I Gave It the Hairy Eyeball

Despite my Dearly Beloved’s eye rolls, I’m one of those people who brings home the complimentary shampoos, conditioners, etc., from our hotel stays.  I believe I have enough shoe cloths to set up my own shoeshine station.

Not so with the shampoo and conditioners.  Now that we rarely travel,  the silver bowl of freebies in our guest bathroom has not been restocked in a l-o-n-g  time.  It contains only lotions and body washes.  No shampoos or conditioners.

I’ve been using a prescription shampoo and I’m a tub person anyhow, so I’ve paid little attention to our shower amenities beyond noting that there were some bottles of shampoo and conditioners in the shower rack.

A few weeks ago,  I decided I wanted to use something besides the dermatology stuff, so I checked out the stash in the shower and found it sorely lacking;  empty bottles, missing lids, no shampoos and conditioners from the same manufacturer.  Shameful!  As I began tossing them,  I spied a couple of like-new bottles I’d never even seen before.

I sniffed one and found it to have a delicious coconut scent.

Since then, I’ve used the bottles several times. . . enough that the bottles are getting a little low.  Whichever of our offspring who left it here won’t mind, right?  After all, everybody wants Momma to be happy.   In fact, I thought I’d better hint that we need more, so I took a quick picture to remind them which brand it was.

Beach Babe.  Oh yeah, that was it.   Beach Babe.

Then I read the labels more carefully.

IMG_2359

Harrumph!   Really?

Rest assured that the bottles will soon have “Your Mother begs to differ” written down the sides with my best Sharpie.

———————-

People who can finish a shampoo bottle at the same time as the conditioner are truly gifted.

 

 

 

 

The Pool

The season that the guys in our family look forward to all year has finally arrived.  They aren’t kidding when they call this March Madness.

Since I like to select teams that I want to be able to root for, I cross a number of teams off immediately.   Kentucky, I just don’t like the coach.  If the politics of the state are so crazy,  I don’t choose teams from there, either.  (I think my Texas blogger friend there understands.)

This year, our youngest daughter didn’t have the time to spend on her selections, so she has one of those automatic quick picks:  her teams are the ones that are favored in every race.   Another family member has a ballot with all the historic favorite teams.

Of course we have the “experts,” the guys who watch basketball all year, read the sports pages religiously, and mark their selections with the confidence of their own superior knowledge.

But the ballot that is my favorite is the one completed by our youngest grandchild, little Miss NotQuite2.  Her brothers helped her, but she made her own picks, using a combination of methods.  Whenever possible, her brothers imitated the sounds that teams’ mascots make and she chose her favorites.  The Oregon Ducks, for instance, were a shoo-in.  When mascot mime wasn’t possible, she’d touch one on the screen, with much encouragement from her brothers.

IMG_3836

So how is all that working out?  Last night, while the superfans spent the night near the bottom, w-a-a-a-y up at the top, all by herself, was Little Miss NotQuite2.

Her mommy recorded it in her baby book.

Madness, indeed.

 

Y’all Hear That?

Usually when Dearly Beloved and I drive to Indianapolis in the winter, our visits  trigger an arctic blast of frigid winds and stinging snow.  So why do we go in winter?

We go to witness the Indiana religion:  Basketball.

This is oldest grandson’s senior year in high school.  He doesn’t plan to play in college, so we went up to watch a couple of his last games.  As soon as we crossed the state line into Virginia, we found snow covering the ground.  Surprisingly,  the farther up we drove, the less snow we found.  The temperature rose to 70 that weekend.

By the time we reached Indiana, we didn’t need the usual assortment of snow boots, gloves, or scarves.  Heck, we didn’t even need a coat.

Old Man Winter must not have recognized our car.

The pale residents of Indianapolis immediately hit the sidewalks as if someone had rung a citywide fire drill.  They walked their children and pets, bicycled, jogged, and crowded every outdoor restaurant table in the city.

Our grandsons reminded us of kids on a snow day here in North Carolina, basking in the warmth!

DB and I have come to realize that these two grandsons are Midwesterners.  They were born in Indiana and have never lived anywhere else.  Livermush and hushpuppies have probably never entered their vocabulary, much less their stomachs.  I don’t know if they even eat grits.  Their only nod to southern cuisine is the cartons of Cheerwine that we take for them when we visit.

There is not so much as a hint of southern inflection in their speech.  “Southernness”  must not be passed along through DNA,  but there was one brief incident which gave us hope.

Senior grandson went out with a girl-space-friend (not a girlfriend, he pointed out)  on Saturday night.  While he was out, his younger brother texted an urgent message to him:

When you’re on the way home, please stop someplace and get me some sour Gummies and sweet tea.

HOPE, right?

 

Fooling Around

I read somewhere that it takes 15 or 20 minutes for coffee to get someone started in the morning.  Since we make ours with half-decaf, half-regular,  it doesn’t seem unreasonable for me to take 30 to 50 minutes to vacate the twilight zone.

Sunday morning, before the coffee even finished brewing, Dearly Beloved looked out the sunroom window and casually announced:  Look.  There are two squirrels copulating on that oak limb.”  

He continued his narration without any encouragement from me.  “Now he’s run  off and she’s up there cleaning herself.”  

TMIBC.  Too much information before coffee.

A similar scene took place in plain sight later that afternoon.  DB figured it was the male practicing free love.  It made me curious, so I looked up some information on the mating habits of grey squirrels and learned that it was the same female probably, different male.  What a bunch of bastards those tree rats are.   Sheesh!

The female is fertile for less than a day, however, she puts out a scent that calls male squirrels in the neighborhood, thus filling her dance card all day.

We may as well forget Groundhog Day.  It doesn’t matter how much more winter weather we have because my plantings will be screwed right along with those squirrel hussies.  Let’s see. . . the gestation period is about 45 days, and it takes mommas about seven to 10 weeks to wean them.  Yup. That means the little bastards will hit the ground to start digging and chewing about the same time all my warm weather plants are starting to really look good.

Furthermore, the females will be about ready to put out the word, er. . . scent again.  The obnoxious little bastards mate twice a year.   Wonder what we can do to counteract that sex scent next time, assuming we can’t lock all the fertile ones under the house for the day.

For awhile, I thought I had the solution.  Remember smudge pots?   There are to be zillions of them sitting in road construction warehouses everywhere, a dime a dozen, right?

Wrong.  The smelly old kerosene ones might work, but they’re pricey.  The new ones burn lamp or citronella oil.  Not enough stink.

Speaking of stink, I admire the Kentucky legislator who’s raising one in her state. Have you read about Rep. Mary Lou Marzian?  After the KY legislature passed another pro-birth measure, this one making any woman seeking an abortion to have counseling 24 hours prior, Rep. Marzian came up with legislation which could help prevent unwanted pregnancies and unwelcome sexual advances.  Her bill, HB396,  would require men seeking erectile dysfunction-type drugs to have at least two visits with their doctors as well as a permission slip from their wives.   Only married men would be able to obtain the drug and they would have to swear on a Bible to use it only with their wives.

Rep. Marzian is a medical professional and knows that the drugs cause risks for men and she wants to protect them from themselves.  Headaches, runny nose, body aches, vision problems, dizziness. . . .  If her bill passes, those pill users would have their permission slip-signing wives right there to nurse them back to health.  It would reduce medical costs, something any legislator should embrace, right?

As for the problems in our garden,  if Monsanto and Dupont and all those GMO-loving companies want to produce a corn containing birth control for tree rats,  I’ll see to it that ours are the best fed critters on the block.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Authenticity!

I’ve never been to Mardi Gras or, for that matter, to New Orleans.  In fact, I’m not even sure I’ve ever been to a Cajun restaurant,  although I did win a  Cajun cookbook on Velva Knapp’s blog a few years ago.

It was time for my Dearly Beloved and me to step out of our evening routine.

Mardi Gras night, here we come!  DB wasn’t as enthusiastic as I.  He’d pictured an  evening by the fire with a glass of wine, watching the New Hampshire primary returns.

We were stepping out, all right, but at our age, we step cautiously.  Our favorite little neighborhood restaurant was doing up Fat Tuesday.  Close enough!  They’d promised a King’s cake direct from New Orleans.   How much more authentic could it get, I ask you?!   Not only that, one of the restaurant owners is a Louisiana native and used to march in the Mardi Gras parade.

He was 8 years old at the time and played clarinet.

Even though we arrived before 6,  all the tables and booths were full.  They had outdone themselves;  decorations adored the walls and hung from the ceiling, and twinkle lights in Mardi Gras colors encircled the room.

We bellied up to the bar to wait for a table.  I passed up a Hurricane drink in favor of my usual glass of red wine, content to watch the bartender mixing a steady stream of the cheery-looking drinks in large glasses.  I slipped several strands of the necklaces around my neck.  They were strewn around everywhere.  Authentic beads!  Oh yeah!

Dearly Beloved could not decide between the specials for the evening, so he ordered a trio of Red Beans and Rice, Shrimp Creole, and Shrimp and Crayfish Étouffée.  He pronounced it one of the best meals ever.

When our server came around with the King’s cake,  I chose carefully, not so much in search of the baby, but opting for a slice that wouldn’t turn my teeth purple.  I selected one in the golden yellow section.  DB told me too bad, that if I’d gotten the Baby Jesus, all my sins would be forgiven for the year.

I think it meant I’d get a free dessert.

DB said he’d had King’s Cake often during our years in Memphis because one of the guys in their office went down to New Orleans and picked one up every year.  He hadn’t particularly liked it–he remembered it as tasting very vanilla-ish.  This one wasn’t; it was deliciously light, with a hint of lemon.   I was glad that DB is gluten-free these days–he’d have loved this one.  In fact, I was tempted to order a second slice to bring home for breakfast this morning.

The atmosphere was festive and bright, yet cozy. DB admitted that it was much better than the evening he’d planned.

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

This morning I was telling a friend about our evening and how much we enjoyed it.  DB came in toward the end of our conversation and asked,   “Did Mary tell you about our big Mardi Gras night?”

“She said it was fun and that the food was great,”  our friend answered.

I knew what DB was going to say next before he opened his mouth:

Did she tell you that she ordered pot roast?

sigh.  No.  I’d omitted that part.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Sense A Lack of Appreciation

No, I did not miss Squirrel Appreciation Day yesterday.  Someone made certain I knew of it. . .  the same person who sent me this birthday card:

IMG_1889

Thanks, Beanie.

There’s a DAY for that?  Who the heck came up with that idiotic notion?

Huffington Post says:

Christy Hargrove from Asheville, North Carolina started Squirrel Appreciation Day on January 21, 2001. Christy is a wildlife rehabilitator in North Carolina, and is affiliated with the Western North Carolina Nature Center.

Holy crap!  One of my own kind!!!  It sounds so SOUTH Carolina-ish!

Here’s the thing, Christy. . . In Asheville, you have forested mountains.  Now that’s a good place for the tree rats to live.  Here, I have flower beds and not a mountain in sight.

ROAD TRIP to Asheville!  Wonder if I’ll need to rent a truck.

Wayside Gardens, a wonderful source for plants of all kinds, also sent notification of Squirrel Appreciation Day.  In fact, they included an article by listing all the reasons we should have such a celebration.   Read it and weep.  I’ll give you the gist of it.

Gag me with a peanut, it had to be a real stretch for the author to come up with any pluses.  Squirrels aerate the soil?  In my world, it’s called, digging up my darned flower bulbs.  Squirrels  add nutrients to the soil when they break off branches and stems.  Again, in my garden it is described as the little bastards are ruining my trees.  Oh, here’s a good one:  they sometimes forget where they buried their nuts, thus planting new trees.  Yeah.  That answers the question of why are all those freakin’ oak seedlings coming up in my rose bed?  

Here’s something interesting, according to the article:  Their four front teeth never stop growing, lengthening about six inches a year so they aren’t worn down from all that chewing.  That explains why my dogwood trees look like teething rings for the little bastards.

We’re having a snowy/sleety/freezing rainy weekend here.  The birds have flocked to our feeders, tanking up, but amazingly, we haven’t seen a single squirrel all day!

Now THAT’S something I can appreciate.

 

Resolute!

I’m embarrassed.  I haven’t blogged in so long, even my computer has forgotten the password.  It is difficult to type with my head held so low in shame.   I’ll add post more often than quarterly  to my New Year’s resolutions.

When my Dearly Beloved mentioned that I was nagging in early January, I added Don’t nag to the list, too,  along with my usual duo–exercise and lose weight.

However,  the Christmas ornaments are still sitting on the dining room table.   We didn’t decorate much, so it’s not like a rummage sale in there, but still. . . .

When I took them all down right after New Year’s, I asked DB would he bring the boxes down from the attic.  (I’m forbidden to go up there) and he cheerfully said, “Of course.”

As reminding him would be nagging,  I didn’t mention it again until he asked ME when was I going to put away the Christmas decorations.

“When you bring the box down from the attic.”.

He nodded.   “I wondered why you were leaving them out for so long.”  

That was last week.  The attic door has not been opened and the decorations have not been moved.

This shilly-shallying could continue into spring.  I’ll just hang a few Valentines on the Christmas things.   We don’t even call it being lazy.  It’s a brain wane.  Now that we are retired,   we try to be more frugal,  so we keep the lights on in only one brain between us.

Speaking of lights, I should catch you up on what’s new, rodent-wise, here at Squirrel Manor.  In a previous post, I mentioned that my brother BroJoe was inundating me with various squirrel items to, he informed me, “improve your sense of humor.” 

I showed you my squirrel necklace, my squirrel enameled box, and my squirrel pillows.   There was one pair I missed though. . . what bathroom can be without a squirrel family nightlight?

IMG_1836

Yes, Friends, I now pee by squirrel light.

How does he FIND this stuff, I wondered.   Only my brother would be that crazy.

Au contraire.

A couple of weeks later. another package arrived–a total  surprisefrom a company  called Flytrap Clothing,  a North Carolina company.  It had to be from BroJoe, I thought, seeing the contents.

FullSizeRender

Four squirrel napkins, tied with a bow.  Even though I am heartless when it comes to squirrels in my garden, I had to admit:  these little buggahs ARE cute.

I dug back into the package and found this note:

IMG_1869

I met Katybeth Jensen through her blog, My Odd Family,  and follow her on Facebook because she is one delightfully zany, sunshiny lady with a touch of um… crazy.  Katybeth doesn’t like squirrels any more than I do. Once, she sent me information on how to get rid of squirrels.  Since weapons of mass destruction weren’t recommended, the book wasn’t much help. Now here she was, putting the critters in my lap.  Literally.

Frankly, if I ran E! network, I’d drop the Kardashians and set cameras up at Katybeth’s Chicago residence.  This woman and her teen son run a doggy daycare  in their Chicago home and their adventures in and beyond the dog world are often hysterical.

But I digress.

With squirrels overtaking my house, when my brother returned from a trip through West Virginia, bearing a gift from Tamarack, I had no doubt what would be in the colorful wrappings.

“It’s hand-blown glass,” he informed me.

I breathed easier.  Even BroJoe would not spend money on a hand-blown glass squirrel, I thought.

I was right.

FullSizeRender

Oink.

 

 

The Damnsquirrels’ Revenge

When my brother told me to be expecting a package on the Friday before Thanksgiving, I was curious, yet a bit apprehensive.

Years ago, he wrote, “I am going to send you a deer tenderloin.”  I panicked for days, worrying that I hadn’t sent my “NO THANKS!”  fast enough to prevent a chunk of Bambi from being delivered to my front door.  (Yes, deer diners, I’m sure it’s tasty.) 

He gives lovely gifts when he wants to, so this time could either be a wonderful surprise. . . or it could be another banana keychain.   He had e-mailed my Youngest Daughter that  I needed to broaden my sense of humor and he was going to help me.

Reason enough to worry.

A large box arrived on Friday, just as he’d said.  I opened it hesitantly, lest some animal be among the contents.

Indeed, that is exactly what it was,  just not in a form I expected.

There was this:
IMG_1827

And these:

FullSizeRender

Also, a squirrel on a gold chain.

It was a fascinating collection.  How long did it take my brother to assemble that squirrely gift?!?

I have placed the pillows on the swing on the screened porch.  They stare at me through the French doors when I sit in the sunroom.  I can’t help but stare back, wondering what  telepathic message they’re trying to send me.  Look at those eyes!

The enameled box sits on the end table here beside me.

Gawd help me, I even wore the necklace when my brother was here for Thanksgiving.

(Note to self:  Inform family that upon my demise, they are NOT to bury me wearing that necklace.) 

I want one of THEM to have it.

My sense of humor, I think, is broader already.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That Two-Timing Siri!

My computer cord is still missing and we’re still finding Lincoln Logs in unlikely places, but we have been thinking that everything is pretty much back to normal around here:  figurines returned to their rightful places, electrical sockets untaped, dog toys returned to the dog, etc.  Yesterday, my laptop, iPhone and I spent a while bellied up to Genius Bar at the Apple Store, so we’re back on speaking terms with each other.

In the past, our laptops and iPhones have often sported new screen savers or perhaps a new free game or two after the Grandsons’ visits.  As all three of the boys are more computer savvy than we’ll ever be, we generally leave the new additions as they are.  Youngest Grandson (I’ll call him ‘Cory’ here so as not to rat him out) has a particular affinity for our iPhones and loves to quiz Siri with silly questions, not so much for his own entertainment as for the rest of the people in the room.

One particular evening when he was doing this, he told Siri to “Call me Cory,” as she had, of course, been calling him by his Granddad’s name.  Logically so, since he was using his Granddad’s phone.  One of his brothers warned, “Don’t do that, Cory.  It changes things.”

DB said, probably thinking to himself that he never asks Siri questions in the first place,  “Oh, that’s okay,”  and never gave it another thought.

I must digress for a minute and tell you that even though DB is retired, he sometimes contracts to work with large firms to arbitrate legal disputes.  He does most of this work from home and sends e-mails to attorneys and other arbitrators from his personal laptop and phone.  Official stuff, so I have to keep the dog quiet when the Fed-Ex man comes while DB is on the phone or concentrating.  He’s very orderly and professional about all of this.

Last night he was reading an attorney brief from a global law firm in New York City and noticed that the transmittal e-mail addressees included someone named Cory.  He’d seen that in some earlier correspondence this week and assumed that Cory must be a law clerk in one of the offices.  He hadn’t raised the issue, but felt the addition improper.

He read through the list of addressees again.  Oddly, his name wasn’t on the list.  Then it hit him.

HE was Cory.

Few things fluster DB, but this one deserves a large check mark under the Fluster column.   He didn’t know how it happened, but he remembered that evening. . .  Cory’s brother’s admonition. . . and his own dismissal of it.

So what was he supposed to do to fix this?  Ask Siri?

Exactly.

He took the phone out on the front porch, ostensibly because the reception is better out there, but I’ll bet it didn’t hurt that I couldn’t hear the exchange.  When he came back inside, he felt satisfied that he was back as Siri’s #1 man.

This morning he has been on his computer once again with more exchanges on the case.

‘Cory, Esq.’ no longer made the list.  DB the professional was much relieved.  DB the granddad is still chuckling.

————————-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving… to the State of Panic

Don’t think that the grandkids left behind a string of broken items and a wrecked house to put me in this state.  I’m the one that created the situation in which I now find myself:  the deep doodoo place.

Normal grandmothers would, by now, have the guest rooms all fresh and clean and cookies baked for the next visit.  Instead, this grandmother is spending my days searching for things I put away for “safekeeping”  during the grandkids’ recent Thanksgiving visit.

Although I vaguely remember putting my laptop cord someplace out of sight, I assumed it would surface before I needed it.  When the power level on my laptop dropped to 7%,  I put Plan B into operation:  I got really serious about trying to remember where I’d stuck it to keep it out of little Granddaughter’s reach.

Stupid of me to hide it in the first place.  What could she do to a power cord as long as she didn’t flush it?

I began an intensive search of all the possible places I might have stashed it.  At this point I can safely say that it isn’t in a closet or a drawer.  It isn’t hidden behind the toilet paper stash in the bathrooms or the sheets in the linen closet.  It isn’t under the bed, the sofas, or anything else with a skirt.

I’m beginning to wonder if I flushed it myself.

While I was looking for the cord, I was also hoping to come upon  a couple of Christmas presents I’d hidden before the family arrived.  Those gifts are not in any of the above places either.  One of them is a gift for our Atlanta daughter who was here.  This is the first time I can remember that she didn’t “happen to come upon” her obscurely hidden gift.   When it comes to discovering presents, the girl has some bloodhound in her.

The first of the week,  I dejectedly trudged into the Apple Store to buy a new power adapter for my laptop.  That sucker was $80!!!  The person who assisted me said that if I found mine within two weeks, I could return this one (even used) and get a full refund.  I’m down to 11 days now and I still don’t have a clue. I’m thinking of asking my daughter to come back for a quick visit.  If I dropped a hint that her Christmas gift might be very near something that smells like a power cord, who knows?

It used to be that my super-organized spouse would shake his head at my disorganization, but now, he is completely sympathetic.   Having hit the age when  chronic CRS screws around with our brains and our attention span, he understands.  Bob Dylan is right: the times, they are a-changing.

Just yesterday, my Dearly Beloved consoled me by confessing that he poured himself a cup of coffee and almost put the coffee pot in the refrigerator.  The only thing that stopped him, he said, was that the fridge was so full of leftovers, he couldn’t find room for it.

Hmmm.

I’d better check there for the cord.

0888e658c970ca82641e06c30945afdb1469778_10151987089044939_457483479_n