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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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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Sit Up and Spit

A little over a year ago Dental was added to my Health Insurance; apparently it was just snuck it in there because I didn’t know about it until last month. I suppose if I actually read the yearly manuals I might have known sooner.

So it came to be, yesterday, after a hiatus of three years, I paid a visit to my dentist. According to her, my gums bleed too much and I need to floss. Twice a day.

Can I be real honest? I hate brushing my teeth. Don’t get me wrong, I hate my stinky, nasty morning mouth more, so I brush first thing every day. But I don’t have to like it. Word on the street is, you’re supposed to brush twice a day. At least. And floss. Twice! ai yi yi…

More brutal honesty: The only way I brush more than once a day is if I have a date.

With a real live man. Period. I’ll even Listerine for that.

sigh.

rang highBack to the Dentist. As I lounged in the chair with the suction tube hanging out of the corner of my mouth, I reminisced about the good old days at the dentist. Back when the dentist was literally on the corner of the next block over and I walked myself there with a signed check from my parents in my hand. This was way back, before People and US or iPhones. In those days I read Highlights and Ranger Rick in the waiting room, which doubled as the basement of the Dentist’s family home.

In those days there was no spit sucker hanging out of your mouth, you had to sit up and spit after each section of your mouth was scraped and polished.

dentistSit up. Spit into a tiny porcelain sink. (That white mini-faucet just ran and ran and ran…) Drink from your little paper cup and rinse out every last bit of that gritty pink paste.

I miss the sit up and spit. I liked seeing what the dentist was digging out of there.

 

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I Blame the Mummies

My 11 yr old child: “I don’t know what I’m going to be.”

Me: “Good, I’m glad you brought this up. Healthcare. Healthcare is the field to go into. There will be more healthcare jobs needed in the coming years than any other profession- doctors, nurses, all kinds of practitioners. Right now is the time you need to start thinking about these kinds of careers. OR you can be a Coach. Not a sports Coach, a Coach who coaches CEOs of large companies and helps them achieve more in their professional and personal lives. This field is exploding right…”

My  bewildered child: “Huh? What? I’m talking about Halloween.”

Me: “oh.”

It’s recently become clear to me that I had no clue about the real world as a young person. I had direction, but no guidance. I blame no one. It’s not anyone’s fault but my own. You see, I didn’t ask for guidance. It never occurred to me to seek out council. At 9 years old on a class trip to UPENN Art & Archaeology Museum I decided to be an Archaeologist. It was the mummies. The mummies got to me.

I take it back. I blame the mummies.

Mummy-UpperClassEgyptianMale-SaitePeriod_RosicrucianMuseum

Twelve years and 90-some thousand dollars later I held a Classical & Near Eastern Archaeology Degree in my hot little hand but had now decided not to pursue my doctorate (like I ever was gonna). I had a new direction for my life. I was going to become a foreign missionary.

I’m not talking about regret today, I’m talking about zipping happily through this life without a clue and not stopping to ask for one.

I suppose now, at 40, my eyes are finally opening to how things work. I’m passionate about guiding my children in ways I never was – whether they ask for it or not.

Now that I think of it, dressing as a mummy for Halloween isn’t such a bad idea…

mummy2

 

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Blonds All Look Alike (to me)

blonde-240941_640

I’m confessing this right now: Blonds look alike to me.

I’ve always suspected it but it wasn’t confirmed until this morning when I tried to convince my daughter that her friend was standing on the other side of the gym. I kept pointing her out and saying her name while my daughter searched diligently for her friend.

At last a light bulb must have gone off in her head, (probably when I said, “There, sitting on the chair in the green shirt”) so she said, “That’s not her, mom.”

My eyesight is fine. I’m forty and don’t wear corrective lenses. Since I started using my iPhone my eyesight has deteriorated but I figure I have at least two more years before glasses. I reiterate, my eyesight is fine. I could see the girl. She was small, and blond. I can’t help it, they all look the same to me.

I have nothing against blonds. My heart is full of love for all kinds of lovely blond people. In fact, my BFF is a gorgeous blond. It’s just that, for some reason I can’t seem to tell them apart. All blonds look the same to me.

I can’t be the only one, can I?

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My Phone Hates Me. Or I Have an Accent.

My iPhone hates me, or else I have an accent.

I talk to text which is the Best Thing Ever since I apparently have fat fingers and am incapable of touching the correct letter on the keyboard. FYI: Texting did not exist when I was a child or teenager – I lack speed and accuracy.

All that to say – I talk to my phone and I love it. Sadly, my feelings are not returned or else the phone and I have a serious communication problem. We need counseling.

Exhibit A:

text

When I say: “my mom’s risotto” my phone hears “Arizona.” Seriously? I know there are all kinds of funny auto-correct blunders out there and I confess to laughing my head off as I read them, but it’s not so funny when you talk to text your daughter P’s name and the phone consistently translates it to Pacha. Yes, like the John Goodman character from The Emperor’s New Groove. Funny guy from a funny movie, but I’m not naming my daughter after him.

Pacha. Really?

P PACHAIs it possible that I talk funny? Or does my iPhone just hate me?

 

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Why I Choose to Eat My Own

If there is an occasion where I am asked to bring a food item or dessert, you can bank on the fact that out of the enormous amount of food items present I will choose to eat my own.

I’m not sure where this ranks on the Weirdness Scale, but since I am so very consistent in this habit (ask my friends and family), something inside me tells me that it is definitely strange and that it probably ranks a 3 or 4 on the W.S.

A score of 10 on the Weirdness Scale would be something along the lines of bringing a Pink Molded Tuna Mousse to a potluck. (#gag #Ijustthrewupalittle #Ineedtostoptalkingabouttunamousse #gagagain)

tuna mousse

I only bring this up because my brother was telling me about a potluck retirement dinner they had at their church on Saturday and a woman brought a pink molded tuna mousse to share. O-kay, I accept that this nasty, obviously alien-inspired creation might only rank as a 7 on the Weirdness Scale, but my brother also told me that the woman CALLED him the week before to make certain that no one else had signed up to bring a TUNA MOUSSE. (That confirmation call kicked this tuna mousse right on up to a 10 on the W.S.)

What planet is this person from? Who eats this stuff? (#justthrewupalittle #again) Am I the weird one?

I may score a 3 (possible 4) for always choosing to eat my own potluck dish – but can you blame me when the world is full of  Pink Molded Tuna Mousse bringers? (#hurlinginthebowl)

IS this weird? Would you eat Tuna Mousse?

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How Much Would You Pay for a Dime?

I think my five-year-old P has gotten pretty bored with the staying home in the mornings routine. She’s taken to collecting random things from the house and asking if she can go outside and sell them. I try to discourage this, but she has some mighty long eyelashes and she works them. The last time she asked we negotiated for a while and she somehow convinced me to put the miscellanea in a box and send it to Canada.

This morning she had a single doll shoe, a plastic doughnut and a dime that she wanted to sell. She also carries around a metal briefcase of random other things that I don’t touch because it appears to be smeared with lip gloss.

Yardsale

I finally caved under the pressure, so I told her she could go out front and “sell” them on the steps. A few seconds later my brother looked out the window and said, “How far are you going to let her go? She’s already made it to the house with the For Sale sign.”

I can move pretty fast and by the time I vaulted through the construction obstacle course in my “new” kitchen, she was already standing on our neighbor’s porch pushing their doorbell.

Maybe she’s got a future in door to door sales: vacuums, glass coffins, Bibles… Keeping her away from the Jehovah’s Witnesses might also be a good idea. In the end my brother bought the dime for 11 cents. I didn’t know he was that generous.

Petra snail

I should send her to the train station to beg (or sell her crap). We’d be rich. Who could resist this face?

New Delhi/ New Deli & My Inner Snob

On Saturday I asked my girls to think about where they wanted to go for lunch after church on Sunday. I suggested a few places and decided to let them choose. On the drive to church and my oldest daughter was advocating for one of the Indian restaurants in town.

We love Indian food, but the Indian restaurants around here are fancy schmancy and it is way too stressful to eat there with my 5 and 7 year olds. When I explained this to my daughter she insisted that I had suggested the restaurant as a choice for lunch the day before. She even got the eleven year old on her side.

They were so insistent that I started to believe that I must have suggested it in a moment of insanity even though I KNEW I never would have. I let it go, as I always do. Arguing with children is futile.

I kept thinking about it and as we walked into church it hit me – I had suggested the “new deli” in town and to my daughter’s brain that translated to “New Delhi” = Indian food. Everything became clear.

ND 3

All four of my children are native Hindi speakers and English is their second language. For  the oldest, especially, this can cause confusion. Heck – kids are confused and confusing most of the time even when they share your mother tongue.

With their diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds my girls also tend to be sponges. This can be great! This can be not so great.

1284For the last few days, my seven year old (who has always been my language powerhouse) has soaked up the expression, “no more” from somewhere. I’m entirely used to my children speaking with accents, mispronouncing things and misusing words, but for some reason, every time G says, “no more” instead of “anymore” I feel a fire start to burn at the back of my neck and I have to hold myself back from biting her head off. I am consumed with a need to track down where she picked up this horrid expression and then squash the culprit. This is very unlike me.

My inner snob.

My inner snob.

At moments like these I realize that my inner snob is popping out. She’s pretty laid back most of the time and seems content just keeping me in check. True to her nature as a snob, she tends to ignore the children with their malaprops and mispronunciations. Most of the time she shrugs her shoulders and goes back to doing whatever it is that she does.

I suppose “no more” must be her hot button.

Things could be worse: Bad Words

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