Monday, October 29, 2018

Tis the Halloween Season

Halloween is our favorite. 

We dress up as a family every year. 

We were the characters from Grease last year.

It's a whole thing we're known for.

But we really haven't been big on decorating for Halloween. 

We aren't into the scary scene of the holiday.

We have new neighbors with two little boys that come over and make Monte and I want to be better at all the fun things, including decorating for Halloween.

Monte has ALWAYS wanted inflatables for our yard for Christmas.

Not anything subtle, 

if an inflatable could be subtle.

No, Monte wants the Santa riding a motorcycle inflatable. 

Does Santa have tattoos?

Or Santa hanging out of the door of an Airstream inflatable.

Neither have ever fit into my outdoor decoration plan for the Christmas holiday.

The last few years, we've noticed a big decline in trick or treaters at our house.

We are close to the end of our street and I think kids have been turning around instead of walking all the way down to our end.

Monte suggested we needed something 


in the yard, 

a visual perhaps

to get the kids excited to keep on walking.

An inflatable.

I agreed only if I got to pick it out.

It's the only one that made sense.

Especially sense I found Monte looking at this one on display at a store months ago.

I can't even.
Too many questions.

We've been waiting forever to put up the dinosaur and decided this weekend was the time.

My parents were in town so my dad helped Monte.

He's 7 feet tall and lights up at night.

Our neighbors told their kids Monte is inside the inflatable.

I also decided to paint a few boards to decorate the front of the house.

I picked up precut four foot boards from Lowe's and painted them black.

I printed out one letter per page and used an exact knife to cut them out.

I thought I would stencil the letters but I didn't use card stock and thought the computer paper would let the paint bleed. I just traced the letters I cut out with a gel pen and then painted them white.

I propped the boards up on either side of my front door.

I also decided to make a new wreath out of eyeballs that I ordered from Amazon.

Note:  the eyeballs came with four Halloween plastic cups. 

I think I unknowingly ordered a spooky beer pong set.

I hot glued the eyeballs to a grapevine wreath I already had.

Yes, we still have the ancient door with the three windows.
It's been a big hit.

We decided to carve our pumpkins Friday night since the squirrels had already started.

Ellie decided to paint hers and one for McDaniel who is away at college.

She used glow in the dark paint for the BOO.
 I keep forgetting to look to see it glowing at night.
It's candy corn!

Monte went with the Kit Kat commercial carving design. You know, the whole "I'm sorry for what I did to your face" one.


Kit Kat's.

I attempted to carve a T-Rex head and was really sorry for what I did to his face until I saw it lit up.

Then I wasn't sorry at all.

We had a bit of wind last night and Ellie and I decided to watch the inflatable since Monte was running an errand.  When we watched him do the splits, we decided it would be a good idea for him to spend the night in the garage so he wouldn't end up blowing all over the neighborhood looking like a Macy's Day Parade float.

On top of being the house with the inflatable, Monte also insisted on buying full size candy bars to hand out this year.

It's on, Halloween! We are ready!!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

What's Really Scary

The other night Ellie walked out of the bathroom and casually mentioned we had an ant problem.

I remember seeing one teeny tiny ant during a shower once or twice the week before but clearly nothing that prompted me to dig out the ant traps

When I walked into the bathroom the vanity was COVERED.

As in, the whiteness of the porcelain was darkened 
by the immense number of the ant masses.

Translation:  there were 4 billion ants.

I have NO IDEA where they came from 
as there's no window in there.

Can ants climb up drains?!

In my shock and horror I grabbed what was nearby.

A bottle of rubbing alcohol. 

I started pouring it on the army of ants and once I saw its effectiveness,


all up in the bathroom with the rubbing alcohol.

I wiped up the carnage as Monte laid out a few ant traps.

The next morning I flipped on the light in the bathroom to find a circle of ants surrounding the ant trap.

Since the ant circle was about 4 inches from the trap, I assumed they were dead.

Then I took closer look.

They weren't dead at all, but seemed to be MARCHING IN PLACE,

in a circle

surrounding the poison filled ant trap.

I'm pretty positive there was chanting 
the human ear could not pick up.

I'm not sure what your take away would be upon finding such a sight on your vanity first thing in the morning, 

but it felt DEMONIC to me.


I grabbed a spray bottle of bleach and squirted every inch of the bathroom. Then I followed it up with another rubbing alcohol rain.

Not today Satan.

Not today.

Monte came in and said the smell was getting toxic and my face was intensely red.

I forgot I had prayer group that morning and needed to change and start the coffee.

It was mentioned that it smelled "bleachy" in the house.

I just wanted it to smell like ant death.

Monte and I were walking on our street later that evening and saw all the Halloween decorations:

big spiders 
and spider webs.

Why aren't ants a Halloween decoration? 

They are no less creepy.

And no less welcome in our homes.

On top of it all, a few nights later I saw a mouse scurry across the kitchen and duck under the stove.

I have to admit, 
I was somewhat relieved 
it didn't have a long tail.

Monte was out of town.

Earlier that same day, I had to pull out a cheese cube from Nigel's throat.

As it turns out, when you hear what you think is a quack coming from your dog, 
he's not imitating Donald Duck, he's choking.

A few days later, Nigel peed on the cream rug in the family room 

Monte was still out of town.

If I walk upstairs right now and find ants covering my bathroom vanity again, 

I am going to put out a Haunted House sign 
and charge admission.

Come see the horrors of a demonic ant army in the bathroom!

Come see a crazy lady making it rain poison in her pajamas 
to kill the demonic ant army!

Watch out for what lurks underneath the kitchen stove!

Beware of the stink in the basement--if you're lucky, it just might be two huge dead rats in the dryer vent again!

Come use the hairbrushes of our not once, not twice, not thrice but FOUR times lice-infested family!

Watch your step! You never know where the ghost of the quacking dog has decided to leave his mark!

At this point if a zombie or a ghost walked into the house right now, I'd tell them to 


I've got much scarier things to attend to.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Something to Chew On

Monte and I had lunch together recently. The steak in my salad was super tough and I had to keep giving up on the pieces that my teeth could not get through.

Monte was too busy devouring his fried chicken to notice my meat struggles.

Until he did.

He commented on the grossness of the "masticated meat" I piled up near my plate.

Who says masticated?

It has a super inappropriate vibe to it 
for a word that simply means chewing.

Monte said it would make a great band name.

Would you wait in line to go see Masticated Meat on a Friday night?

He reminded me of a band bus we saw outside the venue where our friend got married many years ago.

The band name printed in big letters on the side of the bus was Dilated Peoples.

Can you imagine Masticated Meat opening up for Dilated Peoples?

Monte could.

And he'd go.

Mainly for the t-shirt.

We named other bands we remembered from living in Atlanta:

Betty's Not a Vitamin

and Kathleen Turner Overdrive.

We never saw either one in concert 
but appreciated their creative effort 
when selecting a name.

It made me think of all the memorable names of nail polish colors:

I'm Not Just a Waitress.

My Chihuahua Bites.

Aphrodite's Pink Nightie.

I wondered out loud if I'd every select Masticated Meat for a nice brown Fall color for my toes.


Not a chance.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

All the Things

I'm not sure why this month has been so incredibly busy.

Probably because I've yet again over committed myself.

And just when I thought 
I was making strides in that area.

Here are some things that have happened, I like or I found funny.

Back in September a big box arrived on our doorstep.

I called Monte to ask what he ordered.

He said not to open it since it was a birthday present for me that wasn't supposed to come until October.

Which is weird because I had not dropped a single hint 
about anything that I wanted for my birthday
mainly because it's not until November.

When Monte got home from work he said he was just too excited to wait and wanted me to open the present now.

So I did.

This is what I found.

Monte bought me a Jurassic World robot raptor.

It is a complex robot with a remote control that you "train" 
with clicks and commands and pushing of buttons 
and saying of things and touches, etc.

There are levels of actions to achieve 
once the basics have been taught and learned.

I never knew what was happening.

Sometimes it would just give us the side eye slowly and Monte said, 

"I feel like he's going to turn on us one day."

Which is how I feel about most technology.

I did scratch its head and under its chin when it did what I wanted and it made Nigel furious.

He'd run into my side hard with his nose as if to remind me that he still existed.

Nigel, not the robot dinosaur.

He alternated between being afraid of the raptor to challenging it with the same hate-filled intensity he saves for the mailman and the vacuum.

Nigel in the other room trying to decide what to think of this robot dinosaur.

Nigel retreating because the robot dinosaur moved.
Nigel safely hating the robot dinosaur from underneath my desk.
He got a hold of the robot dinosaur's tail once.

The toy quickly proved to be WAY too complicated for me.

I was at a neighborhood gathering when I told the mother of a kindergartner who loves dinosaurs about the toy. She asked for a link which I had to get from Monte.

It was only then that I discovered the price.

Monte spent $250 on a toy!

For me.

That I didn't ask for.

What in the Jurassic World?!

He defended himself by saying it was going to be the Tickle Me Elmo this Christmas and we could always sell it.

A few days later I was having lunch with a friend and the overpriced robot dino came up.

Her daughter LOVES dinosaurs AND robots and was old enough to really put the time in to learn and enjoy the toy.

I told her I'd talk to Monte and sell it to her if he gave me the ok.

He did.

He admitted he'd saved the box 
in case this happened.

Our friend's daughter LOVES the toy and calls it her comfort raptor.

Nigel is MUCH happier.

Monte grumbled only once when he realized 
the going rate for the raptor on eBay.

Speaking of dinosaurs, I had a dream the other night that I was being served dinosaur.

As an entree.

To eat.

I don't recall it being in rib form.
Or even where I was.

I woke up the next morning and asked Monte if dinosaurs were white or red meat?

More steak or chicken?

He didn't weigh in but commented,

"So you're eating them now?"

Days later, I took the question to girlfriends and we decided that if the prehistoric alligator meat was white and tasted like chicken, dinosaurs probably did too.

Ok. While looking for the Fred Flintstone rib picture above, 
I found a link to an oddly extensive article about which dinosaurs 
would taste best.

Apparently, it's the ankylosaurus for the juicy white meat win.

How. Could. Anyone. Really. Know?

Not long ago, a friend got lost coming back from another friend's lake house. There was construction so she was forced to take back roads rather than the interstate. She was very low on gas.

She called me in distress. I was on the road home too but found a way to get back to the interstate. I told her to call our friend back at the lake house who knew the back roads and I could possibly catch up to her since I was making good time on the interstate.

My stomach hurt with each mile I didn't hear from her. In my head I worked out how I'd find a gas station, buy a container and get gas to take to her on whatever country road she was lost on.

Another friend called to say she'd found a gas station and was on the right road for home.

Thank goodness!

It wasn't until the next morning that I realized I was almost out of gas myself!

In conclusion, I'm probably not the best first call in an emergency situation.

Our pastor retired after 24 years and I helped make and set up decorations for a celebration party. It was a fiesta theme.

Monte helped me set up the day before and the ground was soft from a lot of rain the week earlier. I was busy looking where to hang lanterns instead of holding the step ladder like he asked me when he fell.

He jumped up super quick after the fall and kinda hopped around trying to see if he was ok.

I could see the dirt on his back as he was hopping and I lost it.

Someone else walked up and asked if he was ok.

I couldn't pull it together for awhile.

Falling will always be funny to me.

The party was such a good time.

I am not sure what a shark hat has to do with a fiesta.

On a completely different note,

we are thoroughly enjoying the new show God Friended Me.

It's about an atheist podcaster who accepts a Facebook friend request from God and all that happens as a result.

I really like it.

COMPLETELY different from the above, is a show on Amazon Prime called Forever.

Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen star in this weird, bizarrely slow show that I can't help but be intrigued by.

The language is unnecessarily bad but the subject matter is interesting enough 
that I need other people to watch it so I can talk about it.

DO NOT read anything about it before you watch or it will spoil some significant plot points that I think are better to discover on your own while they are happening.

Switching gears again, 

I am LOVING Lauren Daigle's album Look Up Child.

I got to see her in concert last week and her voice is so good live. She's like a hippie Adele.

I'm also enjoying Tori Kelly's album Hiding Place.

Wow, can she sing!

McDaniel came home last weekend. We hadn't seen her since we moved her back in August.

She called before she left to say that all her roommates (five girls live in her townhouse) had lice.

In fact, most of the people she hung out with had lice.

She told me she was going to drive to a lice center nearby that only took cash and needed money asap.

We'd been to this lice rodeo before.

Too. Many. Times.

Why? Why of all the weekends it had to be the one she planned on coming home?!

I kept texting her for updates and she kept saying the line at the lice center was super long.

I worried it was going to be super late when she got home.

She surprised us by walking in before it was even dark with a report that she did not have lice.

I didn't even understand these words because I'd never heard them before.

The guy at the center took one look at her hair in a bun and asked if she wore it like that a lot.

She said she did and he said that just may have saved her from the menacing lice.

So, yay for messy buns!


McDaniel was here for one short weekend and scared us with the possibility of lice, ruined our bath mat with red nail polish and then left her wallet in a Target sack that I found on the bathroom floor hours after she left.

But it was so good to see her and hug her lice free neck.

Monday, September 10, 2018

A Word Through a Bird In Need of Footwear

I had a vivid dream the other night.

There was a bird, it was smaller than an ostrich, but had long legs like that.

There was something wrong with its feet and he couldn't walk.

There was someone I know, actually two someones, helping this bird.

They strapped on gladiator type sandals onto the bird's maimed feet.

He instantly stood up and ran around.

He was so happy.

I woke up so happy for this bird 
and his cute therapeutic gladiator sandals.

This isn't an ostrich but it's adorable. Look at those cute little sandals!
When I Googled "ostrich wearing sandals" sandals made out of ostrich came up.
Not at all the point I wanted to make.

I shared this with one of the someones who was in the dream.

Mainly, to make her smile and laugh about how weird my brain can be.

But it spoke deeply to her soul.

She had prayed the night before for encouragement.

She was weary.

As we talked over the phone about the dream, she felt encouraged that even in her weariness she could still equip others.

That God could still use her, tired and discouraged and hurting,
to strap on to others
 the Gospel of Peace that are the shoes of the armor of God. (Ephesians 6) 

I've thought about our conversation a lot.

Like being on an airplane and being told that we must first put the oxygen on ourselves before helping the ones around us,

I think this dream was speaking to me that either we are more capable than we think we are 
or it's time to secure our own oxygen mask.

Tie up the loose laces of our own sandals.

We are all called to love our neighbors as ourselves. (Mark 12:30-3)

To spur one another on toward love and good deeds and encourage one another. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

So we need to make sure we aren't tripping up on untied shoes when we set out to do that.

That through our own weariness we can cling to hope in the Lord who will renew our strength. (Isaiah 40:31)

And they will soar on wings like eagles; 
they will run and not grow weary, 
they will walk and not be faint. 
(Isaiah 40:31)

Leave it to God to give such a word 
through a bird 
in need of footwear.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

This is How We Roll

The last week was a lesson in flexibility, perseverance and thankfulness.

We moved McDaniel back to college last week.

We made the smart decision of paying to have someone deliver and put together her bed but then made the dumb decision to buy a dresser that came in a box and assemble it ourselves while in McDaniel's room.

It took four hours 
and the bottom drawer 
still doesn't work smoothly.

Halfway through, when Monte realized he'd put on Panel G upside down, I offered to throw the whole thing out the window.

But Monte persevered.

Furniture should not be assembled 
by those that did not make it.

But McDaniel now has a (mostly) functional dresser.

For that we are thankful.

On the way home, we stopped for gas and a restroom break.

A woman with a mop and a bucket informed me 
that the only women's restroom was closed for cleaning.

Monte said he'd stand guard while I used the men's restroom.

I'm not sure I can adequately explain the big, terrible, awful smell that awaited me in there.

It engulfed me, 
permeated my clothes, 
throat-punched practically the last breath from me.

I had no words when I walked out 
and Monte blew by me to use the restroom himself.

"Wait! No!"

I said only in my head and too late.

I went outside to catch my breath 
and collect my thoughts.

As we walked to the car Monte said,

"At least it didn't smell bad in there."

And then went on to state that 
the stink was not of humans.

He had a detailed and compelling argument 
and I'm pretty sure that if I'm ever in a situation 
where I need to rid myself of something in my system, 
I will only need to remember that conversation
and the big, terrible, awful smell.

But we survived.

And are super thankful we weren't that lady 
with a bucket and a mop who's next task HAD 
to be cleaning the men's restroom.

A few days later, Ellie called me after school to say her car wouldn't start.

My parents bought her an older SUV from a neighbor that they named Matilda.

It's in great shape but I worried that maybe our short time with her 
was all Matilda had left.

It turns out, Ellie thought the fog lights would automatically turn off and had been draining the battery slowly for a few days.

Matilda was parked on a very busy street since our high school doesn't have enough parking.

Getting Monte's car turned around properly to attach jumper cables to Matilda made a lot of people heading home for the day, angry.

It was tense, cars flying by giving us meanish looks 
as we struggled to get it jumped.

A kind boy in Ellie's class came over with a battery charger but it still wouldn't work.

We had to call Triple A.

Monte sent Ellie and I home so he could wait for help to arrive.

That was quite the blast, 

going in reverse fast, 
ramping a curb, 
driving a teensy into someones front yard, 
before I could slam it into drive 
and speed away in traffic.

I felt the closest to James Bond that I ever will.

Ellie was horrified.

A fresh, new battery later, we are all very happy and thankful that Matilda lives on.

Monte and I decided Saturday afternoon that we wanted to give those rentable electric Lime scooters a try that are all over town.

You download the app, it shows you where to find one 
and then it bills you based on how long you ride it.

We drove downtown but it suddenly started pouring so we hung out in a cool coffee shop while it rained.

And we ran into a friend.

I think I had a dream about that blueberry scone last night.
So. Good.

The skies cleared and we ended up finding scooters super close to home and had such a blast riding them!

They go FAST (20 mph) and I'm glad we were in a mostly empty parking lot rather than a busy street.

I wish I'd had a helmet too.

The entire ride was $2.50.

Super fun and cheap!

As all things should be, 
thank you very much.

Once we got home we impulsively decided to go out to dinner and checked around to see where we could get a table.

Shockingly, a nice restaurant we could walk to had something available in the next 15 minutes.

While Monte went to go change, I flipped on the light above the sink, to do the dishes before we left.

As I did, the light bulb shattered, fell into the sink and the light socket started spewing smoke.

I screamed FIRE!

Monte ran down the stairs and rushed over and unplugged the coffee maker.

Which wasn't on fire.

I pointed to the light socket still coughing up smoke.

Neither of us are super great in emergencies.

Nigel slept through the whole thing.

One of us really needs to get better in that area.

We cancelled the reservations, turned off the power in the kitchen and went about the task of removing what was left of the light bulb from the light socket and cleaning up all the glass that went everywhere.

We ended up ordering in, watching a movie on Netflix and being SUPER THANKFUL the day went as it did and we were home and not away when that light bulb decided to explode.

So in conclusion,

when life hands you manufactured junk to assemble,
big, terrible, awful smells,
ill-timed dead batteries,
sudden rain storms
or exploding light bulbs,

deal with it.

Roll with it.

It leads to

content college kids, 
thankful parents, 
fun, cheap dates 
and laughing,
SO MUCH laughing, 
at crazy stories we could never make up.

Be thankful for them.

They're yours.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

I'll Miss You, Summer and Other Random Things

I really do love summer.

I like hot days and warm nights that don't require wearing jackets.

I live in a part of the country where jackets are required THE MAJORITY of the year,

so I do enjoy the brief season we can shed them.

And I will NEVER understand the people 
who spend that brief season going places 
that require those jackets. 

Do some people just really love jackets?


School started yesterday and even though it is still the middle of August, it feels like summer is over.

I'm giving you the side-eye all things pumpkin flavored.

I don't get it
 the cold-shoulder shirt trend.

I really want my Bitmoji's dress.

But, I digress…

I want to talk about other random things.

I had a Charlie Horse the other night.

It was intense.

Monte gets them all the time and pops out of bed and hobbles and dances all around the room groaning.

I've learned to sleep right through most of them.

But I never get them.

I didn't get out of bed with my Charlie Horse because I do believe I was briefly paralyzed.

It was so painful that I am still sore, days later.

Monte managed to sleep right through it.

I was telling someone about the Charlie Horse and was asked what I thought brought it on.

I thought about it…

We had friends over for dinner that night and I was cleaning and prepping food and on my feet a lot.

Could standing, 
just being upright,
cause a Charlie Horse?!

Nothing says, "You are old" like your body rejecting being in a position other than sitting or lying down.

Later that day I took the girls to get stuff for school and we saw a dead animal on the road.

I thought it was a beaver.

McDaniel said it was just a bloated squirrel.

Ellie didn't care enough to weigh in.

I circled back so we could investigate further.

Because why in the world would a beaver be so close to our house and so far from the river?

It was a ground hog.

It reminded me of a time we were driving to see my parents years ago and we were in Lawrenceburg, Indiana by this big grassy embankment by the river and a groundhog was running on the steep embankment.

Like, hauling it, running.

Monte decided to see how fast he was going as compared to our car speed and it took some acceleration to catch the furry fast guy.

Who knew ground hogs could run like lightning 
on those short little legs?

Well, not the one by my house. 


On the same errand trip, I realized I had not eaten lunch.

It was mid-afternoon at this point and I do not do well without three meals a day.

We saw this walking into Target.

Trash can jelly beans!!

Jelly beans are one of my favorite things!

I was weak in my flesh.

My girls had to steer me away from them 
after I said they didn't look "that dirty."

Over the weekend, Monte and I were sitting outside listening to music, contemplating what to make for dinner.

On the table next to where I was sitting, I saw this little guy.

For a fuzzy guy, the red horns and red face/eyes/mouth, didn't leave me with a fuzzy feeling.

He kept doing fast laps around the edge of the table and every now and then he stretched out 
like he was going to jump off or whisper something to me.

No doubt it was a message about how he planned 
to kill me in my sleep later that night.

I went to adjust the volume of the music and the devil dragon caterpillar made me jump.

He was FAST!

Not Lawrenceburg ground hog fast, 
but faster than well, 
the one by our house. 


One night recently, the girls had other plans and Monte and I were on our own for dinner.

I didn't feel like cooking or sitting in a restaurant, so we went to Whole Foods to grab something to go.

Monte was perusing the hot bar while I was looking at the salad bar.

He walked up to me and said something like,

"I knew it. Cods are jerks."

Then he walked me over to this sign.

You know, with a name like COD, I believe they probably are jerks.

We did not partake of it to see if it was delicious.

To celebrate Ellie's first day of school, I took her and a friend to dinner.

They were discussing their classes and teachers when Ellie told me her Environmental Science teacher said the methane gas from cow farts was damaging the ozone so farmers were making cows fart into balloons to power cars "and stuff."

I had just taken a big bite of food when she dropped this nugget of funny on me.

I almost did a lot of things (like choke and wet my pants) but I did manage to laugh until I cried.

I had so many questions.

And SO. MANY. 
images in my head.

It wasn't until after we did a little post dinner school supply shopping that I was able to do some research.

Turns out, they are more of a balloon backpack attached to the stomach than what I had imagined.

I think this is weird for him too.

This is what was swirling around in my head.

Ellie did say one of the kids in her class asked the teacher if any of the cows ever flew away.

Per the cartoon above,

Maybe it goes without saying, that I was a bit punchy after almost choking and wetting my pants yet still crying actual tears from laughing in a public place.

So when this picture popped up on my Instagram feed, I was weak.

Laura Dern! Oh my word.

I asked a few girlfriends if it was wrong that I wanted Nigel to let me do this to him.

The most he's allowed is a Velcro bow tie attached to his collar.

How much different is Laura Derning your dog from strapping inflatable backpacks to your cow?

Talk that one through amongst yourselves. 

I have to go wake up Nigel.

Tis the Halloween Season

Halloween is our favorite.  We dress up as a family every year.  We were the characters from Grease last year. It's a wh...