Sunday, March 18, 2018
Monday, February 5, 2018
It's that time of the year again. It's not pumpkin spice season, it's not Halloween or Thanksgiving or Election time, it's hunting season. It's the most wonderful time of the year, according to my beloved and our offspring...one of them anyway. Eldest boy is a bit more like his mama, hunting is awesome but I really, really don't want to do it. Son the Younger has been an enthusiastic participant in this yearly adventure since he was about eight years old.
Hunting season is a multi phase event, each phase is distinct and as important as the hunt itself. The following is a chronicle of this annual undertaking:
Phase One: Discussion
This phase consists of an extensive rehash of the previous year's hunt, topics include:
Trail cam photos referenced
Annual claim that deer are living in the back yard
Occasional claim that a bear is living in the back yard
My interjection that someone is drunk or insane
Deer not seen
Lengthy exchange about deer others have seen
Deer seen and not shot at
Deer seen, shot at and missed
ALWAYS a gigantic, monster, Bigfoot buck that can read and drive a car
Deer seen, shot at and hit
Quality of hit
Crappiness of missed shots
Spirited debate about who had the crappier miss
Consultation with other hunting party members about the crappiness of same
One party deciding the other party and the rest of the hunting party are full of shit
Discussion Tabled after offense is taken
Deer hit with Elder’s car that one year
Elder is still salty about it
Reminder that he has a different car now
Description of that deer grows exponentially with every retelling
Other wildlife seen
Usually mundane stuff, birds and such
Discussion of asshole squirrels that warn the deer away
Guilty admission of unloading the shotgun at offending asshole squirrel
Spirited insult throwing that one or the other didn't even hit the squirrel
Debate over origin of sighted poop
It’s not a bear, Bigfoot or dinosaur
Might be a bear
Probably a moose
Turns out it's a dog
I cannot believe how long the poop discussion has gone on
Debate over use of the term “scat”
Stop it, you’re not Jack Hanna
Debate over the supremacy of Jack Hanna vs. Marlon Perkins vs. Steve Irwin vs. Wild Kratts
Phase Two: Strategy
This phase usually involves analysis of weather forecasts, trail cam video, water levels in ditches, maps, satellite imaging and input from Stephen Hawking.
How many said they’re going
How many are actually going
Someone is bringing their cousin/nephew/co worker/idiot brother in law/some guy
Detailed dissemination of everything we know about the potential interloper
Assumptions made, debated and discarded
Grumpy acceptance of new person
The traditional and ceremonial insistence that I come hunting this year
I politely decline
My beloved pushes the issue
I decline, less politely this time
My beloved insists
Son The Younger suggests dad shut up now
Dad doesn’t shut up
I decline through clenched teeth with a hissed threat to drag him to Lowe’s again
My beloved drops it
The recitation of what we need vs what we have begins
This is repeated three to twenty times over the next two weeks as items are stored in multiple locations that make no sense to anyone but my Beloved
I refrain from pointing out that the large ORANGE Rubbermaid tote purchased by me for the hunting gear several years ago is currently occupied only by one pair of boots of unknown provenance
A list is not made, my Beloved insists he’ll remember everything
Things are forgotten or double counted
The same question is asked repeatedly
The mere suggestion of writing things down is treated as an insult
Three more boxes of shells are purchased
The three boxes from last year are found
As are the three from the year before
Buck scent (yes, a bottle of pee) is not located
Bottles are bought
Other bottles are found
We have many bottles of pee
I again question my life choices as two of the members of my household have a lively debate about deer pee.
What is happening here?
A list is made, lots of muttering and dirty looks, I try not to look too smug
The Blind is examined
87 things are found wrong
Options are discussed
New blinds are priced out
Blind is reassessed
Duct tape is deployed
The blind is actually fine
The Guns are brought out
Commence lecture about cleaning
Commence lecture about touching
Commence lecture about shooting
Commence lecture about deer
I Commence drinking wine
Continue drinking wine
Fall asleep and insult my Beloved
Blaze Orange Bonanza
Six hooded sweatshirts
Seven and a half pairs of gloves
Four sets of long underwear
I question the necessity of blaze orange underwear and am shot a quelling look
Eight pair of socks
I do not say a thing
127 hats, I swear to God
Eleven full face masks
All of this is hung outside in the universal sign that hunters live here, I think there is a deeper code here but cannot get confirmation.
Commence lecture about neutral smells
I do not roll my eyes during the no laundry/no shower/no shampoo talk.
Yearly reminder from me that no shower = no physical contact
I’ve insulted him again, not sorry
I put my foot down about the purchase of another blaze orange item.
Three more show up the next day
Both deny any knowledge
They’re colluding, I know it
Can’t tell you a thing, my eyes have glazed over and my brain is currently rejecting any hunting related talk.
My Beloved just asked me a question, he’s looking expectant
I panic and say yes
The surprise and delight on my Beloved’s face tells me I’m probably in deep trouble
I just agreed to buy a license so we can get an extra deer
The implications are horrifying
I will have to go
We could potentially get THREE deer
I'm going to have to empty the chest freezer
I'm going to have to buy a new chest freezer
Steps must be taken
I need a way out of this
My brain whirls with ideas
Coming up with nothing
I'm struck with inspiration
Sacrifices must be made
This is every man for himself
I point out that Elder Son has never been hunting
The look of betrayal flung my way does not sway me
My Beloved is delighted at the thought
I have no regrets
I'm going to have to make amends at some point but today is not that day
Tuesday, January 2, 2018
Thursday, September 14, 2017
I am not crafty. I do not quilt, paint, woodwork or any of that stuff. I know how to sew, I know how to crochet, but I don't do much of it on a regular basis. That said, I am periodically struck by inspiration and leap in with both feet. These are some of those stories.
Once upon a time, I went to a stamp party (if you've read previous posts, you know how I feel about those "parties") and spent practically a month's rent on stamp sets featuring teddy bears, ribbons, balloons and a load of other girly shit that is totally NOT my style but I was riding the euphoric wave that accompanies a fair amount of Moscato, snacks, chocolate and LOOK AT HOW CUTE THAT IS YOU'RE RIGHT I NEED IT! Okay, the classic Winnie The Pooh stamp set is still one of the cutest things I've ever owned, but once my babies became full on kids, my opportunities to use them faded fast. I was going to scrapbook my ass off, I was going to make my own greeting cards, invitations, calendars, I was going to be a stamping, fancy scissors wielding, ribbon tying, hot glue master GODDESS. Or my kids were going to discover sports and hunting and I was going to realize, once again, that I am not that kind of girl. Not even a little. I'm not even sure what happened to all the stuff I acquired in my scrapbooking fantasy fueled frenzy. I think they're still in a box somewhere but haven't seen the light of day in probably fifteen years.
|I could have done this, I'm that organized, really.|
From stamps, I moved on to crocheting. This was actually a hobby that lasted for a good while but once you've made an afghan for pretty much everyone who has passed through your life since the fifth grade, your enthusiasm tends to fade. As does everyone else's once you've gone completely round the bend and started making holiday themed afghans and afghans for the dog. My yarn stash reached a problematic level when my unsuspecting beloved opened the wrong closet door and unleashed a seemingly unending cascade of bundled yarn in every possible shade and thickness. Once he was extracted from the softest, fuzziest avalanche in history, he sat me down for a rather stern discussion about what he called "a giant addiction" but really was maybe a tiny bout of overenthusiastic sale shopping, idea formulating, someday I'll make it, I love this color and will make a thing, did you see that one, I know the perfect....okay, FINE I NEED HELP. The ensuing purge went down in the annals of our family history as "Yarnmageddon", a combination of returns, sales to friends and strangers and a copious amount of donating, we pared the stash down to a manageable level. (Note, the following is NOT my stash, but my God LOOK AT IT)
|Sweet Martha, I just had a yarngasm.|
Then I quit smoking.
When you quit smoking, you have to find things to do that aren't lighting a cigarette so a few things crossed my path in relatively quick succession:
I made my own earrings for a while, some that I still wear to this day but the magic wore off before I could become truly dedicated to the lifestyle. I still have the beads and some wire, I make a pair from time to time but honestly, the bloom fell off that particular rose pretty quickly. My beloved and I do not share the same aesthetic, never more clearly displayed as when he asked when I became interested enough in fishing that I was making fishing lures for him. And that's how that fight started.
|Y'all are jealous now, right?|
|Still can't believe this worked.|
|That's right, I have herbs.|
Sunday, September 3, 2017
My father, his brother, and their father were fair fanatics. I imagine the familial obsession went further back in the annals of our history as we are a St. Paul family from way back when. My dad would go multiple times, always with the whole family, with just one or two of us and at least once on his own. My mother came along when we were all little, but never had the passion for the fair that dad did. We had routines and rituals at the fair, some of which I follow to this day, it feels natural and comforting that some things truly never change. Dad taught us early on that the only acceptable hot dog on a stick was from the yellow and brown Pronto Pup stand (the wiener dun in a bun) and no other would do, don't even think it. To this day, the first thing we eat at the fair is an official Pronto Pup, it does not matter what time we arrive, that is first.
|That's the ticket!|
I don't know what magic is imbued in that fluffy yet crunchy coating but it envelops the dog in a loving embrace of pure wonderfulness, a corn dog just won't do, it MUST be a Pronto Pup. Generally there is a root beer barrel located in close proximity to the Pronto Pup booth so I naturally associate the two. The last time dad and I went to the fair together was in 1992, a month before I got married and we managed to hit every single Pronto Pup booth on the grounds (eight, I believe) and washed a few of them down with root beer. The sight of those booths and that first bite will always and forever bring me back to my father's side.
|They kick you out for licking the glass.|
|Yep, all seeds|
|There is some really beautiful stuff in there.|
|Nope, not a metaphor, butter busts.|
You can visit the booths of a variety of politicians, home improvement services, foods and products from all over the world. The Miracle of Birth center is the cutest place in the entire grounds, the grandstand houses world class musical entertainment and a host of gadgets, tcotchkes and stuff you never knew you needed but you must bring them home NOW.
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Once upon a time, we'd get the odd call on our home phone. My method of dealing with them when they'd call for my beloved (usually butchering pronunciation of our last name, a tip off) was to burst into noisy tears and demand they tell me where the son of a bitch got himself off to leaving me alone with all these kids and no car and who the hell did he think he was anyway. The response from the other end of the line usually ranged from apologetic to sympathetic to extremely uncomfortable stammering but the end result was the same: I'd never hear from them again. Bonus that I'd get to hone my acting skills at the same time.
I got a good one the other day, I'm sure you've heard of it, the "Windows Tech Support" call. My call came in the form of Todd (I'm betting not his real name) who magically detected a serious problem with my computer and needed remote access to fix it. It being a bit of a slow day and this kind of shit pissing me off to no end, I decided to have a little fun with ToddNotTodd.
Our journey together begins when he tells me to get in front of my computer so he can talk me through the next steps, I happily comply (honing my acting skills again, YAY!). I immediately interrupt ToddNotTodd to tell him I turned it off because that's what they say to do on TV shows if your computer is broken and that ALWAYS fixes everything. ToddNotTodd tells me I didn't need to do that but okay. So we wait together while my imaginary computer reboots, I whistle tunelessly and he sighs a few times. My imaginary computer rebooted, ToddNotTodd starts his instruction again, telling me to double click on "My Computer" on the start menu. I say okee dokee and tell him that I've opened the start menu and clicked restart because I know that's different than turning it off and on again. ToddNotTodd says "No!", and rather sharply, I must say. I apologize profusely and tell him that it's showing the Windows picture and that's a good thing, right? ToddNotTodd says that's fine, he seems a bit bothered at this point but is determined to help me. I tell him about my five cats while we wait. ToddNotTodd seems less than enthusiastic to hear about about Boots, Sassy, Fluffy, Miss Priss and Tim.
My computer freshly rebooted, we are ready to proceed. ToddNotTodd, a new spring in his step, gets back to the business at hand, getting me to allow him into my financials. We move through the process slowly and on step two, I interrupt to tell him to wait a minute, Miss Priss has pulled the mouse cord loose and it doesn't work. I tell ToddNotTodd not to worry, I can fix it by turning my computer off and on again. I receive an anguished "DON'T DO THAT!" from the other end of the phone. I tell ToddNotTodd it's okay, the computer will be ready in a couple on minutes. ToddNotTodd thinks I'm low hanging fruit, too dumb to function, so he hangs in there for another restart. I tell him how I tried to make a standing rib roast last night and after it came out of the oven, two of the cats and the dog knocked it onto the floor and we ended up having Taco John's instead and I don't usually eat that kind of food because of my digestion. ToddNotTodd is disinterested and is muttering continuously, I think it might be some kind of calming mantra.
Fourth restart finished, ToddNotTodd decides to sally forth, he has a mission to complete and failure is clearly not an option. We start over, as I've forgotten by now what it was he wants me to do and we get three steps in when I tell him my computer just made a beep sound and I know that can't be good so what should we do? At this point, ToddNotTodd loses his head completely and shouts "DON'T, WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T TURN IT OFF!" I respond with "Turn it off? Whatever you say, Todd!"
|Who he thought he was dealing with.|
|Who he WAS dealing with.|
Perhaps ToddNotTodd made a tearful plea to his God for a moment or two because there is a long pause before he speaks again. In very careful and measured tones, he starts again, enunciating every instruction as clearly as he possibly can while I make him repeat every single direction three times before acting on it. I make him start over twice. I believe ToddNottTodd has begun drinking from a hideout flask at this point because all the life has gone out of his demeanor, he seems sad and a little defeated. I ask him if he's accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. ToddNotTodd does not respond. I tell him I accidentally turned to computer off again and ToddNotTodd becomes more than a little put out. By now, we've been at it for almost 30 minutes and I have an appointment in less than an hour. While ToddNotTodd weeps and bangs his head on his desk, I reveal my true nature and tell him that there was no way in hell this was going to end with a success on his part. I tell him I hope I gave him a migraine and he should find a more honest way to make a living. ToddNotTodd called me a foul name and hung up on me. I don't think we're friends anymore.
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
There is a cultural paradigm that I don't completely understand and, try as I might, cannot embrace. I speak of the (Insert Something Here) party. I'm not talking costume, kegger, Super Bowl or dance party; I'm talking the kind of party that involves demonstrations, catalogs and a huge, steaming slice of guilt. I have been to just a few of these events (I say event because, in no way do I consider them real parties) only out of a deep love for the friends who invite me.
The last one I attended was a Tupperware(tm) gathering. I was not planning to go but my very dear friend who was hosting called me an hour before it was due to start in a state of advanced panic that no one but her daughter was coming. I love her so I went. And that's when the trouble started. Upon arriving at the soiree, I met Debbie the Tupperware(tm) lady. Debbie is a true believer, a true Tupperware(tm) zealot, a high priestess of the Church of Plastic Food Storage and Other Plastic Items You Never Knew You Needed (CPFSOPIYNKYN for short). First off, High Priestess Debbie is a toucher, not a pat on the shoulder or too long handshake kind of toucher, but the kind that will rest a hand on your should when standing behind you while making her sales pitch...repeatedly, kind of toucher.
|A little like that, yeah.|
|I don't know how I got here.|
|Okay, maybe not QUITE.|
Saturday, November 5, 2016
As we come the the close of "the year of firsts", I need to pay tribute to my family. I have these three sisters, you see, and I don't know that I have ever told them how truly bad ass I think they are. I had to watch from afar for most of the year from hell as they juggled everything. They had jobs they had to do, they had families that needed them and they had these two parents that careened off the rails at the same time. They managed to handle it all, work as an incredible team and still love each other when the dust settled. I don't know if they realized just how mammoth an undertaking that was, it was just something they had to do. They coordinated doctor's appointments, emergency room trips, long term and rehabilitative care; they arranged cleaning, repair and emptying our beloved family home and no one hated each other when it was over. I am not afraid of our family drifting apart because these incomparable women are made of the kind of glue that never, ever loses its strength. I am in awe of them and I doubt I could ever come close to adequately expressing how much I love them.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention my brothers in law, the men who slogged through that mess with them. In a day and age when something like one in three marriages end in divorce, they have chosen so well. Four of us, all 20 years in and we're all here, still together and that's a hell of a thing. These men that arrived in our family 25 and 30 years ago walked through fire with us and lightened the load that threatened to bury us last year. They are my brothers, my friends and the men I admire the most because they love my sisters and endured that terrible year with patience, grace and an unbelievable amount of manual labor. There is no way we could have made it through without you, we are so lucky.
Their kids put up with their lives being upended as well. They pitched in and did the heavy lifting, the cleaning and whatever else was needed, they showed us what wonderful adults they are and will be. They put up with moms that weren't as available, that were maybe more fragile than they'd ever seen and dads that were perhaps feeling helpless and unsure. These kids are our legacy and I'm not worried about what kind of people they're going to be when they grow up because I've already seen what they're made of. I'm so proud of them.
My boys saw their mom falling apart at the seams and showed me what wonderful men they're going to be. They did everything in their power to make it better and they succeeded, I don't know if I've ever told them how much they helped me during that awful time. I see so much of their father's deep compassion in my boys, they already are good men.
The extended family saved our sanity time and time again. They showed up and did whatever needed to be done, dirty work included. They reminded us again and again that we were not doing this all alone and that they always and forever have our backs. I know our cousins will forever bring us joy and laughter and that feeling that the world can never break us because we have them. My earliest memories are of them and my deepest love is for them.
The aunts are the old guard, they have the stories and the memories of what came before all of us. They are the grande dames and the mothers of us all now. These three women are our pillars and our roots. They knew mom and dad before they were mom and dad, they loved us all from the beginning and we owe so much to their influence in our lives.
Our non-blood family showed us that family isn't always family. They loved us and supported us and did not leave us when things got bad. Mom and dad's oldest friends stuck through it with them until the bitter end and held us up as we waded through our grief, we did not drown because of these people. They were a life raft, they were the hug from mom and dad that we needed as we buried our parents and said those painful goodbyes.
I don't know how I will ever repay these incredible people that got us through, there is nothing I can say except thank you and I love all of you more than I can ever possibly express.
Sunday, July 31, 2016
In trying to not let the bad stuff creep into this generally happy space I've attempted to create here, I have come to realize that I've hamstrung myself quite a bit. Last year sucked, it sucked more than I ever imagined anything could actually suck and still be survivable and I'm still not put back together yet. There it is, I'm not there yet but I'm trying. The world has become dark and scary and finding patches of light has become harder and harder but we manage to do so, we have to. I am finding that I have to detox from the news and the internet from time to time because I'm far more fragile than I thought. Sometimes the sad and scary stuff overwhelms me, I want to talk to my mom and I can't and everything just seems that much worse. I haven't written a word for several months because I really didn't want to keep on the "poor me, my parents died" theme but you know what? My parents died and while grownup me accepts and understands it all, the me that still wants her mom and dad to talk to when the world is ugly and scary doesn't understand and will never accept that they are gone and not coming back. These two factions have been at war and have definitely handicapped me in a lot of ways, but I'm trying.
I figure if I just lay it all out and organize it, I can start to shed some of the darkness and really step back into the lighter place I normally occupy, so bear with me for a bit.
For starters, 2016 really needs to take it down a notch, from mom, David Bowie and Alan Rickman to Prince and Ali, can we be done for a while, please?
I try to keep my little corner of the blogosphere fairly politic free, so I'm just going to do this once. I hate what our system has become. We LOVE to hold ourselves up as this shining example of democracy and, in this woman's opinion, we are screwing it up so hard. I tire of paying a bunch of people to do nothing. If the rest of us went to work and said it out loud that we had no intention of doing our jobs because we don't like the other people in the office, our asses would be out the door while the words still hung in the cartoon speech bubble over our heads.
I cannot, for the life of me, comprehend the reality that someone like Donald Trump is a viable candidate for the highest office in the land. To people who support him, I am not going to vilify you or call you names, I just want to say one thing. I am so sorry that things are going so badly in your life, that you are so afraid and beaten down that embracing a man with nothing to offer but hate, isolation and fear seems like the only way back. I hope you find something to believe in, something to bring you joy before it is too late. My dearest wish is that your world, your life, your situation improves to the point that you have room for hope and joy and love again. It's dark as hell right now, but remember that even in these tense and troubling times, people are good, we are good and the only way through the dark stuff is by reaching for the light. There is light, I believe it with every bit of my soul. All is not lost and we're going to get through it the only way we can, together.
I refuse to let the ugliness of rhetoric, bluster and political posturing drive me under the bed or into a bunker. I do not believe my country is a hate filled place, I know it's good, despite what they show us on the news. I am not going to let CNN, Twitter, Facebook or Fox rob me of my joy and my optimism, it's mine and you can't have it. I will share it with you, I will help you find some of your own and I will celebrate with you when you do. I challenge you to find some joy in each day. Not a chuckle, not a fleeting ghost of a smile, but something that when you think of it later in the day, you smile and get all warm and fuzzy. Go play Pokemon and walk around your neighborhood, stomp in the puddle, pop the bubble wrap, eat the damn cookie. Just fricking do it and quit being an old poop. I'm sure I'm sounding naive and perhaps even a bit simple to some, but to the rest, I ask you to give it a shot. You might live longer, or at least you'll be happier while you last. Take a step back, turn off the world and just find something that brings you joy, you need it, trust me.