Categories
Finances

And So It Begins…

Grate One
Grate One
Taken February 16, 2009 with Canon PowerShot A550

Well, this is a weird space I’m in… I feel like I’ve been through a cheese grater, hence the pic above, which is not a cheese grater, but it’s the closest I could come up with, without getting the camera out. Not to mention, finding a cheese grater.

The house that isn’t mine is about to go into foreclosure.

I’m working on “lawyering up”, but it’s a slow go. I’m trying to find one that deals specifically with real estate, but so far, none of those seems to be able to fit me in for months and I’m afraid to do anything without legal advice.

I don’t know yet if I can sell this house without The Sire’s cooperation or not (I’m thinking it’s “not”, though…), but that’s what I’m trying for, right now. I have two interested parties, and a lot of hope.

This would go much faster if my work schedule would cooperate. I’m back on nights again for the next few shifts, and that makes it difficult to be awake during “lawyer’s hours”. Most of my calls end with me waiting to hear back from people with answers to my questions, and there haven’t been many answers so far.

Ky’s depressed about the whole thing – won’t go to school, can’t sleep, barely eats. Not a lot of singing going on in the shower lately…

One way or another, this will all work out. I’ve got my fingers crossed that at I don’t end up bankrupt when it does.

My heart hurts.

Not-So-Random-and-a-Little-Bit-Heartbreaking Song-for-the-Day: “Our House” – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Categories
Little Bits of Stupid Photography

What to Post When You Can’t Keep a Train of Thought on Its Rails…

Image: Trojan Moose
Trojan Moose
Taken July 7, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550

Yeah, yeah, I know I said I *hate* these things not two posts ago, but…The Best Memes in Life Are Stolen. Elle said that, so it must be true.

Stole this from Elle, who stole it from Angelika, who stole it from Why Are You Stalking Me?, who stole it from someone else. 😀

1. Do you like blue cheese salad dressing?
— No.

2. Favorite late night snack?
— Mashed potatoes. And beer.

3. Do you own a gun?
— No.

4. What’s your favorite drink at Starbucks or other specialty coffee shop?
— Here in Canuckia, it’s Tim’s, and it’s either a black coffee, or an English Toffee something-or-other.

5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments?
— Not anymore.

6. What do you think of hot dogs?
— I try not to think of them, or it puts me off them. Have eaten them. Will most likely eat them again.

7. Favorite Christmas song?
— Gramma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
— I wish I had the nerve to say beer. It’s coffee, though.

9. Can you do push-ups?
— I can… but will I? HA!

10. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry?
— It’s a toss-up between my Grandmother’s little silver “broach-watch” thingy, or my father’s wristwatch. I wear neither of them, though. Or any other jewelry of any other kind, for that matter.

11. Favorite hobby?
Digital Photography.

12. Do you have A.D.D.?
— Probably.

13. What’s one trait that you hate about yourself?
— I procrastinate. A lot. I probably stole this meme weeks ago.

14. The last disease you contracted?
— Wrinkles.

15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment.
— I can’t possibly be expected to untangle THREE of them considering I might have A.D.D.

16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink?
— Coffee, coffee and beer. Although ‘regular’ on beer has become more ‘few and far between’. And that’s a shame, if ever there was one.

17. Current worry right now?
— None. I refuse.

18. Current hate right now?
— See above.

19. Favorite place to be?
— I haven’t been ANYPLACE, yet. I’ll have to do something about that.

20. How did you ring in the New Year?
— I seriously cannot remember.

21. Like to travel?
— I hope so.

22. Name three people who will complete Sunday Stealing this week:
— No.

23. Do you own slippers?
— Yes, I do.

24. What color shirt are you wearing?
— Black.

25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?
— Haven’t the foggiest. Probably not.

26. Can you whistle?
— Can so.

27. Favorite singer/band?
— Impossible to attempt to decide.

28. Could you ever make it 39 days on the show Survivor?
— I’ll betcha I could. But what the hell for?!

29. What songs do you sing in the shower?
— I don’t. The Idiot Child does though. And in the sauna. And in the “bathroom”. And in her sleep sometimes.

30. Favorite girl’s names?
— Kyla.

31. Favorite boy’s names?
— Hmmmmm…. Matthew for my father, maybe?

32. What’s in your pocket right now?
— Nothing right now, but a few seconds ago there was a hand in there!

33. Last thing that made you laugh?
— How fast “Hand in My Pocket” started playing in my head after I typed the above answer.

34. Like your job?
— I do.

36. Do you love where you live?
— If you mean my apartment – yes. If you mean this town – not like I once did.

37. How many TVs do you have in your house?
— 1

38. Who is your loudest friend?
— “Real Life” friends – The Fly-Girl. “Imaginary Friends”, as my mom calls anybody I know online, I haven’t a clue yet. But it’s probably Suzi, now that Sheikh is gone… 😀 / 🙁

39. Do you drive the speed limit or speed?
— I always drive the speed limit. Unless I think I might have cocaine in my pockets.

40. Does someone have a crush on you?
— If so, I hope it’s a movie producer in need of new scripts…

41. What is your favorite book?
— Can’t say… too many. I like anything by Madeline L’engle. Or Douglas Adams. Or Robert Heinlein.

42. What is your favorite candy?
— Just gimme the candy.

43. Favorite Sports Team?
— At one time, it was the Edmonton Oilers, but then Wayne defected.

44. What were you doing 12 AM last night?
— Dancing in the parking lot.

45. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up today?
— I haven’t yet woken up today.

So, steal it if you want it. 😀

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Gyasi Went Home” – Bedouin Soundclash

Categories
It Helps If the Whole Family Is Crazy Oh Mother...!

The Chamber Pot

Kyla Nora Maude Becker - 1998 - JK - photo
The 1998 Version of My Aunt Blanche…

No, really, let’s compare, shall we? If only to piss off my daughter – who tells me she’ll kill me if I post this, but then laughs out loud when she looks at this photo of herself, so I think I’m all good…

Blanche Van Every - 1920-something - photo
Tell me that’s not eerie…

Yes, kids, it’s time for another Aunt Blanche story…

Categories
Other People's Stories... Real Life

The Day the Earth Stood Still…

Tilapia - photo
“A Fish of a Different Flavour”

A couple of months back, I was invited to dinner by a friend: a 6’4 cook I worked with at The House of Fracas, my temporary placement, the first J.O.B. (and so far, only) in my brand new field, after I was out of school.

This invitation was a long time coming. He kept inviting me… but I would either decline, or he wouldn’t be able to come up with a date for the “date”.

In my case, I needed some guts; not to mention, a kid-free evening so as not to freak my daughter out.

For a long time, whenever “man” or “men” came into a conversation, she tended to go a little squirrelly with the idea of her mother um… meeting one/talking to one/associating with one/going out with one/being seen in public with one/dating one/falling in love with one/marrying one… in a nutshell, she didn’t want any man, be it friend/co-worker/date/pick a label, anywhere near either one of us. Grampa and her Uncle Trespasser were the only two male human beings she trusted. I suppose I could say the same for me.

In The Cook’s case, he needed an evening that he wasn’t working, when his room-mate was working, that included finances allowing for a nice meal for an extra stomach, that fell the day before a scheduled day off – presumably to allow for cleaning the kitchen long into the night and/or not waking up hung over and having to go cook three meals one-after-the-other for a bunch of other stomachs.

Finally, the last time the invitation was extended, we hammered down a hole in both schedules and labeled it Tilapia. As the date got closer, we both had an idea that something would screw it up, but miracle of miracles, that day, the earth stood still for once, and everything worked out in favour of fish and a good story.

Ky had a sleepover that she didn’t kak out on at the last minute… The Cook managed to get out of The House of Fracas in time to shop for Tilapia… the store didn’t run out of Tilapia before he got there… I didn’t get lost on the way to an unfamiliar place… so far so good.

Dinner was nice. I ate a type of fish I was not familiar with, that I very much enjoyed, declined the wine in favour of a Cuba Libre (always the better choice – fish or no), and sat back to conversate with a Someone that turned out to have more in common with me than I would have imagined.

He likes Archie Bunker, which amazed me, because he never struck me as the type that would. He’s a city-boy – an implant from Trinidad and Tobago, raised in Toronto – who loves music, but seems to listen to black artists exclusively, dances while cooking, and can’t seem to understand why people from Sault Ste. Marie do not act like people from Toronto. We argue often about why “we” do not change our behaviour to accommodate him.

He didn’t seem to me to be the average Archie Bunker fan. In truth, he seemed more like a black Archie Bunker.

Anyhoo…

We had some odd revelations come up during our long conversation, the TV muted until All in the Family was set to start… and eventually, the conversation got around to me writing, and why I wasn’t, much, and “What the hell is a freaking blog?!”

So, I told him about my life online, and my Blog-Family, and the stories about Ruby, and my dad, and blah, blah, blah, and the look on his face was priceless.

“What?!” sez I, thinking he was just astounded that people can have a second sort of life, completely digital, which in my case, is more important than my dirt-side life. I’ve seen that same expression on the faces of other people, after all…

Most of the people I meet face-to-face use the internet, but live in the “real” world (not including “gamers”, who have a whole ‘nother existence, but try telling “real” people that bloggers and gamers are two different species – I dare you – cuz they just don’t get the difference), and just can’t imagine how bloggers connect with one another.

He surprised me again, though.

“I have a story! If I tell it to you, are you gonna put it on the Internet?”

“Well, DUH! Yeah! I’ll change your name, though.”

“To what?”

“I shall call you ‘The Cook’,” sez I.

To which, The Cook took offense.

“I…”, he stated flatly, “Am a ‘Kitchen Manager’.”

Ummmm. Okay….

“I’m not calling you ‘The Kitchen Manager’,” I told him.

He countered with, “Well, you’re not calling me ‘The Cook’.”

In the end, we finally decided that he could come up with his own nom-de-blog once he’d told me his story…

Which he did do, but this post is already way too freaking long, and I’m out of time, and I’m trying to get back at a couple of Blog-Family members for their “To Be Continued…” habits (CardioGirl and Shrinky, specifically, the shet-bags), and this should piss them off nicely.

So I will post the story told to me, by The Newly-Named Cook… Kitchen Manager… ummm… soon. Ish.

And soon after that, I’ll have another Blanche-story up… followed by a Dad-story… followed by a Ruby-story… and I imagine a bunch of gibberish of my own interspersed between them all. That oughtta bring us all nicely into October.

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Seven Wonders” – Fleetwood Mac

Categories
Photography Real Life Wasted Time...

The What’th of September…

Waste Not, Want NotTaken September 22, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550
Waste Not, Want Not
Taken September 22, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550

Ruby needed to know the date the other day, and that’s how she asked it: “This is the what’th of September…?” It struck me as a good title for a blog post because it’s felt like the “what’th of September” for pretty much the entire month.

The photo is fairly symbolic for my September, as well. September has been a waste: blog-wise, writing-wise, and life-wise. I’ve done nothing of note this month, and nothing productive, unless you count cleaning the bathroom.

I don’t count cleaning the bathroom as productive unless it’s been an horrific mess and takes a while to clean, and that hasn’t been the case in some time. And if this new-for-me bathroom were to get itself into the state of “horrific mess”, it would still only take 10 minutes to clean it – I’ve seen bigger broom closets.

I’ve spent most of my September taking stock of things. One would think that would be productive, but it’s turned into a waste of my time. I’m becoming more aware of “time” lately, since I overheard somebody say to somebody else, “Time is money….”, and the somebody else replied, “No. Time is life.”

Scared me a little bit.

I spent very little time during August purging enough stuff to allow me to fit myself and my child into this wee small space. I expected to agonize over what to keep and what to toss, and I was surprised how easy it was to just get rid of it all – shred it, trash it, give it away. Everything I owned held some meaning for me at one point and every previous attempt over the last 25 years to unclutter my living space has always been impossible when it came to memorabilia: photos, letters, stupid little bits of things that would mean nothing to anyone else, but meant everything to me.

Nostalgia is a weird thing. This time, when I started to cull the junk, everything I picked up could have been someone else’s memory. It didn’t mean much of anything anymore.

Now, it’s time to cull the things I’m wasting my time with and start getting productive. I thought I knew what I wanted, but now I’m not so sure.

[[[… time passes…]]]

How weird is this?! I’m in the middle of this post when I get a phone call from a friend asking me what I’m doing about “this writing thing you’re into”. 26 minutes of Kick-My-Ass has convinced me somewhat that I should continue the dream.

Except, I think it’s time to quit dreaming and start doing. I’ve already wasted too much of my time.

Time is Life, after all…

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Doctor Who Theme” – Orbital

Categories
Real Life

Bleed…

"Bleed"
“Bleed”
Taken November 15, 2007 with Canon PowerShot A550

I’m feeling a little raw, lately. There are a lot of changes being thrust upon me, and, as you all well know, I don’t deal with change ummm… much.

I’m not having any luck becoming accustomed to the schedule at the new J.O.B., which kind of throws everything else out of whack as far as my family life is concerned. As well, my kid is about to graduate from… what should I call it…? Pre-high-school…? Grade 8, anyway. And another “landmark of Motherhood” being reached is difficult for me.

It’s an exciting time for her, though, because the graduation process is filled with trips, and camping, and dinners, and formal gowns, and what-all and what-not and God help me if any more gets added, because it all costs a frightening amount.

That makes it the “wrong” kind of excitement for me, because the J.O.B. wage is crap, and the schedule does not allow for a supplemental part-time J.O.B. (I never know from one week to the next what my shifts are). My small and hard-fought-for nest egg has been punctured in several places long before I’ve built it back up to where it should be, and the funds are leaking out in an alarming manner.

Other, scarier things loom ahead. The building I live in, which has been for sale for well over a decade, has finally got a serious offer. Good for Ruby – she’ll finally be quit of the huge headache the maintenance on the place has become for her.

Not so good news for me and the kid, as, rumour has it, the new owner wants to gut the interior and remodel, and plans on giving all the tenants notice. I don’t have a move built into the budget anymore, unfortunately, so I’m torn between hoping Ruby gets it sold, for her sake, and praying the guy changes his mind, for mine. Time will tell, I guess, and I’m trying to take my mother’s old saying to heart: “It’ll all work out.”

And I’m about to add another bill to the mess with the acquisition of The FlyMobile, which has now become a necessity if I ever want to see my parents.

They have moved back to Teeny-Tiny Town, where I was born and raised, the place they spent the first 50 years of their married life, to a facility that offers my father the 24-hour care he now requires, and allows them to stay together.

This was a good move for my mom and dad: they know everybody there already, having worked with them, and lived near them, and socialized with them since 1947. It’s also good because my sister,”Tootie”, is a nurse in the hospital that is housed in the same structure. She can see them everyday, without having to drive an hour each way and still manage the swing shift.

It kind of sucks for me and Ky, though, unless I can handle the payments on the minivan, which start in July. Money’s easy to get, though, right? It’ll all work out. Somehow. I hope.

Having a vehicle will allow us to visit once a week, like we’re used to doing. I’ll just have to spend more time on the stepper, which is currently gathering dust in my closet, to make up for the lack of weekly Walk-About to the other side of town and back. Now that I have an ass, I don’t want it to get flabby, do I?

We’ve driven down twice now, thanks to the generosity of The Fly-Girl, who has me drop her off across “the ditch” in Michigan and hands me the keys. “I’ve filled up the tank,” says she. “Go visit your mom and dad.” What would I do without her?

The Fly-Mobile is fair on gas, thankfully, and if the prices ever drop, I should be okay, assuming there are no more surprise grad fees dropped on me that I’ll have to suck out of the “transportation” category of the budget.

But, we’re carrying on with the carrying on… getting ready for Ky’s grad…. arguing over which photo to pick from the proofs…. pretending there’s nothing but happy, happy on the horizon, because what else can we do, really?

When, really, graduation for Ky may be a bust… Dad had a heart attack on Friday, and another on Sunday morning. He’s wiped on morphine and often confused, but for the most part, he’s holding his own. We’ve been down this road before….

Un-Brother Ken has come home from Alberta, and Big Sis will come up from Southern Ontario after her own graduation on Wednesday. We keep our fingers crossed, but our hearts are in our throats. There’s that “no resuscitation” order as per Dad’s wishes, after all. Again, good for him – it’s the way he wants it to play out – but I can’t help but feel selfish and wish they’d ignore/forget about/pretend they don’t see the yellow wristband on his arm, and just fix him, dammit!

I think he’s winding down, though.

Random Song for the Day: “Push It” – Garbage

Categories
Real Life Zenishness...

Pink Fantasy…

Image: Pink Fantasy
Pink Fantasy
Taken February 22, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550

I’m right impressed with myself over this picture. I seriously doubt I’ll get another shot even half this good for the rest of the year. I kind of hope I don’t – I’m really proud of this one. I want to blow it up to about garage-door-sized and hang it on my wall.

The inside of my head feels a lot like this pic – kind of dreamy… gauzy… lazy…

I’ve been busy, mind you….

…picking away at a website I’m building for a charitable organization here in town…

…picking away at painting my little apartment – we’ve decided not to move, after all. We’re finally getting this place “prettified” the way we like it, and the thought of hauling all the stuff down the stairs…. Blech. It’s still small, even though we’ve gotten rid of 60% of its contents, but it suits us, and the larger (huger) place comes with a big jump in rent.

The more we thought about moving, the more we realized that the only good thing about moving was that it was just downstairs (no way am I giving up my landlady!), so packing would be… well… it wouldn’t be, would it?

I’m still waiting to actually get on the schedule at the new J.O.B…. they insist that I’m hired. Every time I call… “Uuuuuuuhhhhhhhhmmmmm…. probably…. some time…. uuuuuhhhhhhmmmmm…. next week….? Maybe….?” They tell me this once a week. I should have applied to work in HR instead of sales… I think they need the help.

So, in the meantime…

…I drink a lot of coffee, and work a lot of crosswords, and watch a lot of movies (and ball games… and hockey games…) with Ruby.

…I continue to scan the J.O.B. boards and newspaper ads, in the undying hope that something not involving sales, customer service or telemarketing jumps out at me.

…I Walk-About to my parents’, drink rum, and listen to a new story once a week. Yes, I’m writing them down – heck I might even get around to posting them…

…I swear over the apparently uninstallable software that will allow the coolest Ruby post ever posted to be posted… finally. I hope. Gulp…*

…I dance with The Turkey – who, by the way, has just finished the second edit of her first novel. At 13. Yup. I feel a little useless when she’s in the room. She’s also re-dyed her hair purple, and has taken to stealing the pre-stolen “Grampa-shirts” out of my closet (I stole them first, but there’s never one to wear when I want one), and wearing them with neckties. I’d post pics, but the kid doesn’t stay home long enough to catch more than her shirt-tail in the view-finder…

…I drive around with The Fly-Girl in the Soon-to-be-Mine Minivan (I think I’ll name it The FlyMobile, whad’ya think?), singing old rock tunes from when we were young and thought we’d be 16 for-freaking-ever.

…and I spend a lot of time staring at this picture… and drifting off… somewhere…

Random Song-for-the-Day: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” – Elton John

Categories
The Landlady

For Mushy – I Think We’re Wearing Her Down…

Joycie, Rex, and Ruby – 1928

Hey, a picture is a picture, right? Ruby dug this out especially for me to post here. That’s her on the right, sitting behind her brother Rex, on their tricycle – doesn’t she look like a little devil? And I’ll bet Rex dropped Joycie on her head off that trike about 30 seconds after the shutter clicked. Not that he did drop her on her head – just that he probably did. Just sayin’.

Rex is the brother of Blackberry Summer fame. Ruby hadn’t told me much about Rex up to this point, so when she presented me with this photo, saying, “There. I wonder what that Mushy fella will say to that?”, I asked her about him.

Rex was about 18 months older than Ruby. She was about three in this photo, so he’d have been a little over…. five maybe? He had asthma and it plagued him all his life. When he was eight, it almost killed him because of a Scarlet Fever vaccination.

They didn’t have a doctor in Northland, so every year or so, one would come in by train and stay a few days, checking up on people and taking care of any emergencies that might crop up while he was there. The rest of the time, Northlanders most likely were doctored up by midwives, veterinarians, and God Himself.

On the last day of an annual visit, if there were any school kids of the right age, the doctor would innoculate them all one after another, just before he jumped back on the train out of there. The kids would all be lined up, and with the midwife assisting, the doctor would stick them all, assembly-line fashion, no questions asked, no names taken. Prick, prick, prick, prick, pack up and go home.

Rex had asthma, but the doctor didn’t know that, and he didn’t bother to ask. If he had bothered, he’d never have given him the shot. Five minutes after the doctor left for the station house (which, ironically, was where Rex’s dad was, being the section foreman, after all), Rex went into convulsions. The quick-thinking midwife scooped him up and ran for the station house, where the train was just pulling in, and Rex’s dad watched the doctor save his boy in the nick of time.

When I asked Ruby what the doctor did to save him, she said she hadn’t a clue, just that it had been close. She also laid dollars to donuts that the doctor never gave another shot without asking a kid’s history first.

Rex survived, though, and grew up to work for his dad on the railroad, which kept him employed until World War II. He tried to sign on, of course, but his asthma did that idea in. He ended up working as a time-keeper for a chain-gang of POWs for the duration of the war, at a camp further up the ACR.

The POWs he was in charge of were mostly Italians. The were a friendly bunch, and the Canadian government treated them very well. They may have been called a “chain-gang”, but not a one of them wore a chain. Where would they go if they ran? Into the Northern bush to starve or freeze to death? No, they weren’t that stupid. Better off where they were, where they were housed and fed fairly comfortably, considering, and each and every one of them worked hard, Rex said.

In the evenings, some of them built tiny little ships, with masts and sails that were squished magically through the necks of whiskey bottles and glued down. The masts, sails all furled up, would be stuck to the ship with rubber cement, and laid flat on the decks with little strings attached to the tops of them. The tiny dab of rubber cement stayed flexible long enough that when the whole works went through the bottle neck, the strings could be pulled gently and the masts would stand up straight and the sails would unfurl. Rex said it was a great thing to watch. By the end of the war, he owned three ships in bottles, and had them ’til he died.

A lot of those POWs applied to stay in Canada when the war was over. We must have been pretty decent people back then, I guess. Who would choose to stay here otherwise, and freeze for six to eight months of the year?

Random Song for the Day: “Belgium or Peru” – Cuff the Duke

Categories
Oh Mother...! Photography The Landlady

Mish-Mash

Little Red Shoes
“Little Red Shoes”
Taken October 20, 2007 with Canon PowerShot A550

The Little Red Shoes sit in my mother’s Etagiere, if I spelled that correctly. Elle? Wanna let me know, Betch?! My mom calls it a “What-Not”. I think it’s because it’s to display all your knick-knacks and what-not in. Anyway, that’s where the Little Red Shoes are, when they’re not in the bathtub, with me and my camera. Bathtubs make great backgrounds for some pictures. Wet bathtubs are not necessarily good for cameras, but mine’s tough.

I love the Little Red Shoes, but I don’t have a story about them. I just couldn’t come up with a pic for this post.

I’m having trouble catching up with all the posts I have in draft. Hence the title – “Mish-Mash” is about what this one will be – just a couple of bits and pieces that I’d like to get out of my hard drive and onto the blog. This clip from today’s post by Cardiogirl reminded me of a bit about my mom when she was a kid, which, in turn, reminded me of one about Ruby’s mom…

clipped from www.cardiogirl.net

So essentially we have a socially-accepted version of a wealthy pretty woman (former Ford model who must have earned a lot of cash) whose hobby is traveling the globe and shopping. So she finds “amazing stuff” and brings it back to New York to re-sell it. Do I have that right? I thought so.

And these aren’t your mother’s baubles. A telephone table finished in frog skin. I’m understanding this, though I find it crazy, until I get to the shagreen part. What is shagreen? Is it like shazam?

  blog it

A million years ago, when my mom was a little girl of about 12, she and her sister were down at the nearby fishin’ hole with their cousin. My mom is the older of the three, but for some reason, it was Auntie and Cuz that did the ordering around of my mom. This was the story that made me realize that my mom was a little mouse when she was a kid. How she managed to grow up into a stern (SERIOUSLY stern) School Marm, I will never know. My mom was the teacher you didn’t want to get, because you couldn’t get away with any monkey business, and you might even (OMIGOD!) learn something!

At any rate (as Mom would say), they were down at the fishin’ hole, dib-dabbling around in the water, when the conversation turned to frog legs. As an appetizer. Because that was what the rich people ate. Probably every day, even. Imagine, they told each other, all the rich people in the big cities paying unbelievable amounts of money for a plate of frog legs, when there were hundreds of frog legs attached to hundreds of frogs right in front of them. For free.

And so Auntie and Cuz decided that they wanted frog legs for dinner. My mother didn’t think that was a very good idea. She thought it might be a little hard on the frogs. Auntie and Cuz didn’t give a damn about what the frogs thought of the idea, and they didn’t give much of a damn what my mom thought about it, either. They just sent my mom up to the house to get a knife. And my mom went. Slooooowly.

The whole walk up for a knife, she tried to think of a way to save those frogs. She couldn’t think of a thing. She considered just not going back to the fishin’ hole, but decided she might pay for that later, so instead, when she got to the kitchen she decided she would bring back a dull butter knife. She reasoned that it would hurt the frogs less than a sharp one would. At 12, my mom was all for “less hurt”, apparently.

As it turned out, a dull butter knife does NO hurt to a frog, because it wasn’t long before the other girls gave up trying to saw off frog’s legs and quit in disgust. They didn’t get their frog leg dinner that day, but there were probably a few pissed off frogs in the fishin’ hole before they gave up.

Years later, one of those girls ate frog’s legs in a restaurant – by accident. She saw someone else’s order of what she thought was chicken and just pointed to it, telling the server, “I’ll have that.” Served her right.

Ruby’s mom, now, would have got the legs off those frogs lickety-split. She was a woman who got things done (she also had no forearmsthere’s a story for the blog, huh? Soon. Honest.).

Despite being a woman who “got things done”, Ruby’s mom had a heart of gold, and hated to see any animal suffer. She lived a hard, rough life on a farm, though, and there were times that some animals just had to be “taken care of”. Chickens had to be killed. Pigs had to be slaughtered. Sometimes, you had to shoot your dog. And there were always kittens that couldn’t be kept, and had to be “taken care of”.

Ruby’s mom hated that job, but it had to be done. She believed that the most humane way to “take care of” kittens was to drown them. Most people would shove the kittens in a burlap sack and tie it shut, and pitch the poor buggers in the nearest river. Not Ruby’s mom. That wasn’t humane enough for Ruby’s mom.

No, Ruby’s mom would pull on a pair of heavy gloves, fill a pail full of water and, one by one, she would hold each kitten (gently) under the surface until it was dead. Oh yeah, and she would make sure to fill the pail with warm water, so the little dears wouldn’t die shivering…

Random Song for the Day: “Alive” – Pearl Jam

Categories
Gift Shop Short Fiction Stories

The Waitress, the Whiskey, and the Handcuffs – Part III

The Waitress, the Whiskey & the Handcuffs
The Waitress, the Whiskey & the Handcuffs
The Waitress, the Whiskey & the Handcuffs
Part 1 of The Ruby Chronicles

Ruby Daniel is a 30-something widow trying to get by in a small backwoods Northern town in the 1950’s. Her chicken farm is failing, and she takes a weekend job as a barmaid at an illegal drinking establishment run by a crooked police officer, hoping the extra income will allow her to keep her farm and raise her kids.

When her crude and offensive employer plays an embarrassing prank on her, Ruby gets revenge with the help of her mother, whose devious tactics and unrestrained glee in the details of retaliation leave Ruby in awe, and a little fearful of the woman who raised her.

This comedic short story will leave you laughing out loud and cheering Ruby on, as she learns that standing up for herself can sometimes backfire, but revenge really does taste sweet – and an indignant mother is a surprisingly fierce force to be reckoned with…

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