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Friday, December 29, 2006

See You Next Year

Remember last week when I said I was thankful my kids are growing into the mature, selfless adults? Here’s proof:

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Two days before we left for Missouri, these mature little creatures were surfing the net together and found a song about boogers. Obviously they thought it was hysterical. Maybe mature was a tiny stretch.

Lane 2 got a haircut for Christmas. Even though Lane 1 needed one more, he didn’t want one. He said he is trying to grow out his ‘fro. Again, very mature, right?!

We made the trip safe and sound. Mr. Lane’s dad and step-mom were the hosts with the most. I think we all gained 10 pounds. And, incase you were wondering, yes, our very commercialized Christmas was spared.

Do you remember the story about Bobby? He was a firefighter in New York who died in the attack on the World Trade Centers. I wrote about him on the 5th anniversary. Anyhow, as mentioned in that post, the tribute I wrote about him was published in a book. Because of some legal hang-ups, my publisher is unable to make the book available for sale. It can be used as a marketing tool for the company, but that’s it. It was a blow to my writer’s ego. I had 17 stories published in that book and really wanted to see it offered for sale. But, shit happens.

For Christmas, I sent the only copy I had of the book to Bobby’s mother, Rose. Her son’s handsome face made the cover. It took several painful hours for her to share his story with me. Reliving that nightmare was so hard for her and giving her the book was the least I could do.

When Rose received the book, she called me. She was so happy and said what turned out to be the best Christmas present I’ve ever had. “Lois, I feel like you gave me back a part of my son, and my life. There are no words to tell you how much this means to me. This is the best Christmas present I’ve ever been given.”

Crying and laughing we talked for more than an hour. When I got off of the phone, I felt this urgency to call the publisher. At first I felt the feeling was because I kind of wanted a copy of that book for my own mom. But when he answered, I started blabbing about Rose. I told him how much that story about her son meant to her and said, “There is a huge need for more.” I came up with an idea to compile a series of books, Heroes Worth Remembering, beginning with firefighters. If this one story brought this much joy to this one woman, imagine if there was a whole book honoring the work they all do.

I don’t know how long we spoke but he was digging the idea. By the next day he had written a proposal to take to his partners that he wanted me to review. Me. Sure I write. And occasionally I have a good idea. But review a proposal? My mouth said, “Sure, e-mail it to me.”

After a handful of e-mails back and forth, and a day to wait it out, it became official. “Firefighters Worth Remembering” is a go. Bobby’s story is going to be republished in it because he truly was the inspiration for the idea. When I told his mom, she was thrilled. She offered to help us get the word out and help us get in touch with other parents like herself.

More work + more money ÷ commercialized Christmas = game on!

Mr. Lane and I decided to put the hit and run smashed mobile off for a couple of weeks. Knowing the money fairy will be coming soon, we finally got excited about Christmas. Did I tell you we didn’t do any of our traditions? Not one! No tree! We didn’t go out to the forest for a carriage ride, hike in the snow, see Santa or anything. Our spirit, like my car, was smashed to smithereens. But now… well, someone get me to the mall, STAT!

I fucking hate the mall, but I was cozying up to the idea, “But wait,” said Mr. Lane. “There is a huge outlet mall in Osage Beach,” which is only 10 minutes from his dad’s house! Oh joy of joys! We left for Missouri with smiles upon our faces.

After the hellos, we’ve missed yous, the you look greats, and other pleasantries, we set out shopping. It was the eve of the Eve. Finally the Lane spirit was loud and proud and fully energized.

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And this was the end result. Who could ask for anything more?

But wait, there was more, because we had fun! Crazy concept, huh?!

Mr. Lane and his dad bonded while working on some repairs in their new house. A tree used to come up through the deck, but they fixed the hole and cut the tree down. And… well, I don’t know what else they did but you can take a guess:

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Ever ask yourself, “How many guys does it take to change a light bulb in a fake fireplace?”

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I asked Mr. Owl, and he said thuurreee!

Waking up to the view was definitely a treat. Their enclosed porch looks over the lake. Eagles soar effortlessly through the air (but are too quick to be captured on my digital). It’s really breathtaking.

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Until you get a teenager who thinks sticking his big ol’ melon in front of the camera is a good idea.

And not to be outdone by a smelly brother, Lane 2 did the same:

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Strike a pose, vogue. Cute haircut, right? I bet you didn’t even know Santa’s elves could cut hair.

Although last year, I was truly blessed with the finest of all stationary bikes, this year, Mr. Lane bought me jewelry. A gold chain to be precise. My mom gave me a dream catcher medallion a few months ago. Somehow, I managed to break the chain. I’ve been wanting to get it fixed or buy a replacement, but I never seem to be able to talk myself into spending money on that type of thing.

Did I mention the medallion is silver, which I prefer to gold? Did I mention the new chain is gold, as in yellow gold. Can you say tacky clashing jewelry? At least he tried, right?!

To make up for his tiny mistake, he went to the store and bought all of the stuff to make his world-famous cookies.

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There just ain’t nothin’ sexier than a man cooking. Well… maybe one doing dishes or scrubbing the floor.

I hope all of your merries were happy and your happies are merry. See you next year!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry merry and happy happy to y’all

I’m leaving for Missouri in a few and just wanted to wish everyone a great Christmasorwhateveritisyoucelebrate. See you next week!

Love you all!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

DUCK! Flying Shitballs!

I think we have all been there. The forces that be decide, “Today is just going to suck, get used to it!” I try to keep an upbeat attitude. Life has thrown a ton of shitballs my way, and because “That is life,” I continue forward and try to take something positive from each experience, or said shitball.

Today I am still trying to find the positive from last Friday. I guess some people may call it dwelling. Anyhow, the first thing that got me going was my sister’s surgery. Yeah, I know, it’s just a gall bladder. But the reality of it is, I knew there was no way I would be able to be there with her because of how far away I live. The day rolled downhill from there.

There was the surprise toilet episode, which again, I’ll spare you too many details. But suffice to say, it is a water saver toilet. (Read: really cheap piece of shit, that won’t suck the literal shit down correctly.) After wrasslin’ the toilet monster for an hour, (I wish I were kidding!) I high-tailed it to the grocery store and my phone rang.

“Babe, my work truck needs to go into the shop. I’m going to be late.”

“Oh that sucks. Sorry.”

“Yeah, I’m dropping it off at the mechanic’s now.”

“Well that sounds more like an early day than a late one. What’s the hang up if your truck isn’t working?”

“I have to drop it off and then wait for my boss or someone to come and get me.”

“Were are you? I just got out of the grocery store, I can come.”

“Oh cool! You sure you don’t mind?”

“How could I mind? And why should you have to sit there for who knows how long? Tell me how to get there.”

After he gave me directions, I took off. It was farther than he said, but it really didn’t bother me, until… I realized he still needed to pickup his personal vehicle at work. Because I rarely pay attention to directions, I had no clue I’d picked him up two hours away from his workplace.

I spent hours in the car, probably more hours than he would have sat waiting for his boss to pick him up. I thought of the many times he did little things for me, made sacrifices, gone out of his way, and the frustration subsided. But now, I was in a big hurry because I promised the lady who runs the teen center that I would be there to help with the big Christmas celebration dance. (I have been volunteering there almost every week since we moved here, and I love it.)

At least 100 kids showed up for the party. There were prizes and games and tons of dancing. It was a lot of fun, until… I walked out to start my car and saw the entire driver’s side smashed in. Both doors, big dents, paint chipped off, heart sank. Hit and run, no witnesses, just one crushed Lois Lane with a matching car. Who said I wasn’t fashionable?!

You folks reading who have been around a while know I just got this car a few months ago, which made the ache a little sharper. You also know that the Lanes finally purchased our first house, which left us broke. (Not starving, mind you, just getting by, broke.)

Thinking about my insurance and the $500 deductable, added to the misery. My old man arrived before the police. He was pissed and treated me like it was my fault. I guess the blame game feels good when all is going to shit.

A dim light when on inside of my head… Christmas, oh shit! Talk about adding insult to injury, I could feel shitballs being thrown. We were holding out on shopping because we are going to Missouri for Christmas. We didn’t want the kids to see their gifts, so we intended to do our shopping there. After paying the deductable, we would have nothing left over for Christmas.

If I wait to get the car fixed, there could be a lot of rust and road salt damage due to our weather. So for almost a week, this is what I have been dwelling on. Do I fix the car? Do I buy presents for my kids?

Have I mentioned how much I love my kids lately? Both said they had enough stuff and suggested I just fix the car.

“Dude Ma, you can just get me that plasma big screen and Lamborghini at an after Christmas sale,” Lane 1 joked.

“Yeah, and I’ll be happy getting my toy chest filled with diamonds later… as long as it isn’t too far after the first of the year,” Lane 2 added.

And Mom… have I mentioned how much I love her lately? She offered to give us $500. She was like the opposite of the Grinch, well, she is green and really hairy, but that’ll have to be a blog for another day. Anyhow, Mr. Lane, being the stupid sonofa ass dick mother fuuu kind of man he is, told Mom, “Thanks, but no thanks.” He called her after he left the house… without mentioning it to me. So for a fleeting moment, I thought our very commercialized Christmas was saved, only to find out a few hours later that my old man’s pride was bigger than his stupid fucking mouth.

I really need to stop dwelling because really good stuff is happening. And even if we can’t get our kids everything they would like to have, they are growing into the mature, selfless adults we intended to raise. That’s a great Christmas present for me and the moron their father.

Thank you all for the well-wishes for my sister Anita. She had a little hang-up due to an allergy to medicine they gave her, but has come out of surgery. They released her late last night and is home now, doing well. Again, another great Christmas gift.

I do have some more good news but it’s going to have to wait for another post, coming soon to a blog near you.

Monday, December 18, 2006

You Want What?

My sister Anita is in surgery as I type. Please send good vibes to her and her stupid gall bladder and the surgeon who is plucking it out. How’s that for a Christmas present? She’ll likely be laid up and feeling crappy, so I hope Santa is extra good to her this year.

Speaking of Santa, we Lanes have asked for some really weird shit. The kids, for the most part, have outgrown toys. Sure they would be happy to get a high-tech video game system, but neither asked for one. Instead, the kids, old man and me, are all asking Santa to bring us things for our house.

Without going into detail, we need a new toilet, and both kids have one on their list. I don’t ever remember asking Santa to bring anything that wasn’t specifically for me. I was a selfish little shit, I guess.

Since I’m short on time, tell me what’s the weirdest gift you have ever asked for.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

You’ll Rot Your Brain Out

I probably don’t have to tell you guys how stupid I am. I have no idea how or why I forgot to tell you this. When my in-laws gave us all of that wonderful furniture and stuff listed a few posts ago, they also gave us a 42 inch TV. We have this loft in the new house and decided it would one day be our TV room. It’s upstairs and out of the way. It is a perfect lounging area.

Before they gave us that monstrosity of a television, we had four plastic lawn chairs, an armoire, with a 13 inch TV in there. Talk about a fucking upgrade!

Now it looks like a real live TV room. We have the couch and loveseat, coffee table and two end tables, all of which they gave us, in there too. Minus, of course, the plastic chairs that I finally took back outside.

By the way, all of that snow finally melted. But not before we had to move in the new fridge. We actually had to shovel snow that drifted four to five feet along the entire deck, plus a pathway through our lawn, leading all the way to the kitchen door, because it wouldn’t fit through the other door. That day Mr. Lane and I said lots of bad words in each other’s general direction.

Off of the deck, we had to go down a few steps before getting to the lawn. That was where my mouth took over and bad words fell out. I was on the bottom of the steps. He tried to gently push it down one step at a time. Instead, it came flying down all of the steps. Lucky for the fridge, my shoulders and collar bone were there to brace its fall. Seriously, I think I fractured something because it still hurts. But purple is totally my color so it’s all good.

Mr. Lane is funny. When he realized why I was dropping F bombs and such, he started to swear right along side of me.

It was sorta like this (me) “Fuck! Ouch! Get it off of me!”

(Him) “Shit, fuck! Hang on! Sonofabitch!”

Good times!

Back to the whole TV thing. Sorry, I get easily distracted. Our family hasn’t been really big on TV. Well, Mr. Lane has, but was out voted. It’s been over ten years since we’ve had a TV in our living room, or in this case, TV room. And the largest TV we ever had was a 32 incher, we bought way back when we were shacked up without kids. I eventually gave that TV to a family friend, since it wasn’t used very much.

(Lois stands and faces the group) You guys, I am a TV addict. Now I remember why I got rid of that 32 incher in the first place. I wasn’t just being nice to a friend. I wasn’t sparing brains from rotting out of the kids’ little heads. I have no self control! None. Whatsoever. Last night, prime example, I watched TV until my eyeballs grew grainy and could no longer stay open. I think I went to bed after 3 a.m. And there just isn’t any good reason for that.

So while I love and appreciate my in-laws and all of their fabulous gifts, my tired ol’ bones and eyeballs are cussing them out big time today. If you can, take a nap for me today. I’ll be working (Insert tears here.), which technically is good news to share another day.

P.S. Thanks for all of the well-wishes for my sister Anita. It means a lot to us.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Great Balls Of Fire

Or maybe the title today should have been, Great Galls Of Bladder, only that isn’t a song and doesn’t really make sense. But the reason for today’s post name is because my sister Anita is getting her gall bladder removed soon. She’s been feeling pretty lousy lately, and after loads of tests, her doctor determined that only about 8% of the dang thing is working. So please wish my big sis lots of luck and good vibes.

And now, to announce our big contest winner *drumroll* it’s a tie! Congratulations to Chris and Lynn! Both will receive an exciting gift, very soon, which I will announce once they have received it. Send your mailing addresses to, ladies.

Todd, Mark and Patricia have been in the winner’s circle before here at Home Fires, and let me tell you, they are pert-near celebrities ‘cuz of it. Who will win the next big contest? What will the next big contest entail? What will the prize be? Let’s ask Mr. Owl. Congratulations again to all of our winners!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Voices Dance In My Head

What a crazy week it has been. Actually, maybe the craziness started last week and has trickled over onto this week. Could it be life has always been crazy and now I’ve reached a point in my life where it actually affects me? There’s something to ponder over a bowl of oatmeal.

It’s still really cold here. The windchill is -12, which is ridiculous. Snow remains piled by the feet at the new Lane Estate. There is a pathway, which is really all that matters, unless… you need to move in your refrigerator… I’ll get back to that in just a jiffy. First things first, my contest has an undetermined winner.

There is a toss up between Chris who said, “I know that wherever the Lane family gathers, hilarity, homeless people, stray/hurt/lost/half-dead animals, and cat tricks ala Chip (if he hasn't run away again), will ensue. I know that Lois Lane is funny, but also has a heart of gold, and a yearn for a sister whose life ended much too soon. The Lo-rider 2000 exercise bike is my all time favorite post. The mental image of Mr. Lane sleeping then waking to find you pedaling away with your helmet, horn and purple handelbar streamers will forever be implanted in my brain. I laughed so damn hard, my stomach hurt. I also know that, for a while, most of your post titles were parts or names of songs. The infamous jump rope routine at Parent's Night in the 80's to a Prince song, picked by your sister Angie, made you a word nerd, and almost got you suspended from school. That is my top 5. Happy Blogaversay Lo honey.”

And Lynn who said, “The Top Ten things that make Lois an interesting blogger: #10: Last Christmas Lois gave cyber-gifts to her friends who live in her computer. This would make a great children's book, Lois. Title suggestions, anyone? #9: Lois ate a turkey testicle. #8: Lois knows that certain types of graffiti on the shower walls is a fun way to trick the kids and the hubby into cleaning the shower. #7: Lois is smart. She entertains the neighborhood children with weed-pulling contests. The winner gets five bucks. Why didn't I think of that? #6: Lois's mom has been known to curse like a sailor and make up perverted cooking terms. She even makes great coffee. I'm glad Lois had the sense to hire her back. Hey, Lo - tell your mom I'm up for adoption! #5: Only Lois is clever enough to use a box of pretend ashes to get out of sex. #4: Lois is a freak, owww - because Mr. Lane suffers from Kiss This Guy Syndrome. She takes it in stride, though, even when confronted with a Baldheaded Woman. Lois is very patient. She is surrounded by this syndrome, but manages to keep her cool even when they've Paved Paradise and put up a Fucking Light. #3: Lois has a woodchipper and she ain't afraid to use it. Stupid neighbors should consider themselves warned. #2: Lois would never embarrass her kids by blogging about the difference between dingleberries and full grown poop balls. Nope. This is just not something she would do. And the number one thing that makes Lois an interesting blogger --*drumroll*....... #1: Lois was a pot-bellied construction worker in 1994 while Mr. Lane dressed in drag!! Here it is twelve years later and they're still together. Who says role reversals can't work?? Happy Blog-Birthday, Lois! Consider yourself roasted.”

Roasted indeed. So what do you guys think? Is Chris our winner, or is it Lynn? Maybe it’s a tie. You decide. Once the votes are tallied, I’ll announced the winner and gift, which amazingly enough, has been determined.

Ah, craziness… my in-laws moved from California to Missouri last week. Mr. Lane flew out to Cali a couple of weeks ago to help them pack and drive the moving van. It was planned that the kids and I would drive to Missouri, seven hours away, to meet them there and help unload the truck. We intended to leave Friday. If you have seen the weather in the Midwest or have read my blog, you’ll note that where we live received 18 inches of snow Friday.

Bud Buckley left a comment for me recently that stuck in my head. He said, “Jeezus! You really have to learn to say "No, I'm too fucking stressed out and busy." You heap more crap on yourself. I'm worried about you.”

I never really paid much attention to what causes me to feel stressed, but Bud is right. I pile shit on myself all the time, and it’s likely the cause of my stress. As me and six wonderful helpers shoveled my driveway to unbury my car for the trip, I thought about Bud’s words. After shoveling for hours, I really didn’t want to leave Friday night. I decided we would head out first thing in the morning.

The next morning, while packing the car, I slipped on the ice. I could clearly see our road hadn’t been plowed but hoped for the best and headed out. As my car slid, I could practically hear Bud’s voice.

I inched my way to the highway, surely that would have been plowed, right? Wrong. Going 30 miles per hour, we got about three hours away from home. Every time there was a close call, I thought of Bud. White-knuckled I drove on until four vehicles, two semi-trucks, and two cars in front of me, all spun off into the ditch. I took the nearest exit as I heard Bud again. I almost said aloud to him, “Okay Jiminy Fucking Cricket, I hear ya!”

Maybe having voices inside of your head isn’t really a bad thing. At the oasis I called Mr. Lane. He was very upset. If the kids and I weren’t coming, that meant he and his father were unloading all alone. I felt terrible and my mouth almost said, “Okay, I’ll inch my way and see you there.” But Bud channeled right through me and said, “Sorry dude, the fucking roads suck. What do you want me to do, die getting there?”

Mr. Lane said, “Calm down, babe. If it’s really that bad, and you are really that scared, don’t drive. You can just drive back home or get a hotel and drive either to Missouri or back home tomorrow. No move is worth yours and the kids’ lives… Pansy.”

“No you didn’t just call me a pansy.”

“I’m kidding. We can scrounge up some neighbor kids and pay them to help.”

I felt relieved. I knew I still had to inch my way back home but the sense of relief was amazing.

A few days later my old man arrived back home safe and sound. Oh yeah, he had the moving van. To make me feel even worse, my in-laws sent him back with all sorts of stuff for our new house, including a sofa, loveseat, a dining room set, 2 dressers, 4 end tables, a coffee table, two recliners, a bed, a desk, boxes upon boxes of knick-knacks and kitchen items, and a refrigerator. Man, Catholic guilt is a nasty little thing. I looked all over for Bud, but he was no where to be heard. Clearly he was to blame for this feeling, right?

Now our house is packed and looks like real live people live here… no thanks to Bud. Hahahaha! Have a great weekend everyone! And don’t forget to vote for the winner of the contest.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Buried Alive

6 a.m. Friday, the alarm clock radio said, “No school today for most of the Midwest.”

Cheers echoed throughout our house. Lane 1 and Lane 2 were thrilled. The sound of their excitement made it difficult to not be happy for them. I’m not that old that I am unable to recall how exciting it was to get a free day off of school. I smiled at my two dorks as they bounced around my room happily.

I lay in bed wondering how bad it got after I’d gone to bed. The weatherman told me the night before as it was falling that we could get “almost a foot” of snow. I pulled the covers off and headed out of my room and saw this:

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The doors leading to the deck looked like something out of a Christmas movie. Only, where the hell are all the presents?

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Lane 1 opened the door and measured. “Holy crap! We got 18 inches, dude.”

I think the weatherman gets paid extra to lie.

Looking out to the backyard as I drank my coffee, this is what I saw:

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Can you see the tops of the trashcans? Imagine how much fun it was digging those suckers out.

Before asking if her friends could come over to enjoy the day off of school, Lane 2 thought she should butter me up by trying to clean off the car.

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It seems our driveway received three-foot snow drifts. Lane 2 finally gave up trying to dig the car out and asked if she could use the phone.

I threw some old carpet remnants down for all of the wet shoes and boots.

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This is what a snow day looks like from the inside.

Info about the trip that wasn’t, Bud Buckley being inside my head, contest and winner are all coming soon to a blog near you. Stay tuned.