Wednesday, June 27, 2012

It puts the lotion in the basket.


I came home last night and found Big V re-enacting his favorite Silence of the Lambs scene in our garage. It was making me nervous seeing him so close to the edge of our Body Dungeon, or cistern, if you want to be politically correct about it. Then he told me that he had already been inside the pit because there was a hole in the middle of the pit floor and he wanted to see how deep it really was. Because the pit itself is pretty deep, but the hole in its dirt floor might possibly go all the way to the center of the earth which would totally explain the amount of earwigs, iron and nickel, and the lack of Chinese at our house. Because the antipodal point of my house is somewhere in the middle of the Indian Ocean between South Africa and Australia and I don't think there's a lot of Chinese floating around that area of the ocean waiting to be sucked into Wisconsin through a hole. I always thought if I dug a hole I could dig all the to China. Apparently only if I live in Chile or Argentina. Who knew? I know, I was a tad disappointed, too.

Anyway, Big V told me it was a tad tricky getting in and out of the pit because it is really, really deep and he didn't know when I was coming home. Then I explained that I stopped on my way home for pizza and ran into my sister and some other cool people at the pizza joint and got stuck talking and I would have totally come home straightaway had I known he might possibly be stuck in a Body Dungeon because obviously I would want a picture of that.




Then he told me he had put the ladder in the pit because when he thought about it, had he actually gotten stuck in the pit I probably wouldn't have done anything to help get him out. And I said that wasn't fair, because of course I would help him get out because I still needed him to fix that stupid smoke detector I smacked off the ceiling with the broom when it kept chirping that annoying dead battery alert. I just might not have done anything immediately to help but eventually I would have.

Then I asked him how deep the hole was in the floor of the pit and he said, "pretty deep." And I said, "how deep?" And he said, "well, I don't think it has a bottom." And I said, "how do you know?" And he said, "see that 6' long board propped up against the wall?" And I said, "yeah." And he said, "it never found its way to the bottom." And I said, "huh. That's pretty deep. Maybe you shouldn't have gone in it if no one was home. You  might have gotten sucked into oblivion" And then he said, "oh, I had my phone with me." And I said, "what?! That was stupid! You could have lost it in a bottomless pit! I've never met anyone who loses phones more often than you do! Next time you go in a pit you should make sure your phone is safely on the kitchen counter." Then he stared at me with one of those looks that says perhaps I ought to find out just how much the payout on my life insurance policy actually is.

Anyway. He filled the Body Dungeon with gravel yesterday so there goes my fun.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What Grandma Says

My grandmother, Johanna, is 94 years old. She'll be 95 in January. My grandfather, Henry, passed away about 14 or 15 years ago. He was the bomb-diggity of all Grandpa's. Trust me on this. Together, Henry and Johanna have 129 descendants. At least that's how many I've found to date.

The oldest one is 73 years old.
The youngest, not yet three months.

Two are no longer with us: my Uncle Ron, and my cousin Cathy's son, David.

It's interesting to note (at least to me) that all six of my Uncle Ron's children have names that begin with R.

I also think it's interesting that all 8 female descendants of my Uncle Lester have names that end in "y."

This is my grandmother when she turned 90 checking out
this AWESOME family tree my cousins Kelly & Tracy made.
Kelly is also a teacher. I think that's obvious from the tree.

My grandma is also the bomb-diggity of all grandmothers. Trust me on this. I actually didn't used to think so. I mean, my grandparents were always old. When I spent the night at her house as a child, Grandma was waking me up by 6:00am to help with chores. She made me do things like sweep the patio, peel potatoes and vacuum the floors. (Which, I have to admit was actually pretty cool because they had this thing called central vac and that was wild. I mean, where did the dirt go?! It was like magic.) Also, my grandparents only watched bowling and Wheel of Fortune and went to bed by 8:45pm. One time, I begged and pleaded to please let me ride with Grandma and Grandpa to the Walworth County Fair and they never made it over 13 miles per hour. I swear. It took two days to get there.

But they were still cool because they were my grandparents, you know? They did things like have huge family picnics and all the cousins would play together all day long. We were the family that played baseball together. We crammed 40 people minimum into each holiday gathering. We were awesome. We are awesome.

When my Grandpa died, well, that was hard. It was the first death that I really felt. But I was able to get to know my Grandma in a totally different way... and that woman is funny! I now understand where I get my, uh, uniqueness from. Quite frankly, I don't ever want to say goodbye to my Grandma. So, she's just going to have to go on and live to be at least 118.

Except she's way too logical for that nonsense. Case in point: she thinks it's about time to let her wishes be known. And Grandma wants to donate her body to science. Hobbling across the living room she grabs a couple articles she's clipped from the newspapers. I've done some research...

Her logical side explains that this way everything's already done for you and the family doesn't have to do anything. They just take the body and boom, just like that, it's done. This way, she won't get stuck in some ridiculous outfit someone picked out for her. Because let's be honest, what she thinks is a suitable outfit might be vetoed by someone with more fashion sense. Why spend eternity in a dress when a peach-colored track suit would be way more comfy? This way, no one argues about the clothes. Or the casket.

And also then no one has to gawk at you at a viewing because it never really looks like you anyway and just manages to creep kids out. (Besides, she wasn't one for wearing much make-up.)

She goes on to explain that some places give you ashes back. (But what would someone do with a bunch of ashes?) Others keep them. Some places use all the body, some only parts.

In strikes me that this is one of the oddest conversations anyone could possibly have.

It also strikes me that this is EXACTLY the type of conversation EVERYONE should have.

Because now I worry about what kind of stupid outfit I'll be stuck wearing in eternity. My luck, Big V is going to shove my hips into a too small bikini and I'm stuck explaining to the Keeper of the Holy Gates why I'm dressed like a harlot. I can't have my mom pick - no offense, mom, but you'd put me in my super fuzzy pajama pants and big fluffy pink and green striped socks with an extra layer of thermal underwear just in case it's drafty.

My mom tells me a few days later that she, too, has done some research... and that Grandma has to be careful who she chooses as if she's trying to decide who to go to a dance with. Turns out universities aren't the only places that accept bodies. You could go on tour with Body Worlds or request to be a crash test, uh, body, which is used when they simulate a car crash. (And here I thought they only used the dummies.)

A body can also be donated so studying doctors can practice. Practice things like face lifts. Think about it. Do want them practicing on a live person? My only question with this is would we get a before and after shot. Grandma passed when she was 98, but doesn't look a day over 67...

Have you thought about what you want done when you pass away? Anything specific? Anything you think your families would balk at? Do you at least know what you want to wear?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

An Open Letter to the Youth Librarian who was working Saturday Morning

My 10-year loves to read. Loves. As in:  reads all. the. time.

Personally, I think it's a good hobby. I mean, what if she was one of those kids who liked to throw rocks at the windows of the businesses from the back alley downtown? Or what if she was one of those kids who liked to beat up little kids at the park? (Which reminds me: freaking 8-year old punk bully that smacked my 2-year old in the head with your pretend double-barrel shotgun --- I've got your number. Same to the other freaking 8-year old punk bully who grabbed my toddler's arms and twisted them behind his back. I don't care that you "shot" me 4 times in the back of the head after I yelled at you to take your hands off of him. Like I told you, he's smaller than you are and we don't put our hands on anyone ever. Let's you and me reunite in ten years and you can tell me how much jail time you've done.)

But my kid, well, she likes to read. She likes to cozy up on the couch or bed, or even on the floor of her closet where she has designed the perfect reading hideaway, and she likes to pick up a book and soak up the words and escape to worlds she's never been. She likes to read the stories and learn about the people and then she likes to talk about their stories while she goes and picks out another book.

My kid is awesome.

So when my kid asks if we can go to the library I say yes. Because I want to encourage that reading for fun behavior. Now, if she happens to ask for a gun I'll say no because I don't want to encourage that behavior. It's just the way I am.

And so when we go to the library and my little girl is holding her library card tightly like it's the lifeline to her soul, and she's got her canvas bag ready to transport the books because she thinks using plastic bags is bad for the environment and we should all be recycling, well, I tend to get a little proud. I think, she is so awesome.

And after she quietly picks out her books: books for herself as well as books to read out loud to her baby brother, and she respectfully puts the books on the counter in the youth section of the library, I do not expect the youth librarian to curl her lip and snap, "well, you've got a lot of books. Are you actually going to read them?" and huff and shake her head.

And my daughter, my dear, sweet daughter, who was born into this life acting like a skittish kitten, blushes and burns red as tears spring to her eyes because she has no clue whatsoever why this stranger before her is angry with her, is visibly crushed. Well, now. That not only breaks my heart, it makes me angry.

And so I have decided to write an open letter to the youth librarian who was working Saturday morning entitled:

An Open Letter to the Youth Librarian who was working Saturday Morning

Dear Librarian Lady,

You were not nice. At all.

Perhaps you were nice earlier in the day and maybe even after we left but you most certainly were not nice when you were waiting on us.

Yes, my daughter picked out eight books. There is no limit to the amount of books she can check out at one time. We have checked. And yes, she will read those eight books within two weeks. Would you feel better if I signed an affidavit?

The reason I let her get out that many books at one time is because she reads them so quickly. I'd be in there every single day returning one book and picking out another if we did one at a time and in my mind that's not very feasible.

See, the library is awesome because it shares. It shares its most prized possessions: its books. And the people working there should probably grasp that concept sooner rather than later. It's okay to share. And you, you specifically as the Youth Librarian, should want to share. The goal should not be 'is it too much to ask for one hour without being interrupted' it should be to have that section of the library as busy as it could possibly be!

Because here's the thing: a lot of kids out there could use a decent hobby like reading. They might deserve a bit of an escape from the crappy lives they've been thrust into. Maybe they feel lonely, or are bullied, and a good book would be a great way to show them that there's other things out in the world. Maybe there's a kid who is really smart and could be further encouraged by some books about science or math. Maybe there's a kid who just lost his mother to cancer and is having a really hard time sorting things out and could use a good book to help him through. Or maybe the child is painfully anxious and worried about the world she lives in and just wants to feel safe reading a book and you - yes, YOU - have the chance to be a wonderful inspiration for all of these children.

Maybe instead of glaring and being snippy and rolling your eyes, maybe you could show them how to smile at one another. Learn their names. Find out what their interests are. Show them that no matter how different they are they still share the same interest: reading.

And her's a novel idea: maybe, just maybe, when their mother requests information about the summer reading program you could actually provide it instead of quipping "sign up is Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at three o'clock." And when that mother explains she works full time and is unable to make it at 3:00 on those days, maybe you don't have to be such a royal rag by cutting her off and repeating "sign up is Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at three o'clock."

Or, maybe it's just time that you acknowledge this is not the job for you and go apply at the local Wal-Mart. Their customer service is non-existant so you'll probably fit right in.

Respectfully,

A Very Disappointed Mother of a Very Terrific Reader

PS: My daughter announced she no longer wants to do the summer reading program. And she asked if from now on we can go to a different library to get books. How's that for influence over a child? 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Summer School: Sign Up Today!

After I hold the How To Change The Toilet Paper Roll So You Can Immediately Tell If You're Completely Out Of Toilet Paper And Run To The Store And Buy More Before Someone Else Happens To Get Stranded On The Pot At 11:30 At Night class I'll be holding the How To Effectively Wrap Up Deli Meat So It Doesn't Get All Dried Out And Crusty class.

If things advance at the rate they should, I'll be moving on to the How To Throw Out The Wrappers Of The Three Popsicles You Ate While The Rest Of The Family Was Sleeping And Not Leave The Sticky Mess On The Arm Of The Couch class.

With enough luck we might even get to the How To Refill The Water Pitcher And Not Put The Stupid Empty Container Back In The Fridge Like a Complete Idiot class.

I hope to someday hold Master Classes in:
  • How To Actually Wipe Off The Crumbs From The Cutting Board And Not Just Push The Board Back Into The Little Slot Under The Counter Acting Like It's Not Filthy And Attracting Massive Amounts Of Ants While We Speak

  • I Don't Care What You Claim Is Making That Shirt Crusty There's No Way I'm Touching It To Turn It Right-Side-Out So You'd Better Just Do It Yourself

  • Guess What? We Have Kids And They Like To Eat, Too! How To Order Take-Out For An Entire Family And Not Just Show Up At Home With A Bag Full Of Yummy Food For Just Yourself

The One in which I take my Father for his Covid Vaccine

I got a voicemail the other day from the hospital saying ‘since you’re the contact on record we just want you to know your Dad can get a Cov...