‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,
Not a teenager was stirring, cause that would take effort from them self
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
Cause Mama Bread Baker had her liquor stashed there.

The Crumb Snatchers were nestled all snug in their beds,
They were tweeting and texting the words in their heads.
I was in my jammies and Chief Money Maker had snapped
He had seen the credit card bill from the gifts that I’d wrapped.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I flew out the door just like a mad hatter.
I went to the curb of the street in a flash,
I didn’t see anything out there but our big bucket of trash.

The moon wasn’t out, and there wasn’t any snow,
We live in the south; I didn’t expect it ya know?
But then what to my wondering eyes did appear?
But a little old sleigh with four wheel drive gear.

The little old driver was lively and quick,
He moved too fast for me to hit with my stick.
He shouted and whistled and more teenagers came
But they wouldn’t let Rudolph join in the games (oh wait, that’s a song-back to the poem.)

There was a bunch of stuff about reindeer,
And things that could fly,
I didn’t know what was happening
And I was out of my Xanax supply.

I watched as he stood atop of our roof,
I said, “Hey, that was just replaced this summer you Goof!”
As I wagged my finger he turned around,
And he dashed down our chimney with a bound.

<At this point I have to go inside the house for the rest of the poem.  You can come with me.> 

He was dressed all funny from his head to his foot (he only had one apparently)
And he was dragging dirt all over my clean floor (Yeah, I know it doesn’t rhyme-but I had just scrubbed those floors yesterday!)
He had a bunch of toys all flung on his back,
I said, “Those are for our Crumb Snatchers, you put them right back!”

His eyes did twinkle and he had some dimples that’s true,
But Chief Money Maker was still snoring
And I wasn’t sure what to do
I grabbed a bottle of wine and said, “Do you want some too?”

He laughed and his belly shook like jelly,
“Of course I do,” he said, “don’t be silly.”
“How much milk and cookies can one man take?
I’m glad I came here and you were awake!”

He was chubby and round, a funny looking elf,
I handed him a drink and he set it on our shelf
He winked at me and then Chief Money Maker walked in
I said, “Look Honey, we have a new friend.”

We sat and chatted about the Crumb Snatchers for a while,
He told me things they had done and his stories made me smile,
‘Cause I knew in the morning, I could bust them all out
Oh, they’d know they were in trouble, no doubt.

He said don’t be too hard, they’re good kids you know.
I giggled (’cause the wine was kicking in) and asked for some snow.
He laughed at me again and said,
I’m NOT Mother Nature you know!

When our visit was done, he gave his sleigh a whistle
I said, “Don’t call that thing in here ’cause I’ll have to vacuum too!” (Yes, yes, I am aware it doesn’t rhyme again, but do you understand how much cleaning I do here?”

But I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to all, and have a good-night.”

Chief Money Maker and I looked at each other and said,
How the heck did the Crumb Snatchers sleep through all that?
We shook our heads in wonderment and went off to bed.

Right before I dozed off to sleep,
I wondered if it had all been a dream
I think tomorrow night, I won’t spike the hot cocoa and cream!

Image via Wikipedia

© 2011 CThacker

Filed under The Insanity that is our Life

               Have you ever felt so much stress that you had two thoughts collide in your mind and then spill out of your mouth causing you to sputter something totally ridiculous?  Last week I told Chief Money Maker, “Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and cook G-Bear after basketball practice.”  He gave me a puzzled look and asked if I would like him to boil Wolfy as a side dish. 

                We all deal with a certain level of stress from day to day, but the holidays amp those stress levels up to the degree of a nuclear reactor plant.  It’s a lot of pressure to scour the mall searching for that last Chia Hippo that you know Uncle Bertie will love.   I’m not exactly sure why we think Uncle Bertie will love a clay pot that grows what appears to be fungus, but since it’s December 24th and you saw it on a late-night infomercial it just seems like a good idea.

                As parents, we also feel the pressure to make sure we provide our crumb snatchers with that “just perfect” Christmas season.  Now that I work from home, I have time to make homemade hot cocoa and hot-from- the-oven chocolate chip cookies for the crumb snatchers to enjoy after school.  Then because of the stress of writing deadlines and Christmas cards that need to be sent, I eat the batch of cookies and down the hot chocolate.  The crumb snatchers come home to the wafting scent of the holidays and excitedly exclaim, “Did you make cookies and cocoa?” 

Image via Wikipedia

                I sputter, “No, it’s a holiday scented candle.”  Then I have to bake a whole ‘nother batch, just adding to the stress I already feel.

                Gift-giving is also stressful.  With five crumb snatchers to please, Chief Money Maker and I made our lists and checked it twice and then checked it again.  We have the same budget for each crumb snatcher, but there was a disparity in the desires of each one.  The number of gifts purchased was unbalanced.  We knew they would scour the gifts under the tree and count how many their siblings received and complain, “That’s not fair…he got more.”  Teenagers are so whiny!

                So we came up with a plan to solve that problem.  We wrapped all the gifts and tagged them as gifts for Mama Bread Baker or Chief Money Maker.  We left one gift tagged for each of the crumb snatchers.  Then we explained that the true meaning of Christmas is giving and not receiving and they better get a job so they can start giving.  When they started crying we just started singing, “You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout—”

Cover via Amazon

                If you find yourself struggling to manage the holiday stress, I suggest you sit back and take a little time to relax in the peace and quiet of your home.  Obviously, you’ll have to get rid of everyone so here’s one of my secret tips.   Send everyone in your household out to find a “22 karat gold plated unicorn lamp with three-way lighting with a brown shade.”  Emphatically stress that you don’t want them to get the one with a purple shade.  I searched the internet and this product doesn’t exist so this should buy you hours to watch a Lifetime holiday movie without interruption.  If they want to know who the gift is for, just tell them it’s for Uncle Bertie.  When they ask about his Chia Pet collection, just say, “Are you sassing me?  You know Santa is watching!” 

                Whatever this holiday season brings, Mama Bread Baker and the crumb snatchers wish you peace and joy…and hope you find that perfect Chia pet.

© 2011 CThacker

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               It appears that I have been a bit neglectful of my blog recently.  I’ve received thousands of emails asking what happened to it.  (Okay, so it was really just one email, but I’m sure thousands have been wondering.)  I would explain why I haven’t devoted as much time to my blog, but the Judge placed a gag order on me and I can’t explain until she dies, or has to resign the bench for accepting bribes under the table.  That reminds me, I need to transfer some money from my super secret PayPal account.

                Anyway, we’ve had some recent occurrences that have required discussions with the crumb snatchers about Nebbies.   If you’ve never heard the word nebby, it comes from the Pittsburgh, PA area and means meddlesome or spiteful.    There’s your vocabulary lesson for the week.  Now all together, let’s use it in a sentence.  (You can add your sentence in the comment section below.) 

                Nebbies also promote gossip and rumors and can often be found on the squares of small towns, or watching Jersey Shore.  I believe it’s simply in the DNA of the people that thrive on such behaviors.  They just can’t seem to stop being meddlesome and spiteful.  These traits are more commonly seen in women. 

                Statistics (that I just made up) show 98% of guys really don’t care about gossip.  Approach a guy with the sentence, “Did you hear about…” and once they realize you aren’t talking about a great play that was made in NFL football, they just tune you out.  But those females that have the “nebby gene” (as I like to call it) will almost knock you over trying to get close enough to soak up the particles of gossip about to be disbursed into the universe.  And if they’ve gone too long without someone disbursing those particles, they’ll just make something up and spread it themselves.  It also doesn’t matter how untrue, or outrageous the juicy morsel of gossip is, a Nebby will fanatically hold to their fiction as if it were the Holy Spirit inspired Word of God.

                I accidentally spread a rumor one time and I’ve really felt bad about it since it happened.  Several years ago Chief Money Maker, Aunt Sassy, and I were at an event and we were killing time before the event’s start by noticing how many ”thin-challenged” people in the crowd were wearing the color lime green.  We made it a contest to see how many we could spot.  Bonus points were awarded if you actually knew the person.  Lo and behold, across the auditorium I spotted a hefty female I knew and she was wearing lime green slacks.    I yelled, “Twenty points for me!”

                They turned in the direction of my finger pointing and Aunt Sassy said, “Where?  The Lime Green Whale over there?”  Now we don’t usually condone name-calling in our household, but Aunt Sassy’s filter between her brain and mouth doesn’t always function correctly.  Unfortunately, there was a Nebby behind me and she also knew the person I spotted.  I knew if I didn’t set things straight, it would soon be all over the town that this poor woman was actually a lime green whale.

                I explained, “No, no, no, she’s not really a whale.  Whales can’t live on land.  Anymore.” 

                I could see the Nebby wasn’t truly convinced and I said, “Besides, whales have blubber.  That’s only fat on her arse.”  (I don’t think I actually said “arse” but I’ve always thought it looked cool in a sentence.)

                The Nebby looked at me and said, “Fat IS blubber.”  I knew right then that I had inadvertently started a rumor that would probably be circulated via text to everyone in town within five minutes.  “Did you know so-and-so is actually a WHALE???”  Next thing we knew, the village people (not THE VILLAGE PEOPLE) were forming a search and rescue team to return this poor hefty woman in her lime green slacks to Sea World. See how damaging a Nebby can be?

                So because of that, Chief Money Maker and I work really hard to teach the crumb snatchers that it isn’t nice to gossip or be a Nebby.  We also tell them to keep in mind the old adage, “Don’t believe anything you read and only half of what you see…and if you see it on Jersey Shore, don’t believe it all.”  We think those are important words to live by.

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As the leaves change colors and cover the ground with their brilliance, making my sinuses go crazy, I’m reminded that the holiday season will soon be upon us. That joyous time of the year when the stores are crowded, cashiers are inexplicably rude, and my debit card screams for mercy from the depths of my purse. I’m also reminded because the crumb snatchers have suddenly taken to following us around giving us their not-so-subtle hints about what they want for Christmas.

Image via Wikipedia

Sweet Pea sat at the table the other night with her chemistry book open, and her notebooks scattered around…making her Christmas list. Priorities, right? I also picked up my Touchpad the other day to find various pages of gift suggestions bookmarked in my web browser. And just moments after, G-Bear arrived on the scene to describe in detail the paintball set he’s hoping Santa will bring him. We told him that due to the recession, Santa had laid off the “war games” division at the North Pole.

I miss the days when the crumb snatchers only cared about the quantity of gifts stacked under the tree. There was a time when fifty dollars per child wisely spread between Wal-Mart and the Everything’s a Dollar Store, would bring shouts of glee on Christmas morning. Now that they are teenagers, it looks like a second mortgage on our home will be required to elicit the same response.

This whole Occupy Wall Street thing also has me thinking. The crumb snatchers need to understand the state of today’s economy and the disparity between the corporate thieves CEO’s and ordinary people like us that put a roof over their head with a corporate paycheck from HP twice a month. Right after we explain the meaning of “irony”, we’ll explain that “if it’s got stock, it won’t be bought.” Unless it’s an HP product, of course. That pretty much leaves us with no choice but to purchase their gifts from the Amish this year.

As Chief Money Maker and I review our budget and begin to strategize for the joyous gift-giving season, I’m reminded of a Christmas from my own past. I believe it was somewhere around 1980, another time our country was experiencing a recession. My father had been laid off, and my mother sat up late each night making handmade gifts for the four of us kids. And for the gifts she didn’t have time to finish, we received hand-written I.O.U’s.

That Christmas more than any other is emblazoned in my memory, not because of the lavish gifts I didn’t receive, but because of the sacrifice my mother made. And because we had snow that day…an East Texas Christmas miracle. Now that I think about it, that sounds like a sure-fire win for a Hallmark Holiday movie!

Anywho, in the next few weeks I’ll be gearing up for the holidays by getting in shape. I’ll do arm curls each night to build up the strength for all the swiping I’ll be doing with my debit card. Some cardio work will be in order to ensure I can tote my shopping bags. And I’ll practice breathing techniques that can be used to calm myself in the midst of the swarming crowds of cheerful holiday shoppers since I’m running low on my Xanax.

But most importantly, I’ll do my best to remind the crumb snatchers of the real meaning of the upcoming holiday season.

 

Filed under The Insanity that is our Life

It appears to have fallen upon my shoulder to create activities for the crumb snatchers that will keep them from the pantry for several hours at a time.  Chief Money Maker mandated my new role after nearly having a heart attack when he inadvertently saw the grocery receipt from my last shopping expedition.  Don’t worry.  I have made sure to hide the receipts for the Halloween expenditures to protect his health.

I am a firm believer in the old adage that a family that crafts together makes a huge mess that I get to clean up. So this year, in a time-honored tradition, the crumb snatchers will take perfectly good pumpkins, which have never harmed anyone mind you, and totally massacre them. I purchased four of these healthy fruits—or are pumpkins a vegetable—that this afternoon will have their guts removed, and their tender little gourd surfaces mutilated to turn them into creations intended to frighten small children. This project should protect the pantry for at least two hours.

Tonight night we will take the crumb snatchers to a haunted house because our grocery bill wasn’t quite scary enough. Here we will voluntarily enter a dark, possibly condemned, building and subject ourselves to “jell-o blood”, “spaghetti brains”, and “olive eyeballs” all in the Halloween spirit. Maybe I can garner some leftovers and serve it up for dinner, recouping some of the admission costs.

Tomorrow night, we can wander around in a perfectly good field of corn that was completely hacked with a design that can only be deciphered from a small commuter plane flown overhead. If we are really lucky, we can make our way to the exit before the crumb snatchers and, depending on whether we found parking within the county, be gone for hours before they notice. Or, we can make it a race and give the crumb snatchers a “head start” while Chief Money Maker and I head to Starbucks for a Pumpkin Spice Latte. We can then return several hours later, cover our clothes in dust and corn silk, hang out at the exit and when they emerge shout, “Ha ha you lost!” Fun times!

I can also consume several more hours of time by holding a séance in the attic to call up our “Attic Ghost.” This ghost announced his presence three years ago when he crashed through the ceiling in our bedroom and left a gaping hole and scattered insulation throughout our house. It appeared that the ghost, who apparently took on the form of G-Bear, decided he needed a Halloween costume that was stored in our attic. Obviously a ghost can’t go out on Halloween dressed as a ghost. That would just be too obvious.

So this ghost entered our attic and rummaged for a costume, slipped on one of the rafters, and burst through the ceiling of our bedroom. He then, from what we could gather, caught himself on the rafters with his little ghostly arms, and managed to pull himself back up through the wreckage. Then the ghost, not wanting to be discovered, left a trail of insulation from G-Bear’s room, down the stairs, and into our bedroom sufficiently leaving evidence that pinned the accident on G-Bear. We will hold the séance in an attempt to call up the “Attic Ghost” so he can properly apologize to G-Bear. Hopefully he won’t be at a neighbor’s house rummaging for a Justin Bieber costume.

Image via Wikipedia

Finally, we can decorate the yard with five tombstones, a crime scene, and ghouls. We may receive a call or two from the local police requesting that we confirm none of the crumb snatchers are buried beneath the tombstones, but we’ll plead the fifth.

After we observe all these fine Halloween traditions, I will begin my annual pilgrimage to the grocery store to forage for Thanksgiving food…right after I clean up the pumpkin guts.

© 2011 CThacker

Filed under The Insanity that is our Life

Yesterday on Yahoo’s home page, I caught the headline for the video pick of the day…”9 Men Rescue Moose Trapped in Pool.”  So, obviously, I wanted to check out the 9 men in the video.  And while checking out the 9 men in the video, I noticed that the moose in all of its stubborn glory reminded me of our teenagers.  The more the men pulled and tugged and coaxed, all in the best interest of the moose, the harder and harder the moose fought against them.  Yeah, that’s teenagers.

You can check out the video here, but don’t forget to come back and read the rest of the blog. 

The video made me wonder in what other ways our crumb snatchers might be likened to that silly moose that fell into some unsuspecting man’s swimming pool in New Hampshire.  I’m guessing the moose, probably on a dare from his other moose friends, succumbed to the peer pressure and charged into the back yard and dove into the pool.  But if you watch the video closely you will notice that all his moose friends apparently left him hanging once they realized he was in trouble.  I think I’ll show the video to the crumb snatchers and let that little lesson speak for itself.  Just say no!

The whole moose in the pool video also reminded me of a story that The Eldest once told me.  I’ve always told the children they come to me with anything.  So in that spirit of open communication, The Eldest told me of pool party held by his baseball team his senior year.  He relayed how cool it was to skateboard off the roof of a house into a swimming pool.   The Eldest has always excelled academically, but I’ve never claimed he held an abundance of common sense.  I explained to him that there were some things you just don’t tell Mama’s and skateboarding off the roof of a house into a swimming pool was number one on the list. 

Now curious as to what other ways our children might be similar to the moose, I did a little research.  According to Wikipedia, I learned that the needs to eat about 9,770 calories a day to maintain its body weight.  A quick breakdown of Wolfy’s recent eating habits confirmed that he was, indeed, eating like a moose.  His school’s food service program recently began an online program where parents can log in and see what their crumb snatchers are eating at school.  In one day Wolfy consumed a breakfast meal, a lunch meal, an additional lunch entrée, two sports drinks, and cupcakes.  And that was just between the time he left here and returned home.

Wikipedia also notated that the moose’s energy comes from “terrestrial vegetation.”  I’m not sure what exactly terrestrial vegetation is, but I’m sure it resembles the concoction that Gummi Bear recently made at Yogurt Mountain.  If you don’t have one in your area, Yogurt Mountain has designed the most efficient, and apparently legal, method to rob parents of their money.  Unlike your traditional ice cream parlors where you can order a single, double, or triple scoop, Yogurt Mountain has 383 different flavors of yogurt and every topping conceivable to man.  They hand you a cup and allow you to make your own “yogurt mountain” and then they charge you by the ounce.  Gummi Bear made his treat by combining 382 of the yogurt flavors, leaving out only pistachio because its color resembled baby diaper poo, and topped his desert with every topping available…and then topped it again.  It certainly looked terrestrial to me. 

I figured it would be more difficult to compare Sweet Pea to the moose, but I figured wrong.  Right there in the middle of the Wikipedia page, it talked about the moose’s social structure.  Apparently the moose calves like to stay near their mothers at all times, unless a cute male moose asks them to a dance.  I recently went on a weekend trip to Atlanta and Sweet Pea put on an impressive display of pouting the night before I left.  I explained that I needed a life too and when she responded, “I am your life,” I laughed at the joke she was making.  Then she didn’t laugh.  Then she asked why I was laughing.  Then I realized she wasn’t joking.  It appears that when the time comes, I’m going to have to chase Sweet Pea off just like a mama moose has to chase off its yearling.

And just when I thought there was no way in the world I could relate a blog about a moose and the crumb snatchers to driving and the , I thought wrong.  Wikipedia dedicated an entire section on the moose to “.”  Apparently moose don’t always obey the laws of traffic, nor utilize the painted cross walks, when interacting with humans and vehicles.  Moose warning signs are used in areas where the moose are especially active.  I’m a huge proponent of “Teenaged Driver” warning signs in areas such as the mall, the movie theaters, and any fast food establishment.

The moose does have some redemptive qualities in that their milk can be sold and it appears they can be domesticated.  This is where all similarities between the crumb snatchers and the moose ends.  And now that I’ve done my research, I can’t help but wonder why I didn’t just get a moose.

© 2011 CThacker

Filed under The Insanity that is our Life

          I’ve now reached the age where I can appreciate the stress my mother went through when my three siblings and I reached our teenage years. When my children were babies, the biggest worry I had was making sure my legs were extended in front of the rocking chair to ensure the infant would roll gently down the slope and land softly on the carpet if I fell asleep rocking them. Then they moved into the next stage where all boo-boos were patched with a Power Rangers band-aid and the offer to cut off the injured part of the body. This little trick always assured me at least thirty minutes meal preparation time as the little crumb snatchers wouldn’t come near the kitchen where the knives were housed.

          But eventually our children grew into teenagers where our worries, overnight, multiplied exponentially. During this stage of life when our offspring know everything, I worry that they will have boo-boos that can’t be patched with a band-aid. Boo-boos such as a teen pregnancy, involvement with drugs or alcohol, or posing in drag for the center-fold of their high school year book. Stuff like that.

Chief Money Maker Strikes a Pose

          For me, however, I have found that my greatest concern is their driving abilities. Since the time The Eldest first climbed behind the wheel, I began experiencing panic attacks whenever I heard the sound of sirens. Even when he was off at college, three hundred miles away, the site of an ambulance speeding by would give me heart palpitations. I realize my concerns are in no way rational given that I doubt the Bartlett, TN fire department would have been called to an accident site in Ellisville, MS involving my son. Then again, the fact that I had children to begin with provides proof that I’m not a very rational, or even sane, person. I now believe teenage driving is God’s way of reminding us that we are due for an EKG screening.

Image Detail

          Just this morning, while standing in the kitchen wondering what I would write about in my blog, I was provided today’s subject by one of the crumb snatchers. A few minutes after departing for school, Sweet Pea walked back into the kitchen as devoid of color as an albino rabbit in a New England snow storm. Shaking like an earthquake hitting 6.0 on the Richter scale she, in extremely slow motion, uttered the words, “Mama……………………..I………………………just…………………………hit…………………….”

          Her first four words immediately triggered the irrational button in my brain. She hit what? The elderly lady that walks her dog every morning, the kids waiting at the bus stop, the neighbors annoying yapping dog…..

          “The Nephew’s truck!” she finally finished.

          “Oh Sweetie, couldn’t you have at least hit something that isn’t also on our insurance policy?”

          I wondered how in the world she managed to hit another vehicle in our household, but as we walked out to examine the damage, my answer was provided. It’s because The Nephew is an idiot to park his truck on the street directly opposite our driveway where a new teenaged driver was parked. I suddenly saw our insurance premiums increasing from $Enough-money-to-feed-an-entire-village-in-Africa.00 to $Enough-money-to-feed-the-entire-continent-of-Africa.00.

          Luckily, the damage wasn’t severe. Just a little transferring of paint from one vehicle to another-we always DID try to teach the children to share-and a small dent in The Nephew’s truck. I brought Sweet Pea back inside and, once the color returned to her face,  offered to drive her to school in an effort to keep our insurance premiums at a level slightly above the annual salary of the United States President. She said she was fine and would drive herself.

          I helped her back out of the driveway while giving her signs like naval flight deck personnel bringing in a fighter plane on U.S aircraft carrier.

  

          Chief Money Maker walked outside to take the garbage to the curb and, after Sweet Pea departed, I explained to him what happened. He responds, “Ugh, me have no coffee yet.”

Image Detail

          Given that we still have soon to be licensed Wolfy, and Gummi Bear (already saving money for a 2004 Mustang), as well as several nephews up and coming in the ranks of new drivers, I called my cardiologist and scheduled quarterly EKG screenings for myself and Chief Money Maker.

       And just now, as I sat here typing, I received a text from Sweet Pea explaining that a friend of hers also hit a vehicle in the school parking lot this morning. As I pull out my bottle of Xanax and down a pill with a swig of wine, I can’t help but wonder how these young drivers will fair against vehicles that are actually moving.

          And now I have to go. Chief Money Maker just knocked on my office door and said, “Did you say Sweet Pea hit The Nephew’s truck this morning?” Apparently his coffee kicked in. I need to go add his cardiologist visits to his calendar.

© 2011 CThacker

Filed under The Insanity that is our Life

          We last left project Building of My Sanitarium in the preparation phase. It is now in the Built But Chief Money Maker Still Has Work to Do phase. Which means my room is complete (or mostly so), I have moved in, and the crumb snatchers now have to venture through the garage to find me.

          So here is how we got to this point. Chief Money Maker did a fabulous job of building the wall serving as the divider in our third garage. After eight hours of sweat, two hammered thumb mishaps, one flying nail mishap that almost speared Sweet Pea in the heart, and no less than 3,482 curse words, the wall was completed. To make sure it was safe, we had the youngest crumb snatcher sleep on the floor for several nights and told him to be sure to catch the wall if it fell. (Ok, so we just THOUGHT about doing that.) Instead, I checked each morning for several days to make sure it was still standing, not that I didn’t have FULL confidence in Chief Money Maker’s construction abilities. 

 

          The next step was painting.  Keeping with the budget theme, I went to Home Depot and asked if they had any cans of paint that they had messed up. Apparently, according to the snotty little paint guy, they prefer that customers call them “mis-tints.” Ok, whatever makes you happy.  So, they didn’t have any “mis-tints” that fit my decorating needs (i.e. something other than the “baby diaper poo” color he offered.) I then went to Lowe’s and asked for mis-tints. They didn’t have any, but offered some that Home Depot had messed up.  Fortunately, my trip to Lowe’s wasn’t a total waste, as we found a carpet remnant that would fit the Sanitarium.

          Unwilling to buy new paint, and unable to find a “mis-tint” color that suited my needs, we rummaged through the various paints we had in our garage. Chief Money Maker located an unopened can of paint.

          “Wasn’t this the paint you bought to stripe the dining room wall that you never striped?” he asked. Stupidly, I might add.

           I examined the can of paint, while Chief Money Maker went inside and examined the new knot I had just placed on his head, and I determined it would work for my new Sanitarium.

          The next step was decorating. Chief Money Maker did more extensive internet research and discovered what has quickly become my new favorite place in the whole entire world. The Habitat for Humanity Restore. It’s like Goodwill and Lowe’s Home Improvement hooked up for a one night stand, and the Habitat for Humanity Restore is their love child. <>

         

          We walked out with a light fixture, a love seat, a cabinet that I will refinish, some odd and end knick-knacks, and a pair of sunglasses that Chief Money Maker managed to slip by me at check-out. But the jokes on him…I’m taking that $3.00 out of his patio renovation budget.

          I purchased a set of sheers and a rod at Dollar General.  We also found several great yard sale bargains to include a wall mirror and shelves. (Ok, so Chief Money Maker really found them all by himself while I was in Atlanta, but not everyone understands that my husband’s inner David Bromstad occasionally emerges.  Check out David Bromstad here.  )

          With room painted, items in place, and only a few odd and end touch ups remaining, moving day arrived. Breaking up really is hard to do. We sat the crumb snatchers down and explained that I would be moving out of our home office. We assured them that it wasn’t their fault (even though it partially was) and that both I, and Chief Money Maker, still loved them. We took this opportunity to explain that sometimes…in some situations…things just can’t be worked out. Basically, I said, “Chief Money Maker is a terrible cube mate!” They all had the same question, which would bring tears to even the hardest-hearted of human beings. “Will you still feed us?” they asked. With tears in my eyes, I assured them I would.

          Then I ran off and locked myself in my new office and savored the silence…for about three minutes before the crumb snatchers started arriving to check it out. I had hoped that the fifteen extra steps to the garage would impact their efforts to seek me out, given that teenagers are historically known to be a tad lazy unless in immediate danger of starving to death, but it apparently had no impact on ours. Now I have to make a trip back to the Habitat for Humanity Restore and purchase a door knob with a lock.

          All in all, our project remained economical. The final total was $253.51, which came in at $53.51 over budget. If you take out the five gallons of bleach we used to wash the boards, we are still over budget. But if you take out the five gallons of bleach, AND the miscellaneous yard sale items Chief Money Maker purchased, then yep, we are still over budget. BUT, if you factor in the fact that we had a great excuse to avoid going out with Aunt Sassy and picking up her bar tab, then we definitely saved money! And you really can’t place a price on my sanity. (Well, actually you can. It’s about $150 month for a therapist, Xanax prescription, and hair extensions to replace the strands I’ve pulled out.) 

          So there it is…the Sanitarium is done.  And you have just read the first blog produced from my new writing studio. I think it’s time to stretch out on the love seat and take a nap before the crumb snatchers get home.

© 2011 CThacker

Filed under The Insanity that is our Life

When I started this blog, I said that I would occasionally post my opinions whether you wanted them or not. It’s time for the disclaimer. Read the remaining paragraph very fast and in a deep voice: “By choosing to read further, you acknowledge that you are a big boy/girl and will honor and respect the author’s right to an opinion. You hereby distinctly, eminently, and proficiently proclaim that the author has not coerced or forced you to read further. You also acknowledge that if you post a comment in disagreement, the author will immediately remove it leaving only those that mirror the author’s point of view. (Just kidding.) You can post your arguments, but the author asks that you be respectful of all opinions. The author retains all rights to ridicule your argument if it’s really, really stupid. By scrolling further, you give up all rights to claim damages should your opinion change due to the author’s words. You also acknowledge that the author has not placed any magic spells or embedded programs that will force upon you her point of view.”

It’s “Just Plain Common Sense” folks! The Ten Commandments are an excerpt from the best-selling book (fact) in the world. Why can’t they be posted in our public schools?

I’m all for compromise. I’m a firm believer that there are always two sides of a story…and then there is the truth. I don’t believe in black or white, but subscribe to the opinion that there are many shades of gray. So with that said, I don’t understand all the hullabaloo about The Ten Commandments being posted in our public school classrooms or hallways.

Apparently, the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia filed a lawsuit a few weeks ago in Roanoke VA against Giles County School Board because Narrows High School has the Ten Commandments on display. Really?

As a Christian, I believe the Bible is a Holy Spirit inspired document and is the word of God handed down to man. But I certainly wouldn’t force that opinion on you, nor do I believe the posting of an excerpt from the best-selling book (fact) in the world does either. I would simply ask you to acknowledge the FACT that it is a historical book and is at least worthy of a consideration of compromise. You (Mr. or Mrs. ACLU Attorney) want none of it posted. I want all of it posted. So let’s do what grown-ups do and see if we can reach a compromise? I say we post half.

Let’s just say, for compromise sake, that we post the excerpt from the best-selling book (fact) in the world that begins in Exodus 20:12 and ends in Exodus 20:17. Our students are asked to memorize excerpts from Shakespeare’s plays, Emily Dickinson poems, and read novels declared as American classics. (What WERE those pigs in Animal Farm trying to say anyway?) How about they be exposed to some “Just Plain Common Sense” from the best-selling book (fact) in the world. It’s apparent the youth of today could use it. Let’s examine them one at a time.

Exodus 20:12 (paraphrased) says be nice to your Mommy and Daddy. What’s the big deal with that Mr. ACLU Attorney? Are you going to argue that children have the right to tell their parents to “eff” off? If you don’t believe this is happening today, I suggest you take your uncompromising little behind down to any public school and sit in the classroom for a little bit. Sit around the lunch table and observe how a majority of kids today talk about their parents, teachers, and other people in authority. Then take your little behind back to court and tell me that the kids of today can’t stand to learn a little “honoring” and respecting.

Exodus 20:13 (paraphrased) says you shouldn’t kill people. So do the laws of the great United States of America and most states, except California where you can do it if you are O.J. Simpson. Take a look at your six P.M. News Mrs. ACLU Attorney. In the same newspaper in which I found the story that prompted this blog, I also read an article that reported on five Memphis juveniles appearing in court in ONE DAY, charged with shooting or stabbing DEATHS. These weren’t five kids that shot and stabbed ONE person. These were five separate individuals charged with five separate incidents of stabbing or shooting DEATHS. Do you understand that Mr. Uncompromising ACLU Attorney? Apparently some of our youth have a little trouble comprehending that they shouldn’t kill people. Maybe if you hadn’t taken the Ten Commandments out of school, one of these five juveniles would have read this suggestion from the best-selling book (fact) in the world at some point during their journey through public school education and reconsidered shooting or stabbing someone to death. If that were the case, then it would have been twenty-percent reduction in the deaths of people.

Exodus 20:14 (paraphrased) says you shouldn’t sleep around. Teen pregnancies have increased exponentially in the years since I graduated from high school. I think that was right around the time your uncompromising little behind began arguing that we didn’t need these Ten Commandments in our public school system. Check out your statistics on sexually transmitted diseases among teens as well. I’d do it for you, but this is what we call “give-and-take” in a compromise situation. I give you a statement and you can take it for fact or Google it yourself!

Exodus 20:15 (paraphrased) says you can’t take stuff that belongs to other people. I’m just not even going to make an argument here because it should be “Just Plain Common Sense”. And the Narrows High School handbook says the same thing, so maybe you should have it thrown out while you’re getting The Ten Commandments removed.

Exodus 20:16 (paraphrased) says don’t tell lies on folks. How would you like it if I went around telling everyone that you are really a she-male, your mother is a hooker, you don’t know who your daddy is, you’re ugly, and your Mama dresses you funny? (My apologies if any of this is true.) I bet you’d use your fancy little law degree to have me in court for slander. And if I posted it every day in my blog, you’d have me in court for libel. See, I ain’t so dumb. I know the difference between the two, but rest assured that an entire generation of youth may not understand that it isn’t nice to say bad things about folks that aren’t true once you remove The Ten Commandments from all public schools.

Exodus 20:17 (paraphrased) says you should be happy with what you have and not worry about what your neighbor has.  Heaven forbid…ooops, sorry for using a Christian term…”Big area above the earth” forbid that we teach our kids to work hard and earn what they desire rather than sitting around waiting for some government program to give it to them.

So that’s my suggestion. How about we only post half of them and we can all be happy? And if you try to tell me that the removal of The Ten Commandments won’t have any impact on our youth disrespecting, murdering, sleeping around, stealing, lying, and being just plain greedy materialistic monsters, then I’m gonna say the placing of them isn’t going to have any impact on their freedom to choose their own religion. Nor is it a conflict between church and state since it’s an excerpt from the best-selling book (fact) in the world. Na-na-boo-boo <sticking my tongue out at you>. It’s “Just Plain Common Sense” in my book.

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© 2011 CThacker

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          The very lowwwww budget project, Building of My Sanitarium, has begun. As mentioned in my last blog, we plan to do this project by utilizing crumb snatcher labor because it’s free. When we told the crumb snatchers of our idea, The Eldest said, “I’m moving out.” The other four immediately chimed in unison, “Can we go with you?”

          Ok, so The Eldest has really moved out, but I think it had more to do with his no longer being a child than our renovation project.  I’m sad to see him go, but I guess all crumb snatchers must eventually venture out in search of their own crumbs. I will miss the time we spent together every day. I cherished the thirty seconds bonding time we would enjoy as he descended from his upstairs habitat and flew through the house yelling out, “I’m going to insert one of the following: <school, work, my friends house, none of your business>.” On the positive side, I now have a full fifty-seven seconds each day to complete a train of thought without interruption. If you read my last blog you would know that I previously had twenty-seven seconds. And-unless you are in the public education system where you receive credit simply for knowing that seconds are a measure of time-twenty-seven and thirty add up to fifty-seven! Now I can do allllll those things I’ve been putting off for years. Like this room project.

           Given Chief Money Maker’s mandate to build a Queen’s castle on a pauper’s budget, he began an extensive search of the internet for ideas. Of course, any time Chief Money Maker searches the internet, it’s extensive. I can only Google for approximately one and a half minutes before inevitably pulling up some obscure porn site, yelling a curse word, then giving up and going to the library to check out the Dewey decimal system. Chief Money Maker, however, is an endless internet searcher. 

          After three showerless days of internet searching for a room concept-and me tossing out ideas that were either budget busting, just plain weird, or required we import products and children from China-he came up with his once a year brilliant idea.  It was great timing too since Google gave him a pop up that read, “Please use another search engine.  I quit!” Sitting on our back porch, he looked out at our fence and said, “What about a wall of fence boards?” I, of course, immediately responded, “Are you calling me fat?” (Fence boards, animals, pigs…come on, you get the connection!)

          After assuring me that he wasn’t calling me fat, then handing me a lite beer, he explained his concept. Take old fence boards, cut them in different lengths, and place them horizontally across the wall. I suddenly envisioned a quaint New England country themed room. And the accountant inside me started calculating the amount of money I could move from his construction budget to my decorating budget. I liked it!

          The next step was to figure out how to obtain the boards. He suggested we don black clothing and knock down someone’s fence under the cover of night. I suggested we just call a fence builder and ask if they were replacing anyone’s fence, and we might  be able to haul off the old fence boards for them. He whined, “I thought this was supposed to be a fun project?” but acquiesced to my sensibilities. One phone call later, we were given an address where we could grab about forty-eight feet of old fencing board.

          Given that all the crumb snatchers had managed to hide from us now that work was involved, we called upon Chief Money Maker’s nephew, Rainbow, to help. Fate would have it that the address where the boards were located, and the soccer field that Rainbow needed to get to, were in immediate proximity of one another. And apparently we were having a five star horoscope day, because Rainbow needed a ride! We leveraged a ride for muscle. (Don’t let the photo fool you, he wasn’t really exerting THAT much energy.)

          With boards obtained, Chief Money Maker made a list of the remaining items he would need for construction. I noticed framing studs on the list so, in an effort to be of assistance, I researched the cost. Although I could see the need for them, I was worried about our budget. I brought my concerns to Chief Money Maker.

“Not THOSE kind of framing studs!” he exclaimed.

          Emulating his whining tone from earlier in the day I said, “I thought this was supposed to be a fun project?”

And that’s how the fight started.

          But I digress. The next step involved removing the boards from their sections and knocking out the nails.  Wolfy and Gummi Bear, unable to remain in hiding for fear of starving to death, came out to ask, “What’s for dinner?” 

          I threw the potato sacks over their heads and yelled, “I’ve got two!”  Chief Money Maker quickly appeared and assigned them the task of board/nail removal.  Awwww, don’t they just look like they are never fed?

          Later, Sweet Pea (with boyfriend in tow) began her hunger complaints.  I lassoed them while yelling out, “I’ve got two more!”  Ahhhh, the benefits of not purchasing microwavable meals are immeasurable!  Chief Money Maker put them to work washing down the boards.

          With operation board preparation completed, project “Building of My Sanitarium” is ready for takeoff.  Chief Money Maker is still pouting a little about the framing studs incident, but I’ll feed him later and he’ll be fine.  More on our project on the 6 P.M. news…or my next blog. 

© 2011 CThacker

Filed under The Insanity that is our Life

              Have you missed me?  I’ve missed me, but I haven’t known where I am or where I’ve been since I merged homes with Chief Money Maker and obtained five crumb snatchers.  Just yesterday, I was getting dressed to leave the house to visit with a couple of Sweet Pea’s teachers and noticed that I only had on one shoe.  I’ve had a lot of surgeries over the last year, but none of them involved the removal of either of my feet, so I generally like to wear two shoes. 

                I called Chief Money Maker into the bathroom and asked him to look at my feet to see if he noticed anything odd.  Maybe I didn’t phrase my question properly, or maybe he’s also lost his mind since we merged homes, but it took several entertaining guesses before he got it right.

                “Ummmm, you only have on one shoe????” he finally said.

                “Bingo,” I said.  Followed by, “And do you know why I only have on one shoe?”

                After several more entertaining guesses involving elves, ninjas, and crumb snatcher mischievousness, he finally guessed the correct answer.  “Ummmm, because you forgot to put on the other one?”

                “Bingo,” I said.  Followed by, “And do you know why I forgot to put on the other shoe?”

                At this point he asked, “What is the prize in this game?”  Upon discovering this was not a game, but instead a “talk”, he suddenly decided it was time for him to return to work.  But due to the strategic placing of my body in front of the bathroom door, he was not allowed escape, and I supplied him with the answer.

                “It’s because I put on one shoe, then thought of something that needs to go on my to-do list, then thought of something I forgot to do, then thought of George Clooney, then started doing something else, and totally forgot to put on my other shoe!  I need my writing studio!  NOW!” 

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A few weeks ago, after one of my increasingly more frequent melt-downs, Chief Money Maker and I determined that I had no place to escape in our home.  Granted, it’s a large home, but when filled with crumb snatchers that have found all my hiding places – including the washer which I didn’t know they knew existed – it’s become more difficult to find my sanity space.  And thus the idea for a writing studio, and a new section of my blog, was birthed.

                I want to be the next Celia Rivenbark or Dave Barry.  Since USA Today quoted, “Think Dave Barry with a female point of view” in regards to Ms. Rivenbark’s writing, I’ll probably have to settle for this quote on my book.   “Mama Bread Baker….think Celia Rivenbark with a different point of view, THEN think Celia Rivenbark with a Dave Barry point of view, or think Dave Barry with a Celia Rivenbark point of view, or think about George Clooney…just because he’s sexy.”  Whatever quote USA Today decides to use, I want to be like Celia and Dave…published.

                I imagine that the key to their success was a quiet area within their own home that allowed them the ability to have a train of thought that lasted more than twenty-seven seconds before interruption.  I didn’t really research this information, so this can’t be officially confirmed, but it is what I imagined.  And neither one returned my phone calls.  Of course, that could be because they already assumed I had been taken to the local sanitarium after hearing my blubbering message that went something like this.  “I only have on one shoe, and I forget everything, and I want to be like you.  Or like Celia Rivenbark.  Wait, is this Dave Barry I’m calling?  If this is Celia that I’ve called, I want to be like you being like Dave.  Now I’ve confused myself.  See what I mean?  Don’t you agree I need a writing studio?  Please call back and tell Chief Money Maker you agree!”

                Chief Money Maker needed to hear no more, and determined that it would be best that he provide a place for me in our home where he can lock me away, I mean, where I can get some peace and quiet.  We decided to turn one half of our third garage into a writing studio.  But given that I am not Celia Rivenbark or Dave Barry (i.e. I’m not yet published) we decided to do the room on a theme.  A budget theme.  A very lowwwwww budget theme of two hundred dollars.  We will research bargain purchases, repurpose existing items in our home, and use the very cheap labor (i.e. free) of the crumb snatchers, to accomplish our goal.

                We hope to go from this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok, well maybe not that, but something close.  Follow my blog over the next few weeks as our project comes to life and maybe, just maybe, you too can build your own escape…and stop hiding out in the washer!

© 2011 CThacker

Filed under The Insanity that is our Life

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                 I had knee surgery on Tuesday.  I call it surgery, but my doctor said it was, “A simple little knee scope.  Piece of cake.”  My Doctor is a liar.  There was nothing simple about it.  But unfortunately, I didn’t have much of a choice.  I’ve been experiencing problems with my left knee since I was sixteen. 

                As difficult as it is for the crumb snatchers to comprehend, I once was an active teenager.  I ran track (yes, even though no one was chasing me), played softball, and volleyball.  The first time my knee popped out of place, I was vacuuming.  I couldn’t comprehend how I had broken my knee simply by performing this chore.  With the help of my stepfather, we popped my knee back in place.  You might ask why I didn’t have it looked at way back then.  I’m pretty sure it was because we didn’t have Obamacare. 

                Also, my mother had her own philosophy about healthcare.  If bones weren’t protruding, or blood wasn’t pouring out of a major vein with the possibility of bleeding out in 2.6 seconds, then just put some aloe vera or mercurochrome (apparently declared in 1998 by the FDA as “not generally recognized as safe and effective”)1 on the injury, slap it with a band-aid, place a heating pad on it for twenty-four hours, then ice it, and all should be well!  I once told her that my chest hurt when breathing in.  She told me, “Well, don’t breathe in!”  So given that my knee cap was only slightly six inches from where it should be, and that I could still walk on it, I didn’t see a Doctor.

                I learned to live with it over the next twenty-five years, fortunate to always be in the company of at least one sadist who didn’t mind pulling my knee back into place when it would pop out.  At least up until a few weeks ago when it once again popped out, conveniently while Chief Money Maker was on one of those business trips where he was hanging out in a bar with his colleagues.  I yelled upstairs for the only two crumb snatchers home at the time, The Eldest and The Nephew.  They came downstairs and I explained that one of them would have to pull on my leg while I screamed and cursed at them until they heard a loud pop at which time I would experience immediate relief and stop cursing.  Apparently, because they are so considerate of one another and wanted to allow the other the opportunity to show me how much they love me, they fought over who would perform this task.

                The Eldest said, “Dude, you do it!”

                The Nephew said, “Nuh-uh Dude, she’s your mother!”

                The Eldest said, “No way Dude, she’s your aunt, and I have a weak stomach!”

                The Nephew said, “Yeah Dude, but that’s only when you drink more than three beers.”

                Meanwhile, I sat on the couch in excruciating pain watching this sentimental display of love for the woman who cares and provides for them on a daily basis.  The Nephew finally won (or lost, however you want to look at it) and began pulling on my leg while I screamed and cursed and begged The Eldest to just go ahead and shoot me.  Unlike the many other times, it appeared my knee was not going to pop back into place.

                Given that I couldn’t move without screaming profanities, The Eldest finally called 911 and requested an ambulance.  A few minutes later, our house was swarmed with at least ten good-looking EMT’s and fire personnel all hoping to find a young naked female who had fallen in the bathtub and couldn’t get up.  Once they realized it was just an old lady with a knee problem, several of them went back to the station while the others that had drawn the short stick stayed and placed me on the gurney and took me to the Emergency Room.

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                After arriving at the ER, I was soon (one hour later) whisked off to the X-Ray room where a nice young man attempted to take pictures of my good knee.  I gently said, “Unless you need a comparison of the knee that has absolutely nothing wrong with it, perhaps we should X-Ray the knee that is in pain?”  He thought that was a pretty good idea.  Maybe I should consider a career as an X-Ray technician.

                Shortly after that (one hour later) the ER Doctor came in and said he had no clue what was wrong with my knee but he would bill me thousands of dollars for my visit and refer me to an orthopedic specialist who would then bill me thousands of dollars more to figure out what was really wrong with my knee.  In the meantime, he would be happy to straighten out my knee and put it in a splint so he could at least say he did something.  Before doing so, he was kind enough to give me a nice little pain killer called Dilaudid.  If you have never had this stuff, I strongly recommend that you go outside right now and chop off your left hand so you can go to the ER and get some.  It’s that good.

                I set my appointment for Campbell’s Clinic, and several X-Rays later (of the correct knee of course), and an MRI, the nice orthopedic Doctor determined that I had a torn meniscus.  We scheduled the “simple little knee scope” for August 30th 2011.  A day that will forever live in infamy…at least in my mind.

                We arrived at the surgery center at 12:30 p.m. where I was immediately whisked to the business office where I was asked to pay what our insurance wouldn’t cover, or they could hold my knee in lay-away until the balance was paid.  After Chief Money Maker offered an alternative of signing over one of the crumb snatchers and they refused, we went ahead and paid the requested amount based on the assumption that I might possibly need my knee in the next few weeks.

                We then sat in the patient waiting room where I had a head-on view of a large vending machine containing all kinds of goodies, and a soda machine, each displaying a sign that read, “Patients, we know this looks really good to you, but since you have been told not to eat or drink after midnight, these have only been placed here to taunt and torture you.  Please do not eat or drink any of this yummy looking stuff.”

                Shortly after (two hours later), I was called back to be prepped for surgery.  They were apparently smarter than the ER X-ray technician because they wrote “wrong” and “correct” on my respective legs to ensure that the Doctor didn’t make a mistake.  This was very reassuring….sort of.

                Shortly after (one hour later), the Doctor came in to explain to me what he would be doing.  Chief Money Maker and I nodded like we knew what the hell he was talking about, and then I was taken away for my “simple little knee scope.”

                Now keep in mind, over the last several years, I have had two sinus surgeries, and two bunion surgeries.  I also birthed Sweet Pea (not in the last several years) with no medication by using the simple pain control method of cursing out the Doctor and nurses in languages I didn’t even know I knew, as well as telling my husband that he would never again get to do the nana with me, which may explain why we are now divorced.  But when I came out of this surgery, it was worse than all of those combined. 

                Upon waking, I was in immediate and excruciating pain.  Apparently when the Doctor described the procedure, I missed the part where he would place a blow torch inside my knee, complete with a remote control where he would sit at the nurses’ station going, “Watch this, y’all.”  At which time he would turn on the blow torch with his remote and slowly increase the searing blue flame until I screamed in agony.  I also missed the part where he would place a watermelon seed inside my knee area, then fertilize it with nuclear strength Miracle Grow where it would it would suddenly expand to the size of an award winning watermelon at the County Fair.

                As I cried and cursed out Chief Money Maker and the nurse, once again in languages I didn’t realize I knew, they tried to minimize my pain over the course of the next hour by giving me two Percocet, Toradol, Demerol, and finally the miracle pain killer Dilaudid, whereas the pain finally leveled out to a twenty-two on a scale of one to ten.  When the nurse asked how I was feeling and I replied, “In my world everyone is a pony and we all eat rainbows and poop butterflies,” they determined it was time for me to go home.2

                Once at home, Chief Money Maker made sure he kept me on my pain killer schedule, not wanting me to commit suicide to escape the pain, leaving him alone to care for five crumb snatchers.  The crumb snatchers were very sensitive and understanding of my situation as well.  Knowing that I could not cook dinner for them, they would gently wake me from my oxycodone induced dream featuring George Clooney, Richard Gere, and Ben Roethlisberger (yes, a weird combination I know…blame it on the drugs) to ask me what I was going to order them for dinner.  Sweet Pea, realizing we were low on grocery staples, and anxious to use her shiny new driver’s license, also offered to go shopping.  She returned with six two-liters of Coke, two bags of tortilla chips, restaurant style queso cheese dip, double fudge caramel brownies (supposedly to help me feel better), and vanilla ice cream.  When I reminded her that I like them to have something green with their meals, she replied, “I know Mom.  I got guacamole dip too!”  The other crumb snatchers, sensitive to my situation made sure to stay away from me as much as they could for fear of being asked to do something for me, or being cursed out in case Chief Money Maker forgot to make sure I had taken my next pain pill on schedule.

                So, the moral of this blog is: Doctors lie, Dilaudid is good, and never have a “simple little knee scope” unless absolutely necessary.  I have to sign off now because Chief Money Maker says it’s time for my next pain pill. 

1  As reported on this website: –  Don’t ask why I was checking out a website called ”straightdope” 

2  As quoted by one of those weird little Dr. Suess creatures in the wonderful feature film Horton Hears a Who           

© 2011 CThacker

Filed under The Insanity that is our Life

                 In crime scene analysis, detectives are trying to answer the questions of who, what, why, when, and how?  That happens at our house too…a lot.  The most recent mystery involved a strange substance on the wall in our living room.  On Sunday, as I stood in the kitchen gazing into the great room, musing about what would best adorn the large empty space above the windows, my eyes fell upon an unfamiliar spot.  Now granted, I have spent months trying to determine the best way to decorate the space, but that quarter sized spot wasn’t quite what I had in mind for home décor.  And I was pretty sure this wall had just been recently “decorated” by the unfamiliar spot.

                  My mind ran through the normal questions that people would ask in a situation like this.  What is that?  How did it get there? Etc., etc., etcActually, I’m lying.  My first thought was, “What the hell have the crumb snatchers done NOW?”  And the investigation began.

           

 “We’ve got a mystery to solve,” I yelled to Chief Money Maker.

                Mumbling to himself, “What the hell is it this time?” he entered the kitchen and I pointed out the spot.  “I’ll go get the crime scene kit.”

             He climbed the ladder identifying the curious spot to be about ten feet high.  Next, we took pictures of the matter before removal.  “Is it a bug?” I asked.                

                “Doesn’t appear to be,” he replied.

  As I climbed up the ladder to take the crime scene photos, it reminded me of something I had just recently cleaned from our kitchen floor.  “I swear that looks like pizza sauce!”

             By this time, Aunt Sassy (Chief Money Maker’s sister) had dropped by, as she often does when she needs to be amused and once again we didn’t fail her, and she asked, “What in heaven’s name are you doing?”  Only she used more choice words than that.

                We explained that we were crime solving and she took pictures as I bagged and tagged the evidence, making sure the chain of evidence was properly documented.  We sent the evidence off to the lab for scientific testing.  We received the results about two minutes later.

  

              “Mmmmm, yep, it’s pizza sauce!” Chief Money Maker notified us.

             I scored highly on my ACT and attended Ole Miss, Chief Money Maker has his Masters degree, and Aunt Sassy worked her way through college earning her Bachelor’s degree, yet not one of us could come up with a logical explanation of how one single lone solitary spot of pizza sauce could end up ten feet high on our living room wall.  However, we are well enough educated to know that if we asked the crumb snatchers, they would blame it on Not Me…again. 

                Aunt Sassy suggested that we have a contest giving each crumb snatcher the opportunity to come up with the most creative explanation of how pizza sauce ended up in that particular spot.  We also hoped that somewhere in their zeal to win the contest, we would glean the truth of this episode, because this stuff is just too hard to make up!  Brilliant, we thought!  A ten dollar Yogurt Mountain gift certificate was now at stake for the winner. 

                Wolfy was first to offer up his creative explanations.  There was no limit to the number of scenarios they could offer; again hoping we would glean the truth somewhere in their explanations.

                Wolfy explanation one:  A fly landed in my pizza.  I didn’t see it.  The fly flew away covered in pizza sauce and landed on the wall.  (Chief Money Maker decided this scenario wasn’t the truth, as the spot was about one inch in diameter.  Maybe if it were a Texas fly?)

                Wolfy explanation two:  Elves had a food fight with pizza rolls.  (Chief Money Maker contemplated this theory, but laser analysis based on the average height of an elf placed the most likely point of impact at seven, not ten, feet.)

                Wolfy explanation three:  Mama Bread Baker put the pizza sauce on the wall so she would have something to write about.  (This theory was immediately discounted as Chief Money Maker didn’t want to be hit upside his head with a cast iron skillet by Mama Bread Baker.  Not to mention that it most likely would have been a bon bon stain if I had planted it myself!)

                The Eldest had this scenario:  I don’t know how, I don’t know why, but Gummi Bear did it.  (Chief Money Maker considered this theory as a plausible truth, but Gummi Bear had a pretty solid alibi for the time frame in which we believe the crime occurred.  For once.)

                The Nephew gave this explanation:  There was a clan of Chinese midget ninjas known as the Yumgudi.  The Yumgudi are notorious ninja thieves who break into homes, solely to steal their food and goodies. On one particular night, they were on a quest for pizza rolls. After finding a location (our house), they struck.  Silently and stealthily sneaking into our house, they headed toward the freezer, only to find their rival clan, the Nogudi with the pizza rolls in hand!  After an epic battle, both clans had but one ninja left, and both decided to split what was left of the pizza rolls, and to clean up the mess of battle. The two ninjas were just about done when they heard someone open a door and had to vanish early, leaving behind one tiny clue to the epic battle of the pizza rolls.  (I found this theory to be quite reasonable, as it would also explain the numerous bumps, thumps, and yells of “Owwwww” that I hear drifting down the stairs in the middle of the night.  Chief Money Maker discounted it based on a previous case in which the Yumgudi’s were found to prefer burritos over pizza rolls.)

                Gummi Bear had this theory:  Elves came to have a paintball fight, only the paintballs were filled with pizza sauce.  The fight began with one shot, and then they realized that’s all they had.  The End.  (What’s up with their obsession with elves???)

                Sweet Pea thinks this happened:  Wolfy and Gummi Bear were throwing pizza rolls at each other because Gummi Bear stole one from Wolfy.  (Ok, so she decided to work the “most likely scenario” angle rather than the “creative” angle.  Kudos for her originality!  Chief Money Maker wonders if she is possibly diverting the investigation away from her and her boyfriend, given that she has the detective wrapped around her little pinkie!)

                Needless to say, this will most likely be stored away in the “unsolved mysteries of the Thacker Reservation file”, given that the only way to really learn the truth would be to deny food to all crumb snatchers until the offender comes forward.  The last time we did that, the lady from Child Protective Services asked that we find another way to get to the bottom of things.  Geez, doesn’t she realize that they will eventually get hungry and come forward…or rat out their sibling?

                So anyway, I am seeking your help.  Please comment and vote for your favorite crumb snatcher explanation.  That way we can take them to Yogurt Mountain, dangle all those tasty little flavors and toppings in front of them, and then torture the truth out of them!  Hey, we didn’t say they could actually use the gift certificate!

Thanks for stopping by again!  Check back for next week’s episode of Unsolved Crumb Snatcher Mysteries!

© 2011 CThacker

Filed under The Insanity that is our Life

As was previously mentioned in an earlier blog, Sweet Pea recently turned sixteen. In honor of that great achievement, Chief Money Maker has been awarded the opportunity to pay one arm, one leg, and three of the nine toes (yes, he does only have nine, but that’s another blog) he has left, to add her to our auto insurance. He also voluntarily offered his right ear and his left pinkie as a deposit for November when he will once again be afforded (afford my @$$) the opportunity to add another inexperienced teenage driver, Wolfy, to the auto insurance. So I decided to gather quotes from other insurance companies, in hopes of saving Chief Money Maker’s other arm.

Dear Mr., Mrs., or Ms. Insurance Guy or Lady:

I am seeking a quote from your company to provide auto insurance for our family. Sweet Pea, our band new inexperienced, giggly teenage daughter will be driving a restored 1994 Chevrolet Camaro. Red, of course. She has promised not to gather six of her other giggly teenage friends, pile them in her car, and squeal out of the parking lot with all of them yelling at gawking teenage boys. Of course, she probably will, but still, she promised.

Next we’ll need to add our nineteen year old nephew who only has three accidents involving only him.  Hey, shouldn’t we get some credit for his consideration of others? He doesn’t have a car because we’ve told him we don’t believe he’ll have it long enough to make it worth it before he wrecks it. We only let him drive ours. Please credit us for our outstanding parenting skills.

Third, we’ll need to add our twenty-one year old son who drives a suped up, flame striped Honda Civic with heavily tinted windows. He has only  had one accident…that was his fault…well, that was really the cops fault…he says…and he only rear-ended his girlfriend’s car…with her mother in the passenger seat, anyway.

In regards to those pesky tickets, (I’m not sure just how many there are) he has always paid them. Even the one that I learned about in these ten easy steps:

 

1) Received ticket in mail

2) Called son to ask him about it.

3) He said, “I was gonna pay it.”

4) I said, “How were you going to pay for it? You don’t have any money?”

5) He said, “It’s only twenty-five dollars.”

6) I said, “Twenty-five dollars? What ticket are you talking about?”

7) He said, “What ticket are YOU talking about”

8 ) I said, “Nu-uh, you first.”

9) He said, “Seatbelt violation.”

10) I said, “Rolling a red light – videoed!”

Please consider that he continues to vehemently claim that it was a local Germantown, TN conspiracy, and that the video-tape had been tampered with. He does have his convictions….I mean beliefs. Really, he doesn’t have any convictions. I don’t think.

Next, you’ll need to add me, Mama Bread Baker. I am a very safe driver. The Xanax really helps me deal with all those people honking and yelling at me when I’m driving. People are so rude these days!

Finally, you’ll need to add Chief Money Maker. He doesn’t drive a whole lot, partly because all of the vehicles, including his, are usually gone, and partly because….well, just between you and me, it’s really more like a case…he drinks about six beers a night.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Mama Bread Baker – Thacker Reservation

I sent the email to several of the insurance companies, and it wasn’t long before the responses came rolling in. With hands, and email, reaching out, I was offered a years supply of Xanax and quoted the price of, “$Please-take-two-of-these-each-month-and-send-us-a-blank-check.00.” With a very neighborly quote, we received this offering, “Please move out of our neighborhood, and we will pay you each month. This will save us the claims on others we have insured in your area.” On a basket straight from the farmer’s market, we received this quote, “Bwwhahahahahahahahahahaha.”

I determined that we would have to stay with our current insurance carrier, because obviously that creepy little talking lizard thing is one of the crumb snatchers pets. Otherwise, why else would they insure us? Nevertheless, our health insurance has offered to pay for replacing Chief Money Maker’s leg before completely terminating us.

Hey Honey, I know you’re out of town but, if you happen to be reading this, let me take this opportunity to make a point. If we go ahead and get that back yard, in ground pool you can drown yourself at home instead of driving down to the river! I love you!

© 2011 CThacker

Filed under The Insanity that is our Life

                What do ceiling height, truck mileage, and grenade shrapnel have in common?  Give up?  They are all things that could potentially involve crumb snatchers in our household!  If you know me, and you know my family, you would probably find it hard to believe that I’m having some difficulty figuring out what to write about today.  On the other hand, you might guess that the difficulty is coming from figuring out which story to write about, given that these crumb snatchers provide me with more than adequate fodder for this blog.  Which is a really good thing since I officially joined the Post a Week Challenge today!  And then I received a text from Chief Money Maker, out of town again on one of those important business trips, and I couldn’t help but laugh at the insanity that is our life.  Our conversation is pictured below, but it went like this:

                ME:  12:03 PM “Are our ceilings 8 or 9 feet?”

                ME:  3:12 PM “How many miles did you say were on the truck?”

                ME:  6:06 PM “Does a grenade have shrapnel in it?”

                CMM:  7:33 PM “I think. 9 Ft ceilings. 105k no on truck. & most grenades have shrapnel. What a bizarre set of questions.”  (Complete with his fat fingered keyboard mistakes!)  

      

          Now I can only imagine what Chief Money Maker was thinking when he got out of training and read this trio of questions.  And since I know he sometimes talks out loud to himself, I can imagine it went something like this, “Is my wife losing it again?  Have the crumb snatchers driven her to purchase grenades?  Have the crumb snatchers purchased grenades?  Does she need to know how tall the ceilings are so she can calculate how many grenades fit in a room?  Did one of the crumb snatchers fall through the ceiling again?  Are the crumb snatchers making bombs again?  And where is my truck that she can’t look at the odometer herself???”  All perfectly reasonable questions, at least for our household.

                First of all – I know, this part is going to be hard for you to believe but – I do occasionally lose it.  And the crumb snatchers know I can lose it as well, and that isn’t such a bad thing.  There was one particular day when Gummi Bear crumb snatcher had driven poor Mama Bread Baker to the brink of insanity and I snapped like a bungee cord with a one thousand pound Sumo wrestler jumping from the Empire State Building!  I call it my “I lost time” moment, a common complaint of those suffering from multiple personality disorders, and a line from the excellent movie “Primal Fear” starring the ever sexy Richard Gere. 

Image via Wikipedia

     All I remember from the time I regained consciousness was the silence in the house, the look on Chief Money Maker and Gummi Bear’s face, and the rest of the crumb snatchers huddled together in the man cave like a bunch of refugees from Cuba in a row boat caught in a hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean!  Oh yeah, and Chief Money Maker’s nephew was here and he quietly departed the house in the midst of my episode (that’s how we refer to it now) seeking the safety and shelter of his own home.  He apparently, however, was quite impressed by my “going HAM” abilities.  He told his mother, “Mama Bread Baker rocks!”  Gummi Bear and I patched things up later that evening, given that his primary concern was whether or not I would still make him a hot breakfast in the morning!

                And yes, Chief Money Maker would also have every reason to wonder if the crumb snatchers were making bombs….again.  On our commute home from work one day, we received a call from one of the crumb snatchers (herein to remain nameless due to his witness protection agreement in return for his snitching) alerting us to some odd activity by Gummi Bear and Wolfy.  We arrived home to observe small round BB-like pellets, a white powder, and some rather guilty looking crumb snatchers holding lighters in our driveway.  Upon interrogation by Chief Money Maker, the guilty parties admitted to filling containers with ball bearings and baby powder (for a cool “poof” effect) and then lighting them with fire crackers.  Yes, folks, this is in essence a bomb.   I blame You Tube for their degeneracy!  Just do a search on it for baby powder bombs. 

Image via CrunchBase

                We brought them inside to discuss the seriousness of their actions.  The two somberly sat at the table, while Chief Money Maker returned to the garage to perform the crime scene analysis, and collect and bag the evidence.  While waiting, I asked the two, “Were you both born stupid?  Or do you just practice very hard?”  Ok, so once again, I realized my parenting skills needed a little tweaking and I apologized for the question and began speaking to them about how their actions could have harmed them or someone else.  Then Chief Money Maker entered the kitchen and said, “You two are dumb@$$es!”  Ok, maybe my parenting skills weren’t so off target after all! 

                So, as you can tell, it isn’t so farfetched for Chief Money Maker’s imagination to run wild when receiving a trio of such questions while out of town.  To make matters worse, Sweet Pea and I were in the movie theater when Chief Money Maker responded, and he had to wait two and a half hours before receiving an explanation for the odd combination of requested information.  When I finally spoke with him, he was quite relieved to learn that the house was still standing, the truck was still in our possession, and neither the crumb snatchers nor I, had been igniting grenades.  Mama Bread Baker was simply gathering auto insurance quotes, home owner’s quotes, and utilizing grenades as an analogy in another writing project.  But hey, no reason he shouldn’t have to sweat it out a little.  He does leave me at home alone with sanity snapping-bomb making crumb snatchers!

© CThacker 2011

Filed under

Image via Wikipedia

            We apparently have another crumb snatcher in our household that needs to be claimed on our income taxes.  However, I first have to obtain documentation for this household member so I placed a call to the Social Security Administration and it went something like this:

                ME:  “I need to obtain a Social Security number for a member of our household.”

                EXTREMELY OVERWORKED-UNDERTRAINED SOCIAL SECURITY GUY (HEREAFTER REFERRED TO AS SSG):  “No problem ma’am.  Congratulations on your new baby.”

                ME:  “Oh, it’s not a new baby.  They’ve apparently been around a while.”

                SSG:  “Ok, well, how old is the household member?”

                ME:  “I’m not really sure, but I’ve been hearing about them since The Eldest crumb snatcher was old enough to talk.  So maybe….nineteen or so?”

                SSG:  “Ummmm….ok.  Is the member a male or female?”

                ME:  “It’s hard to say.  I don’t think anyone has ever mentioned the gender of this household member.”

                SSG:  “I’m a little confused ma’am.  You’re seeking a social security number for a member of your household but you don’t know the age or sex?”

                ME:  “That’s correct.”

                SSG:  “Can you hold on a second?  I may need supervisory assistance with this one.”

                ME:  “No problem.”

                Wow, this is going to be a bit easier than I had hoped.  Normally, when I call government agencies, it’s usually such a hassle to get such a helpful employee on the line.  Is that Phil Collins they are playing?  Cool!

Image via Wikipedia

                SSG:  “Thank you for holding ma’am.  I have my supervisor on the line and we are going to record this conversation if that’s okay with you.”

                ME:  “That’s no problem at all.  I usually have to repeat phone calls and tell the same thing over and over with you government agencies, so I appreciate your offer.”

                SSG:  “What is the name of the household member for which you wish to obtain a social security number?”

                ME:  “Not Me.”

                SSG:  “Yes ma’am you explained that earlier.  I understand it’s not you, but I need a name.”

                ME:   “Oh, that IS the name.  Not Me.”

                SSG:  “Ummmmm, ok.  Is that a first and a middle, or first and a last?”

                ME:  “That’s a really good question.  I never really asked.  That’s just what they’ve always gone by…Not Me.”

                SSG:  “Ok, do you have a birth certificate for Not Me?”

                ME:  “Oh gracious no.  I didn’t give birth to this one.  Two was enough for me!”

                SSG:  “Do you have a passport, a photo ID, a library card, or maybe a pre-approved credit card offer mailed to Not Me?  We need to have some kind of evidence of this individual’s existence.”

                ME:  “Well, why didn’t you just say so?  I have plenty of evidence that Not Me exists!”

                SSG:  “Let’s hear it!”

                ME:  “Well, for example, we had Sweet Pea’s – that’s my daughter – 16th birthday party the other day and when Chief Money Maker and I went to bed, there were six hamburgers and about twelve hot wings left in the refrigerator.  When Chief Money Maker went to make some lunch the next day, they were all gone.  We asked all the crumb snatchers – we have five – who ate them, and they all said Not Me.”

                There was a pause in the conversation, as I’m sure Overworked Undertrained Social Security Guy was jotting down the details.

                ME:  “Oh and I forgot to mention that Not Me is apparently disabled.”

                SSG:  “You don’t know the age or gender of Not Me, but you know they are disabled?  How do you know this?”

                ME:  “Well, it’s pretty obvious that they only have one foot….or maybe just one leg…because I have sixty-two single socks in the laundry basket right now.  All my other crumb snatchers have two feet, so Not Me is obviously wearing only one sock at a time.”

                Another pause, as I’m sure Overworked Undertrained Social Security Guy was absorbing this new information.  I suspected he was calling in more assistance for this complicated situation because I could hear shuffling of people in the background.

                SSG:  “Ma’am, your case appears to be very complex so my supervisor has authorized me to bring in some of my associates to assist and we are going to place you on speaker now, if that is okay with you.”

                ME:  “Oh, absolutely.  You people have been so helpful today.  I usually end up getting very frustrated trying to work with government agencies.”

                SSG:  “We’re happy to assist.  Can you provide us with more evidence of Not Me’s existence?”

                ME:  “I could provide you with hundreds.  This person has been hanging around our family for a while.  Not Me has colored on my walls when my children were little, drinks the last of the milk and leaves empty jugs in the refrigerator, eats entire bags of chips just brought home from the grocery store, takes change and small bills.  Oh, and they might have some emotional trauma because they sometimes cause arguments that lead to hitting with the crumb snatchers.  Every time we ask who started the fight, it’s ALWAYS Not Me.  Can we get some help for Not Me’s mental health issues as well?”

                SSG:  “Oh, I definitely think my supervisor is looking into mental health assistance even as we speak!”

                ME:  “Great!  I have one more proof of evidence of Not Me, and after that you should really understand why we need assistance.  Last year, Chief Money Maker and I came home to a giant hole in our ceiling and it was apparent someone had been in the attic and had fallen through the sheetrock into our bedroom.  At the time, Gummi Bear crumb snatcher and Wolfy crumb snatcher – the two youngest – were the only one’s at home.  At least we thought.  Unbeknownst to us, Not Me was apparently here because when we asked who was in the attic and fell through the ceiling; both boys confirmed it was Not Me.  That was really frustrating, and cost us quite a bit of time to repair the hole in our ceiling!”

                I suddenly heard laughter and snickering in the background and wondered if my call was running into some sort of celebration that had been pre-planned.  Perhaps a birthday celebration or a retirement ?  Because this gentleman had been so helpful, I wanted to help him wrap up his call.

                ME:  “Sir, do you have enough to start the application process now?”

                SSG:  “Oh yes ma’am.  We have plenty, and we certainly appreciate your call.  We’ll be sending you something in the mail soon.”

                I thanked the gentleman for his time and hung up the phone satisfied with the morning’s efforts.  Once we obtain a social security number for Not Me, Chief Money Maker can claim them as a deduction on our taxes!  Perhaps we could use the additional refund to add on a room for all the items Not Me leaves laying around the house, and all the single socks!

Postscript from Mama Bread Baker:  This blog is based on a true story.  Some details have been dramatized for literary effect, but the actions of Not Me are real.  Really real.  Just ask the crumb snatchers!

© 2011 CThacker

Filed under , The Insanity that is our Life

                As most of you know, Chief Money Maker brings in the primary yeast for this family’s bread baking needs.  Because of this, I’ve discovered that there is quite a disparity between the way the crumb snatchers perceive his job and mine.  There is a slim possibility it is because he doesn’t go around telling stories about them, but I’m still not convinced that is the main issue.  I believe the crux of the issue is that no one understands the life of a writer (or a wanna-be writer to be more accurate.)

                Chief Money Maker has blessed me with the opportunity to stay at home and pursue this life-long dream of mine, and to make sure I bring him lunch every day, pack his suitcase when he goes out of town, call the air conditioner repair man when needed (see previous blog titled Clean House, Dirty Air Conditioner), and refill his coffee as needed.  Hmmmm, did I just describe the job of a secretary?  If you factor in the make-out sessions he asks for on the rare occasions when we get rid of all the crumb snatchers, then I believe I just did.

                Anywho, the life of a writer isn’t easy.  I’ve encountered a few issues in my new profession, the first being that I must share an office space with Chief Money Maker now that he works from home as well.  I pride myself on being a pretty good cube mate.  Chief Money Maker on the other hand has been afforded the opportunity of the solitude of his own private office for many years.  The kind of solitude that allows him to crunch on ice at whim, to giggle out loud at the latest People of Wal-Mart joke arriving in his inbox, and to repeatedly click his pen when on important business calls discussing WANS, LANS, and I think I even once heard him discussing hams. 

                Writers, however, need solitude to reach inside the depths of their creative, or some might say warped, minds and generate the words that will entertain the masses that subscribe to their blog (or the fifteen people currently subscribed).  Either way, I need my own space.  Unfortunately, with a crumb snatcher housed in every spare inch of our home, it doesn’t look like I’ll be getting that opportunity anytime soon.  Perhaps I need to amp my efforts to encourage The Eldest crumb snatcher and his cousin to move out on their own, vacating the upstairs Man Cave so I can take it over as a writing studio. 

                Although Chief Money Maker understands and supports my new objective, the crumb snatchers have some trouble understanding the requirements of my current job.  This has been the second, and more challenging obstacle to overcome in my new career.  When Sweet Pea recently wanted an impromptu trip to the mall, I had to explain that I was working.

                “But Mom, you’re just sitting on the couch watching “Jerry Springer” and eating those bon bon thingies!”

Image via Wikipedia

                “No honey,” I explained sensitively, “Mommy is getting story ideas.  Today’s story is about this woman’s brother-cousin Bo that just had a sex change and has become a pole dancer at her favorite lesbian biker bar!  Fascinating stuff, don’t you think?”  Sweet Pea just rolled her eyes and walked away.

                A few days later, The Eldest crumb snatcher brought home a new friend of the female persuasion and brought her into our home office to introduce her to us.  Chief Money Maker was busy working on a 600 page spreadsheet filled with those WAN, LAN, and ham thingies, crunching ice, and clicking his pen repeatedly.  The Eldest explained that Chief Money Maker had a very important job that no one could accurately explain and that he had to go on really important business trips where he sent pictures of himself and his “team” sitting in bars nightly discussing “work”.  The female friend seemed quite impressed.

                He then sweetly introduced me.  “This is my Mom.  She’s an aspiring writer who seems to be working on her novel,” then glancing at my computer screen, “or updating her Facebook status.” 

Image via Wikipedia

                “No honey,” I explained sensitively, “Mom is networking on Facebook.  It’s not the same thing!”

                His female friend said, “Way cool!  I’ll add you as a friend and we can work on each other’s farms!”  Sigh, no one understands my job.

                The final clue that no one understands my writing goals came when Gummi Bear crumb snatcher, the youngest of the crew, asked me one night if I was going to cook dinner. 

Image via Wikipedia

               While lying on the couch, I responded “Ask your Dad if he can get something started.  I’m going to be working late tonight.”

                He responded, “But you’re just reading The National Enquirer!”

                I finally lost it and called everyone downstairs for a family meeting.  “Look you bunch of insensitive, life-draining, money leeching, hoodlums…”  Wait, I think it was a little more like this.  “I love you all dearly and I need to explain to you that Mama Bread Baker has a very busy job.  Writing for Dummies says that I need to network (i.e. post on Facebook), gather story ideas (i.e. watch “Jerrry Springer”), and expand my knowledge of current events (i.e. read The National Enquirer) to become a successful writer.  You all want me to be successful, don’t you, so we can get that nice built in swimming pool in the back yard, right?”

                They all glanced at each other and the bravest (or dumbest) finally spoke up and said, “Oh, we thought that was going to come from a bonus from Chief Money Maker’s real job.”

                And suddenly the light bulb illuminated.  The crux of the problem wasn’t that they didn’t understand what I was doing.  It was that they hadn’t seen a paycheck coming from my job.  Maybe they have a point.  I guess I better quit networking, gathering story ideas, and expanding my knowledge of current events and get back to work on my novel.  Those crumb snatchers may not be as dumb as they look!

© 2011 CThacker

Filed under , The Insanity that is our Life

                In just a few short days, August 14th to be exact, the Thacker Reservation will be celebrating the sixteenth anniversary of crumb snatcher Sweet Pea’s arrival into this world.  It seems like only yesterday I was enduring the nine months of heartburn, nausea, backaches, and headaches that came from carrying Sweet Pea in utero.  I’ve always said if she had been my first, she would have been my last.

                I’d love to be one of those mothers that can look at their children and say, “But it was all worth it sweetie.”  I’d love to, but then what would I have to hold over their heads when I’m trying to guilt them into accepting my particular point of view?  It’s especially hard when talking about the birth of Sweet Pea.   I endured sixteen hours (how ironic) of labor with no pain medication because my stupid baby delivery doctor told me “you don’t look like you’re in labor”, sent me home, and told me not to come back until the labor pains created sweat on my lip!  They never did, but I’m pretty sure I saw a drop or two of sweat on his brow when I screamed at him in the labor and delivery room, “Do I look like I’m in labor now @$$hole?”  That was a few moments after my sister and husband forced me upstairs at the hospital because they were afraid they would have to deliver the baby in the lobby.

                I’ll never forget the moment they placed Sweet Pea, screaming at the top of her tiny lungs, into my outstretched arms.  I looked down at my brand new baby daughter and thought, “Awwww…..I’ll love you anyway.”  Ok, so you have figured out that Mama Bread Baker isn’t always the most sensitive of mothers.  But seriously folks, she wasn’t the prettiest baby birthed in that hospital.  She had big round blue eyes taking up half her face, not a stitch of hair on her pointy little head, and cheeks so puffy that the nurses checked three times to make sure she wasn’t storing anything in there.  I’m not kidding.  Just ask her brother, The Eldest crumb snatcher.  He used to stand over her bassinet pursing his lips and blowing his cheeks out as far as he could just to make fun of his new little sister.

                Fortunately, especially for her, within the first two years she grew into her cheeks, her eyes became proportionate with her face, and she finally had enough hair on her head to pull into a small, but obvious, ponytail complete with a bow to indicate yes, she is indeed a girl!  And now, sixteen years later, she has enough hair to cost Chief Money Maker a small fortune every few months to touch up her highlights.  She has indeed blossomed into a beautiful young lady and I’m having a little trouble accepting that my baby girl is growing up.  Sweet Pea has noticed this also.

                It’s that favorite time of year when every stay at home mother celebrates by running naked through the house at seven a.m. with a glass of wine in her hand screaming, “They’re back in school, they’re back in school!”  Or is that just me?  Anyway, Sweet Pea and I went school shopping last week and she wouldn’t let me buy her a cute little lunch box.  They had Hello Kitty lunchboxes, Fairy Princess lunchboxes, and my personal favorite, the Disney Princess “Handbag Style” lunchbox tote.  Check it out on lunchboxes.com.  (I don’t get a commission but it’s the easiest way for me to reference the usage in my blog so I don’t incur any copyright violations.)  I told her she was going to miss having her lunches packed with my special notes and her heart shaped peanut butter jelly sandwiches.  She just rolled her eyes and said something like, “Mom, can we stop at Claire’s and get my ears double pierced and my cartilage pierced?”

                It’s apparently not just Sweet Pea that is growing up.  I also tried to buy lunchboxes for the other two crumb snatchers heading back to school, and I thought I had the youngest crumb snatcher on board with my promise of homemade chocolate chip cookies, until his stupid meddling brother said, “Dude, do you really wanna be beat up every day?”  When did seventh graders stop carrying lunchboxes?

                I also received some flak from The Eldest crumb snatcher when I helped him get ready for sleep away camp this summer.  Being the dutiful mother that I am, we went through his list twice to make sure he had everything he needed.  I reminded him that he might get homesick, but it would only be a week, and he would be home before he realized it.  I promised to write him every day.  He also rolled his eyes and said something like, “First of all, Mom, I’m a COUNSELOR not a camper!  Second of all, you don’t have to write me, you can text.”

                Ok, ok, I get it.  They are growing up and I just have to accept it.  But no one said I have to like it.  So I guess this means that I should take the themed party paraphernalia back to Party City, huh?  Happy Sweet Sixteen Sweet Pea.  Mama loves you.  Really.

© 2011 CThacker

Filed under The Insanity that is our Life

                In a blended family such as ours, equality among the crumb snatchers is a constant balancing act.  Chief Money Maker has always wanted a little girl to spoil, but instead has been provided two crumb snatchers of the male gender by his ex wife.  And the only oven that I, Mama Bread Baker, will be baking in will be the double ovens residing in the kitchen at the Thacker Reservation.  My baby making store is out of business!  So needless to say, when my daughter decided to live with us, Chief Money Maker was excited to start his campaign of spoilage.  And crumb snatcher Sweet Pea had no complaints either.  I now face the constant challenge of reigning in Chief Money Maker to balance his treatment of Sweet Pea in comparison to that of the male crumb snatchers.

                I first realized we might have an issue that needed to be addressed when Sweet Pea was invited to play nerf gun wars with her softball teammates.  Sweet Pea is only fifteen and this would be the first outing with friends that drive.  I was a little nervous.  Sweet Pea and I discussed the outing with Chief Money Maker and he thought it would be perfectly fine for her to join her teammates.  We discussed what time she would return, and I suggested a curfew of seven-thirty.  He glanced at his watch and wondered if I should give Sweet Pea a later curfew given that it was currently seven fifteen.  Sigh, he was spoiling her already.  I acquiesced to a curfew of ten-thirty.  Sweet Pea batted her lashes and thanked him.

                Together, they ran upstairs to check out the nerf gun arsenal of the other male crumb snatchers in the household.  They returned empty-handed and I asked Sweet Pea what she was going to do for weaponry.  She replied that the team said they had an extra nerf gun if she didn’t have one of her own, and bounced back up the stairs to get ready.  Meanwhile, Chief Money Maker and his truck had disappeared.  Something was a little fishy here.

                Fifteen minutes later, Chief Money Maker returned with a bag from Wal-Mart and a guilty sheepish grin on his face.  “What have you done this time?” I asked, as he unloaded the latest and greatest model of automatic firing nerf gun machinery.

                “You can’t send that baby off to her first nerf gun war without her own gun!  You know they will give her the worst one they have!”

                “And you can’t start spoiling her!  What was wrong with the nerf guns upstairs?”

                “They weren’t automatics,” he replied as he began loading the nerf bullets into the rotating holder, installed the batteries, and packed extras in a waist pouch for easy access.

                Sweet Pea came down the stairs and squealed in delight, throwing her arms around Chief Money Maker’s neck.  He showed her how to work the gun, and she and Chief Money Maker tested it out….on ME!

                Battered and bruised from the repeated firings, I piled in the truck with Chief Money Maker and Sweet Pea, and we delivered her to her friend’s house. They would carpool from there to another teammate’s house to begin the war.  I walked up the driveway with Sweet Pea where we were suddenly stampeded with a squealing herd of teenage girls.  After the initial introductions were made, and the inquiries into who would be driving, what speed they would be driving, would both hands remain on the wheels at all times, and would the radio be tuned to a volume of no greater than one, I released my baby girl into the hands of her friends.  While walking back to the truck, I heard someone squeal, “Your gun is sooooooo cool.  That’s much better than the one we were going to give you!”  And Chief Money Maker, watching from the truck with his window rolled down, smiled.

                “I told you!” he said as I climbed back into the truck. 

                I think I replied with something like shut up and drive, given that I didn’t have my cast iron skillet to hit him with. 

                After an agonizing three hours of avoiding the urge to text and ask if she arrived safely, if she remembered what time her curfew was, and if she just wanted me to go ahead and come get her, she arrived home ten minutes before her curfew.  Chief Money Maker was more than anxious to hear the results of the nerf gun wars.

                “Well, the gun was cool and all, but I lost.” 

                Chief Money Maker was shocked.  “How in the world could you lose with that gun?”

                She explained that they had decided to play indoors…and in the dark.  Apparently the latest and greatest model of automatic firing nerf gun machinery also went “ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch” when turned on, alerting the other girls to her location inside the house.

                I smiled at Chief Money Maker and said, “I told you not to spoil her!”

                Mama Bread Baker knows best after all.

© 2011 CThacker

Filed under The Insanity that is our Life

          Let me introduce myself.  I am Mama Bread Baker.  I run a blended family of seven that consists of Chief Money Maker, five crumb snatchers, three dogs, and I.  One thing you should know about me is that I like a clean house. The crumb snatchers once asked me why I liked cleaning so much.  I told them it wasn’t the cleaning that I liked, it was the result. Unfortunately, the only way to achieve that result was to do it myself, with the aid of the crumb snatchers, or hire a maid with their allowance money.  They were suddenly all for chipping in to help.  With the cleaning that is, not their allowance, of course.

            Chief Money Maker appears to be neutral on the subject, certainly not minding the organization I’ve provided since moving into his home. He also doesn’t complain when things get a little behind.   He provides the yeast for the bread baking, and I bake it.  It works well for us that way.  His honey-do-list isn’t very long and he usually (take special note of “usually”) does what is asked.  Mostly because he wants to partake in that fresh-baked bread!  So when Chief Money Maker recently received a quarterly bonus he was agreeable when I asked to purchase a new vacuum.  I immediately began my consumer research, excited about the opportunity to obtain a new house cleaning tool.

            Meanwhile, because I’m Mama Bread Baker, our crumb snatchers come to me when things need to be fixed, and when they want something to eat.  The primary issue the past two months has been the temperature on the second floor of our house where the five crumb snatchers live.  We have separate units for each floor and I had been quite comfortable downstairs.  But I soon began hearing cries of, “It’s so hoooooottt,” from the inhabitants of the upstairs.  “Keep your doors closed,” I yelled back at them.  I wondered how cool does it have to be to sit and watch TV and play video games anyway?  I wasn’t really that concerned although I did relay the complaints to Chief Money Maker.

            However, when the downstairs unit froze up during the week Chief Money Maker was in the Minnesota wilderness with absolutely no electronic connection to the civilized world, I did begin to agree with the crumb snatchers.  Maybe there were some air conditioning issues that needed to be addressed.  Yet for some reason, the 85 degree temperature upstairs was suddenly better than the 180 degrees downstairs and I didn’t hear “It’s so hoooooottt,” once that week.  At least not from them.  I said it quite a few times myself and usually threw in a few other choice words.

            When Chief Money Maker arrived home from the wilderness, where the average daily temperature was 60 degrees, he asked me if I missed him.  While drenched from head to toe with sweat generated by the Memphis summer heat, I hit him upside the head with the cast iron skillet and asked him, “What do YOU think?!”  Shortly thereafter, with an ice pack applied to his head, he contacted a friend of ours who kindly replaced the coil for the main unit, to the tune of a large portion of the bonus money. He also mentioned to Chief Money Maker that cleaning the outside units once or twice a month would help minimize repair costs.  Later, when the cries of “It’s so hoooooottt,” drifted downstairs again, I asked Chief Money Maker if he would clean the outside unit to see if that might resolve the issue.  He replied, “Chief Money Maker do it soon.”  Whatever! Mama Bread Baker was cool and happy once again.

             I counted the remaining eggs of the bonus and there was still enough for the vacuum.  Until the electric bill arrived.  It was twice as much as I had expected, chipping away at more of the bonus.  “It’s so hoooooottt,” was still drifting downstairs from the crumb snatchers.  I showed Chief Money Maker the electric bill and reminded him he was costing us more money by not cleaning the outside unit.  He replied, “Chief Money Maker do it soon.”  And the unit ran constantly for forty days and nights as the children of the Thacker Reservation roamed the upstairs desert complaining as much as the children of Israel did to Moses.  So finally, when I passed an air conditioning crew at a neighbor’s house, I unilaterally decided to schedule a call for them to come to our house the next morning.

            When they arrived, Chief Money Maker explained the recently replaced coil in the main unit, and I played the recordings of each crumb snatcher crying “It’s so hoooooottt.”  Two and one half hours later, we learned that it wasn’t functioning properly because it was DIRTY!  I was so embarrassed.  The woman that keeps a clean house had a dirty air conditioning unit! I wondered what the neighbors would think. 

            Then the bill for cleaning the unit was presented.  The repairman must have known exactly how much bonus we had left, because his bill totaled it all.  I watched the dreams of my new vacuum disappear as the air conditioning repair man drove away with our check.  Mama Bread Baker was no longer happy.  The only consolation is that the cries of “It’s so hoooooottt,” have been replaced with the sound of my husband vacuuming the entire house with my old vacuum.

Post script from Chief Money Maker:  Me highly advise switching off the breaker to your outside air conditioning unit and hosing down at least once a month.

© 2011 CThacker

Filed under The Insanity that is our Life