Friday, August 5, 2011

It truly is the thought that counts...

Since it was my Dad's birthday I needed to get him a gift. He's kind of this meticulous gardener guy; the kind where you're not allowed to step on the grass or pick any one of the three billion-trillion flowers blooming around his property, but he can leave an empty can of beer tossed casually towards the shrubbery. This tells me that he doesn't mind aluminum, which is a metal, which means he would totally love a giant metal chicken.

But ever since The Bloggess opened the world to metal animal yard art chickens have been popping up everywhere. And it's almost like Swatch Watches, where they were cool because no one had any and then suddenly everyone did and before you knew it you were showing off your new Swatch and the cool kids were turning up their noses saying those were so last week. So, I needed something better than a giant chicken. And since my dad is from Australia..... you see where this is going, right? .... It only made sense to get him a 6' metal kangaroo for his yard!

Except there are no metal kangaroos anywhere.

It's like they've been banned from the world of yard art. And I don't understand why. Because everyone knows that the only reason Skippy peanut butter has made it big in commerce is because they've been riding on the coat tails of Skippy the Bush Kangaroo. People love Skippy peanut butter, therefore, people surely love kangaroos.

You don't see Lassie selling any sandwich spread, do you?

Anyway. With the birthday deadline looming and no mammoth scrap metal roo to put in my dad's yard I went with option number 2.


Not just any balls. Golf balls. Because he likes to golf. A lot. But not just any golf balls. We wanted him to remember these...

And so my sister, my daughter who likes hair in her face, and my sister's very serious daughter set to work....

 Even Cletus the Used to be Fetus was put to work. Except he had no idea what we were doing and just opted to eat the Sharpie.

My sister's youngest boy was there, too, but he basically just jumped off living room furniture. Because that boy never stops moving ever.

My Dad has a lot of balls.
But we wanted these to be balls that when he used them he would see the love from his offspring and remember the fond memories that come from his various nicknames. (Bunker, Aussie, Wild Bill, etc.)

We took our task very seriously because we wanted to make sure we got things right.

Sometimes I'm amazed we actually have children of our own. It's like, who was the idiot who decided to give kids to US?!

Then I remembered that I needed a birthday card except I didn't have any birthday cards just laying around the house. However, as luck would have it, I did happen to have this holiday card and somehow, it just seemed to work, you know?

Feel free to click on this photo to make it bigger and read the card yourself.
It oozes love.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Nothing says I Love You more than a Goose with an identity crisis and a rabid Joey.

The dingo ain't eatin' THIS baby...

Today is my dad's birthday.

He is 67 years old.

Well, 67 according to what my mom told me this morning when I asked because, honestly, I had no idea how old he was. When someone mentions my dad I picture him walking around the back yard in flip flops and a pair of shorts, bending over to pick up a stick and then using that same stick to point up into the apple trees and bitch about the tent worms.

Yes, tent worms.

A huge nest of worms stuck together in a silk-like web that resembles a hornet's nest that my dad would systematically burn down with homemade torches. Nest after nest. Tree after tree.

And if you ever saw thousands of worms dropping from the sky after being burned to death by some angry Australian then you probably have the same aversion to apple trees that I do. Hey, let's go pick apples in a huge orchard where we could potentially getting buried alive by falling worms! I think I'll pass.

In my mind, my dad is still the dad I had when I was six, watching those worms drop from the sky.

In my mind, my dad still looks like he did when he was 36.

And then I think, really? My dad was once only 36 years old? That is just so weird!

I then I catch a glimpse of his 67 year old self. When he walks too slow. Or can't read the words in the small print. Or how confused he is by computers and cell phones.

And I think, how did my dad get this old? When did this happen? I want him to slow down. I haven't given him enough grief yet.

I was told today that I got my sense of humor from my dad. And for that I'm incredibly grateful because he certainly didn't give me his quick to tan skin or his ability to draw and paint and I kind of feel like he owes me a good trait, you know?

Anyway, to show my love to my daddy today (and to prove I've gotten over the fact that he bought my sister her own dog, but not me; and that when he sold the horse he promised to buy her a stereo, but not me; and that he consistently mows her lawn, but not mine) I asked the office scape-goose to honor my father's Australian heritage and dress up like a kangaroo. Which she did. So, please don't think those are bunny ears because Roos get insulted when you mistake them for big, furry rats. Also, I'm not sure why the baby Joey looks like a crazed mental patient, but maybe rabid kangaroo babies are more common than not.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Also known as: Bill, Billy, Bunker, Wild Bill, Bunker Bill, Roo, Aussie, Oz, and whatever other moniker is floating out there. (He's a very social guy.) 

PS: I've had nicknames, too... Birdshit, Bird Turd and BJ Jo Go Slow. I'm totally thinking I got screwed in the nickname category.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

'Til Death Do Us Part: 1,000 Ways To Make It Happen.

I have a new rule called No More Criminal Minds at Bedtime. I used to like that show but then it got incredibly freaky and now I know 68 more ways a person could be tortured than I did before (and I knew a lot from before because I used to watch CSI and Law & Order) and that just doesn't make for sweet dreams, you know?

Big V knows I have nightmares but he doesn't care because now he suddenly has a new favorite show called I Am Slowly Driving My Partner Insane By Scaring Her To Death. Actually, it's not called that. But it should be.

I'm talking about the Spike TV show called 1000 Ways to Die.

Big V knows how, uh, high strung and anxious I tend to be when it comes to safety. I am only all too aware of those things that are incredibly unsafe and shouldn't be attempted. Like risking your life by eating at an IKEA buffet. No one knows how long those meatballs have been sitting there. Can you say Salmonella? Botulism? E.Coli? I think I made my point.

Anyway, last night some lady had a cat scratch her.

And a hookworm that had been hanging out on the cat's paw then entered her body.

And fed off her organs.

And she could feel it.

And then it killed her.

" still want a cat?" (It's amazing how many times I want to smack him in the face.)

I'm actually only assuming the hookworm killed her off because I didn't get to see the end of the show. It was a choice: either he changed the channel, or I would smash the television set and from now on I could read to him before we fell asleep.

Tonight we'll be reading from the GE 30-Inch Smooth Surface Freestanding Electric Range Manual.

Shark Week. You know, Again.

It's Shark Week. Again.
(Is it just me, or are there an awful lot of shark weeks?)

This means our office scapegoose better watch his back.

Monday, August 1, 2011

So, WILL an M&M melt in your nose?

This weekend was one of the busiest social dates of the summer. The options seemed endless: a lobster boil, a fireman's dance, and a little something called Moos & Blues which you just have to experience to believe. (Small town farmers hosting one of the biggest events of the season: pig roast, live music and an unbelievable fireworks display that ranks up there with the best of 'em.) However, I was home with Dotter (9) and Cletus (1.5) and two extra kids (aged 3 and 1).

Big V, being the stellar support system that he is, bailed on me to attend an obligatory graduation party.

So it was me (clearly outnumbered) who stayed with the children for the day.

And it was a very long day.

Eight hours later I had managed to put two of the kids to bed and the other was quietly watching a movie. (Dotter had locked herself in my bedroom hours earlier to get away from everyone. Meaning me. Because I kept asking her to help bring me a diaper. Help fill up that sippy cup. Help take that wad of hair out of the other kid's fist.) With all kids quietly accounted for, I patted myself on the back for a job well done and ran down to the basement to put a load of laundry in the washer.

And then:

Screams. Sobs. Hysteria.

I ran up the steps three at a time and arriving breathless at the top of the stairs to a 3-year old sobbing in the middle of my kitchen floor. What? What happened?!

"I want my MOMMMM!!!!"

Okay. Okay.... what the hell? Did something happen? Initially I'm thinking the television turned scary. I remember once this kid told me he was putting the movie Hansel & Gretel in and the opening scene turned out to be Freddy Krueger fashioning his spiky hands. Scared the hell out of me.


Okay. But I need you to calm down and talk to me... and that's when I noticed he was covered with stuff. Splotches of stuff. Dark red and brown stuff oozing from his nose... wiped across his arm... all over his hands. Oh, GOD! I thought. He's bleeding! He found scissors and stabbed himself in his heart and now he's going to bleed out and die and I'm going to have to explain why only left him for a second, and he was laying there so nicely and I swear I was only downstairs for two minutes tops - and somehow he managed to find scissors and I suck as a human being!


Can you stand up? Okay... we're going to go in the bathroom and I'm going to clean you up. What happened? Can you tell me what happened?


As I'm standing there ever so gently trying to wash off the dried blood and figure out where it's coming from I ask him if anything thing happened that he doesn't want to tell me about.


Sh-sh-shh... it's okay. You just need to tell me what happened so I can help you.


Really? I look down at him. You really stuck an M&M up your nose?


Well. That explained what was dripping out of his nose.

Just curious, but why, exactly, did you put the M&M up inside your nose?


Do you think it's funny now?


The first thing I did was make sure the kid could breathe. Which he could. And then I called my mother. She raised 4 kids that were born within 5 years of each other. Surely there were times she was incapable of watching all of us at one time and someone shoved a foreign object up their nose.

"Nope. None of you ever did that. We lost a couple fingernails... and Shawn did fall out of the truck when I was driving down the road... and there was that time Patrick's finger ripped off... and also when the merry-go-round tore off his knee cap; that was kind of freaky. A lot of head wounds requiring stitches, but never anything stuck in a nose."

Then I called my sister. Because she lives on a farm and people who live on farms are always dealing with gory situations. Plus she has three kids aged 2, 4 and 6 and once the oldest one brought dirt in from outside and dumped it in the house because he wanted a picnic. Surely she would know what to do.

But she didn't. Because her kids aren't allowed to put anything in their nose, including fingers, and they obviously follow this rule (as opposed to the whole "we do not dump buckets of dirt on the kitchen table" rule) so she offered to google it instead.

And that's when she told me that foreign objects stuck in the nasal passage can cause breathing difficulties and infections and that WebMD says that you need to have a trained medical professional remove the object or else horrible things can happen like death. (That's not really what she said; I just happen to know that all things lead to death and also have this horrible aversion to having death happen on my watch so I like to stick with the medical professionals at all times.)

And about this time the kid is yelling things like it hurts! and get it out! and it's stuck! So I try a different approach and ask if she can google do M&M's melt in your nasal passage? but she told me to just contact his parents instead. And then she made me promise not to have the kid stick anything else up his nose, including his fingers, because that could cause it to get shoved even higher and that would cause even more problems, like brain damage and certain death. (Okay, so I added that last part.)

And his parents were way more nonchalant then me and explained that the kid's aunt had a jelly bean stuck in her nose for like a year and she survived so it was no big deal as long as he can breathe. And I was all but he's got a candy coated hunk of chocolate up his nostril! And it's a red one on top of that! (Everyone knows red is the best. And now I can never, ever eat another red M&M without thinking of slimy nose holes.)

Eventually Big V came home from his relaxing adventures and was all "high-five, you got the kids to bed" and I was all yeah, and one of them is slowly suffocating to death and he was all "why do you drink so much?" and then I had to explain the M&M insertion drama. To which, he laughed.

It's not funny. I can't go to sleep now. What if that thing comes loose and chokes him in his sleep? I have to hold a constant vigil over his body to ensure he doesn't die on my watch.

He'll be fine.

You don't know that.

Kids shove things up their noses all the time.

My kids haven't.

Other kids.

My sister's kids haven't.

Fine. Kids you don't know. It'll be fine. Relax.

What if he dies?

He's not going to die.

We'll never be able to use that room again. I can't expect people to sleep in a bedroom that someone died in.

Why not? People die in houses all the time.

No they don't.

Yes they do. Where do you think people die?

In the hospital. Do you think people died in our house?


What do you mean maybe? Do you know something I don't know?

No, I'm just saying that perhaps somewhere along the history of this house someone might have died in it. What does it matter? It doesn't change the house any.

I can't stay here! We have ghosts!

You don't even believe in ghosts.

Don't say that out loud; you'll upset them!

The kids?

The ghosts. If they hear that I don't believe they'll make it their point to prove to me that they really do exist. I've watched Poltergeist and I do not want that to happen in this house. Can you imagine if our tv's were static all the time? We'd go nuts!

You're a very strange person, you know that?

So I've been told.

By several people right?

Don't push it.

Editor's Note:
For the record, no child died in our house this weekend. I have no idea what happened to the M&M. First it hurt. Then it settled into it tickles me when I breathe and by mid-afternoon the next day the status was I think it just disappeared in my nose.

Another Editor's Note:
I also never plan on eating M&M's again. Twenty minutes of having a kid gently blow out chocolatey snot in the hopes of extricating the official candy of the new millennium* from the human body will do that to a person.

* I got that whole "official candy of the new millennium" thing from the M&M's website. Please note, while they continually tout how great the candy is, nowhere on their so-called informational site are there any directions or advice regarding how to remove the morsel from one's nose, nor whether or not the candies which "melt in your mouth, not in your hands" are eventually capable of absorbing into the body via the sinus cavity. I believe someone is seriously slacking on their end (ahem, M&Ms).