August 2013

It’s for the Slugs!

by Priscilla on August 31, 2013

My mother is a complete teetotaler. Her reasons are part theology and part family history, and while my views on alcohol don’t jibe with hers, I completely respect her, and if anything, I’m thankful that my childhood wasn’t riddled with missteps from adults struggling with their demons. Believe me, I’m fully aware that there are worse things in life than not being able to share a glass of wine with one’s mother.

But….

Because you know in my life there’s always room for a but, for years my siblings and I have  been trying to tell my mother that while we know and understand her views on alcohol, sometimes, in her zealousness to make sure everyone around her is aware that she practices alcohol abstinence, she is unwittingly painting a picture of herself as that crazy lady in the check-out line.

And now I have proof.

Last Sunday at a church picnic Mr. TIS sat with our friend Paula discussing this how summer’s heat – or lack of it- has affected our gardening.  This led to our discussion of plant care which led Paula sharing that she puts beer out in her garden.

For slugs, right?  I asked.  Paula nodded in surprise not expecting to meet a fellow slug slayer. (For those of you not educated in the way of the pesky slug, they love beer. So, if you are trying to fight them off, you can leave pots or bowls filled with beer around your garden, they crawl in to drink it and voila, they drown.)

All my siblings and I are educated in the drunken slug theory thanks to our gardening aficionado mother who, every time we come to her house during slug season and see a few cans of Hamms or Pabst sitting around the back door yells, It’s for the slugs! It’s for the slugs! As if there is any question in our minds why she has such swill sitting around. (When it comes to brew preferences, it appears slugs aren’t too picky.)  Although these assurances can be a tad annoying as we’ve heard them for years, we all are mildly amused/horrified that she feels the need to explain her beer purchases to surrounding grocery line occupants.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, Mom, no one cares about why you are buying beer.  Trust me on this.  Everyone else just wants to get their stuff and get out of there.  In fact, your holding up your beer and telling complete strangers that ‘I am not going to drink this -no, indeed it’s for the slugs!’ actually makes you look like an alcoholic in denial. 

She considers my observation for a few seconds, and then completely ignores it. Well, I just don’t want people to think I drink. she’ll huff. (I love my mother dearly, and I know you all do too, but we all have mothers who huff at certain things.) No amount of pleading with her that her she comes off anywhere from a holier -than-thou to closet drunk dissuades her from these public declarations…and now I have proof thanks to Paula.

As Paula and Mr. TIS and I sat discussing beer and slugs and my mother’s beer buying practices, Paula shared, You know, I was in Martin’s not long ago and there was a  lady in line with me was buying beer and telling me  the same thing. I thought the whole experience was very interesting. (I think interesting was Paula’s nice word for disturbing.) Ohhhh, I knew this would eventually happen, but I wasn’t ready for it yet.  When deciding to move only live 25 minutes from my mother, I never considered the fact that my new friends lived in her world. She’s no longer hours away only to be the stuff of stories. She’s right there in the middle of my life to include my friends…or at least my friends for now.

To be fair, we aren’t sure it was my mother that Paula encountered, but really, how many 70something ladies are out there buying cheap beer declaring publicly their war on slugs right there in checkout lane #7? Paula was understanding, and we all laughed over the entire experience, but I felt the need to warn her that come Christmas, she might find herself in a store checkout lane with a woman holding up a bottle of sparkling grape juice announcing, This isn’t alcohol. It’s for the grandkids!

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Ohhh, I may get some blowback from this one but here it goes.  It’s time for another one of my FB rants.  Only, this really isn’t a rant. This is really, truly an observation and question coming from a curious soul.  The older I get, the more I recognize that my job here on earth isn’t to judge and jury.  I can’t see into hearts and minds.  I just have to take things at face value and keep my head down and work to do what the prophet Micah suggests which is love mercy, live justly and walk humbly.  Sometimes, okay a lot of times, I veer off that humble path and drive like a maniac down interstate It’s All About Me, but I try, I really do try to view things from others’ perspectives….

….and then I think about those Pioneer Women. Oh, those pesky ladies who blazed the trails across our country without the help of SwaddleSacs (My  made up name for whatever the latest and greatest papoose rage is, and for the love of all that is holy why does every generation of mothers seem to think they’ve invented those things?!), Lexapro, Clorox wipes or Ellen.

Which brings me to my point of Facebook pictures and why I don’t share a lot of my kids’ photos on my page. Now, if you are my FB friend, you know I share their conversations and questions because quite frankly, they are amusing – not my kids necessarily but the context or their ideas about things. In fact, one of the main reasons I started blogging is because a lot of people out there told me I needed to write more because they thought my tales of family life were hysterical. (Most of  the hilarity has to do with my complete ineptness as a wife and mother.)

It’s my page.  Not theirs. Photos of them are their images that are so personal that they should be able to do with it what they want.  When they are older and have an account on the social networking site of the day, that will be their business (under my ever lovin’ eye at all times I might add.)  They are their faces and eyes and smiles that are out there permanently for the whole world to see, and I take that very seriously. Putting their lives out there for all to see without their permission is just plain stealing from them.  Maybe I sound over zealous, but when it comes to my kids’ privacy and their right to it, I’d rather err on over zealous.  On the other hand, if I stop and ask for them to okay every post, I run the risk of raising little narcissists who clamor to see themselves on the computer screen the way I used to prance in front of my mom’s mirror for hours. So, that’s why I just don’t post a lot. Saves a lot of trouble all the way around.

(Twin B, it has come to my attention that you read my blog so before you come to me and ask what narcissist is, please look it up on dictionary.com.  Thanks, sweetie.)

You don’t want to see my kids all the time, just like I don’t want to see yours all the time.   Some kids, through no fault of their own, are becoming the  virtual pesky next door neighbors who keep ringing the doorbell wanting to come in and play.  There they are when I log into Facebook, going to school, coming home from school, sitting on the potty, painting the neighbor’s cat, falling asleep in the car, waking up in the car, eating in the car, singing in the car. (Some of you need to take your kids out of the d*** car every now and then.)   Hey, I like seeing vacay photos.  I enjoy the family pics and the pregnancy updates. Losing teeth are cute as are funny notes your kids might posts on the doors.  I love funny kids, and according to FB, there are some real hum dingers out there.   But can I tell you a secret?  I have yet to watch a home movie of anyone doing anything that’s posted on FB.  I know a lot of you post for friends and family, but sometimes even friends and family need a break.

My kids are not the center of my universe. They are not my world. They are not my idols. They are the biggest responsibility of my life no doubt about that, but having kids doesn’t mean I don’t have other interests, ideas and opinions to share with others, and I’d really, really, really like to hear more about YOU and less about your kids’ trip to the dentist. Can I ask a simple rhetorical question – have you ever asked yourself before posting a bunch of shots of your kids, You know, what’s my real motivation here?

Most people out there posting about kids only show their kids in the best light ever.  What’s that doing to the kids? How honest are we being with ourselves and with others?  I hear kids when I’m out and about saying after Mommy clicks a photo, Are you putting that on FB now? Are you going to tweet that? Really? Are they ever allowed to be themselves for a photo just to capture the moment?  Are we even capturing moments anymore or are we just going for likes? Do we even need to be taking all these photosare we missing the moments in order to click the minutiae.  I don’t know the answer;  that’s why I’m asking.  I’m asking it of myself as well because I’ve been wondering these same things about myself and my kids.  I certainly don’t want to embarrass or shame my kids by showing them crying after losing a game or a meet or having a complete meltdown in the family room because they are beyond tired to even think logically some evenings. But neither am I going to post a gajillion shots of them on their best days. I’m just not.

I’m sure you all have some opinions that may agree or disagree with this so how about it?  Am I being too harsh?  Do some of my questions or observations make sense? Have you wondered about some of these ideas yourself. I admit, my kids are a big part of my writing life, but even then, I’m very careful to limit what I write and post pictures about. I’d like to think there’s a difference from covering my FB page with their images, but maybe there’s not.  Am I being hypocritical? What do you think?  I’d love some feedback.  In the meantime, I’m sharing with you a picture  taken from our driveway that paints our family life pretty well.  It’s called, My kids always forget this pot when I tell them to water the plants. Hope it doesn’t scar them for life.

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It’s Quiet Now….Except for all the licking

by Priscilla on August 6, 2013

It’s a gray, rainy morning here in northern Indiana. Though our roof is currently covering four giggling girls ages 9-13, they remain asleep, and our domicile is quiet….except for the licking.

What is it about my animals and their licking? I’m not talking the cute little cat wash here and there. I’m talking the back leg up in the air, over the shoulder, head down in the nether regions accompanied by snorting and licking that almost always seems to commence when I’m trying to celebrate the moments of my life. (That last reference dated me, but once I hit 40 I lost all pretenses of trying to hide my age.) It’s not so much the licking…it’s the snorting…and it’s always at an inopportune time.

– Under the dinner table when I’m serving guests in my home that I’m trying to impress.  Ladies, you know what I mean – a possible new friend or friends that are funny, witty, irreverent and politely ignoring your chipped nails and lack of Silpada jewelry. Things are going swimmingly as you joke about children and spouses or parents, and then it starts from under the table. Small grunts that grow into full fledged sound effects taped for an Animal Kingdom, Groins Up Close -The Personal Spaces of Big Cats, special. The once convivial atmosphere quickly turns into uncomfortable silence as coffee cups are slowly set down, chairs are quietly pushed back and eyes are peering under the table to see the family cat lying supine in some kind of Kama Sutra pose, small tufts of hair scattered about looking back at all the human eyes from behind a left hind leg raised high in the air in a 90 degree angle.

– It’s time for prayer at the home group Bible study you’ve volunteered to host and just in the middle of, And Father we lift up our sister, Karen, to you as she is facing monumental…, the  family dog walks into the midst, checks for a few friendly crotches in the group, plops down and immediately begins washing the area from which fecal matter is dispensed during walks in the dog park. (I’ll say this much, if you have a long winded prayer in the group, nothing gets a In Jesus Name, Amen out faster than crotch sniffing and nether regions licking so sometimes this isn’t a bad thing.)

– Then there’s Mr. TIS’s favorite scenario – the camping scene. He finally gets me alone (and awake enough) to camp when all of the sudden, his favorite feline pounces on the bed next to him, pads areas on Mr. TIS’s body that he prefers would remain unpadded while trying to camp and commences with short bursts of loud licking.

It’s the price we animal lovers pay for bringing outdoor four legged creatures into our indoor two legged world, but sometimes, on a peaceful morning like this, when all I ask if for five minutes of solitude, I wish I could whisper canine and feline fluently. I’d kindly ask them to take take their bathing elsewhere.

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