Something amazing happened last night. Something that hasn’t happened in at least 2 weeks.

Neither girl woke up. No one called for me. No one came down the stairs.

It was perfect.

There was only one blemish and it was caused by me.

If I could go back and do last night differently, I might rethink my decision to drink a Pepsi Max at 10 p..m.  It didn’t hinder my falling asleep, but it was the child getting me up 3 times in the night.

Also, I don’t like Pepsi Max. You should at least like the thing that plagues you.

I am formulating my Redneck Fitness Plan. Pepsi Max will not figure in to the new lifestyle.

If Glade made Bacon flavored plug-in air fresheners, would you buy them?
I would.

Blurbs

CBS now has a show called Dogs in the City. I mean it. I just saw the commercial. Dogs in the City, people. Set your DVRs. Right now. Stop reading and go set your DVR for Dogs in the City. You do NOT want to miss the episode with the white dog in that city. I think his owner walks him.

They are running out of ideas. Love in the Wild? I’d like to say Jenny McCarthy has seen better days, but she hasn’t. This is the best she can do.

I want to pitch a few ideas to them from out here in the country. They are obviously desperate, so I think I have a reasonable chance of getting one of these picked up:

  • Hot, sweaty kids with dirty fingernails
  • Chickens Plan a Coup.
  • Coup vs. Coop – Kuntry Spelling Bees
  • Redneck Fitness – Getting Fit with nothing but a field and some buckets
  • Watching Cletus – (daily binocular glimpses into the long haired dude’s life who makes smokers and welds things)
  • Kuntry Jogging Adventures – Send city lady running in the country and watch what happens. Something would. Every time. From pit bulls, to actual pits, this one has promise.
  • Bye Bye Roosters
  • Breaking the Mower – creative ways to destroy machines and never mow the lawn.

You can pitch your own ideas if you want, but you KNOW you’d watch some of those. If those don’t interest you, there’s always Dogs in the City. If you are reading this blog, your standards can’t be THAT high.

Actually, I have developed a weird History Channel Obsession. I like the show Mountain Men. It follows three tough dudes that live off the grid. Marty spends the winters in the middle of nowhere in Alaska. He’s an idiot, because it’s typically 50 below where he is. 50 below! That’s 50 below ZERO. I’d actually die, rather immediately, if it got 50 below 70. Tom lives in Montana and has grizzlies that come on his property. That would be a horrible way to go. And Eustace lives in Cherokee, NC. He’s just cool. And his name is Eustace.

I keep thinking of ideas for reality shows. I’ll be at this all night.

Swimming Pools and Cherry Pies

This morning I was due to be at my parents’ house at 11 for a pre-lunch kid swim on our Pre-Father’s Day Lunchabration. (You know you wish you’d thought of that word. Patent pending. Step off.)  I was responsible for a cherry pie and Todd’s Rockabilly Texas Slaw. I hate cole slaw. I LOVE this stuff. I knew I had to get up and get going this morning to make sure the pie was done ahead of time.

Beloved loves to help. Always. As you know if you are a parent, a nanny, an aunt, a grandma, or a person with a strong pulse, a child’s help isn’t always super-duper helpful. Often it adds a 1/2 hour to the task and means cleaning up a can of beans off the floor (hypothetical example here, as there are no beans in my cherry pie recipe). This morning, though, I woke up in a dandy mood and decided to EMBRACE the help. Invite the help. I was surprised how nice it was to have her helping with just a wee attitude change on my part. I need to embrace this now, because I think she’s smart enough to be making the pie on her own in about 6 months and how great would that be?

Anyway, once we got the pie in the oven, I continued with my 1000 other tasks to ready one child for summer camp and other children for just…you know…the day and stuff.

And the pie cooked. And cooked.

And soon the house began to smell really good. You thought I was going the “house on fire” direction with that, didn’t you? Not this time.

Mama’s Boy, who loves to eat, started to notice the smells and ask for pie crust. He loves the days when there’s leftover pie crust that we slather in butter and cinnamon and bake for him to munch on. Today there was nothing leftover. He was bummed. But once he got over his initial disappointment, he just announced with glee, “I’ll just eat the pie at Grandmama’s house.” And that was that.

We went. They swam. We lunchabrated. And then it was time to go.

So we left.

And at 4:30 this afternoon, Mama’s Boy stopped dead in his tracks and said, “What happened to the pie?”

What do you mean, what happened to the pie, boy?

“I mean what happened to it? I was supposed to eat it.”

“Well, it was there, right with all the other desserts. I thought you changed your mind,” I said. “I’m sorry.”

“Nobody offered me pie,” he woefully concluded.

And then, after he had fallen asleep, I read his journal (he has authorized this, just so you don’t think I’m a total weasel). This is what it said:

SATURDAY

Today we went swimming. I had a great time, but I forgot about the pie. But anyways, it rocked. We came home and watched Karate Kid.”

I hate it when I swim and forget about the pie. It happens. Happy Father’s Day to every cool dad out there. Mine is better than yours, but don’t feel bad. Yours is okay, too. 🙂

When the cat loans out her camera…

…the mice take freaky shots.

Actually, there’s only one mouse.

And we all know who he is.

No one can contain him. No agency will take him. No books describe him. But he has a really nice uvula. Is that how you spell that? Given my recent struggles with “coop,” I do have to wonder…

Oh, it’s Krazy, all right

So today I had to drive to the Grand Hyatt Hotel, just past the airport. It was to purchase a gift for my daughter’s upcoming birthday. And since you may already know that I am the Queen of Craigslist, this was a craigslist exchange. The lady meeting me was a professional. She said, “You’ll know me by my blue shirt and grey pants. And I have my hair pulled back.” I replied, “OK, great. You’ll know me because I’ll have 4 feral children with me that do not belong in a Hyatt lobby.”

Self-fulfilling prophecy.

They were wild all right.

None of this is at all important to the story, except to say that I was kinda grumpy with the kids after that. It is in these moments that you wonder where you’ve gone wrong. Actually, I know where I’ve gone wrong. I just don’t know how to make it right. But we’ll get there.

So part of the purchase from today included a case for my son’s ds. This was just a bonus. But there was a piece torn on it. So after nearly wrecking Wendy’s (more grumpiness from me), we walked over to CVS to buy some superglue. This is where the story takes a macabre turn. I opted to buy Krazy Glue, instead of the standard super glue. I don’t know why. it seems like I would have intentionally avoided it over the “k” thing alone. I am very against cutsie misspellings in brand names. Even Krispy Kreme drives me nuts. But the product stands on its own in that particular case.

I was so confident in my gluing skills that I did not read the instructions, prepare a surface, or have any type of back-up plan in place. I just jumped willy nilly into gluing. Before I even realized I had successfully opened the tube, it was oozing everywhere.  My thumb was now glued to my index finger on my left hand. On my right hand, my index finger and my thumb became bonded to the tube of glue, which was still oozing.

I realized immediately that I was in trouble. I think I began making weird wheezing sounds and even the heads of the children playing Wii turned to see what was up.

“Ohhh, nooooo,” I said, with Mama’s Boy watching intently. I immediately pulled on my left thumb and managed to free up that hand. Then I focused on the right hand and managed to free my thumb. The index finger was done, though. There was no going back on that one.  I was now attached rather permanently to the tube. I at least managed to stop the eruption of fresh glue.

Krazy, I tell you.

At this point, I went to the instructions. The instructions I needed were listed under a bold section called: WARNING:

“Avoid contact with skin and eyes. If eye or mouth contact occurs, hold eyelid or mouth open and rince thoroughly but gently with water for only 15 minutes and GET MEDICAL ATTENTION. (Heavens to BETSY! I cannot IMAGINE getting the stuff near my eyes.) If skin bonding occurs (ok, I’m listening now), soak in acetone-based nail polish remover or warm soapy water and carefully peel or roll skin apart (do not pull).”

So, I fixed myself a nice large bowl of warm, soapy water and poured a bottle of nail polish remover into it, for good measure. Then I sat down to wait. And soak. This was at 2:56 p.m. Actually, I really didn’t have time for these shenanigans today. At 3:06, I pulled out the finger to work on it.

Still stuck. Back in the bowl.

Snuggle Monkey needed some assistance in the bathroom. She just had to go it alone today.

And at 3:15, I finally rolled and peeled my skin free. It was red and irritated and still covered with a gluey film. But at least I was free of the tube.

So what does that K stand for? Killer glue substance. Kranky lady kould have read the instructions and didn’t. Kall the doctor immediately, something horrible is klinging to me. Krud.

Speaking of Kranky, in the middle of all my grumbling about how I wish the kids could just put on their best Grand Hyatt faces and sit like angels, Mama’s Boy piped up from the back of the van.

“Mama, I wrote today’s entry in my journal. Can I read it to you?”

Sure, boy. Shoot.

“So far this day is pretty bad. We just can’t act perfect. But luckily, I am going to a sleepover to turn things around. Hopefully it will go well.”

Wow. Now if that doesn’t bring things into krazy klear perspective, nothing will.

We did turn things around.  In more ways than one.

 

eat more chikin

I hate being wrong.
I especially hate being outspelled.
And I really, REALLY hate being outspelled by certain people.

I have been called on the carpet for my spelling of coup in the term chicken coup. The funny thing about it is, I always spelled it “coop” until a person I deemed at least my intellectual equal, but quite possibly smarter, spelled it “coup.” I didn’t even research it. I just automatically changed my spelling of the word. Oh, dumb farm girl. Why? Why would you do that without so much as a single Google search? You, dumb farm girl, are an ENGLISH MAJOR. Spelling “coop” is what you do.

And I was corrected by a friend who will always misspell “definitely” under pressure. It’s ITE, not ATE.

It just goes to show one thing: don’t trust Facebook comments for your spelling guidance. And if you can’t spell coop, you shouldn’t have one. This is perhaps what I am taking away from this. I have roosters that have learned to carry weapons. I can’t turn on the hose without almost dislocating my eyeballs with a fierce stream of sprinkler water. And I can’t spell “coop.”

Sigh.

The good news is, the roosters are going to auction. One week from Saturday.

Trust me, that will be worth a report.

Remember, it’s coop. And definitely. Definitely coop.

You can take the kids out of the city, but…

…you can’t take the city out of the kids.
Or can you?
I don’t know the answer to that. I’m working on it.

For us, summer has just begun in earnest. The kids finished school on Friday after what was the fastest, most jam-packed two weeks ever. I practically lived there.  We went straight from that into a party on Saturday for the kids’ classes. That was a surreal experience. Never have I thrown a party with such a melting pot of people who didn’t know each other. It was interesting.With a few unsung heros that day, it worked and was a pretty big success. Without Truce (names have been changed to protect the innocent. ha.)  in the backfield organizing the 2-hr kickball game, I’m not sure the kids would have had such a good time. At any rate, that party lasted until after 9 and wore me out like I imagine a 10K would Betty White. ( I originally chose “5K” for that analogy, but Betty White is pretty spry, so I upped my distance.)

From that tiring Saturday, we had some family spend the night and by Monday, the kids were all ready for a week in a psych ward. We were shot. But in the last two days, we’ve slept in and slowed down and now–this is summer.

We’ve had some recovery now. We’ve napped and eaten ice cream and watched some movies we had been wanting to rent. So today it was time to clean up a little. Do some chores. Work around the farm.

OK, kids. Come on. Let’s get to work.

It was like I had grown a 3rd eye. They were shocked by the word chores. So I backed off my vocabulary. For today, I would trick them into working. After that, it would somehow become automatic. How, I have no idea.

I was loading up Saturday’s party trash for trash day. Loading the trash is not the small affair it was when I lived in the city. There, my driveway was 25 feet long. Here, the trek to the end of the driveway is more like a 1/4 mile. We have a Rover for that. It helps to be able to drive the trash. Dragging it was a beast.

Mama’s Boy was “helping” me with the trash chore, mostly because he didn’t want me out of his sight. This morning, his variety of help was rather unhelpful. This is when i began to ask myself internally how to put some country into these kids. They were used to the 20 foot driveway and the pavement and scooters and sidewalks. And neighbors.

They are not used to bugs. And biting flies. And dirt.

By the end of the trash thing, I considered calling a walk in clinic for some child-sized valium. The flies pushed him to the edge where he’s still teetering. I’m hoping to bring it back around today.

After the trash, it was  chicken coup time. This is not my favorite job. Truthfully, they scare me. Two of them have become roosters and are very angry beasts. I realize they were probably always roosters. I understand the birds and the bees and the chickens. But we inherited 4 baby chickens from a 3rd grade class. They hatched them and kept them safe. They did not identify their gender. So now I have 2 angry roosters, 2 pooping hens, and 4 babies that always look shell shocked as they watch the larger chickens patrol the coup. The babies are safe in a bunny hutch, inside the coup. I am hoping that soon they’ll be all together in the open coup, but I’m still watching that situation.

They were hungry when I got to them this morning. I guess I don’t have the schedule down properly yet, because they were clamoring. A clamoring chicken isn’t a good thing, in case you’ve never seen one. And the trick to a clamoring chicken…or rooster…is to go into the coup armed with food, throw it, get them away from you and do what you need to do.

Unfortunately for me, the food was stored high inside the coup, which meant I had to fight my way through the crowd of clamoring birds to get to the food.

Carnage, I tell you. It was pure carnage.

I made it out alive, as you already know if you have endured this far. But still there was one task left: cleaning and refilling the water thingies. I figured that using the hose in the garden would be more efficient than dragging dirty water bottle thingies through the kitchen. So I went to the garden. The garden has a splitter set up between the sprinkler and a hose. First you have to turn off the sprinkler and then you have to turn on the hose.

Or so I thought.

While intently leaning down over the sprinkler, 12 inches from the ground, I flipped the switch.

It turned the sprinkler on. The sprinkler hit me in the face and head with staggering force. Well, I guess that wasn’t the right order to do things in. I managed to get the sprinkler turned off, but not before a full body soaking. Then I turned on the hose and washed out the water buckets.  After a few minutes, I had to wash out another bucket. So I turned on the sprinkler AGAIN.

Good grief.

You can take the awkward lady out of the city…

Too stupid to post

And yet, here I am posting.

I need the rain to stop. I bought plants that I can’t even get into the ground because we are washing away in the downpours.

I need it to be Sunday. I just don’t think I am young or fit or smart enough to do the next 48 hours. I don’t want to die, mind you. Just fast forward. Slowly.

Summer.

So. Thankful. it. is. almost. Summer.

I just did battle with a large insect and totally cleaned his clock. You ain’t messing with a city gal anymore people.

I have decided to go to bed.

Cracking the Code

I like clear-cut solutions. Answers that are right or wrong. Things that can be fixed.  Formulas.  It’s funny that I like these things, because I am a wordy, philosophical English major. This is probably why I drive myself crazy. I see the problems.  I want the solutions.  And I can’t seem to get from there to here or here to there.

One little microcosm of this issue came to me just the other day when I was talking to my boys about using what we have in God’s service. The context of the conversation was that I have noticed a trend of isolation or privacy in Christian homes as the years pass. People don’t just stay in each other’s homes so much anymore. They stay in hotels. People don’t stay in the home of a stranger if the traveler and the homeowner share a mutual friend. I’m not saying this no longer happens at all. I’m saying it’s happening much less. We are more private. More isolated. More connected VIRTUALLY than we are ACTUALLY.  I was asking the boys what we would do if Christians we didn’t know needed a place to stay. Where would we put them? Where would they sleep? What would we say?

They answered sweetly. They offered to give up their room (wonder if the reality would look as spiffy as the fantasy…). They were all over it.

And then Mama’s Boy threw the question at me that I wanted the formula for. He is like me. He wants the code that cracks everything. He asked me this:

If we are supposed to be generous and share our house and our stuff, then how come you don’t always say yes when someone on the street asks you for money?

Yes. Hmm. How come? What IS my answer to that? What is THE answer to that?

That’s a tough one. I told him so, too. Kudos for stumping me, boy.  I could say what I’ve heard before: that I don’t believe some people will use the money I give them wisely and I need to be a wise steward of my money.  Or I could say that my choices are sometimes random. Or I could try to come up with THE one right answer.  Sometimes I say yes. Sometimes I avoid the situation.

Then it hit me.  Call me dense, because I’m sure you already figured this out.

There is no one right answer to most of life’s questions.

 I do believe in absolute truth and I believe the bible gives the definitive answer on a whole lot of things, including salvation and morality and 1000 other things. But in the day to day interactions with people and the day to day navigation of obstacles, I am just going to have to take it one blip at a time.

But how do I do a good job with that? How do I know what God wants me to do at 3 o’clock in the Publix parking lot?

Suddenly I thought about Isaiah.  I can do it by standing within earshot of God’s conversations.

Isaiah 6

6 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy , holy is the Lord Almighty;
    the whole earth is full of his glory.”

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for. ”

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? ”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Isaiah was standing there looking at God…focused on God. He was humble and intent.  Then, he HEARD the conversation God was having. He heard God ask who should be sent. And then he jumped in. He was sent because he was was eavesdropping when the mission was mentioned. He was perched. Ready.

Maybe there will never be a formula. But if I am looking at God and listening for God, I’ll know what to do when someone walks up and asks me if I can spare a whatever.

And that’s pretty much the only formula I need.

I’m going to go wake Mama’s Boy up and tell him.

Cheetah Dreamers

Yesterday morning, I awakened in a cold sweat. I had been dreaming. What time is it even? It was 5:15 a.m. Ah. that means I have another lifetime to sleep before I have to get up. I should have felt good about this, but the nature of the dream and the resulting cold sweat robbed me of this 11th-hour hunker.

In the dream, I had already dropped the 3 school-aged children at school and had moved on to MOSI. I was frantically looking for a lunchbox I  had left there when on a recent field trip with my fourth grader. Each MOSI staffer that I met would send me on to the next person.

“Oh, yes”, they would say…”we’ve seen that spiderman lunchbox. Why are you using a spiderman lunchbox at your age, ma’am?”
Condescenders.
And I would move on. But I could never find it. They had all seen it and no one would lead me to it.

Suddenly, I looked at my watch. 9:04 a.m. OH would ya look at that? I was supposed to be at the school BEFORE 8:45 for my 2nd grader’s field trip! I panicked.

Paralyzed by my own panic and knowing that my 2nd grader was now loaded on a bus twice as panicked as I was, I tried to think about the fastest way to get to school. MOSI is maybe 1.5 miles from school. Well, obviously running is the fastest way to remedy this situation.

So I took off running. Sprinting like a stiff breeze. Running so fast. Then I began to heave a lot and stop for breath. Why can I not even be agile and athletic in my dreams? They are MY dreams!

When I began to wear out and was almost unable to continue, I stopped again to consider my options. This is when my college degree kicked in. Cheetahs are much faster than humans. So I dropped onto all fours and began running like a cheetah.

In the dream, I did not move like a real cheetah. I moved like an exhausted human imitating a cheetah and failing miserably.

Then I realized it was just a dream and forced myself awake. The day was still fresh before me. My 2nd grader was not upset.  And I was left with only one scar: the knowledge that I am woefully out of shape, even in my dreams.