Wednesday, December 31, 2008

You've got questions. I've got answers.


1. Fractured the head of my humerus.
2. Playing ice hockey.
3. HOCKEY. ON ICE. 
4. It was a parent/son scrimmage with Sasquatch's team.
5. Hey! Hey!! Hey!!! Don't start on the age thing!
6. I was making a spectacular diving defensive move.
7. No, I don't know if the guy scored.
8. Well, I was kind of busy flopping around on the ice like a seal with one flipper and a seizure disorder.
9. Not immediately, but I was pretty sure there was a problem when, after the game, my brain started playing involuntary word association when I tried to pick things up with that arm.
sock : vicodin!
car key : demerol!
curly fry : morphine!
purse : general anesthesia!
10. Two weeks.
11. In a New York minute. I had a blast.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A White Christmas - literally.

Someone (who shall remain nameless) gifted me with this lovely nativity set after the holidays last year. 

Now, my first thought upon seeing these figurines was, How is it that Mary always looks so placid and refreshed? I mean, the woman just gave birth - in a barn. To GOD. I've seen women who've just delivered a regular, everyday human baby in a warm, comfortable hospital, and they don't look that serene. Unless the Demerol hasn't worn off yet.

Anyway. My second thought was, Wasn't Jesus Jewish? Maybe his family was from northern Israel. Far northern Israel. Back when it bordered Scandinavia. 

Then I got to thinking about how Christmas would be different had Jesus been born in Norway.
  • Mary would have been riding a reindeer instead of a donkey.
  • The shepherds would have found the Babe lying in a manger, wrapped in swaddling furs.
  • The wise men would have brought gold, frankincense, and firewood.
  • Silent Night would have a line, "Silent night, holy night, all is cold, all is white."
  • Nativity sets would come packaged with little fake snow drifts to place against the stable, and Joseph would be wearing snow shoes.
  • Jesus would have been named something like "Bjørn."
  • We'd be singing "O, Little Town of Brønnøysund."
Then my mental list was interrupted by the intrusion of my third thought. (I know. You're thinking, thank God for that. Me too.) I realized that this holy family looked vaguely familiar. Then it hit me. 



The seems that the holy family is related to Conan O'Brien, Late Night talk show host! Who knew?!

I can only conclude that 1) Jesus was an Irish Jew, and 2) once word gets out, that's really gonna put a wrinkle in the Catholic/Protestant conflict in Ireland.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

For the mother-in-law who has everything.

(I don't make this stuff up. This was an actual advertisement from our local Dirtville newspaper.)

Monday, December 1, 2008

And it comes with its own tote bag.

Okay, I know I said I wanted one of those Smart Cars, mostly because they're just so dang cute. 

Well, I've had a change of heart. I want one of these. It makes a Smart Car look like a Hummer. 

Disadvantages: 
1. Not big enough to bring home a week's worth of groceries for Sasquatch. 
2. Any, uh, "emissions" by a male driver could cause the sides to bulge out, making the car appear to be a fluorescent volleyball.

Advantages:
1. Runs on air. Or salad oil. (I swear I am not making this up.) Hot tip: Buy stock in Wesson.
2. Averages 106 mpg. Hot tip: Dump stock in Exxon.

But the #1 thing I like about this car is that I believe it's the perfect vehicle for anyone under 25. Why? Because, 1) as far as I can tell, it accommodates only one person, so there's no room for any va-va-voom, if you get my drift, and b) its top speed is 35 mph, which would eliminate any opportunity for Danger Boy to intentionally go airborne over a hill. Although now that I think about it, he would probably make some "emissions" at the moment of cresting the hill, just to see if the car would bounce when it landed.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thank you, God, for Hot Pockets.

Today is Thanksgiving, my least favorite holiday of the year.

Oh, don't get me wrong. I love getting together with family. And I love the eating of the food. Who wouldn't? I suspect that even God eats sweet potato casserole on Thanksgiving.

It's the preparing of the food that I dread. My attempts in the kitchen usually fall nothing short of DefCom Five Nuclear Disasters, ending with the placement of a FEMA trailer on our property. In all 50 states, I have been forbidden by law to change my last name to Pillsbury, Stouffer, Crocker, and Mills, lest the association with my cooking causes certain food manufacturing companies to go bankrupt. 

In fact, the top three items on my What I'm Thankful For list are
1. take-out pizza
2. the entire cereal aisle at the grocery store
3. crackers

See, if I had been a Pilgrim, this is how the first Thanksgiving would have happened.

Hubster: We have a lot to be thankful for. Let's invite our Native American friends to share in our bounty by sharing a meal with us.
TC: Great! I'll prepare that new instant oatmeal.
Hubster: Hey, isn't that made by those heathen Quakers?
TC: Yeah, but the Native Americans don't know that.

This year, we are celebrating the day with some friends, so I have been appointed the task of bringing the dessert. One would think I could manage a pumpkin pie or two, wouldn't one? One should really get in touch with reality.

Yesterday, I had all the necessary ingredients assembled on the counter. I was sort of hoping some kind of magic would occur, a la Beauty and the Beast - the canned pumpkin and the spatula and the pie crust would do a song and dance and then combine to make themselves into a pie that would win the Bake-Off Prize of the Century.

But that didn't happen. (And by the way, I will never forgive Walt Disney for causing me to have such high expectations out of life - princes on white horses, mice that sew, cars with the voice of Owen Wilson...)

Anyway. Here is what I learned from the experience.

I own only one can opener. The old-fashioned kind, that you use to puncture holes in the tops of lids of evaporated milk.
My only can opener hasn't been used in 15 years.
My only can opener is extremely difficult to locate.
My only can opener might be in the very back of the drawer of kitchen utensils.
In the front of the drawer of kitchen utensils, I have ice cream scoops.
Six ice cream scoops.
One of my ice cream scoops is adorned with a cow's head that actually moos when you dip out the ice cream.
A mooing ice cream scoop should be enough to keep one from eating too much ice cream and thereby gaining weight, but it isn't.
Therefore: a 15-year old can opener caused me to get fat.

In summary, have a blessed Thanksgiving, and eat all the cranberry sauce you'd like. I didn't make it, so it's safe.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Hockey Mom's Letter to Santa Claus

Dear Santa,

I have been very good this year. Remember that one game where a mom from the opposing team threw a triple-A hissy fit because my son checked her son? Even though I wanted to go over there and rearrange the sparkly gems on her t-shirt so that instead of saying "Hockey Mom," it would read "Whiney Mom," I restrained myself. I didn't even say anything ugly to her. Out loud. If you just say it in your head, it doesn't count, right?

Okay. I admit I didn't sell anything for the team fundraiser. But that wasn't really my fault. With the economy being so poor, people just aren't buying Tupperware Corn Cob Keepers like they used to.

Anyway. If you could put the following under my Christmas tree, I'd be happier than a couple of Zamboni drivers playing bumper cars.

1. A new coat to wear to the rink. It needs to be lightweight, able to keep me warm in -30 degree temperatures, quick to remove (in case of a hot flash), and make me look like Catherine Zeta Jones instead of Kung Fu Panda.

2. I've heard that diabetics can now get this machine called an insulin pump, that delivers the right dose directly into their system when it's needed. Can you get me one of those? But I need it to pump shots of espresso. With peppermint mocha syrup.

3. An Odor-Eater the size of a body pillow, to stuff in my son's hockey bag after practice.

4. Heated cute shoes. (Wool socks make my feet look fat.)

5. One of those big electronic megaphones. Apparently, the coaches and players can't hear my advice when I yell from the stands. And I just know that if they would follow my instructions, our team would be undefeated and my eight-year-old son would already have an NHL contract.

Yours Truly,
TC

P.S. Don't count on having milk and cookies at my house. There's a hockey player living here, you know.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Why we don't use ace bandages for headaches.

NOTE: This entry was originally posted on Feb. 1, 2006. It is being reprinted here at the request of my wonderfully funny friend, The Moodie Foodie.
___________________________________

Perhaps you, like I, have spent many a sleepless night pondering the issue of why we don't use ace bandages for headache relief. It's a question that has plagued mankind for centuries. Or at least since the invention of the ace bandage back in 1932.

 

Well, I think I have found the answer. We don't use an ace bandage for headache relief because it makes you look like a flaming nut case.

Exhibit A:

 

That, my friends, is my firstborn child, The Human Q-Tip.


And does anyone else see a resemblance here?

Can I get a parenting do-over?

Everyone aquainted with my daughter, Bunhead, knows that she believes that in any given situation, she should be wearing the t-shirt that says, "I'm The Person In Charge." When she was six, if you asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, she didn't say, "a princess" or "a ballerina" or "a mommy." No. Her planned career path was Evil Dictator.

Fast forward ten years. This was the conversation I overheard in our kitchen last week.

15-year-old Fashion Bug, to Bunhead: What are you making?
Bunhead: Eggnog.
FB: Can I have some?
Bunhead: Only if you do what I say.
FB, hesitantly: Okay... but I'm not going to kill anyone for you.

Great. I read all the wrong parenting books. Here I was all worried about stranger danger and peer pressure and sex education, when I should have been pouring over How to Extortion-Proof Your Child and So Your Daughter Wants to be Head of the Mafia!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The award that's custom made for me.

I don't know if I'll win Best Humor Blogger over at the Homeschool Blog Awards. I'm up against some pretty stiff competition, and I have a small campaign budget. Like, in the neighborhood of $0.00. Unless you count the fact that I bought myself a box of Junior Mints to boost the morale of my campaign; that would put me $0.65 in the red. I feel a need for a bailout coming on.

Anyway. I've thought of an award that much better suits my blogging style. Next year, I'm going to win the Most Redneck Homeschool Blogger award. 

Here's why. 

We recently decided to remodel the guest bathroom here at Agony Acres. I wanted to go for a spa look, so we tore out the pink floral gag-a-rama wallpaper that had been taped to the uninsulated sheet rock since 1975. We painted the room a lovely taupe shade, and then put in a new counter top.
But wait, there's more.

We decided that since we'd gone that far, we should really blow our whole wad. So we sprang for some new 2x4s.

Now, I've heard that in spas there is often a fountain and some chimes, so that you are lulled into relaxation by the sound of trickling water and soft tinkling tones. (Not to be confused with the tinkling tones and trickling water in the actual bathroom... never mind.) Anyway. There's no room in this bathroom for a fountain, and what with the purchase of the new lumber, I couldn't afford chimes. But I've come up with a substitute.

For the sound of water, I go into the next room and throw a load of Hubster's tightie-whities into the washing machine. For the sound of chimes, I put a couple of pairs of my sons' jeans into the dryer, where the inventory of a hardware store falls out of their pockets and clangs around in the dryer drum. (I have a theory: I think my boys have been giving their underwear to gypsies in exchange for bits of shiny metal.)

But wait, there's more.

Hubster decided to replace the commode. He says whoever invented the low-flow toilet obviously never ate at our local Mexican eatery, Taco Tico Mayo Me-o Ee-I-Ee-O, on All You Can Eat Bean Burrito Night. He also mentioned that Mr. Low-Flow Toilet Inventor should be kicked in a certain region of his anatomy, but since this is a family friendly blog, I'll move on.

Now, if you have an old toilet perched on your back porch, you might be a redneck.

And if you have a cow who comes to the back porch to look in your windows, you might be a redneck.

But when you have a cow who comes to drink rainwater out of the toilet on your back porch, you are definitely a redneck.
I just hope the award is more 2x4s, because we need a place to hang the towels.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Abbott & Costello Go To the Emergency Room (or, My Family's Version of "Who's On First?")

Cast of characters:

My father, a stubborn old Dutchman who is deaf as a post.
My mother, a sweet but memory-impaired woman whose technological skills never progressed past using a television - with a dial.
Me, TC, the designated worrier of our family

Setting:

Saturday morning. I have received a call from my sister to let me know that my dad is in the Emergency Room with "lung pain." I am half a continent away.
_____________________________________________

TC calls her mother's cell phone. The phone rings several times (TC imagines that her mom at first wonders why the heart monitor is ringing, and then can't find the phone, and then can't figure out what button to push to receive the call). Then the connection is made, but there is only background noise as TC hears, "I don't know how to answer it! .... No, I don't know who it was. ... Well, maybe they'll call back."

TC yells: MOM! MOM! CAN YOU HEAR ME?
Phone clicks off.

TC, sighing, dials again.

Mom: Hello?
TC: Having trouble with your phone?
Mom: No, why?
TC: Never mind. How's Dad? Have they done an x-ray?
Mom: No, all they did was an EKG. Here's your dad.
TC: Hi, Dad. How are you feeling?
Dad: Hungry. I hope I get out of here before lunch.
TC, rolling eyes: Okay, well, are you going to get a chest x-ray?
Dad: They already did one! And an EKG. And they took some blood.
TC: Oh, Mom said you'd only had an EKG. 
Dad: No, I had an x-ray.
Mom, in the background: When did you have an x-ray?
Dad, raising his voice: Don't you remember when they wheeled me out of here?!
Mom, dubiously: Oh yes.
Dad: Now we're waiting for the doctor. I hope someone brings me something to eat.
TC: Okay, well, I'll call back a little later.
Dad: Why don't you call back later?
TC: That's what I just said!

About an hour later, via cell phone again.

TC: Hi, Dad, how're you feeling?
Dad: Good! They brought me a hamburger! I told the nurse to order up a pizza for us.
TC, shaking her head: Okaaayyy. Well, how about your pain? What did the doctor say?
Dad: Dr. Bay? Who's he?
TC: No, what did the doctor SAY?
Dad: I have to have more tests.
TC: What kind of tests?
Dad: A CT scan, I think.
Mom, in the background: It's a clot in his lung.
Dad, raising his voice: No, that's not what they said! They don't know what it is. 
Mom, in the background: Oh. I thought they said something about your lung.
Dad, irritably: They DID. Something about a spot on the x-ray.
Mom: When did you have an x-ray?
TC, sighing: Okay, well I'll call back later.
Dad: Why don't you call back later? I'm going to see if the nurse can bring me some cake or something.
TC sighs.

About two hours later, via cell phone again.

TC: Hey, Dad, what's the story?
Dad: I have a clot in my lung.
Mom, in the background: No, that's not what they said!
TC, suddenly understanding the situation: Dad, you don't have your hearing aids in, do you?
Dad: WHAT?
TC: YOU'RE NOT WEARING YOUR HEARING AIDS, ARE YOU?
Dad: No!
TC: SO YOU REALLY DON'T HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT THE DOCTOR OR THE NURSE HAS BEEN SAYING TO YOU, DO YOU?
Dad: No! But your mother will tell me later.
TC, muttering: Yeah, great, we'll get all the details from the one who can't remember what year it is.
Dad: That hamburger sure was good for hospital food. I wonder if I can get one to go?
TC feels a migraine coming on.
_____________________________

In the end, the final diagnosis remains a mystery. For all I know, my father could have had an entire lung removed and been given some experimental nuclear medicine and turned into a hamster while he was in there. It's not like I'll ever find out - my mother doesn't even remember the visit to the ER, and my dad's still talking about that hamburger.

Monday, November 10, 2008

So I thought, Why should I keep all this fun to myself?

Last night I realized I hadn't exercised in quite a while, so I got out my 10x mirror. Looking at myself in that thing gets my heart rate up to anaerobic levels, and I don't even have to break a sweat. The bad part is that instead of getting a runner's high, I get a magnifier's depression.

Anyway. Using my mirror, I discovered my head has more silver than a Taos gift shop. My 25th wedding anniversary is coming up in a couple of years, and you know that's the silver anniversary. As opposed to the 50th, which is the golden anniversary. It's named that because if you've lived that long, your kids are probably wondering if they can get any money from your gold dental work. So.  I figure that, by my silver anniversary, with a few flowers and one of those glittery floral picks that say "25" stuck in my hair, my head can be the centerpiece. With any luck, all of our guests will also be needing 10x mirrors to see anything clearly, so they won't notice.

But that's not the point of this post. The point - and I do have one - is this. I didn't have gray hair until I had children. Specifically, one child. Specifically specifically, Danger Boy, who last week celebrated his eighteenth birthday.

I thought it might be nice to share with the world just a little of what I've witnessed over the last 18 years.


<-- For over two years, we didn't have to use a lawn sprinkler. Just set the boy outside and made sure he spent a few extra minutes around the flower beds. 


 











The consummate air traveler. Note: this was before 9/11, when passengers were allowed to take their own pacifiers through security.


And you thought Post-It notes were just for, well, notes. Betcha didn't know you can use them to block alien brain waves.


<--- Homeschool multitasking: doing math & gymnastics at the same time!

When traveling by car, most people take 10-minute restroom breaks. Not Danger Boy. He takes unauthorized 30-minute rock climbing expeditions and gets back in the car with four pounds of dirt in his shoes, smelling of skunk cabbage.


Danger Boy Principle #12: An activity isn't any fun unless you ramp up the potential injury factor times 50.



The infamous "Brownie Ball" challenge.



Followed by "Bag of Burned Popcorn Ball."


Chronicles of Danger, chapter 2, verse 8: And God made trees, and He commanded Danger Boy to climb to the top, yea, the very top of the tree. Then the Lord did say, "Behold, see the land below you which I have created. And see your mother having heart failure. Verily."


*sigh* He's cute. He's funny. And I hope God gives him a kid (or six) just like him.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Can I get that with anti-anxiety medication?

Well, today is October 30th, and you know what that means - it's Christmas catalog time!

Unfortunately, the first catalog I received, from Barbie Collector, was selling some pretty disturbing gifts. (I should note here that I do not actually collect Barbies. I just think it's ethically wrong for toys to have better shoes than I do.)

Anyway. These aren't your run-of-the-mill Floozy Cheerleader Barbie or Chain-Smoking Hair Stylist Town Gossip Barbie dolls like you can get at StuffMart. These Barbies are obviously the creation of a psychopath. Either that, or someone's putting hallucinogenics in the water coolers down at the Mattel headquarters. I give you Exhibit A.

This would be Medusa Barbie. Because what's a childhood without a doll whose hair turns into a mass of writhing snakes?

But Exhibit B is even worse.
This, my friends, is The Birds Barbie. Here, Barbie is about to have her eyes pecked out and her flesh shredded by a flock of vicious birds, in a recreation of the scene from Alfred Hitchcock's classic horror film.

And a holly jolly Christmas to you, too, Mattel. Sheesh.

Okay, I know that these dolls aren't really intended for kids. But think about it. The average Barbie collector is probably about my age, which is none of your business but let's just say I've been 39 for many years. So, the average Barbie collector probably also has granddaughters. Can you imagine the conversation an 8-year-old girl might have with her friends after spending a night at Grandma's house?

Girl 1: My grandma has one of the very first Barbie dolls. She's on a shelf in grandma's guest bedroom.
Girl 2: My granny has Malibu Barbie on her shelf. I like her tan skin.
Girl 3: My grammie has Psycho Shower Scene Barbie. She comes with a little plastic knife and a shower spattered with real blood!
(silence)
Girl 3: I have bad dreams at my grammie's house.
Girl 1: I have to go home now.

On the upside, a resourceful mom could really take advantage of this trend. 

Daughter, wailing: Mommy, Mommy! Rover chewed the leg off my Barbie! Wahhhh!
Mom: Oh, honey, look! Now you have Jaws Barbie!

Daughter, wailing: Mommy, Mommy! My Barbie's head came off!! Wahhh!
Mom, in a soothing voice: Oh, honey, look! Now you have Marie Antoinette Barbie!

Daughter, wailing: Mommy, Mommy! Susie came over and said President Obama said we HAVE to share, and she took all of my Barbie's clothes home with her! Wahhhhh!
Mom: Oh, honey, look! Now you have Socialist Barbie!
________________________________________

Be a responsible American citizen. VOTE ON NOVEMBER 4.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

HINT. HINT. HINT.

I admit it. I have no pride.

Please go and nominate me for a Homeschool Blog award. ------>

Anyone can nominate. Anyone can vote. 

And if I win, I promise not to do anything to the economy except buy more socks and underwear.

Recipe for mischief

Take one sixteen year old smarty pants daughter.

Add one photo of daughter's father. (The sun was in his eyes.) (Okay, it wasn't. He always looks like that.) (Especially at teenage boys, vegetarians, and men with purses.)
Combine with smarty pants daughter's growing skills with photo editing software.
Let ingredients simmer.

Return to computer to find this wallpaper.

I keep telling her she needs to use her powers for good rather than evil.

Monday, October 13, 2008

So near, and yet so far.

Recent stories from the world of science and technology report that a young man was equipped with a bionic hand, another man received two transplanted arms, and the U.S. Army is developing something called "synthetic telepathy ," which will allow people to send emails or voice mail by thought alone. (And for the sake of this entry, I'm pretending I didn't hear about the malfunctioning space toilet.)

This is all well and good, but here's what I want to know: Why can't someone create a shopping cart that doesn't take two strong men and a monkey to muscle through store aisles?

I was in StuffMart on Thursday night, on one of my bi-weekly trips for milk, socks, and underwear. It was 12:30 AM. I was the only shopper in the store. Well, there were a couple of guys lurking in the magazine aisle, but I think they were just killing time until their meth lab finished brewing back at the trailer park.

Anyway. You'd think the odds were good that I would get a cart with 4 wheels that all move, AND that move in the same direction. No. Apparently, StuffMart has a contract with a shopping cart manufacturer to buy only these types of carts:

  • The Political Cart. One front wheel goes left, the other goes right, and a back wheel tries to secede from the cart altogether.
  • The Mental Illness Cart. On this model, one wheel has an obsessive-compulsive tendency to pick up every bit of thread, string, dental floss, and barbed wire that lays on the floor of the store. (What, your StuffMart doesn't have barbed wire laying around? How do ya'll keep your tailgates fastened to your trucks?) All this twine is then wrapped around the wheel's axle, thereby causing the wheel to rotate at half the speed of the other three wheels, which then creates a paranoia state for the OCD wheel, which then tries to commit hari-kari by twisting sideways in an attempt to get kicked to death by the shopper.
  • The Two-Year-Old Cart. A toddler-like wheel stubbornly will. not. move. at. all. And if you force it, it screams bloody murder.
  • The Microbiology Experiment Cart. (A must-have in a community with a lot of homeschoolers.) You think those letters on the shopping cart handle are imprinted? Think again. That's 80 trillion organized bacteria. "C'mon, guys. Everybody get in formation, like rocks on a beach. We'll spell out StuffMart on the handle, and then watch the flu party get started! Yee haw!"
  • The ADD Cart. You roll this one out to your car, and in the 2.5 seconds it takes you to open the trunk, the cart has drifted 10 feet away and is about to smash into the side of a BMW belonging to the police chief's wife.
And while I'm thinking about shopping carts, I also want to say that every StuffMart should install a Cart Wash operation at the entrance to the store. You know, like a car wash. First, the hot, soapy water wash. Then the cart passes through a bleach rinse. Then an alcohol spray, and finally, an ultraviolet light drying period. I believe that if these steps are followed, we can eradicate measles, mumps, chicken pox, the common cold, and possibly even Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in our lifetime. In some cases, it might also be necessary to force the shopper through the Cart Wash as well, but this is the price we have to pay for good community health.

And now I must go answer an email I received from my memory-impaired mother. She said something about a chimp, a can of sliced peaches, and Ron Paul. Either that synthetic telepathy thing is on the fritz, or she just got home from StuffMart.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Another one of those little gaps in our homeschool curriculum

This morning, Danger Boy was relating what he learned at a church youth program last night.

"The pastor was talking about when the apostle John denied Christ three times. And then, later in his life, John was circumcised. Or crucified. Or something like that."

Thank God this child isn't planning a career as a pediatrician. His practice would go downhill faster than a fat kid in silicone snow pants, the first time he asked some new parents, "Do you plan to have your son crucified?" And there's not enough malpractice insurance in the world to cover a doctor's note that reads, "Patient was crucified after the administration of a local anesthetic."

Monday, September 29, 2008

Introducing Skippy


Well, life has gotten pretty busy since Skippy the Wonder Pug came to live at our house a couple of weeks ago.

Skippy has two speeds: Heat-Seeking Missile, and Comatose. The above photo was taken on his first day at our house, when he was shocked into immobility for, oh, 15 minutes. I think he has grown since then, but it's hard to tell because when I see him, he's a little fawn-colored, snorting blur.

Fortunately, his target is usually The Menace, our basset hound with a hyperactivity disorder and a miniscule bladder. Skippy's favorite trick is to let The Menace chase him under the bed. The Menace, whose brain is approximately the size of a soybean, will then stick her head under the bed, and Skippy, who has been waiting for this exact opportunity, nips her right in the nose. The Menace yelps, backs up, realizes Skippy is still hiding, and then thrusts her head under the bed again. This is a game that could go on for hours, were it not for The Menace's need for frequent potty breaks. I guess that with all the excitement, her bladder shrinks to a size that can only be seen with a high-powered microscope.

Skippy's other favorite activity is to eat anything but the $25 worth of puppy chow I purchased for him. I'm trying to have a good attitude about this habit, though. I figure I can tell my friends, "Hey, you've heard about that elephant who painted? And that gorilla who could use sign language? Well, check this out. Our new puppy has eaten a DVD remote, a cell phone, two CD cases, a Playstation controller, and several newspapers. He's going to be the dog that poops multi-media presentations."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Toothpaste: It's not just for breakfast anymore.

So last night I had to make one of my late-night forays into StuffMart. I think Rod Serling might have gotten his inspiration for The Twilight Zone from StuffMart at midnight. And because plain old run-of-the-mill weirdness isn't enough for me, I took along Danger Boy. 

Now, I have to tell you that there is something in the air at StuffMart that just escalates Danger Boy's ADD to mach five. I imagine that his brain is doing something like a pinball machine in which all six balls have been released at once. "PING! LEFT FLIPPER! TILT! PING! PING! BONUS POINTS! RIGHT FLIPPER! PING! WHOOP WHOOP! TILT!" (Or, for those of you younger readers who have never seen a pinball machine, think Sonic the Hedgehog hopped up on crack.) Surely I am not the only mother who wishes those belted seats in shopping carts could accommodate a 6'2" seventeen-year-old boy.

Anyway. Besides the usual bi-weekly pickup of milk, boys' socks, and underwear, I needed to get some toothpaste for myself. 

Well. I was horribly unprepared for toothpaste shopping.

When I was a kid, you had your choice of four different toothpastes: Colgate, Crest, Pepsodent, and, later, UltraBrite. They all came in one color: white. They all came in one flavor: toothpaste. There were no such things as sealants or flouride treatments, so everyone had cavities, no one had braces, and we had to use toothbrushes that weren't battery operated or had MP3 players in the handle. Life was good. Especially for dentists.

As I rounded the corner into the toothpaste aisle last night, I felt like I had entered the Chuckie Cheesedom of Dental Products. There had to have been 135 varieties of Crest toothpaste, all in sparkly, brightly colored boxes, right next to the fluorescent singing toothbrushes ("Now with a palate sander!") and the raspberry-flavored mouthwash (in your choice of alcoholic or non). I'm pretty sure I saw
  • Crest Fresh Mint
  • Crest Cool Mint
  • Crest Mint Julep
  • Crest Lemon
  • Crest Strawberry Daiquiri
  • Crest Hickory Smoked Goat Cheese
WHO is working in Research and Development for Crest - Rachael Ray?! Good grief, I was working up an appetite while just trying to purchase a little 88 cent tube of toothpaste-flavored Pepsodent. Meanwhile, Danger Boy, whose boredom meter had exceeded the "safe" zone and was now in the "impending danger to others" zone, was throwing pennies at a bird in the rafters while simultaneously trying to determine if he could put hydraulics on our shopping cart.

Finally, I found my toothpaste, on a bottom shelf under the enormous display of dental floss - waxed, unwaxed, mint, unmint, organic, hypoallergenic, and vegetarian. (They were out of the floss with extra calcium for seniors.) I grabbed the toothpaste box, used my purse strap to lasso Danger Boy as he was starting to wander off toward charcoal lighter ("But, mom, flames coming out of the back of the cart would be so cool!"), and headed for the checkout lane. 

Today I'm very worried. I just noticed we're running low on liquid hand soap. 

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Proof that our culture is going to hell in a handbasket.

People are always complaining about the media. 

Reporters slant stories too far left. Or right. Or, for those at the North Pole, too far south.

Rumors are reported as fact. Facts are reported only in part. 

Tabloids skip the facts and the rumors altogether and just report the news that's transmitted from space aliens and their leader, Elvis Presley.

And just when you think it can't get any worse ....

... I've been published.

Yep. A small magazine that circulates in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area printed one of my pieces.

I'm trying not to get The Big Head about this, but I gotta tell you, I'm happier than a dung beetle in the cattle barn at the county fair. 

I promise this: If this leads to my very own media empire, I am definitely going to hire someone else to do my bi-weekly shopping for boys' socks and underwear.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

If I ran the nightly news.

TV newsguy Biff: John McCain has announced his selection of Gov. Sarah Palin for V.P., and tonight we will hear an expert opinion on this choice from our correspondent in Dirtville, Mrs. TC. Mrs. TC's expertise is in the field of knowing everything and/or making stuff up. TC, welcome.

TC: Hi, Biff. Thanks for the introduction.

Biff: You say that you think Gov. Palin brings a "unique skill set" to the office of vice president. Can you elaborate?

TC: I can, and I will. You might want to get a snack before I get started.

As we all now know, Gov. Palin is a hockey mom. This experience alone, I believe, has prepared her for the challenges she will face as a vice president. For instance, she's familiar with the offsides rule, which regulates when a player may enter the opponent's zone. I believe Gov. Palin will be tough but fair on the issue of illegal immigration. I'd like her to start by painting a blue line on our borders.

Biff: What about gun ownership rights, TC?

TC: Biff, in the game of hockey, a skater is not allowed to be in the crease, the area just in front of the goalie. If a skater does attempt to encroach on the crease, the goalie usually will take matters into his own hands (or stick) to remove the skater from his "house." I believe Gov. Palin will stand behind the Second Amendment, allowing homeowners to use weapons for protection and self-defense. I don't think she will require a 3-day waiting period to buy a hockey stick.

Biff: And that begs the question, what about capital punishment?

TC: Because of her experience with the penalty box, Gov. Palin is well acquainted with the justice and penal systems. I think she will press for swift punishment for criminal activity, and I would encourage her to consider establishing a game misconduct penalty, with a 6-month suspension, for congressmen who vote to give themselves a raise.

Biff: Some people say she does not have enough experience in the foreign relations field. Your opinion?

TC: Hello? Haven't those people heard of CANADA, that little chunk of land between the lower 48 and Alaska? You can't convince me that Gov. Palin hasn't been to a hockey game or two in Canada. And I bet she's watched the movie, "Miracle," which of course indicates that she's familiar with Russia.

Biff: Terrorism, TC?

TC: No thanks, I'm trying to cut down.

Biff: No, I meant, what's Gov. Palin's plan to deal with terrorism?

TC: Oh. Well, let me put it in hockey terms. When a hockey player takes a cheap shot on an opponent, that opponent's team doesn't take it lying down. Every hockey team has a player who's known as an "enforcer," a guy who makes the attacker very, very sorry for his cheap shot.  Gov. Palin will be a strong supporter of our country's enforcer, the U.S. military, and my people are working behind the scenes right now to contact Gov. Palin about buying a certain stealth cow to aid in that effort.

Biff: The economy is a major issue in this election, TC. How might Gov. Palin deal with it?

TC: Well, Biff, every hockey parent knows that when you have a kid playing this sport, you learn to live on beans and cornbread. I just bought a pair of skates for my own son that cost more than my first car AND its first 100 fill-ups. Gov. Palin obviously has experience in working with a budget and my hope is that she will mandate that Starbucks, where most Americans feel the money crunch the hardest, will lower its prices by 50%.

Biff: Well, TC, we are out of time. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with our viewers.

TC: Always a pleasure, Biff. Keep your stick on the ice.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

We'll leave a light on for you.

As I was making my bi-weekly trip to StuffMart for socks and underwear, I noticed that two very large luxury hotels are going up here in Dirtville, TX (pop. 5,023, counting the people in RVs in the StuffMart parking lot). 

We already have 4 hotels, plus a couple of No Tell Motel type places - you know, the places you drive by real fast because 1) you're afraid of recognizing the pickup parked outside Room 6, and 2) the bedbugs might be able to make a leap from the motel lobby into your car. I can't figure out why we're getting two more hotels. It's not like anything ever happens here.

Well, we do have our annual Dirtville Days celebration. This is held in honor of the invention of the trailer hitch, or something like that. If you haven't heard of it, it's just because you haven't been paying attention. Or you're a Democrat and think that trailer hitches should be regulated by the government.

Anyway. Two big events happen during this celebration. One, the Trailer Hitch Princess is chosen. This is quite an honor for any young lady, and something to add to her resume when she applies to be a hair stylist down at The Pampered Heifer Beauty Barn. Two, we have the big Dirtville Days parade, headed by the local Trailer Hitch Preservation Committee. Everyone goes to the parade, because they know the football team will be there on a float, throwing candy out into the crowd. (Never mind that the team purposely tries to bean people between the eyes with watermelon Jolly Ranchers thrown at 60 miles per hour.) The Cub Scout float usually follows the football team float. Those poor unsuspecting kids. They've never caught on to why the parade watchers scream in horror and duck for cover when they start tossing candy.

Not only does nothing happen here, but there IS nothing here. If you go to the town square, the hotbed of commerce in Dirtville, you will see:
  • PeetieMae's Thrift Store ("Browse our selection of 400 used coffee mugs!")
  •  The Craft Mall ("Specializing in plastic canvas Kleenex covers for the discriminating home and business")
  • the Good Ol' Boy Barber Shop
  • The Longhorn Cafe ("Don't even bother asking about veggie burgers. This ain't goldurn Los Angelees.")
  • Cooter's Boot & Spur Emporium
  • Eight (yes, eight) attorney's offices. Hmm. Apparently, something does happen here, albeit of an illegal nature. Probably people trying to possess a trailer hitch without a license.
  • Four photography studios. I have no idea why we need four professional photographers. We only need one to do the portrait of the Trailer Hitch Princess. Last year's was especially lovely, even though she was sporting a big welt from an Atomic Fireball over her right eyebrow. Everyone told her not to turn around to look at the football players' float, but she didn't listen.
Well, as I said, I'm mystified as to the need of two new hotels here. But it's a comforting thought to know that I'll have a place to live when the sock & underwear compost heap upstairs finally comes crashing through the ceiling.

Friday, August 22, 2008

It's hockey night in ... Texas!

Hockey season has started again. Sasquatch had his first practice on Saturday. I think they must have been trying to weed out the wanna-be hockey moms from the die-hards, because we had to be at the rink from 7:00 am until noon. I know. Even God doesn't get up before 7:30.

Fortunately, I knew to bring the two things no die-hard hockey mom should ever be without: caffeine and chocolate. I had my 2-gallon Thermos of coffee (which I like to call, "Keg O' Pacemaker") and a bag of Oreos (which I like to call "Oreos"). 
_________________________________________________________

It's kind of a shock to walk into a frosty ice rink after a summer in Tejas, which is Spanish for "five degrees cooler than Hell." My body didn't know whether to sweat, shiver, or have to pee. So I had a hot flash and accomplished all three.
_________________________________________________________

We have a new team manager this season. Last year the position was filled by Perky Cheerleader Barbie Mom. I loved her, except for those mornings when we had 6:00 am games. The woman would literally be bouncing in the stands, filled with the sheer joy of all things hockey and children and sunrise. I just wanted to sit on her, and follow that up by whacking her on the head with my Keg O' Pacemaker.

Anyway. This year's team manager is Number Cruncher Goalie Mom. She's not perky, but lemme tell you, if you need someone to beat up a referee behind the rink after a game, she's your go-to-girl. If you know anything at all about hockey, you know not to mess with a goalie mom, because she might be even crazier than her goalie kid.

Ask anyone who's been around ice hockey for a while - goalies are different. They're a weird subset of humans. You've probably heard the expression, "His elevator doesn't go all the way to the top." Well, a goalie's elevator goes to the top - and out the roof. Goalies are intense, and about half a puck away from being criminally insane. It's really a good thing that doping isn't a big problem in the NHL, because goaltenders would take 'roid rage to a whole new level. If a skater stepped in the crease, that goalie would rip the dude's face cage out with his teeth, and then eat it like a Triscuit.
__________________________________________________

I haven't met all of the other parents yet, but I do know that Dr. Dad's kid is on the team again this year. I like Dr. Dad. He's smart, and funny, and he uses an Apple computer. I use an Apple. We Apple groupies users think alike. We all want our daughters to marry a guy who works at the Genius Bar.
__________________________________________________

As is his custom, Sasquatch grew several inches over the summer, which meant that he needed new hockey equipment. I really need to find out if that compost heap of socks & underwear in his room is giving off growth hormones or something. 

New skates, size 13: $500!! You'd think that for that price, they'd come with an iPod dock, a built-in ice level digital video camera, and some Flubber in the heel cup. But no. All I know is, when the season's over, I am not throwing those skates out. Maybe I'll make a purse out of 'em. Oh, wait, I know. I'll send them to China. The Chinese gymnasts can use them for 3-bedroom apartments.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dude, where's my cow?

Apparently, it's not enough that every American under the age of 35 is perpetually connected to an electronic device. You know - the iPod, the cell phone, the laptop, the Wii, the Blackberry, the GPS, the Guitar Hero guitar, and that antique called a "television." And, in the case of my kids, sometimes all of these devices at the same time. This from the same kids who complain if I make them do math AND science on the same day

On top of that, I really think that someday, someone is going to inadvertently make contact with space aliens just by mixing up their Wii nunchuck with their iPhone. And then Steve Jobs is going to become so rich, he'll be able to buy Europe.

Anyway. Because we're Americans and we believe in equality for everyone, we have now made it possible for our cows to wear headsets. I swear I am not making this up.


You can read the whole story here. Basically, the idea is that not only can the farmer track the cow via GPS, but the cow receives sounds through the "Ear-A-Round" (although my choice for the name would have been the "iMoo")  that will get the cow to move in a particular direction.

Now, this was interesting to me, because we have a Houdini cow who manages to get through any given barrier designed to keep her on our property.  I can't tell you how many times we've had to go all cowboy on her because she managed to open a gate and escape. I really believe this cow could infiltrate Ft. Knox. If anyone from the CIA is reading this, I'd be happy to sell her to you for stealth operations for a mere 20 billion dollars.

And think of all the other wonderful applications of this technology! Kids are at the mall, wearing their Ear-A-Round, and you could have them hear, "If you even enter that awful Spencer Gifts store, you're gonna be grounded until I'm forced to let you leave the house to get fitted for your dentures." Son is in the locker room after hockey practice, and he hears, "You'd better come home with your underwear and two socks. And they'd better be YOUR underwear and socks." Teenage son is driving, and he hears, "You exceed the speed limit, mister, and I swear you'll be back to riding a little red tricycle to work." Teenage daughter is out on a date, and her Ear-A-Round transmits, "NO. NO. NO. NO." And her date's transmits, "Don't even THINK about it unless you want to spend the rest of your life as a eunuch."

But here's the best part: the last sentence in the article reads, "If the sound cues don't work, the device can emit a small electrical shock to move cows in the desired direction." I'm especially excited about this option. I think this might be exactly what I need to get Hubster out of his fishing boat and back to his 2-year-old bathroom remodeling project.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Coming soon to a theater near you

Driving with one's teens in the car is an enlightening experience. My sons play some game where they call out car names and then punch each other. I have no idea what the purpose of this activity is, but I'm trusting that it's some kind of male bonding thing and that it's preparing them for stellar careers as video store employees.

My daughters, on the other hand, like to have meaningful conversation in the car. This means that I get to listen to them chatter about cute boys, clothes, cute boys who wear clothes, and uteruses.

Yeah. You read that right. And yes, there's a story coming.

Seems that FashionBug had become aware that some women are no longer the proud owners of a uterus. And it seems that this was true of the mom of FashionBug's best friend. So FB was sharing with her sister and me that friend's mom occasionally experienced PMS symptoms, even without the requisite organ.

Now, Princess Bunhead has a long history of being knowledgeable about uteruses. She also has a long history of coming out with those "it sounded right until I said it" proclamations. She's familiar with the phantom limb phenomenon, and figured it applied in this case, but as she explained it to her sister, she declared, "Oh, it's probably a ghost uterus."

I almost drove into a tree.

But, wait. There's more.

That night I watched one of the X-Men movies before I went to bed. Mistake.

I dreamed that I had special powers. I became the Mutant Ghost Uterus, with long, snake-like fallopian tubes, and I could reach way out and smack folks upside the head with my ovaries. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to meet myself in a dark alley.

I see a whole series of movies in my future, starting with "Scooby Doo and the Ghost Uterus."

Freddy Krueger has met his match.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The secret life of cows.

So, this summer we've had a day-care cow. By that I mean, there is a neighbor's cow who comes over to our house every day around 10:00 am, eats our grass, fertilizes our lawn, and goes home around 3:00 pm. See? Day-care cow.

I have a theory about this cow. I think she got wind of the runaway bull adventure we had a couple of years ago, and she's hoping that she, too, can get a ride in an SUV. I mean, think about it. A cow's life is about as exciting as a potato on sedatives. What does a cow do all day but eat grass, make manure, and sleep? So when that calf got home after his little car trip, don't you know he was the talk of the barnyard? He's probably something of a bovine legendary myth by now. "Oh, your uncle Clovis met Buford, The Backseat Cow. 'Course, that was back when he was a bull, before the, uh, surgery. Some folks say that's what made him get the wandering hooves."

Really, the only time cows get any travel experience at all is when they get loaded up in a trailer for a ride to that Great Pasture In The Sky. And it's not like they know what's going to happen. They're probably all excited, "Oo, I hear that where we're going, we'll be surrounded by greenery." No one's going to tell them, "Uh, that greenery would be the lettuce between you and the bun."

Well, gotta run. I have to find out if having a day-care cow is a home business, for tax purposes.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Fat Eyebrows

I think I've finally figured out why I never got asked to the high school prom. I have fat eyebrows. Not the eyebrow hair - Brooke Shields has fat eyebrow hair and used it to rake in a gazillion dollars. No, I have your run-of-the-mill fat eyebrows (see "A" in the following illustration), and the only thing it's done for me is give me a perpetual glowering look, which is great when you're a parent but not so much when you're trying to lure an eighteen-year-old boy. I'm sure all the guys who were in high school with me thought I was suffering from permanent PMS.

Let me tell you, there aren't any exercises you can do to lose fat in your eyebrows. I tried doing eyebrow pushups (Angry! Surprised! Angry! Surprised! Angry! Surprised!) but that just led The Hubster to ask, "When did you get Tourette's Syndrome?"

Anyway. I had to have minor surgery on my eyelid this past week. Not the fat eyebrow part, but the VERY THIN layer of skin that covers my actual eye ball (see "B" in above illustration). And I was okay with the idea until we actually got to the part where the doctor said, "Lay back and keep your eye closed. I'm going to inject some numbing medication into your eyelid." 

Now, because the fat in my eyebrows slows down the transfer of information in my head, this is what was going on in my brain.
"Wait a minute ... Inject ... numbing medication .....very thin skin ....  GAWWWWWW!!! That HURTS!!!"
 
And then,
"What if this guy accidently pokes that needle through my eyelid into my eyeball? Then my eyeball would be NUMB! And I couldn't move it! I'd look like Marty Feldman!"

"That would put a serious crimp in my plans to become a supermodel... Well, that plus the fact that I'm not the same shape and weight of a No. 2 pencil..."

Of course, because of my brain delay, by the time I got to the Marty Feldman part of my internal narrative, the doctor had finished my procedure, seen two other patients, performed lifesaving neurosurgery on an injured dog in the parking lot, and gone to lunch.

Well, as it turns out, the 1-minute surgery went off with no complications. So now I have a swollen eyelid, which, combined with my fat eyebrows, makes everyone else think I'm giving them the Hairy Eyeball.

Which isn't all bad. I might actually be up for a modeling job in Vulture Owner's Weekly.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

You've been warned.

Airlines are going bankrupt. Housing foreclosures are at an all-time high. The Big Three automakers are seeing a downward spiral in sales. Angelina Jolie's quest for world domination is about to get 33% more powerful.

But buddyroe, you ain't seen trouble yet. Here's the scenario that should frighten you more than a nuclear bomb in a postal worker's basement.

Imagine a 50-year-old woman on her way to work. Global warming is making her hot flashes worse. She's been reduced to wearing those uglier-than-homemade-sin Crocs because her feet hurt. And they're generic StuffMart crocs, because she can't afford the real things since she just put $65 worth of fuel in her car. And now she can't get her morning jolt of caffeine because her neighborhood Starbucks closed?!

You're about to witness road rage taken to a whole new level.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Lessons from Boston, Part II

Someone really needs to invent bifocals to be worn in the shower. Because somebody might not be able to read the printing on those teeny bottles of personal hygiene items at the hotel. And somebody might put ultra-moisturizing body lotion on their hair.

Not that I would know anything about that.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Lessons from Boston

Three things I learned today while spending 3 hours lost in downtown Boston:

1. Do not bother to look for street signs in Boston. There are none. At least, none on the street corners that you will specifically be looking for.

2. Traffic lights mean something entirely different in Boston than in the rest of the world. Green: cheer for the Celtics. Yellow: cheer for the Bruins. Red: cheer for the Red Sox. Feel free to make a left-hand turn across oncoming traffic no matter which team is highlighted.

3. If you see a yellow line on the road to the left of your car, it means that you are in the "chapping lane." The yellow line indicates that you may, at any given time, steer your vehicle so that half of it is in the neighboring lane of oncoming cars. Then, because some idiot up the street is turning left while cheering for the Red Sox, you will block oncoming traffic for a full 3 minutes, thereby chapping the other four hundred thousand drivers trying to go by you.

Gotta run. I'm using a computer at a hotel at which I'm not even staying. I think. There aren't any street signs, so for all I know, I'm in Quebec.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

TC's Retirement Plan

The creators of Real Life Adventures summed up my retirement plan in today's comic.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

On The Road With Pain & Panic

There are times, when boys are very young, that a parent thinks, This kid is a knucklehead. It'll be a miracle if he survives to his 18th birthday. 

But the day finally comes when the parent looks at the boy, now grown into a young man, and the parent realizes, Shoot. He really IS an idiot.

I give you Exhibit A: my own sons, who for purposes of this entry will be called Pain and Panic.
After the big tire blowout in Dallas, and after waiting three hours at Pep Boys while the mechanics re-enacted the Battle of Gettysburg in the garage bays instead of changing our tire, we were finally ready to get back on the road to Florida. But, realizing that kids sleep better when their bellies are full - and are therefore quieter and less likely to make smoke come out of Dad's ears when he's driving - we decided to get some dinner. Hubster chose IHOP. Oh, yeah. Nothing like a quadrillion carbohydrates in the form of sugar to settle a kid down.

As the children plowed through their pancakes and bacon and whatever wasn't glued to the table by thousand-year-old maple syrup dribbles, Hubster quizzed them with some catechism questions. For every question they got right, they received another glass of orange juice. I was seeing a lot of potty stops in our immediate future.

After we'd paid the bill by arranging a second mortgage on our house, we headed for the exit. Naturally, Pain and Panic had to finish off an hour of spiritual exercise by jacking a couple of packages of crayons on the way out the door. Which just goes to show you can lead a horse to righteousness but you can't make him repent. Or something like that. 

And then they proceeded to terrorize their sister, FashionBug, all the way to Florida. Every time we saw a police car, they stuffed the hot crayons onto her lap and shrieked, "AHHH! The cops are after us for stealing!" FashionBug, who has a law authority phobia anyway, was convinced the whole lot of us would end up in a filthy Mississippi jail, guarded by Mongo.
________________________________________________________
We arrived in Florida without any other major incidents.

Second day there: Pain and Panic announced they'd like to go fishing in the pond behind Grandpa's house. Grandpa fixed 'em up with a couple of rods and sent them on their merry way, which was rather foolish given that Grandpa's own son, Hubster, could barely be trusted on his own for more than 22.5 seconds until he reached age thirty.

One hour later, I went looking for the boys. They were nowhere to be seen around the pond.

Did I mention that this pond is home to a 10-foot alligator?

And did I also mention that Pain thinks he is the long-lost son of Steve Irwin, the late Crocodile Hunter? 

I had visions that my boys had approached the gator with the intent of bringing him back to Texas as a pet, but that the gator had approached them with the intent of bringing them into his stomach as dinner. 

Turns out the alligator DID play a role in their disappearance. Or rather, the lack of the gator. After they had fished for, oh, 4 minutes, and there was no sign of the Big Dude, the boys decided to hike over to another pond in hopes of "catching more fish" (which, in boy-speak means, "finding another alligator"). 

In a rush, it all came back to Grandpa how to parent two wayward boys. The rest of the day was rather, shall we say, unpleasant for Pain and Panic.
__________________________________________________

Third day in Florida: We had been advised by Grandma that there had been some break-ins in the neighborhood, and that we were to be diligent in keeping all doors locked at all times. This applied especially to the house next door, where we had been given permission to stay, by the owner who had gone north. (Tommie, if you're reading this: When you go back to Florida in the fall, if you find any of my sons' socks or underwear in that spare bedroom, DO NOT - I repeat, DO NOT - attempt to remove them yourself. Call the authorities.)

It was close to midnight, and I was still up over at Grandpa's house when I heard a banging noise from outside. FashionBug and Pain and Panic had all gone to bed at the neighbor's house next door. The banging continued. I finally realized what was going on. Pain had likely gotten a phone call from a friend, taken his cell phone outside to talk, and was locked out the house. I smiled to myself as I decided to let him suffer the consequences a bit longer.

The banging kept getting louder and more insistent, and I figured I'd better speak to my son before the whole neighborhood was awake and pelting us with rocks and garbage.

I swear I felt every organ in my body shut down when I opened the door, looked across the driveway, and saw three police officers standing there with their weapons drawn. FashionBug was standing in the doorway of the neighbor's house and turning the color Gwyneth Paltrow might be if she spent a year living in a cave. Pain and Panic were, of course, sleeping soundly.

Well. It seems that a vigilant neighbor had noticed lights in the "empty" house, and given the recent rash of burglaries, had called the cops. I explained the situation to the men and they drove off in search of some donuts. 

Then I went to do my parenting duty of comforting and calming FashionBug. When I asked her what went through her mind when she opened the door and saw officers with a guns, she said, "I really thought they were here about those crayons."

Friday, June 13, 2008

If Men Vacuumed

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Hubster, if you're reading this: NO.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Honey, unless it comes with a camo TV remote, I'll still know where you are.

Every guy's favorite store, Testosterone World, is marketing some interesting things for Father's Day. (Oh, don't even try to convince me that they're also selling to women. Sure, they may offer a few token pink wool socks and a cast iron frying pan, but any place where you can actually hear men grunt when they enter the Bargain Cave is a guy's store.)

Father's Day gift idea #1:

Because a house isn't really a home without a camo rocker recliner.

But, wait! There's more!

Father Day gift idea #2:

The camo sectional sofa!! 

The problem I have with this is, what do you say when you go to JCPenney to order window treatments?
Clerk: Now, what's your decorating style, dear?
TC: Well, it's mostly Early American Tree Stand. But I like to throw in a few Cro Magnon accents just for fun.
_________________________________________

Hubster, if you're reading this: NO.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Flamingo Fandango, perhaps?

Okay, okay - I'm sorry. I totally forgot to write about the Guinea Pig Hoedown back in early May. (I swear I don't make this stuff up.) Mea culpa.
So as to make up for my error, I've decided to list a number of upcoming events here in the Federal Republic of Texas, things you can plan that summer vacation around. 'Course, with the price of fuel, you might need to sell your two oldest kids and their Wii to afford to get to some of these events, unless you have a close relative in Iraq, where gas currently costs fifty eight cents a gallon. (Again, not making this up.)

June 1 - Aug. 2, El Paso  UnKnitting: Challenging Textile Traditions. "Performative knitting practice in the creation of avant-garde, contemporary sculpture."
Performance knitting?! Who knew you could make a big blobby knot of yarn and call it art? Gee, I could be a master of performance cooking: 'I call this piece, "Rubbery Eggs Held Captive by Melted Spatula."'

June 6-8, Aransas Pass  60th Annual Shrimporee "Enjoy crafts, carnival, culinary tent, shrimp peeling contest, outhouse race, and more." 
Okay, I'll bet a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts that the outhouse race is the dream child of three guys named Bubba, Steve-O, and Dwayne, with the help of a couple of cases of Keystone Light.

June 13-14, Fredericksburg  Antique Tractor Engine Club Show "Features engine displays, tractor pull and parade, working sawmill, wheat thrashing, and more."
Yessirree, you cain't have a better time than gettin' together with your homies to ogle rusted gears.

June 14, Cross Plains  Barbarian Festival  "Includes cyclists' routes, live music, antique cars and tractors show (Tractors again? We Texans really do have other hobbies. Racing outhouses, for instance.), arts & crafts, and more."
I just think it would be great to be able to tell your friends, "I met my husband at a Barbarian Festival. Which explains a lot."

June 14, Gatesville  10th Annual Fire Ant 100-K
I personally have no interest in dragging my blubber over 100 kilometers, but if you go to this, please stomp on a few million fire ants on my behalf.

June 14-15, Stanton  Old Sorehead Trade Days  "Shop for arts & crafts, furniture, jewelry, clothing, and antiques."
I had no idea that Charles Barkley grew up in Stanton, Texas!

June 20-21, Mount Vernon  Scroggins Catalpa Worm Festival  "Includes live music, arts & crafts booths, and trail ride." 
Must be some mighty big worms if you can saddle 'em up.

June 21, Bellville  Austin County Fair Summer Music Fest & Bull Blowout  "Barbeque cook-off, classic car show, mutton busting, and arts & crafts." 
My advice - take a plastic poncho. That bull blowout is bound to be messy.

June 26-29, Luling  Watermelon Thump  "Includes a parade, live entertainment, seed spitting, and more." 
Might not want to buy a souvenir t-shirt at this event. The whole melon theme, you know.

June 28-29, Whitehouse  Four Winds Rendependence Open Joust Competition  "Texas' only full-contact jousting competition." 
Is it just me, or is it hard to imagine a bunch of cowboys playing at being knights? "Boy howdy, I'm gonna spear me a page!"

July 1 - Sep. 1, Corpus Christi  Flamingo Fandango  "Features the classic pink plastic yard flamingos theme-designed and dressed by area artists." 
Now really, how you can deny your children the experience of seeing hundreds of plastic flamingos dressed in evening wear, rodeo attire, and flannel pajamas? You want your kids to grow up totally uncultured, or what?

July 5, Granite Shoals  Second Annual Ugly Dog Contest  
It's July. In Texas. If we had any compassion on our dogs, we'd shave 'em all and enter 'em in the contest. Trust me, they'd be grateful.

July 24-26, Clute  Great Texas Mosquito Festival  "Three days of family fun, athletic events, vendors, and live music. See what the buzz is about." 
I know, I know, you Minnesotans say that your state bird is the mosquito. Well, lemme tell ya. Texas mosquitos are directly descended from pterodactyls. (Again, not making this up. Much.)

August 2, Gainesville  Breakfast With the Animals  "Enjoy a guided behind-the-scenes tour of one section of the zoo, including a meet & greet with an animal and breakfast on the dining deck." 
HA! I bet you thought that was going to be at MY house, didn't you?

August 3, San Angelo  Biscuits & Gravy Bike Ride  
Just one question: why ruin a perfectly good breakfast with exercise?

August 23, Honey Grove  Bugtussle Trek   "Enjoy the parade of vintage and classic vehicles (sure to be some tractors!), which are parked on the square during the lunch break on the trek between Dallas and Paris." 
Okay, I admit it - I want to go to this, just so I can buy the "Honk If You Bugtussle" bumper sticker.

August 23, Wichita Falls  Hotter'N Hell Hundred  
This is an event to which I've actually been, so rather than quote the press release, I'll just tell you what it's about: Thousands of obviously mentally deranged cyclists on a 100-mile ride in 100-degree weather. Hot tip (heh heh) - on August 22, buy stock in Aquafina.

August 30-31, Austin  Bat Fest  "Features a bat wing eating contest, bat watching, bat education, bridge bungee jumping, and more." 
Austin is a liberal, college town. You should have no trouble finding the necessary mind-altering drugs you'll need right before you eat a bat wing or jump off a bridge.

August 30-31, Buffalo Gap  Chili Super Bowl  "See and sample the world's largest bowl of chili." 
And you might want to be across the state line the next day, before the mass, uh, after-effects occur.

So there you go. If you have a boring summer, don't come crying to me. I'll be too busy admiring antique tractor spark plugs with my barbarian.