Burgled

 

Last Sunday night, at around midnight, someone broke into my garage and stole my awesome Schwinn trike and a very nice cooler.  When I say, “broke in” I mean they opened the gate at the back of my property, walked around the house, opened the garage door and went inside.  It was a pretty easy job. I suppose it’s a blessing that there’s no evidence that the crooks actually tap danced their way through the job, although I’m not sure how I could be more embarrassed.

My dog Stadler (the world’s only hydrophobic black Lab, and former security professional), tried to warn me by barking, but Stadler has a tendency to sound the alarm in non-emergent situations like: another dog is being walked by the house, a truck is stopped at any of the four stops signs on the corner, an errant leaf is blowing across the driveway, or SQUIRRELS ARE EVERYWHERE!  I’m not sure how to communicate human emergency prioritization to a dog, but there have been several conversations this week about the problem.  We’re not making much headway.

Monday morning, I discovered the crime because the thieves messed up my garage door on the way out.  After pressing the button to open the door 41 times, I quickly ascertained that it wasn’t functional.  They had switched it to manual while finishing the heist.  Missing items were noted, parents (the Rev and the Great Provider) were informed and the cops were called.  An officer arrived in about an hour (the Rev and the G.P. made it in less than 8 minutes).  He looked around, rolled his eyes at my “home security” (Stadler), who tried to lick his hand affectionately in return.  He told me that even though the cops have a pretty good idea who’s committing the rash of burglaries in my neighborhood, they’re much too understaffed to do anything about it.  He said the department is short 100 – 125 full time officers.

The G.P. spent the rest of the day installing new and interesting security measures around the property.  Super locks went up on all the doors and gates.  Screeching, one zillion decibel alarms went on every door and window.  Stadler lost the use of her dog door.  I knocked on the steel insert by way of explanation saying, “Buddy, don’t ram into this.”  She acted like she understood right up until she heard a squirrel outside and almost concussed herself trying to go say hello (our yard squirrels are so fat and glossy that I suspect she’s sneaking them dog food).

The weird turn pro

After a day of beefing up home security, my keychain weighed approximately 90 pounds and looked like I had a second job as a jailer in a medieval dungeon.  One would think that all the new security on top of the old, dysfunctional system (which was essentially a few locks and 80 pounds of loud, fuzzy love torpedo) would allow one to feel a sense of calm comfort in their home.  Yeah. Not me.  As the night descended, I became increasingly paranoid.  Sleep was impossible, even though I was emotionally and physically exhausted. Here is a brief timeline of the evening’s events:

9:00: First attempt at heading to bed.  Check all 370,000 locks.  Looks good? “Better safe than sorry.” Start over and check them again.  Arm screechers.  Test screechers by unlocking locks and opening doors and windows.  Get hit in face with a gajillion decibels.  Disarm and rearm screechers.  Re-lock locks.  Re-check locks to make sure locks are ACTUALLY locked.

9:08: Begin the cycle of existential dread.  Note Stadler sleeping soundly on end of bed.  Get jealous of dog.

10:30: Lock re-check.  Unlock locks to make sure locks are locking.  Re-lock locks.  Head back to bed, but have to turn around because none of the screechers went off.  Unlock locks.  Open door.  Get hit in face with a gazillion decibels. Close door.  Re-lock locks.

11:00: Still can’t sleep, but don’t want to go check locks again. Already sorry about safety. Contemplate further security improvements.

Midnight:  Still awake, listening intently for the sound of crooks slinking around the property.  Consider taking sleeping bag and shotgun and crawling up into the rafters of the garage and waiting for them. Dismiss idea because unsure of location of sleeping bag.  Maybe in garage? Convinced thieves are inevitably returning.  Must be ready.

2:00: Increased security a must.  Begin installing new units.  Wedges go under doors (which sets off alarms and causes more decibels in face).  Begin considering other weak spots.  Decide that yard security needs some help.  Unlock doors, set off alarm, disable alarm, head into yard with keys and flashlight, locking door behind me.  Definitely need to eliminate hand holds on fence.  Definitely need Stadler-proof tiger trap.  Head to garage to get shovel.  Unlock door.  Set off door alarm AND motion alarm.  Disable alarms.  Get shovel.  Realize that it’s now 3:00 a.m., visibility is nil and that digging a tiger trap may be a tiny bit of an over-reach.  Note shovel in hand.  Design burglar trap in garage that consists of shovel hanging from rafters with rope rigged so that if the door opens shovel hits burglar in face.  Feel very Indiana Jones.  Arm shovel.  Close door.  Lock door.  Re-arm motion detector and door alarm.  Double check everything (predictably get a gajillion decibels right to the face twice).  Head to backdoor to re-enter house.  Can’t find keys.

3:23: Cussing.

3:30: Find keys on BBQ grill.  Re-enter house.  Locks.  Alarm.  Decibels.  Double check.

4:00:  Still waiting for incursion.  Have almost worked myself up to accepting that thugs are  definitely going to come into my house and make off with all my stuff.   Considering that I furnished my place with other people’s trash (garage sales) and that the net value of all my junk is approximately $83.32 at the pawn shop, what I’m really worried about is that if further burglaries occur, I won’t be able to sleep for a year.

4:23: Fall into fugue state.  Waves of paranoia intermingle with hallucinations of me finally getting to yell at people who park poorly.

5:31: Alarm clock  beeps.  Emerge from blanket cocoon and prepare to go to the gym.  Unlock 370, 000 locks, successfully disable screechers without getting nailed, happy with self, am security genius,head to garage, disable alarms, unlock door (feeling of total pride at successfully navigating the maze).  Narrowly avoid death by murder shovel.

It’s been several days and awful nights since.   I haven’t had time to dig the Stadler-proof tiger trap, but I have been secretly sharpening bamboo in preparation.  The murder shovel is still armed, although I’m beginning to wonder what accidentally (cough) decapitating a thief is going to do to my insurance premiums.  The only thing I’m sure of is that it’s definitely too late to put up a “Beware of Dog” sign.  Even the squirrels don’t buy it.

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We’re Gonna Have to Get a Bunch More Guys

When my brother and I were kids, we used to stage elaborate battles with toy robots, what were evidently supposed to be WWII plastic soldiers, cowboys, super racist Indians, Barbies, Mr. Potato Heads, just heads of various accidentally-on-purpose decapitated toys, cars, trucks and (when all else failed) mud, rocks, sticks and the occasional goat.  Often, these wars would disintegrate rapidly into name calling and throwing of all of the above (minus the goat – the goat hurled herself) at the other person until Josh (who was more often than not on the receiving end of the toy hurricane) would run off sniffling and bawling, “I’m telling MOMMY!”  In our universe, the Rev was the ultimate weapon – the PRIME Optimus Prime, and my brother was one to go nuclear after just one direct hit.  It should be noted, however, that often said hit was directly to the crotch.

Thismoreguysfin morning, as I was trying to figure out what to do in the wake of the recent election to try to keep at least a baseline of viable social services, education and art available to people who are needy – I thought about those battles.  It always worked out that the loser would (behind the Rev’s back, where it was safe) threaten to “get a bunch more guys and come back and WIN.”  And, as I remembered that, I realized that’s exactly what we’re going to have to do.  We’re going to have to get all the guys and hold on tight for as long as we can.

You see, it doesn’t matter who you voted for or whether or not you even voted to begin with.  If you claim to value education, social services, justice, freedom of faith, freedom of choice, freedom to speak your mind, the arts, libraries, the environment, civil liberties for everyone – and any ONE of these areas is enough – then you need to dedicate your time to helping organizations that provide or protect these things.  Trump has already said he’ll cut all of these on several occasions, and MORE IMPORTANTLY has the backing of the House and the Senate  — which actually gives him the power to do so.  If you have ever benefitted from any public service that will be cut – including public education, you need to step forward now and get to work to protect it for others.  If you refuse to pay with your dollars, you’ll have to pay with your time.  Even if, like me, you voted the other way, you still have to help or risk the dire consequences of knowing that you’re a total hypocrite.

Here’s the ask:

 Pick a charity.  Any charity.  Pick the one where your heart is.  Then give them 2 hours per week of yosaveferrisur time or at least 8 hours a month.  Work for several organizations, if you choose.  It doesn’t matter.  Just do the work.  Here’s the reward: you save the world, and I will dedicate this blog to you guys and to sharing my experiences as a volunteer with you.  You’ll have a forum to talk about what you’re doing, to encourage each other, and a place to direct others to learn about how they too can SAVE AMERICA.   Also, if you give me an address, I’ll send you an awesome fun pack courtesy of RCS every month filled with encouragement and probably also stickers.  Because stickers are amazing at motivation.  And I like stickers.  Some of them might say “Vagina.”

A little math

Let’s think about the 200,000 + people who now feel like their vote to protect these services didn’t count due to the Electoral College.  If each of those people contributed just 2 hrs/week to the organizations they tried to protect, that equals 400,000 man hours/week or the equivalent of 10,000 full time positions or a yearly savings (assuming all of those 10,000 positions were paid at minimum wage) a savings of about 154,000,000/year.  And don’t say that this is taking jobs away from people who need them.  The cuts will do that on their own, leaving the agencies woefully understaffed with no way to make it up.  Now, imagine if everyone who voted gave the 2 hours/week.  That’s where the saving the world part comes in.  Do you think you can do it?  Because I think you can.  The least we can do is try – but it’s also the very best we can do.

I love you.  Get to work. Go to www.volunteermatch.org and find a project.

(Don’t forget your rubbers and bail money).

Posted in current events, gay marriage, gay rights, Humor, morality, politics, religion, republican, Uncategorized, women | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Attack of the Zombie Insects From (Probably) Space

I am a former Northerner.  For you inveterate South Texans:  that means that I come from place where the ground is the temperature of your standard ice cube for at least four months out of the year, but much more difficult to make a margarita with.  Cold is bad in many ways, it makes your bones ache and turns your nose into a snot spigot. Sledding and hot chocolate seem great until you actually have to spend a day trudging miles through snow drifts, only to be confronted with the fact that your younger brother got WAY MORE marshmallows than you did.  Several years ago, my parents and I decided Norman Rockwellesque, ruby cheeked winters (which involved less happy children and more power outages, black ice, and yucky slush) could metaphorically suck it in favor of warm weather, plentiful tequilas and (in my parents’ case) adorable grandchildren. We soon found, however, that winter even with all of its disadvantages is a clear winner over warmer climes in one way: freezing temperatures make our insect friends go bye bye.  In the South there are cockroaches the size of wiener dogs – unheard of in our Northern home.  Sure, GROSS people would get German cockroach infestations at times, and those buggers were disgusting and difficult to get rid of, but Southern cockroaches are gigantic armored battleships compared to the delicate flowers of the North.

This week marks my discovery of just how bad the bug problem could get.  I knew that one must have an exterminator in South Texas, and directly after I moved into my house, I employed a nationally recognized pest control company who I do not recommend: (Hint, their name rhymes with Sperminex).  I had to divest myself of their services after they violated our contract several times, appearing in my backyard sans appointment.  This would be okay, probably, if you weren’t the kind of person who often explores the perimeters of your property in your underpants, dancing to unfortunate pop music.  I am, occasionally abashedly, just that type.  In any case,  after an especially heated argument about pervs and appointments with a very adamant woman at “Sperminex” named Laquisha, my contract for service was officially voided.

I am, sometimes also abashedly, a creative type.  I dance to the beat of my own drummer, but when it comes to things like oil changes, tire rotations, appliance maintenance, insurance and other boring things (including fiduciary responsibility) I tend to dance right off the edge of the world and resurface only after someone who I label more competent to deal with it (often my very stupid dog, Stadler) makes the problem disappear.  This is not a terrific, or even adequate way to live one’s life, but please remember, you’re reading the writing of a woman who manages to hit herself in the face with a vacuum cleaner on at least a weekly basis.  My parents (known as the Rev ((Reverend Mother/Mom)) and the Great Provider (G.P./Dad) are the constant mopper-uppers in my little dancing universe, and are less than thrilled with the position.  I keep telling them that they really should’ve considered condoms, and that these whole designated-for-life deals are the equivalent of buying a time share in sunny Abu Grabe.  “We are not amused,” says the Rev, “and at your age…” she generally continues.  Suffice it to say, I am uniquely unmotivated and underqualified in terms of dealing with your standard disaster.

Cut to two days after my Battle Royale with Laquisha from Sperminex.  Both of my parents were out of town – the Rev at a spiritual retreat at a ranch somewhere and the G.P. at a folk music festival/probable wine tasting.  Neither of them had cell reception, and had to drive to retreat/festival adjacent hills to call to check in.  Neither of them wanted to check in.  I was in charge of their house and the finicky cat who would mourn the death of my father any time he left the house for more than 20 minutes with the passionate yowls of 200 emo kids at a Good Charlotte concert.  For some reason my parents have a great deal of optimism regarding my ability to deal with things when they’re away.  I really think they’re just secretly hoping that I’ll accidentally burn everything down so that they can move to Hawaii.  Me housesitting is like the real life equivalent of handing Chunk (from Goonies) the picture.

It was looking like a quiet weekend for Stadler and me.  We pretty much had the run of our entire universe.  Until the invasion…

We were returning from a run, sweaty and happy, and as my pup moved to get a drink of water, I saw them: strange, white, maggoty looking, alien worm things CRAWLING OUT OF MY WALL!  There were approximately a millionty-billion of the horrible bastards, sliming their gross trails across the ivory tiles of my kitchen floor, almost indistinguishable from the background except that they were MOVING AND GROSS.  I immediately started sweeping them up into a dustpan, sealing them in freezer bags, and squishing them with my cast iron skillet – running each bag outside to the dumpster when it seemed that nothing could possibly be moving.  I called the Rev.  No answer except a cheery message that said that the subscriber refused to set up their voicemail.  I called the G.P.  It didn’t even ring.  I sent the Rev multiple text messages while crying and murdering horrible droves of worm things with the skillet.  Nothing.  Finally, I called my friend Lena-Yes-You-Probably-Know-Her crying.  She insisted that I send photos so that she could identify the insects to better advise me on how to murder them.  Please know that I was then so desperate that I gratefully requested advice from a woman who once (due to alcohol and too much WebMD) diagnosed herself with the Hanta Virus and spent two hours crouched in a bathroom convinced that she was going to die a horrible diarrhea death.  She subsequently recognized the critters as: “either some kind of South American meal worm, weird maggot thingys, or those things they put in the guys’ ears at the beginning of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.”  None of these were helpful classifications, but during her search, I managed to lay down salt traps to make the creepy crawlies very uncomfortable, and concocted a bug murdering spray out of common household products, like salt, baking soda, vinegar, bleach, ammonia, drain-o and honey for stickiness.  It was really, really smelly and evidently pretty toxic, as it shriveled the worms upon contact.  Stadler vacated the house and hid under the hammock in the back yard.  There were, however, vast and seemingly insurmountable armies of insects.  I was at it all night: spray, crunch, spray, crunch – bag to trash, crying the whole time and choking on what I later learned was pretty much entirely mustard gas.  I also sent the Rev increasingly worrying texts that advanced several conspiracy theories involving Laquisha and Sperminex, threats that I was going to report this whole problem to NASA or Homeland Security (really whoever had a local office), and just the tearful snifflings about how no one loved Stadler or ME and general ramblings about setting crows loose in the house to “take care of this problem once and for all.”  Around 3 a.m., I finally caught, murdered and disposed of the last little bastard, but I couldn’t go to bed because I was convinced that if I fell asleep, the last survivor would Wrath of Khan out of sheer revenge for my genocidal behavior.  Instead, I sat on the floor, waiting…ready for whatever came out of the wall next.

At 6 a.m. the phone rang.  It was a fairly concerned Rev who gave me the cell phone number of Jeff the Bug Guy and told me to call him immediately.  Jeff was not entirely thrilled to get a call at 6:07 a.m., but agreed to come to my house in a few hours and take care of the problem.  I paced the floors, a caged tigeress, until 9:38 a.m. when he arrived.  Jeff was a comforting sight, with a large can of some professional grade bug eradicator strapped on his hip.  I retired to the sofa, peering over the arm as he searched my kitchen for the horrible mindless beasts I had awoken him to rescue me from.  There weren’t any.  After lying down on the floor and peering at my baseboard, Jeff asked me to come over and show him these “bugs.”  There were NONE.  Not one little bug corpse remained.  Jeff became skeptical, and said something like, “Sometimes we all have a rough night, honey, but there aren’t any bugs, see?”  That’s when I went out and crawled into the dumpster to retrieve a zip loc baggy full of bug squish to show him.  He believed me, then, but couldn’t tell me what they were because of the fact that the resembled smears at that point more that bugs.  “This could be a case of overkill,” said the man with a tank of  Malathion on his hip.  But then he was nice to me, sprayed the whole house, showed me his little pistol (it was a gun he kept for self defense), and gave me a very interesting lecture on ballistics.  After that, I went to sleep, draperies drifting in the breeze of the entirely open windows.  The smell lingers, and sometimes when it rains, you can still detect the hesitant odor of recalcitrant mustard gas.

Yesterday, my parents and I were enjoying a beer at our local watering hole, and the Rev noted that she would again be going on her annual spiritual retreat.  I said, “OH NO!  THAT MEANS IT’S BEEN A YEAR SINCE THE INVASION OF THE HORRIBLE BUG THINGS!” “Abigail,” she replied, “you killed them so thoroughly that they couldn’t  have matured enough to reproduce.  They can’t possibly come back.”  “NOT IF THEY’RE ZOMBIE BUGS FROM SPACE, MOTHER,” I screeched (becomingly), “YOU KNOW NOTHING OF THEIR HELLISH REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEMS.”  Some people are just so unscientific.  She’s leaving Friday.

 

 

 

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The Idiots Blow It Again…RCS Takes a Stand on Gun Control In America

ar-15It didn’t take the massacre at Newtown for “we the people” to know that there’s a serious gun problem in America.  Let me point one thing out, however.  Guns wouldn’t be a problem (at least not at THIS magnitude) if they weren’t reliably being put in the hands of crazy people and fucking idiots by people who are out to make money on a commodity regardless of consequence (I’m looking at you gun shows, and Wal-Mart).  On some level, a gun is like an egg.  It’s a thing not a person.  It can be sold and resold.  However, the chances of a bunch of innocent people getting killed by an egg are slim to none.  Guns, in the marketplace, aren’t the equivalent of any other goods (not even knives, hatchets, or chainsaws).  The closest possible item that you can readily   buy that runs even close to the risk of being as deadly as a gun is America’s friend the automobile.  Let’s think about what it takes to buy a car: at the very least you need a valid driver’s license and insurance to drive a car off of a lot at a dealership.  You could, of course, buy a car off of craigslist without either, BUT if you get caught driving that car without a license or insurance, you face a stiff penalty.  It’s a lot like gun ownership, right?  You’re cool if you have an unregistered, unlicensed weapon as long as you never USE it (either to commit a crime or defend yourself).   Frankly, you’re a lot more likely to be caught driving a car unlicensed than you are to be busted for having an illegal firearm.  Why?  Because cars are dangerous, because we’re concerned about traffic control (ironically, especially around schools), because you’re driving unlicensed on public property, and because insurance companies and the government have a monetarily vested interest in catching people who don’t follow the rules.

I have been torn about this issue.  I grew up around guns.  My father owns guns.  I’ve owned guns.  I grew up shooting, as did my brother.  We both completed hunter safety courses, and had copious training from both my Dad and his best friend.  My brother got his first air rifle at age 11.  When I was trapped in my small town high school, it wasn’t unusual to see three or four pickup trucks in the parking lot with loaded gun racks (we’re talking high powered deer rifles or shot guns here).  No one thought anything of it.  Guns were a part of our lives.  Additionally, two of the four original members of  the Rubber Chicken Society are ex-military.  I’ve seen that guns, when used properly and with respect, aren’t BOLUSES OF TERROR.  One cannot ignore, however, what happens when guns aren’t handled correctly.  Whether it’s someone getting shot in the ass during a cleaning accident, or some douchecanoe having a nuclear level shit fit at an elementary school, the fact has to be faced that guns can be dangerous.  This danger comes in a really specific form, too.  You can take out a lot more people with an assault rifle than you can with a fork.  I don’t want people not to be able to have guns, although I think that as time progresses the argument that guns aren’t predominantly used for killing people or threatening to kill people becomes more and more inane.  I’m aware that the vast majority of gun owners are sane, rational, responsible people. However, a significant amount of people who possess firearms are abject fucking imbeciles.   They wrecked it for everyone.   Because of them (the mouth breathing bastards) there now has to be a stricter system in place for controlling guns and ammunition.  No matter what legislation you hammer through Congress, there’s no way people are ever going to get any LESS stupid or crazy.  The best we can hope for is that we can somehow make them a little less dangerous.

Here’s the actual text of the Second Amendment: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”  It’s pretty obvious to me that what the founding fathers thought of as “arms” is very different than what we’re debating right now.  I don’t know this for a fact, but I’m relatively sure that if you showed Thomas Jefferson what an AR-15 could do to a middle school, he’d say something like, “Yeah, fuck that noise.”

Additionally, if you extend the definition of “arms” to mean anything that one could use to defend oneself, anthrax and other elements of biological terrorism could be pretty damned effective.  As could other substances that enjoy federal controls.  It may seem illogical to expand the post-colonial idea of “arms” this far, but isn’t it equally ludicrous to equate a musket with an automatic weapon?  The idea of infringement (to infringe, if you don’t know, means something like to violate, trespass, encroach or transgress) is the big concept here.  The NRA is claiming that additional background checks (at gun shows and sales through private owners) somehow infringe the “God given” right to bear arms.  And they’re right — background checks prevent some people from owning guns: PEOPLE WHO HAVE ALREADY LOST THEIR RIGHT TO POSESS FIREARMS BECAUSE THEY FUCKED IT UP.  The only thing that requiring background checks “infringes” is the right of people to make money on selling  guns.  Why would the NRA have a problem with this?  They’re one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington.  Who do you think pays them the big bucks?  Gun and ammunition sellers and manufacturers keep NRA lobbyists in fancy calfskin loafers and handsome suits.  If sales are cut, the fat cats lose out.  This isn’t about your rights or infringement – this is about (like pretty much everything else) doll’a doll’a bills, y’all.  It’s important to remember that when you’re weighing your right to own an assault rifle vs. someone else’s life

Here’s what I propose (and I hate myself for saying this, but (due to the vast reserves of idiots in this country, what else can we do):

1)      A background check and waiting period are required for the sale of ALL firearms.  If a seller refuses to perform a background check and is caught selling firearms without one, the seller will be charged with a class C felony, his license to sell weapons will be revoked into perpetuity, and he can be fined up to $500,000.

2)      If you own a gun in the United States, you will be required to have a permit for ownership.  Licensure will consist of 1) a background check.  2) a completed course on weapons safety (course will be provided free of charge).

3)      Unlicensed gun ownership will be regarded as a Class C felony.  If convicted, all the person’s guns will be confiscated.  The convicted will be barred from future gun ownership, and if convicted of further possession will be charged with an additional felony and fined up to $50,000.

4)      All privately owned firearms in the United States must be registered.

5)      All gun owners are required to carry firearms insurance on all weapons.  Insurance rates are based on the responsibility of the owner, and will decrease over time.

6)      Assault rifles and ammunition will be illegal to possess/manufacture in the United States.  Sales of weapons or ammunition are felonies, and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law up to an including incarceration, rehabilitation, and hefty fines.

I know many of you are balking at the idea of firearms insurance, and I hate it, too.  The idea, though, is to keep people safe, and (in my experience) the only way to do that is to threaten them financially.  Think of it this way, if you own guns and you’re safe (you have trigger locks, you don’t keep loaded weapons in the house, etc), your insurance rate should be super cheap (I’m thinking like 30 dollars a year for all your weapons), but if you do something unsafe or stupid that results in an injury, then (if you manage not to get your license revoked) you’re going to have to pay more to keep your guns.  I’m sorry.  I hate it, too.  At least this way there could be SOME kind of compensation for people whose lives have been affected by gun violence.  This is one of the reasons we have to have insurance when we drive.  We have to be able to pay for what we’ve done – even if the cause is neglect or stupidity.  It’s time we extend this idea to other areas.  Believe me, I hate this.  The last thing I want to do is enable insurance companies to further do what they’re best at – making money off of the potential for human tragedy.

Bad guys are still going to be out there. There still will be unlicensed weapons in the world, no matter what we do.  Think, if you will, about people like Guy Fawkes, one of the gentlemen who plotted to blow up Parliament by stockpiling a cache of gunpowder under The House of Lords.  Fawkes was captured in 1605.  The point is that we need to make it much more difficult to be simultaneously crazy, stupid, and in possession of a gun.  More laws won’t entirely solve the problem, but they might help mitigate it.  Frankly, even the merest chance that the lives of one of my tiny nephews or niece might be saved because some idiot found it too difficult to navigate the system is worth any inconvenience it might cause anyone else.  As Dave Wheeler, whose son Benjamin died at Sandy Hook Elementary on Dec. 14, said (quoting  a founding father at a public hearing in Newtown, Conn),  “Thomas Jefferson described our inalienable rights as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I do not think the order of those important words was haphazard and casual. The liberty of any person to own a military assault weapon and high-capacity magazine and to keep them in their home is second to the right of my son to his life.”

Posted in children, current events, kids, morality, parenting, religion, republican, strange, Uncategorized, women, WTF | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Potty Training: A Travel Guide to Hell and Slightly Beyond

poopTwo days ago, I awoke from a dream that involved a wooden sculpture I had made of a Viking ship with a rubber duckie as a masthead being accidentally branded into this really macho guy’s arm.  It was at this point that I decided that it was time for A. to get trained to crap in the crapper.  I thought, probably like all total novice potty trainers, that I’d just give the kid a bunch of C-A-N-D-Y (arguably his favorite thing on the planet, second only possibly to Mommy).  I walked into the living room and told the Rev that it was time, and outlined the C-A-N-D-Y PLAN.  She shot 50 caliber holes directly into my aspirations, as though she was on safari somehow hunting for T-Rex.  “NO CANDY!  CANDY IS NOT GOOD.  You are not going to give that CHILD CANDY for pooping.  I WILL NOT ALLOW IT.”  “Fine, Lady,” I responded, “what the hell do you do then? He only really WANTS candy.”  “Get some stickers,” she replied (with more than a dose of smugness).

I have long intuited that is just possible that the Rev has at least a marginally sick sense of humor as far as myself and the challenges of childcare are concerned, so I posted an S.O.S. on Facebook, asking all my friends with kids for hints/tricks/tips.  Most of the responses I got were something along the lines of, “HAHAHAHA: you’re going to get sooo pooped on,” and, “potty training takes a REALLY long time, and it sucks.  You’re not going to get it done today.  Stop wigging out.”   I also got, “Stickers are good.” which makes me think that the suddenly tech-savvy-when-she-wants-to-be-Rev has further infiltrated my inner friend circles.

Several months ago, the Rev had purchased a potty seat for A. that you put on the actual toilet via some odd method of snapping it into the hole, but the G.P. shut her down, saying that the kid needed his own potty so that he and A. could poop simultaneously (or team pee, whichever).  The Rev told the G.P. (Great Provider, for those of you who missed the article) to “return the damn thing himself,” and (since the G.P. has declared a personal fatwa on all things Wal-Mart due to an unfortunate incident wherein he was escorted out of the store by security for “not yelling or cussing at anyone”) nothing happened until I took over.  The Rev and I decided that there would be no further movement G.P. assistance-wise until I got an actual potty chair, so off A. and I went to the Wal-Mart to pick out his personal crap station.  On the way, we had a long discussion about diapers.  It should be noted that A. finds the concept of his father wearing diapers totally hilarious.  To tell the truth, we really didn’t get much farther than that.  I think it’s pretty funny, too.

The hated potty.

The hated potty.

You may think you know about the hell that is Wal-Mart, but until you’ve stood in the shit chair aisle for 45 minutes debating the merits of a “Cars” potty chair vs. one that looks like an actual throne and sings with a two year old in front of a highly amused audience of looky-loos and store employees, then you haven’t even approached the 3rd ring.  A’s point was that the dumb “Cars” potty seat had *wheels and went “VROOM” when you pressed a button.  My argument was that the “Cars” franchise was derivative and stupid and that you got to be a KING on the throne one, which at least played “Knick Knack Paddy Whack” (which is, come to think of it, a pretty gross song for toilet training, but whatever). This debate matched that of Lincoln and Douglas in intensity and verbal eloquence, but finally A. trumped all my highly logical, syllogistically formulated arguments by screaming, “NO!!!! CARS!!” with a pitch and decibel level that probably shattered the eardrums of several local dogs.  I caved.  We got the “Cars” potty seat, and then spent an hour picking out stickers.  I found some really super cool “Star Wars” ones, but couldn’t convince the toddler that these were MUCH BETTER than the “Spongebob” ones he wanted.  Our audience had followed us.  There’s not much going on in Wal-Mart at 8:30 am on a Monday.

We made it back to the house, and (of course) the potty seat required some assembly.  Also, it came with some pretty awful instructions for use.  The Rev had explained earlier in the morning that when I got a chair, I had to get one with a cup on the front.  “Cup?” I queried.  “Yeah,” she replied in her poor, cold-riddled but still stentorian Rev voice,

"Boner cup."

“Boner cup.”

“Because if you don’t and he gets a piss boner, he’ll pee all over you.”  This was the only time in my entire life I had ever heard the Rev use the word “boner.”  Shit was getting real.  The box also showed pictures of a HIGHLY MISERABLE, pants down, and GIGANTIC toddler on the potty.  The kid seriously looks like he knows about the extreme level of harassment he’s got to look forward to when his entire 6th grade class at Al Franken Jr. High finds out that he used to be a potty model.

Finally, I got the thing together, and then tried to show A. how to sit on it.  This didn’t work.  He ran away from me screaming, “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!” while wearing the thing that catches the poop on his head like a hat.  Things weren’t going well.  Then, about 15 minutes later, I heard the G.P. giving the kid a “Look POOP!” lecture from the master bathroom.  I put A. down for his nap, and then went to go pick J. up from school.  I explained what was going on to J., and told him that he got a sticker every time he demonstrated “how to potty” to A.  J. dug the concept because it involved him getting stickers.  There was, briefly, “A New Hope.”  However, when we got into the house, A. was using the potty as a snack table.  Defeat.

That afternoon, I made A. a giant poster which is labeled “A’s Potty Train,” and we started working on a song to go with it.  So far we’ve got, “Get on board the potty train, poop in the potty, don’t be a pain” with a chorus of “chugga chugga poo poos.”  It has been noted by the RCS Engineering Department (Andrew) that there is something incredibly gross about this “train” pun.  Touché.  I already made the poster, though.  These design flaws should be commented on BEFORE I spend three hours cutting out letters, tracks, and train art and then painting the whole damned thing with glitter nail polish.

I’ll keep you posted as to the potty progress.  I’m betting that the kid knows how to read before he knows where to poop.  He’s a genius, but (if he keeps this up), he’s definitely going to a State school.

*The wheels are non-functioning, but can you imagine if they worked?  You’d finally get the kid to shit in the pot and he’d be pooping and motoring across the tile in some kind of horrible re-enactment of a Roadrunner cartoon.  I don’t know if I could work up significant motivation to chase a pot of crap.  I lack biological imperative.

Posted in children, current events, Humor, kids, mother, parenting, relationships, strange, Uncategorized, women, WTF | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Destroying Your Child The Fun Way…RCS Staff Writer Describes Nephews’ Favorite Games

"Gator Mouth"

“Gator Mouth”

Okay, there has been some demand from those of you with small children for adequate synopses of the games I routinely play with my two weans-by-proxy-and-paycheck. Why anyone would want to know the exact rules for a game like “Gator Mouth” is beyond me, but I suppose I am here to oblige (even though I suspect I’m going to catch a lot of flack from anyone who knows anything about children).  I would like to point out that I am totally aware of my deficiencies in this area, to the extent that (if I ever start taking this child care thing seriously) I will be calling my daycare the “Not Quite Kervorkian Early Childhood Development Center.”  Our actual motto will be, “Striving to provide just slightly better than what you paid for!” but our SECRET slogan is (of course), “If you bring your kid here, you don’t know Jack.”

“Gator Mouth”

Gator Mouth is an exceptionally simple game that I invented to annoy the hell out of Stadler when she was a tiny puppy.  What you do is make your hand into an alligator’s mouth by placing all of your fingers together as the top and using your thumb as the bottom jaw.  Then you open and close the “mouth” while saying in a really soft and creepy voice: “Gator mouth, gator mouth, gator mouth’s gonna get you, you just don’t know when” while ALMOST “biting” the kid with your hand.  The whole point is to be slow and eerie about it until you actually do get them (you bite them with your hand NOT HARD) while screaming, “HAHAHAHA GATOR MOUTH GOT YOU!”  A. loves this game, and regularly throws me a reverse.  When the kid does it back (A. says, “Gay MOUF, Gay MOUF”), do the world a favor and act totally terrified.

“Troll In The Hole”

To play this game, you simply hide your face behind a pillow, and peek around the edges (really distrustfully) at the baby.  Then, right when the kid gets confident and interested, you pull the pillow aside really fast and say (in a Troll voice), “I’m the TROLL IN THE HOLE.”  To add interest to this game, sometimes I pretend that the Troll is eating me and that A. needs to save me.  I usually stick and arm out and shake it like it’s being eaten while screaming for help behind the pillow.  Then when the kids tries to pull the pillow away, I do the whole Troll in the Hole thing again.

“Electric Chair”

This game was invented about a billion years ago when my cousins were very young.  It has evolved through the years to the extent that it’s now almost totally scripted.  To play: put the child on your knee facing away from you.  You want them pretty much right on the edge of your kneecap.  Then say, “By the power vested in me by the state of ______________ (I always used Texas even when I didn’t live here for pure electric chair humor), I hereby commit this child (kid’s full name) to the (yell this) ELECTRIC CHAIR for the crime of lickin’ kittens.  Do you have any last words, you little kitten licker?” Usually at this point you get a nervous, giggly, “No.”  I’m trying to teach J. to say, “Please don’t ‘lectrocute me, Boss.  I swear I won’t lick no more kittens,” but so far it hasn’t worked.  Anyway, then you put one hand on top of the kid’s head and proceed to pretend to electrocute them by shaking your leg really hard, rattling their head around (gently), and making loud buzzing electric chair noises until they fall off your knee (this is why you want them pretty far out on your patella) DEAD.  If you want to at this point (and I always do) you can make a speech about how sad it is when someone so young “Don’t do right in the world.”  Usually, though, your penultimate moment is wrecked when the “corpse” starts fucking laughing.

“Ride The Pony”

This is not pervy.  I know all you pervs out there are going to think this one is just for you, but it isn’t.  It’s for the children.  To play: put the kid on your knee (difficulty is increased by putting them farther out on your leg so that there’s less meat for them to balance on) facing away from you.  If they’re VERY little, they can face you, but that makes it easier.  Take them by either hand and extend their arms.  Then you start bouncing them on your knee while saying (rhythmically), “Ride the pony, ride the pony, ride the pony, ride the pony.”  You want to sort of get going to about a fast trot pace, so that they start gripping your leg with their knees.  Then, when they get confident, you start wobbling your knee to the outside and to the inside really as far as you can while screaming, “Can’t shake him off, can’t shake him off.”  I literally cannot shake A. off no matter how hard I try.  J. falls off in about a second.  Both kids love it.

monsterfl“Monster Flashlight”

This game got invented yesterday during a power outage.  A. and I played for about 3 hours.  Then he took a nap and forgot about it entirely until I brought it up.  J. was home from school and A. got so excited about playing Monster Flashlight with J. that he took off at a fast clip back to the boys’ room, and tried desperately to tell J. the rules.  It came out like this: “J. Flash Auntie Light Says J. Auntie Light Says Flash, J. MONSTER!” Clearly, this was a pretty cool game.  To play: get a flashlight and pretend that if you get caught in the beam, then the monster got you.  This game involves a lot of running and screaming.  It’s basically the same as screwing with a cat using a laser pointer, only with children.

Do you have any great games that you play with your kids?  Leave us a comment and let us know.  We’re always looking for something that doesn’t involve wonking  Auntie/Mommy/Daddy in the head with the meticulously constructed Lego super car that  Auntie/Mommy/Daddy just spent the last 45 minutes building.  Frankly, anything that doesn’t involve me getting pelted, belted, or otherwise punched in the sternum is a pretty damned good game as far as I’m concerned.

Posted in children, Humor, kids, morality, mother, parenting, pets, relationships, strange, Theater, Uncategorized, women, WTF | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Satan’s Casita…Gingerbread House Construction Year 9…RCS Staff Writer Experiences Seasonal Despair and TRIUMPH

Every year since my niece Ninja was 5, we have attempted to make a gingerbread house.  Some years were more successful than others.  The year we used Royal Icing, we actually got the fucking thing to stand up, but the Rev wouldn’t let anyone eat it because the frosting contained raw eggs.  Last year, we got a kit, complete with a form that had channels which would supposedly lock the pre-made gingerbread slabs in place.  Yeah, my ass!  We experienced total collapse.  Here’s a pic of it that we snapped prior to the great cave in.  I think Yoda makes it.

lastyear

THIS year, I had many lofty goals.  Two days before the big event, I made a scale drawing and plans for the house.  The pasteboard cut-outs stood up on their own, and the fake roof stayed on.  I foolishly thought this was a good sign.  We started baking the gingerbread.  First we made cookies in the shapes of trees and Pac-Man, and chickens (because this is what you get when the only visual artist in your family hates Christmas).  The boys helped us decorate.  J. painstakingly crafted each piece and then promptly ate it.  A. helped by licking all the icing and sprinkles off of the cookies.  A. is such a generous baby.  He’d take a big lick, and then sneak his cookie under the table to give Stadler  (our massive Lab puppy) a taste. The dog got so many gingerbread “accidents” and leavings that she collapsed into a sugar coma, and actually slept through the entire night.  By the time we were done with the cookies, everybody was pretty much gingerbreaded out, but I insisted that we at least BUILD the stupid house.  The slabs of gingerbread were baked and had been sitting in the freezer for about four hours.  I pulled them out and started building.  It went okay for a minute, until the roof collapsed, and the whole shebang fell into a derelict pile.  Patiently, I rebuilt and threw the house in the fridge.  At this point the Rev, who you will remember had previously declared a gingerbread house inedible when all the ingredients were legitimately FOOD, told me to hot glue the thing.  We waited about 20 minutes, and then pulled the fucker out.  It seemed pretty stuck, so we proceeded to decorate it.  I had jelly beans for the roof, and I let the kids put them on like tiles.  They looked beautiful, until combined weight of the jellies and the moisture of the frosting caused the cookie slabs to crack and fall into the middle of the house.  Then the front, back, and sides caved in.  At this point, my brother (wanting to get his sugar amped children home) came into the kitchen and told me that I needed man help.  He proceeded to critique my frosting, saying that it wasn’t sticky enough and that it had the consistency of “delicious, delicious whipped cream.”  He then grabbed a finger-fulls of it and proceeded to glop the inside seams of the house, pointing out that if I ever got the thing to stand up, he was going to take architectural credit due to his invention of interior seam frosting.  The real problem, however, was the roof.  I had a leftover gingerbread kit that my brother had found underneath his counter, and I took the two year old slabs of cookie, and used them to make a new roof.  I do not feel guilty about this (well, not MUCH) because I’m pretty sure McDonald’s level industrial preservatives are involved in the manufacture of boxed gingerbread.  Unfortunately, it the new roof didn’t fit exactly right, and I had to use three slabs to kind of make it work. I also attempted to use load bearing candy canes.  DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.  It doesn’t work. The whole thing went back into the fridge again, and I sent the children home with a massive plate of cookies that included the whole roof.  At that point, I was oozing frosting through every pore, so I took an exhaustion-laced shower, and posted something on Facebook about gingerbread house construction being a cure for both anorexia and insomnia.  I seriously think I consumed enough frosting and sundries in one sitting (purely accidentally) to fuck up a herd of Weight Watchers for an entire year.

Cut to two days later:

So, I let the whole thing turn into frosted concrete, popped it out of the fridge and proceeded to decorate it.  I redid the jelly bean roof theme, and started on the front of the house.  I was well into fixing the front when the roof collapsed again.  I rebuilt, but the top slab fell through the hole and I couldn’t fish it out without demolishing the whole thing.  I gave up and put it back in the fridge.  This morning, I pulled it out performed reconstructive surgery on the top of the roof with graham crackers coated in about an inch of frosting.  I then finished decorating the damned thing and put it in the fridge.  It has snowmen, and Santas, and it lights up on top.  I hate it.  I want to hit it with a claw hammer, and I probably will.  Here (like a phoenix rising from the ashes) it is in all its vague and adulterated glory:

thisyear

thisyear2

Christmas is officially my bitch.  I’m getting a divorce.  Have a merry one, effers.  Don’t forget your rubbers and bail money.

Posted in children, dogs, Humor, kids, mother, parenting, pets, relationships, strange, Uncategorized, women, WTF | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments