Thursday, December 11, 2008

Things that make you go ... EWWwww...

So, as it 'Tis the Season for gift buying, and therefore gift ideas, I did a search for the phrase Candy Dispenser on Google... thinking that might be a cool gift for someone who has everything.

I found the same candy dispenser that I received from a friend, but alas, they were no longer in stock. So I continued the search and found this:

Candy Dispenser: Same sex toys, 50% less, free shipping.

Now I need to take a shower 'cause I feel so yuckky...

Probably not gonna buy anyone a candy dispenser now.

Ho. Ho. Ho.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

It’s only Rock-N-Roll, but I like it…

I am a musical girl. I come from a musical family. My mother taught piano and played piano and/or organ for almost my entire life. My father sings bass. My older brother can make music with just about any stringed instrument. He also sings bass. My younger brother played drums and sings in the tenor/baritone range. I play piano, flute, piccolo and sing in the soprano/alto range. I can sing tenor too… but that requires me to read the music instead of just sing along.

I love music of all forms. From classical orchestral arrangements to big band/jazz. I love the blues – Stevie Ray Vaughn or B.B. King. I can appreciate the Doors and Janis Joplin. I love Led Zeppelin and Kiss. I also love praise and worship music. In concert, I have experienced Elvis Presley, Jethro Tull, Heart, Kiss, Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, CS&N, Aerosmith, Duran Duran, Michael Bolton, Motley Crue, Tom Petty, Steven Curtis Chapman, Travis Cottrell… the list goes on!

I also have a penchant for musical theater. I have seen Yul Brynner in The King & I. I saw Richard Harris perform Camelot. I have experienced the Phantom of the Opera at least five times now. I love Sweeney Todd and South Pacific and Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain!

Needless to say… when the music flows, there is some portion of my body that is keeping time.

On Labor Day, my body was somewhat confined due to the fact that I was driving my car. As AC/DC was offering Dirty Deeds – Done Dirt Cheap, I was tapping my left foot to the beat of the bass drum. My left hand was firmly placed on the steering wheel and my right hand was keeping beat with the snare drum on my gearshift.

I was enjoying myself so much that the needle on my speedometer was inching far too close to the 90mph mark. I laughed to myself as I was backing off the speed, but my right hand never missed a beat… and as the music crescendo’d, so did the force of my right hand. To the point that I have apparently broken a blood vessel and/or severely bruised the index finger of my right hand.

Seriously. I can barely bend my index finger and the joint is quite swollen. And a lovely shade of blue… with a touch of deep purples here and there.

Deep Purple… I like them too.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ping Pong? Seriously?

I will admit that I am an average red-blooded American. My ping-pong exposure is minimal. It has been relegated to an occasional church youth function where one leg of the table is shorter than another and there is a hymnal attempting to level the playing field. I may have watched an entire match between a sibling and our maternal unit. My attention span never lasted as long as the match.

I have never felt compelled to sit and watch an entire ping-pong (or table tennis) match in my life. The fact that I experienced five minutes of said event last night as I watched the Olympics is saying a great deal.

Those are five minutes of my life that I will never get back.

I found myself chuckling – okay, it was an all out guffaw – at the table tennis athletes. These were people who take this sport seriously. I mean SERIOUSLY. They shifted their weight back and forth on the balls of their feet in eager anticipation of their opponent’s next move. They paced back and forth the length of the table. So what if that takes about two steps… those were two EAGER steps, I’m telling you! They were mopping sweat off their brows as if they just finished running a marathon.

They sweat! Playing ping-pong. Seriously.

There was crouching and angled shots and backhands and an entire room FULL of spectators! An entire room of people, under no visible means of duress, watched ping-pong. For more than five minutes. There were cheers and gasps of horror at the appropriate moments.

I think these may have been the same people who crowded in and watched badminton earlier in the games.

Badminton. The sport my grandmother could play. Before her hip surgery. A sport that, no matter how hard you hit the birdie, it is still going to drift lazily over the net. The sport that reminds me of the Bugs Bunny cartoon. You know the one… Baseball Bugs. Bugs takes five minutes to wind up his pitch, throws the ball, and yet it moves in slow motion over the plate. Badminton is a lot like that. Overhead arch swings, lower digs, smack downs just appear to be a waste of energy for an apparatus that will still simply drift over the net.

We are losing softball and baseball in the Olympic games; yet we will see plenty of badminton and ping-pong in 2012. Well, at least I’ll have four years to work up some excitement.

Friday, August 08, 2008

I might be older, and yet...

I believe the week before one's birthday may be a precarious time to submit oneself to an eye examination. Each annual visit finds me worried that it will be "The Year" that I find myself relegated to bifocals.

My eye doctor is extremely disappointed in me still, as I am currently not in need of said lenses - and she has been wearing them for a few years now.

Stinks to be her.

Whilst my older brother keeps getting older, my younger (baby) brother continues to enjoy taunting me. Each new birthday brings about a sense of expectation and wonder of what he will say this year. He turned 40 this year. 40!! 4-0. It was a day in which the angels wept and I rejoiced.

Until today, when he reminded me that I was closer to DEATH than he.


At least I still have my wits and my eyesight going for me. Unlike my maternal unit, who suffers from cataracts, but refuses to do anything about them. A legitimate fear brought about by her friend who actually lost one eye due to a botched cataract surgery. (Insert Katy dialogue here)

"Is she able to see okay out of the glass eye?"

There was much laughter about her faux pas until we witnessed the maternal unit walk across the floor and bend down to pick something up. She apparently having seen a "speck" of misplaced material of some sort. What was it she attempted to pick up and throw away? It was something she had attempted to pick up and throw away on a number of occasions, and she has been unsuccessful each time.

The item?

A sunbeam. A ray of light from the window.


Happy Birthday to me.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

But God...

It has been a few years since my friend Carey Dean (who is at fault for just about anything that goes wrong in my life), has given me an assignment. In the old days, Carey would wake before the crack of dawn, and blame the Lord for it. In those moments, he would be greatly inspired and would do his best to inspire the rest of us on his ministry team. It worked for the most part.

However, there are two things that stand out in my mind that I didn't just jump right on board with. The first was a video marathon of a one man act depicting maybe his death and journey into eternity. I really am fuzzy on the details, because I just was NOT impressed with the presentation. I thought the script fell on the cheesy side and that the acting was mediocre at best. We came to the end of the drama (thank goodness... I thought) and I turned to my friend Carey, who was at my right side, but behind me, ready with a sarcastic remark -- and he sat there with tears streaming down his cheeks because he had been so moved. I quickly shut my mouth and moved on.

The second time was a fascinating study through Watchman Nee's Authority and Submission. This was brought to us by Carey after his back surgery and subsequent hours lying flat on his back. It is amazing what can happen when you are confined to your home for such long periods of time. So... Authority & Submission it was. To say I was excited about learning how to be submissive is a bit off the mark. I will admit that I learned many things that have stayed with me for all these years... and to my credit, I was really good with everything for about the first four or five chapters. But by chapter seven, I was done. I don't remember if I literally threw my book across the room, but I am certain I did so figuratively.

So, when Carey was gracious enough to listen to me whine (again) the other night and gave me a new assignment... I couldn't help but enter my thought process with a little timidity. But this study (which is ongoing) has been a much-needed exercise to my worn out soul. My assignment was to do a word study on the phrase "but God". But I felt I still needed to perform a penance from my bad thoughts of W. Nee... I didn't go online for my research, but spent about an hour going through my hard cover exhaustive concordance. And... I will spend more time still.

The great thing about my friendship with Carey and his family, is that once you have been shown a path... the journey is yours to take. You can take whatever exit ramp or off-road path you like. I am certain that my path will not mirror the Dean path... but we may see some of the same sights. Studying the Word with them is like standing next to each other at the rim of the Grand Canyon and relating what you see. It will be the same TRUTH overall, but from wonderfully unique angles and perspectives.

Since this is still a study in progress... I will only share what my initial impressions are at this point.

I began by simply listing the verses as I came across them in the concordance. Then I went through the scriptures and made notes of the meat of the verse. It became apparent to me that a good majority of the scriptures could be seen in a negative light. Phrases like "But God did not deliver; But God will wound; But God will rebuke; But God will destroy" would simply add fuel to the fire that constantly burns at the feet of the non-believer. And I have to admit that I was not in a great frame of mind when I started this... which is why the negative was probably brought to my mind. And then Truth reared its head.

God is not a negative God. That is not His attribute. (Something I learned in another Bible study with Mr. Dean - but with Tozer - that I enjoyed much more) If He is forbidding me to boast - that is not a negative action, though the word "forbid" is negative on its own merit. It is because of His great love for me that I am forbidden to boast. It is by His great love that He is my judge. That He demonstrates His love.

It is by His great love that He shows me I am not to call any man unclean. I have to admit that in the past few days, that has not just been my temptation... but my reality.

But God calls me to live by faith the Truth of His promises.

And so... the study continues...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Graduations and vacation!

Yes, both my middle nieces graduated this spring. It was a great experience to watch them both walk boldly across their respective stages and grasp the future and move on to the next part of the journey of their lives.

Then, it was time to head to Florida with Katy and her friend Shelby. (A trip for Allison and her family is scheduled for the fall) We left Sunday after church and this was a huge contrast to my expedition with Kristin & Kaylie a couple of years before.

First big difference - amount of luggage. When we took this trip with K&K in 06 - the car was packed so thick that I could not see out the back window. They took EVERYTHING they owned. They took Dresses!! They took 15 pair of sunglasses! It was aMAYzing!

K&S each had one piece of luggage. One. Piece of luggage. I had no problem seeing out the back of the car. There were no dresses and each had one pair of sunglasses. Hilarious. The trip started off great with my meeting Shelby's parents before I scampered off with the girls down 65 South. They were nice people and seemed to believe I was not going to turn into an ax-murderer. Or a slave-trader.

We hit the road and made our first stop just on this side of the state line for lunch... at which time Katy realized she needed to make a quick stop at a drug store and so we were delayed about 15 minutes. Then we made our second stop at the Alabama rest stop (with the big rocket) for a potty break and the first of the gift giving extravaganza.

We were tooling along rather nicely until we got just south of Birmingham where we (and everyone else on 65S) came to a complete stop because of a car accident. We pulled over towards the median to let emergency vehicles through and rolled down the windows and parked the car. Since we were stopped - it was time for gift two... the paddle ball! (It really doesn't take much to make people happy)

We stopped for gas and food in Troy, Alabama (with more gift giving) and then not again until we actually hit the beach! We rolled out of the car, in through the condo, out the sliding doors and onto the beach while the sun was just beginning to set! It was lovely. Great winds coming off the Gulf and lots of people still strolling up and down the sand. We spent a few minutes there enjoying the moment and stretching our legs before we went back to the condo to unload the car.

Then we sat down and went over the rules:

1) We don't do anything illegal. Which means we don't consume alcohol (they are both under 21) and we don't purchase or consume tobacco products (again, under 21)

2) We don't consume any illegal substances whatsoever.

3) We don't drink ANYthing that someone else hands us. We drink only our drinks or something we watch a waiter prepare for us.

4) We don't go into a boy's condo and boys don't come into ours. We can talk with boys at the pool or beach, but no going into another's area.

They were great with the rules and we hit the nearest Publix for perishable foods then came back to crash. I had the bedroom - they had the sofa that pulls out into a bed. They went back to the beach before bed and I crashed as soon as they returned.

We spent the days at the pool and at the beach and we spent the evenings playing putt putt or hanging on the beach. It was good times. We ate at Pineapple Willy's on Monday night - because you just CAN'T go there without eating at Pineapple Willy's. Then we ate at the Boatyard - which just was not a great experience. Katy & I had enjoyed it the summer before with all the rest of the family, but this time the food just was not great. The scenery is pretty and it made for a fabulous shot of the two girls - but we should have gone to the Treasure Ship (another fam fave) instead.

We went to the maze - and I won! Of course! The girls even decided that it would be two against one. The youth against the old lady and they entered the maze a full 60 seconds before me. I left the maze a full 7 minutes before them. It was great fun. I hope that when I am 80 I will still enjoy that family tradition. Of course, the walker will slow me down, but that's okay!

We did a little shopping before we left town. Not a whole lot. We all got henna tattoos on our right ankle of three stars. Katy had planned to get a tattoo similar to her sister's (who got hers here two years prior) but she lost a bet with her father as to who would win American Idol. So, we had to settle for henna ones with glitter over them from Alvin's Magic Island. Big fun there!

That was our trip. It was a lot of fun and without any drama. Plenty of memories to go around for a while. Now back to the grind of our daily lives!

Monday, May 05, 2008

I just keep getting older...

... my kids are too quickly reaching adulthood - and the perils that lay in wait for them.

My Katy has attended her senior prom. In just 12 more days (Good Grief!) she will be a high school graduate! How can this be?!

Where is the little linebacker that was born oh so many years old? I always called her a linebacker because as a toddler, she was just rough and ready! Throwing her weight around and not kow-towing to anyone!

As an infant, she was quite a handful. Literally! She reFUSED to go to sleep... fearing, I am certain, of what she would miss. It fell on me, more often than not, to get her to sleep. I would wrap her up tightly in a blanket and take her into an area of the house that was the darkest and quietest and walk with her until she finally gave in to the sleep that was so desperately needed.

She had problems with her eyes as a little one and was given glasses to wear even before she was completely potty-trained - I think. She was never one to suffer those glasses for long and she had corrective surgery that took care of the problem.

Wasn't that just yesterday? I am certain that little one should not look as grown as this now:

Ah well... I think I'm off to purchase a rocker at Cracker Barrell to ease my way into senility!

Monday, April 21, 2008

I'll Have Fries with That

Well, it is official. I have been minus an organ for one year now. It is hard to believe that my gall bladder has been gone for that length of time... and I can still think fondly of my hospital stay and surgery experience.

That says a lot coming from a chicken like me!

So, how does one celebrate the one year anniversary of the removal of one's gall bladder? Why, one heads to the nearest Burger King and orders a Number One Meal - medium sized - with a Coke! (That's a Quarter Pounder with cheese, for those who don't know)

You see... I have not had a hamburger (or red meat for that matter) in the past year. I have nibbled on a meatball in sauce a couple of times, but I don't think that really counts. I have not had a steak, or roast, or anything else that resembles a cow.

Well. Milk. I drink milk. But that's not the same.

So, I hit the LaVergne Burger King at about 3:30 on the 18th (the official day) and placed my order. Did I want the whole meal, or just the burger? Well... if I'm going to do this - let's go all out!

I ripped into that bag like I had been fasting for 40 days. The fries were gone by the time I got back to my house. Then, it was time for the real deal - and my teeth sank into that meat and the ANGELS SANG!!! I had forgotten what a charbroiled hunk of meat tasted like. Sigh.

The even greater joy is that this dash to debauchery didn't ripped my tummy up. Some would argue that this means I can indulge in the joy of fast food burgers to my heart's content.

Alas - I believe I will leave it to a celebration on April 18. But at least now I have something to look forward to during tax season!!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

You Could Grow Crabs Somewhere

Girlfriends are great. They lift you up when you are down. They humble you when you are proud. They have insight beyond wisdom and they will eat chocolate with you until you puke.

I have had my share of great gal pals during my life. When I was in elementary school, my buds were Laura and Connie. We went through school together from fourth grade on. We were all SHS Bulldogs and proud of it. We parted ways once college hit - although I did have a number of classes with Laura. But Laura got married and we lost touch. Connie went to work while I stayed in school and we lost touch for a number of years, but we see each other now on a weekly basis and I am honored with her abiding friendship.

My best friend Mary (that is her official title - because whenever I reference her name, it is always "my best friend Mary") did not come into my life until I had graduated high school. She is a year older than me and already had a year of college under her belt when tragedy brought us together. Her father was the youth director at the church I attended. He was killed much too early in life in a motorcycle accident and I met Mary while we were both grieving his loss. Hers being much greater than mine, of course.

Mary is a person who you can go for months without talking to and pick right up where you left off. Mary lives in another state, married a great guy and named her only child after Jerry's grandmother and me. How cool is that?! The family was in town for Easter recently and I got to spend some time with them. I have determined Mary & Jerry are the BEST.PARENTS.EVER because Lora Cathryn has turned out so well. I'd like to take LOADS of credit for this by way of some sort of osmosis... but that really isn't very fair. Needless to say - if the phone rings in the middle of the night and it is Mary - I will do whatever needs to be done. No questions asked. No hesitations. Done. And I know Mary would say the same for me.

Lisa was my first roomate after college. We spent a couple of years laughing hysterically at life and people we watched do stupid things. We lived in an apartment in the middle floor of a complex. That was a big mistake. Mostly because we were certain the middle-eastern man below us was a terrorist manufacturing some sort of explosive device (What in the world can one person do with THAT.MUCH.FERTILZER?) and drug dealers living above us. (Are they playing FOOTBALL up there?!) We were grateful for the night that Lisa heard something scratching outside her bedroom window and found a huge extension ladder leading to the floor above. Garbage bags filled with who-knows-what peppered the ground and people made their way up and down - and then we never heard or saw those people again. Lisa is now a school teacher and works with community theater here - and is a darn fine actress!

Lou and Amy fall in BFF category because of their wit and ability to roll with the punches. We make annual treks either to the mountains or the beach for girl time away from the hassles of work and other monotonous daily grinds. We accept each other for what we are and we move on ahead. We can and do disagree at times, but we typically don't let those disagreements snag our friendships.

And then... there is Requelle.

Requelle is a girl that when I first met I never thought would be in the BFF category. Mostly because we are both controllers and we were thrown together (the fault of Carey Dean - as are most things in life) in a working environment that really embraced unity and teamwork. That looked great on paper, but in the real world - there were two chefs in the kitchen. Both wielding large knives at the other one. Both trying not to kill Carey Dean on any given day... for any given reason.

We worked together a good year before we really started to click. We finally began to see the other's strong points and weak points and how we could best relate to each other. There were plenty of times of asking and receiving forgiveness and we lived through productions and conventions and hours upon hours of light settings! Once you have been down that road - you are BFFs whether you intended it or not.

One of the best parts of our relationship - as far as I am concerned - is our ability to laugh together and dream together. If I can make Req laugh until she pukes - I consider my day a huge success! If I can say or do something that embarrasses the smack out of her - the bonus comes from watching her blush - followed by laughter that will make her hurl. I love that part of my relationship.

We are two single girls who have never been married - but would still like that privilege. We have conjured our individual dream men (Emerson and Jonas) and what traits we would like said men to embody. Mine would be a tall, wealthy rancher in Montana (horse ranch, BTW, not cows) who already has kids and doesn't want any more. Said children are pre or newly teens who love me just because I'm me.

Req doesn't share this dream. She needs to be near a large body of salt water - and Utah's lake just doesn't count.

While we were talking about this the other day, I was attempting to figure out what my saltwater friend could do in the wilds of Montana and still be happy. I remembered that everytime she goes home to Maryland, she returns with pounds and pounds of crabmeat, which she then turns into some sort of delicacy that I simply don't get behind. But that's just me. It was this thought process that forced the following statement from my mouth:

"You could grow crabs somewhere"

There was the shortest breath of a pause before we both burst into laughter and I visualized Requelle pulling her car over to save her upholstery from a fate worse than... well... you get the pictures.

Best Friends Forever.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Be that way...

I called to wish my friend Req a Happy Birthday today. I asked if she liked her birthday present... as we had some snow on the ground and I was taking complete credit for it. She gushed on and on and ON about the purity and loveliness that is snow and how blessed her day is because of it.

Then I realized my birthday is in August. The most I could hope for is a tornado or hurricane passing through.

Req's birthday gets a pretty blanket of fluffy white stuff. My birthday gets death and destruction.

Life is so not fair.

Happy Birthday Req!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Why Are You Dressed...

... like a dead country music icon?

1) Because its Valentine's Day

2) Because I am having a bad hair day

3) Because my face has broken out

4) Because I started my period

5) All of the above

So BACK OFF before I hack you to pieces with a kitchen knife AND feel good about it!

Monday, February 11, 2008

"You're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat"

In the summer of 1975 I was 11 years old and there was the newest sort of horror film on the big screen. It was horrific not for men dressed as women and stabbing through a shower curtain, but because the film depicted something that the 11 year-old brain could conceive as a possibility.

Especially in the summer. Especially right before a family vacation to Daytona Beach, Florida.

I am talking about the movie Jaws. Like most young people, I watched the commercials advertising this movie – complete with the creepy music – and wondered at the mysteries of the deep blue ocean. I never thought my father would actually deign to take my family and me to this film, but away we went.

We traveled to the old Belle Meade Theater in Nashville one evening and plopped ourselves down in the cushioned seats with soft drinks and popcorn perched precariously between my younger brother and myself. The theater darkened. The creepy music began and film life was recreated for me in an instant.

I watched an almost-nude woman swim through the ocean as her drunken boyfriend passed out on the shore. I sat transfixed as said woman thrashed about and clung to a buoy for dear life and my eyes widened when she went under and never came back for air. I laughed at the dialogue between a group of fisherman and Matt Hooper and came out of my seat when the disembodied head popped out of the hull of a stranded boat. (I think popcorn went flying through the air).

The following week my family was indeed on Daytona Beach and I flatly refused to enter the water. My father, never one to cower to fear, promptly threw me over his shoulder and marched to the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. And. Dropped. Me. In. It. He stood in my way and did not allow retreat and I accepted that while I could indeed become shark bait, perhaps Jaws would see my father’s bulk and determine that I was not worth the trouble when there was such meat food to eat. Selfish of me, I know… but it is a shark-eat-shark world when you are up to your neck in the briny deep.

However, I loved the movie. Loved it, loved it, loved it. I will still watch it to this day if I am surfing the channels and happen upon it. I have my own DVD whenever the mood strikes to relive my childhood or to quote a movie. Thus began my love for this film and for all the actors and characters attached to it.

I loved the sarcastic, yet intelligent wit that was found in Matt Hooper’s character. My favorite line of his:

“I think that I am familiar with the fact that you are going to ignore this particular problem until it swims up and BITES YOU ON THE _____!!”

I loved that Robert Shaw appeared in this film (as I had seen him as a villain in a James Bond movie) and he gave a stunning performance as he described having been on the Naval vessel Indianapolis that sank during WWII:

“… until he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then... ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin'.”

But the most memorable quote from that film (for me) comes from Chief Brody, who has finally seen the shark for the first time (with the rest of the audience)

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

Roy Schneider, Chief Brody, died today of a staph infection. He was 75 years old. He had been treated for cancer over the past years and the acting world as well as the community at large will surely miss him, as he was a proponent for arts in education. He was a fine actor who received a couple of Oscar nominations, though the trophy itself eluded him.
A well-loved actor left his mark on the world and the community around him. His talent will certainly be missed.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Gotta Love Super Tuesday

While I was huddled in the hallway of my home praying the storms away, I had family members in Arkansas oblivious to my pain and fear.

But, at least, they stood close enough to be caught on film. The bottom left is my cousin, who is standing in front of my aunt (hogging the limelight! Ha!) The little boy on the front row is her oldest son and the man in the denim shirt behind him is her father, my favorite uncle. (Of course, he is also my ONLY uncle.)

But where, oh where, is her youngest son? He'd be right about here:

Not even the promise of a political landslide victory will keep him from snoozing away.

Poor little guy. Ah well...

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Be Careful of that 75th year!

I am typically not one to warn people of impending birthday doom; however, if your 75th birthday is even remotely comparable to my mother’s 75th birthday… you are going to want to plan ahead.

1) Plan ahead to "fake out" your true age.
As my maternal unit approached her 75th birthday, it appeared she wanted to make sure the world didn't "realize" she had reached such a milestone. So, two weeks prior to the birthday she felt she needed to move a microwave and a stand-alone freezer. By. Herself. She did pretty well until she twisted the wrong way on the knee she'd had surgery on. This found her propped up in the bed with a large amount of pillows under her knee and ice packs over her knee. She hobbled along for a few days with a goodly amount of determination that she was "better" and had no need for a physician.

Having finally achieved her walking status, the week prior to her 75th day found her moving a large space heater from one room to another. With. No. Help. This became problematic when she dropped said space heater On. Her. Bad. Knee.

Strike Two. Back to the bed for a few days. Alternating between ice packs and heating pads and swallowing Advil, as if it were the finest chocolate. No plans for medical treatment in her future.

Never let them see you age.

2) Plan ahead to receive pornography on your computer.
Considering that she has recently retired, the maternal unit made a decision to cash in her 401K plan. About two days prior to her 75th birthday, she made an online request for the necessary forms from her 401K provider. So, when she received an email with the subject line "Here's What You Requested" she logically assumed she was receiving her requested forms.

Never assume.

What she received instead is nothing that she has ever requested online before. Namely still photographs of writhing bodies in various stages of ecstasy and completely unclothed. Those artistic works also attached a virus to her computer and now she cannot seem to get away from said writhing bodies. Nor can we seem to remove them from the hard drive. (Attach tacky comment here)

This wasn't the most disturbing of developments for me; rather, my father's interest in said writhing bodies. My father, who is only eight months younger than my mother, never comes near the computer.

"What kind of porn did you get?"

"What do you mean, what kind? It was porn."

"What did it look like?"

"Nekkid people."

"What were they doing?"


"Were they still pictures or was it moving pictures?"

"Still pictures. It was pictures of (_______)"


Thankfully the discussion ended there before I had to intervene with a lecture to my very adult parents. Some things I remain grateful for.

3) Plan ahead for Home Repairs
A 75th milestone is not one to move about with stealth or guile. It will smack you in the head with the reminder that you are not invincible... and neither is your 40 year old home. Gremlins will attack and they may head for the electrical system.

I have warned my parents of the inevitability of our failing electrical system at Casa De Bell for some time now. I said this because we have replaced the roof (thanks to a hail storm), replaced the plumbing (thanks to some frozen pipes), and replaced the heating and cooling system (thanks to the age and condition of the old unit). It only stood to reason that the next phase would be the electrical wiring.

Our home is very old. I believe it was originally built in the 50s. Then, the owner built onto the original structure two more times. We are powered with fuseboxes. Five of them. When we first moved into the house, we went through and mapped out which fuses went to which lines and we keep a piece of paper with notes telling us which fuses operate which rooms, etc.

We replace fuses all the time. We could probably take the amount of money we have spent on fuses for the past twenty years and build another addition on to our home. Or a swimming pool in the back yard. One was never certain what caused the fuse to blow. Perhaps you were running a load of laundry and decided to make a pot of coffee. Or you were watching TV and turned on a lamp. The fuse would blow. There was no rhyme or reason.

So, when the lights in the living room started flickering recently I said that all encompassing phrase: uh-oh. (It stinks to be a prophet, when you know said prophecy is going to cost a lot of money!) We lived with flickering lights for a couple of weeks before we actually lost all power to the living room and kitchen.

On. The. 75th. Birthday.

The maternal unit did not take this latest blow very well. But, she was able to do an internet search (beyond the porn) to find an electrician.

Mr. Sparky.

(Insert bad attempt at humor over the name in light of the recent pornographic material here)
Mr. Sparky is a company that does work on electrical problems for the home. The representative we had was a wonderfully nice fellow who braved hurricane conditions to travel to our home and see what he could do. We had a number of problems, all of which were fixed in a goodly amount of time, and Mr. Sparky left with the intention of returning the next day to give us an estimate on what it would take to bring our electrical system into the 21st century.

It will take a lot. It is taking place even as I type. It will take an electrical crew an entire day to complete. But then we will love life and everyone in and around our circles of influence as the gremlins will have been exorcised back to the pits of hell.

The youngest of the siblings took the 75th celebrant and his two older siblings out to dinner to celebrate. He took us to a Sushi bar/Hibachi grill for good food and relaxation for the maternal unit who was inundated with emotions from having received porn and a large estimate for electrical work. But, all was well with the world as our Grill Master sliced and diced before us.

Until the cell phone rang.

The power was back off at Casa De Bell and Mr. Sparky was nowhere to be found.

But, we have held the gremlins at bay for the past two days. Our freezer was emptied and foodstuffs were taken to the church for storage, and we figured out how to keep the power on in the two affected rooms.

Turn on the stove.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. When the lights and power go out in the living room and kitchen, simply turn the knob of any stove eye and the power will return. For approximately 15 minutes.

Gremlins. You gotta love 'em.

Happy Birthday Mom.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The snow gods are Laughing

There is something to be said for the rush of exhilaration that courses through the body of a young person faced with the possibility of a snow day. That same exhilaration has the power to overwhelm adults on occasion, if they are not in control of their emotions and/or their sensory functions.

You would think that having lived the majority of life in middle Tennessee would dampen my spirits to the possibility of a snow day. I remember praying to the snow gods above to pour out their blessings upon the earth to get me out of school… specifically if there was a test looming on my horizon. It never failed to work against me. If I studied and crammed for the test, we would not go to school. If I slacked off, we got not one flake of snow. The snow gods hated me as a child.

The snow gods, as a matter of fact, apparently hate middle Tennessee in general, as they have not visited our area in some time. (I am certain that Al Gore has a scientific reason for this… but I digress)

The snow gods do get a pretty good chuckle out of the actions of middle Tennesseans faced with inclement weather. If the words “snow”, “sleet”, or “frozen precipitation” are even vaguely mentioned on local newscasts, the Volunteers set out en masse to the nearest grocery store to “stock up” on supplies that will allow them to brave the fiercest of storms. You will not find a gallon of milk, a loaf of bread, or a roll of toilet paper in the city. National Guard troops will have to drop load from C130 aircraft in order for Nashvillians to endure the first 24 hours of snowfall. The local television stations will suffer the elements to broadcast in front of the local Kroger whilst mass hysteria erupts behind them.

And the snow gods laugh quietly to themselves.

As an adult, snow days held less ability to affect my personal life. I was raised by a military father who, when faced with even the remotest possibility of a snow day, set his alarm for three hours before he normally awoke in order to examine the state of the road conditions. If there was snow, he dressed quickly and got on the road before the rest of mankind had a chance to awaken and bring the greater Nashville area to a standstill. His little Chevy hatchback never missed a beat, and my father never missed work. I learned that missing work on a snow day for a Bell just was not acceptable. I either caught a ride with my father at the crack of dawn, or I followed in my own car at the same time.

My dad also had about 15 different snow routes he could take to work. These were less traveled roads where his little front wheel drive would not encounter traction issues. As I think back on this, it is probably why I have a good five or six different ways to get to work myself. I am always prepared to make a detour if an accident shuts down the roadways.

My dad is retired now and does not have to watch news reports or set an alarm clock. I am not retired. I am my father’s daughter. There was a possibility of a snow day just this morning.

My alarm went off early (5:00 am) and I pushed the power button on my remote to turn on the television. I gazed through bleary sleep-crusted eyes at the local weatherman and the map behind him. It was a map of the school closings in the area. The map was all the same color. Oh My Goodness! All the schools were closed! The exhilaration kicked in as I jumped from the bed and quickly dressed. I have a toothbrush and paste at my office, so I will simply brush my teeth when I get there. A couple of quick swipes of deodorant and I was out the door.

The roads were not slick yet, but it was only a matter of time. The temperatures were dropping and the rain was pouring down. I quickly arrived at my office (one hour before my normal arrival time) so that I could answer the phones in the event that my boss was trapped by the weather and could not make his appointments.

I waited by the phone. I manned my desk. I breathed deeply in and out. I logged onto the internet to check the school closing listing for further updates and my brain finally kicked in.

The weather map was all one color because none of the school systems were closing for rain.

The snow gods are still laughing at me.