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Trish is leavin’ on a jet plane

  • December 5, 2008

My sister is flying to Austin today to stay with Stacy over the weekend before continuing on to Phoenix for a work training session. I’m a little nervous about her flying, not because I think the plane will crash but because Trish has had some ISSUES with flying in general and the TSA folks in particular.

First of all, she thinks none of the rules of airline travel apply to her and will try to sneak all kinds of shit past security. She just texted me that “flying sux – airport security is not my friend.” I immediately texted back to inquire if she’d been arrested. She replied that she had not been arrested but that her liquids weren’t in baggies and both laptops were now separated. The airport personnel hi-jacked her water bottle but not to worry, she’d just buy more once she got through security.

I should be glad she made it to the airport at all because she misses more flights than anyone I know. She managed to miss her flight home for Christmas two years in a row and would spend the whole day trying to finagle her way onto the next one so she could make it to DSM by midnight. I assure you my dad will be calling my house around noon today to ask, “Have you heard from your sister? Do you know if she made it to Dallas and Austin okay?” She makes my dad really nervous when she flies.

You know how NORAD tracks Santa every year and the kids can pull up the web site to see where Santa is? I wish NORAD would loan me some GPS to stick on the back of Trish’s head so I could monitor her whereabouts or better yet a web-cam I could mount on her shoulder so I wouldn’t have to miss any of her interactions with both airline employees and fellow passengers. I guarantee you it will be entertaining.

(Trish just texted me to say the TSA Nazis missed a travel sized hair spray. Then she referred to them as “minimum wage schmucks that think they’re so cool.”)

Trish flew home for dad’s birthday many years ago. When it was time for her to fly back to Austin, I dropped her off at the airport and drove back home. I hadn’t been there very long when the phone rang. I checked the caller I.D. and noticed that the call was coming from the Polk County Jail. Turns out if you argue with security and keep insisting that it’s only your under wire bra that is setting off the metal detector and then you get really lippy about it the TSA Nazis will throw your ass in the clink for a few hours until your sister and brother in law come down and bail you out.

I don’t like airline travel at all. I refer to all aircraft as “smelly germ capsules.” I am thisclose to donning a mask a la Michael Jackson the next time I have to fly somewhere. I cannot handle having to breathe the exhalations of all the other passengers, especially the guy in the back row who has passed out with his mouth open and is drooling all over himself. And there’s no fucking way I would ever use one of those airplane pillows because I KNOW they are crawling with cooties. Gak!

Even though I don’t enjoy flying I don’t find the rules of airline travel all that hard to live by. I’m not sure why Trish insists on making it so difficult. I do know that I won’t totally relax until her plane touches down in Austin and then she’s Stacy’s responsibility. I’m sure she’ll have some stories to share. I’ll be sure to pass them on.

There’s more of me to love right now

  • December 3, 2008

Recently I noticed that a lot of the clothes in my closet have mysteriously shrunk. At first I blamed our dryer but when I realized no one else in my house was complaining it became obvious that my clothes weren’t getting smaller. I was getting bigger. I didn’t want to confront the problem because I was pretty sure that would curtail my appetizer snarfing and cosmo guzzling. But I’m afraid nothing will fit by January 1st so maybe it would be prudent to get a head start on my New Year’s resolutions right now.

I walked in to the local Weight Watchers center. The program really does work if you follow it and I should know. I had great success with it in 2001. And 2005. And now hopefully 2008/9. Perhaps it is MAINTENANCE I need to get a handle on and then I would not have to visit the helpful staff at WW every 4 years.

I filled out a shitload of paperwork and got weighed. I really wanted to just leave because I have always found the WW meetings a big waste of time. I don’t like sitting around with a bunch of fatties talking about my feelings and I hate having to wear a stupid nametag. I much prefer going incognito and don’t even like to take my sunglasses off while I am there.

I decided to stay anyway because I had the time to burn and I wanted to see if anything had changed since the last time I’d been there.

Arlene was leading the meeting! Hey, she’s been there since 2001. And she hasn’t changed her presentation since then either. She’s pretty old and reminds me of a grandma but she’s very sweet and you can tell she genuinely wants to help people reach their weight loss goals. At the end of the meeting, Arlene reminded new members to stay after so she could explain the program to them in detail. Arlene, I could teach the program. Just because I’d RATHER enjoy a mountain of Kung Pao Shrimp from P.F. Chang’s instead of calculating the points value of every bite I shove into my pie hole does not mean I don’t know HOW to follow your program. It just means I chose not to.

After the meeting I met with Arlene. She was really nice to me and I shared some of my concerns with her about the program. I also made several suggestions on how Weight Watchers could make the Flex plan even better. I’m sure she forwarded them to the corporate headquarters after I left.

So, to recap:

Eating like a truck driver+drinking like a barfly= Troll

Following Weight Watchers+sweating my ass off at the gym=MILF

It really isn’t hard to choose when I think of it that way. Plus Tom and Amy are doing WW too so we can discuss the plan and support each other’s efforts while drinking straight vodka because we can’t afford any points on drink mixers. And that? Sounds like the kind of meeting I would like.

Ladies, start your engines!

  • December 2, 2008

Hallelujah! The holiday drinking season is firmly underway. Actually I started indulging last week but that’s mostly because the offspring got 5 days off from school for Thanksgiving and drove me to drink within the first 12 hours they were home.

And although I often portray myself as a total alcoholic on this blog, I actually PREFER to limit the happy juice to once a week. I am not always successful but I TRY. But this month is a whole different story. I will be positively filled to the brim with holiday spirit (and alcoholic spirits) and for the month of December I provide no excuses or explanations for my behavior. And absolutely no photographic evidence. You can TELL everyone what I did while under the influence of 14 Jack Frost martinis but you cannot PROVE it.

Our neighbors Brooke and Spence had an awesome holiday party last year. They served vodka cocktails with pretty little cranberries floating in them and all the housewives drank so many we felt it was totally acceptable to put our hands on Wendy’s recently augmented breasts. We had been dying to check them out as soon as she got them but we are much too ladylike for that kind of behavior. However, once we were hammered none of us had any qualms about going to second base with her. Our husbands did not find this behavior amusing at all and wandered into the other room to watch the basketball game. They’re just jealous fun haters!

The rest of the evening is a little blurry to me. I could have sworn I left my high-heeled boots at Brooke and Spence’s house but when I woke up the next morning, there they were next to the bed. I have no idea how I navigated the icy sidewalk in them.
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I did not have a single trace of makeup on or mascara ringed eyes a la Alice Cooper because I still managed to wash my face before I passed out. I did, however, wake up in full jewelry, my sparkly holiday top, and no underwear.

We were using a brand new babysitter for the first time and neither Dave nor I could remember if we paid her. I ran downstairs to check the drawer where we keep the babysitting money and was relieved to find it empty. Bet she was TOTALLY impressed with us!

While I am in no hurry to have another hangover of that caliber, I am certainly looking forward to all the holiday festivities this month. ‘Tis the season to be jolly and I’m sure we’ll be all kinds of jolly here in the ‘hood. We may not remember all of it but that’s a risk I’m willing to take.

Please let me know what YOUR favorite holiday cocktail is. I finally figured out how to open the comments to everyone (not just those with a blogger.com account). If you have read this blog post, please take a second to tell me your favorite cocktail. I’m always looking for ideas! (And if it doesn’t let you leave a comment then I’ve done it all wrong).

Are you there Santa? It’s me, Tracey

  • December 1, 2008

Dear Santa,

Happy holidays! I was wondering if you could check your “list” for the name of a certain midwestern housewife. Though you did not bring me anything last year I think you’ll agree that I have most of my behavioral issues under control.

I have been such a good housewife. I have not insulted the hairstyles of any retail employees in a really long time and there were hardly any altercations in the Target parking lot. I did not stab Dave in the head with a fork during a particularly bad pre-menstrual frenzy nor did I try to curtail his endless pre – election MSNBC viewing. I think you’ll agree that I am pretty “present worthy” this year.

Please bring me the Dooney and Bourke medium chiara bag in black leather. I asked Dave to get me one but he said something about the price being “exorbitant and ridiculous.” He also said something about me getting a job so basically you’re my last hope.

And Santa? Why do all the 13-year-old girls have Ugg boots in a rainbow of colors while I walk the offspring to the bus stop in my Target knock-offs? Does this seem fair Santa? It doesn’t to me so please throw in a couple pairs of Uggs too.

And lastly, do you think you can bring me a machine that makes Cosmopolitans? I want to put limes, vodka, cointreau, and cranberry juice into a little hole on top and when I push a button, I’d like everything to stream right into my martini glass. Thanks in advance!

Our fireplace (like our Christmas tree) is totally artificial and activated by flipping a switch on the wall. We don’t have an actual chimney so I will forward you the code to our garage door when we get a little closer to Christmas. Please keep the code to yourself because your elves creep me out and I don’t want them to know how to get into my home.

Well Santa, I’m sure you’re very busy so I’ll sign off now. I just know you’ll come through for me and I’ll be carrying that handbag, drinking some cosmos and wearing my new Uggs in no time.

Kisses,

Tracey

What’s cookin’?

  • December 1, 2008

Think you’re a foodie? Take a quiz and prove it.

I saw that on the MSN home page the day after Thanksgiving, and being the food snob that I am, I absolutely had to play. I clicked on the link and discovered the All About Food trivia game.

While Dave was doing all the shit work on the Christmas tree (untangling and testing all the lights) I was working my way up to a Master’s level 9 playing badge with a score of 56,800.

The first round was so easy I almost lost interest. It was unchallenging and asked things like “which T.V. chef coined the phrase EVOO?” (Rachael Ray) and what is the main herb ingredient in pesto (basil). Pffft, next.

Level 2 was a bit harder and still I got every question right. Do you know what flower vanilla comes from? I do (it’s orchids). Apparently there is no level 3 which sucked because I was not ready to stop playing.

My friends don’t call me Martha Stewart for nothing. However I am so completely elitist and obnoxious about food that I’m surprised they can stand me at all.
One time at a restaurant, Amy asked what farfelle was and I replied “bowtie pasta” with such a “know it all” tone I can’t believe she still wants to be my friend.

I am a perfectionist in the kitchen. Whenever I host a dinner party I will go through all my cookbooks and search the internet to make sure the recipes I’ve chosen are the best I can find. But if anyone tells me how much they like everything or how good they think it tastes I find myself unable to accept their compliments graciously. Instead I will tell them all the things I think I did wrong and how I’ll do it better next time. My dad does the exact same thing when he makes his AWESOME barbecued ribs so I’m guessing it’s genetic.

I brought a salad to Thanksgiving dinner. It had spinach, dried cranberries, toasted walnuts, and red onion tossed with walnut cranberry vinaigrette. I wanted to make candied walnuts but that would require egg whites and Lauren is allergic so I had to leave them plain. I got to thinking in the car on the way to dad and Debby’s that I shouldn’t have used red onion but I really should have added blue cheese and it was all I could do not to convince Dave to stop at a grocery store so I could pick some up. Then I proceeded to tell all of this to my dad when we arrived and he and I analyzed the salad for a little longer and this is CRAZY. Trish LOVED the salad and told me so but I still could not stop thinking how I could have made it BETTER. Christmas Eve dinner is at my house so I will be doing the salad again and this time it will ROCK.

Yesterday we celebrated Thanksgiving with Dave’s side of the family. There are so many people that they always wait until Saturday of Thanksgiving week to celebrate and they rent a hall big enough to hold everybody. The turkey always looks like the one from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and is so dry I have to dump a bunch of gravy on it. Until Dave met me and started going to my family’s Thanksgiving dinners he said he thought that’s how turkey was supposed to taste. Also their stuffing looks like hairballs so I don’t eat it.

I’m kind of glad Thanksgiving is over. Even though I am thankful for the time we have spent with our families, the offspring have been fighting all week and it’s time for them to go back to school before I am pronounced clinically insane. It’s going to take me a couple days to get back into my routine and clean up all the messes they made.

And then this foodie’s got some trivia to play.

A double dose of Real Housewives

  • November 26, 2008

The Real Housewives of Atlanta had their reunion show last night, followed by the season premiere of Season 4 of The Real Housewives of Orange County. I think we can all guess who the excited housewife in Dallas County was.

Generally I do not enjoy the reunion shows. The housewives are a bit boring when their lives are not filtered through Bravo’s fine editing process. And they mostly come across as bitching backstabbing little harpies. They are like sharks, turning to feed on the weakest link. The yelling starts to get on my nerves after a while and it’s such a Jerry Springer fest that I kind of start to tune out.

However, last night’s target was bobble head Kim with the bad weave so I paid a little more attention than usual. And apparently I was wrong. It’s not bobble head Kim with the bad weave, it’s bobble head Kim with the bad WIG! No wonder her hair always looked styled and curled and EXACTLY THE SAME. Maybe if I owned a wig (a good one, not a shitty big haired one like Kim wears) I would stop putting my hair in a ponytail 365 days a year.

In a failed bid to gain the sympathy of the other housewives, Kim started crying and talking about how during her “cancer scare” all her hair fell out after she lost 25 lbs. But it turns out she did not really have cancer and the hair loss was due to “some other stuff” (What stuff??? I NEED TO KNOW). The host kept saying over and over, “so you never really had cancer then?” which forced her to say no about 4 times.

The show continued with more bitching and yelling and frankly, I’m not sure any of those housewives showed much class last night. I though Lisa was until she told bobble head Kim with the bad wig not to mess with her “or she would flip her over the couch.” Lisa, you were doing so well! Now you’re just like the rest of them.

Anyway, I was really more excited about the season 4 premiere of The Real Housewives of Orange County.

The show opened with Vicki pricing big expensive yachts. She took her son Michael so she could “get his vote” and he told her to go for it. Uh, Vicki? I think Don should probably be checking out the yachts with you. You know, your husband? I am not a psychic but I think I see trouble ahead for Don and Vicki’s marriage. In Season 3, when she wistfully mentioned to Jeana that she sometimes wished she were single it was kind of a tip off to me. And probably Don when he watched the show.

There was a scene with Laurie and George at a restaurant and can I just say that Laurie is reaching the maximum allotment of Botox and Restalyne. She is starting to look “not cute” to me because there is something really scary going on with her face.

I like Laurie and have always thought that she was one of the sweeter housewives (some of the other ones will cut you just for asking if their boobs are fake) but she and George are quite possibly also retarded. They were sitting at dinner discussing where they should go on their honeymoon and after dismissing Dubai as a destination (except for shopping), George mentioned they should go to the private island owned by Charles Branson. Yoo hoo stupid, it’s Richard Branson. Obviously George and Laurie were confusing Helter Skelter and the guy who owns Virgin Airlines/Records/Etc. Dave and I rolled our eyes at each other because we both knew who they meant and neither of us had to get up and Google either. So apparently you can be stupid yet very rich which is so unfair.

Then they introduced Gretchen, the newest housewife. She is 30 and engaged to a man who “looks like a younger Kenny Rogers.” He is also suffering from leukemia and apparently has a shitload of money. She admitted on camera that she was not physically attracted to him (she also said he resembled Santa Claus) but he was the first man who ever loved her like he does. Let me explain something Gretchen: Young+hot=boyfriend with big bucks. Ugly+rich=girlfriend with big boobs. Everybody clear?

It’ll be interesting to see how this season pans out with the addition of Gretchen. I foresee lots of drama between her and the other housewives, especially Tamra. Looks like Gretchen is gunning for the title of “hottest housewife in Orange County” and Tamra will not like that at all.

So come on everyone! Set those Tivos and DVR’s! My blog posts will make a whole lot more sense if you do.

Go ahead, ask me how I am

  • November 25, 2008

Dave and I recently made some changes to our life insurance policy after I figured out that it was the WORST POLICY EVER. We actually purchased it as a supplement 10 years ago when I was pregnant with Matthew but now, after some improvements, it has become our primary policy.

Our agent came to the house and had us sign a shitload of papers. She told us we would have to complete a phone interview with the underwriting department and then a nurse would visit us to collect some blood and urine and take our blood pressure.

I was a little worried about having to go through the underwriting process again. On our old policy I was rated preferred and Dave was standard due to the fact that he was still smoking back then. Our agent quoted us based on those same ratings and since we were increasing our coverage quite a bit, I wanted the premiums to stay as low as possible.

I was pleasantly surprised when our agent called us to say our policy was being issued and Dave was now rated preferred and I was SUPER-PREFERRED. She mentioned she rarely ever sees anyone receive that rating so you can imagine how pleased I was.

Dave is getting a teensy bit tired of me rubbing it in. For a while, every time he said, “how are you?” I said, “super, super preferred that is!” Surprisingly he does not find that very amusing. And now might be a good time to mention that if I should die in a fiery car crash, please someone check my brake lines and launch an investigation STAT!

Quite possibly there was a mix-up in the underwriting department or the nurse swapped my vials of pee and blood with someone else’s. I’m not sure how I can be rated better at 41 than I was at 31 when we first took out this crap policy. I’m not complaining, mind you, I’m simply confused.

I was surprised at how low my cholesterol and triglycerides were. Clearly all the red wine I drink is contributing splendidly to my good health. My body is positively awash in anti-oxidants.

So, Wine+Cheese=SUPER PREFERRED!

Dave is still miffed at the nurse. She recorded his waist measurement at 37 inches even though he wears a 34. He blames his lack of super preferred status on her error. I however love the nurse because her scale weighed me 7 lbs. less than the one in my bathroom and I did not say anything because I am not STUPID.

Dave and I are glad we took the time to make this change to our life insurance. We can both take comfort in the fact that if anything happens to us, the offspring will not have to worry. And if you ask me how I’m feeling these days? The answer is SUPER. SUPER PREFERRED THAT IS.

How Clean is Your House?

  • November 23, 2008

The other day I was watching T.V. and thought I’d stop by my new favorite channel, BBC AMERICA. I came across a show called How Clean is Your House. I was almost afraid to watch but since I had already viewed all my DVR’s cache of The Real Housewives of Atlanta I decided to see what this show was all about.

According to the BBC AMERICA web site, the two women who star on the show, Kim Woodburn and Aggie Mackenzie, are unstoppable hygiene experts who get to see inside some of the dirtiest homes imaginable and meet the occupants.

Why? Why do they want to do this? I was so horrified during my viewing of this show that I threw up in my mouth a little and washed my hands 17 times.

They showed the home of this couple and it was sofa king dirty I could not wrap my head around it. The inside of their microwave looked like an autopsy had been performed in there and there was so much filth in their family room I covered my eyes.

Then, they showed the bedroom of the mom and dad and they zoomed in on their bookcase and it was filled with books like Lady Chatterley’s Lover and 101 Sexual Positions and yet their room was sofa king dirty that I was like not only is their bedroom dirty but their minds are too and then I started thinking about hygiene and sex and the top of my head BLEW OFF!!!!!

Then, they took swabs off their kitchen counters and let that shit grow in petri dishes. They were able to identify about 15 strains of reallybadstuff that could give you everything from diarrhea to Ebola. And the mom was all like, “yeah that’s pretty bad.” And then Kim and Aggie mention that the home has not been cleaned in TEN YEARS.

These people are so filthy I imagine big greasy shimmering waves of stink coming off of them a la pigpen. They have probably spread Ringworm all over the U.K.

Luckily, Kim and Aggie (who totally have their work cut out for them and probably gossip endlessly about all the slobs whose homes they have to fix) get everything cleaned up and give the mom and dad a little pep talk about MAINTENANCE because they are coming back in a few weeks to see how the house looks. I felt really sad at one point because the couple has two children and the kids mentioned (on camera) how they did not want to invite their friends over because they were so embarrassed about the condition of their home.

Their mom better keep the house in order or I will totally fly over there and slap the shit out of her. She needs to mommy up and keep that house clean for her children.

However, I should probably point out that on the cleanliness spectrum, the dirty mom is on one end and I am on the other. For as long as I can remember, even in college where being messy was as normal as selling your textbooks back for beer money, I have been really particular. I get anxious and stressed when things are dirty and I am calmed by cleaning. I also really get off on the smell of new carpet. Whatever.

Having a husband and two kids has put quite a kink in my preferred environment. I simply cannot keep up sometimes (yet you will never find our germs living in a big fucking colony on the kitchen countertop).

I have been, ahem, told by some that I am a little too anal about the cleanliness of my home. But I challenge you to find a floor you cannot eat of of or a toilet you might not drink from in my house. As a housewife, this is my job. My home SHOULD be spotless because I am here all day to clean it.

But P.S.? Everyone needs to start wiping their asses a whole lot better around here or else their underwear is going to disintegrate from all the bleach I am forced to pour into the washing machine. I asked Amy one day, “what age do boys stop having all these skids in their underwear”? And she’s like, “Tracey, do you DO Dave’s laundry? Hmmmmm, so apparently never. None of the people that live in my house can be bothered to do a good job with this small detail of personal hygiene. I have Cottonelle wipes in every bathroom and still no.

And Dave thinks he’s covert about his underwear because he replaced all his tighty whiteys with dark colored briefs. Yeah, not foolin’ me. Besides, I just wait until there’s a pile and then I quarantine them in their own load.

A lot of this cleanliness just comes naturally to me. It’s not like I have to think about whether something is gross or not. Either it is, or it isn’t. Here are some of my tips:

Do not ever fill one of your own roasting pans with water so you can soak your feet in it before you give yourself a pedicure. Go to the nail salon like the rest of us. I assure you that Top Nails will not soak your feet in their foot bath and then try to bake a roast in it. (They may, however, give you the fungus).

And don’t put your big plastic mixing bowl by your child’s bed when they have the stomach flu. People! People! People! I can’t take it. And I will NEVER eat at your home ever again.

And to my twin sister Trish, who is the Oscar to my Felix, I love you but please don’t act shocked when I completely gross out after you tell me you have stored your dead cat in the freezer “because it’s going to be a couple days before I can bury her.” And then don’t act all indignant when you offer to give me the freezer when you are moving out of your townhouse in Austin and I TURN YOU DOWN. I am still not over the dead fly I found in there when I was visiting you back in ’04. It’s really sweet of you to offer but no. Fly+cat=nofuckingway.

So, in conclusion. I am the most anal person you will ever know. I can’t help it and I’m not sure I really care. Clean=good. Dirty=bad.

And you? Are one or the other. So either keep it clean or be dirty and don’t tell me about it. Because seriously? I do not want to know.

Twilight!!!!!!!

  • November 21, 2008

Yay! The Twilight movie opens today and Amy and I are channeling our thirteen-year-old selves by being two of the first to see it. Betcha all the teenage girls stuck in school today are JEALOUS. I love, love, love the Twilight series. I introduced Amy and Kathleen to the Stephenie Meyer books and we all agree they are “fab.”

We fandango’d our tickets and everything. And by “we” I mean Amy because my Dell printer is such a craptactular piece of shit that it would only print every third line of the tickets and I don’t think the fine folks at the Century Theater would find that very amusing. Or valid.

Hmmmm, while I’m thinking about it:

Dear Dell Corporation:

Your printers truly suck! I will never buy another Dell product for as long as I live (unless it’s free and then I will totally accept it).

The fact that I cannot buy ink anywhere but on your web site makes smoke come out of my ears. When the offspring have run the printer completely dry, I need ink NOW, not three days from now which is when your shipment will arrive. And I am not paying exorbitant extra charges so that you will ship it faster. So there.

I hate you,

Tracey

(HA, I showed them!)

Since the movie is at 11:00 AM, we are going to take ourselves out for a nice lunch afterward. Much as I would enjoy a lovely glass of wine with our meal, the two glasses I had at lunch one day with Sherry proved to me that I will be worthless for the rest of the day. So I CANNOT DRINK. I have lots to do later today to get ready for Lauren’s TWO birthday parties tomorrow. I can’t believe my baby is 6!

Have a great weekend everyone!

We had a little fire

  • November 20, 2008

When Matthew was 14 months old we were getting ready to go somewhere and I wanted him to let me put on his shoes. He had other ideas and decided to make “putting on our shoes” a battle. A battle I would win. Surely a toddler was no match for mommy and if I wanted those shoes to go on, they were going on. I wriggled one foot in and was working on the next when, BAM! Matthew, who had been sitting between my legs while we wrestled with the shoes, stood up fast and since I had been looking down, his head clocked me right in the eye. I managed to get to the bathroom to remove my contact lens and by the time I got it out, the lump over my eye was the size of a grape. Over the next day it swelled shut completely. Matthew: 1 Mommy: 0.

A couple days later my eye was still swollen shut and had started turning deep shades of blue and purple. I was forced to wear my glasses so I could see. I decided Matthew and I would stay home that day. I was tired of getting all the “honey I hope you feel safe in your home glances” and it was really hot out anyway. It was mid September and we hadn’t had any rain in a long time. Our grass was dead and we lived in a neighborhood where there weren’t a lot of sprinkler systems. Pretty much everyone on our street had let his or her yard go dormant so we didn’t really look all that ghetto. There were huge spider webs covering all the shrubs and bushes and I remember wishing it would get colder so I could stop sweating all the time.

It was cool in the basement so Matthew and I hung out and played down there until it was time to have lunch. We came upstairs and as I glanced out the window at my front yard, (using my ONE GOOD EYE), I noticed something very odd. You know how, when you’re camping and roasting marshmallows and you look away for one second and your marshmallow catches fire and bursts into flames and you have to pull all the burnt black shit off so you can at least eat the gooey marshmallow inside? Well some kind of burnt black shit was covering my entire yard. As were numerous policemen, firemen, and random Mid American Energy employees. The fire truck was parked at the curb and a police car was in my driveway.

(I WAS SO CONFUSED, SO CONFUSED, SO CONFUSED, SO CONFUSED, SO CONFUSED).

It seriously took me a while to process what had happened. Actually, I couldn’t process because I simply didn’t have enough information to figure out what the hell was going on. Which is probably why I slung Matthew onto my hip, unlocked the front door, and marched out onto the sidewalk screaming “WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?”

Everyone turned to stare. I had not showered. My hair was a mess and was probably up in one of those butterfly clips I am so fond of. I was in a ratty t-shirt and shorts and was barefoot. I think I had a bra on (God I hope I did, I can’t remember), and I had that big whopper of a black eye. I was screaming like SUPER BITCH at the top of my lungs while holding a squirming toddler. I was a lit cigarette and an ankle tattoo away from White Trash Housewife.

No one moved or spoke. Clearly they did not know what to do with me and had not expected me to come charging out of the house. Apparently they had banged on my front door repeatedly but since we were in the basement, I didn’t hear them.

The transformer that was mounted on a big light pole close to the house had EXPLODED (didn’t hear that either), showering our dormant yard with an array of sparks which caused the dead grass to combust pretty much immediately.

So while I was downstairs in the basement with Matthew playing “show mommy where your nose is” the fire was spreading from corner to corner of the front yard. A passing jogger grabbed our garden house and started spraying the flames that were threatening to start the house and fence on fire. When the firemen arrived they doused everything and were now conferring with the Mid American Energy people (and giving them a good “talking to” about their shitty transformers, I hope).

I managed to calm down after a while and pretty soon everyone left. A MidAmerican Energy employee gave me a business card, which was good because I figured Dave and I would have some things we might need to discuss with them, like the replacement of our two trees that were now burned to a crisp. I went inside to call Dave because he was just not going to believe the shit that happens while he is at work.

For weeks afterward we would run into random people in our neighborhood that would ask asinine questions like, “hey did you guys do that on purpose?” Yes, yes we did. We chose to voluntarily torch our grass. Next spring we’re planning on letting the back yard go fallow so we can plant poppies in the front yard and grow our own opium.

What, are we suburban sharecroppers now? We lived in the city limits of Urbandale where I’m pretty sure they discouraged and prohibited this kind of tomfoolery.

Anyway, MidAmerican paid to have our lawn aerated and they replaced our two trees so no hard feelings there. And when the grass grew back the following spring? You’d never know we’d had a little fire.

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