Thursday, November 30, 2006

The tiny wrench of doom.

Originally uploaded by buffpuff.
This little orange light serves to inform me that LIFE IS SHIT and I shouldn't bother trying to keep my head above water.

Also, I'm just trying out my new Flickr blogging stuff.

The Christmas tree, the Christmas tree.

I'm having trouble making a decision about the Christmas tree this year.

On one hand, a Christmas tree is a lovely decoration; it sets the living room aglow with light perfect for chugging eggnog and resenting yet another load of gift boxes stuffed with socks, underwear, and sweaters with cats on them. It's beautiful and festive and it sets the mood and it looks nice from the street.

On the other hand, I still find needles from LAST YEAR'S tree from time to time. It makes such a mess, and it's such a pain in the ass to haul in, and then haul out, and then clean up after. There are needles on the window sill, under the rug, on top of the rug, on our clothes, under the sofa, everywhere. And this might be fun if the needles I'm referring to were syringes and we were heroin addicts; alas, we're not that lucky. I'm referring to the green variety that will appeal intensely to the superhero who lives in our house and is known as "ILOVETOEATTHINGSOFFTHEFLOOR-MAN". A decorated Christmas tree is lovely and perfect for about one hour after going up and being decorated. After that, it's only a matter of time before Reed is sitting underneath it eating glass ornaments. The cats will knock those balls off of it, the limbs will start to droop, water will inevitably leak or be spilled from the base, and did I mention THE NEEDLES?

So I just don't know. I'm still thinking about it. Maybe we'll hang a nice wreath on the front door and call it a day. But if you are in need of some Christmas cheer, if you need to see the Christmas spirit solidified by a woman who literally spends eight months of the year getting her decorations perfected and lit, check out this lady. She's got the shit you need.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Rudy, the red-beaked reindeer, you'll go down in history!

So, now it's time for Christmas shopping and Christmas music and peppermint mochas and fighting for a parking space even if all you need is tampons and vodka. I LOVE this time of year, just as much as I hate it. I've actually got about half of my Christmas shopping done, which is kind of a relief, and I know what I'm going to get for many of the people whom I haven't bought for yet, so it's not too shabby.

This time is sort of hectic, because there are just so many DAYS in a row, you know? First it's Thanksgiving, then Jason's birthday, then our anniversary (tomorrow!!), then Reed's birthday, then Christmas.

Thanksgiving was nice and pretty relaxed; we ate at my mom's house, and then Jason had to go to work at Terry's, because, jeez, SOMEBODY has to sell Leedsites their liquor on a family holiday, right?

Jason's birthday was fun; we managed to throw him a surprise party at which he was so concerned that someone might be in the house that he made me go inside first. Then we all literally stood in a circle and passed around a bottle of Alize until it was gone.

Tomorrow is our third anniversary as "The Agans". We don't really have anything planned, but I imagine we'll do homework with the kids, cook dinner and then clean up, do some laundry, try and deal with Grumpy Smurf, and then pass out from exhaustion. You cannot handle this much hot sexiness, I tell ya.

Next is Reed's birthday; I have eight days and I haven't bought or sent invitations, or called anyone, or bought any presents. I am RIGHT ON TOP OF THINGS.

Then it's Christmas which usually isn't too hectic, except for trying to get us AND Kane and Jude to my mom's house, then my dad's house, and somewhere that Jason's parents will be, all in the couple of days that we have with them over Christmas vacation since they go and stay with their mom for the holidays. Besides THAT it's smooth sailing.

So, for right now, I'm thinking Christmas Presents. You should all be very excited, because I have some very special things in mind. I hope you've been nice, because if you've been naughty, I don't know what Santa might bring you!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Like strawberry wine.

Last week, an old friend of mine called me on the phone. I hadn't talked to Misty in at least five or six years, and maybe longer than that. I honestly can't remember the last time I talked to her.

Misty got pregnant and had her first baby when we were seventeen. She dropped out of school to raise Madison. I was so intrigued and jealous; I remember thinking that I could get pregnant with my boyfriend Jimmy, and that we could totally handle all the responsibility and PLUS then maybe my mom would let me spend the night with him. THIS proves how book-learnin' doesn't always count for that much, and that young women can be BLIND AND STUPID when it comes to babies, marriage, and boys and their potential as life-partners and fathers. Luckily Misty's situation was much better than mine would have been, had I decided to start a family with a nineteen-year-old boy who drove a Maverick that broke down regularly and lived in a house where we often sat around and listened to gun shots and then tried to guess at which neighboring house someone had just been killed.

Misty married Drue, Madison's daddy, and I was a bridesmaid in her wedding. They went on to have another baby, Clayton, and she got her GED, went back to school, and became a dental hygienist (I think; if I'm wrong, Misty, I'm sorry).

Now she's divorced AND remarried, and is very happy and lives just down the street from us. We talked and Madison and Clayton are, respectively, the same age and at the same school as Kane and Jude. We decided that we really should get together with the kids so they can play and hang out, and without the kids so WE can play and hang out. We laughed about old jokes, and about Misty telling me after she had Madison that the placenta looks like a blue potroast, an observation that Jason has always vehemently agreed with.

When we talked about my family, all my boys, she immediately said, "Oh, Buffy, so you don't have ANY help, do you? You do all the laundry." And I had this momentary, tiny release, just a little spurt of "JESUS thank you." It was just this miniscule sense of commeraderie knowing that I was talking to someone who immediately got that shit is nuts at my house sometimes. Jason helps out plenty, but he is a BOY, folks; he generally, and admittedly, just doesn't really think about laundry and dishes and scrubbing the tub that much on his own.

Just yesterday, I bought a few of those Arm and Hammer fridge and freezer packs that are supposed to suck up odors in your fridge and freezer, and I told Jason that we needed to clean out the fridge and put those in there because some of the stuff, the milk and the water, smelled and tasted funny lately. Jason replied, "I'm glad you think about that stuff, because I just DON'T." And, you know, I get it. I wish that I didn't think about all that stuff so much. But I guess one person in the relationship has to; otherwise we'd be drinking milk that tasted like the floppy carrots that were still in the refridgerator after three weeks.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Could you please pass the "DO WHAT?"

So, we're having dinner with Jason's family tonight for his birthday at Guadalajara in Pelham, which means MARGARITAS and CONFUSION!!!

The margaritas I'm kind of excited about; I don't think I've had a margarita since before I got pregnant with Reed.

The confusion is just a family tradition with the Agans; who's paying the bill, who's ordering what, whose child is trying to break the gumball machine, whose drink is this, who knows? It's all in good fun, and it only takes about two hours to get out of the restaurant once the bill has been paid. And then it only takes about another two hours to figure out where all the children are going and with whom, and then to get everyone to their cars. That's just how they roll.

I'm getting much more used to it, but I've got to tell you, the alcohol helps. When I was pregnant and couldn't drink, I had to remind myself to bring a strap of leather to bite down on during these family get-togethers, if only to keep from grinding my teeth down to the gums during a particularly long game of "Wait, I have some coupons." But the drinking keeps the tooth-grinding down to a minimum- perhaps I grind just a tiny bit when we all start trying to get in touch with Mary to find out if Kane and Jude can spend the night with Jason's mom, and then AFTER we finally do and she says yes, Kane and Jude tell us that they want to go home to their mom's house and we have to try and get back in touch with Mary BEFORE she gets to Tijuana for the evening. But, you know, no big deal.

Who knows? Maybe Jason and I will end up in Tijuana after dinner tonight. I'll have to be sure and pack some disinfectant wipes...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

On husbands.

Jason's birthday is this Friday, and I'm taking him out to eat. I told him he should pick the place, because it's his birthday.

So where are we going?


Saturday, November 18, 2006

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

There's a sad little Christmas tree, a fake one that's three feet tall with no decorations, on a table in between a large paper cutter and a basket of dum-dums in the middle of our office. I find it to be very depressing, and a little comical.

Today is the Iron Bowl, a historic and very serious event for Alabamians. College football is big everywhere, I suppose, but it is religion down here. Auburn University and the University of Alabama sending their football teams to GO AT IT is a big deal, I guess because they're both local to us. Auburn is about two hours away, and Tuscaloosa is about an hour away.

When I was in second grade, I smiled at a cute boy named Dan Baker in P.E. one day. That afternoon in the lunch room, he sent me a note that said, "Check one. Do you like Alabama or Auburn?" I checked Alabama, and by that afternoon we were "going together". THAT is how important this game is; your allegiance can determine the path that your life is going to take.

Today I am wearing a red shirt, a really cute v-neck with three-quarter sleeves. The fact that it is red is the significant part- I am "wearing my color". I have never been a big football fan, but every year, I must admit, I feel a tiny twinge of excitement on game day, the only "game day" that I notice all year long.

My dad has always been an Alabama fan, so that has always been my team, too. I'm pretty sure that, in years past, he and his buddies would watch the game and drink a few beers. One particular year, when I was about ten or eleven, my dad came home after a particularly tense and unpredictable game that had ended in Alabama's defeat wearing an Auburn hat. Let me reiterate that I'm not a big football fan. But for some reason, that moment SCARED THE SHIT out of me. I thought, "Okay, it's the end of the world as I know it, Michael Stipe, and my dad has lost his mind." I kept asking him if he'd changed his mind, and it wasn't until several years later that I realized that he was being sarcastic when he replied, over and over again, "Well, Buffy, I just realized that Auburn is the better team."

Today I'm wearing my color and supporting my team for my dad. I don't know if he'll watch the game, and I don't know if he'll be able to enjoy it, but I'm stepping in to ensure that Alabama won't find themselves one fan short today.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

My dad had his prostate surgery on Monday. I spent several hours with him in the hospital, and it was a scary experience. He was in some pain, and was generally uncomfortable, and was pale and, I think, a little scared.

You know, I've never been close to my dad. I've always wished that we had the kind of relationship that I have with my mom- close, comfortable, honest. But it's just never been that way. I was a disappointment to him in my later teenage years, and that feeling seems to have stuck with him somehow. I partied, and didn't really care about college, and didn't really care about jobs, and I made bad grades and then stopped going to school altogether. I know that he wasn't just trying to be a wet blanket; he was worried about how I would get along once he wasn't here to help me out any more, trying to prepare me to be self-sufficient and all that.

I cleaned up my act a few years ago; I got things together. I held jobs, made money, got my ass back in school and made some good grades. I graduated and got a full time job that pays really well and has some great benefits. I got married and had a baby and added THREE grandchildren to his collection, not just one.

And still he's acted like I disappoint him, like he just doesn't know what to do with me. I've spent a lot of time resenting him for not being able to just say, "Good job." But I think I've finally let it go. Looking at him in his hospital bed, KNOWING that his fears are just like mine, I just let it go. I realize that you might think, "Well, you shoulda let it go a long time ago!" and that I might sound really bitchy. But old habits within families are hard to break; it's not always as easy as all that. I can't explain the way my heart felt, the way my stomach felt, sitting in the room with him. We were quiet, and we both just rested, and I listened closely when nurses or doctors came to talk to him.

He has high cholesterol; I didn't know that. He gets shooting pains in his left arm sometimes; I didn't know that. He bled a lot more than is normal with that surgery. He has some kind of benign heart condition, with a CRAZY name that I can't remember (bigeny something, something that made me think "By jeminy!" every time they said it), that makes every third heart beat come too fast every now and then. They sent four samples off after the surgery, and all four came back negative for cancer.

I am learning new things all the time these days. I learn. I DESERVE a pat on the back for that one, because not everyone can say that.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

You speak any English?

Okay, I'm panicking. I'm reading a great book called Toxic Childhood, and I'm learning how to keep my kids active and healthy and not too engrossed in the computer and t.v.

But there is a list of 34 Life Skills Your Child Should Have By the Age of 12, and one of them is "Clean a cooker hob."



Art Vandalay with black beans, no rice, and some camo.

I went to Moe's for lunch today, and I don't know what's going on, but there were a LOT of army people in there. Seriously, there were probably about fifteen or twenty army people there. I think they may have been recruiters, but I'm not sure. When I got in line, there were about ten army guys in line in front of me. Then, three army women came in behind me and got in line. I have to tell you, this one particular army woman, of course the one who was directly behind me, had absolutely no concept of personal space. First, she got RIGHT behind me. You know how you can just feel when someone is standing too close? And even if I didn't know at first that she was standing too close, I would have figured it out during any one of the FIFTEEN times she bumped in to me while we were in line. Sometimes she'd poke me with her elbow, sometimes she sort of brushed up against me with her whole body. I mean, she was within one foot of me at all times. If I moved, she moved. I'm not exagerrating here; it was creepy.

Before I move on, I'd like to say that I have friends who are or have been in the army. I am not passing judgement on the army as a whole, nor am I saying that I think army folk as a whole are stupid or unsavory or anything else. I am talking just about these particular women who could have avoided this whole thing if they hadn't practically wanted to INSPECT THE SEAMS ON MY CLOTHING or at least they might as well have while they were so close up. I'd like to add that this particular Moe's is the same Moe's where I was felt up by an army woman a few months ago.


What follows are some quotes, some actual bits of the conversation these women were having. Besides the content (some of which I personally find to be QUESTIONABLE, at the least), the sheer variety that these women achieved is mind-boggling. Keep in mind that I got my food to-go; this was all said in the time it took us to order and pay for our food. Keep in mind also that I don't usually eavesdrop, but seeing as how these women were having their conversation from a little porch they built right outside my eardrum, I could hardly tune them out.

"The American people just need to get that World War II back bone out!"

"You know that guy on the O'Reilly Factor? I LOVE him."

"They call MY son 'push-up Dave'!!!"

"The only way to be a decent drill sergeant is to learn how to go around the system."

"What about Black Monday? BLACK MONDAY. We're about to have another one of those. You know why? Because it's time for it to come around again."

"I want to know why Bush doesn't get all the credit he deserves."

"You know that we're being under-cut by the Asian market. Pretty soon, they're going to control the whole world."

"They're talking about going back to Vietnam. I think they should!!"

I think we can all see that the Moe's on Lakeshore in Homewood, Alabama is a HOT BED of political and military thought. Things are movin' and shakin' over there. Just watch out for your behind because somebody might pat it lovingly when you least expect it.