Friday, November 30, 2012

We Should Be Thankful

1. Elastic shoestrings. Lazy? Possibly. Avoiding yet another hair-pulling exercise with the boys? Definitely.

2. Squib’s creativity. His kind of creative has to be cleaned up with a rake. But I love the end product.

3. Squib’s heart (not the physical one, though I’m plenty glad we got that straightened out). That kid thinks of everyone. If I end up being half the person he is I’ll be proud of myself.

4. Beanstalk’s practical jokes. Especially Chair Stealing and Noodle Boy.

5. The retractable cord on the vacuum.

6. The sound of a giant tree hitting the ground. You must fell giant conifer. What a high.

7. An old dependable truck. Yes, I really do love Whitey. *sigh* Just don’t tell him. It would go to his head and he’d stop running long enough to require some $200 thing-a-ma-jig and he’s not getting it!

8. Friends that are stark-raving nutz for the same reasons I am. No names. Protecting the innocent here. (blahahahaha)

9. Thunderstorms.

10. Benedryl. Beware children and dogs who wend their way about these parts. We like our sleep. Kidding, really. Not about the dog part, though.

11. Tea. Everything gets a little better, easier, and/or calmer with tea. Chai tea latte? Even better. Chai tea latte with Drea la Fea? The best…mostly because we are the bats in our own belfry.

12. iDevices. I’d sooner not have my brain.

13. Music. It’s like breathing. If I don’t have it, then I start to die from the inside out.

14. Self-control. I have way more than you think. WAY more.

15. Boots. Almost any kind at all.

16. Quiet. I realize I just said I am a music-aholic. And I like it loud! But, music isn’t ‘noise.’ I do love quiet when I can get it,

17. People in general. They do make life interesting.

18. My bed.

19. Movies.

20. Lindt truffles.

21. Tokyo. Yes, I am being specific. I am thankful for the entire city. Inakaya being my favorite restaurant…I think.

22. Fountains. All fountains. I don’t know if anyone else has ever planned a trip around fountains before, but they should. I would totally go with them.

23. Water in general. Lakes, streams, creeks, rivers, but especially oceans. And, no, that warning to “just get your feet wet” never worked with me.

24. Strawberry Margarita’s at El Bosque. Great place to avoid on your birthday (note to self).

25. Now, I’m really serious about this. Seriously! So, no laughing at me. Laugh with me all you want. You know that thirty second bit of the Avengers when The Hulk beats the crap out of Loki bouncing him all over Stark tower? I call it the “puny god” bit. For whatever reason, I find that section hysterically funny. Squib does too. He’s the one who was so excited to show it to me. So we run it back a couple times giggling like idiots. Then we’re laughing too hard at each other to stop. We have no idea why. For the record, Beanstalk laughs there, too, but then he looks at us like, “What. Is. Wrong. With. You. Guys????” We already know we are the uncouth masses who generally do not prefer opera.

26. I’m very thankful for this weird little town I live in. Regardless of how many things I’m still adjusting to (like no Starbuck’s or Dunkin’s within a 45 min drive—eek!). Where else on the planet can you meet just about everyone you know at the Baptist church on a Sunday morning, do some serious dancing (that’s mostly me and all the grade school kids), talk to a friend in the parking lot and get interrupted by a woman running hell-bent with a giant oil painting while waiting for a former student to give you a chicken for your dad? And it’s not even 10 a.m. yet!

27. Dr. Pepper.

28. Sunday afternoon naps.

29. Sashimi.

30. On the flipside of my “real” people contact, I’m really thankful for my internet friends (you know who you are, you “fake” people, you ;). I’ve met some genuinely interesting folks. Fun, witty, varied, all ages, all types of experience. Some have kids like mine. Some have interests like mine, and others are just plain crazy.


Thursday, November 29, 2012


Baba doesn't remember Crackers the deer. Nevermind that we used to talk about him around the breakfast table. Over a year ago he returned. She adamantly insists that she's never heard of such an animal or his proclivity for vending machine crackers. As memories go, that's a mid-term one. Honestly, I'd expect her still to remember it. But no. She doesn't even remember that he used to come in the back door as a faun and sit next to Beanstalk and watch TV. Swears we never told her.

Death I have no issue with. You leave this world for the next. Instantaneous. Dying, however, slowly robs you of all you ever were and leaves behind confusion, doubt, and even anger.Why doesn't she remember? Because, obviously, I never told her about it! Which isn't actually true, but it's her mind's most obvious conclusion. So, like a boat that's slipped its moorings she seems to be drifting slowly from shore. In a crazy wig.

Just today there was yet another debate (initiated by Baba) over whether it was time to just let her die or continue her treatments for multiple myeloma. She forgets that stopping treatments means she'll likely feel worst almost immediately and maybe for a long time. So, she revisits the topic. It's her decision, in the end, but of course we don't wish the worst on her and must explain.

Papa retained his sharp mind almost until his last day with us. Granted, at times, he was reminiscing about things scientific that we could not comprehend. However, he always had a grasp on the concept of palliative treatment and knew why he had to continue on the course he was on. All this Baba lacks. She was always the spontaneous one with ideas out of left field anyway. Heck, right now she's sitting there with double-sided sticky tape holding her wig in place. Ouch.

I'm not going to say it isn't fair or that this shoudn't happen to good people. Just that it really, and truly, stinks. And I do agree that once all things come to a close, the more at rest we'll all be--at least with regard to Baba's peace of mind. But what an interesting road this is turning out to be.

It is what it is.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Barking Mad

We have a bit of a tense relationship with the of one of the streets we have to drive on to get out of the subdividision. They like the speed limit on their street to be 20 mph. They also like their speed bumps. They have a tendency to get, um, militant about it. A couple of months ago, the roads were all resurfaced so they are now all loose gravel instead of asphalt (I don't see the improvement there, either, but then again I don't give a flip what the POA reeeely does). Oh, if you are extremely wealthy and live on 'that' street you have a lovely asphalt road in front of your house as well as the contract to resurface it. Go figure. With the resurfacing, the speed bumps disappeared, so I felt like someone got their money's worth. Speed bumps were my only sticking point, really. With a civic that has an air dam four inches off the ground, speed bumps are from hell.

So, one night, Dad and I are returning from...somewhere, not important enough to remember, right? A posse had gotten together to meet us. To be quite frank, sometimes we speed and sometimes we don't. Usually we don't. If we speed, then we're talking a max of 25 because the civic has a decent idle there and we aren't riding the brakes (which annoys the hell out of me). In my truck, staying under 20 is no problem unless you're going down hills. That's not the case here. In the van, 20-25 is easy to maintain, but right at 20? It really depends on the day. None of these folks except one have kids--at least not the under eighteen sort--despite the children at play sign. And the ones that do aren't even really on that street and believe it or not...we can see kids and dogs and humans and have yet in our sordid history to hit one. Nevertheless, they were there on the side of the road talking, we thought, then this guy jumped out in front of us. Now that was scary. He and dad exchanged words. We drove on.

Then two things happened. The next day a Constable showed up to talk to us. He basically said he had to because the lady on the corner had called and that the whole street was paranoid and a bunch of stuff we already knew. He was nice and moved on about his day.

And....the lady on the corner lost her mind.

For five (almost six years) she's always walked her dog into the grass and smiled in a neighborly fashion when I drove past. I wave. She waves. We smile. I go on about my business. But now? Now she does this Vivienne Leigh thing with gasp of mortal dread she yanks the dog by the neck and it lands, barking, in the yard. Then, I kid you not, she starts a dog. For effect, she makes her free hand "bark" also and tosses her head from side to side and wiggles her hips a bit.

Never a dull moment.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Thanksgiving has come and gone. Hallelujah! All I'm going to say about that is that in the grand scheme of things...we lived. However, as a non-stereotypical person in a non-stereotypical family I did almost unwind a few times in a few directions that would have ended badly.

Squib is not fond of dogs. Sooo not fond of dogs that he stayed--literally--nestled under my armpit for three days in the dead center of the sofa. They came in. He would try to go out. And vice versa. The true death knell to Squib's dog experience, though, was when one of the dog's picked up his shoe in her mouth and (supposedly) 'showed it to us.' Then, I had to chase her, and tug back and forth to get it back. His eyes were big and round and later he asked where to put his shoes so no dog ever got it and I suggested Venus. He gave me an appropriately quelling look and stalked off to hide them himself. The kid used to sleep in his shoes until not so long ago, so the shoes are a wee tad important to him. A little bit of fabric was torn and he was worried, etc. When you only have one pair of shoes you tend to guard them with your life, so he wasn't the only person staring at those shoes going, "Oh crap!!"

Same day, later on, I was pinned to the sofa with Squib 'helping' me (looking all the while like a moppet) play Tera when it was deemed that I "couldn't do this, it's a man's job." The remark was referring to some of the jacking up that the Mud Hut needed. First, I was extreeeeeemly tired. Last to sleep, first to wake and I don't work well that way. Second, the person commenting doesn't even know me. Third, well third thing is I was back on the sofa and dealing with us homeless garage monkeys who thought being in the Hut meant...being in the Hut.

A man's job??!?? Same man that has been helping to fell trees and cut them up and roll logs (big logs!!) onto really hot fires kind of man's job?? It isn't as though anyone is going to pick the house up with their bare hands. No. I did not say that out loud. Or anything about the pains of childbirth or crap like that. The birthing pains thing didn't even occur to me, though I don't know why not since Beanstalk took out a few ribs on his way into this world as the anesthesiologist mumbled something about not being able to block pain above a certain height. Gee, thanks. No. I sat there somewhat surprised that I even cared. Wondered a little what my ever-stinking problem was. If someone else wants to do it, then I'm fine with that!!

So, what do women do? And where can I go to do that?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Short Version

The Office/Kitchen Part I are in the "garage" on the original slab. I like slabs. A lot. The Bedroom/Bathroom/Shower-Bath-To-Be are in the "shop" which is attached to the garage, but up on piers. Thus containeth the Mud Hut.


Only it's NOT attached. As in, I took a ruler and poked it out the back wall behind my bed tonight when I finally had it with all the fracking spiders and the sound of the air conditioner that sounded like it was right under my bed. Because it is. The walls are not attached to the floor. Say it twice. Roll it around in your mouth. Think about camping without a tent. Just two tarps that you can't connect to keep things out. FOR YEARS. Enjoy.

We already jacked up one small portion behind the toilet because...let's just say we saw daylight. That's where all the water was coming from when it rained. We think.

So, when I say I hear "something"....


As for the war on bugs, spiders, and other crawling, slitherty things. Come on in and eat me.

I officially hereby tender my resignation with regard to creature elimination responsibilities. I cannot exterminate the biosphere. Well, I could. I'd just end up in prison...where they have walls attached to the floor (that sounds...oh my...).


There will be vacuuming. On Mondays.


Friday, November 16, 2012

A Brisk Morning in Boise

That's where Amazon Local Deals thinks I am. Every time I log on to check my email there's a new Amazon Local Deal to be taken advantage of. In Boise. This morning it was a riding lesson for two. In Boise. Go figure.

Facebook thinks I'm in Shinjuku-Ku, Tokyo. I had everything to do with that. That and my birthplace of Zurich, Switzerland. Believe me, it's no better telling them where I actually live because you only get so far down the state road until all satellites dump you off into the middle of nowhere.

I had to argue with a UPS driver once who was in full view of a well-mark road and swear on somebody's grave that the road actually did go somewhere. It wasn't on his GPS device, but it was there physically. So unless it appeared on his GPS he was NOT going down that road. Period.

All this is to say that I ordered something from Amazon a couple of days ago and UPS quickly shot me an email to say that the products are undeliverable as the address I possess is inaccessible.



Thursday, November 15, 2012

What A Wonderful Smell You've Discovered!

No, I've not landed in the garbage chute. But I'm not certain that would smell and worse.

We're finishing up the remodeling of the Mud Hut. Squib named it. Not me. In the course of doing so, we had to **of course** remove the toilet to put in the flooring. I was prepared for the, um, the stench. However, we discovered that the sewage pipe from the toilet wasn't vertical. It was running at more like forty-five degrees. Not only that, it didn't fully match up with the opening with the toilet. No wonder there's a "toil" in our toilet. I've been saying it for a while now, but this is unbelievable.


We've been rectifying matters. (Get it? Blahaaha. I'm sorry. Really. Only not.) And oh my goodness is it ever stinky in here. The force of a thousand wild cherry candles is nothing compared to this.


In the process of things we got a good look under the baseboards since we intend to lay tile and lo-and-behold the Mud Hut "ain't even 'tached to da flo" to put it in my best mild East Texan. That was exactly what a builder friend said when he came over to consult on what was snowballing into a major building effort. In other words, you could see daylight between the wall and the floor. And rain could just waltz into my bathroom from out-of-doors. And it has been for some time.

Please let's not discuss the sheetrock and wall board that have since exited the building.

So, in short, we had to dig a hole under the back of the Mud Hut--which is settling--and pour a huge concrete pad. Wait for it to dry and jack up that portion of the Hut. Good thing we bought those 12-ton jacks, no? I balked at the purchase, myself, but hey--I'm not the head jacker around here.

Now we can put the flooring down. And theeeennn....we have to take the wall apart even further down and deal with all the moldy junk. Yay.

Remodeling is not for sissies.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Once A Chemist...

It's no lie. True chemists LOVE to make things 'from scratch' as many are fond of saying. I can't adequately describe it to the non-chemist faction of Green Acres, but there is something inspiring about gathering ingredients and thermometers and watching pots and hovering over ovens. Ovens especially need hovering over--why that is escapes me, but usually if someone is going to ferret with your product it's during the time it's in the oven. Anyway, the process rejuvenates me. I feel that mad scientist vibe again and I love it.

It's fair to say that I haven't actually been in a "real" chemistry lab for a while. I assert, however, that every kitchen is a "real" chemistry lab if you know what you're doing (and sometimes even if you don't). And between kitchens and that thing we call a shop under the Big Red House I have been moderately happy. But...

Now I'm approaching seriously almost hopping up and down with glee. The inhabitants of Green Acres have acquiesced. They are going to let me use my mad skillz to produce much of what we have been spending (wasting) our dollars on around here. Because, let's face it, if you buy it and it has a label on it you can probably make it yourself with easily obtained chemicals. Dish washing soap, laundry soap, other soaps, ant traps (not kidding), candles, etc.

So I sent Buddy off with a different sort of shopping list today. He looked at me a little warily after reading some of the ingredients, but he took the list nonetheless. He probably agreed because I told him I could make laundry soap for a year for what we're paying monthly. Chemistry be damned. Who cares!

Color me chemically happy!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

It's Electrifying!

No. We are not, in fact, staging a revival of Grease.

I am sitting here attempting to choreograph a version of Silent Night for the Hanging of the Green and the upcoming Nativity play as well as ferret out some other musical nonsense. Meanwhile, Buddy is attempting to right all the plumbing necessary to complete phase two of the remodeling of the Mud Hut's bathroom.

The Mud Hut. That's what we've decided to call our little apartment out here. It isn't really little, but who cares, right?

So...I was sitting here working on some PowerPoint junk and thinking choreography when I hear the fatal words.

"Oh, crap."

Then buddy emerges from that unfinished portion of the room we generously call the "shower" with blood dripping down his forehead and asks for a flashlight. I gently remind him that he's slowly been raiding my tool table and that no such device resides there any longer (I take almost all the strength I have and stifle the urge to mention the tape measure, multimeter, screwdrivers, and electrical tape that have also 'vacated the premises'). Then he divulges the fact that he thinks he's drilled through an electrical wire and severed it.


File that under "Things I Am Better Off Not Knowing After-The-Fact."

Generally, it is my job to hover about Buddy's shoulders and contribute to the construction discussion with helpful hints such as, "That looks like romex back in there." or "Hang on while I turn the breaker off to this part of the house." But that generally spoils the overall point of these exercises which is to accidentally die of unnatural causes.

However, this isn't really like when I was being yanked backwards by a tree that definitely did NOT want to fall in the direction it was cut to fall. In that case we made every effort to fell the tree in the direction we wanted it to. It just had other ideas in its head. Diametrically opposed to our thoughts, that sucker yanked me and my truck backwards like a yo-yo on a string instead of an SUV on a cable.

Drilling into a wire, though? You pretty much have to do that as close to on purpose as it gets without actually targeting it.

Squib ran through the Mud Hut last night screaming, "We are all going to dieeee!!!"

Maybe he's onto something.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Money is tight around here. So tight, in fact, that I've been stalking every store I could imagine for a huge set of markers at bargain-basement prices. Squib NEEDS them. Like air. I finally found a 24-piece set for $2. Now I shall hover over him like a deatheater threatening to suck the life out of him if the caps are not replaced before each marker touches the table and before another marker is opened. Each. And. Every. Time.

He also requested a journal. How can I possibly deny him that? Obviously I cannot. Thankfully they were on sale as well. He now has new theme book with a silver, glittery cover just like Lewis on Meet the Robinsons.

But I spent four whole dollars! EEK!

So I left them in the sack for a while so as not to feel like I was truly committed to the purchase or anything like that. I did skip lunch while I was out. That was my rationale at the time. Sorta.

It isn't so bad around here that we're starving or turning off the AC/heat or anything. We are counting our change out of the money jars on occasion. Well, one occasion. That particular occasion seemed to convince people that I was not necessarily keeping track of the money we had just for giggles, snorts, and boredom and that, perhaps, they should check to see if we actually had money in the bank before trying to spend it. After all, getting gas with quarters is a sight to behold these days. As is a trip to Walmart.

Not everyone here at Green Acres finds our bookkeeping and budgeting shall I say this...copacetic. Some don't want to have to consult with anyone (or anything) before spending money. At all. Color me baffled there. What if you don't have the money? What if you need it for something else you want food? Since I have been doing the books for a while and/or helping Papa Scat do them, I know he got around that by keeping a huge cushion in the checking account. I now officially understand why he started to panic when the balance started to approach the cushion amount.

Others are just panicking about whether or not their budget items are being considered. As though we're just not going to include them in our accounting? At all. Ever. Good-bye. Nice knowing you. (Seriously??!?) an effort to prevent terror from reigning across the earth we have to conduct most of the Green Acres Finance Committee business on the porch of the "Big Red House" or in hushed tones in the living room. Meetings are unannounced and conducted while standing. It works sort of like this:

Me: Um, we have $mffthpth.00 in the bank right now and we owe *&^*@#!!,  ^%&^##, and @$4%#!!!

Buddy: (Staring. His thinking face is mouth slightly slack and left eyebrow down and right eyebrow

Me: How do you want to pay for those? You wanted to pay for @$4%#!!! out of Mkmomk, but what about ^%&^##? It's kinda big, too.

This is the part where we stare at each other. It's been proven that staring at each other does NOT generate revenue.

Buddy: (Sighing) Pay for *&^*@#!! and ^%&^## out of Nghgnhg and @$4%#!!! out of Mkmomk. But, wow, we have to watch the balance on Mkmomk really, really closely.

Me: Oh, I'm watching it. (Go off the deep end.)

(There is some eye rolling here on our parts.)

Then, we observe a moment of silence. This is unofficial. We have nothing left to say, but when you know there are things coming down the pike that you have no idea how to handle or even discuss there is sometimes just a weight in the air. In your mind. When you're with someone who is also aware of it you sometimes stand there and inadvertently observe it for a few seconds before you realize you are doing all you can. Then you shake it off and move on. Thus endeth this meeting of the GAFC.

Beanstalk, unlike Squib, is harder to stalk for. His tastes run toward the musical and theatrical. He also breaks out in hives if you bring school (looking) supplies near him after 3:00pm. Just try and find some bargain basement opera. G'head. Go. Look. I did find some cheap-er Andrea Bocceli, but the Bean was not so thrilled with the concert in Tuscany. How was I to know that Andrea chose that particular night to get a little more modern with his sound??! The concert was barely started when Beanstalk was on his feet digging in my back pack (from whence cometh all DVDs, ya know) looking for something--anything--else. It was NOT a good day.

But, perhaps, all is not lost. Or maybe things have taken a turn for the worst. The opera purist has developed a new habit. That's right. The kid who won't listen to music unless it's sung with an earth-shattering vibrato in a language other than English has a new fave. You will never guess this one in a million years, so I'll just have to hit you over the head with it.

Eydie Gorme.

No. Not joking. Why would I even kid around about this? How did his tastes even get there from here? Easy listening muzak. Was it all those rides in hospital elevators? Possible. Very, very possible. Even I had a close encounter with The Girl From Ipanema.

I didn't exactly want to download Andrea Bocceli onto my iTunes because it wasn't my sort of music. I still felt like it was, more-or-less, worth the money but I did balk. Eydie Gorme, however is crossing some sort of line into the realm of ridiculous things to buy a ten year old. At least in my mind. The rational, mommying portion of my brain that knows he's incredibly special and a gifted musician and definitely not like other kids says to spring for the muzzz...yyyeeeahh I can't even type it.

And, Eydie, if by some quirk you read this--nothing personal--not my genre. I had a breif *thing* with Bert Kaempfert's music when I was somewhere around Squib's age and 8-tracks were king. However, my parents were deeply at fault there. And it passed. My son, however, luuuuvs ewe. But, in short, I can't see myself being his dealer for this particular habit.

At least she sings in English. Mostly.