Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Part 2 -- Scariest Vacation Ever

In honor of Halloween, another posting of one of the scariest vacations ever:

My friend Eric and I go on ghost hunting trips as often as we can and I thought I'd share the story of one of the freakiest trips we went on. This is the description I wrote of our trip to the Villisca Axe Murder House back in 2006.
 
First some not so funny, incredibly gruesome background (for those who want more detailed background, check out this website: http://www.villiscaiowa.com/index.htm ).  The Villisca Axe Murder House is so-named because in 1912, 8 people (2 adults, 6 kids) were bludgeoned to death inside the place with, obviously, an axe.  The forensic evidence and court documents from the time indicate that the killer or killers probably hid in the house before the family got back from a church program and waited until everyone was asleep to come out and bludgeon (loving the word bludgeon, it’s just so creepy!) them.  The newspapers said that everyone was killed in their sleep but modern forensic detectives have examined the gouge marks in the ceiling (from the back swing of the axe) and the blood spatter and determined that some of the people did try to run.  There were a few different suspects but the killer or killers was never found.  The house itself has been featured on the show “Scariest Places on Earth” and is supposed to be one of the most haunted places in America.

Which pretty much makes it second only to Roswell, NM’s National UFO Convention as a prime vacation destination for Eric and I.

In any case, Eric’s schedule has been hectic this summer so our trip was pretty much spur of the moment…which gave us a few minutes of concern because it is harder to book a reservation in an axe murder house than one might think.  Luckily, weeknights are a little easier than others so we threw all our junk in the car and took off…

Sadly, we were only 5 minutes into the trip before we realized that neither one of us had remembered to bring a map.  But since we had our handy-dandy Yahoo directions, we decided to press on.

 It is interesting to note that Yahoo Directions include the following warning on the bottom of their directions:  When using any directions, it’s a good idea to do a reality check and make sure the road still exists and/or isn’t under construction.  This is only to be used as an aid in planning.

Reality check?  REALITY CHECK?  Reality is for people who are too scared to drink…seriously, who thinks we CHECKED the route?

Of course we didn’t check!  Checking would imply a lack of confidence in Yahoo.  Checking would hint that we did not trust our own innate navigational abilities.  Checking would mean we had actually READ THE STUPID WARNING before we were sitting in the middle of some untamed wilderness with limited cell phone service (think Deliverance).

You know what else we realized at that moment?  Cell service didn’t much matter as we had also neglected to bring the phone number of the Axe Murder House owner…a fact that some of you were noticeably unsympathetic about when we finally did manage to call and/or text message you and explain our plight.

Luckily, a few calls later, we managed to get back on track and eventually found our way to the Axe Murder Museum…at which point I stopped imitating the dueling banjos from Deliverance and started making Texas Chainsaw Massacre comments. 

First, let me describe Darwin (the owner).  He’s an older gentleman who just screams “Good old boy!”  He drove up to the museum in his black pick up truck, got out and straightened his blue and white striped bib overalls, and smiled…which is when I noticed that all his bottom teeth were missing and had been replaced by silver caps. (I really, really wanted to start singing Nelly’s Grillz, …you know, “smile for me daddy, lemme see your grill!” but A. I didn’t think he’d recognize it and B. It’s never a good idea to piss off a man who is the proud owner of an axe murder house.)

So silent, we went into the museum.  Which had all this cool stuff but was organized even worse than the junk box under my bed…I personally think Darwin has simply gone to every garage sale in Villisca, IA for the last fifty years and bought the museum as a storage room.  Very weird.

But not as weird as the tour he took us on next.  He told us he’d show us the church the family had been attending right before the murders, the houses of a few suspects, etc.  Then he got in his pickup, Eric and I got in my car and we followed him around town.  Followed him as he drove in circles without slowing down and pointed out the window.  Eric and I had no idea what the heck we were supposed to be looking at, though, to be completely fair, that might have been because we were both laughing so hard I almost ran off the road.

After this enlightening bit of travel, we stopped by the cemetery to see the graves (we were allowed to get out of the car for that one), then finally made it to the house…which has no electricity, no indoor plumbing, and was approximately as hot as the surface of the sun.  A situation which was not noticeably helped when Darwin lit about a million kerosene lamps and lanterns for us…

At this point, Darwin took us upstairs and  I got so sick to my stomach, I could barely hear what he was saying.

"I'm sorry," I said.  "I really feel like I'm going to throw up."

"Yah," he said.  "That happens all the time up here.  You're leaning against the closet that experts think the murderer was hiding in."

Creepy...and I got that same sick feeling every time we were upstairs.

And that's when Darwin left us alone in the house to conduct our intensive paranormal research.

 
First, we set up our “base of operations” in the living room.  This was right across from the bedroom where 2 neighbor girls who were spending the night were killed and right next to the screen door, but was the lesser of 2 evils as the only other option was upstairs where 6 people were killed in close quarters.  We piled sleeping bags on the floor (hardwood floor, by the way, NOT COMFORTABLE!), then got out our voice activated tape-recorder and our notebooks (one of us also got out our grandmother’s rosary and bottle of holy water to prepare for a possible exorcism of evil spirits but I will leave it to you to figure out which one that was).  Suitably armed, we began to explore.
 
Scoffers and non-believers may want to skip this next part but I assure you, Eric and I were plenty freaked out by the events of the night.  In any case, our experiences in the house were as follows:

 
·                    Took our voice-activated tape recorder upstairs and put it in the closet that the killer(s) supposedly hid in.  Got horrible sick feeling in my stomach every time we approached the closet.

 
·                    Knocked over lantern, couldn’t get it to relight.  Eric accused me of breaking some important oxygen-releasing device but I choose to believe it was evil spirits.
 

·                    Tried to call out on cell phone (read that cell phones have trouble there, even when full signal is available) while Eric played the piano (read that the piano draws the ghost of the woman in the house)  Cell phone hung up exact same moment that Eric hit first note. 

 
·                  Tried “scrying” with a crystal that’s in the house for the purpose.  You do this by dangling the crystal from a hand or finger, waiting until it’s still, then asking it a question.  If the crystal moves one way, that means yes.  Moving the other way means no.  Asked questions, got responses, couldn’t decide if we were moving crystal or not so later put it back on pedestal and asked questions.  Crystal continued to move, though not as much.

 
·                 Discussed murder for way, way too long, resolved to check every closet of my home every night for the rest of my life.  Couldn’t decide how to deal with a newly discovered axe murderer in closet, elected to think about it later.
 

·                    Checked voice-activated tape recorder several times, getting sick feeling each time by closet, and getting excited when realized it had taped quite a few things.  Laughed hysterically when realized that most of the tape was a recording of Eric and I laughing hysterically downstairs.  Moved recorder to different locations.

·                    Returned downstairs, realized rug in living room—which had been completely straight when went upstairs—was disheveled and almost turned over.
 

·                    Freaked out a little.

 
·                    Discussed rug indefinitely.

 
·                           Try to blame things on drinking, realize that in spite of frequently witnessed  predilection for such activity, neither of us has had more than one drink (quite possibly strangest event of entire night!)

 
·                           Blew out half the kerosene lamps before contracting lung cancer or bursting into flame, got out flashlight so could read while Eric took brief nap.

 
·                Fell asleep with flashlight ON…but flashlight was OFF when woke up 2 hours later.  Flashlight was still working but had definitely been turned off.

 
·                           Woke to strange sounds of undetermined origin.  Felt cold chills and heard sounds upstairs.  Listened to odd thumping for approximately 20 minutes, then tried to wake Eric to see if he could hear same.  He heard a little but fell back asleep before I could convince him to go up with me and investigate.  Decided would rather cut off own arm than go up and explore alone.  Fell asleep again few minutes later.

 
·                           Eric awakened by strange feeling of something tugging on his shirt and pulling it up.  Eric unable to move for long moment.

 
·                           More freaking out.
 

·                           Return upstairs for final time to retrieve tape recorder from closet in children’s room.  Do NOT get sick feeling this time…but do hear the sound of thumping on tape.  Wonder what it is, then decide that it sounds like the closet door opening and shutting, open mouth to say this when closet door rattles and thumps exactly as on tape.

 
·                           Freak out a little…though Eric, the scientist, wants to make sure that thump is not natural occurrence.  Watch Eric jump up and down, trying to make door thump.  Point out that not only is he unsuccessful, but that we have also been up in room at least 5 times and the door has never, ever moved.

 

·                           Record our experiences in notebook Darwin has left for the purpose, pack up and discuss the experiences for 6 straight hours.  Resolve to return again in the future for more experimentation.

 

Like I said, I know many of you will scoff at this and I probably wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t been there but it was definitely worth the trip!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween Part 1 -- Waverly Hills

In honor of Halloween, I thought I'd re-share one of my personal ghost experiences.  This is a trip that my friend Eric and I took in 2011 to the Waverly Hills Hospital.  It was actually featured on Yahoo today: http://news.yahoo.com/former-tb-hospital-now-attracts-105258690.html

In any case, here's the story from 2011:

Sooo, a lot of you have sent me messages this summer gently asking if the Eric/Kimbo trip to an unusual location had actually taken place or if we had scrapped it in light of my getting married…no worries, people, we took our vacation back in June. I’ve just been too busy to write about it until now. However, in the spirit of full disclosure, I should say that my wedding did cause some conflict concerning our proposed vacation…though, oddly, NOT from my actual husband.

It was my friend, Martha, who objected in the most strenuous terms.

Which—when considering all the other wacky destinations we’ve been to—has to have some of you questioning what on earth could cause this kind of reaction—or overreaction, if you will.

Nothing major…We were just going to Zorb.

Zorbing, for the uninitiated, is rolling down a mountain in a giant hamster ball.

For some strange reason, Martha found this disturbing. “Are you out of your damn mind?” She screamed (but she says that every year). And then “You’re getting MARRIED this summer!” (but I already knew that). “You could break an arm or a leg,” she finished dramatically. “Or your stupid neck!” (but I really think the Zorb waiver of liability is a formality…and probably an exaggeration of the dangers…)

“We’re going,” I told her. “And the night before we’re staying at the Indian Village Motel in a concrete teepee. And it’s going to be FULL ON AWESOME!!”

Which is when she pulled out the big guns. “I will call your mom,” she threatened. “And tell her how dangerous it is, and how much you’ll be drinking and…and…EVERYTHING!”

Well played, Martha. Well played.

Back to the drawing board…or Ouija board…or, to be completely accurate, Travel Channel’s Most Haunted Destinations…which is where I found the Waverly Hills Sanotarium, a former hospital for tuberculosis victims—particularly those who were terminally ill and/or insane from the disease.

A place in which so many poor people died that they installed a “body chute” to get the bodies out quickly and discreetly (yes, like last season of American Horror Story, though no Leatherface in residence). It is, I’ll have you know, considered one of the top five most haunted places in America…and for a nominal fee, they let you explore the entire abandoned, electricity free, building ALL NIGHT.

It was awesome! (As awesome as rolling down a mountain in a giant hamster ball? Jury’s still out…guess we won’t know the answer to that until NEXT SUMMER).

In any case, the overnight excursion is truly an OVERNIGHT excursion; it starts at midnight and ends at 8AM. And the managers are brutal about punctuality…the building is huge and the managers wander through all night, making sure everyone is OK; they don’t have time to run back to the main gate and let in people who are so inconsiderate and stupid that they can’t arrive on time.

How many of you think Eric and I had a teeny tiny little issue with punctuality?

We got off to a good start, we really did. After a little prompting from my then fiancĂ© (now husband!), Opie, we figured out what state the sanitarium was in and actually looked up directions…which told us that Louisville, Kentucky is approximately 4 hours and 45 minutes from St. Louis. So, we decided to leave at 5, thus arriving in Louisville around 9:45.

Which means we, of course, got on the road about 5:35.

No worries, we told ourselves. We had plenty of time. This would put us in Louisville around 10:15ish—well before the 11:30 mandatory attendance time.

And then we got cocky. We started making excellent time, so excellent that we decided to stop for dinner…we drove though South-Western Illinois (also known as the Barren Wasteland of no Subways) searching high and low for vegetarian sustenance, wondering if Chuck Wagon Charlie’s was as redneck a place as it sounded (it was!) and seeing how many times we could cut the same truck off on the highway before the driver actually flew into a rage and shot us.

And all the while we were hysterically congratulating ourselves on our unprecedented punctuality.

“We’re going to make it there AN HOUR EARLY!” we crowed exuberantly.

Right up until that awful moment that we crossed the Kentucky border and we learned those horrible words “Eastern Time Zone.”

Yep, that’s right, the time in Louisville is exactly one hour ahead of the time in St. Louis.

Which is when we both freaked out a little…I mean, we had already paid in full, they don’t give refunds and we had nine minutes to make a journey that the GPS estimated at 22.

And, to be honest, there was some wailing and gnashing of the teeth…and some devout wishing that we were the kind of people who planned ahead. People who plan ahead never have these problems.

On the other hand, people who DON’T plan ahead seem to have an uncanny ability to create plausible excuses for these kind of problems.

“What highway are we on?” I screamed at Eric. And then called the manager of the sanitarium and explained how the construction on that particular highway was really delaying us but we were desperate, and oh so sorry, and had driven hours just to explore and on and on and on.

And the long and the short of it is that he agreed to let us in as long as we made it by 11:50.

We basically flew into the building at 11:49.

Flew in and immediately realized that two giggling, ridiculous, amateur ghost hunters had NO BUSINESS in the group of freaks who routinely gather in the Waverly Hills Sanotarium.

First of all, everyone else had ghost hunting equipment…and REAL ghost hunting equipment, not just a little voice-activated tape recorder but Spirit Boxes and EMF meters and other things I’ve never seen before….and types of people I’ve never seen before, at least not in real life. There were several people with backpacks full of equipment and strap on headlights, there were a lot of grim, unsmiling people all in black, there was a couple who refused to leave each other’s sides for a second—even crowding into the single stall bathroom together, and there was this huge guy who looked like a bearded, bad ass biker dude—until I realized he was wearing a SKIRT and a rhinestone hair clip.

And then there was the jackass couple who arrived late, lost their entry pass in the confusion, laughed throughout, and actually brought a sleeping bag like there was going to be time for napping—

Wait, that was us!

But far worst of all were the people who LOOKED sane on the surface, and then they get in your face and start furiously telling you to stop laughing because the haunting of this place is REAL…it’s REAL! And you realize that they’re crazy too.

We had one of those couples in our group.

This woman and her husband (who’s a COP by the way and therefore licensed to carry a GUN), come to explore the sanitarium on the last day of EVERY SINGLE VACATION they take. And when they explore the place, they enjoy scampering around the top floor kicking a ball to the ghosts and waiting for them to kick it back.

“And you know what?” Officer Freak Show asked, pointing at his wife. “The ghosts love Jesse. They pull her hair, and push her, and one time we even took one home with us. IT’S REAL!”

I would like to repeat, this guy OWNS A GUN.

Later in the exploration, they very excitedly showed us a picture they took inside the building of a picture on the wall that, if you looked very closely and had:

A. Been experimenting with Hallucinogenic drugs
OR
B. Suffered from a deep-seated psychosis

Then you could see the outline of an angel in one picture and an outline of a devil in the other.

Or, as I mentioned a little too loudly to Eric, the reflection of their flash on the plastic protecting the picture.

And, side note here, what kind of sick universe have we wandered into when I am the voice of reason?

In any case, I think it’s safe to say, those people HATED us.

I think it all started when we were exploring the top floor where there had been several questionable deaths. Eric and I were hunkered down in the room where a suicide had taken place, trying to get in tune with the spirits (difficult with the amount of giggling and whispering we were doing) when I decided we needed to go out and make friends with the other 2 couples exploring the floor with us….largely because they had an EMF meter and other cool ghost hunting equipment that I was hoping they would share. As I was walking out into the hall, my iPhone burst into sudden life, playing 80’s music at full volume. At first I was just embarrassed because the music was freakishly loud and it did surprise the crap out of all of us…then, as I fumbled to turn it off, it occurred to me that there are a number of steps that have to occur for music to play:

Turn on the power. Slide the key lock to off. Choose the iPod function. Choose the playlist (we weren’t listening to 80’s in the car). Choose a song or hit shuffle.

I didn’t do any of those things, my phone was in my purse…and the odds of all of these happening by accident are pretty long.

Which I mentioned to the group, thinking this would be a bonding supernatural type experience. One couple agreed. The Freak Show cop and his wife looked at me like I was a moron and the guy snapped “Well, OF COURSE…look where you are!” and shook his head in disgust.

And EMF or no EMF, I can’t handle someone talking to me like I’m an idiot…so I spent A LOT of the rest of the night sarcastically yelling out “Look where you are!”

I think this is just one of the reasons that couple decided to switch groups at the half way point, sticking Eric and I with the annoying teenage girls who were exploring the place with their mom.

But this ended up working out fine because the thing about teenage girls is that most of them really want to be liked…so, sure, they were even gigglier and chattier than Eric and I but they had NO PROBLEM sharing their ghost hunting equipment…or leading the way on the trek to the bottom of the body chute…or climbing in morgue drawers…or asking the manager of the place to stay with us and try to call up ghosts, leading to some freaky temperature changes and strange sounds.

In any case, this is getting long (as usual) so I’ll wrap it up by saying yes, it was freaky. Not as freaky as the Axe Murder House in Iowa but freaky just the same. It could have been our imaginations, but we did see things moving in the shadows and heard strange whistling in the distance. Our borrowed EMF meter did go crazy in the morgue and that “energy” stayed with us until we got to the body chute…and then was gone when we returned to the morgue. The temperature in one of the patient rooms did drop two degrees in less than a minute and we did both get weird, icky feelings in the same places. In addition, there was the iPhone issue and the new batteries in both my video camera and the voice activated tape recorder went dead the first time we used them in the building.

So, while we won’t be storming up to strangers yelling “IT’S REAL!” we’re definitely checking the “successful vacation” box and considering getting an EMF meter of our own—though we’re still leaning toward Zorbing next year!


TUNE IN TOMORROW FOR A RECAP OF THE SCARIEST VACATION EVER -- THE VILLISCA IOWA AXE MURDER HOUSE!

Friday, October 18, 2013

My Favorite Part of the Day


It’s Finish The Sentence Friday and this makes two weeks in a row that I’ve participated—it’s like a Friday miracle!

In any case, this week’s sentence is The best part of my day is...

Since many of my fellow bloggers are moms, I’m probably not going to get a lot of sympathy with this one but the best part of my day used to be the 10 minutes between first and second alarm.

At our house, the alarm goes off at 5:35 am.  Which is insanely early—as my niece, Abby, always says “God himself doesn’t get up until 7:00.” So, I do what any normal person does: I hit the snooze. And then I get back in bed, I snuggle up next to Opie and we have a few minutes to just laugh and talk and get ready for the say.

It used to be the best part of the day.

Until Princeton P. Kitty decided we need a chaperone and started resolutely entrenching himself between us.
 

 

Now, Princeton is my first cat; I was strictly a dog person before I got him.  And prior to getting him, I would have said “What’s the big deal? Just MOVE THE STINKING CAT!” However, now that  have a cat, I know it would be easier to solve the problems in the Middle East than move a sleeping cat who doesn’t want to be moved.

To rephrase Yoda, “Try or try not. There is no move.”

So we started trying to snuggle around the cat.

Unfortunately, this just convinced Bubba that it’s 100% appropriate for animals to wriggle their way between their owners.
 
 

And if you think it’s hard to move a cat, you should try moving a dog that is half-Rottweiler.

Then, to make matters worse, we just got a new puppy.  We aren’t crazy enough to let her in the bed (yet); she sleeps in a playpen. But when she hears the alarm go off, she doesn’t really care about the snooze option.  She begins an immediate litany of:

“Mom! Mom! I’m awake too! Is it time to get up? Is it? I’m ready, Mom! I’ll get up! Mom!  Did you hear me? I’m up!  Totally up! Wide awake, Mom! Ready to go! Do you want to see a trick? Here, I’ll do a trick!  Mom, are you watching? Mom! Mom! Mom!”

(I’m translating here, of course, but I happen to be fluent in dog.)

In any case, there’s no sleeping through THAT.

So, that has kind of put the kibosh on the favorite part of my day, at least for now!
Finish the Sentence Friday

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Confessions

I have a confession to make.

I love gift bags.

Which probably doesn’t sound like much of a confession to make.  I mean,  I love crack, THAT’S a confession.  I love gift bags just doesn’t seem to compare. Except I kind of love gift bags as much as addicts love crack. Because I like to give gifts, I just hate to wrap gifts.

In fact, it’s a sure sign that you have been accepted to the upper echelon of Kimbo friends and family when I give you a gift and then ask for the gift bag back.

Yes, that’s right. I ask for it back. And even if I don’t ask for it back, I have no problem leading my nieces and nephews into a life of crime by suggesting they sneak across the room and STEAL it back.

Not because I want to reuse it and save the environment (though I do). And not because I’m a little, well, cheap (though I am). But because I have this great collection of gift bags and I love them and I actually just want the stinking thing back.

Having said all that, I have another confession:

When I come home after work and see this on the table

 


I’m not thinking ‘Oh, cool, Opie scored me a gift bag.’ I’m thinking “YAY! PRESENT FOR ME.”
Disappointment reigns in this house tonight, people, disappointment reigns.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Princess Snowflake Sassypants


Introducing our newest addition, Princess Snowflake Sassypants.
 
It is interesting to note that Opie refuses to use her full name, I can’t imagine why.  He calls her Sassypants which is really no way to address royalty.

In any case, a lot of people have wondered how the other animals have taken to our puffball and let’s be honest, it’s been a little dramatic.

Bubba has mixed feelings, he’s glad there’s finally a dog in the house that he can boss around a little and she adores him. She snuggles up to sleep against him whenever she can. 
 
 But she also thinks biting his toes and running away is the best game EVER. He counters with a suggestion of tug of war but that’s when I have to intervene as I’m pretty sure this game would end with a three pound Princess Projectile flying across the room like Super Dog.

Princeton P. Kitty, on the other hand, is very insulted that we brought a dog into his house without asking his permission first.  He wouldn’t speak to us for the first day or so.  It’s not that he objects to having another dog, he just thinks it was rude not to consult him in advance. He’s also not thrilled with the fact that the Princess Snowflake Sassypants has clearly never seen a cat before, much less a hairless one. And she likes to run around, chasing him all over the house, barking at him nonstop as if to say "Hey!  What are you? Are you a dog? Huh? What are you? Didn't you hear me? I asked you a question! WHAT  ARE YOU?!!” with typical puppy exuberance.

He’s decided to retaliate with a little prank I like to call “Blair Witching.” Remember how those campers who kept getting woken up in the middle night by something that kept beating on the side of the tent and terrorizing them. That's basically what Prince does. He waits until we put her in the playpen, sneaks up to the side that is fully covered, then starts beating on the side to get her worked up...and it totally works.
video
 

I sense much drama in our future!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Public Picking


It’s my first Finish The Sentence Friday in a really long time so please excuse the brevity—I’m just really excited to be back and participating again!

In any case, today’s sentence is Once, in public I saw…

I almost talked about the crazy woman I saw in WalMart yesterday who basically assaulted me with hysterectomy details and threats.  But then today happened…

Once, in public I saw a grown man picking his nose.

And by “once” I mean “this morning.”

And by “public” I mean “in my class this morning.”

This morning in class, a grown man sat in the middle of the room with his finger so far up his nose I wondered if he was actually going to touch his brain. And I honestly had to look away before I threw up…but not before I said “John! We have Kleenex in here.”

He looked a little embarrassed and that should probably make me feel bad but COME ON! We’re not talking about a toddler here, we’re talking about a grown man in a college class.

 

For other, less gag-inducing posts, click the link below:

 
Finish the Sentence Friday

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Another Cup of Crazy


Well, it’s that time again. The time when a random interaction with a stranger serves me up another cup of crazy.  Here’s what happened.

I tried to make a quick Walmart run (why, why, WHY can’t  I ever get out of there in under 30 minutes?!) and happened to notice this woman zipping around on one of those motorized carts, calling out to various people, yelling “Beep Beep!” as she turned corners, and having more fun than most people on motorized carts normally have.

I actually thought she might be a little slow and thought it was kind of cute that she was having such a good time in spite of what I assumed was an incapacitating physical condition.

Until I got in the checkout line and made one of the classic blunders: I  made eye contact and said “Hi.”

At least that’s what I thought I said.  What she clearly heard was “Although we are complete strangers to one another, I sure would love to hear disturbing details of your personal medical issues.”

“I had to have a hysterectomy!” She said cheerfully, patting the motorized cart.  “That’s why I’m using this thing.”

“That’s too bad,” I said.

And she interpreted that remark as “Please, tell me more and, let me stress again, the more disturbing the details, the better!”

“You wouldn’t believe the periods I was having!”  She said.  “They were just out of control.”

And on and on and on with more descriptive adjectives than I can even bear to remember.

At which point I’m pretty sure my face was like this:
 

(Ok, that’s not actually me, it’s my friend Martha but she makes the best shocked faces ever)

In any case, THIS the woman correctly interpreted and it pissed her off.

“Just you wait!”  She predicted ominously, rolling away in a huff.  “Just you wait!”

And now I’m going to spend the rest of my night trying to figure out what it is about me that:

A.     Inspired this random overshare

 

AND

 

B.     Convinced her that I have a hysterectomy in my future.

DIY


It’s Theme Thursday again and this week’s theme is DIY. And I have to admit, since moving to Oklahoma, I’ve actually done a lot of do-it-yourself projects.  You see, Opie lived in this house by himself for a long time before I moved in and it needed a little polish.
It started out simple, little things like getting rid of the trash can.

That's right, the trash can.

You see, this was the trash can in my darling's house:


Some of his buddies from work gave it to him as a joke after he dumped grill ashes in his old one--not realizing they were still hot-and set it in fire.

It's funny!" He insisted.

And it probably was...but it's just as funny in the garage.

My biggest challenge was changing out the paneling in the living room.  I actually wrote an article about it for Yahoo.

The worst part was not filling all the grooves with spackle—thought that did take freaking forever—the worst part was sanding down all the spackling to get it even with the wall. I tried doing it by hand but soon realized that hand sanding would take me approximately 13 years to finish. So we borrowed an electric sander and were told to remember protective gear so I wouldn’t breathe plaster dust and/or get it in my ears, nose, eyes etc.

It may surprise you to hear that I don’t have a lot of protective gear.

So, I improvised. 

 This is as I got started..by the time Opie got home from work, I had on the same outfit but was covered from head to foot in plaster dust.

I looked like I’d been dipped in flour.

Not exactly my hottest moment…But I finished and I love my living room now.
 
   So much so that I decided to go ahead and give the bedroom walls a similar treatment.

My problem was that I decided to do it as a surprise for Opie while he was out of town for a week.

Did I mention that I was also working 2 jobs at the time?

It didn’t exactly leave a lot of time for extensive remodeling.

And every time I tried I turned my back I had all this unsolicited help:

It's interesting to note that he didn't limit himself to climbing up when I was OFF the ladder.  He kept sneaking in while I was ON the ladder and popping up under my feet, in my face, or on my back at random times.  Usually when he wasn't busy seeing if he could get lid off the paint can and the paint in pretty splashes on his paws.

And, yes, of course I considered locking him out of the room while I worked.  But he just took that as a challenge...who would get tired of his crying first?

Bub was the dark horse favorite in that little game.

I shut them both out of the bedroom, Prince sat outside the door and cried at the top of his little lungs for 15 solid minutes.  And then Bubba decide that this was cause for alarm and began running up and down the stairs barking and howling. Then this half-crazy woman began screaming "Shut up!  For the love of heaven SHUT UP OR I WILL MURDER YOU TO DEATH!!!"

The rest of that night is a little bit of a blur but I have a sneaking suspicion that half-crazy woman was ME.

However, this is what I ended up with and I'm happy:


But I think I'm done with projects for awhile!


To read more DIY posts, click the link below:
 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Skunk Gunk


If you are a regular reader of this blog (and if you’re not, you should be…come on, follow me! J ), then you know that last week Opie and I had a weird nocturnal visitor that he made me aware of with a note that just said
“DON’T LET BUB OUTSIDE. SOMETHING MIGHT BE OUT THERE.”
Which is not a comforting thing to read at 11:00 at night.
But might be a little better than the text I got when Opie discovered the visitor’s identity Friday morning.
By the way, Bub might stink when you get home.  I think he got skunked.
‘Poor Bubba,’ I thought. ‘Sprayed by a skunk and probably forced to stay in the washroom all day.’
Until it occurred to me that the whole “forced to stay in the washroom” part was really just an assumption on my part, a foolish thought that no one would let a freshly skunked dog wander around an empty house for hours by himself.
No one, that is, except Opie.
“I had to get to work,” Opie said and then, “Besides, he hates being trapped in the washroom.”
You know what I hate?
Skunk smell all over the house.
But not as much as I hate skunk smell all over THE BED.
Which, by the way, is where poor old stinky, skunked-up Bub apparently slept all day Friday.  At least, that’s where he slept when he wasn’t busy rolling around trying to rub skunk-gunk off himself.
But speaking of Bub, you know what he hates?
He hates having a revolting paste of liquid dish soap, baking soda, and vinegar smeared all over his skunked up body—even if it does manage to get the skunk smell from “eye-watering atrocious” to “bearable as long as you don’t get too close.”
He’s also not a big fan of waiting out in the sun, letting the aforementioned mixture congeal all over his body.
I tried to explain to him that I had the worse end of the deal—since I was the one who was squeezing untold amounts of yellow, oily skunk gunk from his fur and GAGGING in the process—but he was unimpressed.
He was also unimpressed with the fact that I had to soak our sheets in a similar mixture then run around a house filled with skunk-stink, turning on fans, roasting coffee grounds, and boiling an equally potent concoction of vinegar, apples, and cinnamon to cut the smell.
Seriously, that dog is so self-involved.
On the other hand, I think it is a testament to my own giving nature that I managed not to punch Opie in the face when he walked in after work and said “Wow, it really smells like vinegar in here” and then advised me that the last time Bub was sprayed by a skunk, he (Opie) fixed everything with a few squirts of Febreze.
I mean, sure, I said “Febreze, really? REALLY?!” in loud, insulting tones about ten times, but I didn’t get physically violent, that’s what counts here.
It is interesting to note that at the time of this writing, Opie still maintains that Febreze would have done the trick and that I have no proof to the contrary. My response to this is profane in nature and  involves suggestions that aren’t all anatomically possible.
It is also interesting to note that, when I left for school this morning, I got another strong whiff of skunk in the yard and am pretty sure that the skunk has decided to make his home in our neighborhood.  I suspect this won’t be the last you all hear of dog and skunk entanglements…though, it better be the last you hear of Febreze.
A Mother Life
BlogWithIntegrity.com

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Collectibles


I'm participating in SomethingClever2.0 's Theme Thursday today and the topic is collections…and if I were still single, this would be easy-peasy because I had the coolest collection of Mickey Mouse kitchen stuff EVER. I started with a Mickey and Minnie Mouse salt & pepper set and then just took off with my usual over the top fervor… Seriously, I had every mouse appliance you could possibly ok imagine. Cookie jar, teapot, phone—those were easy!  I also had the Mickey Mouse waffle iron, the toaster that played “It’s A Small World” and burnt the Mickey icon onto the bread, Mickey Mouse sandwich maker, dozens of statues…I had Mickey Mouse shaped dinner plates and I even had Mickey Mouse wineglasses and Mickey Mouse flatware:



I was a one woman Disney land.

Then I got engaged and Opie got downright unreasonable about a Mickey Mouse kitchen.  "A grown man," he assured me, "should not have to spend his whole life eating off mouse ears."

And my rat fink family and friends took his side!
“It’s over the top,” they assured me and "It's a little creepy."

So, Opie totally thought he won...because when I moved here to Oklahoma, I downsized…but we still have a few Mickey touches:

 
But it’s not over the top (yet…more and more of those Mickeys seem to be sneaking out of their carefully packed boxes and finding their way to the kitchen.  It’s a real mystery…I, once again, suspect the cat as he did always love snuggling up in the window next to the Mickey Mouse vase and some of the frames)
 
 

In any case, while the Mickeys are relegated to storage, my new collection is Cambridge Rosepoint Crystal…This was my grandmother’s wedding crystal and they stopped making it in 1953.  It’s getting harder and harder to find but it’s just gorgeous.

It looks like this:

 And I have glasses, vases, trays etc. spreading out all over the house...Opie's bought me a few pieces for anniversaries and Valentine's Day, but he actually objects to using it too because he’s always thinks he’s going to break it…so, when I serve him pink liquids in antique crystal he starts screaming things like “I’m a delicate flower over here!”

 

“Get over it,” I insisted…until, of course, he actually did break one of the wine glasses.  Then, I decided  he’s NOT a delicate flower…and I got him something else to use.  Guess which one is his?


 
 
 
 
For other Theme Thursday posts, please click below:
 
 

US Vacation

I don't usually "go political" but I've been thinking this since all the closure stuff started:
 
 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Something Might Be Out There

So, got home late last night after teaching my night class and this is the sign that was on the back door:

 
 
I, of course, took this with my usual stoic calm.
 
And by "stoic calm" I, of course, mean that I began running around trying to figure out what danger was lurking in our backyard...after all, this:
 
 
is not a tiny dog.  This is a dog who protects our home.  If SOMETHING MIGHT BE OUT THERE that threatens this dog, then clearly that danger must be dealt with immediately.
 
And by "dealt with" I, of course, mean that I would locate the danger then wake Opie up to face the peril.
 
Why didn't I just assume Opie had already investigated, determined there was no immediate danger, and left the sign as a precaution?
 
Because my brain doesn't work that way, that's why.
 
It made much more sense to creep out on the back porch with a flashlight and shine it all over the yard, looking for an intruder and jumping at the smallest sound.
 
To be fair, I'm pretty sure Opie completely regrets this decision as my next step was to go upstairs, get in bed, snuggle oh-so-close to my darling and hiss "SOMETHING MIGHT BE OUT THERE?!" in his ear.
 
"Yah," he agreed sleepily.  'Something."
 
"WHAT?!"  I demanded.  "A snake? Bigfoot? A MONSTER?!"
 
"No," he said. "Probably another armadillo. Or a skunk...I've seen a couple of those lately."
 
I'm not sure if that was supposed to be comforting but the thought of a herd of wild skunks rampaging through the yard doesn't make me feel better AT ALL. 
 
But I am a reasonable woman, I only yelled "SOMETHING MIGHT BE OUT THERE!" fifteen or twenty times before drifting off to sleep.
 
And let me end by saying that yes, Opie does consider himself the luckiest man alive...just think how BORING his life must have been before I came back into it.