Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Letting Go of the Old Piano

My daughter has at her house the piano I took lessons on when I was a child. She also took lessons and we both played quite well. In fact, I was a church pianist for many many years, but I haven't played in about nine years. Now that she is pregnant, my daughter wants to either sell the piano or send it back to stay with me so she can make room in her house for a nursery. Sentimentality is making it hard to let go of that part of my life and move on, but I'm going to tell her to sell it.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Take Down That Plastic Christmas Tree!

I took that damn plastic tree down two days before Christmas. Then, I went to Georgia for Christmas to see my family. I feared having another emotional temper tantrum like I did at Thanksgiving, but I was okay. I promise that I will find my sense of humor and write to you in a better mood. At this rate, I won’t have to wait long; my moods change hourly. It reminds me of the color wheel we used to put in front of the aluminum tree when I was a kid. I just sit here and watch myself change colors. Happy, Sad, Numb, Happy, Sad, Numb…


Friday, December 26, 2008

I gave My Husband a coffee bean grinder for Christmas. I’ve really enjoyed it. I got the idea from my mom who gives my dad tools as gifts because SHE needs them. Dad doesn’t know what to do with a screwdriver, but mom is getting a rather nice collection of Craftsman for her, I mean dad’s, toolbox. By the time his next birthday rolls around, mom should have the whole ratchet set. Back to the coffee grinder - it makes a loud noise when it operates. The blind dog nearly jumped out of her fur when she first heard it. Now it takes two people to make coffee - one to do the ‘bean getter’ and one to hold the blind dog.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Red Shoe Week - Is it PMS Or Menopause?

I told my first husband that whenever I wore red shoes it was a warning that I was having PMS (premenstrual syndrome). He knew to stay away-far away-whenever he saw me wearing them.

I no longer have that husband but I do still have a few days each month when nothing goes right, no one pleases me and I cry for no good reason. My first husband traveled a lot for business and didn't always have the privilege of witnessing my mood swings during red shoe week. It wasn't until he changed positions within his company and started spending more time at home that our marriage fell apart.

I blame the red shoes and not his lack of ability to deal with an irrational woman. It's not his fault. Every grammar school should require that boys take a class in proper PMS protocol before they become men and start trying to "fix" a temporarily fragmented female. They should at least be warned that it is a futile effort so they don't make women even more upset by giving them unsolicited advice. Instead, boys should be given instruction on investing in good camping equipment or 100 ways to sleep on the sofa. My second husband understands this, but I think his first wife trained him. I can't take the credit. He just "knows" when it's time to go play golf or make an appointment with the shrink-for himself, not me. I'm fine. I'm just a woman on the PMS/menopause merry-go-round.

Now that I'm in my forties, I not only have PMS, I also have symptoms of early menopause complete with PTM (personal tropical moments). That's French for "hot flashes" in case anyone of the male gender is reading this and doesn't understand why your female friend was fanning herself with the leather-bound menu at that 5-star restaurant you took her to. You know the one place I'm talking about. You thought taking her there was going to earn you some pussy points, but she drank too much red wine (there was your first clue, the color red) and was asleep by the time you drove her home.

For middle-aged, wiser and more experienced women, having this dual diagnosis, is like having PMS all the time with a bonus week of "red shoe time" each month. It's hard to tell whether my temper tantrums are caused by PMS or by repressed anger issues from being so co-dependently nice to everyone when I was younger. Probably both; I'm thinking of dyeing my feet red. The red toe nail polish, while chipped and attracting attention, just doesn't convey the message.

And, speaking of toes, let's talk about wedding bands. Yes, it's red shoe week and I'm somewhat random in my thought process. I have trouble remembering to wear my wedding band. I'm always taking it off and forgetting where I put it. I think forgetfulness is also part of menopause; I certainly wasn't like this in my thirties. Now that I've gained a few pounds (okay, 30 pounds) since I married the second time, the band is too tight and restrictive-just like marriage in general. There are times when I don't want to put the energy and effort into a daily relationship with a guy I can't stay mad at. My second husband laughs at me when I'm having one of my episodes. Maybe I conveniently forget to wear the ring. After all, it does indicate that I'm not available and quite honestly there are times when I don't want to rule out my other options. If I'm going to wear a ring that says, "Keep Away" I may as well wear a toe ring. I don't mind people avoiding my toes.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Holiday Humor to Alleviate Seasonal Depression

Well it’s that time of year when turkeys are on display in public places – it’s a precursor for the fat guy in the red suit that appears in December each year. I hope things will go better this year than last. 

Mom called and asked the standard question, “Are you ready for Christmas?” I’m never ready for Christmas, and it seems to me that there is some competition involved in asking such a question. Is this a barometer by which women measure their progress? A report card with As for the ones who are ahead of the pack and Ds for those who are barely making the race for the December 24 finish line? Hell, most men don’t even start their shopping until then!

I tried to boycott the season last year but mom came to town, pulled the tree down from the attic, and left it standing cock-eyed in the living room. My Daughter and My Husband decorated it with the only three strings of lights that survived from the previous year, and used paper clips to hang the bedraggled balls and ornaments. By the way, where do those wire ornament hooks go during the summer? Do they melt in the attic, or do they find the hole in the dryer where the socks go? So the family won. They had a tree, but what about gifts? 

My Husband coaxed me into going to the stores with him by promising to let me sit in the food court and drink coffee while he stood in line to pay. Three days before the annual migration southward to visit the extended dysfunctional family and other turkeys, I took the tree down. There wasn’t a trace of tinsel turmoil when we left. I was depressed, I’m telling you. I was the last one to pack my suitcase, and the last one into the car, but at least I stood my ground. That’s about the best a co-dependent could do in her first year of recovery.  

Why are we so consumed with Mall Mania and Holiday Hoopla anyway? Is it to test our endurance level and see how much stress we can take without cracking up? No one remembers what you got them last year, but it was probably the same thing they got you the year before that. We could save time and money by wrapping a note that reads, “1997: Ditto.” We could put up lights in May when it’s warm outside. I’m doing the best I can to enjoy the season. Perhaps I’ll celebrate in April when fools admit to their foolishness.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holiday Mayhem

Our Christmas holidays this year were a memorable event. My stepson, Steve decided not to go with us to visit my family in Georgia, so we took Java, our 6-month-old chocolate Labrador puppy instead. I made sure Frankie did everything he needed to and he made sure I loaded everything I needed to. 

Since we were so adept at minding one another’s business, it didn’t occur to either of us that we might be forgetting something. We had a few errands to do and our first stop was Blockbusters to drop off some videos we had rented. All was going well until we stopped to get a bite to eat.

While in the drive through at Burger King, the dog started making “that” sound. You know the one that means, “Grab a bucket, quick!” We weren’t quick enough, and Java came unfed on the backseat of my car. I got her out of the car while Frankie flung the pile of puke into the landscaping behind the speaker box of the drive up window. That’s when I noticed we didn’t have a leash with us. I dragged the dog by the collar around the BK parking lot trying to lead her to a grassy area to finish her commotion. Frankie was pretty upset as he drove to the next window to pick up our food. Java and I ran to catch up to the departing vehicle. We were only a couple of miles from our house but Java threw up in the car again before we got home.

After cleaning the second mess, we were undeterred and confident that Java’s tummy was empty. We started again with fresh linens on the backseat. Approximately three miles down the road the all too familiar retching began. Before we could pull over, the expected delivery arrived. We pulled over and quickly evacuated. I was nearly doubled over with laughter while handing our stock of Burger King napkins to my exasperated husband, who was scraping yet another pile of puke. Reloaded, or should I say unloaded, we were on the road again after we stopped at a service station to sponge off the seat. Wouldn’t you know? The dog made a direct hit on the only part of the seat that was not covered.

About 30 miles down the highway, the dog was calmly sleeping while Frankie and I were singing Christmas carols with Bruce Springsteen. In the middle of "Santa Clause is Coming to Town," Frankie hushed abruptly and had a strange look on his face. I thought HE was going to throw up.


“Aw, NO!,” he said.

“What?…..WHAT?!” I asked.

“The gifts! You forgot to get the presents from under the tree.”

“Who forgot?! You were supposed to get them while I fed the dog.”

“You weren’t SUPPOSED to feed the dog. Dogs puke in the car when you feed them before they ride.”

“We have to go back home. Turn around at the next exit. And if the dog pukes, YOU’RE cleaning it up”

“Oh, that would be different!” We both burst out laughing.

Steve was building a fire in the fireplace when we arrived home. He looked shocked to see us. We told him our story and sometime during the commotion he asked if glass bottles would melt if heated. Neither of us was paying much attention to him because we were busy pulling presents from under the tree. Since we had tended to one another’s business enough for one day, I didn’t look to make sure Frankie got all the gifts on the side of the tree he was checking.

We made it to Atlanta about two hours later than expected. We enjoyed our overnight trip, the opening of gifts, and dinner with my family, but beneath the fun, I dreaded the ride home. I didn’t let Frankie feed the dog before we left mom’s house and amazingly she did not get sick. Instead, she slept all the way home while I drove. I think it was Frankie’s driving that made her puke.

When we arrived home, the house smelled smokey but I thought Steve had burned something in the microwave again. When I asked him about it, he replied that there was a downdraft in the chimney that blew smoke into the room and mysteriously put out the fire he had built. Seventeen-year-old males are very unpredictable and curious, and they can give the most logical reasons for why strange things are really normal. Step-moms have a gullible way of believing the most bazaar stories and being surprised when finding they aren’t true. 

The next day we were cleaning house in preparation for our Christmas Eve dinner, when Frankie noticed an unusual amount of soot on the furniture as he dusted. When I mopped the tile in front of the fireplace black streaks appeared as if I was painting with the mop. I knew something was amiss when I saw pieces of glass on the floor. When I opened the doors to the fireplace, I found two somewhat melted, very exploded beer bottles scattered among the ashes. Who did the kid think he was fooling? Why didn’t he at least remove the evidence? Frankie and I drew straws to see who was going to spank the lad first.

Later that day, we had to make a trip to the Food Lion to pick up some last minute items for the meal. We decided that perhaps all Java needed was more practice riding in the car in order to be healed of her motion sickness. Food Lion is less than two blocks from our house and we thought that would be a good trial run. The pup puked as soon as the tires of my car hit the bump at the end of our driveway. That dog just can’t hold her groceries.

The day after Christmas I mailed my mom’s gift that had been left underneath Frankie’s side of the tree. Next year, when we make our holiday trip, we plan to make a list, check it twice, and then borrow a car from someone who’s been naughty.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Mama's Visit

Well, mama came as she promised. She drove all the way from Georgia on Tuesday night, and by morning she had everything dragged out of the attic and had that sick-looking seven-foot plastic tree standing in the corner. No decorations, mind you. She had to be back for choir practice on Wednesday night. So, she strewed the fa-la-la-la shit all over the living room and left.

I know she thought she was being helpful, but she has to learn to respect my need to sulk and feel sorry for myself. The Xmas stuff laid here for four days until My Daughter finally got tired of tripping over boxes. She randomly threw three strings of lights and two-dozen ornaments on the tree. If mom doesn’t come back after Christmas and put this mess back into the attic, the tree will still be in the living room come Easter. It probably won’t be standing though. It has fallen over three times already, once on top of My Daughter. My Husband is doing the holiday shopping, cause like I said before; I’m on strike from holiday hoopla.

My Son’s car has a new hood ornament in keeping with the holiday spirit. He un-expectantly went reindeer hunting on Noblesville Road last week. He hit a deer and went off the road into a ditch. A man in a pickup truck following behind him saw what happened and pulled the Camaro out with a rope. The front grill of the Camaro has reindeer antlers. I suggested that he take some of this crappy tinsel from the living room and decorate his car.

I’m experiencing a loss of concentration. I’ve made so many mistakes at work over the last few weeks; it’s not even funny. I almost sent the Mayor to a luncheon today that wasn’t until next Wednesday. That would have been horrible especially since he crashed the wrong party last week on his own. There he was shaking hands and introducing himself, and eating these peoples’ food when he realized he was at the wrong house.

Mom says she thinks I’m still depressed. That’s funny. How could I be depressed? I don’t have any problems. Life has been a bowlful of "cheeries" or cherries – with pits!

I know how to cure depression. I went to the mall. I ended up at Victoria’s No-Secret. I figure if I’m going to die from sorrow, I may as well look sexy and smell good. Dillard’s was having a clearance sale, so while I was in the mall, I decided to help them clear their inventory. I dread seeing the Visa bill in January.

My Daughter tried to cheer me up. She gave me some of her teenager clothes, and I didn’t have any better sense than to wear them. Speaking of bills, the phone statement seems to indicate that My Son and his girlfriend in Ohio are still an item. I have a new girlfriend named Jean. She is having an affair with Jesus. We’ll see how long our relationship lasts.

I’ve gotta go for now. I feel like crying the holiday blues.



Sunday, December 14, 2008

Anything that comes in sixes is good!

That retarded husband of mine gave me his Christmas Wish List today. I thought I’d share it with you.













Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Boycott 1998

This is to inform you that I’m not sending Christmas cards this year. I’m too busy trying not to have a nervous breakdown. My life has become a little too crazy. We moved here just over a year ago, my daughter was having trouble adjusting to the move. She was hospitalized with mono, and then she had surgery a month afterward to remove her tonsils. She hates her new school and her grades reflect it. My son graduated high school, brought home a python, and a bearded dragon. He took on an alcoholic, suicidal roommate with an alligator and a crocodile. We’ve had a runaway dog rescue mission, and I murdered my son’s dragon. I started working a new job. We redecorated the house, but I still do not like the floor plan.

Anyway, that’s why I’m not having Christmas this year. I’m not putting up a tree. I’m not decorating the house or buying gifts. I’ve given all I can give. I’m on strike.

Dear Daughter,

I got your message and it sounds like you need help. I’m packing my bags now, and I’ll be there in a few hours. Don’t you worry; mama dearest is on her way.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Holiday Hoopla Getting to You?

In the upcoming weeks I will post some stories from a time in my life when I was dealing with depression during the holidays. Many people get depressed through the holidays and I have found that humor helps drive away the blues.

Do you have a funny holiday story to share?
Do you get depressed during the holidays?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Do you have a bearded dragon?

Lizard Killer
tells why you should never feed lightning bugs to a lizard.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Blind Dog on a Deck with No Rails

New Deck
is the funny story of a blind dog and her attempt to fly.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Woman Attempts to Repair Toilet

Liquids Plumber
is the account of a woman who tries to simultaneously fix her toilet and help her daughter with a science project.

Friday, November 7, 2008

When did this happen?

Keep in mind that the stories on this blog happened in 1998 through 2003. Yes, they really did happen pretty much like they are told.  All our kids are grown now. Things are sure a lot quieter on the home front. As I look back on these years, I kinda miss the kids being teenagers. I don't miss the hoopla that accompanied the insanity and added to the stress!

What are you going through right now?
Want to share your story about your teenagers?
Do you have reptiles?
Leave a comment at the bottom of this post and I'll make a big deal of it.
Yvonne Perry reads from her book Email Episodes.

Here is the story of a teenage daughter and her new sweater. Some moms should not be allowed to cook!

Soup's On

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Soup’s on

My daughter asked me to make some tomato soup for her. I boiled it over into the stove burner as I always do. Then, I overfilled the bowl, and put it on a metal tray for her to take to her room. I placed extra napkins on the tray so she wouldn’t drip it on our “used-to-be-white” carpet. She walked carefully out of the kitchen without spilling a drop.

About thirty seconds later I heard a loud “Ka-thump, clank-clang, UGH!” and I knew what had happened--the soup was a goner. As I rounded the corner, my daughter yelled, “Get my sweater out of it, and put it in the washer, quick!”

At least the girl was fine. Her $58 sweater and the carpet will never be the same. The walls and the top four steps were baptized in red-orange Campbell’s and the bowl was empty. Not much spilled on the tray or napkins though. My daughter was trying her best to get up the mess with a towel, but I knew this was a job for Super-mom. I sent her downstairs to boil over some more soup while I went to the basement (a.k.a. reptile farm) for the shop-vac. Of course it was all the way under the snake table, but after rearranging the basement, I got it out.

I took the machine upstairs to the tomato track and plugged it in. "Ahhh! Gag! What is that smell?"

My son and Wayne hadn’t washed out the canister when they used the shop-vac to clean up the mess Salina (Wayne’s dog) had made in the garage! I ran outside to empty it. I tried to rinse it with the hose, but the hose was frozen. I took the shop-vac to the bathroom, filled the tub with hot water and Pinesol, and flipped on the shop-vac. It started sucking up the pine water, and I thought all was going well until I heard an awful sound and saw the machine spewing soapy, stinky, water all over the walls! As I reached for the switch, I received the best facial I’ve ever had. It was better than Oil of Ol’ Lady lotion. Okay, so my idea sucked, literally.

My husband walked in while I was working on the Campbell’s clean up project, and asked what was going on.

“Soup and soap,” I stated matter-of-factly.

All in a day’s work.

Here’s to clean floors!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Liquids Plumber

DATE: October 14, 1998
SUBJECT: Liquids Plumber

I hope you are blessed to the bulging as we are. From the subject line above, I bet you thought I had stopped up the sink again. Nope, that was last week. My mom was here then, and she reminded me that I needed to replace the flapper thing in the bottom of the flush tank. She discovered that water was leaking out of the tank slowly and the toilet had to refill itself to stay full. So that’s why it was flushing by itself! I thought I had a phantom in the bathroom and was proud of our plumbing ghost, but when I found out that I was wasting water, I went to Ace hardware and got one of those flapper dillies. By the way, did you know that Ace Hardware sells Pepsi? Saved me a trip to the grocery store. My daughter needed three plastic pop lids for a science project. That means we have a lot of drinking to do so my daughter can have the lids.

While I was trying to repair the toilet, I decided that I could conserve even more water if I put a bottle filled with water inside the tank to take up some of the space. I found a 48 oz. bottle of Welch’s grape juice in the fridge. There was only a little left, so I drank it, and then filled the bottle with water, and put it in the tank. It was too light, and it floated. Plan B: Sunny D. I found a 64 oz. partially full bottle of Sunny Delight. All my Rubbermaid gizmos were in the refrigerator developing new life forms, so I had nothing to pour the rest of the Sunny D into. I drank the rest of it, filled the bottle with water and put it in the tank. Still, too light. I went back to the fridge and drank the rest of one of the 2-liters of Pepsi, filled the bottle with water and put it in the tank. It worked! I had to pee by then, but the flapper dilly wasn’t yet installed. That’s when the phone rang.

My friend asked the required phone conversation activation question, “What are you doing?”

“Drinking,” I replied.

I cleaned out the refrigerator today. It’s amazing what you may find when looking into those plastic containers after about a month of incubation. I suggested my daughter use one of them for her science project, but she insisted that we hurry and drink the Pepsi so she can have the lids. At least she’s speaking to me again. In fact, as I type, she is serenading me on her piccolo with the highest and loudest notes she can play. She is supposed to tape record a piece for her band tryouts but she forgot to bring home the music. Good thing too, because she had already figured out who to use my keyboard to synthesize the flute and not get points off for breathing in the wrong places. She has joined a group of people at school who want to form a Peace Corp for Ireland to stop the fighting between the Protestants and Catholics. I imagine Ireland will have peace before the residents of this house do.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Can we keep him?

DATE: September 15, 1998
SUBJECT: Can we keep him?

I’m not sure we’re going to be able to keep Chuck. He is much more depressed than we thought. He came in at 1:00 a.m. and took a whole bottle of Excedrin P.M. Later he thought perhaps he didn’t want to die yet, and he decided to drive himself to the hospital. He’s new in town, and didn’t know how to find a hospital. Instead of calling us, he called the police. They drove him to the emergency room where he had his stomach pumped. He was released, and was tucked away in the bed upstairs before I woke up this morning. I don’t know how he got his car home.

How can I tell my kids that we can’t let Chuck stay here because he’s too messed up?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chuck is back

DATE: August 30, 1998
SUBJECT: Chuck is back

Chuck came back with all his stuff today. He took the critters to Wayne’s house but Wayne is moving and couldn’t keep them. That’s why we have Wayne’s dog, remember? I went to the garage today to get something from my car. That’s when I noticed that another aquarium had been smuggled in. I went to inspect the contents and there was that damn alligator and a baby crocodile to boot! Chuck couldn’t find anyone to take them. Duh! No one wants an overgrown lizard with crusher jaws and teeth. I can’t believe this. I said “No alligator!”

“They are just babies,” my son and Chuck explained.

“I don’t care! You were babies once and now look; you’ve grown up and had reptiles!”

I didn’t sign up for this. Why didn’t anyone warn me about teenagers BEFORE I had kids? Warnings should be given in high school Sex Ed classes.

Okay. Let’s take an inventory: one 6-foot python, a dead three-legged dragon, a bucket of live grub worms, one alligator, one crocodile, one blind dog, Wayne’s German shepherd, two aquariums of fish, and a rat in a cage that doesn’t realize he’s on death row. Someone at work today asked me if I wanted a free kitten. I almost slapped her.

A neighbor called the number on Salina’s tag and demanded that Wayne come get his dog. So Wayne called my son, who called me, and asked me to retrieve the dog. Do I look like I work for Animal Control? I told him I was headed to a meeting and that the doggie round up would have to wait.

“But the lady is going to call the dog pound, mom. Please go get Salina”, he pleaded.

I gave in and drove to the lady’s house. The stupid dog refused to get in the truck. Instead she rolled over on her back, turned limp, and lay there like a 50-pound dishrag. I couldn’t pick her up, and I was mad as hell about being late for my meeting. I gave the nice lady my phone number, and called My Son to tell him I was not successful in the rescue effort. I got to my meeting only to find Mr. Codes holding the phone out to me. “It’s for you, Expressy--something about a dog loose in the neighborhood.”

Wayne and my son were out trying to retrieve the runaway, but couldn’t find the lady’s house or the dog. I left the meeting, met the boys at my house, lead them to the lady’s house, and drove off fuming a prayer on my way back to the meeting, “God, this is not funny! That idiot dog poops in my garage, whines and barks at night, breaks off her chain in the daytime, and I get to help bring her back? Excuse me, was this in the contract?”

I’m having a tee shirt printed that reads:

Been there, done that
Gave away my best tee shirt!

The kids cleaned their rooms today. I have dishes in the cabinet that I had forgotten we owned. The cabinet is so full that the doors won’t close. However, Chuck seems to be getting over his lost love. He has a new girlfriend: Wayne’s sister. I hope she doesn’t have any animals she wants to loan us. I have Animal Control on my speed dial in case I get the notion to evict some tenants.

Just call me Wacho woman.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Demon Possessed?

DATE: August 27, 1998
SUBJECT: Demon Possessed?

I’ve got to buy a new vacuum cleaner. Ours tried to eat something in my son’s room and choked. That reminds me, you should see a python eat a rat. It’s rather interesting to watch. Who needs the discovery channel? We have a zoo in our basement.

Last night was a beautiful night and the lightening bugs (fireflies) were out in high numbers. I remembered giving fireflies to a frog we had in captivity when the kids were little. We got a kick out of watching his belly light up. I thought Stumpy would enjoy a delicacy so I fed him several of the glow bugs last night. When I went to his cage this morning he was stiff as a board. I thought he was hibernating again, but it was 90 degrees in his cage. I picked him up to see if I could feel him breathing, but the smell gave the final confirmation. A graveside service is being planned for this afternoon when the kids get home from school. They will not be happy to know that their mother is a lizard killer. I felt so badly about killing my son’s pet dragon. I cried all morning. Life is just too sad sometimes.

Chuck tends to forget to come home at night, and he doesn’t call to say he’s staying out. I think he sleeps wherever he lands when he’s had too much to drink. He really needs professional help, but counseling is not included in the room and board at our facility. I talk to him and try to help. He listens, but he doesn’t apply my advice. He says he’s demon possessed. I suppose it’s possible--I did find a chicken claw in his room. But he’s a nice kid, and I like having him around. He sits on the bar stool and talks to me while I cook dinner. He eats anything I put on the table and never complains! In fact, he ate every science project I had stored in Tupperware in the refrigerator, and he didn’t even get sick. He even ate the lasagna scraps I had mixed with canned dog food for Indi. I had a big bowl on the counter, and was attempting to make homemade craft paper. I mixed scraps of newspaper, Kleenex, notebook paper, Elmer’s glue and water, and set it aside to soften. I caught Chuck in time to stop him from heating it in the microwave. He thought it was oatmeal. The poor kid! I’d like to find a good home for him. Does anyone want a hungry boy with an alligator?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

No Vacancy!

DATE: August 21, 1998
SUBJECT: No vacancy!

Chuck went back to Ohio to pick up the rest of his belongings and find a home for his alligator. I allow the bearded dragon and his entourage of grub worms, and I tolerate the snake, but I draw the line at alligators. NO alligators in my house. Chuck called to ask if he could bring a few more friends with him. “That depends. How many legs do they have?” I asked. I feel like I’m running a bed and breakfast for the local zoo. All the rooms are full, and we have the overflow in cages in the basement. I had to decline Chuck’s request, and hang out the "No Vacancy" sign.

The blind dog’s ears were so matted that she looked like she had dreadlocks. Except for her under bite, she fit right in with the teenagers. I gave the dog to my husband with some detangling rinse, and asked him to comb her. I took the scissors to him just in case there were a few tangles he couldn’t remove. A while later when the dog walked by, I screamed. She had no ears! Indy seemed pleased with her new look, but then again, she’s blind. My daughter almost cried when she saw her. The dog has no idea how pitiful she looks. It could take months for her to grow new ears.

My Son knocked on my bedroom door at 9:30 p.m. to announce that Wayne was coming over with Salina. They wanted me to meet her, so I got dressed and waited for the arrival of My Son’s friends. About 10 o’clock Wayne walked in with a 60 pound black German shepherd. So, he brought his dog. That’s nice, but "Where’s Salina?" I asked. "Right there," boys chimed, both pointing to the dog.

Salina’s a dog? I got out of bed to meet a dog? My son said his dad had given him permission to let Salina stay in the wildlife ranch in the basement. Is that right? That really doesn’t sound like something My Husband would agree to, but he wasn’t home from work yet so the dog took room and board in the basement and I went back to bed. My husband got home and woke me up wanting to know why there was a black dog in the garage. I told him it was the new boarder he said could stay here.

"I did NOT say that dog could stay here," he said. "She has to go first thing in the morning."

Well, that was three days ago, and I think my husband has fallen for her. He’s been taking her for walks and playing with her in the yard. She broke her chain and has been roaming the neighborhood all day. I’m not going looking for her.

I have to keep the garage locked now. I came home from work Monday, pushed the button to lift the garage door and found two little boys touring the wildlife ranch. I said, “Keith, why are you in my house when I’m not home?”

The third grader said, “I’m locked out of my house, and Elliot and I are thirsty. Your house wasn’t locked so we came on in.”

“Fine. You guys help me carry in the groceries and I’ll get you something to drink. Just leave the snake and lizard alone.”

They finished off the rest of my birthday cake and half gallon of milk while asking 100 questions about snakes. I felt like I was being interviewed by 20/20. They left and I locked the garage.

The smoke detector is going off; supper must be ready. Gotta go.


Sunday, October 19, 2008


DATE: August 17, 1998

I got to lizard-sit for Stumpy while my son went to Ohio. We had a close call. I went to feed him his grub worms and found him cold and still. I thought he was dead. I thought I sensed movement under his eyelids so I took him outside and put his cage in the sun. A little while later he was normal. He must have been too close to the A/C vent and we refrigerated him into hibernation. He’s hyperactive now that he has a heater rock in his cage.

We have a new house guest. My son brought his friend home from Ohio and told him he could live with us until he got over his depression. That’s real kind of our boy, but Chuck had a nasty break up with his girlfriend and was talking about killing himself. Chuck is a nice enough guy, but he does have a drinking problem, and sometimes he does drugs, and stays out all night. So, we’ve gone from animal house to rehab center.

Since the python got loose in the garage last week, I always glance at the snake cage before I get out of my car. When I drove into the garage tonight, the cage was empty! I honked the horn and rolled down my window, yelling for my son. I sat there for a while but no one came to my rescue. I couldn’t stay in the car all night so I darted for the steps and ran into the house. Boy, was I relieved to find that snake dangling around my son’s neck.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


DATE: July 16, 1998

Here’s the story of the week. I went to Wal-Mart after work today to pick up another round of antibiotics for the “bump” I have on my gum. The cashier in the pharmacy was a cranky 90-year-old woman. She told me my prescription had not been phoned in yet. I explained that I had spoken with Sharon at Dr. Gumcut’s office that morning, and that she was calling it in then. Granny just shrugged her shoulders. I asked if her pharmacy phone number was 331-3411 and she said, “Yes.” I went to a payphone and called Dr. Gumcut’s office. Sharon promised she phoned it in at 9:30 a.m., so I went back to the pharmacy, and demanded my drugs. The pharmacist swore he had not received a call from Dr. Gumcut’s office. I got Sharon on the phone again, and she said she’d just talked to the pharmacist at 331-3411 and they have the Rx in their hand! This is not funny. The Motrin I took earlier was wearing off by then, and I was about ready to slap Granny into her next birthday when Sharon said, “Yes, it’s at the corner of Tulipville Road and Belt Road.”

“That’s where I am!” I huffed.

“At Kroger pharmacy,” she added.

“Kroger?!” I gulped as I released the pharmacist’s collar, “I’m at Wal-Mart!” How did my prescription get to Kroger when I had it phoned to Wal-Mart? I’m sure the number I gave Sharon was for Wal-Mart.

I drove across the street to Kroger and sweetly said, “Give me my drugs now!”

They looked at me like I was crazy. I said, “You were just on the phone with Sharon from Dr. Gumcut’s office, right?” No one there had spoken with Sharon. Okay, where’s the camera. I must be on Candid Camera. “Is your phone number 331-3411?” I asked timidly.

“No, that’s Revco - next door.”

“Ahhhh!” I may have to sign up for anger management and coping with stress classes.

I went next door and was allowed to cool off while waiting my turn in line for ten minutes. I had decided that if Revco didn’t have the prescription I was going to have all my teeth pulled. Fortunately they had the prescription, and I still have my teeth.

I blame all this on my mom. It’s her fault my car automatically pulls into the parking lot of every Wal-Mart I pass by. I spent most of my childhood years in a department store waiting for the store to close so I could go home and get to bed. I forgot what my home looked like when Wal-Mart started staying open 24/7.

Gotta go for now. I need to take more Motrin.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Home for girl human

DATE: July 15, 1998
SUBJECT: Home for girl human

I’m about to sober up so I decided to write while I’m still tipsy.

My daughter has been difficult to deal with this weekend, and I about at my wits end trying to figure out what to do. I think I’ve found her a good home. My sister-in-law has offered to take her in and put her to work. She made a list of chores for her:

Feed the chickens, rabbits, and goats
Shear the yard dogs
Clean the pool
Scrub the kitchen floors with a tire brush
Hoe the okra and beans
Hose off the carport where the chickens got loose

Jane said she’d even let her push both carts on grocery day. Sounds like a good plan to me, but I don’t think the girl would be able to get up before the butt crack of noon. Nor do I think Jane would tolerate the girl’s smart mouth.

My son brought home a three-legged bearded dragon named Stumpy. He’s so cute that I decided we could add him to our animal collection. We’re growing grub worms in the basement to feed him. I bought an itty-bitty leash and walked him in the yard!

My mom is going to have to have her gallbladder removed. That makes six people in my immediate family. We must have a lot of gall. Perhaps the "sneak and cheat" laser surgery can be used on her, and the traditional "slice and dice" method won’t be necessary. I was the first one in my family to be de-galled, but since then my aunt, my grandmother, and two of my cousins have followed suit. Some women share childbirth stories. My family shares gallbladder stories with their guests.

I started this letter yesterday and I had to change all the "todays" to Monday and the "tomorrows" to todays. It gets kind of confusing. I’d better send it before I forget what day it is.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sneaky Snake

DATE: March 29, 1998
SUBJECT: Sneaky Snake

Dear Friends and Letter Toleraters,

I was speed shopping last week when I bought a mascara for three dollars. The color was called berry brown. I wore it to church last Sunday. The pastor gave a touching message and I began to weep. When I looked at the Kleenex after wiping my eyes, the white tissue contained purple splotches! I had bought purple mascara. I looked like a real party animal.

The teacher called to tell me that my daughter has a 36 average in Pre-Algebra. I asked My Daughter about it when she got home. She told me not to worry about THAT because she also had detention. Evidently my daughter expressed her displeasure for the teacher in a disrespectful manner, and had to stand in the hall. And I thought she was only failing the class. The positive thing is that My Daughter feels better since she got all that tension and repressed anger out of her system.

My Son got a pair of pointy-toed boots and is practicing being a cowboy. He’s lasso-ed everything in the house, including the blind dog. I knew this would happen if we moved to the South. He still listens to Metallica, and I haven’t found any snuff cans so maybe there’s still hope. Do pray for us though – just look what God has to work with. My Husband is the only normal one in our family, and I don’t know how he got mixed up with us. Lucky, I guess.

I walked in from church Wednesday night and greeted My Husband who was nearly asleep on the sofa. “YOUR son brought home a snake”, he replied casually.

“What kind of snake did YOUR son bring home?” I asked.

“A big one.”


“Yes, a python I think he said.”

“Did you tell him that he couldn’t keep it?”

“No, I thought you’d want to.”

At the top of the stairs a proud teen and a huge serpent greeted me. I’m not talking about a little grass snake. It is a 6-foot long python. “Son, we can’t keep a snake in the house.”

“But mom”, he started, “the guy I got it from is moving and has no place to keep it, and I’ve already paid him a hundred dollars.”

That was four days ago and the snake is still here. My Son is letting it warm up on the hood of his car as I type. Just when I thought it was safe to come out of the prayer closet, I have a constricting reptile and two teenagers to deal with – one of whom is not speaking to me. Tell me, do those Charter places where they send crazy people have time-share plans? I could buy a couple of weeks of red time and check in and out as needed. I could space-bank the weeks I didn’t use and take my friends on vacation with me.

By the way, I failed My Son’s term paper. What is plagiarism? Well, I need to go see what’s burning in the crock-pot. I’ll write more later.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


DATE: March 15, 1998

Well, it’s that time of month again…………newsletter time. What did you think I’d say?

Eating is such an expensive habit. Just think how much time and money we could save if we didn’t have to eat. I had to get groceries today before I lost my nomination for “Mother of the Year.” I let the food supply get so low, even the dog lost weight. We had to eat the leftovers! I went to Sam’s Club so I could buy in bulk and perhaps not need to return for groceries again for a month or so. I saw a middle aged couple in the store. The woman was pushing two carts while holding a newborn baby and giving orders to the man who had his hands in his pockets and was being less than cooperative. I wanted to ask the parents if they knew that their cute little baby would grow into a monstrous teenager one day, but they were already fussing about something. Instead, I pulled out my Dollar Store play phone and reported them at once to God-0911. They looked like they could use some help.

I had on my pajamas and missed another opportunity to go with My Husband to the dump to take the trash today. I’ve been collecting it all week. My Husband says I did a good job getting it all into one pile this time. Usually I just throw the bags down the basement steps and leave them, but last time I did that, the bag broke open and dog balls (dry dog food) went everywhere. My Son suggested that I make a hole in the dining room floor and drop the bags directly into the can in the basement. I would have but I didn’t know how to load the shotgun to get the hole started.

Last Sunday we had one of those dog episodes as we were leaving for church. Indy puked yellow bile on the living room carpet as she normally does when she hasn’t eaten in days. Why hasn’t she eaten? Like I said before, we had to eat the leftovers. I guess she’s fasting and praying for table scraps because her exalted opinion of herself believes that she is too good to eat canned dog food, much less dog balls.

Well, now that I have groceries in the house, I have no excuse for not making dinner. I’m going to cook.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Curb Feelers

DATE: March 4, 1998
SUBJECT: Curb Feelers

Mail E-males and Email Females,

Just when you thought it was safe to be online, here I am again.

I tried to cook dinner last night. Yes, Ralph, it burned. Of course it did, I was on the phone with Debbie. The pan boiled over and Campbell’s tomato soup went everywhere. In fact there was more soup under the burner than there was in the pan. My Husband was out of town so we ordered from Pizza Hut. Yep, we went to the edge and back. Well, some of us came back. Others liked the edge and decided to stay. I have a nice room with a view.

A little guy about four years old came to my door the other day selling flowers he had dug up in his backyard. They looked a lot like weeds to me, but they did have roots and could have been his mother’s pansies. He only wanted fifty cents a bag so I decided to play along. I gave him a dollar bill, and held out my hand for my change. He refused to give me any of his quarters and wouldn’t even give me a second bag of weeds for a dollar. Four-year olds can’t be reasoned with. That’s inflation I suppose – the price doubled in less than two minutes.

My Son got a new fish. He didn’t get the ferret he had on his Christmas list and now he’s gone aquatic crazy. He has three 20-gallon tanks already and is talking about getting a 55-gallon tank. His room is starting to look like a pet store. This new fish is called a Gormey or something like that. It has long whiskers on the sides of his mouth that look like curb-feelers. You do know what curb feelers are, right? They are usually found attached to the fender near the front tires of Lincolns and Cadillacs (models prior to 1980). They are semi-flexible metal sticks that jiggle, and if they have any purpose at all, they must make some noise to let the driver know he’s too close to the curb. That’s why I call them curb-feelers. Anyway, this fish changes color like a chameleon to match its environment. One day he’s blue, one day he’s red, then brown. He must be moody. Remember mood rings? This is a mood fish with curb-feelers. Check it out!

It snowed fifteen flakes today and the schools were closed. I went to work and left the kids in bed. I had planned to have hotdogs for supper since I have a bored (Board) meeting tonight. I stopped by the grocery store on my way home and picked up hotdog buns. When I got home I couldn’t find the hotdogs. The kids had eaten them for lunch so I guess we’re going to the edge again tonight.

Don’t everyone write back at once. I can only handle so much excitement.


Thursday, October 2, 2008


DATE: February 25, 1998

I saw a sign in front of a house on Sunset Road that read, “HAY FOR SALE 776-0012”. I thought to myself, “Only Gomer Pyle would market his house with such a sign.” Then I realized the people were selling straw (i.e. hay) and not the house. I drove down the road laughing and repeating, “HAY… For Sale, Hey ya’ll it’s fer sale! Wanna buy my house?” I shouldn’t admit stuff like this should I?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


DATE: February 13, 1998
SUBJECT: Multi-tasking

I’m not sure if this is an amends-ment to the constitution I wrote you yesterday, or a pre-ramble to the one I’ll write next week, but here I am again.

As I sit here typing, I am being simultaneously affected my many stimuli. I am listening to a song I recorded on my keyboard. My Daughter is playing Mozart on the piano in the living room, and the blind dog is snoring. It reminds me of the time we lived in Ohio. My Husband walked in at suppertime, and found the house in a roar -- literally. My Son was upstairs playing his guitar. My Daughter had left the radio blaring in her room when she went to the living room to practice songs on the piano and flute. The computer was left on in my office because I was writing a song while duplicating a tape from the keyboard. I was listening to a teaching tape in the kitchen where something was burning for dinner. Every time I went to check on the tape dubbing, I would start singing the song coming from the keyboard. When I went to check on dinner, I’d start singing the theme from Lion King that My Daughter was playing. The TV was on in the den, and I didn’t know My Husband was in the house until I walked right into him on my way back to the living room to remind My Daughter to watch for B flats. He was mouthing something to me, but I motioned for him to hold on while I answered the phone. Does anyone else live this way? I’m not sure if we’re healthy or if we have adapted to organized chaos.

My son and I worked on a term paper for seven hours Sunday afternoon. He must pass senior English in order to graduate high school. I thought I would simply be typing from his notes, but somehow he had forgotten to take any. He also forgot to read the book that he was to report on. Minor details. I sat down and composed seven pages of B.S. (brilliant stuff) on a book neither of us had read. We only had five sheets of printer paper in the house, it’s Sunday night, and the report is due tomorrow -- no panic.

I think I’ve strained my brain. Why do kids wait until the last minute and expect someone to bail him or her out? Because, they can! My Daughter is the worst about this, but she’s also the luckiest person I’ve ever known and she glides graciously from one self-instigated crisis to the next. She can make things appear and disappear better than Houdini. I’ve seen her lose and find the same item three times in one week, always in the nick of time. For instance: the first time we went to the mall this week, she didn’t have enough money to get the designer shoes she wanted. I thought, “Now she’ll have to clean her room and do her chores so she can earn money to buy the shoes.” She started cleaning her room by gathering her laundry. She found the $32 in the pocket of her jeans. When the mail came later that day, her grandmother had sent $20 for Valentine’s Day, so we went back to the mall to buy the shoes. She only needed $57 total. She begged me for $5, but I held firm hoping to get her room cleaned this month. She opened a coupon book I had in my car and out pops a coupon for 10% of any purchase at Shoe Carnival. Not being a complete ogre, I took her to Shoe Carnival and wouldn’t you know it, the shoes she wanted were on sale, in her size. With the 10% coupon, she actually came out with money in her pocket; money that she will probably lose tonight and find next week when she wants to buy new jeans.

I hear the ice cream truck. Gotta go for now!


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Chip & Dale

DATE: January 24, 1998
SUBJECT: Chip & Dale

We’ve been hearing noises in the house near the daughter’s room. I’m pretty sure it’s not haunted. What ghost would want to live with us? I sent my husband to the attic to investigate. It seems that we have inadvertently rented the room upstairs to two squirrels. They were peering through the small opening of space above the support beams. We couldn’t very well shoot the varmints without blowing a hole in the roof.

We have a live trap that was totally useless when we tried to catch gophers, but I thought it might have more appeal to squirrels. My husband was convinced that we should put the trap on the back porch.

"But the monsters are in the attic, I argued!"

Go figure. Two weeks went by, the apple rotted, and still no trophy. Yesterday my teenage daughter spoke to me for the first time in weeks. Her words were, “Come get this thing out of the attic, it’s driving me crazy.”

I replaced the apple with a pear and put the trap in the attic. The next morning I awoke to a knock on my bedroom door and more kind words from the teenager, “We caught it. Now come GET it so I can sleep!”

We have one of the critters in custody. I suppose my husband can take him to the dump, and let him out there when he takes the trash.

DATE: January 25, 1998
SUBJECT: RE: Chip & Dale

I told you when I was there last time that you needed to close up that hole in the gable of the house.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Pillows That Throw People

DATE: January 10, 1998 11:52
SUBJECT: Pillows That Throw People

Remember the sales magazine you and I looked at together last week? They gave instructions on how to tell if your bed pillow was 'broken' or not. We were both surprised to find out that if you fold the pillow in half and put a shoe on it, the pillow is good if it throws the shoe off but if the shoe stays in place, the pillow is broken. I got home and gave mine the test. They were broken all right so I went to the store and bought new pillows that I thought would do. I mean, how do you know if it's the right pillow except to sleep with it? Well, Pa and I settled down for our long winter's nap last night to give these new babies a test drive. My new pillow and I got into a fight about midnight and I threw it out of the bed. About 3 a.m. I woke up with my neck hurting. I had to get up and take Advil. I think the pillow threw ME! I had crazy dreams all night. I dreamed I fell off a boat dock: Cappi, it really shouldn't be this hard to get a good night's rest. At least it's Saturday and we don't have to get up early to go to work!

After the pillow fights, I finally settled back down happy to sleep on my broken pillows but about 8:30 a.m. the doorbell rang. I couldn't imagine who would be at my door before I had my coffee on Saturday morning. I was afraid it might be Ed McMahon with my sweepstakes winnings and I'd be on T.V. wearing my old nightgown and having groaties in the corners of my eyes. I'm sure I looked kind of beat up after all we had been through since midnight. Fortunately it was only Donna coming to pick up her daughter who had spent the night with my daughter.

I guess I'll go and take a nap now and try to recover from sleeping! I'll write again soon.


DATE: January 20, 1998
SUBJECT: RE: Pillows That Throw People

Spressy, the only thing broken in my bed is my marriage! Jim and I fight every night.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Woman with Reptiles in Basement and Teenagers in the House

Email Episodes goes behind the scenes to expose a loony, codependent mom named Expressy as she struggles to raise her wacky teenagers. As she opens her home and heart to a homeless human, a multitude of reptiles and other animals she begins to face mid-life crisis and realizes that she has lived her whole life trying to please others at the expense of her own happiness.

Expressy records her daily dilemmas in emails to a group of friends and family members who probably didn’t care to know what she was up to. Through her writing Expressy finds the courage to step out of her dysfunction and begin to truly love herself. You’ll laugh at her hilarious antics and be inspired by her bravery. A must-read (if you can get a copy) for anyone who wants to drop the façade and simply be human.

Email Episodes A Hilariously Honest Look at Life

Take a frustrated woman, give her a computer, and she will tell the world more than they ever wanted to know.

This is the simple, straightforward, storytelling concept developed by Yvonne Perry for her debut novel, Email Episodes. She documents everyday events that take place in the life of Expressy, a wife and mother whose life is falling apart.

What else can you do besides laugh or get a tattoo when: your kids are teenagers, your husband wants a divorce, you're having a mid-life crisis, you're grieving from relocating three times in less than five years, you're dealing with repressed issues from your childhood, and the church turns its back on you? Expressy walks out of her chaos and leaves the limitations imposed upon her to find a life that is full of love, joy, fun, and hope. You will laugh at her hilarious antics while being inspired by her courage. Take Expressy's hand and begin the comical journey toward wholeness.

Friday, July 25, 2008

New Cookbook

Chefs, Bakers, and Patty Cakers,

I got a new cookbook for $5.00 at the store last week. What a deal! So far it has cost me an additional $94 in groceries and a trip to the liquor store, and we still don’t have a loaf of bread in the house. Fancy cooking requires fancy ingredients. My Daughter’s birthday is next week and she wants me to make the grasshopper cake for her. She and I went to 3 groceries stores looking for white crème de cacao and green crème de menthe. One person at Kroger told us we could buy it at Dairy Queen. I may be naïve but even I knew better than that! Finally someone told us that you have to buy the crèmes at the liquor store. What kind of state is this? You can buy wine in the grocery store in others states. Tennessee has the buckle of the Bible belt strapped a little too tight. I’d never been in a liquor store in my life, but I managed to find a tiny bottle of green stuff that looks like mouthwash and a bottle of clear elixir rated at 60-proof, each costing 7 bucks! We’ll see how it turns out. We may end up drunk in the process. Being drunk sounds like a positive escape for the weary would-be-chefs.

Well, on top of all the other projects we have going on around the house, My Husband decided we needed to tear out the old deck and enlarge it. Yes, it was pretty dilapidated, but the last thing I needed right now was to have the first step out the back door become a 10-foot drop off into the rose bushes. We have the structure framed out, but we’ll have to wait for the next paycheck to put a floor on it. Meanwhile, I pulled the dining room chairs in front of the door, so I wouldn’t get up in the night and drop the blind dog off a cliff.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

President's Day

I cooked a grand slam breakfast on Sunday morning, complete with eggs, grits, bacon, pancakes, and coffee. It was a real hit! Ha ha!

I have some rock necklaces left if anyone wants one. Free while supplies last. I’m not sure if the mail will deliver on Monday since it’s President’s Day. How will we celebrate President’s Day now that Clinton has been found out? We could swap spouses and pretend it didn’t happen.

When Cappi was here this week she gave me a lesson on how to load the dishwasher. Now I only have to run one load per week instead of one load per day. That girl can pack a DW better than college students can pack a VW! Don’t worry Mom, you still hold the record for packing the trunk of a car.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Cappi came to visit!

Cappi came to visit! I hadn’t seen her in months, but when she finally picked up her email, she was afraid I was about to do something drastic and decided to come see what she could do to cheer me up. She brought her son, Nick, to keep My Daughter occupied. The four of us went to the mall on Saturday. Cappi and I separated from the kids so we wouldn’t have to worry about embarrassing them. We hid, but they kept finding us. We stopped by every shop that sells aroma oils to re-supply our habit. Cappi is addicted.

We bought cheap food for the teens and dropped them off at my house, and we left to go out for a nice dinner at a grown up restaurant. The kids took Cappi’s car while we were gone, and went to a youth activity at the church we’d been visiting. A sudden storm came up after we got home, and it started hailing. Nick and My Daughter were out in it, and My Son was driving home from Ohio in the worst rain imaginable. A tree fell across the driveway at our house so we decided to turn on the TV to see what was going on -- Nothing much, just a tornado.