Monday, July 28, 2014

What My Husband and I Fight About the Most...and other cautionary tales

James and I had the fight again last night. It's a bimonthly ritual where he uses his firmest voice to tell me to keep the @&)"&)&'ing animals off the bed while he's trying to sleep. And I react by sobbing and asking why he bothered to marry me if he never loved me in the first place.

And then he mutters something under his breath, which is my cue to give an Oscar winning performance of hustling the dogs and cats off to sub-zero Siberia (or our very comfortable back deck.)

James and I have a lot in common. We're both right handed and born in North America during the 20th Century to Homo Sapien parents. Oh, and we both speak English and require food, water and shelter to survive. We're practically twins

In spite of our many similarities, we were raised by parents who held radically differing views where pets were concerned. 

I thought everybody grew up in families where animals were treated like royalty. Families that showed up at the Sears Portait Studio with two Springer Spaniels, four coon hounds and a narcissistic house cat...(if he was cooperative. If he wasn't, we'd have to reschedule the whole thing.) 

During many a supper time, my mom would scold me for reaching for a second drumstick. "Angela, you know that one is Scamp's!"
This is our only existing family photo that doesn't feature at least one animal.
That's probably why we all look so miserable. 
It should've been a red flag on our first date when James told me his childhood pet was a goldfish...that lived outside because animals weren't allowed in the house. I should've realized he wasn't a man who would appreciate getting kicked in the face at 2 a.m. by a gassy, 70 pound retriever having a nightmare. 

And so, after nearly 15 years of marriage, my lack of discipline where animals are concerned has caused more fights than anything else. 
             Anakin forgets to ask first if he can have a bite of broccoli.                 
Its not big issues like finances and religion, but the subtle, trivial pet peeves, like dog fur on the furniture, that cause husbands and wives to regularly fantasize about killing and dismembering each other. 

To help people avoid their own relationship pitfalls, I've created a list of vital discussion questions derived from domestic violence incidents minor challenges that James and I have faced over the years. 

If you're engaged or dating someone, then please go over this list with them. It might be the most important thing you ever do. 

1) How many of your exes do you refer to as "psycho?"

2) When riding in the car, do you insist that the windows be rolled up if the AC is on? 

3) If I notice that you have a stray eyebrow hair the length and texture of a piano wire, would you get mad if I try to pluck it? Even if you're asleep?

4) What are your core values regarding the use of bleach when doing laundry? 

5) How often do you help yourself to few bucks when passing the church collection plate?   

6) Is the phrase "does this make me look fat" a sincere question or an IQ test?

7) If you were to enjoy a bowl of ice cream in bed, would I find the bowl the next morning in the dishwasher? Or six years later when we replace our mattress and box springs? 

8) How would you feel about living in a super nice house that you got a great deal on....because a double homicide was committed there? 

9) How often do you miss the toilet? 

10) How do you feel about drinking directly from the milk carton? 

11) When a stranger asks you driving directions, do you leave out a turn or two just for fun? 

12) What's your philosophy on spit cups in the bedroom?

13) At what point are leftovers too old to serve your parents for Sunday dinner?

14) Which Star Wars character do you relate to most and why?

15) Have you or would you ever wear an Under Armour compression shirt with cargo pants? 

16) On sandwiches, do you prefer mayonnaise or Miracle Whip?

17) How do you feel about the show Family Guy?

That's all for now. As I think of more questions, I'll be sure to add them. In the meantime, go pick a fight with your significant other about something new and different. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

And Then a Light Came On. Wait, no it didn't.

It's kind of funny about moving into a new house, figuring out all the property's crazy little nuances, those things that you won't learn about on Zillow or

In our house in California, the washer was located in the pantry, while the dryer was in the garage, off the master bedroom, two zip codes away. I could only assume that the builder was really fond of obstacle courses...or wore dry clean only fabrics. 

Slogging burdensome hampers of wet jeans and towels across a thousand whole square feet and then down a set of shaky, uneven steps would inevitably lead to a string of curse words, followed by a pity party and a box of wine. While others drank because of job related stress or marital problems, my alcohol intake was strictly laundry based.

The washer in the pantry had its own challenges. Once when an open box of rigatoni toppled into the drum, I was tempted to flip the knob to "hot" and start a wash cycle just to be able to say I'd cooked dinner in the washing machine... But then I dropped the idea because choosing between "normal" and "permanent press" proved too big a decision. That's a missed opportunity I'll always regret.

The washer and dryer are conveniently right next to each other in our new house, which makes me feel kind of lazy, like we all felt our first time using a TV remote. 

This house also features at least 18 light switches which apparently control nothing. Every house has maybe one that's just there for idle flipping enjoyment, but I'm baffled by all these impotent switches. What could they possibly go to? 

 This one even has a dimmer, which would be great if there was a light in the ceiling to dim. 

Several nights lately I've made Andrew and Jack stand outside staring at the neighbors' houses while I marched from room to room, flipping switches, hoping to see the Weiners' kitchen light flicker on or the Footes'* brightly lit living room suddenly fall into darkness. But no luck. 

Maybe our switches are wired to a house three blocks away...or to the bathroom of the Gap Outlet in Davenport, Iowa. Or maybe I'll hire an electrician to solve the mystery. 

Yes, we now live between the Footes (or Feete) and the Weiners. You don't know how close I came to having the name "Long" printed on our mailbox post. 

One of my favorite bits from comedian Steven Wright was when he talked about moving into a new apartment with a light switch that didn't control anything. When he was bored, he'd flip it up and down repeatedly for novelty. 

SW: "Two weeks later, I got a letter from a woman in Germany, saying 'cut it out.'"

Monday, July 21, 2014

I'm SO Wrightsville, I can top your "I'm So Wrightsville."

I'm loving reading the "I'm so Wrightsville" posts. And while I really should be doing something productive, I'd rather be all nostalgic and post some of my own memories. Here are a few.

I'm SO Wrightsville....
 (Who can tell me where this floor is?)

1) I remember when J.B. Stoner and the KKK clashed against civil rights marchers on the courthouse square in 1980. Parents started pulling kids out of school early that day. I'm not sure if it was out of fear or to get better seats for the action. 

2) I got my ears pierced at Troup Drugs downtown, when it was on the corner of highways 15 and 319 and had the big orange and blue Rexall sign hanging above it. 

3) We ate Sunday lunch at Mrs. Marjorie Tanner's restaurant...every location.

4) I remember our classes sitting in the creaky old wooden, bolted down auditorium seats at the primary school, watching grainy black and white film strips on fire safety and personal hygiene.

5) I remember when the hardware store next to EMC was the Piggly Wiggly. 

6) Someone help me out with this one. I remember my granny and daddy taking me to lunch at a really narrow little buffet restaurant next to or near Sumner Pharmacy when I was about 5. What was that place called? Did I really happen or did I dream this? 

7) I remember trying not to inhale in Outlaw's Grocery.

8) and hearing the lumber yard's 12 o'clock whistle everyday.

9) I remember Miss Mary Ann's "House on the Corner."

10) My first (and only) dance teachers were Miss Lynn and Miss Beth.

11) And I took piano lessons from Miss Jackie Clements. 

12) I remember when the courthouse was pink.

13) and when the Frost House stood where the EMC/Source building is today.

14) when everyone I knew had gotten stitches at least once from Dr. Dodd,

15) and haircuts from Jerry Hood. 

16) Lots of you remember D Bush and Skin, but do you remember Squirrel, the painter? 

17) I remember the two long, skinny, red and white Allied signs that hung in front of the store. 

18) and smelling like grease after spending only five minutes at the Gas-n-Go. 

19) I remember getting free Cokes and chips from Charles at the Country Club because the snack machines always took my money. 

20) and Mr. Roush, the band teacher, who I always swore was one of Hitler's Gestapo men in a past life. 

21) I remember the super impressive graffiti painted all over Johnson's Bridge. Or was it Pullen's Bridge? Oh crap, I can't remember. You know the one on the dirt road between hwy 57 and hwy 15.

22) getting dizzy from staring too long at the psychidellic flowers painted on the halls of the primary school. 

23) sitting at the power lines with Trey East, taking my first ever shot of Jaegermeister, thinking it was pretty good and then downing a few more gulps like it was Koolaid. Later, I sort of remember throwing up. A lot. 

24) Sitting in Dr. Fason's waiting room, staring at the fake stone carpeting, scarred to death of the four fillings I was about to get.

25) and finally, I'll never forget being four years old, hiding in the circular clothes racks, waiting to jump out and scare shoppers at Hall Brothers Department Store.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Richmond Flying Squirrels=Great People Watching...and I think there's some kind of game going on too.

James, the boys, my stepdaughter, Sophia and I are at a Richmond Flying Squirrels game. I must've forgotten to take my Adderall because I keep forgetting there's a game going on and that others are actually interested in watching it. 

I like the fact that they painted the cheap seats gold and treat you special when you ask where the gold section is. Finally a place that rewards frugality. 
This is a 30-foot inflatable of Nutzy, the mascot. It reminds me of the huge blow up animals you see on the roofs of some car dealerships. Does that really attract buyers, giving them a sense of confidence and trust in the dealer? 

"Yes, Honey, a 10-year warranty and lifetime oil changes does sound great. And, yes, I did see that Hometown Ford and Fiat was awarded Business of the Year once again. But we agreed that the next car we bought would be from a dealership that has a huge blowup gorilla on the roof. It seems like you'd remember something that important!"
Nutzy is signing autographs a few rows below us. He looks like a villainous "bad guy" cartoon character. One that would hide lit sticks of dynamite in the other mascots' lockers. Look at that con artist smile. I bet he takes pride in scaring more little kids than any other minor league mascot. Keep your wallets close, people. 

So then I got bored and started taking selfies. I think I need Botox. 
Those guys behind me are Phil and Rusty. This is their first outing together since Rusty was paroled. He served five years in an upstate facility for arson. I could be watching the game, but it's more fun making up stories about Phil and Rusty. Maybe I'll turn it into a book series some day. 
I'm glad this sign says "Fire Exits" in big letters. Otherwise, it looks like an Egyptian guy is being chased out of his house by a giant, murderous feather. I wonder if the warning signs for giant, murderous feathers look like the person is being chased by fire. Sometimes it's hard to know what you're supposed to be afraid of.

This is my thumb and the damage I've caused by biting it. I'm one of those compulsive people who bites and picks at things. I should probably take some medication that would reduce those picking and biting urges. But with my luck, the medication would have three dozen side effects including chronic diarrhea and uncontrollable rage. Why does my thumb look jaundiced in this photo? I should have that seen about. 

And now, Andrew won't share his Dippin' Dots with me. I wonder who invented Dippin' Dots. And why? Were people getting bored with ice cream's predictable smoothness and starting to crave the sensation of biting into a frozen beanbag? What'll happen when people become bored with Dippin' Dots? Then will someone invent Dippin' Darts? Dippin' Shards-O-Glass? 

It's now the bottom of the tenth. They must be tied up or something. Every time I tell myself I'm really going to focus on the game, some unrelated distraction highjacks my attention. 

An inning ago, I was trying my hardest to pay attention. There were two outs and the bases were loaded. That's when I noticed Sophia's fuschia toenails, which made me think of my senior prom dress and getting the shoes dyed to match at Colleen's bridal store. And wasn't that the place that burned down a few years ago? And do high school girls still dye their shoes to match their prom dresses?

 I guess I was still staring at Sophia's big toe when someone (I'm assuming it was a player) hit a grand slam and then everyone started screaming and jumping up and down. This is the story of my life with ADD. 

"Hey, Angela! That was an amazing catch Andrew made."

ME: "When? 

"Just then!" 

ME: "oh THAT catch."

"You did see it, didn't you?"

ME: "I'm picturing it right now."

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Day Number Whatever: Gum Chewing, Greek Yogurt and the Witness Protection Program

I've stopped counting days since our move to Richmond (or Midlothian, which, mind you, is an area, not a town).* We're still "random strangers trying to meet people" as Jack said yesterday. But things are getting better. Here are some of the reasons. 

1) I think we may have found a church. Parkway Baptist was good. My only complaint was that the worship leader guy was wearing really dark denim jeans and white rubber flip flops, making him look as if his Sunday morning pedicure had run a little overtime and his toenails weren't dry yet. 

I had trouble focusing on the sermon because I was preoccupied with a woman across from us who was orally assaulting a pack-and-a-half of Hubba Bubba bubble gum. Otherwise, we loved the place.

Have you ever noticed how some people chew gum with their whole faces? Like, even their eyes seem to open and shut as their jaws move up and down like a steel car crusher. Makes my mouth hurt just watching them. 

I used to work with a hospice nurse who was the most violent gum chewer I've ever known. If there was a Tommy John surgery for gum chewers, I'm sure she'd have needed it by now. 

Her name was Nicole. I guess it still is, unless she's in the Witness Protection Program or something. (Suddenly I'm too lazy to change names.)

Speaking of the Witness Protection Program (now that's a conversation segue you almost never hear), since we're still painfully new to the area, I thought it would be fun to have t-shirts screen printed that said Witness Protection Program. We'd wear them to the pool, to walk the dogs and to school registration. If anyone asked, we'd tell them we couldn't discuss it. 

(I've lost my train of thought. Where was this post going? Oh well.)

I don't understand why people are so in love with Greek yogurt. It tastes like sour cream mixed with caulk.  I guess you're supposed to mix it with other, tastier stuff. But I think there are too many food items that taste bad until you mix something with them. Why not just eat the mix in? 

Just think of rice cakes. Whoever invented them had to be laughing at the gullibility of people willing to eat styrofoam packing material. 

(Fictional conversation)

"It tastes like styrofoam!"

"Yeah, that's why you put yogurt on top."

"Greek yogurt?"

"Yes, but only if it has strawberry jam mixed in."

"Why not just eat the jam?"

I mean, heck, why don't we start spreading jam on all these cardboard moving boxes lying around? I could cut our food bill in half. Forget couponing.

(Oh, right. I was naming things that make us feel less like strangers.)

2) I haven't gotten lost going to the grocery store in like two whole days. That's good, I think. 

Oh crap. Is that the garbage truck? I thought it came on Thursdays! Feeling new again. Gotta go make the curb run of shame.

* I finally figured out why Virginia does the weird thing with cities that aren't inside counties and counties that have areas that you'd think are towns, but they're not. According to James, it's vastly more efficient. No paying double taxes for city and county. And duplication of services like police and garbage are reduced. Now I wonder why every state doesn't do that and I'm a little resentful of paying Dublin city taxes and Laurens County taxes.

  That's Andrew at our neighborhood pool

We were going to visit Swift Creek Baptist Church, but it looks like a huge garlic or a meringue cookie, which wasn't on our list of things we needed in a church. 

ANDREW: "maybe they had termites really bad and it's one of those tarp things they use to kill them."

This was in the Target parking lot. Seriously? I hope it belongs to the Hanson kids' mom. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Weights Got a Wabbit (an orphaned, wild cottontail)

(This post is dedicated to Delaney Richter and all the other tender-hearted animal lovers out there who take the time to do the right thing.)

This is George, our newest pet....I guess. I don't ever recall thinking "gosh, I sure would like to adopt a bunny. An orphaned wild cottontail that can't eat or use the bathroom on its own would be ideal." Nope, that never occurred to me. 

Yet, here I sit, pinned to the couch by three ounces of adorable helplessness that I dare not disturb by trying to move. 

It's the same story you've heard a million times. 

Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love with girl. Boy loses girl. 

Wait. Not that story. Let's try again. 

Gal is disgusted with herself for wasting too much time on Candy Crush. So she decides to take a walk. Her mom's severely overweight yellow lab tags along behind her, loping like an obese, blond rhinoceros. Several times, the gal has to wait for lagging, unintelligent rhino to catch up. Otherwise it will get hit by a car, thus totaling the vehicle. About a thousand feet into the walk, rhino appears from tall grass, carrying bite-sized furry morsel in her mouth. Gal examines morsel, discovering long ears, cotton tail and eyes that haven't opened yet. Gal wishes she'd never gotten off Candy Crush, that she'd left rhino in the house, that she could un-see furry morsel and go about her merry way, oblivious to stranded, helpless woodland creature. 
                obese, blond rhino
(See, haven't you heard this same scenario a million times? Maybe the characters are different and the bunny is a wombat or a mongoose. But the ending is always the same: a deceased animal, a thousand dollar vet bill and two broken hearted children who silently vow to never love a rabbit again.)

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. "She took the rabbit away from its mom, interfered with nature. Blah, blah, blah." 

I looked for a nest of siblings. I DID! In fact, after reading a dozen articles on the matter, I took him back to the close vicinity and left him overnight. The next morning, George (named in honor of Looney Toons' abominable snowman's "own little bunny rabbit.") was still lying where I left him, with no signs of a mom or an aunt or even a third cousin. 

Everything I've read gives little George a less than ten percent chance of survival. Apparently orphaned bunnies are super fragile and much harder to keep alive than orphaned kittens, raccoons, squirrels and chupacabras. 

But, I guess no one shared those odds with George. It's now day three and he appears to be thriving, hopping around next to me as I type. I've been feeding him kitten formula with an eye dropper and stroking him with a warm cloth to simulate his mom bathing him. He wants to be held ALL THE TIME. So I oblige. 

In a few days, we'll return to Virginia. My dogs and cats will excitedly welcome us home, asking "what'd you bring us?" 

What will I do with George then? Do you have any suggestions? I'd love to hear them. 
              I think he likes baseball.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

June's Funny Friday-I took some liberties here.

Okay, so on the last Friday of every month, a few other bloggers and I do this thing called Funny Friday. It's where one of us submits a photo and we all come up with five humorous captions or thoughts related to the pic. 

I'm especially loving this one from Black Sheep Mom. You'll see a link to her blog and others below. Be sure to check out as many as you can. They're some super funny gals. 

And now, onto the captions. 

1. Okay, I've got a good one.......So, Satan and the Statue of Liberty walk into a bar....

2.  "What do you mean the Ellis Island ferry isn't running? Oh, I am so screwed."

3. "I'm sorry, Satan, but I'm not at liberty to discuss this with you."

4. "No one knows the struggles I face raising a teenager on my own. I've had to get a part-time job as a cemetery monument just to make ends meet."
......on TLC's newest reality series Statue of Liberty/Single Mom

5.(the Statue of Liberty trains her vacation temp.)  "It's super easy. All you have to do is stand there and hold this torch in the air. And look welcoming....but not too welcoming. (I keep getting in trouble with Congress for that.)

I can't wait to see what everyone else has come up with. 

(After several frustrating, profanity-ridden minutes) 

Okay, I'm doing this post from my phone because we're staying at my mom's house and she doesn't have Wifi or running water or indoor plumbing. But I'm most upset about the Wifi. It seems that my Blogger phone app doesn't offer a way to insert links into a post. This means that I can't hyperlink the other bloggers' sites. Great! Now, they're all gonna be super mad at me and not invite me to their slumber parties or to go skating on Friday night. 

All kidding aside, I'm not happy about this. So, readers, if you don't mind, please visit their blogs. The addresses (that you'll have to type in (and click your heels together three times) are below. 

Baking in a Tornado

Someone Else's Genius

The Momisodes

Confessions of a Part-time Working Mom

Stacy Sews and Schools

Cluttered Genius

Black Sheep Mom

On the Alberta Montana Border