Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Outside the Box

I don't how to go about marketing this...but it is apparent to me that I have something potentially lucrative on my hands.

I'm not even sure where it came from (besides the vehicle for delivering something via "Priority Mail") but apparently, I have in my possession, the grandest box in all of Christendom.

Behold my panel of experts:

Daisy Faye in the box

Izby in the box

Kendall (with her jacked-up ear following her ba-jillion dollar auricular hematoma surgery) in the box.

And finally:

Maxx, who gives the best representation of the awesomeness of this box.
Maxx is an eighteen pound Maine Coone who has successfully (and a little spitefully) stuffed all of his bigness into the awesome, fantastical, magical box.

Ownership of the box is an ever changing and very contentious topic in our household.  But all involved are agreed.  The box is a thing of wonder and delight.

Surely it is worth some money. Right?

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

El Chapo

Over four years ago, I had another of my many failed "fosters." Some jerk had dropped off a young Chihuahua/dachshund mix (a chiweenie, if you will) in the after-hours cage outside of the county animal control facility. 

You see, our county animal control facility (which is NOT a shelter, people!) used to allow people to drop off unwanted animals just whenever they wanted...they wouldn't even have to look another human in the eye when they did it, either.

The control facility was right outside the gate into the plant where I worked.  Usually, if there was an animal in the cage (which we referred to as the "kill cage" since the animals dropped off there were usually only kept 24-48 hours before they were put down...again, animal control facilities are not shelters, folks) I, or one of my co-workers would stop and get the animal out and then try to find a home or at least a no-kill shelter to take it to.

On day, my co-worker, Jan, had stopped and liberated this little lady:
Jan found a no-kill shelter about an hour away that could take her in about a week, if someone could foster her for that long.
Yeah...we all know where this leads.  By the time I took her home, took her to the vet for shots and spaying, she had made friends with all of the cats (believe it or not) and had wiggled her little chiweenie self into our hearts.

And for the past four years we have all lived in harmony. Libby has been an inside during the evenings when we're home, outside during the day while we're at work dog.  We have a lovely fenced back yard with access onto a glassed-in porch that has a padded bench, a dog bed, a heater during the winter and a ceiling fan during the summer.  Not bad accommodations, if you ask me.

Then, the other day...right out of the blue, I drove up to my house and saw this:

She looks quite pleased with herself, doesn't she?

Jeff and I looked around the back yard and discovered that one of the gates had a gap in it big enough for her to squeeze out of, so we put a rock in the gap.
The next day, we get home and our neighbor comes over with Libby under his arm.  He said she kept getting out and coming over to his house while he was working in the yard, so he just kept her with him until we got home.
Jeff added some cinder blocks, a 2 x 4 and some rail road spikes to our would-be chiweenie barricade.
It looks quite elegant, no?

A few days pass, and then the little turd goes on walk-about again.  I took her inside and talked to her about this new wander-lust that has suddenly struck her after over four years of contentment in the back yard.
Back outside, I saw no disturbance of Jeff's handiwork.
I did a quick perimeter search and found where she'd gone under a section of the fence that had a shallow depression under it.
Jeff drives in another railroad spike to hold the fence in place closer to the ground:

And this greeted me upon my return from work the following day:

Annnnd Jeff tries more spikes.

My guess is that she can dig faster than he can set spikes.
And I am coming to my wits' end worrying about my sweet little rescue dog that hasn't got the sense to know that the back yard is where she needs to be.  Nothing's going to run over her or tote her off.  She has food and water and toys and a great big Golden Retriever brudder to play with in the back yard.
Any suggestions out there for keeping my Alabama El Chapo from continuing to tunnel out?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tinder is the night

I've been married to the same man for over 25 years.  So I was out of the dating scene WAAAYYYY before the era of online dating and Tinder and stuff.  And thank God for that.

I do have some single friends that have perused the interwebs in search of true love.  They occasionally share some of their better finds with the rest of us.  Below are some of the more bizarre submissions.  My apologies if any of these are relations of yall's.

First up, Cedric.

Cedric, dude slow down.  Breathe.  And punctuate.  Because I am unsure of the context of the phrase "to touch" without some sort of grammatical guidance here.

Kevin, Dating tip: try not to use the word "horrors" when you're trying to attract the ladies.

Greg, most women do not appreciate a man who's cleavaging more than they are.  I'm not saying that it isn't great that you're in good shape...just maybe you don't wear a pink-striped blouse with a plunging neckline.

Doesn't this guy look like a great big barrel of happy?  Nothing says "Good times" like a beer and a his..... um, unfinished basement??? Where he's taken his other victims? I mean, dates?

Maybe this is an attempt to show that he's not afraid of commitment?

Yes, just ignore the shake n' bake meth lab I've got going.

Does your mother know that you've been talking to girls?

Cute dog.  Not sure why we feel the need to take selfies in the walk in closet, however.

I'm just going to let my (unnamed) friend's comment stand on its own for this one.

Then there's Scottie. Scottie....Scottie scares the shit out of me.  I think he may have multiple personalities, and thus he felt that he should have photo representation of each.
Scottie#1 "It rubs the lotion on it's skin"

Scottie#2 "It's not the size of your gun, but the number of your bullets."

Scottie#3. This.
He has taken a picture of his cat peeking up though his drawers while he sits on the toilet.
Now, I know that there are few among us that have indoor cats that have not experienced a feline's tenacity when it comes to wanting attention whilst one is on the can.
But Scottie...Scottie decided to take a picture and then USE IT ON HIS TINDER ACCOUNT.

Finally, this guy.
I don't even have words.
I'd advise you not to read his min-bio there if you're the least bit squeamish.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

If the leggings fit...

These are the leggings I wore to work on Tuesday.
I like them.  They are warm and comfy...the waistband doesn't rub my barely-healed incision where I had my laparoscopic hernia surgery last month.  And with a tunic-length sweater and boots I don't look too bum-ish.
Most days I don't have to interact with a lot of people at my job.  But when I do, it's usually lots of people from far-flung places.
Tuesday was the second day of a visit we were having with a bunch of foreign nationals.  All from different nations...Serbia, India, Russia, England, Czechoslovakia, Malta...etc.  And I was playing the part of Girl Friday...fetching and running and escorting (not like that) and copying and faxing, etc.  Did not use a lot of my Mechanical Engineering skills for this visit, but still, it was a necessary function and I was happy to assist.
All of the people in the group were very pleasant to work with, even if there was an occasional language barrier.  English was not the mother tongue of any (except the Englishman) but was the only common language to all.
So when the guy from Serbia was trying to find me...what he wanted to say was..."what is the name of the lady in the colorful leggings."
What the final translation was?
I have officially been called, "Ms. Crazy Pants" at work.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

(Algo)rithm of the night(mare)

Is it just me, or does everyone get things "suggested" to them on their timeline that just make you wonder about the method that Facebook uses?

Well, lately, I'm beginning to wonder if they've added a new "insult" component to their "suggestions" algorithm:

I'm not a grandmother, dammit!  Not that there is anything wrong with being a grandmother.  I've heard it's great.
But I think it's just presumptuous to assume that because of my advanced age, I must be one. (Having a grandkitten does not count).

And this one?  Is not just's the stuff of nightmares:

Now you're just being hateful, Facebook.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Be what you would like to see

I don't know about you guys, but the crap on the news has been depressing me.
I am sick to death of all of the ugliness and shootings and bombings and hatefulness.
I'm also just worn out with all of the politics that we are constantly being bombarded with.  For the LOVE OF GOD, we have eleven more months of this crap before we get to vote...and then it is likely going to be reminiscent of the South Park episode where the kids had to vote on a new mascot and their choices were between a Douche Bag and a Shit Sandwich.

We are well into the month of December, and I have been struggling to pull my head out of all of the negative and get into the holiday spirit.  It has been an uphill battle this year.

Until yesterday...

I hang out with a fantastic group of women, the infamous (we believe) Funkalicious Alabama Kudzu Queens. I cannot adequately explain the number of times and the variety of ways that these ladies have impacted my life.

For the most part, we are a loosely regulated coalition of multifarious women. I say loosely regulated because our group's guiding rules are not very strict: 

  1. Pay our yearly dues.
  2. Don't do anything to get us arrested or get our children taken away.
  3. Show up as often as you can.
  4. Love one another.
  5. Support one another.
Multifarious because, well, we are.  Our ages range from early thirties to late sixties.  Our professions are extremely diverse: business owner, chemist, engineer, travel agent, nurses, controller, fitness instructor, interior designer, domestic goddess, etc. We are single, married, divorced; with and without children.
We convene monthly for our "liquid lunches" (that should be self-explanatory).  And several times a year, we try to use our many combined talents, resources, and just plain awesomeness for the forces of good.

Recently, a member of our group, Rebecca, became aware of a serious issue right here close to home. There are several families in our local community that have a difficult time providing food for their elementary school aged children on weekends and whenever school is out. Several organizations have been sending food home for these kids in backpacks on the weekends. However, Christmas vacation is on the horizon and these kids are looking at 17 days straight of no school breakfasts or lunches.
We (Rebecca) identified 16 families with a combined total of 38 kids that really needed some help. (Rebecca got with the principal & some of the teachers at the elementary school. The kids and their families we chose were vetted by the principal and teachers. Those of you out there in the education system know that it’s the teachers and school administrators who REALLY know the stories of the children in their care.) In a lot of cases, you have grandparents who have been thrown into the task of raising children on a fixed income…or single parents who are just struggling to make ends meet.
The KQs as a group decided to raise money amongst ourselves, as well as our friends and associates  to provide care packages for these families so that these kids will have something to eat while they are out of school for Christmas break. We each gave what money we could, several ladies put boxes out at their work places to collect items, and we put the call out far and wide for donations.
The response was fantastic.
We raised approximately $1800.

Yesterday, 6 of us out of the group met together to do the shopping for the care packages:


We bought non-perishable items such as: cans of ravioli, spaghetti & meatballs, breakfast bars, ramen noodles, Spam ( I have been assured that kids love this, even though I cannot stand the smell of it myself), mac n' cheese, apple sauce, fruit cups, juice boxes, etc. (we made sure not to get anything with peanuts!)  We stuck primarily to the stuff with some nutritional value...though we did include some chips...'cause everyone needs a little treat.


You know what really, really made my day?
While we shopped, we kept a running tab on what we were the time we had everything we wanted in the quantities we needed, we calculated we'd be about $16 short. The six of us shopping were just going to split the extra...but on our way to the register a lady stopped and asked us what we were doing...when we told her, she handed us a $20. God is truly shown in the kindness of strangers.

There wasn't a dry eye among us as we put that lady's $20 with the rest of our money and proceeded to check out.

At the register, we got another pleasant surprise.  Because we were spending so much and Rebecca was a "Plus" member, we got $10 back for every $500 we spent.
We hadn't calculated that in our original tally, and we had money left over.
So...we had a quick little conference...and we'll be getting each of the families a Christmas ham to go along with everything else.

Next week, we'll be getting together to put the packages together for delivery to the families.

This experience has finally put me in the Christmas spirit.
It has reminded me that there are good, kind, giving people still out there.
It has reminded me that there is more beauty than ugly out there.
And it has reminded me that if I want the world to look different I need to "Be What I Want to See" in the world.
A modern twist to "Man in the Mirror", I'm changing the "Chick in the Selfie"

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Holiday blues

Last week, Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, tweeted about having an embarrassing encounter while on travel.  What ensued were hordes of tweets about the embarrassing things or awkward occurrences that others have had.  Jenny has an awesome following and the tweets they shared are absolutely hilarious.
You can see them here or here.

I attempted to tweet about one of my most disconcerting experiences EVER, but alas, my mortification is such that it cannot be condensed into a 140-character synopsis.
My story begins shortly after Christmas, some time in the early 90s.

Jeff and I had been out somewhere.  It was really, really cold and wet and nasty out and Jeff had gotten a chill that he couldn't he decided to hop in the shower when we got home.

Jeff: Marianne!  Come here!

Me: What? What's wrong?

Jeff (pulling the shower curtain back and tilting his left upper body out): Look at my left arm and chest!  It's all blue.

Me: Ohmygod!  Do you feel okay?

Jeff: I kinda feels a little tingly or something, I think.

Me: Get out and dry off!  I'm calling an ambulance!

Jeff: No, don't do that.  Hold on.

Me: Hold on!  Hold on?  You could be having a heart attack.  How does your chest feel?

Jeff: Well, now that you mention it...maybe it does feel a little funny.

Me: We're going to the hospital!

Jeff: Well, don't call an ambulance, we'll just drive.

Me: You are NOT driving!  I will.

So he gets re-dressed and we bundle back into the car.  I drive like a bat-out-of-Hell lunatic to the hospital.  The whole way is like:

Me: How are you doing?

Jeff: I dunno.  I think I feel a little funny.

Me: Anything hurting?

Jeff: No.  But I think I might be a little short of breath.

More acceleration

I practically skid into the Emergency Room parking lot sideways, pull up straight to the door and go in and grab the first medical-type person I see: "My husband is having a heart attack!" They grab a wheel chair and unload him from the car.
I quickly slam into the first parking space I can find and race into the ER where they have him on a gurney and are taking his blood pressure and temperature.
Then a nurse comes up with a bag of  saline and tells him to take off his shirt and put on a hospital top so that she can start an IV.
She gets everything set and takes his arm to put the IV in...gets out an alcohol prep and disinfects the crook of his arm with it. She also rubbed the blue off.
She held the swab up  so we could all see with a look of "Huh?" on her face.
That's when it all clicked.
My grandmother had given Jeff a brand new Tommy Hilfiger shirt for Christmas.  It looked a lot like this:

Jeff had worn it for the first time that night in the cold rain.
He hadn't washed it prior to wearing it and the indigo dye had rubbed off on his skin.

Jeff and I looked at one another across that ER triage room as we both came to the same realization.
Jeff calmly took the blood pressure cuff off of his arm, the oxygen sensor off of his finger and changed back into his shirt.  He got up off the gurney.  As he walked past me, I handed him the car keys.  He never uttered a word.
I was left there to explain to the doctor and two nurses what had happened and to close out the paper work.
I am sure that it is a story that they still tell to this day.  Luckily, they were all chortling so hard, they didn't charge us anything for our whirlwind visit.
So even though Jeff was the primary focus of this tale of chagrin, it was still pretty embarrassing to have to apologize to the Emergency Room staff for not washing my husband's new shirt before he wore it.