Tuesday, February 27, 2007

sucking my will to live - and use capitals

okay, there is a demon living in my sinuses. he's evil, this demon, and only lives to make me miserable. his name is "pesky not-quite-spring cold" and he is a force to be reckoned with. he also has a live-in buddy named "allergies" and together they are capable of making you wish you were dead.

riddle me this, batman.....i had an in-home daycare for nearly 3 years and during those 3 years i bet i didn't come down with anything more than a day or two of sniffles. the children, they gave me super immunity. now that the little germ factories - more fondly known as "children" - are not in my home daily i catch every little thing that comes down the pike. i've had a mild case of the flu, a raging case of bronchitis that made me wheeze for a solid week and now i've got the cold to end all colds. what's up with this? i still have children in my home! they're MINE and they're germy, too!

this sucks.

and while i'm on a rampage and not using capitals, riddle me this one, too, batman....

i want to know why it is that my college history instructor finds it perfectly okay to give me a 78% on my first essay assignment - a perfectly well-written paper, albeit a bit vague and i see where he counted off on some things, but still a decent paper. and also, i've seen how some of these people write on the message boards, i've seen the horrific grammar and spelling they use. how are these people even attending college, much less passing?? seriously, i don't get it. i'm not saying i'm better than anyone else - okay, yes i am. i am better at grammar and spelling - but my gosh, what kind of grades are these folks getting on their papers if i'm getting 78%'s??? huh? yeah, g'head riddle me that one if you please. i just don't get it.

and now i'll be getting off my soap box because the kleenex that i have stuffed into my sleeve like one of those old ladies at church has become so snot-soaked that it's making my arm pruny like how your fingers look when you've been in the bathtub too long.

pretty picture, eh? yeah, you wish you were me. admit it.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Well, she has a point

Today Kady and I were out on the front porch, enjoying some sunshine. She was playing with Mamacita, our oh so fertile momma cat who is pregnant again for the umpteenth time. The poor cat looks like she's going to explode, bless her heart.

Kady looked up and said, "Momma, I think Mamacita's already had her kittens. She looks skinnier today."

I shook my head after looking at the bloated thing and said, "No, sweetie. She's still got babies inside her. She's still pretty fat."

Kady didn't even look up from petting the cat when she said, "You've already had all your babies."

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Whose space is it anyway?

"Whatcha doin', Momma?"

"Oh, just messin' around with MySpace."


"Yeah. MySpace."


"Yes, it's my space. MySpace."

"But then if someone says 'MySpace' isn't it their space?"

"Who's on first?"

"Oh Momma, you're so funny. No one's on first. They're on your space."

What a mess

I still have a baby monitor in Kady's room even though she is five and no longer a baby, but instead Queen of the Universe. For nearly a week the monitor was unplugged because for some strange reason Kady decided to play her GameBoy while it was plugged in next to my bed. (Don't ask me why - she's the Queen of the Universe and it's not wise to question her.) But Sunday night before I went to bed I, ultimately beckoned to do so by God himself obviously, plugged the monitor back in.

I was awakened at 11:45 by The Sound. Man....asthma SUCKS. The weather went from cold to warm and weather changes do it every time. Grr.

She missed school Monday and by missing school, also missed school pictures. Poor thing. She was crushed. She so loves to pose for pictures. When there is a camera pointed at her she automatically cocks her head just a bit, drops her chin, bats her eyelashes in preparation and poses. She's done it since she was a baby. Probably something to do with her royal lineage or something like that.

So Monday was spent blowing albuterol into her face every 3 hours and listening to her bark and wheeze and ask to go to the hospital. Thankfully we managed to keep her out of there this time, but when she asks to go I know she's scared. She doesn't really like going.


Last week I decided to tackle my non-working CD burner once again now that I have a warranty, which I actually had all along I just didn't know it, but that's a long story. Anyway, when I first spoke to the rep from Dell and she asked me to burn a song to a CD and it worked I thought that through the powers that reside in my overly cluttered office (Betcha didn't know that clutter had powers. Trust me on this one.) the drive had healed itself.

But what happened was...she only asked me to burn one song. One song, one document will burn fine. It's when you try to burn more than one anything that the thing goes berzerkers. So last night I decided that I'd do an online chat with a Dell rep, thinking that it might be easier to not have to try to understand the accent to handle things that way, but instead I spent 3 1/2 hours in a chat room. And not a fun chatroom with my homies but a chatroom with first Jateeri, then Chetan and finally Iti who were only there to address my computer needs. We changed burn speeds, checked hardware, checked software, deleted and reinstalled drivers and my family didn't get dinner until 7 and I didn't get my computer fixed.

Instead I now have to reinstall my operating system. How much fun is this going to be? Methinks not much at all.

See.....my CD burner doesn't work. Anyone see the problem yet? G'head, shout it out if you think you know the answer. Yep, it's very hard to back up all of your data without a CD BURNER!!

So here is where my Christmas present from Paul and the kids come in handy. Here is also where my brother-in-law comes to my rescue yet again. I got a flash drive for Christmas and Bub has a laptop. We are going to spend the evening moving pictures and data from my flash to his laptop and then burning it all. I'm making him dinner. Dinner started out as a thank you for taking Sam to basketball practice for me on Sunday, so it looks like I'm still going to owe him. I'll let Tater and Paul eat, too. It would be really hard for them to just sit and watch us eat dinner like that.

And all of this in the middle of mid-terms which THANKFULLY I finished up Monday night.

Is it summer yet?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Who you callin' old?

Paul and I had our Valentine's Day date last night. Y'all know I hate Valentine's Day, right? I mean, really hate Valentine's Day. Have since Junior High, probably will forever. If you love someone, show them you love them every day. Not just on February 14th. You can call it bitterness, sour grapes, crotchety old woman syndrome, whatever. I don't care what you call me when it comes to Valentine's Day - I'm usually too cranky to care what you call me on that day.


We had a wonderful dinner at the Clubhouse Restaurant inside Stables Casino then went to High Winds Casino INSTEAD of going to the movies like I wanted to. It wasn't until my sister called me FROM THE THEATRE because she was under the impression we were going and couldn't figure out why she didn't see me in the crowd at Music and Lyrics (Yeah, I was under that impression, too, sister. I. Was. Too.) that Paul said, "Oh, you wanted to go to the movies? Well, let's go right now then!" Tater called me as the movie was starting. I stomped away from him in such a huff, lemme tell ya. He didn't care, but it made me feel better.

And people wonder why I loathe Valentine's Day and All Things Romantic.

ANNNNNNNNNNNNyway............ again.

We got home at 1:30am and by the time he built a fire and I mopped the kitchen floor and then collapsed into bed, it was after 2. Then Mr. Chattypants, the man who grunts in lieu of all conversation on every other day of my life, decided to be OH SO TALKATIVE and I'd just about get to sleep and he'd ask me a question or blurt out his theory on quantum physics and the next Presidential election. And just for the record, no, we did not even get jiggy wit' it. The are just some dates that do not warrant such things.

I had left my van at Mom's when I dropped off the kids, so when that alarm went off at 6 this morning so I could get up and go into town with him on his way to work, I nearly cried. I was so tired. He dropped me off, I took the kids to the donut shop (deep-fried sugary pastries help cure all things - fatigue, bad attitudes over rotten holidays and dates gone wrong, PMS, and gout) then to Wal*Mart to pick up a few things for the Pampered Chef show I hosted today.

We got home and I was so glad I had mopped at 1:45am. I jumped in the shower while the kids watched cartoons, slapped on some makeup, then started making food because I think I am Paula Deen's long lost love-child because I have this overwhelming, incredible urge to feed people if they are going to be in my home.

The party was fun - I think we thoroughly teed off the consultant a few times with our interrupting, raucous laughter and veiled references to gettin' jiggy wit' it, but I don't think she hates us too awful much.

I had to check my web doohickymajig for school because I knew I had a mid-term in English that I need to do tomorrow and I also knew I had a Psych test tomorrow, but I had totally forgotten about a History exam due by tomorrow, too. YEAH. I need to sit down and just finish up the semester in History. That class just sneaks up on me. Now, if I were a good, responsible student I'd work on some of it tonight instead of using up a whole 15 minutes to write this blog post, but instead I'm twisting my priorities, claiming extreme tiredness that even deep-fried sugary pastry won't fix and I'm going to bed. It's 9. The kids have only been in bed 30 minutes.

It's Valentine's Day that does this to me. I'm old because of Valentine's Day. If I could sue someone over it, I would. Hmmm....I wonder if I could somehow blame this on ConAgra.......

Friday, February 16, 2007

Poopy Peanut Butter

Damnit, I've eaten Peter Pan peanut butter since I was a kid. I hate to have to quit now.

Yesterday Tater called to tell me about the Peter Pan recall. I got my last two jars of Peter Pan when I used my last WIC voucher in December. I bought one extra because I loves - okay, loved - me some Peter Pan. I am such a peanut butter snob. No Jiff or Skippy for me, nosiree. My friend, Queen Tammy, says it's my OCD. I think I just have sensitive tastebuds. Anyway, we took one of those jars to Disney World with us last month, but because of the Dining Plan we didn't eat not one single pb&j in the hotel room. THANK GOD. I can just imagine how wonderful the trip would've been had all 9 of us come down with Salmonella on vacation.

Yes, I have two of the suspicious jars in my pantry. (Okay, HAD them in my pantry. They are now in biohazard bags in isolation on the back porch until I don my HazMat suit so that I can remove the lids and return them to ConAgra.) God only knows how many jars of Peter Pan we have consumed since last May. We are some peanut butter eatin' fools, lemme tell ya.

And I normally wouldn't get so irate over some questionable peanut butter, except that since Sunday night in the middle of the night, Kady has off and on been stricken with horrific abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Monday was her first day of school for the semester and she nearly didn't go because her stomach hurt so bad. She finally mustered up the courage to go ("But Momma, what if I POOP MY PANTS at school?!?!?") because I told her she'd be fine, figuring it was nerves. Then when she got home and crapped 5 times in an hour, I thought, Okay she'd picked up a stomach bug. But bless her heart, all dang week she's been prone to doubling over in tears with cramps or running to the bathroom, unbuttoning her drawers while she runs, hollering "Oooh! Oooh! Gotta GO, gotta GO!"

When Tater told me of the tainted peanut butter, my heart just sunk right down to my shoes. That poor child could possibly have food poisoning and I've been making her suffer. I am once again, thrown to the back of the line for Mother of the Year. I called her doctor's office and first, asked the nurse to please not laugh at me, then told her what was going on and that I was worried about the peanut butter. The normal protocol in that office is "We'll call you back", but instead yesterday I got "Hang on, I'll talk to David. DON'T hang up." She came back on the line and told me that they definitely wanted to test her for Salmonella.

That involves putting my child's poop in a cup, folks.

Ever tried to get a 5-year old to poop on command?

I picked up a lab order, a specimen cup and a "hat" today while she was in school and she heard me on the phone with my mom, telling her of the horrors that were ahead for me, what with the putting of the poop in a cup and all. When I hung up, Kady in her usual indignant fashion said, "Momma, WHY would Dawktah Dabid want me to weaw a hat? Does he want me to wook pwetty whiwe I poop?"

Friday, February 09, 2007

Wheezing all the way to the dentist's office

I never did come down the real live, full fledged flu. Instead, I was chosen to be the host of a vile band of gypsy germs that lives in one's chest and causes one to wheeze like that dog on the old Saturday morning cartoons....what was that dog's name......yeah, Muttley (thank you, Google). This band of germs also causes one to wish for death almost hourly.

The other night, Paul and I were lying in bed, spooning and talking about the kids and how if they don't stop fighting I will gnaw my left arm off, when all of the sudden he stopped and said, "Shhhh.....be quiet. What is that noise?" I listened, then realized what it was. I said, "Oh, sorry. That's just me breathing. I'll try to be quieter. And honey, do you think your insurance will cover an iron lung? Because I may need one."

Today I had a doctor's appointment to follow up on the labwork they did back in August when I found out that I have Factor V Leiden. I figure, if they haven't called me since August, that the results must've been okay. Sure enough, she said that my blood clotted as normally as blood can clot, that I was straight in the middle of the therapeutic level. So that was good. After getting that news, I said, "And while I'm here...." She didn't even look up from my chart, she just said, "Yeah, we're going to fix that wheezing thing you're doing. I can hear you all the way over there." So I'm now on 1000mg of amoxicillin twice a day for 10 days. I really wanted a steroid and an iron lung to go with it, but she assured me that the antibiotic would do it. Me, I'm not so convinced, I think it's viral, but I guess since I'm just a lowly Mass Communcations major in junior college and not a doctor, I have to trust her.

My doctor's appointment was at 11 and at 1 I had an appointment in the dental clinic out there at Indian Health Services. I haven't been to a dentist since I was 5 months pregnant with Sam. Yeah. He's 8 now. I just really don't like going to the dentist. My excuse has been that the dentist I'd seen my whole life, retired. Plus, I don't have dental insurance and the indians here haven't treated adults until just recently. I have one filling in my head and I got it when I was 7. In the past few months, that tooth has decided that occasionally I should not be allowed to enjoy hot or cold foods and therefore grabs me by the proverbial nutsack and twiiiiiiists. Granted, I have no nutsack, but if I did and it was in my tooth, I bet that's what it would feel like.

Now, I'm not a dental student, just a Mass Comm. major, but I thought that the term "occlusion" meant the lining up of the teeth. At least, that's what I understood from hearing the kids' orthodontist speak jargon to his assistants. I looked it up online and yeah, that's what it is. But for some reason, today, everytime she spoke the word "occlusion" she meant "YOU VILE, VILE WOMAN, YOU HAVE YET ANOTHER CAVITY." She said the word "occlusion" 9 times, just for the record. This vile, vile woman has 9 cavities in her vile, vile mouth. I was devastated. I have no one to blame but myself and my fear and loathing of dental offices in general.

It made me feel better when she told me that two of the cavities are very small divots and she can probably buff them out, rather than fill them. ("Get out the Turtle Wax, honey! We're goin' to the dentist!") And one of the cavities is actually just the old filling that she's going to replace and make all pretty and white. All but one of the rest are small and nothing major, but that one is a real doozy she said. Yay. She asked me if I wanted to get them taken care of in more appointments or less appointments. I said, "Can you just shoot me in the head right now and get it over with?" She found me witty and charming, even if I am vile and full of decay. I chose the less appointments option and she sent me on my way with these parting words, "And we will be discussing gum health at your cleaning." Not only are my teeth vile, but so are my gums.

I go back in March for a cleaning and then 3 days later get half of my fillings. I hope I'm out of the iron lung by then - it might be hard for her to work around.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Yucky blucky flu

Because Walgreens, the pharmacy we usually use, had given my sister the last two bottles of Tamiflu for kids, we had to use the demon pharmacy in town to get our Tamiflu on Friday. And since it isn't the pharmacy we usually use, they said I had to go there and personally present the kids' insurance cards rather than have someone else pick it up, like my husband who was already in town - probably because they wanted to steal my soul in person. So Kady and I got around to head into town. As I was getting my keys to go start the van, the phone rang - it was the school. Abby was in the office wanting something for her sore throat. I told the secretary that I'd just come get her. I'd been expecting a call all day, to be honest. So I picked Ab up, went to the demon pharmacy, got the medicine from their hellishly unfriendly demon staff without having to present their insurance cards (I swear I heard Satan laugh from behind the shelves of drugs), then went to the grocery store to get some Sprite (because I grew up as a child of the 70's and everyone from that era knows that Sprite and 7Up have magical healing powers), milk and bread then came home to hole up.

Things went fine that night, but ooooh golly Saturday morning all hell broke loose.

Abby was running a fever, complaining of a sore throat, her cough sounded horrific, she was pale and lethargic. Then Kady started complaining of a severe headache and her fever spiked up to 104.2. Yeah. Then...........then, they both started puking. It was grand times around here. Poor Sammy just laid in the floor and played PS2 and watched cartoons and tried to ignore us all. I wasn't feeling too great myself, so when I wasn't holding puke buckets for the girls I was curled up in the recliner, wrapped up in a blanket. I called Paul when he got off work and had him pick up more Motrin, Tylenol, cough syrup and a new thermometer. Our digital one died and I've been using an old bulb thermometer for the last 6 months. Which is fine until a kid's temp jumps up to the really high numbers, then I want to be able to know exactly how hot they are because I'm strange that way.

Yesterday was better. All fevers were gone, no more barfing, but they are both still pale and tired today. All in all, it was a very, very mild case of the flu. I think the fact that they both had flu shots this year and we got them on the Tamiflu very early is what kept it from being much, much worse. Sam has a mild cough, but he's had it since Thursday, so I figure it's just a cough and nothing more. I kept Abby home again today because she wears out so quick. She's not happy about it and presently is having an energy surge and is driving me nuts wanting to bake cookies, play on the computer, help me with my homework, paint the house, email her Congressman and cure cancer. She'll wear out here in a few minutes and go lie listlessly on the couch for awhile. I hope she can go back to school tomorrow.

Last night I started chilling and my body started aching. The cough I'd had since Saturday got worse, so I came out here to do up some homework ahead of time just in case I got down, but this morning I feel better. Either I was just tired or I have the immune system of Super Man. Either way, it's working for me, so I won't complain.

Because I've been submerged in it, I wrote my article for the campus newspaper about the flu outbreak in our area. I'm not an expert, but I play one in my home while I hold puke buckets for my kids.

Friday, February 02, 2007

It didn't take me as long this time

I got my first C on a test last night. I should be impressed with myself. When I was a kid it took me until my Freshman year to accomplish that. Now that I'm 34 it's only taken me 4 weeks to get one.

Mrs. E keeps telling me it's okay to get a C or two and I honestly keep repeating that in my head. I really do. (And I SO appreciate you, Mrs. E!) When I finished the quiz last night, knowing down deep in my gut that I had bombed it quite effectively, I was almost a bit relieved to find that 75% on the score page. I was expecting to see something further down the alphabet.

And it's not that I didn't study. I swear to you I did. But come on, the quiz was over the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. I read them, re-read them, read them again, skimmed over them thinking that approach might work better, shook my head and rubbed my eyes, read them again, cussed at them, pounded my fists on them and for the life of me could not make any of it make sense. I am a horrible U.S. citizen. I did crappy on the Constitution exam. My incredibly Democratic, political family will be so disappointed.

I know it's not the History course itself. I've actually done pretty well on every quiz up until this one and have an 85% in the class. I am almost halfway enjoying reading about the civilization and modernization of our young country, the building of the railroads, and other things that have helped shape the country we are today, but the most important document in our history, the Big Kahuna of Information I Should Know, is dry, boring and frankly reads like stereo instructions.

And another thing, WHEN WHEN WHEN did we stop putting two spaces at the end of a sentence when we type? Was this not put to a vote somewhere? I never saw anything about it on the news. I have been typing since I was 15 years old. Granted, I learned to type on an actual typewriter that didn't even have correction tape and we had to use WiteOut strips, but that's neither here nor there. I am 34 years old. I've been typing for roughly 20 years and I want to know WHEN we stopped double spacing at the end of a sentence! Frankly, this has me more worked up than the C on the Constitution exam. It's a hard habit to break. Quitting smoking is easier than not adding that extra space after a period. I'm getting ready to type two papers and it plainly states in the instructions that only one space should be put after a period. Argh!

On a lighter note, I KICKED ASS on my first English test - I got a 98.2%! I was kind of nervous because it snuck up on me and I felt a little unprepared, but I was surprised to find that I knew the answers. I knew the answers! When I was telling Bub about it, he said, "Uhh...you should be able to do an English test while you're asleep, Kristin." And 15 years ago that would've been the case, but y'all read my writings on here. Y'all know that I obviously am not too worried about particulars for the most part.

I also got an 86% on my first Psychology test, which I was pretty durn happy about. Right now I have a 91% in the class. Of course, I find the course itself to be about as exciting as toenail clippings, but oh well.

I am utterly adoring my Principles of Advertising class. We're currently discussing branding and target customers and what works in marketing. The dicussions and assignments are interesting and challenging. I can't say I'm going to run out and get a job with an advertising firm, but for a "for fun" class, it's really pretty fun.

Also, I am now a published contributing writer for the campus newspaper. The paper went to print while we were in Florida, but I sent my brief in ahead of time and prayed it didn't suck. My advisor told me that most articles are shot back and forth between her and the writer 3 or so times until they get it right. But my brief was printed just as I wrote it. I was SO HAPPY when I saw it. She's also given me the opportunity to write a news brief AND a full-fledged article for this next paper. Of course, I just learned of this yesterday and the deadline is Monday at noon. She also sent me an email telling me that that first effort was "GREAT!" (Yes, I just quoted one word. Hush.) To me, it just affirms that writing is really what I want to do and should be doing. Whether that writing is for a newspaper somewhere, for myself in the form of a book or just contentedly pecking away here on my blog. Wherever it is, I'm happy when I'm writing. (Babs knows what I'm talking about. Go see her. She's found a new niche of her own.)

We are smack dab in the middle of a very brief Girl Scout cookie sales. Last year Abby sold 130-some boxes. This year we're going to be lucky to manage 30. I may buy 25 myself, bless her heart. I just can't seem to get it together this year and now on top of it all....

Tater's youngest tot tested positive for THE FLU today. Yesterday was a snow day and I had my three here, her two and Chandler. Abby had been complaining of her throat hurting since she got up, but I told her it was allergies. Then Little Tot started complaining of his throat hurting when he coughed, so I gave him some cough strips and Motrin and called his momma. I figured it was Strep, which he is very prone to, but told her that he wasn't running a fever so just to leave him. I guess he woke up this morning much, much sicker. She took him to the a.m. clinic, the PA took one look at him and said, "That baby has the flu!" The nasal swab just confirmed what she knew. So upon on hearing that dastardly news, I called my kids' PA and the nurse said she'd call Abby in some Tamiflu. I asked if they wanted to see her to test her as well and she said, "NO! We don't want her in here! Keep her and her germs at home." And I can't say I blame them. If Abby doesn't have the flu she could very well catch it at the clinic. So not only did they call in Tamiflu for her, but for the other two as well. All of the Tater household is on it, too. Paul and I, however, are just praying. And I'm drinking Airborne every 3 hours like it's nectar from the gods. It makes me gag, but I keep telling myself it's better than dying of Influenza, which is what I'm 100% sure the flu would do to me - kill me dead.

Strep and the Chicken Pox are also competing with the flu pandemic, too. Not only is Oklahoma experiencing an actual winter, but we've obviously pissed off God and are going to be wiped out en masse.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Your chicken has what?

The day of my birthday we had lunch reservations at Liberty Tree Tavern in the Magic Kingdom. The restaurant was decorated like a colonial tavern and thus, the waitresses looked like demure maids in aprons and those Betsy Ross-lookin’ caps and the waiters, strapping young lads in knickers. It was a total kick.

I, of course, was wearing my birthday pin, allowing all those around me to bask in the glow of my 34ness. There was little Mickey-shaped confetti scattered all over the table in honor of our celebration. I ordered the William Penne Pasta which wasn’t all that good, but who really cares - it was my birthday. However, the dessert I ordered - a Grilled Pound Cake with Caramel Pecan Sauce served with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (yes that is the exact title from the menu - it was so good I’ll never forget it) was simply the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth.

However, I’m putting my pound cake before my horse, so to speak.

While we were still eating our meal, the waitress came around the corner ringing a handbell and carrying a gigantic cupcake with a candle in it. It was for the table next to us. She then did some schpiel about "Hear ye, hear ye, the honorable young Gwendolyn from the fair colony of Florida is turning 5 today...." and whathaveya. I was secretly wishing that I was going to get a handbell rung for me, but at the same time wishing that it was only for kids and I was to be spared. There’s a fine line between humiliation and jubilation sometimes.

Well, I got a bell run for me and "the honorable young Kristin from the great township of Oklahoma is celebrating a birthday today" was heard throughout the restaurant. Thankfully they left my age out of it because frankly, I’m not honorable or young and that might be considered lying. I then blew out my candle while the strapping young lads in knickers and my waitress in a night cap and an apron sang a birthday song to the tune of "Yankee Doodle", then I tried to pace myself while I ate that delicious grilled pound cake that literally melted in my mouth when what I wanted to do was just stick my face in it and devour it like a wolf. It really was good, just in case you don’t believe me.

The table next to us finished sharing honorable young Gwendolyn’s birthday cupcake and started to gather up their things to go. Young Gwendolyn was swinging between my chair and a chair at her table. I turned around and said, "Happy Birthday, Gwendolyn!" She didn’t look at me, but just kept on swinging. However, she did say thank you. Not to be ignored I pressed the conversation. "Today’s my birthday, too!" She stopped swinging, looked at me and smiled and said, "Oh." I asked her how old she was and she told me she was 5. I said, "Well, I’m not 5 - I’m 34 today." She again smiled and very politely said, "Who cares?" Now, don’t misconstrue things here - she wasn’t rude or hateful. She just stated very politely and matter-of-factly that she didn’t care how the hell old I was. I laughed because there was no way I could be offended by fair Gwendolyn on our shared birthday. She was 5 and couldn’t give a rat’s ass about the old lady talking to her at that moment. I couldn’t say I blamed her.

I then asked her where she was from and even though she didn’t ask where I was from, I told her anyway. Then out of the blue young Gwendolyn blurted out "CHICKEN NUTS!" I blinked and looked over at my mom who had been observing our conversation. We both kind of laughed, then little Gwennie again blurted out "CHICKEN NUTS! CHICKEN NUTS!" I said, "Well, uh, Gwendolyn, I think you’re just about the silliest thing I’ve seen today!" She grinned and once again proclaimed that poultry has testicles. Her mother, who had been occupied gathering up Gwendolyn’s very tiny 2-week old baby brother, was now ready to leave. She took Gwendolyn by the hand, but not before the child again yelled "CHICKEN! NUTS! CHICKENNUTSCHICKENNUTSCHICKENNUTS!" I looked at her mother, nearly asking if the poor thing had Tourette’s, but decided against it. Her mother said, "What is she saying?"

Now I, being a lover of most children, didn’t want the obnoxious little thing to get in trouble for saying something inappropriate, so I didn’t tell her mother that the child had at that point hollered CHICKEN NUTS at me approximately 7 times. Instead I smiled widely and said, "I. Have. No. Idea." Gwendolyn looked up at her mommy and said, "CHICKEN NUTS CHICKEN NUTS CHICKEN NUTS MOM!!!" Her mother looked at me like I was stupid and deaf and said plainly, "She’s saying ‘chick-ken-nuts’". Then took the birthday girl by the hand and led her out the door.

It was after they had exited the tavern that our whole table exploded into gales of laughter and of course, all 5 kids yelled "CHICKEN NUTS!" the rest of the day.

It was the best birthday ever.

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...