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Thursday, June 30, 2005

She Drives Me Crazy, Like No One Else

Visiting with my mother is always an experience. Taking her out in public is always an adventure. The thing is, Mom doesn't drive, which means, she doesn't get out often. When a sucker like me comes along and says, "Hey Mom, let's go shopping." she can't get ready fast enough.

On day two (See yesterday's post for day one.) of the birthday shopping bonanza, I thought Menards would be a good place to take her. I was hoping to buy her some chairs, a table and some hanging baskets for her patio. In her mind she was compiling a list of things she wanted to check out. I could see her wheels cranking. All the warning and danger signs were there, I should have known better than to take her to such a large store.

When I shop, I know what I want and where to find it. I grab it and go right to the checkout counter. I was hoping that was how Mom and I were going to shop since I told her what I wanted to get for her. I was hoping our lollygagging was all used up the day before.

Mom basically goes mental in stores. She completely forgets why she is there and what she is supposed to be getting. Have you ever gone to Las Vegas and seen people who are so lost in their gambling that their eyes glaze over? Well that's the same look Mom gets in almost any store.

"Is that not the coolest screen door you have ever seen?"

"Um, yeah Mom. It's great. We aren't here for screen doors. How about we go over there and look at all the patio stuff?"

"Oh, Lois, look! Isn't this the cutest..."

Dragging her by her arm like you would a misbehaving child, I told her to try and stay focused on the task at hand. Whoever built a snack shop in the middle of this store must have a mother like mine. They have vending machines with candy, chips and soda complete with tables to sit and relax. Who the hell needs to sit and relax while in a store?

I tried to block my mother's view of the snack stand. "Mom! Look!" I said, as I pointed excitedly in the opposite direction. Thankfully, my little trick worked. By the time we got to the bathroom fixture section of the store, my mother was reminded that her bladder was calling.

"Well have a seat," I joked while pointing at a toilet high upon a shelf.

Lane 2 almost pissed her pants as she watched her grandmother hike her leg up the shelving unit.

Three generations shopping and laughing together. Sounds like a blessed event, only problem with that is my mom is a nut and a bad influence on my daughter. Lane 2 quickly took her seat on a toilet placed at ground level. She hunched her little body over, placed her elbows on her knees and grunted. My mother laughed an evil giggle as if she were proud of the example she had set.

"Grandma, there's no toilet paper." Lane 2 giggled.

"Well just use this," my mother said handing her a toilet brochure.

It was at that moment, I began praying Menards didn't have surveillance video of this blessed event. Home movies are highly overrated.

Finally we made it to the patio furniture section. Decisions, decisions. Mom is no good at making simple decisions so I helped her. I grabbed the first couple chairs and table that matched and ran like my ass was on fire to the checkout counter.

I would have managed a 30 dollar gift if not for my darling daughter who managed to talk her grandmother into even more candy. I asked the lady at the checkout counter if they had any plants or flowers in hanging baskets, thankfully, they didn't and we were out of there.

Begging for trouble, apparently, I took this woman out to dinner. My daughter whispered to the waitress that it was her grandmother's birthday. When Mom's potato pancakes came with a candle and we all started singing, really loudly and off key, and my mom's cheeks turned a little rosy, I almost felt like she'd been paid back. Almost.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Proud Mary

My mother was down right giddy after seeing all of the comments and e-mails for her birthday. Thank you all very much for making her day so special.

June is birthday madness around these parts. Today is my sister Mary's birthday. She is the oldest of the girls in our family. Since Mom is claiming to be 49, still, Mary's age can't possibly be 41. Can it?

Growing up, I was Mary's rag doll. She carried me everywhere on her hip. Even as I grew and began to catch up with her, she still would kick her hip out, grunt and plop me on there. I had to wrap my legs like pretzel girl around her waist just so she wouldn't give me a boost. When you are the kid sitting on someone's hip getting a boost and that hip bone hits ya right in the kinish or tail bone, trust me, you'd do anything to stay high upon the hip to spare yourself a boost. She insisted on carrying me everywhere until my legs dragged on the ground.

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Here's Mary and I, side-by-side on our lovely couch, which was actually green but Photoshop thought looked better blue. Also notice the lovely curtains. They were really gold and textured, fuzzy even. Mom had an eye for home decor. I think I was 5 and Mary was about 13 in this picture.

Happy birthday sista! I love you!

Candy Shop

During my visit for my mother's birthday, we went shopping and out to eat a couple of times. Mom doesn't get out often. She was like a kid in a candy store grabbing shit off of the shelves. "I want this. I need one of these." My mental calculator was tallying everything up and I realized I should have put her on a spending limit for her gift.

Sure, I could have shopped before I visited but I really didn't know what she wanted or needed. It seemed like a good idea to let her pick out her own gift. Now I know why I have never bought her a gift this way and never will again.

The first day of shopping I made her realize that just because she is older than dirt, does not mean she needs to dress in old lady garbs. I showed her a couple things I thought she would look nice in.

"Oh yeah, that's nice. Okay get me one in red, gray, white and green. No stripes though. They make me look fat."

One style shirt available in four colors. "Um, Ma? They have other shirts."

"That's okay, I like these."

Glancing at the price tags, I internally smiled, breathed a sigh of relief and said, "How about some pants?"

"No. I don't need any."

I did mention a kid in a candy store already, didn't I? We had Lane 2 with us and she convinced her grandmother that candy was essential. She also mentioned that she brought some of her own money but the little shit never took it out of her purse.

You ever see the show Super Market Sweep? My mother and daughter were like two contestants grabbing things fast and furiously off of the shelves. Twizzlers, Milk Duds, M&Ms, Sour Patch Gummy Worms, Starburst and Jolly Ranchers filled their arms.

"Mom, you aren't helping."

"Oh come on. She's been such a good girl and I just want to get her a couple snacks."

"A couple snacks, huh? You know we are leaving in two days. There is no way that kid is going to eat all of that crap in two days." My mother gave me the puppy dog eyes that I used to give her. "Fine. But I'm sending you the dentist bill."

Lane 2 marveled in my mother's power over me. I could see the wheels cranking in her pretty little head. She was learning. All bad stuff, but learning nonetheless.

Department stores are just bad. There really is no reason for any store to have such an assortment that you can spend hours shopping in one location.

House wares seemed safe, at first, until my mom spotted some rugs that she just had to have. Did I say some? I mean four. Who needs four friggin' rugs in a carpeted apartment? At least I was able to talk her out of buying more towels. She has a bit of a towel fetish, which will have to be a story for another day.

At checkout, my insides were getting nervous. But, I began digging for my wallet and my mother said the magic words. "Put your money away."

"Did you forget that we were shopping for a birthday present for you from me? I can't let you buy your own gift."

"That's okay honey. We can shop again tomorrow."

Those words weren't really magical. In fact, they kind of gave me hives.

Tune in tomorrow for more shopping fun with Mom.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my mother's birthday. She claims to have found the secret to staying young. "You pick an age you like and stick with it."

She claims to be 49. Again. Still.

I tried telling her to claim a much older age than she really is so people will say, "Damn! You don't look 80!"

Rather than them thinking, "Holy shit! You're only 49? You must have lived a really, really rough life."

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Here is the birthday girl in 1962 before she popped out all of us wonderful children.

Please send your birthday wishes to my mom here in the comments or via e-mail at

P.S. (I love this little print. Her old eyes can't see it.) She has been holding me captive at her house for days trying to keep me from blogging about her really turning 61 this year. Yup, that's right, she is older than dirt. Amazingly enough, she doesn't look a day over 60... and a half.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Tough Mama

One bites the nose from the face. Well fuck! Here is the blog post where I piss and moan about doing something I should have known better than doing, essentially biting off my nose to spite my face. Lane 1 will celebrate his birthday this Sunday. It will be his first birthday away from me and all because I threatened something I shouldn't have.

The other day, when his father was getting ready for another road trip, he started acting like a little shit. I told him to stop, chill and not act up. He did chill for a little while but as soon as I told him to help his dad, he gave me the "Dude! Come on!" treatment.

"Son, I don't know what's going on and I don't know why you have an attitude problem but if you don't knock this shit off, I'm sending you with Dad."

Sending him with Dad means, he will be in a truck for at least a week, probably two. He will have to help his father and God for bid, keep him company. I know Mr. Lane really wanted him to go but I had talked him out of it because I didn't want the kid out of town for his birthday.

There weren't anymore problems with Lane 1's attitude until later. He really didn't want to spend his birthday in a truck, and I can't say I blame him. Besides, selfishly, I wanted him to be with me on his special day.

I'm so pissed at myself that I don't even remember what exactly the little shit did as the final straw. As a parent, I've learned the hard way, you have to stick to your guns, otherwise, the kid will never listen. I've also learned, never have a punishment so harsh, that you wind up punishing yourself. Well, at least I learned it this time.

After whatever trivial annoying thing he said or did, he crossed his arms over his chest and told me, "Well, I ain't goin'!"

"Reealy?!" This is the part where I turned into a neck rolling mom (like on Springer) and began the, I don't think so lecture, followed by, "You are going."

Lane 1 and his dad are on their way to Colorado and there is no way he will be home for his birthday and now I'm bummed. I wish I had said something like, "You keep acting that way and you'll be washing dishes for the rest of the summer." This post might have began with, "One puts the soap on the sponge."

The punishment so far is harder on me but if I am to survive with a teenager in the house, I have to stick to my guns.

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Here's Lane 1 and I in what I think is the first picture of us together ( I am usually the one behind the lens.) These are the times I miss most. Happy birthday son.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Children Of The Grave

June 6th I wrote about a cemetery we Lanes stumbled upon in Missouri. At the time, a million questions filled my head but I couldn't find anyone with answers. A few days later, going through Missouri again, I asked my husband if he remembered where the cemetery was. Amazingly enough, he knew the exact exit. I asked if he wouldn't mind stopping again. I really wanted some answers and I wanted to take pictures for those of you who requested them.

The cemetery has no name, gate or signs of recent visitors. I walked into the gas station which shares a lot with it and asked the clerk if she knew anything about the little cemetery. She knew nothing and asked her boss if he did. "Nope." I asked if they knew who the local historian was. Again getting an in-stereo "Nope."

I walked back outside and spotted a guy cutting the grass at the station. I asked him if he knew anything. "Nope. But I sometimes mow it because it looks so raggedy."

"Did you notice there are graves in the high weeds and wooded part too?"

"Well yeah but I ain't getting paid to cut all that."

I walked away and hoped the moron I just talked to never had to worry about tree roots popping through his child's grave.

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The infant coffin was pushed through the ground by tree roots. The headstone to the right, obviously no longer in place, is so worn, it's illegible. I don't know if the headstone is for this uprooted baby coffin and as it seems, neither does anyone else.

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Baby Johnston's grave is deep in the wooded area with weeds covering his or her resting place.

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Another child. No answers, dates or name, unmarked. Just a small outline in stone of one more child.

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Dorothy is one of the many 5-year-old children buried in the forgotten cemetery. Her headstone was in better condition than all the others.

My fascination with cemeteries is directly attributed to an old lady friend of mine, Juanita. Back in the day she was a delivery girl. She had a newspaper route that was the size of a small city. She didn't even drive. She would just walk house-to-house for hours on end, getting the news delivered. She wanted desperately to write news and take news photos but never thought she would be good enough. So, she did the next best thing.

She came to live in Illinois following her sweetheart. He ended up marrying someone else and because she was poor, living on a newspaper delivery salary, she never was able to save enough money to go back home to Virginia.

Juanita used to come into the newsroom and shoot the shit with us. Some of my coworkers would completely dodge her, hiding in the bathroom or sneaking out the backdoor. She knew everything that everyone was doing and wasn't shy to share. She wasn't just a town gossip, she was walking history, which is one of the many things that made her so fascinating to me. She'd been in that town (on my beat as a reporter) for 45 years so she shared lots of stories that ultimately helped me do my job.

In her off time from delivering papers, she volunteered in the community she learned to call home. The thing that was closest to her heart was the local cemetery. She was awestruck by the many Civil War Veterans laid to rest there. She would bring flowers from her garden and place them on their graves. All graves of people she'd never even met. She came up with an idea to refurbish the forgotten cemetery but would need money and lots of it. She started fundraisers and did some genealogy to find out if these old war heroes had any living kin.

One small woman, with one big mouth (the other reason I liked her so much) can make a difference. Juanita found people many states away who wanted to help in her quest. People who really wanted to honor those heroes the way they deserved.

Hundreds of headstones were worn so much, the names were illegible. Somehow, this one woman was able to map the cemetery, index the names, organize an annual cemetery walk, complete with other volunteers dressed in Civil War clothing who offer a history lesson about the war and those buried there to the hundreds of visitors the event draws. Juanita collected enough funds to replace all of the headstones and help build new wrought iron gates (identical to the originals) for the entryway and a rotunda for people to sit, pray and think.

When Juanita's health took a turn, she suddenly stopped visiting the newsroom. And although she was annoying at times, and would go on and on, I liked her and I missed her. I called her and asked where she had been. She didn't sound good. She said she couldn't walk anymore and the doctors had no idea what was wrong.

After work, I stopped by her house. She talked me into helping finish some of the many projects she had going at the cemetery, which I was honored to do.

Juanita and I built a friendship based on news and dead people. While I'll probably never embark on a project in the gangbusters manner she did, I couldn't help but think of her as I stared in awe at this forgotten cemetery. I knew if she were still alive today, she would somehow find a way to make sure those children were remembered.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Come Together

Thank you to Marybeth for inspiring the name of this post.

I am completely aware that my writing has been shit lately. I apologize for any of you who thought you were coming here to read some good shit and didn't. I've been rushed a lot more lately than usual, summer beginning, the road trip, the in-laws visiting, the pet death, the baby bunny arriving, my birthday and Father's Day all have been quite distracting. Next week isn't looking so great either as I will officially have a teenager. That's right folks, Sunday, Lane 1 will be 13-years-old. If you are new here, welcome to Home Fires. Please checkout my post from yesterday, the following is part two.

At dinner, the owner of the restaurant was flirting with Katey big time. He gave her the "any friend of Lois" treatment. He and his staff did treat us like royalty, which is just how they do things there. You can't take the last bite or sip of anything without having someone standing beside you offering you more, within three seconds. Of course I like to play the "last bite" game, watching them out of the corner of my eye, slowly put it to my mouth, stop to talk, raise my hand toward my mouth again, then stop and what I get to see is a waiter or bus boy or the owner himself doing a Paula Abdul, two steps forward, two steps back dance, while they await the final bite to be gone. Yes, I am easily amused.

In a very Lane 2 manner, I showed Katey the framed business story I wrote a year ago that they still have hanging on the entryway wall. They also have a newspaper column of mine from a few years ago, hanging by the register. I still smile when I see people stop to read either one. "Hey Katey, look what I can do!" Is pretty much how Lane 2 and I treated the poor woman.

Mr. Lane's dad insisted on buying dinner for all of us. Can you say bonus?

After dinner Katey and I took off in my car, the old man, his dad and the kids were in Mr. Lane's truck. When we got back to the house, we got some chitchat time while the kids and guys watched TV. I showed her the pictures from our little road trip, which I still plan on posting. Because it was already late, the guys thought Katey was spending the night. They just went to bed thinking they would see her in the morning. I didn't say anything at the time but I thought, "Damn that was rude of them to just go to bed and not say good bye to my friend. Bastards." My father in-law curled his ass up on the bottom bunk in Lane 1's room so Katey could sleep on the couch, which was just too cute. Fine bastards they aren't.

It's true that my son has a wood burning picture in his room like Katey said. It was a gift from the man who is illustrating my series of children's books. His father also is an artist and the one who made the picture. Truth is, it's his father's rendition of what I might look like. His son has described me to him as, "a totally hot cat lady". The picture shows cleavage and nude legs. The rest of the body is covered with a leopard who happens to be smiling and is standing in front of "me". So, technically, there is no nudity and I never posed for the picture. It is merely what one man's imagination drummed up. Sorry Dante, I know you were hoping for something a little more exciting.

My visit with Katey was just much too short. But at least she is in the same state and knows how to take country directions. "Katey, make sure you watch the intersection over the hill. And make sure you turn at the first street on your right. I'm not sure what the name of it is because it's not marked but it is the first street you come up to off of that other road that isn't marked. And then make another right after the soybean field." She is smart like that and didn't even get lost.

Sunday just seemed to come much too fast. I dragged my tired old ass out of bed to make breakfast, only to find Mr. Lane had already been up and started cooking. Bonus! After all of the Father's Day hoopla at home, we all got ready to go visit my mom. In a way I was dreading going. As it turned out, I wasn't sad. As we pulled into a parking spot, nieces and nephews popped out of the bushes to wish me a happy birthday. They are really cute kids when they aren't being brats.

We sat around shooting the shit for an hour or so and then my mother said, "I wanted to buy you something and ran out of shopping time."

"That's okay Mom. I don't need anything."

"But I want you to get a nice grill. I know yours isn't the best and it's small and dangerous. You need one of those really big ones with the burners."

"Mom, those are much too expensive and I really don't need one. Just because the ignition switch is out on my grill doesn't mean it's really broken. I cook on it all the time."

"It can be dangerous. What about your husband clicking that thing like crazy and burning all of his arm hair off? See? That's dangerous."

"It's only dangerous to him because he is a jackass. I know how to light it without the switch. Besides, I do most of the cooking on the grill anyhow. You really don't need to get me a new one."

"I know but you deserve a big, nice and shiny one." She handed me a wad of cash. I'm not one to argue with a wad of cash, so I took it graciously and shut my mouth.

Like a good, obedient daughter, it was all sorts of cash & dash. We headed for Mr. Lane's sister's house for a barbeque. Little did we know that her neighborhood friends were going to be there. We hung in our corner of the yard and they hung in their corner. Not very much interaction going on. The food was great but like a good sister in-law that I am, it was all about dine & dash.

My aunt and uncle live a couple of blocks from my sister in-law's house. I told Mr. Lane I wanted to stop by and say hello since we were in their neck of the woods, which is what I told my aunt I would do the next time I am in her town.

Unannounced, we show up. Auntie Shorty and Uncle Giant are surprised but happy to see us. They welcome us in with open arms because they are just cool like that. My aunt offers us something to drink or eat, repeatedly. We tell her to relax. We'd just come from a barbeque and we were in need of nothing. She ignores us and gets sodas for us and bottled water for the kids.

She and my cousin Joey, took off for the kitchen again. As I think, "Doesn't she ever sit still?" she and Joey come back with a fiery paper plate. They began to sing, "Happy birthday to you..." the rest of them chimed in singing. I looked on the plate as saw the cutest thing ever, a Little Debbie Snack Cake with candles in it. The look on Auntie Shorty and Joey's faces were priceless. They are just too friggin' cute for their own good.

I let the kids eat my "birthday cake" as we grownups talked about anything and everything. We talked about all sorts of things and I found out, they read this blog. That really cracked me up. Who knew? Auntie Shorty also let me know that she e-mails my stories to people some times. Joey also sent out a story about Comcast sucking donkey balls to one of his friends who used to work there. How cool is that?

All and all, Friday through Sunday, it was a wonderful weekend. I really wanted to go into detail about Angie telling me about her bald eagle but now that I know her God parents, Auntie Shorty and Uncle Giant, read this here blog, maybe I oughta just let your imaginations run wild with that thought.

Thank you all again for making my birthday so special!

Monday, June 20, 2005

My Way

Thank you all for the well wishes and birthday e-cards and comments. You guys are the best! (Yes Poopie, I loved your song!)

Some really cool things have happened over the weekend and I hardly know where to begin. I know I should begin at where I left off in an emotional mood Friday but it all worked out and all because of a little dream I had. I'm not going to go into that right now. Actually, I wrote it up as a blog post and then changed my mind about posting it entirely. Cryptic, I know, but after my mom, one of my sisters and Katey read it and cried, I thought, maybe not so much.

Speaking of Katey... Okay, she wasn't crying, she had something in her eye. Probably dust. My house has enough of that laying around you could plant flowers in the shit. Yes, you read that correctly, Katey came to the Lane estate. She wrote all about her visit here.

You know what is weird? Katey. Okay not really just her so much but who she is and how she interacts. She is one of those people you meet and then feel like you've know forever. My daughter was practically up her ass the whole time. Lane 2 is normally a pretty shy kid. But not with "Miss Katey", which by the way, I did not tell her to call Katey that.

"Miss Katey, come see my room. Miss Katey, guess what's in here. Oh Miss Katey, you wanna see my messy closet that my mom makes me keep closed? Miss Katey, you wanna see my home movies from my first birthday?"

Why Katey never once rolled her eyes, told the kid to buzz off and actually looked like she was interested in all of the millions of things Lane 2 showed her, is beyond me. If I were Miss Katey, I would have said, "Get outta here kid, yer botherin' me." Sweet Miss Katey didn't.

Saturday, before her arrival, I awoke to Mr. Lane wishing me a happy birthday. I told him he was a day early and 33 should not be rushed, but my old man told me he wanted me to have a special day all to myself that wasn't overshadowed by Father's Day. He had cards and presents from him, the kids and his father, all waiting for me. It was a nice surprise. They got me a digital camera and a 5.8GHZ cordless phone. Sweeet!

After pouring some coffee down my throat, he also told me our plans for Sunday. "First, we'll go hang out with your mom and sisters for a couple hours. Then we can go by my sisters okay? That way we'll see everyone."

It was the same idea I mentioned to him a day earlier. I let him think he came up with a fabulous "solution" to our little dilemma and I agreed, which made him happy.

Katey and I made plans to just hangout and go to dinner. Before she arrived, Mr. Lane and Lane 1 were asking a million questions about her. Early in the day Mr. Lane was talking to one of his buddies on the phone and said, "Sorry dude, I can't. We are celebrating my old lady's birthday today and we are going out to dinner." After a long pause he said, "And she is bringing some chick she met on the internet."

He just made it sound so dirty. My Katey and me ain't dirty! After he was off of the telephone I said, "You know, I wouldn't invite her to our house if I hadn't met her in a public place before, which I have. Thankyouverymuch. Besides, she and I talk and e-mail and IM all of the time. I like her so don't give me any shit okay?"

"I'm not giving you shit. It's just weird."

Moments after her arrival, she and I, Mr. Lane, his dad, the kids headed out for dinner. Everyone warmed up quickly to her and Mr. Lane let me know she wasn't weird after all. In fact, he said he liked her a whole bunch. By the time dessert came, the two of them were sharing a dessert.

There's much more to tell but I want you to go read Katey's blog. I'll pick up here tomorrow. Thank you all again for making my birthday so awesome!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

I want Sunday to be the best day ever. I want it to be all Lois, all day. I hate having to share my special 33rd birthday with Father's Day. Every once in a while my birthday and Father's Day have come to a head-on collision, usually with me getting a big birthday shaft, and not in a good way.

When I was little I thought it sucked having my birthday on my dad's special day. I thought we both deserved our own day of celebration. I thought we both deserved a whole paycheck's worth of presents, our own special meal and our own little parties. But you can't always get what you want.

This year, I don't want anything really. I feel lousy that my birthday is landing on a day I should be celebrating with my dad. This is the first Father's Day since my dad died. And now I wish I could share that special day with him. What I wouldn't give to be selfish again.

Gin(ny) - N - Juice

Dude, I Totally Skored With This Chick! Ginny is one hot California babe. Besides that, she is the freakin' coolest! Guess what I got in the mail today? A freakin' birthday present! Woohoo!

In the lovely purple packaging was a topaz necklace charm, (Back off mother! You aren't getting it!) a notepad shaped like a computer that says, "Luv 2 Blog", two bottles of Bath & Body Works shower gel and lotion, Sweet Pea scented, (How did she know how smelly I am?) a card, a Skor candy bar, which I ate already, and, but wait, there's more a freakin' Etch-A-Sketch of my very own! (Keep your freakin' paws off Ang!)

Ginny, thank you so much for being such a wonderful and thoughtful friend!

Misty Mountain Hop

Last night at 8 p.m. I spotted something in my yard. I stretched my neck, got out of my chair and inched toward the door. It was a bunny. A big bunny. I thought about Catnip and wondered if it was his mom. As I got a better look, I could see four small bunnies trailing behind her. They were the same size and color as Catnip.

I scooped him up out of his enclosure and quietly took him outside. With Catnip in my hands, I belly crawled like a wounded soldier in the mom's general direction. I opened my hands and Catnip hopped away. He ran right up to the big bunny, who sniffed him crazy like for a brief moment, nudged him with her head and within seconds, all six hopped into the woods at the back of my yard.

I had reservations about letting him loose. What if she wasn't his mom? What if she rejects him later, when I am not in plain view? What if she deserts him after they get deep in the woods? What are my kids going to say?

The kids, Mr. Lane and his father were gone. They went to an all-day race with one of our friends who races motorcycles and wouldn't be home until really late. I hoped the kids wouldn't be upset that they didn't have a chance to say goodbye to the little bugger but I worried more that this chance may never present itself again. Strike while the iron's hot theory.

When they finally came home, they were much too tired to notice he wasn't here anymore. In the morning I told them what happened and they both seemed happy. For that, I was thankful.

Emotional Girl

Sad, happy and sad but happy. I am a fucking emotional wreck today! I have no idea what gives. Since I've been home I haven't really felt home. I hate to blame Mr. Lane but it is his fault, so on with the story. Mr. Lane has been home since we arrived from our trip. I am not used to him being here for more than a day or two per week at the max.

His father also has been here since we got back. I love his father but... I feel like I am on constant "What do you need? Can I get you something? Are you comfortable?" mode. He isn't one of those annoying needy people and wouldn't ask for shit. I have no idea why I feel like I have to always be on alert to offer him a drink or food.

With Mr. Lane's dad comes visits from Mr. Lane's sisters. I love them too, but... I hate having a houseful of people day after day. The hostess with the mostest thing kicks in and I can't sit still. Having 10 extra people here all day, unplanned, makes my mind go freakin' bonkers I guess. I'm one of those annal retentive types who likes to plan things out. I like knowing I have plenty of food, soda, coffee and snacks. I hate scraping the bottom of the barrel and going grocery shopping every day, but, since I've been home, that's just kind how things have gone.

The other day they were talking about planning a barbeque for Sunday, which still isn't planned. I assume it won't be at our house, of course, that may change too.

It isn't often that Mr. Lane and his sisters get to see their dad on Father's Day because he lives in California but is here on business until Wednesday.

Now I am torn about what I am doing Sunday. I wanted to go to see my mom. I know it's going to be a rough day for her without my dad. If you can believe it, she is more upset than I am about my birthday landing on Father's Day this year. She and I and my sisters already planned meeting up Sunday. And of course, because I am anal, that was planned a month ago. What to do?

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Catnip Fever

It seems Catnip (the bunny mentioned in yesterday's post) is quite comfy here at the Lane Estate. He ate like a champ and drank some animal formula during the night. I stayed awake with him until 3 a.m. waiting for him to finally eat. I read online that wild baby bunnies eat during the middle of the night and wouldn't you know, it was right.

I think Patches was spayed too young because she still really wants to get at this baby. She just kidnapped this poor thing like one of those crazy bitches you read about in the news who is having a midlife crisis because she never had children of her own and now her hormones are all jacked outta joint. Fucking cat!

I've told the kids our plans as far as Catnip goes. As soon as he is able to fend for himself, he goes back in the yard. At some point Patches, the bitch cat, will decide that critter smells good enough to eat so we have no choice. They seemed okay with that answer.

I take in stray babies all of the time but this was the first baby bunny that came to me that wasn't mauled. I work closely with an animal sanctuary so I do have a place I could send him if need be. It just came to us in such an odd way and at such a difficult time that I felt more obligated to this little critter than normally.

Lane 1 is doing much better since the loss of his bird Picasso. He took one of my pretty garden stones to mark the grave at the back of our yard. He said he plans on making Picasso a real headstone one day. His sister ran in the house, ran back outside and offered him a permanent marker, he took it, wrote his name, drew a picture of a bird and now it's official.

After you leave here, please go see Magz. Today is her birthday! Happy birthday sweetheart! (Pssst... three days left until my birthday.)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Cat's In The Cradle

Something happened today that makes me realize, no matter how many times I say no, a bigger force is saying yes. Thankfully, this has nothing to do with my mother or the boy wanting a ferret. By the way, thank you all for your anti-ferret comments. I let Lane 1 read some and he is positive now he doesn't want one, ever.

Back to the issue at hand. Patches, our evil bitch cat, is going through a midlife crisis. I had no idea that cats can even have such a human type ailment, but I have no doubt, that's what's going on with her.

She is one of those typically antisocial cats that never did anything but hiss at any animal within her eyesight. It's nice seeing her interact with other cats for the first time in her life.

Today she did something I never imagined she would do. She brought a baby bunny home. She didn't bite into it or hurt it in any way, she only carried it like it was her baby. Our cat kidnapped some mom bunny's baby. I say no more pets and now our current pet is dragging animals home?! The kids swear they had nothing to do with this, however both asked if they could keep the baby bunny.

I had to unlock the cat's jaw to get the bunny out of her mouth. I frantically checked his little body for puncture wounds and found nothing. As tight a grip she seemed to have, she really was gentle with him.

I looked though the yard to try finding his mom or home but didn't find anything.

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So what does this mean for the Lanes? Does this mean we now have a pet bunny? Does this mean we have to raise it until it's large enough to fend for itself? What I think this means is Lois needs to come up with answers to get "Catnip" a new home. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Can I Use A Life Line?

Hi. This is my life line and I've waited a long time to use it. As mentioned briefly in my last post, my power cord on my laptop went out again. I didn't realize at the time how quickly batteries die on these things. The bubble that popped up on my screen told me I had a couple of hours of battery time left. That was a lie, a big fat lie! I really had about a half hour, which only gave me enough time to read my comments early Monday morning.

If you came here and read about our travels, you are aware of the trouble I had over the last two weeks getting internet service. I expected once I was home my troubles would be over. I was wrong. I've missed you all. I've missed my internet. I've missed this umbilical cord that is my life line. Today, I really feel home.

Home Sweet Home

It took a couple of days for this place to feel like home again. Sunday afternoon, everything was back into place and most of the house and laundry was clean. It was 2 p.m. and I needed a nap. I took my place on the comfy couch only to be awaken at least ten times by the phone, the kids' friends coming over, my kids checking in even though their dad was right outside, and Guido meowing.

The last phone call to wake me came at 3 o'clock. I'd been trying to fall into a deep sleep for an hour. I'd rather not sleep at all because that kind of shit only makes me more tired and bitchy. Mr. Lane's dad was on the phone and said he was coming over. So much for my nap. He arrived in less than an hour with both of his daughters, one son in-law and six of his grandkids in tow.

Keep in mind, I have yet to go grocery shopping and suddenly, I had a houseful of people. Not fun!

Bird Is The Word

News about Picasso spread like wildfire in my family. Everyone called to send their condolences to Lane 1. My mother was one of those callers. She really felt bad for him and wanted to do something. So, she told him, when he was ready to love again, she would buy him a new pet. "Whatever kind of pet you want", she told him. Did I mentioned that she is fucking whacked?

The boy said he really would like a ferret. As he spoke to her, I shook my head in disapproval. He whispered back to me, "Grandma said."

"Mom! We don't replace pets!" I said once I got my turn on the phone.

"I know that! I just wanted him to know that I would like to do something for him when he is ready."

"Ferrets are disgusting. There is no way."

This afternoon, Lane 1 came in from playing with his friend Taylor. "Hey Ma? Can you call Grandma for me and tell her I changed my mind about the ferret?"

"I told her yesterday you can't have one."

"I know but she said she was getting me one anyhow, no matter what you say."

"Reeeally? Sure, I'll call her. By the way, why did you suddenly change your mind?"

"Taylor told me they are disgusting."

"I told you that too."

"I know Mom, but Taylor had one and it used to poop and then wipe its butt on the carpet leaving crap tracks."

"Yeah, they are nasty little buggers. I'll call Grandma, you go play."

Luckily, for my mother, she didn't answer her phone. I guess I'll give her an earful later.

My pictures are being developed and hopefully I'll have a few scanned in to post tomorrow. I'll share more road stories with the pictures. For those of you who wanted to see what my mom looked like after her accident, (WARNING: NASTY SHIT) click here. The photo is really icky and I'd much rather not put it on my Flickr account or out in the open here. She is healed and much better now.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Home On The Range

At 7:30 last night, we rolled into town. First sight off of the highway was our neighbor Jim in his pickup truck. His arm was waving crazy like out of his window, only, not his driver's-side window. That means, while Jim was driving, he was reaching over the passenger seat to say "Welcome home neighbors!" Yes, I believe Jim will run someone over someday.

The first stoplight into town we saw Toni and Paulie. They were a sight for sore eyes. They own and run our local Italian restaurant. We will be seeing more of them really soon. I've had enough redneck and soul food to clog all of my arteries. Both of them waved and smiled and we did too.

Mr. Lane and I looked at each other and said at the same time, "Nothing like being home."

The kids were giddy to say the least. During the last three hours of the ride home, we experienced more noise than the last 11 days combined. The kids talked, argued, smacked each other, fought over space in the back seat, and called out repeatedly to me and Mr. Lane to make the other stop touching them. I was thankful that behavior was not present for the whole trip. Someone would have been left on the side of the road somewhere. And yes, "Are we there yet?" was blurted 25 times within that last 3ish hours from home. (24 of those times may have been by me.)

We dropped the trailer in a parking lot a few miles from home and headed for our last stretch of busy road, and wouldn't you know it, we caught a fucking train. With the caboose in sight, a second train came from the opposite direction. "What the fuck?!" Mr. Lane and I said. The kids whined as if we were never going to make it back home. I was beginning to wonder myself and my brain started singing "So Close" by Hall and Oats. Nothing like coming home to sit and watch trains go by.

Finally we were puling into our driveway but kids were coming out of the woodwork to welcome Lane 1 and Lane 2 home. Right behind the truck was Jim pulling in and within five minutes, Old Man Ripple was pulling up to the house to talk farming with Mr. Lane.

Ignoring the tall grass, the grownup guys and yard full of kids, I hopped out of the truck and trucked my ass into the house. Guido (The Killer Cat From Hell) was hiding behind the couch crying, "Hello! Helllooo. Helllooo?" (See "Hello Kitty" for more information about the talking, 17-year-old cat.) I reached back there and said, "Hello Guido!" He purred and came to me. I picked him up, and held him for a few minutes. My black t-shirt covered in white cat hair, I headed to check on the rest of the animals. It felt good to be home.

Patches is an indoor-outdoor variety cat. She also greeted us in the yard. We had a neighbor keeping watch, feeding and watering the cats and birds and getting our mail. We should have asked them to mow too.

I went into Lane 2's bedroom to check on Lemonhead and Chopper (cockatiels). All was well. I said, "Hello pretty birds." and rather than them saying "pretty bird" four hundred times in a row back to me, like usual, they lifted their tail feathers and shit. It was like synchronized shitting. What do you suppose that means? I don't think they missed me.

With Guido following my every step, I went into Lane 1's room to check on Picasso (parakeet) and he was dead. I was shocked to say the least. Guido is our old man animal and if any of the pets was to die while we were away, I would have expected it to have been him. My heart just sank. I wanted to be mad at the neighbors who were keeping an eye on things but all I felt was crushed thinking about Lane 1 and how much he loved that little bird.

I don't know why he died, he was only about 7-years-old. His birthday would have been the same as Lane 1's, June 26th. Growing up I had parakeets too but none ever lived beyond four years. I've heard of them living up to 30 years and never really understood why I always seemed to get the short-life variety ones.

A few years ago, Picasso looked like he was on his last wing. Lane 1 and I talked about when it's his time to go and my son seemed to really understand but I still couldn't think of how to tell the poor kid. I quickly grabbed some paper towels to wrap him with before Lane 1 came into the house. I really didn't want to tell him.

Lane 1 got Picasso when he was in second grade, nearly six years ago. He was about a year old and was really wild then. After spending a lot of time with him, Lane 1 managed to train Picasso. Sure the kid walked away with many bite marks (some bleeding) at first, but it paid off in the long run. Picasso learned to hop right onto any finger that came near his belly. He learned to give kisses and stopped biting. Lane 1 loved his bird so much, he took him to show-and-tell every year at school. He also gave him a shower every couple of weeks, drying him with the hairdryer. Whenever he played with his toy cars, trucks and tractors, he would set Picasso on them as if he were driving. Lane 1 even named the bird. He said Picasso was a good name for him because he was "bright, colorful and manificent" (magnificent), which I thought was pretty cool for a 7-year-old to come up with.

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Look at the top of Lane 1's Goofy hat and you'll see Picasso.

I wrapped and bagged the bird and took him and his cage out of the room and set them in the garage. My mind raced for the right words, only to find out, there weren't any. I called the neighbor who was watching our animals and she was devastated. She offered to come break the news to the boy and offered to get him a new bird, even the same colors, she said. Once I told her how attached he was, she felt even worse, realizing, there's no replacing a pet. I told her I would tell him the bad news and said I was only calling to see how everything else went.

Thankfully, no other bad stuff went down while we were away.

When I called Lane 1 into the house, he knew something was wrong. Maybe it was the look on my face or my tone but he thought of Guido and asked if he was okay.

"Guido is fine honey. Picasso didn't make it." I hugged him.

He sobbed and headed to his room.

"Mom. Where is he? Where's his stuff?"

"You really don't want to see him like that."

"Did a cat get him or was it 'cuz he was just old?"

"I think he might have just been old. Maybe he got sick. Honey, I really don't know. I put him and his cage in the garage but don't go looking at him. We'll bury him in the yard in a couple of minutes, okay?"

Still in tears he agreed.

I started unpacking bags, throwing laundry in, washed out the humming bird feeders from the yard, filled all of the birdfeeders (all 10 of them) and started to think, Lane 1 has hundreds of birds. I smiled at that thought but still ached for him.

As I headed back into the house, Lane 1 was coming with a shovel in hand.

"Buddy, I'll do that. You go play with your friends."

"No Mom. I need to."

"Son, it's okay, I'll do it. Please let me." I reached for the shovel and he walked away from me.

He dug fast and with more emotion than any little boy should feel. I stood silently at his side. When the hole was sufficient, he asked me to go get Picasso and he went to get his sister and dad. We gathered around the grave. I handed Lane 1 his feathered friend. Wrapped in paper towels and a Ziploc Baggie, Lane 1 zoomed Picasso through the air one last time just like he was playing with an airplane. His voice cracked as he said, "Fly home buddy." and he placed him gently into the grave. Mr. Lane and I offered to cover the hole but he ignored us and began finishing off the burial. He bowed his head for a few seconds and then walked away.

It was a bittersweet homecoming. There is so much more to tell about our homecoming itself, I could go on for 20 pages. I think I'll spare you fine folks. Three pages is plenty for now. I only have two hours left of battery on my laptop, which I will have to use sparingly. My power cord went out again, which is just one more lovely thing that happened right after we got home.

Thanks for sticking around during our travels. There are many more road warrior stories coming soon to a blog near you.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Tulsa Time

The day before yesterday we made it back to Ark-can-sas and headed to Oklahoma once again. Mr. Lane called the guy in Tulsa to find out exactly where his shop was located. The man told him they were closing. It was 3 p.m. so we were able to turn it in early. It sucked missing the delivery time. We were happy however, to be able to get out of the truck at a decent time.

In Oklahoma we found out Best Western does not have the best internet service. The poor kid behind the counter learned the hard way that Lois must have internet. I made him call his manager in order to either get a discount or get it fixed. While I talked to his manager on the phone, he was calling the internet repair man. Now that was service.

Within minutes the cable guys came to the hotel to fix the internet. As it turns out, rebooting the modem and then the router, like I suggested to the boy at the counter did the job. Stupid pimple head should have listened. Able from cable was impressed that a girl could have a clue. I just batted my eyelashes at him and said, "Lucky guess."

After they rebooted the modem all was well. Thankfully I complained quickly enough and was able to talk to the manager and get a nice little discount. I told the manager half of the troubles we've had along our travels with various hotels over the past 10 days and she felt bad for us.

I explained, "Our only good hotel experience was at a Best Western. We have five criteria when looking for a hotel, swimming for the kids, preferably an indoor pool because of the bad weather, air conditioning because it's hotter than shit out, a comfy bed for the tired working man, cable TV to lull Mr. Lane to sleep and high-speed internet, to keep me from killing people, which is why we wanted to stay at Best Western. Every place besides Best Western has messed up at least two of those things." (At least, I think that's what I said. I was just buttering her biscuit.)

She said, "Oh my honey. Oh, bless your heart. I'm real sorry things ain't goin' right fer y'all."

She was too cute to be pissed off at so we talked for about 20 minutes. I told her Mr. Lane was already comfy in bed and I really would feel awful if I had to wake him to switch to a different hotel. Then, I came in for the kill. I asked for at least half off of our bill. We paid $67.90 originally. She put me on hold and told me she was going to talk to her boss. I listened to the country music that played softly into my ear, calming me during another stressful time. I was thankful that my stressful time did not include divorce, death or a sexy tractor like in those songs.

She came back to the line to tell me she tried everything and said her boss was just not going to be able to go with half off. Then, she said, the best she could do for me was $32.70.

"Is that with or without tax?" I asked.

"With. I just wish I coulda got it down more fer ya honey. At least ta half."

Math wasn't her strong suit and I am not one for pointing out people's flaws. I thanked her for her time and headed back to our room. Mr. Lane (who wasn't really sleeping) was proud but still was bummed for me that I didn't have internet. I told him I could use my laptop in the lobby, where the internet is working fine. I told the kids to get their swimsuits on and we headed to the lobby. There was a huge window looking into the pool area, bonus. I sat down, booted up and before I could open my e-mail, the internet fixer guys were there!

I had some real live work to do for Mr. Lane on the internet so it wasn't just my fuck off time that was being tampered with. I was hooking him up with other companies to haul for so he does less back and forth empty one way, which works out to be a lot of wasted fuel. Over the weekend, when I am home (man that sounds good!) I'll explain a little more about Mr. Lane's business so maybe this will all make more sense.

We are finished with Oklahoma and made it to Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Ark-can-sas and now we are in Missouri. If we see the cemetery again, mentioned a few posts below, I may rethink photos. If nothing goes on tomorrow by noon, we are heading home. Home sweet home. I'll post about all the other states once I am back in my comfy chair, with my yummy coffee.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Dust In The Wind - Kansas

The kids have been great all week. Both have been behaving with little to no arguing. I'm proud of them and a little surprised. At home they aren't this good. I don't know if they have been bored into comas or if they are really enjoying seeing the country.

A couple days ago, as we drove out of Oklahoma and into Kansas, we could see the weather was getting really nasty. We talked about hanging it up early and then decided to get out of the area as fast as possible. The next morning, the news station told us there were 40 tornadoes spotted in Oklahoma. Thankfully, no major damage or deaths were reported.

We got another sample of tornado chasing on our way back from Colorado. We were cruising along a Kansas highway and could see a bunch of funnel clouds in the distance. Some broke apart before completely forming. Others never hit the ground. The truck got a good shaking up and a slight sandblasting as the dust from the fields whipped wildy. Otherwise, it was all good. As good as a flat state with nothing but wheat and cows to look at gets.

I'm sure Kansas has stuff, somewhere, far, far away. Actually, I'm lying. There was an Oz museum that we couldn't go see because it was too far south of where we were going. They also have the original Dorothy house but again, much too far away, according to Mr. Lane. I wonder if this man is aware of the 2,000ish miles we've already gone. I didn't know there was any such thing as too far, and neither did my numb ass.

We did stop at this one place. I think it was called Prairie Dog Town. They hyped it up so much, even Mr. Lane wanted to see the five legged steer, six legged cow and the largest prairie dog in the world. Along the highway for at least 75 miles, Prairie Dog Town was advertised on dozens of wooden, spray painted boards that read, "Come see the world's largest prairie dog. We've got rattle snakes, fox, coyotes, a six legged cow, a five legged steer and much, much more!" Mr. Lane read (in his best auctioneer voice) each of the signs as we neared. All the hype just was too much. It was a must see.

We arrived at a really smelly place. We paid $25 to walk around and see a bunch of freak animals. There were lots of normal animals too but the freaks were how these people attracted stupid fuckers like us. The best part about the place were the baby goats. A couple of them were only a day old. Because the mom goats were trying to score some feed from Mr. Lane, Lane 2 and I were able to sit near the babies. They walked up to us on wobbly legs and parked their tiny bodies at our sides. One of the babies literally climbed into Lane 2's lap. She was in love and melted. (Yes, I took pictures but have to wait to get them developed.)

On our way back, we found one more exciting thing along the highway. We pulled over for the biggest chimneysweep guy we've ever seen. There isn't much to look at as you drive the interstates of Kansas but this guy shone like a beacon in the night. I gasped at the sight of him.

Mr. Lane asked, "So you want me to stop?"

Lane 2 and I said in unison, "Duh!"

While we were in Kansas the day before yesterday, we stopped to do laundry. We found a tiny laundry mat in a one-horse town. There were no people anywhere to be seen. We had the place to ourselves. It was hotter than shit there. Mr. Lane turned on the swamp cooler to keep mama from popping a vein in her head. He's nice like that.

I don't know if it's because I've been out of the laundry mat circuit for more than a decade or if the signs in Kansas are just different than those in Illinois. Anyhow, above the washers they had big bold signs that read, "No tar! No grease! No horse blankets!" It was easy for us to follow those rules. They also had a sign supporting their high school team, "Go Colby Trojans", which reminded me of cheesy dicks, so I threw up a little in my mouth.

I doubt the above post will ever get me a job as Director of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce but that's about the most exciting way I can sum it up.

Tonight we are in a Comfort Inn in Clarksville Ark-can-sas. Yes, I have my wireless internet and am a happy camper. Mr. Lane and the kids are sound asleep, which means the beds must be comfy. Hell I'm so tired I could sleep on a picket fence.

We have to pick up in Conway Ark-can-sas in the morning, drop off somewhere in Oklahoma, come back to Ark-can-sas to deliver somewhere in Louisiana. Then we have one more trip, if there's time. We'll have to go back to Ark-can-sas and then to Tennessee. Mr. Lane said we should be home by Sunday. Keep your fingers crossed!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Born To Be Wild

Tomorrow marks one week since we've been on the road. We left Colorado this morning. Turns out the Days Inn sucked donkey balls too. When I returned from our wet and wild adventure, I discovered there was no internet in our suite. I started out calm, really I did. Mr. Lane was sleeping and I had the kids showered, hair dried and settled into their beds when I noticed. I went to the lobby to find out what was going on with the internet.

"The wireless internet isn't working in my room. It worked fine while we were at the pool."

"You use computer here in lobby," the guy said in broken English.

"No. Your sign says you have internet in all of your rooms and there is none in my room. Is it broken?"

"You can use our computer when that guy done. You bring your own laptop to lobby, you could use too."

"I paid for internet in my room."

"You don't like it you leave right now."

"If my family wasn't settled into bed already, you bet I'd leave."

By the time I walked back to our room, my blood was boiling. It had already been a very long day and my patience were all used up. I couldn't sleep and decided to put the TV on, which is something I don't do often but it does help lull me when I can't sleep. Sure enough the fucking TV in the room wasn't working very well. The screen was dark so I tried adjusting the contrast, only to see a rainbow surrounding the picture. The fucking tube was going out but I wasn't going back to tell the prick at the counter. Mostly I feared for his life if I had to speak to him again.

In the morning, I couldn't get out of there fast enough. I sent Lane 1 to the lobby to grab all he could hold in doughnuts, bagels and anything else he and his sister wanted to pig out on. Normally, I only let them take one thing each. I threw my manners out the window for this prick.

Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, we were able to get internet in our room. Actually, Thursday's internet was iffy because it didn't work the whole time. But every hotel we've gone to has advertised having it available in the rooms. I thought the first lying sack of shit hotel was a fluke but now, I see a pattern forming.

Tonight we pulled into an Econo Lodge in Hays, Kansas. Mr. Lane looked at me and said, "I'll make sure this one is good before I sign our lives away."

I smiled and said, "Good."

He's been patient when I haven't. Finally he's learned not to trust what they advertise and was going to ask. What a concept huh? My mom called to checkup on us as he exited the truck.

I bitched in her ear about the last few days and before I knew it, he was back.

He handed me the keys and I asked, "They got what we need, baby?"

And he said, "I told the guy 'If my wife can't get internet in our room, she is going to come down stairs and kick you right in the balls.'"

My husband is really getting to know me well on this trip.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Highway Lady

Tonight (last night really but I couldn't post because I was in a shitty hotel where their high-speed wireless wasn't working. Fuckers!) we are in the pits of hell, also known as Arkansas (Ark-can-sas if you are a Lane.) We are a few short miles from Okalahoma.

Today we drove from Ark-can-sas to Tennessee. My best friend of 16ish years, lives in Tennessee and I didn't have time to see her. We had to head back to Ark-can-sas before 4 p.m. so we could start our trek to Colorado. So, honey, if you are reading, sorry I missed you and I'll see you in July.

The cemetery I wrote about in my last post held so much of my interest I actually dreamt about the 14-day-old boy and all of the 5-year-olds who died so many years ago. I was happy to read your comments and thankful your interest also was with those children. My dreams built up some wild stories that included a doctor who looked just like Doc Baker from Little House. See, I'm even a freak in my sleep.

Lady Wyntir, great link! Thanks. That was not the cemetery but it just goes to show how many are forgotten long after their family members die off. For me, it reiterated the fact that I want to be cremated when it's my time to go.

I know many of you were looking forward to cemetery photos but I got a little weirded out and couldn't take any. I had some little voice telling me it is disrespectful of the dead, so basically, I chickened out.

Death has been a big part of this trip. No. The kids are still with us and Mr. Lane too, although there have been moments. Lots and lots of moments, which I'll get to soon. Anyhow, we saw a couple of crashes today and neither had a pleasant outcome. The first was at 6 this morning when a semi-truck took a motorcycle out. Crunched metal and a blue tarp wasn't a good way to start the day but may have helped keep Mr. Lane's eyes on the road a little more. The second was during rush hour, and included a box truck, a pickup truck and a rolled over sedan where the man was thrown through his window. He was being covered as we drove by. I thought about his family and the person under the blue tarp earlier in the day. I looked to the backseat at my kids, hoping they weren't rubbernecking like everyone else. They were. I thought about what might be going through their minds. We talked for a long time about crashes and death.

I so badly wanted to write last night but there was no internet to be had. We were staying in a Super 8 that wasn't super at all. In fact it sucked big hairy donkey balls. The kids were hoping to go swimming. Only problem was they shared a pool with another hotel, a block away and it was outside in a shitty neighborhood. What kind of podunk rinky-dink hotel advertises a pool that isn't actually on their own property? Super Donkey Ball Suckers, that's who.

Today is a bit of a blur but yesterday, memories were embedded into my brain that I may never shake. We stopped for lunch at a tiny roadside (shack) barbeque stand. Mr. Lane had been talking about this place at least half of the trip. He really wanted to go. It was in a really crappy part of town so I told Mr. Lane and the kids to chill and I went to fetch lunch. It was a small red building with a hand-painted sign that read, "The BBQ Man". It had a tiny walkup window where when you looked in to place your order, your eyes met the crotch pf the man running the joint. He had a nice big package but I was hungry for BBQ and I'm partial to white meat.

In the parking lot there were a few trucks a couple of old beat up cars and one Cadillac. As I was walking back to the truck with a stack of styrofoam containers in my hands, I happened to look up. I saw a man sitting in his truck and just as I was thinking, "Don't make eye contact." I saw a head come up from his lap. My eyeballs couldn't be turned from that scene to save my life. I was like one of those wide-bulgy-eyed cartoon characters "BLINK, BLINK," went my eyes.

The truck driver was smiling. The "lady" put her mouth to the bend of her arm and in a swiping motion, slid her arm across her mouth. My mind was telling me, "That did not just happen! Ewww!"

I didn't think it could get any weirder than that, until, the "lady" was handed a small plate of ribs as she exited the truck. More than anything I wanted to ask her if she just sucked some guy's dick for some barbequed ribs but there was no time for that because she quickly hopped into the passenger side of the Cadillac. And away they went.

I really wanted to tell Mr. Lane about what I had just witnessed but the kids perked up when I got back laughing and shaking my head. Enquiring minds and whatnot. I started thinking about some of the things they may see while on the road and thought, what the hell? Better for them to hear about this sort of thing from their mom, right?

Never think your children are too young to hear something was my lesson for the day. After I told the story of the lot lizard (that's trucker talk for roadside hooker) my sweet baby girl said, "Mom, exactly how did you get those ribs?" Little smart ass!

Tomorrow and Sunday we are headed to Oklahoma, Kansas and then to Colorado. Stay tuned for more stories from the road. I've learned all sorts of interesting things like if Mr. Lane and I lived together fulltime, he'd be dead. I finally figured out who has the best coffee. I picked up some new lingidy called CB speak. I also found out the proper way to order up a lot lizard. Y'all come back now, ya hear?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Time Passages

We made it to the No-Tell Motel in Ark-can-sas. We drove through Missouri, Illinois, and Wisconsin. It was a long ass day. Mr. Lane likes all this driving stuff, and me, not so much. My ass is completely numb and I didn't get one cool photo all day. I think I complained and whined more than the kids.

We did see some oversized things on the side of the road, including a 20-foot cowboy boot, a life-size dinosaur and a 30-foot bowling pin. But, I suppose, it wasn't meant to be, because there was no turnoff near any of the cool stuff.

We stopped for a snack somewhere in Missouri and saw a small cemetery, that time forgot, right next to a gas station. From the looks of it, no one has visited anyone there in years. At least two graves were unmarked and several more were covered in weeds and bushes. When I say bushes, I mean big bushes. Just the very tops of the tombstones were visible but only from close up. It looked like a mini forest will eventually grow up around them.

I don't know why I wanted to go check it out but I did. The rest of the Lanes didn't seem too interested. Lane 1 tried talking me out of going and I told him he didn't have to come with. Lane 2 said, "I see dead people." and followed closely behind.

The tombstones were obviously old, even from a distance. Upon closer inspection we saw most died in 1920something. One grave marked a married couple but most were children's graves. The weirdest part, most were 5-years-old, dying sometime around 1929.

The ground at one site was being unearthed and part of the tiny coffin was poking through the dirt. I don't know if the tree or the child was there first but it looked like the tree would stand the test of time. The tombstone was faded and worn. We couldn't read the name or dates but we knew that was someone's baby.

We talked about how the kids might have died, because we are just morbid like that. What I wouldn't have given to run into a local historian. We walked back to the truck arm-and-arm and arm-and-arm and were thankful for our little family and our good health.

Today was a good day.