Friday, June 29, 2012

The Tale of Herbert the Mouse

This week, our basement flooded...again.

It's been a rather wet Spring in the Northwest and the soil and cement seem to be saturated so the water just poured in when the next big rain fell.  I choose not to engage that part of me that likes to curse my house, so instead, we got busy and started cleaning up the two inches of water that covered the floor. 

Fast forward....two days later, the basement rug was pitched like a dark, wet tent over a ladder so the fan could get underneath and dry things out.  Straight Face went downstairs to turn off the fan for the night when I heard a strangled yelp issue from the basement. 

"There's something small and furry down there,"  she said as she hurried up the stairs. 

Now, let me tell you a little secret:  I'm a handy woman.  I don't wait for my husband to take the trash out, change a tire, rip the siding off the house, re-paint it or even kill the Zombies.  I am capable...or I make my kids do it, because isn't that one of the perks of having kids?  

However, when it comes to small furry creatures, snakes and Smoke Monsters, it's aaaaaaaallllllllll Mountain Man.

"Run Mountain Man, get your gun," I said.  Which made him smile, but his mama didn't raise an idiot, so he didn't get out a gun, mostly because we don't own any.  Diastema offered to make a gun out of Legos for him to use on the mouse, but Mountain Man had it under control.  

Down the stairs he went, into the mouse abyss.  

He came up several minutes later looking triumphant.  

"How did it go? Got any leads? Did you find him?  Squish him?  Return him to the wild?" I asked.  

"Nope. Didn't see him."  Which I thought was strange because our basement is the size of a postage stamp, and there's not much furniture down there.  There is however, a couple of Play Mobile pirate ships so maybe he was hiding in one of those, because if you were mouse sized wouldn't that be the first place you would go?

"So why were you down there rustling around so long?"

He said, "I finally beat the level on Uncharted." (A video game.)


So, I've made peace with living with a mouse.
I've named him Herbert.

And I really REALLY hope Herbert isn't a girl.

How do you feel about mice?  Snakes?  Smoke Monsters?   


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

O Holy Eggs (and Bacon.)

So here's a little local tidbit worthy of discussion:  Earlier this week a local breakfast eatery asked a mother and her child to leave their establishment after the mother had paid the bill.  The child had allegedly been "singing"--and I have no idea if there was a complaint from other patrons or what--but after the incident, an employee from the restaurant posted on Facebook, "I'm not sure why it's surprising that if you or your child are doing things that are disturbing other guests that you will be asked to leave."

Wow.  That's takes some cojones, Amigos.

But I digress, because it isn't the child "singing" or the parents, or even the utter stupidity of the eatery who called out a paying customer on Facebook that I want to discuss today. Ironically, it's the 450+ comments and opinions on the original post that call for some reflection.  (I realize that most of you who read this do not live in this small town, but I'm sure you've seen similar posts in your neck of the woods so relevance still applies, right?)

When I was in Junior High, I totally rocked the over-sized-off-the-shoulder-peg-leg-jean-big-hair-look.  I mean it.  I was a freakin' Guess jean model.  It didn't get hotter than me.  I looked like Tina Yothers from the show, Family Ties, and honey, that's babe-licious.  

I also thought that the word "babe-licious" was totally rad--and that the word "rad" was rad. The reality was, is what I really needed was someone with some ACTUAL style to save me from myself because honey, I looked like Tina Yothers from Family Ties but with bigger hair. My whole look said, "Save me from myself!! I almost asphyxiated on Aqua Net this morning! I'm responsible for the hole in the ozone!! Help!!"

Unfortunately, no one stepped in as we were all awash in acid wash jeans.

(Now go Google Tina Yothers, then come right back.)

Welcome back.
Now, how does me looking like a Greek Tina Yothers relate to those 450+ comments?

Let me be the self appointed style expert here.
Here's a little tidbit of advice I was taught as a child, "If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all."...or, if you need to say it, then say it with some humor because people can usually laugh their way through backhanded insults.

If you really, really want to comment, that's great, I'm all about freedom of speech that allows me to openly mock others through veiled humor--but let's establish some rules so you don't look quite so stupid:

1.  Execute proper word usage.  The word, "there" refers to a place.  "Their" refers to someone's possession.  "I'm not gonna take my kids their!!!" is not correct and now you look ignorant--which is another word for stupid, just in case you didn't know.

2.  While commenting, don't abbreviate.  You are not texting.  The word "be" has only two letters, (not "too" by the way, so) deny your laziness, be a chum and spell the whole word out.
You'll b glad you did.

3.  Be diplomatic.  I understand that you are upset, angry, and afraid.  However, you are not being kicked out of the restaurant at this instant.  If you were, you'd be on Twitter, not on Facebook and your name would be Alec Baldwin.  Take a breath, remember that you are in a safe place and that most problems can be solved by being calm, even if you have a flaming pitchfork in hand.

4.  Don't set your pitchfork on fire.  That's just good advice all around.  If you can't spell "be" then I think this bears reminding because setting your pitchfork on fire will probably cause death.  If you can't spell the word "be" then you also may not be able to remember that your pitchfork is on fire, and setting a flaming pitchfork down will only result in lighting your house on fire...which, I guess, would stop you from commenting on Facebook, so that's a plus...never mind, light away. 

5.  Listen to my friend, Sherilee over at Sweet Tea and Sunshine who said, "The ability to articulate an argument gets quite hampered by spelling and usage issues."  Take a page from this wise woman, people.  Read a book, learn to spell, your comments will then get the proper respect they deserve.

6. Remember the Alamo.  No, I don't mean get your knives, guns and cannons out from under the camping stuff in the garage in order to defend your point of view.  What I mean is, people worldwide remember the Alamo as a heroic struggle against impossible odds--a place where men made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.  True freedom is finding peace amid any viewed injustice and true grace is choosing to be kind instead of right.  
Choose to be kind.      

So, if you choose to rant, rant on friends.  I applaud you--ranting has brought about great changes in the world like freedom from dictators, civil rights to minorities, ousting of dirty CEO's and (hopefully! *fingers crossed*) the continued service of 16 oz. sodas in New York City--because that, friends, is a life changing issue.  

However, if you choose to rant, do it wisely, because just as we look back at photos of ourselves in high school and think, "Wow, why didn't someone tell me that I looked so ridiculous in those M.C. Hammer pants?" you may look back on your ranting and think, "Well, that was just really unkind."...or maybe you won't.  

Either way, you totally are NOT rockin' those Hammer pants, so be kind now.  

Have you ever commented unkindly? 


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Oh Hail.

It hailed this glorious afternoon in the Northwest.  Mountain Man, the kids and I sat out on the front porch and watched the spectacle.  Our feet got wet.  I think a piece of hail ended up in my eye.  A herd--no seriously--of squirrels took shelter in our blossoming cherry trees out front and we watched Nature work her glory and wonder.

I breathed in.

After our feet were dry, we played at least twenty games of Uno, and I cheated during them all.
They know what I am when they invited me to play.  

Then we made and drank lavender lemonade from the blossoms of our very own lavender.
Music is playing.    

It's a perfect afternoon.

How was your Saturday? 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The First "Official" Day of Summer

Today, is the first official day of summer?  Or is it tomorrow?  I can never keep the solstice days straight.  Anyway, it's REALLY our first day of summer here at the Square Toothed/Mountain Man house as we've been all consumed with camping and picking up Diastema at Grandma's house so now we find ourselves at home with the first uninterrupted day of summer stretching out before us.

This could be a good thing...or not.

I always begin summer with the best of intentions.  We make a huge list of things we'd like to do, but then somewhere along the way, our enamorment--yes, that's not a real word, but if I acknowledge that it's not real then I can use it--wains and we are left on the side of summer's road like a forgotten shoe.

The summers of my childhood were spent doing one thing and one thing only:  Swimming.  For under a dollar (Geez, how old AM I?), you could swim everyday--aaallll day long.  My parents didn't worry about summer camps, enrichment activities, or "together" time.  They turned us loose to the pool and we swam all day.  In fact, this is still my favorite summertime activity.  I'm so hardcore that my kids give me that blank stare that says, "Please woman, make it stop.  Not swimming, again."


So, here we are, the first day of actual freedom and a long list of things to do before us.
I love standing on the brink of possibility.  

Wish us luck.

What do you do with your kids during the summer? 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Girls & Camping, the Follow-up

It is 1:37 in the afternoon, and I am not afraid to admit it, I am just waking up.  After two weeks of sleeping less than four hours a night in preparation for girl's camp, and then the three hours (or less) over the last four nights, I'm not too proud to say, " I. Am. Tired."

What a great week.  We were fed by the goddess of cooking (and my friend, Sassy Britches) who can make ANYTHING taste like it just came from Wolfgang Puck's kitchen...except it's better, because she cooked it.  We laughed until the wee hours of the morning every night, we enjoyed the rich, (and sometimes confusing) conversation of teenage women--without bringing home any annoying ticks or teenage catch phrases.

I have not said the phrase "epic fail" once in the last 24 hours, so I know that the most popular phrase of camp hasn't clamped its painted nail talons onto me (thank heavens) and it was a great week all in all.

There were a couple of conversations I thought would result in some worried emails by parents--like how to push out a baby--trust me, it sounds worse than it was--or when Mrs. Marcus told us about her first date with her sweetheart and one of our spunkiest girls blurted out, "And then he said, let' go to the janitor's closet!"  Which made us all laugh, then wonder what T.V. show she's been watching, or which janitor's closets she's been walking by.

But one thing was clear: if the future of the world is in the hands of the young people, we're gonna be alright.  

Now, I'm off to do a Mount Everest pile of laundry, and shower again to see if I can get the smell of campfire out of my hair.

What did you do this week?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Girls & Camping

For the last few years I've worked as a camp counselor at a girls camp for the church I attend.  As a camper, I love living outside (for any amount of time I can) and incidentally, I'm still waiting for Mountain Man to whisk me back up to the Flathead where we can live out our days in a yurt on the side of the lake.

On the other hand, girls camp is a different sort of wonder.  There's a lot of girls.  And well, they're girls.  Not to say that this is bad, but there's usually a lot of crying, screaming, and menstruating (sorry, it's the elephant in the campground and the reason for all the screaming and crying.)
In short, there's a lot of drama.

I've heard other camp leaders exclaim it to be their best week of the year--and it's great--don't get me wrong--(I won't use the word "but" here because that negates everything you just said before you said the word "but", so I'll say) AND preparing for girls camp is just a big pain.

It's like preparing for a vacation where you know that the only thing you will come home with is fatigue and quite possibly Lyme disease--actually, if you substitute the words "Lyme disease" for "amoebic dysentery", it's not unlike vacationing in Mexico.

There are the forced preparations of sewing a flag to represent our congregation (no thanks friends, I will not bow down to the convention of my culture and sew--unless it's a pillow so I can rest my weary head)  preparing secret sister gifts (money spent on trinkets that could have purchased a small car, a pound of gold bullion, or several sheep for villagers living in the Sudan.)

And then there's the packing.
Squeezing fourteen girls (and all their worldly possessions) into a mini van...wait, I don't drive one of those either, so let's say, Mini Coop, is like trying to squeeze, well, fourteen girls into a mini-coop.  When we arrive we all tumble out like clowns from a VW.

On the other hand, camping with all these hormonal, pubescent crying girls makes me appreciate the wise daughter who came through me but is certainly a woman all her own already.  I'm forbidden to discuss her except in the loosest of terms, so that brief description must suffice.  And then there's the inevitable vocabulary expansion that happens up at camp.
After camp last year, it took me no less than two weeks to break myself of the habit of saying the word, "Epic" after every mundane pronouncement.

And friends, if you don't know me all that well, you may not know that I despise that word with all the feeling of my soul.

The only things that are epic are sex (if you're lucky) and the movie Ben Hurr--and that's only because Moses starred in it, and was hot.  Seriously, Charleton Heston=babe.  

There's also the fact that Mountain Man will usually drive up so we can make out in the woods for a few minutes in between camp activities.

What?  Don't judge.

And if you are, then you're just wishing your own mountain man would drive an hour to make out with you after a long day's work.  Seriously, Mountain Man=babe and great kisser.

There's also the opportunity to spend time with some wonderful women who share their love of life, joy of peace and kindness with all they meet...and (besides making out in the woods) that's my favorite part.

So, in spite of the sewing, the month of packing, and the Lyme disease (which are all epic, by the way) girl's camp equals four days of love, laughter, deet poisoning and snogging in the bushes.

I'm looking forward to it.

See you next week.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Guess What We Did??!!

Today is the anniversary of those two young people to the right.

Mountain Man and I are celebrating 15 years of wedded gooey goodness today.  It was really a poor date choice as we later realized, because every year it fell right in the middle of finals week (when we were in college) and now is the last week of school for our own kids.

Needless to say, sometimes we forget.  Lucky for us, we don't really care, and we usually forget together so sometime in July we turn to one another and say, "Hey, we forgot our anniversary."

I know that this picture is atypical for a bride and groom, but what can I say?  Pictures taken with my mouth closed look like I'm in a mug shot.

This picture is particularly close to my heart because it was the picture we slapped on the front of a postcard and sent to all of our friends and family after we got married.  The back said, "GUESS WHAT WE DID??!!"

It was the best idea ever.  We ran away, parents, siblings and best friends in tow and sealed the deal.  Then we hopped a plane and traveled for a month...where Mountain Man contracted strep throat in France and then we came home.

There's a bunch of stories in there, which I may tell another time, but what I wanted to say (to one of the two people who are notified by email when I write a new blog post) is:

Happy Anniversary Mountain Man.  You are the bread to my butter and the breath to my life.
I'm still glad I married you...
....and you know the rest.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Smoke Signals

Ok, I'm a pretty positive person, but I've been spending the last two days trying to figure out--well--actually I have no idea what I've been trying to figure out--as I'm a hopeless technological wreck.  You may be wondering how I navigate creating a blog, unless of course, you write a blog too--then you realize that even the most technologically challenged among us (me) can do that without too much hassle.

Here's the deal:  I am much more comfortable with say, oh, carrier pigeons--or smoke signals--than with computers.  Heck, I will even do an interpretive dance to communicate if that's what it takes.

I don't tweet--in fact, I don't really even get what that is--and if you do, don't even bother to explain it to me, because with the proliferation of 80's song lyrics that already fill my head, I can't really imagine squeezing anymore useless information into my already crowded cranium.

While I was the first of my friends to have children, I was the last to get a cell phone, and it wasn't until quite recently that I upgraded to a smart phone which I promptly removed the Facebook and email applications from which made a friend ask, "Why do you even have a smart phone if you don't want to get information instantly?"
To which I replied, "I like how the screen moves when my finger touches it."

I know.

Here's the deal:  I don't want to be connected with everyone all the time.  I don't really play well with others and in fact, I never answer my front door...or my phone...seriously.  I screen every call unless you call my cell phone and only the people I really want to talk to have that number anyway.

And another thing about all this connected-ness: (confession time) I often feel bad that I flood people's Facebook timeline's with my blog posting notices.  I realize that most people I'm "friends" with have probably hid me and my bloggingness, which is fine--but just so you know, I feel bad just the same.  I don't want to be "that" person who keeps requesting Farmville (--seriously people, go outside and ACTUALLY farm.  It yields awesome results--like food.)

On the other hand, when I see a fellow blogger posting their blog in the news feed I'm overjoyed to catch up with's a conundrum.

So, the last 24 hours I've been trying to figure out how to post social media icons onto my blog to clean up the look around here.  Then it dawned on my that I really had no idea what social media icons do.  So I Googled* that.  (Look at me go.)  I'm still not sure who would want to follow me on Facebook or RSS feed, unless it's my mom, but she can barely use a cell phone (no offense, Mom) so what would be the point?

At this point, I've decided to give up (for today) and be at peace with the fact that I'm just not computer savvy.

I'm off to make bread.

Do you consider yourself computer competent?  

I think it's weird that Blogger doesn't recognize "Googled" as a real verb.  Especially since Blogger is run by Google--isn't that a part of our lexicon yet?