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Sunday, March 30, 2014


Pets are good for a heart-warming snuggle when you want to thread all the world through the backyard chipper, for sharing their body heat when you stay in to watch a movie on a cold winter’s night, and for the destruction of your Great-aunt Betsy’s heirloom comforter. 

If you make your selection carefully and pick a dog or cat with say, claws and fur, you’ll find they are capable of widespread mayhem and do not limit themselves to the linens.

Take my Karastan, for instance, and you are welcome to take it if you have a vacuum with enough force to suck Superman from flight.  This rug, when blue, coordinates all the colors in my living room with the quiet confidence of a designer’s touch.  However, it is only blue on alternate full moons after the third Tuesday following the equinox.  Any other time it is a cunning mixture of yellow Labrador and calico housecat, which, in my experience, coordinates with nothing at all. 
On the positive side, I can track anyone in the house by their footprints through the fur.

Lately, I’ve given up on grooming the carpet in favor of an all-out effort on the couch.  It’s a sleeper couch in the true sense of the word. I secured it for the unlikely price of “I can afford it” from a local consignment shop.  It doesn’t fold out into a clever but uncomfortable shape that’s supposed to be a bed, but is the sort of couch that pulls you into the depths of its cushions like grandmother snuggling you in her arms and lulling you to sleep even when you’re supposed to be occupied with something important like watching Oprah.

Add one Diva Dachshund.

As a member of the privileged set, Lady Lucy views the couch as her personal domain.  She polices the boundaries and attendant pillows with vigor and errant claws, producing pulls and loops in the loose weave suitable for making Velcro or hanging myself. In a flash of brilliance, I solved the problem by cutting the loose strings.  And discovered an important fact.

Looseweave fibers are not much for teamwork.  Now the couch is unraveling at the rate of speed usually reserved for mating porpoises. 

In this case, I’m afraid we’re faced with long division instead of multiplication.

I hate to see the after-math.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Designer Dud

“What color is that – toxic waste?”

My Son, who shall remain numberless because I promised not to tell people I was wearing his clothes, was not happy with his prize, a T-Shirt earned in a promotion at work. On the other hand, Son Number Two wouldn’t notice the shade of his shirt if you attached dollar values to the color wheel.

I held up the offending cotton blend.  “I kind of like it.  That neon green color is in style.”

I got the Eyeroll Plus Package in return.  A complete 360 with accompanying snorts and retching sounds. I also got the shirt.

“You’re sure you don’t want it?”  This is not a guy who wears designer clothes. His fashion choices vary with what’s at the top of the pile that day.  Meanwhile, I was planning to hit my Zumba workout where it hurts with new workout duds.

“It’s horrible.”

“So you’re offering me this shirt? With no conditions? Is this the same kid who wanted to change schools because I came to the office wearing his old gym shorts?”

“That was different. I wore those shorts.”

“I had to park three blocks away to pick you up the rest of the year because I wore used clothes?”  I looked down at my jeans.  I operate on the theory that washing jeans too often breaks down their unnatural fibers.

“Do you want the shirt or not? I don’t have all day.”  

What’s so urgent?  Is he planning for early retirement? Negotiating a stock trade?  I know from experience he’s gonna spend the next twelve hours with a video game controller in his hand saving mankind from zombies.  It’s his mission and he takes it seriously.

Also, he’s discovered he can still eat snack cakes with one hand while he’s saving the world.  The executives at the Ho Ho factory were relieved to find that out.

I claimed the shirt, retreated to my room with my prize, and started searching dresser drawers.

Wonder where I packed away those gym shorts.


Saturday, March 15, 2014


I make up for my lack of gardening skills with an amazing ability to annihilate craft projects.  You would think the Author of the Universe in his unbounded wisdom would have given me the glue gun talents of a sharpshooter.  This is not the case.

One sister tried to teach me to crochet. She said she never saw anybody crochet backwards.

My other sister tried to help me make a banner for Son One’s soccer team.  I sewed the thing to the leg of my pants.  Gold craft felt stitched into the inseam of extra-large stretchy pants in a series of festive darts and puckers is not a desirable fashion statement.

When I was in high school, my mother took pity on me (GOOD LORD, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!) and finished my home economics project.  Who would have thought zippers would be so hard to install?  I had more trouble than a presidential candidate trying to get the thing to stay closed.

My niece has a businesses creating hand-painted jewelry that people pay actual money for.  I painted the South Carolina crescent and palmetto tree on a pendant. It looked like a banana bush.

My relatives began to meet secretly to have crafting parties.  I happened to visit one Friday evening, and at my knock heard muffled voices and the sound of heavy furniture being shoved in front of the door.


The blinds shifted slightly. Whispering followed.

“I know you’re in there!”

The door opened a crack.  “We can’t come out.  We’re quarantined.”

“I’m so sorry. Can I get you anything?”

“Could you leave a pizza by the door?”

“What sort of disease do you have that you’re quarantined but want pizza?”

Silence.  Then, “Acrophobia?”

“You’re in quarantine because you’re afraid of heights?”

“Leave the pizza down low.”

“You people are making crafts in there, aren’t you? Let me in or I’m coming back armed with tacky glue and pinking shears!”

Furtive dialing.

“And no calling 9-1-1!”

I went around to the back door, entered through the kitchen and came up behind a group of my closest friends and relatives wielding cotton balls and tiny paintbrushes like they were heavy artillery.

“Can I at least water your plants?”

A mad scramble ensued, leading to a tangle of arms, legs, and cotton balls.  It looked like an Easter Bunny gangland rumble.  A glitter haze filled the air.  A paintbrush stuck through my sister's pony tail like a hairpin.

The good news is that the plants are going to be fine.  But the crafting group cemented themselves into a freeform sculpture.  They’ll be okay once we find an antidote for Gorilla Glue.

Meanwhile I’ve taken up scrapbooking.  Has anybody got a nail gun I can borrow? 


Monday, March 10, 2014

Creature Discomforts

When it comes time to ring the dinner bell, having two Labradors in the kitchen is a lot like standing in front of an out-of-control locomotive speeding down a mountain pass headed toward a village of unsuspecting lemmings.

As I picked myself up off the floor and pried random bits of dog chow-type shrapnel from under my fingernails, I realized two things. The first was that the Labs’ Pop was coming up the back steps, and their keen doggie superpowers had alerted them to the fact that he was laden with a cheeseburger plate and a side order of crinkle-cut fries.  And slaw.

Second, the sloshing sound of the tide going out, and a certain uncomfortable dampness in the seat of my pants alerted my keen superhuman powers that I had landed in their water dish.

I want to trade superpowers.

Sensing personal discomfort is over-rated. I’d rather clue in to the breaking cheeseburger news and leave the waterlogged underpants for the Scene at Eleven.

There’s nothing like a brace of dogs to remind you to watch your step as you go about your daily chores.  No task is too small to escape supervision.  After all, there is the possibility that at any second the broom will transform into a pillar of potato chips or the dirty laundry into basket of biscuits. I once tripped over a Dachshund while vacuuming because she detected a six week old Cheerio in the hose and was trying her paw at spelunking into canister.

Not long enough after my evening water bowl plunge, I woke one morning and ricocheted gently down the hall and off the kitchen appliances in a destination set for Coffee Pot.  With one eye open at half-mast to guide me, and that keen intelligence that comes when Daylight Savings time has just kicked in, but the body’s internal clock is still on snooze, it took several shuffled steps before I realized my course was plotted straight through the Little Friskies zone where Danger Cat was flinging salmon pate like monkeys fling poop.   There’s nothing like unidentified ooze between your toes to bring you to full alert status.

From uncomfortable experience, I’ve found that any unscheduled activity in the kitchen sends off a hint of impending snacktime that brings an avalanche of furry bodies barreling along a treacherous course to the refrigerator.  So, while swimming out of the water dish, scouting the floor for stray Cheerios, and computing the likelihood of the whole thing recurring like a coconut radio invention on Gilligan’s Island, I made an important life decision.

My next pet will be a garden gnome.   

Monday, March 3, 2014

It's What's for Dinner

I have a friend who, when faced with a diet full of special needs and a family of reclusive palettes, whips up something elegant, tasty, and beautiful to behold.  We would be better friends if she wasn’t so good at it.

Tonight, in keeping with the “Everything is Edible by Somebody” platform, I ventured into the kitchen with a random menu plan for some type of meat, and chipped open the freezer.  The hamburger glistened under a layer of permafrost and the pork chops resembled the ammunition for some type of sporting event that involves a target and long range planning, so tonight for dinner I prepared a special dish I like to call, “Chicken with Something on It so It Won’t Be Plain.”

The ingredients are: 

Other stuff

My method of preparation is simple.  It’s sort of like the children’s card game Match, which my older sister always won when we were kids, probably because she kept enough extra cards in her lap to set up a blackjack table.

I hung from the pantry doors, pulling out two random items until I found a couple that looked as if they might go together.  When the going got tough, I settled on two cans of things that had similarly colored labels.  The Green Giant may want to rethink his packaging strategy.

Once I had two cans that matched each other as closely as Spaghetti and Meat Loaf, I grabbed a couple of attractive spices from the shelf where we keep important kitchen items such as cayenne pepper and cat food.  I measured the spices carefully with a plastic spoon I found on the drainboard,  tossed the contents of the cans into a bowl, and stirred with vigor.  Vigor is an important ingredient as it shows your commitment to the dish.

I was excited that no eruptions or ill-smelling fumes rose from the mixing bowl. Explosions often precede the arrival of the fire department, an event which delays dinner by at least half an hour.  I sampled the concoction.

It tasted vaguely of ear drops. 

A crop dusting of garlic and an hour in the oven later, and dinner was served.  Julia Child wouldn’t have been proud, but every woman who has skipped grocery shopping and come home to a pantry that resembles the scratch and dent table at Discount Foods was cheering me on.  I felt good about the whole thing.

Until the dog, who thinks gourmet  means “from the  litterbox,” asked for his chicken plain.

Maybe tomorrow night I’ll read the labels. Or I might just try my hand at Dinnertime Match Game one more time.  It's not called Pot Luck for nothing.