Sunday, October 25, 2015

Riding in the Car with Boys, Sethanese, and Satan's Butthole

We had a long day yesterday.  We drove 3 1/2 hours to Evansville to go to a wedding for one of Jill's childhood friends.  This is the third of four out of state weddings that she's in -- one more to go -- in the period of three months.  Basically, it's an "always a bridesmaid" trend that she seems to have started when she got married last year, but I'm ok with it, cause we have gotten to see her more than normal.  I'm not complaining.

The boys rode down with us.  To clarify:  Thomas and Seth rode down with us, because my pseudo-son Chris was already down there, since he was also in the wedding.  Thomas and Seth came out and spent the night here, which was nice, but it was all in the plan, so we didn't have to a) drive into town to get them and b) wait for them to get ready, because we all know that they would still be asleep when we went to pick them up.  The mother knows her boys.

So, somehow on the way down, they got into a discussion about heights.  Specifically, fear of heights.  To be more specific, FALLING from heights.  Seth remarked that he thought Thomas was afraid of heights, to which Thomas replied "nah, I am afraid of ladder heights.  I'm not afraid of high heights.  I'm afraid of falling off a ladder and getting hurt.  I figure if you fall off a tall enough height, like a bridge, or a building, then you're gonna die, so there's nothing to be afraid of, cause you're just gonna be dead.  I'd rather be dead then in pain."  Seth replied that it'd probably suck on the way to dying, and you'd probably be scared too.  "But if I was falling from a height like that, I'd probably just fan out like a flying squirrel."


We went to the wedding and reception, which was an odd mishmash of formalwear, jeans and boots, and an old tightly-pulled woman in what I thought was snakeskin print pants, only to find out while in the buffet line that I think they were actually snakeskin print sweats.  I mean, is there really such a thing?  Combine that with the guy walking around in actual sweats and a baseball cap, and it kept people watchers like Jim and me busy all night.  He was particularly enjoying watching a former church friend/lush, who walked in with her own Minute Maid container (full of cherry vodka) that she drank dry before the wedding started, then switched to wine, then beer.  I'm sure she was feeling it today, but that's her M.O.  I was interested in the people who brought take out containers and proceeded to fill them up before the buffet line was torn down.  Fun times.

Good times were had by all, including Jill, who sweet talked the DJ into playing her request first, Seth, who shared many hilarious moments with Michael, and Thomas, who professed to hating weddings, but then didn't want to leave.  This may have had something to do with the free beer but he eventually decided it best to go with us, as we were returning home after the reception.  The boys and Jim piled in and we headed off.  I stopped to fill the tank at a gas station, and made a face at Seth in the window while I was standing there.  He made a horrified faced not at all unlike Edward Munch's "Scream" at Thomas at the same time,   I hadn't even gotten all the way back in when I realized that either the Bud Light had kicked in, or there was a dead animal in the car.  "Damn, boy," was all Jim could say.  Seth was just gasping for air.  Now, you know it's bad if I can smell it, because I can't smell anything -- and this was just awful.  I couldn't get the windows down fast enough.  "Damn boy, next time, stay away from the Bud.  Coors isn't nearly that bad," I said.  All he could say was that it came straight from Satan's Butthole, which Seth pointed out meant that Thomas was Satan, and that I had given birth to Satan.

That boy is just full of philosophical thoughts.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Riding In The Car With Boys Eve

We're having a slumber party, of sorts, tonight.  The boys, Jim and I are heading south tomorrow to go to a wedding for one of their friends who they have known since they were little.  It's the third wedding Jill's in since the beginning of August.  She has one more to go in two weeks and thank God, that'll be done -- they are all out of state weddings, so she's had to do a lot of travelling.  On the flip side, we've gotten to see her a lot, which is pretty great.  But yeah, it's expensive.  Such is the price of being popular.

So I told the boys to come over tonight and sleep here so we wouldn't have to pick them up in the morning.  As in, we'd have to go to two locations, and the odds of them being up and ready to go when we get there to pick them up would be nil.  So here they are.  I'm mentally preparing myself for yet another day of fun conversations from the back seat.  I'm thinking it may not happen, because they are both planning to be studying the whole way down to Evansville, but I'm sure we'll get a few in.

Like tonight, for example.  Seth was talking about his posse of friends at Butler.  He was talking specifically about his freshman year, saying "yeah, now THAT was a group.  We had our token gay guy...yada yada......"  "Wait a minute, I said, is he GAY?" "No," Seth said, "but he IS diabetic."  Whut.

After we got home -- we'd taken a quick trip to Walmart to get Seth some dress shoes because "I could only find one, it was smashed, and it was brown" (don't ask), the boys settled in to some geekery in the family room.  I was taking my bedtime drugs and the puppies were yipping VERY annoyingly.  Thomas said "hey Mom, can I Old Yeller these dogs or something, cause they are driving me nuts."  I told him to ignore them and that hopefully they would shut up (full disclosure:  probably not).  Seth piped in with "yeah, that's what they taught us in my psychology class.  If you want a baby or a dog to shut up, just ignore it."

This has me concerned on a number of levels.  Will the dogs be alive in the morning? What is all the tuition money buying me at Butler?  Should I be concerned for my future grandchildren?

So many questions.  So few answers.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Make My Day

It's been a weird week here.  Twice this week I have been told by friends that I "inspire" them, and once I was told that I had a kind heart.  Whut.

See, I'm not used to this.  I read an essay in Elle this month that mentioned a luncheon they threw last year for outstanding women earlier this year.  Each "outstanding" woman was introduced and each, in turn, curled into herself, trying to make herself smaller, apparently not wanting the accolades.  This same essay asked the question -- when would you see a man do that?  Truth.

Our dietician at work is the sweetest young thing you'll ever meet.  She also, admittedly, has issues with asserting herself.  She will, as we call it, turn into a turtle, in that same attempt to make herself smaller, hoping that no one will attack.  We're working on teaching her to take her so-called "power" as a woman -- or as a human being.  She's young.  She'll get it.  In the meantime, we are all learning lessons in sweetness and kindness from her.  She inspires us.

So I guess I'll accept that idea that I have inspired a couple of people, however odd that seems to me. One friend texted me a photo of a painting I did for her.  It was a quick painting of quilt blocks, each one different -- and if you want to hurt your brain, try to think of 20 different patterns to paint on one canvas!  My brain hurt at the end of that, but it had stripes, dots, rabbits, bees, and more.  She, as a quilter, loved it, and it now sits in her quilting room and, by her own admission, inspires her.  The second inspiration accusation came from a friend who I paint with.  We're having a small dinner party on Saturday -- Italian themed -- after which we are going to paint.  Now trust me, said friend has a true GIFT when it comes to art.  She is talented.  How she came to decide that I inspire her, I don't know, but one thing I found when I started painting is that inspiration comes from all over the place, and frequently when we aren't even looking for it.  Slow down and enjoy life.

The kind heart accusation came from a co-worker, who talked with a former co-worker, who said that I am "good" for another co-worker (are you following that?) who suffered a stroke a year or so ago.  She's young -- 40 --- and has only minimal physical after effects from a stroke that should've killed her.  She does, however, have problems with processing and attention span.  She also is technologically challenged, and hey, I can help with that.  Apparently aforementioned co-workers think I work with her well and have a kind heart.  Wow.  I'll take that.

See, the thing I figure is this:  I've spent a lot of my life feeling broken and unworthy.  I've always known I'm intelligent, but inspiring?  No.  Kind?  Maybe.  I have a nurse's heart, and aren't all nurses called because they have a kind, compassionate heart.  I don't know, but I didn't necessarily feel it.  Well, I'm past 50 now, and I'm gonna accept what comes my way.  I think everyone should.
And if you have someone who inspires you, tell them.  You might just make their day.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Take a Flying Leap.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What a (Lug) Nut

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 26, 2014

An Uncomplicated Christmas, and Other Complications

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next year, I'm giving her money.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Date Night

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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