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Cap’n Firepants wants to divorce me. I would like to file the legal papers first, but I’m in that week of the month when I don’t allow myself to make any major decisions or sign legal documents.
Of course, he hasn’t actually come out and said that he is planning to divorce me. But I know he is.
Because he unplugged my flat iron.
At first, I thought this was a great reason for me to head down to the court house and start my own proceedings. But, then I realized that there was a message there. And, it was not, “I’m going to drive you crazy by doing things that will make you divorce me.” Instead, if you really read between the lines, it was, “This girls is going nuts, but it’s useless to even tell her, so I will just pretend everything is fine and slap her with papers when she least expects it.”
You see, I knew the flat iron was still on and plugged in. But Cap’n Firepants did not know I knew. But, instead of yelling to me, “Hey, did you mean to leave your flat iron plugged in?” he just assumed that I did not know because I must be losing it, and unplugged it.
Naive people might believe that he was being kind by not mentioning to me that I forgot to unplug the iron, which, by the way, I DID NOT FORGET, but I know the truth.
I confronted Cap’n Firepants with this information.
“Oh, I didn’t tell you?” he said, feigning ignorance.
“No, you didn’t. And I am pretty certain this is your subtle way of saying that you want a divorce.”
He laughed. And then he said, I KID YOU NOT, “Do you mean all of the other subtle ways didn’t tell you that?”
I can’t wait until my moratorium week is over.
I do not generally harbor grudges against people. I blow a gasket and move on. But I do tend to be a bit less forgiving of places of business. There are many who have earned a spot on my “Black List” for various transgressions that range from furniture stores that tried to give me a floor model for the new model price to doctor’s offices that kept leaving information about someone else’s appointment on my voice mail.
You might think that the Hapless Mattress Megastore would be on my Black List after recent events. And they teetered on the edge there for awhile. But, our second mattress, the one that smelled like gasoline, has now absorbed the normal smells that mattresses have. Either that, or my fuel-infused brain now finds it completely normal for my bedroom to smell like a gas pump. It does not matter, because Cap’n Firepants no longer has back problems, and I no longer have nose problems. So, the Hapless Mattress Megastore has narrowly escaped my Black List.
Some stores that were on my “Black List” are no longer in business. This gives me a slight twinge of guilt, because I am certain that the lack of my patronage led to their demise. Although I should be proud – since they were on my Black List – that I have saved the world from their shoddy customer service practices.
I do not write offenders down. I keep them in my brain. This is beginning to become a problem. One minor problem with keeping them in my brain is that I sometimes forget why I put them on the List. And then I want to go back, but I know they are on my List, but I can’t remember why. And it’s possible, though very rare, that I put them on my List for a relatively minor reason that seemed quite upsetting at the time, but I might decide to forgive now – depending on how desperately I need their services again. Or if they have a really good coupon.
The other problem is franchises. I could place one Hapless Mattress Megastore on my List, but maybe the branch near my workplace has stellar customer service. And then I remember the name is on my List, and I even remember why, but I can’t remember if it was the one next to my house, or the one by my grocery store. Or it could be that it was actually the Hapless Mattress Superstore instead of the Megastore, which is a completely different place with very rude salespeople who sell mattresses they recovered from hurricane victims.
My Black List has gotten out of control. So, I am implementing a few new rules:
- I am keeping an actual, visual list on my iPad with the name of the place and the description of its offense.
- And I am never shopping or eating at a franchise again.
- UNLESS it is a franchise that I have already deemed Better than Acceptable. Then, it shall be grandfathered in.
I would post the Black List here so that everyone could benefit from my in-depth research, but the length might crash the servers.
And I don’t want to get sued.
To help you out, though, I have decided to provide you with the list below. Use it wisely.
Happy Birthday to My-Sister-Who-Has-Yet-to-Be-Nicknamed! (But I have some ideas, so beware!)
We have 9 more days of school here in sunny San Antonio. 9 more days of stumbling, bleary eyed, into the kitchen at 5:30 in the morning, as my two dogs continue to snore because they think it’s too darn early to get up – even for food. 9 more days of saying two pledges (to the United States and to Texas). 9 more days of wolfing down lunch in 30 minutes or less. 9 more days of trying to think of creative ways to find out from my daughter exactly what went on during the 8 hours she spent in the care of someone other than me.
9 more days of School Zones.
And one particular School Zone that I hope to never have to drive in again after those 9 more days. I like to call it The Tool Zone. Because that’s my rather strong opinion about the cop who lords it over that specific stretch of road.
Currently, I work at two schools. And I often have to drive between them during the day. I have no problem with the School Zones that actually encompass each school.
The Tool Zone, though, covers a portion of my trip during which there is no school in sight. There is a car wash and a convenience store. And a church. The church does not have a school.
As far as I can tell there is nothing educational going on at the car wash or the convenience store either.
The School Zone sign in this location comes upon you suddenly. It’s not one of those smart signs that flashes lights at you to warn you that there are kids actually about to dart into the road any moment. It’s a quiet little sign with hours posted.
It’s also about 50 feet from a stop light. So, even if I see the sign, and slow down to 20 miles an hour even though there is not one school, MUCH LESS ONE PERSON, in sight, I inevitably forget that I’m in the Tool Zone as soon as I stop at the red light.
Because I am listening to life-altering news on NPR, or I am singing with Adam Levine about a pay phone, or doing some other Very Important Mind-Consuming Activity.
And, as soon as that light turns green, and I gun it to a whole 35 mph, that’s when Officer Tool turns on his lights.
He has actually only pulled me over once in the last 13 years. And was not impressed when I mentioned that I was a teacher, a public servant like him.
“You should know what a School Zone is, then.”
It did not matter that it was 8:30 in the morning, and all of the students in the schools in this vicinity had been in class for an hour already, and therefore I was not endangering anyone’s life – especially at 35 mph. It did not matter that I have already been to Defensive Driving three times in my life and the thought of trying to make it through another one of these classes – even the Comedy Class – makes me want to find an Amish community that will accept my heathen, Jedi Knight, soul so I will never have to drive again.
In the interest of condensing this story, let’s just say that he gave me a ticket, but he didn’t show up in court. So, it was dismissed. And the Amish cheered.
Ever since then, I have been paranoid when I drive through the Tool Zone. But not paranoid enough, half the time, to remember to slow down my car. I leave my school promising myself that I will not get distracted, chanting, “20,20,20,20…” and then I forget. It would probably help if you switched off the radio, you are thinking. But, you would be wrong. Because my bored brain starts making up foolish things that make my concentration even worse.
Next year, I will be teaching at a school closer to my house. So close that I can walk. As fast as I want.
9 more days of driving in the Tool Zone. Can I make it to the end without another ticket?
10 more days until you find out.
If you are ever interested in tearing your family apart and then building them back up within the span of three days, I highly recommend signing your daughter up for a year of synchronized swimming – a year that culminates in a regional competition six hours from your home.
The time frames in the above paragraph are vital for this recipe for disaster. If your daughter participates for less than a year in this sport, then chances are she will not participate in any high stakes competitions. And if the high stakes competition happens too close to home, you won’t have the joy of spending six hours in the car with a husband who is usually quite mild mannered but turns into a wannabe serial murderer when idiots cut him off, go too slow, tailgate him, or – God forbid – refuse to get out of the way on a long stretch of two-lane highway.
If the competition is more than six hours away, you will most likely choose to fly to the location, which I’m pretty certain, causes less family friction than the scenario in the above paragraph unless there are all sorts of ridiculous airline delays. But these days, despite what you have heard, airlines are so unpredictable that it is impossible to count on a conflict-causing trip when you really need it, so the six hour car trip is really more reliable.
Not including our two dogs, we are a family of three. Two of us are anal retentive in very different ways. I am extremely TIME oriented (due to my Dorfenbergerthalamus), while my husband, dear Cap’n Firepants, a child of Depression parents, is fearful that we will starve whenever we travel away from our home for more than 15 minutes.
So, when we prepare for a trip, I grow increasingly impatient that
myour planned departure time is drawing near while Cap’n Firepants is raiding the pantry and stocking the ice chest with every possible portable ration.
Our daughter, Dimples, cares only that she has something to do while she is in the car.
So, as we packed the car for our trip to the Regional Synchronized Swimming championships in Dallas this weekend, Dimples was stocking her activity bag while I was impatiently sitting on my packed suitcase at the front door, and Cap’n Firepants was trying to decide if we needed to take 1 or 2 cases of bottled water for our travels to the distant suburb of Irving, Texas – where we later discovered they actually allow for grocery stores in their zoning laws, too.
To be fair, I had given Dimples a three page list that we had been emailed two days before of Important Items to Bring, and she had dutifully packed all of the highlighted items. Not quite at the rate I would have liked, but it was done.
I finally snapped enough at everyone’s heels enough to get us on the road so we could arrive in time to be there at least three hours before the required time for the Team Meeting at our hotel. Husband and daughter were both grateful, I am sure, for my many sighs during our lunch at a Dairy Queen that got them finished with their gourmet banquet in record time.
We made it to the Team Meeting 2 minutes before 7. It started 20 minutes after 7:00. Fortunately there were a few other timely families in the hotel lobby for us to socialize with during the interim as the three of us were barely speaking to each other by that point.
After receiving our Important Instructions for the following day, we went up to the room so Dimples and her duet partner could “walk the routine”.
While the girls were practicing, a sickening feeling occurred to me.
The duet partner and her mom left, and I was left alone again with our family in the room.
I cleared my throat after doing a quick scan of the luggage and food supplies. “Uh, okay. Nobody panic.” This is always a great way to get people to panic, by the way.
“Did anyone happen to remember to put Dimples’ swim bag in the car?”
Ah yes. The swim bag. You know, for the Synchronized Swimming Competition.
So, in my spare time, I like to cruise the CNN site for blog ideas. Yesterday, I noticed an article on dog flipping.
Yes, you heard me right.
My first thought is a bit embarrassing. When I was a kid, I so desperately wanted to be a teacher, I had a school for my stuffed animals. Their report card included P.E. To determine their grades, I would take each stuffed animal and flip it in the air. If I caught it, the “student” aced P.E. If I dropped it, the poor animal failed. I was ruthless (much the same as my own P.E. teacher at the time; you can probably do a complete psychological study on me using this one childhood story.) One of these stuffed dogs was the bulldog from whom Wonderbutt got his real name (which is not “Wonderbutt”, as endearing as that is). Wonderbutt’s namesake always got straight A’s. Unlike Wonderbutt.
Of course, when I clicked on the link, it was immediately apparent that my dog flipping concept vastly differed from the type of dog flipping worthy of a headline on CNN.
Apparently, there are some not so heroic people out there, who will “adopt dogs”, and then sell them for more, making a profit off the dog. This isn’t illegal, exactly, but can be devastating to the first owners who might have had legitimate reasons for giving their dog away and really hunted for someone who they thought would provide a good forever home for their dog.
I was really bummed when I read this. Sad for the dogs. And ashamed of myself for thinking CNN might actually post a story about stuffed animals that do gymnastics.
The obvious comparison to the CNN story is to house “flippers”, which made me wonder if this might be a possible idea for some Cesar Milan-ish person wanting to salvage “bad” dogs. What if there were some heroes out there that would take in dogs that seemed hopeless, rehabilitate them, and then adopt them out to new, DESERVING, families? Do I sniff a new reality show idea?
And, no, I am not considering giving them Wonderbutt.
I know that is not a very creative title. And, if you are new to this blog – perhaps just cruising the WordPress tags – then you never knew we were gone. But there it is, and here we are. And here you are reading where we are. At home. At least, we are at home. I have no idea where you are. You could be in the bathroom at the mall for all I know. And it’s okay with me if you don’t choose to share that information.
I am a little light-headed, so this post is going to be somewhat free-wheeling. Our floors are being turned into masterpieces, and part of the process is a sealant that is quite potent-smelling. I am probably losing thousands of brain cells as I type this. I can’t really say that I dislike the feeling. It makes up for the margaritas I’ve been resisting so far on my Spring Break.
My daughter, Dimples, and I went to visit our relatives, The Globetrotters, on Monday to avoid the beginning of the whole floor transformation, which involved grinding and other mystical, alchemical procedures – as well as loss of the use of half of our house. It is quite a switch for the humans in our family to have a Forbidden Section we may not enter in our own house. Now we know how the dogs feel.
Dimples and I had a glorious time at the Globetrotters’, which I will detail in later posts. But we ran out of clean clothes – and did not want the Globetrotters to run out of patience with us – so we made our leave. We returned to a floor Mostly Done. And it is such an amazing difference that I am afraid regular readers of this blog will suspect I am playing a practical joke when I post the new pictures.
The floor still needs a couple of days to dry, so Wonderbutt and Mrs. P.I.B., our irrepressible canine companions, must continue to board until Saturday. We broke them out of jail for a couple of hours today because Dimples and I missed them so much. We took them to the dog park, and then to our own back yard, hoping to wear them out so much that they won’t notice when we abandon them for 48 more hours.
If I don’t succumb to the fumes, I will hopefully have more to report tomorrow. In the meantime, someone please identify this fish that showed an inordinate interest in Dimples at The Aquarium Restaurant in Kemah last night.
“You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?” ~ Steven Wright
It’s already happening. I am losing my grip on reality.
One of my fifth graders asked me yesterday if I knew anything about Kony 2012. I thought she was talking about some kind of organized protest against the closing of Coney Island. Or a hotdog. I made her repeat it three times.
Finally, I had to Google it. It turned out to be a viral video that the entire world had seen but me. And not your usual dog-with-a-garbage-can-lid-on-his-head viral video. A disturbing one about a man forcing children to be brutal soldiers in Uganda. I’m a little concerned that a ten year old knew all about this. (Actually, a few of them knew about it. And had seen it.) What really bothered me, though – because we all know how self-centered I am – was that I knew nothing about it until she brought it up. I’m usually on top of these things. But not this time.
It’s that danged Sirius radio Cap’n Firepants installed in my car.
Before I got satellite radio, I listened to NPR 99% of my driving time. Partly because I like to be informed about current events. And partly because there was crap on the local radio stations.
Now that I have so many choices, though, I rarely turn to NPR. (Apparently, Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain” is NOT the only song in the world.) So, now, I get my daily dose of the news watching HLN while I am brushing my teeth in the morning. Somehow I missed HLN’s in-depth coverage of Kony 2012 – but did get to see two darn cute kindergarten boys from San Antonio, one of whom saved the other from choking on a Cheeto in one of our local school cafeterias. Oh, and a story about a chicken nugget that looked like George Washington that had a winning bid on eBay of $8,000. (Don’t panic. The winner backed out on his bid, so all is not lost.)
I know that I could listen to NPR on my satellite radio, but suddenly being informed does not seem quite as important as listening to an acoustic version of “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” on The Coffee House station. Or listening to comedian Steven Wright thinking out loud about the lack of advertising for string. And if singing along to Colbie Calliat’s mashup of “Breakeven” and “Chasing Cars” is wrong, well I don’t want to be Wright.
If Robin and Friends on HLN can’t bring me up to speed in the 5 minutes I watch every morning, I guess I’ll just have to depend on my fifth graders to fill me in on all of the human rights atrocities and political sniping that I’m missing from now on as I waste my time getting Sirius.
As part of your ongoing subscription to the On Demand services of whatimeant2say, Wonderbutt would like to let all fellow bloggers know about a really cool website for getting blog pics. It’s www.photopin.com. Easy to find pictures, and to keep everything nice and legal with the credits. Never say you don’t get your money’s worth from the Firepants family.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/10349297@N00/52736559/”>Fuzzy T</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>