Saturday, July 30, 2011

Circuitous


I feel like I need to write something; we've had a pretty eventful week or two, and there's a lot coming up, too. But I don't usually like to write just to report just the facts; I get cross with myself unless I actually have a point of some kind. Dumb, I suppose. I've noticed I never just post on facebook about just what's going on, either- I always have to have some smartass remark or I won't even bother. I feel like I have a million things I COULD write, and sort of want to, but I don't know if I have the energy for it. Plus, no one wants to read a bunch of dreary crap here; you can get that anywhere. I mean, the only reason to come here is for funny stories and the occasional rant, right? You can get your depressing garbage 24/7 on CNN. Or Fox, if you're not boycotting them. I am. Too bad, too, because while I despise their toxic right wing slant, they are consistently ahead of the pack on breaking news. That's probably what Rupert Murdoch got in exchange when he sold his soul to the devil. Up until pretty recently it was working out pretty well for him, too, yes?

Well, since I'm here, clicking away, I might as well make a report. I guess if you don't like it, you don't have to read it; it's a free country and all that.

Want to know something weird? I have had the preceding paragraphs written for DAYS, and all this blank white space has just been sitting here waiting. Waiting, waiting..... I just couldn't make myself spit it out. Sometimes, though, if you can't do something by barreling straight through, you can come at it from the side. I have to do that all the time at work; it's usually pretty successful, if annoyingly and unnecessarily circuitous.

So! We are going to the beach next week. It will be super fun. First, though, we have to stop by the cemetery for my mother's burial service, and my grandmother's. Also my grandmother's dog, but that's not quite so traumatic. They've been cremated, of course, so no need to get all creeped out. The relatives will be out in full force; feel free to get all creeped out! Since all three of the decedents will be buried at the same cemetery but in different spots, only Grandma and Tiger will be buried at that time. We'll stop back by on the way back for my mother's actual burial. I have to say, I wouldn't recommend this dragging out of the festivities. The next time I have a shopping bag filled with friends, relatives, pets, or any combination thereof, I am definitely getting rid of it as soon as possible.

Speaking of dead people, there is also some depressing business going on at my office with some co-workers. It's not my story to tell, but it has been quite distressing for the entire staff, and the response has been underwhelming at best. Hmmmm, I guess that is all I have to say about that.

There, look! I did it. I only left out a few things, like our recent visit to the ER. Everyone is fine now, not to worry. Everyone except me, that is. Weston weighs 68 pounds; I know this because the only time I put him down was to place him on the scale, so they could figure out how much to dose him for the excruciating and inexplicable neck pain he was experiencing. It's gone now, but I still haven't figured out how to dose myself for the excruciating lower back pain I will probably be experiencing for the next month.

See? Circuitous. But done.







Friday, July 29, 2011

Rasputin, Revisited

I know everyone has been waiting breathlessly for me to tackle a weighty topic in a mature, thoughtful manner. I've been ruminating like mad, and as result, I'm pleased to bring you this treatise on naughty chickens. This, of course, is a subject that's near and dear to my heart, and one I've recently been reminded of. First, by The Bloggess' brilliant story of Beyonce, and then again just yesterday by the tale of my friend Cheryl's bad bird, Peaches. If you have known me for a long time, or if you used to read Stories from Korea, you might remember the story of Rasputin. Mischievous poultry, must, of course, be approached with the appropriate gravity, but as we all know, I am very lazy, so I am presenting here the reworked story of Rasputin for your reading pleasure:



RASPUTIN

When we were living in Pensacola, Lloyd used to buy quail and plant them in the bushes and then take Ranger out to train him to sniff out birds, or whatever it is hunting dogs are supposed to do. Besides fart and snore, I mean. One day when he was buying his quail, the redneck he bought them from asked him if he wanted a rooster for free, because it was fighting with his other chickens and he needed to get rid of it. We lived in a subdivision with a no-chicken rule, among other foolish requirements. No fireworks, no yard sales, no campers, and most especially, no chickens. It's a wonder anyone wanted to live there at all. But, there we were anyway, in all of our chickenless despair. In any case, Lloyd, being a chicken lover, or a giant sucker, whichever, brought the thing home in a box along with the quail.

When he got home, he got out of his truck and heard a huge racket coming from the bird box, and it sounded like the rooster was beating up on the quail. Lloyd is a huge fan of the underbird, until he puts them in some bushes for a dog to eat, so he opened the box and grabbed the rooster. The rooster went crazy, and Lloyd swung him around, accidentally bashing his head against a tree. In our front yard. In the no-chicken subdivision. The rooster went limp and finally Lloyd started to think. He thinks, "Hmmm, Anna's going to be home soon and she is not going to like this dead rooster situation. I know! I'll throw him over the back fence and she will be none the wiser!" Behind our back fence was a strip of woods about 75 feet wide, and it ran the length of our chicken-free street, and there was another, presumably also chickenless, neighborhood on the other side.

The next day, I was laying on the couch hopped up on pain pills with my leg propped up on some pillows. I should mention here that I was on crutches from falling through the attic onto the garage floor. As a public service, I should also mention that you should never, ever, walk around in your attic unless it actually has a floor to support your weight rather than just sheetrock ceiling panels. Lloyd was outside messing around and he came tearing into the house yelling that I had to get up and look on the back fence.
As you can imagine, getting up and trucking myself to the back yard was not an easy task, so I hollered at him that whatever it was had better be good. I heaved myself up and hobbled into the back yard, muttering under my breath the entire way. To my surprise, there was a brain-damaged rooster sitting on the back fence with his head all cocked over, making a sort of demented warbling noise. At that point, Lloyd had to fess up to the whole story, and we named the rooster Rasputin, for he who could not be killed. Or, he who was difficult to kill, at least.

Pretty soon, Rasputin got his crow back, and he started to crow bright and early every morning, annoying the neighbors in the no-chicken neighborhood. One day, we had a visit from animal control. Some of the neighbors had complained of a rooster crowing in the neighborhood and they thought it was coming from somewhere around our house. Had we seen it? And could they check our back yard? We glanced nervously at each other before assuring them that of course, we didn't have any chickens. We would NEVER have any chickens! Goodness, they are against the rules, we said. And certainly, we would be pleased to have them inspect the yard. Come right in, officers! Luckily Rasputin had some street smarts because he stayed out of sight and kept his gob shut. The chicken cops, stymied, left and didn't come back. Then Lloyd started thinking again, and we all know how that turns out. He decided that Rasputin might be lonely. You know where this going, right? Yep, one day he came home with two hens, and promptly chucked them over the fence, this time with their glorious chicken brains completely functional. And for all I know, all three of them are there to this day, living in polygamous bliss.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Again with the gastropods

I swear to you, I am not trying to copy shitmykidsruined.com; lately it just seems that every time I turn around my kids have ruined some more shit. Right now there is a big pile of wet dirt on the front walk, the unattractive remains of a vinegar/baking soda/red kool-aid volcano on the porch, a web of fishing line strung around the living room, mud spattered on the front window, and a snail running wild in the kitchen. Currently, it is clinging to the corner where the cabinet meets the ceiling. I have no idea where it came from. I don't even WANT to know, because it probably has friends and a large extended family.

Truly, I have a million other things to write about, and some of them are even important. Well, okay, that's probably a lie. But you never know; don't count me out! I might surprise you yet with a deep thoughtful analysis of some serious, timely issue. Fine, another lie. So sue me. But do it quick, before the debt ceiling default because about 23 milliseconds after that my net worth will consist solely of gastropods, empty kool-aid packets and wine bottles. That'll learn you. Either way, I even get tired of myself if I post too much of the yuk, yuk, look what my crazy kids did now/I'm a bad mommy schtick. It's just that it's so, so easy: this stuff writes itself. And also boggles the mind. Look, here's a video! Just a short that chronicles one of the afternoon's approximately 43 googol similarly insane activities:

video

See what I mean? What's a girl to do, right? Sigh.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Boss, and Other Tales

Shane: I'm the boss of you, and you're the boss of me.
Weston: What? What does that mean?
Shane: I said, I'm the boss of you, and you're the boss of me.
Weston: Okay, get me some water.
Shane: No.
Weston: But I'm the boss of you, so get me some water.
Shane: No. I'm the boss of you. You get ME some water.
Weston: No.
Shane: I'm NEVER going to get anything for you, EVER!
Weston: I'm going to get my own water, and NONE for you!
Shane: Okay. Let's play robots!
Weston: Okay.

I hope you have all had a pleasant week and a great weekend. I know it has been blazing hot all over the place but here in the Pacific Northwest the weather has been fantastic. We have been picking raspberries, and Lloyd and the boys have been fishing and crabbing like crazy. The garden is growing nicely now after a slow start from a cold and wet spring and early summer. We finally have some green tomatoes and will have some broccoli and zucchini to pick in the next few days.

In bummer news, one of the pilots we knew in Korea has died, leaving a wife and three children. A memorial fund for the kids has been set up, and you can find information about donating by clicking here. I did not know Paul well, but he was a nice guy with a lovely family who always had a smile on his face, and he will be missed by his entire Air Force family.

And that is my Sunday evening report. I have elaborate plans for scintillating posts in the near future. Ta-ta for now!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Slugs


***post-bath update: just a little tip, should the need arise- soap, water and a washcloth will not remove slug slime. A nice, thick, baking soda paste, however, is quite effective.

Oh, you guys are seriously not going to believe this one. I will just shoot you straight, right from the beginning. Every word that follows is completely, 100% true.

This afternoon, we made a short trip to a trail system near the house so I could run (I know, I know, but it's true, I swear). Lloyd got on the phone, the boys started poking around, like they do, and I took off as fast as I could go. Not very fast, sure, but I was around the corner and out of sight in a matter of seconds. Fine, five minutes. OKAY? The path is kind of a funky little system with levee trails on both sides of a slough, and some crossovers. I got a little turned around and as a result, didn't see them again for about a half hour. When I finally made my way all the way around and spotted them again, there was something not quite right. Lloyd was still on the phone, natch, and Weston had a shoelace tied around his hips.

Me: Weston, why is that shoelace tied around your pants?
Weston: So the slugs can't get out of my pockets!

Clever, true, I have to give him that one. Not sure that would have occurred to me. I looked a little closer, and saw that both the boys had their hands full of brown, medium sized slugs, and a couple were sliming their way out of Shane's shirt.

When we got back to the car, we made them strip down and put their bounty into a cup. Turns out, Shane even had his transformer underwear packed full of the vile little creatures. We threw his shirt away and made him stick his hands in his pockets for the ride home, and then we force-marched them straight into the tub. But not before taking a picture of them with the disgusting mucous-ridden fruits of their labor, so enjoy! Note Shane's belly; it has remnants of paper on it because we stuck a coloring book over the glistening trails on his abdomen to avoid mucking up his seatbelt.


Have a happy Sunday! I'll be laying on the couch, sucking down beers and trying to quell the nausea.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Outrage of the Day: Kid Version

I don't know about you guys, but I find PLENTY of things to be outraged about. EVERY SINGLE DAY. Today, for example, if I was going to make a list, it would have Iowa, Rupert Murdoch and Andy Scott on it. Just for starters. But that is all very dreary and would probably give me bad dreams. I had a creepy dream last night about some sort of nasty Cujo-like creature, and I don't relish waking up in a cold sweat two nights in a row. So I thought I'd do a junior version of the outrage of the day. Behold, my entries for today:

1. Approximately five bucks worth of organic gluten free oatmeal, generously furnishing a lavish home for potato bugs.



2. A vast array of flashlights in formerly perfect condition. Not one of them will switch on, and two are missing parts. It's like a flashlight boneyard in my kitchen, and the sad fact is, that is every single one of our emergency lights. If the earthquake comes before I can get some new ones I'll have to light my fingers on fire so I can find my wine. Outrageous!



Saturday, July 9, 2011

BPA PSA: plastics, cans and receipts

Everyone knows about BPA, right? You can read about it here. It is used in many hard, clear plastics, among other things, and is known or suspected to have multiple deleterious effects on human health. Manufacturers have stopped using it in many things, including baby bottles, pacifiers and toys, though it is still a good idea to check. Not out of the goodness of their hearts, or because they care about public health, but because of the public uproar, led by activist groups like Environmental Working Group. Labels or packaging will usually say 'BPA free', if the item is, in fact, BPA free. Possibly even if it's not, but that's a rant about profit hungry corporate America and our corporation loving government for another day.

BPA is also used in the liners of many canned foods, and leaches into your food. Some brands of canned food have switched to other liners, and others are working on it, but many will continue to blatantly ignore the health risks of this practice until change is forced upon them by consumers. You can read this report to see which brands use BPA in their cans.

Another place you might not expect to be exposed to BPA is at the checkout counter. But guess what, many stores use BPA to print receipts. Huge, huge volumes of it. Much more than might leach into your food or drink from a can or plastic bottle, and much more likely to get into your body because it's loose, instead of bound up in a compound. You can read about it here and here. How many times have you grabbed a receipt, given it to your kid to occupy them for a minute while you get out of the store, and then put them in their carseat with a handul of goldfish? Or taken a receipt, crumpled it up in your pocket at the coffee shop, then eaten your muffin? Horrifying. Unfortunately there is no way to tell by looking which receipts have it and which don't. This article lists some stores that had clean tests in some locations, as well as some that had super high levels. Again, nothing will change until consumers rise up and demand it. So ask your retailers if they use BPA to print their receipts. If they don't know, ask them to find out. And ask them to change, and shop at the stores that don't use it. Google up the retailers you frequent and use their online forms to tell them you want to shop where receipts are BPA free. Handle receipts as little as possible and wash your hands after you touch one. Don't let your kids touch them at all. Don't expect any help from the government- the FDA has already declined to regulate BPA, so you're on your own, baby.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Camera

My camera has been acting up lately. The battery will only hold a charge for a couple of milliseconds, and every time I turn it on, the settings visible on the screen have gone crazy. There are all kinds of symbols and menus showing, and it's set on 8M. I can't figure out how to change it, and the manual was lost three bases ago. Must be something wrong with it.

Well, I thought to myself, it IS getting kind of old. I've had it for quite a while. I started trying to figure out just how old, so I went back through my pictures and dug out the oldest ones I could find. These two of Lloyd are from the summer of 2004 and were taken in our yard in Pensacola. These aren't the EARLIEST ones; I was pregnant with Weston then and I have some belly shots from the spring but I look hideous in all of them, and I'm very vain and didn't want to post them. I did notice, though, that I should probably go shopping, because in one of them I was wearing the same sandals I wore to work today. I also see that Lloyd still has those same boots. And shorts. And I'm a little suspicious about the shirt. He, however, does NOT need to go shopping. So, double standards aside, the camera is pretty old, for a camera and sandals. Not for boots and clothes. Lloyd's boots and clothes, I mean. Anyway, maybe it's time for a new one. Camera, that is.
But then, I squeezed off a quick video of Shane vacuuming the other day, right before he sucked up a sock in the hose. On purpose. When I downloaded it, I expected it to come up really quick; I just had the one little movie. But no. It took forever, and all of a sudden a whole passel of pictures I'd never seen before showed up in my iphoto. Fifty seven of them, including the four you see below. They were all pretty similar in composition and subject matter, and they gave me an idea about what might be wrong with the camera. Now that I think about it, I've had similar problems with the printer, the phone, the coffee maker and the alarm clock. Not that a solid diagnosis is going to help me since the manual is still missing. Also, it just took me about fifteen tries to type 'diagnosis'. There's probably something wrong with my keyboard.

Well, I guess I have some important business to attend to. See you at the thrift store! I'll be the one in the shoe department that can't make her phone work.










Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I spent all day cleaning and all I got was this lousy living room




I'm not even exaggerating, not even a tiny bit. Really, I worked ALL DAY and ended up with what you see with your own two eyes. I am starting to think that my time would be better spent drinking beer in my underwear. I guess I'll have to do it in the front yard, though, because the couch is taken. Seriously, I worked ALL DAY, and this is what I ended up with. How is that even possible? It's like there's a black hole of work in my house. And yard. And now that I think about it, in my office too. Look at the picture again! There is crap EVERYWHERE. Well, whatever, crap. Move over, because I need some space in which to throw my empties.



Friday, July 1, 2011

Independence Day


Happy Fourth of July! I don’t know about you guys, but for me, this year is DEFINITELY going to be better than last year. Independence Day 2010 started out fine. For the most part. Sure, we were living out of duffel bags in a tiny garage apartment that was far away from a thrift store, we had no jobs, and we were having Air Force withdrawal trauma. On that last one, by ‘we’, I mean Lloyd. OBVIOUSLY. I WAS having thrift store withdrawal trauma, though. Which is WAY worse.


But the early light of the glorious fourth last year dawned bright and clear; we probably could have seen the broad stripes and bright stars flying over Fort McHenry from our ramshackle abode if we’d squinted just a little. We had relatives in town and a cookout on tap. My dad had picked up a discarded self-propelled airplane from the park where he goes to walk the dog. At least, he SAYS it was discarded. I hope some poor little kid isn’t waking up this Independence Day all sad about the airplane some mean guy with a big dog stole from him last year. Either way, the kids were having a blast flying that thing around the yard when destiny guided it to a gentle landing on the roof. Lloyd bounded upstairs to go out onto the roof through a second story window to retrieve it, and all hell broke loose, along with skin, muscle, multiple blood vessels and most importantly, a tendon. You can read what I wrote about it then, and look at the gory picture.


Thus began the worst six months of my entire life, including the six months between April and October of 2007 when I was enormously pregnant and Lloyd had to go to the sandbox and I had to travel around the country with a toddler and then be on bedrest for my high blood pressure and then have a baby by myself in a Louisiana hospital and then move to Korea. No, that was a walk in the park compared to the descent into the ninth circle of hell of 2010. Hmmmm, now I can’t decide if I should bore you with all the dreary specifics or not. There’s something very satisfying about describing all my travails in painful detail, right up until everyone starts to call me Crybaby McWhinypants and throw rotten tomatoes at me. Now, THAT would suck, because only spoiled potatoes and dead rats are worse that rotten tomatoes.


Maybe just the tiniest little smidge of a description, for a speck of holiday self-indulgence: Starting July 4, 2010, Lloyd was unable to move his left hand and had to have reconstructive surgery followed by intensive physical therapy multiple times a week. We were living in a garage apartment with one car. He could not drive, carry groceries or children, cook, clean or write blog entries about how miserable was. He could, however, verbalize his dismay at his sudden predicament. Which he did. Also at this time, my mother was having chemo and requiring daily trips to the cancer center, followed by five weeks in the hospital. During this period, I had a job interview. Then she came home on hospice. I got a job offer, and we had to find a new house near my new job, and take delivery of our household goods. This consisted of two semi-truckloads and houses full, one from storage in Louisiana and one from Korea. These things, all 17,000 pounds of them, had to be placed into our small house or otherwise disposed of. Remember Lloyd’s hand? ME, TOO. We had promised Weston as soon as we had a house, he could have a cat, so we got Henry. Perhaps you recall him. Then my mother died. This was followed by a giant steaming pile of necessary planning, and none of it the fun kind. As soon as Lloyd could drive, he had to fly to the east coast to bring his truck, boat, bee hives, pine beams and other assorted items back. These things, too, had to be somehow incorporated into our tiny new home. On the way back, the truck and boat both required expensive repairs and an extended stay in some podunk town in Montana. THEN, I started my new job. You can read about the very first day here, when I had my pants come undone and spilled tea all over my brand new cube. After a while, miracle of miracles, things started looking up. Lloyd could move his hand, the boxes started to disappear, and I was settling into my job. My mother was still dead, but maybe I was getting a little more used to it. And then Henry died.


Wow, that sounds really bad, now that I look at it in black and white. See what I mean? There’s no place to go but up from there, right? Happy Fourth of July and God Bless America. Pass the beer and the roman candles, and make it snappy! I have a lot of life improvements to make and if there's something that can’t be made better with alcohol and fireworks, I don't know what it is. At least that's how it works in Auburn, where I come from.