Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I realize that it is risky to confess on an international stage--(yikes, someone from Turkey has read this blog). However, I have to come clean...in a manner of speaking.

My children are pigs. Completely, without hesitation, porcine in nature and behavior. When I look at buying a car, I consider the ability to power-wash the interior as a big plus. I have seen pens at the State Fair that look more hospitable than my living room on a Friday night. My car has greasy footprints on the windshield. Honestly, I think I would have a better chance being a housekeeper for a group of Vikings.

As I make my continuous rounds through the house, I regularly pick up about 20 hair rubber bands per day, most with hair wrapped around them. Then there are the socks. Handyman and I are constantly finding socks, EVERYWHERE. In the yard, on the tramp, on the driveway, on the porch, in the car, in the hall, in the treehouse, in the barn (not kidding) under the table, on the couch. And why don't I throw them away, you might ask...because then Handyman would have to cough up some of his hard-earned cash to buy more. That whole Arnold Schwarzneggar method of, "if it's not put away, I throw it away", works fine if your bank account is in Switzerland. Mine is a little less self-sustaining.

Plus the efforts keep my back limber, the bending and stooping to pick up the 57 paper napkins under the dining room table each day. I have never seen napkins reproduce like this. I know that no one uses them. I hand them out, they put them in their laps and they brush them onto the floor and we start over...and I've seen that floor up close and personal. There is no re-use going on after that. (I had to train the firefighter's kids not to eat anything that hits the floor here. No 5-second rule, kids. These boots have been in the chicken yard.)

When my jeans hit the floor at night, the left pocket is grossly swollen with teeny pink legos (yes, they make them), Polly Pocket attire to outfit a small city, several Puffs Plus (they don't come apart in the wash!), crochet hooks, safety pins, marbles (no one ever plays with them), dog kibble (to reward those who come--dogs not kids!), apple cores, old band-aids, drill bits (found in the washer) and the occasional odd change.

Fortunately, I am gifted with the indomitable spirit of the insane--optimism. Each day I tell myself, "Today, the bathroom sinktop will stay clean until Handyman gets home." or, "Today I will look for the bathroom sinktop." or "Today, I will go into their bathroom and use a lightsaber on the dried toothpaste foam coating the sink top." or my favorite, "Today, #1 will want to clean/shovel her room out to make herself feel better.

But expect them to A)close the bandaid box or pick up the band aid wrappers; B)rinse their spit from the sink; C)pick up the open shampoo bottle lying on the floor or C)get more toilet paper for the next person...??? That is indeed to set oneself up for disappointment.

#2 and #3 are still small enough that I can make them clean their room. And I am so thankful to have hardwood floor, so we can sweep all the bits into a pile and sort through the dog hair and dirty socks to pick out the princess jewels and (more) Polly clothes.

Christmas is coming, so I sense more toys in the future. I've asked Mimi to take the youngers so I can rummage through their current posessions and clear out. I know we have too much stuff, and that's most of the problem. But these kids would step over me if I was spurting blood on the dining room floor, just to avoid having to help with the mess.

The rule is, if you find the cat barf, you clean the cat barf. So, the inverse is, if you do not "notice" the cat barf, Mom will eventually find it when it is dehydrated and shriveled and we've stepped over it for a week. Also, if we stuff bowls of popcorn at the back of our loft beds, Mom won't venture in this far and we can hoard it. When I do climb the bed ladders to retrieve all my kitchen ware, there are cups with home-grown yogurt going full-steam ahead and candy wrappers by the bushel.

I know they will eventually have their own domiciles and I cannot wait. Just last week, my BFF related how her oldest was complaining about his new roommates leaving the milk sitting out and all the lights on when they were gone. She was ecstatic. Then he bought some whole wheat bread, because one of his roommates said it was better for you. She jerked the cart to a halt in the store aisle and retorted, "Oh, just because I told you that for 18 years, doesn't matter?!"

Amazing how parents get smarter as kids get older...

Saturday, November 7, 2009



The "tipped" ear is actually a purposeful mark from the Feral Cat Group in our area. They catch 'em, neuter 'em and release 'em. They "tip" their left ear to mark who's been "done". Then when the Humane Society takes them in throughout whatever manner, they also know from the ear tip that that cat is already neutered. Thus, they don't have to spend a lot of time on them...which is how our barn cat "JOE" ended up being a girl! ;) Now she is Jo, as in Jo March, not Joe Hardy.

Here's Bob renamed Tony, who continues to amaze us with his fabulous personality. He has met three nutty, loud, pushy dogs and two other cats and hasn't hissed one time. He has been chased and nibbled and carried around and has yet to stop smiling. He leaps up on the bed and trots around the house looking for company. How he ever ended up in the slammer is beyond me (although he is missing the tip of one ear, which says frostbite).

Crazy...that song by Patsy Cline...that aptly describes our weather, our remodeling, our furniture arranging, the laundry and our recent trip to the Humane Society.

Uh oh, you should be saying. I know someone is going to get me that shirt that says, "one cat away from being the crazy cat lady". And I probably deserve it. I have already told Handyman that once the kids are gone, I will probably be an animal hoarder--who CLEANS the litterboxes.

Anyway, our county shelter, right next to the 4H fairgrounds where we live all summer, is a no-kill shelter. One of the few in our entire state. It was in the news all week due to being maxed out: 18 dogs in crates in the lobby, one day of 15 dogs coming in, one person bringing in 21 kittens in one day...yada yada. What is the matter with people?

Attached to our Humane Society is a LOW-COST SPAY/NEUTER CLINIC! How easy is this people? You can spay your cat for less than $30, in one day and never worry about this again, OR you can pretend you owe this little creature nothing and push your responsibilities off on the rest of us (READ TAXPAYERS), to the tune of at least $150 per animal, according to the staffer yesterday.

So, we were there to get feral cats for our barn. They would be neutered, vaccinated and microchipped and they would be free. My favorite price. I told them I wanted boys and that I knew my kids wouldn't rest until the feral cats were non-feral anymore. But, no boy cats in the feral room--would I be interested in less-social tame cats for my barn, for free?? Uh, yeah.

Then, as we waited to see the wall flowers, we gazed at the big glass-enclosed room with the sign overhead saying, "These 6 cats URGENTLY need a home", and I asked what was the story with these 6 particular cats? Well, they are the ones that are just done with the whole cage-living situation and really, really need to get out. So they get to socialize in there and jump on shelves and hang out listening to the never-ending barking going on in the lobby.

So I start reading the little personality profiles hanging there and then I get choked up thinking of Mr. Bingley, who was here when we came and how much we miss him and I say, trying not to cry, "I could probably be talked into another cat..."

And they smile and beckon me in to the little room.

Where I meet "Bob", who butts the brim of my hat with his head so hard that it almost falls off. And I say, "I'll take him too." And they gave me the free shirt that says "SOFTY".

Okay, not really. But I did bring Bob home, along with two quiet guys originally named Reebok and Thomas, now named Joe and Frank for the Hardy Boys. Joe and Frank are friendly and adjusting to life in the hayloft. They look nothing alike and I pray to heaven they like to catch mice...