Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Decorating Drama Continues

So, as the title implies, the decorating drama continues.

See, the problem is we don't have any outside electrical sockets. Which means we can't have any outside lights unless we want to somehow run an extension cord from the house to the outside which leaves the door open to cold air not to mention murderous criminals intent on anti-Christmas mayhem.

And one of us might be willing to risk that but the other is pretty convinced he would be ripped from sleep three or four times a night as someone poked him in the side and hissed, “Did you hear that? Did you hear somebody in the house?!"

The long and the short of it is, we don't have any outside lights and everyone else in the neighborhood has outside lights--including the annoying neighbors next door and the new ones across the street who don't even manage to notice a Halloween bag on their door for 3 1/2 weeks...but I digress.

And I should clarify, that we didn't have any outside lights.
Until this week when I got the brilliant idea that some lights are battery-operated and don't need to be plugged in at all and could probably be found online and delivered, thus avoiding any dealings with the wild hordes of Christmas shoppers crowding the stores.

At that moment a tiny voice in my head suggested that it might be good to consult Opie on this as he is much better with most things electrical but then I thought ‘Seriously, they're lights. How hard could it be to order some stinking lights? Plus I figured we might be nearing the edge of Opie’s Christmas cheer as he has already been a pretty good sport about dressing up like Ralphie for the Christmas card (more on that later, I promise!) and agreed to a holiday party.

So I found these adorable timer activated battery operated Fairy lights and immediately ordered two sets.

Anyone note the problem with the previous sentence? Because I didn't catch it until the lights got here.
Fairy lights.

And fairies, for those of you who have never seen Peter Pan, are tiny.

Not small, TINY.

This is the box they came in:


 
And these are the lights themselves:



Some people would take one look at these lights, realize they’d made a terrible mistake, then not even bother to open them,  just pack them up and send them back for a full refund.
Those people are quitters.
But, ever the optimist and definitely no quitter, I said to myself “Self,” I said. “Maybe they’ll look better once I get them wrapped around the porch railing.”

Which was a complete disaster.


I mean, you would think something as small as fairy lights would take no time at all to set up. Unfortunately, call me paranoid, but I’m pretty sure there was a tiny invisible fairy flying around, grabbing the lights when I wasn’t looking and trying them into ridiculous knots.
Ok, yes, this is supposed to illustrate the knot
but LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THOSE MINI BULBS.
Which led to some very  un-Christmas like swearing I can assure you.

Which convinced two rather ridiculous dogs that I was being attacked on the porch and needed their assistance immediately. Assistance that came in the odd form of hysterical barking and demands for treats.
Which led to more un-Christmas like swearing mingled with shouts of “Shut up, you mongrels! Shut up before I kill you!”
Which, oddly, didn’t do a darn thing to quiet the dogs but no doubt convinced the neighborhood that A. I’m mentally unstable or B. I’m getting a stocking full of coal this year. Or both.

In any case, the real kicker is that after all of this, we are still about one string of lights shorts from actually covering the entire porch railing.
So now it looks like I started to put up the smallest lights in the history of Christmas lights, got bored (due to my aforementioned mental instability, no doubt), and just stopped. Which means the real dilemma is, what do I do now?

Leave the lights and tell people I got my decorating inspiration from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’s Island of Misfit Toys?  Order one more string of lights, based on the theory that ridiculous lights are better than no lights at all?
Or do I pack them up return them get my money back and be the only house in the neighborhood without lights the rest of the Christmas season while the rest of the neighborhood jeers and points and laughs at us behind our backs?
Or do I just pour myself a glass of wine the size of a human head, wait for Opie to notice the problem and scream “Why do I have to take care of everything for Christmas? You fix the lights if they mean that much to you.”

Honestly, it’s like the problem just solved itself.



Thursday, December 1, 2016

Decorating and Drama

So, it's early in the Christmas season & Opie has been wondering if the decorations are ever actually going to make it out of the boxes in the living room and into the house.

Would you believe I already
 have half the boxes put away?
Which is, obviously, the wrong question.

The right question question would be "Are we still going to have all three pets by the time the decorations finally make it up or will I be forced to murder them to death?"

And, to be honest, it doesn't look good for the ridiculous animals.

See, The Bub is staging some sort of protest...He has spent a shocking amount of time walking in circles around the boxes in the living room, crying to be let outside, standing on the porch for all of 30 or 40 seconds then barking to be let back inside. I haven't had a chance to really explore his list of demands but knowing his long history as a political activist, I'm sure it has something to do with the plight of dogs in third world countries.

I tried to be kind as I explained to him that his protest, while admirable, is incredibly annoying but he didn't take it well. To put it mildly, we are no longer speaking.

I am also no longer speaking to Princeton P Kitty.  Largely because he's trying to kill me.

Here's what's happening: Opie has always said we can't have a real Christmas tree because we have a cat. The thing he forgets is that we don't have a normal cat. A normal cat would probably try to climb the tree and/or bat the ornaments down with his paws.

Our cat likes to hide behind the fake tree and then fling himself out at whomsoever is passing by.



Considering that I am the one who is usually passing by--with things in my hands and distracted  by a politically protesting dog--I'm pretty sure his plan is to give me a heart attack or send me tumbling to the ground in a flurry of tinsel, trinkets and tree debris.

Sassy, clearly, is the only one who  feels any sense of loyalty to me. Unfortunately, that loyalty has manifested itself in protecting me AGAIN from all the Kleenex we have in the house...to the extent that she pulled my jacket off the back of the chair, stuck her nose in the pocket to dig a couple out, then proceeded to try dragging the entire jacket up the stairs...distracted only by the awful attack of the mailman--who chose that moment to announce his intent to murder all of us by delivering a package.

Which seems a strange way to share a death threat but what do I know about the ways of assassins?

Sassy, though, wasn't fooled. She immediately dropped my jacket, ran across the room to the baby gate that keeps the animals out of the front room and actually broke through it like some sort of crazed mutant hulk of a dog.

Yes, you read that correctly. She broke the gate.Now the only thing we have keeping visitors, door-to-door evangelists, delivery persons, etc. from our dogs is their steadfast obedience to my authority.

We're doomed.

On the bright side, after days of decorating, although I haven't gotten as far as I'd like, I managed to create a cool way to display the Christmas cards...and by "create" I mean "shamelessly steal a cool idea from a friend."

But it's Christmas, why get caught up in semantics?

Anyway, I got some ribbon and a bow, wrapped it around the top of the fireplace, and now I can attach our cards to the ribbon and display them all season...

In fact, I liked the idea so much, I also wrapped one of our doors like a present, put a ribbon and bow on it too and have 2 places to display Christmas cards.



So, in short, bring on the Christmas cards!  But bring them on carefully since our protective gate is broken, our dogs are crazy and our cat is plotting murder!


Monday, October 31, 2016

The Mysterious Mystery

Well it's Halloween so that makes me actually kind of happy to report that we have a very mysterious mystery that is mystifying us here at the Yates Estates.

And when I say we,  I am being a touch expansive as Opie is only moderately interested in the aforementioned mystery and refuses to engage in long texting discussions of it while he's at work.

But I digress...

Here's what's going on:

Two weeks ago Opie and I came home from visiting our family in Illinois and realized that we had been booed. This sounds awful but is actually really fun.

Someone left us a cute Halloween bag of treats anonymously with the instructions to pass it forward in a manner of a secret Santa only with a Halloween theme. Apparently this is been going on in office buildings and neighborhoods for years and I had no idea!! (You can read all about it here).

Anyway like I said, really fun! And it was easy to decide who I was going to boo:

1. The annoying little girl next door who, although she is incredibly annoying, would get a real charge out of the booing and it's always fun to make little kids happy.

2. The new neighbors across the street so they'd think the neighborhood is fun and welcoming.

So I got two cute treat bags, filled them up, and snuck over to the respective houses, hanging the bags in plain sight. Then I retreated to the safety of my living room, got out the good old binoculars, and waited for everyone to discover the booing.

The little girl found hers first and responded with an appropriate amount of not at all annoying good cheer.

The other neighbors left theirs hanging outside.

For days.

Actually, it's been on their mailbox for TWO WEEKS.

How can they possibly KEEP
MISSING this bag????


"This is a disaster!" I told Opie after the first few days had passed. "What if they're out of town? What if instead of welcoming them to the neighborhood, I just alerted any thieves in the vicinity that they're not home? What if they get robbed?"

"Maybe you should just sneak across the street and get it back." he suggested.

Unfortunately , I'm no lawyer but I watch A LOT of Judge Judy, and that's kind of the same thing. So I know that, legally, once a gift has been given it becomes the property of the giftee not the gifter. So, taking the bag back now would be stealing.

Besides that, my life is really weird. And I just know that if I sneak over there to retrieve said bag, The neighbors will, no doubt, open the door the second I put my hand on it and demand to know what I'm doing. At which point I will panic,  yell profanities, and flee back across the street.

Which doesn't exactly scream welcome to the neighborhood.

It would be better, I decided, to just be grateful that the booing  is anonymous and hope that the neighbors don't get robbed or, failing that, hope they never figure out I was the one Who inadvertently set them up.

And then the plot thickened!

Because a few days ago I saw a huge Salvation Army donation truck pull up in front of their house... and those trucks only come when called... and it stayed there a significant amount of time...I couldn't see the front door because the huge truck was in the way, but it was pretty obvious that someone is home over there.

And they still didn't pick up the bag!!!

"Now, this is really weird!" I yelled at Opie. "Why in the world wouldn't they pick up the bag? Are they some kind of ultra-religious anti-Halloween fanatics? Do they think people in the neighborhood just come by and add additional decorations to the house? What is going on?!"

At which point Opie, who I can usually count on to be the calming voice of reason in these situations, let me down. "Maybe it was a fake truck." he said. "Maybe the people in the Salvation Army truck were there to rob them."

The problem with Opie's reaction is that it just allowed me to fully unleash my inner crazy. "What if they killed them? What if the neighbors are in there DEAD? What if they've been murdered and when the police finally find them they'll see the bag on the front porch and decide the murderers left it there like some weird satanic message?"

"What are you talking about?" He demanded.

But it was too late to stop me. "And then they'll fingerprint the bag, find out I left it there and I'll go to PRISON FOR A CRIME I DIDN'T COMMIT!"

"That's not going to happen."

"You better hope not!" I shouted. "Because I'm not going to live long in prison. I'll make a joke at the wrong time or use sarcasm on the wrong person and BAM! I'll get shanked in the prison laundry!"

"How did we get from Halloween treats to you dying in prison?"

"You started it!" I told him loftily.

And now to the real dilemma: do I go over and retrieve the bag of treats which are, no doubt, melted and stale after 2 weeks on the porch? Do I call the police and suggest they take a look-see at the house in case it's been robbed and the occupants murdered? Or do I continue to sit in the living room with my binoculars like some sad stalker freak show, trying to get a good look in the neighbors' windows?

And why won't they  just take the damn bag inside?

Friday, October 21, 2016

Costumes, Canines and Culture


Well it's almost Halloween and here at the Yates Estates, that means one thing: Time to Horrify Opie with Costumes for the Animals.

It is interesting to note that Opie isn't the only one horrified by animal attire. My own mother has been known to label these outfits as "cruelty" and "abuse" but I'm pretty sure she's kidding.  I mean, if you take one look at Princeton P Kitty, you know this cat is having the time of his life:


And  Sassy, ever a team player, cheerfully prances about in a variety of outfits and helps me decide on an appropriate theme.



In fact, she was having so much fun that I almost decided the three fur babies should be the three witches from Macbeth...which would not only have been incredibly cute but also given me a chance to randomly scream quotes from the play, which is entertaining and educational for everyone involved.

Double, double toil and trouble
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.


By the pricking of my thumbs
Something wicked this way comes!






But even though Bubba looked adorable in his witch's hat



He flat out refused to keep it on long enough for a group picture.  Even when I tried to assure him that Halloween was nothing more than a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, he flung himself around like the over-dramatic dog he is, throwing the hat halfway across the room.




To be fair, Bubba has always claimed that Shakespeare is too bombastic and inaccessible for the average dog.

Opie thought this meant Bubba would spend this Halloween sans costume...until we had the following text exchange:

Me:  Bubba wants to be a tiger for Halloween.

Opie: You're not dressing him up anymore, he hates it..

Me:  I don't know what you're talking about. It's all fun and  games here at home today.

And I added the following picture:


Opie's response was immediate and oddly unenthusiastic: NOOOOOOO!!!!!!

But the thing is, I feel like it's my responsibility to help these animals reach their full artistic potential. So, I quickly sent back I'm not going to squelch Bubba's creativity just because you have some obscure anti-tiger prejudice. Especially when he's really been working on his snarl.



Besides, I continued when he didn't answer for a few minutes, Sassy can't wear the tiger ears.  They look ridiculous on her.


Why does ANYONE have to wear the tiger ears?  Opie demanded.

At which point I knew some stranger had stolen his phone and was just messing with me,  Because anyone who knows me knows that SOMEONE has to wear the tiger ears.

So, in summary, Birnam Wood has come to Dunsinane (man, I miss teaching Shakespeare!), I have the Halloween costumes under control,  and I'm already plotting bigger and better things for family Christmas outfits...stay tuned!



Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Pokemon Go - It's Not Just a Game

The thing is, I work in social media.

I work in social media, monitoring children's websites, therefore it is vitally important for me to keep my finger on the pulse of online trends.

This is why I am forced to send my friends inappropriate emojis, 💩, text versions of breasts (•) (•) and inundate them with the latest internet slang (smh at your salt!)

Not because I want to, but because that's my job.

This is also why I was forced, completely against my will, to download Pokemon Go.

"I need to know what it's about," I told Opie. "Kids are talking about it online and I can't figure out if they're talking about the game, trying to plan a real life meet up or what."

"Really?" He asked skeptically. "And that's why you wander around the neighborhood muttering to yourself about Pokestops and Pokeballs and pidgeys? Because it's your job? It has nothing to do with the fact that you're obsessed with a game for nine-year olds?"

"It's my job!" I insisted.

Swayed by the brilliance of my argument and in the spirit of worker solidarity, he downloaded the game too.

And I am sad to report that Opie is currently obsessed with a game for nine year olds.

But we are not like the players who are out there giving everyone else a bad rep. We aren't so engrossed in our phones that we wander into traffic, we haven't Pokemoned our way through a mine field, and if it's raining, we don't wrap our phones in plastic bags and brave the elements just to catch a few more.

Wait, we did do that last one...but only bc we were on the trail of a particularly elusive Pokemon.

So now the question is, which of us is the biggest nerd?  Opie insists that his study of strategy  is not nerd like but merely a sign of how much he's willing to sacrifice his time and energy to help me.

I maintain that my ability to surreptitiously check the app beneath the table or while it's in my purse --reminiscent of texting teenagers everywhere-- shows both creative thinking and manual dexterity.

Hmmmm, on second thought, maybe it's a tie.



Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Faith in our Future

Opie and I bought our nephew a refrigerator for his college dorm room.

As I'm not generally in the habit of starting a blog (especially after such a long hiatus!) with such a mundane matter, you have probably inferred that this did not occur without incident.

On the bright side, however, I've had my faith in the younger generation somewhat restored.

Here's what happened:

I went to Target and walked up to the customer service counter. There was a young girl behind the counter and I said "Hi, I'm here to pick up the refrigerator I ordered online."

She took my ID pressed a few buttons, bada bing bada boom, she said the guy would be up with the refrigerator momentarily.

And sure enough a few minutes later this guy in his 50s or so pushed up one of those flatbed dolly things with the refrigerator on it.

He took it off the dolly, set it on the floor and said "Here you go," and turned to walk away.

"Excuse me," I said politely. "But I assumed you'd help me get it out to the car."

"I can't go push a dolly all the way through the parking lot," he said like I was some sort of crazy person.

At this point I gave him my best "look." You know the one, the one that says "The only reason I haven't already killed you is because I'm so afraid of prison."

"I could put it in a cart for you," he offered then.

Like I was going to schlep the refrigerator all the way across the parking lot and throw it in the car in the manner of some freakishly strong mutant.

So I turned back to the young girl behind the customer service counter, smiled, and said "Hi, I'm here to return a refrigerator I bought online."

She glared at the older guy, smiled at me, and said "You can just pull your car around, and we can load it up."

I pulled the car around, turned on the hazards, got out and my feet had barely hit the curb when the older guy said "it's not gonna fit."

Since prison was already on my mind, I stood there a few minutes silently contemplating whether or not I would get actual time for punching him in the throat or if I'd get off with a fine and probation.

Just as I was about to throw caution to the wind and descend upon this idiot in a whirlwind of fists and fury, these two teenage boys walked up. Apparently they work at Target but weren't working that day, they were actually just coming to pick something up for themselves.

"Need help getting that in the car?" They asked.

And in seconds had it off the dolly, in the car, and I was good to go.

If I ever carried cash, I would have given them a tip on the spot. As it was I didn't want to insult them by offering the 32 cents I could scrounge from the bottom of my purse and a stick of gum.

So I thanked them profusely, gave the older guy one final glare and drove home happy to have my faith in the young once again restored.



Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Victory!

I have long believed that setting goals and careful planning are the keys to success.

Since I can practically hear my family and friends snickering in a disbelieving manner, I should point out that I said I believe this is true, I didn't say I always do it.

However, this idea was firmly in my mind last week as Opie was driving me to the doctor. I was focused, determined and planning toward 1 specific goal:

To get a prescription for antibiotics WITHOUT having to endure the horrible "gag me with a ginormous Q-tip while I try not to puke" test they do to diagnose strep throat.

Opie was oddly unenthusiastic about the entire plan. "This," he predicted darkly, "is going to be like that time I took you to the ER with stomach pains and you started demanding the good drugs and they thought you were some sort of addict."

Like it's my fault the ER employees had no sense of humor.

"This is different," I croaked. "This isn't some sort of medical mystery. I have strep throat. I know it, you know it, the doctor should take our word for it."

Which may sound conceited but the thing is, I read a lot of WebMD.

Plus, I get strep throat with alarming frequency. Which made sense when I taught high school and basically spent my days wading through a foul wonderland of germs. But, strange as it may seem, working at home has been even worse. It's like the isolation has turned me into some ultra-sensitive bubble girl. I'm actually pretty convinced that if someone with strep drives down the street in front of my house, the germ will zero in on me like a throat-seeking missile and attack.

So there was no test necessary: I knew I had strep throat. And step one of the "no ginormous Q-tip" plan was to convey this thought often and with confidence.

"I have strep throat," I told the receptionist when she asked why I was there.

"It's definitely strep," I assured the nurse as she took my blood pressure.

"At first I thought the sore throat was from seasonal allergies," I told the doctor. "But then I realized it's strep."

"She gets strep a lot," Opie said helpfully.

"I'm going to need to check it out." The doctor said, doing that annoying thing where she acts like she knows sooooo much more about medicine than I do just because she's had 2 decades of school and experience.

Seriously, some people are so arrogant.

Anyway, she got out her flashlight and I braced myself for the Q-tip. But then she looked at my throat, "Yah," she said thoughtfully. "That's a lot of pus."

"That's my least favorite word," I told her sweetly.

And, for a moment, I was pretty sure I had just ruined everything, but a miracle occurred.

Instead of thinking I was crazy (like most doctors do) she thought I was funny!

"It's not pus," she said struggling for the right words. "It's fluffy white....white....bunnies!"  

"Cotton candy?" I suggested. "Or clouds?"

"Clouds!" She agreed. "You have fluffy white clouds in your throat."

And then she said, "Let me get you a prescription!" Without a Q-tip in sight!

Victory!

Though I must say, Opie was oddly unimpressed. "You understand that your throat looked SO BAD that she just gave you TEN DAYS of antibiotics, right? That's not exactly winning."

Which just goes to show you that, although he's a smart guy, Opie doesn't really understand the competitive nature of doctor visits.

So, in summary, I'm the clear champion of the medical tournament, I've been swilling down antibiotics like there's no tomorrow and am on the mend, and Opie is obviously jealous of the way I stay focused on my goals.