Monday, March 30, 2009

Preparing to purr

I have worn my hair straight all winter because the lower atmospheric humidity paired with the fact we heat with wood means our house is drier than a popcorn fart AND also means I can have good, frizz-free hair from about November through February. I have gotten compliments all winter, too, because I was rocking my curling brush and this product stuff my BFF Tiff sent for Ab but I kind of stole. I mostly curled it into big loose curls and pomaded it into submission and just kicked all kinds of good hair butt.

But alas, the time of dry air has come to an end once more and now it is time to bring forth the curls because Oklahoma's humidity runs on average around 4000% from now until October and if you have naturally curly hair you know that curls around humidity is like a bunch of cougars (and not the wild animal) at a Tom Jones concert. There is lots of panty-throwing. And swooning. And other things I can't mention in polite company.

For the most part my hair is cooperating - except for my bangs. I'm in the process of growing them out and they're long enough to curl properly but see, my bangs, they are impressionable and all of this straightness the past few months has made them desire to be straight for, like, ever. They are like the unruly cousins the rest of my hair doesn't want to invite to Thanksgiving dinner because my hair just knows my bangs will do something embarrassing. Like get drunk on the cooking sherry and talk loudly about Uncle Harvey's "special friend" or something like that.

I've been pinning them back every day like all the teenagers are doing, but in case you don't know - I'm 36. I am staring down the barrel of 40 and folks, it ain't pretty. Ab says my hair is cute and she's 12 and she would know - BUT I say it again, I am 36. I'm bordering on cougar myself. The time for cute is over. Plus, I don't leave the house much so pinning them back is okay because Nonner loves me as long as I keep him stocked with apple juice and Cheerios. Cougar or cute, I'm good with him.

The other night in a desperate attempt to show my bangs who's boss, I trimmed them, which is basically like kneecapping them and threatening them with a cement overcoat, if you knowhaddamean. It helped some and this morning I had one of the best hair days I've had since humidity came back to town and started drunk calling at 3am again. My curls were curls; they were well-arranged, submissive, not frizzy and well, if I'm going to be a cougar soon I might as well say it - RAWR. I was hawt. Paul even said so. (Of course, I think he was just trying to make the most of the fact we were in the house sans kids because he's a man that way)

I had to take Sam to Tulsa today for his orthodontic x-rays and impressions, so I finished getting ready, sprayed my hair with my "flexible hold" hairspray (because you don't want the curls to form into a solid shell or helmet) and got ready to wow the city of Tulsa. Then I opened my front door, stepped outside and was immediately transformed into Phyllis Diller.

If you're reading this blog and you don't know who Phyllis Diller is, one, Google her and quick.

And two, does your momma know you're reading a soon-to-be-cougar's blog?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Things have changed

Yesterday morning a man in our neighborhood was murdered. He was a grandfather, a husband, a father, a businessman and now he's gone. He was murdered in a home break-in. They woke his family and him up at 4am, tied them, gagged them, beat his wife and shot him. Things like that don't happen in our area. Things like that should not happen in our neighborhood.

We have lived in our house 8 years and never once have I felt scared in this house. We live out in the boondocks and yet I have never had a moment's unease in our home or on our property.

Until now.

We don't have many neighbors but, aside from the dog-hitting neighbor, we get along with the few we have. I have exchanged recipes with the elderly lady who lives to the west of us. She's sent us dinner and I've sent them dinner when the other is under the weather. Her husband helped me dispose of a dead kitten once before the kids got home and Paul has gone up to help him with some farm machinery. We wave to cars we meet on the dirt road - whether we know them or not. Paul has gone down to the creek bottom at 11 at night a time or two when we've heard the sounds of a truck stuck in the mud. Last week when the neighbor girl to the east broke up with her boyfriend Abby and I made her cookies because we are firm believers that cookies make everything better.

But I'm afraid cookies won't fix this.

For the first time in their lives, my kids were scared when they went to bed last night. That hurt my heart so badly. I tucked them in, assured them once again that their daddy and I were doing every we knew to do to keep them safe. I kissed foreheads, told them I loved them then walked into the living room and busted into tears. Paul didn't sleep in the bed with me last night - he slept on the couch with a loaded gun close by. The Glock he bought me a few years ago that I have never fired nor felt the need to and has been tucked away separate from the clip for years now, was pulled out of hiding, loaded and put where I can get to it if I need to.

Now, you might say we're overreacting but when something so heinous, so shocking, so tragic happens in a small rural community just outside of a small town....I think maybe everyone overracts in their own way. Ours just happens to be by arming ourselves to the hilt. While I have my pistol, Paul also showed me how to shoot his semi-automatic assault rifle and how to shoot from the hip with the shotgun and that putting it to my shoulder and aiming isn't necessary if I'm trying to knock someone out the front door away from our kids. One of my Facebook friends left a status message last night that her husband had given her her first handgun lesson. It's springtime - a time we usually have the doors and windows open. Not right now. Maybe not ever again.

My heart is sad, my soul is weary, my body is exhausted. I woke up to every sound last night. I checked on the kids several times. I walked the floor, looking out the windows, checking the door locks.

No, I'm afraid this is too big for cookies.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

GNO, Vacation and Alone Time - The Trifecta

Last Friday my little sister, my little Godsister and I went out for a much-needed Girls' Night Out. We ate at a Thai restaurant (which was a little scary for me because I am not an adventurous eater), listened to some great jazz (even though I'm not a fan of jazz, it was good) and laughed till our eyeliner was just a memory.

Saturday I took Kady to a birthday party at the Maccaroo Gym in Joplin, MO, where she bounced and bounced and bounced herself nearly into a 7 year old frenzy. That place is CRACK, I'm tellin' ya. It is truly an amazing place to take your kids and if you're in the area you should check it out. They are very safety and security-conscious and it was clean and well, it was just CRACK.

This week is Spring Break for the kids, so Monday morning Cousin Courtney, Nonner, the kids and I headed for Oklahoma City (or "The City" as we hicks call it) to see my uncle, the state representative, in action. (Tater's tots were supposed to go as well, but TotOne got sick with strep throat overnight and they had to stay home, bless their hearts) We picked up with Aunt Janet at the Capitol, headed to Bricktown, ate at Spaghetti Warehouse, walked around awhile, checked out the canal and water taxi, sight-saw (sight-seen? sight-seed?) and then went to the Capitol just in time for the afternoon session to be adjourned. We knew it was going to be a short session, so we didn't hurry to fly back over after Bricktown. Uncle Larry took us onto the floor, we got some pictures, then I had my first ever "tweet-up" with Leslie Blair who was the most famous person we met all day. (See, Leslie, you're not just "neat" - you're still famous!) We visited with her awhile then Uncle Larry took us up to his office where he loaded up the kids with official Oklahoma State House of Representatives pencils, autographed copies of the photo-roster thing (autographed at Sam's request), gave Sam a OK state flag (I thought the boy was going to faint he was so excited) and then Uncle Larry took us on an amazing tour through the Capitol building. Sam declared that he will work there someday. Hopefully as Governor so his momma can live in the mansion with him. I don't think his wife will mind. I could be their nanny. Yeah.

And Monday's trip was my first experience driving with a talking GPS. I dare say I think I love that woman in my cousin's Garmin.

Tuesday and Wednesday were Paul's days off so we drove to Springfield Tuesday around noon, visited Dickerson Park Zoo, left the zoo and drove around for another hour because he didn't like my motel suggestions on Glenstone where pretty much the majority of motels are located, ended up going back to Glenstone to find a motel (I promise I didn't say "told you so" even though I really wanted to) and then we crashed. We were going to go to Bass Pro that night but by about 7:00pm the drive to OKC the previous day and all the zooing and driving that day caught up with the kids and I. Paul and the kids were asleep by 8:45.

We got up yesterday morning and went to Battlefield Mall where we went directly to Build A Bear Workshop to build new critters even though I had previously put a moratorium on building anything new. We left with a lamb named Mary, a turtle named Duuude and an emo-bunny named Coraline. Guess which kid made which animal. G'head, just guess. (If it gives you any clue, Abby left for our trip on Tuesday wearing a shirt with skulls all over it, skinny jeans, four metric tons of eyeliner beneath her gorgeous brown eyes and blue hair.)

After the mall we visited the High Temple of Redneck, aka Bass Pro Shop. We saw a 100+ year old snapping turtle, bought spring-loaded fly swatter guns, a camouflage visor, and my husband a new redneck t-shirt. Then we rounded out the entire trip with a visit to Incredible Pizza.

All I wanted to do today was sleep until I stopped, but noooooooooooooo Abby and TotOne had to be at a Red Cross Babysitter Training course at 9am. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad they're taking it, but dude, I need some sleep.

I dropped Kady and Sam off at Mom's this morning while I took the girls to the class. They said I could stay if I wanted, but none of the other moms stayed so I left, too. I called Mom to see where she was so I could pick up my other two kids since I wasn't obligated to watch the two tweens diaper dolls and learn infant CPR, but she said Pops had the boy and she had KD and that I should go home. The only thing she asked was that I didn't sleep the day away, but instead do something constructive.

Blogging is totally constructive. So is Facebook.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Under My Skin

A few weeks ago I was excited to see that a girl I adored in the 4th grade is on Facebook. I thought she was the bee's knees back when we were 10, especially so after a playdate at her house where I disovered she had one of those wicker chairs you hang from the ceiling and you see cheesy 1970's Senior pictures taken in them with the edges of the picture blurred and their name and graduating year inscribed in the corner. Yeah, she was cool. She was only at Wyandotte a year and I was devastated that she and her wicker swinging chair were gone from my life. Well, now apparently she and I are cousins because her momma is my stepdaddy's sister. My family tree now resembles a giant sequoyah.

She and I chatted on Facebook one afternoon and she made the comment that the one thing she remembered about me from her year at Wyandotte was The Giant Splinter. Of all things! That was the year I got the Little Orphan Annie perm! That was the year the chubbiness began! That was also the year that I discovered crying hysterically over anything got me sent out in the hall to "calm down" which was just free time sitting against the wall doodling in my Trapper Keeper. So WHY The Giant Splinter???

Because it's bizarre and now, 26 years later freaking hilarious.

In elementary school we had PE every day and we had it in the Old Gym. The Old Gym was dark and damp and always smelled of mold. It still does today. The bleachers were painted wood and we spent a lot of time chipping at the blue paint with our fingernails or maybe a contraband pocket knife back when pocket knives in the pockets of redneck children weren't considered weapons but a necessity of life and a rite of passage.

I believe it was Coach Phillips who was in the gym that fated day. He was a pretty no-nonsense kinda guy who smelled like coffee and cigarettes. I liked the heck outta him and he liked me, too, but he had me pegged as a drama queen.

I'm pretty sure it was a free day in PE that day because there were a lot of us just roaming around in the bleachers, or gathered in the back corner of the gym (where I'm pretty sure they said dirty words), or just wandering around aimlessly. Kristy Fink was sitting on the first row of the bleachers, watching whatever was going on on the floor. I decided to go sit by her, so I took off in kind of a fat girl run (jiggling trot would probably be more accurate) and when I got close to her I plopped onto the bleacher seat and was going to slide into her like the uber cool person I thought I was. Hey, sliding across surfaces was good enough for the Dukes so why couldn't I?

Except for the fact that in all the years of wear and tear and mold and mildew and kids with pocket knives, the edges of those bleachers were rough in spots, peeled back in others and in some places, downright jagged. As I slid towards Kristy my leg was placed directly in the path of a splintered-back edge and the velocity of my chubby Jordache jeans covered thigh plus jagged wood was all just one big recipe for imminent doom. Instead of being all cool as I bumped into my friend I found myself suddenly in severe thigh pain as I jumped up, started clawing at the back of my leg and screaming, "I'VE GOT A SPLINTER! I'VE GOT A SPLINTER!" Kristy looked at me like I was a total dork and she was totally justified. Coach Phillips saw me doing some kind of freaky dance and came over. Kristy, who was never much of one for excitement and drama anyway, looked at him blankly and said, "Uhmm.....she has a splinter?"

He wasn't quite sure what to do because obviously the problem was in my pants so he said, "Fink, take her to Mrs. Gatewood." Mrs. Gatewood, the school secretary, was really good at handing out bandaids and spraying that aerosol stuff on skinned knees that invariably left our skinned stained yellow for days. Mrs. Gatewood could fix anything. I felt hope.

I followed Kristy, limping and sobbing and honestly believing my life's blood was dripping down the back of my leg. We made it the 47 acres (okay, like 100 feet) to the office and into Mrs. Gatewood's little cubby hole. Kristy said again, "Uhmm....she has a splinter?" Mrs. Gatewood said I was going to have to pull down my pants so she could see, so she pulled the blinds on her window, shut the door and I de-pantsed. And as I was bent over to give them both a clear view of my thigh I watched as my very, very Native American companion turned as white as well, me. I heard Mrs. Gatewood gasp. I fuh-reaked. She sent Kristy back to the gym and picked up the phone to call my mom, my stay-at-home mom WHO WAS NOT AT HOME THAT DAY. What I would've given for a cell phone that day. Where was the Delorian and Doc Brown when I needed them??? Okay, so I didn't need to time travel, but maybe they could've driven my mom to the school really fast?

She didn't want me to pull my pants back up because she was afraid that splinter would do something freaky while it was covered or something, as rouge splinters are wont to do. It was obvious I couldn't sit down what with it being on the back of my leg, so the only logical thing for me to do was lie face-down on the principal's couch. Now keep in mind, at this point I still had no earthly idea what was embedded in the back of my leg, had no idea what was going on, other than it hurt like all get out. All I knew was Mrs. Gatewood gasped and Mrs. Gatewood was a pro at elementary school wounds. To make her gasp, well, I was convinced my leg bone was sticking right out the back of my chunky thigh.

Mr. Nichols, the principal, had an awful textured, faux-leather couch in his office where bad boys and girls sat when they were getting lectured. Mrs. Gatewood directed me to the couch that still to this day makes me think of black trash bags and told me to lie on my stomach. I shook my head because I had no desire whatsoever to lie there with my booty shining in the air while my mom got back from Outer Mongolia or wherever the heck she was. For all I knew, Mom was on safari in Africa; my mom was ALWAYS at home! Mrs. Gatewood said she'd get something to cover my hiney and grabbed Mr. Nichols' Wyandotte Bears jacket from the back of his chair, draped it over my backside and went back to her cubby hole to repeatedly re-dial our home phone number because this was 1983, we didn't have one of those fancy answering machines. And Doc Brown might as well have Caller ID hog-tied in his Delorian because that sure didn't exist. Heck, we still had a party line!

Mr. Nichols came in - probably from smoking in the boiler room with Coach Phillips - and of course, had to witness the abomination on the back of my leg himself. Then sat down at his desk to do some paperwork. He tried to make conversation at first, but all I could do was sob so he gave up. Some kid a few grades below me came in for swats. I cried twice as hard after that because even though the kid had just gotten his butt busted for cussing I was lying on the couch with my pants around my ankles and a vinyl jacket draped over my hind end. Oh yeah, forgot to tell you that no one thought to actually remove my jeans, they just left them wadded around my ankles, atop my Winner's Choice tennies.

FINALLY Mrs. Gatewood got hold of my mom who had been cavorting aimlessly at Consumer's or Walmart and told her I needed to be picked up. Mom said that when Mrs. Gatwood said I had a splinter her initial response was "So?" but then she said, "It's a REALLY big splinter. She's going to need to go to the hospital." I bet Mom put the pedal to the metal in the Nova to get to the school. Of course, when I saw Mom the tears began anew and after my butt was unveiled once more to show off the log impaling me, she asked Mr. Nichols if he could carry me to the car. They stood me up so I could wrap my arms around Mr. Nichols' neck, Mrs. Gatewood snapped the jacket around my waist while Mom pulled the car to the front doors and then the only thing missing would've been a guide truck with flashing lights and maybe a "WIDE LOAD" sign.

Here I was, dangling from the principal's neck, jeans still wadded around my ankles, a vinyl jacket with a giant snarling bear positioned right on my butt wrapped around my waist and a splinter the size of a telephone pole sucking my will to live in my thigh. AND just as we entered the lobby on the, what I'd hoped would be low-key, trek to the car, the 3rd graders entered the double doors coming in from PE. I will never forget Brandon Hutchings, who rode my bus, looking absolutely horrified and all but tackling Mr. Nichols to find out exactly what was wrong with me. Bless his heart.

Finally I slid into the backseat of the car, Mom sped off toward the house, where I was then moved to the couch by my dad, while Mom called the pediatrician to find out exactly what needed to be done. Now, my dad thought all of the world's problems could be solved with a pair of needle-nose pliers and offered to just remove the splinter himself, but my shrieks and screams nipped that quick. Upon hearing my screams, Dr. Lases said to bring me to the ER room at the clinic, they would be waiting.

One more dangling trek, via my dad's neck, to the exam bed in the clinic's ER room, then the doctor got his own needle-nose pliers to remove the splinter, but alas, it started to splinter back as he tried to pull it out. It was just under the skin, certainly not deep, but the grain only goes one way in wood usually. He ended up cutting the skin at the front end of the splinter and had to pull it out the way it went in. I didn't even need stitches, just some antibiotics. The splinter was roughly as big around as a toothpick and about 2 1/2 inches long. Certainly not something you want in the back of your thigh, perilously close to your hiney.

In the end....

Nah, there's no better way to finish this story than that.


Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Elizabeth wrote about how a certain title is used incorrectly and I was going to leave a comment about something that drives me batty, kind of along the same lines, but then decided that since I haven't posted here in about 400 eleventy thousand years I'd just make it a blog post of my own and totally give her credit for the virtual kick in the pants she gave me.

Okay, so the pet peeve is this:

A person who is addicted to alcohol is an alcoholic. Correct?

If someone declares themselves to be addicted to chocolate they call themselves a "chocoholic", right? Or if they say they are addicted to shopping they say they are a "shopaholic", right?


The "ohol"in alcoholic is from the word ALCOHOL. According to Wiktionary the suffix "ic" is "used to form adjectives from nouns with the meaning 'of or pertaining to'". If someone wanted to declare themselves addicted to chocolate they would be a chocolatic. Or perhaps a chocolic. A person who likes to shop is a shoppic.

Make note of it.

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...