Monday, March 16, 2015

Take a Flying Leap.

We call Leeloo a circus dog, because she loves to get on her back legs and chase after you, if she thinks you have food, or anything that might interest her.  She runs around the house, chasing Mickey, tossing toys in the air, and leaping over anything in her path like it's her own personal steeplechase.  But nothing prepared me for yesterday's antics.

Jim invited his youngest son and his family over for dinner last night, so after morning church, we headed to the grocery to pick up a few things.  We went home, unpacked, and realized we'd forgotten a couple of necessary items, so I got the dogs in the car and back I went. 

We take the dogs almost everywhere we go, as long as the temperature is ok to leave them in the car.  Mickey just curls up in the seat and chills out.  Leeloo stands on the back seat, front paws on the console in front, and stares out the windshield, standing proud like she's the great adventurer she is.  Sometimes she rests her head on my shoulder and stares at me with those sweet, big, brown eyes.  There is no greater love at that moment.  ::sigh::

So, I locked the car, ran in and got my things, getting an odd look from the Girl Scouts who were selling cookies, because they had just seen me there about half an hour before, but in different clothes.  Such is my life, girls.  Deal with it.  I went out to the car, juggling bulky bag and a big package of toilet paper, being cautious to keep the puppy from getting loose, because she can be a bit wild.  She's a puppy, ya'll.  She gets rambunctious at odd times.  I started the car and went home, pulled into the garage, and got my stuff out.  Opened the back car door to let the dogs out.

There's only one dog -- Mickey -- staring at me.  Staring at me with a confused look that says "what the heck just happened?"  There's no Leeloo.  What. The. Heck.

I went into the house and dropped the stuff in front of Jim and said "I can't find Leeloo."  He turned around and stared at me with a stricken look, and said "don't say that."  "I'm serious."   We went back out to the garage and found that the back passenger window was open.  This meant that no only had she managed to open the window, she had jumped out of a moving car as well.  Now, I've had some crazy dogs. I've had some dumb dogs.  I've fostered, owned, or petsat for more animals than I can count, but I have never had an animal jump out of a moving car.

Marsh is at least a couple of miles from our house, and I had no idea where we had been she had taken her flying leap.  I called Jim's daughter in law, who said she would help search, and I took off for Marsh.  No Leeloo.  Customer Service hadn't had a report of a dog, and the window washers at the next building hadn't seen her.  I jumped back in my car and Jim drove up.  He couldn't find her either.  He headed off one way, and I went the other.  I ended up retracing my path carefully, looking for places where I had turned, thinking perhaps she had jumped at a stop sign, or lost her balance on a turn.  There's a place in our neighborhood where it takes a job -- Jim hates it that I drive that way, but I like it.  Normally, when I turn on that jog, Leeloo knows she is almost home, and starts barking joyfully.  Right in my ear.  I didn't remember her barking, so I knew she had to have gone out before that turn, so instead of taking the jog, I drove down the dead end street to the left.  And there she was.

She heard my car and came racing up to me, flopping in front of me just as I opened the door.  She gave me a look as if to say "where the heck did you go?"  She was wet, after running across a huge puddle to get to me, and she leapt into the car, soaking me in the process.  I tried calling Jim, but he didn't have his phone.  Lo and behold, I headed toward home and was right behind him.  We arrived in the driveway in sync, and both breathed a big sigh of relief.

Needless to say, the lock will be kept on the windows from now on.  A head count will commence before and after each outing.  And we may have to look for a sparkly cape for our little circus dog.  And a Xanax for me.

What a (Lug) Nut

I had a flat yesterday.  No biggie, really.  I've changed my share of flats in my life.  Heck, I taught the boys how to change one.  Seth had the quickest tire changing lesson ever.  It's still the only time I've been to Toledo.  Flat tires are not a huge thing to me, as long as I can lift the new tire up.  ::reminds self to do more pushups::

I was driving home from work in the Miata -- a rarity at this time of year.  I left a few minutes early, looking forward to the drive on a clear winter's day, music blaring.  Ten minutes later, I felt that familiar thump, thump, thump.  Phooey.  Fortunately, I was at an intersection which was blessed with a Marathon station, so I pulled in, popped the trunk, and got ready to get to work.  Easy peasy Japanesey -- clear day, chilly but not too cold, and a small tire that's low to the ground.  I figured I'd be out of there pretty quickly.  I called Jim to tell him that I'd be late getting home -- the last time I didn't do that, he was ready to call the State Police, thinking that I was in a ditch.  Sweet man, he is.

I did a little inventory of the trunk, wondering if I'd taken my own advice.  When the kids bought their cars, I told them, ALWAYS make sure when you buy a car that you have a spare and a jack in the trunk before you drive out.  Spare?  Check.  Jack?  Check.  Huh.  The spare was held in place with a lug nut.  Okay, no problem.  I reached into the cubby in the trunk and pulled out the ziplock bag that held the lug wrench.  UH OH.  There's an adaptor, but no lug wrench.  Huh.  I looked around.  No lug wrench. Look in the owner's manual to see if there's a cubby I'm missing. Nope.  There was no lug wrench. 

No problem, right?  I mean, everyone has a lug wrench, right?  Not so much.  I quickly realized that I was parked right by the divorced parents' parental drop off, because someone pulled up by me and jumped out with their kid, and struck up a conversation with a person in the next car.  I asked if they had a lug wrench I could borrow.  "Oh man, I don't.  My lug wrench isn't gonna work on your car."  He had a pickup truck with big tires that apparently uses different, bigger lug nuts.  He asked his ex, who was standing next to her truck.  She rummaged.  Nope, no lug wrench.  Geez, lady, I hope you don't have a flat with your child in the car.  I looked around, nothing but pickup trucks.  I finally find someone else with a car -- no lug wrench. 

I decided my best bet was to go inside and see if anyone had one.  I went to push the door open, and realize that the whole station was full of Amish people.  Well that isn't gonna help me.  I went up to the clerk.  No, he drives a pickup, too.  He asked the other clerk, who looks at him blankly and asked what a lug wrench is. He looked at me and rolled his eyes, while he explained what it is.  "Oh, I don't have one of those.  My mom drove me to work."  Seriously?  The first clerk looked at me and said "the towing companies probably have one."  Dude, that's what I'm trying to avoid -- getting charged for something stupid.

I decided that my only real option at this point is to call Jim and tell him what's going on.   Only now, I realized that I am apparently in the Bermuda Triangle for T-Mobile, where my cell phone never works.  How it worked the first time is beyond me, because it's never worked in that area before.  Apparently, it used all its magic the first time, because I have no signal, no matter where I move.  I went back in and asked the clerk if I can use his phone.

 He says no problem, he'll just head up there and rescue me.  He arrived shortly thereafter, lug wrench in hand.  Unscrewed that lug nut and what?  The stupid lug wrench is under the spare.  Which was held in place with a lug nut. No way could I have changed that tire without the lug wrench.  No way to get the lug wrench without the lug wrench.

And thus, a weekend was started with me stranded at a gas station with a flat tire, a bunch of Amish people, and no lug wrench.  And you wonder why I'm half nuts.

Friday, December 26, 2014

An Uncomplicated Christmas, and Other Complications

Jim and I decided to make this an easy, stress-free Christmas.  Neither of us wanted to be running around like crazy people, buying stuff that no one really wants.  We did a lot to the house in the past six months, and we have some other things in the pipeline, so we decided not to buy for each other at all, and keep the shopping for others to an absolute minimum.

I say we agreed not to buy for each other, but as I told Jim, I had already pre-bought a couple of things for him -- small things -- so he would be getting a couple of gifts, but seriously, I didn't want anything.  I had, after all, ordered myself a new laptop at the beginning of the Christmas season, since mine was on its very last legs.  Come Christmas morn, Jim was happy with the Badpiper CDs I had gotten him (who can't love the only punk rock bagpiper, anyway?) and his book -- "If History Was Scottish".  We got dressed and headed out to see the boys.

We had gifted them money so that they can go to Florida to see Jill, so the shopping was minimal.  Thomas was SO surprised to receive the only book -- indeed, the only thing -- on his Christmas list, but I totally surprised him with a tiny Blue Power Ranger button that he wore proudly all day.  Seth got a button that said "Oh snap, it's an onomatopoeia!"  and a two pound container of Kraft Parmesan cheese, because it is a joke -- or not -- in our family that Seth LOVES Parmesan cheese.  As in, there's generallly more Parmesan on his plate than spaghetti.  I'm not sure if he was appreciative or annoyed, but he and Thomas agreed that it would be gone in short order.

Jill's gifts were a bit more complicated.  She had sent me a short list of things that she wanted, so I ordered her the Kitchenaid mixer that she wanted.  In icy blue, no less.  I was trying to figure out if that was going to be it for her, because I had bought a bunch of other small stuff, and I was trying not to overdo.  The decision was made on Sunday -- her birthday -- when she called and said that Michael had bought the same mixer for her AND she had already used it.  Oh dear.

So I thought to myself, oh, I'll go to Bath & Body Works and get her some shower gels and such on the day after Christmas, because that was on her list, and the boys are taking her presents to her when they leave this weekend.  I didn't even talk to her on Christmas Day, because she had gotten the flu the day before, and spent her whole day sleeping.  Apparently she woke up later, because some time in the evening, she texted me and asked for the recipe for my stuffing -- alas, there IS no recipe, because it's in my head -- but at least it meant she felt better.

Today, I went to work figuring I'd stop at Bath & Body Works on the way home.  Then my phone rang and who should it be but the Bratty Gurl, announcing that she was on her way to work, and guess what?  She was going to Bath & Body Works for their $3 sale first.  Oh. My. Gawd.  Is it not possible to shop for this girl without it getting complicated?  I didn't say a thing, figuring it was a message straight from God saying not to worry, I'd already shopped enough.  I just laughed and went back to my work.  

Then the phone rang again.  This time, The Brat announced that she had gotten a full bag of stuff, only to find that the line was too long at the checkout and she would've been late to work if she'd stayed so "please please please can you go to Bath & Body Works and get me some stuff?"

"I'm at work."
"Can you have Jim go?"
"Jim's at work."
"I thought he retired."
"He has a little part time job with a friend."
"Well, would he stop by on the way home?"
"Not likely, cause he has to go to the grocery."

"I don't know what kind you want.  And you know I can't smell anything."
"Oh, I don't care what kind.  I love ALL their stuff."

Do you see why she's the Bratty Gurl?    And so it was that I found myself in Bath & Body Works buying numerous very, very cheap shower gels and lotions at 5:30 this evening. I have NO idea whether they smell like flowers, the great outdoors, perfume, or stinky feet, but she'll be happy.

Next year, I'm giving her money.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Date Night

Tonight was date night at the Smith house, and we did a throwback to our early days.  On our second "official" date (according to my husband, cause I'm not sure what makes it "official"), we went to the Butler University Rejoice concert with my mom and dad.  It's a wonderful free concert, and it includes many of the musical groups that Butler has to offer.  We missed it last year, so we made sure to get tickets this year.  Well, not exactly.  We made sure to ask Seth to get us tickets this year, since he lives on campus.  Seth, of course, forgot/procrastinated/ignored his mother, so his wonderful lady friend, Elaine, got them for us.  She's a keeper, that one.

No seriously.  We worry how Seth will function in the real world, should his lady friend wander off.  I may or may not have a secret account in Wisconsin where I hide the funds that keep her from wandering off..........but I digress.

Our friends were so excited to go to the concert with us.  They are usually headed to Florida for the winter by now, but decided to wait till next week, so we were excited that they could go with us.  That is, until Mary was diagnosed with the flu today, and Fred started showing signs as well.  So much for that.  We were all pretty bummed.  I called Elaine to see if she and Seth wanted to double date.  Yes, she was excited to go.

Apparently, Seth was not equally excited, because he ended up backing out when work offered him some extra hours.  Elaine, however, was still excited about going with us, which is great, cause when the mother gets alone with the lady friend, she gets the real scoop, like "how clean is Thomas' bathroom?", "how filthy is Chris' room," and "did you see Jill and Michael's last SnapChat, cause I'm thinking Michael didn't realize his mother in law was on the distribution list."  Informative session, it was.

It was a slightly different concert than in the past, because the Indianapolis Children's Choir wasn't there, and the audience didn't sing with the carols.  New additions:  I was sitting next to Sheldon Cooper's doppleganger.  A Middle Eastern lady sitting in front of us kept videoing instead of living in the moment, and when it finally got to be too much for me, I leaned up and said "excuse me, but my daughter here has seizure disorder and your phone is messing with her -- she's not feeling well at all.  Could you please TURN IT OFF?"  I'm not sure the lady understood English, but it worked.  Boom.  That sucker was off for the rest of the concert.

And then there was our personal favorite.  Jim remembered a particular conductor from the past who really loves his job, because he is like a three ring circus up there.  The energy he has, combined with the wild facial expressions, are something you have to see to appreciate.  But when Elaine leaned over and said "I didn't know that Butler let Austin Powers conduct," it was all over.  I could NOT unsee it.  The guy is just awesome.

The best part of the evening though, was watching Seth's roommate.  He is third chair violin, and he is awesome in just about every way.  He's quite the sharp dresser, with a penchant for bow ties -- I had really hoped that this particular element would rub off on Seth, but alas, he's still a Tshirt and jeans guy.  But the love that Travis has for music is just so evident when you watch him.  When the symphony stood up to take their bow, all that was missing was the royal wave, because the boy looked just plain proud.  My favorite part, however, was when he joined the chorale to sing, because they sang a German song, and Travis was INTO IT.  You could tell that he was just plain having fun.  It's a wonderful thing to see someone who really loves music.  Add to this that Seth's other friend Wojtek, who is Polish, was up there having just as much fun, and it just made me smile.

Probably the funniest thing was that they had a high school choir from out east of Indianapolis sing with the chorale.  We stopped at Applebee's on the way home for appetizers (half price, dontcha know), and when we left, there were those same kids, loading onto the school bus still in their concert clothes.  It's all about the timing, folks.

So now, I've been exposed to the flu, kicked Seth out of the will, saw a Pole sing German, and had a margarita with Asian tacos.  How was your day?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Orange Is the New Happy

I started a new job some weeks back.  I'm finally in a job working Monday through Friday, day shift, with no on call, no weekends, no holidays, and actually encouraged to take off the day after Thanksgiving and the week between Christmas and New Year's.

Life is good.

You know, the biggest problem with working a "normal" job is figuring out what the heck to wear in the morning.  I mean, thirty plus years of wearing scrubs makes one rather lazy about what one wears.  It also limits one's wardrobe quite a bit. Keep in mind that the last year in my last job, I worked from home.  Much of that time was spent in my pajamas.  You get my meaning here?  Mama had to go on a few buying trips to find some cute things to wear in the daylight, after all those nights working from home.  Thank God, my dear husband doesn't mind his beloved shopping.

And so it was that I found myself standing in the closet this morning, trying to figure out what to wear to work.  On a Thursday (translate:  I haven't done laundry yet).  Indiana weather is wonky at this time of year, and my office is like the frozen tundra -- though my office mate runs the space heater till it's nearly Aruba, so it's difficult to know how to dress.  I wear layers.  It's the only way to survive.

I stood there staring, knowing that I was going to wear a pair of chocolate brown pants, because it's fall, and it suits.  I debated for a while, then chose a Tshirt I had bought to wear to the prison.  In Kentucky. On a Saturday night.  In Walmart.   Yes, that was a moment in which my life morphed into a country music song.  Don't judge.  I debated about that Tshirt, bought in a moment of semi-desperation, because it is orange, and I worried it would clash with my cherry red hair.  It also has red (my favorite color) and gold glitter.  In other words, it was perfect for perking me up in the not-so-middle of a long work week, on a morning the puppy woke me up forty five minutes early, not so quietly expressing her displeasure about being in her crate and not being allowed out to empty her bladder.  I grabbed it, showered and got dressed, kissed the hubby goodbye -- he muttered a buh-bye that was so quiet and gravelly that it was pretty creepy.  I'm not convinced he was awake, which made it all the creepier.  But I digress.

So I went to work and started my day by calling back my first patient.  We sat down in my office, where she promptly exclaimed "you look AMAZING!  That color is BEAUTIFUL on you."  Keep in mind that I had never met this woman in my life, and here she is, loudly telling me how said orange color looks amazing with my hair and my coloring, and that I should wear that color all the time.  Next thing you know, she asks if I have a smart phone.  I pointed at it, plugged in to the charger on my desk.  She unplugged it and said "I have to take a picture of you so you can see how pretty you look."  She took a picture of me, then said "now, send that to your husband, with the caption 'beautiful.' "

I realized later that my phone had locked up -- it hasn't been the same since I dropped it smack into the dogs' water bowl -- and the picture was lost.  That didn't stop me from smiling the rest of the day, when I thought of that sweet lady and her kind words, said with such enthusiasm.  Happiness is contagious.  Spread some.

I love my job.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


We had a home invasion this weekend.  For three days, we were held hostage while our home was rifled.  Thankfully, only minor items were taken.  I've come to expect this every time Jill comes home.

They got in at about 6:15am on Friday morning, after driving all nght from Pensacola.  She had texted and said that they were close, so I jumped in the shower really quick, so as not to meet them all stinky.  When I got out of the shower, the dogs were going nuts.  I called out, only to find that yes, they had gotten home -- and that they had gone straight to bed.  So much for seeing them before I went to work.

I got home and was met with "the look."  "The Look" is something that her brothers and I hate to see.  It's roughly the equivalent of Vesuvius threatening to blow, without the lava.  It could go either way.  Turned out that she had just found out the they needed new tires, so it wasn't a happy moment, but it was fixable.  She then informed me that she had tried "every product that you have in your shower."  She was elated to find that apparently we keep "a LOT" of products in there, and that one of them had made her now waist length hair "super soft."

I asked her if it was the dog shampoo.  She did, after all, say she'd tried everything.  

She said she was impressed by the amount of makeup I have, and that she would take it home if I wanted her to.  She especially was interested in my eye cream, because she feels that, at the ripe old age of 23, she has developed laugh lines, and this isn't acceptable.  Oye vay.  

The next morning, she decided to go to breakfast with her brothers, and informed me that she needed shoes, because all she had were her boots, and they wouldn't possibly work for her.  She swiped my Keds for the morning.  I realized while they were gone that my brush had gone missing -- not cool, since Thomas and I were going to a wedding that afternoon.  When she got home, she insisted that she had no idea where it was, despite admitting that she had brushed Michael's hair with it.  She told me to use her brush, but she didn't know where it was either.  

You see how this goes, right?

They were home for the weekend to attend another wedding, so when she came down ready to go, she asked how she looked, and mentioned "I borrowed your purse."  HUH?  I don't even use a purse.  I took one look at her and said "that's not my purse."  "Well, whose is it?"  "Michele's."  Michele is my dear husband's first wife, who passed away.  


I've lived with this girl for nearly 24 years, and I think I can truly say that this was the first time I have seen her speechless.  There was a long silence, during which she looked, wide eyed, up to the kitchen at Jim.  Jim let her soak it in for a moment, then said "it's fine, Jill. Michele would be the first one to say you could borrow it if you wanted to."  She said "oooooookaaaaay" as she slunk out the door.

So off they went on Sunday morning, back to Pensacola.  Some people check to make sure that their visitors don't leave socks behind, or pillows, or, God forbid, pets.  Me?  I check for my brush.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Like a Rhinestone Kidney

My dear friend has a kidney stone.  A big, sometimes stationary, sometimes moving, painful-as-hell kidney stone.  She is not amused.  

She should be, given the fact that her granddaughter has deemed her kidney stone, a "kidney rhinestone."  Brings quite the visual to an otherwise miserable experience, doesn't it?  Me being me, the first thing that came to mind was a song called "Rhinestone Kidney," set to the tune of "Rhinestone Cowboy."  Problem is,  I am completely uninspired as to what the lyrics would be.  I've tried and tried and pretty much have........nothing.

Till another friend mentioned that perhaps it should better be set to "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds."  Perfect, given how many drugs she's on right now.  As in, they can't get the light over her bed to go off.  I mentioned that she could just shoot it out, since after all, she's in Texas.   She replied something about "one and done," and I seriously started being concerned about her nurses' safety.  

"Picture yourself on a bed in the ER
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies.
Somebody drugs you, you move oh so slowly,
A girl with a kidney rhinestone.

A nonstop spotlight of yellow and green
Towering over your bed
Look for the girl with the glint in her side
 Cause she's the one:

Tina in the ER, with rhinestones..........."

Oh, I could go on, but the Beatles made it confusing enough the first time around, don't you think?  And though she's on two heavy duty pain meds, it still doesn't equate to the stuff the Fab Four were smokin' when they wrote the song.  That being said, I think drugs are probably the only option when you have a Texas kidney stone.  I've never had one, but I know a lot of people who have, and I think it is best described by a friend who said that her father, a very stoic Marine, found himself on all fours, yelling "Sweet JESUS, take me now."

Maybe it would've gone better for him if he too had had a kidney rhinestone.