Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Don't judge me

As I sit here sick in my house after getting that lovely nasty cold that was going around the workplace, I am reminded of a funny yet sick event from about 23 years ago.

My grandma (my mom's mom) had just died.  We were back in my hometown for the funeral.  It just so happened that our eldest who was our only child at the time was sick.  And by sick, I mean there was stuff coming from places I didn't know could leak.  We had been to the doctor, to the immediate care, and everyone said the same thing - Pediasure.  So we bought out the local Walgreens of all they had.  I was constantly changing diapers, washing clothes, and filling bottles.  I am still amazed today, her eyeballs didn't float out of her head.  It was 3 days of nasty.  I was tired, Michael was tired, and we were sick of changing everything.

At the funeral, my parents had gotten pissed at me because I had laughed about something.  I don't even know what, but it was clearly not the time to laugh.  I don't do funerals well. I just don't.  I want to remember the good (well for me with her there wasn't good until the very, very end) and not dwell on the dead part.  I have many times told my kids to burn me up, spread me in left field, and play loud dance music at the memorial. NO CRYING!  Only talking bad about my flaws and laughing about the other crazy shit I did.  Again I digress...

So after 3 horrendous days, we were on our way back home.  Erica seemed like she was getting better, but she had one last explosion left.  She was in the back seat and we were in the front.  All of a sudden we heard it and then I looked back.  All I said to my husband was "pull over."

I stripped her of all clothing, wiped her down and re-clothed her.  I then told my husband we needed to stop at a Toys R Us or something.  He asked why and then he understood.  Sitting on the side of the road was the carseat and all her clothing.  I told him not to judge me and not to look back.  Just drive.  I am mad, I am tired, and I am not above murder at this point.  "Let's go get a new carseat."  

We drove away.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Congratulations, you're hired!

Today my middle child who just graduated college got her first job.  It's exactly what she wanted.  I have to say I am envious.  I think I am still looking for that job.

My first job was at Walgreens.  My boss used to stand behind me and rub up against me when he came for a money drop.  I think he came for something else.  He would do that every day I worked until the one day my dad came to the register right in the middle of one of these episodes.  My dad was about 6'4" and 250 at the time.  Lets just say the little boss didn't do it again.  He left the store shortly after that.

My second job was at a pizza joint.  I lasted like 2 days.  I had a softball game and missed work.  I guess that wasn't allowed at that establishment.  I didn't have a problem with it, I have no idea why they expected me to tell them when I wouldn't be there.

My first REAL job was at Merrell Dow.  I was in the pharmacology group and did mice studies. We used to do amphetamine-like studies to determine effects of certain molecules when injected.  Holy crap one day the senior scientist miscalculated the dose like by 10 fold.  We treated all the mice and about 10 minutes later they were jumping off the walls, off the little mouse wheel, off of us, it was crazy.  They were in my hair, on my clothes, I could not close their little cages fast enough before they would leap off again.  If someone would have videotaped that, I would still watch that madness today. 

I have never laughed so hard in the 25 years I have been a professional.  This one little dude would climb up the wheel to the top then jump off onto my partner.  Jim would just get the mouse off him into the cage and the little dude would jump onto the wheel to the top then onto my partner again.  It was hilarious!  I suppose you could say it has been an adventure ever since.  

Congratulations Erin on your first job.  May it be all you wish for and a little bit more.

My dad and Erin

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Year 47, nope still not brave enough

I can't hang my leg off the bed.  I just can't do it.  Not even a little.  I know that something is going to touch it, grab it, eat it, rip it off, or lick it.

Just last night I tried.  What is wrong with me?  I have 2 dogs in the room that I am certain if someone corporeal or otherwise were in there they would alert me. Hell I have another dog just down the hall who barks even when nothing is there. I laid there at 4 in the morning talking aloud to myself about how it was fine.  I can do this I said.  Nothing is here.  It will be fine.  I get up in 2 hours.  Finally after 10 minutes I said fuck it and put my leg back on the bed.

I will try again next year.  I need to have something to look forward as a challenge besides the easy things like kids graduating, marriage and grandchildren, right?!  Irrational fear is so much fun. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013


It's great to have friends.  Did you know that not everyone has to be your friend?  You can have other relationships too.  You can have work relationships, you can have teammates, you can have acquaintances.  There are options.  Each of these relationships has different qualities and expectations.

I believe friends are people who are truthful to you, don't go digging up shit or creating drama about you... they go to dinner with you.  They help out when you are in need personally and don't do it to say they did it.  Friends give you warnings if they know you are unaware of what others are doing or saying. Best friends are even closer than that.  

Friends turn your car sideways...

Friday, May 17, 2013

I have told you repeatedly to call me Mama

Calling me Mama wasn't working out for my youngest when she got into high school.  I had become a bit immune to hearing it and let's face it, in a crowded room, you pretty much turn around for every mama you hear except your own child's voice.  I have no idea why, it just goes that way.

So Em in all her sarcastic wisdom decided something that would break through a taboo that my generation saw as sacred...one day she began to talk and I wasn't paying the attention she believed the matter deserved.  All of a sudden I heard it.  It got my attention and I turned around and there she was.  

"That's right, SHELLEY, I'm talking to you."   

Shelley??  What happened to mama?  I couldn't help it. I started to laugh.  I don't particularly like my name, but the way she says it makes me like it just a bit more.  It has become the norm when she is irritated with me or is making a point that I seem to reject.  I rather enjoy the challenge my name invokes.

Now we have a pretty unique family style, we say things to one another that not every family would be comfortable with.  So she decided to do the same to her daddy, although that DID NOT go over well. My husband is Michael, but his given name is William.  He HATES, I mean HATES that name.  We think when he was a kid people used to call him Billy.  His dad's name is Bill, but his given name was Charles.  Good thing we didn't have a boy or I wouldn't have known what the hell to call him, but I digress...

So in all her sarcastic wisdom yet again, one day she let it fly.  Michael as usual wasn't listening, then we heard it.  "Billiam, I am talking to you, Billiam."  OH MY GOD!  I thought he was going to explode.  We were laughing he was not.  

There are only a few times, maybe less than that, that my husband has laid down the law.  This was one, "you will call me Dad."  Nuff said.

He is Daddy and I am Mama if she's agreeable and Shelley in all other situations... I wouldn't have it any other way.  If it was, we would be just like everyone else.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

How did we ever survive?

I don't know how we are alive today, I really don't.  We had:

-Uneven cement playgrounds
-Metal merry-go-rounds that you spun so fast you flew off onto the cement playground
-Rusty metal jungle gyms that caught our clothes and our skin -tetanus shot? What's that?!!! 

There were no stinking woodchips or cushioned rubber mats, we had
-Metal Tonka toys with sharp edges
-Tinker toys that put many an eye out
-Jarts! Metal spiked end-loaded missiles that you threw at one another and at the last second jumped out of the way (or not) 
-Swings that you swung as high as possible and then jumped off onto, yep, the cement playground

We learned how to take a licking and keep on ticking.  Ah the good ol' days.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

I know they know English

On this Mother's Day I leave you with these thoughts:

My dogs know what I am saying.  I can tell.  The looks on their faces.  The gleam in their eyes.  They know.  They are just the masters at pretending they don't.

Sunshine would always dump the trash just after we walked out the door.  She knew I said no, but she loved the orange color that only spaghettios could give her silvery beard.

Junior knows not to drink out of our glasses, but it's the thrill of getting his face in and out of the glass before we turn around and see him.

Lilly knows we have said don't eat the bunnies, but she knows that only bunnies satisfy the growling in her Sheprador tummy.  She also now knows that Bunnicula is now torturing her by standing just outside the glass door or just beyond the fence line.

I know they know. I know they don't care.  Our dogs own us, they do what they want, they live really well.  My mom has said on more than one occasion that she will come back as one of my dogs after she passes.  She really wouldn't listen and I for sure would know she knew...

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Put your seatbelt on!

I don't know how or when it started, I just know she did it every time.


This is the serious and sometimes terrifying vocal 3 year old's chant that we would hear from Erica every time we got in the car.  Now I am a loyal seatbelt wearer, her father however liked to mess with her.  He wouldn't put it on right away.  She would warn him...

Put your seatbelt on!  

He wouldn't and would pretend to begin driving.  The phrase would become higher pitched and more urgent...

PUT YOUR SEEEEBBBBEEEELLLLTTTTTT ON! Which was followed by her tears and my very stern threat of divorce, and possibly some sort of demise, if he did it again.  He is still alive and we are still married so he did the smart thing...

Now Erica grew out of this and her dad stopped being an ass about putting his seatbelt on.  These days though we have some fun with it a good 20 years after it started.  Erica works at the same place I do.  We usually drive together.  At the end of a hard day, one where I leave with a scowl or she does, when we get in the car we begin the chant.

PUT YOUR SEATBELT ON!!!!  PUT IT ON! PUT IT ON!!  And we laugh and laugh.

On go the seatbelts and off goes the crap that happened during the day.  Who'da thought we would use this phrase that represented such fear for our safety as therapy for a hard day at work.  I love my kids.  They may make me crazy, but they are my therapy and my salvation.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


As we approach Mother's Day I am reminded of Ruth.  No not the Ruth in the Bible, Billy's Ruth.  Ruth was a woman who lived.  She didn't work outside the home.  She brought up 5 girls and took care of Billy.  In the 5 years we lived next door to the Phelps, there was never an evening when Billy didn't have a drink in his hand at 5pm.  She took good care of him.  She cooked real food for their bulldog.  That dog ate better than most humans.  

She was always honest, sometimes brutally so, but I appreciated it.  She drank some, smoked, loved her girls, loved NASCAR, and loved life.  She and Billy were always very good to our girls.  I will always remember many an Easter when they hid eggs and our girls spent the morning finding them all.

Ruth passed just days before we left North Carolina.  Billy buried her under her favorite tree.  He so loved his wife.  Every man and child should be so blessed with a wonderful woman like Ruth.

Happy Mother's Day to all.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Billy the boyfriend slayer

On occasion we would go out.  Finding a babysitter when you live in the sticks isn't easy.  We were lucky our next door neighbor had a daughter who was a teenager and who wanted to make some cash.  She was a very nice girl.  Now at the age our girls were, we knew we had informers so we were confident all that occurred would be repeated to us in vivid detail.  We also had Billy.

Billy would sit out in his backyard while we were away with his drink, his dog, and his gun.  He would watch as the girls played outside.  He would watch as cars would infrequently drive down the road.  He would watch as the boyfriend emerged from the woods looking to enter our house as it got dark.

When we got home one particular evening, Billy was in our house.  This could not be good.  Billy told us of the boy coming to the front of the house and him letting the boy know that parents were away and he was not welcome.  Then Billy told us of the warning shot he was required to release when the boy emerged from the woods thinking he could come in through the back.  I bet that boy required new pants after that.

Of course the girls shared their tale from inside, how the sitter told them to go to bed early and they didn't like it.  That Billy said their babysitter had to go home and he would watch them now.  They loved Billy and he loved them.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Billy Phelps

Billy was the best neighbor anyone has ever had. He loved his state, his country and loved his life. He was a crane operator with a tough, honest, loving wife Ruth and 5 daughters. When we lived in North Carolina, Billy lived right next door. His girls were older so he took a shining to our wee ones. He protected them sometimes I think better than we did.

One day the girls were outside playing between our yards where the swing set was. We lived out in the sticks on a gravel road just inside where you could get indoor plumbing. I went in the house for a moment as Billy sat out in his backyard in his usual chair under the tree reading the paper, smoking, and drinking whiskey. All was well until the shotgun blast shattered the calm country air.

Needless to say I ran out of my body to get outside. Erica came running over. I must have had the look of sheer panic on my face. Billy smiled and said, "there was a snake." He reached down and picked it up to throw it away. Erica said, "the snake was coming to get us and Billy killed it." He sure did.

Reason one I dislike the country - child-eating snakes.