The Way Things Are






A swim is just as good as a shower.
2006-05-31, 3:14 p.m.

I always feel really shaky after I write about the kind of stuff that I wrote about yesterday. Shaky and flat, and it seems like those two conditions would be mutually exclusive, but I assure you, I feel both shaky and flat. And empty. Shaky and flat and empty.

And hungry, too, but that’s not really related to it.

And a bit harried, as my day, and the mess on my desk, have exploded.


So what did y’all all do for Memorial Day weekend?

Here’s what we did. First of all, Saturday was the Detrashification of the Front Yard. You saw the pictures last week of our very white trash front porch. The dead plants, the scrap of filthy dog carpet, and I think there was maybe an overturned plastic chair in there somewhere. I know for sure there was one off the side of the porch where a dog or a strong wind had knocked it, and nobody ever picked it back up.

So first, Lil Guy picked up rocks and sticks and limbs and hauled them off to their appropriate resting places. He made a good dent, but there are still too many rocks to mow.

Then DW finished the rock work he was doing to outline a walkway, and he weed-eated the grass in front of the porch. All that weedy, grassy looking stuff was the winter rye. Looks really nice in the winter; spirals downward to weedy crap come summer.

I tossed the carpet and the holey water hose that had died on the front porch, tossed all the dead plants, swept and hosed off all the detritus, and went to Home Depot. I know – PARTY.

We now have a clean front porch, with four green resin Adirondack chairs, and three Boston ferns hanging from the porch overhang. It’s clean and peaceful, and we really and truly actually go sit out there in the evenings and watch the sun set. And sure, the dogs try to sit on our laps while we’re out there, but it’s still kind of peaceful.

When all our work was done Saturday, we headed over to the in-laws’ house to swim, as a swim is just as good as a shower, right? It was there that I discovered that my little baby Lil Guy has sprouted ARMPIT HAIR. He says there’s more in the left pit than in the right one, and I checked. He’s right.

I already told you about Sunday – that was yesterday’s story. It was a fun day – a fun trip – but too bad I had to swirl down into the depths of scorn before it was over. It’s okay. I can separate the different parts, and my scorn in no way dimmed my enjoyment of the sitting and listening to music.

Oh well, on to Monday. DW played golf, and then the same crew that we hung out with on Sunday, all went over to my in-laws’ house to swim and cook out. I ate a lot of sauerkraut on my bratwurst, and was very, very gassy Monday evening. I blame the pickled cabbage from a can.


Yesterday evening, I was folding laundry in the bedroom, and looked out the French doors and saw a little kitty sitting out there. Stray cats are nothing at all unusual when you live in the city, but out where we are, it would have had to walk quite a long way to find our house. I suspect that it was dumped. Ya think?

I called LG back to come see it, and while we watched, it contorted itself in that way that cats do, and began grooming. Which allowed us to see (1) that she was bony, skinny, thin (every vertebrae popped out at us), with a (2) suspiciously bulgy belly, and (3) a double-row of nipples.

Can you normally see the nipples on a cat? Do y’all think she’s pregnant?

LG said, “Mom, she’s really skinny.” I said, “I know, but if we feed her, she’ll never leave.” And he said again, “Mom, she’s really, REALLY skinny,” but this time, he turned the big-sad-eyes on me, and my cold, hard heart grew three times, and I relented.

So I found DW and told him that there was a pregnant, abandoned cat, and that we weren’t keeping her, but I couldn’t let her sit out there looking so pitiful, and I was feeding her, and that was the end of that. I was all geared up for an argument from him, as he really dislikes cats, but he did not argue with me. Either he didn’t have a problem with it, or he fears me, or he’s just going to let me be the boss. Hell if I know.

Kitty likes barbecued chicken. I also gave her a little dish of water. And today, I spent the morning contacting local cat rescue outfits, who are being suspiciously slow in responding to me.

We’re not keeping her; I will find somebody to take her. But I can’t let her sit out there and starve while I find a place for her. I don’t like cats. But LG has already named her Padfoot. Sigh. She’s not very pretty. But when I took a piece of chicken out to her, she didn’t run away – she practically ran at me. I don’t think she’s feral – I really think she was dumped.

I hope we don’t become a dumping ground for cats, although they are a good way to get rid of leftovers. Tonight, Kitty gets pork roast.


I was helping LG study for his science exam Monday night, and a lot of his vocab words have to do with human biology and sex-shul reproduction. We determined that the kidneys drain through the ureters, and those go to the bladder, and then urine goes through the urethra, and then, I prompted him “Out the front hiney.”

He rolled his eyes, and I said, “Do you think your teacher will ask you about the front hiney?”

“I sincerely hope not.”

After that, EVERYTHING was either a front hiney or a back hiney. Did you know that a baby is delivered out of the mother’s front hiney? Or that waste products are stored in the back hiney, and then eliminated through the back hiney hole? I was having grand fun.

I told him to try to work “front hiney” or “back hiney” into any essay questions he had, and he said he would try. It got to where I could say “And what’s another word for vagina?” He would look at me with pity in his eyes, and say, “Front hiney.” And then he’d smile – I knew he thought it was funny.

I did let him know that my mother would not have sat in front of my stepfather and quizzed me out loud on the parts and functions of the human reproductive system, and that in fact, my mother would not have ever said any of those words out loud to me at all. And in fact, I did not have any class to teach me all the parts and functions of human reproduction in 7th grade. I had to learn it all on the streets. That’s where I learned the street terms “front hiney” and “back hiney”.


So if anyone you know lives in the South/Central Texas area, and needs a pregnant, skinny, rather ugly, yet not-feral cat, let me know. Or even better, if you will hook me up with a responsive cat rescue outfit, I’ll make a donation to them in your name.



I just had this phone conversation:

Me: This is Laura.

Him: Hi, Laura. This is Joe with Intelligence.

Me: Oh, hi! (thinking, who the hell is this?)

Him: Your organization is on a Department of Defense government contractor list, and I was calling to see if you ship any products overseas.

Me: Whuh? Oh! We have a federal contractor number, but we’re there so that we can apply for federal grants for housing-related things. (and realizing this call has something to do with Homeland Security. How did we end up on the DOD list? We’re supposed to be there for HUD.)

Him: So you are more services, and not so much products.

Me: No products at all.

Him: Well, they lump everyone with a contractor number into one list, and we just have to call and check on everyone.

Me: Hmm. OK!


That was really kind of weird. Not much of a check, was it? Is this how it’s being run? Joe calls, you give him an answer, and that’s IT? I don’t really feel very safe now. Not that I want federal marshals to bust in with weapons drawn and confiscate all our files (and ha, the joke would be on THEM. KEEP ‘EM!), but I really kind of hope there’s more to the Department of Defense contractor list reference check than that. Perhaps Joe was really in the next room when he made that call. Perhaps he already knew the answer, and was just making sure I wasn’t a liar.

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