Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mistaken Identity

I’m pretty sure they were framed.

I know these two. They can’t even spell “selfish”. Well, okay, one of them can, but with her five-year-old phonetics, it reads more like Sell Fish. She’s so cute. And so’s the little one.

I think it was just an overwhelming case of circumstantial evidence. I know how this works—I was a mother once. You hear a few raised voices in the other room and suddenly your blood pressure shoots up. Then before you can say, “Stop that fighting!” somebody’s in time-out and somebody else is, too.

Meanwhile, the perpetrators of the whole affair go scot free, floating away from the crime scene, their own reputations unbesmirched. It’s a crime, I tell ya. Everybody’s fooled by those happy-go-lucky types.

Everyone except me. I know their MO.  See, I’m kind of like a Grandma MacGyver. And believe you me, I’m qualified. After years of experience raising my own children, I’m both confused and suspicious.

So today my daughter handed over the innocent looking ringleaders of yesterday’s skirmish and told me to take them to my house. Like I could control them. Dreamer.

“The girls were fighting over them,” she alleged, implicating my precious granddaughters without even a cross examination. Well, actually there was an examination and the evidence made her cross. But I had a sneaky feeling the real suspects were the two who couldn’t make eye contact with me.

Reluctantly, I wrestled them out to the truck, tucked them in safely behind my seat, turned on the A/C so we’d all be comfy, and pulled out of the driveway. That’s when the trouble started.

Jostling and shoving, bumping into each other and getting in my face, I realized suddenly those two oddballs had pulled out of their restraints. And somehow, there they were, up in the front seat with me!  I pushed them back so I could safely see around them, but I was outnumbered. Bobbing and lurching, they blocked my view of the windows and mirrors and I nearly drove off the road before miraculously I grabbed them both and put them in their place.

“Aha!” I announced to . . . no one in particular. “So it was you two all along!”  Feeling pretty proud of cracking this case, I could hardly wait to tell my daughter. However, I restrained myself—I wasn’t born yesterday, ya know.

Finally at home, I put those two in timeout where they eventually calmed down. I just had to deflate their supersized egos a little. It wasn’t pretty, but I had no choice.

See, I’m soft and tough.

Hand me a couple of miscreant balloons and I can make ‘em regret they ever wished anybody a happy birthday.

Party animals.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Dancing in the Dark

"What are you laughing at?” I asked my son and daughter-in-law while we visited them and the grandbabies in Kentucky.  They passed me a video baby monitor of Tully, their two-year-old, who’d been in bed for an hour or two. The picture was pretty super-spy high tech since it was filming in the dark, but the image was unmistakable. Their pajama clad redhead was on her feet in the crib, dancing and swaying at her own private party.
“And a little child will lead them,” Isaiah said.
I had a hysterectomy three months ago today.  I was asleep when it happened and when I woke up, I was missing quite a few original body parts. It’s scary what can happen to you when you’re not paying attention.
The doctor told me it would take 6-8 weeks for my body to heal. I wasn’t allowed to lift anything heavier than my head off the pillow. My sister-in-law gave me permission to be treated like a princess for two months, which made my husband a bit of a bondservant. Oh.  That’s what it meant when he promised ‘for better or for worse.’
I feel really bad about that.
Every night for the first month I woke him up once or twice to help me get out of bed for pain meds, new ice packs and bathroom visitation.  It was like having a newborn in the house again, only bigger. And whinier. I needed help with everything.  Getting in and out of a chair. Getting in and out of my clothes. Getting in and out of the shower and the car.  Why he doesn’t have a sprained back, I’ll never know.  I guess all that carrying me through life for the last 37 years paid off.
Two weeks after my surgery I finally experienced what most of my friends have been talking about for ages—my very own hot flashes.  Private summers, power surges, no-spring-chicken fevers.  I.Had.No.Idea.  And I apologize to my friend for laughing that day she walked through my front door, straight into the kitchen, and stuck her head in my freezer.  Now I understand.
I found some meds that relieved those personal visits to the tropics, but not everything is hunky dory in EulaLand.  Turns out it was eight weeks for the surgery to heal. It’s taking a bit longer for my soul and body to adjust to the new normal.
I feel like a two-year-old again. Every day I need a nap.  But I don't want a nap.  I want to do what I want to do. Most days I don't have a choice about it, though. I need a nap, cuz I can actually stay awake until ten or ten thirty at night if I take a nap.  And if I don’t take a nap? Been around any toddlers when they reach their melting point?

This is so humiliating. 
So there I lay this afternoon, listening to Zen music on the TV, counting elderly sheep who can’t jump a fence, trying to relax and turn off my brain, and after forty-five minutes—nothing.  I knew I needed some sleep but just telling somebody to go to sleep works about as well as telling Congress to balance a budget—no comprendo.

I finally decided laying there for a while was better than nothing and got up. Every day I am better. I wish I was back to normal right now, but I have so much to be thankful for that feeling fatigued for a few months instead of worried about cancer seems like a small price to pay. So while I keep recovering and finding my own unique way back to me, as bewildering as it is sometimes, I'll at least be good and take my naps. And I'll try to keep in mind what my granddaughter does when she can’t make sense out of down time, either.

I’ll dance in the dark. 
Poor Rob. I hope he doesn’t mind another redheaded pajama party.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


I don’t know what came over me. I could blame it on my red hair, but now my natural color is gray—no blonde roots here.  Maybe Target's to blame for expecting all of us to stand patiently, three carts deep, in two open checkout lines. I’d be happy to blame it on the guy in front of me who made sure he got into the shorter line before I did, but he must have already had a rough day.
Poor baby.
He had three items in his hand. I had about twenty in my cart. Impatiently he kept his options open, standing back from the woman in front of him just far enough so he could sprint to the next checkout counter if the Target gods deemed to open one.

They did. I was invited first. Boy was he ticked off.
But I didn’t know he was upset until all my purchases were bagged and in the cart. I saw him and the barbed wire tattoo he flaunted on his arm, leaning against the wall, with his stuff all paid for as I began to walk away.  "Good for him, that guy got done already," I thought. Then I heard him behind me as I headed for the door.
“Yeah, it happened to me again,” he said to the invisible comforter on his cell phone.  “They opened up a line next to me and some lady behind me jumped into it before I could get there.”
Hmm, I thought, there was a guy in front of me with a tattoo on his arm who seemed really impatient, and I am a lady who was behind him when a clerk motioned me over to the next line—I’ll bet I’m the lady!
All my red hair turned redder.
“People are so selfish these days,” he continued loudly on a call I now realized was directed at me and probably not even connected. “People used to offer their place in line to someone with only three items, but not this lady. I don’t know what this world is coming to,” he complained closely in my ear. 
I stopped and let him pass.
“Really?” I spoke to his back.  “The man motioned me over.  You’re ridiculous.”
All the way out the door, his voice growing louder and louder while he courageously put me in my place on his cell phone, he assaulted my reputation and demeaned my existence.  He probably wasn’t too impressed with the dog food in my cart, either. Finally he “hung up” as we both cleared the automatic doors and I commented on his comments. Loudly. In his direction.
See? Red hair is a curse.
“The world used to be full of gentlemen, too,” I said in the wind which was blowing northwest toward his self-righteous back. Then I headed for my truck. The big giant one with the personalized plates that psychos might be able to somehow look up so they can begin stalking your house. 
“What did you say to me?”  he shouted across the parking lot.  “You only think of yourself, don’t you?” he shouted again, heading now towards me. I missed the rest of his genius monologue because of that northwest breeze that blew his words back at him. But I still began to pray in tongues that God would surround my truck with images of gorillas. I heard stalkers are afraid of gorillas.
Something stopped him as I began loading bags into my truck, and he cut short his attack. I never spoke to him again or looked his direction. But after I pulled out of the parking lot and came to a stop at the next light, I saw a small black car behind me whose driver had the attitude of someone who’d had to stay put in a checkout line.
We both pulled through the light and then he quickly pulled in front of me, slammed on his brakes, and as I moved into the left lane, he swung widely in front of me, stopping abruptly again before turning right and roaring off to nurse his wounds.
Boy. He sure showed me.

If I'd known how hurt the little guy would be by letting a woman go first, I'd have probably done the same thing again.  Even bullies could use some manners. The world is in dire need of a few more gentlemen. And if there really was someone on the other end of that cell phone, I pity them.  There's obviously only one adult in that marriage.

Fine.  I guess red really is my natural hair color.

Red hair courtesy of Michael W. May's photostream at