Monthly Archives: December 2011

A Fish Tale. The End.

You learn a lot about people when they are grieving for a fish.

After one-and-a-half years, at least nine lives and more medicine than I have ingested in fifty years on this planet, our betta, Bluestar, has gone to his reward.

When I say “our betta,” I mean, of course, the bowl-housed betta for which my daughter begged and pleaded and, not unpredictably, swiftly pronounced “kinda boring,” thereby bequeathing his care to my husband and me.  We thought he was neat-o.

Bluestar’s passing was not unexpected.  We had anticipated this moment for six months, which was when Bluey began to perfect his dead fish float.  Tim or I would wake up and shuffle to his bowl to feed him, only to find our blue-finned friend lying motionless on his side near his heater.  We’d gather the family around the bowl, say a prayer and plan the funeral.  Before we could decide which spot in the yard was most suitable for his final resting place, however, Blue would leap from his coma, take a crazed victory lap around the bowl and come to stare at us, his fins fluttering in what appeared to be piscine glee.

“Hey, lookit me!  Didn’t I look like a dead fish? Didn’t  I? Hahahaha!  So what’s a guy got to do to get a meal around here?”

As the months went on and Blue’s impersonation of Dead Mr. Limpet began to last longer and longer, he was less able to wring sympathy from his mourners.  Some of them, anyway.  Tim decided to hold his tears until we figured out a way to take a fish’s vitals, though he must be credited for continuing to search for new and better fish medications.

Carolyn, to whom I have turned for consolation and advice innumerable times in our long and enduring friendship is, I am sorry to say, crap at comforting the bereaved when they are grieving a fish.  Oh, yes you are, Carolyn.

Her kids had fish for years, and she gave Bluestar two of his favorite toys, so naturally I would appeal to her in times of concern:  “I think Bluestar is sick.  He’s growing white fuzz balls on his fins!  What do I do?”

“Take him to the vet at Wal-Mart.  Hahahaha.”

“I didn’t know there were vets at Wal-Mart.”

“Oh, sure.  You take in the sick fish, and they give him back–better than ever. Hahahahaha!”

“Where are the vets?  In back of the pet section?  I’m not sure our Wal-Mart has a veterinarian.”

“Wendy, just take the fish to Wal-Mart.  Your betta will live for years.  Hahahahahaha!”

“Carolyn, honestly, I don’t think our Wal-Mart—“

She made the sound of a toilet flushing.

Oh.  My.  God.  Without even a proper burial!

When Bluestar’s eyesight began to wane and he regularly over- or undershot his food, I bought a hand feeder.  Nifty little gadget, but it takes time and a lot of patience to get the hang of it, and Blue, as it turned out, didn’t have enough left of either.

Ironically, Carolyn was with me when I discovered, for the last time, Bluestar on his side.

Carolyn peered into the bowl.  “He’s faking.”

“He is not, not this time.”  I felt my nose begin to tickle.  “This is different.  This time he’s at the bottom of the bowl.”

“Wendy,” Carolyn’s lovely eldest daughter pointed out quite gently, “fish float to the top when they’re dead.  He’s probably just sleeping again.”  She said nothing about Wal-Mart, for which I bless her.

“Thank you, honey.”  I nodded.  “But Bluestar always did things his own way.  I’m sure he’s passed on this time.”  And he had.

After we buried the little guy, disinfected his bowl, toys and heater and packed up his belongings and meds up to give to some other family embarking on fish ownership, I began to contemplate our various responses to Blue’s brief-ish life.  I wonder if the way we each reacted reflects the fact that lately we’ve all given some thought to dying?  Maybe this is how we’re going to treat our own elder years, particularly when we come to the point where our mortality seems more imminent than philosophical.

Tim will be proactive but stoic.  Carolyn will request that her children set her off on an ice float like an ancient Eskimo, and you will hear the sound of her laughter echoing on the air.  I will be propped up with pillows, surrounded by costly supplements, squinting at my laptop and dangerously raising my cortisol levels as I Google alternative treatments.

It bears some thought.  Watching Bluestar live taught me how to enjoy life even when my bowl is smaller than I would like it to be.  Now his death is pretty instructive.

Our daughter, by the way, did tear up when she realized that her pet, the one she had chosen so painstakingly from all the many containers of bettas at the pet store, was gone for good.  “Is he really dead this time?”

“Yes, sweetie.”

“Do we have to get rid of his body?”

“Yes.”

“Is it gonna stink?”

“Not if we do it soon.”

“Can we have a funeral?”

“Absolutely.”

“And then get pizza?”

“You bet.”

“Goody!”

 

R.I.P. Bluestar

 

 

–Wendy

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Filed under Death, Humor, Pet fish

Boys are from Mars

Where is my nose?

     My 8-year-old son allowed his 13-year-old sister to paint his nails.  Why?  Wondered what they’d look like with red/brown polish.

Unfortunately, we have no polish remover.

Now, he has a sleepover date with the kids next door and no way to get the polish off his nails.  So, never one to be daunted by life’s inconveniences, he invents a story that will explain the rogue color on his fingertips and retain his masculinity.

“I’ll just tell ‘em that it’s blood.  You know, from picking my nose.”

I’m just so proud.

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, The Bad and the Ugly

Teen Slanguage

Jeff Foxworthy’s Redneck Dictionary offers a crash course in southern slang.  Here are a few of his examples that got me to thinking about writing a book of my own:

bay • ou (bi´-ü), v. and n. to purchase for another. “I just walked right up to her and said, ‘Hey darlin’, lemme bayou a drink.’
doo • dle (düd´-el), n. and v. a male person and his predicted actions. “Don’t even look at him, ’cuz that doodle kill you.”
tor • toise (tort´-es), v. and n. to have imparted knowledge or wisdom to a group. “That stupid teacher never tortoise nothin’.

As handy as this book no doubt is, a conversation I overheard in my car the other day has me guessing more American households could use a Teen Slang Dictionary

I thought I’d begin with two phrases that initially had me stumped:

1.  Annie Slike and 2.  iMall Ike.

Translated:

1.  “And, he said.”  (Literally, “And he is like.”)

2.  “I said.”  (Literally, “I am all like.”)

Used in conversation:

iMall Ike “Where?”

Annie Slike  “There?”

iMall Ike “Okay.”

Annie Slike  “See ya.”

We welcome your additions to Toohotmama’s Teen Slang Dictionary,  cuz iMall Ike excited about this project, no waddam een?

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Children, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood

The Dance Recital

I admit it: When it comes to dance recitals, I am Scrooge. My daughter recently participated in her fourth recital, which left me wondering, once again, why do we need dance recitals?

Perhaps for the photo ops? I grant you, the four-year-olds in sixty-five dollar tutus are darling, especially when they are balancing on one pink-slippered foot, wobbling and staring at the audience like drugged flamingos. And, I admire like heck the blond cherub who discovered that she could multi-task by picking her nose at the same time.

I’ve got a sense of humor. Until it’s about my kid.

This fall, I took Mommy ‘N Me Tap with my eight-year-old. There were four of us until the word “recital” was uttered, whereupon our ranks dwindled to two. Since this was to be a kids-only recital (the instructor being wise enough not to even broach the idea of mothers squeezing into sequined leotards), my daughter was faced with the option of performing a solo or forgoing the performance altogether and simply dancing in class for the love of it. She chose to perform.

“Really?!” exclaimed the thrilled dance teacher. “Great! You’ll be the only solo.”

“Really?” worried I, the disbelieving mother who remembered that one year ago my daughter was so shy she could barely walk into this dance studio. “A solo. Honey, are you sure? You don’t have to. You know, this semester you could dance just for the love of it.”

My child looked at me as if I were reading aloud from The Iliad. “Huh?”

In one year, she had been fully indoctrinated in the recital culture. If you dance, you perform. You, the child, spend weeks on one routine while the parents spend more on your costume, tights, shoes, hair ornaments, flowers, group photo and DVD than they will spend on holiday presents for the entire family. Bah humbug.

Okay, she wanted to do it ,so we did it. I checked in with her a few times during rehearsals:

“Are you sure? A solo. I know it’ll be fun, but it’s also okay to dance just for the joy—“

“Mom, stop. I want to do the recital.”

Despite our rotten finances, I shelled out the costume money. And, I must admit that as we drew closer and closer to D-day I began to marvel that my once excruciatingly shy daughter had blossomed so beautifully. And then, three days before the big day, she asked this innocent question:

“Mom, what’s a solo?”

Oh, crimeny. Continue reading

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We’re Driving Now!

Is this a One Way Trail?

As Wendy mentioned in yesterday’s blog, we are huge fans of Ree Drummond’s Pioneer Woman Blog.  That big old ranch and the simple life-style… I always wanted to be a pioneer woman as a kid.  Live in a covered wagon, you know, one of them Prairie Schooners.  Yeehaw.  Until I got in one once and couldn’t find the electrical outlet.  How do you plug anything in?  Discovered I’m a modern girl at heart.  With one exception.
TEACHING MY DAUGHTER TO DRIVE.
If only I was teaching her to drive a Prairie Schooner.  If you were a fly on the windshield of our car, this is what you’d see/hear on any given day lately:
Me, praying:  “Our Father, who art in heavennnn Eeeaaauuuuggggghhhh!!!!!  Loook out!”
“Mom!  What?”
“Did you not see the people on the sidewalk, there?”
“Yes!  I saw them!”
Me, panting:  “Good.  Just checking.”
“Sheesh.  Relax.”
“Sure.”  Deep breaths.  “Okay.  Get off their lawn and back onto the road.  Okay.  No, really, that’s okay.  You’re fine.  Just get out of their living room and back on the road.  Oh, dear Jesus, forgive me for every sin I committed since my last driving session with my daughter, Lord.  Forgive me for those words I uttered in that intersection back there… Mother of Godzilla!!!    LOOK WHERE YOU ARE GOING!”
“Mom!  Chill!  I’m in control!”
“And, Lord, should I die, soon…”
“You’re really not helping, Mom.”
Darling, have I mentioned that we are not in England?  Nor are we in Australia.  No, no, darling, we are in the good old United States, where we drive on the right side of the road.  The Right.  The RIGHT!  The OTHER RIGHT!”
“Isn’t this a one way street?”
Auuuuuuuuuggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhooooooooooiiiiiieeeeeee!”
I bet you always wondered how to spell that guttural sound you make just before you die in a thunderous ball of fire.  I’m pretty sure that’s it, give or take a few h’s.
Ah, for the days of the 2 horse-power covered wagon.  Ree, we think you’re on to something.
Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Pioneer Woman

Too Hot Mamas. M.I.A.

Where’s Waldo? 

The answer to that is no doubt simpler than the explanation of where Carolyn and Wendy have been in the past month.  You know that schedule we made?  Meno-Mom Mondays, Tuesdays at Carolyn’s Cafe, Winning Wednesdays where we promise you gift cards for winning contests we never actually run… ?

Yeah, good times.  But, life changes and we must change with it.  So, even though Carolyn is, at this moment, sitting beside me, Wendy, screaming, “We need a new schedule!” I’m not going to type her directives.  I’m simply tired of lying to y’all. 

We’re NEVER going to get our act together.  That’s part of our charm.  You want work ethics?  Let’s have a shout-out for Pioneer Woman, who keeps it together, because, hey, she still has the hormones to do it. 

In fact, Pioneer Woman–we’re talking to you now, Ree–we’re going to start referencing you in all our tags in the hope of purloining a few of your loyal fans.  We see it this way:  You’ve got a successful blog, a handsome husband, a book deal, all them cows.  We know you’ll remember to blog.  In fact, we’ve stopped reading our blog, because you’re always there, and you’re good.  Frankly we’re unreliable. We hope you won’t mind sharing.  ‘Tis the season to gift us with a few of your readers. 

 Now, as to why Caroline and I have been M.I.A.:  We’ve been in labor.  Both of us.

As I said, Carolyn is seated beside me right now, and I can tell you she looks exhausted.  Dragged through the mill.  Half dead already.  Who can blame her for not blogging?  For the past few months, she has been hard at work on a new novel with a deadline as tight as my old Levis.  80K words in three months, which as it turns out is appx 20K words more than she needed to write,but she’s always been an overachiever.  Also, she’s menopausal and forgot how many words the contract stated.  She’s produced a masterful novel about a woman–and a town’s–resurrection following a devastating tornado.

I, on the other hand, have been creating tornadoes.  My family and I have spent the past two months visiting on and off with a young woman in foster care.  Recently she spent a week with us.  What a fabulous, life-altering, terrific experience for us all.  Although we are not going to adopt this young lady, we are certain that we will pursue adoption of an “older” child from U.S. Foster care.

So.  Too Hot Mamas are back.  Better, stronger, faster…

Okay, let’s just leave it at we’re back.

 

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