Thursday, October 29, 2009

Singing in the Cube Farm

The coworker sitting across from me must have been a jukebox in another life. He hums, whistles, and sings non-stop. His tunes range from "Danny Boy" to "Can’t You See What That Woman’s Been Doing to Me." I hear enough of that song at home. No matter how many people have complained about the distraction, our one-man-Muzak will not stop. “Please, Mister, PLEASE don’t play B17!” we plead, but the broken record keeps going, and going, and going.

A few weeks ago I decided that if I couldn’t beat him, I’d join him. Except for when he chooses Italian opera selections or Christmas songs in August, I sing, hum, or whistle along with him. Other coworkers have joined our choir and we have quite a background harmony section. We’re taking requests. You may dial us at 800- HUM-DING.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mid-life Crisis? Which One?

I had a spiritual reading when I was on vacation. The psychic said that I would be on this planet until I was over one hundred years old. Great! That means the midlife crisis I had when I turned forty was all in vain even though I do have a tattoo and divorce papers to document the non-occasion, and this means I can justify another midlife crisis in about ten years. I greatly appreciate the insight this information brings. As I see it, I have another sixty years to lose the rest of the twenty-five pounds I’m trying to shed. And if you’re driving behind me, just chill out or go around me. I’ve got time to spare and I’m going to slow down and enjoy it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Java Takes Herself for a Walk

The animal hospital called me at work to say that they had found our chocolate lab, Java, wandering around outside the clinic. I was puzzled as to how she got out of her pen AND the fenced-in backyard. I mentioned to the nurse that Java’s ears had been bothering her, and that perhaps she had taken herself to the doctor for a checkup. They agreed to check her ears while she waited until I could get home from work to pick her up. In the meanwhile Frankie, whom I didn’t know was home, realized Java had left the gate open when he was cutting grass. He went into the house to get his car keys and was about to drive around the block searching for her when he noticed the answering machine had a message. It was the vet saying that Java was ready for pickup. Perfect timing.

Hey, by the way, the murals we all painted on the walls of our garage are groovy. Thanks to everyone who helped. All our neighbors joined us impromptu that evening when curiosity got them best of them. Each person who came by to investigate was required to at least sign his or her name on a concrete block. It was a memorable “block” party. It’s been three weeks and we still have strangers coming to our door asking to see the garage they heard about!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

OCD and Religion

From 2002, we still have memories and stories to share:

Hey you, Emailians,

I got an email today that gave the findings of a study that had been done regarding religion and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Since many of you are the ones I’ve gone to church with all these years, we may need to be on the lookout for these symptoms. The gist of the study is this:

While researchers have not proven that religious devotion early in life causes Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), the finding adds weight to the theory that a strict religious upbringing may make people more prone to the psychological problem. The study found that religious people with a strict upbringing are more likely to show symptoms of OCD because they may be anxious about right and wrong, black or white. For instance, sufferers often become obsessed with the notion that they are sinful or contaminated with germs, leading to hour upon hour of washing. Don’t laugh, I’m reminded of woman I knew who changed her bed sheets, shaved her legs, and took 2 baths every day! The study says that OCD can become so bad that it prevents people from leading a normal life. No kidding? It took this woman until 1:00 to get dressed for the day. I shouldn’t condemn her. I’m sitting here in my pajamas.

The study also said that genes, head injuries (does brain-washing count?), and emotional trauma (first marriages, children, traffic jams, etc.) have all been implicated in cases of OCD - understandably so. If you begin to clean house, wash your hands, or brush your hair more than usual, you may want to have your head examined. As for me, I quit religion, and as you can tell, I’m normal again.

DATE: June 26, 2002 10:59 AM
SUBJECT: RE: COD and Religion

Re: Religion. Trauma. isn’t that one in the same? And OCD? Well, I've never been a religious person, but I have had quite a few emotionally traumatic events in my life. I'd hate to think I was doomed to spending my days repeatedly washing my hands, counting floor tiles, or changing my underwear. It hasn't happened so far, but I was a compulsive drug user for quite a few years. Does that count? I managed to find help for that, so I guess the last compulsive area of my life is relationships. I guess for now I will just continue to blame the emotionally traumatic events in my life for it. It's better than being labeled crazy, right????

DATE: June 26, 2002 11:08 AM
SUBJECT: RE: COD and Religion

I’ve been to Crazy. Crazy is a good place to be. In fact, I have real estate and stock investments there.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Throwing Pottery with the Hippies

Frankie and I drove to Uncle Dane’s in Missouri this past weekend. Uncle Dane is not a relative, and I still don’t know his last name, but he is a long time friend of Frankie’s. Uncle Dane is an artist who lives on 40 acres in the beautiful and serene Ozark Mountains. I felt the Spirit’s love when I first set foot on his property. I met a lot of new people there. Most of them are hippies. Uncle Dane has a studio in his basement with several pottery wheels, and lots of clay. I glued myself to the stool for two days and enjoyed spinning the fresh earth between my fingers. The pieces I worked will have to dry before they can be fired so I had to leave them for now. I met other rock hounds. We went on walks and gathered some of the most unusual and colorful stones for our collections. We nearly got arrested for trespassing when we were caught on someone else’s property. The owner said we should have known that we were on his property by the purple paint that was sprayed on the trees when we entered. Oh, that’s a universal sign, for sure. He had the best rocks too! The men who were in our group calmed the man down, and after listening to him rant for about 45 minutes regarding hippies and derelicts, he let us go. He doesn’t know we stole his rocks! Later that night everyone pulled out an instrument and played 60’s and 70’s Rock and Roll songs until the morning light topped the trees.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Garage Party

This garage party happened on the fourth of July 2002, but our garage could use a cleaning. If you are so inclined, come on over.

This is probably going to sound like a strange thing to ask of you, but you probably expect it of Frankie and me by now. We want to decorate the inside of our garage in a funky and eclectic manner to express our artistic and creative abilities. After discussing the cost and surveying the amount of work this will require we have decided to invite our friends and family to participate.

So, on Thursday, July 4th, we want you to bring your paints, paintbrushes, stencils, or anything you choose to decorate the walls of our garage. Each person may select a section(s) to paint and express their wildest ideas. We plan to paint the ceiling and floor too, perhaps a cloud scene, angels, rockets, stars, sun, moon, or outer space on the ceiling and a checkerboard, grass, insects, snakes, etc. on the floor! Be thinking about what you want to create. IDEAS: cartoon characters, dragons, fairies, abstract art, geometric shapes, jungle animals, underwater seascapes, beach scenes, peoples faces, or trompe l’oeil (murals that looks like you can walk into the scene), you name it. You can even paint yourself! A self-portrait, that is!

We’ll get the garage swept cleaned, and everything moved out of the way so you can begin designing immediately upon arrival. We’ll work on it all day so come when you get ready, stay as long as you want. We’ll provide the food and drinks (things that come in sixes are great). Bring a friend, bring snacks, bring paint, but mainly bring your unique creativity. This is going to be a ton of fun! Please let me know you are coming.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Tired Tiles

From the year 2002...

I am in need of massage and physical therapy this morning! Husband #2 decided at 8:00 p.m. last Thursday evening to see what he could do to stop the squeaking in the kitchen floor. After about 2-dozen screws, it still squeaked so he pulled up a portion of the vinyl flooring to see where the floor joist was located. Two hours later the entire kitchen floor was bared to the sub-flooring and was sporting a nice assortment of screws, still squeaking. The vinyl needed replacing but I hadn't planned on doing it this weekend since it was my daughter-in-law's birthday. I had promised to give her a party and to watch the baby on Sunday afternoon. After going under the house and finally getting the squeaking stopped, we installed 12-inch square stick-on tiles that had to be sized and cut to fit the corners around the door frames and cabinets. When the guests arrived I was on my way to pick up a cake that I had not ordered, hoping that Food Lion would have a chocolate one. The party was successful in spite of my lack of planning and organization.

After everyone left, Frankie and I decided to finish the few tiles we had left to install. Our 12-month-old grandson was toddling about, and in to everything that was not screwed down (which didn’t leave a lot!) Sammy was curious and wanted to help. After taking the marker, then the scissors from him, Frankie gave him a scrap of tile to keep him busy. That little guy managed to get the paper backing off, stick it on the floor and come back for another piece! He is barely walking and he's already laying tile! I safely confined him to his high chair and gave him a box of Cheerios, while we finished.

The floor looks nice and it doesn’t squeak, but this morning I am so stove-up (southern for stiff) I could heat the house. I almost called in to work to request a holiday. Then I thought better of it. If I stayed home, I'd end up painting and installing the quarter-round molding. I decided to go to work so I could rest!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Where’s the Beef?

This happened in 2002. Aren't you glad we have recovered since then?

All week long I have been looking for a package of books with two tickets to a seminar my girlfriends and I plan to attend next week. Mary got hers; Kara got hers. I should have received mine, and the one I ordered for Donna by now. I called the bookstore to make sure they had sent them. They promised that they had, and gave me a tracking I.D and phone number to call. I called UPS and was told that they delivered the package to my front porch on January 3rd at 4:04 p.m. That was over a week ago and I still had not seen the books. I called Steve at home to have him check the front porch. He reported there was nothing there, and that he had not seen a package. A day later I called the bookstore again to have them put a tracer on the package. When I arrived home from work Friday the UPS driver was knocking at my door. I signed a voucher stating that I had not received the package so the sender could be reimbursed.

I put my things down on the dining room table and noticed a padded yellow envelope in the corner of the room beneath the high chair. I picked it up and opened it. It was from Malaprop’s bookstore containing two books and two tickets. “STEVE, what can you tell me about this package?”

“It came last week sometime.”

“Do you mean on January 3rd at 4:04 p.m.?”

“I dunno. Why?”

“Because this is the package I’ve been looking for all week! That is why UPS was knocking on our door just now.”


“Steve, why did you put it in such a remote and illogical place?”

“So Java wouldn’t get it.”

“Why would the dog want my package when she’s got dog balls in her bowl?” I asked, “Besides she could still reach it on the floor behind the high chair!”

“She was bothering it when I put it on the floor over here,” he said pointing to a place near the door.

“What about on the table? Next time could you put it on the table or in my room?”

I let it go when I noticed he was taking something out of the oven. He was making beef jerky. “Where did you get meat?” I asked. I knew there wasn’t much in the house in the way of groceries.

“I found a steak in the refrigerator.” No telling how long it had been in there, so I prayed a silent blessing over it as he took a bite and tried to offer some to me. “No, thanks,” I said graciously.

When Frankie got home from work, he and I went to the store to get food so the boy wouldn’t have to eat left olders. We brought home a nice chuck roast for Steve. His eyes lit up when I handed it to him, and he immediately went to work slicing and spicing. I had a terrible head cold so I went to lie down, while the boys made dinner.

The next day Steve got up and pulled out his chuck roast and started to work again. He said that since that I missed dinner last evening, I needed a makeup dinner. He said I could use a lesson on how to cook steaks and make jerky, so I watched as he taught me what I needed to know. While he was grilling the steaks, I pulled out some cabbage, celery, mushrooms, and onion to start a soup. Steve was curious about what I was making. “I like cabbage,” he said.

“I’ll share with you,” I replied as I caught a glimpse of his dad shaking his head, “NO!” while waving his hand under his nose. I gave him a puzzled look. Steve saw me and turned to see what dad was doing. Frankie explained that I might not like the effects cabbage would have on his boy later. The meal was nothing less than gourmet, and I enjoyed sharing the kitchen with my stepson. Afterward, Frankie took Steve with him on an errand, and I was left in charge of the jerky left baking on a sheet of foil in the oven.

The two returned in about an hour, and started working on the computer while I was reading a book in my room. Kathryn, Steve’s girlfriend arrived about the time Frankie went to the kitchen and opened a box of jalapeno poppers. When he put them in the oven, it reminded me of the jerky. I looked in the oven and didn’t see the jerky, only the poppers. “Where did you put the jerky when you put the poppers in the oven?” I asked Frankie.

“They were not in the oven.” That brought Steve and Kathryn to the kitchen.

“What did you do with my jerky?” asked Steve.

“What did YOU do with your jerky?” asked Frankie.
They both looked at me. “I didn’t move the jerky. I checked on it while you were gone but I didn’t take it out of the oven.”



“No.” I answered. “I told you I didn’t move it. Maybe Java ate it! She probably thought it was a book or a package in the mail.”

“She can’t open the oven!” Steve reminded us.

“Then who took the jerky?” Dad was really puzzled.

“Yeah, WHERE’S the beef?” I retorted.

We searched all over the kitchen for the hidden delicacy trying to discover who might be the one playing a practical joke. We even thought Kathryn might have moved it, or perhaps someone came in the backdoor and stole it, or maybe we had a ghost who likes jerky. We gave up after a while still wondering why no one was coming forward to claim the award for the best practical joke.

Kat and Steve were leaving when I smelled something burning. I opened the oven door to check on the poppers and noticed the edge of the foil under the baking sheet the poppers were on. “FRANKIE, you put the poppers on top of the jerky!”

“I did?”

“Yes, and it’s burning!”

He ran out the door to let Steve know the mystery had been solved. Steve came back in the house, grabbed his crunchy charred jerky, and left before anyone could hide it again. Is it gender or genetics that causes these two guys to hide things from themselves and others?