Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Happy Birthday?

Last night I found mouse droppings in the cabinet.

This is, of course, disgusting.

However, this is rural Oklahoma and we do tend to get one or two of the horrifying, vermin-ridden creatures when the weather turns warm.

What really bothers me is the fact that we have a CAT for the love of heaven, not to mention 2 dogs. And although Sassypants isn’t much of a hunter, Bubba is a serial squirderer AND a birderer.  Why, why WHY am I the one who has to find and deal with a mouse in the house?

And by “deal with” I obviously mean scream at Opie to do something.

The long and the short of it is, we pulled everything out of the cabinet and set traps before we went to bed last night.

On a slightly related note, I’m curious if anyone in the history of mankind has ever caught a mouse in one of the humane, catch and release, cost about 10 times more than the snap trap type traps? Every single time we have had a mouse, I have put those things out loaded to the gills with peanut butter, and every single time the mouse has chosen to run over the snap trap instead.

The mice are clearly suicidal.

In any case, the point of this whole drama is that today is Opie’s birthday and he took the day off work. And, it is interesting to note, starting your morning listening to your wife scream about dead mice in the cabinets and then being forced to remove the mouse carcass amid more shrieking before you are allowed any coffee is, apparently, NOT a good start to your birthday celebrations.

Though he seems happy enough now....hmmmm...wondering if he spiked his coffee when my back was turned….

Mouse? What mouse? I don't see no stinkin' mouse in here.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Saint Kimbo I Am Not

You know when I first realized that sainthood might not be for me?

Second grade.

I was sitting in religion class, listening to my teacher--who was, quite possibly, the scariest woman ever--talk about the joys of the stigmata and the saints who had experienced it.

And I summoned all the courage of my second grade self and asked "So, they're bleeding all the time? Isn't that..." and I didn't say "gross" but I think everyone knew where I was going.

"The blood is perfumed with the odor of sanctity!" My teacher told me.

I'm sure I nodded like that was really profound--after all, she was the scariest woman ever--but in my head I was thinking "Yeah, that's still gross."

And I figured my chances of sainthood we're pretty well shot.

I'm older now and I do have a better understanding of the stigmata and true piety and a variety of other religious issues but I decided last Sunday at mass that sainthood is probably still out of reach.

Largely because I spent most of mass having an inner debate on which of the following people were irritating me more:

The woman in front of me who was chewing gum for the entire service.

The older people behind me who thought they were whispering but were, in fact, sharing their thoughts with the whole church...and kept giggling about the fact that they were more poorly behaved than half the children.

The old guy right behind me who, in spite of the fact that the entire rest of his and my pews were both empty, decided he needed to hang his cane directly on the back of my pew so I couldn't sit down without it digging into my spine.

Unless there's a dire need for a patron saint of "I try not to judge but I'm seriously considering beating you to death." I think I'm out of luck.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Lessons From Dad

A blast from the past...

So, it’s Father’s Day and of course that got me thinking about my dad…and how the things you learn from your parents are different.  I think, as a woman, I focus too often on what I learned from my mom and how much I’m like my mom, and kind of leave my dad in the background.  But the truth is, I’ve learned just as much from my dad.

So, in honor of my father, here are the 4 most important things I learned from him:
  1.   Being afraid is nothing to be ashamed of.
Let me set the scene for you all:

It was late summer in the early seventies and the five of us—my parents, my two brothers and I—were all heading out on a family vacation. We were stuffed into my dad’s old beat up Plymouth and we were pulling the pop up camper which meant we couldn’t run the air conditioning.  So, even with the windows down, the inside of the car was roughly the same temperature as the sun.

We spent most trips trying not to burst into flame.           

But we spent one trip trying to dodge the bee my dad inadvertently flung into the back seat.

See, the thing is, my dad hates bees.  A lot. In fact, to paraphrase Shakespeare, my father hates bees like he hates the devil, all Montagues, and death itself.

So, when the bee flew in the driver’s side window, Dad freaked out and completely forgot what he was doing and who he was with. 

Instead, he began whipping his hat around, trying to beat the bee to death.

Unfortunately, all he did was fling the bee into the backseat—and right onto my younger brother.

The bee did what bees do and my brother started screaming at the top of his lungs.  At which point my mother turned on my father and yelled “What in the hell is the matter with you?’

I’ll be honest, many a strong man has faltered in the face of my mother’s wrath but my dad just shrugged.  “Sorry,” he said.  “I just really hate bees.”

And then, of course, he pulled over and he and mom began taking care of my poor brother…but the unspoken lesson was clear: you can’t help what you’re afraid of.

             2.  Nothing is impossible.

Right before I was supposed to renew my Missouri driver’s license for the first time, I lost it.  I don’ t mean the police took it away or anything like that; I mean I forgot where I put it.  And when I went in to try to get a new one, I found out that—because of new state regulations-- I had to show my birth certificate in order to get a replacement license.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a copy of my birth certificate.

So, I called the appropriate department in my Illinois hometown and learned that—because of new state regulations—I needed a driver’s license or other photo id to get a copy of my birth certificate.

At this point I, of course, spent about five minutes trying to say every curse word I’d ever heard in my life.

Then I called my dad—who, interestingly enough, was in neither Missouri nor Illinois but spending the winter in Florida—and explained my problem.  He listened to the whole saga without interrupting, then said “Hang tight” and hung up the phone.  He then made a few calls to different agencies back home and called my brother with more instructions.  Twenty minutes later, my brother called me and said a copy of my birth certificate would be in the mail the next day.

“What are you going to do when Dad’s not around to solve your problems?”  My brother asked.

“Call you,” I said.  “He seems to be grooming you to take over the position.”

But, let’s be honest, no one will EVER be able to fix things like my dad.

           3.  It’s Better To Be Safe Than Unembarrassed.

A few months ago, I had a gall bladder attack in the middle of the night—except I didn’t know what it was.  All I knew was that I had sudden, excruciating pain radiating through my entire upper body.  It was so bad that—in spite of my so called adult status—I called home for advice.

“Go to the emergency room,” my mom said.

“But what if I go and they say it’s something like gas pains?”  I moaned.   “I’ll feel so stupid.”

At which point, my dad took the phone.  “There are A LOT of people in the cemetery who didn’t want to feel stupid,” he said.

And I went to the emergency room…which was probably for the best since it turned out I had a 2 centimeter stone rumbling around my 7 centimeter gall bladder.  

         4.  True love is real.

Someone once said the best gift a father an give his children is to love their mother....and not only is that true, it's also a gift I always had.

My parents were high school sweethearts.  In addition, they worked together EVERY DAY for about 30 years of their 40+ year marriage.  In that type of situation, one of two things happens: You become best friends or you get divorced.  It never once occurred to me that my parents would get divorced.

And they never have.

It’s almost over the top how close they are…I won’t say that my dad worships the ground my mom walks on but I will say I’ve heard him say a single negative word about her.  He might tease her or  bicker good naturedly but it is never mean-spirited.  He still brings her flowers, he still acts like he can’t believe how lucky he is to have found her.

To be honest, it’s probably the reason I married so late in life…I compared every relationship I had against my parents' ; I wanted someone who loved me like my dad loves my mom, who gave me the same respect that my dad gives my mom.  I wanted someone I could laugh with, someone who could be the best friend and soul mate that my dad is for my mom.—and that’s not easy to find.  In fact it took me almost 40 years to find someone who came close.

And you know what?

He’s afraid of bees too.

Monday, June 2, 2014

From Squirrderer to Birderer...The Bub Strikes Again

As many of you know, a few weeks ago Bubba killed not one but TWO squirrels (you can read about THAT nightmare here).

Today he upped the ante by killing a bird.

On the bright side, he learned from my last bout of hysterics and did NOT bring it to me.

Nor did he bury it in my garden.

He ATE it.

In spite of the fact that I was screaming "No! Stop it! For the love of God, PUT THE  BIRD DOWN!" He just wagged his tail, happier than a pig in poo, and crunched down again.  Which is when I got a good look at the mutilated mess in his maw.

I would like to report that I heroically tackled the Bub at this point, miraculously saved the bird, and we all lived in Disney-like bliss.

Unfortunately, I was way too busy throwing up to really put up much of a fight.

Once I got myself together, I started to worry about the effect of bird bones on Bubba's belly so I called the vet who shared the not at all comforting thought that this is probably not the first time birds have been killed and consumed in our backyard...he even expressed some admiration for the fact that an 8 year old dog is still spry enough to rampage around birdering.

Oddly, I do not feel the same sense of pride.

In any case, he said Bubba will probably be fine...but that we should keep an eye on his stool for the next few days, looking for signs of trouble.

I probably should have asked what those signs might be but, to be honest, I was a little distracted by the email I was already composing to Opie, informing him of the situation and indicating just whose job "stool searching" was going to be (here's a hint: not mine!).

And now I think I might have to spend the rest of the day lying on the couch with a cool compress on my head....