“I noticed you didn’t mention the Scrabble games at all! So the Dictator doesn’t get the glory of winning 1 measly game…”
This was The Dictator’s response to my series about The Ranch Weekend. I must admit that I had every intention of mentioning our Scrabble Tournament, but I was so busy whining about my sleep deprivation that I could not squeeze it into my other posts.
I don’t remember when The Dictator and I started our Scrabble Tournaments, but they are always one of the highlights of my trips to The Ranch. Primarily because no one else will play Scrabble with me. Even my Words with Friends games have become Words with People Who Avoid My Challenges to a New Game.
My sister, Crash, and her entire family, refuse to play Scrabble with me. Crash was a good sport about playing with me until I told her that the dictionary was for checking a word after someone challenged it, and that you can’t just browse the dictionary for a good word before you play your tiles. In her estimation, this defeated the whole purpose of playing the game, which I guess was to just see who was the best cheater.
The Dictator likes to accuse me of cheating – unless, of course, she is winning. She, Nigella (our other Ranch Friend), and I are pretty evenly matched. I think that it would be a hard call to determine who is the Scrabble Champion of The Ranch. And, quite frankly, I would be afraid of any trophy that could be won – seeing as it would probably be taken from the Wall of Death.
During our most recent Ranch Weekend, The Dictator won the first game, and I won the second. This win may have come at the cost of any respect that The Dictator’s mother might have had for me, as I desperately played a word for the male anatomy (which got a triple word score) right before she arrived for a visit – and the word loomed large in the bottom corner of the board the entire time she observed our game. Though she never asked – and there were two other suspects, one of whom brought home a cat that she had named “Boner” during Spring Break when she was a teenager – I am pretty certain that Mrs. Dictator knew I was the culprit, probably aided by the fact that my face was red for the remainder of the game.
A third game, though planned, never came to fruition. Most likely, Nigella’s luck would have turned, and she would have actually gotten some consonants during the final game, sweeping us all away, and creating yet another frustrating tie that would leave us all grumbling that one more game would have shown the true Weekend Winner. Instead, Nigella and The Dictator played “Chickenfoot Dominoes” with the younger generation for the remainder of our visit, a game far too dependent on my non-existent luck for my taste.
And, so I end my seemingly endless series of posts about our 3-day Weekend Gotaway, with a tribute to my Scrabble Colleagues. I love your chutzpah and hope that we will continue our games way past the time when we wheezily roll our wheelchairs up to the table in our jaunty jacquard pantsuits, spreading a single game over an entire three-day weekend to make time for our frequent naps and breaks for medication.
Unbeknownst to me, while my husband, Cap’n Firepants, was shooting still pictures of the now-famous Southeast Texas Poop Bugs, our friend, Nigella, was taking video footage on her cell phone of the “wayward” rebel rolling his poop to an undisclosed location. Due to the unbelievable popularity of the Poop Bug post, I thought y’all would enjoy seeing a Poop Bug in action. This is not sped up, or enhanced in any way – other than the addition of music. Thanks, Nigella!
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…
If you are beginning to wonder if my posts about last weekend will never end, then you are finally on the road to understanding the unusual time-sucking Black Hole that the Firepants Family endures on a daily basis. Wonderbutt will be more than happy to lead you down that merry path.
After my first sleepless night at The Ranch, I smothered myself with a pillow the next morning while the rest of the The Ranch visitors carried on with life, completely oblivious to the fact that I had spent my evening cleaning up cat vomit and trying to keep Wonderbutt from dismembering the vomiter.
I finally entered the kitchen around 9:30, only to find most of the household gone. They had taken the four dogs for a jaunt.
Moments into my breakfast, the crew returned. Dimples, my fully dressed daughter, was wet. It was not raining.
“I had to save Wonderbutt from drowning,” she proudly announced. “I think I need a shower.”
You may not remember this, but we tested the whole, “Are Bulldogs Buoyant?” question last year around this time, when Wonderbutt decided to take a plunge into the pond at The Ranch once he saw that everyone else was doing it. Wonderbutt may be stubborn, but he apparently caves to canine peer pressure quite easily.
Wonderbutt proved that yes, bulldogs can swim, at least when they weigh 15 pounds less than he does now. I’m not sure where the fine line is, but it seems he crossed over it, because this year he couldn’t keep his head above the water. Fortunately the water was only about 3 feet deep, so Dimples waded out to save him.
Wonderbutt does not feel guilt or shame – or humiliation. He did not seem to be embarrassed one bit that he was the only dog out of four that had to be carried back to land by a 9 year old girl who weighs less than he does. To be fair, the other three dogs were a bit too tired from the whole experience to taunt him very much.
I must admit that the thought did cross my mind, for one very brief moment, that, if he had drowned, I might actually sleep that night. But I can feel guilt, and immediately banished that thought from my head. It was then followed by the tempting thought of drowning the cat, instead. But, I did not want The Dictator to impale me on her Wall of Death, so I did not voice this thought, much less act on it.
Instead, I went outside to the porch to console our oblivious Wonderbutt for his failed attempt to cross the Channel this summer.
“I think you need to find a different Olympic sport,” I informed him. “Swimming does not appear to be your best skill. I’m thinking you should try the luge. I have a feeling your, uh, shape might be an asset in that event.”
His enthusiasm for this new idea was unbridled.
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.