Monday, November 24, 2008

the bestest fence ever

When we moved into our house, it didn’t have a fenced yard. That was kind of a downside since we have a two year old son who loves to play outside and a dog. But we really liked the house and it seemed like a fence wouldn’t be hard to get. If you aren’t from western Oklahoma, you probably don’t know that you just can’t get any kind of fence – no, sir – it has to be a big, wooden fence for which many trees must die. I’m not sure why but it might have to do with attempting to block the 50 mph wind gusts. Anyway, we thought it wouldn’t be a big deal to get a fence once we moved in. But that was before the furnace/air conditioner went out and the garage door had to be replaced and we had to call the roto-rooter for the plumbing and the new gutters had to be put on to stop the yard from flooding. After all that, we have one heck of a nice house, but still no fence. And in case you haven’t priced big wooden tree-murdering fences lately, they are really expensive. So we have lived without one until now. Our neighbors don’t have a fence either so it doesn’t seem like as big of a deal.

Last week, I was sitting in the rocking chair in the living room, enjoying a peaceful moment with my 5 month old son, Wyatt. We were cuddling and gazing out the window at our “yard bling” - a bale of hay and some pumpkins in the front yard which I plan to keep there until after Thanksgiving. It was almost mesmerizing to rock with him and watch the wind blowing the leaves on the trees and the neighbor’s dog trotting through. And then the neighbor’s dog, a big hunting dog, raised his leg and pooped right on my pumpkins. RIGHT ON MY PUMPKINS. Peaceful moment over, I jumped out of the chair and ran to the door to scream not so nice things at the dog and chase him away. I went out to inspect my pumpkins and found not just that one, but almost a dozen pieces of evidence that the dog views my “yard bling” as his own personal toilet. I didn’t even know dogs could poop at an upward angle…

I consider myself to be an animal lover, especially a dog lover, but this dog was suddenly on my shit(e) list. I mentioned the pooping incident a few days later to my mother in law and she said, “Oh, does this mean you haven’t seen Wesley’s playhouse?” I went to inspect said playhouse and found several turds pasted to the side of it. It appears that this dog has magical poop that defies the laws of physics and gravity.

I wanted to march right next door and return their dog’s “goods” back to them. But I can’t – because I have a dog, too. The fact that my dog weighs eight pounds and is what I like to call a “recycler” is irrelevant. Because my dog poops in their yard sometimes. And if they really wanted to take a magnifying glass outside and search for her microscopic turd crumbs, they could probably find some and return those to us.

So this week, Bryan has built us a fence. A big, glorious, wooden fence all around the backyard. I’m so thankful to him for his hard work. This will keep our dog in and their dogs out. It won’t keep my front yard safe, but it will keep the backyard (and playhouse) safe from the magical pooper.

But if he poops on the new fence, I’m getting a b-b gun.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

my nickname has never been "the enforcer" for a reason...

Last night was Wednesday night and in our house that means…Awana. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Awana, it’s a program for kids that our church decided to start last year. We run it every Wednesday night for an hour and a half.

We have one really unruly little boy who has been a regular since it started. He is definitely our biggest behavior problem almost every week. He has a good heart but he has a super hard time controlling his impulses, apparently. Well, this little guy (who I will call Dylan) has been bringing a friend for about the last month, which we encourage. But there are always exceptions. Like this “friend,” (who I will call Wayne.) In fact, it’s funny that they call each other friends because they spend the whole time each week calling each other names, fighting, and in general being horrible distractions for the rest of the kids. Picture two wolverines fighting in the middle of the room while twenty other kids try to quietly read and learn Bible verses. Yeah, that’s pretty accurate.

So the reason this concerns me is that in our Awana program, I’m the Commander. Which means that when there are serious discipline problems (like little Wayne) I am the person who has to handle them. Last week Wayne’s teacher was at her wit’s end with him and I attempted to give him a warning. I told him that if his behavior didn’t improve, he would be asked to not return.

This is the part I really struggle with. How do you kick a kid out of church? Isn’t that where really bad kids need to be? Isn’t that like telling someone they are too fat for Weight Watchers? Well last night, little Wayne was uttering racial slurs and pushing other kids against the wall during game time and being a giant turd. So I told him he couldn’t come back if he chose to act that way. I felt terrible. Because I think this kid is really lost in a bigger sense than, like - can’t find your mom in Wal-mart. At the end of the night, I gave him a ride home so that I could tell his mom he wouldn’t be attending anymore which also felt really crappy to me.

On the way home, Wayne told me that his parents are divorced and how he has already had Saturday School many times this year and that his mom recently signed him up for “Boot Camp” for bad kids. He wasn’t bragging – just telling me the facts. When his mom came to the door, I saw a woman who looked really tired but not at all surprised to see her son in trouble once again. So I caved – instead of telling her that Wayne couldn’t come back, I told her that he needed to take a week off and then he would get another chance. I know the leaders at Awana are going to be mad at me for letting him come back again because in all reality, his behavior won’t change and it will be another week of torture for everyone involved.

Sue me for being a softy. And if anyone has any tips for handling wolverines, let me know…

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Is my tiara on straight?

This weekend I was able to attend my very first live beauty pageant. What an eye-opening experience. Let me just start by telling you that I have never seen so many sequins in my whole life. It was all very sparkly and shiny.

One thing that surprised me is that they still do the swimsuit portion. I was pretty sure that feminists had put an end to that a long time ago but I was wrong. Those girls were very brave, though, and put on their tiny, tiny swimsuits and their very high heels and teetered around the stage like they were supposed to. I'm still shaking my head just thinking about it. You could not pay me enough to put on high heels and a swimsuit and walk around in front of an auditorium full of people. A swimsuit and Ugg boots? Maybe.

Another thing that surprised me was the talent part. To me, talent is something that not everyone else could do. I think it you want to be a beauty queen, you need to have a real talent. Like dancing or baton twirling or playing the bagpipes. In this pageant there were 15 contestants. And 11 of them sang as their talent. I use the word talent here loosely. It was almost like some of them must have thought, "Oh, crap – I don't really have a talent. I guess I'll just pretend I can sing and hope no one notices that I can't."

And the question and answer part…wow. Those girls seemed completely caught off guard by questions like, "If you could live in any other state, which would you choose and why?" Um, I can think of about 49 answers to this that might have worked but the girl who got that question said, "I don't really have an answer to that. But I guess maybe Florida." That was her whole answer. She should have just gone with "World peace."

As I sat there listening and watching, I decided that perhaps I should start a pageant. I could call it "Mrs. 30-Something." We could have talents like cooking macaroni and cheese WHILE breastfeeding or getting two kids ready for church in under three hours. And we could even have platforms like "Cellulite Awareness" and "Varicose Vein Prevention." Now THAT would be a pageant worth watching.

Monday, November 10, 2008

why is your hand in my pocket, maam?

I’ve always been a huge fan of garage sales. There is something completely irresistible about having the chance to look through the junk of complete strangers, and for a small price, even take some of it home with me. I remember my brother once when he was probably eight years old, went to a neighbor’s garage sale and returned, showing my mom and me a skateboard he got. He told us, “It was only $2 and it’s in mint condition - it just needs another wheel.” He was so excited that it was hard to be critical of his three wheeled “great deal.”

And garage sale-ing is even more fun if you have a purpose – a mission – like looking for little boys’ clothes or scavenging for books for a first grade classroom. Well, this weekend, I got up early and had the newspaper ready with all the town’s sales highlighted and I’ve got a mission – I’m looking for toys. Armed with single dollar bills and a handful of quarters, I set out.

I went to several sales and found nothing really great. But then there was one that had some toys. I was checking out the available goods when suddenly I felt someone standing close to me – a little too close. Now, I am a big fan of personal space. I’m not freaky, like I won’t fall on the floor and curl up in a ball if you get too close, but I really prefer if people I don’t know stay far enough away that I cannot smell their breath. And with this lady, all bets were off for personal space. This lady was all over me, looking over my shoulder (and under my arm and around my thigh) at every item I was interested in. I felt like I had a Siamese twin. Make that a Siamese twin who was missing most of her front teeth.

I quickly paid for my toys and got the heck out of there. Because no cheap toy is worth being felt up by someone who could be an extra on Hee Haw.