A Little Anal

Don’t get me wrong… I love the guy. He’s funny, sweet, basically pretty naive and innocent, and he loves my daughter. Yeah, I’m talking about my new SIL. He’s a truly good guy… but he’s a little anal. Yeah. Really.

You have to understand, he comes by it naturally. I don’t know his family well, but from what I’ve seen I love his mom, his two younger brothers are sweeties, and his dad is…oh, gee, how can I put this nicely…? He’s thrifty. No, that’s not it. He’s conservative. Nope, that doesn’t quite say it either. Okay, no more pussy-footing around… he’s cheap. Nice, but a bit obsessive when it comes to money.

This, I’m afraid is one of the traits that has passed down a generation.

I’m glad my daughter has someone who is conservative, as God knows her father and I aren’t very good at it, but there comes a point where I draw the line. We aren’t rich by any means – we’re middle class, but Hubby’s theory has always been, “You can’t take it with you”. The line was drawn this weekend. Daughter and I were doing a bit of sale shopping. You have to understand something – I’m not really a typical woman when it comes to shopping. I only go to the mall about four times a year and I’ve almost always got a list or an idea of what it is I’m going for.

Having said that, there are a couple of stores I like going to for comfy clothes. Old Navy is one of them. I practically live in sweatshirts and fleece in the wintertime and my wardrobe consists of t-shirts the rest of the year. Because I wear them all the time at home and at work, they get used and abused and it doesn’t take long for them to get ratty looking. I mean, after you’ve let muddy-pawed critters tromp all over you and worked up a good sweaty lather in the garden, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out it’s going to eventually not look like new. Soooo when I spot one of my favorite places, we often take a lap through the store to see if anything is on sale I can stock up on, like tees or sweats.

While in one of those places this weekend, I did get a few sale items, then she and I both spotted these long, fleece tops at the same time. They looked soooo comfy! Yes, even though it was 100 degrees heat index out at the time, we both have vivid imaginations and can see ourselves curled up with a book in the dead of winter wearing the ‘gotta have‘ shirt. But! I haven’t told you the best part! It wasn’t just the perfect cozy shirt, but it was on sale for $4! You heard me, $4!

Soooo…I tell daughter I’m going to buy her one. She says… “well, when SIL calls in a few days to ask about it, you’ll have to tell him I’ve had it forever.” (The old hide the new stuff in the closet for a month or so, then bring it out and tell Hubby I got it a loooong time ago…she learned it at her mother’s knee). Why? I say… I’m the one buying it, not you. Here’s where it gets weird.
SIL thinks she shouldn’t take things from me, that she’s taking advantage of me. WTF? I get it when he’s trying to control her spending, but now he’s trying to control mine? To make her feel guilty for me buying something for her? I’ve done this her whole life – she’s my kid, for goodness sake! Hmmph. This isn’t setting too well.

I love the guy, but he’d better get his shit together pretty darn quick, or we’re gonna have words. This reminds me of my beloved grandmother who used to live right next door to us when I was in kindergarten. We were very close. She was, however, my biological mother’s mom and my biological mother died when I was three. My father remarried when I was five, and we lived next door to his ex-mother-in-law. Does that make sense? At any rate, she would babysit me every Friday night when they went bowling. Yeah, it’s exciting in this here Iowa-y place…

So we moved away after a year or so to another town, and my grandmother moved to California to be with my aunt and her family. About once a year she would try and come back and visit some of her family that still lived in the area, and me. Visiting me meant presents. She traveled a lot and she’d gotten me a charm bracelet. She would send me charms from all over when she visited, and then when she came back we would go find new ones that were just things I liked. One year she bought me an instamatic camera. She’d take me to dinner and we’d talk and laugh and catch up and then shop.

My parents, especially my mother, were furious. They had their minds made up that I was begging my grandmother for things that they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) buy me. I think she just wanted to make up for times we couldn’t be together and to let me have some things to remember her with when she was gone… like the camera that we took lots of pictures with of each other and I have to this day.

I’m sure SIL means well, but this behaviour just reeks of the kind of control that my parents tried on me years ago. It didn’t work then and it ain’t gonna work now. I hope he understands that someday…

They Got This One Right!

You Know You’re From Iowa When…

Vacation means driving through the Amanas or going to Adventureland

Down South to you means Missouri

You have no problem spelling or pronouncing “Des Moines”

You know the answer to the question, :”Is this Heaven?”

You know where all the Yoders live (or Andersons, or Van den Bergs)

You know what “hawks” and “clones” are

All the festivals across the state are named after a fruit or vegetable

You can locate Iowa on the map

You’ve ever been on a “Geode Hunt”

Your idea of a really great tenderloin is when the meat is twice as big as the bun and is accompanied only by ketchup and a dill pickle slice

You say “catty-wampus” instead of “kitty-corner”

You’ve never taken public transportation

You have boiled fish in lye for Christmas

You know what “uff-da” means and how to use it properly

You know what “Amish Country” is

The only reason you go to Wisconsin or Missouri is to get fireworks

You know exactly where “Field of Dreams” was filmed

When someone says they are going out for dinner or supper, you know which meal they are talking about. You listen to “Paul Harvey” every day at noon.

You think of the major food groups as deer meat, beer, corn, and soy nuts.

You’re pulled over and asked by the cop, “Had a little to much to drink, (your first name here)?

You own the complete “Dukes of Hazzard” video collection.

“Hick” is a style of clothing.

You can use the words, ‘crik’, ‘holler’, and ‘skunk weed’ in the same sentence.

Your Christmas gift, when you were ten years old was a shotgun (a BB gun if you were a ‘townie’).

You know someone personally who is involved in meth trade or manufacture.

Your idea of a party is throwing cans of WD40 in a campfire while you’re drunk.

You’ve been to a rave in a barn.

You’ve had sex in the back of a truck … amid cows.

You know that cows don’t sleep standing up.

You’re concerned about the rates of corn growth in Illinois as compared to that of Iowa’s.

You listen to Ag Day at 6AM … two hours after you get up in the morning.

You believe that trees in Iowa lean towards Nebraska … because Nebraska sucks!

You know several people who still refer to Japanese cars as “rice-burners.”

“Styx” plays a concert at the county fair, and people actually show up.

You don’t get nervous when you walk into a biker bar (unless you’re an Iowa City cop).

You actually get these jokes and pass them on to other friends from Iowa.

You Can’t Kill ‘Em Part II

Once upon a time, there were a BIL and a SIL who had two boy monsters creatures flying monkeys children that were the most horrid evil wild precious children on the face of the planet. Just ask them. They’ll tell you. There were days that went from sunup to sundown when voices wouldn’t be raised in anger or jealousy or meanness or spite. (Sorry, I just swallowed my tongue. Happens every time I lie.)

BIL is the best flake fake looser leech dad in the world. SIL is the best harp whiner screamer bitch gossip mom in the world. With parents like this, how could THE BOYS lose? (Yes, this must always be said with capital letters.) When they were smaller versions of rat bastards themselves, they would get into something they shouldn’t and SIL would scream, “Jim*…! ”
He’d ignore her. “Jimmy!”….”Jimmy Bob stop that!”…. “James Robert, I said to stop that!”… You get the picture. This happened once when we were standing out by our cornfield and Little Jimmy* was digging up corn plants with his shoe. This is our income, our livelihood. This is not a good thing.

She’d yell, then go on with her conversation and ignore him until she decided to yell again at which time he’d ignore her again, until finally BIL would be called into play… “BIL, Go DO SOMETHING with your son!”… He’d look at her, look at the kid, and take another swig of his beer/pop/whatever. Realizing everyone was looking at him to DO SOMETHING, he’d take the kid to another room of the house or around the corner of the shed, where he was told he’d been naughty and to not do it again. For at least another 5 minutes, okay?

I’ve got four kids. I’m not into abuse, honest I’m not… but a swat on the butt isn’t beyond my realm of possibility when a kid is just plain ignoring you. I’m talking when they are at that young, impressionable stage in life when a swat can do some good. After they reach a certain age, then you can take away the internet cableTV car keys food.Yeah, you can argue with me that they’ll end up all damaged and hating life, but believe me these people did these kids no favors.

I’m also totally against punishing or berating a child in front of their parents. I hate it when others did it to my kids (most notibly BIL and SIL before they had children. With the look that says, MY kids won’t do that when I have kids!) and I feel if the parents are there it is their responsibility to handle it. Unless we’re talking doing something that would cause them death, like running in the street or catching their hair on fire. Then I’ll step in. Only then. Even if I have to bite my tongue until it bleeds.

Point in fact: A few years have gone by and now they are pre-teens. (Actually, now they are teens, but this happened a couple of years ago). Still, basically getting away with anything and everything. MIL has a huge house that she offered to let our youngest daughter live in with her for a couple of semesters while going to college. It was nice for her since she was newly widowed, and it was nice for our daughter – living with family. Daughter has to be gone for a month with a school project out-of-state. MIL asks one of THE BOYS (the oldest) to stay overnight for a night or two. Nothing you’d think twice about, right?

Daughter came home. Starting finding things ‘not-quite-right’ with her things. Let’s see… nail polish remover in her toothpaste? Bottles of expensive skin care products dumped out. Perfume dumped out. Underwear rifled. A couple of blank checks missing from her checkbook. Do you get the idea?

First she tells us. We’re flabbergasted. (That’s an Iowa word for those of you who don’t know – it means gobsmacked). We can’t imagine what happened. Then we found out Freddy* spent the night downstairs among daughter’s things. Hubby mentioned it to MIL. MIL couldn’t imagine it could be him! If not him, we asked, then WHO? Who has been at your house? Nobody. It’s locked. She lives there alone. No one has been over except Freddy*. Uh huh. Now, Hubby asks if she is going to have the talk with BIL… ’cause he knows if HE brings it up there will be feudin’ like you’ve only seen in the south. Okay, she’ll talk to him.

We heard BIL got a talkin’ to. Oh, yes. We heard THE BOY got a talkin’ to – sort of. We heard he admitted to some of it. WTF? SOME? How could he just do some of it and yet all the other was done, too? Yeah, we be stupid.

That was the end of it. No apologies to daughter. No offers to replace and/or pay her back for all the expensive items ruined. Nothing.

…and they wonder why we don’t have them over for ‘family events’.

*Names have been changed to protect the innocents little shits.

Do You Want…?

My best friend calls me on the phone this morning on my way to work.

BF: Do you want a cat?
Me: Nooooooooo
BF: I was out walking this morning and it was in the ditch crying.
Me: I’ve reached my limit
BF: It followed me home
BF: It’s a nice kitty. It purrs when you pick it up. It ate, but didn’t act starving.
BF: I thought of you.
Me: I have O.C. aka Cleo that Hubby is considering letting in the house. That is my absolute maximum limit. I can’t have another one.
BF: But it’s a nice cat
Me: …
BF: How can I take it to the animal shelter?
Me: In a cardboard box

Now I feel like a shit. A big, fat, shit. Wish I could win the lottery so I could open up my “no kill animal shelter”. <sigh>

A Bowl of Cereal Would Have Sufficed

At the butt-crack of dawn this morning (my family’s colorful description of early morning that came from ???) Hubby sat up in bed, leaned over and flipped on the back porch/deck light sufficiently blinding me in my even-though-I-may-look-like-I’m-awake-and-my-eyes-are-open-a-wee-bit-but-technically-I’m-NOT state, I said, “HEY!” Hubby – (flipping light off) “There are four racoons on the porch!”

He proceeds to start rapping his knuckles on the glass to scare them away. I don’t know what they did, but Frieda started barking her fool head off thinking we were being invaded.

How did YOUR morning start?