Wrenches and glitter are both shiny, so why can’t they go in the same box?

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Mornin’ all.

It feels like an ominous day is brewing. I woke up way too early, couldn’t get back to sleep for about an hour, then had dreams about dead people. Ugh. I got up, and to my dismay, the morning dawned with all the freshness of moist sponge that’s been sitting under a leaky bathroom sink. It’s so humid.

No, wait. “Humid” is tame.

As we like to say in my neck-o-the woods, “It’s wicked fahkin’ muggy.”

Fun story: When I was a kid and we’d have a thunderstorm in the summer, my dad would always look outside after and say, “Here come the muggies.” However, what *I* heard was, “Here come the monkeys.” I’d run to the window and try to see the monkeys. I thought maybe they were hiding in the fog. It was a real bummer when I got old enough to realize that summer thunderstorms did not actually elicit monkeys.

…and no, I’m not going to tell how how embarrassingly old I was when I finally had this revelation. Let’s just say, “Old enough” and let it go.

People say we can’t complain about this heat wave because of the horrible winter we had. Balderdash! We live on the 44th parallel. We get all kinds of weather, and I don’t discriminate. A 90 degree sauna is just as unpleasant as a -10 degree snowstorm. Can’t complain about the heat? Stuff and nonsense! I can complain about it all, my friend.

In spite of the heat and soul melting humidity, I had a great day yesterday! We piled the herd into the other wagon (the one we broke a couple weeks ago is still waiting for parts) and headed up to a different dam and recreation area for some damn recreating. It was hot, but boy was the ride beautiful!

I keep reading about the drought that’s gripped a large part of the nation. If you happen to live in one of those areas, I’m honestly not trying to rub it in. The past few summers here have been dry as well, but not this year. Maybe it was the extreme level of snow we had. Or the fact that when it has rained over the last couple months, it’s been less of a soft, pleasant drizzle and more of a “cats and dogs” situation.

…sidenote: See? People say “raining cats and dogs.” I’ve heard that my whole life. Now put yourself in the mind of a kid, and I really think a belief in rain monkeys is fairly reasonable.

Whatever the reason, we’ve got water, and that made the ride a beautiful collage of wild flowers, bubbling streams, vibrant green trees in every hue. As we got into the beginning of the lakes region, mossy, cat-tail and lily pad dotted marshes opened into broad, glittering lakes. Sometimes I forget how utterly beautiful my state is. It set the mood for a very fun day.

We met my grandparents at the dam. Yep, I said “my”. I’m lucky enough to have a set of grandparents that are still full of vim and pep (vim and vigor, but that always makes me think of my Polish grandmother who always got it wrong and said “vim and vinegar”). We met at the dam to hang out since my house has clearly been struck with a tornado of car parts and craft supplies. There would have been no way to enjoy lunch in the midst of all this…uh…can we just call it my “diverse collection” and make it sound artifact-y instead of hoard-y?

We chose a Wednesday to go, thinking it wouldn’t be crowded. While the picnicking area was wide open, the beach was surprisingly packed. The dam and recreation area are run by the US Army Corps of Engineers. As such, there’s only a small fee to use the beach and large picnic area, $1 per adult/$4 max per car. I guess a lot of the locals take advantage of the great deal on a hot day with bored kids during summer vacation.

That was fine. It was too hot to be a swim monitor for very long. The kids got a good (if slightly confined) swim in before we moved back to the shade of the enormous pine trees. We had a great picnic, then sat and chatted while we provided colorful commentary on the kiddies that were playing badminton.

Er, attempting to play badminton.

…er…flailing wildly at the birdie?

It was a fun day, great to see my family! And this wagon didn’t blow a hydraulic line on the way there OR back. In fact, as we pulled into the drive, the littlest pup piped up and said, “And would you look at that?! We made it a whole trip without a single disaster.”

Much like Tiny Tim, my jr. wordsmith certainly knows how to bring a sentimental tear to the eye.

So that was yesterday.

Today? I wanted to go out and finish the frame for my latest artistic bastardization. However, I can’t do it in this weather. I’m not a small lady. We bigguns’ don’t do the heat very well, and my neighbor would not appreciate me using the saw at 6 am before it gets too hot to work. I’ll be stuck inside for the most part. And that leaves me with only one option: I am going to attempt to clean in the dining room, aka the museum.

“No, Bethie. Sorry, but no. You cannot call it that.”

Aw! No fair! You said I could call all the crap “my collection,” and every collection needs a museum to display all the…stop shaking your head at me right now!

“*sigh* I will not legitimize your hoard by pretending it has institutional value.”

…*grumble*

“Come on. You know I’m right.”

…fine. You win. I’mma clean up my mess.

Satisfied?

“I don’t do it for me, Bethie. I do it for you.”

*blink*blink*

Yeaaah. Let’s move on.

So cleaning. It’s not at all what I want to do, if you couldn’t tell. I would say something glib like, “Who actually WANTS to clean,” but there are some people who like to do it.

Let’s investigate that for a minute. Some people, they *like* cleaning. It’s something they *enjoy*. They WANT to go through stacks of crap and do things like “sort” and “organize” and probably “collate,” though in fairness I’m not entirely sure what that means. I’ve never collated anything, so I assume it has something to do with being clean and tidy.

Anyway, these freaks, they clean, they organize, they collate their asses off. And then do you know what they do? They label “totes” and place similar items together inside. From what I gather from my Google overlords, they will get a tote for just pencils, and then ONLY put pencils in it, no matter how much other shit they *could* cram in there. They do all of these steps, AND THEY LIKE IT. They look forward to doing it all again on a REGULAR SCHEDULE to keep everything “neat.”

The world is full of sick, twisted psychos, folks.

I have one sister who gets dangerously close to being neat and tidy most of the time. In a pack of four girls, statistics say that at least one of them will be addicted to orderliness. It’s okay, we love her anyway. She’s moving right now, and is using boxes.

Boxes!

I said, “Why don’t you just get a bunch of trash bags? Scoop everything in. If something breaks, then you weren’t meant to own it anymore.”

But noooo. She wants to be all fancy.

Boxes. Pfft. I bet she actually wrote on them, too! Isn’t half the fun of moving playing the “where’d it go” game in your new home?

“Honey, where are the damn forks?”

“Did you check the Jack Daniels box?”

“Yeah. It’s full of tampons and razors.”

“…can’t we just use those?”

Good times, good times.

I wish the house she was moving to was closer. I bet if she walked in to my dining room right now, she’d say, “Oh HELL no,” and pull out the pair of rubber scrubbing gloves I want to believe she carries in her back pocket at all times, and get to work.

See, one of the bad things about hoarding tendencies is how overwhelming it feels. Right now, I’m not even CLOSE to my worst. That’s not denial, so don’t start with that crap again. I have way less junk than I did a year ago, and most of the house is still easily traversable.

It’s cluttered in there, but most of it is cluttered because it was left out, not put back on the shelves and corners. We had a whirlwind of using the tools and parts and supplies, and they are out where I will trip on them and over them to get to where they belong. I have the desire to at least make it so we can move around in there freely, just not the organizational part of the brain that tells me how to accomplish this task.

I was born with an organizational deficit, I suppose. The closest thing to an organizational center I have in my brain is a fat, lazy dude named Stan who glances up from his video game and says, “Damned if I know,” when I ask him how to do something.

Teen Prime somehow got the organizational skills I lack. I have none of them, and neither does his father. Must be a recessive gene. He’s going to help me in there because I busted ass to get his room rearranged to fit a new fifty bazillion pound desk in there last week. He owes me.

None of the other teens have shown any neatness tendencies. One of them is slightly fastidious, but that is not the same. His fastidiousness does not extend past his personal space. The littlest shows promise, but he’s also got my lack of attention. He is definitely a mini-me in that respect. Bright lights and shiny objects distract us. Nine times out of ten we’ll end up looking through the button jar while we sit in the middle of the half-straightened mess until someone intervenes and reminds us what we were doing.

Not good.

Teen Prime is growing up. Teen Prime is moving away soon. I guess I should probably take notes when he helps me sort and organize and maybe even collate later today. Right, Stan?

“…huh?”

Exactly.

Thus concludes a muggy Musing for Thursday, July 30, 2015. I’m going to make another pot of coffee before I begin this most dubious venture. The coffee I’m drinking now was made by one of the kids, and it just doesn’t have that burn-yer-belly feeling that a real pot of joe offers. I think I’m going to need the full strength kick in the pants to get through the cleaning. Sure I’ll be up all night with a flaming gullet while I hallucinate little pink men from the overload of caffeine, but neatniks assure me this is a normal side effect to a thing they call “efficiency”. Unto the breach my friends…

I know what I *won’t* be having for dinner tonight…

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Mornin’ all.

I was a brave mum yesterday. The eldest teenager (we’ll call him Teen Prime) decided that the electronic gadgets and games he’d acquired through the past few birthdays and Christmases were old news. Can’t blame him. He’d played most of the games through at least twice. He said, “Say, would you feel like taking me up to Game Stop real quick so I can trade a few things in?”

Ah, I just heard it: The collective groan of sympathy from other mums of gamers…and the knowing “mmm-hmms” from gamers who’ve been there. For those not in either group, let me explain: One does not simply walk into a Game Stop. There is no such thing in the gaming lexicon as a “real quick” trip to a gaming store when trading is involved.

Knowing this, but trying to be awesome anyway, I said, “Sure. Why not?”

Those three little words set into motion a veritable tornado of teenage activity. The others hopped into action and the games piled high on the table. I was imagining a couple games, maybe the system they didn’t really play anymore. It certainly wasn’t presented to me as An Ordeal. And yet, as the bags filled and the excitement amongst the herd grew, An Ordeal is exactly what it became.

I let myself get suckered, folks. In fairness to Teen Prime, I had an idea of what I was in for. In fairness to me, though, I didn’t realize that they were going to scour every corner of the house to scrape up every possible trade dollar.

I’ll say this…Game Stop does a fair trade if you’re a club member. The teens walked in there with old games and a PlayStation 3, and walked out with a PS4, extra controller, two games, and three Wii games for the youngest cub. Not shabby. It only took about an hour, which in fairness to the clerk was far less time than I expected.

And now I am awesome.

…or was. I mean, they’re teenagers, right? Who knows how long that’ll last? I got them a watermelon, too, so maybe that bought me a little extra time high up on the list.

Speaking of lists, I have a lot on my “to do” today, but I just read an article while I was drinking my morning joe and since I nearly spat the coffee across my screen, I figured there was something juicy to sink our teeth into* before jumping into chores.

* You’re going to hate me for saying that. Just wait….

I was reading my FB feed and a friend posted a link to what has to be one of the most epically WTF articles ever written. How’s your stomach this morning? Are you rock solid?

“Yeah, I’m feeling fine.”

Best grab a bottle of Tums to have on hand just in case.

“Bethie, it can’t possibly be that bad.”

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

A man in Wyoming was stopped for a routine traffic violation. The cop noticed he smelled a little boozy, so he asked the dude to step out for a field sobriety test. The man got out, stood there while the cop asked him questions, and pretended not to see the eyeballs falling out of the leg of his pants.

Read that sentence again.

THERE WERE EYEBALLS FALLING OUT OF HIS PANTS.

Here’s the deal. Mr. Roy Tilbott works for a meat packing plant. Roy likes himself some bovine eyeball soup. However, the packing plant does not sell eyeballs, nor does it allow the employees to take the scraps home for personal use.

Clearly Roy was backed into a corner. They practically forced him to smuggle eyeballs. There was no other option. Not wanting to get caught by his bosses and fired, he figured the best way to get those tasty, juicy eyeballs out of there was to shove them up his ass.

Now, the ass has been used to smuggle many a’thing. Drugs. Weapons. The odd light bulb. But in all of those instances, NO ONE WAS GOING TO FUCKING EAT WHAT WAS SHAT OUT!!!

Guys, he didn’t even wrap them. He just took the freshly de-skulled eyeballs and pushed them up his butt. While at work chopping your steaks and grinding your hamburger.

So there he was, with THIRTY eyeballs crammed up his ass, and just his luck, a cop pulls over his El Camino. Of *course* he drives an El Camino, because he just wasn’t creepy enough with the ass eye soup fetish. He gets pulled over, stands there with the cop, and was scared of being caught smuggling. Folks, you know what Nature makes people do when they’re scared…he shit his pants. Only instead of shit, out came his dinner.

You know.

EYEBALLS.

I can’t help but wonder just what was going through the cop’s head when goddamn eyeballs started dropping out of Roy’s pants and rolling on the ground. That poor, poor cop.

This wasn’t a one time deal, either. Roy has smuggled “several thousand” eyeballs during his employment with the meat plant. Along with absolutely no taste, Roy seems to also have no shame. He gladly shared the details with the press. “I enjoy eating bovine eyeballs and smuggling them out in my colon was the only way I knew how to get them out without potentially getting caught and fired. I put them in soups. They’re beneficial for erectile dysfunction, which I currently battle, but I also just like the texture and taste.”

He says it like it’s so reasonable. Roy, no. If you’re reading this, NO. Just….no.

The cops have no idea what to charge him with RE: the eyeballs. They consulted with the meat packing plant*…

*doesn’t that term just take on a new meaning now?

…to see if they want to charge Roy with theft. He also had in his possession a few large, professional quality knives that the cops aren’t sure if Roy stole. And Roy was drunk at the time of the stop, so there’s a nice DUI for him. I guess in light of the rest of the crimes, eyeballs up the ass is actually the lesser offense.

So what’s going on in Wyoming? Oh, not much. Just a drunk, knife-wielding, limp-dicked El Camino driver shoving eyeballs up his ass to shit out later for his dinner.

Same old.

Thus concludes the most disgusting Musing ever for Saturday, July 25, 2015. It’s Saturday. It’s the weekend! And maybe your life isn’t going the best at the moment. But hopefully, after reading this, you’ll at least be able to thank your lucky stars you never ate dinner at the Tilbotts. Always find the silver lining in life.

I hardly call a nose bump a fair trade in this situation…

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Mornin’ all.

Who told me cats are fun? Because as I sit here brooding and sulking WAY too early over my morning cup-o’-swill, I’ve got a few choice words I’d like to say to the fella that convinced me to get a mewling, whining, sadistic little fur ball.

Since 3:30 this morning, she has been meowing her head off at me. If she was a dog, I’d think to myself, “Hm. She’s making so much racket that Timmy MUST have fallen in the well. I should get up and throw the kid a rope or some shit.”

She is not, however, a dog. I knew, folks. I *knew* there was absolutely nothing amiss. And yet, when she persisted, over and over and over and over and…

I got up. She jumped on the bed, then raced to the door. Perhaps I was wrong, I thought to myself as I donned my robe and grabbed my glasses. “Okay, kitty. I’m coming. Relax. What’s wrong?”

The beastie tore down the stairs and waited in the kitchen doorway, looking eager and anxious. I got down there as quick as I dared with my half-opened eyes and clumsy bed legs that only partly worked, expecting to see the worst.

As soon as I entered the kitchen and looked around, Demon Cat purred, gave me two leg brushes, and then promptly curled up in her current favorite box, closed her eyes, and pretended to go to sleep, a smug, self-satisfied look on her fuzzy little face.

She just wanted me to be up. There was nothing wrong. Not a damn thing had run afoul in the night. No Timmies were in any wells, and she didn’t even want to show off a mousey kill. She just wanted to rend asunder my peaceful slumber.

That bitch.

So now here I sit way too early, brooding and grumbling, sucking down a fairly tame cup of coffee flavored milk, when all I really want to be doing is sleeping. It was a good sleep, folks. One of those pleasant nights where you wake up here and there, glance at the clock, see that you’ve still got four more hours, and fall back asleep with that comforting high buzzing through you. It’s not even like she interrupted a nightmare night. Or a tossy-turny night of self-reproach and regrets.

It was a good sleep. And now it is gone. *sniff*

I could have used those Zs, too. I’ve been busier than a one-armed paper hanger in a…

“Bethie!”

…what?

“You can’t say things like that anymore. It’s insensitive.”

You’re kidding, right?

“It’s offensive.”

*rolly eyes* Fine. I’m too tired to argue so I’ll rephrase. I’ve been busier than a one-legged man in an ass kicking contest who…

“NO!! That’s even worse!”

Hogwash. I’d argue that if I was a one-legged man, I’d definitely join an ass-kicking contest to prove…

“Do you want me to die from an apoplectic fit brought about by righteous indignation over here? You can’t use uni-limbed people as the butt of a joke.”

First: uni-limbed?

“Using the number one focuses on singularity, not inclusiveness.”

*blink**blink*…I…I can’t even…. *sigh* Second: it wasn’t a joke, it was an expression. Nobody was the butt of anything.

“Doesn’t matter. You can’t quantify your own mild discomforts with the struggles of the uni-limbed.”

*grinds teeth* O….kay. Let’s try this again. I’m busier than…than…a bee?

“DEAR LORD BETHIE!!! Don’t you know about the struggles bees are having now with colony collapse?? We’re going to starve within ten years and you use their plight for your comedic whims?! YOU MONSTER. Maybe YOU planted the fungus in the bee hives!”

*tic* *tic* *spasm*

I bought a few craft supplies the other day. The local cheap store was having a sale, and my youngest and I eagerly pawed through the carts to see if there was something we could find to break the hazy, humid malaise that clung to us that afternoon. Sadly, there was no glitter. But we did find some really cool neon gel pens. Score! And then in the bottom of the cart, we saw pipe cleaners.

Have you ever played with pipe cleaners? Who hasn’t, right? They used to be far more popular than they are now. When we were kids, it seemed like we had a never ending supply of the brightly colored fuzzy wires. Of course, we also had tons of pom poms to use with the pipe cleaners. To my chagrin, the sale cart contained no pom poms. Once home, we had to make do with buttons. Not the same, but still fun.

We took our bounty home and while the kiddo tested out the gel pens, I went to open the pipe cleaners and noticed that they are no longer called “pipe cleaners.” What are pipe cleaners now called, you ask?

Chenille stems.

CHENILLE. STEMS.

WHY?

“Because any reference to smoking or smoking related materials could lead to…”

Stop it. Just stop it right now. I guarantee that no kindergartener in the history of ever has thought, “Gee, these pipe cleaners sure are fun. Anyone got a light?”

Pipe cleaners have never been a gateway to anything. Your child did not become a stoner because he made a pipe cleaner and pom pom caterpillar in Miss Skidova’s class.

What’s happening to us, people? What are we even doing anymore?

We have to start drawing lines and stop being offended or scared by every little thing. Calling people racist words? Bad. Stereotypes? Bad. Sayings that put one group on a higher level than another? Unless the group is on a higher level because they build ladders, stair cases, or elevators, also bad.

But, there are really harmless things in the world that are only offensive and dangerous if you start out looking for them to be. If you look for something, you’ll find it. That’s the pisser in being human. We have imaginations that make our minds find proof of our beliefs instead of seeing the truth. We’re programmed to think we’re right, and to find evidence of our rightness so we can log on to the internet and show everyone just how right we are…no matter how wrong we might be.

Not a single one-armed, one-legged, ass kicking paper hanger ever got hooked on cigs because of pipe cleaners, so stop it. Stop looking for an excuse to be angry, folks. The world has enough shit in it without you trying to drum up more. You want to be angry? Get angry at real, tangible problems.

Like cats.

Grr.

Cats.

Thus concludes a Musing for Tuesday, July 21, 2015. If I’ve offended you with my offensive offense, I apologize. It’s not your fault I’m on edge. I’ve just been jonesin’ for a smoke since I made that pipe cleaner and button flower…

And so the brief experiment with nudism ended in the House of Bethie…

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Mornin’ all.

Do you hear that? Do you know what that is?!

*author’s note: We at the Musing seriously hope you cannot, in fact, hear anything that’s going on here at HQ. That would be creepy. Don’t stalk me.*

I’ll give you a few clues. We can turn this into a game. Ready?

1. It had to be delivered on a freight truck.

2. It has lights and plays music.

…come on, man. You have to guess or it’s no fun.

Need more clues?

3. It’s got a glass window so you don’t miss a minute of the action.

4. It comes with a 10 year drive warranty.

…okay, I’m too excited to let you keep spitting out guesses, though Whirlitzer was a good one. It’s my new….WASHING MACHINE!!! Finally after nearly a month without one, my washer finally, FINALLY got here.

And it’s got lights. It makes music when you turn it on and off. It’s got a shiny knob that you can turn to tons of custom settings, and buttons you can push to select myriad combinations of tweaks for ultimate laundering control. You all know how much I like knobs and buttons and control.

It can steam. It can sanitize. It can fit not one, but TWO comforters in its huge drum. But wait…there’s more! It’s also…SELF-CLEANING!!!

…which, admittedly, seems a bit odd since we’re talking about a machine whose sole purpose is to fill with water and soap every single time it gets used, thus cleaning itself on a regular basis… But whatever! It’s a FEATURE. You KNOW how I love FEATURES.

Perhaps one of the coolest things is the glass top. You can watch the whole wash process play out. Hours of free entertainment for me, not only in watching the jeans take a spin around the dance floor with the towels, but also in watching my cat freak the hell out.

She used to love to sit on the plain, boring old washer. She hopped up on top of the shiny, new washer to do the same. But now, she can see things moving below. Now things are clearly out to get her. And I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a cat jump so high as she did when the water started to spray.

Hilarious.

I threw another load in this morning when I got up because my tablet died last night and I needed to hear the gentle song of a friendly, compliant piece of machinery to take the sting left by yet another mutinous robot. It sang me a welcoming, soothing tune as I loaded it, then trilled another “Aye aye, Cap’n” shanty when I hit start. It complied, and that brought me comfort. I really think we’ve got something special, washer and I.

Maybe I should name it?

“Maybe you should get more sleep, Bethie.”

You might be on to something there. This week my brain has been in turbo mode, but not during the day when such modes are useful. Nope, I’ve had a week solid of waking up around 1 a.m. with Brain saying, “You know what I just thought of, guys?”

Of COURSE instead of ignoring Brain, Eyes popped open every single time because they are weak and easily influenced. As soon as Brain had a captive audience, Brain would start to put us back in uncomfortable situations of the past. “Remember this?” Brain would ask.

Heart, not one to miss out on the action, would say, “Oh, yeah. I almost forgot. What did I do? That’s right! I remember!” Then Heart would start beating rapidly, reliving the moment of panic Brain dredged up from the past.

Hip would start to complain about Muscles getting tense. Back joined the fray. “What? What is the meaning of this? Are we cramping, then? Shit. I didn’t get the memo. Let me catch up.”

Having an active imagination is a wonderful thing. Having a good memory is also great. However, put the two together and you will often find yourself reliving a terrifying moment in minute detail, no matter if your logical side knows for a FACT that you are far away from that time and place and safely tucked in your bed.

True story.

Last night’s trip down memory pain was a pocket of turbulence we experienced on the flight home from Oregon. Now, let me make something clear. I wasn’t scared at the time. I had no fear at all of the plane crashing. I had not only statistics, but science on my side. I understand turbulence, I knew it would right in just a few minutes. I honestly, hand to the cosmos was NOT scared. In that moment, I was just getting the barf bag ready for the little one who did not handle air travel well. I was hot and tired and cranky and emotional from the visit, but I wasn’t scared.

Not then.

Guess it just took a few months to catch up with me. I woke up last night in a flat out, balls to the wall panic, convinced that my bed was crashing. I could see the “H” shaped crack in my ceiling, so familiar and ordinarily, oddly comforting. I could hear my man snore. I knew- I KNEW- I was at home in my bed and that nothing at all was going to crash. And yet, Brain convinced Heart we were on a plane.

Seriously, Brain. WTF.

And of course, after I calmed myself down, Eyes stayed wide open. Yet again. “Oh man, wasn’t that fun?” they blinked as they darted around the room, still full of adrenalin.

“Hey, if you think that’s great, then I’ve got another one for ya,” Brain offered, in spite of my best efforts to get Brain under control. “Remember that time Body was seven and careening down the hill on her Huffy and she hit loose gravel?”

“Boy, do I!” Eyes said eagerly. “Are we going to think about that now?”

“Over and over and over.”

“Yippee!”

…okay. I definitely think you’re right about the sleep. Ah well. I’ve already started my laundry and had a cup of caffeinated rot gut. I’m awake. It’s happening. Hey, at least you only have to put up with me for a bit. My kids have to deal with me like this all day.

ALL DAY.

Heh. Good luck with that, boys.

I was looking through the news. Many stories got me riled up, because some people are stupid and continue to want to do stupid things even after it’s been pointed out how stupid they are being. Ted Cruz, presidential pipe dreamer, is angry that the New York Times figured out he bought thousands of his own books to fudge sales figures and refused to put him on the best sellers list. *snort* Hey, Cruz, you got busted. Handle it like a man.

Not to be outdone in the shameless category, Oompa Loompa Tribble-head…er…I mean, Donald Trump doubled down on his anti-Mexican stance. S’okay. Every time he opens his stupid, flapping drool machine, he guarantees a vote for anyone but him. Still, it’s hard to listen to.

South Carolina removed the Flag of Hate. And that’s what it is. It’s NOT just decor. It was a battle flag, a symbol carried by folks who were willing to MURDER anyone who would no longer allow them to OWN PEOPLE. So good on you, SC. Friggin’ took you long enough. Don’t even look at user comments on any of those articles. It will turn your stomach.

So there were many firestorm stories in the news this week, especially in the political arena. But one story was fairly innocuous. It didn’t get me riled up, but yet, oddly worked the crowd into a frenzy anyway. I thought this would be the perfect article to introduce you to some of…

*** YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS!!! ***

That’s right, another installment of a segment that will introduce you to real people and their thoughts. Most major news sites have a “user comments” section, a place where the people who live and work next to you can let their crazy fly. I’ll give you a recap of the story, then I will let you read for yourself the 100% real comments the story moved folks to submit. I have not changed a thing about the comments, not even grammatical errors. Trust me, leaving them in is far more painful for me than you. Let’s dive in!

This week, President Obama granted three sections of national park land National Monument status. The areas, Berryessa Snow Mountain in California, Waco Mammoth in Texas, and Basin and Range in Nevada, have officially been set aside as National Monuments instead of being simply parks or forests. Already part of the national park system, the upping in status offers these rare and natural environments a greater level of protection. The move will ensure that there cannot be any development, the land cannot be used for private means, and no one can put a damn pipeline of any sort right through the fossils and cave art. In short, it’s a great way to preserve three ancient, natural wonders.

Sounds good, right? I mean, it was already federally owned and protected land. A hard working group of conservationists just told Obama, “Hey, uh, someone’s going muddin’ through Snow Mountain and killing off the diverse wildlife there…could we just have you say officially that they can’t destroy the place?” And Obama said, “Sure. Where do you want me to sign?” That seems to me to be a no-brainer. He’s certainly not the first president to do it. Even Bush set aside land as a National Monument, because even a BUSH knows the value in protecting our shrinking wildlife. It’s good to protect our natural treasures and it’s part of the job of being president.

But…INTERNET. Here are some of the reactions of the Average Joe. While reading this, keep in mind that one or more of these folks might just sit a few cubicles down from you at work.

– “He protected, you mean he stole, just ask the states he took them from, most were in Nevada, with dirty Harry Reid, and his in vestments.”

Uh, no, actually. The land was already National Park land, most of it being declared as such by Teddy Roosevelt…just a wee bit before Obama’s time.

– “Stealing land from the states. Government at its worst.”

Hang on. Did no one read the article? The land already belonged to the government. Nothing was stolen.

– “More theft from the DICKtator!”

Oh for heaven’s sake! First off, no theft. Second, that’s not NEARLY as clever as you think.

– “66% of the land in Idaho is owned by the federal government.”

Cool story, bro. Aaaand what does it have to do with anything?

– “The dumb ass, thinks he’s god, think he can create something, lord strike this fool down, and free us from his tyranny”

Did…did you think that Obama is saying he literally MADE these natural sites? Holy shit.

– “Great, now Obama’s gone from self-proclaimed King to the Creator!”

…whoa. One person thinking that way was bad enough, but two?!

– “I am beginning to think I am reading Star Magazine or the Enquirer…”

Honey, you and me both.

-“…it’s a diversionary tactic.”

Well that took a turn I wasn’t expecting.

– “His latest BM?”

This is really starting to get off the rails.

– “Obama could take a crap on the White House lawn and his Llama would exclaim, “He passed a masterpiece !!”

Now THAT’S a llama I want to meet.

– “What about ‘The Killing Fields’ in Chicago?”

Hm. Probably didn’t meet the standard criteria.

– “OVAMIT THE DARK===ASSIGN TO THE SATANIC DARKNESS OF A DEMON”

Dammit, who let Kevin out? Kevin, get back in the asylum and take your meds.

– “Of course it’s much easier to spend money on monuments than to solve burning national problems and to pay attention to those who really need state’s support.”

But doesn’t the president have more than one responsibility? He kind of has a multi-faceted job.

– “Obama didn’t do that, someone else made that happen.”

Thank you! Reasonableness. No, he really didn’t spend his valuable time on it. He simply approved what the experts advised.

– “Dam sure won’t be some murdering cowardice statues from confederate era”

And I guess the internet had enough calm reasonableness. Didn’t last long, did it?

– “Actually, this is less a ‘grab’ as it is opening a corridor where there are no Park Police or Park Rangers. It makes it easier for illegals to get in through New Mexico.”

Wait. What?

– “This is another crime against the Constitution perpetrated by the executive branch, from which the court is specifically suposed to protect the states and their citizens from. It fallows niether the spirite nor intent of the law, it mearly enables more criminal ailians, with the desired intent to distroy America and the american low and middle class economic opertunities while grabing more of our resources th sell to the Chinese.”

Now, I’m not so sure, because right around “spirite”, everything started to fall apart, but I think this user was agreeing with the above poster about “ailians” and dragged China somehow into the fray…? Everybody get that same vibe?

– “Is this just Obama creating a safe corridor for the drug cartels who donate to Obama by untraceable prepaid credit cards?”

Actually, you put a lot of thought into that conspiracy theory. I didn’t see the twist end detail with the prepaid cards. Points for creativity.

– “Its just Obama promoting the Federal Government Uber Alles. He is indifferent to the drug cartels. I don’t know that the drug smuggler consider donations to the democrat party a sound investment. It is clear that Communist China does though.”

I’m beginning to sense a theme…

– “This could also be another region that Obama signed away to China”

You really don’t know what National Monuments are, do you? It’s okay to admit it. You’re safe here.

– “With as much radiation and plutonium there is in that ground, I wouldn’t blame him for wanting to grab it for tactical reasons, but taking into consideration that the government is and always has been the main source for illegals and drugs, I would say there is some dark deeds being prepared for this land.”

Holy shit, you’re right! Better get that tin foil hat ready. STAT.

– “MORE PROOF that Obama and the Socialist Party are not even the least bit concerned about the security of this nation.”

*sigh* I feel like I’ve got to point out once again that all Obama did was add another layer of environmental protection to land that was already part of the national park system. There will still be rangers. There will still be local cops.

– “Illegal corridor for the democratic voter block.”

Dammit, I misplaced my crazy-talk codex. Can anyone decipher that for me?

– “Waiting for the American Taliban to load up their trucks with guns and ammo and head from Nevada down to New Mexico to play soldier…if they don’t shoot each other first.”

Buddy, this says WAY more about you than it does Obama.

– “why HAs no one ever sued the feds under americans with disabilities act to allow disabled people mechanical means to enjoy the wilderness areas we have now. If you dont ride a horse or not young enough to WALK YOU ARE S.O.L.”

Look, I’m sorry you’re disabled, but you can’t put an elevator on a mountain. To do so would ruin the mountain. If you can’t afford an off road wheelchair, then there are just some things you won’t be able to do. There are some things I am not able to do. There are some things EVERYONE is not able to do, and you can’t sue for that. It’s just the way things are.

– “This story just went nation wide on the internet. If our government doesn’t know that. We are in sad shape for security. But the truth is not many people who have been attached to Obama are open to answering questions.”

….riiight. Uh, okay?

– “Gotta be 473 Cons listening in. How do I know? No action. No substance. Just, listening.”

I think this may have been an attempt at a haiku? Maybe?

– “CONS, don’t get too angry. After all, they will be renting out Hillary as a mule to ride for the kiddies.”

Yeah, I got nuthin’.

Thus concludes a scary look at the folks around you for Saturday, July 11, 2015. My washer just sang me the song of its people. I take it that means it’s done with my laundry? Either that or it was just lulling me into a sense of peaceful distraction earlier so it could summon the start of the uprising. Damn Obama.

I roamed and rambled, only without the pesky “roaming”…

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Mornin’ all.

Family Holiday turned out fantastic! Great weather…perfect, in fact. Low 80s, but dry with a light breeze and plenty of shady trees to sit under. Great people. We had a couple folks pop in and they joined the revelry. Great kids, who didn’t have one single argument (except when they played a few rounds of Smash Bros. together, but with five kids taking turns smashing bros, that’s just part of the deal). The food came out awesome *toot toot of my own horn* and the stupid little games we had went over well. The teens at least tolerated most of them. That’s all I can ask! Sunday was perfect.

Yesterday, however, was not. I always say that life is a pendulum. Sunday was definitely the peek of the arc. Yesterday…yesterday was one of “those” days. I suppose if I didn’t have “those” days, I wouldn’t appreciate the Sundays as much. But jeez, Fate. I’m not stupid and you didn’t need to brow beat me. I could have inferred that lesson and still had at least one thing go right yesterday.

It started with the naive belief that I could emerge victorious from a battle with a mutinous appliance. I wrestled with my washing machine. AGAIN. Third time trying to fix it in less than a year. This time, it fought back.

Naw dude, you don’t even understand. It literally fought back. I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but when I was unfastening the last bolt to remove the gear case, the whole internal assembly…shifted? Gained sentience just to eff me over? Harnessed the wisdom of a thousand Whirpool senseis to know the precise moment to launch a stealthy counter offensive? Dunno. What I *do* know is that I dragged myself out of the ring and hit the bell with a bleeding finger, a throbbing hand, and bruises on both my leg and my ego.

She won, folks. Long and short, I tasted the acrid tang of defeat. She sits there, looming uselessly in the corner. The outer casing that was sloppily slapped back together is slightly askew, tilting to one side in a sneer that lends an air of smug defiance.

I hate that washing machine. It’s a bubbling pool of loathing in the back of my throat that will not go away. Oh, my kingdom for a wrecking ball!

In the foul mood this clearly brought about, I went to the store. I hit a pothole so massive that I’m not entirely positive it wasn’t a portal to a different dimension. My beastie let out a blood-curdling scrape. I didn’t look. I haven’t looked. I’m too scared that I’ll get down and see a cartoonishly jagged rip underneath. We’re going with the Wile E. Coyote theory on this one and hoping for the best. As long as we don’t look, all is well.

Had to go to the school to pick up the youngest. He got out late, and we sat there. And sat there. And sat there, in the sticky and humid rain that was so hard we could only crack our windows, waiting for some selfless person to let us in the exit line. Didn’t happen. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my two decades of driving, it’s that rain erases all kindness on the road. “You want to get out? Well SCREW YOU! Can’t you see that it’s RAINING? What kind of moron would expect me to stop my three mile per hour escape to let them get to the road first in the RAIN? Pfft. Newb.”

It took twelve minutes. Twelve minutes of sitting there in a hot and steamy car in the rain watching the smirking faces of all the people who wanted to badly to flip me off and laugh as they passed, but knew they had to keep it together because the kids were in the car.

Did I mention the kiddo had to pee?

AND IT WAS RAINING???

Have you ever had to sit immobile in a steamy car in the rain for twelve minutes with a kid who had to pee? I’d rather not do that one ever again, Fate, k thx.

When I finally got out of the parking lot, I almost got pegged by my asshole neighbor who thinks every time he pulls out of the drive he’s suddenly transported to Talladega. He had the audacity to flip ME off for daring to drive on a public highway when HE wanted to peel out. I know. I’m such a douche like that. Then dinner was late, I knocked over an open soda can in the fridge (seriously, who leaves an open can of soda in the fridge? Either drink that shit or dump it out. Bad teenagers, bad.)

I guess what I’m saying is that it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad…

“Achem, Bethie? As your legal advisor, I must interject and stop you before you finish that phrase. You do not have the licensing rights to use it, in whole or in part.”

Oopsie! Almost forgot. Thanks. Let’s just hope Judith Viorst isn’t reading this.

*Author’s note: DUDE I totally mean the exact opposite of that. How flippin’ amazing would it be if Judith Viorst actually IS reading this? If you’re looking, Hey Jude! Don’t take it bad…*

“BETHIE NO!! DO NOT even THINK of continuing THAT one!!!”

*Jeez, chill, man. I said it as an aside between asterisks. Everyone knows an aside can’t be considered in a lawsuit as long as you put it between asterisks.*

“*blink**blink*…you have no idea how the law works, do you?”

*Of course not. I wouldn’t dream of stepping on your toes. Hey, can we just get back to the Muse now?*

Okay, okay, I’ll admit that as bad days go, it wasn’t exactly horrible. It wasn’t even in my top hundred list of bad days. But jeepers, one thing after the other just grates on my nerves, ya know?

Today has dawned with clear skies. I’ll take that as a good omen. It’s also the last day of school for the little one, who is already up and raring to go on the couch, finding it impossible to contain his excitement. I don’t mind an excited kid, but he’s not sticking to Morning Rule #1: No talking to Mum before the first cup of coffee is down the hatch. I’m giving him a pass, because I know just how much he’s itchy for this school year to end. I’ve got my headphones on so I can’t hear him, but he’s bopping around just in the edge of my vision and do you have any idea how utterly annoying that is and…hang on a sec. I’ll be right back.

…back. I handed him his tablet and he is now watching hilarious YouTube videos.

“Digital bribery?”

Stop raising that eyebrow at me because it’s not going to work. I’ve been at this parenting thing far too long to look at bribery as a bad thing. First kid? Nope. Nuh uh. No way. By the book with strict limits and gentle pleading and reminders that he needed to behave for the sake of personal pride he’d feel at adhering to the rules of the house and…

Second kid? FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS RIGHT AND FAIR AND JUST IN THIS WORLD, TAKE THIS MAGIC BOX OF ELECTRIC AWESOMENESS AND GO IN YOUR ROOM AND LET IT ENTRANCE YOU SO MUMMY CAN GET FIVE MINUTES OF PEACE!!

You bet your sweet bippy I use digital bribery.

There were a couple news items I wanted to bring up today, but I’ve already rambled quite a bit, so I’ll be brief.

“Is that even possible?”

I’m going to ignore that remark since your legal guidance has been extremely beneficial this morning. But I’m putting you on notice.

Anyway, the first story is that Donald Trump is running for president.

Let me know when you’re done laughing. Or groaning. Or ranting. Or simply fed up with political stories already and the damn election is still so far away. This is not the first time Donald has claimed he was running for president. Anyone want to take bets on whether he actually sticks with it this time?

Even if he doesn’t, our options are getting broader and broader, huh?

Imma give you a list of our current official candidates:

On the Dem side, we’ve got: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, and Lincoln Chafee.

On the Rep side, we’ve got: Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, George Pataki, Lindsey Graham, Rick Perry, and now Donald Trump.

As well as those, there are several people who are openly still “feeling out” the public before they decide. I don’t like this. I know it’s part of politics, but if you need to spend months publicly “feeling out” people before you decide if you’ll be president, I don’t want you in the oval office. Period. If you can’t make up your own mind on what you want, then I have no time for your ego stroking shenanigans. Someone who gets the job should want the JOB, not just a prom court crown for being popular.

I’m on the fence with who to like among the candidates, though there are plenty to hate. That’s good. I mean, if we didn’t have at least a few controversial scum puppies in the fray, the elections would be a very boring process indeed. Imagine turning on the tv and only seeing GOOD ads! How utterly droll.

“Bethie, did I detect a hint of sarcasm?”

NO-OHHH. None at all.

Too soon to back anyone, but at the moment, I’m kind of liking the cow tipper. MAPLE SYRUP FOR LYFE, HAG.

The second bit of news, which honestly really does relate to the first in a way we, as a nation, really need to consider, is that the border patrol on our south western quarter is now classifying undocumented babies as “illegal workers” in an effort to get them deported faster.

Look, I’m all the way up here in NH. Our neighbor country in my neck of the woods is Canada. Would you believe that we don’t really have a problem with Canadians sneaking over the border? In fact, up here, sneaking is often done the OTHER direction.

Because of this, my life in terms of living with and understanding the day to day effects of illegal immigration from southern nations is very, very sheltered. I get that. I do. And I’m not even going to pretend otherwise. Why should I? My truth is that I live in part of the country that does not deal with ANY aspects of it. So believe me, I know my opinion should most definitely be taken with a grain of salt.

…or should it?

We once painted my Grammie’s kitchen for her while she was away. She loved green, so my dad got a nice, bright green. The sample didn’t look garish or anything and we happily painted the night away. We let it dry and came back the next morning, pleased with how well we did. It wasn’t until someone else came in and saw it and said, “MY GAWD that’s HIDEOUS!” that we were able to step back and see beyond the hours of work we put in to the color itself. It was, indeed, hideous.

But while we were in the thick of it, we couldn’t see that. We were too focused on dealing with the paint and the rollers and covering furniture and masking off the woodwork…we were too focused on the details to see the overall picture.

Electrified gecko, by the way. That’s what I’d now call that color. Hid-e-ous.

Maybe me living in the US outside the divided “war” zone of immigration problems gives me not a sheltered view, but an overall look at the bigger picture that people who are in the thick of things can’t see for themselves?

The story about the babies being migrant workers goes like this. Classically, the forces that handle illegal immigration cases (from cops and agents, to lawyers and judges) don’t really consider babies to be threats.

Oh, how naive, right? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: All babies are just a hair’s breadth away from shanking you with a binkie.

They’ve conned the nation, though, and since folks buy into the “helpless” persona, babies aren’t viewed as a threat, and classically, deportation cases involving babies have been pushed to the side in our system that is overwhelmed and bogged down. The system puts a low priority on deporting babies, and instead focuses attention on captured adults. (And of those captured adults, they really only have the time and resources to really pursue folks who have committed crimes outside of simply being here illegally, or those whom the government has deemed a threat.)

The US border patrol sees the problem differently. Since many people come to the US illegally to have their babies on US soil, thus making the infants US citizens, they believe that cracking down on deporting babies will send a message to anyone considering crossing the border illegally. To make the cases a higher priority and to get more attention, the border patrol has…upped (?) their game (I’m not sure you’d call it that, but they really did go from zero to a billion) by listing the babies as illegal migrants who have done other illegal things, such as receive fraudulent welfare/social service benefits and illegally obtained identification paperwork to seek work. This is a big no-no right now, because the only thing the US hates more than non-working undocumented workers is tax-paying working ones.

In a nutshell, in the minds of the border patrol, labeling babies as illegals looking to steal resources and jobs puts a big red flag on the cases and they’ll be fast tracked and dealt with so swiftly that any expecting parents in southern nations wouldn’t even consider hopping the border before Jr. is born.

There are a couple problems with their theory, though.

First, anyone who is desperate enough to get out of their current situation for a shot at a better life for Jr. will not- I repeat- WILL NOT follow the case law for deportation of babies. They just won’t. They do not care. These are people who are poor or scared or so strung out living the life they have that they are willing to risk death itself for a shot at something that might be better. The decision to come to the US illegally to have a baby is NOT about what they can get from the US, but what they can give their child. Period.

And secondly…THEY ARE BABIES, ASSHOLES. No one, not a single cop, agent, lawyer or judge is going to look at the “rap” sheet of an 11 day old baby (true case, folks. 11 days old. DAYS.) and consider the individual to be dangerous. No one.

We need reasonable approaches to immigration reform, and arresting babies just isn’t it. All this does is make the US look like even bigger douchebags on the international front. Serious problems need serious solutions. I think they just took a company poll, put the suggestions on the Wheel of Fortune, and gave it a spin. That is honestly the only way I can think this idea became policy.

Hold on a sec…this just in. We have a breaking news story. Donald Trump has made a statement on his ideas for immigration reform:

“When Mexico sends its people, they are not sending their best. They are not sending you. They are sending people that have lots of problems, and they are bringing those problems to us. They are bringing drugs and they are bringing crime, and they’re rapists.”

*crickets**crickets*

Donald Trump, ladies and gentlemen. Your latest 2016 presidential candidate.

“…you got any more of those Maple Syrup stickers kicking around, Bethie?”

Thus concludes a very long winded Muse for Wednesday, last day of school 2015. Honestly, if you stuck around this long, I’m duly impressed! That’s an extra hour of YouTube for you, my friend! Now be a good kid and don’t shank anyone with your binkie while Mummy goes and works on the car…

Oh what a beautful morning! And it won’t even be ruined by shitty coffee, either…

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Mornin’ all!

Take a whiff. You smell that? Fresh blueberry muffins. They’re cooling before they get a salted vanilla glaze. I’ve got ribs drying on the rack before I rub them down to marinate all morning. And the coffee’s brewing. I actually measured it carefully today instead of just dumping half a can of grounds in and hoping the pot won’t disintegrate.

“Whoa now, Bethie. You…you…MEASURED the coffee? Like real people do?”

Yep! Sure did!

“What’s the occasion?”

Why, I’m glad you asked. Today just so happens to be… Family Holiday!

…hey. Stop flipping through your calendar in a panic and come back here. You didn’t have a brain fart and forget to buy someone a gift. You won’t find Family Holiday in any calendar, because it’s completely made up by us.

We’re a blended family. His, mine, ours. You know, 80’s sitcom fodder. When we were a newly formed herd, and the teens weren’t even close to being teens, there was some tension amongst the ranks. Shocking, huh? Turns out “Insta-family” takes a bit more work than simply adding water (still waiting for the class action suit against those 80’s sitcoms and their lies, btw).

One day after a particularly trying he said/he said/nuh-uh/yes-suh battle between the trio, my guy saw some toys on clearance at work. He bought them, then came home and we put our heads together and decided to make a whole day of it. A special day, that only members of our family could celebrate.

And thus, Family Holiday was born.

Corny? Yep. Desperate? More than a little…at first. We really stressed the fact that the kids would now be raised as brothers, as family. Though I’d like to say that was enough to cement the bonds of brotherhood, I am not a good enough author to make that lie sound even remotely believable.

However, it did give them a fun day, and it was a fun day that no one else on the planet got to have. Their very own holiday. All they had to do to be qualified to celebrate was to be part of the family. And the next year, we made it better. We added some activities and prizes…more the year after…yada yada…here we are. I fully intend to keep it going, too, even when they finish growing up and moving out. I’ve done a lotta screwing up as a parent, but this is one thing I think was a pretty good idea.

This year we’ve got to plan around work schedules, so it’ll be an afternoon event. I got a bunch of lame outdoor activities that they haven’t played in years. The young pup is thrilled. He’s still at the right age for the bubbles and badminton and water balloons. The older kids have shunned those baby activities for a couple years. But, with the teens getting older, they are re-entering the age of wanting to do those things again. They’re eager to hold on to what is probably the last real “kid” summer for the two oldest ones.

I also got a bunch of those long balloons. I’m thinking…balloon animal contest. And I got these sponge ball slingshots. You wet the sponge and let ‘er rip! *SPLAT*

“Uh…I think you may just have regrets at the end of the day, Bethie.”

It’s not really a holiday unless you end the day with a migraine! Right?

Right!

Besides, I’m expecting the beef-handed teens to rage quit balloon animal-ing, which I would find hilarious. Shouldn’t be too much squeaky-popping before they’re sick of it.

I also got some regular balloons. The young pup won’t remember, but another thing I used to do for the yet-to-gel Three Musketeers was randomly buy a pack of balloons at the dollar store and blow them all up when the boys were napping or at school. We called it Balloon Party, and I’d do it every couple months. One dollar and a good set of ear plugs, and the afternoon that *could* have been bickering and trying was turned into a joyous cacophony of laughter and frizzy hair.

I have been getting nostalgic as well. They aren’t the only ones who realize they’re getting too big too fast and will soon have lives away from me! I’m thinking that when the teens are at work or upstairs getting angry because the game is once again cheating on their fifth play through of Skyrim, I’ll break out the air compressor and make a surprise Balloon Party.

…hm. Just had a thought. We did not have a cat when we used to do Balloon Party.

This should be interesting.

We’re breaking out the ice cream maker. It’s my son’s, the 14 year-old. He won it as his prize for winning the math bee in 8th grade. He had his pick of any reasonably priced item, and he chose and ice cream maker. Now, I didn’t complain, not one bit! But, you gotta admit, it’s a bit odd of a choice for a 12 year old, right?

Ice cream. Ribs on the grill. I thought of corn on the cob, but holy mackerel is it pricey! They wanted corn on the cob and burgers. But there was a really good deal on ribs, and I just couldn’t swing burgers and corn. The way things are going, I don’t know if we’ll get burger cookout at all this summer.

I’m going to do it.

“NO BETHIE!”

I can’t believe I’m saying it, but I must.

When I was a kid…

” *groan* ”

…actually, scratch that. We don’t even have to go that far back. When my teens were kids, I could get hamburger for about a buck a pound and paid a couple bucks for a dozen ears of corn. You know what the stores are advertising those items at this week? Burger at $4.29/lb, and corn on the cob for $6/dozen. And that’s on special! Why aren’t burgers and corn on the cob still cheap eats? It makes no sense, folks. I thought this was America!?

“…uh…”

Oh. Oh, yeah. Heh. Sorry. Didn’t really mean to get on a soap box today. I just stood in the grocery store yesterday and it floored me that it would be cheaper to do a spare rib BBQ than classic burgers. Tirade over.

So it’s a holiday here in the afternoon. Some finishing work on the car this morning before the relaxing fun. Did I mention that we got those firework poppers? You know, the ones you pull the string and a blob of confetti shoots out the end? We saw them at the grocery store and they were dirt cheap. Snappers, too.

Remember snappers? They’re tiny little sperm-shaped paper packets that have a few rocks and a couple grains of gun powder in them that make an oddly satisfying snap when you throw them on the ground. Or at someone’s ass.

Here. Let me refresh your memory. I scanned in the actual box because you NEED to see this:

snapbox1

snapbox2

Is that not the most amazing box you’ve ever seen? I love everything that’s wrong with it. “It’s rappin’, it’s snappin’, it’s what’s hapnin’…” GUG. Cannot stop saying that!

And then the monster…I get it. The brand is “Monster Snaps”. But why the mohawk and drinking straw hairdo? Wouldn’t one or the other have sufficed? And can we just talk about those fingernails please? And those jorts. THOSE JORTS. And what the hell is up with his nicely tied sneakers? I’m sorry, but if I’m going for a kickass monster, I’m not looking for one with Lee press on nails and pristine sneakers. Or a beer gut that hangs over jorts.

I love it.

I love this box.

And I’m not just saying it. I legitimately ONLY bought these particular kinds of snappers so I could have the box to put on my fridge after the fun of snapping is over.

So that’s the story for today. A bit of work, then a lot of fun. I honestly cannot think of a better way to spend a Sunday.

Thus concludes a Morning Musing for Family Holiday 2015. I hope you all have a good day, even if you can’t be eating ribs and twisting epic balloon animals like us. Well, you *could*. Maybe your family needs a holiday, too.

If the newsman actually reported the news, would the internet break?

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Mornin’ all.

Last night, I dreamed that I was a blacksmith who specialized in forging weapons for knights. Like, medieval knights. I never saw their faces. As I looked up to hand over the swords, they towered above, the golden rays of sunshine bleaching out any glimpse at the majesty of their beings that I could have had. Magic. Absolute magic. *fangirl sigh*

The weapons were giant, too. The shields I needed to temper were as tall as I was, and the swords were almost impossible for me to swing. And yet, I did it, because the kingdom’s fate relied on my skills.

How friggin’ awesome is that? Can I have that job in real life?

How exactly does one go about becoming a medieval weapon forger? Wait…are there even knights anymore? And where can I get a forge in the first place? There has to be a Forges ‘R Us somewhere…right? Do you think the constant *ting**ting*clunk**ping* of my hammers would piss the neighbors off? Do I have to file taxes if my job is “make weapons that shalt kick ye olde arse?” And would any injuries I suffer as a result of the process be covered under Obamacare, or is that more of a workman’s comp thing?

Hm. Perhaps this is not really suitable for an actual life goal. Maybe I should just settle for creating arms for gallant knights in the cloudy world of Dreamland.

Ah well. I know for a fact there are plenty of villains that need vanquishing there!

Today’s Friday…or as my kids are calling it, “The last Friday of school!” …usually followed by high-fives, back slaps, fist pumps, and the random, “Huzzah, chaps!”

Remember how great it was to be *almost* at summer vacation? I actually used to like the last few days of school more than the first few days of vacation. It was the final leg of a marathon, and the end was so close you could almost taste the icy bottle of Gatorade and feel the firm weight of your participation medal around your neck. Possibilities stretched out before you, your mind painting a picture of the golden days ahead. Would you relax? Go fishing? Maybe camp.

Or if outdoors wasn’t your thing, you’d sit in class on the last couple days of the school year and dream about finally beating your sister’s high score in Bubble Bobble…

*awesome fist bump to anyone rad enough to remember Bubble Bobble*

…or mastering the art of online insults while MMOing. Maybe you thought of the quilt you wanted to make, or the make up you wanted to master, or figuring out how to build the soap box car legends are made of. Maybe you were just looking forward to sleeping in so late that you couldn’t in good conscience say “Good morning” to anyone all summer long.

We all felt like we were going to reach life’s pinnacles, didn’t we? And the anticipation was, without a doubt, far more satisfying than the actual vacation. Don’t get me wrong. I loved summer vacation. But looking back, it was the impossible super hero I saw myself becoming while I itched to hear the final bell that makes me smile now. Everyone thinks they will have a perfect summer. Everyone forgets the bug bites and sunburns and hours of mindless boredom while your folks were at work and having nothing but Spaghetti-O’s and Muy Nachos…

*fist bump for fellow survivors of Muy Nachos crackers*

…for lunch all summer long. The dream was always better than the reality.

That said, as a parent, I won’t disabuse my kids of their excitement. It’s so fun to be on the other side, to watch the glimmer of hope pool in their innocent little eyes for what’s to come in the hot months. Even though I know reality cannot possibly live up to the Most Epic Summer of All Time that’s playing through their heads, it’s wicked cool to see them so giddy.

No, I won’t disabuse them of it now. I’ll wait until I hand out the summer chores list next week. Muahahaha!

Say, have you heard about the jailbreak? Unless you’ve been off the grid in the depths of the dessert with no internet, phone, or a even a view of one of those small message planes that drag informative and funny banners behind them, I’m pretty sure you probably have. I’ll recap, though, for those who need glasses and can’t see what the banner says.

Two inmates broke out of a jail in New York. Newsworthy in and of itself, but nothing like this media frenzy we’re seeing. Why is it so sensational? Because their escape is like something out of a movie. They cut their way out through pipes, and crawled to freedom like Andy Dupree in Shawshank Redemption. They may have had insider help, so there’s another twist of intrigue. And they left a note on the pipe next to the hole with a racially inappropriate drawing and the words “Have a nice day!”

“Oh those bastards!”

See? It’s got it all. I’m not surprised it’s getting so much attention. I am surprised, however, at what different news sites are grabbing onto and running with.

The breakout happened almost a week ago. People clicking their mousies have made this prison break story number one on the news sites, and the hungry fat cats in charge have decided they want to keep people coming back. Why not give them more of what they clearly want?

This becomes a problem quickly, because aside from the basic facts I stated in one paragraph, there isn’t much more that’s actually known. How many times can you say, “Two inmates escaped from jail through the plumbing system, potentially with inside help, and left a rude note to taunt guards on their way out,” before people get bored? The news sites spent the first few days reiterating that info, but there are only so many words in the English language, and only so many ways to coherently arrange them.

So now, with a desire to keep the public informed *cough*clicking on their site and pleasing sponsors*cough*, the news sites are desperately trying to scramble for any angle not yet covered.

Some have chosen to pick apart the lives of the inmates. Okay, they were arrested, convicted, sentenced, and escaped instead of serving their time. They kind of deserve to be under a microscope, and that seems like a legitimate angle for the story.

Some sites have decided to make wild accusations and delve into the lives of the prison guards that may or may not have had anything to do with the prison break. That’s shameful, media. Utterly shameful. The media is, in all likelihood, ruining innocent lives by doing this. No one has been arrested or charged with aiding and abetting, and it’s not “journalism” to throw out random guesses and present them as truth. It is, in fact, the complete opposite of journalism, and any reporters taking part in this unsubstantiated witch hunt should be fired.

“Well that’s a little harsh, Bethie.”

Wait a sec. Hold the phone. A reporter can get canned for saying he was shot at in a military transport when he wasn’t, a lie that literally harmed NO ONE, but we should give a pass to those who are completely making shit up out of thin air and potentially RUINING LIVES?

“…but I was offended by Brian Williams.”

OH. Okay. See, I didn’t know you were “offended.” That changes everything.

*squeak**squeegy* *squiffy noise of wiping sarcasm off the screen*

Aside from potentially destroying the professional lives of likely innocent guards, there’s another trend in the media at the moment that’s got me rolling my eyes and shaking my head. Some news sites have decided to take the ground breaking approach (pun most DEFINITELY intended) of telling people exactly how to cut their way out of jail using the tools that most jails have in their maintenance departments.

Let that sink in a minute.

This “responsible” news outlet has decided to educate the public at large on the best, most feasible way to break out of jail, should they ever find themselves locked inside that iron cage. They’ve spoken with power tool experts, dug deep and found supply lists for the average jail house, and combined the knowledge to provide us with a handy dandy breakout plan.

There are lines in journalism that have nothing at all to do with causing offense. What kind of message are they sending by doing this?

“Bethie, it’s just an article.”

…on a well respected news site, by people who are trusted to be journalists. There’s a responsibility in reporting the news that has slipped by the wayside. Are people interested in knowing how the convicts broke out? Of course! Should a site write a Jailbreaks for Dummies booklet that anyone with a basic education can follow? REALLY??

In situations like this, I like to ask myself, “WWWD?”

What Would Walter Do? Walter being Walter Cronkite, of course. One of the best newsmen of all time.

…OMG. You…you don’t know who that is, do you? Damn I feel old. *sigh* Google him. Watch the YouTubes. Learn. THAT, kiddies, is journalism. That is what the news used to be. Facts. Well researched facts presented by someone with integrity. Novel concept, eh?

And the other thing I wanted to talk about before I take my mediacentric soap box apart to make a summer derby car…

Fat in the media.

Fat asses. Fat guts. ‘Merican fat bellies. Fat faces. Double chins. Flabby arms and thunder thighs.

These things happen. They’re real. There are bodies out there which are larger than average.

My question is… If someone else is fat, what in the hell is it to you?

Why is there so much anger and hatred these days at someone who is overweight?

A celebrity puts on a few pounds, it’s the end of the world according to the news. Stocks will plummet, society as we know it will break down, martial law will be enacted and we’ll be forced to loot and pillage for the basic scraps needed to survive if the paps see even a hint of a belly on a popular actress. Jennifer Lawrence went up half a size…might as well say that Godzilla is rampaging for all the panic, fear, and hate that is lobbed her way.

And not just actresses. Average people on the street. How many times are we bombarded with articles and exposes that claim to want to help people get “healthy,” but are actually no more than a ploy to turn larger people into side show freaks? And to create an insurmountable chasm between you and them?

Do you know why people are fat?

No. No, you don’t. You can’t possibly, because each story is different. Each set of genes is different. Each metabolism is different. Each fragile emotion is different. Perhaps there was abuse, and the person found comfort in food. Maybe there was trauma, and the person got bigger to feel safe. Maybe there’s a chemical imbalance that makes it impossible for the person to stop eating. Maybe the person is struggling with deep depression. Maybe the person never learned proper nutrition. And yes, maybe the person is just lazy.

The point is, you don’t know. You have no idea what has led to a stranger having excess body weight. Dr. Oz doesn’t know. That annoying twat Jillian Michaels who yells at all fat people doesn’t know. And do you know what? You don’t NEED to know. Because no matter what the media tells you…

….hang on. This is important, so it’s getting it’s own line. With caps. And bold…

SOMEONE ELSE’S BODY HAS NO EFFECT ON YOUR LIFE.

Period. Fat or thin or average, it just doesn’t. It’s not something to get angry about. It’s not something to shame people for. It’s not something you should be concerned with if you aren’t overweight. The only thought you should ever have about a stranger’s body fat content is, “Not my business.” Because it isn’t. And when you jump on the current bandwagon and let the media whip you into a frenzy over someone else’s ass, you are just dancing like a puppet on a string.

“But they need to be healthier.”

Two points:

1) Anger at fat people does not stem from any desire at all to see them get healthier. It stems from miserable people who are miserable in their own lives and crave something that will make them feel superior to others. If it was about health, there would be sympathy and understanding, not anger and vitriol.

2) We DO need to be healthier as a society, but as long as the media is making someone else’s fat an “us” vs. “them” debate, THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN.

Because the truth is, it’s NOT an “us” vs. “them” debate. It’s not a “debate” at all! It’s a health issue. Is there “debate” about cancer? Strokes? Would you ever say, “Get off your ass and DO something and maybe you wouldn’t have gout, asshole?” No, you wouldn’t. That’s utterly ridiculous, because there’s so much more to curing those health problems than simply wanting to be better.

And the very same goes for people with weight issues. As with every single other health problem in the history of ever, it’s a complex and personal journey for the person affected. Complex and PERSONAL.

So why is the media telling us we need to be angry about someone else’s body weight? Why have they made it their place to encourage the public to shame people about their health problems? Why has the media decided to do it’s level best to make you fat monitors for everyone else?

I don’t get it, folks. I guess I just don’t understand the current trends in “journalism.” Telling us how to break out of jail….”exposing” people for wrongdoing that there is no proof they wrongly did…making health issues a point of anger and hatred…

Is this trend going to continue? Should we keep clicking and letting it continue? Don’t you miss logging on to a news site and just getting the news? Because I do. I miss the days when the news didn’t try to whip me into anger, or bring me in on conspiracies.
WWWD?

Cry.

Walter would cry.

Thus concludes an admittedly preachy Musing for Friday, June 12, 2015. I’m off to put my headphones on and listen to a podcast while I sand down a car. Don’t worry, I’ll wear a mask. Wouldn’t want to harm your life by getting a stuffy nose from the dust. That would be, like, totes irresponsible of me to put you through the trial of seeing me have the sneezes, and I’d hate to put you in the position of having to sneeze-shame me.