Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What's wrong with this scenario?

The following dialogue recently took place in my kitchen:

Spouse #1: Honey, can you come help me fold the clothes in the dryer?
Spouse #2: No. I don’t want to.
Spouse #1: Well, I don’t really WANT to either. Come help me!
Spouse #2: No. I’m tired. I’ve worked 12 hours today and driven another hour and a half on top of that.
Spouse #1: Well, I’ve worked too. And I’ve cleaned! And I’ve cooked!
Spouse #2: Well, I’VE been out working long hours in the hot sun to make money for our family!
Spouse #1: I know. And I appreciate that. But I feel like you don’t appreciate ANYTHING I do around this house!

Let me go ahead and tell you what’s wrong with that scenario. I was Speaker #2. It actually went down like this:

David: Honey, can you come help me fold the clothes in the dryer?
Court: No. I don’t want to.*
David: Well, I don’t really WANT to either. Come help me!
Court: No. I’m tired. I’ve worked 12 hours today and driven another hour and a half on top of that.
David: Well, I’ve worked too. And I’ve cleaned! And I’ve cooked!
Court: Well, I’VE been out working long hours in the hot sun to make money for our family!
David: I know. And I appreciate that. But I feel like you don’t appreciate ANYTHING I do around this house!

You’ll notice the asterisk (*). I added that to show the point in the conversation where I did (reluctantly) drag myself out of my chair and go help him fold the clothes. I wasn’t actually being difficult here. This wasn’t a fight. We weren’t really arguing. We did say these things, but we were laughing (and folding) as we did.

The unfortunate part is that it’s all true. We’ve switched roles here lately. As a claims adjuster, my life gets turned upside down when a disaster strikes (i.e. the April’s fury tornados that wrecked the Southeast on April 27th). With the exception of about a week and a half that I spent back in the office, I’ve spent almost every day since the tornadoes working 12 hour days in a tent in some of the most heavily hit areas…Hackleburg, Phil Campbell, Pleasant Grove.

[I do want to be very clear on one thing here: What I’m going through is nothing. I’ve seen things in those areas that I know I’ll never forget and heard stories that I know I’ll wish I could…but more about that in another, more serious post. Sure it’s hot out here, but I’m in a tent with an oscillating fan…not walking through my neighborhood trying to find what little I can salvage of my worldly belongings. This wind is blowing dust from the demo sites all in my eyes and ears, but it’s a far cry from 200 mph. I’m tired, but at the end of the day I get to come home to my house and my bed. And most of all my wonderful, loving “wife” as I’ve been calling him these days.]

And what a wonderful “wife” he is. Anyone who knows my husband understands that he’s possibly one of the least effeminate men on the face of the earth. He hunts, wears dirty boots, drives a dirtier truck, farts, inexplicably breaks into a nervous sweat any time he enters a restaurant that serves quiche, can’t seem to learn how to select appropriate socks, and finds any and all throw pillows completely useless and unnecessary. But he takes such good care of me and helps me out when I need it most. After I leave each morning, he makes the bed and straightens up the house. While I worked all last weekend, he washed every single load of dirty clothes and linens in our house…including my bath robe. He has it all together so much more so than I do (even when I’m working normal hours!).

I, on the other hand, have been working at a hot, dusty mobile catastrophe site and using a port-o-potty. I don’t mind my job, and I enjoy helping our customers and answering their questions. However, for every legitimate policyholder that I see, there are 3 more random bozos stopping by to ask some of the idiotic questions below. Luckily I’ve managed to keep my reponses (in italics) to myself and politely direct them elsewhere.

“Can you tell me where FEMA is set up?” Across the street. In that giant RV over there that says FEMA on the side in big blue letters.

“Is this where the volunteers sign in?” You’ve come to the right place! Now, run along and get me a biscuit.

And my all-time favorite…

“Is this Allstate?” Yep. Sure is. That’s why it says “State Farm” all over our RV, our signs, our tents, our shirts, our cars, and our coffee cups.

But it all ends today! Four weeks after the devastating tornadoes, my life seems to be returning to normal…HA! Fat chance! We’ve sold our house, bought another one, and are scheduled to close on both on June 15th! Looks like my days of balancing work, household chores, and slaving away in the heat are only just beginning…

Q: What’s wrong with this scenario?
A: soon as I find myself back in the proper role!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Have I lost my mind?!

Last year I hosted both sides of my crazy dysfunctional family for Easter. I did not seem to learn my lesson. As I have chosen to repeat this chaos yet again for the second year in a row.

To say that I'm very different from the family from which I was birthed is an understatement. We act differently. We think differently. We most definitely cook differently. I can't remember the last time I fried something, but that's the only way my family will eat most vegetables. I feel odd serving too many starches, but my family will gladly line up a buffet table with mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, macaroni, corn, and rolls and not think a THING about it!

Today I actually did a head count and realized that there are 26 (TWENTY-SIX!) people coming to my house for lunch on Easter Sunday. I LIVE IN A GARDEN HOME! I have less than 1,500 square feet! Have I lost my mind?! Seriously!!

It'll be ok. I'm sure. Right? RIGHT?! I mean, I only have to cook a fairly minimal amount of food myself. A pound cake, a chocolate sheet cake, peach cobbler, fried okra (see?), squash casserole (which most of my picky family won't eat, but...who cares?!...I like it, and I'm making it anyway!), rolls, drinks...OMG! What have I done?!'s ok. Really. I'll survive.

Part of my problem stems from the fact that I have a deep-seated tendency to over-prepare for such events. There's always entirely too much food. We end up throwing away leftovers. But it still doesn't stop me from doubling, even TRIPLING, recipes in the desperate hope that we won't run out of food. I mean, how HORRIBLE would that be?! My philosophy is basically that I need to have enough of each dish so that, if every single person present loaded their plate with an entire serving (vs. the mere single spoonful that they'll probably actually get) of every single item on the buffet...there would still be leftovers!

This is so dumb. I do realize. But it beats the heck out of the mortifying alternative...that we would run out of something! It really all comes down to me staring at my cookbook, reading the instructions and quantities for a recipe that feeds 6 and knowing that I have to serve 14...and now, this weekend, TWENTY-SIX! It's all I can do not to quadruple the recipe!

But I won't. I'll double it at best. If something runs out, I'll just tell my crazy family that I'm shocked I finally made something they like. Or I'll make a joke about what a bunch of pigs they are. Or I'll just hide the bowl before more people come through the line. And I'll focus my attention on making sure my house is still standing.

Q: Have I lost my mind?!
A: I have no idea. I'll let you know Monday...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Do carpenter bees sting?

I hate nature. I really do. I mean, I like it in know, like in photos or through the car window. But experiencing the actual outdoors...not so much. People who knew me when I was a child might be surprised to learn this. After all, I grew up in the country. We had cows. And a garden. I rode on tractors. I fished. I rode 4-wheelers. I played in the mud. I climbed trees. I played outside from dawn to dusk. I'm not sure what happened. (Although I do suspect it had something to do with college and the sorority dorm and roaches that were as big as my foot and could fly. Maybe that taught me that all living creatures aren't pretty. Especially when you have to kill them yourself.)

Anyway, after surviving this year's long, cold winter indoors, a miraculous thing happened. Seemingly overnight. Spring arrived! Hooray!!!!!! Hibernation = Over. Not only for me, but also for the rest of God's creations. Ugh. Over the course of working in the yard this weekend, I encountered each of the following: lizards, spiders, frogs, wasps, and my newest nemesis...the carpenter bee. Let me address these pests one by one.

Lizards: They slither, which is creepy. They change colors, which is...freaky. They like to hang out on the side of my chimney, which means they're RIGHT THERE staring at me when I open my back door! Ooooooaaaaauuuuhhh! (That was a full-body shiver.) I suspect they lurk there waiting for the door to be left open so they can slink right inside.

Spiders: While bees are my most recent annoyance, spiders are my most hated. I despise them. I spend entirely too many of my waking hours worrying about them, mistakenly feeling like they're crawling on me, and researching parts of the earth that don't have them (which are unfortunately all too frigid for my taste). Because of my paralyzing phobia, I refuse to reach into any place (particularly in the garage) that I can't see. I even make my husband put his hand in my gardening gloves, before I do, to make sure they're arachnid-free! (In my defense, I first squish each and every finger from the outside, so if he does encounter a brown'll be a dead one!)

Frogs: No thank you. Also, why do I keep finding scorched, dried up specimens in my yard? Are frogs that dumb that they just sit outside in the sun and roast? Are they getting zapped by the HVAC unit? What is this about?! Gross, dead, dried frogs in my yard. Blech!

Wasps: They sting. That is enough. Also, they've found a way to get into my house. We've killed FOUR! IN OUR HOUSE! (By "we," I mean David. After I pitched a big fit.)

Bees: Hovering, buzzing, stunt-diving, menacing bastards. I hate them. And I'm pretty sure it's mutual. Because these winged critters were out in full force this weekend and were encroaching on my personal space (one flew into the back of my neck while I was planting flowers!), I felt compelled to research whether or not they could actually hurt me.

As it turns out, the chances are slim. While female bees are capable of stinging, they rarely do. However, the bees we often see are actually the males of the species. Their job is to bring food from flowers and other sources back to the nest. They are also responsible for patroling their territory (which at my house is the area surrounding the new flowers in my window box) and keeping the airspace free from any other flying critters. (I must admit that I did get excited for one little guy when I saw him blindside a wasp and show him who's boss!) This is the reason they zoom towards you, dart about, and then deflect at the last minute. They simply want you out of their area. Which has forced me to find some really long, creative routes to get me from my back yard to my front yard. Alas, the wasp spray doesn't seem to phase them.

Q: Do carpenter bees sting?
A: Probably not. But that doesn't make me want them any less DEAD!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I work in a building that contains over 1,000 people. Some of them are weird. Or at least look weird or act weird. It's inevitable. There are a lot of us. We can't all be normal. So in order to be able to quickly refer to people we don't know, without having to go into a lengthy description of them, my friends and I have developed quite the long list of nicknames to describe them. It's nothing personal. We have nothing against any of these people. In fact, we've never spoken to most of them. They're just amusing characters in our everyday sitcom. I'm sure the following list won't be nearly as humorous when you can't experience the actual visuals, but...use your imagination!

Debbie Downer: She doesn't want to be here. She's tired. She doesn't feel well. She's tired. She wants to go home. She's tired. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Mimi: That's right...

Perpetually Pregnant Girl: This one can be explained by either one of the following explanations. 1.) She's always 16 weeks pregnant. 2.) She is actually, in fact, a 50-year-old man with a beer belly.

Sponge Bob Square Head: Fairly self-explanatory. His head is gigantic in proportion to the rest of his body...and rather square in nature.

Sponge Bob Whale Pants: A derivative of the above. This character has a fuller body, small head. He is also often seen sporting pants dotted with tiny embroidered animals.

Kitty Cat Guy: This one is rather abstract. He's a fairly normal-looking dude, if a bit creepy. But his mannerisms suggest that he lives alone with a house full of cats. And that if you rang his doorbell, he would answer the door...cradling a cat.

Hot Mess: This chick looks as if she crashed at 3 a.m. after a hard night of clubbing, only to awaken at 7:45, just in time to come to work in the clothes she slept in and whatever makeup she was able to apply during her commute (on top of any makeup left over from the night before).

Flock of Seagulls: This one's easy. The chick's hair looks like this...

The Entire Cast of "The Office": Oh, yeah. Michael, Angela, Dwight...they're all present and accounted for. You think those people don't exist in real life, but they do. I work with them.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Over or under?

Tonight, as I often do, I fed my husband couscous. Historically, this is a food he's hated. Until he met me and was forced to eat it on a weekly basis. Right now, he's lying on the couch. Petting our cat. Whom he refused to even fathom allowing to live inside. Until we got married. My, how things change.

As I reflect on the past 4 years of our lives together, the theme that recurs again and compromise. Mostly his. He embraces the cat. He tolerates my shopping. And my non-stop talking. He accepts my bi-weekly emptying/cleaning/reorganizing of the refrigerator. He assuages my anxieties.

As for me, I've done my share of meeting in the middle. I just laugh now when I think how excited I was about setting up a home together and getting new furniture. We've bought none. Nada. Well, other than a futon and a hand-me-down table and chairs for the kitchen. I'm still living with the same leather/vinyl beige couch he had when we met. I'd love to lobby to get rid of it. But it's difficult when it's still in good shape (barring a few places where the pleather is getting worn) and is long enough for David to stretch all the way out on. For our third anniversary (leather), we did jointly buy ourselves a new leather recliner...which the cat subsequently scratched. Oops.

I finally just gave up and broke down and painted our $149 Kmart entertainment center, which houses our 9-year-old, 175 pound, hands-down, oldest. picture tube. TV. still. alive. I use the term "still alive" loosely as it's recently started having lines run across it that can only be corrected by one of us banging our fist on the top of the screen. Over the years I've also allowed the head of a dead animal to be mounted on my wall, learned to cook and eat said animal, agreed to attempt to stick to a budget, and grown accustomed to a thermostat setting that's sometimes 5 degrees below what I'd prefer.

While we've learned to see eye-to-eye on most of the major issues, there are still some inconsequential ones on which neither of us seems willing to budge. Take the toothpaste, for instance. David feels it should be squeezed from the bottom up on every use. I, on the other hand, feel this extra effort is a waste of time. That is, until the tube is almost which point I'll make a last ditch effort to conserve.

Another area of contention is our T-shirt folding methods. He finds the way I fold T-shirts to be unacceptable. His method results in a folded shirt that readily displays the pocket or the logo in the pocket area, so he can easily tell exactly which shirt it is without having to unfold it at all. I've tried to learn his bass-ackwards way of folding T-shirts, but it just feels wrong. Some habits die hard.

But of all the differences of opinion, the one that I find most difficult to resolve is the issue of the toilet paper. I wish I could say it didn't matter to me. But, unfortunately, it does. I honestly prefer for the loose end of the toilet paper to come from underneath the roll. For one reason and one reason's easier to tear. End of discussion. Then our crazy, hectic lives these days...we're doing good if we even manage to get the roll changed out at all!

Q: Over or under?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Why do I dream that my teeth are falling out?!

That's right. The title of this post should immediately separate anyone who is reading this blog into two categories. The first category consists of those of you who read the question and immediately thought, "Girl, you must seriously need to floss!" (And you're probably right because I don't do so nearly as often as I should.) For those of you who had that reaction, you have my permission to stop reading now. You will never, nor do I expect you to, understand.
Now, on to those of you whose reaction was "OMG! OMG! I dream that too!!! What DOES that mean?!?!"...keep reading. Not because I have the answer. Well, the RIGHT answer, anyway. Just read on to know you're not alone.

I've had this dream for years. Not all that often. Just once a month or so. Maybe more if I'm under a lot of stress. I had it last night. And it was even more traumatizing that usual. For the most part, I usually dream that I'm chewing something, when I suddenly realize that a tooth has fallen out. Followed by another tooth. Then another. And then, before I know what's happened, I end up spitting out a mouthful of teeth. (I know this is gross...if you don't which case you should've stopped reading like I advised you to do.) The dreams are always so vivid that I often wake up feeling like they were real. Only to breathe a sigh of relief once I realize my incisors are still intact.

I never realized how common my dream was until someone brought it up once at a family reunion. I was SHOCKED (and relieved?!) at how many people confessed to dreaming the very same thing! I've since found myself in more than one setting where the topic was introduced and even more people were both amazed and perplexed by the fact that they share a common nightmare.

Now I should point out that I'm not one who believes that dreams have some underlying meaning, or that they can be foreshadowing or prophetic. I don't even know how much I buy into the fact that they symbolize anything about what's really going on in your life. I tend to think they're just an assortment of people/places/elements, that you experienced or thought about (maybe even subconsciously) during the day, that randomly come together during REM sleep to form meaningless, abstract combinations. But the fact that so many people share a common dream must mean SOMETHING. Much like dreams about falling. Or about showing up for school or work naked. I mean, who has that EVER happened to?! So, if we're not dreaming about it because it did or could happen, then why?!

Well, I did some "research." By research, I mean...I Googled. Just to see what the sources out there had to say on the issue. And, MAN, is there a broad spectrum of sources on the internet giving information about dreams! Here are some possible explanations that I found for this particular nightmare:

Anxieties about health or appearance: Dreaming about losing your teeth, which are symbols of good health and beauty, could symbolize an underlying fear of illness or of feeling less attractive.

Fear of growing older or death: There are two times in life when we lose teeth...when we lose our baby teeth as children, and when our teeth deteriorate as older adults. Dreaming of losing teeth could reflect a concern about growing older, the realization of our mortality, or even the mere fact of nearing a milestone birthday.

Feelings of powerlessness/abandonment: Often in dreams about losing teeth, the dreamer realizes one tooth is falling out and tries to stop or prevent what's happening...but to no avail. This could represent an area of the dreamer's life where he or she feels powerless.

Secrets/Embarrassment: Losing or spitting out teeth can represent admitting or expressing something that's been concealed, as well as a desire to hide something that might cause embarrassment. It can also symbolize lying or a feeling of being lied to.

An actual physical problem: What manifests itself in our dreams could be a result of a real physical problem we're experiencing, even one so subtle that we're not cognizant of it during our waking hours.

Q: Why do I dream that my teeth are falling out?!
A: Probably because I grind them in my sleep!*

*See future post about causes for grinding one's teeth...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Does my husband intentionally annoy me to keep me from soliciting his help in the kitchen?

My household has been awfully lazy today. A combination of staying up late to ring in the New Year with friends, being awakened in the wee hours by the storms, and finding ourselves lulled into a stupor by the heavy early morning rains caused us to sleep later than usual. Especially me. In fact, I climbed out of bed this morning to find that coffee, biscuits, and bacon awaited me, courtesy of my sweet husband.

A late breakfast led to a late lunch and then, ironically, a nap. When I woke up, it was dangerously close to dinnertime. I had no groceries and no plan. Deciding to do my small part to keep New Years Day traditions alive, I dashed off to the grocery store to buy the necessary ingredients for black-eyed pea soup and accompanying jalapeno corn muffins, one of our favorite meals.

Because time was of the essence and the ten minutes of preparation the muffins required would have seriously cut into the prep time I needed for the soup, I reluctantly asked my husband if he could please just follows the directions and make the muffins for me. Since he had already told me that the football game he was watching had ended, he basically had no excuse. He agreed. I removed the page from my recipe binder...a recipe, I might add, that he's helped me make before...and got straight to work on my chopping. Hilarity ensued. Here's a play-by-play of what took place after that point.

1. He stalled.

2. Stalled some more.

3. Detecting a hesitation in the movement of the oven drawer (while securing the muffin pan) he proceeded to rattle it around, rearrange its contents, study the drawer's design, and finally close it to resume the muffin preparation.

4. Solicited my help in selecting a "medium bowl" to house the cornbread mixture.

5. Diagnosed himself with an acute allergy to celery, due to his aversion to the stench from the stalks I was chopping.

6. Was suddenly overtaken by an intense stomach pain.

7. Complained that the onions (that I was chopping!) were bothering his eyes.

8. Farted.

9. Upon my asking if it was okay for me to blog about this experience, responded that it didn't matter. He wouldn't be able to read it anyway due to the onset of his blindess from the onions.

10. More complaints, sniffling, about the celery, onions, shallots.

11. Required a break due to the effects of the onions. (Said break involved him walking approximately 4 feet to the kitchen doorway that leads to the living room, where he watched a few minutes of ESPN.)

12. Reacted dramatically to a piercing sound that resulted from the knife meeting the plate as he chopped jalapenos.

13. Finally (roughly half an hour later) poured the batter in the cups, slid the pan into the oven, set the timer, and went directly outside to let his eyes recover.

My emotions during this entire episode ranged from gratitude to irritation to amusement to homicidal. There was a point when I almost exiled him from the kitchen, another instant when I just shook my head laughing at his OCD tendencies, and then another where I looked at the extremely sharp knife in my hands and thought about my options. Then I remembered that I look good in neither orange nor jumpsuits.

I questioned my own sanity for having asked for his assistance (because, after almost four years of marriage, this should be an experience I'm all too familiar with). I questioned (and still do) whether his actions were all intentional (as it usually only takes a few seconds of him exhibiting a general lack of urgency before I just give in and do it myself).

All in all, though, dinner was a success! His corn muffins were excellent, a little easy on the heat because he used the exact 2 tablespoon of jalapenos the recipe calls for instead of adding a little more like I often do. He declared my soup to be the best it's ever been, likely because I added a little extra hot sauce in anticipation of a milder-than-usual muffin alongside it. We even managed to get everything ready and sit down to dinner at a somewhat reasonable hour.

However I must say that, if I had it to do over again, I might just accept the fact that we'd be eating dinner at 8:30 and prepare the whole meal myself. Alone. In a stress-free, whine-free, flatulence-free environment.

Then again, what fun would that be?

Q: Does my husband intentionally annoy me to keep me from soliciting his help in the kitchen?

A: If so, it isn't working.