Image hosted by

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Should I Laugh Or Cry

Crapticity has been rearing it's ugly little head all over the place. First and foremost. Kim, a blogging buddy of mine has a major crisis. Her son has been kidnapped by his non-custodial mother. Long story, but really bad news. Please see her blog for details, send her well wishes and keep your eyeballs out for the little one. Looks like they may be headed for Florida from the Ohio area.

In other bad news, 17-year-old Guido the Killer Cat From Hell, had to be put to sleep. I knew it was coming. I just didn't know it would make me so sad. He hadn't been walking very well, hadn't been making it to his litter box, kept forgetting to eat and drink and had been crying a pathetic meow for a few days, like he was in pain.

I asked Mr. Lane to take us so I could hold him one last time in the car. I wrapped him in his favorite blanket. I felt okay. A little sad, but I knew he wasn't living the quality life he was accustomed to.

When we got to the vet's office, I changed my mind. I told my old man, "I can keep cleaning up after him. I can bathe him a couple times a day if he needs it. I can get him some pain meds and he won't be hurting. He shouldn't be put down. Let's leave."

Mr. Lane, macho guy that he is, called my mother. I don't know if he was telling on me or trying to talk sense into me. He put her on speaker phone and she said through tears, "Lo, you know he needs this. You've given him lots of love and care. It's time."

I wanted to smack that fucker with the phone for calling her. And I wanted to tell her to shut her stupid pie hole and then run out of the vet's office with that old cat. Yes, I am able to laugh about how I reacted now, thankyouverymuch. Who knew I would lose my fucking mind?

Mr. Lane does have a sympathetic bone, and right after he called my mommy and told on me, he showed that better side of him. He leaned in, gave Guido a little scratch on his neck and then stood quietly rubbing my back while Doctor Death did the deed. On the way back to the car, I held the empty blanket and started to cry. My old man hugged me for what seemed like an hour in that parking lot. When we came out of the embrace, I could see he had teared up a little too. But being the macho guy he is, he said, "Oh, honey, I drooled on your shirt. Guess I dosed off a bit."

"Drool, riiight. Oh, and honey? I'm sorry I cried and snotted all over your shirt." I smiled, he gagged and we headed back home.

I was barely home 15 minutes and my mother was calling. Guido was my mom's cat. He only came to live with me about eight months ago. She had to move and couldn't keep him. I assumed she was sad too and just needed to talk.

After the initial sad stuff was said, Mom thought she would cheer me up by calling me "C.K." short for cat killer.

"Um, Mom? That won't be funny for at least a week."

"Oh, honey. I'm sorry. I was just trying to get a laugh out of you. I'll mark it down in the calendar to try again next week."

"Thanks for understanding Mom."

As we were talking, I was cleaning litter boxes, removing all of Guido's things and washing food and water dishes. As I poured the fresh food in, my mom heard all of the noise and said, "My goodness! What are you doing?"

"I'm feeding the other cats." After a long pause, I said, "No sense in taking them all out in one day."

"Hahaha! That's my girl!"

Laughter really is the best medicine.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Peanut Butter Jelly Time

Today is a day to celebrate! Auntie Shorty is getting out of the hospital.

While she was in the hospital, Uncle Giant and my cousin Joey were trying to run the household without her. Auntie Shorty has always been the one to keep everything in their home running like a perfectly oiled machine, which makes her a very tough act to follow. She is a great cook and keeps the house neat as a pin.

Joey tried his best to do as much as he could so his father wouldn't have to.

After spending another long day at the hospital, the two went back home for dinner. Joey told his father to go rest while he whipped a little something up for dinner. When he served Uncle Giant a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, his father gave him a look.

Joey smiled, until, Uncle Giant said, "Hey Mickey, (he calls everyone Mickey da Mope) if you're gonna be my bitch, you're gonna have to do a little better than peanut butter and jelly."

I think Joey was paying Uncle Giant back for a nasty little trick he played on my dad a couple decades ago.

As brothers, there were no boundaries those men wouldn't cross. The holidays were no exception. One year, before we left our house, my dad packed his lunch so he could head out to work straight from the party. Like his brothers, my dad loved fresh carved turkey sandwiches.

It sucked that Dad had to go into work on holidays. I think having a turkey sandwich waiting for him, made going a lot easier.

Uncle Giant, unbeknownst to my dad, played the ol' switcheroo. He took Dad's turkey sandwich and replaced it with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

When my dad got to work and sat down to have his lunch, you can imagine the look on his face when he didn't see the thick, juicy, turkey sandwich he made earlier.

He called my mom yelling, "Which one of those sons-a-bitches did this?"

Mom, trying to fake innocence, said, "What's wrong honey?"

"You know damn good and well what's wrong!"

Trying to hold back her laughter, she listened as he continued his rant. "My brother, that S-O, (asshole) stole my turkey sandwich! And the Sonofabitch left my this thin piece of shit of a sandwich. He couldn't even put a thick layer of peanut butter and jelly on the damn thing! I am going to kick his ass!"

Uncle Giant still gleams with pride over that little stunt. I just hope Joey gets as many miles of laughter out of this latest PB&J saga as we did with the first.

Welcome back home Auntie Shorty. I love yous guys!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Name Game

This is a warning. If you are a soon-to-be parent, listen up. I mean, now read this! Whether you intend to plant your seed tonight or it's already cookin' in the oven, this may be the most important thing you will ever read. As far as I know, all of the baby and parenting books have withheld this vital information. I consider myself a friend to all of you Fertile Freds and Fertile Frans out there in Blogville.

We all want our children to stand out in a crowd. We want them to feel like an individual. We don't want to have our child one of seven Michaels in his kindergarten class. We have to tread with caution, however.

Names that are popular and unique today, may suck tomorrow. For instance, do you think they knew decades ago that Dick would one day no longer mean Richard? Imagine yourself, a shy little boy, on the playground, it's recess. You stand alone near the jungle gym, hoping someone will at least wave at you. Next thing you know, all of the girls in your class are checking you out. You smile your best smile. They smile back. Then together they shout, "Hey Dick! How's it hanging?" See, that right there, would just plain suck.

If you name your child after a place. Say, you and your significant other met in Pittsburgh, and you think it would behoove the child to be named after the place Mommy and Daddy fell in love. The idea does offer a hint of romance, but how do you think little Pit is going to feel when his classmates call him Shitsburg? I'm guessing, he will feel pretty shitty.

If you feel a fancy name is in store for your spawn be careful. Know your porn star names before your little Linda Lovelace winds up being asked by her peers if she is loving leather and candle wax along with her lace.

Here's another not so nifty, yet trendy thing new parents do. They like to change the spelling of a name, to make it even more unique. Besides making the teacher sound like a total dumbass trying to pronounce their name, chances are that initial mispronunciation will later become the child's nickname among his or her circle of friends.

Besides being dubbed a ridiculous nickname that surpasses the stupidity of the child's given name, Junior just might have a little trouble when he tries to apply the letters in his name to the rules of the English language. When you defy the basic principles of the native tongue, that will only result in more confusion for the child. If you do not heed this warning, I say unto you, "Nice job! You have prevented your child from learning up to their potential with your add-on vowels and silent letters. You must be proud."

Just remember, no matter what you name your child, he or she will be a unique individual, just like everyone else.

Monday, September 26, 2005


It's true, things here, in my little mind, have been a bit craptastic as of late. Thankfully, Hoss and Poopsie were here to come to my aid. I love those guys. Now, for the five of you readers who are still with me...

As I work myself back into me, I think some birthday wishes are in order. Nothing makes me happier than embarrassing a loved one of mine on their special day.

Marvin K. Mooney is what I'll dub the boy. He is my 15-year-old nephew. I read that Dr. Seuss book to him about 80 million times while I baby sat him. "Read it again Aunt Bean," he would say as I closed the book, day-after-day.

Taking you back to when he was shorter than me, cute as a friggin' button and couldn't say my name, I think you'll see why this kid is one of my top ten favorite people.

At some point, Marvin called me something that sounded much more like bean, than Lois. I don't know why nicknames in my family stick like glue. He called me Aunt Bean for years. I think the only reason he stopped is because he hit that really cool "dude" phase.

Marvin was always one to speak his mind. Once, while out enjoying lunch at a nice family restaurant, he stood on the bench seat, pointed to a man walking by. His finger was inches from the man's face. He said, nice and loudly, "Hey Aunt Bean! That guy is bald like Grandpa!"

Wanting to crawl under the table and die, I nervously smiled at the man, with apologetic eyes and whispered to my nephew, "Yes honey. He is. Now please, sit down."

The only time I ever had real troubles with Marvin was once when he was sick. For the most part, he was like most kids when they are sick. He liked to be held and spent much of his time sleeping. On the second day of a really nasty cold, his mother, my sister Mary, gave him Children's Nyquil. She told me he should sleep most of the day and to just let him.

Apparently, my sista never gave the child Nyquil before. They really ought to change the name of that shit to Asshole in a Bottle. I swear to God, this sweet, wonderful, little person, turned into a non-napping, head spinning, spilt pea soup spitting, screaming to make my eardrums bleed, fool. Thankfully, the Asshole in a Bottle eventually wore off and he was back to his sweet self by the next day.

Image hosted by

He stayed with me from the time he was about a year old, until he was 5-years-old. Despite his love of Barney, he was a great little kid. Here he is after falling asleep on the floor, watching Barney with Lane 1 and Lane 2.

Image hosted by

The truth can now be told. I told Marvin I was taking him to see Barney at my local video store. "It's Barney! It Looks like Barney, but due to International Copyright laws, it's not. Still we should trick all the little kids like it is Barney. Though it's not." He thought it was the real Barney and that was all that mattered.

Image hosted by

Look at the proud smile on his little face! This is one of my favorite photographs of Marvin. Man, who doesn't love wearing Ernie slippers and overalls?

Image hosted by

Back in time a little farther, we tormented the crap out of that kid dressing him up with odd little props. He was so cute, how could we not? Here he is with my bird Max, with a daisy behind his ear. He really did the tropical look well. You ought to see him in his favorite grass skirt and coconut bra.

Image hosted by

Fast forward, to the summer before last. He stayed with us for most of the summer. He went to work with Mr. Lane. He learned how to drive a semi truck on the farm. If nothing else, it was a good driving lesson. Plus, the city boy learned a bit about agriculture. It was also a good time for him to be here for Mr. Lane's birthday. Lane 2 and I made a cake and after a hard day of working with his uncle, Marvin said, "I'll take this side, and you guys can split the rest." He never thought we would actually agree to giving him more than half of the cake, which took up two plates. Here he is laughing, eating and choking. (No, he couldn't finish it.)

I hope today he gets his cake and eats it too. Happy birthday Marvin! Aunt Bean loves you!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Yoooo Hooooo!

maxine uppercase

Settle down ya'll. Lois isn't here because she's busy taking care of Uncle Giant and Aunt Shorty. Her posse, which consists of me and Hoss , is watching her back while she's otherwise engaged with not entertaining you with her sterling wit.
I bet you didn't know that this guy is the one who brought old Maxine to life. We've got something in common then...neither did I! I googled the old broad and lo and behold...there was the genius behind the crabbiness. Hoss thinks Maxine ought to run for president, and has spoken of a grass roots campaign of which he will, of course, be the ring leader. Poor thing is bored to death up there in Oregon in between potty breaks and reading b***s.

I've known Lois since way before the days of her miracle kitty Chip and her vacations with Mom and the grocery sack luggage. As a matter of fact, I was the one who held Chip for ransom for almost a year. That girl can sure spin a tale. But then what else would we expect from Superman's girlfriend? She just recently got a nice hairdo that is to-die-for and that makes me wish I had the $$ to do the same. *sigh* I reckon I'll spend the ransom money at the salon gettin' all beautiful and stuff.

Lois is such a fun mom to Lane1 and Lane2. There is always something exciting going on around their place. Mr. Lane knows what a prize she is. I won't mention the fun they had on vacation with candles and the bathtub. This is a family site after all ;)

Y'all give Uncle Giant and Aunt Shorty a shout out in your daily prayers. The posse could use some help. ^j^ Love ya....mean it. Poopsie

Thursday, September 22, 2005

How to Become Chapter 1

I am not quite sure what this is about, but I got called in to make an emergency post on behalf of Ms. Lane. There is illness in the family; and there are a zillion projects in which she is involved -- rescuing animals, arranging fund-raisers for Katrina evacuees, getting a book written, trying to keep the upper hand with Lane 1 and Lane 2 (this is the hardest part).

Whatever it is about, as far as I am concerned Lois can do anything she wants. She walks on water. Once when I was emotionally distressed I turned to her for advice and she gave it freely, and I owe her. My name is Gene Maudlin, a.k.a. Old Horsetail Snake, and I am happy to have a chance to write Chapter 1 in Lois's new book. See, Lois's book is probably about Illinois, where she lives, and I know a lot about the state that is a.k.a. "Land of Lincoln."

For instance, did you know that in 1828 Abraham Lincoln took a boat trip to New Orleans, where he tried to get a job in a jug band? Did you know that on his second trip to New Orleans he heard people singing this?

"Waiting on the levee,
"Waiting for the Robert E. Lee."

Lincoln then began penning his Gettysburg Address, which was all about building on flood plains. (Oh, lighten up.)

You probably didn't know that the Blue Violet is the Official State Flower of Illinois. But you can pick all you want, for this is your defense: "There are 8 varieties of Blue Violet. This one is not official." Then you give the finger to the Flower Cops.

The Official State Industry of Illinois is Corruption. Cicero, Illinois, was named for Marcus Tillius Cicero, who complained mightily of: corruption. But in Illinois, things were so bad in Cicero that in the 1950's some do-gooders thought about changing the name of the city. The name of a famous former resident, Al Capone, came to mind, but nothing ever came of it.

Currently on trial is former Governor George Ryan, who is charged with racketeering, mail fraud and tax fraud. His defense, as I understand it, is that this is the American Illinois Way.

You probably know that the Lois Lane who runs this site is an ace reporter. If she wanted to she could have drawn this cartoon sometime back to illustrate one of her first scoops. So, she is pretty famous. In fact, in you do a Google Image Search you will find over 5,000 references to Lois Lane. One of them is a picture of Whoopi Goldberg. Whoopee.

For my dough, Lois Lane is the best thing Illinois has got going for it. And I know a lot about Illinois.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Hey Depression! Kiss My White Ass!

The internet needs another depressed blogger as badly as I need a whole in my saggy belly button to tote a gemstone. Whilst I remove myself from this mental funk, Old Horsetail Snake will provide you with some damn fine reading material.

If you would like a chance to guest blog here at Home Fires, drop me a line. But trust me, old Hoss is a tough act to follow.

Thanks for the well wishes for my aunt and uncle. Auntie Shorty is supposed to get out of the hospital soon. She has been used as a pin cushion for long enough. I'll be back soon.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I Do, Cherish You

Life has tossed another curveball. Auntie Shorty went to the hospital for a biopsy yesterday. At the same time, Uncle Giant was getting a chemo treatment. If you're the praying kind, the good vibes variety, the best wishes type, the crossed fingers sort, please include them in your good thoughts.

Uncle Giant is my dad's brother. As many of you know, Dad passed away in February. Their other brother, died a few years before. The big C took them both, along with my mother in-law. I'd say with five people, in five years, we've had more than our family's share of this cancer shit.

I'm trying to stay positive but I am really pissed off. Auntie Shorty and Uncle Giant are the coolest, kindest, most adorable couple. You all know of a couple who have been together forever, right? That's them. They actually met in second grade. Just knowing all of the shit they are going through breaks my heart.

Image hosted by

I know this looks like a scene from a 1970s cheesy porno, but it isn't. And I'll probably get my ass kicked by Auntie Shorty for posting this here, on the Internet, where anyone and everyone in the entire world can see. Here is Uncle Giant (6'5") and Auntie Shorty (4'11") back in the day.

They have always been the glue of our family. During the holidays we would often gather at their house. They never minded that with Dad, came a Vega stuffed to the gizzards with kids, bringing nothing but our appetites.

Whenever anything has gone wrong, they've always been right there offering help. Auntie Shorty always comes to the rescue not only in spirit, but with brownies or some other baked goods in hand. Comfort food is what she calls it.

I asked her not too long ago what the secret was to making her wonderful, melt-in-your-mouth, oh my God, these are better than sex, brownies. She looked up at me so sweetly. She smiled with that twinkle in her eyes that could light up a room and said, "Oh, you know. Box of Duncan Hines and stir it with love." She is not a very good liar.

One bite of her brownies and I flash back to my childhood. Sometimes I think about the holidays at their house. Other times, I am reminded of my grandmother's 80th birthday party.

Uncle Giant thought it would be a good idea to hire a clown for his mother's special day. My grandmother was a tiny, frail, religious woman. The clown reminded me of a south side of Chicago, raunchy adult joke telling type. Sure, she made balloon animals too, but this clown had a dark side. Thankfully, her dirty jokes went right over Grandma's head.

Uncle Giant looked relieved when he heard his mother say, "What? I don't get it." He wiped his brow and said, "That's okay sweet pea, it wasn't funny anyhow," as he choked back his laughter.

So many of my good memories include Auntie Shorty and Uncle Giant. I'm hoping all of this big C stuff is just a friendly reminder from the big G to cherish the people who I love and care about.

(You think if I promise to remove the photo above Auntie Shorty will share her brownie secret?)

Monday, September 19, 2005

I Love My Sister

It's true, my sister Angie, two years and three months, my senior, has been the cause of most of my troubles since as far back as I can remember. Today, however, I can't be mean. Today is her birthday.

For those of you who are new to Home Fires, welcome. In honor of my sister's special day, I offer to you a little photo essay to help you get to know her a little better. Those of you who have read the stories of her torture and torment will notice the evil little look in her eyes. For the rest of you, she will merely look like a sweet kid. Remember folks, looks can be deceiving.

Image hosted by

Just like a little cupie doll, making the "all gone" pose, Angie was practicing to make Lois all gone.

Image hosted by

Even before I came into the picture, Angie was tearing shit up. Here she is in the classic, "uh-oh" pose after knocking over a stepstool. One day the kid is knocking over a stepstool, the next day, a liquor store.

Image hosted by

You can't drink all day if you don't start bright and early. Here's Angie and our cousin Sarah. Notice the plastic covered green couch. Mom really had an eye for home decor. Our parents had a taste for the finest of beers as you can see here. Yeah, Old Style, which we later called Doggie Style, Frog Piss and Old Spice. Ang, later went into a 12-step program for recovering toddlers.

Fast forward to after little Lois made her grand entrance.

Image hosted by

Look at that toothless smile. Look at our dad smiling back so sweetly. Happiness and excitement abound. It's a shame the camera didn't pan over to the right a little. There I was, standing all alone, pouting, crying silently, to myself, holding the stupid Slinky I didn't ask for. Santa was a real fuck up. I asked for that Raggedy Ann battery operated tooth brush and the toothless wonder ended up getting it instead. That was one of many times my Christmas wishes were destroyed by the evil one.

Image hosted by

This was a really happy day for Angie. She was at our neighbor's house baking chocolate chip cookies. She came home, covered in flour, melted chocolate lined her lips, she smelled like a bakery. I skipped over to my favorite sister. I asked if she brought a cookie home for me. First she told me how much fun she had. Then, she told me how good she bakes. Next she said she did bring me a cookie. And then she remembered that she ate it on the way home.

Ang and I would fight to the death for anything and everything. She would pin me down a beat the snot out of me. She was always really sneaky too. Mom never caught her dangling a spit wad over me as I lay helpless on the shag carpeting. But you can bet your sweet ass, as soon as I gained the strength to get up and fight back, Mom was most attentive. "LOIS!" And Ang would giggle quietly, while pointing her stupid finger at me.

There were times we got along. I was the eyes and ears of the scary movies we watched when we were little. Of course we weren't supposed to be watching scary stuff, but Ang taught me early, if we sneak, we not only got to stay up late, we also were able to see all sorts of stuff our parents wouldn't let us see.

At the sound of the creepy music, she would cover her eyes. I would let her know when it was safe to look. It made me feel helpful because she always showed her appreciation. She never understood why I always had nightmares, however. She never really knew why I was sure there was a monster under my bed. And she didn't know why I would think her coat hanging on the top of the door looked like a vampire coming in to suck my blood. But she never minded when I snuggled up because I was scared.

Image hosted by

(Lois on left, Angie on right) While I lay beneath her, elbows pinned to the floor, her fists landing on my face, I never imagined I would actually like or love her. Ever. From archenemy to present stealer, Angie somehow weaseled her way into my heart. And now that I'm big enough to kick her ass, I'm glad she did.

Happy birthday Sista!

(The name of this post reflects the Barney the Dinosaur song that I sang to Ang as a form of grownup torture. Imagine a grownup Lois, chasing after a grownup Angie, scream singing, "Sometimes we're real close friends. We stay up late and talk at night. Other times we don't get along. There are even times we fight. But I know she's always there. And I know she'll always care. She's my sister. I love my sister." Try getting that little ditty out of your head Sista. I love you!)

Thursday, September 15, 2005


My daughter Lane 2 had a loose molar for weeks. The other day, it was hanging by a thread. She showed it to all of her friends at school as it flopped about in her mouth. Most of them told her to pull it, while the rest told her she was gross.

After school, we went to Dairy Queen to collect money for the fundraiser. The kids bullied me into submitting to their ice cream wishes. With Blizzards in hands, they had the nerve to make fun of me about the last time we went there.

Lane 2 was chomping away on her Oreo Cookie Blizzard when her tooth fell out. She held in her hand an Oreo covered mess of a tooth. I told her she would have to brush it so the Tooth Fairy didn't think it was rotten.

As soon as we walked into the house, she ran toward the bathroom. "If only you were that excited about brushing it before it fell out of your mouth." I said.

"Oh cool! Look Mom! It's still got blood in it!"

Why she was so excited about that is beyond me. "That's great honey. Go put it under your pillow before you forget."

"But Mom. I want to show it to my friends. I mean, look at all the blood in there!"

"You can't take your bloody tooth to show-and-tell sweetheart. That is just disgusting."

"Please Mommy?"

That child batted her eyelashes at me while showing off her best pouty face. "Well the Tooth Fairy knows you lost the tooth. She will be here looking for it."

"How about I write her a letter and ask if she can come back some other time?"

"You can try. But I don't know if that will work."

I pulled Lane 1 aside to ask what the Tooth Fairy gave him for his first molar. I about shit when he said 20 bucks. "Are you kidding me? What the hell was she thinking."

He laughed at me and said, "I think that was all you had in your purse at the time Mom."

"You mean, that's how much she had in her purse at the time, right son?"

"Yeah, whatever. Hey Sis, you're gonna get 20 bucks for that tooth!"

"Really? Mom, is he lying?"

"Yes baby, he is."

Mr. Smart Ass, I mean, Lane 1, fetched his bank book to show his sister the $20 deposit, marked, "Tooth Fairy money."

Of all times for him to buddy up to his sister. "I guess I was wrong. You probably will get 20 bucks."

"Can we go shopping?"

"No. We can go to the bank."

"Awe man!"

She sat down at the kitchen table with a pen and a piece of paper.

"Dear Tooth Fairy, this is me, Lane 2. I wonder if maybe you can come back tomorrow to get my tooth. I really would like to take it to school to show my friends cuz it's still got lots of blood in it. Love, Lane 2."

With the note and tooth in a sandwich bag under her pillow, she was too wound up to fall asleep. By 10 o'clock, she finally caved.

While waiting for her to fall asleep, I pondered my options. How pissed off would her teacher be knowing the "Tooth Fairy" let her keep it for show-and-tell? How grossed out would some of her classmates be at the sight of the blood? How cool would she feel showing off her bloody nub? I had no choice. I took the note and left the tooth.

In the morning she was as happy as if the 20 bucks was there. She got ready for school faster than ever.

After school, she told me most of her friends thought the bloody tooth was really cool. Her teacher said, "No thank you." when Lane 2 offered her a look. I bet she was cussing me out under her breath too.

All was well that ended well. She put the tooth under her pillow and woke up to 20 bucks.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Slip Slidin' Away

Where am I? I know, I know. It was rude of me to go away and not tell anyone where I was going or when I would be back. I sincerely apologize. So many of you are like extensions of my family. I certainly know better than to run off all willy-nilly without so much as a phone call or quick post or a quick comment at your blog. My mother already called to yell at me for not updating. When I explained that life was taking over, she didn't really seem to care.

I really don't know where to start. There has been so much going on over the last few days. I can't offer many details because some things just don't have an ending yet. Life is like that, you know.

I'll begin with the fundraiser. Holy shit people, we are up to $65,000. This dinky ass little town has come out in full force to help the American Red Cross efforts.

I talked to some of the business owners and the principal at my kids' school and all agreed to carry the fundraiser through the end of September. In the beginning of October, we are beginning a new fundraiser. The money raised from that one will go to the school rebuilding efforts.

I got an exciting e-mail. It seems the editors at the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, are interested in one of my stories. I sent the story in an e-mail and immediately received an automated response. I liked the wording of the response, "Please be patient. It can take up to three years before your material is chosen for a specific book. So remember, no news is good news." Most of you know me as Lois Lane. But my real sign-in name is No_Newz. The reason why I picked that name is because that's one of my favorite mottos. Here's to hoping that's a sign.

Oh Life. (Yes, capital L was intended there.) I told you guys last week that I wished I could adopt a family or two from the Gulf Coast Region. My name was added to a list of families helping families. So far, no one wants to live out in the middle of nowhere. But as a result of being on that list, something weird happened. I stopped at a place I'd never been to before to fill up my gas tank. While paying, I heard someone call my name. I looked over my shoulder. It was someone who used to read my humor column when it was in their local paper. Someone I'd never met but recognized me from my photo that ran with my column.

She said she saw my name on the list and immediately thought of a couple she knew of. They are staying at a nursing home in a neighboring town. She told me their story would make a great one. She pointed me in the right direction.

I was in that town for a whole other reason. I heard through the grapevine that the newspaper was going under. I wanted to stop in and see the people I used to work with to find out if it was true. The thought of that paper, the oldest in that county, being gone, really bothered me. I was part of its history. The person who told me the paper wasn't going to be around anymore said, "It hasn't been the same since you left." Although, those were really nice words to hear, the idea of it being gone was just sad.

I went to see the couple instead of going to the newsroom.

They are amazing. Both served in the US Military. Both are war heroes. Purple Heart included. With no family, no place to go, they wound up in Illinois. They lost everything except each other. Both are much too young to be in a nursing home and they want to fend for themselves again. Although they don't want to "impose" on my family, they appreciated the offer and intend to stay put for a while.

Their story wrote itself. I planned to send it to the Associated Press. They've bought a few stories from me. But this one was big. History in the making. I sent it to Life Magazine instead. Soon after the automated response came, a real live person, an editor, e-mailed me back. They are interested.

I've been published before. Lots of times, in lots of places. Something about Life is just bigger. Larger than Life if you will. Anyhow, I'm excited and have been working feverishly on finishing that project. I'll meet with the couple again, take photos and make sure all of the facts I have are accurate. I can't wait to see them again.

Again, I am sincerely sorry for not being more attentive here. I would like to have a couple of volunteers to fill in for me in times when I am overwhelmed. You can either e-mail (subject line: guest blogger) or you can leave a comment below. I don't expect to go missing again, any time soon, but it would be really nice to have a plan B, if nothing else, to keep my mom from yelling at me. I hate when she does that.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Safety Dance

A long, long time ago, before wearing seatbelts was a law, my dad resorted to other means to keep us safe. If ever he had to come to a sudden stop, his arm had a mind of its own. It would swing out to hold back the person sitting next to him. There were many variations to his homemade safety belt.

He had the High-Karate belt. Dad only used this version when a car in front of us stopped really fast. He would swing with Karate chop action to keep us from hitting the dashboard. Height determined where he landed his chop. For me, it usually got me right in the throat. Every single time he would look at me, ask me if I was okay and then proceed to yell at the driver who caused him to Karate chop me.

Then he had the Whack-A-Mo belt. This is when Dad was doing something while driving. He'd have something in his hand. Probably, because he was distracted doing other stuff, is why this method was most used. Dad tried like hell to multitask. When he ran errands, he did as many things as possible while he drove. It was common place to experience a checkbook to the forehead or a Quarter Pounder with cheese to the chin or a grocery list resulting in a paper cut and a pen stabbing me in the eye as he tried to "save" me from getting hurt by hitting the dashboard.

The Double Whammy was one of the scariest of all safety belts. If we were within inches of rear ending someone, he would swing that magic arm around, securing me deep into the seat, while his other hand held his heart. If you can visualize this, you'll note, Dad's hands were no longer on the wheel and we were about to crash. Scary? Yes.

The Sunshine Day belt, also was quite scary. Whenever the sun shone brightly in the sky, it would trigger something in my dad's nose that made him have to sneeze. Like a deer in the headlights, Dad was drawn to that light. He wasn't just drawn, even in the heart of winter, he would open his window, stick his head out and sniff the air and take in the sun. He loved to sneeze. The best ones came from his toes, or so he said. There we were, on many occasions, his head out the car window, one hand over his mouth, the other across my chest, his eyes closed tightly from sneezing repeatedly and our car inches away from the car ahead of us. He actually rear ended someone once during one of his sneezing fits.

An angrier variation of the Double Whammy was the A-S-O Bird. Dad really tried not to cuss around us. Instead of yelling "Hey Asshole!" He would yell "A-S-O" sometimes while flipping his middle finger up. Again, no hands on the wheel. I asked him once what it meant when he stuck that particular finger up. He told me it was a friendly way to tell someone that they were number one. I believed him. Until I told my mom she was number one. If memory serves, that was also the day I ran to my room and yelled "A-S-O" into my pillow.

God help you if you were bending over to tie your shoe during one of Dad's safety belt testings. I like to call that one the original, People's Elbow. Sure that wrestling dude made it world famous, but trust me when I say, my dad invented it. I often wondered if maybe I would have been better off if he'd let me take my chances on hitting the dashboard instead.

Whenever Mom was riding shotgun, Dad used the Cop-A-Feel method to protect her. There were lots of times I didn't see things in the road to cause him to reach over to Mom. He'd say, "Wow, did you see that?" I guess while I was looking around for whatever had been in the road, Dad was feeling Mom up. (Hmmm... that thought just made me throwup.)

Car placement was essential to us children. The problem was, there were too many of us and the minivan hadn't been invented. If Mom was not going on an outing, that only meant we also could fight for shotgun. Hours before leaving to go anywhere, I would sneakily ask, "Mom, are you going with?" If she said no, I yelled at the top of my lungs, just so everyone knew and there were no doubts. "I'm sitting up front! No recalls!"

I don't know why "I'm sitting up front" was always sang rather than said. But adding "No recalls!" was like adding insurance that my spot was secure and no one could take it away from me. Crazy enough, it actually worked. Unless the evil one, my mother, changed her mind at the last minute. By then, everyone had already "called" their place in the car. So I would usually get squished somewhere in the middle, or placed onto someone's lap.

If I had advanced warning that Mom was coming with, I'd yell, "I get a window seat! No Recalls!" It was all but carved in stone.

Thankfully, I only have two kids. There aren't fights for seating arrangements in the car, but as I get older, I notice myself doing the same things my dad did to protect my shotgun rider. I rarely have anyone sitting in my passenger seat, so this is all quite new for me. Up until June, both of my kids were too young to sit up there. I had no idea there was this built-in safety mechanism within me. Of course, I have not mastered all of Dad's methods, but I have tried a couple out.

I've also began to create my own versions. Like yesterday, on our way home from my mom's. My son, Lane 1, was riding shotgun. He and I just finished fighting over the radio. We were in the middle of nowhere and none of the stations were coming in clearly. I wanted to put one of my CDs on. He wanted to put one of his CDs on. There was no compromise. I am Mom, and I went to put my CD in the stereo. Someone in front of us slammed on their brakes to avoid a plastic bag in the road. At that very moment, I created the Chinese Star belt. My CD whacked the boy in the chest as my arm took over my body.

"OUCH! Paranoid much Mom?"

"Sorry. And no! I'm not paranoid!"

The last time I went out with Katey, I drove. Some schmuck cut me off and I had to not only use my brakes but I also had to resort to the Cop-A-Feel Safety Belt. Although she was wearing a seatbelt, and I do have airbags, I had no control of my right arm. It swung wildly across to where she sat. I think I was shooting for the High-Karate belt, but my hand cupped itself at the last second, accidentally cupping around her boob. Sorry about that Katey.

I guess it's true. We do turn into our parents inadvertently. Dad probably didn't know that I was learning the Safety Dance, just as I didn't know. What things do you do that you have picked up from one of your parents?

Friday, September 09, 2005

Jumpin' Jack Flash It's A Gas, Gas, Gas

My mother's collection of remote controls prompted Hoss to ask me if there has ever been a remote control fart machine invented. I'm here to tell you that yes, there has. With a simple push of a button, you too can clear a room.

Three years ago, as a way to get back at me for buying her kid some obnoxious toy, my sister in-law bought my kids a fart machine for Christmas. Now that right there is the gift that keeps on giving. The kids were thrilled with the gift. I mean, really, how could they not be? They took that thing everywhere and tricked everyone.

One time they brought it to my mom's. Lane 1 bent over for a kiss, Lane 2 pushed the button. My mother thought she had squeezed the gas right out of the boy. She laughed. When she hugged Lane 2, Lane 1 pushed the button. She looked at me as if to say, "Holy bean dip Batman! What are you feeding them?" I shrugged my shoulders and went in for my own hug and kiss. The kids pushed the button a few times, making it sound like I was a deflating balloon zooming all over. Finally, she knew something was up.

Seeing a grownup excited about a fart machine was comedy in the making. Mom, who is always quite animated anyhow, bent over to pick something up, pushed the button and giggled like a school girl. How can you not love the easily amused?

She tricked everyone that came over to visit that day. She hid the machine in her pocket until timing was just right. I'm pretty sure she was enjoying the little fart machine more than my kids had. Once everyone arrived, we decided to go grab a bite to eat.

Although some might say buffet is an acronym for Big Ugly Fat Fuckers Eating Together, there is this one place by my Mom's that is by far the best buffet I've ever been to. It is the cleanest with the best food and best of all, there aren't a bunch of nasty truck drivers who patronize the place. (Remember Mr. Lane never reads this blog, so if I want to cap on nasty truckers, it's all good in da hood yo.)

Just like a child, Mom said, "Lois, watch this."

She went to sit in the waiting area because there were so many people already standing in line. Rather than taking a chair on the end, she opted to squeeze in between two men. There she sat, me watching from a safe distance, she bent over to tie her shoe. She pushed the button. Both men tried really hard not to look at her. She pushed it again. One of the men got up and walked away shaking his head. I stood there ready to piss myself. Mom's face was bright red and so was the remaining guy's.

I sat down in the newly opened chair and she pushed the button again. I looked at her and the guy and shook my head. The guy walked away with his nose covered by his shirt like a third grade boy. The power of suggestion is an amazing thing.

The rest of the family was standing in line and didn't know that Mom had the fart machine with her. One of the guys stood near his family and told them about the farty lady he had been sitting next to. Once my sister heard that, she knew what mom was up to. Suddenly most of the people in the line were looking right at us. I took that as an opportunity to fan the air and walk away with a look of disgust on my face, just so I wouldn't be confused as the farting lady.

When Mom caught up with us in line, there were already some new people waiting behind us. You can imagine the horror they must have felt as they heard that oh-so-familiar sound.

Mother then did the unthinkable. She went to the front of the line to ask "How long of a wait will it be?" As she leaned over the counter to speak to the man behind it, she pushed the button. The looks on the faces of the people were priceless. I wish I had a video camera rolling. Heads turned away, noses crinkled up, grown men hid their faces in the tops of their shirts and ladies gasped in disgust. If all that weren't enough, she followed it up with another push of the button, as she was walking away, and said, "Oh my! I guess I better stay away from gassy foods today."

Thanks for triggering my memory Hoss. Now, aren't you sorry you asked? Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Smoke On The Water

Chip the miracle cat almost lost yet another life yesterday. There I was minding my very own business, getting ready for Lane 2's volleyball game and helping Lane 1 with his homework. I left my laptop on the kitchen table, next to my glass of water.

While in Lane 1's room, I heard something crash. I ran into the kitchen. There I saw Chip walking and shaking water off of each paw. I looked up at the table and saw my precious laptop dripping wet. He was caught wet pawed. There is no doubt in my mind he was the reason why the water spilled. Plus he has a history of jumping onto places he doesn't belong. Last week I saw Chip hop effortlessly onto the kitchen counter and onto the top of the refrigerator just to get a hold of a moth clinging to my ceiling. Guilty I tell ya!

On the phone, my mom tried blaming me for having a glass of water near my laptop. I hung up on her. Okay, I didn't hang up on her but I did remind her that she always drinks while playing on her computer and often times leaves a glass unattended. She kindly reminded me that she no longer has any cats to knock things over.

Once the information processed through her mind she asked how I would be able to blog.

"Blog? What about work Mother? How am I going to do that?"

We got off of the phone as I was taking the laptop apart. That's about the time Mr. Lane and his father walked in. I handed over the screwdriver and went to fetch the hairdryer. Mr. Lane sat patiently holding the dryer over the soggy computer, reassuring me that he would get me a new one if it didn't dry out. His father began reminiscing about the time he had to do the same thing to his cell phone. I looked at it as a father and son bonding moment and walked away to kill the cat.

Chip looked at me, practically smiling and then went on to lick his crotch. How can I kill a creature with such a skill? I called him a showoff and walked away.

Early on most of the keys typed different letters. The touch pad worked but didn't go where it was intended. I was pretty sure Mr. Lane would be going to buy me a new one before the night was through. His persistence paid off. Right now, there are very few keys that aren't working.

I'd like to see a quick raise of hands. Who tried the straw armpit farts as seen in yesterday's post?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Everybody's Workin' For The Weekend

Everybody but me. After a craptastic week, I was pleasantly surprised at how well my weekend turned out. Saturday I spent the night at my mom's place. Since my car troubles started, I haven't been able to go see her once a week like we are used to. She worried because I wasn't confident that my car troubles were really over. I told her not to panic unless I was still not there by 5:15. She wanted to know what route I was taking just incase. It wasn't much different than our conversations when I was a teen going to hangout with my friends. So many questions. Gotta love Mom in all of her worry-wartedness.

The whole weekend brought me back to my youth. Playing beauty shop like in the good old days with my sisters was by far the best time we've had together in a long time. Thanks for all of the nice comments on that post, by the way. (58 comments may be a record at Home Fires.) It was so cute how Angie and Anita made makeup faces at me, as if them showing me their puckery lips would help me pucker mine better. They also made wide-eyed looks when it came time for the mascara. They are adorable!

My mom waited on me hand and foot. And said "Don't forget to put that in your blog." I know I tease her unmercifully but she just sort of deserves it plus I think she kind of likes it too. Every single cup of coffee I drank, she poured. For the first time ever, I got to coffee clutch with Anita. She recently discovered she likes the taste as much as she likes the smell of coffee, and is now a member of the cool coffee clutcher club.

My mom tried to insist that I was sleeping in her bed and she was sleeping on the couch. I finally told her the bed still smells like Dad and it makes me sad being in her room. She said I could take the couch. I got comfy and planned to watch the news. Even though we'd already said goodnight, she came back into the living room to make sure I knew how to use the remote controls.

"Honey if the fan is too much on you, use this." She handed me a remote control.

"You have a remote for your fan?"

"Sure. And, if the air is too cold on you, use this one."

"You have one for your air conditioner too?"

"Of course. All of the new air conditioners have them."

"I did not know that. Thanks. Goodnight."

"Oh, one more thing. Incase you get tired of the TV, here is the stereo remote. But some of the TV stations have good music on them. You do have the TV remote right?"

"Well, yeah. Now I have four remotes. Hopefully I won't try to change the channel and blow myself off of the couch with the fan by accident."

"No. You'll be fine. This remote is for the TV, this one is for the DVD player and here is the VCR one. But none of them work the volume for some reason."

"You mean, I might have to actually get up?"

"Funny. All I am missing is a remote control for you."

"Thanks Mom. I love you too. Goodnight."

I looked at the six remote controls laying beside me, shook my head and fell asleep.

Sunday my nephew drove over to my sister Mary's to bring his little sister over to hang out with my kids. Another weekend bonus was teaching my nephew Yoda (22-years-old) and my niece Elmira (7-years-old) a nasty little trick. It's been at least a decade since I've been able to show my oldest nephew something gross. Thankfully, I was able to send Elmira home with something to drive Mary crazy with. My daughter Lane 2 and I showed them how to properly tuck a drinking straw into their armpit, while blowing into the other end. It creates the sound of the perfect armpit fart.

Image hosted by

Here's Yoda trying out his straw armpits farts. He said, "I think I need to shave to get just the right sound." I thought he would blow a gasket because he turned all shades of red. I kindly let him know he was blowing too hard and had his arm tucked too tightly. He finally got it. Looking at that picture, I'm sure you are all equally shocked that the boy is still single.

Elmira picked up on it right away. I wonder why my sister Mary hasn't called to thank me.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Prosthetic Head

The weekend has turned into a pretty good one. All of my whining the other day must have paid off. The fundraiser is going strong. We are in the thousands mark already. My car got me where I needed to be, I saw my mom and a couple of my sisters, nieces and nephews. Today I am going to hangout with my in-laws, which usually offers nearly as much material as visits with my own family.

If you are new here, welcome to Home Fires. Please see She's Got The Look for background on the following story.

I don't know if I should explain how insane they are or how much I love them. Mom, and my sisters Anita and Angie, made a holy show out of me and my new hair do. All of them said they like my hair better now. Angie said, "It's better than all that long shit." Thanks Sista. You guys might have said something a few decades ago.

My sisters worked on my hair for what seemed like hours. They piled makeup onto my face and told me it wouldn't kill me to wear some once in a while. As Anita dried and wrapped it in rollers to tame my newfound curly hair, she said I had too much fucking hair still. Our mother stood there directing the insanity while taking pictures. "Anita, do this. Angie, try that." She's a helpful one our mother.

Image hosted by

I tried explaining to my darling sisters that my hair needed no more poof. Angie and Anita told me to shut up. Angie then stabbed me in the neck with the hair pick and Anita strangled me. Can you feel the love? It reminded me of the good old days when we all still lived at home.

Image hosted by

Here they claim my hair still was not big enough so they were "teasing" it. Both were saying, "Na-na-na-boo-boo" or something equally silly.

Image hosted by

Anita working on destroying the ozone layer. Good God, how do women spray this crap in their hair every single day?

Image hosted by

Before our mother snapped this gem, my eyes were burning from all of the makeup. Angie thought that was the funniest thing ever and began laughing with her asthmatic seal bark laugh. Her laugh is so contagious that I couldn't stop laughing either. Anita yelled at me because my tears were about to ruin her makeup job. She was holding me still by the chin as my tears melted the mascara, stinging my eyes even more.

Image hosted by

Blush and lip gloss, two more things I never use being piled onto my face. The girls said to have a real Lois Lane look I had to wear all of that crap.

Image hosted by

Here is one of the completed looks. This is what they call the Yuppie Mom look.

Image hosted by

This is the easy headband hairdo. Even I can handle this one.

Image hosted by

Let's get physical, is the look Angie was going for when she strapped this gay ass headband on me and told me to flex.

Image hosted by

Here is the up-do. Looks like I am going to prom with this big hair. By the way, I wasn't high. My eyes were still tearing from laughing so hard and my lids were too heavy from all of the makeup to keep open properly. Or maybe I was high. I can't be sure.

Image hosted by

This is the combo look. A cross between Marilyn Monroe and Lois in a wind tunnel.

Image hosted by

I always wear a do-rag on my head when I work in the yard. So here is the Rebel Redneck Mama look. The look I will likely sport the most.

I hope you enjoyed the photos as much as we enjoyed playing Barbie Head Lois. Happy Labor Day!

Thanks Mom, Anita and Angie. I love yous guys!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Life By The Drop

By next week I will have photos of the new hairdo to post. I know I promised them a while ago but it just wasn't meant to be. Some of you know I got a digital camera for my birthday. You might be thinking, there is no good reason to not have posted pictures yet. Well that's true but I can't take pictures of myself. Sure, I tried but it didn't work out so good.

When you were little, did you ever look really closely at a glass Christmas bulb? If so, you noticed in your reflection your elongated face, extra large nose and scooping Jay Leno chin. Well, folks, that's what I look like in every single picture I took of myself. I need longer arms or a child who can hold still long enough to not get a blurred version of my likeness. This weekend I will go visit my mother. Providing I can teach her how to point and shoot, while standing still, there will be photos taken for me to post.

I know some of you voted for the Not So Regal Beagle post a while back and I just haven't gotten around to that story. See the truth is, all that is going on in the Gulf Coast Region has made anything shitty in my life seem like a piece of cake. It's ridiculous that a tragedy of this magnitude has to hit for my mind to realize that my life doesn't suck after all. I'm ashamed of my brain. Bad brain!

The week before all hell broke loose, my car, a Buick Regal, broke down. My old man took it to the shop for a diagnostic check. The mechanic said the mass airflow sensor was going out. Mr. Lane went to an auto parts store, bought a sensor and put it in. The car was fine for almost five whole hours. The service engine light came on again and the car died again. He headed back for another diagnostic check. Same report. Assuming the part was faulty, he went back to the auto parts store and traded it in. They hassled him but eventually gave him a new one. The same thing happened and it took a third sensor, bought elsewhere, before the car was working correctly.

With the car back on the road, Mr. Lane headed out on his way to California. Before he crossed the state line, my little world was going to shit. Sometimes I resent his freedom. This has been one of those times. My lifestyle is essentially that of a single mother's without the perks of boyfriends or government assistance. I'd cut off a few toes for some financial aid so I could take a mechanics class.

So there I was, having a craptasic life, or so I thought. The car broke down again, this time in front of the railroad tracks. The kids were shitting a brick. Everyone honked at me like I intentionally was fucking off.

I pushed and steered my car through the driver's side window. Once it was out of the way, I popped the hood, checked the sensor's connection. By the way, during this, not one person asked if I needed help. Dicks! The sensor wasn't loose and all of the wires were in place. As I was getting back in my car, unbeknownst to me, my cell phone fell off of its clip. I tried starting the car and it turned over. I drove away pissed off. That's when I ran over my cell phone. It was later found in all of its smashed brokenness.

The car died again as I was turning onto a major highway. We were seconds from a T-bone accident. Thankfully, that car stopped in time. Of course the driver just swerved around us and didn't stop to help. The car started right back up and we went straight to the shop, again.

The diagnostic report said everything was hunky-fucking-dory. Bullshit! They tried to charge me for the nothing they did. I lied saying I had no money or checks with me. "Please just mail the bill to my house."

Keep in mind, we are out in the middle of nowhere, which means there are few places to bring a broken car in for repairs. Because they had already charged Mr. Lane an arm and a leg, and I felt like they did nothing, I had no intention of paying that bill.

The car made it back home but died again the next day. Thankfully that time, we were only two blocks from home. Lane 1 steered and I pushed. We got it into the driveway and I called the shop. They had the balls to want to charge me a towing fee. Um, fuck you? Fuck you very much!

This time they said it was the crankshaft sensor. I asked if maybe my computer was shorting out because what are the chances of two major sensors going out?

The mechanic was sure this new sensor would take care of my problem. So far, so good. Then again, I've only had it back for a day. Keep your fingers crossed, please. Did I mention the fact that they didn't have the sensor? They had to order it and I had to wait until Thursday. I am thankful to have a neighbor who was able to drive the kids back and forth to school.

While all of that crap was going on, there was a water main break down the street from our house. We were without water for two days and no reliable transportation to buy bottled. And if that wasn't enough, Guido (the 17 year old cat) got sick. A trip to the vet, and a big fat bill, the vet sent him home with an IV for me to put into him if his dehydration worsened. Of course, it did. Anyone have any idea how hard it is to put an IV into a cat who won't stay still? I was sure my life was crapfuckingtasic at that moment.

Mr. Lane reached California. He sounded so happy. I hated him for that.

One night, I think it was Tuesday, I wanted to cry myself to sleep. I was overwhelmed with too much to do and too many things going wrong at once. I put the TV on to lull me to sleep. I watched CNN instead. I saw the footage, thanked God for my "miserable life" cried for them and went to bed at 4 a.m.

E-Lo inspired this post. Today she is talking about Lamaze class on her blog and it is by far some of the funniest shit I have ever read.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

What You Give

You guys are the wonderful ones! Yesterday's post was supposed to get the wheels cranking and look how many of you stepped up. I'm proud to call you my e-friends. I hope all of your efforts are taking shape.

Ideas are beautiful things. My 10-year-old daughter, Lane 2 woke up this morning with one of her own ideas to help. Sleep still clinging to her eyes, hair a wreck, and a smile from ear-to-ear covered her little face. I all but saw a light bulb shining over her head.

"How about we have an end of summer garage sale? All of the money we collect can go to the Red Cross!"

I kissed that sleepy faced child and hugged her tight.

Lane 1, for the first time in years told his sister she was "pretty smart... for a girl." He ruffled her hair as he walked by.

I know I complain a lot about this redneck town I live in. The last couple of days, I've seen something different among my neighbors. Since the beginning of the American Red Cross fundraiser, there is a new sense of community, kindness and generosity. The response from the business community has been overwhelming. Our local Dairy Queen is not only collecting funds but agreed to have a party for the students at St. Peter, Paul and Mary School.

I wish I could do more, adopt a family or two until they are able to go back, something. I know you guys thought what I am doing is nice and I really do appreciate all of your kind words. It really didn't take much and it wasn't anything any of you couldn't do, which really was the meaning behind yesterday's post. All I did was made about 20 phone calls, wrote a letter requesting assistance for the school's efforts, I faxed the letters, wrote a press release and e-mailed it to all of our media outlets. That's it. Five tiny steps. It was those who said, "Yes, we would like to join in on this endeavor," who are making everything fall into place. It's the people who are able to throw in their pocket change who bring it full circle.

My e-friend Seven, had to flee his home in New Orleans. Thankfully, he is safe and on dry land. He doesn't know the condition of his home but suspects, based on the news footage, that his home is waist-deep in water. Some of his family members are still not accounted for. If you would like to give and put a face to your donation, please consider my buddy. He has PayPal set up on his web design business site. You may also consider hiring him for your next blog makeover. He may not be able to get to work for a while, but I'm sure having work waiting for him when he returns, also will help during this crisis.