Monthly Archives: September 2010

There’s a dead bird in my living room 2

underneath an upside down bowl that has 6 hardcover books on top of it.

I got home from work tonight and opened the door to the deck, sat down at my laptop, which is presently on my kitchen table, and looked into the living room at Boo. I was surprised to see him back inside so quickly.  He seemed pretty intent on playing with something I smiled because he’s the one who’s  too cool to play.  Then I looked at the something.  It didn’t look like one of the toy mice he secretly likes.  I looked at it some more and then heard myself saying “oh no, oh no, oh no”.   That’s the reason there’s a dead bird on my living room floor.  We’ve lived here over 7 years and Boo has never, ever been able to catch a bird.  One would think that if he’d ever been able to do that, it would have been in his younger years when he was much more sleek and quick.  Although I have no idea why there would be a dead bird on our deck, I am pretty sure that Boo just found it.  He was outside for a matter of seconds,  it would take longer than that for him to do the whole cat crouch and wiggle before the pounce thing.

Anyway, Boo brought it in, that’s why it’s there to begin with.  I am a wussie, that’s why it’s still there and underneath an upside down bowl that has 6 hardcover books on top of it. It’ll have to wait to be disposed of till Rob gets home.  The books are not to make sure it doesn’t get away, it’s dead.  The books are to insure the cats don’t knock the bowl over.  See that?  I am a professional wussie.

It hasn’t always been this way.  I remember playing with salamanders and frogs and , when we could catch them. The very 1st  time I ever saw a garter snake was when my mom came up with the rule that we had to use the back door. I had to have been 4 or 5 at the time.  I’d been outside and was running around to the back of the house when I saw a garter snake slither into our garage REALLY fast.  We had to go into the garage to get to the back door.  I ran back around the house and started beating on the front door.  No idea why, it wasn’t locked and we had a doorbell.  My mom came to the door and opened it and started to say “I thought I told you….”  I cut her off with “but MOM there’s a a a a a a there’s a…it’s it’s in the garage!”   Damn straight I was scared to death, I’d never seen one, had no idea one could ever exist in my neighborhood and there it was in my garage!  I never did manage to get the word “snake” out but with my terror and my description (once I could kind of talk)  my mom figured it out.

It was daytime during a weekday in the suburbs, in the mid 60’s.   All the dads were at work, all the moms were home.  My mom got on the phone and managed to round up a few neighbor ladies that weren’t afraid of snakes.  My eyes had to have been as big as saucers as I watched them enter our garage.  The women were armed with shovels but my young mind was thinking  “but they don’t know how FAST it is” and I thought there was no hope.  I have no idea if it was a little time later or a long time later but the women emerged from our garage victorious.

Skip ahead to 9th grade.  Outside smoking between classes and someone has a garter snake.  Time to go in and what to do with the snake?  Whoever the someone was, they were about to let it go when I realized what a great excuse it would be to get out of my math class.  As much as I hate snakes and as much as they terrify me, apparently I must have hated math more.  Went to math, attendance was taken and then I reached into the inside pocket of my denim jacket, pulled the snake out, screamed and threw it across the room.  While the guys in the class were trying to catch it and the girls in my class were screaming, I was explaining to my teacher that I had lent my jacket to someone else and had no idea the snake was in there.  The snake was caught, who’s going to take it outside….that’s where I step back into the picture.  It’s my fault that it’s here, the class has been disrupted enough, I should be the one to take it out as there’s been enough commotion already and, again,  it’s all my fault.  There ya go, I’m out of class with a pass.  That’s my snake story.  Also, I would never touch a salamander or a frog today.

During our 1st year of marriage, must have been the 2nd half of that 1st year,( right, I mean the 1st time we were married) because we lived in town, in Bemidji, above the Singer store.  Rob was away at his once a month weekend of ROTC and I woke up that Sunday morning and went out and bought a newspaper.  Throughout the summer there were giant, fat spiders living outside of the building.  This was early fall and when I got back home from buying the paper there was a giant, fat spider on our counter.  Apparently spiders get cold and seek shelter. Who knew?  During my freaking out process I did manage to put an upside down glass over the spider to trap it and then I left the apartment until Rob got back home that night.  After that, all fall long, at any given time Rob could come home to find no wife at home but a few upside down glasses with spiders inside of them.  Given a choice, I will always take the wussie route.  Someone else can take care of that.

As a single mom, you have no choice.  A giant, fat spider is not something you can call your dad, your brother, your ex-husband or even a friend about at 1am.  Unless of course you know for a fact that your friend is awake and would love nothing more than to come rescue you from an evil spider.  That happens sometimes but not something you can count on.  My friend, Kevin came to my rescue a few times at 1am.  I also had a neighbor once who lived right across the hall that volunteered himself for anything “icky”.  He was a family man with a wife and 2 small children but knowing I was a single mom, he offered to be protector of my family.  I never did have to go across the hall and knock on the door and say “can you come over and kill this nasty bug” while they lived there but good to know you have  back up.  This story, however, should have been included in my “Things that still make me laugh”.  I was always a night owl and so was my friend, Kevin, which is what made him available at 1am.  Kevin would get off work  from his 2nd job at 1am and occasionally call to see if I was still up and he’d come over and we’d have  a few beers and catch up and then he’d go home.  One night Kevin came over, he had to buzz to get in the building of course and I left the apartment door unlocked so once he climbed the 32 steps up to my apartment, he walked right in. Two seconds later someone was knocking frantically at my door.  I looked out the spy hole, or whatever you want to call it and there was Andre (my self-proclaimed protector).   Let me back up here a minute to let you know that Andre was  very large black man.  I opened the door immediately thinking he needed help.  Okay, I’m laughing over this memory now because Andre didn’t need help, he thought I did.  He didn’t know Kevin and saw Kevin enter my apartment and was worried that I was in danger and he flew over to rescue me..without stopping to put his pants on.  He was standing outside my door, with his fists drawn up,  in his tighty-whities.  To my credit I did not burst out laughing.  I calmly explained to Andre that Kevin and I were friends, that we went way back and no worries and I introduced the two men and Andre asked me again if I was okay and went back to his apartment and I shut the door and leaned against it and looked at Kevin with my “omg, can’t believe that just happened”  look.   Kevin looked at me, shrugged his shoulders, walked to the fridge and grabbed a beer for each of us and when I got into the living room I burst out laughing.  It’s a total visual thing.  One of those ya-had-to-be-there things.

I am completely off subject now.  There is a dead bird in my living room underneath an upside bowl that has 6 hardcover books on top of it.  If we took this back 20 years and I was the single mom with 3 young children and no other options, the bird would be gone.  Being a mom makes one brave beyond belief.  However, this is today and I have a choice.  Rob will be home soon and I choose to be the wussie and let him deal with it.   I know, but goddesses have the right to do that if they please.

Instant restaurant 1

My older brother, Bob, worked for a restaurant management team in 1988.  They would get hired by restaurants to come into their establishment and tell them what they were doing wrong, or where they were losing money or whatever.  They were hired by a local  Bar & Grill.  They moved in and they pointed out this and that and the employees complained to the assistant manager who told them…really, get this…he told them to all walk out on a Friday night and that would bring management to their knees and beg them (the employees) to come back and everything would go on as it used to.  No matter if it was cost efficent, no matter if it was against health codes, no matter what…all would go back to normal if they all walked out on that certain Friday night.  They did.  Guess what, they didn’t have jobs anymore.

At that time in his life, nobody knew more ex-restaurant employees than my brother.  Pretty much all he had to do was call up the old neighborhood, instant restaurant.   At that point in my life I was doing daycare.  I had my gf Kari’s 3 children, my middle sister’s daughter and my (at that time) 2.  Two 3 year olds and 4 one year olds.  I believe they did close down the rest of that Friday evening.  I got the call on Saturday and my 1st response was “today?  I kind of have a headache”.   I got off the phone and thought about a restaurant with no servers, realized brother bear did need help and called him back to tell him I was in.   I then called my nephew to babysit and both Rob and I headed to the restaurant.  I can’t tell you how much fun that was!  People would ask me “do you have this” and I had to tell them “I have no idea, I’ve never been here  before” or “if we do have it I have no idea where to find it”.  Lots of conversations like that and…AND the added bonus that I got to speak to adults!  Yeah, it did take some getting used to before I learned to quit speaking  baby talk, stop wiping the mouths of adult customers, stop yelling “HOT!” and stop asking  total strangers if they needed to go potty.

Walking into that restaurant that 1st time was a total trip back to the neighborhood I grew up in.  Rob and my brother-in-law (at the time), Bill jumped behind the  bar (although neither of them were from our neighborhood).  Bernadette, Kari, her sister and I put on aprons and ran out to the tables, my oldest sister, Claudette and baby brother Joe were washing dishes, Kari’s brother-in-law got back to the kitchen and started flipping burgers and so on .  It was total chaos and tons of fun!  It was a Saturday night and the place was hopping and not one of us working had the slightest idea of what was on the menu.  At the end of the evening we traded stories and laughed ourselves silly.

When we got home I realized that I didn’t just come home, I came home with money in my pockets.  Hmmm…I get to talk to adults and go home with money…I am SO in.

The 1st couple weeks I worked there, the previous employees were outside the restaurant picketing.  I’m not exactally sure what their point was.  Once in a while one or two of them would yell at me, I would just stop and do a slow turn around..   The stopping part they understood, the slow turn around gave them a chance to think about whether they really wanted to be confrontational or not, after all, they never yelled at me walking towards them, just when I had passed them and my back was to them~wussies.  Once facing them, most of the time they all shut up.  Okay, I’d turn around again and go inside.  The one or two times they did actually say something, after I turned to face them,  I would offer to get them applications..  They only picketed a couple weeks, I have to guess that it took them that long to realize: Crap!  I have to get a job!

The bar regulars continued to frequent the bar.  They are the ones who had the best seats watching the change over.  We had a lot of fun with them.  They had no idea that we all knew each other, they only knew that everyone on the staff was new.  One night one of the regulars asked me what I thought of the bartender,  kinda thinking Rob had pissed him off.  I looked at Rob, looked at the bar regular, shrugged my shoulders and said “eh, sometimes I sleep with him”.   Right, say this to a man who, I knew, didn’t know Rob and I were married but who also has no life and yes, I thought his eyes were going to explode out of his head.   Another time some guy asked Rob, while pointing to me “what do you think my chances are that she’d go out to breakfast with me?”  It was Rob’s turn to shrug his shoulders and he came back with “I don’t know, why don’t you ask her?”   My favorite, there was an issue with a table, not sure but kind of thinking it was the limit of only serving 3 Long Island Teas to any one person.  I was explaining this (or what ever it was) to a table in the dining room and brother bear (who was now the manager) was standing nearby so I overly loud and very dramatically let the table know that it was a house rule and the management was so cruel and evil  that I feared for my safety if I broke any of the rules.  It was at that point that Bob walked over and physically carried me off the dining room floor.  The faces of the people at the table….priceless.  Right, I know, but some people beg to be played with.  Shame on me for taking advantage of this but hey, they put themselves out there.  Somebody’s got to.

I am one of the few who stayed after the restaurant hired new people and got back on it’s feet.  I had no idea that I was that desperate to get out of the house and talk to adults.  Within the next year I was done doing daycare.   I spent my time with just my children during the day the few nights a week that I worked, Rob would come home after work and then I’d go to work and my children spent time with their dad.  Good all around.

I work with my brother, Bob

Everyone in the world calls him Bob except me.  I  will refer to him and even introduce him as Bob but I’ve never called him that.  I call him Robert or Roberto.  One of the many things I do that doesn’t make sense.   My mom had 4 kids in 4 years, in order, Claudette, Robert and Bernadette and then me 2 years later.  I know, 2 years between Bernadette and me and my mom still had 4 children in 4 years (Joe wasn’t born until I was 8 & a 1/2).  She was definitely a busy mom.  She’s always told me that my dad was the only man in Minneapolis that ever went home over lunch to help change diapers.  I don’t have 4 children.  I imagine if I did I would do as my mom did, divide and conquer.   As the parent you are out numbered.  We did things in twos.  One weekend my sisters both went to my grandmother’s for the weekend.  A few weeks later Bob & I went to our grandmother’s for the weekend.  She bought us each a present and took us back home  the same day she picked us up.  Apparently we were the wrong 2 to put together.  I’m not sure which it is, we either have too much fun together or cause to much trouble together.  Probably both.

Before our downstairs was finished we had to share the bedrooms upstairs.  We’d switch rooms and room mates now and again, that was fun for us.  Bob and I only got to be room mates for a week.  My mom bought us a record album with stories and songs on it and split us up.  I think it was after that that we were never allowed to sit next to each other in the car, we were never allowed to sit next to each other at the dinner table, heck, we weren’t even allowed to sit across the dinner table from each other. We had to be diagonal at the dinner table.   When we got a little older we would go, by twos, to my grandparent’s house in Kansas City for a week or two in the summer.   Bob and I never went together.  We just weren’t allowed.  I always got stuck with Bernadette.  I love her, but…she was always the one who would get homesick and so we would have to go home early.

The 1st time I worked w/Bob was at my very 1st job.  Bernadette had gotten a job at a restaurant when she was 16, two years later I came on board and a year or two after that, Bob did too.  On and off throughout the decades Bob and I have worked together at various places.  We get along, probably laugh too much, definitely bicker too much but it all works out.  I really can’t tell you when he started working for the company we both work for now, in his mid 30’s somewhere.  Whenever they were thinking of hiring he would call me.  Right, me, the single mom with 3 kids.  I can’t afford daycare. That’s why I worked at more than one place and only part-time, I could set my hours as needed.  I was tempted once but after doing the math, it just wouldn’t have panned out.

Bottom line, I did finally get a job there, my 1st full time job ever…at the ripe old age of 41, so once again we work together.  Our desks were next to each other….yeah, that didn’t last long either.  Now we are (once again) diagonal from each other.  We have our on days and we have our off days, there ya go.  Over all  I think we work well together.  Since this last round of working together again I’ve noticed something, more and more, brother bear talks faster than he thinks and the things that have come out of his mouth have not only kept us in stitches, but also sometimes,  just make us shake our heads.  We  call them Bobisms.  Our boss keeps a list of these Bobisms.

Without having the list in front of me, these are the ones I remember, probably because they’ve amused me the most.  The most recent being:

As children we are taught that if our clothes are on fire we must: Stop, drop and roll.  However, according to Bob we must: Duck, tuck and roll.  Yep, that still makes me laugh :o)  I know, to give him credit he was mixing the atomic attack drills of the 50’s with the fire thing, but still.

Or, how ’bout this one: My girlfriend’s boyfriend is from China.  He said that more than once even, what he meant was his sister’s boyfriend.  Me, being me, had to call him on it and ask him if there was something about he and Bernadette that I needed to know.

Or:  My next door neighbors who live 2 houses down.  I know, we all knew he meant the distance of 2 houses down, but still.

Those are my favorites of the most recent Bobisms.  Of the older ones,  relying on my non existent memory here, we have:

Well, he’s just a flash in the pants.

Be still my bleeding heart.

All is well that ends for the both of us.

That’s the 1st time I’ve heard that from your pearly white lips.

Don’t dwaddle.

There’s tons more but for tonight that’s where my memory ends.  As funny as he can be, accidentally,  he is much more funny when it’s intentional.   I have a great story about when we worked together when I was 29 and married and pregnant and we led  one guy to believe I was having an affair with his brother.  That’s hysterical but we’ll save it for another night. Although there are times he thinks he’s funny and he’s not. That would be the ‘my dad’ in him :o)  I work with my brother, Bob, I adore him and he irritates me.  He adores me and I irritate him.   Overall, we make a good team :o)