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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Never Give Up

The Spice Girls is where the headline came from today. Am I a fan? Um... not exactly. I consider myself a member of the band. My stage name, Old Spice. The meaning of the headline today is what is really important. And no, The Spice Girls did not inspire me. Ever.

My book proposal is done, mailed, sent, no looking or turning back. I obsessed over that like crazy. I even had a mini argument with myself about which direction to place the contents into the envelope. Aimee helped me and kept me from losing my mind entirely.

I even went as far as sending it next day delivery so I wouldn't have any desire to lower one of my kids by their ankles into the big blue mail box on the corner to pull it out in the event I changed my mind. It is a weird form of stage fright or something. I feel really nervous knowing that a real live agent is reading my shit and judging me.

Just about the time I stopped mentally obsessing, and accepted the fact that this agent said she was interested and asked me to send her this proposal, and it was out of my hands, I got this in my inbox, "Dear Lois, Thank you for your submission. Unfortunately we are going to pass on the project. We appreciate you considering our agency and wish you the best of luck in your search for representation."

I get turned down all of the time and have pretty thick skin. I think the wording of her letter before this is what made me real feel like I'd nailed her down. This "no" was the first to ever really bother me. It was more like a kick in the kinish with steel-tipped cowboy boots.

So I was talking to my kids this morning, telling them the not so great news. They are such cool kids. Both were full of praise and reassurance. It's funny to get that from children and not feel like you're in a weird role reversal.

Lane 1 said, "Why is this bothering you so much? There's other people who are smarter than that dumb broad. Just keep trying Ma."

"I will keep trying buddy. I guess it's like studying really hard for a test. You're sitting in class writing the best essay of your life. You think you teacher is going to not only be impressed but you're pretty sure there is an A+ and gold star in your future. When you get your graded test back, you see an F- in big icky red marker."

"Oh, dude! That would so totally stink man! Dang Ma. I'm sorry."

Lane 2 chimed in, "You know Mom, sometimes teachers are just mean. They are all nicey nice when other teachers are in the classroom or when parents come, but when they have you alone they are just rude and mean. Not all teachers are like that. You'll find some agent who isn't a big meanie."

So the search continues. This time, no matter what they claim in their first contact or second or third, I'm not going to get roped in and become so hopeful that I set myself up for another potential fall. I'll be ready for all of the kinish kicking, dumb broads and the big meanies in Secret Agent Land.

I love my kids. They kissed my boo-boo, cleaned it, put medicine (that doesn't sting) on it and bandaged me up to send me back outside to try again. But this time, they made sure I had my helmet on.

Mr. Lane worries about me. He thinks I am too deep into, and too obsessed with the writing thing. That's what he calls it, the writing thing. He doesn't know about the turn down letter yet. He's on the road, taking one last trip with his father to California. I'll tell him when he comes back in a couple of weeks.

Every time he sees me get a rejection from a query letter or partial manuscript, he always says the same thing. "Lo, it's not who you know. It's who you blow."

His lack of confidence in me is annoying at best. But just in case he is right, maybe I'll add knee pads to go along with my helmet.

I tossed my hat in the ring to syndicate Home Fires. That also is stamped and sent with no looking back. It can take up to eight weeks to get a response, according to their website. I'm not obsessing over that one. I refuse. That is just too long of a time to hold my breath, so I soldier on and keep sending shit all over the place until the right answer comes along.

Hoss helped me tremendously with the submission. He is also the world's best cheerleader! He not only helped me choose what to submit, which took a whole day, he also compared me to some of the greatest humor writers of all time.

Here is a man who just lost his wife, taking hours upon hours out of his time for me. I can't begin to tell you how much that means to me. I have no idea what I did to deserve his kindness, but I'm sure as hell thankful for it.

As the end of the family business particulars unfold, my old man closed our cell phone account. So if you are one of those select few that have my cell number, it isn't going to be in service as of today.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Thanksgiving Flu By

Pour picked on Mom. She cried fowl over my last post. She called it blasphemy too. I have to say I was a little rough on her. She didn't think I would fail and she did say everything was very good. Did I mention how pretty she looked? I never brought up the fact that she made the gravy and brought h'orderves. Or the fact that she made me laugh the whole time even though she was freezing her ass off. Poor narrow ass that she is had to wear her jacket over her sweater all day. (insert collective "awe" here)

When I was little, I remember this very same woman keeping her bedroom window open even during the winter. Some times she wound up with snow piled on the window ledge and ice formed around the pane. Her children, blue-lipped and frozen toed, huddled together for warmth. In fact, Mary, Anita and Angie used to fight over who got to sleep with me because I was the roastiest, toastiest kid ever invented.

In the mornings we would be so cold we could see our own breath. Sometimes we ate breakfast with our winter coats on, but Mom, she'd be wearing shorts and a tee-shirt. Mom said, and man was she slick, "Well, if you kids would get dressed quickly for school, you wouldn't be cold."

After we would dress as quickly as humanly possible, we would continue to claim that we were indeed still freezing. That was the part where she would tell us to hurry up and eat our hot cereal, usually oatmeal or Malt-O-Meal. Poor Angie hated that hot cereal stuff. She would sit at the kitchen table, shivering and gagging.

Mom would say, "It warms you from the inside. Hurry up and eat it. Angie, stop all that gagging or you'll make yourself throw up. And don't think I'm letting you stay home if you do either."

I bet my mom had the fastest kids on the whole block getting ready for school.

Sorry about the flashback there. The point is, now that Mom has no meat on her scrawny bones, she gets cold easily.

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Here she is torturing showing her undying love and affection to my son, Lane 1. Notice her warm jacket over her sweater.

The day after Thanksgiving is a dangerous day, not just because you might feel as if you were poisoned, but because of the madness at the mall. I would rather cut off my own arms and beat myself to death with them than go shopping. The news stations told me fighting for the best toys began bright and early Friday morning. As I watched the TV, Mr. Lane was hurled over the toilet asking me what I put in his food.

As I watched, I thought, "I don't get that. I know my family partakes in a lot of the commercialized traditions of Christmas, but I would never harm anyone, or trample anyone to get a toy for one of my kids. They are my kids. They will love me no matter what gifts they receive."

"Oh God!" He cried from the bathroom. "Lois. Lois! Hurry!"

I strolled in there with my fingers pinching my nose shut like a child would.

"Can you get me toilet paper?"


He was sick all night and all of Friday. Trust me when I say, he is the biggest whiner in the history of ever, when he is sick. Besides claiming he was going to die, he blamed me for his sickness. He not only said I poisoned him but gave him bad food with Botchulism, e coli and the bird flu.

I called my mom to tell on him. "Well, I wasn't going to say anything because Anita asked me not to. But she threw up last night."

"Great! I killed my family for Thanksgiving."

"No you didn't Lo. Let's think about this. What did the two of them eat that no one else did?"

She and I went through the menu and discovered there was nothing that just the two of them had. Anita got sick one time, Mr. Lane was up all night getting sick. As I was on the phone with her, I went to check on him. He spiked a fever. In a twisted way, I was relieved.

"It's just the flu Mom. He's running a fever. Go call Anita and see how she is doing."

"I just talked to her. She is fine today. She only got sick that one time last night. She thought hers was brought on by stress."

What I, for a tiny moment thought was my fault, turned out to be the stupid flu. I can't tell you how happy I am that it was just a 24-hour bug.


Here are some tidbits my brain forgot to mention because my head was in my ass. Yesterday was my brother in-law, Elvis' birthday. That's Anita's old man. So happy birthday to him!

Tomorrow Anita goes in for surgery to get the infamous lump removed. Please send her your well wishes so that she remains titastic.

Then I got these lovely gifts that I neglected to mention. Don't you just love getting for no good reason gifts? I do. My mom bought me a Bunn Coffee Maker. Mine was eight years old and on it's last drop. She also, for no good reason, bought me the down comforter I've had my eyeballs on for a decade.

Then my friend Anna sent me a wonderful book. And good buddy Hoss sent me a sweatshirt from his home state. I love my for no good reason gifts. Thanks a bunch you guys!

More stuff my brain didn't expel, coming soon to a blog near you.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Technical Fowl

Before our holiday guests arrived Thursday, my little family hurried around getting things cooked and cleaned. The kids cleaned their rooms, helped peel potatoes and chopped celery and onions, and fought over the food processor. That's a nice, safe game, huh?

After I cleaned the bird, Mr. Lane stuffed it while offering perverted commentary. "Oh yeah, turkey, I am so gonna stuff you. Who's a dirty birdy? Say my name bitch," he said while offering the fowl spankings and enjoying himself a little too much.

I promptly kicked him out of the kitchen once that job was done. I was afraid to see what he might do with the turkey baster.

Our guests arrived with their arms full. Mom, Anita and her daughter, Angie and her two kids all carried something covered in foil. Because the guys didn't come with my sisters, this was the very first Thanksgiving in my life, where football was not on the TV. It was weird but nice not having all of the "Fumble!" shouts from the living room.

After Mom searched for the hidden tape recorder and came up empty, she finally settled in. She yelled at me for leaving her accident out of the last post. I didn't exactly forget that happened, I just don't like thinking about it because I can see it all over again. Not a pretty picture .

She was more than prepared for my cooking failure. Either that or she was a boy scout in a past life. She brought a ham, stuffing, an apple pie, a pumpkin pie, olives, cranberries and told Anita to bring a cake. Angie was off the hook because she is still recuperating from her accident. My brothers were with their families and Mary was cooking her very first turkey at her house. According to her neighbors who I secretly interviewed, "Nuttin' smelt burnt."

Mom seemed surprised when she breathed in the cooking aroma, and said the "gamey" turkey smelt like a "regular" turkey. She took a peek as I basted the 24-pounder. She proclaimed it even looked like a "regular" turkey. I think she said it was a "Nice looking bird. Too bad it's probably gamey."

Growing up we always had frozen, grocery store turkeys, instant mashed potatoes and frozen or canned vegetables with our Thanksgiving Day feast. When Mom found out our turkey was coming straight off of the farm, she wasn't thrilled.

It isn't like I walked over to the farm introduced myself to the turkey and said, "Tom Turkey, come with me." I couldn't see one walking around and then eat it the next day. But, Mr. Lane could. Like my sister Angie says, "I don't wanna know my food." And that's why husbands were invented.

Mom became concerned when she saw me steaming fresh asparagus and broccoli. "Lo, why go through all that trouble? Just nuke them."

Anita gave me the look. The "Lo, it's a holiday. Don't kill Mom," look. So I shook my head and continued to burn my arms with the steam. I guess she probably expects me to cook exactly like she does, since she was my first teacher. I'm officially married to a farmer (again), how can I justify frozen bowling ball birds and canned veggies? I can't.

Mom also curled her nose up at the pot of potatoes on the stove. "What's this?"

"Potatoes. When everything is just about done, I'll mash them."

She then gave me the raised eyebrow look. You know the one I'm talking about. Her face was exactly the way I remember mine and my siblings' faces when we would catch her in the kitchen making some funky looking casserole.

It dawned on me. Mom had a shit load of people to feed. Any shortcut she could find, she used and became accustomed to. Hell I probably would too. Just the potatoes alone took me and Lane 1 almost an hour to peel. Who has that kind of time with a house full of people?

Finally, all was said and done. Tummies were full and Anita (the helpful, wonderful, prettiest sister) was doing dishes. Angie was goofing off with Mr. Lane talking about Angie's asthma, epileptic, black-eyed crazy self and something about pink and stink. Who knows, maybe those two crazy asses will run off together and become rappers. The kids were playing. Mom was still acting like a guest, complaining that she couldn't smoke without the door open. I know, I'm an evil daughter wanting my sister Angie to be able to breathe.

Tomorrow, maybe I'll tell you about my guests who mysteriously became ill overnight. Maybe.


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Giving Thanks

This year has been filled with ups and downs for my family. It seems like the downs were stacked against us. We lost my pops to cancer as the bank foreclosed on my parent's house. Two of our dearest family members were diagnosed with cancer. An uncle lost his leg to a blood disease, the same disease my sister Mary was diagnosed with. My sister Anita had a breast cancer scare. My sister Angie and her two kids were in a car wreck. My nephew Marvin was jumped and beat up at school. He also sustained a sports injury. We lost our 17-year-old family cat, Guido to the last of his nine lives. Mr. Lane and I had the least profitable year in all of our 17 years together. We spent less time together as a family this year due to work. We started a family business that went into the red faster than a whore into a no-tell motel on a Saturday night.

Looking back and probably forgetting some of the things, it seems it would be hard to find things to be thankful for. It isn't.

I am forever thankful that I had a father who was involved in my life. My children had the pleasure of not only meeting him but knowing, loving him and getting love in return. The end of Dad's life caused a bond stronger within us than anything we ever experienced as a family. We don't waste a day anymore. We had the privilege of being there with him together when he took his last breath. We had the opportunity to say all that needed to be said. He left us with countless wonderful memories. What's not to be thankful for?

Mary is working again and getting a lot of exercise to fight off blood clots. Angie and the kids are healing from their injuries. Anita remains titastic. What was initially scary stuff turned into more things to give thanks for.

My brother Jimmy started his own business and took our nephew Yoda on and so far, so good. My brother Mark, 19 years in the Air Force, thankfully has been spared going to the Middle East. More thanks.

Broke as a joke we Lanes are, but we are together. I was in the shower this morning with my old man. Water conservation project, if you will. He was catching the streams of water that rolled down my breasts. I watched him play. He gave me that little grin I love so much and started to sing "Let the Rain Fall Down..." He threw a handful of water at my face when I made fun of him for knowing a Hilary Duff song. Thankful.

Our kids are healthy and doing well in school. Lane 2 hasn't made us grandparents yet. Lane 1 hasn't asked to pierce anything. Together, they haven't conspired to rebel against us and take over the house. They kiss and hug me before bed each night and say, "I love you. Sleep tight. See you in the morning light." Tear-filled thanks.

Mom. Then there's Mom. Hoo boy! Mom. The Mominator. Yeah, she has had a rough year. I almost feel bad about making fun of her as much as I have. Almost. She lost so much this year but she keeps on giving. She's so giving that she gave everyone an invite to my house for Thanksgiving. That's right. I'm cooking the feast this year.

I am thankful for the hours shared in the kitchen with my mother while I was growing up. I learned a lot helping her cook, and now, it's my turn. She called me a couple of days ago. She wanted to make a list of things to bring. I told her just to bring herself. After making claims that my fresh from the farm turkey would be gamey and my stuffing lousy, she said she'll bring a ham. I am thankful for her ham and the ulcer she is giving me. I am thankful she feels comfortable enough in our relationship to continually plan parties and festivities at our house without asking me first.

Mostly, I am thankful for the mini cassette recorder I have set up in her favorite spot in my kitchen. Everything she says can and will be blogged against her in a court of Lois.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone of you imaginary friends of mine! Thankful.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Danger Will Robinson! Danger!

World Against Toys Causing Harm (W.A.T.C.H.) published its annual dangerous toy list. The top 10 most dangerous list is topped by Baby Serena. Sure she looks harmless in her pink layette but she comes with magic bottles that "possess an unacceptable risk of choking for oral age children."

Others on the list include, Camouflage Water Bomb Fun Kit, Splatmatic Pistol Splat Paintball Shooter, Animal Alley Ponies, City Blocks, Lord of the Rings Crossbow, Air Kicks Kickaroos Anti Gravity Boots, Fisher Price Little Mommy Bath Baby Doll, Fantastic 4 Electronic Thing Hands and Star Wars Revenge of the Sith Energy Beam Blaster.

So that brings me to my childhood and the toys I played with. I wonder if it's too late to sue those companies that produced toys that caused harm to me in my youth.

Remember slime in a can? Yeah, well, I got that stuff every single year in my stocking, and every single year it caused me great harm. One of those incidents that is fresh in my mind is the year my brothers Mark and Jimmy played monkey in the middle with me and my slime. I was the monkey who didn't catch the slime as it plummeted to the golden shag carpet below, causing me a beating of a lifetime.

Then there was the Slinky. I can't believe they still make those after all of the pain I endured. My sister Angie used to wrap those tightly around my neck as soon as I accidentally got hers tangled. I don't remember any warning on that packaging.

There is no way, no matter how many years of therapy I undergo that I will forget the pain of being bludgeoned with an Etch-A-Sketch. I bet you never knew how dangerous those could be. Did you know that the pen on the string can be used to poke deeply into unsuspecting nostrils? And the string that attaches it can be just as dangerous if used as handcuffs to tie up a sweet little girl.

Stretch Armstrong would have topped the list had the list been invented in 1979. That was the year I was not only strangled by his stretchy limbs but I also ingested some of the sticky gel that oozed from his crotch area. Sure my injuries were sustained at the hands of my siblings. But we all know how the saying goes, "Stretch Armstrong ooze doesn't kill people. People kill people."

It was the Snuggle Dolls I loved so much that caused me to be a pervert. I'm sure there are some anti pervert toy laws yet to be invented that I could tap into. Those dolls had a string coming out of their backsides and when you pulled it, their little bodies would make a snuggly, humpy motion. Of course, I laid them on top of one another and watched them go to town. Sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen, doesn't it?

Maybe together we can be part of a class-action suit. We could win lots and lots of money! Or, we could write a book like the founder of W.A.T.C.H. did. Sure his books, Toys That Don't Care and Toys That Kill never made the best seller list, but people actually did buy them and the former lawyer has made boo coo beaucoup* bucks off of other's pain. Let's do this. Share some of your toy dangers in the comments or on your blog. Just think guys, when this is over, we can own the North Pole!

* Edited for David the big baby head!

Monday, November 21, 2005

New Beginnings

My heart goes out to my friend Gene. His wife, Betty passed away Friday. Please take a moment to let him know we are all thinking about him.

Great news people! I am one of Comcast's most valued customers. It's true! I got a letter from them a couple of days ago and it said so. They now offer digital phone service in my area. They probably set that up just for me because I am such a valued customer. Being out in the boonies, I am likely their only customer, but valued nonetheless.

You all know that I don't bash companies without just cause, right? Well after six months of on again off again service, Comcast earned its place on my shit list. I have no doubt one day it will be a great company with great products and great service. They have a lot of bugs to work out of their system before that will happen.

So I was reading the letter and thinking. I have TV through them and without them I have no reception whatsoever. I also have internet through them. When one thing goes wrong with Comcast, I can't watch TV or surf the net.

What if I said, "Sure, sign me up for that digital phone service y'all got going on in my neck of the woods."

I'll tell you what. I'd have no phone, no TV and no internet every time the wind blew. Fuck a whole lotta that. I can't allow one company to be in charge of every single source of my entertainment. I think I need to send Comcast a letter and let them know I'm not as valued or stupid as they thought.

The old man finally made it back home. After the lousy month he's had, he's decided to fold up his trucking business. He is thinking of going back to farming. In the meantime, this Limboland is pretty nerve-wracking.

Beginning a driving business when fuel prices were at an all time high, probably wasn't the best idea he has ever had. Then again, nothing ventured, nothing gained. So without any financial gain whatsoever, he is considering the old standby, and I was thinking about blowing off the book idea and my freelance work, and getting a regular 9 to 5.

Not knowing what lies ahead is scary and exciting. Wish us well as we begin this new chapter, whatever it may hold.

Friday, November 18, 2005

I Am The Warrior

Thanks for all of the blood type guesses the other day. I am O+, which means I am a trendsetter, loyal, passionate, self-confident, independent, ambitious, vain and jealous.

I mean, I know I am setting trends over here with my doorag. I'll bet those snobby PTA ladies will all be sporting one in no time. And loyal, hells yeah! I'm like a friggin' golden retriever as I sit here awaiting my master's return from his three-weeklong journey.

Oh passion, I got that covered too. Of course, that may have something to do with the old man being gone for three weeks. Mama's ready to rock and roll.

Independence, I got that covered too, which oddly enough ties into the rest of my "type." For example, my self-confidence tells me if the one I am loyal to doesn't hurry home for that passionate side of me, I'll become ambitious and independently take care of business. IfyouknowwhatI'msayin'.

That leaves vain and jealous. I think my site meter proves the vain part but where does that jealousy fall in? I know it's there. I feel it in my bones.

Out here in the middle of nowhere, there isn't a heck of a lot to do. I live on the outskirts of one of those rural Wal-Mart communities. Yesterday after taking the kids to school, I had to go there to pick up some paper for my printer. I pulled into the lot at 8:15 a.m. It seemed quite empty for our local Wal-Mart.

I think most parents drop their kids off and go right over to Wal-Mart to catch up on the gossip of the day. As I parked, I noticed a couple of people walking back to their cars. I sat there people watching and saw no one was getting into the store. I thought, "Weird. It's never closed at this time of day."

I continued watching. The doors were locked. I drove around to see if there was a closed sign. After squinting my peepers, I saw on the inside door, in small print a sign that read, "Heats out. Sorry closed."

They put their incomplete sentences on the inside door. You would practically have to press your face against the glass of the outside door to see it. But being only 10 degrees (F) out, the steam from your breath would probably fog the window, keeping you from seeing the sign anyhow.

I parked again and watched. I needed paper and really didn't want to drive 30 miles for some. I saw a lady getting out of her truck. I tried rolling my window down to tell her they were closed but my window was frozen shut. I gave her the look and lipped "They are closed." but she just sort of ignored me.

She walked to the entrance, tried pushing the door open while in a continuous walking flow and smashed her face and arm into the locked door. She threw her arms up in the air and said, "What the fuck?"

I tried not to laugh.

She stormed back to her truck and looked at me. I shrugged my shoulders at her. She shook her head and got back into her truck. She got out of her truck and approached my car.

The last thing I need first thing in the morning is a disgruntled Wal-Mart shopper coming toward me. She motioned to my door handle, I waved her into my car. (Shut up Mother! I so could have taken her!)

She hopped in and said, "Shit! My truck won't start. Can you give me a ride?"

"Sure," I said. It's not like I was doing anything anyhow.

"My name is Dawn."

"I'm Lois."

"Good to meet you."

"Yeah, you too. Better circumstances would have been nice."

"No kidding, huh?"

There were a few seconds of weird silence. Until I blurted, "So... what would you have bought if you got in Wal-Mart?" Yes, I realize that was just stupid but awkward silence scares me.

"Snow pants. My daughter is waiting for me at school. She can't go outside at recess time without some. I just had that god damned truck fixed! I had it over at Seth's Auto and paid an arm and a leg to get it back. I knew it wasn't running right. Oh, you were supposed to turn back there."

"Sorry." I don't know why I apologized. She never said where we were going or where I should turn.

"Just turn around and go down here."

"What size is your daughter? I might have some snow pants that my daughter outgrew."

"I was going to get a six or seven, but only if they weren't too expensive. I couldn't get her any last year because they cost too much, and now with more truck troubles. Aw, fuck it. She'll get less colds this winter if she isn't playing outside. See that big blue truck? Pull in that driveway. It's my sister's house."

And then she was gone. I drove back over to Wal-Mart to see if they were open. I saw a heating and air truck parked near the entrance so I assumed it wouldn't be long. I drove back home to dig through next spring's garage sale shit and found the snow pants. Size seven. "Perfect!"

I drove back to her sister's house and knocked on the door. There was no answer. I should have known when I didn't see the truck in the driveway. So I thought, they are probably over at Wal-Mart or Seth's. I began driving and realized, I had no idea where Seth's Auto was. I was driving by Wal-Mart again and decided to cut through their lot. I saw an old angry man walking away from the locked doors.

"Excuse me. Sir? Do you know where Seth's Auto is?"

"What do I look like? A map?" With his wrinkled old white body and his ultra veiny face and neck, that could easily pass as highways and byways, I wanted to say "Yes."

Instead I said, "Um... no sir. You look like someone who is angry. I'm sorry you are having a bad day."

"Why is this placed closed anyhow?"

"Their heat is out. They put a sign up but it is posted on the inside door."


"Yes sir, they are. I hope your day brightens up."

He smiled and walked away. I headed toward the industrial part of town with the snow pants. I figured Seth's would be somewhere around there. I was amazed that I found it right away.

Dawn was nowhere to be seen. I walked into the shop and asked about her. She didn't leave a phone number but had already dropped her keys off and left. Since I had already wasted a lot of time, gas and still didn't have paper for my printer, my mind was beginning to say "fuck it."

Last chance for Wal-Mart and on the way, I planned on sticking the snow pants in the door of Dawn's sister's house. As I opened the screen door to stuff them in, the inside door opened. It was Dawn's sister. She thanked me and said Dawn was on her way to work, and was using her truck.

On my way home, I drove by Wal-Mart again. It was open. I finally got my paper.

I'm a firm believer in everything happening for a reason. I have no idea what the reason was for all of that odd ball shit that took place yesterday. I can only hope Dawn's daughter is warm this winter and gets to play outside with her friends. I can hope the cranky old man in the parking lot did cheer up and have a better day. And I can hope my bizarre way of getting out of doing my work for a couple of hours, gave me a fresh palette to work with.

(It is not recommended to pick up strangers.)

This weekend, checkout DutchWest TV. My buddy Sam is a friggin' hoot! There are some very amusing things there! It's like Kids in the Hall meet the Internet. Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Havana Moon

Yesterday my mom yelled at me about posting the review. I tried telling her posting something was better than nothing and since I had a busy day ahead, it was the best I could do. She said that was a copout. In my very best MAD TV, Stuart voice, I told her it was my "Look what I can do!" post.

Today I am going to spit out a bunch of random nonsense that is hogging my desktop. I have a habit of taking notes and just saving them there. Currently, there are too many to count. Virtual housekeeping is essential. I certainly would hate for Carlos Santana to come over and fuck up my shit. So today I present to you some stuff.

(BTW Mom, Havana Moon is a Carlos Santana song. I wish I had a bottle of rum to wash this post down with.)

I couldn't find the news story online but a couple years ago, there was a man who was caught "putting a body in his trunk" by neighbors, who called 911.

Eric wanted me to share this story with you guys after I shared it with him. He recently filtered a 911 call about a woman putting a body in her trunk. It turned out to be two consenting adults playing a bondage game. So you can imagine the embarrassment they must have felt, not to mention the mood kill when police arrived on their little sex scene.

Similar to Eric's story, some neighbors reported a murder, others a kidnapping. When the police arrived, guns drawn, they opened the trunk to find a (not safe for work) Real Doll.

It seems they now make a much more lifelike blowup doll and the guy was simply taking his to a nearby hotel for a little quality time. His nosy neighbors foiled his plans and likely, killed his mood.

Since I know many of you are into horoscopes and such, I saved this gem for you. Have you seen this?

The site claims that there is a link between your blood type and personality. Here is the key:

Type O – The Warrior
trendsetter loyal passionate self-confident independent ambitious vain jealous

Type A – The Farmer
calm patient sensitive responsible overcautious stubborn unable to relax

Type B – The Hunter
individualist dislike custom strong optimistic creative flexible wild unpredictable

Type AB – The Humanist
cool controlled rational sociable popular critical sometimes standoffish indecisive

If you don't know your blood type, go donate, they'll tell you what you are. Did yours sound like you? Which type do you think I am?

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The day before Lane 2's birthday, I spoke with her teacher. My nasty child really wanted to bring the kitty litter cake to school. I warned her teacher how realistic it looks and was amazed she said it was okay. Of course if she hadn't, a nasty toenail clipping may have found its way to school for show-and-tell.

Lane 2's classmates loved the cake and fought over who was going to get the poop-looking Tootsie Rolls. She was also excited that there was plenty of cake to offer all of the teachers. Amazingly enough, none of them turned down a piece of the nasty looking thing.

She came home from school on a cloud. That was until I told her to go in her room and do her homework. She whined about it being her birthday and how mean her teachers were for assigning homework. She also thought I was being mean making her do her homework right away.

I told her I had a surprise for her. I said I wanted her homework done first so she can spend the rest of the night having birthday fun. She finally agreed.

When her homework was finished, I led her out of her room, with my hand over her eyes. I sat her down in her computer chair and turned her toward her gift (the newly fixed computer and Sponge Bob games.) When I took my hand away from her eyes, she beamed. It was a huge hit.

She read her birthday post here at Home Fires, and giggled through the bad words. After she read all of your comments she said, "Can I leave a comment too? I'd like to thank them for their patronage." She was so serious. I can't tell you how much that cracked me up.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

New Zoo Review

(Ten points to whoever can rattle off a few bars of that little ditty without web search assistance.)

The following is a review by “Murderer” from Weblog Review, Home Fires is listed in the Last 10 Reviews and (thanks to Seven’s vote) it is listed under Readers Top 5.

Home Fires is a blog maintained by a woman going by the name of Lois Lane, an American residing in Illinois. According to her first post way back in December 2004, she was roped into the blogging world by an evil princess, a bulldog and a few family members. I must take this opportunity to thank all those involved in persuading Lois to blog because this site is home to one of the most talented bloggers I have ever come across on the internet!

Thankfully I learned as a child not to judge a book by it's cover because the template did absolutely nothing for me! It's based on one of the preinstalled blogger templates with a strange combination of green, cream and black which doesn't really work well. The navigation bar images are also ugly however the names of them are well thought out and go well with the title of the blog.

All my reservations about the design are forgotten though once I start reading the posts! When I started reading this blog, I forgot about everything and I was engrossed with it! I had never before been this emotionally attached to a blog. Her posts are rich with emotion and her own dash of humour and like a good book, once you start reading it, you find it hard to stop until your finished!

In her most recent post, she relives the experience of giving birth to "Lane 2". She describes the post as being an emotional roller-coaster and that's exactly what it was! At time's I nearly cried, other times I laughed but at all times I was hooked to it! After a while I found myself reading down through pages and pages of posts and being shocked and entertained from start to finish!

If you do happen to get bored of this blog there are plenty of links to other quality blogs. Some may argue that there are too many links but I don't mind a lot of links especially when they lead to other good sites and blogs.

To bring things to a close, this really is a must visit site. Whether you want to have a good laugh or a good cry there is something here to suit your tastes!

This site was reviewed on 2005-11-12 by Murderer.They felt this site belonged in the Humor category.Murderer felt that Home Fires deserved a rating of 5.

Cool huh? Big thanks to the Weblog Review and Murderer.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Almost A Memory

She was my first friend. She was my first enemy. She was the first person to punch me square in the nose and also the last. She taught me bribery, blackmail, hate, selfishness and later, much later, she taught me love and selflessness.

She gave me someone to tattle on daily. She taught me that chewing on Barbie's toes was gooey chewy fun. She gave the hardest Charlie horses my legs ever felt. She would pin me down and dangle loogies in my face, sucking them back in, just inches from my face. Sometimes, she didn't suck them back in time. She used to punch my favorite teddy bear's face in and say, "You're next!" Before she gave me her hand-me-down clothes, she always reminded me, she farted in them first.

Saturday afternoon all of that stuff flashed before my mind. My sister Angie was taking her kids to their father's house. A car in the other lane, swerved to avoid a piece of metal in the road. Driving 70 miles an hour on the highway, his car spun around and rammed into her car, sending it into a concrete divider wall. She wasn't wearing a seat belt.

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She called our mom before the ambulance came, crying, screaming, absolutely terrified. She couldn't move and she didn't know where the kids were. My mother could hear both of the kids crying. She tried calming Angie down. It was no use. The paramedics came. Angie hung up.

The fear in Mom's voice rang in my ears as a grueling half of an hour passed before we heard from anyone about hers and the kids' conditions. I thought about the call I received when our sister Lucy died at the age of 39. I thought about the death of our other sister, Angie's twin, Ellen. I yelled at our dead father and told him he can't have her. Not now.

Initial reports were in and there were no life threatening injuries sustained. They were headed into hours of testing to look them over carefully.

Just last week Angie's boyfriend and his daughter were in an accident. It makes you stop and think, what the hell is going on and when the fuck is our family going to catch a break?

Hours later, we finally caught a break. Angie and the kids were released from the hospital. My niece has a fractured leg. My nephew has an abrasion on his neck from the seatbelt. The force of the airbag smashed the shit out of Angie's face. The swelling and bruising change hour by hour. She is in a lot of pain.

I still have no idea what happened to the guy who hit them. He was driving his mother's car on a suspended license and was also taken away by ambulance.

I can't tell you how thankful I am that they are still with us. There just aren't words for that feeling. All I know for sure is, I'm looking forward to building many more years of memories with my sister.

Friday, November 11, 2005

She's A Lady, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, She's A Lady

My mother wanted to give me up for adoption. I told her, at the age of 33, it's too late. She is stuck with me. Last weekend I was over visiting. She wanted some basic maintenance done on her brand new computer. While I was at the helm, it crashed. No Blue Screen of Death, no slowly freezing screen, no warning. Complete crash and burn.

She looked at me like I had just killed her dog. Then she went into the denial phase.

"It just needs a rest. Keep it turned off for a few minutes. It'll be fine."

"Mom, it won't be fine. It won't even start up in safe mode. It's fried."

Wide-eyed, she nearly convinced herself, "No, honey, it can't be fried. It's new."

She called my sister Angie and her boyfriend Papa Roach to see if they could help. She handed the phone to me. I relayed all the techie crap. I tried the things they told me to, but nothing worked. The two of them came over to help.

Papa Roach is a computer geek. Even he couldn't get it started. He called Best Buy, where my mother had bought it a month earlier. They were no help. Their Geek Squad blows hard drives. My mom paid an extra 300 bucks to have them come and hook her up. It took them two weeks to get there and didn't even connect the speakers.

Papa Roach tried calling the Geeks for assistance. They said they would have to charge some $350 just to talk him through fixing it over the phone.

By then, Mom was losing her mind. She wanted to talk to them herself. She tried to remain calm.

"You don't understand. My deceased husband's pictures are on there..."

When Angie and I made eye contact, we had to put our hands over our mouths to keep our laughter in. Yes, Dad is gone, and that's not funny, but the way Mom tells the story, those were the only copies in existence. She was working the sympathy angle like there was no tomorrow. Even though every single family picture, since the beginning of time, is saved on disks and each one of us has a copy.

"...All of my stuff is on this computer. You can't replace memories like that!"

The Geek Squad dude who came to hook her up was named Carl Sanchez. Over the phone she told the IT person, "Listen, I waited for that stupid creep squad, geek whatever, for weeks. I'll tell you what, that friggin' Carlos Santana guy didn't know his ass from his elbow."

Angie, Papa Roach and I were buckled over laughing. It took a second for my mother to realize Carlos Santana did not leave the music business to become a member of Best Buys' Geek Squad. She tried not to laugh into the phone.

Calls to HP didn't help either. Papa Roach was going to take Mom's computer to work and get it working again. More bad news came Monday. There was no rebooting the computer. It had a faulty hard drive. I didn't think I did anything that could have caused that kind of damage. I was relived it wasn't my fault.

Tuesday Papa Roach took Mom to Best Buy to get a new tower. She assumed she had a year warranty and thought trading it for a new one would be okay. No troubles expected.

They marched into the store, Mom wearing her "Do I look like I care?" tee-shirt, with her attitude on her sleeve, she asked for the manager.

After going over the whole story, the guy looked at her receipt. In tiny print it read "open box" which meant her warranty was null in void. Something the helpful salesman never mentioned. My mom argued with the manager and said the box was taped. Everything was packed like it had never been touched. She told him that her salesman made no mention of an open box. He insisted that her salesman gave her a $20 discount because it was already opened.

Highly pissed, she said, "I spend $2,000 fucking dollars on this thing. Plus another $300 for your retarded creep squad to come out. Do you think a lady like me is looking to save 20 bucks? Give me a break!"

Calling herself a lady at that point, nearly sent her over the edge. It was the funniest thing she ever heard herself say. When she called me later that night, she was laughing so hard at herself she could barely speak.

The Best Buy manager told her, after they had been in the store four hours, that they would have to send it out to get fixed. She would have it back in six weeks. The lady in her, lost it again.

Papa Roach stepped in, probably saving my mother from a jail sentence, and said, "Give me the parts, I'll put them in myself."

By Wednesday, the lady was back up and running.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Don't Take The Girl

Warning: Emotional roller coaster ahead. E-Lo, Mrs. Mogul and any other preggers out there, go away. I love you but this isn't mommy-to-be reading.)

It's hard to believe eleven years have gone by but the memories flash like it's all happening again. On November 9th, 1994, at 9 p.m. I sat my huge ass down on the couch to watch TV. When my cheeks met the cushions, my water broke.

Mr. Lane and Lane 1 were already sleeping. I called my mom. Even though labor pains hadn't started yet, she insisted I wake Mr. Lane up so he could bring Lane 1 to her and take me to the hospital. The birth of Lane 1 was under four hours from the water breaking to the final push. She said the second time around is usually quicker.

With a beach towel shoved between my legs, I quickly waddled around the house, like a penguin on crack, gathering everything we needed to take with us.

I never had early labor pains, I went straight from nothing to "Holy mother of God," buckle me over, pains. I had back labor for 13 hours. The nurses put me in all sorts of positions to try to keep me comfortable and take the pressure off of my back. Nothing seemed to help.

Knowing gravity was my only ally, I took my fat ass for a walk down the hall. With wires dangling off of my every body part and a towel crammed between my legs, I intended to stroll until that baby fell out. It seemed like a good plan. Until the pains started again. I squatted down, trying to get leverage. I placed my palms to the floor to catch my balance. Keep in mind I was wearing one of those lovely "Let it all hang out," hospital gowns, which means, as I was catching myself, my big white ass was up in the air.

The doctor finally stopped by and told me to stay in bed. I guess my glow in the dark ass was scaring the other patients. He kept saying my reward would come soon in the form of a healthy baby. And I believed him, which gave me strength.

Mr. Lane was the typical second time around dad. Completely unfazed, a real pro, as he sat his stupid ass in the La-Z-Boy and fell asleep. It wasn't until the 12th hour of labor that he finally woke up. By then, a room full of people stood around evaluating me.

My nurse was offering me drugs, which I'd finally warmed up to the idea of. I had refrained because I was going to breast feed and didn't want anything going into the baby's system.

Mr. Lane finally spoke, "Aw, come on ya wimp. You don't need that crap."

I gave my loving husband the "Die fucker!" look and told the nurse, "Give me all ya got."

The shot of Demerol really helped my body relax and do its job. Less than one hour after the shot, I was pushing.

When she finally decided to come out, Lane 2 didn't cry. Her color didn't look right. Something was wrong.

The doctor said, "She's fine. She just had a rough night, as did her mommy."

I didn't buy it. Moms just know. I was able to hold her for a couple of minutes and then they whisked her away. Less than an hour later, she was put on a ventilator because she wasn't breathing steadily. By then my husband had gone home to shower and get our son so he could see his baby sister.

I was alone when the doctor told me she stopped breathing and might not make it to Thanksgiving. I fell apart. Face pressed against her incubator wanting desperately to hold her, I felt the worst kind of pain ever. The doctor suggested she might have Septicemia or Meningitis.

They prepared her for a transfer to Loyola Medical Center. I finally gathered myself and called my husband back to the hospital. I put my normal clothes back on and packed my bag but they told me I couldn't go with her. You can imagine, I didn't take that well. I signed an AMA (Against Medical Advice) form and as my husband arrived, I met him in the parking lot, bag in hand.

It was the longest ride ever, even though it was 30 miles to the other hospital. The radio station in the car played Tim McGraw's Don't Take the Girl. I reached to turn the radio off but my husband took my hand. He held it while he drove and listened to the heart-wrenching song.

It was four of the longest hours waiting while she had test after test.

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When we could finally see her, she was in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). She had tubes and wires coming out of every part of her tiny body.

The babies surrounding her were so much smaller. One, the one right next to her right side was a baby born to a crack addict mother. He was the size of a soda can. The doctors and nurses were the only visitors he had.

I wanted to hold him. I wanted to hold my baby. I wanted to be held. I wanted to be strong.

My husband tried not to cry as his eyes met mine. We saw fear in each other and a sadness so strong that could rip your heart clear out of your chest.

"Mommy? Why my baby titer so fat?"

Lane 1, two and a half years old was who gave me my strength. He could see beyond the tubes and monitors. Too young to understand all that was going on and too young to fear the worst, he made me realize in comparison, Lane 2 was the biggest baby in the entire NICU. Her six-pound body filled her incubator, while others took up only a fraction of space.

A day after she was born, Mr. Lane had to return to work. The family leave act had not been invented yet and he was already in trouble with his boss for taking a whole day off. He was fired upon his return.

Alone again, in the first couple of days at the NICU, while Mr. Lane pounded the pavement, looking for a new job, other parents approached me, shared their stories, and gave me more hope. They told me I was dealing with some of the best neonatologists the country had to offer. Although that was all comforting, I just wanted to hold my baby.

Mr. Lane found a job with our brother in-law and started work immediately. He worked really long hours to prove himself. The stress was relieved somewhat because we weren't going to lose much income in an already difficult time, but his schedule, 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. left little room for our family.

At 3 a.m. I walked out of the pumping room, where moms went to stimulate milk production. I saw the first mom who approached me two days earlier. She was sitting on the floor, arms over her head, crying into her knees. I sat next to her, wrapped my arm around her shoulders and tried not to cry.

Her little boy was going to be two months old and never left the hospital. In his short life, he had four brain surgeries, two heart surgeries, and a kidney transplant. An infection took over and he was gone. I cradled that lady in my arms on the floor for what seemed like hours.

A grief counselor arrived, sleepy eyed, briefcase in hand, a box of tissue under his arm, he reached for her hand and led her to a little family room. I don't know her name or her son's name. But I will never forget them.

Three days later, all tests were in, Lane 2 didn't have what the doctors initially thought. She had pneumonia, and an Rh incompatibility (hemolytic) and best of all she was going to make it. It was also the day I got to hold her again.

I sat in a rocking chair next to her incubator, holding her, smelling her, rocking her, rubbing her head and face, kissing her little hands and never wanting that moment to end.

That night, when the nurse finally pried my baby girl from my arms, they took her off of the ventilator. The sound of my baby crying for the first time was music to my ears and I cried with her. And then I laughed at myself.

The fourth day, because of the blood issue, she became jaundice. They put little Velcro stickers on her temples, and little cloth sunglasses on her little wrinkled orange face. She looked like George Hamilton.

Finally, a week after she was born, she was able to come home. It was the longest and worst week of my life, but she was worth it!

She now stands as tall as the bridge of my nose, even when she isn't wearing those horrendous clogs she loves so much.

Happy birthday to my baby girl!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

We're The Kids In America

Bubba Jr. is my Godson, nephew, my sister Angie's little one and all around great kid. He is selling candy for a school fundraiser, so naturally he called me.

Without so much as a "Hi Aunt Lois," he began with, "I am selling candy for my school." Knowing it was a child, but not being able to place his voice right away, I just listened. Thankfully, I didn't treat him like the last telemarketer.

He continued, "It's for our annual fundraiser. Each half pound box is ten dollars. I've already sold 70 dollars worth. We have Meltaways, Truffles, Trinidads," it was the way he said Trinidads that tipped me off to who I was talking to.

"Wow, Bubba, you are selling all the good ones! And 70 bucks already is great!"

"Yes, I know. Actually, we have other varieties also." His businesslike personality was just killing me.

"Didn't your mom tell you I was broke?"

"She said you might say that. I have until the 14th of November to sell the candy. You have time to make a decision between now and then."

Laughing, I said, "Oh, good. I do need a little more time to make a decision. Please call me back and I will let you know."

"Okay, I will. Goodbye."

No "I love you Aunt Lois," just all business.

The little shit called me the very next day. I guess I should have been more specific about when he should call again.

Without a "Hello" he began with, "Have you made a decision about what kind of candy you would like to purchase?"

I let him know I would call him when I made my decision. I caught up with my sister Angie a couple of days later and asked what the hell she was doing to my sweet little nephew. She claimed she had nothing to do with his sales pitch. I think we need to schedule an intervention for this child before he is doomed to a life of telemarketing.

My nephew Yoda, Mary's 22-year-old, had a moment of embarrassment that I can't help but share. He went to the apartment management office to complain about the laundry facilities. He marched into the office ready to tell the manager off. She kept calm as he rambled on about the automated cash card not working in the machines.

The manager told him that their maintenance department was working on the issue and thanked him for understanding.

He went back to the apartment and told my mom what was said. "Understanding? All I understand is that I have dirty laundry and can't do shit about it."

Just as my mom was about to try calming him down, he started laughing. His fly was wide open the whole time. Under his pants, peeking through the zipper were his Pillsbury Doughboy boxers.

"My temper isn't all that's rising," he joked.

I imagine it's difficult to look and sound tough when your little bread stick is showing.

While helping at St. Peter Paul and Mary School yesterday, one of the first grade students sat next to me. She said, "You're Lane 2's mom aren't you?"

"Yes, and may I ask, who you are?"

"I'm Lane 2's chapel buddy, Theresa."

I shook her hand. "It's very nice to meet you, Theresa. Did you come over to get help with your reading?"

"No. I came over to smell you."

"Smell me?"

"Uh-huh. Anna said that you smell like her grandma. I like the way Anna's grandma smells. She smells like my grandma."

Anna was the first kid I worked with. I didn't notice her sniffing me, which is why Theresa caught me off guard.

"Oh. Well.. thanks." I said, not sure if I was being insulted or complimented. Out of the mouths of babes can go either way.

She hugged me tight and breathed me into her little nose. Then, she smiled. I took it as a compliment. I woke up with my back in pain and before I left the house, I rubbed Sports Cream into the sore spots. I guess it was either that or the smell of my depends wafting.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Some Times You Feel Like A Nut

The excitement has been overwhelming. I finally got the toughest part of my book proposal finished. Trying to write about authors whose books mine would compete with was by far harder than I could have ever imagined.

First I had to go to the library and pick out some humor books by well-known writers. (That was the easy part.) I would have to read them and compare myself to them. In this section of the proposal, I would have to say why I am better but how my writing is similar. (Self doubt, please step forward.)

Facing the grueling task, I grabbed the stack of library books and a notebook and curled up in my reading chair. I opened the first book. By page ten, I was sound asleep. Visions of best-sellers danced in my head. I awoke two hours later. Much to my chagrin, my book was not already on the list as one of the best of the best, like it was in my dream.

It took days to finish reading all of the books in between my accidental catnapping. While reading, ideas bounced off of my brain matter like popcorn bouncing off of a microwavable bag. When I finished all of the required reading, every good idea I had left the building. I looked to my notebook for some answers. I wrote titles and authors down and that was all I had.

I turned to my friend, the Internet. "I can research a few things and get that hamster back on the wheel in my head." I thought.

After surfing the net for five hours, I decided I was what a textbook case of adult ADD looks like in the flesh. Attention Deficit had somehow entered my brain, and I no longer was looking up anything related to writing or books. Instead, I found flash videos, humor sites, and all of funniest and coolest stuff the Internet had to offer.

I thought maybe a shower would help to refresh me and cleanse my mental clutter.

In the shower, washing my... body. Yeah, washing my body, I had an idea. My inner voices were speaking to me. One suggested if the book flops, I should consider writing for the Vagina Monologues. I tried telling my inner Sybil that I wasn't interested in anything called 'vagina' anything.

"Listen," I said to the voices, "If it were the Cunt Chronicles or the Twisted Twat Tales, I'd be all over it. But 'vagina' just sounds nasty."

I believe that was when the nut officially cracked.

My sister Angie's boyfriend, who we'll call Papa Roach, was in a car accident yesterday. He and his 8-year-old daughter are sore but okay. The car wasn't so lucky. It was declared a total loss. He was hit because some guy was too busy talking on his cellular phone and not watching where he was going. The message, if you can't chew gum and walk at the same time, you ought to just hang up and drive.

I hate cell phones for this and plenty of other reasons. If my old man weren't out of town so often, I wouldn't even have one.

Friday I received the first solicitation call on mine. The guy acted like he knew me. He pronounced my name right and everything.

He gave me the, "Hey Lois! How are you?" treatment. My mind couldn't place his voice and he began his spiel.

I interrupted, "You're trying to sell me something?"

"Well, Ma'am, I am just offering..."

I interrupted again, "You are wasting my cell phone minutes. And for what? To try to sell me some shit I don't want or need? Listen up buddy, cell, is spelled C-E-L-L not S-E-L-L, ya dig?"

"Yes, ma'am. Sorry for bothering you."

"You're damn right you're sorry."

The dude was just doing his job and I shouldn't have jumped all over him. The message, if you are a telemarketer, I can be a rude bitch. Don't call me and I won't be mean to you. That's what we call a win-win.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Time Of Your Life

LJ over at MooAlex needed some guest bloggers to step forward and fill her shoes. You can see my contribution, which is quite the masterpiss, here.

Busier than a one legged man in an ass kicking contest, LJ provided me with just the right amount of distraction to keep the wheels on my mental bus from having a blowout. I don't do stress well. Typically, I try my best to laugh off whatever demons try to slow me down.

Yesterday, I found a little humor. First I made a decision to set work hours. While I planned a schedule, I also penciled in some time to sleep. Ridiculous, I know. But since the communication with the agent, Lois Lane hasn't been sleeping more than four hours a night. And now Lois Lane is losing her mind and speaking of herself in the third person.

As I planned out a normal day, I had to take into consideration that the old man is out of town, with no estimated time of arrival. (ETA if'un you're in the shippin' business)

I had to also put the kids above all else. There's the morning ritual, "Pencil in at least two arguments, Lois, ohhh, and one case of the school time blues." After breakfast was broken, and I finished driving the kids to school, that would leave oodles of time to work.

I have some freelance things waiting in the wings, of course, working at home there is the thrill of cleaning, laundry, taking care of the animals and bills, don't forget to check and answer your e-mails and you know you HAVE to blog, maybe you can even squeeze in a couple friend blogs to read, and then there is that book thing, add a proposal, mix it with a pinch of Sybil and "Voila, you got a plan, Lois!" (It seems one of my personalities speaks French. Ooh la la.)

With six solid hours before I need to fetch the kids, I was pretty sure my plan was taking shape quite nicely. I thought maybe I should work on a schedule for the hours after they are home. Snacks and homework always come first, then of course, I have to beat them with sticks to get their chores done, add the in and out of their friends stopping by.

I'd have to make dinner at some point and of course clean up that mess, which I could do while they ate. With their bellies full and their friends to occupy their time, I could probably squeeze in an hour of work before they go to bed. Nonstop interruptions would probably be inserted in this time slot. Wait a minute, I didn't plan any time for me to eat. Well shit! I always hated those skinny bitches, you know the ones, "Hee, hee, hee, I was so busy, I forgot to eat." Yeah, well I ain't skinny, and I love my food. I need to go back and change something. Mental note to self: no bran anything, who has time to shit?

With the children all nestled and snug in their beds, I could research, write and organize the manuscript and proposal for ten whole hours before they needed to get up and ready for school. That's when the sleep thing dawned on me. "Hmmm, six more hours of work plus a little sleep, that should do it." That was the part where my imaginary mind friends told me four hours of sleep would eventually catch up with me and cause a major crash and burn. Not wanting to live up to the name, Home Fires, I thought, I need to rework this schedule.

Providing this nut doesn't officially crack, I'll be by your homes in Blogland sometime this weekend to get caught up. Don't forget to check out my masterpiss.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Round And Round, What Comes Around Goes Around

I was taken back in time yesterday and it was a great ride. I opened the phone book in search of a computer repair shop. The first two I called had gone out of business or just changed their numbers. The third time, proved to be the charm.

I asked the man about getting my desktop fixed. It has been broken for months. I gave an explanation of what it was and wasn't doing over the phone.

I'd basically handed the computer off to the kids when I got my laptop. Somehow they ended up getting a virus and before I knew there was a problem, the virus had messed up a lot of the programs, causing the whole thing to seem even more screwed up than it actually was.

My daughter, Lane 2, has been asking, begging and selling everything she can to get enough money to cover the cost of repairs. The first place I called months ago when it stopped working, quoted me at least $100. Even after Lane 2 had earned enough in her garage sale, she ended up donating most of her earnings toward the school fundraiser for Hurricane Katrina victims.

I've been wanting to fix it for her just because she is such a kind, giving person who makes her mom proud. I thought with her birthday coming up in a week, that would be a good gift. I could buy some games that she has been wanting and have it ready for her to turn on and get to playing on her special day.

The computer repair man said he could come over right away to look at the computer.

"I don't have to take it all apart and move everything around to get at the plugs to bring it to you?"

"Nope. It's too much trouble for people to have to go through just to have to reconnect everything. Plus, I work out of my house so I can keep the costs down for my customers."

I was blown away with the house call offering. My mind reflected back to the last time anyone had touched that computer. It had been months. I thought about the dust that must have been inside the enclosed desk.

I scrambled around cleaning baseboards of dust and cobwebs, crawling around the floor as if my house was going to have an inspection. I pulled everything off of the shelves in the desk and dusted as fast as possible. I stirred up a lot of hidden dust bunnies and went into a sneezing fit. Thankfully, I finished my speed clean before he arrived.

He was at my house 35 minutes after we hung up. That just seemed amazing to me. I think one of the dust bunnies inside of my nose peeked out to wave at him. It took three hours for him to wipe out the bad and put in some new software. My internal alert system was on because, there was a stranger in my house. So, I sat right near him and talked his ears off and watched his every move, until he finished. He also installed a newer anti-virus software so the problem wouldn't happen again.

When he was done, I asked what I owed him, and he said, "Nothing."

I couldn't believe my ears. Three hours of work, and he drove out to my house, and was charging me nothing? It just was too good to be true.

I must have had a perplexed look on my face because he said, "Your daughter did a good thing. You were doing a good thing by getting it fixed for her. I just wanted to do something good too. Tell the kid I said 'happy birthday,' will ya?"

The computer dude made me think of the good old days, when people did good things... just because.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Your Love Amaizes Me

One of my favorite Halloween traditions, is visiting a nearby haunted corn maze. Sunday, just after dark, we headed out. During the car ride over, the kids teased their dad reminding him of his reaction to the maze last year. Something about him screaming like a girl, thrills us beyond words.

We arrived at the dark cornfield, located in the middle of nowhere. There are no streetlights or buildings nearby, making it very dark. The corn stalks are six-feet tall and wind around for miles. One wrong turn can keep you lost for hours. The 80s thriller, Children of the Corn, and the Labyrinth, both come to mind.

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With glow sticks (flashlights aren't allowed) lighting our way and a map like the one above, we were off.

Even armed with a picture of the maze, made of maize, getting lost was easy. You feel like a character in the movie, Honey I Shrunk the Kids as you try to find your way. Big scary monsters jump out at you around every turn. And of course, this is the part where Mr. Lane begins screaming.

Early on my husband was happy, frisky and a lot of ass grabby. That was until the first scary dude snuck up from behind. I was leading, Lane 2 was hanging tightly around my waist. Lane 1 was behind us and Mr. Lane was at the back of our line. It was pitch black and had been quiet for too long.

The sound of a chain saw ripped through the night, followed by that oh-so-familiar scream, and suddenly, Mr. Lane was leading our line.

"Lois, I'm getting too old for this crap. That guy almost gave me a heart attack," he said out of breath.

"You're okay," I reassured, holding back my laughter, as I shoved him forward.

Before the next scary monster to could jump out, Mr. Lane decided Lane 1 would lead us. He shoved our boy to the front of our line, holding him like a shield by his arms, while peeking out over our son's shoulder.

"Way to use me as bait, Dad."

We eventually caught up with a guy and a girl, I'd guess they were in their early 20s. Initially, we were happy to see other people, because it made us feel like we were going the right way. Of course, they could have been lost too.

Lane 1 jumped as high as he could, in an attempt to see over the corn. In the center of the maze is a giant scarecrow perched high upon a post and slightly illuminated. When Lane 1 spotted that, he knew we were on the right path.

After a good mile of teasing my husband about his girly scream, we were all about to encounter another less manly scream. The guy in front of us let out a high-pitched terrified squeal because the scarecrow was no longer on the post. He jumped out at the guy and his girlfriend. The guy fell back into the stalks of corn.

Mr. Lane, seeing and hearing someone who over reacted like he does, made him slightly aware. Not so aware that he didn't scream. However, his scream suddenly sounded more masculine. Hearing him change the pitch of his scream, cracked me and the kids up something awful. The three of us were buckled over laughing, until Mr. Lane flung his body back in fear, hitting us like dominos. With the four of us laying on the ground, me at the bottom of the doggy pile, we laughed our asses off. Well, at least three of us did.

We stood back up, brushed ourselves off and replayed the scene to Mr. Lane as we watched the scarecrow climb back up to his post. The kids teased their father unmercifully.

"Oh God Dad! That was the best! You were like screaming all deep trying not to sound like a girl! Hahaha!" Lane 1 nearly peed his pants.

"Did you hear that other guy?" Lane 2 asked. "He sounded even more girly than Daddy! Hahaha! Oh Dad, you kill me!"

"My favorite part was how you almost laughed at the screaming guy and then, when the scarecrow came after you, your giggle turned into a terrified scream. But don't worry honey, your scream was much more manly than that other guy's."

We parted ways from the couple and before long, we were going around in one giant circle. I stopped walking, Lane 2 was still hanging onto my side. I heard some rustling. I leaned down and whispered to my daughter, "Here comes another one. Let's stay here and watch the boys crap their pants."

The grim reaper was after them. Both were screaming and trying to throw each other forward. We got a good laugh at their expense. A few moments later, we realized we were going in a circle because the same grim reaper leaped out at us again. That time, Mr. Lane shoved our daughter's arms off of my waist, and clung onto me like a spider monkey. He didn't let go until we were nearing the exit.

Two hours after our journey began, we were out of the maze. The exit meets the entrance and a long line of people were waiting. Mr. Lane offered our glow sticks to people in line.

A man asked him, "How was it?"

"It was good."


"Well, not really. I mean, for the kids, it was."

Lane 1 and Lane 2 overheard him and told the guy everything. The whole truth and nothing but the truth. Mr. Lane smiled sheepishly.