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!"

Friday, May 29, 2009

One Proud Motha!

Tonight, we attended the "Bandquet" (get it?) at Wakefield High School. My oldest baby is a freshman and marched with the Marching Woverines to The Raven. Will plays the trombone. He also plays in the concert band.

After dinner, we all settled in for the award section of the evening. The seniors were honored. The colorguard got pins. Will earned his letter, a marching band pin and a concert medal. We were so proud of him for getting all of this in his first year. Then the highlight of the evening...A plaque for Most Outstanding Rookie in the marching band went to (da, da, da, daaaa) Will Martin!

YEAAAAH! Woohoo!! Loud finger whistles! Mama, sit down!

I went back to the program to see how Will was chosen for this award. All of the band members voted for the rookie who performed at the highest level. I had to restrain myself from running to Will's table (where he was sitting with all of his friends), wrapping my arms around him and jumping up and down! I wanted to call my mama and tell her. We still had two more hours of awards before I could even congratulate my boy, and for you other motha's out there, we aren't allowed affection displays in public. When I finally got to him, I got a quick shoulder bump hug as he scanned the room to see who was watching.

Boy, I am so proud of you! If I embarrassed you, too bad!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What was I Thinking?

A couple of days ago, I was sitting at my make-up mirror examining my face. Obviously, I don’t do this very often or often enough because my eyebrows looked like woolly worms. I rounded up my tweezers and a small mirror to hold close to my face and began plucking the obvious offenders…the ones that had crept below the crease in my eyelid, the ones near my hairline, the ones reaching for ear-hairs. Once the big ones were out, I went for the ones that were just starting to come in, you know, those little ones that require you to take a chunk of skin in order to remove them.

Rick came in to brush his teeth and we talked some, brushed some and plucked some. Those long eyebrow hairs that I can’t see on myself but the tweezers pull them several inches from my face before they bring tears to my eyes and let go of my skin.

Will came in to do his daily toilette. More brushing, chatting, and plucking. Feeling as though I had plucked enough, I put my supplies away and looked into my large make-up mirror. What was left of my eyebrows shot up under my bangs. What the hell have I done?

Above each eye stood a puff of hair equivalent to a Hitler mustache. Should I thin these out? Should I call the Eyebrow Store (yes, there is one at the mall!)? Maybe I should just leave them alone. I grabbed my eyeliner pencil and tried to draw in some of the hairs I had just removed. One sloped towards my ear while the other aimed at my widow’s peak. I looked like I should be in a Special Ed Class.

I wiped it all off, put my regular make-up on and went to Wally World to sooth myself with some retail therapy. I could tell when someone had real eye contact with me because their eyes would grow large, then, their eyebrows would disappear under their bangs.

When was the last time I plucked my eyebrows? Will they be back by Christmas? Maybe I’ll ask for eyebrow Rogaine for my birthday! No photographs, please!

PS Don't believe there is an eyebrow store? Its called BrowZnAround Eyebrow Studio and is located in the Triangle Town Center. Park near Belks. Their phone number is (919) 449-2447. I'll be throwing away my tweezers and programming their number in my cell phone!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Deer, Squirrels and Snakes! Oh, My!

It's been a busy wildlife weekend! Some of you who know me also know I tend to be a magnet for weird events with animals.

Saturday night, we went to Pamlico to take care of some repairs on the trailer. Most of the work required Tony's expertise. The rest of us were just along for the ride. Our ever faithful Riley Dog went, too. Early Sunday, he came into our bedroom to let us know he needed to check on the trees in the yard. I jumped in some sweats, grabbed the leash and headed out with my old boy. We got in a good walk, watered a few trees, and left behind a few piles of groceries. On the side of the road, we encountered a killdeer bird who suddenly appeared with her wing at an odd angle and dragging a leg. I recognized this as her effort to deter us from her nest. There on the ground and just two feet from the road was a nest made of seashells with four spotted eggs. They looked more like smooth stones than eggs. Very cool!

With our walk finished, I dawdled up the driveway hunting for sharks teeth. Riley strolled along and ate grass. When he walked behind the trailer, I followed to make sure he didn't ditch me for one of the free-range puppies from the neighborhood. He walked toward a fresh pile of grass at the far end of the yard. I saw one of our bird feeders had fallen and followed. To my horror, Riley walked right up to a fat, brown snake, sniffed it, and contemplated further action. Thank God he recognized my "oh, shit" voice and came quickly when I called his name. I did that butt-squeezing power walk into the trailer and was right proud of myself for not screaming until I was inside. "BIG ASS SNAKE!" roused all of my boys from bed. Tony to the rescue with a shovel and a back-up pellet gun. When he hit the snake with the shovel, it jumped into the air with its pink mouth wide open and showing his fangs. Once home and on-line, Tony looked up the snake and found it was a cottonmouth. They tend to be aggressive. We are fortunate it did not strike my Riley Dog! Involuntary shivers still take control of my body every hour or so! I HATE snakes!

Back in our Wake Forest neighborhood, we stood at the kitchen window this morning to see a new type of squirrel for our neighborhood. It was large red-headed squirrel. Actually, his tail was more red than his head. He played happily with the 6 or 7 grey squirrels that usually hang out at our BIRD feeders. We are hoping more of these red-headed fellows come.

Later in the day...After a trip to Wally World, I pulled into our driveway to see a damn deer casually walking away from just under our kitchen window. She strolled over to the edge of the woods and surveyed where she could find more yummy buds, then disappeared from sight. It was just 2:30 in the afternoon. Tony could see where she had been eating from one of the BIRD feeders. She had rose buds for dessert!

I'm happy to feed the squirrels. I love having my hummingbirds swarm and sword fight over their liquid sugar. My chickens scurrying to catch any morsel the birds drop from the feeder. With Riley's hearing fading away and his need for more frequent naps, I'm thinking I need to borrow Kujo for a couple of weeks to chase away the deer. What kind of dog do we get to scare away the snakes?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Thank a Vet!

Today, we listened to NPR on the two hour ride home from Pamlico. In honor of the Memorial Day weekend, many of their stories were about soldiers and their families. I know three men who are serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Craft: Craft lived across the street from me in Nashville for much of my youth. InCheck Spelling the first memory I have of him, he was playing Army. His mom was my kindergarten teacher and is still a good friend.

Fifteen years later, Craft was one of my college roommates. He was still playing Army in ROTC at East Carolina University. On drill days, he would rise early and smear his face with camouflage war paint. Light switches and door knobs would disappear under layers of the paint as Craft made his way out of the house.

Once out of college, Craft enlisted for real. Fast forward another 20 years and he is still in the Army, a career man. He is married to a woman he met in Korea and has the prettiest daughter you will ever see. This is where my ignorance of the military comes in to play! I know Craft is a Captain or Colonel or some really official sounding title, but can't remember which one. He has been somewhere in Afghanistan for over a year. He sent an e-mail with some photos last year and told me Afghanistan is a gorgeous place. The photos of the mountains were certainly pretty. If he hadn't told me that, it never would have occurred to me. I assumed it would be war-torn and ugly.

Bryce: Eighteen years ago, my friend Linda (another college roommate) had a son, Bryce. He has been feisty from early on. He was about 10 months old when Tony and I moved back to NC from Australia. One of the first times I played with Bryce, I was laying on the floor in his living room with my feet on his belly playing Superman. He was smiling and flying along over my head when he burped and blew chunks in my face.

Just a month ago, Bryce left for Iraq. He is still in a holding pattern with his team, living in a tent and waiting for the current group to finish their term and head home. To his mom's relief, there hasn't been any action for the past seven months in the area Bryce is working. He will be driving a hummer. Last week, I got an e-mail from his mom saying he was well, but a little bored. I'll be shopping for a goody-box for him this week. All he has asked for is Pop Tarts, beef jerky, $1 bills for the soda machine and eye drops. With all he is doing to change our world, these seem to be such small requests.

Charlie: Finally, Charlie returned to Iraq around the same time Bryce went. I have met Charlie a time or two in passing when he and his wife came to SuzAnna's Antiques to purchase goodies for his mom. His mother, Nancy, is a friend. She sent me an e-mail shortly after he left. She had spent the weekend working in her yard and crying. She is so proud of him but also afraid for him. He is good to all of the women in his life, including his baby daughter. How hard was it for him to leave them behind to take care of his country?

How do you say thank you to these men and women? The two words, thank you, seem so small. I want to send brownies to all of the soldiers. I want to hug all of the uniformed folks I see in the airports. I wish for them all to come home safe and whole. I wish for their families to have peace of mind while their soldiers are out of sight. I pray for a quick end to the fighting, for the end of the Taliban and their hatred of America, and for this to be the last war any American soldiers ever have to fight.

Thank you!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Big Dummy!

After a few phone calls to friends last night, I discovered the volume on my cell phone was not working. Anyone on the other end of the phone sounded like they were whispering to me. Those of you who know me also know my hearing is on the poor side. I mashed every button looking for a way to make things louder. No luck! My best guess...when the egg cracked, it filled the holes where you put your ear. The rest of the phone was clean and seemed to be working fine.

Off to Alltel for help or, possibly, a new phone. The folks listened respectfully and controlled their faces when I explained an egg had cracked in my pocket and all over my cell phone. I handed over my phone. She dialed my number from her office phone then started mashing a button on the side of my phone. "There you go," she said. That's it? No complicated steps? No egg in the little holes? No purchase of a new phone! Woohoo!

As I was telling my youngest (13 years old) about my trip to Alltel, he said, "Mom, I could have fixed that for you." How much longer until I automatically understand how my technology gadgets work?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Note to Self...

For future reference, don't collect eggs from the hen house, put them in the same pocket of your skinny jeans (read TIGHT PANTS) as your cell phone and forget about it. One innocent squat to pull one stupid weed and communication with the outside world is is your breakfast!

Further, once you wipe the egg from your phone onto your shirt (forget about what is left in your pocket), go inside and take a shower immediately. Continuing to pull weeds in the cemetery while smelling like bad scrambled eggs brings weird bugs to check you out. Add a little sweat and the dog even thinks you smell bad!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What is the Message?

Last night, I watched the finale of The Biggest Loser. The person I thought would come in third place won. Tara, the girl who never fell below the yellow line and won most challenges was my pick for winner because of her appreciative, go-getter attitude. Mike would have been a good winner, too. As a lifetime fat kid, he and his father worked their butts off (literally). At 18, he tackled his bad eating habits, learned to exercise, and worked out anger issues with his dad. We watched him grow up over the last 6 months. Instead, Helen, the woman who asked her seriously overweight and emotionally distraught daughter to go home so she could stay and continue to lose weight, the woman who constantly said, "Look at me. Look what I did," the woman who was selfish in every way imaginable won the quarter of a million dollars.

As if The Biggest Loser wasn't bad enough, the finale of Celebrity Apprentice was last night, too. I don't watch Celebrity Apprentice. It just doesn't float my boat. However, who could avoid the commercials where Joan Rivers throws tantrums, walks off the set, calls other contestants ugly names, and whines constantly. Fast forward to this my horror, I learned that Joan won the Celebrity Apprentice. What on earth was Donald Trump thinking? I hope he gets saddled with 1000 employees who act just like Joan. I hope they whine, bully, throw hissy-fits, and have horrible plastic surgery. How many clients will he be able to keep?

What message does this send to our children? Bad behavior gets you what you want. Others' feelings don't matter. As long as you are happy, nothing else matters.

I think I'm done with reality TV!

Monday, May 11, 2009


Yesterday, we were in the car for the one hour trip from Nashville to Wake Forest. As usual, we bickered about which radio station to listen to. I want country, Tony wants NPR, the kids like the oldies (70's and 80's, when did that happen?) on The River. To eliminate whining, the grown-ups gave in to the kids.

Queen, The Clash, Boston, The Eagles. Then, Atlanta Rhythm Section's "So Into You" came on. I got the giggles. When this song came out in 1976, I was just 11. To my young ears, I heard, "When you walked into the room, there was do-do in your eyes." I couldn't believe someone had written a song about such a disgusting matter. And, how exactly did she get do-d0 in her eyes? Was she looking at the sky when a bird flew over? Did her cat have an attitude problelm? Maybe somebody threw it at her? It was quite a few years later before I realized what the REAL words are.

"When you walked into the room, there was voodoo in the vibes."

Now, I ask you, which song would you rather listen too? I still hear "do-do" and I'm 43.