There’s one (or more) in every crowd.

A few days back, we took the puppy to her first session of obedience school.

We were instructed to bring three things to class: immunization records, a leash, and treats.

One puppy owner didn’t bring any of those items.

That particular owner (Shall we call her Eileen? Let’s do!) sat on a stool and watched her dog run up and hump every other dog in the class. As the rest of us were scrambling a bit to get the humper away from our dogs, Eileen simply laughed and yelled, “She’s been doing that to my Rottweiler all week!”

Note: Scout is not yet spayed. Her siblings are scheduled for their surgery on Friday, and her surgery will most likely take place in the next two weeks. Please know that we cannot officially adopt her until she has been fixed. Back to the story.

As our instructor talked to the class about basic disciplinary tools and how to use treats as incentives, Eileen approached me and said, “My grandkids are nine and they’re unschooled, and they’re reading a series of books that I can’t remember the name of, but they’re really great readers, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, et cetera!”

What I wanted to say: Unschooled like your dog? The dog who is unleashed because you cannot follow instructions and is trying to get my puppy pregnant as we stand around and discuss something you can’t remember?! I paid money for this class!

What I did say: That’s great! I’m sorry, I just missed what the instructor said!

During the entire class, Eileen paid little to no attention to her own dog. Instead, she asked Jeff to help her figure out how to e-mail a photo of Scout to her son. Also, she yelled out to random store employees to bring her a pet gate, a jogging vest, and a leash with neon paws on it for her dog. (They didn’t have the leash with the decorative paws, so her puppy remained leashless. Leashless and Humping.)

All of this to say: I have zero patience for flaky folks who don’t pay attention.

Also, I will never appreciate unschooling after hearing about it from Eileen.

Meanwhile, Scout is learning how to drive a car. Because she’s brilliant, and I’m becoming one of Those Puppy People who say things like, “Coot Widdle Pahpee.”

(I promise to not sing more songs about the puppy in my next post. You’re welcome.)

The End.

Scout has the keys.
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I need a shirt that says, “Case of the Mondays.” Actually, no I don’t.

Do you ever do that thing where you think you’ve made a good decision, and then it becomes clear that what you REALLY did was screw things up? Suddenly, your stomach begins to clench up and your head feels hot and as much as I hate the word Stupid, well, you just feel so stupid? That has happened twice in my life. The first time was after my family had said their goodbyes and driven back to St. Louis, leaving me in Nashville where I knew no one and couldn’t even find my way to the grocery store without referring to my infamous index cards on which I had written directions to and from anything I might possibly need. (Including the nearest Bar-B-Cutie.)

The second time was today. I’ve spent the past eight or so hours feeling incredibly sorry and guilty and, well, stupid. And although I had my Xanax prescription refilled over the weekend (for the first time since 2009! I am not a junkie!), I can’t find that bottle of pills anywhere! AND, I refuse to call Walgreens or my doctor because I ALREADY feel Stupid, and I really don’t want to keep rolling that feeling around in the snow.

Also, my cat is sick. Because she has herpes (really, I’m not making this up), she tends to respond to stress by having really intense sneezing fits. Every time she goes to the vet for an annual exam, she spends the next four to seven days sneezing. On Saturday morning, she got her head stuck in a bag handle, and when she took a step and the bag hit her in the butt, she took off running 392 miles per hour. When I finally tracked her down and cut the bag off of her, she stayed under the bed for three hours, and has been sneezing ever since.

I want to thank each and every one of you for the backpack suggestions. I’ve taken so many notes in the past few days regarding different websites and organizations, and it makes me feel good to know that I was right: Fluid Pudding Readers Know What’s Up. I’m going to take this information back to the school and see what they would like me to do. Thanks for being so amazing.

Because the second of May continues to jab me with rusty forks, please know that my glasses fell off of my face and into the litter box earlier this evening. I have since washed the heck out of them, but as I sit here at the computer, I can’t help but feel like my eyes are smelling sort of flowery. Littery. Luckily, the glasses fell as I was making one of those zen stone garden designs in the clean litter with the shovel. (I believe it helps the cats to achieve enlightenment each and every time they do their business.)

The kids are in bed, and I have no idea if it’s safe to turn the television back on. I think it’s a good night for knitting on my migraine doc’s shawl and listening to a knitting podcast or two. (By the way, Ellen rolled her eyes a bit at knitting earlier today. I almost felt like she was rolling her eyes at me. Really. It has been that kind of day, Annie.)
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We’ve got an 11-96 and a 5150 at The Pudding House.

On Monday morning, at approximately 8:27, the girls and I exited the house for the drive to school and quickly noticed a man sitting in his car right by our mailbox. I looked at him. He looked at me. I gave him the roughed up “Dude. This is MY house. Move it along.” raised eyebrow action. He didn’t flinch.

I quickly corralled the girls into the car, loaded their favorite Selena Gomez song onto the iPod, and slowly backed down the driveway. When I was parallel with Suspicious Vehicle and Man Inside, I made it clear that I was writing down his license plate number in one of the 38 tiny notebooks that I keep with me at all times.

I dropped the girls off at school and called Jeff, who took down the plate number and description of the car and the guy. He then alerted the police, because we’ve already had one person die at our house, and Better Safe Than Sorry.

I killed fifteen minutes (The drive to school takes about five minutes.) before re-entering our subdivision. The car was Still There. Instead of turning onto our street, I drove straight and looped around until I found myself in a Dairy Queen parking lot.

Me (to myself. Soliloquy!): Okay. I need to keep driving by the house to see what he’s doing, but I’ve got on this bright yellow sweater thing (which seems severely unflattering lately. Perhaps I should give it away?) and these black glasses. I need to shake it up to become unrecognizable so the guy doesn’t notice me driving past him every twenty minutes!

Me (on the phone with Jeff): Do you know of a place that can alter the appearance of our car in less than fifteen minutes?

Jeff (always dealing with me in the nicest way possible): No.

I then did what anyone would do in this situation. I took off the top half of my clothes in the Dairy Queen parking lot, removed my glasses, and tousled my hair until it looked exactly the same, only a bit more AWESOME. I then put my black t-shirt back on, sat up, and drove back to the subdivision.

Still there. Once again, I went straight instead of turning. This time, *I* called the police, and a woman who was in NO MOOD for chit-chat told me that an officer was on the way. (I suppose I’m sort of glad to know that the lady who dispatches the calls doesn’t like to spend time gabbing on the phone with people like me.) I headed straight to the Kentucky Fried Chicken parking lot, where I noticed a manager unloading a few boxes from his truck. (What could he be bringing in from home? Straws? Lids? Those Delicious Biscuits?!)

From the KFC lot, I called my neighbor to let her know what was going on. She said she was going to get a better look at the guy just in case we would need to identify him at some point.

People, this was getting Exciting. In my world, where the biggest adrenalin rush occurs when I have lunch plans AND a batch of cake balls that need to be made, having a potential menace in front of my house is Heavy and Invigorating. I drove into the subdivision again. Still there. Still There! (This was about thirty minutes after I spoke to Mrs. No Nonsense at the Police Department.)

Me (on the phone with Jeff): Damnit! He’s STILL THERE! And I think he saw me. I’ve driven into the subdivision THREE TIMES NOW, and I’m supposed to be meeting my mom for lunch in less than an hour and I’ve been driving AROUND for nearly an hour and I STILL HAVEN’T APPLIED MASCARA! I NEED TO GO HOME!!!

Jeff told me that he would place a sane follow-up call to the police to see what was going on, because really: I’m sure our fish is a small fish compared to the other fish they have to fry.

I slowly drove back into the subdivision and wound my way around until I was parked on a side street where I could see Potential Danger, but he couldn’t see me. (I really need to have a hat made that says Bird Dog to wear during my imaginary super sleuth adventures.)

Suddenly, my phone rang and scared The Crap out of me. It was Jeff.

Jeff: Go home. He’s a detective.

Me: He’s a what?!

Jeff: All they could tell me is that he’s a private detective and at this point you’re being doubly protected.

Me: Doubly Protected?! What is he DOING?

Jeff: Well, I told them that I didn’t feel good knowing that a detective is parked in front of our house, but they assured me that everything is okay.

Over an hour after I took the kids to school, I returned home—wearing completely different clothes, no glasses, and with screwed up hair. When I looked down at the guy in his car, he rolled down his window and quickly flashed his badge at me. I cautiously approached him. (Probably not so cautiously, actually. Cautious is hard to manage when your lashes are in need of definition and you’re carrying your clothes. Embrace Your Whimsy.)

Me: Yeah, so, I’m sorry I called the police on you. It’s just that I HAVE DAUGHTERS.

(Really. I said that.)

Detective: I get it.

He then rolled up his window, which told me that he didn’t have time for my breeze shooting.

And that’s HIS loss, because I was going to offer him some cake balls. (If you give me an inch, I tend to take a yard.)
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I just don’t want to be Tessie.

In approximately two weeks, I will be attending a knitting camp, where I believe there will be both knitting and camping. Sadly, I’ve done what I always seem to do, which is: Not keep up with the message board discussions where the camp is discussed. SO, in two weeks, my friend (who is flying in from far far away) and I will be driving to the campground, where I will be The Woman Who Has No Idea What’s Happening.

Me: Oh! A sheep shearing?! How wonderful! I had no idea!

Me: Oh! I have latrine duty?! Fiddlesticks! I probably should have read the message boards!

Me: Oh! We’re doing a real life version of The Lottery?! Hrm! I’m not quite sure this is what I signed up for, but really? I don’t know WHAT I signed up for! PleaseGodDon’tMakeMeBeTessie.

I do know that at one point during the registration process I paid $25 extra to NOT have to sleep on a bunk bed (really! I’m that kind of person!), but then the camp location changed to a place that doesn’t have bunk beds (hooray!) and DOES have a microbrewery on site (what?!). In other words, UPGRADE! I’ve also heard rumors that an outdoor movie will be shown, and that the movie may be Mamma Mia! (Please know that the exclamation point used in that last sentence is not intended to indicate my own excitement about Mamma Mia! being shown. Seriously.) Anyway, since Hell for me involves spontaneous singing and dancing and high-five lady hug crazyville, there’s a good chance that if the movie is a mandatory event, more than one hundred knitters are going to witness this before the end of the night.


Perhaps it’s time for me to start a warning thread on those message boards…
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It is now in the basement. In a bucket!

When you’re in your goofy teddy bear pajamas and it’s three degrees outside and you call your husband in Philadelphia to ask where the plunger is because it’s not in its normal location in the (very cold) garage and he tells you that he may have hung it on a nail that happens to be something like twelve feet above the ground—meaning you have to take more than five running jumps (with maniacal fist punches that make you look like the most blundering middle-aged ballerina, yeesh) to dislodge it from the nail, and when it DOES finally fall it hits you in the side of the head which causes you to yell the S word right as the next door neighbor’s kid is leaving his house to catch his bus, well, it’s not such a great way to kick off a Tuesday.

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In which I casually slip in REM and Michael Jackson lyrics…

I just broke a vase by accidentally slamming another vase into it. Survival of the Fittest Vase is playing out in my kitchen sink, all because I still haven’t adjusted completely to my glasses. Watch out! I might be driving to the grocery store tonight! We’re out of milk, you see, and the Oberweis guy won’t be here until 10:00 tomorrow morning. If you follow that link, you’ll notice that Oberweis is trying to make me (and you) buy some of their egg nog. I’ve had egg nog once in my life, and that was back in college at a dean’s Christmas party. I don’t handle alcohol very well. Also, I’m intolerant of lactose. I do remember wearing a very cute skirt to that party, but that’s pretty much where the good memories end.

If you know me at all, you know that I’m pretty relaxed. I occasionally get ruffled, but it’s nothing that a five minute goofy typed rant won’t solve. AND, best of all, 89.73% of my rants end without confrontation or consequence, and then I’m back to baking a potato or folding laundry or whatever. Okay.

Last winter, it snowed. You might be wondering where that sentence came from, so let me elaborate. It snowed, which means the temperature was sort of cold, which means our front door wouldn’t open without a significant amount of force. One particularly cold morning, Jeff left to go to work and he closed the door behind him. Twenty minutes later, when the girls and I tried to leave so we could drive Meredith to school, I couldn’t open the front door. I pulled and tugged and kicked it (you know, to loosen it up) for nearly ten minutes with no luck. The only way we could get out of the house involved walking through nearly eight inches of unshoveled snow from the back door around the side of the house to the garage. (We don’t have a door that leads from the house directly to the garage. We’ll talk about that charming feature some other time. Actually, let’s get it out there right now. The people who built the house forgot to put the garage on until after the house was built. Because of this, our kitchen has a big lovely window that looks directly out into the garage. (Our neighbors love that story.))

Anyway, after picking both kids up and carrying them to the garage so they wouldn’t get all wet (I am Superman, and I know what’s happening), I locked the back door and we drove to school. During the drive home, it occurred to me that I don’t have a key to get into the house through the back door. (I didn’t then. I do now.) My mind EXPLODED and I called my dad.

Me: So, yeah. I can’t get into my house through the front door even though that door is UNLOCKED, and I can’t get in through the back door because I DON’T HAVE A KEY FOR THE BACK DOOR and Jeff is in a meeting so now Harper and I HAVE TO SIT IN THE GARAGE ALL DAY!

Dad: If you can wait thirty minutes, I’ll come up and get the front door open.

Me: I can’t wait thirty minutes. I’m kicking the door down.

Dad: Do NOT kick the door down. I’m on my way.

I parked the car in the driveway, stomped up to the front door like Henry Rollins would, and kicked it down. And I didn’t just kick the door down, I became a prime candidate for one of those trashy late-night cop shows by going all Van Damme 360 Spinning Kick Compilation! on it. (I kept my shirt on.)

Five minutes later, Harper and I were drinking hot chocolate and baking muffins or something similarly hypotensive. The only consequence of my rant? I sort of screwed up the door and ruined the door frame. This resulted in over one thousand dollars worth of damage because our door is not a standard sized door (who knew?!), and that’s so crazy because Paul, I think I told you, I’m a lover—not a fighter! My dad came over, fed me a big spoonful of I Wish You Wouldn’t Have Done This, and repaired the door as best as he could.

Tomorrow we get a new front door. It’s infused with the calming scents of lavender and jasmine, and if I approach it at a speed that exceeds three miles per hour, it will belt out this beautiful song, which will either reduce me to tears or put me to sleep. Everything’s under control. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Get ready to make passes. Or not.

Last week I stopped at a stoplight (as I often do), and for whatever reason, I reached up and rubbed my right eye. Suddenly, with my hand over my right eye, I could no longer read the Imo’s sign across the street and I Freaked Out (as I often do).

This is what it has been like to live with me during the past week: Please picture yourself sitting in our rocking chair and watching television. I’m sitting on the couch. A commercial comes on, and text flashes across the screen. From the corner of your eye, you see my right hand fly up to my right eye.


(Jeff has been carving the “Love is patient…” verse from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians into his left forearm with a dirty pocket knife as I sit on the couch screaming like Helen Keller at the running text on CNN. Anderson Cooper!)

I went to see an eye doctor yesterday morning, and I’m now carrying around a prescription for glasses. (If you’re craving details, please know that I’m astigmatic in my left eye, and my right eye vision is actually worse than my left—but neither eye is very bad. The astigmatism is throwing my brain off, which sparks my interest in many ways, most of which center around that headache I’ve been droning on about for the past six weeks.)

So, anyway. When it’s time to choose a pair of glasses, the best thing to do is take a photo of yourself and play on the computer in your kitchen, right? Right!

Tiffany TF2002B Black

Okay, look. I know it’s not a great photo of me. You’re never going to get one of those, so let’s suck it up and concentrate on the glasses. I don’t mind these at all.

Essential Eyewear EN9652 Black

I mind these a little more. They’re too thin, maybe? I need some pressed powder for my nose.

Vogue VO2590 Orange

Harper likes the orange frames the best. Pearle Vision is running a Buy One, Get One Free deal on frames. Even with that deal, I don’t believe I’ll go for the orange. They make me look like I’m a Celine Dion fan who’s trying really hard to carry off Funky, but everyone knows she has a sweatshirt at home that features a St. Bernard wearing a Santa hat. Am I right? Also, when did I start looking like Jeff Goldblum?

Ray-Ban RX5150 BlackSleep

I just fell asleep. This is what I would look like if I fell asleep while wearing glasses!

Dolce and Gabbana DG3052 BlackFear

AND, now I’m scared. This is fun, isn’t it?


My glasses have to look smart during my late night mustard drinking sessions!

Oakley OKGS11931 BlackAccident

I just made out with Ben Folds!

So, anyway. The eye doctor has made me promise to not call him if I reach for the pepper shaker and miss it for the first few days after getting the glasses.

Me: Can I call you if I fall down the stairs?

Him: No. Just wear the glasses and be careful. Your eyes and brain will adjust to any abnormalities you may sense at the beginning. Call me in a year and we’ll revisit the prescription.


Him: That’s great. Call me in a year.
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Don’t go chasing waterfalls.

This afternoon at 1:00, I will be seeing an ophthalmologist for the first time. Oddly enough, despite everything we’ve been through with Meredith’s eyes, the word ophthalmologist is still very difficult for me to spell. Because it’s 194 degrees outside and I’m choosing to live simply this morning, I shall from here on out refer to my o-p-h-t-h-a-l-m-o-l-o-g-i-s-t as an Eye Doctor.

I’ve noticed some twitching in my right eye over the past few weeks, and I’ve decided to not complain about it because 1) Complaining isn’t an attractive verb; and, 2) My sister’s eye has been twitching for a few YEARS, and she may have to see a specialist in a different town from where she lives to investigate her twitching. So, really, why in the hell would I bellyache about an infrequent twitch?! (I’m using twitch entirely too much. Time to pull out a grab bag of synonyms: Tic, Spasm, Vellication, Quiver, Paroxysm, Convulsion! I choose Vellication!)

Yesterday, along with the vellication, I discovered that my right eye was crying.  Every time I tipped my head, actual tears poured out and ran down my face. I was a little tea pot, short and stout! This actually came in handy when I took my car to the service station. As the mechanic and I reviewed his invoice, a huge tear jumped out of my eye, rolled down my nose, and dripped onto the paper.

Mechanic: …so, there might be wattage issues, but it’s nothing we’re concerned about.

My eye: (Drip, roll, drop, SPLASH!)

Mechanic: Dude. Is everything okay?

Me: I’m good. I might have wattage issues, but it’s nothing I’m concerned about.

Mechanic: There’s no charge for today’s visit.

My right eye cried all through Harper’s karate class last night. It cried as I made my friend Mitzi’s cucumber salad. It cried as I went deeper into The Girl Who Played with Fire. I have to wonder if perhaps the right side of my body is feeling sort of sad for reasons beyond my understanding. (Perhaps yesterday was a special anniversary for my appendix, and Right Side is mourning her loss. Of course, that doesn’t explain the vellicative behavior. Vellicative! Say it out loud and notice how it gives your tongue a workout! I love that!)

This morning, Old Rightie is no longer weeping and she hasn’t yet vellicated, meaning the Eye Doctor is probably going to stamp my file with the words Wooden Nickel as I leave his office. (Grab Bag: Two-Dollar Bill, Charlatan, Bunyip!)

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The photos serve as antihypertension vehicles.

So, I’ve got this happening on my front porch. a rose is a rose is a rose, et cetera

And I’ve got this happening twice each week.
Karate Kid

I started my summer project.
Vernal Equinox, Clue Two
(It will eventually look like this.)

And yesterday I made a blackberry cobbler. (It didn’t last long enough for photographs.)

Seven more days of school.

Only seven more days of school.
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I call you on the telephone, but you’re never home.

Last night Jeff presented me with a birthday gift.

For the first time ever, we now have Caller ID and Call Waiting.

I’m a terrible (TERRIBLE) phone person, which is odd when you consider that two of my very first jobs involved lots of telephone action. (While in college I was one of those people who called you during dinner to ask if you were interested in having Olan Mills take portraits of your family. I was oddly successful with that job, but the only real memory I took away from it was when my co-worker presented me with a six-pack of Fat Tire and a cassingle of “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston. (She was paying me back for the bread sticks I often bought for her during our breaks. She was broke, and NOT very successful with the Olan Mills gig.) When I returned home that night, five people (3 roommates and 2 friends) were scheming in the living room. We quickly divided up the beer and listened to the cassette one time. ONE TIME.) (Please know that if you live in a house where Rage Against the Machine holds a permanent spot in the CD changer, Whitney Houston is definitely not invited to stay for very long. Also, please know that I rescued Whitney from the trash that night and kept her hidden in my car for those times when I found myself hoping that life treated you kind and that you have all you dreamed of. (I also wished you joy and happiness, but above all this, I wished you love.))

(Sometime I’ll tell you all about my roommates and how we once ate an entire turkey (minus the innards) with our bare hands (on the roof of our house!) to ring in the new year. Wonderfully stinking cretins we were!)

What were we talking about? Phone jobs! The second phone job I had (that’s starting to sound dirty, isn’t it?) involved fighting unemployment claims made by people who were fired from their jobs for misconduct. In other words, I can tell you (off the record, of course) entirely too many stories of Denny’s employees who actually DID pee into the coffee and movie theater employees who were found with their pants down when their pants should have been up (and fastened). Urban Legends Revealed!

So, anyway. Up until now, I either answered the phone or I didn’t, and whoever (whomever? I can never get it down.) was calling either left a message on our machine or they didn’t. It was all so serendipitous and twirly! But now that has changed, because I KNOW it’s you (if I actually get up and look at the phone) and there are four people I do not wish to talk to right now (five, if you count the owner of a local Roly Poly whose employees took me to a level of anger yesterday that led me to type a terribly mean e-mail that I later regretted sending. Oomph.), and those four people currently think that I’m never home, but now they know that I KNOW. (And I  know they know I know et cetera!)

And this adds a whole new flavor to the mix: I just now received a call, and the caller ID thing said ADA. Could it be the American Dental Association (I have a dental appointment on Monday!) or perhaps the American Dietetic Association (Just this morning I was thinking about nutrition, and there is no such thing as a coincidence!)? Because curiosity always kills me, I picked up the phone. It was the American Diabetes Association, and they were thanking me for my contributions and wanting to know if I could send letters out to everyone in my neighborhood. When I told them that I was really strapped for time in the coming weeks, they tried to talk me into finding extra time in my schedule. (Believe me, I’ve looked for extra time! Unlike the Whitney Houston cassingle, it’s nowhere to be found!) When I reached the point where I could feel my voice shaking, I finally hung up on them. And now I’m feeling an unpleasant blend of Guilt and ShouldHaveSaid.

The mailman just delivered, and I’m steaming potatoes covered in dill. (And because of my poor sentence structure, you’ll never know if it’s me or the potatoes covered in dill. Use your imagination.) Harper is taking her first karate class, and Meredith has finished two of her homework pages.

Most importantly, I now own three different types of basil plants. It’s the beginning of an excellent summer.
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