I May Not Survive 2018.

It’s the second day of the New Year,  and I am pretty sure the universe is trying to kill me. I made myself some goals, and goals are a good thing. One of my unwritten resolutions is to be a more positive person in 2018. I am quite determined. And I am pretty sure I heard the universe say “Hold my beer and watch this!”

I went in to work yesterday. I know. New Year’s Day and all, but I work in a zoo. Al’s gotta eat. And it’s not like I party all night. Nah, I was in bed by 9, asleep by 10. If I want to see the ball drop, I can catch it on Youtube. How can I not go in and see this face?

    My favorite picture I have ever taken of my boy.

I say I went in to work. More correctly, I TRIED to go in to work. On the way there:

  • my car started to overheat
  • I realized a coolant hose was leaning, so I pulled over to the shoulder of the interstate.
  • I did more swearing that I meant to as I watched cars swerve over the line and nearly hit me, even though traffic was to merge into THE OTHER LANE.
  • I figured out I had coolant in the car, so I added some, but…
  • the battery had died due to the severe cold (11F plus windchill)
  • I was wearing shorts.

It took about a half hour before husband could come and retrieve my frozen behind and haul me the rest of the way in It took an hour for my feet to feel like feet again. My day went fine at work. I got some things done, so yay. But I was positive! Go, me! Instead of thinking that 2018 sucks already, quitting my job, and ordering more cats off the internet, I thought “Maybe 2018 is my year of solving problems, of growing stronger and more confident in my abilities.

Then I came home.  And I broke my toe. I didn’t get it x-rayed because there’s nothing to be done with tiny pinky toes except to tape them to their next-door neighbor, but it is purple and blue, and if you touch it, I might accidentally punch you. But it’s just a toe, right? A little tape and bottle of Ibuprofen, and all better. Little toe, littler problem.

I wish I had a good story, like I was fighting ninjas, or practicing mixed martial arts, or I kicked a wall in a rage. But no. I dropped a remote control on it. Our first real TV in, like, 9 years. See? I have been saying all along that television is harmful. Believe it.  TV will break your bones. So anyhow. Toe is taped.  It’s something to laugh about.

And then we come to this morning.

  • Outside spigot A was frozen because someone didn’t leave it running. I won’t say who that was for the sake of marital harmony, but it wasn’t me.
  • Outside spigot B was also frozen. Spousal unit unfroze.
  • Spousal unit let car warm up so he could take me to work.
  • Car ran out of gas. Cars without gas do not take you to work. They sit there and wait to be kicked with my good foot.
  • Spigot A refroze, and the only thing I had with which to unfreeze it was. my. coffee.
  • In the unfreezing process, spigot A sprayed me up and down.
  • My pants froze to my legs

For my safety, I gave up, came inside, put on my pajama pants. I am hiding now. 2018 is coming for me. Don’t tell it where I am.

I can’t bear to look!

 

 

*My family motto is “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

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The One Where I Nearly Cheat

I am a good person. Generally. I try to be, anyway. But I am not perfect. Sometimes I fall short.

I love my husband. We’ve been married for twenty years. That’s more than half my life. Wait. Is it? How old am I? Hang on while I do the math. Carry the two, divide by the ratio of the moon’s circumference to its diameter… Okay, no. Not half my life, but close enough. Long time. Long enough that I am shocked at how close I came to betraying him.

It was so frighteningly easy to justify, too.

  • I’m home alone.
  • He’s out of town.
  • He will never know.
  • I’m bored.
  • I’m tempted.
  • He will never know.
  • I just really want to.
  • I never specifically said that I wouldn’t.
  • He’s probably done it himself.
  • He will never know.***

I wrestled these demons for an entire day, and I am proud to say I emerged victorious and true. I didn’t do it. I didn’t.  I resisted the temptation. I did not see Star Wars: The Force Awakens without him. But I might have eaten his Junior Mints while he was gone. Keep that between us, would you?

Shingleback skink (Tiliqua rugosa). One of the only reptiles known to mate for life. Voted as reptile least likely to see a Star Wars Movie without their mate. We could learn so much from them. Image source: commons.wikimedia.org

Shingleback skink (Tiliqua rugosa). One of the only reptiles known to mate for life. Voted as reptile least likely to see a Star Wars Movie without their mate. We could learn so much from them. Image source: commons.wikimedia.org

 

*** He would totally know. The man can sense The Force from twenty paces. He’s like Yoda.

 

 

 

The Things I Didn’t Know

It’s my anniversary. It’s a big one, too. Twenty years ago, I stumbled, blinded by tears waltzed gracefully down the aisle and attached myself, for better or for worse, to the man I had been dating for three years. I thought I knew everything. There were so many things I didn’t know.

I didn’t know:

How difficult it would be to learn to share a bed with someone else. Is there ever a mattress big enough?

That the man I married is a cover-hog.

That neither of us is perfect. I’m not sure which came as a bigger shock – that I had flaws, or that he did.

That he knows swear words. Even if he never uses them.

How quickly a tiny, insignificant spark can spawn a devastating blaze. The War of the Roses has nothing on the Dishwasher War of ’99.  Seriously, premarital counseling should have a chapter in Dishwasher Loading. And don’t get me started on wet clothes in the hamper.

That doing the laundry can be an incredibly romantic gesture.

That I would learn how to speak an entirely different language. Washing dishes is Husband for “I love you.”

How fast I would switch from always saving the last chocolate cupcake for him to hiding treats in an empty tampon box.

What a minimalist he is. He’d be content to own only a pair of running shoes and a decent pillow.

That his biggest competition for my affection would be a hook-nosed professor from Hogwarts.

sj found this gif for me ages ago. It still makes me weep.

sj found this gif for me ages ago. It still makes me weep.

How he would have to compete for living space with my collection of snakes and lizards.

How tolerant he is of snakes and lizards. Even when said lizards keep him awake at night with their noisy breeding activities.

How big a hole would be left in our hearts when we lost the cat we adopted when we got married.

My old friend

My old friend

How healing it would be to watch him parent our children. I never knew what it meant to have a dad in the house. Now I do.

How balding and predominantly grey could be so deliciously sexy. Sorry kids. Forget Mommy said this.

The sheer number and size of the storms we would have to weather.

That if I had the power to change the past and skip over some of the rough patches, I wouldn’t do it. Each and every trial has taught us something – about ourselves, about each other,about our faith. Skipping the hard parts would be like jumping to multiplication problems before ever learning to count. Without the foundation, there’s nothing solid on which to build. If you’re going to construct an earthquake-proof residence, you must first learn what an earthquake can do.

How the quirks I found endearing back then would become irritating. And how those irritations become endearing once again. They’re part of who he is.

How quickly 20 years would pass.

Happy anniversary to my beloved. I’m pretty sure that according to Hallmark, the 20th is the chameleon anniversary. Twenty-fifth is silver, 40th is ruby. Yes, I’m certain that the 20th is Oustalet’s chameleon. There’s a perfect spot in the living room…

I'd do it all over again.

I’d do it all over again.

Nobody’s Perfect

Mocha cupcake. Hands off.

I don’t know why it came as such a surprise to them. It wasn’t new information. I know they haven’t been laboring under the illusion the Mom-is-a-saint illusion. That ship sailed long ago. So when that package of sweets arrived unexpectedly in our mailbox, why did it rock my kids’ world to be reminded of a great truth? Mom doesn’t share.

There, I said it. I don’t share. I never have. Okay, I do share sometimes, but apparently letting them share my body for nine months was soon forgotten. But I don’t share food. Not the good stuff.

Don’t look at me like that. I feed them. Daily. Several times. But when I am presented with a tasty morsel, some treat of which there is limited quantity, I go Cro-Magnon. I hide my kill and come back for it later. Bears don’t share, so why should I?

I don’t know why they thought this package was different. Before management jacked the price up 60%, I routinely bought a vegan brownie at Whole Foods once a week. I savored that tidbit all week long, dividing it into four pieces and treating myself at the end of a long day. The kids would tease me about it, pretending they were going to eat it themselves, but it was all in good fun. They never expected to have any of it for real. And they leave my chocolate cereal alone. It’s my new “brownie-isn’t-worth-the-money-but-I-need-something-sweet” treat. They leave that alone. Only if I have been a slacker and allowed us to run out of regular cereal do they expect to receive a bowlful. It’s my penance.

So why do they seem to think that these delightful little candies are up for grabs? Is it because they are Cadbury? Because they are individually wrapped? Because they are from England? Or is it just because they are mine? And they are. Mine! Mine! Mine!

Upon seeing the contents of the package, daughter threw puppy-dog eyes, middle son hugged me, and Squish, in his Pavlovian response to receiving treats for his dirty business, ran to the bathroom to poop. That’s nice, ya’ll but no. No. No. No. Mine.

I put the treats in a high cabinet as soon as I brought them in the house. Out of sight, but definitely not out of mind. My son said “You might want a surveillance camera just to keep an eye on them.” Does he really think they are staying there? I may be absent-minded, but I am not stupid. I put them in that cabinet to throw them off the trail. I have a series of secret places, and I will simply move my goodies from spot to spot until I have finished them. My dark chocolate and raspberry candies lived in my sock drawer. My brownie lived in the kids’ Halloween buckets. Ironically, they never look there. I have been known to tuck treats in an empty Tampax box, guaranteeing no male in the household will touch it. It’s like hiding Superman’s cookies in a kryptonite cabinet.

So where to put these little morsels? Yeah, right. Like I’m telling. I. Don’t. Share.

Lost in Translation

Tiny snowman. Tiny, tiny snowman

What I say: Are you going running right now?

What husband hears: Seriously? You’re going for a run  right now? NOW? I thought you loved me. Why are you abandoning me? You are ruining my life and all of the plans I had for us.

What I meant: I want to know if I can put the baby down for a nap.

*     *     *

What he says: Are you going to make more apple butter from these apples?

What I hear: I spent twenty bucks on those apples and those stupid jars. You better not be letting them go to waste.

What he may have actually meant: Is it okay if I eat one?

*    *     *

What he says: Is that what you’re wearing tonight?

What I hear: You look like you are dressed for Clown Academy.

What he may actually have meant: Should I dress up a little more, too, or are jeans okay?

*     *     *

What he says: I can tell you’re losing a lot of weight.

What I hear: I am less afraid that I will smother in my sleep under your flab.

What he may actually have meant: I’m proud of the effort you’ve put in.

*     *     *

What he says:  I know you like to have some quiet time before the kids get up. It’s 6:15.

What I hear: I accidentally turned off the alarm instead of hitting snooze. Get up and make me some coffee, woman. I’m going back to sleep. Wake me in 20 minutes.

Another variation: Go do your stupid blog before the kids get up so I don’t have to listen to you whine about not being able to get it finished.

What he may actually have meant: I know you like to have quiet time before the kids get up.

*     *     *

What I say: Keep your hands off your brother/sister.

What they hear: Poking him/her with a chopstick is fine.

It doesn’t matter what I meant.

*     *     *

What Squish says: I gotta go potty.

What I hear: Mommy, I have finally conquered my ambivalence toward using the toilet consistently. Your new life is about to begin.

What he actually means: I want out of the Ergo so I can run around Target.

*      *     *

What Squish says: I not gotta potty. I fine.

What I hear: I am about to pee down your back.

What he actually means: I am about to pee down your back, but I’m not finished looking at toys.

*     *     *

What Squish says: Go away.

What I hear:  I don’t love you anymore.

What he actually means: I am about to sin would prefer to have no witnesses.

*     *     *

What I say: You need to get dressed before you go outside.

What he hears: A bra and some underwear should suffice.

All dressed.

What I say: Good dog, Phoebe.

What she hears: Way to go! You just raised the bar for canines everywhere. Now you need never listen to me again.

*     *     *

What I say: Can you keep an eye out for Squish for the next hour or so? I need to work on my blog.

What husband hears: Leave me alone. I just got on Pottermore.

What I actually meant: Okay, sometimes he gets it right.

I Dumped Him

courtesy uploadeccv.com because I don't have a photo of a trash truck

I know that many of my blogs have been related to being dumped. Or taking a dump. But this time, it’s not about me getting the short end of the stick, whatever that actually means. Nor does it involve bodily waste. Aren’t you glad? It does involve elimination, though. Eliminating someone totally useless from my life.

I have had enough. After years and years of deceit, plans left in ruins, never having a clue about our future, I did it. I fired the weatherman. In the eloquent words of Ricki Lake, I “kicked him to the curb.” See? I knew my TV addiction in the early 90’s would pay off at some point.

It has been coming for awhile. Over the last few years, I’ve noticed that not only can he not predict precipitation with any kind of accuracy, but he misses the high temperature by as much as ten degrees. That’s a big margin. Ten degrees can mean the difference between chilly rain or up to your armpits in snow. And it’s not just my weather dude. It’s all of them.

They like to pretend that they know stuff. They have those seven day forecast charts that show nothing more than how they would run things, if they were the Big Weatherman in the Sky. I suspect that the forecast being dubbed partly cloudy versus partly sunny depends more on whether your weatherman is a sky half-full or half-empty kind of guy than what the Doppler gods told him.

Consulting a meteorologist before making plans is a lot like calling the Psychic Friends Network. You hear a lot of esoteric gobbledygook that is up for interpretation. But at least my Psychic Friends offer the personal touch of calling me by my fake name when they’re predicting my untimely death.

I know, I know. Meteorology is an inexact science, and it’s a tricky business. Especially if you subscribe to the chaos theory. There are lots of butterflies out there flapping their wings and blah, blah, blah. My answer to that is insecticide. You know I’m kidding, right? Love me some butterflies and all that. But seriously. I would love to have a job where I could be badly wrong every single day, and not only would I still get paid, thousands would tune in to hear what I had to say. And still believe me.

And why do we do it, tune in day after day? We know they are as accurate as a drunken stock broker, but we cannot make outdoor plans without checking in with them. Like they have all the answers. Of course, they do. The answers just happen to be wrong. Take our trip out of town for an outdoor family reunion, for instance. Before we left, we checked the weather of the town where we were going. 80 degrees, moderate chance of rain. So we packed warm weather gear. When we arrived 12 hours later, the forecast had changed a wee bit. Rain and 60 degrees. Seriously? And the weather we actually got? Sunny and 74 degrees. Alrighty, then.

I would feel better about meteorology if they presented the weather in bookkeeping odds rather than percentages. “Rain 1:5, Hail 1:12, and the odds-on favorite for today is Sun at 3:5.” At least it would be entertaining. Or have them say something like “Well, it’s sunny out there, but you might want to take an umbrella because it might rain later. And the high today should be 70-ish, but take a jacket just in case.” Or perhaps make television meteorologist wear robes and turbans like Jambi the Genie. Then we’d be more likely to appreciate the forecast for what it actually is: a shot in the dark.

Here’s my new plan for weather. If it’s February, it will probably be cold. If it’s August, it’ll be warm. I’ll keep a jacket and an umbrella handy to cover my bases. Oh, and I bought a weather loach. He’s at least as accurate as the weather guys, and he has cute little whiskers.

Jojo the Dojo

I bet you think I’m kidding.

Also, I am fully aware that there are plenty of women who are meteorologists. But Weather Woman sounds like a really lame superhero, and Weatherperson is just a little too bland for me.

I Got Dumped

photo courtesy of busytrade.com. Because I don't take pictures of my trash

I don’t know what happened. Yesterday you were a part of my life, pretty as you please. And today, poof, you are gone. Vanished from my life completely like a thief in the night. And it hurts. Is it me? I’ll never know. Because you dumped me, severed our tenuous connection. That’s right. You quit following me on Twitter.

I’ve been learning all about social media recently as an effort to promote the things that I am doing. I avoided Twitter for a long time, mostly because of the lingo. Hashtags don’t sound like something a Christian should be involved with. I gathered my courage and jumped in this week, and this is the thanks I get. I was so proud of building some followers, and then I got up this morning and discovered you were gone. I am devastated. I wish I knew which one you were.

Were you the girl who added me under my old user name (cheapthrills03) thinking that I might enjoy reading about your drunken, drug-addled romp with your married boss? Actually, such a parting might not be bad for either of us, as we obviously have different interests. But what if it wasn’t you? And what if you actually read this. Should I just go ahead and say goodbye now? Do I send a card?

Were you the guy who tweets about the fabulous software that you have created. That no one has ever heard of? Or the girl who was looking for a good time? I am a fun person. We could play Monopoly, or even watch Harry Potter! Or are you the one who wants to sell me penis enlargement pills? Don’t let my lack of such an appendage come between us. We can work it out!

Or are you the lady that I was following myself. The one who found me in the bushes outside her house? I am so very, very sorry about that. I am really new to Twitter, and I got a little confused. I now know the difference between “following” and “stalking.” My bad. Please accept my apologies and a new azalea to replace the one I squashed. And the private investigator will no longer be parked outside your place of business. Restraining orders are handy little things, no?

Anyway. If you are out there, my long, lost cyber-soul mate, please look me up. I miss you. And I’ve got a telemarketer friend you might really like, too. She’ll be calling in a couple of hours. We can all hang out and go get our nails done or something. Follow me!