Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells! " Nope. "Visa Bills, Visa Bills!"

(Copyright 2014, Dawn Weber)
 
Dashing through the store,
My cart filled to the top,
Tons more gifts to buy,
But I'm about to drop.

Bells outside the doors,
Red kettles want my stash,
But they are out of luck because,
I never carry cash.

Oh!

Visa bills, Visa bills,
Visa all the way,
Oh what fun it is to sign,
My whole damn life away - hey!
Visa bills, Visa bills,
Visa all the way,
Oh what fun it is to sign,
My whole damn life away.

A store or two ago,
I thought I'd write some checks,
But soon I had no dough,
In debt up to my neck.

The cashier frowned at me,
My checks they were declined,
The rent-a-cop was sent my way,
I left him far behind.

Visa bills, Visa bills,
Visa all the way,
Oh what fun it is to sign,
My whole damn life away - hey!
Visa bills, Visa bills,
Visa all the way,
Oh what fun it is to sign,
My whole damn life away!



But wait, there's more! Since Christmas is about tradition and the (Green!) Andy Williams Christmas album, here's a little something I wrote three years ago (already - yikes!)

You Spin Me Right Round. Like a 60s Crooner, Baby


Arguing with my best friend - a tradition since 1976.

Yeah, she's entitled to her opinion.

Too bad for her it's wrong.

"Green!" I say.
"Red!" she says.

She is a stellar mother, wife, daughter, church council member and director of food services for an entire state university. She has been my very best friend for nearly 30 years. Still, she is...

...WRONG.

And frankly, I don't mind telling her so.

"No way, Amber! You know green is better. Come on!" I say.
"Uh-uh. Sorry. The red one is the best." she says.

She and I like to debate Very Important Issues. Such as politics, child rearing, religion and the Andy Williams Christmas albums.

Shut up. We're old. And, apparently, nerds.

In the 70s, over on Garfield Road, she grew up listening to the red-covered "Andy Williams Christmas Album" - the Red One - during the holidays.

Clearly Inferior

While a mile away, on Woodworth Road, I spent my holidays listening to the Green One -"Merry Christmas" Andy Williams.

Obviously the right choice
Yep. From age four, the Green One was always the first Christmas record I loaded onto our ridiculously large wooden console stereo.

"Jing-a-ling! Jing-jing-a-ling!"

That's how it starts out, with "Sleigh Ride." Then, I'd begin my seasonal hobby of spinning in circles in front of the Christmas tree. The music, all those colors - they were everything. They brought magic, and I made it my mission to spin fast enough that my eyeballs would register the lights as one continuous blur.

Goals: Even as a preschooler, I had them. Obviously, I was destined for greatness. And possibly autistic.

We didn't own the Red One, but lots of other folks did. So I tried spinning in circles as they played it on their ridiculously large console stereos. The first song?

"I'm dreaming of a white Christmas..."

Zzzzz. Lame. Try to spin fast enough to blur the lights with that one. I stopped spinning, plunked down and listened to the rest of it. Yeah, Andy still sang, but aside from "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year," the record stunk. Lacked a certain Je Ne Sais What. 

It was clear that the Red One was for losers.

I told this to my best friend. Then, we argued.

We argued about it in the 70s, wearing polyester.
"Green!" I said.

We argued about it in the 80s, with spiral perms.
"Red!" she said.

We argued about it in the 90s, with our toddlers in tow.
"Green!" I said.

We argued this in her Buick. We argued in my Ford. We have argued this in our high school, our kitchens, on cruise ships, on the phone and on Facebook. The other day, I received this text from her:

"RED!"

Obnoxious.

Sorry about your luck, my BFF. Because I now have proof positive that the Green Andy Williams album is better. I found the following information about your Red One on Amazon.com, therefore it must be true.


See that, Amber? Wade here says that "Andy's consummate artistry was better in the 'Green Album'"... and that "I will go to play the "Green Album before the 'Red Album.'"

And it's not just Wade, Amber. No. Rodney also prefers the green:


"Christmas man" Rodney says that the Green One "has a little more christmas spark in it..."

What's that, BFF? Still not convinced? O.K.


As you can see, "Joshua" feels strongly about this.

So go ahead, Amber, play your loser Red One.

I'll be spinning and dancing in front of the tree, playing the Green One, along with Wade, Rodney, Joshua, the rest of "Mankin" and this cool cat:


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ten Things to Hide When Your Parents Visit for the Holidays


(post copyright 2014, Dawn Weber)

It's that time of year again, and all around the U.S., Americans are roasting the turkeys, decking the halls, and shouting the age-old cry:

"Mom and Dad are on the way - hide the booze!"

Yes, the folks are coming to spend time with you for the holidays. Aren't you glad? This means you need to get rid of the many items in your house that they disapprove of: alcohol, prescriptions, stacks of cash - you know, all the things that make life worth living.

To that end, we here at the Center for Holiday Happiness have come up with Ten Things to Hide When Your Parents Visit for the Holidays, a definitive list to use at Thanksgiving, Christmas, or just any time the folks come to town.

10. Booze
Grab the beer from the fridge, the vodka from the freezer, the wine from the pantry - there is no merriment when parents visit, no. Silent judgment. That's the order of the day.

The best place to stash the hooch? Way back in the closet or under the bed. Far enough away from prying eyes, but still close enough to take a swig if you need it.

And you will need it.

Now, you may have folks who are cool enough to chill out and have a drink with you. If so, you should know two things: 1) You are a lucky bastard; and 2) The rest of us hate you.

9. Prescriptions
Your antidepressants, your sleep aids, your anti-anxiety pills, all the drugs that keep you from jumping off a bridge or strangling someone - yeah. Stash those suckers pronto. But take it from us here at the Center for Holiday Happiness: Remember where you put them. We hid a box of scripts in 2007 that we still haven't found, and we miss it.

Badly.

8. Pictures
Your mother is a kind, sweet, loving woman. She is also a raging kleptomaniac, at least when it comes to photographs of the grandchildren. Though you give her plenty of photos, she cannot restrain herself from raiding the albums when you're not looking, and when she goes home, you're left with page after page of empty slots where the kids' images used to be.

But if you try to take your own baby pictures from her house?

She will cut you. No questions asked.

7. Stuff you stole from them
People of a certain age end up with a lot of crap, so most older parents have three of everything. Except in the case of baby pictures, mothers and fathers are a generous lot, and anyway, will they really miss what you took? The cordless drill, the record player, the 2005 Buick LeSabre? We think not, but best to tuck these things away until they leave.

6. Credit card bills/Past-due notices/All your mail
Your mom and dad warned you not to get those credit cards. Your mom and dad warned you not to buy that sports car. Your mom and dad warned you not to . . .

Aw, hell. Where's the booze?

5. Items that may or may not require AA batteries
Here at the Center for Holiday Happiness, we may or may not have an acquaintance whose father was looking for toilet paper in his daughter's bathroom cabinet, only to find - and then accidentally turn on - an item made of medical grade silicone that may or may not have required AA batteries. Whether the gentleman knew what the device was or not is unclear.

He never spoke again.

4. Your browser history
Sure, lots of our folks aren't technically savvy enough to know what "Ctrl H" does. But Dad definitely knows how to hit the "back" button, and you might want to monitor what he sees when he boots up your laptop for his early morning round of Candy Crush. The man does have a heart condition.

3. Modern technology
(Also known as, "Ooh, that's so neat! What is it? I want one!")
iPhones, iPads, Kindles, Nooks - these are amazing things, when one knows what one is doing.

When one doesn't know what one is doing, one buys one anyway, calls their adult offspring at work, and then engages in confusing hour-long phone conversations that cause rage, high blood pressure and unemployment.

So do yourself a favor. Keep your sanity. Keep your job. 

Hide your iPad. Immediately.

2. Pornography
Sure, the extent of your smut collection is one ancient VHS tape someone gave you at your bachelor or bachelorette party. Sure it is.

And you only keep it for nostalgic reasons. Sure you do.

But be advised that this is the very tape Granny will find, after reaching wayyy back into your video cabinet. She'll squint through her bi-focals, say, "Oh! I love this movie!" and shove "Forrest Hump" into the VCR before you can sprint back in from the kitchen.

You were warned.

And the number one thing to hide when your parents visit for the holidays is:

1. Your whereabouts
Seriously. Save yourself the trouble of shielding the folks from your shame, your vices, your "Forrest Hump." That's right. Why hide a few things, when you can lock the front door and hide EVERYTHING.

Hey - Hawaii is lovely this time of year.

Mele Kalikimaka!

And don't forget the booze.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Winter Sucks: A Poem



(Post copyright 2014, Dawn Weber)

Why do I live here?
Aw, hell -- I don't know,
November 18th,
Wind chill eight below.

Forty-five years now,
In this stupid state,
You'd think I'd adjust,
But, no -- I still hate.

Six inches of snow,
Came down overnight,
The whole yard is covered,
In "Acid-Rain White."

I'd call off from work, but
Grown-ups don't have snow days,
I must use vacation,
Or I will get no pay.

Why would I vacation,
In this loser place?
I'll get into work,
Just three hours late.

With cars on my rear,
And sliding around,
And more in the ditch,
All the way into town.

Walking into the building,
My eyes freeze all shut,
Can't see a dang thing, so
I fall on my butt.

I lie on the cold ground,
Contemplating this life,
Of five months of winter,
And six of gray skies.

Yeah. Why do I live here?
The fuck if I know.
One thing in its favor:
It's not Buffalo.


Friday, October 31, 2014

Kitten Heels and Football Fields

(post copyright 2014, Dawn Weber)

Do not cry . . . do not trip . . . do not cry . . . do not trip . . .

That's what I'm thinking, here at the edge of the high school football field with my daughter, husband, and the other fall athletes, band-members and parents. We're getting ready to walk to the 50-yard-line, our names announced as honorees for Senior Night.

I've watched this spectacle many times, but never thought it would be here so soon for us - it seemed light years, millenniums into the future. Even the date sounded far away. I mean, 2014. That is some space-age shit right there. Where's my hover-car?

The line moves, and I toddle forward with the group on one-inch kitten heels, trying to remain upright and heartily regretting my footwear choice. I wore these shoes specifically for the traditional senior night photo, hoping to look taller and thinner, though I know I won't - God did not make me tall and thin. But I never let reality stop me. No sir. 

The unfortunate shoes have one bonus: They help distract from the pressure building behind my eyes. Nothing new, I'm always blinking back waterworks lately, because the knowledge that our kid will soon leave for college is forever in the back of my mind. Oh, how I used to snicker at the weepy moms, bemoaning senior year and graduation. But karma, as they say, is a bitch. A bitch who slaps. 

A bitch who slaps hard.

My daughter's voice pulls me back to the sidelines.  "Are you going to cry?" she asks, her face horrified. "God, Mom. Do not cry."

"I'm not crying! My feet hurt, that's all."

"Well don't cry!" she hisses. "I mean, jeez!"

We step to the photographer's station in the end zone, and I put on my best smile. The one that says I'm not crying dammit!


Even in its early stage, this senior year thing has been a frazzled whirlwind of photos, college visits, applications and meetings, along with the usual cheerleading and school functions, and as I recently told my friend Wise Marj, I don't dare forget or overlook even one event.

"We are so busy lately, with the senior stuff," I said. "And I feel like I can't miss anything."

Marj, whose youngest child graduated last year, gave me her smug grin. This grin normally comes when she relays the many symptoms of old age and menopause I'll soon experience. But she took a break from her usual message of doom to be even more depressing. 

"Yep. That's 'The Lasts,'" she said. 

Sometimes, Wise Marj can be Vague Marj. 

"What are you talking about?"

"It's the last homecoming, the last football game, the last prom - all of it," she said. "And you go to everything because it's the last time it will happen. Ever."

Yeah. Thanks a lot, Wise Marj.

“Welcome to the 2014 Sheridan Generals Senior Night . . .”

The loudspeaker blares with each family's introduction, and we head further into the end zone as the groups make their way onto the turf. Some of the couples are married, some aren't anymore, but everyone is here tonight, walking three-by-three in the red stadium surrounded by acres and acres of farmers' crops.  Rivals call our students "Children of the Corn," but the kids don't have any problem with it, cheerfully posing for yearbook pictures with giant International Harvesters and corn stalks.

I stare into the brown fields and blue sky, trying not to do anything embarrassing for my daughter, such as breathing, but she fusses with her uniform, giving me an excuse to sneak a sideways glance. Fair skin, brown eyes, tiny stature - to see her is to see me, albeit a younger, smoother, better me, and definitely a smarter model, as she takes classes like "Advanced Calculus." I'm not even sure what "Advanced Calculus" is. It sounds suspiciously like "Really Hard Math."

But the whiz-kid by my side is only one version of her, and there were many over the years, though I don't recall them all. All I can seem to remember are snippets of baby talk, screen-shots of days, and a chattering blur in little pink clothes.

Back then, old women - complete strangers - would coo at my daughter as we pushed past them in the grocery store aisles. "The years fly by!" they said, bent with age over their carts of coupons and wheat bread. "It goes so fast - enjoy it!" And I smiled and nodded and disregarded them, in a hurry to get the baby home for a nap, so I could have some time alone.

They were right, of course. It flew. There was so much to do, always, and the years went by like grocery bags in the wind, like the old women themselves: barely noticeable, and gone when I looked again. 

And faster than I could say "financial aid," I'm on a football field wearing regrettable shoes, looking for my hover-car and wondering how to let go.

"Mom - it's time."

"And next we have Laura Weber, escorted by her parents . . . "

Do not cry . . . do not trip . . . do not cry . . . do not trip . . . do not cry . . . do not trip . . .

Do not blink.






_________________________________________

I'll miss all the children of the corn next year
but particularly the tiny one at the harvester's top left.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Hobo Has Left the Building

(post copyright 2014, Dawn Weber)

There's a stranger in my house.

I'm not sure who he is, but from all appearances, this kid combs his hair, brushes his teeth, and showers voluntarily. Quiet, anti-social, his fingers tapping furiously at a screen - I'm afraid to approach him. He looks pretty surly.

Nonetheless, I carefully walk over to the outsider and stare at his face. Is it . . . could it be?

Holy zit! It is him! Yes, I can't quite believe my eyes, but somehow, I know I'm right. Judging by the pimples, voluntary showers, and alarming array of Axe products in the bathroom, I now have a . . .

(*Cue dramatic music*)

. . .  Teenage boy.

You remember my son, the Hobo, right? Avid fan of farts, stranger to personal hygiene, avoider of anything girl- or romance-related?


Well, the unbelievable, the unthinkable has happened, and he seems to be growing up and taking an actual interest in bathing. No longer content just to smell, no, he actually wants to smell - good.

I should have known my son had crossed the slick, sweaty bridge to adolescence - the signs are all there: He empties the refrigerator, sleeps 11 hours a night, and no longer dry-heaves at the mention of females. And if I had any doubt that he's changing, it disappeared the other morning as I tried to roust him from bed.

"Hobo," I called up the stairs.

*Crickets*

"Hey, buddy! It's time to wake up."

*Muffled mumble. More crickets*

"Levi," I called again, using his real name to indicate the magnitude of the situation. "It's 6:15. Time to wake up."

*Thump* 
*Crash* 
*Stomp*

"I HEARD YOU!" he roared through the ceiling. "I am GETTING UP!"

I stood on the landing, my mouth agape, debating whether to whoop his butt or run and hide.

Where was my kid, the sweet boy, the one who would have simply said, "Okay, Mom!" and then bounded down the stairs to hug me?

Ah, but I should have anticipated this. I've been through it before, and pretty recently, too, with my daughter, the Princess, who was in a puberty-related bad mood for a good part of a decade. She's 17 now, with (mostly) grown girl parts, so the hormones are (mostly) done coursing through her system, and she's in a decent frame of mind these days.

Mostly.

Oddly enough, it was to her I first mentioned the Hobo's foul moods.  "I think your brother is becoming a teenager."

"I know!" she replied, eyes wide. "He is, like, mean! I said something to him the other day, and he just, like, SCREAMED at me! For no reason!"

Ha ha ha!

Oh, Karma - you're a bitch. But sometimes, you're my very best friend.

Still, I realize this is the beginning of the end of something - again. In the next several years, I'll deal with a crabby, gangling, sometimes insufferable man-child who will double the grocery bill, empty the hot water tank, steal my Victoria's Secret catalogue, and continue to expand his disturbing collection of Axe products.

And I will miss the little boy, the three-year-old who said "You're my girlfriend, Mommy!" when I asked about his love life.

I'll miss the older version, too. The one who smiled, laughed, replied without yelling, looked at something besides an electronic screen, and even occasionally - just sometimes - acknowledged my presence in public.

I mean, that kid smelled funny. But he sure was nice.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Suzie the Meth Lab Speaks


Things have been crazy around here lately, what with my daughter's senior year and both kids in fall sports. I'm also working on getting my book published, which entails doing tons of research on literary agents, spending hours crafting the perfect letters to them, and then receiving their rejection letters. Fun times! So I asked our dog Suzie to take a break from being bad and write a blog post. Read on:


(copyright 2014, Suzie the dog)

Suzie not know what Woman talking about. Suzie very good dog.

Suzie also dislike "Meth Lab" classification. Suzie not smoke crystal meth, or even crack, and although Suzie try pot once, she not inhale. Anyway, Suzie don't think she is "Meth Lab," Suzie believe she come from impressive bloodline of Black Lab. And greyhound. And whippet. Possibly beagle. Maybe shepherd. Definitely pit bull . . .

Ahem.

Point is, Suzie have diverse array of relatives in tri-county area, all with formidable skills in shoe-shredding, leg-humping and crotch-sniffing arena. Do Woman's kin-folk possess these talents? Suzie think not. Woman should watch mouth. Suzie have "Family" - "Family" with teeth.

Anyway, Suzie classy dog, with very advanced palate. Man always buy box of dry, dusty "Bones" for Suzie, but is not necessary, when cat box in particular offer many juicy, absolutely free treats for taking. Suzie eat anything - trees, rocks, road-kill, cat poop - where Woman say "Gross!" Suzie say "Breakfast!"

And speaking of cat, why Suzie can’t chase? Gray Cat run, Suzie pursue - is law of jungle passed down for millenniums. Gray Cat think she better than dog, with her yummier food, cushier bed and litter box of juicy treats. She need taken down a notch, and Suzie just dog for job.

Suzie also like to accompany Peoples to bathroom, and sit in front them as they deposit liquid into Suzie's Other Water Bowl. She then express gratitude to Peoples with lick on face, but she always get "Stop it!" yells. Suzie not know why. She just thankful for bowl fills. And Suzie really enjoy being at eye-level with Peoples, so she make happen. Just like when she give trademark jump-up greeting to visitors. Woman always yelling "Get Down!" But human stand up, Suzie stand up. Is simple physics.

However, Suzie is sorry about incident with old man at vet's office. Wrinkled one not expect signature Suzie "Get Down!" move. Suzie claws did scratch Wrinkle's legs, is true, but how she to know old Peoples have thin skin and take blood-thinning medication? Suzie hope Wrinkles stop bleeding someday.

Suzie also regret Big Stick incident. Suzie not realize that when she spin with 7-foot stick in mouth near Woman, giant stick blow out Woman’s knees and knock her to ground. Suzie know many words - "Bad!" "No!" "Bacon!" - but Woman scream words Suzie not hear before, words that sound like "duck." Suzie try to lick face as Woman roll on ground - she obviously angry, but also part at fault here, as she the one said, “Let's play stick!” Suzie search yard and grab biggest stick available. If Woman want stick, Woman get small tree. Suzie is giver.

Suzie is serious guardian, and practice bark often. Best time to practice 3 a.m., while Woman, Man and Small Ones sleep. Takes a while for them to wake up, walk out and shout “Shut Up!” and Suzie able to enjoy many minutes of vicious barks before yells start. Suzie don’t always bark in middle of night, but when she do, is for no real reason.

You can see that Suzie get many yells. Woman especially enjoy yelling at Suzie, and she not know why - Suzie just doing her jobs.

Woman's loudest yells come when Suzie conduct crotch-check on Peoples. Without good sniff of nethers, how else Suzie to know quality of creature before her? Humans funny animals, Suzie think, blessed with dizzying variety of pungent genitalia, yet seemingly no desire to sniff each other. Is sad - and not very smart.

You know, Suzie may be Meth Lab. But she clearly superior species.




Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Ode to a Shoe - Fetish

(post copyright 2014, Dawn Weber)

I don't have a problem,
I can quit if I want to,
These shoes are like friends,
And who the hell asked you?


The closet floor's covered,
But I don't really care,
Green rug like the bedroom,
Not much under there.


It's true that their numbers
Rise into the hundreds,
They're all necessary,
Hey - "Hoarders" ain't called yet.


I've pumps, mules and flip-flops,  
Slides, sneakers and Mocks,
And, heaven help me,
One pair of red Crocs.


I've boots made for walking,
And shoes made to run,
No jogging these days though,
Fuck that. I am done.


The husband dislikes it,
When I go to the store,
There's no room for his shoes,
Mine take the whole floor.


"You bought shoes?" he asks me.
"Really? Can't you abstain?"
But they were on sale.
And he protests in vain.


I don't see the issue,
I don't let it phase me,
He knows he can't fight it,
If he wants to touch me.


See, shoes make me happy,
Shoes make me dance,
'Cause shoes always fit,
Unlike my pants.