of mice and bears

i have no idea if this photo is real or contrived....

.... but it speaks volumes to me.

not the least of which is that every living thing needs a friend.




bop a bear


it was a tradition.

every christmas morning after all our gifts had been unwrapped, Trouble and i could choose one gift to bring on our long trek to the home of our best friends in the world.....

mom would always lovingly guide our selections - no! not that gift! choose something else. No. no. no.  not that gift either! can you not choose something that won't break?! those gifts cost good money you know! take something cheap! - before snuffing her cigarette out in the fruitcake.  (dad always snuffed his out in pop cans which were always mistakenly put back in the fridge door... making sneaking a swig of any kind of ice cold soda one very huge mistake)

anyway, once the commandant mom was convinced our choice of gift was finally correct and we were appropriately dressed, dad would bundle us up against the cold and we would all crawl into the car... 

and hoped that it started.

after all none of us wanted to make that 6:05am 500 ft trek between houses in blistering december snow - especially my dad. which i always found odd, because my dad was a man who would ice fish for weeks at a time clad only in his long underwear...

it should be noted that although Trouble and i were always fully awake by 6am and as early as 4:07am on Christmas day, Trouble's sister and John quite often had to be dragged from their slumber kicking and screaming on christmas morning because on a normal days they were never fully awake or dressed until after 6pm. 

when we got to their house we were greeted by that oh so familiar smell of coffee mixed with cigarette smoke. once in the door, to my own mother's dismay, John's mom would pour me my own full cup of coffee. always strong. always black.  no doubt thinking i would eventually dislike it enough to stop drinking it. (to this day i am still triumphantly proving her wrong!)  Trouble got cookies and milk and we passed the hours away at the kitchen table waiting for John and Trouble's sister to finally rub the sleep out of their eyes, cast their wrapping paper blankets aside, and be ready to play...

*yawn*

but this year while we were sitting there listening as our mom and John's mom chattered on about some new Fashion Two-Twenty make up kit that Santa said he couldn't afford, dad and 'big' John busied themselves testing this years most interesting toy;

wait! what is that!?!

oh my gosh!  its a motorized bear!! 

a motorized bear that not only raced around the floor but came with a dart gun!

you could actually shoot this bear! 

and! if you shot this bear just right it would growl and howl and change direction! 

 
wow!











for the first time ever i actually didn't finish my coffee!

Trouble and i raced into the living room where dad and 'big' John were having a grand time trying to shoot the bear and make it growl. 

Trouble's sister roused from her slumber under the tree just as the bear was hit for the first time.
it growled and turned and shot toward her...

and when it did she quickly pulled herself into a tiny ball and rolled into the corner behind the christmas tree trying desperately to disappear under paper and presents. 

Trouble howled with delight and chased after the bear...

until it again was hit and turned to charge him.  Trouble then screamed like a little girl, lept over the bear hit the floor and snapped up a big box and took cover under it with his sister...

this amused me to the maximum…

and the more i laughed the more Trouble and his sister screamed.

which in turn made dad and 'big' John even more enthusiastic about hitting the bear and making it chase whomever they could.

and damn if the bear didn't zero in on me...

i made a mad dash and lept onto the sofa laughing, which woke my best friend in the world, John. 

poor John, he hardly had a chance to figure out who he was, let alone where he was before the bear roared loudly and headed toward him.

his hair stood on end long before he did.  after which he quickly climbed onto the back of the sofa screaming louder than any boy should have been able to scream. 

i laughed even harder. 

and the bear rammed the sofa and roared again.

John tried hiding behind the curtain - or maybe he was attempting to climb the wall... i really couldn't tell which...

Trouble and his sister peeked out from behind the box and one of them threw a new ball at the creature hitting it square in the gut...

it roared even louder, bared it's huge teeth, and promptly turned to race toward them...

i howled with laughter...

Trouble's sister wet herself...

and 'big' John and my dad were beside themselves knowing they could hit the bear with anything at all and make it move.

soon wadded christmas paper started flying and every body joined in the fun.

all of us taunting the growling bear...

except John...

whom i finally noticed was still standing on the back of the sofa against the wall peeking out from behind the window curtain with huge tears streaming down his face...

and the fun for me suddenly ceased.

i pulled myself up onto the back of the sofa and took his hand and tried very hard to transfer all the courage i could muster from me to him...

and it must have worked,

because he suddenly let go of my hand, threw back the curtain and bounced from the sofa onto the floor.
and there in his pajamas with his hands on his hips, his invisible cape unfurling, he stood firm in front of a growling bear, two dads, two commandants moms and god.

and with a voice that was loud and strong he said;

"I HATE THAT BEAR AND I WANT YOU TO GET RID OF THAT @#$  $%!*  #$%*ING THING RIGHT NOW!"

the bear halted in its tracks and tipped over dead. 
his moms cigarette fell out of her mouth onto the floor. 
my mom hid Trouble and his sister behind her back. 
'big' John quietly handed the gun to my dad, picked the dead bear up (along with his wife's cigarette) and took them both outside. 

we never saw that bear again.  not ever.  not even in the trash. 

and all the christmas' that followed were never the same for me...

things stuffed with pillow fluff could never measure up to that bear...

nothing ever would.

nothing ever will...

....i think about that bear every christmas and know that some where some how, even now, my dad and 'big' John are still taking turns shooting that roaring beast and having a grand time doing it....


Merry Christmas!!



joy can only start...

if you know me at all, you understand what kind of family i live in...

a family wherein love is not a big enough word... 

and neither most times is dysfunctional.  

Thanksgiving holds many memories for me;

i was born via emergency cesarian section on Thanksgiving day - in contrast to the story that has me born in a ditch during a tornado, but perhaps it felt like that to my mom, my dad, and all of her doctors and nurses who instead of a turkey and a feast were presented with a screaming 5 pound 2ounce raw female.  a fact that i am still reminded of all these years later. 

Thanksgiving Day, my 22nd birthday, was also the last time i was with my dad as a normal healthy man - if you can indeed call a man who had been through hell and back trying to survive two very long years of barbaric cancer treatments healthy. its a long sad story that no man, woman or child should ever have to endure, but the short version is that he went into seizures after i left that evening and never fully recovered.

i was reminded this morning while swearing at the boneless turkey breast that fell apart before i could put it in the roaster that my holiday seasons are always bittersweet at best because i miss those parts of myself and my family that i can no longer touch... 

and that i must remember to cling to all those parts of myself and my family that i can touch...

because i have been blessed with so much to be thankful for...

and joy can only start within a thankful heart.... 
 
 





child's play...

cute isn't she?

Raggedy Anne was hand made by my aunt and given to my daughter when she was born...

somewhere in our vast stack of historic event photos Anne is perched on the hospital window sill with a balloon...




in another my young daughter is dressed in her clothing for Halloween... 


Halloween;  that holiday which is surrounded by candy and ghost stories and supernatural beings...

all things sweet...

and evil...


mr petite and i keep our two tiny tornadoes (translation: [tahy-nee tawr-ney-doh] noun, plural - does, -dos; very small child[ren] who cause rainbow storms to occur over, in, and through an otherwise calm household.) as often as we can and this past weekend is actually where this story finally starts:
 
The Tiniest Tornado Takes A Stand- And Wins

Raggedy Anne always sat on the bench/toybox in the room our tiny tornadoes share when they stay at our house...

our 6 year old tornado has never bothered with the doll in any form, the 3 year old however would always sweep her off the bench and onto the floor whenever he was here.  assumption was he must move the doll to open the bench for toys and being she is a big doll it was easier to simply sweep her off than move her to another place... and, after all, boys will be boys...

however, last year he finally verbalized his great distaste for her; "grama, i don't like that doll. i don't want her here." 

so i sat Anne in a chair in the entry hall.

and whenever the tornadoes were here she would end up on the floor...

so i moved her onto a chair in the guest bedroom.

where she would end up on the floor...

finally this past september i tried to sell her at our annual garage sale.

but when she didn't sell i took it as a sign my aunt wanted her here and i sat her on a chair just inside the door to our basement rec room where the tornadoes sometimes play and watch tv with grama and grampa...

well, sunday morning while we were all playing in the rec room, the tiniest tornado tells mr petite that he would like him to "please put that doll some place where she can't see me."  instead,  mr. petite explains that the doll's name is Raggedy Anne and that she is a very nice doll - after which he tells the story of how Anne came to be with us the day his mother was born...  isn't that neat?!...

the tiniest tornado who has been fidgeting the entire time didn't buy any of it and he wasn't going to;

she isn't either a nice doll grampa, because every time i walk past her she yells at me really loud. she calls me bad words... she talks to me and it hurts my ears... and it makes me afraid...

so i am now curious, and ask the tiny tornado just what it is she says to him when he walks by...

he lowers his voice to a growl and starts talking like Linda Blair in the exorcist...

"you little f..."  was all i could make out before the words spewed forth in another language all together and the hair fast stood on the back of my neck.


i didn't question him any further... i moved the doll into the storage room with the ghosts and when i came back i promised to find someone else to take her.

she doesn't need somebody else to take her grama... she just needs to be gone!!

and suddenly all i could see was Chuckie taking over our home...

the man in the green coat...

a couple weeks ago i woke just after 3am to find a man standing next to my night table facing me.

he was wearing a long green coat, which was open to show his brown loose fitting trousers, grey cotton shirt and a brown floppy brimmed fedora hat. 

at first i thought it was Mr. Petite and wondered why he would be dressed and leaving at that time of morning... maybe something was wrong? 

when i looked up to see his face more clearly he turned and went out the door into the hall and was gone.

and then remembered Mr. Petite didn't have that kind of coat...

that's when i realized the man was a ghost....


ah but then i reasoned with myself;  if he were a ghost would i not be cold?

which is when i realized i was indeed chilled to the bone - hardly appropriate when temperatures were far above normal for this time of year...

i shut my eyes tight and realized there were others as well - tho these were the vapory types i see most often...

normally i feel, hear or smell "them." this was the very first time i have ever seen one fleshed out to that degree... 

i probably don't have to tell you that i didn't sleep much after that but i didn't dare get out of bed...

and, like it or not, i was Mr. Petite's blanket for the rest of the night. 

oddly enough this past saturday, i met a psychic medium who, among other interesting odds and sorts, left me with the name of my spirit teacher whom she said had recently presented himself to me...

and then gave me a description of what he looked like...

there are no words that can describe what it was i felt then - but what ever it was, even she felt the effect as chills. 

me? crazy? yeah maybe.  but i'd not bet money on it...

the mantis on the screen

so yesterday while i was playing cards with the mr there was a praying mantis on the screen door…

i hate praying mantis! 

there is something bone chillingly wrong with these misshapen alien life forms

and this one was not welcome on my screen checking out my card game…

shivering i went to the screen and tried to flick him off but nooooooo





the creepy little alien just looked me in the eye with defiance and stood it’s ground…

so i flicked the screen harder…

and it cocked it’s much too bug for its own good head and laughed right out loud…

so the mr, who believes he is far stronger and was put on the earth to protect his little lass from alien life forms, got up from his chair and flicked the screen…

the alien did budge,  it just reared it’s head back and rubbed it’s jagged hands together as if readying a fork and knife for dinner.

the mr flicked harder… and harder… and then resorted to opening the screen - while i stood on my chair screaming like a little girl - and then fast slamming it shut…

it worked!! 

the creepy little alien launched and was gone.  job done.  card game resumed.

but not for long…

BAMN!  landing hard against the screen the mantis was back.  it hung there daring not only the mr, but me to open the door to shoo it away…

COME ON PINKSKIN! OPEN THE DOOR! I DARE YOU!

and when neither of us bothered it resorted to taunting me by crawling about the outside of the screen looking for an opening that it could squeeze through, periodically stopping to leer in and drool while sharpening its knife and fork… 

so there i sat poised to leap, shivering and vowing not to open the screen door until mid January.

a suddenly a thought occurred to me

a menacing thought…

black widows and sisters of a feather and all that jazz…

maybe it wasn’t me this creepy green alien was taunting after all… 

maybe it was my mr…

and with an evil - and ever hopeful - grin i said;

“huh,  maybe its a female.”

on being a parent... or not...

am i a parent?  yes, i am

in fact, i’m a grandparent too… 

do i understand how frustrating raising children can become?

yes, as a matter of fact, i do.

i understand fully those times when you would gladly give up a body part just to have the ability to shut the bathroom door, create utter silence, and pee in total and complete peace…

and those times when you must - for the sake of yourself and your children - walk away, close a door and scream just to retain your sanity and get yourself back on the right track…

what i do not, and will never, understand are the consistent grumblings of a non custodial parent…

perhaps because my children were there 24/7...  meaning when I got up in the morning my children were there… when I came home from work at the end of the day my children where there… if they weren’t they soon would be… my life was lived around, and with, and through, and in constant sight of my children…

and those types who have the nerve to bemoan the fact that their own flesh and blood is under their feet driving them bonkers on wednesdays and every other weekend simply ruffle my feathers in a bad way…

I never get time to myself, because if it isn’t my damn kids under my feet messing up my time it’s my ex’s… and of course, our ex's can’t seem to coordinate our visitation schedules so we can have even one damn weekend alone for ourselves. oh hell no!  god, we can't go anywhere without a damn kid to worry about. his kids. my kids. always kids. it just drives me up the wall... do you know what I mean!?!

“yes, i know exactly what you mean.  we had our kids every weekend too…”

karma!

this morning i was wandering through a small store and overheard the clerk telling a customer - whom i will assume was his friend - the following story:

...what happened to my finger you ask? well let me tell you Jim... talk about Karma;

Saturday after spending a couple hours couped up in a car with the wife who has to constantly tell me (his voice changes for effect) 'you're going too fast' and then 'you're going too slow' and 'you missed a turn' and 'could you please stop tailgating' blah blah blah.  and, when we finally get to the park she starts in; 'you knew how much parking was going to cost and why do i never carry the right bills and how come she always has to haul out her purse to pay for for my expenses...'

yeah, i know; like she wasn't at the ball park on my dime? the ingrate...

but wait Jim! it gets better... 

so we shuffle in the park and find our seats and two minutes after we sit down she needs to pee.  of course she can't go alone because 'what if this or that or the other thing happens and besides she needs a drink.'  so, off we shuffle to the toilets where i hang around trying to convince her to use the guys toilet because you and i both know there isn't a man in the crowd who didn't pee BEFORE he found his damn seat. 

yeah, i know. and i did offer to go get her drink while she waited in line to pee but again; 'what if this or that or the other thing happens..'.

right?!? i wish it would happen sometimes too Jim... but hang on, it gets so much better...

so... finally she's in and out of the toilet and we get her drink and make it back to our seats. course all the way its bitch bitch bitch bitch...  and if you think it got better once we were in our seats oh hell no!  then she starts complaining that it looks like its going to rain....

so i dig out and pop open the umbrella.  'its too high... its too low... can the people behind us see?' so i sit there just waiting for the national anthem thinking at least i'll have 5 minutes of peace...

and finally they ask us to rise to sing and i there i am with my right hand over my heart feeling like a idiot holding a damn umbrella over her head so she doesn't get wet IF it rains, but do i get peace? no sir! she's still bitching....

and just as the music starts

WHAM! CRACK! BOOM!

 a lightening bolt hits the stadium, skips over to the stands, dances along the upper deck, skips over to the metal rod on the top of my umbrella, travels down the handle and kareens off my wedding ring.  burned the skin right off my finger! i drop the umbrella and when i look to see where its gone, there's my wife on her ass three rows down and finally she's not saying a damn thing....
 

mom, do you remember...

i took my mom out for a breakfast muffin today.

i ordered a caramel cappuccino to go with my muffin because it sounded like a lovely combination...
mom ordered water, because, she said;  i already drank my limit of coffee today.

wait!? there is a coffee limit?!? good god! is the city rationing coffee for tourist season?!? man i'm glad i already had that cup at home and that cup at uncle lar's before we got here!


unamused she busied herself with the menu while i amused myself by remembering my childhood...

in particularly the day - just after coffee had more than tripped in price and my parents seriously were rationing it - that my young in a hurry to get outside bottom bumped a freshly opened 3 pound can of Hills Brothers Coffee off the counter. .....




trying to catch it was my first mistake.

there i stood with the lid, which i caught between two fingers and my thumb, watching the can bounce off my bare feet sending it into a dramatic roll which scattered very aromatic grounds all over the kitchen.  after which the nearly emptied can rolled down the entry steps and came to rest against a dirty pair of shoes on a sand covered floor.

i held my breath. i didn't dare even blink. in fact, the only muscle that moved - against my wishes - was the one in my head, which shifted into overdrive. can i reach the broom?  i wonder...  if i can reach the broom maybe i can scoop it all back into the can and no one will be the wiser. yes. yes! that really could work.  now, where was the broom?!?

i looked up to locate it but met the fiery eyes of my mother. she just stood there in the dining room doorway, curlers in her hair, tight scarf over those and arms folded so tightly in front that it bulged the pack cigarettes rolled in her left sleeve as if it were one huge muscle mass...

fear caused me to continue holding my breath as she unfolded her arms and snuffed her half smoked cigarette out on the stove top - the tattoo of satan on her bicep leered at me.

involuntarily i shivered. i had no defense whatsoever. i couldn't lie when i was covered in the stuff.  she'd never have believed me anyway... Trouble now snickered behind me, his fault pointing finger burning a very deep hole in the middle of my back.

"sorry..."  i muttered through tears, more to myself than anybody else. after which there was nothing but that agonizing you know your punishment awaits silence. 

finally, my mother stepped toward me - her tattooed arm outstretched in the self same way that always caused Trouble to back into the corner while assuming the grade school tornado drill position...

i felt her hand on the lid. i swallowed hard imagining the horrific ways in which i was about to lose the limb still clutched tightly to the plastic lid and wondered if by some act of god i would still be allowed to keep the other limb.

a thousand and twelve death scenarios later she gently pried the lid from my hand and told Trouble to get the the broom. 

"it's only coffee." she said; "and we send it through a filter anyway. so, as long as you and Trouble keep your big mouths shut, your dad will never know.  now, get your bleeding toes off my floor and find yourself a bandage...." 

thankfully, the can had cut the top of my toe when it hit and blood had, for some strange reason, always softened her heart.

i couldn't have planned that better myself! i thought as i watched her filter the last dustpan full of grounds back into the can.

and, to this day, i would swear her satan tattoo winked at me as she snapped the new and improved vacuum seal lid back on the can....

the waitress brought out a magnificent tall clear glass of cappuccino topped with whipping cream and sat it under my nose snapping me back to reality...

"hey mom? do you remember me spilling that can of coffee grounds all over the kitchen floor?"

"no. but i do remember you making kool-aide with my expensive kosher canning salt..."

and from somewhere in my past i heard Trouble and my mom's satan tattoo start laughing right out loud.



shamanic journeying - or - how i found Henry...

being the inquisitive creature that i am, i signed up for a Shamanic Journey class last week...

and before climbing into my car i ticked off the list of things to bring;

a blanket or mat - to lay on
a blanket - to cover up with (sometimes it gets very cold on your journey)
an eye mask or some form of eye covering
a journal and a writing utensil
a water bottle
a rattle - if you would like to use one to begin ( i thought to bring the butterfly teething rattle i keep in the freezer for tiny tornado mishaps. hindsight says i should have)

be warned; if you are a shamanic journeyer and/or a humor stone has not yet been placed in your medicine bag, you may want to move on to the next blog. 
if you read anyway and decide you don't care for what you read; don't blame it on me, blame it on the Middle World...


~ Beginning my Journey ~

my journey started in my own car one hour before i was drummed into my first decent into the lower world, because though i knew the general direction in which i was headed i was not certain exactly where i needed to end up and - as we all know - sometimes mapquest lies... 

i did miss one turn, but as it turned out i was still running far too early so when i came upon a seriously gorgeous cemetery - complete with castle - i chose to drive through it's stone gate and snap a photo...

...while i was stopped there in front of this castle a thought occurred to me; just skip the class and take a stroll through this quiet sunlit cemetery...

instead i found myself looking back fondly as i exited through the same stone gates i'd entered...

(reminder to self: quick random thoughts can sometimes be intuition, albeit quietly understated, that i would be wise to listen to)

two more turns and i was at my destination... a house. with a woman standing outside of her garage holding a bundle of smoking twigs which she was waving through the air...

though i was sure this must be the place (who else would be standing in a driveway in 94 degree heat waving smoking twigs through the air?) i introduced myself adding that i was there for the Journeying class - just in case. she didn't introduce herself, simply informed me that before i went any further she needed to "ash" me.

ash me?! what the!?!?!  i don't have to guess at the look on my face because i felt my eyebrows furrow in horror at the thought of her smashing a burning bundle of twigs onto my forehead. (ouch!)  instead, it turns out, i simply had to stand as if being searched for concealed weapons as the twigs and smoke were passed around and through me to ward off any unwanted spirits.

(i do hope i left all mine in the car, i certainly don't want to think that any of them are still running scared in her yard, the poor little beasties...)

at that point i was allowed to go down the exterior steps and into her basement  where i was to leave my payment on the table just inside the door so that all unpleasant things were behind me before i journeyed....

(parting with $35 was indeed unpleasant)


~ Preparing to Journey ~

first things first;

there were four of us in a small 1970s style room filled with books, candles, incense, folding screens, furniture, oriental/native american photos and a multitude of stones and chachkis. two of us lay end to end in one area and two (myself included) lay side by side in another "like sardines in a can" - but not close enough for energy fields to mingle. all of us waiting to be instructed by the twig bearing woman who busied herself searching for a book on animal spirit guides that was highly necessary for the class.  but oh well if she didn't find it she could wing it...

i smiled at the prospect of someone so out of sorts with her own environment teaching the discipline of Shamanic Journeying...  

she blamed the book loss on her daughter and carried on - offering pillows, knee bolsters and one amethyst filled biomat to one lucky student.

and while setting up the mat for that lucky student she explained that she only holds these classes because she makes big money so easily its ridiculous... (uh huh it is)  with which to fund her exotic spending habits. 

i lost my smile. 

it was then that i should have taken my blanket  - and my money - and ran, but Curiosity said give it a chance so i did.  (Curiosity has since been punished.)

she then debated over which of three Shamanic drums she should use...  banging on each to test the sound... boom boom bang bang... no... yes...no... bang bang boom boom... yes... no... yes...  but i really wanted to use this one but... bang bang boom boom.. no... yes... no... yes... boom boom bang bang... no... yes...

OI!

when finally she chose and we could move forward she handed out rattles. she was one short so i was left without, making me grin just a bit at the thought of the butterfly teething rattle at home in my freezer... maybe i should have brought it after all?  

and then, there we stood with arms stretched out toward the heavens while we - okay THEY - rattled to the north, east, south, west, sky and earth to summon good spirits, not unlike native americans dancing around a fire. quietly i wondered why it has always been assumed that bad spirits are put off by repetitious noises...

we then sat on our mats to receive instructions:

one must think of a real place. a place that was not only beautiful, but contained some short of hole one could tunnel into as they began their journey toward Lower Earth to find their Spirit Guide, something like a knot in a tree she said...

so there i sat, my mind - of course - completely blank.  as many holes as i've crawled into my life time, i could not locate any that were real or beautiful.  in a pinch i remembered a chipmunk hole that was under the flowers in my back yard.  though perhaps i was led to that hole by some unknown force?

now, before one starts their journey one must lay flat on the floor with eyes covered and state their intention three times. 

"i am here to find my spirit guide." (no ruby slippers or heel clicking necessary here)

and finally we were told that once journeying we would see a beautiful world filled with all sorts of animals, birds and aquatic life forms and any one of those forms that we see four times could indeed be our spirit guide... but we must ask it to be sure.

and one last thing, she said, journeying can become quite cold so you may want to cover up with your blanket...

~ My Journey to the Lower World ~

one journeys via the beat of a drum. (click for u-tube rendition of drumming)

a loud drum.

a constant loud drum.

a twenty minute bang bang bang bang bang i am getting a serious headache can we please stop now drum.

but there i was; eyes closed; stating my purpose while burrowing down into the chipmunk hole under the flowers in my back yard... 

 "i am here to find my spirit guide."   "i am here to find my spirit guide."  "i am here to find my spirit guide."

but my minds eye saw only black shadows with bits of white light thrown in...

"i am here to find my..." hey! wait! was that a bird?  no. that's just the reflection of my own eyeball on the back of my eyelid...

damn. she was right! i'm freezing!

"i am here to find my spirit guide"

course that could be because i'm laying on a cold cement floor with air conditioning blasting down from the ceiling...

wait! i see eyes. is that a cat?  i like cats.  i'm hoping for a Bengal Tiger spirit guide... but that would be yellow and i can't see any damn colors at all... 

i wonder how long she's been drumming now...

and why did she tell us she only does this to fund her spending habits and that it's easy money... that pisses me off...

shit!

"i am here to find my spirit guide."  "i am here to find my spirit guide." "i am here to.." 

and the drumming grew louder and then ceased and my journey was over.

and i found nothing whatsoever but darkness and a pair of what i thought might have been cat eyes.

everybody else had wonderfully detailed stories about their journey and each of them had an animal spirit guide... hell they even knew their spirit guides name...

but me? i saw zip. nada. bzzzzzzt. nothing.

maybe i hadn't sucked in enough smoke during my ashing?

but then again, maybe it was a big black cat whose fur clouded my vision? 

i saw a cat eyes and black. i said;  a panther maybe? i couldn't tell... do i get another turn? 

~ My Journey to the Upper World ~

"i am here to find my teacher" "i am here to find my teacher"  "i am here to find my teacher"

this was easier - the first thing i saw was a spirit i have already encountered in real life. ( see apparition NOT exhaust) and the name Athena* popped into my head.  job done. can we stop the damn drumming now? 

what? we've only been laying here for 40 seconds?  we have 14 minutes 20 to go?  oh man, i will never make it...  i'm freezing my ass off laying on this floor...  damn, she was right! it IS cold journeying... that or she has the air conditioning up far too high... i am wearing practically zip because it's 94 degrees outside...  damn that incense stinks... or maybe i'm smelling musty basement...  hmmm... i can't believe she told us she only does this because it's easy money... even if i thought that i would never say it out loud... especially not in my classroom... right before i taught it...  if this were my basement i would take that yucky paneling off the walls... or maybe paint it white... i thought Rieki was oriental like Feng Shui...  but maybe not?... there is way too much clutter in this room to make it relaxing in any form... and so damn many pointy things....  no wonder i can't visualize anything but doom...  that, or maybe i'm just a bad spirit because the damn drum is driving me bonkers... 

BOOM BA BOOM BA BOOM...

yes ma'am i did have better luck that time; my teacher is a spirit i have seen in real life and her name is Athena.  what do you mean what did it look like up there? ... hmm... um... well, do you remember that field in the Twilight movie where Edward starts to sparkle?  ....

that is when she told me i was thinking of the Lower and Upper World as Hell and Heaven - which is why i found it difficult to descend.  i assured her i wasn't,  but was careful not to add the fact that the drums were a huge deterrent, second only to freezing my ass off on a cement floor. she told me these worlds weren't reality and nothing could hurt me in them - although in the Middle World there were all sorts of nasties and curses and bad elements and there you could not tell lies from truths so whatever i do i should not venture there...

wonderful.  how much does one want to bet that is exactly where i am headed?  is the door clearly marked i wonder? damn! even if it is, might they mark it with something enticing just to intrigue me? 

i. am. doomed. 

~ My second Journey into the Lower World ~

drums and darkness.  period. though for a brief second or three i mistook a bit of light filtering underneath my eye covering as a hawk. 

but, i sense fur so maybe my spirit guide really is a panther!  yes. that must be it.

and though i cannot see clearly a black panther winds around my brain and informs me his name is Henry* after which he snorts a laugh and adds that if she (the teacher) should ask and i want to appear impressive i should tell her his name is Mika*... 

instead after the drumming stops i keep mum while the others detail their journeys. though i do notice that the teacher is wearing clothes more suited for winter and is wrapped up in a thick fur lined quilt and i am goose dimpled and near on to teeth chattering.  but after every one else tells their story i am asked point blank and have to admit again that i saw only darkness.  she only moves from her warmth to surround me with various stones and crystals meant to inspire clarity and tells me i can envision a light switch and turn it on...

~ and we Journey once more ~

and as i lay there in the darkness, i retreat to my thoughts of Henry, whom i find to be a playful sort who thinks the same way i do, and together we laugh about my spending $35 bucks to freeze my ass off for four hours on a cold basement floor so the teacher could buy something new.

and together we thank the gods that this is the last time we have to hear that irritating drumming...

i grin silently to myself - and maybe to Henry - and we are done with this charade...

i open my eyes before the drumming stops rub my temples, plug my ears and bury my feet inside my blanket...


~ My Journey Home ~

once dismissed, my body was freezing to the core, my head was throbbing and i couldn't pack up my things fast enough - i thought to pack up my check as well but damn if she hadn't pocketed it already...

and as i drove away muttering about wasting $35 and an entire saturday afternoon i passed by the cemetery, slowed a bit, and smiled at the stone gate.

and the castle.

and at Henry the big black panther...

Henry - who was now sitting in the passenger seat casually licking the back of his paw to smooth his whiskers.

You realize, of course that this wasn't a total waste of time don't you? 

what do you mean Henry? i'm still frozen to the core and i've a headache from hell!

True... very true... but, if you think about it.  I mean really think about it...  you did learn quite something quite important...

he stuck his head out the window to catch the breeze while i thought...

it was then that i realized i have known how to journey all my life...

and that learning how to journey outside of my reality to escape the horrors i endured as a child was paramount to my survival - and in many forms it still is. 

he pulled his head back in with a sly smile;  Do you see now?  he asked.

i answered, not with words, but with a single tear.

he then reminded me just how much i lean on that realm which i cannot see; because more often than not it is correct. and how that realm guides my gut even when my head and heart might say otherwise.

You, my friend,
he smiled; simply need to learn to trust yourself....

Henry was right. i smiled back and ruffled the fur between his ears...

i like Henry.

i think i will keep him around....   



* interesting facts - or not - i looked up name and spirit guide meanings after writing this, here are the results:

Athena - female name - Greek - goddess of wisdom
Henry - male name - English - rules his household

Mika - male name - Hebrew - gift from God  - Japanese - New Moon


Black Panther Spirit/Power Animal
(spirit animals are said to be a reflection of self - so, for those of you who know me - tell me if this seems accurate)


Panthers are generally loners, extremely comfortable with themselves and are often drawn to other solitary people. Women with Panther, Leopard or Jaguar power animals frequently find themselves raising their children alone, whether it be through divorce or circumstance. People with this power animal can develop clairaudience, the ability to hear communications from other forms of life or dimensions. They must trust their thoughts and inner voice/visions as they are based in reality... 




facing the firing squad without blindfolds...



when i was a kid my best friend and constant companion was a boy named John.

he belonged to my dad's best friend who lived just around the corner with his wife, who just happened to be my mom's best friend.

John was born in september.
i was born in november.
wedding plans began in december.

we did everything together in spite of the fact that Trouble and his sister were always holding hands with our shadows...

even when we specifically told them not to - the smart asses that they were...

Trouble knew we shouldn't be building castles out of the coal that was stored in the basement while John was in uniform for a scout meeting...

and it was Trouble's sister who dared us to jump over the hole in the driveway that kept getting bigger and bigger until John fell into the septic tank. Trouble - of course - laughed his ass off while John clung to the side and i ran for help with Trouble's sister...

and even though John an i insisted old metal belly stoves were meant for warming up spaces, Trouble was probably right then too; we shouldn't have drug it into the playhouse and lit a fire in it...

Trouble made it a point to inform us that it probably wasn't smart to cover the fire we'd started in the woods with pine branches and a board so it would still be there when we were done with lunch - but he sure did enjoy the fire truck.

Trouble's sister immensely enjoyed those punishments we'd get for climbing my grama's lilac trees and stepping on the budding flowers. 

and hindsight says maybe we shouldn't have smoked those stolen cigarettes in that old horse barn full of hay, but to this day only Trouble knows how that fire really started... between you and me, i think it was his sister's doing.

after a while John and i wised up and started sneaking off quietly so as to avoid Trouble and his sister.  Soon enough we got so good at it we were smoking stolen cigarettes, lighting fires, staying out after dark AND climbing grama's lilac trees without any repercussions at all.

or so we thought...

unbeknownst to us Trouble and his sister came back to spy on us one day when grama was gone shopping.  as i recall John was nearly at the top of grama's lilac tree when the branch not only cracked but tumbled to the ground with him on top of it. 

thankfully John wasn't hurt and my dads garage was mere steps away and, quite happily we found that it contained everything we needed to cover up fix the problem. job done. we walked silently away with no one the wiser.

until the following week when Trouble and his little sister summoned us to the kitchen to face the firing squad.

and, with no lawyer present, we were seated at one very dirty kitchen table for interrogation.  

my mom snuffed out her cigarette on a paper plate and began the questioning;
HAVE YOU BEEN CLIMBING YOUR GRANDMOTHER'S LILAC TREE AGAIN?

since the question was directed at me, John smiled - just a little bit.

bonus! i wasn't even in the tree!! very honestly i said; nope!

and then she looked at John who lost his smile but quite smartly said nothing at all.

his mom didn't bother putting her cigarette out, it simply stuck expertly on her bottom lip. she did however narrow her eyes into tiny all knowing slits. but she asked the same directed question albeit in that 'if you lie to me i am going to whip your little ass' mother tone;
EOLIST... COME ON NOW... THINK ABOUT THIS VERY HARD AND BE HONEST.  WERE YOU CLIMBING YOUR GRANDMOTHER'S LILAC TREE OR NOT?

again John smiled. again i said no. again she only looked at John. again John sat silent.

and then came all those statements meant to create severe pangs of childhood guilt

you know the kind;
if we weren't climbing the tree, why were the flowers dying?
and;
you know just how much grandma loves her flowers.
blah blah blah...

over and over they used those war tactics known only to moms.

over and over we swore we had no idea what they were talking about.

"well," his mom said, finally snuffing her cigarette on the same paper plate; "someone was climbing the tree because someone broke a branch full of flowers from it."  

to which my mom added; "and someone else was extremely smart because they figured out how to tie the branch back onto the tree and make it look like it never happened..."

but we remained clueless.

until, as the last and final tactic, they offered freedom to the one who would confess...

now i sat silent, but Trouble must have poked John quite hard because he suddenly started to ramble; "well. i was the one who climbed the tree. but Eolist was the smart one! she also figured out how to steal cigarettes and matches and light fires with the magnifying glass and.... "

i sat there stunned. there he was, my best friend in the world, spilling his guts for freedom at the self same time he was framing me for everything we'd ever done since day one.

it must have been the "holy shit man! shut your mouth! they only asked about the tree" look on my face that finally made him fall silent in the middle of the sentence which revealed that earthworms were at this moment in a metal lunch box roasting over a fire out back...

there was some very colorful language from both commandants moms including OH MY GOD!! before the death march started playing.


but if you think the death march playing was the worst of it, you are wrong;

my mom grabbed a knife and the butter and John's mom grabbed the bread.

if we'd roasted those worms we were damn well going to eat those worms.

all of usincluding Trouble and his sister!

Trouble said; HOLY SHIT! and started to cry.  Trouble's sister fainted.

and John and i were escorted toward the fire with ears pinched between clawed fingers.

once there we awaited our doom...

standing in silence while the lunchbox was pulled from from the fire and the bread was buttered.

he swallowed hard and reached for my hand. there we were, fingers intwined, both of us knowing somehow we'd make it through this together.

and we did.

of course it helped that the lunchbox had gotten so hot it had melted shut and all of us declined to offer any proof that earthworms had ever truly been inside.

i think the four of us grew up just a little bit more that day.

but maybe that has always been the intent of the firing squad.


...

things we learned...

there is a saying that goes something like this;

give me a fish and i will eat for a day. teach me to fish and i will eat for a lifetime. 




though giving has rewards of it's own, teaching assures that you will forever live on...


Happy Father's Day!





after all these years

you may say this is no big deal.  after all it's just a lilac.  but i have waited 28 years for these blooms.

even though the tree never bloomed, i couldn't leave it behind when we moved house - twice - because it was a gift from my daughter on my first mothers day.

never let it be said that i do not understand what commitment means nor underestimate the joy that waiting so long for something you know can happen will bring when it finally does...

love is never a big enough word...


5:45am - i need a drink. i want a snack. i'm hungry. i wanna watch tv. i have to go potty. could we have cookie. can we go outside. can we go inside. why. can we watch a movie. can you read this book. can you push me on the swing. i spilled my milk. can i have one of those. can i wear my pajamas outside. do dogs have a stomach. i'm not tired anymore.  its morning. i have to pee. can i play with your phone.  hey, that was mine.  she took it.  sorry i swallowed it already. i wanted milk. where is grampa.  its not cold outside grama. can i use the computer. where is my flashlight. oops. i'm starving. i want french fries. i'm not tired. can we build a tent?  he won't leave me alone. does your brother have a penis. i hate this tv show. i can't find my blanket. he's touching my side. does this lipstick have sparkles. where is my other sock. but i don't want my hair brushed. my teeth aren't dirty. he took it. can you read me a book.  i washed my hands already (jn a stream of pee). this bird food tastes really good. i need more frosting. she's looking at me.  i have a belly ache. i forgot it. there's chocolate on the carpet. she said i stink. i lost it. i want a snack. can you hold me. i want to watch scooby doo.  i don't like this food can we have mcdonalds instead. can i play wii. why is it raining. hey look i cut my own hair. leave me alone. but i'm not tired...

6:00am - hey grama? why are you drinking coffee!?


wishing a very Happy Mothers Day to anyone who can not only relate but knows that these are the things that make up the very best times of your life. 

seriously, this is so not funny!

the telephone is ringing...

i've got her on the line...

"hello..."  she answers with a voice that sounds like honey and flowers.


"hello, Mother Nature it's Eolist. remember me?"

"well, hello Eolist dear. yes, i do remember you. what can i do for you today sweetheart?" she gushes. her words filling the room with sunshine;

"um... it's the end of April..."

"oh yes. i know.... 

a hint of sarcasm hangs in the air between us...

...and don't you just love what i've done with your place?!?"



"oh yeah, snowman and all.... 


....but seriously, this is so not funny!"



Balloon? What Balloon?


I sat up in bed blinking the morning light from my eyes sure I had closed the shades last night in preparation of a long morning lie in.

Good morning Miss.” the waiter said as he straightened the linen napkin draped over his arm. “Sleep well did you?

yes... well... no actually... what time is is!?!” i answer through a yawn.

7am.” he replies pulling a thin narrow board from his sleeve which he fast fashions into a tray. “breakfast?” without any reply, he places the tray on my lap drapes it with a fancy white lace napkin and a china plate on which he drops a freshly toasted cinnamon crusted bagel. “coffee?

always.

He pours steaming coffee into a china mug from a french press that seconds ago were no where to be seen. I start to wish he would visit every morning...

cream?

no. thank you. too early for cream.” I smile my best morning smile through another huge yawn.

right then. enjoy.

He straightens the linen napkin draped over his arm and stands back waiting for me to eat, tapping his foot nervously.

I sip my coffee trying to ignore the tapping but can't; “i take it you've brought something other than breakfast with you?

Well yes. But my instructions are to wait until you have finished your bagel.

finish my bagel? i wonder... “why? what's in it?

He fidgets with the napkin; “nothing.... that I know of... um...

I place the tray on the nightstand. “we both know i'm not going to eat something suspicious no matter how pretty it looks so you may as well just hand over what you came to give me.”

His bottom lip catches between his teeth and he nervously straightens the napkin draped over his arm for the umpteenth time; “it's not that simple Miss. There are two parts. One from each of your comrades” (comrades: com·rades [kom-rads, -rids]  -nutjobs- otherwise known as: Part Time Evil Genius Dr. Max Tunguska. and/or Master Spy Roth, Indigo Roth. Often partners in crime. Always best mates.)

nothing is ever simple where those two are concerned, that we know, but could you be so bold as to start with part one maybe?

Of course.” he fidgets in his left front jacket pocket ,moves to the right front pocket and finally to the left pocket of his trousers from which he retrieves an envelope; “Right. Here we are. This arrived for you next month.”

I took it before thinking. Early morning does that to me and I think 'my comrades' realize it. I do however give it a quick shake and an intent listen before I open it. Interesting. It appears to be a simple invitation:

Eolist,

In celebration of spring I invite you to bring your mapping skills to
a Rambling Uphill  Flag Planting Party
last Tuesday 4pm sharp. Pink Parka required.

The waiter shifts his weight from one foot to the other; “If Miss requires I can press her pink Parka and ready her mapping case for last Tuesday when the time comes.”

that would be lovely. Thank you, but I know a stall when I hear one, so how about you just hand over part two.”

He straightens the napkin, traces imaginary circles in the floor with his right foot and shifts his lip in so many differing directions I start to get dizzy before he quietly admits;

Dr. Tunguska sent me to steal... um... harvest... er... take... ah... to help you forget the 'Balloon Incident'"

Visions of the Euthanasia Curry house and a burning balloon dance across my forebrain causing me to giggle out loud; “why would I want to forget that? My eyebrows grew back just fine, okay very fine, but grow back they did and, obviously, I enjoy that memory. Especially the way Indigo slipped off of the steering whe...” his nose is suddenly so close to mine that I can smell next weeks garlic on his breath.... “why are you looking at me like this?

He shakes his head as if I am the silliest Miss this side of the pond; “penciled in peach fuzz does not a proper eyebrow make.” he says, his free hand dipping underneath the napkin draped over his arm. His lush full eyebrows follow some hidden path as he fishes for something deep within in a cavern I can't see. “ah, here it is!” he exclaims, bringing forth and poking a tiny brown bottle with a suspiciously familiar label under my nose.

I took the bottle just to be sure, but just as I thought, it was none other than  Dr. Max Tunguska's hair tonic. The one he concocted before he was physically removed from chemistry class all those years ago. The one he tried on It right before the Addams family arrived to pick him up for Christmas break. “uh uh. No way. Not a chance. I know what this is and I prefer to live life without eyebrows thank you very much.”

Oh come now Miss. Petite.” he chides. “It's completely safe. In fact i have used it myself.

I roll my eyes toward the top of his ever so shiny head.

Okay, well, obviously not on my own head but I assur...

I have to stop him there because I know something he assumes I don't. “.. and how many times a day is it that Rabbit still needs to shave?

He studies his feet, in particular the bottom of his left shoe from which he retrieves something flat, grey and fuzzy, while mumbling on about it not being his fault that the pet store had to close for lack of cute fuzzy baby bunnies at Easter or that they had fired Rabbit and his Mrs....

then again there had been a bright side to Rabbits constant shaving routine... “Of course” I giggle; “Mrs. Rabbit did finally get a much needed rest didn't she?

He studies the grey matter pulled from his shoe intently. “That she did Miss. That she did.” he licks the corner of it with the tip of his tongue, puzzles a bit and then shoves it into his pocket.. “Took up running she did. Last I heard they were making loads of money fixing dog races....” he smiles widely at the thought, takes the bottle from me and tucks it back from where ever it came.

I study my fingers for any sign of hair; “So what is it they want me to do this time?” and wonder what would require me to forget the balloon incident? Two running men arguing about wasting precious future fuel resources flash across my forebrain. “It wouldn't have anything to do with balloons and blazing fires would it?

Oh no, Miss, it couldn't be more opposite, though I think you may still be left holding the match... now if we could just get on with this I could still make it to last years magicians meeting.”

I took one last peek at the slideshow running through my forebrain grinning at Indigo being chided by Max for the misuse of possible future fuel resources and the burning cork that had simultaneously created the waiters shiny bald head. “okay, I guess i'm ready to let it go.”

Wonderful!” he reaches over his head and pulls a small glass rod from the back of his suit jacket which he polishes with his napkin. I notice the rod has a long narrow point at one end and a short fat point at the other. sandwiched between those points is a round faceted prism which was creating wonderful rainbows filled with captured happenings when the light of morning hit it just right - one of which is the waiter helping Rabbit apply hair tonic.

The waiter finishes the polish, shakes and straightens the napkin back over his arm and inspects the rod. Then, while balancing it on the tip of his smallest finger, he moves as far away from me as he can get and still be in my room. As he pins himself to the wall I stifle a yawn and wonder if any good can come of this.

He drops the long narrow point of the rod into his palm, extends his arm and brings it up to shoulder level aiming the short fat point toward the tip of my nose.

And then, as if he is a ringmaster, he makes an announcement; “And now, Miss, I shall attempt to trap your memory of the balloon incident within this crystal!” then, quickly and quietly, he adds; “don't worry it doesn't hurt that much but can, and often does, leave permanent scarring...

My eyes widen in surprise at that last bit, the boys know I'm not my sharpest in the morning and therefore knew I wouldn't even think to question the effects!; “Wait! What!?!

but it was too late, I was hit by a flash of light so bright I had to blink back tears. It must have been ten minutes before I could see anything at all. In fact, I was still trying to blink tiny bright spots from my field of vision when I saw the waiter upright himself and take the, now crumpled, napkin from his arm to rub the soot from his bald head...

And i sat there blinking back tiny bits of light while he continued to rub his head til it gleamed. And then i remembered the burning cork that took his hair. And the balloon explosion. And the fire and... 

"Well, Miss, enjoy your breakfast. Unless there is anything else I can do for you this morning, I shall see you last Tuesday to press your parka."

Um... I don't think the crystal worked... I still remember the balloon.

Balloon? What balloon?




*related - and wonderfully crafted - humorous adventures:
BalloonRambling Uphill ; The Shed Event Horizon ; Clock Watching  - among many other wonderful stories - by: Dr. Max Tunguska
Making A Break For Venezuela ; Super Rare Holographic Clergy ; Just Like the Real Thing ;  The Panic is Infectious - also among many other wonderful stories - by: Indigo Roth
Balloon too and/or while i waited by: herself the elf 

of wine and giggling

Pretty isn't she?


Tonight i discovered that i quite like the new bottled Smirnoff lemonades - so much so that i drank a full 11.2 ounces with dinner...


and i've been giggling ever since.

which reminded me of this rental car (as seen before in Indigo Roth's  Gravity Takes Hold Again ) and just how much i wanted to drive it - just a little bit - and how, being the gentleman that he is, Indigo consistently found creative ways to tell me why i wasn't able to.

i wasn't on the lease.  what if i have an accident.  i wasn't insured.  and the best and truest reason of them all; i couldn't see over the steering wheel let alone the dashboard....

i firmly believe he wanted her all to himself if only for one long straight run with pedal fully to metal (because i certainly did) but, as much as it must have hurt, he never once left me standing there in the dust when i got out to explore... god bless him for that, because i am sure he was severely tempted...

which brings me to the point of this story and the reason he was right not to allow me anywhere near the keys...

we'd been exploring all day in that black beauty and finally hit town just as it was closing for the night... there was however an open restaurant/bar with live music so in we went. and we had a grand time eating and chatting and listening and sharing a carafe of wine - though he would probably tell you i didn't share, i will swear that i let him have a small taste...

and by the time we left i was giggling quite well.

but, nonetheless as soon as we hit the sidewalk and started heading back to that black beauty waiting for us in the parking lot i started to scheme; perhaps now that his tummy was full his guard was also down. now might be the perfect time to ask (yet again) if i could drive....

and so with all the best of my feminine charms i asked.

and he answered in some wonderfully courteous form involving the wine i had just consumed and he walked on...

i'm sure i was giggling through my protest, but never mind.  protest i did; 

"you worry far too much. i didn't have that much to drink. i'm fine" i said.


...and then promply fell off the curb.




 





 

petite's law

it has been a long dreary winter filled with renovations...

to break up the long winter rut - or perhaps to stave off my greeting him while wielding an axe with the all too famous; "Wendy, I'm home!" -  mr. petite went online and rented a hotel suite with a jacuzzi tub - and to make it even more romantic it was in the hotel that hosted our wedding rehearsal dinner all those hundreds of years ago....

so we spent the day driving about, trucking through new fallen snow, viewing our very beautiful lakeshore and it's lighthouses amidst hints of early spring sunshine....




until we finally reached our destination...

the parking lot was a bit iffy. not only had it not been plowed but these signs were posted here, there, and everywhere :




the hotel itself was presentable and from what mr. petite had read online, it had been newly refurbished. the snow was also fairly new as well, so just maybe the signs were fairly old...

we tucked any questions we might have had toward at the back of our thoughts and in we went.

the hotel was gorgeous. crystal chandeliers, marble floors, double oak staircase with mirrored panels that reflected facets of one very elegant grand entrance in wonderful shimmering light...



even so, the questions remained and mr. petite very politely told reception that we would like to see the room first... 

the smiling receptionist said it was no problem and gave him the key to our suite - and why not? they already had our credit card information right?


walking the hall we passed a few banquet rooms filled with gorgeous antique tables and chairs... and i started to feel more and more comfortable...

and then the mr. opened the door to our suite....

the room is not only filthy, it's still occupied!

what the?!? 

we fast retreat to reception where mr. petite fills them in and tells them we will not be staying.

reception is horrified; "oh my gosh! i am so very sorry! we will give you a two room suite instead! and, of course, i will personally show it to you before you make your decision."

reassured, we follow the receptionist to another room as he apologizes profusely and gives us further details on the two room suite as he opens the door...

and suddenly takes the stance that lets one know without a doubt they should not come any closer and says; 'huh!? what?!? this room isn't clean either!?!...'

and back we go to reception where he finds there are no other rooms available - like we really wanted to see lucky number three - and mr. petite tells him we won't be staying.  reception then proceeds to explain that the fault is ours because we are standing there demanding our suite before check in time and if we would just come back at check in time.... (15 minutes later)

mr. petite just calmly repeats that we won't be staying and he would like them to cancel our reservation...

reception replies that they are sorry but they cannot cancel the reservation. reservations have to be canceled by using the phone number listed on the webpage where it was reserved. . .

um...

". . .thank you, and have a nice day!"

okay....

um...


hmmm...

'does that sound fishy to you?' says mr. petite on our way out the door.
'very, i answer, and i'm calling the credit card company as soon as we get in the car.'

mr petite is far calmer than i am at this point.

and, once in the car, while i franticly fish for my credit card, he simply calls the phone number listed on the web page confirmation print out...

and gets a recording; "our offices are open monday - friday from 9am - 5pm, if this is an emergency or you need further assistance please call 1-000-123-4567"

he doesn't even have to ask the question because i can hear the recording and am already saying CALL IT! while at the same time dialing the credit card hotline number on the back of my card.

so, while i am pressing the buttons the automated credit card system is demanding, he is dialing the number he was given....

and again he gets a recording; "....you have reached the offices of Stock Broker X and Associates...."

now we're both saying; what the?!?

and he says, maybe i got it wrong?  and proceeds to call the first number again and as the emergency number is rattled off we both write it down. again he dials, again he reaches Stock Broker X and Associates....
and still he thinks out loud that maybe he'd dialed it wrong....

all my money and my gut says he didn't. 

by now my credit card has an alert posted and says they will call me if any charges from this hotel come through and will dispute said charges on my behalf if by chance they don't catch it and/or it comes in as something different...

and in the awkward adrenaline filled what the hell just happened silence afterward mr. petite quietly asks if i want to try to find another place to stay.

but right now i think we are dissapointed, exhausted and too close to home to try this twice in the same day.

we almost made it out of the parking lot before the laughter started.

Murphy's MS. PETITE'S law 



the buff gloved boys

this morning i ran errands.


those errands included stopping at the home improvement store to pick up a few 1x4x8 trim pieces and a piece of plastic tubing along with other odds and sorts.

i was greeted as i entered the store and as i passed each aisle with "Good Morning, may I help you?" to which i responded that i was headed to pick out some lumber for trim....

evidently lumber was not within their jurisdiction.


if you've ever been to the "lumber" store and picked out your own lumber, you know that the first pieces you pull out of the pile are not going to be the ones you take home.  nor are the second. or third.  and so on.  in fact, i think, as a general rule the straightest unmarked pieces of timber are going to be near the bottom of the lot.

so there i am catching splinters in my hands and sawdust in my eyes sorting and stacking and digging and comparing and re-stacking 1x4x8 sticks of lumber in an attempt to locate those timbers that were as close to $4 perfection as i could get.

and there they were; the buff gloved boys...

the buff gloved boys; whose territory i was smack dab in the center of...

the buff gloved boys; who get paid to hoist lumber for tiny blue-eyed batting lash equipped old fart females like me...

the buff gloved boys; who all tried their best to become invisible as they passed me by lest they catch my attention and, god forbid, i ask for help...

this stealth activity continued until finally i had exhausted all the possible timbers - and had placed those that were usable into my cart.

i then engineered the hefty cart over to the plastic pipe aisle and commenced picking a piece of plastic pipe from the shelf.

now, in case you didn't realize, plastic pipe is engineered. it's all the same. so there was no sorting for the best of the best involved here. and i will also mention that it weighs a few ounces at best...

and the reason i mention the weight of plastic pipe is this;

those same buff gloved boys that had passed me by thinking they were wearing Harry Potter's Invisibility Cloak while i sorted through timber up to my knees are now stumbling over each other to help me load 2 ounces of plastic pipe...