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February’s Dead Rubber Post

Here we go.  Eight days in, and I have to use my monthly “pass” already.  Newbies to whatimeant2say, the title of this post means “boring.”  I don’t know if you will find today’s post boring or not, but I have not had time to whip up anything clever, so this is going to be my shortest Dead Rubber Post ever.  Which is probably one of the weirder phrases I’ve ever typed.  As an apology, I give you this gift:  head on over to this link, if you are a book lover.  The video is 15 minutes long, but absolutely stunning and moving.  Not funny.  If you want strangely funny, try this link (probably not around the kids).

Wonderbutt and Mrs. P.I.B. Inspect Dimples' Skateboard


The Night Before I Almost Died

In retrospect, the following events may have possibly contributed to my near-death experience the next morning.

“You’re going to have to sleep on the couch tonight, Mom,” Dimples informed me the other day when I picked her up from school.

“Oh really?” I responded, a bit sarcastically.  Considering her comment was a line I would normally hear from Cap’n Firepants, my husband, it was a little disconcerting to hear it from my 9 year old daughter instead.  Particularly since, as far as I knew, I had not recently committed any transgressions deserving of this punishment – at least none that she would know about.

“It’s supposed to rain,” she sagely predicted.  And now it all made sense.  Maybe not to you, yet.  But it did to me.  Although I refused to share in her pessimism.  Or optimism – depending on whose glass with water that is not up to the brim we are staring at.

“We’ll see.”

I informed Cap’n Firepants of the Forecast According to Dimples when he got home from work.  He did not seem impressed.

The night passed normally – until about 3 A.M.

Wonderbutt, our bulldog, woke us up.  He was barking outside in his pen.  This is what he does when he wants our attention, since we have a baby gate that blocks him from The Forbidden Section of bedrooms.

Once Wonderbutt woke us up, I could clearly hear the sound of Mrs. P.I.B., our 10 year old golden retriever, frantically whining out in the hallway right next to our door.

Where she shouldn’t have been because of said baby gate.

And then the crash of thunder.

Cap’n Firepants sat up, and I groaned.

“I HATE IT when she’s right,” I said, as I got up.

I opened the bedroom door, and Mrs. P.I.B. swept past me, panting as though her life depended on it.

Out in the hall, Wonderbutt had returned from outside, and was seated on the other side of the overturned gate, waiting patiently for me to come out and keep him company.

Mrs. P.I.B. cannot sleep through a storm unless she is in our bedroom.  Wonderbutt cannot sleep in our bedroom because he A.  Snores, and 2.  eats everything.  This is normally not a problem, but he apparently does not care for being the only one on the Other Side of the Gate.  So, I am the Designated Defender, who gets to keep him company on stormy nights.

We settle onto the couch with an old comforter.  He snuggles up, and is soon asleep, though we both jump a few times during enormous thunder crashes.

About an hour later, the storm has gotten quieter.  But Wonderbutt has gotten louder.  His snores are less surprising than the thunder but just as disturbing.  I finally work my way out from under him, and stumble to the guest bedroom – the closest room to the Border that Must Not be Crossed.

About 20 minutes, I hear Wonderbutt whining very close to my door.  He has realized I abandoned him, and does not care to be alone.

I get up and look out the door.

He has carried the entire King Size comforter to the Border in order to register his protest – or communicate his loneliness;  I am not sure which.

This is a re-enactment. You will be surprised to learn, I'm sure, that I was not in the mood to take any pictures at 4 AM.

I get back on the couch.

An hour later, after a few dozing off periods broken by Stupendous Snores, I squint to see the miraculously still-working cable box time, and realize that I must get up.

I go back to the bedroom to get ready for work.

Dimples is soundly sleeping in my spot on the bed.

It turns out she is an optimist after all.

We Have No Kitchen Synch

Sometimes, I think about the irony of my daughter being involved in Synchronized Swimming.  Because, really, there is very little about her that is in synch with anyone else.

If there was any other part of her life that I could get Dimples to apply her synchronized swimming skills to, it would be to her meal-eating.  In fact, our whole family could probably use a coach on this.

Impressive. But, can you eat Hamburger Helper at the same time? (courtesy of proacguy1 on Flickr)

Being a teacher, I have developed the habit of eating quickly.  Elementary school teachers have, on average, 4 minutes to scarf a lunch.  Officially, we are allotted 30.  But, once you get all of your students through the line that was already backed up because the school kitchen ran out of its nutritious pizza rolls two classes before you, and you use your one chance to pee and make any phone calls you need to make, and try to cook the frozen dinner you brought in the one microwave available for 100 teachers in the Teacher’s Lounge, that 30 minutes is pretty much gone.

When I met the Cap’n, I tried to slow myself down a little.  The Cap’n savors his food, and does not rush.  The Cap’n gets an hour and a half for his lunches.  He can go to restaurants, even.  So, he does not really understand the concept of “inhale it or lose it.”

Then I met the Family Firepants (my future in-laws), and knew I was really going to need to change my habits.  They come from the era where your entire day is about the meals – the preparation, cooking, eating, and cleaning up and starting all over again.  And there was no rushing through any of these phases.

And then I gave birth to Dimples – the Slowest Eater of All Mankind.

Here is a typical Family Dinner during the week:

Dimples and I arrive home around 5.  I have not eaten since 11 because that is the ungodly time my lunch is scheduled at school.  I am starving.  But I don’t want to snack because it is close to dinner time.

I call the Cap’n to find out if he will be working late or coming home for dinner.  If he is working late, I fix a no-fuss dinner right then and there for Dimples and me.  If he says he will be home for dinner, I wait until about 5:30, and begin the dinner preparation process – which begins with the Feeding of the Dogs.

Wonderbutt and Mrs. P.I.B. are as unsynchronized as the rest of the family – with Wonderbutt finishing approximately 5 seconds after the food hits the bottom of his bowl, and Mrs. P.I.B. waiting until every part of the environment meets her satisfaction (pantry door closed, at least one human family member within her vicinity, but no living creature within a 3 foot radius of her bowl).  Once Wonderbutt is finished, he hovers, hoping to get any tidbits Mrs. P.I.B. might leave behind – or to brazenly push his way to her bowl when she leaves her head lifted for too long.

Once I am done refereeing the dog meal, I begin to prepare dinner.

At 6:30, I serve whatever I haven’t eaten as I was pulling out of the oven because I am so ravenous.  The Cap’n is usually not home by this point.  He has no Dorfenbergerthalamus, if you recall, so he has probably gotten completely wrapped up in his work, and has no idea that it is even near dinner time.

At 6:45, I am finished with all three courses of my dinner.  Dimples has taken one bite out of a roll, and put some butter on her peas.

At 6:50, the Cap’n calls and says he is now leaving work.

I start doing dishes.

At 7:10, the Cap’n arrives.  Dimples has finished 1/8 of her meal.  The Cap’n serves himself up a plate of cold food, and sits down to eat with her.

At 7:35, the Cap’n is finished.  Dimples is about halfway done, and begs him to stay at the table with her while she eats.  Because he is a pushover where Dimples is concerned, he usually does.

At about 7:55, Dimples finishes, then gets upset because she has only 5 minutes before she needs to get ready for bed.

As I ponder the possible reasons for our unbelievably unsynchronized meals, I think I have come up with the answer.

We need to orchestrate the meals with music.

And possibly wear our bathing suits.

If you have any suggestions for appropriate music (preferably NOT from the score for The Sound of Music), feel free to give your recommendations.  If I put a little more effort and artistry into this, it could become the next Olympic sport.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

This Offer is Just For You!

I am thrilled to announce that WhatIMeant2Say is now available ON DEMAND!

That’s right, folks! You can now view any of my blog posts any time you want by going to my website and clicking on the link for the post you would like to read.

I KNOW! ISN’T THIS AMAZING? My blog is SO on the cutting edge TIGHT!

And, get this. With no price increase, you can also pause in your reading at any time, and come back later to the exact place you left off! No more racing through the post so you can answer the phone or go to the bathroom. Just read it at your leisure on your own schedule.

You don’t know how fortunate you are to have all of these perks in your subscription package. I don’t provide this On Demand Service to just anyone, you know.

For example, my daughter, Dimples, cannot have her favorite dinner, PB&J with a pickle on the side, On Demand.

And, our dogs, Wonderbutt and Mrs. P.I.B. don’t get biscuits or play time On Demand. Usually.

And my husband, Cap’n Firepants, doesn’t get –

Well, never you mind what he doesn’t get On Demand. We have the Basic Cable Package, so he does just fine.

The point is, you are valued guests on the WhatIMeant2Say blog, and we try to provide you with the best service available. We like to reward loyalty.

So, hang in there. Before you know it, I’ll be announcing that this blog is now available in HD!!!!!!

Or even better, 3D!!!

Here is a sneak preview of our upcoming 3D service! The first person to comment with the correct 3D word will win a virtual Wonderbutt trophy! And, no you don't need special glasses!

Happy Wonderversary!

Our infamous bulldog, AKA Wonderbutt, arrived in our household one year ago.  It’s hard to believe that one year and a day ago, I was trying to figure out how my dear husband, the inestimable Cap’n Izzy Firepants, could have missed the interminable number of clues I had dropped for six months about my desire for a bulldog puppy.  It’s pretty clear now that he didn’t miss the clues – just chose to ignore them.

But Cap’n Firepants saw the light on December 26, 2010, and now things are quite different.

Last Christmas, we had carpeting with carpet padding.  We also had a Christmas tree in the main room unbordered by baby gates.  We hung our stockings from the mantel above the fireplace, instead of on high bookshelves.  And we could toss our shoes wherever we wanted without fear of having them repurposed as dog chew toys.

Last Christmas, Cap'n Firepants did not have to share his leather chair with anyone but me.

366 days ago, Dimples could open her stocking without canine supervision.

And our aging golden retriever, Mrs. P.I.B., could play with her new tennis ball...


...without being sacked.

Yes, life was simpler back then.  And quieter.  No incessant squeaking of a Kong Wubba to which Dimples added by squealing, “Stop it!  Stop it!  I can’t stand the noise any more!  Would someone please take that toy away from him?!!!!!”

No jumbo jet engine snoring.

And our house might have actually passed any toxic fumes testing done by the EPA.

365 days ago, our life was turned upside down by a 12-pound-destined-to-be-65-pound bulldog bully, the gift that keeps on taking.

Who makes me smile every day.

Incident Reported at the Firepants Household

Incident report for Case#2011-50075

Incident Type – Damage to Property

Incident Date – approx. between 12/17/11 and 12/19/11

Address – Somewhere in the middle of San Antonio, TX

Victim(s) – Female, age It’s-None-of-Your-Business

Details – The female who looks remarkably young for her age (which is not that old, really) opened the drawer beneath the stove to find that her oven glove had been violated.  See evidence below. (Warning – the following photo is graphic.)

Disemboweled Oven Mitt

The following residents of the household are suspects in the incident.

Suspect #1 (AKA Dimples) - claims to have no knowledge of the incident. Motive might be that she has no hands and dislikes any reminders of this.

Suspect #2 (AKA Mrs. P.I.B.) - Has a guilty face. Motive - Trying to frame Suspect #3.

Suspect #3 (AKA Wonderbutt) - Known to chew everything in his reach. Motive - Known to chew everything in his reach.

The remarkably young-looking crime victim decided to consult the famous Cap’n Firepants for his expert analysis of the case.  Cap’n Firepants had but one question, “Did you say the drawer was closed when you found the oven mitt?”  The victim nodded in the affirmative, and Cap’n Firepants gravely informed her of one more suspect who must be given consideration.  “Indeed, this suspect must be placed above all others based on the evidence,” he assured her.

Suspect #4 (AKA Random Mouse) - the one suspect with the Means to commit the crime. Motive - to bring stuffing back to his nest. And to ruin Mrs. Cap'n Firepants' sleep for the rest of her life.

We will continue to investigate.  This case is NOT closed.  Even though the drawer was.

I Hope You Don’t Mind, But I Think You Must be Blind

My fifth grade students were discussing the question, “Which is more powerful – hope or fear?” I had found an NPR interview with a finalist in the Kids Philosophy Slam that posed this question a few years ago, and played it for the class.  I wanted them to hear the high school student explain why he thought fear was more powerful.  Apparently, when I listened to it the first time, I didn’t notice one of his statements.  Basically, he surmised that the only animals that feel hope are humans.

Now, if you have a dog or two in your family I think you will agree with me that the thought of humans having sole claim to hope is preposterous .  And, if you aren’t familiar with the canine species, I would like to submit the following photos.  You be the judge as to whether or not humans are the only animals with the capacity for hope:

Mrs. Pain in the Butt and Wonderbutt Hope that I'm not Leaving for Work

Mrs. P.I.B. and Wonderbutt Hope that I am Returning Home to Entertain Them

Wonderbutt and Mrs. P.I.B. Hope that We Will All Exit the House Together

Big Mean Kitty Hopes (Prays) He Will Not Be Decapitated Today

Sorry.  Don’t know how the Big Mean Kitty one got in there.  

Wonderbutt Hopes He Will be Accepted as a Biggest Loser Contestant

Mrs. P.I.B. Hopes Patiently for a Treat

Wonderbutt Does NOT Hope Patiently for a Treat (Hence the blurry picture!)

Wonderbutt Hopes Sticking out his Tongue and Waving His Ears Will Make Him Fly

Wonderbutt Hopes if he Smiles this will be the Last Picture


I Need Wonderbutt Insurance

I am one of the first people to decry the commercialism of Christmas and its ridiculous encroachment into the fall holidays that precede it.  Seeing an aisle of Christmas ornaments right next to the bloody Halloween masks with machetes sticking out of them is just disturbing.  But I guess this is going to be a fight I can’t win.

Dimples keeps playing Christmas music…as she decorates the house with her homemade Halloween decorations. It’s a little disconcerting to listen to “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” as your whistling daughter attempts to tape black bat garland around the mantle.

One of Dimples’ favorite decorations is a plastic spider web that you can suction cup to the window.  The problem is, even when new, the suction cups never seemed to hold for very long.

I pointed out to Dimples that all of the windows to which she wanted to adhere it happen to be within the borders of Wonderbutt’s domain.  And once that web fell to the floor, even a giant mutant arachnid would be no match for the jaws and iron stomach of Wonderbutt.

As I warned Dimples about this, and prompted her to adjust her decorating accordingly, something began to nag in the back of my mind.  Something about decorating and Wonderbutt.  Something that started hurtling toward the front of my mind as “Jingle Bell Rock” began to play.

The Christmas tree.


I think we can all agree that there is no way that a Christmas tree would last ten minutes  around Wonderbutt, much less the decorations adorning it or the presents underneath.  And Cap’n Firepants’ Annual Lighting Extravaganza would send us all to Kingdom Come once Wonderbutt sinks his teeth into it.

If you need some proof of Wonderbutt’s intolerance for decorating, take a look at our attempts to outfit Wonderbutt and Mrs. P.I.B. for a Halloween photo shoot.

Mrs. P.I.B. Sportingly Models a Halloween Boa

Wonderbutt Draws the Line at Mrs. P.I.B.'s Halloween Headband

I Mean It - No More Stinkin' Halloween Pictures!

So-o-o, back to the tree problem –

Possible solutions: no tree, tree in bedroom, bathroom, or garage, tree suspended from the ceiling, or gated-off tree.

My mother used to tie our tree to a hook on the ceiling to keep the cats from knocking it down.  She didn’t hang the tree, just used the hook as a kind of safeguard.

Trying to safeguard the tree against Wonderbutt would be like chaining your house to a telephone pole to keep a tornado from carrying it off.

Since I’ve learned that gates are just a temporary obstacle to Wonderbutt when he makes up his mind to get some place, I’m thinking we should not tie the tree so it will fall if Wonderbutt touches it, scaring the bejeezus out of him.

And then we have to pay the vet $1000 when he gets poked in the eye by a pine branch.

Or, maybe we should just torch the house now and get all of the destruction over with once and for all.

So, once again, it is the middle of October, and the most suitable costume for me seems to be the Grinch.

The ABC’s of Standing Up for Yourself

This is a Story in Two Parts.

Part I.

I found the best toys for Wonderbutt and Mrs. P.I.B. at Target.  Two huge orange Kong balls that look exactly alike.  It’s hysterical because they keep forgetting there are two that look exactly alike.  Wonderbutt, of course, likes to monopolize the toys, but he has not found a way to fit both of the orange spheres in his mouth (note the care I took in the phrasing of that sentence).  He did, however, momentarily find a way to dribble one ball with his front feet while firmly grasping the other one in his mouth.  He didn’t seem to recognize his own talent, though, and soon lost the ground one to Mrs. P.I.B.

I proudly praised Mrs. P.I.B. for being so assertive, causing Dimples to ask the meaning of that word. I am always trying to get both Mrs. P.I.B. (our female Golden) and Dimples (our 8-year-old daughter) to be more assertive, but I’ve apparently neglected to actually mention that to the human child.  I chose my words carefully, mindful of the people, many of them men, who might define assertive females as being pushy.

“Assertive means to stand up for yourself, to not allow others to push you around.”

At this moment, Wonderbutt head butted the side of Mrs. P.I.B.’s mouth, sending an orange ball across the room.  King of the Turnovers, he chased after it while Mrs. P.I.B. did nothing but direct her perpetually victimized look toward me.

“The opposite of that,” I said, as I made myself refrain from fetching the other neglected ball for Mrs. P.I.B.  Because no one will stand up for themselves if you continue to rescue them, right?

“It’s kind of a hard thing to do,” I said.  “You don’t want anyone to take advantage of you, but you also don’t want people to think you’re a, uh, well, a, uh…”

Dimples looked at me curiously even though it wasn’t obvious at all, I’m certain, that I was trying not to say a “bad” word.

Cap’n Firepants also looked curious (about how I was going to dig myself out of this one), and I finally declared triumphantly, “a bully.”

Dimples had already lost interest and started to walk out of the room.

Part 2.

Apparently there is some comic strip war going on in our local paper as it slowly shrinks, page by page.  I have only been able to read it sporadically lately, and chanced upon an editorial a few days ago regarding the bullies featured in some of the comics.  The letter writer felt that some people might call Lucy from “Peanuts” a bully, but said that others might feel that she is assertive.  I’m not sure, but I think the writer was making a sarcastic jab at self-assured females.

I thought back to my days of reading “Peanuts”.  All of the times that Lucy pulled that football out right when Charlie Brown was about to kick it. It helped me to solidify the line between being assertive and being a bully.

Being Assertive is standing up for yourself despite difficult opposition. Being a Bully is doing what you want with the intent to hurt others.

I would have to describe Wonderbutt as being Dogmatic.

Our Dogmatic Dog

And where would Lucy, female or not, fall in this spectrum?

Hmm.  Let me think of a “C” word for that…

Cruel!  What were you thinking, People?

You need to wash your brains out with soap.

It’s Gonna Get Worse Before It Gets Bad Again

It goes without saying that I have a case of writing constipation.  Here are the small bits of ideas that I’ve been able to eke out over the past week (and yes, I am aware of the disgusting nature of the metaphor) – none of which would actually make an entire post worth reading.  Like a two-year-old proud of her great Triumphs of the Toilet, I thought I would give you a peek before I flush ‘em.

What does this quote mean from Eli Manning regarding Brandon Stokely’s game performance? “He had a small package, I’ll tell ya, his package got a lot bigger in the middle of the game.”

Is there a month that is not part of football season/pre-season/post-season/training season?

When Mrs. P.I.B. passes gas, she scares herself, leaps up, and whirls around to find out what just attacked her rear.

And on the other end: I have contemplated, more than once, whether I should try putting a Breathe Right strip on Wonderbutt’s nose to open his airways?

In Switzerland, there is a law that you cannot own only one of any particular pet.  So, there is a woman, interviewed on NPR, who rents out guinea pigs to owners who have had one die but don’t want to buy another one.

Why is it that, by the time of year when it’s cool enough to walk the dogs at night, it’s too dark to walk the dogs at night?

There is a tag on the tags page that says “Scott Lord Sherlock Holmes.”  It leads to nowhere.  Even more disturbing are the results you get when you Google said topic.  And even more disturbing is that I wasted my time Googling said topic.

I think Sherlock Holmes was a big old crock.  His supposed “leaps of logic” were ginormous hurdles over massive chasms to conclusions that are piles of steaming crap any C.S.I. agent would sniff a mile away, bag as evidence. throw in their multimillion dollar mega-analyzing machine, and declare devoid of any evidence acceptable in a T.V. court of law.

If I lose at the iPad Family Feud game, does that mean that I am not smart, or that I just come up with more creative answers than the common 100 people surveyed?

If Dimples beats me at Family Feud, does that mean that I’m not smarter than a fourth grader, or that the 100 people surveyed were 4th graders?

One of my dreams is to spend a week in the same room as the writers for The Daily Show and/or The Colbert Report, and maybe even contribute a line or two.

Will one of the days I do a less than stellar post, like today (o.k., most days), also be the day that a potential editor (or staff member of The Daily Show and/or Colbert Report) chances upon my blog – and breaks her wrist because she can’t click on the back button fast enough?

Have you ever noticed that when people say that it goes without saying that they then say what didn’t need to be said?

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