dang sure that they'll never let me forget it.