Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dogs in cars

Friday I took the kids to an upscale food market to buy some of the natural and organic foods we have been serving. It was in the eighties and sunny, about two thirty in the afternoon.

When we were walking into the store, the kids noticed a little dog. In a car. A black car. In the sun. With the windows rolled up tight. Another lady stopped, aghast at the sight. I wrote down the license number, and then I called the police. The other lady went into the store to have the owners paged.

After about ten minutes, the owners came out, and immediately the one guy started in on me. He was flamboyantly effeminate, which just added to how ludicrous the situation became. "Oh, my god. You have got to be kidding me. The dog is fine, his breed was bred in the desert, and he can handle the heat while we are in the store." (Actually, that breed originated in the mountains, bonehead.) "We'll be in there no more than a half an hour, and he will be just fine." He got more and more aggressive, screaming that "you people" (which, incidentally, is one of my trigger expressions) needed to get a life, that we were up his a**, and so on. The kids were frightened and went to the car. Nita, who wants to be a judge, said, "I took my shoe off, so if he went after you, I could have hit him."

Mr. Dog Owner went on to tell me in a nearly hysterical tone of voice that the poor dog (who was at this point not anywhere in sight in the car) needed attention, and that is why they took him to the store.

During his diatribe, I just stared at him with a blank expression on my face, as wasn't about to argue with him, nor was I going to back down, as that is apparently what he wanted. Then he said to me, "Are you going to say anything, or are you going to stand there like some kind of retard?" At this point, his friend tittered.

"Come along, children," I said. We started down through the parking lot, where I was met by a man who said, "Are you okay?" I told him the guys (who at this point were standing in front of the store staring to make sure I didn't bust out his car window, I guess--don't think it didn't occur to me) did not intimdate me. "Well," the other guy said, "I didn't like the way he was treating you."

I said, "It takes a big man to assault a woman with kids, you know?" What I didn't realize was that my hero had also called the police and used his cell phone to videotape the whole incident while standing by in case I needed help. I got in the car after thanking the man and drove to the other end of the parking lot, where I called the police again and told them the owner had been called to the car and refused to do anything about the dog and in fact had been confrontational. About a minute later, an officer showed up, and I directed him to the car. By the time he arrived, the dog had been shut in the car for at least twenty-five minutes.

I called EG and described the situation to him. He laughed hysterically, imagining the Seinfeld episode with the armoire, so he was no help.

On the way home, the kids and I shut the windows and turned off the air at a traffic light. One minute after we started, they were uncomfortable; three minutes, and they were complaining. Nita, my pragmatist, was the most annoyed, but suggested a practical solution. "Since the dog needed attention," she said, "maybe one of the guys should have stayed in the car with him with the windows all rolled up."

Kiki replied, "But it would be too hot."

"Exactly," Nita said in a satisfied manner. Maybe she should become a judge.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I have a suds return washing machine, one of a dying breed, which saves suds into a laundry tub and then returns them for use again. I do a variation on the cycle, letting the sudsy wash water drain out and then plugging the tub and saving the rinse water for the next cycle's wash.

This, of course, requires some monitoring, but with the ancient septic system we have and the cost of water, I find it to be a minor inconvenience.

Tonight I worked on schoolwork and then did some chores, filling the dishwasher, sweeping the floor, and then going off to the basement to do a load of laundry. EG came downstairs to discover me folding a load of clothes from the dryer while the washer was spinning. "What are you doing?" he asked.

Okay, this was one of those "duh" moments, but I refrained from making a smart remark and replied, "Laundry."

But it went on. "Why?" he asked. Hmm, let's see . . . getting a foot massage from some really attractive guy who is hiding under the washer? Preparing to exit for a date with George Clooney, using the secret exit which the dogs have always suspected I had down here, judging by their reaction when I go downstairs?

So I replied, "We need clean clothes."

"We do?" he asked.

At that time, I decided to forget it.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


I have 55 mile an hour hair. Every morning I wash my hair, comb it, and let it dry on the way to work, usually in warmer weather being tousled by the wind in the open windows.

Then I forget it for the rest of the day, usually not even combing it unless I think about it.

Nita's got a coarse hair, quite kinky, and we have relaxed it for four or five years now, first having it done professionally by my friend Lisa, and then by me or another friend. Let's just say that Nita's hair has been a real learning experience for me--I find the work required to be irritating, plus she is tender-headed, so she shrieks whenever I try to do anything. We managed to keep it longer, but it broke off at the place where Lisa stopped and I started working on it, and it required an inordinate amount of work to maintain, which was complicated by Nita's delusion that she had straight, fine, blonde hair which didn't require special attention. Last night, I cut the dead ends off, and after some discussion with Nita, trimmed off ends so it was even with the breakage point.

It looked really awful, so today I took her to the beauty shop. An hour with the clippers later, Nita now has a short, natural Afro, about an inch and a half long. Of course, since she is slender and leggy, people think she is a boy--never mind the budding body, floral tee shirt, and pink head bands I got her.

So now Nita announced that she is bald and is not going to school until her hair grows out in four or five years.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Web Search

Rocky's media teacher gave him a worksheet to do in class; it contained some questions of not-so-general knowledge: Where was the first atom bomb dropped? What jazz musician was nicknamed "Bird?" Who was the first African-American woman astronaut?

Apparently, Rocky was looping around the rings of Saturn on the day the search engine directions were covered. He would type in the terms, then read the brief blurb for the first result to pop up, and then answer the question as quickly as possible.

Consequently, today I found out that Hair Strumm was the U. S. president who ordered the atom bomb to be dropped on Nag's Head, Hiawatha was a Mohawk chef, and Rudyard Kipling wrote the famous poem about him, and Freddie Hendrickson was the famous jazz musician who was known as Birp.

Somehow, I think the objectives were not reached on this assignment.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


I go through spells where it seems like I climb out of bed, drink a cup of coffee, and then the day hits me full force, and next thing I know, I am taking my pills and flopping back into bed, only to start the whole thing all over again fifteen minutes later.

Things have been so hectic with my own courses, work, graduation, and the kids' activities (what is it with the schools: suddenly they go, HEY! we didn't give these kids enough activities all year, so let's hit them with every concert, meeting, or evening event we can think of!) Last week was one of those: come home from work, conduct an inquisition to find out who tore the curtain rod out of the wall, cook supper, drop Nita off at the church for the crowning of Mary, drive ten miles to drop Rocky off at the school for his band concert, meanwhile EG picked up Kiki and took her to choir, then back for Nita, then a quick dash to the grocery store, then back for Rocky. I would have gone to his concert, but he didn't bring home the paper (the thoughtless band teacher put it on pink paper and offended his masculine sensibilities) and informed me of the concert the day of the event. All this after working eight hours and commuting an additional two.

Sometimes I feel like I am going to pass myself driving down the road.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mapping out my life

This morning, I sat down and synchronized household, personal, and work calendars through the end of June. I realized I have a week off of work and school at the same time. One whole week, I thought, so I started listing all the things which need to be done.

It won't be enough time.

So, I scheduled a nap in every day and left the rest blank for now.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Persuasive Learner

I had Nita to the doctor the other night in an effort to head off the inevitable allergies leading to a sinus infection, and something must have come up with another patient. Even though we were the last appointment of the day, we didn't expect the doctor to be over an hour late; as a result of the delay, I was stuck in a room with Nita and nothing for her to do. We went through her addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts, spelling words, and various other games I could think of.

During the course of our conversation, Nita, who by then was up past her bedtime, announced to me, "I have to count on my fingers--I'm a persuasive learner." I, of course, hooted at her rather pompous delivery, not to mention the malapropism. "Well, I am," she said. "I don't learn by seeing, and I don't learn by hearing. I learn by doing. So, I'm a persuasive learner."

I filled her in on how she was a kinesthetic learner, like I was, but when I actually thought about it, I realized she probably is a persuasive learner.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Come on now, ladies

What I don't understand is some women. Last night, we were at Kiki's confirmation. It was supposed to be a holy celebration, but the two women behind me YAPPED incessantly through the whole thing about the most mundane and idiotic things, which I was forced to overhear. I wanted to turn around and ask, "Why do you think anyone cares about this, and why can't you JUST SHUT UP?"

However, I didn't. What bothers me is that these are the same women who are raising children who will be our future adults and leaders. Will they think it is okay to discuss the new flavor of tic tacs in a loud tone of voice during the presidential inauguration? Or that it is not only acceptable, but expected, to debate the pros and cons of light and dark corn syrup during a funeral?

Then, of course, these same women are walking out of the church and instead of pausing to allow people to take pictures, they shove their children to proceed into the photo shoot, despite it being off to the side--maybe because they are still talking and not paying attention, but come on now. Then, instead of apologizing, they reward the other individuals with a superior, tight smile as they sweep by. Or through--while the people who are taking the picture wait patiently. And these are the same women who go through a doorway and then immediately stop dead to have a conversation, causing those behind them to have to go on either side of the meet and greet session, as no one is moving out of the way.

So, what causes this? Are they self-involved? Thoughtless? So pampered that they are in the mindset that they can do no wrong? Or are they just plain stupid? I understand wanting to have social contact--with school and work and the kids, I don't have much time for friends, and I get lonely, too.

What embarrasses me for my gender is that my children are more socially aware and better behaved than these so-called adults. So, ladies, here is your wake up call. I won't confront you in public, as Emily Post would say that pointing out your lack of manners demonstrates my own poor social graces. You need to pay attention: a discreetly cleared throat while you are babbling about the shower stall liner or a pointed stare after you did a five-minute monologue about grocery shopping without inhaling more than once means you need to pay attention--there are other people around you. If that doesn't work, maybe I'll just mail you a copy of Emily Post's book. Or present it in person when I whack you over the head with it instead.