Monday, June 14, 2010

The Phantom of the Potty

We’ve had some fantastic thunderstorms around here lately, and there is nothing better than writing during a thunderstorm… unless of course you’re writing during a thunderstorm in Tinkerbell pjs with a mug of tea or hot chocolate on hand. Unfortunately it’s not thundering right now, I am not wearing Tinkerbell pjs and I am entirely too warm after working out to drink a hot beverage of any kind. But I still got some fun thoughts and memories during the lights show.

As I rested in bed listening to the sky roaring and trying to catch a few winks I remembered all my funny little kid habits that developed to combat my fear of the things in the dark. Having an overactive imagination can really suck, and I could psych myself out about just about anything, still can, actually. Every huff of the air conditioner was the breath of some great creature lurking at the foot of my bed. The creaks of my bed were quiet warnings to beware of draping hands over the side of the mattress, because goodness knew what could grab them. Needless to say that in the middle of the night, especially a stormy one where there were even more strange, scary and inexplicable noises, getting to the bathroom was a very arduous and daring task. I would hold it until I went cross-eyed in concentration. Then I would imagine getting up and going a few times, almost convincing myself that it was real and then snapping awake again. Of course that phantom relief was just too terrible in the face of the growing pressure, and I had to get out of bed and face my house’s demons. But I was a smart kid. I didn’t go unarmed. No, I didn’t go in my obvious attire of girly pjs, but instead disguised myself under my white blankie, pulling it up over my head and tucking two corners under my chin with one hand. The only problem was that this left my legs exposed. So in order to prevent anything from making a grab for my tasty legs I would break into a run halfway to the bathroom. That way I kept them off balance. Would I walk? Would I run? The monsters never knew. Most of the time I ended up running ,though. I am still alive and whole today – except for the chunk in my calf that the neighborhood demon-dog ripped out – so all my effort must have paid off.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Chug chug

To be honest, I didn’t really want to blog today. It’s like not wanting to get on the treadmill or eat the celery. I might not want to, but I eventually end up doing it anyway. Celery with peanut butter is so good, though…

Lately I’ve been having caffeine headaches (because I’m trying to wean myself off of the three LARGE glasses of diet Coke I had every day last semester) and I’ve probably spent more time sleeping than being awake. This is bad for a lot of reasons, one of the primary ones being that I don’t write a fifth as much as I should. That’s why I’m making myself write this. It might turn out a bit shoddy-looking, but at least I’ve moved my fingers over the keyboard and produced a half-coherent post.

I think somewhere deep in my gut I’ve given up on getting hired in a ‘real’ way this summer, so I’m focusing my efforts on putting out a flyer offering housework/tutoring and also putting together my creative writing classes again. I might do the essay class again, but we’ll see.

I’m sorry that this is a rather boring post, but right now my brain is on the ‘chugchug’ mode that sounds sorta like a dying lawnmower being rolled into the garage next to the fifty weedwhackers that have broken on my dad.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Writers and Sanitizer

We writers are very vain things. We ask for input and then get it from a very reliable source (like a teacher) and then huff and blow it off. “What do THEY know? It’s my story, right?” Sure, it’s your story, but if you want anyone else to read Your Story, or if you want Your Story to be a Good Story, then you have to listen to the wise and powerful editor, even if that editor is just your teacher. Take that back – ESPECIALLY if that editor is your teacher. Of course, you come back to it a year later, read the story, read the comments and go “Huh, yeah, guess they were right after all.” We could save so much time if we just listened in the first place. I guess everyone’s like that, though, so long as they believe they are ‘talented’. The family watched America’s Got Talent tonight and some of these people seriously need their friends and family to just be honest and say, “You’ll always be good in my eyes, honey, but for the love of all things good and holy, don’t EVER do that in public.”

I also went back today to get fingerprinted and I actually came at the right time. I felt like a cow. Once the guy behind the window saw my papers he asked for my hands, yanked them under the window and filled them with disinfectant. I’m not sure if that’s regulation or whether this guy is the next Monk. After I had properly lathered the stinky stuff all over my hands the guy opened the door and led me to a back room where he requested each hand before yanking it forward and pressing the correct fingers on the scanner. Then I got a mug shot – or something like it – taken. I am not a good picture person, people. Once I’d had a truly awful picture taken, however, the guy seemed to decide that he’d bossed me around enough, so he shoved a comment card in my hand and sent me on my way. I am sorry to say that I dressed more like a gypsy again than like Neo. Maybe next time.

I really don’t know why I bother with free weights. My niece is heavy enough, and I DARE you to resist when she comes up with her arms up and her bottom lip out.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Only my family – either biological or adoptive – could be as weird as this. After the memorial for my Granny (who has plenty of her own funny stories attached to her) we have headed out to the rolling hills of Maryland. Hills may not be what Maryland is best known for, but once you get away from the ocean you get into these beautiful, rough hills. Not much has changed here since I was a baby, besides a few additions to houses or strip malls here and there. The woods are still thick and wild, the roads are still convoluted and bumpy, and the folks still pronounce ‘water’ as ‘wooter’.

My father, on top of being the class clown, was also a preacher once upon a time. While this really doesn’t have any major impact on my regular life, it does mean that he gets called upon at times to do weddings, funerals and baby dedications. This time it was a baby dedication. We would have visited Maryland regardless, I’m sure, because we got our adoptive family up here addicted to Cincinnati chili ages ago. If we didn’t visit (with chili) when we were so close, the Maryland folks would’ve ground us up and used us instead of ground beef in the next batch.

Anyway, today, the baby dedication, was further proof that insanity is contagious. I’m not sure whether the people here infected my parents, of whether my parents infected them. Maybe it was a case of two infected parties meeting and realizing the craziness they held in common. Two kinds of crazy are better than one. I don’t know, but it’s awesome.

The baby’s name is Raven, not just because it’s a pretty name, but because her parents are dedicated Raven football fans. It’s even funnier because they’ve had at least one dark-haired child before, but this one is turning out to be strawberry blond. The best part is that her middle name is Grace, which is wonderfully fitting, because the Ravens frequently need a good deal of it.

Then some guy I didn’t even know came in and started playing the accordion. Of course, the first song he played was the theme from The Godfather.

Tomorrow we begin the arduous trek home. Right now my fervent prayer is that my parents find a CD besides Veggie Tales to play for my niece.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Baby Talk

Four days running! Unfortunately, I can’t promise that I’ll be able to post at all this weekend, because we’re travelling out of state for my Granny’s memorial service. I didn’t get to go to the actual funeral, so it’s important that I go this time.

On a lighter note, I love my niece. She talks with the Sims people when my sister-in-law plays on the Wii. Apparently Sims talk is just modeled after one-year-old jabbering (jabbering… nice word. Makes me think of ‘Jabberwocky’). She just stands there and holds conversations with them in baby talk. I swear, this kid is going to be super chatty when she gets big. She can be a celebrity when she gets big and host a talk show; she already has the attitude for it. All day she’ll just ignore you, then you sit down and she comes and jumps on your legs until you’re properly tenderized and wiggles in between you and the arm of the chair.

Take the celebrity thing back. She can be a karate master. This child knows how to find pressure points by pure instinct.

Well, maybe she can be a celebrity karate person, like the karate kid. She’s even the right age for a name like that. All she needs now is baby nunchucks!

Her new favorite game is running down the hall and trying to sneak into my room when her mommy isn’t looking. She actually just tried it again. So far no dice. She’s good, but the little grasshoppah has much to learn. It also helps that I’m bigger and faster. Really, though, she’s awfully quick, too. I never believed the “I just turned my back for a SECOND!” line… then I met my niece. I still don’t believe the line, actually. It only takes a fourth of a second. Give my niece a WHOLE second and the house will be leveled.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


So, my Irish adventures have begun, and I haven’t even gotten my visa yet. Today I went downtown with Mom to get fingerprinted as part of my visa application process and met with a bit more trouble than I’d been anticipating. Bumped into a couple laughs as well.

For starters, I’ve got to tell you how much people in uniform doing official functions scare me. My thought isn’t usually “They’re here to protect me” but more along the lines of “Whatever it is, I didn’t do it”. Just the sight of any federal building besides a post office makes me want to wet myself. But, anyway, Mom and I parked across the street, took the skywalk across the street and promptly realized that the only way into the building was by flashing your little pass thingy by a sensor and getting these freakily new age door thingies to grant you access to the deep, dark, secret interior of the building. So we backtracked. Jack Bauer belonged there, let me tell you. I was waiting for him to come tearing around a corner, gun drawn and yelling about a bomb in the building.

After going back the way we came and going down to the ground level AND crossing the street AND being asked by at least three different people what our business there was as we went through security, we FINALLY got in. Once we got past the starkly alarming marble entry way (which looked like something out of The Matrix) there was a very pretty and cliché mosaic of local animals and other wildlife, the sort you see at park welcome centers and whatnot. I’m not sure if it was designed to serve the nerves of children dragged there on ‘bring your child to work day’ or whether it actually has some secret room behind it that can only be accessed by pressing the raccoon’s eye in or something. Once we passed the adorable, cuddly animal display, we came into a long hallway with numbered doors and the décor of a hospital. No joke. I thought I must have had a heart attack and was walking beside my stretcher as it was wheeled along on the way to the ER. I got over that pretty fast, though.

The first laugh was when I realized that every single room was numbered, including the restrooms.

When we came to the room we were supposed to go to we found out that they had already closed. We glanced into the next room, which seemed to be either security or reception, hard to tell which in places like that, and a security man came out to give us a hand. He got his chuckles, too, because we “civilians” couldn’t read military time. We were actually about two hours late for our appointment, because apparently the use of A.M. and P.M. isn’t enough to distinguish between the hours of the day for these guys. I officially flunk reading military time.

My second laugh was that when the guy came out he was wolfing down the remainders of what appeared to be a chocolate doughnut. I’m willing to bet just about anything that there was a mug of coffee hidden somewhere back in that office.

But he was very helpful. He called the office we were supposed to go to and it turned out that while it was still closed, the man who ran it was actually there, so he came out to talk to us, too. The security man laughed it up with the fingerprinting dude (who had to show me his badge, which made me even more nervous) about silly “civilians” who couldn’t read military time. Fingerprinting dude was very nice, though, and rescheduled our appointment on the spot.

Now we get to go back and do it all over again at a later date.

Next time I’m gonna dress up like Neo.