My family is not normal. Nothing we do is normal. No event is normal. Hell, if we had a “normal” day, that’d be abnormal, so right in line. Even our normal is weird.
Easter egg hunts are not normal at my house. The grandchildren generally get along, the bigger kids help the little ones find eggs, and there is much rejoicing.
The parents, however, are another story. It’s Hunger Games, Easter Egg Hunt at our house. There’s tripping, shoving, misdirection (“Holy shit, you just stepped in pile of dog poo!”), and general foolishness as each parent tries to gain an advantage for their offspring.
In short, they’re a bunch of miscreants. I couldn’t be more proud.
This past Easter’s egg hunt was the same as all the others. The only differences, for me, were 1) for once the yard wasn’t a mudpit as it had been pretty dry all week and 2) I had to watch from afar having smashed the ever-lovin’ shit out of my big toe that morning when I opened the back door to let the dog out and shoved the bottom of the door over the top of my toe. It still hurts like a sonofa….
And then, the Outbreak Monkey arrived.
C’mon, tell me you have seen the scary movie “Outbreak” starring Dustin Hoffman and Renee Russo. If not, get thee to a Red Box or Netflix, or something and watch it.
*builds storage shed*
*cures world hunger*
You back already? Good, now I can finish the story.
So, in my family the first person to get sick with whatever is the one we call the Outbreak Monkey. This time, it was my 8-yr. old granddaughter and our first clue was the text her mother sent as they were driving home:
“Aaaand…we have pukage in the van!! AWESOME!”
At 1:00 a.m. the next morning, the poor baby was still puking in her sleep, no less. My daughter called me asking for the magical potion I keep to stop pukages, so instead of sleeping at 1:00 a.m. I was dispensing wizardry in the hopes my sweet granddaughter would stop the pukies. She did, and there was much rejoicing in the land…
….until this morning, when my daughter texted me again and said her other daughter has it now…
We had FIFTEEN people at our house on Easter Sunday. Two are sick, that makes thirteen more to go…except I think I had it already. I think it’s the nasty new norovirus that has been going around and which I got right after Christmas.
At least I hope that’s what this is.
Or, if my daughter is right – as she said in a follow-up text this morning – it only affects kids 8 and under, or as she put it “the very geriatric, like you Mom”.
Age has its advantages.
I’m big into nostalgia.
Only, not my nostalgia.
I’m big into the nostalgia of times I never encountered, and times when the things that make you go SQUEE! with delight were past me and thoroughly engulfed my children. The latter nostalgic times are embraced, loved, fondled, and homaged by a terrifically gifted writer (and very young man..okay, I added the “very” part because old) by the name of Matt at his blog Dinosaur Dracula.
Matt’s take on everything from movies to food is a reminder that oftentimes things are much sweeter looking back.
For the things that take me back back, to a time I never encountered but wished I had, I read a Reader’s Digest publication called “Reminisce”. It’s full of warm and wonderful recollections of times long gone, often told by the people who lived them. I have always said I was born of the wrong time, and when I read the magazine I feel it’s true.
But, not for the nostalgic way things were when women stayed home and baked bread, or washed clothes in a tub.
No, I’m too lazy to go back to those times.
What I miss is the simplicity of everyday life. The lines between right and wrong were clear and definite. Home, family, children, marriage..these were sacred trusts.
Anymore, I don’t know what’s sacred except maybe the love of self. With twitter pics of a naked Kardashian-West, and the glorifying of things I believe to be so wrong – like Caitlin Jenner – I long for a time when I wasn’t affronted on all fronts by the out in fronts.
Don’t misread…I am not totally judging, okay maybe I am judging a little bit, but mostly I’m saying I don’t care that Kim has “..nothing to wear..” or that Caitlin used to be Bruce.
I DON’T CARE, and I don’t want to celebrate that shit or any of the other piles of shit I’m constantly forced to see. I also don’t want to be confronted with it every time I turn on the television, radio, open up Facebook (and thank the gods I don’t use Twitter other than to auto-send a new post, because I do not understand that at all..not one bit), or simply exist in this world.
Walked into my office this morning and..
The ancient building I work in had sprung a leak and the entire hallway was flooded. Apparently, the roof drains clogged during last night’s monsoon (the first rain since 1947 I think), and with nowhere to go the water came inside. An entire closet filled with paper products – letterhead, envelopes, notebooks, etc – was ruined. And the floor and carpet were at least ten feet deep in cold water. Good thing I wore my waterproof workboots this morning, and brought my life jacket. Some guys from maintenance came with a mini wet-vac and cleaned up the water, then turned the a/c on and down to 20 degrees to dry the carpets.
It’s 40 degrees outside, and the wind is howling at a sustained 140 mph, making the wind chill minus Kelvin. So, of course turning on the air conditioner was the logical thing to do.
My hands were numb from the cold in a matter of minutes, and I believe I accidentally bit off a finger while eating my sammich at lunchtime. I won’t know for sure until later when my eyeballs thaw and I can see properly again.
Later my phone rang and the following conversation ensued:
ME: HolyWattageBatmanCompany, this is ME
Irate Female Caller: Yeah, somebody called me from that number just now and cussed at me and called me a bitch, and I just wanted to know who it was.
ME: From here?
IFC: Yes, from this number. It’s on my caller I.D.
ME: Ma’am, this is a power company, no one…
IFC: YES..SOMEONE CALLED ME FROM THERE, SAID SOMETHING ABOUT A PAY DAY LOAN CONSOLIDATION, TOLD ME I WAS A BITCH AND HUNG UP ON ME.
ME: Ma’am, this is a power company. We make electricity. I think you have the wrong number.
IFC: Oh, okay *click*
It’s been a weird day.
….there’s never, ever, not ever, not for one minute…a dull moment in my life……..
Christmas went well. It was a hunnert degrees outside, and Santa looked like he would melt inside his suit when he visited the gaggle of screaming grandchildren gathered to meet him on Christmas Eve.
Months of preparation and the entire gift-opening extravaganza was over in 12.4 minutes.
The adults at my house engage in a White Elephant gift exchange. The concept, for those who don’t know, is to gather gawd-awful items you already have, wrap them prettily, and then every person gets a number and we pick packages based on if we’re first, second, and so on. After the first pick, the next person can either ‘steal’ a person’s gift or get a new one from the stack. And so it goes.
The idea is to give someone you love a hideous/disgusting gift. It’s a Christmas Spirit thing.
Of course, there’s always that one relative who doesn’t get it. That person invariably brings a truly magnificent gift. This year, it was a giant bag filled with gorgeous household knick-knacks, wall hangers, and so on. It was the FIRST gift picked, so you just knew the receiver wasn’t going to hang onto it.
Except the receiver, my youngest son, literally guarded his loot and threatened anyone who came near. He looked like a dog guarding the food bowl as he’d place his body between the would-be thief and the bag…growling and giving the thief the stink-eye.
The kid’s got game when it comes to intimidating looks.
I thought we were going to have a brawl a time or two as shouts of “cheater!” and “That’s not how this game is played!” fell on son’s deaf ears.
For my part, I’ve got so many knick-knacks and crapola around already I’m thinking of changing my name to Pier One Kirkland’s (got a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?), so I didn’t want a giant bag with more dust collectors.
In the end, son got to keep his big bag and I got a coloring book and crayons..perfect..no, really, perfect for when the grandkids come over.
I think we need to explain the White Elephant rules one. more. time.
Christmas Day is usually quiet and laid back at our house. I won’t get out of my jammies all day, unless we have company for dinner – which we did this year. It was still quiet, as all the grandkids were occupied with their new stuff.
The very next day I came down with the latest version of norovirus. This was the day we were supposed to start taking everything down because the day after that we were going to visit my mother some 700 miles away. Instead, I spent a day and a half praying to the porcelain gods and wishing I could sleep until it all passed. I mean, really…you get the pukes and a raging fever with body aches all at once. Seriously? ONE is bad enough, why oh why do we have to get both? Then, I spent the next four days (three of which were at my mother’s house) with a come-and-go fever, cold sweats, and zero appetite. Good times.
But, it doesn’t end there…as we were preparing to leave on our long road trip (a day and a half behind schedule) – and let me tell you just how excited I was for that, having been so sick so recently – when my sister’s frantic calls and texts began. Her husband was admitted to ICU with sepsis. How he went from a healthy, cutthroat, corporate attorney to death’s door can be attributed to the medical profession. He had a biopsy, it got infected, then it really pissed his body off and he wound up in the hospital for a solid week. He’s home now, with a PICC line for antibiotics. Out of the woods, be definitely still on the mend.
And that was just last week…hell, part of last week. The rest, though, was anti-climactic after all that led up to it.
I even rang in 2016 asleep, on the couch at mom’s, for the first time since I was a child.
It was a hint for this year. Keep it quiet, dude. I need my rest.
It’s that time of year, when bloggers post either sappy, sentiment-filled thank yous and I love yous to all their devoted readers.
But, that just wouldn’t be me.
So, keep the merry in your Christmas,
The happy in your New Year,
And most of all, keep your nuts away from the fire.
Have a good one, see you next year.
There’s this thing, called the Internet, that is truly one of nature’s most amazing black holes ever.
I mean, one minute you’re asking Aunty Google about where to find the best gingerbread cookie recipe, and the next thing you know you’re reading about famous gingers in movies – my personal favorite being Maureen O’Hara.
Hours can go by and before you know it, it’s time to go home and you won’t even be in the running for Most Productive Employee this week/month/year.
Oh well, might as well console yourself with trolling comments on hilarious Amazon products – like uranium and unicorn in a can (go look, and don’t say you haven’t been warned) – or watching BuzzFeed videos and then accidentally coming up with:
“The Most Awesomesauce Phrase of The Day” in the comments.
Today’s phrase was about makeup application, and one commenter was lamenting the cost of makeup and how if she put it on she wanted it to be seen, dammit…so she said:
“…put that shit on like you’ve been slapped n the face with a PopTart ladies…”
“What is all this?”
The question startled me as I stood staring at the shelves laden with wildly overpriced ground coffee.
“This?”, I asked the dapper looking elderly gentleman standing before me.
“Yes”, he replied his accent very thick, but I was unable to tell just where he was from though it sounded Middle Eastern to my untrained ear.
“Coffee. Overpriced coffee.” I said, smiling, and thinking he’d move along I went back to looking at labels.
Lately, I’ve tried to pay attention to what I buy and attempt to buy things labeled “Fair Trade” whenever possible. I know tea, coffee, and chocolate are just some of the products popular for this practice and I do my best to help support local farming in my small ways.
“Oh, yes. Everything. Everything, it costs so much nowadays!” he exclaimed, and it became apparent he wanted to talk to this stranger he’d just met in the coffee aisle of our small town grocery store.
I smiled at him, “That’s the truth, for sure.”
“Why, I can remember when you could fill your shopping basket with fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and milk and spend $25 or $30!”
I, too, remember those days and nodded in agreement.
“Nowadays, it’s $300-$400 to feed a family fresh foods!”
He ended every statement with hand gestures, sometimes throwing both up in the air, sometimes clapping them together.
He was adorable.
“Where are you from?” I asked, intrigued by this gentleman.
“Palestine.”, he answered, “and when I came here, America it was heaven!” This last statement was punctuated by both arms going straight up to the sky as his eyes misted over.
I felt the catch in my throat.
Why don’t all people born and raised here feel that way?
“Yes, when I came here I came to Chicago and I could not believe the people…OH! They were all so wonderful. Now, not so much. I do not even know my neighbors, and I know people are busy, but it seems all of America is different now.”
I touched his arm and said gently, “Not all of America. Not you, right? And you are American, aren’t you?”
The misty-eyed man clasped his hands in front of his face and said, “Baby, you are America, too. And I love you!”
We both giggled.
He proceeded to tell me that he’d come to America in 1966 as a single 33-yr. old. He worked two jobs at first to help support his family left behind in Palestine. He had been a diesel and farm equipment mechanic all his life. He married a Palestinian woman, and had a son and two daughters.
His brothers, one a chemist, one a lawyer, followed him from Palestine in the early 70’s and eventually they brought their mother here, but after a couple of years she got lonely for the old country and went back home. She had passed away not long after returning to her homeland.
“Oh, but the British! They stab us after World War II,” he railed, his face darkening “they told us we would have a homeland after the war was over. That we must be patient, but they lied and stabbed us. And the Americans could do little. I blame all of Europe.”
“All of Europe?” I smiled and his face softened.
“Not everyone, but we should have the homeland.”
I know little of the Palestinian struggles, but when he told me that it was much like the story of Native Americans I understood a little more.
“Yes, we welcome the Europeans, the Jews, all of them. We share our land, we teach them to farm, and they kick us out.”
I stood there, watching a man in his early 80’s, almost 75 years removed from the perceived betrayal, and his passion and fire were palpable.
It dawned on me that challenges in the Middle East stem from hurts and betrayals that span centuries, and are so entangled it is impossible to completely understand, or remedy.
“So, you came to America.” I said, trying to steer him away from the dark corner he huddled in.
He smiled brightly, “Yes, yes I did and I love America. I love it more than Americans.”
You got that right, sigh…
“Well, not all Americans,” I countered, feeling a little defensive despite basically agreeing with him.
“No, not all. There’s you, baby. And you have renewed my hope.”
“I’m not alone, you might be surprised.”
“I hope so, baby, I think you have shown me something. But everyone is so busy, I do not even know my neighbors.”
“That’s true. We’re all so busy anymore.”
We spoke of front porches, and neighbors who watched out for each other’s kids, and times when there wasn’t a new fear around every corner.
Then, the conversation turned back to prices and wages.
“It is not fair, the wages down here.” He said, as he held his hand, palm down, about two feet off the floor, “and the prices way up here.” He said, holding his other hand high up over his head. “It is not fair.”
“I agree, but it is a price we pay for our free market system.”
“Aaah! In the old country, a strong leader would say LOWER THESE PRICES, and it would be done!” He pointed after every word for emphasis.
“Yes, but that’s not the way it’s done here. That is not our system of government; it is not in our Constitution.”
“Yes, well maybe a strong leader. Mr. Obama, he tried, but the Congress, they tell him NO! But, he is not strong.”
I couldn’t argue that point, nor disagree with it.
“It wouldn’t matter, it’s not our way of life. Isn’t that why you came here in the first place? So you could do anything you wanted, be anything you wanted? Make your fortune?”
He beamed, “Yes, yes I did. But, it hurts my heart to see my children and grandchildren struggle so.”
“Me too,” I said, “but remember, they too can make their fortunes and be anything they want. This is America.”
He grabbed my arms with his amazingly strong hands, and planted six kisses on each cheek.
“You, you are America and I love you baby!” He said, the tears really welling up now..in both of our eyes.
“Thank you, sir. Now be sure to instill a sense of history in those grandkids while you can. You are a walking history book, and they must learn from you.”
“I will, baby, I will.”
“It was so good to meet you.” I said, as I began to walk away, “maybe we will meet again.” (a distinct possibility, as this is a small town).
“I hope so, baby, I do. Have a wonderful day.”
And then, he was gone, walking spryly down the aisle and I stood there trying to catch my breath for a moment.
What a rare privilege I’d just been given! Had I served him well? Had I made a good impression for my fellow Americans?
I hoped so, because I was certain that Charlie had done the same for his fellow Palestinians.
On Saturday the flat of herbs, onions, and garlic that I optimistically bought in early March, thinking I actually lived in Texas and not in Minnesota only to find out that I did, indeed, live in Minnesota this year although it looks just like Texas and I don’t recall moving, but anything is possible.
Anyway, where was I?
Oh, right…Saturday I finally got to plant my kitchen garden in my little 6X4 raised bed that hubby built for me a few years ago and our new dog had decided made the perfect place to create a hole to snuggle down into, completely ignoring her expensive dog house with the fluffy bedding inside, creating craters here and there that I then had to redistribute the dirt over and smooth flat before planting.
Once that was all done, and all the herbs, onions, and garlic was planted I added a garden fencing material that looked substantial in the picture and advertisement, but turned out to be about as stout as a bath mat, but it was all I had and I wanted to keep the dog out of it so I put it up around the garden and hubby helped prop/anchor it in place.
Anyhoo – after three hours of digging, raking, planting, watering, and fence-ing I was tired and sore and a little sunburned, but I had a lovely little kitchen garden in the making.
On Sunday, I could barely move and I had a migraine. The pain was intense, because all my fun had triggered a severe fibro flare.
Apparently, this was the universe’s way of thanking me for going green or something.
And, today, the wind is blowing at about elebenty-hunnert miles an hour so when I get home I expect the fencing to have blown away from the garden to become a giant chew toy for the dog, she will have redistributed plants and dirt and reclaimed the bed, and I will attempt to salvage what’s left of my herbs, onions, and garlic.
Tomorrow, I’ll have another severe fibro flare and will have to work ten hours.
Well played, universe.
Well played indeed.
I know so many of you are suffering seasonal allergies. There’s enough red noses out there to make W.C. Fields proud.
Go, go look up W.C. Fields.
*finds thread on jacket, pulls…sigh…now wonders if she can fix hole in jacket*
Anyone have a needle and white thread?
As I was saying, allergies…BLECH!
But, have no fear I have a helpful solution.
Auntie Awesomesauciness’ Guide to Clearing Sinuses
Step 1: Take a large mouthful of water, tea, soda, juice, or any of your favorite beverages.
*hands reader a towel…and a mop*