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?