Sunday, August 20, 2006

Giving me the chills

And another thing.

If I say "don't bring anything chilled" please do not ask me if you can bring something that goes in the freezer. Let me be blunter than blunt. One person, and only one, has refrigerator/freezer rights when we're entertaining. The rest of you, the rules apply. Simon says Bring Cookies! Simon says Get Out of My Fridge! Simon says Yes, Your Treat Was Delicious But Now You Put Me in the Ugly Position of Explaining Why You Could and She Couldn't! Simon Says PAY ATTENTION!

It's been eight days and I'm still getting over the party. We counted; including babies, toddlers, and grownups, we had 50 guests. If everyone had shown up, I might be the one curled up in a ball, whimpering. J is already thinking about the next one. God help us all.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Window dressing

There is something going on outside my window. Over the last few days, I've had multiple visits from a fat male cardinal, two monarch butterflies, and a swallowtail. I'm not sure if it's the super pink flower combo, or someone trying to send me a message, but between the fauna and the flora, it's rather nice to sit here, looking out.

Best of all, the squirrels have kindly managed to leave two of the 30+ apples on my Ida Red tree, so with any luck, I'll be able to pluck them off in just a few short weeks and taste the fruits of my gardening labor. Don't worry, I have a backup. There's plenty of rosemary in the garden, too.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The recovery room

Well, I didn't spit in the food. Nor did I strangle the child who screamed in misery all fucking day long, as if hanging out in my backyard, what with its personal chef, shimmering blue pool, and hordes of little people, was the ruination of his wretched life. I am patient only to a point. That point hit early, I'm afraid, and so when he let out his blood curdling bleats of rage, I whimpered like a lost little kitten.

It is probably a good thing I didn't breed.

At any rate, Rules 1, 7, 11, and 19 were violated (see "Are you a good guest" a few posts back). And because I am a bitch, I am adding the following codicil to my list of sins:

  1. Turn my living room into the ESPN Zone. Um, we invited you for a party, not baseball night. We are proud Americans, but baseball sucks. You're not here to watch baseball.Next time I'm hiding the damn remotes.
  2. You're not here to call the bookie, either.
  3. Complain about pretty much everything I do. Don't like it? Sorry. Go home.
  4. Don't bother RSVPing until the last minute. Thanks, that made it real fun to deal with the caterer. If you were juggling last minute plans and told us in advance, we're not talking to you. But for all those who could not be troubled to say yes or no until the last damn second, you suck.
  5. Blatantly ignore the invitation, the conversation, and any other apparently too distressing request not to bring something chilled. Thanks for rearranging my refrigerator. Where the hell is my spinach?
Sigh. Oh, a note to whoever left their little baggie with Runts and Bottle Caps next to my chair. I ATE THEM. Ha.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Where's that voodoo doll when you need her?

Despite my desperate need to pee like a horse (white tea with mango seems to do that to me), I decided to stop at my favorite garden center on the way home to purchase a flat of something pink and fluffy.

Some weeks back, I planted all the window boxes with pink and purple wave petunias, and in mere days, they shriveled up like salty worms and died. So much for the promises on that pink cup. J insisted it was my planting skills (open pack, loosen roots, push into box filled with Miracle-Gro container soil filled with healthy bits-o-shit, water, and wait).

Alas, the slugs got them. Or so my mother explained, and I am not inclined to argue or search for the slimy things. Bad enough they hang out on the pool fence when we're night swimming, watching us and most certainly plotting our demise.

At any rate, with 32-67 guests descending on the house like locusts in oh, four days, I felt the Transylvanian gardening statement had to go (despite the fact that I am, in fact, half Transylvanian. REALLY. Wanna see my fangs?). And so, pee clock and all, I parked the pretty Beetle at the nicest garden center on Lawn Guyland, grabbed a cart, and prepared to purchase my pink flat. Hell, I would've settled for red, even. Whatever I could grab that was still verdant, all right?

As three carloads of people entered the store door, I was stopped 10 feet away by a young man who informed me the store was closing in 15 minutes. "No problem," I said. "I'll run in, grab what I need, pay up, and be gone."

Now this was 5:45. The store's site claimed they closed at 7 or 8, depending on where one looked. When I made it to the door (oh, 12 seconds later since I got the first spot) I was blocked by Brunhilde, the crankiest old woman I have ever seen in retail. "WE'RE CLOSED!" she barked. "YOU CAN'T COME IN!"

Now at this point I began to simmer. I tried polite reasoning. It pissed her off. I tried telling her the website promised longer hours. She was unconvinced. She wouldn't move. She raised her angry biddy voice at me. She bulged her eyes and tried to morph into a stinkweed.

"Last time I shop here," I retorted, and I tore my card in half and stomped back to my car. Tomorrow, I have every intention of calling the store owner and going ballistic. Every month, they send me a fancy 4-color newsletter touting not only their plants, but their exemplary customer service.

Service my ass. Their plants may be healthy, but their spirits are cold and dead, those people. I thought it was a fluke last summer when I, about to purchase over $1,000 in plants, asked when they could be delivered. "Oh," the nonchalant clerk said, "I don't know. Maybe a week. Maybe three weeks." (And no, I didn't buy them!)

Listen, all you descendants of Hicks (yes, it is Hicks Nursery on Jericho Turnpike, damn them): your customers are not pests. We are not downy mildew or blackspot. We are not even petunia gulping slugs. Last time I checked, 5:45 was not 7 or 8, and if you were too useless to change the website hours when you decided to start closing at 6, well, 5:45 isn't 6 either.

If that surly woman worked for me I would die of shame. And then I would come back to life and kick her ass from here to the Walmart Garden Center. Snort.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The glory of the lord

Most days, my greatest battle involves traffic. I'm forever racing to my Beetle, fighting to merge, gripping the wheel in fear and cursing the morons who:

  1. Suddenly turn right from the far left lane
  2. Run red lights
  3. Yap on mobile phones, without headsets
  4. Ride my ass even though I'm flowing with traffic and going well over the speed limit, in the middle or right lane
  5. Exhibit other idiotic selfish tendencies

When feeling benevolent, I try to imagine that they are rushing to the bedside of a dying loved one, or are in labor, or something even worse. Most days, I just scream in my car, ugly snippets like WHORE! or NITWIT! or bits too ugly to blog.

They may well deserve public flogging, but I need to get a grip.

And this week, I've been working on that. Just a few days back, I used this blog to ask God a few pointed questions. Offered up a suggestion or two. Well, for some reason, God said nope. And a hell of a lot of people are trying to figure out why.

In the midst of it all is a sunny, bright kid who is facing cancer like it's a picnic with her favorite teen idol. She is calm, radiant, and full of wit in a time that most of us would be terrified. In a week, her life and her presence on the planet have become a story everyone loves to tell.

It is bigger than I could ever have imagined. It is as if a great whale has swallowed her up, with her parents, in a sea of prayer, love, good and bad advice, and hope. And there she is, swimming calmly and marveling at the sights.

It is grace beyond her years and frankly, mine. I am only the messenger--it is her tale I tell, late at night, after sorting through her mother's thoughts, scribbled frantically during a 15 minute computer session at the Ronald McDonald House. I weave and balance, knowing that 11 year old girls are reading, that a rock star has enlisted his entire list of fans, that a thousand born again Baptists are praying and clicking right alongside a crop of Jewish lesbians, a Vietnamese advertising executive, and a Muslim economist near Sarajevo.

Jesus will save you, the Christians tell her, and all over the world, a network of people who may or may not believe in God join hands and tell this child there is hope.

You can read about her real battle at