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Letters to Nowhere

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Losers R Us

My middle brother, Jarrod (23), has always been very... uh... well... greedy. He’s very focused on money. Always has been, likely always will be.

My mother bought some of those gag scratch off lottery tickets. The ones that always win.

She gave one to Jarrod. He put it aside and said he’d scratch it later. I heard about this from Jarrod while we were on the way to lil bro’s graduation.

When he scratched it off he “won” $5,555.00. Jarrod just about crapped. He was jumping up and down, screaming, He ran into the yard, told his neighbors, called his dad, wife, and his drinking buddies.

He then flipped it over to see where he could redeem it. “Must redeem in person at Losers R Us, 124 Sucker St, In Your Dreams, CA”

He was not a very good sport about it. It was ALL he could talk about on the drive to and from the graduation. He’ll never live it down.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

What is warm?

Me: James can you tell me three things that are warm?
Son: The sun shining on you.
Me: Yes, sun is warm. What else?
Son: Bathwater
Me: Very good. Anything else?
Son: Eggs.
Me: Yes, eggs are warm after their cooked.
Son: No momma. I mean right after they fall out of the chicken’s butt.

Uh.. yeah. I guess so..

Monday, May 23, 2005

Steak N Shake Part 2

Chris rode home with me from Florida on Wednesday. We stopped in, as usual, at Steak N Shake on the way home. What is it about S-N-S that brings out the Seinfeld in us?
Last time it was Spatula (Us! With a Handle)
This time it was a small note on the upper left corner of the placemat. It was the MasterCard logo and a short sentence that got us started.

It said (MasterCard Logo) We accept MasterCard, while humming a merry little tune.

You should have seen the evil glint in Chris’ eye. He looked at the bill, did quick math to see what the total would be, and then sagged. He looked up and said, “That person better be glad I don’t have much room left on the card or I’d hold them to that little sentence”.

We then spent 10 mins gong back and forth over possible scenarios of that.

Hey! I paid w/ MC where’s my tune?!
No, No, I don’t like that tune, can you try another?
I want to hear I’m a Lumberjack and I’m ok. Do you know that one?

I love Steak N Shake. Oh, and the food was good too.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Important Lessons

My sister in law and her sister both have babies. My niece, Savannah is 13 months old. Blaze, my nephew by marriage is 12 months old. Both are beautiful kids.

James and I spent Monday with Julia, my sister in law, and the babies. James has never had much exposure to babies and didn’t quite know what to think as they kept crowding around him.

One thing to note, Blaze was born missing his left forearm and hand. The upper arm and elbow joint are in place but his arm ends in a nub an inch or so past the elbow. His right arm is, thankfully, normal. James had never seen anyone like that and was pretty freaked. He hid it well, but I could tell he was very uncomfortable when Blaze edged his way around the table to put both his arms in James’ lap.

Personally, those kinds of things don’t bother me in the least. It’s just who they are. I loved, held, cuddled and played with Blaze for well over an hour. My niece was shy and standoffish. Blaze was friendly and lovable. His mom was shocked. He normally doesn’t take to people that well.

It was while I was rocking him to sleep (his mom having left to run some errands) that my sister in law squealed/screamed. I almost had a heart attack on the spot.

What, What?!?

My niece had walked for the first time. She had walked from the coffee table to my son. At that point James realized babies weren’t that bad. He spent the next hour helping Savannah walk, urging her on, holding her hands and guiding her.

The next day he wanted to go back to Aunt Julia's. I asked if he wanted to play with the babies. He said he wasn’t sure about Blaze. I asked if it was about his arm. He said it was weird.

We ended up having yet another “talk”. Some people are born blind, some can’t hear, some are missing an arm or leg. It doesn’t change who they are. They are still people with feelings, they still need friends, love and to have fun. It’s no different than the way I have red hair and my brother has brown hair.

James was still a bit standoffish but at least he didn’t freak when Blaze touched him after that.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Fun with Cashiers

Some people are squeamish about buying certain items. Preparation H, tampons, condoms, pregnancy tests, at some point I've talked to someone who hated buying these type items.

I have a family member that will not buy Preparation H. Even if he needs it he just cant bring himself to buy it.

I am not squeamish. In fact, if I'm going to the store for two or three items often I'll look at them and start to smile.


The fun comes into it when you need to get 2 or 3 things but can think of one other item that will possibly make your poor cashier wonder about your lifestyle.

For example:

Preparation H and a lemon.. just to up the perv factor throw in a pair of Playtex rubber gloves. Wink and grin as you place all 3 on the counter.

Monistat (yeast infection med), graham crackers, and finger paints

Vaseline, a coke in a glass bottle, and goggles. Tell the cashier how happy you were to find coke in a glass bottle, because plastic isn't as fun.

Condoms, 3 cans of Redi Whip, and a roll of paper towels.

If you do it just right.. and get lucky enough to have a cashier that is both imaginative and paying attention you will get some really hilarious results.

I've had women refuse to take the money from my hand.. and then count my change on the counter and slide it over to me to avoid touching my hand.

Yeah, I'm twisted. But damn it's fun.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Marriage and Prom

My son and I were riding in the car when he asked me.

Son: Mom, are you and Les going to have more babies when you get married?
Me: I don’t think so.
Son: Because you should be married to have babies.
Me: Yes, that’s best.
Son: You should only have babies after you get married or after Prom.
Me: Prom? No, son. Prom is just a dance at school. It’s not the same as getting married.
Son: Oh.

Possible disaster averted at the last moment.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

5 days, 900 miles

I've been in Jacksonville, Florida for the last 5 days. My youngest brother has graduated high school. Yay!

He'll be leaving for Norwich college in Vermont in August. I'm so proud of him. He's risen about the drugs, alcohol, death and betrayal that has been so much a part of his life for the last 2 years and decided he wants out.

Why Vermont? I think he wants as far from his family as he can get. He was accepted to The Citadel in South Carolina, but I don't think he thought that would be enough.

Either way I'm so very proud.

Congrats Josh. I love you, bro.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Lepers and Lysol

Sunday while sitting in the house with my son I hear a knock on the door. I was dressed in that quaint style known as "OMG Please don't let it be someone I know!!". This does not put me at ease. However, there is someone waiting.

I look out the window of the door and see.. a .. uh.. man type thing outside. No way in HELL am I going to open the door and offer hospitality.

I crack the door.

Me: "Can I help you?"
It: I ran out of gas. Can I borrow your phone?

ACK! This man looked to be about 30ish. He was wearing a hat over very stringy dirty hair. His short sleeved shirt had seen better days. What concerned me the most was the sores all over the (blessedly little) skin I could see. He had lesions of some type. They looked almost like oozing chickenpox. But not really. All I could think was Leper!

And this man wanted to use my phone! An item I place near my MOUTH!

Now I know how those church folks felt on this day...

I grudgingly got my phone. I handed it out the door after dialing for him. I closed the door and left him and the phone outside. No way he's coming in my house.

I listened as he had a loud conversation with someone to "just please bring me some damn gas". I ran to the bath room. I got the rubbing alcohol, Lysol and cotton balls.

I graciously cracked the door when he knocked again. Smiled as he thanked me. Took the phone back using only 2 fingers, closed the door and then began the funk killing assault!

Saturday, May 07, 2005

The Lie Dot

One of the standard issue super mommy powers is the ability to tell when your child is lying to you. The power manifests itself in different ways depending on the woman. For me, it’s the lie dot.

My son has a small place on his forehead that turns red and starts to glow when he lies to me. Only I, of course, can see the lie dot. I mean, after all, it is MY super mommy power.

James is still at the age, barely, where I am still more or less a Goddess in his eyes. I can still fix hurts, answer questions, cook the ‘best-est dinner’ and come up with fun ideas at the drop of a hat. He believes in the power of the lie dot. When he starts to stray from the truth he will:

1. Turn away so he’s not facing me directly,
2. Start rubbing his nose, fiddling with his hair, scratching his face, anything to cover his forehead,
3. Wait until I’m washing dishes or changing the laundry over or doing something that will prevent me from looking at him too closely.
4. Answer my questions with “I don’t know”. ‘I don’t know’ is the only weakness of the lie dot, grrr...

He has learned the futility of trying to lie to me. Now he just tells the truth, even if it means he’ll get in a bit of trouble.

Friday, May 06, 2005

The voices in my head.

I think most people have a few voices they use to work through a problem in their head. This morning while thinking about my upcoming week they were working out a plan.

Voice 1: Ok, I paid today. I’ll get X amount. I owe the landlady/babysitter X - $50.
Voice 2: Thank the Gods we get refunded back our babysitting in a few days. (I use the Dependant Childcare Flexible Spending Account set up. I pay her, submit a receipt and get the money back. Tax free... woo hoo)
V1: Ok so we need to fill up the car, take that old family movie somewhere to be copied to DVD, make copies of that certificate...
V2: All on $50? Sure!! I’ll love to see that.
V1: You know what?
V2: Chicken butt?
V1: That’s helpful. Nothing like insightful, useful interaction to help order my thoughts.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


First Grade End of the Year Conference Form:
By James' teacher
James met all promotion requirements except for daily work (69, 70 is passing) and comprehension average of unit tests in reading (66) He will enter the SLD program in reading and writing next school year. Mother has agreed to send James to summer school.

My recommendation to the placement committee will be
Retention in 1st Grade.

Ok boys and girls, here we go again. I, barely and with a supreme effort of will, kept myself from screaming obscenities when I read those words. I thought I had myself clear last month.

My response:

To Whom It May Concern:

I feel that to hold James back in first grade would be a disservice to him. I agreed, even requested, his retention in Kindergarten because I felt it was needed.

At this point, retention would do far more harm than good. It would widen the already existing gap in his peers, by age and size. More importantly, James has made vast progress this year, I would be most unpleased to see his efforts unrewarded.

The system has just now agreed to offer my son the support I have been requesting for the last 3 years. He will finally receive appropriate help in dealing with his dyslexia from the SLD reading program.

Also, I did not "agree" for my son to go to summer school. I demanded it. I have worked diligently to help James whenever I was made aware of any problems. By the time I was informed he was not turning in the homework he was doing nightly two (2) months had gone by. Had I been informed immediately that things were not as they should have been his class work grades would have been much higher.

Further more, I requested at my last meeting to be provided with a list of teachers that would be available for private tutoring. I still have not received that information. I will be providing additional tutoring from Sylvan Learning Centers for the duration of the summer at least.

I have made my feelings about this clear. James will be promoted to second grade, even if I have to appeal the decision all the way to the school board. The systems failing in helping my son, even though I had all but begged for that help, is not reason enough to spurn his efforts.


Red Clover

Ok Ok, I'll do it already!!

I was sent this by Peachy and Silly Old Bear... The idea is to pick 5 of the following and then complete the sentences. Then pass this little meme on to 3 more of your blog friends. So here we go!

If I could be a scientist...
If I could be a farmer...
If I could be a musician...
If I could be a doctor...
If I could be a painter...
If I could be a gardener...
If I could be a missionary...
If I could be a chef...
If I could be an architect...
If I could be a linguist...
If I could be a psychologist...
If I could be a librarian...
If I could be an athlete...
If I could be a lawyer...
If I could be an inn-keeper...
If I could be a professor...
If I could be a writer...
If I could be a llama-rider...
If I could be a bonnie pirate...
If I could be an astronaut...
If I could be a world famous blogger...
If I could be a justice on any one court in the world...
If I could be married to any current famous political figure...

If I could be a linguist... Oh the things I could do with my tongue.. to help mankind.. really!

If I could be a librarian...I'd be just like Mrs Angie Sapp, my 7th grade librarian and still a close personal friend. She inspired many a child to love the books. And helped direct me to some of my favorites.

If I could be a bonnie pirate... I'd be damn hot in my petticoats and casually mussed, just been ravished hair. Oh and the loot would be good too..

Mixed Signals

Listening to a woman at work talk about an episode she had with her 3 year old daughter made me wonder just how many times I’d unknowingly put my son in the same spot.

Her daughter had done something that was against the rules. She was tearing up a houseplant in that curious kid way.

She had repeatedly told the child that she was not allowed to touch the plants. She popped her daughter’s hand and told her “NO”. She started vaccuming again a few minutes later to see her daughter, again, tearing up the plant.

She admits she was quite angry. She raised her voice “Didn’t I just tell you not to mess with that plant?”
Yes, says the child.
“Why are you doing it again?”
I don’t know, says the child.
“Go stand in the corner” says mom.

Twenty minutes later, you guessed it, pulling leaves off the plant. Mom’s really angry now. She spanks the kid on the spot, and then says “Just let me see you touch that plant again!”

The kid is now afraid; she’s gotten a spanking for touching the plant. She wants to make mom not angry, but when mom says “let me see you touch that plant again” she is getting mixed signals.

We, as adults, know that really means, If I see you touching it you are in even bigger trouble than now. To a kid it says “touch the plant”. In fear, and desire to please, and stop mom from being angry they will probably, hesitantly and slowly reach out to do just that. They are confused by the fact that you just gave them a spanking for doing the very thing you are now commanding (in their mind) them to do.

I read an article a few years ago that dealt with sarcasm and children. The article was based on a study done to see when children are capable of understanding sarcasm. The study found that most kids don’t understand that you can say one thing and mean the opposite until they are 8 or 9. Until then they think the words are literal. If you pass a yard of weeds and say “wow, what beautiful grass” young kids usually think you actually find the ‘grass’ beautiful.

Now, I understand the ramifications of that study. I wished I’d figured it out when my son was younger.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The 7 year itch.

I’ve worked for ABC insurance for 7 years today. Seven years. There were many times I thought I’d just quit. Just freaking quit!!

I do work for a good company. I can’t say I’ve enjoyed going to work everyday for the last 7 years, but all in all it’s been a good job.

My congrats email from the Jam

Red, Congratulations on your “Seven Year Anniversary”! Now you are 100% vested which is a milestone. We are a successful company because of associates of your caliber and dedication. Thanks for all your hard work and I hope to work with you for seven more.

The GREAT thing about my 7 year anniversary? I’m fully vested in my 401K. Yay! If/when I leave ABC Insurance I’ll get every penny in my 401K account.

Prior to 7 years, all the money you have put into the account is 100% yours. Company contributions are earned on a ‘vestment’ schedule.
20% at 3 years
40% at 4 years
60% at 5 years
80% at 6 years
100% at 7 years

Considering my company puts a minimum 10% of my annual pay into my 401K every year, regardless of the amount I contribute, that’s a tidy sum of money.

And now it’s mine. All mine.
Honey? Can I move now?

Monday, May 02, 2005

Serious Problem

Originally uploaded by red clover.
Ok. Now I know people feel strongly about animals. Let me stress I do too. But, I'm soliciting opinions. Constructive opinions!

I have a problem with wild cats around my house. In total there are 5 or 6 that I see consistently. Now that it's warmed up some I often crack my sliding glass door to let in fresh air.

My cat, Luna, went into the yard and was attacked by a cat. She is injured fairly seriously. Nothing that I don't think she will recover from (thank god).

I've had Luna aka Luna-tic aka Luna Tuna for 12 years. She is very very dear to me. She almost died last year from a blood borne pathogen she caught from a fight with a cat or possum. I was an emotional wreck until we figured out what was wrong and got her well again. Anyway!

The pound will loan me a cat trap. But.. what do I do with the cats after I catch them is my dilemma.

The pound offered me 2 options. Bring the cats in and they will charge me $10 per cat to accept them. They will then be put to sleep. The other "helpful" option they gave me was the ever popular "pet relocation program".

Simply put.. take them somewhere else and drop them off. I was surprised, to say the least, that the lady at the pound would even utter those words. But those are my 2 options.

I really don't have the money to take them to the pound to be euthanized, nor do I want to release them in another neighborhood putting other animals at risk..

So.. any ideas?