Monthly Archives: July 2012

God’s Rebuttal for Agnosticism:

I’m fairly certain.

Burnt Offerings

I’ve been having this recurring dream the past few weeks. The situations and locations are  always different except for one critical element: I know that if I fall asleep, terrible things will happen.

I spend the entire night, night after night, fighting to drag myself out of sleep, finally jerking awake, only to realize it was just a dream. But the minute I begin to fall asleep, panic sets in again; the car is going to crash, the children are going to wander off, the important person is going to walk in at any moment. Quite simply, I must wake up.

Nothing seems to help. Today, my tactic is to induce sheer exhaustion. I ran a 10k, spent three hours weeding my garden (what? you don’t have three hours of weeds in your garden?), and tried taking the antique mower for another spin. Unfortunately, the right wheel no longer rotates. I attempted to take it asunder and fix it (how complicated can that era of technology be?), but mostly just succeeded in mowing part of my thumb. It might not be complicated–and I will never know, unless I succeed in defying the mechanical law which decrees all nuts and bolts, joined before my grandparents were, shall everlastingly twain become one–but its blades are still sharp.

I will now attempt to clean my barbecue.  I have never actually used my barbecue, but it seems like something one might do when one is thwarted on every other hand by the gods of yard work. You won’t allow me to trim my grass? Fine, I’ll  char the fleshy parts of grass-eating kine on that most American of altars, the back yard grill.

On Muffin Tins and the Bombing of Central Washington. And Desert Hurricanes?

You ever feel like you’re living in some kind of alternate reality?

My son came home from work (My son…work… See, right there, reality is already sliding into skiwhompus proportions.) this past Wednesday with the news that while he was greasing the backhoe, a bomb blast rocked his world.  I wasn’t sure what seemed more wrong with that picture–my son greasing a backhoe, as opposed to, say, a muffin tin–or the fact that at 7 a.m. in the morning, in a tiny little town in central Washington, a WWII bomb was detonated.

Apparently it isn’t terribly uncommon for shed workers to find these devices coming in with the potatoes from the fields, or for farmers to dig them up and use them for lawn ornaments, not realizing their potential.

Nor is it, apparently, much of a stretch to imagine a sixteen year old employee driving your backhoe into a building; his boss thought maybe that explained the shockwave he felt inside.

My son drives backhoes?

Not to mention large trucks with heavily loaded trailers, and dump trucks. Through the middle of Moses Lake. Yeah.

Ah, well. You have to learn behind the wheel of something, I suppose.

Better one of those beasts than my own fragile, fiberglass plaything.

Holy smokes! It felt like a backhoe just hit my house. Oh wait. That’s… water? Ice? What the heck?

Since when do gale force hurricanes visit the desert?

Act Now! Limited Time Offer!

Oh yes, I did.

I have the blisters and the green feet to prove it.

Leaning against that tree is an antique Montgomery Ward mower with “whispering 6000” blades. The real McCoy. If you get a running start at the edge of the lawn, the blades actually do turn. And cut (most of) the grass. And yes, ole Montgomery’s conception of whispering is on par with your average four-year-old’s.  Although, it possibly wasn’t always this loud. This thing has wooden handles. What lawnmower in recent history was crafted out of wood?

It only took me a couple of hours.

The environment better thank me. Then again, I am now hungry enough to eat half a beef, in which case the damage to the environment will probably be worse than if I used a gas mower. Cows being such a worrisome source of pollution nowadays.

Have you been considering a gym membership lately? Pffft. I have an irresistible offer for you. Come over to my house. I’ll let you use my lawnmower with the whispering blades at absolutely no cost to you. I’ll even throw in a five gallon jug of ice water, with free refills as needed. All you have to do is sign medical and liability waivers.

You know you want to.

Mother of the Year, Part 65

So glad I cleared my schedule for my son’s cub scout pack meeting. It was, after all, his own personal Arrow of Light ceremony.

Historically, the powers that be congratulate the boy for all his hard work, and have him walk over a bridge representing his passage into the real Boy Scouts of America, and they bestow upon him a real, hand carved arrow, complete with obsidian arrow head.

And then they honor his mother by having him attempt to pin a small gold arrow pin onto her lapel.

By the way, what mother at a scout meeting has lapels anymore?

In my experience–which is actually pretty significant, as they do this pinning-the-mother thing once a year for every kid; I’ve been through it 15 times already for various stages of cub scout glory–it always turns into an exercise in the scout trying hard not to appear to be sticking his hand down his mother’s shirt and his mother trying really hard not to flinch as he tries to push a sharp metal object into her collarbone.

And who wouldn’t want to do that?

I know I was looking forward to it.

I told my visiting teachers that I couldn’t possibly meet with them that evening. Arrow of Light ceremony, sorry. I made sure my son’s shirt was clean, and that he knew where his neckerchief was. I started dinner early. That pizza dough was ready to put in the pans at 4 o’clock in the afternoon.

I had so much spare time from all my forward thinking, I decided to make cookies.

Yeah. Homemade cookies. See, I can be mother-extraordinaire when push comes to shove, too.

They were really good cookies. Or so I hear.

I was busy making breadsticks with the left over pizza dough.

And vacuuming my bathroom. And cleaning out the fridge.

Dinner was done and cleaned up and it was still like… an hour before bedtime.

On. A. Roll. Me.


I forgot to go to pack meeting. So did my son. Obviously. Because I am the designated driver for these things. And the rememberer. (Heaven only knows why.)

I did NOT do that on purpose. 

I swear to you that on every level of my consciousness, I intended to show up at pack meeting.

With all my pertinent children, even.

How is this possible?

I’m thinking there’s a buck to be made in middle-aged-woman-sized shock collars. Nothing outlandish, of course. Just a simple (elegant even if you like, add some bling, why not?) design that could readily be worn at any function. It should sync wirelessly with a digital appointment keeping calendar and deliver a (preferably) non-lethal  shock 30 minutes prior to all scheduled events.

It could even have a GPS function, so that if the middle aged woman in question is not actually on her way to the correct venue, the shocks would resume at 15 minutes, 10, and 5 minutes. Of course, it would have to be waterproof and permanent because otherwise she might forget to put it on after showering, etc. Or simply not have time to mess with the clasp more than once in her lifetime.

Look into it. I’m telling you–this is like back in the early sixties, when my newly graduated electrical engineer of a father in law could have invested a couple bucks in his boss’s company and become a millionaire. Instead, he thought to himself, “Hewlett-Packard? Home computers? Pffft.” He quit his job, sold his shares in the company, and took up farming.  And now look where we are: Cutting grass with kitchen shears, and without personal secretaries to remind us of important events.

It could have been so different. Human shock collars, I’m telling you. The wave of the future.

A Cosmic Message About… Goats?

Me, as I began mowing my lawn: Look at that grass by the house and the fence. I really should get some kind of weedwhacker thing so I don’t have to use scissors again. And what’s with those bare spots? Should I be fertilizing?  And that tree, why in the world haven’t I…STOP. Just stop. Stop whining. Stop criticizing. Just feel good about the fact that you are outside mowing your lawn. And that you don’t have to do THAT with scissors. 

And I relaxed my shoulders and I felt really quite good about myself for counting my blessings (lawn mower, sprinkler system, thriving vegetable garden…) instead of focusing on what I lacked.

I got to the edge of the yard, and then I turned that mower on a dime, and I started back across.

And then the mower made a strange, horrific sound.

And lurched to a stop.

I looked in the gas tank and in the oil pan.

They were both smoking.

A lot.

Maybe if I wait a couple days, and try it again, it will magically begin working.

Maybe I should sharpen my garden scissors.

Get a goat?

Exploding Pumpkins

Out harvesting my beans and what’s left of my peas this afternoon, I noticed a small tomato ready, and then another zucchini. And then a  jalapeno just big enough I figured I could justify harvesting it, and adding it to my lunch omelet.

Only I had been eating the peas as I picked them (pods and all)… and at some point I forgot that it was a pepper in my left hand, not another pea pod.


But seriously–my garden is going nuts in this heat wave. Not to mention my front flower beds–into which my sons secretly tucked pumpkin seeds. The secret is out. Really out. Like ten-feet-in-every-direction out; my front steps are just barely visible.

And then there is the pumpkin they blew up with fireworks last November with “leftover” (read: intentionally saved) explosives from last July–and then buried in the garden. If you ever have a problem growing pumpkins–let me recommend this pyrotechnic method of starting them; I think that every seed in that Jack-o-lantern sprouted–in fact, I’m still puzzled as to how one vegetable could hold that many seeds.

Charmed as we initially were by the persistence of each new little sprout, we dug them out and transplanted them out along the sides of our lawn where the weeds generally mooch off our sprinkler overspray and grow ten feet tall by the end of the summer. We transplanted them to every bare patch we could find in spare corners of the garden and in the middle of the lettuce. We finally started pulling pumpkin starts like weeds. We have become a pumpkin farm. If anyone I know actually buys a pumpkin this October, I will never forgive them. Barring some bizarre pumpkin-killing pestilence, we will have enough to supply the greater metropolitan area of Moses Lake.

In fact, you are all, as of this very moment, cordially invited to attend a record breaking Jack-o-lantern carving event sometime this fall. Bring serrated knives and some spoons. And snacks. My boys will provide the fireworks.