Category Archives: Cap’n Firepants
We interrupt our laborious Labor Day weekend posts to bring you a docublogumentary post from the elusive Cap’n Firepants. My husband, who usually has to force himself to show any interest in my blogging world, for some reason took it upon himself to provide me with a topic that he thought would fascinate my readers – The Amazing Poop Bugs of Southeast Texas.
Every time we go to The Ranch, our citified group cannot get over the miraculous work of the dung beetles in the yard. We usually have a combined total of at least four dogs when we all converge on The Ranch – and four dogs make a lot of poop. But, no scooping is necessary because these little insects remove it faster than we can. Well, faster than we, who have absolutely no desire to spend our weekend of relaxation scooping poop, are inclined to do.
This time, the Cap’n decided that the 10 other people who read my blog might actually want to know about these creatures – and would like photos. So, I give you some morning coffee worthy pics of bowel movement-dozing beetles. You can thank the Cap’n for this educational post.
In about an hour, the pile of poop is gone. No sign that it ever existed. I’m not sure where it goes. But, as long as it isn’t in my suitcase, I’m good with this process.
We’ve talked about bringing a pack of Poop Bugs back to our house, so we would never have to scoop Wonderbutt’s Poop Pen again. We’ve talked about breeding them, and marketing them to pet owners and parents of potty training toddlers.
But none of us wants to touch them.
So, instead, for twenty years, we have watched the Poop Bugs perform their magic, and dreamed of making millions of dollars off these remarkably disgusting, but industrious little creatures.
Just one of the many highlights of our weekends at The Ranch…
So, in Weekend Gotaway, Part I, we packed and got on the road. It was a truly riveting story, and you should totally read it if you missed it. If you don’t read it, you will have no idea what is going on in this post. You will be reading at a clickety-clackety pace, and then stop, and say, “Huh? Why is this bulldog driving?” Seriously. Read on at your own risk.
So, Wonderbutt the Bulldog got us to The Dictator’s Ranch with a little help from Cap’n Firepants. (See, I told you to do your homework…)
Since you guys seemed to enjoy Wonderbutt’s front seat photo so much, here is another.
We arrived at the ranch, and then proceeded to unload the warehouse of goods that Cap’n Firepants deemed absolutely necessary for our three-day weekend. Wonderbutt did his best to help with the unloading by racing in front of our feet and stopping suddenly to sniff the butts of The Dictator’s three dogs ad nauseum.
After saying “hello” to the Wall of Death, which is an ironic remnant from The Dictator’s father’s hunting days, (The Dictator and her vegetarian husband both being fierce animal rights activists), I was ready for bed.
At The Ranch, the Firepants family sleeps in one king-sized bed. I use the term “sleep” loosely. I have never actually slept at The Ranch. In the 20+ years that I’ve known The Dictator and visited The Ranch, I have spent more time desperately trying to sleep than I have spent complaining about the Cap’n’s overpacking. That is a lot of time.
Part of the problem used to be Mrs. P.I.B., our constantly panting and pacing over-anxious Golden Retriever. But, we did not bring her this time. So, I expected some major snooze time.
I settled on the couch in the living room so Wonderbutt and I could complete our nightly ritual of him falling asleep on my lap, me waiting until the snoring and gases can not be borne any longer, and then me slipping out from under him to go to bed, leaving him to slumber until the morning.
Not meant to be. Because there was a new element at The Ranch. A cat. And Wonderbutt has never seen a cat except the one that taunts him in our backyard. So, you can see how this is going…
The cat had arranged itself on the other couch, and Wonderbutt, as they like to say in Texas, was “fit to be tied”. He could not stand that cat just laying on the sofa. I’m still not certain if he wanted the sofa or the cat.
So, I finally had to bring Wonderbutt into the Firepants Family Bedroom. Because I did not want to leave him alone with the cat, or to have to add Wonderbutt’s head to the Wall of Death in the morning.
Wonderbutt could not get settled. Even though he could not see the cat, he was well aware that it still existed. For hours, he whined at the door, and then he circled around his bed, then whined at the door, then circled around his bed… You get the idea.
Then he got really frantic, so I decided to go back to the living room to see if a chupacabra had somehow gotten into The Ranch since that could be the only possible explanation for a ballistic bulldog in the bedroom.
No worries. Just the cat throwing up everywhere.
I cleaned that up, which was quite a feat since Wonderbutt felt that this would be the perfect time to attack the cat during its Moment of Weakness.
I brought Wonderbutt back to the bedroom, and informed him, in no uncertain terms, that he better darn well go to sleep because I’d had a long week of returning back to school and leaving him alone in the house for 8 hours a day.
Finally, my logic seemed to sink in. He let out a big sigh, and five minutes later the snoring started. It was about 3 AM.
Then, Cap’n Firepants suddenly popped up in bed, and started walking toward the door.
“DON”T YOU DARE WAKE HIM UP!” I hissed. “WHERE IN THE WORLD DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING?”
“To sleep on the couch. Your daughter keeps slapping me in the face in her sleep.”
“GET BACK IN THIS BED RIGHT NOW OR THE WALL OF DEATH IS GOING TO GET ANOTHER MOUNT.”
I get a bit cranky when I’ve had no sleep.
And that’s how our first night at The Ranch went.
This is my submission to the Hobbler’s Labor Day Weekend Pity Party Extravaganza. I admit this is a bit late, which is really not like me. I’m usually early for things. But, when you think about it, 99% of my posts would pretty much fall under the Pity Party category – so you could say that I was at least a year early for this festive event. Or, you could say that you just don’t care. Which is pretty much the response I get for 99.1% of my posts. Which is why you should pity me.
The reason that I am late is because the Firepants Family went out of town to visit our good friend, The Dictator, at her ranch. For 3/5 of the Firepants Family, this is a Wondrous Adventure Out in the Country. For the remaining fraction of the clan, it is an Anxiety Inducing 72 Hours of Sleep Deprivation.
Ranch weekends begin with the planning and the packing. Dimples (9) is pretty self-sufficient in the gathering of necessities as long as she is given a packing checklist. I, too, have a packing checklist. I don’t think the Cap’n has a packing checklist. If he did, it would be longer than the checklist for the Olympic Opening Ceremonies, longer than Noah’s checklist for the Ark, and probably even longer than the list of things the Republicans plan to change if they get back in office.
Here is my idea of packing for a weekend getaway:
And, here is the Cap’n’s:
Let’s just say that it’s good we decided not to bring 1/5 of the family (Mrs. P.I.B. – our golden retriever) on this trip, because she would have had to ride on the top of the car. And we all know how that brilliant idea turned out for Mitt Romney.
The other reason Mrs. P.I.B. did not make the trip this time is because she paces and pants the entire time we are at the ranch, has done this for eleven years, and we finally decided that it’s quite possible she is not really happy on these trips, and that we really aren’t happy when she is not happy.
As it was, Wonderbutt, got to ride in the front seat, while Dimples and I sat in the back seat with even more bags of necessary items.
Cap’n Firepants asked me about three times if we had packed Wonderbutt’s food. Since it was smushed in the backseat in a plastic bin for charcoal right between Dimples and me, you can imagine my chagrin when he kept asking me this question.
“YES, I have his food. It’s in this charcoal canister on top of my foot!” I answered for the last time.
“That’s not his food. That’s the charcoal,” the Cap’n replied. “In the charcoal container,” he added, with only a slight implication of the word “stupid” at the end of his observation. And, since we were only 10 minutes away from the house, we got to turn around, and go back. And then try to figure out how to fit the second charcoal container – which had dog food, thank you very much – into our very packed car. We briefly entertained the thought of leaving the dog behind so we could find a place for the dog food, but you will be happy to know that we decided to leave the kid behind instead.
Just joking. Of course, we left neither kid nor dog behind. I volunteered to sacrifice my berth, but the Cap’n stubbornly wedged the 2nd container into the car, and we embarked on our trip a second time.
4/5 of the Firepants Family on the way to the ranch. With 1/5 of the family already experiencing strong misgivings about this whole enterprise.
Hmmm. Who do you think the not-so-enthusiastic car passenger could possibly have been?
Stay tuned this week for more reasons to pity Mrs. Cap’n Firepants…
Wonderbutt has been fairly well-behaved, lately, which can be disappointing when 1/3 of your blog material is dependent upon his exploits. He still has his moments, though.
The Firepants Family was gathered around the table for a dinner cooked by your very own Mrs. Cap’n Firepants. Even more surprising, we were trying to plan out our family meals for the week. If you know anything about us, you know that we are a “Fly by the seat of your Firepants” kind of family when it comes to breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Basically, the person who is the hungriest is the one responsible for preparing the meal. With school about to start, though, I suggested we try to be a bit more organized. I know full well that this way of life will completely dissolve about three weeks into the school year. But I like to delude myself.
Deeply engrossed in a conversation about the health benefits of nachos, according to Miss Dimple Firepants (age 9), we barely noticed Wonderbutt sneaking under the table and grabbing one of the Cap’n’s prized Texas A&M flip-flops in his mouth.
“Hey, he’s got one of your shoes,” I interrupted. Wonderbutt stood there, proudly holding the shoe in his mouth. As soon as he saw that all of us had taken notice, he dashed out the doggy-door, narrowly avoiding the swipe of Cap’n Firepants’ hand in the attempted retrieval of the shoe.
The doggy-door leads to Wonderbutt’s Poop Pen, a small area enclosed by chicken wire where Wonderbutt, uh, does his business. Wonderbutt sometimes brings things out there in his own version of a Keep-Away game in which none of us willingly participate. It’s difficult to fetch objects from the Poop Pen. And, many times, it is not very desirable.
Thankfully, Wonderbutt dropped the shoe in a bare patch of dirt, and then looked stubbornly at us through the window as all three of us coaxed him to return the shoe.
He raced back inside. Without the shoe.
We tapped on the window. This was our signal for him to go out into the Poop Pen way back when we were trying to teach him to use the dog door. Of course, back then, we were trying to get him to go out there and pee. Not something I remembered until Wonderbutt headed back out the door and, with a little shove from Dimples, landed back out in the Poop Pen. He headed over to the shoe, and looked over his shoulder. And, I thought, “Uh oh. He’s going to pee on Cap’n Firepants’ college logo. And Cap’n Firepants is going to be madder than he was when Wonderbutt ate our couch. Maybe even more mad than when Wonderbutt ate our floor.
While Wonderbutt pondered his next move, and Dimples and I looked helplessly through the window, Cap’n Firepants had other ideas. He went out the back door, headed over to the Poop Pen, reached over, and before Wonderbutt could make a decision, grabbed his flip-flop out of harm’s way.
It was a somewhat disappointing end to the whole situation. For all of us except the Cap’n, I suspect.
Although Wonderbutt might have felt some sense of satisfaction later on in the evening when, as a direct result of me getting my car washed that day, a torrential downpour thoroughly soaked the A&M flip-flops, which the Cap’n had left outside the back door in order to keep them away from Wonderbutt.
Wonderbutt always wins.
After 43 years, I realized that my refusal to garden and my near boycott of cooking have absolutely nothing to do with my gross inability to perform these tasks. It’s because I like to be efficiently productive, and neither of these chores fits my requirements.
Basically, according to my calculations, Work Worthy of Me needs to fit the following formula: time spent working<time spent enjoying.
Now, I think you can see where this is going.
Let’s start with cooking.
I do not understand the need to slave in the hot kitchen for two hours to create a food item, or even a meal, that people will spend 45 minutes, tops, on appreciating. (Except for my daughter, who drags out every meal for two hours. Even then, though, the formula does not work. Because time spent working must be LESS THAN time spent enjoying. Not LESS THAN OR EQUAL TO. Even though I was going to put that, but I couldn’t figure out how to do that with my keyboard. Oops, I just figured it out. ≤ Too Late.)
Now, the gardening thing is a bit trickier. Let’s take annuals first. First of all, this a dumb categorization. Annual means “once a year” – implying that it happens repeatedly. For example, I have to annually ask Cap’n Firepants if annuals are the ones that keep coming up or the ones you have to replant.
So, let’s say you take an hour to plant some annuals that will last about three weeks. Technically, that would seem to fall nicely into my formula. But, here’s the problem. Of those three weeks, I will probably spend 1 minute/day noticing how pretty those annuals are. Hmm. So multiply by 21, carry the 3, subtract the 50, and – wow, that’s a whole 21 minutes I spent enjoying those flowers. Trigger big ole annoying buzzer sound here. Annuals – you’re outta here.
Perennials don’t work either. It would take nearly 3 years of repeating themselves for three weeks a year to earn their Time Spent Enjoying Minutes. And nothing lives 3 years in our yard. Between armadillos, Texas droughts, and a bulldog named Wonderbutt who tramples anything in his path, cacti are about the only thing that are sturdy enough to withstand nature and the Firepants Family. And I do not enjoy cacti. So, there’s that.
In conclusion, it is fortunate that I married Cap’n Firepants. Because he does not like math, and can both cook and garden. So, I should probably revise my formula a bit.
time I spent working < time I spent enjoying
time Cap’n Firepants spent working = time I spend enjoying
Cap’n Firepants + Mrs. Cap’n Firepants = A well-fed couple with a beautiful yard and a perfectly calculated annual tax return
We’re perfect for each other.
After a couple of glasses of wine, I have a tendency to get a bit feisty. Cap’n Firepants tends to avoid conflict, but when we’re stuck in a booth together at a fancy restaurant, I don’t give him a whole lot of choice.
Me: So, gun control.
Cap’n Firepants (eyeing me cautiously across the table): What about it?
Me: Assault weapons seem to be a bit controversial.
Cap’n Firepants: Yes.
Me: I think it’s ridiculous for an ordinary person to own one. But I can kind of see why we should have the right.
Cap’n Firepants (incredulously): You can?
Me: Well, if the government people are the only one that can own them, then they can take us over any time. What am I gonna do – shoot down an AK-747 with my starter pistol?
Cap’n Firepants: I never really thought about it that way.
Me: Well, you obviously don’t read dystopian teenage novels in which the government force adolescents to kill each other in a sick attempt to quell rebellion.
Cap’n Firepants: No, I really don’t.
Me: Of course, we can’t just let every Tom, Dick, and Harry Potter own a weapon like that. There should be some kind of control.
Cap’n Firepants: Okay-y-y
Me: But the government can’t be in control because then we’re just gonna have the same problem. They can stick it to the man anytime.
Cap’n Firepants: I don’t really know what to say to that.
Me: Don’t worry. I’ve got it figured out. I think the NRA should be in charge.
Cap’n Firepants: The NRA?
Me: Yeah. Think about it. It’s perfect. They’re the ones trying to keep the government out of it, so they should be the ones responsible for what happens when the guns get in the wrong hands.
Cap’n Firepants: Hmm.
Me: And if someone goes crazy, they should have to suffer the consequences.
Cap’n Firepants: The NRA?
Me: Of course. Checks and Balances, you know. You really need to read your Constitution more often.
Cap’n Firepants: Again, really not sure what to say.
Me: Aren’t you lucky? Aren’t you glad you married such an out-of-the-box thinker?
Cap’n Firepants: You’re out-of-the-box, alright.
*Sigh* Mattresses. Yep. Again. In addition to the Boomerang Mattress in our master bedroom, we also bought two new ones for two full-sized, antique beds in the guest bedroom. Mattresses wholeheartedly approved by my husband, Cap’n Firepants. ALL of our mattresses this summer have been approved by Cap’n “Goldilocks” Firepants. I am hereby BANNING Cap’n Firepants from any more mattress approving.
Last night, Dimples (9) had a friend over. They slept in the guest bedroom so they could each have a bed. I think you know where this is going…
Dimples: Mom, can we do what we used to do in the old days (one month ago) when I have friends over? You know, sleep in my room, and pull out the twin-sized mattress under my bed?
Me: What’s wrong with the brand new mattresses we just had delivered? With the bedding that I just washed and put on? And the beds that are side by side so you can talk to each other and not worry about stepping on someone’s face in the middle of the night?
Dimples: Those mattresses are not comfortable. They are way too hard.
Would you forgive me, Loyal Readers, if I launched into a tirade about these mattresses that her father chose (and she also, at one point approved), about 9-year-olds and 40-year-olds being too darn picky, and about my plans to go live with Grandma at the Independent/Assisted Living home where I could have my own twin bed and mattress, 3 meals a day that I don’t have to prepare, and I won’t have to face the same 2 mattress delivery men when they are called to our house for the 5th time this summer?!!!!!
I don’t know if you have been following along with our Mattress Saga, but our house has seen more mattresses lately than a prostitute sees in a week. After I finally convinced my husband to return our current back-breaking mattress, which was a replacement for the smelly mattress, which was a replacement for our ten-year-old mattress with a sinkhole in the middle, and the salesperson committed himself to hijacking Santa’s sleigh and flying around the world to pick it up for us, we finally had a tentative date for what we hoped would be the last mattress of the summer.
The mattress delivery men called my husband to tell him that they were on their way, and would be arriving at the house in 30 minutes.
“This is not a good time,” he said firmly into the phone, and hung up on them.
Well, not exactly.
“This is not a good time. I’m taking my mother to the emergency room,” he said. Which was true. But I still put my head in my hand, and rolled my eyes back in their sockets, figuring he had permanently alienated the only men who might be able to rescue us from the Killer Mattress before our 100 day warranty runs out.
Fortunately, my mother-in-law was only in the hospital for a day. Then, she was able to come stay with us for two days in our guest bedroom. On one of the other beds with a brand new mattress. Yes, we have a mattress-collecting obsessive compulsive disorder.
I called the Manly Mattress Men, and rescheduled our delivery.
They called yesterday to announce their imminent arrival. I answered the phone. Quickly. Before Cap’n Firepants could ruin the whole thing. Again.
They came with our mattress. The brand that we originally got, and then exchanged because it smelled like the shower in a high school boys’ locker room. This one did not smell like mildew.
It smelled like foam. Exactly how it was supposed to smell.
So, we have exchanged our Killer Mattress for one that has off-gases that will probably give us cancer, killing us in 15 years instead of within the next 15 days.