Terrorize

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. I mean, what’s not to like about free candy and having an actual reason for peeing your pants in public. I have always decorated indoors, but since we are rarely home on Halloween night, we have not done much decorating outdoors in the past. I changed all that this year and decided to buy as much spooky décor for the outdoors as I could get my grubby little mitts on. For the last month I have been slowly turning our yard into a mess of zombies, witches and bones of all kinds. It’s hard to walk to our front door without being harassed by an animated doll or wolf.

Before going all out on the decorations, I talked to a few of the neighbors who have young kids. The people across the street assured me that they loved scary decorations and their kids weren’t afraid of any of it. Since their 5 year old told me there was no such thing as Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny within an hour of meeting me last year, I figured they would be cool with a few screaming witches and howling wolves. As I watched them hang up their decorations in their own yard I quickly realized that “scary” is a pretty subjective term. It was clear that their idea of terrifying was a fuzzy spider, not a glowing eyeless doll head. The little boy has cried at least three times after our life sized witch asked him for a kiss and offered him candy. I guess at least I can say I asked them before I put it out. The mom informed me that the kids keep looking out their window at night at all of our floating heads and glowing eyes, afraid they are coming to get them. I told her just to tell them they aren’t real. I left out the part about how she already ruined Easter and Christmas for them with that line, she may as well turn another holiday into a giant dumpster fire.

The rest of the neighborhood seems to be enjoying the decorations. Almost daily I hear the grim reaper and witch screaming out to kids on the front porch and I have come out a few times to find a child crammed up under the witches dress trying to figure out what makes her tick. I even caught the UPS guy laughing at some of the one liners coming from the grim reaper. I suppose you see and hear everything when dropping off running shoes and tampons on suburban porches. I am guessing by the time Halloween actually rolls around, most of our visitors will have already heard plenty from all the animated ghouls posted in our yard.

My most recent purchase was a couple of howling wolf skeletons and barking dogs. As soon as I came home from the store I set the bones up in my flower beds and listened to them howl as the kids ran in front of them. I next heard the same howling and barking at 6 am the next day when it started raining. The screaming beasts actually managed to wake the dead, since that’s about as heavy as I sleep. I had to run out in the rain in a tank top and pajama pants to pry open their mouths and find the switches to shut them up. By the time I was done, I had a giant mound of plastic and cobwebs screaming and barking at my on the porch. If the glowing red eyes from the zombies didn’t traumatize the kids across the street, the sight of me beating up a bunch of bones at the crack of dawn surely did.

During the past month as I have been purchasing an entire gang of life sized decorations and their once furry friends, I failed to think about the future (as I often do). My basement is already packed to the gills with other holiday decorations and I have at least 5 orange and black storage bins of indoor décor to contend with. I’m fairly certain that at the end of the year we are either going to have to buy a bigger house or rent a storage unit. We already have one skeleton that stays out year round. I put festive hats on her for different seasons so I don’t appear completely insane. One house skeleton makes you quirky, a yard full of skeletons and witches year round makes you bat shit crazy. So at some point before the lights go from orange to green and red, I am going to have to find a home for all these beasts. I don’t know how the rest of my family feels about taking a shower with a talking witch, but the idea is growing on me. Either that we are going to have a receiving line in the foyer to ensure we never have house guests. That kind of seems like a win to me!

And in true Logan fashion, I just learned that we are not in fact going to be home on Halloween night. I guess I will totally deserve it when the first kid on the porch dumps the entire bowl of candy into his bag and eggs our front door. Hopefully the screaming grim reaper at least makes him wet his pants on the way out.

 

**Halloween is the best time of year to listen to the Misfits. Just sayin!

 

Queercore

While my daughter was doing volunteer work at school last week, the organization they were working at passed out a survey to get some background information about their volunteers. While in theory, this is a good practice, the volunteers on this day were fifth and sixth grade girls who didn’t even understand many of the questions, especially about sexual identity and orientation.

I received an e-mail later in the day from the head of school explaining what happened and offering an apology. The surveys were collected by the school since the girls did not have parental permission to be giving their phone numbers and addresses to strangers at a homeless shelter. I’m sure the surveys were pretty useless anyway since most of the girls had no idea what the options meant. I just felt bad for the teachers who had to field questions about the meaning of terms like pansexual and transsexual.

After reading the e-mail I asked my kid about the survey since she had not even mentioned it. She said her concern was that she couldn’t remember her phone number. Luckily an older girl next to her instructed her not to write her address or phone number on the form. I asked if any of the questions were confusing and she assured me she understood them. When I prodded for more information she told me that she answered “female” for her gender and “straight and homophobic” for her sexual orientation. This second answer gave me a little pause. I will concede that a lot of straight folks like myself are pretty vanilla, but we are not all bigots. Either she misread that question or the survey takers think all straight people are homophobes. I was leaning toward her not remembering the answers so I asked if she knew what “homophobic” meant. She informed me she did not and when I said it means you are afraid of and dislike gay people, she was horrified. I told her the term that meant the same thing as straight was heterosexual and she started laughing and said “yeah that was it!” I could not even contain myself to continue the conversation by that point. I guess we are getting to that sex education part of parenting a little sooner than I expected!

**Of course I am listening to the Queers while writing. How could I not?!

Riders on the Storm

About a month ago my dad soaked the inside of his car when he left the windows open in the rain. My parents had left the house and when they returned, my dad saw his car window open and immediately thought someone had broken his window. I love that his first reaction was that someone else must have damaged his car, not that he left his own windows down. What is most comical about this is that my dad never has the windows up while driving, so him leaving the windows down while parked is not all that unusual. It can be sweater weather and he has at least the moonroof open. Once he saw the open window, he walked out to his car to find all of his windows down and the moonroof wide open. It had been pouring rain for an hour, so needless to say, his seats were a little waterlogged. I’m not going to lie, that car needed a good detailing anyway.

Since my mom told us this story, my child has double checked the Old Man’s windows every time a cloud passes over. She has asked about the status of his windows at least a dozen times and takes every available opportunity to give him a hard time about it. I understand this though, because the man does not learn. A few weeks after he drenched his car, he left me sitting in the same car while he returned to the house to get something. The windows were all open, including the moonroof and within 10 seconds of him walking away, the rain started to pour in on me. He turned around and laughed instead of throwing the keys back to me. Typical. I am now thoroughly convinced that an actual dark cloud is following him.

One would think that maybe the third time is a charm, but one would be mistaken. Yesterday he picked me up to go retrieve one of the wave runners that was being serviced. Rain was expected, but we went anyway. As we were driving to the dealership I mentioned that I did not have a life jacket and we would need to stop at the lake house to grab one. He proceeded to drive right by our turn off and when I told him he responded “you can swim, right?” I agreed that a life jacket was not really necessary and we continued along, with the clouds following. When we got to the dealership, he immediately got out of the car and took the keys, leaving me sitting with the windows down and no radio. When he returned a few minutes later it had already started to sprinkle. He sat in the car talking to me for a full minute before I could prompt him to close the moonroof. He was just carrying on about the Olympics, while we got a shower until I finally said “you might want to close this….” while sticking my hand through the open roof.

As we headed back to the boat launch, the rain started to come down a little harder, and by the time we got to the dock it was the kind of rain that required an umbrella. I would like to say we turned around and headed to a garage until the rain subsided, but we are no quitters. And we are not all that bright either. I got on the wave runner and started it up right about the time a full on monsoon started. But by that time, there was no turning back. I took off and was halfway around the bend before my dad even left the boat launch, where he probably immediately opened the moon roof. I wanted to make sure everything was in working order but I couldn’t bring myself to drive more than 33 mph since the rain felt like pins going into my face. Although I usually like being the only vehicle on the lake, it was not an ideal time since I was not wearing a life jacket, it felt like pebbles were being thrown at me from the sky and a few neighbors were actually pointing and laughing. I managed to make it back to the dock in about 10 minutes. After getting the wave runner up on the lift, covering it and returning the key to the house, I finally grabbed a towel and headed to the garage as the rain completely stopped. I found my dad holding a leaf blower, cleaning the garage floor before backing in the trailer. Although he didn’t mention I looked like a drowned rat my mom later told me she saw me on the doorbell cam and that was exactly what I looked like. We moved the trailer into the garage and when I jumped back into the car I was shocked to see that all of the windows were actually closed for once, and the only sopping wet thing in the car was me.

**I just noticed I haven’t posted anything in over a month. It’s because I have been listening to new music (new to me at least) like this little gem.

Houdini

Our indoor cat has decided he would like to transform into an outdoor cat. Unfortunately for him, I disagree. So the battle has begun and I am apparently not as smart as a cat (go figure). He has been outside at least a dozen times in the past week. Every time I open a door, he tries to bolt outside. This is especially tricky when my kid is walking in from school with a backpack, lacrosse stick, water bottle and multiple layers of clothing shed throughout the day. We had developed a strategy where I walked in first to block and then she followed. This worked exactly twice and since then the little furball has taken to darting right between our legs when the door opens. My husband has resorted to weapons and placed a mop next to the door which he uses to corral the beast back indoors. The cat’s counterattack has been to wedge himself under the door so it only opens an inch where he can claw at our feet. We have tried to walk in other doors, but he always manages to beat us to the front door too.

This obsession with freedom seemed to develop after he almost fell out of a second story window. Literally, the cat was hanging by his claws out of our bedroom window. A few weeks ago we opened the window next to his cat tree and he climbed up and lounged in the breeze watching the kids play outside. 10 minutes later my daughter was screaming and my husband was running up the stairs. I looked up to see the cat on the outside of the window hanging by his front legs as if making an attempt to do chin ups on the window ledge. He had managed to completely push the screen out of the frame and was hanging on the top portion of the open window. I am not even sure how he did it, I was just happy that I was able to grab him before he lost his grip. His feet had hardly touched the ground before he turned around and leapt at the open window again. I had to bear hug him until my husband could get the window closed. I then watched my husband hanging from the side of the house while he tried to reinsert the screen. We have kept that window cracked only an inch since then and the little man still hangs his front paws outside.

We occasionally leave other windows in our house open and within minutes the little guy seems to find his way to them where he either climbs up the screen to the top, or pushes at the frame on the bottom in an attempt to escape. He somehow managed to pop the screen out of the track in one of the doorwalls and get his claws stuck in a screen after climbing to the top of an almost closed window. He is like a little mouse squeezing his body through openings the size of a lemon. All of our screens also now look like someone took a razor blade to them. Pretty soon they will resemble swiss cheese and will be completely useless in keeping one critter in and countless insects out. 

I think the worst part of this imprisonment is hearing the poor little furball cry every time anyone leaves the house. He stands at the garage door and meows at the top of his lungs each and every time a human leaves the house. Whoever is left in the house with him spends the next 10 minutes trying to get him to relax and stop yelling. When the whole family leaves him, he reacts by pulling all of the rubber seal from the bottom of the door bit by bit. We come home to find mounds of soggy rubber bits all over the rug. 

I was about to give up and just let the little man run free until I remembered the late nights waiting up for our previous kitty to return. Somehow I think this little guy would be even later to come home based on the fact that he is a stubborn little shit. Instead, I made a compromise. I bought him a kitten leash. If he wants to act like a dog and beg at the door, I am going to treat him as such and bind him to me with a rope. My husband is laughing at me, but he’ll be grateful when he doesn’t have to replace the screens. Although, somehow I see me getting dragged through the grass on my knees by a 10 pound cat the first time he tries to chase a squirrel. As with most things, this will probably not end well for me.

**I wrote this while listening to Fugazi because we discovered Brody (the punk rock cat) only likes Ian MacKaye’s first band so I’m trying to change his mind. Go figure!**

Firestarter

My husband mentioned last week that it had been awhile since I set a stove on fire. I don’t know why or how it came up, but it was a valid comment since I have, in fact, incinerated a few stoves and ovens in my day. But with that comment, he inflicted a curse on our house. The following day my dryer turned off by itself after running for five minutes and when I opened the door, I was greeted by the smell of burning plastic/wires/electronics/etc… This is a smell I know well.

We called a repairman out to have a look and we were informed that the repair of our 10 year old dryer would run us somewhere between $600-900. The service call was well worth the fee though because we learned what brands not to buy. Strangely, it was pretty much every brand that the big box stores were running sales on last weekend. Also, the fact that each of the brands he recommended were American was a little suspect, but he explained that the parts for foreign machines were difficult to get and that the quality of the brand we currently had peaked at about the time we bought our last machine and had been going downhill ever since. I didn’t ask if he was a card carrying member of the proud boys or anything, but I don’t think his recommendation was made based on being a redneck.

After considering how much laundry I do in any given week (3-6 loads), I promptly went online and ordered a washer and dryer set. Our washer was working properly but I’m no dummy and know that if I replaced only the dryer, the washer would go up in flames the following day. If anyone could cause something that dispenses water to burn to ashes, it’s me. On Friday night I placed my order and scheduled a delivery for Sunday afternoon. My husband spent the next afternoon preparing for the delivery by removing doors and unhooking our old machines. I knew enough to pay the extra charge for the delivery guys to cart away our old crap.

Sunday rolled around and we were informed that our delivery would be late, which was fine until the truck showed up and the delivery team informed us that their work order did not include taking anything with them and that they had our order but it included a dryer that had very obviously been in someone else’s house and was missing the legs. They refused to take our 10 year old dusty machines and we refused to take their broken merchandise.

When I called the store (as instructed by the deliveryman), I basically got the run around for several hours. I talked to a woman who I am pretty sure had short-term memory issues because she called me back three times to confirm the details of my problem. I thought it was pretty cut and dry but she was having some trouble understanding the specifics. She was under the impression I ordered two washing machines and didn’t know why I wouldn’t let go of the broken one when the delivery men tried to take it. I’m now wondering if she was under the impression she was calling a laundromat. She left me with a broken promise of a call back to resolve the issue.

The next morning I called back and spoke with someone who, amazingly understood my dilemma and helped me resolve it. He was astonished that the delivery guys refused to even look at our invoice that verified we had paid for them to take away our old stuff and said that if it happened on the next delivery to call him right away. He also informed me that the washing machine we ordered never made it back to the store. I am now guessing that the delivery man didn’t have the time to haul away our stuff at 5:30 at night because he was preparing to hook up his brand new washing machine that “fell off the truck” somewhere along the way.

Unfortunately, even with Mr. Helpful on the case, we still had some hurdles to jump since the washer/dryer set I originally ordered was out of stock. We ended up being upgraded to a more expensive model but he had to call all over to get manager approval. When the order was finally ready to process, our Lowe’s credit card was rejected for too much activity. Apparently they frown on stores attempting to return items so I had to call to get the hold removed. By the time the items were authorized, purchased and scheduled for delivery, I had spent 4 hours and 48 minutes on the phone with various Lowe’s employees and yelled at at least three of them.

But today, we have a washer and dryer. My husband did have to install them himself since the deliverymen said they were unable to touch our old tubes and clamps for liability reasons. But that was probably for the best since one of the guys was sweating so profusely I was afraid he might actually slip and fall in his own bodily fluids in my hallway. And I couldn’t have waited another minute since my kid wears about 12 outfits a day. If anyone needs me, I’ll be slowly unburying myself from mounds of clothing I have been trapped under while on hold.

**Nothing makes me feel better than good old fashioned punk rock when I am annoyed and frustrated (or happy, angry, ambivalent…)

Redemption Song

jokerMy daughter is making her first reconciliation this week. For you non-guilt-ridden-catholics, this is the act of confession. We have been discussing this sacrament since she made her first communion a few years ago. Every time she is a little asshole to me or her father I tell her she may want to add that to the list. Until recently she claimed she had nothing to confess. She sounds like her grandfather who claims to go to confession just to chat with the priest since he has no sins to repent for. I know both of them too well to believe either of them and I think they may want to add lying to their lists as well. But apparently sending her to a catholic school has instilled some of that good old fashioned shame into her and she is now ready to make her first confession.

Unfortunately, she is scheduled to partake in this event while I am otherwise occupied. I honestly didn’t make other plans to avoid repenting for my various sins, I just have a prior engagement. When we discussed this time conflict it was determined by my family that everyone is better off with me skipping out. My husband commented that the priest wouldn’t have time to hear anyone else’s confessions after listening to me for hours on end. My daughter’s only response was “yeah, it would be like you talking to your therapist!” which she apparently believes I do for hours on end while she is at school. I would try to disagree with them, but I can’t in good conscience say I don’t have a laundry list of misdeeds to atone for. This week alone I can name a dozen things I said or did. Fortunately, I can also name a dozen good deeds I have done as my little act of atonement. 

I didn’t want to point out to my family that I have improved by leaps and bounds in the past few years. If they had any idea how many times I actually hold back from expressing myself when some idiot says something idiotic, they would actually be impressed. Luckily for them, I keep most of my comments to myself, even when they are the idiots saying something idiotic. Who says people can’t change?!

*I wrote this blog while listening to my favorite.

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