Tuesday, March 7, 2017

My Dog Bluto...

My brothers and I had a dog when we were kids. He was a black lab mix of some kind. My dad said he was a Heinz 57. If anyone understands that reference, please send me an email because I don't get it. Anyway, my dad used to say that Bluto was a dumb dog, but looking back he was a lot smarter than we gave him credit.

For example: We lived in trailer in the backwoods of Nemo Texas for a bit when I was really young. The trailer was down a country road off a rural highway, if that paints the picture any clearer. So we had what one could call a circular driveway which really meant if we were coming in from town, we pulled in on the left, and if we were coming up from Gramma's house, down the hill at the end of the road, we pulled in on the right. There was a group of three trees that separated the two paths so we could pull all the way around and never have to reverse. Yay!

Bluto's whole life revolved around us kids, I assume, because whenever we went into town he was always waiting for us at the beginning of the gravel road. Always. When he saw our rust colored van turn onto the gravel road, he'd race us home. My parents would actually endanger our lives on the unsteady gravel path to try and beat this dog back to the house. Now, if we passed the first entry, he knew we were headed to Gramma's, and he'd hit the gas and give it all he had to make it down the hill before us.

One day my mom noticed Bluto slowing down as we neared the driveway, and she punched the gas pedal. Bluto sped up, and then she hit the breaks and abruptly swerved into the second driveway. He was halfway down the road when he saw us stop, so he dropped to his butt to the ground and slid along the sharp, pebbly gravel to a painful butt burning stop. We had a good laugh, poor dog, but after that he made sure we'd passed both turn ins before he'd give it his all. That doesn't seem like a dumb dog to me.

We took him with us when we moved to The Farm and he followed us kids through all of our shenanigans. He was the only adult who knew where we were at any given time. One time the four of us were running through the woods when Bluto caught sight of a squirrel and quickly chased it up a tree. The squirrel weaved around the trunk like it was drunk then abruptly dropped dead. It fell to the ground where the boys and I crouched over to study it, awed that it had just died like that, when it jumped up and latched on to Jerry's thumb! Jerry started screaming and waving his arm around in an effort to removed the squirrel and Bluto was jumping around trying to grab the squirrel from the air.

Jerry decided to move the circus closer to home and started running back to the hogan screaming as he waved his arm around with Bluto close behind jumping and chomping while the rest of us fell in and followed behind.

By the time Jerry reached the hogan, I guess the squirrel had truly hit it's limit and dropped dead, for real. I can't remember which parent came out to see what all the screaming was about, but I do remember my dad taking a pocket knife to the squirrel's face and finding white foam in it's cheek. They sent the carcass to a lab to test for rabies. Jerry dodged that bullet, but his thumb was swollen for what seemed like forever.

Bluto was a good dog. We left him on The Farm when my mom packed us up and moved us out. I wonder what happened to him. He was always friendly with the other dogs in the neighborhood, sometimes too friendly if you catch my drift. I know he took a bullet for it on one occasion. I wish we'd taken him with us, but he was happy on The Farm so I guess it made more sense that he live out the rest of his days in a place where he could run free and impregnate with reckless abandon. I mean, why not, the cats did.

Monday, February 27, 2017

That Time I Got Stitches...

I have several siblings, but of the three I grew up with, all four of us required stitches at one time in our childhood and every time it could be trace back to the doings of one brother. Every. Single. Time.

My brothers are Jerry, Jay and Wayne. These are not the names my mother gave them, but are monikers they applied to each other. It is a long and sordid path that takes us to the origins of these names and is thus a post for another day.

Anyhoo, one day whilst living on The Farm, my brothers and I were playing that classic game called "drop big rocks to splash each other with puddle water." The goal was simple, see how muddy you could make your opponent before the puddle ran out of water. So much wholesome fun.

So, I had tossed my rock into the puddle and was reaching out to pick it back up when Jerry dropped his rock right on top of it. Unfortunately, my hand was sandwiched between the two. To be more accurate, it was smashed.

Now I remember jerking my hand from the rocks and being fairly appalled at the shape of my ring finger. I also remember being hoarse having just had a bout with a cold. My cries were more of a raspy "ahhh" than a robust shriek. I clutched my hand to my chest and ran back to the hogan (what we called the main house. Not nearly as cool or functional as a legit hogan.) where my Mom met us at the door. I showed her my mess of a finger and she kinda turned white. She quickly bandaged my hand and wrapped it around a jack o'lantern shaped bean bag she'd made. She used to be super crafty so it was a handy tool.

Once more we headed into town to the doctor. This time his office was on the other side of the highway. The wait wasn't nearly as long and my mom stayed with me the whole time. (One point for mom!) I got three stitches in my ring finger. It took months and months for the swelling to go down. My mom said several times that she wondered if I was ever going to be able to get married because it would be so hard to put a ring on that finger. (Minus one point from mom!)

Jerry had caused stitches in the other two siblings years before, so I guess it was my turn. Thankfully, he ran out of siblings...for a time.

He never caused stitches in the three siblings that followed, (many moons later) but one day when our sister was about two, he was playing with a purple Barney Rubble figure he'd found in a box of Fruity Pebbles. He'd tied a string around Barney's neck and was swinging it around his head when my sister's dad said, "you better stop that or someones gonna get hurt." Jerry barely got, "nothing's gonna happen," out of his mouth when the string slipped from his hand and Barney sailed across the room where he bounced off of Baby's noggin. Step dad watched the trajectory of the the toy and Jerry had disappeared before he could look back.

And in spite of it all I still managed to get married. Thank heavens for different ring sizes. Allowing the fat fingered woman the chance to marry since rings became a thing!

Friday, February 24, 2017

That Time I Broke My Foot...

As I mentioned before, when I was a kid we lived on a ten acre piece of property in Granbury. Maybe I didn't mention the Granbury part, but there it is. We called this place The Farm. It was a diverse piece of property to be sure. My dad cleared out a nice portion of field where my brothers and I could play with out getting lost in the woods and long grass of the rest of the property. We mostly avoided that portion. Except this one time.

The boys and I were playing soccer in the field one day. It was a intense game and when I saw my chance to kick that ball right over my brothers' heads I took it! I kicked that ball so hard it didn't move. Because it was a stump. The ball had been next to the only tree stump in the field and I kicked it as hard as I could.

My foot hurt for a few days, but my parents insisted that if it were broken, I wouldn't be able to walk. This would later be proven to be incorrect. Also, my mom went on for days about my inability to differentiate between a ball and a stump. It was a tense game, Mom!

I finally whinged enough that my mom relented and asked the one doctor at our church to look it over on Sunday almost a week later. He poked my foot and asked if it hurt several times and I wanted to smack him, but I was only eight so I meekly replied yes. Then he wrenched my foot back and forth a few times. I must have turned green because he told my parents to bring me in for an x-ray the next day.

I limped through school and then had to wait until my dad got home from work to take me in to town. Granbury is hardly a thriving metropolis now, so it was po-dunk back then. The doc's office was off the highway in a business park that had maybe two more office buildings (and I use the term loosely) and then nothing.

I don't know if we didn't have an appointment and they were just going to squeeze us in or they just felt that a doctor's office was a fine place to grow up, but we sat in that waiting room for FOR-EV-ER. Like it was light when we went in and dark after we left. Anyway, after what seemed like an hour  of waiting (remember, I was eight) my dad started pacing the room like a caged animal, one end to the other, one end to the other until he abruptly stopped mid-pace and yelled, "that foot better be broken!" and then he left. HE LEFT! That man got in his truck and drove away.

I was so freaked out, I was tempted to kick the wall just to make sure the job was done. My foot was x-rayed, found to be broken in three places, wrapped in a cast and had just finished drying when he finally came back. He never said a word about where he'd been, didn't apologize for leaving me and didn't say one word about my cast.

Flash forward twenty years.

My dad and I were at one of the few points of my life where we were communicating and I brought that night up. My dad has an amazing laugh. I have always loved it. His laugh is one of the only positive memories I have. Anyway, I asked him where he'd gone that night. He laughed as he told me he'd recently gotten a speeding ticket and to avoid paying the fine he had to attend a defensive driving class that apparently my visit to the doctor was encroaching upon. He left the me with the doc so he could take that class and keep the ticket off his record and the fine in his pocket. He thought it was funny as hell.

I, however, am still not amused.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Who's Your Daddy...The Conclusion

James Bond was feeling defeated. After months of networking, following leads to dead ends and numerous sophmoric pranks he was no closer to cracking the C.O.B. code. He was ready to give up when M called to tell him they had a solid lead. "Meet me in my office in half an hour," she instructed.

James hung up the phone and trudged out of his apartment to the street below where he slid behind the wheel of a beat up Volkswagen bug, the only vehicle available to him now. After every other car had malfunctioned in some inconceivable way, M had decided the bug was more cost efficient to the agency.

The bug coughed and sputtered in protest as James started the engine before it finally relented and reluctantly came to life. The alignment on the vehicle was pitiful and James had to keep a firm hold on the wheel to keep the car from drifting to the right. He cursed his luck as he jerked the wheel to the left to make a turn when another car came barreling down the street coming straight for him.

He was knocked unconscious in the collision and when he awoke he found himself bound to a chair in a dark theater. "Good of you to join us," a smooth feminine voice declared from the shadows. James lifted his head from his chest and looked around.

"Where am I," he demanded though his head throbbed in pain. He heard a light laugh and soft footfalls as she approached from the left.

"You may call me Serena," the woman declared. The theater was abruptly bathed in light and James blinked rapidly as his eyes adjusted. He looked to the place where he'd last heard the voice and was astonished at the ravishing young woman standing there. Her bright eyes shone beneath the longest eyelashes he had ever seen and her full lipped smile took his breath away.

"Is there no end to your lasciviousness, you filthy dog," she asked when she saw the way he looked at her.

"What am I doing here?" he demanded mustering up the last bits of bravado left to him. Serena's smile widened.

"I've heard you were looking for us," she replied. She walked to the front of the theater and took a seat in a familiar worn recliner. "Do you like it?" she asked as he eyed the chair.

"It looks like a chair I used to own," he replied. Serena chuckled lightly.

"That's because it is the chair you once owned," she said. "I rescued it from the dump." She leaned back in the chair and and the foot rest popped up. She placed her feet on the rest and crossed her ankles. "It really is quite comfortable," she admitted with a sigh.

"Why am I here?" James repeated impatiently. Serena sighed again and pushed the chair back to the upright position."

"You are here, Mr. Bond, because we grew tired of waiting," she replied as she got to her feet. "We have been waiting a long time to meet you." The room was suddenly alive with footfalls and James was surrounded by more than forty men, each clad in a familiar suit.

"They're wearing my clothes," he angrily erupted and Serena was clearly amused.

"That they are," she agreed. "They fit my brothers nicely don't you think?" Jame struggled furiously against the ropes keeping him tied to the chair.

"What kind of sick game are you playing here," James demanded. The men's faces broke into Cheshire cat smiles and James felt a surge of unease. His attention returned to Serena who held a familiar notebook in her hands. "Where did you get that?" he barked as she glanced at the pages.

"Did you ever think about them again," she asked as she turned the page.

"Who?" James asked and for the first time Serena's smile broke.

"The women in these pages!" she snapped. "Did you ever think about Solitaire or Jinx or Ann?" James frowned uncertainly.

"I don't recall an Ann," he replied with a puzzled look.

"She changed her name to something more dignified," Serena replied. "Her last name was Galore." James snickered as he remembered the woman's first name and Serena frowned. "I'll take that as a no," she decided. She handed the notebook to one of the men standing closest. "We thought about these woman every day of our lives," she declared as she strolled around the room. "We knew them well. We called them 'mother'." James' jaw dropped in awe.

"You are all children of my former lovers?" James sounded incredulous as Serena nodded. "They are lost," he continued. "My mission is to find them." Serena laughed out loud.

"They are not lost to us, Mr. Bond," she explained. "They never were."

"But M...." James fell silent as M passed through the group of men and stood beside Serena. He looked from one woman to the other in astonishment. "You knew?" he choked.

"I helped," M admitted.

"But why?" James asked feeling hurt. M took the notebook from the man holding it and flipped to a certain page.

"Woman tending hotel desk," she read. "Also known as my daughter." James eyes almost popped from his head.

"I had no idea!" he sputtered and M pursed her lips.

"Perhaps a minute of conversation would have cleared that up," M growled. Serena placed a calming hand on M's shoulder.

"It's okay, Grandmother," she soothed as James eyes grew impossibly larger.

"Grandmother," he repeated as his face paled. M moved closer and leaned into his face.

"Every one of these women, my daughter," she began. "Her name is Janine, by the way. You used them and threw them away."

"Do you expect me to apologize?" James sneered suddenly remembering who he was. M shook her head as she reached into the purse hanging at her side.

"No, Mr Bond," she replied placing a thick folded document on his lap. "I expect you to pay child support." James was speechless.

"Child support," he repeated.

"Yes," Serena shouted. "For we are C.O.B.! Children of Bond!!!" The men erupted in maniacal laughter as M shoved a pen into James hand cinched at his side.



Conclusion

James Bond sits in the recliner reclaimed by Serena that fateful day. His retirement fund was depleted after paying back child support to his fifty one baby mamas. With no place to stay Serena agreed to let him live, rent free, in her basement. James glanced at the toys strewn about the family room with a look of pride and sadness as four rambunctious children spilled through the door. "Grampa!" they squealed in delight. James knelt on the floor as they threw themselves into his arms and the five of them fell back into a pile of stuffed animals. James sighed as he looked to the ceiling. This was James Bonds life.


Friday, February 17, 2017

It's the Little Things...

Babe has been telling me for years that his dentist keeps telling him he needs an electric toothbrush and I've always answered, "your hands work just fine. They grip and everything. Also, opposable thumbs. You ain't got to have no 'lectric toothbrush." I'm a bumpkin, 'member.

He purchased a "cheap" one for himself a few years back, but only used it for a short time because "it rattled his brain too much." I could see that being a problem, but my thought is a more expensive one would still rattle your brain, it would just cost more to do it.

I'm also in touch with my cheap gene. Got it from my dad. All my brothers have it, too, but I digress.

Babe got a bonus last week and asked if I'd be willing to halfsies on a set of electric toothbrushes. I made a face and had my scoff locked and loaded when I abruptly changed my mind. It was a surprise to me, too. So, he runs out to Costco to get those toothbrushes before I can change my mind, which I do on occasion.

He plugged them in to charge, but then had to leave for a Scout camp trip. So, he didn't even get to use his new toy. That night as I was preparing for bed, I approached my electric toothbrush with caution. Babe had left the directions for me on our bed. If a toothbrush needs directions that's a bad sign. I turned it on and quickly off again. The speed of this thing was worrisome. What if it slipped and hit my cheek? Would the bristles destroy the tender flesh before I could react? I took a calming breath as I placed toothpaste on the end and turned it on again.

My toothpaste disappeared! Had it eaten it? I found it on the back wall after a minute of searching and decided next time to wait until the brush was in my mouth before I turned it on.

After a second application of toothpaste, the brush went into my mouth and I turned it on. There was a rattling sensation in my brain, but after a moment it wasn't too bad. I actually kinda liked it. I moved the brush from side to side, up and down without over taxing my thumbs and when the brush turned off two minutes later (yes, it turns itself off) my mouth felt so clean. I smiled in the mirror and was blinded by the brilliant shine of my chompers. I heard a choir of angels sing "sparkle, sparkle" from the heavens. My eyes have been opened to a world I never knew existed. I have seen the bright light of shiny enamel. I will never go back to the hand powered toothbrush ever again.

When Babe got home after noon the next day, I asked him, after an hour of being home, if he'd used his toothbrush yet. His reply, "I just got home." I was practically dancing from foot to foot in anticipation of his first glorious tooth-brushing experience. I've been married to this man for almost eighteen years. You'd think I would know better than to expect any kind of emoting from him. Yet, there I was again crushed to my soul when, after I asked what he thought, he replied, "it works good."

I wonder how he would react during a tornado.

P.S. Does anyone else find it appalling how much oil and other yuck collects on the screen of your cellphone? I'm constantly taking Windex to that thing and yet...Ew, just ew.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Who's Your Daddy...Pt. 3

One night James Bond returned home after a long day of secret agent-ing to find his apartment had been broken into. His living room was a shambles and there was a strange smell in the air. All of his Al Green records had been broken in half, the kitchen floor was littered with empty liquor bottles. Someone had poured his precious spirits down the drain! He spied (pun intended) a trail of muddy footprints leading to his room.

He followed the path and gasped in horror to find his silken sheets covered in mud and suspicious yellow spots. He dashed to his closet. It was empty! Every one of his tailor made suits had disappeared. He glanced down at his shoe rack and sighed in relief. At least he still had his high end shoes. He frowned in curiosity at the single pair of worn out sneakers at the end of the row. James Bond doesn't wear sneakers, he thought.

His eyes were red and swollen as he mournfully sniffed each empty liquor bottle before placing it in a garbage bag, and cleaned up the remnants of his Songs to Get Busy By collection. He decided to let the housekeeper clean up the mud and opted to sleep on the couch. When he went to put on his silken pajamas all he could find was a pair of plaid boxer shorts. He shrugged unhappily and laid down on the couch which suspiciously smelled like cat urine. James Bond doesn't have a cat, he thought as he closed his weary eyes.

The next morning James stepped into the shower hoping to wash away yesterday's cares. As he washed his hair, he realized his scalp was tingling! Too late he realized his toiletries had been tampered with. He did his best to wash out the substance, but as he looked in the mirror, after he'd toweled off, all he could do was stare in disbelief at the bald patches scattered atop his head. He searched through every drawer for something clean to wear, but all he could find were two pairs of worn jeans and a holey Van Halen T-shirt. "C.O.B. will feel my wrath," he vowed as he quickly dressed and then shoved his feet into a pair of black dress shoes only to abruptly withdraw them again. He had found the source of the smell. "C.OOOOO.BBBB!!" he yelled to the heavens as he dropped the shoe, filled with dog poo, to the floor.

To Be Continued...Again

The Timothy Tree...

Once upon a time, I was a kid. My childhood had some interesting twists and turns which make me an onion, apparently. My friend told me the other day that I was an onion after I told her that our house had a parachute roof. True story.

As I was saying, I was a kid. I have three sisters in law (amazing women all three) who have heard the tales of our youth and one of them declared that we were a breed known as bumpkins. I truly had no idea. I knew other peoples houses had solid walls and they pooped indoors, and we didn't, but it never occurred to me that I was a bumpkin. It made perfect sense after she said it.

Anyway, we lived for a time on a ten acre piece of property we called The Farm. We raised cats. To put a finer point on it, we had two male cats and one female cat who had never been to the vet. Our girl cat, Patches, was constantly pregnant and was, at the first, a wonderful mother. Until about the tenth litter when she'd finally grown so weary she'd just drop the litter and walk away. It was very sad.

In every litter there was at least one white kitten and one orange one. My middle brother always claimed the white one and ALWAYS named it Timothy. Every. Single. Time. Unfortunately Timothy always died. Every. Single. Time. There was a tree on the property where he would bury his Timothys (Timothies?). All around the circumference of the tree were little popsicle stick crosses.

By the time my mom took us away from the Farm, Patches and Bartholomew, had disappeared. Bartholomew had always been somewhat feral. The other cat, Nameless, probably died of old age. They were left to run wild at the Farm. I think back to those days and I'm saddened by the lack of care given to those animals. Now, as an adult with pets, I make sure we take care of our four-legged friends. Sometimes they give me a rash, especially the Idiot Twins, but my aim is to do better than the ones who came before.

Which is why my children live in a house with real walls and indoor plumbing. Nothing is too good for my babies!