My father has terrible hearing. It has come from a lifetime of using power tools, and it has always been a source of much amusement in my family. What makes the disability funny is that, no matter what absurd thing my father thinks he heard, he’ll repeat it back to you as if that’s exactly what you did say and, obviously, you’re a total idiot.
I remember one particular incident when I was a kid that has become a long standing inside joke in the family. It all came about because my father would frequently get too busy during the day and forget to eat lunch. By the time he would get home from work, his blood sugar would have plummeted and he would be in quite a foul mood.
On this night he was grumbling around and acting surly when my mom asked him, “Did you forget to eat again today?”
“No!” he yelled back, “I have not been sniffing chickens!”
He only became more angry when we all burst out laughing.
Now, any time he says something wacky, or someone hears something wacky, we’ll just reply, “He’s been sniffing chickens.”
Now that he’s had his stroke, he can’t hear and he get confused. It has led to some very hysterical conversations.
I told you last night, the toilet in our front bathroom was overflowing quite dramatically, but it was too late to do much about it when the plunging proved completely ineffective. This morning, I called my brother, the plumber, and asked him if he had time to come by and see what he could accomplish with a snake.
He called me later to tell me the horrible news that the toilet was going to have to come up. “Whatever’s down there is solid.” Doesn’t that sound ominous? There was horrifying talk about worse case scenarios that involved pulling up tiles and drilling holes in the floor.
When my Honey got home from work, he tackled the project again. He took The Bandit aside to see what he could find out. We all knew that the boy was behind it somehow. In fact, I am really amazed that this is the first plumbing emergency we’ve had. I thought for sure, the minute that boy learned how to walk and flush, we’d be pulling miscellaneous items from our plumbing but, so far, we’ve gotten off lucky.
“Are you missing any toys?” My Honey asked the boy in a round-about sort of way. That’s how you have to approach him with these things. The direct approach is a HUGE mistake. If you do that, he’ll say exactly what you want to hear, and you have no idea if you’re getting anything even remotely close to the truth.
“Maybe,” was his cryptic answer.
“Well, they’re Navy Seals now, boy,” was My Honey’s sarcastic rejoinder.
Back to my dad. I was trying to tell him this story over the phone. That was my first mistake. Don’t ever try to tell him anything over the phone. You can’t yell loud enough and don’t even think about trying to spell the word he’s not understanding – he won’t hear that either, even if he could spell. But, my father loves hearing stories about my kids adventures, so I try.
“Where’s your Honey?”
“He’s trying to get Army Men out of the toilet,” I told him.
“What?” he’ll say.
I’ll repeat myself – louder and slower.
“He’s trying to do what?” he’ll ask again.
“He’s getting ARMY MEN out of the TOILET,” I’ll tell him again.
“Oranges?” he’ll say out of left field. “Who put oranges in the toilet?”
“NO. AAAAAARRRRRMYYYY MEEEEEEEN,” I’ll say really loud and slow.
“Oh, onions. That’s funny. Why would he put onions in the toilet?”
Now I smack myself on the forehead. “NO! ARMY MEN. ARMY NOT ONION. ARMY.” By this time, I’m yelling.
“Hold on a minute.” I can hear him messing with his hearing aide. “What are you yelling at me about.”
“He’s getting Army men out of the toilet,” I’ll repeat for the zillionth time, but this time in a normal voice. We’ll start from the beginning since now he’s turned his ears on.
“Oh, Army tanks. That makes more sense.” Oh Jesus. I let this go. At least this time he’s in the ball park. “Well, then what did he do with the onions and oranges?”
“Nobody did anything with onions and oranges.” I sigh deeply.
“Why did you bring them up then?”
My Honey is yelling from the bathroom his funny line about Navy Seals.
There is no way in hell, I’m trying to get that joke across.
The Reality Train pulling into the station. Departing soon for all stations South of Wonderland. First stop – Overflowing Toilet in the Front Bathroom.
Also stopping at Litter Box Needs to Be Changed and Dear God, What Is That Smell?
The universe called, I need to participate again. Drat. Apparently, I’ve floated around on that little success long enough. Life needs to be dealt with – and pronto.
The Bandit wet his bed and the sheets need to be washed. The toilet really is inexplicably overflowing in the front bathroom. The cat box is damn near lethal. Something is rotten in the state of the laundry room and that needs to be discovered, quickly. The dog ate a full loaf of bread. And then the bread that was thawing out from the freezer. AND THEN a dozen homemade blueberry muffins.
I am alarmed by how many things on this list involve odors. Maybe you shouldn’t stop by the house until I get this under control.
There is no more time to sit on your laurels. Get your butt back in the chair and some new words on paper. HUP! HUP! HUP!
It took me three and a half hours to calm down enough to sit in a chair to compose this post.
Monday’s post was very timely. In it I told you I wasn’t expecting to hear anything from the agent for another month or so. HOWEVER, I received an email from her today.
She is at the Romance Writers of America National Convention – something the Quills had wanted desperately to attend, but alas, the economy got in the way. She was wondering if I was attending the conference this year because, “I wanted to let you know that I am just about done reading SEEING LOVE CLEARLY and have really enjoyed the story!”
HOLY CRAP! I’m feeling very Sally Field right now.
HOLY MARY MOTHER OF GOD!
So I danced around the office and scared the dog and caused My Honey to sit, blinking at me in confusion, while he tried to decipher what I was talking about. My voice had risen about four octaves at this point and probably only the dog could hear me anyway.
So, I calmly (hahahahahahahaha!) sat down and composed a reply email. I was really proud that I was able to keep my instances of all caps down to three words.
She will call me Monday. I’ll try to speak like an intelligent human being. I don’t want to scare her with my EXHUBERANCE!
This has been a really good week for the artistic lives of the Brights. Just tonight while I was doing my ridiculous Dance of Glee, My Honey was signing his endorsement contract with Steve Clayton – a company that makes the picks he uses.
And I had all kinds of stuff to write to you about – There is an Idiot Dog update that you will find amusing, I’m sure. And something very tragic, but I’ll get to that later – much later – when that news has had time to settle and I’m able to give it the weight it deserves.
Until then, if you see me floating about and/or biting my nails in angst – give me a kiss, buy me a cupcake but don’t expect conversation to occur at either a decibel or an octave that is comfortable to the human ear.
And I just might punch you in the arm, I’m finding that I can barely control myself.
This has been cruising the internet for a while and I finally remembered to go fetch it for you all. It’s very silly and quite enjoyable.
A bunch of you have been asking if I’ve heard anything from the agent. The agent that has my full has been in possession of it for 3 1/2 weeks. I’m not concerned because she informed me in our last communication that it would probably be 8 weeks until she was able to get back to me.
At the same time I sent my full manuscript to her, another agent asked for a “partial”. That’s industry lingo for a selection of chapters. I haven’t heard from her yet either, but it’s too soon to fret.
I’ve also entered a contest with Kensington Brava. They won’t be revealing winners until September.
So I wait.
And I’ve had a bit of a blockage. This isn’t something I’m used to. Normally, I have to restrain myself from writing more than one thing at a time. I don’t know what my problem is. I’ve tried to work on the knight story that I was working on months ago, before I got all caught up in rewriting that whole story for the agent (see above). For more than two weeks, I’ve opened and reopened that document and watched the blinking cursor without adding any appreciable number of words. I did a bunch of research, but when it comes to applying that new information, it just doesn’t seem to come.
Last night, an opening line came to me for a completely different story so, during some down time at work, I started with that. We’ll see what becomes of it.
Guess what I did tonight instead of writing? You’ll never guess so I’ll give you a hint. You know how periodically I give you stock investment suggestions? Here’s a new one. WD-40. Go get some of that.
Seems kind of out of the blue, doesn’t it? But that’s exactly what I’m dealingwith. Blue and Green. Crayons. In the dryer and now all over a load of clothes. WD-40 is the best thing to get it out, but it takes a bunch of work and several washes and then you’re clothes smell a little mechanicy. I made that word up. I do that. I’ve also coined trafficky for when there’s a lot of traffic, obviously. You can use either of those in conversation if you want.
This is the third or fourth time this has happened. I have decreed that Crayons are no longer allowed in my house. Or in my car. The nooks and crannies of the back seat of my car are filled with puddles of melted crayons. You want to know who I blame? RESTAURANTS. Must they always give my kids crayons? And then when I won’t let the kids take them with them – for obvious reasons – they shove them in their pockets and VOILA they’re melted in the dryer.
So anyway, I’m going to go through a couple more cans of WD-40. That stock should show some growth for your portfolio.
People, I have found proof that God exists. Well, let me be clear. I’m referring to the God the Quills have prayed to for years. We’ve even considered forming an official church and becoming tax exempt for the IRS. We are very dedicated and loyal to this God: God of bleached white flour and refined sugar. The G0d of butter creme frosting. The God of chocolate ganache. The God of delicate lemon icing and vanilla beans.
My family and I made a spur of the moment decision to eat dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. Regardless of the mixed reviews I’ve heard, we had a lovely experience. And I’m sure you can guess that we topped off our meal with cheesecake.
What kind of idiots would we be if we didn’t eat the food the place was named after? Not these idiots, I assure you.
I knew instantly what I would order the minute I saw the dessert menu. Sassy was willing to share it with me – mostly because I became instantly incommunicative the minute I saw it on the menu. I would not be swayed.
I’ll give you a moment for silent introspection. Pray amongst yourselves. Smoke ‘em if you’ve got ‘em. BYOC (bring your own cake). We pretty much allow anything in our church. We’re very liberal that way.
It was everything I hoped it would be. As you can see from the picture, it was red velvet cake, cream cheese icing, cheesecake, red velvet, icing, cheesecake, icing and a glorious mound of whipped cream.
The cake was moist, the frosting tangy, the cheesecake like manna from heaven.
I tell you, I almost orgasmed at the table.
Other people had other desserts, but honestly, I have no idea what they had. I was in rapture.
After My Honey informed me that we would no longer be allowed in the restaurant if I didn’t stop making those embarrassing noises and licking the plate, we ran into the mall for some quick shopping.
I walked along the with the masses and regretted the folly of ordering dinner and not just getting dessert. The salmon I had was excellent, but now I was over-full. It wasn’t from eating the dessert. I knew that would be happening. The problem, as I see it, was eating the main course. THAT is what made me uncomfortable. Thank goodness I didn’t have a salad with dinner – I’d probably have ruptured something.
If our church ever makes up commandments or bylaws or some other organized nonsense, that will be right up there: Thou shalt not order a main course when eating at The Cheesecake Factory.
My five year old, Bandit, was moaning right along with me. He finally turned to his dad and asked to be lifted up onto his shoulders.
“Too tired to walk, little dude?” he daddy asked as he hoisted him up.
“Yeah,” he groaned. “I think I have diabetes.”
“What?” His daddy was having a hard time following the meandering conversation. You have to be quick with five-year-olds – they go off on weird tangents and, if you don’t pay attention, you’ll get lost. “Why, dude?”
“I had those two glasses of chocolate milk and then that cheesecake. I’m just sure I have diabetes.”
I don’t know what that preschool is teaching him, but I’d love to be a fly on the wall sometimes.
At work the other day, I had to call the Tech Support Line. I work for an enormous organization and, unfortunately, our Tech Support is manned by people from India.
Like most people, this distresses me to no end. By the time I call Tech Support I’m already really frustrated and it annoys me to have to run through the same rigmarole every time before I can even state my problem.
When they answer the phone they always state their name. It’s no secret that they are in India. They all have an Indian accent. Ava can imitate them to perfection. But here’s the thing…when they state their name, it’s always a Western name related to the caller in the lovely sing song accent.
“Hello. My name is Susan.” or “Hello. My name is Bob.”
But today, ”Mark” said something that made me crack up while I was still on the phone with him.
He needed my ID number which happens to actually be all letters. I slowly and clearly stated my ID. Then “Mark” repeated it back to me in the Phonetic Alphabet. I expected it to be Alpha Tango Romeo Whiskey – like that.
And it doesn’t help that these people are unfailingly nice. They are polite to the point of absurdity. It makes a surly person feel bad.
The essay was very good. But why would anyone decide that ladybugs are a good topic for an essay contest? And this one was blue.
And I was sore.
The mountains were crawling with ladybugs and then the big mountain grew legs and walked away. Someone shot me in the hip – with a snowball I think.
“Meow,” the ladybug said to me, “all ladybugs are boys.” This ladybug also wore glasses. He took the essay from my hand and began to chew on it.
The mountain returned, lumbering along the way a mountain does, and sat on my hip. The whole mountain vibrated.
“I bet that hurts,” the boy ladybug said.
“Yeah,” I said and then began to cry.
“Meow,” said the ladybug. “Meow!”
My hip was in agony.
I am, however, beginning to worry about the Lewis Carroll aspect of these dreams.
A cool $135 million. That’s how much Gustav Klimt’s 1907 Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer sold for at auction in 2006, setting a new record. For an artist who, in his lifetime, was little known outside his native Austria and is still somewhat obscure, that’s a lot of clams. In his homeland, however, Klimt was famous not only for his glowing, erotic artworks but also for the controversy they sparked. An unlikely rebel, he led the secession from the artistic establishment in Vienna and pioneered a style known for its rich patterns and gleaming gold. We may not know much about him, but we recognize in his art uniquely lush depictions of beauty.
Klimt is probably most well known for his gorgeous The Kiss.
It’s one of my favorite pieces of art.