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The Kingdom’s Travails – Day Nine

Life was so simple back then.

If some article of clothing, or household linen, got dirty – mussed in some way or even stained with the tears of mine enemies – the queen could simply toss it into her top-loading beauty, add the necessary chemicals, turn the dial and magically this machine would erase all traces of every transgression in thirty minutes.

But these are dark times for the Kingdom.

The washing machine hath vexed even the noblest of repairmen in the Shire.  It hath brought them to their knees, and coaxed forth curses muttered under sweaty breath as one by one they try to best it and unlock its wizard’s secrets.

Day by day and hour by hour the machine sits quietly and patiently awaiting the next challenger.

Who among the realm’s repairmen can tame the terrible beastie?

Today a new challenger shall enter the lair, and take with him the hoped-for miracle that will once again send the castle into realms of clean socks, clean undies, and clean towels.

The occupants of the castle light a candle and pray the machine is bested, lest the queen be forced to enter the other dragon’s lair (also called a ‘laundromat’) and do battle with numerous beastly machines that steadfastly refuse to dissolve detergents properly or dry clothes without a mound of coins being fed to them that would rival the national debt for all of Ankh-Morpork. 

The last trip the queen made to this terrible place did not end well as the vicious witch of the southerly winds grabbed and clawed at her freshly-laundered and folded clothes as she struggled to place them in her carriage for the trip back to the castle.

Much muttering of unspeakable curses upon all who would vex her so was heard, and the menfolk of the castle did tremble…except the cat, he simply one-eyed the ruckus and went back to sleep.

I fear further outbursts from the queen may involve breakage of nearby objects, and so I light a candle myself and ask the gods of electricity to be kind to the noble Repairman of the Whirlpool today.

The whole of the Shire doth wait with baited breath…

I Can’t Wait Until They Make the Movie!

Plot dynamics!  Interesting characters! Humor! Action! Adventure! Romance! We’ve got it all right here!!!

A Little Slice of Silver Awesomesauce

I…just….wow….wow…double-wow….

In all their majesty, some of God’s finest creatures deign to share a moment or two.

Yes, I Realize Valentine’s Day Was Last Week

But, if you had any idea what kind of week last week was for me, you wouldn’t be making such a big deal about my missing Valentine’s Day right now.

For that matter, if you knew how I really feel about Valentine’s Day we wouldn’t even be discussing it.   We’d be talking about the dynamic synergies of post-modern banjos instead, because that would be far less controversial.

Yes, I said ‘controversial’.

I hate Valentine’s Day.

Let me ‘splain.

When I was a kid I remember having Valentine’s Day parties at school.  We’d all bring decorated shoeboxes with little cutouts in the tops and set them on our desks. 

At the appointed hour, we’d go around the room dropping our handwritten Valentines in the boxes of our classmates – always reserving the fanciest ones, with all the glitter on them, for our super-not-so-secret crush.  

Then the teacher would pass out the heart-shaped candies, cookies, and cupcakes with red icing on it that wound up on your face, hands, and clothes.  Every.  Time.

It was fun.  Lots of fun.

I carried on this tradition with my children, until it wasn’t a ‘thing’ anymore and just like that one more party in school went ‘pfffffffft’. 

C’est le vie.

We still had Valentines and cupcakes at home.

Then one day about ten years ago, and my kids had long since grown out of Mom’s Valentine’s Day celebration and onto their own,  I happened to be at the store on Valentine’s Day.

I was getting ready to check out in the Express Lane (no more than 15 items, and God help you if you accidentally overlooked that lone lemon in the bottom of your cart which put you firmly at 16 items as the jackass behind you will LOUDLY proclaim), when I noticed a long, long, long line in front of me.

Everyone in the line was male.  Each was holding flowers, candy, and cards…in some combination – many with all three. 

Every one of them looked sad, depressed and anxious….as if they were in line for vasectomies, not simply to pay for the undying expressions of love they held.

That was when it hit me.

Valentine’s Day is one of those Hallmark holidays, made up to make men feel guilty and women entitled. 

From that day on, I told my husband that if he wanted to give me a card or flowers or candy he better NOT do it on February 14th.   Do it on the 13th, the 15th, or even not at all…just take out the garbage without my asking.  That tells me more about how you feel than any pre-packaged, wrapped in hearts and flowers, sentiment just waiting for you to pay more than it’s worth at the local store does.

It’s been freeing, if sometimes awkward when someone asks me what I ‘got’ for Valentine’s Day and I launch into my tirade about how I hate that day – incidentally, they don’t ask how I feel about too many things after that, so it’s a win!win! for me.

And you know what?  My hubby empties the garbage without my asking a lot more nowadays, too.   Now that, my friends, is romantic.

You Know How There Are Times When You Wish You Hadn’t Overheard Something?

Like a doctor talking to a colleague and asking, “Do you know any good malpractice lawyers?” right before your exam?

Or the mechanic that doesn’t know you’re standing right behind him telling his coworker that “This woman doesn’t know a fan belt from a garter belt.  Beer is on me for the rest of the month!” in reference to your (now overpriced) car repair?

Not that I’ve overheard either of these.

Probably.

But, I did overhear this coming from the plumber working on the tub in the next room at my house on Friday:

“Hmmm”

“Huh..that’s odd”

“Well…that is not good.  That’s not good at all.”

I hear these, and the distinct sounds of ‘cha-ching’ that inevitably follow.  

After what seemed like 47 trips to his truck for ever-larger and menacing-looking tools, it appeared he had fixed the problem.   He tested the new valve, we tested the new valve.

There was much rejoicing as the only tub in the house was now fully functional and I had visions of bubble baths dancing in my head.

He went to “write up a ticket” as hubby and I speculated on the cost.

Hubby: “Probably no more than $200”

Me: “You didn’t hear all his commentary about how ‘odd’ and difficult the job was.”

Hubby: “So, what do you think?”

Me: “$300, easy”

Hubby: “I hope not.”

The plumber came back in the house and announced, “That’s gonna be $190 today.”

Awesome.

But, I’m still leaving if I ever hear my doctor asking about malpractice insurance right before my exam.   I don’t care how cheap the office visit might be.

 

I Share Genetics With These People

I have seven grandchildren.

I love every one of them to pieces.

However, sometimes I wonder who they are…

 

Oldest daughter and I are on the phone, chatting about the upcoming  Supreme Plate (can’t say the *real* name here, lest I want to get sued…because we all know that millions of lawyers for the NFL are watching this blog right now waiting for me to slip up.  To them I say, ‘Neener..Neener’.) this Sunday.  I hear smoochie noises in the background, and then….

Daughter: Son, are you making out with yourself in the mirror?

5-yr. old Son:  *giggling*Yes, mama I am! *more giggling*

And then there was the time my baby girl and her oldest were at the grocery store, in the produce aisle….

5-yr. old Daughter: Mama! I just farted on the fruit!

Baby Girl: (without even looking up) Don’t fart on the fruit, honey.

Who needs a sitcom when you’ve got kids?

 

And This All Happened Before All The Other Stuff That’s Happened Since…

It was Christmas Eve, the day my family celebrates Christmas, because the next day is the day the other side(s) of the families celebrate Christmas..and it sounds more complicated than it is.

Maybe.

Anyway, oldest son is divorced and since he has two little ones to get ready and out the door he’s often late to family gatherings. 

So, we weren’t concerned when the appointed hour for his arrival came and went.

Then, my phone rang.

“Mom? I can’t believe it, and it’s cold and I have my babies!” He was nearly hysterical on the other end of the phone.

“What happened?”

“I’m…I don’t know where we are…oh there’s a sign!”

“What happened?” I said, louder this time.

“On the toll road.  The car! Oh my God, I can’t believe this!”

At this point, I’m thinking he’s had a horrible accident and possibly a head injury.

“Are the kids okay?”

“Yes, I guess…I mean..it’s cold.”

“Did you get hit?”

“What?”

“Did.You.Get.Hit??”

“Oh…no..no…nothing like that.  The car’s engine just blew up.”

Oh…yeah, no problems there…riiiiiiiight.

“Oh..are you in the middle of the road?”

“No, I got it off the highway and am here in front of {location}…and I need a tow, and I have NO MONEY!” 

Of course he has no money, none of my grown children ever seem to have money for these things.

“Don’t worry about that.  I’ll pay for a tow.”

“I can’t pay you back, I lost my job.”

“What? You’ve worked there five years! When did this happen?”

“Mom, not right now.  It’s cold. I need to talk to brother and have him come get me.”

“Okay…we’ll talk when you get here.”

I hand the phone to his brother and in a few minutes he leaves to pick up everyone and bring them back to my house.

I called the tow company and arranged for a tow to the closest shop of the car.  I thought it was my son’s car, but it was actually my ex-daughter-in-law’s, because son’s car blew a tranny and he couldn’t afford to fix it.  But, I said I’d pay for it and I did.

Guess how much a 10-mile tow costs.

Guess how much it costs on Christmas Eve. 

Sigh….

In the end, son and grandkids made it to my house and the use of a loaner car his sister has was secured.  My pockets were a little lighter, but my heart was happy to see how my kids look out for one another as all manner of “Whatever you need…” was repeated over and over that night.  Son was totally shocked at the outpouring, and I (gently) admonished him for not believing we’d be there for him. 

He teared up and hugged me tight…”I love you, Mom” was whispered in my ear.

Best.Present.Ever.

Ever have one of those months…erm..years?

Yeah, in November I contracted double-pneumonia (the walking kind, as opposed to the it-will-kill-you kind)…

Got over that about a week ago…..finally.

Did a happy dance, realized I was shaking all over…and not in a happy-dance kind of way.

Took my temp…it was 101.

What.The.Feck?

That was last Saturday.

By Sunday, I was literally incapacitated.  I was sooooo sick.

On Monday, dragged my ass to the doctor.

I have the flu.

And bronchitis.

And a throat infection.

Ima just gonna go crawl under the covers and stay there.

Somebody wake me when it’s 2014, kthxbai!

Remember?

I’m a big…no, a huge fan of a magazine called “Reminisce”.  It’s a simple name for a magazine that never fails to evoke a myriad of complex emotions every time I turn a page.

I’m not old enough to remember WWI or WWII, or even Korea.  I am, however, old enough to remember Vietnam…all too well.

It’s striking how the memories of life during the first two world wars and into the 50’s are so vastly different from the memories of those that served in Vietnam and the years since.

Somewhere, we lost something of who we are.

Not just as Americans, but as people.

Our humanity suffered a blow, or more likely, a series of blows, from which we never recovered. 

We went from simple, home-based, people who loved family and things as mundane as shooting stars and babbling brooks, who married forever and raised children to be respectful of others and kind to all; to people who cannot seem to fill the emptiness inside no matter how many bright, shiny, new __________ (fill in the blank) we acquire.

It’s as if a gnawing ache has hollowed out the core of so many people that it threatens to swallow whole the rest of us who stand on the sidelines and shake our heads in disgust and bewilderment.

I mean, in a society where Lady GaGa is revered and Jesus Christ cannot be named, is it any wonder we raise children who don hockey masks and go on a shooting spree inside a crowded mall

Where divorce is so common, it’s even available in a convenient drive-thru, yet the Ten Commandments are banned from the public’s view, should we wonder why our children grow up and join street gangs looking for the father figures their own lives don’t provide?

I may speak things that raise ire, but I speak the truth.

The world of 1942 may have had Hitler and polio and Dachau, and yet it had heart and soul enough to put an end to all these things. 

Would we be able to rise to such challenges today?  I don’t think we would. 

The world of right and wrong has become a hazy mist of gray areas, where how I feel about an issue is treated with the same gravitas as whether or not it’s right or wrong. 

That’s wrong. Period.  There is no gray area.  In fact, the world is the same world that’s been here forever and right has always been right, wrong has always been wrong.  Gray has never been acceptable. Gray is where cowards reside, and wrongdoers find refuge.   

I know of some things in life that are absolute – that God is real and His Son, Jesus, is real and there’s going to be a lot of shocked faces looking up to St. Peter when they see him at those Pearly Gates.  

Mine won’t be among them. I will be there, rushing to meet my Savior and knowing I’m finally home.

How about you?

p.s. I thought about putting a disclaimer on this post, saying something about how I didn’t want to offend anyone,  but then I realized that’s something a ‘gray area’ person would say.  So, no apology. And if you are offended….tough. I don’t care.

My New Battle Cry!

From one of the funniest wastes of time on the Web comes my new battle cry:

LOBSTER - AUTOCORRECT

Not to mention the fact that I nearly wet my britches laughing at the text, but no matter. 

Fear me, for I shall lobster ALL the fetish!!!