Thursday, December 13, 2007

If You See Me Smoking, I Must Be On Fire!

Well hey there, Y’all! It sure has been a long time. No, really, a LONGGGGG time. I know how busy we’ve all been with the holidays, and I certainly haven’t been any busier than anyone else, or had more to do. I can’t make excuses, it’s just been crazy here. I have Jenda, almost four (OMG!!) husband Jerry (behaves like he’s four, OMG!!!) work, holidays, life, whatnot. In the midst of all of my baby mama drama, I mean, domestic bliss, I have decided to quit smoking.

Stop laughing. It’s for real.

Snorting when you laugh is real unbecoming, y’all!


I suppose this all started in the spring. I went outside to have a smoke (NEVER in the house!) and also to have a quiet moment away from my two children…er, I mean Jenda and my husband. It was a beautiful day, birds were singing, the sun was shining, and I had about 42 seconds of peace and quiet.

(Maybe if I exhale quietly, she’ll go bug her Dad!)

(Maybe if I wait to exhale she’ll…damn!)

MAH-MEE! And here she came around the corner to my little slice of nicotine heaven. And then she looked at me with her huge blue-gray eyes. And she seemed puzzled.

“Mommy, whachu doing?”

Baby, I’m smoking a cigarette.

And again, the look. And then she asked, “Why?”

I was startled into a condition of exquisite rarity (at least for me.) I was speechless. I simply did not have an answer. Kinda like the time that I was looking out the window and saw a little rabbit on the lawn. We didn’t have a yard in South Florida and we damn sure never saw any rabbits (but there were plenty of Rabbis!) Anyway…I saw the rabbit on the lawn and called Jenda over to behold God’s adorable creature in all it’s wonder OH SHIT!

Jenda rushed to the window in time to see that now there were two rabbits who were going at it like crazed weasels right on our front lawn! There stood Jenda, watching this and I was horrified! I felt like some kind of pervert for bringing her into this. Stupid rabbits! Couldn’t they have picked someone else’s yard? Damn!

“Mommy, whatter they DOOOOOING?”

They, um, well, they, they’re saying hello. Yeah, they’re just saying hello! Yes, they’re saying hello!

“That’s not how you and Daddy say hello.”

Well, no, not since we had you.

Come to think of it, I’m just not that person that you want to come to with life’s deep, meaningful questions!

So, back to the cigarettes. Long after Jenda toddled off to ride her Dora the Explorer big wheel, or drive her Barbie Jeep, or play with one of the plethora of toys littering our yard, I tried to come up with an answer. I am smoking, but why?

Am I on fire? No.

Am I out of Chardonnay? Hell no, I would SO never let that happen!

So anyway, I had no good answer. I called Dr. McDreamy and asked for help! We decided that a new pill called Chantix would be our weapon in the fight against smoking. I made an appointment and then began to do some research. I went to the official website and read about success rates, doses, and of course side effects.

Big mistake, y’all. Huge!

The side effects blurb was very helpful, almost chipper. ‘You might experience stomach upset and weight loss while taking Chantix.’ Strange…Who gets upset about weight loss? I kept reading….

‘Some patients reported experiencing nausea lasting several months. Others reported gas and abdominal cramps.’ WTF? Nausea? Gas? Cramps? Several months? I think I’ll just get knocked up again. I mean, c’mon!

‘Some people experience severe swelling of their lips during the duration of treatment. Still, don’t stop taking the medicine! We want to help you help yourself!’ Fiends! Are you kidding me?! There is no way on God’s green earth I am taking this shit and farting up a storm while sporting duck lips! I resigned myself to lung cancer, cancelled my appointment, and went on about my life.

Of course, I had to tell some of my friends at work about this horrible new pill designed to torture poor nicotine addicts who really just need sympathy, understanding, and an iron lung. While telling two of my friends about the symptoms, one of them said, “Ooh, not to interrupt, but speaking of weight loss and swollen lips, did you see that Angelina Jolie is filming a new movie? Blah, blah….”

Okay, so that is what he said. What I heard was “Get on this medication and you will lose weight and get full pouty lips and LOOK LIKE ANGELINA JOLIE!” Yeah, it’s a stretch, but that’s really what I heard. So I called the doctor and begged for the earliest appointment possible to begin my transformation into Angelina, I mean, non-smoker.

I met with my doctor and we discussed everything from doses to duration of treatment (in my case, the rest of my natural life!) I then asked about side effects.

“Don’t worry about everything you read on the website. They are required by law to list every possible thing that might happen in one out of one million cases. All of my patients have been fine.”

How many of them look like Angelina Jolie?


I mean, how many of them were able to quit? Seriously…hahaha!

“Right, well, good luck and we’ll follow up in a month or so.” So off I went.

I began taking the pills immediately, gobbling them like Di-Gel and waiting for the Angelinaness. I did not notice any weight loss or sexy lips, but I did feel bloated and crabby, but noticed almost at once that I was no longer getting a buzz from the nicotine. Okay, not so bad. After two weeks, I quit, but had to continue the medicine, like I said, for the next century. But still, no weight loss or Angelina lips. Damn! Still I was feeling good. SO good, in fact, that when I get to work and have to park in Outer Mongolia because all of the good spots are taken, I am not out of breath when I hike to the building. I decided that I could at least address part of the problem by going on Weight Watchers.

Another huge mistake. In all of my new-found non-smoking self-actualization, I discovered that I am a REAL dumbass!

When you quit smoking, you develop hand-mouth reflex syndrome. You are hungry, and you snack a lot. The good news is, your blood pressure goes down. It’s best to just go with it. When you go on Weight Watchers, you eat tiny portions of diet food made from pencil shavings, the crud from Willie Nelson’s beard, and buckets of sodium. So, you’re friggin’ hungry and your blood pressure goes through the roof. I lasted about three weeks and lost exactly half a pound, my sense of humor, and my will to live. I decided to end the craziness by going out every night for beer and wings. I mean, if quitting smoking is going to make me live longer, shit, I might as well enjoy it!

So, here we are 46 days later and aside from one little cheat (if you knew THAT story, you would not blame me!) I am not smoking. I also look nothing like Angelina Jolie, but it’s okay. I figure with all of the money I am saving from not buying cigarettes, I am going to go for plastic surgery and buy myself some duck lips and liposuction. Hell, I’m just gonna get everything lifted. And then I’ll REALLY be smokin’.

Hot, that is!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Teach Your Children Well!

Hey there y’all! This has been a great week. I have been officially moved to my new schedule at work so I am home by 10:00 pm instead of 2:30 am. I hardly know what to do with myself. Y’know, besides come home from a long day at work and get a four hour head start on cleaning the house. Really, things here are good. It finally rained today, which is a wonderful thing. It has been so dry here that walking in the yard gives you the impression of walking across spilled corn flakes. If you have never had a three year old in your house, this is probably not something you’re familiar with. Trust me.

Being on my new schedule has given me more time to spend with Jenda, which is both a good and a bad thing. Good, because she is the light of my life and I want to be with her as much as possible. Bad, because, as a parent, I do things to screw her up. It’s not just me. All parents mess up their kids. We don’t mean to, it just happens. If you’re not a parent, you’ve at least been a kid, so y’all know I’m right.

Jerry and I took Jenda to Wal-mart the other day. This in and of itself can screw people up, but I am referring to an exchange we witnessed this past weekend. Jenda and I were walking along and I spied a small child about Jenda’s age in the buggy being pushed along by his mom. I was pushing Jenda in our buggy and I smiled at the whole mother-child bond, at the experience of witnessing such an idyllic scene.

Then, the unthinkable happened.

Apparently, Other Mom thought that her child had a dirty face. And maybe he did. He’s three…what are the odds. So Other Mom licked her thumb and WIPED HIS FACE!! My knees went weak, because I was transported back in time to the days when my own Mom (God rest her soul) felt that SPIT meant ALL PURPOSE CLEANER and did that shit to me!! ARRRGGHHH!! NNNOOOO! I must have swooned because Jenda grabbed my hand.

“You okay, Mommy?”

I couldn’t respond because my heart was going out of my body and over to the little boy in the buggy, who looked at Other Mom as though she had grown another head and needed to be put to sleep. Trust me, this kid is going to wind up in therapy, and years of psychoanalysis will not erase the memory of having your face cleaned with SOMEONE ELSE’S SPIT!! I looked at Jenda, all childlike concern and salivary innocence in the shopping cart. Someday, I thought, you’ll thank me. I know I’ll make other mistakes with you and I’ll wish I had done some things differently, but I will never hear the dreaded teen angst “YOU WASHED MY FACE WITH SPIT!!!”

I regained the ability to walk and assured Jenda that I was alright. Jerry joined us, adding things to the cart. We continued shopping and, still reeling from the spit episode, I vowed to be the better mommy and allowed Jenda only the junk food that she REALLY wanted.

Then Jerry saw a display and made a suggestion.

“It’ll be getting cold here soon. Do you suppose Jenda would eat oatmeal for breakfast?”

OMG, NNNOOOOO!! Not oatmeal! I had another flashback (yes, parts of my childhood are like a bad acid trip! I mean, I guess so, I never tried it. Acid or drugs, I mean. Score one for the parents!) Back in time to my early years, when my mother actually handled and prepared raw food for me and my brother on that thingy, um, the stove. (This before I discovered from Britney Spears just how nutritious the breakfasts at the McDonald’s drive-thru really are!) My mother would actually make oatmeal for us, which was okay in its bland way. Then she would announce, beaming, “This’ll stick to your ribs!”


Imagine being four years old in Mrs. Brady’s kindergarten class at Hartsfield Elementary. All of your little friends are playing with the Fischer Price Little People, finger painting, having a ball. But not you. NOOO! You’re too traumatized by the thought of huge globs of brown-grey oatmeal stuck to the bones of your ribcage. Even with the most basic, rudimentary knowledge of anatomy that a four year old can possess, well, you’re ruined for life. Trust me, y’all. I’m going to be 38 next week. I have not eaten oatmeal for at least the last three decades. It’s like the spit thing. I’m going to make mistakes, but spit and oatmeal aren’t on Jenda’s list.

I was sharing this with Markie. Y’all remember Markie….Dr. McDreamy? I have started speaking to her again (at first, only out of necessity and then just because she really is pretty cool.) She shared something with me that she did to mess with her kids.

“I used to tell them that their socks were on the wrong feet!” (Think about this one for a minute, y’all!)

But it doesn’t matter. I mean….WHOA!! That’s way harsh!

“Yeah, but it was hysterical to see their faces! BWUHHAHAHAHA!”

That was a new one for me. I guess my parents were too busy with spit and Quaker Oats to come up with that one. I mentally filed it away and thought about some of the other things we do as parents to mess up our little tykes.

For example, my husband Jerry is something of a handyman genius. He can fix pretty much anything and he does all kinds of manly home improvement stuff. And he’s good at it, too. Apparently he learned all of this from helping his Dad. My own Dad never asked me to help him with man-shit, so I guess I missed out somehow. Well, no, now that I think about it. Anyway, since we only have Jenda, Jerry is trying to train her to do all of the handyman stuff that Mommy refuses to do. Like cook. Anyway, he shared this little tidbit with Jenda while teaching her about screwdrivers. I know a lot about screwdrivers. They’re made with Absolut and orange juice. No, what I mean to say is that there are two different kinds. Really. There’s what I call the regular kind and then there’s also the nubbly headed kind. Yeah, better for him to teach all this stuff to Jenda.

So Jerry tells Jenda, “Don’t put the screwdriver in your belly button. (Smart!) If you unscrew your belly button, your butt will fall off!”

Jenda was transfixed, as I assume Jerry was at that age when his Dad told him that. She was probably thinking, “If my butt is going to be anything like Mommy’s, I damn sure BETTER unscrew it. Good Lord!”

Okay, so we’re doing the right thing by telling her not to put screwdrivers in her navel. Of course, it’s too late about beads in the nose. But without meaning to, we still mess things up. For example, Jenda and I were at the store one day and she saw a Barbie doll. Of course, she wanted one. No big deal. I mean, I had Barbie dolls as a kid. I picked up Barbie and gave her a once over. Then I did a double take. WTF happened to Barbie?! When I was a kid, Barbie was cute. Her nose was retroussee, her eyes were wide and in spite of her sexy, big-boobed Barbie-ness, she was rather tame and wholesome. Fast forward to 2007 and her boobs are bigger, her nose is different and she doesn’t have very much clothes on!!! So I told Jenda in my adult, in-control, wholesome Mommy way, HELL NO!! Barbie’s a skank!

Right. I hear you. I should not have taught Jenda the word SKANK. It slipped out. Like the time that I kept asking Jerry to hang the new light fixture in the bathroom and he kept putting it off. Then finally, Jenda had show and tell at Daycare and I gave her one of the light fixture pieces to take in to show and tell the other kids that MOMMY’S NEEDS ARE NOT IMPORTANT AND THIS CAN HAPPEN TO YOU!!

No, wait, where was I? Oh, skank. So we were at yet ANOTHER store and Jerry was getting Jenda out of the car seat. This woman came out of the convenience store dressed like a trailer tramp. Jenda waited until she was right next to our car and then announced, “That’s kinda skank!”

I ducked down into the floor of the front seat under the glove compartment, figuring that she would see Jerry first and kick his ass. Jerry was torn between trying to get a good look at the skank and giving me the evil eye for teaching Jenda such a word. I was so proud that she used it, while not exactly in a complete sentence, at least in its proper context. Go Girl!

Odds are I probably let Jenda watch too many cartoons. I grumble sometimes about things that her dad has said or done, and I know I give in too easily in the toy department. Yes, all my mistakes. Still, I try to teach Jenda about accountability, kindness, and not being a skank. And I have discovered that when I need a quiet moment, I can tell Jenda that her socks are on the wrong feet. It buys me about an hour of bewilderment, peace, and quiet.

I have SO got to put Markie back on my Christmas card list!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Father Nose Best?

Well hey there y’all! What a week I am having. Our AC has died and we are sweating our butts off in what everyone is calling the hottest summer on record here in Kernersville. Jerry installed a small window unit in the living room, which, of course, is the room in which we are now living. Suffice it to say there is no cooking or cleaning going on in our house. Not that I was doing much of that when the AC was working, but that’s another story for another time.

With all of us spending so much time together in one room, we have moved most of our essential belongings downstairs, giving our house a real trashy, I mean, homey feel. Naturally, all of Jenda’s toys are scattered about, so I am constantly reminded of the look of a trailer park after a twister. But tonight, good Lord, where should I begin?

Jenda was watching some insipid Barbie movie (redundant….they’re ALL insipid) and I was reading a book. Jenda was dancing around and talking to me. “Mommy, I’m a princess. I’m a ballerina. I put a bead in my nose. I’m so beautiful.”

Yes baby, you are so beautif…WHAT?

“I’m a princess!”

No, that other thing. Please tell me you said you’ve got speed in your toes, a weed by the rose, a creed…

“I put a BEAD in my NOSE, Mommy!”

Of course I said the first thing that popped into my head. It doesn’t bear repeating here. (Y’all figure it out!)

I ran and hollered for Jerry, who was in the bathroom. Honey, Jenda shoved a bead in her nose.

“Jenda likes to read as she grows?”

GET OUT HERE! Bring a flashlight! (And a valium!)

Jerry came running out and grabbed a flashlight. We corralled Jenda, who seemed really amused at the havoc she created. Jerry took the flashlight while I held Jenda and took stock of the offending bead. He stayed calm but I was really starting to panic. I tried getting Jenda to blow her nose. No luck. I found her little nasal aspirator and tried that. No luck. Then Jerry told me to wait while he ran out to the garage. He came back with a small, narrow length of hose. I had that sinking feeling you get when you know the answer before you even ask. But I asked. What on earth are you going to do with that?

“I’m going to put it in her nose and suck on the other end to try to dislodge the bead. Y’know, like when you siphon gasoline?” (Thank God she wasn't constipated!)

Um, no. I get gasoline the old fashioned way…by taking out a home equity loan to buy enough to fill the tank. But whatever. Is that hose clean?

Jerry gave me a pained look. I gave him the ‘I will withhold sexual favors’ look. He cleaned the hose and came back to do the horrible deed. (I know what y’all are thinking. I love Jenda more than I love my own life, and if I had absolutely had to, I would have tried to suck the bead out of her nose. Fortunately, I had a man to do it for me. Score one for the Women’s Movement!)

THWICK, THWICK, THWICK! No bead. THWICK, THWICK, THWICK! No bead, but Jenda was horrified, Jerry was red in the face, and I was convulsed with laughter at the sight of Jerry sucking out Jenda’s nose through a tube! I was reminded of that old saying, ‘you can pick your friends, and you can pick your', oh nevermind! Of course I don’t know much about science and the various laws that make up the universe, like gravity and such. But it seemed to me that the bead, which was very small, got in there, and being small enough to get in, we should be able to get it back out again. Of course that must be the same scientific law that keeps leading me to try on the Levi’s that I wore in college that I just can’t squeeze my fat ass into. I guess I should have paid more attention during physics class.

We were stumped. We considered getting the shop vac, but we decided that the hose attachment is too big. No use sucking her brains out. I had to go into ‘Mommy Mode’. I grabbed the phone. Jerry asked, “Who are you calling?”

The hospital in Florida where Jenda was born. Don’t look at me like that, wait, hello? Hi. My daughter was born in your hospital in March of 2004. Yes, y’all were great. Listen, I need you to find the instruction manual. The one y’all give to new parents when babies are born? I’m sure they gave me one when she was born and I must have left it there. I’ll hold while you look for hello? Hello? Jerry, are you sure you paid the phone bill?

Jerry began looking online while calling Jenda’s pediatrician here in North Carolina. He left a message for the on-call nurse. Let me tell you how much I dreaded that return phone call. I could just hear the nurse…”Lemme get this straight. Your three-year old child is up at 1:00 in the morning watching skanky old Barbie, you allowed her to play with small beads that NO child under the age of five should be playing with, and you tried to suck it out with an old piece of hose? Welcome to ‘BAD MOMMYVILLE’, population, you and Britney Spears. I’m calling Child Protective Services RIGHT NOW!”

Of course, it wasn’t quite that bad. The nurse, Brenda, called right back and I told her the whole story. She was really sweet and helpful, but I could tell she was tickled. Of course she asked that we not stick anything else up Jenda’s nose. (Wasn’t MY idea!) We agreed that since Jenda was not suffering in the least, we could bring her to the office in the morning to have the bead removed. Brenda was quick to point out that this happens frequently, but I knew the unspoken thought. ‘My kids have never done this. One of them has won the Nobel Prize, the other one is in Harvard, they eat a macrobiotic diet, and they’re both under the age of ten. Your kid watches Barbie, shoves bead up her nose, and you probably let her eat McDonald’s! LOSER MOMMY!”

I spent the rest of the wee small hours watching Jenda like a hawk. Later in the day, we took her to the pediatrician who looked around in Jenda’s nose, and announced that she could not find the bead. We would have to go to an ear, nose, and throat specialist. Copayment-wise, this plastic bead was turning into the equivalent of Swarovski Crystal! We sped across town and waited for the next doctor.

He was very sweet and Jenda was really brave. He could not see the bead with all of his lights and other equipment, so he brought out the big guns. He brought out what looked like a rifle case and pulled out some long ten inch probe thingy to stick in Jenda's nose. I guess Jerry held Jenda in place while the nurse was using the defibrillator thingy on me.

As I was being brought back to life, I heard the doctor say that there was no bead and it either dislodged or Jenda swallowed it. We came back home, threw away all of Jenda’s beads, and contemplated our now empty bank accounts. Jerry is napping and Jenda is playing with Lego blocks (giant ones!) I am going to try to call the hospital in Florida again. Y’know, the one where Jenda was born? I just know they have instruction manuals for first-time parents. I’m not sure what happened the first time I tried to call. I guess we just had a bad phone connection, right?

Yeah. Must’ve been….

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Wonder What the Ancient Greeks Would Say About This One!

Well hey there, y’all! With all the talk in the news of the next Olympic Games to be held in Beijing, I guess people are getting inspired. Even for the completely non-athletic types like me, the thought of being able to win a GOLD MEDAL at the Olympics is just incredible. Just imagine being able to run faster than Carl Lewis or being able to jump into midair, spin three times, and land on a metal blade on ice…geeze. It gives you goose bumps, right?

It would seem that such sporting dreams have captured the imaginations of some sports enthusiasts near Dallas, Texas, who, armed with the knowledge that they will NEVER be traditional Olympians, have decided to take matters into their own hands. Yes, friends, I am talking about THE REDNECK GAMES.

Nope. Not making this one up.

These are serious competitions, y’all. None of that wussie shotput throwing. Try ‘The Mattress Chuck’. This is a two man team competition to see which team can throw a mattress the farthest from the back of a pickup truck. Men’s Freestyle High Dive? Nah, try ‘The Mudbog Belly Flop’, with points given for artistic impression, style and ‘the redder the better’. The Decathalon? That’s lame. How about (God help me!) ‘The Ugly Butt Crack Contest’? (I must stop here to take part in ‘The Cookie Tossing Event’.)

Said the news report, “Modeled after similar games that have been going in Georgia for more than a decade, the four-day Redneck Games took place about 70 miles southeast of Dallas and included an estimated 6,000 people and live music.” (This seems like a feat, but it’s not too difficult to get 6,000 rednecks and live music in one place. They’re all related so they live in the same trailer park. Tell ‘em you’ll supply the beer if they’ll bring their banjos.) “The organizer, Oscar Still, could face a misdemeanor charge for not having a permit (only for not having a permit, y’all!), required for any gathering of more than 2,500 people.” How apropos…it just seems fitting that the organizer of this event would be named ‘Still’. (Well, that or ‘Ugly Buttcrack Boodreau’.)

I especially have to laugh at the local sheriff, Lt. McWilliams, who said, “ I'm an old fuddy duddy and all that, but you got a vehicle, you got alcohol, and you got illegal dumping, and you're making a contest out of that?" We are very fortunate that we didn't have a fatality." Obviously, Lt. McWilliams is only doing this sheriff gig part time, because he does the bulk of his work in the field of rocket science. DUH! You have thousands of vehicles and a whole buttload of booze! And you are mistaken Johnny Law, because there was a fatality. I damn sure died laughing when I read this! I love how he ranks illegal dumping up there with driving while impaired. Hey, he’s got priorities.

One of the event organizers said that he knew the residents were upset about the traffic, but the games boosted the local businesses. NOOOO.... For me, traffic would not be the problem. Opening my curtains to let the sunlight in and being confronted with the sight of 'The Ugly Butt Crack' contest would be the more upsetting issue. Imagine the downturn in property values, to say nothing of how it would make your stomach turn!

One of the locals who retired to the area complained that he “has awakened to the roaring engines of all-terrain vehicles, midnight fireworks shows and thousands of drunken revelers who every so often gather across the narrow county road from his property at events like the Redneck Games and the Texas Redneck Muddy Gras.” Said the local yokel, "We're just a nice, calm community, and nobody can get any rest; nobody can get any sleep."

SLEEP? During the Redneck Muddy Gras? No, no no, you must be crazy. You can sleep during the other 361 days of the year. This is one life altering event that no one should miss. I can only imagine what the great cultural anthropologist of our time, Jay Leno, will say about all of this…. “I was in the Redneck Riviera today for the Redneck Games. The ‘Fart Lighting Competition’ really blew me away…bwuhhahaha!”

The article does not give any indication of what awards are given for winning these competitions. Braggin’ rights are real big in the South, but it seems only right that there would be some token awarded for earning the high esteem of the “Brotherhood of Athletes of the Redneck Federation’, hereafter known as BARF. I took the initiative to look online to see what might be an appropriate award for all of the honorable and deserving assletes, excuse me, ATHletes who compete in the games. For the first place winner, a case of ‘Golden Brew Beer’, Hanley Brewing Co., St. Louis. For the second place winner, a case of ‘Silver Edge Beer’, Muessel Brewing Co., Indiana. For the third place winner, well, I couldn’t find anything in a Bronze Beer, but I did find ‘Red Ass Ale’, Cold Springs Brewing Co., Minnesota. For that matter, all the participants could be awarded that one. I plan to contact the members of BARF to suggest these prizes, although something tells me that they are already working the beer angle.

Here in North Carolina, we have some pretty cool events, such as the Spring Folly, the Honeybee Festival in late summer, and various holiday events sponsored by the town aldermen. We don’t have anything nearly as cool and groovy as the Redneck Games and BARF. This could definitely be worth a road trip to attend next year’s games. This little slice of life has really changed my outlook on Americana, and I hope it has done the same for you. So the next time you see some big sweaty redneck surrounded by mattresses, with a red belly and a potentially ugly butt crack, know that he is a respected and winning athlete. Congratulate him, shake his hand and give him a pat on the back.

Look out for back hair.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

'You Da Bomb' Takes On a Whole New Meaning!

Well hay there, y’all! I am just in such a state of disbelief. Y’all know I love the South and all things Southern (except chitlins!) but I just have to share this. Even I could not make this up!

Jerry and I were watching the news this morning (at 4:45 am, since we FINALLY got Jenda to go to bed and we’re not forced to watch anymore Dora the Explorer! We LIVE for these moments!) Anyway, this little blurb came on the news about some young kids in South Carolina. Charleston, to be precise. Of course these well-mannered Southern tykes were out playing in their backyard, in the ‘burbs, and they unearthed a bomb.


Granted, I have been bombed in my backyard before, so I wasn’t sure I heard the news correctly. I had to turn it up. Sho ‘nuff. They found it actually in the woods just behind their house so they just dug it up and dragged it home. Okay, admittedly, for those of us with kids, we have all manner of crap dragged into our yards and homes: rocks, bugs, pieces of string, wine bottles (oh, wait, I think those are mine!) You know how it is. But a bomb?

Okay, first of all, how do you build a subdivision and NOT FIND A BOMB? I mean, c’mon. The damn thing had to be pretty close to the surface for a couple of kids to dig it up. Of course they got it home, and I am sure told their mother that it followed them home and could they keep it pretty please and they promised to clean up after it.

Mom was interviewed by one of the newspapers… “"It did look like a missile to me but I didn't think it was anything to be concerned about because how often do you find a missile in your backyard?"

Am I missing something, like, her lobotomy scar? DUH!! One of her neighbors had the good sense to run like hell while dialing 911 on his cell phone… “Hey, police? My goofy neighbor kids just dragged an effing bomb home and they seem to be building a house for it and trying to paper train it. Yeah, can you send someone?”

I find it hard to fathom in this day and age that one, you can just find a bomb in the yard and two, that no one really seems concerned. Of course, the authorities were quick to point out that there was no real danger, it was just a “practice bomb.” Okay, why’n HAYULL y’all practicing in the suburbs? I would have a for sale sign in front of my house so fast it’d make your head spin. On second thought, better to put the sign up real slow, in case there’s any “practice landmines” lurking around near the petunias. Never hurts to be safe!

If I ever saw Jenda dragging a bomb around, well, I would make Jerry stay behind to get Jenda while I ran like hell calling homeland security or the DMV or the ASPCA or SOME-DAMN-BODY to get the thing out of here. Or just for ha ha’s, maybe I’d just call my neighbors, Cletus and Pootis to come get it. It’s almost Easter, they could paint it up like a pretty egg and use it in their latest holiday tableau.

“Hey look, Pootis, I found a bomb!”

“Whatchu say, let’s get bombed….hayuk yuk yuk!”

“No, lookit, a BOMB!! Ooh…let’s play war! I’ll be the allies and you be ‘Russia sucks!’”

I can tell y’all that it is getting warmer here, and soon it will be time for yard work, weeding, and spring planting. I can tell you that I will be planting my bee-hind in a lawn chair and working through a good novel with my friend Kendall Jackson. Digging in my yard? Not on your life!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tales From the Road: Cheeb and Email Don't Mix!

Well hey there, y’all! What an amazing age we live in. If you watch “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” then you’ll know, of course, that this is the Cenozoic Age, which is Latin for Cretins Email Nonsensical “Ol Zany Odd Idiotic Crap (get it?!) I can’t remember life before email. Actually, I can’t remember what I had for breakfast this morning (probably Diet Coke and a cigarette!) but truly, email has enriched my life.

I love email. I really love the fact that I can take a picture (from a phone….HELLO!!!) and send it to God and everybody. I can also forward chain letters instead of paying for postage. (Okay, my hair has not fallen out, my husband has never impregnated a ferret, and my groovy Kitchen-Aid mixer still works, but damn sure I still forward those things because anything COULD happen and I am NOT ashamed of my Lord and savior, ‘kay? Y’all know who you are, so stop sending them already. Dad!) Anyway….

I love the good old days of email. I realize that it’s a relatively new invention. Y’know, in terms of Cenozoic geologic time. But we have entered a new age of electronic communication. I like to call it “The Age of Email Stalker Bullshit Terrorism!” Allow me to explain.

In the early days of email (last week), I would get about a dozen emails a day. Two of those were from friends, two were chain letters (from Dad) and the rest were either ways to “enlarge my member and make her scream…get VIAGRA NOW!” or ways to earn a doctorate degree based on life experience. (“Yes, I have a Juris Doctorate in Biggus Dickus! PHAW on your business degree from Harvard….LOSER!) I could pick and choose from any number of serious business opportunities (I need must wire right now immediately 40 gazillion eleven dollars into your account from Bank of Nigeria) or “Earn big money on your back! Great benefits!” Those were good times. I was busy screaming, studying, kiting checks…. Nevermind!

Well, as I said, times have changed. I remember an email that I received that should have been a signal to me of “THE END TIMES!” Y’all know hubby Jerry has always been a real handy dandy home improvement type. Anyway, I was very pregnant with Jenda (No, really. I know I looked REALLY pregnant five minutes after conception, but at this point in the story, I was eight and a half months and roughly the size of Wyoming.) Anyway, here comes this email….

“Hi friends! As you know, I have just had major abdominal surgery and Mr. Man has a bad back, and we are just so ready to get out of this sucky South Florida real estate market.” (Their house was in foreclosure. Again.) “Anyway, we are throwing a ‘painting party’ and your invited!” (They misspelled ‘you’re!’ I corrected it… smarter than a fifth grader, y’know. ) “We need you to paint the living room and dining room, replace the water heater, fix the hole in the kitchen ceiling, and tile the half bathroom downstairs. We will supply lunch and beverages, and there will be great music. We look forward to seeing you Saturday!”

What’n HAYULL?!

Let me see if I have this right. You want my pregnant self, my long-suffering husband, and some home improvement fairies to come to YOUR house, completely remodel it, and you’re gonna feed us? Oh, and don’t let me forget ‘great music’…I think ‘Crazy’ by Patsy Cline would be in order.

Trust me. You don’t want us. You want Ty Pennington. And when he clears up that DUI thing and you quit puffing on cheeb, I bet y’all can make magic! PUH-LEEZE!

I must say that while Jenda is too young for email, she certainly gets invited to a whole heap of birthday parties. Ah, the fun and innocence of a child’s party, right? HA! I actually get emails from the parents with gift registries for the little tykes. ‘Missy Ray loves Dora, Spongebob, Barbie, and dress-up clothes. She is registered at Walmart, Target, and Wee Bee Cheebheads.’ After one too many of these, I went online and ordered a buttload of copies of ‘Emily Post’s Guide to Etiquette’. This way, we can teach these kids some manners (and the parents, too!) and since the Federal Government says our kids don’t get enough exercise, they can damn sure get a workout from lugging that heavy ass book around!

Not too long ago, I heard from one of my friends, Casey. He had recently been stalked, er, emailed by an old acquaintance (no, not me!) for some assistance. I just LOVE this online panhandling! Seems Casey’s friend, Rudi, has had some medical issues and needs money. Okay, welcome to the USA in the 21st century, cheebster. Rudi went so far as to post some really gruesome car accident pics in the email (could have been anyone!), then said he needs $1500.00 for ‘Canadian Crutches’. He went on to add the address for all and sundry to send their donations, or ‘blessings’.

Of course, Casey asked my opinion and I was more than happy to bless him with it. First of all, Rudi lives in Texas. He can get a brightly painted and beautifully hand-carved pair of ‘South of the Border Supports’ for a hell of a lot less than $1500.00 ‘Canadian Crutches’. Is there some special reason they have to be Canadian? If he’s looking to be some kind of saint by getting us to all bless each other, then damn! He can start a whole cottage industry in Mexico and create jobs for a lot of poor people by outsourcing those crutches out of Canada and into Mexico. (“Canadian Crutches? Chu don’ need no stinkin’ Canadian Crutches!”) And think what he could save on shipping!

Where would it end? Brazilian braces? Peruvian prosthetics? Colombian joints? Oh, nevermind! The sad fact of the matter is that we have regressed from the days of panhandling on street corners where you might get your windshield washed to electronic begging. My feeling is, if you can afford a computer, well sell that badboy along with your blood plasma and buy your own crutches! Or sell your computer and use the money to hire a contractor for home repairs. I feel compassion for anyone with medical needs and no money (but hey, I voted Democrat!) I understand the need to remodel your home and try to move to a better place. But damn. Don’t terrorize your friends with this, ‘kay? Use email the way God intended it to be used. Drop your friends a quick note, say hi, stay in touch, and leave it at that. And always remember, ‘Friends Don’t Let Friends Remodel’.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

There's More Than One Kind of Funk In Here!

Well hey there y’all! Geeze, the things you learn when your child finally takes a nap and you can watch the news. My stars! I had NO IDEA things were so interesting in this country. Lemme tellya how I got the shock of my life watching CNN the other day.

Okay, I know everyone is consumed with the whole Anna Nicole Smith baby-momma-drama (or daddy, in this case!) Jerry and I have watched this unfold with alarm. Not just for her baby and all this legal drama but the fact that she died, like, how many weeks ago and she is still not buried? Folks, that’s just damn creepy. But that isn’t even the most shocking part. I saw on the news today that JAMES BROWN is still not buried!


He died, what, sometime last year? Sick, really sick! Is our culture so celebrity crazed that we can’t let go, even after death (and certain decay and decomposition?) Sing with me folks, to the tune of “I Feel Good”….

Don’t smell good
I’m stiffer than wood
Don’t smell nice
Formaldehyde spice

It’s rank… I’m stank

I have to tell you, I’m pretty sure this is not how celebrities want to be remembered. I mean, I cleaned out the refrigerator the other day and some good chicken had gone bad. I got a whiff of that and started thinking ‘Trim Spa’. It’s not good.

Of course the other interesting and really creepy thing in the news is the launch by Krispy Kreme of their new…


‘Scuse me, what’n HAYULL is the point? You don’t go to Krispy Kreme to eat healthy! (If you do, you’re probably the kind of sicko-fiend that would die and stay above ground for the next several weeks!) Anyway, health experts have already jumped all over this and are quick to point out that these donuts have only 20 less calories and one less gram of fat than the regular ones, so again?

The point?

Which gets me to thinking….

No one in their right mind is gonna buy those damn fool donuts. I think they should take James Brown and Anna Nicole Smith to a landfill somewhere and cover them up with all of those unsold donuts. The preservatives in the donuts will slow down, well, you know, and it pretty much solves all their problems.

Sounds like the makings of ‘A Funky Good Time’ to me!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Empires Rise and Fall. Wonderbra is Forever!

Well hey there, y’all! Thought I’d drop a line and say hello and let you know that things here are good. I had a bit of a scare recently, well, a scare and the shock of my life. Allow me to explain.

See, I live within the law and also by an unspoken code of ethics among women. Y’all galpals know what I mean. We don’t date each others’ exes. We don’t cry “hair trauma” to the hairdresser and get our friend’s appointment when they really need it. And we have no qualms about disciplining each others’ kids, only because we love them as our own and want them to go far in life. I mean, c’mon, look at our president. It took a village to raise that idiot. But, back to my story.

When Jerry and I relocated here, I made friends with this really cool woman at work named Markie. She lives in the same community, so I picked her brain about good places to eat, good shopping, the best hair salons (cheap with no wait!) and of course, doctors. Markie rose to the occasion and became my living, breathing almanac. But back to that unspoken code…she left out a rather important detail.

It starts with the big scare. I was having my shower a few days ago (which is scary on SO many levels) and so decided to lather up my hair with the deep conditioning rinse and let it do it’s thing while I shaved my legs and underarms. Let me tellya, I am the poster child for breast cancer awareness, so if anyone ever saw me in the shower, they would think there was an eclipse if they saw my big fat ass. No, what I meant to say is they would think I’m some kind of self-pervert because I always check for anything suspicious. And to date, I have been really lucky. But the other night, I felt a lump in my armpit.

I can honestly say it is probably the size of a raisin, but to me, it felt like the size of Wyoming (kinda like my ass!) Anyway, all shaving activity ceased and I stayed awake all night praying and waiting for daybreak to call the doctor for an appointment. Remember, the one Markie recommended to me? So, they tell me to come in immediately and have it checked out. Off I go in my mommie uniform of old sweatpants, no makeup, deep-conditioned hair in a scrunchy and an old RUSH concert t-shirt that has seen better days (like back when the band first formed!) Away I went.

I had been to the office once before and I saw the physician’s assistant, Myrtle or Iris or something like that. I went into the examining room and waited for her. There was a knock at the door and in walked the actual doctor. Three thoughts went through my mind simultaneously.

1. OMG this is the BEST looking man I have ever seen!
2. Markie, you bee-yotch, why did you FAIL to mention that this is the best looking man ever?
3. Holy $#!^ he is going to have to examine my noo-nahs and HE IS THE BEST LOOKING SOB I HAVE EVER SEEN!

I could hardly recover enough to speak to him. I know what you’re thinking, too. I mean, I have had a baby, so surely I am no longer self conscious around doctors. Folks, I pick doctors VERY carefully! They are all highly skilled, old, ugly, and just one step ahead of Stevie Wonder on the vision placement test, ‘kay? So, Dr. McDreamy takes my blood pressure and says, “Wow, your pressure’s a bit high.”

Right, sport. I am going to have to take my shirt off in front of you, and let’s just say that my boobs fell faster and farther than the Roman Empire. I never finished shaving my underarms, but that’ll be painfully obvious to you in another couple of minutes, and I am going to leave here and go commit murder. At least Markie’s kids are grown and they can fend for themselves!

Sure enough, here came the dreaded “Remove your top and bra, put the gown on open in the front, and I’ll be back in five minutes.”

After he left, a quick check revealed that there were no razors, tweezers, or NAIR in the exam room (freaks!) so I prayed that if the lump was something awful that was going to kill me, PLEASE let it happen now, before he comes back. No dice. Okay, think fast. Then it hit me. See at my age, when I lay down without the benefit of Wonderbra (or as I like to call it, “Hooter Hefter”) everything goes east and west. Get my drift? So I decided the thing to do would be to lay down with my arms squished up together to hold ‘the girls’ in place while keeping the gown closed with my hands over my fat stomach. Unfortunately, I could do nothing about my underarm fat sticking up on either side like twin Matterhorns, but hey, at least some of the crisis was averted.

Dr. McDreamy came back in and said in all seriousness, “I need you to raise your arm and fold it behind your head.”


“You know, just put your hand behind your head.”

Oh crapola! Alrighty then. Try to ignore the timberline in my armpit, oh and would you pick that up off the floor for me? It’s my right breast. Thanks so much!

“Well”, he said, “I’m not terribly concerned. I can barely feel it.”

(Through my underarm fat!).

“You need to have a mammogram, follow up, blah, blah, blah.”

So after all that drama and various other diagnostics, the good news is that the lump is nothing to be concerned about and my health is good. Of course, after all those machinations in the doctor’s office, I have permanent curvature of the spine and am looking for a blind chiropractor! Markie has apologized and tried to make up, but I am pretty sure I saw her talking to the Feds about the Witness Protection Program. Never hurts to be safe. I have decided to take better care of my health, and now, I live by yet another code. I always carry an emergency kit in my purse; deodorant, a razor, makeup, you know. The essentials. Oh, and duct tape! I can’t afford implants!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Prepare for Bad Weather- Chardonnay and Timberlands!

Well "haayyy thayer y'all!" Here we are in the butt-puckerin' freezin' cold, or as they say in these here parts, fall! You just can't imagine how cold it is here. We have already seen snow. Well, okay, for Jerry, who spent part of his youth growing up in Binghamton, NY, frost, and for a Florida native like me (and Jenda) effing white out! We did actually have some snow the other day. About two inches, so for me, a blizzard. I must say, Jenda was SO excited to see snow. I didn't have the heart to deny her the chance to play in it, so I dressed her in all of her winter finery...thermal underwear, turtleneck, pullover sweater, two sweatshirts, sweatpants, blue jeans, three pairs of socks (mine), and, no lie, pink Timberland boots. Jerry, of course, volunteered to stay inside and make breakfast (Cheerios) so I got to go outside and play with Jenda in MY winter finery (long sleeved shirt, sweatpants that I bought at Target in Ft. Lauderdale that have all the warmth and substance of a kleenex, and Keds.)

Jenda had a wonderful time. She made snowballs and "Jenda tracks", you know, her footprints in the snow. Mommy made a trail of rocks behind her so that someone could find her frozen, dead, hypothermic body before the spring thaw. I noticed pretty quickly that we were the ONLY people outside on this glorious grey winter day. I could just imagine the neighbors...

"Hey, Mavis. C'meer and look at those damn fools! Why'n hell are they outside on a day lak this?"

"I dunno, Pootis. Muss be frum Floor-i-duh!!"

At any rate, the Cheerios were getting soggy, and being a very conscientious parent (afraid of what really good parents must think) I told Jenda we needed to go inside to have breakfast and then we could come back outside.

"Wanna play in the snow!"

Well, we have to eat breakfast and then we'll come back outside.

"NNNNOOOOOO......" and she took off.

I have to give props to Timberland, because the traction and speed that a two year old can get in those damn things is NOBODY'S business!! Let me just tell you that chasing a toddler in the snow is NOT for fat people who smoke (or even who DON'T smoke!) So I finally caught the little fiend, who screamed and cried like Naomi Campbell at a "Domestic Help Appreciation" rally. I showed her who's boss, though. I dragged her onto the porch and said in my best bossy mommy voice, "We are NOT going to play in the snow until after you have your beckoopuss!"

To which Jenda replied, "I've never liked you!"

I could hear the guffaws from the neighbors' houses.

After I assured Jenda that comedy is NOT for her (I don't know WHERE she gets this!) we went inside. Since my toes were black (who knows, I hope it's fungus and not frostbite!) I made Jerry go out and play. I decided to watch the local weather to see how long this blizzard would last. I mean, we could be snowed in for DAYS and I only had just so much Kendall Jackson left. I mean, c'mon!

Jerry came back in as I was bemoaning the fact that we had not yet purchased a generator. We could freeze to death in our own home if the power went out. It made my soggy black toes tingle just thinking about it!

"Nope, it's over. It'll melt by lunchtime and since we have a gas fireplace, we could still have warmth. Hate to burst your fatalistic little bubble, Toots!"

We'll just see about that. And that makes me wonder....why'n HAYULL did someone invent a gas fireplace? Where is the love? No more going out to a woodpile and praying that the brown recluses who live between the logs don't bite you. No more using a fireplace poker to push the logs around and setting fire with the loose spray of ashes to your semi-quasi-Orientalish rug from Target. Instead, you get a noxious smell from the gas fire, so bad that you just HAVE to open the flue, so that all of the heat and the gas haul ass up the chimney. I have to admit, I'm afraid of the damn thing. I refuse to light it because I just know I am gonna blow all straight to hell, or I am gonna leave the gas on and they'll find us in here unconscious with our tongues hanging out. Gas fireplaces are just too weird. It's like dyeing your own hair or hearing Lynyrd Skynyrd on ain't right, I tellya!

North Carolina natives sure do get freaky over a snow flurry. The locals run out to the store and buy up all of the bread. I just laugh at their panic-stricken faces as I walk to the wine aisle and buy all of the Kendall Jackson.

Our local newsgal reported that we would be experiencing "WINTRY CONDITIONS WITH A FROSTY, WINTRY MIX!" (Yeah in January, whatter the odds?!) In these parts, wintry mix means SNOW, ICE, AND PROBABLE DEATH!! Well, yeah, certain death if I run out of Chardonnay. She was almost in tears extolling the virtues of her brave comrades in the field, risking life and limb to reports these BIG KABUKI DANGEROUS WEATHER CONDITIONS (i.e., a snowflake.) I was waiting for her to recite their living wills on TV. Geeze....

As a veteran hurricane window-boarder-upper and champion storm Chardonnay drinker, I have to take issue with this drama. Wussies! While I am afraid for my life, freezing to death JUST HAS TO BE less painful than boarding up all of the windows and trying to see the satellite imagery of Hurricane XXXVVVIII on the four inch black and white TV from Wal-Mart that has been part of the hurricane preparedness kit since 1987. GET A GRIP!!

Here came Jerry and his voice of reason...."Look outside."

Sho 'nuff, the snow was pretty much gone, the roads were clear, and no one (us) had to sink their patio furniture in the pool to keep it from blowing away. In fact, it was clear enough to make a trip (send Jerry) to Food Lion to give our good friends Kendall Jackson and Alice White a ride home. Y'know, better to have a "wintry mix" of friends!!!

Trust me, I KNOW how to prepare for bad weather!!!

Monday, May 21, 2007

There's No Place Like Heaven for the Holidays!

Well hello again, or, as the locals say, "well hey there y'all!" Jerry, Jenda, and I have all got a cold. North Carolina has the craziest weather. I have never lived anyplace where you can experience spring, summer, fall, and winter in the same day! The state motto is "Esse Quam Vederi" (To Be Rather Than to Seem) but it is actually Latin for "Don't Like the Weather? Give it an Hour!" My own personal motto is now "Stupidus Relocatus from Floridus!"

So here we are, just having celebrated Christmas. Holidays here are so different from South Florida. Take Halloween, for instance. In my old neighborhood, all of the kids got dressed up, or should I say down since it was still 95 degrees with 80% humidity. All of the neighbors participated (some of the freaky ones dressed up, too!) and handed out tons of candy. For really cute toddler types like Jenda, all she had to do was smile and say "Trip oo tree" and she just racked up! After canvasing the neighborhood, we would take Jenda home and explain earnestly that some unscrupulous people wanted to hurt little kids and would actually stick bad things in the candy, like solicitations for home security systems and low cost no obligation term life insurance questionnaires, so that was why Mommy and Daddy had to eat all of the best tasting but most potentially dangerous candy! She was 18 months old and docile, so we had it made.

Fast forward to NC and things have changed. We were getting ready to close on the house this year at Halloween, so Jerry wanted to come trick or treating in the neighborhood where the house is, and I wanted to go to the Town of Kernersville Festival, where they close off all the streets and let the kids trick or treat downtown. Jerry and I went back and forth over this.

"I think we should get her used to the neighborhood, let her see the lay of the land!"

She's two for God's sake. It's Halloween, not a reconnaissance mission. And we have a thirty year mortgage. We're not going anywhere anytime soon. Let's go to the little rah-rah downtown.

"Well, we can try to fit in both." Then, looking in the local Kernersville paper, "The Tuesday News", so called because they put it out once a week....really! There's NO news here. "Here is something...a 'safe and fun-filled family alternative to Halloween'..."

Okay, I'll bite.

"One of the churches (60 in the 15 square miles that make up Kernersville, no shit!) is sponsoring 'A Trip Through Tribulation and Rapture...a safe and family oriented alternative to Halloween'..."

Blank stare, because even for someone like me, that's a pretty sick joke and I can't wait for the punchline. (Folks, it's May, I'm still waiting.)

Are you %@^#!*& kidding me? You're a horrible person and God left your sorry ass behind is supposed to be fun and not scary? That right there is enough to guarantee that all of these little small town kiddies wind up on drugs, or in therapy, or taking drugs with the therapist! That's effing sick!!!

"I just brought it up as a suggestion."

Let me make a suggestion. I suggest that you put that thought right out of your head, because if you take Jenda anywhere NEAR that $#!^, lemme tell you how fast YOU are going to see Jesus, 'kay?

So we went trick or treating in the neighborhood....Jenda marched bravely to each NC, they reach into their candy baskets and give little trick or treaters EXACTLY ONE PIECE of candy.....

Says Jenda.."I want more candy", to which the natives reply, "ain't she cute, bless her heart!" and then don't hand out anymore candy.....

So we go downtown. Local businesses are handing out goodies. Several of the local churches are manning booths downtown.

"IF YOU DIE TONIGHT, WILL YOU GO TO HEAVEN?" I must just look like pure hell, because several of them latch on to me to try to convert me. They are either too stupid to realize that I am beyond saving, or they are just gluttons for punishment.

Yes, I say, I will certainly go to Heaven. Right after I celebrate the equinox and sacrifice small animals on the altar of equal rights for all and the hope of women and blacks in the White House.

That pretty much stopped them cold. Jerry of course spent the evening keeping Jenda a safe distance away in case the thunderbolt ricocheted off of me and hit her by mistake.

Then, fast forward to Christmas. A happy, magical time. I counted down the days of the season not with an Advent calendar but by counting the daily visits from the other religious types determined to save my soul. (I SWEAR!!! They are like cats and old people.....they will NOT give up!) Since we were still getting settled, we really did not go all out with decorations....we had stockings, a fake tree that has seen better days....(back in the 90's), and plastic unbreakable ornaments that Jenda plucked off the tree and left for us in surprising places....(like the downstairs toilet.) Anyway, we didn't need to go crazy with lights. Jenda talked us into getting a plastic yard Santa, but that was it. Besides, we had the house down the street. Lemme tellya....

This is a relatively small two-story house where on any given day, there are three to four pickup trucks and two cars crammed in the driveway. I do know that the Manson Family is locked up, the Jonestown people are really no longer an issue, so I just can't IMAGINE who the hell all is living there, but I identify two of them as Cletus and Pootus. I have wonderful Christmas memories of sitting out on my front porch with a glass of Merlot (red, not white, in honor of the season!) watching these two yahoos get lickkered up to hang Christmas lights. Aah, yes...the sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas. The sight of Cletus falling from the second story when trying to loop lights from the house to the little dogwood tree ten feet from the house. The sound of him falling THUD! to the ground..."Hey...I'm all right (pronounced ah-ite!)....get me another beer, Pootus!" and the smell of burning hair and blown transformers as their winter wonderland went horribly wrong!

When they finally finished, it would seem that they achieved their goal of having their house be visible from outer space. Our house was the black hole....I can hear the folks on MIR...
("Crackle, buzz...look down to your left at Chez Pootus, a veritable winter your right...whatthe...well, I guess that's a fabled 'Black Hole'...")

The good news was that the Cletus/Pootus display saved me a huge electric bill, because I could literally keep my lights off and read and crochet by the light pouring in my windows from their house. I just sipped my Merlot and used their power.

Tell me I don't know how to celebrate the holidays!

Bless your hearts and love to you all!!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Only Women Bleed

So hello again and happy New Year to y'all from North Carolina! We are just plugging along here in Kernersville. We are firmly ensconced in our new house and life is good! I don't know how much I have told you about the house but here I am to fill y'all in....

We bought a 3br/2.5 bath two story. I know I told you about the fact that we could not park our cars in the garage, but Jerry has fixed that. In fact, he called me at work the other day to let me know...

"Honey, I have a surprise for you!"

Oohhh...Platinum or Xanax?

"I totally cleaned out the garage...we can get our cars in it and it is spotless. Really...we can PARK in there!"

I raced home 6 hours early, who cares, I have vacation time, and LO! AND BEHOLD! The garage was spotless! I pulled my car into my spot and the earth moved, and angels wept! OMG, I said, this is incredible. You must have worked your ass off!! (Bear in mind that the day before, when he finally installed the garage door opener, he pushed the button to open and close it so many times the city almost cut off our utilities!)

Anyway, after admiring the clean garage for what seemed like hours (he never makes like this when I finally mop and dust!) I went into the kitchen from the door in the garage and stopped dead in my tracks.


Suffice it to say that we can no longer eat at our dining room table.

Jerry, I said, you didn't clean anything. You just relocated the shit from the garage to the dining room table. Blank stare, jaw on the floor.

"Honey, you DO understand!"

Meanwhile, Jenda got hold of all of my tax records and I can see me with the accountant..."Yes, this is our relocation paperwork and charitable donations with a nice Burnt Sienna, threaded through with Midnight Blue!"

So anyway, more about the house. It is a two-story house, a bit smaller than we wanted but really good for three people. I HATE the bathrooms because there is NO storage and there are no medicine cabinets. I need someplace to put my stuff...I can't have Jenda flushing another $50.00 Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion.... trust me, it could happen to you! So, I went to the local Target (more about this in another episode!) and bought a ready-to-hang medicine cabinet with a hinged door and mirror. Seemed easy enough to me, so of course I made Jerry hang it.... no more using that damn E-Coli excuse! Of course, he managed to chip a chunk out of the mirror, which I just KNEW I would find by accident barefoot getting out of the shower.

"Nah___ You'll be fine. It probably went behind the toilet somewhere. No biggie."

Not for you.... you never clean back there. Whatever.... I just know I have a date with a sliver of glass.

But time went on, and no glass, and I began to believe that I was wrong.

I was wrong.

Sho 'nuff, I WAS cleaning, but I was clear on the other end of the room. I was wiping down the counters and behind the faucet, I saw a small piece of plastic wedged behind the tap. Couldn't get it out with the cloth.... no biggie. I'll just dig it out with my finger.

Three thoughts went through my mind simultaneously...

1. That ain't (we use that word up here!) plastic.

2. Damn, that glass traveled far.

3. F*&%@#$ THAT HURTS!!!

I yelped and grabbed my finger, which had passed the bleeding stage and went straight to hemorrhaging. Jenda toddled into the room! Oh, thank God.... salvation!! Mommy!

"Got booboo?"

Yes...(bear in mind I was just BLEEDING LIKE CRAZY and could not find any band aids!) Go get Daddy!

"Need to go to Super Weenie Hut Junior Hospital?"

Yes...go get Daddy.

"Okay...I going...lookie, my shoe!"


Jenda left and was gone for some time. Bear in mind there were no clean towels in the bathroom (because no one lugs them upstairs besides me) and no band-aids and I was not ABOUT to bleed on the carpet.... believe me fingers bleed ALOT!!

So I waited for Jenda to come back with Jerry and I re-read my American Express Cardmember agreement to kill came Jenda, but no Jerry.

Jenda, where's Daddy?

Blank stare...."Dora?"



She left again and I solved Sudoku while I was waiting. I was losing blood, though, getting weaker. I used my waning strength to scream for Jerry, bang on the wall, and use a toothbrush bristle to write my living will on a square of Charmin.

FINALLY.... I was seeing black roses bloom before my eyes, I was fading fast. I collapsed next to the counter where Jerry found me, in a heap with my arm up, blood flowing down like a river, and my middle finger extended.

Y'all figure it out.

"Wassamatter?! Why are you bleeding? What didn't get any on the carpet!"


What came out was "Chewff! Grackle dack!" Severe blood loss is no laughing matter!

Jerry handled everything..."here, get up!" He man-handled me to my feet, turned on the cold water at full blast, and crammed my finger under the cold, nerve-damaging water.

I found my religion that night in the bathroom. My life flashed before my eyes and I prayed that a higher power would end my pain. I prayed for death under that hateful cold water as my bleeding finger went numb and fell off from the pain...and then.... a moment of clarity, a vision from God.

I kept this to myself and when I finally regained the ability to speak, I confronted Jerry and Jenda.

Jenda, I sent you to get Daddy sometime last week, and Jerry, I have been screaming and banging on the wall for days. What the &*^%?

"I swear, the acoustics are REEEEEELY good in this house. I never heard a thing...and Jenda came to ask me for a popsicle and I wouldn't let her have one without asking you first. So here I am."


So here I sit, writing to all of you. That vision from God? Do unto others. So, I took every roll of toilet paper out of the upstairs master bathroom. Jerry went in there some time ago, and I already gave Jenda a popsicle and turned up Nicktoons REEEEL loud.... let’s just test those acoustics and see...WAIT.... did y'all hear something?

NAHHHHH.... Me neither!

Bless your hearts.... love y'all!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

It must have been the chicken!

Hi all, or as they say in these parts, "hey there y'all!" Things are moving right along. We are getting moved into our house and Jerry and I are truly living the American Dream. We have a single family home with a two car garage that we can't get our cars in to!

For the latest, Jerry has been REALLY sick recently. It actually started back in September, and I suppose a better wife would have taken more drastic measures before now. She probably has alot of Platinum jewelry. Anyway, Jer called me at work the other night and asked when I would be home.

I'm leaving in 10 minutes. Why?

"I miss you."

We have an almost three year old toddler, so nookie is out of the question. Oh God, he's REALLY messed up!!! I should have taken him to the ER months ago, sweet Jesus I am sorry I will be right home.

So, I get home and Jerry is passed out on the sofa and Jenda has spread Cheerios all over the floor and Dora is just BLARING out of the DVD player. No different from any other night except Jerry has a temp of 104+. I take charge for the moment and decide that we are going to the hospital right now.

Guess what folks......

There is no BLEEPING hospital in Kernersville!!!!! I am sure that Arnold Ziffle is rooting around somewhere having drinks with the traveling company of "Deliverance" but no ER!!! Okay. Think fast.

We make the drive to Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro, 40 minutes or so, and in we go, me wondering if Moses Cone is a person or some weird religious vortex.

"Do you have insurance and what's your emergency?"

Yes, I have crappy insurance, which is an emergency in and of itself. My husband is ill, and I am here with his sick ass and my two year old at almost 3 in the morning and I have no Platinum jewelry or Xanax.

"Bring your husband back. Y'all can come in with him." No offer of Xanax.

So in we go and they put Jerry in an examining room. In comes a very sweet nurse and a doctor. "What seems to be the problem?"

Says Jerry, "My stomach feels bloated, my lower back is killing me in my kidneys and down into my legs, and I am burning up. I feel like I have to throw up."

OMG I say, he's pregnant!!

(Nurse, single mother of three, works nights, pays all the bills, laughs. Doctor, pompous ass, trophy wife, sportscar, does not laugh. Dork!)

Jenda, who watches WAY TOO MUCH Spongebob Squarepants, says, Need to go to Super Weenie Hut Junior Hospital!

You go, girl!

So they run tests, CAT scans, more tests, ask questions, blah, blah. Doc comes back. "How is the pain?"

He's fine, I say. Turns out Doc wasn't talking to me.

"Do you need a painkiller?"

"No" says Jerry.

YES!! I scream! Give him painkillers, because if I am going to have to clean Cheerios up off the floor every night after work, ONE OF US had better be doped up!

Anyway, more tests, until I finally tell Jerry that Jenda and I will be sleeping in the car out in the parking lot, call my cell when they release you, pray we don't get hauled in for vagrancy, sayonara.

Out comes Jerry with the sun....what's wrong?

"They don't know, but they gave me some painkillers and antibiotics, blah, blah". Good thing he wasn't too messed up to drive.

Two days later the call came. Speakerphone. "Jerry....Good news and bad news...we ran tests and the results of the CAT scan show you don't have kidney stones. You do, however, have E COLI!

The wine glass dropped right out of my hands and shattered onto the floor. It's okay, though, it wasn't Waterford. But I hated to waste my Kendall Jackson syrah!


"Sir, do you have any idea where you might have gotten E Coli?"

We had no idea, but promised to think about it and call back. I grilled Jerry, no pun intended, and he assured petting zoos, no bagged spinach, no Taco Bell. Hmmm....

It occurred to me later....back in September, he bought a rotisserie chicken from Harris Teeter (honest to God that is the name of the store! Remember the little old lady who was run off the road in Ft. Lauderdale? If she had married the grocery store owner, she could be Tillie Tooter Teeter! HAHAHA!) Anyway, Jerry brought the chicken home, ripped off a drumstick and started munching. As I was cutting off some chicken for me and Jenda, I realized it was NOT FULLY COOKED!!! I warned Jerry, who, being a man, said, "I'll put it in the microwave. It'll be fine." Needless to say, Jenda and I did NOT eat it. I called the hospital back to tell them I had discovered the source.

" E Coli usually comes from beef....I don't think chicken would be the culprit."

Trust me, bless your heart, whatever. It was the chicken.

"Could it be anything else?"

I remembered that Jerry also drinks the tap water here. I tried it once. I spat it out. Too clean. In Florida, the water is just FULL of sulfites, minerals, bacteria, and all sorts of other crap that keeps your system healthy by giving it something to fight. I think the clean water here weakened Jerry's immune system, making him susceptible to E Coli from those raw-chicken-peddling-death merchants at Harris!@#%^ Teeter!!! And to think he used our VIC Card to buy the chicken! Damn!

The doctor pretty much assumed that I was insane or on painkillers and quickly got off the phone. I knew that I was on to something. I can report that Jerry is doing MUCH better. We have not eaten much chicken, but he still drinks the water. I am still on a strict regimen of Diet Coke during the day and Kendall Jackson Chardonnay thereafter. There are also some local vineyards in this area and the wines are pretty good. I am actually feeling a bit weak. I need a little more Kendall Jackson Chardonnay, for medicinal purposes......that's better! I am now so healthy I could just faint! Miss you all, love you bunches, and for God's sake, drink more wine and eat less raw chicken!! Bless your hearts!!!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Livin' In the City

Hi again from NC! Here is the latest.

Jerry and I put an offer on a house today. It's located in Kernersville, home of Prissy Polly's Pig Pickin' bbq....from my last email. I think it is a good offer, so we are waiting to hear. Our agent was so pleased with herself (to be finally getting rid of us!) She said, beaming, "I am asking that they leave all of the appliances!"

Okay....leave them where?

"In the house."

Where the hell else would they leave them? Blank stare...I do alot of that here.

"Bless your heart! Appliances are personal property. People usually take them when they move."

Run, Toto. We're not in South Florida anymore.

"I'll give you a call Monday to let you know what the sellers say."

Okay. Call me on the cell. I'll be at Home Depot buying appliances.

So we leave, and I go on to lunch, then work. Jerry's parents have stopped in on their way to Maggie Valley, NC, where the really rich people have homes. Great to see them, except they picked the weekend of homecoming AND the Chrysler Classic, so of course the nearest hotel room is in Atlanta. I asked Jerry where they would be staying.

"With us, in our apartment, duh!"

Back to my blank stare. Four adults, one toddler on sugar high (thanks, gramps!) and one bathroom. Great idea, duh!

Of course, had to take said inlaws to Prissy Polly's. Armed with the bbq knowledge that Jerry and I so painstakingly gleaned, they knew to order Lexington, except Gramps, who ordered chili (more blank stares, but now I was not alone!) There was our friend from the first visit.

Are you from Kernersville? We are relocating you like it?

"Yeah, but I'm not from these parts. I'm from Cain (KAAAYYUN.) Do y'all know KAAAYYUN?"

Other than the brother of AAAYYYBULL, no.

"Well it's reeeeyulll small, we didn't have cable tv or nothin', so that's why I like it here, cuz this here's a city."

(I can report that bbq spit from your mouth projectile fashion WILL come off of latex paint. Clothes are another matter altogether.)

"Where y'all from?"

Ft. Lauderdale.

Sympathetic smile reserved for the feeble minded. "Bless your heart. This must seem like kinda a small town to y'all!"

No blank stare this time. I now know that you can put someone down, condescend, or be "jinuwine" long as you sugar coat it with "Bless your heart", well, no hard feelings. I am learning.

Truly, bless your hearts. I love and miss you terribly!!!!
Greetings from Greensboro, NC! I must say it is really nice here and the bbq is just primo! I now know the difference between EASTERN and LEXINGTON and gosh did I learn that quick.

Jerry and I went to (no lie) Prissy Polly's Pig Pickin' Barbeque for lunch. This very sweet girl asked for our order and we got the bbq sandwich plate. She asked..."y'allwanteasternerlexinton" to which I replied, "whatthe...?"

So she said, "do yall wont (pronounced won't) eastern er lexington" so Jerry and I just looked at each other, then looked blankly at her. She must have assumed pretty quickly that we were retarded, because she said, "dooooo yahllll wonnnnttt EASTERN or LEXINGTON?"

Once we assured her we could in fact speak English, we were able to procure some rather good bbq. We went back recently, and there was the same girl, and they had posted signs at the cash register defining the difference between Eastern and Lexington...eastern is a vinegar base and lex is a tomato base. Anyway, I was encouraged that Jerry and I were able to be change agents at the bbq joint, in spite of the fact that the town of Kernersville thnks we should be run out of town on a rail....if you ever visit these here parts, you better know your 'que, or the NC natives'll kick your ass!