Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Running Mucks

 I don’t know what I was thinking.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  I thought I could easily marry my love of prowling through discarded treasures and dragging them home with selling those treasures online.  And it all started so innocently. 

Last year we cleaned out a 10 x 15 storage unit we’ve been paying rent on longer than I care to tell you, and I spent the next few weeks going through boxes of stuff I had completely forgotten I had.  Now, our garage is only so big, so tough decisions had to be made.  As I carefully unwrapped and picked through the tidbits of our lives, I discovered, much to my surprise, a lot of things I wasn’t really all that attached to anymore.  But what to do with them?  Yard sales are a complete goat rope and, while I love going to them, actually having them myself, not so much. {insert chewing of lip here}  Which was followed by an AHA! moment when it occurred to me I have friends on Twitter and Facebook who sell stuff online.  Yeah!  I’ll do THAT! 

Long story mercifully shorter – I stumbled around a few selling sites, I researched, I photographed, I ordered up shipping supplies, and I listed a few things and waited.  And then I sold something.  Which was a whole lot funner than I had thought it would be.  And, just like that, I was addicted.  I mean, really, what could be better than actually making a vice work for you?  And, BONUS!, I won’t have to worry about being featured on “Hoarders”  anymore.  Well, maybe.  Cause now I need more stuff.  And a bigger garage.  Which is why I was getting rid of stuff in the first place.  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Whatever. 

Of course, nothing is ever as easy as it looks.  So, what I thought would be something I could do a few hours a week to earn some money and make me feel like a productive, grown-up, responsible adult again has taken me places I never could have imagined.  Finding the right items is the first challenge, and then there are the hours of research, the hours of trying to get just the right photos, figuring out shipping costs, listing, marketing, social media . . .   Aaaaaaaaah!  I have days where I feel like someone punched the flipper on a pinball machine in my head, and that little ball is zinging around in there disrupting all my synapses.   No, it has nothing to do with being blonde!  *glares at Hubby*  

With Christmas in my sights, I really got wound up in my quest for more stuff and was spending more and more time on my little part-time (Ha!) venture.  And friends and family started to complain they never heard from me anymore.  My prized garden became an afterthought.  My exercise routine went the way of the dodo bird.  And my house – well, let’s just say I wouldn’t let Southern Belle Mama in the front door.  In fact, I would probably throw a match on it before I let that happen.  Woops!  Sorry, Mama!  You can’t stay at my house, cause it burned down!  

So, there I was running amok and getting a very bad case of crankypants, and, just about the time I thought my head was going to explode, I had one last rational thought – I HAVE to get out of here!  I need to go to the wildlife refuge NOW!  

Ah, instant attitude adjustment. 

Yeah, I got a little "arty" with the duck butts.  By the time I took this one, it was getting dark, because I had waited and waited for all those duck butts to be in the air at the same time.  Never happened.  Contrary critters.  LOL

Now, I don't know what works best for you, but getting outside and into nature snaps me back into a happy place every time.  As far as I'm concerned, it's the best prescription for what ails you.  Try it.  Even if you just go into the backyard and watch the clouds, the birds in the trees, or a ladybug meandering across a leaf, I'm willing to bet it'll make you feel better. 

A line from a Robin Williams movie, Bicentennial Man, springs to mind here.  Working as a domestic droid for a suburban family, he has a habit of referring to himself in the third person.  So, when someone in the family says something about him "running amok," he replies, "One is not qualified to run mucks."

Yeah, well, I'm pretty sure no one is.  Life is too short to be constantly running mucks.  And it is very easy to fall into the habit, especially this time of year.  So, now, I'm going out to do a little communing with nature.  I hope you'll join me.

Thanks for taking the time to visit! 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Southern Belle vs. The Serpent

This is one blog post I had hoped I would never have to write.  Now, all I can do is hope it proves to be therapeutic, since I don’t want to pay a professional to talk me down off the table, so to speak.

So, the first thing you should know is I have a deep, abiding, soul-gripping fear of snakes.  (If you do too, you will probably want to turn back now.)  I have no idea how it started, but I’ve had recurring nightmares about snakes since I was a small child.  I can’t even abide pictures of snakes.  (BTW, thanks to all my family and friends for forwarding every picture of every snake that lands in their email.)  And it seems like every time I switch to the Animal Planet channel, sure enough, they’re talking about snakes.  Note to Animal Planet:  I’m not paying to see snakes.  I’m paying to see furry critters.  Fewer snakes, more furry critters.  Get on that.

Having grown up in the southwest, I am always on high snake alert and abide by all the rules - Don’t sit on a rock without checking behind it first.  Watch where you’re walking.  Always carry a hoe to the garden and check thoroughly before reaching down to pick something.  Pay attention and listen.  Make some noise, because snakes don’t like surprises and will generally react badly.  (A tip which does double duty, because it also serves to scare off any big furry critters of the bear variety in the area.  Not that bears have been a problem in the garden, but you can’t be too careful.  Seriously.)  You know that scene in the “The Parent Trap” with Hayley Mills where the twins convince the prospective evil stepmother to bang two sticks together to scare away critters in the woods?  I’ve never gone to that extreme, but that’s looking a lot less ridiculous today.

Of course, walking around the house and garage doing that could be a little awkward, because I didn’t run across a snake in the woods.  Oh, no.  My close encounter of the snaky kind was in my garage.  Perimeter breach!  Sound the alarms!  Call the movers!  No, scratch that.  Don’t call the movers.  We’ll just buy all new stuff later.

Okay, so, here’s what happened.  Last night I opened the utility room door – very carefully, as usual, because in the past I have encountered centipedes and scorpions out there – to go into the garage.  I have learned to take those in stride, but I don’t like surprises either.  A couple of days ago I put some of those glue boards out there, because I noticed an influx of critterage, probably because the weather is cooling off and they’re looking for warmer digs.  So, I looked over to check the glue boards and was beyond horrified to see a SNAAAAAAAAAAAKE!!!!!!!  Not stuck on the glue boards.  No, of course not.  Don’t be ridiculous.  It was going AROUND the glue boards and slithering {shudder} along the wall.

Wait!  {blink-blink}  Am I really seeing that?  Yes, I’m really seeing that, and it looks suspiciously like a coral snake.  Is it?  Isn’t it?  I DON’T KNOW!!!!!!  And there’s no time to Google that crap! But, if it is, that’s a bad, bad thing.  I think they’re even classified as vipers, pulling information from some deep recess in my brain reserved for those horrible trivia tidbits.  {shudder}

I opened my mouth to yell for my husband, and then I remembered HE’S AT A MEETING!  I’m home alone.  So, I gave myself a very brief pep talk.  “Crap!  I have to deal with this all by myself.  Where’s my hoe?  There it is.  About four steps over there if I take really BIG steps.  Don’t think.  GO!!!!!”

I don’t even remember taking those steps.  I just remember grabbing the hoe which I had, thankfully, put back in its designated place the last time I used it, taking aim and whacking the snake and then whacking it again.  I’ll spare you the gory details.  {shudder}  But let’s just say that snake looked a whole lot better to me when he was disassembled.  {shudder}

I decided Hubster could deal with the remains.  I was done.  So, I retreated to the kitchen door, still holding the hoe, and looked around for any other intruders.  Seeing none, I took a deep breath and immediately started shaking.  Honestly, I have never experienced shaking like that in my life.  Not on turbulent plane rides, not when I was checking my car for bombs when we were stationed in Sardinia, not when I was going into surgery.  Never.  It was so bad I couldn’t even hold a wine glass, much less get the cork out of the medicinal wine bottle.  That’s bad.  Good grief.  Get a grip, Woman!  Slowly, my breathing returned to normal (was I holding my breath the entire time?), the shaking stopped, and then the euphoria hit.

Southern Belle, my arse!  Hah!  I am a Warrior Princess, Baby!  {Insert pumping fist in the air here.}  Hear me roar and watch me swing a sword!  Okay, so I didn’t roar, but I didn’t run screaming like a little girl and I didn’t freeze.  And my sword was actually a hoe.  Oh, and replace those super cool knee-high leather boots with fuzzy pink slippers, and you’ve got the picture.

And there I was, perched regally on the sofa, when Hubster came home.  As soon as he saw me, he knew something was up.  I launched into my serpent-slaying tale, all the while watching his eyebrows shoot up on his forehead and his mouth fall open, because he knows the full extent of my snake phobia.  I truly think he thought I was putting him on, until I led him to the garage and showed him the evidence, whereupon he looked at me in awe.  He looked at me for a long minute and finally said, “That is HUGE for you!  Talk about facing down your fears!  Wow!”  Then he grabbed me, hugged me, and said he was proud of me.  Actually, he did that several more times over the next hour.  By George, I think he really is proud of me.  And so am I.

I could launch into some boring, preachy, moral of the story thing here, but I won’t.  I’m just saying you might be amazed what you can do, if you just do it.  Now, get to slayin'!

Oh, and pay no attention to the hip waders I’m wearing and the garage floor covered in glue boards . . .

A little snake humor to lighten the mood ~

Saturday, April 07, 2012

A Miniature Southern Belle Easter

Ooooooo, Easter. When I was a little girl, Easter was a time of high excitement and, since my mother is a full-fledged, card-carrying Southern Belle, she pulled out all the stops. You simply could not do Easter properly unless you had a new Easter ensemble to wear to church. And I mean head to toe. Literally.

Several weeks in advance, Southern Belle Mama would begin plotting and scheming Easter outfits. This would entail untold numbers of trips to fabric stores to look at patterns, fabrics, buttons, ribbons, bows, thread, rick-rack, lace, and anything else that might either be used for the actual dress or bobby-pinned and/or shellacked onto my head. (I shudder to think what she could’ve done with a Bedazzler.) After all the necessary elements had been gathered, I would then be summoned to the sewing room, where I would patiently (*cough*) stand while the tissue paper pattern was pinned to me (my clothes, not my actual skin) and adjustments noted.

At some point thereafter – I have no idea how long, because I was much too busy catching ringworm from stray cats, building forts, and throwing dirt clods at the stupid boys who lived down the street – I would again be summoned to the sewing room. This time there would be a dress, or maybe just an appendage of a dress, that had to be tried on and checked for proper fit. It always seemed to me there was an overabundance of straight pins at this stage of the Easter Dress, and it was my least favorite part of the whole process.

Truth be known, the dress didn’t really excite me at all. Considering the time and energy Southern Belle Mama put into those dresses, she would not be pleased to know this. And we won’t even discuss those traumatic curly perms. {shudder} Luckily for me, she steadfastly refuses to get a computer. So, let’s just keep this between us, okay?

No, what really got me going were the accessories. Sweet rhubarb! There is nothing quite like brand new patent leather shoes. Or the way they make you feel. Magically, I was transformed into a fairy princess. Gives me goose bumps just thinking about it. And there was always a matching patent leather purse to go with them. And, of course, those sweet little pure-white, lace-adorned socks. And, last but not least, white gloves.

Given my obsession with patent leather, I’m sure Southern Belle Mama was certain, with time, my rough edges would smooth out, and I would effortlessly follow in her pointy-toed, high-heeled footprints. Unfortunately, signs to the contrary were apparent early on, and the evidence is right there in the family album. There are a whole lotta pictures of me in my Easter-best ruffled and frilly dress, perfectly accessorized with patent leather shoes and purse, ruffled socks, gloves, and a precious little hat. Yes, there I am, the very picture of miniature Southern Belle perfection, until you spot the Band-Aids on my knobby little knees and elbows. I can almost hear my mama sighing in the background when I look at those pictures.

I don’t know for certain, but I would be willing to bet Southern Belle Mama was on the receiving end of a passel of “bless her hearts,” when the good ladies at the Junior Women’s League were discussing their daughters. I think it’s safe to say some of my tomboy ways were probably clucked over and tsked-tsked. But, you know, I’m also willing to bet my mama couldn’t have cared less what they thought. But I digress.

Yes, Easter was a HUGE deal in my family. After weeks of preparation for the Big Event, we got all dolled up and went to Sunday school and church together. After that, there was a family dinner, usually at my grandma and granddad’s house, followed by a challenging Easter egg hunt or two with my cousins. I say challenging because my grandma had the most amazing gardens (yes, plural) of anyone I have ever known.

If we were really lucky, someone would break out the ice cream maker and all the ladies would gather in the kitchen to concoct their special blends of ice cream flavors. For some reason, it was always my job to sit on top of the ice cream maker to keep it from moving around, while someone cranked the handle. (Those of you of recent birth might have to Google old-fashioned ice cream maker.) I remember my mother would always put a towel on top of it for me to sit on, so my little tushy wouldn’t freeze to it.

Of course, I always got the customary Easter basket filled with chocolate bunnies, robin’s eggs, and jelly beans, but that wasn’t that big a deal to me. At a young age, I knew Easter was about Jesus rising from the dead and that it was really important, but I didn’t have a true understanding of what that meant. To me the most important thing about Easter was getting to celebrate it with my family.

Okay, okay, the patent leather shoes and purse ran a close second. Happy? ;)

Wishing you and yours a Blessed Easter. May God richly bless you all on this most special day.