Grandpa’s Job

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I believe I’ve already discussed the responsibilities of a grandmother when her grandchildren are visiting. Well, this week, the second time the boys have visited this summer, I put a little research into the grandfather in this equation. And I made a few discoveries along the way.,,

When the boys visit, towels, underwear, swimwear and socks melt away as though they don’t exist. Grandpa jumped into the shower and came out, dripping wet, eyes full of soap and exclaimed, ” Where are the towels on my towel rack?”

“The boys needed a towel to dry off after playing in the hose,” I said. “The towels are in the dryer.”

“They needed all the towels?” was his incredulous response as he stood in an ever-increasing puddle of water.

“Well, the dog and the cat needed towels too, didn’t they?” I answered. “There will be towels coming out of the wash in an hour or two.”

“Why didn’t you wash towels sooner?” he grumbled, attempting to dry himself on the bathroom rug and a dirty t-shirt. Apparently, it is not Grandpa’s job to do laundry.

He wandered through the house, kicking pieces of cardboard, tape, pipecleaners and tissue paper aside as he walked. “Don’t you think maybe the house should be cleaned?”

“With three days of the visit still left, are you mad?” I said, closing the cap on the glue and picking up the freezie wrappers from the counter. “It will just reappear if I put it away.”

“I really think you could keep it a little better under control,” he said, sitting down and rising quickly as he made contact with a collection of legos left in his chair. I gained from that conversation that cleaning the house of children’s chaos is not Grandpa’s job either.

“I could really go for some fancy salads and maybe a cheesecake,” he said, coming into the kitchen.

“Tough, we’re having hotdogs and mac and cheese,” I said, blowing the hair out of my eyes and I balanced the chips, pickles and ketchup on the way to the table.

“I don’t think you should feed me that stuff, just because it’s easy and the boys like it,” he said, attempting to make a hotdog look edible by drowning it in mustard. Cooking is also not Grandpa’s job, then. So just what is it?

This question was answered when I stepped out the door tonight. I tripped over the bikes and wagons in the front yard, skirted around the balls and bats and kites in the side yard and followed the sound of the shrieking into the back yard, where two boys had teamed up to totally drench Grandpa in a spirited water balloon fight. Then I remember, oh yeah, Grandpa’s job is not to cook, clean or do laundry. Grandpa’s job is to have fun! I sense an inequity in the genders here, but it isn’t likely to change. Grandma really sucks at water balloon fights!

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Aging gracefully

I have been writing columns, blogs, stories, etc., since I was 32 years old. I started when my younger daughter was born when I was hired as a sports writer for the Mobridge Tribune. If you are done laughing now, I will admit that as a sports writer I wasn’t too savvy. I had a lot of trouble telling a fish story from a football stat, but nonetheless, I wrote sports for a year.

After that, they moved me into features and editorials, and I was a little better at that. It was a long road for me, but the thing that always remained the same was that I wrote an article every week that entirely featured my big mouth and whatever I chose to comment on that week. For me, that was a dream job!

Because I am now…a great many years older than 32, I recently started cataloging the many thousands of editorials which began as Fauth’s Fumbles and evolved into Wells’ Wisdom and went online as Drops in the Well.

These articles are like a personal history of my life over the past thirty years. I feel like Captain Kirk on Star Trek: Captain’s Log, Stardate 6-26-88..today, I turned another year older and deeper in debt. Film at eleven.

There is something a little unnerving about reading your life’s story; complaining at age 33 about how old I was getting (someone should have slapped my very young and ignorant face), reliving the moments in my daughters’ lives from potty-training to prom debacles–they loved that, I can tell you! Then, there is my husband, a very private man, who frequently locks himself in the bathroom to read my column, hoping there is nothing in there about him!

I remember the day he chopped a whole in the basement floor to put in a sump hole. He was standing in a basement closet, in about two inches of water, holding a sledge hammer and drenched in a thick layer of concrete-thickened filthy water, when he looked up at me and pointed the sledge hammer in my direction and said, “Whatever happens, don’t write about this in your column.”

I didn’t know if the hammer was a threat, but I never wrote about the incident…oh, except for now. It’s all right, though, because he can’t carry the computer in the bathroom, so he’ll never know…and don’t you tell him!

I’m not sure there is a real point to this, except for the observation that we all grow older; we live our lives day by day and mostly we just try to get through. It’s only as we get further along that we look back and realize, just like George Bailey, that life is actually pretty wonderful…in spite of potty training, prom drama and flooded basements.

As for the aging gracefully, I don’t really know what that means. But it sure sounds like something I’d like to think I’m doing…clear back from when I was 32, and all written down in black and white. Computer, end Captain’s Log, Stardate 7-31-2020.

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God loves a good set of collars

Okay, so I don’t sew. I think everyone who knows me knows that I feel about sewing the way most people feel about finding a dead rat in their food. I just don’t connect with the sewing machine.

Oh, I know how to sew, I just don’t do it very often. It has something to do with my childhood. I took the prescribed Home Ec class–which only the girls were required to do, by the way–and we learned how to make an apron. I worked hard on that apron and I was proud of every lop-sided, poorly cut inch of it. Then, I discovered it was a trick. They taught you to sew the apron, then they wanted you to put it on…and learn to cook. I don’t do cooking either!

After that, I avoided Home Ec until finally, my mother made me a deal: if I took an independent sewing class, no more pressure to be in Home Ec. I happily went for four weeks to lessons on patterns, construction, sewing and finishing a garment and at the end of that time, I ended up with a dress. I was proud of that dress and I decided school pictures that year should be in that dress. So, I have a school picture of me, with my hair out of my face for a change, wearing a dress that was so poorly constructed that it was randomly pleated across the front–the pattern didn’t call for any pleats!

Thus, I left sewing behind–until I had children. Even then, the sewing projects were few and far between. When my older daughter got married, she thought it would be fun to sew the wedding dress and bridesmaids outfits. She was wrong. Thanks to her grandmother, she managed to construct the wedding dress, but I was in charge of six bridesmaid’s dresses, complete with tons of black flounces on the skirts. I dreamed about those bridesmaids dresses for years afterward, including the recurring dream where I cursed and swore at the sewing machine until it reached out and slapped me.

That brings us to my latest projects. As each of my grandchildren have been born, I have sewed them a christening outfit from material left from their mother’s wedding dress. We had a LOT of that material left over and it’s a good thing, because I have used a great deal in trying to make those outfits. Usually it ends up requiring me to rip it out or re-cut pieces before I put together an outfit.

The older two boys wore their outfits with no complaint, but then, they were a month or two old at the time…what did they know? Now that I’m working on a third, I am hoping for the same lack of criticism of the outfit, mostly because the child won’t be talking yet.

I chose this pattern because it had cute collars on the outfit and looking back on that decision, I can only suppose I was intoxicated at the time, and that’s quite a feat because I don’t drink..yet. Give me a couple more weeks with this outfit and those “cute” collars, and I may hit the bars!

After days of cutting, re-cutting, sewing, ripping out and some pretty good guesswork (everyone knows that pattern instructions are written in Klingon) I have managed to construct…the collars, and I attached them to the top. I only made seven mistakes and you are welcome to find them if you can.

In the meantime, I’m trying to figure out how to convince my daughter and the latest grandson that God will be perfectly satisfied with just a set of collars set imperfectly into a top…without sleeves. When I’m done with this outfit, I’m going to sell my sewing machine; that is, if I don’t fling it through a window first!

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I could be Ravaging Red…

51c93OLpPOL._AC_UL200_SR200,200_You know, sometimes all it takes is an accidental encounter to start you on the road to a new career. That is how I feel about my recent opportunity to enter the wrestling arena. When you are done sneering, let me tell you how I became a wrestler.

I was taking care of one of those chores that always gets put off at my school. There was a collection of donated jewelry to be used for drama productions, and when we made the move from the “old stage” to the “new stage”, this jewelry was left behind. After four years, I finally got up the energy to go get it.

I marched up to the old gym, a dark, cavernous building with lights which could only be reached by walking through the building, up some steps and across the stage. I used to do it without even thinking, but for four years, this gym has been the domain of the wrestling team, not the drama department,  and I was out of practice. I felt my way into the dark cave of a stage, walked confidently across and there, in the dark, I stepped on a body. I knew it was a body, it was squishy like a body and when I kicked it in my fright, the arms flopped over, grabbing my legs.

This was too much! I screamed several times–the echo was great–and then I began to karate chop what was obviously a not-quite-dead zombie from the deep. After a couple of minutes wrangling with it, I managed to pull myself free and run for the light switch.

Still screaming, my heart pounding I dramatically hit the lights and…my zombie was a practice wrestling dummy–complete with head and limbs. It didn’t help at all that the dummy looked worse off than me…he was hanging off the stage head first and looking pretty shaken up.

That’s when it hit me. I had taken out the wrestling dummy, which meant that I must be pretty good. Certainly, that wrestling dummy won’t be dumb enough to mess with me again. Once I stopped my heart from pounding out of my chest and changed my underwear, I was feeling pretty tough.

Maybe it’s time I tried out a new career. I’ve seen those professional wrestlers; it’s easy. All you do is give yourself a cool name, get spandex and some sequins and you’re a wrestler. I’m going to do it. I’m going to launch into a new career. I’ll call myself Ravaging Red and rat my hair and throw some glitter in it. Now, do you suppose I can get the dummy to write me a reference?

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Back where I started…

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No one understands the ins and outs (or ups and downs) of yoyo dieting better than I do. I have been up and down that scale so much, that if it were a piano, I’d have written an opera by now.

I have had the problem of  being a little on the heavy side since I was a child. My grandmother used to say I was “pleasingly plump,” but there was never anything pleasing about being plump in my mind. It took me a while, but I eventually equated my love of anything loaded with sugar with gaining weight. So I learned to cut down on the sweet stuff and I was a lot less pleasing and a lot more trim for most of my teens.

I blamed my children for my weight gain as I got older. It was because I had children, that I sacrificed my beautiful figure, I told myself. However, I knew the real culprit was sugar. Add to that the fact that I love my carbs and I’ve never met a hamburger I didn’t like, and my weight added up.

Oh, I would get the flu or something and shed a few pounds, but it always came back. I had the typical yoyo dieter closet: on one end, the clothes for when I had trimmed off a few pounds…building up to the other end, which held the clothes for my ballooning  days of high poundage. Of course, in between that were clothes in every size I had ever reached.

Then, my daughter announced she was getting married. Well, what could I do? There was no way I could be at the top of my weight gain when she married, could I? As it turned out, I found a unique way to scale my weight down: I sewed six bridesmaid’s dresses in a nightmare of silky teal material and countless, endless black flounces. I was so busy cutting, sewing, worrying, panicking, etc., that I had no time to eat.

I slid into my daughter’s wedding at the trimmest point I had been in years and was able to get the requisite fancy dress in a smaller size — that’s right, I didn’t sew it! I was so proud of that dress—that dress that I didn’t sew, but that was a significantly smaller size!

But, the years rolled on and the yoyo slowly crept back up. Then, my younger daughter announced she was getting married. The good news was that I didn’t have to enter sewing hell, since she bought the attendant’s dresses. The bad news was that I had reached that point on the scale between heavy and “take the tank off the scale, for the love of of heaven!”

I bought a dress for that wedding, equally fancy, but several sizes larger than my first one. It was shortly after that when my doctor said, “It’s now or never, time to let go of your potatoes, bread and sugar.” I was distraught. He had just described my entire diet!

I buckled down. I exercised, I gave up potatoes, bread and fish sticks. I stopped having my five candy bars a day and started walking instead. Slowly, I began the climb down the scale once more.

That was three years ago and since then I have been locked in my own house in a pandemic and after a while, I renewed my acquaintance with bread and potatoes. I may have started eating a lot of candy bars as well…but I kept on walking and exercising. I avoided the yoyo dieting problem by refusing to step on a scale. Then I wouldn’t know if I was getting heavier again.

Today, I was cleaning closets and I came across the dress of my slim memories from Stefanie’s wedding and I decided to see just how hard it would be to get into it. I shut my eyes, tried not to think of the Twinkies and Pepsi I had for lunch and slipped on my “skinny” wedding outfit. The picture with this article tells you that I proudly and surprisingly found out that it still fits! I didn’t even have to unzip it…it was perfect. It gave me the courage to step on the scale. I am right back to that pre-Stefanie’s wedding weight! What a kick!

I celebrated by not taking a walk today and having a half a box of cheese crackers washed down with a couple of Pepsis. I think the yoyo might be on the way back up?

 

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With my pants down…

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Okay, this title might be a little misleading, but it does sort of reflect the topic of this article. It is also not a lead-in to something pornographic or to bathroom humor either. Although….the bathroom does become involved.

Perhaps I should start with the water heater. We recently had a water heater conk out on us and with admirable speed, a new one was installed. What I didn’t know, however, was that after the install, someone would be coming to check…something, I’ve never been quite clear on just what.

At any rate, I was busy working in my living room, with a large picture window and a window also along the door (check the picture) on a hot, sticky afternoon this week. I had finally succumbed to the misery of the heat and removed my trousers. It was a huge improvement, and I continued to work from the comfort of my chair in a short shirt and my underwear.

I was writing an article about unexpected events and the thought passed through my mind, “Wouldn’t it be terrible if someone rang the doorbell now and here I am?” It was only a passing thought, though. I wasn’t expecting anyone and people simply do not just drop by my house. I mean, come on–there’s a pandemic; people stay home, right?

At about that time, I heard a footfall on the front steps outside and then the unbelievable happened: someone rang the doorbell. I was frozen…in my chair… in front of the windows…with no idea where I had put my pants when I took them off. I didn’t want to look out to see who it was, but the dog immediately set up a barking, letting whoever was outside know there was something inside.

There was no hope for it: I was going to have to make a dash for the bedroom. With no throws or pillows for cover, I jerked my shirt down as far as I could and hoping the dog would keep the visitor distracted, I flashed by the windows and made a beeline for the bedroom. I looked frantically for the discarded pants–no luck. With the doorbell still peeling, I grabbed the first trousers I could find, pulled them on and went to the door.

It was a repairman who needed to inspect the new water heater for…I honestly did not register what he needed to see; I was way more concerned with what he might have already seen. It was also at this point that I realized that my pants were on backwards, thus explaining the weird feel of them.

The worst part about this, was that it was an awkward situation already and I have ever had a talent for making an awkward moment worse. So, in giving the repairman permission to look at the water heater, I added, “Sorry it took so long, I was sitting here without any pants on.”

This poor man looked at me with that look on his face which clearly said that he would be unable to unhear that which he didn’t want to hear in the first place. He quickly donned his mask, completed his inspection and ran for his truck like HIS pants were on fire.

That was disquieting, but my week of impromptu undress was not over. I went walking on a hot morning this week and came home so sticky that I threw my clothes down to the laundry room on my way to the shower. While I was in the shower, the dog suddenly went into an hysterical fit, which should have warned me. I figured someone had driven by and I continued the shower.

The dog redoubled the fit, however and, remembering my hapless repairman friend, I turned off the shower. It wasn’t possible that someone was at the door again…with me in a worse state of undress…again.

As soon as I turned off the noise of the shower, I could hear the doorbell. Jumping from the shower, I grabbed a towel, but I had already traumatized one repairman this week; it would have made me serial flasher if I had gone to the door in a towel.

Thanking my lucky stars that the path to the bedroom from the bathroom didn’t cross any critical windows, I sprinted, half-dried, for the dresser in my room. Anyone who has read this far will understand when I say getting into any kind of clothes was impeded by the fact that clothes do not slide easily on a sticky, wet body.

All this was done to the music of the doorbell and the dog’s wild barking. When I finally made it to the living room, admonishing myself on the way not to explain the reason for my tardy appearance to yet another innocent worker, I discovered it was my cousin…from Denver…that I thought was still in Denver. Astonished, I opened the door, dripping from my head to my foot in very damp clothes…never mind what I had on under them and how did I greet her and her daughter? “I’m sorry it took so long, I was in the shower and I didn’t have clothes on.”

From now on, I’m gonna need a twenty-four hour notice before anyone approaches my door. In addition, it’s important that you know that I am now fully dressed at all times, even in the shower!

 

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Grandma’s rules

IMG_1835I have always considered myself a rather strict grandmother. I believe children thrive the best when they have rules of conduct. Above all, they should never tell lies…like the whopper their grandmother is telling right now.

Okay, so my grandmothering techniques are a little “lax”, should we say. I still have my own sense of order when the grandchildren are here. Like the prime rule: whatever the grandchildren want is what they get.

I was excited to have the children here for a week to visit, but it was an unusual visit, since their mother and aunt were coming with them. Arthur, the younger boy, was openly aghast at this arrangement. Explaining his chagrin to his mother may have given her some warning of what was in store, “But Mom, if you are there too, it will take away our fun!”

Stefanie, the mother in question, related the conversation to me, with a question in her eyes, but what could I tell her–I had no idea what he might have meant by that. She implied that perhaps the children and I were in cahoots against her, but that is just silly…isn’t it?

How things were going to be different this visit was clear from the first morning. Royce, the older boy, fixed his morning bowl of Fruity Pebbles (apparently they aren’t allowed this sugar..I mean, cereal at home) and was headed to the living room to watch some more Wild Kratts on television. Stefanie stopped him on the way past her at the dining room table.

“Where are you going,” she said with a severe look (okay, it looked severe to me). “We have a rule about not eating in the living room.”

Royce’s mouth dropped open as he stared at her, “Grandma doesn’t have rules.”

“THAT rule, that’s what you mean, right darling? You didn’t mean Grandma doesn’t have any rules, you meant she doesn’t have THAT particular rule,” and by this time in my mad rush to stop the leak in the dam, Mother, Aunt and grandson are all looking at Grandma like she is nuts. “Just remember, that the rule is you must eat on the rug in front of the television.”

With a small push, I sent Royce to the living room to sit on the rug that had never been designated as the eating spot before and I tried to smile nonchalantly at my suspicious daughters.

The week did not improve as the boys sought out their favorite activities at Grandma’s house, and I tried to convince my daughters that there were indeed rules to the game. For instance, the boys were allowed to play in the mud, but they were not to THROW mud at each other…of course not. We had never had a mud fight before, right boys? Also, when it came to tree climbing–they must stay on the low branches. Grandma had always forbidden them to crawl up further than that, because, of course, that would be dangerous and no fun, right boys?

Snacks were another issue. The boys thought they could avail themselves of the cheese crackers, toaster strudels, juice packs, etc., without any restraints. I set their mother straight on that early on, though, when I told her that their snacks were strictly regulated. I had distinctly told Arthur he could not have any more toaster strudels and I did not fix him the last two…his grandfather did! Certainly, the boys were required to eat a fair and nutritious meal when one was fixed, so neither I nor the boys could explain to her how those empty snack pudding packs had appeared in the garbage and why they weren’t hungry for the delicious dinner that had been prepared.

Okay, so my daughters may have discovered that things are a little loose around Grandma’s house when the grandsons are there, but the boys and I have come up with an ingenious plan for future visits: Mom will stay home and so will Aunt Tracie, because she might rat us out, too! Who loves you, boys??? Grandma does, and that’s the only rule around here!

 

 

 

 

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Regarding the millers in Miller

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s been the invasion of the moths this last month. All at once, I went to the back door and found it covered in moths, all of them trying to gain entry to the house. This is a yearly occurrence but the yield of moths varies. This year, we have a bumper crop.

For those of you who are unaware, when I refer to millers, it is moths I’m talking about, not some hapless family named Miller. As a child, that is what we called them, but the wider world knows these dusty-winged little annoyances as moths.

It doesn’t really matter what you call them, millers or moths, everyone can agree that they are about as annoying as it comes. They fly everywhere, cover window and door screens looking for ways to get in and when they are in, they blindly blunder into the most inconvenient places at the worse possible times.

I  have heard from different people this year that they are finding moths, in abundance, everywhere. They are behind curtains, flying out of bookshelves and even following campers as they try to relax and get away. It is impossible to escape them.

My grandsons called them “gray butterflies” when they were small, but these nasty winged monsters do not resemble butterflies in any way outside of their ability for flight.  They love the lights, thus the phrase, “moth drawn to a flame,” but they have even worse obsessions.

I went to the garage the other morning and found a swarming army of them crawling over the window in the garage, blocking out the light and resembling something straight out of the outer circle of hell. Okay, I don’t really know what the outer circle of hell looks like, but I’m almost certain that if I were unlucky enough to be there, there would be moths crawling all over the windows.

For at least a week every year, the advent of the moths causes us to turn our house into a killing field. We chase them around with flyswatters, slamming them ruthlessly against lamps, windows, chairs and tables. By the end of any given evening our floors are littered with little gray bodies and we are stomping around like Godzilla in the streets of Tokyo, looking for more victims to feed our blood lust.

The worst moment came this week, when the vicious devil-monsters connived me into attacking myself. I was sitting under a reading lamp when I suddenly got the shadow of a moth flying across the page. I immediately jumped up and grabbed my fly swatter, ready to shoot that thing down like the Bloody Red Baron. The dog crammed herself under the sofa as usual.

I began swatting at the moth violently when I felt it fly into my chest. I immediately grabbed the front of my shirt to pull it out and look for the moth. It took the opportunity to fly down the open front of my shirt. When Roy stepped into the room a few seconds later, he was treated to the spectacle of my running around, trying to tear off my shirt while slapping myself repeatedly in the chest with the flyswatter.

“Moth,” I said, by way of explanation because of his incredulous look.

“I understand,” he said, “it’s miller time around here.”

Keep your heads down and your swatters handy!IMG_1860

 

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Updating the Princess Diaries

If Roy and I ever decide to divorce (and believe me when I say he’s not getting off that easy), I will no doubt name his faithful dog, Josie, as co-respondent. The dog, known not so fondly by me as “the Princess,” is the object of more arguments between us than money or raising the children. All right, the children are grown, but money is an issue, and the dog and her antics outweighs it!

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The dog is notorious for her antics around the house and Roy is notorious for defending her. Thus, “the Princess” has spent her life getting in trouble with me and wiggling out of trouble with Roy. Of course, when hunting season comes in the fall, she proves why she is so popular and I lose those arguments: she can chase and retrieve pheasants and I would rather be at ground zero in a nuclear blast than even try such a thing!

Her most long-standing trick has been her ability to plant her grubby front paws on the counter in my kitchen and check out whatever has been left there. She has an agreement with herself–if it’s food, it’s obviously just missed her bowl and landed on the counter, so she should not bother anyone and should just eat from there. If we happen to have left the butter dish open, she licks it so clean, you’d never know it was used. That’s just her being polite and neat.

She also enjoys dish towels, hot pads and particularly damp dish cloths. I don’t have to leave any of those things very long. She has a regular scouting cycle throughout the house and even when she doesn’t, she still has a radar. She can be lying prone on the living room floor, oblivious to all around her and I will lay a dishtowel gently on the counter and a five-alarm bell will go off in her head. Before I can make it from the kitchen to the living room, she is magically back, dishtowel laying peacefully by her side.\

Roy has been very indulgent about these forays by her. So while I am wiping the dirty paw prints from my counters and counting up the losses from her latest raid, Roy is sitting with the dog innocently at his side, piously advising me to better protect the things in my kitchen…that have every right to be on the counter…and not be confiscated by a stupid dog! He pats the Princess on the head, chanting, “Poor little dog…”, the dog sits beside him looking as if she would never dream of jumping on a counter, and I have visions in my head of both of them falling through a trap door into a large hole in a tragic “accident.”

This week, however, the Princess may have overstepped her bounds. I baked some banana bread, something that is close to Roy’s heart. We each had a slice or two of the fresh banana bread and the dog sat and pretended she wasn’t looking at us. The bread was carefully put away.

The next day, I got out the cutting board, knife, and bread and cut a couple of more slices. I just knew I’d want more, so I left it out and told Roy that it was there. He went out within two minutes and called back, “What, did you put the bread away already?”

I knew before I went out what I would find. The scene in the picture above only tells half the story; the rest comes in the form of a guilty-looking dog, standing in the doorway with crumbs still on her snout.

Roy was distraught. “I didn’t get to eat hardly any of the bread. How could you have eaten all of it!”

I walked past the Princess and gave her a pat on the head, “Poor little dog.” The kitchen wars continue.

 

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My Mom-pants Mystery

IMG_1793It’s a well-documented fact that I am not much of a cleaner…I don’t clean, so much as I…oh, what is the word? Oh yes, I’m not a cleaner, I’m a collector….okay, I’m a hoarder. There, I admit it. My house is an explosion waiting to happen, loaded to the gills with half-finished craft projects, plastic bottles I don’t want to throw in the landfill and papers, magazines and books that I never will get completely read.

I’ve always known this about myself and I’ve been fine with it. But after this week, I have to wonder if there is some sort of “garbage gremlin” attempting to work evil within these walls. I’m not really all that upset about the idea, and that’s because other than this thought, the most exciting thing that has happened to me this week was that I opened a new container of Metamucil fiber powder!

It was the mom pants that really started this line of thought. I was cleaning the back bedroom in my house which kind of serves as a “catch-all.” Don’t know what to do with those canceled tickets to the concert? Toss them back there. No place to file those out of focus pictures of…someone’s birthday? Lay them on the desk. Can’t find a place to keep those plastic bottles and empty paper rolls that you just know you’ll find a use for? Plenty of floor space in the spare bedroom.

After a few weeks of this kind of treatment, the room begins to look pretty bad. At times, I forget there is even a bed in there at all.  So this week, I decided to clean (by that I mean shift messy piles around and make them neater piles). And always, when I clean, I come to each item and I can say, “Oh yes, I remember where this came from, I was going to sew the buttons back on this, so I could wear it again.” And I carefully place the maxi-skirt in the eleventh pile it has occupied in 30 years. But I always know where they came from and why they are there.

What I didn’t expect this week was the discovery of the strange grocery bag. Yes, I have plenty of grocery bags, but this one was from a store I’d never heard of. I cautiously looked inside, because occasionally when I don’t know the outside package, a mouse or other creature has been located inside.

All that greeted me was a box with “conversation starter” cards, you know, those suggestions for small talk like, “so, do you like the toilet paper over the roll or under the roll and do you believe this has a religious significance?” or perhaps, “did you do some type of drugs in the 60s, or did you get this confused unaided by chemicals?”

Those were not the largest mystery, however. I also found a pair of women’s jeans in the bag. Perfectly good jeans that did not in anyway resemble anything that I own. Keep in mind, I have an aversion to jeans…I would rather wear tight burlap sacks strapped across my legs and a little too short in the inseams. Add to that the fact that they were nowhere near my size….never mind what that is!

Of course, the obvious solution was that one of my daughters brought them on a visit and left them. I consulted immediately. The older of my lovely progeny immediately rejected them on the basis of size and name brand, but she did request that I send a picture, which, as you can see above, I did. On receipt of the picture, my lovely younger child dismissed the whole thing with, “What, you think I’d wear Mom pants?”

This brings us to the mystery. How DID these pants appear in my back bedroom? Pants that either don’t fit the people in my family or that are too…mature-appearing. What are mom pants, anyway? I repeat my previous statement–I must have a garbage gremlin who is depositing mysterious items in my private clutter. I am outraged. I want those mysterious mom-pants out of my house.

I’m keeping the conversation starters, though. And by the way, “if a tree falls alone in the forest, is it liable for damages?” Wait, that wasn’t quite right!

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