May 31, 2009

Small Town Snapshot Sunday #11

It's Small Town Snapshot Sunday! Read the rules and get the banners here. Be sure you include the link to your post at the bottom of this entry and also, tag your post "stss" or "small town snapshot sunday" so people can search for it and find you!

This week my particular small town entry is about a "ghost town" called Arlburg. Back in the early part of the 1900's the little country area where I live was actually a railroad "boom town" (as boomy as it got back then, I guess). There was a railroad that ran through that was nicknamed "The Dinkey Line". There was the world's largest cooperage, and several towns along the line had their own industries attractions such as hotels, canning factories and other features of small railroad towns. The names of some of the towns on the line were Leslie, Rumley, Elba, Arlburg and Shirley. Of these only Leslie and Shirley still exist as towns.

This weekend I was in Arlburg and took a few shots of what's left of the town square.

This is the old railroad depot. It's made of stacked native stone mortared together. It's well overgrown with vines and bushes. The railroad line was across the road from this building and ran alongside the river. You wouldn't know a rail line was there if you didn't know the history.

Down the road is the old post office that is currently being used as a house. For a water source the occupants collect water from a spring.

Another building sits at the base of the mountain and has been completely covered by vines and small trees. I'm not sure what this building was. Through the trees came a big crashing noise, much running and hoof pounding. I assume deer. No sign of Bigfoot.

Miss Betty (who owned the local grocery) told me what this building was some years ago, but I've forgotten.

All the roads are narrow and form a square at the base of this mountain. It's a small shelf of land between the bottom of the mountain and the river.

On many of the buildings you can see ads for products or old signs.

Before she got too old, Miss Betty used to run a seasonal grocery store out of her garage. She'd sell ice and camping groceries for the locals who didn't want to drive back to town just to pick up a little something.

I think these concrete pillars might have been some kind of entrance or platform for the train, but I'm not sure.

A low water bridge goes across the river and is not always accessible safely if the water is too high.

This picture doesn't do the place justice but in this valley in certain places you can look up and see gorgeous bluffs in the distance that line the river.

The river is big enough in spots to float and eventually leads to Greers Ferry Lake.

And finally, my friends Bart and Amy have an adorable riverfront cabin and we were lucky enough to run into them this weekend while we were scouting around their neighborhood.

I hope you're having an awesome Sunday no matter what size town you're in.

This week's participants are:

Small Town Snapshot Sunday Participants
1. mrs. e
2. Ozark Life
3. Meri Arnett-Kremian
4. Becky
5. Woman of Faith
6. Smalltown Girl
7. Renee Nee Nee's Blog
8. Elizabeth
9. It Is What It Is
10. Views from a Small Town

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May 29, 2009

Counting is Private

Two helicopters. One flew out of Tristan's hands and ended up under the edge of the car seat where he couldn't reach it. Howls of protest flew through the air like a flush of bats waking up to feed.

One helicopter. Three propeller blades. It all added up to five.

"One two fwee foh five."

I tuned back in from my Happy Place where I had been ignoring the flapping bat howls.

"Fwee foh five."

Oh the singing joy in a mommy's heart when her little adorable angel child learns to count.

Cue harps. Cue Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Release doves. Cue big sunshine beam cutting through clouds. Hint of blue sky appears.

Like any devoted mother who has a loving and caring bond with her child, I felt compelled to engage in this moment. My child can COUNT!!!

So, I say, "One... two... three... four... five.... YAY TRISTAN!"

And he says, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! No Mommy!"

Cue big record needle scratching over Mormon Tabernacle Choir.


"No say that. Mommy."

"Oh, okay, sorry."

He continues, "One two fwee foh five sex seben eight nine ten leben twelb."

Wow. I can't help myself, so I add "thirteen fourteen..."

"NOOOOOOOOOOOO! Fohteen TWO. Mommy."

He goes back to counting to five with an occasional "fourteen two" thrown in at the end. When he reaches five I cheer for him. When he reaches ten I do another "yay Tristan!" Finally he can't stand it anymore and indicates I should cease and desist cheering. "No. Me!"

I try to take comfort in the fact that he's his own cheering section which is a great metaphor for life because sometimes as an adult YOU might be the only fan you have. But seriously, buddy, you're two. How much self-esteem can you pack into that little body of yours?

I purse my lips and keep driving. He counts some more, then cheers at the end. After the fourth or fifth time I ask, "Can I cheer now?"


When we got to daycare he flops his head over to the side, pretending to be asleep so I'd carry him in. Usually I just tickle him "awake" but today thought it would be funny for us to play a joke on the daycare lady. When she came over to take him he held out her arms and went to her right away. No protests, no calling out for me, no whining about me leaving him.

My littlest boy can count to twelve and doesn't mind leaving me to stay at the sitter's all day. A few days ago my oldest boy graduated from kindergarten, complete with cap, gown, pomp and circumstance. Apparently we're on an express lane to adulthood with no exits, no rest stops. Everyone warned me and I have been hearing it, but I think you don't really get it until you have a day like this in which a simple thing like counting is suddenly private.

I'll wake up tomorrow and it will be time for driving tests and prom, secret smokes and girlie pictures hidden under the mattress. I like the idea of freezing time somewhere between the boys being fully potty trained and becoming obnoxious backtalkers.

The saying we've all heard goes like this, "If you love something, set it free; if it returns it's yours forever, if not it was never meant to be." So, to hedge my bets I'm making sure the pantry is good and stocked. They may not be thrilled to come back and see their old mom, but what young man can resist the lure of free food?

May 27, 2009

Hermaphrodite, Goddess of Mayonnaise

I get half-price groceries (or better) because I have a shopping system that is very cool. (If you want to know more, just send me email so I don't have to sound like a paid post here.)

It happened that the last time I went shopping I got a really, really, REALLY good price on mayonnaise. Such a good price, in fact, that I bought three gigantic jars of it and one gigantic jar of Miracle Whip.

Not only were they priced well, but my husband eats a lot of mayo. Unfortunately this necessitates him being heavily insured which pretty much negates all my grocery savings now that I think about it.

Anyway, when I got home and we were unloading the groceries he seemed particularly alarmed at the amount of mayo I had acquired and remarked on it. Like any good wife, I in turn mocked him for his mayonnaise consumption and then ignored him for 5 minutes until he forgot what we were talking about.

Today I went into the office kitchen and noticed a huge jar of mayo that had been left on the counter, open, for about three hours. Death in a jar. This is not the first time this has happened. It's like he's got a death wish and I am fully aware it probably comes from living with me, but still... does he have to take out everyone with him when he goes?

The following is our actual subsequent conversation over the phone. You may want to look away.

* * *

Him: Hello?

Me: Do you know why we need so much mayonnaise?

Him: Um... is this a trick question?

Me: Yes.

Him: Okay, no. Why do we need so much mayonnaise?

Me: It's because you leave it on the counter for like 12 hours and try to kill the whole family.

Him: Did I?

Me: Yeah.

Him: Damn it. [big pause] It'll be okay. It was last time.

Me: Last time you were the only one who ate it after that.

Him: And see, it turned out fine! You know, it's not refrigerated when you buy it. They have it sitting in these big palettes in a warehouse... just sitting there.

Me: Yeah, but it's like hermetic-- hermetically... hermaphrodites... it's SEALED UP is what I'm saying.

Him: Riiiight. Like Hermaphrodite the Goddess of Mayonnaise comes down and waves her magic wand over the jars to seal them...

Me: I'm hanging up now.

Him: Okay, bye.

[photo credit: photo monkey]

May 25, 2009

New and Improved Vocabulary

Here are some new vocabulary words and expressions Tristan has learned in the last couple of weeks along with sentences that show their proper usage:

No, Tristan, don't hit the butterfly with the sword. It's delicate.

Mommy. Butterbug. Dekkit. (Mom, the butterfly is delicate.)

ladder up
Tristan: waddah up! Mommy: No, I'm not putting the ladder up so you can jump into the pool and sink like rock.

river cross
Wivah cwoss! (Mom, drive across the river with your car!)

fine then
Mom: If you don't get this underwear on right now you're going to have some trouble on your hands. Tristan: Fine then!

talk about it
After many unsuccessful attempts to get Tristan to say what he wanted for dinner he said, "talk about it." I said, "You want to talk about it now?" He said, "NOOOO!" So, "talk about it" sometimes also means "I don't want to talk about it."

When Tristan doesn't get his way he accuses everyone of being "mean".

told you
Now whenever Tristan or Julius gets a stern talking-to, Tristan says, "told you! told you!" I have no idea where that comes from or what it means. Does it mean "I warned you not to do that?" Does it mean "I knew that was coming?" Hmm.

And finally...

shut up
[screamed at his brother after I left them alone in the car for 20 seconds while I ran back into the house to get my wallet]

The conversation goes as follows:

Tristan: [yelling] shutup! shutup! shutup!
Me: [just entering the car] Did he just say 'shut up'??
Tristan: shutup!
Julius: Yes.
Me: Where did he learn that suddenly?
Julius: Well... I told him to shut up.
Tristan: shutup!
Julius: It was a really big mistake. BIG mistake.
Me: Yeah, I'll say.
Tristan: shutup! shutup!
Me: Hey, Tristan, don't say shut up.
Tristan: shutup!
Me: Okay, try this... say "quiet please". That's more polite.
Tristan: quiet!
Me: Quiet, PLEASE.
Tristan: quiet! shutup!
Tristan: quiet! pweas!
Me: Good job, let's all try to be polite. [leaning over to Julius, speaking sotto voce] Let's stop talking about it so he doesn't say --
Tristan: shutup!
Me: -- yeah, THAT.
Julius: Oh, great. Now he'll never stop saying shut up.
Tristan: shutup!
Me: He will if you stop saying... "YOU KNOW". Tristan, do you need some trouble?
Tristan (softly): quiet. pweas.
Me: Thank you.

May 24, 2009

Small Town Snapshot Sunday #10

It's Small Town Snapshot Sunday! Read the rules and get the banners here. Be sure you include the link to your post at the bottom of this entry and also, tag your post "stss" or "small town snapshot sunday" so people can search for it and find you!

One of the joys of living in the country is that there are a lot of hidden treasures to explore. Sure you can go to parks or nature trails or whatever, but in my daily work I have the privilege of being able to accidentally run across these hidden joys randomly.

Here are two beauties from this week. I hope you're having a great Sunday no matter what size town you're in today!

Small Town Snapshot Sunday Participants
1. honeypiehorse
2. Ozark Life
3. Woman of Faith
4. Anna
5. Views From A Small Town
6. mrs. e

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May 22, 2009

How to Take Care of a Cat

How to Take Care of a Cat
by Tristan

  • Sit as close to the cat as possible without being actually on top of him and stare at him directly in the face.
  • Tweak the tips of his ears frequently.
  • Pull his tail.
  • If you feel like sitting close to him is just not close enough, press both hands down on top of the middle of his spine until he's folded in half backwards. Do this until he meows really loud or until your mother screams, "STOP TRYING TO BREAK THE KITTY!"
  • Pour his food into the water bowl.
  • Pour his water into the food bowl.
  • Frequently aerate his kitty litter with your bare hands.
  • Scoop water from the cat's bowl into your hand, then gently apply it to the cat's back and sides, massaging the water into his skin and fur until he looks like a wet chicken or Billy Idol or until your mother screams, "STOP PUTTING WATER ON THE KITTY!"
  • Run around the house after him and show him affection even if it looks like he's trying to get away from you by hiding under the bed.
  • Wake your mother up at 4am and ask her where the cat is and insist that she find it so you can make sure the cat has the pleasure of your human company.
  • Lock the cat in the bedroom where there is no litter box so you can be assured that you will always know where he is whenever you want to find him.
  • Tell the cat "love you" frequently and tell your mom "love him" so she knows that when Grandma comes back in 1.5 weeks to get the cat that her life will be one filled with toddler tears and miserable wailing and numerous pleas for "kitty".

May 20, 2009

Cat Scratch Fever, Duh Nuh Nuh

I've had this Ted Nugent song in my head all morning. I suppose I'm dating myself at this point, although maybe by now everyone understands that I'm a sedentary middle-aged mother-of-two who knows who Ted Nugent is. Although, honestly, I think I mostly know who he is because of my older brother. Does blaming it on my brother seem like a really pathetic attempt to hold on to my fleeting youth? (Oh come on, like you've never done it.)

The reason I have this song stuck in my head is because we are catsitting for my mom while she's on a road trip. We're watching her defective pound kitty that she's had for two weeks and he's freaking me out.

First of all, he's cross-eyed. So, he'll sit at my feet and stare at me with this vacant, cross-eyed look as if he's watching a gathering of invisible dead people behind me. It freaks me out. Then suddenly he leaps at me in what I assume is a gesture of affection but feels more like an attack from Inspector Clouseau's Chinese house servant, Cato.

Second, my mom brought him over injured. Just a few days after she took him home from the pound he ended up coming home looking like he'd been attacked by some wild animal or hit by a car or something. She thought he'd have to be put down, but didn't and has kind of mostly recovered except for this big flap of cat skin that, much to my disgust, periodically opens and closes revealing a gaping, seeping wound. Nice.

I got home yesterday and found the aforementioned skin-flap lying on the porch and was at first alarmed since now instead of peek-a-boo cat-meat we have 24/7 cat meat that appears to be oozing pus. However, overnight I've decided this might actually be a good thing. It seems to be repairing itself quicker without the fur.

My adult understanding, however, is not shared by Tristan who, while rolling around on the floor near the cat discovered the exposed cat-meat and started shrieking, in one of his more frequent moments of clarity, "MAHMAAAAAYYYYY, NEED YOOOOOOOOO!!!!" He was careful to point out Brutus's exposed cat-meat defect and I felt complimented that he thought I could actually do something about it besides dry-heave.

I told him I thought it was going to be okay and he was comforted enough by that to go on and eat some of Brutus's cat food and play in the used litter pan.

The boys have been wanting a cat and I'm hoping this will get it out of their system. I know that two days in it's already out of mine.

(For illustration you can see Tristan and Brutus fighting over a blanket and Julius deciding how close is safe to get to Brutus. How can a child be frightened of a cat?)

[image credit: The Rocketeer]

May 18, 2009

One Day it Will All Make Sense

Drives to drop-offs are getting more fun with the boys these days because Tristan is actually starting to, sort of, have conversations. Completely with nouns and an occasional adjective, but that's possible to do and be understood. It might not guarantee you thrive culturally, but you'll accomplish things to some extent. Just ask the next caveman you run into.

This morning after we dropped Julius at school we passed a few school buses because we were actually early today for a change. Seeing school buses is a big highlight of Tristan's day. (I have no idea why. I think because they are large. He likes big things.)

Our conversation went as follows:

Tristan: Bus! Bus!

Me: Can you wave at the driver? Hi Bus! (I wave. You can do that in the country and nobody thinks you're a freak.)

Tristan: Hi Bus!

The bus rumbles past and we see another one coming toward us in the distance.

Tristan: Ghost guy.

Me: Ghost? (I wasn't sure I'd heard it correctly.)

Tristan: Ghost guy.

Me: Are you saying the bus driver is a ghost?

Tristan: Ghost guy.

Me: Oh, the bus driver is a ghost guy?

Tristan: Mmmhmm.

Me: Is he nice?

Tristan: Nice.

Me: Oh. Well, that's good at least. That he's nice.

There was a moment of silence for both of us to contemplate how all the kids in our school district were being chauffered around the county by the cordial and well-mannered undead.

Tristan: Dirty.

Me: What's dirty?

Tristan: Ghost guy.

Me: Why is he dirty?

Tristan: Dunno.

He's not really good yet with abstract concepts like "why" and "how", so sometimes you have to go at it sideways.

Me: What got dirty on the ghost guy, Tristan?

Tristan: Booty.

Me: Booty? His booty is dirty??

Tristan: Mmhmm.

(Let's pause a moment for all the mothers and psychologists and general know-it-alls to finish analyzing this conversation and come to the conclusion that I have damaged my son during our latest potty training adventures. At the end of this pause for thoughtful meditation I would like to say... NO, I have never said booties are dirty. YES, I have said plenty of times that booties are stinky because they are. NO, I have yet to complain about any of the booty wastematter I have had to cleanup during the potty training process. I have been enthusiastic, smiling, cheerful and supportive. When it comes to potty training I make Mary Poppins look like Shrek.)

During the ride, after the revelations about the dirty-bootied, bus-driving undead, Tristan also proclaimed in his still-forming toddler English that he wanted to go see a ghost house. I have no idea where he gets ANY of this stuff because we don't talk about ghosts in our house. Must be the Scooby-Doo his brother watches.

He also said that all the windows in the car needed to be up because there was wind in Mommy's hair and that was bad. Also, the road on which the daycare lady lives is HIS because he made it with the help of the rocks and the bees.

Some days I wish I lived in his world. I bet the ice cream there is fabulous.

[photo credit: ImageMD]

May 17, 2009

Small Town Snapshot Sunday #9

It's Small Town Snapshot Sunday! Read the rules and get the banners here. Be sure you include the link to your post at the bottom of this entry and also, tag your post "stss" or "small town snapshot sunday" so people can search for it and find you!

What's a summer season without watermelon? Icky, sticky, luscious liquid watermelon!

Covered in watermelon blood and guts:

Sticky watermelon is gross!

The corpse:

Small Town Snapshot Sunday Participants
1. mrs. e
2. Woman of Faith
3. honeypiehorse
4. Smalltown Girl
5. Woman of Faith

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May 15, 2009

Self-Defense Advice

Tristan and I were hanging out having a bowl of popcorn while I watched some police drama on TV.

Well, I was eating popcorn. He was smashing popcorn into the couch and smiling a lot. Smashing popcorn into the upholstery is really cool. Til Dad gets home and asks why that is being allowed to happen. For some reason he never likes my answer which is almost always, "Well, he was being really quiet."

Now I've learned to change it up a little bit. I'm currently cycling through a few different excuses like... I was having a seizure and blacked out. Or... my blood sugar was low and I nodded off. If I'm really desperate I use... Oh sorry, I didn't notice. For a really special time I'm saving... The alien light was in my eyes and I was freaking out. Or maybe... I ran out to meet the ice cream truck and it was like that when I got back. He might also possibly fall for... The DVR fast forward button stuck and I had to run to the kitchen for a butter knife. Telemarketer called? Avon? Jehovah's Witnesses? Child Protective Services was at the door?

But as the popcorn was being smashed an altercation was occurring on the TV screen. Two men struggled, flung themselves around the room, knocking pictures off the wall, falling over couches. Your basic fake TV fighting.

Tristan glances up at the TV and watches for a second. Then in perfect, clear English (not his usual Toddler-ese) he yells, "HIT HIS PENIS!"

Right at that moment I was wishing there was another adult in the house to administer the Heimlich maneuver on me. My sister-in-law said the directions for self-administering the Heimlich is in the front of her phone book. It's not in my phone book because I have a crummy Arkansas phone book and the people who make my phone book are either jerks who think Arkansas people can't read and follow directions or they are trying to figure out a way to legally kill rednecks south of the Mason-Dixon line.

However, despite the fact that my phone company is trying to kill me, I didn't die that night. I lived on to retell the story to my family at which time Julius proudly announced that he is the one who taught Tristan that if an intruder breaks into our house that the best self-defense method is to kick the intruder in the penis. Obviously, Tristan is a very good student.

Coincidentally, this is the same week the daycare lady hinted around to me that there was probably some overuse of the word "penis" in our household since Tristan felt perfectly comfortable discussing his penis at the snack table not once, but FOUR times. I thought she was being silly about it until this morning I hear him yelling, "GIANT PENIS" at a Batman cartoon.

My new plan is a re-education program wherein we rename the penis to something less alarming such as "supercalifradgalisticexpialidocious" because Tristan won't be able to say that until he's eight. And, frankly, it's a little annoying anyway, because if anyone in the house is yelling "giant penis" I think it should be me. My life is sunshine and butterflies.

May 13, 2009

What I Contend With

Sorry for the fuzzy photos below, but I'm lucky to have gotten these at all. We were at a baseball game and I was trying to get some action scenes on the field. I happen to notice that Tristan had wandered off (my mom was supposed to be watching him while I was getting some shots) and I think he was just leaving to go home or something. He's not one of those kids who wanders a little way and then comes back when he feels like he's gotten too far from his mom. Nope, he'll just keep on going.

I think he might have been heading to Michigan. That's the direction he was pointing anyway.

He got up the hill and I yelled down to my mom to go get him (I was standing precariously at the top of the bleachers in some slippery, mud-covered crocs). She rushed off to chase him down and yelled, "TRISTAN, YOU GET DOWN HERE RIGHT NOW!"

He turned, crossed his arms and said, "No!"

And she said, "Don't you tell Grandma no or you're gonna get a spankin'!"

And he goes, grudgingly. But look at that face!

May 11, 2009

A Heartwarming Tale of Mother and Son Bonding (not really)

Julius and I were sitting on the couch watching the news. He's the first 6-year-old I've met who likes to watch the news. A lot of the time we have to either fast-forward through the gross part of the news or tell him to cover his ears for a minute because what I don't want to hear is a question coming out of his mouth that sounds like, "Mom, why did that woman shoot all the people in the parking lot of Costco?"

It's not so much that I'm worried about scarring him for life. It's more like I'm worried I might say something irresponsible like, "Because her husband ATE THE LAST ICE CREAM SANDWICH AND DIDN'T TELL HER so that when everyone went to bed that night and she wanted to treat herself to a little MOMMY TIME by eating an ice cream sandwich and watching the Grey's Anatomy episode she had recorded on the DVR she discovered there was actually NOTHING GOOD IN THE FREEZER, subsequently suffering from SEVERE DISAPPOINTMENT AND A COMPLETE MENTAL BREAKDOWN."

Fast-forwarding is a lot easier.

The newscaster on TV is a local guy who has been around for a gazillion years and started out in radio. I grew up listening to his broadcasts. He has a great radio voice which is my nice way of saying he doesn't really have a great TV face. But because he is a well-loved local personality he now does the news.

Julius leans over and says, "That guy kind of scares me."



"You want to hear something that happened to me one time?"


One time when I was a very little girl, my mom took me to get enrolled in my new school. We were supposed to meet the principal of the school and when he came out I was alarmed to see that he didn't have any hair on the top of his head -- only a little bit around the sides. I had never seen a guy with no hair before and I thought he was... a MONSTER!

In fact, I was so sure he was a monster that I needed to warn my mom about it. She smiled and waved to him and could not even see how much of a monster he was! So I leaned over to her and very, very quietly whispered, "Mom, that man is a monster."

And I said it so quietly she couldn't even hear me and she said, "WHAT? WHAT ARE YOU SAYING???" at the top of her voice!

And I was certain that if he heard me tell her he was a monster and reveal his sinister nature that he would EAT US!

But I was also concerned for our safety so tried again to explain that he was not really what she thought he was and that we must run for our lives before it was too late, but again she just said, "WHAT IS IT? CAN'T YOU SPEAK UP?"
I paused and just sat looking at Julius.

Finally he asked, "Then what happened?"

I shrugged and said, "Oh, nothing. Turns out he was just an old guy with no hair."


We both stared at the TV for a few seconds then Julius said, "Can you tell me another funny story from when you were little. Maybe one with an animal in it?"

"Yeah. Sure. One time there was this guinea pig..."

May 10, 2009

Small Town Snapshot Sunday #8

It's Small Town Snapshot Sunday! Read the rules and get the banners here. Be sure you include the link to your post at the bottom of this entry and also, tag your post "stss" or "small town snapshot sunday" so people can search for it and find you!

Happy Mother's Day! For this week my theme is "Flowers for Mother's Day" -- a nice selection of local flowers to celebrate moms! If you're playing this week please remember to add a link to your post so others can come and see what you love about small towns this week.

May 8, 2009

Things I've Learned this Week

When I was in my 20's I thought I was pretty brilliant, but a few years later I realized that was mostly good self-esteem and a little bit of gas.

Now I realize the truth, which is that I know nearly nothing, but I'm getting smarter all the time. Weekly, sometimes daily. By the time I am in my 60's, maybe 70's I should be brilliant. Just in time to die. Not nearly enough time to be insufferable and domineering to my children. It's a shame, really. Well, I guess I'll just have to start earlier.

Anyway, let's get back to my brilliance... Part of the responsibility of those who carry the burden of genius is you are duty-bound to impart your wisdom to others. And thus without further adieu (oh, such fancy talk) I present to you...

Things I've Learned this Week

  • It's possible for a human being to watch the movie Cars approximately 53 times without going berzerk and needing to be forcibly committed by the authority of the legal system.
  • Sometimes people don't know that you aren't suppose to barbeque your food over treated lumber.
  • Ants like butter. A lot.
  • When you see something that you really shouldn't be looking at, it's impossible to not look at it. (I think I actually knew this one previously but just forgot it.)
  • When someone has a hoarse voice it's better to ignore it instead of saying something like, "Oh, you've got that cold that's going around," because sometimes they respond by saying, "No, I've got throat cancer."
  • When you're potty training a child you learn certain things about the properties of waste matter that you really didn't know before, but that's all I want to say about that. Just realize what a favor I'm doing you right now.
  • It's not just women who are "nags".
  • Miss Potter is a good movie; 1408... not so much.
  • Telling your kids to "stop screaming" is counter-productive if you actually scream it.
  • Rewarding your kid with Starburst to potty train him, while highly effective, is a very bad idea.
  • Tristan's favorite Starburst is pink; Julius's favorite is red. Having a lot of yellow and orange Starburst leftover is really annoying.
  • There is only so much Batman to go around.
  • No matter how fast you are, once you say, "Hold on, let me wipe your mouth first," a kid can wipe his grape jelly mouth on the couch upholstery faster than you can get to him with a wet wipe.
  • When your husband is 10 feet up a ladder that is leaning against a tree and your son has said, "It's okay, Mom, he stuck a nail in the tree to hold it," it's just best not to watch. Or if you're going to watch, at least get the video camera.

This ends the public service announcement. Please observe the trash cans at the exits, placed there for your convenience. And thank you for not smoking.

May 6, 2009

Faulty Logic and Things that are Just Plain Wrong

My son Tristan, who is 2.5 years old, has faulty logic. I don't hold it against him since he's young. (I save the scorn and ridicule until he's about three, so please don't think I'm cruel.) He also has some strange ideas about life -- many, many things he will eventually unlearn between now and the time he has to find a wife who will agree to marry him.

Examples of Faulty Logic:

  • The police car has a flashing light on top. The recycle truck has a flashing light on top of it, therefore it is a police car. (This is a point he strenuously argues with me and I've yet to win.)
  • Tristan loves Mommy and likes to hug her. Mommy loves Tristan and likes to be squeezed tight. Tristan loves ducks and wants to hug them, therefore ducks must love him and like to be squeezed tight.
  • Daddy killed a bug, therefore all bugs are bad and must be destroyed.
  • Julius is funny and cool when he pretends to be killed by bad guys, therefore dying and being dead is funny and cool.
  • Bubbles look good, therefore they must taste good.
  • Superman has extraordinary physical superpowers. Tristan is just like Superman, therefore Tristan has extraordinary physical superpowers.

It's not always a logic problem. Sometimes it's just wrong assumptions.

Mr. Miller, my intimidating 12th grade English teacher, wrote on the board the word ASSUME in big letters. He stood up there with a piece of chalk in his twisted hands (he had very severe rheumatoid arthritis). He said, "Do you know what the word ASSUME means?"

We all stared at him wide-eyed and in dead silence because we were all too afraid to speak. We didn't have to speak. He continued, "To ASSUME, makes an ASS (underlines A-S-S with his chalk) out of U (underlines U) and ME (underlines ME)."

[Cue adolescent tittering.]

Not having the benefit of Mr. Miller's fine tutelage, Tristan often makes these incorrect assumptions about life.

Examples of Incorrect Assumptions about Life:

  • Kittens like to be folded in half.
  • A puddle does not achieve its destiny until a little boy has jumped in it.
  • Everyone likes it when you burp at the dinner table.
  • If you don't get your way, the proper reaction is to punch the person closest to you.
  • Mommy thinks it's funny when you run away from her.
  • The youngest person in the house always has dibs on the TV.
  • Anything a grown-up has to do is fun.
  • Crashing the car would be a lot of fun.
  • Anyone who is on their hands and knees wants to play Horsie with you.
  • Mommy has a big butt. (Okay, this one might be true. Although, "big" is relative, right?)
  • Bathwater is a fine and tasty beverage.
  • It's okay to try to put your finger in your brother's bottom.
  • The kitchen floor is a trash can.
  • If anyone is doing dishes, it's important to put your hands in the water up to the elbows as a show of support.
  • It's fine to say "penis" out loud whenever you want. Frequently.

Do you have any assumptions that you never outgrew? Tell me all about it!

(And if you like weird lists about Tristan, you definitely should read this old post called, "If I Were My Toddler...")

May 4, 2009

Sweet Tea? Sorry, No Can Do.

A Southern girl cannot go without her sweet tea. Just don't even ask. And don't even be foolish enough to try to stand in her way when she's on a mission for said tea. She's insistent, persistent, resistant and remarkably like a hypoglycemic brain-seeking zombie except perhaps slightly less smelly. And with better skin. And better balance. Okay, maybe not really like a zombie at all, but definitely purpose-driven.

So, I was in the drive-thru at The Worst McDonald's in History. I eased up to the speaker and placed my order. This is the nightmare that transpired:

Me: I'd like a #whatever-it-was with a sweet tea.
McD: Okay, I've got a #whatever and... what did you want to drink?
Me: Sweet tea, large.
McD: We don't have sweet tea for that order.
Me: You're out of sweet tea??
McD: No, we're not out. You just can't get it with that order.
Me: Um... [big pause]... why?
McD: We don't serve tea with that order.
Me: I don't understand. (Honestly, I wasn't trying to be difficult, I really didn't understand.)
McD: You can get [insert big long list of drinks here] with that combo.
Me: But not tea?
McD: No, ma'am.

By this time the cars were lining up around the corner. And yet, I couldn't stop myself.

Me: But you have tea?
McD: Yes.
Me: And you have cups?
McD: Yes ma'am. If you order a number blah-blah or blah-blah you could get sweet tea.
Me: I'm sorry, but I don't understand. I'm certain I've gotten sweet tea with that order before.
McD: That must have been a mistake. We aren't allowed to serve tea with that combo.
Me: Why not?
McD: I don't know. That's just what we're supposed to do. It's not even a choice here on the machine when we punch in that order.
Me: Listen, does it make any sense AT ALL to you that I can get a sweet tea with a fish sandwich but I CAN'T get it with a cheeseburger? Does that sound right at all?
McD: Well...
Me: You probably really want me to drive around and stop messing with your drive times. I really want a sweet tea. How about you put me down for whatever drink order you want and then just fill the cup with sweet tea. Then I can get my dinner and you can stop talking to me which I'm sure would make your day a whole lot easier.
McD: Yes ma'am. That'll be $7.62, please pull around to the first window.

Nom nom nom.

[photo credit: MadMan the Mighty]

May 3, 2009

Small Town Snapshot Sunday #7

It's Small Town Snapshot Sunday! Read the rules and get the banners here. Be sure you include the link to your post at the bottom of this entry and also, tag your post "stss" or "small town snapshot sunday" so people can search for it and find you!

This week I'm doing another "theme" for my own STSS entry. It's all about how kids in the country entertain themselves. When I was a kid I lived farther out in the country than my own kids do. We live in a small town, but right downtown so there is a little more to do and see than out in farm country where I lived. I was limited to anything having to do with nature... going to the river, sitting by the edge of the pond and feeding fish, playing on the swing, wallowing in a hay pile, walking in the woods, and lots of lots of imagination games.

Here are some other ways to entertain yourself in the country:

Sliding on a slide...

And if you can't find a "real" slide, just roll down the hill!

And if the hill is covered in snow, get a trash can lid and slide anyway!

In the spring, sit in the flowers...

Or play in a puddle...

You can use your butterfly net to catching flying critters. And if you can't catch any of them, you can always catch yourself!

Or you can find a thong tree and pretend it's a horse!

Old paint cans are versatile play things. You can put stuff in them...

Or wear them as a fashion statement!

Superheroes can practice leaping off downed pine trees (which are also very bouncy)...

Or build up their strength by playing tug-of-war with a stubborn root!

And if you run out of things to do at your own place, you can trespass on the neighbor's property and dig in their recently tilled garden until your mom notices and makes you stop!

Enjoy this Sunday in your own small town!

Small Town Snapshot Sunday Participants
1. Junkaholic
2. Douglas
3. Theodora
4. Fig
5. Zuco
6. Ubud
7. Linda

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