Welcome to my world!

My life's been crazy since my Daddy moved in with me immediately after my mother's death in October 2010. My one and only kiddo headed to college at Carolina at the end of August. So...I lived on my own, for the first time in my life, for a total of a blissful six weeks. Then, I started the parenting gig with my dad. He's a combination of a grouchy old man, a surly teenager and a temperamental toddler. Needless to say, I get very close to the brink of insanity sometimes. I get through life by finding the humor in difficult circumstances. And for some reason, I wind up in the weirdest situations. I couldn't make this stuff up. So I wind up having lots and lots crazy adventures which make great stories to share with my friends. Writing about my life is so therapeutic. My ramblings range from funny to sad to angry (full of cuss words) to sweet. While my focus is dealing with the trials and tribulations of being a parent to my Daddy, I have lots of random, totally unrelated posts. Whatever's on my mind. I love to make people laugh, and I'm happy to think my readers will get my strange sense of humor. And maybe, people who are in my situation will be encouraged. That's all I can hope for...

Monday, January 30, 2012

Wreck of the Day


Mine is a wreck, indeed.  For some reason, though, I'm not bothered by it.  Very few things I do are life or death.  Some of The D's stuff is, and I've learned to priortize.

I had a call today.  From some of my DeSoto county relatives.  They need my help.  It's a good thing I'm a forgiving sort.  This is the aunt who said she'd rip me to shreds when she saw me.   I don't hold grudges.  Here's one of my favorite quotes:

  One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory.
  - Rita Mae Brown

I decided I'd try to help.  Only because I like idea of getting affirmation.  And helping.  And racking up points against EV.  Does that sound calculating?  It is.

And I have some spare time.  Since the cast-off computer at my pain-in-the-ass client is so messed up, I can't finish year-end stuff.  Which is ok by me.  I have to concentrate on renting a couple 'o houses.  Soon.

Gonna go.  Chicken & dumplings need to be divvied up and frozen.  I'm a regular Julia Stewart.  Martha Child?  Betty Bisquick is more apt.  Don't knock Bisquick though.  That's the best way to make pineapple upside down cake.  Hmmm.  I think I have the ingredients for that.  The Daddler will be so happy. 

Over and out...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Fun With Friends

I had the best time with my friends, K & H, last night.  We have this little tradition of Friday night happy hour, followed by dinner.  Usually, I pick up a pound or two of ground beef from the Folk's Folly butcher shop and K grills them to perfection (charcoal, not gas.)  We do extra so we have leftovers - Kiddo used to love it when I brought one home for him.  We did something different last night, though.

I begrudgingly parted with generously contributed four of my Legal Seafoods' crabcakes in my freezer's stash. OMG, there's nothing better on earth. H made remoulade sauce from scratch.  Yum. 

Actually, I should back up.  K & H have the best weekend rituals.  Friday night is bourbon and popcorn.  I think they do martinis on Saturday and wine on Sunday.  K is a bourbon connoisseur. H is a Maker's Mark girl, and I drink my watery beer.  Can't do the hard stuff.  K plays deejay on their sound system.  Last night we picked The Stones.  I love random questions, so I asked them to choose their favorite songs.  H said Beast of Burden.  I think K liked Honkey Tonk Woman best.  And I picked You Can't Always Get What You Want.  But then I've been in a philosophical mood lately.  Otherwise, Start Me Up probably would've been my choice.

They started talking about In A Gadda Da Vida by Iron Butterfly.  I didn't recognize the name, but when we played it on YouTube, I recognized it instantly.  That's one of those songs my older sister blasted over and over.  Like Whole Lotta Love.  And like that one, I totally misinterpreted the lyrics.  I thought it was something like, "And I got it Anita, da, da..."  Not sure what I thought he got or how Anita fit into things.  But then, I thought the singer was falling down a well in Whole Lotta Love.

K & H prepared the meal while I perched on a stool at their breakfast bar and looked up random things on K's new Xoom.  I usually try to help, but since I'd offered the sacrificial crab cakes, I didn't feel bad about being waited on.  They're such gracious hosts.

Charlie, though, is another matter.  Their Weimeraner.  He is always so excited to see me.  He gets all up in my bidness.  He even knocked me down once.  I need a dog.  Beulah, the Bulimic Cat, doesn't give a damn about me.  That reminds me.  She hasn't thrown up in weeks.  Wonder what's up with that?

After dinner, Charlie reminded me of my recent blog quote by his namesake, Charlie Brown.  "In the book of life, the answers aren't in the back."  I shared this wisdom and then conducted another poll.  Which Peanuts character are you most like?

H said she was Sally, but I thought she had a good bit of Lucy.  She's very confident.  But she's also cute and tiny and blond.  And sweet.

K said Charlie.  I told him he had lots of Schroeder, too.  Who happens to be Lucy's love interest.  We all agreed that Charlie is Snoopy.  As for me, it varies.  Usually, though, I'm a Linus/Lucy combo.  They're both Van Pelts.  So maybe I'm the middle child.  That's perfect, because Lucy is the classic oldest child and Linus is definitely the baby.  And we all know about the messed-up middle child.

Trivia ensued.  K remembered the name of Linus' teacher.  He had a major crush on her.  Linus, not K.  The teacher, Miss Othmar, married and became Mrs. Hagemeyer.  Linus had a hard time with that.

Hey, I just had a great idea!  Howzabout a Peanuts' reunion?  All grown-up.  Lucy would be a Meg Whitman type.  Linus would be in and out of rehab, with several restraining orders for stalking Sally.  Charlie would be an actuary.  Schroeder would turn out to be a very talented cross between Josh Groban, Elton John and Andrea Bocelli.  Only more gay and less blind.  Why else wouldn't he have succumbed to Lucy's charms?  Peppermint Patty would be a high school P.E. teacher.  In a long-term relationship with Marcie.  The little red-haired girl would be on Housewives of Some Random City - replete with surgical and chemical enhancements.  But still beautiful.  In a Barbie Doll kinda way.   Snoopy, of course, would be dead.  Those damn dog years.

Well, I could go on and on.  But it's a beautiful day and the leaves are calling me like a Greek Chorus. 

Over and out...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I'm So Emo...

Poor Daddler.  I don't know what got into me, but I made a huge effort with his din-din tonight, complete with Nanner Puddin', three cherries on top, and multi-colored sprinkles.  Shrimp cocktail and seafood salad on a bed of lettuce.  I needed to nurture.  I was feelin' the love.

Because I don't say it.  And I've been thinking that as messed up as my childhood was, it was pretty peachy in the whole scheme of things.  I knew that I was loved.  Unconditionally.  How many people in this world have that?

So I muted The D's tv, told him I wanted to say some things and that he didn't have to respond.  I told him that as hard as it's been for both of us, I take great comfort in having him with me.  That I know it must be hard for him to depend on me so much, but I hope he knows that I depend on him, too.  That I'm happy he made the move with me, and that he's found a church home so close by.  That I'd be terribly lonely without him.  Right when I was getting verklempt, the phone rang.  The elusive rental agent.  The D looked relieved when I excused myself to take the call.

It's been a strange, but monumental day.  I was seeking clarity, when out of the blue, I heard from two people who complicated my life immensely.  I thought I was over them.  Done.  But it turns out I'm not.  I acted prudently, though.  Thought rationally.  Thought about Mr. Man.  Considered the fact that he's a long shot, but truth be told, these two are longer shots.  And they both pose major hurdles.  Ones that I don't have the strength to attempt.  And with him, I have unfettered fun.  Have I mentioned that he makes me laugh so hard I poot?  He does.  And I do.  But that's the only time.  Ever.  It's all his fault...

So for now, I'll do my best to content myself with the two, imperfect men in my life.  Kiddo and The Daddler.  They both make me crazy, but they make me happy, too.  Just knowing we're in it for the long haul is everything.

No Guarantees

In the book of life, the answers aren't in the back.  -Charlie Brown

I know two families who have had terrible, tragic losses over the past two weeks.  They were very different circumstances, but both involved a son.  My heart aches for them.

One of the boys grew up with Kiddo.  They were in school together all through kindergarten and elementary school.  I called Kiddo to tell him the awful news.  We had a sweet talk.  Well, I did the talking, but he listened.  I just needed to tell him how much I love him and that no matter how fractious our relationship is these days, my love for him remains constant.

I try to talk to him about the really important stuff from time to time.  Usually, these talks are triggered by some sort of event involving a boy or young man.  I remember when the Duke Lacrosse debacle happened.  The lesson I wanted Kiddo to learn was that even though those college boys were ultimately exonerated, and they did nothing illegal, they were guilty of placing themselves in a dangerous situation, and worse than that, of sexually exploiting women.  They lost a year of their lives in the maelstrom of publicity surrounding the case.

I pontificated excessively about how men who consider strippers integral to a great party cannot possibly have a healthy respect for women.  And that most strippers are also prostitutes and drug addicts and abused women.  So even though, on the surface, they are adults with the ability to make their own choices, it seems terribly wrong to me to perpetuate their misery.  And in their desperation, it's not surprising that they would make false allegations about rape in situations in which they could benefit financially.  In this case it was false, but I'm sure there are many more times when it's true.  I'd guess we don't hear about those as often, because they probably get settled outside the court system.

The thing that saddened me about the Duke Lacrosse team was that I never heard anyone involved say that they had, indeed, made a mistake by placing themselves in such a precarious situation.  I wish someone had taken the opportunity to tell other young athletes that it's not cool to hire strippers or prostitutes.  Because no matter how much I preached this, it couldn't possibly have had the impact it would have had if those handsome, talented (albeit, misogynistic) young men had owned up to the immorality of their actions and taken the opportunity to help other boys learn from their mistakes.

Believe me, I'm not judging them.  I'm sure their lawyers would have shit a brick if they'd taken any ownership of the situation.  After they were pronounced innocent (of rape, anyway) though, it seems like that would've been a good opportunity to share some wisdom.  If I had been one of the parents, you could be damn sure that Kiddo would have had a prepared statement to convey all this.

I make mistakes all the time.  I get lots of practice apologizing.  Especially to Kiddo.  I think that's important.  Parents are imperfect people, too.

Well, I've gone on and on with this.  I need to get on with my day.  Hopefully, I'll have some funny things to share in my next post.  For now, though, I'm finding it very hard to laugh.  My heart is still breaking for the two lost boys who are much closer to home.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


You have GOT to see this:

Mo' Money Taxes

Be sure to watch the whole video - it'll pop up automatically.  Seriously, you won't believe it.  Be sure to stay tuned until you see the shot of the Bootylicious girl leaning provocatively on the hood of a car.  The redneck Boss-Hogg types are pretty funny, too.  I won't get started on reverse discrimination and political correctness, except to say that this is beyond the pale.  But then, IDGAF. 

I think, in addition to getting your taxes done in 30 seconds, you can buy a car with your refund.  When I clicked on Other Services (I shudder to think) and Locations, they went nowhere.  I suppose the website is still under development.  I was curious as to whether this is a Memphis-based business.  It must be.  Where else?  I remember doing a double-take the first time I saw one of their storefront signs.  Wow.

You just have to laugh.  Out loud.  Rolling on the Floor.  What's that acronym?  ROFLMAO?  Maybe SMHWMMHO would be more like it.  Shaking My Head With My Mouth Hanging Open...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Learning New Things

Darnit, if all that Law & Order Middle-of-the-Night-Marathon watching didn't help me understand some basic things for yesterday jury stint.  The judge made a point of telling us that these sorts of shows are not real.  They're just drama.  As if...

At some point, I realized that I didn't know the difference in a crime, a misdemeanor and a felony.  I remembered the name of a Woody Allen film called Crimes and Misdemeanors.  But I don't think that would be a good source of legal knowledge.  Besides, it varies from state to state, and I have a feeling Woody didn't film that in Tennessee.  And besides, I never watched it.

So, after a little Googling, I figured out that the two main categories are felonies and misdemeanors.  It has to do with the severity of the offense.  I'm not sure who makes that decision - the prosecutors, I suppose.  They key, though, is that a felony is punishable by a sentence of a least one year, and a misdemeanor, not more than 11 months and 29 days.  Now I know.  I think crime is a general term that encompasses both.

That's neither here nor there, though.  I've been trying to figure out which side rejected me.  I have a feeling it was the defense, given The D's career in law enforcement.  One of my dream jobs is to be a jury consultant.  If I had been consulted about this defendant, I would have told him not to wear a black shirt with a white satin tie.  It shouted "Mobster."  But I don't think we have those in Memphis.  Pimp, maybe?  Oh, well.  I figure it must've had to do with domestic violence since they asked lots of questions about that.  If I'd been the lady whose daughter had roughed up her BF and then married him, I'd have asked to speak the the judge privately, too.

At first, when judge asked if us if we, or any of our immediate families, had ever been involved in any way in a crime no hands were raised.  He seemed surprised.  He must've doubted that was true.  I think we were just all shy.  Sooo, when he asked again, it was one big confession.  People were telling about their parents' houses being burgled back in the 70's.  They would stammer and try to estimate how many years.  I wanted to shout, "Just hurry up and pick a decade!"  Or the fact that my wallet was stolen out of my hotel room back before identity theft was cool.  But each little anecdote triggered more.  Finally, we finished, which is when I approached the bench about EV and one other little matter.

Oh, on the subject of Too Much Information.  One of the questions was whether we, or our family members, had ever worked in law enforcement.  I wasn't sure being in Military Police in the Air Force counted, but the judge said it did and asked some probing Daddler questions.  I have to admit, I was proud of The D at that moment.  That triggered a spate of stories about sons and nephews and second cousins once removed who were serving in the military.  I know they were proud, too.  Finally, the judge explained that he didn't care about military service unless it had been as MP.  

Oh, I forgot to tell about the lady who had two sons who'd gotten in trouble for something at some point long, long ago.  When asked when that happened, she said she was 56 and her son was 34 now, so it must've been...ummm...  Finally, the judge did the math.  Like he did when I didn't know how many years ago I'd gotten my CPA license, but I knew the year.  He did the math.  25 years, he said.  I said, "Gee, thanks."  I used a slightly sarcastic tone, because that made me sound kinda old, and I had not volunteered my age.  I also explained that I couldn't do math.  That was the only laugh of the day.  But people were desperate for a little levity. 

And actually, even though I was disappointed that I didn't get chosen, I was relieved to finally be able to go to the ladies' room.  I wish I'd thought to ask about a bathroom break during my little sidebar.  I'm sure I wasn't the only one squirming in my seat.

Well, I think I've exhausted this subject.  I'd be doing laundry and dishes and assorted other chores, but they involve the sewer drain, so that's a good excuse.  Hopefully, Public Works will get here before the housekeeper comes tomorrow.

Over and out...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Civic Duty, Part II

The Jury Coordinators showed us a film.  About how important we were.  When I went to get coffee, I realized that the people in the back couldn't hear a thing over the buzz of the ice machine.  I wasn't sure why there was an ice machine since there weren't any cokes or fruit or pate or smoked salmon.  Not even cream cheese or mayo.  But I'm not complainin'.

They had little packets of chicken broth and hot chocolate.  Swiss Miss, mind you.  Not some generic crap.  Don't you hate how they try to make the generic stuff sound like the real deal?  Like, instead of Swiss Miss, they call it Bliss Kiss Chocolate Flavored Liquid Beverage Substitute.  And they make the packaging eerily similar to S.M.

It's actually very clever.  Take a trip to your local Sav-A-Little and see what I mean.  I've learned to be less of a brand snob, but when it comes to salsa and cola, I refuse to compromise.  Off-brand salsa tastes like ketchup with tabasco and anything other than Coca-Cola tastes like crap.  Give me club soda with Vivarin and I'm better off.

I should go.  I'm still contemplating why I was rejected.  Was it because The D was in Military Police in the Air Force for 20 years?  Or because I emulated Angie Dickenson in Police Woman with his 38?  Or because I'd been a victim of domestic violence when my Emotional Vampire former sister choked me.  The judge (in our little sidebar with the three, very serious prosecutors and the cool looking, swoopie-haired-wet-behind-the-ears public defender, plus the court reporters) rephrased my diagnosis of psycho as "having issues."  I said, "To put it mildly.  She has Narcissistic Personality Disorder." At which point, I think they decided I was a loose cannon.  And I'm sure cannons are as bad or worse than a semi-automatic, which the defendent was alledged to have possessed. 

I only brought up the domestic violence thing because he asked that question pointedly.  And I did NOT want to be held in contempt.    I was discreet and asked to speak in private.  Because I didn't want to air my dirty laundry, on the microphone, in front of the whole courtroom.  Besides, I was feeling insecure after walking around with my zipper undone.

There's so much more to tell.  I'll just say this.  I only made it two-thirds way through my brand new Oprah magazine before the judge gave me the boot.  I didn't even get lunch.  I'm done for at least ten years.

I'm going to set my email on auto-reply to say I'm in Federal Jury Duty.  Head to the Coast.  Oh, just remembered my friend L is going to Mexico this week.  Ixnay on that idea.  Maybe my vacant rental house.  Where I can take a hot bath without sewage backing up into my yard.  Order Chinese.  Ask a neighbor to give me the password to their wireless router so I can play Words With Friends.

It would be easier, though, to stick a chicken pot pie in the microwave for The D, run a hot bath without letting it drain, and hope to god the Public Works Department smiles on me.  Or think of the sewage backing up into my yard as organic fertilizer.  God knows I could use some good grass.

Let's be clear though.  I mean grass in my yard.  As in Bermuda or Zoysia.  Because it's still a mudpit.  That little comment was a nod to a friend who thought the catnip my mother found in a kitchen drawer (I wrote about it in one of my first blog posts) was something other than catnip.  I have my vices, but that's not one of them.  And that's all I'll say.

Civic Duty

I did mine today.  Unfortunately, I was rejected, along with half the other 14 candidates. 

One little story.  A teaser.  Because I have lots of fodder from my short tenure in the United States District Court.  Here goes...

I set my alarm for 6:00 this morning.  I overslept.  It turns out my phone only lets me hit the snooze button six times, and since it takes me a good 75 minutes to wake up, it was 7:15 when I became conscious.  And since I'd wanted to allow 45 minutes to get downtown and make a few wrong turns onto one-way streets before I found the parking garage, and then find the Clifford B. Davis Federal Building, and get cleared through the metal detector, I was in a bit of a panic.  On top of that, my sewer drain is clogged and I'm afraid to flush or shower, but I can't bear the thought of skipping a shower for something like Jury Duty.  I have a long story about the sewer, but no time now.

I lucked into a perfect parking spot in the Mud Island Garage and hoofed it to the Jurors' Holding Pen.  Even though I packed enough reading material to last a week, and I wore my full compliment of chunky silver jewelry, I got right through customs.  I mean security.

I was two minutes late and I was very afraid of being thrown into jail for contempt of court.  Needless to say, that didn't happen.  I rode up on the elevator with an animal rights lady.  I told her if we were questioned about why we were late, we should say we stopped to rescue a stray pit bull.  I told her that dog abuse was a class E felony, but she said it wasn't.  I didn't argue.  Besides, I figured it was better not to start out the jury gig with perjury lying.  Just to be on the safe side, when we took the oath, I swore to Allah, not God.  Wonder about athiests?  Maybe they should swear on Madelyn Murray O'Hair.  Or Nitzsche.

Hey, I just thought about something.  Is it any coincidence that the only two atheists I know are also lawyers?  Hmmmm.

Ok, quick story, then I gotta run.  I was anxious when I plopped down in my seat on the front row of the holding pen.  I scanned the crowd.  Didn't see anyone I knew.  Damn, I could've skipped the makeup and hair.  Chatted up the lady right behind me.  I was so hyped up.  Remembered that I hadn't had coffee.  Which oddly enough, counteracts my morning scatteredness.  I headed back to the coffee pot.  Which was nearly empty.  I figured out how to make a new pot without calling the bailiff.  I stood there waiting and a sweet man with hair gel and a lavender shirt under a sweater vest appeared.  I told him I'd just started a new pot.  Turned out he wasn't there to get coffee.  I thought I heard him say I should settle down.  I said, "I should settle down?"  He said, "No, your fly is down.  I thought you'd want to know."  O....M.....G.... 

I'd thought it was too good to be true to find relatively unfaded jeans sans holes that fit my butt and weren't too short or too long.  In a random pile in some random place in my bedroom.  When I was running late.  And then it all came back to me.  I wore them on the plane on my first visit to see Mr. Man.  I'd gotten them at my beloved thrift store.  When I walked down the tiny aisle to go to the restroom on the airplane, I noticed more than one man do a double take.  I thought, "Wow, I need to get another pair of these jeans!"  Until I got into the tiny bathroom and reached down to undo my zipper and saw that it was already undone.  Thank god I had on underwear.  Sometimes if I can't find clean ones, I go commando.  While I go downstairs and push wrinkle release on the dryer so they'll be fluffed when I finish hair and makeup.  And of course, I always forget. 

Well, that's all for now.  Stay tuned...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Gratitude Journal

Oprah did it.  And if I were going to conform to her philosophy when I describe the things I'm thankful for, my journal would go something like this:

I'm grateful for:  cleansing rain that clears the sky and the depths of my soul...  the written word of the eternal voice of the human poet...  the hope for new life when I see the tender green shoots of a spring flower struggle through the snow's crusty surface...  the sighs of relief which stir the embers of my heavy heart...  finding a pocket of air when I am in a dark cave, on the verge of asphyxia...  the gentle soothing of Lortab and Flexeril when my back hurts, or when The D is getting on my nerves and I don't want to fix dinner for him...

No, really.  Here's what I'm thankful for, in no particular order:  celery seed.  money.  my own HVAC unit.  cayenne pepper.  two hour lunches with my friend Donna (the brunette Ellie Mae).  my baby sister.  macaroni and cheese.  painting.  getting an unexpected government check in the mail (IRS, VA, City or County property tax refund).  electricians.  cinnamon.  showers with big tanks of hot water.  cotton sheets.  my Kindle Fire.  Downton Abbey.  the Beatles and the Stones.  being 50.  really.  a clear mammogram and colonoscopy.  having The Daddler here.  having Kiddo far, far away in North Carolina.  good dreams - when I'm flying, or talking to my mother, or snuggling up to a certain someone.  indoor plumbing and electricity.  google.  my new leaf shredder.  texting.  Words With Friends.  hearing "Groovy Kind of Love" when a certain someone calls...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

In a Funk

I'm in one.  There's not one significant cause.  Just a total eclipse of several minor ones.

I can get extremely myopic when I'm faced with too many hardships.  Even minor ones. 

I try to find reasons for my lack of reason.  My Attention Deficit Disorder is a major handicap when it comes to prioritizing and solving immediate problems.  My Henny Penny nature is a huge problem.  In other words, I have no perspective.  When the sky is falling, who can worry about the details?  Unfortunately, taking care of details goes a long way in preventing the sky from falling.

Funny thing.  I was with a friend the other day, and a tag on the back of my shirt collar was driving me crazy.  I told her that I couldn't think about anything but the stupid tag.  That I liked shirts with the tags printed on the fabric rather than a stiff, sewn on label.  She told me that children with ADD tended to be bothered by tags on their clothing.  Whoa...

The irony is that when I notice the tag, I go in search of scissors with the intention of cutting it out.  Even though I have 120 pairs of scissors, I can't find a single pair.  And on my scissor search, I get distracted by random things along the way.  So frustrating.

Have I mentioned that I'm frustrated?

I'm going to close now.  I have responsibilites.  I'd like to run away from them, but I won't.  I'll suck it up.  And maybe I'll make some macaroni and cheese.  I swear, of anything in this world, m&c is the panacea.  The cure for all that ails me.

Monday, January 16, 2012

I Give Up

I sliced my middle finger open today.  Then I heard the sound of the new thingie.  Sure nuf'.  The D wasn't in his recliner.  I looked out the window, and there he was, his white hair bouncing around in the dark.  He'd taken his new toy outside.  Hooked it up to a working outlet, and started scooping leaves into it.  WTF?  I was winding down.  I ran outside and grabbed a rake on the way.  He looked at me like I was a lunatic.  I remembered that I was missing his galantamine.  Damn.

The only thing that kept me from hyperventilating was my bloody finger.  Sounds like an Edgar Allen Poe short story, huh?  The Tell-Tale Heart.  The Bloody Finger.  The Cask of Amantillado.

My interference in the leaf sucking process pissed him off and he walked away.  I'm just hoping I don't hear the motor at 3:00 a.m.  This is new.  Not good.  It worries me...

Some Assembly Required

Since I have three houses to look after now (The Good House, The Old House and The Parents' House), and two of the three have five or six massive, deciduous trees, I have a bazillion leaves to deal with.  Since I'm trying to rent the latter two houses, it would be nice if potential tenants could actually find the back doors.

Soooo, I decided to look for a lawn vacuum.  I found a great three-way (blower/vacuum/mulcher) on Amazon.  It was $510 at Lowes and $278 at Amazon.  Plus no shipping or sales tax!  Yesterday was nice and sunny, so I decided to tackle the leaves.  It took me an hour and a half to decipher the instructions to assemble my cool new tool.  That's after three or four hours the week before, just to attach the wheels and handles.  I swear, the Shop-Vac technical writers have an economy of words.  And piss-poor pictures.  They must've borrowed their bank's video surveillance camera.

Here's an exerpt:  Take one hose end with TAB.  Position hose end over retainer (installed on hose) with larger opening closest to retainer.  The side of the hose with tab must be aligned with the open side of retainer.  Align the holes on the sides of the hose end with the tabs on the hose retainer.

I might as well have read the French version:  Saisissez un embout de tuya flexible a languette.  Les bon temps roule.  That reminds me.  It's almost time for Mardi Gras.

Every two or three minutes during my assembly attempt, The Daddler would get up from his recliner, pace around, pick up random parts, snatch the instruction booklet from me, try to grab the hose assembly, and look at me like I was a total idiot.  Which I am.  At least in this context.  He'd shake his head, just like when I crunched my fender by backing into the house.

Finally, I finished.  Found the heavy duty trash bags I'd bought weeks earlier.  After 10 minutes of stretching and wrestling, I gave up on making the 39 gallon bags fit onto the 32 gallon  large capacity tank.  Then I happened to see this in the manual:  If using a bag with a smaller than 3 foot wide opening, it will need to be installed between the head assembly and tank adapter.

Ohhhh.  I was happy to see that, especially since this bad boy is supposed to reduce 123 normal bags of leaves into one bag of mulch.  Ok, I'm exaggerating.  It's only 18.  But, still.

Great.  Ready to roll.  I couldn't find my sunglasses to protect my hypersensitive corneas from shrapnel in case I'd missed an important step in the assembly and the blade flew out like a frisbee.  I decided to throw caution to the wind.  I found the massive, three mile long orange extension cord.  By the time I got back, The D was trying to plug the three inch cord from the mulcher into the receptical on the wall.  I gently pried it from his hands.  At which point he grabbed the tangled part of the orange cord and started playing tug-of-war with the wall.  And with me.  I was trying to keep him from bending the prongs.  Meanwhile, I worried about the half-inch of exposed prongs between the orange cord and the mulcher cord.  It wouldn't go all the way in.  By that point, a wild-fire would've been welcome.  Finally, I was ready to flip the switch.  Don't they say that at midnight in Texas when the injunction never shows up at Death Row?  Again, it wouldn't have been unwelcome.

I tried to get The D to back up a little when we pushed the red button.  He wouldn't budge.  Since I hadn't had enough forethought to order an anodized aluminum chainmail shirt for $189.95 from Chainmail Depot (an Amazon storefront), I assumed the potential pit bull attack position (curling up to protect major arteries and organ systems) and pressed.  Lo and behold, it started.  And nothing flew out.  And it sucked leaves.

You should've seen The Daddler.  Picture the face of a two year old on Christmas morning, with a remote control motorcycle.  After he's spent two hours trying to assist his inept mother with the assembly while his father entered all his business contacts into his Palm Pilot.  Ok, I know I'm dating myself, but since no one else will...  Sorry.  I couldn't resist.

Now, picture the face of that toddler when his brand-spankin-new remote control motorcycle drives right into the water garden his grandfather had installed for the friendly frogs and goldfish and mosquito larvae.  And lily pads.

That's how he looked when the mulcher wouldn't start back up after we checked to see how full it was.  He was crestfallen.  I figured it was the half-inch prong chasm, so I tried for the 23rd time to shove the plug in all the way.  About that time, he figured out that we'd blown a breaker.  He hightailed it to the shed and started flipping switches.  All I was thinking was that I'd have to reboot the effin' Comcast box.  And reset all the blinking clocks.  Darnit.

It still wouldn't work.  So I tried the receptical on the side of the house.  It worked.  Hallelujah!  Now we had three outlets (two in the living room which required major rearranging to accomodate the Christmas tree lights, only 1/3 of which worked).  I'd forgotten to call the electrician.  Because I hadn't figured out how to use Angie's List, even though I'd paid for a year's subscription.  Note to self...

So I started raking and tried to keep The D from bending over to unclog the hose when the logs he was trying to chip got stuck crossways.  He'd been taking muscle relaxers and pain pills and hogging the heating pad to treat his back pain the last two weeks.  He refused to budge, though.  Insisted he was fine.  I decided to withhold his Lortabs.  At that point, I was sure I'd need them.  He was in hog heaven.  He was sure I needed direct supervision.  I was a 12 year old girl, after all.

Finally, the motor started making the same squeaking sound as the vacuum cleaner when a piece of dental floss gets caught in the brusher-roller-thingie.  Sure 'nuf.  The large capacity thing was full.  I removed the head assembly from the tank adapter and rolled the thing to the curb.  After realizing that the bag was too full to squeeze through the opening without ripping, I realized that if I removed the tank adapter, it would slide right out.  Wow.  I was feeling pretty stupid.

I sent The Daddler into the house to fetch the garbage bags, with explicit instructions as to their location.  Five minutes later he came strolling out empty-handed.  I hoofed it to the laundry room, hoping to get back before he'd started a wild-fire or burned the motor up or shredded his hand or cut his cornea or caused a myocardial infarction.  Or electrocuted himself.

I kept trying to rein him in.  I was worried about his back.  I was amazed at his unflagging stamina after our near miss with the grim reaper two days before.  He refused to take a break.  I must admit, more than worrying about his well-being, I was trying to avoid more doctors' visits or an emergency room trip.  Four crises in one week was a record. 

Then I had an epiphany.  I ran to get a chair from the patio.  If I could get him to sit down and just guide the leaves into the hose as I raked them from the yard, we might avoid medical intervention.  He complied.  After another two bags and 75 minutes, though, I thought about his lung condition.  I was sure the dust and leaf mold couldn't be good for him.  Still, he refused to go inside.

Ok, there's so much more.  I'm exhausted just thinking about it.  Suffice it to say that I was in Martyr Mode.  Especially after he bitched me out for bringing the huge thing inside.  I told him five times that the label said to store it inside and never at temperatures below freezing.  More head shaking and sighs of disgust.  I refrained from elder abuse and even heated up some soup and cornbread for him.  He didn't complain even though he'd had it for lunch (he can't tolerate leftovers).  I think he saw the wild look in my eyes.  And maybe remembered that I have Power of Attorney.  More likely, though, he was exhausted.  And I'd fallen asleep and he'd had to fend for his own dinner the day before.

Or, maybe, just maybe, he was happy.  And appreciated me.  I know he loves me.  But I forget sometimes.  I'm sure he does, too.  But now and then, we both remember.   

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bees in My Bonnet

I have several.  I'm on a Quixotic tear.  By the way, Quixotic doesn't rhyme with "neurotic" or "psychotic."  It's pronounced like "exotic."  Thank god I checked.  I'm still cringing over my gaffe involving fiefdom (long e, not i).  I'll blame my ineptness with the spoken language on my extensive reading, not my lack of intelligent conversation.  I swear, I read "schadenfreude" in the Wall Street Journal long before it became so hip.  Not that I ever indulge in it.  I also learned "hubris" from WSJ.  Sophrosyne (its antonym) is from Dictionary.com.

In re my windmill-tilting, let's just say I'm furious with a certain corporation which is complicating my life.  I can't go into details because I don't want to be sued for libel, but let's just say I'd bet the house that said corporation is the next Enron.  When I called their executive office yesterday, I got connected to some poor corporate schmo-drone who told me not one, but two, bald face lies.  Or is it bold face?  Either way, he lied to me.

When someone tries to bullshit me, I kick into auditor mode.  Which usually means I look at Edgar filings (SEC reports).  Turns out that poor, lowly, benevolent corporation, who hires liars and barely squeaks by, doled out $67 million in stock and stock options to management in the first nine months of 2011.  Wow.  Wonder what their Christmas bonuses were like...  But since there's a vesting schedule, this number doesn't show up on the financial statements  .  I had to do a little math.  I'll try to put it in layman's terms:  Instead of paying cold, hard cash to their executives, they give them chits which enable them to manipulate the expense on the financial statements.  This method also ensures that the recipients stay with the company until they can cash out their chits.  And that they don't rat out the crooked company, because if they did, their chits would be worthless.

I've decided to take a break from my investigation.  No one wants to avenge anything on the weekend.

On a really fun note.  When I was cleaning out the detritus of my life, I found a kite.  It's windy today.  When Deb brought The D back from lunch, I forced her to walk to the big field adjacent to the Good House.  The D wouldn't come outside because he was watching the Kentucky/Tennessee basketball game.  Yuck.  Wish they could both lose.

Deb and I got the kite aloft.  Lots of screaming and shouting and falling.  I was the one who fell, and Deb thought I had twisted my ankle, but it turns out that I have lots of practice in the falling department, so I bounced right up.  Hey, maybe "pratfall" is derived from "practice falling."  I think a few cars slowed down to look at the spectacle of two middle-aged women acting like silly kids.

Deb got the kite tangled on the church's power line.  All I could think of was The D sitting in a cold, dark church tomorrow morning because of his goofy progenies.  Luckily, I thought to break the string and let the kite fall off.  Deb had some sort of delusion that she'd catch the wind and make the kite do a 360 degree flight.

We got the kite down without severing the power line.  Then we called it quits.  We came in the house, breathless, pink-cheeked, and laughing.  I felt like I was 11 years old.  Oh.  I found my shoes and didn't step on a nail or dog poop.  That's the 50 year old woman in me.  An 11 year old wouldn't think about that.

So here I sit.  A desolate Saturday night looming.  Maybe I should figure out something to do with The Daddler.  Unfortunately, this is his Bill Gaither Trio night and I just can't bear it.  I think I'll take a hot bath and order pizza or Chinese.  Maybe call Angela and see if I can hit her hot tub.  I refuse to play Words With Friends or more Antiques Roadshow.  I'm feeling like such a loser.  Plus, I have to reboot my router every 13 minutes or so.

I'll figure something out.

All for now... 

Saturday, January 7, 2012


 ...it's getting The Daddler everywhere.  I see right through him.

Deb called this morning to say she was going to bring lunch to The D instead of taking him out.  When I gave him the phone to talk to her, he asked who it was.  When I told him it was his favorite, he said thought that was me.  Butter wouldn't melt in his mouth.  Still, it made me feel good.

It was grand central station around here.  While Deb was here, Kiddo's dad came to help him move some things from the old house (soon to be rented, I hope).  After that commotion, they hung out for a while before K headed back to Chapel Hill.  In the meantime, they all watched the Carolina ball game.  I played Words With Friends intermittently.  Deb regaled me with her stories of the absurd.  A woman who's become wealthy designing virtual hair extensions and perfume for sale on Second Life.  Another woman who's also hit it rich by filling a niche in the market for weirdos who have some sort of fetish for watching a morbidly obese woman eat.  She weighs 600 pounds and people send her money, ostensibly for food.  She decided to close her site.  She's lost 85 pounds.  Crazy.

But it goes on.  Deb became a Tweeter during the Casey Anthony trial.  She tweeted Nancy Grace and some other legal analyst about double jeopardy.  She follows Ozzy from Survivor, Joel Osteen, Dave Ramsey, Donald and Donald Jr. and Ivanka Trump.  Adam Carolla.  Go figure.

What's funnier, though, is that she has attracted a bevy of porn stars - Brandee, Shaina, and Easter, to name a few.  They all have websites with URLs involving the following words or word fragments:  Porn, Vid, Fetish, Hot, Sex, Perverted.  Ok.  I added that last one.  Actually, Easter was quite the poetess.  Here's her latest tweet:  Roses are red, Violets are blue, None of our friends match, Who the f*#@ are you? 

Wow.  How do I submit a Pulitzer nom?  Deb finally figured out how to delete these strange twits.  Kiddo left for the hills.  Deb left for god-forsaken Bartlett.  The Carolina game ended.  And now, here I sit, with my scintillating Saturday night social life stretching ahead of me.  Which reminds me.  Time for The D's din-din. 

And more Words With Friends.

Friday, January 6, 2012

I Give Up

Whoa.  What a week.  I'm in one of those "Nobody likes me, everybody hates me.  Let's go eat some worms" moods.  Actually, it would be more apt to say "I don't like anyone, I hate everybody.  Let them go eat worms." 

When I get like this, I shift into analytical mode.  I try to find the catalysts.  I can think of several, but I don't want to think about it, so I won't spend time describing them.  Except to say that I'm smart enough to know that I need to retreat, give it some time, and figure it all out in the morning.  When I'm rested.  Rational.  Reasonable. 

Also, it should be noted that a catalyst is something that causes a reaction without being affected itself.  Wow.  I can think of a few people who fall into this category.  Emotional Vampire comes to mind.

And since I'm sitting here, contemplating my navel and a desolate social life with no plans at all for the weekend (that don't involve closing December books),  I'm gonna figure out some way to comfort myself.  I think it will involve a hot bubble bath, watercolors and a glue gun.

First, though, I'm gonna heat up some leftover chinese takeout for The Daddler.  Egg drop soup, General Tsou shrimp, and Moo Shu pork.  Yum.  I'm so glad he's not a picky eater.

He's been incredibly sweet lately.  That comforts me.  Immensely.

All for now...