The best I can do on a grey morning

Yesterday it was over 70 degrees here. Balmy! (Which is not the same as BLAMY, which is what I typed the first time, because I need more coffee.) I found myself fairly skipping through the daffodils (oh, yes—we have daffodils, dozens of them) and weaving ribbons in my hair with the help of cartoon bluebirds. Because THIS, this is what WEATHER SHOULD BE! It was warm and breezy and sunny and gorgeous, and I was totally willing to pretend that it wasn’t happening on the hind end of February when I have friends digging out of the snow up north.

I also opted to conveniently ignore the fact that apparently this will be a very small window of Perfect Weather; soon Pollen Season will be here, and after that, Insufferable Heat Season, which really doesn’t bother me as much as everyone says it should, because I prefer to think of it as Pool And Popsicle Season.

But when I put all of that together with the fact that I regularly have hot flashes, I have to concede that I’m sort of a weirdo.

* * * * *

(Don’t hate me because of the weather. There are plenty of other reasons to dislike me, I swear. Also, the forecast today is for severe thunderstorms and HAIL. And possibly houses landing on witches.)

* * * * *

So I think I may have mentioned (three or four times) that in addition to singing in the church choir, I somehow agreed to be in this special “ladies quartet” (which only makes me feel about 96 years old, every time someone says that) that does “special music” once a month. And by “special music” we mean “the butt-crack of dawn early service.” The one Sunday a month we sing is a very special time where I get up before seven ON A SUNDAY and remember to put on mascara and go sing and then come home and make sure that the children have gotten dressed and then go sing again at the later service, culminating in spending entirely too many hours at church and—usually—complaining to my husband that our ladies’ quartet sort of sucks.

Oh, we COULD be good. Occasionally we are. But most of the time we haven’t rehearsed enough with each other, and we’ve almost NEVER rehearsed with the actual accompaniment. The woman who plays piano and organ for the church is already required to be there for too much and is paid too little, so usually all we can manage is 5 minutes of rehearsal with her that morning, and you know, THAT’S NICE. Especially when we already sort of suck. SO. As you can see, I have slightly mixed feelings about this arrangement.

On Sunday I was racing up the front steps of the church at o’dark thirty and I stumbled. I caught myself, merely dragging the top of one shoe along the concrete, briefly, and was very pleased that 1) no one saw me and 2) I didn’t hurt myself.

Then I got inside and realized that I had completely ruined my shoe. Scraped the leather clean off the delicious pointy toe, I did. I think I’ve worn that pair three times. I didn’t shed a tear—I had to go sing, after all—but it’s a bad way to start your morning when JESUS WRECKS YOUR SHOES. I’m just sayin’.

* * * * *

I called the school cafeteria yesterday because they keep sending home a bill in Monkey’s name for $.85. My kids don’t buy lunch. They have never bought lunch. I can tell you for certain that Monkey would rather pluck out and eat his own eyeballs than have to go stand in a loud, jostling line to pick up food which he’d then be unwilling to eat. The kids have PINs they key in at the cashier’s station, and clearly someone input Monkey’s number by mistake. I’ve called on this a couple of times already.

Me: So, um, I think this is the same charge from before, that hasn’t been removed. But I can assure you, he’s never purchased anything in the cafeteria.
Her: Let me look and see what it’s for. Oh, here we are. It’s from a breakfast in September.
Me: Right. Well. That’s easy, then, because my kids aren’t even THERE at breakfast time.
Her: But perhaps he was hungry.
Me: He… what? He’s not THERE.
Her: Sometimes, at the beginning of the year? The children get confused? And then maybe they’re hungry, and so they come to the cafeteria and purchase breakfast.
Me: I’m pretty sure that my kid has never been so confused that he accidentally time-warped into your cafeteria and purchased himself a second breakfast, while he was at home eating with us, ma’am.
*crickets chirp in the background*
Her: Well maybe it is an error, then.
Me: Yes. Maybe it is.

Seriously? I mean, I could send the woman a damn dollar if she wants, but are there so many people trying to scam hash browns that this is a conversation we even need to have?

* * * * *

We have a Netflix account for people who really shouldn’t have Netflix. That is to say, we pay a few bucks a month and we’re allowed to have one movie at a time. I think we’re limited to 3 a month or something, too. We’ve yet to hit the cap, because the first month we lived here, Otto ordered Ocean’s 13 and it sat on top of the television for approximately three months before I noticed it and asked him if he was ever planning on watching it.

Now, Otto—and you know that I love Otto with every fiber of my being, right?—likes old movies. I am not so much a fan of old movies, for various reasons. (See: Dead on the inside, prefer movies in color, find old movie acting to be over-the-top, enjoy realistic special effects.) But I have been leaving the Netflix queuing to Otto because I cannot be bothered, and thanks to him we’ve seen some… ummmm… INTERESTING movies.

Last night, we watched this because it’s generally considered a classic amongst photographers and Otto is a photographer and he said, “I saw this once a long time ago, but I’d like to watch it again.”

So, during the movie—which is chock-full of women throwing themselves at the photographer and ending up naked—Otto commented several times, “That never happened when I was shooting,” in a slightly indignant voice, whether because he felt he was missing out or that I might misunderstand his former career, I’m not certain. Regardless, I was working on my laptop during the film, partly because I had work to do, and partly because THE MOVIE MADE NO SENSE WHATSOEVER.

Me: You’d seen this before?
Otto: Years ago, yeah.
Me: And you watched it AGAIN? On PURPOSE?
Otto: Well… yeah. I thought maybe I’d get it this time.
Me: And did you?
Otto: … no.
Me: That was the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen.
Otto: Everyone says it’s a classic! I should be able to understand it! I’m just not post-modern enough!
Me: Yes, this is a real crisis. You can’t understand a plot-less movie about a sweaty man surrounded by braless bimboes.
Otto: It’s a CLASSIC!
Me: I think it’s time for me to take over the Netflix queue.

* * * * *

Chickadee pulled a wad of papers out of her backpack this morning while trying to stuff her lunch bag in there. Some of it was completed work which she told me I was “welcome to have” in the same tone one might use to suggest that it’s time to kiss the ring.

One of the papers was a list of similes she’d invented. The entire thing is comedy gold, but my two favorites are:

The clouds were as still as a paralyzed lion.


The unhappy girl was as pleasant as a zoo full of pooping monkeys.

That’s my kid. The genius. She makes me so proud.


  1. Megan

    “Me: Yes, this is a real crisis. You can’t understand a plot-less movie about a sweaty man surrounded by braless bimboes.”

    Yes, I’d say that’s a photographer’s classic. Every male photog I know is convinced that somewhere, somehow, this is how the species is supposed to live.

    And the similes? When does she start her blog? You know it’s just a matter of time…

  2. mamalang

    “zoo full of pooping monkeys” That’s a classic. I may have to “borrow” that one. Cause I’m 9 and poop still makes me laugh.

    Still chuckling.

  3. MomCat

    If your weather is severe enough today, it will reduce the duration of pollen season. The pine pollen cones in our yard got blown right out of the tree yesterday, bless their green, dripping, itchy, little hearts.

    Chickadee’s blog….oh yeah! She has readership all set.

  4. dad

    Ah, my genes at work.
    I love it.

  5. Leandra

    “houses landing on witches”….priceless!

    Oh, and I’m sure that the school lunch is soooo delicious that all the kids are clamoring to eat it. Right?

  6. Jennifer

    I agree about the weather. It was perfect yesterday. No pollen, no bugs. Just great outside weather watching my girls dig for worms. I’m up the road a bit from you, I believe. Didn’t know hail was coming. Guess I’ll go hide my car.

  7. prophet

    Part of the fun of the morning visit with you, Mir, is finding out what comes along when one leaves.

    Whether it’s cartoon bluebirds festooning one’s hair with ribbons, or houses falling on witches (wearing stripey socks), or time-warp breakfasts, or Jesus-wrecked pointy toe [ruby-red?] slippers, or incomprehensible art movies, or paralyzed lions/poopy monkeys. . . .

    I think I purposefully ignored the hot flashes weather. . . .

    On purpose – if you know what I mean. [it’s a Freudian thing]

    ANYway, I wanted to leave YOU with the thought of what’s-his-name’s Waiting For Godot, which a few drinking buddies and I went to see in Dublin, and which – afterwards, and after long discussions – they also voted “made no sense whatsoever.” And yet we continue to discuss it nonetheless. . . .

    Funny how uncertainty can be of such differing qualities. [I do sympathize over the art movie. At least Godot has amusing – if confusing – dialogue; and no fawning or naked women . . .

  8. Melanie Marie

    “Jesus wreckes your shoes” and pooping monkeys? This is going to be a good day!

  9. Laura

    Ah, yes, pollen season. Have you experienced parking your car under a tree and returned an hour later to find it a fuzzy yellow-green? Or do you still have that to look forward to?

    It’s just pollen, but it always seemed vaguely invasion of the body (or in this case, car-) snatchers-ish to me. Like after being encased in the pollen, my car would start deciding where to drive by itself. (Krystals? No, no. Not me. Completely the car’s decision.)

  10. All Adither

    You only think that no one saw you.

  11. sumo

    When I hear “special ladies quartet” I picture this:

    That’s right, matching striped shirts, styrofoam hats and fake mustaches. I’m picturing you with a nice big handlebar mustache. Oh, yeah! That would be the coolest church choir EVER.

  12. Tink


    Let’s see…

    Pooping monkeys…
    Your genes…
    Yup, sounds about right to me. ;)

    One who knows.

  13. Aimee

    Pollen season never ENDS in Southern California. I haven’t had a non-allergic day since I moved here.

    OTOH, I frikkin’ love Chickadee’s similes. There’s nothing stiller than a paralyzed lion.

  14. D

    One of the things I loved right after “the production code” went away was all the “gotta throw in certain scenes” stuff movies put in. That one is a perfect example …

  15. The Other Leanne

    “…as unpleasant as a zoo full of pooping monkeys.”
    Awesome simile, Chickadee, totally evocative. Give the girl an A+ for that one! I am so looking forward to using it at an upcoming occasion.
    Stay away from movies with MIMES in them (especially mimes played by twins). Since Antonioni died last year, we can assume that he is, indeed, in that Special Place In Hell reserved for directors who make artsy-fartsy-movies-that-build-plot-with-anti-plot(wtf?).

  16. Amy-Go

    Please, please, can Chickie have a blog?

    Jesus wrecked your shoes! *SNORT*

  17. Jessica (aka Rose)

    I might have to use that last simile today at work…
    I know quite a few people who are as pleasant as a zoo full of pooping monkeys. Thank you, you just made my day.

  18. Crisanne

    Take over the queue and move Once to the top. It’s a fantastic movie.

    Those similes are definitely worth saving!

  19. Patrice

    You would think Jesus would understand good hearts plus no rehearsal time might equal not-great results, but I guess He likes his music to actually sound good! So sorry about your shoe, but at least at O-dark-thirty no one could see it, right?

  20. Kris

    How dare Jeebus ruin your shoos like that. Geez.

    Two words for you – library rentals. We pay $1 to request (which can be done online) what is not on the shelf for immediate checking out. But it goes back into the library, so I don’t mind dropping a ten spot to get out ten of my very favoritest dvds.

    You can also request the new releases, which means I get some of them even before netflix can get them to you.
    And still, we have the middle package – two at a time, unlimited per month rentals. It works for us.

  21. jennielynn

    Oh God, my tummy hurts from the laughter.

  22. lindasands

    okay, way too many head nodding things today- except I would NEVER let DH near the blockbuster queue- in fact I don’t think he even knows the password. meh.

  23. Flea

    I’m with sumo. Handlebar mustaches would SO make your group just *pop*. Attendance would go up, donations would go up, the organist would be paid more, you’d all be rehearsing enough. What’s not to like?

    I felt the same way about Brazil that Otto feels about Blowup. WTF? Seriously, what was the point of the film? I don’t remember naked ladies in Brazil, though. And in 1966, would Blowup really have been postmodern, or just weird and sexist?

  24. trinity67

    OMG! The part about you talking to the cafeteria person and then you say *insert cricket sound* made me laugh so hard I wheezed and snorted five times! Thank you for that!

  25. Carla Hinkle

    Speaking of pool season — I heard something on NPR (I think) that Georgia is considering banning *all* outdoor pools next summer because of a water shortage, including residential pools? Can this possibly be true?

  26. TC

    Our school recently sent home a bill for $11.00 or somesuch, claiming that N had gone through the $30 we put on his lunch card a year and a half ago when he started kindergarten. (The lunch ladies at our school are nice and don’t make the kids go hungry, so even though lunch only costs a buck and a half, they’ll keep letting them eat and just send you a bill for it.) The problem? Like Monkey, N would rather literally DIE than stand on line in a cafeteria or eat anything other than the turkey-not-on-bread, five-carrot-sticks, granola bar, and purple-grape-juice-box that he has had EVERY DAY OF HIS SCHOOL CAREER.

    Some little sonuvasomething has been having lunch on way more than my dime for quite a while now. They’re not going to make us pay the $11, but we’re not sure we’re getting back that $30. And I’m a little pissed, to be honest. So good for you for not caving to the 85 cent charge, is what I’m saying. I’m with you.

  27. Sue

    I’m not sure which gave me the biggest laugh, Jesus wrecked my shoes, people trying to scam hash browns, or the paralyzed lion. (I can’t wait to see what kind of Google hits this brings you!) I also vote for a Chickadee blog! (And I want to say, you are a good wife. I give Husband-chosen movies 10 minutes and then I either go to sleep or leave the room.)

  28. Jaime

    okay, the similies cause me to burst into very loud laughter.

    and, as far as Netflix goes, we each have our own profile, and it sends us each our own movie.

  29. carolyn

    Re: the bill from the cafeteria for food your child didn’t eat. Been there, done that. My son carried a balance for 2.50 for food he would NEVER eat. I called and was told the date and the menu: chicken teriyaki. Now, i love that, but my son would never eat food that was combined in that way. NEVER. And I called and questioned it several times over the school year, and at the end of the year, like the wimp that I am, I mailed them a check. I suck.

  30. Shannon

    Maybe I’m not getting the school cafeteria thing, but it seems like a kid could just learn Monkey’s (or anybody’s) pin number and just key it in every time, getting free food with nobody the wiser.

    Love the second simile.

  31. Andrea

    I sooo love you: “it’s a bad way to start your morning when JESUS WRECKS YOUR SHOES.”

    My son buys lunch maybe 4-5 times a month (at my prodding=tired of packing beef jerky pieces, cucumber slices, juice box and a few Hershey kisses!). My hubby says the 3 digit PIN’s they are given are too easy to confuse. If they were longer then less mistakes like these would be made. But hey, we are talking about 7 year olds here. Hmmm…

  32. Sara

    “As pleasant as pooping monkeys” should have been the title of this post. In fact, it should be the title of a whole blog or perhaps a book.

  33. Julie Stiles Mills

    When I’ve spent the time to prepare to sing a solo at church, I go ahead and sing at all three services. If I’m ready, I figure why not? But I always use CD accompaniment so I can rehearse in the car. That’s my kids favorite part – listening to me sing the same song over and over again for a few weeks. Sorry to hear about your afflicted shoes.

  34. Cele

    ha hahah — pooping monkeys, okay I’m feeling eight years old again.

  35. Sarcomical

    oh, good lord, the vast amount of good material in this single post is astounding. hee.

  36. Tress

    Wow, that’s a lot of ground you’ve covered with that thar post. I only have a few remarks:

    1. Shut up, you, with your balmy weather.

    2. Whatever hatred I felt toward you related to your balmy weather is expunged by the redeeming fact that you still put on mascara at such an early hour. Hats off, woman!

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