Deliver Me From Material

I get my nails done only when an occasion demands it, and a destination wedding in the tropics was telling me I had to. Because I hate to argue with the tropics, I grabbed the first kid-free opportunity I had and headed straight to BK Nails.

The massage chair is actually my favorite part of the experience.  I am a fan of “kneading fingers” but am also partial to the “swedish massage” setting–even though this tends to annoy the ladies who are carefully trying to turn my fat-Saxon hands into lady fingers. This is not easy to do.  My husband has shared with me that I have tragic farmer hands, since they sort of look like they were stuck in a combine at some point.  His observation is way too funny to be hurtful and completely accurate.  My fingers are noticeably bent and lacking symmetry. My cuticles are unruly. I avoid them. Good thing the wizards at BK know how to pretty them up.  I know they covertly talk about my unfortunate hands in their native tongue but I can also feel their satisfaction when the acrylic magic is applied and my wayward hands become presentable…almost  attractive.

My toes are not noteworthy, but, my ankles are sad and thick.  They really are.  I have grown fond of their sturdiness and have learned to embrace them as hard-working weight-bearing entities worthy of praise. I get the feeling though, that the women of BK nails feel sorry for me when I pull up my pant legs to reveal the ankles and my hefty calves. That is why the leg reveal is always the low point of my visit.

In preparation for the customary soothing foot soak, I tried to pull up my pant legs.  I knew right away I should not have chosen my cozy olive green parachute pants. The opening of the pants was small–very small.  No match for my abundance.  I tugged at the stubborn garment with increasing intensity and began to panic as the pedicurist approached. I was finally able to will the elastic up and over my calf with a sigh of relief, and then regret. The right pant leg didn’t make it that far. It got stuck just half way up my smug little shin. My tenacity had taken an unfortunate turn.

The manicure and pedicure commenced simultaneously, but I was not feeling pampered. All I could think about was the pant situation.

The fabric hugged just below my left knee like a tourniquet. My leg was going numb.  My hands were being manicured and were unavailable for problem solving. How was I ever going to get my pant legs down?  Typically the nail specialist repositions your clothing at the end of the service. The idea of her attempting to deliver my leg from the clutches of my own pants was horrifying. All I could think about was how to avoid that moment and save my leg.

Each time I was left alone for a moment, I would try to convince the depressing green fabric to submit and curse my colossal legs.

FLASHBACK                                                                                                                              Tinglestadt Hall –Pacific Lutheran University                                                                           Circa 1997

I hadn’t worn a dress in months.  I didn’t really like exposing my lower extremities to others, but I found a cute little number worthy of courage.  I put on my Doc Martin boots and my new little black babydoll dress with white flowers and confidently entered the hallway. I had not even made it to the elevator before the sound of a vacuum in use abruptly ceased.

Georgia, the truth-telling housekeeper, approached with purpose.

“Girl!!!!  You got some BIG LEGS! Suma gemalema hotdog%!”

To this day…The last sentence uttered by Georgia is a mystery.

Some believe she said, man, I’m gonna get me a hot dog..\                                                   Others contend it was something more like : Damn, they look good. Hot Dog!                                                              I just hope it wasn’t: Man, they look like a couple hot dogs. 

Whatever she declared that day, it was hurtful, and kept me in pants for years.

Return to Present

It was clear that scissors were going to be necessary to escape my own pants.

My nails were dry. It was time to pay . She reached to “assist me”.

Oh no, no…I am way too hot just leave them. 

She looked at me defiantly and made a second attempt.

Oh no please. I am really too hot and I like them like this. 

She wasn’t buying it. Maybe because it was by no means hot out.  She went for the the haphazard pants again.

I get hot. I like them like this. 

She digressed and accepted payment in spite of my weird request.

Now it was time to mosey next door to Desert Tan. This would be my only opportunity to turn my vulnerable legs a tender shade of beige before visiting those bossy tropics. It’s embarrassing enough to feel you need a spray tan in order to be presentable. It’s far worse, when you can’t get one because you are stuck in your own pants.

Hey do you have a pair of scissors? I need to cut off a tag, I lied confidently.

It would not be easy to get my legs out of fabric prison without being detected by the tanning specialist.  I dropped down and frantically tried to work the scissors around the material that held onto me like vice grips.  Another customer walked in. I was done pretending though. All I cared about was keeping my leg. I cut and ripped and pulled until I was free and handed the scissors nonchalantly back to the girl behind the counter. I was free. Sure, I looked like Bruce Banner after a meltdown, but it was better than losing a limb in a bizarre pedicure incident.

 

Poll:

Have you ever been stuck in your own clothes? If so, how did you solve this problem?

*Mike and I went on our first date twenty years ago today!  Full of love for him. We wear each other well.

 

 

 

 

Sparkygate 2017

The Sparky costume lives in Janitorial Closet #2.  It is an uncomfortably small room, but well organized and unsuspicious–like a telephone booth. It’s never easy to put on the 5-piece orca costume, which comes with a faux tummy attachment to make Sparky extra huggable, but it is even more challenging when three of your children are with you asking questions and trying to help.  However, I thought it might bring some levity to an otherwise tumultuous morning of missing shoes, compromised lunch boxes and poor time management to include the children in my part time gig.  It worked. Soon we were laughing and hugging in the snuggly little closet — even deciding on a theme song for Sparky’s entrance. Ki suggested Back in Black.  Finally, we had achieved unity.  Nothing can bring people together like mascots can, except maybe Field Day…

We opened the door and exited “the phone booth” with slow motion swagger like Resevoir Dogs –ACDC playing on my phone in the background, muffled by my fuzzy fin.

Our first encounter was with my daughter’s Kindergarten teacher.  Her enthusiasm was palpable, appreciated and just what I needed to get really pumped up. Pictures were taken. High fives, “or fins” were exchanged. It was time to head outside…

Get ready kids, I thought. It’s Field Day–and Sparky came to play.

The Pasley kids went to their respective lines, proud of their mom and their school.  Abel,  a Pre K graduate, was my handler. We walked lockstep out onto the blacktop, where students mingled in haphazard lines awaiting the bell that would usher in Field Day fun.

The Kindergarteners were the first recipients of Sparky’s friendliness. They gently waved their little innocent hands and requested hugs from the lovable whale with subtle gestures, like outstretched arms, and doe eyed stares. I was in the zone.  Clever dance steps, and strategic fin placement communicated school spirit and tenderness all at once.

Damn, it feels good to be a mascot.

IMG_9002

As I moved beyond the lines of Kindergarteners, more and more children approached like a tide coming in. This wasn’t my first rodeo though.  I had a handler.  Sure he was less than four feet tall, and no where to be found, but, I knew he was out there somewhere. Perhaps even surveying the situation and seeking out an adult or two who could help out if things went off the rails.

IMG_8933.JPG

I felt a dorsal fin pull here and there as the crowd grew, but knew that came with the territory.  I am sure the Mariner Moose has had a child or two test his antlers. It wasn’t until, all the recipients of my mascot merriment were eye level, that I realized the demographic had changed. These were not students who wanted a little Field Day inspiration from their friendly neighborhood whale, these were older kids who were hell bent on discovering Sparky’s identity.

They begin to press their pre pubescent faces against the black screen that protected my personage.  Worse yet, their morbid curiosity became a challenge to one another. I took up defensive position against a thin white pole and looked for an adult while the diabolical boys batted at my head shouting out clues to one another.

It’s a girl!!!  They shouted as they caught a glimpse of my pony tail.

They pushed and pulled at my second skin, laughing maniacally. The heavy whale head bobbing up and down on my shoulders. I was drowning.

And then…

It happened…

Sparky got decapitated.

My sweaty head, and tousled hair sat naked atop the fuzzy whale costume in the middle of the populated playground of stunned children. It was like an episode of Scooby Doo.

A demonic voice came out of me that had previously been reserved only for difficult parenting situations..

“HEY!!!!!!! UNBELIEVABLE BEHAVIOR!” I screamed, Orca head in hand.

My eyes began to fill with tears as I looked around the school yard at all the the horrified faces.  My cover was blown. Worse yet,  I had broken the only hard and fast rule of mascotting (outside the handler height requirement) –never let them see you cry.

I placed the shamed whale head back over my own and walked toward Janitorial Closet #2, leaving in my wake a viral tale that is sure to live in elementary school lore forever.

Where were you when Sparky lost his head? They’ll say.

God knows I will remember where I was…

IMG_8999

________________________________________________________________________________________

*Thank you to Ms. H., Kindergarten Teacher of the Year, who let me walk around her empty classroom in a headless killer whale costume venting after the incident. I am sure the simultaneous laughing and crying was a little unnerving. Thanks for the “We Love Sparky” chant too.  It restored my faith in humanity, and made my retirement less traumatizing. 

**Please leave comments that detail what you would have said when your head came off.  I am pretty disappointed in my lack of creativity in that moment. 

 

IMG_9007

Sparky Out

Photos taken by CK Hernandez: Sparky’s 2016 Handler

 

 

Truth or Blog Part 1 — Stand up at the Comedy Underground.

“I have never done this before in my life.”

I told myself I wasn’t going to say that.  I sure as hell wasn’t going to lead with it…

The darkness had clearly thrown me. The audience was lost in the black.  A sharp light pointed down at me, causing me to pace restlessly back and forth in front of the iconic brick wall backdrop.  I was trying frantically to connect emotionally with the shadow people. First through a confession or two then with impressions, all the while clutching the mic stand like a safety rail. I thought it might stabilize my nerves and keep me funny till it was safe to depart the stage, but I couldn’t seem to stop manhandling it.  I have held a mic in my hand a thousand times for more musical reasons and never been so attached to the stand itself.

I quickly introduced my go to characters Texas Dance Mom , Ukraine Mom and Delores before being gently nudged off stage by a little musical number they use if you are oblivious to the giant red light, “time is up” signal. I guess I was too busy feeling up the microphone stand to notice.

I have been told there was much laughter, but I could hardly hear it over my howling insecurity. All I could do in the aftermath, was pick myself apart.

Why did I declare myself a novice? Why was I so nervously mobile? Why did I treat the mic stand like a Latin dance partner?  Why did I use the pork chops at a bar mitzvah joke? It’s not good and it’s not even mine.

The head of Four Square Youth Ministry  in the 90’s was a man with a penchant for the theatrical with a scant cache of go to jokes.  My favorite being the one he used whenever he wasn’t getting laughs from the Christian teens he wanted to win over, which was often…

“Well, that went over like pork chops at a Bar Mitzva!” The youth leaders would howl in an effort to  declare their knowledge of contemporary Jewish customs.  The kids never really got it.

It is a solid joke though when used correctly.  Sort of like the Crane.

I did not use it correctly. I used it like a place holder.  A go to that gave me time to think.  It was more like when Daniel Larusso used the crane a second time.  It might work in a regional tournament against Johnny but don’t even think about it if you are fighting someone protecting their honor in Okinawa.

In spite of my uninteresting opening line, the unintended youth pastor plagiarism, the inappropriate touching of the mic stand, the time management problem, and the part where I had too many glasses of wine at the end of the night and ended up crying in the car , I think I would still call it a success. I made some people laugh, mostly family, and I didn’t die trying.  Guess I can knock that one off the bucket list.

Next Challenge:  Date night with Sparky

Fun Fact:  I think I enjoy improv more than  stand up.  It was much lonelier than I thought it would be up there.  Any ideas on where I can test my improv chops?

Question of the Day?  What is something you have always wanted to try? No seriously, I want to know! Tell me all about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill Me

“I found this on the floor by my bed.”

Chaylee came shuffling down the stairs in her absurd, over sized pajamas carrying a piece of notebook paper with the word SKOR scribbled across the top and a mysterious swirly object in the center. We examined the enigmatic mound and placed our bets on what it might be.  I settled on semi dried acrylic paint of the alizarin crimson variety.  To prove my theory, I gave it a gentle poke.

“That’s not paint!  That’s not paint!”

A trickle of blood poured from the base of the innard.  Whatever organ it was, it was fresh, warm, and licked clean.

I realize that cats are hunters, but this was some next level Dexter nonsense. Not only did Bill drag the carcass of a freshly slain rabbit across the sleeping bags of slumbering children, leaving tufts of fur and bunny blood on their innocent little sleeping bags, but he then set up a coroner station by the shoe bin. I am surprised we didn’t find fava beans and a nice chianti in the toy kitchen.

Bunny, bird and rodent death had become commonplace. Especially throughout the lower levels of the house. So common, in fact, that over time all four of our children had slowly migrated upstairs to avoid accidentally stepping on bird feathers or fur balls with bare feet in the morning.  That’s what made this gruesome discover even more depressing. It was gutting to see the last bastion of bedtime peace be turned into a bunny morgue. Where on earth would the kids sleep? Would their cousins ever want to stay the night again? It was as if Bill was claiming more and more land and raising a creepy fur pelt flag over each room he deemed his.

This was not the first time I had witnessed a hostile take over of humans by an animal.

It was 1985. We were headed to Mount Rainier with Uncle Kenny and his dog, Sport. Mom and I sat in the back of the sedan with his ill behaved black lab, taking in the Bob Ross painting that had come to life outside our windows. Stevie Wonder serenaded us, via cassette tape and all seemed right in the world.  I think we would have figured out alternative travel arrangements though, if we knew Sport was prone to nausea.

We were about a half an hour into our ascent up The Mountain toward Paradise  when Sport begin to slowly thrust his head back and forth rhythmically, as if he were really, really enjoying the music. He wasn’t. Sport was not feeling  well.  A gutteral utterance was followed by a deluge of dog vomit.  Fumes filled the sedan as his quasi digested Alpo sunk into the carpet.  We rolled the windows down and found a place to pull off and problem solve.  We did away with as much of the regurgitated dog food as we could with Sport’s help. Apparently, dogs are down with with snacking on their own vomit.  Who knew?  His appetite was promising, and we did not want to disappoint the rest of the familial caravan, who were farther up the road, so we continued our journey–windows down.

We turned Stevie back on. The sun was shining. Sport seemed okay.

Until he wasn’t.

Once again, he moved his head back and forth like the Jackson 5. This time I knew he wasn’t just into music. The volume of vomit was extraordinary.  It was as if he had consumed an additional meal without our knowledge during the previous pull over. His aim seemed strategic–blanketing the swatch of carpet adjacent to his previous purging. Not very thoughtful Sport. Not very thoughtful.

We looked for a place to pull off, but without a shoulder, our options were limited. It felt like a sick joke, especially when he threw up again on the last stretch of clean carpet in the back seat and then again on the seat above it.

 

 

The stench in the car was no longer tenable. Kenny pulled over at a convenience store and threw up in a rusted garbage can outside the very rural mini mart. My mother,who was born with a overly sympathetic gag reflex, dry heaved vociferously along side him.  The hills were alive with the sound of vomit…I looked on with a churning stomach and visible concern.  The adults no longer seemed in control of the situation.

Once the laughter and intermittent purging died down, we bought a green tree car freshener and returned to the contaminated sedan.  We would clean up the car as much as humanly possible and hunker down on the only seat left in car void of vomit. We were gonna get to Paradise to meet up with the family if we had to go through hell to do it.

We arrived over an hour late, looking shattered and smelling like sick dog. Sport, however was suddenly cured. He frolicked through the wild flowers like a wayward teenager on Spring Break, looking surprising agile and alive after a bender.

Although the K-9 used biological warfare and the feline went the traditional route, utilizing senseless violence, both taught me a valuable lesson. Animals are capable of corralling humans for their own nefarious purposes. You’ve been warned.

Fun Facts: A year after Bill’s passing we discovered an abandoned kitten in some shrubs across the street. Her name is Meridah the Brave.  She is kind.  We got her a buddy named Leonard.  He is weird and orange and uncomfortably into humans. We think he might be one. RIP Bill.

An additional fun fact: This is my last cat blog. I felt I owed it to Bill to complete the blog trilogy about his life. I feel  bad that I ended it with a fascist feline overtone, but to be honest….he deserves it.

Challenge of the Day: I don’t want to be a mom blogger. I don’t want to be a cat blogger. I don’t want to be a mom with two cats blogger. I used to only write about moments of humiliation or awkward struggle.  So, perhaps I should seek out more of those.  If you think of a challenge you would like me to take on, please let me know.

Examples:

Go out to dinner as Sparky, the Marvista Mascot.  Yes, it’s true. I am the Orca. I mascot on the side as a service to my children.

Try out for the Seagals as Tonya, my Texas Dance Mom alter ego.

Your turn_______________________________________

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wild Bill

I am over it.

I am.

We are in the middle of a hard core renovation and the idea of negotiating dead vermin, night stalking and leg wounds might lead to bad things happening to cats and kids. I am at capacity. Capable of little more than what is currently required of me. But, I keep my promises, and I promised myself and others that I would tell Bill’s story.

—————————————————————————————————————————————-

She approached me while I was juggling a baby and a toddler in the shallow end of the pool and fielding “Mom watch me!” requests from multiple directions.  I was clearly vulnerable.

“You look like a nice family.”

Dang it. I needed a compliment at that very moment. I should have known she was just grooming me.

“We just got this ADORABLE kitten and my daughter appears to be allergic to him.”  The kids began pleading immediately and out came the pictures.  This woman was good. He was curled up in a ball on a lovely little girl’s lap. It was like a high end cat card.  He looked annoyingly adorable and in need of a home.

It didn’t help that the kids have been pushing hard to get a dog for some time now.  You know, because it is such a good idea to get a dog shortly after you have your fourth child.  The pressure to adopt a K-9 had recently intensified.  “Why we need a Dog” presentations were becoming fairly regular. Typically these presentations included facts, breed comparisons and powerful dog photos with the occasional testimonial and sometimes crying. The pressure was getting to me, but there was no way in hell I was getting a dog anytime soon. But I had not ruled out a cat.  They seemed easier.  Moody and stand offish, but less likely to prevent me from going on vacation.

I told the nice lady we would think about it and we exchanged numbers and niceties.She immediately texted me some sensitive shots of Billy the kitten.

I sent them to Mike.

Bad idea. He replied.

Usually when Mike says something is a bad idea, it is.  In fact, this has been a theme in many of my previous posts.

-I can’t handle a dog. We have kept the goldfish alive for over a year. I think we are ready for a intermediate pet. The lady said we look like a nice family.

You fell for the “nice family” trick?

-Yes.

I am going on record, that this is a bad idea. But if you want to take on a cat, go for it. But you will own this decision. It will be your cat not mine.

I took his naysaying as a sort of challenge. A Marlee and Me, Turner and Hooch  — can you bond with an animal in a cinematic, heart warming sort of way– challenge. In hindsight, it is clear to me that those movies are about dogs and not cats. In fact, I cannot think of a movie about feline bonding…can you?

Bill arrived concerned and skiddish, with a bin of fancy toys, a plush bed,expensive food and name brand kitty litter. The hand-off was awkward. They didn’t seem as sad as I thought they should be.

When they left, so did Bill, down the stairs and to God knows what nook. I had pictured us snuggling with our new little bundle of kitten like the girl in the picture. Maybe some yarn play would go down. Instead, the clearly unstable kitten took off before we could even lay a loving hand on him.   Later, I learned this was my fault.  Apparently, kittens are supposed to be put in a very small room for a week or two to acclimate to their new surroundings.  Being claustrophobic myself, this idea never entered my mind.

———————————————————————————————————

The screams came around 2 am.  Startled, I rolled out of bed and smacked my head against the wall.  Mike snored on.  I ran downstairs to assess the danger and discovered Chaylee and Kenna hiding under their covers with the light on.

“What happened?!” I said holding my throbbing head.

“Mom, look out!” They screamed in tandem.

I turned around and there was Billy, crazed, hair on end, back arched, paws pointed, tail erect, side-winding toward me and break neck speed! I ran to the bed and jumped under the covers.

What have I done?,

We peeked out and he was gone. I began my advance toward the door and THERE HE WAS AGAIN!  Halloween cat from hell flying at us sideways!

I was back in bed with the girls.

After several attempts, I was finally able to wrangle Billy, not without injury, and place him in the bathroom with the door shut.  I stayed with the girls till they fell asleep, for they were no longer excited about the cat but terrified.

This event was foreshadowing. Billy continued to terrorize the house utilizing the cat and dog doors that came with the property.  He would attack the children and guests. He was not warm but fearsome. We stopped calling him Billy, for the cutesy, do-gooder name did not suit him. He became Bill, William, and sometimes Chunky the Death Cat (Ki’s favorite).

He would do strange things too, like drink the fish water but not eat the fish. He would just drink their water down  enough to make them uncomfortable and then stare at the poor bastards.

He was weird and maniacal.

Once, we took a little jaunt down to The Cove for some family fun.  As we headed down the hill at approximately 15-20 miles an hour, a neighbor frantically flagged me down.  I slowed to a stop and rolled down the window assuming there was something wrong with my vehicle.

“Your cat is on the roof!”   And he was.  His claws dug into the metal like an Alabama tick.

“Never seen that before.” Said the neighbor.

Bill loved the car. But, usually he only rode on the inside. He frequently accompanied me on trips to the grocery store. He would perch on my shoulders and only relax once I turned up the music. It would have been sort of endearing if it wasn’t so creepy.

My mom had a particularly troubling night with Bill whilst babysitting.  He would not stop leaping onto the bed and attacking her while she slept, so she locked him in the garage and put suitcases in front of the boxy little exit the previous owners cunningly added to the house. He breached the barricade and continued his assault.  She locked him in the bathroom. He scratched and batted at the door all night long.

We arrived home to a shattered and exhausted Grandma, not because of the four children, but because of the cat.  Her calves looked like she had gone traipsing through the brambles.  And she was not the only one to have this experience. After spending a night with Bill, Aunt Leslie simply said, “Fuck that Cat!”

The most frightening incident however is one so unbelievable that it may bring into question my integrity as a story-teller. But, I assure you this is not feline folklore.

Abel was bathing and I was watching a documentary on netflix so as to make the folding of clothes more palatable. Bill liked to sit on the computer sometimes, perhaps to warm his undercarriage.  This was annoying, but not atypical behavior for a cat. I took a break from the laundry and peeked in on Abel, who was joyfully playing with measuring cups in a couple inches of warm water, then returned to my domestic responsibility which included, once more removing Bill from the keyboard.

This time however, netflix had been mysteriously replaced by a google tool bar…and within that toolbar was the text:

@&#@(@%$^&*^killing mice***

W…T…F  Just sit with that for a minute.

Bill googled killing mice.

I looked at the screen in absolute horror and called Mike at work.

He was unavailable.

I left a message.

Mike!  HONEY!  There is crazy shit going on here! *  I am freaked out. Bill just googled killing mice.  Call Me. I am freaking out. Bill is scary. We need to get rid of him.

He heeded my cry for help by circulating my message throughout the trading floor at Russell Investments.

Bill listened to my phone call then turned away slowly and hit up the fish tank for a drank like a G. He had busted a cap in my sanity.

Google had no response to my repeated request for an explanation.

In the words of Spinal Tap, “Some mysteries, are just best left unsolved really.”

Next up:  Bill Starts “Killing Mice”.

Send Me the Bill

I couldn’t stop crying as I entered the Priceless Pet Clinic. Intimate crying. The kind you only let a few people in your life see due to unsightly swelling.  The kind that won’t stop and makes others uncomfortable.

“I think he is done. I think he doesn’t want to do it anymore.  I think he wants to be done now. ” I said between sobs as I approached the desk holding our cat.  Bill writhed and whimpered and took in only hard earned breaths–his bones visible through his fur coat. All the piss and vinegar that made him the cat from hell, our cat from hell, was drained out of him, a fighter without without a ring, only a blanket.

This melodramatic scene would have been perfect for a Marlee and Me cat spin off.  Especially since my tears were dripping with irony. I hated our cat. Not a malicious hate.  Not like I hate suffering or cruelty. More like I hate the 49ers or room temperature milk. He was not likable. He was mean to me, my mother and pretty much everyone else too. He ruined our sleeping arrangements.  He caused me and family bodily harm. He made our neighbors uncomfortable. He was aloof. He hijacked my computer. And then there was his awful habit of murdering local wildlife.

We weren’t exactly his dream humans either.  He came from a wealthy family.  A family that purchased him intentionally and lavished upon him accordingly.  A family without small children and loud music. A family with an organized garage and clearly labeled bins for everything. A family with cat allergies.

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

“You fell for the you look like a nice family”trick? Don’t do it! You don’t even like cats!  This is a bad idea.  I will let you decide, but if you say yes…he is your cat.”

Mike was right. I am not a cat person.  At all.  I have had several downright traumatic experiences with them throughout my life.

Scritty Palitty the Kitty, our first cat, was an arsonist. He knocked a lamp over on my parents bed that led to the house fire that claimed our home when I was 3 years old Scritty survived by hiding under the house.

As a pre teen I got to know some feral cats who lived among us on the property we rented from my Grandfather. He decided to let them breed at will because they were skilled exterminators, and there was a rat problem. He was a shrewd business man.

Mike had a cat when we first started dating that hated me.  Her name was Cora.  She had a negative attitude and made me feel bad about myself.  I think she also made his parents question my integrity.

Then there was Maggie and Tanner.  Before I married Mike, I lived with his lovely sister, Kate.  The aforementioned cats were hers.  Tanner was socially maladjusted. He ate and hid.  Hid and ate.  He was weird, emotional and orange.  It wasn’t right.  I was always afraid that one day I would come home to him listening to the Cure.  Maggie had a more interesting personality, but was reckless.  She destroyed several of my most precious belongings including a set of teacups that belonged to my great grandmother. She never apologized.

This tumultuous history made it all the more surprising that I fell victim to flattery that day at the pool, when the wealthy family with cat allergies offered us a kitten named Billy.  Maybe I needed affirmation that day. After all, I was a new mother of four and not exactly swimming in confidence. Maybe I just wanted to know that I was capable of loving an animal.   Maybe I just needed a story to tell…

 

 

Bed and Butter

She had a rash.  She was tired. She was miserable. She wanted to sleep but couldn’t. 

Our other three children were also in need.   One was emotionally distraught over an upcoming jog-a-thon, another was not happy with  her bedtime attire, and our young son was attempting to suplex anyone that crossed his path.

When all offspring are in need at once, I find the triage approach to be helpful.  The rash was clearly the most  life-threatening issue, followed by the suplexing toddler and the jog-a-thon situation . The pajama problem would be dealt with last if at all. So, with a plan in place, I headed to the rash victim’s room. I applied a salve to the affected region, all the while cursing the bargain Easter dress whose lace was likely to blame. Next, I dealt with the baby wrestler. A bottle did the trick. It kept his hands busy and his mouth closed.  Problem solved. Back to the rash. Her anguish was untouched by the salve, so I hit up the freezer for the trusty, all powerful ice pack.  Unfortunately, we had no pack, just ice.  Chaylee, the afflicted one, loves to eat ice, so I searched for some frozen vegetables to use instead.  None were sealed.  The alternative solution? Frozen butter. We had loads of it and she hates butter, so there would be no danger of her ingesting the cure. I said a prayer, kissed her goodnight  and promised to pick up the butter after dealing with the jog-a-thon problem–by then she would surely be asleep.

I am not sure what woke me. Perhaps my maternal alert system picked up a needy presence in the room. Or maybe it was the rhythmic thud of a child flying up the stairs at mind boggling speed to avoid the nothing behind them.  I can’t be sure, but when I opened my eyes she was 6 inches away from me, standing sternly by my bedside. 

“What is it honey? Did you have a bad dream?”

“No,” she replied indignantly.”I’m covered in butter!”

As my eyes adjusted to the subtle light from the alarm clock,  I could see that she was indeed glistening. It was 2am. She had been rolling around on two sticks of butter for hours, slowly melting them with her body heat until she was fully glazed like a self basting turkey.  

I took her to the bathroom as she cried. “I hate butter!!!!” 

I attempted some fun word play to lighten the mood and hide my shame. 

“Nothing like a little bed and butter.”

No laughter, just tears.

“You’ll feel butter in the morning,” I quipped.

More tears.

After a thorough scrub down with warm rags and barrage of hugs and apologies, she was back to sleep — in our bed of course. Hers was smothered in butter. At least the rash was gone.

Poll: What food would you rather not find yourself sleeping in or on?

Family Fun Fact:  Mike slept through this debacle. He learned of the incident by looking for his favorite pillow in Chaylee’s room. Didn’t see that one coming did ya Mikey?

In other news:  This is my first blog attempt since departing my beloved Australia.  It feels weird. But, I needed to get this story off my chest, and I thought it might help other mothers feel butter about themselves.