Monday, September 30, 2013

A Really Bad Goat Metaphor

Tomorrow my daughter becomes a teenager, which means that tomorrow will not be that different from today. I like teenagers. They are as moody as hell, but fun and awesome. Plus, they finally start laughing at my jokes. Which is very condemning, because often my jokes are inappropriate. The other day, while driving past a hideous, blocky purple-painted building, I offhandedly told my son that it was "Tinky Winky's gay bachelor pad." He scrunch-faced and laughed and laughed. A few years ago this wisecrack would have gone over his head. See? Teenagers! They laugh at my patently groan-worthy jokes! I should rent them out to my funny friends.

Is it bad that I like my kids more when they are in school? Probably. Do I care? NO.

This summer while I was driving along a country road a few miles from my house, a fat goat that looked like a corncob with legs ran straight at my minivan. I slowed down and swerved away from the goat. Several yards behind the goat there was a man with a lasso, and several yards behind him was a woman with flushed cheeks. The goat owners. Meanwhile the goat was running as fast as he could with a gleeful expression on his face. If there had been a thought bubble above the goat's head it would have read, "I'M FREEEEEEEEE." 

Being the friendly helpful person that I am, I drove down to the out-of-breath woman, rolled down the window, and said, "hey, do you want me to drive you closer to your goat?" (Notice how I didn't stop and make this offer to the man. What. He had a lasso.) She said sure! and climbed into the passenger seat. I u-turned my minivan and headed goatward. Her husband motioned for me to stop, so as not to spook the goat, and the lady got out of the car with a polite thanks. The goat had finally slowed down, looking winded. As he watched the man and woman approach him, his thought bubble read, "You have goat to be kidding me." (<<< Punny! My son would have laughed.)

I drove away, feeling mighty good about doing a good deed. And then I thought some more and started feeling really sorry for that goat. 

The day that my kids (<<< more goat puns!) start school is the day that I feel like that goat, running happily down the road. 

The day that my kids get out of school and summer starts is the day I can feel the goat owners closing in on me.

But until that dreaded day in May, I'M FREEEEEE, BITCHEZ.

Monday, September 16, 2013

LifeTouch is EVIL

This year my three kids are attending three different schools: an elementary school, a junior high, and a high school. These schools have one horrible thing in common. They all employ LifeTouch for their school photos. And every September, I put a second mortgage on my minivan and pay LifeTouch my LifeMoney for crappy photos. 

Here are the three options for "poses." 

I may not be the squeakiest toy in the kiddie photographer's basket, but these are not poses. These are different crop sizes. 

In elementary school, it is no big deal, because I buy the minimum amount and then scan them so that they will survive in case my house burns down. We take our own nice pictures of my children. In multiple poses. Without a cheesy backdrop. But in junior high and high school, there is the issue of yearbooks. I still have all of my yearbooks. You might have a lot of yours. There is a sort of traumatic permanence to those crappy school photos. Proof: my 7th grade yearbook page.

I am the only one in the entire yearbook who was honored to have my photo taken with POSE #4. 

When I was growing up, all of the school photos were taken by LifeTouch or Olan Mills, who naturally, has been acquired by LifeTouch. Hmmmm.... there's a word I'm thinking of....hmmmm.... start's with the letter "m," rhymes with schonopoly.

Perhaps the thing that pisses me off the most about LifeTouch is that at least a few times a year they send my children home with a packet of photos that were taken without my knowledge. These photos are generally cuter than the ones taken in the fall. They look like the photographer actually paid attention before snapping the photo, correcting the child's posture or making sure that the kid's chin isn't spaghetti-sauced. What could be wrong with a packet full of nice photos of your beloved child?!  Here’s the catch. You have to pay X amount of money to keep the photos, but if you don’t want them, you have to send them back to school with your child. Basically, LifeTouch has you by the LifeBalls. If you keep the photos, you can no longer afford to pay your electricity bill, but if you send the photos back you feel like a bad mom. FUN CHOICES.

Today I called my son's high school and asked if I could submit my own photo of him to the yearbook to replace the LifeTouch one. The very nice lady was confused. I think that I am the first person in the history of the world to ask if there is an alternative. She promised to get back to me. 

We should start a revolution! First order of business: let our schools know of our dissatisfaction with LifeSuck. Second order of business: ask our schools to pretty please stop serving spaghetti for lunch on picture day. Although I give props to the evil masterminds behind this.

Down with LifeTouch! can I get an AMEN!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Boxelder Bugs: Nature's Hornballs

Finally, after weeks and weeks of a boxelder bug attack, my house is no longer under siege. 

I live way up in the mountains surrounded by nature. And maybe you don't know this about nature, but it is super buggy. We get the normal bug fauna of wooded areas: spiders, ants, hornets, door-to-door salesmen, but the most prolific and horny of all (besides the salesman) are the boxelder bugs. 

Here is a picture of what I see every time I look out my kitchen window.

They're up all night to get some.
They're up all night for good fun.
They're up all night to get lucky.

Except imagine that on a window. And then triple it. And then triple that. And then open a can of beer and cry.

These little bugs are annoying as hell, but completely harmless. Sometimes I swear they look at me with an almost animal intelligence -- right before I crack their carapaces open with my fingers and a paper towel. 

There are so many of them! And they mate everywhere. They have no sense of decency. Last month in my garage window there was a conga line of them, butt-to-butt, stretching from sill to sash. 

I don't mind them when they are in the garage, because I don't have to see them that much, but when they are in my house? No. Nope. N-O.

They like my kitchen the most. Not by the food and pantry area, praise Saint Tryphon of Lampsacus!* but over by my sunny picture window. And I can't reach them! I watch them and pound the window, "Hey, knock it off, you guys!" but they completely ignore me. 

I don't like to use too much insecticide, so our main line of defense has been constant vigilance and the use of my Dyson handheld vacuum cleaner (the terrifying Whirlwind of Doom, as named by the boxelder-elders).

In the past I have employed my children to be my own personal death squad. This is the assassination pay list I made for my kids a few summers ago:

Adult Bugs: $0.05
Bugs "Romancing:" $0.10
Cute Wittle Baby Bugs: $0.25

This method worked for awhile, but then my kids grew up and realized that a nickel wasn't a lot of money.

Fun Science Facts: 
  • Boxelder bugs have the magical ability to walk through walls and windows. 
  • Their lives are short but full of wild orgiastic sex. 
  • They are not afraid to crawl over the corpses of their lost comrades. 

At some point in their ancestral past, the boxelder-elder tribal chief declared my kitchen window sill to be the final resting place of his people. Compelled by a deep mystical instinct, the bugs cross through a gauntlet of furniture, vertical walls, and floorboard fissures. If they make it to their mecca, they say a few last words, piss a minuscule droplet, and flip over onto their backs and die. 

And then they dry up and their legs fall off.

But they die happy, knowing that their eggs are safely glued upside-down on my ten-foot-high ceiling, ready to hatch and drop baby bugs onto my unsuspecting arms. 

As they lay dying on my window sill, the boxelder bugs achieve nirvana as they listen to me, the giant ogre lady, screech and fall onto the floor in paroxysms of very mature and warrented hysteria.

*Patron saint against insects. Yes, I googled it. What.