Saturday, November 15, 2008

What a boob.

I have many fond childhood memories. Church choir, camping, sleepovers, talent shows, you name it. I can't remember all of the piano recitals and soccer tournaments that I participated in. I even had fun learning to drive. My girlfriends and I spent so many hour practicing our make-up that we could have become professionals. (Professional stylists, that is.) Yes, I have many childhood memories. This is not one of them.

John Dekking was, by far, the cutests of my brother's friends. Now, if you knew my brother in high school, you might be thinking that this isn't saying too much. They were way too interested in Dungeons and Dragons, Star Trek and Planet of the Apes to attract many girls. And they all could have used a ham sandwich and a round of tetracyclene. But John Dekking was truly dreamy. He still had relatives in Holland which only added to the blonde Viking mystery that surrounded him. John could speak Dutch and this was really something since all of the other guys claimed their second language was either Pig Latin or Klingon. Although I do think that one of them could speak that Flubby Dubby language from the Electric Company.

Anyway, John was dreamy. (did I say that already?) He wasn't around much in the summer, seeing as how he had to jet over to Amsterdam to visit his relatives and all. But one Saturday, he came water skiing with us. I must have been about 12 years old; not fully developed, but definitely on my way. That would have made my brother, Brad, and John about 15.

We would go out to Lake Texoma for a day of skiing and it was truly one of my favorite things. Mom made sandwiches and we had orange and grape soda and Fritos. When we were ready for the serious skiing, dad would drop all of us off on one of the small islands in the lake. We would unpack our things and set up a picnic on the beach. Dad would take a couple of us out for a round of skiing, and then come back and switch with the others until we were exhausted. While the others were out skiing, we ate our lunch, swam and sunbathed. Good Times.

This was one of those good times. Brad and John went skiing and then dad took out my mom and me. Mom took a turn driving so that dad could ski and I helped with the rope. We probably switched a couple of times until it was time to start packing up and head for home. At the end of the day, my dad and I left my mom and the boys on the beach. I would have the last turn that afternoon.

I remember the bathing suit that I had on: a green and white one piece that went straight across the top. It had those strings in the middle that gathered the material at the bust and then tied in a bow behind the neck. We wore life vests, but once we were a little older, we all wore the belt kind, a thick strick of foam that fit around the waist. I don't know if John could see me skiing or not. I imagined that he could. I couldn't slalom, but I was pretty good on two skis and could handle even some of the choppiest water.

Dad swung the boat around towards our beach set up. I knew that this was my queue to let go of the rope and drift towards the shore. I must have slid the skis towards the boat and started for the beach to help pick up our supplies. I was walking out of the water as John was walking out to help my dad start to pack up. We exchanged a smile. I was tired, but it was that good kind of tire, like a job well done. We passed each other, and I continued to walk to shore to help mom with the picnic. But when she turned around, she had a horrified look on her face.

My left boob had flopped out on top of my suit. It must have happened when I rode over the wake towards the beach and let go of the rope. My mom and I quickly pulled up my suit and checked the right one for exposure. I was mortified. "Maybe he didn't notice." was all she could say. yeah, right.

John went on to junior year and probably fell in with a more social group of friends. His days of playing Risk with the boys were numbered anyway. At any rate, he didn't come around as much in the next couple of years. Which was just as good, seeing as how I couldn't look him in the eye anyway.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Doorknocker

It's funny what becomes a buzzword between two people who've been married a long time. Not only are they finishing each other's sentences, but phrases and words can be used in a way that only they understand.

"Hey honey... guess what I'm going to do this weekend?"

"You're not fishing again, are you?"

Now, the last time he used that term, he may have meant to go fishing, he just never made it there. One wrong turn and a person can end up in Vegas! So the word fishing develops a specific meaning between husband and wife. "You're not seeing that whore of an ex-wife again, are you?" or "You're not blowing your paycheck on dog races again, are you?" or the ever poplular: "You're not getting so drunk that you wet the bed again, are you?"

Our word is "doorknocker". It really was just a tiny little adjustment to our new house and we ended up with $3,000 on our Home Depot account.

Buying your first home is so scary. It's not just the mortgage and taxes and insurance, it's the little things. When should we trim our crepe myrtles? Are those ants or termites? Does the heater always smell like that when it comes on for the first time in October? We bought our first house in North Arlington after we had been married about 4 years. Michael was more than ready, but he had no idea that Bob Vila was living inside my brain just waiting for the Pandora's Box of home ownership to be opened.

It turns out, that I love all of that home improvement crap. It was a whole new world that was opened to me and HGTV had just come onto the cable scene. What luck! I've learned how to sew my own drapes, create a frame from wood trim and make a wall look like it's covered in suede with just a paint brush.

I loved our new house when we bought it, but there was just one little problem. The doorknocker. The people who had owned it before us were The Whites, and they had it engraved on the brass doorknocker on their front door. This was especially awkward since we are The Greens. I could just hear new friends coming to our door, "Harold, you told me their last name was Green, not White." It had to go.

I found a beautiful brass doorknocker at Home Depot and had it engraved at the mall. I was so excited to get it home and place it on the door of our new home. But once I got it on there, it looked funny. It wasn't the same shape as the old one and I couldn't get the door clean enough to look right. In fact, it looked like the door had been painted once or twice and the doorknocker hadn't been removed. Paint stuck up in rough edges around our beautiful doorknocker. There was only one solution. The door had to be painted.

Once the front door was painted, I realized how faded and worn the trim around it was. And it was brown. Ugly, faded, 70's brown. I thought how nice a cornflower blue would set off our newly painted door with the beautiful brass doorknocker. But you could hardly paint just the trim around the door. It would look ridiculous to leave the window and eave trim their ugly brown and only paint the door trim. And this new paint is so much better quality than what was already on the house. The siding was dull and flaking, and really took away from the striking improvement that the new trim had made. It would be an absolute crime not to paint the siding if the trim was going to be painted, too.

6 weeks and $3,000 later, we had painted our entire house to go along with our new doorknocker. And it's been a symbol of my inner Bob Vila ever since.

"Hey honey... guess what I'm going to do this weekend?"

"You're not buying another doorknocker again, are you?"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bad Luigi!

It's official. I've become my father. Oh, how I wish that were a typo. Every woman I know has children, hits their 30's and one day finds themselves saying things like, "Stop running with scissors!" or " Just wait 'til your father gets home!" or "Get your tongue out of that light socket!" And then they realize that it's happened, they have become their mother.

Not me. Every year I get closer and closer to the bane of my teenage existence, my father.

My brother and I used to joke about it. We would be having one of our family dinners and off Dad would go. We knew it was coming because he would drop his dish towel (he hates paper napkins) and rest his elbows on the table. Brace yourself! "You aught not be out at that time of night anyway. Nothing good ever happens after midnight." Brad would push the imaginary tape recorder at the edge of the table. Today's sermon: Number 52! It really would have saved him alot of breath if he had just recorded them all and spun it on the Press and Preach. He could have gone right on eating his salmon croquettes and white bread with butter, while we were still getting the benefit of his life lessons.

And now, it gets more and more frequent that I hear myself saying something and I'm immediately transported back to 3321 Brookshire and his voice is in my head. Only it was my voice coming out of my head at my own daughters.

This latest deja vu experience was Sunday. The girls had seen some dogs for adoption at the Corsicana Art Festival. Before you think that's strange, I should tell you that we adopted our Chihuahua, Mario, from the Ennis Polka Festival five years ago. Anyway, they saw some dogs and wanted to know if we could get a second dog for Christmas this year. I thought they wanted a Wii, but what do I know? Sure, they're small, let's take two. And then they said, "Yeah, and we'll name it Luigi, get it? Mario and Luigi!!"

And now I am sucked into the vortex of my past. 35 years ago, we adopted a poodle when we were still in North Carolina. We must have gone to a breeder, because they all had ridiculous French names. Ours was Pierre. Before we could even get him home we had changed his name to Pete with this pronouncement from my dad: "I'm not going to go running down the street, yelling 'Pierre! Pierre!' after some dumb dog!" At the time, I thought that was actually a great visual. How do you say Pierre with an Oklahoman accent?

But now it's my turn. I imagine myself in traditional Italian peasant dress running down the street, yelling in my best Godfather accent: "Luigi! Luigi!! Come back! I make-a you your favorite meatballs!" no, no way. I am not running down the street yelling 'Luigi' after some dumb dog.

My girls think this is hilarious.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Maximum Confusion

So I have truly lost all of my AOL blog and that's depressing. I'm sort of glad in a way, but I think I'm so clever that I hate to lose all of that sarcasm into cyberspace. And now I don't want to blog about the election because that's depressing, too.

I saw 2 people in their pajamas today. Not just my children, I mean real people, strangers out on the street in their pajamas. The first was a guy in flannel pants and a t-shirt using the pay phone at the 7-11. This guy I almost forgave, seeing as he must be desperate to be out at 9:30 am (horrors!) using a bacteria-laden pay phone (blech). But seriously, dude, the least you can do is throw on the dirty jeans from the floor. Whoever he was talking to on the other end of that phone could surely sense that he was in public in his pajamas. No, you did not get the job.

The second person was a lady walking down the sidewalk in a neighborhood. She was in her pajamas, matching pink-flowered pants (horrors!) and all. But she did have a windbreaker on. So, she doesn't have the good sense to put on real clothes, but she's aware enough to don a windbreaker? Mom, if you're going to walk me to school, I insist that you actually get dressed. Why can't you be like all the other moms and put on your stretch pants (blech)?

And the worst news of all from Michael's job today. No, he hasn't been laid off, they're changing his phone number. We'll never talk on the phone again. Six months from now, I'll see his number on caller id, press the delete button and curse the day telemarketers were invented. I just learned my bank account number and we've been customers for six years. Why, why would they commit this horrible crime against my sanity? Maximum confusion.

As if I needed any help.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


AOL has discontinued their community blog site (one would think that this feature was a good thing), so I'm now on Google. My old blogs were supposed to transfer, but I don't think they did.

I had such the horrifying thought today. I'm not working now, and I thought that maybe I'd like to run for the Homeowner's Association Board again. I swore that I would never make that committment again, but it's so frustrating! It used to be, if you want anything done right, you have to do it yourself.... but now it's if you want anything done at all, you have to do it yourself.

After signing our gas lease agreement, the HOA took in almost $90,000.00 and they have put it to minimal use. We already had $40,000 - 50,000 in our savings account, so the board had promised some improvements with the gas lease bonus. It looks like they have started on the perimeter fencing, but they started on the pool instead of the side facing the street which is totally rotted and falling over. Of course it doesn't help matters that the president's yard backs up to the pool. And we wouldn't have had a pool party at all this year if the gas company hadn't given us one.

But all of this is just a facade to avoid thinking about the election today. I can't stand to channel surf lest I accidentally flip past "Breaking Election News!!!" Honestly, long lines in Philly is not a "Breaking Election News!!!" story. The end of the free world as we know it is a story... but I guess that doesn't really sell soup and Viagra these days.

So, I actually bought a new copy of "1984" a couple of weeks ago and read that and "Animal Farm" back to back. Scary stuff. One of the things that Orwell states is that no one ever assumes power with the intention of giving it up. We have term limits, but an electee is never thinking about the day when power is released. It concerns me that with someone who is as blatantly ambitious as Barack Obama, we will one day soon we will have a "National Emergency" of some kind, thus enabling him to seize total control and/or continue with control and power long after term limits have expired. Of course he may already have total control if the Democrats have the sweeping wins that many news stations are predicting.

I would never wish an assassination on Obama, but he will be the most hunted man on the earth, and that is another frightening prospect. The only thought worse than an American assassination is that Joe Biden would become president! What a moronic blowhard! He's an embarrassing testimony to American politics: out of touch with his own constituents, ill-spoken and a lifetime Washington backslapper. depressing.

But, it's a nice day outside and I've just made a trade with Half Price Books, so life is pretty good. I like to read those memoirs about some poor writer's demented childhood and subsequent drug abuse. It makes me feel like I'm doing pretty good! I'm reading "Such a Pretty Fat" by Jen Lancaster about her humorous attempts to lose weight. She starts out a size 24, so I feel absolutely svelt by comparison. Now I just need to read a book about some truly crazy housewife and my self esteem will go through the roof! Oh wait, I guess I'm writing that book.