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."

"Puh-lease????"
"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

Speechless

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.  

::crickets::

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.


 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Alba gu bràth!

People have been asking me for the past couple of weeks how my wee Scotsman feels about the vote for Scottish independence.  Let me say this:  he would've voted for it.


He watched the debates on CSPAN with fervor.  He explained the pros and cons to me, and to anyone who would listen, often with a thick brogue.  The man knows his Scottish history.  Heck, we even watched Braveheart somewhere in there, with him bellowing in said brogue "they can take away our lives, but they cannot take away our FREEDOM!"


The man loves the land of his father.


We went to Scottish Fest last weekend, and partook of some fine Celtic music (if you ever get a chance to hear the Rogue American's, DO IT.  They are amazing.), had a fine whiskey tasting, watched some caber tossing, and even saw a Storm Trooper wearing a kilt.  No lie.  It was a fine time, and I'm hoping to have my Smith tartan sash by next year's fest.  'Twas a proud day to be a Scotsman (or woman).


We wandered around to see what they had, and found ourselves in the Viking encampment, listening to a very loud rooster.  I couldn't figure out where it was coming from, and me, being the Chicken Lady that I am, went searching.  We found him, a fine, fat specimen, in a wire crate near the ladies, bellowing his displeasure at his accommodations.  I admired him, only to be told by one of the ladies "he's dinner."  I must've had a shocked look on my face, because she looked me in the eye and said "I'm serious.  He's dinner."  So of course, after the Ceilidh (a dinner and music fest of its own), we had to check to see if the rooster was still with us.  Alas, the Vikings were all asleep, and unless one of them was cuddled up with him, he was in several bellies.  RIP Rooster, you were a fine chicken.


So yesterday, friends invited us out to "either celebrate Scottish independence, or mourn the loss" in the vote.  We found ourselves munching on burgers at the Irish Mutt -- ok, so it's not Scottish, but we figured MacNivens' was a) probably packed and b) further away and c) a lot more expensive.  Jim and Bob are like Mutt and Jeff, but they are both Marines, so they swapped sea stories over several beers, whilst Annie and I listened.  Just when we thought they were done, Jim ordered a round of Scotch, and drank to the land of his father, saying Alba gu bràth (which means Scotland Forever).


Never mind that on the way home, these same two Marines were in the back seat of the car singing Mama Mia at the top of their lungs, which Jim today steadfastly denies.


Alba gu bràth!






Monday, September 15, 2014

No Such Thing as a Bedtime Routine

I was chatting with one of the kids on Facebook tonight, and told them I needed to put the puppy away, so I'd be right back.  Here's what happened afterward:


Picked up puppy.  Started down stairs and realized she had put the water bowl on the stairs.  Picked up water bowl to avoid a fall on the stairs, and put it on the counter.  Went in and turned on dryer to warm up the hubby's Browns' blanket before I took it up to him.  Put puppy away.  Realized Mickey had followed me downstairs and is now staring sadly at me by the door, wanting to go out.  Let Mickey out.  Went to kitchen, filled water bowl and put it on the floor.  Mickey was now barking hysterically to get in.  Let Mickey in.  Grabbed blanket from dryer.  Start up the stairs, but Mickey stops to get a drink.  Call him to come upstairs.  I get upstairs, only to realize that Bandit is pounding on Seth's bedroom door, which is closed.  Let Bandit out of bedroom and he runs downstairs, wanting to go out to the garage.  Go back downstairs and let him outside.  Go back upstairs.  Realize I forgot to get hubby's evening meds.  Go downstairs and get meds and refill his Mason jar of water.  Go back upstairs and realize that I never too my evening meds.  Go downstairs and take said meds.  Come upstairs and climb onto bed, only to realize that now Facebook has frozen, so the "I'll be right back" is truly a lie now.


Try to reboot computer.  Go and brush teeth whilst it is rebooting.  Come back, only to find that it still hasn't even shut down.  Shut it down manually, while thinking that maybe my hard drive is dying.  Don't really care, because there are several broken keys on the keyboard, so it's a lotta work to type on it.  Restart computer and decided I'd better go pee while it's booting up.  Go pee.  Climb on bed, only to realize that Mickey had apparently followed me downstairs and he is now scratching at the bedroom door.  Let dog in.  Settle into bed with all my comfy pillows.  Mickey comes around to my side of the bed, wanting up.  Pull him up on to the bed.  Open Facebook.


Kid has signed off.