Thursday, August 12, 2010

House Guest Part 2

Stories from the Pokey . . .

Me, having never been in jail or a cell of any kind, asks what it was like.

"Well, the bitches who checked me in were certainly full of attitude."

Yes, one would expect that the people checking you in (it's called "processing" for those of us who haven't been in the pokey) wouldn't be overly welcoming. After all, it's not the Ritz. You're IN JAIL.

"The first one was totally rude and asked me 10,000 questions so I just made shit up after a while."

"What's the highest level of education you've completed, Miss ______."

"Um, I have my MBA in English."

Yes, she really did say that.

Then B was asked to sign the documents admitting her to the pokey.

"Ladies, I can't see this document because my glasses are locked up in my car. So, unless one of you lets me use your cheaters, then I'm not signing anything."

Processor 1 looks at Processor 2: "I told you."

B is put in the general population holding cell. There were, by her description, lots of "rough looking, really skinny women." Yes B, We call them Crack Whores (CW for short).

A skinny CW sits down next to B.

"The Hef Officer coming for you."

"I'm sorry?"

"The Hef Officer coming for you. They gonna stick you."

"No one's sticking me with anything."

"Uh huh. They gonna stick you to make sure you don't have the TB. I'm not sayin' you has it, but they gonna stick you to make sure you don't get it from anybody in here who might have it."

Next, B meets a woman who's a yoga instructor on the outside. The yoga instructor does a yoga move which B copies while saying, "yeah, yoga!"

Immediately, the officer on duty throws both B and the yoga instructor in the drunk tank for disruptive behavior.

At 4:30AM, the inmates are given bologna sandwiches. Another inmate sits down next to B, who is now back in the gen pop cell (see? jail lingo!).

"You gonna eat that?" she says, staring pointedly at the sandwich in B's hand.

"Nope, here you go." B wisely hands over the tube meat and bread.

Sometime after 5AM, B's ex-boyfriend arrives and bails her out. Fast forward to my house and the long afternoon of drinking and shopping that commenced.

I really do feel sorry for the girl because she's very nice and it could have happened to anyone who has a few drinks and then blows through a stop sign while a State Trooper happens to be hiding around the corner. Of course, I think she might have been a bit argumentative, which could explain why she was given two separate tickets, minutes apart. But whatever. She's good fun and is welcome back at my house any time!

But watch out: the Hef Officer might be coming for you next.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

House Guest, Part 1

What do you do when a friend asks if someone can stay with you whom you barely know? If you're me, you say, "yes" . . . and then have a great story to tell.

No names here, since the person in question is very nice, but I told her I was going to write about our time together and she didn't object, so . . . here we go:

"B" was due to arrive at my house late afternoon last week. She was coming to Atlanta to be re-certified as a __________ instructor. I texted her at about 4PM, asking what her ETA was since I was in the throes of final clean-up in my fur-filled house. "Stopping in Macon to cool off. No AC in car. See you 5:30." was the reply.

"Great, see you then," I replied. "May be closer to 6" came just a little while later.

When B arrived, she was red faced and sweltering from the heat of the ride. What I didn't know at the time was that the red face was also the result of her stop in Macon. Three quick liquor drinks and she was back on the road to Atlanta. No lie!

We spent the first night chatting with my Aunt Athena on the deck. B had an early start the next morning with her ____________ class, so we were in our respective beds by midnight. The next morning, I invited her to join me and some college friends for dinner at Fritti. She wanted to see her ex-boyfriend, so she'd join us later at the restaurant.

Dinner was great, catching up with Breck and Martha on family and friends. B joined us and we were there until about 10PM, when I walked down the street to the Albert and B went back to see the boyfriend at his restaurant one more time.

I texted B at 11PM, letting her know I was home and to use the key I'd given her, no worries about the alarm system or the dogs (my back-up alarm system). No response, so I figured she was hanging with the ex.

Next morning, B was supposed to be leaving for home, but by 9AM I still hadn't heard from her and was getting worried. I sent her another text message, telling her my work schedule for the day. No response. I was just about to call our mutual friend when the phone rang. It was the other B, the one who'd asked if B could stay with me in the first place.

"I was just about to call you. What's going on?"

"She got arrested."

"Shit. Is she okay? Does she need me to post bail?" (like I've ever done that before!)

"Her ex-boyfriend bailed her out, but her car is impounded and her phone is in the car which is why she doesn't have your number."

"Ok, well I'll hang here and try to get in touch w/ her at the boyfriends (whose number she'd just given me)."

"Sorry about this. It figures that something would happen while she's staying with you. Really sorry."

"Don't worry! I'm just glad she's safe. I was getting ready to start calling hospitals."

Three hours later, B rolls in. She is red faced, swollen and dirty. And who can blame the girl? That's what any of us would look like after spending the night in the pokey.

B's first words: "God, I need a drink."

Next up: House Guest Part 2: Stories from the Pokey

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Meanest Nun in the World

The meanest nun in the world stood less than 5 feet tall. She wore a terrible gray wig that sometimes had the tag sticking out at the back (we loved those days). Although she was an older nun in the 1970's, she had adopted the modern dress that almost all the nuns who taught at my grammar school wore. They must have been specially made for them because they were the most god-awful polyster crap you've ever seen. Those poor women. As if it wasn't bad enough that they had to be married to Christ, they also had to wear brown and blue feed sacks made of non-breathable material in the Deep South.

Her name was Sister CC* and she slapped me across the face one day in the 4th grade because I looked at her "the wrong way." Now, when you're a midget with a bad wig and you teach 9 year olds every day, you must expect that you're going to get some odd looks now and again from those brats. Especially smartass white girls who have active imaginations and a face that gives everything away.

Didn't matter that I loved her english class and our writing project - "Tales of the 4th Grade - Everything!" (a rip-off of the Judy Blume book, very progressive in those days) - I must have seen her wig tag or started thinking about everyone in the room being bigger than she was (except for a black boy who I think really was a midget) and given her a vacant look. That's all I can think of, any way. But after that slap, it was open warfare as far as I was concerned.

I was on constant wig surveillance - if it was askew, if she used a pencil to scratch underneath it, if the tag was sticking out, I alerted the troops. God, but I was a horrid child.

She threw chalk at kids, hit them with rulers on the hands (like it was 1937, not 1977) and generally behaved like a little dictator. I guess she had the female form of a Napoleon Complex.

I have no idea what happened to her - she probably ended up at the Sisters of Notre Dame home somewhere in Maryland. Hell, she might even be alive still. If I was nicer, I might even look for her and send her a new wig.

I really thought she was the meanest nun in the world until the day that Sister Regina walked into the joint. Now that bitch? She was seriously disturbed and hated children. Again, it could have been the heavy polyster giving her chub rub, but I think she was just plain mean.

And don't get me wrong, I had some great nun teachers, too. Sister Rose Lally, Sister Margaret Thomasine and Sister Marcella (a hippie who later left the order, so rumor had it) were all awesome teachers. But CC and Regina - MEAN!

*Just her initials - my old classmates will know who she was. Of course, I actually ended up liking her. I mean, if I had to teach 4th graders every day, I would be a raging alcoholic instead of just a mild wino, so kudos to her.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

What A Week!

I vowed last week that I would start each day at The Swamp House w/ a cleansing smoothie and would try to eat healthy for the whole week.

Well . . . I did well the first day. I had the smoothie for breakfast (I have pictures!), a fat free latte and a tomato sandwich on double-fiber wheat bread. And then, and then, 2 vodka tonics, 3 glasses of wine, bacon on my salad, a Thai noodle dish and a dram of Baileys when I got home. Really bad.

But that was nothing compared to what happened the next day.

July 4th dawned bright and blistering hot on the Georgia coast. I had planned to cook a few Southern classics to celebrate the holiday: okra and tomato macque choux, blueberry pie and fried chicken. I made the first two and they looked great. Now, this would only be like the second time I tried to make fried chicken, so I was worried about the chicken cooking all the way through from the outset.

I didn't do such a good job w/ the chicken. Let's skip the boring details and suffice to say that by 7PM, I drank an entire bottle of Perrier because I didn't feel very well and then, well, I basically puked my guts up for the next 5 hours. Seriously, I was so sick that at one point I considered calling 911. I thought I was choking on my own vomit, a la Mama Cass.

The dogs were horrified. So was I. I went through 3 nightgowns before I finally pulled myself into the shower and cleaned up. I couldn't lay down for fear that something would come burbling back up, so I sat up on the couch and stayed awake all night. I couldn't even keep down the two saltine crackers I nibbled on. Life was not good.

I stayed in the fetal position for most of July 5th. My ribs felt like I'd been kicked by a donkey. I couldn't laugh or cough for the next two days without feeling extreme pain.

On Wednesday night, my chest started itching and I thought I'd been bitten by a spider. But no, I developed a terrible case of poison ivy all over my stomach and chest. I used calamine and tried not to itch, but by Saturday morning, I couldn't even wear a bra. I was headed home and figured that my Technu would do the job, but ended up at an emergency clinic on Sunday for a shot of cortisone after my 3rd sleepless night of itchy hell.

Thought my week of bad luck was over until Monday afternoon when my boy dog, Murphy, got into a yellow jacket's nest and, when I tried to get them off of him they swarmed onto me, causing me to shriek and jump into my friend's pool where I drowned the little bastards. But not before two had stung me, one right in the lower buttocks.

I've come to the conclusion that either the necklace I bought at the estate sale on Saturday is cursed or that all of the above is my subconscious effort to avoid dieting. I did lose 5 lbs last week, but it sure was the hard way.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Echoes of the Past

Sounds like a heavy subject, doesn't it? But it's not my past that seems heavy today. No, it's the past of the dead woman whose home I went to at eight o'clock this morning for a sale of her life's possessions.

God, it was depressing as hell. She had a few nice pieces of furniture (I loved an enamel topped kitchen table, but resisted), many kitchen things, several sets of china and a lifetime collection of strange odds and ends that included the most disturbing clown painting I've ever seen in my life. And that's saying something because I HATE CLOWNS.

I ended up buying a wicker rocking chair that will live on my parents' front porch, a Mexican silver necklace (she traveled!) and a $3 bunch of aluminum kitchen tools that includes a butter pat cutter, the coolest thing I've seen in a long time, probably from the 1940's or 1950's when butter wasn't a National Villain (it still isn't in my house).

But as I was walking through her rooms that had plywood on the floors and a distinct air of despair, I grew sadder and sadder. Clearly, this was a woman who loved to entertain because she had three sets of china, a large number of serving pieces and pots and pans and lots of other hostess-y things. And this was just what the family left to sell - the good stuff had already been picked over and allotted to members of the family.

I'm starting to be reminded lately that life has an end date. I've lost my grandparents and assorted friends, but I think I viewed life with a very cavalier point of view through my 30's. Now that I'm about to turn 42 (in 10 days!!), I find myself reflecting more and more on how we live our lives, the things we find important, the things we collect and how we leave this life. I spent a weekend not long ago worrying about dying alone, being alone, dying a Spinster with no one to witness my demise except my beloved pets.

I imagine my nephews, all grown up, sorting through my folk art collection, deciding who will take the painting of the purple and green cat, who will take the signed Jazz Fest poster from 1995 that's already worth $1,000, and what will become of all the other bright and cheerful works of art that I've collected over the last twenty years.

Frankly, it depresses the shit out of me.

But I don't often allow myself to wallow in such self-pity. I have a full life with family that I adore and friends who I would literally bleed for. In my 42nd year, I've finally had an epiphany about what I want to do with this life. What I want my "legacy" to be (which sounds so pompous it makes me want to throw up in my mouth (LB!)).

Henceforth (what a word!), I want to spend as much time as possible with my parents and my brother and his family. I want to spend time with my friends. I want to travel to the ends of the earth, experiencing new cultures and people. I want to eat great food, real food, not processed weird food. I want to write. I want people to read what I write. I want to make them laugh.

I don't want to be in the box (see previous post - Long Time. No Blog.).

And I really hope to divest myself of most of my crap before I die. I hate to think about people digging through my collection of junk, feeling sad or saying awful things about them. Maybe they'll like my cobalt glasses, the tea cups that Sylvia gave me (our neighbor when I was a little girl), the Eiffel Tower collection that has grown from statues to lamp shades to paintings. Guess it's time I stopped that collection.

Any way, not to be too morbid, but today made me sad. I'll get happy again, but it made me pause and think about life. It's funny when that happens.

But enough about all that crap. I'm off to the fireworks on the riverfront in Darien, Georgia w/ my friend Billy.

Happy 4th, Everyone!!

Beans, Beans, Good For My Heart?

I have a serious problem. For the past week, I've had the worst gas in recent memory. It's as if my body is trying to expel something dark and disturbing and the only way out is, well, you know.

I live w/ animals, not humans, so I have to deal with bodily issues on a daily basis. If it's not someone peeing inside, it's poop or vomit, but it's every single day and I keep my rubber gloves and cleaning supplies on the ready. But my gaseous state has been so bad that even my dogs are disturbed when a particularly loud one erupts (I just woke Murphy up, for example).

But seriously? This is just awful. I can't imagine if I actually did live with another human being, much less have a man in my life. He'd surely run for cover if he heard the staccato noises coming out of this body.

So, what to do? I've long toyed with doing a "cleanse" but have never really settled on a plan to follow (no surprise there). I find myself on the coast of Georgia for a week, all alone at The Swamp House. Perfect time to try to rid myself of what's ailing me.

Tomorrow morning (I mean, this morning) will begin my 7-day cleanse diet. Mostly raw, I think, beginning each day w/ a healthy drink/smoothie made of herbs, ginger and fruit. I've found two recipes, one that has parsley and the other cilantro as the main ingredients.

Cilantro is supposed to draw metals out of the body, heal the cracks in my heel and give my liver the healthy glow it had before I went to college in Kentucky. Kentucky, the birthplace of Bourbon. Enough said.

I'll let you know how it's going in a couple of days. I might be back on Miller Lite and pork ribs by then. Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee

I just had the most f*&!#ed up dream. It's ten til six on Sunday morning and I'm so disturbed that I find myself drawn to write it all down, something I haven't done in a long time.

Here's the gist: I was Doris Day. In all her late 1950's, early 1960's, tight cigarette pants, slightly bouffant hair, "gee, gosh, I'm a nice girl who just hasn't found the right feller" glory. The first part of the dream was like I was watching a television show. I wasn't the narrator, I was part of the audience (of one). The main story was about a friend of mine with a rat bastard husband (who shall remain nameless) who has two kids, a full-time job and no help from the rat bastard. It's a common story, right?

Well, she finally gets the courage up to leave the rat bastard (who, I might add, is being played by himself at this point) and she leaves the children with him.

Suddenly, he's a single dad doing it all on his own. Now, this is the f*$#!ed up part. From my role as a watcher, I suddenly enter the dream and get right into the action, assuming the role of wife and mother that my friend left behind.

Then, in an even more bizarre twist, the rat bastard becomes Chris Noth, you know, Mr. Big of Sex and the City fame. And I morph into Doris Day. The children grow up in a strange series of shots of them being tucked into bed by Mr. Big while I'm hovering around in the background, giving kisses good night and eventually being called "Mom" which makes me break into big old Doris Day tears of happiness.

Our story ends when Doris, deliriously happy from being called Mom, goes into the kitchen and begins what I can only describe as a sock-footed ice skating routine in the middle of the room. You know, the kind where you pretend to either be dancing or skating in your socks on a hardwood floor? Come on, I know you've all tried it!
Any way, Doris is twirling and whirling around and she knows that Mr. Big and her "son" are watching as she executes a perfect Sock Twirl and ends her routing with a dramatic, "I've just won the Gold Medal" pose.

So, what does it all mean? Are there deeper, darker depths of meaning at play? Could I, in my dried up Spinster heart, secretly long for a family, a man to call my own (even if he's an abandoned asshole), a kitchen big enough to skate in?

Nah, that's bullshit. Here's how my brain pieced this gem together: I had dinner with the friend in question less than a week ago. I watched Grease on Friday night and sang every word to "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee" and undoubtedly re-made my image because of the line, "Watch it! Hey, I'm Doris Day. I was not brought up that way." I watched the end of Castaway w/ Tom Hanks when he comes home and the old girlfriend can't bear to see him so her husband goes in to talk to Tom (that's right, it's Chris Noth).

The only thing I can't explain is the ice skating.

Maybe if I go back to sleep I'll figure that part out. Because really, who does something that queer in a dream? So embarrassing. Maybe Chris will come back and tell me that it's okay because I was a champion skater as a child. Or maybe I was pulling Jill Zarin from her embarrassing ice skating routine on "The Real Housewives of New York."

Whatever. I'm going back to bed.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Long Time, No Blog

What the heck have I been doing for the past 6 weeks??? Where have I been hiding?

In the box, that's where. The corporate, straight path, by the book, play it safe, work box that so many people in this country are on. I hate that path. It's the path I left in 2002 when I retired for the first time (at the age of 34). I eventually put one foot back on the path (I don't know if living in New Orleans can be called putting a foot back in or out), then started working as a contract employee for the factory of happiness and thought I was doing the right thing.

I love the job I have now. No personal development plans, flexibility to work from home, work is only 30 hours a week and as long I meet all my deadlines, everyone's happy.

But in a conversation I had with a friend last week, it became crystal clear to me that I don't want the life in the box. I've never been a follower and even in the most organized of groups (my sorority comes to mind) I grew tired of always playing by the rules.

When I decided to quit my job, sell my house and move to France in 2002, lots of people thought I was crazy. Shoot, I sort of thought it was crazy, too, but I knew if I didn't that I would either go off the deep end or end up living with my parents and weaving baskets out of river grass if I continued to be so stressed out all the time.

Do I worry that I'll end up a bag lady with no one to look after me, no savings and wandering aimlessly in the world? Sure, how could I not worry a little bit. But what I've come to realize in my 42nd year is that I would rather face an uncertain future than to put myself back in that box where I might just go crazy from being a big business worker bee. I'd rather look forward and think, "I wonder what I'll be doing in 20 years" than look back and say, "I've had shingles, heart attacks and arthritis because of my corporate job, but at least I have ___ thousands in my 401k."

Fear is something that I deal with on a daily basis. Fear can be crippling. Fear can turn you into a worker drone like the ones I see around the happiness factory (I swear I was in an elevator w/ a zombie a couple of weeks ago). I think for me, the courage to continue doing what I want to do while trying to live my dream is much more important that trying to live up to the rules of The American Dream. What is that any way? Shouldn't everyone be allowed to have their own dream? Does my dream have to be the same one as my neighbor in the next cube?

I may never have kids. I may not be able to retire (again) before I'm 65. I may never own a house again (I've had two and they were both huge pains in the ass). I may never have a job where my employer matches my 401k contributions.

But guess what? I'm really happy. I do have clients to answer to, which is good because it means that I actually have to buckle down and get some work done as opposed to frittering away time on Facebook or watching movies. Do I wish I had more money saved for retirement? Of course. But again, I look at my life and I thank God every day for giving me the courage to live the way I want to live.

These are some of the things I've been thinking about lately. Work has been hectic, but I've also been hibernating a bit, considering all my options.

And considering all that I have in my life, I'd say I'm doing just fine.

Look for more posts in the coming days!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Losing My Panties And Not in a Good Way

Don't you just hate it when your underwear starts rolling down? This happens when the elastic just can't contain your curves (ahem) any more, or when the panties are so old they should long ago have been tossed or when you're walking so fast that your panties literally can't keep up with you.

This triple-whammy happened to me today on the long walk from Cubeville to my car. It started as I was waiting in the 14th floor elevator well. My shirt started to roll up and my wears started rolling down. Not a good combo. I managed one quick tug down and pull up before the elevator doors opened. Then, as I was walking through the long, marble hallway to the parking garage, the real panty descent began. My natural reaction was to speed up, breezing through the security gate and mumbling a good night to the security guard as I contemplated grabbing for a handful of underpants.

But I couldn't. Not only would I be walking half hunched over, but there were people walking towards me.

I made it to the garage elevator with my panties hovering around the tops of my thighs. This was Total Panty Failure. And I was wearing a dress. I still couldn't do anything but smile at the other office rats around me, praying that they wouldn't notice that I was waddling and that the undies wouldn't start sliding down my legs. I was clenching my legs together like a 3-year old.

Up the six floors to my car. No one else got off the elevator w/ me, thank god. As soon as the doors closed, I put down my bag and used both hands to hoist the panties back to their starting position. While I still had both hands full of dress and panty, a man came bounding down the steps in front of me.

Shit. Caught red-handed. He'd been whistling as he ran down, but came to a wide-eyed dead stop when he caught sight of me. Fuck me. I smiled and smoothed down my dress like there was nothing wrong, managing to push the underpants back down at the same time.

After total mortification, have come to the conclusion that I either have to lose weight or buy new underpants.

Naturally, I headed straight to the underwear store.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Are There Two P's in Stripper?

God, I love my nephews. Mac, "W" (as he unfortunately has asked to be called) and Henry are three of the smartest, sweetest little boys I know. And of course, I'm completely impartial.

Last week, Mac and W went to work with me for a couple of hours since Mac had a day off from school and W had an eye infection (oh, to be in kindergarten!). As we were driving back to my house, Mac said, "Look! There's the Waffle House we go to."

"Yep, that's it."

"Isn't there a Tiffanys next to it?"

"Um, not the kind of Tiffany's that your mother shops at." (Tiffany's next to the Waffle House is a cut-rate stripper bar.)

"Oh, well what kind is it then?"

"It's a yucky, nasty bar."

"What makes it yucky and nasty?"

Quick glance in the backseat to see how much the 6-year old W is paying attention. I lean closer to Mac and whisper, "Naked ladies dance around there."

"Sick!" Pause, pause, pause. "What about the hair? I mean, do they, like, shave their parts?"

Almost have a wreck. "What do you know about that? Do you and your friends talk about this?"

"No, no, of course not. I was just wondering."

Another glance in the backseat. W still working on the short story he's writing.

Another 3 minutes pass and W says from the backseat, "I'm never going to a bar like that!"

"Oh yes you will, William," his 9-year old brother says, "when you grow up you're going to want to go to a place like that."

When I was telling the story to a co-worker the next day, she tells me that something similar happened to her the week before. She's a workout queen and has recently begun using the "Pole Dancer's Workout" and had ordered a pole for installation in her house. She was volunteering in her son's classroom (at his Christian school) and had stepped out when her phone rang. Her 8-year old son was putting the phone down just as his teacher returned to the classroom.

"D, what are you doing?," she asked.

"My mom's phone rang and I didn't want her to miss a call and now I need to write this message down for her."

"Okay, go ahead." Pause as "D" begins writing the message.

"Miss Smith? Are there two P's in "Stripper"?"

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Coupon Mom Doesn't Live Here Anymore

I just saw a story on the news about a woman who bought $167 of groceries for 46 cents. What the hell? She was not "The Coupon Mom," but some woman who's saving her family so much money that her husband was able to "take the teaching job he always wanted." The story also said that she only spends 45 minutes a week getting organized and clipping coupons. I'm sorry, but that is total bullshit.

I used to clip coupons. Really. But as a single woman, I always wanted things that never showed up in coupon circulars (like wine) or forgot to use the coupons at the checkout or never used the giant tub of "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" that sat, creepily, not getting old in my fridge.

And let me tell you, it takes time to clip coupons, sort them, keep them organized (ok, mine were either shoved in a pocket of my purse or stuffed in an envelope that I would eventually forget about only to find them a year later in my file cabinet) and remember to use them.

Just surfing the coupon sites alone has to take more than 45 minutes a week. Plus, the reporter said that she focuses on finding coupons for the "organic" food items that she feeds her family. This has to take way more than 45 minutes and she also tries to hit "double coupon day" at her local stores. It just sounds exhausting.

I guess I could save a buttload on the overpriced organic food that I like to feed my children (the dogs. the cats prefer poison.), but if I have that much time I'd prefer a well-mixed martini and George Clooney. Hell, I'd even watch Solaris rather than clip coupons.

Let me know when they start putting out coupons for Vodka. Until then, I'll be the idiot spending more on dog food than I do on human food.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

6 Inches Isn't Long Enough. Call the Fire Department.

Unfortunately, the title of this entry doesn't have anything to do with the 6 inches you might be thinking of!

While I was cleaning my house in preparation for family dinner, I discovered that there was a little unwanted visitor in my house. Very unwanted. And not so little, either.

After moving my little blue ottoman from one side of the living room to the other, I went back to start vacuuming when something not quite right caught my eye. It was black, it was coiled up in a little circle, it was, it was, it was a SNAKE!!!

Screams of horror, shrieks of fear and shooing of all dogs out to the deck quickly followed. I called the only person I know who is aware of my great, gut wrenching fear of snakes and who would also give me level-headed, practical advice during a time of great duress: my mother.

"Hello." "Aaarrrggghhhhh . . . SNAAAAAAAAAAKE!!!!!" "Kiki, do you have another snake in your house?" Laughter on the other end of the phone. "Yes I do and I'm about to vomit blood." "Hahahahahaha, that's so funny. Where is it this time and how are you going to get it out of the house. If you open the front door it will probably just go out." "Oh right, mom. I'm sure it will simply bypass the dark recesses of the cypress bookshelf and just hot foot it right out into the blazing sun."

It wasn't moving. In fact, it was coiled up very neatly with it's little head practically tucked under it's body. I say little, but by my count it was about 18 inches long. Pretty big, as far as I'm concerned. "I think I can grab it with some tongs and fling it out the front door." "How long are the tongs?" "About six inches long." "Six inches isn't long enough. Call the Fire Department."

As if. That's all my neighbors need - to see the spectacle that is me calling up Atlanta's finest (!) to help her out with what was surely just a little garden snake. The last time this happened (yes, 13 years ago there was a snake on my bed and I got it out the front door but not before my robe practically fell off and the neighbors were all treated to a sighting of my naked body. "I'm going to put a towel over it and push the whole thing to the door with the broom. But first, I'm going to put you on speaker phone so you can hear me if it bites me and I need first aid."

I gently laid a folded up towel over the beast. Nothing moved. I started pushing it rapidly towards the front door. Nothing moved. "I think it's dead," I shouted in the general direction of the phone, as I gave it a mighty push and flip to get it over the threshold. The snake snapped out of that towel straight in the air, whipped around and hissed at me. That nasty snake tongue was flicking for all it was worth as I screamed and slammed the door.

The dogs were going nuts on the deck, trying to get through the french doors to aid their poor mama. "What happened? What happened?" my mother yelled from the phone. Out of breath and about to wet my pants, I picked up the phone to inform her that the snake was now outside, but also wasn't leaving my front porch.

I peeked through a crack in the door and there it was, staring up at me malevolently. I guess I don't blame him. If some giant had first lifted the rock under which I was hiding and then threw a blanket over me and shoved me out the door, I would probably be giving him a piece of my mind, too.

I opened the door again. Snake still there, now being pawed by George the cat. "No!" I shrieked at George. I managed to skirt around the snake and flatten George in the yard, shoving him under one arm as I prepared to run the snake gauntlet again.

Back inside, I continued cleaning (and drinking vodka. medicinally, of course.)and getting dinner ready for my father, brother and nephew. Every few minutes, I would crack the door open and do a snake check. 45 minutes later, it was still there. "Seriously, go away," I hissed at it. Clearly I am a Parseltongue because the next time I checked, it was finally gone.

Now I just have to be on the lookout for it when I step off the porch, water the yard, cut the grass, do any gardening, bring in the dogs and cats or in general leave the confines of my house.

I hate snakes. Period.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Bad Shoe Daze

I will admit to throwing lots of money around when it comes to certain things like travel and dog food (but not with coupons [stabs self in eye]), but I've always prided myself on being a bargain shopper. Shoes, furniture, cars, you name it and I can usually tell you where to get it for less.

However, when the Women of Atlanta (en masse, it seemed) began wearing Tory Burch shoes (and everything else), I will admit to feeling a little envious of that circular gilt emblem gracing everyones toes. Except mine. I'm more of a flip flop girl, but those colors! The ballet flats!

My envy reached fever pitch when I spotted a pair of wooden wedges that were a bright, patent metallic silver. I had to have them. I waited almost a full year and then, one day on eBay, I found a pair of size 10's. Before you can say, "Bob's Your Uncle," the deal was done and they were on their way to me.

About the same time, I received an invite from my Sis-in-Law to her birthday party that was to be held at the Tory Burch Boutique! Everyone attending would receive 20% off! Champagne would be served! How could I resist?

When I signed the sales receipt, I proclaimed, "Well, that's not bad at all!" "That's not bad" a friend of Sis-in-Law said, "are you kidding?" I stumbled towards my car, clutching my fancy Tory bag that held two pairs of ballet flats (lavender suede and silver leather!), slightly deflated. A bit of buyer's remorse and a bit more champagne made for a slightly subdued drive home.

But then I began wearing my precious shoes and my remorse was forgotten.

Until last week. When I came home from a quick trip to the grocery store and discovered both silver flats laying side by side on my entryway rug. One had the entire insole ripped out and the other was sporting a half-dollar sized hole in the heel. And the dog that did it picked one up in her evil mouth and threw it up in the air, like a performing seal. She even barked at me.

Complete and total cardiac arrest. I dropped to one knee, dropping the groceries all over the floor while I cradled my poor, broken beauties. "How could you?" I shouted at the puppies, who immediately retreated to safety positions. "How could you?" I cried as I examined my ruined labels of Atlanta feminine chic.

I spent the rest of the night drinking wine and cussing at the dogs. I knew it was really my fault, but what had my hard earned $180 gotten me? Nothing. The expensive shoes met the same fate as the cheap flats that the damn dogs had destroyed a few weeks earlier. Except that the cheap shoes didn't have cardboard in the insole. Swear to god. My Tory's were partially made of cardboard. F*ck me.

That was a bitter pill to swallow, believe me.

You're all invited to my Holiday party next December. I'll have a fabulous new tree topper. It's silver, looks like a shoe and has the cutest round silver emblem on the toe.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Cougar Love

I'm sure you had a little fright as you read the title of this post. Alas, it is not me who's a cougar. Rather, it's my little corgi girl, Lily. A Corgi Cougar? Can it possibly exist? Yes, indeed and we have several witnesses to verify her sluttish behavior.

As Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote: "In the spring, a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love." So, apparently, did the thoughts of my canine nephew, "Lucky Louie" when he realized that my beautiful corgi girl was "in season."

It's true that Lily should have been spayed long ago, but every time it enters my mind to schedule the operation, I begin to think about Motherhood and how taking Lily's chances at having babies away seems sort of cruel, especially since she's the only creature in the house (human or otherwise) who is capable of such a feat. Everyone else is either fixed (animals) or too old (me - at least, I haven't had my eggs checked recently and assume this to be the case).

Hence, Lily is a Cougar.

And so we found ourselves on Easter Sunday, that symbolic day of re-birth, trying to keep Louie and Lily separated at The Swamp House. In fact, Louie took such an interest in Lily that he practically fell off the dock. And every time poor Louie would approach, my boy puppy Murphy would rush at him, thinking he was defending poor Lily.

And Lily! That hussy, that dirty girl would position herself in front of poor Louie and well, well, assume the position!

After numerous reprimands and being separated by closed doors, Louie finally made his move, apparently. His poor mother, my sis-in-law came to the breakfast table aghast that her poor poodle was foaming at the mouth. Lily sauntered in shortly thereafter with said foam all over her back. Hmmm . . . Then Dear Mother came in to report that the cream colored love seat was not only aptly named, but also in need of a trip to the dry cleaners. Oh dear.

And so our Easter weekend concluded w/ Lily perhaps in a state of (dis)grace and Louie, with a big doggie smile on his face.

Even the dogs in my house are seeing more action these days than I do. Sigh.