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Let the Good Times Roll… or scare…or just eat candy

Good grief! Is it the 29th already?! Where the hell did October go?

OK, obviously I’ve been slacking. Let’s get back to business. Back when I asked for help for post ideas, Chag asked me for some favorite Halloween memories.

So many parties over the years. First I had them as a teen, as I had the parents that let me have parties (and all my friends were “good” kids – that kind of helps, when you know they’re just coming to hang out and not get drunk). Then later, other friends started throwing parties. I have a friend who (in his bachelor days) would transform his entire house into a haunted mansion, rave club. Every year it got a little more elaborate. You know those movies where there are impossible clubs with all gothic décor and twisting corridors of rave lights and gyrating bodies? Yeah, his Halloween parties ended up looking like that.

However, there are a couple of parties in particular that stand out. The first one was out on an airstrip. I had a buddy who was into skydiving. He invited me and Keen out for some festivities, but I was really wasn’t prepared for the scene we walked in on.  At first, everything seemed mellow… there was the airport building in the middle of fields with the airstrip next to it; groups of people standing around talking and drinking, some music playing. The costumes all seemed smartass and fun; like my buddy who was a nun with his mustache extra bristly. We chatted with a few folks and then walked around the corner of the building... where things were really going. We got there just in time for the fire-breathing to start. Now, understand, skydivers are a little crazy in general (they do jump out of planes) but I hadn’t really understood how much it extends to the rest of their lives. Watching these guys breathing flame, (which basically means you take a mouthful of alcohol and spit it as far as you can while holding a flame to it), and watching how… damn… close… some of them let that flame crawl back to their faces… yeah, these guys were nuts. A few of them got flames out six feet or more and wouldn’t cut off the flame until it was only a few inches from their mouth. After they ran out of fire-breathing fuel, the party moved onto liberal amounts of mooning each other, random maniacal laughter, and (I heard, we missed this part) some light-hearted titty-flashing, too.

My other favorite party was much more mundane. I was pregnant with Chance. Keen and I got the Oriental Trading Company catalog and were seduced by the splendors within! Spur of the moment we decided to throw a Halloween party for all the kids we knew: godkids, friends’ kids, family members. We made goodie bags, a menu of Halloween themed treats (severed finger wieners, spider cookies, etc.), and decorated up a storm. All the kids came over for trick or treating and partied down (as much as 1 to 7-year-olds can party). It was pandemonium and chaos and really, really fun. I was exhausted after two hours and could only sit (in my (pregnant) bee costume) and watch but I would do it again. There is nothing like watching kids have a blast, making their own memories.

Yes, I’m just getting more sappy every year.

I regret not having any cool spooky stories from childhood… breaking into a haunted house, spending the night in a graveyard, really spectacular tricks, etc. Though I do have this, our family ghost story, that the Phoenix posted a couple years ago. (Phoenix does a really excellent collection of scary stories every year, check them out.) 

When you’ve accidentally experienced the real spooky stuff, it’s hard to go looking for it.

- the weirdgirl


The Big Belly of a Dream

Besides being unexpectedly busy in the work arena – which of course means less reading, less writing, and less other things I love (as compared to “rely on” (stupid paycheck)) – there is another reason why I’ve been distracted lately. Keen and I have decided to start trying for kid number two.

[sound of trumpets]

Yes, I’m totally breaking mommy blog form and I’m gonna admit to the process up front. (And I probably won’t show a picture of the positive test if and when I do turn up preggo, because, ew, I just peed on that.) I have a hard enough time keeping my mouth shut about life in general, I certainly can’t keep it closed* until the end of the first trimester, much less the whole “trying” portion.  No worries, I won’t be giving you a play by play or anything (this is a family blog) but I just know the crap, subject-wise, is gonna come up.

“Trying” also always feels to me like getting a big envelope from Publishers Clearing House reading, “You May Already Be Pregnant!” I’ve been putting off the whole second baby thing because, frankly, pregnancy sucks. I just don’t like it. I passionately don’t like it. First we sort of planned “summer time”, then that moved to “fall” and then “later fall”. I’ve been feeling really creatively productive lately and, as selfish as this might sound, I just didn’t want to give that up for vomiting and feeling slightly disabled.  (My brain gets very muddled when I’m knocked up.)  However, I AM 36, with odd hormones, so I knew it was only a matter of time.

Not to get all romantic, but I always sort of pictured my equipment down there with the eggs as ticking time bombs, and the passing years as Jack Bauer torturing my uterus for information. (Of course, Jack and my uterus dated at one time before the tragically mistaken torturing. I don’t know how that man keeps hooking up.) Except it was sort of like the last season of 24 and not the first, i.e. I was too busy folding laundry and reading blogs to pay attention all that closely. So, even though I knew I should be getting busy, I still put baby #2 off.

Then – while I’m taking drum lessons, and writing, and crafting, and living my creative life – a funny thing happened… I didn’t have a sudden overwhelming biological urge to have a child.  I wasn’t contemplating Chance having a sibling.  I didn’t see all the pregnant women around me and suddenly miss the feel of a baby. (Because remember, no matter how much I love my kid, pregnancy still sucks.) No. I had a dream I was pregnant. One of those absolutely certain, wake-up-thinking-it’s-real dreams that I was pregnant right now.  And when I awoke and realized I wasn’t pregnant I didn’t feel disappointment or even relief. I just felt resigned.  And still very certain.  That’s why I took it as a sign that it was time to get off my butt (or on, depending) and start trying.

What? Not everyone has pregnancy premonitions?**

Wish us luck!          - the weirdgirl

*Except I’m not telling the in-laws nothing, ‘cause they’ll just nag me to death.

**You know what’s really weird? My mom and another mom from my playgroup also had dreams I was pregnant, all within two weeks. And, as unbelievable as it sounds, I hadn’t even been talking about it!


When Mutant Love Goes Commercial

 
OK, back to a little creative fun!  Inspired by Riley, because you know, somewhere, there’s a postcard with this guy in sunglasses.

 

Kids are running up and down the street with abandon.  The full moon is out and I’m enjoying a nice glass of the red while passing out candy.  There’s another knock at the door; I open it to find one strange little trick-or-treater…

“Trick or treat,” he said, in an unusually gruff voice for what I assumed was a toddler. He held up a Unicef box in a furry hand.

“Whoa! Um… what are you supposed to be, sweetheart?”

“I’m a platypus.”

“Oh my Go… I mean goodness, THAT is the most realistic costume I’ve ever seen! Where are your parents?” I craned my head to look down the sidewalk for the master costumers.

“No parents. I’m really a platypus.”

“You’re really a…” I started laughing.

“I’m not kidding. I’m really a platypus. Are you gonna give to Unicef or what?

“Whoo! I drank a little too much wine!” I said, still laughing, and reached for a handful of chocolate goodies.

The platypus sighed. “You know, I could sting you. We platypi have poisonous barbs.”  He made a half turned and slapped my leg with his tale. 

“OW!” I jumped. That sure didn’t feel like rubber.  “Hey… oh my… what…?” 

“Feeling flabbergasted? Yeah, I get that a lot.” 

“How…?”

“Well, we animals have always been able to talk; we’ve just kept it hidden. But recently the Grand Consortium of Animal Interests put it to a vote and we’ve decided to come out of the closet.”

“Are you serious?!”

“Yeah, right!  You think if all the animals – in the whole world, mind you – talked we could have kept this secret?  Nah, there’s just a few of us. Run-off from a semiconductor plant made a few changes around the pond.”

“Oh! Gotcha.  That seems to happen around here.”

“Yep. Soooo…,” he shook the Unicef box again.

“OK, here you go,” I retrieved a five-dollar bill from my purse and shoved it into the box. (I mean, if a platypus was collecting for Unicef in your neighborhood wouldn’t you give?)  “You have a good night, platy.”

The platypus grunted, “Thanks.” As he turned away I caught a very satisfied look on his face. Suspicion niggled at my alcohol-befuddled brain.

“WAIT a minute!” I called. The platypus froze and turned. “That really isn’t for Unicef, is it?!”

The platypus froze, sighed and turned back.  “OK, you got me. I’m sorry for trying to scam you… but you gotta understand how things are at the homestead since we’ve began talking!  It’s all going to a worthy cause, I promise!” He held up a conciliatory paw.

“Which is?”

“The wife, see, she’s gotten very material since the change. She suddenly wants all these things she was never interested in before!  She says that, ‘if we want to make it alongside humans then we’ve got to live up to their lifestyle.’ And what can I do?  I love her! I want to see her happy!”  

“Go on…”

“Well,” the platypus suddenly drops his head, looking ashamed, “She’s got her eye on this purse… It’s my own fault; I just can’t say ‘no’ to her.  She’s still as hawt as the day she first buried her eggs! Sleek fur, perky bill…” 

He looked ready to wax poetic. “So which purse?” I interrupted.

“What?"

“Which purse?”

“Oh, it’s um… a Coach.”

I snorted, and rolled my eyes. “You can keep the money.  I’m not a fan but at least it’s not Juicy.  You’re gonna have to hit a lot of houses buddy.” 

“Tell me about it.”   


Times Have Changed

KEEN:  "Ummm, babe?... someone just left a Halloween bag at our door?"

ME (the diviner of all activities on our doorstep): "What?"

KEEN (clearly suspicious):  "Yeah, someone just knocked on the door and ran away..."

ME (now with light bulb):  "OH!   We got BOOED!"  (Me and Chance tear open into bag.)

KEEN:  "What?"

ME:  "Booed.  It's this kind of neighborhood game thing that's popped up in the last couple of years for Halloween.  It's cute."

KEEN:  "Huh..."

ME (stopping to look at him):  "You totally saw the bag and thought it was going to burst into flaming poo, didn't you?"

KEEN:  *grunt*



Halloween and A Commitment Problem

I have been overwhelmed the last few days. Lots of work projects came rolling in the last two weeks, and I had already started a few personal projects (with deadlines) in what had been the slow period previous to that. Unfortunately, this has meant a slow down in my posts, especially the commenter-inspired ones. But I will be getting back to those soon because they are a whole lot of fun; they’ll probably just be sprinkled throughout the regular posts. (Though I am having a bit of trouble with the “real women of genius” one (sorry Fuzz); I think it’s because I have been so busy all I can think of in terms of “genius” and “women” would be the robot slaves that would clean the entire house for me, not just the floors. That would be sweet!)

Some of the personal projects have been Halloween oriented, such as making Chance’s costume… (He’s a robot.) 

Dsc02426_rotated

We had a Halloween function at a pumpkin patch this morning that I was trying to get his costume ready for in time.   

Dsc02443_rotated

Yes, that is Tupperware on his head. People actually asked me if the hat "came" with the costume when I ordered it.  Does anyone besides me remember when almost ALL costumes were cobbled together from stuff you found around the house? 

Dsc02434_rotated

And I‘ve been planning out decorations for Halloween night. I’ve got this big picture window now in the front of our house, plus half a porch. I’m thinking a scene in the sunroom with a skeleton (though not too scary) with a graveyard fronting that picture window on the front lawn. Then on the other side of the lawn, (fronting the porch), doing a pumpkin patch kind of scene with scarecrows and whatnot. This way it covers both Keen and my sensibilities… I like the spookier elements of Halloween and Keen likes more of the cute stuff. I’d go all out scary except I don’t want to traumatize my kid and I figure Chance will be plenty into the blood and gore aspect as he gets older – no need to push it now. We’ll top everything off with cheery string lights and a dry ice fog.

Yes, I am a Halloween nerd.

The Halloween decorations shouldn’t be all that high of a priority on my unending list of ToDos, except that they start pulling Halloween stuff off the shelves about this time of the month… to make way for all the Christmas decorations! Halfway through October and we’re coming out of ears in Christmas crap already!

Oh yeah, I also just started drum lessons this week. Because life is short, baby, and I’m a housewife! Or rather, I would be more of a housewife if all this work wasn’t coming in. (Damn you, people! Trying to pay me!)

It’s my own fault but I still feel overwhelmed. When slow periods go on too long I get bored and add on new projects. And then I feel too committed to drop them when it gets busy again. (SO type A!) AND I also sometimes put off the things I should be really working on (like writing) and then I put even more pressure on myself to get everything done.

Sometimes I feel like I’m constantly living three months ahead… without ever getting to the end result that I want to happen within three months.

I DO feel really excited about how Halloween is coming, though. Just a bit of fun amidst the bustle. (I’m dressing up. How about you?) 

– the weirdgirl

 


We Interrupt this Programming to Bitch

OK, I need to take a brief break from the commenter-inspired posts to vent a little,  'cause I got nowhere else to bitch about this crap and Keen is tired of listening to me.

They have now called for a voluntary recall of infant cold medicines.  Why?  Because people can't fucking follow directions.  Please don't get me wrong, I'm all for protecting our children.  There have been cases of medication misuse and overdose that have resulted in hospitalization and, tragically, even death.  However, it says right there on the box to not use without a pediatrician's guidance for children under two!

Here's how it works... you go to the doctor with your sick under-two infant, the doctor gives you prescription medication if needed, tells you to give your child lots of liquids, use a humidifier, AND explicit instructions for over-the-counter meds, with cautions to not overdose.  That doctor may even give you these handy charts with dosages by weight (mine did), which you keep for reference.  You weigh your child and then give them the appropriate dose.  If in doubt, give them the next lower dosage or even... just one dose a day!  I know!  It's all so fucking radical!

I've been pissed off in general because there is now ONE decongestant available over-the-counter (for everyone) and they keep threatening to pull that too.  I'm talking Sudafed (pseudoephedrine), the stuff meth-amphetamines are made with.  I have allergies, usually with bad head congestion, and as much as I like Claritin, it doesn't help worth beans when your head is already stuffed up with snot.  The medical community has admitted that cough suppressants don't work very well.  Antihistamines and expectorants work sometimes.  Decongestants are the only ones that work consistently.  All other decongestants besides Sudafed have been pulled off the market over the years. (Except for that Sudafed PE crap which does NOT work!)  To buy any product with Sudafed in it, I have to ask for it at the pharmacy counter (I'm surprised that don't wrap it in a paper bag before handing it over), then turn over my ID to be entered into a database to make sure I don't go over my monthly quota!  (Is that only in California or is it everywhere now?)  If everyone in our household is sick Keen and I have to keep track of who went to the pharmacy last so that neither of us tap out our limit.

I'm not one to say we should stuff our kids full of drugs the moment they get a sniffle, but yes, I'd like some over-the-counter meds available to relieve their symptoms when their suffering is at its worst.  And if any of you have ever had a sinus infection or a really bad head cold, you know sometimes you just need decongestant.

There is so much effort in our country towards protecting ourselves from being idiots.  How about this?  How about we work on teaching people to read and follow instructions?  Maybe use some common sense?  Don't give your child medication when they're not sick.  Don't give it to them only to help them sleep.  Don't just grab the dropper and start shoving medicine down your kid's throat without READING the box! 

If you have made the occasional slip-up (hopefully with yourself) and accidentally double-dosed (honest mistakes do happen) learn from your mistake...   next time write down the dosage and time you gave medicine to your child on a handy piece of paper.  (That's what I do.)

I don't know if I'm more annoyed at the idiots that make it hard for the rest of us or the industry that panders to our idiocy.

I'm going to be really pissed if I have to start reading those spam emails to buy meds from overseas.

      - the weirdgirl


The Internet Makes You Crazy – Case in Point

I’m still a little buried with work crap but it’s starting to slow down.  Here’s the next in the series of “inspirational” posts. Because I like things a little kooky... a story for you, inspired by KC.    

          - wg

 

My name’s Little, Rickon Little. I’m a detective.

I’ve been in the business a long time and this was a first… a case so foul it turned my stomach and put me off fried chicken forever.

I walked into the hotel room and surveyed the chaos. It was ugly. Uglier than a passle of hookers snorting coke in the harsh glare of day. You know the scene… they haven’t gone home yet to change and their bruises were showing. No one wants to see that.

Three men and two women were sprawled dead in various parts of the room. One was even bare-assed as he reached towards one of several laptops, the hand of another victim a foot behind him and clutching a pair of pants.  Buckets of KFC and bottles of Two Buck Chuck were scattered amidst the furniture like a drumstick-eating Tasmanian devil had gone berserk. I can tell you one thing… blood and eleven secret spices don’t mix.

Several police officers were busy getting sick in the bathroom.  I tapped the one remaining patrol man on the shoulder. He turned a white face towards me but otherwise appeared steady.

“You got IDs yet?”

“Almost sir, we know that all of the victims were in town for an academic convention and we’re cross referencing the attendee list now. One of the other guests knew the guy in this room but he couldn’t ID the other professors. Apparently, they all came up a few hours ago to do research. The chief is thinking this is a ritual killing, probably surprised them in the room and…” The officer’s voice cracked, “Whoever did this is one sick fuck! My god, we’ve got to catch this guy and put him away! Look at this place…!”

His tone started getting hysterical so I gave him a good slap. Plus, I just find slapping someone around helps me get the gears going when I’m working a case. Not that it was absolutely necessary now, but that hit felt sweeter than mangoes.

The police officer had just told me all I needed to know.

“There won’t be anybody to throw the book at, Officer. Or rather, the encyclopedia.”

“W-what?”

“I can tell you exactly what happened. There was no outside murderer. These scholars killed each other! See the grease-smeared skin, the wings completely devoid of meat to expose the musculature, the blue lips? I’d guess that at least two of these victims were forcibly choked to death by chicken bones.  The rest probably died from blood-loss. You know the breast-plate makes a good slashing weapon in a pinch.  Most likely an academic discussion of the chicken’s evolution got out of hand.”

“I don’t see…”

“Oh, don’t you? Well, let me paint you a picture. All the computers have browsers open to Wikipedia. And not just to random search pages… these people were entering in articles!  It’s well-known that academics are notoriously competitive. Usually it’s not an issue, secluded as they are in tiny college offices mustier than 3-day old NBA jockstraps.  But here at the convention, these scholars were finally face to face.  Oh, it probably started out friendly… birds of a feather sharing ideas, someone innocently suggests research over dinner… but it doesn’t take much for old jealousies to surface, disparate theories to create tension, arguments to erupt!  Add a little alcohol and the Internet and you’ve got a recipe for deep-fried disaster. Obviously, these people were disputing the merits of one of the Wikipedia articles. My guess is one of the scholars went to edit the encyclopedia and all hell broke loose.”

“Are you fucking nuts? Sir?”

“Collaboration has a dark side.  Darker and smellier than the hole eggs come out of.  These professors learned that tonight.”  I turned towards the door, feeling the satisfaction of a job well-done.  “Tell the chief, ‘your welcome’ and my report will be on his desk by morning… 

I’m going for burgers.”


Next in Line

Even though I had meant to do a fun, commenter-inspired post every day sequentially since I asked for your suggestions and I was all excited about my plan and what I was gonna write, plus I was gonna add some cool Halloween stuff (‘cause it is October), instead

I got hit with a couple of big projects for work – one of which kept me up until WAY too late in the middle of the night last night. So, big apologies all around, I’m going with another of the shorter segments tonight. (No worries, my brain should regroup by tomorrow.)

This is kid’s say the darnedest things, inspired by Andrea.

Well, actually, my son isn’t talking clearly enough yet for us to make out all the apparently hilarious/outrageous/interesting discourse he’s engaging in… but I do have this (translated exactly):

 

    thac you from leten us to cum to your houes


Is it a note from aliens? A foreign blackmailer? A future porn star?!

Nope. It’s a note from my goddaughter, age 6. And I’m almost certain she isn’t an alien.   

(Well, it made me laugh. It’s the English major in me.) - wg 


A New Medium

For all of you who gave me some words, themes, ideas to break me out of my blog funk… THANK YOU! Here is the first of the commenter-inspired posts. And BTW, they will not necessarily be written in the order they were suggested because… um, well, my brain doesn’t work that way. I must follow the muse! Even when the muse is me pestering you guys for ideas. (And except for those moments when I’m being all Type-A and stuff. Then the muse goes to the spa.)

I thought I’d start with an easy one and tell you about my worst diaper disaster, inspired by Charlie. It is also the best diaper story because it is not about my son, but about my youngest brother so I get to humiliate him on the web! Mwah ha ha! 

So here’s the back story… my youngest brother, aka “the kiddo”, is 13 years younger than me. (I have three brothers: 1 older, 2 younger. FYI.) I love my parents but they can be a tad self-absorbed, and when I was younger this seemed to especially happen in bouts. Shortly after the kiddo was born my parents went through one of these intense periods where they did a lot of “self-growth” activities and classes and so on. So I was left to babysit my brothers a lot. (Different era back then… there were latchkey kids, it was OK to leave your kids home alone, if you could dial a phone and knew your neighbors by name it was assumed a kid could get help if needed. Whatever.)

On one of these occasions after school my kid brother was taking a nap and I was hanging out with my bff Dawn downstairs. It was about time to check on the kiddo so we both started to walk upstairs. At least I think that was what we were doing; the events that followed blocked everything preceding “the discovery” from memory.  But this I do remember clearly… we were laughing over some adolescent joke as we walked down the hall, we reached the bottom of the staircase and this stench rolled towards us like a tank truck. My bff got a horrified look on her face as I yelled, “What’s that smell?!” and tore up the stairs like an Olympic sprinter. (I really could sprint up the stairs back then. Ah, youth! I miss you babe.) 

I burst into the kiddo’s room to see him, sitting there amidst the tousled linens with a splayed open diaper and… his masterpiece.  He had finger-painted almost the entire wall next to his crib with shit. He had crap smeared all over the crib, he had poop up and down his torso, he had shit in his hair.  The little bugger had obviously been awake for quite some time and, being curious about his new discovery, hadn’t made a peep. Even as I watched he turned away from my dramatic entrance, dipped his fingers back into that poop and continued to paint.  The look of concentration on his 1-year-old face was that of an artist.

My friend arrived behind me, took in the room at a glance, and said, “Ummm, I’ll give him a bath.” (And that, my friends, is a measure of why she was my bff! Anyone else would have bailed!)

She did get the easier end of the job though. There was significantly less shit all over my brother than was on me by the time I cleaned everything up. (I did a damn good job, too, if I do say so myself. You can tell… when the smell is gone, you did a good job.) My parents and my other two brothers all managed to arrive home way after the event unfolded. Punks.

Now my dear brother is 23 in all his gothy-gabber glory. And kiddo, if you’re reading this, remember… if anyone hassles you on the street of the city, wondering what went wrong… it was that early exposure to shit. And not all those stories about the Monkey Farm and the Target Alligator I told you. (I know you’ve been blaming me.)

Is it any wonder I waited until my 30s before I had a kid of my own? I SO KNEW what I was getting into!

  - the weirdgirl