Archive for December, 2011

Zombeans, Farts, and Other Observations From a 4-Year-Old Boy

We never know what our four-year-old grandson is going to come up with when he’s asked a question. For example, we were in the drive through at Chick-Fil-A trying to make an order for three grandchildren Saturday. After the food order was completed, SwampMan asked “Y’all want three chocolate milks to drink, right?” Dylan spoke up loudly for the speaker. “Not for me. I’ll have a beer!” Where’d THAT come from? Nobody drinks in his family, his other grandparents, uncles, or aunts, or in ours. We don’t know. It just came flyin’ out with no warning whatsoever. “Yep, that’ll be three chocolate milks,” responded SwampMan, fairly unflappable, although I was a little worried that the folks inside were taking our license tag to report to the police about how we were giving beer to a 4 year old as a mealtime beverage.

On the drive back from picking up the grandchildren for a stay with us, the subject of zombies came up. The four year old explained to us the different types of zombies (or zombeans, as he calls them). “There’s reglar brain sucking zombeans…” “It’s ZOMBIES, not ZOMBEANS!” his brother interrupted. “And then there’s eyeball sucking zombeans…” “ZOMBIES!” “and there’s gut sucking zombeans and there’s face sucking zombeans.” “There’s no such thing as zombies!” declared his 7-year-old brother, Jacob. “But there’s no such thing as zombeans!” agreed Dylan, because his big brother knows EVERYTHING.

SwampMan decided to change the topic of conversation from types of zombies to driving safety for a teaching moment. “Should I stop at the stop sign, boys?”

“YES!” they chorused.

“Why should we stop at the stop sign?”

“So we don’t get killed by other drivers!” said the 7 year old.

“Should I stop at the stop sign even if I don’t see other cars coming?” queried SwampMan.

“Yes!” said Dylan.

“Why?” asked SwampMan. Oh, no! Another direct question!

“Because,” explained Dylan, “When you’re stopped, it will be safe to fart if you have to.”

Maybe they should put that in the driving manual.

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Group Homes

One of the students that I know and have worked with in the past will be placed into a group home over the Christmas break. Another, in the care of an elderly aunt with severe medical problems, is on a waiting list.

When I found out about the little girl being placed, I immediately came home and asked my husband if we could keep her. He pointed out that we ain’t exactly spring chickens, and this young girl will require a lifetime of care for she will not be capable of independent life. She was too much for her own grandparent to handle, and her grandparent is younger than we are. I was not alone in my instinct to take her home and protect her. A male substitute (retired from teaching) that had worked in that class cried at the thought of what would happen to that vulnerable child placed in a group home. He and his wife would take her but they, too, were too old.

It is hard to hear this.

I was not able to be there to say goodbye.

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Bittersweet Changes

Every year my husband’s family, wherever they are, turn into homing pigeons the weekend before Christmas and head home to my mother and father in law’s house. They have presided over the Christmas festivities for years….well, since before I entered the family, and I’ve been attending them for 34 years now. We’ve quietly discussed changing the location or having different folks host the meeting but all of the females (who are the ones that do the fixin’ and cookin’, after all!) work outside the home. Indeed, two of the women of my generation couldn’t be there this year due to their work schedules and, because their husbands are unemployed this year, they dare not insist on having the day off. We fear that their husbands, due to their age, will never work again. Many of the younger generation have neither the space nor the inclination to host a crowd.

My mother in law was having a very difficult time this year. It came as no surprise to me, therefore, when my father in law announced that they could no longer continue to host the celebration of the family.

I wish that I could step up and take over but, dang, between work, livestock, grandkids, ailing parents, and looking for a second job, I barely have time to take a shower, let alone cook for a small army. Maybe we could have a housecleaning, decoration, and spaghetti party. I cook the spaghetti, they clean and decorate the house? Something tells me that isn’t exactly going to catch on.

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Another Morning to Remember at the Swamp Household

This morning was the kind of morning that I just loooove when I’m lying in bed and don’t have to get up to go to work. The rain was pouring down, the wind was blowing it sideways, and it was COLD rain. Unfortunately, today was not a day off. To say I was not happy to have to get up extra early and go outside into the pouring rain to remove two pit bulls from my pasture after Puppy awakened me would be putting it mildly.

The first time I went out, I yelled at the dogs and they ran off into the darkness of the horse pasture. I checked the sheep, who were alarmed and standing like statues in a tight flock after retreating into their own pasture away from the horse barn where they usually spend the night with the horse. They were unharmed. I closed the gate behind them, sealing them away from the dogs. There were no duck bodies lying about, either. Since Mom was outside, the sheep trustfully figured everything was okay and felt confident enough to get out of the rain inside their own barn.

I went back inside, my clothing soaked completely through, to start cooking breakfast. Puppy alerted me again, so back outside to the horse pasture. This time I called the two dogs to the gate. They were delighted to see me and wagged their back ends all over in doggie joy with happy open-mouthed doggie grins. “We’re lost! We like it here! Can we stay?” was the message. “Oh, HELL, no!” was the answer. I called them outside the gate then slammed it behind them, breathing a sigh of relief, then fed the horse and what poultry were out and about in the deluge (ducks). I decided to leave the old sick ram confined to his barn in case the dogs came back with murder on their minds. I was pretty uneasy about the possibility. The ewes are pregnant, and being scared like that isn’t good for them. The possibility also existed that I would come home and find them all slaughtered by playing pit bulls. Ah, well, back inside to cook, towel dry, put on my third set of dry clothes, throw my jacket in the dryer, and try to get the hair blow dried before time to leave.

When it was time to leave, I dashed out into the rain, SwampMan a couple steps behind me. He had parked at the barn last night and had a longer distance to travel in the rain. I opened the house gate to drive through. The two dogs had been waiting in the darkness in the pouring rain, and ran through the gate and attacked Puppy. I started yelling and screaming and chasing them all through the yard and mud puddles in my dress pants and dress shirt and dress shoes while the rain was pouring down. I caught the biggest pit bull by the scruff of his neck and dragged him outta the yard. The smaller one followed the leader, as I knew he would, then I slammed the gate closed. Now I was back to my original problem. They were back outside the gate, waiting anxiously for me to open the gate to drive out so that they could come back inside. I was going to be late for work. And I was soaked to the skin again.

SwampMan came driving up to the barn gate from the barn and put his hand on the chain to undo it so he could open the gate. The doggies did not waggle their rears at HIM and grin in doggie delight. The brown pit bull leaped for his hand, snarling, then leaped at the fence, threatening to tear out his throat if he dared open that gate. SwampMan is not really a morning person, either. He stomped to the truck, took out a 12-gauge, and fired a shot over the fence BLAM! I started yelling “Woah! I’m over HERE! Do NOT shoot ME!”, uncertain if he could see me in the dark and pouring rain. SwampMan is hard of hearing, so I was yelling REALLY loud. BLAM! BLAM! One of the dogs took off running down the street. The other one ducked under the neighbor’s fence back into our pasture. SwampMan was cussing dogs and rain and Mondays when I drove off.

It took me until about noon at work for my clothes to dry out. When I got home, I was inside changing into my feeding clothes when Swampman called. “I’m at the gate. You must be exhausted. Let’s go pick up something to eat tonight.” We were going down the driveway when Swampman said that he had had the shotgun ready in case the dogs were at the gate or lurking out around the barn. I started giggling.

“What?”

“Um, remember this morning when I was yelling “HEY! Don’t shoot me!”

“Yeah, I heard you. So?”

“And then you shot several more times?”

“Yeah?”

“You do realize that we were right behind the neighbor’s house at the time.”

He started laughing, too. “I guess they’re used to it by now.”

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Sticker Shock at the Grocery Store

I went to the grocery store this evening. I got a gallon of milk, a quart of egg nog, 12 small cans of dog food, a shower curtain, 8 (small) cans of cat food, a small package of sausage links (because bacon was $6.00 and up per lb.), an 8 oz. package of shredded cheese, a lb. and a half of a couple containers of instant coffee ($7.00 total), a couple cans of corn, a small can of olives, and a can of yams.

I nearly fell over when I checked out. The total came to $82 and some cents.

How in the world are people with children able to afford groceries with prices climbing like that?

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And How Was YOUR Morning?

Puppy had rolled in some eau de STANK and was quite offensively fragrant. He was happy to share that fragrance with me when I got home from work, rubbing himself against my pants legs and jumping up against my clothes when I came home earlier in the week. Oh, man. I decided I had to do something about that immediately!

I got the dog shampoo off the porch and puppy, who regularly belly flops in nasty muddy water filled with duck droppings, decided that a bath was something too fearsome to be faced. He took off running to said nasty mud bog frequented by ducks and made a running leap into it. Since I was now covered with fetid duck poop mud carrying Gawd only knows what diseases, parasites, and assorted skin-eating bacteria, I went into the bathroom and toweled myself dry and put on dry clothes before going outside to tend to my feeding chores.

Which brings us to this morning. I’d had a restless night and hadn’t gotten a lot of sleep, probably courtesy of too much caffeine. I stumbled outta bed with the alarm finally waking me after continously ringing for about half an hour, and hurriedly stumbled to the bathroom for my morning shower. Did I mention that I am not a morning person?

I grabbed the shampoo bottle without looking (not that I could see it anyway without my glasses) and squirted shampoo on my head. I was mechanically scrubbing away when I started to s-l-o-w-l-y wake up. “Man, this shampoo really smells funny this morning. I wonder if I’m coming down with a cold?” I said to myself. Then I started wondering if shampoo goes bad and if it does, how would I be able to tell? The funny smell?

I towel dried my hair and raced outside to feed the mare, the dog, the cats, whatever chickens and ducks were out wandering about looking for a handout, and let the ol’ sick ram out to graze and closed that pasture off from Puppy, who patrols around the chicken pens at night. Then I raced back inside, threw off my feeding clothes, put on my work clothes, did a quick blow dry of the hair, put on my glasses and, as I was about to go out the door, I glanced back at the bathtub and saw a strange bottle there on the side of the tub. A bottle that was the same shape as my shampoo but a little darker in color. A bottle that said Flea and Tick Shampoo.

Oh, well. My hair looked decidedly brillo pad-like today, but I could be confident that it was flea and tick free.

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Help Obama Figure Out the Difference Between Kansas and Texas

Here’s something to help him figure out which one is Texas:

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Duval County School System

A good friend of mine that I don’t get to see very often works in the Duval County School system. The last time I saw her, she asked “Doesn’t SwampDaughter live in Duval County? Talk to her about homeschooling her kids!”

My former DIL lives in Duval County. Her daughter goes to school there, and her son is in kindergarten in a class of 38 students that is only large enough for about 20 (but they do have two teachers in class). He comes home crying every day and begging his mom to teach him at home. She calls me in despair because she says that since she was a poor student, she knows she isn’t up to teaching. She talked to a school board member who told her privately that if she could get her kids into another county’s school system, do it. Older granddaughter is really developing an attitude problem at the elementary level due to the smartass kids she’s associating with.

A woman that I work with told me that her husband has substituted in the best schools in the Duval County school system which were horrible and that my grandsons should get out as soon as possible.

Anybody out there with positive things to say about Duval County schools? I haven’t anything remotely positive from people that *used* to teach there.

I imagine this scenario is playing out in all city schools throughout the United States.

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Dieting. Again.

I really hate dieting. There’s something about being on a diet and thinking “I sure would like to have a piece of chocolate, except I CAN NEVER HAVE ANY EVER AGAIN if I want to have a waistline that is smaller than my hips. I’m thinking…..what was it I wanted to have a waist for again? Oh, yeah, to keep my pants from falling down.

My former DiL called this evening and told me to be SURE, if I went to the Christmas parade, to buy a cupcake from her friend because her friend makes cupcakes that are so good that you would not believe. “Oh, I believe!” I told her. “It’s just that I’m not doing that anymore.”

“Doing what?” she asked.

“Eating cupcakes.”

I don’t think she believed me. She should have.

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Sasquatch Season Has Officially Begun!

My skin is *very* sensitive. In the summer, I can use chemical depilatories occasionally without too much ill effect. In the winter, forget it. Crusty chemical burns just do not happily coexist with heavy socks and pants. In the summer, I can happily shave my legs daily with just the occasional oozing cut sporting toilet paper. In the winter, I get terrible itchy, peeling rashes from shaving.

I waxed my legs smooth in the winter for awhile. Eventually, though, I got tired of hopping around on one leg while ripping millions of hairs out by the roots from the other while simultaneously screeching in pain. I’m just not coordinated enough for that. It’s a safety issue now, too. I do not want to have an ER doc saying “Miz Swampie, tell me again for your permanent medical records, which will follow you no matter how far away you happen to move, how in the world you got a concussion and burned the hair right off your head on your bathroom space heater while waxing your legs?”

I have learned to embrace my inner Yeti. Sasquatch season has officially begun.

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