My Fresh Hell
Life in Scribbletown.

Strawberry Shortcake Underwear

Lemme guess: you woke up this morning, had a cup of coffee or tea, stuck a bagel in the toaster oven, glanced at the headlines in the paper and thought, I wonder what amusing thing Ms. Dusty Trails, Junior Librarier and Future Race Car Driver, has said recently?

Iím right, arenít I?

Well, hereís what she said during her bath last night:

ďPretend youíre the daddy and Iím the mommy.Ē
Dusty then sits on her Strawberry Shortcake washcloth and attempts to wrap it around her nether region.
ďAnd pretend I have on Strawberry Shortcake underwear.Ē
Oooookay then.

I donít know about you but lately Iím having a very hard time keeping ďon taskĒ as they say in the business world, of which I am not really a member. I am having difficulty concentrating on work and itís not as if Iím missing deadlines or anything, I just canít stay with any one thing for longer than...I dunno, twelve seconds. At the most.

Maybe itís spring fever and the fact that all the things I want to do, I canít just yet. Itís still too early to plant the garden, the beach is still more than a week away, the various onslaught of birthdays and holidays are weeks in the futureÖ..thereís just a lot of hurry-up-and-wait which Iím not very good at dealing with.

I did, though, start a writers group to force myself to write again and Iím planning to attend a writersí conference in the fall. So thatís all good. But, again, itís mostly in the future. I need something NOW. And guess what happens this weekend?

My in-laws are coming to town. Sigh.

Theyíre not bad people, really. Theyíre quite nice and inoffensive but, apart from Dusty and Red, thereís not much else to talk about. Not that I canít talk ceaselessly about my kids, but after awhile, even I get bored with it.

Fortunately, the riding mowerís broken (it seems to have sprung an elusive spring) so that will keep my father-in-law busy for awhile. Heís a fixer and has built Model-A Fords from scrap metal so heíll have a nice little project to keep him occupied.

So, that just leaves my mother-in-law who is too wrapped up in her various slight medical conditions to have any interest in going anywhere. She takes a million different medications but never takes enough to actual help. Sheís the kind of person who cuts an aspirin in half, fearing that a whole one will cause some terrible side-effect. So, even though sheís obviously clinically depressed, she wonít take enough of the drug to make a difference. She has no hobbies. Sheís never interested in shopping or going to the park or a museum or...really, anywhere. Which means Iíll be stuck listening to a litany of all thatís been wrong with her sickly cat (who is the meanest, most dreadful animal on the planet, and Iím a hard-core cat lover) who was on antibiotics for something like 8 weeks for an illness I never learned the name of. Or, weíll talk about work. My work, which she doesnít really understand. My FIL understands workplace politics and that kind of thing but my MIL has only ever worked part-time, for a couple of years in the 1980ís, until it cut into her housecleaning routine.

She quit a job so that she could go back to cleaning her house on a regular schedule. I ask you. Her house, a rancher built about 1967, is about as spotless as it was the day she moved in, apart from the normal wear and tear that houses have (like toilets that donít work right and leaky showers).

My house never gets cleaned until it presents a clear danger to Redís penchant for tasting every dust molecule. Then, one of us breaks out the Hoover. Or I swab down the kitchen floor. Only when the shower stall is completely coated in mildew, do I do battle. I am sure my MIL is appalled by the state of my house but is too polite to say anything more than, ďWay-yull, Ah guess yíall are just so busy with the kids and work.Ē Yes, that would be the case.

ďAh donít know how yíall do it.Ē

Easy: there is no choice. When there is no time to clean Ė and cleaning is not a priority Ė things stay dirty. Somehow, we all live.

But, Dusty is excited. She rarely gets to see these grandparents (our last two attempts to visit them were quashed because somebody was sick) and when they visit, they always bring presents. So, not bad people. Not at all. Itís more like having to entertain vague, uninteresting aliens.

Could be worse, I suppose. Iíll let you know how it goes Ė if I can sit down long enough to write about it.


9:29 a.m. ::
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