July 27, 2010

RIP Grandpa

It's been a trying two weeks. Two days after my last post I got a call saying that my grandfather was dead unexpectedly. Then suddenly he wasn't dead after all.  Then several hours later he WAS dead. It was a strange and horrible roller coaster of hospitals, nurses, doctors, friends, family, strangers, police and more. 

I'll probably write about it eventually, but then again, maybe not.  I've not written much about my lovely, vibrant niece who was murdered. I didn't write much about my grandmother (with the exception of her hospital stay) or uncle dying - one expected, one unexpected. I don't usually write about sad things on this blog.

On the other hand, sad things are part of life and I'm beginning to think maybe I'm not being totally honest by simply trying to be funny all the time. On the other other hand, does anybody care about reality? Probably so since reality TV is big.  But on the other other other hand, is that really reality?

You can see the state I'm in.

All this is my way of saying I'm here, but not here. No plans to take a formal hiatus and yet I feel like I'm on a hiatus.  But I've not forgotten here, or you, or anything.

July 9, 2010

What Happened at Mile Marker 95

An open letter to the Texas State Trooper at Mile Marker 95:

Dear Officer,

I wonder if you noticed me because I was the only car who actually used a turn signal and moved into the passing lane in order to go around you as you were sitting on the side of the road under the overpass. You say it's because I was speeding, but I'm not sure how that is possible since I was going 70 in a 70-mile-an-hour zone.

You also marked my ticket as the violation occurring while in a construction zone yet there were no orange signs, no workers, no cones, nothing to indicate that there was anything construction-like going on with the exception that the road was very rough with some asphalt overpatching. If that were the case, my entire city and county would be a construction zone and nobody would get anywhere quickly. We might as well declare ourselves Amish and save some gas money while we're at it.

I thought it especially creepy how you were google-eyeing all my junk in the front seat. Yes, I know those knitting needles can look menacing sitting there in my army-green canvas messenger bag, but as long as it has taken me to knit that dishtowel that's on there, believe me, I'm not about to lose it all by whipping the needles out and yelling, "EN GARDE" no matter how tempting it seemed at the time.

All of that is fine, I suppose, but I did begin to resent our visit when you started asking me nosey questions like how long I had been in your state, as if I was an uninvited, unwelcome guest who needed to be hurried along. I further was offended by your additional questions as to what my business was in your state, who I was visiting and what was the nature of my visit.  I felt like if I didn't produce some citizenship papers soon that you'd call the INS and have me shipped off to, I don't know, Ireland, I guess.  I've been asked less questions crossing borders with my passport.

Seriously, do I look like a drug trafficker? A chunky, middle-aged woman with half a bag of licorice jelly beans, some knitting and a drop spindle of freshly spun yarn?  Always the optimist, what I CAN say is that at this rate nobody could ever accuse you of racial profiling, so if you need someone to be a witness as to your equal opportunism, I'm your girl.

I was annoyed with myself later after we parted ways because I thought of all the things I could have done like name-drop the semi-famous person that I was off visiting for the weekend. Or I could have gotten my city council colleague who is also a state trooper to put in a good word for me. Or my nephew who is a deputy sheriff with his drug dog sidekick named Kilo. Or I could have casually mentioned that I am an upstanding, respected minor political figure in my town. None of which I did because the truth is I'm only a lowly human being who was going 70 in a 70-mile-an-hour imaginary, unmarked construction zone because it's a recession and Texas needs its money. Well, and also because I didn't think of any of that while I was scrambling around trying to find the papers you asked for.

Strangely, though, you didn't give me a ticket for speeding.  You said you'd just give me a warning, but would definitely give me a ticket for handing you a proof of insurance card that was expired.  Although that's not what the ticket said.  The ticket said, "Failure to maintain financial responsibility."  Really?  I've paid off all my student loans, my credit card debit, paid off my business, never filed bankruptcy, have good credit.  I wish I had known that having a piece of paper in my glove compartment with the right date on it was enough to qualify as "financially responsible".  I would have a lot more walking around money instead of wasting it on paying my bills and making good investments.

I'm just glad I got pulled over last week instead of this week because otherwise you would have noticed the case of sodium hydroxide (lye) I was hauling around in my car.  Had you seen that you would have surely taken me in on suspicion that I was a mobile meth lab or on my way to my non-mobile meth lab. Or maybe sent me to Guantanamo Bay to hang out with my terrorist homies.  But no, it's just for soap making, Officer, like your great-great-granny used to make way-back-when before people were addicted to fancy smelling soaps that make them smell less like authentic humans and more like the spritzer lady in a department store.

What I do want to say, though, is that I appreciate the job you do (for the most part).  I have dear friends and family in Texas and I want to know they are safe. I want to know that you are being diligent, thorough, and, hopefully, honest in your job.

However, I do worry that in the eleven minutes that you had me pulled over by the side of the road, 2.5 violent crimes occured (according to Texas crime statistics) -- murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault -- crimes that you were not able to attend to because you were busy asking me about my weekend lying in bed with my best pal while we ate copious amounts of Thai food, had pedicures, knitted and watched pay-per-view movies all night.

But, I do understand that someone needs to stop those speeders because they can cause a lot of problems, too. However, in my humble opinion it's just better to wait until they are actually speeding.



P.S. I had to fill up my gas tank but I waited until I was on the other side of the state line so my own state could benefit from the sales tax generated from my purchase. Boy, did I show you.

July 3, 2010

If You Need a Conversation Stopper You Can Borrow My 3-Year-Old

We had company over last weekend. They brought their baby with them... a cute six month old butter chunk. They plunked him down in his walker and my kids began surrounding him with toys, stuffed animals and other goodies.

The grownups began talking about whatever boring stuff grownups talk about. I glanced over to make sure my kids were not accidentally suffocating the baby with an overdose of love. He was fine and gnawing happily on Winnie the Pooh, the only toy that hadn't fallen out of his short reach.

About five seconds later I heard Tristan yell, "Mom, Baby Isaiah is eating his penis!"

The room, as you might imagine, went dead silent. My head whipped around and there was Winnie the Pooh on the walker tray with the baby gnawing happily in his crotch.

"Oh wow," said the mother sitting next to me.

I cleared my throat, my mind casting about for something appropriate to say. Rarely do I come up with the appropriate thing however.

"Tristan, he's a stuffed animal. He doesn't have a penis."

"Yes he dooz! Baby Isaiah is EATING his PENIS!"

I do know enough about my son to know that he gets loud and indignant and there was no good way to make this conversation disappear by reasoning it through. So I did what any sensible mother would do... Offered him some chocolate milk.

I've never seen a kid leave a room so fast.