Tag Archives: laughter

Partly Sunny with a Chance of Cancer

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Partly Sunny with a Chance of Cancer

 

The fact that I am 44 pisses me off. I might look 44, but I rarely feel it and even less than rarely act like it. It is only when I have to dig my readers out of my bag so I can read a menu or someone asks me my age and hearing myself verbalize the truth always sounds strange; that age belongs to someone else—someone old. Then I have to get real with my aging self. There are signs all around me that I am no spring chicken. I don’t dare jump on the trampoline without completely emptying my bladder first. I have to pluck more areas on my face than just my eyebrows and if that isn’t bad enough, I turn down the radio in the car when I want to talk. WHO AM I?

It may be part of my internal denial and my hopes to cling to the youth I once had, but often I don’t take time to ensure that my ‘old lady’ medical checks are done routinely and regularly. If my body was an automobile, it would not get the routine maintenance, fluid checks and changes, or the occasional diagnostic checks. Nope. I just kick the tires and turn up the radio to drown out any clanks or knocks.   This is exactly how I ended up way behind on my annual health checks (and when I say way behind, I mean several years, not months).

A couple of weeks ago I was rarely not traveling for work and folded under the intense pressure by my husband (who is also not as young as he used to be) to get my wellness exams caught up. I showed up to complete the well-woman’s circle of life maintenance check. They looked in my throat and under the hood and checked the pipes and that all went fabulous. I ended the fun-filled day with a mammogram relieved to finally have all of it completed. What I wasn’t expecting was the call I received shortly thereafter—We need you to come back in for an additional test. There was something suspicious on your mammogram. And just like that, things just got real.

I spent the next week out of town with work and tried to tamp down the word “suspicious” that kept slipping out of my subconscious and tap dancing all over my conscious. It is really hard to focus on work when you have an ambiguous word tap dancing in your brain. I arrived home and went for boob-smash ‘take two’, which led to yet a THIRD boob smash a couple days later. Boob smash number three was the equivalent to having someone fold my right titty into an Origami swan and then secure it firmly into a vice grip. The whole thing gave “titty twister” a completely new meaning, with the end result being that it wasn’t the end at all.

I was scheduled for a needle-guided surgical biopsy the next morning. The good news is that I was asleep for the “surgical biopsy” part. The bad news is I was wide-ass awake for the “needle guided” portion. Holy God, a little GHB or chloroform next time, please! I should mention this included mammogram number FOUR, and a big needle, and a Styrofoam cup taped over a wire hanging out of my boob? It was all kinds of glamorous. In addition, I had my husband, and Mom and Stepdad with me, which would have been appropriate if I was having a heart transplant, but holy cow it does feel good to be loved.

And then we waited. Waiting was difficult enough, but I was scheduled to fly out of town for work and so I had to wait 700 miles away from home. I do try and plan ahead for these situations. Unbeknownst to her, I had put on my initial paperwork that any and all health information could be shared with my sister, Kim. She called me early in the week to ask if I had heard from the doctor.

Kim:   Have you heard from the tests?

Me:        I am not calling.

Kim:       Yes you are. We have to know.

Me:       Yes, we have to know, but I am not calling. You are.

Kim:       What the hell? They won’t tell me anything.

Me:        I already signed a consent saying they could tell you anything.

Kim:       You are shitting me.

Me:        I shit you not. I can’t hear bad news from the doctor. If it is bad I need you to tell me.

Kim:       I hate you.

Me:        I know.

Kim:       I love you.

Me:        I know.

 

She called and we had to wait a few more days before the results were finalized. In the interim, I didn’t sleep much. I prayed a lot. God always knows when I am in trouble. I am so predictable. I also inventoried my life and the way I live it. My life is a continuous battle to keep what is important at the forefront. My little priority ducks are a bunch of bastards that I can never seem to keep in a row. I consistently fail at being present in the moment and I had to have a suspicious something show up on a mammogram to remind me that I don’t have an infinite amount of moments. I still have so many damn ducks to wrangle. At some point in my existence I want to present my wily-ass little ducks to the world in a complete and unified row.

Later in the week:

Kim:       Hey! How are things in Texas?

Me:        Mostly sunny with a slight chance of cancer.

Kim:       (sobbing)

Me:        The results are negative, aren’t they?

Kim:       (sobbing) Yes!! And now I can breathe again. (I knew if it had been bad news, she would never had let me hear her cry. She, too, is predictable).

Me:        Thank you!

Kim:       I hate you. Don’t ever do this to me again.

Me:        I love you.

Kim:       I know.

Cancer is a beast and I have seen mighty warriors fall to its ruthlessness. I will not pretend that I was not scared shitless. I am NOT a warrior. Hell, I can’t even keep my ducks in a row.   My days of kicking the tires and running on empty are behind me. I came away with a heck of a scare and a right boob that looks like it might belong to the Bride of Frankenstein. But those are two outcomes for which I have boundless immense gratitude. Life’s forecast can change without warning and I am blessed beyond belief with family and friends with whom I can find shelter, when there is even a mere threat of a storm. The truth is, I probably won’t ever get my shit completely together, but I will bet my right boobie that I won’t miss another mammogram!

 

 

 

 

 

The Security Breach at Breakfast

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The Security Breach at Breakfast

There was a time not so long ago that the avoidance of national and world news by my sister, Kim, was viewed by me as bordering on irresponsible. I would ask her opinions on a crisis, mass murder, or natural disaster and she would respond with, “I have no idea what you are talking about and I don’t want to know. So, shut up.” Recently, I have started to envy her ability to close herself off from the world that seems to be unraveling. It seems to be open season on human beings killing one another has had me considering looking for real estate under one of the secluded rocks she likes to hide under. The world is a scary place.

One would think that with all the headlines screaming violence, I would be extra vigilant in protecting myself, my family, and my home from the volatile world. In many ways I am. I have educated myself on gun and personal safety and I have obtained my Conceal and Carry permit. I have purchased a firearm I am comfortable carrying, handling, and shooting. While traveling, I try to be aware of my surroundings and not put myself in vulnerable situations. But Sunday morning, when a homeless young man showed up on my porch asking for a drink of water, my heart overrode my brain and I invited him inside for breakfast.

He couldn’t have been more than 20 and he had a heavy pack and a long road ahead of him. It wasn’t just hot; it was MISSOURI sticky-sweaty-humid-as-hell hot. When I went outside and handed him a couple bottles of water he was very grateful and thankful for my offering and as I watched this kid turn back toward the highway, it never crossed my mind that this shaggy-haired tattooed kid with more than one piercing was a serial killer or an axe murder. All I saw was a kid who probably needed something in his belly and so I called after him, “Hey, are you hungry?”

After offering him a seat at the table, I made him a plate of biscuits and gravy, something to drink, salt and pepper, etc. His only request was a napkin which he placed in his lap. While he ate, I asked him where he was headed and if he had any family in the area. I didn’t want to pry. It was obvious this kid had a story, but it isn’t my story to tell. He ate. He said very little.

Things really got interesting when I went to the bedroom to give my husband, Kevin, a heads that I was feeding a wayward stranger breakfast. He was not overcome by the warm fuzzy feeling of helping out our fellow man. In fact, I believe the emotion I identified reflected in Kevin at that moment was: completely pissed off. We had a rare and heated exchange in whisper voices:

Kevin: What in the hell were you thinking?

Me: I don’t know. What was I supposed to do, let him starve?

Kevin: NOT invite him inside the house would be a reasonable thing to do.

Me: I had to invite him in so he could eat biscuits and gravy.

Kevin: You know better!!! I can’t believe you.

Me: ….

 

In all my arguments with Kevin I end up sounding like a toddler, especially when confined to whispers. It is hard to really sell a good point in ‘whisper voice’. Kevin went into full protector mode talking briefly with the young man and seeing him on his way, all the while keeping our .38 in his pocket. He made sure the kid made his way down the highway and proceeded with the following: Complete perimeter check, locked and secured all doors, reviewed the security modus operandi with the kids for locking cars and doors, emphasizing the point that someone had breached security protocol and so we were all going to have to be EXTRA vigilant for the next few weeks (followed by an accusing stare at me for my reckless behavior).

I went about my day justifying in my own mind what I failed to articulate to my husband. Later that afternoon, I asked if he was still angry at me for inviting a potential murderer, terrorist, puppy kicker inside for breakfast. He assured me he was not mad, but I had to promise not to do it again. I was compelled to try and justify my actions and I probably should have just made my promise and kept my mouth shut.

Me: Kevin, I traveled thousands of miles around the world to feed hungry children in Africa! Do you think I could just let a kid starve on my front porch?

Kevin: Of course not, you invite him in and feed him biscuits and gravy. We will see what a good idea it is when he comes back and kills us in our sleep and steals all our shit.

Me: …..heavy sigh.

Kevin is right the world is a scary place and I could have very well invited danger into our home. I appreciate his ability to protect us and keep us safe. I do hope that in some small fashion he finds a way to appreciate the innate flaw in me that allows my heart override my head in some situations. The truth is, I am so caught up in my own crazy life I neglect so many opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others. My focus has gotten so blurred that it has become easier to see only what I don’t have and I have become blind and complacent to the abundance of my blessings. I hear the news, read the headlines, and I become consumed by all the things that separate us. I needed a reminder of the one thing we have in common; at the end of the day, we are all just human beings.

heartPerhaps the good Lord sent that young man to my door to remind me that I need to look for opportunities to lift up others around me. Perhaps, it was God himself coming to the door as a scruffy homeless kid to see if I would give him a drink or turn him away. Truly If nothing else, I can rest easy knowing that had I been chopped up by the biscuit eating guest, I would probably go to heaven (the way I am quick to anger, cuss like a sailor, struggle with envy and pride and occasional slothfulness I need all the help I can get)….AND if it was God testing us, I fed him biscuits and gravy and Kevin covertly held a gun on him while he ate them (I am still winning). We make a great team– I can try and save the world and he can try to save me from the world…and myself…and coyotes….and spiders…and BigFoot… I think this text he sent me says it all:

murder

A Mother’s Day Wish List-Revised Edition

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A Mother’s Day Wish List-Revised Edition

As Mother’s Day approaches, I have been making a gift guide for my sweet children to utilize, in the event they want to borrow money from their father and purchase me a little sumthin’-sumthin’.   The following is the first edition of my Mother’s Day Wish List:

  1. Fitbit Fitness Band (in black)finch
  2. Converse Monochrome shoes-Size 8.5night vision googles
  3. Atticus Finch T-Shirt and the Preorder purchase of Harper Lee’s Novel Go Set a Watchman, to be released in July (the T-shirt will keep me happy until the book release).
  4. Yukon Night Vision Tracking Binoculars
  5. Conceal and Carry Compression Tank (in black)
  6. A very tiny monkey.

After reflecting on the likelihood of my Mother’s Day wish list ever coming to fruition, I decided to make some revisions. As I attempted to whittle the list down and refine the focus to practical customary wishes, it was apparent the list, while authentic, was not representative of the true spirit of Mother’s Day. I dug a little deeper and explored what my true wishes were for Mother’s Day. The following is the compilation of my revisions:

  1. For my oldest daughter, Riley, I hold these wishes for you. I wish you could embrace the amazing young woman you are and hold tight to the beauty of your soul. Each morning, when you wake and you look at your reflection in your mirror, I wish you no longer sought out your perceived imperfections, but instead focus on the gifts God has given you. My hope is that with each passing day, you will learn to love yourself. The many ways you guard you heart serves you well, when done so for the right reasons. Hearts are made to be broken and human beings rarely escape a life without some degree of heartbreak. A heart that has been broken beats on, but a life without love is just a beating heart. May you always know how much of love being your mom.                            Addendum: I wish you would someday in the future reconsider your decision to opt out of motherhood. I cannot be a Nana to a batch of rescued cats.
  2. For my son, Evan, these wishes are for you. Looking back on the long journey that has brought you to this moment, I wish you to know how very proud I am of you. I know that the things that are so easy for others were not so easy for you. I want you to know that the mistakes I made along the way were my attempts at helping you the only way I knew how. There were many people who might have given up on you, but that was never an option for me. It is my hope for you that you will remember to give more than you take, lift others up, treasure the little things, and don’t be afraid of failing. There is something great inside of you, Evan and I pray each day you have the courage to discover what it is, the resilience to carry on when you fail, and the graciousness to appreciate those who help you along the way. Don’t let a day go by without fully knowing how blessed I am that God chose you for my son. Addendum: I wish you would please stop teasing my sweet old Cooper. He is over 70 years old in people years!! Please be kind to my crabby geriatric furry friend.
  3. To my baby girl, Sophi, I wish these things for you. There will never be more minutes in an hour, more hours in day, more days in a week or more weeks in a year. I know of no other who crams more living in a space of time than you. It is my wish that you are able to make the most of each moment and give yourself some space to breathe. The only thing that ever gets in your way, Sophi, is you. It makes me proud that you are motivated to set the bar high, but don’t forget that you don’t have to be perfect. All that you have to do doesn’t have to be done today. It is my wish for you to find balance and understand that if you always stay true to God, yourself, and the people who love you, the life you make will be successful. You are forever and always my bonus baby.                                     Addendum: I wish you would PLEASE put the lids back on your makeup and quit leaving it all scattered on the bathroom counter!! And for the love of all that is holy, you only need ONE towel for a shower

kidsThe truth is the greatest gift is one I have already been given. It cannot be purchased at the store or ordered online. I have been blessed with the privilege of being a mother, and this is simply all I could ever want (except for a very tiny monkey, that would be freaking AWESOME)…and maybe the night vision goggles. Seriously, this nest is going to be empty someday. I really should start planning ahead.

Living the Simple Life Status Update…It’s Complicated

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Living the Simple Life Status Update…It’s Complicated

 

Whoever said living in the country is the ‘simple life’, obviously never lived in the country. Country living takes grit, resilience, and emotional fortitude. It has been just over two years since I said farewell to the city limits and embraced my tougher rural side. The transition has been filled with a multitude of learning opportunities for me and I am woman enough to disclose that I sometimes lack grit, resilience, and emotional fortitude. Sometimes, I am just an idiot.

My first faux pas was made with good intentions. Spirit is the resident matriarch horse on the farm. She is a beautiful Morgan Paint, which loosely translated for town folks means she is BIG and looks like Tonto’s horse from the Lone Ranger. Each morning before leaving for work, I would take Spirit an apple or handful of carrots. Her forelock (loosely translated—horse bangs) was always hanging in her eyes. My attempts to use my hairclips to pin it up out of her eyes didn’t go well. She lost every single one of my hairclips. I decided to give her a trim. Spirit ended up looking more like Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber than a beautiful horse. As it turns out, the forelock is important for keeping flies and other debris from irritating the horse’s eyes. Who knew horse bangs were more than a fashion statement??dumb

In addition to the acceptable grooming practices of horses, I have had my eyes open to other farm animal maintenance. If a baby calf gets stuck in her mama cow’s vagina, it is customary to hook chains to the calf and help pull it out. The boy cows don’t have it easy either. If you are unfortunate enough to be born a boy cow and you aren’t given immunity status to continue growing into a bull, a routine circumcision would be a welcome trade for what is in store. The little boy baby cows are rounded up and their little baby cow balls are cut off and tossed into a bucket. Chains in a vagina and a bucket of cow balls…all in a day’s work.

As luck would have it, I am not involved in the day-to-day operations of the farm. It is probably a good thing, because I am a little too emotionally high-strung to be of much use. One of the baby donkeys got stuck in the mud near the pond and drowned. All the Animal Planet viewing in the world did not prepare me for this travesty! While tuning into Animal Planet, I fully expect crocodiles to leap out of the water and snatch up little water buffalo, but this isn’t the Serengeti! We are smack in the middle of America’s heartland. Mother Nature’s bitch-slap is far reaching.

donkeyI don’t cut off baby cow balls or get near the vagina of a cow birthing her young, but I do have animal responsibilities on the farm. I am the caretaker of the barn-cats. Barn-cats are an integral part of country living and I do my part to make sure they are fed, warm, loved and cuddled. According to barn cat protocol, barn-cats are not to be named, as there is a high turnover among the resident barn-cats and thus, I have been advised not to get attached. I seldom follow sound advice (heavy sigh).

LuLubelle was one of the initial barn-cat residents and the beginning of my cat wrangling adventures. LuLubelle was born with a hole in her diaphragm, which resulted in her not being a candidate for spaying. Contrary to popular belief, her breathing difficulties did not eliminate her from lifting her tail for the first Tom Cat who came along. LuLubelle’s transgressions led to a small but robust barn-kitty boom. I had my hands full trying to keep up with finding homes for adoptable kittens, foster mothers for the shitty-kitty moms’ kittens, and keeping up with sterilization for the youngsters coming of age.

LuLubelle tired of the mother (and now grandmother) grind and headed off to take up residence in the solitude of a quiet, not so crowded, barn (this is what I tell myself anyway, because recognizing the fact that she may have been a late night snack for a coyote is just too horrible). Finally, all the kittens had homes, LuLubelle had moved to her retirement home, and our barn was home to one small kitten named, Yellow Cat. My work schedule had been rather hectic and I knew I had several months before Yellow Cat would be mature enough to have kittens, but evidentially some kitties mature faster than others…and now we were suddenly back up to six barn cats.

**WARNING: This is the point in the story, where things take a tragic turn and cat lovers and the squeamish should probably bail out now.**

I found yellow cat with her new brood in the hay manger in the barn. It was early morning and I was headed to work. The light in the barn was dim and she wasn’t really keen on me poking around. I could still see that several of the kittens weren’t cleaned well and I was worried that she was going to be a shitty-kitty mom. I gave her some words of encouragement and headed off to work. Returning that evening, I went out in the barn to check on her. I brought a flashlight so I could get a better look at how the situation was progressing and I was totally unprepared for what I was about to encounter. There were three kittens nursing and two seemingly piled beneath them. I started moving them around to get a better look and I saw what looked to be a placenta, which Yellow Cat should have gobbled down long before this point. Confused by the mangled ball of kittens, I reached in and picked one of the kittens up, and instead I hoisted up four tangled kittens. They were all still attached to one placenta and completely entangled in a web of umbilical cords.

The act of me picking up the intertwined kitten-placenta ball caused one kitten’s umbilical cord to pull off and I couldn’t control the bleeding. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to save that little guy, so I reluctantly turned my attention to the other three still mangled together. With hands shaking, I was able to tie off and cut the cord, freeing one kitten from the mass. The remaining two were in a pitiful predicament. It was obvious that the kittens had been tangled long before they were born. Their little legs had been cinched together with an umbilical cord so tightly and for so long, their little tiny paws hadn’t formed. There was just rotting dead tissue where little paws should have been.

One of the kittens was visibly smaller and looked as if it was already succumbing to the infection that was no doubt raging. I had to get them apart. I went plundering for medical supplies. Running back to the barn, I had discovered that the weaker kitten had died, but was still hopelessly tethered to its sibling. Using every ounce of courage I could muster, I carefully snipped the rotten leg off of the dead kitten. I surveyed the situation; I had one living kitten, which was not a part of the original tangled mess. I had one living kitten that I had been able to successfully free, two kittens that had not survived, and one kitten with a rotten leg, still attached to both the placenta and the severed rotten leg of its sibling. Kitten farming is REALLY hard.

kittySadly, even after a successful amputation and antibiotic therapy, little “Stumpy” kitten wasn’t strong enough to make it. I buried him in a sunglasses case under the tree near the barn, where yellow cat likes to sun herself in the afternoons. Sweetie and Dot are the surviving twin brothers of the ordeal and have grown into a handsome loving duo. Sweetie, Dot, and Yellow Cat have decided to leave barn-living behind. Mama and her two sons have moved into the garage, where my husband has built them a two story insulated and heated condominium. They often join us in the house and stretch out the furniture or curl up in a lap, before retiring to their kitty-condo.

It has been hard for me to convey the situation I encountered in the barn that day, even to my family. When I arrived at the house bloodied, panicked and carrying Stumpy still attached to the severed leg and nasty placenta, my family questioned my sanity (this is not the first time my sanity has come into question). Several days later, my daughter’s friend commented that her throat was hurting and my daughter replied, “Don’t tell my mom, she might cut off your head.”cattwins

I read somewhere that tough old farmers don’t cry, but I know better. This country way of living is still pretty new to me, but I have seen enough to know that tough old farmer also have the biggest hearts. I am not sure if having a big heart is a prerequisite for the job or rather something they acquire along the way. I assume if it is okay to sometimes cry in the barn, perhaps I have some farmer potential. It is probably better to look at my potential as a farmer more objectively and as my dad would tell me, “You aren’t tough enough to make a scab on farmer’s ass” and I am pretty certain he is absolutely, 100% correct.

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Sleeping with Stella

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Sleeping with Stella

I am a chicken. I attribute this cowardice condition to the vastness of my imagination. Adulthood was supposed to equip me with rationale, logic, and grownup perspective. Yet, I am plagued by things that go bump in the night. Regularly, I find myself being chased home by wild coyotes when caught after sundown on an evening run. The shadows along the woods taunt me with the unseen creatures of the night. My dreams are often interrupted by screaming mountain lions, rabid wolves, and an occasional Sasquatch lurking just beyond the trees behind our house. My body rests, but my mind refuses.

It is a state of ridiculousness, which my effort at reason cannot move past. In contrast, there are things I should be afraid of, which I am not. My sincere trust in humanity as a whole could be considered a liability. Constantly on guard for the lone savage wolf stalking me as a walk on the trails cut through the woods, my guard is slack when it comes to my fellow bipedal homo-sapiens. Seldom am I aware of my surroundings, while walking in a dimly lit parking garage. The random stranger asking for directions doesn’t make me wary. My car is often unlocked and sometimes my keys can be found dangling in the ignition. My shopping cart is left unattended with my purse splayed open as I browse the aisles. Trust, even when it is soaking with carelessness, can be broken.

Two weeks ago, as I sparred with the ominous beasts in my dreams, someone was breaking into our vehicles parked in our driveway. We awoke to find that our cars had been ransacked. Unfamiliar hands had rummaged through our consoles, purses, and glove compartments, grabbing and carrying off miscellaneous personal possessions. In their wake they left us feeling vulnerable, empty, and violated. The emotion I wanted to boil to the surface and spill out of me was anger, but it wouldn’t come. As I stood and wondered what a thief was going to do with a purse that had my last name embroidered on it, there remained with me a stifling sense of sadness.

Many of the items taken have made their way back to us. Some have not. My purse was found along a gravel road not far from our house. My son’s driver’s license, college ID and bank card were found by an acquaintance as he was running in an area about six miles from where we live. A backpack was found along the highway along with two of my son’s college textbooks. There are several expensive textbooks, a wallet and some other items which are probably rotting in a ditch in some random location. There was little cash to be taken, but what little there was is gone.

The whole situation should have spurred a sense of fury in the audacity of brazen thievery. While it did springboard a campaign to ratchet up our security, it brought me around to a place I least expected. I found myself immersed in a sense of gratitude. Instead of being consumed by fury of the violation, I found myself focusing on the simple fact that these things were just that—things. Though thieves were among us, the “us” remained unscathed, intact, and well. While my sense of security was dented, the reminder to not hang on too tightly to those things which can be replaced and to hold dearly to those which cannot did not go unacknowledged.

There are so many things in my life that I will never get back. Never again will I hold my sleeping babies with their warm breath sweet on my cheek. There will never be another night of playing outdoors in my bare feet of summer and hearing my mom yell it is time to come inside. I will never get back those wilted dandelions offered up to me from the gap-tooth grinning face of a child who still thinks I am the entire world. Driving the back roads for hours with good friends, with nothing more to occupy our carefree hearts other than the next song playing on the radio are moments gone a lifetime ago. Gone are the days of sitting on the porch with my grandpa hanging on every word of the tales he would spin for me. I can’t go back to the first ‘I love you’ my husband spoke to me or feel the tears he cried as he held his newborn son. Time, it seems, is the real thief. But what time has stolen away hasn’t left holes in the fabric of my existence. What remains is a patchwork of memories being pieced together forming a quilt that is my life. No thief in the dark of night can take the treasures locked securely away in the depths of my heart.

The fear of coyotes, chupacabra, and Bigfoot has not abated. The cars are locked and so are the doors. My faith in mankind is, for the most part, still intact. Life is not meant to be lived instella the unrest of worry over things. Stella, is my little Smith & Wesson .38 and she provides me a sense of comfort. The world, after all, isn’t nearly as scary when I am sleeping with Stella.

 

 

In Other News…I Didn’t Throat Punch Anyone Today

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In Other News…I Didn’t Throat Punch Anyone Today

It’s been one of those weeks. You know the kind. The kind that sucks all the life out of you and then sucker punches anything positive that comes along to attempt to resuscitate you. Nothing catastrophic occurred and I am usually a tad more resilient that the tone of this post suggests. I try to keep a firm grasp on perspective, but sometimes (and this could be completely hormonal) I let this stupid world chip away at my resolve. There are times, like this week, when I cave to my fragile state of being human and I just want to rage against some of the ridiculousness around me.

The truth is I am cranky. I am on the road this week for work and I miss my family. My new gig will take me away from the homestead for several days at a time. Usually, when things go smoothly at work, I can cope with the homesickness. When I baboon encounter work issues that leave me feeling like I have had a piranha gnawing on my fleshy backside all week, it tends to increase my longing for home.   This is actually a tad ironic, because I know that upon returning home after several days, my house will look like a troop of half-tamed baboons live there. Just the same, they are my troop of half-tamed baboons, so I can miss them if I want.

There may be more to my sour mood than I am willing to admit. I am not at all equipped to comfortably spend extended periods of time with myself. Dealing with people all day and then retreating to my hotel room, I am left with no domestic distractions to defuse my day. Instead of laughing at my kids or grappling with the laundry or following Kevin around, while chatting incessantly, I am left with just ME! To be completely honest, I am not really a good influence on myself. There resides in me an innately powerful imagination and when left unchecked it can go off the rails in a hurry.

Left to my own devices, I mentally start to rewrite parts of my days, with different endings than what actually happened. It is sort of like a lonely game I play ripped off from those books I had as a kid, where I could choose different outcomes for the characters based on what I wanted to happen. If I wanted Billy to find the hidden treasure, I would be directed to page 65. If I wanted Billy to get stuck in a pit of quick sand with little hope of rescue, I could turn to page 78–Twist-a-plot books or something along those lines.

My week in twist-a-plot:

Reality: A handful of people I have encountered this week have been resistant, negative, and demanding. I remained pleasant, professional, and accommodating as humanly possible, while mindfully funneling the tension from my face directly to my tightly clinched butt cheeks.

Twist-a-plot: I look at them and propose, “That is an excellent idea. Let me just reach into my bag and pull out my magic lamp and rub on it. I am sure that genie will appear any second and make all of this possible.” When no genie appears, I smile sweetly and say, “Looks like you’re shit out of luck.”

 

Reality:  After wrapping up a long and trying day, my boss says, “Are you okay? You look tired and you seemed to have lost weight. I can really tell in your face.” I give a half-hearted smile and reply, “I am fine. I am just tired.”

Twist-a-plot: I look up and reply, “Really? You can tell in my face that I have lost weight?! My face has never been fat! My ass is fat! My thighs are fat! Hell, even my freaking knees are fat, but I am dropping weight in my face! When was the last time you saw a weight-loss commercial with the hook line: ‘got stubbborn face fat…we can help’…..” Heavy sigh.

 

Reality: Random Facebook post shows up on my newsfeed regarding the potential of a specific kind of creative expression to offend certain people. In reality, I keep scrolling.

Twist-a-plot: I pop my knuckles, in that I-am-about-to-get-down-to-business-now kind of way and I type a comment: It is beyond me why so many people have to make a damn mountain out of every little mole hill. It is your choice to make this into something it clearly isn’t. There can be an argument that most of what people do or say can in some fashion potentially offend others. The least of these is passing close-minded judgments on others. Teach others to be tolerant by example…learn to laugh at yourself.

 

Reality: When FaceTiming with my family, my son, Evan, appears on the screen and I am so happy to see him. I say, “Hey, Bubby! How is your week?” He replies, “Good, but you better hurry home, the laundry is piling up fast around here.”

Twist-a-plot: Evan replies, “Hey, Mom! We sure do miss you. Don’t worry about things at home! We are keeping up with all the chores so you won’t have to come back to a huge mess.” Just as I smile and say goodnight, a large pterodactyl comes crashing through the window into my hotel room, lays a giant pterodactyl egg and collapses dead on the floor.

 

NOTE: I added the pterodactyl to the last twist-a-plot, because the idea that Evan would be a willing participant in an effort to forge through the household chores to spare me from having to do so, is so far-fetched, I felt the prehistoric bird was needed to add an element of believability to the scenario.

This is life. It’s okay to laugh, even when you are homesick for your half-tamed troop of baboons.

 

 

This Week’s Top Five Things the Made Me Think, WTH? (Bonus Track Included)

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This Week’s Top Five Things the Made Me Think, WTH? (Bonus Track Included)

 

  1. While eating Chinese food with my husband, Kevin, and daughter, Sophi, I shared a story, thought, idea, comment or theory (or a combination of all these) in my  rapid succession fashion.   Sophi took a bite of her Orange Chicken as if she was considering my thoughts and then states matter-of-factly, “I am pretty sure that you definitely fall somewhere on the autism spectrum”. — WTH??cookie
  2. During a meeting at work, where I was presenting some pretty important concepts for our product to a member of our Development team, my cell phone vibrates and it is my oldest daughter, Riley, calling. She usually texts, so I answered it thinking it must be important. This is our conversation:

Me:  Hello?

Riley: Mom, what are you doing?

Me: I am at work. What’s up?

Riley: I am sad.

Me:  What’s wrong??

Riley: I just walked ALL THE WAY ACROSS CAMPUS to the ONLY vending machine that has my favorite snack and they are out of it. — WTH???

baby rays3.   After a quick stop at the grocery store, my son Evan called me into the kitchen. He then systematically told me how I botched the entire trip because I failed to get Mountain Dew and I “carelessly bought HONEY Bar-B-que Sweet Baby Ray’s and not the original. That is not acceptable.” — WTH??

4.  While driving  Sophi to school this morning, I was traveling down the highway at a good clip and a white van pulls out in front of me. I brake hard to keep from getting up close and personal with his/her bumper and then quickly passed her. He or she laid on her (yeah I am thinking it was a she) horn like I was a maniac for passing. Are you kidding me?? You pulled out in front of me!! — WTH??

5.  On the eve of the anniversary of the attack on 9/11, I am appalled by the protesting that continues in Ferguson, MO. Thirteen years ago, we were a nation united. We lifted one another up. We prayed together, remembered together, and we picked up the pieces together. We mourned the loss of lives across the blurred lines of the human race. Our flags were flown high, we remembered to say ‘I love you’, we restored a sense of community. Gradually, we have put the walls back up. There looms a real and vibrant threat to our America and yet there are those who choose to wage war within the confines of their own WTHcommunity. There is no greater power we can give those who encroach our borders intent to destroy our homeland than to present as a nation divided. Stand on principle, but don’t throw it through a store window and grab 30 pairs of shoes. Use your right to freedom of speech to whichever end you wish, but let’s be clear– if you exercise that right in the middle of the interstate and I am trying to get home from work, I no longer give a shit what you have to say. — WTH???

 

Bonus Track: Kevin was leaving the house Sunday evening and he called to tell me there was a calf on the wrong side of the electric fence. He asked if I would go out and put him back in the field where he belonged. I had my workout clothes on, so I kicked off my running shoes and donned my boots and headed out to get the job done. He told me to grab the orange plastic handle on the fence to unhook it. I did and my hand slipped and I got the piss shocked out of me. Much to my amusement, Sophi captured the whole thing on video. When I asked her why she was videoing me she said, “I had a feeling this wasn’t going to end well.” —-WTH???