House Hunters Now...and Then

Dear 2011, your forefathers and mothers think you are ridiculous.

And here’s why.

House Hunters International

With a budget of $500,000 Brent and Ashley are 30-somethings who have decided to spend time off from their busy lives by kicking off the dust of San Antonio and planting down secondary roots in Turks and Caicos.

(I hate you, Brent and Ashley).

House #1 is four times their budget, but has the 360 Degree ocean views they wanted and used to be owned by Sylvester Stallone.

Ashley: So house #1 is a little more expensive than we were hoping, but you couldn’t ask for more character.  I’m a little disappointed that the 8 bedrooms are so small, but I do love the views.

House #2 has the desirable ocean location that the couple is looking for but there is a catch.  Can Brent and Ashley get past the strict community guidelines long enough to view the house’s potential?

Brent: So House #2 doesn’t allow me to set up a music studio for my island jam sessions, but I like the fact that it has crown molding and a lot of counter space in the kitchen.  I am a little worried about living so far away from civilization.  It’s kind of remote.  We’d be like 15 minutes from the airport…I’m not sure about that.

House #3 is a fraction of what they want to spend, but will the lack of granite counter tops and the construction going on next door be a deal breaker.

Ashley: House #3 is a steal…but I can’t vacation without granite.  Also, the ocean is so close to the house that there’s no place to put the pool.  How can we live in the islands without a pool? 

This decision is going to be tough.

House Hunters 1800-ish

Nathanial and Elizabeth have decided to kiss city life goodbye, quit their dangerous mill jobs, sell all their belongings and one of their children so they can head to the prairie for a new start.  This young family wants adventure in the great outdoors, fresh air, wide open spaces and the occasional adrenaline rush that comes with prairie fires, wedge tornadoes and of course the random hostile Indian tribe.

House #1 costs two more chickens than the couple wants to pay, but it’s a finished house and the previous owners will be leaving their cook stove and a set of wagon wheels. 

Nathaniel: House #1 is my favorite.  I would gladly give up a few extra chickens to not have to chop wood in the forest several miles away and lug it back to the prairie being that I only have one arm thanks to a recent accident in the mill back East.

House #2 is a steal of a good deal, but it would mean that Nathaniel and Elizabeth would have to start from scratch being that there is no house on the property at all.

Elizabeth:  As far as big mounds of dirt go…it’s a good one.  The location is great, but I would worry about the children being dismembered and eaten by coyotes and wolves since we’ll be living out side for the next 6 months. 

House #3 is free but will the recent Cholera outbreak nearby dash their dreams of owning their own little piece of “amber waves of grain”?

Elizabeth:  The recent outbreak and death toll does bother me a bit about house #3.  Also, we have to consider the prospect of dragging the previous owners out of their beds, burying them and then burning everything they owned lest we get Cholera.  I do like the fact that there is garden already here.  It will keep us from starving to death for a few weeks.  I don’t know the more properties we look at, the harder the decision is…this sure is a tough one.  House hunting is hard.

Too Many Words

Sometimes I don't understand my husband.

There I said it.

Every time we have a day off together, he will inevitably look at me at some point and say, "You have two more questions to ask me for today...that is all...use them wisely."

Apparently, some people (pointing to husband), think that I use too many words.

Today he was on a mission to pick up the clutter downstairs.  Let me translate.  He was on a mission to either 1.) put things without a home in the trash or 2.) put things without a home in the attic.  These are the two fates of all clutter standing in the way of Andy and a relaxing afternoon of watching the flat screen and drinking a Dr. Pepper.

Let me correct myself...these are the the two fates of all of my clutter.

He does not own anything classified as "clutter."  At least that's what I'm told.  By him.  Regularly.

So in the midst of this de-cluttering frenzy, he holds something up to me and says, "Do you need this for something?"

He was holding two bottles of brand new Softsoap that I purchased the day before and were still in the bag on the counter.

My eyes narrow.

What I really wanted to say was, "what if I said I don't need it for anything?" just to see which of the two fates the hand soap would receive.  Would it make more sense to him to throw it away or store it in the attic?

I'm not sure why basic human instinct wasn't already troubleshooting this one for him.  After all, it was hand soap.  The very same kind that sits on the ledge of every bathroom sink we have.  The hand soap that lives in the linen closet or under the sink until needed.

It was extra hand soap, people.

It's every discount shopper and couponer's number one stockpiled item.  If you can't swing buying bulk loads of Kix and Ramen at least have the linen closet full of Soft Soap.

Women...come clean (no pun intended).  That stuff drops to below $1 and you are loading your buggy like you will never have this opportunity again.

For the sake of the de-cluttering conversation with my husband, I left it at, "Yes, I need it."  Simply because the questioning I wanted to put him through was going to yield one of those awesome, "women say too many things," eye-rolling or exhaling moments.

Those, by the way, are my favorite.

And, yes I wanted to interrogate him in a tiny room with a two way mirror to find out why he didn't just 'know' to put the soap away. So?

"So, tell me, Andy is it?  If that's your real name. What do you think two unopened bottles of hand soap were doing on the kitchen counter? Have you ever seen 'extra' household supplies in the house before?  Is there a special place that your wife, we'll call her Rachel, keeps things that she, perhaps, doesn't need right now, but will probably need in the next few weeks?"

I didn't do this.  I said, "yes" and took my hand soap to the secret hand soap holding room that I don't tell my husband about.  


See, women, actually care that you think we're nagging.  Well, no so much the fact that we're nagging...we want men to admit that we are justified in using the number of words that we are using in any given hand soap conversation.  We want to set you straight by over explaining why we feel the need to over explain.  We want a, "oh, I get it," moment at the end. But there's a problem.

Men don't care.

They just want you to stop talking as soon as possible. I said as soon as possible.  Not only do they not care about you justifying the fact that you are, yes, still talking, they don't even care that you are then writing a blog post about it so that someone, somewhere, will listen to all of your words in the hopes that another woman will send you an FB message and say, "Girl, that is so my husband too."

Men, these are the moments when you take a swig of your beer and say to your buddies, "Dude, I love her, but she is psycho sometimes."

We are, in turn thinking, "I wonder how many bottles of unused hand soap have been throw away? What if I hadn't been here?"

I don't even want to think about that.

I Took the Plunge...

Okay, so I decided to release a "Greatest Hits" ebook.  And I use the term "hits" loosely.  I have published my best blog posts and my award winners for sale on the Kindle.  If you follow my blog, you will have read most or all of what I've included, but I thought $1.99 wasn't too much to ask if you wanted to support it as I work on "new" stuff and patiently await the release of My Funny Valentine, the Valentine anthology of which I'm going to be a part.  Also, I removed most of the stories I included in the book so if you ever want to see the story about Andy and I going to bed mad again, you have to fork over $1.99.  I know...I'm cruel...or maybe you don't care.  Whatever! :)

The ebook is a 'test' of direct to kindle publishing for me so currently there is no cover for the book (got my people working on that - totally don't have people, but it's coming) and I'm learning the format of kindle publishing.

The book is simply a compilation, which means, it's short, there are no chapters and its just a stream of consciousness style telling of true stories broken up by quotes.

You can go here to buy the book!

If you don't own a kindle, you can download the Kindle app for free to your iphone and then purchase from there.  I'll need to figure out how to make this available to Nook and Reader owners as well as to my mom who, "hates all this electronic crap."

Anyway,  I appreciate any purchases, feedback and publicity via twitter and Facebook that you do for this scary step!


Dad on Vacation

My mother wasn’t the only one with her unique traveling identity. My father had this inner tolerance clock on all things uninteresting to him during any given vacation.  

On any normal day, there were certain things my dad would simply not do. He didn’t do anything that required him to be outside for long periods of time...especially in the heat.  This means we didn’t camp, picnic or go to Braves games in the summer.  Which was fine by me...where's the Hyatt?  

This also meant that he didn’t mow the lawn or wash his own car which my husband found fascinating when we first got married.  We might have owned a lawn mower once, but I don't remember.  Mostly this was due to that fact that my father worked 16-hour days, 6 days a week in his dry cleaners for the better part of his childhood and ours so, I for one, feel like he was justified in outsourcing his lawn mowing and so did Johnny Czerwinski, by the way, the kid who got paid handsomely to take care of that chore for us...cuz we all know, I wasn't gonna do it.  

My father also had strict guidelines about restaurants.  He did/does not believe in standing in line for a meal. You go in, you sit down, people bring you stuff...restaurants should be run no other way in his opinion.  I think this rule was a late in life rebellion over the fact that his parents lived at the Picadilly and he used to wake up in a cold sweat from nightmares about being pushed through the tray line so fast that he had to settle for chicken livers and lime jello.  Look, we all have our childhood baggage and my father's meant that he believed meals at restaurants were meant to require as little work as possible on the part of the customer.

These days, my father is a relatively easy person to please.  After years and years of slaving over a hot presser in an even hotter cleaners, his needs boil down to one basic rule...he just wants his rear end to be comfortable.  That's all.  This shows itself in the cars he drives, the chairs he owns, the restaurants he eats at and the vacations he takes.  

On vacation, when we were younger, my father had a little more tolerance to being hot, standing in line and having an uncomfortable place to sit, as he gladly would play dutiful, patient father who seemed happy just to let us have fun.  We never knew how much he actually hated playing in the ocean, riding Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and whale watching when there were no whales in sight, but he did have his limits.  

After all, it was his vacation too and he had paid for it. 

I remember one time, while visiting Sea World, we were just finishing petting the Stingrays when I begged to go back and see the dolphin show again.  Unbeknownst to me, my father had just reached his tolerance for fish.  It was, after all, day 4 of being in Orlando, standing in lines in the hot sun and spending more money than budgeted on things like "Minnie Mouse dolls on a stick" and other such souvenirs that we just had to have but would not be able to even find two days after we got home.  

By the way, my father might have actually introduced legislation to do away with those tissue paper flowers on a stick that you could buy at Six Flags.  I'm not saying he did, but he was awfully tired of stepping on broken sticks and pulling wet colored tissue paper off his foot every summer.  

But I'm distracted, back to the fish.

“Look,” he said.  “I don’t want to see that again.” 

I felt like I’d been slapped. Did dad just say, "no?"  Who didn’t like dolphins?

He looked at my mother in desperation  “I want a beer…and a ball game.”

“Wayne.” My mom started.

“At Sea World?” I thought. 

He looked at all three of his girls staring as if he had just said he was leaving us for good. 

“Look, you guys go back to see the dophins again.  That’s fine, but I’m not going.”

We continue to be silent as we tried to process what my dad was saying to us.

“Look, how can I put this?” He was trying to make us understand his level of misery, 

“I have seen dolphins do this…” He made a jumping gesture with his hand as if it were a dolphin jumping out of the water and back down again.

“I have seen whales do this…” Jumping hand motion.

“I have seen seals do this…” Jumping hand motion.

“I’m done. I’m hot, tired, broke and I don’t want to see any more fish do anything. I want a beer and a ball game.  Come find me when you're ready to leave.”  

He started to walk off from his stunned family, but suddenly turned back to add, “Oh, but if a shark eats an employee, come find me because that I would like to see."

We stood there for a good five minutes watching my father walk off into the sunset in search of the only bar in Sea World in 1985, and I'll be darned if he didn't find it.