Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hale the Conquering Hero: continued

Caution: If you did not read my previous post, you may want to do so now, in order to have a clear picture. Click here, to read it.

Fast forward 8 years. I am now the mother of a 23 month old and a 2 1/2 year old. The month is November. How can I remember the time so clearly? Well, you see, I know we had recently celebrated Halloween, because my children were in love with all things scary.

"Spider, Mommy! Spider!" They sing-song in their high pitched little girl voices. I was in the kitchen.

"Yep! Spiders! We love spiders! What kind of spider do you have?" You understand, of course, I was merely humoring the little tykes while I did my very important mommy things...

"NO Mommy! A real big spider! On the window!" Again, this announcement is said gleefully.

"Just a minute! I'm busy. I'll come see you're 'real' spider in a minute!" I chuckled and shook my head...Oh those kids and their imaginations....

I finished my task, walked in my living room, and to my horror, on the front bay window is the biggest, scariest spider I've ever seen in my life! Picture a spider as big as a tarantula, but it's NOT a tarantula. It's black. And it's not hairy, like you'd think. Nope, it's smooth, like a black widow, but again it's entirely too humongous to be a black widow. And it's in my house. On my window. In my living room. Actually, on the window isn't exactly right. It was on my sheers on the window side. I was in a panic. There was a giant, killer spider in my house. What was I going to do? I had to protect my children. Their safety was in my hands. I did what any sane, responsible mother of 2 small defenseless children would do.

I called their father.

"Studmuffin? I need you to come home. Now. There's an emergency."

"What's the matter?" His voice echoes concern. I know he's coming to save me. I can feel the relief begin to flow through my veins.

"There is s giant spider in the house. I need you to come home, right now, and kill it!"

"You want me to come home. To kill a spider."

"Yes to kill a spider! It's a giant spider! I told you, it's an emergency! Come. Home. Now." My voice raised a few decibels by this point.

"Babe, I'm not leaving work to kill a spider. You have to take care of it."

"B-b-b-but, it's a big spider. It's scary. I can't kill it. I need you to come home. Now." The girls are now dancing around and singing "Kill the spider Mommy! You can do it! Kill it! Yeah!"

"You have to kill it. I'm not leaving work."

"But, what if it gets one of the girls before I can kill it?"

*Sigh* "It's not going to get one of the girls. If you're worried about the girls, send them upstairs, and put the gate up so they can't come down."

"Okay. But I really think you should come home and kill it. That's your job you know." What the heck kind of man did I marry? Where's my knight in shining armor?

"No. My job is here. You can do this. Just calm down. Now, just take a newspaper, and whack the spider." Heartless. That's what he is...Utterly and completely heartless.

"I can't. The spider will get guts all over my drapes. I need you to come home and get the spider down from the drapes and kill it."

"No. Here's what you're going to do. Get a plastic pitcher. Put it around the spider, then take a newspaper and whack the spider into the pitcher. Then, the spider will be in the pitcher."

"But, what if the spider jumps out? Then it will bite me, and I will die, and the girls will not have a mother to raise them, and it will be all your fault because I need you to come home. And kill this spider. NOW."

"I'm not coming home. Once you knock the spider into the pitcher, carry it to the door, shaking the pitcher the entire way so the spider will be unable to jump out." I can tell his resolve his very firm. He is not going to come home and save me...His fair damsel in distress.

"Okay. I can do this." *sniffle* "If I must..."

I did as he instructed. He was still on the phone with me. At this point everyone in his office had joined into listening to his end of the conversation, shocked, I'm sure, at his utter lack of compassion for me, and his refusal to do his duty as my husband and come rescue me from the giant killer spider.

I took the pitcher. I squealed as I put it around the spider. I took a newspaper and whacked the spider. Nothing happened. The spider is now trapped in my pitcher, still clinging to the sheer with it's sticky feet (duh) and it is now angry....Plotting it's vengeance on me...I began to weep. The girls were still upstairs, cheering and clapping for me. "You can do it Mommy! Yeah, Mommy! Kill the spider!"

"It's still on the drape! It didn't move, and now it's angry, and it is going to kill me! Come home! Save me!!!"

"Honey. Calm down. Take the pitcher and scrape it down the drape, knocking the spider loose, into your pitcher. Then, you will take the pitcher, with the spider in it, and run to the door, shaking the pitcher so the spider will be unable to jump out and eat you." I sensed a certain amount of exasperation and patronization in his tone.....

Okay. I'm starting to get the idea that he thinks I'm being a tad ridiculous. Does he not realize the monstrous creature that has invaded our home, my sanctuary, and is threatening the very safety of my children and me?

I beg him to come home and help. He is firm. I must deal with this myself. Giving up on him having even small shred of decency, I did as he instructed. Only, to my utter horror, I neglected to hold the drape taut as I scraped the pitcher down, and the spider fell to the floor. I screamed a blood curdling scream, jumped approximately 3 feet in the air, and dropped the pitcher.

Now, Gentle Reader, here is where the hand of God came into play. The pitcher fell down on top of the spider, trapping the spider under it. I was safe! The spider was trapped! I was not going to die a horrible painful death by spider bite! I began to cheer with relief and joy. The girls started jumping up and down, clapping their hands for their mommy.

"I got it! I trapped the spider under the pitcher on the floor! I'm leaving it there until you get home tonight."

"What?! No you are not. You will kill the spider. You can do this."

"No. I can't. Please come home. Please. Please....."

Well, I eventually gave in. I got a shoe, the biggest shoe I could find, and began my attack. Studmuffin remained on the phone. I picked up the pitcher and let out a blood curdling scream as I brought the shoe down on the spider.

"Did you kill it?"

"I don't know...."

"What do you mean you don't know?"

"I'm afraid to lift the shoe."

"Oh good grief. Pick up the shoe, clean up the spider, and get hold of yourself."

I ground the shoe into the floor with all my might. There was very little evidence that the giant spider ever existed other than the tiny bits of spider legs and exoskeleton by the time I was finished with that thing.

And my blood curdling scream? Well, I finally realized why the Indians let out war whoops as they went into battle. It was out of sheer terror, and determination that they would be victorious over their enemies....Their's was white man, mine was the killer spider. Yep, I am way more understanding of the Native American experience after my conflict with the spider.......

My children cheered and cheered for me. I was the hero of the day. I killed the monstrous spider. All by myself. No thanks to Studmuffin.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Hale the Conquering Hero!

I know you perceive me as a brave, no fear sort of gal, don't you? Don't you? Right? No doubt about it, I'm one fearless gal, right? Right? Hellooooo?.....Oookaay....I'll take your silence as a nod of agreement, not of disbelief in my delusions.....

Well, based on your previous understanding of my stalwart personality, I hope you won't too disappointed to learn that.....I used to be deathly afraid of spiders.

I blame my parents, really....After all, everything that is remotely wrong with me falls firmly on the doorstep of my parents. That's the way life is, right? I know that as the mother, any screw up I make is sure to scar my children for life. That is why I have striven for perfection in motherhood as I have with all things such as housekeeping, finances, cooking, exercise, time in the Word....Oh wait! That's not me! That's my fantasy alter ego! Never mind! Back to reality...

My reality is a cluttered house, finances far from Dave Ramsey's system, and cooking that is on again off again. And exercise...though I love it....well, I seem to be placing it on the back burner lately, and the bathroom scale is screaming at me to get off my duff (I think the family hearing impairment is blocking that voice fairly well). My time with God is as sketchy as everything else in my life seems to be. And my parenting? Forget about it...Please, Lord, don't let my children be scarred for every stupid mistake I make, or they will be in therapy for years!

So, after that long ramble totally off the subject, we will return to my fear of spiders, which truly is my parents fault.....You don't believe me? Well, just listen to this!

We had a major wolf spider infestation when I was in high school. The were predominantly in my bedroom. I would beg my parents to hire an exterminator, to bomb the house...anything, but they did not hear my pleas. Even when they came from my bedroom with me standing on my bed shrieking because a giant spider, the size of a mouse just ran across my floor....They would simply roll their eyes, kill the spider and go on about their life. They blamed me for my spider infestation...They said if I would clean all of the junk out of my closets and under my bed, the spiders wouldn't have a place to nest, and would move on....I did these things, and the infestation remained..........

Studmuffin and I were dating at this time. We were sitting on the floor watching TV in the living room, when a giant, fuzzy looking wolf spider started across the floor... My hero sprang into action.

But what is this?

Oh no!


His weapon of choice was the wrong weapon! He was about to pound it with a shoe!

"NOOOOOOO!!!!" I screamed as the shoe came crashing down on the spider, and the atrocity happened... thousands, possibly MILLIONS of baby spiders went flying across the living room floor in all directions as they sought safety from the shoe of death!

You see, dear reader, wolf spiders actually carry their young on their bellies for awhile after being born. So, you must always snatch the entire creature up with a tissue (more like 20, just in case they can, by some miracle, bite through the tissue...better safe than sorry) then run shuddering and whimpering to the toilet where you will quickly through it in and flush the toilet no less than 3 times to assure that the horrible harbinger of fright will not find it's way back out of the toilet and back into your home. Then, you will collapse on the side of the tub where you will rock yourself back and forth, singing lullabies to yourself, and sobbing. Breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth, in through the nose, out the mouth....At last calm will be achieved, and you will be able to return to your day.

It was a very long time before Studmuffin ever sat on the floor in my parents house again....

Oh! And my parents, of course, sprayed for spiders after Studmuffin shared his tale of horror to them. Apparently, he is a completely reliable source of wisdom, whereas I was a source of drama and over reaction.....*Hmpf*

Well, my spider phobia remained for years following this experience of terror....but this post is already entirely too long, so I will finish my tale tomorrow! Be sure and tune in! It is a tale of terror, a tale of bravery, and well, of course, a tale that shows me to be the complete drama queen and over reactor that my parents claimed I was.....

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

15 minutes of waiting can cost you....

So, I mentioned that my mom was a few minutes behind me when we were supposed to meet Friday, right? Notice I say she was behind me, not late....just a little behind. Saying she was late seems to convey irritation and inconvenience. The exact opposite was true.

So, here's some details you should know about me. I'm impatient. I don't like to shop a lot. It makes me sleepy. the only way I'm typically able to enjoy it is if I am either
a) spending someone else's money
b) finding things dirt cheap
c)consuming lots of cookies and coffee (this is hindered by my cheapness)
If any of these situations are occurring, then I'm in heaven.

However, I had a few minutes to kill, so I decided to drop in the antique store I drive by every time I go to see my parents and always think "I should go in there some day." Some day finally came. I found the little shop absolutely charming. The precious lady who owned it greeted me immediately, and walked me through the entire store. She had a wide range of treasures. And most of them were very affordable! Since Studmuffin referred to me as "The Queen of Cheap" just last night, you can base my judgment of affordable on that title, I guess.

First, I found a dresser that I was just sure I could not live without. It was a beautiful four drawer dresser approximately 4 feet tall with a beveled mirror. Loved it. Then I found a precious little white wash stand with a mirror that I thought would be perfect in my girls bathroom. Next I found a beautiful buffet that I was just sure I knew someone who needed it. Luckily, my sister came to keep my mom company on her drive, and she was a wonderful example of my reason a to shop: someone else's money.

Well, try as my inner splurger may try to persuade me to buy the wash stand, the dresser and the buffet that I really had no idea where any of them would fit in my house, unless I ditched some furniture. Although I really don't care for my bedroom furniture (I got the whole kit and caboodle at a scratch and dent section of a furniture store before we got married for $500), the new pieces I was replacing them with was going to add up to more than, well, $500, or perhaps So, my inner cheap overrode my inner splurger. My inner cheap has very strong character, and she is very difficult to overwhelm.

However, I did get some great things. I have been trying to figure out what to hang above my bed since we moved here in July. I had the same dilemma in La Vernia. I remember I hung some arrangement of things I didn't really like, but they worked okay. Actually, I did that at every place we've had our bed. Decorating is not my forte.....But back to my new purchase.

I spotted some old plantation shutters. They're cream and a little banged up, but just barely. Actually, I sanded them down to make them look more weathered. I bought 2 of these beauties to hang in the barren space above my bed. Dawn pointed out that the slots are perfect for tucking love notes in! Aaawww....She must have me confused with our sentimental, romantic, thoughtful sister, Paula....But still it's a sweet thought!

The next purchase I made was something I've been scrounging for and begging for since we moved in. There is this empty space in the girls bathroom (okay, it's not like we have an excess of bathrooms in this's the hall bath) that has been calling for an old narrow church pew or bench. I asked Studmuffin to build me one, but with his list of other "honey do's" he hasn't squeezed a random bench in the mix yet. He still hasn't found time to squeeze in the turbo play house he designed for the girls, complete with front porch and railing, that he made the mistake of showing the girls. Poor guy...he'll never hear the end of that. He just has a few chores ahead of our fence for the backyard, refinishing the trim and window sills in our house (his idea, not mine), rebuilding a larger sill for my kitchen window, installing the back splash in the kitchen, ripping out the carpet and tile in the main living areas to replace with laminate wood floors....The list goes on and on....Go, ahead, pity him, you have my full permission!

Anyway, I found a bench! Now, it was covered with "treasures" and green paint with sunflowers stenciled on it. The color and pattern I was not quite so crazy about. But, the dimensions and shape were exactly what I was looking for. I bought it, brought it home and immediately painted it with some leftover paint from our kitchen. Of course, it was too "pretty" after I painted it, so I then sanded it down, and used the leftover glaze from the girls room to make it look more worn out. I love how it turned out. It now has a lovely new home in their bathroom.Not bad, eh?

Yep, finding out my mom was a few minutes behind me, cost me a bit of money. But thanks to my inner cheap, it didn't cost me near what it could have!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Tomato update

Remember the sprouting tomatoes?

Well, they did fairly well for awhile all on their own, but I eventually decided they would surely need water and nutrients. I had some potting soil, so I just plunked the entire tomato into the soil and stuck it in my kitchen window.

Last night I decided that one pot was crowded. Strangely, the tomato that only had one healthy appearing stalk produced 5 plants. The tomato that had multiple viable appearing sprouts died back to one plant.

They are fragile little suckers. I need to cage them, as you can see, but I really don't have a cage small enough to support them right now, and I don't have enough coffee cans or ice cream cartons to support them right now.

I had a friend at work that said she would not eat tomatoes that suddenly sprouted on their own. I think that's silly. I guess she's afraid they're radioactive or something. Maybe we will be a family of mutants after enjoying our self-germinating tomato plants. If I'm going to have some strange super power, I want to be Elastigirl. Popcorn would want to be able to be able to fly. Bookworm wants to be "something like Underdog." We won't get into the psychosocial issues of my daughter wanting to be a talking dog that flies. Studmuffin was not here for this survey, but I'm going to say I could handle him being Superman, or Batman, or Mr. Incredible. I love super heroes....I love super hero movies too. *sigh*


Sorry, I way digressed there, didn't I? Moving on......Here's the tomatoes in their new pots placed in the window sill of the garage. The girls painted the pots last night while Studmuffin was painting bead board. He's really loving me for my color choice, let me tell you... *snicker*Oh! And I know you are fretting over seeing them standing in water, but I had just repotted and watered them...I didn't leave them in standing water!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The squaws are back

I got my kids back from my parents. It's great to have them home again. My mom was running a few minutes behind me, so I stopped in to a little antique shop while I waited on her. I'll share my wonderful buys with you in another post. You will want to keep an eye out for it. I promise!

On our way back to home the girls and I stopped in the Cherokee Trading Post. I had never taken them in there. They thought it was wonderful. Grandma had paid them for helping her around the house while they were there. They both had $12 burning a hole in their pockets. Grandma sure pays better wages than we do. They only get 10 cents a chore here, and if your sister does your chores for you, the sister gets paid, or if I have to do their chores, they have to pay ME! The first week we implemented this plan, Popcorn rested on her laurels. Boy, was she surprised when she had to fork over what little she had earned to her sister, and get into her piggy bank to pay me! She never has made that mistake again!

Anyway, back to our shopping trip. Bookworm planned from the get-go to get an Indian baby. However, she was disillusioned when she read that they were "not an Indian product, not Indian made." She ended up buying a lovely reed flute. Popcorn had her heart still set on a baby, and she found a doll with two babies in a papoose on her back. After they had each spent 3 of their $12, we headed over to my ultimate goal in this venture.

Minnetonka moccasins.

You heard me. Moccasins. We always had moccasins to wear in the summer as kids. We would get our very own Minnetonka moccasins when we went on vacation to Colorado and New Mexico as kids. I remember they were always the very best when I had worn them to the point that they completely molded to my foot, and you could see the shiny outline of my foot on the sole of them.

Have I ever told you I despise flip flops? My kids (especially Popcorn) luh-uh-uhve flip flops. Popcorn lives for weather warm enough to bust her little tootsies out of the confines of shoes and socks and ease them into a nice, disgusting pair of flip flops. They're disgusting, because that's exactly what her feet are at the end of the day...dis-gust-ing. I realize they'll get gross with moccasins, but at least they won't fall off of their feet in the middle of a parking lot, or walking through stores. Now you're starting to understand, aren't you? Yes, I'm trying to recapture a childhood memory of running wild through the countryside. And yes, I'm trying to convince my kids that moccasins are the most comfortable thing EVER, and therefore, flip flops will be kicked to the bottom of the food chain where they belong. I love my devious plans....heh-heh-heh.

So, my kids are now the proud owners of Minnetonka moccasins.

Betcha want some of your own now don't ya?

Me too.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Break

We have had a wonderful spring break. Especially since my kids have been at my parents since last Thursday night. I actually stayed there until Monday, since I had to work on Tuesday and Thursday.

While there, my girls are having a great time. Bookworm has been riding horses anytime she can nag an adult (Grandpa) into putting the bridle and bare back gear on the horse. My dad no longer has a kid saddle, and the grown up saddles set her so far back she has difficulty reining effectively. So, we just threw on some blankets and a cinch to hold them in place for her comfort. She loved it. Sunday she asked me when I was putting away the tack "Mommy, do some kids ever kiss their horses?" It made me tear up, because I totally understand that love for your horse. I was there too, and still would be if I had a horse of my own.

Mom told me a funny on Popcorn. Popcorn was telling her about getting her eyes checked. She hated having them dilated. "Grandma, I looked so stupid. My eyes made me look like a dog in a human costume!"

Well, that's all the news I have time to share with you today. I have to go meet my mom to get my kiddos. They wanted to stay until Sunday, but I told them they needed at least a few days at home before returning to the grind!

Oh yeah, we bought the bead board for our back splash, and I picked out the paint. I'll probably pick it up today, so we will start on that this weekend. Be on the lookout for pictures!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Chicken Nuggets

Are you ever leery of eating food your unfamiliar with in foreign countries? I grew leery of eating food I wasn't sure of the ingredients just living in San Antonio! I just never felt compelled to rush to my local HEB for the great sale on lengua or tripe! Of course, I was leery, but let's be real..If you offer it to me I'll probably eat it! I'm a nurse, and as a nurse I will eat darn near anything you put in front of me. Seriously, I can clean up vomit and eat nachos immediately after without batting an eye...I can even discuss festering, oozing sores and eat simultaneously. It's a calling, I'm telling ya!

I went on a trip to England when I was 19 with the Oklahoma Baptist Youth Choir. It was a great adventure. 400 youth ages 14-19 touring England. Can you even imagine the fun and excitement we had? Can you imagine being the poor churches trying to feed 400 kids? Most churches offered us quiche. Which I had no problem with, but after about a week away from home, you yearn for something more American...
-A beverage with ice in it.
-As much ketchup as a heart desires (you have to pay for extra ketchup in England!)
-Water that was not sparkling. I remember wanting to cry one day because I couldn't find any water to drink. I thought I'd finally found some in a convenience store and was sorely disappointed to learn it was sparkling.
And I'm sure there was more, but those are the things that I remember missing most.

I do remember LOVING breakfast in England. Divine. The cream they had for the croissants was to die for. And the jelly. And the croissants. And the butter. And the croissants. Mmmmm....I'm craving croissants......

The first night we got to England we were all so jet lagged and sleepy that we were delirious. I had broken my foot a few weeks before our trip, so I had a foot the size of a watermelon that day. The lovely person who had the aisle seat in my row on the plane would not switch me seats. They obviously needed some Jesus in their heart!

We were supposed to be staying at this very elaborate, very upscale hotel....Supposed to is the key part of that phrase, and that's all I'll say about that. Anyway, we were being served dinner in our hotel that night. Can you imagine the poor wait staff taking care of hundreds of Americans and their sponsors who are exhausted? My heart goes out to them in hindsight. At the time, I just wanted them to give me some food. I'm not sure, but I think they fed us dry chicken with rice. One girl at our table only liked rice with sugar on it. She asked the waiter for sugar. He brought her a bowl of cubes. She spent the majority of the meal trying to crush the sugar for her rice. When the dessert was brought out, they served tea and coffee. With this they brought out the appropriate condiments: cream and.....sugar packets!

The last church we sang at broke the pattern of quiche for supper. They served us chicken nuggets. The kids were so excited that most of them went back for seconds. I was not too crazy about them, but I ate my serving, because I was hungry....They reminded me of a special delicacy I had eaten with my boyfriend's parents (my now in laws). I never cared much for the treat, no matter how, ummm, delicate it was. Or hungry I was.

We were all loading on our coach to be returned to our rooms, and the kids were going on and on about how wonderful it was to have chicken nuggets. Our coach driver began to laugh and laugh.

"You Americans! Why don't you call things what they are? You call the loo a 'restroom', a water spigot a 'fountain' and you call sheep balls chicken nuggets!"

The coach was strangely quiet the remainder of the evening.......

Rocky Mountain Oyster, anyone?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

How we came to own a cat named Satan....err....Mitts

Remember our cat named Mitts? Did you ever wonder where she came from? After I told you about her love for Studmuffin did you lie awake in bed wondering where we obtained such a cat, and how could I have failed to tell you even the most minute detail of my life? Were you shocked that I actually left a stone unturned in my open book life? Well FEAR NOT!!! I am here to relieve your curiosity regarding a cat named Satan....I mean Mitts.

Studmuffin and I immediately moved to the big city after getting married. Well, a few days after getting married. First he had to receive his ceremonial circumcision (click here to learn more) by my pet rabbit, Buster, then we moved.

I had never envisioned myself leaving the farm, much less leaving the Grand Ole State of Oklahoma. I was soon startled to find myself living not only in Texas, but in an apartment in the big city of Arlington (smack between Dallas & Fort Worth for anyone who doesn't know.) I was working in a bridal shop (big failure for me...but I'll refrain from that story until another day) and I was home sick.

I had been hiding my misery from Studmuffin for weeks. I didn't want him to know the pit of despair he had flung me to when he took me away from wide open space to a place of cars, smog and humidity. He asked me one day, "Are you okay? You don't seem yourself lately."

"I'm fine. I don't really want to talk about it." Sensitive, romantic, caring soul that he is, he sensed perhaps I wasn't really "fine."

Now, this is the point where Studmuffin learned what he claims to be his most important marital lesson to date. He said "It's okay. Let's talk about it. Tell me how you really feel."

I responded with "BWAAAAAAAA!!! I hate living in the city. I hate living in an apartment. I hate my job. I hate Texas. I have no friends. I have no family here, and I WANT MY MOMMY!!!" Booooooo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoooooowooowooowoowoowooooooooO!!! Sob, sob, sob, waa, waa, waa, hiccup, sniff, sniff, snort,and on it went.....

Well, to say he was shocked and completely unable to handle the situation is not at all an understatement. He held me and let me cry my tears out. He was very sweet, even though he did tell me to never tell him how I really feel again, if it was anything like this, because he really didn't want to know.

Fast forward a few days.....

I came home from work. Studmuffin met me at the door. "Close your eyes! I have a surprise for you!" And he placed a warm ball of fur in my hands.

"A kitten! It's white! With Blue Eyes! And it has fleas! How........sweet!"

It seems Studmuffin had decided that the perfect cure for my loneliness would be a kitten. So, he went to a pet shop and picked the feistiest kitten they had. And he brought her home. Fleas and all.

There was only two little hitches in this brilliant plan of Studmuffin's. First, the cat was white. Now, in my experience of farm cats, the white ones with blue eyes and the ones with Siamese markings were always the least friendly. So, that was immediately a strike against her. Strike two? She loved Studmuffin. Not me. In fact, she rarely loved Studmuffin, unless he was asleep, or attempting to draw, then she had to be on top of him, or whatever work he was involved in.

Oh, she had some interesting idiosyncrasies. She loved to fetch. She lived for the seals off of milk jugs. She was fascinated with touch lamps, and would spend forever batting them off and on. She was a good hunter. One apartment we lived in had a gap under the door, that no matter how many times the maintenance man "fixed" it, roaches could still crawl under it.

Do you know about the roaches in Texas? They are huge. Think of the Madagascar hissing cockroaches on Fear Factor, and add an inch. They would crawl under our door at night. Mitts would sit at the door, twitch her tail, and wait for them to come in....then POUNCE!!! She would always bring her trophy over for us to see. Yuck. If they got past the cat, you could hear them fly and hit the wall with a whack. I would wake Studmuffin up at night and insist he find the roach and kill it before we could go back to sleep....I hated those things.

So, there you have it....The saga of Mitts, the Satan cat who hated everyone but Studmuffin.

Oh! You still aren't sure why I call her evil are you? Well, she hated the kids. When Bookworm was born she immediately went into hiding. She only came out from under the bed when Bookworm was asleep. Then, when Popcorn was born, she'd had enough. She came out of hiding with a vengeance.

She peed in the crib. She pooped on the floor in the nursery. She attacked Bookworm. And on and on.....One day I called Studmuffin in all of my post partum calmness and abundance of patience and serenely screamed "EITHER YOU GET THIS CAT OUT OF MY HOUSE TODAY OR I AM PERSONALLY GOING TO KILL HER!!!!" And I meant it.

Studmuffin took her to the pound soon after that. Strangely we could find no one to take a full grown cat that hated children and had no use for anyone but Studmuffin. Imagine that.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Memories and Verbosity

We started planting our garden this weekend. No, I didn't take pictures. My camera battery was dead. Planting the garden is one of our favorite things to do as a family. All of us get out there and get dirty. Studmuffin tills. I rake. The girls help plant, water, and do their share of raking too. We love it. Now, gardening reminded me of a story. Aren't you excited?

I went to the shop to get a hammer to drive the stakes we made to label our rows. I found the hammer Popcorn got Studmuffin for Christmas. She was so cute. She knew exactly what she was getting her daddy for Christmas. We walked in Walmart, and she said "I'm going to buy Daddy a new lawnmower!" I explained that her budget didn't really allow for a lawnmower. "Well, then, I'm going to buy him a hammer." And she did. She bought him the biggest hammer in Walmart she could find.

This Christmas Bookworm was equally decided on what she would get me for Christmas. I had strongly hinted at some warm socks *okay, I took them to the sock aisle and pointed to the exact socks I wanted.* She went with Studmuffin to buy my present. Guess what she bought me? The new Operation Game! How perfect! Every nurse needs their very own game of Operation, that now comes in a handy dandy doctor's case!

I don't know if I told you this story way back in December. The truth is, I'm too lazy to do a search in my own blog. Also, when you're as wordy as I am, your bound to repeat yourself at least 26 times. Your also bound to offer frequent apologies. Yep, when you have a mouth that moves as much as mine you offend people. So, I'm given to frequent apologies too. Sometimes I'll just randomly apologize for any offense I could have given during a conversation. Repeat and apologize, repeat and apologize. That's my system. You'd think I'd learn to just shut up, but that just doesn't work so well.

Oh, I've tried to be quiet. Truly, I have! Don't think I don't see you rolling your eyes and murmuring "yeah, right!" I did try to be quiet. But then the pressure started to build. I started trembling. My tongue started to have spasms. My jaw became tense. My brain began to spin and whirl in such a way that I could no longer keep up with my thoughts. My chest became tight. My lungs were over filled with all of the hot air I usually exhale so freely in my dialogues. And then.......I exploded.

It wasn't pretty. I started to talk. And talk. And talk. I talked to my family. I talked to the grocery store clerk. I talked to the poor unfortunate soul trying to buy yogurt and be on their merry way. I talked to the young man who obviously needed my coaching on picking appropriate produce. I chatted up the lady slicing my Virginia brand ham in the deli. I fellowshipped (there's a good Baptist word for ya!) with my checker. I flagged down my neighbor and asked them about their day, then proceeded to tell them every minute detail of mine. I talked to the dog, the cat, and of course Studmuffin. Eventually I went to bed with my thoughts continuing to whirl and twirl in my brain, where I'm sure I talked in my sleep.

So, I learned a very valuable lesson......

I will talk.

I will talk a lot.

I will talk fast.

I will talk loud.

I will talk erroneously.

But. I. Will. Talk.

I will be teased for my talking. My beloved family will feel the need to point out my tendency towards verbosity. I will agree with them. (after all, to deny it is ridiculous). But I will continue to talk. I must. I have a vast fount of information that I must share, and I must share it quickly. So, I will talk.

It's truly an unstoppable force. It's quite sad, really. Yep, I learned my lesson. I will never take a fifteen minute vow of silence again. The world is just not ready for the consequences.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Are they disappointed?

I'm sure you've noticed the Feedjit traffic map on the lower right hand side of my blog. I copied the idea from my sister. It's been amusing to see what people find interesting, or what they stumble across in their quest for knowledge on the world wide web.

I've noticed many find me through The Original Prairie Woman. What sort of research involves learning about my grandma? Are they on a quest to write the perfect historical romance novel? Do they need inspiration for the heroine of their novel? Were they inspired to learn of a woman who would face down armadillos and rattlers with her trusty .22 rifle, then clean the blood out of her pristine carpet leaving nary of sign of blood shed? Or are there truly that many people who just have a burning need for knowledge regarding all things prairie?

Are the Canadians who were researching the origins of hockey shocked to learn it was all started by a dried out biscuit? Were they disappointed to learn it didn't have a more auspicious and heroic origin? Or did they decide I was just a big fat liar, and leave disgusted that they wasted their time on one who gleefully and blatantly lies to their children?

And who would have thought so many people needed help patching jeans? Were they disheartened to realize it involved a kazillion steps? I hope they found the info they needed interspersed between my completely frivolous extra steps that I must add to entertain myself.

Well, whatever brought you to my bizarre world of rambling, I hope you were moderately entertained. Even if I do feel the need to use 20 words when maybe 3 would have sufficed.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

How to Tell if Your Husband is a Redneck

Not that I ever had any questions about mine...But if your hubby displays similar behavior...Take my word for it...He's a true redneck!

So, I was sitting in my recliner blogging (of course) when Studmuffin got home from work. He was rattling the front knob, and trying to frantically unlock it. By the time I peeled my worthless tookus out of my chair, he was in, had dropped his stuff on the floor, had shouted "There's a coyote in the back yard!" and headed to the bedroom for his......GUN!!!

He appeared a few minutes later totin' his gun and calls. I stayed in the house to watch the excitement through the window. I could see the coyote in the field behind us. He was trotting up the fence line west of us, heading north (away from the house.) The Canadian geese are back. They were just north of our house. I could hear Studmuffin using his call. The coyote would slow down, look over his shoulder, and resume his trot into town. However, when the geese heard the call, they would all stand up and look at our house. The dogs were pretty excited by the noise too. The coyote was too weary of our house and although the was interested, he wasn't trusting Studmuffin's wounded animal sounds.

I, of course, lost interest and went to gather up some laundry. I passed back through the living room to discover this:

Studmuffin was standing in the house watching the coyote walk all the way into town. He stopped at a pond, then Studmuffin lost track of him. Yep, you might be a redneck if you use your rifle scope to watch wildlife through your living room window!

I think I encountered this same wily fellow nearly every morning last summer. He was younger then, and he would walk right through my back yard every morning as I would be out weeding my flower beds. However, on the weekends, when Studmuffin was sitting on the porch with his gun loaded and ready for action, he never passed by. Yep, he's on to Studmuffin's game. We'll see who comes out the winner in the end!

Hey, and for anyone who noticed my bare gazebo...I DO NOT recommend gazebos with cloth covers for Oklahoma. The previous owners had purchased the one we have the fall of 'o7, and anchored it to the concrete slab in the back. The frame stayed put, but the cover didn't last through the summer. The wind tore it to bits....Now we're trying to decide what to do about it. Buy a heavier canvas? Cover it with a light weight wood for an arbor effect? Tear it down and build an arbor out of lumber and relocate the gazebo to a different area of the yard?

Of course, we are in the middle of trying to get a fence built for the backyard, and getting a garden in. The porch cover is on the back burner for now...But it's still something I think about. Oh well, these rambles are for another day........

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wednesday's Wardrobe

Sorry this post is late. I started it yesterday, planned on adding photos, but never got around to taking them. Typical....Oh, well...Here it is, bare of visual images.

Popcorn has always had wardrobe issues. Correction: I have always had issues with Popcorn's wardrobe choice. Sadly, for the most part I've given up on having much control over what she chooses to wear. I offer advice, but if she chooses to ignore it, I give a mental shrug and go on with my day. Now, I realize that many mom's (my friends included) would shudder if their child appeared in public like Popcorn does. But, as long as she's clean and decently covered, I'm pretty lax on what she wears. For example, she wore her Halloween costume for months when she was four. She was a cat that year. Every morning she would put on her kitty ears, tail, and collar, and off we'd go to run our errands!

Today's wardrobe:

Shirt: Yellow and white striped polo shirt with a silver logo over the pocket.

Pants: Pink corduroy pants with a purple flower embroidered on the right lower leg. I swear these pants fit fine just a few weeks ago. But now, they are short on her, but she loves them. Today, she swore they were the first thing she grabbed. *Ahem*, I happen to know that could not be true because I just put 3 clean pairs of jeans on top of these very pants....Moving on...

Socks: Sky blue bobby socks. Doesn't seem like such a big deal, right? Well, her pants are so short that the entire sock shows. And even though I'd like to pretend the pants could be mistaken for capri pants, they can't....It. Just. Won't. Work. Believe me, I tried to tell myself this all morning.

On her feet? Her sister's tennis shoes from last year. They are fine, but they are dingy. Apparently she had a sudden growth spurt, because her favorite black shoes were suddenly so tight this Sunday she couldn't hardly walk when we got home, and she'd worn them the Sunday before with no problems. I guess she's having the same situation with her tennis shoes.

Coat: She put on her pink fleece jacket. It is a jacket that zips inside of a coat to add warmth. I purposely bought the coats a little big so they could hopefully wear them next year. Consequently, this little jacket is just a tad too big for her. And it shows. It hangs down to about the middle of her thighs.

So, there my child went.....Strolling into school with her mismatched clothes, too short pants, and too big jacket. I had to laugh when I saw her skipping in the door. My child looks like an orphan. But I'm okay with that if she's okay with that. Really, I am. Seriously. I'm totally over her mismatched, too small clothes. I'm totally secure in my momminess....I don't need confirmation of well dressed children to reflect my value as a mother. I don't. Not at all......Nope......I'm Oooooookaaaaay.

Why are you doubting me?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Herding Cats

We used to have a house cat. She was beautiful cat. She was colored like a siamese, but she had incredibly long fur and blue eyes. She was one of the most gorgeous cats I've ever seen. Her name was Satan.

Just kidding. Her name was Mitts, but it could have been Satan. She was not friendly. We took her with us any time we went to see our parents. But, nobody ever new she was there. She spen the entire time hiding under the bed. She liked Studmuffin. But that was it. She tolerated me, because I came with Studmuffin, so she really had no other choice.

She used to sleep on top of Studmuffin. One time he was napping on the couch, and she had fallen asleep on his chest.

Wait. I need to hit the pause button on our little tale here. I need to describe our living room at the time. We had the same couches we have now, arranged at right angles to each other. We also had a long coffee table that sat in between them. The coffee table, of course, was a hand-me-down from my mother-in-law. It was the same table Studmuffin grew up with, as a matter of fact. It was approximately 6 feet long. It had a cabinet in the middle, and two open areas on other ends with decorative finials. These open areas were approximately 18 inches square and about 2 feet tall.

Okay, back to our tale: Studmuffin is asleep, Mitts is sleeping on his chest.

You know, cats are fickle. When they are done with you, they're done. Mitts decided she was done with her nap. She stood up and tried to get down. Notice I said tried. She started to get down. Studmuffin jerked into action. He grabbed for the cat. He chased the cat. Down his body. Onto the floor. And under the coffee table.

The cat escaped to the other side. Studmuffin calmly climbed out from under the table, and laid back down. Mitts hid around the other side of the table and sat there, panting and looking terrified.

A moment passes....

Studmuffin sits up and looks at me with a very confused look on his face.....

"Did I just do something weird?"

I laughed so hard, I almost wet my pants.

Monday, March 2, 2009

An Interesting Place for Flowers

When I first began working as a nurse's aide, I had stars in my eyes. I was living in this ivory tower of dreams where I would change the world one patient at a time. I was going to bring a sunny smile and a positive attitude.

It was with this attitude that I eagerly arrived at work every day. To take vital signs. Give baths. Wipe bottoms. Clean up vomit. Change sheets. Feed people. It was a bit of an eye opener. And yet, I loved it. Still do. Nursing is definitely a calling that is not for everyone, but if you can look passed the "job" you will be truly blessed by the impact you do make on others each day.

But, enough of the sappy stuff. You get the picture. I arrived to work with stars in my eyes, and an extremely rose colored view of the world. I was working night shift at this time. I was eagerly doing my duties when I was called to another floor to help tend a patient. This particular lady was a very prominent member of the community. She was very well off and very well known. She also happened to have Alzheimer's. She normally had a 24 hour sitter with her at home, but for some reason her sitter was unable to be with her at this time.

I don't know your knowledge base of Alzheimer's but let me tell you, people that may do fine and be able to function okay at home, but when placed in a new environment, they struggle.

So, I was called to stay with this lovely, albeit confused, lady. She was agitated, and angry. I arrived, sunny as a daisy, ready to charm her into doing just what I wanted...Which was to go to bed. She did not want to go to bed. She wanted to get out of bed. She wanted to go home. She wanted her husband. She did not want me. I was trying to distract her. I offered to find a tv show for her. She ordered me to turn off the tv immediately. I did. I tried to convince her to rest for awhile. She told me to get away from her. That's when I spotted them. She had a BEE-YOO-TEE-FUL flower arrangement in her window. I was desperate for distraction. I was determined to charm her into bending to my will.

"What a beautiful flower arrangement! Who sent these to you?" I picked them up for her to admire.

"How lovely!" Her entire face transformed. She smiled at me with the most charming smile you can imagine. "At last" I thought, "she's starting to like me!"

"Do you know what I want you to do with those lovely flowers, young lady?" She continued to smile at me, her eyes sparkling with excitement.

"What?" I was so pleased with myself.

She smiled at me and said in the most pleasant voice imaginable, "I want you to take those flowers and SHOVE THEM UP YOUR A%*!!!!"

Oh. My. Goodness. That was not what I was expecting. However, I was still determined to charm her, so thinking very quickly I said, "Well, not today. I would hate to mess up such a lovely arrangement!" And I put them back in the window.

Yep. I was a charming soul back in the day. Too bad she couldn't see it!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Me and the Mafia

Did you know I've had intimate dealings with the mafia? Yep. You just never know who you will encounter as a nurse. Okay, this time I was a student nurse. My friend Amy and I were in nursing school. We were both working at a hospital as nurse externs. This particular hospital had a contract with the federal prison systems.

This contract meant we had prisoners from all over the country. They would have 2 armed guards on them at all times, and depending on their crime, they may have 2 additional armed guards outside the door. They were all shackled to the bed. There were all sorts of safety restrictions we had in dealing with these particular patients...But that is irrelevant to today's tale.

You see, Amy and I had to do a particularly.....Errrr......intimate procedure on a particular patient. He was a shriveled up little man. He was semi-comatose. He looked like death warmed over. We both discussed how pitiful it was that he was spending the end of his days shackled to a bed, with no family around, with two guards sitting, munching on potato chips and watching Springer....Anyway, we completed the......ummmm......thing that we had to do, that I seriously don't want to shock you with, and we were essentially done for the day.

We gave report to the oncoming shift, and stood around talking. We were just about to head out the door when we hear: CODE BLUE ROOM 445. CODE BLUE ROOM 445.

What? That was our little shriveled prisoner! Being nursing students, we were morbid. We stuck around to see what the excitement was going to bring. Can you guess what it brought?

It brought a man....But not just any man. He was a man in a very expensive dark suit with dark sunglasses, and he arrived in a limo. A LIMO! You have to understand I have never worked in a hospital that was in a good part of town. Completely the opposite. To see a limo in that particular area was nothing short of shocking. And, the dark suit man was not alone. He was surrounded by other dark suit men.

Apparently, when the doctor decided shriveled prisoner man's death was imminent, he got permission from the federal prison system to notify the family. Only, there was a hitch....They said it would be "very bad" if the staff allowed him to pass. In fact, they scared the dickens out of the team working on him. They "saved" the patient. For him to arrest several times more in the next 24 hours, when the "family" agreed that it was fine to let him pass.

After all of the drama we found out that our pitiful little shriveled prisoner was actually a very powerful man. A man with enough power that it would be "very bad" if he was deceased. He was with the mafia. I have no idea who he was or what his role was, but apparently he needed to be alive as long as possible.

You just never know who you will meet in that bed. It could be a housewife, a plumber, a preacher, a farmer, or just your ordinary run of the mill Soprano. Yep, you just never know!