Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The story of Crackers & her "Special Friend"

WARNING: This is a long one. Please go empty your bladder and finish eating and drinking. I am not responsible for any accidents, choking, or snorting of things out the nose.

My dad is probably one of the most sentimental people out there. He's also a big dog lover. My brother  & I are much the same way...well cut out the sentimental part for me. My mom, though, grew up the youngest of six on a farm where they had no extra money to feed and take care of pets. In her family, animals were either a food or a tool. So, she's never been crazy about us having pets.

She has softened over the years though,. Consequently, the last dog they had, Crackers, was more spoiled than any we ever had as kids. Crackers was scared of her own shadow. She was also a genius, because she figured out how to brain wash my Mom.

At first it was just, "I got these treats for Crackers, because they were on sale."

Then, even though no dog had ever been allowed to be inside the house when I was a kid, suddenly Crackers was allowed to come inside in the mornings & evenings when somebody was home. Only in the kitchen though, where it was easy to clean the floor.

The the next time I was there, Mom was showing me how she trained Crackers to beg at the dinner table for the half plate of food Mom would feed her every night.

Then, everyone realized Crackers true calling. She was born to be an emergency storm alert dog. She could smell/hear/sense a storm coming a minimum of 2 hours in advance and would start barking at the back door. It was better than the tornado sirens they have hear. When let in, Crackers would pace the kitchen floor until she saw her chance and dart into the hallway bathroom where she would hunker down until the storm passed.

My Mom thought this was so pitiful and cute, that she started letting Crackers stay inside over night whenever there was a storm coming. After all, they live in tornado country & everyone, including the dog, knows that potential high winds is a reason to run and hide in the most central room in the house.  So, Crackers was really saving their life by warning them to take cover as she was doing. As Crackers got older, Mom gave in more often & let her stay in for no reason at all.

My dad--the softy, who was an only child, so his dogs were his siblings--always referred to Crackers as "Baby Girl." Although he made sure to clarify around me that I was his first baby girl, so I wouldn't feel left out. He also referred to himself as Cracker's "Pops", and made mention that she was mine & my brother's sister. Something that we went along with because A) we're both dog lovers too, so we get the silly family relationship references & B) it's just not that big of a deal to us. However, Mom took great offense when Dad would call her Mom. or anything else motherly, in relationship to the dog. It always embarrassed her, especially if  Dad said it in public, so she discouraged it 100% (i.e. Threatened with divorce or bodily harm, if he didn't quit.)

So, this past fall poor Crackers was diagnosed with a bladder tumor. The news was not good and my Dad was heart broken. However, they vowed to seek out a second opinions & alternate treatments to see if there was anything that could be done. In the mean time, they planed to enjoy as much time with Crackers as possible. This led to an extra sentimental Christmas for them. Lots of presents for Crackers & suddenly Crackers was giving out presents to everyone else.

So, on Christmas day we're exchanging presents and there's a very special one for my Mom. Not because of what it was (I really have no clue what the gift was.), but because of the little "To" & "From" sticker on the gift.

Apparently Dad was behind all the gift giving from Crackers to "Bro", "Sis," "Pops," etc. However, he knew better than to write any form of Mother for my mom's gift. Since I was closest to the tree, I was the one handing out the gifts and reading out loud the tags while handing out gifts. I silently read this one while waiting for whoever to finish opening the previous present handed out.

I must have looked like I was convulsing, when really I was shaking from trying to hold in the biggest laugh ever. Anyway, it catches Jim's & Mom's attention who seem a little concerned.. I lean over and show the present to Jim who guffaws and then decides to read it out loud while I continue to try to hold in my laughter.

To: Lady Buddy
From: Crackers

Mom gets this horrified look on her face and screeches at Dad, "Why would you call me that???" My Dad sheepishly explains that he thought this was an appropriate name, since in his mind Mom is a lady AND she and the dog are at least friends now.

Jim, my brother, and I are dying laughing, because we have so many other scenarios running through our head of when someone would be referred to as "Lady Buddy." Mom has obviously thought of at least one too and that's why she's so horrified. My dad who is a little naive (Read as: Still doesn't realize that Kitty from Gunsmoke was a prostitute.) really didn't get the joke, but knew he was in big trouble and has never used the term since.

Jim, who doesn't have to live there, decided this was too good to let die out so easily. He immediately told another family member, who's one of the jokesters in our family. Together, with encouragement from me, they have ensured that Mom will forever be known as "Lady Buddy." I've already ordered the tombstone.

Unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to Crackers last week. My dad misses her greatly. Even though, she won't come out and say it...deep down, I know Lady Buddy does too.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The cure for my procrastination...

So a certain person, let's call him/her G, has been calling my phone every day since she/he harassed another person who had my number into giving it to him/her. Now I have a particular relationship with G that on the surface sounds like the same kind of relationship that most everyone else in the world has. The difference is most of the rest of humanity cherishes that same relationship, because it functions in a manner that would lend itself to mostly happy, pleasant memories of good times spent together.

Instead, I'm pretty sure that G's parents performed an experiment where they decided to teach him/her different meanings for random words. For example, they might have said that the sweet, frozen, milk-based treat was called poison. Hint: they didn't...G loves ice cream.

However, I think they might have taught G that the act of only caring about oneself was called "being selfless"; and that animals are your friends and that humans are only servants/intermediaries created to care for all your friends; and titles like mother, father, sister, brother, grandmother, grandfather, wife, husband, etc., are strictly for the sole purpose of documenting the passage of DNA from one servant to the next. Okay, that's not really fair. I never really knew G's parents. Maybe G mis-learned all of this on his/her own.

Anyway, to make a long story that much longer...G's last message was: "Just wanted to see how you, Jax, & Gabby were settling into your new place. Call me when you have nothing better to do."

Now, to the casual observer this would seem like a perfectly sweet message inquiring about my family and wanting to talk when it was convenient (no hurry). As I said before, G has picked up some curious meanings of words along the way. Therefore, you have to translate everything G says.

This phone message was actually: "Michelle--" (G has finally noticed that servants respond better if you use their name sometimes) "--call me ASAP and let me know how my friends Jax & Gabby are settling in to their new home. I would call them myself, but have been unable to train my friends to use the phone. Also, I'm going to want a report as to why you abandoned my cat friends Niles & Max.* Be prepared to answer or else. That is all."

* - They were relocated to live with family members where they would not be harassed by the dogs anymore. That equals abandoned in G's mind...or at least breaking protocol, because I didn't obtain G's permission to do something to MY pets.

Notice also that there was no inquiry into how Lawyer Jim is doing. That's because in G's eyes he is superfluous since it was not his phone G was calling; therefore, not worthy of acknowledging. Also, some of you may be doubting the translation about the cats, but believe me it's there. You have to read between the lines.

So, to sum up. I now have a list of about a hundred things that I've been procrastinating doing that I suddenly need to work into my regular hectic schedule. Sorry, G. It's going to be quite a while before I have nothing to do but call and report to you.

Less spiteful post to follow. I promise.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Life, moving, and more excuses for not writing.

I know my whole 2-3 readers have been sitting on pins and needles waiting for my next post. Okay, we all know that's not true. Who would sit on pins & needles waiting for anything? I guess...if I were forced into a tiny waiting room where my choice was sit on pins & needles OR sit on steak knives that had been used to cut up raw pork three days ago...I would probably get the hell out of that doctor's office.

Anyway, I apparently took a sabbatical from writing for the past few months. Well, that's not exactly true. A sabbatical indicates taking a break from one's normal job to rest and/or acquire new skills or training. Perhaps, too tired to write after working twelve hours a day seven days a week, moving my crew across two states, while consolidating an office and two houses into two townhouses in two different states would be a more accurate summary of the situation.

I know, I know. Quit whining. There are people who have it worse off than me--Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Elmo, and Bert & Ernie; the Arkansas Razorbacks football team; and Mitt Romney, every time he opens his mouth. Although...maybe not ol' Mitt. After all, even though I'm sure he's hit his insurance limit for the year (maybe the lifetime limit) for having foot-from-mouth extractions, I'm pretty sure he can afford to just pay out of pocket and write it off as a business expense.

Perhaps the difference is that the three above mentioned groups are all so ridiculously sad that people voluntarily write about them as if they were tragic comedies. Okay, that and they are all a part of pop culture. So, until I can get my own entourage/stalkers to follow me around and report my every ridiculous move, I guess I'll start writing again.

Stay tuned.