Thursday, December 20, 2012

Reality For Me

It’s Theme Thursday again and this week’s subject is Reality TV.

And that’s awesome because I love Reality TV…which is kind of embarrassing because I’m an ENGLISH MAJOR.

My blog should start with the line “I love Shakespeare.”

And I do…I love Shakespeare and Chaucer and Arthur Miller and Harper Lee…in fact, if you haven’t read To Kill A Mockingbird, you need to get off the computer, go to the library, get a copy and do nothing else until you have read the whole amazing thing. It’s on my list of top ten books all Americans should read before they die.

But I love Reality TV too.

Not all Reality TV…not those horrible shows that allow parents to exploit their children…Dance Moms, Toddlers and Tiaras, that horrifying new Honey Boo Boo mess…those seem like borderline child abuse…but maybe that’s because I freak out if my mom tries to show people my awkward adolescent pictures; I can’t imagine the amount of therapy I’d need if those years had been documented and witnessed by millions of bored, judgmental Americans.

But if consenting adults want to flaunt their particular brand of crazy for the chance at fame and fortune…I say that’s good TV. America’s Next Top Model, Hell Kitchen, Cops, I Love Money…bring it on!  I’ve actually even used it as a classroom motivator.  Before starting the online monitor phase of my life, I worked with inner city kids in St. Louis…and one semester I made a deal with my little darlings that if they stayed focused an worked during class, we would take the last five minutes each day to discuss the latest Flavor of Love episode and vote who we thought should be the next to go.

I’m not exactly PROUD of that educational decision…but it worked.

But I think my favorite reality shows are the precursors to our modern reality programming… those court shows where “the litigants are real” and “the judgments are final!” The things people will sue for—and admit to on national television—send me over the edge. Like, just the other day I was watching The People’s Court and this guy was suing the daughter of a former friend because her dog attacked him and bit him in the crotch.

“Your penis?” The judge clarified.

And I started giggling like a junior high girl.

Now, in my normal reality I try to be a compassionate person. I wouldn't giggle at the victim of an unprovoked crotch biting. However, in my normal reality, most people I know wouldn’t discuss their genitals on national television—much less pantomime the alleged attack with Michael Jackson-esque crotch-grabbing maneuvers. And they certainly wouldn’t explain that they needed $6,000 because their poor scarred junk is now less attractive to women.

So, yes, I giggled.

And when the guy’s girlfriend testified and finally admitted that his penis wasn’t any uglier than any other penis, I laughed so hard I almost choked to death on a handful of popcorn.

Critics of Reality TV say that this is because I am practically a sociopath, that these shows satisfy my base human need to feel superior to others. And I don’t know if that’s really it…I don’t know if I feel SUPERIOR exactly…but I admit Reality TV does make me feel good about my own life.

Like the night after the Crotch Biting Case…my husband and I were lying in bed talking and feeling a little stressed out because things are crazy right now. One of our dogs is getting older and starting to have health problems, we need to rebuild our back porch, and we’re paying two mortgages until we can rent or sell my old house…we have a lot going on.

But still, I could lean over and whisper lovingly in his ear “At least we didn’t talk about your penis on national television.”

And just like that, I’m grateful for my own life again.

Read other Theme Thursday posts:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Weddings and Weird Cousins

Well, I’m participating in Something Clever 2.0’s Theme Thursday again (see link to the right) and this week the topic is weddings…which is an easy one for me since Opie and I just got married a year and a half ago.

Here we are:

And yes, of course, our wedding was romantic and beautiful and perfect in every way…and that’s not bragging because I really didn’t have anything to do with making it perfect. See, my parents are great at organizing things.  And I am equally great at letting my parents organize things.  In fact, right after Opie and I got engaged, I said to my mom “Hey, you’re going to sort of…you know…take charge of the planning, right?”

And she allowed as how she thought she better or else there was a distinct possibility that—on the day of the wedding—I’d be all “Flowers?  Oh crap, I forgot to order flowers.”  And “What do you mean we had to RESERVE THE CHURCH?!”
Which, sadly, is a 100% fair assessment.

So I cheerfully handed over the reins (retaining only the power of veto) and went on my merry responsibility-shirking way.
But there was one responsibility that I couldn’t avoid: Seating assignments at the reception.

Which probably seems like a pretty innocuous task but stressed me out no end…for the 3 following reasons:
1.    The wedding was being held in the small community where I grew up…and in small communities you just naturally have family friends who were once married to, dated, or worked for other family friends but who now are married to, dating, or working for different family friends.  And while it’s all very civilized, it can still be awkward to have them sitting too close to each other—particularly at an event that includes copious amounts of alcohol.

2.    I still remember my friend Martha’s wedding when this HORRIBLE woman had her boyfriend interrupt the formal receiving line to complain about her table and demand a different placement.  When that didn’t work, she tried to hijack my seat.  And I couldn’t even scream at her because I try not to cause embarrassing scenes at my friends’ formal events…though, rest assured, I did get my seat back.

3.    I’m also still tortured by the memories of the worst wedding seating I’ve ever been forced to endure.  I was just out of college and I’d been dating this guy, Carl, for about six months.  When one of his cousins got married, we went to the ceremony together and I met his ENTIRE family for the first time.

The wedding in and of itself was a little odd…ultra conservative, very religious-which is fine, I had a traditional religious ceremony myself—but one that focused a little too much on that Bible verse from Ephesians that talks about the wife submitting to her husband.  It was included in one of the readings and quoted in the vows…the ceremony was even punctuated with recordings of the bride singing a song about it that she wrote herself, the refrain of which was so horrifying that I still remember  it all these years later.  “I submit to you with all my will, my master, my leader, my lord.”

Equally horrifying was the fact that NO ONE else in the entire church seemed to catch the completely inappropriate slavery/S&M overtones.
Being the most generous of souls, I was willing to overlook these oddities and enjoy the reception.  Although, to be honest, that generosity could have been due to the fact that there was an open bar.    Which, considering the conservative religious nature of the ceremony, was a miracle in its own right.

But one we weren’t able to immediately enjoy because as soon as we walked into the hall, Carl’s sister gabbed his arm and hissed “Weird Cousin Wayne’s at OUR table.”
There’s probably a Weird Cousin Wayne in every family…he’s one of those guys who stands a little too close, stares a little too long, bathes a little too infrequently, and generally speaks in grunts.

To make matters even worse—and due to some tricky maneuvering on Carl’s part—I , not he, ended up right next to Wayne for dinner.
Which goes a long way toward explaining why THAT relationship was doomed to failure.

In any case, the worst part of the evening  occurred right after dinner.  Carl had just gotten me a fresh drink—I was deep into my amaretto sour phase at the time—and I took 3 or 4 healthy sips before putting the glass on our table and heading for the dance floor.
A little while later, we came back to our horrible assigned seats just in time to see Wayne taking a big old drink out of my glass.

Perhaps he didn’t know it was an open bar, maybe this was a result of my violating some drink abandonment statute…I don’t know and I didn’t ask because as soon as we made eye contact, Weird Cousin Wayne put the glass back down on the table and began slllooooowwlly sliding it back over to me.
“No, no,” I said quickly.  “No need to return that.”

And he snatched the glass back, cradling it to his chest and smiling the kind of smile I imagine a rat has right before it eats its young.
Seriously, I feel like showering just remembering it.

Now, neither Opie or I have relatives THAT creepy but I still stressed trying  to figure out seating arrangements…and if anyone who is reading this was at my wedding, I certainly hope you liked the people at your table and that you had fun….
Because believe me when I tell you it could have been so much worse!

Please feel free to share your own horrible wedding stories below (unless, of course, it involves MY wedding :-) ) and check out some the other Theme Thursday wedding posts:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

O Christmas Tree!

HIlarious blogger at Three Monkeys and a Martini (see link to the right) is hosting a Christmas Tree contest and—although this tiny little tree isn’t really much of a contender—it’s got a cute story behind it so I thought I’d share.

Years ago, my nieces Abby and Haley visited my house a few weeks before Christmas and I had tons of decorations but no tree.  Which sent them right over the edge-they were still deep into the whole Santa Claus thing and couldn’t figure out where in the heck Santa was going to put my presents.

“It’s no big deal,” I assured them. “I spend Christmas with Grandma and Grandpa,  Santa will put my presents under their tree.”

And I thought it was over.

Because I didn’t have any children of my own and didn’t realize how tightly little girls can grip an idea…and how they can worry and stress and drive their parents completely insane.

But I learned…because about two weeks later, my brother gave me this tree.   “Just put it up!”  He ordered, clearly frazzled beyond endurance.  “And be sure to tell the girls you did!  Because if I hear anymore about the fact that you don’t have any place for Santa to leave gifts, I’m going to KILL SOMEONE!”

And I’ve put it up every year since…tiny little tree that it is.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Over the River and Through the Puke...

'm joining in Something Clever 2.0's (see link in Blogs I Read or at the end of this post) Theme Thursday for the first time and the topic is What Do You Love/Hate About Christmas.  And I  got so fired up by the topic, I inadvertently created a POUS (Post of Unusual Size).  Sorry!

To be honest, my favorite things about Christmas are probably just like everyone else’s…food, family, presents and more food. Those are the things I’ve always loved.  But the main thing I hate about Christmas  is a more recent development: traveling.  See, my husband, Opie, and I  got married in 2011 and moved from St. Louis to Oklahoma…we are now 6 hours from his family and 8 from mine.  But we go home every year…

Which wouldn’t be a problem if we would just FLY like normal people.  But I am not "normal people"  I am one of those freaks who ascribe human emotions to their pets.  And I just know that if we leave them in a kennel—especially on Christmas!—they will be traumatized, emotionally scarred, and probably suffer lifelong abandonment issues.

And, yes, I know that’s a little bit completely insane…but you should see these animals when I start packing.  Peek-a-Boo, my Chihuahua, goes and gets his favorite stuffed toy and gets in his crate.  Then he gives me the sad eyes and occasional yip.

He KNOWS we’re leaving...and he's a good traveler so I never even consider leaving him behind.
Prince the Cat is NOT a good traveler, in fact he's the worst traveler ever but he also knows we’re leaving and actually packs himself, daring me not to take him:

To be fair, Bubba, our ½ Rottweiler ½ beagle, never picks up on the “we’re leaving” clues but it doesn’t seem right to leave him behind just because he’s kind of dumb.

But the drive is a NIGHTMARE.
Last year, we made what can only be categorized as the “worst decision ever.” We decided to leave a day earlier than planned, right after Opie got off work, so it would get dark quickly, all the animals would go to sleep and we would zip down the road in Yuletide bliss.

Because nothing says Yuletide bliss like digging around in the dark back seat of a car, looking for something to wipe up cat puke.
But I’m getting ahead of myself…here's how the drive went in (sort of) a nutshell:

4:30 PM  Opie loads the car. Peek is in his travel crate, Prince is in his travel crate, and both are safely seat-belted into the back seat.  I spend a few minutes worrying that Bubba will think we love him less since he doesn’t get strapped in… But we rescued Bubba from a bad situation and he spent too much of his early life in a cage; it would take 6 ninjas, a Navy Seal, and about 3 rolls of duct tape to put him in a travel crate.  Instead Opie wrestles him into the front seat and Bub & I get into a shoving match over who gets the actual seat and who’s going to sit on the floor.

I win the battle but it’s not what you would call a decisive victory…I’m pretty sure he’s just regrouping and planning a new strategy.

4:58 PM We pull out of the driveway.

4:59 PM Prince decides that we put him in the travel crate by mistake on our part and he yowls a few times to make sure we're aware of our error.
5:05 PM Prince realizes that we aren't listening, don't care, or have gone deaf.  He exponentially increases the volume of his cries.
5:07-5:52 PM Opie and I randomly—but frequently—assure each other that the cat will eventually tire himself out and stop crying—maybe even before our eardrums burst.   Bubba starts to empathize with Prince—possibly remembering his own crate issues—and begins panting and shaking and drooling all over my leg.
5:53 PM I finally snap and, with Ninja-like agility, twist in my seat, yank the cat out of his crate, maneuver him into his harness, click on a leash, and manage not to break a limb or accidentally-on- purpose break his neck.

5:54 PM Cat saves own life by curling up into adorable ball on my lap and going to sleep.  And we have almost 40 minutes of peace…until
6:27 PM Prince wakes up, leaps to his feet, and lets out the most disturbing yowl I’ve ever heard…then throws up all over my lap.  While I’m still trying to mentally process THAT, Prince yowls again, and I almost get him into the litter box in time.

And this is where Opie’s brand of crazy rears its ugly head…normally mild-mannered and easy-going, there is something about cross-country travel that brings out the obsessive-compulsive in him and he gets absolutely manic about “making good time.” He plans the routes, the one and only potty break, and every other detail down to the exact second.   And he’s so obsessed that he manages to keep driving like nothing is wrong, flying past exit after exit.

“We need to pull over,” I tell him.
“I was going to stop and get gas in Springfield,” he says.

“Springfield is a hundred miles away,” I snap.
“No…maybe ninety,” he counters.

And he is absolutely serious.
Which is why I am forced to start screaming at him “If you think I’m spending an HOUR AND A HALF covered in cat puke and gagging on the stench of cat shit, you are OUT OF YOUR DAMN MIND!”

And, in his defense, I only had to scream at him three more times until he pulled over.
Of course it ended up being a tiny little gas station in the middle of nowhere…and of course there ended up being a million people there…and of course there were already two ladies in line for the single stall restroom. But women are awesome.  All I had to do was announce “My cat just puked all over me,” and they grasped the gravity of the situation immediately…it was like Moses and the Red Sea…they parted and waved me to the front of the line.

7:15 PM We get back on the road and manage to travel for an entire hour and a half with no drama.  Until…
8:45 PM We stop at Opie’s designated rest stop, walk both the dogs and let the cat roam free in the car for a few minutes. The cat decides to refigure the seating arrangements and settles himself on the driver’s side dash board—furiously fighting my attempts to dislodge him.

8:50 PM I get the cat back on my lap and try to remember why I once thought declawing was cruel.
9:45 PM We hit a huge pothole, the entire car shakes, Bubba decides this is the scariest thing that has ever happened and concludes that the best way to make everyone feel better would be if he threw his huge Rottweiler self on my lap too-which doesn't really work in our compact car. I spend most of the rest of the drive pushing his paws, head, and other random body parts off the seat as makes about 30 attempts to force his way onto my lap.  I try to remember why no one declaws dogs.

10:30 PM We turn onto the highway that will take us the last 70 miles…a little two-lane highway right through the middle of Deliverance country.  I begin imagining dueling banjos and freaks who comment on the beauty of my mouth.
10:47 PM Prince wakes up, stands up and makes the horrible sound again.  And I know what that sound means now so I start screaming “Pull over, pull over, pull over!”  But not before Prince, once again, vomits all over my legs.

Opie has learned enough from our first puke episode that he begins looking for a place to stop but it's difficult because we are on a back highway in the middle of the night, plus there’s a cop in front of us, pulling someone else over.
But we are risk takers—and a little desperate—so we shoot around the cop and whip into the parking lot of this tractor business that was closed for the night.  I grab the cat, preparing to run around to the back of the car and throw him in the litter box, when not one but TWO cop cars pull in behind us with lights and sirens going.

I still want to jump out but Opie is emphatically against springing out of a dark car in front of armed men with a suspicious bundle in your arms.

Anyway, I wait until one of the cops approached the window and Opie calls “We’ve got a sick cat here.”

Then, pushed to the edge by the proximity of more puddy-cat poop,  I leap out yelling “Sick cat!  We’ve got a sick cat!”  over and over while running around the car and flinging Prince in the litter box in the nick of the time.
A few seconds later, crisis averted, I pick him back up and the cop gets a good look at him for the first time. Which is, admittedly, a touch disconcerting for anyone who doesn’t know him.

“Is that one of those hairless cats?”  He asks.
When I say yes, he nods and kind of stands there sheepishly for a long minute…so I say “Do you want to touch him?  Because everyone does.”

And you know what?

He did.
11:00 PM We finish cleaning everything up and getting the odor of the car down to a bearable level and get back on the road. 

And Opie says  “I told you we shouldn’t bring—“

“If you finish that sentence,” I say with frightening calm.  “I will actually kill you.  I will rip your head off with my bare hands and throw it out the car window.  Then, when I go to trial, I’ll plead temporary insanity…and if there’s even one woman on the jury, I’ll probably walk.”

I think it scared him that I had everything so well planned…but at least the journey was almost over and there was wine waiting for me at his parents’ house.  And I guess the drive was worth it because we had a wonderful time seeing all the family and not worrying about the pets’ emotional well-being…and we haven’t learned a darn thing, because in just over two weeks, we’re packing the whole car and the whole clan and doing it all over again…
Be afraid!

To read other Theme Thursday posts by the people who inspired me to write mine, follow the link below:

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Mystery is Even More Mysterious

Ok, I’m horrified to report that the mystery has NOT been solved…and I fear it never will.

(For those of you just tuning in, for the last week, there has been an old lady sitting in the back of one of my student’s cars….and it’s weird…you can read the full story here:

In any case, she was there again Friday morning as I was walking in the building…and I couldn’t even take a picture because I was walking in with my mentor teacher and she didn’t seem to think it was odd at all…even when I said “Do you see that lady? She’s just sitting in the back of that car.”

My mentor shrugged and continued telling me about this dream she had in which she was teaching a history lesson by mistake and I didn’t want to press the issue because she already thinks I’m a little paranoid after the unfortunate “weird welder on campus” issue (

Clearly, this mentor/mentee relationship is NOT based on deep-seated mental connection…

In any case, I went to my classroom and waited impatiently for the kid to show and pounced on him when he walked in the door. “I thought you’d be here today,” I said. “I just saw your car outside.”

And he nodded in that “I’m in college now, most teachers don’t quiz me about attendance” kind of way.” But I pressed on because, seriously, I’m desperate to know what’s going on.

“Did you know there’s someone in your car?” I asked. “Sitting in the back?”

“Ohhh, yah.” He said.

I think he was going to leave it at that but felt a little awkward—and possibly a little afraid—of the intense way I was staring at him.

“She’s, you know, a friend.” He said lamely.

I said “Yah, of course” but I was thinking, “No, I don’t know…I’m not friends with any people three or four times my own age!”

Possibly because people four times my own age are all dead.

In any case, I had to let it go because it was time to start class and everyone was already staring at me like I’m some kind of creeper…but as soon as class was over, I flew from the building like I’d been shot from a gun…but again couldn’t take a picture because the kid was right behind me…

Now, if I were still teaching high school, this would be an easy fix. I’d go to the school resource officer, say “Hey there’s a woman sitting in the car in the parking lot.” They’d go check things out, I’d go back to my room and wait for an email letting me know what had happened.

And, for a second, I considered going over to the security office and seeing what they could do…except I had a feeling that conversation would go a little like this:

Me: There’s an old woman sitting in the back of a student’s car.

Officer (in confused tone): Is the woman bothering you, ma’am?

Me: Well, yah. The fact that I can’t figure out WHY she’s sitting there is bothering me…it’s bothering me a lot. In fact, it’s driving me eight kinds of crazy.

Officer: I mean, is she threatening you in some way? Are you afraid of her for some reason?

Which is when I’d probably get all insulted and say “No, I’m not afraid of her…I mean, I know I’m not in the best shape but I think I can outrun an octogenarian."

Then I’d probably have to explain what an octogenarian is…and I’d probably do it in a snotty tone, and the officers would get annoyed and tell me they couldn’t help and I’d lose it and shout “Are you telling me you’re just going to let a complete stranger sit in a student’s car? What kind of security officers are you?”

Then they’d demand to know how I knew it was a student’s car in the first place…and they’d decide that I was some kind of creepy stalker and all of a sudden, I’d be the one getting hauled off to jail.

And if there’s one place that I’m SURE my humor wouldn’t be appreciated, it’s jail. I think I’d last five or six minutes before I cracked wise with another inmate and got shanked.

I’d like to solve this mystery but not if it means MY DEATH…and today is the last day of the semester, and I can’t think of a single way to find out more…and every theory I come up with is more and more outlandish…the woman is an elderly prostitute, plying her trade in the car and the kid is embarrassed to have been caught…the kid is secretly famous and the woman is a bodyguard in disguise…the kid’s entire family has been taken hostage and he can’t afford to pay the ransom and the kidnappers are patient enough to wait until he’s out of college and earning money to get paid but they send the woman as a lookout…

Seriously, people, I’m losing it.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Unsolved Mysteries...

Let me start by saying, yes, it's entirely possible I watch too much TruCrime TV...but that doesn't mean I don't have a legitimate mystery on my hands!

See, earlier today I walked out of the building after my last class and couldn't help but notice that there was an old woman sleeping in the back of a student's car.

Which is odd because most college kids don't bring their grandmothers to campus at all, much less allow them to take a snooze in a semi-public place.

But some of you are probably wondering how in the world I knew it was a student's car and that the vehicle didn't belong to a faculty member or visitor or the old lady herself?

Because I walk past that car just about every day. It's always parked in the space reserved for disabled drivers and I've seen the driver--a student in my first class--get into it at least 10 times…and never once have I seen him chauffeuring a little old lady around.

Besides, the woman in question was clearly Native American—which is only relevant because the student has flaming red hair, fair skin, and an Irish surname that would make St. Patrick proud. Visually, it’s a little hard to fit a Native American ancestor on that family tree.

And so, as I walked to my own car, I started to get myself worked up into a state I call “empathy” but my husband calls “overreacting.” Did the student know the woman was in his car? Was the woman lost and confused and just in his car to warm up? Should I go find the student and warn him that there was an old lady in his car? What would I say if he was all, “Of course that’s my grandma!” Maybe I should just go check and see if the woman was all right.

Which is when my mind made the only possible logical leap (at least logical for those of us obsessed with true crime stories).

How did I know the woman was actually sleeping? What if she was DEAD?!

What if the kid came out of the building and found an old dead woman in the back of his car?

Or, worse yet, what if he knew she was dead? What if the stress of Thanksgiving, and my class, and upcoming final exams had caused the kid to snap (like on the TruCrime TV show Snapped!) and he killed some poor old woman then stuffed her in the back of his car?

Yes, I realize NOW that this would have been a difficult task considering his disability, but when I get an idea like that in my head, it’s hard for me to let it go…and I knew that if I didn’t investigate further, I would be liable to snap myself, possibly cornering the kid in class on Wednesday and screaming things like “What was with the old lady in your car? What’d you do, MURDER HER?”

And that’s just not good for anyone’s career.

In any case, don’t worry, I can definitively state that the woman was NOT dead.

I’m also fairly sure that she didn’t believe that I pulled up behind her car and honked because I was trying to get the attention of the students across the lawn (even though I waved enthusiastically like I knew them).

Possibly because none of them waved back.

But here’s the thing… as I was pulling away, I saw the kid come out of the building and get in the car. And when I did another quick circle around the parking lot, she was leaning against the back door again with her eyes closed. And the kid just drove off like that was perfectly normal…

I can’t figure it out…the kid had been in class with me for an hour, had spent another 30 minutes or so inside while I stressed out about the mystery woman in his car…so he either knew she was there, and left her in a freezing car for an hour and a half or he didn’t know she was there but the sight of her didn’t alarm him…or—as has been suggested by my so-called loved ones—the woman was a figment of my imagination and I’m a lunatic after all…

I need a plausible theory, people, help me!

UPDATE 11/28 -- So I went to class today, fully epecting to ask the kid what in the heck was going on. Unfortunately, he was absent--which wouldn't be a huge deal except when I left the building, his car was in the disable spot AND THE WOMAN WAS IN THE BACK SEAT AGAIN!! The mystery the kid still alive? Did he NOT see the woman last time after all and she jumped out of the back seat at him like she was in some horrible urban legend, attacking the kid and stealng his car? And if so, why would she return to the scene of the crime? And, if not, where was the kid? And why is this woman in his car AGAIN? And why doesn't she come in the building, it's freaking cold outside!

Then, to make matters worse,she wasn't asleep today (probably because she couldn't relax for fear some lunatic was going to pull up and honk at her) but as I walked to my car, I passed another car with someone sleeping inside! This woman was in the driver's seat, head thrown back, out cold (but breathing--I watched to make sure--so also not dead). What is going on? Why has this university parking lot become a hotbed of car-sleeping women?

I've decided that I'm taking my camera Friday and if there are any sleeping women, I'm photoing and posting like crazy and soliciting others' opinions...I don't know if I can take much more of this mystery!

kimbo325 is a writer and a teacher who is laughing her way through life…she does have a slight obsession with Snapped, 48 Hours, The Nightmare Next Door, and a variety of other true crime shows but she doesn’t usually hallucinate crime victims (at least, she doesn’t think she does!) To read more about her crazy life, follow her on Facebook at!/or tweet with her at Twitter @kimbo325

Monday, November 19, 2012

Bribes, Breakdowns, and My Brand of Crazy

As some of you may know, I’m a little over-attached to my dog, Peek-A-Boo.  And by “over-attached” I, of course, mean that I have a “like-him-more-than-most-people-believe-we-actually-communicate-don’t-understand-those-who-say-he’s-just-a-dog” type obsession.

So, since the vet recently told us that Peek is in the last stages of congestive heart failure and doesn’t have long to live…well, things have been a little rough.

And they got even rougher late Wednesday night when I realized that I had miscalculated how much of his best heart medicine we had left…in my defense, he is on FIVE different medicines and it’s a little hard to keep them all straight.  In any case, as soon as I realized what had happened, I called the pharmacy to immediately order more.

Except the prescription had expired.

Which meant that there was no way to get more medicine in time for Peek’s morning dose.

Some people would take this news with cool aplomb and begin stoically trying to figure out a solution.

I wish I was one of those people…but I am sooooo NOT one of those people.  I am the kind of person who gets this news, decides the dog will never survive, bursts into hysterical tears and begins screaming that I’ve killed my dog.

Which was a little disconcerting for my husband, Opie…particularly since the dog in question was sitting at my feet at the time, very much alive.

“Not for long!”  I shrieked.  “He’s not going to have his medicine in time, and he’s going to die, and it’s going to be ALL MY FAULT!”

Honestly, I think Opie was a little relieved to hear that last bit since I usually find a reason these situations are all his fault.

“He’s going to be fine,” Opie assured me.  “He’s not going to die tomorrow.”

Which is when I decided the rational thing to do would be turn to Peek and forbid his death.  “Don’t you dare die on me tomorrow, do you hear me?”

In retrospect, this was a terrible idea…Peek is a spoiled rotten, willful dog who hates being told not to do anything.  I could tell he was thinking “Don’t you tell me not to die.  You’re just the food lady, you’re not the boss of me! I’ll die if I want to!”

So I resorted to my fall back plan—bribery—and assured him that if he could just manage to live through one more day, I’d give him peanut butter for dinner.

It seemed a fair trade.

“He’s going to be fine,” Opie said again.

“He better be!”  I shrieked.  “Because if I’ve killed my dog, that is just THE END!”

“The end of what?”  Opie asked. 

And I can’t really blame him for being confused because, even now, I don’t know what the heck I was talking about.  Which didn’t stop me from storming upstairs with my dog in my arms yelling incoherent threats at the universe.

Sometimes I am so fun to live with, I can hardly stand it.

And it wasn’t until the next morning—after a long night during which I flung myself out of bed every time Peek so much as twitched his tail, in case he was preemptively dying on me—that I realized the second part of the problem.  I had to work all day—and Thursday is my long day away from home—even if the vet called in the prescription the moment he got in the office, I couldn’t go pick it up and give it to Peek until late at night.

“Just call me when it’s ready,” Opie said. “I’ll take care of everything.”

But I have to admit, I was a little skeptical.  I mean, I know he loves this dog too…but he has what I would consider a “healthy attachment” to the ridiculous animal.  And people with “healthy attachments” don’t engage in the same manic, I-will-move-mountains, type of behavior that we obsessive freaks do.

Luckily, Opie’s attachment to me is little more on the I-will-move-mountains side of healthy…because as soon as the medicine was ready, he took a vacation day from work, went home, medicated the dog, and called me to reassure me that everything was fine.  “He’s alive and well,” he reported.

Which means I should have said thank you…but I had spent a really long time working myself up into this crazy frenzy and it seemed downright wasteful to let all that energy go quietly. “Make sure he stays that way until I get home!”  I snapped.

“You’re a lunatic,” Opie responded.  “But I love you.”

So, as we’re heading into Thanksgiving week let me just say that this year I am most thankful for a dog that can be bribed into life by peanut butter, a husband who has his priorities perfectly straight…and who thinks my particular brand of crazy is endearing.

You can’t really ask for more than that!


Kimbo325 is a teacher and writer who is laughing her way through life. She would like to be a sane, rational person but fears that ship has sailed.  To read more about why her husband is the luckiest man in the world click here  To read more about her crazy life, follow her on Facebook at or tweet with her at Twitter at @kimbo325

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Slightly Neurotic Look At The Election

This is not a political rant. First of all, I think we’ve all had enough of angry politics and are obviously moving toward a more unified society.

Ok, that was a little hard for me to write without laughing…the real reason that this is not a political rant is because I am a liberal living in one of the most conservative states in the Union…a state in which we not only allow “concealed carry” of weapons but have recently legalized “open carry” so people don’t have to go to all the trouble of hiding their guns in their pockets. I’ve gotten used to NOT fully expressing my liberal views in public…largely because I don’t want to be shot.

So this is not a rant. It’s just that I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately about the highlights of the election and campaign and decided to review my personal highs and lows of the 2012 race.

Adventure 1 was registering to vote…which shouldn’t be that hard a task as it is supposed to be accomplished when you get your driver’s license. But getting my new driver’s license was a HERCULEAN task that involved much cursing, threatening, yelling and storming from government buildings in a huff. There was, in fact, so much drama that it was the subject of not one but two separate blog posts:

In any case, here are the other adventures that are likely to occur when you are slightly neurotic and living through an election year:

1.Read disturbing article—rife with grammatical errors—on friend’s Facebook page about Obama’s “secret agenda to start a race war.”

Wonder if friend is losing her marbles.

Realize that surprising number of friends—conservative and liberal alike—are losing their marbles and posting links to articles of questionable veracity.

Nod understandingly when husband suggests that fact-checking every article posted on Facebook is excessive but feel responsibility to continue since are clearly only sane person left in crazy world.

Continue to fact check…but never do anything with information except scream it at husband when he walks in door after work.

Agree that it is perhaps time to A. Lay off the caffeine and B. Interact with other human beings. Begin job search.

2.Research candidates in new state...get sidetracked by article about Senate candidate from former state (Todd Akin) and his views on “legitimate rape.” Spend rest of afternoon in white-hot rage and begin screaming at husband as soon as he walks in door—as if he coached Todd Akin for interview—explaining all the things would like to do to Akin.

Shout “You know what I’d do if I met that jackass? I’d punch him right in the face, as hard as I could. Right in the face! Then I’d ask if he was in legitimate pain or if his body has some way of shutting that whole thing down.”

Shadow-box around living room, demonstrating practically professional punching technique.

Shadow-box around husband-who dared to laugh at punching technique-shouting things like “What are you talking about? I’m like Muhammad Ali...I’m a freaking Ninja…I’m Muhammad Al Ninja!”

Admit that, perhaps, vodka and Sprite is not an appropriate substitute for caffeine.

3. Secure job at local university. Tell Composition student that she cannot write a persuasive, fact-based research paper on the topic “President Obama is Going To Hell.” Laugh and add that girl also cannot write paper on topic “Teacher Is Going To Hell.”

Realize that girl doesn’t think are funny AT ALL…and possibly believes are going to hell.

Listen to girl complain in loud whisper that liberal atheists are ruining the country for God-fearing Christians.

Wonder in louder whisper “Who was it that said ‘Judge not lest you yourself be judged? Wait, wasn’t that CHRIST?” Smile and add “Book of Matthew, Chapter Seven Verse 1.”

Feel decidedly un-Christian glee as girl storms from room in a huff.

4.Watch debates with husband in effort to nudge him out of his political apathy.

Realize with horror that husband is NOT politically apathetic after all…is politically VITRIOLIC , hating all politicians with equal fervor…listen to husband shout “Lying scum!” and “Thieves, They’re all thieves!” at random intervals.

Suspect that part of this rage is because NHL is still in lockout and husband is going through hockey withdrawal…but suggest that perhaps he is the one who should lay off the caffeine.

5.Take advantage of early voting option…realize that half of the people in town are also taking advantage of early voting option. Drive around block four times to find parking space. Miraculously squeeze tiny car into space—miraculous since are worst parallel parker in history of parallel parking—and dash for building.

Wait in line for twenty minutes, vote quickly, and attempt to leave but become blocked by irate woman who is being refused a ballot because she has no identification or voter registration card.

Wonder if woman has pierced eardrums with shriek “But I’ve lived here my WHOLE LIFE!”

Sidle around woman, go out to car, and realize that some moron has parked huge truck immediately behind own car, literal inches from bumper, in order to get parking place. Two cars that had been in front of car are luckily gone now so this is just annoying not incapacitating.

Grasp the irony of own life as screaming woman from polling center storms toward moronically-parked truck. Decide not to further irritate already insanely furious woman—for now—and don’t mention truck.

Realize woman has witnessed head-shaking and muttering of “What kind of moron…” as she walked up since she immediately shouts, “It’s not like you left me a lot of room!”

Ignore mental warnings and observe “There were two cars ahead of me when I got here and there’s about six more feet of space behind your car.”

Listen to woman snap angrily, “I can park anywhere I want, this is AMERICA.”

Wisely wait until are inside car to lean out window and call “Hey, did you know in AMERICA you need IDENTIFICATION to vote?”

Speed away giggling like a lunatic.

6.Watch election returns and shout play-by-play results at husband who is searching online for news of the NHL lockout.

Calm husband after he discovers that recent reports of the end of the lockout are bogus.

Promise not to yell results of election up to husband as he retreats to bed.

Find promise impossible to keep when Akin is defeated.

7.Realize that, because live in very conservative place now, EVERY SINGLE STATE AND LOCAL CANDIDATE voted for LOST.

Decide not to get upset…because this is America and sometimes that’s the way it goes.

kimbo325 is a writer and teacher who is laughing her way through life. She loves America, her husband, and wishes the hockey lockout would end already! She would love to tweet with you on Twitter at kimbo325 or talk to you on Facebook at

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Blast From the Past...Jingle Bell Drawing 2011

Well, it’s Christmas time in Oklahoma…and I do mean CHRISTMAS time, not holiday time.  If you foolishly assume that not everyone celebrates Christmas here in the Beautiful Buckle of the Bible Belt and, like the crazy liberal you are, you wish someone Happy Holidays, a surprising number of people have no problem correcting you in a rather superior tone. “Merry CHRISTMAS!” they assure you.

It’s terribly jolly, make no mistake.

And nothing says Christmas like the annual small town $10,000 Jingle Bell drawing!  Opie and I attended this extravaganza on Saturday…one of us brimming with confidence and optimism and the other grumbling about crowds and longing for an afternoon of beer drinking and hockey viewing (I will let you all decide which was which!)

But I get ahead of myself as some of you are probably wondering what the heck the Jingle Bell drawing is.  It’s actually very simple.  From November 13th until December 13th a variety of local merchants hand out these little raffle tickets when you purchase something from them.  Then, on the last Saturday before Christmas Eve, there is a drawing in the town square in which they give away two $500 prizes, two $1,000 prizes and one $10, 000 prize. The only catch is that you have to be present to win.

So, I’ve been collecting tickets every time I go to the grocery store and convinced Opie that we had to go.  See, I was expecting a Christmas fair type atmosphere….I was expecting merchants to have stands, I was expecting entertainments, I was expecting an EVENT.

What I got was about 3,000 people standing around the town square holding fistfuls of raffle tickets while a couple of enterprising high school students meandered through the crowd selling candy bars they had clearly purchased in bulk from Sam’s Club.

Which is not to say that I wasn’t entertained.  I mean, I had a hysterical time nudging Opie and discreetly pointing out the various and sundry wildlife…like the heavily pierced and tattooed biker guy who was holding a tiny sweater-wearing Pomeranian.  Or the surprising number of women wearing famous QVC “Bump up the Pony” hair extensions that didn’t match the rest of their hair…not to mention the man that Opie was convinced was wearing a “Bump up the Beard” hair extension clipped to his cheeks.  Or the little group I called the denim family in which all four of the females (mother and three daughters) were wearing ankle length denim skirts with oversized sweatshirts that said “Go Kiefer Trojans!”

I really REALLY hope that’s a sports team.

But my favorite group was the little huddle of people directly behind Opie and I who spent a surprising amount of time mocking the woman announcing the raffle numbers for saying “Y’all.”  Which surprised me a little since I have been y’alled about a thousand times since I moved here.  And then, after eavesdropping closely, I realized they didn’t care about the word “y’all” they cared that SHE was saying y’all.  Apparently she is some sort of TV personality in the Tulsa area and she clearly does NOT say y’all on the nightly news. So, for her to dash over to our small town and start y’alling like a local is insulting to say the very least.

In the words of the city kids I used to work with, she was clearly fronting.

After years of being in charge of Conflict Mediation, I know that an appropriate reaction to this kind of behavior is to rush the stage screaming “You ain’t representing!” over and over….but I didn’t want to get kicked off the square because, as I mentioned earlier, you have to be present to win.

And this was before Opie and I realized that we had NO BUSINESS thinking we had any chance of winning the Jingle Bell drawing.  See, I had collected twenty-three different tickets and there were about 3,000 people there.  I thought we had as good a chance as anyone.


Our twenty-three tickets was like a teaspoon in the ocean of tickets.  I mean, we could easily hold our tickets in one hand.  Most people there had HUNDREDS of tickets.  A man next to us had a poster board with tickets in sequential order glued to both sides.  Another woman had a Ziplock baggie full of tickets in one hand and a full printed page listing the numbers in the other.  Another woman had a binder with album pages holding all her tickets.

It was unbelievable.

And we didn’t win…not this year….but next year I’m going to plan early.  I’m going to refuse to go into a business in town unless they support the Jingle Bell drawing.  I’m going to  go to the grocery store and buy items one at a time, collecting tickets each time.   And, if that doesn’t work, I’m going to take a lesson from the enterprising teens in the crowd and I’m going to wander around selling candy for three times the normal going cost.

It’s going to be awesome.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

And the crazies keep on coming….

I was hoping that the lunatics in my life could be confined to the weird old guy who wanders around my neighborhood talking to himself but it looks like the full moon this week is bringing them out in droves…

See, we just finished midterm week at the university where I teach and students are beginning to sign up for second semester.  Which seems like a relatively un-lunatic type of task.

Except that this is also the time in which a surprising number of students realize that they won’t get their financial aid checks for second semester if, in fact, they aren’t passing enough classes to actually enroll in more classes second semester.

Which was the case with my latest lunatic encounter.

It happened on Tuesday; this girl stormed into my Comp I class just before it started, as I was putting a few notes for the day on the whiteboard.   And it startled me because, at first, I had no idea who she was…because she hasn’t been in my class since the first week of school.  She showed up the 3 days in which the financial aid office checks enrollment before issuing first semester checks and has never returned.

I had assumed she was one of those students who signs up for a full load, gets the check from the government, and drops a few classes before the deadline so she can pocket the difference between the tuition and her check.

“I need to pass this class to get my financial aid for next semester!”  She said without preamble.

Which means I was wrong…she was one of those students who signs up for a full load, gets the check from the government, and drops a few classes before the deadline so she can pocket the difference between the tuition and her check BUT plans to pass all of the classes she didn’t drop so she can repeat the cycle second semester.

Except, of course, it’s difficult to pass when you never actually show up for class.

A fact I pointed out to her immediately.  “You haven’t been here for NINE WEEKS,” I said.

“I had to babysit my friend’s kid,” she agreed.


And she nodded.  “But I’ll do anything,” she said.  “Anything at all.”

“Except come to class and actually do the work?”  I asked.

But THAT flew right over her head.  “So, what can I do to pass?”  She asked.

Please keep in mind that, in order for this little scenario to work out in her favor, she would have to have a passing grade by the end of the class period in question.  And I think I’m pretty good at my job but I don’t think I’m good enough to reteach an entire half semester in the five minutes before class actually started.

“What can I do?”  She asked again.

Since my earlier sarcasm had flown right over her head, I decided against saying “Turn back time” and uncharacteristically went for the direct, logical response.  “Nothing,” I said.   “You haven’t been here for nine weeks;  you haven’t made any effort to contact me and work something out—“

“I couldn’t!” She shouted triumphantly, like she’d been waiting for me to say that exact thing.  “See?”

Then she showed me her iPhone—which looked suspiciously brand new except for the fact that the screen was cracked.

And that just irritated me because I was pretty sure she probably bought the phone with her financial aid money…which comes from MY  tax dollars…which means, essentially, that was MY new iPhone…and she broke it.

She broke my iPhone!

But I really didn’t have time to get into an argument so I just said “Yah, it looks like it’s had some rough treatment.”

And, oddly, that’s the thing that pissed her off.  She shoved the iPhone back in her pocket and shouted “I wasn’t rough with it!  I take care of my things!”

Which made me wonder if the screen was really cracked or if there’s some sort of screensaver you can get that makes it look like the screen is cracked or if the friend she was babysitting for gave her a cracked iPhone as payment or if she was just smoking crack or what…

All of which was too much to be thinking about since I was still trying to get ready for class…so, I just turned around and finished putting my notes on the board.

Many people would choose this time to make a silent getaway…of course, many people would realize that missing nine straight weeks of a sixteen week class was a pretty clear path to failure.

Not this girl.

She sat down in the front row and spent the next twenty minutes AGGRESSIVELY participating in the class discussion.

It was bizarre.

I put an essay up on the smartboard and asked the students to identify strengths and weaknesses in it…she began shouting out suggestions and comments like Rainman on speed. 

“Good descriptions!”  she shouted.  “Nice images!”

Except it was a persuasive paper and there really weren’t any descriptions or images in it…which she may have realized if she had been in class AT ALL the past nine weeks. 

“Can anyone identify the author’s main logical fallacy?”  I asked.

“Order of importance!”  She yelled (and no, for you non-Comp teachers, that’s NOT a logical fallacy…it has NOTHING TO DO with logical fallacies).

And so on…until I finally said, “Lana!  You need to stop that…just, STOP.”

That’s when, at long last, she stormed out in a huff, slamming the door behind her…

But, honestly, I’m a little afraid I haven’t seen the last of her!


kimbo325 is a teacher and writer who is laughing her way through life.  She actually loves her job and loves helping kids learn to write…but she thinks it’s hard to learn when you’re not in class.  For more stories from her crazy life, like her on Facebook at!/ItIsInterestingToNote

or follow her on Twitter @kimbo325

A Mother Life</

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Just OC no D...this is NOT a disorder!

Married life is a constant joy for my husband, Opie, I can assure you.  And one reason I know it’s true is because I tell him all the time that I’m the best thing that ever happened to him and he never disagrees.

The other reason is that I am constantly bringing excitement and drama to his otherwise organized life.

Like earlier this week when I called him on the way to work, got his voicemail and yelled “Hey, it’s me…oh, never mind, it’s just crazy!” and hung up.

Now I, of course, realized that this could be construed as a somewhat disconcerting message so as soon as I got to work I sent the following email:

Thought I should explain the weird message…

Short version:

I straightened my hair...we have mice in the crawl space. 

NOTE: Even though we’ve only been married for a year or so, Opie’s had enough experience with my particular brand of crazy that I was pretty confident that this would be explanation enough. However, just in case, I also provided him more detailed information.

 Full version:

I straightened my hair this morning which always makes me nervous because that straightener is about 400 degrees.

And since I’m SUPREMELY self-aware, I know that this is the kind of thing that can lead me to have one of those freak outs that you find so endearing…you know, the one where I get halfway to work and then say “Did I leave the straightener on?”  And then spend the rest of the day worrying that the cat will see it on the counter and knock it to the floor. Thereby starting a fire and burning down the house and killing the pets before we got home.

To avoid that, I made a huge deal about unplugging the straightener so I couldn't possibly forget that it was safe.
Which made me run a little late.

 Which further means that I didn't get a chance to go through my daily ritual of making sure the dogs were in the house before I left.

Which finally means that on the way to work, I decided that Bubba was still outside, that it was going to get 85 degrees or more and he would get heat stroke before I got would then never forgive me and since you are stuck with me forever we would be doomed to live in an angry, resentful marriage until the end of our days.

 Obviously, I wanted to avoid this at all costs.

 So, I called you--thinking you could call the neighbors and get them to go check if Bubba was outside and maybe give him some water.

Then, while the phone was ringing, I remembered that when I went outside to my car this morning, I saw a mouse run into the grate in the front of the house.


I immediately ran all around the outside of the house like a lunatic to see if there were other mice and to see where the grate led.

But on the bright side, Bubba must have heard me and started barking hysterically from inside...the memory of which told me he was safe.

Crisis averted!

But we have mice in the crawl space and we need to put some traps in there because mice can draw snakes and if snakes get in the garage, I can’t live in our house anymore.

And by we, I--of course--mean YOU because the crawl space is creepy and I don't like killing things...even vermin ridden things.

Love you!


I know what you’re all thinking…he’s the luckiest man on earth, right?



A Mother Life

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Important Information

If you who read my last blog, you already know my stance on dead animals as gifts (definitively AGAINST for those of you who haven’t been following along).

However, the other day Bub may have earned the right to bring me any old dead thing he wants…here’s what happened:

I walked out into the backyard and noticed an odd looking old man sitting on his bike right outside our fence, talking.  For a second I thought he was talking to me.

He wasn’t.

He was responding to the voices in his head…but I didn’t realize that at first. Because I didn’t realize he was crazy at first…Until he came right up the fence and mumbled something about helping me sweep the yard.

And that was crazy since I wasn’t even sweeping the yard—largely because I don’t know what that means—and because he didn’t have a broom or any other sweeping implements.

So,  I was a little weirded out…and when I get weirded out Bubba gets worked up. And when Bubba gets worked up, the Rottweiler half of his heritage kicks into high gear.  Basically, he crossed the yard in 1.2 seconds and charged the guy like he was wearing Milk Bone underwear (Pronoun clarification: the second “he” in that sentence refers to the crazy guy, not Bubba.  Bubba almost never wears underwear).

Peek-A-Boo also sensed danger and ran across the garden to add his voice to the mayhem…then decided that, as a Chihuahua, he could better serve me by wriggling through the tomato plants and eating any of the green tomatoes in his reach.

His theory clearly being that anyone who saw such a bizarre activity—I mean, what kind of dog eats vegetables right off the vine?!!—would immediately realize that they were dealing with a creature heretofore unseen in this world.

But I digress…

“Sir,” I shouted over all the barking, “you should probably step away from the fence.”

Which I thought was a fairly clear instruction…but I don’t speak crazy very well because, apparently, in crazy language my statement translates into “Pay no attention to the hysterically, snarling dog.  He is only joking with you and has no interest in tearing your throat out and would, in fact, love it if you came inside.”

Because he took a step closer to the gate and actually put his hand on the latch.

(Side note: Let me take a second to answer the question that I’m fairly sure my mother and close friends are screaming as they get to this point in the story.  Yes, in retrospect, I do realize that this would have been the ideal time to  go inside my house, lock my door, and call the police if the man actually came into the yard.  But I couldn’t because of the dogs…there was no way I was getting Bubba inside while there was a stranger in the vicinity and getting Peek out of the garden when he is on a tomato eating mission is a HERCULEAN task.  I couldn’t leave them behind…and yes, in answer to the obvious second question, I understand that most people think dogs can fend for themselves…but remember Peek is twelve-year-old Chihuahua with a bad heart.  He couldn’t fend his way out of a wet paper bag.)

So I stayed outside and tried to take charge of the situation.  “Seriously, sir,” I shouted.  “This is NOT a friendly dog.

He paused with his hand on the gate and briefly consulted with his invisible friends.

“This dog will KILL you!”  I warned them all.  And smiled in order to communicate that I was equally as crazy as he was…just crazy enough to CHEERFULLY let Bubba rip his throat out.

He seemed to get that.

Because he shuffled back over to his bike, spent another minute or two in conversation with NO ONE AT ALL, and pedaled away.

It’s interesting to note that when my husband, Opie, got home that night I told him about Bubba’s heroics and he brushed the whole thing off…apparently he recognized my description as a generally harmless neighborhood crazy man who’s lived in the area for years.

Which wasn’t comforting for two reasons:

1.      Because “generally harmless” and “harmless” aren’t the same thing.
2.      The presence of such a person seems like information that should have been shared FIFTEEN MONTHS AGO WHEN I MOVED IN…and now I can’t help but wonder how many other potentially volatile people Opie is aware of and has forgotten to mention.

However, in spite of all that, I’m sleeping securely in the knowledge that generally harmless or even generally harmful crazies are intimidated by an enraged Rottweiler (though, sadly, not by a Chihuahua who really just wants to eat some tomatoes) so, if Bub decides he’d like to bring me a dead mole or two this week, I’m not going to freak out like I did last week.

Or at least, not as much.