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Location: Quebec, Canada

Elaine's writing has finally tumbled into cyberspace! After writing content under the radar for other websites, she is coming clean and tagging her opinions, humor and sarcasm with her own name.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Church of Bob

So, I'm standing in the kitchen, at 9:30 in the morning, putting dinner in the crockpot. Like everyone else, at this point in the year, I'm feeling the time crunch now. Running through my To Do list in my head, I'm jolted by the (uncharacteristically early) ringing of the doorbell and celebrate the occasion by slicing my finger on the lid of the can of tomatoes I was opening. A few celebratory words cross my lips as I think, "Who the HELL is ringing the bell at THIS hour?!?!?" Then I remember!! I've done some online gift shopping and, according to the websites, they have either done their "arrival scan" somewhere or are "in transit," so I find myself almost skipping gleefully to the door.

Expecting my usual delivery guy, who I lovingly call Dumpy Grumpy in my head, I'm momentarily shocked to come face to face with an extremely handsome, well-dressed man ... oh and I think some other guy was standing with him. My peripheral vision was doing its damndest to stare at the cute one too, so I can't be sure.

"GOOD Morning!" says McHunky, flashing his megawatt smile.

"Blahgerblippfty," I manage in reply... but I smiled so the stammer doesn't count.

McHunky asked how I was doing today and I said "Fine, thanks - but I'm working and really kinda busy right now."

McHunky's still smilin' away and I think The Other Guy nodded. Peripheral vision grudgingly caught some movement over in that general direction.

By now, I've done the female's "split second assessment" of McHunky's hair, REALLY dark eyes, and his impeccable clothing. Peripheral vision reported in later that The Other Guy might have been wearing black. In spite of his rather captivating appearance (and a sudden very clear awareness of my fleece pants, tshirt and bleeding finger), I find myself snapped back to reality by the Lightning Bolt of Oh Shit! - LBOOS, for short.

Ladies and gentlemen, the pitcher winds up and heeeeeeeeere's the throw...

"We stopped to visit you today because we know, at this time of year, many people are looking for ways to embrace Bob."

NO, he didn't really say "Bob" - but for the purposes of my story, let's say that hottie believer (and The Other Guy) were representing the church of Bob.

I immediately interjected a little more of my blather, which came out something like, "Ohhhh... I'm sorry but... umm... I'm really just... uhh... not interested today. Thanks all the same, Happy Holidays to you and take care," as I was slowly closing the door.

LBOOS struck again and I thought, "Well dang - does the church of Bob even HAVE holidays?!" Peripheral vision was reporting in that The Other Guy was nodding sagely, probably thinking "Fine... *sigh*... we've heard that same thing five times already today. I'll be off to nod, in the glow of McHunky, at the next door."

McHunky said something like, "Oh well, all right then. Maybe we'll see you again soon."

I briefly toyed with letting him know he and his megawatt smile were welcome to stay on my front porch, just so I could open the door and look at him from time to time, but I knew that was going to get me another LBOOS, so I refrained.

Now... here's my issue.

This "time of year" or any time of year, I am not looking for help to embrace Bob. Bob's Believers (which suddenly sounds like a barbershop quartet or the "helpful team" from the local building supply store) know this. How do they know this? They know this because I have TOLD them... repeatedly. Yet they still come. First, they arrived speaking a language I told them I didn't understand (I do... but it seemed more polite). Then, on several occasions, they arrived with a very old man, in a smart blazer and tam, chest covered in medals. He needed help just to get up my few front steps. I thought he was a representative of the local veteran's group but no... LBOOS!... he wanted to enlighten me about Bob. I really did want to help him back down the steps, though.

Well, NOW, the church of Bob is hauling out the big guns and sending out McHunky (oh... and The Other Guy). Dirty pool, I say. How can ya NOT open the door to THAT? *sigh*

Bottom line, I don't have any issue with Bob... or Fred or Dave or any others with a faithful following. It is every person's inherent right to believe what they believe. I think I've had many conversations with Bob - indirectly, of course - and probably a great number for which I'd have to apologize. Thing is, Bob didn't send the LBOOS any of those times. I truly believe that Bob... Fred... Dave... all of 'em... understand me.

They understand that, at "this time of year" and ANY time of year, I live the best life I can. My devotion to those I care about knows no bounds. I give to others as much and as often as I can, but never sacrifice the needs of my children, who I love unconditionally and without end. I am clear on my morals and conduct myself accordingly. I believe I'm a good person, with the best of intentions... and, if I should step out of line, I know that a LBOOS to my ass (WHOEVER SENDS IT AT THE TIME) will put me right back where I need to be.

And I am fine with this. I would like the church of Bob to be fine with this. I would also like to run after McHunky, waving a bottle of wine and a Barry White CD...

*zzzzzzap!* OWWWWWWW!!! Damn that hurt.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Walmart Wonderland

Hello everyone! I know, I know... you thought I dropped off the face of the Earth, didn'tcha? For reasons that are too long (and certainly too boring!) to explain, let's just say I took... hrmmm... a REEEEEALLY extended coffee break. If you know me, then you know the amount of pee time that generates MORE than accounts for where I've been ;) Thanks very much to those of you who still read and left comments while I was gone. That means the world to me! Since I noticed there has been an uptick in hits to my previous holiday posts, I want to believe ya'll are feeling festive. Of course, that leads me wonder why you're reading blogs instead of dragging your arses into those storage rooms and haulin' out the decorations ... but I'll assume you just need a little inspiration :D

So here, for your singing pleasure, is a nifty little ditty to get you rolling. You can thank me later for the ear worm. No, no! NOT the crusty, rolled up, dried out thing that you found under the Christmas tree box. Jeez. It's one of those tunes that gets in your head and, try as you might, you can't shake the damn thing out... well, go ahead and try this... you'll see what I mean *grin*

Walmart Wonderland
(sung to the tune of "Walking in a Winter Wonderland")

You wake up, it’s December!
Must have slept through November
The panic sets in, it’s Christmas again
And you head off to the Walmart Wonderland

On the way there you’re jiving
To Christmas tunes, while you’re driving
Convince yourself with a grin, “Christmas SPIRIT kicked in!”
As you pull into the Walmart Wonderland

In the parking lot, there are no spaces
You drive around just looking for one more
Park in back with all the tractor trailers
Then find out you missed a spot right by the door (ARGH!)

You walk in, spot the greeter
(That smiley face - can you beat her?)
Grabbing a cart, your mission you start
Shopping at the Walmart Wonderland

Wander aimlessly for hours
Through toiletries and CD towers
“Next time,” you insist, “I’ll shop with a LIST!”
To survive a day in Walmart Wonderland

As you stare at the shelves, you get why Santa has elves
To avoid the time in Walmart Wonderlaaaaaaaaand

(You're welcome :) Now doesn't decorating seem much more appealing? *wink*)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Sleep is highly over-rated

I’ve come to the conclusion that there is nothing more elusive than sleep. We spend so much of our (forgive me) waking life in active pursuit of it – yet it’s said that we can never catch up for what we’ve missed. Never mind catching up… I appreciate netting any at all. Witness…

The teenager: “I can’t wait for the weekend so I can sleep in!”
The competitive co-worker: “Well, you look great today… how much sleep did you get last night anyway?”
The husband: “Honey, I’m done with the dishes so I think I should sleep for a bit.”
The young, misguided, expectant mother: “Oh, I’m not going to be sleep-deprived. I’m going to sleep when the baby sleeps.”

Comments like these leave me not only shaking my head … but nearly shaking it right OFF! It has become a sad accomplishment of adult life that we have learned to function quite admirably, really, on very little sleep.

On a good night like, say, a Saturday, I might get 6 or 7 hours. WOOHOO! However, on a regular basis, I probably get a disconnected, disjointed, disappointing 4 or 5 hours at best. That doesn’t sound too bad – until you look at a pretty typical schedule:

10:00 PM: Finish work, shut down computers, quickly straighten up the office, go upstairs and load straggler dishes into the dishwasher, walk around the house turning off lights that were left on, closing windows that were left open, checking that doors are locked, tend to personal needs
10:30 PM: Go to bed
10:32 PM: Get up to remind older daughter to put her gym clothes in her backpack (she forgot them last week and I only spotted them in her room after she’d left for the bus. I’m not spending another Monday morning running down the street bra-less, in my socks, gym bag flailing wildly, sporting some nifty bed-head and trying to get to the bus stop before she leaves on her two-hour trek to college. I didn’t make it, by the way, and she took Pilates class in some 8-sizes-too-big gym clothes that the school reserves for those poor students whose mothers can’t run a two-minute mile)
10:34 PM: Go to bed again
10:36 PM: Get up and check clock radio, obsessively making sure the volume’s up and it’s set for AM and NOT PM (because, although I love him with all my heart, my husband is completely and utterly useless when it comes to getting up on time. He usually doesn’t even hear the alarm. This is why I am staring at an alarm time of 3AM when I don’t start work until just before 8AM)
10:37 PM: Go to bed again
10:38 PM: Run through lunch items in my head and decide (like the idiot that I am) that I’d like to give them all something different tomorrow. Get up and head downstairs, to the freezer, to extract Kaiser rolls and some kind of muffin. Place these items on the kitchen counter to thaw.
10:40 PM: Go to bed again
10:41 – 10:45 PM: Listen to husband snoring out "William Tell’s Overture," hoping it may be a condensed version
10:46 PM: Kick husband firmly in the ass… with a cold foot… and hang on to the edge of the bed for dear life while he flops around like a fish out of water, thus concluding this evening’s performance.
10:47 PM: Re-start the falling asleep process with an ETA of approximately 11:00 PM
3:00 AM: Hit the floor running to the tune of Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild,” courtesy of our “classic rock alarm”
3:00 AM and 3 seconds: Put a slamming end to the illusion of being “wild” at this hour and, instead, focus on trying to “get yer motor runnin’…”
3:05 AM: After tending to the obvious physical result of being jolted out of bed, I head to the kitchen and begin making my husband’s lunch
3:08 AM: Slam the fridge door out of sheer frustration at hearing the rumblings of an encore of "William Tell’s Overture"
3:20 AM: Finish packing the lunch bag and “head on down the hallway” to wake the sleeping maestro. Although this is fraught with the potential dangers of grunts, groans and horribly misguided flatulence, it’s a risk I have to take.
3:40 AM: Out the door he goes
3:45 AM: Reset “classic rock alarm” for 4:45AM and go to bed again
3:50 AM: Still awake and staring at the ceiling, wishing someone would smash my running mind with a brick
Somewhere around 4AM: Finally fall asleep
4:45 AM: Hit the floor running to the tune of “Stairway to Heaven”
4:45 AM and 3 seconds: Put a slamming end to good ole Zep while thinking that I BETTER be getting one of those stairways some day for caring about my family THIS much
4:50 AM: Call older daughter no less than three times before getting a response that sounds like “MRPHX.. snort.. RXDFSZZZZZZ” and ask her the morning equivalent of “paper or plastic?” which, in our house, is “oatmeal or cereal?”
4:50 AM and 3 seconds: Slice a bagel and place it in the toaster, wondering when the hell I opened a diner
4:55 AM: Bagel is laid out on the table and teenage daughter is laid out on her bed. Under the threat of being permanently laid out, she arrives at the breakfast table and buries her face in the newspaper
5:00 – 5:30 AM: Make two more lunches, one more bed (having to ignore one that is still inhabited) and bark at daughter that she must be ON a bus in 20 minutes. Analyze the 75 or so pairs of shoes in the entryway, briefly wonder how four people can have so many feet, tidy living room.
5:45 AM: Issue the five-minute warning bark and duck the lightning bolt which narrowly misses my head
5:48 AM: Throw open the front door as daughter, 870 pound backpack, purse and lunch bag haul ass down the front steps and around the corner, in a desperate attempt to catch the only bus that will get her to school on time
5:50 AM: Hear the bus pull away… brace myself, expecting to hear daughter, 870 pound backpack, purse and lunch bag come back through the front door. They do not. WHEW!
6:00 AM: Wake younger daughter who, fortunately, is fully onboard with the morning selection process and mutters “oatmeal” before I’m even finished asking
6:05 AM: Oatmeal is laid out on the table (YES I USE INSTANT… do ya really blame me?!). Second offspring arrives at the breakfast table and buries her face in the comics. Start coffee.
6:10 AM: Make last bed and replace the four throw pillows and two stuffed animals. Return to the kitchen, lean against the counter, yawn, stretch and seriously contemplate if there is enough room to just add milk straight into that freshly-brewed pot of coffee. Decide against it and pour first cup.
6:30 AM: Standing with coffee in hand and staring out the kitchen window, I suddenly realize that – holy crap! - a good 15 minutes just vanished from all clocks in the vicinity
6:31 AM: Run down the stairs, put in first load of laundry, walk to the office, start computers, feed the fish (he’s a Betta and doesn’t get a choice of oatmeal or cereal), check email and organize tasks for the work day
7:00 AM: Return to help daughter with her sometimes unruly, suddenly curly hair (seriously, I never met the mailman!), make sure that (a) her glasses are properly cleaned; (b) she’s wearing a jacket; and (c) she has a lunch bag in hand.
7:15 AM: In a much more civilized and controlled manner, second daughter says goodbye and heads off to the bus, on time and without bowling me over or leaving tread marks on my back
7:15 AM and 3 seconds: Flirt with the intensely guilty pleasure of diving back under the covers for just another half hour or so. Haul out the vacuum.

At this point, I know you’re thinking that I’m some kind of fool for running this marathon on a daily basis. I am fully aware that my family should make its own lunches and its own beds and be capable of waking up on time each day without me having to lace up and take one (or three!) for the team. However, in my heart, I really want to give them the one thing I haven’t had since 1990 (which, for that young, misguided, expectant mother is the year I gave birth to baby #1)… SLEEP!

The way I see it, a few years down the road, I’m going to be wishing that I had so much to do for so many. Sleep will no longer be elusive… it’ll no longer be a luxury… and I’m really quite sure that, once I can have as much of it as I wish… I won’t even welcome it one little bit.

Funny how that works, isn’t it?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Turf Wars

Spring is sprung, the grass is riz… I wonder where my husband is?!

Oh right. The GRASS. That means he’s outside.


Some men attack spring with a battle plan. My husband has joined their ranks. He is currently waging war against formidable enemies: white grubs and ants. These insolent beasts are messing with his lawn and he is NOT happy. The grubs are an unfortunate fact of life. Each year, after the snow melts, we wearily emerge, shedding our winter layers and heading out, blinking and shielding our eyes, into the sun – only to be deafened by the continual munching sound of lawn after suburban lawn becoming an all you can eat buffet. Once the grubs have overflowed their plates with the roots of our grass, along come the raccoons and skunks to overturn the dirt and feast on the grubs. As Pumbaa would say, “Slimy, yet satisfying.”

As my husband would say, “Circle of Life my ASS!

There’s not much that can be done, other than growing new grass. So, he lugs home carloads of black soil and grass seed and patiently begins rebuilding. Each day, he’s out there misting and coaxing and straining to see every new blade as it emerges. But, rather than celebrate the rebirth, he is taken aback by the curious areas that don’t sprout.

“Say hello to my little friends” – all 118,273,987,932 of them.

ANTS! The audacity! Pushing their hills up through his newly strewn soil and seed. Just who do they think they are?!

Off we go to Walmart. We (well, HE) must conquer. We read the labels on every powder, spray, liquid, bait and contraption known to man. He doesn’t want BAIT. He doesn’t want TRAP. He will be satisfied with nothing less than ANNIHILATE.

Except that our suburb has regulated the use of pesticides.

So, we brought home powder that’s supposed to be a deterrent. Supposed to be” are the key words there, by the way. He sprinkled and dusted and coated like a maniac, all the while imagining those ants screaming and recoiling at his superiority.

The next morning, every single ant hill was back. I swear I saw a few “Screw you, Buddy!” flags on top of ‘em too.

Ten years ago, my husband couldn’t have cared less about a nice lawn. Grass was just something you had to cut. Now, he’s taken to the Internet to research. He commiserates with other men, flexing their muscles, sharing their secrets to triumph over their own little “Axis of Evil”… grubs, ants and the rodentia that threaten their “Victory Gardens.” He hunches over the keyboard, muttering and musing, creating a grocery list that includes sugar, cornstarch, cayenne pepper and cornmeal … and he’s asking questions like, “Do we have Borax?”

Ummm… remind me to start making my own tea at night… just to be on the safe side.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Neutering Lucky

If you’re a regular reader of Thoughts2Page, you’ll know that I get my panties in a bunch over the potential banning of a book. I have huge issues with anyone being denied the opportunity to choose what they – or their children – read. In recent days, another book has caused a hullabaloo… and it’s all because of one word.


Did you catch that?

I typed: SCROTUM.

Are you all still with me? I thought so.

Now, how many of you are thinking, “Yeah ok. Scrotum. Big deal. What’s she on about this time?”

Well, the inclusion of that word on page one of a book called, “The Higher Power of Lucky,” by Susan Patron, has some school librarians all over the United States in an uproar. They want to ban this book... again, based on ONE WORD. And, “The Higher Power of Lucky” is not just any book, either… it won this year’s most coveted prize in children’s literature, The Newbury Medal.

But… that significant accolade aside… it has the NERVE to contain the word SCROTUM.

I’ve done some research about this book and it turns out that Lucky is a 10 year old orphan girl who, among other things, is getting all set to be a grown up. She hears a conversation through a wall where someone says they saw a rattlesnake bite their dog on the scrotum. As a 10 year old, Lucky is intrigued by the word. She finds it incredibly interesting because of how it sounds.

Yet, “how it sounds” to a bunch of elementary school librarians is ban-worthy. One went so far as to say that “quality literature” does not contain “men’s genitalia.”

For heaven’s sake!

The author, a public librarian herself, did not write that the dog was bitten on its BIG, HAIRY BALL SAC!! She wrote “scrotum” – and there actually WAS a dog that was bitten in just such a manner. She was relating a true incident.

Evidently, one of the justifications for a ban is that certain people don’t want to have to explain the word “scrotum” to the intended audience, which is 9-12 year olds. I say that you explain things in an age-appropriate manner. Could children (IF they even bother to ASK!) not be told that a scrotum is a pouch of skin on the dog’s underside and leave it at that? Will they be traumatized for life?! Seriously, how many kids have probably already been exposed to an unaltered family dog, sprawled open for the whole world and Grandma to see, going all to town licking JUST such an area?

The problem appears to be that some people get so hung up on words that they lose sight of CONTEXT. I really don’t find anything salacious in the description of the injury to the dog. Yet, the offended librarians feel that it disqualifies the book from being able to be read aloud because no one would want to have to say – or explain – “the word.”

With all the vulgar, HATEFUL words that come out of 10 year olds’ mouths these days, they don’t want to have to explain the anatomically-correct term “SCROTUM”?

I think some of these librarians might be well-served to let their buns down for a day or two and spend some time out on the playground, rather than in the stacks. It seems that, instead of living in the MTV generation, they’re still stuck in “The Wonder Years.”

Now THAT reminds me of an interesting bit of trivia. Did you know, in that very successful, well-loved, long-running, Emmy and Peabody Award winning television show, big brother Wayne Arnold had a nickname for his little brother, Kevin?

Sure did.

He called him “Scroat.”

Just sayin’.