Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Book Meme

I got tagged by Karen with the book meme that's going around. So here we go!

You’re stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?

I have to do a search for the book first to find out what it was, so now that I am educated, firstly I will be checking the book out of the library tomorrow. Secondly, there are two books I would want to be: Watership Down and The Catcher in the Rye. Watership Down has always fascinated me and The Catcher in the Rye has been one of my very favorite books since high school.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

No, I don't think I have. I've been pondering this question and none come to mind.

The last book you bought:

It was either The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck or A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess.

The last book(s) you read:

Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon
Don't Bend Over in the Garden Granny, You Know Them Taters Got Eyes by Lewis Grizzard

What are you currently reading?
The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks

Five books you would take to a deserted island:
The Bible. But not a King James Version because then I'd be forced to stab myself in the eyes with unsharpened pencils.
The Time is Noon by Pearl S. Buck
The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub
Insomnia by Stephen King
Worst Case Scenario: Surviving on a Deserted Island. Okay, so that particular version hasn't been written (yet) so if I'm deserted before its written I'll settle for the regular Survival Handbook

Who are you going to pass this to (3 persons) and why?
Courtney because she rocks.
Mom because she also rocks. (She doesn't have a blog, but I'll post her answers)
Magnet Lady because she, too, rocks and she reads more than me!

My two-tone hair (per Crazy Mom's impatient foot tapping request)

View from the top

The back

Interview with a Cousin

Okay, so to quote Courtney in an email titled "What you talkin' 'bout Willis?":

Seriously, what you talkin' 'bout? I ain't no chicken. I'll answer your
five questions. In fact, I see your five questions and raise you one
question. That's six, whole, whatever you want to ask questions.Go for it.
By the way, your comment window is not opening. I don't know if I'm the
problem or you...

First, let me address the comment comment. Blogger has been fuh-reaky today! I know Karen was having trouble with it over the weekend as well. Crazy Blogger. So who knows who exactly was the problem, Courtney... it's behaving a little better now.

Now, secondly...I'll take that sixth question and call it. Is that what I'm supposed to do next? I have never played poker in my life. Am I supposed to call? Hold? Hit? Pat my head and rub my stomach? Anyway...consider yourself tagged with the SIX Question Interview, Cuz!

1. If you could change one habit or behavior about yourself, what would it be?

2. What would be your ideal broadcasting job? Hometown newsgirl? Hollywood entertainment reporter? Tell us how you'd like to see yourself on the TV.

3. You and your four closest friends are taking a weekend trip somewhere. Where do you go? What do you do while you're free and wild for the weekend? Tell us how the weekend would go.

4. What is your favorite grownup book? (I know Diary of a Worm ranks pretty high on your list, but answer this question with a book that doesn't have pictures, lol)

5. If you had to choose between: bungee jumping, driving in a demolition derby, drag racing, parasailing or sky diving, which would you choose and why?

6. Would you rather slide down a 40 foot slide laced with razor blades into a vat of alcohol OR would you rather suck a dead man's nose until his chest caved in? (That is one nasty disgusting question, isn't it? Heehee. You asked for the sixth one.)

For Crazy Mom and Jersey Girl

Girls, here are your Five Questions! Post the answers on your own blogs and then wait (and wait and wait and wait) for your first five commenters!


Crazy Mom:
1. If someone handed you $1000 with the only stipulation being that you had to spend it on YOU only, what would you buy?
2. What's the best Christmas/Birthday present you've ever received?
3. Give us a play by play of a typical Crazy Mom day, starting with when your feet his the floor outta bed in the morning.
4. Please describe for us a particularly "dicey" escapade you were involved in as a wild and crazy teenager.
5. How did you get involved in blogging?


Jersey Girl:
1. If you could take a week long trip to any destination overseas, where would you go and who would you take?
2. Tell us about yourself as a teenager. Were you a nerd, prep, jock, drama queen? Even better, show us a picture!
3. If you could be famous for anything, for what talent or event would you like to be famous?
4. The Don has taken the kids for 24 whole hours. You have $250 blow money in your purse and a day to yourself - what do you do?
5. Why do you blog?


See, everybody else - that was painless! Courtney? My BFF? Magnet Lady? My Neurotic Friend? Ya big buncha chickens...

Oh it was Ladies' Night and Courtney gambled!

Yes, Courtney got to gamble, not work, at the Big Fancy Casino last night! A good time was had by all. Courtney, her mom and my mom (Well, Sis was supposed to, as well, but that's a long story) met up at the Lucky Turtle for dinner and $5 free and I hear that was a treat as well. My sincere hope is that next week I will get to attend the travelling gambling show, too.

See, next Tuesday starts Men's Night at the Big Fancy Casino and there ain't no way Paul is missing that. The deal has always been that I don't leave for Ladies' Night until after the kids go to bed, then he "watches" them. Well up until now the boys have been going to the Lucky Turtle for their $5 after Sis and I get home from class, but since Big Fancy Casino is GIVING AWAY A HARLEY DAVIDSON MOTORCYCLE EVERY WEEK there is no way he is going to miss that. SO in order for him to get to go where he wants on Tuesdays, I should get to go where I want on Monday and not have to sit through Fear Factor and then put the kids to bed. Because, let's be honest, I do not like Fear Factor. Not one bit. The kids and the husband thinks it's the greatest show ever made. And I sit there holding back wretches and gags while it's on and silently pray for a time when the show is taken from the airwaves and my children don't think it's cool to eat blended rats and be covered in worm feces while their partner licks it off and spits it into a jar and then their second cousin twice removed has to drink it while standing on their head and then poop out a turd shaped like John Goodman in order to win. So I sit there miserable. All in the name of quality family time. Because if I come out here to the computer and God forbid, blog or something, I am neglecting the family. My gosh, does anyone else you know digress as easily as I do?

I'll quit ranting about Fear Factor now.

Okay, so last night my neighbor, Dana, got to go to Ladies' Night for the first time. Her husband works evenings and she doesn't get to do much in the evenings that she can't take her girls to. But her husband just had surgery and is home, so I kidnapped her and we ran to the casino, giggling like two teenagers. Okay, we didn't run. But she jumped into my van like she had just snuck out of her bedroom window and we were goin' to find us some cheap beer and boys, by golly. The cool thing about Ladies' Night is that, even though we all go as a group, we don't really like wander around in a big herd or anything. We all kind of do our own thing, then meet up occasionally, visit and then wander off again. Dana was chompin' at the bit to get gamblin' so off she went. Mom and Sis found me and we kind of walked around with our first of many, many free sodas in our hands, checking out the machines, seeing people we know, just the usual.

Mom had told me all weekend that there was a slot she wanted me to play. I am not a fan of slot machines, to be honest. I go more for the electronic Blackjack and Keno type games. But she was so excited to show me this game, so I thought I'd humor her. Mom and Dana sat down at two machines, about two machines apart. I would walk between the two of them, watching them play. There was a woman between them playing the Almighty Slot Machine that Mom was insistent that I play. So when the woman finally got up I was plopped down there and with a sigh, put my card in the machine. I was betting .25 with every spin. I'd win a few here and there, nothing exciting and I was regretting the decision to play this slot. Well, regretted it until I started winning. I won quite a bit for a nickle machine, too.

Of course, I now have bruises on my right arm and back where every time the machine looked like it was going to stop on something wonderful Mom would smack me and gasp. This cracks me up to no end. She's a RIOT! At one point, after she brought me a fresh free soda, she started to walk off. I hollered "MOM!! You cannot leave! You are my good luck charm!" and as she walked by I won 80 nickles. I played it back down to $15, figuring that anything I took out was profit since I was gambling on their money. So with $15 cash in my pocket I was on a mission to find a RedBall machine. And found one we did. Sis sat next to me and played a slot while I plugged in my usual numbers and started hitting the button. Win a little, lose a little, pretty typical....then I got the bonus spin and won 75 nickles. Then bonus spun off the bonus spin and won 525. 600 nickles!!! Thirty whole dollars!!!!!!!! Since I was down to $3 when that happened I was pretty happy. You'd have thought that I'd won a million, the way Sis and I were hollering and laughing. I played it down to $29 and cashed out. I walked out $29 to the good last night.

We stood around and talked for 30 minutes or so, watched a guy plug $700 into two machines simulataneously, and walk away with nothing. That was gut-wrenching. I don't know how people do it.

None of our crowd won the drawings last night and after the final one, Dana and I said our good-byes and headed home. I was almost out of town when my cell phone started ringing. I knew by the ring it was Sis' cell phone. I missed the call but called her right back but the phone kept saying the call failed and I couldn't figure out why. When I finally got through it was my mom's shaky voice on the other end and I thought something bad had happened. She said, "WHERE have you BEEN???" I was about to panic and asked what was wrong.

Sis won $347.00 right after Dana and I left. Mom was freaking out. It was hilarious, I gotta say, even if she did scare me.

The boys won last week. Sis won last night. Don't you think it's about Mom's and my turn? Huh? Oh Great and Mighty gods of Indian Gaming don't you think it's about time you threw a jackpot our way?????? It doesn't even have to be a gigantic one - a small $100 pot would be fine with me. Mom would faint at $50. We're really pretty easy, honest. Something, okay?

(Where else in all of Blogdom do you get to read pathetic pleas to nonexistent indian gaming gods? Tell me that one.)

Monday, March 28, 2005


The Easter Bunny left me a CD on Easter morning. I guess he was feeling pretty rich since I hear he's been gambling at the Lucky Turtle on Bunny's Night or something. The CD he left me is Trace Adkins' new one, "Songs About Me". Track #11 is "Honkytonk Badonkadonk" and the entire Diva family loves it. It's about a chick with it all goin' on, if you know what I mean. The good thing is my kids are totally clueless that they're jammin' out to a song about a chick's cute rear-end, they just think it's cool to say badonkadonk. We were listening to it yesterday morning on the way to church (Which I'm sure is sacreligious) and I said, "I had better never hear of my girls havin' a badonkadonk." Mr. Diva kind of laughed and said, "Why? You used to have one."

For a brief moment I was like "Yeah! I DID used to have a nice, cute, looks good in tight jeans little badonkadonk of my own..." Then it hit me.

He said "used to."

I have a badonkadonk gone wrong.

Five Questions...

Okay, Crazy Mom at Here Comes Life has volunteered for the Five Question Interview. Jersey Girl at well, Jersey Girl Blog has, too! That leaves three spots open...

I'm getting a complex here, people...

J and Jessica, I will have your questions hopefully by tonight! Get your #2 pencils ready!

Sunday, March 27, 2005


I have fifty Gmail invitations to give.

Fifty of 'em, people!

Anyone want one? Or two?
Or ten?

Comment here or email me at theredneckdiva@gmail.com

Sometimes the weekend is better enjoyed by someone else

My weekend sucked.

Yesterday I didn't do squat. My house is a pit. Really. It's bad. Embarrassingly bad. And what am I doing right now? Not cleaning it, that's for sure. Nope. I'm blogging.

Paul's brother and sister in law came over last night around 5:30pm and the kids and I were still in our pj's. That was embarrassing, too. FLYlady would cringe. I did, too, for that matter.

This morning before church Paul and I got in a medium-sized fight. He slept in the recliner while I got all three kids ready, got them settled in front of the TV after threatening them to NOT mess up their hair, then I took a shower and when he finally woke up and decided to get around I was in the middle of my makeup and hair and he was mad that I wouldn't go to the other bathroom except the other bathroom doesn't have any electrical outlets and well, I can't dry my hair if my hair dryer isn't plugged in. Geesh. All he was gonna do was shave. Geesh.

Then got my toes stepped on at church. But I guess if your toes are stepped on at church, they're probably out there in the way to begin with.

Then Heather and Mom and I got in a big ol' fight. It was nasty. It's better now, but it was still a tear-fest while it was going on. Mom and I never fought. Mom and Heather fought. Heather and I fought. Heather would've fought with the Pope, Ghandi and Mother Theresa had she been given the chance. She's tired, stressed and frustrated. But still...man, does she have some claws.

Now it's 11:30, my house is a pit, I'm tired and Chandler will be here in the morning. Poor Jill. I know it pains her to leave her child in this filthy house every day. Her house is perfect. I'm talking like Better Homes perfect. Surely that has to get old, that having a clean house thing. Doesn't it? I mean, I wouldn't know. I just think it'd get boring having everything in it's place all the time. No toys to trip over, no laundry piled in the hall, no dirty dishes in the sink and the dishwasher full of clean ones that you haven't gotten around to unloading, no errant linoleum-dancing mice traipsing about in your utility room....yeah, this life I lead is too exciting to give up for a Better Homes fantasy.

Btw, we caught another mouse last night. *shudder*

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Interview questions

Babs at The Conversation Station got tagged with this Five-Question Interview and decided to share the love with all the rest of us. First of all, just let me take this moment to tell you about Babs just in case you haven't discovered her blog yet - people it's a MUST! The title of her blog tells you exactly what it is - a veritible station of conversation! She asks some really good, though-provoking questions and really makes you think. She's an amazing home-schooling mom, an artist and the coolest thing? She's an Okie!! Check her out, tell her I sent ya and join in the conversations!

Now, on to the questions she asked:

1. How did you start blogging?
I don't remember how or where I read the article, but I heard about Wil Wheaton's blog and read his first. The first blog I ever read was that of the adorable little kid in Stand By Me. I was intrigued, but wasn't convinced that just any ol' anybody could blog. So I, doing what any other 'net user does when they need to know more, Googled blogging. I read a few, decided that I, too, wanted the world to know what I ate for breakfast, how many times I yelled at my kids and thought that blogging might hone my severly neglected writing skills. I've been wracking my brain and for the life of me cannot remember just where I used for that first blogging experience, but I'll put it this way, it was NOT user-friendly! One had to have a firm grasp and extensive knowledge of HTML to even begin, so I got as far as a username and a password, realized I was outwitted and deleted the whole shebang. I ran to the corner with my tail tucked, my cheeks burning in embarrassment that I, the amazing ME, could not blog. *sob* I then told myself that blogging was something that only geeks did and eh, I had other things to do what with surfing and chatting and the like. That was in 2003. 2004 brought news of more bloggers, blogging and the somewhat secret society and dammit, I wanted to be a part of it! So again, I searched with the beloved Google and found one that said no knowledge of HTML was required. Enter "Kristin's Blog" on Tripod. How unoriginal was that title? Then one day I decided that simply being greeted by Kristin's Blog was boring and voila' - The Ramblings were born.

2. When we first started conversing, I believe you had a daycare. What ever became of your daycare?
Yes, Babs, there was a daycare. At one point during the latter part of summer I had 5 kids here during the day. Then I remembered that I really don't like kids all that much. JUST KIDDING. I had had a home daycare before I had children of my own and my house was set up specifically for the daycare. Well, now I have three children of my own who have their own toys and some things that aren't as sturdy and expendable as daycare toys should be. So after toy upon toy was getting broken, every thing in my house had been moved as high as it could be moved, and I was becoming more and more frustrated as the days went on, I downsized. That left my Kady, my nephew and one other little boy, Chandler. Then my sister lost her job and that left me with Kady and Chandler. Around Christmas I took on another little girl, but she didn't adjust to the whole staying with someone besides family situation of it all, and her mom and I kind of agreed that we'd thought of everyone except her in this great scenario. So back to the original two. And that is where we stand today. I have several friends who are planning on having babies in the next year or so and I'm hoping that by the time Kady and Chandler start Pre-K year after next, I'll have a wholllllllllle bunch of babies to help me adjust to the empty nest thing of having three school-age children.

3. How did you become interested in demolition derbies? When do you plan to enter another derby?
The Miami Elks Lodge sponsored a derby in 2002 and Paul and I, being the rednecks we are, loaded up the kids and shelled out $30 to see a bunch of people crash into each other. We sat behind My Neurotic Friend and when her husband, Mr. Neurotic Friend, said he'd like to try it I said I would, too. I asked if I could drive Powder Puff in his car if he decided to drive. He said yep and the dream began. That next spring we attended the next Elks sponsored derby and I all but took notes, preparing for the day that I would attempt to knock myself silly on purpose. Finally in the fall of 2003, a friend of mine was driving and said I could drive Powder Puff in his car, no problem. Mom was going to watch the kids, everything was set. Then, at the last minute my mom AND his mom decided to go to Tennessee, leaving him without a sitter for his baby and me without a sitter for my kids. He had done all the work and he deserved to drive, so I took his baby and kept her while he knocked himself silly on purpose. Fast forward to summer, 2004 when my husband was hanging out with one of the most well-known demo drivers around here, Hightower. I told Paul to ask Hightower if I could drive Powder Puff in his car and he said, "Powder Puff in my car hell! I've got a car she can have if y'all wanna do the work on it!" And the rest is history. The Elks usually sponsor a derby in the April and one again in September. April is fast approaching and I'm ready to start working on my car again! Okay, I'm ready to watch my husband work on my car again! I will definitely keep everyone posted!

4. Would you describe your life as a full-time mom as a stay at home mom or an on the go mom?
I've said it a million times, "For a stay at home mom, I'm sure not at home much!" Three kids with busier social schedules than I've ever had, means I live in my van most of the time. I don't know how working moms do it - I can't get everything done that needs to be done and I don't work outside the home!

5. Please describe a typical dinner time meal in the Diva household
I'm not sure if Babs wants to know what I fix for dinner or for me to just describe the insanity that occurs around my table, lol. So I'll do both. Our dinner time is usually at 5:30. Because Mr. Diva works at Wal*Mart and has the World World's Work Schedule Ever, he works a lot of late shifts. This means that the nights that Daddy is at the table the kids are ecstatic! On nights that he works late, I usually feed the kids something easy - sandwiches, popcorn chicken, mac and cheese, pizza, etc. ThenI'll throw something together for him and I later, like steak, burgers or a casserole. On nights that he's here for a family dinner I try to cook a meal that everyone in the family will eat. I guess it's a good thing that he's not here for dinner much, because our kids are such notoriously picky eaters that the same 5 meals would get really old after awhile! We are a pretty typical midwestern family in the respect that beef is our main meat and God forbid we eat chicken that isn't fried. Salads are few and far between for the general population around here, but Kady and I will eat salads for dinner quite a bit because we are the least picky of the five and we think that vegetables are our friends. The other three turn up their noses at the sight of most things green. And what I wouldn't give sometimes for a piece of fish that isn't dredged in cornmeal and deep fried... Dinner time is usually punctuated with calm requests at first that escalate to downright nasty commands of "Sam Glenn Hoover, sit your rear end down in that chair - both cheeks mister - or I'm going to superglue your buns to it!" and pleadings like, "Kady, it doesn't matter if your peaches touched your bread, they aren't toxic, I promise. For the love of God, would you just EAT!?" and "Abby, if you roll your eyes at your father one more time I cannot be held responsible for the wrath that will incur." Things like that. Always a laugh a minute.

And there you have it, folks - my Five Question Interview.

Here's the best part - the first five to comment get tagged and I'll then ask YOU five questions! See how much fun this can be? Of course, for me to get five commenters is going to be the task.........................Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Random Ten

Okay, Jess at Apropos of Something does a little thing called The Random Ten and I'm a copycat. So I hit Auto DJ on the ol' Music Match Jukebox and we're going to play a little game, boys and girls. I'm going to list the opening lines of the first ten songs that showed up. You get to guess what songs they are and who sings them! Doesn't this sound like fun??? If it doesn't, play along anyway. It builds character. I'll let you know when you've gotten 'em all.

1. "I missed you so much that I begged you to fly here and see me"

2. "Have you ever had one of those days you wake up feelin' good, so good that you could take the whole world on"

3. "You like a dozen wine-red roses , candlelight on porcelain set tables and that's fine, I'll go out of my way for you anytime"

4. "Walkin' along beneath the lights of that Miracle Mile, me and Mary makin' our way into the night"

5. "You don't know how you met me, you don't know why you can't turn around and say goodbye"

6. "I'm fifteen for a moment. Caught in between ten and twenty and I'm just dreamin', countin' the ways to where you are"

7. "Got a funny feelin' the moment that your lips touched mine. Somethin' shot right through me, my heart skipped a beat in time"

8. "I worry I weigh three times my body. I worry I throw my fear around."

9. "There's a bright golden haze on the meadow"

10. "So she said what the problem baby. What's the problem I don't know..."

Leave your answers in the comments, please!

Two tones are better than one

Two tones are better than one
Originally uploaded by RedneckDiva.
I have the worst luck with hair color these days. Back when I had more money than I had sense, I spent $40 to get highlights at the salon. But the last time I did that, he nearly made me a platinum blonde! I have very dark brown hair (naturally, anyway) and I wanted dramatic blonde highlights, not all over blonde! So I quit doing that. I have just been my natural color for a long time now, but the gray is taking over like crazy, so back in November I got some of that new hair color for brunettes that is supposed to eliminate any brassiness. Ha! That's a crock of crap because I ended up with red hair. Agh. I have finally come to terms with the darkness of my hair and I didn't want to go back to red! But I let it grow out and finally decided when I had nearly three inches of roots (with a lot of gray in them) that it was time to recolor.

After spending 30 minutes in the hair color aisle at Wal*Mart and finally deciding on do-it-yourself at-home highlights for the Every Day Low Price of $19.95 and then I got a $2.00 Associate discount, I thought I had done a good thing. The original plan was to have Mom color it last Sunday, but things kinda went crazy and instead we went house hunting for Sis and Bub. Since then Mom has declared more than once that she's really busy and yes, she really is. Sis and Bub and the kids will be moving in in three weeks and her house isn't ready, so I understand. Thursday is Bub's late night for class so Heather usually hangs out with us because well she gets lonely... plus now she has no furniture in her house because they moved it all to storage over Spring Break, lol. So I told her that if she colored my hair I'd feed her dinner. She was completely happy because hey she was getting a free meal and she didn't have to sit on the floor until bedtime.

The coloring commenced and it seemed to be going well. The all over color was really dark, but I think it only seemed that way because I've been a light auburn since November. I was pretty happy with the color even though I told Sis that when she did my highlights I wanted her to give me zig-zag streaks like Elvira Mistress of the Dark. She laughed and got a look of mischief in her eyes. Little sisters.

Well, I didn't get zig-zag streaks. And for the record, the debacle that is sitting on my head right now is not her fault. It's just the fact that I am going to have to pay for highlights from now on. Obviously my hair has an auburn tendency because home color always turns red on me!!!! My highlights are red. RED people. Well, most of them are red. The first two she did are platinum. PLUS (and this part is Sis' fault, but I don't blame her. Really. Not too much anyway, lol.) Even though I reminded her, she kind of didn't get any highlights underneath.

So pretty much I look like Christina Aguilera. Except I'm not skinny. And I'm not Latino. And I don't have my nose pierced. But the hair - oh yeah, I got that.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Friday, Good

Mr. Diva arrived back at Diva Central at 4:30am. He watched TV till 6am. He didn't win shit either. Ha! Oops. Did I say that? I slept alone and hogged the whole bed. Heehee.

The phone rang at 10am. It was one of his old work buddies that he was supposed to go camping/fishing with this weekend. He announced that the fish were not biting at Eucha (Pronounced OOH-CHEE for those not in Oklahoma. I know, we're weird with our pronunciations.) and they were all going to instead travel to Little Sahara. Where this small dessert wasteland is, I have no clue. They went several years ago, but I'm not sure what state they are in - could be Oklahoma, could be Missouri. It's sand dunes, that's all I know.

Keep in mind that it's roughly 50 degrees outside right now. He has bitched for weeks about how cold it is, yet when his buddies call and want to ride ATV's in the cold, he's all up in that. Go figure. I'm glad he went though...if he'd stayed at home he'd have driven me batshit all weekend. Of course, he's recovering from that "lower back flare-up" so I may end up driving to wherever in the hell Little Sahara is in the middle of the night pick his crippled ass up, too.

Bub and Sis and I are going out tonight. I'm the 3rd wheel, but I don't care - I'm going OUT. I called our adorable sitter, Megan or "Meggie" as the kids call her, and she's coming over when we get back from karate. The kids planned all afternoon exactly which board games they are going to drive her crazy with. Uno is always at the top of the list. God love that Meggie.

I have to drop by the bank before karate to give Jill Chandler's Easter basket because I kind of forgot it in my van yesterday after the excitement of the school parties. (They weren't all that exciting - I was using sarcasm.) Plus poor Chandler was having poop issues last night when she picked him up and Easter baskets were preempted by talk of glycerine suppositories, laxatives and megacolon. Ahh...three year old potty trainers...good times.

Fingers crossed I win big at the casino tonight because y'all know darn good and well that I'm so going to end up at one or more of them before the night's over, right?

Oh where to begin

There is so much to relate I'm not sure how to start! I'm going to give you the Reader's Digest version because as I start typing it's 3:30am. Yeah, just got in from the casino an hour ago. Hush.

Okay, Tuesday morning Mr. Diva went outside to split some wood - per my request because I was cold - and threw his back out. Big time. So badly that he went to his knees, felt faint and nearly vomited from the pain. Man, it sucks to be old. I was in the shower at the time and he was worried he was going to have to sit out there in the cold rain until I finally realized he was missing and went out searching for him. It was one of those moments that you wish you had a Lassie to rescue ol' Timmy from the well type dogs. Instead our stupid dogs just thought he wanted to play. Cold, wet, in pain and covered in dog slobber he finally managed to crawl over to a stump and get into a standing position and made it into the house. I came out of the bathroom in a towel to find him white as a sheet and lookin' pretty rough. I immediately called the chiropractor and they, but by the grace of God, had a cancellation for 10:15 and we took it. He called work and told them that he'd thrown his back out again and wouldn't be in. He's done this once before and missed over a week of work with it. I think it stems from the motorcycle wreck a few years back, but that's just my opinion. So by the time we left for the chiropractor his right leg was numbing and he was sweating from the pain. The sadistic Mr. Rogers on steroids chiropractor put the hurt on him and then wrote him a Get Outta Work Free pass and off we went to tell his boss that he was out until Monday. She wasn't really all that happy about it. Oh well. That's what she gets for hiring the geriatric. (Youch, that was cruel of me heehee)

He spent all of Tuesday down in the recliner, on the couch, in the big chair, in the bed - wherever he could get comfortable. Actually I was pretty sympathetic, even though I had been in pain with my back for a week and got NO sympathy from him, but ya know, Super Mom doesn't always get the most sympathy I've learned. I took every opportunity to dig about his age when I could, though. It was pretty satisfying, yep.

Wednesday morning he had an eye doctor appointment. When the doctor told him he needed bifocals....HA! I laughed. Really I did. I am pretty sadistic when I want to be. Yes, I realize that someday I will need bifocals, but by then he'll be in the throes of senile dementia and won't have the capacity to harass me. So by the time we picked out frames and decided on the Transitions lenses, the total was a whopping $544. Yeah. And I thought that adding high index lenses on my glasses and spending $350 was bad. Wow. That completely wiped out his stakeholder's bonus from the Wal*Mart.

After a second adjustment at the chiropractor's he was still sore, but feeling better. He still stayed down the rest of the day, though.

Wednesday and Thursday night at the Lucky Turtle they have a Nite Owl party and if you show up between 1am and 5am you get $10 free. So plans were made, Sis and I were going to go first then we would come home and the boys could go. I took a nap then got up and headed down to Sis'. Okay, it's 1am and her kids are asleep so I naturally didn't want to call the house phone. So I called the cell phones. No answer. The house is as black as a tomb and so I sat, thinking they'd be up in a bit. I called the cell phones again. I knocked quietly on the door...no answer. After nearly 30 minutes I decided to give up and drove back home. I had just pulled onto my carport when my cell phone rang - it was Bub. They had forgotten to set an alarm. Agh. So he put Sis on the phone and she was all upset and apologizing and I said that if she really wanted to go I'd drive back down, no big. But we ended up deciding to forgo our gambling for the night. I was tired and obviously so was she. So I said, "Hey, you know what, it's no big deal. Besides, maybe it's not meant for us to go tonight because the boys are gonna win big. " So I went in the house, woke up Mr. Diva and off he headed to get Bub and go to the Lucky Turtle. I went to bed.

I was sound asleep, all warm and cozy and comfy when suddenly I was ripped from a rather steamy dream (Talk about disappointing! I never have those!) by the bedroom light being flipped on and my husband going "KRISTIN! Kristin!!!" and wiggling the bed and just generally being a pain in the ass. I pulled the covers over my head and said "Whut. This had better be good." He said, "Look! YOU HAVE TO LOOK!" I didn't want to look, I wanted to sleep. I mumbled, "I don't have my glasses on, I cannot see, go away you horrible man." He just kept on, bumping the bed and saying "look" over and over again. Finally I pulled the covers down to just below my eyes and came face to face with a lot of money. Money just fanned out in my husband's hands like it was supposed to be there. I, of course, couldn't see so I squinted until the fifties and hundreds came into focus. I looked up at him and he was positively beaming, people. My non-emotional husband was wiggling around like he needed to pee and was grinning like a possum eatin' shit. I said, "Uhhh...just how much IS that?"

The guys had spent their free money from those nice native American gaming muckitymucks and had even spent a little of their own money before deciding it was time to call it quits. They were headed out the door and Mr. Diva said, "Have you got $5?" Bub said he did so Mr. Diva said, "You put in $5, I'll put in $5 and we'll see what happens. If we win, we split it down the middle, k?" So they put $10 in a quarter slot. Bub was going to hit the dauber the first five times, Paul the other five. Turns out Mr. Diva never got to take his turn daubing because on the second spin they won. $885, friends and neighbors. I would've peed my pants. I think Bub did, lol. Honestly, Mr. Diva may have as well, though he'd never admit it. :-)

It's 4am. He's been at the casino for 2 hours now. I hope that means he's winning again and not losing the money he won last night. Sis and I primed the machines for them because we didn't win shit.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Compulsive much

My kids, especially my girls, are becoming compulsive like their mother. Before they ever even leave their bedrooms in the mornings, before they ever even stagger in to pee, they make their beds. I love the fact that my children do this and I never have to tell them. They are good kids. This morning, just like every other morning, I woke them up and then went about my business with the coffee and the unloading of the dishwasher and the starting of a load of laundry. They lay their clothes out at night so there is no quandry as to what they wear, they just get ready. I do not have to help them, they just do it. So I don't really get into their space too much. But this morning, 25 minutes after I woke them up, which was also a mere 15 minutes before they had to go down to catch the bus, Abby was still in her pajamas. It had taken her 25 minutes to make her bed!

I flipped my lid. My normally very responsible, reliable and no-nonsense eldest child had lollygagged? I was shocked, not to mention frustrated that now there was very little time to curl her hair, and trust me - this morning it needed it.

After standing over her like a drill sergeant and making sure she was dressed with no further distractions and after I curled her hair, I sent her up to get her coat on. I just happened to look in her room and found the source of the 25 minute bed-making session: somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 stuffed animals were placed in height order in front of the neatly placed, perfectly centered and aligned pillows.

The OCD is kicking in. Next thing you know she'll be alphabetizing her books, measuring things before she puts them in her desk drawers just to make sure they'll fit, putting all her clothes in color classification and making sure the sheets on her bed are exactly the same length from the floor on both sides. Not that I'd know from experience or anything... I mean, it's been a long time since I alphabetized much more than the videos and the canned goods. But by golly, those are the neatest canned goods you'll ever see in a pantry.

Yesterday Kady wanted to play with my Strawberry Shortcakes. Keep in mind these are my original SS's, the holy grail of circa 1980-something scented dolls with freakishly large heads. My SS's all have their original clothes and are in excellent condition considering how much I played with them. My sister's, however, are written on, bald and they may have 2 pairs of mismatched shoes amongst the whole collection. I pride myself in the care I took with my toys. So was I going to let my 3 year old play with the precious scented dolls? Youbetcha. But she had to keep them in the living room and they were not to go to the toyroom. Period. She was totally okay with that, she just wanted to play with them. I went about my morning routine - compulsively doing something I'm sure- and when I looked in on her she had all of the dolls dressed neatly, pets laid out next to them, lined up in perfect straight lines and was just sitting there admiring them all. And I realized that is exactly how I used to play with them! Now for the dolls themselves, I'm sure it was like the good ol' days, different strange little girl, same style of playing. And part of me was proud that my youngest took on my neatness genes and not her father's haphazard ways. But then as I found myself running over to the line of dolls and then placing their little combs next to their pets and Kady was like "Ooh yeah, good idea, Momma!" that I thought that maybe this compulsive thing is a curse.

I have always bragged that Heather is the "O" in OCD and is the medicated one. I'm the "C" in OCD and am able to keep my compulsions under control, therefore not requiring medication. Most of the time. But the older I get, the more compulsive I find myself becoming. At what point does one realize that her alphabetizing habits are out of control? I spent an hour weekend before last alphabetizing the video shelves. No kidding - a full hour. I have tried my hardest to just put things in the pantry at random. I really tried. It felt kind of good to just pull things from the sack and set them on the shelf and then walk out. For about 5 minutes. Then the nagging in the back of my head started saying,"Your peaches are in front of your applesauce. The green beans are behind the sweet potatoes. And the labels are facing different directions. " I held out for 20 minutes and then I was in the pantry, pulling things from the shelves and carefully alphabetizing them all and turning each and every label around to the front. My heart was pounding, my hands were shaking - and no I'm not exaggerating - and I could not get things in order fast enough to suit myself. Mr. Diva came in at one point and asked me "Whut the hayell are you doin'?" and I said, "Please. Leave me alone to alphabetize in peace." The man had/has no clue.

He does not know the peace and comfort I find in putting all of my blue panties in one stack, my purple/pink panties in another, blacks in another and whites in yet another. It makes sense to me to put things in color categories so that when I pick out my clothes, I can find coordinating undergarments and then grab the matching bra that goes with. Yes, my bra always matches my underwear. Sue me. He doesn't understand why I numbered all of the kids' socks so that they will forever remain in pairs. He thinks it's funny to move my canned goods around and then watch me freak out. He also thinks it's funny to make sure I'm in the room when he dumps the laundry basket full of socks and underwear into his drawer and then slams the drawer shut, leaving stocks hanging out. No piles, no stacks, no organization at all. Then he stands guard until I finally give it up and leave the room. Awhile back I would have eventually ended up back at his dresser organizing it all. Now I've decided that I will only control the things that pertain to me directly. I do not wear his socks therefore I do not do anything to his socks. This is how I know my compulsions are still controllable.

My children are not so controllable. This is really hard for a compulsive person. I like order and things I can control. Kids are only controllable to a certain extent. Things get messy. Life gets messy. I can't alphabetize my kids. And believe me, I've tried.

Last year for some reason Abby had to take off her shoes in class. A little girl next to her said, "Why are there 7's on your socks?" Abby shrugged and said, "Eh, I dunno. My mom's weird like that." Weird like that, yep - but at least her socks will all wear out evenly.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Fly on the wall

My children. Crazy little critters...


Sam: (holding a GI Joe right in front of Strawberry Shortcake) Hey! You! Little Strawberry girl! Get outta my way!
Kady: (pushing GI Joe back a few paces with her gigantic red-haired head) Look here, GI JOE! I don't hafta get outta you way! So there!
Sam: (catching Strawberry Shortcake with a pimp slap to the side of her enormous head) I SAID get. outta. my. WAY!
Kady: Hey! I gots muscles!
Sam: (Evil laugh) Muscles? You? Have? Muscles?? (More evil laughing)
Kady: Yes! My momma got 'em for me at Wal*Mart!


Me: (after fixing two elbow boo-boos) Alllllrighty there...look at that. Two American flag bandaids. We'll all have to salute your elbows, eh?
TotTwo: Heh heh. Yeah, I guess, Aunt Kiki.
Me: Everything okay now, buddy?
TotTwo: (throwing his arms around me and squeezing) Yep. Hey, Aunt Kiki?
Me: Yeah, buddy?
TotTwo: You're my hero.
Me: (absolutely beaming with love for this tow-headed little boy) Oh yeah? Well, wow. Thanks buddy!
TotTwo: Of course, Donatello from the Turtles is my hero, too. You're second.

I'd like to see Donatello afix American flag bandaids on elbows with the amount of ease I did. His freaky turtle feet wouldn't allow it, I do believe. Take that, Donatello. You dooder head.


Kady playing with two of Sam's action figures left in the living room this morning:

GI Joe: Hey. You! Really evil guy!
Really Evil Guy: Yeah? Whaddayoowant?
GI Joe: You wanna piece-a me?
Really Evil Guy: Nah, I don't want any pizza. I not hungry.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

The day after

Yesterday morning I slept till 7:30. This past week was my early week with Chandler and this getting up at 5:30 sucks. So 7:30 was pure heaven, obviously. I fed the kids, packed their bags and then grabbed a shower. The humidity was low enough that I straightened my hair but then saw just how much gray I have AND that I definitely need to re-color. The kids I ran out the door at 10:10 for a 20 minute drive to Mom's then I had to be back on the other side of town by 10:45. I was sweatin' it. I basically threw them at Mom's front porch and peeled out of the driveway, rounding the corner on two wheels - and in an Astro van that is quite a feat. Thankfully the kids are old enough they can pretty much tell Mom anything she needs to know.

I got to the chiropractor's office at 10:44. The little secretary/aide lady took me right back to a room, gave me a hot pack and adjusted the table into one of THE most uncomfortable positions I've ever been in (well, besides that nasty BDSM experiment in my early 20's...but I digress...) and I laid there trying to relax like she told me, but all I was doing was hurting worse. So I finally just gave up and sat up, which lately is not my position of choice. Sitting hurts. Laying down is good. Walking is even better than sitting, that's how bad it's been. I could hear the doctor running up and down the hall, opening doors and greeting people, then about 2 minutes later you'd hear a "oomph!" followed by "ohhhh!", so that meant he was adjusting in a fury. Guh-reat. I didn't want to be furiously adjusted - I wanted to be delicately fixed and made to quit hurting.

Enter Oh Great and Benevolent Doctor or Chiropractic. This man and I have nearly a 20 year history as doctor/patient, but it's been several years since I've needed him. I started seeing him when I was 14 and the bass drum in the high school marching band was wreaking havoc on my spinal alignment. At that time I was 5'1", maybe 120 pounds and because I gots rhythmn, played the GINORMOUS bass drum. I've seen bass drums now and they are so much smaller. Lucky little shits. In MY day....

Oops there I got all digressing again.

Okay where was I? Oh yeah...this doctor and I have a great relationship. He helped me through the bass drum incident, three pregnancies and just the general subluxation issues of life. Did ya like that $5 word there - subluxation? Got that from reading the walls during my electroshock therapy yesterday. Digression again...yep gotcha. So I told him that the pain was bad, that I thought it might be a kidney stone and was checking this out before I go sit at the indian clinic and have them all laugh at me if it's NOT a stone, and tell me that I just need to see a chiropractor. He has the most quiet, soothing voice I've ever heard and in his soothing, Mr. Rogers-type demeanor he asked, "Okay now....can you think of anything lately that might've well, prompted such a problem? Any wrecks? Accidents? Falls?" I conveniently left out the demolition derby last fall because he would've tsk'd at me for sure. So I told him that last Saturday I had cleaned off bookshelves, cleaned out closets and cabinets and he just nodded and slowly closed his eyes and said, "Ahhh...we have found the problem. See, Kristin, it's like this: When we get older we just can't do the things we used to do when we were younger."


I just grimaced and said, "I'm only 32." He nodded again, put a gentle hand on my knee and said, "Well...the more gray hair we get...well, the easier it is for us to get down in our back."

Hold the phone there, Mr. Rogers. I am not "down in my back". My great grandmother got "down in her back". I am not by any means "down". I'm "down wit' dat", but definitely not "down in my back".

And then my insides melted when I came to the realization that my gray hair was oh so clearly visible in the dimmed light of the little room. And I felt tears pricking at my eyelids so I just sighed and said, "Okay, so can you fix me?"

This is where the man's disassociative personalites come into play. He's all calm and quiet and soothing until he lays hands on you. Then he turns into Mr. Rogers on steroids who is channeling a very angry Jesse "The Body" Ventura, in his pre-politics day.

Oh he makes you think that he's going to be gentle, doing some nice easy leg stretches on you, asking you about your children then wham he jerks on your leg, mumbling something under his breath about them being different lengths. So you recover from that breath-taking experience only to have him try to twist you in two by making your legs go right and your upper torso go wide left in hopes of possibly making them meet again under the table. Then reverse it all and do it again. Then as my head is woozy from the pain of being pretzle'd, he says in his "Let's go find Neighborhood Trolley" voice, "Okay, let's just sit you right on up here again, " and pulls you upright. And because you're still reeling from the previous take down, you don't realize that when he's crossing your arms over your chest that he's getting ready to push your body completely through the table and is going to finish the adjustment with you imbedded three full inches into the concrete flooring below.

He finishes off with a quick rub to your shoulders, a pat on the knee and some words that seem to somehow imply that you need therapy of some kind. Yes, psychotherapy as to why I saw you in the first place, you sadistic mo'fo. And physical therapy to make my broken body move once more and hopefully someday I'll walk without the braces again.

Oh but noooooooooo. The therapy he spoke of was putting four sticky pads at various points on my lower back, attaching aligator clips to the sticky pads and running electrical wires to oh I don't know something like a friggin' CAR BATTERY. Turn 'er on, wind 'er up and watch 'er go. Whoo HOO those are good times, boys and girls. The secretary/nurse, who I think dresses Goth on the weekends and wields a whip, said "Tell me when it hurts." Oh that is never a good statement. Ever. She then cranked the engine and it felt like little gnomes had chosen MY back to make their new garden spot. Little rakes, little hoes, possibly little roto-tillers were running amuck on my back. But instead of wimping out immediately and running screaming for the safety of my van, I opted to give it all a try. She cranked it up some more because I hadn't screamed uncle yet and the hoeing and raking started to scrape into the core of my very soul and that's when I uncle'd.

"Okay, now you just lie there and relax."

Oh I could've relaxed had I had about four Vicodin in my system at the time, a bottle of Wild Turkey in my hand and maybe even one of those marijuana cigarettes dangling from my lip. But none of those vices seemed to be available in the holistic doctor's office, go figure. Instead, I just read the charts on the walls. That's where I got the word "subluxation". My theory is that if you are undergoing shock therapy you can remember anything you read at the time. I have memorized the entire musculoskeletal system of the human body now. Abby's been having a little trouble with her math homework. I say let's hook her up to the truck battery and see how much she can learn in a weekend.

I left there sore and $40 poorer.

AND with an appointment for next Friday. I am taking all of my cookbooks. I figure I can read them while undergoing therapy and will never have to search for a recipe again.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Another one bites the dust

I had just hit "publish" on the last post when my mom calls my cell phone. So I'm sitting out here at my computer, the office is dark, lit only by the computer screen. The TV is quietly playing in the living room, only slightly quieter than my husband's snores from the recliner. All three kids are in bed. The house is quiet. Mom and I are having the most pleasant conversation...

The mousetrap in the pantry snapped again.

Two down...God knows how many more to go.

It's a veritable invasion.

I hate mice.

Ding dong the mouse is dead

This morning when we got up I had Sam look in the pantry to see if we'd caught the mouse. He said that the trap was snapped, but there was no mouse. Agh. I was freaking OUT. Because that means you're dealing with a wiry kind of sneaky mouse when they snap the trap but don't get caught. *shudder* So I told Mr. Diva that I didn't care how late it was going to make him for work, he was going to reset that trap and then set more. So he stomped into the kitchen, grumbling at me for being a wuss again. Then he said, "Heh. You son is either blind or a liar. There's a dead mouse on that trap, Diva dear."


So he hollered for Sam to come back into the kitchen where he told him to recheck the trap. Well, as soon as Sam realized that there was definitely a dead critter he hollered to his sisters and Chandler and soon the whole fam damily (Minus me - I was standing in the corner of my kitchen trying not to freak out that my children were in close proximity to a dead rodent)was crammed into my utility room. Everyone was ooh'ing and ahh'ing and nudging the other ones, trying to make them touch it. Finally Mr. Diva said, "Alright, I gotta get to work. Sam, pick up that trap, willya?" You'd have thought that he'd asked the child to carry the Pope's hat to High Mass (Is there such a thing as High Mass? We're not Catholic, I wouldn't know.) Sam beamed with pride that he had been chosen to extricate that critter from the pantry. I said, in my highest squeally voice, "OH MY GOSH YOU DID NOT JUST TELL MY SON TO TOUCH A DEAD RODENT DID YOU?????" I was honestly feeling faint when I saw my middle child, my darling six year old boy, come up out of that pantry with trap in hand, dangling dead mouse in front of his sister's faces and giggling while they squealed. I swallowed the bile that was threatening to overflow and said, "Son, I need you to go wash your hands with hot water and antibacterial soap RIGHT. NOW. Then you need to use Germ-X. Twice." He was totally okay with that because he got to touch the mouse. Whoo hoo.

The trap was reset and so far we haven't caught another one. It was a renegade, lone mouse I guess. Those damn linoleum dancing mice are like that. I hear.


Mom got in from Virginia yesterday evening, called me about 5:30 to tell me she was home. Then lo and behold about 8:00 she showed up at our house. What a wonderful surprise! I missed her so much and so did the kids. She just related the trip, caught up on what had happened here, etc. etc. I asked her if she could watch the kids while I went to the chiropractor Saturday morning and she was rarin' to go. Then she kept asking if Mr. Diva was off and what was his schedule. Finally after it got old, her asking it repeatedly, I said, "Dude! Spit it OUT! What do you WANT?" She said she wanted the kids to spend the night with her over the weekend. See, this is where husband working weekends really SUCKS. When everyone else is having a life on the weekends, he has to work. She had some movie passes to the theatre in Joplin and wanted us to use them to go out, just the two of us. I was SO there, but guess who wasn't. G'head, I'll give you three guesses. Yeah, you're right. (Dingdingdingdingding. Bob, tell them what they've won!) I started whining around that HELLO we have a sitter, we have free movie passes, we have blow money just asking to be spent, we can have really loud The Kids Are Out Of The House Sex again, how can you turn down this incredible deal, you weird weird man??? It was the loud TKAOOTHSex that got him. It was the clincher, as usual. I must be great in bed, is all I gotta say. Heehee.

So I am taking the kids to Mom's at 10:30 in the morning, going to the chiropractor and then
I have the rest of the day to myself.
I'm not sure I'm going to know what to do.

Oh yeah....my taxes.

Trojan man!

Okay, so I'm a woman. But when I typed "Trojan woman!" up there and then said it to myself in my head, well, it just didn't sound right.

Anyway...I'm doing a virus scan right now and while it hasn't detected a virus one, it's handling more Trojans than a cajun hooker at Mardi Gras.

"Downloaders" it's calling them. Downloaders suck.

It's the blogging. The blogging is giving me downloaders.

At least it isn't giving me the herp. 'Cuz that would be bad. I can handle the occasional downloader as long as a heaping helping of McAfee can handle it. Herpes - now, Lysol can't wash that off, people.

So in conclusion:
Herpes - real bad
Trojans - kinda bad, but not too bad
Downloaders - bad, but still better than herpes
McAfee - effective in downloader removal
Lysol - won't get rid of downloaders. Or herpes.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

It's spring, for cryin' out loud. Leave my house alone!

There is a MOUSE in my utility room right now.

I can hear the little sucker in there rummaging around. I haven't actually seen it, but I can hear it. Scurrying, rummaging, more than likely nibbling and quite possibly doing a rodent version of synchronized ice-dancing. Except I guess technically it would be linoleum dancing.

I am a big girl. I don't mean maturity-wise either. I'm talkin' about the fact that I'm a plus-size woman. I am WAY bigger than a mouse. Yet... just thinking about walking through that utility room to take my plate, empty Ben&Jerry's ice cream container and tea glass to the kitchen makes me want to cry. No kidding.

I can drive a car into an arena filled with other cars whose drivers have one goal: to disable my car and quite possibly hurt me in the process. All in the name of fun, mind you.

I can camp out for three days in the middle of the forest with Magnet Lady, her husband and Paul and endure wild boars in the weeds, newly dug graves and pooing on the river bank.

I can sit up for days on end with one or more sick children who could, at any given time, be ill with a stomach virus, an intestinal virus, an asthma attack or worse, croup. I can sleep sitting bold upright on the sofa with my hand on my child's leg so that the second she moves I will be awakened. Except I wasn't really asleep at all. I was just sitting there in a stupor.

What I'm getting at is this: I am a pretty tough little diva. I'm not a wuss. Okay, I'm not a big wuss.

But please don't make me walk through a room where I know there is a mouse that can ice-dance. Erm....linoleum dance.

Btw, the Ben&Jerry's ice cream was Chocolate Fudge Brownie. And it was yummy.
Unfortunately for my little mousie friend...there is no more left to slurp around on whilst I slumber.

On hands and knees
In my pantry
Attempting to catch mouse
With bare hands
I'm not sure I can stand this

And he laughed and scoffed when I said there was a linoleum-dancing mouse in there. While he set the mouse trap he was mumbling about me hearing things and how silly I am and it's probably a cricket. Then I hear cursing and then much crashing and slinging of the potato bin.....a case of Dr. Pepper went flying.....the curtain to the pantry fell (on top of his head-that made me giggle).......potato.......sweet potato......potato......box of Rice Krispies......ooh bottle of syrup (that's gonna be a mess to clean up).......mouse trap snapping......husband cursing......

If that sucker isn't dead by morning (mouse, not husband) I am loading up the kids in the morning and we are spending the day at the library. They have the internet there. And Miss Connie the children's librarian likes my kids. Surely she won't mind them hanging out all day while their momma blogs on the germy public computers, right? Ooh germy public computers. On second thought....

the mouse doesn't seem so threatening now.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Oh yeah...I nearly forgot

I'm one lucky woman lately.

I won $40 at the casino last night. I only spent $10 of my own money to do it, too.

I now have $190 stashed away.

Go me.

Little crystal cockleburs

Yay. I think I have another kidney stone. It's been 7 years, so I'm not sure. But once you've had one you can never have a backache again without wondering, "Is it? Could it be? Oh hell, please not again."

It started hurting Sunday night when I got in from the Lucky Turtle. Not excruciating by any means. But constant. Walking around it's not bad and I certainly am not debilitated by any means. I've done laundry, cleaned out closets, etc, but when I sit...oh the pain. I look like my son when he's had inside recess at school - he can't sit still, he can only sit on one butt cheek at a time, he fidgets and wiggles, stands up, sits down. That's me right now. I have been on my feet a lot the last few days simply because sitting is horrible.

Part of me thinks (hopes) it's just a strained muscle. A big part of me.

I called my dad, who passes roughly 10 stones a year. I figure he's a pretty reliable source of information regarding the hellacious crystalized stones he and his offspring seem to produce. He said that it sounded to him like a stone that's in the bottom of the kidney, on the verge of dropping into the ureter. Great. That's just what I was hoping he'd say! Sarcasm, read that with sarcasm, people. While it's still in the kidney it's just a dull, throbbing, constant ache. It's when the motherfucker drops into the ureter that it makes you want to die. And quickly.

My last one was a sudden whack upside the back that said "You are dying, go now my child and be with God." No warning, just pain. I was in the ER within 2 hours of the onset. Pretty quick, even though it was two hours of sheer hell.

This one is making the adventure last longer. We're going on 3 days now. IF it's a stone. I'm still holding onto that pulled muscle theory. Mr. Diva just brought me some cranberry juice. I don't know why I torture myself with the cranberry juice thing. It's nasty, makes me thirsty as hell and besides, it's just a pulled muscle. Right? Cranberry juice doesn't help pulled muscles. Right?

Monday, March 14, 2005

I'm cooler than Shrek

I can make the little popping sounds with my mouth like Donkey (Or as my kids say "Donkay!") from Shrek. I'm pretty good at it, too. I can do it softly and annoying-like or I can be really really loud and obnoxious with it. This drives Kady up the wall because instead of cool popping sounds, she can only make kissy sounds. So I pop, she says "Donkay!", then she kisses and I say, "Kay-day!" and then I pop again....and so it goes. I don't know why this amuses the two of us so much.


Last night I picked Sis up at midnight and we headed to the Lucky Turtle Casino/Convenience Store/Gas Station/Car Wash/Cafe/PowWow Grounds/Hunter Check-in Station for some free gambling. I wore my favorite PJ pants even though they are really too big and I step on them constantly. In fact, I should know better than to wear them out in public because last week while wearing them here at home, I stepped on the hem of one leg and managed to actually pull my pants down. This would not be cool in the casino, man. Fortunately last night, my pants stayed on.

We got our $10 and then got our free pop. The key to free gambling at the casinos is the free pop. Even if you don't win a shitload of money courtesy of the kind Native American casino, you can at least drink your weight in free soda. The Big Fancy Casino has Coke products. They rock. The Turtle, however, only has those horrid Pepsi products. But at least they have Mountain Dew.

Something that really cracks me up is this: The Casino is attached to the convenience store. If you walk through the door that attaches the two you walk directly into the soda fountain in the store where you have to pay for the soda. Yet, you can step back into the casino and get free soda. So if one were particularly brave and savvy and all, they could technically pay for their gas inside the store, sereptitiously walk into the casino and get a free pop, walk out the other door from the casino and voila' - one never pays for convenience store soda again. But that's just a theory, now. Don't go tellin' the Turtle people that you read on a blog somewhere that there is free soda out there for the takin'. Don't get me in trouble, friends.

While we were in line waiting to fill out our vouchers for the free play, we were directly beside a man playing a $5 machine. One spin = $5. This makes my stomach hurt. FIVE DOLLARS down the hole every time you hit the little button. Ack. Okay, but here's where I start getting violently ill - he was betting 3 at a time. $15 down the hole. Oy vey. He had the machine up to $1160 when we got in line. That machine was making so much noise it was comical. This guy was quite aware he was a spectacle and was doing a fair impersonation of Tom Cruise in Cocktail, making sure the moves to hit the expensive button were flamboyant and full of flair. We weren't impressed, to be quite honest. A guy in line told us he'd already cashed out three times and started over again. While we waited in line he went from $1160 up to $1250, down to $940 and then we got tired of watching him throw good money down the tubes when we could use that money to aid in our debt elimination. But we're not selfish.

So we proceded to begin our gambling expedition. Yahtzee was good to me last week, giving me $15, so I decided to see if the gods of Yahtzee were smiling my way this week. Yeppers. They were. I won 50 nickles, 72 nickles and then 50 nickles. I got up to $18.50, then played down to $15 and cashed out. Poor Sis faired not so well yet again. She then played a different Yahtzee machine after I "woogied" it for her, giving the gods of Yahtzee reason to believe I was asking for their benevolence for my sibling. They must've been popping up some microwave popcorn when I woogied because she didn't win crap. I plugged in $5 of my winnings and then decided when it ate my money in 2 minutes flat, that the machine is undoubtedly cursed. It wasn't negligence on the part of the gods of Yahtzee, it was bad juju in the machine. Plain and simple.

When we were leaving the insane gambling man had it down to $600-something. When the guys got there 30 minutes later he had it up over $2000. Geesh.


My back was hurting really bad last night after our casino run. So after Paul left for his turn, I curled up in the recliner, stuck pillows all around me and settled in for some late night TV. I was half-asleep when Paul got home at 2:45, handed him the remote and dozed back off. He fell asleep on the couch. Well, by 5am, my back was screaming in protest from my position in the recliner that had previously been so comfy. I stumbled back to the bed, didn't even pull down the comforter, just laid down on top and pulled a blanket over me.

Heehee...Paul was asleep on the couch. He was the one that got woke up by the kids this morning. HA!

I wasn't about to move from my really snug haven in the bedroom. He was yelling at the kids, yeah, but hey, I was warm and comfy and my back was finally not hurting. I dozed back off. Sam came in at one point to tell me in a stage whisper, "Hey Mom! We're letting you sleep in this morning!"

I was having a dream about an old boyfriend when suddenly I heard metal banging. Loudly. I heard little feet running down the hall and then miraculously the banging was muffled. My precious darling children had shut the door. I love those little boogers. I ignored the banging, ignored the repeated nudgings from my bladder that I, indeed, needed to pee. And badly. I dozed off again, bladder ignored. I heard a muted "SON OF A BITCH!", but chose to not investigate. Ah, once again, dozing back to old boyfriend land when I smelled hickory smoke. Awww, how precious, my family is smoking meat for me and they're going to surprise me with a nice lunch (No matter that we don't own a smoker) because it's probably close to noon now and I am SO enjoying this sleeping in thing. Mmm...the hickory smoke was enticing. Stomach was growling. Then the bedroom door was flung open, bounced off the wall and Sam yells, "MOM!!! Dad just ripped off the fireplace door!" Aw shit. How does one rip off a fireplace door? I didn't even open my eyes, I just said, "Well, honey, best thing to do is just stay out of Daddy's way now, m'kay?" And covered up my head. "Got it! KADY!! ABBY!! Mom says stay out of Dad's way now!" And off he ran. Five minutes later, Mr. Diva comes into the bedroom and says, "You gonna sleep all day? Burned my arm. Broke the far-place."

Paradise lost.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Saturday in the house, I think it was the 12th of Ma-arrrrch

I have accomplished SO MUCH today! I'm exhausted and will probably die of anaphylactic shock tonight in my sleep, but dadgummit, I accomplished something! Lots of somethings actually.

The children, all five of them, woke up at the unGodly hour of 6am. That is just not right. They talked quietly for about 30 minutes and I kind of dozed in my bed and halfway listened to the silly conversations. But after half an hour they could be quiet no more and the screaming and squealing began in earnest. Agh. I got up with them. EVEN THOUGH last night I traded quickie sex with my husband for an hour's extra sleep this morning. I am so going to have to remember that he never keeps his end of the bargain. Ever. You'd think after having kids for 8 1/2 years I'd be keen to his fraudulent sex-crazed promises. I even tried to produce a tear or two, but it just didn't work. I was too tired to cry. I did whine, call him a rat bastard and stomped out of the room after I jerked the covers off of him, though.

It worked out better that I got up really. Even though it was hard getting started. I immediately started the tea brewing, then started a load of laundry. I emptied and reloaded the dishwasher, cleaned off the counter tops and table, then started making pancakes. The kids were faunching at the bit to get outside, so as soon as they finished breakfast I sent them outside. That was before 9. They were outside till nearly noon. They played in the "coop" for quite awhile. Then they played on Mr. Diva's trailer, turning it into a disco or something. Ab had her CD player outside and they were rockin' that trailer to beat the band. Then they decided to trap chicken hawks. We're down to 2 ducks (we started with 9) because of the chicken hawks. So the kids decided to rid the world of the heinous duck-eating chicken hawks. After they decided that the hawks were not going to play the way they wanted, they then moved out into the the small pasture and started digging up gopher holes. They got the dogs in on the action, too. That was pretty funny, I gotta say.

While they were completely entertained outside I decided that today I was getting rid of some stuff. Because of FLYlady, I have considerably reduced the amount of stuff in my house over the last 2 years, but today the stuff that was bugging me was books. And videos. I have been reading Stephen King books since I was 14 (That explains so much, yes I know) and have a vast collection. To be honest, I think I have every book he has written. Well, only for a little longer, because 3/4 of them are now in boxes awaiting pricing and relocation to the flea market. I got rid of some Louis L'Amour that we've been hanging onto forever and some others that have lost their allure for me. I managed to clean off 3 shelves in two bookcases and moved some things around, organized a bunch of stuff. Then I moved on to the video cabinet. (I alphabetized the videos, too. I felt so much better when that was done.) There are two trash bags full of videos sitting in my living room now awaiting the same fate as the books. Man, the living room was looking so good at that point, but the kids needed lunch and I had to quit. I usually lose my steam and quit, but for some reason after lunch I hit it again with the same energy.

I decided it was high time to give the entertainment center a makeover and pulled out the TV to find a half inch of dust on EVERYTHING back there. I'm sure that has to be a fire hazard of some kind. So I vacuumed it all really well, and then proceded to organize the mass of cords and cables back there. Whaddaya know, I pulled out two cords that were attached to nothing! Mr. Diva has an old Pioneer stereo that he bought back in the 80's. The early 80's. It doesn't have the sleek, rounded lines of new electronics, but had dangerously squared, pointy corners. It also came with a turntable, if that dates it for ya. It weighs approximately 12 tons. Well, at one time everything was hooked up to the stereo speakers for a redneck version of surround-sound. Then suddenly it quit working and we re-routed. But that also left a useless dinosaur of a stereo in the cabinet. Mom had bought me a 5-CD changer a few years back to go with that system, since we have no records. Okay, so we have a few, but they're On Top of Spaghetti and YMCA. But what good is a 5-CD changer if the stereo doesn't work? Mr. Diva refused to help me move it because I think he knew that I'd ask if we could get rid of that boxy ugly thing. And the changer. And I would've, to be honest. So out it goes today. I pulled it out, nearly gave myself a hernia doing it, moved my nice new light stereo from my office to the living room, put it all back together and then blew my nose again for the 900th time. Dust sucks.

I then plugged the stereo and changer in so I could get to all the components and see exactly what was plugged in where and maybe I could figure out why it wasn't working. And I did. I'd forgotten that three of the four speaker pluggy inny things don't work. Lightning or something, he says. But how does lightning blow out three speaker plugger inners and not the other one, not to mention all the other electronics plugged in as well? He doesn't know what happened to it, but he likes to make me think he does. So anyway, somehow, someone had plugged both speakers into the ones that don't work. Okay, so now I have out here in my office a ginormous circa-1980-something Pioneer stereo system with a 5-CD changer and one speaker. But I gots tunes, baby, I gots tunes.

I am going to make a prediction right here and now on my blog for all of the 'net to see:
Mr. Diva will not notice any of the changes I've made in the living room today.

It's now 6:38pm, I'm still in my pajamas. I have tissues stuck in my nostrils to keep the torrents of snot from drowning me. My left index finger is super glued and looks like plastic. (It is not possible for me to super glue anything without subsequently gluing myself in the process. It's just not possible.) My right index finger is cracked open and bleedy-ish. My right middle finger is also cracked open and it's wrapped up in a tissue so I don't ruin my keyboard. My children are filthy, but they are having a ball playing "karate" in the living room,wearing only their underwear. Mr. Diva is still at work and will be clocking out in 45 minutes and I have no clue what I'm going to do with the chicken that is thawed out in my refrigerator as far as dinner goes. My eyes are crossing as I type because I am exhausted. And I think I have burned my lungs with the Orange-scented Pledge I've sprayed repeatedly all day long.

But Mr. Diva is SO not getting sex tonight Because as part of the agreement we made last night, the whole quickie sex trading for an hour of sleep, was also contingent on real sex tonight, not a quickie. But since I didn't get to sleep in this morning, he's not getting real sex tonight. That'll learn 'im.

Friday, March 11, 2005

When I was a kid, Spring Break was more exciting

I just lost an entire HUGE-ass post to the evil trolls of blogging that love to eat posts. Obviously they don't just live at Tripod. Rat bastard trolls.


I wrote something about pizza. What was it...

Oh yeah.

Red Baron pizza is made by Schwan's.

The original post was much more informative. Now it's 11pm and I'm even more tired then I was an hour ago. Sue me.


Today was Freaky Hair Friday at school. Stu-co Spirit Week or something. Sam sported a mohawk. Abby had twisty nubbin things all over head. We went after school from Fairland to Miami. With mohawk boy and nubbin girl. Oh the looks we got.

Of course, the looks could've possibly been because I had five, count 'em five, kids hanging off of my cart like maggots on a carcass. All squirmy and wiggly and movin' around incessantly. My husband, being the darling he is, said I looked like a trailer park ho with that many kids. Thanksbabyloveyoutoo. Dooderhead.

I saw Stormie, another GS leader in our service unit, and she said I was brave. I replied that no, I was insane. (Hi Stormie!)

When it was finally time to check out, the kids helped me put the stuff on the conveyer belt and then I took the mobile ones and lined them up in front of the counter of the in-store bank like they were getting ready to be part of a police line-up. I put them boy-girl-boy-girl and put their backs against the wall and told them if they moved they would NOT get to go to the video store. I walked back to the register and threw them all a really threatening glare. The cashier said, "Wow, I'm impressed! We hardly ever see kids who do what their parents say up here." And my first thought was, "Thank God you didn't see them in the cereal aisle then." I just smiled and said thank you, though. Hey, let her believe that well-behaved children DO exist. At least for awhile. She was only 20-ish, she'll have to quit believing in such fairy tales soon.

I saw a precious Menonite woman and her two adorable boys at the store tonight. As I trudged through the store in my wind pants (Which are too long and I step on them constantly which drives me batshit, but what do you do when you're only 5'2"?) and frizzy hair and noisy children hanging off my cart and I exchanged polite smiles and hellos with her, I almost longed for a little white bonnet thing and black panty hose. But then I remembered that panty hose suck.

This morning as I had just stepped out of the shower I heard the kids doing their morning stuff. It was obviously KD's turn to pick out the morning music because rather than the Kidz Bop Kids singing horrible renditions of Kelly Clarkson and Hoobastank songs, we were listening to Mary Had a Little Lamb sung by Minnie Mouse. How refreshing. I was praying for the Kidz Bop Kids again. I had just flipped my hair up into a towel and was putting on my moisturizer when I heard Sam walking up and down the hall yelling, "Freak love! Get yer freak love here! FREAK LOVE! Fuh-freak Love!! Who wants a freak love?" I was furious that my son, who is only 6, knew about freak love and was even advertising it and WHERE the hell did he learn that shit anyway? I threw open the bathroom door and said, "WHAT did you say?" He meekly held up a glove and said, "Free glove, Mom?"

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Mmmm...Little Debbie is one talented woman

Many thanks to McKenzie's mom for bringing Little Debbie to our Brownie meeting today! The girls only ate the box of brownies, thus leaving an entire box or Easter Basket cakes to just sit and go stale before our next meeting, week after next. SO, being the smart woman I am, I decided to just eat the box of Little Debbie's (Not the entire box by myself!) and then replace it with a new, fresher box by next week's time. What's that you say? You say that Little Debbie cakes have a shelf life of approximately 47 years? Ohhhhhhhhh .... whaddaya know.


Also, many thanks to Riley's mom for bringing me a little monetary bonus this evening for my "trouble". I tried to convince her that it's no trouble to be a Brownie leader and I LOVE what I do, but she insisted. I pick Riley up every week on Brownie day from school and bring her out here and I guess Mel thought that was trouble. I wouldn't do it if I didn't really want Riley to be in my Troop.

Selfish Vacation Fund now stands at $140. Yesssssssssssssss.


Did you know that if you have a mouthful of Little Debbie Easter Basket cake in your mouth and then take a huge drink of iced tea that it forms a rather thick coating on the roof of your mouth? Yummy.


My mom's in Virginia with my Papa and GG visiting with GG's family through next week. GG's from down there originally and the rest of her family is still there. Hey, her family bought their plane tickets, so why not go? I just wish they'd though to include Cousin Diva. I mean, it's not like I know them or anything, but I like to travel, too! I could get to know them if they bought me a plane ticket. And then, and correct me if I'm wrong in my geography, but I think Richmond is close enough to Cousin Stacey that I could just jaunt over and see her! I miss Cousin Stacey. Completely different side of the family, but that doesn't matter. Hey, I'll even stoop to using non-blood-related step-family members to get what I want. I mean, it's Cousin STACEY, for cryin' out loud! And we are twins. Separated at birth. It's creepy. Of course, if we really ARE twins separated at birth, then that means that there was some hanky panky at a family reunion or something and I'm just not sure I'm ready to go there. So I'm content with saying she's my "Soul Sista" and call it good. Right, Stacey? (Girl, you could comment you know)


BEST PART OF THE DAY: I won Round 19 of the Story Contest at Fizzle and Pop! I won!!! I've two- and three-way tied before, but I actually WON this one all by myself. I'm pretty proud, I gotta say. I only won by one point, but I won, dadgummit. I've already submitted my words for the next round. Here's how it works, the winner of the previous round submits 6 words (sometimes more when Angela is feeling nasty) and then everyone has to write a story using those words. I am particularly evil and these are the words for Round 20:
Hee hee, told you I was evil.
So if you're feeling particularly literary and want to try your hand at writing with us, go for it! It's fun and we only bite when provoked. Well, Wench bites all the time, but she's really good at it! *wink*


We made Goop at Brownies tonight. You know, that cornstarch and water concoction that is a solid, yet it's a liquid. I think Magnet Lady and I had more fun with it than the girls did! We couldn't keep our hands out of it! We kind of messed up and added too much cornstarch at one point and it turned into concrete, but we fixed it and had a blast. I ended up dumping the contents of the bowl onto the table and we drew in it, smeared it around and covered our hands with it. Definitely going to keep that one in mind for rainy days when the kids are driving me batshit. Make a batch of Goop, dump it on the table and let 'em have at it. It's good to be the Mommy.


Speaking of being the Mommy. Beth over at Crazy Us wrote the most wonderful post today about being a parent. It was precious. Read her post please. Heck, read her whole blog. She's a wonderful writer, a good momma and well, simply amazing. My comment to her post on parenting was:

"It's kind of a whooshy, gooshy, bumpy, whirly roller coaster ride that
you're not quite sure it's going to be fun while you're standing back there
looking at it, yet you know you want to try it, and when you finally try it
it's super fun and even though you get nauseous a few times you still cackle like a loon through the entire ride, crying because you want off but it's too much fun, but you're scared and you're exhilarated and whoosh...

all too soon it's over."

I thought that was a pretty good description of parenting. Except, most of the time instead of me actually puking I get to clean up someone else's.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Super Mom (a story)

This is my story for the latest story contest at Fizzle and Pop. Let me know what you think!


Janelle woke to the sound of the alarm clock blaring just inches from her head. She squinted her eyes shut when she found the glaring light of day to be too much, then slowly moved her hand from under the covers and smacked the snooze button as hard as she could. She opened one eye and nearly screamed when she was visually assaulted by her three year old’s nose consuming her field of vision. "Good GOSH, Meredith! Do you have to get so CLOSE when you wake me up?" The fuzzy-headed preschooler giggled and began a labored climb up the side of her parents’ bed. She vaulted over her mother and landed between the groggy, half-awake mother and the still-snoring father and laid there happily in the warmth between the two of them.

Janelle sighed and rolled over towards the middle of the bed. She curled around her youngest child, who snuggled in cozily. "Mere, we gotta get up. And I don’t wanna," she spoke into the mass of tangled curls on top of her child’s head. "I don’t wanna either, but my tummy wants a Pop-tart. So we gotta," Meredith replied. And in one smooth motion, the all too energetic child burst from under the covers, causing her father to groan and cover his head. "Roger, you need to get up, too. Now," Janelle said as she stifled a giggle and jerked the covers all the way off his underwear-clad body and ran from the room. She didn’t stop running until she reached the kitchen, where she flipped on a light and began making enough noise to wake the dead. Soon, her two sons staggered, not unlike zombies in a horror film, into the yellow kitchen and rubbed their eyes slowly. Zac, the oldest, laid his head on the table and immediately began snoring. Janelle shook her head as she watched Zane, who was awake enough to begin his mischief for the day. Her youngest son took advantage of his unaware brother by shaking salt onto his head which was as full of messy curls as Meredith’s. Poor Zac had no clue. She gave Zane a faux stern look and then focused her attention back to the coffee pot, the appliance that would soon bring forth the life-giving fluid that fueled her days.

Once the coffee pot started gurgling it’s morning song, she pulled out the toaster and stuck two strawberry Pop-tarts in for Meredith, pushed the lever sending them into the fiery depths of toaster-dom, then walked over to the table where Zac was still snoozing on his folded arms. She gently rubbed his back, the way she’d done since he was a baby, trying to coax him into a state of happy wakefulness, rather than the surly way he woke up on his own. He shifted a little in his seat and peeked one eye open at his mother. "Mum, do I hafta go to school today? I’m kinda feelin’ tired. No, sick. Yeah, I’m feelin’ sick. I think I have a fever. Really." Janelle smiled at her handsome 15 year old, shook her head and squeezed his shoulder. "Well, I tried," he said with a sigh and got up from the dining room chair. He stood and patted Janelle on the top of her head, since at 15, he already was tall enough to tower over his petite mother. "I’m off to get ready. Cook, I’ll have two eggs, over easy, 3 and one half slices of bacon - not too crisp, mind you - and an ice cold glass of milk for breakfast. And you’ll kindly have it ready upon my return." He snapped his fingers and Janelle, threw a potholder at him, as he stood in the doorway doing his best to imitate a spoiled rich kid, something he was definitely never going to be. "Zane, go get ready for school. Is it presumptuous of me to figure you want the same breakfast your socialite brother ordered, eh? Or would you prefer the breakfast your oh so finicky sister requested?"and, as if on cue, the toaster popped up two steaming hot Pop-tarts. "Mmmmm, hot preservative-filled jam, smeared between two slices of dry pastry, brimming with carbs. The breakfast of champions, Mom. Super." She threw the companion pot holder at her youngest son.

"Roger! Get UP! Egg number two is in the skillet RIGHT NOW and you are going to be late for work!" She heard her husband’s dresser drawer slam in response, letting her know he was indeed up, but probably not too happy about it. She put two slices of bread in the toaster, hit the button, then flipped the egg in the skillet. Meredith sat at the table, clad in her Blue’s Clues pajamas and pink feather boa, happily coloring in her Strawberry Shortcake coloring book, Pop-tart crumbs stuck to her cheeks, humming "Jesus Loves Me". Janelle’s breath caught in her chest, suddenly filled with an overwhelming sense of sheer happiness. Her life was perfect at that moment.

Breakfast was a non-stop hurricane of noise and activity, as her husband and two sons attacked the hot breakfast with the energy of ravenous cavemen fresh from the hunt. Meredith sat in her daddy’s lap while he ate, tickling his neck with the feathers she wore, giggling when he acted like it didn’t bother him. Janelle leaned on the bar and watched her family with a half-grin on her tired face. She always enjoyed watching the boys interact with each other and was glad their father was a part of their lives. He had always been aloof and stingy with his feelings, something she as a young bride had worried was going to cause problems when they had children, but when Zac entered their lives, a red-faced squalling infant, right there in the delivery room, the barriers that had held Roger’s emotions at bay for years, was broken. He instantly became a sensitive, emotional man who realized daily the blessings he had in his wife and now, years later, three children. He looked over at her, staring at him, and winked. He was a lucky man.

He thought she looked tired, but figured she really was just that - tired. She ran herself ragged, running the house with efficiency that knew no bounds, kept track of countless school and social activities for the boys, volunteered at Meredith’s preschool, helped with the boys’ Scouts projects, was always a gracious hostess when Roger asked her to entertain and seemingly had an inability to tell anyone no when they asked of her. He made a mental note to look into a weekend away for the two of them, possibly that weekend. He would call his mother on the way to work to see if she could keep an eye on the kids and began planning in his mind a weekend for his beautiful wife that would allow her to rest and enjoy herself.

"Boys, we need to go," he hollered down the hall, while he helped Meredith with her coat. "Nelle, I’ll take Mere today, okay? You can pick her up this afternoon, but I think you need to rest this morning," he said, but when he saw her emerge from their bedroom looking radiant and positively glowing, he added, "Well, you did look tired, but you don’t now. Wow." She stood on her tiptoes to kiss him and smiled her trademark half smile. "I’m Super Mom. I don’t get tired. And my kids need me." Then she picked up her purse, called to the boys which caused what sounded like a stampede, took Meredith’s hand and headed toward the door. "I’ve got things under control, Rog. Now, you go to work and be a hero. We’ll see you tonight." But Roger felt like he needed to give her the morning off. He insisted she stay home, put on her sweats, lay on the couch and watch a movie or something. Maybe call a friend or her mother. Read a book. "Nelle, I have it under control. Just rest, k? You can resume your Super Mom-ish duties at 1, when it’s time to pick up Meredith. In the meantime, take a break." She tried in vain to convince him she was fine, but in the end she relented, although she wasn’t really tired. The thought of talking on the phone to her best friend for more than 5 minutes and for more than a recipe swap did sound good, though. She kissed the kids, kissed Roger once more, then watched them pull out of the driveway.
The highway patrolman said Roger’s car had crossed the center line and the semi driver had no time to swerve to miss him. The paramedics knew immediately that Roger had suffered a major stroke the minute they saw the slack muscles on the left side of his face.

What happened in the weeks to follow the funeral are still a mystery. It seemed Janelle grieved quietly as she watched those around her tend to her duties, the ones that she normally handled with ease and temerity. She took the sedatives her mother handed her with no argument. She was afraid to know what she’d feel if she came out from under the veil of the medicated fog they had her in. She sat stoically and tearless while those around her, consoled, sympathized and offered prayers and thoughts. She watched numbly from the limousine as the four hearses pulled into the cemetery.
When the last person left and she was alone for the first time, the quietness of the house was too much. She picked up her car keys and walked out the door. Her purse sat on the table by the door.

"Miss Jane, you sure are lookin’ pretty today," chirped the nurse who opened the mini-blinds, flooding the room with morning light. "It’s supposed to be nearly 70 degrees today, girl! I think this is a perfect day for you to get some sunshine on that pretty face of yours. The jonquils are starting to bud, the birds are downright twitterpated and it’s nearly Spring!" Barbara straightened the covers on the bed, talking nonstop the whole time about nothing in particular, but making it seem happy nonetheless. She veritably attacked the young woman’s hair with a brush, smoothing the tangled curls into submission, but barely. She took a warm, wet cloth and carefully, gently washed the smooth, beautiful, but always sad face of the woman who was younger than herself. She was face to face with her, and pleadingly she said, "Jane, if you would just talk to us...please honey? There has to be something going on in that head of yours. There has to be someone out there that misses you, sweetie. Please talk, please." But her pleas were met with nothing more than a blank stare from the young woman who sat in her chair, day after day, occasionally crying softly, but never speaking.

Oh, her thoughts were lucid enough. She knew what was going on around her. She knew her name was Janelle Cleary and she was 35 years old. She knew she was in a nursing home in Mobile, Alabama, some 1500 miles from her home. She knew she had driven till her car ran out of gas nearly 6 months ago and wandered into a hospital ER one day after 2 weeks on the street. She spoke once when she said, in response to a query about her name, "I'm Super Mom," and as a single tear made it's way down her pale cheek she finished, "But now I’m tired and my kids don’t seem to need me anymore."

We....the people

Originally published in The Miami News-Record, July 2020 Everything is different now. I’m not just talking about masks and social distancing...