Chickens in the Basement

I love to write and I love to laugh. When I write, I get to the point quick. My stories would fit on the back of a postcard. They usually make me chuckle. And you know what they say, "It's all about me!"

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Talking Dirty!

Warning: This article is going to contain personal information you may not want to know about our family. If you are about to eat dinner, easily grossed out, or not into bathroom humor, skip this article!

When I was a little girl (we are talking the 70's), we lived in 5 different old houses. We did lots of remodeling, but never had to repair a toilet. There was never a plumbing issue. We owned a small plunger that came out from under the cabinet about once a year, usually after a small child used a whole roll of toilet paper to wipe his behind. After about three pushes on the plunger, the toilet paper went on down the pipe and the dry rotted plunger turned itself inside out, requiring you to be creative to get it to fix itself without having to touch it with your hand!

Fast forward to 1999.

When we were building our house, we visited one of the local stores that sells bathroom fixtures. We weren't sure what toilet options we had. The lady that was helping us asked if we wanted a deep bowl. She went on to explain that some men come in with measurements because their junk touches the water when they sit on shallower toilets. My husband made that decision real quick...we wanted a deep toilet bowl. I was fascinated by that insight.

Unfortunately, that was the most interesting thing I heard. From there, she went on with details that sounded like "blah, blah, water conservation, blah, blah, new laws, blah, blah..." Now, I wish I had paid better attention.

Fast forward again to 2009.

We have been in our house for 10 years. Four of us live here. We have a well and septic tank.

Now for the personal details. No one in my family is a "dainty dumper." Remember the jokes about the ant on a log in the pond and it starts to rain on him? Our logs fill the pond!

Every time someone spends more than three minutes in the bathroom, we know the plunger will be needed. No more cheap plungers shoved under the sink for us. The plunger is white and has it's own house. Since young boys are not the neatest when it comes to plunging, the job often falls to me. Do they tell me they need help in this area? NOOOOO! They leave it for me to stumble upon. Usually, I am running for the bathroom with my buttons and zippers already undone and my bladder overflowing. Time to plunge has not been allocated! I have to by-pass the closest potty, trying not to trip over my pants, to the back bathroom to relieve myself of a couple of diet cokes before returning to the front bathroom to plunge the heck out of it!

Today, our plunger is used at least 5 times a week. We leave the plunger beside the toilet in the half bathroom. The last thing I want is for a visitor to take a dump and not be able to make it go away. I would be mortified at someone else's house if I had to ask for a plunger to make my business go away!

Even the pottys in public places suck (not litterally). The automatic flush toilet requires 3 or 4 additional pushes of the button just to make toilet paper go down the drain. It's one thing to pee twice on top of your own liquids, but peeing on top of somebody else's stuff with the possibility of back-splash is just too gross!

How are todays toilets better than the toilets I had as a kid? I know I am not conserving water because I have to flush at least 3 times, whether or not I plunge. The lingering surprises in the potty are not sanitary! I just want to mash the button and watch the logs disappear. I want govenment to keep their laws out of my bathroom! I want my old toilet from the 70's that guzzles water back. Wonder if I can get an old one from Habitat? Hmmm.

If I have grossed you out, I refuse to apologize. You were warned.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sometimes, Nature Sucks!

This was supposed to be titled "Finches in the Bathroom," but before I could start writing, the story was already over.
This morning, I was watching the birds swarm around the feeders in the front yard. From my kitchen window, I saw a small bird who could only fly a very short distance before falling to the ground. Thinking a baby might have fallen from a nest, I went to check on her.

Since the weather is still too chilly for babies to be hatching and no Mama birds were fluttering around this small creature, I assumed this wasn't a baby. Instead, I found a mature female gold finch. She let me pick her up without much drama. On her back, I could see a puncture, probably from one of the hawks nesting in the back yard. She happily snuggled into the nest I made with my hand and chest, tucked her head into her feathers and went to sleep.

Since I so thoughtlessly sold the cage Skippy lived in at a yard sale last weekend, I had nowhere to put this poor little creature. Neighbor Terri fished out a crab pot that has lots of holes and a lid. This would do until I could grab a small cage from Pet Smart.
While I got dressed, I took the lid off the pot. The little finch took this opportunity to come out and check out her surroundings. She sat on plants, light fixtures, and window sills. Every time she landed, she tucked her head and took a nap.

Back in her pot, I left her in the kitchen while I ran to find her a more comfy home. When I returned two hours later, the poor girl was dead. Nature truly sucks sometimes!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Diet Coke Rules!

The title of this article can be read in two different ways. Unfortunately, it is NOT "Diet Coke Rules! Woo-hoo!" but "Diet Coke rules...1., 2., etc."

First, confessions. I LOVE Diet Coke. It is my only internal vice. I don't drink beer or wine very often. I quit smoking in 1990. Drugs would just slow me down. An occasional trip to Starbucks is a special treat, but not an obsession. Diet Coke, however, is my obsession. I buy 10 cases at a time when I find them on sale. I planned to walk to the One Stop in the snow for Diet Coke if I ran out before the snow melted. I wipe out a 12 pack every two days. This does not include the Diet Cokes purchased in drive thrus or gas stations. I never get in the car without grabbing a can out of the fridge in the garage.

Okay, it is official. I am addicted. It is not my intention to quit drinking Diet Coke. Lord knows I don't want to be solely responsible for the drop in Coca-Cola stock. I do plan to reduce my intake of Diet Coke. There is no medical reason for doing this, only my thinking that 'too much of one thing is not good.'

So, my plan? Before I am allowed to open a can, I have to drink two 8 ounce glasses of water. If I am just thirsty, this will quench my thirst. This amount of water will surely clean out my system. Since I tend to spend much of my day wondering where the closest restroom is, the additional intake of water shouldn't increase this need. At dinner, I will drink water. This should make my food taste better. And finally, NO Diet Coke after 6:00 pm. This should improve my sleep habits. I tend to wake up many times during the night (quite often to make sure my toilet is still where I left it!)

Hopefully, this plan will not make me grumpy over lack of caffeine. I can still have the drink that I love, but will have the benefit of getting in at least 8 glasses of water a day. I will save some money by not going through Diet Coke as fast as water through a sieve.

Once I hit the Publish Post button, I'm committed. Do you have advice or ideas to help me stick to this? It's only nice to share!

Note: Diet Coke photo came from their web-site and bathroom sign came from Google images. Thanks!

Monday, March 16, 2009

How Old Are You?

Today, I volunteered as a chaperone for my son's band field trip for their end-of-grade testing. We had to be at school at 7:00 which meant we were up at 5:45 to get there on time. I give you the timing details so you can understand my almost lapse in judgement.

The kids were on stage warming up. I took advantage of the free few minutes before we left and visited the girls bathroom. I locked the door and sat down. Written on the wall was this...

Marilyn Manson is Sexy!

I reached for my pocketbook to rummage for a pen then paused. How old are you? 43. When was the last time you wrote on the bathroom wall? Never. Why are you thinking about doing so now? I don't know. What would your son say if you got caught? Okay, okay! I put my pen away.

All I wanted to do was write underneath it...

for a creepy drag queen!

If you read this on a bathroom wall, I DIDN'T DO IT!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

For the 3rd day in a row, it is raining hard. So much for kickball plans! No getting outside to work on the garden Rick and I plan to plant. All of the furniture that needs a coat of paint will just have to wait for another day. The piles of paper stacked in the office are calling my name and everything else I want to do is outside. I'll play in the rain in the summertime, but on cold rainy days, I hibernate!

The chickens are playing in the rain. Even Riley Dog doesn't seem to mind it. Too bad their Mom is a wimp!
The last time I posted my intentions on the blog, I managed to get the whole list done. But, I really wanted to do those things. I'd rather have a spanking than clean out that study! Okay, I'm going, I'm going!

Damn if the weather forecast isn't calling for rain again tomorrow! I hear you paperwork! I'm coming!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dog On It by Spencer Quinn

After reading Marley and Me, I needed to read some funny fiction. While roaming the Audiobook aisle in the library, the cover of this book sucked me in!

I think Dog On It is one in a series of Chet and Bernie Mysteries. The unique thing about this book is that it's written in the voice of the dog, Chet. Chet flunked out of police K-9 School when his last test was infiltrated by a cat and he chose to chase the cat instead of the job. Now he works with Bernie, a divorced father of one, a sometimes heavy drinker, and in debt up to his eyeballs Private Investigator.

They set out to investigate a missing teenager but wind up tangling with the Russian mob in the desert of New Mexico. From the perspective of a dog, the story is very entertaining.

I think I'll check to see if the library has more Chet and Bernie Mysteries. I'd like to hear all of the details of flunking out of K-9 school!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hello Spring!

I travelled to Nashville, NC today to visit with my mom. She has the prettiest yard in the world. Lots of her plants were probably in your grandmother's yard. Her first bloomers of the year are Camellia and Forsythia.

This Camellia is about 15 feet tall. Nash County dirt is wonderful.
No rocks and no red clay!

If anybody needs forsythia, it multiplies faster than rabbits.
Mom is always happy to have friends dig in her yard.
I think it was summed up best by John Vollmer's sign at his farm in Bunn....
Hello Spring,
We missed you!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Marley and Me by John Grogan

Since I turned 40, my eyesight has turned horrible. I can't see well enough to read because my arms aren't long enough or stong enough to hold the book at full stretch for an extended period of time. There are about a million books I want to read, so I have become addicted to audiobooks. There are usually about 7 cases in my car at any given time. Thank heavens our local library is well stocked and allows folks to request books on-line.

Last week, it was finally my turn to listen to Marley and Me. I had put off reading this book because I knew how it ended. For this same reason, I didn't see the movie. I am NOT a pretty crier! I figured I could listen to the first 8 out of 9 discs while out and about without threat of crying while driving. Not so! Early on in the book, I was in tears when Jenny had a miscarriage. I was headed to a yard sale while listening and had to get my face straight before getting out of the truck.

I laughed at so many parts of the book because my Riley Dog had done the same crazy thing that Marley had done. Thank God Riley never hung out of the car window while driving down the highway like Marley did! My Riley did eat fire starters not once, but twice. After running through the yard pooping out the first one (he didn't need a match to feel the burn), I was amazed that he was crazy enough to eat another one. Both dogs are afraid of thunder storms. Both have torn up the garage. Both drag themselves along the couch to get a rubdown.

My Riley is almost 10 years old and is starting to slow down. Just the thought of not having him in my life makes me teary. Recently, I wrote about a trip to the vet when another family was bringing their old basset hound in to be put to sleep... It was heartbreaking and I didn't even know them.

When I got to the last CD, I knew it was coming. I took the CD into the bathroom so I could listen and get dressed. I should have known better! I cried ugly, hard, loud tears! There is no way I could have read this in traditional book form. I wouldn't be able to read through the blurr of my tears! The tears and "stuff" that ran down my face would have landed on the book and made the ink run, the pages stick together and way too gross to loan friends and family! Every time I thought I was done crying, I made an effort to put on make up only to cry it off again. The third time was a charm. There was no hope for my red rimmed eyes, though.

It was a wonderful book! All dog lovers should read Marley and Me. Take my advice...Don't read the last few chapters while laying out on the beach, waiting in carpool, or in any public place. Keep a box of Kleenex in your lap!

Riley Dog, you are a GREAT DOG!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Family Ping Pong Night

We finally have room to open up the ping pong table with enough room around the table for us to chase balls.

The Father/Son Dorks
The Mother/Son Slammers

Whenever the ball went out of bounds, Riley Dog would retrieve it and return it covered in dog slobber. We would wipe it down and continue to play.

Unfortunately, the Dorks beat the Slammers 16 to 21.

There's always tomorrow!

Just Us Chickens

"Okay, don't move to quickly and for God's sake, don't look it in the eye. Just walk slowly over to the tree like there is nothing wrong."

"Did ya'll see that BIG SCARY chicken in blue? What do you think she wants? We'll let her have Skippy!"

"Oh my God, she caught him! RUN!"

Thanks Susie and Jenny for the chicken mask! My children didn't even notice it was me in the yard! Amazing, huh?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Bathroom Transformation Again

Several weeks ago, we decided to let the "little boy cutesy bathroom" grow up to be an "teenage dirt-hiding bathroom." The fish I spent hours stencilling would be no more!

Apparently, we found the ugliest blue paint in the world. After one coat (we kept hoping it would look better when the whole room was done), we decided paint the color of Superman's tights just wouldn't work for us!

After a trip to Home Depot and advice from the paint guy, we added two cans of pure white to the UGLY blue that was left in the gallon can. Still no good! Fortunately, we figured this out BEFORE we put the paint on the wall.

Another trip to Home Depot and another chat with another paint guy and another purchase of two more gallons of paint...Desert Sand, and we were in business!

After one more trip out (Kohl's, not Home Depot), a bathmat and shower curtain finish off the bathroom. The boys are no longer embarrassed to let their friends relieve themselves in the upstairs bathroom with the lights on!

My only dilemma now...Does the shower curtain look better in...

or out?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I'm Sorry Your Mama is a Redneck

This morning, I was taking Will to school after an appointment with his eye doctor. As we passed a gas station, I hit the brakes and ordered him to look at the cute old blue truck parked in front. Will gave me a funny expression that said, "Yeah, so what?" Something in that look made me burst into laughter and apologize to him for being his redneck mama.

Not only do I love old trucks, I also wear cowboy boots and Levi's almost all winter long. I listen to country music and sing along...loudly. I have chickens with names. I've been known to take a possum with me to work in a Have-a-Heart trap and release him in the woods near SuzAnna's Antiques. Sometimes, I cuss like a sailor. I have my own air rifle. My two-fingered, ear-splitting whistle allows me to call the kids to dinner, get their attention when their loud, or let them know where in the bleachers we are sitting.

It could be worse! I don't drink. I don't smoke. I don't watch NASCAR. I don't wear tube tops with short shorts. I don't hunt raccoons but might consider it if they mess with my chickens. And, Lord knows, you'll never eat some kind of meat that requires skinning, scaling, or curing at my house. I have all of my teeth.

Regardless, I'm willing to be a Redneck Mama if I can have an old blue truck.

Purple Elephants

I heard about a neat place from my friends, Chris and Tonya, at Rock It Learning. Make sure you check them out if you are in need of a track-out camp for your tweens. Their web-site is Click here for more details and calendars. My son loved their bridge building camp!

In their recent newsletter, they plugged the Purple Elephant. No, they hadn't been doing Jello shots while writing their newsletter! The Purple Elephant Computer Factory for Kids is the perfect spot to take old computers to be cleaned up, revamped and fitted with internet software. They are then sold at a discount to disadvantaged families, kids with military parents, etc. Donors get the rush of recycling an item that is shunned at the dump and a tax write-off for their next communication with the IRS.

You can find these very helpful folks near the intersecion of Hwy. 70 and Millbrook Road in Raleigh at 6808 Davis Circle. If you have questions, give them a call at 788-7740 or visit their website at

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What Gets You Noticed?

This morning, I stopped at Starbuck's for an indulgent cup of cappuccino. While waiting in line to order, the bearded man in front of me was chatting amiably with the man in front of him. It was obvious they had not met before. Another man interrupted the conversation to hug the bearded man and tell him his drink had already been paid for.

After ordering my cappuccino, I went to stand with all of the others who were waiting for their concoctions to be placed on the counter and their requirements hollered out. I wound up standing next to the bearded man. Not being a shy wall-flower, I asked him how come folks were hugging him and buying him caffeine. "It's the beard," he said and introduced himself as Dominick.

An hour later, I was sitting in my husband's office waiting for him to call our bank to transfer some money. He has a particular lady at the bank who recognizes his Australian accent and agrees to transfer money from one account to another whenever he makes a telephone request. She won't do this for others because she may not recognize their voices.

So, that was two people in one morning who told me about people doing things for them because of physical attributes. I have been trying to figure out if I have any of these attributes that make me stand out among others. Unless being short, chatty, wearing glasses and cowboy boots and possibly having chicken poop running down the back of my shirt makes me memorable, I don't have "A THING."

Do you?