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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Sleepovers Are A Real Gas!

Katie Sullivan turned seven-years-old, and she had the coolest mom on the planet. Her mom let her invite ten of her closest friends to a sleepover birthday party. And I, Lois Lane, was one of them. It was my very first sleepover, and my mom, well, let’s just say she wasn’t nearly as cool as Katie’s mom.

Because there was already a houseful of kids at the Lane Estate, Mom never wanted extra kids visiting, let alone spending the night. I would dream of sleepovers and pizza parties, that would never happen. But it was meant to be, I was in the In Crowd. Just me and the cool kids, chillin’ at a B-day party, all-night-long… just at someone else’s house.

For a week leading up to the event, I thought of all the things we would be doing, talking about, and even made a few games we could play. It was going to be a great time had by all. I was sure of it.

The big day arrived, and let me tell you, I was as excited about Katie’s birthday as she probably was, maybe even more so. I repeatedly reminded my sister Angie that she was not invited, not that she cared, but I sure did. This party meant that I was more popular. I was sure of it.

Somewhere in between gloating and packing, something happened inside of my head. I didn’t have a sleeping bag with a cool cartoon character like Mighty Mouse. I didn’t even have a sleeping bag at all. I didn’t have any cute Strawberry Shortcake pajamas with matching fuzzy slippers either, like everyone else had. And my pillow, which reeked of old drool had one of Grandma’s old lady flowery patterned pillowcases on it. My coolness was slipping and my head was spinning.

“And. Oh. My. God! What happens if I fart in my sleep?!?!?!? Everyone is going to laugh at me, make fun of me, tell everyone at school that Lois Lane is a deflating balloon as soon as the sun goes down.”

I was doomed! I tried to turn the situation around on my mom, but with her lack of cool, she didn’t catch on very quickly.

“Mommy? Are you sure you want me to go away? For. The. Whole. Night!?”

That stupid woman just raised her eyebrow at me like a dog waiting for direction.

“Mom. Mommy? Ma! Hey Mom. Ma?”

She cleared her throat and said, “What?”

“Aren’t you going to miss me? I’ve never been away from home before.”

“Well sure I’ll miss you but you’ll be back tomorrow morning.”

“I know, Mom… but I’ll be gone All. Night. Long!”

“Are you afraid you’re going to get homesick, Lolo?”

I didn’t even know what that meant. I put the words together in my head. I realized how not cool my mom was. Homesick is when you are home and get sick. I wasn’t even going to be home. Boy, oh boy, was my mom a dummy!

“No! I’m not sick.”

“Then what’s wrong?”

First I stared at the floor, “Mop N Glow really made floors shiny.” then I looked at my shoes, “Trax blue tennis shoes make toes blue when you get sweaty feet." then I folded my hands, “I really should stop biting my fingernails.” then I started wringing my hands, “Weird how the red parts of my hands turn white when I squeeze.” and then I asked, very seriously, “Mommy, how many pairs of underpants can I wear at one time to make sure no one hears if I fart?”

That evil woman, the non-cool, not even smart woman, laughed at me. I didn’t appreciate her humor.

“Yeah, only ‘cuz, that’s not even a joke. This is serious. If I fart, everyone is going to hear it and then they will make fun of me, and then everyone in the whole entire school is going to find out that I fart.”

“Honey, everyone farts, but no one is going to hear it because they will all be sleeping too.”

Obviously, this woman knew nothing!

“I fart really loud! What if it’s so loud that everyone wakes up?!”

Her laughing turned into a cackle and I knew I would not be getting any words of sympathy or advice from her. Hesitantly, I gathered my things and headed out for the party.

No one besides me seemed to care or notice that I didn’t have a sleeping bag. I brought the biggest fattest comforter so I could wrap my tooshie, in the event it made noise during the night. No one else seemed to care that I didn’t have a matching slipper and PJ set or that my pillow looked like it was stolen from someone’s grandma’s house. But I was sure if I farted, everyone would notice and care.

I vowed to stay awake. All. Night. Long.

That was until I dozed off and one of my own farts woke me. I sat up all quick and nervous like. I was sweating from my heavy-duty blanket. I looked around at all of the other kids. “Thank you God!" They didn’t budge. Everyone was still fast asleep and my butt alarm wasn’t heard by anyone but me… and Katie’s mom? “Oh my God! Why is that lady awake so early? The stupid sun isn’t even up! She is so not the coolest mom ever! I hate her!”

I tried really hard to make fake farting noises with my mouth, and cough so I could cover up the fart factor and she would just think I was just making sounds and not deflating. I thought maybe because everyone was laying so closely together that she wouldn’t know whose butt that sound came from. But I was the only one, sitting straight up, looking gassy and guilty, while hiding in my blanket giving myself a Dutchoven.

“Um… good morning,” I sheepishly said as I poked my head out of my blanket and began to cry.

“Oh, sweetheart. What’s wrong?”

“Quick Lois, find a grownup word, you can’t tell this lady you are crying because you farted!

“Umm… I’m homesick.”

That lady didn’t laugh at me. That lady was regaining her coolness. That lady called my mom, the not cool lady, and said that I was homesick. That lady fed me doughnuts until my dad came to pick me up at 5 a.m.

My dad wasn’t angry for having to pick me up so early. I hugged him real tight around the neck. Dad knew all about farts. He was a proud card carrying member of the fart club. Hell, he may have been the president or founding member. With Dad, farting was a game, no shame or embarrassment, about bodily functions, ever. Me and Dad would lay around for hours farting and sniffing. Yes, sniffing. No one could match Dad’s fartarificness. Dad was cool.

“Daddy? Thanks for coming to get me… I farted.”

“You did? I didn’t hear a thing, and I don’t smell anything.”

“No, Dad, not now. I farted at the sleepover.”

“So. I bet all the kids farted.”

“No they didn’t, Dad. I tried to stay awake all night and I didn’t hear one toot besides my own.”

“Well Lois, if they don’t fart sometime, eventually they will explode.”

I smiled at that man. He was smart, and cool.

When we got back home, Mom was awake and having coffee. She became sort of like the military that day, don’t ask, don’t tell. I think she knew I wasn’t really homesick, just gassy. And that woman never said a word about farts. She just told me she was so glad I was back home because she missed me. That woman regained her coolness that morning.

By the way, the old fart, Mom, is another year older. You can send her some b-day love in the comments or by emailing her at

Saturday, June 16, 2007

If The World Had A Front Porch

I really did spend most of my week in the garden. Boy oh boy, do weeds grow like… um… weeds. That crazy rich soil I told you guys about in the last post hasn’t just made for some purdy flowers and a bunch of weeds, I’ve also found… bones? And teeth??

Apparently, Wilbur was buried right where I wanted more flowers and I dug up some of him. Oh, Wilbur!

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I should have known I’d find something like this in the ground. I mean, that’s where dead things go, right? Plus, way up high in one of the old trees that hangs over my garden, there is a horseshoe mounted onto a branch. That must have been his tombstone.

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I would like to publicly apologize to Wilbur and those who loved him, whilst thanking Wilbur for providing such good nutrients to my soil. I had to keep what I dug up to show you guys so my sister Angie didn’t think I was telling a Bubba Senior story. He is the ex of Ang, and a bullshitter extraordinaire. He once told a story at a family gathering, about his boss making him put a horse out of his misery with a 45 caliber. Smelling bullshit, my sister said to her former husband, “Oh Wilbur!” We still laugh about her calling him out on that one, which happened 15 years ago. And to this day, when someone is telling a lie, I always think about ol’ Wilbur.

Anyhow, the teeth and bones will be back in the ground as soon as I am done blogging. (Priorities, people.)

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Lois Lane does not stand on rickety old ladders. So, I climbed out of the second story window after part of the roof was up. Mr. Lane was smiling at me and Lane 2 captured her dad watching me. She said, “Oh, Mom, he was smiling so cute at you!”

He said he likes my ingenuity. Ingenuity hell. I am afraid of heights. Just being up there gave me a case of the woozies. But by the time you’ve been up there for five or so hours hammerin’ away, you forget yourself.

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Now, what this post is really supposed to be about is the porch. Mr. Lane’s dad thought he was just coming to visit and see our house. But we put him to work right away. Here’s three generations of Lane boys proud of their accomplishments. (Little girls who touch camera lenses leaving behind fingerprints should be shaken, not stirred. Sorry for the blurriness.)

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Lane 2 is by far the happiest painter on the planet! She had more fun than the rest of us combined. There is still some paint in her hair, three weeks later.

Recently, Ross Mathews, a Tonight Show correspondent, was talking about how he has a really bad habit of telling people what great bargains he gets. For example, if someone says, “Hey Ross, nice shirt!” He’ll say how much the shirt cost him. It is a habit he said he wished he didn’t have. Well, Mr. Lane and I have it too. For whatever reason we feel compelled to say, “We had a couple of estimates and the guys wanted over $9,000 to do the porch. We said, ‘To hell with that.’ and did it ourselves. So far we have only spent $1,400 in materials.” And Mr. Lane always adds, “Not too bad for a trucker, a retired guy, a couple teenagers and a writer, huh?”

Not too bad at all.

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There’s still a lot to do, like adding railings, real stairs, gutters, beadboard (ceiling) on the underside of the roof and a porch swing. That thin white strip (flashing) toward the top also needs to be added the whole length. We just put a tiny piece up to see how it is going to look. Since the photo, I have stained all of the wood. I could take my lazy ass outside, move my car and take a new photo but … you get the gist.

And because we are in a tiny town, everyone who drives by, goes really slow. People (many whom I’ve never seen) have approached me at the grocery store, pharmacy, city hall, teen center, nursing home, everywhere about the porch. And Mr. Lane is so proud of our work that he smiles, waves, and quietly, to every passing car, says, “I saw you looking at my porch. You are checking out my wood. And you like it!”

Happy father’s day to all of you daddies, and mommies who have to play Daddy. My birthday is in three days, on June 19th. I think this porch is gift enough for me and the old man, don’t you?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Homeownership, I don’t think Mr. Lane and I have found anything we have enjoyed this much since we first got naked together. Seriously! We are really enjoying all of the projects that come with owning an 80 year old house, and being first-time-homeowners.

One of the best parts for me is that a long time ago, this was a farm. The soil is crazy rich and makes for a fast growing garden, which I wanted to share with you guys today, even though blogger sucks monkey balls and won't post all the pictures correctly. Next week, I’ll have some before and after photos of the porch we built.

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I’ve been playing in the dirt a lot lately. It began with a lot of river rocks, phlox and a big old wagon.

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Sometimes even crazy ass Mr. Lane takes time to enjoy the fruits of our yard.

We have your run of the mill birds, squirrels, chipmunks, groundhogs, bunnies and an occasional:

It was 5 a.m. on a Saturday that we first saw her. She comes back nearly everyday.

I’ll be right here if you need anything, just give a holler.

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This week, I want you to take time to smell the:

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Growing Up LaMe

I don’t know if I ever mentioned this on the blog, but I’ve always told my kids they can date when they are 16, and not before. I figure at the age of 16, they will be working, which means they will have their own money to pay for wherever they want to go and whatever they want to do. Also, they will be driving at 16, which means they can get to and from said date.

The whole thing made perfect sense to me. I mean, really, why should I have to fork out money and play chauffeur when I haven’t been on a date in more than a decade?

My, son Lane 1 has been driving me crazy about this rule. He has “a whole bunch of girls who really want to date” him. The self-described stud muffin has tried everything in the book to get me to cave on this rule. Recently, he topped the cake.

He came home from school in a yellow sports car. A girl was driving him home. His school isn’t that far away that he needs a ride. I saw him flirt as he waved and said goodbye to the cute driver. Waiting at the door, I said, “Hi. Who was that?”

“Dude, are you stalking me?”

Following him to the kitchen, I said, “Yeah.”

Looking over his shoulder at me, he continued to act natural. He headed straight to the fridge just like my little 14 year old.

“We need to talk.”

I looked at him very seriously, because, that is usually my line, and now he was telling me that we needed to talk. My mind whipped up all of the imaginary concerns a teen could be facing. I thought how grown up he is for coming to me with his problems.

“I’m here for you, son. Whatever you want to talk about I’ll listen.”

“Good. Because this no dating until I turn 16 thing is…”

I thought, “Yeah, so much for coming to me in your time of need you little brat. You’re just like your father!” Only, I didn’t say a word.

“…well, lame. Anyway, this is what I was thinking, Adriana, the girl who drove me home, has a car, and a job and she is 17 and she really wants to go out with me. She even said she would take care of paying and getting us where we need to go.”

I was sure I wasn’t hearing this. What would a 17 year old girl want with my little boy?! Wait! I don’t want to know! I tried to keep my game face on even though on the inside I was thinking how slick he is for coming up with that as a reason to break this life-long rule. Yup, just like his father.

“I think it’s nice that she offered, son. I don’t think you are ready to date. Besides, it would be really lame to let her be the one who takes care of all expenses. Every guy who likes a girl, at some point will want to buy her a present or flowers.” I put my foot in my mouth that time!

“Well, Mom, I am working. So I do have some money, enough to buy her a gift here and there.”

Damn it all and damn me to hell and back! I forgot that he does have a job. A job I got for him. He is working at the teen center, where I volunteer. He is a tutor for little kids. He goes four days a week after school, and they pay him 15 dollars per hour. Shit!

“It sounds to me like you have really thought this out well, but I can’t go bending rules now.”

“Dude, Ma!”

“Don’t get mad. I’m just sure you aren’t ready for all the drama that comes with dating, especially the amount of drama that comes from a 17 year old girl. Besides, she is going to be leaving for college soon. What if you fall in love with this girl, only to have to say goodbye for four years? By then, you’ll be off to college and you’ll have another three years of waiting for this one girl.”

“I didn’t think about that. I’m not in love though, Ma. We are just really good friends.”

“Why ruin a good friendship? Can’t you kids just all go as a group to see a movie, go horseback riding, or fishing, go bowling, play pool, go to the swimming pool, hit the teen center on dance night, or go out for pizza, or something non-date-ish?”

“What about prom, Mom? She really wants me to go with her.”

Wondering why a senior would want to take a freshmen to prom was boggling my mind.


“It’s her senior year prom, Mom. It’s important to her, and she asked ME.”

“That truly is an honor. But, son, prom is really expensive.”

“She already bought the tickets. All I need is a tux rental and she gave me this,” he dug a dress swatch from his pocket.

“Oh, that’s pretty. So she asked you and you really want to go?”

“Yes, I really want to go.”

“What if I say yes, just to prom, providing your dad is okay with it, but…”

“There’s always a but.”

“You’re learning kid. BUT… you will be home immediately following prom. No after parties, backseat make-outs or anything, straight home.”

“You mean it?!”

“Well, I have to talk to Dad first but I’m pretty sure it’ll be okay with him.”

“Oh man, thanks!”

He ran off to use the phone, smiling ear-to-ear.

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Tux rental: 95 dollars
Shoe rental: 25 dollars
Haircut: 18 dollars
Corsage: 22 dollars
Mom’s therapy bill: 1 thousand dollars
Bending rules: painful, yet free
The smile on their faces: PRICELESS