Of Halos and Halos

I was in Sprouts Monday getting all the produce in the world for $7.26.  It’s the best shopping experience on the planet; I highly recommend it.  I mean, you can get a grocery cart FULL of fruits and veggies for next to nothing.  Boo-ya!

Anyway, I’m checking out and my cashier has absolutely no hair.  I’m not being judge-y.  I’m just noting that clearly there seemed to be some physical hardship she recently experienced that caused her hair loss.

But she had the sunniest eyes and she was chatting away about Thanksgiving.  Was I ready?  Were we having anyone over??

I told her it would be a pretty quiet one for us this year but that I was actually looking forward to it.  She said it would be a quiet one for her too.  Her disabled, non-verbal brother unexpectedly passed away last month and he loved the holidays.  He lived with their mother who’s taken his passing really hard.  Now…in the wake of that loss…her mother doesn’t feel up to celebrating the holidays. 

But they’re doing Thanksgiving dinner anyway.  And setting up a Christmas tree at her mom’s house while they’re at it.  Her brother would have wanted them to continue all of the traditions; he would be disappointed if they didn’t.  He loved, loved, loved everything about Thanksgiving and Christmas.  But the turkey is too much, so they’re having pot-roast.

My inadequate, “I’m sorry for your loss,” is lost in her enthusiasm as she shows me the word “Christmas Tree” using her brother’s sign for it.  She holds her left arm out horizontally, then rests the elbow of her right arm on top, so that her right hand is pointing to the sky.  Then she joyfully wiggles the fingers of that hand to represent the lights.  It conveys “Christmas Tree” perfectly.

All I can think at this point is: I am completely going to start crying here in the checkout line.  All I originally came in here for were those new Halo clementines on sale for $1.98.  But what I GOT?  Was a whole lot more: An example of courage and hope in the wake of true physical and emotional devastation.  Perspective on what’s important.  And a reminder to be thankful for the blessings in my life, because they may just be on loan and not mine to keep forever. 

While I had to pay for the fruit, that whole other angel-in-disguise bit was free; no charge.  I TOLD you it was the best shopping experience on the planet.  Go to Sprouts now.  And look for that cashier.  Ask her to show you her brother’s sign for Happy Thanksgiving. 

And if you can’t do that on such short notice, then I’ll tell you.  I think he’d want you to know.  He loved the holidays, after all. 

You grab your wattle you know you have one, and please don’t bring the group down with comments on how surprised you are because it got so big allofasudden, and make appropriate gobbling movements with your mouth, which might have to include your tongue.  Have a big smile on your face, like you’re lovin’ every minute of it. 

See?  It conveys “Happy Thanksgiving” perfectly.

Not a Total Loss

You ever have that car?  That car with all the bodily fluid stories?!? 

Ewww…that’s grody!  Why would you even bring that up??  And no, the term “grody” never goes out of style.  And no, don’t even look at ME like that.  You’re the one who brought up the whole bodily fluids thing.

I?  I was simply gonna mention about that car…the car that’s your very first brand spankin’ new car.  The one you still remember fondly.  The car that got you through thick and thin and was like a member of the family.  You ever have one of those?  I did.  I still do.  It’s going on thirteen years old now and was recently declared a total loss by the insurance company as a result of hail storm damage. 

When I got the news, my heart squeezed up.  My car?  A total LOSS?!?  But this car is FILLED to the brim with memories; It can’t be a TOTAL loss!  Admittedly, it’s no longer brand new and sure as heck isn’t spankin’ anything these days, but this was the car we brought a new baby home from the hospital in and then it subsequently held all of the different types of car seats for growing bodies the world has ever seen – until we got beyond car seats and those once-tiny bodies now sit in the front seat and fiddle with the radio. 

My daughter said her first sentence in this car!  (“Doo dees, doo dees,” all while waving her hand reverse-style like the Queen of England in the general direction of the drop-down video screen.  Turns out she was saying, “Do this.  Do this.” while trying to get us to put in a Baby Einstein video for the car ride to daycare.  We just couldn’t figure it out for a full two weeks because of her Latvian accent.) 

All the lost teeth that car has seen!  All the bloody noses.  All the triumphant sports replays discussed with teammates over Slurpees in the back seat.  Until the red Slurpees got spilled everywhere and certain people banned Slurpees in the back seat. 

It even kept us warm and dry during that weird have-to-pee-in-a-bottle-every-time-we’re-in-the-car phase some folks in the family went through. 

And speaking of warm and dry…there were all those rainstorms, even that one tornado, tons of snowstorms that we came safely through because of this car.  In fact, I remember one time driving home in a snowstorm from the Colorado Mountains; the visibility was about as far as my windshield wipers.  As a result I ended up driving down the middle of two lanes because I couldn’t see the lane markers or anything else.  I was also hyperventilating because I don’t usually drive in the mountains in the snow because it makes me hyperventilate.  Hubby had come up separately in his car from a business trip, so he was driving his car home while I was driving my car.  And hyperventilating.  (Did I already mention about the hyperventilating?  Seems like I did.  But it’s important to mention.)

I had a sorority sister visiting and she was co-pilot.  Sonny and Sissy were in the back seat.  Sonny had spent the whole glamorous Mountain Week-end puking ON Sissy.  So it came as no surprise that during this night ride home in the snowstorm when the death plummet off the side of the mountain was a very real thing, Sissy developed the throwing up sickness.  To which I say: thank the Good Lord for sorority sisters willing to man airsick bags which look remarkably like Ziploc freezer bags, gallon-sized.  And thank the Good Lord as well, for cars that keep these very same bags in stock for just such an occasion.

It was a good car.  It was also a good bag – one my sorority sister even tried to hold on to, filled with upchuck and zipped up tight, the whole time reiterating its “good bag” status and how we should “keep it” in case we needed it again.  NO!!  GET RID OF IT!!!  Which she eventually did, flinging it out the window where it was promptly caught by an updraft and spun off into the night.

With all that in mind, you can understand why I experienced such great relief when I found out that if I was willing to take a slightly smaller Total Loss check from the insurance company, I could KEEP the car.  (Which is what I ended up doing because A. I had no other car to drive and B. I of course wanted all those fun memories to live on – that Ziploc Puke Frisbee story is a total gas, isn’t it?!)

Yay!  Nuthin’ embarrassing about a car full of memories, a big red “Totaled” stamp on your title and money in the bank. 

Huh.  But now that I think about it, you know what’s weird about all those car memories?!  They DO involve an awful lot of bodily fluids, after all. 

Hey, Honda!  This has got “commercial” written all over it, don’t you think?!?  There appears to be a market for bodily fluid stories pertaining to your Odyssey minivan line.  So call me.  We need to talk. 

Ziploc, you too. 

Do Si Do and Split Your Pants Left

Sonny split his pants in school last week.  While square dancing during music class.

Now I’ve been square dancing a time or two.  And unless they’ve improved it greatly in recent years, I don’t remember ANY opportunity that presents itself DURING square dancing that would require pants splitting.

In fact, during freshmen year in highschool, I took a gym class pertaining to various forms of public dancing and there was not one single, solitary pants splitting incident.  There was waltzing, the jitterbug, even the hustle…and yes, square dancing.  But nope, no pants splitting. 

And this DOES sound like the worst gym class in the history of the world, doesn’t it?  How ‘bout now, when I tell you that sometimes the gym teacher would turn the thumbscrews at the beginning of the class by calling out, “Ladies’ Choice!”  That’s when the girls had to ask the boys to partner them instead of the other way around.  BARF!  I would always rush over to a guy from my typing class to snap him up before anyone else could.  And not because I had a crush on him or anything (even though his hair WAS feathered), but because he was one of the only guys who was TALLER than I was freshman year.  My kids feel sorry for me when I tell this story because I apparently went to school with a bunch of shrimpy dudes.  (Their words, not mine.)

And you caught that part about the guy being from my TYPING class, right?  Yep.  That’s right: TYPING CLASS.  This makes the whole story even worse in my kids’ eyes, “What kind of a stupid class is that?  Couldn’t you have taken TECH class?  Or COMPUTER class?!?”  No.  No I couldn’t have.  Because those classes didn’t exist.  Only ballroom dancing and typing class existed when I was a freshman in highschool.

So NOW you would be correct and completely accurate if you have formed the impression that I should win an award for Worst Gym Class Story.  A bunch of highschool freshman, awkward enough as it is, then being required to move their arms and legs in synchronicity to a beat?!  Step, 2, 3, 4 STEP, 2, 3, 4.  In front of each other in a brightly lit gymnasium at 9 in the morning??!  Awful.  Especially when you consider that the guys were, for the most part, a bunch of tiny fellers, their heads coming up to my chin.  Hey!  Eyes up here!!  Lurching around on the dance floor, completely disconnected from their feet, which frequently stepped on MY feet.  EYES.  UP.  HERE!  And sometimes?  I had to go all Sadie Hawkins on them and rush around ASKING them for the privilege of stepping on my feet.  AWwwwwwwwFUL!  But I got an ‘A’ anyway.

So when Sonny came home on Friday with the whole ripped-my-pants-square-dancing-and-had-to-go-to-the-office-for-more-pants thing, having had my OWN horrific public dancing experience in school, I was completely prepared to sympathize and empathize with how horrible the situation must have been.

I asked him what happened, how on EARTH he could have split his pants square dancing?!  He replied, “I was dancing by myself doing a grand finale splits move at the end.  And then my pants split.”

Hmmm…this explains EVERYTHING.  Why you were dancing alone; why your pants split; and why I don’t feel sorry for you afterall.  I empathize with the music teacher instead.  And you deserve whatever grade you get in her class.  Now go change your pants.

Accidental Donut

If you think this is going to be a blog about what to do if a donut accidentally lands in your mouth, then you’re sadly mistaken.  That kindof stuff almost never happens to me.  (Unless I throw a donut into my own mouth quick-as-lighting and then act surprised at how it got there.  Where on EARTH did that donut come from?!)

No, no.  THIS accidental donut story is not THAT accidental donut story.  That story is at a different blog.  You should probably go there if you are looking for tips on how to handle donuts that accidentally land in your mouth.

THIS story is for those who read Garth Stein’s “The Art of Racing in the Rain” and know that dogs can talk, and also that your car goes where your eyes go.  And sometimes your eyes?  Are all googly like and you just want to go to a place where you can start over.

Let me explain:  It’s been snowing for the last few days here in Colorado.  And it’s been like 2 degrees.  And yes, I’m so, so serious about the 2 degrees.  I just checked the Weather Channel.  But life goes on despite the total crap weather, so the kids and I headed out a bit early this morning to get to school.  Oh, Hubby?!  He’s on a business trip to Chicago.  Where they are actually having BETTER weather than Colorado.  Go figure.  

The kids and I take the same route we always take, only slower.  And as I’m coming around a corner on a deserted street where there are no other tire tracks marring the newly fallen snow, the car goes into a complete 180ᵒ spin.  Having read “The Art of Racing in the Rain” myself, I’m trying to get a lock on where exactly I want my car to go.  Not that curb.  Nope, not that curb either.  I was very calm in the moment; there was no fear.  Turns out that what they say is true: everything slows down and seems to happen in a dream sequence.  Also?  The car has already been completely totaled, so I didn’t really care WHAT happened to it.  That wasn’t even a factor.  I just wanted to make sure the kids got out of the situation ok.  And yes, the car has literally been totaled.  It’s another flippin’ Colorado weather story having to do with volunteering at school and a massive hail storm.  FLIPPIN’ COLORADO WEATHER!!!  It’s then that I realized I just wanted to start that turn all over again.  If I could just get…back…to where I started, it would all be ok.  At which point Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride reached its conclusion and the car came to a shuddering halt. 

And we WERE back.  We were right EXACTLY back where I started the turn in the first place.  Well, except for that part about completely facing the opposite direction.  Huh.  That’s way weird.  That dog in the book, Enzo, really knew what he was talking about.

I turn to the kids in the back seat to make sure everyone’s ok and I realize that weird clicking noises are coming out of Sonny’s dry-as-dust throat.  “Sweetheart?  Are you hurt?  Are you OK?!?” 

To which he replies, “Now I’m really worried about Dad’s plane getting in today!” 

“Don’t worry, Sweetie.  I won’t be driving it so I’m sure it’ll come in safely.”

Meanwhile, Sissy is sitting beside Sonny exclaiming, “WOW!  Was that a DONUT?!??  I think we just did a donut.  WAS that a donut??!” in the same voice one uses once they realize Bucket List business is happenin’ – goin’ down right here, right NOW.

Why yes.  Yes it was.  It was a donut.  I just did a donut.  Accidentally.  An accidental donut.

Fall Back

Excuse me?  You right there.  Is my circadian rhythm showing!?  I think it must be.  Because for the last week – since we all Fell Back – I’ve been waking up at 4:59 am.  On.  The.  Dot. 


And yes, yes, yes, I understand that I’m part of an advanced society that can “bend time” twice a year to suit its needs; mostly so that we can make our morning coffee in the daylight instead of pre-dawn.  While I’m not sure who decided it was gonna go down like that, I recognize we do it because we are a progressive people who drink antifreeze in their cinnamon whisky shots.  We have the wherewithal to conceive of an idea, and then the capabilities to “make it so.”  (That was a quote from Star Trek.  Is my nerd showing now too?!)

But honestly, I’d be WAY more impressed with my advanced society if they figured out how to instantaneously re-set my INTERNAL clock at Fall Back time.  5:59 am is a much more do-able rise-and-shine time than 4:59 am is. 

And you know what would be the MOST impressive of all?!?  Even MORE impressive than inventing Internal Clock Fall Back Time?  Which is similar to Hammer Time, by the way.  But different.  Because THIS you can touch.  Would be to just acknowledge already that time travel capabilities exist, and that they’ve been in existence since the whole Philadelphia Experiment rumor started. 

This approach would allow me to openly use the teleporter I currently keep hidden in my laundry room.  Pssst!  I bought it when we were living in Pennsylvania, specifically on a trip to Philadelphia.  You can get ‘em cheap from a dude on the corner of Market Street by the Liberty Bell.  Most of the time he pretends he’s just selling knock off handbags and such.  If you can’t find him, then your next best bet is the Naval Shipyard.  Once you get there, just ask the guard for the USS Eldridge and wink several times.

Because IF I could use my teleporter instead of being all hush-hush about it, then future me could come back to waking-up-way-too-early me, and deliver my coffee BEDSIDE!  No matter WHAT the hour, daylight or otherwise.  Screw you, AND the horse you rode in on, Fall Back!    

How’s THAT for advanced?!?  Coffee?  Tea??  Me?!  Ha, ha, ha.  That’s a little joke we teleporter peeps have with our future selves.  It’s a thing people in the future do.  You wouldn’t understand.

However, everyone knows that a Temporal Paradox is created when two versions of yourself exist in one place with coffee.  If you don’t get the coffee just right, then the whole thing becomes extremely dangerous to the fabric of reality.  And to anyone who isn’t good at math.  Their heads just POP right OFF!

Which means the teleporter idea just isn’t feasible in this country.  They teleport all the time in China because as a society, they’re way better at math than we are.  But here?  In the good ‘ol U.S. of A. where we INVENTED time travel?  It’s just not feasible.  Most people aren’t good at math and therefore can’t be trusted.  This forces ALL of us to time travel (air quotes on that while rolling the eyes) the old-fashioned way: by shoving around the hours, one at a time, until we get time-to-make-the-coffee just right. 

Which is fine, I suppose.  A body does get used to it, afterall.  Eventually, that is.  Take yesterday, for example – Sunday, the ONE day in the entire week I get to sleep in.  Guess what time I woke up? 

Yep.  5:59 am.  On.  The.  Dot.

Quiet as a Mouse

This morning as I was heading across the upstairs walkway to the kids’ rooms to wake them up, I heard weird rustling noises in the kitchen.

Hmmmm.  Must be a hungry kid who’s up early and eating directly out of the cereal box or something while standing in the pantry.  So I lean over the railing and call, “You’re up early, Sweetie!  I’ll be right down.”

A pause in the rustling ensued.  But no direct acknowledgement from the rustler followed.  Rude.

As I look up from this one-sided exchange, I can see through Sonny’s open door that he’s still in his bed.  That’s puzzling.  I would have voted him Most Likely to Rustle up Some Breakfast Before Everyone Else is Up.  So I guess it must be Sissy down there.  After I wake Sonny up, even though Sissy is apparently up and eating breakfast already, I stop in her room anyway to turn off her fan which she must’ve forgotten to turn off before she left for her early morning grub foray.

And there’s Sissy…still asleep in her bed!

Uhhh.  Wow.  Either a neighbor completely lost their marbles and broke in for a snack, or the escaped juvenile males from last week ARE actually in my house AND they stayed for breakfast.

So I rush back into my bedroom and wake up my boyfriend, hand him a hairbrush I happen to be carrying and tell him there’s a noise downstairs he has to investigate since Hubby’s out of town.

Ha, ha, HA!  That was silly.  And YOU’RE so silly for believing that thing about the boyfriend.  It was totally my husband all along.  You’re naughty for thinking otherwise.

Hubby comes out onto the walkway with me.  By that time Sissy is up too and we’re all gathered there when, rustle rustle RUSTLE!

Hubby turns to me and says, “What WAS that?” 


So Hubby hops on his horse and disappears downstairs.  Then I hear him say, “Oh, Lord, it’s a mouse!!!”

Apparently when he got downstairs, he found a chip bag on the floor of the pantry WITH a mouse rustling around inside.  No wonder why we’ve all been having stomach aches these last few days!  We’ve probably been eating hantavirus with our BBQ ‘tater chips.  Gaaack!  GAAAAAACK!!!!

So Sissy and I, along with the dog – who thinks the whole thing is just a big, impromptu party – rush downstairs.  As I come around the corner, Hubby, who’s standing guard at the pantry door, looks at me and says, “Do we have a…bowl…or something?!?” 

A bowl?  Really??!  This has ‘Three Stooges’ written all over it!  So I say exactly that as I hand him a used yogurt container.

Instead of picking UP the chip bag WITH the mouse still inside of it in order to dump it out the back door, the brilliant “bowl” concept is now in play.  This entails Hubby dumping out the chip bag onto the floor of the pantry and then SLAMMING his tiny “bowl” down on TOP of the chips.  Because the chips are super slow, he wins there.  The mouse, however?  Is really fast and it runs OUT of the pantry while Hubby’s futzing with the chips.  It proceeds around the kitchen island at a high clip and disappears into a lower cupboard.

*^%&$#*%!!  *^%$#%^&*$#!!!!! 

Ya know what’s wacky about all of that?  No matter how far the Right to Vote and Equal Pay for Equal Work has taken us, some women STILL go all olde-tyme when faced with a mouse underfoot.  They scream EEEEEEEEEEK! and jump up on a chair.  There also may have been some swearing.  Like I said: wacky.  And quite frankly, disappointing.

Eventually, Sonny shows up acting suspiciously like the dog – completely oblivious to what’s really going on, but in high spirits nonetheless.  Turns out he thought there was a snow day we were excitedly whispering then shrieking about.  What the WHAT??

Anyway, all’s well that ends well.  No snow day, though.  And the mouse is still somewhere in the house.  But Hubby has set a few “traps” so it’s just a matter of time before we start eating BBQ mouse feces again.

For your viewing pleasure, here are pictures of the “traps.”  One is set up outside the pantry door.  And one is set up outside the cupboard where the mouse disappeared.  These traps are designed and copyrighted by Curly, so please don’t think you can invent them and sell them for a profit. 


I voted!

I had a choice today of standing in line for several hours or – for the first time ever – voting on that official ballot-y thing they sent me in the mail (as long as I then dropped it off by 7 pm tonight).

Due to a pressing appointment to look at 50% off Halloween Candy at Walmart, which just so happens to be on the other side of the street from the ballot drop-off site, I thought, “Meh.  Why not?!  Let’s do it to it.”

I’m not sure why I’ve never voted this way before, choosing instead to stand in line for umpteen hours.  The whole marking-your-answers-on-a-piece-of-paper-and-then-mailing-it-in always seemed better suited for a Johnny Carson Carnac the Magnificent skit.  Or like the whole mess might be found moldering in a cardboard box fifty years from now during a “60 Minutes” exposé.

But I’ve gotta tell ya, someone clearly put some thought into this process.  And I was pleasantly surprised.  It reminded me of a Scan Tron test combined with an Ikea furniture assembly project.  See?  Pleasant and surprising.

First off, before you begin, you’ve got like twenty or so “parts” you should lay out on the table so you can make sure you have all of the twenty or so parts on the table before you begin.  Otherwise, you’re dead in the water and/or someone has clearly stolen your identity so you should probably go get in line at the polling place now and call your credit card company on the way over.

Next, you have to fill the ballot out.  This year’s ballot had a super catchy “Make the Connection” theme wherein you had to connect the back of the arrow to the front of the arrow beside each person/issue for which you were voting “yes.”  The instructions didn’t say what to use, though, to make the connection.  A #2 Pencil seemed a little wishy-washy and prone to error, so I used a hot glue gun.  I wanted the tally folks sitting underground in the bunker to see I was really committed to my choices.

As an interesting side note, I’d like to mention here that many of the ballot questions appeared to have been written by the Unemployment Office folks who always seem to make the questions (inadvertently on purpose?) super confusing.  Like they want you to accidentally give up and leave an unfinished ballot craft project all over your kitchen table because you simply didn’t understand their circuitous rhetoric.  So it was a good thing the form also “translated” the questions into a dumb-dumb version, something along the lines of:  Are you voting ‘for’ or are you voting ‘against’ this issue, ya moron?!?  Uhhhh….wait.  What?  Let me read it again.  And ‘yes’ means for and ‘no’ means against, right?  And left is right and right is wrong.  Tell me about the rabbits, George. 

Then, after you’ve burnt the crap out of your fingers with your hot glue gun, you’ve gotta sign the whole mess using the full (and oh so tedious) legal name you signed all your mortgage documents with and don’t think for a SECOND that they won’t verify your signature using the weird little box o’signatures at the bank.  ‘Cause they will.

Finally…and this is the BEST part because it makes you feel like a spy who has to keep the information out of the hands of the Russians…you slip your hot-glued ballot into the “Secrecy Sleeve.”  OooOOOOOHHHhhhh.  Awesome!!!  SEEEEECRECY SLEEEEEEVE! 

You pop the whole thing into an envelope with flaps and folds and barcodes visible and hand it out your car window to some random chick who’s pitching all the envelopes into a dumpster looking device.

But that assignment’s done.  I’m pretty sure I got an “A” on it.  Either way, the teacher gave me a sticker for my efforts so it’s all good.