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Archive for the ‘Can’t Make This Stuff Up’ Category

This is its 7th year. People are still searching for it! That makes me smile. Enjoy!

turkey farm

Across the hall from my office is what I believed to be a daycare center. Turns out, it is some sort of work-release program for 3- and4-year-olds, from which they operate a turkey farm. As you can imagine, it’s been a busy place this week. I’ve dealt with a turkey or two in my day, so I thought I’d take a moment to offer some last-minute turkey selection guidance, with a little help from my turkey-raising friends across the hall.

Do look for:

good bird

A plump, confident bird that will look you right in the eye. All parts should be . . . “in the ballpark,” so to speak.

AVOID:

visually challenged turkey

A bird that appears intoxicated, or just effin’ goofy. You don’t want that.

inverted bird

The upside-down turkey, with crossed legs and shifty eyes. May also exhibit a paranoid demeanor. This bird will NOT digest easily.

ingrown turkey

Watch for the inbred turkey. Its feathers and legs tend to grow inward. Also be leery of turkeys with excessive glue or other miscellaneous white liquids dripping from their beaks. You just don’t know where a turkey like this has been.

afflicted turkey

This is the “WTF” turkey. Any bird that elicits, as your first response, a startled “WTF?!” is to be avoided. Just say no.

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There’s an ugly property dispute going on within the Fairchild family. Both of the combatants make compelling arguments. As the heads of the household, Jif and I are called upon to render a decision, but we are stymied.

Stymie

Some weeks back, we took delivery of one black metal baby gate, all the better to contain Riggins with. It has served its purpose well. He stays mostly in the family room. Said family room was added on to the house at some point, and was once a garage. As such, it sits on a concrete slab, and is not particularly well insulated, and frankly, gets cold as Mars. It is difficult to keep the family room warm, especially with no fire in the fireplace. Thus, the stage is set for the appearance of The Toasty House.

LG performed the very valuable service of installing the baby gate, in the space between family room and kitchen. However, when she did so, she did not perform what would also have been a valuable service — that of properly disposing of the cardboard box from which the gate emerged. What she did do with said box, is to slide it under the breakfast bar in the family room, and lean it against the wall — where it remained for far too long. Where it remained, in fact, until Riggins disappeared one day, and we discovered that he had taken up residence in the lean-to structure that was formed by the box leaning against the wall under the breakfast bar. He seemed so fond of this newly claimed spot, that we did not immediately move to take the box away, thereby dismantling the lean-to.

In the meantime, the family room grew colder. Being a person of considerable investigative talents, I investigated. Could there be a connection between the dropping temperature in the room, and the newly claimed lean-to, where Riggins resided? Indeed, there was. There is a heating vent that comes out under the breakfast bar, where the gate box leans. The heat from that vent is captured between wall and box, and makes the lean-to one of the toastiest places in our home. Hence its name, “The Toasty House.” The answer to the question, “Where’s Riggins?” is more often than not, “in the toasty house.” Once we became aware of his love for this home within a home, we did not have the heart to recycle the box as we originally should have.

Riggins chillin' in the toasty house

Over the weekend, the temperatures dropped here. LG began to ponder the possibilities of the toasty house. One thing led to another, and she crawled in, to experience first hand its warm delights. She didn’t want to leave. Riggins was highly offended, but eventually burrowed in with her. This leads to our current stalemate.

LG tries out the toasty house

LG says that she is the builder, and indeed, the architect and designer of the toasty house, and as such, she should have clear deed to it. Riggins argues (we think) that if not for him, no one would ever have discovered that a discarded box against a wall is in fact, a toasty house. The “toasty” part, which is, in fact, what keeps the house from simply being more trash in the family room, was his discovery. They have reached a stalemate, but each has agreed to abide by the decision of the internet.

So I ask you, who has rightful claim to the toasty house?

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I found some gift cards that the in-laws had given us for Christmas, probably a couple of years ago. They were for that really great one-word department store that begins with “N.” LG has a few events coming up that will require something nicer than her usual jeans and t-shirt uniform, but not quite a sparkly homecoming dress. Since that’s the extent of her wardrobe, it’s time for us to do some shopping. And the gift cards will work nicely.

While she’s trying on her selections in the fitting room, I’m sitting on this stool just outside, next to the rack of clothes to be put away. I feel something really REALLY soft and pleasant against my arm. I look down, and here’s this vest, which I assume, there in the junior department, is an inexpensive faux fur. So I pick it up, and it’s LG’s size, and it’s beautiful, and I can’t wait until she comes out so I can show her, have her try it on.

So along comes the young woman who works in the junior deparment. Young, stylish, African-American. She reaches out to take the vest from me. I smile and say, “This is great.” I’m all ready to talk young, hip fashion, like I know what I’m talking about.

She says, with no particular expression in face or voice, “It’s really next-door.” It took me a second, but I caught on. I realized that “next-door” must be some new expression that I don’t know yet, like “off the chain,” or something like that, but it means groovy.

So, always willing to be vernacularly adaptive, I say, “Oh, yes, it really is!”

She looks at me like I’m “special” and pulls the vest from my hands, saying, “It’s really NEXT DOOR.”

And I’m all, “I KNOW. I want my daughter to try it.” By now the thing is slipping through my hands and starting to walk away in hers. The last part to leave my grasp is the tag, on which I read the word “MINK” and a price that’s in the hundreds of dollars. She’s still looking at me like I’m special, but now she’s walking away with the vest, toward “next-door,” which, turns out, means the next department over, in the high-end fancy pants clothes.

What does she know? I still think “next door” is off the chain, as an expression of fabulousness.

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So we get in the car to return books to the library, and I had to make LG go back in the house and get my camera. Because we have these books . . .

. . . which we had hoped would help us teach this little monster pup to behave properly. And then we are also returning THIS book . . .

. . . which pretty much demonstrates the uselessness of the others.

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Me (looking out the window): Hey, LG, there are three cute boys walking down the road . . . and one rolling down the road …

LG scrambles to the window, which I find interesting because she’s shown very little interest in boys to date.

LG (looking disappointed): Mom! He’s on a skateboard. I thought you meant he was rolling, like actually on the ground rolling down the road while the other three walked. Now THAT would have been worth leaving my computer for.

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When the decision to help Biscuit die had been made, we had to talk specifics with the vet’s people. A very gentle, soft-spoken woman named Heather, presented the options to me over the phone. I asked for the prices of each option. I was somewhat in a fog of grief, so I had to ask her to repeat several things. The gist of it all was, Biscuit’s body could be returned to us for burial (no charge, except for the injection); he could be cremated individually and returned to us in a basic urn, or in a decorative urn of our choosing ($200 plus injection and urn cost); or he could be cremated along with all the other animals who had recently died, and nothing would be returned to us ($90 plus injection). After going over the prices, Heather added, “I know your bill is already huge, with the last week of day hospital, so I imagine you want to keep costs down…”

“Well, yes,” I answered, on autopilot, while mulling our options. We had once buried another dog in the yard of our old house. We had been told then that it was illegal to do so in our area, and this was a source of anxiety for a very young LG. I thought aloud that cremation would be better. I mentally dismissed, though apparently did not state, that I did not want Biscuit lumped in with all the other deceased pets.

So Heather continued trying to help me with arrangements. “OK, then, we’ll have $90 for the euthanasia; we’ll do the cremation; the mass is an additional $90…”

The mass? We would, I was certain, say a prayer of thanksgiving and blessing as we buried Biscuit’s ashes in the yard, but we had no intention of having a mass for him. $90? For a priest . . . mass cards . . . ? Just when I was mentally finalizing the funeral arrangements, Heather throws in this monkey wrench. I went through an elaborate inner process, trying to find a compartment for this new mass information. I finally decided that I needed to respond something like, “Thank you for thinking of that [clearly, Heather is Roman Catholic, and apparently assumed that we are as well; she is only trying to be sensitive and attentive to our spiritual needs], but we are Presbyterian [Biscuit has received communion (and by “received,” I mean stolen, and by “communion,” I mean bread) on at least two occasions], so we really won’t need a mass, we’ll take care of our own service.”

I opened my mouth to make this rather odd reply, but instead, out came, “Wait, what?”

Turns out, “the mass” meant “mass cremation,” as in, with all the other pets. That’s not what we wanted. Even though we were already dipping into all the $ we had, and some we didn’t, for his care, we wanted him cremated alone. I told Heather this, and that we’d take the basic container, nothing fancy, and we’d bring him home to bury him.

So that’s the story of how Biscuit was almost converted at the end of his life. We were greatly surprised that the “basic container” which I imagined as a plastic margarine tub, is actually a lovely wooden box with an intricate floral carving on the top. It is now on a bookshelf. I don’t know when or if we’ll bury it. Presbyterian.

RIPBiscuit

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They’re baaaaaack! It’s turkey time! Here’s the deal:

turkey farm

Across the hall from my office is what I believed to be a daycare center. Turns out, it is some sort of work-release program for 3- and 4-year-olds, from which they operate a turkey farm. As you can imagine, it’s been a busy place this week. I’ve dealt with a turkey or two in my day, so I thought I’d take a moment to offer some last-minute turkey selection guidance, with a little help from my turkey-raising friends across the hall.

Do look for:

good bird

A plump, confident bird that will look you right in the eye. All parts should be . . . “in the ballpark,” so to speak.

AVOID:

visually challenged turkey

A bird that appears intoxicated, or just effin’ goofy. You don’t want that.

inverted bird

The upside-down turkey, with crossed legs and shifty eyes. May also exhibit a paranoid demeanor. This bird will NOT digest easily.

ingrown turkey

Watch for the inbred turkey. Its feathers and legs tend to grow inward. Also be leery of turkeys with excessive glue or other miscellaneous white liquids dripping from their beaks. You just don’t know where a turkey like this has been.

afflicted turkey

This is the “WTF” turkey. Any bird that elicits, as your first response, a startled “WTF?!” is to be avoided. Just say no.

**********
Happy Thanksgiving, friends. I hope your turkey is in fine form.

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inconsolableI think Biscuit approves of the new portrait. It’s a print I’ve had my eye on
here at Ballard Designs. When I got a coupon the other day, I thought I’d go for it. It tickles me as much as I thought it would — it really does look like the VBD.

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PICT1040

We were moving some stuff around in the family room and vacuuming tonight. This ottoman is out of its usual place and blocking Biscuit’s path into the kitchen. He first bumped into it (remember, he’s blind), then decided it was a spiffy new resting spot put there for him. He’s been like this, back feet on the floor, front half chillin’ on the ottoman, for nearly an hour now.

Indicentally, this is the same dog who, when he was let out into the backyard to pee late last night, returned to the house with a whole loaf of French bread. I have no idea.

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There’s a little “pub” near here where we go quite often for dinner. Nothing fancy, usually a salad and soup on those nights when I work a little late and we’d rather sit and talk than hurry up and cook something. You enter this pub through the bar, then make a quick turn through another door into the restaurant part.

One night last week, as we were leaving the restaurant, stepping into the bar, I felt a chilly sensation across my front middle. To be more specific, I felt a brisk breeze across the approximately 1.5″ swath of belly skin (fat) that was inadvertently exposed. See, the good news was that I have lost the tiniest bit of weight, so that the jeans were slipping down. And the bad news was that my shirt was too damned short and my gut was busting out.

Something about the breeze on my belly, and the shock of my exposure, and the wondering how many fools at the bar had noticed, tickled my funny bone and I started to laugh. Without pulling down my shirt. Which sounds odd under the circumstances, but there was a method to my madness. Jif and LG were slightly ahead of me walking out. I wanted them to see that this hysterical thing was happening, but I didn’t want to shout ahead, “Hey! Look at my belly!” (Because that would be gauche, and as you’ll see, I am anything but gauche.) So I thought, if I’m laughing (as I was) and lagging behind (as I was), when they turn around to see where I am and what’s so funny, and they see my belly hanging out, they’ll find it just as funny as I do.

So, soon they turned and saw and heard me laughing. And they grinned a little, but that really was not what the occasion called for, so I had to raise the stakes. I bent backwards and stuck my belly out, and pulled my shirt up more, and went after them! Then they started laughing like they were supposed to.

I chased them down the sidewalk and out into the parking lot, as they laughed and yelled things about how terrifying the situation was…

::tangent::Here, there was a drama within the drama. Since LG was little, our rule, in fact her very first rule, was WE HOLD HANDS IN A PARKING LOT. Now, this started when she was barely toddling, and as she got older, of course we relaxed the rule. But for some reason, it’s been revived. Just to torment her, we remind her of THE RULE. And we chase her down in parking lots and grab her hands while she screams and laughs hysterically and tries to escape from us, and we go on about “YOU KNOW THE RULE!” and people stare at us like we’re idiots or like we’re abducting her. So, yea, not only are Jif and I chasing LG down to enforce THE RULE, but my big fat belly is shining to light the way.::end of tangent::

… and I laughed so hard it’s a wonder I wasn’t peeing (because I’m not QUITE bizarre enough yet, this fat almost-50-year-old woman wielding her belly like a weapon in the parking lot of a strip mall), until I finally corner them at the car.

And they lock me out. So, I do the only thing I can do in that situation. I pull my shirt up even more and stand on tippy-toes to press my belly up against the passenger side window.

We are all laughing like hyenas when Jif finally lets me in. Sitting there in the parking lot before we pull out, in the sighing afterglow of the hilarity, I can’t help but think, “Oh. my. GOD, I hope none of my clients were here tonight.”

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