Saturday, February 24, 2007

Stormy Weather

Say nine-eleven and anyone knows what you're talking about. It's one of those things that doesn't need any other words around it to be understood, like Cher or Oprah. In Oklahoma we have a couple of similar dates. One, of course, is April 19, 1995, the day of the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The other is May third. On May 3rd, 1999, Oklahoma was attacked by multiple high level tornadoes.

I woke up that morning and opened the door to let the dogs outside. The air was so thick you could almost touch it. It clung to your skin. I went back inside and told the kids we needed to get the storm shelter ready. (I used to stomp my foot on the door of the shelter shouting "Auntie Em, Auntie Em!" My children were not amused.)

I turned on the television mid-afternoon. Shortly thereafter, the storm chasers started reporting tornado sightings. One in particular started out at about a quarter mile wide. We watched as it grew to a half mile, three quarters, a full mile across. And it stayed on the ground for what seemed like forever. Hours. Miraculously, we never had to go into our shelter. That tornado and several others wreaked havoc on Oklahoma and Kansas. (We didn't whine about it, though, we just cleaned it up.)

The weekend after, my daughter and I spent Saturday at Rose State College, cleaning up. Picking up cancelled checks from a town miles away, Christmas ornaments, toys, photos, people's entire lives. President Clinton's helicopter flew over surveying the damage while we were picking up lumber. The next day was Mother's Day and I chose to spend time with my family sorting donations of food and clothing for Feed the Children.

Fellow blogger Jeff has been complaining about not enough snow, and is eagerly awaiting a blizzard (which I totally do not understand because you cannot play golf in a blizzard so I have absolutely no use for snow). His weather has been dysfunctional this winter. Well, I'm here to say, so has ours. Our weather people told us all last week that we were going to have severe weather (meaning possibility of tornadic activity) last night. Which is very bad because it wasn't coming until late, which means night tornadoes, which are evil incarnate. If you don't believe me, watch "Twister." Which was actually filmed a few miles north of here. The problem with all of this is that it's FEBRUARY.

Our weatherman showed us what to put in a tornado kit. He suggested having one of the nifty little weather radios with a storm alert. That way, if we are sleeping peacefully and a twister is bearing down on us, Mr. Radio will wake us up so we can turn on the t.v. and Rick can tell us what to do. I went to several places yesterday and finally found what may have been the last one in town, at Radio Shack. I hope they did have another one, actually, or the lady behind me may stalk me down and kill me for ours.

Sure enough, middle of the night NOAA shrieked at us, we found Rick on Channel 5, he told us the storm was in Tulsa and we could go back to sleep. Which we did. There is a saying in our state that if you don't like the weather, just wait five minutes. So we had the tornado weather, generally warm and muggy, yesterday. As I write this, the wind is blowing 55 miles an hour (I'm not kidding), it's raining, and the temperature is 43, which makes the wind chill something unpleasant. But it doesn't matter because you can't be outside on account of the wind blowing you over or slamming your car door on your leg or blowing flying debris into your head. Don't ask how I know this.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I Smell a Rat

When my daughter lived in Minnesota last year, she was homesick. She wanted to get a kitten or a puppy, but her apartment lease said no way. So she got a hamster. I advised against it, but she's quite headstrong. She went to PetCo or some such establishment and purchased the hamster, the cage, a little house, food, a wheel, everything a hamster of distinction could want. Turns out he was not the snuggly little furball she had envisioned. He seemed to dislike people and he was a biter. One day he flung himself out of her hands and landed on his back on the floor. Daughter and rodent were both traumatized.

When she moved home last summer, Sherwood came along. He lives in the guest bedroom. I actually found him to be quite amusing and fairly cuddly. I didn't have any trouble holding him and he never bit me. I got him one of those balls so he could roll around the house, driving the dog and cat crazy. Gotta love that.

I feed him from time to time, if Jess is away for the night. Unfortunately, I occasionally forget to close the door to his cage and he escapes. He's usually easy to find because he goes under a storage cabinet in the same room. The only time he didn't go there, he ended up in Jessica's room. She was rudely awakened at three a.m. by a hamster running across her face. She reacted by grabbing it and flinging it against the wall (she didn't know what it was, she just knew she didn't want furry things with sharp claws doing laps on her face). Once again, daughter and rodent and trauma.

Last Friday I forgot to shut the door to the cage. I realized it Saturday morning when I went to open the blinds in the bedroom and his door was open and he was nowhere to be seen. Hubby and I looked under the cabinet to no avail. No luck behind the filing cabinets or under the sofabed. Didn't see him in the closet, either. I was afraid he'd gone back into Jess' room and was anticipating another attack in the wee hours. That didn't happen, and we continued to check places he might be hiding. We knew he had been out at some point because he left little clues here and there, if you know what I mean. We set his cage on the floor hoping he would get hungry or want to sleep in his own bed and would climb back in.

I tend to stick stuff in that bedroom that I don't want to deal with until later. That is why there was a basket with twenty candy canes on the floor of the room. A couple of days ago, during a perfunctory check of Sherwood's favorite hiding place, I noticed something odd. A serious reduction in striped confections. I picked up the candy canes and asked my husband if he knew where the others went. He did not. Weird. Maybe Jess and her friends had raided them.

Last night (84 hours missing), the cat was showing great interest in the closet in that bedroom. When we opened the doors, we heard rustling. Eureka, we had found the little vagabond! Getting him out was no easy task. He was under a bookcase that was up against the wall. There is a sewing machine and six heavy boxes in front of it. And other boxes next to it. (Okay, so I have two junk closets.) The three of us moved all of that out of the closet and witnessed this crime scene. Oh, the humanity!

The little freak had hauled them in, ripped off the paper, and was mainlining sugary peppermint. Getting him out from under the bookcase was not very easy, but eventually he was apprehended. He was not Mirandized, just put straight back into his cell. Is it just me, or does he look pissed?

I'm thinking life without parole. Oh, and we're changing his name to Bugsy.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Stupid Cupid

People seem to have opinions about Valentine's Day. Most people would agree that Thanksgiving is good and Christmas is good and July 4th is good. But ask one hundred people if Valentine's Day is good, I'm betting half of them would answer with an emphatic no. My daughter has been griping about the upcoming event pretty much since right after Christmas. She hasn't had the Norman Rockwell/Hallmark kind of Valentine's Day that teenage girls believe in. Even though she's had boyfriends on February 14th, the fellows have been clueless. This year is not shaping up so good, either.

I used to be naive about this day, also. I got a giant wakeup call the second year of my marriage when my husband gave me on this most romantic of all days . . . . a set of ankle weights. I was not amused. Which freaked him out because I worked out every day and he honestly put some thought into what I might like and/or use. After that, he was afraid to get me anything because he didn't know the criteria for romantic Valentine's gifts. Now, I really couldn't care less if Valentine's Day comes and goes and I don't care about any gifts. Because a long time ago I realized that I don't need a day for my husband to prove his love with flowers or chocolates. This is what I have every day.

I have known hubby for almost 25 years. In that time, he has never made a derogatory remark about how I look, what I'm wearing or (and this is a biggie) my weight. And after that second baby, I was pretty pudgy for awhile. Likewise, he has never made negative comments about my cooking or house cleaning. If I try a new recipe, I can tell if he's not thrilled with it, because he doesn't attack it with his usual enthusiasm for my meals. But he wouldn't say "This tastes like crap," even if it did.

I have been in several car accidents since we have been married (one of them was my fault). I didn't have any qualms about calling to tell him. He was always concerned about me and any other passengers (thankfully no one was ever hurt). He didn't ever say anything, not one word, blaming me or complaining about the automobile involved.

I don't have to ask "permission" to do something. Things like going back to school, going out with the girls, or taking the kids for two weeks to visit my family. (Even though he cut the bottoms off all the trees when I was gone, and, when Lois said, "Linda isn't going to like that," he said "It's easier to get forgiveness than permission," which I, regrettably, taught him.) I don't have to ask him for money or whether or not I can make a purchase. Actually, if he got a yearly bonus at work, he would usually give me half to buy whatever I wanted because I worked, even though I didn't get paid.

He has supported whatever I want to do. Going to school, selling Mary Kay (bad idea, I couldn't sell a coat to an Eskimo), volunteering, joining clubs, sitting on Boards, starting a blog. When things didn't pan out (i.e. Mary Kay) he didn't say a word. If I want something, he tries to provide it. I mentioned a couple of books I'd heard about that I would like to read. A few days later a box from Amazon showed up on our doorstep with two books. I was sick of Christmas music by December 1st and said I missed an obscure album we'd had when I was a kid, one with lots of songs and different artists. The thing was actually made for Good Year and I remember being in the store one day when they were giving them away (this was, like, 1965). Hubby got on E-bay and found one that was in good shape. When it came and I opened it, I only got about a million childhood memories back. Now that's romantic.

That is why hubby is my hero and my every day Valentine. Oh, and I did use those ankle weights. I still do. I hope some time my daughter gets a romantic Valentine's Day. And I hope that someday she won't care about it because her husband will treat her with love and respect every day. But if I were Cupid, this year I'd steer clear.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Consultants of Swing

My husband has been consulting since he left his former position at the end of July. Consulting with gentlemen in Kansas, one of whom we will refer to as KS. Because those are his actual initials, and he lives in Kansas.

JC is the consultant who coordinated a business trip last week, with KS and hubby. They had done a lot of work for a company in Bakersfield, California. So, in the midst of a rather freakish bunch of snow crap, they got to fly to the sunny coast, where you can actually PLAY GOLF, DAMMIT! But I digress. They were not playing golf, they were working. Or so they would have you think. This is what they were doing in reality.

Turns out that KS is an accomplished musician/vocalist, who plays in a band. He wanted to go here. Buck Owens' Crystal Palace is a club with live music and a museum with Owens memorabilia.

The consultants went to the museum and hubby took lots of pictures. KS was coveting this guitar. I don't know anything about musical instruments, but apparently, this one is pretty cool.

Then they started chatting up Bobby Durham whose band, The Tex Pistols, plays in the club. Durham has been in the country music business for forty years. At some point, KS asked Durham if it would be all right for him to play with the band, and Durham said he could come on up during the second set. Durham handed over his axe, and KS sang two songs with the band. I asked hubby what they were and he said something about a fireman, which I take to be George Strait's song, The Fireman. ("Makin' my rounds all over town, puttin' out old flames.") He didn't remember the other song. Country music isn't hubby's strong suit. While I have discreetly avoided using KS' name on the internet (because of the millions who read this blog, of course), I have no problem plastering his face on it.

All in all, not a bad business trip and a unique experience after a hard days' work. Rock on.