Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cool Hand Luke, Tangled and My Daughter Rapunzel

After taking the advice of an amazing blogger (Rachel from Wordstream,) I brought The Scribe on a date to the library and she found Hank the Cowdog.  It's a humerous mystery series and I'm shocked, but The Scribe is already halfway through the book--in less than a day; that's over 75 pages!

Between that, her Blog and my mom who pulled out The Scribe's picture so she'll pray for her every day, hopefully my girl will start scoring better on the reading tests at school--they're testing her again in two weeks.
Yahoo, for Rachel and her awesome advice! 

P. S. You should check out her blog.  I LOVE it.

Here's the link:
Now, on to the story.

The Hippie has been watching Tangled non-stop.  She loves it and I think the biggest reason is because she looks so much like Disney's Rapunzel.  That would be fantastic IF The Hippie didn't have such a good imagination AND wasn't hellbent on proving she's not Rapunzel! 


Yesterday, after short day, she pulled me aside and said, "My whole class thinks I'm Rapunzel.  I have to do something to prove them wrong."  She shuffled her feet and slouched forlornly.  "I put my hair in front of my face.  I even showed them yucky, frowny lips, but they said no matter what I do, I still look . . . just like Rapunzel!"  She stomped off.  I know she loves every minute even though she acts like she doesn't.  "I have to prove them wrong," she whispered as she trudged away probably to watch Tangled--again.

My dad called as The Hippie left the room.  Now, my dad is amazing.  He's not your average fellow, not at all.  He's cooler than Cool Hand Luke or Hud!  He has a Harley AND the tan I've always dreamed of having!  He's tall and strong with long blond hair.  He's in perfect shape even though he's over sixty.  But all that aside, he has this personality of gold.  You hang out with that guy and feel like you can fly, climb rainbows, be famous . . . you name it, my dad makes you feel like you're better than you are and he does that all with a simple nod--because that's just how he is.

So, when he called and said he was coming over, I thought that was pretty awesome, but I also wanted the house to be spotless.  I hung up the phone and whirled around like the tornado of cleanliness.  I love my dad, but think he's so legendary, I want him to like me too.


We cleaned, or rather I cleaned as The Scribe read about Hank and The Hippie sorted her conflicting emotions.  She kept watching the very beginning of Tangled where Gothel cuts Rapunzel's hair and that lock turns brown as it loses its magical power.

The Zombie Elf (my two-year-old boy) grabbed the broom and swept the carpet as the baby cooed by her toys.  I thought everything looked great and thankfully that's when my dad showed up.  I hugged him big and hoped the kids would behave like they had while I cleaned.

Have you ever loved someone so much, looked up to them in such a way that you want them to think you're perfect?  That's what I do with my dad, that's why this story is so mortifying.  The Hippie and The Scribe forgot whatever they were doing and rushed over the second they saw "Papa."  That's when they started acting like monkeys in a zoo.  I huffed--so they could move, now that I'd finished cleaning ALL BY MYSELF!

I groaned, knowing what was about to happen.  A mattress, slid down the stairs, teetered and slapped against the floor.  I put my hands over my eyes before braving a glance at my father's reaction.  He did looked stunned, but more by the Zombie Elf who thought he was a jungle Jim!

The girls started jumping on the mattress at that point.  In my defense I let them use it for tumbling, but it probably seemed weird to my father who had no idea it's their exercise mat.  My oldest girls are both pretty good tumblers and they thought it would be great to start showing Papa their backhand-springs and flips.

The Hippie turned up the volume on the "Mother Knows Best" song and I nearly screamed as a foot flew near my father's face!

"They're not normally like this . . . I swear."  A halfhearted chuckle flew from my actress mouth.

He stayed quiet and observed in his "I'm a kick-butt biker" sort of way.  "They sure are . . . athletic."

Well, that was putting it nicely!  His comment might have made me feel better if I didn't have this plan of perfection.  So the girls did get quiet after a minute and I heard them whispering.  That's when they left the room and went back upstairs to the front room.  Their quietness scared the Hell out of me, but I didn't want my dad knowing.  We were having an awesome conversation about Tangled.

That's the thing with my dad, he makes anything fun.  Even when he takes me deer hunting--it's gold, pure and sweet.  He made me shepherd's coffee one time and I remember sitting on the side of a mountain.  It was around five in the morning and we sat there, riffles slung over our shoulders, four wheelers resting far behind us.  We drank that shepherd's coffee 'til the sun came up and I'll never forget just sitting there, thinking how great life is.

That's why when we walked back up the stairs, I nearly choked.  The girls had found my yarn!  They'd strung it all across the house in less than a few minutes!  I'd bought variegated yarn and different rainbow colors shot out everywhere.  Why do they insist on doing these things to me?  That freaked me out, but what made my heart drop in horror, was the chunk of hair lying on the floor!  So, The Hippie didn't want to be Rapunzel?  Well, I'd have a word with her!  I'd have a GOOD word with her about how looking like Rapunzel is better than being bald!

My dad walked after me and I thought fast.  He'd see the hair if I didn't hurry, but there wasn't time to pick it up.  How in the heck could I get his attention from it?  I suddenly darted and put my jacket over the hair.  What the Hell was I thinking?  The place was a disaster!

I stood in front of my jacket AND the mess of knots--a whole tangled web of yarn my girls had hooked from doorknob to doorknob!  The house looked how my heart felt--like a monster mess--a ball of confusion.  My world was crumbling because of my addiction . . . TO THE SEWING STORE!

"Wow, they sure work fast," Cool Hand Luke said.

"Yes, they do."

His eyes went wide as he peered around.  I wondered what he thought and I could have crumpled on the floor that had been so clean!

"You all right, hon?  I mean, how you holding up with all these kids?"

"Oh, I'm fine.  Perfect."  What the heck was I saying!  My jacket rested over a pile of Rapunzel hair!

The Hippie hollered.  "We're coming through the spiderwebs!

I cringed.  Maybe we'd see how bad her hair looked and then my dad would know what a failure I am.  Maybe he'd never take me hunting, never drink shepherd's coffee with me; we'd never watch a sunrise together again . . . me and my Cool Hand Luke father!

But as The Hippie crawled through the mess of string, I sighed, glad we couldn't see where she'd cut her hair--that was at least something and that was when my father surprised me.  He caught The Hippie and started tickling her.  "Well you little, teeny," he caught The Scribe too, "girls!  These aren't webs.  These are lasers!"  He got on his hands and knees--my father--the man who I look up to so much, actually got down and crawled through those lasers.  Tears filled my eyes as The Zombie Elf jumped onto my dad's back and the baby's legs got tangled in some nearby string.  The five of them looked like a bunch of puppies, a bunch of incredibly happy puppies.

I sat down on my jacket that covered the pile of hair and tears filled my eyes.  It was such a beautiful scene, but more than that I'd realized something.  I don't need to try and be perfect, especially for my father; he'll love me no matter what because he likes me . . . for me.

So later, after my dad left and I'd cleaned up all the lasers and hair, I asked The Hippie, "Where did you cut your hair and why did you do it?"

She swept her waist-length hair to the side and showed me a section in the very back.  "I wanted to see if my hair was magic.  I wanted to know if it would turn brown after I cut it . . . like Rapunzel."

I laughed so hard.  I couldn't believe it!

"You know how I said I didn't want to be Rapunzel?" she asked and I nodded.  "Well I am kind of sad my hair didn't turn brown."

"You may not be Rapunzel," I giggled, "but you're something much better.  You're my little hippie and your hair is always magical  . . . even if it gets cut."  I hugged her big and we smiled at each other as the song "Mother Knows Best" boomed from the TV for the millionth time that day.

Here's a fun trailer for Tangled if you haven't see it yet.


Here's an awesome story my buddy wrote about The Hippie's first break-up.

This is a really cute story and awesome blog:

Crazy World

Mr. P.'S first love story

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Death of Tall Man

I'm going to write about a memory.  After yesterday, I need to focus on something other than my current dilemma.  Before typing the Tall Man story, let me briefly explain why I'm sad; I got a call from The Scribe's teacher.  I worried it had something to do with her "blog" or another "kick me" note on someone's back, but it was worse--much worse!  The teacher said she had a meetings with the reading specialist and if The Scribe doesn't improve, they might put her in reading resource next year.  She's reading two grades behind where she should.

"Really?" I asked.  "She's a fantastic reader at home.  She's even reading books above her level."

"I know this might be hard to accept, but we've been talking about this for a few months, Elisa.  They've given her tests and everything.  Just keep working with her.  Something needs to click.  She's a bright, imaginative girl, but she daydreams a lot and she's just not reading well.  I thought I'd give you a heads up before parent teacher's this week.  You need to think about this.  We need a plan."

So, despite the fact that The Scribe can write one Hell of a blog, she's not reading at the level she should.  I just don't understand it.  She really does read great when she's home.  But at the same time, maybe I'm just being one of those mothers who can't see the coffee for the beans?  The whole conversation made me want to cry into one of my nice, orange-flowered pillows--and I don't even let people sit on those!

That's why I'm writing about a memory.  I'd rather focus on something that happened two years ago, than completely tackle what's going on now.

I only had three kids and all of them screamed in the backseat of the car.  

"She's touching me!" the seven-year-old Scribe said.

"Well, she won't play with me!" The Hippie yelled back and stuck out her lip.  I saw her chubby cheeks and couldn't believe she'd start kindergarten that next month.  But with all the fighting, maybe school wouldn't be such a bad thing.  "And the baby threw his truck at my nose!  And . . . And . . . " The Hippie's mouth ripped into a cry and tears shot across her cheeks.  "My baby doesn't love me and my sister doesn't want me touching her!"

I strangled the steering wheel.  Driving is supposed to be a pleasant, SAFE thing--Hell, some people go driving JUST FOR FUN!  I shook my head and sighed.  It's not fun when you're in the car with a million kids who cry for a living!  All I wanted was to jump from the vehicle and go to a day spa.


I looked in my rear view mirror.  My boy's mouth vibrated with seismic activity.  He'd opened his chompers so wide, I almost saw into he squash-loving soul!  The Scribe swatted The Hippie's arm and my daughters started a game of chicken, right in the middle OF THE INTERSECTION!  

That's when I knew the situation had gone from bad . . . to apocalyptic!  It was time to do the only thing I could.  It was time to summon Tall Man! 

Have you ever sung Where is Thumbkin?  If you have, then this story is for you.  If not, you might want to watch this video:

When you sing Where is Thumbkin, you hold each finger up in turn and then sing about it.  It's a cute song--one that had saved my life several times.  Too bad it almost killed me on this particular day.  As I sat, waiting at the light to the freeway, I started singing this song.

"Where is Pointer?  Where is Pointer?"  My kids wiped their eyes.  They practically changed from Hulk-ish terrors to darling human children with empathy for their mother's feelings.  My boy sniffled and all seemed right with the world.  He cooed.  My girls sang with me--even harmonized.  It was pleasant--I even thought the car ride was turning . . . fun.  

"Here I am.  Here I am.  How are you today, sir?  Very well I say, sir."

I smiled.  Is that what Heaven's like?  I was so happy, I didn't even notice the light was about to change.  "Where is Tall Man?"  I stuck my middle fingers up and let them dance all around.  I'm sure I looked like a seventies dancer with disabilities.  I watched my fingers moving all around my head and my kids laughed.  "Where is Tall Man?  Here I am.  Her I . . . "  My voice trailed off.  I still kept my middle fingers up, but next to me, in a HUGE TRUCK, sat the meanest looking man I've ever seen.  I swear that lightning cracked in the sky.  Clouds clustered above our cars.  The feeling around went from orangy-peach to a dank gray!

The man looked liked Colonel Sanders, only deep fried and smothered with hair.  He glared at my tall fingers and then my face.  I felt my cheeks go as red as his blood-shot eyes.

Seriously!  Was this seriously happening?  I'd just gotten my army of kids to stop crying only to discover some jerk thought I'd flipped him off!  I rolled down my window and laughed really loud as I stuck one Tall Man out for him to see.  "Oh no.  This is Tall Man!"  He revved his engine and scary music thundered around us.  I'd just taunted an angry bull--maybe a bull with a gun.

My kids stopped singing . . . they got very quiet and listened to the music.  "Black, death and doom.  Heavy power crashing through the night."

He turned down his music--at least that was a small miracle!  "You're gonna pay for that, B*@!*&%!  No one flips off The Undertaker!  No one!"

"It's Tall Man!"  He revved his engine.  "I was singing . . ." my voice faltered.  "A song."  Had he just called himself "The Undertaker?"  I had to admit, the name fit.  But anyone who refers to themselves in third person is a narcissistic fool!  I still worried about the gun thing, but at least I didn't call myself "The Undertaker!"

The light turned green, but still the death on wheels refused to move.  He motioned forward in a "ladies first" motion.  That's when I hit the gas and started the scariest freeway chase I've ever been in.  I know it's horrible because I had kids in the car, but what was I supposed to do?  I didn't have my cell phone.  All I had were a few kids and some Tall Men who'd gotten me into trouble in the first place!

The truck got so close to my bumper, I thought he'd plow me off the road.  Still, that stupid Undertaker didn't know who he'd messed with!  He'd enraged a Mama.  I swerved, weaving my way into a mess of traffic.  I cackled, actually cackled--like a villainous witch--it would be nice to see him get past those cars!

"Who is that man?" The Hippie asked.  "He looks mean and he said a bad word."

"He is someone who's about to lose!" I said, but I was wrong.  My victory was short lived.  He hauled past the traffic and pulled right next to me.  I worried he'd jerk to the right and send me into the old driver next to me.  I saw it in The Undertaker's thirsty eyes.  I knew what he wanted--he wanted the death of Tall Man.

That's when I caught my opening.  An exit rested two lanes over.  Dozens of cars clogged my path to freedom, but I knew I'd get there if I remembered my driving skills from high school.

I took a deep breath, hit the gas, then slammed the brakes and just barely made it in time to swerve onto the exit.  I watched The Undertaker's truck speed past.  I flipped him off that time--actually flipped him off and laughed.  He had a set of balls hanging from the back of his truck and a sticker that said "I love dark Opera."

Well, let me say, those balls should have been blue and I HATE Opera even more than I did before seeing that sticker.  We drifted off the exit and after getting to a safe location (one I knew The Undertaker would never find,) I got out and leaned against the car.  I thanked God we were all okay and prayed that He'd forgive me for singing about Tall Man, getting in a high speed chase with children and for flipping the bird!

I looked at my darling children who sat quietly in the back of the car.  They didn't fight; they didn't whine; they sat staring with big orbs of amazement.  That's when I knew the truth!  There are two ways to get children to stop crying.  You can either sing about Tall Man, or simply get in a high speed chase with an opera-loving undertaker!  Thank God for Undertakers!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"The Scribe" Started A Blog!

I told my daughters to get ready for school.

"But I am ready," The Scribe argued.

I looked at her and noticed something strange.  A huge piece of paper stuck from beneath her shirt.  She obviously didn't think I'd see it.  "What's that?" I asked and quickly pulled the paper into the open air.


Her face turned like a chameleon, fitting her angry emotions.  "It's nothing!  Give it back!"

"If it's nothing, then why are you hiding it?"

"Because it's silly."  She snatched it back.  Her bottom lip pouted and her big eyes blinked against a flood of tears.

"What's going on, honey?"

"It's just that . . .  You promise you won't think I'm silly?"

I nodded.  "I promise.  Cross my heart and hope I'll die. Stick a needle in my eye and all that good stuck if I break my word."

She passed me the paper, but before I read it, she said, "I started a blog."

"A blog?"

"Yeah, except I don't have a computer, so I've been writing notes in my diary.  I write two copies.  One to keep, just so I'll remember what I wrote, and then one for a person to read.  I write a new thing each day."  She looked up at me.  "I write . . . just like you do."

That made me so happy I could have jumped an electric fence!  She's such a doll.  She wanted to be like me--I couldn't believe it.  But as I thought, something hit me.  "And, what do you do with the copy you don't keep?  The copy a person reads?

"Oh, that's where it gets exciting.  I've been putting the notes in a random locker."

"A random locker?"  I almost choked on the words.  I knew that conversation had headed to a bad place--a place worse than Hell on a weekend!

"Yeah."  She smiled, very proud of herself.  "It's a nice-looking locker."

"The person who uses it, do they know who you are?"

"No, but I'm giving them clues each day."

"That's great, honey.  But aren't you curious to know who they are?"  It seemed silly!  What if that locker belonged to some creep!  Maybe it belonged to a HORRIBLE Bully!

That's when The Scribe broad-sided me with logic.  "Well, I figure you don't know who you're writing to when you blog . . . so why should I worry about it.  Isn't that the point of blogging?"

"Well, no, but I guess that's part of it."  As I thought, I laughed so hard I nearly stopped breathing.  After I regained my breath, I grinned at the letter in my hand and read.

Name: #9

Hi, I think you already know who I am?  So, let's get on with how my life works.  I am so sorry, but I'm going to talk about yesterday.  I really didn't have a good day.  Some kids were mean to me, but whatever. 

I know something is wrong.  Everybody is missing something, like how things were created.  I never told anyone this, but I know something is in the world except no one thinks about this.  You probably think I am crazy, but I don't think I am.

Whenever I get back from school, I look out my window and say, "What's missing?"  I think differently from most people.

~The End of Part 5~

I hugged The Scribe after that.  "What's missing, Sweetie?  Are you okay?"

She smiled up at me.  "Yeah.  I'm starting to feel better now that I'm blogging and now that you know I am.  Maybe that's what was missing.  I can see why you like it so much.  Maybe I need to blog."

After I'd dropped The Scribe at school, I found her diary and sure enough, she'd already written several notes and torn out even more papers.  I wondered how many notes she'd put in that random locker.
That kid cracks me up!

Here's what the first note said:

Name: #9
I got this book on December 10, 2010 on Friday.  It was my birthday present. I should write about my life. 

Each day you will learn more about me in crisis or not! When you find who I am, give the book back. I will give you one year to find me. My name starts with “R.” I am a girl; you can think I'm a secret admirer or not. Each day you will learn about me and how I feel for you and how my life works.

"In crisis or not"--that cracks the Hell out of me--The Scribe IS NOT your average nine-year-old.

Regardless of her cuteness, now I'm worried.  Does she know who she's writing these to?  If she does, maybe she lied.  But what if she really doesn't know?  Maybe she dislikes the person she's sending them to.  What if the person's a girl--worse yet--a bully girl!  That poor Scribe.  I hope this will end as well as The Play Date did, but I'm not so sure.

Monday, March 28, 2011

I Have To Get Him Back

I love how this title almost implies that I'm in marital heartache.  Well, here's a big shot in the arm--I'm not.  But my husband does need to be taught a lesson.  
He's a pranker, THE BIGGEST pranker I know.


Remember how he put towels and a note on my porch after I wrote that story about Melon Girl and how she took my towels?

Well a couple of weeks ago he bought fake lottery tickets and passed them out at work.  I guess he pranked the guys really good.  He saw my mom's car at the movie theater and taped a note to her window.  It said, "I'm watching you" and had a scripture verse on it!  What was that?  Did it say something pertinent to her life?

Now, if there's one word that fits my mother, it's "classy."  You can't even call her "a woman," she should be referred to as "a lady."  I bet you'd think she had a British accent if you saw her--that's how classy the lady is.  She's sweet and kind; she deserves the best of everything.  That's why she was a homecoming queen who married a football star.  I don't know how I'm their daughter because I'm not classy.  Plus, my mom's extremely girly and sweet.  I remember her always wanting me to play Barbies, but I was too busy climbing trees, training a Hell cat and playing pirates. 

So, my husband stuck that note on the car.  Now, within the next few hours, some weird stuff started happening.  The dog got out AGAIN!  I don't know if I should blame that Dog Lady or Cade!  Then, someone named AnneMarie--with zero feedback--ordered a maternity shirt from me on e-bay.  The thing that killed me was how she insisted on going by "Mary" and that she didn't pay at all!  If you remember the story: How to Prank a Prank Caller, you'll realize this isn't a good thing!  Mary has been calling me for months.  I finally called her back and NOW she wants to order from my store instead of the sex shop!

After all that happened, I waited outside of Home Depot.  Cade had brought two of our kids in the store with him and I had the other two with me.  My phone rang.  I expected it to be my mother, freaking out about Cade's latest shenanigan, but it wasn't my mom, it was Jill.

"They saw that black car again!"

"Who?" I asked.  

"The neighbors saw him.  He's been parking by my house late at night!  He's scoping it out!  I wish you and Grandma Gertie could come over again.  I can't tell you how scary this is."

 "I'm sorry, Jill."  I didn't know what to say.  How do you help someone who's under attack?  What could I do?  Ask her to come live at my house?

I hung up and the phone rang again.  "I found your dog, but someone let my dog out too.  They broke the lock on my gate."  It was my neighbor.

"What the crap!"  I would have said "Hell," but she's Mormon AND she just lost her dog.  I didn't want to offend the sweet lady.  "Why would they let your dog out too?"

"Maybe 'cause I found yours?"

The day wasn't going well.  It was a ball of chaos, and as Cade came back to the car, I wondered why the dogs got out.  Why does a black car follow Jill, AND why did "Mary" order a top she won't pay for?  I thought of all those things and my phone rang again.  I wanted to throw it out the window, until I realized how many black cars were parked by us!  I could have screamed.  Why does everyone and their dog own a black car--Poor Jill!

My mom's voice quivered on the other line.  She was terrified.  "Someone  . . . put a stalker note . . . on my car!"

"Ummm . . . I think Cade has something to tell you."  I passed my cell to Cade. 

After he told her, she paused.  "Thank God someone really isn't watching me!  Why'd you put a scripture, Cade!"

While they talked, I wondered where Cade's pranks end.  It seems as if they keep going and going.  He's like the incredibly handsome man who cries wolf, too bad one of these days it's not going to be him and no one will believe him!

"Are you Mary and did you let the dog out?" I blurted when he got off the phone.  "Where do your pranks end?"

He chuckled.  "There's a code to being a pranker.  Of course I'm not Mary and I wouldn't let the dog out."

"A code?"

"Yeah, you bet there's one.  One of the rules is that you don't do things that cost too much.  Letting a dog out . . . well that's obviously against the code."

"And pretending to buy a maternity top on e-bay?"

"Are you kidding?" he asked.  "That's definitely beneath me."

So, maybe Cade isn't the culprit.  Maybe the Dog Lady has struck again?  What do you think?  Is this all some weird coincidence?  Maybe when it rains it pours?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

One Fatal Question

I didn't feel too swift this morning, but at least my husband helped my through.  Thank goodness for his post about little red men.  That man is golden--pure and sweet. 

Anyway, yesterday was my Father-in-law's birthday.  I love that guy.  He's such a nice man.  It cracks me up though because as Cade and I drove from his parent's house yesterday, I remembered the first time I met his dad.

I hadn't know Cade long, when he decided to introduce me to his folks.  As we drove to the city they lived in, I tried hiding my nerves, but inside I burned like the planet of Alderan when Leah watched it explode.  When we got to the house, one of the sweetest women in the world greeted us.  Cade's mom had cooked spaghetti (one of her specialties.)  I loved her from the second I saw her.  That's when Cade's dad spotted me and as Cade and his mother talked, his father said he needed to have a word with me.

Have a word?  Can I just tell you it was terrifying.  Was this the part where I'd ask for his son's hand in marriage?  Why'd the guy need to talk to me?  He led me down a hallway before stepping into his office.

Recording equipment and a few guitars thronged the place.  Some computers sat around, but to a seventeen-year-old like me, I didn't notice much of that; I noticed how the place made me feel.

As I studied Cade's father for the first time, I imagined him as some type of wizard.  Not like this guy though:


Cade's father is awesome.  If he represents a wizard, he's more like this guy or Gandalf from Lord of the Rings:


Maybe he wanted to have a word with me about a quest I must embark on with Cade.  I got chills from the thought; quests are AWESOME!  Is that how Jen felt when he realized he could defeat the Skeksis or how Buttercup felt upon discovering Wesley was alive?

But that was just me being hopeful.  He probably wanted to know what religion I was or if my GPA could get me into a decent college.

So with all that in mind, I practically heard the flapping of dragon's wings.  I sat down and wondered if that chair would become animated.  Cade's dad studied my actions, placed his elbows on his wizardly desk and tapped his fingers thoughtfully.

"You like my son?"

I gulped.  This guy was one tough wizard!  Maybe he seemed like a computer programmer on the outside, but I knew he was a wizard in hiding!  I couldn't gain my breath though.  It was a scary moment in my life.  Sure, I'd only known Cade a week, but I'd already fallen for him.  "Ummm . . . yes, sir."  I thought about adding something about his ultimate wizardly-ness, but changed my mind.  Maybe he wouldn't like it if I knew his secrets of sorcery.

"Well, I need to know something . . .  I'd like you to answer one question."

I blinked.  What could he possibly need to know?  We sat there for a moment longer and that wizard practically saw into my soul.  I folded my arms, hoping that would stave his power.  I wondered what he thought, if he truly saw something about me that I had yet to discover myself.  While thinking about the situation, I saw the twitch of his eyebrows and the way he slightly smiled from my reaction.  That's when I forgot about my own concern and started studying him.  After all, if you're in a sticky situation, it feels better taking the focus from yourself and shoving it onto someone else.

I realized that wizard was probably a very intelligent man, someone talented in anything he put his mind to.  I peered around and this time instead of imagining the workings of an immortal genius, I saw the endeavors of mortal one.  I knew at once, the man sitting before me was not your regular father and that whatever question he asked might show just as much about him as it showed about me.

After the realization hit, I couldn't wait to hear him speak.  I wanted to know what sort of father Cade had.  If The Wizard asked a dumb question, maybe their family wasn't the sort I wanted to marry into!

The Wizard tapped his fingers slowly, and I hung onto his every movement.  "There are three vast unknowns in this life.  I'd like to know . . . what do you think they are?"

So, he'd taken me down the hard road and shown himself as an Intellectual.  I was glad of that.  He'd proven his son's family was a worthy prospect.  Maybe Cade would be "the one" if I could answer the question correctly.

I took my time, thinking about how I must reply.  I could go with a safe bet--show some personality and crack a joke.  I'd landed jobs by using that tactic.  I wondered what three things I could joke about being unknown.  Maybe the fact that when there's a big group of people you never really know who's farted unless you're the perpetrator.  I thought of more things like that and then decided I couldn't take that road--not with an intellectual wizard.  If I said something like that, Cade's father wouldn't want me dating his son.

I breathed deeply and turned serious.  "Well, no matter how much people protest and cling to their faith, no one really knows where we're going.  There are so many true religions and churches out there, but can they all be right?  So, the first thing is . . . where are we going."

He tapped his fingers and I wanted to bite at my nails.  Still he stared at me before nodding with surprised approval.  "Maybe Cade has found himself a smart one.  He hasn't brought many girls here."  The Wizard pulled his arms from the table and leaned into his fancy high-backed chair.  "As for the other two unknowns?"

"If one is 'where are we going,' then the second must be 'where did we come from'."

"Very interesting and I must say that I agree with your reasoning.  But for the hardest of all.  What is the last unknown?"

I really didn't know, but thought the biggest unknown of all . . . was that there was a third unknown or the fact that he still questioned me when I'd already done so well.  As our eyes met, I saw such kindness there, it made me feel like I was hanging out with my very own father.  I smiled then and realized I knew more about The Wizard than I'd expected to discover in those few minutes.  He was an amazing man, but at that moment what he really shone as was a loving father--a man who loved his son and wanted the best for him.  I thought and suddenly knew the third unknown.  It had been right in front of me the whole time I'd tried discovering more about The Wizard as he sought to learn more about me.

"The last unknown . . . it must be one thing."  I pushed my hair behind my ear and sat straight.  "Who am I.  It's 'who am I.'  We're all trying to find ourselves.  I think I know who I am, but honestly I'm still finding out.  I might be doing that for as long as I live."

He smiled.  "Very well said."

Shortly after, we left the office and when it came time that Cade wanted to marry me, The Wizard approved.

I still don't know if I answered the question correctly.  It makes me giggle thinking how nervous I was going into that office.  I'm glad I went though because it showed me something wonderful about Cade's father--my adopted father; he's a kind and caring man; the type of person who makes a perfect grandfather and could be a wizard extraordinaire.  He's a wonderful man and I'm happy he approved of the quest Cade and I embarked upon.  It's a quest called life . . . and as a wise wizard once said, "it has three unknowns."

Little Red Men With Pitchforks (Guest Blogger)

Hello this is Cade, Elisa's husband. She is sick with the flu, so she asked me if I would guest blog for her today. I wrote this story about twenty years ago. It's something I'd imagine would be in the comic section of a newspaper. Hope you enjoy it. 

       Little Red Men With Pitchforks
By: Cade


The little men in red pajamas ran around, scattering as I moved, sometimes poking me in the bottom with their glowing, red-hot pitch forks.  They stung like welding torches, lighting my clothes on fire.  As they poked at me, they herded me past red brimstone walls, toward a distant cliff. 

I tried kicking them, but they just got back up and poked me in the bottom again.  So, I ran as fast as I could until I came to the edge of the cliff.
As I turned, I saw one of them extending his pitchfork and charging right at me, so I moved to the side.  He ran right off the cliff.

"Wahoo," he screamed as he fell into the boiling lava at the bottom.  Poof!  He disappeared into a column of black smoke.

The others continued using their red-hot pitchforks to push me off the cliff.  I grabbed a pitchfork (ouch!) and flung another one off.  Poof!  Another column of black smoke.

Suddenly, as I looked away from the cliff, I saw two little red men pop out of different holes in the brimstone wall, bouncing on their little red bottoms.

"I wonder if they were the ones I saw go poof?" I thought.  "Maybe that's the way I can get around these little devils."

They kept poking at me, so I jumped off.  As I fell, I watched the lava come closer to my feet.  I felt the heat as it burned me up from head to toe, every little inch by every little inch.  Then, everything went numb.  Poof!

All of the sudden I swirled in a red, yellow and white tunnel, moving like a roller-coaster.  Pop!  Instantly, I fell from one of the holes in the brimstone walls and bounced on my little red bottom.  I looked down and saw I wore red pajamas and held a red-hot pitchfork!

"So that's where they come from," I exclaimed to myself.  "Oh well."  I joined the little red men, poking the giant man who was running from us.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Play Date

They showed up for the play date and I couldn't believe my eyes; in walked one of the Beauty Queens from the doctor's office!


Note: If you haven't read these stories, The Scribe Wasn't Kidding and The Sagget Lover, let me fill you in. My daughter put a "kick me" note on a kid's back.  I decided the only way to fix the situation was to arrange a play date for them.  Then (the day after the note happened) while at the doctor's office, I ran into some immaculate mothers.  I ended up telling the doctor that those beauty queens thought he looked like Bob Sagget  (he was less than pleased with their comment.)

So, with all that being said, it was time for the play date.  Someone knocked on the door, a delicate knock that wouldn't kill a fly resting on the door.  I gasped when I saw the little girl who'd suffered from the note and the woman standing by her--HER MOM WAS A BEAUTY QUEEN FROM THE DOCTOR'S OFFICE!  She looked gorgeous in a tight top and fancy pants.  

I freaked out, wondering if she'd recognize me since I stuck out like a sore thumb at the office.  I'm not saying I'm worse than Medusa on a Sunday, but I wasn't primped like those women.  All of them had fake nails, perfect hair and designer clothes.  I had a ponytail, four kids and a smile to beat them all.

I invited both of them in.  The Scribe and her daughter glared at each other over the kitchen table.  I knew they didn't want to be there, but as the beauty queen and I talked for awhile, the girls broke my best expectations.  Their glares turned from hatred to interest.  They giggled over things we said.  An occasional, "Oh Mo--om," would creak from their mouths and before I knew it, they asked if they could go upstairs to play.  

After they left, The Scribe practically took my power of speech with her.  I didn't know what to say.  It's as if The Scribe had shielded me with her carefree presence.  I worried The Beauty Queen would suddenly turn and say she knew what I said to the doctor.  I must confess, I was a bit curious; I wanted to know if he'd asked her about the Sagget comment.  

"They seem to be getting along nicely," she said.

I nodded, changing into a mute, with little make-up and a ponytail still stationed at the back of my head.  I looked at her, her beautiful hair and sparkling jewelry.  It reminded me of growing up because my mom, my sister and aunt were all sweet-natured beauty queens.  There's nothing wrong with beauty queens, at least some of them.  But I've played the violin at far too many wedding to come away unscathed.  Some beauty queens become bride-zillas and worse mom-zillas who tell their kids when and how to poo!  It makes me glad I never wanted to be primped and proper.  I'd rather scale the side of a mountain, sew ten outfits for my kids, or build a spud gun than do my hair in ringlets and risk turning into a mom-zilla.

"I'm so glad they're playing well.  I worried we'd have to cancel the play date.  I've been so busy.  Taking my boy to football . . . going to doctor's appointments."  Her eyes met mine.  So she knew about Sagget!  I suddenly worried she'd discovered even more.  Maybe she knew about the "kick me" note.

"Are you okay?" she asked.

"Oh, yes."  I gulped.  

"You look pale."

Was she there to torture me?  I always look pale.  I'm almost albino!  Plus, she knew I was guilty of the Sagget lie.  She probably knew about the note and still she didn't say a word.

Now, when I get nervous it IS NOT a good thing.  I crack dumb jokes and get so giggly it's ridiculous.  As I sat there, about ready to spew some joke about the afterlife, I heard our girls laughing.  I listened and they shared secrets about how they both dislike the boy who calls The Scribe "Mama."  They went on and on about him and how they never knew hanging out could be so fun.  

"I just didn't know you were this cool," my daughter said.

"Same to you."  They both giggled like that for a long time and when I looked back at The Beauty Queen we both grinned.

I forgot my joke and asked the first thing that came to mind, "So why did you go to the doctor?" 

That's when it happened.  The Beauty Queen, who'd I'd judged, started telling me a story.  She didn't talk about bringing her boy to the pediatrician--she talked about her own doctor's visit--how she goes in for treatments four times a week!  She weaved words about how she almost died years before.  I cried with her and couldn't believe how much that beautiful woman has endured.  Her life is still in danger, yet she manages to be an amazing mother and wife, a wonderful person and now someone I could call a friend.

I couldn't believe her story or the fact that I'd judged her or her child.  She said years went by when she practically lived at the hospital and she's so glad her daughter has a friend now because things have been really hard for her.  I sobbed, completely cried.  I felt bad for judging and that my kid wrote a "kick me" note, but most of all I felt in awe of The Beauty Queen's strength.  That's why my conscience got the better part of me.

"I need to ask you three things," I blurted suddenly.

"Okay," she wiped a tear from her eye and waited in her soft, delicate manner.

I took a deep breath and decided to go from easiest to hardest.  "Did your kids' pediatrician ask you anything about Bob Sagget?"

She tilted her head, "Why no . . . no he didn't.  How come?"

I sighed with relief and went on quickly.  "Well, ummm . . . never mind.  And next, did you know that my daughter put a 'kick me' note on your daughter's back."  I bit my lip.  That DID NOT sound good.  I waited, breathing slowly.

The woman smiled and grabbed my hand.  She gave it a squeeze.  "I thought you'd never ask.  This whole time I've been sitting here, wondering what to say about it and then I told you my story instead.  Sometimes I get so nervous."

"Me too," I said.  "You're just so put together and I look like a ragamuffin!  I can't believe you knew!  You're so different than I expected."  I paused and then asked the hardest question of all.  "Would you . . . read my journal?  I'm publishing it at the end of this year.  I'd really love to get your opinion on it.  I wrote it about my son who died.  He was so perfect to me."  My breath caught on the words.  "I'm just glad I have my journal to remember every detail about his life."

Tears filled her eyes.  "I'm so sorry.  I can't imagine how hard, but I'd love to read it.  I feel so honored."

We sat there crying again.  Our kids laughed upstairs and I nearly choked on a sob.  "This is turning into one heck of a play date," I said.

"And you know, about that note. I don't think it was completely your daughter's fault."

"I can't believe she did it.  I mean, she did put cat poop on a teacher's chair once--that was awful, but this is worse."

"But it turned out okay."  She smiled and laughed.  "Because of that note our girls are getting along great now and I have a new friend."

I can't believe how strange life is sometimes.  God brings people together for different reasons.  I mean, it's crazy, because of a stupid "kick me" note, I'm friends with an amazing Beauty Queen.



Friday, March 25, 2011

The Sagget Lover and The Mother Who Wants to be Friends

When I got up, I immediately realized something was very wrong with The Zombie Elf.  He'd woken up a lot again, even after the night he'd spilled milk.

"Mama, I sick," he said and I decided to bring him to the doctor.


I DO NOT do well with doctors.  If you've read Hug Him or Punch Him then you already understand why.  But despite that, I have an especially hard time getting along with the kids' pediatrician.  It took years to find him.  He's awesome with the kids and I refuse to quit going there just because our personalities don't mesh.  It's hard though; every time I see him, I try removing the elephant in the room, but I don't even know the elephant's name!

As I rushed around and prepared to go to the doctor, The Zombie Elf kept whining, "It hurts, Mama.  It hurts."

With the speed of a ninja, I packed all four of my children into the car and headed to the doctor's.  

Now when I got to the doctor's I felt like an idiot--an idiot with an army of children.  You should have seen all the beautiful women in the waiting area.  They wore boots for crying out loud!  (If you didn't know this, women who wear boots are the fanciest people ALIVE!)  I wanted to say, "What?  Is it super model day in here?  Maybe I should come back when it's 'normal people' day."  They were immaculate.  One lady's hair hung in barrel curls.  Another woman carried over a pound of foundation on her face.  It looked good though; they all looked good IN THEIR BOOTS!  

I felt bad as I gazed at my rumpled jeans and the spit-up on my shoulder.  My three oldest kids goofed-off and my baby wailed in her car seat.  One woman tipped her nose up at me and huffed, actually huffed!

Weren't we there because our kids were sick and we'd been up all night babying them?  Or had I been mistaken--was it a role call?  I sighed with relief when the nurse called my kid's name; I was sick of sitting by those six-foot beauty queens and I hate singing that song about myself; you know the one, "Which one of these is not like the other."

When we got to the room, it hit me.  I wondered if that doctor hates me because I'm not a beauty queen!  Maybe he sees super models all day long, so when he sees "regulars" like me he doesn't have to be nice.  I knew that was it and vowed, the next time we visited, I'd wear a pound of make-up too!

The pediatrician knocked on the door and walked in after that.  "So one of you is sick," he said, speaking to the kids, like I was less than a ghost in the room.

"What's been going on?" he asked The Zombie Elf.

"I sick."

"Where does it hurt?"

"My ouchie nose.  I want more milk."

The doctor still refused to acknowledge me.  But he wasn't making any headway with my two-year-old!  So I finally interceded even though that doctor would rather converse with Lucifer than me.  "Earlier he said his throat hurt."

"Does your throat hurt, buddy?"  The doctor put his back to me.

I wanted to groan, but suppressed it.  That's when I decided to make friends with the doctor.  I can't figure why he won't talk to me.  Isn't he supposed to be nice to kids AND their parents?  In Elisa world, tip number one (for making a friend) is to start with small talk; a great way, is to ask the person if they like their job.  (Note: Only ask if you're genuinely interested.)

Since I was curious, that's what I asked.  "Do you like your job?"

"I just like children," he replied flatly.  Then without even turning, he cooed to my baby who still rested in her car seat.  

I rolled my eyes.  Seriously!  That man is exasperating.  

Step number two.  In Elisa world, if the person doesn't like their job or simply shoots you down, try saying something nice.  

"Do people ever tell you that you remind them of Bob Sagget?"  After I said it, I realized it wasn't the best thing to say.

That doctor turned to me, actually turned and his eyes pulsed with rage.  "No . . . no one has ever said that.  I hate Bob Sagget and his dumb . . . home videos."

Wow, I felt like I'd taunted a raging bull and his anger was about to stick me in the gut.  I knew then, it was time for step three--it was time to lie.  I thought of the beauty queens in the waiting room--I remembered the one who'd put her nose in the air and I got an idea.  "Yeah, I don't think you look a thing like him, but a couple of those beauty queens in the waiting room were saying how they think you look like Bobby."  I couldn't believe I'd just pinned the whole thing on those poor women in the waiting room.  I'd sicked the doctor from Hades on them!

He glared at the door and I expected it to melt into lava.  It took him a moment, but he did regain his composure and that "Sagget Lover" asked, "Wait?  Beauty Queens?"

"You should see 'em," I said with excitement.  We were having a conversation--the people-hater and I were having a real conversation!  "That crowd out there--they aren't your regular mothers.  They're a whole different brand of gorgeous."

He decided to swab my boy's throat after that and I was surprised to see that he'd cracked a smile, something I didn't know he could do.  It was a miracle!  Then to beat all, The Sagget Lover actually spoke to me instead of my kids.  "I think he has strep.  I'll be right back."

Anyway, The Zombie Elf has strep.  As we walked past the women in the waiting room, I waved to the lady who'd stuck her nose up at me.  The Zombie Elf turned and waved to her too.  I hope the doctor wasn't too hard on her and I wonder what she said when he asked if she really thought he looks like Bob Sagget.

On a side note, this all happened yesterday.  The nurse gave The Zombie Elf a shot in the butt and he won't be contagious by the time The Scribe is supposed to have her play date.

I'm nervous about that play date.  I hope the kid will be nice even though The Scribe put a "kick me" note on her back.  I also wonder if the mother knows what happened and how this is the punishment for the crime.  The mom's coming today too.  She said she was worried about her daughter coming alone.  That makes me wonder one thing; maybe she does know about the note!

At least I have my trusty list of how to make a friend.  Maybe I should keep it in mind when the mom's here.  I'm actually quite nervous.  At least I learned one thing about the list; when saying something nice DO NOT say the person looks like Bob Sagget!  It leads to bad things.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Break-in

That night I couldn't wait to get my kids to sleep.  As I gave my two youngest children a bath, The Hippie kept chanting, "C-A-T spells cat.  C-A-T spells cat."  Then she'd turn to my two-year-old boy (The Zombie Elf) and say, "What does C-A-T spell?"

"Bad guy," my boy said in a low monotone, like he was an Italian gangster.  He'd say that every time because in his world everything revolves around good vs. evil--good guys and bad guys.

So, I gave them all their drinks at six and then a couple hours after, I put them to bed.  The Zombie Elf got mad at me when I wouldn't give him more milk.  "No. No, honey."  I patted him on the head and kissed him.  "I don't want you waking up all night because you have to go potty."

He folded his arms and stuck out his bottom lip.  "Mama say 'no no'."

I chuckled; even when he's mad, he's cute.  "Goodnight, baby," I said as I shut the door and scurried off to bed.  Sometimes when the kids go to sleep, it just makes me happy inside.  It's like I could conquer the world--if I had that broom I'm so good at sweeping AND whacking with.

I smiled, snuggling into my fuzzy blanket.  I thought I had everything under control--I was terribly wrong.


At two o'clock in the morning I heard screaming and a tremendous racket.  SOMEONE WAS IN OUR HOUSE!

The noise perched on my nerves, ready to pounce on my sanity.  I sat and immediately thought of Jill's targeter.  I wondered what I should do.  (If you haven't read that story, Jill's a friend of mine and someone's been trying to break into her house.)

So, as I heard the painful cries of help, I realized they were from my boy. It sounded like someone was beating him with my own cookware!  The water ran, and I heard slapping of liquid hitting itself.  My boy screamed again, obviously terrified and it made me so mad I could have strangled the intruder!  No one hurts my babies; NO ONE!

Without a second thought (and even though I didn't have my broom) I moved toward the kitchen.  I didn't know what to expect, so before I turned the final corner, I gulped a huge piece of air and closed my eyes.  "God, please help me be strong enough," I whispered.  I imagined myself grabbing that broom and fighting better than Jackie Chan in fast forward.  I actually felt kind of bad for that intruder.  When he broke into our house he obviously didn't know what happens when you make a Mama mad.

But when I turned the corner, I realized I hadn't been expecting the sight before me.  I gasped and covered my mouth, leaned against the wall and whimpered.  Some things are too painful to understand.  I'd only thought about hurting the intruder, I hadn't imagined how much pain my son might be in.  That's when I screamed.  My scream echoed up and around my house; I'm sure it traveled down the block.  I wonder if it reminded anyone of Wesley's scream in the Princess Bride because it was the sound of true agony.

On the floor rested, all my pans, all my cooking utensils, a bunch of broken eggs, a pickle jar that was LUCKILY still intact.  But what made me scream more than anything was The Zombie Elf!  He wore nothing more than a diaper and sat in the middle of A POOL OF MILK!  I hadn't heard running water!  I'd heard the sound of him dumping an entire gallon of milk onto the mess in the kitchen.  He smeared eggs and milk together.  Mixed them up in pans.

He saw me and his eyes went wide with true fear.  He screamed with me then, wailing like a villain who's about to start a life-sentence.  Then he held the empty gallon of milk up to his dirty lips and as one little drip entered his mouth, I saw the fury build again.  "IIII WAAANT MIIIILK!"

I grabbed him and we glared at each other.  That kid had scared the crap out of me.  I'd been ready to wield my broom and poke someone in the E-Y-E.  I'd risked my sanity--for a little turkey-turd!

So, he did get a bath AND a spankin'.  I put him to bed without any milk; I figured he'd had enough for one night considering the jug still rested empty on the kitchen floor.  I knew it would take forever to clean that mess.  Milk had seeped into all the kitchen rugs, some liquid even ran under the fridge.  

As I put the Zombie Elf to sleep, he turned and asked, "Mama?  Am I bad guy?"

"No . . . "  I tucked the blanket under his tiny feet and pushed the blanket around his shoulders and tummy.  "No, but that wasn't nice.  Now I get to stay up and clean.  We're going to have the cleanest floor in the neighborhood . . . because of you!"  At the moment, I didn't think that was something to be proud of.  I didn't want a clean floor.  I wanted a good night sleep--for once!  Then I looked at him and asked the one question which practically killed me.  "Why?  Why! did you do this to me?"

He turned to his side, closed his eyes and whispered, "'Cause Mama say 'no no'."

That turkey!  When I cleaned up the mess, I did have to laugh at one point.  "Mama say 'no no'," I chuckled.  The picture of him sitting amidst that mess, the empty gallon resting on his dirty lips.  That boy plays a symphony with my heart strings--even when he's naughty.

After he fell asleep, I tip-toed into his room and hugged him extra hard because he always reminds me of how happy I am he's healthy.  I lost a boy once and no matter how much crap happens, I'm just glad my other kids are healthy.  They might not always be the best kids, or the most well-behaved, but they're mine and I love them.  Even when they throw worms in people's hair, show up tardy forty-one times and break into my kitchen, I'm just glad they're still here!

So with that being said, my boy is really a Zombie Elf.  It's because he's the best kind of Zombie, the merry kind Santa would approve of, the kind that makes me laugh even in the worst of times.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Scribe Wasn't Kidding

Please excuse this post if it doesn't make complete sense--I've been up since two a. m. thanks to my little two-year-old man who surprised me with something terrible in the middle of the night.  Who's complaining though, right?  At least I have a blog all ready for tomorrow.

If you read my blog How to Beat a Bully yesterday you might remember this part:

"What are you going to do about them tomorrow?" The Hippie asked.

"Oh, leave that to me."  The Scribe chuckled.  "I have a great idea."

As the title implies, my oldest daughter wasn't kidding. 


My day wasn't the best thing since chocolate coke.  It was actually quite a bummer.  I woke up to an urgent message on my machine.  The visa representative said I must call them back as soon as possible because all our card information had indeed been compromised.  I am typing on Howie right now.  I thought I'd fully forgiven him for leaking numbers, but I'm still bitter.  Someone in a different country tried running two of our cards for $50.94 OVER ELEVEN TIMES!  The bank didn't let any of the charges go through though, so that was like golden eggs on a summer's afternoon.

Between canceling and ordering new cards, I got my taxes done, which I just realized were done wrong.  The lady marked us as having three dependents.  Actually, we have four.  I know that's a dumb thing to be bothered about, but after you've pushed a watermelon out of your butt, tell me you wouldn't be upset.

Amidst all that madness, I got a call.  It was from the elementary school.  Was The Scribe tardy again?  For the forty-second time? I worried as I looked at my cell.

I shuddered as I clicked my phone open.  When the school calls it's almost never good news--it's practically in their damn job description to call with bad news.


"Is this a good time?"  The Scribe's teacher asked on the other line.  That's when I remembered The Scribe's words: "Oh, leave that to me.  I have a great idea."  I knew it couldn't be good.  What had she done?

"Your daughter," the teacher cleared her throat, "your daughter has engaged in some poor behavior."

I gasped, was she a criminal now . . . engaging in bad things?  Would the school send her to kiddie jail?  Why can't life be easy for two seconds--TWO SECONDS.  "Does it involve a worm?" I asked suddenly.

"What? Er . . . no."  She gained her fortitude and continued.  "It involves a note--a horrible note she put on a child's back."

"What did it say?"  My mouth felt dry like someone had taken a Kirby and vacuumed the entire thing.  I licked my lips and waited for the answer.

"KICK," the teacher's voice trembled, "ME!"

"Oh, my gosh!  Did anyone kick the kid?"

"No, no one got her.  Your daughter should consider herself lucky that I found the note in time."

I put my head into my hand and decided to visit the school.  The whole thing was MORTIFYING!  When I got there, the room flew as a ball of chaos.  Kids ran around.  They threw paper and cracked dumb jokes.  I saw The Scribe and another girl glaring at each other from across the room.  Then a disheveled little boy ran up to my daughter and said, "You're a baby!  A . . . B-A-B-Y."  Well wasn't that fantastic--he's in third grade AND he can spell.

The Scribe folded her arms.  "Am not!  You're the baby."

The boy's eyebrows crinkled in thought and he tapped his pointer finger against his bottom lip.  "Fine.  I guess I am a baby, but if I am, that makes you my Mama!"  He feigned baby cries, becoming one of the best actors I've ever seen.  "Mama!  Mama!"  Even though he teased my daughter, I have to admit that kid's pretty witty.

The teacher saw me and I talked to The Scribe after that.  "Why did you do it?  Give me one good reason why," I said.

She looked at me with innocent eyes.  "Because she was mean to me and if I don't stand up to her, she'll just keep being mean."

Her argument did sound convincing, but there are two sides to every story.  I began wondering why some children are so mean to The Scribe.  I got a brilliant idea then.  I remembered how the punishment fit the crime in The Parent Trap--when in parenting doubt refer to the classics.  "Fine, " I said, probably acting like a spoiled three-year-old.  "You want to put notes on kids' backs?  Great for you!  I'm calling her mother and setting up a play date.  The two of you will get along--even if it kills me."

I stormed from the school after that and worried maybe my sweet Scribe is turning from a victim to a bully!  I really don't know what to do, but at least I'm good at winging it.  I called the girl's mom and by golly, they're having a play date on Friday! 


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How to Beat a Bully

I witnessed something and it makes me so mad!


When I drove to school, to get The Scribe and The Hippie (my two oldest daughters) I knew something was very wrong.

They walked in nervous steps and seemed to forget the place we normally meet.  They walked faster and faster, looking behind them until I realized three girls imitated their every move.  One of the girls was big and tall; she looked at least a couple grades older than The Scribe.  I thought the other two girls were in The Scribe's class.

So, I did what any good mother would do.  I rolled down my windows and stalked them quietly.  That's when I heard the biggest girl yell at my kids.  "You sure are ugly!"  She elbowed her cronies before snorting up a storm.  As they laughed, I wanted to jump out of my car and pummel that kid.  But I gripped the steering wheel instead.  I wanted to see what my girls would do.

"Can't you hear us?" one of the girls from The Scribe's class hollered.  "We said you're ugly!"

That's when The Scribe and The Hippie turned around.  They were so busy, they still didn't notice I was following them.  The Hippie looked at the girls; she seemed absolutely unperturbed.  She had on a darling twirl dress, pigtails and two darling bows in her hair.  

The Scribe looked down at her and said, "Don't move.  I've got this."

But The Hippie refused to obey her sister.  She looked up at those kids, one of which was probably four grades above her and said, "That's too bad you think we're ugly because I think you're beautiful."

I watched their resolve crumble.  They cracked a smile at The Hippie and the big bully said, "You're all right.  Maybe you can join our gang someday, but the thing is . . . we weren't calling you ugly anyway.  We were calling your sister ugly."

I held my breath as I watched the whole thing unfold.  This was The Scribe's time to shine.  Maybe she'd take The Hippie's brilliant lead and hand out a truthful compliment.  I knew she thought about it.  I saw it in her beautiful green eyes, but the thing is, if you've read anything about The Scribe, you already know she's a spitfire.  She doesn't take crap from anyone and she refuses to say something just to say it.

The Scribe glared at them, and as her eyes looked across the ground, she grinned wider than the Nile.  "You think I'm ugly?  Everyone can have their own opinion, but I know something for a fact and it's that you're bullies.  You're scared bullies!"

This didn't sound like it was headed to a Heavenly place.  The big girl started balling her fist.  I saw her stance chance to a fighting stance.  I wanted to jump from the car.  "We're not scared of anything . . . especially ugly . . . little . .  . girls!" the big kid said.

That made The Scribe madder than a hatter.  I knew it would since they'd just taken measurements last week and she's the second shortest kid in her class.  She hates being short!  Her face paled with anger and that's when The Scribe bent down and picked up a worm. 

 "Fine, if you're so tough!"  She waved the worm next to the big girl's face and the bully jerked back in fear.  My oldest daughter's eyes lit with excitement.  Then she pushed the worm near all of the bullies' faces.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  She'd gone from the victim to the victor!  

You wouldn't believe how funny that looked.  Now to understand, you need to realize how gorgeous The Scribe is.  I know every parent says this about their kids, but when we lived in Santa Monica, a lady paid The Scribe one-hundred dollars for one picture of her.  She's been on greeting cards and other things.  She's really a pretty kid and it just cracks me up that she's such a tomboy.  

"If you're so tough, and you want to bully me, then lick it!  Show me you're brave enough to lick this worm," The Scribe said.

"Get it out of my face," one girl shrieked.

"You're so weird.  This is why we hate you," her friend said.

All three of them turned to run, but before they left completely, the big girl said, "This isn't over, Shorty.  You're so weird.  You'll never fit in here."

As they turned, I watched in horror as The Scribe threw the worm and it landed in the back of the big girl's hair.  I covered my mouth and gasped; that bully still had no idea the worm wriggled in her hair!

My girl's laughed really hard.  "What are you going to do about them tomorrow?" The Hippie asked.

"Oh, leave that to me."  The Scribe chuckled.  "I have a great idea."

They started walking back to our designated pick-up spot and I found it funny they still hadn't spotted me or the car.  "Do you really think they're pretty?"  The Scribe asked The Hippie.  "No one that mean can be pretty."

"God made them too, didn't He?" 

"Yeah, but they're so mean."  The Scribe paused, the one who's been a greeting cards and modeled for dozens of companies.  "Do you think I'm ugly?"

The Hippie hugged her sister.  "You're beautiful!  Don't let them make you sad."

I honked after that, and my girls saw me.  I had tears in my eyes because even though they fight, they'll always be there for each other.  I love those girls so much.

"How long have you been here?"  The Scribe asked.

"Just barely.  Why?"

"No reason."  The Scribe suddenly grinned as she leaned into the back of the seat.  

"What are you smiling about?" I asked.

"Oh nothing.  I'm just happy it rained today.  I love worms."   

So, I didn't say much to them about bullies or anything else.  Maybe I should have.  Maybe I should have reprimanded The Scribe for throwing a worm in some kid's hair.  But I felt they'd done an all right job of handling the situation and I was proud they hadn't let people walk on them like people walk on me.  

What would you have done if you were me?  Do you think they handled the situation okay? 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Thank God for Small Miracles

Yesterday I had a bad day.  I'm not saying it was because something tremendously horrible happened; it was all of the little things.  Howie died.  My sink stopped draining again.  I couldn't find the fabric I needed to finish an order and my son spilled blue kool-aid all over the carpet.

It just reminded me of my crazy luck.  For example:

I wrote about a Dog Lady.  She came to my house at midnight, claimed to have my dog and then left me with someone else's animal.  Well, after she came, our dog's been getting out.  No one knows how our back gate magically opens itself, but it's been happening.  It's actually quite scary if you think about someone opening your gates where your children used to play freely.


Well, now all of our gates are locked.  Cade wants to get a surveillance camera and set it up by our backyard; Grandma Gertie wants to show the Dog Lady her Billy Club;  and I wish I could slip her a pair of my brother's stinky socks!  It's really annoying when your dog keeps going missing, not to mention expensive.

The other peculair thing is that I see the Dog Lady all the time now.  She's always walking her millions of dogs past our house and whenever I'm outside she always strikes up some strange conversation with me.  "So how are you neighbor?" she said politely.

"Ummm . . . I'm okay."

"You know, about the other night?"

I nodded, wondering if she was about to apologize for sticking me with some mutt!

"It's crazy what can happen sometimes.  Fate is a funny thing."

Fate?  Did she just say fate when she should have said stupidity?

"I mean, I've been fired from four jobs.  They even took away my nursing license.  And none of those things were my fault."

That stumped me.  I cleared my throat and took the bait.  "Who's fault was it then?"

"Fate's.  Fate did it to me."

It was some strange reasoning that had brought her craziness to my house yet again!  I've only known one person who lost their nursing license and that was because she put milk into my son's only lung!  I went back into the house and slammed the door.  I'm not saying I hate the Dog Lady; it's just that she has a way of getting under my skin.  First off, she never apologized about the other night, then she's practically stalking me; Animal control thinks someone is letting our dog out.  Plus, that woman can't take responsibility for her own actions.

With all that in mind, I went back into my house and almost screamed.  I couldn't get Zeke off my mind.  The point is, before a nurse put milk into Zeke's lung, he was scheduled to come home with us.  But he never got to come home.  Instead he got pneumonia.  I guess it's okay now--it has to be.  It happened a long time ago and I know in my heart, it happened for a reason.  Sometimes though, no matter how hard you know things will be okay and they're meant to be, it's still hard wrapping your mind around the fact that pain exists.  Death exists.

Anyway, her whole "I got my nursing license taken away for no reason" bothered me.  Hell, maybe she was just like the nurse who put milk in my son's lung.  Maybe someone died because of her and now she can't apologize to me, let alone them!  As I walked into the house, I saw the sink which was nearly overflowing with water.  I thought of Howie who rested in peace.

My kids started screaming at me, and I cried then, full-on cried.  I'm a VERY happy person about 95% of the time, but when I get sad, it's to the point of depression.

I crumpled on the floor and bawled.  I don't know what exactly I cried about, but it was something about how I wish I could be closer to God like I used to be.  I sobbed about the stupid sink and how I feel like I have no control over my life.  I whined about that dumb fabric I couldn't find.  And after I'd finally finished crying, I felt this huge peace sweep over me.  I blinked and wiped my eyes.  Maybe everything would be okay.  Why was a sulking when I could be doing something about it?  I remembered Dog Lady--a woman who can't take responsibility for her own actions.  That's when I stood up, dusted myself off and decided to stop being a sap!

I put some water on to boil, sprayed Awesome on the blue stain and then called Comcast.  Can you believe the tech was actually nice enough to help me fix my computer.  I told him I'd gotten a virus and so I couldn't use my computer, let alone access the internet.  He stayed on the phone with me and walked me through all the steps to bring Howie back to life.  I restored him to a previous date and he's fine!  He's alive again.  After that, the water had started boiling, I poured it down the sink and put the garbage disposal on.  Can you believe the sink drained-- actually drained from the heat.  I couldn't believe how good a small miracle could feel.  Later I got the stain out of the carpet and even found the missing fabric.

So, the point is that Dog Lady taught me a lesson.  Sometimes life isn't easy, but it's how we react that matters.  Sure I could have stayed on the floor and felt bad for myself all day, but instead I did something about it and now things are better.   I never want to forget this joy of life or that I can always learn something new even if it is from some crazy Dog-lovin' woman.