Friday, December 28, 2007

Mr. Lucky's Out of Town (Again)

Mr. Lucky went up to Georgia yesterday to visit his parents, taking our firstborn and the smaller dog, Jasper, with him. Baby Bear and I are staying home because things can become very volatile between our two autistic sons, especially if they're together for too long and in less than familiar surroundings. It's the main reason the older boy now lives in a group home.

Jasper's a sweetheart, especially when he turns onto his back, looks at me upside-down with those huge brown eyes, and beats his tail. But Buddy chews up everything that doesn't belong to Mr. Lucky (why is that?) and is always digging his way under the fence and into other people's yards. Needless to say, I wanted Buddy to go to Georgia. But it's precisely because Jasper is the smaller dog that he was picked to go, to my everlasting chagrin.

Instead of the minivan which would've had plenty of room for Buddy the Beagle From Hell, the husband took his snazzy black, two-door, sun-roofed, playboyish Buick Riviera, which I do not want to be stuck with should the necessity arise because it has a tire that's always running low on air. In fact, when Mr. Lucky was deployed for four months last year, he asked me to take the Buick out once in a while, "just to keep it in running condition." But after he left, I had to e-mail him that I found it sitting in the driveway with a flat.

"It gets that way sometimes," he e-mailed back. "It just needs air now and then. We have a pump for it somewhere out in the garage."

Somewhere, he said. I loved how he waited till he was halfway around the world to tell me all of this.

I'll stick to my reliable Chrysler minivan with the warranty, thank you.

Once again, it's just me and Bear--and the troublemaking dog. So far Buddy has knocked over the Christmas tree (not even Bear has ever tried that), figured out how to jump onto the kitchen counter, and has now maimed half of Bear's Teletubbies. While Mr. Lucky was out of town earlier this month, Buddy chewed the ear off Dipsy. This afternoon I found Tinky-Winky missing his nose.

Meanwhile, Bear was up at four in the morning, rocking on his bed while his electronic keyboard played an annoying rhythm full blast. I had to unplug the keyboard and remove it from his room, but after breakfast he hauled it back into his room, plugged it in, and resumed rocking.

Around mid-morning he dropped the remote control onto our ceramic tile kitchen floor, and it burst into pieces like Humpty Dumpty. Ordinarily I would say good riddance to this annoying object which is usually attached to Mr. Lucky's hand, but thanks to his powers of programming, we cannot switch from the DVD player or Playstation to the TV or vice-versa without it. So I had to figure out how to put it back together, and without any help from all the king's horses or all the king's men. Only once it was reassembled, I couldn't get it to work. It was dead.

This was not good. Baby Bear literally screamed in horror when I pointed it at the TV, and nothing happened. When he gets upset, he tends to either hit himself or bang his head into the wall--and we have lots of cracks and holes in the drywall to prove it.

Eventually I figured out that one of the batteries was reinserted backwards--but not after a new hole appeared in the living room wall, only inches above the back of the sofa. That kid is so tall for his age--if only he could make the holes higher, then I could cover them up with pictures. If I rearranged the furniture, swapped the sofa with the electric Charmglow fireplace, then either the mantel clock would conceal the hole, or I could use that picture of my children that sits next to the clock and needs a new frame after I caught a certain dog chewing on it.

Only I can't move the sofa or fireplace by myself, and Mr. Lucky doesn't like to rearrange the furniture unless it's his idea. Yeah, I know what I have to do--make it his idea, and remember to tell him how brilliant he is for thinking of it.

He called this morning, not only to make sure I wasn't entertaining any of the aforementioned king's men in his absence, but to announce the low tire was officially flat. Oh, he and the Crown Prince and Jasper made it to the in-laws' house all right yesterday, but when they tried to go out for breakfast this morning, that perpetually low tire finally blew out. The spare tire, meanwhile, was like the one in A Christmas Story. It was round, it had once been made of rubber.

At least I have four bags of chocolate to get me through Sunday, when he comes home. (He bought them for me the day before he left, wasn't that sweet of him? Of course, they were on sale.)

Number of times I had to get up while writing this post: 4

Nothing like a full moon to make Baby Bear bounce off the battered walls!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Update: This Entry Should Be Full

LADYBUG SIGHTING: On our sliding glass door yesterday.

My goal is always to have everything ready for Christmas by the last day of school for this year (which was today) and I met the deadline.

The Christmas tree is up, and the dark-haired angel who sits atop it is holding a giant (for her) candy cane in her arms.

The Christmas cards have gone out. I never like doing them. And no, I do not do those newsletters. The fact that I made it through another year without getting my picture on the evening news accompanied by the voiceover, "If you've seen this woman, authorities ask that you call the number at the bottom of your screen," is the only accomplishment worth bragging about, and all any of my long lost relatives need to know.

My Christmas shopping--as opposed to Mr. Lucky's--is done. I know he's already bought stuff for me, but he still likes to go out at the last minute and buy more stuff.

Earlier this week, I did all the Christmas shopping accompanied by Mr. Lucky. I know I said I needed to be on my own, but darn it, now that he's been retired from the military for almost a year, I've grown accustomed to having him with me on trips to the Great Shopping Vortex. I actually welcomed his company.

After Baby Bear boarded his school bus, we went out to breakfast at the Village Inn, then headed for the GSV. We decided to start with the mall, and work our way outward. At the mall we split up, agreeing to meet at the carousel near the food court. During this time, I would be spending money on my husband, while he would be spending money on me and the boys.

It wasn't as crowded as I expected, perhaps because it was a weekday morning. But I was totally creeped out by some of the vendors who have booths or carts down the middle of the mall's length. They were unusually aggressive, accosting me with either a spray bottle, brochure, or a tray of UFO's (Unidentifiable Food Objects) stabbed with toothpicks. They wanted to sell me makeovers, scents, lotions and potions, vinyl siding (I didn't pause to ask if it was for me or my house), and the secret of happiness. I actually thought one of them was going to grab me--and she wasn't some old hag with a basket of poisoned apples, either, but a skinny young thing with a bottle of snake oil.

I nearly freaked out. All I could do was keep walking, and fortunately, perhaps because I'm very tall, I walk with long, swift strides. My husband is always exhorting me to "slow down" and "wait up." I was relieved to meet up with him again, and he said he'd been similarly bombarded.

We fled the mall for Toys-R-Us, where Mr. Lucky drooled over an officially licensed Star Wars light saber. It lit up and made the same noise as the ones in the movies, but we would've had to buy two to have any fun with them, and just one was too expensive.

Baby Bear already has a fire truck, but Mr. Lucky considered buying him another until I pointed out it came with a real water cannon.

It's bad enough that kid is always spraying water from the sink, drinking water and then spitting it everywhere like a human fountain, flooding half the house and generally trying to turn the whole place into his own personal water park. The last thing he needs is a toy to help him do it.

Then my husband came across a huge box full of "shake and go" car characters from the Disney/Pixar movie Cars. According to the packaging, all you have to do to make these cars run is shake them up, but they're a lot more sensitive than that. Mr. Lucky had only to start sifting through the assortment of little vehicles to rev them up and make them talk with catch-phrases from the movie. That whole big box came alive with noisy toy cars, drawing everyone's attention as he picked out some cars for Bear.

With all our purchases loaded into the minivan, we headed home. Every time my husband made a sharp turn, put on the brakes, or stepped on the gas, the little cars in the plastic bag in the back seat revved up, they were that sensitive to movement. Most hilarious was The Sheriff, a police car. The Sheriff would either holler, "You can't run from the law!" or "Son, you're in a heap o' trouble!"--and the police siren would go off. Every time that happened, my husband glanced in the rearview mirror, thinking he was about to be pulled over for something.

Once we were home, the cars continued to chatter as I carried the bags into the house.

Yesterday I spent three solid hours wrapping presents for Mr. Lucky, the Crown Prince, and Baby Bear. Those cars made a lot of noise as I wrapped them.

But I'm ready. Now all I can do is hope I've been good this year. I'll find out Christmas morning.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Fiona's Birthday

Dear Fiona,

Tomorrow would have been your 18th birthday. You might have been as tall as me, perhaps even taller, God help you, if your brothers are anything to go by. I'll always wonder, but never know.

This will be our eighth Christmas without you. We miss you always, but never so much as at this time of year, with your birthday and Christmas only five days apart.

That first Christmas without you--two months after you left us--was awful. We didn't even put up the tree that year. We drove up to Georgia and spent the holidays with your dad's parents, siblings, and their kids. I didn't send out any Christmas cards, nor did I do any shopping, except for your two brothers. Even then, I shopped online, because I couldn't set foot in Toys-R-Us or the Disney Store--or anywhere I might see toys and little girl things--without bursting into tears right on the spot. What made it even worse was the sudden explosion of Powerpuff Girls merchandise, right after you left. Fiona, you would have gone nuts! (While your dad, who so loved to spoil you, would have gone broke.)

The second Christmas, we did put up a tree, but with one change. Instead of a brightly twinkling, multi-colored star, we topped the tree with a dark-haired, blue-eyed angel. Do you know how hard it is to find an angel who's dark-haired AND blue-eyed, just like you? But I finally found one at Target.

That year, I still shopped only online. But I did send out Christmas cards--and I signed not only my name, your dad's, and your two brothers', but your name, too. Because you're still a member of our family, still with us if only in spirit. And such spirit! You've always had it.

All these years later, I still sign your name to the cards. I always will.

It took about five years before I could set foot in a toy department again without going into a tearful meltdown. I don't know what hurts more--going to the girls' section only to set off my waterworks, or avoiding the girls' section because I'm afraid of setting off those waterworks. One could argue that either way, I have no business going to the girls' section anymore, and that there's no point in dwelling over what might have been, simply because it will never be.

Indeed, if you were still here, I might not be going to that girls' section anymore, anyway. You'd be a young lady now. What would catch your fancy nowadays?

Every time I see a picture of this girl, born only 93 days after you, I think of you and what you might look like now. But I know you'd be just as beautiful as she is.

And you're certainly, forever and always, just as much a princess.

Though it saddens us you're no longer here, know that the memories of you always bring us joy.

We love you, Bunny Buttons!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

If I Want to Be Frazzled, I'll Stay at Home

As is our usual custom on Sundays, we packed Baby Bear into the mini-van this morning and went to the drive-thru at Dunkin' Donuts, where he got a box of twenty-five "Munchkins" (donut holes), while Mr. Lucky and I shared a box of half a dozen donuts.

My mother would say we were spoiling our son, giving him donuts every weekend. Sometimes I find myself channeling her.

As I handed the box of Munchkins into the back seat, I said to Bear, "Do you know how many donuts I'd eaten by the time I was your age? Why, I could probably count on the fingers of one hand the number I'd eaten by the time I was ten."

Mr. Lucky added, "Do you know how many times your mother has made this speech? At least as many times as you've had Munchkins, kid."

He's right.

Baby Bear, of course, didn't say a word. For one thing, he was too busy scarfing down his weekly ration of Munchkins.

Upon returning home, Mr. Lucky turned on the TV to find one of the Turner channels playing a movie he liked. "I wouldn't mind having this on DVD," he said.

"Why? Seems to me you can see it anytime right here. This must be the third time this weekend they've shown it." It drives me crazy when they do that. Nonetheless, I know the hint for a Christmas gift when I hear it. "Of course, to buy you Christmas presents, I have to be able to go out on my own."

"Then go out now. This is the perfect time."

"On a Sunday, less than ten days before Christmas? Are you crazy? The whole world is at the Great Shopping Vortex. I probably couldn't get near it by now."

"Everyone's at church right now." Oh, like we were? "And after that, they'll be watching the football game."

"Not the wives," I said. "The wives will all be killing each other for parking spaces and Red-Nosed Santa Specials."

"This is the South. Southern wives are more likely to sit at home and watch football than Yankee wives."

This was news to me. Even though Florida is the southernmost state, I didn't know it was considered "The South" the way my husband's native Georgia is considered "The South." And I certainly didn't know this about "Southern wives."

I'm a Yankee who welcomes recipes from my Southern mother-in-law, and enjoys thumbing through my Southern mother-in-law's back copies of--you guessed it--Southern Living. But I don't recall ever seeing my Southern mother-in-law watch a football game. My own mother, on the other hand, was big on football--and she lived in the state of Washington--definitely NOT the South.

To hear Mr. Lucky talk, you'd think I'd have the Great Shopping Vortex all to myself. On Sunday, December 16th?

"Besides," I argued, "someone has to watch your son. The minute I'm gone, he'll empty all the closets and drawers and disassemble everything while you're happily changing channels. Then when I get home, you'll claim he must've done it all just as I pulled into the driveway."

"Well, he does," Mr. Lucky insisted. "The rest of the time he's asleep."

Alas, Baby Bear is so quick and stealthy, Mr. Lucky is probably right. Only I can't let him know that--just as he can't let me know that the extra sheet of air freshener he removed from the air conditioning vent was asphyxiating him, too. (Refer to my November 2nd blog entry here.)

Either way, I will do my Christmas shopping on a weekday--right after Baby Bear leaves on his school bus.

Sunday is a day of rest, a day of donuts. But for me, it is not a day for shopping.

Come to think of it, it's not really a day of rest for me, either, is it?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas Update: This Entry Should Be Blank

Except for the festive wreaths on the doors--I'm one of those people who likes to hang seasonally-appropriate wreaths all year round, both indoors and out--I haven't done a darn thing for Christmas yet. Not even the tree.

I have some beautifully lush, silk poinsettia arrangements that I like to put out every year, but they're still put away because I'm afraid the dogs will chew them up the second my back is turned. They've already chewed up two "year round" silk flower arrangements I had in the living room, and last week one of them chewed a hole in one of the sofa cushions.

I don't even want to think of what they might do to the tree. In previous years, our biggest problem has always been Baby Bear's penchant for plucking off the ornaments and using them as bowling balls.

Aside from the wreath on the front door, we don't do much in the way of exterior decoration. Mr. Lucky just isn't into it, though one year, he did manage to conjure enough holiday spirit to put up a string of lights. When we lived in houses that had posts along the front porch, I would wrap those in tinsel, but our new house doesn't have posts.

When the Crown Prince was still living at home, he would start the Christmas mantra right after Thanksgiving dinner. No sooner did he swallow the last bit of cranberry sauce, than he would start rapping out, "Christmas tree up, Christmas tree up, Christmas tree up," beating away like that beefy guy in Ben-Hur who sat at the front of the ship with a hammer in each hand, banging on a well worn drum to keep the galley slaves steadily rowing, and making them go faster by yelling, "Battle speed!" followed by, "Attack speed!" and finally, "Ramming speed!"

Now that the Crown Prince has moved out, our ship is adrift. Not only is the tree not up, but I haven't done the Christmas cards, and I haven't done the necessary shopping. Not even online, and I'd be cutting it pretty darn close if I tried to do it now. I'm not willing to chance it.

I'm going to have to go out next week, and fight the mobs. By myself, without Mr. Lucky who, since retiring from the military, likes to go with me everywhere.

Not that I resent that, for I actually like going out with him. But how am I supposed to buy him that obligatory ugly necktie or soap-on-a-rope when he's always hovering around me? I absolutely must be on my own to do that, so I can savor that precious look of surprise on his face when he opens those gifts Christmas morning.

Much like the one on my face when I open my gift to find The Magic Soap Scum Remover that folds up to fit in your gym bag, your purse, even your back pocket; and when you turn it upside-down, look! It becomes The Magic Dog Hair Remover! Now you can throw out those wads of masking tape.

Says Mr. Lucky: "But the guy on the commercial said it makes a really great gift!"

How much do you think he shelled out for it? Don't ask until I show you what else he got me--a mini-vacuum with special attachments for dusting ceiling fans, removing cobwebs, and even those hard to reach louvres in the air conditioning vent!

Says Mr. Lucky: "But the guy on the commercial said the special cobweb removal attachment was free if I called in the next ten minutes!"

Never fear, we usually get each other what we really want (though he's still not getting that big flat screen TV this year). But no way will I go Christmas shopping on a weekend. First thing this Monday morning, I'm getting into the minivan by myself and driving out at battle speed.

Once I get into the Great Shopping Vortex that swirls around the local mall, I'll shift into attack speed.

Let's just hope I don't go into ramming speed out in the parking lot.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Wine, Women, and Ladybugs

This last Saturday I went to the annual Christmas party for my local RWA chapter, the Tampa Area Romance Authors (TARA) at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, which is almost an hour's drive from where I live. Mr. Lucky drove me all the way out there, and after the party, all the way back. Why? Because that party is probably the only time all year that I drink alcohol.

This is partly because the special care and feeding of my Baby Bear, and the constant vigilance he requires, demand that I keep a clear head and a sober disposition at all times. That and I married a teetotaler for whom I also gave up smoking when we became engaged--but there is NO WAY Mr. Lucky will ever get me to give up coffee.

As a rule, I'm not a very outgoing person. I always tell people not to be fooled by my writings, which would strongly suggest otherwise. One glass of wine, however, will make me very sociable. I drank two on Saturday. I will leave it to my TARA sisters to say how I behaved, but I think I managed to stay off the tables and the top of the Christmas tree.

Fellow TARAn Vicki Lane does an excellent job on her blog explaining our ornament exchange and the drawing for our annual Book Challenge--which I won last year, and congratulations to Vicki's critique partner, Laurie Kapkowski, who won this year! And thank you, Vicki, for the clever bookmarks!

This was the first year I brought an ornament that was fought over and stolen multiple times. It was a large, faux Faberge egg to represent a historical romance I wrote years ago, that is set in St. Petersburg, Russia in the 1890's. Apparently the fake eggs are as highly prized as the real ones. I also included a box of chocolates and a signed copy of True Pretenses in my gift bag.

The always funny, exuberant, and bling-flinging Kathy Carmichael brought one of those fancy holiday tins that usually contain candy or cookies, but instead contained earrings that looked like those striped peppermint candies so popular this time of year. They even look sugar coated, all glittery and frosty, as if she picked them out of the snow--which I know she didn't, because we're in Florida. She offered them to all of us, and I noticed Erica Ridley wasted no time donning hers. Thanks, Kathy!

Wendi Christner gave me a wonderful surprise: A glass ladybug. At last month's TARA meeting, we'd been talking about our personal superstitions and the crazy, quirky things we do to conjure good luck. I told the story of how not one, but two ladybugs landed on me one day. I'd heard that ladybugs were supposed to be lucky, so I wondered if that was a sign something good was about to happen to me. Sure enough, Mr. Lucky proposed marriage to me the very next day--and I've believed in the luck of ladybugs ever since.

Fast forward fifteen years to 2002. We celebrated our wedding anniversary, and Mr. Lucky surprised me with a ladybug pin made of gold and crystals. "Maybe it'll help you sell a book," he said. Shortly thereafter, he was shipped overseas--and while he was gone, I sold True Pretenses.

Then last year, I forgot to remove the pin from my dress and it went through the laundry and fell apart. I'm very upset with myself for that. I still have the pieces, and can't help wondering if that's why I've been in such a rut writing-wise since then.

I'm hoping Wendi's beautiful gift will help change that. I'm so touched she remembered the story, and made this thoughtful gesture. Thanks again, Wendi.

I'm starting to see all sorts of signs that I might finally be getting out of that rut, and the ladybug is part of it. Even Mr. Lucky mentioned recently that he had a dream that I sold a book to a certain publisher whose name I haven't mentioned in months, but I would love to be published by. "It was a Cinderella type story," my husband said.

I love Cinderella, but if that's the next story I write, then she's going to have to be a very special Cinderella, because I don't want any more "pumpkins" in the form of unsaleable manuscripts rotting under my bed.

I have lots to think about--and lots to write.

Speaking of lots, did anyone notice I made lots of links? Let's hope they all work!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Mr. Lucky Comes Home Today! (And Not a Moment Too Soon)

One of my favorite scenes in Planet of the Apes--perhaps because I can so easily identify with it--is the one where Charlton Heston is in his cell being blasted with a giant waterhose, and he howls, "It's a madhouse! A MAAA-AADHOUSE!"

I must have one of those moments at least once a day--only without the waterhose, though Baby Bear, with his love of spraying water, creating puddles, and causing floods, comes pretty darn close.

By Day 7 of Mr. Lucky's business trip, the dogs have dug more holes than I can plug in the backyard fence. In fact, I don't even know what's keeping that fence up now. There's one long trench running along its length.

We live in Florida, where maybe three days a year we have to wear jackets. Yesterday was one of those days, so I sent Baby Bear to school in his jacket. When he came home from school, I went out to meet his bus, which--because he is autistic and developmentally disabled--stops directly in front of our house.

"Mrs. Lingefelt, we need you to come aboard the bus," the driver said. "He's taken off his pants."

I didn't even blink, even though he usually takes off only his socks and shoes on the bus. Nonetheless, I boarded the bus. The driver led me to the very back.

Well, no wonder he does these things. The back of the bus is where you want to sit if you're going to goof off. In the past, the driver has also reported to me incidents of him spitting--and he could win contests doing that. He can sit in the very back seat of our minivan, and hit the dashboard with his spittle.

Miraculously, he was still wearing his socks and shoes. But the pants were gone. We found them under the seat and after the attendant unbuckled him, I struggled to put them back on him. His shoes made it very difficult. HOW did he get them off with the shoes still on?

Only he knows--and he's not talking.

It wasn't till this morning--even colder than yesterday--that I realized he was missing his jacket--a common occurrence. When it gets cold down here, by afternoon it usually warms up enough that jackets are forgotten at school. I had to put a sweatshirt on him. The dogs have broken both zippers on their crates, so when his bus pulled up in front of our house this morning, I had to:

1. Unlock the front door (it must be kept locked at all times for the boy's security).

2. Grab both barking, thrashing dogs by the harnesses and tell Bear to pick up his backpack and go out the door. He's only too eager to comply with the latter command, but not the former.

3. Somehow grab both harnesses in one hand, pick up the backpack with the other, and hurl it out the door. I didn't have to worry about it hitting my son. He's too fast and I throw like--well, like a girl.

4. Take a deep breath and on the count of three, release both dogs as I lunge out the front door, grabbing the knob and closing it before they could charge out on my heels. Fortunately no tails or ears were caught in the door.

Scooping up his backpack, I ran to catch up with Baby Bear and make sure he really did get safely on the bus, instead of dashing for the nearest cliff, railroad track or alligator swamp.

I don't even know why I bothered to clean the house in anticipation of Mr. Lucky's return. The dogs will likely undo everything while I'm picking him up at the airport this afternoon.

And what they don't undo, Mr. Lucky will. Baby Bear just dumps water over everything.

But I'll be glad to have that man home again.

Monday, December 3, 2007

I'm Ready for My Straitjacket, Mr. DeMille (Day 6)

It all started with a horrific thumping noise at 6:30 this morning. Was some axe-murderer banging (or hacking) at the door? Why weren't the dogs barking?

Like the too-stupid-to-live actress in the slasher B-flick who knows there's a serial killer on the loose (and he's even warned her that she's next on his list), but still investigates a strange noise in a dark basement while clad in a sexy negligee, I burst out of the bedroom in a not-so-sexy nightie, only to realize the thumping came from Baby Bear's room.

He was kicking his race car bed as the electronic keyboard auto-played an obnoxious tune over and over, full blast. The blinds had been yanked all the way up, baring the bedroom window.

He was ready to get up and conquer the world--until I tried to get him dressed for school. He barricaded himself in his room and hid under his blanket in the apparent belief that I'd never think of looking for him there.

After he left on the school bus, I put clean sheets on his bed, vacuumed the carpet and plugged the four new escape routes in the back yard, then foolishly thought I might get some serious work done on the computer.

When I came out of my office an hour later, the recently vacuumed floor was covered with stuffing from a plush toy frog the dogs had purloined from Bear's toy box. The frog himself was a tattered, inert rag--as if he'd shed his skin, and I don't know if real frogs do that.

Also, one of Bear's stuffed Teletubbies was missing an ear. I assume one of the dogs sent it to his girlfriend--likely that Jack Russell terrier on the other side of the fence that they're always digging to get to.

When Bear came home, he was barefoot (he always takes off his socks and shoes on the bus), and he greeted me by throwing the shoes at me. As I picked them up, he took advantage of the diversion to take off down the street. Though he's only ten years old, he's 5'6" and 140 lbs--and getting stronger every day. He's not chubby by any means, just . . . BIG.

I somehow got him into the house. I'd crated the dogs in anticipation of his arrival, but Buddy broke the zipper on his crate and was loose. He barked and jumped all over Bear, which Bear does not like at all, leading to more screaming and head banging. I put the dogs out back until everyone calmed down and--no no, that's an exaggeration around here--until everyone . . . well, I don't know--till there wasn't so much barking and screaming and banging.

By now it was after 5 pm, and I was trying to watch the news. At the commercial break, I noticed Jasper had slipped out of his harness again. This time he wasn't such a good sport about letting me put it back on him. I was still struggling with it when the local TV station just had to choose that moment to run a commercial for Domino's Pizza.

"DING DONG! Get the door--it's Domino's!" At the sound of the doorbell on the commercial, both dogs took off barking to our front door, with Jasper dragging me behind him.

Then after dinner--remember those clean sheets I'd put on my son's bed? He dumped water all over the bed and his floor.

Race car beds look really cool, but it's an imperial pain in the rear trying to put fresh linens on them. I have to stand on my head and do backflips just to get the bottom sheet on. And while I was occupied with that, what do you think he was doing out in the kitchen? Why, he was pouring my glass of iced tea onto the floor.

The upside to all of this was that by now he was in a much better mood than when he came home, all giggly and silly.

I have to admit, that's better than the head banging and screaming, and I'm willing to put down a few towels for it.

In less than 48 hours, Mr. Lucky will be home . . . and I'll be in a mental ward.

Number of times I had to get up while writing this post: 5

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Mr. Lucky's Out of Town: Items 6-8 (Days 4-5)

Whether you read this blog or something I've posted on a message board or group/list/loop, or even if you've received a private e-mail from me, you can be sure of one thing: If it's more than one sentence long, chances are good to excellent that it was not written in one sitting. In all likelihood, I got up several times during its composition because of something to do with Baby Bear. (Future post there.) So I don't get much writing done on weekends.

New items for the list of things I would rather see go wrong (if they must go wrong at all) when the husband is at home:

6. Dogs are digging at least two new holes under the backyard fence.

7. The sliding glass door is starting to stick along the track. This is not good, especially if it gets bad enough that I can't close the door. The only other access to the backyard is through the windows in my office and the master bedroom. Going out the front door and through the gate is out of the question. We keep that gate padlocked on the inside because Baby Bear is an even bigger escape artist than those dogs. (Another future post there.)

8. Jasper got out of his harness. Our dogs don't have collars, but harnesses. Mr. Lucky says it makes it easier for both dogs and master when they're leashed and out walking. I can put a collar on a dog no problem, but the harness presented quite a challenge, especially with my limited fine motor skills (see last blog entry). It took me half an hour to put that tangled mess back on the dog, and I'm still not sure it's even on right. To his credit, Jasper was very patient and cooperative at first, but after a while he got a little perturbed with my inability to figure out which part went around his neck and which behind the legs, and what to do with the middle strap. I had to check the other dog's harness to see how it was on, and he was never cooperative at all.

And while I was thoroughly distracted and frazzled by this, my son the opportunist went into my office and started rummaging around stuff. He knows I keep chocolate stashed in there, but that's the last thing he needs. I don't drink, because I have to stay sober and keep a clear head to look after that boy--so I must have the chocolate. (Cherry cordials, both dark and milk chocolate, 97 cents a box at Wal-Mart. I cleaned them out.)

Last night he dumped a bowl of macaroni and cheese into the sink full of dirty dishes--I think he rejected it because it was the wrong brand (yet another future post there). I had a lot of fun picking the macaroni out of there. Then he was up at 4 a.m. playing his electronic keyboard with the volume turned all the way up. I don't count these as numbered items, because these two incidents, believe it or not, are all in a day's (or night's) work for me.

Number of times I got up during the composition of this post: 3