......finding a new home for lutefisk lovers.

(ok we don't love it. or even like it. but we're supposed to.)

29 September 2010

BE PREPARED...........to feel conflicted.

At the school picnic in August, Grandma came to me and said with a big smile, "I signed Liam up for Cub Scouts." Like she had taken the first step in solving the ills of our existence. And I took the wind out of her sails by saying "I don't want him to be a cub scout." Which makes no sense to her. Why wouldn't you want your kid to be prepared? "Because," I say. "They don't allow gay men to be scout leaders." Which is something I feel I have to protest. Gay men don't molest boys, pedophiles do. It's like saying all Catholics could be tempted to blow up an abortion clinic. Maybe they should change the rule so that pedophiles aren't allowed to be scout leaders. Now that's something I could get behind.

I'm also uncomfortable with the often awkwardly glossed-over "Duty to God" business. Why do you have to believe in God to go camping? Are atheist children not allowed? Or humanists? Or Christine O'Donnell's wiccan child? Maybe this should be a church-sponsored club so they could openly perform their duties to God and exclude anyone they want without trying to hide it? The whole thing seems disingenuous and subversively conservative and I don't want to be a part of it.

So I'm going to squelch it. Remember, Liam is a quitter not a joiner, so I don't think my minor protest will make much impact. He'll shrug and get distracted by a matchbox car he sees under the couch and move on to the next thing.

But I'm wrong. He's really excited about being a cub scout. He's invested. And he panics and begs when I say we aren't doing it.........even when I throw hot wheels in front of his face to throw him off. So I ask him what he thinks cub scouts is all about and he says "survival." I want to tell him it's really more about "meetings" than "survival." There's no knife play or anything. But I take his excitement seriously. This might be authentic. Maybe even necessary?

So I take some time to research two things:
A) What's this all about for him? B) What's the cost/benefit ratio?

And this is what I came up with:

A) WHAT'S THIS ALL ABOUT?

1. Archery with Marshmallows: At the school picnic, the cub scout booth hosted an archery game involving the launching of marshmallows. Liam quickly figured out that he could stand behind the bullseye and eat all the marshmallows that missed the target. He probably thinks they do this at every meeting.

2. The Uniform: Hi digs it. Can't wait to go shopping, yes SHOPPING, for the shirt the patches the neckerchief (what a nerdy word!), the cap the belt - all of it. He wants to put it on and stare at himself in the mirror like some backwoods beauty queen. In addition to looking as cool as a Canadian Mounty, I also think the uniform immediately identifies him as belonging to a group. Belonging. Immediately. Hmmm.

3. Classmates: The boys in his class are talking about cub scouts. If he were a cub scout, he would have something to talk to them about. It's the belonging thing again.

4. Ezra: He misses his buddy, Ezra. Ezra was a cub scout. He was 2 years older and sometimes put his cub scout uniform on to come over and play. I think it made him feel important. Ezra also won the pinewood derby. So cub scouts equals cool older boys, cars and glory.


B) COST / BENEFIT RATIO

COST: My values are compromised and I'm made to feel mildly uncomfortable by awkward references to God and one's nebulous duty to him/her/it.

BENEFIT: Liam gets an extra opportunity to socialize boys from his new school. He gets to feel like one of the guys...........at a time when he feels like he has no guys.


And suddenly the issue seems much clearer.

For the time being, I'll have to narrow my focus and give Liam as much back-up as possible so he can settle in and call this place home. When "my two dads" and Christine O'Donnell's wiccan child file lawsuits against the Boy Scouts of America, I'll be right there - showing my child how to stand up with his fellow citizens against the evils of discrimination and exclusion. But for now, they'll have to fight their battles on their own. I've got a neckerchief to tie.

27 September 2010

Picture a Parent Trying Not to Laugh.........

(crying).........."You treat me like I'm a BABY! ! You always want me to be safe and healthy!! And you won't let me have the real Capri Sun with SUGAR!!"
~ Liam, age 8

24 September 2010

List Item #1: The USS Albacore


Historically, I've really enjoyed moving. Mike and I moved 11 times before Liam was born - most of that done by rolling up my futon and loading my milk crates into the back of my Mazda pickup (which had a monthly payment of $99). I liked the idea of a new place with new attractions and new things to entertain me; my first mission was never to "settle in" but to get out there and see what the place had to offer me. This is where my OCD tendency to make lists is almost unbearably strong; I pour through magazines, guidebooks and websites seeking the best restaurants, best festivals, most scenic drives - the things and places and events that give a personality to a place - and we can't move until we've crossed them all off the list!!! Each one a little accomplishment, inching us closer and closer to complete mastery of a place. To leave a place without getting through the list would be like not giving it a fair chance. As in, "How can I judge this place when I haven't even seen the world's largest ball of twine? There is fun to be had here and I'm missing it!"

So, on the day pictured above, we visited the USS Albacore, a dry-docked submarine open to tourists near the Portsmouth naval ship yards. I have no interest in submarines and the thought of going inside one (let's not even mention going underwater) makes me whimper a little. I don't why those seamen (hee hee!) don't end up cannibalizing each other. But that's what we do for love, is it not (not cannibalizing, visiting attractions that turn your kid's crank)? When Liam blames his adult fear of dogs on me, I'll make sure to mention to his therapist that I went INSIDE a submarine for him.

Lucky for me, the sub was chock full of photo ops for those who hate boring pictures..........people like me who would rather take a picture of someone else's kid crying at Disney World - the happiest place on earth!! - than take a picture of my own kid standing next to Mickey Mouse. Yawn. You'd better pull Mickey's pants down or something. Really, it's more about the funny pictures than life on a sub; there was me talking on the Emergency Phone filing my nails, me pretending to type on the typewriter, me pretending to pull a really big lever and, as seen above, me sitting on the submarine toilet. If there's a toilet out in the open, I have to have my picture taken on it. Not with it......on it. When we remodeled our bathroom and put the old toilet on the curb, I could not WAIT til it got dark enough for me to run out there, pull down my pants and sit down with a magazine. But where was the photographer? Oh yeah, he wouldn't do it. What a fun hater..........squandered opportunity.

Liam, on the other hand, thinks it's funny..........as long as we're not breaking any rules. Yes, I have been scolded by my child in the midst of rogue photo ops - "NO MOM! You're not supposed to go past that rope!!" But he was more than happy to take my picture on a submarine toilet. He's no fun hater.

One down! 978 to go! New England is nothing if not overflowing with exciting and memorable attractions. And, according to the native New Englanders, they are all the BEST! Everything else pales in comparison!

Hey, be true to your school, man.

22 September 2010

Goodbye Summer



Yes, I know school has begun but it ain't over til the fat lady sings. And she sings tomorrow.







20 September 2010

The Smudge Stick


It's no secret that we've had trouble bonding with our new house. It was built in 1984 as a colonial reproduction; it's big and it's comfortable and it might be somebody's dream house. That person being a boring one with a 1980's flair for color, but still. The point is that it's not calling out to us in any way. And it doesn't help that the previous owners were bad people. Big meanies who jerked us around and bullied their neighbors.

Bad people lived in my house.

So how did you end up with this house? you ask. The housing market here just didn't give us that much to choose from. And this house seemed like it would offer a good return on our investment in addition to planting us just steps away from the beach. And time was running out. Not every decision can be a forever decision.

But 7 weeks in, we still feel like visitors in this house; sometimes even trespassers. I think the meanies may have abused this house by putting ugly colors on the walls and allowing the 1984 wallpaper to overstay its welcome and mock the house from the inside...........and by being mean in it.

Numerous friends suggested that we "sage" or "smudge" the house - a Native American ritual of burning sage in a space to dissipate negative energy and invite goodness in. The sage is tightly rolled in what's called a "smudge stick" (available in new age hippie stores). The homeowner walks through the house with the burning stick so that the smoke drifts into every corner, banishing old energy. In a word, get the f*** out meanies.

After weeks of feeling like we're not welcome, the day finally comes when my famously skeptical husband was like "where's the nearest hippie store?" An hour later we stand outside together - mother, father and son - with a burning stick of sage, talking about the happiness we want to bring into the this house. We enter the house like a little hippie parade, swirling the smoke around. And by the time we get to the living room, Mike gives me an "uh-oh" kind of look and says, "Kristin, this smells like weed." And it does - and we cough and sputter and laugh but we carry on. Because this is my house now, dammit, and we have to get the stink of those mean people out of here!

Despite the smell, Mike is into it. He's so rattled by this house that his normally skeptical outlook is suspended so he can take full advantage of this magic woo woo. He's like "Wait! You missed this corner! Get it up here!"

We go into the former owner's office and I hold the smoking stick high above my head, trying to reach corners filled by the man's malevolence. I say, "I think he screwed over a lot of people in here." Mike counters - "I don't think so. He didn't have that kind of pull. I think he was just frustrated." This makes me feel better. Homeland Security levels dip to orange.

We hurry because we have a babysitter coming (score! A babysitter! After only 7 weeks in our new neighborhood! And at age 12, she's too young to have a criminal record!). A few more wafts here and there and then I run upstairs to change clothes, assuming my jeans and Tshirt are a little smokey. I feel accomplished. Like I'm taking steps to re-orient this house in a happy direction. I wonder if the exercise is primarily symbolic; and the act of performing the ritual brings change to the psyche of the inhabitants rather than to the house itself. Whoever thought of that is brilliant......keep it up, dude.

When I return downstairs, the babysitter has already arrived and date night has begun! Woo hoo! But I notice that our normally perky babysitter seems a little off. Distracted. Anxious even. I start making up things to worry about.........maybe she's manic depressive. It's quite common for depression issues to appear around puberty. Damn! I don't want to lose our only babysitter! But I want to get out of the house so I quickly rationalize that Liam's nerf gun attack will snap her out of it.

We get in the car and peel out of the driveway (ok we responsibly exit the driveway. But in my head we peel out. Leave skidmarks even) and I take in a deep breath to start fresh........

...........and the smell hits me so hard I actually swoon. I reek!! But, wait, I changed my clothes! Mike says "Are you sure that was just sage?" Yes! Yes! The ingredients read sage, cedar and lavender! I really am feeling a little dizzy! And then I flash back to another era...........when my crunchy hair scraped the ceiling of a car filled with 10-12 if my closest friends as we drove home from the little bar off campus. It's my hair!! I grab a handful and hold it to my nose. And, I'm not kidding, my eyes start to wiggle in my head a little bit. I smell like St. Olaf in 1988! Even without the perm.

I can't go in a movie theater like this! Mike is nonplussed. What do you care what people think? But I do care - I don't care if people don't like my new hair color but I do care if they think I'm a lawbreaker. Besides, a 42 year old pot smoker is just sad.

And then........(flash back to the anxious looking babysitter).............

OMIGOD THE BABYSITTER!!!!!! The babysitter thinks we're potsmokers! And then I realize that my 8 year old child, her charge for the evening, also smells like a potsmoker! And I'm scrambling, hoping that she's too young to identify such smells - she rode to my house on scooter, for crissakes! Or maybe she has just enough exposure to know that funny, smokey smells get the big kids in trouble. I'm picturing her seeing the half-burnt banana-sized smudge stick and thinking "so that's what a joint looks like."

Mike thinks its funny but I don't. He's forgetting that we are the NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK and she's going to go home and tell her parents that the new neighbors smoke pot! WITH THEIR CHILD! So I call home several times hoping she'll pick up. I'll explain the scary smell and tell her about the world's biggest doobie sitting on the kitchen counter. But it rings and rings and rings. They're probably outside......on their scooters. Or maybe she's scootering home at this very minute to tell her parents........with Liam in tow as evidence!

But there's nothing I can do. I have to let it go and enjoy my date. I'll just explain when we get home.

We go to see "The Other Guys" with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. I love me some Marky Mark, with or without the Funky Bunch. Mike and I always end up seeing adolescent boy comedies. That way he doesn't have to snore through the obscure indie flicks that I like and I don't have to check my email through the action flicks that he likes. This is where we meet in the middle.

And Marky Mark is cracking me up. CRACKING ME UP! The movie is so funny I can hardly stand it! Like milk coming out of your nose funny. Mouth wide open with no noise coming out funny. But why am I the only one laughing? I notice that my laughing is going on a lot longer than everyone else's. And I'm laughing where other people are not. Because everything is so damn funny! Everything! And then I laugh at myself laughing because that's really funny, too. And no one else is laughing. That's really funny! And it finally occurs to me that I may be the tiniest bit stoned from by sage and cedar and lavendar fatty.

Toward the end of the movie, it seems like I haven't laughed for a long time. Nothing is funny anymore. Is it me or them? There are cotton balls inside my head and I'm having trouble paying attention. The movie just seems like it's on in the background. Am I coming down or is this just bad film-making?

We get home to the babysitter and explain everything and her sweet, perky face returns. Her face visibly goes "whew!" And so do I..........because she's not manic depressive. Then she hops on her scooter and goes home.

That night, I sit on my couch watching the MTV Video Music Awards (The VMA's to those of us who listen to music far too young for us) and my head hurts just a little bit. I text my vote for Best New Artist (Justin Bieber, of course. He won! Yay! You're welcome, Justin.). And every once in a while I get a whiff..........I smell like a frickin' stoner. I'm going to have to tie all my hair up on top of my head when I go to bed. Just like I did after a night out in 1988.

But it's worth it. Because now we have begun to give this house a soul. And maybe she enjoyed toking up a bit with her new family.

15 September 2010

It Took Me 2 Days to Plant a Damn Coneflower


When you drive down the winding country roads here, you admire the natural outcroppings of rock in people's yards; so New England, so ancient and bucolic. And then you find - oh joy! - you also have these amazing rocks in your new yard. No one hauled them here. And you didn't have to pay for them like you did at your little house on the prairie. They were here first and placed themselves according to some organic plan created by the universe. Life imitating art.

And when I see my own giant rock collection, my pet rocks, my mind immediately starts making plans: I need something tall and wispy right there, maybe some meadow rue..........and a whole mess of coneflower randomly scattered over there - pink and white and yellow................and those day lilies have to go, they have no right to be here so pedestrian are they.............and I can move the dianthus by that rock and maybe add some cranesbill alongside it............and groundcovers! A patchwork of creeping jenny and scotch moss and chocolate chip ajuga WHERE ARE MY KEYS????!!!!!

And I return from the plant nursery with a carload of impulse purchases. Which is NOT something I feel guilty about anymore. I used to judge my gardening habits with a rational mind but a rational mind has no place in the garden. This is a creative outlet and it would be WRONG - no, IRRESPONSIBLE - to stifle the juices that fight to be expressed. That's the kind of thing that can make you sick! Would you chastise someone for buying too much paint? As in "Not another masterpiece! Didn't we just buy paint last week? Hey, we're in a recession here.........maybe you could make the sky a little less blue."

Ok - rationalization over.

Before I can put my impulse purchases in the ground, I have to do some serious removal of invasive species. In Minnesota, I used to "pull" weeds. With my hands. And even the stubborn ones would eventually surrender their home in the soft Midwestern soil. I find out quickly that we don't "pull" weeds in New Hampshire.........we DIG them. With a big ass shovel. Because the pretty rocks that I admire on my drives don't just sit atop the landscape. The landscape actually sits atop the pretty rocks. Lots and lots of rocks. Forever! Dammit!

I jam the point of my shovel in the ground and stand on it and jump up and down. And then I get down and I heave and I ho and I jam it in again and again and again and jump up and down again and again and again. And this time, when I heave and ho attempting to dislodge the roots from the rocks, I seethe through clenched teeth "COME ON YOU DOUCHEBAG!!! " I look like a frickin' gladiator.

And now I can't stop.......this is war, baby. I now have an enemy and I can't let up for a second or the weeds will win! I'm like Mike Mulligan and Mary Ann, digging and digging and digging. And finally, after what seems like the 30 Days War, I have a space big enough to plant one GD coneflower.

But I can't quit now. I need to get at least one thing in the ground or Operation Who the Hell Put Rocks in My Garden will be a total failure. So I start digging my hole - just one hole - and my shovel hits a rock every FREAKIN' time! I dig rocks and dig rocks and dig rocks and make my hole one centimeter at a time. Mike comes outside and says "Why don't you come inside?"

"NO!"

"You can quit. *I don't want you to overdo it." *remember, I'm trying to heal a broken foot.

"NO! How about a wow you sure have been working hard or a way to go sister or a this yard sure is going to look great? Way to boost my self-esteem, Mike!"

He knows better than to try to dig himself out of that hole. So he goes back inside and this time he brings me a Corona garnished with a slice of lime. He's no dummy. So I take a cleansing breath and convince myself that some of the rocks will dissolve overnight so I really should call it a day.

I sit on the deck enjoying my beer and I assess my work. My backbreaking work. And I fantasize about digging a hole in my yard in Minnesota. There's Enya music playing in the background and I have lipstick on and really cute, colorful gardening shoes and every time I point my shovel into the ground it slides right in. And then, a gentle push with my foot sends it deeper - as deep as I want! Then I heave (there's no need to ho) and lift! Voila! Lather, rinse, repeat! And do you know what happens when I keep digging?

THE HOLE GETS DEEPER!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! (deep breath) AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

The next day, paralyzed with soreness, I return to my hole with fresh armpits and a fresh attitude. I look at its measely depth and I think "It's ok. Only a little more. It's really only half a task. Maybe it can stick out of the ground a little." And I did it. Two days worth of work. One beautiful pink coneflower. Planted.

One down, eight to go.


EPILOGUE
The next morning, as Liam and I eat breakfast, we spy a deer making her way to our yard. We stand still and peer through the window to see what she will do. She twitches her ears and hesitantly, step by careful step, makes her way over the rocks and into my garden.

I catch my breath. OH NO YOU DI-IN'T!!!

She pokes her nose at my coneflower a couple of times..........and takes a bite.

I throw the door open with such force that Liam jumps. And I yell "YOU'RE DEAD, BAMBI!"

..........yeah, you better run.

13 September 2010

Making a Good Impression on the Neighbors

I'm the new girl. I'm well aware of that fact. And I'm well aware of the fact that breaking free of my new girl label will take some work on my part. And I don't just want my new neighbors to accept me; I want them to be like "oh she's so friendly - let's invite her over for margaritas!" So I'm going out of my way to knock on doors and be chatty and practice good neighbor skills. One thing I try to do is speak up about the nice things that pop into my mind. Give a voice to my complimentary thoughts. If someone looks nice, does something nice, or their kid doesn't annoy me.......I make sure I say it out loud. In the words of an elderly black gentleman who admired my shape at Trader Joe's, "I JUST THINK IF YOU SEE SOMETHIN' YOU LIKE, YOU SHOULD SAY SOMETHIN'!" Thank you, sir.

So my neighbor comes out of her house one day wearing a cute little dress in bright yellow. It's a strappy little number with a small pattern on it and I like it. So I say so.

"I love your dress. Where did you get it?"

And she gives me a look like "Come ON."

"What?" I say.

And she holds the fabric up closer to my face and I can see that the cute pattern is made up of SpongeBobs.

And the cute little dress is her nightie.

So now I'm either a) surprising her when she thought she was alone on her own property b) mocking her for being a lazy ass c) obviously sucking up to the cool kids or d) stupid.

Way to go, Kristin.

10 September 2010

To My Brother on his 40th Birthday

My brother is a dude. He does not drive a minivan or a sedan or wear Dockers or listen to Dave Matthews. He doesn't go to the office or commute or write reports or watch power point presentations. Instead, he makes a good living in a job that allows him to wear cargo shorts. His shoes are red. He has floppy bleach-blonde hair and a bike that he rides to the beach. He drives a Honda Element so he can haul his gear in the back. And he has 1500 albums on his IPod. That's albums, people, not songs.

And today.......he turns 40 years old. He is an icon for "40 is the new 30."

Supposedly, turning 40 no longer means that teenagers roll their eyes at us. We're not divorced from the mainstream culture, destined to live out the rest of our days like it's perpetually 1992, listening to our U2 albums while the world moves forward without us. So we look cool and listen to new music and go to concerts that rattle our teeth. Just like people a decade younger than we are.

But you know what we didn't give up? The street cred that comes with 20 years of adulthood. We are the ones who have arrived. We are the mentors. We know the answers without looking in the back of the book. Our path is the one that 30 year olds follow, at top speed, so they can continue to climb and eventually arrive at the pinnacle.

Those of you in your 40's are now saying "What pinnacle? I didn't get a pinnacle."

That's because the pinnacle can be really subtle.

And when you got there, you relaxed and opened your mind to the unknown possibilities. And you've already started making new paths that don't so much climb as create. The post-40 path creates new opportunities that may or may not be related to the path you forged in your 30's. And you're ok with this because you now have the wisdom to know that the end result is not a specific place or position or income level.........but, instead, it's a culmination of experiences that shape your happiness. It's a swirling vortex rather than a pin on a map.

And, because you're 40, you just relax into it and reap the rewards. While the 30 year olds, with their wishing and grasping and forward-only propulsion, covet your confidence and poise and your "I'm ok / You're ok" outlook.

Because you've stopped wishing and grasping and you've found your rhythm. You're trusting that the groove knows where to go. The needle has to follow the groove or the music won't play; fighting the groove only scratches the record.

Don't worry, you're still going somewhere........it's just not in a straight line. And when the groove ends, you flip the record over and listen to side 2.

40 rocks my world, dude. Welcome it properly and it won't disappoint.

07 September 2010

Darling I Love You But Give Me Park Avenue

I don't know how to describe the area in which we live. People ask if it's suburban. No - not in the traditional sense. And it's far from urban. I start to say rural but that's not accurate either. Yes, we're isolated but we have neighbors. And they're not farmers. So it's somewhere between suburban and rural. It's subrural. Or rurburban. It's like Knots Landing with trees. All I know is that I can't get Thai food on the way home. And that there is a lot of wildlife. I am a big fan of wildlife. I like big trees and paths through the woods. I like sitting quietly on the banks of pretty much anything. The title of my master's thesis was 'An Examination of the Environmental Content in the Illustrations of Caldecott Award Winning Books from 1970-1990: For the Environmental Education Classroom.' Snap.

But I'm learning that I would rather visit my wildlife than live with it. I'm a little Eva Gabor-esque (or was it Zsa Zsa? Either way, New York is where she'd rather be). It started with a run-in with a mouse who built a nest in our basement and liked to visit us at dinnertime. Have you ever seen a woman with a broken foot jump on a chair? It's pure instinct, baby. As was muttering "You fu*@er!" .......like I would offend him and he would leave. Then there was a rabid-looking fox that traipsed across our driveway, wild turkeys who made us wait while they crossed the street and a deer who wasn't sure who had the right of way (Go ahead. No - you go. No, really - I insist. You go.). And a slug as big as a banana. No lie. No wonder my hostas look like shit.

The other day, Liam said he saw one scary thing and one cute thing. The cute thing was a frog and the scary thing was a snake. And I looked at him calmly and I listened but I couldn't hear a word he said because I was fighting to keep my body still and my face neutral so that I wouldn't RUN! I wanted to find the nearest chair and jump on it! I wanted to scream like a girl! But I worked hard to stave off the virtual plethora of negative messages that would send...... including "Mama is a sissy." The street here is littered with squashed snakes and frogs so I knew it was coming. I should have practiced. I should have done some practice snake sightings or........no, I can't. I would just run from the practice snake.

The chipmunks are like pets and they're numbers negate their cuteness. They grab a snack from my garden and sit confidently by my side and munch. Like "How are ya? Good nasturtiums today, huh?" THEY DO NOT SCURRY AWAY! Who ever heard of a chipmunk that didn't SCURRY? From my living room couch, I watched what I thought was a badger waddle to his home under my deck. Which Mike thought was hilarious - because it was a woodchuck. I still don't know why that's funny. Maybe it's only funny to people who who grew up with badgers (or woodchucks or whatever) in their backyards.

Now Mike is talking about guns. What he calls "a sweet new air rifle." And I'm like "WE ARE NOT THOSE PEOPLE!"

One night eating dinner on our deck, a deer mouse approached us to see if we had anything to share. He was shy. He'd pop up on the deck, approach us, and pop out of sight at the clank of a fork. Then he'd repeat the sequence. Over and over again. And he was cute. Straight out of a Disney movie. But I could not RELAX! One eye on my plate, one eye on the spot where he magically appears. I kept wondering if he would magically appear on the table........or in my pant leg.

And I haven't even mentioned the fisher cats. Neighbors have warned me about these mysterious fisher cats who cry like children in the night. This animal is NOT a cat......but no one can tell me exactly what it is! So my imagination is left to create some mutant platypus with fangs that stares in my windows.

Then Mike tells me he saw an animal crawl under our deck that looked like an oversized squirrel with a long, skinny snout (keep it together, KEEP IT TOGETHER!). So we google "fisher cats" to confirm our fisher cat sighting. But that was not it! The picture did not match! So now I have 2 mutant animals to worry about! The platypus with fangs and the giant squirrel with a long, skinny snout! This creeps me out like a big black snake in the toilet (and don't you DARE tell me that happened to you!).

I'll be honest........I've become a bit skitterish. I feel like the unwanted girlfriend in The Parent Trap (Hayley Mills, not Lindsey Lohan) who tiptoes through the woods clacking two sticks together to keep nonexistent mountain lions away. My reactions to various stimuli are a bit.....hmmmm......exaggerated. I hear the dishwasher and I jump. Recently, a craisin from my salad fell off my fork and skittered across my plate and Mike had to peel me off the ceiling. In a restaurant, no less ("Just a craisin, people! Just a craisin!"). On another occasion, I threw some garbage in our overflowing garbage can and inadvertently pushed a piece of wadded up packaging tape over the side....... and it rolled across the top of my foot. I dropped the garbage and ran. I ran and I screamed "MIKE NOONAN! MIKE NOONAN!" Mike Noonan was sitting on the toilet at the time. But my safety comes first so he rallied. And when he saved me from the wadded up packaging tape, he was not happy. And I was more than a little humiliated.

I've called the Orkin man 3 times to describe the different sounds I hear in my ceiling. It's like he's my sponsor or something.

So I've got to get my sh*t together. Yesterday, I was in the yard alone and I heard something in the woods. Walking. Probably watching me. Oh my god, does it bite? But then a deer quietly steps into my yard and looks right at me. It is not scared. It doesn't turn and run away from me. Which pisses me off! Even though it was cute. But this is not how this works! So I straighten up and I look at that really cute deer and I say "HEY! This is MY yard! Just in case you were confused."

03 September 2010

What Do You Do When A Hurricane Is Coming?


Naturally, you go to the beach to see how big the waves are. The same way you stop to look out the window - THE most dangerous spot! - on your way to the basement during a tornado. I would be that person they interview in the hospital with my head wrapped in bandages......."Well, I was on my way to the basement when I stopped to look out the window. The sky was green and I saw a funnel cloud coming right at me. And, out of nowhere, the window shattered and I was sucked out of my house and thrown around the neighborhood until I got snagged in my neighbor's tree. I don't know how it happened."

I'm well-acquainted with tornado procedure but this is my first hurricane. Luckily, my friend from Florida called and implored me to prepare. Most importantly, I must make "hurricane treats." Hurricane treats are like "tornado bars," something you bring to the basement to snack on while you play with the flashlight and listen to the transistor radio. I'm not the world's most motivated baker........I would classify my domestic skills as "half-assed"...........so I'm hoping we have a box of something that I can add an egg to and put in the microwave. Bingo - I find a box of Eagle Brand Magic Cookie Bars that came on the moving truck from Minnesota. Only 11 days past its expiration date. I don't have any butter but I have shortening. That's the same, right?

If these turn out, I may take some down to the beach to share with the surfers who are arriving by the VW bus-load and chanting "HURR-I-CANE! HURR-I-CANE! HURR-I-CANE!"