Posts Tagged ‘Pets’

It started with a simple desire to do a little cleaning while the tallish minion was in school, and the smallish one was on vacation with his dad. Nothing major, just a little Spring Cleaning without their input and hysterics when I tossed half of the 137 stuffies in the donation bag and threw out a few dozen Happy Meal boxes.

It ended with a destroyed kitchen, a pickup with the bed overflowing, and a storage room emptied and repurposed. Throw in a sprained knee, 9 new bruises, and a sore back. Add the help of two WONDERFUL friends.

The ultimate result was that the minions’ shared room became the tallish one’s room, and the storage room became the smallish one’s room. He finally has a room of his VERY OWN, and the video I have of him screaming I LOVE IT is completely worth the hassle.

I thought I was done for a while, except for the storage stuff purged into the kitchen and the poor truck that needed emptied.

I was wrong.

The first night gave me a new respect for nurses in nursing homes where each grumpy patient has a call button. One needed medicine, the other chocolate milk. While I was in the opposite room, Orange Kitty decided to somehow unplug the smallish one’s TV. Screaming ensues.

While I’m fixing the TV, the tallish one shrieks from her room. The medicine I’d just given her included some oil for an ear infection, complete with cotton ball. The panic was…”my cotton ball just got lost down my ear and is stuck in my throat.”

Ummm…

I fished the cotton ball out of her sheets, assured her that cotton balls will NOT travel from her ear to anywhere else inside her. This was about the time something touched the back of my knee.

I screamed, she screamed, and her little brother bolted, yelling “I just wanted night-night kisses!!!”

Sometime a couple hours past bedtime, I finally peeked in on two snoring minions, in their own beds, in their own rooms. It was a tough decision not to take a photo of each, because they were just too darn cute…I’m pretty sure the flash would have woken them up and worn out the cuteness real quick.

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Does anyone else believe in ghosts? I don’t want to start a huge debate, but I actually do, and I have one here.

A ghost cat, actually.

Or maybe I have proof that cats do have 9 lives.

We had two cats born a while back, one solid black with unusually green (grass green, not typical eye-color green) and one white with very light gray markings and blue eyes.

I named them The Ghost and The Darkness. Good movie, better book, and it fit in with my unique pet-naming habits.

They grew up into beautiful cats, both very sweet. Unfortunately, life in rural West Texas can be tough for domestic felines…the bigger ones (bobcats, mountain lions) seem to do just fine.

The Darkness had a difference of opinion with a badger one night, and didn’t win the argument. He was hurt badly.

I don’t want to freak anyone out, so I’ll be vague. The poor things injuries were not something that he could possibly survive, and were concentrated on his chest and right front leg.

I cried over him for a while, and then let the Guru take him away to end his suffering. I couldn’t let him hurt anymore.

Come on PETA, give me your best.

So three months have passed by, and I walked outside onto the back porch  few days ago to our cats hanging out as usual. The normal view includes the two loopy cowdogs, two white cats, a gray tabby, and one black cat with white hairs on his chest.

In case you’re curious, they are (in the same order): Schatzie, Scamper, Sassy, the Ghost, Flint, and Lite (yes, the black one).

This day everyone was in attendance…along with an extra black cat.

An extra black cat with no markings of any other color, grass-green eyes, and a noticeable limp on his right front leg…

Just for the skeptics:

  • No, he couldn’t have survived the injuries. I know injuries, and I have owned animals my entire life. It was not possible.
  • That aside, he could not have survived the “ending of the suffering.” Again, for those with delicate sensibilities, please just trust me. My husband checked, because he couldn’t stand the idea of him possibly surviving and hurting anymore.
  • If he was injured out there somewhere, he could not have survived three months on his own. A healthy cat has little chance out there with badgers, coyotes, wild hogs, and bigger cats.

He has a single scar on the inside of his leg.

So yeah…I have no good reasonable explanation.

Except that The Darkness is back.

 

WOW…

My kids have a LOT of crap. I knew this, but it didn’t really sink in until I waded in there yesterday armed with a box marked “garage sale” and a trash bag.

I came out four hours later with 5 garage sale boxes, 4 FULL trashbags, and a box of the dishes that I’ve been searching for.

I found treasure, trash, and things that made me go “hmmm…”

Best in Treasures:

  • 6 HotWheels that we thought were gone for good
  • 2 Barbies…sans clothing
  • A Barbie leg…that did not match the above-mentioned Barbies
  • My favorite coffee mug
  • 9 socks
  • A tennis shoe, a houseshoe, and a flip flop
  • A cat (seriously…he snuck in while I was working…with the help of the Climber)
  • 2 sheets of stickers that had never been stuck on anything
  • My slate grey eyeliner
  • Lots of batteries
  • Goodnight Moon
  • 4 Littlest Pet Shop critters

Best in Trash:

  • Lots and lots of discarded papers and tissues…of course
  • 2 half-licked-clean suckers
  • What I think was once a Tootsie Roll (I hope)
  • My son’s cracker stash
  • My daughter’s rock stash
  • A bundle of dead dandelions
  • A lock of my daughter’s hair…that we thankfully had (apparently) never missed

Best of the Things that made me go Hmmm:

  • What “Flart” goo apparently does when it dries to a bedpost
  • Play-Doh rocks
  • Lots of little animals wearing clothing from the naked Barbies
  • My son’s suitcase…packed and ready to go courtesy of the Diva
  • Roughly 57 movies in the wrong cases
  • Chapstick stash IN the CD player
  • Something green and glittery in a teacup
  • Something pink and sticky in the oven of the play kitchen
  • Something fuzzy under the bed (later identified as the wayward cat)

The garage sale boxes were full of outgrown clothes and unused toys.

The biggest treasure of all…

THERE WAS CARPET UNDER ALL THAT CRAP!!!!

Today was one long series of unfortunate events of the sort that Jim Carrey would never survive. It began with last night’s craft project and concludes with the character Band-Aid on my ass…

Last night I took some old photo frames that were the same size and color, sanded down the sides until they all matched perfectly, and fitted them together into a frame collage. It was gorgeous, if I may say so myself, each frame was black with gold trim so together it looked pretty fancy.

In this new set of frames I placed some black and white prints of kittens in costumes that I had been saving for years that came from a calendar…many many years ago. I have not seen a calendar similar to this, ever. I was saving the prints for something special.

I proudly hung the completed piece of art in my bathroom on a blank wall that has been bugging me. As a freelance writer with two kids out on the Back 40 of Hell’s Half Acre, I don’t exactly have much money. Extra things like home decorating items and wall art are luxuries that we just can’t buy. So anytime something can be made cheap and still looks classy, we are quite delighted with it.

This morning, things went pretty much as usual, my son woke me up at the crack of dawn to dance to CMT (his favorite early-am activity). I drank coffee that took an hour to brew (Hard water = a coffee pot that drips water at the rate of a slowly leaking faucet). I fixed us all bowls of our favorite cereal (none of the three of us like the same kind on the same morning…it is apparently against some cosmic rule).

I subsequently dumped out a bowl each of Cookie Crisp, Cinnabon-Something-or-Other, and Fruity Pebbles when I discovered the milk was a little…sharp. Eggs were rejected for the fact that I had exactly two eggs, and three hungry people. The kids got Pop-Tarts, I got another cup of coffee.

After that it was back to CMT and Legos for the munchkins, and I went into the bathroom to put on makeup and do something with my hair. My son gave me two minutes to get good and into the application of my eyeliner (very black, btw), then came marching up behind me with a TV remote in hand, headed for the toilet.

I leapt across the room, screeching “Nooooo!” and saved the remote in the nick of time, while apparently drawing an impressive black stripe across my face. Unfortunately either the high-pitched noise, the sudden shudder of the room from me jumping, or karma from the last bug I squished, something managed to dislodge the nail holding up my pretty creation from last night.

The entire thing came crashing down into the bathtub, shattering into dozens of splinters of glass and wood (insult to injury: the places I glued were mostly intact). Even the photos tore just enough to render them mostly useless in the future.

My saving grace in that moment was that the entire mess was limited to the interior of the bathtub, so it was fairly easy to scoop it all out, then shake out the bath mat and rinse the tiny shards down the drain. Plus, I could do all this with the munchkins and their curious little fingers locked safely out of the room until the glass was cleared.

It also gave me a few minutes to bawl like a baby and mourn the loss of the cool wall art that I would have dragged all house-guests into the bathroom to look at for the next month.

Once all of that was done, and the rest of the morning passed without any bloodshed or major malfukulations (yea…….sound it out…..there ya go), we all trooped out to Plainview to pay a bill that was due today.

I took with me all the money I had, which was enough to pay the bill and buy the gas to get back home. I did not consider that we would be passing roughly 137 snow-cone stands and a dozen ice cream trucks on this journey in 103 degree heat (but it’s a DRY heat…ha). I couldn’t buy the treats; couldn’t even stop for my gimongous iced tea from Sonic as I had hoped. We got the bill paid and the truck back up to a quarter tank with about 17 cents to spare.

By this time, the kids were sweaty and mutinous…

The bribe I got them out of Plainview on was that it’s Tuesday…and Meemaw (my grandmother) ALWAYS goes to the pizza buffet night in Lockney, and we have a standing invitation to go eat with her each and every Tuesday. We have been doing this for over a year at least a couple times a month, and not once has she allowed us to pay for our meal. Therefore I felt fairly safe in the drive to Lockney.

Nope. This turned out to be the one Tuesday that she wasn’t home, wasn’t in town, wasn’t anywhere to be found. If looks could kill, the tiny lightning bolts flying at the back of my head from the backseat would have taken me out right there on Main Street, crashing the truck into the newly remodeled pizza place.

I pacified the kids with a trip to visit my parents (they LOVE Grandma and Papaw), and got lucky. Mom had some money she was saving for me from some of my storage stuff she’d sold for me.

Therefore, I got to feed the angry, hungry minions!

It wasn’t pizza, but Dairy Queen fries and chicken saved me from a sure overthrow of the throne tonight.

Getting back home was uneventful, as was most of the rest of the evening. The kids watched iCarly and George Lopez while I got a few things written for “work.”

My son drowned my favorite makeup brush in the bathtub and my daughter had a hissy fit because I wouldn’t let her wear a pageant dress and boots to bed. The cat scratched the smallest one for dragging him around by the tail, and the screeches that ensued scared the loopy cowdog outside. The dog howled for half an hour, and the kids went to bed mad at me…for some reason, it was all Momma’s fault, as always.

Finally…

Finally, the kids were in bed and I was alone (well, reasonably so, the kitten in the house doesn’t count). I poured a glass of bourbon and diet coke because I am NOT a glass of wine kind of girl, and I ran the bathtub full of bubbles and bath salts.

I sank into the tub and slid down…and immediately jumped back out, splashing water and bubbles all over the bathroom.

Yeah, there was a piece of glass in the bath mat that had evidently survived the cleanup efforts of the morning.

Yeah, I cut my ass cheek.

And yeah, considering that I am really not a Band-Aid kind of person, it is quite an admission for me to tell you that since the location of the cut was just so that shorts were uncomfortable, I decided to put a bandage on it.

There are dozens of bandages in my house, in every shape and size, in Tinkerbell, Hannah Montana, Cars, Toy Story, and more…lots to choose from.

I put SpongeBob on my buttcheek just for spite.

The mommy job is all about gaining a certain number of points per day. It’s a lot like Weight Watchers…everything you do adds (or subtracts) points, and by the end of the day you need to be in a certain range to have successfully completed your day’s work as a Mommy.

You start the day with a few points to begin with, because you deserve them for just taking on the roles of:

  • Mother
  • Cook
  • Chauffer
  • Nurse (boo-boo kisser and Band-aid dispenser)
  • Party planner
  • Fashion coordinator
  • Hair stylist
  • Nose wiper
  • Maid
  • Referee
  • Activities director (and Travel agent)
  • Conscience and Voice of Reason
  • TV/DVD/Stereo/Computer fixer
  • Battery replacer
  • Librarian
  • Teacher
  • Judge and jury
  • Zookeeper

Therefore, all mommies start the day with 50 Mommy Points!

Your goal at the end of each and every day is actually up to you.

Level 1 Mommies: Stressed out mommies with multiple children, full-time jobs, and a single status are perfectly justified in their goal of not gaining points, but simply maintaining their 50 Mommy Points and making sure the kids are healthy and accounted for by the end of the day.

Level 2 Mommies: Middle of the road mommies usually end the day with about 150 Mommy Points, kids in bed drifting off with a movie, the worst of the clutter tossed into a closet, and tomorrow’s jeans in the dryer.

Level 3 Mommies: Super Mom…well, she finishes the day with 300 Mommy Points, a roast in the crock pot for tomorrow, the coffeemaker set to start brewing at the ass-crack of dawn, everyone’s outfits for tomorrow laid out and coordinated according to each other and the weather…and a perfectly pressed red cape hanging on the door ready for the next morning.

 

Here it is…the POINTS LIST!!

Good Morning!!!

Good Morning Momma!!!

Congratulations, the act of not hiding out under the sheets all day is an accomplishment! It’s a little like starting the semester with an A…you just have to keep it! Good Luck!

+50         Getting out of bed.

-50          Hiding under the covers until someone calls the authorities.

 

Starting Out:

Once you’ve made it out of bed, the day has to begin, whether you want it to or not. Here are the Mommy Points you can gain (or lose) right out of the gate.

+10         Putting on real clothes before noon.

+15         Those clothes are clean, dry, and match.

+5           Brushing your hair and teeth.

+5           Applying makeup and styling hair in something other than a messy ponytail.

+5           Getting the children dressed in real clothes before noon.

+10         Those clothes are clean, dry, and match.

+10         Children’s hair and teeth brushed.

+5           Little girls’ hair styled.

-25          Wearing PJ’s until it’s time to go back to bed at night.

-10          Limp hair tied back in a messy bun (that you put it in three days ago).

-15          Any child leaves home wearing shorts, snow boots, a sweater-vest, and a necktie.

 

Feeding Time:

Breakfast:

+5           Cereal.

+10         Instant oatmeal, cream of wheat, or malt’o’meal.

+15         Scrambled eggs.

+25         Eggs (any style BUT scrambled), pancakes or waffles, bacon or sausage, toast or biscuits.

-5            Pop-Tarts.

-10          Cookies.

-25          Drag the kids out of the cat’s food bowl and bribe into car with chocolate.

Lunch and Dinner:

+20         Home-cooked and healthy.

+10         Sandwiches and apple slices.

+5           Lunchables.

-10          McDonald’s.

-15          Chips.

-25          Mixing up the doggie bacon with the kids’ bacon.

-45          They need food?

Snacks:

+5           Fruit, raw veggies, baked chips, rice cakes, granola bars, or trail mix.

-5            Candy, cookies, cake, or anything with caffeine.

-20          Whatever they can scavenge from the yard or the neighbors kitchen.

 

Safety and Security:

+5           Playpens.

+10         Baby backpacks and carriers.

+15         Fenced yards with sandboxes and NO jungle gyms/trees/monkey-bars.

Lovin' the Great Outdoors!

+45         Going outside anytime the kids do.

+10         Helmets and pads for appropriate sports.

Floaties!

+5           Handy supply of Band-Aids.

+10         Seat belts and car-seats for any outing.

...but he IS buckled up!

+10         Jackets, gloves, hats, and other appropriate clothing when there is white stuff everywhere and you can see your breath.

+10         Sunscreen and bottled water when you step outside and start sweating.

-20          Losing a child for any amount of time.

+15         Finding that child within a few minutes (and a few miles).

-35          Not noticing you have lost a child until the police bring them back.

-10          Leaving the dog in charge, that only works in Disney homes.

A Girl and her Dog

 

Random Common (and not so common) Happenings:

+25         Time playing outside and doing things that don’t involve TV.

+15         Limiting TV to age-appropriate shows.

+10         Setting the Dish to turn to your child’s favorite show every day at the same time.

+15         Enforcing naptime.

+5           Board games and coloring.

-5            Video games (except educational…those cancel out to no loss or gain).

-20          Setting the Dish wrong, and not realizing that your child has been watching Criminal Minds or Law & Order S.V.U. every day for the last month.

+5           Considering that an educational experience and double checking the TV from now on.

+25         Your child knows how to pretend.

+30         Pretending with your child, even if it means wearing the tiara and drinking air tea.

-10          You manage to get overheard by the 4 year old when discussing how much money you should leave for a tooth…and cannot come up with a fast enough answer for “But I thought the TOOTH FAIRY left the money!?!?!?”

-35          You do the same as above, about Santa Clause.

 

Bathing:

+25         The kids go to bed clean, no matter how they got that way.

+10         Real bath with warm water and tear-free shampoo.

+5           Water toys in the tub.

+15         BUBBLES!!!

+2           Water hose in the front yard (summertime ONLY).

Swimming in a Horse Tank

-500       Toddlers and babies in a tub without you in the room. L

 

Better Home and Garden:

+25         Everyone has clean clothes every day that come from the closet or dresser clean and folded or hung.

+10         Everyone has clean clothes that come from a laundry basket or dryer.

-15          Everyone runs around naked waiting for the wash cycle.

+50         There is NOTHING sticky on any surface in the home.

+25         The house is cluttered, but relatively presentable.

+10         When company comes over, a quick tossing of random things into a closet is required, but nothing major.

-15          There are trails to get from room to room.

-25          The last time you mopped was when your water broke on the kitchen floor.

-50          You strongly suspect that there are things growing in the fridge and under the couch.

-2            Pets drink from the toilet.

-25          Kids drink from the toilet.

 

The Bedtime Routine (or lack thereof):

+25         You read a bedtime story.

+25         Pajamas and sheets are always clean.

+5           The kids get to watch TV before bed.

-5            The TV is on all night.

-10          The baby sleeps in a dresser drawer or laundry basket.

-20          Pets sleep in the kids’ rooms.

-35          You don’t know if they went to bed yet or not.

 

Okay ladies, this is by NO means an all-encompassing list, just a few guidelines that you can customize to fit your own personal needs.

Good Luck!!!

• Momma can reach across an 8ft dinner table and knock you out of your chair without getting out of her chair or spilling a single thing.

• A rusty nail in the foot doesn’t hurt until you see the blood. Actually, not much of anything really hurts until you see the blood.

• You will be very angry at the person who “let go” and sent you riding along happily on your first bike…as soon as you discover they let go and fall on your face. This fall will happen after you apparently rode half a block without assistance of any kind.

• Umbrellas do not make good parachutes.

• Brushing a cat’s teeth will result in an angry feline tearing through the house, foaming at the mouth, alarming any adults that aren’t fully aware of the situation.

• Cats don’t need haircuts.

• Poodles do need haircuts…but not by a 7 year old girl with safety scissors and foam hair curlers.

• Bath towels do not make good parachutes.

• Mud pies hold their shape better than sand pies. Sand pies taste better.

• Doggie biscuits are hard to chew, and don’t taste as good as sand pies. They do taste better than mud pies.

• Shampoo burns your eyes.

• If you live in a small town and get in trouble at school, your parents WILL know about it when you get home that day.

• Bed sheets do not make good parachutes.

• If you’re small, a recliner and an exercise trampoline can be transformed into a great slide.

• A waterbed makes a great raft in the middle of an imaginary ocean.

• The closet door can be left open, or left closed…it cannot be left ajar through the night. That is when the monster will be inside.

• Speaking of monsters, it is never acceptable to lay in bed with a hand or foot hanging off the edge. This is just an invitation for something to grab you and drag you under the bed.

• Anything can be made prettier with Lisa Frank stickers.

• Balloons and cats don’t mix. Neither do baths and cats. Or sprinklers and cats.

• Actually, cats are anti-social and hostile when introduced to just about anything that is not their expressed idea.

• Deflated air mattresses do not make good parachutes.

• An old semi-trailer is the perfect clubhouse.

• Fruit tastes much better when it’s stolen from someone else’s tree.

• Digging the cotton out of the side of a cotton module with a child sitting on top will result in a child buried under a layer of cotton…and at least one angry parent.

• It takes skill to eat ice cream and ride a bicycle at the same time.

• Ten helium-filled balloons tied together does not make a good parachute.

I haven’t always lived on a ranch, or even in the country…but I am learning. Slowly, painfully, sometimes disastrously, but I am learning.

Yesterday I killed my very first rattlesnake, all by myself!

There was some squealing and jumping around involved, but the end result was the demise of a rattlebug that posed a threat to the critters I’ve collected over the last year. Cats and kittens, two loopy cowdogs (aren’t Heelers supposed to be smart?), a raccoon that steals the shiny things from the garage, and the “funky armadillo” are the critters that have names. Deer and birds are everywhere, but they’re not quite pets…yet anyway. Give me time, I have birdseed and deer corn, I will make friends.

Anyway, back to my rattlebug…

I was driving down my half-mile long driveway (you can’t see my house from anything paved), and saw my first snake of the year. I stopped the Chevy in the middle of the road and sat there frozen, staring into yellow eyes that seemed to stare right back at me. Somewhere in the back of my mind I heard the “old cowboy movie whistle” that always plays when the gunslinger faces his foe.

Thanks to my Country Guru, I had the necessary tools in my truck for just such an encounter. The bed of the truck holds a shovel, a bag of critter food, some wire, a bucket of sand, and a baby walker. Inside the truck are two knives, a roll of toilet paper, and my “cowboy gun.” I call it that because “.22 with snake-shot” just doesn’t have the same ring, and because the gun has a hammer that pulls back and a barrel that spins…just like in the movies. I’ve learned the hard way that there is a trick to spinning that barrel without spinning the gun out of your hands and across a hardwood floor…causing several grown men to shriek like little girls and take cover behind the couch. I’ve also learned that a quick-draw isn’t as easy as it is in the movies, especially if you have boobs in the way.

So there I was with the snake staring a challenge at me, and I’m trying to remember where I put the cowboy gun. It finally takes slowly opening my door and creeping around the back of the truck to the passenger side, where the gun is hiding under the backseat. Handy, right?

Gun in hand; I sneak around the front of the truck like I’m tiptoeing up on a sleeping giant. Right there in front of the bumper, where I’d left the evil creature, was…nothing but dirt. The sudden image in my mind had my snake just under the edge of the truck, sighting in on my bare calf, and that was enough to elicit a squeal and the freaky snake dance that took me high-stepping backwards at a high enough rate of speed that I lost my flip-flop. I swept it up with my non-gun hand and jumped up onto the side of the truck, teetered there for an infinite few seconds, and tumbled in rear-end first.

Thankfully I didn’t shoot myself or put any new holes in the pick-up. I did get an interesting bruise from the shovel though. I took a breath, got my bearings, and got mad! Somehow falling down or losing a shoe taps into that part of my brain that holds pride and ego, and sitting half-barefoot with a sore butt in the back of my truck was just humiliating enough to tick me off.

Gun in hand, I crawled back down from my silver tower and crept up past the bumper again, this time a safe distance from the dark abyss underneath. There was a clear trail in the dirt where the snake had slithered away to the side of the road and under a bush. Part of me hoped to find the evil thing hiding under the bush, and part of me hoped it had crawled a mile away never to be seen again.

Not sure whether I got my wish or not, since I was undecided what the wish really was (other than a fast move back to a place with stores and traffic), but I did find the snake under the bush. I shrieked again and did a milder version of that freaky snake dance, managing to startle the snake into rattling at me. Actually I don’t think my noises startled it as much as the branch that slapped it in the face when I let go of it. Apparently snakes don’t like being smacked in the nose with shrubbery any more than husbands do.

So the snake was rattling, I was shrieking like a little girl (or a grown man diving for cover from a loaded cowboy gun bouncing across the floor), and I’m sure my guardian angel was about to turn in her resignation. I couldn’t see the snake without the branch moved, and I wasn’t risking my toes again to get close enough to touch it…so I leaned, on tiptoe, as far as I could towards the bush. When I caught a glimpse of scales, thanks to the snake for continuing to rattle angrily, I pointed the gun, pulled back the hammer, and fired.

The silence that followed the pop was thick with tension, as I realized that I’d have to move the bush to find out whether I’d hit my target (I wasn’t sure snake-shot bullets would go through a bush with enough oomph to take out something underneath).

It was an eternity before I had one of those moments where you have to slap yourself in the forehead. That is when I went back to the truck, got the shovel, and used it to move the branches around. Apparently, snake shot will travel quite well through a bush, and I managed to use the shovel to drag a very dead rattlebug out into the daylight.

This time, the freaky snake dance was a triumphant one, and I didn’t even care that I lost my flip-flop again. I walked (sort of, considering the one shoe) back to my truck with a newfound sense of accomplishment and the echoes of the western movie whistle in the back of my mind.

I am a terrible mom, apparently. If you look at some of the most popular and highly rated parenting websites, you will find oodles of articles and blogs about how to be the BEST parent you can be!

There are thousands of dollars worth of gadgets you HAVE TO HAVE to raise children safely. Every single cabinet and drawer must be locked down so tight that your husbands cannot get into them. The toilet must be so sealed shut that you have to decide to go to the bathroom BEFORE you really have to go, so that you have time to get into it. Cleaners must be organic and all natural, and there mustn’t be a single germ in the house anywhere! There are even articles that tell you how to sanitize sand for a sandbox!

Here are the reasons I am a BAD MOMMY:

  • My kids play outside in the dirt. I am sure that they have both eaten at least a couple of handfuls. Sure, I try to stop them…but have you ever seen those little shits move!?!
  • I call them little shits. Occasionally, I forget and call them that within earshot of their tiny ears.
  • The toilet lid is down, but not locked. My son has (more than once) came up and wiped suspiciously wet hands on my jeans. I cleaned his little hands off with a baby wipe, but I didn’t exactly freak out.
  • The kids know the best way to dry off hands is to wipe them off on jeans.
  • There is not a single cabinet lock in my house unless you count the one that was painted shut when I moved in…not sure what is back there.
  • My son kisses the cats. The cats live outside, and don’t take regular baths with antibacterial soap.
  • When my daughter was little and had a pacifier, she would occasionally drop it of the floor. In a pinch, when I was in a hurry, I popped it into my own mouth and then back into hers.
  • They have both had tea, soda, and tasted coffee.
  • They have both eaten a cracker that had been forgotten on the floor for a couple days.
  • They both fall down and get told “brush it off, you’re fine.”
  • They watch Spongebob Squarepants, Nick at Nite, and House MD.
  • My son has tried to open a bottle of Dos Equis…with a screwdriver.
  • My daughter knows that when we cross our own cattle-guard, that I don’t mind if she unbuckles her seat belt and sits up to look for animals.
  • They have both seen and heard a gun being fired.

Here are the reasons being a BAD MOMMY makes me a GOOD MOMMY:

  • Because of the dirt they play in…they have been exposed to germs. Meaning that yes, they have caught colds and the flu, but they won’t be hospitalized because their little bodies never developed an immune system.
  • They might pop out with the occasional s-word and get told that is a grown-up word…but they also hear and say “I love you.” every single day of their lives.
  • Because the cabinets and toilets aren’t locked, I don’t have to help them with every little thing they might need to get (or go)…and when we inevitably visit a place without cabinet locks, they won’t go crazy with newfound forbidden freedom.
  • My son is happy kissing the cats…and it hasn’t hurt him yet.
  • Because I don’t freak out and coddle them for every scraped knee…they are tough kids that can take a spill and get right back up. Don’t freak out…if there is blood, I fix it. I even kiss the boo-boo. Neither kid freaks out at a little blood, though…unlike those who watch their mother’s freak out at a little blood.
  • They know there are things on TV they cannot watch, and things they watch that they cannot repeat. My daughter also knows she wants to be a cop and a doctor when she grows up, instead of a fairy.
  • My son never did get that bottle open, but I was so proud of the fact that he knew to go get a tool out of the toolbox for a job he couldn’t handle. And yes…I stopped him before the bottle could hurt him in any way.
  • They will both grow up knowing gun safety, and never accidentally shoot themselves because they don’t know which end of the gun might fire.
  • My kids get hugs and kisses every day…from people, dogs, cats, and each other. The germs are probably spreading like wildfire…but so is the love.

Even though I am not a perfect parent…both my kids think I’m pretty damn cool for a mom (in fact my daughter told me that the other day…verbatim). Their sometimes snotty or drooly little kisses might have germs in them…but they’re the germs of some happy, well-rounded little kids who will grow up knowing how to take care of themselves.

I need to find someone who makes signs…someone who cuts them out of metal with the silhouettes of animals and other cool things, or maybe someone who can make a rustic wooden one. It needs to have “F-Stop Menagerie” on it, because if I rescue or adopt many more strays I’ll need to name the place as an animal shelter.

The loopy cowdog has made friends with, and brought home, a “greyote hound” who wiggled into our hearts, made a bed out of a lawn chair, and adopted us all. We call her Scamp (she scampers around like a puppy), and she looks like an interesting mix of some kind of cur, a greyhound, and a coyote. We aren’t sure where she came from, but she was someone’s abandoned or lost pet, she’s too tame not to be…

She is sweet to the cats, great with the kids, and doesn’t lick you in the face…all the requirements of setting up permanent residence out here. Any animal that is hostile to the kids or cats has to hit the road.

I have my eye on fish again…my daughter used to have a fishtank, and I love them. So we will probably venture back into that hobby again sometime soon. Anything but a beta…those depress me, in their tiny cage-like tanks with no company. They seem so lonely…

For brief moments, I think about getting a hamster again, that was fun…until he became a cage-escaping expert. There were no cages that Wal-Mart, K-Mart, PetSmart, or any other ‘Mart offered that could keep Rascal contained. He once chewed right through the wall of a plastic cage, and scaled a comforter to wake me up screaming in the middle of the night. He was a tough little guy…that night we tested the theory that hamsters might have the hidden ability to fly.

What I really want, though, is a ferret. I begged my parents for one, once upon a time, but I think it might have been too soon after the screaming hissy fit in the night with the wayward creeping hamster. That is one whim that I never really let go of, and it’s been brought back to the forefront of my mind by a quick video I saw on TV of a ferret stealing socks out of a dresser drawer. Hey, I already have sock gremlins that steal them on a regular basis…at least a klepto-ferret would be a more entertaining way to lose them.

My ultimate goal is to someday own a tiny giraffe (a la DirecTV commercials)…I’m pretty sure that science will create them one of these days. I want the tiny treadmill and the velvet pillow, too.

I really do need to start looking into that sign, though…

I have known and owned cow-dogs before, and have had friends with Blue and Red Heelers and Australian Shepherds. They are typically smart, trainable, and courageous dogs…all but one.

I happen to have the loopiest freaking cow-dog in Texas.

She barks at noises, at plastic bags flying by on the West Texas wind, and at a beetle that happened across her path one day.

When I drive up, especially after a long day away from home, she is happy to see the truck like any other dog would be. Most dogs bound out to meet the truck, maybe even run alongside it for a bit…not this one. She leaps off the porch, crashes and burns in a tumbling pile of fur and grass, makes two circles around the yard, then rushes to get in front of the truck and precede it into the driveway.

Her favorite game is cat-toss. She doesn’t use her mouth…she uses her snout, rooting under a cats belly until she gets under there, then tossing the cat out in front of her. She has some battle scars from trying this out on Racer the tomcat, but it hasn’t deterred her.

She eats cat food. Which works out well, most of the cats eat her dog food. Another quirk of the loopy cow-dog is an aversion to meats, especially if it isn’t cooked well. She will, however, eat vegetables and Chex mix. My favorite tomcat prefers cinnamon rolls.

Guess if a person insists on only adopting strays, she can’t be too picky about her quirky menagerie, huh?