Archive for October, 2006

Lucky People


Did you see this story in the news? This guy from Wisconsin is visiting the Crater of Diamonds state park in Arkansas and finds this 5.47 carat flawless yellow diamond. Now that is a lucky guy.

Luck is an elusive theory to me. I think you either have it or you don’t, and I don’t. Nobody ever believes me when I say this, but let me give you an example. One year for my birthday a friend gave me twenty dollars worth of Christmas Cash scratch offs. Odds of winning were one in 10. I didn’t win on any of those tickets. Not even a $1. When I was a kid we took a weekend trip to pan gold once. People all up and down this river swishing and hollering. I swished and came up with sand and rocks. That’s it. Not even fools gold. Traffic lights turn red and the train track crossing bars go down at my approach. Some would consider my good health and the health of my children lucky. I think genetics has more to do with that than luck.

I’m not bothered by the fact that I’m not lucky, I’ve know it since I was a kid so I don’t count on luck for anything I really truly want.

October 23, 2006 at 6:38 am 18 comments

Rehearsal and A Lazy Weekend

Well, so far I’m not “passerby #6”, or “bush number 3 behind the wall”. I’m still in the stinking chorus. My totally non-singing self is attempting to belt out such holiday favorites as When the River Meets the Sea, The Holly and the Ivy and something the director wrote called It’s About Love. They are quite sneaky these theater people. The music director was passing out folders with all the music in them, she quite clearly said “If you won’t be singing, don’t take a folder.” So I didn’t. Then the assistant director brought one to me and said “There are a lot of places where everyone will be on stage, so maybe you better learn the songs even if you don’t sing them.” Two more weekends of singing and then they cast the skits that go inbetween the musical numbers of this variety show. What have I gotten myself into?

No grandgirls this weekend. I thought that would be a good thing, but mostly I piddled and fooled around and finished nothing. Jeesh.

October 22, 2006 at 9:20 pm 6 comments

From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

I had to run south yesterday to pick up a truck title for the day job. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I have no sense of direction. I can get lost in my neighborhood. Anyway… “south” of me is deep into what most people think of as the poorest part of Ohio. Lots of little towns, not much in the way of jobs, nothing that resembles industry. No chain restraunts, no malls, no clothing stores. I don’t go that direction much, my little town minutes away from two cities is as rural as I’m capable of being.

Because I have no sense of direction, I usually use mapquest to get me where I’m going. Mapquest is frequently wrong. It is always the longest way to get anywhere, but I’ve forgiven it for that, because we are dealing with umpteen rural routes and obscure state routes down here. Once the rain stopped yesterday, it was a beautiful day, cold and a little gray, but dry. I set out with my mapquest directions on what should have been a trip lasting less than an hour.

Apparently I went right when I should have gone left. Because I’m lost a lot, these kinds of things don’t panic me. I know that if I stay on a paved road, eventually I’ll find a town I recognize and can get home from or one that Pap can get me home from. Cell phones are man’s greatest invention. Again, I digress…

I’m driving along, admiring the fall foliage that lines both sides of the road, jamming along with the radio and then the road curves and suddenly I’m looking out over the most stunning example of what makes Ohio one of the most beautiful states in the Union. I had to stop the car in the middle of the road (no big deal, it’s not like there’s traffic down there) and just gape. From this vantage there is a view of rolling hills covered with a crazy quilt of brilliant leaves in every shade of yellow, orange, lavender and red.

Years ago, while attending my favorite church, we had one of those Sunday’s where everyone came with their heart in the right place. The opening invocation was How Great Thou Art. On this one Sunday, something happened during that song that has never happened before or since. The notes were clearer and louder than ever before, you’ve heard the term the “spirit moved”, there was a presence so strong and so good that day that when the hymn attended, everyone just stood there … gaping. It was so powerful that our minister didn’t even speak for several minutes, and when he finally did it was to just say “let us pray”.

As I stood there looking out over this magnificent fall display of God made things, that memory came back to me. How Great Thou Art…. I was gone for over an hour, and never did get where I was supposed to go. But I don’t believe in random acts, I think all things are for a reason, apparently my soul needed a little bolstering.

And now to the ridiculous – on Wednsday, a fellow potential castmate for the Christmas Play I tried out for stopped me to ask if I’d gotten my e-mail about rehearsal on Sunday. I HAD NOT. So I gave the producer until yesterday to notify me, which she did NOT. I fired off a letter of my own asking nicely if I was the first person in the 17 year old history of the play, in which EVERYONE gets a part, to be cut. She answered that “tee-hee, I must have accidently left you off the list! tee-hee”. Left off the list indeed. I’m fairly certain my role will now be “second bush behind the cottage wall.”. Rehearsal is Sunday, I’ll know then!

October 21, 2006 at 6:41 am 14 comments

More Halloween Madness


Pap brought this frightening fellow home to add to our seasonal decorations yesterday. In quite unpirate like fashion, he dances when you activate the motion detector. He also sings – Super Freak and Slow Ride. He’s about my height (5’5″).

Typical of Pap, he snuck home before Princess and I yesterday and had the pirate set up by the front door. I was startled, but being as immersed in Halloween nonsense as I am, quickly recovered and went about my business. Princess, on the other hand, may never recover. This morning I noticed she has the poor guy turned face to the wall.

He needs a suitable Pirate name. Any suggestions?

We’ve lived in this house for 15 years. About 10 years ago we got new neighbors across the street who happen to be Jehovah Witnesses. Nice people, we say hello if we’re all outside, but that’s about it. They pretty much consider us heathenish and keep their distance. Every Halloween when the house of perpetural remodeling is decked out in it’s spooky finest and every Christmas when the house turns into candyland central, the folks across the street make their social statement. They gather on their porch with their JW friends, all facing my house and pray for us.

I make every attempt to be a good neighbor. I really try not to offend anyone or to put anything offensive outside my house (I save that stuff for inside…kidding). But our descent into Halloween creepy versus the Halloween cute I used to do can be attributed to these neighbors. The rebellious teenager in me just really can’t help needling them. It’s shameful, but I lived here first.

October 20, 2006 at 5:56 am 18 comments

The Great Costume Debate and Other News


With halloween and their party looming, we have been attempting to get the grandgirls to settle on what they want for costumes. Originally they wanted to dress as the Disney Princesses, but then there was a fracas over who got to be Belle. Since then they’ve waffled among a host of other cartoon characters but settled on nothing. I was getting desperate since I make their costumes and time is in short supply now days.

Yesterday they called with the final, final decision. Jazz wants to be a bride, not a scary bride, a real bride. Jules wants to be a frog. Bri wants to be a goth bride. I asked Bri if she knew what “goth” meant. She said no, so I asked why she wanted to be a goth bride. Her answer, typically, was because Allie (her cousin) was one last year. Bri will be a witch. How can you suitably portray your character if you dont’ even know what your character is? She’s okay with that, as long as the hat has feathers.

Still no word on my part in the play. They’re pretty busy up there with their current play – The Ladies of the Sacred South – the playwrite is coming to visit the November performances, so I’m sure that’s all they’re thinking about right now. Not how to keep their standing tradition of including ANYONE who comes out for the Christmas play a part. At least Christmas Tree #4.

Having been home babysitting Pap after his surgery, yesterday was my first day back at the day job for almost a week. You could wallpaper a room with the sticky notes left on my desk. I didn’t even listen to the voice mail, too scary. Oi. Back to it.

October 19, 2006 at 7:38 am 18 comments

Inevitabilities

Grandgirls with their witch dummy from this past weekend. This was the first time they’d ever made a halloween dummy. Let it never be said that I don’t pass on some quite valuable life skills to future generations.

I have a Murphy’s Law kind of life. If the lid is going to fall off the salt shaker, it will be when I’m using it. If a tire is going to blow on my car, it will be during an ice storm when I don’t have my cell phone. I’ve lived long enough that this is now acceptable, and I don’t sweat it.

I spent yesterday running around doing a laundry list of annoying errands accompanied by Pap who is still crippled from his surgery so it took twice as long to do everything. No big deal, one of the errands was to the doctor to get his helpless bandage off and a walking cast on. Yay! Things were going smoothly, aside from the pounding headache that also kept me company all day. Just as we were wrapping things up by dropping his car at the shop to have the gas tank replaced it started to sprinkle. Still not a big deal, I had plenty of time to race home and put the cover on my leaky roofed car.

I’d piddled around doing house chores, checking mail… all that stuff you have to do because you’re a grown up, while it started raining buckets outside. I took a bath and settled into the library with a book I’m editing and then realized I had one cigarette.

There are addictions, and then there is my addiction. Before I smoked I chewed my nails, before that I sucked my thumb. I’m a perfectly rational human being until I run out of cigarettes. I was wearing this very tacky t-shirt I’ve been sleeping in since I got it 10 years ago, it has one of those torsos in a bikini painted on the front, and the sweat pants I’ve also had for 10 years that are paint splattered, bleach spotted and overall raggedy. These are my comfort clothes, big, baggy, stretched out, non-fashionable – but comfortable. I wasn’t thinking about what I was wearing while I contemplated my options. Mistake number one.

With Pap’s car in the shop and mine under cover because of the rain, I had to wait for Princess to get home so I could use her car. She of course picked this night to stop on the way home for a capachino with friends, so by the time she did stroll in, even the cats were in hiding. I snatched her keys out of her hand, threw on some shoes (mistake number two) that were laying by the door and raced down the post midnight, dark, abandoned streets to our convenience store. When I arrived the store was empty, the clerk fetched my sanity sticks, I went to pay her and realized that I had no cash in my wallet and the checkbook was laying on the desk at home. Knowing that the bottom of my purse is always littered with misc. receipts, random earrings and change, I decided to dig around in there to get the necessary amount instead of going home for the checkbook. Mistake number three.

While I shuffled and dug and piled change on the counter people were wandering in, half way to reaching my goal a line had formed behind me, cranky people tapping their foot and sighing loudly. Eighty cents from completing my transaction I realized I’d emptied the well. I was frantically searching pockets of the purse, between the folds of my wallet, and under the flaps of my day planner, when a neatly manicured, male hand dropped a dollar on the counter. “That ought to cover it.” The masculine voice said from beside me. This was when I knew that Murphy’s Law was written just for me.

I never leave the house without my hair done and make up on. I’m goofy, but I love clothes and I’m normally very organized. I hold an elected position in town (the day job), so EVERYONE knows me, which is why I generally make a point to appear put together. I’ve been attempting to get a small business loan for my publishing company from our one and only bank. Most of the paperwork is done, it wasn’t a cut and dried thing because it is a privately owned bank, the board can take any risk they want, turn down any project they want. The board was already a little nervous about my loan because publishing is a tough business, and we’re so new. But, most recently they’d been leaning in my direction by virtue of my reputation as a professional.

The good samaritan was the president of that board. When I looked up to thank him, he was looking at me the same way you’d regard a roach in your tuna sandwich. He did the scan and scowl from my head to my feet… upon which were Princesses monkey slippers – the ones with the cute monkey faces slightly covered by their cute monkey middle fingers. That’s when I remembered I also wasn’t wearing a bra, and I was buying cigarettes. Oh well, our little company doesn’t really need the debt.

October 17, 2006 at 7:46 am 26 comments

Happy Bosses Day!

In consideration of National Bosses Day, some comments I found about OTHER people’s bosses:

I thought my Boss was a bastard, and quit, to work for myself. My new Boss is a bastard, too … but at least I respect him.

My boss has given automobile accident victims new hope for recovery. He walks, talks and performs rudimentary tasks, all without the benefit of a SPINE.

My boss says that what I call a glass ceiling, he calls a protective barrier.

Shame on these thankless people who fail to appreciate the great extremes the boss goes to everyday in their behalf. My employee would never say such things. She knows I’m her warrior, her shield between a productive living and the unemployment line. My employee knows that I would move heaven and earth to make her happy and she announces this fact loudly and frequently for the nominal fee of $20 a week.


October 16, 2006 at 5:53 pm 9 comments

What a Difference A Year Makes


Unlike my dog, our cats are not fond of the visiting grandgirls. In this rare moment of solidarity they huddle on the end table in the library that they are ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN to huddle on.

This weekend the grandgirls and their Mom stayed over. We used the time to decorate for Halloween inside and outside, and do some other things for the upcoming party. I couldn’t help thinking as I watched my daughter with her kids, how much things have changed.

Thirteen months ago, at 3 in the morning, Pap and I were standing knee deep in filth attempting to get our crack addict oldest daughter to come home. We’d been summoned there in the middle of the night by a neighbor, one of many times they’d called us because the piece of shit that fathered her two youngest children was beating her up. On this day, both eyes were rapidly blacking, her cheek was cut and the hand shaped bruises on her arms were not nearly as horrifying as the ones on her neck.

Pap had called a police officer on our way over, he met up with us at her apartment door. The three of us talked, and talked and talked to the unkempt, jittery girl huddled on the sofa bed in the living room. We could have been talking to a wall, she wouldn’t press charges because “it was my fault, he never does this sober.”

This wasn’t the first time we’d raced through the night to try and rescue her, and the children. We always went, she’s our girl, our treasure, our oldest. But on this night, something just snapped in me, and I knew I couldn’t help her, she could only help herself. We were able to have the two older girls removed and custody awarded to their father. She ran with Juliette, and moved around frequently enough we couldn’t get a case going with Children’s Services. She called from time to time, usually to ask for money which I wouldn’t send, or to come home, which we wouldn’t agree to except with conditions that she wasn’t willing to meet.

She did’nt tell us she was pregnant with our new baby, but she did tell her sisters. They rallied, and went and got her and our now three year old. They were both infested with lice and scabbies, she was 7 months pregnant and had not seen a doctor… or stopped drinking and using. Bean, who makes her living as a social worker, took her and Jules in. Saw to it they got medical attention, counselling and a schedule. Pap and I provided money to Bean to help offset expenses and as we saw her really trying, we started inviting her for the weekends to give her a change of scenery.

Until Brendolynn was born the energy we put off worrying would have kept a major city in lights. The baby is perfect and thriving, but we still watch closely to make sure she’s coming along mentally the way she should.

It’s early yet, but watching my daughter out in the yard helping her girls fill bags with leaves, her hair a silky shining curtain down her back again, the sound of her laughter ringing through the neighborhood, gives me hope that she’s turned the corner. Seeing her acceptance letter from OU in the nursing program leads me to believe she remembers who she is and where she came from. She’s remembered what has value in life and what is just wasting time.

It’s going to be a good year. I feel my heart repairing.

October 15, 2006 at 11:42 pm 13 comments

Nanny Dog on Duty


Ruger adores our new baby and has fussed himself crazy since Grandgirls Mom first brought her over. He sleeps by her basinet if she’s in it, hovers by her baby seat if she’s in it. Paces and races between grown people if she’s making ANY sound at all. On this day, she was having a little tummy time with her Mom and Bren was not liking it, which made the dog insane with worry. He didn’t calm down until Bren’s Mom let him hop up and check her out real good. He’s very gentle with her, I suspect they’ll be best friends when she starts to toddle around.

Rug’s behavior with the baby is interesting to me. We know he became ours because his original family had a baby after they had him, they didn’t elaborate more than that. He has pretty much ignored the older grandgirls, once in awhile he’ll bring some toy to Jazz for a game of fetch, but he even does that lethargically. But he loves, adores and worships this little baby. He pays her the attention we devote to a cherished object we’ve lost and later found.

October 15, 2006 at 8:43 am 20 comments

Friday Night Lights…C-ville Style

NOTICE:

The football team will be entertaining before and after tonights performance by the cheerleaders.

I live in a football town. On Friday nights every household empties out and heads to the football field. It would be a good time to rob the place, because all the cops are there too. Despite a diminutive population of under 3,000, they won the state championship in 1977. They didn’t see another winning season until 2003, the year my son was a senior. We start ’em young around here, the picture is of my oldest grandgirl, Jazzmin, who’s in third grade. The boys her age are already playing biddy league football. All the hitting, spiking and running of the real game, with miniature players, and miniature cheerleaders.

I don’t have a problem with school spirit. I don’t really have a problem with football. What I do dislike about our football program is the town’s tendency to make them little demi-gods. There are men off that 1977 team who are still living in 1977. That was the pinaccle of their life. I find that so sad. To have your best day ever before you’re even old enough to vote. It’s not quite that bad anymore.

The 13 boys that played football with my son started together in biddy league. They were undefeated all the way to High School. High hopes don’t ‘cha know, the pressure on these fella’s was unbelievable. Their freshman and sophomore years they won more than they lost, but you must be undefeated to go to state. Junior year they lost one game. The summer before their senior year you could cut the tension in town with a knife.

They started two a days in August. I’d watch them running past the house before daylight. No talking, just the rolling thunder of sixty pairs of feet, the column led by the senior thirteen, pounding the streets to get in shape. They did everything together, my son and his twelve best friends. Dating, studying, getting into trouble, there were always 13 boys. They play 10 games a season, more if they win the district, then sectionals and then state.

They took the field that first game of the season to record attendance. They were the team to beat. Alumni flew in for the game from everywhere. All the local papers were represented, the radio stations and even the TV. It didn’t get any better, they won, and won, and won. Two games from taking the district, the quarterback hurt his wrist goofing around at practice and they lost their next two games. Still a good season, but the men around this town were devastated, and didn’t hesitate to let those boys know it.

My son had never made football his life, he’s interested in lots of things, so this was just a ripple on the pond of life. Most of his teammates felt the same. What was important to them was their friendship, the brotherhood they formed over their years together. At the banquet that year, the tables were set up to seat four at each. As the boys wandered in they started pushing them together, until all 13 were sitting at one big table.

Four of those boys went into the military, eight went to college and will graduate this summer, one is being bailed out of jail as I write this, drunk and disorderly. The quarterback.

October 13, 2006 at 8:39 pm 20 comments

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