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Monday, July 31, 2006

The Nightmare Continues

It would have been nice, had the whole situation been a bad dream, but of course, life throws curveballs and there I was getting pelted. This is a continuation of the post below, which is somewhat related to the post below that, so if you are just now tuning in, hit rewind and catch up. I’ll wait here.

When I said it got much worse, I wasn’t kidding. We arrived at my sister Anita’s house an hour before the party started. No one was home. I called my sister Angie to vent, but got her voicemail too. Then I called Mom.

What is it about Mom’s voice that can make you feel like crying at the drop of a hat? As I was telling her how hurt Dino-Mike looked as we waited, I felt a lump swell in my throat. And I was fine before I called her. Anyhow, I said I didn’t want to talk about it anymore or I’d start bawling like an idiot. She stopped consoling me because she didn’t want me to cry, and then she went off on a tangent about irresponsible people.

We went from sitting in a hot parking lot for more than an hour, to sitting on Anita’s front steps for another 20 minutes. At least my nephew Dino-Mike was coming down from the feeling of abandonment by the time my sister returned.

The parking lot fiasco started at 10:20 a.m., Dino-Mike’s dad finally called me back halfway through the party, which was about four and a half hours later. He was mad at his daughter for not doing what she said she would do. He even said she was irresponsible. If that wasn’t the pot to the kettle, I don’t know what is. But he never asked if Dino-Mike was okay, or apologized, or asked to talk to his son. Irresponsible indeed.

“I’m leaving now. I’ll call you when I am close.”

Around 4:30, he called back. My niece was opening her presents and he wanted me to meet him at the corner of “Walk and Don’t Walk” wherever the fuck that was. I know how to get to my sister’s house, but I don’t know the area very well. I let him know that and said I would pass the phone to my sister to get him there.

As soon as Anita got on the phone with him, he said he didn’t want directions, he wanted me to bring Dino-Mike to him because he only had enough gas to get back home. She tried explaining to him that he wasn’t far but he said his phone was cutting out.

Anita gave the phone back to me and he was insisting I leave the party and meet him. That tiny part of me almost did. I couldn’t help but think if I don’t do what he says, he will keep me from seeing my nephew. And then I started thinking about all of the time we sat in the parking lot. I thought about that sad little face looking up at me for reassurance. And I thought about all of the gas I used getting to the halfway point. I thought about my dead sister and cussed her out in my mind for letting all of this happen to her baby. And then I thought about the fact that this little boy came to stay for three and a half weeks and only had two outfits and a pair of shoes that didn’t fit. I thought about the money I spent buying new clothes. I thought about how sad he was when days passed without a phone call from his dad. I thought about the calls we made to him that were never returned over the weeks. The more I thought, the more pissed I became.

I finally said, “Look, we aren’t that far away. You can make it here. I’m not leaving my niece's party to go out looking for you.”

“Fine! I’m right by the police station and if that is how I have to get him back, I will.”

Are you pissed yet? I was. And right now I am typing harder than I need to because I am repissed, which is what happens when I rehash a shitty situation. (Yes, I made up that word.)

A little while later, he called back from the police station. He sounded very indignant and was implying that I kidnapped my nephew. I could tell by the sound that I was on a speaker phone.

“You are less than ten minutes away from your son. I already drove him an hour and a half east from my house, so it would be easier for you to get him, and now you say I have to bring him to you and I don’t even know where you are? Forget it. For you to want to play games and make this difficult, and drag the police into this, after he has been with me for three and a half weeks is ridiculous. Maybe I should have called the police while I was consoling him in the car while we waited for someone to come this morning to pick him up like we had planned. Mr. I’m So Concerned, Father of the Year, do you realize over six hours have passed since I have been trying to contact you? We sat in the heat for an hour and twenty minutes and you couldn’t be bothered to answer your phone to say no one was coming. Did I call the police? No. Did I make you out to be an asshole to your son? No. I am at a birthday party and I am not leaving. You can come and pick him up.”

I could hear the police in the background and their tones told me they knew he was an asshole. One officer said, after I gave him my sister’s address, “I know right where that is, and you are five minutes away.”

Suddenly he wasn’t sounding so indignant anymore.

As all of that was going on, Dino-Mike was none the wiser. He was playing with his cousins and having a great time. He didn’t even know his dad was coming. When he finally showed up, he looked like a dog with his tail between his legs as he approached. Funny, but he didn’t have any officers accompany him to get his son.

And god love my rowdy bunch of lovely coconuts, I mean my family members. They came outside, parked their asses on Anita’s front steps just waiting for him to be less than nice to me. Even Anita’s in-laws were on high-alert. Family has your back. Sure they love to drive you crazy but at the end of the day, they are so there for you. I’m lucky to have them, my peeps, my entourage, my posse, my kneecap breakers.

He walked toward me with caution and had that “I fucked up big time” look on his face. I gave him the “You’re damn right you did” look. Dino-Mike was so happy to see his dad. I didn’t have the heart to give the guy the cold shoulder or a cold cock him in front of that baby. He reached in for a hug, what can you do? I hugged back and whispered through my teeth in his ear, “Remember who your allies are, and don’t ever pull that shit on me again.”

As he pulled away, Dino-Mike smiled and waved. I couldn’t help but wonder if we would ever be allowed our special summer times again.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Where I’ve Been Take Two

After making deadline, and finishing off my week at The Second City, I came home to a house in disarray. I found out that my husband planned a barbeque. With the house a wreck and no food, I have no idea how he intended to pull it off. I guess he assumed I’d be the sucker to take care of his party I knew nothing about. He was right, to an extent. I headed to the grocery store and told him the house better be spotless when I get back. He must have worked our kids like mules while I was at the store because the pig sty was now mostly presentable.

I had no idea these kids and that old man of mine wouldn’t be able to find the laundry room without me here. All house rules were thrown out too. There were dirty dishes in my kids’ bedrooms. So much for not eating outside of the kitchen, which has been a rule since their births.

The barbeque turned out okay and then the house was a wreck again. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a neat freak at all. But I hate clutter and our house was filled with it. Plus, I cleaned the house before I left, and silly me, I thought upkeep would be done while I was away.

The girls went back to Alabama but my nephew came back for an extended stay. (I posted about him a little below.) My husband and kids were leaving for a vacation in California. I couldn’t go because Dino-Mike was staying with me and I was unable to contact his dad to get permission to take him. (Which I think I blogged about below too.)

I have a lot of really not nice things to say about Dino-Mike’s dad, but I’ll just keep all that inside until I explode.

While it was just Dino-Mike and I, it was pretty quiet around here, except for all of the little neighbor kids he brought into the house. He makes friends so quickly, which is a really good thing, since he likely would have been bored and drove me even more insane otherwise.

We decided to spend a couple of days at my mom’s because that was way more fun than having a houseful of 6-year-olds, plus she really wanted to spend time with him before he went back home. She sugared that kid up like you wouldn’t believe, and we may as well have had a houseful of 6-year-olds.

“What’s that, honey? You want Grandma to make you a Twinkie salad? Sure, anything for you!”

I swear on everything holy, that woman has changed since I was a kid. My siblings and I grew up with no sugar, no soda, no junk food, no running, no screaming, no fighting, no wrestling, no breathing and certainly no fun. (Slight exaggeration may have just taken place.)

Dino-Mike gave Mom a new nickname, which she wasn’t too pleased about. And you know what that means, right? I called her “Old Gran” for days. It has a nice ring to it, I think.

And of course after she buzzed him up with sugary goodness, he acted psycho and I had to raise my voice in his general direction. In all of his 6-years, I’ve never yelled at him. After three weeks of pushing the limit, I’d barely raised my voice. This time he went too far with his roughhousing and smacked me in the face. I felt my top lip swell and my left eye stung from the small finger that landed inside.

Loudly I asked, “Are you nuts? You never slap anyone in the face!”

And his entire world crumbled beneath him. He cried harder than I’ve ever seen or heard a child cry before him. And when I told him to calm down that just sent him farther over the edge.

When Old Gran consoled him, he cried even harder and said through his sobs, “It just breaks my heart when people yell at me.”

Blind in one eye with my lip continuing to swell, I wanted to cry. I felt really bad for “breaking his heart.”

Old Gran consoled me after he calmed down. She thinks three and a half weeks was too long for him to be away from his dad, and the excitement of going back home, which was planned for the following day, was all too much for him. Old Gran may have been on to something.

And if all that stress the night before he went home wasn’t enough, the next day would prove to be an even bigger nightmare. His 17-year-old sister was supposed to pick him up at the halfway point we mapped out to take him back home. She never showed. I called her and their father’s cell phones like a stalker, nonstop. We waited for an hour and a half in that parking lot, and that poor kid was devastated. I kept telling him that there must have been a miscommunication and tried reassuring him that everything would be fine.

“I bet my dad doesn’t even want me to come home.”

“Oh come on, you know your daddy loves you more than anything. I bet something happened to your sister’s car or she forgot her cell phone at home. Or maybe she thought we were meeting at a different time. She could have gotten lost. But don’t think for one second your daddy doesn’t want you home.”

Inside I was boiling over because no one was answering their phones. I had plans to go to my niece’s birthday party so I said, “Hey, how about we leave this parking lot and go over to Auntie Anita’s house? She is having a party for your cousin and everyone is going to be there. Plus she has really good food. I’m pretty hungry, what do you say?”

“Well, I’m getting’ hungry too. But what about my dad?”

“How about I call one more time and leave another message telling him where Auntie Anita lives. That way, he can come pick you up.”

“Okay. But what about my sister? You think maybe she has her head up her butt?”

“Yeah, that could be what happened. Teenagers are like that.”

“I know!”

And if you think it couldn’t get worse from there, stay tuned because it did. More about the nightmare and where I’ve been, coming soon to a blog near you. Have a great weekend everybody!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Vince Wants To Know Where I’ve Been

To be honest life has been fucking insane sine the week before I left for The Second City. I had my nieces and nephew visiting for a few days and everything was go, go, go. We visited family and friends. We played and swam and farted around a lot. I also gave a computer lesson to my niece, which I’ll blog about soon.

I dropped the three extra kids off at a family member’s house and ditched my old man with our kids to spend a week at The Second City to take a writing class. I stayed at my mother’s house to make the four-hour commute a two hour commute.

At Mom’s, like always, everything was crazy, or maybe it was just Mom who was crazy. I had four huge freelance assignments all of my deadlines fell in that week. The same week I had homework every night.

Mom was a good sport about sharing her computer. I could tell I was seriously invading her time but she was a trooper. Of course she talked my ears off the whole time I tried to get my work and homework done. And I may have told her she was worse than my children. But I can’t remember. To make it up to me, she brought me a fresh cup of coffee every time my cup got low.

Every morning when I dragged ass off of her couch, she had a cup waiting for me. And she folded the blankets and put away all of my sleeping mess. I love being spoiled. It’s my favorite thing.

“How much work did you get done last night sweetheart?”

“I finished my homework and I submitted a two page assignment. I have another four page assignment due tomorrow that I didn’t get to at all.”

“You’re never going to finish in time.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence. I think I will make deadline, just to prove you wrong.”

“Well, that isn’t what I meant. I mean, it didn’t come out the way I meant it. It’s just that the long ride, and then all the homework. And you know I try to be really quiet when I get up so I don’t wake you.”

“It’s okay. I need to be up as early as possible if I am going to get everything done.”

“Yeah. That’s what I meant.”

She also decided my clothes weren’t good enough. She said, “You aren’t wearing that, are you?” every single day. Then she would go shuffling around in her closets to find “something that won’t make you look like a slug.” Or maybe she said slob or bum. Anyhow, she insisted on redressing me. There isn’t a greater love than that of an overbearing mom.

More about where I’ve been coming soon to a blog near you.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Doggone Shame

Stepping away from summer madness and all that is going on here, I have to tell you guys about my sister in-law’s adventure. She called at midnight. And because I’d talked to her earlier in the day and invited her and her family over for a barbeque, I assumed she was calling to say they wouldn’t be able to make it. I’m really glad I didn’t turn the phone ringer off as my instincts instructed.

Deb was at her in-laws’ house. From the living room window, she and her husband, Scott saw a woman and her dog being attacked by a pitbull. They ran, reacting without thinking of their own safety.

I expect that from Deb, not from Scott. He’s your typical white collared guy, never gets his hands dirty who you’d imagine staring in awe as the drama unfolded.

The two ran out of the house, unarmed and barefoot. Scott jumped on the pitbull’s back, Deb pried the jaws of the beast off of the lady’s arm. Covered in a stranger’s blood, Deb brought the lady and her small dog to safety behind a parked car. She hovered over their bodies like a shield.

Scott was on the street, straddling the dog, punching it, kicking it, doing everything in his power to make it stop trying to attack him too. His feet, hands and knees stung as the concrete shredded them while he wrestled the dog.

Deb was yelling for someone to bring water so she could clean the woman’s wounds. An 85-year-old woman in a housecoat and slippers slowly trotted across the street with a small cup of ice water. Deb said it was the size of a Dixie Cup.

The lady went on to say how thirsty Deb must be after fighting with that animal, which was by far the highlight of Deb’s day. She needed water to clean the woman’s wounds and all she had was a shot glass of ice water.

With a crowd of at least 30 people gathered, only one man stepped in to help hold the dog down, and one tiny 85-years-young woman stepped forward to help.

The woman and her small dog were attacked by the pitbull who jumped through a screened window, while his owners were out. Thankfully the second pitbull the guy owns didn’t follow his brother. The woman’s wounds were superficial enough for her to refuse medical treatment. She was more concerned about getting her dog that also received a couple of bites, to a vet.

As if all of that wasn’t crazy enough, when animal control, the ambulance and police arrived, Deb and her husband went back into Scott’s parent’s house.

While all of that was going on, John, Scott’s dad, wasn’t home. He was at Popeye’s Chicken fetching their dinner. He arrived just in time to see emergency vehicles outside, and his son and daughter in-law inside, cleaning blood and gravel off of themselves. He gave them a curious look but continued on toward the kitchen without uttering a word.

Without stopping for a moment to check on her son and daughter in-law, or even ask what happened, Scott’s mom, Lauren, said as she peered into the bucket of chicken, “Damn it John. I told you to get 14 pieces. And where’s the side of gravy?”

John left the house to go get the things he forgot, still not saying anything to anyone. The kids, Scott and Deb were all picking gravel and wiping wounds.

Lauren sat at the head of the long set dining table, alone and said, “Isn’t anyone going to eat? I don’t know why I sent John back out to get more food if you aren’t going to eat what is right here.”

I don’t know if the situation is funny because I know how John and Lauren are or if it’s because I could visualize the entire scene as Deb told me over the phone, but I was highly amused. It’s like the stuff that great sitcoms are made of.

After 20 minutes of Lauren and Jack bashing, I asked in a serious tone, “You are still coming tomorrow right, Deb? I mean, I bought all of this food…”

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Step Right Up!

A new contest comes and goes here at Home Fires. I know I wanted to have some creative something or another but yesterday as I was checking out my sitemeter, I saw that it was one measly click away from 66,000 visitors. So I waited. I refreshed. I waited a little more. I tapped my fingernails. Then I hit refresh again.

DING, DING, DING! We have a winnah!

Patricia doesn’t know she won, unless she is reading this now. What should her grand prize be? I was going to get her the house she can’t afford across the river, which is what her profile has listed as her only item on her wish list. But then I realized, I couldn’t afford that either.

If you know Patricia, what would you suggest? If you don’t know her, what would you suggest? If it was you, what would you want?

If you are reading this Patricia, e-mail your address to me at and hopefully, I won’t have my head in my ass, and I’ll get your grand prize out in the mail soon.

I don’t know why one of my biggest pet peeves is going to the post office. My dad worked at the post office for over 30 years. One might think it would be a comforting place for me, but it isn’t. So my lack of love for the post office makes me a lazy gift sender-outter. Just ask Mark or 30K Todd, our last two winners.

Today’s Dino-Mike gems:

“Auntie Lois, you look tired.”

Smiling over the rim of my coffee cup, at 5:30 a.m., I said, “I am. Thanks for noticing.”

“You don’t look that bad.”


“You should see my dad when he wakes up in the morning. There’s nothing pretty about it.”

I am so glad this kid has a good sense of humor. He has a couple of weird but funny things he says when he goes to the bathroom. As he runs for the bathroom, he yells, “I’m going for second place!” That means he needs to go number two.

The other day we were in the car and something wasn’t smelling so good. From the backseat I heard him say with his hand under his butt, Lane 1’s famous bathroom humor line, “Fire in the hole!” Without skipping a beat, he added, “Hurry Auntie Lo! Drive faster! There is an emergency on the poop deck!”

This added extra is because I am not going to blog tomorrow. Remember when my family went to the wedding in Michigan last month? Remember how I said if anyone sent me pictures of me there, I would share them with you? Well guess what? Auntie Vie sent a thank you card (yes, handwritten Patricia) and a few pictures. One of which is of me and the old man dancing. This is the one and only picture in our 17 years where we are dancing. As a matter of fact, we have very few pictures of us together.

No scrolling, I’m getting there. First I have a back story first to set the stage. As many of you read, there were some folks at the wedding who wore non-fancy clothing for the event. For example, the tattooed lady with the camel toe jean shorts, tank top and a bow tie.

Although my attire wasn’t that bad, I was actually embarrassed of how I looked. I never tan intentionally. So I sport a prominent farmer’s tan. The only decent dress I had for this wedding didn’t have sleeves. Knowing my farmer tan is dark and oh so very redneckish, I brought a black shawl to throw over my shoulders to draw attention away from my glow in the dark white biceps. I thought it was quite ingenious. Beats the hell out of a spray on tan, or going to a tanning bed to even things out, or heaven forbid, actually laying in the sun.

The day of the wedding, it was roughly 100 degrees. Black shawl plus 100 degrees, equals really fucking hot! I ditched the shawl as quickly as possible. I kept crossing my arms in an effort to hide my whiteness. Eventually I realized you can’t dance with your arms hugging yourself. Unfortunately, I wasn’t drunk so I did care. That is until my old man took me onto the dance floor and sang loudly in front of everyone, You’re Beautiful, by James Blunt.

And for the moment you have all been waiting for, Lois and Mr. Lane dancing in all of her farmer’s tan goodness.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006


That was rude of me. Yesterday, I didn’t let you know that Dino-Mike did survive the collision with the pole. Sure he had one heck of a lump, and the corner of his eye was looking purple, but once the ice was on, the swelling went down quickly.

It was the first time he ever got hurt on my watch. I felt terrible and I was taken aback when he cried for his mommy. She’s been gone three years, so it really was unexpected. I guess kids always want their mom when they get hurt no matter the circumstances.

Following our little accident at the park, Dino-Mike wanted to come home to play video games. I explained that he needed to hold ice on his head for a little while longer to help take the swelling down, and he said, “Auntie Lois, can’t you just tape it to my head?”

I guess he hit harder than I thought if he expected tape would hold ice onto him. I took an elastic headband and wrapped it around his head to hold the ice on so he could play. He looked ridiculous and I should have taken a picture for you guys to see. In the end, he is fine, the swelling has gone down completely, and the bruising is minimal.

As I left the park that day, besides wanting to tell Mango Joe to get bent, I wanted to tell the other guys that “16 will get ya 20,” as they continued to gawk at the young firm babysitter, but I had a broken kid to take care of.

And now for something completely unrelated… Josh Wolf, another funny friend of mine has made it to the voting stage of The Last Comic Standing. If you watch the clip and like what you see, and want to see more of him on the show, please take another minute to put in your vote. Josh is the second to last on the list to your right on the page. Listen to all and make a fair vote. But just know he is Lois Lane’s top pick for the Last Comic Standing.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Gorky Park

Oh hey! Are you still here? I thought for sure you’d have given up on me and this blog. Thanks for coming by. You know how crazy this time of year is. Everyone is off getting married, graduating, having baby showers, barbeques, birthday parties, enjoying vacations, and some of us suckers are watching our nephews.

I took Dino-Mike, my 6-year-old nephew to the park a few days ago. He made a couple of quick friends and I headed for the bench swing to read a book. There I was, freshly shaved legs, painted toe nails, cute sandals, my hair was on its best behavior. I was looking good in the neighborhood, if I don’t say so myself.

All of the dads were checking me out behind their sunglasses. You know how you can feel eyes on you? Sometimes when you look over to see if those are in fact eyes you feel, heads turn away as if to quickly lie saying, “What? I wasn’t looking at you.” But you know they were. So because of these guys and their sneaky peeks, I was feeling MILFerific.

As quickly as the head swelling began, out of nowhere, walked this hot mama. All of those eyes that once were on me shifted. You ever see a Meow Mix commercial where all of the cats’ heads turn in synchronicity? That is how those men looked. I could almost hear the sound of the rocks rolling in their heads as they turned. I took a peek too. Her tits sat proudly under her chin. I remembered days gone by when mine sat higher.

Well, it was nice while it lasted. I couldn’t blame the poor bastards for looking at some of that in comparison. Not like I was ready to bat for the other team, but she was cute.

As she chased her little boy around the park giggling, up the slide, over the bridge, through the tires and around the monkey bars, I realized why her body doesn’t look all tired like mine. My boobs would have gone on strike beating me about the head and face if I tried running around like she was.

She stopped to tie the kid’s shoe near me. And I heard magical words. As it turned out, she wasn’t a hot mama. She was a babysitter. It all makes sense now.

While all of that was taking place, Mango Joe got out of his minivan. Why is there always a person among a crowd who feels the need to speak as loudly as possible? From the parking lot, I heard him say to his 4-year-old son, “I’m going to indulge in a mango!”

Wow, lucky you!

He kept talking and the little boy kept walking quickly away from him. “Son, have you ever seen a mango peal? It is vibrant in color, very nice. Here son, take a look.”

The kid didn’t look back at his mango loving father, who incidentally kept talking loudly. He talked about everything that meant nothing, including the construction and history of our park. Why in the world would a 4-year-old give a shit? He wouldn’t. He kept walking away from his chatterbox father. This little boy had amazing powers which he’d obviously learned over his four years. He was able to tune him out, which was something I could not do. Maybe that’s why the guy annoyed me so much. He had a booming voice like a sports announcer. “There goes Timmy racing toward the slide!”

I sat there on the swing hoping to get wrapped up in my book and found myself rereading sentences over and over.

My nephew who was playing happily, also seemed to have trouble tuning out Mango Joe. He was running after one of his newfound friends, when he looked back at the man with the loud mouth, and he ran smack-dab into a metal pole, head first. Dino-Mike’s head made the sound of a bat snapping at the ballpark. This can’t be good.

As I ran toward him, Mango Joe blurts out, “A child is hurt! Someone’s child just hit a pole head first! He is on the ground! Who’s child is this hurt on the ground?”

As I ran past the loud-mouthed moron, I fake sneezed a nice “shut the fuck up,” which a couple other parents picked up on. I heard them laugh.

I scooped the broken child off of the ground, realizing Mango Joe was still yammering. I was finally able to tune the son-of-a-bitch out as I saw a big goose egg swell on my nephew’s forehead.

Fun at the park is over when the kid has streaks of clean tear marks down their dirty face. Add a shiner and a major bump, and you know it was a fun day at the park! Plus we were no longer looking good in the neighborhood with tit chin over there. Definitely feeling the winds of change, time to go home.

I brought the boy back home, cleaned him up and iced his head and eye. Then I iced my shattered ego. All in all, it was a great day!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Notes From The Desktop

I have a habit of typing notes and saving them on my desktop. Usually, as I am typing, I’m thinking it will make a good column or blog post. But I’m a fucking packrat, even in the virtual sense. And that means my desktop is littered with these little, “Pssst… Lo, don’t forget to write about…” things.

Today I offer you random shit that probably doesn’t mean shit.

I finally got Home Fire’s grand prize winner, Mark of the Haiku Hullabaloo contest, his prize. I didn’t want to give it away, but now that I know he received the package I can tell you, I sent Mark a box of Quisp Cereal, which he said he hadn’t eaten in 40 years.

I turned into a serial cereal. If you recall, Mark had a great idea. He tried to pitch it to big cereal companies; however, they refuse to take ideas from outsiders. It’s a shame really because his idea would make a mint. Picture if you will, writers getting their mini-stories on the backs of cereal boxes.

Who doesn’t love to read the back of the cereal box? Since adults are more aware of eating healthy and the cereal industry continues to pump out healthy, fiber-enriched breakfast foods, wouldn’t it be more appealing to eat while reading a pleasant story, rather than boring health tips?

With the box of cereal, I sent Mark a copy of “Celebrate Good Times,” which is the story of the Brownie Bladder Blizzard. Here’s to hoping he shoots some Quisp and milk out of his nose while reading that little gem.

I intended to have another contest, making whoever lands on the 65,000 hit, the winner, but I missed it. I liked the creativity that came out of the last contest so maybe another contest like that would be best. Post your suggestions in the comments.

I was visiting with some neighbors last week. Their kids are younger than mine, which means it isn’t often that we can find things to do that will amuse the entire group. They had a niece visiting from Mississippi and I had my nephew Dino-Mike here. My nephew is their son’s age and their niece is my daughter’s age. Finally we had some kids in common who could entertain each other while we just chilled.

They decided the kids would have more fun together if they blew up their enormous waterslide. The kids hurriedly got their swimsuits on and most of them went running for the slide.

Their niece (remember she is 11-years-old) announced in her southern accent, “Don’t any of y’all be looking at my bathin’ suit. An’ if ya already did, you just git it outta yer mind.”

That was by far one of the funniest things I heard ever.

I have some more stories about my stint at The Second City, which I’ll get to soon. I have some comedian friends I’d like you to check out. I have more about a possible move for the Lane Gang. I have stories about my visit with my mom, and of course more Dino-Mike coming soon to a blog near you. Stay tuned by signing up with RSS Feed on the top right sidebar. I’m flighty with updates in the summer and that will let you know when I’ve got my shit together.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Return Of Dino-Mike

Over the last couple of weeks, my nephew Dino-Mike has been here visiting. He and I have been to the zoo, water park, bug and alien hunting, swimming at our local pool, and on the bike trails. It’s always go-go-go when there’s a 6-year-old in the house.

Dino-Mike has made some friends in my neighborhood. There are a handful of kids his age who keep him busy when I am too tuckered out. It’s a beautiful thing.

Timing on this visit was off by a mile, however. My old man and the kids are in California, vacationing without me. I thought about brining the little dude with, but when I couldn’t get his father by phone, I decided taking him across the country without parental permission, is too close to kidnapping, and I’m too straight for jail.

The two of us have been making the best of having the house to ourselves. One thing I have trouble with is cooking. I am used to feeding grownups, teens and preteens not little guys. I only know how to cook for an army. Since he kept asking me for a grand tostado, and knowing his father is dating a girl from Mexico, I assumed he wanted Mexican food. Tostados are Mexican food, right?

So I took the little shit out to a place that makes the best Mexican food. He noticed the TV was on.

“Auntie Lois, that’s Telemundo, eieieieieieieieahahahaha!”

I obviously don’t know how to spell that excited sound you might hear on Telemundo, but little Dino-Mike knew how to impersonate what he heard.

He finally sat down and looked at the menu. Acting as if he were really reading it, he looked over the edge at me, and said, “Auntie Lois, I want a burger.”

“A burger? I thought you said you wanted a tostado. That’s why I brought you here.”

“No I don’t really like that kinda stuff.”

“Then how come you told me you wanted me to get you a grand tostado?”

“I wanna do that at your house.”

“I don’t know how to make those very grand, buddy.”

We finished our dinner and headed home. He went into Lane 1’s room and yelled for me to help him put the Playstation 2 on. When I got in there, he was holding the game, Grand Theft Auto.

“This is the grand tostado I want, Auntie Lois.”

You try explaining what a parental warning label is to a 6-year-old. He hated me for twelve whole minutes for saying no. Thankfully, he has the attention span of a gnat.

I’m going to have to try getting an audio post out of this kid before he heads back home. He is hysterical and if you remember the last time he was here, I said he did a pretty good impersonation of E.T. Stay tuned.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Soul Man

Arvin Mitchell is the black, male, Lois Lane who I met at The Second City. We had some of the most ridiculous things in common. And if he hadn’t been so “tan” I may have thought us to be separated at birth. Don’t get the wrong idea about the racial shit, either. He knows he’s black, and I’d bet money that I am his favorite cracka from the city of Chicago. (Okay, favorite might be a stretch.)

We both attended the course to hone our comedy writing skills and learn to be more concise, while being as funny as possible.

Besides the obvious, both of us are left handed. We grew up with people saying left handed people had the devil in them. I guess being a leftie is supposed to bring out the inner-Satan according to religious zealots of yesteryear. We were encouraged to write with our right hand, which neither of us complied.

We brought the same type of notebook to class the first day. The only difference between the notebooks was the color, kinda like us. By now you may be thinking, “Wow Lois! That’s amazing! You MUST have been separated at birth!”

Okay smart asses, I’ve got more, hold your horses.

To try to prove how different we are, Arvin said, “Yeah but I bet you don’t start writing in a new notebook from the back page.”

I told that silly soul brother of mine to pick up my notebook and take a gander. I only wrote my directions to The Second City in the notebook, which incidentally were on the back page.

He offered up a little grin and nod. We were joined at the hip for the rest of the week. Every time something stupid happened or someone odd walked by, he and I made eye contact as if to ask without speaking, “Did you see that?!?” We had a lot of those eye contact conversations, even during class.

At one point during the week, we were standing outside and spotted a pregnant woman, wearing a dress and running out of a shoe store. Her bellybutton was poking through her dress like a turkey eye, declaring the goose was cooked. She was ready to pop pregnant, and probably shouldn’t have been running. We gave each other that familiar look and then busted up laughing.

She apparently was trying on a pair of gym shoes and wanted to take them for a test run.

“See, that? Black people don’t do that kinda shit,” Arvin said.

“Well that’s because the store clerk would have jumped her ass for trying to steal them.”

“You got that right. Ain’t no one in a million years gonna believe a sister was only trying them shoes on to see how fast they go.”

We decided she had no idea that she will later spend years running after that kid of hers, and should save her energy while she can. We almost told her but we got sidetracked talking about differences between black people and white people. We learned that our mothers were both the disciplinarians and beat us with any item they happened to be holding at any given time.

Somehow, that turned into a conversation about families passing things down through generations.

Arvin said, “You guys pass down houses, and businesses. And black people pass down shit like curling irons and…”

“Sickle cell anemia?”

“Yeah! Now that’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout.”

We got sidetracked again because Arvin likes to mess with people. He said it’s one of his favorite things to do. As we walked through downtown, even if we were in mid-conversation, if he saw someone walking a dog, he would stop talking to bark. He riled up every dog he saw. If they barked back, he barked louder. Most dog owners gave him a fake smile. A couple offered up a dirty look. To save himself from getting his ass kicked or mauled, he put on a smile nobody could get mad at.

When a cute girl walked by, he gently brushed her arm with the back of his hand. And then, when she gave him the “What the fuck?” look, he lied and told her she had a bug on her. I nodded as if confirming his story. As soon as she was out of ear-shot, we laughed our heads off.

In the classroom, he wrote notes and turned his notebook toward me. He was so much like that friend you had in school who could get you laughing at the most inopportune times. It was great.

I know I’ll see my soul brother again soon. We’ve already got plans to hook up in St. Louis, when I help my in-laws move there in about a month.

You want to see Arvin in action? He has some standup comedy video and audio clips on his website and at his MySpace page.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Back In The Saddle Again

Dorothy was right, there is no place like home. Chicago was great. Mom’s house was great. I returned to the country and the house was still standing. I learned the old man and the kids don’t mind living in squalor. And to think of all the time I’ve wasted over the years cleaning this dump. They would have been perfectly content with me letting things go to hell in a hand basket.

It was a bummer leaving Mom. She took care of me, made sure the coffee was always on and fresh, had food waiting for me when I got home. She shared her computer so I could work from her house, and get my homework done. Best of all, she was happy to provide me with a little material for you guys, which I’ll get to over the next couple of days.

Driving into the city from my mom’s house shouldn’t have been one and a half to two hours one way, but because I had impeccable timing with traffic lights, it was. (She lives 25 miles from downtown.) Besides the traffic lights, cars and absurd amount of jaywalkers, someone tried to sell me crack through my open car window. Another guy was selling snow cones from the median. Someone a few streets down spit on my windshield, squeegeed it and tried to demand payment, there was also a guy selling bootlegged CDs and DVDs car-to-car. Maybe getting there really is half the fun. Like my mom, these characters were there everyday doing their thing.

The Second City was everything I wanted it to be and more. I was paired up with the most usual group of people. A group of funny people I otherwise may have never met, whom I fell in love with.

Like a good television show, we had our token black guy, a Mexican, one lesbian and gay guy. We had a lady who was retired, a princess who wants to be on soap operas, a space cadet, a handful of college kids and then there was me, married with two kids.

Somehow this odd bunch managed to work together in writing and sketch collaboration. Maybe that’s what it is really like working within a team of writers. We clicked and we were pretty sure we were funnier than shit. I guess coming from all over the country, being different ages and living different lifestyles is how we were able to bring so many angles to our writing. If this is anything like that dream writing job of mine, I can’t wait.