Thursday, January 29, 2009

No Rogue Reptiles

After talking to Blaker, I learned that there was never any lizard (or wizard). There was a small bug. A dead one. A dead one that did not crawl anywhere.

We are still uncertain as to why Sutton insists on calling the bug a lizard. (This is a new development. Bugs have always just been bugs in the past.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Weeping Wizards!

This morning at breakfast, while eating his oatmeal, Sutton became very excited when he remembered something that happened yesterday. (Now, first of all, we can all take the "yesterday" thing with a grain of salt, because in his three-year-old mind, everything happened "yesterday." Doesn't matter if it was last year, last week, or five minutes ago, to him it was "yesterday.") Apparently, I'm told, there was a "wiwwy widdle wizard" on the table in his bedroom that crawled under a piece of blue construction paper on which he had been drawing.

A small wizard in my house? How did this go unnoticed? Even a midget or dwarf wizard surely couldn't hide well enough that I wouldn't run across him while I was putting away the laundry. Had Sutton learned to read at some point without me knowing, and perhaps stumbled across the Harry Potter series? How else would he know about wizards if there hadn't really been one?

Then I had coffee and it all fell into place.

"There was a LIZARD in your room?"

He nodded, very solemnly. "A wiwwy widdle wizard, thiiiiis big." He demonstrated the size, using his pinky finger. "It cwawed under my blue twuck picture and Daddy picked it up and put it in the potty."

I have never seen a lizard in my house. (Nor do I want to. I would actually prefer to run across a wizard in my house, as I have no objection to being granted a few wishes now and again. I realize that wizards may not operate in the same manner as genies, but at the rate our gas bill runs, I figure if a wizard is hiding out in our house, the least he can do is kick in a few wishes for his part in the utilities.)

Sutton has a very active imagination, but I got the impression from his behavior that this might in fact have actually happened. A baby lizard doomed to death-by-potty is a stretch, as Blaker is one of those guys who carries spiders outside rather than squash them (like I do), but not implausible, I suppose. Bellamy did not see it happen (which still doesn't mean it didn't, as she's usually so caught up in pretending she's a Barbie Princess locked in the Crystal Palace and waiting on her prince to rescue and marry her that she doesn't know what the heck is going on around her--the girl seriously needs a lesson in feminism) so I called Blaker at work. No answer.

So was there really a rogue lizard loose in my house? I probably won't know until lunchtime when Blaker checks his voicemail and calls me back. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Good Grief

I'm new to this whole grief thing. Not to say that I haven't had a lot of crappy things happen to me in my life before Dad's death, because I have--divorce, Mom's breast cancer, diabetes, losing my Grandpa, to name a (very) few. This, though, is the worst so far. I've read books and websites, pamphlets and The Bible, but have yet to find a magical answer to healing it all. I suppose there isn't one.

Because I was 600 miles from home and had packed in a get-home-in-time-to-say-goodbye frenzy, I didn't have anything to wear to Dad's service with me in TN. My Aunt gave me a dress that she had in her closet that didn't fit her--a pretty, simple wrap dress from White House/Black Market. It is a size 10. I wear a size 4. I felt lucky to have it. I stuffed the top with an extra pair of Blaker's socks so it didn't sag and relished the thought that I could burn it when the service was over, and never have to see it again (my Aunt had given her blessing). Instead of burning it though, it's now hanging in my closet. The hatred I expected to feel for it just isn't there. I look at it and I think, "Dad," even though he'd never seen me in it, not one time.

I had to ask Blaker to take my Dad out of my speed dial on my cell phone--for years he's been #3, behind my pre-programed voicemail and Blaker. I accidentally called Dad twice this week, once to ask him a question about a funny rattle on my car, once to see how he was feeling. I haven't been able to take him out of my address book totally, but now speed dial #3 is my brother. Now when I call, at least somebody will answer and I don't have the horror of realizing what I did when Dad's voice mail picks up.

Sutton came through yesterday when I was cleaning the kitchen and asked me if we could call Papaw on the phone. I tried to explain to him that no, we couldn't. Papaw was gone. We had explained this to him already, but he's only three, so I don't know how much he absorbs. He kept insisting that, yes, we COULD call Papaw. I kept telling him, no, we couldn't call Papaw anymore. He finally went and got his little play phone out of his toybox and came though and told me that HE would call Papaw. He "called" and jabbered like he does whenever he pretends to call anybody else. Then he toddled back into the kitchen and said to me, "Papaw says he's not sick anymore." Well, damn. Maybe he CAN call Papaw. I wish I could.

I'm ploughing through all of this the best that I can, for what it's worth. I try to be my strongest for my Mom, who I think, in turn, probably does the same for me. I'm told that time heals all wounds, but I'm suspicious since I don't have any firsthand experience with it. For now, it's one day at a time, and hoping for a much brighter 2009 than we've seen so far.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

High Flyer

I lost my Dad on January 6th, at 3:33am. I KNOW it was 3:33am, because I was the only one there with him when he died, and I looked at the clock specifically so that I would KNOW the time and not have to rely on some medical person's time-of-death that would obviously not even be close to the real time it happened.

My Dad's service was beautiful. It was in a big chapel, but it was still totally full, standing room only, with people spilling out into the foyer and watching it on a video screen. An old family friend who is a pastor officiated, I read a poem that reminded my family of Dad ("High Flyer," hence the title of the blog), Hillary sang a beautiful song about angels. The Civil Air Patrol, in which Dad was an active member and a 1st Lieutenant, gave a speech, had cadets posted at attention on either side of the urn, and did a flyover immediately following the service (this was a big deal because they don't do those for everyone). Dad would have been proud.

I figure that everybody probably gets tired of all of my lists, but hey, it's my damn blog and my Dad just died, so cut me some slack. So, Dad, this one's for you.

A SMALL SAMPLE OF REALLY SUPER IMPORTANT THINGS I LEARNED FROM MY DAD THAT NOBODY ELSE WOULD EVER HAVE TAUGHT ME, EXCEPT MAYBE MY GRANDPA, BUT HE'S GONE TOO

1. It is completely possible for a snapping turtle to get big enough that, when tied to a picnic table, to drag said picnic table down a riverbank and into a river and swim off with it. With an axe embedded in its back.

2. When in doubt, add more caulk.

3. Any and all breakfast foods should be cooked in bacon grease. Bacon grease makes everything taste better, particularly if you cook things in bacon grease while camping. Additionally, ANYTHING can be eaten on a biscuit.

4. Just because they are outside dogs doesn't mean they don't deserve heaters and air conditioners in their dog houses.

5. Don't use glue. Use clear silicone. (See #2) Or just weld it.

6. Every girl ought to know how to use a handgun, and preferably own at least two. It's also not unreasonable to carry several on one's person at all times. Also, be a better shot than the boys. And never let a man support you.

7. Every day that you wake up and can get out of bed is a good day.

8. It's possible to be in the audio-visual club and still be cool. Maybe only in your own head, but who else really matters?

9. Change the oil about every 4,000 miles. It doesn't matter if the oil bottle says every 5,000 miles, or if you're super sick and have cancer and can't hardly get off the sofa, you still change the oil. Car maintenance is imperative. As is adding Marvel Mystery Oil when you fuel up.

10. Life isn't always fair, but you take what you're given and you do the best you can with it.

As I'm still in a fog of mourning, I'm sure there will be another installment of this at some point. But for now, this is the Robert S. wisdom that I want to share with the world. We could all have learned a few things from him.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

We'll Be Fine in 2009

At least, this is what my Grandmother keeps telling me.

She's a smart lady. I want to believe her. However, things have gone nowhere but downhill for the past six months, and I'm fully aware that we have not yet hit rock bottom. So where does that leave us?

With a list, of course. Lists make me feel better, so a list it will be.

A SOMEWHAT BRIEF, YET INTROSPECTIVE LIST OF THINGS I LEARNED IN 2008

1. Taking the time and effort to carefully construct a Monster Truck Potty will not convince a 2-year-old to give up diapers, even if the Monster Truck Potty is his idea. It will, however, test one's creativity and one's patience as Monster Truck decorations are not all that easy to come by, particularly ones suitable to go on a potty. Most likely, the Monster Truck Potty will sit, untouched, in the bathroom for many months during which time the 2-year-old will start to cry if you mention perhaps he might like to sit on the Monster Truck Potty.

2. Apparently, 87 year old men still think about (and plan to have) sex. It does not matter if they are in an assisted living facility, nor does it matter if they often fall asleep mid-conversation. That testosterone keeps raging on. Fascinating.

3. If one has no choice but to travel to one's parents house for Christmas, one should be prepared to rent a U-Haul to bring back all the gifts given to the grandchildren. Yep, that's what I said--WE HAD TO RENT A U-HAUL. I drive a Nissan Xterra, so it's not as if we were in a compact car. I packed lightly for us, so we had three suitcases for the entire family. Unfortunately, there still was not enough space left for a Barbie Diamond Castle, Barbie Crystal Carriage, 5-foot long firetruck, two bicycles, half a dozen Barbies, official talking fireman helmet, dancing Spiderman, Lincoln Logs, Mac laptop, and other assorted Christmas trinkets. There was also Blaker's gift, a Cuisinart Wine Refrigerator, which was totally worth any space it required because it houses the wine that will be my most important January Survival Tool.

4. It is not worth it to drive downtown, fight traffic, locate a parking spot, locate a watching spot, get settled, and listen to your toddler scream in terror all to watch the Suffolk City Fireworks Display on the 4th of July. In 2009, I will have a martini on the deck and watch people shoot bottle rockets in the park behind our house. Much easier.

5. If it is imperative to you that 50 Cent's "Da Club" come on your iPod Shuffle, wishing really, really hard will not make it happen. It will, however, come on after you have completed your entire 45 minutes on the treadmill and are fumbling with the Shuffle looking for the switch to turn it off.

6. Computer Geeks and Math Tools (you know who you are) can totally do handyman-ish things like re-plumb bathrooms and re-tile floors if they put their minds to it. All it takes is a Lowe's card and Google. Impressive. And kinda sexy.

7. Sampling a smorgasbord of white wine, red wine, dessert wine, sangria, and spray cheese from a can IS NOT a good way to spend the afternoon before you plan to go to dinner at a very fancy and very expensive restaurant. It will most likely make you very, very sick and damn near unable to enjoy your lovely French Countryside cuisine. It can also render one too drunk to put one's contacts in for dinner, and thus stuck wearing glasses which, despite being fairly hot in a librarian sort of way, are vaguely annoying.

8. Dunkin Donuts coffee is better than Starbucks coffee.

9. Even if you buy Lighting McQueen chapstick, emphasize that it's CHAPSTICK, that he's a BOY, and that BOYS DON'T WEAR LIPSTICK, a 2-year-old boy will still usually refer to his manly Cars chapstick as lipstick.

10. Movies are much better if, instead of sneaking in a diet soda, one sneaks in a flask of vodka. Thai food would be nice as well, but is much more difficult to hide in one's handbag.