Monday, April 30, 2007

I wanna thank you Lord... for the poop

Now I remember why I did not move out of that townhouse years earlier... moving is a royal pain in every single part.

As you can imagine from my long hiatus, things did not go quite as smoothly as originally hoped. It started when Verizon cheerfully informs me that my internet connection will take a whopping three weeks to set up.

Things just sort of mushroomed from there. I think the incident that really captures the essence of the experience was the oven. Now, I was SO excited to have a double oven in my new kitchen. DOUBLE OVEN, people! For someone who engages in The Grand Bake every year, resulting in hundreds of dozens of assorted cookies, this was like winning the lottery. Ok, maybe not but you get the idea.

Anyway. We'd been eating takeout every night for a week while we dutifully schlepped stuff across town. (My original intention of unpacking as we went fell by the wayside. Or perhaps its now buried in the dining room under Mt. St. Oh-Crap-We-Have-Too-Much-Stuff) But finally, my body cried for mercy. I had to have REAL FOOD. And it was excitement that I planned out my first real meal in the new place. I put two potatoes in the upper oven to bake at 350.

350. This is key. NOT 859. Not 1587. 350.

So after a bit, I headed back toward the kitchen to finish prepping the rest of the meal when a suspicious noise stopped me in my tracks. Jacob was looking a little desperate, and well he might! He did have banana/plum/grape for lunch and the plums and the grapes, they were doing their job. My son... he reeked.

I picked up the squirming baby and headed upstairs to his room where the trusty Diaper Genie awaited. And man... it was bad. A thirteen-wiper!! As I was finishing up the sordid details, I hear a deep, loud BOOM!!!!! At first, I thought something had fallen over. I deposit Jacob in the family room to play while I investigate.

IT WAS MY OVEN. The glass door was... well... it looked like it had gone ten rounds with Tyson, Holyfield AND Sugar Ray. All armed with sledgehammers. There is powdered, splintered glass everywhere and as I gape, the oven door eeeeeeeeaaaaased open and KERASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelion splintered little glass pieces rains down on the stovetop. And the floor. And the counter.

I was stunned speechless. My double oven had not even survived a WEEK. I will of course be getting a new oven but the whole thing just completely freaked me out. But for one crappy diaper, I would have been standing at the stove when it went all Krakatoa on me.

I told you God had a sense of humor. God indeed saw fit not to vaporize my sorry ass with the oven door, but He fixes it so I owe a debt of gratitude to the lowliest function of human biology.

And that pretty well sums up the last 10 days so far.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Home Is Where the Heart Is or: Where the heck did I put the Maalox???

Eeeeeyeah. As stated, we're in the throes of hell... er, MOVING. And this is requiring no small amount of lip-zipping on my part as my family seems bound and determined to test my patience.

My mother called and after I finally located the cordless phone, which had been shoved far down underneath the bedding (???) and then Jacob made an unexpected sideways lunge in my arms and also pinched me with his near hand, so my voice sounded - at best - strained when I answered.

I am not certain what message my mother thought I was sending, but she unleashed The Mother of All Snarkiness on me and before I could even explain that she was entirely mistaken, she snapped "And I am soooooooooo sorry for annoying YOU!" and then hung up on me.

She hung up on me.


Ooh. Ooh that made me so ma... I mean angry. (there's one of her sayings - dogs go mad, people get angry.) Whose mother hangs up on them??? Are we middle schoolers???

I refrained from calling her back to ask if she was smoking cat litter or something, and the Husband came home and asked what had me fired up.

So I started to tell him and he HELD HIS HAND UP IN THAT 'STOP' GESTURE. Hold up, here. Did my husband just tell me to basically 'Talk to the Hand'???????

Oh no he didn't.

Oh nooooooooo he did not.

I can see that the next five days are going to be a test of my sociability, much like a bad-tempered stray dog is tested for food aggression. And the end result might well resemble it, too.

Yeah. I have PMS and I am moving house. With PMS. And I can have neither cheese nor chocolate. Just don't make a move toward my coffee, that's all I can say.

Also? In my Recommended Daily Serving of Schadenfreude, the No Home Training Trio clogged their toilet so badly they had to call Roto Rooter. And having the emotional maturity of a ten-year-old-boy, I was greatly amused, especially as I had to listen to them argue last night. While they were having sex, apparently. And I really didn't need to be exposed to either encounter and am still considering how I can effectively bleach my own brain.

And lo, the husband has redeemed himself in my eyes, having now hauled two full SUV-loads of boxes over to the new house. I am apparently even scarier than I thought.

We're moving.

No, really. We're moving right now. Sort of.... in a haphazard, inefficient what-the-heck-is-WRONG-with-me kind of way. The bulk of the moving activity will actually occur on Saturday, then we have the March of Dimes Walk America on Sunday morning - a worthy cause to which I'd committed myself MONTHS before the whole moving idea came up.

Jacob was pre-term, and we were so very very fortunate that my doctors got the pre-term labor stopped three times, buying him precious additional weeks in utero. Believe me, I know JUST how lucky we really were and not a day goes by that I don't offer a prayer of thanks... not only for my son but also my friends' children who were also pre-term. And also a prayer for the mothers whose stories don't include a baby in their arms, but only in their hearts... because all the medical advances made can't yet give every story a happy ending.

Premature birth is reaching epidemic levels in this country and no one quite knows why. ONE IN EIGHT pregnancies will end in a preterm birth. I'd go to the ends of the earth for my own children... and if my walking a few miles can help prevent another family from going through this, well... there we'll be.

(March of Dimes for more information. And cheer us on Sunday morning.)

And then we'll go back to moving furniture and boxes in the afternoon, tired but happier for the knowledge that we just might make a difference to someone else's family.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Line up & place yer bets

All righty. Let's review what we've got. It is Friday the thirteenth. I... am Gerbil, attractor of All Things Bizarre. You know I'm in for it today. You just know it.

For those that have not truly experienced what it means to be Gerbil, I share a tale from my DC commuting days...

I worked in an office down on 20th & M, near the old glass-enclosed FCC building, where bomb threats were a weekly occurrence and people could not seem to grasp that evacuating to the sidewalk across the street wasn't the safest option ever... what with all that GLASS.

But anyway. There was a bookstore at 18th & I Street and I spent many a lunch hour in there, especially since the bus ride home was so long... better have a fresh book on hand! (I read really fast)

So one day, I'm walking through the aisles and there was a homeless man poring through a paperback as I approached. "Oh, excuse me," said politely, "Am I in the way?" "Not at all, thank you," I replied and THAT was the full conversation. I found a book & returned to work.

Later that evening... I'm heading out to catch the last bus home and start cruising up 20th street in my professional attire and sneakers (de rigeur for the DC commuting woman of the late 80s. Even if I looked like I was all of 15 at the time.). All of a sudden, who do I spy coming down 20th street in my direction? Why yes! It is Homeless Dude, he of the bookstore. What a coincidence, I've NEVER seen him around here...

And then he caught sight of me... and I kid you not, he dropped all of his plastic bags at once, DROPPED heavily to his knees, THREW his arms skyward and HOWLED:


me: "eep."

And all of a sudden, what had been a crowded street was utterly deserted as fellow commuters scattered, not wanting to be part of this potentially unpleasant scene.

Picking up his things again, the man trotted along beside me, chattering happily (again, I kid you not) about martians and nazca lines and the CIA and all that jazz, and I was thinking to myself "how does this HAPPEN??" when all of a sudden....

This woman came bolting (and I mean BOLTING) out of nowhere, grabbed me by the arm, started shaking me by it and shrieking "OMG, I haven't seen you in so LONG!! OMG, how are the kids, how's the DOG???"

Now... I don't have a dog. I don't know how this woman is. There's a large homeless guy talking about tinfoil hats* and I'm just this shy quiet kid from the suburbs and my brain is starting to overheat.

Now the woman is tugging on my arm and the homeless man said kindly "G'wan and walk with your friend, I'll see you tomorrow."

And as the strange woman led me away , she leaned over and growled in the scariest voice EVER... "RUN!!" And by now, I am totally freaked so I ran. She still has hold of my arm, too. But ladies and ge'men, I am running. Run, Forrest, run.

Finally, she looks back and says "ok, we can stop now" and it was only then I realized that this woman was bailing me out, even if she was scaring me into the bargain. With dizzy relief, I thanked her and resolved to have the guys at the office walk me to the bus stop for the next few weeks.

So uh, yeah. That's more on the intense end of things, but weirdness is standard fare around here.

I even had to start my day with assisting my very elderly gerbil... y'see, poor Indie is one antique rodent. And one of his teeth fell out, making it very hard for him to eat & gnaw. So I have to trim his remaining teeth and his diet is supplemented with baby food (I have to mark the jars so as not to mix up Gerbil with Jacob).

Apparently poor Indiana Scones (i told you all their names were puns) attempted to eat himself a big ol'... something. I don't know, it LOOKED like someone attempted to sneak him a Cheerio. Anyway. He got a hunk of it stuck in his mouth behind his teeth. Wedged. STUCK FAST as my late great-aunt would say... that gerbil was fast. And he couldn't shut his mouth, not could he now eat.

So it took me 15 minutes to gently extricate the thing from his maw, upon which the grateful rodent relaxed and in doing so, peed on me. Thanks, Indie. You're so welcome. (He's actually my coolest rodent. Extremely tame & friendly and likes to ride around on my shoulder.)

Weird? I got yer weird right here. Bring it on.

*in the 80s, DC decided that "you couldn't necessarily hospitalize the mentally ill against their wishes". This was primarily a cost-cutting measure and a great many mentally ill persons were turned out of long-term psychiatric care to live on the streets without any treatment at all. Mostly, these were the poor who had no insurance to begin with.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

One of these things is not like the other...

So there I was, all alone, watching some dumb something-or-other on Bravo (I don't even remember. That's how much Not Attention I was paying it...) and eating my way through a bag of some kind of faux healthy chips we'd purchased before we left.

There were sweet potato chips, blue chips, beet-dyed red chips (I forgave them their association with BEETS and ate them anyway. Chips couldn't help it. I blame society.) and these things were supposedly organic (ie they could get away with charging a heckuva lot) but they were junk and they were satisfying a need. So down the hatch they went. Besides, we'd opened the bag before we left for the weekend and I didn't want them to stale...


until, I detected something vaguely... stringy. Puzzled, I pulled it from my mouth and tried to figure out what the 2 inch long, tapered, bi-colored brown stringy thing was... with tiny hair-like things on the tapered end...




oh sweet heaven.

I am telling myself that of COURSE it is simply a piece of fried potato skin.

It is NOT, I repeat NOT a spider leg.

Did I mention that I'm incredibly arachnaphobic? And now I think I might be chip-phobic. Either way you look at it, I am not eating any more chips.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


We're back. We lived through the experience. Everyone but the turkey but I'll get to that later.

Let's start with the drive out there. We (me) decided that we ought to leave on Saturday morning rather than Friday, especially after speaking to my mom. There were snow showers predicted along I-68 and visibility can get dicey... I did NOT want to be hauling SUV ass through bad visibility and possible icing, call me crazy. Go 'head.

Anyway, it took some convincing: "But... we can get there by midnight! And Jacob will be asleep!" They were valid points, but in the end, Safety won the day. That and I promised we could be On The Road FIRST Thing In The Morning...

Is this a guy thing??? My dad is the same way. All travel plans MUST involve being On The Road before the asscrack of dawn. Anyway, I dutifully informed the teenager to be ready to go by 7am.

Right. So there I am, doing copious amounts of the dreaded Baby Laundry because Jacob is teething and very drooleriffic with a side of puke-o-rama and he managed to yak directly into a basket of clean laundry. Then I managed to misplace the basket that contained all my husband's clean socks and underwear. (I did NOT do that on purpose. Honest.) I bustled... I rushed... I carried items from one area to another... I spent an assload of time getting absolutely NOTHING accomplished. I figured I'd be up at 5am anyway and I could finish it then.

Eh. Not exactly. The morning dawned with us oversleeping and then we were treated to threatened Teenaged Drama, as he called and informed me that if he wasn't allowed to smoke, he wasn't going. I said "We'll miss you." In the end, he did want to go and girded his loins and dealt with it, but he had to put me through an hour's worth of drama-rama phone calls just jam-packed with... well. We all know teenagers in our lives somewhere so I'll just let you nod your heads knowingly. It did not help me get my shit in gear, I'll say that. Again, I'm ADD. Divert me from my focused course and I'll flounder and chase my own ass in circles until I can get focused again and if you piss me off into the bargain? Just throw chocolate. And coffee. The ass you save could be your own.

So uh... yeah. We hit the Beltway at NOON.

The drive out was actually pretty good, no fights or anything. We DID hit snow showers just outside Frostburg and about the third brief whiteout, my husband conceded that I was right and driving through that crap at night would have been a Very Bad Thing. I, the good wife that I am, (no comments from the peanut gallery) refrained from pumping my fist and yelling "SNAP!" But I thought it.)

My mom's farmhouse is pretty cool. The original part of the house is a log cabin that's somewhere around 160 years old. But... none of the rooms have DOORS. And there's these weird vents in the floors that are basically really big holes with a vent thingy on them and it freaked me out. Why? Because once upon a time, the only heating system was the fireplace downstairs and those holes were to let the heat rise up into the bedroom. And did I mention that This Old House had no - let me repeat that - NO insulation?? None???? And I mentioned snow, right?

It snowed all the freaking time. Didn't stick, but it was FRICKIN' FREEZING, MR. BIGGLESWORTH. Dude, I'm pretty certain that **I** had a shrinkage problem going and the first night just about turned poor Jacob into a GIRL when he wet his diaper and his ass got cold. 4am and my husband and I are bundling the baby up into quilts and pulling him into bed with us and feeling like the freaking Donner Party or something, freezing our collective asses off in the middle of nowhere. Certain that I had things well in hand, my husband promptly went back to sleep. So did Jacob. I, on the other hand, was paranoid about squashing the poor kid or something and did not sleep again.

My parents asked how we slept. And I did not say "For the love of PETE are you kidding me? We were colder than a polar bear's ASS in there!!" I said "um, it was a little chilly." And then my mom actually said "Wow, we were really sweating in our room! Of course the heat vent there is directly over the propane heater, but I thought you guys might want the blue room because its prettier."

Dude. Seriously. Screw the frills, ok? I don't care. I just don't want a Baby-sicle in the morning. Or a Me-sicle for that matter. Luckily, my stepdad took matters into his own hands and cranked that heater UP the next night.

While visiting at my aunts, I'm sorry to say that the flock of turkeys decided to go for a walk. Down the middle of the road. Did I mention that in front of the house we have the ONLY straight-away within miles??? When people come around either blind curve and hit this straightaway, they accelerate fast enough to make Chuck Yeager envious. So, as you can imagine would happen, one of the turkeys was hit by a truck. And um... when a domestic turkey is hit by a Ford F150 pickup doing at least 85?? It was dramatic. It was Turkey Supernova right there. To call it an Ex-turkey really doesn't quite cover it. There was were feathers 15 FEET AROUND from point of impact. I can guarantee the poor bird never knew what happened to it. Um. Wow.

And my dad, teenaged son and husband experienced some down-home male bonding. Naturally it involved gunpowder in a couple different ways. And it made a lot of noise. And things blew up. They were ridiculously pleased with themselves.

Also, my aunt makes some kind of alcoholic beverage that she calls Apple Pie. And they poured me a shot to taste... now, I am not big on Strong Drink. I can't stand the taste of anything that has "proof" on the label, KnowWhatIMeanVern? So I looked at the shotglass with some skepticism initially, especially since a key ingredient in this potion is EVERCLEAR. Everclear. The grain alcohol recommended by stupid highschoolers everywhere, at least back in the mid-80s. (Although my aunt did tell me that often make it with moonshine but I wasn't gonna ask about THAT. I was already feeling way too cliched.)

Uh, let me just state for the record? They were right. The stuff really DID taste like a pie made with granny smith apples. And it will knock you on your everloving keister if you're not careful. But I was careful, because I was not about to experience an Everclear hangover in a house with only ONE bathroom... and a toilet that may or may not flush without a bucket of water poured into it to help it along. But uh... WOW. Yummy.

Jacob cut a second tooth and has begun biting everything. He also finally grasped crawling. And mom's house was a mass of ladybugs (remember the Hitchcock movie The Birds? Replace the birds with ladybugs. There you go). It was a constant effort to keep Jacob from eating ladybugs. They taste naaaaaaaasty. We won't discuss how I came by this knowledge.

The trip home was long and poopy. Literally. It was Blowout City alllllllllll the way home. At one point it became clear that we absolutely HAD to take the next exit and find somewhere to change the baby, especially as the teenager was beginning to curl into a fetal position there in the back seat from the noise and stench. When a baby can outclass a teenager's butt? That, my friends... is an award-winning butt.

So we were in Rockville. I suspect that R.E.M's Don't Go Back to Rockville was perhaps intended as a warning to parents of diaper-wearing children because there was no fast-food joint anywhere off this exit. We spent 15 minutes searching and finally found some gentrified strip mall near the courthouse. Husband gingerly carried Baby into some japanese restaurant to beg the use of their bathroom. "No problem!" he was told "Just use one of the tables!"

Um... ew. I'm so sorry to admit that desperate times call for really desperate measures. He went to the very back of the restaurant, away from customers and stood between the Baby Rump of Doom and the unsuspecting public. He did not yet know what awaited him but it took him TEN MINUTES to change that baby. And all but two of the wipes. And he came out looking grimmer than hell and holding baby clothing with two fingers well, like I don't know what but he dropped it onto the sidewalk and whimpered.

Even I had to feel bad for him.

I silently bagged the toxic waste masquerading as baby clothing and handed my husband the Purell. I thought he was gonna DRINK it there for a minute. It was that bad. He buckled the baby back into the seat. Jacob gave everyone a really happy-sounding sigh and a coo and we got back onto the road.

Minutes passed and my husband took a deep breath. "That," he said kind of shakily, "was really, really unpleasant. I hope they wash their tables. I should go tell them. I can't believe I did that. ON A TABLE. WHERE PEOPLE MIGHT EAT." he shuddered. "I hope no one noticed how bad it really was."
"Did you ... get any on the table?"
"No... but if anyone was counting wipes, I think by number 23 they'd know what was happening." He shuddered again and we both knew one more blowout was going to be a problem because he'd gone through all his pants by now. Could we make it home before the Butt of Doom decided to cry havoc once more???

Race against the poop. Story of my life.

We finally crawled into the house somewhere past 9 last night and then my husband had to turn around and go to his parents for Easter there. I was so exhausted, I slept right through his repacking of the car. He forgot: bottle liners. Diapers. Baby shampoo. A sleep sack. Baby food. and a few other things. Somehow, he did remember the BABY. "I thought it was all THERE." he huffed at me, forgetting that he was the one who packed the car for the ride home, not me.

So tonight, its just me and the rodents, who didn't notice I was gone in the first place. And because I'm old - or more accurately a PARENT - by heaven, I'm going to bed EARLY. Ahhhhhh, that's decadence right there.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Bad Boys, Bad Boys! Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

Let me start by saying: IT WASN'T US. ATTENTION, ATTENTION... IT WAS NOT US.

Anyway. So I'm on the phone last night, talking to a friend out in California and I hear BAMBAMBAMBAM!! I pause.... and again, I hear it. bambambambambam!! It sounds like its coming from out back. Ohman, did the No Home Training Trio get into it AGAIN? Is someone locked out onto the deck??? I didn't hear any drunken yowling...
"Hang on, " I say to my friend "I hear something weird out back."

Tucking the cordless phone between my chin and my shoulder, I cautiously open up the window just in time to hear: "Open up! POLICE! "POLICE!"

And it isn't coming from the Trio's house, it's either MINE or the guy on the end. Oh crap. "Which house do you need?" I call down - I mean really. It's fricking dark out there, I can't tell WHAT house they're at.

"Next to yours, ma'am. (pause) Are they home? Can you come out front, please?"

Oh gravy. "Lemmee call you back," I tell my friend (who, btw, I have JUST filled in on all our recent drama, so now she's wigging out)

Two very, very stern officers are at my door. I see that the neighbor's SUV isn't there -he works until late, and I tell the officers so.
"Oh man, let me guess. His exwife made another accusation?"

The officers exchange looks. "There are some serious charges, here. Has this happened before?"
"You have no idea. For the last 4 years, she used to come over, knock his motorcycle over and JUMP on it. Once she punched a hole in the gas tank. She'd kick the cars, pound on the doors, scream threats... all the time. The judge presiding over the divorce finally told her if she came back here he'd have her arrested. So around New Years, she's started making various accusations and have him arrested each time, preferably in front of his neighbors."
"Oh. These ARE serious charges. There's a warrant for his arrest."
"I have no doubt they are. I'm sorry to say, he won't be the least bit surprised."
"Hmmm. Well, we'll leave a note for him then to go ahead and call us and we can get it worked out. Thanks for the information."

Man. Poor guy. THAT's shaping up to be a bad, bad day, any way you slice it. Remind me not to complain about traffic today, huh?


* * *

So we're going out to THE FARM for Easter. My mom bought HER grandmother's farm, and my aunt lives just down the road on my grandparent's farm. Mom eventually wants to retire out there, but for now we just go out and visit often.

I'm looking forward to the trip but with some trepidation. This farm has always been like the Twilight Zone. The weirdness REALLY comes out, trust me. Like the last time I went fishing on the pond in the cow pasture? I caught a bat.

Yes, you read that correctly. A BAT. What are the odds??? It was dusk, and the thing flew down for a drink or a bug or something just as I cast my line and I snagged it by the skin of its back. My sisters, cousin and I all watched with open mouths as the bat zig-zagged around, trying to free itself. All I could think was "Exactly how am I supposed to get THAT off the line??" and was considering just walking back to the house, bat in tow like a child's balloon, and letting my grandfather handle it, when the bat managed to pull itself free.

There are no lights anywhere, it being out in the hills, and critters a'plenty. And did I mention that my husband is leery of wild animals?? If the coyote starts howling outside the bedroom windows, he may refuse to ever go back there. I am debating whether to warn him of the possibility - it usually comes near the house in late summer & fall not spring, so chances aren't as high. And I MAY just freak him out enough that he decides not to go at all.

So we might leave tonight or first thing in the morning. I have no idea if I'll have access once out there but I'm sure I'll have plenty to talk about when I get back.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

We Don't Need No Water, Let the $#@%^&*@!#%$ Burn

Apparently my brain can only hold so many things. Finite capacity... if capacity is reached, something must be deleted before uploading new content.

Especially during times of stress. AAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand I proved that this week, oh yes indeed I did!

I forgot to pay the water bill. Like, totally FORGOT I HAD a water bill. Paid the cable, the insurance, the rent, the storage unit, the gas, the electric, the daycare, the trash service, etc, etc, etc.

But not the water. And around here? There's no grace period. If you are late, they shut you off.

So uh. Yeah. Guess how I figured out that I'd forgotten about the water bill. The whopping $40 WATER BILL. Good lord. It costs more than that to fill up my gas tank AND I STILL FORGOT ABOUT IT.

So I called them up, admitted I was a moron, paid by phone with the added "convenience fee" (don't even get me started) of $4.95 for the privilege of paying over the phone, was generally treated by the rep as Unworthy Scum Who Failed To Pay Her Water Bill, got a LECTURE from her and then they turned it back on.

I called my husband and 'fessed to my stupidity and I married a kind man because he just laughed. And now I have water but am really pissed at myself. And also wondering what else I am forgetting?

I need a wife.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

I just don't even know how to classify this one.

Today was an especially lovely day. Low 80s, sunny... although I spent the entire day cooped up in my office, I'm sure my car enjoyed the warm sun... warm, warm sun... closed-up car.... temperature rising inside, toasty and reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally warm.

So when I left the office I was in a hurry to go pick up the baby. I got into the car quickly and pulled the door shut and then nearly keeled over as I immediately began clawing for the door handle to let myself back OUT.

Oh foolish me! For I had not paid any attention when my son got out of the car yesterday. No, I did not notice the socks he left behind. The socks he'd apparently been wearing FOR THREE DAYS on his teenaged feet, the feet with a side of extra hormones.... the socks that had been simmering in the closed car as the internal temps climbed into the 90s...

Dear lord. The horror. THE HORROR. The SMELL!!!

My car... my beloved Camry... smells like BAKED FEET. And there was nothing I could do about it. I did have to be grateful that the poor baby had a cold at least, and was not likely to be overcome.

But me? I'm still trying to get the smell out of my sinuses. So wrong. SO WRONG.

Here's yer sign.

So. Gerbson had his court date yesterday on the possession charge... I drove across town to pick him up, we ensured that he was dressed appropriately (in this county? It's AMAZING what people consider appropriate courthouse attire. More on that later) and off we went.

When we parked the car, I went through the spiel:
"no cellphone with camera?"
"No pocketknives, nail files, anything that could be considered a weapon?"
"No, do I look stupid??"
"Not with that haircut, you don't. But just checking. You never know, you could have gotten up on the stupid side of the bed this morning."
"Oh, Ha. Ha."
"So... what did your dad say to you this morning about court?"
"Don't get locked up."
"Wise advice"

Not only was it wise advice, it was a moment of foreshadowing because ladies and ge'men, my son HAD indeed gotten up on the Stupid side of the bed and we were about to make it very very publicly known.

We enter the courthouse and start to go through the security checkpoints. I put my purse on the conveyor (also... you pass at least two large signs on the door and one next to the entrance that say NO CELL PHONES WITH CAMERAS. And every single time I have been in here, I watch at least three people try to carry one in, with the ridiculous excuse of "oh, I didn't know that!") and I step through the metal detector. My son is right behind me. All of a sudden, a deputy barks "Razor blade! We got ourselves a razor blade! Blade!"

Now, who is dumb enough...?

I turn around, see the Xray display and the person dumb enough to carry a razor blade into the courthouse is none other than.... yep. My son. He's got a razor blade in his wallet.

"oh!" he says, "My bad."

You take a razor blade into court and you say "my bad????"
Now there is a cluster of pissed-off deputies milling around us and my son says "I TOTALLY did not know that was there. I'll take it back to the car."
"You will not, son, we confiscate it. Did you KNOW that's CARRYING A CONCEALED WEAPON?!?" And now we have the attention of every single person on the first floor and I have deputies glaring at me.
"Uh... I do now?"
They all glare at me and decide to simply confiscate the razor blade and get us criminals out of their sight.

"What the hell do you have a razor blade in your wallet for?!?" I want to know.
"In case I need to cut things! Like a pocket knife, you know? Except you can't carry a pocket knife!"
"You astound me."
"What?" What!"

So we take our little Walk of Shame through the hallway outside the courtrooms, stared down by all the other petty criminals and their families who might be wearing tank tops and jeans, but were classy enough NOT to carry razor blades in their wallets, and we take a seat down at the end of the hall. I am beginning to hear strains of "Alice's Restaurant" in my head...

I am wearing a suit. And panty hose. And I am the only woman, attorneys included, to be wearing pantyhose. Also there was a serious dearth of closed-toe shoes but strappy high heeled sandals were all the rage. Am I really that conservative? I honestly did not think that CLUBWEAR was something anyone could consider wearing to court. I was sooooooooo wrong.

Anyway. As I'm sitting there, one of the prosecutors rushes past on the way to the witness room. And he does a freaking double take and is staring at my legs as he slows down and and is so completely obvious that my son says "Eww! Quit staring at my mom!!". This is not a boast. This is a sad realization. Come ON buddy. I'm 40 years old, I'm greying by the day and I am not stare material. TRUST ME. I felt icky and pissed off.

Anyway, we got through the day and have to go back at the end of the month. Nice. NICE.

And we're driving back to his dad's and my son says "So... does this mean you're not buying me Patrick's mom's van?" I didn't even bother gracing that with an answer.

And he's going to stay at his dad's through the end of the school year, apparently. I've given permission for him to be withdrawn from his base school so his dad can register him at the school near his house - he'd be transferring out in two weeks anyway. We'll see how it goes. Anything's got to be an improvement.

And let me tell you what, I never wanted a cigarette more than I have this week. I was so tempted to stop at the gas station by Target, and I had my hand on the turn signal.....

..... and then I saw this pigeon* walking down the median. And I decided not to push my luck.

*I told this story already.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Somewhere tonight, another family looked beyond their tragedy and gave someone's life back to him.

My husband learned tonight that his uncle is probably in surgery this very minute, having the most important surgery of his life. This surgery IS his life.

Somewhere, another family lost someone important to them. We don't know who or where. All we know is they loved this person enough to follow their wishes and share their life.

My husband's uncle is receiving a donor kidney right now. Because of another family's indescribably generosity during their time of loss, he will live. Please say a prayer for our donor family; I can only hope they are comforted by knowing what they have done.

What Crazy Looks Like on an Ordinary Day

My mom called me while I was on my way to work Friday to tell me that my sister's elderly cat was on his way to the vet and things weren't sounding too good. This cat has always been pretty high-maintenence, healthwise, and now that he'd begun urinating and defecating everywhere for no apparent reason, the vet wanted to do a series of tests - kidney failure was a possibility. My sister was preparing herself for the possibility that her cat might not be coming home and things were grim.

I didn't get a call from my sister all day and when I'd finally gotten the baby to sleep later that night, I called her. "How are things?" I asked, cautiously.
"not too good," she sighed and I cringed, expecting to hear that her cat was no longer with us and was in fact, awaiting placement in The Cat Garden behind my mom's house. (we've had cats for many years. So many years, in fact, that I am now the only person who can remember where all the bodies are buried. Literally. Every time another cat leaves us for that Great Catnip Patch in the Sky, I am called out to identify a "safe" area. (ie one that doesn't already contain a tenant...) Fabulous. Funeral Director of Felines)

Anyway, I ask "So, what did the vet say?"
"I spent $400. And there's nothing wrong with him."
"I'm so so... wait. Did you say there's nothing wrong with him?"
"So, what's the problem?"
"I bought a new litterbox and it doesn't have a liner."
"Are you kidding me? Your cat just cost you $400 in tests over a 20 cent piece of plastic to catch his crap???"
"Yep. I hadn't thrown out the old one yet, so I put a liner in it and filled it with litter, and he walked over and peed in it like he'd been doing it all his life."
"Uhh.... he has."
"oh. Right."

So there you have it. My sister was mentally preparing herself for the worst and the vet was preparing her for the possibility of having to have him put down due to kidney failure, and all the cat wanted was a white trash bag in his toilet.

I estimate that my sister has spent more than $6,000 on this cat in the last year for tests that have proven that the cat is healthier than your average horse. Every month or so, he has a "crisis" of some sort or another and winds up at the vet for bloodwork, scans and other examinations and then nothing is wrong, the cat turns out to be acting up. Her cat is a hypochondriac. Go figure.

* * *

In other Crazy, I just bought a white couch and chaise. Yes, I have a baby. And a teenager. and a husband. AND I'm a klutz. And its white. But in my defense, it's "gently used" off of Craigslist, and in better shape than the family room couch we currently have (trust me. A train wreck is in better shape than this thing... the only improvement you could make would be to set it on FIRE). And it being "gently used" and a sturdy fabric, I'm probably going to feel much better about it when someone spits up on it. (which they will. You know they will). And for $200? Puh-lease. That's like disposable furniture almost. Since we're going to be buying a brand-new living room set, I'm kind of viewing this family room furniture as the Bait Couch. It's white, so I'm counting on all the terrors happening to the Bait Couch, thereby sparing the good furniture for a little longer.

* * * *

The teenager called this evening, perfectly polite, to ask about tomorrow's court date and was I still able to take him? Sure thing, no problem. All civility. I feel slightly bit better. SLIGHTLY.

* * * *

And I got a scant few hours of sleep last night due to the No Home Training Trio next door. Seems Himself came home drunk/stoned/both and he and Girlfriend proceeded to get into a loud argument over his drunken insistence that she's cheating on him, and her angry denunciation of his drinking and drug use. Oooookaaaaay. Klass. I tell you, pure KLASS. 15 days people, 15 more days.