No 12-step program for this

This is probably going to come as a surprise to most of you, but in case you don’t already know it, the Boy likes trains.

There. I said it.

The Boy is a train fan.

I do not think there is a 12-step program for this kind of thing. What there is, is something called the train show.

You go, and there are clubs with their layouts set-up and running. There are people selling stuff that will either become your train, lengthen your train, help you run your train, or announce that you like trains.

And, this is the crazy part, people pay for the privilege of just going to these events – as in they pay admission. And then they buy stuff. And then they buy food, because walking into one of these shows is like walking into a black hole. Some never emerge unscathed. For bigger events, some of these people get hotel rooms and stay for a night or more. And all throughout the event there are people wearing t-shirts and caps that say something about trains, or have train logos on them. There are people – often the same ones – carrying the booty they found and purchased among the tables of train stuff. A lot of money changes hands and it’s all legal.

Afterward, if you’re a member of a train club or with a group of people, you pack it all up and go someplace to eat and … talk about trains. Or go to somebody’s house and stand around looking at their layout in progress. Talking about trains.

The worst part is, some of the long-time club members have stuff they want to get rid of, but instead of donating it or throwing it away, they offer it to the Boy, who is inclined to take it.

Someday I’ll show you a picture of his fire-trap of a bedroom and you’ll understand why, when a club member offers old magazines to the Boy, I’m bellowing “NO!” before they finish the sentence. Tragically, I’m not always there to refuse their “kind” offer which is primarily done to assuage their pack-rat tendencies by passing on their unwanted stuff to another unwitting party. Namely me.

Just because they give it to the Boy, doesn’t mean that I don’t have to live with it too. Dammit.

Have some compassion, you crazy collectors!

I did agree to take some stacks of magazines on the contingency that the giver build a library onto our house to store them.

He declined.

But I did let the Boy keep a catalogue.

Because that’s the kind of mom I am.

Posted in I AM a Goddess Dammit, My Search For Intelligent Life, Useless Trivia and Other Crap | Tagged , | Leave a comment

What happens when you stop thinking

I sat down to write a post about how busy I’ve been and how it’s going to continue this way until February, because I know how much my busy life means to you – probably more than your own busy life means to you – and no matter how busy you are you can say to yourself, “at least I’m not as busy as she is.” And then you can be grateful for not being quite so busy as my sorry busy ass. And you can also be grateful for having a better understanding than I have of punctuation.

Gratitude people; it’s the season of gratitude!

But I’m soooo tired (that was a whine in case there was any doubt). I’m having trouble just holding my head up, and I can’t see the words on the monitor because my eyes tear when I yawn and I can’t stop yawning.

And the donut I ate about an hour ago is sitting in my stomach mocking me for thinking I could get away with eating it.

Just for the record, I don’t usually eat donuts. I only drink the coffee from the donut getting place so I can feel smug while others are eating the donuts. I don’t know what the hell I was thinking, so I must conclude that I wasn’t thinking.

It happens more often than I’d like to admit – this not thinking thing.

Like… I wasn’t really thinking when I signed on to direct local children’s theatre. I’m pretty sure I was experiencing a prolonged moment of insanity. Or, quite possibly, I was having a stroke.

The result being that, as of this week, I’ve auditioned about 25 tweens and cast a play which I now have to make work.

What the fuck is wrong with me?

Oh, and they’re 10 to 12 year olds so I can’t say things like “shut the fuck up” when they all start talking at once.

I am so screwed. The responsibility of expectations, combined with a producer who likes to talk and who I can’t get off the phone in less than 35 minutes, compounded with another part-time holiday job and the fact that I still have gifts to make, laundry to do, dinner to cook, and dishes to wash may just send me far enough over the edge to self-medicate until sometime after my birthday in March.

The end result of all of this is that I am so freakin’ tired.

I mean, more than usual.

And the days are short and dark.

And fifth and sixth graders are fucking loud.

And opinionated.

And hungry. They’re always hungry.

Never turn your back on hungry children.

I wonder what would happen if I fed them all donuts.

And coffee.

And then sent them home.


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A sure sign of winter

It’s cold. Not frigid, but there was a layer of slush on the cars and various other things this morning. Not even enough that I needed to scrape it away – the windshield wipers it away without a care.

I like the cooler, dryer temps. Gives me the impetus to walk faster in the morning. And my hair dries without frizz. That, in itself, is a reason to rejoice.

Tonight I’m hosting book club, which means a more thorough bout of cleaning than usual. I’m hoping the place is clean enough so that the piles of clutter are less noticeable. It’s probably wishful thinking but it’s all I’ve got.

Then, while sweeping under the fridge and lower cupboards, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but that definitive sign that winter is here.

Mouse shit.

The little fuckers move back in and shit all over the place. I loathe them. They gallivant around the place like they own it, they create more mess for me to have to clean, and they clear out when it is cleaning time.

What I wouldn’t give for a cat.

Our basement is a haven for them – mice, not cats. With all of the piles of crap down there, they can hide everywhere. I’m certain there are mouse cities down there. Little mousie mayors all smug with the fact that there is nothing to threaten the mousie citizens. Not a large predator in sight to make them think twice about moving in with their extended families, and then using the place as their personal toilet.

See - there's proof

See? Actual proof that they’re moving into my basement

They probably set up the Boy’s train sets and ride around in them while we sleep.

Those of you with kids who have enjoyed the Geronimo Stilton series of books, will have an idea of the type of mousie city I am envisioning. On paper it’s cute. In reality, it blows.

And they’re brazen little fuckers, too. We’ll be watching TV in the evening and they just wander into the living room on their evening stroll, ignoring us as they sniff around.

This is not a hotel for mice, dammit.

What? No room service? I just help myself?

What? No room service? I just help myself?

I’ve asked my neighbor if her cat could spend more time over here. I’ve seen the cat in our yard, and this summer the mouse population seemed to be smaller. But now it’s cold enough for the mice to seek refuge where there’s central heat, and a sloppy teenager who is likely to leave crumbs. A refuge with no cat.

Curse cat allergies!

I’ve read that peppermint oil will repel mice, but it doesn’t really work. Somebody needs to invent and market a cat scent which will keep them away. For those of us who can’t have cats in the house. That would be genius.

For now, I’m on a mission to keep floors and counters clean. Wish me luck.

Because if that doesn’t keep them at bay, the next stop is the poison aisle.

Posted in Untold Horrors, Useless Trivia and Other Crap | Tagged | Leave a comment

Sunday to Sunday

It’s Sunday. It’s been a whole week since last Sunday. Not that it matters. I can’t remember what I did last Sunday. But it’s been a helluva week since last Sunday.

There was the regular busy-ness early in the week. Then on Wednesday family and friends made their way to the general viscinity so that we could convoy the hour and a half on Thursday to my Uncle’s funeral and memorial service.

Pete was popular with the girls

Pete was popular with the girls

My sweet Uncle Pete died just before Halloween. He’d been battling Parkinson’s and cancer for a bunch of years. I think he got tired of fighting it. I also think he got just tired enough for my uncle, the one we called “Unc” who died in August, to come and get him.

Unc with his scotch

Unc with his scotch

I like to imagine Uncle Pete’s surprise when he saw Unc. I’m also pretty sure that Unc had a scotch ready for Uncle Pete. Unless it was a margarita whipped up by my cousin Chris.

I could use a margarita about now.

Chris and Pete - not that long ago

Chris and Pete – not that long ago

There were no margaritas on Thursday, but there was wine. And there was something truly remarkable. Every single cousin on my Mom’s side of the family (Pete was her brother) made the effort to come to the funeral. That includes my brother flying up from Tennessee, my sister flying up from Florida, my cousin driving up from Florida, and other cousins coming in from anywhere between one and five hours away.

I realized as I made a head count that this may very well be the last time all of the cousins are together in one place.

Uncle Pete did that. I like to think of it as his last gift to us.

And that was really nice because after we left, the ride home was a fucking nightmare. It took two and a half hours, in stop and go highway traffic, to get the mere 80 miles. My sister and I were stuffed like sausages into the third seat of my parent’s Pilot. We were about halfway home when my Mom and Laurie realized that the middle seat could move forward to give us a little more leg room.

Now I know how clowns feel.

At least I wasn’t wearing huge shoes and too much makeup.

My brother flew home early Friday morning, but my sister stayed until yesterday morning, giving us a chance to hang out and beat Mom in a long-awaited (by her) game of Boggle.

And here it is Sunday again.

Tomorrow it starts all over, but for different reasons.

I’m so sad for the loss of my uncle. My four uncles and my aunt were such a wonderful force in our lives growing up. Three of my uncles are gone now. But I’m so grateful for my amazing extended family.

Many of us will gather again in two weeks to celebrate Uncle Doug’s 90th birthday.

There will be cake. And lots of women. (Apparently he has a number of “girlfriends” at the assisted living facility. I asked him how his wife, my aunt,  feels about this. He didn’t really answer.) He’ll be very happy.

Uncle Doug during WWll

Uncle Doug during WWll – probably thinking about cake


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Halloween: a look back

The Transformers costume got a test drive last Saturday. Tonight is the real deal, but the Boy has put off until today all of the touch-ups that need to be done. Mostly just paint, but a little hot glue will be necessary too.

I’m sure it will be fine. It will be dark, it won’t be raining or snowing (thankfully), and we’ll be going to a good trick-or-treat neighborhood, so hopefully everyone will be happy, which will be tough because they’re all moody teenagers now.

This morning I was thinking about the last few years of costumes.

Transformer V2 2014 - still life

Transformer V2 2014 – still life

This year’s Transformers costume is more like Transformers Redux. Or perhaps more appropriately, Transformers V2.

Transformers V2 2014 with Robert at the Pumpkin Festival

Transformers V2 2014 with Robert at the Pumpkin Festival

It’s an improvement on last year’s V1 Transformer (which I actually thought looked pretty good).

Transformers V1 - 2013

Transformers V1 – 2013

The year before that was Jay from Lego Ninjago.

Jay, the blue ninja - 2012

Jay, the blue ninja – 2012

Before that we had Frontier Man (any excuse to be able to carry a gun). Possibly one of my best constructed costumes and the one, of course, with no good pictures.

Frontier Man - 2011

Frontier Man – 2011

Prior to Frontier Man we had Admiral Kirk who was preceded by Captain Kirk and all of the cool Star Trek technology.

Admiral Kirk - 2010

Admiral Kirk – 2010

Captain Kirk next to the Enterprise - 2009

Captain Kirk next to the Enterprise – 2009

And before that was this guy: Mr. Conductor.

To you it may look like just a suit. To him it is a conductor's uniform.

To you it may look like just a suit. To him it is a conductor’s uniform.

We had a year or two of the Knight who didn’t say Nee.

But the best costume that little boy had is the Thomas costume which got three years of use, until it fell apart while out trick-or-treating. Thankfully, we had a backup Clifford costume.

The smile says it all. That is one happy two-year old. He could barely walk in that thing – especially up stairs. But he persevered.

So happy his first Halloween trick-or-treating with his cousins - He wore this costume for three years.

So happy his first Halloween trick-or-treating with his cousins – He wore this costume for three years.

Happy Halloween. May the frights be scary and candy sweet.

One of my all-time favorite costumes. A crown AND wings AND a wand. And a matching pillowcase.

One of my all-time favorite costumes. A crown AND wings AND a wand. And a matching pillowcase.

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