••• Friday, June 27, 2008

June Bugs. Still. Pt. 2 

June 13, Cont'd
When we left our heroine, she had just received the news that she had but two hours to shower, dress, purchase helium-filled balloons, plant and grow a garden full of beautiful flowers, harvest said flowers and arrange into three centerpiece-worthy sprays in vases she molded from glass, melted from sand she dug from several layers below the Earth's outer perimeter. And if she didn't accomplish these things, a new marriage would be ruined before it started.

Or something like that.

Actually, before hanging up my sister agreed to get the flowers and candy. So the first order was to get Cabana to the party store for helium-filled balloons. After taking a quick shower and getting Cakers going on hers, I rip through cupboards looking for fancy vases and candy dishes. Suddenly, my sister's assignment to buy flowers and candy sounded easier than mine, i.e. finding stuff in my house.

Somehow we were ready to go by 11:00, but no Cabana with the balloons. He finally showed up at 11:15, complaining that the party store was busier than the clap clinic on Monday morning.

Next order was to stuff 15 helium balloons into my small SUV. Cakers loves helium balloons. When she has one tied to her wrist, it's as though she has a new best friend. A friend with a very short life span. ::And first time she found the dying, new best friend on the floor in the morning, was quite the trauma.::. Anyway. If one helium balloon is a new best friend, sitting amidst a car full of balloons is akin to being adopted by a litter of romping kittens. She was thrilled.

Me? Not so much.

My car was packed with balloons. Minus the spot taken by my darling daughter's grinning face, the balloons took up every inch of space behind the front seat, rendering my rear view mirror worthless. Of course I could still use my side view mirrors, allowing me a view of the lane next door. But I couldn't see directly behind me. Nor could I do the prequisite head check for changing lanes. ::I am a compulsive head checker.::

Between the hectic morning, a car full of balloons and the sense of being chased by the Zero Visibility Monster, I developed a bit of an anxiety thing. And even though I could see perfectly clear out the front, I found myself anticipating something bad happening right in front of me, but I would not see it. Even though I could. See. So I drove real real slow.

I know.

Once I got out of the neighborhood and into four lane throughways, I figured a route that required no left turns, therefore no lane changes or head checks. However, because I was driving about 15 miles per hour below the speed limit, I started to imagine a parade of angry drivers behind me. Of course I could only imagine them because I could not see them. After another mile, I had convinced myself that a cop was now behind me, lights flashing. I then wondered if I should pull over. Or how I should pull over. For without being able to perform the requisite headchecking for traffic on the shoulder of the road, I could hit a pedestrian or bicycler. Right in front of a cop, to boot.

That's when I kind of stopped breathing good. And while Cakers was pretty good at keeping her latex brood under control, ever so often a couple balloons would creep to the front seat to say "hi." Of course, that would just exacerbate my imaginary front blindness. And I'd yell at my poor girl, who'd quickly remedy the situation.

Finally the banquet place was just ahead, on the right. The shower was being held in a restaurant at a golf course, so it would be hard to miss. In fact, I'd been to this eating establishment a couple of times before, so I knew where I was going. Except the last time I was at this place, I wasn't driving. Neither was I blind. And I'm pretty sure I was breathing.

What I didn't notice the other times I was out there was that evey business or building within a half mile of this place had borrowed its name. Wat*ermark. So, nearly passed out from anxiety, it was with great relief when I pulled into the first driveway with the name Wat*ermark on the sign. It was a dentist office.

I pull out onto the main drag again, and it was still just a right turn into the right lane. Whew. Now I'm worried about being late. Because I was worried about being late, I refused to be fooled by another sign. So I ignored the next one.Of course, that was it.

So I turn into the next driveway to turn around. Now I have to turn left onto a major highway with a car full of balloons. In addition to dealing with hysterical blindness and shortness of breath, I now had to plan for my next crisis: Changing lanes without a head check.

I do manage to make it onto the golf course property, and follow the signs to the restaurant. Somehow I miss the turn for the driveway and end up behind the restaurant, on a golf course service road. But that's okay. I am not so nervous now, because I know where I am and where I'm going and no more head checks will be required. I'm breathing good. I'm not even late.

I follow the service road, with the intention of finding another driveway (circular) so I can turn around. Then I come to the a dead end. It's at a house. The road was someone's driveway. To turn around I must put the car in reverse. And I can't remember what was behind me. I think it was pond. A pond that I cannot see but know is there. A pond I know that I will soon roll into and drown. My baby will be saved, by the balloons, because I will open the windows right now, to allow her safe egress.

Of course, the anxiety has returned and my lungs are on lock down. My car is in park and my hands are in frozen grip on the steering wheel. I stare at the house. Hoping and praying that a) someone will come out of the house to help me and 2) That no one is home to see this fool in a car filled with balloons, having a nervous meltdown in their driveway. Because I'm sure they will take a picture and put on their blog.

Clearly I am not thinking clearly. I cannot move and am now worried that no one will look for us back here when we don't show up for the shower. I think to use my cell phone, but I cannot move my hands from the wheel. Said situation also prevents me from following through on an alternate fantasy, that of writing SOS messages on balloons and sending them up.

Somehow, just the thought of the balloons-that-almost-killed-me becoming The-balloons-that-almost-saved-me gave me a sudden sense of security. Well, not total security, because throughout this entire orderal, a sub-series of anxiety links had me convinced that I'd developed an allergy to latex. And therefore an allergy to bananas. And I love me some bananas.

Anyway, through making about 47 front and reverse movements, seven inches at a time, I was able to turn my vehicle around without killing anyone. As I pulled away, I saw that there was indeed a pond to left of us, about 500 feet away. And a fence between us.

I beat my sister to the restaurant by a few minutes. By the time she arrived, we had exactly 10 minutes to Float the Chaotic to showtime.

Flowers were cut, candy dishes filled and doorprizes tagged. We finished as the first guests arrived. It was a lovely shower and a fine time was had by all.

The Travails of June are not over and the story will be continued at a later date. Sorry for any inconvenience.

••• Wednesday, June 25, 2008

June Buggin' - Pt. 1 

Preface: I have a bad case of bloggers block. It's not the kind of block that stems from having nothing to say, but the other kind. The kind caused by having too much to say, and no time to say it. And as the time gets smaller, the stuff-to-be-said said gets bigger. And now that I've found a little time, I am unable to pick the best of what needs to be said. It seems I must say it all. It's like I need to take a big brain poo. And everybody knows that you can't just choose what poo to poo. Ya just gotta. Poo.

So...I'm going to do just that. And when I am done I will feel good and fine and lightened. You, on the other hand, might not feel that good or lightened. In fact, you may not be able to get past the poo. Who can say? But here I go, anyway.

Blog Post Starts Here. That Other Stuff Wasn't It.
I've been on summer break since June 9. Yesterday was the first* day since June 10 that I didn't HAVE to do something. Or be somewhere. Or wait for someone to be here. Or make something to take somewhere. To someone.

And it went something like this.

Wednesday, June 11:
Dishwasher and Microwave Installation. ::This story was originally going to be a post of its own. And even though I've reduced it to highlights, it still is pretty lengthy. The poo, she goes.::

Installation Specialist Skip was scheduled to arrive at 10:00, but called at 11:00 to say he was running late. At 12:00 noon, Skip and his well-glazed assistant B.J. (Bong Juice) showed up to wrack my world.

Skip appeared to know what he was doing regarding all things plumb and install-y. B.J., who looked about 20 years-old, had the wide-eyed and slightly stunned appearance of lobotomized anime. "Deer in Headlights" was my initial impression. However, because said phenomenon involves involuntary cognitive function, I felt it an inappropriate designation in that the word cognitive has no business in a 5-mile radius of this dude.

Highlight 1: After removing the old microwave from the wall, Skip commenced to clean the wall area before installing the new one. I was sitting several feet away at the dining room table, when Skip asks, "Do you have anything a little stronger for cleaning the walls? This stuff smells real pretty, but it doesn't cut the grease." I look over and see that he's holding a bottle of Febreze, which he apparently had just squirt all over the wall.

And he was right, it smelt real pretty over there, even from where I was sitting. Later I wondered what his wife thought when he came home smelling of April Dawn.

Highlight 2: When B.J. wasn't serving as Skip's right hand man pinky toe, he was hauling stuff out to the truck. Every time he exited or re=entered the house, he left the door open and I would shut it. Finally I said "Does that door need to be open right now? The flies are coming in."

"What door?" he asks. At the time he was sitting so close to it, that when he finally realized what door, he had only to lift his hand half a foot in order to reach it.

Highlight 3: The dishwasher is almost installed and Skip is on the floor in front of the new machine, in a full body-press against the cupboard. For the record, Skip is a big guy. John Goodman big. From this position, talking real slow, he says to B.J., "I need you to go downstairs and turn the water back on. When you getthere, look at the ceiling. I'll wiggle the hose from up here so you know which one it is. The knob will be right next to it."

B.J. says nothing and goes downstairs.
Skip wiggles his hose through the floor.

Downstairs: nothing.

Skip yelling: "Do you see it?"


I look down the basement stairs to see B.J. staring at a hoseless ceiling. He's in the wrong room.

"Wrong room," I say.

Skip beats on.

B.J. looks around the wrong room, confused, like maybe I am the mistaken one. When he finally looks at me, I point to the doorway that is about 3-feet in front of him.

"That way."

While B.J. animes into the laundry room, I hear Skip swearing under his breath. And banging his hose. And I'm okay with all of it.

When Skip senses a weak but palpable sign of life down there, he yells "Find the knob! Then turn it!"


"Do you see it?? The knob?"

"Uhh. I don't see no knob, but one of them pipes is shaking like crazy. Is that bad?"

Thursday, June 12
My sister and I are throwing a wedding shower for my niece in two days, and I agreed to provide three packs of my photo notecards, for doorprizes. I therefore spent the rest of the day and most of the evening printing, cropping, folding and sticking.

Later in the evening I call my sister to find out what else we need to do before Saturday. She tells me that the banquet facility is handling everything. We're good.

Friday, June 13
Cakers' first grade class was having a picnic/party at a cottage on a lake, about 40 minutes north of town. And I didn't wanna go. Not only was I too busy, but I held not an iota of a speck of desire to spend 6 hours on a beach, with 18 first graders and their moms.

At the risk of sounding something awful, I need to say that I don't belong with these people. They're too wonderful. And mom-sy. And stay at home-sy. And they all know one another. And most are young enough to be my daugthers. And I hate the small talk. And the big talk. And the hair talk. And pilates chat. And recipes and the last field trip and...well, lets just say I'm chronically not fit for human consumption. Period. And for that, my daughter must pay.

A couple of weeks ago I tried to get out of the trip by telling Cakers I have to work on the shower. She cried. Then she went to school the next day and told her teacher I could't be there. And her teacher told her to tell me that that a much less lame and otherwise more nurturing and involvedclassroom parent could swing by the house and pick up my Cakers, and bring her to the event.

My ass.
So I signed me up.

Then I prayed. For a loop hole.
And I got one. The weather. It was forecast to be bad. As in storms. Horrible, scary, thundery and potentially tornadic storms. Gawd, how I loves me some well-placed tornado warning.

All Friday morning I scoured the various TV and on-line weather stations and local news sites. All predictions were the same: Thunderstorms throughout the day, some severe. 85% chance.

Clap the thunder. Bolt the lightening. Sound the sirens. It was a done deal.

But there was one little problem: In every single radar screen on every single weather site I perused, there was not the tiniest hint of precipitation. Not a dot. Not a burp. Not a hint. Neither a wisp or whisper.


Eventually, my desperation for a rainy day lead me to sites in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Then Canada. Russia. Japan.

Still, nothing.

I hit an all time mutha-scumma low when I considered lying and telling her the party was cancelled. Of course, as soon as the thought hit my brain, I shunned it. Then shoved it right away. And not so much because it was wrong, but because I never would have gotten away with it. Ever.

So we went to the lake and I actually had a good time. I talked to a few moms, using my most smallish talk. I even initiated the small talk. And nobody died. Or threw up, even.

Saturday, June 14
The shower is at noon. I haven't spoken to my sister since Thursday night, when she said everything was covered. At 10:00 a.m. I'm still in my jammies, hair askew, when the phone rings. It's my sister. She tells me we need helium balloons, center pieces, candy and candy dishes. Can I do that?

I know better than to lose my mind on her. She is a Chaotic. She lives the chaos. Breathes it. Chaos floats my sister like the scum of the Great Salt Lake floats a nice fat pig.

Going off on her will only make it all the better.
I know this. For I am a Chaotic Survivor.

Anyway. We haggle a bit about what really needs to be done, the time limitations and who really should/can do it, then come up with a quick plan. While I didn't go all bitchcakes on her ass, I did calmly remind: "Two days ago you said we didn't need to do anything else. I was kinda going by that. It would have been nice to have put some thought and planning into this part...That's why I asked you about it."

"Yeah, I know." she says. "So, can you get the balloons, or what?"

...To be continued.

*Not counting the cottage weekend.

••• Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hey Sister, Solstice-er. 

No bloggy for me, much.
To explain will require some whine, of which I have plenty.
And time, of which I have none.

In the meantime, I am being held hostage at the cottage and forced to endure unspeakable hardships, such as looking at stuff like this:

And being shanghaied onto a fast boat, during the solstice sunset:

I did manage to sneak a shot of my assailants.

If you are reading this anywhere in Northern Michigan and you happen to see these two thugs, please contact the authorities.

They were last seen heading west on foot, wearing chocolate ice cream mustaches and giggling they fool heads off.

P.S. Also, please use imagination to purport to self that this post was actually posted on Saturday.

••• Sunday, June 15, 2008

To the Mutha of all Fathers 

I love my father as the stars - he's a bright shining example and a happy twinkling in my heart. - Adabella Radici

As a third party observer of the relationship between my husband and daugther, I will say that Adabella about sums it up.

When I first met my husband, he was going through a phase that made it difficult to imagine him in the role of steady boyfriend, let alone as a steady-as-a-rock life partner and father. That being said, having just come out of a loving but somewhat stifling relationship myself, I was just looking for fun, as well.

It didn't take long for me to realize that this nicely-packaged-wild-child-and-world-of-trouble was not only a keeper, but ripe for the pickin'.

When we met, each of us had some broken parts that needed mending. His were related to repeated helpings of traumatic life aches and heartbreaks; stories that are not mine to share. My broken parts had to do with a well-entrenched fear of being engulfed and oppressed in the name of love. Issues that now well explain my attraction to a guy who was all about having fun and traveling light.

It wasn't long into the relationship when I realized this guy was more than a good time and not that much Trouble at all. He was fun, loving and affectionate and seemed to really see me. And liked what he saw.

And best of all, being loved by him has never brought me harm. With Eric, I've never experienced the once-too-familiar feel of being loved in a manner that sucked the air from the room or caused my chest to squeeze up. Not once has there been that dizzying, panicky urge to run, or near-obsessive need for an escape plan. And never have I experienced the telltale sigh of relief, with imposed separation.

He was good stuff.
My stuff.

Within two years of meeting, we were married. A year after that I offered up my last good egg to this man. As one last chance for him to leave his print in the Sand of Forever.

And boy, did he.

All the characteristics that make him a good friend and husband have leant themselves in spades to the role of father. Of all those, the three characteristics I hold most dearly are: 1)He loves mightily, with a gimongus heart, 2) He loves loyally, with a gimongus heart, and 3) He really sees her.

Happy Father's Day, honey.
It's an honor to have you in my life.
And your ass, it still rocks my world.

Note: I spent about every inch of spare time yesterday, writing a Father's Day tribute. I was almost done and after Cakers went to bed I pulled up the draft to bring her home and there was nothing but photos. So, I just kinda rewrote this on the fly, Monday morning and it is about half of what I wanted to say, and 1/3 the quality.

••• Thursday, June 12, 2008

Marital Dishchord 

On the second day of my summer vacation, I got up. Then I went downtown to look for a job. Then I hung out in front of the drugstore.- Cheech and Chong
Which is about twice as much as I've accomplished this week.

Anyway. Just before Memorial Day weekend, College Polyp emptied the dishwasher. I know. But before y'all's eyes fill with the mother's milk of pride and glee, I need to disclose that he did so only on direct orders from the Queen.

What the Queen did not order was for him to have trouble pulling the bottom rack out and respond by yanking it hard, thereby snapping off the phallic-esque hoser thangy, right at the base. It was rendered useless. ::The dishwasher. I might give the boy alotta crap, but I also grant him some grace for not being fully cured.::

We didn't bother to find out if it could be fixed, considering that it was already an old, ugly beast and seemingly on it's last cycle. ::The dishwasher, not me.:: It also had a terrible design that disallowed the most pedestrian of dirty dish arrangements. You could do plates and bowls but no pans. Or plates and serving dishes but no bowls. Glass and goblet height requirements were nothing but absurd. And when the machine was running,it sounded like airplanes landing in a construction zone.

In some ways, The Polyp did us a favor. It was just the timing that sucked,in that we're still kind of reeling from the recent period of pervasive unemployment. And in addition to taxing our bank account, this little boo-boo also put some stressors on the marriage.

No doubt you have personal knowledge of marriages comprised of people from two distinctly different cultures, or religions, or university fanbase affiliations.

Through this Crisis of Appliance, my marriage faced a Crisis of Faith Froth. For it brought to light the fact that the two of us come from very different belief systems in our worship of the Hand Washed Dish.

I come from the more traditional (read: Normal) Church of the Blessed Sink of Bountiful Bubbles. He, on the other hand, comes from a worship base that is a bit more primitive in nature and whose ideology stems from the now extinct sect Holy Waters of Melmac Whack on the Rock., which eventually evolved into the current House of the Sacred Spout of Bam-Bam the Redeemer.

Translation: I rinse the dishes, sort them and line them up in order of need of exposure to the cleanest, hottest water. i.e.Glasses first, pans last. I rinse the dishes as I wash, then set them on the counter (preferably in a drainer) to drip a bit, then towel dry and put them.

Bam-Bam the Redeemer merely piles the dishes in a dry sink, and one dish at a time, squirts the piece with soap, swishes, rinses, dries and puts IT away. That's right, one piece at a time. Just squirt, swish, rinse, dry. Piecemeal.

How It Came to Light

I'll wash, I said.
No, I'll wash, says he. I'm faster.

I hate to dry, but I figured he was right about the speed thing. When it comes to household chores, he is very fast. And clean. Usually.

So I leave the kitchen for a few minutes, to give him a chance to get the glasses lined up and the water drawn. But before I get out of the room he's yelling "Where you goin? You're dryin!"

I turn around and see that he is drying a plate. A plate he allegedly had washed and rinsed in the time frame of three seconds it took me turn walk away. I note the absence of suds in the sink. Or water, for that matter.

"What are YOU doing?" I asked.
"Where's the water? Where're the suds?"

"That's not how you wash dishes." he said, with the tone of non-reality-based finality.

"We had chicken for dinner. There's raw chicken on some of those plates! And the silverware! They need sudsy hot water!"

"No. I use soap. My way's better. Faster. I don't like dishes on the counter."

At the involuntary image of just one mis-washed plate with a speck of raw chicken ca-ca curing in the cupboard, in 80 degree weather, I suddenly felt a bit ill.

So I slid in beside him, in front of the sink, sunk the plug and began ordering up the glasses. "I'll do it. You dry." I then politely asked for the srubber brush. He refused.

Next thing you know, I'm back in Junior High fighting with my sister over who gets to wash and who gets to dry, complete with dish brush wrasslin', hip checks and a careful foot placement to insure against being knocked over by a rough bump.

Accompanying the physical tussles were pre-pubescent verbal spews like "Give it to me!" "No! I'm gonna!" "What's wrong with youuuuu?!?" "Stop it!" "Get out of here!" "I'm telling!"

Eventually, my higher adult once again showed up, with this suds stopper: "Did you learn to wash dishes like that from your mother?"

Aha. Silence.
Uh, no. He had a dishwasher growing up.

When calmer heads and sudsier hands could prevail, I found out that he only started attending the church Bam-Bam's Spoutas a bachelor and living his own. Back when he only used one plate at a time. Back when he had no dependents who relied on his better sanitary judgment and completely trusting of his ability to protect them from all evils of the world, including the scourge of chicken ca ca.

So I filled the sink, lined up the glasses and started giving my testimony. By the time the last plate was safely put away, I had complete spiritual conversion on my water-pickled hands.

For the record, the polyp did volunteer to wash and dry an entire day's worth of dishes, out of guilt for the initial damage done. Before my husband's revelation of past dirty dish deeds from his bachelor days, I would've been thrilled with the offer. After further consideration of my husband's recent confession and the fact that nine months out of the year my son lives on his own, as a bachelor-in-training, I said "Thanks, but I don't sink so."

P.S. The new dishwasher was installed yesterday. I might eke a story out of it.

P.P.S. The tampons survived 7 days before being detected. He laughed. And expressed worry that someone had seen them back there. Next to the toilet paper. Heh.

••• Saturday, June 07, 2008

Eye-Can'd-Hear-You-Friday Saturday 

We're at the cottage for a quick weekend. Yesterday was my last day of work for the summer, and Cakers'last day of school. Needless to say, there was no small amount of frenzy to get up here before dark. In storms and 'nadoes.

I took these pictures last night, but seeing as how they had to come to the post via the scenic route, through Idaho, they're running a day behind. (Thanks for the upload, Sweetpea!)

Nothing sims summer like a pair of blondes on the beach, at sunset.

And here I get all artsy on your asses, with sea/lake glass and foliage on the dock.

It's currently about 85 degrees and the Current-Employee-Formerly-Known-as-Cabana is now prepping the boat for an excursion. Unfortunately, the lake water is still in the 50's. It's cruel, really. But I'm sure we'll get over it.

So I'll see you on the port side.

p.s. College boy still hasn't found the gifts in the car. I wonder what they were thinking at the school drop-off yesterday? He's probably now on some Homeyland Secur*ity alert.

••• Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Salamugundi Monday:* The Wednesday Edition 

I finished one Tidepool sock for my mother-in-law. And my kitchener was impeccable, if I say so myself.

It actually is a pretty cool little stitch, in all its simplicity; and at its appreciably best, stretched across a foot.

I also closed the toe on Cakers' second Simply Lovely Lace Sock, finally. And yeah, that toe's got nip.

Evidently I finished the socks in the nip of time, because she's nearly outgrown them. In fact, I about needed a boot horn and butter just to get them over her insteps.

Sigalamundi Freudi
This is a picture of the back window of my son's car.

Indeed, that is a roll of toilet paper.

A few days ago there were two rolls of toilet paper.
Side by side.

Curious as to what a 21 year-old couch tumor would have done with a roll of toilet paper from his car, I asked him what happened to it.

He: I was out.

Me: Out where?

He: Out of toilet paper, in my bathroom.

Me: We have lots of toilet paper in the linen closet.

He: But I knew right where to go to get it. I was in a hurry.

Me: So it was easier to run down the stairs, out the door and across the street to your car, than to take the 2 steps from your bedroom door, to the linen closet?

He: Yeah. Why?

Me: I guess my bigger concern is that you've been driving around for weeks now with toilet paper, silverwear, shower curtain rings and a Johnson Brothers ironstone soup bowl in your back window, with no concerns.

He: Why do you care what I have in my window anyway? Because I sure don't.

Doh. Ya know what? He's right. If he doesn't care, why should I?

So, in a gesture of goodwill, I left him a couple of gifts.

And if he craps his pants in surprise and joy, he's got everything he needs right there.

*When I started the post, it was Monday.