Monday, January 31, 2011

Hell has Frozen Over and Monkeys are Flying out my Butt

Well, it's official. I just had my first 'I miss Osan' experience. If you must know, I've been sort of mocking all my Osan friends who have moved on and then pine for it. As you may know, or suspect, Osan is sort of dreary, and I have not missed it even once before today. Well, maybe except for the day the old lady annoyed me in the park in English instead of Korean. But it is a simple, pleasant life in some ways and it does have its little charms. Chiefly, all the fantastic friends and neighbors. The ones that don't say a single word when your kids streak down the hall or throw a tantrum in the post office. The ones that always have that weird spice you need on Monday when the commissary is closed. The ones that are always up for a stroll to Chili's for a margarita on a Tuesday night even if its 12 degrees with 3o mph winds. The ones that will take your kids off your hands with six seconds' notice for however long you need. I'm not kidding when I say that virtually ALL of my neighbors there fit that description, even the ones that secretly didn't like me. I guess I'm a little spoiled, you think?

Today I had a little chat with a neighbor, and let me tell you, she was NOT Osan-worthy. I've met most of our closest neighbors, briefly, but the boys have been playing with some kids up the street lately, and the mom came down to our end of the cul de sac this afternoon. Mostly to tell me, in a very humorless tone, that her kids aren't allowed to come in my yard, go on our trampoline or otherwise consort with us in any way beyond playing in the street. I could almost see the air quotes around 'trampolining'.

Sadly, I was not totally surprised by her dour countenance, because I had just been talking to her eight year old. Actual conversation:

8 year old boy: Where's Weston?
Me: He does an afternoon program at the church on the corner.
8 year old boy: I don't think that's a Baptist church.
Me: No, it's a United Methodist.
8 year old boy (smirking): Oh. See, we're CHRISTIANS, not Methodists.
Me: Uh-huh.

I can sort of understand her concern- I mean, sure, she doesn't want her kids to hop on the hell train down here at Casa de Evil Trampoline Jumping Methodist Church Attenders or anything. It didn't help that our black cat was torturing a mouse in the driveway at the time. Good thing she didn't look in the house or she would have seen the half eaten ramen bar on the living room floor. The one true Baptist-only deity probably HATES that. I bet there is a commandment and everything. Number eleven, most likely, and I'm sure it addresses uncooked foodstuffs in a very severe manner. Boy, is she going to be sorry when the earthquake comes and it will be NO TRAMPOLINE AND NO RAMEN for her! I don't know what her policy on mouse meat is, but Henry will probably share.

I'm going to try to turn the other cheek, because that's the Methodist thing to do. Also, more monkeys might hit her that way. And if any of my Osan pals are ever in town, CALL ME! I miss you guys.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Humiliation in absentia

So! Who's up for a good embarrassing kid story???? I've been humiliated in church before: you can read about it here. But today, I hit the benchmark for efficiency in mortification- I had my ass handed to me in front of the whole congregation, and I WASN'T EVEN THERE!

I didn't want to go to church today. Lloyd was annoyed with me, and we briefly bickered about it while Weston taped 'NO FITNG' signs to Henry the cat and Ranger the dog (seen here and here). Then Lloyd and and the boys went off to church and I lounged around in my underwear. Church problem solved, right? NOT SO FAST, MISSY! Because when Lloyd returned from church, he brought with him the most hilarious and embarrassing church story EVER.

Weston, who has always been a timid child, often will not speak up, even when someone talks directly to him. The church we've been going to has children's church up front at the beginning of every service, and he has been getting used to going up there but is still quite introverted. Shane, on the other hand, climbs right up on the benches up there and zooms around like he's flying, complete with sound effects, until someone scoops him off. This morning, the children's pastor was telling some little homily about how sometimes bad things can happen, and Weston chose that very second to pipe up. In front of the deadly quiet chapel he loudly contributed this little gem: "My mom and dad were fighting this morning because my mom didn't want to come to church!" According to Lloyd, the pastor said hastily, "Let's pray!" and then marched all the kids off without a backward glance.

I have never been so glad to have skipped something in my entire life. Maybe next week Lloyd will stay home with me.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Paranoia and Mouse Turds

As much as I like to carefully craft tightly knit, suspenseful narratives full of humorous anecdotes that end with clever points, today I have a steaming pile of random updates:

1. I spilled black Korean rice all over the kitchen. It looks exactly like mouse poop. I know this because I used to have a mouse in my van. I might still have a mouse in my van. I don't know, and I don't care.

2. Speaking of mice, Henry carried a live one into the house this morning to play with it. Fortunately, I was gone to work. Unfortunately, Lloyd told me all about it. And took a picture.

3. I am rethinking my position on paranoia. I used to think paranoid people were insane and ridiculous and now I think they just know more than the rest of us. Someone at work is stealing my notebooks. The third one disappeared today. You might think it's not just a strange coincidence that the nuttier I get, the more notebooks that disappear from my desk but you would be wrong. I'm definitely getting a fresh new one in the morning and I'm going to write 'GIVE ME BACK MY NOTEBOOKS, YOU CRAZY BASTARD!' That should do it, don't you think?

4. I made a cake today. It's pretty good, AND I have a baking tip for you: granulated sugar half turned to powdered sugar in the blender will not make a nice buttercream frosting, but the kids will happily eat it with spoons. Also, hot, half-powdered sugar will stick in the bottom of the blender and stink.

5. Speaking of steaming piles, if you let your kid bring worms into the house, it's best if you insist on a lid.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Cat Therapy

You guys all know my cat, Henry, right? If you need to, you can refresh your memory by clicking here. He's sort of an unusual cat- he has the most magnificent tail, and he drinks out of the toilet, just to name a few of his finer qualities.

We got him at a shelter, and Lloyd was pretty cross about paying $130 for a used cat. We looked hard for a free cat, but they were surprisingly hard to find. They all have a 'rehoming' fee: what a scam. It's outrageous, I tell you! We would have held out in protest but we had promised Weston he could have a cat as soon as we moved into our new house so we trotted right down to the local cat adoption center. There were at least a zillion cats there, but Weston walked straight up to Henry's cage and wanted to take him home then and there. I made him look around at all the others but he kept going back to Henry, so we knew he was meant to be our cat.

But now, I'm a little concerned about him. I think he might need therapy, because he can't seem to set appropriate boundaries. Take a look at the pictures; you'll see what I mean. They're probably not in the right order- that would take a million monkeys working in blogger for a hundred years, but I'm sure you can put it together. The boys invented a new game, called 'Garbage Truck', and here's how it works:

1. Put Henry in a laundry basket (aka 'the garbage truck')

2. Dump a bunch of toys and books on top of him to simulate additional garbage

3. Drive the 'garbage truck' to the 'garbage dump'

4. Dump the load onto the floor

You would think that Henry wouldn't care for this, but in fact he just sits there and lets them do it. And not just once. They do it over, and over, and over. That's not the only questionable game they play with him, either, and so far they've only discovered one activity he won't tolerate. He doesn't mind being pushed around in a bin, as long as it's upright. But apparently, if they turn it upside down with him inside and THEN push it around, he makes his displeasure known.

I'm pretty sure this is not normal cat behavior. I've had a lot of cats, you know. You can read about all of them in this little essay called 'My Life in Cats'. My point here is that I'm not some kind of cat ROOKIE or something, and never before have I had a cat that needed mental health care. I thought this might require a professional, so I found him a good therapist: Carole Wilbourn. She even does Reiki, but unfortunately Lloyd refuses to pony up the cash to fly Henry to New York to see her, the stingewad.

But don't worry: I have a plan B. I figure the cure for my mental health issues should work fine for Henry, too, so I'm going to dump wine into the toilet tanks! Genius, right? Well, that's it for now. If you need me I'll be in the bathroom with a straw.