Saturday, April 26, 2008

Mixing Mustard and Gasoline

You’ll be glad to hear I’m not trying to kill my husband with a flammable sandwich condiment. (I’ve got a better plan.)

Earlier today, Brett decided to mow our lawn.

Unfortunately (for our neighbors) Brett and I live in a nice neighborhood. We’re midgets living in a land of financial giants - doctors, lawyers, dentists, and one (very well-paid) minister.

Now, our house is on the end of the cul-de-sac and extremely less valuable (but what houses aren’t these days! Bada-bing! I’m here all night, folks).

But we are right in line with these other nice houses.

And the nice people who live in those nice houses can afford personal gardeners or gardening services. Therefore, since the first wisp of spring, their lawns have been immaculately cared for - cut and nourished within an inch of perfection.

By comparison, our house looks like a poor country cousin. Our grass is tall, raggedy, and unkempt.

I’m not that observant myself, so I didn’t even notice how bad it was until I caught several of my neighbors giving me the evil eye – no doubt seeing the value of their houses decreasing as our grass grew higher and higher.

I asked Brett if he was going to mow the lawn earlier this week, but he said there might be a chance of rain so he couldn’t commit. Well, refused to commit, was more like it.

There was more than a chance of rain – it poured buckets and buckets over the Midwest this past week, making it impossible to mow (or so I heard every night).

I was just about to go door-to-door telling the neighbors we were growing native prairie grass in an effort to “go green” and save the environment.

I even had my speech worked out, “Just think of the mower gas we’ll save, and all the great oxygen we’ll provide for your little prodigies. Oh, aren’t you lucky to have us as neighbors!”

Then, Brett decides today is the day. Oh, happy day.

But nothing is as simple as it seems (apparently). There was a trip to Lowe’s to purchase “a lawn mowing repair kit,” and two separate trips to the gas station. By early afternoon, I was rewriting my prairie grass speech.

But, lo and behold, I finally heard the blessed sound of rackety mowing as Brett zigzagged his name into the front yard.

(Okay, okay, he really didn’t do that. He just mowed this diagonal pattern he’s so proud of creating. I can never understand the fuss he makes over it. I mean, it’s JUST diagonal – don’t call the Pentagon, you know what I mean? You didn’t invent diagonal!)

While Brett slaved outdoors, I slaved indoors on my hands and knees cleaning the bunny areas. While I was immersed in – you don’t want to know what I was immersed in – I hear my cheerful, windblown husband tromp up the stairs in those beautiful size 16 shoes.

“Hey, babe,” he breezed into the laundry room.

I tried to bodily throw myself in front of him to prevent him from entering the ONE CLEAN ROOM IN THE HOUSE. But he mistook my gesture for swooning (or something) and thought I wanted to make out.

Well, what woman doesn’t want to make out when she’s sweaty, smells like poo, and has had her husband track wet grass into a room it just took her two hours to clean!

Show of hands?

After I tolerated a kiss, barely, I had to restrain myself from ripping out his larynx as he clomped over to the laundry room sink and started to wash his hands.

Before I knew what was happening, he’d unscrewed the top of the laundry detergent and was about to pour it on his hands.

“NO! WAIT!” I screamed as I rushed over.

“What wrong?” he asked, looking a little panicked, like perhaps at the last minute the nice people at Tide had decided to start replacing their detergent with flesh-burning acid.

“There’s only one capful left! And I’m going to use it for the stinky bunny towels.”

I was suddenly realizing I had probably overreacted with all the screaming and exaggerated Chariots of Fire run over to the sink.

“Okay. Um, can I just stick my finger in some detergent? The gas from the mower got all over me, and it really smells.”

As I nodded, begrudgingly, I was suddenly hit with the smell of gasoline. It was overwhelming. Unbelievably strong.

And all I could think was, “Oh, thank you so much for bring that stink into the house. Like we don’t already have enough problems with odors! We own freakin’ bunnies, man!”

I watched as Brett tried the detergent first. Then, he used the dish soap I keep in the laundry room, squirting out enough to wash all the dishes in a small Third World country.

Eventually, he declared himself clean, even though the bunnies were hiding under the end tables looking suspiciously fearful someone somewhere might light a match.

“Thanks for mowing the lawn!” I said, my Stepford wife program kicking in.

“Well, I mowed most of it anyway,” he said cheerfully on his way out the laundry room door.

I clutched at his sleeve. “Most of it? What does that mean?

“Well, I mowed the front.”


“And I mowed the sides.”


“And that’s it. I’m done for today.”

Incredulity body-slammed Stepford wife to the ground.

“Wait, wait. Let me get this right. You moved the front, the sides, and NOT the back? We have an unevenly mowed yard? We have PRAIRIE grass growing in the backyard?”

“Well, you said you wanted it mowed.”

“No, I said I wanted it all mowed.”

“NO, you didn’t. You just said “mowed.”

“Well, I MEANT ALL of it. Why would I only ask you to mow just part of it?”

(Meanwhile, I’m seeing our neighbors sarcastically thinking, “Oh well now THAT looks so much better.”)

“Well I’m done for today.” Brett headed down the stairs, leaving me breathless in what felt like standing behind NASCAR’s starting line up.

“Open a window,” I yelled down the stairs. “You stink!” Seconds before realizing that phrase could be taken several ways.

Brett shot me a look before hoisting a nearby window open.

What happened later, I blame on the gas fumes.

I was making dinner, and the recipe called for ½ teaspoon of mustard. Suddenly, my brain cells deserted me, and I couldn’t figure out how I was going to fit the teaspoon inside the squeezable container.

Seriously. This is how delusional I was.

I unscrewed the cap and put my face close down to the opening. Trying to gauge how wide the opening was, I gripped the bottle.

That’s right. I GRIPPED an open SQUEEZABLE container with my face a millimeter from the top.

Well, you can guess what happened next.

I had mustard on my face, up my nose, down the front of my shirt; glopping all over my hands and down the sides of the bottle.

As I stood there, covered in Dijon, my husband walked in from starting the grill (not the smartest thing he could have done smelling like Exxon Valdez).

It goes to show what a nice person I married. He gave me a sympathetic look and said, “Honey, do you want to open a window?”

I waited for the inevitable follow up, but he didn’t take the expected parting shot.

So, if years from now, you see an older couple, sitting side by side in the nursing home, and one suddenly turns to the other and bellows, “YOU STINK!” - be sure to stop by and say hi to us.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Holy Bat Flaps!

And I thought our culottes were bad!

P.S. - That top would not be allowed in Christian school gym class, FYI





I have been the victim of a crime.

Not a violent crime.

Not a hate crime.

But a crime, nonetheless.

Yesterday, after a grueling day at work, I headed out to my car. Since I forgot my umbrella, I had to walk the whole way in the pouring rain. Once I was safely ensconced in my sweet-smelling car, I started the engine, turned on my headlights, and flipped the switch for my windshield wipers.

Then, something very strange happened.

One lone wiper rose up and lazily swish-swashed against the windshield. I blinked twice.

Still just one wiper.

“Why is it not working?” I growled at my windshield.

Angrily, I swung my car door open, stepped into the downpour, and peered at the driver’s side of my windshield.

And there was my answer.

It was not working. Because it was NOT THERE!

Someone had stolen my windshield wiper arm and blade. Completely removed it off my car. All that was left was sad little silver nub.

My car had been stripped, violated, and vandalized.

In a vague sort of a daze, I wandered back into my office, completely soaked.

“Hey, Cheryl. Can you come look at this?” I asked my co-worker.

Two minutes later we stood shoulder to shoulder in the sweeping rain as she stared down at the remaining nub.

“Yep. It’s gone. Sorry for your loss.” She patted me sweetly on the shoulder.

We went back into the office, tracking great pools of water on the carpet, while I tried to get a hold of Brett.

My loving husband had inadvertently turned his phone off and was home enjoying a hot soak in the Jacuzzi while I desperately tried to get a hold of him.

Eventually, I got a hold of Mom and Gary who were gracious enough to come and rescue me. I knew I couldn’t drive home in the rain with only the passenger side wiper functional.

At home, I explained the situation to my husband who quickly proclaimed the world full of “thieves, cheaters, and scammers. Curses upon their heads!” (Okay, the last past is dramatic license, but the rest is true)

Quick calls to the insurance agent assured me our policy covered vandalism and would replace the missing arm and blade at no cost. The insurance agent noted that the perpetrator must have been carrying tools, since the wiper arms are screwed in tight to the car.

“So, no one saw this guy trying to rip your car apart, in broad daylight, huh?” she asked.

“Guess not,” I replied, thinking how our parking lot is on a busy thoroughfare in Rockford.

Brett drove to me to work today where everyone had an opinion as to why someone would steal only one wiper arm and blade.

“Maybe he’ll fence it for money.”

“Maybe he needed a driver’s side wiper for his own car.”

“Maybe he wants to recycle it and get the money.”

Brett finally convinced me to file a police report. I called and talked to a very nice officer.

Officer: So, your windshield wiper arms and blades were stolen?

Me: Just on the driver’s side.

Officer: Just on the driver’s side? Wait, they only stole one?

Me: Yes, the passenger side one is still there.

Officer: They only stole one?

Me: Yes.

Officer: One side? Huh.

Me: I was kind of shocked.

Officer: That’s really weird. I mean, I hear a lot of weird things that get stolen. But this is really weird. I don’t think I’ve ever head this before.

Me: Yeah. Um…?

Officer: Oh! Right. Here’s the report number.

So, today Brett and Gary are tag-team driving up to the Ford dealership to get a new wiper arm and blade put on the car. And I’m currently without my car. Again.

At this time, I’d like to observe a moment of silence for the lone arm and blade I had only five short months to get to know. I thought I had more time! There is so much more I would have said!

Ah, well.

Thoughts and comments for the wiper arm’s widow are much appreciated.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I'm SO Using This New Name!

Helicopter Parents!

I thought this Newsweek article was really interesting, considering the debate we all enjoyed about sleepovers recently.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Proud Not-Aunt

Not that long ago, I had lunch with Mom, Grandma, Aunt Louise, Aunt Jan, Candice, and Brielle. Aunt Louise was teasing me, good-naturedly, about Brielle not “really” being my niece. I explained how Candice has made me an “honorary” aunt – a title she also bestowed upon a few of her close friends.

So, later when I was taking Brielle’s carrier to Candice’s car, we joked that I’m Brielle’s “Not-Aunt.” The next few times I saw the sweet little bundle, I would say, “Your Not-Aunt loves you!” and coo in that annoying way I have.

Yesterday, I got to see Brielle when Candice stopped by to drop off some Easter gifts for me from the “real” aunts (and my “real” cousins, Charity and Colleen). I, of course, cooed and chattered away to Brielle, ending with “You’re such a good little girl for your Not-Aunt.” And you know what? I think I’m going to keep it!

I don’t know how I’m going to explain it, but it can be a little unique nickname for her favorite Not-Aunt as she grows up.

And can I just brag that she is so amazingly gorgeous? Sweet little cheeks and bright beautiful eyes! Seeing her yesterday made my day like a 1,000 times better!

P.S. – Shout out to “real” aunts Charity and Colleen for my wonderful gifts! I LOVE the great rabbit book and adorable pin. You guys are the sweetest; (rabbit pun alert) you made me so hoppy!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Anecdote from the Grace & Truth Conference

Theresa Bixby, Pastor’s aunt and an amazing lady in her own right, hosted the session on Controlling Your Tongue: A Matter of Life and Death. One of her main points was that wives should use their words to encourage their husbands.

“You could compliment your husband and tell him how much you like the tie he matched with his shirt,” she suggested.

Mom leaned over to me and whispered. “No you can’t. Does Brett even own a tie?”

Which, of course, made me laugh.

Then, of course, Mom started laughing.

And there was little outburst of giggling around us.

Poor Mrs. Bixby, not knowing what was so funny, asked to be let in on the joke. Which, of course, made Mom and I blush down to our core and stifle our laughter, so she could continue.

Later, I apologized to Theresa, who laughed with me when I explained Brett owns exactly one tie – a tie that zips around his neck – and the only way to see it is if someone gets married or dies.

“Then I hope I see it a wedding,” she remarked dryly, causing me to start giggling all over again.

How To Kill My Husband

And Other Things I Learned at Women’s Bible Conference

Yes, there was a session on how to kill your husband. Granted, it was killing him with words, not a frying pan, but progress is progress. Ha!

I didn’t think it was possible, but the Grace & Truth Conference this year was even better than last year’s fantastic premiere. The food was top-notch, the sessions truly enriching (if not bloodthirsty), and the sistership…priceless.

There were a whole lot of sessions. Too many to go through in detail, but my favorites were the aforementioned (Controlling Your Tongue: A Matter of Life and Death) and the sessions on Courageous Femininity by Holly Stratton.

Pastor also presented a paper, “How to be a strong woman in a weak man’s world.” It was one of the best I’ve read on the subject. I really hope he thinks about publishing it (or at least reading it aloud at a Sunday night service).

A couple of women (from other churches) asked me why Pastor and other male members of the church leadership were at the conference. At a typical Baptist women’s conference, the men usually volunteer to serve the food at the luncheon, and that’s the only time you see them.

The Grace & Truth Conference, however, featured Pastor as one of the main speakers, along with our male song leader to lead songs, and another male member of leadership to direct us to sessions.

Now, in backwards Baptist churches, this could be taken as a sign of the male leadership’s lack of faith in the women of the church to plan their own conference.

Believe me; I’ve been in THOSE churches.

However, in our church, the fact that Pastor is involved means he cares deeply about the conference. I know it’s hard to understand unless you attend our church (or one like it), but it’s actually a badge of honor for Pastor to attend the conference.

He prays for the women of our church; he cares about their spiritual growth; and he knows and values the importance of women’s lives at home, at work, and in the church.

I’ve often said the main difference between Pastor and all the other pastors I’ve known is that he understands fully the misconceptions of women in the church (especially backwards Baptist churches) and tries his best to make sure it doesn’t happen at Morning Star.

If we’d still been at another church, I might have had the same thoughts, “Don’t these guys trust the women to plan their own conference? Do they think we’re stupid or not spiritual enough?”

But at Morning Star, it makes perfect sense to have church leadership involved and active.

It made the conference even better.

I also got to connect – in real life – with one of my blogging friends! My new friend Julie attended the conference and made me laugh so hard I almost spit up my tea. (I’m discovering we old-time-Baptist-school-and-church-survivors are a humorous lot.)

I’d just like to publicly thank all the wonderful men and women who served at the Grace & Truth Conference. It was an amazing time, and I can’t wait until next year!

Friday, April 18, 2008

This Man Is A Genius

I have to plug this post over at Stuff Christians Like.

If you’ve ever been in a group prayer (and if you’re in my church, you have) and tensed up during the whole prayer – you’re going to love this!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Only Four More Months ‘Til Fall

Despite the long respite.

Despite my trying to prevent it.

Despite it all…

Spring has finally arrived.

The birds are yapping, the neighborhood kids are yelling, and I’m perspiring like a hog about to be butchered. This morning my bangs were drenched with sweat before I even reached the front door.

What a blessed season. (See sarcasm: Webster's Dictionary)


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Seventh Generation

This is a plug for the great new product I "found." We used Seventh Generation All Purpose Cleaner to clean our disgusting fridge, and I have to say I felt pretty good about using a product that only recommends you drink a full 8 ounce glass of water if accidentally consumed. Other cleaners - you have to call Poison Control! It's also cruelty-free (read: not tested on animals), which is becoming a bigger and bigger deal to us. It's so safe and natural; we felt MORE than safe using it in our FRIDGE! The company derives its name from the Great Law of the Iroquois that states, "In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations." Check it out!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Law & Odor

Our house stinks.

I don’t mean that I’m a horrible housekeeper (although I am), or that there are papers piled everywhere (although there are), or even that there is a thin layer of dust on just about all our possessions (although…you get the point).

I mean, our house literally stinks.

And if Brett and I can smell it, then it must be truly terrible.

After seven years of bunny ownership, our sense of smell is virtually decimated. I’d go so far as to say we thought we might have lost our olfactory senses all together.

Owning house rabbits is rewarding and satisfying, but it does not come without sacrifice.

Rabbits keep themselves very clean. In fact, if you plunge your nose deep into a rabbit’s coat, you’ll smell sweetness, sort of like cocoa butter.

Oh, but what they produce!

I think Peyton’s foster mom said it best, “They’re the cutest little poop machines on four legs you’ll ever love.”

It’s true! It still boggles me how little they can eat, and how much they leave behind. And the smell is horrendous.

Now, before you begin to think of our house as being altogether putrid, I’ll assure you that the litter box is changed frequently, and the smells last only briefly before the exchange is made.

However, even for a few hours, it’s pretty unbearable. But, like all things, we’ve lived with it so long, it’s become ordinary. We barely notice it anymore – and if we do, it’s like the Bat Signal in the sky warning us to change the litter box.

Recently, however, we’d begun to smell something else. Another…odor…although that word seems complimentary when compared to the smell itself.

It was as if a small rodent had died.

After creating a will requesting his body be wrapped in raw sewage and rotting vegetables and then buried deep in our wall.

Get the picture?

We tried for days to figure out where “it” might be coming from.

Our sense of smell is so fried, thanks to the bunnies, that we wandered around sticking our noses in places where noses definitely do not belong.

We started with the garbage. I stuck my head deep inside the can.

“Anything?” My husband asked.

“Oh, it’s garbage,” I assured him. “But not our guy.”

I should add that we’d been watching Law & Order Criminal Intent and had begun to refer to our mysterious odor as “the perp.”

“Maybe, it’s my shoes,” Brett said, thrusting his sweaty size 16’s in my face.

“Nope.” I confirmed (before dry heaving). “But what do you DO in those?”

“Nothing!” My husband replied defensively, before climbing the stairs to sniff the bunnies’ hind ends.

I joined him in the laundry room and checked the litter box. Just normal, stinky bunny smells.

We wandered around the house, picking up random objects and forcing each other to smell them.

Ah, the joys of marriage they never tell you about.

We’d just about given up. I was army crawling under our bed, my nose buried in the carpet, when I heard Brett call up the stairs.

“I found it!’ he was shouting triumphantly.

I flew down the stairs and found my husband standing in front of the fridge, the door flung wide open.

“But we checked the fridge!” I exclaimed. And I had! I’d taken out every container and thrown away anything even slightly out of date on the off chance it was our culprit.

“Yes! But did you check everywhere?” my husband (apparently enjoying the suspense) dramatically yanked the produce drawers out from the bottom of our fridge.

Underneath, a murky brown liquid, easily two inches deep, was blooming with bright green mold and crusted over animal fat.

I can only say we both instantly referred to it as “meat juice.”

It was indeed the smell we’d been searching for. The stench washed over us as soon as he removed the drawers.

We hastily closed the door, and huddled around the end of the counter whispering conspiratorially as though the Meat Juice could hear us.

“We’ve got to clean it up.” My husband whispered, practically.

“Ewww! How could we not know that was THERE?”

“We can soak it up quick and then do a full fridge clean.”

“Ugh! I’m a horrible housekeeper. Oh, you too! You’re bad, too. How could they ever sell us a house! What were they thinking? Don’t you have to pass some kind of a test?!”

“Honey, do we have paper towels?” Brett was searching the kitchen as my hysteria grew more pronounced.

“Maybe we should just get rid of the fridge. I mean, we’ve had it for seven years. Seven years is a good life for a fridge, right?”

“We’re NOT throwing the fridge away.” My husband announced rolling his eyes. “Get a hold of yourself.”

The his eyes narrowed. “You’re afraid if it, aren’t you?”

“Aren’t YOU?” I challenged. “I mean, we both know YOU’RE not going to be cleaning it up.”

“I can’t help it,” whined my big baby of a husband. “You know how smells affect me.”

It’s true. Strong smells reduce my 6’4” husband to a quivering, sneezing, sniffling, gagging mess.

I’m 99% sure it’s an act, but that 1% of doubt owes to Brett’s performance – which if it IS a performance is truly worthy of an Oscar.

We both knew I’d be the one on my hands and knees, immersed in moldy meat juice, while Brett offered encouraging remarks from the sidelines.

“Hey, babe, you just got some meat juice in your hair. Careful now!”

The smell seemed to intensify, muting our argument for the moment.

I decided to take one for the team.

I drove to Target, picked up non-toxic cleaners (all we had were toxic cleaners from 2006 – and yes, I know what that says about my housekeeping skills), and headed back to tackle the meat juice head on.

It took me three hours to clean every inch of our fridge. The meat juice put up a heroic fight – at one point turning to meat sludge, a noxious chili-looking substance. But with the help of my husband’s strategy of throwing paper towel grenades into the fridge, we conquered.

Now, our fridge is spotless. In fact, it’s clean enough to eat out of.

If one were predisposed to doing so, that is.

The gaseous meat juice odor is finally gone.

I never thought I’d say this, but we are actually grateful to be back to just plain old awful bunny stink!

You never know what you have until it's gone.

Farewell, meat juice. Farewell!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Ever Been In An Unlikely Friendship?

I read the words, “an unlikely friendship,” in a book description for two men who met in a POW camp in Vietnam. That struck me as kind of odd, since I would think the us vs. them environment in a POW camp would be very conducive to creating friendships.

Sometimes, the very best friendships are unlikely.

I’ve often said most of my friends are my polar opposite. October says black; I say white. Angie says take the old, deserted road; I say take the pretty, new highway. And after being married to Brett, I can truly identify with the old saying, “Opposites attract.”

I love October. I love Angie. I don’t always agree with them, but I have more breathless fun with them than I ever imagined possible. I feel accepted and valued. They love me for who I am but aren’t afraid to encourage debate or discussion without ever resorting to being dogmatic. And, if they do, at least they admit it’s dogmatic.

That got me thinking – did someone ever say, “Oh, you’re going to LOVE So-and-so!” And you met So-and-so and didn’t like them at all?

Has anyone ever said, “Oh you’re just like my friend, Blah.” Then you meet Blah, and think, “If I’m like this, I should get a brain transplant. The world does not need more Blahs. Really? Am I like Blah? But Blah is SO annoying!”

And your friend stands there looking oh-so-confused because she likes both you and Blah. And she thought you’d hit it off tremendously. She thought you’d be complimented by the comparison.

One of my college roommates and I got along famously. We enjoyed living together, hanging out together, and talking deep into the night.

Then one day, she started bringing this other girl into our room. The other girl was petite, vivacious, and talked extremely fast. My roommate adored her.

The two of them would hang out together, and my roommate always invited me. But when I would spend time with them, I found myself disliking my roommate’s new friend. I WANTED to like her, but she just rubbed me the wrong way.

I examined my feelings for jealousy and found that I didn’t care if she spent time with my roommate; I was just turned off by her personality. I mean, she talked ALL the time. You couldn’t get a word in edgewise. And she was always laughing. I mean NOTHING is THAT funny for THAT long.

In short, she drove me nuts.

One day, she came into our room when my roommate wasn’t there. I invited her in, and we tried to make conversation. We were both EXTREMELY polite, and I began to get the feeling that perhaps she shared my view.

Finally, she asked me, “Why don’t we get along better? I mean, we SHOULD. Right? We both have lots of the same friends, and we hang out in the same crowd.”

“We should,” I agreed. I studied her for a second. “Do you always talk so fast?”

She laughed. “Do you ever let anyone get a word in edgewise?”

“Me!” I squawked defensively.

“Yes, you! I like your roommate too, you know. You get to see her all the time. Why does she invite you everywhere we go?”

This time, I laughed. “I don’t know! But I’ll stop accepting the invitation. Okay?”

We were both smiling by this time. “I just wish we could like each other more,” she told me, as she headed back to her room.

“Me, too.” I agreed.

When she got back, I told my roommate about the conversation.

“Thank goodness. I’m so relieved. I was starting to worry about hurt feelings, and I like you both so much. I really thought you’d get along.”

Over the next couple of weeks, I saw my roommate when she was in our room, and she and her friend went off campus for fun. It worked out well, so well in fact, that when I saw her friend in the shower line or just walking down the hall, I actually waved. Instead of wanting to run the other way.

I found I could stand her friend in small doses.

Later, when my parents visited, my roommate’s friend dropped by our room. She was always very polite and talked to my parents for quite a while.

As we were about to leave for dinner, my mom turned to me and said, “What a nice girl! She reminds me of you.”

I wanted to scream.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Telling on Brett

Since Brett is blissfully unaware of the online world, (I told him MySpace was a feminine hygiene product) I’m dedicating this post to my husband’s very bad day.

We all react differently to stress and difficult situations.

Me? I cry or write witty little commentaries that allow me to vent to the entire world. I try to laugh at life.

Brett, on the other hand, reacts a mite differently.

For instance, when someone cuts me off in traffic, I might get mad, mutter a few choice words, and then wonder how I’m going to parlay it into a blog post.

Brett, on the other hand, will mutter about it for DAYS. He’ll obsess over what the “chick” in the red car was ACTUALLY thinking when she PURPOSELY CUT HIM OFF.

He’ll spout conspiracy theories and try to convince me that the One World Government placed a secret chip in her car that targeted him for death.

(Life is rarely as exciting as it is in Brett’s conspiracy theories. And, frankly, they’re entertaining. Which is why I don’t stop them when I really, really should.)

Succinctly? Brett is not a “sunny side of life” guy.

In fact, with him, the glass is not only half-empty but the sinister politicians in DC probably want him to pay taxes on what little water there is left in the glass.

And that water is, of course, poisoned.

(Yeah, yeah, I know. Not succinct at all. I just like the word succinct.)

Today, I came home after a stress-filled day at work.

The tension was so palpable in the office, someone actually said, “Don’t touch me or look at me.” to someone else. Yeah, NOT all about the love today.

When I got home, I crawled into bed and promptly fell asleep (a luxury of the childless, I know!). When Brett got home, I rolled over. “I had a bad day at work,” I said using my best pouty-lip face.

“Me, too,” he assured me.

Brett ALWAYS has a bad day at work. In the 12 years I’ve known him, he has yet to have a good day. The streak was broken on May 4, 2003, when the day was actually “okay,” but usually it’s “bad” or even worse “don’t ask.”

Truth is, it probably isn’t all that bad. But Brett thinks of life as “if I’m not comfortable and watching TV, I’m being persecuted,” and views “work” accordingly.

“Poor baby,” I said sympathetically. “Anything in particular?”

(Thinking of course, “When are we going to talk about ME?”)

“Yeah, I split my pants today at work.”

“What?!” (I hadn’t been expecting THAT.)

“Yeah, I bent over to get something, and I heard a loud noise. When I stood up, I saw they’d ripped.”

(Note: For those of you who don’t know Brett, his body shape is like a pear balanced on pretzel sticks. Unlike mine, which is a pear balanced on mini-pickles)

“I’m sorry, honey! ~ muffled laughter ~ Did, um, did you have to walk around all day with your underwear showing in the back?”

“Oh, it gets worse.” He held up his jeans, and I saw that they split, not in the back, but straight down either side of his zipper.

That’s right, my husband’s pants split right down the front!

His actual words – “I can’t believe this happens on the one day I wear those red briefs.”

(It’s true – he only owns one pair of red briefs, and he never wears them, but we were behind on laundry.)

Despite my efforts to be sympathetic, I was rolling around on the bed laughing hysterically. At first, he looked annoyed, but eventually he started laughing with me. Within five minutes, he was hooting so hard, he got tears in his eyes.

“Well, Darryl said it was funny,” he said through choking laughter.

“Who’s Darryl?” I asked.

“Oh, he helped me after me pants split.”

“How did he help you?” I inquired.

“See?” Brett lifted his pants up again, and I saw Darryl had helped him by securing the rip with plastic zip ties!

So, instead of showing everyone innocuous red briefs all day, he opted for sharp white plastic sticking out of his crotch.

Now, that’s something I believe even the One World Government couldn’t engineer!

Working My Life Away

I’m thinking of buying a cot.

Cot is actually a really fun word to say. Cot. Cot. Cot. (We sleep-deprived writers take joy where we find it.)

Anyway, I’ve been working so much lately – late nights and weekends - I’m thinking I would save money on gas if I’d just start sleeping at my office. I’ve got enough room to stretch out, and I could still work, even it if was 3:00 a.m.

I never, ever seem to run out of work. Back in the old days, I would have (what I used to refer to as) “a slow time.” Not anymore. Work is constant, and while I love the job security (and my job itself) I’m one tired writer.

Brett says I should try to take a week off (I laughed so hard, I actually cried. He’s comedian, that one). I’ve got the vacation time, which is nice, but the work would just pile up while I was off, and I’d come back and start acting like a raving lunatic after only an hour. Working at the level I am now is exhausting, but at least it’s a manageable hurricane.

So, anyway, I spent a good portion of the weekend working, cot-less, on Friday night and Saturday morning. But, I got a short reprieve for the rest of Saturday, and like a condemned man about to be pardoned, I jumped at the chance!

(P.S. – This does not mean I equate my job with being in prison. I really do like it. I’ve just been there A LOT lately.)

I joined Mom, Angie, Jackie, Alice, and Lois (Alice’s mom) for Agatha Christie’s play A Daughter’s A Daughter at Rockford Valley College’s Studio Theater.

I sat next to Angie where we would occasionally be reduced to Junior High girls with giggles at the way the old guy in front of us laughed. This was surprising behavior for a mother of five – I’m looking at you, Angie. (In all fairness, he did laugh like the Count on Sesame Street. ONE! AH! AH! AH! TWO! AH! AH! AH!)

Afterwards, Mom, Angie, Jackie, and I went to Red Robin in Rockford. Angie had recommended it, saying she’d enjoyed the one in Janesville.

When I told Jackie where we were headed, she looked like she just swallowed a frog.

“It’s a burger joint, isn’t it?” (Jackie is a genteel friend of my mother’s, and I never thought I would hear something like “burger joint” come out of her mouth.)

When we got to the restaurant, we discovered it was extremely family friendly (which is a nice way to say there were little rapscallions running all over the place). Mom, Jackie, and I (all accustomed to the quietness of Olive Garden) were a bit overwhelmed as we bellowed our orders to the waitress/disinterested person.

Angie was right at home, as I guess a mother of five young children would be.

The food was actually pretty good. And the kids standing on chairs and crawling up the walls made for interesting entertainment. It did not annoy me (you eagle-eyed mommies out there) since we WERE in a place designed for such, um, well…behavior (I guess).

Had I known…well, that would be a different story.

As we headed to our cars, Angie remarked on how nice it was.

“Well, except for all the kids.” I said.

“They weren’t that bad,” she protested.

“Um, yeah. To you. You know, since you’re immune.”

“Oh, stop acting like kids are a disease,” she says to me. Like it’s true

Jackie begged off for the rest of the party. After her experience at the “burger joint,” she probably thought we were headed to see Horton Hears A Who.

The three of us actually decided to take in a showing of the gambling movie 21. It was pretty good overall, although no doubt Angie got sick of me whispering in her ear how much I dislike – intensely dislike – Kate Bosworth.

I have never cared for KB. First of all, she’s unrealistically thin. Her body is so tiny, her head looks like a giant lollipop. Secondly, I just don’t think she’s attractive. At all. And thirdly, in this movie, her hairstyle is extremely ugly – just flat up against her big ‘ol lollipop head. Ugh.

The main character is a new guy, a relatively unknown actor. He looks like a young Paul McCartney which isn’t all that bad.

Mom was extremely nice to Angie and me – not yelling at us as we whispered movie-ending theories to each other during the move.

We do this often, trying to guess who will be right. Mom was a trooper. And I think she liked the previews for Made of Honor more than the entire 21 movie. So, I guess we owe her that movie now.

And that was the end of Saturday.

Sunday was church – Jason Scott and I were both in Pastor’s eye line while he was preaching, and we both kept yawning. So much so, that Pastor remarked the crowd was “sleepy.” Later, Jason and I told each other we both thought he just kept looking at US!

Poor Pastor. The message was actually very good.

Sunday night we opted to stay in and get our house in order. Brett got us caught up on bills, and I cleaned, cleaned, and cleaned!

Overall, a social, fun, enriching, and productive weekend.

Now, of course, it’s back to my cell.

I mean, my office.

Stuff Christians Like

I just have to plug this site.

My friend Cindy referenced it on her blog, and I spent the better part of the evening reading and nodding my head ferociously through tears of laughter.

This guy obviously did not grow up quite as cloistered as I did – we NEVER would have been allowed to listen to MC Hammer or sing Our God Is an Awesome God in church - but he still gets a lot of it right.

If you’re a Christian who grew up in the 90’s, you’re going to LOVE Stuff Christians Like!