Saturday, November 17, 2007

There Will Be A $5.00 Charge For Whining

I have a tin sign sitting on a hutch in my dining room. It says, "There Will Be a $5.00 Charge For Whining." I fully intend on making it a household policy when my little boy gets old enough to count change. Late one night, I was suffering from a little insomnia. I got up, wandered into the living room and began flipping through the television channels. Other than the infomercials, an old television classic rerun and a cops and robbers movie, the news seemed to be the only thing going. As I watched, I grew agitated. The airwaves seemed to be full of talking heads and pundits who get paid to sit around and whine about everything from illegal immigration to the price of a gallon of milk? Do these folks sit around and think of things to fuss about just for a little TV time? That got me thinking. If everyone has jumped on the “whining with a cause” bandwagon I have a few things I would like to bring up.
Number 1. Why is it that the bag boy at the grocery store is always ready and able to carry out my one bag filled with a bottle of ketchup and a package of toilet paper? Why is he usually nowhere to be found when I have a year’s supply of groceries in my cart?
Number 2. Why is it that people in front of me in the drive-thru at the bank insist on performing complicated transactions from their front seat? Are they applying for a loan? Do they have to count their pennies in the car?
Number 3. What’s the deal with all of that childproof safety stuff? Don’t the makers of all these products realize that I can’t get into most of them unless my child does it for me?
Number 4. Why is that only certain technology will lower in price the longer it is available. For example, there is a DVD player at Wal-mart only twice as much as a bucket of chicken from KFC. Why don’t cars do the same thing? Why do cars go up in price? By my calculations I should be able to go out today and buy a Buick for around $19.95.
Number5. Why is it that when I have to get up earlier than my usual wake up time I spend all night long watching the alarm clock because I’m afraid it isn’t going to go off?
Number 6. How come celebrities gush over each other’s movies like they are performing brain surgery? Pleeaase! It’s entertainment!
Number 7. Why are little boys almost always obsessed with body parts or potty talk? A friend and I were discussing this the other day. I spend the entire day talking about all sorts of wholesome stuff, but mentioned the ‘pee pee’ word and my three-year-old giggles hysterical then proceeds to repeat it to everyone he meets.
Number 8. Why do men insist on saving every item of clothing they have worn since junior year or High School? My husband has a t-shirt from his freshmen year of college (20 years ago) that he still insists on wearing. It is now translucent.
Number 9. Why is it that without fail I can never find a replacement for my favorite pair of pants that has a big unfixable rip in the most inconvenient of places? Here is my dilemma. Do I continue on wearing the pants in hopes that no one will ever get a flash of my hot pink drawers? That brings me to my next point.
Number 10. Why do some of the most recognized makers of unmentionables insist on make plus -size women’s underwear with leg holes so wide I could put two or three legs through them?
Number 11. Why is it that certain charities spend so much money and effort using telemarketers to raise their funds? Wouldn’t it be more practical to take the money you are paying the telemarketers and fund that particular charity? And what happened to just having a big bake sale or bizarre? Wouldn’t it be great? Most people would rather buy a loaf of banana bread than talk to a telemarketer. In fact, most people would rather pull out their eyeteeth than talk to a telemarketer. (I apologize if I have offended any telemarketers unduly.)
Number 12. Why is that the government never has enough money and some politicians complain that they need more of our money. I have a great idea. Let’s do like The Arnold did in California and have a big government garage sale. Why hadn’t anyone thought of that before? In fact, let’s take it a step further. The Federal government could have a garage sale and a bake sale in conjunction. They could set up a big old tent smack dab in the middle of the Mall in Washington, D.C. Maybe that way next time somebody wants to spend a whole lot of money saving the spotted snow pigeon in Alaska they could just sell off some stuff and there we go!
Number 13. Why is it that everyone feels the need to whine? Have you ever heard of a cursing jar? This is a practice in some homes that discourages any kind of cursing. Anytime a curse word is heard the party responsible has to drop a predetermined amount of money in a jar. I think I have the ultimate Federal Fundraiser. Instead of fining networks and organizations for lewd or slanderous actions, let's start charging those same organizations for whining. Every time somebody feels like they need to whine about something...they have to put $5.00 in the kitty. That way they still get to express themselves and help stimulate the economy at the same time.

Whew! That felt good. Now that I've said my piece I can go back to rolling my eyes anytime someone feels the need to whine. Meanwhile, I’ll continue to throw away my husband’s old college t-shirts into the trash one at a time in silent protest.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Going Buggy

You are not going to believe this....Actually, if you know me at all very well you probably will have expected it. Yesterday morning I slaved away in the kitchen for hours making two very large blackberry cobblers for a dinner at Troy's work. The blackberries came from my dad's garden and I cooked them over the stove a little bit making sure they were sweet enough...sometimes those homegrown berries can be a bit tart. One of the cobblers I made "lite" with Splenda. I make the kind of old-fashioned cobblers with the pie crusts (which I made from scratch) you can imagine how much time I put into them.

So off to work Troy went....with his cobblers and a big bowl of sliced tomatoes straight from the garden. He called me about 7:00pm. "You aren't going to believe this," he said. I thought....'hey! They just offered him a job making $40,000. We can move out of mom and dad's, pay of a bill, etc. etc.' No such luck. Apparently, a big green beetle had been found in the "lite" cobbler. Yes, yours truly (me) managed to add a special little ingredient to a homemade cobbler served to 30-40 people at Assembly of God Headquarters.

 If you have lived in the country at all and have grown your own produce you know to expect some of the local wildlife to show up every now and then. But good grief! These are city folks! How do you explain a bug in their dessert? I guess everybody got a good chuckle out of that one. Troy had the nerve to throw away the rest of the me...somebody around here would have eaten it! That poor bug. My dad's garden is organic (no pesticides) and he usually "debugs" everything leaf by leaf. Can you imagine just plugging away....spending your days eating a few berries, sunning yourself under the sunflowers then out of nowhere you find yourself the protein in somebody's blackberry cobber.

Oh well. At least if gave everybody a good chuckle. I sure needed one. I had blood work done this morning and I'm going to take Josiah in before lunch to get him checked out. He's has been running a temp since Monday evening. I still have nieces and nephews and I don't feel really good. I'm kind of wheepy and pitiful...anybody else, have those days? But I guess it could be worse. I could be the beetle in somebody's blackberry cobbler.

Ding Dongs

You know how the Bible talks about how we do the things we know not to do…and struggle with the things we know are good. I need to get a few things off of my chest.

I promised Troy I would watch "the spending" this week. (All of you on limited budgets know what that means) Next thing I know I am at the Bakery Store buying some Ding-Dongs and a wide variety of fruit pies (they were 10 for 3.99 after all).
Which brings me to my next Oops…I promised myself that I would not partake in the indulgent evil that is junk food. I am diabetic. My extra weight is dangerous to my health and I need to set a good example for my junk food junkie pre-schooler. Why Ding-Dongs? I should have wasted them on Peanut Butter Panic Ice Cream.
Another promise broken…I told myself that as far as my household chores were concerned "Today Was A New Day!” No longer would the dust on piano look like radioactive film. My toilet would be shiny and fresh. The dishes in my sink would find a home in my dishwasher. My family would experience my brilliant domestic skills and be amazed! Problem is that my Ding-Dong gave me a sugar high (and I do mean high) this afternoon and I drifted off into an uncomfortable comma. So…Lunch dishes and breakfast dishes and all those in between wait expectantly in my sink. The toilet has not been fresh in ….eeew…I just can't say. And that dust on my piano will linger there a while longer.

Whew…at least now I've told someone instead of just lying in my guilty and shame. Tomorrow is another day! Hopefully, I can stave off another Ding-Dong attack or worse "the attack of the Krispy Kremes!"


Thankfully, we have had more than 2 days in a row of fine weather. That means my dad has been hard at work in his garden and with him, my favorite five –year- old. Josiah started digging a little hole right next to the patio. He patiently shoveled cup after cup of dirt...using whatever tool he could get his hands on. Yesterday, he took a little plastic cup, turned on the outside water spigot and proceeded to fill that little hole up...he was making a pond. He must have made 20 trips back and forth...back and forth...back and forth. Of course, the little pond turned muddy and only a little hole was left this morning. Today, my dad fenced off a little garden just for Josiah. Josiah and I found some "real" garden tools for kids at Wal-mart and Josiah went to work. Nothing has been planted yet, but Josiah is carefully tilling is garden. He isn't sure what he wants to grow yet...but my dad and Troy are teasing him that he wouldn't eat anything that he would grow (he is going through that "I only like hot dogs and pancakes" stage...which is so infuriating, but perhaps a better topic for another blog).
I will try not to get too "drippy" or wax philosophical, but I think about how I am "tilling" the garden of my life. How I have "prepared my soil" and if I am planting good things. Unfortunately, I have been guilty of planting bitterness and worry in my garden and have watered it with tears of disappointment. I might not have been able to control any weeds that might have come to choke out any of the good things that grow there, but I certainly could have done better with turning those weeds into bright sunny flowers. I have had enough near death experiences to understand "living life to the fullest"...but I can tell you how quickly those promises you make to yourself and to your loved ones get pushed aside for the cares of life. In short, your garden gets filled with squash when you wanted strawberries. So today, as I watched my little boy till his garden I remade promises to myself...I want to do things that make me happy and fulfilled...most importantly, I want to do the things that God wants me to do because I know that in His will comes my deepest satisfaction. I want to spend time with the people I love and the people who love me. I want to enjoy every little moment and not make the more stressful moments more than they should be. I want to grow good things in my garden and in doing so, take better care of myself.
Troy has admitted to me that for sometime he has lain awake with me next to him...just listening to me and out...just to be sure I am breathing. I don't want any of these precious breaths to go unwasted...I have some digging in the dirt to do! (well, not really...but you get the picture!)

Constant Comment

written sometime this past summer-

I must be one some kind of blogging binge! I seem to go through manic phases in my creativity levels. Right now I have a lot to say…in ten minutes I might not be able to put two words together. We are going to have a busy, busy weekend. My brother's kids are all going to be here and my sister and her little girl. Her little boy is going to spend the week with his other grandparents. Josiah will be thrilled. He is in his element amongst all his cousins. He already has plans. He is absolutely in love with one of his girl cousins…I have had to explain to him that he can't marry her either…you might recall that he wanted to marry me recently. He is such a literal kind of personality that I have to be really careful about how I explain things to him. Yesterday when we were at the movies we saw a preview for Underdog (which looks really cute)…it is a live action movie and they use a computer generated "underdog". When the trailer was over he turned to me and said, "But dogs don't talk." He was just a little concerned. Would Solomon the dog start talking?

And speaking of talking… that boy can talk. Here is an example of one our conversations we had just this morning after he had scratched his hand outside on the dog's kennel. His daddy doctored it and put a band-aid on it. Keep in mind that the following conversation was pretty much constant, with no starts or stops. "Mom, what is alcohol? Mom, does alcohol sting? Mom, are you 16? Mom, don't you know you can't drive a car unless you're sixteen? (at this point I haven't even answered the first question) Mom, are the kids coming today? (his cousins). Mom, are all the kids coming?" I say "I think so". When he discovers that I am not all that chatty he turns to his daddy. "Dad, are you 16? Dad, do you need a haircut? Dad, do you like getting your hair cut? Dad, don't you know I can't read the Bible cause there is no pictures. (don't ask me where that came from…he does have a little storybook with pictures) Dad, why are you looking up there? You are looking up there because you are looking at the sky. Dad, have you ever seen a big orange cat? Don't you know we had a big orange cat?" Now it's my turn again. "Mom, do you remember our cat, “Chester?" I know what's coming and tentatively nod my head. "Mom, remember how Chester got hit by a car and blood was running out of his mouth?" This happened nearly 2 years ago. His big phrase that he uses all the time right now is "Don't you know." What is so funny about this is that when he first started using it a couple of months ago my mom started laughing and told me that my great- grandfather (my Dad's grandfather) used to say "Don't you know" all the time too. Kind of makes you wonder? Then it begins again. I tell him to take off his PJ's and put on some play clothes. "Mom, Ama (my Mom) gave Solomon a bath yesterday. Don't you know he feels all squishy? Mom, don't you know at Bass Pro there are sharks. If you go in there are lots and lots of Sharks. You will have to go in and look at them. Mom, there is a place to eat at Bass Pro, but we can't go because it cost too much money (something his daddy has said). Mom, I haven't had my vitamins yet. (they are spiderman vitamins)" I let him pick out a vitamin and notice that he has picked out all the orange ones and left the other colors behind. "Mom, how many vitamins does Scooby Doo take? " For a guy who doesn't think dogs should talk apparently he thinks it's okay that Scooby takes his daily multiple vitamins. I then remind him that he hasn't changed his clothes. "Mom, but I have a band-aid on my finger." Aw, the great male excuse gene has kicked in! I give him one minute to change his clothes. The big topic of conversation then turned to my brother's toes. He was born with his two middle toes stuck together on both feet. Apparently, this is an inherited thing because we have a great -grandfather and a great- uncle or two that have the same thing. Josiah only noticed today. "Mom, (he comes running into the bedroom) Uncle Ryan has two toes that do this. (he grabs his toes together) Don't you know that your toes aren't supposed to do that?" I tell him that Uncle Ryan was born that way. "Mom, who would do that to Uncle Ryan's toes. Mom, we need to try and get them unstuck. Mom, can I wear my jean shorts? Don't you know that my other shorts keep falling off?

Can you tell that I am pretty proud of him. Exhausted and somewhat bewildered, but proud. I'm glad he has a curious mind…not sure how it operates, but at least he's curious. I just feel a little sorry for his kindergarten teacher and worry that he is going to be one of those kids who gets his desk put up by the teacher because he can't stop talking! Well, I'm off to get some housework started…I have noticed that Josiah has changed his shorts once again and put back on his PJ shorts. That boy.
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