Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bambie and Buddies Lovin' Life at My Herbicide House

Bambie and Buddies Lovin’ Life at My Herbicide House
A recent article in the newspaper gave tips on how to create a “wild-life friendly” yard.  The story suggested that one’s environment needs to become more eco-friendly.  However, there’s always such a menagerie outside my house it makes me wonder if the animals are getting a herbicide high every night with the garden gnomes from my chemical-laced crabgrass.  Come see if you want.  Bring traps or a bb gun.  Or a cat, unlike mine, that will actually hunt.  
Here are some of the newspaper’s suggestions to cultivate a space that attracts wild-life:
“Replace one’s sod with native plants and trees.”  
“Leave some dead trees or branches to provide insect food and cavities for nesting birds.”     And have plenty of black widow and copperhead anti-venom handy.
“Leave a section of your property messy with weeds, leaf litter and brush.”  Then Ms. Frozenface Snootybutt from the Homeowners association will be up in my bidness with a citation from the Germantown Gestapo of Ordinances.
“Use wood chips instead of dyed mulch.”
“Apply compost tea to your yard instead of fertilizer.”  Really?
And most important of all:
“Stop using chemicals on your lawn and pesticides in your garden.”
So, just to be clear, my family wins the neighborhood prize like every month for the best lawn on account of we have teenage slave labor.   
So, teenage slave labor + toxic chemicals = green, Lance-Armstrong-climbing-the-Alps juiced-up lawn.  
My grass is beautiful, and I can’t pronounce even one poison in that pre-emergent that I love and which is invisible in my drinking water.  However, my flowering shrubs leave something to be desired.  
Why, you ask?  Because every single freaking deer and their redneck Bubba cousin comes to OUR ‘roided-out, fertilized chickweed turf to graze at half past midnight every night.  There are even BUCKS chomping our suburban broadleaf.  I’ve seen them.  And every day in the morning dew you can see their sweet, graceful footprints after they’ve chewed up every azalea I have.  
There would be a lot fewer deer on my property if the crazy people in Germantown wouldn’t go ballistic and call the police every time they hear a gun shot.  Geez.  
Why do deer prefer my toxic edibles when there are perfectly good “green” democrats right across the street with lawns covered with clover and wild dandelions and nourished with tea compost?  Whatever that is.
That’s not the only wildlife my gorgeous, poisonous landscaping attracts.  We put every Weed-Be-Gone, triple strength, Nature’s Avenger, Round-up, Ortho-Spectracide concentrate you can buy on our vegetation, plus loads and loads of dyed mulch.  Yet, we have woodpeckers (and, consequently, holes) gracing our chimney, moles and chipmunks tunneling in our flower beds, ducks and frogs chillin’ in our pool, birds pooping on our porch, and squirrels wreaking havoc in our attic. And a stupid outdoor cat that obviously does nothing to keep them out.  Actually, she probably charges Admission.
So the way to attract wildlife to your grounds is obviously not to mess with all that “green” stuff.  I’ll gladly give you my left-over Ortho-licious fertilizer pellets and split a truckload of black mulch with you in order to create a pleasing pasture on YOUR property for my deer to graze.  I’ll spread the wealth, or manure, as it were, and even dump our grass clippings in your yard when my slaves empty the bag on the mower.  (Heaven forbid we would bring down the neighbors’ home values by not bagging our grass clippings on mowing day).  
I’ll even let you have rent my cat for a few months to do nothing in your yard.  After Bambi and friends move in with you, the cat could at least provide you with some natural fertilizer.  And feel free to keep the proceeds from Admission.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Evolution of Dads

I am reposting this from last Father's Day.  ----------

The Evolution of Dads
What happened to the good old days when Dad came home from work and Mom handed him a newspaper and said, “Here’s your slippers?”  Nowadays after work, the kids are at soccer and piano, Mom works late, hands Dad a Lean Cuisine and says, “There’s the microwave.”  Poor guy.  The rules changed as fast as you can Google “Women’s Movement,” and Dad had to learn to change the baby’s diaper as well as change the oil in the car.  
But a funny thing happened.  The uninvolved Dad realized he really liked kissing chubby little feet as he changed diapers.  And he enjoyed playing Barbies and Pirates with his kids instead of watching the Cowboys on TV.  The modern Dad is solid as a rock—and rocks at Wii Hoola Hoops.
Mom may be better at handling girl drama, but no one is better than Dad at lining up army men for battle and initiating ticklefests.  He rides with you on roller coasters, but not the rides that spin.  And he sculpts cool sandcastles at the beach and lets you bury him in the sand. 
Regardless of family dynamics and the demands of his job, he’s never too busy for his children.  He’s there to teach his son how to throw a fastball and how to survive when life throws him a curve. And he’s there to kill bugs and blow bedtime kisses. 
The modern dad knows how to fix a flat tire and fix his daughter’s broken heart.
He makes tee times for his son and makes time for tea with his little girls.
He teaches his daughter how to bait a hook and how to determine whether her date to the prom is a bottom-feeder.
He tells his daughter scary stories at nine and scares her boyfriend half to death at sixteen.
He checks for leaks in the attic and monsters under the bed.
College football is something he lives for, but he misses the game because Christmas lights are something his kids can’t live without.
He sacrifices luxuries in his own world for his kids’ first trip to Disney World.
He paints the whole house and paints his daughter’s fingernails.
He knows how to call a duck and call his mother just to say hi.
He bounces his toddler on his knee and carries the weight of the world on his shoulders.
And he’ll never ask for a pat on the back for simply doing his job.

Whether he is old-school or modern, the moment a new Dad holds that squirming bundle in his arms for the first time, a powerful pride surges through his veins, calling him to be part of something larger than himself.  It awakens a protective and noble facet of his identity which first blossomed when he was a boy fighting fierce backyard battles with his trusty pirate sword.  He’s his daughter’s first Prince Charming and his son’s infallible Superman.
Dads have transformed through the years, but some aspects of fatherhood never change.  Dad never misses an opportunity for a little friendly competition.  Mom is the one who warns you not to take that jump on your bike, but she doesn’t know Dad is the one who dared you to.  Dad races you to the house but always cheats and takes off before he says, “Go!”  He always wins the “can’t-keep-a-straight-face” contests, but he helps you win prizes at the fair.   
Though Dads have evolved, two irrepressible DNA traits remain from the vestiges of the caveman.  #1—Dad is always right so do not bother arguing with him.  #2—If he doesn’t know an answer, he will make stuff up.    
Predictably, as his toddler morphs into a teenager, Dad’s tender love often evolves into tough love as he imposes sanctions on cars and cell phones.  From Ward Cleaver to Al Bundy, Dads have repeated the same mantra to their irreverent subordinates—“When you grow up you’re going to have a rude awakening,” “Nobody cares why,” and “If you don’t like it here, go find another family!” 
I have a family of my own now, and I have etched Dad’s nuggets of wisdom into the bark of our family tree. When I grew up, I DID have a rude awakening, I realized my boss DOESN’T care why, and everything Dad told me was true, except the stuff he made up. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mama Don't Like to Freeze in the Piggly Wiggly

Ok, my husband is Mexican, so don't think I'm being racial here.  It's just for fun!

Mama Don’t Like to Freeze in the Piggly Wiggly
As the brutal Memphis summer heats up, we southern girls start glistening as soon as we step outside. Last week I was gettin’ all gussied-up, with big hair despite 99% humidity, and I forgot I was out of my real expensive perfume.  So I drove to the store to buy some, and before I could park and walk into Walmart, I looked like I’d been hit in the face by a Super Soaker.
You’d think that a visit to the grocery store would bring relief from the kind of sweltering stickiness that makes the lotion on my legs run down to my flip flops.  However, every time I approach Piggly Wiggly’s sliding doors, an Arctic blast rushes through my damp clothes, gripping every muscle in my body and twisting me into a tight-jawed, grumpy-butt Sue Sylvester (Glee) with frozen underwear.  
Yesterday at the grocery, I tackled the frozen food aisle first. I rummaged around the freezer, deciding which vegetable I could fool my kids into eating. Consequently, my fingers turned dangerously white and I had to step back, holding the glass door open at arms length. Then I couldn’t read the stupid packages.  That’s why it’s always so cold in there—all the semi-blind, middle-aged ladies stand four feet away from the freezer holding the doors wide open.  I gave in to the cold and shut the door, but then the glass fogged up and I couldn’t see inside. 
If I didn’t come home with some interesting food, the kids would probaby revolt by grabbing their recorders (the sadistic musical instruments) that they’ve hidden since elementary school for just this occasion and screeching “Hot Cross Buns” 24/7 until there are some REAL Oreos in the pantry, and not those low-fat ones, dammit!  They’re teenagers now so they think they can say “dammit.”  
So I stuck my hand in and quickly grabbed some chimichangas with that tasty meat filler like Taco Bell uses.  Except the kind with no beans.  Beans make me windy.  Not that I eat that crap, since you ask. 
Turning down the cereal aisle, I could still see my breath and decided I’d had enough. I demanded to see the store manager.  A large Mexican man lumbered up.  I knew he was the manager because he had “SeƱor Chapa” on his name tag.  I know that means he’s the boss because I’m pretty good at Mexican.  I introduced myself, and his face dropped like maybe that old cake-nazi witch from the bakery department had told him about me.  Not that I’ve ever pissed anyone off in the bakery department. 
“I am freezing my butt off in your store,” I grimaced. “Will you please turn the freaking air conditioning off?”  I told him in a real polite way because I’ve been known to sorta unleash before.  He’s lucky I didn’t rip him a new one like I did to the waitress at Longhorn when she said they were out of Chocolate Molten Lava cake and I had a coupon. 
“Ma’m, I can’t turn the air conditioner off because one person is cold,” said Chapa.
“Look around, Nacho.  Do you see anyone over there at the magazine rack leisurely admiring Ryan Reynolds’ abs in People?  No.  That’s a sign.”
“I don’t think that means customers are cold,” he said.  Maybe they don’t like Ryan Reynolds’ abs.”
“Chewy, you’re just talking nonsense now.  I think the cold has frozen some of your brain neutrons.  Maybe you shouldn’t be managing a grocery store.  Obviously you don’t know Prime Beef when you see it.  But can we get back to my frigidity?”
“Well, if other people were complaining, I’d turn the air down,” he said callously.
“You know what, Pancho?  You’re right.  I’m the one that’s loco.  But it would be a shame if the fingers of one of those little old ladies on the scooters were so cold she couldn’t grip the brake and smashed into one of those waist-high freezers and flipped in head-first and broke a hip, now wouldn’t it?”
  Since then Chubba and I are pals.  He figures I kept him from a lawsuit by the blue-hairs.  I come in every Wednesday and he fires up the toaster oven and makes me hot, free samples.  I think Gordito could, legit, be my soulmate.  He bends over backwards for me, and he knows Mama likes her some chimichangas.  No beans.