Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Auld Lang Syne - It NEVER Gets Old

New Year's Eve Eve is here. Woo hoo! New Year's Eve has never really been my big thing. Amateur night, you know? Where all those who really can't/shouldn't/usually don't party hard always over emphasize/over prepare/over imbibe....and inevitably are overly disappointed and deservedly hung over. Hang overs at this stage of life are too time consuming to waste a day to the couch. Not to say it doesn't happen occasionally, it's just not something I PLAN for.

Now, my hubby had quite different plans for New Year's. For the past ten years(?) or so, he and A LOT of his cronies would gather at his home on New Year's DAY starting at six a.m. and cook breakfast (french toast, bacon, sausage, pancakes, bagels, etc) while heavily imbibing in spirits of choice. Breakfast toasts takes on new meaning here. By noon, the chili (lots of chili) was being served alongside marinated deer ribs, boar, pulled pork, and any number of assorted pot luck dishes. The evening would set in with even more food and even more drinks and a steady influx of new guests arriving as the earliest revelers departed. As the evening would wind down around eight or nine, the twenty somethings (who had slept all day due to being out all night New Year's Eve) would start to take up residence, continuing the party till the wee hours of January 2ND.
Having joined/signed up/ been abducted into this household, I've had the pleasure and fun to witness some great moments at the behest of ringing in the New Year Ala Wesley. First rule of thumb- You don't want to go out the night before and actually celebrate the incoming New Year at midnight LIKE THE REST OF THE WORLD. This would result in a major headache and the urge to kill the people who will continue to knock on the door at six am whether you answer it or not. Nope, not this crowd. In fact, most Wesley-ans (large masses of like minded people as per mysuestories) stay home the night before, and rumor has it (to this I can attest) most of them are fast asleep before ten p.m., with visions of spirits and chili dancing through their heads. It appears this rare breed of people take their revelry very seriously.

Part of the challenge is to see who will appear first (although three years in to this, I can tell you, people, don't even try to beat Jimmy, who will arrive super early and immediately take over the kitchen cooking duties as well as a fine bottle of scotch!) From then on, the crowd swells and ebbs, the libations flowing, and the laughter insurmountably growing.

This is not to say these events are not without their moments. LOTS of moments. There was the year one female party goer wanted to kick the very inebriated butt of another female reveler (can you say cat fight anyone?) because the second feline had accidentally spilled a beer on an innocent bystander tom cat, neither of which either knew or cared to know him. That's got to be a great feeling, when you, the innocent tom, have two unknown kittens ready to gouge each other's eyes out over you!

There was the drunken party-er who was clearly not fit to drive, and accepted an extremely gracious offer by another non drinking guest to drive him quite out of her way to his home. Once in the car, said over indulger proceeded to thank her by telling her what an ugly bi och she was(!?!). And SHE was kind enough to continue to take him home. I would have left his ass in front of the nearest police department in the driver's seat of my car with the keys super glued to his hands which would then be glued to the steering wheel. (I would NEVER actually give him a chance to drive drunk and possibly harm my car in any way!)

There is our other dear friend, whom we made arrangements to have driven home in her car, while another followed to drive her driver back. This particular friend was of the variety that insisted she was pertectly/perfly/profectly fine to drive home. She then proceeded to get into the passenger seat of her car to do so.

And, my personal favorite. We have a dear friend who doesn't always drink well, and said friend should probably not overdue it in the alcohol department. Sloppy Sam, as his alcohol imbibing persona is known, would occasionally overindulge, with the nickname being descriptive of the eventual outcome.
That being said, this was a party, and we don't always do what's best. At some point in the evening, my dear hubby called me to look out our back door into the rain that had begun to fall. There, in the mud beyond our back steps, was a quite inebriated Sam, who true to his name, was quite sloppily rolling around on the ground. Luckily, an equally inebriated female attendee, was attempting to assist him in getting to his feet, and ended up straddling him in the mud. The resulting view was of two people simulating sex in the mud with their clothes on. I turned to my hubby and said, "What should we do?", to which he wholeheartedly replied, "nothing", as he led me away and back into the house.

Yes, these parties are fun and entertaining. And no, thank God, no one has ever been hurt or injured in the making of such fun (unless you count the brain cells that never made it back out of the door on those days). And we share here only with the greatest intention of sharing laughter and nothing more. And I am sure, truth be told, I have done more than my share of providing the laughter as opposed to just reporting it. You just won't be reading those episodes here. Hey, you've heard of poetic license, right?

Anyway, go about your New Year's celebration in whatever way makes you happiest. Me? I'm just gonna pull a chair up on the back porch and let the holiday unfold around me.

Have a happy and a healthy! And please, don't drive drunk. I can't afford to lose what little readership I have. Happy New Year! And thanks for reading, oh constant reader.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Anthony The Angry Goldfish

We spend a lot of time during the holidays celebrating with really good friends. We gather any where to celebrate anything. It is always a great time, and the reminiscences and rants and raves amongst us are great reminders of why we love all these people. And we do love them. Each and every one. And every once in a while, one of us/them will share a small slice of their life, and this will occasionally give us pause, as in "Wow, some of our friends are wackos!" Then we remember, this is why so much alcohol flows at these little get-togethers. And we realize that life without wackos would be really, really boring. Then we drink some more.

We have one friend, lets call her Dona (not because she is in witness protection, but simply because that is her name!) And Dona, well she is an amazing artist. She can create the most wonderfully artistic things out of metal, pine garland, beads, and now, thanks to her new Christmas gift/ chain saw, trees. She is no ordinary friend. And as she recited a tale from a previous life (of which she has many- tales AND lives!), her uniqueness was never more apparent.

Dona had a goldfish a few years back. She named him Anthony. This right here should have set off some major bells in the something is not quite right department. I mean, who names a goldfish anything? And if you feel so inclined to name said goldfish, Nemo or maybe Goldy seem logical choices. But Anthony? I was worried already.

Dona swears that Anthony didn't just spend his days swimming back and forth, forth and back across his little tank so prominently displayed on their kitchen counter. Nope. Anthony had personality. And a few anger management issues. He would rap his thermometer against the glass if he thought his dinner was behind schedule. He would displace his plastic plants and other underwater furniture (think scuba diver attached to an air hose) if he was feeling a little neglected. Some times these little tantrums (?!!) would result in a little fish-time out. How do you put a goldfish in a chair in a corner, you ask? Or I'll ask, because the question BEGS to be asked. Well, during Anthony's destructive moody episodes(?!), dona would remove the offensive items from his tank. The old, you can't toss around what you don't have any more technique.

During one such period of forced isloation, Dona noticed that Anthony was not swimming happily back and forth, forth and back, and at first she thought he was angry with her. Is anyone out there looking up the number of a good therapist out there? Perhaps one who could handle both her AND our fickle fish friend? Alas, upon closer inspection, Dona realized Anthony was not angry with her as she first believed, but that he was in distress. She surmised that he, Anthony the Angry Goldfish, was actually choking on a piece of gravel.

Quick thinking, and maybe just a little strangely(?), Dona immediately calls the animal help hot line. I have had pets all my life, including many unnamed, but otherwise psychosis free fish, and I did not know there was such a hot line. She, however, not only was aware of it's existence, she knew the number. And she maintained the level headedness to place a call during Anthony's time of need. She explained the problem to the person who would volunteer to man such a hot line (can you imagine what kind of time THAT person must have on their hands, just waiting for a fish in distress call?!!). This fish-crisis interventionist calmly explained to Dona that she must REMOVE the choking party FROM HIS TANK and perform a fishy type of Heimlich maneuver. At this point, I suspect that the person manning the animal 911 center is rolling on the floor in great heaves of belly laughter.

But Dona, true to her endearing nature, is on a mission to save her attitudinal fish. She removes Anthony from his soon to be watery grave, and places him on a towel on the counter as instructed. Now, as I see it, Anthony now has TWO problems. Number one, he is still choking, which must have been awful for the poor little piece of bait- I mean fish. But now that his loving keeper has thrust him out of his tank and on to a towel, he has NO WATER!!!!! He is the proverbial, no make that, he is ACTUALLY a fish out of water!

With a delicacy I obviously don't possess, Dona is able to palpitate our little neurotic Nemo's chest(?), and after two little pumps, the offending piece of gravel pops out of Anthony's little fish mouth (think Pierce Brosnan/Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire). Dona replaces Anthony to his home, where I imagine he immediately starts praising and cursing the psycho human who is his master. And as with all heart warming tales, they live happily ever after. At least for a little while.

It appears Dona's life saving technique caused a bowel obstruction (which I assume was determined at autopsy(?), and little Anthony expired six months later. Personally, I think it was a suicide. True to the tumultuous life that he led, Anthony had the poor timing to pass from this life to the next in the dead (oops) of winter. The ground was too frozen to bury him (BURY???? A GOLDFISH???-Whatever happened to the old flush-a-roo????), so Dona ceremoniously wrapped him in a Ziploc shroud and stored him in her freezer till the spring thaw whereupon he was buried with the highest of honors and dignity.

And so, at this most wonderful time of the year, as we remember our milestones and those whom are no longer here to swim amongst us, we toast to you, our nearest and dearest friends. Of course we love each and every one of you. And when we laugh, rest assured we laugh with you (sometimes at you, but always with you!). And of course, we thank you, dear, dear friends, for with you in our lives, life will NEVER be boring!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Call Me, Call Me Anytime!

The toys are strewn from one end of the house to the other. There are new video game systems to be set up and new hunting rifles to be cleaned and stored away. New movies to watch and iTunes to download. But that's not really what this season is all about, is it? Nope. The games and gadgets are good (the laptop of course is GREAT!). But the one gift that topped everyone's list in our house this year? The Panasonic wireless phone/answering machine with 5 (that's right -count 'em! 5) handsets, each with their very own Base charging station. Now with three kids and the two of us....well, mathematically speaking, this is good news for our house.

See, we are currently deprived of any corded phone hanging on a wall or sitting on a nightstand table. We have a wireless handset/phone answering machine, with two additional handsets. With a twenty something, a teenager, and a tween, and four seperate bedrooms, we are always in search of a phone (and, shudder, one that is charged long enough to dial and speak three words before it loses power and shuts down completetly always when talking to my mother , who is getting a little suspicious of how in this day and age we can't possibly acquire a working land line!).

Did I mention that each member of our family also possesses a cell phone, and yet, still we can't locate a house phone?!

And trust me, when Momma can't find a ringing phone, NOBODY is happy!

So it was with much glee and joy that our family was the proud recipient of the handy-dandy- every-body-gets-a-phone-in-their-own-room-with-a-charger. Now I have a cellphone AND a phone in my bedroom AND a phone in the living room.

It took us 3 hours to set them all up...I know, I know, I make us sound so technologically advanced, don't I? But in actuality, any job bigger than switching a battery makes me shudder. And dear heart? Well, his idea of changing a light bulb requires the use of a hammer. I kid you not.

It's been 2 days now, and still I sit and stare in wonderment at the marvel that is MY phone. It's battery bars at full mast. And there it sits.

I wonder what it will sound like if (I mean when, dammit, when!) it finally rings!

There's no Place Like Home

We wrapped, we unwrapped, we ate, we drank, we conquered. Christmas 2008 was an absolute slam dunk. Everyone had their fill of presents and food, and some of us, more than our fill of glasses of spirits (think spiked egg nog rather than spooky!). We had a full two days of visiting and receiving company, and everyone was just so gracious and generous and a wonderful time was definitely had by all. We had new friends in (Hi, John, - and don't worry, we are really NOT that scary, are we?) and of course some of our oldest (Hi, Eddie---LOL only kidding!) and nearest and dearest friends and family together. And we laughed. Not one disagreement or any pouting children. It was a perfect day topped by an even better evening of laughter and fun at any one's expense (sorry, Jen!). And who knew a certain very talented sister-in-law could actually create a sweatshirt with a beer cozy built in?! Her sewing was only to be outdone by her fudge.

Anyway, we all had such a wonderful time, that before I knew it, we are all planning to recreate the scene this Saturday evening....a little early new years thing, if you will..

I mean, heck, everything was Norman Rockwell perfect Wednesday and Thursday...What could possibly go wrong?

So, consider this your official invite to Our Home for the Holidays......

Oh, and make sure you wear your sweatshirt/beer cozy. It keeps the hands free if you want to go outside and play "rocks" with the other kids.

Happy Holidays from our home to yours! Oh, and constant reader, Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Home for The Holidays

It's time. The moment I've been waiting for. The tree is decorated. The gifts are wrapped. The house is even semi clean. Okay...slightly clean. We are in full holiday mode, here on our corner of the earth! I am enjoying the twinkly lights, the ornaments, the nativity scene on the corner table......Anyway, I just want to wish you, my dear constant, (only? say it isn't so!)--Happy tidings! Happy whatever holiday gets you and whatever dysfunctional uncle and or anorexic aunts together! I appreciate your visiting with me. And I hope you have enjoyed your visit as much as I have enjoyed having you. Thanks for visiting, again.

We will meet again, dear reader. Till then, enjoy your family, friends, and virtual friends.

love you.


Ruff, Ruff, Ruff (sing to the tune of Jingle Bells)

Let me start by saying, hey, it's less than 48 hours till holiday kick off time (24 if Christmas Eve is your big thing), and it is naturally a busy, hectic, unorganized, harried time of year. At least at OUR address. And I don't even do any baking, and my dear heart does most of the holiday cooking. I am our designated shopper (Shoes my specialty!) I do the decorating inside, and dear heart strings the outside lights. I complete the wrapping, although he DOES make out the tags, and we inevitably have the one unmarked gift that must be opened (without ruining the wrap job) and relabeled. So needless, to say, our house has been as hectic as all of yours, I'm sure.

So, how would you think we should spend our last Sunday before the holiday bustle REALLY kicks off? Considering we had a wintry mix of sleet and rain all Saturday night and Sunday, a hot Toddie while watching the tree would have been nice. A few last minute errands, even better. How about just catching up with a book nestled under a thick blanket? Sounds great. But, this is the house that WE built, and trust me, nothing is as simple as it should be.

We awoke Sunday morning, and I decided to put the dogs out for a few minutes in their pen. They had been cooped up nearly 24 hours, and even though the weather was lousy, I figured a five minute stretch would do them some good. Well, Rusty, our female, made a bee line for the doghouse, where she would stay until I climbed in and pulled her out. Bruno, our feminine male promptly buried himself in his crate under two blankets, and was having none of that outside crap. Mickey, our miniature Alpha male, bounded into their pen enthusiastically. Squirrel hunting is fun in any weather.

Not ten minutes later, I donned snow boots and coat, and went around back to retrieve my two albatrosses. I reached the pen, and oddly, Mickey was not jumping gleefully at the gate. I climbed into the aforementioned dog house, and dragged Rusty out from the farthest corner possible. Mickey was nowhere to be found.

I threw the one dog into the house, and Mountain Man, whom I've mentioned before, just adores these little buggers as much as an orphan loves lice...well, he donned his hat, coat and boots, and we set out in this miserable weather to go up and down the block uselessly calling Mickey. If this wasn't a testament to the limits of his love for me, I don't know what would be. Of course, Mickey is the one of the three dogs that NEVER answers when called. Much like our human (?) children. Great hunter that he is, my honey is able to find the half inch tracks of little doggy paws in the snow, and I foolishly think, this will be a snap. Two blocks later, the tracks abruptly end, and we spend the next hour and a half alternately looking, calling, and yes, cursing the damned dog.

We continue to look by car and foot for the remainder of the afternoon. It is still raining. I am wearing soggy clothes, my feet are wet, and my hair resembles that of a wet ferret. Great. Still no sign of Mickey.

Now, at 8 inches tall full grown, and a pedigree to boot, I'm thinking the worst of human nature. There is no way he wouldn't have come back on his own by now. Someone has decided to pinch our pooch and make an early Christmas gift of him. Wonderful. I am devastated, my 12 year old is continuously asking if he's back yet, and my hubby is acting like a little kid who just got his birthday wish fulfilled.

By the next morning, I am printing out one hundred flyers to pass out around town going door to door. Another productive holiday task to come. Yea, me. I call our local animal shelter, on the outside chance someone brought him in. No luck, but they did ask if I was sure it was a miniature red dauschund I was looking for and not a full size multi colored llapso apso. With very little confidence, I filled out a missing dog report, which apparently can be done in less time than a missing persons report. That should tell you something about this nation's care of animals over people.

I ruefully settle in to work, when not ten minutes later I receive a call from a woman from the next town over. Apparently her husband caught sight of our wet noodle of a pet two blocks from our home, and picked him up and brought him to his wife, who coincidentally has a full sized dauschaund. Seeing as his identification tag had come off, she dried him off and settle him in to their home, where he proceeded to mark his territory. Loyal little thing, ain't he?

He snubbed his nose at her dog's dry food, which is ALL he eats at home, so this angel of a woman COOKED for him. Chicken and rice for dinner, and then scrambled eggs for breakfast. By nine fifteen, she had called the same animal shelter I had just hung up from, whereas they kindly gave her my number. Profoundly grateful, and almost a little weepy, I thanked her over and over again. She agreed to hold him until my hubby to grab him on the way home from work. "Not to worry," says she. "After his catered breakfast he snuggled in to a spare crate she had gotten out for him and was resting comfortably."

Of course he was. He wasn't battling a cold like yours truly from having been out in a blizzard all day before. The kicker? Her husband had picked the little bugger up not ten minutes after he squeezed out of the pen.

Looking more than a little depressed at the prospect of having brought our dog quota back up to three, dear heart obligingly ran over and retrieved our third missing mongrel and then was rewarded with loads of hugs and kisses.

Oh. So was dear heart. Thank you, once again, big guy. Don't worry. I won't tell the dogs that you are an old softy at heart!

Oh, and will someone tell Mickey that he may as well eat that dry dog food in his bowl. I am NOT scrambling eggs for him, and it's a pretty good bet dear heart isn't either!

Friday, December 19, 2008

No Business Like Snow Business

It's snowing in my part of blog world. It's about five pm and it's been snowing pretty heavily since ten a.m. We've got about four inches so far, and no sign of letting up yet. I work about forty miles (all parkways) from home, so snow is a MAJOR cause of stress for me. I work in a business where the show must go on, so rarely do I stay home due to weather.
So, I got up earlier than usual, and left the house by five a.m. ( I know, sucks to be me. It's not too bad, as long as you don't like prime time tv!) I was in to work before six, and come the first snow flake, I was headed home. I made it in to the driveway just as the snow started to stick. Lucky me.

Not always. Of course not. If my life were all peaches and cream, what a dull blog this would be. Okay, maybe even duller than it already is.

About five years ago, it was snowing as I was heading to work. There was already about three
inches on the roads, but I figured what the heck. I was invincible. I am woman. Hear me roar! (Although if you ask hubby, these days it's more like hear me snore.) So I took my trusty sled-translate- Mitsubishi Eclipse- more like a snow skate than a car with traction.
I was approaching the parkway and feeling pretty confident. There weren't many cars on the road (gee, I wonder why), and those that were out were all heavy duty pick ups and Hummers. In hindsight, I probably should have pondered that information a little more thoroughly.
Anyway, I was in complete control, when my dear old bucket of bolts car decided it did not want to approach the parkway headlights first.
The car went into a blind spin, during which time, I clearly remember screaming (aloud? in my head?-- What's the difference at that point?) I remember thinking, turn away from the spin. I did. No difference. I tried turning the steering wheel INTO the spin. Less difference. So I just spun and spun, and spun some more. I was wondering if my car would stop when it hit the guardrail that had started out two lanes away from me, or if it would stop when it hit up against a tree on the other side of the road.
It did neither. It simply stopped spinning after the third (or was it fourth?) 360 degree turn and came to rest somewhere in the middle of the four lane highway. well. This was good. The only problem was, I was now pointing towards oncoming traffic. The headlights of traffic that was supposed to be behind me were now shining AT me.
Thank God/Allah/St. Christopher and who ever else was in charge of me that day, because the first vehicle approaching was a Hummer. And HIS car stopped on command. So did the others behind him.
I took a deep breath, and turned on my directional to make a left hand turn from the Wrong direction on to a side street. I pulled off, and put the car in park. After counting fingers and toes and limbs still intact (don't ask why-there was NO rational thought happening by now), I put the car back in gear and spent the next thirty minutes navigating my way back home.
Home. My haven. Where my family were still safely and snuggly tucked in their beds. Home. Where I wanted to be enveloped in their love and comfort.
I was greeted at the door by my then husband and oldest son, who had come to see why I was back so soon. I retold AND relived my tale of woe, and I sat down to drink in their warmth and kindnesses.
I waited. And then I waited some more. When I finally lifted my weary head from my hands, I realized why their comforting tidings weren't heard. They were laughing. Not out loud. Not at first. But there it was. The snicker that can't quite be suppressed.
Okay, thought I. It was a LITLE funny. Me, the big old bad Mom who could handle anything, all shook up over a little snow. Heck, I hadn't even hit anything. No harm done.
Life went on, the world turned, more snow came and went. And the big spinout was all but forgotten.

Until last week. When my eleven year old, WHO WAS ONLY SIX AT THE TIME of the big spinout, came off the school bus and bounded into the house. He said, "How come you're home so early? Oh wait a minute. There were flurries this afternoon, weren't there?"

Well, it COULD have been a big snow fall.

A Reason For All Seasons

"I believe, as many people do, that things happen for a reason. I'm not convinved there's a Grand Plan in place, but I do know that impulse and chance play a role in the Universe, as does coincidence."
p 322 T is for Trespass. Sue Grafton

Things happen for a reason. It snows on a work day to keep my heart rate up on that inevitably treacherous ride home.
A child will always run a fever on the day of an important business meeting.
Drop in company will only occur on a lazy Sunday afternoon when I have sworn not to move off the couch and the morning paper is draped throughout the entire ground floor.
Things happen for a reason. The reason being? To scew up my otherwise orderly life!

Things happen for a reason. My honey sends me off to work with a nice hot breakfast.
My youngest son snuggles up with me to watch a movie (ok- so it's His choice, not mine).
My company honestly doesn't care that the house is a mess, and I am truly thrilled that they have come to visit, newspapers strewn about and all.
Things happen for a reason. The reason being? To screw up my otherwise orderly life.

Order can be so boring. Thank God, things happen. For whatever the reason!

Oh, and if you are ANY WHERE near our house in the upcoming few weeks (and considering most of my faithful readers live in our town!), you had better damn well stop by. I'm not picking up those newspapers for nothing, you know.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Shades of Love

I said, "you want to open the door or should I put the papers through the hole?"

Yep, you guessed it. I am at a loss for words (hard to believe, huh), and have turned to my new favorite writer's block breaker. Turn to page 56 of closest book at hand, and scroll to fifth line. Hence:

I said, "you want to open the door or should I put the papers through the hole?"

The book? "T is for Trespass", by Sue Grafton (http://www.suegrafton.com/). A novel, based on a female private eye, who is always in near death experiences, but always come out with out a scratch, and can't seem to maintain any lover for the length of any book. And she has lots of them. Books, that is . There is one maniacal episode for each letter of the alphabet. A is for Alibi. B is for whatever crime word starts with the letter B. etc ad nauseum.
Anyway, our hero, Kinsey Millhone, a thirty something for hire PI just can''ts seem to get her shit together when it comes to a man. She always chooses the bad boy, not in sync with her one. She has them and tosses them away with remarkable recurrence. I guess creative license on the author's part, has our heroine safe from the nasty real world of aids, psychos, and scum of the earth predators. So carry on, Ms. P. I. Enjoy your ever changing dalliances carefree.

But enough of HER misery.

We finally finished the new master bedroom. We even have custom shades. This is significant to me, because although I have no problem committing to men (unlike our heroine PI), I simply can't commit to window dressings. You read that right. I can buy furniture at a glance, change wall colors and textures, and pull up carpeting on a whim...But there's something about dressing windows...I was in my last house fifteen years, and nearly all the windows were bare or had temporary coverings thrown up (which is also what picking them out makes me want to do!) because I was afraid to make a PERMANENT (shudder) decision.
Hubby kept saying, "We'll just put up blinds or sheets till you decide...Let's just MOVE into the new room."

No way, says I. I knew the minute anything covered those windows, they'd be there till the house fell apart, literally. I would forever be sleeping in a room (amongst other activities) on a ground floor level, protected by nothing more than a sheet held up by staples. And eventually one staple would go, and I'd only be undressing in one corner of the room... then another would come out...I'd be undressing in the closet!
So, i refused to let us move into a new master suite we had just completely renovated, painted, re floored, and added two new closets. Not without window coverings, which I would probably never chose. (Quite the prize my hubby picked, huh?) Of course i never told him about my drapery phobia till AFTER the wedding. I'm not stupid, just indecisive.

Sure enough, that man had my ass in a window designer's office within a week (www.hunterdouglascom). We discussed windows, shade, blinds and phobias. And we actually ordered these really cool shades that open from the top AND the bottom. Last I had seen, mini blinds were all the rage!

Well, they're installed , and as a reward, I got to help hubby hump nine thousand pounds of furniture to our new room. And I get to straighten out TWO closets! Lucky me.

So, it's our first night in our new love nest. And what am I doing, you ask? (Okay, you didn't ask, but just go with me on this one--I won't lead you into middle age porn, I promise...Even the Internet ain't ready for THOSE pictures!) So there I am looking at the two overhead light fixtures....
I says, Honey, we need new lights and fans.
"So go shopping and pick some out." say he.

Did I mention that my last house had all the original light fixtures it came with?

Oh, and now we have to fix the dent in the new bedroom wall, where honey was banging his head against it. Who knew a grown man could cry so hard?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The First Step Is The Hardest

Well, my secret is finally out. Not that it was too much of a secret to begin with. I mean, anyone who knows me, or has been briefly aquantainced with me, or worked with me, or read my blog (ha--gotcha, didn't I--I KNOW You're out there, faithful one(s)), or especially those who live with me, I have a problem. It's not like I try to hide it, um, okay , maybe a little. And yes I like to do it when I'm by myself. But that's only because it's more special that way. And I've never taken to sneaking into the bathroom to do it during dinner (there WAS that one moment right after Thanksgivinig dinner, but I fought that urge and won, so stop glaring at me that way! Okay here goes....

Hi, I'm mysuestories (that REALLY is my name...I'm having it changed legally!). And I'm an internet junkie.

Okay, I guess you want the whole sordid story. It's actually a brief one, because it is a sickness that creeps up on you real fast. It started at work. The occassional funny email forwarded amongst colleagues. Next thing I know, I'm visiting weird news sites (try http://www.newsoftheweird.com/)Some of those stories are hysterical. Then they started appearing in my email inbox (http://www.truestories.com/) and then the crime people found me (http://www.truecrime.com/) with gruesome detailed crimes of the past and all their colorful cast of characters.

Next thing you know, I'm searching for ANYTHING interesting to read. The virtual library is virtually boundless. I was in heaven! Then I found the intoxicating world of blogging (http://www.blogspot.com/) . I could WRITE. About anything, anyone, any and every little or big demented or funny thought that popped into this must have been dropped as a baby psyche! And IF I WROTE IT, I was sure....THEY WOULD COME. Okay, maybe droves would be a little overly optimistic, but I do have the occasional stop by in passing internet surfer (and did I mention how wonderful you look today?)

Then I met Face Book. That, my constant follower, was a turning point in my technological love affiar with my computer. I could chat, post, download pictures, stories, links, all the while connecting with people I haven't seen in more than 30 years. And why do I want to do this? Because I can. I have to. The world will stop if they don't know that mysuestories is nombbla (None Of My Business But Listening Anyway)-to conversations that are not about me, for me, or even related to people I might have known or bumped in to maybe once 10 years ago. They NEED to know what I am doing---even if it IS quite obvious, I'm Facebooking. Isn't that an amazing word---It can be a noun, a verb, a lover....well, that's a whole other story....

Well, it's been months now. I have missed milestones (I'd tell you which ones, but I MISSED them, remember!), and I couldn't tell you how the last four new episodes of Law & Order have ended. My nose has been so stuck in my computer, that my hair has started to root in the hard drive! Life was good. Unless you were one of my kids who needed a ride some where, or maybe a hot meal, or HELP with your homework...What do I look like here, 24 hour valet, yeesh. And, I'll log off in just a moment---Oh but how many times have I heard one my kids say "right after I finish this level!!")

Yep. I was riding that virtual pony like a rodeo ringer. And I got to tell ya...It felt great!!!!Like water in the desert, ice on a hot summer's day. Nothing better.

Like all good things, the bottom started to fall out. First the internet was severely curtailed at work (like a knife to my heart, I tell ya!). But still I managed. The desk top at home was old and slow and outdated for me and my high living addiction. I started using my son's laptop...(one more minute, sweetie, and I might even feed you this week!). Then, horror, his charger wasn't working. To the electronics store in the MIDDLE OF THE NITE! I never even went out for milk past seven pm. ( Water is just as good in any recipe). One hundred and twenty dollars later, it's not the charger, but the receptacle the charger plugs in to. We find a wonderful friend to repair it, but we're waiting on a part.

Days go by, and I haven't even seen the internet explorer logo. I start to shake. By the end of the week, I've got my poor dear husband lugging the desktop up from it's purgatory in my basement. He runs the cable, finds the keyboard, hooks up the mouse. It turns on by the grace of god---slow, agonizingly slow, it boots up....almost,almost......okay -enter user id and password.....Wouldn't you know it, The only letter that won't work NO MATTER WHAT I DID was the letter "s" as in MY_UE_TORIE_---everything I am is in that godforsaken letter!!!!!! And It Just Won't Work.

I curse (quietly, to myself----must hide addiction...), I pout (Noone notices). I am almost in tears when my husband looks at me as I blankly stare at the tv screen . It wasn't even on.

"What's wrong?" asks, HE.
I start to unravel my story. I'm thinking, he's going to be relieved. A Facebook widow is as bad as a football widow. Maybe worse. Afterall, we can tune in 24/7! His wife, mother of hungry children is finally back in the fold. No more competing with facebook and a glass of wine. He sympathizes, and we go to bed. I am prepared to break the addiction however hard that may be.

The next day I return home from my internet-less job, (okay, I concede---Production is up-- ready to face another long lonely heartbroken night. My husband awaiting me at the door. On the kitchen table, with a big bow on it, sits a box. For me. So I'll feel better. A consolation prize. Maybe new shoes? A book? I rip it open...


Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Hate to leave in the middle of a testimonial, but the virtual world is waiting. I'M back in the saddle again!!!!!!!! HELLO, INTERNET!!!!!

Besides, I could quit any time I want to. I just don't want to.

Thank you honey! I adore the very ground you walk on.... Oh, and could you please fix the kids some dinner if its not too much trouble......I'll be there after this one last blog post.....

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Have A Holly Jolly Christmas

" The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live." -- George Carlin

That may be so, but not everyone is so easy to please at this time of year. Personally, me, a Christmas Birthday baby, I am on cloud nine from the week before Thanksgiving clear through to New Year's Day. And my elation grows with each passing day. There are decorations to unpack and ornaments to visit with like an old friend who has just come by. The cards have been addressed and stamped and promptly mailed the day after Thanksgiving. Unless you didn't get yours yet, in which case, I ran out of stamps, your card will be coming soon! There are the parties and gatherings and shopping and wrapping and hustling here and there. It's all just one giant great time. For me.
Then there are the teenagers who are long with lists (it has officially become I Want Mis for some!), and short with time and assistance. These same teenagers are the ones who, two days before the holiday I have been preparing seven months for, will announce he is having trouble finding employment so he may buy gifts for the same seven people he couldn't afford gifts for last year. And he will be shocked, again, that despite his meager efforts, there is not one single employment opportunity out there paying $300. for one day's relatively light labor for a completely unskilled teen. Oh, and do you mind if we eat at two instead of five, so he can then go eat at three other friends houses whose time frames can't be adjusted? Those would be the same three friends who have come in our kitchen on market day and chewed their way through $500. worth of groceries like locust through the plains of Oregon during harvest time.

There are the tweens who refuse to sit through those seasonal classics, such as "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Miracle on 34th Street", and yet those same 12 year olds think nothing of sitting through a seven hour "Suite Life Of Zach and Cody goes to the North Pole and Stays at a 5 Star Hotel" marathon, that is peppered with product placement and commercials every 3 minutes full of all that I just gotta have this ONE More thing! This will be the same kid who will not be seen on Christmas within ten minutes of opening up six months of shopped and wrapped presents, tossing any article of socks, underwear, or clothing over his head without so much as a glance at it as he rips into another box.
There's the twenty something, who, having been asked repeatedly, will hand me his Christmas list at 8:30 p.m. Christmas Eve, saying, "I thought I gave this to you."
There's the husband who insists that the shorter darkening days are cause for malignancies, even though I have tried to keep him immersed in the halogen lighting of the mall for twelve hour stints at a time.
There is the annual trek to the local fire department to purchase a tree that I will curse daily as I try to crawl beneath it's tree skirt to fill it's stand with water while sticking my elbows and knees full of sharp pine needles. Those needles not permanently embedded in my skin will spend weeks reaching the far corners of every room of our home, and I will still be vacuuming them up come next September.
There are those antique glass ornaments tenderly passed down from my mother's Christmas collection that came from her mother's collection. And as I carefully unwrap thrity year old newspaper from around these most prescious hand me downs- I inevitably shatter at least one in the unpacking alone. Another two are destined to crash and splinter in to a thousand slivers due to an errant wagging tail or two. Didn't my forefathers ever have small children or animals? Slowly but surely, those ornaments hung anywhere lower than the top quadrant of the tree were replaced by school made decorated cardboard toilet paper inserts, glitter adorned paper plates hole punched and looped with yarn and the classical rubber Sponge Bob and Friends dollar store ornaments.
All in all, it's a festive tree. And at my nagging insistence, it WILL be a festive family, gathering around a beautifully decorated holiday table, probably complaining that once again the gravy has gotten cold while waiting for the turkey to cool enough to slice. And when THAT happens, I will look at the tree,the twinkly lights, the gift wrap haphazardly discarded alongside ten dollar/two hour/easy to make Better Homes And Garden bows, and I will glance at my by now bickering, arguing, jabbing family, and I will take that freshly sliced turkey leg and look out! "Cause I am just gonna come up SWINGIN'!!!!

All in all, it will be a lovely holiday, if not a replica if years gone by. And I wouldn't change a thing. Not one bit. Besides, I'm pretty sure it is the only place in our state where you can find a Lennox china wooden soldier hanging next to Goofy. Adds character, says I.

ps-Special Thanks To Rosa---you know where you are here!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Friends in Low Places

I've got friends in low places. So says Garth Brooks (http://www.garthbrooks.com/) and it is probably true for a lot of us. But I'll tell you one thing. I have friends that would be here in a flash if I needed them. I have friends who have proudly stood as bridesmaids, even though they should have been matrons of honor. I have friends who have let me cry on their shoulder when life beat me down, and friends who have held those same shoulders (and some hair) when I've had too much to drink. I have friends who have taken me out for celebrations, and mourned along side me in times of deep sorrow. They've attended my parties and thrown more than a few for me.

They've watched my kids, baby sat my dogs while we've been away (trust me, harder than watching the kids!), and helped in endless home repairs with their varying degrees of expertise. We've painted rooms together and passed the time together during the hunting season. We've shared vegetables from our gardens and secrets from our closets. And STILL they love me. Because thats what friends are for.

And THAT'S why I am heading back out to the malls again. This may be the time of year for battling crowds, spending more than is prudent, and overindulging in food and drink. But it's also that time of year where we will gather with our most precious friends and exchange trinkets and tokens of our mutual affection. And we WILL gather , and we will overindulge in both food and drink. And if necessary, we will hold and comfort one another, and ring in a new and brighter New Year.

So, in the midst of the commercialization of the holidays, let me take this moment to say thank you to all our friends ,near, far, and especially those virtual (your e-cards are in the e-mail!).

It's been one helluva year, and we thank you for sharing it with us, good and bad. And we look forward with open hearts to a brighter, healthier, and yes, funnier new year spent with all of you!

And now,....to the malls!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Grey Skies Are gonna Clear Up

Our house is a shambles in the midst of remodeling- Remodeling that has been on going in some form or fashion for over a full year now. Christmas is fast approaching, and we haven't even put up our tree yet! We are having space issues, until even MORE walls are taken down. I haven't put very much of a dent in our Christmas shopping yet, and I'm usually done by November 1st! I'm finding myself more cranky and my Christmas spirit was leaning more towards mean spirited than holiday gleeful.

I practically swam to work today, mother nature having been kind enough to dump four inches of rain on our part of the country. Did I mention my old mitsubishi eclipse is the BEST car for hydro-planing? Only to be outdone in rain when it is on ice. That will be NEXT month's commute nightmare. On top of ALL this, all of my favorite CSI characters have left me, and I now have to decide if I want to forge new relationships or bail out before I am disappointed by new cast members that may or may not keep my favorite show afloat.

I was ready to call it a day before it even started.

Then I opened up the newspaper that my mountain man so thoughtfully packed with my breakfast (bacon and cheese and egg frittata- my cold morning favorite-thank you baby) this morning. There, on the travel page was a great big circle around ads for mini vacations for Vegas, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas. It seems the travel industry is practically giving away resort stays with flights included in these tough economic times. And there, in his nearly illegible but distinct scrawl, my mountain man wrote the words every girl longs to read (at least this girl!) PICK ONE!

Well, the day just got a whole lot sunnier. Thank you, Wesley! Did I mention that he clearly underlined the Two Adults line three times? WOO HOO!

Let's get this holiday on the go! Soon after, I've got packing to do!!!!

Did I mention that it's the most wonderful time of the year?!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Reaching for The Stars

Okay, so I didn't unpack lady chatterly's lover tonight after all--- (See Rambling (Wo)Man mysuestories Dec 2008). I finished reading -that's right, facebook, cheating again!- I finished reading Scott Siegler's Infected. www.scottsigler.com or www.infectednovel.com . It was a great read, and I couldn't wait to turn each page- and it WAS yesterday's inspiration through my writers block.

Anyway, I finished the story and was reading the author's acknowledgements, (yes, I read EVERY word of a book- I Am THAT nerdy!)and among the thank you's to everyone in the world for a first book published author, it was mentioned that he was the world's most succcessful podcasting author and a prominent blogger, with over 30,000 subscribers!!!!

Well, that opened my eyes to a few things.

1. Maybe out of these random literary spoutings I share (?) here, a novel /novel (get it?! ) idea will be born .
2. 30,000 subscribers is not such a far reach. Hell, my last story on www.smallaa.com was most popular for the day! (There's still time to vote for this week's comment www.smallaa.com/post2439 ) Enough pimping. If I could be story of the day, I could be story of the week or heck on the best sellers list one day....

Maybe, just maybe.

3. I wonder if anybody out there is ever reading this, besides you, oh constant reader, (you know who YOU are---but you could maybe just subscribe or follow, and then we'd all (both?) know how much closer I am to my 30,000 --(pssstt. it's not JUST the two of us out here, is it?)
Even if it is, I'LL still be here, faithful audience (of one?), and I hope you enjoy reading as much as I do writing these little quips and stories.

Ok--Once again, I veer off track- tomorrow, DH Lawrence for sure! Out of the basement shall rise past loves. Not to worry, Mountain Man. A book is a book is a book. You, however are a story unto a class of it's own! And one I plan to read over and over and over!!!

Rambling (Wo)Man

Rambling (Wo)Man

I'm at a bit of a stone wall today on writing this morning.

So I will under take a task I have read about but never tried.
Take the closest book to you. Not your favorite or the one you'd like to use, not the most intellectual, or coolest, but the CLOSEST book. Open it to page 56 (if it has less pages than that, put down the children's story, and find something with more words and less pictures!) Go to line 5 and post the next couple of sentences.

Closest book : Infected by Scott Sigler- a nasty little parasite is showing up in a bunch of people and making them do really graphic horrible things to the rest of humanity. Morbid? Yup. Right up my alley? I guess so, I can't wait to read more at lunch time. (Sorry, face book, but you're just not available for me when I need you. I will still see you tonight, though, right?- I mean the book is cute, but, You face book, You are gorgeous).
I digress, as usual- Okay
Page 56 Line 5:

Twenty four hours and counting, and no end in sight. She bent and stared into the microscope.
"Hmmm, what have we here?"

Okay- where do I go with THAT? I guess Lady Chatterly's Lover by DH Lawrence may have been a better choice, but I haven't seen that book since we moved to the new house last year. Ok, ok, I suppose I should finally unpack the rest of the book boxes. Perhaps after the library is built. Well, not really a library with cavernous ceilings and a brushed mahogany sliding ladder attached to the shelves, but an alcove with shelves and a really comfy chair off the living room sounds just as nice. We've been under construction for over a year now.
The new full dormer is finished, complete with 3 bedrooms and a full bath, so we don't have to trip over three kids. It's rather nice having them all upstairs and the master bedroom on the first floor. I need only go up once a week to scrub the bathroom and inspect the level of messiness in their bedrooms. The kitchen and dining room have been spruced up with fresh paint and new furniture. So that leaves the conversion of two bedrooms into the master suite and one more wall to knock down and expand the living room/not so cavernous library.
It's been a whirlwind year, combining two households (which toaster do you want to keep? I don't know. Which one do you like better? Your can opener or mine?)
We've taken our present home (mountain man's original- He has actually lived there his ENTIRE life. Never moved even once. Can you believe that? Not to worry. I let him move all our stuff twice, just so he would know what it was like). Anyway, before I tossed My honey's quiet calm life upside down, he and his son contentedly shared a one story, three bedroom home. Then along came mysuestories. With all my baggage, and kids, and their stuff, and dogs, and toasters, and can openers, and books. LOTS of books.
So we've been expanding. Upward. Outward (I had always wanted a porch with rocking chairs for those long summer nights--Thanks honey--it's beautiful, even if it may never have finished railings). The little house that could has certainly withstood it's share of change. And anyone who has ever taken a hammer, nail, saw, or spackle to anything knows that with construction comes dust and dirt. A LOT of dust and dirt. There have been times when there has been so much dust in our home that the plants complained. Have you ever had to wash off plant leaves before company came? Me neither. Never even gave it a thought before this past year.
Anyway, today the work crew (ok- he's a crew of one, but he works real hard! Thanks Richie!)--today the new master bedroom wall gets closed up, and as soon as the window company (said company being the mountain man and his trusty handy wonderful cousin-who happens to be a master craftsman) installs the new shades, we will be in our new bedroom. Yea! I'm tired of looking for my shoes/bags/sweaters in which drawer of which bedroom old or new-- and when I get cranky, I generally make everybody cranky (Sorry, family). So hopefully order will soon be restored to our little abode. And just maybe we can knock out the last wall between our tiny now bedroom (read- closet), and we can find room to put up our soon to be acquired Christmas tree. Maybe in the library. Before it's a library, of course. Probably (most likely) before there is sheet rock on those walls, let alone shelves. But you know what? I think it's time to bring those boxes of books up from the basement. I'm thinking it might be time to trade in global illness stories and find DH Lawrence in all that dust. Yeah, that's the evening plan. Right after I give those plants a bath.

Twenty four hours and counting, and no end in sight. She bent and stared into the microscope.
"Hmmm, what have we here?"

I'm guessing it was dirt on the microscope lens.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

More Self Serving Blogging


Well, it's a new week, and a new entry---please read this week's comment and take a minute to vote for me ---Thanks, oh constant reader(s)!

Lassie Come Home

Lassie Come Home
Well, the cat (or actually the dog) is out of the bag. As y0u may have previously read, the mountain man and I are the not so proud owners of not one, not two, but three dauschunds. Yep, I was gracious enough to be gifted with two of the little mini hotdogs from a friend who was unable to keep them about six years ago, and I came to this wedded union proudly bearing my tail wagging dowry. Coincidently (I think not), my most handsome groom had bestowed upon his son the same breed of useless (but cute) canine for his confirmation seven years earlier. So we find ourselves today the proud caretakers/slaves to three of the most useless animals on the planet, unless of course your goal is to catch the most squirrels in the woods behind our house. THEN you'd be sitting pretty.

My personal Grizzly Adams, has made it VERY clear that if not for the happiness of two of our three other dependants (the kids), said dogs would long have been banished from the homestead. However, I have seen the big guy "smush" (a snuggle with the dog's head under his chin - a weird foriedn mating ritual?) with our female lassie, and I've long suspected in the case of moutain man that his bark was worse than his bite. Yesterday, we learned the truth.

I returned home from my fabulous (choke, choke) choice of employment around five pm, which at this particular time of year is pitch black on the northeastern seaboard. After a grueling work day (have I mentioned we don't have facebook on the job?-) and my leisure traffic filled commute, I dragged my ass, and my hand bag, and my lunch tote out of my car and into the house. Turning back to hang up my coat in the foyer, I realized the wind had pushed open the door I apparently had not shut securely. Now, our third little pooch, Bruno, is male, but is really the queen of the brood. And she was in no way going out in the dark windy night. Nope. She ran right for her crate and snuggled under a blanket.

The other two dogs, however, have a great heart for wanderlust. They love to run , and were out the door and in the wind before I had turned around. They have bolted before, and let me tell you, for dogs with such short legs, they can really run fast. All this added up to my use of a few expletives while donning my coat and taking off to a late start behind the dogs. Our youngest son was fast behind, and the two of us started out on a search for two small dogs in the black of night-the proverbial needle in a haystack---magnified 100 fold, due to my forgotten eyeglasses, still in my handbag, which I had dropped by the door in my haste. Not a bright move, considering, I should probably have 3 seeing eye dogs when not wearing them.

So, off we went down the block, shouting the names of both runners. Which, by the way, had every dog in the neighborhood barking except the two we were seeking. This was a good thing, though, because we got to see some neighbors we hadn't really seen since the weather got cold. (Nieghbors : "Hi. Looking for those mangy mutts again? Me: "Grunt" followed by more expletive adjectives for the dogs.)

Twenty minutes and our second pass down the block later, Grizzly Adams reports that he, with great foresight, had grabbed a piece of cheese (which is apparently the only thing irresistable to these mud footed monsters), and was able to lure Rusty, our biological female back to the house. She had been in the back woods, apparently hunting for a fridge full of cheese.

He then tells us that he found our littlest (but fastest) member of our canine clan , Mickey, in the garage of a neighbor a few doors down. Apparently, this dog seems to always seek out human company. Lucky , or unlucky as the case may be, our beloved neighbor was plying through his holiday decorations, when confronted with our tail wagging five inch high terror.

So, alas, the dogs were safe, we were near frost bitten, and mountain man grumbled all the way back to the house about those good for nothing, useless mongrels. "I have no care for those damned pests anyhow."

Sure you don't big guy. Oh, and thanks for bringing them back home. That's why we love you. You're so ruff and tough! xoxoxo

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Fire Good

Fire Good Well, a long year's worth of chopping and carting and carrying wood to the basment has finally paid off. We are the proud owners of a wood burning stove. Just this year we upgraded to a larger, more energy efficient unit (www.Englanderwoodstoves.com )in our basement/indoor wood emporium. We have a tremendous wood pile out back, well actually, truth be told, several wood piles. There is the sliced and diced wood stacked neatly on skids behind the garage, waiting to be loaded into our handy all purpose cart for deposit into Wesley's Wonderful Wood Emporium. Then there is the wood that has been split and is positioned all the way to the rear of the yard, drying and seasoning itself for next year's winter. And finally, close to our handy dandy Monster truck of wood splitters, sits huge tree trunks waiting to join the not quite ready for prime time (unseasoned, if you wood/would--haha) waiting to simmer and season for future cold snaps.

It's a tremendous amount of work, this Little House on The Prairie home heating system of ours. We simply don't think of heating and the high cost of oil only when the weather turns to freezing. Nope, not us. We get some of our best tanning (our hides, not those of wild animals--although I guess it's about the same thing, isn't it?) Anyway, we spend oodles of time outside in the summer months splitting and hauling and seperating and squirreling away our winter stash. Think of the ants scurrying around in A Bug's Life- That's us, the prepared ANTZ. Nope, no slackers in THIS ant hill.

Fall finds us hurriedly trying to finish up as much wood storing as we can, before the crisp fall weather turns to finger numbing temperatures. And finally, as winter's brisk breath falls upon us, we are ready to fire away.

The actual lighting of the first fire of the season itself is of great importance in our home. The tradition was passed along to our youngest son this year, who at the ripe old age of eleven, was finally bestowed with the rights to the "clicker" (think bar-b-que lighter), as well as countless hours on how to fill the wood stove, carefully tucking the newspaper around the edges for MAXIMIUM FIRE EFFICIENCY. Tom Hanks in Cast Away was not nearly as proud as our own little fire starter upon the first swoosh of his virgin fire.

Why, you ask, would a family in this day and age, with access to all sorts of modern home heating devices at our disposal, choose to put so much time and energy (and sweat, lots of sweat!) into a task that can be accomplished as easily as turning up a thermostat....

Ahhh, dear reader......This past week we received our first and only oil bill since last January 7, 2008. And do you know what it said? It read that in order to top off our oil tanks for the first time in eleven and a half months the good old oil man had to replenish one hundred gallons of fuel oil, at $2.47 per gallon. Our total annual usage for a family of five was less than $250!!!!!! If you know anything about oil and fuel prices in New York this year, you would certainly realize that THIS WAS CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION!

So, after Pa Ingalls and the young-uns and myself finished dancing around the town square leaping for joy, we did the only thing that comes natural to a fuel conscious family such as ourselves....

We took said oil bill, and with much fanfare, we promptly placed it into the wood stove....Burn Baby Burn!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Stop, Drop, Recover: honest scrap#links

Stop, Drop, Recover: honest scrap#links

A New Fan- And a New Task

Fireman John was kind enough to post a comment, as well as a task-- Well, thank you for taking the time to think of me---so, i will certainly take the time to return the favor...

Fireman John asks me to post 10 honest things about me (read his comment on yesterday's post)--- So here goes

1. I don't really like being put on the spot like this.

2. I would rather read and write than talk.

3. My children are my greatest source of pride.

4. My children are my greatest source of angst.

5. My oldest son has been coloring my hair since he's old enough to reach the sink---It's because of him I have grey hair to begin with!

6. I really enjoy blogging and getting comments, even though there is a lot more of the first than the second.

7. Laundry and cleaning are therapy I enjoy, even though I complain all the way through it.

8. I hate being alone.

9. I love making people laugh.

10. I read Fireman John's blog http://www.stopdropandrecover.blogspot/com , even though I am not stopping, dropping, or recovering, I simply like the way he writes.

Anyone else want to be brutally honest today? It's not as easy as you might think!!!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Merry Birthday, Baby...

Well, the holidays are upon us,..Boy, are they coming up quick--And I've spent a good deal of time and money shopping these last few weeks...so far I've gotten new shoes (for me) a new pocketbook (for me), a new outfit (for--yup, you guessed it, for me!)

Actually, it's not as selfish as it sounds --ok, maybe it IS as selfish as it sounds, but I have some inherent holiday issues....

I am a Christmas baby---Not as in Merry Christmas, Baby (thank you, Bruce Springsteen), but as in born not in a manger but on the same calender day....

Oh WOW, says you? An honest to God Christmas baby? Well, that must just be the most wonderful time of the year for a birthday! Isn't that great?

Well, actually, it does present some issues, especially as a precocious(i was) child---

Issue #1 you don't get to make but one wish list a year---anything you wanted as a gift in June was long forgotten by November! Hence, summer play items were usually borrowed from a lucky sister blessed witha June birthday!

Issue #2-(to be shared with anyone with a birthday from September 5th through April 1st-) Pool parties and outside gatherings are definitely off the list!

Issue #3-The old birthday / Christmas gift---usually resulted in a slightly better christmas gift than everyone else, but not really up to par as two seperate gifts. (Is anyone else looking up the number of a good therapist for mysuestories about now?)

Issue #4-That cake served after Christmas dinner, well, we all know that was a last minute afterthought, or at the very least, one more stop at a bakery, that we hope is open on Christmas morning---thank God, that bakery in Island Park (sorry-the name escapes me)--was ALWAYS there for us!!!

Anyway, somewhere along the line, I began to think that Christmas shopping meant getting my birthday/ Christmas gift for myself first to kick off the festivities... It became a ritual....

My birthday would be recognized by myself with a special purchase usually accomplished on my first day of holiday shopping.... Be it a new coat or shoes or handbag...just something to signify MY birthday...not Christmas.

As I got older (Haven't we all?) my priorities leaned more towards my kids, my husband...making someone else feel special on Christmas, well, that was the whole idea of the whole gift giving thing, wasn't it?

Well, the kids are a little older, the husband newer, and yet here comes my birthday/Christmas (how come Christmas is capitalized, but not birthday, anyway?)

So, I thought maybe I would treat myself to a new outfit, new shoes, a new handbag or three....

Well, guess what....that burly rough and tough haven't shaved in days mountain man i call my husband (and gladly, too)--Well, he arranged a little Birthday (with a capital "B" ) shopping trip

and we acquired together, in honor of my BIRTHDAY...not christmas/ holiday/ birthday...But for my BIRTHDAY...We bought mysuestories a new outfit (thank you macy's)....a new pair of shoes (you can NEVER have too many--thank you Imelda Marcos for that lesson) AND a new designer bag ---God bless frivulousness?

All this, and all beceause it is going to be my BIRTHDAY...

Not Christmas, which by the wqay, should now be lower case christmas, but, all for my UPPER CASE BIRTHDAY!!!!

Well, maybe having a Christmas Birthday IS all good...After all, I HAVE been blessed with the most rugged, he-man, tough guy, soft-hearted, sweetie with excellant fashion sense in shoes (Honest to God!!!)--He IS the end of my rainbow!!!!

So, my lesson in this? God DOES bless us. Everyone. That's why he gave me Grizzly Adams.

Or maybe God just has bigger sense of humor than I give Him credit for.....

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Unabashedly self promotion

Today's mysuestories has been posted on http://www.smallaa.com/post/1831 . I entered a contest under the HOME STORIES (which is a catgory I created). It is called The Call of The Wild Came in On a Cell Phone. Please read it and vote for me, yea teaam!

And thank you oh constant, albeit, lonely, reader.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Car 54 Where Are You

About twelve years ago, my then husband and I used to take our kids into Manhattan on Thanksgiving Eve, to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Balloons get inflated. We always worked Tahnksgiving mornings, and this was a nice traditional twist to the whole parade thing. We would hop the train and meet my sisters and their families. We would have dinner and cruise the streets eyeing the balloons. Sounds simple and fun, right? Not always.

Maybe ten years ago, we were running late from work and we scooped up the kids and literally made a mad dash for the train station. We boarded in Ronkonkoma, which is a huge depot with massive double sided parking, and plenty of crowds at rush hour. We actually squeezed in to the train, kids in tow just in the nick of time.

We got to Manhattan, met our families, and feasted our bellies and eyes on the magical sites of Manhattan at holiday time. Trust me, if it's something you've yet to do, you simply must try it at least once. Manhattan becomes transformed at this time of year in to a magical wonder land! The kids were always awed and amazed at the sites and sounds!

This particular year was no different. After dinner and wandering frrom one wonderous site to another for hours, we said our goodbyes and made it back to the train station. We arrived back in Ronkonkoma around midnight, and that's where the fun really began!

In our haste to catch our scheduled train , we broke my first rule of parking. We did not pay attention to where we parked. We had simply bolted for the train without so much as a glance at a marker! We searched that lot, with two hungry, tired, whiny kids in tow, for over two hours! We went up and down, down and up every aisle there, and by two am, as the lot was becoming more and more sparse with cars, it became quite apparent.... Our car was simply not there!

We finally called the police, and after thiry minutes of more hungry, tired, whiny kids and now hungry tired, whiny adults as well, a police car shows up, but on the OPPOSITE side of the tracks, which happens to be seperated by fences. We call the police to say hey!!!! Copper!!!! We're over HERE! to which dispatch informs us, Hey! That's a different jurisdiction, and said cop is not ALLOWED to cross the tracks!!!! Another car is then dispatched.

Finally, a police officer who is allowed on the right(?) side of the tracks arrives, and our car is officially recorded as stolen. Now all we had to do is hail a cab, and $60.00 later, we were home. Hungry. Tired. And of course Whiny!

The next morning (or really, only a few hours later), my then husband and I head to work, where fellow colleagues commiserate in our nightitme woes and misadventures.

After work, I suggest we pass by the train station again...Things always look better in the light of day. We approach the train station parking lot from a different entrance than the one we departed the night before. On the opposite side of the tracks. And lo and behold, there, sitting All By Itself, is our car. One lonely vehicle in a near empty parking lot, right where we had parked it. Apparently in our haste to board our own polar express to hell, we neglected to remember climbing the overpass to approach the train. Not only that, the first cop had practically been sitting on top of our car when dispatch informed him that he was in fact not the man for the job.

How embarassing....We actually considered leaving the car there....eventually SOMEBODY would steal it.

But no, I drove it home, with my then husband following, hoping I wouldn't get pulled over and arrested for driving my OWN stolen car!

Once home, we called the police to say "Oops a daisy, false alarm,, my bad", but apparently that's not quite good enough. And so, in the interest of good police work, we waited at our home for another hour for a police officer from I don't know which side of the tracks, came to OUR HOME to view said stolen vehicle, to verfiy that it was in fact found. It doesn't get more embarassing than that, and no, officer, for the third time, we were NOT drinking, just stupid!

Needless to say, that was our last Thanksgiving Eve excursion to Manhattan. These days the family tends to stay home, drinking hot toddies, and baking pies. And rest assurred , I check every hour to make sure those cars are in the garage where they belong!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ads that Make Cents

Okay, just a quick side note-----Why is ADSENSE running an ad about how to be a better parent on my blogsite? Which one of you (few) readers squealed?

I Just Called to Say I Love You

In keeping with the start of Opening Week for Deer Season, I'll stick with what I don't know....(as usual!)

I'm not a seasoned hunter's wife---Well, I am the wife of a seasoned hunter, but I myself am new to the game. For three years now, I watch as the holiday season approaches, and my honey gets increasingly excited over the prospect of heading even further north than we are, simply to spend days on end freezing his butt off in the hopes of maybe catching/sighting/ hitting something other than a friend. He packs long- johns, sweat shirts, camoflauge coveralls, gloves, hats, super thick socks, guns, and some times ammo. Although the joke is- one trip you get the gun, the next you get the ammo, but never the two together!

He will sit in a tree stand after walking for miles (yep--miles-this from a man who thinks tv remote switching is an olympic sport!)-for miles he will walk in deep snow...all alone in the deep woods day after day in hopes he may even catch something other than a cold!

The first year we were together, I gave this expedition of his a lot of thought and came to a very logical conclusion! This really was not a hunting trip, per se. This was simply a long planned weekend away with the boys (which by the way was a heck of a lot easier to understand than freezing one's buns off for sport!)

Of course! They'd be drinking, and eatting out at fine restaurants, playing cards till all hours, and making up tales of the 12 pointer that got away. The dress clothes were probably packed at the bottom of that duffle bag, and I'm pretty sure at least one of those shotguns projects a simple flag that says "BANG!" when fired.

So, off he goes, my mountain man, headed in to the wilderness (Uh-huh , said I, try to stay warm, snicker, snicker!)
This left just myself at home with a house full of kids and dogs to while away the hours with. So what's a girl to do? A couple of phone calls and a quick trip to the liqour store, and we had all the makings of an afternoon party going on---after all, I wasn't the only hunting season widow in town.
Well, party animals that we were, the house was pretty much empty by nine, and I had quite the little buzz going, so I had an IDEA! I would call honey, who I'm sure by now was knee deep in scotch and poker, and say good night.
Well, I dialed the JUST FOR EMERGENCIES phone number he left on the fridge, and waited for about six rings. It's a one room bunk house, so I figured they really were deep in the beverages and couldn't find the phone. What I got on the other end of the phone was a very sleepy hunter who was quite amused that honey's new girlfriend had called hunting camp in the middle of their night's sleep. Apparently opening day begins around 3 am, and they had all been fast asleep since seven!
After a real quick hello/goodbye honey, as all his buddies poked fun and jabbed him with testosterone filled "wifey called" barbs I selpt soundly in the knowledge that those fools really did enjoy walking for miles in layers of clothing so thick you can't bend over, on the slim chance your fingers won't be too numd to actually pull a trigger should the occasion occur!
Oops, my bad.

Oh, but the NEXT night (and every hunting night since) Honey is SURE to call me before they go to bed, just to say goodnight. Ain't he sweet? Of course, should he ever forget to make that call, I could always call him around, oh say, nine thirty! Sweet dreams, baby!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Come Back Here You Wascally Wabbit!

Hunting season is upon us. Now my husband has been hunting since he could practically walk. He's been to lots of different places all over the world, and he's hunted all kinds of game. But, as he's gotten older (haven't we all?) he suspiciously has come home with less and less prizes. He is a great hunter, and he only hunts what we (ok-mostly he and the kids) will eat. He is great with a cross bow, rifles, practically Rambo in First Blood. He HAS gotten Boar before. Maybe he IS Rambo? I never have seen them together.

Anyway, as with anything else, you would think your skills improve over time. But increasingly, hubby goes hunting and returns from a week in a VERY rustic cabin with the boys (5 of whom have sleep apnea---I can't imagine there's a deer for miles that's had a good night's sleep while they're there!) and yet he returns having killed nothing more than a bottle of good scotch. The only thing that get's bagged is him.

A few years back, he's up at Camp Catch a Buzz with four of his buddies. It's freezing, there's a good bit of snow o the ground, and each hunter goes off before the crack of dawn in a different direction, so as not to pull a Dick Cheney. They huddle in tree stands for hours, not moving, freezing off various body parts,...and hopefully they sight and bag something other than each other.

Well, his brother and friends all head out, and hubby decides to wait for the sun to come up a little and warm the unfriendly skies some. At one point, hunny decides to go outside to check weather conditions(probably to make another exscuse not to be freezing in a tree stand some where 50 feet off the ground. He looks out the door, and what does he see right next to their truck, but a beautiful 8 point buck. He reaches inside the door to Camp Kill a Bottle, grabs his rifle, makes a perfect kill shot, while still in his skivies (now, dear reader, that IS a sight!). He's back in front ot the fire with a glass of scotch as the others return mid day with frozen facial hair and empty hands. Rumor has it, he made the shot through the two open front windows of his brother's pick up. He swears he would've made the shot whether they were open or not!

He fancies himself a man's man, my baby-love, (no, we are NOT talking Broke back Mountain---I don't think!), and he prides himself on his fishing and hunting prowess. He is a big, burly, handsome man who takes pride in filling his family's freezer. And we are immensely proud of his talents.

Of course, not every year does the game come to you, and thus as he heads to Camp this year, it is more likely that he will carry home a hang over and not much else. Thank God we have King Kullen to pick up the slack!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Games People Play

Okay---I've always been some what of a game player--not board games-they kind of make me bored, but games of skill, luck, something you could bet on---Poker has always been fun for me, blackjack, foos ball, dice , (left right center is my absolute favorite-something about little kids banging on a table at holdiday time yelling lefty lefty lefty-) and good old pool.

My obsession with pool goes way back to when we were little kids, and Grandpa East Rockaway (don't know why, but OUR grandparents always assumed the identity of the town they lived in-Thank God they didn't move to the same neighborhood as the Grandparents Baldwin!!!) anyway, Grandpa (of the) East Rockaway Grandparents had this huge regulation then state of the art slate covered pool table installed in his otherwise cavernous but empty basement--(I'll never know how we played hide and seek down there- the only place to hide was behind the stairs---and we ALL hid there whenever WE weren't it!!!) Okay, I never DID say we WERE bright kids!

Any way, we would go over to Grandpa's house and play pool for hours on end, and on Sunday mornings, for some strange reason, I used to watch Fats Domino(?) play professional pool on t.v. with my Dad...I'll bet you didn't know that pool used to be a spectator sport! Yup. othing like the quiet that fell over a room as Fats managed to sink every ball on the table without ever touching the cue ball. As I got older, my skill and love for the game increased.

Eventually, we had our very own state of the art slate covered pool table in our own not so empty basement. Now we could play with our friends and cousins all the time. Of course, we were young , and easily bored, and some times we liked to put a different spin on the game that involved 16 hard balls, slate, and cushioned sides.....

Well, one day, one of us not so bright cousins developed the game of war, in which you would place your fingers over the cushioned side of the table, while another not so bright cousin would ram the balls trying to smash your fingers before you had the chance to pull them out of the way....At the same time, you would be trying to smash the unrpotected fingers of your cross table opponent---This had all the makings of any great sport....skill, determination, and an urge to hurt yourself doing something that otherwise seems foolish!

As you might imagine, someone was bound to get hurt...And you would be right...Someone would have broken fingers...Well not quite...Remember how I mentioned pool as a spectator sport? Well, we WERE professionals!!!! Of course we had an audience...And that audience of course had to be those cousins too young to actually play (not because we were ensuring their safety, but simply because they couldn't see above the table!)
Well, the under five crowd was cheering and the balls were being whipped back across the table in both directions at furious rates of reckless speed.
Little lesson in physics here---do you know what happens when two fairly weighted objects are propelled towards one another and meet with great impact? Well, I can attest that at least once, one of those objects will become a pop fly and land on the head of the littlest (and by far the favorite ) cousin.

Of course the sound of that cue ball smacking poor Jo's cute little head was punctuated by a one second delayed WWWWWAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!! Once, again, the thoughtful, ever mindful, concerned bunch of hoodlums that we were, we all ran right over to her, with hands over mouth to SHUT HER UP before the grown ups heard!!!
Have you ever tried to stifle a hysterical4 year old who now not only has a goose egg on her head, but is practically being smothered by her beloved siblings and cousins? Think Regan during her exorcism!!!!!

Needless to say, our new found game was NOT a big hit when the s..t hit the fan, and I pretty much remembered playing MY own trump card as the parents started screaming (after all, I, too, was one of the babies of the family...I was just a little taller, and therefore not sitting on the couch when the fireworks started, and shouldn't my parents be grateful that I also was not injured ? As near as I can remember, I (as usual) escaped unscathed, as opposed to my older siblings and cousins who SHOULD KNOW BETTER! WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH THEM ANYWAY? WHAT WERE THEY THINKING???

Well, our war pool days came to some what of a halt after that, but that's okay...we soon found that you could ride Big Wheels (remember---Two huge plastic tires spun by hand levers with you plopped in the middle ---helmets? what were those?)--any way, wouldn't it be great to ride those bad boys down our front driveway that just happens to end at a 90 degree angle to our closed (of course) underground garage door! Sounds dangerous??? Don't worry... we sent the little kids down first to test it out!!!!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bring Your Pet to School Day

We have three dogs, dauschunds, that we've been given over the years. My kids had two min males, and hubby's son had a full size dauschund. Now I always suspected that my males were not gay, but limited in options. However, having added Rusty (our token female ) to the mix, it's pretty clear....They are in fact gay. Now, a dog's sexual preferences are their own, and I'm all for freedom of your own choices. however, poor Rusty can't figure out why noone wants her! We've tried day at the doggy salon, sweet smelling bath soaps, but all to no avail....poor baby- what's a woman to do....

Nor is this the only time I've been hoodwinked by a pet.

Years ago, we had a big back yard, and at one point my then husband decided to get rid of some old bricks and rocks laying in a corner. What should appear to the delight of a then 5 year old D.J., but a garden snake. Now, it wasn't very large, maybe the length of a ruler, and the width of a pencil....And we had fish tanks and turtles and frogs....but snakes never were on my list of creepy crawly or slithery things I needed to have. Of course try explaining THAT to a 5 year old and my then husband who was by now acting like the suburban version of Steve Irwin. (isn't he gorgeous as he takes me into it's death roll) "It' will be educational "----Oh yeah did I ever learn a few lessons!
Well, this slithery snake ended up in a spare fish tank, and after a quick $60 drop at the pet store(complete with live crickets -this just keeps getting better doesn't it---, this poor thing who had the misfortune to crawl across our yard was now a captive pet. Oh joy. Be still my beating heart. Of course, after two weeks, barely anyone, besides me of course, even knew he was still there.

One time our little hostage managed to squeeze through the ttank and the screen cover....He was MIA for 2 weeks before he reared his ugly little head up through the baseboard heating in my son's room. It wasn't enough to simply find him....I paid my more-scared -of- snakes-than-I-am step daughter $10. to actually throw him back in his dungeon(I mean habitat).

Not enough to have to house the little creep. Nope. Our dear elementary school was presenting for the 1st time ever!!!!!! Bring Your Pet To School Day! (oh, mom, pleasssssse, you just gotta bring hime...pleasssssse) Well, I was thinking (insert expletives here), but I heard me say "of course we'll bring him to Bring Your Pet to School Day. Which, by the way, could only have been created by someone without a five year old, an infant, or pets!!!!!! Oh joy to the world.
How the heck was I going to monitor a snake cage, a stroller, and an infant by myself?!!!!
I tried another tactic..." D.J, maybe you could bring myrtle(our turtle)." I said, mentioning his first pet, who, I could just toss in a shoe box and squeeze it into the baby's diaper bag right next to the formula. "Who?" he inquired....Of course. Silly me...he hadn't glanced at that turtle since he learned there was upkeep involved.... Now, I don't mind myrtle. He doesn't sneak out of the
tank, and the poor dear will probably out live me. And, at his speed, he's not great escape risk...Heck, he can't even fit under the baseboards, no less in to them.

But, alas, on this occassion I was stuck with the snake.
The night before Bring Your Pet To School Day, we set out to scrub the snake's habitat. It wouldn't do to bring in a cage filled with snake doo (is that what it would be?)---so, D.J. and I (interpret I) cleaned the tank---- This was always fun, starting with me wrassling this monster into a sauce pot with a heavy lid tossed on to it. I scraped, washed, rinsed, rebedded, and returned the heat rock (heaven forbid he catch a chill!--It's not like he doesn't know how to get closer to the baseboards) and his little climby stick -a high rise with a view?
Finally, I dumped (yes dumped) that litlle vermin back into his cage- where upon he set to work making a mess of it again..After all, what else did the little bugger have to do...

The next morning, I set out to meet D.J. and the entire kindergarten on the back law courtyard of the school. I loaded snake and tank into the back of my car. I loaded baby Andrew in his car seat, as well as Andrew's luggage, which depending on the journey, could number into several hundreds of pounds of equipment. Today we were traveling lite, simply a strolller, a diaper bag, some bottles, my pocketbook, and of course the snake.
Loaded and ready to go, we head on down to the school.

Upon arrival, I spy some other pet drivers arriving. Oh look, there's Tommy's mom walking that cute little tea cup pup that could fit in her purse! Oh, and there's Judy's mom with their cat in a small little carrier. No sweat.
I got out of the car and put Andrew in his stroller. I slung his luggage over the handles, and nearly tipped the kid head over heels from all that weight. I readjusted my pocketbook to his lap. Now he was squished, but at least it was evenly distributed.
I took the snake tank out of the car. at 10 gallons, it was a handful, and Andrew's lap was already in use. Hmmmmmm. Okay. I took the snake tank five feet closer to the school. Then I walked back five feet and retrieved Andrew, his luggage, and my bag. I walked the stroller that same five feet to the snake tank. I picked up the snake tank and went another five feet. Back to the stroller. Another five feet with the stroller. (Did I mention this animal shindig was at the BACK of the schoolyard?!)---Well, after about seventy five of these 5 foot sprints, with sweat dripping between the blades of my shoulders, wheezing like an iron lunger on worst day.... We (Andrew, his luggage, my bag, and of course the snake) made it to the back of the school.

"Cool" D.J. brought a snake---woo hoo...."Hey Mom," the little bugger asks me, "Can I take him out and hold him?" Now, I've already explained, I don't touch snakes, and if that little vermin decided to make his exit from the jumpy palm of an unsuspecting 5 year old, I wasn't chasing the little bastard down.

D.J.'s friend Thomas had also brought a snake AND his Dad.... Perfect...Let them play snake handler. We were just fine with our lid on. Half an hour later, presentations over, me, Andrew, Andrew's stroller, his luggage, my bag, and of course the snake tank start heading all the way to the parking lot. Five feet snake, five feet stroller, five feet snake, five feet stroller-surely you get the picture by now.

Well, we return home (finally!!!) and I take Andrew out of the car seat and in to the house...I take in Andrew's luggage, my bag, his stroller, and finally I place the snake tank on the kitchen table.

A little while later, I go to put the snake back into my son's room and out of my sight. It occurs to me that the snake is still in the same position he was in when I left the house that morning. I go outside and get a long stick ..Again, I do not touch snakes. I lift the lid, waiting for the snake playing possum to attck, and poke it with said stick. It doesn't even move. I poke it again, this time pushing it.. The whole body, in the exact s shape that it's in slides without changing shapoe whatsoever. The snake, as it turns out, that I had humped bakc and forth, back and forth, had the poor manners to drop dead. That's right, we brought a DEAD pet to bring your pet to school day---Can you imagine if the kids HAD actually held him? I needlessly dragged, toted, and carried the kid and cage and luggage for essentially nothing. I could've put the thing in my pocket and just whipped it out when we got there.

You'd think D.J. would be heartbroken over the demise of the cherished snake. So did I. So I did what every good hearted mom would do....I tossed the snake in the garbage pail and put the cage back in his room. He never noticed.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Storm of the Century

Tonight The kids and hubby and I are going to the movies with some friends...Surprisingly enough (haha), this triggers an early childhood memory for me, dear reader........

It was the sixth grade, and my world of new friendships and territories was growing..... Our sixth grade annex (again, if you are a constant, dear reader, please exscuse the repetition, for I know it is hell---The Storm of the Century) combined many elementary schools and kids from all directions. As is true of all kids at that age, (i think), it was time to spread my wings a little from the local kids and start stretching out a little. Now, I was the third born of three, so my parents had been there, done that some what already.... Anyway, I think because of this what I like to call "Multi-child syndrome (after two the folks lose track of every one!), I was granted permissions my siblings may not have enjoyed.

One such permission, was to go to movies with a friend from a neighboring town. Now, I may not have been that clear on just what town it was or exactly how we would get there, but I was going....

After school one winter's day, Lisa and I headed toward her house in (gasp) THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION from my home territory. Now when I was a kid, we put a lot of mileage on our feet.. (see WALK THIS WAY)...We were familiar with our own area pretty much everywhere, so to walk another mile in an opposite direction didn't bother me in the least.

I remember we went to see Animal House-maybe it was for the first time or for the one hundredth- I don't recall that, but I DO remember all the kids hooting and howling in the theatre---particularlty when Bluto asks "Guess what I am now!"

The movie was great fun, and I remember it was starting to get dark out when we escaped the movie theatre. It was also starting to snow.....

What started out as flurries became a near blinding blizzard, and after an hour (of what should have been a fifteen/twenty minute walk), I was hopelessly lost. For either pride or damnation, it never occurred to me to knock on a door or ask for help....I just kept on walking , and walking, and walking.....

I walked for hours before I finally spotted the local hospital, cut around to the back, and finally found myself just a few blocks from home...I walked through my front door, half frozen, and icicles in my hair. I quickly changed clothes and dried my hair....no way I was going to admit to having been lost for hours in a the worst snow storm of the eastern sea board(ok,ok -maybe that's a slight exageration).

After all these years, I still try to figure out what went wrong that day. As near as I can recall, I lost my way at the hospital. What I figured for the front side must have been the back, I guess...

Anyway, that's a Suism I don't think I've EVER shared before....and judging from my following on this blog, I guess I STILL haven't----hellllooooo....is any one out there?

Anyway, just to be on the safe side of the street (and the right side), I checked the weather report......We aren't expecting any 50degree surpirse snow storms tonight!!!! I'm good!!!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Soul Sister

We all have our sibling rivalries, it's simply part of the territory, that goes along with sharing/borrowing clothes without permission, fighting over whose turn it is to do the dishes, feed the dog, etc. It is also a great forum for passing along habits good and bad. Eventually, someone ends up getting thrown under the proverbial bus....

Come back with me, if you will, dear reader, to the mid 1970's....Elton John was wearing duck outfits and moon boots, most girls were duplicating David Cassidy's shag hair cut, and some of us were hanging out in cars that didn't even run.

The car in question belonged to a member of the Cleveland Ave crew---As ominous as that sounds, we were really just a bunch of kids from the block without a basement to hang in the winter months. Our most threatening member was G.J, who had all the earmarks of a biker dude, except for the bike and biker friends and hot chicks.....You get the picture...He DID have the mirrored sun glasses AND the required oversized black faux wallet complete with chain...And he insisted on wearing only worn and tried old levis. If his mom dared to buy him new ones, he'd insist they not be washed for the first few weeks, so they could then also be worn and tried old levis.

Anyway, the car that didn't run was currently parked in Pete's driveway. I remember it being a Barracuda of some sort, and when (if) it was ever finished being restored, it would be the hottest car since Greased Lightning....

To digress a moment, before my sister and I and four of our nearest and dearest piled in to that car:
My dear kister, at the ripe old age of about 15 had committed a most cardinal sin that year...She had been sentenced to SUMMER SCHOOL.....Now, apparently, summer school was not just a reflection of my sister's lack of interest in homework or studying, but, as my mother was quick to point out, A REFLECTION ON HER UPBRINGING!!!! We did not DO summer school...That showed a lack of homework and study control on the part of your parents, who not only did NOT have to be the one to suffer through lazy days of summer in a classroom, but who apparently would suffer severe social repercussions due to your (no, not stupidity) but lack of APPLYING yourself.

Now, my kister is VERY applicable, and that year, she was also applying herself to her first tastes of alcoholic beverages. Well, in order to procure a single night out from her summer school house arrest, she swore to my mother, God, Allah, and any one else required that she would a) be home early b) she would take her tag a long sister (always a clincher) and c) she would d0 NO drinking.

Okay, so with trustee sister (that's me!) in tow, we headed down the block. After joining our fellow deliquents in the aforementioned soon to be classic car, it was discovered that someone had acquired beer......(Boy, was IT a different world back then).
Despite peer pressure, my sister stayed true to her word....She would not renege against her word and face the wrath of mother, god, and Allah....."Thanks folks, but none for me." she repeated throughout the evening. I did NOT see the harm in MY having one or two. After all, I had not shamed our family with the forever stimatized summer school...In fact, I was a pretty good student...Shouldn't that be worth something?

Two beers and a buzz later....Kister urged us that we must return to the dungeon of her summer school - home. We walked the block to our house, where upon the warden mother was waiting at the front door, lights ablazing----Now, we weren't late, she just wanted to make sure my do good sister had not been up to no good.

My sister practically skipped in to the house, knowing she had DONE the Right thing..... I remember sheepishly bringing up the rear with a bit of a stagger.... Close on her heels I followed, as kister bounded in to the house.....
No sooner did we enter, than my mother smells the sickly sweet smell of stale beer emainating from her charges (okay, so it was THIS charge emanating)...As my mother yelled at my sister for drinking...(granted she wasn't-but admitting that you LET you baby sister WAS was not going to save anybody)--any how, as long as mom was preoccupied, I scooted through the dining room, down the hall and right in to bed.......The last words I heard before deep slumber took me that night was "You should try to be more like your sister".....

Sorry, sis.....
Oh, and about that brand new pair of maroon high heel boots you told me never to touch.....Sorry about that loose heel....Thirteen year old feet were not made to walk at that angle!!!!!

And the sweater you caught me wearing in the hall way at school which you demanded I "take it off right now!!!!"

And the billion other offenses committed by a kid sisiter.....

Sorry---and most of all Thanks for letting me live by not following though on all thoses threats...Nobody loves ya like me!!!!!!!