If you can't make it better you can laugh at it. ~Erma Bombeck


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Rental Car Frustration - Warning: Rant storm ahead.

We're getting ready to go on vacation and I've been checking into rental cars since we are flying to our destination. It's been a while since I needed to rent a car, so I'm obviously very out of touch with car-rental reality. Maybe you more seasoned travelers can help de-confuse me a little...

Question 1. Why does it cost twice as much to rent a car Monday - Friday as it does on a weekend? Do they go through some automotive metomorphesis at midnight on Sunday and suddenly become nicer, cleaner, and more comfortable?

Question 2. Why do companies agree to have their coupons put in those books organizations sell as fundraisers and then either refuse to honor them? Do they just like seeing their name in print?

Question 3. WHY OH WHY do I have to talk to somebody in India who can't do anything but read his/her script and cannot answer any questions not included therein? Do American workers not know how to read scripts?

Question 4. What happened to good old American courtesy and good business sense?? If my drop-off time was going to be 11:oo p.m. (the time the place closes) but my flight plans change such that I need to drop the car off at 7:00 a.m. the next morning (when they open) WHY DO THEY WANT TO CHARGE ME A WHOLE 'NOTHER DAY'S RENTAL???? Do they really think they are going to be able to rent it to somebody else during those 8 hours? Is there a vampire pupulation that shows up at midnight and then returns the cars before dawn?? WHAT??

Question 5. If I already have the car reserved for 4 days, and my plans change so that I need it an extra day, WHY DOES IT COST ABOUT 2.5X the amount I paid for the reserved days????


Question 6. WHY IN BLUE BLAZES DOES IT COST AN AVERAGE OF $8 MORE PER DAY TO HAVE AN ADDITIONAL DRIVER ADDED TO THE CONTRACT??? Really??? $8 more just to put me down as a secondary driver just in case Hubby gets tired and would like to rest his eyes for a few miles??? (Bug - quit laughing. I KNOW your father would never allow me to drive, but HEY! I wanna be ABLE TO if hell should happen to freeze over while we were out of town!!)

Now, class, let's grade the test. The answer to all of the above is...

It is becoming a pervasive epidemic in this country. How can we squeeze the absolute maximum out of consumers without actually having to give them anything for their money? Plain and simple: GREED!

WOW! I feel so much better now! Thanks for letting me vent! I'll be gone for a few days, but I'm leaving a couple of post-dated things to make you giggle a little (hopefully). See you when we get home.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Dear Mommy,

I am writing to tell you how adorable your children are. When you all came into the restaurant I was afraid you might be one of those quiet, reserved families that add absolutely no entertainment value to a room. I'm so glad you proved me wrong. I guess I shouldn't have been so surprised given the fact that you had 5 kids under the age of 10.

Because each of your younguns put on his or her own special performance, please allow me to praise them individually.

First, how clever of you to dress the baby in nothing but a diaper. It can be so hot in crowded public places. Wouldn't want him (or her - forgive me, it's kind of hard to tell the gender of a 3- to 6-month-old with no clothing clues) to get over heated and start REALLY crying.

Next, I bet your 2/3-YO is going to be a reporter! The way she kept announcing everything that was going on was amazing. I was particularly impressed by her identification of one particularly foul odor as a dirty diaper. How observant of her to notice, and loudly point out, that she knew what it was because the "sh#*" was "running down his da#! leg." I wonder where on earth she picked up that language. Kids say the darndest things!

Your 4/5-YO son is obviously destined to be a musician. His ability to drum, tap, bang, or hit everything (or anybody) in sight may just develop into the coordination needed to succeed as a percussionist. He's off to a great start in his practice habits, too. I've seen all sorts of motivation techniques, but I've never ever seen one that seems to work as well as you telling him to "Stop it or I'm going to beat your a$$!" Reverse psychology. Very clever, indeed.

I was a little concerned about your 5/6-YO daughter who kept walking around and around the table saying, "Mommy. Mommy. Mommy. Mommy," but she settled right down after you took her to the bathroom with you to change the baby. I wonder what she was allergic to in there that caused her face to swell up like that on one side only. Very strange. I must say, though, that her use of the table cloth when she ran out of napkins to wipe her nose on was very resourceful. It was a shame that the server didn't get back with the extra napkins in time to keep her from wiping her greasy, sticky, ketchup-covered hands on the 2/3-YO's hair. However, I must thank her for busting the myth that a sustained high-pitched screeching banshee from hell scream note can break glass. Also, I had no idea a 2/3-YO's lungs could hold that much air.

Last, I was thoroughly impressed with your 6/7-YO son's ability to sit there and play his video games with such concentration even amidst all the excitement. I guess the music and sound effects from the game he was playing drowned out the rest of the world for him. With such selective hearing abilities, perhaps he has a future as a high school teacher? LOL! What was that game he was playing, anyway? It sure sounded action-packed. I bet my nephews would love it, but they'd probably need headphones in order to drown out the external noises. Poor things.

It is such a shame that your husband appears to be deaf and half blind as he seems to miss out on so many of the delightful antics. I guess his cell phone has some sort of special adaptations that allow him to use it with such apparent ease. By the way, could you please ask him what the tune is that he has set as his ring tone? Even after hearing it 13 times I still couldn't place it.

And finally, our waitress asked me to convey her greetings. She is so sweet. I always try to sit at her station when we dine there. I'm sure she didn't mind that you left no tip. After all, it IS her job to clean up after the restaurant's guests and it really didn't take THAT long to wash down all the chairs, scrape the smushed in french fries off the carpet, refill the salt and pepper shakers, replenish the supply of sugar packets, and scrub the ketchup off the wall. Speaking of ketchup, I guess one of the other guests grabbed the ketchup bottle off the table because she never did find it. Or the butter dishes. Or the bread basket. Isn't it amazing how things just sprout feet and walk away?

Well, I will close now. I've taken up enough of your valuable time. Have a great day, now, ya hear!

ps: A friend of mine may be interested in talking to you about your awesome parenting skills. She's really busy most of the time, but I'm sure the CPS office where she works would let her take some extra time to come visit. Let's keep an eye out for each other so we can exchange contact information the next time we meet. Mmkay? TTFN

Saturday, July 26, 2008


You know you are getting older when...

You don't remember being absentminded.

Two very WONDERFUL bloggers have given me awards in the past several months, neither of which I've remembered to post and pass on until now. Well, that's not entirely accurate. I remembered the awards VERY often. What I couldn't remember was to post the little darlin's. But then again, I haven't remembered to post anything lately. Seems my get up and go has got up and went!

Rita (my friend with the dogs who needed new homes) ... I wonder how Will is doing these days. I really need to remember to ask her... says I'm the original short attention span theater lately. We'll be in the middle of a conversation and ... OH!! hey look! There's a gecko on the window! ... oh ummm Sorry... and I get distracted by the least little ... dang! I really should dust my coke bottles.


Really! I didn't make up a single syllable of that! It is exactly how my mind has been working lately! So, given the fact that my recent inability to gitterdone has effected not only the accomplishment of tasks, but has also drastically reduced the speed with which they don't get accomplished, I've come up with a brand new award just for me... (and for anybody else you feel needs to be snail slimed into remembering to post an award you already gave 'em!)

Now that I'm thinking about it (and I better think quick or the thought'll be gone!), I should have made that the Ungrateful Old Witch award.

OK - enough self-flagellation ... ON TO THE GOOD STUFF!

These two awards are created by Mamarazzi at Dandelion Wishes so she could pass on the love! She passed 'em to Debbie Yost at Three Weddings. Debbie was kind enough to pass them to me.

Hmmmm... Who to pass them on to??? I have so many wonderful people who read me and whom I read that this is a REEEEEALY tough choice. (Partially because I HATE for people to think I didn't choose them because I didn't like 'em!) But here goes...

Mr. Froggy goes to:
Brandi at O. W. IN G. S.
AZ Mom
Lisa - Rollin' with the punches

It's almost 3 a.m. I'm tired. My plan was to put in links to everyone of the wonderful people who faithfully show up here and read my sporadic blatherings, but I'm too tired. So, if you regularly leave comments you know who you are and you DESERVE THIS AWARD! LOL! If not, get busy and start leaving more comments and then you, too, will deserve it! LOL!

Puffy goes to:
Lucille at Who's Going to Tell You ...

I'll be back later to finish getting the names in here... If I can remember not to forget about it!

Kalynne, The Philosopher-Mom, God love her sweet soul, thinks I'm unique. That, to me, is huge praise. At this particular moment, though, I'm uniquely exhausted and so I'm going to take the gutless wonder way out and promise to come back in a day or so and get the forwards done on these.

Friday, July 11, 2008

A TIME TO REJOICE - Happy Birthday Bug!

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. For those of us who have weathered many of life’s worst storms, these words are a lifeline onto which we cling with faith that the time for each storm will soon pass. Yet, in the midst of it all it’s easy to lose sight of the lifeline and feel like we’ll drown. It’s only after we reach the end of the storm and are standing in the warm sunshine of relief and hope that we can look back and see that the waves actually pushed us in the direction we never knew we always wanted to go...

Eighteen months after my rootin’ tootin’ marriage to R we realized that we were totally unsuited to be married to each other, so on July 4, 1978, I walked out of the house we’d built together and went home to Mama.

A few weeks later I met JW through a mutual friend at work. JW was tall, strong, cute, exciting, sexy, and 13 years my senior. We quickly became inseparable and by the end of August I’d moved into his apartment. We were married at the JP’s office sometime in September. It was my second marriage, and what I thought was his fourth with his first wife being numbers one and three. (Whoa buddy, is that a whole ‘nother story!) We could only get half the day off and the JP’s office was extremely crowded. Everyone was rushing around trying to get all the scheduled weddings done before 5 PM. It was Friday -- nobody wanted to stay late.

When it was our turn, the JP didn’t have the door closed behind us before asking if we wanted the long ceremony or the short one. Being both practical and horny, JW and I agreed on the short version. The JP took a deep breath, and with hardly a glance upward as he began signing the marriage certificate, said, “OK. By the powers vested in my by the State of Texas, I now pronounce you husband and wife. Bye.” Before we could blink he had the door open and us pushed half way out. In no little bit of shock, I turned to JW as we walked through the crowded waiting area and said, “Well that was fast. OK, now, I where’s my ring.” The whole room burst into laughter.

In October we moved out of the apartment into a townhouse. In all the excitement of the move I missed a birth control pill. By my birthday in November, I was pregnant. (Yes, people – you CAN miss just one at the wrong time of the month and get pregnant.) Mother and I were so excited we could hardly contain ourselves. JW’s first response was, “What are you gonna do about it?” I was floored. And angry and hurt and confused. We had never discussed having children (yes, I was rather stupid at 22), but I didn’t ever even consider that he wouldn’t want another child. I’d accepted his 13-year-old daughter without hesitation. How could he not accept the child we'd made together? What I hadn’t considered was that the loss of another child a few years before had permanently wrecked any desire he had for more children. I was convinced that I could change his mind about wanting the baby; however, he refused to have anything to do with the topic or me. I was so miserable that in January of 1979 I once again went home to Mama.

The next 6 months went by crazy fast. Mom and I set about turning the middle bedroom of the house I grew up in into a nursery. Since we had no way of knowing whether I was carrying a boy or a girl, we opted for yellow. Bright, cheery, sunshine yellow – the very same color that is still Bug’s favorite. We bought an older crib and refinished it in white. Mom, being the sewing genius she was, made sheets, curtains and a dressing table skirt to match. During all the preparations I kept praying, begging God to PLEEEEEEASE give us a girl. There were a couple of reasons for that. 1) Since I was adopted at 10, Mother had missed out on my baby days and we thought it would be fun to have a little girl to make up for that gap in her experience; and 2) I was going to have to raise this child alone and I had this irrational fear: How was I supposed to teach a boy how to stand up to pee? Ok, quit shaking your head, I said it was irrational!

One day I was at Sears shopping for more baby stuff and noticed a really cute little boy about 3 years old, all by himself, looking at the toys. Now don’t freak out – this was back in the days when you could actually let your kid look at stuff on one aisle while you went a couple of aisles away knowing that he’d be just fine. It used to be a good thing to have other people around to help watch over your kids unlike today where if you even look at someone else’s kid... Oops, sorry – hold on a minute while I put the soapbox back in the closet. Anyway, I rounded the corner to the next aisle and there stood the adult, female version of the little guy. They had identical carrot tops, a sprinkling of freckles and almost pixie-looking brown eyes. I knew instantly that she was his mother. Right then and there I changed my prayer to OK, God, if I HAVE to have a boy, please at least make him look as much like me as this little guy looks like his mother. God said yes.

R and I resumed our prenuptial friendship, and he and Mother became the best Lamaze coaches in history. (In fact, I still use the pain blocking techniques I learned.) Sadly, though, when it came time for the big event I didn’t get to do the “OMG! IT’S TIME!” routine. Instead, because my doctor was planning a month long trip to Paris (must be nice!) and there was no WAY I was going to let anybody else play catcher when I was so close to pitching the biggest game of my life, bright and early on the morning of July 11, 1979, I reported for induction. Six hours later I got my first taste of the stubbornness that is my first-born child. He’d already spent nine months doing extreme frog yoga in my belly. Really. No kidding. I swear that kid would literally stretch out to all four corners pushing as hard as he could. My poor ribs were so sore I could hardly breathe! Now here we were, waaaay past the point of it being fun anymore, and the kid refused... r.e.f.u.s.e.d to come out!

Back in those days you labored in a labor room and then were transferred on a stretcher to the delivery room. It was not as easy as it sounds. Try climbing from one bed to another holding a bucket full of water between your legs. Without spilling the water. Add having your mother freaking out about the fact that your ‘privates are hangin’ out here in front of God and everbody!’ as she repeatedly tries valiantly to pull your gown down to cover your huge belly and the blanket up over the bucket you are trying to keep from dropping. Throw in another patient sobbing uncontrollably while screaming, “IT HURRRRRTS!!! GET IT OUT OF MEEEEEEEEEEE” over and over in the next bed. Now add three nurses scurrying around like the three blind mice trying to find their cut off tails taking turns squealing “don’t push! don’t push!” and one stomping, huffing, harrumphing mad doctor who cannot understand why the woman in the next bed is screaming bloody murder or why you aren’t in the delivery room yet and you’ll have a picture of just a wee bit of the chaos.

On this particular day there was an unusually large number of women dominoing and the one in the delivery room ahead of me was taking her sweet time getting the job done. All the while, I was waiting. On the stretcher. In the hall outside the delivery room door. It was hot and I HAD to get cool so I kept pulling my gown up and kicking the blanket off. Mother was quite literally having a conniption fit over my lack of modesty. I quite frankly didn’t give a rip! About the time I was ready to start screaming, too, the doors swung open and I was rolling into the blissfully cold delivery room. The joy of the ride ended abruptly, however, when they told me that now I had to heft myself off of the stretcher onto the delivery table. “DON’T PUSH!! DON’T PUSH!” the three blind micettes kept squealing. “Cover up! Cover up!” the freaking out mother kept squawking. “Hurry the hell up, dammit!” the stomping mad doc kept harrumphing. It seemed that time had gone into some weird out of control warp mode that both slowed things down and sped them up at the same time, but finally I was on the table, strapped down, legs raised and hands firmly tethered to the pistol grips. And one of the micettes squealed, “OK, you can push now.”

And PUSH I DID! With every contraction I puuuushed. And the little head crowned. And then promptly disappeared. And I would puuuuush. And the head would crown... and disappear. I swear the kid was literally crawling backward in a stubborn effort to stay inside! This went on for an hour. AN HOUR! Literally. I was watching the clock! During all this pushing and crowning and back-peddling, Doc had decided to go take a coffee break probably figuring that by the time he got back all he’d have to do was don his catcher’s gear, get in position and snag the squirming bundle of goo before it hit the floor. WROOOONG!! (Actually he had to go check on another patient, but I had too much fun teasing him about going for coffee to admit I knew that.)

Bug sent me this cartoon a couple of weeks ago in honor of his upcoming birthday. Crazy kid actually finds some sort of sadistic humor in reminding me of his ...ummmm... adventure.

After 5 more pushes, Doc decided it was time to do a little pulling and reached for the tray that held the forceps. In the split second that he wasn’t looking, Bug decided to finally let go and out popped his head. Doc was so surprised that he almost missed catching the rest of the baby as he smoothly and now very quickly exited my poor, sore, abused body. The nurse took him and placed him on my stomach while Doc cut the cord and sewed up the episiotomy. In that moment there was not another being in the universe that had ever fallen more deeply in love – even if the object of my affection did have too many moveable external components. He was mine. All mine. I wanted to grab onto him and hold him forever. However, since my hands were still tied to the grips, I couldn’t touch him which broke my heart for just an instant until I looked at my mother - the woman who had given me a home and unconditional love and support in spite of all of the hell I put her through – and suddenly realized the full extent of her strength and her love for me. She had done it all by choice – not by chance. Without having gone through the pains of labor and birth she had made the decision to make me her own. She may not have given me life, but she gave me A life. She had earned the right to be the first to hold this child that we had both worked so hard to bring into the world.

To everything there is a season... a time to weep, and a time to laugh. And in that moment, together we did both.

Happy Birthday, Bug. Grandmom would be so very proud of the man you have become. And so am I.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Damama's Use It or Lose It Advice on: Getting in the picture.

We went out to Cracker Barrel for dinner tonight. It is one of my favorite home-style cookin' joints. I love their chicken 'n dumplins (that's how we say it down South - those endin' Gs are for the prissy britches set!). Well, actually I only love the dumplins part. They are just like the ones Mom made -- another of the recipes lost after her death. Their red beans (ok - pinto beans if you just want to get all technical about it) are as close to Mom's as I've ever tasted, too. And, sorry, Mom, but their biscuits kick your biscuits' floury white little butts. All that food stuff is great, but the most fun part is the walk I take down memory lane as I wander through the gift shop. So many of the toys and candies take me waaaaay back. Back to the days when I thought my mommy would always be in the picture.

As in most families, Mom was the shutterbug: always behind the camera, rarely in front because she didn't like having her picture taken. As a result, I have loads of pictures of me, me and Dad, me and various boyfriends, me and pets. What I don't have is any pictures of me and my mom.

When I got old enough to grab the camera I started stealing candid shots of her whenever I could sneak up unobserved. But, again, those times were rare. When I the boys came along we would take turns taking pictures - again one of us was always behind the camera. When she was gone I went in search of photos to show the kids. What I didn't find broke my heart -- there were no pictures of me with mom.

How about you? When was the last time you got in FRONT of the camera? When was the last time you had a picture taken of just you and each of your children alone. Ever? What are the things you want them to remember about you? Do you sew? Crochet? Paint? Garden? Do you have any pictures of yourself doing those things? How about your parents? Do you have photos of you alone with each of them? Who are your friends? Do you have pictures of yourself with them? They will need to remember, too.

As moms, we want to give our children the very best of everything, but so often we unwittingly shortchange them on tangible memories of US. So here's your first challenge: Go buy a bunch of disposable cameras and give one to each of your kids. (Put their names on them to avoid confusion!) Then encourage them to take pictures of each other, you, the family. (You might want to specify no nasty or rude or embarrassing butt shots!) When you get them developed you'll get a great idea of what interests them. You might also get to see yourself through their eyes.

Your second challenge is to make a vow right now to hand that camera off to your husband every now and then. Having memories of you through his eyes is another great gift for your kids.

This Celine Dion song, so beautifully presented by nataliedg, tells the story in this mother's heart. I know it is a song that you sing, too. Please don't let your Coulds slip away into sad Should Haves before it's too late.

If I Could

Peace, Blessings, and SAY CHEESE!


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