Thursday, August 25, 2011

Child's First Best Friend

The summer before my sophomore year in college, I walked through a door and came nose to nose with my best friend, or more accurately tongue to face.  The only thing that made me certain that she wasn't just a bundle of black socks was the quite large, pink tongue that hung sloppily out of her constantly smiling mouth (the better to lick you with my dear).  I loved her instantly. 

From the beginning it was evident that Lannie was clever, usually too clever for her own good.  The day after I brought her home, my roommate had to rescue her out of a toilet; those Labrador Retrievers do love to swim.  She got mad at my other roommate and ate her remote controls.  How Lannie knew the difference between my TV remote and my roommate's VCR remote, I will never know.  But there sat my perfectly intact TV remote and beside it (and scattered to kingdom come) were the remains of a fully dismantled VCR remote.  She became known for her escape prowess, engineering such evidence-free routes that I'm sure there's a prisoner somewhere begging for her services. 

Aside from all the deeds that remain a toss up between good dog/bad dog, Lannie was extremely smart and a gentle giant.  Training her took minimal effort and she seemed to understand even without official command.  The times she would stare longingly, begging for people food, one only had to say, "You're being rude" and she would turn her head and tuck it under her arm embarrassed.  She knew to stand and observe, almost reverently as we exchanged vows on Grayton Beach 6 years ago.  Both times, before we even knew I was pregnant, my normally chilled out BFF became inexplicably protective over me, giving us the first sign that a baby might be on the way.  And once our children were born she would watch over them, let them play with her and be gentle in a way that seemed impossible for her 90 pounds.

Yesterday as I stood at my kitchen sink preparing breakfast, I looked out the window searching for her smiling face as I have every morning for the past 10 years.  And there I saw her.  Illuminated by a sliver of sunshine as if she were asleep. 

After I got a handle on my shock and grief, we knew we had to tell the kids.  My son is two and it was hard enough with him looking around and asking, "whe doog? whe 'annie".  Most people told me to tell my daughter that Lannie ran away.  I decided on the truth.  I am an advocate to being honest with your children, not necessarily all the gory details but I am not going to lie to them.  You do that and you start to break away at trust and that is so hard to grow back.

As my husband and I began to tell her last night (cue waterworks on all three parts) we quickly realized how powerless we are in protecting our children from so many different things.  My daughter asked if Lannie had been "runned over by a car" (because this dog seriously escaped our fortified yard without difficulty).  I told her no, that she had just lain down and died, that she didn't hurt or suffer.  My very grown-up 5 year old told me how she was glad that Lannie didn't have to stay in the doggy hospital for a long time.  And then, eyes still streaming tears, she said, "But Lannie will be in our hearts, right?" (I nod, stifle more sobs) "But she might dig out of my heart and then dig back in".  She slept with one arm hugging a picture of Lannie tight to her chest and the other hugging a near life sized stuffed animal in the form of a Black Labrador Retriever.

Even though my heart is breaking for Lannie, I find myself thankful.  I am thankful that I got to spend 10 years with her and her ways that would have put Marley to shame.  I am so thankful that I didn't have to look into her big brown eyes, watch her suffer and decide when it was time.  I'm so glad my daughter and son got to know her, even though watching my precious daughter in mourning hurts like crazy.  I just hope she doesn't ask for a puppy too soon because I can't stand to see her in pain and that wish would probably be granted before it even escaped her lips.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thanks for the Nut

Funny how one little word can change the game.  There are the obvious ones: War, Hate, Love, Death.  Then there are the everyday ones, the ones in which we just consider the implications of that one word.  We don't really think about the word itself.  Yes, No, Sure, Positive, Me and, my personal favorite - the one that isn't actually a word but holds so much meaning, ummmm.  Of course its all in the context in which these words are used that gives them their strength.  In fact, most of these words contain the most power when used in a responsive scenario. 

Will you marry me? "Yes"
Will you marry me? "No"
Can you help me on Saturday? "Sure" (knowing i was planning on staying in my jammies until at least 4 pm)
What does it say? "Positive"
Who made this big mess? "Me" (trying to dodge this question is a speciality of my munchkins)
Well what are we going to do since this pregnancy test says positive? "ummmmmmmm"

Each of these words hold a mighty weight. Words are powerful; treat them with indifference and they will sneak up on you like a dog and bite you on the buttocks.  At times when I'm forced to think of the meaning behind them, I gain appreciation for even the most mundane words.  Today, that mundane word is hamburger.

The word hamburger has never really held any particular interest for me.  Sure I've said it, when ordering pizza, contributing ideas for a cook out, requesting hubcap make a stop by the WD - and all those times I never paid it any thought at all. But just the other day with the utterance of that word, my life was suddenly in upheaval and I had to catch my breath.  That stupid word slapped me in the face.

As with all words, the context is important so here goes the contextualization:
I asked my Babygirl which kind of kid's meal she wanted from Wendy's.  It was a night after a long day and I was not stepping foot in that damned kitchen, well except to get milk, and some napkins, and to put a couple of glasses in the dishwasher, oh and to prep things for dinner for tomorrow....well I had made up my mind that I wasn't going to cook at any rate.  We rarely eat fast food, not just because most of it is terrible for you but mainly because I am a downright tightwad, so the munchkins always get excited.  My little girl, after a moment's consideration, looks at me with her big greenish-blue eyes and utters one word "Hamburger".  "What did you say?", I ask because I am hoping that I misheard her, alas there it is again, "I want a hamburger".  World seems to be shifting, though I don't feel the full implications until after the mad-dash-daily-supper-bath-books-teethies-love-kisses-night-night-more-kisses routine is completed. 

She used to say "hambooger".  It was so cute and even when she tried to say it the right way, the only thing that changed was that the "ooo" was more emphasized.  All the other little words started to rush in my head and pretty soon I was overwhelmed. When she was thirsty she would say, "Mama, I'm drinky".  There were so many times when we would be playing and I was acting silly that she would say, "You are a crazy worman".  So why does stupid hamburger have me so bothered?  Because it is the last one.  Oh, she will still call me a crazy worman every once in a while because she knows it makes me laugh, but hambooger was the last one that occurred naturally, without intention of being funny.  I should be thankful she isn't marching into the school cafeteria and yelling out that she wants to eat a hambooger. And I am.  But mainly I'm in shock because these past five and a half years have gone by so quickly and I have just felt the whiplash.

That devil of a word "hamburger" also raised so many questions.  How much longer will she call me in to give her extra kisses, even though I have basically smothered her with the previous fifteen smooches? How many more times will she call for me, only to "forget" what she called me for?  Just the other day she found a pecan (say it the Georgia way emphasis on the can or stop reading my blog :) ) at recess and saved it in her pocket all day.  When I picked her up from school she said that she saw it and thought of me (appropriate because she called it a nut, emphasis on the nut).  She told me how she had kept it safe all day in her little jean skirt pocket and was so proud when she gave it to me.  How many more times will she harbor an illegal nut for her crazy worman of a Mama? 

Our time with our children is fleeting. I know that pretty soon she will be in those dreadful teenage years and the words that come out of her mouth will devastate me for much different reasons.  Now on, when I get aggravated because we are standing there staring at each other because she has forgotten what was so important that she had to call my name 15 times, I'm going to say "hamburger".  And when I go in her room to kiss her one last time goodnight, the one that is just for me when she is already dreaming of frogs (you just have to know this kid), I'm going to lean down and whisper in her ear, "Thanks for the nut".

Sunday, August 14, 2011

My favorite things

The torrential downpour has inspired me - that and the satellite is out and I got tired of doing laundry. Best enjoyed to the tune of My Favorite Things or to reach maximum enjoyment: don't read this at all

Salt on the rim
Of margaritas on weekends
Laundry completed
Someone else in the kitchen
Super nice back-rub without all the strings
These are a few of my favorite things
Brand new Mush Tevas
And munchkins that giggle
Beach-bags and posh-bags
And thighs that don't jiggle
Seeing each day as my kids grow their wings
These are a few of my favorite things
Feeling Bert's Beeswax all over my lips
Enjoying a Heath bar without guilt from my hips
Going to Grayton on break in the spring
These are a few of my favorite things
When the kids fight! Mama starts to scream!
I feel I'm going mad,
I simply drink wine and think of these things, and then I don't feel so bad!

So that's it. Rain has stopped and I'm tucking in for a Kardashin marathon! So next time you feel like you're losing your mind make up your own song....or save yourself the trouble and have Skinnygirl Margaritas on hand.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

It's hard out there for a Southpaw

It's that time again! The glorious day when all us Southpaws can raise our our hands and high five all you righties' faces (I kid, I kid)! Happy National Left Hander's Day!

Growing up a lefty, things weren't easy on the streets. It's hard out there for a lefty in a righty's world. EVERYTHING is designed for those with the "right" stuff: desks, doors, scissors (this still plagues me), computers, necklace clasps, guitars, golf clubs.....I could go on and on. Point is you righties just don't know how good you've got it.

Attempt after attempt has been foiled by my Southpaw dominance. I tried to learn tennis (one sport in which the equipment is neutral) but I had to reverse everything that was being taught to me! I wanted to take up golf - good luck finding a cheap set of lefties (website just for lefty golf supplies). Yet even after scoring a super cheap (read free) set, it was nearly impossible to learn due to the fact I had only right handed hot shots to teach me. And yes, still maintianing that it was hand dominance and not lack of hand-eye coordination that played in the biggest role in these epic failures. Guitar, sucked it up - I'm just trying to learn right handed. It even proved difficult as co-captain of the danceline in highschool...well difficult to those righties who had to suffer through my backwards left geared routines. Abuse of power? Probably.

So August 13th is our day! You can have all the rest. Yes this world is designed for those of a dominate right, but just remember that we are smarter and more creative than you - just look at the stats! We've got DiVinci, Einstein, Michelangelo and Hendrix on our side!

Ta-Ta for now! And just for today, throw that peace sign with your left hand!

Peace out - the Southpaw White Chick!
(and for any typos - deal with it I was typing on my iPhone, jury is still out whether it's intended just for righties!)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Whitey, Whitey try to hide-y

This guy is special.  It is because of him that now during the month of August we maintain constant vigilance.  He was the ambassador of all those following in his creepy six-legged footsteps in the Augusts to come.  We even named him:

On a perfectly normal day I walked out the back door, not maintaining the level of critter caution that is now practiced as August Awareness (ah, the naive years).  I approach the screen door at a rapid pace and as I began to push it open a movement directly in front of my face causes my eyes to refocus.  There, a good 2.5 inches from my face, clinging to the screen, Whitey introduced himself.  I stood stock still for about 10 seconds completely baffled by the thing staring back at me.  See, Whitey wasn't just any roach, mind you, but an albino one.  

I freaked and yelled for my hubby to come squash the varmint.  Alas, Whitey scampered away before the foot fell (roaches can run at the alarming rate of 3 mph).  An expected amount of Googling ensued.  I research things that scare me in the hopes that I will develop an understanding of them and not be so frightened.  Ah, Google!  What more could an Amateur Insect Hunter Girl need?

A few FF (in this case Freaky Facts):

  • Roaches wear their skeletons on the outside of their bodies.
  • Cockroaches bleed white blood. (did not need to know that)
  • Roaches outgrow their skeletons and must shed them to regrow (vomit, vomit, vomit)
  • Albino? nope, just happened to see a roach naked, which they are for approximately 8 hours while the new roomier skin/skeleton regains its regular color. (lucky you)
  • During the nude fest - a cockroach is white with black eyes. (have fun sleeping tonight)
Check out these and more interesting, albeit disgusting, Roach Facts <-----do it.

So there you have it!  Casper the not-so-friendly, freakishly white roach.  If anyone is wondering, I had no luck chasing my fears away.  In fact, it is still coming my way at the surprising rate of 3 miles per hour.

Peace and watch out for the Whiteys!

August Annuals

August signals the start of so many things.  School starts back (yippee), the oppressive heat begins to relinquish its hold (not in South GA), fall is just around the corner and with it comes college football (Go Dawgs!), and each of these things hold different meanings for us.  ‘Round my parts, August signals something quite different from the aforementioned joyous occasions, and the only meaning it holds is regret.  Regret that I don’t have the desired arsenal to deal with things at hand:  Critters.
These invaders are not of the common house pest variety.  I could deal with flies, roaches, spiders (Ok I lie – ew, yuck & original arachnophob).  The point is – a Google search is necessary when identifying our annual visitors.  Things they have in common:
1.       Always creep into our happy, normally bug-free (Thank you Astro) life in Early to mid-August
2.       Always causing a moment, amidst the panic, of extreme curiosity & equal WTFocity of the unidentified specimen (one exception – read on)
3.       Always come at you in a rather shocking and surprising manner. (read apparate right next to you causing you to scream and jump around thereby leaving neighbors no choice but to call 911)
4.       Once initial contact has been made, they come back – just once a year, in early to mid-August to scare me right out of my pants.
Whether this is in honor of our Annual Augustinians or a sacrificial measure, I have dedicated a special section just for them to get cozy and randomly jump out to say “Hiiiiiiii”.  Stay tuned for individual  Tales of the Creep!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Who wants crumbs?

Disclaimer: in no way am I to be considered an expert in any area.  I do not have a chunk of knowledge regarding one sphere of interest, rather a vat of random crumbs spanning various topics that usually are quite pointless unless I am watching jeopardy (domination).  In other words, choosing to keep up with this blog is as advisable as selecting the “More Ghetto” route on the Garmin.
So if I am not an expert of anything, what the hell am I doing?  Here is my attempt to explain, although expect far more confusion after reading, I apologize in advance.
 My Sister the hilarious blogstress: Do it…start a blog.
Me: um, about what?
Sissypants: just do it, it is so much fun and you
 would be great at it.
Me: pretty sure you are just looking for an enabler for your “All Things Blog” obsession
Sissy: sad, but true. Do it.
Presently… idea what I’m doing…blogging…sheesh
So there it is.  This not easily influenced thing strongly conflicts with natural urge to make sister happy. (No doubt she is preparing a retraction on her previous statements convincing me to blog).  Here I sit: A blundering baby blogger.
I am a researcher by nature and a lover of knowledge, so naturally I began to find articles with tips on starting a blog, which apparently isn’t as easy as one would think (who knew, right?).  The results of my search were astronomical!  Apparently everyone is an expert on blogging, with one obvious exception.  After several minutes over drowning in much too much information (my attention span sucks when I am not interested) I was mentally wadding up the results of the Google search and tossing them into the virtual bin, an action that I will no doubt regret in the blogs to come. 
Then it hit me: if I turn into a zombie just reading about things that don’t passionately interest me, how on earth can I blog about them.  Why limit myself to one area, be it kids, cooking, books, addictive reality TV, iPhone apps, never-ending weight loss struggles, random rudeness, etc. when I’m not just a munchkin shepherd, meager amateur chef, obsessive reader easily intoxicated by the smell of books, Bachelor franchise addict, card carrying member of iPhone Junkies Anonymous, receiver of hypothyroidism via genetics, seemingly constant and unwilling observer of random rudeness.  So THEY say find a topic and stick to it.  Consider it done.
My niche: things that passionately interest me because blogs without that = stale,lame,  
Chances that my random mumbles and grumbles will become cyberlitter? On a scale of “I’m one saw” to “public epic failure” – I’m sitting at a Lohan.  Although saying this would be public is laughable because I am more than likely talking to myself.  So here I go.  Where am I going? Not a damn clue.  Just remember: Wherever you go – there you are.
Ta-ta for now – not to imply that there will be a later.