Thursday, April 26, 2012

Johnny on the Spot

I was at my daughter’s tennis match yesterday when I suddenly felt my stomach churning.  I made my way over to the bathrooms and found that they were locked up because it was after school hours.  As I returned to the courts, the stomach churning turned into stomach cramps and I knew that I had to find a bathroom very soon.  Then I saw it; a portable toilet looming in the distance.  
I had no choice.  I squeezed my butt cheeks and tried to walk naturally toward the port-a-pot at a rate of speed that would not cause any alarm.  You might wonder how does one walk “normally” while squeezing butt cheeks together.  It is quite difficult to accomplish this task.  You have to first put your hands in your pockets because it looks more natural that way.  Then, you take baby steps while crossing your feet (one in front of the other) and sort of swing your hips from side to side allowing the butt cheeks to remain squeezed.  I’d say it sort of resembles the way a runway model would walk, however it might not have the same “style” that a runway model would exude.  
So here I am at the tennis courts surrounded by people I know because I either taught with them, played tennis with them or coached their kids in tennis.  It was bound to happen.  As I was frantically attempting to reach the port-a-potty without calling attention to myself, I heard a familiar voice yell out, “Hey, Betty!”  

I tried to turn toward the voice while keeping the butt cheeks squeezed without falling on my face.  I couldn’t accomplish this task, so I just turned my head in her direction.  I must have looked a bit spastic as I stood my ground and attempted to the crane my neck toward the voice which belonged to Molly who I used to play tennis with.  
“Hey, Molly.”  I yelled over my shoulder, “How the heck are you?”
She meandered over to me and I had to tell her the truth.  I explained that I could not talk right now because I had to use the port-a-potty.   She took in my stance and immediately recognized the symptoms - although she mistook my stance for a weak bladder problem (which I also have).  Anyway, Molly wished me luck and moved aside to allow me to continue my hellish walk.  
Luckily, I was not interrupted by anyone else and I actually made it to the port-a-potty without further incident.  I opened the door and was greeted by dizzying fumes which almost caused me to pass out.  I had to enter, though, because not entering would be a worse fate.  I closed and locked the door saying a silent prayer that I would not get stuck in this ghastly john.
I opened the lid and a swarm of mosquitos flew from the depths of human waste.  I gagged and almost puked.  My stomach reminded me that I was about to explode from both ends so I quickly sat on the awful throne.  I was contemplating how I could puke between my legs since I couldn’t reach the urinal when I felt the mosquitos bitting my butt.  I vowed right then and there that I would not puke.  Thankfully I didn’t.  
I sat there for at least 10 minutes hoping beyond hope that this would be my one and only visit.  I emerged from the port-a-potty with a new appreciation for my indoor plumbing and extra high toilet seat.  I made my way over to watch my daughter play and was relieved that it appeared my stomach cramps had dissipated.  My daughter was just about finished with her match when I felt it again.  Only, this time I had to run to the john.  More mosquitos met me and, sadly, I had to stay longer which meant more mosquito bites.
This time when I came out into the sunlight, I quickly grabbed my nearest daughter, Jennifer, and told her to get me to her house right away.  Both my older daughters  were watching the match and Jennifer just happened to live not far from the courts.  I threw my car keys to my other daughter, Katie, and told her to take the car home.  
“Tell your dad to pick me up at Jennifer’s.”  I yelled to Katie as I ran like a bat out of hell to Jen’s car.  
“Drive as fast as you can!”  I instructed Jennifer while I grasped white-knuckled onto her dashboard.  
“Mom,” she informed me “we might hit some red lights on the way.”  
“Ignore them!”  I spat back through clenched teeth.
“Do you want me to take you to a gas station?”  She asked innocently.
I turned on her.  “Jennifer, just get me to your house.  I don’t care how you get there.  I don’t care what laws you break.  I don’t care how fast you drive.  Do you understand me!” 
She handed me a cup and told me to use it if I had to.  At one point, she took a turn so fast I thought we were going to be up on two wheels.  We made it to her house and she pressed the garage door opener - nothing happened.  I screamed at her to try the damn thing again.  
“Mom, I have a key to the front door.”  She said.
“I won’t make it to the front door!”  I yelled.
The opener worked.  I jumped out of the car and started to run, legs crossed, into the house.  Jen started laughing hysterically because her neighbor across the street was watching me.  I’m sure I looked like a running version of the Hunchback of Notre-Dame.  I didn’t care.  To say that I made it with not a minute to spare is an understatement.  I had not a second to spare.  
I stayed at Jen’s for another hour making periodic trips to her bathroom and thanking God  that there was a bathroom to make a trip to.  Today, I counted twelve mosquito bites on my cheeks - not too bad really when you consider it could have been much worse.  After all, I was wearing white shorts!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Happy Hour

Why is “happy hour” only one hour long?  Is it because we humans are a fickle group with a short “happiness” lifespan?  While pondering these questions I examined a day in my own life.  I usually start my day packing my daughter’s lunch while I discuss all the things I have to accomplish throughout the day with my husband.  Does that make me happy?  Not really.  Kissing my husband goodbye makes me happy - lasts about three seconds.  My daughter won’t let me kiss her goodbye and that makes me sad for about three minutes until I make my coffee.
Making my coffee is completely frustrating because my stupid coffee maker keeps shutting off.  I have to stand in front of it, wait for the “on” light to go off and bang on the top of it until the “on” light comes back on.  This frustration lasts at least 5 - 10 minutes and it does not make me happy.  Drinking my coffee makes me happy until I discover all the ants floating on the top of my coffee because I use honey to sweeten the coffee and the ants were on the honey bottle!  I drink the damn coffee anyway because I don’t want to make more coffee in my terminally ill coffee maker.  Drinking ants makes me angry and erases my happiness in about two seconds.
Writing makes me happy.  I usually try to write while I’m drinking my coffee.  Sometimes I get to write for a whole hour without interruption, but that is a rare occurrence.  More often than not, the phone rings or someone appears at my door.  When that happens, I lose my train of thought and usually throw away whatever I was writing which makes me sad.  So, before I’ve even eaten breakfast I have experienced a myriad of emotions with “happiness” coming in last place.  
As the day wears on, I find myself behind the wheel of my car where my frustration and road rage emotions kick into high gear.  There are times when I find myself screaming and cursing at other drivers.  Now, as I look back on my behavior, I wonder why I do this?  Do the other drivers hear me?  Is it going to change their driving behavior?  Does all this yelling make me feel better?  Does it make me happy?  No.
I usually spend at least half of my day packing and shipping our sold ebay items while I watch the news.  Watching the news makes me crazy.  I scream at the TV over the idiocy of some politician or I cry over the daily tragedy (which seems to dominate the news).  
Cleaning the house and washing clothes does not make me happy.  Feeding my chickens makes me happy.  Cooking dinner makes me happy.  Eating dinner with my family makes me happy.  Doing the dishes after dinner does not.
There is something I’ve discovered as I’ve been writing this little snippet on happiness: I make choices every day that affect my happiness quotient.   For instance, I chose to view mundane tasks as mundane.  What if I looked at them as opportunities to reach inside and find the joy in the task.  Is there joy in laundry?  I wonder? 
I just tried an experiment; I put a load of clothes in the wash and, as I put my daughter’s tennis skirt in the machine, I pictured her on the court playing her first match.  That thought brought joy to my heart.  
Fast forward to wrapping and shipping ebay packages: I thought about Bill and I scouring flea markets and garage sales for items to sell and that brought joy to my heart.  
Driving is still a challenge for me, but, I bet if I think of the time when I had a stroke and could not drive for a while, then maybe I can find the joy in having the ability to drive again.
You see, joy is different than happiness isn’t it?  “Happy hour” does only last for an hour, or maybe less.  Joy, however, comes from deep inside of us.  It is always there if we choose to find it.  I believe that Joy comes from God and happiness is the devil’s tool.  We are always “seeking” happiness.  It’s even in our Declaration of Independence - life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  
Some people pursue “happiness” in a bottle of rum, on an exotic beach or in a fat bank account.  They might find it for a short time, but it will go away.  Joy stays with us always.  It’s in our core, our soul.  
Today, I’ve made a pledge to myself that I will purposefully acknowledge the joy in all that I do. I know that if I do that, I will find peace that surpasses all understanding and I know that peace is manifest joy.  What will you do?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Are Ewe Kidding Me! (part two)

Author’s note:  These little “snippets” are for my nieces and nephews who are learning about homonyms.  
My Aunt Ann had two ewes.  Do you have two ewes too?  As I’ve told you, I had a ewe that liked to eat thyme all the time.  Well, my aunt’s ewes ate ants!  You know what I say about ewes that eat ants - “Ew!”
Anyway, my Aunt Ann’s ewes ate a whole lot more than eight ants.  In fact, my Aunt Ann said to my Uncle Hugh, “Hugh, we can use these ewes to eat all the ants in our yard.”
Well, the ewes ate so many ants that they made at least eight holes in the yard. In fact, there were a whole lot more than eight holes in their yard!  
My Aunt Ann kept falling in the holes (and so did my Uncle Hugh) so, the ewes were put up for sale.  My uncle Hugh sold the ewes to a bald man with an ant problem.  My aunt bawled because she didn’t want the bald man with the ant problem to buy the ewes.  
Aunt Ann really didn’t want to say goodbye to her two ewes that ate ants, so she said to Uncle Hugh, “You be the seller!”  
Then, Aunt Ann went inside and bawled in her cellar.  
As the bald man handed Uncle Hugh a few more cents, Uncle Hugh yelled to my bawling Aunt Ann, “Selling the ewes makes perfect sense.” 
So, my bawling aunt’s ewes, that ate more than eight ants, went to live with the bald man that had the ant problem.  
However, my dear Uncle Hugh loved Aunt Ann so much that he asked her, “Ann, would you like an ox or perhaps an anteater?”  
Instead, my dear Uncle Hugh bought Aunt Ann a deer.  Then, Aunt Ann was happy for about four days until they had to sell the deer because it was eating the yew tree - but that is another story!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Do you own a ewe?  If you own a ewe does your ewe love you?  Do you love your ewe?    I once had a ewe but you never met my ewe did you?  You see, my ewe never met you because my ewe was only on the farm for a short time.   
You might like to know that my ewe ate thyme all the time.   In fact, my ewe ate thyme at least eight times a day.  I had to sow thyme seeds so much that I had no time to sew the seams in my dress.  You see, it seems that my ewe loved to eat the seams of my dress every time I fed it thyme.  It ate the thyme and then it ate my dress at least eight times.  
I finally got tired of sewing seams and sowing thyme so, I have to tell you, I sold my ewe.  I sold the ewe to lessen my stress.  I have learned my lesson:  So it seems you should not own a ewe if you don’t want to spend all your time sowing thyme and sewing seams.  
The End