I Bathed in Poo Water

Roun’ here yard waste pickup is the second and fourth Monday of the month. I miss this consistently so the black trashcan full of garden clippings, weeds, twigs, vines, several months of rainwater and mosquito larvae sits against the back fence of my jungle-like garden elevated from the ground by a couple of cinder blocks.  Yesterday morning after I kicked my children out the do… I mean, lovingly sent my kiddos to school I went for a walk around the neighborhood. I noticed some neighbors had their yard waste out. I did a quick calculation and thought, FOURTH MONDAY, and hustled home.

When I reached my yard I glanced up and down the street and saw my neighbors had some twigs by the curb. Good, the truck hadn’t come yet. We still had time to drag the can to the corner.

photo 2I knew it would be heavy, it certainly had several months of rain water and rotting yard refuse inside as well as a couple feet of sunflower stalks on top. I just had to get the dang thing down off the cinder blocks and  drag the can a hundred or so feet to the curb. This was the moment, the hideous can of stinky dead stuff needed to go.

I grabbed the handle and gave the can a soft tug and… it didn’t move. The climbing creeper vines from the fence behind it had begun to assimilate the can of yard crap into itself like the Borg. With a determined yank I pulled it off the cinder blocks and with a great kerplunk it plopped onto the grass at my feet.

In an unexpected turn of events a large tidal wave of black, poo scented rain water rose up from the depths of the can, through the tangle of  sunflower stalks and cobwebs and landed on top of my head, all over my right arm and bathed both feet.

After a stunned moment I reluctantly looked down at my body. Black chunks of grossness covered my arm. The black toxic waste-like substance pooled at my feet, squishing between my toes. And the smell, oh, Lord have mercy. I smelled like poo.

And mosquito larvae.

Bring. It. On.

In that moment it was all about me and the poo can of yard waste. It against me. Me against It. And It was not going to defeat me. This was the moment. That was the day. The yard waste was going out. We would never wait for, and forget about, another second or fourth Monday again.

I knew before I could go any further I had to dump the rest of the black, poo water out. The can was heavy and sloshy, and well, it was just plain cruel to leave that for the yard waste pickup guys. The water had to go. I took a deep breath and tipped it over. Gallons and gallons of black water poured into my garden. You can’t defeat me, I thought as I watched it flow, I lived in India for over a decade – I had Typhoid* for goodness sake.

Poo water, you’ve got nothing on me, I thought as I dragged the, now much lighter, can of yard waste to the curb. And that’s the moment I felt it. That’s when the water that had sloshed up on my head began to flow from my scalp in rivulets behind my ear and drip onto my shoulder before trickling down my bosom.

Lt dan 2Is that all you got? IS THAT ALL YOU GOT! I shouted in my head like Lieutenant Dan hanging from the mast and screaming at the storm.

We made it to the curb. I bathed, for real, and scrubbed a lot. In fact, I scrubbed places I may have never scrubbed before. When I walked clean and sparkly (well, at least clean) back into my bedroom I heard the telltale noises of the yard waste truck. It was like heaven in my ears; I feared they would have skipped my house or had already come, but no, here they were. They took it. They took it all! And I photographed them as evidence.

photo 1

Until next time, toxic poo water.

*Typhoid is spread by eating or drinking food or water contaminated with the feces of an infected person. (Super gross, I know)

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Shoulda Been Criminals

lockLast week I was at my parents’ house picking up some things to sell at a yard sale later this month. I thought there might be some things in the basement to sell but when I asked for the key we discovered it was with my dad at his work. We were locked out.

I had my eight year old daughter with me and as we walked back toward the front of the house she asked me for a bobby pin. I happened to have a couple in my hair, so I pulled one out and gave it to her and went inside to talk with my mom.

A few minutes later G. returned and handed me back the bobby pin.

“I couldn’t get it open.” She said.

By this time I started to have an inkling of what she wanted the bobby pin for – the lock on the cellar door. She had tried to pick it and failed.

“Here, you do it.” She said as she handed me the bobby pin.

I don’t know about you, but picking locks with bobby pins is not an experience we were exposed to growing up. Heck, we weren’t even allowed to have our elbows on the table at meals. Suffice to say, we just weren’t a “lock picking” family.

Recently, at 75, my mother was required to get an updated driver’s license photo. One day soon after getting the new picture, I overheard my mom talking to my brother and she said, “I wish I were a criminal, mugshots look better than this. I look like a little old lady in this picture.”

They made her take off her glasses for the photo.

Apparently by living a crime-free lifestyle we’ve missed out. I lack lock-picking skills and may never  again see my 1980s Smurf figurine collection hidden in the bowels of my parents’ basement, and my poor, 75 year old mother is stuck looking like a “little old lady” on her driver’s license.

smurfShoulda been criminals.

 

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An Open Letter – The Christmas Shoes Song

An open letter to the writers, producers and every radio station that plays – The Christmas Shoes song.

tcs

I’m not really sure what exactly an “open letter” is, but I feel compelled to write one anyway. They say, “Be the Change you want to see.” Well, I don’t know how that relates to me writing this letter – but I do hope to make my voice heard.

Much has been said about the Christmas (thank the Lord, it’s just Christmas) song, The Christmas Shoes. Articles, Facebook statuses, tweets… But I, too, have something to say:

If every single solitary person in the whole entire world* HATES this song, why play it?

Have you somehow deceived yourselves into believing that it’s a good song? Do you think that people really like it? If so, who would these (insane) people be? Honestly, I’m just going to say it, the song is not good on any level.

Let’s step aside from the lyrics for a moment and simply focus on the music – Compelling? I don’t think so. Catchy? – it’s about as catchy as leprosy (i.e. – not a lot of people get it stuck in their heads, but those who do, would rather be dead. I don’t think I’m stepping over the line or exaggerating here.)

Now let’s take a look at the lyrics for a moment. In all fairness, I will force myself to look up the lyrics and copy some of them here in this letter. I. Do. Not. Want. To. Do. This. Like, gynecological & dental appointments are way, way higher on the list of things I’d rather do right now than allow the lyrics of The Christmas Shoes to invade my eyeballs – but I will take a deep breath and visualize warm beaches with my loved ones/a handsome, single man in his forties around me and I will get through it.

The Christmas Shoes (excerpts)

I wanna buy these shoes

For my mama. please

It’s Christmas eve and these shoes are just her size

Could you hurry sir

Daddy says there’s not much time

You see,

She’s been sick for quite a while And I

know these shoes will make her smile And I

Want her to look beautiful

If mama meets Jesus tonight

I knew I’d caught a glimpse of heaven’s love as he thanked me and ran out

I knew that God had sent me that little boy to remind me what Christmas is all about

(Deep breath. Happy place, happy place…)

So, the gist of the song seems to be: the little boy wants to buy his mom some shoes for Christmas because she is on her deathbed and he thinks she, or Jesus, are actually going to be concerned about her footwear when she meets Him in heaven. Apparently, the singer of the song believes that footwear in Heaven is really important too, since, according to him that is what Christmas is all about.

I’m kind of at a loss about where to go with this letter. You see, if I have to explain to you why this song is HORRIBLE, then I fear you are incapable of comprehending  the horridness of it. However, I will press on – in all honestly, The Christmas Shoes song has become my own personal Nemesis.

I need you, dear sirs, (I assume you are all men) to understand that this song should be burned to ashes and never be played again. It would also be nice if you would kindly offer psychological counseling to every person who has ever had the misfortune of hearing it.

I’m not asking for much. I do hope you read this open letter. I write it with humor, but in all seriousness, this song is unacceptable. It is upsetting. Ridiculous. UnChristmasy. And really, just bad. It needs to stop.

I would love to hear back from you – specifically the radio stations who choose to play it. As an artist, sure, feel free to write whatever you want, but radio station people, please, PLEASE stop the torture. The destruction of The Christmas Shoes song would totally remind me what Christmas is all about. Let’s make 2014 the last year for The Christmas Shoes; the shoes need to be buried.

Sincerely,

Actually, Honestly and Truly Scarred for Life

PS – Any press is not good press. We write about The Christmas Shoes because it is an atrocity that Must Be Stopped.

***

The Christmas Shoes

Writer(s): Leonard Ahlstrom, Eddie Carswell
Copyright: Sony/ATV Songs LLC, Jerry’S Haven Music, WB Music Corp.

(I put this up for copyright reasons – but if you would like to send them heartfelt notes of why you HATE this song too, please do.)

* (minus the people to whom I am addressing this letter, but maybe you hate it too.)

If you hate this song – please do comment; let’s make our voices heard.

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With Love, Speaking for The People, Rebecca W. Onkar

I Can’t Delete My Grandchildren

I helped my mother “get the pictures off her phone” and on to her computer the other day. I do this periodically for her – after vacations and holidays especially.

She and my Dad had recently taken a trip to Virginia and she took some pictures of my brother-in-law’s college and wanted to send them to him in Arizona. Making a move into the twenty-first century, Mom decided to email them to him rather than print them out and snail mail them. Baby steps.

After connecting the camera to the computer I saw the first pictures start to upload – 779 of them. Dang it. I hate when the computer forgets that it has already uploaded off this camera in the past and doesn’t start from the most recent pics – just a couple dozen since September.

As I sat there waiting for the hundreds of old pictures to upload, knowing I would have to delete 95% of them, I saw a baby picture of my nephew flash past. He’s six now.

When I mentioned the ancient pictures flashing across the screen to my mother she got a little flustered and exclaimed, “I can’t delete my grandchildren!”

Nope. She can’t.

I, however, can delete my children. I don’t like it, but I do it out of necessity – usually because I’ve run out of space and my phone is freezing up on me. It comes down to immediately deleting pictures of my kids or using my phone.

Phone wins. Every time.

I console myself that the pictures I really like I’ve already posted to Facebook and I can always find them. And, hey, since we’ve moved on to digital we take WAY more pictures than ever before – can you say, “selfie?” I can, and my phone is full of them but they certainly are not of myselfie.

selfie

Alright, you’ve twisted my arm; I admit it, I’ve deleted my children and I feel guilty about it.

***

Random Pictures of My Children from My Phone that I Will Probably Have to Delete at Some Point but at least They Are Now on My Blog for All Eternity – or Until the Internet Dies.

delete 1

Delete 2

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10 Reasons I Appreciate Teachers or…

Why You Couldn’t Pay Me Enough to Teach in School

10 teacherz

1. Stinky Children. Have you smelled a child’s breath in the morning? Do you know where those hands have been? I do. I know these smells All. Too. Well, my friends. I live with children. I know what they smell like. It’s not good. If I get 50% of my children to brush their teeth on a given morning – it’s a GOOD day. Poor, poor teachers. I deeply apologize.

2. Interruptions. I’ve taught enough small children over the years to realize that it is nearly impossible to get through anything without being interrupted. In fact, I have my own children to prove this theory. This morning as we were getting ready to leave for school I said, “Ok, everyone be quiet, we’re going to pray.” Just like we do every morning. As I take a deep breath and my lips are forming the “D” in “Dear Jesus,” my seven year old says, “Did you put my water bottle in my bag?” “Yes, close your eyes and stop talking we’re going to pray. D…” “Did you put my snack in my bag?” <deep breath> “Yes. close your eyes and stop talking we’re going to pray. De…” “Is it Halloween today?”

Lord have mercy, she did it FOUR times. In the end I had to have the five year old pray because I was too aggravated to talk to the Lord in that moment.

God bless teachers.

3. Stories. Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a world where you could just tell a random story of your choosing about an irrelevant incident that happened in your life whenever the spirit moved you? Welcome to Childhoodville. Random. Random stories out of left field, probably when their teacher is trying to explain math or something. You have got to shut them down and move on, or the random storytelling will take over your life, I mean, classroom.

4. Farting. Let’s get real, Everybody farts. This includes the people who claim they don’t fart. They do. However, back in the day when I was in school, no one farted in school– or at least admitted to farting. Once, when I was in 9th grade the kid behind me accidentally farted loudly during class. With a “W” last name I was in the far back, left corner with just one seat behind me. In an instant, every single head in that classroom whipped back to our little corner of the room. In mortal fear that someone might think that I had committed the fart, I quickly turned around and glared at the kid behind me who sheepishly shrugged his shoulders as if to say, whoops. At least he manned up and owned it.

These days farting seems to be the “in” thing. I got on the bus with the 5th Graders to chaperon their class trip and before my buttocks hit the green faux leather bench, I smelled it. Stinky, unmistakable fart smell. On the crowded bus. Really? Sigh.

My five year old is always loaded. And she is unashamed. When I ask her if she does it in school she claims she doesn’t, but I’m not so sure. For a little person, she is super gassy and I don’t even know why. I can’t imagine what I’m feeding them to cause the gas buildup; it’s not like they eat vegetables or anything…

5. Questions. Ridiculous questions. Questions like, “What do you call 100 twins?” And they expect an answer, as if that’s a thing. And they won’t ask you once, they’ll ask you 400 times, apparently forgetting the 399 times they already asked you the same thing.

If teachers haven’t been driven just a little bit insane I’d be very, very surprised.

6. Discipline. Call me crazy, but I just like to work in a world where people are adults and it’s not my job to correct them.

7. Cleaning. God bless them again, but there are some teachers who even clean up their students. Imagine it’s winter and seated before you are twenty sweet and shiny faces; shiny with florescent yellow snot logs hanging just above their upper lip. The remaining log-less students’ nostrils are filled with enormous snot bubbles or crusty boogers. Bring on the tissues. And rubber gloves. And Clorox wipes. And Airborne.

Bless you teachers. Bless you.

8. Whining. Maybe this only happens at home? Somehow I doubt it. Whiners gonna whine.

9. Repeating. As in, “Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Moooom, Mom…” Although I suppose in school it is something along the lines of, “Teacher, Teacher, Teacher… or Mrs. Fillintheblank, Mrs…” You get where I’m going with this… (refer back to my insanity comment.)

10. I’m leaving #10 blank for a Fill it in Yourself Competition. There is no prize other than my eternal gratitude for your understanding and empathy; for the teachers – not me, I wouldn’t do that job for a million bucks.

***

It must be a calling. I cannot imagine why someone would willingly submit themselves to the stinks and sounds of a small child classroom environment if they weren’t on a mission of some kind. There just isn’t enough money in the world. All I have left to say is, whatever teachers are being paid, it isn’t nearly enough.

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Younger Men

P (age 5): “How old is Grammy?”

Me: “74”

P: “How old is Grandpop?”

Me: “73”

P: “Grammy is bigger than Grandpop?!”

G (age 7, know it all): They love each other. That’s all that matters.

We’re talking 6 months here, people.

younger men

What is it with little girls (especially) desiring that the man in a relationship should be older? Why is that such a big deal?  Are little boys obsessed with this as well?

I’m sure, as a child, I probably assumed that men should be older than the women they married, but I don’t think I lost much sleep over it. In fact, I think I married a younger man (my ex-husband didn’t have a birth certificate, so we really don’t know – really long story about being born in a village.) If I had any age difference issues I suppose I got over them.

All my life I have preferred older men, yet, here in my forties, I think I would be cool with a younger man, if that were meant to be. Not too young, mind you, I have no desire to be with a man who has a significantly smaller amount of life experience than me; that’s bound to turn out bad.

But a little bit younger wouldn’t be too bad – I’d just make sure not to mention his age to my kids…

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Don’t Mess with the Little Ones, They’re Vicious

In our house the oldest sibling could be called, The Big Boss. She’s not as big as Mom, of course, but, whether the younger three sisters like it or not, they toe her line.

Heaven forbid you mess with The Big Boss (or TBB’s stuff), you see, she will come after you. And once she is after you there is only one place to go, The Biggest (and nicer) Boss of all, i.e. Moi. Somehow, I transform into “base.” TBB can’t touch you if you are attached to the “base,” or at least, she gets in trouble if she does; which is almost as good.

There is usually a lot of chasing around the house and quite a bit of squealing, “Mommy! Mommy!” and then suddenly I am body slammed by a  little person in full retreat from The Big Boss who is on a rampage, usually over somebody touching her stuff.

Horrors. I know.

After an incident this morning consisting of a chase, a squeal and a body slam into “base,” the littlest drew this picture on a napkin moments before leaving for school:

clazy hair

It is a picture of her biggest sister, The Big Boss, with “clazy hair” (sic).

“I x-ed her out,” she said.

There is some vicious emotion expressed on this napkin. You don’t want to mess with this little peanut, she can hold her own. Especially when peaking out from the relative safety of her mother’s knees.

It’s best to keep on her good side, otherwise, she will X You Out.

“Though she be but little, she is fierce!”

― William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Big 'n Little

Big ‘n Little

You don’t want to mess with them, they’re very expressive.

 

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I Am What Happens to Your Stuff

I called my brother the other day and reached his voicemail. He must have still been at the burial site and couldn’t pick up. I was waiting at the country club trying to find out how soon everyone would arrive from the cemetery so I could let the chef know when to bring out the food. The sooner the better, I had a five year old to pick up at a bowling themed birthday party at 1:30.

It was Saturday and I was working. I had three children with me because there was a minimum of 35 for food and we were crossing our fingers to get 25 at the funeral and lunch. I figured somebody has to eat all those stuffed shells and beef tips, it may as well be us. When you reach 94, you’ve outlived most of the warm butts who would normally attend your services. It happens.

This is what I do. Everything and anything, from funeral luncheon arrangements to disposing of storagebelongings, including but not limited to, clothing, food, china, furniture, vintage Pfaff sewing machines, decorative plates and mid-century blaupunkt radio turntable liquor cabinets that everybody and their brother’s grandparents once had displayed prominently next to their chenille sofas. And jewelry. Jewelry is nice.

I search for hidden cash in ancient Tupperware containers and in envelopes taped under dresser drawers. The treasure hunt makes up for the times I must empty disgusting fridges and clean up other people’s bathrooms. They don’t make rubber gloves large enough for that.

Over the years I’ve found money and cut gems, massive amounts of vintage jewelry and enough bows to top Christmas presents for the rest of my life. I don’t get to keep anything, except the bows, and the dryer sheets and loads of tissue boxes. But, all in all, it’s not such a bad way to make a buck.

Don’t Tinkle in That Toilet

On Thursday I am having guests over for dinner. As you can imagine, this week has been, and will be, a flurry of cleaning and cooking.

Growing up, my Mom was not much of an entertainer, but on those rare occasions when my Dad convinced her to have people over, my Mother insisted on cleaning our home from top to bottom in preparation. At 74, she’s still the same way.

As I prepare for my own guests, I am mapping out the priorities of my To-Do list in my head. It only makes sense that cleaning the bathrooms comes last on the list, obviously, and I wouldn’t dream of touching them until an hour or two after my last child walks out the door for school on Thursday.

bathroom 1

In my childhood home there were three bathrooms. Two were in public areas and one was hidden. Through my parents’ bedroom and on the other side of their walk-in closet was one, single bathroom that was available for use. On party days, the hidden bathroom was the only bathroom we were allowed to use. In fact, we never even considered tinkling in the downstairs Powder Room or Upstairs Bathroom before a party. Stinking one up or leaving poop streaks on the newly scrubbed toilet bowl was an offense punishable by means we could only imagine. The truth is, we had no idea what the punishment would be for defiling an already pre-party cleaned bathroom.

No One Had Ever Done It.

At 41, I have four children of my own. It all makes complete sense now. Hanging a “Do Not Use” sign on the downstairs bathroom door on entertaining days seems the most natural thing in the world.

Tell me I’m not the only one…

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That Person

I’ve become that person.

I’m not exactly sure what elements in my life have banded together to create this person that I have become but I think living in third world countries and being a single mother have certainly contributed.

Long story short: Last night I took my iPad to a kiosk in the mall to be repaired. Over the summer the glass got stepped on, broke and I subsequently tried to fix it at home. Bad idea – I messed up the wifi receptor and had to have it replaced.

After being thoroughly rebuked by 16 year old Ron at the kiosk, “In the future, never try to fix this at home.”  I was given a quote of $65 to replace the wifi thingy and to clean off some remaining adhesive and restick the glass. Thirty minutes to fix.

Thirty minutes later he hadn’t even started. I had all four kids with me. In the mall. sephThey had already raided Sephora and were covered in make-up. Loads of kid homework and exhaustion were looming at home. The best decision seemed to be: go home and pick up the repaired iPad the next morning. Young Ron said that was fine and that, no, I did not need a receipt.

This morning when I returned to pay, a different man charged me $75 for the job. $75. WHAT! I was quoted $65. The man talked to the kiosk owner on the phone again and again but the owner refused  to budge on the price.

There was nothing left for me to do but wait. I was told the boss would be there in person in 20 minutes. *I seriously considered plopping down $70 in cash ($65 + 7% sales tax) and taking my iPad and leaving. If he said anything I was going to reply, “Arrest me!” and walk off. But the ATM only gave out $20s.*

I knew the owner wouldn’t be there in twenty. Still, I stood right there in front of the guy at the kiosk for 20 minutes. He became increasingly uncomfortable. Then I waited 10 more minutes and when the guy still would not charge me $65 for the repair, although I asked him, I spoke to a security guard and asked where I could make a complaint.

$10

I want my ten dollars!

While I was writing out the complaint at Guest Services, the owner finally arrived. He had kept me, a customer, waiting for 40 minutes. For $10. The owner then called Ron and asked how much he had quoted me the night before (wait, couldn’t the boss have done this 40 minutes ago?) The owner hung up and charged me $65.

I own my own business. The amount of money that I could have made in those 45 minutes at the mall had I been working is MORE than the $10 I was fighting for. I actually lost money. But, you see,  I have become that  person. I knew I was being scammed. The owner of the kiosk assumed that I would grumpily pay the extra $10 in order to move on with my life. He was wrong.

He had no earthly idea that he was dealing with that person, although he probably has a more colorful name for me.

I suppose Single motherhood, Being a woman and Vast experience overseas in bargaining and rip-off techniques have formed me in to that person. I stood up for my ten dollars. I stood up for all our ten dollars. In the end, I felt really good.

Kind of silly that I just wrote about my “Good Morning” Mission yesterday. Oh well,  you can follow the crazy on bloglovin’