Freshly Unim-Pressed

Daily Prompt: Secret of Success

1312421497129

The Queen is Clearly Unimpressed.

What would it take for you to consider yourself a “successful blogger”? Is that something you strive for?

Nope. Why would I strive for that? I write so that my adoring one and a half fans have something to read while they’re sitting on the porcelain throne. I would never wish to branch out and bring my musings to the masses!

Yes, that was sarcasm. What a silly question. Well, the second one, anyway.

The first one is fairly simple, though.

Finally, WordPress powers that be! I thought you’d never ask!

I strive to one day be pressed. Freshly Pressed, that is. Not my clothes, silly, I don’t iron!

I have no shame. I’ll admit it. I’m fairly certain that there isn’t a WordPress blogger out there that wouldn’t greatly appreciate the same honor.

My friends don’t help, either. They get me all fired up.

“You’re an awesome writer,” they say.

“You should write a book,” they say.

“Stop staring at me like that, it creeps me out,” they say.

So I get this big ego, and think, “Yeah! I’ve got this! Thousands of eager fans waiting with bated breath until my next installment of awesome goes live? Piece of cake. I’ll still have time left over to work on winning that Nobel Peace Prize while I cure cancer and write Def Leppard’s next big hit.”(Oh come on; you know you want to see them make a comeback just as much as I do.)

And then the next batch of Freshly Pressed posts go up.

And I read.

And then my over-inflated ego doesn’t just fly around the room like a balloon that’s been filled and let go of, it audibly pops. My neighbors knock on the door and say, “What was that noise?”, and I’ll say, “Oh just my ego bursting. No biggie.”

I’ll go off after that to sulk and shed a few tears into my box of Nilla Wafers (comfort food, hello…) and say to myself, “Self, you really aren’t all that. Now these people, they’re all that, and a bag of lightly sea salted organic vegetable crisps.” (That’s for all of you health conscious folk. You’re welcome.)

So, maybe I’ll just save myself some heartache and make my goal somewhat more realistic:

How about I just shoot for my one and a half followers to someday become two, and reward myself with this award:

Not imPressed Award

And if any of you one and a half readers want this snazzy award for your blog, too, simply add an image widget and link the following image url into the correct slot. Enjoy!

Advertisements

For Me?! You Shouldn’t Have!

No, really. You probably should’t have. Things of this magnitude, when placed in my hands, can’t go well. I mean really. I once killed a cactus. Not entirely my fault, though. Darn thing jumped right out in front of me.

Image

So wow. I’ve never been nominated for anything before! Unless you count that one time I was named ‘Mother of the Year’ by…well…myself.

So this really amazing blogger/woman/hottest-thing-since-sunburn nominated yours truly (among others) for a crazy little thing called the Versatile Blogger Award.

I admittedly jumped up and down and shouted like my pants were on fire.

I’m flattered to be nominated, and I’m rather shocked that someone finds my musings interesting enough to give them a second glance! So a big thank you goes out to snoogiefisk over at mostlytrueramblings for the nomination!

So Here’s how it works:

1. Display the Award Certificate on your blog.

2. Announce your win with a post and thank the blogger who nominated you.

3. Present 15 deserving bloggers with the award.

4. Link your nominees in the post and let them know of their nomination with a comment.

5. Post 7 interesting things about yourself.

And the nominees are:

The envelope, please, Bob.

Bob?

Wake up, Bob.

Bob’s a little slow on the uptake but good help is so hard to find.

Ah, there we go.

Artsy Susie (She’s my bestie and she’s, well…the best.)

The Dimwit Diary (I laugh until I pee myself. Seriously.) 

buffalotompeabody’s blog (He’s blind and he blogs. How amazing is that!? He’s the reason that I now laugh in the faces of my kids when they tell me “I can’t.”)

Communication Made Simple (He’s a fellow Jacksonvillain, and he has some great tips for success.)

IT’S A WONDERFUL F’N LIFE (Her pictorial stories will amaze. And F’n doesn’t mean what you think it means, either.)

It’s time to SHINE (And shine she surely does.)

WHIMSICAL ECLECTICIST (His daily…err hourly…err minutely bouts of whimsy make me smile.)

alienorajt (Musings that are fresh and well written.)

LOVELETTERSTOAGHOST (Touching poetry from the heart.)

Kerry’s Organized Chaos (Chaos has never been this cute.)

My Life In Color (She paints her life colorfully.)

Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss (She loves to write, and she loves her cats…and I think her cats love to write, too.)

The World’s top 10…of Anything and Everything!!! (Okay, so maybe he really doesn’t need more awards but how can I resist? His pictorial lists are fabulous!)

Blue Loft (Beautifully written works of art.)

Ben’s Bitter Blog (He makes me laugh. I like that in a blogger.)

And there, folks, you have greatness.

Now, about these 7 interesting facts. Do you really want to know?

Should I tell them Bob?

Darn it, Bob, you’re really throwing me under the bus here.

Okay then, here goes nothing…

1. I once swallowed a bee while riding my bike.

2. I once got stung in the big toe by a bee while doing laundry in my parents’ basement.

3. I once moved a tire that had a nest full of angry bees in it.

4. Bees hate me. Obviously.

5. I recently watched a YouTube video of a bee giving some guy a high five.

6. I once got a “B” in high school. I was devastated. Let’s not talk about it.

7. I’ve been called the “B Word” more times than I care to count. Or admit to.

And there you have it. Pretty intense, I know.

Now on with the show!

 

Hot, Stale, Crazy, Rainy, Dirty, Summer, Saturday, Morning, Breakfast Memories.

Daily Prompt: Three-Tenths

Scribble down the first ten words that come to mind. Pick three of them. There’s your post title. Now write!

Image

I couldn’t think of a good cover photo, so here’s a monkey riding an Australian Shepherd while chasing a goat. Enjoy.

Hot, Stale, Crazy, Rainy, Dirty, Summer, Saturday, Morning, Breakfast Memories.

I sit back and look over my quickly scrawled ten word list. I then recite it out loud. I smile and decide to keep all ten words, which probably defeats the purpose of the whole exercise in the first place. I shrug. It just sounds rather awesome this way, and I like it.

I look over at my daughter sitting next to me playing a game on her cell phone at the thrift store desk. Yeah, it’s Saturday. That means it’s go time in Ghettoville. It’s been rainy all weekend, so business has been slow. I haven’t seen any crazies yet to give me new writing material for my ‘Tales from the Thrift Store’ stories, either. This deeply saddens me.

“What do I write about today, Big Red?” I ask my daughter. I call her that because she’s not only a redhead, but the child towers over me by a good 5 inches now. It was bound to happen eventually. Her daddy is 6’7. I’m 5’2. I know, I know. Given those numbers, the fact that this child was even created is a story problem in and of itself.  I’ve done the math. The answer equals Pi.

Image

Mmmm, pie. I realize how hungry I am. I forgot to bring something for breakfast. Lunch might just have to come early today.

“Well, what’s the daily thingy?” she asks. I relay today’s writing assignment to her. “Hmmm. Write about a childhood memory or something.” She says. “Just make it a good one, though. Something funny. Not those crappy sad ones that you always write about.”

Hoo boy. Make it hard on me, why don’t ya? I tap into my mental file cabinet and thumb through my neatly stacked and alphabetized memories (OCD, duh) for something decent to pull out. My mental fine cabinet is hot pink, to match the one in my closet. The latch sticks sometimes, too.

Image

Ooo, here’s one. I was probably about 7, and I saw the dogs eating grass so I figured that they must really like the way it tasted. l then set to work loading up their newly filled water buckets (compliments of my dad) with fresh cut grass clippings so that they could enjoy a nice mouthful with every refreshing lap. There. Mission accomplished.  Dad didn’t think it was a brilliant idea though. He was really angry. He hauled me over to one of the buckets and told me to take a drink and see how I liked it. I cried and begged not to…

Image

Ohhhkay. Maybe not the best memory, after all.

I quickly file it away and start digging for something better.

How about this one? I was maybe 10, and I was climbing my favorite Dogwood tree in the front yard. It wasn’t an overly large tree, and I wasn’t an overly large child, so there wasn’t any great danger in me thinking I was part monkey. I was about halfway up when it happened. I can’t really remember now if a branch had snapped or if I had simply lost my footing, but down came baby, cradle and all. Flat on baby’s back. It knocked the wind out of me, of course, but I wasn’t genuinely hurt. I had, however, felt the squish between my shoulder blades when I landed.

As I laid there for a second catching my breath and regaining my composure, the smell became obviously more adept than I had been at my task, and swiftly climbed right up my nostrils. Apparently, the dog would do just about anything under the Dogwood tree.

Image

I stood up and reached my hand around to touch my back like an idiot. I could smell it. I knew what it was. Further investigation wasn’t in order, but for whatever reason, I felt compelled to do it anyway. I guess I was just in shock. Or maybe it was denial. Sure enough, I pulled my hand back to find a tacky brown paste now coating my palm. Eww, just…eww. A large portion of the back of my white ‘Front Porch Ice Cream Parlor’ t-shirt was caked in fresh, gooey…and really, really stinky…dog excrement. It just had to be a white t-shirt, too, didn’t it?

I ran my hand under the outside faucet until I could go inside to better wash it, and went to the sliding glass door at the back of the house. Mom was in the kitchen. “What are you doing?” She asked with one raised eyebrow as I tried to sneak past her. I was pretty sure I heard an audible gasp as she turned to see the back of my shirt trying to discretely disappear around the corner.

“Oh no you don’t…get back here.” I halted and cringed. “Outside. Now.”

“But mom…” I stunk so bad. It was growing colder, too, as it seeped through my shirt and caressed my skin like a dead lover’s rotting fingertips.  I stepped out onto the porch again, where mom waited to take my clothes as she made me strip. Outside. Where the neighbors might see. I’m fairly certain that those clothes got burned afterward, too. “Shower. Now. Go.” But..but… Shower time usually meant outside playtime was over. There was still plenty of daylight left to burn. I wasn’t ready to be done for the day.

I really don’t know how this was originally going play out in my mind. Maybe I would just sneak into the bathroom with one of mom’s good washcloths, wipe the poop off my back, wash my hands, change my shirt, and be on my merry way again? At any rate, I hung my head dejectedly and shuffled off toward the bathroom…

You know, now that I think about it, maybe that wasn’t the greatest memory selection, either. I stuff it back into the file cabinet. I’ll try for one more.

Let’s see. Okay. I was perhaps 9 and we were out fishing on dad’s little leisure boat. I don’t know what else to call it. It wasn’t a speed boat; the thing maybe went 45 miles per hour tops. It wasn’t a fishing boat, either. It was baby blue, and it had 4 seats, 2 back to back on each side. It also had windshields in front of the forward facing seats, and a large, flat bow section where I could sit along the edge, and dangle my feet into the water.

Image

Close Enough

So, we were out fishing, my dad, mom, uncle Hose, and I. My uncle’s real name is Dave, by the way. For as long as I can remember, though, I’ve called him uncle Hose because my dad made a crack when they were younger about him changing his name to José, on account of some funky mustache that he had grown that made him look Hispanic. It was later shortened to just plain “Hose”, which stuck with him like a bad chicken pox scar for all these years.

Image

Anyway, I was propped up on my usual fishing perch; the top of the large, bulky Evinrude motor dangling over the back of the boat, when my uncle told a joke. Funny guy, that uncle Hose. Always had a joke or 50. I couldn’t possibly recall that joke now, but I know that it must have been hilarious, because I tossed my head back and laughed so hard that it threw off my balance, and I tumbled end over end into the murky bayou below.  I surfaced a moment later, shocked, gasping, and thankful that my parents always made me wear a life jacket while out on the boat.

My uncle grabbed hold of that water-logged life jacket and hauled me up into the boat like a sack of soggy potatoes. All 3 of them made sure I was alright, and then they stopped and stared at me for a moment before bursting into peals of laughter. Somehow, I had just made the joke that was told even funnier as I stood there and dripped all over the fiberglass.

It was funny, that is, until my mom realized that my fishing pole went right over the back of the boat with me, and all that remained in sight was my bobber innocently riding the ripples that skimmed over the surface of the water. It was maybe 5 or 6 feet away from the boat, so my mom got the oar out of the side compartment and used it to drag the bobber close enough to reach. With bobber retrieved, the excess line could now be hauled in until the pole magically appeared from somewhere out of the depths below. Problem solved.

Or not.  See, my dad always bought those cheap, closed faced, Zebco reels that you had to push the button to cast. We were a lazy bunch of fishermen, what can I say.  Apparently, I had just pushed the button on my reel and was about to cast the line before I went tumbling butt over teakettle into the lake.

Image

Needless to say, my mom spent the entire rest of that fishing trip wrapping hundreds of yards of excess fishing line around a can of bug spray until my pole finally emerged. She wasn’t laughing anymore by that time. As a matter of fact, she was quite hot…

Okay, maybe that isn’t some top shelf memory either.

I think maybe I stink at this come up with a “good memory” business.

I give up.

Until next time…

Happenings in the Hood: The Weave By The Pool

I saw this little gem lying next to the pool today at the property that my husband manages:

Image

It sure is a beauty, isn’t it?

Seriously though, this kind of junk doesn’t even surprise me anymore. This is mild compared to some of the things that I’ve found either spread around the 96 unit property, or left in vacant apartments  over the course of the 10 and a half years that my husband and I have been together.

We lived in the only 3 bedroom apartment on the property when we were first married. Back then, the neighborhood wasn’t as bad as it is now. In recent years, the place has not only become somewhat of an eyesore due to the way that many of the residents and the local class-ditching high school students treat it, but it’s also earned a bad enough reputation that pizza delivery drivers won’t come there after dark anymore.

Needless to say, I‘m very thankful for my condo in a decent neighborhood, but I still spend a lot of time at the property, doing odd jobs to earn some extra cash, and just generally helping out.

Maybe I missed my calling as a trash collector. I’m not the type of person that can just step over a piece of garbage and not feel guilty for not picking it up, so I’m always tossing stuff in the dumpster whenever I’m out and about.

In addition to picking up garbage and painting, my husband asks me do ‘trash outs’ from time to time. That’s when he has to evict someone, or they skip out on their rent leaving a bunch of stuff behind, and I properly dispose of it. I love doing trash outs. Not only is it easy money, but sometimes I find decent items that I can either keep or take to the thrift store that I run on the weekends. The last trash out that I did had brand new kitchen utensils, some still in the packages, and piles of jewelry and clothing with the tags still on them. They just left it all behind. In the one before that, I found several brand new, unopened bottles of laundry detergent and shampoo. Score! Three trash outs ago, we found Ray. Ray Darr. The world’s worst excuse for a pet rabbit. I’m really not all that convinced that he was a great find, even if my daughter seems to think so.

I once cleaned out an apartment that had a few hundred dollars’ worth of fantasy gaming collectibles, many of them still in their original packages. I also regularly find DVDs, video games, CDs, books, and tons of spare change. They’ll also leave behind furniture and small appliances. I’ve lost track of all of the TV sets, microwaves, coffee makers, sofas, beds, tables, and chairs that I’ve pulled out of vacant apartments.

More often than not, though, the places are just loaded with pure junk, and so disgusting that you look around and think, “How could anyone live like this?” Somehow they do, though, if you can really call it “living”. I’ve braced myself and grimaced through purging a great many apartments that are so devastating that it takes months for the nightmares to stop. Like the one I’m currently painting. The walls are literally dripping with nicotine residue, and it smells so strongly of cat urine, that I have to duck out to get a breath of fresh air every half hour or so.

Yeah. Most of these places look and smell pretty harsh by the time people move out of them, and the scenes I find in them are usually like something out of a horror film.

So, the weave by the pool inspired me. It inspired me to share with you, my adoring fans (all 2 of you and probably less after you read what’s to come), a list of several of the most disgusting and/or strange things that I’ve found either lying around the property, or in vacant apartments. I advise reading this list on an empty stomach for your own personal safety.  Enjoy!

Stuff found around the property:

Weave by the pool. More than once.

Weave wrapped around a bush.

Weave stuck to some bubble gum, which I then proceeded to step in.

Weave stuck to the bottom of my shoe.

A dirty T-shirt by the pool.

A dirty T-shirt in the pool.

A dirty diaper by the pool.

A dirty diaper in the pool.

Human feces in the pool. Even the attack scenes from Jaws are slightly less terrifying than seeing poop bob around in the pool.

Vomit in the pool. The culprit probably spotted the poop.

Used condoms in the pool. Boy. It would seem the poor pool takes some serious abuse, wouldn’t it?

Enough used condoms everywhere to recycle into a bouncy house. Wouldn’t that be a great rental for little Jimmy’s next birthday party? Hey kids, let’s go jump around in Casa De La Trojan…

A bunch of used condoms were found around the laundry room, too. I don’t even want to think about why

A used condom tied around a tree branch. Uh oh, they’re getting creative now…

A used condom with bubble gum in it. Again, let’s not dwell on the why

A litter of kittens behind a bush.

A litter of kittens behind an air conditioning unit.

A litter of kittens under a propane tank. Okay. Someone…anyone…please for the love of humanity…neuter these stinkin’ cats!

Garbage bags and dirty diapers next to the dumpster that no one could actually bother to throw in the dumpster.

And the find of the week: A gooey sales receipt from McDonald’s with a false eyelash stuck to it. Yeah. I dare you to figure that one out.

Stuff found in vacant apartments:

Weave stuck to windows.

Weave stuck to countertops.

Weave stuck to walls.

Weave stuck to tape stuck to walls.

Animal hair stuck to walls.

Animal feces stuck to a dirty mattress.

Animal feces in an ash tray.

Animal feces crammed into a high heeled shoe. Just…never mind. I’m not touching that.

Animal feces in a freezer. The how in this case might be just as unsavory as the why

Animal feces in a bathtub.

Human feces in a bathtub. Hey, when you’ve gotta go, why let a little thing called ‘acting civilized’ stop you?

Rotting cherries in a bathtub. That was really the pits.

Pubic hairs stuck to a bathroom ceiling. Yep. Throwing up a mental roadblock on that one.

Pubic hairs in the freezer. I can probably imagine how that one happened. Come on, people, use your air conditioners. Seriously.

A gushy black bag of what I could only guess were once potatoes. It dripped sludge when I picked it up and smelled worse than death. I had to step outside to recover from a raging case of the dry heaves. Well played, rotting food…well played.

A dirty diaper in a Ziploc bag with maggots all over it. And the dry heaves strike again.

A dirty diaper stuck to a framed picture of zebras with broken glass.

A small mountain of cigarette butts piled up in a corner of the bedroom.

A body-sized patch of greasy, grimy carpet around the bottom of a stripper pole.

A pot full of grease with dead roaches floating in it shoved inside an oven.

A shriveled up French fry stuck to the floor by a wad of gum.

Rotting broccoli inside an unplugged refrigerator.

Rotting ground beef inside an unplugged refrigerator. Burning said refrigerator to the ground wouldn’t have gotten that smell out.

My daughter cleaning rotting broccoli and rotting ground beef out of said refrigerator.

998761_605456576143272_52825854_n

An army of creepy, crawly things happily devouring a loaf of green fuzzy bread.

A fur-covered Christmas wreath fused to the kitchen wall by cooking grease. Just what I’ve always wanted! Who said Christmas comes just once a year?

And last but not least:

Image

WHAT IS THIS THING?!

It’s lying on the dining room floor in the apartment that I’m currently painting. I’ve been side-stepping when I get too close to it for fear that it might growl and lunge at my ankles.

I won’t be taking the time to find out for certain what it is due to the fact that it might take a deeper level of investigation than I’m willing to commit to. Like oh …poking it with a stick and potentially angering it, or…touching it. I believe that upon distant examination, though, I may have it narrowed down to one of 2 things.

It could be either a piece of candy coated in nicotine and rolled in cat hair, or one of these guys:

Image

Tribbles!!!

At any rate, somebody please call Scotty and get him to beam this thing out of here.

The Rubber Band Effect Has Snapped

Well, here we are again.

Willie Nelson sang a hit song back in his glory days that pretty much sums up this situation. ‘On the Road Again’ is what we are, although I’m not entirely sure that I agree with the ‘just can’t wait to get’ part. The Hubster and I, 3 kids, and Ray Darr, the rabbit that even Elmer Fudd wouldn’t bother to chase, all stuck in a vehicle for 19 hours. No, this is definitely not ranking high on my list of formulas for fun and excitement. I put the experience on par with…oh…stapling my eyelids to my bottom lip. I have my feet comfortably propped up on the dashboard, though. My hubby absolutely loves it when I do that.

Ray smells like onions and armpit, as usual, therefore, the aroma wafting toward me from the back of the minivan is about the equivalent of a Saturday night Rave party at a Taco Bell. There has to be something wrong with this rabbit.  I’ve raised rabbits before. The cute little, fluffy, cuddly dwarf ones, though. I suppose the fact that Ray is a massive, hulking beast might explain the reason for his enormous stench. He’s so large, that my mom and dad’s 5 full grown Collies ran in fear when we first let him out of his cage. We’re thinking of investing in a saddle and riding him, since gas prices are so high.

Needless to say, Ray did have a big-time bunny blast on this trip, being a general nuisance and doing what rabbits do. See for yourself:

P1090936

Rotten Ray strikes again.

Good ol’ Ray Darr. My dad will likely be filling in yard holes for the next week or two. The local gopher population is probably scratching their fuzzy little heads right now and thinking, “What in the world? This is not our handy work.”

Image

The aftermath. Well, some of it, anyway.

So…

My husband swears by what he calls “The Rubber Band Effect.” That’s where it supposedly always takes less time getting back to point A from point B than it originally took to get to point B to begin with, like a rubber band snapping back into place after it’s been stretched out. I think it might just be wishful thinking on his part. We won’t be proving his theory correct this time, anyway, thanks mostly in part to yours truly.

Here’s a tip for you future travelers out there: Don’t eat greasy carnival food the night before you have to embark on an excruciatingly long road trip. We’ve had to stop every 45 minutes since we left 8 hours ago, and I’ve left a wake of destruction behind in several McDonald’s restrooms along the way. I’ll just leave it at that. I’m sure your imagination can fill in the rest. You can thank me later for imparting this helpful information.

I have to admit, though, that the Pronto Pups might just have been worth the pain.

What is a Pronto Pup, you ask? Well, let me show you:

Image

Hellloooo Gorgeous x 3!

Now then. Let me explain the awesomeness that can only be summed up as local legend and Yankee tradition in the town where I was born and raised. Don’t you dare say that it’s ‘just a corn dog’, either.

The quaint little waterfront stand that sells these delicacies hasn’t changed a bit in the 66 years since the amazing Chuck Nelson sold his first secret recipe serving of awesome on a stick. The stand is still family owned and operated today by Chuck’s son, Carl, and Carl’s wife and kids.

Image

The Famous Pronto Pup Stand

In the summertime, people flock in droves from miles around, even from the neighboring towns, to partake of the yumminess that is the Pronto Pup. The line usually spans at least a city block or more. If you mention the name of this tasty treat to anyone within a 50 mile radius, they immediately know what you’re talking about and have likely eaten one…or one hundred… in their lifetime.

They’re made with top of the line frankfurters flown in in huge quantities. When the stand first started, Chuck had searched the world over to find the perfect frank. Many years ago, the brand that he used was discontinued, so, once again, he searched high and low to find a match to his traditional dog. He finally found one that came pretty close, and, because his little stand was so popular with the locals, he sold SO many of them that the owners of the frankfurter company flew in to see exactly who was purchasing such a massive amount of weenies. They took one look at the itty bitty waterfront hovel and said, “are you serious?!”

Now, years later, this little seasonal stand is still so insanely popular, that they open up for one week during the winter so that their thousands of demanding fans can get their Pronto Pup fix. You can get them naked, with ketchup, with mustard, or both. I opted for just ketchup. I’m such a rebel, what can I say…

In other, not so amazing news, I did realize on this trip that my teenage girls believe that they are supermodels, and any and every new location that they set foot upon instantly becomes the setting for an impromptu photo shoot:

Image

Amazing Amber

Image

Glorious Grace

Oh em gee, mom…Instagram…helllooo!

Apparently, to the under 18 crowd, I’m what you’d call “lame”. This point was proven true when the girls were floating around on rafts in front of the dock, and I said, “Come on, ya’ll. Get out of my fishin’ hole,” to which my daughter responded with, “Geez mom, give us a sec.” Without really thinking it through, I said, “I’ve given you lots of secs.” This resulted in 4 sets of jaws hanging agape for a second or two. I say 4 sets because those within ear shot not only included the girls, but also my son, and Matt; the teenage neighbor boy that followed the girls around ceaselessly, and that I now apparently looked like an idiot in front of. Their shocked expressions were immediately followed by peals of uncontrollable laughter from them, and a really red face from me. Rotten kids. They know what I meant!

Well then. I have to admit that I slightly dread walking in the door when I get home. The bugs probably realized that we were gone after the first 24 hours and threw a wild party. The spiders likely tipped off the cockroaches, and then things got completely out of hand I’m sure.

I can’t wait to crawl into my big, comfy, king sized 4 poster bed, though. I’ve missed my mattress. Well, my back has missed my mattress, anyway. I think that through a sleep induced haze I vaguely recall a caveman standing over my parents’ guest bed demanding his boulder back.

As far as I’m concerned, aside from unpacking Ray Darr and his rabbit paraphernalia, the rest can wait until my bed and I get reacquainted for a while. That could take at least a day or 2.

Don’t wait up!

Crazy Defined

Image

THIS in my father. My father and his entourage. My parents happen to be the equivalent of your average crazy cat lady with their animal collecting, except they collect…Collies. Full-fledged, bona fide Lassie dogs. They have 5 of their own right now, and they also participate in a collie rescue program where they foster unwanted collies until they can be adopted by worthy families. There can be up to 7 of them in their house at any given time.

I grew up with a house full of Collies, so I’ve never known a different way of life at my parent’s house. Since I’m an only child, my parents had me convinced that these hairy, slobbery 4 legged beasts were really my brothers and sisters until I was about 12. This is probably why I love to have my hair stroked and petted now.

My favorite childhood collies out of the many that have passed through my life in the 38 years since my birth were Jaica, Mica, and Nick. We had them all within the same time frame, and my parents thought that having 3 collies at once was really pushing the limits of sanity back then. That must make them certifiably straight jacket and padded room crazy now because they’ve expanded their brood to 5 plus the occasional extra.

Image

Jaica (left), Mica (middle), and Nick as a puppy (right)

Jaica, or “Jake Break” as she was called by my father, was a schizophrenic nutball of a critter. She was scared of her own shadow. I’ve found out over the years that most female collies are. She ran away for 2 weeks once because she heard a gunshot while she was outside. We put up lost dog flyers, and several people spotted her, but she’d run from them in fear. My mom was driving home from town one day when she spotted her crossing the street and called to her. It took her a minute or 2 to recognize my mom, but she eventually came to her. I was so happy to see her when she got home, that I ran to her and hugged her tight, and we fell on the floor in a big bundle of arms, legs, and fur. The fur was mostly mine. Yep, she was nuts, but I loved her. She would sleep with me every night, and she was the best cuddler. She had some wicked dog breath, though.

P1090665

My Jaica

Image

Poor Jaica. I tormented that dog.

Mica, “Mr. Mica-phone” as my dad later dubbed him, and Mikey to me, was my buddy as a kid. He was trained to go into my room, jump onto my bed, and lay across me to wake me up on Saturday mornings. There was no sleeping in with him around. We’d play house. He was quite the hairy husband.  We’d play office. He was my boss, I was his secretary. We’d try to play barbies, but he wasn’t very adept at upholding his end of the relationship as Ken. So, I’d use him as a barbie, and dress him up in beads, purses, dresses, and hats. My dad came downstairs to yell at me once for something that I had done, saw Mica in full ‘bag lady’ regalia, and laughed all the way back up the stairs after he had forgotten whatever atrocity I had committed. Mikey tolerated it like a trooper, too. I once dressed him up in a white T-shirt and a bow tie, put Jaica in my favorite dress, and held a wedding ceremony for the 2 of them. It was a teary-eyed, beautiful moment.

Image

The Infamous Wedding Picture

Image

Mica. I tormented him, too.

Image

Mica loved car rides.

Nick, a.k.a “Nickymeister Burger Bear”, as was his ‘Nick name’, will always hold a special place in my heart because he was discovered by me. I was Christmas shopping at the mall with my friends and decided to go into the puppy store, where I stumbled upon 2 of the cutest little collie pups I’d ever seen. I went home and told my parents that evening, and we went back up to the mall to see them. By that time, one puppy was already gone, and there sat Nick, staring up at us with his big, forlorn ‘please love me’ eyes. We didn’t stand a chance at that point. We went home with a bundle of fluffy collie pup, complete with hernia that had to be removed by the vet. He kept us all up howling that first night, and several nights after that, and I remember my dad saying, “Maybe we made a mistake?” Not my darling Nicky! We all grew to love Nick quickly, though, even as obnoxious as he was. He developed into a huge ball of fur with the shortest, stumpiest legs that I’ve ever seen on a collie. Nick, our Christmas dog. That’s how he got his name. Saint Nick. I miss him so much.

Image

Me and my Nicky

Image

Nicky and Dad.

My parents refer to their current herd of hairballs as “The Bears”. There’s Malibu, a.k.a “Boo”. We say that she ‘can’t hold her licker’, and your toes are fair game. There’s Bella, or “Bells” as my father calls her, and she, like my beloved Jaica, is afraid of her own shadow. Then there’s Savannah. She’s deaf and blind, has seizures, and her hind legs don’t work the best, but she’s my mom’s favorite so they do all that they can to make her comfortable in her old age. There’s Wyatt, or “Erpster” as my dad has dubbed him, (he happens to have a nickname for almost every dog that’s ever passed through their home, if you haven’t noticed by now.) Wyatt is a grumpy old man, and king of his domain. Then let’s not forget Gus, the skinny escape artist that’s a favorite among all of the grandkids, and the reason that the chain link fence surrounding the yard is now lined with an electric wire on the top. There’s nothing that can contain Gus, he’s pushed his way out of a screen window before in his efforts to be free.

These days, as my parents have grown older and softer, the collies have gotten considerably more spoiled than the ones they had when I was growing up. Most of them are fat enough to feed a starving family of 7 for a month. I call them couches with legs. They weren’t allowed on the beds without special dog blankets when I was young, and that rule went out the window years ago. My dad feeds them from his plate, too, so “no people food” is a foreign concept to this batch of furballs.

There isn’t anything that my parents wouldn’t do for their dogs. They spend top dollar on the best food, frequent vet trips, treats, toys, and medications to keep the whole herd happier and healthier than your average wet-nosed companions.

I could be jealous of my 4 legged siblings, getting all that special love and attention, but nah. I have a life of my own now, and the thundering herd not only keeps my parents busy in their senior years, but they’re all just too cute for animosity. To each their own, I suppose, and for mom and dad, with the wall to wall canine carpet, ‘Crazy in Colliewood’ is just the story of their lives.

Image

How do my parents even sleep at night?!

Road Trippin’: This Isn’t The High You Were Looking For

Image

A few hours ago, we set out on our grand adventure toward Grandma and Grandpa’s house; one hubby, 2 out of 5 kids, one stupid rabbit, and…yours truly. We’ll pick up the red-headed child that flew up a month ago to spend some quality summer time with the grandparents, and bring her back with us. So, that’s 3 hours down, 16 to go. Twelve hundred and something total miles to cover. All the more time for writing, I suppose.

Our trip didn’t get off to a great start. I was admittedly in a terrible mood when we left. As I was cleaning up the house before we embarked on this little 10 day excursion, I discovered that at some point this past week, my son had spilled cherry lime-aid on his bedroom carpet and didn’t bother to tell anyone…or clean it up. Hello…OCD here. When I saw the stain, my anxiety level shot up somewhere around an 11 on a scale of 1 to 10. I did the best I could with a can of carpet cleaner, wash cloths, and my own salty tears, but the stain had just had too much time to set in and will now forever be a blaring pink reminder not to let an 11 year old take anything more colorful than water into a room with light beige carpets.

I’ve calmed down quite a bit over the course of the few hours since we’ve left home, though. I can’t change it, and there’s nothing I can do but except it, so on with the show I must go.

The smell of feet starts wafting up from the back seat. One of the “youngins” has likely taken their shoes off in an effort to get comfortable. Or maybe it’s armpit that I smell. Or maybe it’s Ray. Ray Darr. The rabbit that Satan would choose if Satan decided to own a pet rabbit.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE bunnies; those cute little balls of fluff with their smooshy little whiskered faces, floppy ears, and cotton tails. As a matter of fact, my husband has called me “Bunny” now for the past 10 and a half years that we’ve been married, because of my extreme love for those cute little critters. The ones that make you say, “Awwww” out loud and kick in some internal desire to pick them up and hug them, no matter who you are, or how hard hearted you claim to be.

Ray, however, is what happens to those cute, fluffy little balls of fur if you get them wet or feed them after midnight. He’s isn’t just enormous in size, he’s an enormous menace. He never stops eating, and he leaves a wake of destruction behind him wherever he goes; along with clumps of fur and a continuous trail of food-fueled rabbit ‘gifts’.

We’ve only had Ray for about 6 weeks now; 6 excruciatingly long weeks.

My husband walked into a vacant apartment at the property that he manages a few days after he had evicted the former tenant, and there sat a very hungry, very thirsty, very lonely Ray. My daughter happened to be at the office with my hubby that day, and as soon as he made the mistake of showing her what he had found, we were officially doomed to a life that now included the world’s worst excuse for a pet.

The very second Ray’s teeth touch anything, that item has officially become useless trash. In his first few days with us, he managed to destroy a phone charger, 3 sets of headphones, a TV remote, half a book cover, and my magazine basket. He likes to pull movies off the shelf and extract them from their cases, too. He inflicts this damage faster that the speed of light. He’s like a hairy hurricane. I shut him in one of the bathrooms to try and keep him out of trouble while I cleaned his cage before our journey, and when I went in to get him, he had the contents of the garbage can spilled all over the floor and was just finishing off the last of a tampon wrapper. Yeah, you can say it…gross. Good ol’ Ray. Well he might be good…with a side of roasted potatoes and baby carrots. I glare at him. He twitches an ear and tries to look innocent. I heave a sigh.

P1090608

Ray being a nuisance as usual

I have two choices at this point. I can either grin and bear the stench assaulting my nostrils from the back of the minivan, or I can roll down my window and breathe in the fresh Georgia air. If I roll down my window, though, I’ll end up eating my own hair; that wispy stuff along the sides of my face that absolutely refuses to stay caught up in my hair clip along with the rest of my greying mane. I opt to silently suffer and maintain my current position as the Mayor of Stinkyville.

The Hubster would like me to converse with him more, to keep him entertained. He isn’t the best conversationalist, though, often responding with no more than the occasional, “yep” or “uh huh”. Now, as adept as I am at running my mouth until I run out of breath, I’m just not skilled enough to hold up both ends of a conversation for 19 hours straight. So, he’s opted for the second best choice to keep himself functional enough to drive…sunflower seeds. He claims that having to work his jaws to get them out of their salty shells keeps him awake while driving. He tries to throw his shells out the window after he’s extracted the nutty goodness inside. This somewhat alleviates the odor problem created by the 4 legged nuisance behind me, but half of those shells fly back into the vehicle and land in my lap. Thank you, honey. I love you, too.

We just made a stop at a gas station to fill the tank in the minivan and empty our own personal tanks. One of the gas station employees was walking out of the restroom as I was walking in. Once inside, I noticed all of the used paper towels lying all over the floor. Really? You couldn’t have taken 20 seconds to pick those up while you were in there? There was human excrement on the floor behind the toilet in one of bathroom stalls. It looked to have been there for a day or 2. Just another reminder that I live in the land of the free and the home of the lazy. My obsequiously friendly hubby was snubbed by the rude, grumpy cashier as he paid for our gas, too. Does no one in this country have work ethic anymore?

We’ll be on the road again all of 5 minutes before someone in the back seat will say, “When are we gonna stop somewhere? I’ve gotta pee.” The Hubster and I will glance at each other, roll our eyes, and vow to stop letting the offspring drink so much on long trips. It’ll never stick though. We’re just a couple of softies.

At one point, we spent some time stuck behind a tractor moving at a slow crawl down a 2 lane stretch of country road. I refrained from rolling down my window and reminding the well-tanned gent behind the wheel with the dirty ball cap and wad of chew packed tightly into his cheek like a gathering chipmunk, that the speed limit is 45, not 4 or 5. Road rage really just isn’t my style. I opted to exhibit saintly patience and just counted corn fields as we waited to pass. I lost track before we were finally able to extract ourselves from John Deere’s convoy and be on our way again.

I should probably quit rambling and get in a couple hours of sleep so that I can take my turn behind the wheel later.  In case I forgot to mention it, we plan to travel straight on through the night. This runaway circus train won’t stop until we’ve reached our final destination.

So, I’ll end with that eternal question that must be asked at least two dozen times per hour while on a road trip to anywhere…

Are we there yet?