Holiday Survival Discovery: They Don’t Call Me Bonnie (And I Don’t Know Clyde)

12-10 Lights

Last year, my older son had a sometimes job of exercising an elderly lady’s dog. She had been ill, so it’d been over a week since the dog had been walked. One Sunday, Sarah* called. (Coincidentally, this was the day following the lice debacle and the kids decided the day must begin for me after a mere four hours of sleep.)  She asked if I could run some errands for her because her helper didn’t show up. I told her I could.

We arrived half an hour later, as she requested. On her counter, she had a list of items she needed. She crossed off paper towel. She read through the list again and crossed off a couple more items. I saw orange marmalade and water and asked her if she had brands she preferred. “You don’t need to worry about that stuff,” she said as she crossed those items off as well.  “I just need a couple things to get me through the holidays.”

“Okay. Which things do you need?”

“I need a carton of cigarettes.”

“All right.”

“And a bottle of LTD.”

I had no idea what that was, until she opened her cabinet and pulled out a nearly-empty bottle of Canadian whiskey.

I smiled and stifled a laugh. Cigarettes and whiskey to get through the holidays. Maybe I should try that!

She handed me her car keys, but I insisted on using my own car. Then she handed me her bank card. “Are you comfortable with using this?”

I hesitated. “Um. Okay.” What I meant to say was, Are you crazy? Of course I’m not okay with it!

“I’ve never had an issue with it before. I have plenty of bucks in the bank,” she assured.

“Um, okay.”

I drove to the place she told me to get the cigarettes.  What if she’s setting me up and she reported this card stolen? I shrugged the nagging thought off and chalked it up to writing too much fiction.

I handed the gal behind the counter the empty cigarette pack. “I need a carton of these, please.” I’m sure I didn’t ask  like a smoker would. She set the carton on the counter and I handed her the card. Please don’t ask for ID. If she asks for ID, do I run or try to explain why I have a bank card that wasn’t mine?

She didn’t ask for ID. I returned her wish for a Merry Christmas and breathed a sigh of relief, still unable to believe a carton of cigarettes was nearly $57 dollars.

Next, I pulled into the parking lot of the liquor store she said to go to. I wonder if LTD is a secret code for something illegal? Again, I shook off the worries and blamed it on watching too much crime TV.

I don’t drink (except for Lipton on the rocks) so I stepped inside and marveled at the sheer number of bottles. I found the bottle I’d snapped a photo of. Mission almost accomplished. I wondered if I was tempting fate and jail time by using this card a second time.

Again, as I checked out, they didn’t ask for ID. As I drove back to her house, another worry crept into my mind. What if this was a test? She might ask me to score some medical marijuana next time.

Oh no, there wouldn’t be a next time. She’d have to wait for her helper.

The constant worry confirmed what I always knew: I was not cut out for a life of crime (or using someone else’s bank card with permission.) But I did walk away with a new bit of wisdom imparted by our elderly acquaintance. If the holidays get too much, I now know that whiskey and cigarettes can get me through!

*Name changed to protect the wise 🙂

Do you have any secrets (legal or not) for making it through the holidays?  I love this time of year, so I don’t usually get too stressed… but it doesn’t hurt to keep ideas on hand!

Did My Google Searches Finally Catch Up With Me?

Well, I knew it was only a matter of time before my Google searches drew the attention of authorities.  (Like the search I mentioned at the end of this post.)  Earlier this week, my WiFi connection dropped and when I tried to reconnect, I had the following list of available networks:

10-28WiFi

The first two are mine, but the last one was quite unexpected.  I have never seen it before, and I haven’t seen it since.  (For those not from the US, “FBI” stands for “Federal Bureau of Investigation.”  Intimidating, sure… but honestly, the IRS – Internal Revenue Service – scares me more!)

Normally, I’m a paranoid person, but this time, I opened my blinds and waved.  I had a good laugh imagining the boredom of anyone assigned to watch us.  They would need lots of Red Bull and doughnuts 🙂

Just a bit of mid-week silliness here.  Thanks for stopping by!

Sigh. Wildlife, 4; Humans, 0

Made a fool again.

White flag waved (with crossed fingers)…

Ready for next round.

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Early Monday morning we discovered the wildlife had another crazy night of partying. Somehow, they are able to keep their rabblerousing down enough that we sleep through it; however it’s obvious we were the benefactors of the animal equivalent of toilet-papering a house. I have the “trashy” pictures to prove it:

At least dirty laundry wasn't aired...
At least dirty laundry wasn’t aired…

As my older son and I scooped up garbage donning very fashionable surgical gloves, neighbors slowed to stare as they drove by. One man stopped and rolled down his window.

“Ah, the javelina got ‘ya?” he asked.

I shrugged.

“This is what the javelina do,” he said with a nod.

“Well then, I guess our trash won’t go out until I hear the garbage truck.”

I should’ve known! I bet it was that javelina that gave me “the look” after her baby finally freed itself from our garden. I feared she wasn’t done with us and I was right.

10-6 javelina-edit

Arizona Game and Fish has pretty much tied our hands, as it unlawful to injure, kill or trap them. I don’t really want to hurt them anyway, but they aren’t taking the hint that they aren’t welcome around here. Since I’m not likely to lure a pack of coyotes as pets to patrol our land, I’ll have to do more research on all the things javelina hate and start doing more of that!

Stay tuned for our next failure 🙂

(It’s hard to show confidence when our efforts thus far make Elmer Fudd look competent!)

More “Wisdom” From This Last Week (Part 2)

I  learned so much this week, I decided to break it up into two posts.  If you missed the first one, and you’re curious about what else I learned, click here to read it.

Teaching an almost 12-year-old to be grateful rather than entitled is an exercise in futility…. but I’m stubborn enough to keep at it

I overheard my older son counting his dollars before the birthday cards.  (If we were zoned for chicken coops, perhaps he’d have counted chickens, too.)  I explained that birthday gifts were…well, gifts and shouldn’t be expected.  Money is tight for several family members so I reminded him he needs to be grate regardless of the money he receives.  When I told him I’d invited my best friend to his birthday gathering, he was a little too excited… when I informed him I told her not to bring a gift, the disappointment was apparent.

Sigh.

I.  Won’t.  Give.  Up.

Ever.

I stumbled across the line between atrocious and appalling, and I don’t ever, ever want to go there again

My younger son’s table manners are atrocious.  Despite my constant nagging reminding, he’s just a little piglet.  He drops crumbs everywhere.  He wipes his hands on his shirt (leaving a clean napkin ready to be looked at during our next meal.)  He scatters his empty wrappers on the table – it was bad enough, I threatened to make him eat his Pop-Tart wrapper if he left it on the table again.

Then, on Saturday night, I saw his friend eat fettuccine alfredo.  Oh my.  It was appalling.  I lost my appetite a little bit.  I’m not sure if he used a fork or not, but he had sauce all over his chin.  Finally my younger son said, “Dude, you need to wipe your chin.  Do you need another napkin?”

The irony made me laugh.  So much so that I had to excuse myself from the table to pull myself together.

A commenter on my last post suggested this photo could pictorially represent  the eating habit.  Really, though, the javelina was much neater about mealtime than kids...
A commenter on my last post suggested this photo could pictorially represent the eating habits. Really, though, the javelina was much neater about mealtime than kids…
So, I just thought "happy thoughts" instead.  What could be happier than a gorgeous 6-ft tall Sunflower stalk?
So, I just thought “happy thoughts” instead. What could be happier than a gorgeous 6-ft tall Sunflower stalk?

Boys act brave, until coyotes howl

Each of my kids had a friend spend the night on Saturday night.  I put them all to bed in our pop-up camping trailer.  Around 11 pm, I heard coyotes howling.  I remembered I didn’t send a phone handset out with them, so I decided to leave it with them, if they were still awake.  (ha- if they were still awake…. what was I thinking?)

As I neared the trailer, I heard voices, so I stopped and listened.

Friend #1 – “There’s safety in numbers.  We should stick together.”

Friend #2 – “What if they try to get inside?”

My older son – “The coyotes would have to be like six feet tall to get in here.”

I started laughing, giving my presence away, so I continued to the trailer.  The only child asleep was my younger son.  The other three were huddled together in one bed and boy did their imaginations freak them out!  They were grateful for the phone and I assured them they were safe.

As I walked back to the house, my evil streak surfaced in the form of a temptation to scream in terror.

The thought of the four boys squeezed into MY queen-sized bed nixed the impulse real quick!

Kids are to egos what needles are to balloons (confidence must come from within)

 I got a haircut and, for the first time in months, I liked the result.   It’s longer in the front and cut short around the neckline in the back.   As I type this, I realize it does sound like an odd haircut but it works for me- I feel like I have some hair, but it doesn’t get all bulky and hot around my neck (this is huge in Arizona; especially in the summer!)

Older son:  “You got a haircut.”  (With a look on his face like he caught a whiff of rotting food.)

Me:  “Yes, and I love it!”

Older son:  “Okay… but did you see the back?”

I laughed.  Good thing I didn’t come  home looking for approval from a critical almost-twelve-year-old.  Come to think of it, I don’t even know what my husband thinks of it…. I never ask 🙂

 And there  it is; all the things that life has taught me over the last week.  I’m sure there’s more, but sometimes this student’s mind wanders.

Have a beautiful Monday!

More “Wisdom” From This Last Week (Part 1)

I had fun with my first post of wisdom gained that I did a few weeks ago. I jotted down notes throughout the week so I could share more useless realizations things I’ve learned.   Here goes:

Not all kids think I’m lame- just the ones I gave birth to

My kids’ friends happened to come over when the kids weren’t home.  (They had gone on a bike ride with a neighbor.)  Since I expected them home soon, I let them hang around.  After replacing a Band-Aid that had fallen off, one of the boys commented that I was “like the nicest mom ever.”  Oh, but I didn’t let it go to my head.  See the next bit of wisdom.

Don’t fall for flattery from 11-year-olds (they will eat you out of house and home)

Woody Woodpecker announced a text message on my phone.  When one of the kids identified the voice, I expressed my surprise because it was  “an old cartoon, from my generation.”  He said his mom watched it and she was thirty.  I laughed and said, “oh, I’m much older than that.”  After revealing my age (41) they proceeded to feign shock and assured me I didn’t look that old.  (Seriously, I didn’t buy that load of flattery, but it was a good effort.)

After the kids had played outside for several hours, I had expected them to go home for lunch.  They didn’t, so I fed them.  One of them ate two Velveeta mac and cheese packs and then asked if he could take some home.  I said no because they were for the kids’ lunches.

I have a feeling we’ll have visitors for lunch again soon.  Just a hunch.

This photo doesn't really have anything to do with this post, but I read somewhere that blog posts should have photos.  Since I break all the other "good blogging" rules- especially the "be relevant" one- I figured I should show you our javelina visitor we had last week.
This photo doesn’t really have anything to do with this post, but I read somewhere that blog posts should have photos. Since I break all the other “good blogging” rules- especially the “be relevant” one- I figured I should show you our javelina visitor we had last week.

Sometimes bad housekeeping is a good thing

As we ate dinner on the patio one evening, I kept my eye on a wasp hovering near by.  (This means I had my butt barely balanced on the chair so I could dash into the house.)   It went into a vent cover that was near my husband.  I stared for several minutes but it didn’t come out.  “Oh, there better not be a nest in there!” I said in a near-panic.  When I crept over to the vent and peeked in, I saw the wasp tangled in a web.

Spider webs aren’t just for Halloween…. I’m  happy to have another excuse for leaving them up year-round!

The AZ Motor Vehicle Division operates by computer, not reason

Ah, a government agency.  What could possibly go wrong there, right?  Well, I figured after over a year of living in our new location, I’d get a new driver’s license with the correct address.  When my online attempt failed, I called the MVD.  I explained that the message said I couldn’t get a duplicate license because my photo needed updated in 2011.  I told them how I had done it a couple months prior to the due date after receiving the notice in the mail. Apparently, they put in the computer that it was a duplicate with no indication of a photo being taken.

According to the MVD, my driver’s license photo is from 1998.  If that were the case, I could see my photo being used in an upcoming anti-drug use campaign – as a shocking “after” photo of a 25-year-old who made bad choices.

I knew that hour at the MVD office was one I’d never get back, but I had no idea that, years later, I’d discover it was like it never happened.

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Life really stepped up its game in educating me, so tomorrow, I will post a follow up with more things I learned.  What have YOU learned this week?  I’d love to read your observations (funny, frustrating, or anything in between.)