Archive for September, 2004

Sep 30 2004

Stupid kid games.

Published by under Life and Living It

For some reason when I was out enjoying a tasty cigarette, I got to thinking about the stupid games that I used to play when I was a little girl. I mean, I played the normal little girl games, which could be divided into several easily recognized sub-categories:

  • Four square or a variation thereof, called “let’s smack a ball around while we discuss boys” (only playable from sixth grade and up)
  • Let’s Pretend: divided into several sub-sub-categories: Spies, Princess, Rock Star, Running From Criminals. Also, Let’s Pretend We’re The Cartoon Characters We Like (Jem, Thundercats, She-Ra)
  • Dress Up: Requires that big sister not be home so her closet is accessible.
  • Barbie
  • Clapping Games: “Miss Mary Mack” and the ever-famous and slightly dirty lyrics having “Miss Mary Had a Tugboat”

but I also played several games of my own creation that, when I look back on them, make me very frightened of the child I was. For instance, one of my uncles runs the family business, which happens to be a pharmacy. “The Drug Store” as it’s known for short, also sold those bags of horrible candy you could buy two for $1. My cousin (the pharmacist’s daughter) and I used to go buy two bags of the candy each, then spend HOURS creating a clue-hunt for each other. Clue-Hunt was very easy to play: You write up a whole buncha clues. You hide all but one of them. You give that one to the other player. She follows the clue to a spot, where she will find another clue. That clue leads her to another clue. Eventually, the last clue leads her to her share of the candy. It sounds fun except if you look at it from the adult perspective: we were making ourselves work for the candy we had just bought.

Another odd little game I played (which I suppose falls under the Let’s Pretend category) involved the critters that surrounded me from the time I was born until my parents got divorced when I was nine: goats. Yes, my dad liked to have goats around, so we always did. At one point I think we had about 30 of them. And we fed them in big galvanized wash-tubs. I liked to feed the goats, because I could use a broomhandle to stir their food in the washtub and pretend I was a witch stirring a cauldron. This was fun until the day one of the goats rammed me in the face with his horns because he wanted to eat his food without being smacked by a broomstick every so often. I guess it wouldn’t have been so traumatic, if the ramming hadn’t resulted in a gash in my nose that required bandaging, making me look “ugly”, and if I hadn’t been trampled by a calf the month before. I was starting to feel like our animals were out to get me.

One thing I remember doing more than once wasn’t a game so much as a test of endurance. My father built our house from his own design to utilize solar energy. Thus, the whole front of the house was a greenhouse with HUGE windows. In one corner of the greenhouse, we had a Jacuzzi. Another cousin (Shawnsie) and I used to test ourselves: how long can we stay in the hot tub without liquifying our own innards or pruning up so much that we disappear? Our record: 7 hours. Seven. Hours. In a hot tub. I can barely sit in a hot tub for a half-hour now without feeling like my head is going to explode from built-up body heat. Another hot tub game: I used to pretend the fizzies that appeared on the surface of the water when the jets were on were water sprites who only I could see. I think the word you’re looking for is DORK.

Come to think of it, there were a ton of things that I did as a kid that made me dorky, and I know I wasn’t alone. I mean, literally, most of the time I wasn’t alone. Either SpecialOp B was with me, as she often was, and we were chasing the goats, or hiding out in the woods, or trying to drive our four-wheelers up a tree, or burying a “time capsule” in a canvas bag (we didn’t really know canvas rotted so when we dug it up a few months later (we were impatient) we just found our little trinkets in the ground). Or I was with Shawnsie, and we were sneaking out of the house late at night – not to DO anything per se, just to be out of the house very late and feel important. The last time we did that we got caught and weren’t allowed to talk to each other for months.

The best thing that I ever accomplished as a child was building a fort with SpecialOp B. “Oh, yes,” I hear you sniffing. “I also built a fort as a child. Ho-hum.” But did YOUR fort have windows? Was it built along solid construction guidelines, using studs, exterior weatherproof siding (left over from a home improvement project), interior paneling, and a SHINGLED ROOF? I think not. We used everything we learned from watching our dads and built ourselves a weather-tight fort, padlocked with working windows. We RULED. We still rule. I would love to go build a fort right now, but I’d need to be equipped with bent nails and a hammer I filched from my dad’s toolbox. Since my dad lives in Florida and The Man believes in buying brand new nails instead of straightening the bent ones, I am out of luck. I guess if I want to feel like a kid again I’ll have to wait until our next bon fire – I can poke the coals and pretend that the sparks are teeny djinn who I created through magic and who are my faithful servants. Fun!

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Sep 29 2004

Out, damned alien!

Published by under Current Events,Rants

Over the past two days, I’ve read two news stories which have alternately made me shake my head and get all mad and upset.  They both deal with illegal immigrants, and they’re both about how the illegal immigrants are being kept down by the US.

The first article deals with the removal of DUI checkpoints in Oakland.  Because the Hispanic community said too many illegal immigrants were being caught by the checkpoint:

D-U-I checkpoints allow police officers to demand drivers’ licenses and proof of insurance. City leaders agree the roadblocks are an effective way to get drunken drivers off the streets.

But Hispanic community leaders and City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente complained that the checkpoints were making life miserable for illegal immigrants who aren’t licensed to drive but otherwise obey the law.

So. . . You’re in this country illegally, maybe working illegally, certainly driving illegally (no license, no insurance).  But you are a law abiding citizen?  Well, no you’re not!  You’re not a citizen at all!  You’re not supposed to be here!  If you get caught – by whatever method – you will get shipped back home.  And, those people who ARE here legally, citizens natural or naturalized, should not be making excuses for aliens.  They are NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE.  If they want to be here, they can use the proper channels, like everyone else.  Besides, aren’t we fighting some kind of war on terror?  Where we really need to be keeping track of people who aren’t supposed to be in our country?  And like, get them OUT or something?

The second article tells the story of a Mexican family who was trying to enter the US by swimming the Rio Grande.  Border patrols allegedly threw rocks at them to drive them back into the river, where the mother, daughter, and a friend drowned.  Well, you know what I say to that?  They are lucky they didn’t get shot!  The border patrol only used ROCKS.  I would have used a GUN.  It’s so funny to me how people will sit there and say things like “If someone were to break into my house, I’d protect my property”, but if people try to sneak into their country, they should be greeted with a coffee, job, falsified documents, and a place to live.  Welfare!  After all, they swam the Rio Grande.  They belong here!

Give me a break.  If you are not a citizen (natural born or naturalized), don’t have a green card or a visa, then you do not belong in this country.  You are not entitled to bitch and moan when you are caught and deported.  You are not entitled to a job.  You are not even entitled to a place to live.  You are most definitely not entitled to welfare or medical care.  You ARE entitled to turn yourself in to the authorities for a one-way trip back to your place of origin.  You are entitled to be discovered through any means and put in jail until your deportation can be arranged.  I don’t care if you’re Mexican, Arabic, Canadian, German, Polish, or whatever else.  Go away.  Go home.  If you want to be here there is a department we call IMMIGRATION (notice it’s not pre-pended by the word “illegal”) where you can apply for entry to the country.  If you get rejected by Immigration, you are more than welcome to try to find some other place that wants you.  Because we do not.  You have been told to Keep Out, and if you don’t obey that ruling, don’t come crying to a lobbyist group when you are caught and summarily dealt with.  Shoo!  SHOO!

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Sep 28 2004

A comedy of errors.

Published by under Stupidity,Wedding

So, yesterday I decide that I should probably call a couple of these places that I had marked as “possibilities” for getting my dress altered.  The first one was a wash out right away – they won’t alter dresses that weren’t purchased at their store.  As Vicki says: “They do understand that you want to pay them money to do this, right?”  David’s Bridal told me the same thing.  I didn’t buy my dress there so they wouldn’t do the alterations.  Sheer silliness, but if they don’t want my money, so be it.

The second place I called was named “Susan’s Alterations”.  With the word “alterations” right in the name, I figured this was a sure thing.  So I called up, and the lady – Susan – told me that yes, she could do it, but I had to get in there right away because she needed to begin work immediately.  She was going to Vegas soon to get married, so she obviously wouldn’t be able to alter while she was at the altar (ha HA!).

A huge flurry of activity ensued.  Using our company’s online directory service, I entered the phone number and did a reverse lookup to get the address:  1234 State St., in the city where I work.  OK, then.  This would be tricky: State St. is a notoriously busy three lane one-way, and I didn’t know what side of the road this place was on.  But that worry was still a couple of hours away: I had to run home, get the shoes I planned to wear, run out to my grandma’s and pick up my dress (she lives about a half hour from me), then run back into town to get fitted (another half hour).  It was starting to look like a bothering kind of day, and the place closed at 5 PM, so I had to take the afternoon off.

By 3:15 I was back in town, driving down Davenport, looking for the proper cross-street to get onto State.  It showed up out of nowhere on my left, so I whipped a turn, possibly totally cutting off the guy in the left lane.

My directions said that after I got onto State I would only have to drive “< 0.1 miles” before I was there.  Now, those of you who drive with me often know that I’m not so good at finding places.  I can get you to the general vicinity, but after that, I need a co-pilot to read signs and keep their eyes peeled for tell-tale clues.  I didn’t have a co-pilot, though, so I was feverishly looking from right to left, looking for address numbers, a sign, a lady out front waving. . . anything to tell me that I was close.  I didn’t see an-y-thing, and furthermore, all the buildings were houses.  Huh.  After driving much more than > 0.1 miles I got off State and looked for a place to pull over and call Susan for help.  I found a place – 3 miles away.  Fun.  I pulled into the parking lot of a friendly 7-11 and dialed my trusty cell phone.

“Susan’s Alterations”
“Hi, are you on State St. in My City?”
“No, we’re on State in Riverport, right off the highway.”
“OK, thanks.”
“No problem.” *click*
“SHIT!” *dialing phone*

“Hi, this is The Man.”
“Hi, I need help, are you busy?”
“Well, I’m on a call, what do you need?”
“I need you to get me driving directions to 1234 State St. in Riverport.”
“Coming from where?”
“I don’t know. . . I’m at a 7-11.  Just type it in from my grandma’s house.”
“OK, take 75 south and get off at the Riverport exit.  Turn right onto State, and she should be right on the corner.”
“Thanks.” *click*

Riverport was down the freeway another 10 or 15 miles.  But first I had to get back TO the freeway, which meant more fun driving down State St.  Which was down to one lane in parts due to construction.  Oh, and the school buses were trundling around, so it was even more fun.

Anyway, by 3:40 I was in Riverport, and I found Susan’s Alterations with no problem.  There didn’t seem to be any parking, so I pulled in to the post office next door. . . which also technically didn’t have any parking, but I ignored the sign which read “Parking for postal employees only”.  I had a big ass bag full of dress, a purse, and a pair of shoes to wrangle.  I was close to going postal; I thought the fact that I wasn’t exactly an employee of the post office was moot.

I got in, said “hi” to Susan, and was shown to a room that may have measured 4 foot by 4 foot to change.  With the dress hanging on the door, I was down to a very small area of space to maneuver in, but somehow I got into the dress without falling on my face or stepping on the skirt and ripping it.

The measuring and pinning went pretty well.  The dress doesn’t need to be shortened, the straps just need to be brought up a bit and the sides taken in.  In addition, Susan is going to sew hooks on so I can bustle it after the wedding, and fix some beading on the back.  She kept asking me “Should I fix this?  What about this?” and finally I told her “Look, Susan.  As you’re working on this dress, if you find anything wrong with it, just fix it and bill me.  I will pay you.”  She was okay with that.

After she was done pinning, I went back to the closet to
c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y  remove the dress without sticking myself with a pin or knocking the pins out and undoing her hard work.  I carried that dress out like it was a baby made out of glass and handed it over.

“OK then, let’s see what we’ve got. . . ” *flipping up calendar* “Well, I’m going to be in Vegas from the 10th to the 16th. . . you could pick it up the next week, but that will be cutting it kind of close. . . I guess it’d better be the sixth.”
“Umm. . . you’re looking at October.”
“What?”
“You’re looking at October.  My wedding is in November.”
“Really?” *flipping to next month* “Well, damn, we’ve got lots of time then!”

So, really, I didn’t have to go tearing around like a madwoman all afternoon.  I could have waited until I was organized and had all the pieces in one place, and driven very calmly to my destination.  But that just wasn’t in the cards, as it so often isn’t in the cards for me.  Too often I am The Crazy Lady, or The Crazy Driver, or She Who Is Unprepared.  I didn’t really mind this time, though.  The dress is getting altered.  I would have gone through a lot worse to have that taken care of.

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Sep 27 2004

Weekend Ren Fest and shopping.

Published by under The Fam,Wedding

I went to the Ren Fest with my sister this weekend, and discovered that all that’s been keeping me safe from the crazies is the presence of The Man.  My sister and I were both dressed as gypsies, and we were getting accosted right and left.  Mostly it was by friendly (but mistaken) people who kept asking us if we worked “there” – “there” being a store that sells eastern tribal clothing, the festival itself, or on a stage, apparently.  Some guy took our picture (he asked really nicely though).  The proprietor of one of the woodworking shops followed us around the whole time we were in there, then, as we were about to leave, told me that I looked very much like a woman who had broken his heart and he thought that I was very attractive.  A little girl smiled at us and said “Hail, fair gypsy maidens!” as we were leaving – that cracked us up.  It was a really fun day, but I’m not used to getting that much overt attention.

Sunday was the Big! Shopping! Expedition!  Mom, Grandma, Sister, and me all went into town to try and find formal dresses for mom and grandma to wear to the wedding.  What did we all end up buying?  Shoes, of course.  It didn’t help that every store we went into was having the Biggest Shoe Sale Ever!  Anyway, none of the stores had good formal dresses for my mom and my grandma – mostly they all looked like prom dresses.  Although mom had a lot of fun holding up hot pink cocktail dresses and saying “I found the one!”  Oh, and mocking me for trying on what she called “hooker coats”.  Anyway, I got two pairs of Sensible Cute Loafers and a neat little argyle sweater.  My sister bought a pair of Kick Ass Boots, my grandma bought a pair of Quietly Elegant Heels, and my mom managed to not buy any shoes at all.  Sometimes I wonder about my mom.

I had a fun weekend, but I wish there had been more Sitting On My Ass.  I’m glad that I went to the Ren Fest and went shopping, but I feel like I haven’t had any days off.

More wedding stuff to tackle today – must call sister-recommended alterations place and see if they will alter my dress.  Must contact event coordinator at hotel and set up an appointment to see a table setting.

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Sep 24 2004

Wedding crap.

Published by under The Fam,Wedding

I seem to be on the mend, but I woke up this morning slipping a bit backwards – throat was scratchy and my head was stuffier than yesterday.  I think it’s a combination of not getting enough sleep last night and sleeping with the window open.  I need to get more sleep.  I can’t keep going to bed at midnight or one AM. . . that works for some people but it does not work for me and never has.

I did some more wedding invitations this week.  I have most of them addressed now, they just need to be stamped in order to be postal-ready.  But I’m going to wait and send them all out at once.  There are still some addresses I need to get from my Mom and my aunt.  The glue on the envelopes is still nasty.  I’m just saying.

My mother is supposed to be coming over to stay with my grandma this weekend.  If she actually makes it over (she’s been having to work Saturdays lately) then all of us plus my sister are planning on going shopping for dresses for them to wear to the wedding.  Apparently Grandma is freaking out about the fact she has nothing to wear, and also freaking out on my behalf because my dress is still not altered.  I don’t like it when Grandma freaks out so hopefully we can at least find dresses for them.

I need to go to the hotel where we’re having the wedding and ask to see the table centerpieces they’re using.  I need to know if I want to buy additional decorations or just leave the tables as the hotel will set them.  We’re not having a sit-down dinner, so table settings aren’t terribly important, but if it’s just going to be all bare then I would like to add something to the mix.

My sister has the wedding shower tentatively set for November 7.  Coincidentally, that’s the day my RSVPs are due back.  I’ve been going through our registry and making sure everything is in order.  I keep thinking of things to add, not crap, just things I forgot the first time.  Give us stuff!  We need stuff!  Actually, we have most of the necessary stuff for running a household, so the things on the registry are either “nice to haves” or upgrades to our current stuff – like new dinnerware.  And matching glasses.

We found out that Hierophant cannot do the wedding because he has to be a member of the Humanists for a year before they will give him a celebrant’s license or whatever they’re called.  So, Zuchiboy’s husband is going to do it instead, which is a very great relief because A) there’s only two months until the wedding and I was totally doubting we could find another celebrant who was not busy and B) I really didn’t want a stranger to do the wedding.  I also didn’t want to do what we considered our “last resort” – sneak off to the courthouse with our matron of honor and best man (my sister and D–) and get married in secret, then pretend to get married again in front of everyone on the 27th.  I’m terrible at keeping things from my mother and I know that I would feel really badly about doing that.

Today I need to find some place that will alter my dress.  And I need to call my mom and make sure she is coming over tomorrow.  And I need to send Mackers an e-mail.

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