Tuesday, February 28, 2012


The other day I decided to take Zoe for a wander through the house. She’s a very nosy and noisy bird and will squawk until she’s given the royal tour. Crash and Burn are still quite curious about our newest housemate and will gaze with longing upon her, and when we let her out to sit on the perch that’s on top of the cage, they tend to wear their eyeballs out staring.

I figured it might be time for an introduction.

It happened rather serendipitously one day when I was taking Zoe for her stroll. Both cats had positioned themselves on either side of the walkway and were waiting patiently for our approach. Deciding to quell their curiosity in a somewhat controlled situation, I began making introductions. The Result follows.

Me: Would you like to meet birdy? Zoe, this is Crash. Crash, this is Zoe.
Crash: oooh, yum! I mean, hello there, sweet morsel of OHMYGAWD! DID YOU SEE WHAT SHE JUST DID? OH! OH! THAT BIRD JUST BOOPED MY NOSE! BOOPED! MY! NOSE!
Me: How sweet, she just gave you a kiss on the nose.
Crash: oh no she di’in’t! She BOOPED my nose, bitch. Get that feathered menace away from me! Oh, sweet Bast! Is my nose still there? I must…run awaaaaaay!
Me: Well birdy, you sure scared Miss Crash. Well, Burn, it looks like it’s your turn. Would you like to meet the nice little bir—
Burn: No! No, I’m good, thanks. Really. I’m kind of busy at the moment, see I need to leave right now and clean my bottom, because I think I just soiled myself. That bird just booped Crash’s nose. Not good, not good at all. I should help her look for her nose.

In the bathroom, we found ANOTHER DAMN BIRD! One that needed to be put directly in its place immediately, if not sooner! We threatened, hissed, and booped its nose, but it refused to leave. Mind you, it happens to be an extraordinarily attractive bird, but competition of that caliber is just too much. Too much.

I wiped the bird stuff off the mirror and we left.

We walked into the kitchen to introduce ourselves to the kitchen goddess, even though Tam knows perfectly well who we are. However, it was not a good idea on my part because the presence of a bird in the kitchen made the resident goddess come a bit unhinged.

Tam: Ack! There’s a bird in my kitchen! I do not need birds in the kitchen.
Me: She’s fine. Look, she’s just sitting on my finger.
Tam: (shaking a soapy, dishwater hand at Zoe) No flying in the kitchen! She’s going to fly! Look at her, she’s going to fly. I do not want her flying in the kitchen. If she does, YOU’RE going to have to wash…EVERYTHING! Every single thing. Besides, she might boop my nose, and it would take me forever to find it in here.
Me: Come on, Zoe, let’s go. And you thought that bird in the bathroom was scary. Sheesh.

I’ve decided to not introduce her to Frog Woggins. He is already traumatized by living in a cage next door to the screeching menace, a face-to-face meeting would probably be too much. Besides, I don’t think you can boop a frog’s nose, can you?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Noodle Arms and Washing Machines

Today was one of those busy days that just take everything out of me. After putting off repairs to the washing machine for nearly a year, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and get it done. It beat trying to convince male offspring to remember to replace the towel that is used to sop up all the water gushing from said machine.

Anyway, the broken part was hideously expensive and that was one of the reasons the repairs were never finished. Or even started, for that matter, but I digress. The part arrived right on schedule and after watching the video and writing down all the steps necessary to fix the machine, Tam and I headed down to the futility room to do the deed.

Imagine our delight at discovering that the machine on the video was CLOSE to our model, but not the exact same one. In fact, some of the differences were rather important and would have been nice to know ahead of time.

Of course, knowing where my tools were ahead of time would have been nice as well, but we live with males and males tend to abscond with tools and leave them places that no woman would, or should ever be asked to go. I ended up going to the store for yet another nut driver because the one we could find wasn’t going to work. Insert sadface and a LOT of swearing here.

Once inside the machine, I accidentally broke a couple of possibly important pieces, and nearly lopped off a few fingers that did not belong to me. Fortunately my beloved has very quick reflexes, thereby saving her digits. The guy on the video took that front door panel off and, while he was holding it, unhooked the door latch wiring assembly and then set the door panel gently off to the side.

I am a strong woman, but that damn front panel nearly herniated my entire body, so I’m thinking I need to find that guy on the video and fill his underwear with kryptonite and then hand him that damn door panel.

Oh, and on MY machine, you cannot undo the wiring assembly; you must find someone willing to hold the heavy door panel. Thankfully we had access to a small wooden child’s chair that was the perfect height. But Tam had to hold the door and hand me the tools and parts I needed.

After all that, we had to put it back together. I’d just like to say, wow…that sucked. It’s pretty obvious the machine was designed by a man, because no woman in her right mind would do such a thing. That last spring that I needed to attach was a mean muthafucker.

Once it was done, we were too damn chicken to try it out right away. What if it didn’t work? Then all we’d accomplished was to break some plastic bits that weren’t on the video and strain every muscle we own.

But we finally got brave and ran a small load of towels. It was lovely to watch the machine do its thing and NOT leave a puddle on the floor. I celebrated by giving Bubba and Tam haircuts. It was right about then that I discovered that either my arms were growing weaker with fatigue or the electric trimmer was getting REALLY heavy. Or maybe someone snuck some kryptonite into my underwear that was the problem all along.

Despite the travails of our 90 minutes of repair hell (not including the trip to the store for replacement tools), I’m rather proud of what we did. However, I do not think I’ll try it again. Now that I know I can do it, and what all is required for a successful repair job, I am more than happy to call in an expert to make it go.

And he’d better break a sweat on that damn thing or risk winding up sporting kryptonite underpants.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Letting Be.

Recently I was blessed to be able to spend a day with one of my absolutely most favorite people of all time. We’ve not seen each other in over a year and a half and prior to that it had been many months since our last visit so there was a lot of catching up to do.

She also knows my former in-laws and reluctantly answered a few questions that had been bugging me.

I’m not sure I can express my gratitude to her for giving me the gift of relaxing. You see, ever since the separation and divorce, I’ve been killing myself trying to be kind. Reaching out, helping, being friendly and trying to be friends with them. I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working. “Say ‘hi’ to your folks for me,” I tell him, but it was never reciprocated. The only time his mother mentioned me was to tell him I should be invited to my son’s graduation party that was being held in conjunction with my niece’s party.

It was my ex-mother-in-law’s comment that gave me hope that we could put things behind us and move forward like adults. Socialize, be friends and former family members. After all, we share family. My children are still my children and their grandchildren/niece/nephews, and that connection will never change. But I heard nothing from them. I worried that my messages weren’t getting through. I fretted and fussed.

This weekend, I was given the gift to let it go, to let be. This weekend I found out they don’t want my friendship. They are not comfortable with me because, despite what they’ve said (to me!) in the past, gay people make them “uneasy”. Now I know why all my attempts at being friendly were rebuffed and unwanted. I was making a damn fool of myself and didn’t even know it.

My dear friend is not like them, and she’s raised her children to accept people from all walks of life. She is an awesome mom, and awesome friend, and an all around awesome person. She does not think she did a good thing, because she’s afraid it hurt my feelings.

Quite the contrary, actually. She gave me the gift of freedom. I don’t have to be all socially acceptable and polite and ask after his family any more. I have my children, and my nieces and nephews who mean a great deal to me and who still call me Auntie. I still have my dear friend, and you know what? That is enough for me when it comes to that bunch. I will not talk the family down to my kids, because it’s their family too, and that wouldn’t be fair. I’ll save my bitching for when they’re not around.

My friend and I got caught up on our kids, we talked about jobs, we talked about shopping, and we talked about food. We talked about the important things. We unburdened our hearts, turned our backs on past aches, and we’re making plans to get together again.

I can’t wait.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Saturday Stuff

Tam’s making soup and the smell is driving me crazy. I cannot wait for it to be done. I’m not sure what all she put into it, but if it tastes even half as good as it smells the ingredient list won’t matter.

Life has been kind of crazy lately, but it’s not anything we can’t get through.

Tam’s had a run of awesomeness though and I attribute it all to cutting gluten from her life. Seriously, the change in her has been amazing and it’s all good. We’re discovering just how sensitive she is to the stuff when we accidentally ingest some of it. She ends up with a severe migraine and other unpleasant maladies that just make her feel terrible.

I’m not quite as sensitive, but when I do get some, I realize just how uncomfortable I thought “normal” was on a daily basis. Ick.

Tam’s been working on her sculptures and I will begin shooting the scenes as soon as we get a photo booth set up. We’re making a calendar using her figurines and I cannot wait to share it with everyone. She does amazing work.

My editing has been shuffled off to the side on several occasions, but I did get to go toe-to-toe with it this weekend. I’ve hit a rough patch and it’s taking me a lot longer than I’d hoped. I’m still planning on having it done by the end of the month. At that point I’ll be searching out e-publishers and self-publishing options.

I did our taxes this weekend and I’m so very glad to have that over and done with. It was an unpleasant process that required a lot of digging through piles for the right paperwork, then discovering none of it was necessary. I’d hoped to get some kind of break for buying a hybrid vehicle, but I missed out on that little piece of good luck by one year. Damn.

This is a lovely long weekend for us; the district took away our mid-winter break, but gave us a four-day weekend. While the time off is splendid, the other reason we miss the week-long vacation is it had a tendency to cut the passing of the stomach flu to the rest of the world. Keep them all home for a week, let that virus die out, then we can all start again without fear of joining the barf brigade. When they took away that mid-winter break, that nasty stomach bug would make the rounds and cause all kinds of trouble for staff and students alike.

The Writer’s Group is… fine. It’s not going quite the way I wanted it to go, and now I have this one gal who won’t stop interrupting, who insists upon throwing in absurd ideas (“Let’s give her a mustache, but instead of a real mustache, it’s really a squirrel that lives on her upper lip!”) No. Just…no. I’m all for creativity, but there’s got to be a point where we stop thinking like cartoon characters and start thinking, and acting, like writers.

Maybe I’m being a little stuffy, but this isn’t a cartoon club, it’s a writing club.


On a very bright note (well, a bright note with a slightly tarnished lining), Washington state will finally join the states allowing same sex couples the right to marry. The bad news is that the federal government will still not recognize the marriage and subsequent rights of survivorship. But Washington’s move is a small step, but an important one in the right direction. Eventually it will happen, I have hope.

In the meantime, my fiancée and I will enjoy our engagement.

Friday, February 10, 2012

29 Years

29 years ago (well, 29 years and two days ago), I became a mom. I was scared, amazed, and totally in love with six pounds of squalling, red-faced, demanding bundle of…joy? It was back when they allowed new mothers to stay for several days in the hospital, giving them a chance to recover and get to know their baby in a safe place where there were plenty of people around to help.

I was very happy for that help when the day came to take her home. The Turd (her sperm donor and my first ex spouse) had brought the carefully chosen “going home” outfit and I reveled in dressing my little doll in a one-piece sleeper. I held her up to show everyone how sweet she looked. She screwed up her face and proceeded to fill the feet of her sleeper with her very first poop. Gawd, it was EVERYWHERE! So much poop from such a tiny baby. I stood there watching those poop-filled sleeper feet swinging gently to and fro, then I turned to the nurse and said, “I don’t know what to do.”

Spawn hasn’t changed much over the years, except to get taller than me. Oh, and she’s stopped spontaneously filling her pants with poop. She still makes that face though.

Looking back, I can say it was easy when she was little. I knew what she was doing, where she was going, and who she was with at any given moment. I fixed her boo-boos, helped her stay healthy, and when she was sad, I held her until she was happy again.

Somehow she managed to grow to adulthood despite my less than perfect parenting. She’s living a life that is different than mine, wearing clothes I would not choose for her, hanging with people I don’t know, and going places I’ve never been. She can apply her own bandages and mind her health, and when she’s sad…sometimes I still get to hold her, but she has friends (those people I don’t know) who also get to help her pick up the pieces.

It’s a part of growing up that everyone gets to do, kids and parents alike. That letting go process that scares us when they’re little, and we look forward to when they turn into those truly obnoxious teens. Letting go is hard and those first long nights after they’ve moved away are some of the worst in my life. Every siren screamed my name.

I’d love to say it gets easier, but I’d be lying like a rug. Of course, there are times when having the house to ourselves is a lovely treat, but we still miss them.

We’ll miss the ones who are old enough to be true adults; the ones who will always be our first babies; the ones with the spectacular first poop. The ones who survived ignorant parents, boiled pacifiers, and some of the first disposable diapers (those dreadful taped-on, soft as sandpaper nappies).

Of course it’s nice to converse like adults, or as adult-like as we choose to be at any given moment, and to know that when a problem arises, they’ll try to figure it out on their own first.

29 years ago, I changed from being a person to being a mom. It’s been interesting; mostly fun, a lot of scary, and so much silly. I like being a mom. I like being your mom, Spawn. I love you.

Some things may never change, but others change too much. It’s been kind of sad around here lately no matter how much I hold my daughter. I would appreciate as many positive thoughts and prayers, energy, candles, whatever you use to send out the good vibes to someone very dear to us. He’s going through a very difficult time and right now we can’t find him.

He is loved, but I don’t think he knows or understands it. Depression does that to people and they don’t see it. All three of his Mamma’s love him and want him safe. We want him to get help. We understand that pain because we’ve all been there to some degree. We’re here. We’ll help.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Introducing: Zoe

About a year ago, Spawn was the lucky recipient of a cockatiel. Spawn-in-law hated the critter and made no effort to bond with their feathered friend. After a while, it became apparent that the bird would need to be sent away to a home where she would be loved and cared for in a manner that would befit her wonderful self.

Guess who has a new bird?

I wasn’t sure it would ever happen again, after all, losing Pokey was devastating and it still aches when I see his favorite toy hanging in the apple tree outside the office window. But when Spawn said she needed to find a home for Zoe, I was more than happy to offer the little bird a sanctuary. The only question that remained was when it would happen.

She arrived unexpectedly, so we had to scramble to make space. Her cage was kind of barren and hadn’t been properly cleaned due to lack of a good space to do that at Spawn’s tiny apartment. Tam was home ill for a couple days, so she and Zoe got to visit quite a bit right after she got here. I will admit I was more than a little jealous.

But I made up for it in spades on my first Saturday with the bird. First, I cleaned the cage (the part I could do easily without someone to keep an eye on the cats). Then I put a small handful of orchard grass hay into a corner of the cage.

Now, when we added anything new to Pokey’s cage, he would flip the hell out, squawking and avoiding it like the plague. It took him forever to finally acknowledge his bed. If I’d put hay in his cage, he would never have come down to eat. Ever.

Zoe not only came down, she stomped through that tiny pile of grass then chewed a couple of pieces before going back up to her favorite perch. Deciding she was ok with the addition, I added enough to cover the bottom of the cage a couple inches thick.

You’d have thought I’d just given her the world on a silver platter. She stomped around, dug, picked, and otherwise carried on in a very silly manner. We noticed other interesting changes as well, mainly that she was quieter. She hadn’t squawked her ear-splitting screech once since I’d put the hay in her cage. I do believe we have a very content bird in our midst.

The cats are enchanted with their oddly packaged snack, and frequently wait for us to open the door and allow them full access. Until we DO open the door, because when that damn snack comes flying at them, all flappy and shit, they do what makes the most sense: they run away and hide. Right after that little exhibition of extreme cowardice, they will sit in the nearest window and make chirping noises at the wild birds outside.

These are not rocket-scientist types of cats. Crash and Burn are fluffy-brained nincompoops, who show their love by digging their claws into your flesh and drooling on your clothes. They are also quite enchanted with crickets…and the paper bags in which I bring home crickets for the frog.

The last time I was at the pet store, I asked for two large (“dinosaur”) crickets in a lunch sack sized paper bag. I brought them home and put the bag on the floor. Immediately, they were interested and the male stuck his head inside the bag to investigate. Of course, the bag, not realizing the rules of the game, refused to simply stay on the floor, and was now being worn on the head of a cat. Said cat was confused and began backing up. It did not work, and the humans were no help at all. It’s hard to help when you’re laughing so hard all you can do is point and then laugh even harder.

He finally slipped out of the trap and gave each of us a nasty glare before IMMEDIATELY sticking his head BACK in the bag.

Sister cat realized her brother was being particularly stupid and began bathing to show her distain. Had his head not been inside a paper bag, he might have been offended.

Their curiosity about the bird still lands them in trouble, despite their terror of the winged menace when she’s flying directly at them. They’ll hang out behind the cage, staring and plotting like they actually have a chance to make good on their fantasies. The bird, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to give a rip, and goes about her merry way throwing seed hulls and bits of hay hither and yon.

But now my home feels complete. I didn’t realize just how much I was missing having a bird until Zoe arrived and made those familiar cockatiel sounds.

I’m really glad she’s here.

Friday, February 3, 2012


Spawn works at the same school I do, so we will occasionally cross paths during the day. It’s a nice way to keep up since I dropped facebook. We had the opportunity to chat the other day, so I asked her how things were going. Her teacher is out on maternity leave, and she’s working with a sub I’ve had in my classroom before. What she told me was NOT something I wanted to hear.

Evidently, said sub has an issue with “teh gayz.” This sub actually asked Spawn if certain students are gay, then she went on to ask if Spawn thought the guy subbing in the front office was gay (probably because he didn’t flirt with her like all the other men at that school), and she’s extremely religious. Religious to the point of making my Pagan daughter quite uncomfortable, because homophobia just isn’t enough of an annoyance.

She has issues with gay people. The woman who works with my daughter has issues with gay people. Ummm, I am a gay people and I’m starting to have issues with this teacher. Big issues. Big hairy this-won’t-end-nicely kind of issues.

Tam wants her to go down in flames.

I’m not sure I want that, but at the same time, if she makes my daughter feel bad (or worse) because of her homophobia or religious zealotry, then perhaps I will grab my box of matches and we’ll just see what happens.

It might be one of those encounters where she makes a comment when I’m right there, and I can make my displeasure known and demand an apology. I talked to a friend who works at a high school and she said that several kids from my school who had moved up had also moved out of the closet. The thought of those same kids being subjected to the narrow-minded, hateful opinions of that “teacher” makes my stomach hurt. Imagine the damage she could inflict on a frightened, confused kid. It could be devastating.

The monkey wrench in all this? It turns out the sub and Spawn used to be in the same youth choir at a church we attended when the family was young and I was still trying to be a Christian. Spawn and the sub are a year apart in age and I’m guessing with their shared past this sub feel she has a connection with Spawn, a “kindred spirit” feeling on certain members of the populace. She’s wrong and we’re uncertain how to tread on this ground.

What would you do?