Saturday, October 07, 2006

I Got Tagged!!!

I have never been tagged, it's a little exciting I'm embarrassed to admit. So here we go.

First name: Karen.

Were you named after anyone? No but I was Stacey for a couple of months. My mother changed it because the only Stacey she ever knew was a drunk old man. Nothing ruins looking at a new born baby like picturing a drunk old man every time. Thanks mom....I think...

Favorite lunchmeat? This is gross but I really like the artificially pressed and rounded Oscar Meyer bologna. Extra snouts and tails..please!

Do I have a Journel? No. I've left my children with enough to deal with in their adulthood, should I really leave a hard copy..I don't think so.

Favorite Cereal? Honey Nut Cheerios..not in the morning, after dinner, or for dinner, even better.

Favorite Icecream Flavor? Vanilla. With milk on top. When I was pregnant it was butter pecan with bar-b-que fritos dipped in it. Not that you asked but the vanilla sounded so boring.

Shoe Size? 8-81/2. Same size since 7th grade (that's about the only thing that stayed the same size)

Red or Pink? Red.

Least Favorite Thing about Yourself? Speaking before I think. But Libby, backfat is definitely second, and I better never catch you looking at mine...I mean it.

What color pants and shoes are you wearing? Regular old blue jeans and tan canvas tennis shoes.

What color crayon would I be? Purple. The dog threw up a unscathed purple crayon the other day, we cheered for the crayon. He had been in the belly of a very slobbery lab and had prevailed. Admireable. We named him Jonah.

Favorite Smell? Suntan lotion on my kids, and Jim's after shower splash.

Favorite Drink? Iced Tea with lots of artificial sugar sweetener.

Hat Size? Uh, no idea, never wear a hat. Ever. Seriously. No. But thank you anyway.

Favorite Food? Toss up. Pizza and McDonald's cheeseburgers. Not together, I'm a purist, and apparently a health food nut!

Summer or Winter? Both. I love rain and there's nothing like a good thunderstorm or snowstorm. Love the snuggly-ness of both.

Favorite Sound? I like when I'm waiting for Jim to come home and I hear his keys opening the door.

Furthest you've been from home? Florida.

Special talents? I was stumped so I asked Alex and he said, my home- baked chocolate chip cookies and my ability to....burp.... on demand. Can you see why I don't have a journel? Love that kid!

Where and when was I born? August 26th 196...something. Born and raised in Baltimore City, Maryland..and proud of it! The Catholic school years were a little scary but the rest was pretty cool.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Under Pressure

Have you ever noticed when you try to be quiet or lay low in a situation, the louder you are? You haven't noticed that? Maybe it's just me. I unfortunately have a history of making things worse. No matter how hard I try to fade into the background, it never seems to work out for me that way. When I was little I remember two such occassions. There are more, but this isn't a novel. One time at the grocery store I knocked over oh, about 50 metal garbage can lids. The lids started to slide and there was no place to hide. Do you have any idea how loud 50 metal trashcan lids sound when they hit linoleum? I do. Not everyone can say that. I also know that you shouldn't climb up on a bathing suit display in a very quiet ladies clothing store. No matter how sturdy those racks look...they're not. At all. 100 bathing suits do not make alot of noise when they hit the ground, but your mom will. Especially, if it was like a week after the trashcan incident. I was just trying to stay out of the way. When I was in high school I worked at a television station. I was very aware that I was the only "kid" there. For some reason, the owner, who was a very nice man, made me really nervous. This is the worst kind of situation for me. Nervous=stupid. Enough said. So I would be all cool and having fun and than the owner would come to the building. I would do anything to avoid having to talk to him. Oh and one more thing when I am nervous, I turn all red and blotchy. Very nice quality to have. Really, it's fun. So one day I'm walking down the hall and he's coming towards me. I'm immmediately looking for an escape route. he does the worst possible thing. He talks to me. I have no idea what he said but I dropped whatever I had in my hand. I know..I'm an idiot. So when I bend down to pick it up I didn't realize that I had a shirt pocket full of change. So I bend over and change starts rolling all over the floor, I bend over to pick it up and more falls, I bend over and try to pick it up and drop what was in my hand. I start to giggle and I'm blood red and by now I'm sweating. Well, needless to say, he mumbled something and got away from me as fast as he could. He left me in the hall chasing my change. He pretty much gave me the polite nod in the hall from than on. And trust me, that was just fine with me. You're thinking, that's a once in a lifetime moment..uh, yea, no. About three years ago I got the awesome opportunity to be in the delivery room while my friend had a baby. There were four of us, and her husband. We had a great time. We were there all day. We had gotten sandwiches, and snacks and sodas. It was a big party. We figured the baby was coming when she no longer found us amusing. The second clue came when she had a rag over her eyes, and I changed the TV channel and she screamed I WAS WATCHING THAT!!! We knew the baby was coming...soon. We started to panic wondering if the doctor was going to make us leave. So...we decide to clean up the room and try to make ourselves scarce. Maybe he won't notice 4 extra people in the room. This is perhaps the worst situation to put me in. So I start to clean up trash and just as I bend down to pick up my purse, the doctor came in....and the box of candy in my shirt pocket...emptied. All over the floor. Because the important thing is not to let him notice us. Hundreds of little teeny tiny brightly colored hard candies, bouncing all over the room. There was no picking these up, of course I tried which made it much...much worse. I couldn't have gotten the Junior Mints, they would have landed silently..had to get the jumbo box of Nerds. We decided to just kick the Nerds under the furniture , the doctor never said a thing. Of course, the cleaning crew was probably a little curious. So the moral is, if you have a stressful situation and you want someone to stay calm cool and collected....yea, can't help ya. I may on the other hand make it memorable ....are nightmares considered memorable?

Friday, July 07, 2006

Gentle Sobbing

I finally feel comfortable enough to write this particular post. Partially because I have faced near death, and enough time has passed to finally talk about it. The nightmares have stopped and quite frankly, the therapy has helped. And partially because the person it is about has a broken computer and won't be able to read it for some time. By the time her computer is fixed I can be 4 states away. It started innocently enough. I was invited to another church to receive an award for a story I had submitted. By the time they got a hold of me to tell me to come, I had about an hour to decide whether I could go. I quickly called my husband, got dinner covered and started calling the other staff wives. They had already planned to go, I just had to catch a ride with them. Even today, it sounds so innocent. I guess in all the excitement, I missed the part about who was actually driving. At the time all I cared about was that the driver was not me. Heading towards D.C. in rush hour traffic was not my idea of fun. The funny thing is the story that won, was the one about me driving on the sidewalk. No one asked me to drive. I'm OK with that. I know my limitations. I am not a risk taker. I am not adventurous. I am not brave. Not even close. As I was leaving my house I grabbed a magazine that had just come in the mail. I thought it would give us something to do in the car on the way there. If traffic was moving we'd still be at least an hour in the car. I thought we could chat about all the helpful hints in the magazine. A nice lighthearted conversation . About lighthearted everyday things. I can't read that magazine to this day. I can still see the imprint of my fingernails in the cover. The flashbacks are too frequent. And vivid. Breathe deeply, I remind myself. OK, better. I have decided to change the names of the people involved to protect the driver. She knows who she is. And so do the other 3 victims.....I mean ladies. So we get in the car. There's the driver. Her daughter, riding shotgun. A mother and daughter riding in the middle seat, and me in the back row of the van. Completely oblivious to what was about to happen. I was all happy and excited until we're pulling out and the daughter, we'll call her.......Lauri....Laurin. We'll call her Laurin, turns and says "Hey, have you ever driven with....Mari.....Marilou?" Well, no I haven't. "You're in for a treat." Oh...OK. I was like the dog that doesn't know he's going to the vet, he's like all excited until he turns on the street the vet is on. Hey...this isn't the park! Things started out smoothly for about oh....2 minutes. That was about the time we hit the highway, going really fast.....and no one else was. The first slamming on the breaks, one inch from the car in front us, really sticks with you. Actually, so does the 450th time. And wakes you up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat....a year later. Fortunately the traffic stayed really slow for a long time. This allowed the driver to completely turn around and talk to me...two rows behind her. While inching along and slamming on the breaks every 3 seconds or so. I was sitting in the middle with just a lap belt on but quickly realized, this was a definite shoulder belt situation. If there had been a child's booster seat I would have wedged my butt into it. The traffic eventually opened up a little bit. Good I thought, she'll have to turn around and face the road. Yea, we're gonna go with a no on that. Apparantly, our conversation was more important than you know, the personal safety of....everyone within a 25 mile radius. Traffic slowed up again. So I'm thinking, Ok, if we're gonna hit something, and I know we are, at least it will be no faster than 10 MPH. That was when the dodging and weaving started. I am not a fan of the dodge and weave. I am a dedicated supporter of, stay in your lane regardless of who you are behind until you get to your exit. Just a note so you know where I am coming from. I also do not make left turns, without a traffic light. I will go six blocks out of my way to avoid a left turn. Ask Jim. He hates it. I always tell him, if I am driving I'm not doing any "fancy manuevers" and this includes but is not limited to, left turns and or 3 point turns and lengthy driving in reverse. You only have to hit the house so many times to give up on the old reverse manuever. They only put those things on the drivers license test to mess with you. So we're about halfway through our trip when I realize I'm the only person not in the car with their closest living relative. The mother daughter team in front of me, Laurin and.....Maryl are actually holding hands. They're both doing that nervous kind half-laugh/ half-cry thing. When they turned to each other and shared "I love yous" true panic set in. I looked at the driver and her daughter in the front seats. They were looking at each other deep in conversation. Yes, looking at EACH OTHER, notice anything strange about that? UH, yea, one of them was DRIVING! I to this day do not know how we got there in one piece but we did. We enjoyed the evening. You ever have something traumatic happen to you and you'll forget for awhile, but there's something not quite right in the back of your mind? I actually sort of forgot the trauma of the ride there for a while, until it was time to go home. As we walked to the car, a silence fell over us. Well, not the driver. She wanted to get something to eat. We decided on a drive-thru. Because she didn't have enough to do you know, driving and talking, she wanted to throw in a cheeseburger and a shake. Can you eat a cheeseburger and drink a shake with one hand while driving with the other? No. But you can eat a cheeseburger with one hand, hold a shake with the other and drive with....your wrists. Oh, and if I wasn't freaked out enough....she decided to take the scenic route home. At 10:00 at night. With no street lights, fog and those cute bright yellow signs with the deer leaping over your car on them, every 25 feet. Oh, and I swear this really happened. Her defroster didn't work, so she stuck her head out the side window to see. I felt now was the time to say something. Hey,....Marylou....I'm not a great driver but don't the yellow lines mean...stay on your own side....I don't think we're supposed to be crossing them.....over and over again....she couldn't hear me. Her head was out the window. I decide to call Jim. I love my friends but at a time like this, you need family. I tried to sound upbeat but couldn't hide the gentle sobbing from Jim. I was all business. I wanted him to know I loved him and he was the greatest husband and were the kids up? I need to tell them of my love for them......again with the gentle sobbing. Jim's like, OK.....I'll see you soon...bye? I had taken care of business. I squeezed the shoulders of my brave friends in front of me....and said my goodbyes....when suddenly the car stopped. I didn't hear a loud crash and as far as I could tell..there were no it possible? Are we Yes. It was over and we had lived to talk about it. Not frequently though. The driver? Oblivious. My driving scared you? Really? What did I do? You were afraid? Really? Yes. Really.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Flaming Blue Squirrel

We bought a bird feeder. We’ve never had one. We have such beautiful birds stop by in our front yard. I thought I would buy a feeder so the beautiful birds would stop by and stay awhile. It would be peaceful and tranquil, like a postcard really. But than I remembered that it’s US I’m talking about. I put the bright yellow bird feeder on our porch post. No one visited. I was beginning to think it could be the 120 lb dog sitting in the window with a knife and fork that was discouraging them. So I moved it across the yard to the fence post. I don’t want to put it far out in the yard because the point was to actually see them come. It’s supposed to be tranquil and sweet…like a postcard!! Where are the birds? Why aren’t they coming? I don’t know, could it possibly be the psychotic circus squirrels keeping them away? Gee, I don’t know, lets watch. Two minutes after I put it on the fence post, I see them. They’re acting all, like they don’t know about the food. We’re just passing through, hey, what’s that? I don’t have any idea, lets take a look, maybe we can help. You know what squirrels? We are way onto you. You’re all like, look at my bushy tail….watch me run around the tree..blah blah blah,. Lets just get it out there, you’re rodents. So within two minutes they have formulated a plan. Shimmy up the fence post and take one piece of food and leave the rest for a friend. Yeah, no. Their plan was to shimmy up the post, throw themselves headlong into the feeder. Knock it to the ground, spilling it everywhere and than shoving as much as they can in their little furry faces and running away…laughing. I didn’t actually hear them laughing but I know they were, they always are. Well, birdfeeder squirrels may be laughing. But there’s one breed of squirrel not laughing quite so hard. That would be the elusive, Flaming Blue Squirrel. It’s a rare breed. I think it’s birdfeeder squirrels gone mad. You know you start out digging through some plants, you pick in a couple trashcans, you rip off a couple of birdfeeders but you want more. It used to be so fulfilling, it used to be enough. But not anymore. The pole is calling out to them man, they gotta have the rush. Everybody’s doing it. What are ya squirrel? Yella? Chicken? Can’t go the distance? Oh sure, you got nerves of steel when your strong-arming a hummingbird out of a sunflower seed. You need to go for the pole man, show us what you got. They crack under the pressure. They go for the pole. The telephone pole that is. Well, we call then telephone poles but actually they do so much more. They hold all the wires for the entire block. Telephone, cable, and that really big thick one…now what is that called..hmmmm, oh yea, the electric wire. It’s really thick, easy to walk on, only a scaredy squirrel wouldn’t walk on that one! So they go for it. They go for the pole. You ever hear “pride goeth before the fall” yeah, that would be about right. The first time we just heard a tremendous thunderous explosion and all the electricity went out. We were new to the area, we had no idea what had happened. We heard rumors of squirrel activity but you want to think it’s not happening in your neighborhood. The next time, we heard the telltale explosion, it was dark out and I looked out the window just in time to see a blue flame shoot into the air and fall to the ground. Again the repairman came. Again squirrel talk. Third time. Explosion. This time we ran to the window just in time to see…..a flaming blue squirrel. It was a bright blue ball of ….flaming squirrel. This time, we had to see it. We cautiously walked over and there he was. Except for the fact that he was very obviously on fire, he was perfectly intact. The flame blew out quickly, quite similar to a pilot light actually. It reminded me of when I was growing up and we had to light our gas oven every day. The only thing unique about him was the expression on his little face. It can only be described as…. complete surprise. He was probably all like, I’ll show those guys who’s chicken, I’ll own this pole, birdfeeders? That’s baby stuff, I’m doing the pole man I’m king of the…..KABOOM!!. We had four such incidences before one of the repairmen offered us a squirrel guard for the pole. It’s all the thrill of climbing the pole without that pesky catching on fire thing. Not quite as fun as watching that lady pick up her bright yellow bird feeder off the ground everyday. But it’ll do for now.

RIP- Nuttles, Fluffy, Spanky and Chuck

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Messy Cat

Listening. I have been thinking a lot about listening lately. Jim came home from his annual physical. He triumphantly exclaimed that his “hearing is perfect, above average even.” I replied that I was not surprised at all. He then said that he was telling me this because I always accuse him of “not hearing me.” Really? Because that’s not how I remember it. I distinctly remember telling him “you never listen.” Is there a difference? Oh yeah. Now, that was two weeks ago. We have laughed about it several times. Ha Ha …hmmmm. I have had several, what I assume are “conversations” with Jim that have actually turned out to be one-sided monologues on my part. Hey Jim, I’m gonna run the kids to school, swing past the grocery store, make cookies, go to the library and meet a friend for lunch. The kids have a doctor’s appointment at 4 and we are having chicken for dinner. Are you feeling mashed or baked? Jim replied with “Uh..huh.” Alrighty than, see ya later, love ya. As soon as Jim gets to work, he calls me. What are you doing today? Seriously? I will admit I have a tendency to start a conversation in the middle and/or talk to him while he is still asleep. In this case he may or may not have been asleep. Not really the point I’m making here. In this next incident I know for a fact my sister was awake. I called my sister at work. Now I realize she is at work so I won’t be too hard on her. I start the conversation with, Jim wants to shoot messy cat. Not actually shoot him but rather scare him with the BB gun. He’s been getting in our trashcans again. I drove up and he jumped out of the trashcan. I don’t think it is necessary to harm him, he runs whenever you go near him. I don’t really think Jim would hurt him….my sister joins in. What does he look like? He’s rather hideous looking. I feel sorry for him. He’s orange and the kids and I named him messy cat because his hair is all funky. He has patches of smoothe regular hair and patches of rough-looking-all sticky-uppy hair. He has one big eye like he’s always surprised , and one squinty half closed eye. And the best part…he only has one ear. And it’s not like he has hair where the other ear was, he just has a hole. I don’t know if he was born with the ear and lost it in a fight or if he can hear out of the good ear….can you hear out of a hole in your head?… sister says, where does he live? I think the lady up the street feeds him and he stays in her shed. Now comes the part where I realize she is not listening. Is he married? Who? Messy cat. Is messy cat married? You’re asking me if a cat is married? Cat? It’s a cat? Are you kidding me, you think I have just told you that I have caught an orange haired, multi-sized-eyes, one eared man eating out of my trashcan, and I just shooed him away to go live in my neighbor’s shed? And that my husband wants to shoot him with a BB gun to scare him away. And the whole time I’m telling you this, you think it’s a man and although I talk to you every day, I never mentioned a man eats our trash? Now I realize once again that she is working so I won’t go into that his name is messy CAT!!! Is it me?

**no messy cats were harmed in the writing of this blog

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Grief Camp

The other day I was reading the newspaper. I came across an article about a camp for children who have lost a parent. It’s called “Grief Camp.” Having recently lost my mother, I read the article with great interest. Grief Camp. I could get into that. I’m grieving, and I …hate camping. Hmmm. I guess they don’t have grief …shopping. Or grief…Chinese buffet. Now that’s what I’m talking about. So I called my sister and told her all about grief camp. I think we should go. How old do you have to be? Hmmm, lets see….ages 7 to….18. I guess 40 is too old. Would they fall for a big boned kid with glandular issues? No. Well, that didn’t stop my sister and I from thinking about how it would be if we signed up for camp. Check-in. Do you have private rooms? We would both have to sleep on the bottom bunk. Those little 2x4’s that hold up the top bunk would snap like a toothpick. How would you like to be the 8 year old, on the bottom bunk and see me climbing the ladder to the top bunk. These kids got enough to worry about without having to think they’re going to be smothered by a mattress in the middle of the night. Breakfast? This is my sister. Uh, yea, I’ll have a large skim, light foam, mocha latte with 2 splendas, on the side and could you put that in a travel mug? Oh, and a 7 grain oat muffin with some…..lite raspberry marmalade….no, I’m feeling crazy…I’ll take some low fat strawberry cream cheese. On the side. The cafeteria kid would just look at her and say….we got milk. and …and cereal. What’s a travel mug? Now breakfast may energize little kids but personally it makes me sleepy. I would love to make a paper plate kite, but without coffee first, I’m gonna have to catch you after my morning nap. Ok, you wake me when..its, lets say, lunchtime. Alrighty than, have a good time. I prepare my sister for the reality that they more than likely do not have a sushi bar at lunch. I know, I’m just as surprised as you are. I tell her I’ll wrap some hotdogs in leaves if that will help. She says it’s not the same, and weeps openly. The low latte level is taking its toll. We go to fitness hour. They want us to run an obstacle course. We both decide to fake sprained ankles. We fight over who gets a right sprained ankle and who gets a left one. I tell her I’m going with a pulled hamstring. Then she wants to go with pulled hamstring. I was gonna go with chest pains, but with being 40 I thought they’d want to airlift me out. I just want to take a nap in the infirmary, lets not get crazy here. As it worked out, she went with the left sprained ankle and I threw up the hotdogs and leaves. We both get to nap. They have one of those “trust exercises” where you have to fall backwards to show that you can completely trust someone. They teamed me up with a 9 year old girl. I totally trusted her, she had honest eyes. And as it turned out, really weak arms . She was a good kid, and I bet she didn’t mean half of the things she shouted as they strapped her to the backboard. The important thing is, she was trustworthy. Ten weeks in traction? She could do it standing on her head…oh, she will be standing on her head? What a trooper. Is that the dinner bell? I don’t think they are really going to let us go to grief camp. I figure if the object of it is to remember the good times, laugh a lot, and be there for each other. We’re good.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Taking a Break

Hi, this is not my usual post. As you may have noticed my posts have been getting further and further apart. I found out in November that my mom has cancer in her spine. She has gone through her radiation and is slowly getting better but I realize that I have way too much going on to put any energy into blogging. If I blog than I am tempted to check back for comments and thus start checking everyone else's posts. So, I'm taking a break. I just plan to take off February, and start back up in March. If you read this, your prayers for my mom would be greatly appreciated. The whole situation has been filled with God's grace and mercy, and we are very thankful. God is Good...All the Time! See ya in March. P.S. some very funny things happened at the hospital...stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

My Mom

I think the time has come to explain a couple of things. Mainly, who to blame for what I have become. My mother. I feel comfortable pinning it on her. My lack of fashion sense must truly come from her enthusiastic, encouraging approval over anything I wore. Anything. No matter how heinous. The eighties were not kind to the fashionably-challenged. That’s why we have mothers right? To protect us from bad bad choices? I once wore a purple striped mini skirt, with lilac wool leg warmers, suspenders and…..a sweatband ……on my forehead. For the love of God, why? Why mom? Why did you let me leave the house? And just to torture me and future generations, take a picture? And what about the perm? It wasn’t soft and pretty. It was harsh and smelled like burnt rubber. Don’t tell me “everyone will want one.” It scared children. And small pets. The pets that didn’t try to nest in it, that is. And just in case you’re wondering, I figured out what “big-boned” really means. Yeah, your little secret is out. And as long as we’re cleansing, my mother arranged my junior prom date. I must explain that I did go to an all girls school, so pick-ins were slim in the date department. She actually brokered him through her hairdresser. A more humiliating spectacle, you have never witnessed. My mom, for years, got her hair done every Saturday. I went with her every Saturday. A little beauty shop conversation, lunch at the diner and grocery shopping. Oh, I can’t forget buying comic books at the 5&10. That Jughead, he cracks me up…not really the point, I’ll move on. So my mom, behind my back, arranges a little “meet and greet” at the beauty shop, with the prom date. Of course everyone knew this but me. You see when you frequent a beauty shop at the same time on the same day every week, you know everyone. So one of the other regulars had an eligible son. Hence the truly awkward moments to follow. The meet and greet went like this. Hey, look who’s here, it’s Scott, my son. Karen, have you met Scott, he’s your age. Aren’t you in 11th grade? Ok, if I was my usual sparkling self, I probably avoided all eye contact and said something clever like “yes.” Or went that extra mile and said “hey.” Scott went with the head nod, floor stare combo. So that was the initial introduction. A mumbling yes, or hey. Some sort of head gesture and a floor stare. My mother crafted it into the love story of the century. Did you see that? Did you see the way he looked at you? No. I saw the way he looked at the floor. He’s just shy, you made him a nervous wreck, he’s not used to girls with your looks and personality. Seriously mom? So, with the mom network in full swing, he was my prom date. All I had to do was ask him. Sounds easy doesn’t it. I practiced it 1000 times. When I finally called, I said with great confidence “I was….ummmm wondering….if you …would….go … ..your…prom ..with….. you?.” Complete silence. I on the other hand was trying to figure out what the heck I just said. Umm, I mean…my prom…with…ha..ha…yeah. I think he said yes. Well, he must have said yes, because he went. Now if this is any indication to what a loo-ooser I was, he was also my date for the senior prom. Of course I did not see or talk to him one day the entire in between proms. The beauty shop ladies arranged everything. I’m still seeking therapy over the “hoopskirt” prom dress she talked me into. Scarlet O’Hara I ain’t. My mother on the other hand has a wonderful sense of humor. If she taught me anything it is to laugh at myself…and her. And that I do quite a bit. One time we were in the diner having lunch. As you can surmise from the prom fiasco that I used to be very shy and quiet. In front of strangers. So my mom leaves me in the booth while she runs to the bathroom. Now as she’s going in the bathroom a very old...very slow elderly woman is coming out of the bathroom. Did I mention very slow? I see my mom disappear into the bathroom and simultaneously…come back out. With a look that can only be interpreted as…..sheer…panic? terror? Now she’s moving quick but she soon gets trapped behind the old lady coming up the aisle. Mom weaves to the right..she dodges to the left…..the lady ain’t budging. My mother is trapped. I can see her eyes watering. She finally gets to me. Get the check, I gotta go….What? What’s wrong? What happened? I can’t pay the check….I don’t know what to do…don’t leave me. She’s already throwing money at me and heading for the door. I am in full freak- out mode….you cannot leave me. I might have to…say something to the waitress. What if she asks me how my lunch was? What then? I’m only a child!!! I grabbed her wrist…what’s wrong? She started slowly…swallowing deeply, her eyes wild and watering. The …bathroom….was….it..had….there was…..she must have….the old .....lady….bad…smell…not…good….must ..get …air….and she was gone. I found her bent over, taking deep breaths outside. Thirty years later we still laugh about it. Well, one of us does.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Playing Games

I love to play games. Board games that is. Board games, cards, dominoes. I think we have previously established that athletic games, ain’t doing it for me. Miniature golf is definitely on my list of things I do not enjoy. It is especially unpleasant playing with kids. I’m terrible as it is, let alone having to keep track of kids. A family golf outing usually goes something like this. I want the red ball. I asked for the red ball I asked for it first. I asked yesterday. Did he ask yesterday? I don’t know, use the blue ball. I want the blue ball. I already had blue. Everybody is using YELLOW!!! Jim: I don’t want to use the same color as everybody else. Hole one. Me to kid, it’s your turn…hey, it’s your turn…get off of’s your turn. Forget it, skip that kid, next kid it’s your turn………hey, it’s my turn. Then go. Only hit it once, once, only hit it once, don’t pick it up, don’t, it’s not your turn, it’s not YOUR…. turn, fine, take a turn. That’s not your ball, put it down. Pick up the ball, it’s your ball..pick it up. Stop touching that! Get back here. Stop swinging the club, not you, the one swinging the club who’s not actually playing. No, we’re not going to the snack JUST went to the bathroom…no, you cannot play the claw machine. Come on, lets go to the second hole. I should be wearing a blood pressure cuff while I’m playing. So, I stick to board games. Well, some board games. Not Monopoly. Under any circumstances. When I first met Jim, it was his favorite game. Sunday afternoon me, Jim and his dad would sit down for a friendly game of Monopoly. Friendly. Yea right. By the middle of the game I had no money, no property and I was usually crying. Seriously. Jim and his dad were so ruthless and….cut-throat..and….. mean. I’m all happy with my little Marvin Gardens property and Jim’s like all . YOU OWE ME $2000 rent on Park Place, IN YOUR FACE MARVIN! PAY UP!!! My name is not Marvin, you crazy red-faced psycho Monopoly player. It took me just one game to figure out why his mother never played. 20 years later, Jim has changed quite a bit from the psychotic monopoly czar he once was, but I still can’t play. When I think about it, I have to go to my happy place. One of my favorite group games has always been Pictionary. Jim and I are actually pretty good as a team. One particular game we were playing with Jim’s parents, his brother and his wife. Couple against couple. Jim’s parents did not have a chance. No matter what the word was, his father drew the same exact picture. One vertical pencil line. And than he would frantically point at it and wave his hands. His mom would be like….stick? tree? branch? And he’s all pointing and waving and she’s saying….line…thing? Time would run out and he would throw his arms up in the air and say WEST SIDE STORY!!! Geez, how many more clues could I have given you? This went on the entire game...vertical line stood for circus, hairbrush, George Washington and panda bear. By the time he tried to pass the line off as "To Kill A Mockingbird", she was done. One time Jim drew 3 circles on top of each other. I was, lets just say a little excited, I jumped up and got 1mm from his face and screamed at the top of my lungs STOPLIGHT!!!! At the same time the timer ran out and Jim said very calmly…uh no, it was a… snowman, are you OK? Yea, I’m good, I’ll just sit down now. One of the most humiliating game times happened just last year. We went over to a friend’s house to play games with 3 other couples. I can’t remember the name of the game but we had to decide if the headline we were hearing was true or not. This was not team play, so I was on my own. One of the facts was did Marilyn Monroe shorten her heels to help her to obtain her signature walk? So as everyone is filling out their paper, I turn to my friend and I was like. I hope she didn’t do that, that’s disgusting. How could she put herself through that pain just to walk a certain way? How do you think she did it? Do you think it was surgery? Ooh, that is really gross….I am going on and on. She finally looks up from her paper and says, what are you talking about? Marilyn Monroe having her heels shortened….weren’t you listening? Isn’t that gross! She just looks at me, rolls her eyes and says….her shoes. She had the heels of her shoes altered to change the way she walked. Did you think they met her actual heel? Even I had to smile, I am such an idiot. Oh, her shoes, well that isn’t gross at all. Never mind. Of course, as I would have certainly done to her, she told everybody how stupid I am. There is now a small group of people who will work the word heel into every conversation. I can live with that. At least I never made anyone cry over Monopoly.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Puddy Pooch

Well here it is, our puppy wearing the puddy! This is not my personal puddy. This is my sister's with the reindeer. Doesn't he look thrilled? You can get to know our puppy in his own blog entry called "Our Dog".

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Christmas Puddy

Christmas. For some reason Christmas for me has historically been...hysterical. Well, to me anyway. The first Christmas I can really remember I was about 5. I had fallen asleep and woke up to find that all of our company had arrived downstairs. I got up and headed for the stairs. The uncarpeted stairs. Did I mention I had socks on? Droopy socks. You know when your socks are like half off your foot. We call it Grinch feet. So I got up in a big fuzzy just took a serious nap daze, and hit the first step. That would be all I remember about that particular Christmas. Droopy socks and uncarpeted steps…not good, don’t recommend it. Another memorable Christmas I was about 8. That would have made my sister 15. It was the year she got a denim “maxi skirt” and platform clogs. I remember this clearly because I threw up all over them. Well, if you talked to her you would have thought I only ruined her gifts. I actually threw up on everything. Under the tree that is. And the tree. We were just finishing opening gifts and I got up and started running towards the only bathroom we had…upstairs. I got just as far as the tree and …..Exploded. All over the tree and all over the gifts. Good times. Happy memories. In retrospect I could have gone to the kitchen which was like 2 feet away…I’ll keep that in mind next time. The Christmas I’m writing about today happened about 6 years ago. As usual my side of the family met at my brother’s to exchange gifts. The kids were their usual hyper-excited selves. There are eight kids. We...well; I try every year to get the kids to open one gift at a time, going from youngest to oldest. No one supports me on this. It gets all willy nilly, you don’t know who got what, everything’s mixed up, the kids don’t know who to thank for what, the paper is all…..I’m sorry…not really…the point…of the story….I’m ok. I’ll move on now. So the kids are done…who knows what is actually theirs…seriously a little order would…be...nice, I’m doing it again. Sorry. Forget the kids. On to the adults. So we all start exchanging gifts. My mom is a money giver. You gotta respect that. Cash, the gift that keeps on giving. My dad is a gift giver. But not a big shopper. Whatever one of us gets, we all get. This year it was the Hickory Farms smoked meats and cheeses family assortment. Not the little snack size. This was the mother of all smoked meats and cheeses family assortment. With gourmet mustards...oh yea, I know you’re jealous...don’t be hatin’ now. Just a side note. One year we got the Hickory farms smoked sausage and cheese party assortment. And we took it over to Jim’s parent’s house. I came into the kitchen and Jim’s dad was sitting at the kitchen table with the little wood carving board and complimentary snack sized knife, eating the assortment. The entire assortment. He ate an entire smoked sausage, the assorted cheeses, the gourmet mustards, and the little strawberry candies. The whole thing. I was like; did you eat that entire thing by yourself? Why, did you want some? Uh yea, no I’m good. I told him I didn’t think he was gonna feel so good when that smoked sausage and assorted cheese worked its way through, but ….good luck with all that. He thanked me for the warning and started opening the jellies of the world gift pack. Ok so back to opening gifts. My dad handed me, my sister and my sister in law identical boxes. Now one year he gave us matching snowmen aprons. Very cute. This year he gave us….ummm…well, it’s a….? I should mention that when we opened them, my dad was downstairs watching football. So when we opened them, he wasn’t there so he couldn’t tell us what they were. I will describe them. We each got a circular shaped cotton thing with what appeared to be an extremely large bow. Toaster cozy? Chair cover? Hat…with a hole in it? So we looked closer. They were all the same shape but different patterns. Maybe the patterns will give us a clue. My sister’s was brown on one side and reindeers on the other. Her bow was bright red. My sister in laws was green on one side and had holly berries on the other with a yellow bow. Very festive...getting a Christmas theme here. Till we got to mine. Red on one side with…school buses on the other side. My bow was blue. Reindeer, holly berries, school buses. See the connection? Yeah, me neither. So we start brainstorming. Or laughing, what could they be? Honestly we could not figure it out. Great idea, lets send one of the kids to the basement with one and get them to get my dad, to tell them what it is. Yes, perfect plan. So we pull my niece in. She’s six. Hey Nicole, will you take this downstairs and ask Pop what it is? Blank stare. Take this, as I’m shoving it in her hand, downstairs and show it to Pop and get him to tell you what it is. Ok. So she goes. And we’re dying. We cannot imagine what it could be. So in what seemed like an eternity later she comes back. She walks right in the room, throws the thing to her mother and says “it’s a puddy.” What’s that? A puddy. She’s saying it like pudding, with a y at the end. Puddy. She’s also saying it like it makes any sense at all. We all say at once…a Puddy? What’s a puddy? I don’t know and she starts to leave. We all scream at once, wait, wait, what exactly did he say? She rolled her eyes and sighed heavily, he said it’s a puddy. Alright let’s break it down. What did you say to him? I said “what’s this?” And what did he say? He said it’s a puddy. Can I go now? You send a six year old to do your dirty work and this is what you get. Reluctantly we let her go. We wouldn’t have but she started to cry, and my mom yelled at us. Needless to say we are crying, we are laughing so hard. We have learned neither what a puddy is nor what exactly do you do with it. It’s probably a good time to mention that my dad is really hard of hearing. Not deaf, but one of those people who you ask how they are and they look at their watch and say 4:00. After seriously, and hour of laughing over the puddies, my dad came upstairs and the mystery was solved! We were holding our puddies and my dad walks in and says “ain’t they perty” Perty!! Not puddy!!! We figured out that she must have gone down and he saw it and said ain’t that perty? My niece was satisfied with this response and relayed what she heard. Puddy. My sister finally got up the nerve to ask him what exactly they were. It turns out that my dad shoveled a lady’s walk and she makes puddies. Which are actually fancy collars. She gave him the puddies, as a thank you, to give to us. She sells them at her church. We put on our puddies, once we figured it out. They’re reversible! Twice the fashion fun! If you need a big cotton collar with school buses on it and a very very large bow. I got one. And it’s puddy.

Monday, November 07, 2005


I could describe myself as a lot of things. Athletic is not one of them. It’s not even in the top one hundred. I think I can confidently say I have never mastered a sport. Or played one well… Or even just OK. Honestly when you come right down to it… I’m a disaster at sports. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t try. If they gave out awards for trying, I’d get one every time. Not first place but at least a ribbon that says “participant.” Hey, not everybody gets one of those. Oh, everybody gets one? Are you sure? Anyway, my long history of participation began with bowling. It’s a sport. Yes, it is! I joined the bowling league ran by our Catholic church. I was about 7. My brother and sister and I joined, although we were on separate teams. We would get on the “bowling bus” and go and compete against other Catholic bowlers. Remember this was a religious league, when I tell you how they ousted me. Things did not go well the first couple of weeks. Things started to fall apart when it was my turn and they couldn’t find me. Hmm…where’s Karen? I wonder….look at the snack bar…Or the arcade, or the bathroom, or on somebody else’s lane. Look anywhere but where she’s supposed to be. My team would have to look for me, and when I finally took my turn, I’ll just say I wasn’t really knockin’ em down….At all. I averaged around a 40…On a good day. One day the bowling bus came and my team said “If you don’t want to come today, you don’t have to” In fact, you don’t ever have to come. In fact, don’t come. You stink. I stopped, thought about what they had just said…..Oh, well….could I just come and hang out at the snack bar? Do you promise not to bowl? I promise. I kinda hated it anyway. I like bowling now, so I think I said that just to mask the pain, or I was afraid, if I resisted they would shut the bus doors and I wouldn’t get any bowling alley pizza that day. On to softball. Same Catholic league. I joined the team. Got my uniform. Showed up at every practice. For 2 years. Played one game. I think it was the summer of the big Scarlet fever outbreak, the only choices were me and the legally blind kid with the one leg. Come to think of it, the blind one legged kid was sick too. I remember they called her, her mom wouldn’t let her come. So I guess it was me or forfeit. I played right field. When the ball came towards me, I ducked, covered my head with my glove and screamed. Did I mention I was afraid of the ball? After that I was “equipment girl.” Which is really a short title for “we’ll let you come if you promise not to play.” During the games I would put the catcher’s chest protector on my head and strut around clucking like a chicken. I never taught my kids how to hit a ball, but they can do a mean chicken impression. Do you think the Pope approves of the cut-throat, win at any cost attitude of its youth sports programs? If I ever meet him, I’m telling. Middle school cheerleader. Got knocked down when the players ran onto the sideline. Made my skirt all dirty. I was done. I was really loud though. Loud I got, my cartwheel could have used some work. Highschool gymnastics team. Lets see, afraid of the balance beam, 4 inches wide? Seriously? Afraid of the pummel horse. First of all, there ain’t no way I running fast enough to climb over that thing and you want me to flip over it…head first? Yea, that’s gonna happen. Uneven parallel bars. I’m terrified of heights, so I decided to just swing on the bottom bar and get used to it. Got a blister the first day. Lets talk floor exercise. I was actually doing a good job. I got as far as making up a routine. The night of the show for our parents, the coach asked for someone to volunteer to run the music. She was looking right at me. I volunteered. New title “music girl.” Also….. a….. Catholic….. team. Just curious, do you know the zip code for Vatican city? E-mail address? Do you just address it like letters to Santa, just write “Pope” and it gets there? Not that I’m bitter.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Helpful Hints

As I have recently turned 40, and celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary and my sweet baby girl is turning 15 I decided to comprise a list of things I have learned. I think these things will help you, as they have helped me. Or not. And that’s OK too.
If you are 9 years old and you decide to “pass gas”, or “rip a big one” in a taxi cab, don’t pretend it wasn’t you and don’t do it in front of your mother. First of all, if you lift you leg, they’ll know it was you. And, your mother will use it as an excuse to do every embarrassing thing she can think of in front of others. When you complain, she will say “At least I didn’t bunny, ( yes, she calls them bunnies), in a cab.” Hey mom, it’s been 31 years, move on. Seriously. And it wasn’t even me. I mean it. Really.
In 8th grade, on the day of your confirmation ceremony, don’t cut your own hair. No matter how good you think you are doing. Don’t do it. Pulling your bangs in a ponytail and cutting off whatever hangs out is such a bad idea, who knew? My bangs went from 1 inch on the left side to 1/8 of an inch on the right side. No matter how may times you think you’re evening them out. YOU’RE NOT MAKING IT BETTER! And when your friends laugh right in your face, you have no one to blame but yourself.
If you are home alone with your brother who may or may not have your best interest at heart, don’t shake up a 2 liter bottle of soda. And open it. Regardless of what your brother says, your mom, after a full days work, will NOT think it is funny. And in case you’re curious, 2 liters is A LOT of soda.
Not putting the lid securely on the top of a giant jar of mustard seems like a victimless crime. I am here to tell you different. Oh sure, the non-lid-tightening person gets to eat their sandwich a couple of seconds earlier, but what about the unsuspecting little sister, I mean next sandwich maker. I learned a couple of things that day. Don’t pick a giant jar of mustard up by the lid, especially if it is full. Again with the gravity. As soon as the jar hit the floor, it was like a mustard volcano. Three things to keep in mind, mustard stains everything. The walls, the ceiling, the refrigerator, the phone, the stove, the cabinets, and the ….dog. The second thing is, when a dog gets covered in mustard, it runs. Away. Really fast. All through the house. And when you chase it screaming, it runs faster, and jumps on your bed. The third thing is, regardless what your brother says, your mother, after a hard days work, will NOT think it is funny.
Doing good deeds. I’m all for it. But…when you volunteer to wash your brother’s motorcycle. ( The one he worked really hard for, and paid for entirely, on his own). I learned to keep the hose in your hands at all times. Let me explain. I decided to surprise my brother by washing his brand new motorcycle. So I get out the hose, a bucket and a sponge. I’m washing away and I’m thinking, why just wash the outside? I bet the inside is all dirty you know with the gas and oil running all through it and everything. Hey, I bet if I stick the hose up this long pipe in the back, it will give it a real good cleaning. Inside and out. And if you forget the aforementioned hose, is running…… up the long pipe in the back,….. and leave it on for several hours, it will be sparkling. Or it will completely destroy it. What I didn’t take into consideration is, if you stick a running hose up the tail pipe of a motorcycle, you ruin…the engine. And just about every other functioning part. And regardless of what you think, your mother, and your brother after a hard days work, will NOT think it is helpful. Or funny.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Entertainment Center

About nine years ago Jim had some minor surgery. Really the only restriction was not to do too much and don't lift heavy objects for awhile. About a week after the surgery I decided that the entertainment center in our living room had to go. Right then. Or sooner would be fine. Yesterday would be lovely. Did you ever have that happen? You love the furniture when you buy it. Well, buy it may not exactly be the correct term. We got it for free. No, not a gift. Just free. No, we didn't steal it. Well, not really...... no, definitely not stolen. We actually saved some poor unsuspecting trashman (or is it sanitation engineer?) alot of hard work. And we we're doing our part by recycling. Alright, geez, we took it out of someone's trash, Well, not really "out" of their trash. It wouldn't fit "in" their trash. It was "next" to the trash. Beckoning us really. Stop looking at me like that. It was a perfectly fine piece of furniture. For awhile. Than the day came when I walked past it and said, its gotta go. Now. So I start working on Jim. Actually working on Jim was second. I tried to move it myself first. Yeah, not gonna happen. So I take everything off of it. This is supposed to tell him that I no longer love it. Please move it. For some reason this did not spark Jim's interest in moving incredibly heavy furniture. So, I start dropping hints. Hey, why don't we move this to the basement....and get a smaller one. I got nothing. Hey, I saw a smaller center at my sister's house, what do you think? Nothing. Hey Jim, what do you say we move this to the BASEMENT.....and get a NEW one!!! Today. Like RIGHT NOW. Honey. Sweetums. Pookie...Bear? I just had surgery. Okay, now we're getting somewhere. We have opened the discussion. Well, yes, I remember the was like what? 3 weeks ago? 6 days. Oh, well how long until you can lift? Like. 2 weeks. You're more than halfway there. Uh, no that would be 7 days. Well....with your 6 days and me helping would be like 2 weeks. Right? I'm not moving it. OK so this is what I'm thinking. We don't have to "lift" it as much as "push" it, and I'll do the majority of the labor. Really Jim, you're basically supervising. No. Not today. I'm not hefting that thing down 2 flights of stairs. Think. Think. I have a great idea! Now hear me out. Why don't we....lower it off the deck! Yes, this is a great idea. Let's tie ropes around it, and gently lower it off the deck. With the two of us working together, it won't be too heavy for either of us. Than we can just ease it into the basement. Well? What do ya think? Great idea huh? Now as I think back to that time I keep thinking, why did Jim agree? Is it because he loves me so much that he couldn't stand for me to be disappointed? Am I really that annoying that he did it just to shut me up? You're right, that's not it. Was Jim also suddenly unhappy with the entertainment center? Or perhaps the most likely of reasons, he was all hopped up on pain medication and mistakenly thought it was a "great idea"? Ding Ding Ding!! Ok so we tie up the ropes, we push the center onto the deck. All we have to do is lean it on the railing......... gently tip it over....... and slowly lower it to the ground. Leaning went well. Tipping went well. Until that exact second when the enormous weight of the large piece of wood shifted. Gravity. Go figure. I didn't. Just at the exact second the weight shifted....we felt it, the horrific burning feeling you get when a rope zips through the flesh on your palms, as fast as.....well, as fast as a 200 pound entertainment center goes, as it flies off a 12 foot deck and crashes to the ground. We were left standing there empty-handed. Very red, and raw empty-handed. First we looked at our hands. Than we looked at each other. Than we looked over the deck. And if I didn't know any better I would have thought was a pile of toothpicks. Completely unrecognizable. I looked at Jim, hmmm....I guess that didn't work out huh? He was still looking at the pile. Who'da thought huh? If my hands weren't bleeding, it might be kinda funny. Ha Ha hmmmm... wanna go get something to eat? Jim finally looks at me. "Ok" he says, "Is it time for my pain medicine? I think I need some." I eventually bagged the wood pieces up and put them in the trash. And as luck would have it, the bag took up way less room in the landfill. Just doing my part.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Jim's Mom

As I have already shared the adventure it has been to know Jim’s dad (and his mother found it rather funny) I thought I would share a couple of stories about her. One of the earliest incidences happened on our first trip to Disney World. We went to Florida to visit Jim’s brother, his wife and baby. Allison was also a baby. We drove to Florida in our mini-van. Me, Jim, his mom and Allison. So we get to Florida and we were having a great time. When it came time to go out we didn’t really want to go everywhere in separate cars. We were only there a week and we wanted to spend as much time together as possible. Lets see, 2 men, 2 carseats, and 3 women. 7. The average mini-van holds 7. 7 average people. The men took turns driving so they were always up front. It was easier to put the carseats in the middle seat, so that left the back seat to the women. All 3 of us. Did I mention we may or may not have been a little “big boned” at the time. We just had babies…...geez. In fact I’m still carrying around a little baby weight. Yes, I know he’s nine…years old, not really the point of the story. You ever measure up a piece of furniture in the store and think, yeah, sure, heck yeah’ll fit. Room to spare. Well apparently this is what we were thinking. We weren’t thinking about the number of times we got the furniture home……. and had to cut the legs off…….. to get it in the door. We started to pile into the back seat and it was a little snug. Ok, to be honest a lot snug. If we would have had a roll-over accident, they would have had to shuck us out of the van like an oyster. The best part is none of us admitted it right away. I’m not sure if it was the thought of having to rebuckle the car seats or pride. It wasn’t until we got to our destination and the 3 of us couldn’t feel anything from the waist down, not to mention the mega-wedgies we were sporting. We rode this way for a week. I guess we figured the sweating or the friction would whittle us down a little. Yeah, no. The funniest part was when we went to Disney World. Every ride we got in line for they would jam us 3 into the same car. We would say “no, we don’t have to go together.” The operators practically pushed us on together. I think one actually used a shoehorn. I have heard this story for years, and it still cracks me up. She was pregnant with Jim. She was 8 months pregnant, walking at the ridge of a hill with Jim’s dad. He turns around and she’s gone. Where are you? Down here! Down where? Down the hill!! The best part is his reply…..what are you doing down there? I don’t know at eight months pregnant it just seemed like a good idea to roll down a hill, and lay here stuck on my back like a flipped over turtle. Yeah, take your time, it’s all good. Another funny story also happened in Florida. We were sharing Jim’s parents’ timeshare with them. They had a bedroom, we had a bedroom. When leaving the living room, you had to pass our room to get to his parent’s. Oh, and there’s was one step. One carpeted step separating the living room from the dining room. So the first night Jim and I go in to go to bed, we put on the TV, get in bed. We heard something. Not really a noise. Just like a ….foop! What was that? I don’t know, look out the door. So Jim looks out, and right in front of our door was his mother. On her hands and knees. What are you doing? Did you fall? Ummmm…, I was just…….. straightening up our shoes…. And she proceeded to pair up our shoes against the wall. Ok than, all straight. Good night. She got up and went to bed. Straightening our shoes? Ok. Next night. Foop. Jim opens the door, there she is. No shoes to straighten. Did you fall? I just tripped, I’m fine, good night. Next night, foop. Seriously….every night. And day. She tripped over that step every time she passed it. Jim would say, are you Ok, do you want to switch rooms? What’s in that bottle? Can you touch your nose with your index finger for me one more time? She just had her knees replaced this summer. We swear it’s from the lack of circulation riding around in that van, and falling 20 times a day, for a week, over that step. One funny thing she did happened before my time. She went to the hospital to visit her father in law. There were several other family members at the hospital. She and her brother in law decided to go in the room together. Apparently any room would do. They went in the room and they see an elderly man hooked up to a lot of machines. They start the usual. He looks peaceful. He’s probably not in any pain. He has lost a lot of weight. Hmmmm, never noticed that mole before…..when did he grow back his hair?......wait a minute……that’s not him. They had been standing at a complete strangers bedside. They snuck out of the room. They eventually found the right one. The other man? He made a full recovery. They’re very close now. So there you have a glimpse as to what has gone into making my husband the man he is today. And if you’re wondering, yes, I completely blame them.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Jim's Dad

Jim's dad. I have known him since 1986. He has inadvertantly given me alot of material for this blog. One of the earliest memories I have of his father took place on a spring day in 1987. Jim and his younger brother were helping his father do some yard work. Basically they were taking yard waste and throwing it back in the woods. There are military manuevers not orchastrated as well as this yard clean up. His dad is gifted in giving orders. So Jim and his brother work all day. No goofing off at all. This, if you know Jim or his brother, was very hard. So at the end of the day his dad tells them they are done. Than, he said it. A phrase that will live in infamy in the Hevesy family. "Alright boys, you're done, now don't forget to check each other for....snakes." Snakes. That's all they had to hear. Jim and his brother started poking each other with long sticks and jumping around yelling "SNAKE!" 18 years later, whenever our kids come in from being outside my husband says "better check each other for snakes." We know his dad meant ticks. We also know it's more fun to remind him of the mistake every time we get a chance. His dad's driving is something that often amuses us. One time, and this is an important point...we were following him to Virginia Beach. We were following him. He was in front of us. Keep that in mind. So Jim and I are following him. He's a dodger and a weaver. But Jim was up to the challenge. So we're dodging and weaving right with him. As we're going along his dad pulls over on the side of the interstate and we pull over. Now i must mention that Jim is 22. Years Old at the time. His dad comes back to the truck and says "get your money out for the toll." This would have seemed helpful if we were not...25 MILES from the nearest toll. 25 miles. His dad was completely serious. Those tolls come up on you fast, like in a half hour....25 miles down the highway. I guess he was afraid we wouldn't see the 10 or more signs or the yellow flashing lights. Thanks dad. The best part is, Jim is such a good son, he took out his dollar right than. 25 miles before the toll. So we're going along for a couple of hours and we see his dad zip across a couple of lanes and go off an exit. No blinkers, nothing. No sign that he realizes we were supposed to be following him. Now this was before we all had cell phones. We can't get over quick enough and Jim knows it's not our exit. So we have no choice but to go to the next exit and get off and hope we can backtrack and find him. Was he sick? Did he REALLY have to go to the bathroom? Was he having car trouble? Yeah, it would be none of the above. When we finally caught up with him hours later at our destination, we found out the reason for the quick exit. He thought he had followed US off the exit. He thought we took a sharp turn and left the highway. So he followed us. Completely forgetting that WE WERE FOLLOWING HIM! We had been following him for like 3 hours! And he sees another black pickup and follows it. How far did he follow it? Like, to their driveway. Jim's like, are you serious dad? Yes. He was serious. He forgot we were following him. And I still married his son after that. The combination of the internet and his dad has offered quite a few humorous moments. For about a month we and his parents had the same internet company. We set up a "buddy list." So, we would know when our friends and family were online and we could instant message them. Yeah. Not gonna happen with the in-laws. So one night we get on the internet and discover that his parent's are online. My daughter gets excited and wants to instant message them. It goes down something like this. Hi Pop Pop and Me-Mom. Nothing. Hi Pop Pop and Me-Mom it's Allison. Nothing. Hi Pop's Allison.....Hevesy. Nothing. Jim starts shaking his head. Why are they ignoring her? So, she tries again. Hi Pop Pop and's Allison Hevesy....and Alex....and Ethan.....Hevesy.... your grandchildren......nothing. So Jim tries to call them. Line is busy. Dial-up. So Jim tries.'s Jim..your SON...we know you're there......answer us. Nothing. After a couple of minutes they shut off their internet. Jim calls them. What are you doing? Why were you ignoring us? Oh, we saw what you were saying but we thought you were people trying to steal our.....identity. Oh, you mean thieves who call you Pop Pop and Me-Mom? Alrighty then. As I think about the combination of our two families. I'm pretty much thinking, I don't see this blog ending any time soon.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Dangerous Job

My husband Jim has never had what I would characterize as dangerous jobs. Well, actually no one would. He was a retail manager at a store that sells consumer electronics. Dangerous? No. Nerdy? Perhaps. I do know that as store manager Jim took his responsibility for the store very seriously. He also took shoplifting very seriously. The store was set up with the latest shoplifter catching technology. Cameras, mirrors and a team of people who did nothing but track shoplifters. Jim’s job was to supervise. He was to manage. He was to delegate. This however was not what Jim wanted to do. If he spotted a shoplifter, he sprang into action. I hated this. What are you going to do if they have a gun? They’re going to hurt you one day. Jim one time broke up the largest shoplifting ring on the East coast. That’s my man. But every day I asked him not to get involved. Every day he said he wouldn’t. Every day he told me about how many shoplifters he caught. One day he came in the door, and the knee of his pants were ripped. And I saw blood. In fact, his hand his elbow and his knee were bleeding. What happened? Shoplifter. He said the shoplifter was spotted in the store and as he started leaving Jim confronted him. The guy pushed past Jim and headed for the parking lot. Jim followed him. The guy starts running and Jim is on him. Literally. Jim dove and grabbed the guy by the knees and they both went down on the sidewalk. About that time, the security guards came out and took over. I am freaking out. I, asking all the usual questions, what was he stealing, did he have any weapons, what did he look like, had you ever seen him before, did the police come. Jim started answering. He was stealing a CD…no weapons..he looked kind of like Pop Pop…I didn’t know him…the police…What? What did you just say Jim? The police came and…. No, not that , before that. No weapons? No, before that. He looked like Pop Pop… Yeah, that. He looked like Pop Pop? Your Pop Pop? Your 87 year old grandfather? Please tell me you knew a biker in college named Pop Pop. No, I mean my Pop Pop, but a little younger. Younger as in 85? Or younger as in 25? I don’t know maybe 75. Years old? You tackled a 75 year old man? He was STEALING! and he was fast. Yeah, he probably just got a new hip. Do you know what consumer theft does to the economy? I pretty much stopped listening. I was trying to picture my husband, the father of my children tackling a 75 year old man. So time went on and Jim was moved to another store. One night he came home and again his pants are ripped and he is bleeding. To top it all off he was covered in mud. As soon as I saw him I couldn’t believe it. Please tell me it isn’t the day the senior center drops off the granny’s to shop. Did you nab a granny stealing a Sinatra CD? He was not amused. You don’t respect my profession…. Do you know what consumer theft does to the economy? Yeah, yeah got it, the thieves are destroying all that’s good in America, taking the food out of our children’s mouths…what happened? Well, it was lunchtime and I was going out the door. It was raining really hard. So I spot it at the top of the hill. I’m thinking if I run really fast I can get there. So I start off across the parking lot. I’m picking up speed as I make my way up the hill. I was almost there when…what? What happened when you got to top? Was there more than one? Did they have weapons? Jim stops and looks at me..did who have weapons? The THIEVES! The one destroying America’s livelihood….Jim says again…what thieves? The ones at the top of the hill!! There weren’t any thieves. No thieves? Than what was at the top of the hill? What were you running for? I was running because it was raining….and at the top of the hill was………….McDonald’s, it was lunchtime, didn’t I say that? I slid down the hill in the mud. I walked away. I could still hear him saying ….I ripped my pants, and my elbow is bleeding..hon?... sweety? ….dinner?..come back….Jim is no longer a retail manager. He’s a church administrator. All in all it seems like a much less dangerous job. He doesn’t tackle the elderly, and he hasn’t had to call the police. He doesn’t even come home bleeding ….. that often.

Monday, August 22, 2005

My Jobs

At the beginning of every school year for some reason I start thinking about working. My kids are in school all day and I always rehash whether or not to get a “real job” By real job I mean something that pays more than ……nothing. This is always a fleeting thought as I will soon be busy with all of my school-volunteering duties, as well as homework etc. I gotta have time to make the complete solar system out of pom poms and glitter. So as school is starting I was thinking about some of the jobs I have had. I started with the usual babysitting. One year I went with a family to Ocean City. They went out for the evening and I stayed at the hotel with the baby. I put the baby on cushions on the floor and we both went to sleep. I woke up some time later and had that where am I? Feeling. I figured out where I was but I had that feeling like I was missing something. Hmmm….than I looked down because I realized I was standing on something squishy. No, not the baby…baby? Where was that baby? I knew I left her here….seriously, where is the baby? I started freaking out looking all over the place. Great, they’re never gonna give me a good recommendation if I lose their baby. I’ve never actually lost someone’s baby but I’m guessing they’re gonna be mad. Oh, never mind, there she is, she rolled under the bed. OK, I feel better. Baby found, good recommendation secured. My second paying job was at a buffet. Ooh, just thinking about it makes me gag. I got the job with my 3 best friends. It was the only thing we could do together and we didn’t have to be 16 yet. I started in June. By mid-July I had seen enough. One time the fire department had to come and cut a woman out of a booth. She came at breakfast and by dinner, she was stuck. The Jaws of Life, not just for horrible car accidents anymore. We had 2 regular customers that had to come and go by the loading dock. I wish I was making this up. So for about 6 weeks I bussed tables. Then I was done. I was really nervous about quitting. My mother talked me through the whole thing. Again I’m thinking about not burning any bridges in the food industry. I worked up the nerve to approach the manager. Ummmm, Steve, could I talk to you after work today? He’s like, talk to me now. Oh, ummmm well, ummmm I was ummmm wanting to give my 2 weeks notice tonight ummmmm because I ummm… Steve looks up from what he’s doing and stops me mid-sentence. You can leave now. I continue…I don’t want to leave you without help…and ….Steve says again, you can leave now, turn in your apron. My mom said that if you need…..what’s that? Leave now? But, I’m a valuable asset to the Horn and Horn family buffet…Steve was done. He moved on, and right in front of me gave someone else my station. I left. I forgot to turn in my apron. You never know when you’ll need a red nylon filthy grease covered apron. The next job I got was kind of cool. My mother worked for a local television station. They did a live children’s show in the afternoons. It took place on a boat. It was run by “Captain Chesapeake.” He had a fan club and everything. My mother tricked me into auditioning. I went to her work one day after school. I liked to hang out there and wait for her to get off work. One day she said they were looking for a new kid to stand next to the “captain” and read the kid’s letters and tell jokes and generally be the captain’s sidekick. I was like… no way! She basically made me do it. So I go and audition. Come to find out, it’s live and I was actually “on the air.” So long story short, I agree to do it. It actually turned out to be a lot of fun. One of the props was a lion puppet, a really old lion puppet that the captain and I talked to. My job was to put the stuffing back in his nose before we started each day. I was very important. But man, was I a geek. I only watched the show one time from my house. My sister and I laughed so hard we were crying. I had no idea what to do with my hands. In my pockets, out of my pockets, on my hips, by my side….I was a mess. I also was very aware that I was not supposed to look at the camera so I did this shifty, eye-moving thing. I would look at the captain, look to the left, look to the right. Look right at the camera and than realize I was looking at the camera and quickly look away. Several times I accidentally wore the same color as the “blue screen” that was behind us. Remember we’re supposed to be on a boat, so I had the Chesapeake Bay running through the middle of my torso. Than later as I introduced the cartoons I had the Flintstones running on me. Geek. I did it for 2 years. I gave up all that glory….yeah right, to work in the film room. My job was to time and edit all the cartoons, movies etc. These were the big reel to reel jobs. No Beta or VHS here. So one day I’m in the film room and they realized that the one o’clock movie is running long. So they bring me this enormous reel to edit. Take 20 minutes out, and hurry because the other reel has already started. OK well, I was just going to lunch. Hellooo? Lunchtime. So I took out 20 minutes. Right out of the middle of the movie. I didn’t look at it. I didn’t find the best spot to fade to commercial. I just put it on the cutting machine, and snipped out 20 minutes from the middle. 20 minutes from the middle. I still remember the movie was “Red River Valley.” Never seen it…. The worst part is, I didn’t even save the 20 minutes to be put back in. I just threw it away… glued the two ends of film together, gave it to the control room, and went to lunch. They started getting calls around 2:00. The calls went on for hours…..actually days. People took their one o’clock movie very seriously. Apparently, the middle 20 minutes of “Red River Valley” were important to the story line. Huh, who’d a thought? Soon VHS came into fashion, the station got sold to a big company and my job was phased out. So as another school year begins, I begin to wonder about getting a paying job. I’ll just remember that I can misplace a kid, clean up dishes, stuff things into people’s noses and ruin valuable items right here. Free of charge. With people I love. They haven’t told me to turn in my apron yet or phased me out. If they ever do, I just hope they give me a good recommendation.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Our Dog

The other day my daughter said something very interesting. It was a simple phrase yet it left quite an impression. Actually, we laughed until we had tears rolling down our faces. We had attended .....this is a little hard to admit (with a straight face) a guinea pigs birthday party. Two guinea pigs to be exact. Yup. It included little tiny party hats, a carrot cake and they got gifts like, grapes and cabbage. They had Guinea pig races. One of the guinea pigs relieved himself in the middle of the race as the children cheered them on to victory. I never thought I would use the terms guinea pig and cheered them on to victory in the same sentence. I can sort of imagine what you think of someone who would throw such a party, but what does it say about us for attending? It says, get a life, you have much too much free time. So, we come home and my daughter, son, and I are talking about the party. Weren't the pigs cute in their hats? How about those races? Aren't you glad he didn't poop while you were holding him? Won't cabbage give them gas? When my daughter says " I wish I had a pet." My son and I both stopped, crinkled our brows, looked at each other and both immediately looked to the left of the room. Because there less than 10 feet from us was Deano. Our pet. The same pet we've had for 5 years. After we drew her attention to the yellow lump in the corner, she remembered that she in fact does have a pet. She than clarified it with "I mean a pet that does something." Oh, well that's different. We have a pet in that, he has four legs, and drinks out of the toilet, but you know he's not winning any races. He could win if the race was held in the roughly 20 minutes a day he's awake. We always say we didn't get a dog, we got a couch that came covered with its own dog hair. He is very sweet but not the sharpest knife in the drawer. One day Jim came home from work. Deano was outside. He sees Jim pull up, in the same car we have had for years. Deano barks. Jim gets out and talks to him, he wags his tail, Jim pets him. I look out and say, can you move your car to the other side of the driveway, the boys want to play basketball. Jim gets in the car, in front of the dog, he backs up 5 feet, and parks. Deano starts barking like he has never seen him before. Jim gets out and Deano starts wagging his tail. He's like, "hey Jim, where you been man, this other guy was just here and...." Another time he jumped up out of a sound sleep, looked out the window and proceeded to bark at a box.... for an hour. Our neighbor had set out his recycling in a box. It had taken him a year to stop barking at the blue bags. I can't tell you how many times he has smashed his face on the sliding glass door chasing a squirrel. The squirrels don't even budge. they know he'll smash his face and go lay down for 20 hours. When he was a puppy we were in the basement. It wasn't finished yet and there were tools etc. all over the place. He came tearing in, and for some unknown reason, ran over and swallowed a hunk of steel wool. Didn't smell it, just swallowed it. Steel wool. Not good. We called the vet and they told us what to do to get him to return it, without having to wait a day. Are you with me? So we give him the medicine. And sure enough, 5 minutes later, up comes the steel wool. And 2 erasers. A crayon. And part of an action figure. He felt better. We were horrified. A couple of years later, a Saturday, Memorial day weekend. Deano starts throwing up. After awhile, no food is coming up,just watery stuff. Really gross. . We had decided, that because he was still drinking, we would wait until Monday and take him to the vets. So, we barricade him in the kitchen and wait it out. Sunday, he was still sick. But still drinking and acting Ok. Of course he sleeps 23 hours a day, when he's feeling good, so we don't expect much. Monday morning, I get up and let him out. He must equate "going out" with exercise because he's usually right back in. He does not fool around. He's all business. No pun intended. So I realize he's been out awhile and I look out the window. Have you ever seen a dog sweat? I don't mean, because he's hot on a summer day. I mean sweat like a grand jury just swore him in and he's knows he's gonna lie. I looked into his eyes and saw pure desperation. He was "perched", ready to know....go. But he looked like he had locked his keys in his car...with it a cliff......with a..... baby in it. And the car was on fire. And apparantly, so was his butt. He acted like he was being audited by the IRS. And he hadn't saved any receipts. He was doing that shaky thing dogs do, when they do "doo." He was squatting and shaking, standing on his toes. And in between that, he was putting his face in his paws and wiping his brow. The boy was sweating bullets. He just had that "Oh God, if I ever get out of this mess I promise too......." look. The dog next door walked by, he gave a little wave and said, "I feel for ya man, stay strong" . Deano was acting like he was in labor. Labor? That's impossible. He's a boy. But I gotta tell you the longer it went on, the more I was beginning to doubt everything I knew about anatomy. Than it was over. Well at least, the worst of it. I can't prove it, but I think he actually smiled. I went out to congratulate him?, when I saw it. Not a puppy. No, that would a make more sense than what I saw. There, on our lawn, was a full size..............corncob. Not the mini size cobs you get frozen at the grocery store. This wasn't no niblets. This was a full grown Eastern shore ear of corn. Why Deano why? I wanted to ask him why? Why must you eat out of the trash? Did we learn nothing from the steel wool/eraser/crayon/action figure incident? But what I really wanted to ask him was.... how? Seriously. But I was speechless. I would have stood there all day shaking my head. Deano on the other hand, had moved on, he was standing at the door. Hellllooooooo, uh, can I get a little breakfast here, and I'm way overdue for a nap. What a trooper. So next time you think a party- hat- wearing, racing guinea pig is better than my dog. Think again.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The Buffet

Well the Hevesy's have made it safely back from vacation. As we arrived back to our house at 2:00am from a very long day, I of course do first things first. Put the kids in bed? Unpack? Unwind after a long trip? Yeah , no. The first thing I did was a mouse check. I used my eagle vision to check every square inch of this house for any sign of a massive infestation, or one little poopie. I saw neither. Phew, we dodged a bullet because Jim and the kids really wanted to go to bed. They would not find it amusing to have to sleep in the car while I had the house tented and chemically de-moused. As you recall we went to the land of the mother of all mouses, Disney World. We did all the basic tourist things. I spent 15 hours at the park and never got a glimpse of the rodent. In person. Of course his image is on everything imagineable. And unimagineable. Mickey Mouse home pregnancy kit, not really seeing it. We decided to celebrate my birthday at a buffet where the characters come and eat with you. Chip of the "Chip and Dale" fame came to our table. He took a picture with the kids, tossled Jim's hair and...stuck his my ear. His unusually large furry chipmunk my ear. Can you say restraining order? Thanks Chip...freak. Actually it was really fun. Towards the end of the evening after visits from Minnie, Dale, freaky Chip, Donald and Goofy, Mickey came with a cupcake and sang Happy Birthday to me. Well, he didn't sing as much as wave his hands and pat me on the head alot. After a couple of therapy sessions I think I'll be able to eat cupcakes without the gentle sobbing and sweaty palms. This may surprise you but one of the things that appealed to us about this particular restaurant was that it was a buffet. A boofay. A Buff-it. All you can eat. Jim likes a good buffet. Or a bad one. Or any. Really. So in between the characters we had all we cared to eat. Than came the icecream. A huge icecream bar with lots of candy toppings. I was so full I opted for a bowl of gummy bears. I mostly just ate their heads off and left the carcasses. I felt bad leaving them intact because I didn't want to waste them. Jim went for the icecream. Now the other father with us, Greg came back with a "bowl" that was really just a glorified plate. The sides just barely rose above the bottom, it probably held about a half a scoop of icecream. His toppings were clinging to the sides holding on for dear life. When Jim came back to the table, all heads turned. Greg said, with much envy in his voice "where'd you find that, that's nice", nodding his obvious approval. Jim said with much pride, enjoying the attention "on the icecream bar." So I pipe up "Yeah, the guy behind Jim got one too, I think it's a crown." The other bowls were plastic and came in bright colors. Jim's bowl was silver, intricately engraved, with a scalloped edge. It weighed about 5 pounds. Very regal. It was the holy grail of icecream bowls. Worthy of the 10 scoops and 3 pounds of toppings Jim had mounded in it. It was a vision seeing him scrape the bottom and throw down his spoon. There may have been a high five exchanged. It was just too exciting to remember all the details. There is however one detail I do recall. When the waiter came with the bill. He's sort of chit chatting with us, when he stops and gets a grin on his face. "Hey pal where'd you get that?" He's motioning towards the grail. Jim replies "on the icecream bar." Waiter-"do you know what that is?" Jim shakes his head no. All eyes are on the waiter......and he starts to laugh. "It's a spoon holder." What? A spoon holder? Yea. he says it holds spoons for the icecream bar. You're not supposed to eat out of them. So I speak up, "the guy behind him had one too." I find out that the guy behind him had one because Jim offered it to him. Oh. I guess it's not a crown. Sorry. The waiter and everyone close to us had a good laugh. We left to watch fireworks from the balcony. Tired, happy and very very full. Jim puts his arm around my shoulder and whispers romantically in my ear......"what do you think about a Chinese buffet tomorrow?" That's what I like about Jim, he rolls with the punches.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Mistaken Identity

As I have mentioned before, I am terrified of mice. Terrified. Jim has successfully caught and disposed of 2 such creatures in the last week. Gives me the heebie jeebies just thinking about it. Seriously. So as we prepare for vacation, one thing I always do is give the house a good cleaning. I hate mice and I hate returning to a messy house, post vacation. So this week I have been cleaning. I have successfully avoided the basement and have limited my visits to closets the last 2 weeks. I open a closet door, look just at the spot I need to and slam the door. I will now share with you all the "near miss" mouse sightings I have had recently. I will also tell you that my heart stopped every time, and I broke out into a cold sweat. If I ever have to go to a cardiologist I can directly refer back to this summer. The summer of the mouse. I say mouse because again, I am in denial about their so called "pack" habits. I'm happy in my denial. I accept it, now move on. So here they near miss mouse sightings.
1. Every day I open the linen closet to get a towel etc. Every day there is a strip of Chuckie Cheese tickets on the floor that flutter when I open the door. Every day. Like 10 times a day. I know they are there. I never pick them up. Every time, I think they are a mouse. I have not missed the irony that they are in fact Chuckie Cheese tickets. He's a 6 ft dancing mouse. I don't like him. For obvious reasons. Pizza and rodents marketed together are not amusing. Enough said.
2. I went in to tidy up the bathtub area. I saw something grayish black peeking out from behind the shampoo. Mouse. Not. Upon further inspection it was actually more disturbing. A severed GI Joe head. Poor fella. Apparantly he had gone into the bathroom for a little R&R. Mutilated in the line of duty. I couldn't find the rest of the body. I'd look further into who beheaded poor Joe but, I'm just so happy it's not a mouse. The military will have to launch it's own investigation. I'm not pointing fingers but the Hulk and Scooby Doo looked suspicious. Shifty, nervous and a little too chummy. Not that I'm pointing fingers.
3. I made myself go down the basement. The basement isn't unfinished or generally creepy. There are just too many places for a mouse to hide in. The area is too big for me to do my quick sweeping eye movements. I can scan the whole floor in most rooms before I enter. The basement has too much going on to make me feel comfortable about entering. I had to go. It was a mess, I had to supervise the cleaning. I went down and did the sweep. Things looked good. Than I looked up and saw it. I froze waiting for movement. Hanging out of the ceiling tile. A gray striped stiff pointy thing. It never moved. It was dead. I knew it was dead because I threw a lego at it. Next step, Jim. I waited for Jim to come home. I took him downstairs whispering. "There's a dead mouse in the ceiling, you need to get rid of it." Now. Jim approached it very skeptical. "I think it's wood, a piece of the framing." No. It's definitely a mouse tail. Jim-"It's wood." And than he did the unimagineable. He reached for the tail. Just as he got about a centimeter from grabbing it I screamed. Really loud and very psychotic. "IT'S NOT WOOD IT'S A MOUSE AWWWWWWWW!!" And I ran away. Jim jerked his hand back. "You scared me, you nut. It's WOOD!!!" He reached up and pulled it out. Oh. Yeah, you're right, it is wood. Ok than, dinner's ready. Jim actually had to sit down and get himself together, I had him so freaked out. Sorry. My mistake. I said I was sorry, geez some people are so jumpy.
4. I was laying in bed. Jim was in the living room watching the ballgame. I was just dozing off when I heard it. A scurry. And some scratching. I could feel my heart beating in my ears. Sheer terror. Mentally, I had already sold the house. I can't live like this. I can't. I won't. I listened very carefully. Nothing. There it is again. Over by the window. I got up very slowly to turn on the light. Where am I going to sleep? The car? I turn the light on and peek over by the window. To see....a plastic Wal-Mart bag...sitting on the air conditioner vent. I'am going to have a nervous breakdown....over a Wal-Mart bag on the vent. I moved the bag. I don't tell Jim. He's a little "over" the mouse hysteria. For the final ironic twist, I will tell you that we planned our vacation 9 months ago. It is my 40th birthday gift from Jim. We're going to Disney World. The home of the world's most famous......say it all together.....mouse. Love ya Jim!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Surge Protector

I want to preface this story by saying it was not funny when it happened. At all. It has grown funny as we have relayed it. We are able to laugh at it now. Without our hearts beating really fast. It was the day after Christmas. Around noon. As usual for the Hevesy's we are all still in our pajamas. Jim and Allison are in the living room watching a movie. The boys are in the basement playing video games. I'am in the kitchen doing laundry. We first suspected a problem when I pushed the dryer button and the microwave came on. That was wierd. Not wierd enough to alarm us though. I turned off the microwave. I came back and turned on the dryer. The boys yelled up "the TV went off." Still not wierd enough. "Turn it back on." Within minutes everything is turning itself on and off. Now we are paying attention. Must be something electrical. Our solution was to turn everything off. As it turns out that was wrong. Well, not so much wrong, as the worst possible thing we could have done! We went around started flipping switches. That's when we smelled smoke. Lots of smoke. Coming from the basement. Jim ran down and sure enough the basement is completely filled with smoke. We sprang into action. I called 911, Jim opened the basement door to let the smoke out. The kids ran around in circles. The 911 lady said we had to get out of the house. Yes! Good idea! I'am definitely calling her next time. So I say "we're not dressed." I start yelling to the kids "get dressed, get dressed!" They all ran to their rooms only to return a second later "What should we wear?" What should they wear? What does this say about my parenting? Oh mother, is it a bad idea to wear horizontal stripes to a fire? Does denim or khaki best match the red of the fire trucks? We got the clothing isssue resolved. We got out of the house. We put the kids and the dog in the car and drove them away from the house. That leaves me and Jim standing on the driveway. Without our coats. As I think back on this I still can't believe I did it. OK, I can but I hate to admit it. This is how the conversation went. Me- "I'm kinda cold, I forgot my coat." Jim- "I'll go get it." Me- "No, I wouldn't expect you to go back into a burning house to get my coat....don't be silly!.....could you also get my purse, my cellphone , and whatever baby pictures you can grab off the walls, our social security cards, and whatever savings bonds you can find....oh, and our wedding album! I think it's in our, maybe on the know what, it's in the basement. I wrapped it up in plastic during the hurricane...hmmmm, well I guess not the wedding album...unless you think you could...don't do anything foolish just for me.....the important thing is we're safe....and we'll remember the wedding.....for awhile...." I got my coat and my purse and my cellphone. With my phone I decided to call one of our pastors. "Hello?" "Uh , hi, how are you? Good. Our house in on fire. Yea, the basement. No, don't come over, the fire department is coming. No, don't come. We're fine, do you know someone who can recreate weddings? Oh, never had to do that huh? Okay than, well I'll call you if it burns down, alrighty than, talk to you later." They came. So did the fire department...all 25 trucks. By the time they got there the fire was out. Actually, we're not sure there was ever an actual "fire." You see there was a problem with the electric coming from the pole outside. The electric was leaving our house in larger quantities than it was coming in. When we turned everything off, we sent all the electricity to the basement. Which overloaded the power surge protector, which caught on fire, and caused all the smoke. Not a fire department problem but a BGE problem. House saved. Tragedy averted. But by the looks of my "day after Christmas" house, the firemen were a little confused. They didn't know which room had been destroyed. "Have you recently been robbed?" "Will you be claiming all the rooms on your insurance?" I overheard 2 of them talking "Oh yea, total devastation, I'd junk it all and start over, a shame, it really is, you gotta feel for them.." "Did you see what the kids were wearing? Some things are just wrong..." Yeah, thanks for all your help guys. We aired the basement out, called BGE and were back to normal about ...2 years later.....well, not "normal" but look who we're talking about here.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Orange Mouse

We have a mouse. The two things I have been told about mice cannot be true. One is that they never come in your house in the summer. It's July. They only come inside in the winter. To get warm. Uh, could someone please tell my little gray friend he has his seasons mixed up. The other thing I have been told about mice is that they travel in packs. Everyone who hears you have a mouse does that sideways look to whoever else is there and says "you know if you have have lots." Always snickering. They're so smug. Those rodent free people. This is impossible, because if we have more than one, than I'm moving out. Leaving. The husband, the house, the kids. They can come.... if they can catch me. Having the mouse reminded me of things I have been afraid of. Mice may very well be at the top of the list. When we were little I would go down the basement with my sister to switch laundry loads. She would clean out the lint trap, ball up the lint, throw it at me and yell "MOUSE!" It scared me every time. Every time. For years. Love her. She's a sweetie. This may surprise some of you, if not just act surprised. I took a nap just about every day. Through grade school? Yeah, I was tired. I would fall asleep after school, wake up sometime after it got dark, and scare the heck out of my mother. Picture the scene. My mom is half dozing on the couch. The only light is from the TV. I wake up from my after school coma. Sit straight up. Wild eyes, crazy hair, run to the window and yell "SOMEBODYISLOOKINGINTHEWINDOW!" My mother would jump up, I could hear her heart beating. I of course still half asleep would add very convincingly "ITHINKIT'SA...SPIDER!" A spider. Looking in the window. I aged my poor mother 10 years with the spider in the window routine. After I was married I combined the fear of mice with the half asleep action. I woke Jim up one night. This time I was whispering. "Jim, wake up...there's something on the ironing board." Jim of course sat up. I had his full attention. If you want someone's full attention, whisper at 3 o'clock in the morning. I continued on. "It's an orange mouse....where's the girl dog?" Jim loves me alot. He doubted the orange mouse theory and we didn't have a girl dog. Yet, he still....threw a shoe at the ironing board. And killed.....the iron. Satisfied, I went back to sleep. My sister lived in an apartment building. I went over one Saturday to visit. Her laundry room was in another building. She didn't like to go there alone so she would wait for me to go with her. Me. Miss "orange mouse." Obviously her list of life saving heroes is very short. So we head to the laundry room. We each have a basket. We have to go in a door and down a flight of steps. Dimly lit. High on my scale of creepy. I am in front of my sister. Just as we get to the bottom of the steps, I spot him. A man. Lying next to the washer. I am paralyzed. But not for long. My sister must have spotted him too because when I turn around, she's heading back up. There ain't no way she's leaving me here alone. I start running. Faster than her. I used her calves as a step ladder. I knocked her down, and walked right up her back. Well actually, ran up her back would be closer. It wasn't easy either. She had the laundry basket in front of her. I'm guessing that broke her fall, but it created quite an incline. I got to the top of the steps and across the complex before she even got up. Me, hero? I think not.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Slippery Sidewalk

The winter of 88 was an especially cold and icy one. We were living in a townhouse . Our sidewalk for some reason collected all the drippings from the other houses. If the ice up the street started to melt, the water would run down and refreeze on our sidewalk. This particular winter we had a thick layer of ice covering our walk. Thick. And slippery. And not a surprise, although you wouldn't know that by this story. The first incident happened one night after work. I was making dinner when there was a frantic pounding at the door. There was my neighbor who was very pregnant with a wild look in her eye. "Your chimney is on fire!" I immediately spring into action. I start running around the house looking for fire. I run upstairs, nothing. I run down the basement, nothing. If the chimney were on fire wouldn't I smell something? Wouldn't there be smoke? Wouldn't there be ....a chimney? As I'm heading upstairs for the second time, this dawns on me. We don't have a chimney. I go to the door and tell her this. It takes us a minute to toss this revelation around. Hmmm....the next door neighbor! We must act fast. We head down the slippery sidewalk. I'm holding her and we are slipping all over the place. There were laws of physics shattered that night. How we ever got next door I'll never know. Did you ever see Christmas Vacation? We were definitely the neighborhood Griswald's. Our neighbors were the ultra contemporary career couple. Not alot of potluck dinners planned with them. So we get to the door and of course pound on it. He opens the door. We were received as warmly as if we had left a flaming bag of doggie doo on his porch. We yell simultaneously, an inch from his face "your chimney is on fire!!!!" He is kind of half amused but definitely, yes, definitely annoyed. I picture him saying this with a French accent because it sounds more condescending "I know, I just lit my's just embers....thanks." Slam. Ok than. Our work is done. My neighbor and I parted. Never to speak of it again. The second sidewalk story involves my husband. And his trenchcoat. Trenchcoat. You gotta have a certain persona to pull off a trenchcoat. I don't a waist. We have both packed on some pounds since 88...back than we were thin. It doesn't matter how thin Jim waist....for the love of trenchcoats!!! Jim loved the trenchcoat. He would cinch the belt up real tight, grab his briefcase, and head off to work. On the world's slipperiest sidewalk. Everyday. Everyday the slippery sidewalk surprised Jim. For a week. 5 straight days Jim lost to the sidewalk. It was the highlight of my day. Normally I would be upstairs getting ready for work. A quick peck on the cheek and Jim would leave. I was concerned about the road being icy so I looked out to survey the situation. Jim went down. In the tightly cinched trenchcoat. The first day he did the stop, drop and roll. My personal favorite. He sort of curled up in a ball and rolled to the car. I was peeing my pants. That night I was like, why Jim? Why the rolling? Why? Apparently he had learned it in stuntman school. "So I wouldn't hurt myself." I told him I would rather be in a body cast than let anyone see me do that display again.
The next day, the same thing. Some days it was the rolling, some days he crawled on his hands and knees, some days he just lifted his feet and slid on his butt to the car. Everyday I laughed. Everyday I said, "why don't you walk on the grass?" It was his challenge. He would not be defeated . The ice kicked his butt. Thanks to some icemelt and the sun's appearance, the slippery sidewalk was gone by the weekend. Thanks to a well timed trip to Goodwill, the trenchcoat was also gone. The ice may have come back, but I made sure that coat didn't.