Archive for December, 2009


No Whining: A Policy for Kids and Cars.

December 30th, 2009 at 8:36 pm » Comments (1)

I tried to wear the kids out by making them do all sorts of physical therapy leg exercises with me. Imagine three little boys doing lots of leg raises. So cute! I did mine with a giant chocolate lab laying across me. Not cute!  And it makes it extra difficult! And they weren’t worn out, so i sent them to play in the snow.

I’m sure the neighbors loved it when i opened the back door and yelled, “There is DOG POOP in that snow. Do you REALLY want to eat it?”

Many a mothering pearl of wisdom has been shouted out that back door.  I’d like to think all children within earshot are blessed and enlightened, but it’s far more likely that every neighbor within earshot rolls their eyes and thinks, “eh. Her again.”  Can’t imagine why. I’m so neighborly and all.

Mom left awhile ago for the library. I’ve mentioned before how i can completely go nuts if i do not leave the house regularly. It makes me claustrophobic and crazy to stay home. (and then if i go anywhere with a lot of  people i get social anxietyish and crazy, but it’s an important cycle just the same.)  She took my car, as hers is near an icy patch on the driveway.

I have two cars – one a giant SUV that is lovely and yet very…. needy. And the other is my big truck that smells like dog and makes me feel like i should be spitting or wearing a lot of leather. Leather pants. Or maybe one of those leather ponytail wraps for biker chicks. Not that I’d ever wear one of those. Or leather pants. I wouldn’t. My disproportionate butt is not made for leather pants, not that that is the main reason.  Anyway. My point was that my big truck is TOUGH and makes me feel like I am just a little bit, too. And I adore that about it.

My other car – the giant SUV –  is sensitive. I adore it, too.  We leased one exactly like it a few years back and at the end of the lease i said that I wanted to keep it. Mike said, “Um. Noooo. It’s a lease. You give it BACK.”  So then he found the exact year, model, and color and bought me one and it FEELS exactly like the old one I loved. Isn’t that nice?

Its best feature is that the kids can sit in it and be spaced strategically so that they almost cannot touch each other. I say ‘almost’ because of course they inherited extra long Ape Arms from Mike and I, both. And now they can practically reach ME from the very back of that giant SUV and it’s half my genetic fault so I try to be nice about it.   But it bugs me.

Last week Mom and I were in the Giant SUV when the “Tighten Fuel Cap” message came up.  ”Oh, it’s nothing. Don’t worry about it, ” I told Mom when she asked about it.  We ignored it.

I also take this approach when the kids needlessly whine as well. I hold up one hand and calmly but firmly remind them of my strict “No Whining” policy. Use a normal voice and state your case or go whine in your room and listen to it yourself because I will have no part of it.   Heartless, I know.

So ignoring the Giant SUV’s ridiculous whine for something so minor was of course the way to go.

Yesterday Mike and I went somewhere in the Giant SUV and the “Check Engine” light was on.   Now THAT…? That is not good. Mike called OnStar and asked them to run a diagnostic blah de blah blah thing and find out what it was.

The woman had a very thick East coast accent that I couldn’t understand. I can’t understand most accents, thick or not. I’m sure everyone else on the planet could understand this lady just fine. Although I did understand three words.

“Tighten Fuel Cap.”

Oops.

OnStar lady hung up with us, and I told MIke I didn’t understand her and what was the problem…?  And the problem was the tighten fuel cap thing, so of course I told him that I’d ignored that stupid message for days.

He seemed shocked.  ”So why didn’t you just tighten the fuel cap?”

What a man.

Right…? Oh my gosh. As if it’s that simple. And hello? He follows the strict No Whining policy, too.  Why all the surprise?

“Because that’s just STUPID. It doesn’t NEEEEEED its fuel cap tightened.  It’s just being dramatic.”

“Yeah… I think it DID need its fuel cap tightened. That’s why it SAID ‘Tighten Fuel Cap.’”

I mean, I was going to get gas some time in the next week and it could just practice a little bit of patience. Can you IMAGINE my big red Chevy whining about a slightly loose fuel cap….? Never! Unheard of!  GIVE! ME! A! BREAK!   And then I don’t pull over immediately, tighten the stupid fuel cap, and then it gets all FINE I’LL TURN ON THE CHECK ENGINE LIGHT, WOMAN, AND MAKE YOU THINK WE’RE ABOUT TO EXPLODE! HA!

Really? Really, Giant SUV? Over a fuel cap? Have you no pride?

Mike just called. My mother (who borrowed my car to go to the library) called HIM, and is wondering why the check engine light is on. (apparently she thought she should ask HIM and not me.)  And Mike told her the whole story.

The whole sordid story of how I did not cave to the ridiculous excessive demands of the Giant SUV, and how then it threatened with the Check Engine light and managed to rat me out to Mike, OnStar and now to my own mother.  Yeah, I’m sure that’s how he told it.

Watch out Giant SUVs. I have my OWN warning message:  Yo. I do not tighten fuel caps.

I need a leather ponytail thing for biker chicks. THEN it won’t mess with me.


Cowboys vs Redskins. Family Tradition.

December 28th, 2009 at 5:03 am » Comments (2)

Tonight while watching the Cowboys vs. the Redskins with my mother on the couch, I exchange texts with  both my stepmom and dad – who are probably sitting right next to each other on the couch across the state.

My stepmother and I discuss which players she thinks are the cutest, and my dad and i discuss why Romo has to keep throwing to Williams and why he picks his foot up and stomps it before each play. We only know the answer to ONE of those, and I’ll leave it at that.

Also? How did his hands get so crazy red in the third quarter? My dad had several theories I will NOT share, but at least one was quite gory. Mom and I thought it was from when he was almost sacked in the endzone? But is the quality of field paint in Washington such that it rubs off that easily? What’s that about?

My stepmother helpfully pointed out, via text,  the different times that my dad was swearing at the television since i couldn’t hear him. Imagine if America’s Team had dared to TRAIL at any point!  He’s a big fan. His expectations are high.

My mom and I ate little Hershey’s miniatures (I and everyone else in the house is forbidden to touch the Krackles. I comply without complaint. Unless I just want to see her get all flippy about Krackles, which is kinda fun) At one point she randomly mentioned the reason behind Justin Timberlake’s  ablility to appear so anatomically… androgenous… in a leotard in the Single Ladies SNL skit.  No, we had NOT been discussing anything of the sort. Completely out of the blue. But she used the phrase ‘nonsurgical tuck’ and my mouth dropped open and I missed the biggest return of the entire game because I was so blindsided by the entire conversation.

No I am not kidding. Don’t you love my mother?

Some of my earliest memories are watching Cowboys games on a little television with my parents. We still do that. There’s just more parents and more technology.

And more really weird conversations.


Big Girl Panties. Christmas-y.

December 26th, 2009 at 10:14 pm » Comments (0)

Are you snowed in…?  We officially, happily,  are not.  J-Mom, LaLa (sister), Cousin (or HolyCousin), and I  just  came back from our first outing since Wednesday. We needed paper towels, but really we needed to get out of the house already because oh-my-gosh nothing drives me crazier than staying in. Except maybe going places with lots of people, but that wasn’t the case as most everyone else was still staying in. The roads are clearing though. Finally.

Going to the store for paper towels has never been as exciting and liberating as it was today.  First we stopped at J-Mom’s new house to show LaLa and H-cousin. It’s looking VERY pretty, and is almost done. Then we ate lunch at a deserted but nice little cafe in Mom’s soon-to-be neighborhood.  We shared a giant oatmeal and walnut cookie that looked homemade. The cellophane wrapper had a label that read “family recipe since 1948.”    We decided it WAS homemade since there was quite a lot of fibrous stuff sticking off it. At first it looked like hair. But then we decided that the grandma who made it must have been wearing a fuzzy sweater that had a bad day. Or a few bad days. But between the four of us, we ate the homemade sweater fuzz cookie anyway and had a lovely time.

Among items for sale at the cafe was this (Annie Taintor) mug. And bake your own cat at and dog cookie kits, which for some reason I bought. Oh, nevermind. I know why. The kids and I can make them and they won’t gripe about my cooking. That’s always a worthy reason to bake cookies for animals.

The mug was particularly funny because a few days ago we had been discussing the phrase “put on your big girl panties.*” J-Mom’s take on this phrase was more literal than mine – she thinks that the implication is that if you’re putting on your big girl panties, they’re probably the skimpiest, little-est pair in the undie drawer.  Ahem. And thanks for that, Mom.  The rest of us take that phrase more figuratively to mean, just do it – whatever thing you’re dreading, just be a grown up and go ahead with it.

Potty training little boys is over, thank God, but still recent enough in my memory so that the words “big boy underwear” is still in my mom vocabulary.    Seth-4yr insists on wearing his big boy underwear backwards. Every day. I mighta pointed it out once or twice to him, so if he chose to switch them he could but he never did and I never tried to force the issue. There’s a million other battles to choose and backwards undies is not one of them. (Keeping the pets undie-free IS one of them, and they thank me for that. Well. No they don’t, but if they could they would.)

Mike put on his Big Boy Undies (doesn’t have the same ring to it, huh?) on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. He took my very big all weather truck to the grocery store and when we came back, there was a huge number of cars on the sides of the road outside our subdivision.  He came home, put on (rather unattractive, but thoroughly functional) khaki overall things, and went to help out the stranded passengers. We called him Bubba Elf, and Bubba Elf was quite a help to those in need for the next few hours. **

Who knew there was so much underwear news? But that reminds me. A FedEx truck arrived a few months back and had something for me – usually I’m  a UPS girl, and anything FedEx is for Mike. But? This was a special FedEx delivery for me regarding the press release for holiday themed undies with a gingerbread man on them.   It was very strange. It was summer-y outside. There was no urgency to getting me the very critical sales info on the adorable undies because even if i fell in love with them (which I did) and wanted to tell all of YOU about them, they actually weren’t even available for sale yet anyway.***  Odd.  Very odd.  So I never mentioned it, and  only do now since we’re strangely discussing Christmas underwear and big girl panties.  They never were available and I can’t even find a link to them, or I’d show you how cute they were.

So. I it’s time to put on the BGP and go make dog and cat cookies. And, no. I am not wearing a fuzzy sweater.


*Yeah, i HATE the ‘p’ word. It’s on the list of words I do not like and try to avoid saying. I’m making an exception here, but it’s difficult.

** I’m thinking Bubba Elf of course does not read any of this. Because Bubba Elf is VERY helpful, but probably doesn’t want to be associated with the phrase Big Boy Underwear even if it was just figureative. If you see this, I meant it nicely, Bubba.

***I’m highly allergic to all things with ginger anyway.****

**** possibly even cute gingerbread man underwear.


Fake Tree, Live (Feline) Tree Topper

December 22nd, 2009 at 10:27 pm » Comments (1)

Today I could REALLY be in a funk for a lotta knee related reasons, but really it’s just a knee and who cares?  Ok, I do, but if I get into it i would definitely would be in a funk and I’m trying to avoid that.

Instead. Good news!  HolySister and HolyCousin are coming!*

Which can only mean two things.

1. HolySister and I will Pig Snort Laugh, as we do every holiday season we are together, and

2. HolyCousin will take amazing photos of the boys – as she does year round and it’s JUST fantastic.

It’s potentially a rough year. That’s my way of trying to be positive about it. But last year when J-Mom came, she came with someone really special. And then he died quite suddenly on Christmas Eve, and what had been a beautiful visit turned heartbreakingly sad.

Reminders of that time are everywhere, for everyone. Overall, the mood is light, with sad moments. I’m thankful we knew him, and very thankful that he knew us, loved us, and shared his time and thoughts and stories and heart with us.

Even now, as I write this, the cat he and my mom shared looks down at me from atop the Christmas tree. She brought the cat over when she moved here, and he’s really enjoying the challenge of climbing the Christmas tree.  Constantly. Climbing. The artificial Christmas tree. It’s really cute, but he’s making up for  a lifetime of not being a treeclimber. As Seth-4yr likes to say, “Goshie is in the FEE!”

Last year, this cat was in Australia, having never climbed a tree. A year later, he’s our own unlikely tree topper, who takes breaks for food and naps.

And now, it’s time to feed the treetopper. A meow, heard from on high, is reminding me it’s his break time.

* Those names were derived back in the day when this blog was a lot more anonymous than it is now.


Dog On a Mission

December 18th, 2009 at 4:48 am » Comments (1)

Note to Self, Part I:

At dog’s bedtime, do NOT get between giant chocolate labrador and his special night-night place under the window.  Forgetting this might cause one to get plowed over. Dog might not care about the tenderness of the still-recovering left knee thing. He’s normally very considerate, but when he’s tired. He’s VERY tired.

Note to Self, Part II:

Forgetting Part I could result in the well-intentioned deathgrip of husband’s arms around rib cage as he tries to grab me out of the way of oncoming canine traffic.  And, oddly, this hurts much more than collision with giant tired dog at top speed.

Maybe Duke just needs to be jammied up, kissed, and tucked in, like all the other little boys in this house. Maybe he could teach those other little boys how to run to their beds like that at bedtime.

That would be awesome.


Define please! “Intracoastal Handshake”

December 11th, 2009 at 5:26 am » Comments (1)

So I desperately needed to observe kids in classrooms, as mentioned yesterday. And the stairs are still there, preventing easy access, and the crutches are still here – much as i hate them – and so the dilemma continued. Mom suggested Mike carry me up the steps.

I laughed. I protested. Mike put on a way too dramatic husky voice and said he could carry me up those steps with just one hand. I think that sealed the deal. Wouldn’t it for you? Funny. Cute.

I tried to wait until no one was around. When parents came close, I stalled. I made sure he wasn’t going to smush my knee. He did well. Although he did need both hands, and it probably took a lot more effort than he let on. He scooped me up and delivered me to the top of the stairs. I kissed him, thanked him, and asked why he wasn’t leaving. He said, “I’m walking you to the classroom,” with a ‘Duh!’ expression. Isn’t that sweet? That hasn’t happened since high school. Thanks, honey.

Only later did Mom tell me she’d watched the whole thing and taken pictures from the car.  Funny. Cute.

It was a sweet moment in the day. Not so sweet was when I had my stitches removed from my knee. That shouldn’t hurt, but during surgery they cover the wounds with these little steri strips that are apparently coated in superglue. The nurse was crazy-rough in her attempts to get them off, but in all fairness – if she wasn’t, they wouldn’t have budged.

Just before this, in the waiting room, Mom and I were sitting next to one another with our backs to a couple. The man told his wife, “You need to put a bunch of hundred dollar bills in your purse.”   I felt, rather than saw, Mom’s radar go off. We leaned closer to hear the rest of this conversation.  ”You know,” he continued, “for intracoastal handshakes.”

Mom and I looked at one another. She mouthed, “WHAT?” and suggested I text to her what sort of handshake he had said, because she didn’t understand. She actually mimed a handshake when she requested this. I laughed and shook my head and didn’t tell her until we were back awaiting the painful stitch remover lady.  She said we should ask Mike. “What’s an intracoastal handshake and why would you need a purseful of hundred dollar bills for them?” we wondered.

When, really, I should have been wondering, “hey, Mom, if that lady comes in here and slowly RIPS OFF MY FLESH, will you help me make a break for it?”

But we still don’t know what that guy meant by ‘intracoastal handshake’, and neither does Mike (financial expert guy), and neither does Google.  Any ideas, y’all?

I’m hoping if none of y’all know, then one day a nice Googler will find this, take pity on me, and define it in the comment section.

It’s the reverse of what has happened with this post. LOADS of y’all still come here and find out (thanks to my sister) how to correctly pronounce a certain word.

*If that is somehow an offensive phrase, then someone PLEASE TELL ME ASAP. I did that once – had a really, um, crude term in a title once and had NO IDEA until a friend of my sister’s pointed it out.


Plan: Surpass Yesterday in All Ways

December 9th, 2009 at 8:53 pm » Comments (1)

Yesterday it was full-on winter. School delays, and ice outside. Mom (so grateful she’s living with me for a few more weeks) looked at me and said, “Well, YOU’RE not going anywhere today.”

There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. She’s my chief nurse, it’s icy, and I’ve been known to be a bit clumsy on the crutches lately. But not going anywhere all… day… long… depresses me under the very best circumstances. Which these are not.

To be fair, she probably only meant, ‘you’re not leaving the house.’  But I took that a bit further, overachiever that I am. I didn’t really leave the bedroom. I stayed in bed and made sure I got REALLY grumpy and depressed before the day was over. The low point came when I realized I’d found a website chronicling the ‘aging’ of Katie Holmes. And I was actually interested.  (FYI, there is no such THING as the aging of one so young.)

I shook myself and forced a long introspective talk about how this is seriously unhealthy behavior. I promised myself that I would NOT have another day like that.  At the conclusion of this little talk, I vowed that today I would be super productive!

* plan lots of quality time with each child. (check!)

* have brilliant physical therapy session (I went! I was a little late! not brilliant!).

* come up with helpful tips for a better life while on crutches. (all i’ve come up with here is do NOT stuff phone into bra when going from room to room. accidental picture taking can occur. delete, delete, and delete. Instead, friends, try a small purse with a long shoulder strap, or a small backpack.)

* figure out how to be more helpful in the giant laundry cycle that occurs in this house, to lessen load on others. (still working on this one)

* Discuss the importance of keeping on one’s pajamas with Seth-4yr. Who tends to be tucked in at night very snuggly, but then he strips, and then he awakes in the middle of the night freezing cold, and then he streaks through house with much energy and loudness in order to warm up his little cold body. Apparently it helps if he enlists brothers to streak with him. Or it’s just more fun. I don’t know, not being a streaker, myself. (check, but not successful! had the talk about keeping the clothes on. Seth-4yr shook his head solemnly and said, “No. Can’t do it, Mom.”)

* Observe the kids in their classrooms. Since this is a school requirement, and Friday is the deadline. And I’m usually early, but not this semester. (total fail! Cannot figure out stairs/security gate/crutches issue. Try again tomorrow.)

* Something fun with kids. Books,  crafty stuff, cooking (ha ha ha!), something. (still in progress. I’m thinking of making bird suet, using my stepmother’s recipe. This is fun, messy enough that the boys will  like it – go on – mix lard and peanut butter together and see if YOU can do it neatly – and it sorta involves my cooking but afterwards they’re not expected to smile politely and eat it. Their favorite kind.)

* Christmas shopping (not done yet, but no problem. I’m an online shopping queen.  don’t forget to use www.retailmenot.com, y’all.  )

* write (haven’t written anything since the successful end of nanowrimo. must fix this asap. my main character was in quite a fix when i left her a week and a half ago, and she needs to be written out of it.)

Looking over this, it hardly seems productive at all. Good thing I set the bar so amazingly low yesterday that, by comparison, it’s just fine.


A great conversationalist

December 6th, 2009 at 8:42 pm » Comments (0)

Today after church I sat in the front seat of the car while Mike ran into a drugstore to get a prescription. I thought that I really didn’t NEED any pain pills. I mean. It’s SUNDAY. Surgery was DAYS ago, back on Tuesday.  And those stupid pills make me twitch and I hate them, so  I’ll be fine.  But I was so not fine.

I distracted myself by checking email on my phone and there was a lovely, unexpected  ’hey let’s reconnect’ sort of email from my long-lost very best childhood friend ever.  Have you ever gotten one of those? So sweet.

The tears that i was not letting fall from the ridiculous denial of pain  were unleashed and by the time Mike came back I was a mess. A happy, somewhat pained,  mess. Not that he knew that.

He asked me what was wrong. When I’m hurting, I don’t breathe. Which makes talking impossible. Which can REALLY frustrate a guy.  My sister does this, too. As does Ethan-9yr.  Mike asked again what was wrong, and did that thing with his eyes that always means, “I’m trying real hard to be patient but i need you to talk NOW.”  Did you know eyes can say that? Mike’s totally can.   Maybe it’s in the eyebrows, actually. Hard to say.

Finally I said, “I got an email.”

“And it said…?”

Much choking, crying, gesturing for him to OPEN UP THE STUPID PILL BOTTLE ALREADY, and i said, “Hi.”

“You got an email that said, ‘hi,’ and ….?” he doesn’t finish that sentence, thankfully, or it might have ended with the words, “and it made you CRAZY like this?  ’Hi’ can do that to you?!”

Oh yeah.  It was an odd emotional response, but it was part emotion and part pain. Which reminded me of what happened on Tuesday right AFTER surgery.  (had acl reconstruction on left knee.)  I awoke as soon as i left the Operating Room and was wheeled into the Recovery Room. The general anesthesia had worn off but the ‘block’ on my leg had yet to take effect, numbing it. That is a real bad time to wake up.

Also? If you don’t breathe or talk when you hurt, that does NOT help. I sat there and cried silent tears until someone noticed I was awake. She smiled sweetly and asked if I was ‘just emotional.’ She told me that was normal. She sat next to me for a few minutes while I tried to make myself breathe, or talk, and finally I did and said, “IT HURTS.”

This was quite an accomplishment.

I thought.

She said, “What? What hurts?” And seemed genuinely puzzled by this.

“LEFT KNEE.”  I think that should have been abundantly obvious, but maybe not. She gave me something and it didn’t help for quite awhile, so I looked around and felt very sorry for the guy opposite who had his eyes taped shut. Ew. Didn’t realize until the next day when i found tape residue on my face that I had apparently had eye tape too. Gross.

Directly across from me a blonde still slept on. One of the nurses said to my nurse, “Miss Argentina just died from complications of what she had done,” pointing to the blonde. My nurse looked at me, wide awake, and shook her head to end the conversation. I laid there and wondered what in the world Miss Argentina and that lady had in common, but unless i feigned sleep I wouldn’t find out. Apparently the conversations there are much more entertaining when they think all the patients are in deep, drugged sleeps.   But I felt sorry for Miss Argentina and the blonde anyway.

Finally the pain went away and I was a bit more chatty than I usually am. My nurse sat next to me reading something, and for some reason I couldn’t or wouldn’t turn my head to the right to look right at her. She told me she had to wait until I’d been there awake, not in pain, not nauseous, for thirty minutes. This seeemed really long, since I had awoken with the attention span of a gnat.

“It’s all better, now, right?” She asks.

“Mmm. Yeah. But how come if my knee is waaaaaay down there, and that’s where all the surgery is, I don’t get to wear underwear waaaaaaaay up here?”

She laughed.

I was not trying to be funny, and i was not amused.

“It’s because I’m short isn’t it? Tall girls can wear panties?”

“What?” She looked really alarmed.

I was, too, really. I hate the word, ‘panties,’ and if it were not for the immense drugs, i never would have said it out loud.  I couldn’t believe I’d just used that word. I told her so, which did not make the conversation go any better.

“You only said, ‘panties.’ You didn’t say anything awful. Did you think you did?”  I guess she thought I was confused and thought I’d sworn at her or somehting.

“No. I just don’t like that word. It’s so prissy. My sister and  I have this list of words we don’t like. And we don’t use. And that’s on the list.”

She didn’t say anything. I don’t know what she was doing because she was on my right and i was slumping to the left and not looking to the right for who knows what reason.

“I just mean, if I were six feet tall then that distance  - between my knee – and — and — would be a lot bigger.”  This made enormous sense to me at the time but it really doesn’t now.

“Yes. Um. Twenty more minutes!” She said, and found some reason to go somewhere else.

Right. Well.

Maybe not talking in such circumstances isn’t such a bad thing after all.


Dingle Bells for Whales

December 4th, 2009 at 5:01 pm » Comments (0)

It seems like Caden-5yr used to sing Jingle Bells rather exuberantly as “Shingle Balls.”

Seth-4yr’s version is just as exuberant, and goes, “Dingle bells, dingle bells, dingle bells on the whale!”

I’m not big on Christmas music, but I always make exceptions for Christmas songs sung by kids, especially if they include whales.

* I know. This is short. And a little awkward.  I’m not quite myself, yet, but i’m almost there. Had a knee surgery a few days ago and still working on getting back to normal. Or, normal, for me.


Holiday Stuff

December 1st, 2009 at 1:52 am » Comments (2)

We came home from a GREAT Thanksgiving trip yesterday. We managed to miss the bad weather, but ended up smack in a large traffic jam in the middle of nowhere. DId you know there can be enormous traffic jams in the middle of nowhere? There can.  Even with adroit maneuvers utilizing access roads, we still were there for at least 45 minutes. A lady my mother talked to was there for twice that long, so yea for adroit maneuvering and all. For 20 of these minutes i drove along behind two frat boys who mooed out their windows at all the cows we slowly passed. The cows and I were not amused by their wit.

When we finally got home, the neighborhood was VERY still and calm and no one was around, as we pulled into the driveway. (Which is how I like it. I don’t want to know neighbors, see them, obligatory-wave at them – none of that. and if you can’t relate to that, GOOD. I know you’re nicer than I am. I am perfectly fine with that.)  So when we  unloaded and brought stuff in, trip after trip, because 6 of us took 2 cars and don’t ask. But it was a LOT of stuff to bring in. At one point, J-Mom and I are standing in the driveway, alone. The 3 rowdy boys and Mike are inside. (They’re not ALWAYS rowdy, but after being in a car forever, yes. They are.) We’re tired. We’re not talking.

And our eyes meet.  We hear something. Something BAD.

“Is that…?”  I ask.

She nods.

I look around, but the neighborhood is empty.

“But where is it coming from?”

J-Mom looks around, and points to the newly Christmasy decorated house across the intersection. It has little icicle lights, and they’re on, even though it isn’t dark yet. It looks deserted, but festive. I’m a fan of Christmas lights, and these are cute. But looking at this house,  I feel somehow as if we are in a cartoon. Because? Coming from this house is really bad Christmas music. From speakers, I suppose, hidden somewhere.

I HATE  IT.

I’m not big on Christmas music EVER. (although about once every year or so I find myself ALMOST liking ‘Last Christmas’ by Wham!  I know! WHAT?! That’s absurd. If you’re going to hate CHristmas music and only make a biannual exception, it should not be  anything sung by Wham! I KNOW THIS. And yet it’s true. So there.)

I don’t even like wind chimes. I don’t like to even SEE neighbors, or hear them, and i definitely do not like to hear what their houses are in the mood to SING.  Go ahead – thank God right now that you are not my neighbor. I’m not offended in the slightest.

You know what it’s like? It’s like when you’re at the mall and you just want to get your Christmas shopping done, but the people in the middle of the mall are trying to stop you every two seconds and straighten your (already straight) hair, or put lotion on your (already moisturized) hands and above all of that — the sound of bad Christmas music you cannot turn off even though it’s driving you nuts  because it’s coming out of the mall speakers. It’s like THAT in our neighborhood, now.

I won’t go outside much, but I wasn’t planning on it anyway I suppose.

Ever wondered why the people in the mall kiosks who straighten hair and try to sell you lotion put on fake French accents? They do that here, in West Texas, for no good reason at all that i can think of.  One of these days when i’m crazy from Christmas music that i cannot escape even at home, i will be there – at the mall – and one of those people will say, “Excuse me, would you mind if I just…” and then come at me with a blazing hot Chi knockoff and that day – the day i am insane from inescapable Christmas music — i will confront that absurdity right to its face. “WHERE DID YOU GET THAT FAKE FRENCH ACCENT? DOES IT SELL MORE OF THESE? WE ARE IN WEST TEXAS. WHY DO YOU ALL HAVE TO TALK LIKE THAT? IT’S…. RIDICULOUS! AND….? I!!! HAVE!!! BORING!!! STRAIGHT!!!  HAIR!!!  FOR!!! FREE!!! ALREADY!!! DON’T MAKE IT ANY STRAIGHTER! AU REVOIR, AND TURN OFF THAT MUSIC!”

You  know, the strange thing is, I’m in a great mood. You’d never guess, huh?