Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ho ho ho!

This is Thomas' first Christmas -- and Thanksgiving -- away from the family, whilst he lives as a mountain man, working retail.  The Saturday after Thanksgiving, I woke up to a Facebook message, rather frantically asking if I was available to talk.  Unfortunately, the messages had been late the night before, and I hadn't seen them.  It took me several hours to connect with him, when he said not to worry, he'd just had a really bad day, and he wanted to talk.

Turned out that among many other things, he'd gone to work on Black Friday, only to be told that he had to be Santa for three hours.  Thomas.  As Santa.  Remember, this kid is stoic beyond definition, quiet to the point of a monk, and oh yeah, he's not a KID person.  Gotta admit, I started laughing when he told me.  I wasn't alone, because when I told Seth and Jim, they both responded simultaneously "THOMAS?  As SANTA?"  Cracked me up.  I asked if he had kids sitting on his lap and he said no, that he mainly just walked around handing out candy and asking kids what they wanted for Christmas.

I seriously could not picture this.  I promptly asked for photographic proof, because yeah, I still wasn't quite believing it..  He said he didn't have any, but he would, because he was going to have to be Santa every Friday till Christmas.  So you guessed it, that picture is the Heir to the Throne, as the skinniest Santa on the planet!

This one says it all.  Seth and I have decided that he looks definitely Grinchy:

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 23, 2013

My Girl

This girlie, born in the midst of an ice storm 23 years ago, has grown up to be a beautiful, brilliant and funny young lady.  Proof?

I rest my case.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Here We Go Again

The other day, I mentioned that Jim had taught Seth how to tie a tie.  The boy amazed me, really.  So today, I get a text from him.  The exchange went like this:

Seth:  Did I leave my decent pants somewhere in my room or something?  Also, are you supposed to wear the tie inside the collar flap or just around your neck?

First of all, this worries me.  What does the boy consider to be "decent pants?"  It kind of scares me to think what pants he might be wearing around Butler.  It would scare you too, if you saw just how dressed down this kid takes it at home.  The kid likes comfy clothes.  I take no responsibility, especially if he's walking around in sweats with a tie around his bare neck.

Me:  I will look for the pants.  Tie goes around the collar when it's folded down, not against your skin.

Maybe this doesn't make sense, but I hate long texts on my phone, and I thought that making it quick and dirty might get through to him.  Not so much.

Seth:  What do you mean by folded down?

This kind of reminds me of the "define what 'is' is" quote of days past.  Folded down. As in, not up.  Too bad that tie didn't come with a GPS installed in it.  I'm thinking the boy has no future in origami.

Me:  Pop the collar.  Put the tie on.  Fold down collar over the tie.

Breaking it down more.  Small words.  Short sentences.  I'm thinking we have got it now.......

Seth:  Oh.  Welp.  I thought Jim said it just goes around the neck...

He has no idea how he got this idea. He did, however, inject all the love in his heart into his response, which was given official approval of the US Marine Corps.

Me:  Look at a YouTube video.

At this point, I threw in the towel, and was pretty sure that he didn't quite understand what I was saying.  I also knew that he was likely getting ready for class, and was getting increasingly concerned at what he was gonna look like as he went out the door.

Seth:  I understand how to do it, I just thought he said elsewise.

So I guess the entire exchange may've been for nothing.  I'm still not quite sure.  I'm also not sure if he unerstands where the tie goes.  And notice, there was not one question about how to actually tie the tie.  It was only about the location of the tie, which would imply that perhaps Jim put the cart before the horse when he showed Seth how to tie the tie without making clear the placement of said tie before you start.

It's no wonder my brain feels broken some days.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The Monthly Hideout

I spent today hiding from the cleaning lady.  This is a monthly thing that I do, and it drives me kind of crazy.   Jim has had this cleaning lady coming by to do her thing every month or so for several years.  I told him that we really don't need her, but he said he wants to do it for me, so I don't have to worry about cleaning so much.  He even said he'd have her come very two weeks, but I said not way.  That's just too much hiding.

You see, the first I heard of the cleaning lady was when we were first dating.  He told me that Big Boobs was coming over the next day.  Whhhhhaaaaat?  Well, you know, he's a Marine, so you never know what's gonna fly outta his mouth.  He explained that the first time she had come over to clean, she got talking to his late wife.  One of the things that she saidin that first conversation was that she had had a breast augmentation done.  And then she lifted up her shirt and showed her.  As in, new client.  New cleaning lady.  New client now face to face with the girls.


This more than freaked me out, but it wasn't an issue because I wasn't usually here when she came.  I was living in town, I was working days.......no big deal.  Our paths never crossed.  Well, now I live here, and I work later in the day, so I'm here when she comes.  The first time she came after I moved in, Jim was still home recovering from his knee surgery.  I wasn't here, for some reason -- maybe a doctor's appointment or something, but he was alone with Boobs.  Thank God, she didn't show him her ta-tas, especially because it was the first time he'd actually met her, despite her tenure here.  He did say that she had talked his bloomin' head off.  As in, nonstop talking.  She was here talking for an hour before she started working, and then she forgot to do things like empty the trash in the bathrooms and vacuum some of the upstairs.

The next time she came, he suggested that I just flat out leave the house.  Now we were not only afraid of the boob show, but we weren't sure she'd get any work done.  Given the fact that I work from home, he wanted her long gone before I had to start work, so not giving her a chance to engage was the best way out.  I spent the afternoon hanging out with a friend. and came home to a nice clean house.  Jim reported, however, that Boo had gotten out of his cage sometime before she got here, so when she opened the garage door, he took a tour of the yard before she could coax him in.  Oh well, at least he didn't bite anyone.  He may or may not have seen her boobs.

Well, it's a pain in the patootey to hide every time she comes over, because she is always an hour or two late, so I don't know when the leave the house, nor when to come home.  Jim has somehow brainwashed her into thinking that I absolutely cannot be disturbed if I am in my office, so I usually just take the dogs and lock myself in there whilst she cleans.  I try to do it before she gets here, because if I don't, it's a nonstop barrage of meaningless chatter until I can get the door closed.  I literally hide in there organizing, surfing the web, playing Candy Crush, listing sewing patterns, doing actual work, or whatever else I can think of until she is long gone.  Heck, today I came home and she was still here.  She was upstairs, so I made a sandwich, grabbed a drink, and went into my office.  Never saw her at all, but she chattered away until the door closed.  No word from Bandit if he got an eyeful, but I will say that he refused to come upstairs while she was there, ran upstairs and then refused to go downstairs till she was gone.  It all seems rather suspect to me.  That poor cat.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Tie One On

I know I mentioned that Jim's goal was to teach Seth to iron over Thanksgiving break, but yeah, it didn't happen.  Not yet, at least.  He did, however, teach Seth to tie a tie.  Listening to a Marine on a good day is an interesting thing, but this just cracked me up.  Imagine yourself as me, sitting in the living room, TV on, listening to two guys with severe ADHD trying to perform a semi-complicated feat.  Now, add to it that Seth is standing in front of Jim watching.  Jim is right handed.  Seth, who is ambidextrous, does the majority of things left handed.  I'm just not so sure that this is going to work at all, but Seth is standing there, intently listening.  This, in and of itself is something of a miracle.   He must REALLY have wanted to learn.

 Here's the blow by blow:

::Jim takes tie in hand.  Puts it around his neck and adjusts it slightly, whilst it it untied::
Jim:  "You put it around your neck like this.  Now, some people will say you have to get the ends even.  That's bullshit."
::makes a few moves -- remember, I am behind him so I can't see exactly what he's doing::
Jim:  "Pull it tight. Not too tight.  This is not a lynching."
Jim:  "Before you slam it tight and shut, you have to make some adjustments.  This is where it gets cute. The Marines put what we call a dimple. You see this length here."  ::indicates end of tie, I think::
Seth: "I've heard many things about where that goes."
Jim:  "The only thing you do is take it and put it through like this."  ::puts it through the tag::  "That's all it's for.
It's still not tight.  So you still got plenty of room to tighten this up to make it smaller. The key thing is that you can just leave it like this and take it off."
::takes it off and hands the tied tie to the boy::
::Checks the tie on the boy::
Jim: "What we can do is this.  Take that off."
Seth: "How do you loosen it up?"
Jim: "Pull on this piece de resistance....Don't hang yourself!"
::adjusts tie::
::undoes tie instead::
Jim: "Around, up and through, pull your loop out like so, put your tie through.  Now again, it's pretty short."
::takes it off and adjusts::  ::hands tied tie to the boy::
Jim:  "Nonononononononono.  YES.  That's a boy.  Tighten it.  Is it tight tight?  Now, this is where it's supposed to hit.  It needs to be shorter.  You don't want to pee on it.
::takes it off::
Jim:  ::glances at TV:: "Dammit, the Colts are gonna lose this game."
::puts tie on himself::
Jim: "Now, when you get done figuring this out........::tying:: Here.  Try that.  Ah, nope.  Too short. Too short."
::takes it off again and hands it back::
::more adjustments::  :hands it back::  ::silence::
Seth: ::looks at TV, where there's a commercial for Elementary playing:: "Wait, there's two Sherlock shows?"
Jim:  "Yeah yeah, that's the modern one.  Fix your collar. "Is too long?  Fix your collar.  Look up. ::Seth looks at ceiling:: Not THAT high."
Jim:  "You said to look UP."
Jim: "What the hell are you DOING?"
Seth: ::tie is now tied, and tucked into the top of his shirt:: "Tucking it into my shirt?"
Jim: "What the HELL?"
Seth: "I like how it looks."  ::please note, it it fully tied, and tucked against his chest, inside his shirt::
Jim:  "That's an ascot.  You're not Richie Rich.  Take that out of there."
Seth:  "I like how that looks."
Jim:  "To get an ascot, you basically get a scarf and poufy it up.  You're not poufy.  Now, where's that other tie.  The one you wear to funerals?"
Seth: "The yellow one?"  ::note to self:  we now wear yellow to funerals::  :Seth dons a vest::
Jim:  "Yeah, that one.  Where the hell did you get THAT?"
Seth:  "YOU picked it out!"
Jim:  "I did?  OK.  That's a nice tie."
Seth:  "So I need to pouf it up then?
Jim:  "NO.  You are NOT POUFY.  What, are you gonna wear it?"
Seth:  "I'm not planning to like, go in this, but I want to see what it looks like."
Jim:  "Now, see where that one is?  Same thing.  See this tag?"
Seth:  "Do all ties have that tag in them?"
Jim: "Yes, unless you rip it off when you're drunk. Now, put the tie inside the vest."
Seth: "OH.  That's what I was thinking about.  Not that ascot thing.  Putting it into the vest.  Not the shirt."
Jim:  "Thank God.  Where's your scissors, Lisa?"
Me:  "There's a crappy pair of scissors here.:
Jim: "Yeah, just give me the crappy ones.  ::glances at TV again:: What?  Tennessee has the ball.  What a pile of crap.  Now, what you have on you right now is that you are dressed up enough to go to a wedding.  Except the jeans.  ::note, he has gone from a funeral to a wedding, with just the addition of a vest::  You clip the tie bar to your shirt so it keeps your tie down like this.  The tie bar thing you can wear anywhere you want.  Tradition says the Marine Corps wears it in the middle. Now you don't have to tie a tie for the next four years."
Me:  ::trying to point out the obvious fact that Jim has just tied both ties:: "You know, you were supposed to TEACH him to tie the tie.

They both look at me rather crazy and say, "HE DID."  And I'll be darned, that kid took an untied tie and tied a perfect knot with no direction, and full approval from the Chief Warrant Officer.  Guess that shows you what I know.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hit Me With My Best Shot

What a week.

Yesterday, I had surgery on my wrist, to correct Dequervain's Tenosynovitis.  Say that three times fast.  It was a little surgery, but I had to go to the surgery center for it.  Seth volunteered to take me, but Jim, ever the gentleman, insisted on taking his woman forth to the slaughter.  Everyone was quite nice as they prepped me.  They told me I didn't have to put a gown on, instead having me put on a "bunny suit", which is code word for waterproof zip front jumpsuit, complete with matching hat and shoe covers.  Jim promptly announced that I looked like a Smurf, which I'm sure I did.  Thank God his phone was dead, or those pictures would've been out there for everyone to see.  I brought it home for Seth, figuring hey, he's in college.  He can do things with a zip front waterproof jumpsuit.  It likely will include his horse head.  What happens at Butler...........

So tonight, I had to give myself my first Methotrexate injection, for that damnable rheumatoid arthritis.  I haven't been doing as well as the doctor wants on the oral stuff, so she changed it to injections and added a malaria drug too.  Reading the package insert on that one is great:  it'll treat malaria, but rabies shots might not work on me.  Chew on that for a while.  That's not the kind of side effects you read about every day.  Add to it that Methotrexate is used for chemo and tubal pregnancies, and it makes my life just that more odd.  It's a darned good thing I have a sense of humor.

I psyched myself up for this injection thing.  I actually told Seth that I was gonna teach him how to do them, because if he wants to go to med school, it's something he should learn.  He thought it was kind of random for me to suggest it and in the end, I decided to just do it.  You'd think it wouldn't be a big deal, because I've been a nurse for 30 years.  Seriously.  I've given shots to probably hundreds of people, and started IVs on almost as many.  I've stuck needles in babies' heads and feet, and everywhere from stem to stern on grownups too.  So what's the big deal?  I have no idea.

I took it all out and headed to Seth's room, because Jim was not gonna be any help, given the level of snoring he was doing.  Told Seth I just needed a little hand holding, and we talked about why I was having to do injections, with a little talk about RA.  Teachable moments, yes.  Delay of game, YES.  He was playing some weird engineering game that I don't understand on his computer, so I laid down on the bed by him and prepared my attack.

Only I couldn't bring myself to attack.  Started to a few times but just couldn't close the deal.  I finally decided that I just couldn't SEE lying down, so I sat on the side of the bed and went for it, straight into the "shakes when I laugh like a bowl full of jelly" area.  You know what I found out?  I give a damn good shot!  I literally didn't feel a thing.  WOOHOO!

So now I guess there's nothing to be afraid of unless my hair falls out in clumps or I get bitten by a raccoon.  Let's keep our fingers crossed.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Stuff That Moves Me

I've said it before, and even if you haven't read much here, you probably know just how much I lovelovelovelovelove music.  As in, music of all kinds.  I was blessed with parents who loved music, and cultivated that love in us.  We all took music lessons of one kind or another, and we all still can play an instrument or two -- though, in my case, not well, but still, I can still get through some piano.  Sure, we grew up listening to the crazy stuff like Spike Jones and Mrs. Miller, but we also listened to all kinds of other music too.  One of my earliest memories of music in our house was listening to The Sound of Music Soundtrack, while my dad taught my sister to waltz.

Mom and dad love musicals, so show tunes were big in our house.  It made me smile the other day when Seth posted something on Facebook about how good life was as he was in his car listening to show tunes with his friends (several of whom are music majors).  Thomas is on a huge jazz bent these days, posting regularly his newest awe of Miles Davis and the like.  Jillie is more of a pop girl, but Michael is doing his best to bring her to classic (spangles and sequins) country, a la George Jones and Hank Williams.  He is, as she says, something of a music diva, and there are MANY rules surrounding music at the upcoming nuptuals.  Jim is a little concerned that the rules mean there will be nothing to dance to, but I'm sure it'll be just fine.

And so it was that I found myself watching the Dr Who 50th Anniversary episode on Saturday, with Jim and Seth.  I'm Johnny Come Lately to Dr Who, having only started to watch it in the last couple of years, but when Jim has watched it from the first episode, and Seth is a Whovian of note as well.  It's fun to watch wtih them --- Seth and Thomas are amazed at how much Jim knows about the series.  Me, I just love the music.  Jim?  He fell asleep ten minutes into the anniversary special.

The first time I actually "watched" the show was on a Sunday afternoon.  Jim was watching it in the bedroom whilst I napped.  I just remember waking up and thinking "what is that AMAZING music?"  It truly has some of the most simple, but moving music out there.  It's just perfect for the ebb and flow of the action, and the heartbreak is palpable too.  It's not unlike the Titanic score, that brought Jill to panic back in the day.  (And, just for update, she did finally see the movie a couple of months ago.  And cried like a baby, too.)

That being said, I have spent a good portion of the past two days listening to Dr Who music, and waiting for Jim to watch the 50th anniversary special for real.  It's recorded on the DVR and he'll get round to it in the next few days, I'm sure, and I will get all teary all over again, and Seth will once again wish that he had David Tennant's hair.  And we'll all count the days till the Christmas Special, when we say goodbye to Matt Smith.  I can't say that I'm attached to the show in any way like I was to LOST, but I will cry when Eleven leaves us.

Meantime, this:

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Empress of the Universe

We were watching the History Channel yesterday.  It was a program about the Ming Dynasty, and some Chinese Emperor, who was purportedly considered to be both the best and the worst ruler in Chinese history.  Among many details they reported was how he picked his concubines, and the rules surrounding them.

It would seem that the concubines didn't make many moves that didn't involve the eunuchs.  They had to report illnesses to the eunuchs, who took the information to the head eunuch, who decided if they would call a doctor.  If they did, the doctor had to be escorted into the palace by eunuchs, and then they had to have a couple of female escorts when the doctor did the exam.  All so the emperor could have his concubines to himself.

Eventually, he fell in love with one of the concubines, and made her the empress.  This made her very, very rich, and her family was given great riches as well.  Eventually, the emperor got old and died, at which point the empress and fifteen of his favorite concubines committed suicide.

That's all kind of crazy.

This got me thinking:  Jim calls me the Empress of the Universe.  Occasionally, he slips and calls me his queen, but he is reminded that that's a big no-no, cause that's what the ex called me .  It's definitely a no-no, so he has taken me as the Empress.  Of the Universe, no less.  Seth was sitting at the kitchen table when I announced that, as Empress of the Universe, I would require eunuchs.

At which point Seth announced quite firmly, "I'm out."  I laughed harder than Empress Protocol probably allows.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


So, the Spare to the Throne is 19.  I'm not sure who allowed that to happen, but it did.  I asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday -- or IF he wanted to, now that he's a college guy.  He asked if we could go shopping for clothes, because thankfully, his friends like to dress up, so he wants to too.

Actually, he's always liked dressing up, but he didn't do it often.  And he sometimes got it a little wrong, like the time we did pictures with my family when we were on a cruise.  Somehow, his father couldn't locate his dress shoes, so he came out adorably dressed in a vest, dress pants, bow tie and button down shirt.  Adorable, given his missing front tooth, and then you got to his feet, garbed in neon orange flip flops.  The photographer said he would just shoot him from the feet up, at which point my mother said he'd better keep the flip flops in the picture, because she just loved it.  And he did.

He loved wearing a tux at prom, and can't wait to wear one at Jillie's wedding, and after wearing them every day of his high school career, he has banned both khakis and polos from his life.  I guess ya gotta love a man who knows what he doesn't like.  So The Spare, his little lady friend (who we LOVE), my boo and I headed off to shop.  Jim was an integral part of this, because he not only could give the man's perspective, but he also worked for some time in retail, selling menswear, so he could steer him in the right direction.  Comes in handy, that man does.  So Seth ended up with several new button downs, a new vest, two ties, and a pair of pants.  Jim -- a devoted non-shopper like myself -- enjoyed himself, if you exclude Seth's insistence that he wanted a teal shirt included in the mix.

He will be looking quite dapper now, and Jim's next goal is to teach him how to iron over Thanksgiving break.  Seth insists it's not necessary, even hinting that it's a dying art, but it's pretty useless to argue with a Marine.  I'm thinking that next weekend, Seth will be ironing.  Good thing I just replaced the batteries in the smoke detectors.

Speaking of which, after we went shopping, we headed to Stir Crazy, only to find out that they were closed.  On to Plan B, wherein we ended up at Benihana.  Seth loves a hibachi grill, but his big concern was if they had a vegetarian option for his girlfriend, who doesn't eat things with a face.  Of course they do, so we enjoyed a wonderful dinner of steak, chicken, and shrimp, plus the show the hibachi chef put on.  It was totally yummy, and we sat around afterward just chatting about upcoming plans.  Seth's girlfriend realized that one of her friends had been seated near us, and his mom came over the chat for a few, then we took our leave and dropped the kids off at Butler again, with many hugs and an I Love You or two from the boy.  Love. That. Kid.

We hadn't gotten more than five minutes from campus when Seth texted and said that Benihana had been evacuated about five minutes after we left, due to some kind of electrical fire.  MAN!  We were THAT close to getting a free dinner!  Oh well.  Maybe next time.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Parents' Day Out

This was Family Weekend at Butler University.  Seth was anxious to have us come over and hang, but for what, he had no idea.  Apparently, they only email the schedule of events to the parents, and mine went missing until the night before, where I dug it out of the depths of emails I had gotten while on vacation for two weeks.  Electronics.  At best, a mixed blessing.

I had been texting back and forth with Seth all week, trying to figure out the plan, so finally on Friday, I sent him the web page explaining the weekend.  He replied "not much of interest," which kind of surprised me.  Butler goes all out, so they had everything going on from football, high ropes, drum circles, tours of the planetarium and Clowe's, to, of course, basketball.  He immediately replied, in typical Sethanese fashion, that he hadn't seen that you needed to click in order to see the list of events.  Oye vay.  He told me that we should just come over and hang, and maybe we could go watch the rehearsals for The Nutcracker (one of his friends is playing in the orchestra) or do a tour or two.  Then he told me not to come over early, because he was really tired, and his best friend was there spending the night, so he knew he'd be up late.  

This spiralled into a circle of confusion that lasted until the next afternoon, when I had given up hope of getting together and started cleaning and doing laundry.  Of course, that was when I got the text asking when I was coming over, because he was now up (it was 12:07pm).  More texting.  More confusion, and we agreed that he would come here for dinner, and I would go there at 2:30.  I called him when I was almost to campus, and was met with a "you're coming today?  I thought you were coming tomorrow!" Oye AND vay. He told me to come on over, because he and his lady friend were just hanging out.  Truth be told, in the flurry of texts, I was the one who messed up the details, but we were both fine with it, because it was a great time.

Did we do any of the Family Weekend events?  Nope.  We went to Starbucks on campus, where one of his roommates works.  We ended up sitting there for three hours, just chatting, while more and more of his friends and their parents wandered in.  I ended up finding out the following things:

1.  If you have a Scottish brogue and order water in a restaurant, you will more than likely be met with "we don't have that."  And Seth's buddy's mom can switch from the brogue to an American accent at the drop of a hat if she's thirsty.
2.  If you have a college student who comes home to do laundry, you are not allowed to order out.  Seth's girlfriend was offended when she went home to see her family and do laundry, but mostly to have a homecooked meal, and they decided to order Chinese takeout.  She felt deprived.
3.  Seth's roommate woke up to an unaccompanied female sleeping in the other roommate's bed.  Apparently, said roommate left to go do things and left his girlfriend sleeping in his bed.  Not cool.  
4.  Seth's posse includes Catholics, Jews, Lutherans, agnostics, and atheists, to say the least. Their political leanings vary from ultra conservative to liberal to apolitical. Their majors vary from violin to pharmacy, physics to creative writing.  One of his friends is British, and another is Polish.  Needless to say, the conversations are VERY interesting.
5.  Starbucks has these fantastic Refresher things that don't have coffee in them, and that taste AMAZING.  And Seth's girlfriend orders the same lattee at Starbucks as I do.  Serendipity and all that.
6.  The laundromats in the dorms don't take quarters, so when the internet is down, you can't do your laundry, because debit cards won't work.  Seth has yet to bring laundry home, but it's coming, I'm sure.
7.  You can make the Spare to the Throne unbelievably happy if you bring him back three boxes of salt water taffy from Florida.  He was almost giddy.  Yes, he loves the stuff that much.
8.  Seth's girlfriend understands Sethanese!  This is no small accomplishment, folks.  

Yes.  I have hope for our future, because these kids are amazing. 

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Travelling in Cars with Marines

We just got back from vacation in the Sunshine State.  OK, truth be told, I took a week off to unpack the rest of the boxes here, and then had a colonoscopy. There, I said it.  But if you haven't been screened, do.  And then follow up the scope with a nice trip to the beach.

We had a lovely condo overlooking the beach.  I have to agree with the person whose guestbook entry read something to the effect of "our 17yo daughter walked in and said 'my life just got sooo much better.'"  Cause yeah, it is that amazing of a place.  We had crashing waves 24/7, right outside our window.  Talk about good sleep...........I had the nuttiest of nutty dreams all week, and I loved it.

Here is what our days consisted of:
1.  Get up and watch the sun rise on the left.  Possibly go back to bed.
2.  Watch the dolphins move from east to west in front of the balcony.  Possibly go back to bed again.
3.  Eat breakfast, complete with wonderful coffee, custom made by my private chef.
4.  Spend most of the morning trying to decide how to spend the day.
5.  End up on beach chair under an umbrella, with a cooler and a good book.
6.  Go back to room and assess the damage.
7.  Take a nap.
8.  Decide where dinner will be.
9.  Dinner.  Sadly, no good seafood was to be found.  Sadness.
10.  Back to condo, where he watched TV and I read till sleep took over.
::and repeat::

Happily, we got to see the Bratty Gurl and The Intended several times.  They took advantage of our cable to watch Walking Dead one night because yes, when you haven't seen your mom for two months, the first thing you want to do is figure out how to steal the remote.  That's my girl.  And after a blissful nine days, we headed home again.

Somewhere in Alabama, we listened to 93.3 Y'ALL, a radio station with the tag line "we're a hot mess."  And they really are:  Hank Williams followed by Guns N Roses, then One Direction followed by Sam Cooke........you get the idea.  Totally bonkers.  Of course then we passed the sign that said "Go To Church or The Devil Will Get You," replendent with a big red Satan on it.  Good stuff.  Somewhere a bit further north, my brain exploded when I heard "Lisa Mitchell plays the most music on" whatever random station the radio was on.  (Yes, I left my iPod at home, much to Jim's consternation.  Somewhere in southern Tennessee he said quite emphatically "I wish you'd brought your iPad (sic).  I want to hear some Gaga."  Can't help lovin that man 'o mine.......  Alas, without the Nano to entertain him, he was left to his own devices.  And this man is never bored.

Now let me tell you, my boo is an interesting one to ride in the car with.  Our trips generally start with him putting on his seat belt while telling me not to kill him.  Of course, my driving hasn't killed anyone yet, but I guess he figures that the admonishment will keep the phone poles at bay.  Once we start down the street, he starts narrating.  It goes like this:  "oh look, there's a UPS Store......CVS....China Buffet right next to Chik-fil-A..." and so on.  FOR MILES.  It's a good thing I worked in the nursery for so many years, cause girlfriend can tune out just about anything.  That being said, somewhere in Tennessee, the drivers lost their minds, driving by us like the Millenium Falcon at warp speed.  That was about the time my boo began his impression of Darryn McGavin in "A Christmas Story."

"Oh look, that tree is pretty, but where are the flaming red maples.  HOLY $#@&!  What was that guy doing?  Driving like a #$**!!  Oh look, there's a gas station at this next exit.  Do we need gas?  OMG LOOK OUT that &#@) is driving right up you @#*!  Oh look, there's a water wheel....."  Yep. Sometimes the Marine comes out with very little warning.  Loudly.  And since I can't get the man to relax and let me do the driving, and God knows he can't go to sleep -- he might miss a Stuckey's sign -- I just laugh. It's pretty entertaining if you just roll with it, and God knows it's better than the days of travelling with an infant with an ear infection, or a toddler with motion sickness.  It's really funny to see what will fly out of his mouth next, Goofus, Gallant, or Gunnery Sergeant Hartman.  I did, however, draw the line as we got closer to Nashville, telling him quite sternly that he could not A) narrate or B) shout in consternation as I drove through the city, or we truly MIGHT both die.

It was at that point that I realized that his pre-travel command to not kill him might, in fact, be serious, because the man became silent as a tomb. Even past several billboards featuring Carrie Underwood in a corset.  As in, not one decibel.  For miles.  Through construction, detours, and past several police officers at the ready.  Boyfriend SHUT. IT.DOWN.  Until he saw the next Cracker Barrel sign, at which point it was on like Donkey Kong.  And he narrated the entire way back home to Indiana.

So now we are home again, and intend to stay so until after the wedding.  And that's all I've got to say abou that.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Zombie Arachnids

I think it's been well established that I do not like bugs.  Not at all.  Well, it's fall, and the eight legged creatures are making their way into the house.  I keep telling Jim that they are trying to kill me, because they always show up by MY chair, not his.  Freak me out, but fortunately, the man loves me and he gets up and takes care of them.  Sure, he's usually either laughing or rolling his eyes at me, but he takes care of them.

Today, I spent the afternoon cleaning out the garage, which entailed organizing stuff from boxes, consolidating, and throwing stuff away, then finding a place for it in the house.  At one point, I wandered by my chair, and bent over to pick up a thread that I saw on the ottoman.  Only, it wasn't a thread -- it was a big ass spider, crawling right toward my chair.  Fortunately, there was a slipper nearby, so I smashed the heck out of it.  Grabbed a Kleenex and sent that sucker to sea.

Or so I thought.

More specifically, I tossed it into the toilet with the kleenex and flushed.  Jim came home later, we chatted, and off I went to go potty.  And guess what?  That spider was still there in the pot.  Sure, it looked dead, but given the fact that it had last been seen crushed into a kleenex, how was it now here, sans tissue?  What. The. Heck.  So I did what someone would do when one wants a spider dead -- I peed on it.  And flushed.  Damn thing swirled around and DID NOT GO DOWN.  So I waited, then flushed again, holding the handle of the potty down for good measure.  STILL NOT GONE.

So, I spoke to my beloved, took him by the hand and explained what I have been trying to tell him for weeks now:  these spiders want to kill me, and some, if not all, are zombies.  Seriously.  How does a spider survive three flushes?  At which point, the man looked me in the eye and flushed.

That damn thing went down the drain like a five year old on a water slide.

Proving, once again, that if you want to deal with a zombie spider, send a Marine.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

My 15 Minutes of Internet Fame

So, I had a yard sale back before Seth left for school.  I had agreed to let Jill have the proceeds for her wedding, but Seth is poor and he was here to run it, so they split it.  Little did I know what a pushover he is -- some people got some seriously crazy deals.  But oh well, they made upwards of $300 and I got rid of garbage, so it's all good.

So I put the ad on Craigslist, and I guess people liked it, because I'm still getting fan mail over it, and people telling me that a) they would like to be my friend and b) they laughed really hard when they read it.  It got put on Best of Craigslist, so the fan mail comes from all over now.  It cracks me up.

So here it is.  You decide.  I'll be unpacking boxes.


All three of my kids have moved out in the past three weeks. OK, so the third is leaving Saturday, but you get my drift. As a result, the nest is shrinking and I'm getting rid of everything that's not nailed down. Here's a sampling:

--a very ugly, but structurally sound, couch, circa 70s, as noted by the butt-ugly orange and brown colorway.
--a bunch of end tables and cocktail tables, in various shapes and sizes. At least one vintage-ish.
--some horse tack, like saddle blankets, lead ropes, and the like, previously used. By a horse.
--an extra large dog crate. Previously used. By a dog.
--Various book shelves that would be great for a dorm room. Nothing fance, in case of too much Nerf ball-dom.
--Some clothes, more shoes, but not too much, cause that is boring.
--Some vintage smalls, mainly china and a few pictures. One Victorian era picture that looks like Ellen Degeneres. I dare you to disagree.
--File cabinets. Hopefully they help you organize better than they did me. No guarantees.
--Sewing pattern cabinets, metal, (2) like you see at Joann's. They hold sewing patterns. Duh.
--A projection TV. Cheap. Used mostly to watch Criminal Minds.
--A dresser, bought last year, in great condition. It looks manly.
--A day bed. As opposed to a night bed.
--A super large cooler. Perfect for beer. If you see the college student with beer, let me know. He will be in trouble.
--Some Christmas stuff. Don't hate. It'll be here before you know it, trust me.
--A set of weights and two weight benches. Get your Arnold on. Just not in my garage. Wait till you get home.
--A covered patio swing. Perfect for relaxation and naps. The garage is a No Sleeping Zone.
--an old tool box with a bunch of tiny unknown stuff in it. No tools.
--a bunch of yard tools like rakes and shovels, etc. To look for buried treasure, or bury the body. Don't ask, don't tell
--a bunch of other stuff, some interesting, some boring.
--check out our jar of freebies. Just some stuff that you might like that I didn't feel like tagging. Cause free stuff is fun.
--a FREE upright piano. Heavier than hell. Bring a truck, and several good looking men.

Half of the proceeds will go to my youngest, for college expenses (not beer money) and half will go to my daughter for her wedding/grad school expenses (perhaps beer money). I will let them fight over what "half" is, cause she's in Florida, and he's hosting the show.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

K.P. Duty

Living with a Marine is interesting.  The man is super organized.  Me, not so much.  And he likes things where he likes this.  Case in point, this morning:

Him (looking sternly at me):  "So, I guess you thought that your cereal bowl was just going to jump from the sink into the dishwasher, huh?  I mean, what the hell?"
Me (sitting in my chair reading):  ::points to cereal bowl sitting next to me::  "That's not MY bowl in the sink, Boo.  It's your bowl from your pie and ice cream last night."
Him:  (walks away laughing and shaking head)

I emerged triumphant, this one time.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Two Cars and Three Windshield Wipers

Once upon a time, there was a man.  He was a crazy young man, and he drove an MG Midget.  He loved that little Midget, though it had its share of challenges, mainly in the whole starting up and running arena.  And so it was that he moved on to a Mercury Cougar, and then a van, and then an SUV, and a little compact car alongside it.

Then he met a girl  -- his trophy wife, as he called her. This girl's only experience with MGs was when she took care of a 16 year old in the ICU who had run her MG under the Bingo bus, putting her into a coma, and settling several of her teeth into her lungs, a week after she got her braces off.  Needless to say, the girl didn't have great thoughts of MGs, and who would, when that's the only association they have with them?

Well, the boy decided that he wanted to buy the girl a car.  He convinced her of the wonderful freedoms of having an MG, so they went out looking.  They found an odd little car with three, yes THREE windshield wipers, that the car dealer wanted to say were original, but the man knew his MGs and knew something wasn't right.  As in, there was a Buick V6 under the hood.  And those three windshield wipers, on a windshield the size of a postage stamp.  And so they moved along.

But the man loved his girl, and he wanted her to have something special to cruise around in.  Say, something that the top came down on, and that went vroom, vroom when it rolled.  And so it was that they found this:

A modern day fraternal twin to the MG, with a top that comes down, a trunk the size of a postage stamp, and two windshield wipers.  And he bought it for her, and they lived happily ever after.

The End.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


I swear, these menfolk have conspired to make me crazy.  We all know about Sethanese, and the twists and turns it takes.  Well, the boy is safely esconced at Butler, having a fine time -- and some Viking funerals, I'm told.  I thought Sethanese was something of the past, but noooooooooooooo.  Jim has taken it over.

Entered into evidence, tonight's discussion.  To set the scene, we were watching Terminator: Salvation.

Him:  "Who is that guy?"
Me: "Who?"
Him:  "That guy.  I don't think that's Christian Bale, is it?"  (guy was covered in muck)
Me:  "No, I think that is Sam what's his name, from Avatar."
Him:  "Who?"
Me: "Him."
Him: "THAT guy?" (different guy was now on the screen)
Me: "No, that's Christian Bale.  THAT guy."  (pointing to the original guy)
Him:  How do you know that's Christian Bale?"
Me:  "Because it IS."
Him:  "What's that guy's name?"  (pointing to the same guy)
Him:  "But I thought you said it was the guy from Avatar."
Me:  "Oh, never mind."

They are conspiring to make me crazy.  And truly guys, it's not that much of a stretch, on a good day.  Seriously.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Three Things

Yesterday, The Spare to the Throne left the nest, complete with a computer that lacked some screws, a flat screen TV that lacked a power cord, and a tea kettle without a whistle.  But yep, he's livin the dream, because he's wanted to go to Butler  for pretty much all of his vertical life.  Heck, he's not even worried about the air-condition-less dorm.  He's pretty happy.

One of his roommates was already there when we arrived.  His mom was chatty, and his dad was on the floor on a beanbag chair.  The boys wandered off to unload and the parents chatted about the boys.  We found that both boys are pretty quiet, have a small group of close friends but know and get along with everyone, and both are messy (read:  pigs).  Roomie's mom mentioned that they've talked a lot about time management.  Hmmm.......I had a talk with Seth, but not about time management.  We talked about The Three Things.  "What three things," asked the mom.  "Drinking?"  "Nope, he knows my stance on that."  "Drugs?"  "Nope, if he doesn't know my stance on that by now, then he hasn't listened at all."  "Sex?"  "Nope, not exactly."

The three things are as follows, and in this order:

"1.  If you think that you want to change or deface this body of yours that I have looked at for 18 years, you need to call me first.  If you feel the need to get a piercing or tattoo, then fine.  I'm not going to try to talk you out of it.  I just want to be sure that you go somewhere reputable and that you aren't going to come home with a disease that you can't get rid of.

2.  If someone is pregnant, I do not want to hear about it through the grapevine.  This includes after you are married.  I need to be the first to know, or it could get ugly.  That being said, there are condoms in your first aid kit.  Use them.

3.  If you are calling me from jail, it had better be to tell me that you are getting comfortable for the night.  I will NOT bail you out.  You can, however, call Jim.  He might give you bail money.  I won't.  Call him, because I don't want to hear about jail after the fact.  And you know me.  I will find out.

All three kids met #3 with the same argument:  "what if it was something our friend did, and we just were in the wrong place at the wrong time?  Because then it's not my fault, so you'd bail me out, right?  WRONG.  I did not raise you to have stupid friends, so if you choose to hang with stupid people, call someone else.  "Geez Mom, that's cold."   I don't think so.  At least, not if I warned you ahead of time.

My mom is a little shocked that I tell them these things.  She says that I must think the worst of my kids.  I say nope.  If, by the time they go to college, they haven't figured out how I feel about smoking, drinking, drugs, and doing their schoolwork, then they haven't paid any attention for the past 18 years, and they should reconsider their plans, because they apparently aren't smart enough for college.  My Three Things are the three permanent game changers for a young person's life, and they are most likely to happen during the college years.

And that being said, none of them have ever cashed in on any of them.  And I'd call that a win for the mom.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

The Beginning and The End

Once upon a time, in 1987, a couple went to Paris and bought some champagne.  Two bottles, to be exact.  Two bottles of fine champagne, purchased to be drunk, the first, on their first anniversary, and the second to be drunk, in Paris, on their 25th.  That couple was the ex and me, and we carried it back, walking through the airport with the bottles clinking in my carryon bag (along with the two free bottles the flight attendant had given us on the plane).

Fast forward a year, and that first bottle was drunk at a picnic table at Myakka State Park, whilst eating our cake (yummy) and feeding some to the squirrels.  The champagne was strictly for us, because OH MY was it the best I've ever had.

Many years passed, but the bottle remained.  I was never sure how it would taste, given its travels, and most probably improper storage, as well as the time passing -- champagne does have a shelf life, after all.  It just sat there, starting at me, through years of sobriety as the ex tried to maintain his, and even through the divorce, ironically, the year before our 25th.  What to do, what to do............

I put a lot of thought into what to do with that champagne.  We had discussed having it on December 21, 2012, since the world was supposed to end and all, but it was Jill's birthday, and I didn't want it to be a specific person's thing.  It was ours.  Seth also whined that he would only be 18, so he couldn't have any, to which I philosophically said "if it's the end of the world, who cares what you're drinking."  But I just left it alone.  The boys said to have it at Jill's wedding, but again, that is HER celebration, not quite what I was looking for.

And so it was that I decided to have it at our last gathering before everyone spreads to the four corners of the earth.  We had to have it at Jim's, since he was still recovering from his knee surgery, so the kids came over for pizza and when we were done, I proposed a toast.

"Twenty six years ago, we bought this champagne at the beginning of an adventure that created our family, and although it's not exactly the same family as it was, you guys are all....."

Jill:  "You're not going to cry, are you?  Because I don't want you to cry."

Me (absolutely dry-eyed):  "No.  I'm fine."

Jill:  "OK, I just wanted to be sure.  Sorry."

Me:  "...you guys are all beginning adventures of your own now, and ........"

Jill:  "Did you plan this?  I mean, did you memorize it?"

Me: "No."

Jill:  "Well, it's going very well."

Me:  "....I want to say how proud I am of you, how I hope the best for you, and how very, very much I love you.  Cheers!"

And with that, went 26 years of history.  I did really well, and didn't get teary till after those goobs left.  Teary doesn't count as crying, especially when it lasts less than 30 seconds, right?

Wednesday, August 07, 2013


Seth and Chris are back from Colorado.  They did a bro-trip to help Thomas move, and it basically went off without a hitch.  Or three.  They were due to fly back on Monday -- or so I thought.  I texted them all of the flight information.  Thomas had already printed it,so they confirmed that they had it.  Monday afternoon, I got three phone calls, in rapid succession, from Seth's phone.  I was working, so I couldn't get the phone, but called him back a couple of minutes later.  "Yeah, Mom?  Uh......that flight for today?  Yeah, it's for tomorrow."  ::sigh::  Turned out that we had all missed the little detail of what day the flight was, so off they went, back to explore more trails for one more day.

Jim and I drove to the airport to get them at 11pm last night.  That man is so sweet, he wouldn't let me go alone.  So we drive up, and the boys are sitting on concrete poles with their backpacks, looking like the fairly seasoned (goobs) travellers that they are.  Non-stop babbling later, we had gotten most of the highlights of the trip.

So tonight, we decided to take them to Ponderosa for dinner.  (It was liver and onions night. WOOHOO!)  We drove through a roundabout, and saw an Asian couple jogging in place, waiting for us to pass.  Jim said "Asians jogging.  Everybody Wang Chung tonight."  Seth responded, "That's WONG."

Man, I missed that boy.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Chicken Update

Some people asked me what ever happened to Shawna the bad girl chicken.  Well, it's like this.  I was awfully sick and tired of her putting her beak into everyone's business and eating up the eggs.  She also led more than her share of girlies astray, so yep, girlfriend had to go.  The problem is, I live with a bunch of wimps.

I finally got the nerve up to do it.  I researched how to butcher her.  Let me tell you something about butchering a chicken:  you don't want to do it.  It's a messy, messy process, and that's not even talking about the defeathering, which is a nightmare of its own.  I'm pretty sure, after researching it, that I never lived in a third world country in a former life.  So yeah, I was killing her for the sake of knocking her off, cause she was, quite frankly, pissing me off.

So I researched ways to do it.  Broomstick method seemed the easiest way, but then again, I have a helluva stun gun, and why not put it to good use?  I was concerned, however, that the million volts (I'm not joking -- I asked for one that was big enough to put a crazy person on their ass) might just be too much.  I mean, I might find myself wracked with guilt if she exploded.  And I sure as heck didn't want to end up power spraying her off the house, or worse yet, me.  But I slept on it and decided to do it anyway.

But how does one use a stun gun on a chicken without hanging onto them?  Cause yeah, holding onto anything you are stunning with a million volts would not be advised.  I ended up in the garage, found some weedwhacker string, and made myself a chicken noose.  Not for her neck, mind you, but to hang her from.  Because hey, did you know that if you hang a chicken upside down, they chill out?  I had it all figured out.  So then I snuck into my bedroom where Jim was sleeping.  He's a Marine, remember, so although he was snoring when I went in, he popped wide awake within literally two seconds, and said "what are you doing?" in a rather firm voice.  "Nothing, boo.  Go to sleep."  "No.  What are you doing?"  "I'm gonna kill Shawna."  "What?  How're you gonna do that?"   "I'm getting my stun gun."  

The voice got noticeably louder as he said "don't you kill that chicken while I'm here."

It was at that point that I realized that you can be trained to kill someone in 72 different ways, but still be a softie when it comes to a troublesome chicken.  And so it is that Shawna The Problem Chicken was donated, still kicking to the Poultry Project.  And dontcha know, I took two more chickens there two weeks later, and darned if that stupid bird didn't run right up to me from amongst a crowd of about thirty chickens.  That darned bird never could mind her own business. But oh well, she's someone else's problem now.

And that's the way it is.

Monday, July 22, 2013

This Is His Brain on Drugs

So, my boo had a knee replacement done recently.  Now he has a matched set, as the doctor said.  We had a fine time of it, spending three days at Community North recovering.  We found that the food is good there (who knew?), the couch is comfy to sleep on, and the staff was a lot of fun.  They hung out in our room a lot, cause we are a fun little duo to hang out with.

Especially when Jim's on drugs.  Ya know, the man is a connoisseur of all things beer, but the man sure can't handle his Percocet.  He knew going into this, since he had experience with it, that there are two important things, when it comes to knee replacements:  1) do your exercises and 2) take your pain medicine.  If you skip either of these, life goes to hell in a handbasket pretty quickly.  And so it was that "Ron, that crazy Phillipino" physical therapist entered our lives as a little guy with a big wallop.  His suggestion, "every time a commercial comes on, do some of your exercises," was outmatched by the Marine who simply turned the channel more frequently.  He learned his lesson after about twenty minutes of that nonsense, and went right back to bending and stretching.

He did fine the first couple of days, but then they changed him to Percocet, and it REALLY got interesting.  At that point, he saw faucets marching down the hall, started singing, and even yelled "Shagalicious!" so loudly that the people in the nurses' station started laughing.  A friend of ours came to visit, and my boo sat there conversing, then turning into a blathering idiot mid-sentence.  I found he could handle 1 1/2 pills, but two made him nutsy cuckoo.  As in, when we got home, he took two and then told me to bring him "a tampon and some of that clusterf*** ice cream from the kitchen."

Gotta admit, I laughed.

Funny thing is, he would say these things, and then his face would go blank and he would say "I don't think that came out right, did it?"  "No, boo, it sure didn't."

So when we got home, I actually cooked.  I know, but miracles do happen.  I had to think about what he could eat, cause his tummy was still a bit upset.  I decided to make him some tuna casserole, because he loves the stuff.  It turned out really well, I must admit, and he cleaned his plate.  A day or two later, he asked what kind of leftovers we had.  Not much, I said, because Thomas had been over the let the dogs out while we were at the hospital, and he had cleaned us out (thankfully).  I mentioned the tuna casserole.  ::blank look::  "What the hell are you talking about?  Who made tuna casserole?"  "I did.  And you cleaned your plate.  It was on Monday."  "WHAT?  I thought that was chicken."  "Well, boo, you were on drugs.  But it was Chicken of the SEA."

::sigh::  My boo is morphing into Jessica Simpson.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Heavy Thoughts from a Skinny Girl

Jill has been working out and mindfully eating lately, and the results show, cause the girl is looking wonderful.  She and Michael popped in this weekend to keep a couple of wedding related appointments (and to see a movie with her mother.  Yippee!  Popcorn!)

She said on the way to the movies that she didn't intend to eat any popcorn.  I, however, skip meals for movie popcorn, so I hadn't eaten since breakfast.  It was not after 7pm, so I was hungry.  After Jill mentioned that she has "been bad" lately and needed to get back in line, she explained.  "It wasn't when I went to McDonald's that I realized that I'd messed up my diet.  It was when I found myself eating cold macaroni and cheese with my bare hands, because I was too lazy to get a fork.  That's when I realized that the diet was toast."

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My Sweet

Jim was late getting home tonight, because he stopped to pick up  a few groceries.  We sorted them all out, amongst the craziness of taking call, dealing with a not-up-to-par dog, and trying to correct some chicken piccata that went horribly wrong at about the time I added the capers.  I cam across two Payday candybars -- Jim's favorite -- and tucked them away in his normal hidey-hole, never acknowledging them.

In the middle of a 8 o'clock dinner miraculously saved from over-caperage by a combination of Mrs Butterworth, honey, sea salt, and white wine and orange juice, he suddenly realized he hadn't seen the candy bars since he got home.  I played the innocent, telling him alternately that he must've a) left them at the store, b) left them in the car or c) never bought them at all.  Well, he definitely wasn't buying that.  And for the record, he liked the chicken, proving that yes, Marines will eat anything.  

So, we adjourned upstairs to watch a marathon of Big Bang Theory with the dogs.  Jim announced "I don't want you to worry.  I brought the Paydays up here so we can have them."  He looked, quite frankly, a bit triumphant.  Oh well, at least he planned to share.  There are, after all, some things he doesn't share:  popcorn, Culver's Concrete Mixers, and Paydays.  And frankly, he gets very snarky about the popcorn, but at least that means I get my own bucket at the movies.

At exactly 8:46, he pulled out the candy, tossing me one.  I pointed out that candy bars are 9 o'clock snacks.  He retorted that it was 9 o'clock.  I rebutted with the fact that 9 o'clock wasn't for 14 more minutes and really, shouldn't it be a 10 o'clock snack, since our normal 7 o'clock dinner was, in fact an 8 o'clock meal.  He told me to shut up and eat my candy.

Midway through my snack, I said "Boo, you know we shouldn't be having these.  We're supposed to be taking care of ourselves."  To which my boo, ever the realist, stated quite firmly, "yeah, and I took care of that Payday."

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Adventures in Twaziland

We headed north last weekend, for my mom's birthday celebration.  She hates talking about her age, so I'll just give you a hint:  it has a 0 and an 8 in it.  You do the math.

And so it was that we headed up to Michigan: The Heir, The Spare, The Adopted One, and my boo.  Mom and Dad live in Oscoda, and Jim had never been there, so he did his typical researching.  Told me everything about the area, like I'd never been there.  Oscoda is on Lake Huron, and is mostly a summer home location for people from "downstate" as Michigan calls the Detroit area.  There's not a lot there, but it's also 15 miles north of Tawas City, or Twaziland, as my boo called it.  (He has a thing with names........he alternately calls me Lucy, Sophie, and last weekend, I suddenly morphed into Peaches LeFleur.  He's name challenged.)

The trip was mostly a disappointing discussion about Game of Thrones and Magic The Gathering, though at one point, the boys discussed the merits of a certain female character.  Thomas said "yes, she is very pleasing to the eye."  Seth said "yeah, she's got the perfect measurements: 36-36-36, or whatever they are."  Thomas replied, "She fills out her costume very nicely."  Yeah, there were a few reminders during that trip that they were, indeed in mixed company.  Seth's response?  "You know, you always say that, and I don't even know what mixes company IS."   ::sigh::

In the last hour of the trip, they finally switched the discussion to Dr Who, which is much more interesting to me, given the fact that I watch it.  And that Jim has watched it since Day One.  They started talking about their dislike of the current writer, and what he needs to do to improve his craft.  One example they used was an episode wherein the villains were babies.  Seth said "that's what I'm talking about.  I mean, everyone  knows babies are terrifying.  There's nothing new about that."

Obviously, the Spare to the Throne does not have a future in babysitting.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

A Day Without Hankies

What a day.  One that called for hankies, and none were to be found.  First, Jill's grandparents got to see her in her wedding dress -- gorgeous, especially with the veil.  And we got to watch Seth graduate.

WHAT?  Who let that happen?

It was probably the loudest graduation I've ever been too.  His class was small -- about 65 or so -- so there was no "no cheering" rule, and it showed.  My word, people can yell loudly and long.  And there were a lot of really ugly shoes on those girls.  And many of them made their way across stage like they were pushing a plow.  The fun thing was that they went slowly enough that each kid kind of got to acknowledge their public, and each made his or her own way across the stage with their own particular swagger.  When it came to my child, he danced across, whilst looking out into the crowd.  Yep.  He took in the moment, that's for sure.

The nice thing was that each of the four people up there, Director of Operations, Behavioral Coaches, and the Big Kahuna of the school all gave the kids hugs.  Or Bro Hugs.  Or high fives.  Or secret handshakes.  It was so fun to watch such affection pass between the kids and the upper management of the school -- because they all know each other.  They're not just a number there, and it showed.

And so The Spare to the Throne's high school career closed, and now it's on to Butler.  But not before I share these:

 Gold and blue and white cords for National Honor Society and graduation With Honors.

                                            It always shows up, and usually in random places.
                                         Now she's got Seth carrying her.  But what a great picture.
I made cute babies.  
                                          And yeah, a more typical day in Utter Chaos.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Band Kids

And so it is that we come to the end of the school year.  For our household, it's the end of school, period.  Well, kind of.  Jill graduated from USI and is headed to grad school, and Seth is graduating from high school, heading for Butler.  I am heading to the poor farm, but will have a really nice nursing home in the end.  Or at least I'd better.

So lately, I've been doing some reminiscing about the past four years.  It was weird to have a graduation at last -- since the kids were homeschooled, we'd never had one till Jill walked across the stage.  That was a special moment.  And now we are coming up on Seth's graduation, which totally boggles my mind.  I was reading this the other day, and remembering Seth going off to "real school", with Thomas' admonitions to point out seniors who might cause him grief, and Jill threatening to put anyone in the dumpster  -- in tiny little pieces, no less -- who had the audacity to mess with her little brother.  We're all pretty sure that she meant it too.

And then I came across a video the other day, and it brought me back to Seth's band days.  The days where, if you read the above link, he spent most of the time sleeping, because they didn't DO anything.  Once they finally did, the majority of this ragtag first-time-the-school-had-a-band were percussionists, including Seth.  I can't even remember what they had him play, but I do know that it involved a drumstick (or most likely, just a stick, considering the primeval band they were) that had a soft ball (think clown nose) on the end.  Seth was excited that he had a brief solo, which was pretty cool.  So we went to the concert and then came his solo.  He pounded away beautifully, then finished with a flourish which included the ball flying off and up about fifteen feet in the air before gravity claimed it.  The look of shock on Seth's face was pretty priceless, till he grabbed that ball up and held it aloft, above his head, nodding like "oh YEAH.  I got this."  The crowd roared.

There's a video tape of it somewhere, and I wish I could see it, cause it was one of those "you couldn't repeat that if you tried" moments that I just love to see.  Likewise for this kid, who recovered quite nicely, and with the respect the national anthem deserves.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Basic Training.

I've never been a huge fan of grocery shopping. It probably dates back to having two babies a year apart, and having to put the kids in one cart and the food in another.  I would push two carts through the store, in an attempt to keep Thomas from launching cans of green beans at other customers.  Grocery shopping was hard work in those days.

But these days, Jim and I shop at the Commissary at the fort.  Great deals, great service, and it has lots of interesting things that you can't find anywhere else, like octopus and different kinds of kimchi.  Jim said that no one likes to grocery shop with him because he browses forever, but I actually think it's pretty fun.

That being said, I tend to throw things in the cart willy nilly.  If' I'm packing the groceries at the checkout, I am organized about it, but I don't care about the cart.  Jim, however, is a little different when it comes to the cart.

My way:

The Marine way:

CWO4, I salute you.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Juror Selection

Jill got called for jury duty this week.  Actually, she got called a couple of months ago, but got out of it because of school.  However, she didn't drive home the fact that she doesn't live in Indianapolis, so she got called again.  She was not amused.

Here is how she relayed her jury duty experience to the heir to the throne:
Jillie: "So, I went in there to tell her I was there.  They didn't ask for ID or anything.  I could have been anyone."
Me:  "So you could've sent Michael in your place?"
Jillie:  "Yes.  I should have.  So, then they made us watching this really boring  video about how awesome jury duty is.  Then they called me with a bunch of other people to go into a courtroom.  They told us to make a line, and I was at the front of the line.  So we got in the courtroom, and the judge asked who Jillian Utter is.  I raised my hand, and he asked if I was related to Larry Utter.  I told him yeah, that's my uncle.  So the judge asked if I knew Eddie.  I said yeah, that's my grandpa.  He asked me if he was still alive.  I said uh, YES.  He said 'oh, I just wondered, because he dated my sister in high school, and my sister's dead."
Thomas:  "Wow, it must suck  to get old, if the first question people ask about you is if you are dead."

The boy has a point.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Yolks Are On Mabel

So Mabel lays big eggs.  As in, BIG eggs.  Some days, I'm shocked not to see her limping, these eggs are so big.  So when she laid this one the other day,

I about dropped dead myself.  Kind think she may've needed an episiotomy after this one.  We let it sit there for a few days before using it -- had to keep it in the fridge egg thingy, cause the carton wouldn't close over it.  Those white eggs there?  Grade A Large ones.  Looking at this egg, I am pretty sure that Mabel decided that she is, in fact, a duck.  The poor dear.

When we did finally decide to use it -- for a lovely Sunday brunch cooked up by my boo -- it had three yolks.  She's a omelet laying machine, that Mabel.

I'm off to get her an ice pack.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Mother's Day Chortle

As you all know, Sunday was Mother's Day, the day we celebrate Dear Old Mom.  (Though if I called my mom "old"......................to the moon, Alice.

So we got up and went to church, where Jim bought me a lovely corsage, with the proceeds going toward an anti-malaria program in Africa.  Sweet, that man is.  And then when we got back to the house, he made me a lovely brunch.  No word from those boys, who I was sure were still sleeping, heathens that they are.  I did get a text from Jillie, with something of a recap from a wedding of the day before -- one that neither of us attended, but that she felt the need to judge as to why it was "trendy."  "Trendy" in Jill's terms, equates with tacky in Jill's world, especially where it pertains to weddings.  But I digress.

So we chatted a bit about said wedding.  Not about Mother's Day.  This was about the time I started to get a giggle out of the whole thing, because it was completely apparent that they had all forgotten.  Now listen, this did not bother me one iota.  I found it hilarious.  Like when they forgot my birthday last year -- my 50th, no less.  Every single one of them forgot.  Cracks me up.  And when it comes to Mother's Day, here's my feeling:  if you love me 364 days a year, then I'm fine with the one other day.  And if you don't love me 364 days a year, one day won't make up for it.  And that's the God's honest truth.

So Jim and I spent the afternoon cleaning out closets and reconfiguring his office.  I texted Seth at one point, and he didn't respond.  So I emailed Thomas and asked him to check on his brother, to make sure that he wasn't dead, because he was getting over a pretty bad asthma thingy.  (As I told him:  he does not have a future in landscaping.  He said that sucks, because apparently, landscaping is his newest favorite pasttime.)  Seth texted me back straightaway:  "fever is gone, throat still sucks, cough is meh.  Feels like bad allergies now"  Again, no words about Mother's Day.

We knocked ourselves out getting stuff set up at the house, and Jim made me a fine dinner of chicken drummettes, cole slaw, and fries.  He still didn't believe that they'd forgotten my special day, and I was sure that they did.  I was still laughing about it.  So we made an agreement that I would call him as soon as I got home, and let him know if the boys actually acknowledged the day.  I told him they wouldn't, but I agreed to call.

I no sooner got out of the driveway than Seth texted me and said "Happy Mother's Day, btw."  Sucked the wind right outta my sails cause doggone it, he remembered after all. Phooey.  So I got home, and up wandered Seth from the depths.  Instead of  "Happy Mother's Day," he asked if I'd gotten dog food.  Phooey again.  He had told me earlier that we needed dog food, but I forgot, and apparently we were totally out.  Right about that time, Thomas wandered in and announced that he was going to the grocery store.  BINGO.  "Hey, can you pick up some dog food for me?" I said.  "If you give me some money, sure," replied  Thomas.  So I went for it:  full on guilt.  "You mean to tell me that you can't even front your mom some money on Mother's Day?"

The look on his face was absolutely priceless, I tell you.  He took it all in for a minute, then turned to his brother and said "is it Mother's Day?"  Seth immediately responded:

"Uh, YEAH.  Why do you think I did the dishes?"

Yep, that's my boy.

Thomas was pretty sheepish, and then said he really wasn't being a jerk, but that he is keeping himself on a very tight budget, and that he really didn't have money to spend.  I tossed him a twenty and told him he was officially not allowed to get me anything while he was at the store, because 1) it would wreak of desperation, 2) second though gifts are lame (like the year the ex bought me a single votive candle and a coloring book at CVS on his way home on my birthday), 3) it would take all the fun out of him forgetting Mother's Day and 4) he is on a very strict budget.  Bada-bing!  Got him with the last one.

So I got the most important gift of all on Mother's Day:  a good laugh.

And next day, I found this in the fridge:

"Thomas' food for the work week.  Pls don't eat unless dying."

Man, that is one SERIOUS budget.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Prostrate with Giggles

So I went to see my patient today.  He mentioned that he'd had problems urinating this weekend.  And I quote:  "Well, you know, I have that enlarged prostrate.  Sometimes it makes it hard to pee.  You know, when I was in the hospital, they had to castrate me cause I couldn't pee."

Gotta say, that seems unnecessarily harsh.

So I replied, "Do you mean catheterized  you?"  "Oh yeah," he said, with a laugh.  "Catheterized.  But then again, they may've castrated me too, I don't know."  We laughed for a couple of minutes over that.

I just love my job.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

What Time Is It?

Dating a Marine brings a whole new view to life, when you are a procratinating, disorganized mess like me.  I lived so much of my adult life not being able to make plans that this whole structure thing is quite the challenge.  Not a bad thing, mind you.  Actually, it's a welcome change.  But we hit a whole new level the other night.

Now, I'm used to his planning of the food.  The man is a foodie, and he loves to cook.  Add to it that he's of Eastern European descent, and it's a perfect storm, of sorts.  I mean, there must be something about Eastern Europeans and food, cause the ex's grandma used to plan dinner while we were eating a huge breakfast, and Jim does the same thing.  I find it amusing, especially since my plans for dinner generally include anything but cooking.  It's a match made in heaven.

So the other night, we had a nice dinner, and I remarked afterward that ice cream sounded good.  Jim's not a big sweets person, so I was surprised when he pulled out his Culvers' coupon and started finding us a deal.  We decided on Concrete Mixers.  He asked me when I was gonna go get them, and I said "right now."  "What?" said the master of the house.  "You can't go get it now."  "Why not," I said."  "Because," said he, "Ice cream is a nine o'clock snack.  It's only eight o'clock."


Thursday, May 09, 2013

End Times

Well, we rolled down to E-town last weekend for the bratty gurl's graduation.  Hard to believe that she is at that stage in life, but it's a wonderful thing, and there is no prouder mother on the planet.

And so it was that my boo and I, along with The Heir, The Spare, and my Greenfield son did a roadtrip of three and a half hours there, and then back again, with a lunch, cupcakes, and a graduation in between.  I've said it before -- travelling with these boys is hilarious, and this was no exception, with the exception of road construction.  We got stuck in a gridlock before we even made it out of the city, and then again before Terre Haute, but somehow we still made it here in time for our lunch reservations.  It's the in between that was typically hilarious.

Getting three young men up and ready and dressed in something appropriate for the occasion was going to be a huge endeavor, or so I thought.  When we arrived to pick them up, however, all three were up, semi-dressed, and there was even a breakfast of scrambled eggs and pancakes on the stove.  Hey, I think I must've done something right raising these boys.

When we got in the car, there was a long discussion about how tired they all were, given their late bedtime, and getting up earlier than usual.  Thomas said he'd gone to bed early, and gotten up early.  Chris mentioned that although he'd been to bed at his normal 2am, he hadn't gotten up till 9, and he usually gets up at 6, so he actually got more sleep than usual.  This led to a discussion about when one makes up lost sleep.  Seth said "I used to make up my sleep in trig class.  Did the worksheets and then went to sleep.  And I still got an A in the class."

I could've gone my whole life without knowing that. Oye vay.

Thomas has a love of the New York Times crossword puzzles, and typically spends his passenger time in the car working on them.  He and the other two try to get the answers themselves, but if they get stuck, they toss it up to the front seat.  Here is a small sample:

Thomas:  "Mom, who's 'singer Lena'?  Five letters."
Me:  "Horne."
Thomas (with a very curious tone):  "Whore?"
Me:  "Horne."
Thomas:  "It's five letters."
Jim:  "H-O-R-N."
Me:  "E.  There's an E on the end."
Jim:  "Yeah.  H-O-R-N-E.  Horny."
Thomas: "OH!  Got it."

Oye and vay.

Later, I randomly heard the phrase,  "How in the hell  is that not Santa,"  which sounds pretty darned weird until you put together that they are talking about a crossword puzzle.  The clue "Xmas visitor", had six letters and the third one was an E.  I don't think they ever figured it out.  Let me know if you do.

The most odd one to me was the clue "nerd."  The answer was a five letter word, second letter E.  And the three nerds in the back seat never did figure out what it was.  Go figure.

And lastly:
Thomas:  "Do possums climb trees?"
Seth:  "Are you serious?"

The day has come with Seth has more sense than his brother.  End times, I tell you.  End times.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bro Code, revisited.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again:  watching teenaged boys interact just cracks me up.  Especially my boys.  Though Thomas is no longer a teenager, those two just slay me.  Like the day that Seth was having a casual talk with me, whilst hanging off the trim of the kitchen door.  (Because, of course, every boy who's tall enough will hang off the kitchen door.  Frequently.)  So there he is, chatting away with me, when suddenly, I see a arm quickly come in from the right and punch Seth right in the ribcage.  BOOM.  And then it was gone.  Never saw the kid attached to it, just the punch.

Seth kinda doubled over to the right, looked that way and said "that hurt."  Of ourse, I immediately said "Thomas, why in the world would you punch your brother like that.  My God, you could've cracked a rib!"  I mean, the boy is working out, big time.  Thomas, of course, responded by saying "I had to."  "Why?"
To which the Heir to the Throne responded:  "when life presents you with a choice of either punching your brother or not punching your brother, you punch him."


And so it was that today, this text exchange happened.

Thomas:  Do you have a saw?
Me:  I think I have a cheap one.  What do you need it for?
Thomas:  A magic trick involving Seth.

Of course, I posted something to this effect on Facebook this afternoon, to which Seth responded "Don't worry, it'll be fun."

Oye vay.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

More Musical Musings

Say THAT three times fast.  Yeah.

This driving to town in the early mornings this week has sure brought some interesting memories to light:  I heard the song that was on the radio when I lost my virginity (sorry, Ma), some Gaga (rocked out), and a little mix of everything.  Of course, 107.9 plays everything, or so they report, so I've heard some of my boo's beloved Stones and AC/DC too.  Funny how not long after we met, I told him I've always wanted to make the opening riff of Hell's Bells the ringtone for my phone, but never have.  He just stopped and stared with his mouth open, and informed me that HE had had it as HIS ringtone for some time, back before he sold his two stores.  Whoa.

So, this morning, I heard Billy Idol's White Wedding, which always cracks me up, for the following reasons:  1.  I always wanted to walk down the aisle to it.  It just seemed to suit me.  2.  My brother said that Billy Idol had a "three sleaze" rule.  As in, his videos always had three sleazes in it, usually in leather and/or a cage.      White Wedding always makes me think of my brother and laugh.  Maybe I'll convince Jillie to incorporate it into her wedding, or reception.

What should come on next but Snow Patrol.  Wow.  I guess I'm supposed to think of my bro today, because he turned me on to Snow Patrol before they got big, when he burned me a CD during the ex's and my trip to Seattle.  Big bro thought I'd love them.  He was, as usual, right.  Big brothers usually are, right?  (Don't tell mine, cause I have two big brothers.  I'd never live it down.)  When we got home, we listened to them for a good long time.  As in, until I lost the CD.  We were kind of mildly obsessed with this one:

So this morning, Snow Patrol came on the radio, and here it was.  The follow up to Final Straw, and a sweet song about love that is so deep-and-meaningful-and-I'll-love-you-forever.  The ex bought me the CD and we loved it too.  Heck, we almost went to the Snow Patrol concert downtown that summer, but I don't do crowds and he was doing someone else.  Oye vay.  Glad I didn't waste the money.

That song was part of the great iPod purge of 2011.  It's never made it back on cause I'm too lazy to add it back in, but oh well, it's still a good one to make me smile and think of my bro when I hear it in the grocery store, or like this morning, when I'm driving to work.

So I guess the drive was All About Jeff day, cause the next one must've been played in honor of his recent marriage.  Add to it that  it's part of one of my favorite videos ever:  the most epic proposal that will ever grace the planet.  Except maybe Michael's to Jillie.    ::reminds self to post it on youtube for posterity, before my phone fries it::

I grinned the whole way to work.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Music Evokes the Strangest Memories

Hey, the memory may come and go, but music is the great equalizer.  I grew up in a household full of music -- of all types -- and took a turn at lessons in organ (hated it), violin (meh), viola (loved it), and piano (loved it more and still have one).  Some people say that people's memories are stimulated in a completely different way by music, and that people in comas may not remember much, but they remember the music you play for them while they are sleeping.

Sometimes I have to turn the music off in the car, if I'm having a really busy day and my head is already spinning, because bringing in a bevy of memories can just plain be distracting.  More often, I'm afraid I'm going to miss a call from work because I'm rockin out.  Heck, I was sitting at a red light yesterday, in front of an unmarked car, watching my rear view mirror while the cop behind me rocked out.  Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

And so it was that I found myself driving into town this morning, and what should come on but this:

A song that invokes STRONG memories for me of my mother in law (may she rest in peace).  The song is from the movie "White Nights," which the ex and I saw with his parents when we lived in Florida.  We had had a lovely sunset dinner with them at The Sandbar.  I have no idea what I ate, but I do know that my mother in law ate shrimp.  It was the last time she ate it in my presence.  What she didn't tell me was that she was allergic to shrimp.  Violently allergic.  She could, by her report, eat it, but only until she got an odd metallic taste in her mouth.  At that point, she had to stop, or she'd react.  Of course, I went into dinner knowing none of this, and this happened to be a night where she decided to push the envelope.  God love her, she loved shrimp.

So we left and went to the movie.  I really can't tell you much about it except Gregory Hines was in it, and so was Isabella Rosselini, and there was something about Russia.  Partway into the movie, my mother in law excused herself and made for the door like a road runner, looking rather green.  I decided it was best for me to check on her, and walked into the hallway just in time to watch her vomit straight into the trash can in the hallway.  Got her to the bathroom, where she continued to hurl.  And hurl.  And hurl.

I don't remember how we got home.  I don't know if the men watched the end of the movie.  I don't remember how we got home.  What I do remember is that she laid down in our apartment and went to sleep, and a couple of hours later, she got up, hurling like no one I've ever seen in my life.

Keep in mind that on May 20th, I will have been a nurse for 30 years.  And I have NEVER in my life seen someone vomit like she did.  It was like a disgusting Fountain of Trevi, but trust me, I never, ever wanted to return to that fountain.  Poor thing.  We were up most of the night before it finally settled down.  And if she even so much as mentioned shrimp to me after that, we'd exchange a look that put the ix-nay on it immediately.

What a memory to evoke at 7am,  Fortunately, 107.9 plays such a wild mix of music that I went on to a completely different memory with the next song.    Against all odds............