Archive for March, 2012

Who Has the Right of Way Here?

My son is out of town working and has asked me to take care of his animals and plants while he’s gone. I *thought* it was going to be for a week. So, every day after work for the past week, I’ve been coming home and taking care of my animals, then going to his house and taking care of his chickens, plants, and a cockatiel that HATES my ass and lunges at me every single freakin’ chance he gets. (At least I *think* the misognyist bastard is a he. Maybe not. It’s not like I’m going to grab it and give it a pelvic exam.) Come to think of it, being attacked repeatedly by a cockatiel is not that much different than a day at school except that the bite marks are smaller.

Anyway, I’ve been getting back home somewhere between 9:00 and 9:30 p.m., at which time I do the usual household things like cooking, washing dishes, cleaning house, doing laundry, taking a shower, ironing clothes, etc. If you are thinking things like “who the hell is she kidding, there ain’t NO WAY she’s cleaning the house after cooking dinner that late at night”, you would be RIGHT! I was looking forward to son coming home because I am in TERROR, absolute TERROR, that my mother or mother in law might get a wild hair about visiting one day and walk in unannounced on what can only be described as an absolute disaster. Unfortunately son called today and said that he’s going to be out of town until at least MAY. Oh, mercy.

Earlier during the day on Friday I turned down an invitation to join an after school faculty meeting held at a drinking emporium by some coworkers because I had too much to do after work. I was seriously in need of a drink, too, and I don’t drink! How am I gonna get my new career as an alcoholic started if son is going to be out of town until May and the FCAT is in April? *sigh* There’s always the pantry and the cooking wine.

Back to Friday night. There I was, perfectly sober, having finished the livestock feeding, watering, fetching and carrying, when I needed to go to son’s house to feed his critters @ 9 p.m. I went into the house and notified SwampMan “Hey, if I’m not back in an hour, send a search party.” Five minutes later I was back inside the house informing SwampMan that he was going to have to drive me over because I hadn’t gotten gas on the way home, and there was no way I was going to make it to son’s house on the amount of fuel that I had in my tank which at that point consisted of fuel fumes and positive thinking.

On the way over, SwampMan asked me what I was planning to do about supper. “Cook, I guess!” was my unenthusiastic reply. “Well, considering that it’s so late, how about we stop and get something before we head home?” That struck me as an absolutely marvelous idea. “So, I hope you brought your purse, because I left my wallet at home on my computer desk!” continued SwampMan. Well, no, my purse was at home in my vehicle which had no gas. “Well, that bites. I don’t even have any sweet tea in the fridge!” I groused. Whose fault? MY fault, but still.

After finishing up at SwampSon’s, I was thirsty! SwampMan scrabbled around for change, and we had enough to go through McDonald’s and get a couple cold drinks on the way home. SwampMan was eager to get through the line and get home so that I could cook a couple steaks, we’d drink our sweet tea, and call it the end of the week. The person in front of us in the line was just sitting there ignoring the big ol’ space in front of them. SwampMan edged up until there was about 1/2 an inch of space between bumpers. “I think I can get closer!” SwampMan informed me.

“If you do, it would be a good idea for you to be able to produce your driver’s license and insurance card for the nice policeman!”

“Uh, good point.”

We finally got to the window where we paid for our four large sweet teas with change. Fifty cents of it was in pennies. There were a lot of dimes and nickels, too. Who says that small change never comes in handy, hunh?

As we were pulling away from the pick up window, somebody came speeding down the line on the other side and nearly ran into us. SwampMan stopped to let them go, then turned to me and said “It’s really not clear. Who has the right of way here?”

“Right off hand, I’d say the person that has the driver’s license and insurance card probably has the right of way!”

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Oh, Snap. I’ve Glutened Myself Again.

Today, shortly after noon, my feet and joints started aching. My face started itching and burning, the first step before a bright red blistery rash breaks out. Could I have ingested gluten again? I’ve been pretty careful since my last (intentional) ingestion made me so ill.

This evening, the severe abdominal discomfort struck.

The strange thing is that since I’ve almost completely cut gluten out of my diet, it seems that lesser and lesser amounts trigger the symptoms. Scary.

I believe I’ve identified the source of my gluten, too, something that I ingested without even thinking about it. I had hash brown casserole this morning from the cafeteria which was made with cream of mushroom soup. It wasn’t much, just a small scoop so that I could gobble it down while on the way to class. I thought that such a small amount probably wouldn’t affect me.

I was wrong.

Guess I better stick to morning omelettes.

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Why Do Squirrels Leave Their Mommy’s Nest?

Dylan was looking up in the trees that hadn’t completely leafed out yet, and told me that he saw chicken nests up there.

“No, darlin’. Those aren’t chicken nests. Those are squirrel nests where the Mommy squirrels have their little baby squirrels.”

“Why aren’t the baby squirrels in the nests anymore?”

“Because the squirrels grow up, and find their own trees to live in.”

“But why don’t they stay?”

“Because when they grow up, and it doesn’t matter if they are squirrels, or chickens, or boys or girls, they want to find a girlfriend or boyfriend, and live in their own houses and have their own families.”


Then he whirled around, and I heard a sound that sounded suspiciously like a sniffle.

“Dylan, are you crying?”

“NO!” he yelled, stifling a sob.

“Is it because you don’t want to leave Mommy when you grow up?”

“But I don’t WANT to have to leave!”

“Oh, honey, Mommy won’t make you leave! You leave when you feel all grown up and you WANT to go! Look at Mommy! She doesn’t live with MeeMaw and Papa anymore because she wanted to live in her own house with her own husband and children!”

No response, just a sad look and tears overflowing big brown eyes but he was NOT crying.

“You know that you and Daddy and Mommy and Jacob and Zoe and the new baby could come back home and live with MeeMaw and Papa any time you want.”

“Mommy is not having a new baby. She’s just kidding. Zoe isn’t big enough for a new baby yet.”

“Zoe is walking and talking now. She’s getting big.” Hoo boy. I’m not making things better, am I?

“MeeMaw, when I grow up and it is time to leave Mommy and Daddy, can I come live with you? I can help you get the eggs, and feed all the animals, and help Papa build things. Besides, I like to live on a farm.”

“Dylan, Papa and I would be VERY HAPPY to have you come live with us and gather eggs and feed the animals and help build things. Papa could sure use your big muscles to help him carry things!” Whew. Disaster averted!

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Have I Lost My Mind? Well….Maybe.

“We’re going to have a faculty meeting after school this afternoon!” an acquaintance told me.

“Really? I haven’t checked my Email today. Where?” I inquired innocently.

“At (naming a restaurant well known for the mixed drinks of the knock you on your ass variety)”.

Oh! My favorite kind of faculty meeting!

“I may be pickin’ up the grandkids after work so I need to leave immediately, but mentally I’ve been drinking since before 8 a.m. if that counts….”

“After the week like you’ve had, you’re gonna be takin’ care of kids this weekend, too? Have you completely lost your mind?”

People have been asking me that a LOT lately. Maybe there’s a reason for it. When I’m around children all day who have a rather, er, tenuous grasp on reality and, in fact, converse with invisible people far more interesting than I am, sometimes I just have to wonder which ones of us are the crazy ones. Maybe I’m the one that is really crazy reality challenged in an asylum somewhere watched over by benign keepers who whisper things to each other like “I think she’s starting to interact with her environment more, now what can we do to encourage that?”

This was reinforced to me a couple of days ago when a colleague, after school, yelled at me as she ran to the bathroom that she was going to pee now. I politely pointed out that I really didn’t need to know that (TMI! TMI!) as school was over and I didn’t need to cover any kids for her. “Force of habit!” We all do it, though. I constantly have to stifle my urge to ask adults if they have to go potty before we go anyplace.

In the meantime, the special education students’ FCAT tests will count toward teacher compensation, school funding, school scores, etc. next year. School administration and parents are not going to want these students at their schools when that happens. *sigh* The kids have enough problems as it is.

During a math test today, I asked one young lady why I didn’t see any of the problems that she had worked out. She answered the questions, but I didn’t see how she was arriving at the answers. “Oh, I’m doing this test by inference!” What? Oh, HELL no.

“By inference, do you mean that you’re just making wild guesses as to the answers?”

“Why, yes!”

“Well, let’s check your inferences by doing actual calculations.”

“What’s that?”

“Adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing…working the problem.”

“This is a test. You are not supposed to help me.”

“I’m not. I’m watching you work to check your hypothesis that you can infer the answers to math problems. I’m curious as to the result.”

“FINE!” (Exclaimed in a not fine at all manner). Scribble scribble scribble.

“Oh, NO! My hypothesis was WRONG! The answer is incorrect!”

“Guess you’re going to have to actually work out the problem to find the answer then. Funny how that works.”

Oh, Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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I Just Don’t Bounce Like I Used To

SwampMan made a new square pen for housing chicks or ducklings so that they will be safe from predators. SwampMan made it for me because he likes to vastly overbuild projects. He finds that my building is more of the half vast variety because I take shortcuts. How many shortcuts? As many shortcuts as possible. I don’t always measure twice and cut once. Sometimes I just eyeball things and don’t measure at all, but I better not tell him that.

Have you ever watched Mike Holmes? Yeah, that’s how SwampMan is about freakin’ chicken pens, fer cryin’ out loud. Imagine SwampMan yelling things like “How in the world do you expect this to hold up over time?” and me saying “I just want it for the summer, damn it!” It isn’t like I’m going to will my heavyass chicken pens to my heirs or anything. I’m pretty sure my heirs will probably turn all my chickens into chicken and dumplings, chicken and rice, chicken fajitas….well. You get the picture. They won’t have any use for my pens, so why build them to last 100 years?

Anyway, SwampMan was helping me move this great heavy pen that I couldn’t carry by myself although in the future (the future being tomorrow) I’m gonna have to. He asked how far I was going, and I told him this was far enough, I’d just drag it down the sidewalk by myself to where I wanted it. He said “Okay, you put your end down first!” which I did. However, he started rolling the pen over on top of me. He went right over the top of my feet, trapping them, then up my shins. He finally figured out something was wrong AFTER I fell over backwards flat on my back on the concrete sidewalk, using language that was probably inappropriate given the tender age of the chicks and ducklings that heard it. He said he had his glasses on and I was too close to him for him to see me. Or something to that effect.

You’d think that the screaming would alert him, but he always says I’m too excitable and tends to ignore things I scream like “WATCH OUT! YOU’RE RUNNING OVER MY FEET!” He also ignores things like “Look OUT! You’re about to back up into the gate!” and “Watch out! The fence is right in front of you!”

This not being able to see things that are too close to him does have its good points, of course. He tells me that I look just as beautiful as when I was a teenager. Yep, people that are totally out of focus and blurry probably would look the same. My blurriness takes up a much bigger area now than when I was a teen, though.

My back is not happy. That is DEFINITELY gonna leave a mark tomorrow.

One more thing about the difference between MY chicken pens and SwampMan’s chicken pens. I leave room for taking the chickens OUT when they grow up and need to move to adult quarters (like into a movable adult pen or the freezer). SwampMan does NOT.

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Aw, Dang, It’s Monday.

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I HATE Reality Shows With a White Hot Heat

SwampMan and I were sitting in front of the TV, flipping through the channels, and saw a program that looked like it might be informative in the TV jungle of sluts, morons, and UFO crap. I’m sure sluts, morons, and UFOs all have their place, but not in my living room. We all know sluts, morons, and people that chase UFOs so I really don’t need to watch any shows about it. So we turn on the aforementioned interesting titled show, and damn if it didn’t turn out to be a “reality” show with people throwing down tools and having hissy fits. Apparently television producers believe that people doing their job in a professional manner doesn’t interest people and that there will be more dramatic interest if tool throwing and name calling is taking place.

Well, the television producers are wrong. It isn’t entertaining, it’s annoying. If I wanted to watch stupid people throwing hissy fits, I’d be working for Obama’s reelection campaign.

I could be persuaded to change my mind about reality tv if fit throwers got laid out with a shovel, then the damage to the shovel deducted from their last paycheck. Now THAT’s reality tv I could get into.

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Difference of Opinion

Me and the government are havin’ a big ol’ difference of opinion. This is what I’d like to drive to work: A big, beautiful red truck. Oh, I did so love my red truck, and I miss it so! There’s nothing like the vroom, VROOM sound of a big ol’ truck to make me smile on my morning commute to work.

Unfortunately, the Federal government wants me to drive the bottom vehicle to work. It’s not that I have anything against dog carts, but that 30 mile trip each way seems like it’s gonna be awful hard on poor Puppy.

If your family budget is like mine and ol’ Fido is gonna start havin’ to earn his or her keep, these folks make some fine dog carts.

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Just Mostly Dead

It was a chilly, windy day yesterday in NE Florida. It was not a good day to be a newly-hatched chick whose mother decides to take her new chickies out searching for bugs and seeds as a couple of newly-hatched chicks found. They fell behind. I followed a trail of weakly peeping chicks, picked up a couple in distress, and then noted a pair of stiff lifeless bodies back at the nest. I picked them up to dispose of them, but their eyes looked aware although there was no movement whatsoever. I picked them up along with a couple of their weaker brethren or sistren and carried them inside to the incubator.

I passed SwampMan who was drawing plans on his computer. “Whatchu got there?”

“Some chicks.”

“They look dead.”

“They’re not completely dead. Just mostly dead.” I replied.

He snorted. “WHATEVER!”

Later that evening, a cacophony of querulous peeping sounds were erupting from the incubator.

I grabbed the two previously *dead* chicks and put them in SwampMan’s hands.

“Hello, there, little angel chickens!” he said as the chicks peered up at him in bright eyed innocence. “Welcome back!”

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Friday! YES!

Didn’t think Friday would EVER get here.

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