Click any letter for a look at my prize-winning essay from the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. You don't even have to buy a vowel.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dear Sir:

An Open Letter to the Chainsaw-Wielding Homicidal Maniac at the Haunted Trail,

You’ve just leaped unexpectedly from behind a hay bale, revving your chainsaw motor like a monster truck engine and dripping blood like a soaker hose. And admittedly, I was startled enough to swallow the last half of my fun-sized Snicker bar without chewing.

But I’ve raised two boys to adulthood and have played the “Close Your Eyes and Hold Out Your Hands” game so many times I’m never really surprised by anything. Over the years children have jumped out from behind closed doors, hidden under piles of laundry, and shadowed me down the hall on my midnight trips to the bathroom just for the chance to scream “Boo” and test my bladder control.

I have two kids with cars of their own; one of them, Speed Racer, could make you drop your weapon and go all white around your bloody eye sockets just by offering to chauffer you to the corner for milk. He learned to drive on Crazy Taxi.

My Labrador is the only one in the house who can open the childproof top on the aspirin bottle, and my cat could star in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest” if he hadn’t already stalked and eaten the cuckoo. I’ve had a stray ferret follow me home, and a there’s a spider the color of hungry who likes to stop by for a bite when the weather gets cold.

So, I’m sorry if the sight of you didn’t send me into a screaming frenzy, frantically searching for another way out. I’m trying to decide how your mother is going to get those rusty bloodstains out of your best jeans and whether you asked your dad for permission to wear that shirt before you cut the bottom off in the trendy ragged design.

And if you run at me again like you’re gonna give me a permanent bad hair day, let me tell you one thing. The only tidbit I remember from my Senior Women’s Self Defense class is how to stop an attacker from taking my virtue, my purse, or my shopping bags from Discount Day at the mall. So if you’re not wearing an athletic supporter, the only thing you have to protect yourself with is that impotent chainsaw.

But don’t worry. Speed Racer will be glad to take you to the hospital. Be sure to buckle up and keep your bloody hands and feet inside the vehicle until it comes to a screeching halt. And take notes.

You’ll get some great ideas for next year’s Haunted Trail.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Take a Letter

G Whiz.

That’s the word from the World Scrabble Championships in Warsaw where a player accused of hiding a tile with the letter G was on the edge of exposure. His opponent demanded he be taken to the bathroom and strip searched.

I’ve flirted with the dark side before. The side where rules are suggestions and the difference between theft and borrowing is the time it takes to consume the last chocolate chip cookie before somebody notices.

But the day I send somebody in for the TSA treatment over a missing consonant, may Vanna White herself hang up her last slinky evening gown and retire in protest. Maybe the Scrabble folks should take a tip from ole Vanna and keep their letters out in the open where there’s no place to hide. And if somebody wants to buy a vowel, the prize money can cover it.

Somehow a strip search over one G seems a little extreme. Sometimes I can’t remember whole words, and there are times when the name of my oldest child slips off the radar of my mind. One consonant isn’t going to jumpstart the memory banks all alone. These days I can’t sign a check without a hint.

Then I found out the prize for the winner of the World Championship is £12,700. I’m told there are places where people strip for a lot less than what amounts to $20,000, give or take a G String. So if 99% of the population is shucking their clothes for a heap less than that one winner gets, maybe it’s time to Occupy Game Night.

Until then, keep your shirt on.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Watched Dog

My husband cut off three fingers and gave his arms a close shave one day while mowing the grass.

“See, I told you we needed a riding lawn mower.”

Our lawn is the size of a golf ball dimple.

“What we need,” I muttered, reattaching his fingers with Gorilla Glue, “is a yard man smart enough to keep his hands out of the whirling blades of the lawn mower. Doesn’t the term ‘moving parts’ mean anything to you?”

“All I know is that it’s a good thing I was wearing my lucky hat.”

There’s always something to be thankful for.

“We could have lost Bo’s squeaky ball for good.”

Bo is the Labrador. He’s the closest thing the Captain has to a disciple. He sprawled in the grass and whiled away the time waiting for the bleeding to let up by chewing an old rag. If one man can double the time it takes to do a single chore, a man and his dog can create a time vortex that modern science can’t explain.

I can replace the dog’s squeaky ball for ninety-nine cents at the pet store. Human fingers, on the other hand, go for quite a bit more. And you can’t find them in the express lane at the Piggly Wiggly.

I don’t know what it is that make men think they’re invincible. About the time in their lives that they need to check in with headquarters to make sure their prostate isn’t the size of an orbiting planet, they’re hanging from the eaves looking for blockages in the drainage system. His own pipes are exploding from four decades of chili cheeseburgers, and the man is swinging from the roof like a chimpanzee.

Call me crazy, but this time I’m tempting fate and sending him out to finish the job.

Let’s hope he doesn’t find out what Bo did to his lucky hat.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fascinating Facts

While taking a summer break from blogging, I picked up a few new followers, which tells me something, although I'd rather not think about it. Instead, I'll credit the talent of Lisa Allen for giving folks a tidbit or two to tune in for. Thanks Lisa!

In retribution, I mean thanks, to the new folks, I decided to force you to, er TREAT you to, some tidbits about moi. (As Miss Piggy, no relation, would say.) I decided to call them "Fascinating Facts" because "Facts That Put Us To Sleep" just doesn't have that mysterious quality that draws in new readers. So set your alarm and read on.

Fascinating facts:

1. I share a birthday with Abraham Lincoln. My kids think we’re twins. (Abe and Amy. It fits, right?) I told them our mother could only tell us apart because Abe parts his hat on the opposite side from me. And wears his beard is shorter.

2. I’m not good with crafts. My niece gave me a glue gun for Christmas and I glued the bag closed before I could get the gun out. Now I’m required by law to keep the ammunition in a separate location.

4. I like to drive red cars. It’s a mother of two’s way of telling the world there’s more to me than apple juice and gym socks.

5. I like to wear blue jeans everywhere. It’s the white trash version of The Little Black Dress. Reeboks are my pumps. I have a matching wrap. It’s made by Levi Strauss.

6. If my mother weren’t already gone, she would dig her own grave with a grapefruit spoon if she heard me say white trash.

7. I drink Mountain Dew for the taste. That’s like saying I read Playboy for the articles. It’s really all about the rush.

8. I wish I could play the piano. I’d like to hit the ivories at high speed with Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and leave steam rising from the keys once before I die.

9. I was inside a church that caught on fire. No one was hurt, but to this day, I can’t roast marshmallows without singing Nearer My God to Thee.

10. My kids think they know everything because they can program the TV, the computer, and the cell phone. But they don’t know that I named the dog the primary beneficiary on my life insurance policy or that he’s in charge of their trust fund.

11. My husband, the Captain of our Love Boat, secretly thinks that I’m bossy, that I like to do everything my own way, and that I’m adverse to change. I think adverse means the opposite of reverse and is one of the gifts and graces mentioned in the Bible.

12. I’ve been married twice. So far.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Ghost of the White Masque

Some things are too scary to talk about. At those times a scream will do. Join me over at An Army of Ermas to see what's worse than peeking in to the teenager's room.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Talking Turkey

Two years ago, facing a diagnosis of “your internal organs are going to explode,” the Captain lost enough weight that he could send some to underdeveloped countries, such as Japan, where no one is ever overweight except Sumo wrestlers, the people who wear the least clothes.

Come to think of it, it’s that way at the beach, too. And, of course, Wal-Mart. Why is it that people with the most to show wear the least to cover it up? I’m certainly not the poster child for the “Feed the Runway Models” campaign, but I sure don’t want to have the seat behind the Sumo guy when he does his warm-up stretches.

Anyway, Cap also practically emptied his blood stream of triglycerides, a medical term that means “the fuse to the bomb that will make your internal organs explode.”

He did this all by himself. While he was very busy with the sort of advanced mathematics that deals with less than, greater than, and the sort of cholesterol level that voids whole sets of fat grams, I busied myself roasting turkeys, steaming vegetables, and skimming fat from by-products.

Eventually the Captain’s math resulted in the need for a belt to hold his pants up, and life returned to normal on the poop deck.

Until yesterday. One simple stretch and the button popped off his pants with enough force to put another hole in the ozone layer. Either his pancreas exploded or his body is rejecting artificial fasteners.

That little button also blew a hole in my holiday planning calendar for the next few months. I’m back to skimming, steaming, and roasting.

Luckily, my house is full of turkeys.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Deal or No Deal

Mexico is considering instituting a two-year marriage contract. After two years if everything’s not peaceful in the Garden of Eden, everybody walks away free and clear.

I’ve had cell phone contracts that were tougher. And with them I could upgrade to a newer model.

Somehow I can’t see trying to trade the Captain for more advanced service.

“So it’s been almost two years. How ‘bout I get an Admiral with handyman functions?”

“You want to trade?”

“Yep. I’d like to request somebody that puts soiled laundry in the hamper instead of piling it up in the bedroom like the dirty underwear Eiffel Tower. Somebody who doesn’t go all white around the mouth when I kiss the dog on the lips. Somebody who doesn’t think the term “Balance the Checkbook” means the weight of the receipts he’s saved in his wallet matches the weight of the groceries.”

“That’s quite a list. Anything else?”

“Sure. I want somebody that can put things in the grocery cart without a three-point shot from half court.”

“But he always gets it in.”

“The problem is that he expects everyone in the store to applaud. When he hit the honeybun shot from frozen foods, he wanted me to retire his jersey.”

“Are you sure you want to trade? I’ve heard he cooks, does dishes, and folds towels like a champ.”

“Well, yes. But he’s slowing down. Before long I’ll have to spend a fortune in replacement parts. You can’t get spare knees on e-Bay, you know.”

“You still have ten days to go. We’ll see how you feel then.”

I put on my tri-focals and marked the calendar. My memory’s not what it used to be. It would be just my luck to lose track of time, get stuck with the original model, and realize the power supply is shot two days after the warranty expires.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Little Cat Feat

While I was waiting for celebrity gossip to load over my dial-up internet connection, I whiled away the time licking the crumbs off the breakfast plates and perusing the headlines in our local paper.

It seems that our City Council, having exhausted their legislative efforts in a road maintenance fundraising extravaganza known locally as the Pothole Tax, recently decided to proceed with an innovative stroke of legislation involving leash laws for cats.

This idea is known locally as Stupid.

Leashing a cat is nearly as effective as lassoing escaped methane from a pasture full of Longhorns.

I know from experience how unproductive this sort of excursion can be. (The catwalking, not the methane lassoing. I have teenaged sons, but I find that a quick shot of Chanel Number Lysol takes care of them.) I attempted the leash walking feat before, and I have a new respect for anti-bacterial cream, sterile bandages, and super glue.

I was younger at the time, and when a light bulb came on in my head, I didn’t have the wisdom to shoot out the light before it could cause major damage. What a good idea it would be to use the Dachshund’s puppy collar and leash to take our ten-year-old tabby for a stroll. Lucy’s puppy collar was designed for comfort and was quite sporty. What objections could Justin have?

Turns out that “What a good idea!” and “What objections could Justin have” are the words that drive a cat over the Cliffs of Insanity. Who knew a 10-year-old ball of mottled fur that sleeps in the sun all day had a Ninja-mode over-ride?

Justin put out my little light bulb with a power surge.

I staggered into the house with the leash wrapped around my legs like I’d been shortsheeted with mummy wrappings.

“Son, run in and get me a Band-Aid.”

“Just one?”

“Well, make it a big one.”

“Anything else?”

“Got any spare Type O?”

After all I’ve done for that kid, he still won’t part with a pint of the good stuff for his mother.

Today I have so many scars, I have striped skin. With my faux-tiger motif, I'm all the rage at jungle-themed costume parties.

So next time the lawmakers get together, I’d rather they do something harmless like levy a per child tax on buffet restaurants.

And leave the Kitty Bill of Rights alone.