Sunday, October 21, 2012


Today, my blog is about poopy.  And a little bit about pee pee.  But mostly poop. So, if you don't want to read about, think about, or hear about poop or any of it's derivatives, then no hard feelings, I'll see you next time.


Welcome back.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I had to do one of those tests where you collect your pee for 24 hours in an orange container.  Then, I loaded up the container in the back of my car and headed out for the doctor's office on my way to work.  Well, I took a sharp curve and apparently the lid was not on tight, and guess what?  Urine for a treat. Half the container spilled in the floorboard of the car. I rescued the other half and presented it hopefully to the nurse - won't this be enough?  No, she said, you have to start all over.

Sigh.  We do what we have to do.  But over the years, I have developed such an aversion to bodily fluids, perhaps stemming from that incident, that I have to do things like close my ears in public restrooms so I won't accidentally hear someone else "go." Or if one of my dogs has an oopsy in the house, I have to carefully get a paper towel, lay it on top of the offending materials, and patiently wait for my husband to get home and deal with it.  If someone talks about a booger or a small child sneezes out some goo, I involuntarily gag and my eyes water up.

Just another one of my issues. This week, however, I had to put my big girl panties on and deal with poop.  One of my children has been quite ill for over a month, and in the process of discovering what is wrong, we have had to undergo multiple tests.  After our last visit to the doctor, I was sent off with the "home stool sample kit."  I knew when the lab tech handed it to me that I was going to have to dig deep, but, of course, I would do what I had to do.  The frustration at seeing my baby going through so much pain, discomfort, and stress overrode any silly aversions.

I started out poorly.  They give you these little bottles with little spoons attached and you have to scoop and store the stuff in a bottle with the special solution.  My body reacted to the situation even though I had toilet paper stuffed up my nose and I was chanting in my head.  I would scoop, gag, move the collection bin to the side so I could throw up in the toilet, and repeat.  In doing so, my arm jerked and I spilled some of the solution.  So I had to go to the kitchen and get some spatulas so I could corral the solution and drip it back in the bottle.  Needless to say, the process took some time.

I finished the job and headed off to the lab with a freezer bag full of fun.  I knew the route by heart and marched straight up to the lab door to find it locked.  They were on their break for lunch for another 30 minutes.  As I stood there, trying to decide what to do, a courier came up and knocked on the door.  The nurse opened it, let the courier in, looked at me and my bag, and closed the door.  I heard the lock click and knew we would never be friends.

Another tech came out to get herself some Reeses cups, assuring me it would be just a few more minutes.  People were walking past and the bag was starting to smell - I could tell they thought it was me. When they finally decided their precious break was over, I walked in, handed over the goods, and told the friendlier tech that I was just dropping off.  She held the bag up in the air, looked at it, and then looked at me.  It's a stool sample, I explained, to which she made a "that's nasty" face and grunted.  I was apologetic and slunk out of the room. But very indignant when I got back in my car.

Sigh.  I guess I don't care, because I need to know what's going on with my child.  We do what we have to do.  Plus, I believe in karma, and I know the lab tech will encounter poop again, in a more unwelcome way.  Perhaps it will be via a surprise handshake, or in a special cheer.

In that spirit, I give you my favorite Olivia Lee video, which is completely inappropriate and offensive. 

Until next time, keep crowin' and doing what you have to do!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Yes Santa Claus, there is a Virginia

My house is filled with love.  And dirt. After several years without outside cleaning help, I finally acknowledged that I wasn't cutting the mustard.  So, I asked around and hired a woman named Virginia.

It became clear from our first interaction that Virginia was going to be the alpha in our relationship.  She not only told me the day and time she would come to my house, she then subsequently called me just before her arrival to say she went home after another client forgot to leave a key. And Virginia didn't feel like sticking around.

But I was desperate, so with a promise that she would show up next time, we tried again.  The following week she was there, bright and early, and without conversation, headed straight upstairs.

What happened in the next few hours was nothing short of a painful miracle.  It was like being interviewed on the sidewalk by a roving reporter about fashion and suddenly realizing you were the unwitting subject of "What Not to Wear."

As I sat at my desk listening to the sounds upstairs, I felt a mixture of curiosity, fear, and concern.  Obviously, they were in my closet, which was off-limits to all living things except the air conditioner man, because the attic entrance was located on my closet ceiling.  My messy closet is my dirty little secret, my scarlet letter, my shame.  For someone to go in there and start poking around was the equivalent of tucking my skirt in my underwear and sending me down the runway.

Things were being slammed and clanked and tugged --- and then the avalanche began.  One after the other, trash bags were hurled down the stairs. The first one startled me, but when I saw what it was, I relaxed.  We have three trashcans upstairs, so naturally there would be a bag of trash.  But then another one came rolling down, and another.  What on earth were in THOSE bags?! 

That's when my inner hoarder took over.  I kept devising reasons to walk by the bags, to peek at what was inside.  One bag, the length of a  human body, was completely full of shoe boxes. If a stranger is willing to throw out someone's empty shoe boxes from their private closet, what else were they capable of? I broke out into a sweat and began to plan how I would make sure she didn't take the trash with her so I could sort through it later under the cover of darkness.

After hours of scalping my upstairs, Virginia and her assistant moved in for the kill downstairs.  Their mops were fully loaded and ready for battle.  With a sheepish grin, thinking of all the horrors they must have encountered upstairs, I tiptoed to my bedroom and hid from their judging eyes.

Truly, they beat the hell out of my house.  I swear I heard my knickknacks screaming. But after 5 hours and 15 minutes, I got the call that the war was over, and Virginia had won.

Virginia: "Bye!"
Me: "Thank you Virginia.  How much do I owe you?"
Virginia: "2,000."
Me on the inside: Sh!t.
Me on the outside: quizzical look nervous laugh?
Virginia: "Oh sorry, 200."
(Because in Spanish, her first language, 200 is pronounced as if it is 2,000)
Me: "Can you come back in 2 weeks?
Virginia: "It is better for me to come back in 3 weeks on a different day."

Yes ma'am.

After she left, I danced around the house like Julie Andrews on the Von Trapp mountain, breathing in the Pine Sol scent.  I was alive again!

I walked into the kitchen to admire the stove top, when disaster struck.  There, on my terracotta tiles was a large discolored splatter stain, clearly visible by the sink.  The illusion was shattered and the dream was over.

I texted Virginia with the news. She called me that evening and promised to come by the following day to fix it.  

I thought this would be when the tide would turn, and I would take back control of the relationship.  Virginia walked in the next day, spoke to her assistant in their mother tongue, and got down to look at the problem.  I got down too, thinking it would reassure her that I wasn't angry, I just wanted it fixed.

Virginia looked at me dead in the eye, and said, "This floor was very dirty. I had to clean it two times. It is showing stains that were hiding under the dirt."

Yes ma'am.

Shame, shame, double shame, everybody knows your name!  This moment reminded me of when my mom took my sister to the doctor when she was a baby because she had a rash on her neck.  The doctor took a cotton ball, swabbed it in alcohol, and wiped the rash off.  "It's dirt" he said.  And my mom tucked tail and ran.

That night, as my family continued the clean house celebration, we began examining the garbage.  Apparently, Virginia did not care for a pair of my slippers, my daughter's immigration project, a souvenir newspaper from a Gator football championship, and one of my musical theatre scores. I laughed and faked indignation at her choices, but inside I was asking myself, "What message is Virginia trying to send me?  Does she think I am unstable?  Are these slippers ugly?"


As I now sit in my house and actually entertain the notion of hosting parties and teas here once again, I am reminded of a passage from a famous newspaper article by Francis Pharcellus Church, "Alas!  how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus.  It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS." 

Yes Virginia, my house is a pit and I am a crazy white lady who has never vacuumed under the bed. But that is why we pray, so that God and Santa Claus will grant our wishes and give us faith for another year.

Until next time, keep crowin' and cleanin'!

Thursday, October 4, 2012


"I caught the mother tonight."

This sentence does not work for me in any scenario.

In this case, it was my husband telling me that he had dismissed an unwanted house guest from the basement.  It has taken me a little while to write about this, because I am still traumatized.  First of all, I wasn't aware that we had a rat community in the house - I thought it was just one stray critter.  Second of all, I had a face-to-face with what apparently was the "small one," and I am still dealing with it.

It started with a typical day in my life.  I walked into my pantry to get something, and found some soft black beans on a shelf.  "What are these?" I asked out loud.  But I knew.  I knew what they were but thought if I asked the question, God would give me a different answer.

Later that day, my son came up to me with a "I'mnotsupposedtotellyouthis" look, and said, "We have a rat."

Yes, I knew.

And I assumed that my husband would handle it.

The next morning, as I approached the pantry, I saw a note on the door:


After a brief pause to digest this missive, I calmly turned around and went back to bed.  When my husband got home that night, I asked him what the "maybe" meant.  "Well," he said, "it was in there when I closed the door, but there may be a hole it's coming in and out of."

Sure, that makes sense.  Now go get a @#$!&*<?:} trap and handle it, my love.

Another day passed.  Beneath the pantry door, wood dust and scratch marks began to appear.  The children were getting hungry.  Neighbors were questioning me at the bus stop.  I started calculating all the food I was going to have to throw out and how long it would take to burn down the room and rebuild it.  And then I hit my breaking point.

One night, my son busted his finger at football practice and needed ice. I walked downstairs to the pantry to get an ice pack, totally forgetting that that room didn't belong to me anymore.  I opened the door, turned on the light, and came face-to-face with this:

Apparently, "The Secret of Nimh" had taken up residence in my closet.  

The bulbous creature had a long, winding tail that flicked fire when it saw me, as it slithered up the wall like a snake.  It had red, beady eyes that emitted evil, and I could feel its devil curse upon me.  

I returned upstairs without the ice pack.

Me: "If you want the ice pack, you'll need to get it yourself."
Him: "What happened?  Why did you scream?"
Me: "I met the rat."
Him: Ha ha hee hee.
Me: "You need to take care of that immediately."
Him: "I know Hon."
Me: "No.  I'm not kidding.  Handle. It. Now.  Or else I'm not going to live here anymore."
Him: "Gotcha."

The next day a cage appeared, and it seemed that progress was made.  The pantry was sanitized and food disposed of without another word. And then I got the news from my husband, "I caught the mother tonight."

I slowly began the process of recovery.  But I believe the animal kingdom is not pleased.  Since this event, I have made contact with a roach on top of my kitchen trashcan, and a Biblical swarm of gnats on the football field.  I am not sure how to do penance, but I am starting with a cleaning crew.

Until next time, keep crowin' and don't eat the soft beans!