Friday, September 12, 2014


I was at work, nightshift on an adolescent psych unit.  A sleepless 15 year old girl spent the early morning hours at my side, sitting quietly while I shuffeled paperwork.  When I was done, she laid her head on my desk.  We talked about the upcoming day.  She was to go to court to become a ward of the state.  She didn't know how she felt about that.  She confessed that she was focused on how filthy she felt.  She had only one pair of panties and she'd not taken them off for her entire 10 day admission.  I had monitored her shower the night before.  I said that I could have washed them then, or give them to me now and I'll wash them right away.  No, she said.  I never, ever go without underwear, even in the shower.  This struck me.  What kind of life had this baby had?  I let her nap on my desk till it was time for day shift to take over.

I handed my team off, gave report and headed to the nearby drugstore to get the kid a package of panties.  KMOX was on my car radio.  Wendy Weiss was giving news that something, perhaps a bomb had hit the World Trade Center in NYC.  She is a seasoned local news reporter, but she was eminating a bit of horror.

I returned to the unit, told the day staff that something terrible was happening.  We flipped the tv on and the entire crowd gathered: floor staff, patients, physcians, housekeeping.  We were all silent as we watched the second plane hit.  Even the normally raucous, self-absorbed adolscent patients were stunned.  We turned the tv off and had an impromptu meeting, trying to reassure patients and staff.

I drove home and called my DH.  I begged him to come home.  The pentagon was now hit and there were reports of a fourth downed plane.  My worries were these:  My husband is smart and works at a place with a lot of smart, important people.  My kids are smart and important.  I imagined terroists going for McDonell-Douglas, the engineering school and the prep school where my kids were.  I was terrivied for my immediate family.

DH said what he always says, "It'll be alright".  I drove over to my Mom's and laid on the couch with her.  We cried and watched the news all day.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Poop is my life. Poop.

Back in the day, family dinner (and breakfast) wasn't much to think about.  Sometimes we organized it around soccer or baseball practice, but usually the family gathered and we ate.  We didn't know it was an important part of "family development".

So, one day, we were eating.  Chair assignment was natural; Dad at the head of the table because he has the longest arms to reach stuff, littler kids near mom who is nearest the kitchen to run back and forth.  Baby chair on the corner because it takes mom AND dad to contain baby.  Baby is precocious. Note spelling, he was precious, but mostly, precocious.

We eat away and our appitites are momentarily subdued by the smell of poop.  Baby has taken this opportunity to poop.  Instead of interupting dinner to change baby, we opt to set him free till we are done.

Baby toddles off in poop diaper.  We finish dinner and continue to sit and visit.  Someone is nomintated to find and change baby.  We call baby back to dining room.  Momma does not smell poop.  Momma looks into diaper and this is how that goes:

Momma:  "Baby, where is your poop?"

Baby: "upstairs.  In my twuck"

Brothers, brave and unafraid of poop, run upstairs to investigate.  Baby had removed the offensive poop and mashed it into his Tonka cement mixer.

I retained almost all of the kid's Tonka trucks.  You won't find the cement mixer in that box.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Back in the days of "chat rooms", my buddy OkFyn and I copped a miracle.  It was the day of McGwire's anticipated home run record breaker.  And here's how that went:

Fyn and I were passing time in the twenty person local chat room.  We knew several of the chatters in "real time", but often we'd chat with lurkers and passers-by.  The primary topic of the day was the ballgame.  Late in the season, held in town and tickets were, if at all obtainable, way out of our price range.  As we chatted, a lurker offered us FREE tickets to today's game.  He just came out and said that he was going to the game and had two extra tickets.  If we wanted them, we should meet him at the Musial statue at X:00.  

These were innocent times, but Fyn and I are savvy people.  We know it's dangerous to meet online strangers.  In retrospect, it seems that we might have been the people that "they" warned you about, but that's another story.   On the phone while we were dressing and making child-care arrangements, we disscussed the potential scenerios:  1.  the guy is going to kidnap us.  2.  the guy is not going to show up.  3.  The guy is going to show up and it will be a princess day.  I do not remember discussing the option of not going to check out the adventure.  Our odds were on option #2, so we prepared to watch the game at a downtown bar.  

We got to the Musial Statue.  If I remember correctly, we were to have carried a bouquet of daisies.  (correct me if I'm wrong, Fyn.  Don't lie, you don't remember).  We waited and waited, about an hour past the meeting time.  It was getting close to game time.  Daisies wilting, crowd thinning.  Oh well.  I remember that we had insanely good / cheap parking and did not want to move our cars so we were deciding on TV options near the old park, when a young black man approached us.  A bit thuggy.  Striding purposefully.  "Are you Klaw?  Nice flowers.  Enjoy the game."  and handed us two tickets.  He accepted our heart-felt thanks and walked away.  

Well, THAT was kinda cool.  We're IN!  As we make our way to the assigned seats, we discover that these tickets are for the carpenter's union family day, purchased years in advance, with no way of knowing that this was to be an historic ballgame.  Not only are they good for the game, we get free food and .... UNLIMITED BEER.  Did I mention the great parking?  We appreciate our PRINCESS STATUS.  

As we watched the eagle do his fly-about, Fyn leans into the daddy in front of us.  She tells him to watch out, his skinny three year old kid, who is standing on the seat, is going to "get ate up by that folding seat".  The daddy says ok, but lets the kid stand on the seat anyway.  We whisper and shake our heads at the weekend dummy daddy phenomenon, and pray that he never drives away with her car seat on top of the car.  

Thrills and chills, this game.  Gallons of cold beer.  Chicken sammiches and nachos.  Hits, runs, Mac up to bat.  35000ish people standing, screaming, clapping.  Mac hits it!  Deafening crowd and then ... 
whats this?  The Blue Angels!!!!  The first plane flies so low, I think I see the pilot.  But then, the chair eats the little girl and the three of us spend the rest of the inning extracting her and tending to her boo boos.  To her credit, Fyn never said I Told You So, but if looks could kill ....  

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Puppy dog tales.

So here's our dog tail story:  When the kids were small we had a Great Dane mix named Bruce Springsteen.  Everyone that ever knew him knows that I am not exaggerating when I tell you that Bruce was the very best dog in the world.  Tons of cool stories.  But, for a Dane, Bruce had a HUGE tail, thick and long.  He was such a happy guy that he injured his tail by over-wagging.  We worked for months to save his tail.  We splinted it with plastic tableware, we taped a long plastic protective cone over it, we secured feminine hygiene supplies around it.  None of it worked and everyone was very upset to find bloody feminine hygiene pads all over the house and yard.  Once, after we'd splinted it with plastic knives, he was sitting pretty and stood on his own dressing which made him howl in pain.  That was it, I loaded him in the car and took him to get an amputation.
     I argued with the doc, he wanted a bob.  I requested that we leave the healthy part.  It has a purpose, it covers an unsightly hole, and why ditch healthy living appendages?  So we left it about 12 inches long.  The doc was right, it looked pretty silly.
     He healed well.  Finally, my curious 6 year old came to me with a real concern that I had not addressed.  What had happened to his tail?  I explained the procedure, it's not painful for him and now his booboo tail won't hurt him again.  But the kid needed more, he wants to know WHERE IS THE REST OF BRUCE?  WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH HIS BODY PART.  Oh, I forgot about normal child development, that part where a human recognizes body as a whole and you don't just allow blood to leak out or throw body parts in the trash.  I told him that the vet's office had a Christian burial for it.  Common practice, don't worry.  I think the boy still has nightmares of being chased by doggy tail parts.
     Anyway, 25 years later, I still find little specks of tail-wagged blood around the house when I'm painting.  I hope this never causes a forensic crisis.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Horrah! New phone! or: how to become suicidal in seven days.

*for use in this essay: OE will stand in for "I'm certain I did something wrong to contribute to this issue".  I understand that I'm not too tech savvy.
      I maintain, as always, since the government gave me a driver's license, I am, at least, a minimally capable person.  This is how I measure.  If you are mentally and physically able to get a driver's license, you have passed the minimal capabilty status for the US.  So, you'd think I'd be able to purchase and set up a new phone.
      I purchased a neon orange Nexus 5, made by LG via Google play.  This decision was prompted by my son.  He researches things like this and demands perfection and is very cheap.  So, that's my plan, copy the boy.  His exact phone, his exact carrier.  Good.

-Go to the carrier, "Ting" to find out what I need to do.  As suggested, I purchased the phone from Google play.  No problem, they are happy to accept my money and will ship right away.  As it turns out, one also needs a ting card for this particular phone so I ...
-try to buy a card from Ting.  The Ting website has an option to purchase with your Amazon account.  That seemed perfect.  There were two issues, though (OE):  The Ting website would not allow me to access the Amazon.  I ditched the ipad and tried on the desktop.  Still no go.  OK, I've OE'd somehow, I'll just start a new account with Ting.  Enter name, address, etc.  Now the Ting website says that I must be lying:  I don't really live in Overland, it wants me to change my city to St. Louis.  BUT: OE: it' wont allow me to access the portion of the page to change it.  Back to the desktop to try from there.  no go.  So I...
-call the Ting helper number.  We were on the phone for 40 minutes.  I gave her more information than anyone in my life knows.  My mother, my husband, my sister don't know the things I told this woman.  Credit card, super secret pass codes, the secret security number on my cc.  At the end of the conversation, she says "ohoh, the website won't allow me to change your city".  Um, well that's kind of what I called about ... She says "I'll have someone contact you asap to correct this.  There must be something wrong with our website".  I'm ok with that, but in the meantime, I ....
-Call the kid and tell him where I stand with the new phone.  He says, well, he happens to have an EXTRA Ting card for this phone:  he ordered one, then found one on Craigslist or something.  He will find it and get back to me so I ....
-wiat.  I wait for Ting to get back to me, I wait for the kid to find the card.  He cant find the card, he thinks he threw it away.  Meantime ....
-My cool-ass phone arrives!  I check back with Ting, they don't know what I'm talking about.  I wanna do new phone so I go to ...
-AT&T.  OE OE OE.  I'm stupid.  The very nice girl there sets me up with a pre-pay account, happily accepts my dough and sends me on my way.  I'm a minimally smart person and I know some shit.  So I use wifi when I'm at home.  BUT...
-my data runs out after less than 2 weeks.  It's kind of ok, cause I still have the old phone and a week left of the payasyougo shit from Cricket.  But, if  I've misjudged this badly, I'll need a new plan.  So I ...
-contact Ting again.  She helps me set up a new account with a new (possibly fictional city) and they send me a new Ting card.  Amazon option still not working.  Ting card arrives promptly!  So I ...
-contact Ting again to get some service.  so close, oh Lord we are so close.  Ting says, its so very easy!  Put the new card in and follow the prompts.  So I....
-Put the new card in and follow the prompts, I'm doing this online, on that trusty Ting website because once you put the Ting card in, of course, ATT does not recognize.  I can capably answer all the prompts till it gets to account number from ATT.  I scour all my paperwork and it looks like the only account number is ... the phone number that is registered to ATT.  Of course this does not work.  It's pretty clear from the ATT paper work that the phone number is right, it appears that I've misentered the passcode.  So I ...
-struggle for two days with Ting, pretty much insisting that they are wrong and they aren't very helpful.  I'm up to at least four very nice people at Ting who have tried to help me.  At every turn I have to REEXPLAIN the entire issue.  During all this struggle, I notice on the ATT paperwork that the tech has erroneously entered the WRONG phone number.  She mis-entered the last digit as a 2 instead of a 1.  This next part is so funny, you might cry.  The mis-entered number is THAT VERY SAME KID'S phone number,  the kid on Ting.  OMG, it's hilarious.  I just might stab myself in the eye. So then ....
-all communication is via "chat window" or email because my phone is in limbo.  I have a very long window chat with a nice lady from ATT who wants to know why in the world I'd switch from ATT?  I lied and said ATT has poor service at my Mom's, suggesting that Mom is sick and I'm there a lot.  Neither of these are true.  We get down to the butt of the matter and she tells me that my phone number is NOT my account number and she can't give me my account number.  She says that the service department will text it to me.  I've been here at least 3 times, in my not-working phone, there are no fewer than 3 helpful texts from ATT.  When I reinstall my ATT SIM card, the phone does not work because it thinks its a TING phone.  DAMMIT.  So then I ...
-Sleuth the TING trouble forums, I find that I'm not the first person who has jumped these hoops.  The only way to get your account number is to GO TO THE ATT STORE and retrieve it".  It appears that since this is a paper-free experience, you'll never be able to get it.  I understand why people take shot guns to the mall. 's Friday at 4pm.  I've been painting, doing yard work and I smell and look like a nanny goat.  So I ...
-Fly to the ATT store.  Get my name on a list behind 20,000 people who need help from ATT.  After a couple minutes the guy goes to the list, sees my name, sees that I need account number and runs over, talks to God, gets the account number and writes it down.  I say, why didnt anyone give me this info before?  Says he: I dunno, but we get a LOT of people in here every day just to get their account numbers.  So, I laugh.  and then I ...
-come home.  Email Ting with the proper information.  Its after 4 on Friday evening.  Every live person has gone home.  So then...
-I have a glass of wine and spend Friday night writing nasty things on Ting's "how do you like us now" page.  And then I go to bed.  I have a beautiful new phone and no service.  When I check my email on Saturday there is a noon message from Ting wanting to know what's my problem.  So then I...
-repeat the problems, reenter all the damn numbers:  ATT account numbers, several passcode choices, the hilarious issue with the mis entered phone numbers, the MEID number, the model number, the 2 options of transfer numbers that the lady to whom I lied gave me.  And added something like this:  I hate you and I hate my life.  I wish firery train crashes to all involved.  And close my computer and go have a glass of wine.  Then...
-my phone rings.     the end.  NOT ON YOUR LIFE...
-answer the phone, follow the prompts and the phone appears to work normally!  Celebratory glass of wine!  And then ...
-a young person comes over to my house and admires my freaking cool phone.  But, wait.  This face is cracked.  Can you see it?  There is a hairline crack on your phone.  I cry.  I vomit up the wine.  I peruse the tracks I took to purchase the phone for warranty info.  I get in touch with Google Play (remember them?  Firey train wrecks to them, too).  The guy says, gee whiz, lady.  Too bad.  You can try LG repair.  so next ....
-I go through scores of web stuff and find a service phone number.  Really, in the grand scheme of things, this is ok.  I have a phone that works.  I call the guy, Jarrod at LG.  We talk for a LONG TIME.  I beg and plead for him to send me a new phone, but he stands tough.  He says I have to send the phone to Fort Worth, Texas.  He cannot tell me if it's going to cost $1 or $379.  He's certain that it's going to cost something, because, surly I'm responsible for the damage.  Oh woe is me.  I cave and start giving him ALL THE FREAKING NUMBERS: phone, model, MEID, IMEI, SSN, CC and super secret passcodes.  ...
-Just as I was giving him the last 10 digit number he needed, the sonovabitch hung up on me.  I try to call him back, but it's been a long line of things like press 1 for english, press 6 if you have a phone number, etc.  I cannot reach him.  The phone is acting weird.  I facebook a BFF and ask her to call me.  Nope.  Went straight to voicemail.  Next ...
-Another of my kids comes over.  He says, your phone is turned off.  I do not punch him in the throat.  He picks up the phone, pushes a few numbers and says, Momma.  You have no service.  I have more wine and go to bed.  I am sad.  But I'm kind of grateful to learn that Jarrod did not hang up on me.   For whatever reason, TING baled out on me.  Suddenly and without apology.
-I wake today to an email from TING.  It says since I'm now a Ting customer, I should activate my phone.  It appears that I did not activate it before.  Kind poltergeists were allowing me temporary use.    I follow the instructions on the email TO THE VERY LETTER and have no success.  I go to the last part of the letter that says, "If all that crap above did not work, you'll need a factory reset".  And goes on to give instructions for that.  Which I follow to the very letter.  When I get to the end of those instructions, there is a reminder:  Don't forget to back up your phone to your desktop ...
-Which I did not do.
So.  Here I sit.  Out of wine, no working phone.  Doesn't matter, it's cracked and I've lost all my contacts.  I have no reason to doubt that I am paying Cricket, ATT and Ting.  And I suspect LG has a "Crazy Lady" star by my name.    

Thursday, May 29, 2014

White lady blues

Because I habitually over-share, I'm going to sell you another one.  If things like this upset you, please stop reading now.

In addition to expected LOL (in a previous life, this was a nursing acronym for Little Old Lady) issues, I have become violently allergic to : DEODORANT and ANTIPERSPIRANTS.

The time has come to be in close contact only with those who truly love me.  Sometimes smelly stuff leaks from my ear.  My bladder lift was not 100% successful.  I smoke cigs and stuff.  Now I smell like armpit, too.

signed, with love,
The Absolute Smelliest Person On Earth.

Keith Inch rehab

Attempting to show progress on my brother's manse here in O-town.  I am adding the zillow link, it shows about 60 photos of when they purchased the home.  I'll be adding to this link when I get more photos.  

This could be the one! See the home I found for sale on #Zillow:

above:  Bearing wall between the two kitchens

above:  Wallpaper found on west kitchen wall.  We suspect this was used for a nursery so staff could have access to east kitchen and outdoors (laundry, well, etc)

above:  cabinetry going in east wall.

above: custom island.  To include large copper farm sink.  Note rough-hewn oak floor.  It's really heavy-duty, easy-care tile!

above:  Hand-crafted 3" Missouri walnut countertops.  They are so beautiful, it'll bring a tear to your eye.  Again, this is the east wall.  They are leaving the built-ins on the west wall.

above:  Powder room between kitchen and dining room.  I wish I had a photo of the crystal and brass chandelier they installed.  hoity-toity toilet room.

above:  2nd floor west bedroom.  All the 2nd floor rooms are repaired and painted in appropriate, period shades.  Carpets removed and hardwood cleaned.
Middle bedroom, second floor.  Notice all the sweet little built-ins.  This is the problem window in the house.  When the home owner wins the Irish Sweepstakes, he will replace all the windows with architecturally appropriate windows.

 above:  bedroom fireplace front after elbow grease.  We used metal cleaners, but found best results from simple mineral oil.

Big ole hole in the ground.  Looks structurally sound.  Another masterpiece in progress.

Gratuitous photo of my adorable grandson.  Thank you.
July 23:  More photos:   Below: Walnut counter tops:

Below:  Powder room chandelier:  

Below: Fiberglass clawfoot for 2nd floor lav:

Below: front door with cute kid:

Below: Window, I cant remember where:

Below:  Saving the dining room wall paper, the gray is the in-going color:

Pool looks great!  We didn't paint it, because we thought it would need a lot of work.  So, we swim in an unpainted pool.  It's sound, it only needed a new pump.  Salt water pool.

Belolw: powder room off Kitchen:

Powder room:

Below:  cute dog, working pool:

Lots of slime, sludge and schmuck: