Cry Baby

I am a crier. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a big sissy or a baby. I don’t let the little things get me down. I don’t whine and pout when I don’t get my way, which happens often in this world. I’m not even a super emotional person. I can watch the evening news and see the horrors that “man” wreaks on innocent victims and I usually just shake my head and wonder at the senseless acts. Maybe it’s because it is man doing it to man that I don’t get that emotional about it. Maybe it’s because I’ve been lucky to not have witnessed any random violence first hand or maybe there is something missing in me, the empathy gene.

But watch something on the news about acts of cruelty to animals and the tears just roll. I get so angry that someone could hurt a creature that trusts and loves us; it’s probably a good thing I don’t get to face the offender. It would not be pretty.

See a sad scene in a movie and I’m a basket case. I cried through the whole movie “War Horse”. I didn’t even want to go, but Mitch did so we went. I love the sappy chick flicks, maybe that’s where I show all of my emotions. It’s not real so it’s okay to let loose and feel the moment. No one is there to mock me for my tears, but Mitch, and he doesn’t count.

Watch a sappy or cute animal video and I can’t even talk after. My voice gets husky and breaks. So what is wrong with me? I cry for puppies and love stories, but not for the horrors of real life. Maybe it’s because there is too much horror today and not enough puppy videos. Or maybe that is the only way to not succumb to the wretchedness of man and sink into a deep depression. Who knows maybe I’m just a heartless woman. I can ask Mitch, but he says he’s afraid of me. I don’t know why.

The Storm – Part 1

Today I thought I would do something a bit different. I’ve written a short story titled “The Storm”. A bit of fiction, that I will post in three parts. Below is Part 1.

The lightning flashed across the sky illuminating the dark sky for a moment, then everything was plunged into darkness again. Waiting for the next round of lightning, Camilla peered out the window sure she had seen someone standing next to the large weeping willow tree. The wind whipped the branches around in a wild dance about the figure, making the figure look like Medusa. Storms were strangely calming to Camilla. The more violent the storm, the more Camilla enjoyed it. Her soul so unsettled seemed to connect with the tumultuous weather. But tonight, she couldn’t relax, something was out there watching.

Camilla lived in a two story house that was over two hundred years old in a remote part of Louisiana. The house has been in her family’s possession since it was built. It stood almost a half mile from the main road and was not easily visible by the casual passerby. To get to the house one had to drive down the winding tree lined gravel road. There were very few visitors that ever came to the house, some said that the house was haunted or at the very least, strange things had happened out there.

There by the tree was a figure, Camilla could just barely make out the form at the next lightning flash. She stepped back from the window and let the curtain fall back in place blocking any view from outside. Camilla left the living room and walked to the front door making sure the door was locked and threw the deadbolt for added security. She was not so much afraid as she was curious, who would be watching her and why. She then walked down the hall to the kitchen to make sure the back door was locked. Camilla walked in to see the back door standing open, rain blowing in covering the floor. Camilla dashed across the room to close the door and noticed that there were muddy footprints going from the doorway out of the kitchen into the house. Someone else was in the house with her.

Part 2 will be posted on Tuesday. Please check back for more.

Dreams Do Come True

Another attempt at fiction along the dark side.

Nadine was dreaming that she was floating again.  Soaring aloft high above the world below.  Free and light, she would turn by dipping a shoulder and dive toward the earth by pointing her head downward.  Nadine never felt more alive than when she was asleep.  No worries, no hurtful words spoken and no pain from heavy hands.  Nadine looked forward to going to sleep every night just to escape her daily life.

Rough, harsh hands grabbed her shoulders and pressed her to her back, jerking her awake.  Nadine squeezed her eyes shut tight knowing what was coming next.  She felt his heavy weight settle on top of her and instinctively tightened her body.  Tears started to creep out from her eye lids and roll down toward her hairline.  The man whispered softly in her ear, “I know how to make those tears go away.  I know what you want.”

Nadine held her breath waiting for the pain that would come but after long seconds, nothing happened.  She slowly opened her eyes to see a man she had never seen before looking down at her with soft eyes that seemed to glow in the moonlight.

“I can make all of your suffering and pain go away forever.  All you have to do is ask.”

The man was very handsome, with a gentleness about him making Nadine feel protected and safe.  She had no idea how he could end her misery, but she didn’t care.  If he could help her, she was willing and eager to escape this life, no matter what the consequences.

Nadine looked into those glowing eyes and nodded her head, “Please help me.  I don’t want to live like this anymore.  Please.”

The man slowly lowered his head down toward her face hovering briefly over her lips, then shifted position and sank his long fangs into her throat, changing her life on this earth forever.

Living with a Serial Killer

I live with a serial killer.  Although I’m not afraid for myself, others should be terrified.  I’ve watched enough episodes of Criminal Minds to know how to profile this serial killer.  Serial killers torture and kill small animals.  That fits him to a tee. He is remorseless.  He lives for the kill.  He loves to stalk, capture and murder squirrels, rabbits and moles, killing them with a viciousness only a true murderer can master.  This killer especially loves to hunt and kill lizards and snakes.  Charlie will stand motionless for minutes listening and staring intently at one spot waiting for some slight noise or movement.  As soon as the victim makes any sound or movement Charlie strikes with lightning speed and deadly accuracy, snatching the hapless reptile up, shaking the life out of the snake then slamming it to the ground for good measure.  How he does that always surprises me, those lizards are fast.  Who would think a dog would enjoy catching and killing snakes? Most snakes move pretty fast and disappear in the rocks.  His speed of execution is poetry in motion.  Deadly fluid poetry none the less.

Charlie will run down squirrels and rabbits, snatching them up on the fly, shaking and slamming the animal to the ground.  He will do this repeatedly until the poor creature is dead or wishes he was.  The mark of a true killer.  Moles are a particularly favorite victim of his.  I’m not sure if he hears the moles in the ground or smells them, but he will stand stock still for a moment, then start digging and without fail pull a mole out of the ground to torture and kill.  Charlie feels that it’s his purpose in life to rid the world of moles, snakes and lizards.  The moles I don’t care about, because of the damage done to our yard.  We even have friends that want us to rent him out to them.

I can see the ads now, “Serial Killer for Rent” “Mole Assassin for Hire” or “You Got Varmints – We Got Charlie, The Serial Killer”.

I Don’t Have Time for This

I should have known something would happen this morning on our walk.  I should have seen the signs. We had a full moon tonight, plus it was an orangish red color.  I think that is what some call Blood on the Moon.  Full moon and weird color must mean something.  Mitch said that he thought it meant a storm was coming.  I now think it meant weirdo coming.

Our predawn walk started off normally, dogs sniffing the air and scanning the dark looking for something to charge after to see if I will be the boat anchor dragging behind them.  I’m always on guard for any possible intruder in the dark just to make sure I don’t become a casualty of the charge.  As we came over the top of the hill a bluish light shining at the top of one the utility poles caught my eye.  There has never been a light there before.  I looked around turning a complete circle looking for the source of the light but saw nothing or no one in the shadows.  The light went out then came back on causing me to look around again looking for the source.  No luck. 

I considered all of the possible solutions to this and came up with three possible answers.  Option A – some creep hiding in the dark trying to scare me.  Option B – an extraterrestrial from some other world making first contact on earth.  Option C – a great big honkin’ lightening bug.  As much as I believe that there is intelligent life out there in the universe, I really don’t think that ET would make first contact with a woman and three dogs in the Midwest.  All I could offer him would be directions to someone who could help him.  And even though I believe that we have worked extra hard at screwing up our planet, I just don’t think that I saw a great big honkin’ lightening bug.  That leaves the only logical explanation for the light.  Some creep hiding in the dark trying to be cute.

If he is trying to scare me, guess what?  It didn’t work.  But I can tell the little creep this; if he does it again and I figure out where he’s hiding, I might just let the dogs off the leash.  I really don’t have time for this in the mornings.

What A Day – Is This An Omen?

Do you believe in omens? Most of the time I don’t, but sometimes there are days. I believe you make your own karma. You make a conscious decision to be happy and look for the positive in your life or you choose to be miserable, it’s your choice. But there are times when I wonder if there is a greater power at work and just for some galactic grins and giggles, picks some hapless soul to screw with that day. If this is truly the case, then I must have drawn the black marble today.

For starters, it started to rain this morning, a good thing with this drought, but the weather forecasters had predicted rain this evening and I had planned a Walmart run on my way to work. Walmart is open twenty-four hours a day and going at six in the morning and missing the crowds is a bonus. No big deal, but with the thunder and lightning, AJ makes a trip to Pete and Mac’s for doggie day care, because he is terrified of thunder and lightning. His terror turns outward and he leaves a swathe of destruction in his path. Pete and Mac’s doesn’t open until 6:30, so no Walmart trip. That means weekend crowds for me. Yay.

Because of the aborted Walmart trip, I was ready to go early but couldn’t so I decided to make a side trip to the bank and deposit a check I had received. Guess what, the ATM is not covered, so my left arm and side of my head got wet pushing buttons, inserting deposit envelope and retrieving the receipt. Lovely. My next stop was Pete and Mac’s to drop off AJ. Of course, AJ wanted to stop and pee on the way in, so now I have matching wet arms and head. The day is just getting better by the minute. I got AJ dropped off and got to meet a really sweet large Bloodhound, a plus.

I hopped on the highway to go to work or at least tried to hop on the highway. Some jerk decided he needed the right lane and wouldn’t budge, even though no one was in any other lane. Where is my bazooka when I need it?  Driving down the highway I decided to turn the knob from air conditioning to vent and the knob jumped off and dropped to the floor board somewhere on the passenger side.  Super.  Halfway to work and the windows started fogging up from the humidity and I can’t adjust the temperature control because the frigging knob is somewhere out of reach.  I guess I’ll know when I hit something by the sudden deceleration. 

After a miserable day at work with a pounding headache, I come home to try and relax after taking the dogs for a walk.  And the crowning achievement to my day, AJ charged after a flock of geese jerking the leash, dislocating the little finger on my left hand.  My consolation for the day was my sacrifice saved some other poor soul from a torturous day.

The Wrong Spot

When we demolished and rebuilt our deteriorating retaining wall, we found a huge granite boulder buried under the wall.  We paid someone to come and unearth it for us.  He unearthed it easily and even placed the boulder in the exact spot I wanted it moved to.  In front of our house is a flat area that people will park on to visit the people across the street.  Digging ruts in our yard and never bothering to ask if we mind.  I have long been contemplating various possible solutions to the problem. Landmines, punji sticks and curled razor wire seemed a bit over the top, but I was getting close to my wit’s end as to what to do.  I had long considered a boulder but the size I needed was cost prohibitive, so it was very timely that we literally were sitting on the very solution to my problem and a legal solution to boot.  Bonus!  Of course when the man with the backhoe came out and moved the boulder for us the offending neighbors were out in force to watch with great interest.  Questions were asked as to why I had it put there and to be polite I just said that it was the perfect spot.  I would plant some ornamental grasses around it and how pretty it would look and yada-yada-yada.  Nothing was said at the time about my rock putting a damper on our yard being a parking spot, maybe they hadn’t figured it out yet.  I just played it off as being totally oblivious to anything but my new rock. 

I decided to dig up some of my ornamental grass that has just taken over and is growing in places I don’t want it to, and replant in clumps around the back of the boulder to accentuate the rock.  Plus it makes the rock look even bigger.  Another bonus; rock looks bigger, takes up more space!  Of course while I’m digging holes around the rock, a neighbor comes over to ask what I was doing.  I looked down at the holes and the temptation was strong to tell him that I had hacked Mitch up and  was burying body parts around the boulder, but I restrained myself and explained the obvious, since the grass was laying in clumps next to the rock.  Just as I was finishing up planting the last clump, the neighbor turned and told me that I had put the rock in the wrong spot.  I looked around, played dumb and said, “The wrong spot?  Really?”  Since I wasn’t playing into it, he had no opening to say that I’d ruined an awesome parking spot for anyone that wanted to use our yard as a Parking Spots R Us.  He said that if I wanted to sit on the rock the only view I had was his house.  I said that maybe someone would sit there to wait for a bus.  The only bus that comes by is a school bus and it doesn’t stop here.  He said that maybe he would sit on my rock.  Again the temptation was great to say something really wicked and evil, but all I said was that he could sit on my rock whenever he wanted to.

But now I’m worried that if want to do anymore landscaping I’ll put it in the wrong spot.

Just My Luck

After two weekends of back breaking work (literally), unloading 2 cubic yards of dirt by shovel and sweat from the bed of my son’s pickup truck then shoveling unloaded dirt into countless wheelbarrow loads pushed carefully downhill to the two raised beds Mitch built for me, I finished planting ten tomato plants, four cantaloupe plants and three cucumber plants.  There is still room for more in one of the beds.  I was so excited about getting more vegetable planting space after we had a tree cut down and realized it opened up a larger area of sunlight to the ground.  Perfect for tomatoes.  Did I also mention two trips so far to the chiropractor and more in sight?

We already have a small raised bed that has ten pepper plants and three tomato plants that we’ve been planting in for three years.  But I wanted more and this year I got it.  Tonight after dinner I took the dogs out with me to water the new plants and while I was watering the small bed, Charlie was walking in one of the new beds and promptly stepped on one of my tomato plants and snapped it right off at the base.  I couldn’t believe it.  Not even two days had gone by, I haven’t even had a chance to get to Lowe’s and buy some tomato cages to protect them from just this calamity.   Imagine my frustration.

I love my dogs, but lord there are times when I speculate on a dog less day.  I would never wish for them gone, but…

Another Test of True Love

It must be true love.  We are still married.  Some days I’m not so sure why though.  After the Great Bathroom Remodel was finally finished, just two days short of nine months, I waited for a couple of weeks to spring the next remodel project on Mitch.  You know, give him time to recover.  The latest project we’re (Mitch) starting is the dining room.  What can you possibly remodel in a dining room?  Well in most homes, not too much, change the paint color or wallpaper, maybe new carpeting, but in our house it’s a major undertaking.  Our house is one of those homes that was added on to multiple times, with or without any regard to the local building codes, depending on the decade the addition took place in.  The original structure, the kitchen and front room, now our dining room was built in 1928.  No building codes then.  Two bedrooms were added on in 1932 or 1934, still no building codes.  The final addition, the living room, master bedroom and bath were added in 1985.  This time built to code. I think.

Back in the early twentieth century one of the more popular indoor wall types for cottages was knotty pine planks.  Our house was originally built as a weekend fishing cottage, very rustic.  Hard wood floors, knotty pine planks for the walls and ceilings.  All stained dark brown.  You get the picture, a big brown cave with rooms.  When the final addition was built in 1985, sheetrock was used for the walls and ceiling, and for the floor, the ugliest gold carpet, yuck, and now gone, yay!

When we started the Great Bathroom Remodel, one of the first things that had to be done was to widen the front door, in order to get the new bathtub in the house.  That meant removing some of the knotty pine planks for the wider door.  When Mitch began finishing the front door project and replacing the outdoor light fixture, I started thinking about just removing all of the knotty pine and sheet rocking the walls.  We could cover the wood ceiling with sheetrock.  This would lighten up the room and make it look much larger.  As I’ve said before, I’m the idea person, Mitch is the implementer. 

I sort of tossed out my idea at a weak moment for Mitch, after a steak dinner and three glasses of wine.  I am also an opportunistic woman, I carefully plan my moments of surprise.  In his weakened state of mind, I laid out my ideas, glossed over the rough spots and finished on a high note. 

“It shouldn’t take more than a couple of weeks, don’t you think?  Nothing like the bathroom.” I was determined to put a positive spin on it.  Of course nothing done in this house takes a couple of weeks.

“God I hope not.”  Then he even got in the spirit of the remodel and offered a suggestion.  “We could even put down the bamboo flooring that we did in the living room and bedroom.” Yes, wine and steak, works every time.

Four weeks ago Mitch started the demolish of the dining room.  As always, he is very methodical, careful to salvage as much of the lumber he takes down, in case he has to reuse it again.  Me, I’m more of a bulldozer when it comes to demo work.  Isn’t that the point – demolish?  He was able to salvage a major part of the planks he removed, which will be used to patch a hole in one of the spare bedrooms and build a closet in the other.  We discovered there was no insulation on the exterior wall, no wonder that room is always hot in the summer and cold in the winter.  The very dated (ugly – definitely ’80’s) ceiling fan went away, which means I get to go SHOPPING!

 I spent hours in the paint department and grabbed armfuls of paint chips in all colors and hues.  The clerk kept asking if I needed any help.  I told him no I just wanted a variety of colors to compare.  He thought I was nuts and carefully backed away.  I found a ceiling fan and wall sconces that we could both agree on.  That’s always a challenge.  Our tastes and styles are complete opposites.

Demolition took about a week and a half.  Mitch only took down the knotty pine planks and left the wood ceiling unmolested, leaving it as a base for the sheetrock to be screwed into.  Hanging the sheetrock on the ceiling was a challenge.  The ceiling is vaulted with a four foot wide flat space in the middle of the ceiling where Mitch built a rafter for air conditioning duct work six years ago.  So he had to hang sheetrock at an angle up to the area for the rafter on both sides.  Of course this would have been easier if the room was level, but nothing and I mean nothing in this house is square or plumb.  After he finally got the ceiling hung, he found out the floor has a slight bow in it when he tried to hang the first piece on the wall.  I thought a Mitch Fit Warning was going to go out over the National Weather Service.  It wasn’t pretty.  Time to take the dogs for a walk.

He finished hanging all the sheetrock on Thursday except for the four inch high area above the front door.  That was proving to be a challenge.  The ceiling comes down to just above the door leaving little space to hang the door trim above the door.  For five days he has experimented with different ways to brace up the offending section and for five days Mitch has been just a bit testy.  He finally came up with an idea to brace up the sheetrock but the trim for the door will have to be different from the rest of the trim in the room.  I don’t think it will be that big of a deal and it solves the problem so no more Mitch Fit Warning. (At least for now).

 For the mudding and sanding I hired a neighbor that does it for a living to come in and do the finish work.  For all of his talents, mudding and sanding is not Mitch’s forte.  The mudding and sanding process has taken about a week and a half and should be finished this week. 

That leaves me painting the ceiling and walls.  Mitch will install the new pretty ceiling fan and wall sconces.  After that Mitch can then start installing the bamboo floor, and because the room is not square that will definitely bring on at least one Mitch Fit Warning maybe more.

Three Thugs

I was out walking last night and observed three tuffs walking down the road.  Each had a cocky air, heads up looking mean, keeping watchful eyes out for any trouble.  Their steely gaze traveled back and forth striking fear in the hearts of all whose paths they crossed.  Their chests were puffed up and out trying to appear larger and meaner.  Their gait was slow and purposeful, each step placed ready to spring into action toward any perceived threat.  The way they walked down the road reminded me of the old westerns with the gunslingers walking down the main street, cowboy hats pulled low shading the face and eyes, guns slung low on the hip, ready to be pulled and fired. 

I walked along going the same direction as the three thugs wondering if I might end up as a victim of an attack or just part of the collateral damage if one or all three decided to confront some impending threat.

What was worse, the trio knew together they were intimidating, individually not that tough, but all together, the three dogs looked downright scary.  I would have been terrified if I had been a squirrel.