Thursday, May 31, 2012

Don’t Judge a Pirate by his Eye Patch

Ahoy Mateys!!!!  AHOY!!

Aye! Aye!!  That’s “Yes! Yes!” for those of you who don’t speak Pirate. Aye/yes, this is going to be a little story about a scallywag, a mutiny and swabbing the poop decks!!

Welllllllllll….. maybe not the mutiny and poop deck part… but it is about a pirate. Sorta.

My sweet elderly neighbor moved into a nursing home leaving a vacant home right next to us.  This home was outdated and overpriced in my opinion and remained vacant for some time, I’d say close to a year.  I never saw much activity over there in terms of open houses or people checking it out. But, lo and behold, one fateful day, no sooner does the “For Sale” sign come down and up goes aaaaaaa…. are you ready for this?!?!?!?  Wait-for-it---Wait----for----it---- up goes a ginormous, AND I DO MEAN, GINORMOUS PIRATE FLAG!! You know, a “Jolly Roger,” black and white with the skull-and-crossbones?!? I didn’t even know that term, “Jolly Roger,” until it was flying proudly mere feet from my front door.  AND “NO” it was NOT Halloween time.

Just what has moved in next door?!? PIRATES!?!? I’m slightly terrified to be honest. I have children for God’s sake. I have visions of us all walking the plank.

Plus, what about my house??


That was the sound of my property value flushing down the toilet in an already depressed housing market.  SWEET!!

Months and months had passed.  The mammoth flag still waving at me daily with its cheerful death wish. “Ahoy there Sherrie, Sherrie! Nice to see you today. Care for a flogging?” But I never saw my new “pirate” neighbor. Somehow we kept missing each other? Like two ships passing in the night… one, obviously, a pirate ship. Ha!

Top o' the mornin' to ya!!

Now in this long stretch of time, much work was being done on the pirate house. The swashbucklers were into home improvement!! So they couldn’t be all that bad, right? I was a little more at ease and was feeling the value of my home was marginally redeemed.

Flushing sound down a few decibels at this point, “Whooshgurgleluglug.”

Cut to summer and I’m outside doing yard work. WESTWARD HO! Approacheth mystery pirate man!! “FIRE IN THE HOLE!!!” I’m thinking that is roughly the pirate equivalent of “O - M - G,” which is about what I was thinking at that moment!!

He introduces himself. He has no eye patch, no peg leg and no parrot on his shoulder? WHAAAAT?!? Seems like a disgrace to respectable pirates everywhere? To boot, Jack Sparrow he was not! Johnny Depp was not my new neighbor. Sigh

We, surprisingly, had a nice convo, sharing typical neighborly small talk.  At some point, I must have lost all common sense, and my dumb ass asks him, “Sooooooo, what’s up with the pirate flag?!?” Uuummm, might not be wise to piss off someone who just might be concealing a cannon in his garage!!  He answers in an almost sing-songy fashion, “Well, we’re all a little bit pirate.” Reeeeaally?? I didn’t think I had any pirate blood in me?  Might have to check out the family tree on that one? The Donnie and Marie Osmond song from the 70’s totally popped in my head, too, “We're a little bit country. We're a little bit rock 'n roll.” They never sang “We’re a little bit pirate?” Certain of that!! I loved the Donnie & Marie show. I would have remembered that! But I said nothing. I just smiled and shook my head in a kind of restrained agreement. The logic that escaped me prior has returned and I am not about to argue with a pirate.

It comes up while chatting that he makes wine, Pink Catawba being one of his specialties. Now, I’m certainly no wine connoisseur, so if I’m off base here, forgive me. I love this wine, but to me, it’s a rather feminine wine? Right?!? O-O-O-kaaay now -- let -- me -- get -- this -- straight -- self-proclaimed Pirate’s grog of choice is a girlie vino?!? How’d that song go, “Fifteen men on a dead man's chest. Yo ho ho and a bottle of Pink Catawba?” Pinkies up Pirates! Way up! Arrrrrrrr!

Pretty anticlimactic encounter I’d say.  No forced surrender. No dastardly pirate torture. Didn’t steal my “booty” (get your minds out of the gutter on that one, please and thank you). Instead, he gifted me a bottle of his homemade wine. Shiver me timbers! That was nice of him. I drank it later. Not rum in disguise. Not poison. Truthfully… delicious!!

Since that initial meeting, he has trimmed tree branches that were hanging over my garage. It was his tree, but still. He also averted the po-po from my home when a lingering party was a little too loud. That’s a whole another story. ;)

I’d say my neighbor is a hospitable pirate. An oxymoron? Yeah, probably…

Adding to these many contradictions, it appears that he may now have given up on his pirate “ways?” The Jolly Roger is now down. Can’t say that I miss it! He has moved along and selected new items to decorate his house and yard. Are you ready for this?!?!?!?  Wait-for-it---Wait----for----it----





GARDEN GNOMES!?!?!?  A pirate flag to garden gnomes!?!? This is a GIANT leap for anyone to make. Now he’s “a little bit gnome??”

You just never know!!  Can’t judge a pirate by his eye patch, lack there of one or by the number of gnomes he has surrounding his front walkway. It’s THREE by the way!! THREE! I believe their names are “Yo,” “Ho” and “Ho!"

Monday, May 28, 2012

Kittens, Bunnies and Birdies! Oh my!

Cell phones reduce fertility!?

Laptop fertility warnings?!?

Heated car seats can lead to a reduction in fertility?!?!?

Well… NOT in my house.  My house has been very “fruitful” as of late.  It is the proverbial Land of Milk and Honey, or conceivably (pun intended) the Land of Ovulation and Fertilization?!?

Critter baby count since April is currently at 16!!

Now I’m not sure what’s going on here at me casa?  Perhaps the stork has my address programed in his GPS? Or a shit ton of fertility dust has been dumped on my house?  In any event, I am now referring to myself as the Goddess of Fertility, GOF for short.  Please see me if you are wanting to be in “the family way.”

Starting off this baby boom was my hoochie mama cat, Mamasita Sophia, with her three day long troll around our neighborhood producing the first three babies.  A black and white cat we’ve seen roaming around is believed to be the baby daddy.  We are trying to collect kitten support… he’s denying the whole thing.  Dead beat!

Awww… aren’t they cute!!
It ain't only feline fertility going on over here. Add four to GOF’s count. And bunnies make seven!! I totally ran over their nest cutting the grass. Thankfully, they were all saved from the jaws of death (aka the lawnmower). Whew!!  A bunny massacre would not look good on the Goddess of Fertility’s resume.

One went hoppin' down the bunny trail before I could take this pic
Birdies next… add three!  One unfortunately didn’t make it.  Rest in peace baby birdie.  One black mark on GOF’s progressing clean and good record.

“Reproducing like rabbits?” Yep!  Of course GOF’s house is no exception to this rule, as the final litter of six were baby bunnies once again.  That makes 16 babies in 53 days.

Now I can not correlate this trend to humans yet.  Regardless, I felt I needed to put a disclaimer out there.  I’ve just hung this sign at my front door.

Heed the warning!  GOF will not be responsible for any “oopsies” out there.  Well, not of the human variety anyways.

Now if you’ve been looking to add to your family… in that case, I take full credit.  You are welcome!!  My bill is in the mail.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Rose and a Lily… a Story of Divine Intervention

Sometimes there are moments in your life that can touch your soul on a very profound and deep level.  This is the story of such a moment.  This is my good friend Dee’s story, this is her moment…

My friends Dee and Chris’s daughter passed away suddenly and without warning when she was only two years old.  She would be twelve today. This kind of loss and heartache is inconceivable and unimaginable to most, whether you are a parent or not. Dee has said that “You never get over losing a child, you get through it.” Unless you have lived “through it,” most cannot fathom the level of anguish, your “darkest hour” as Dee has described it.

She is now a successful realtor with three sons.  She was having a particularly hectic day with appointments, after-school meetings and children’s events. To add to the laundry list of things on the agenda for the day, she had to take her oldest son to shop for a dress shirt and tie for a school dance.  Being a typical teenager, he was taking an extraordinary amount of time making his selections and Dee’s patience was wearing thin. 

A man approached them in the store and inquired as to her son’s shirt size because they appeared to be about the same size.  Looking quite lost with a very blank stare, he asks, “What do I wear to a funeral?”  “Black or dark colors,” Dee answers. The man adds, “I want to match my daughter.” She then noticed that tears were streaming down his face. He was holding a small pink and white dress in his unsteady hands. Her mind immediately went to the worst case scenario, hoping and praying this wasn’t the case, he then confirms her fears, “My two year old daughter died yesterday.” Her heart sank. That all too familiar feeling of pain rushing in, the kind of pain that only a parent that has lost a child can experience. She looks at her son and he is as overwhelmed and stunned as her.

"Of all the people in all the places…”

She knew at that second she was supposed to be there, at that very spot, at that very moment.

The man was so distraught that she and her son helped him look for a shirt and tie to match his daughter’s lovely dress.

They shared stories about their daughters. The similarities where uncanny. They were exactly the same age.  His daughter’s name was Lilyahna (Lily).  Dee chimes in, “two flowers in heaven as my daughter’s name was Rosie (Roseanna).”

The man’s wife now approaches, her face flushed from crying and there was barely any white left in her sad and swollen eyes. As she got closer, Dee noticed a very large butterfly tattoo on her neck. The lump in Dee’s throat has now grown, her hands were shaking and the tears were flowing.  Butterflies, another connection. With little Rosie, everything was butterflies; book bags, purses, her room, everything had butterflies.  Ornamental butterflies were hung from the ceiling at the funeral home for Rosie’s services and the “dash” on her headstone is symbolized with a butterfly.  The woman also tells them “my husband never talks to people in the store, never.” She was stunned that he spoke to Dee and her son.

They exchanged numbers and Dee reassures them that she will check on them in a couple months when everyone else around them returns to their daily lives and the dust settles. Dee knows from experience, that’s when they will need to talk the most.

At this point Dee felt like she was having an out of body experience.  Her mind and heart were racing, “I truly believe that things happen for a reason. I was supposed to meet them. A decade ago my daughter passed and this couple is experiencing it now. I know undeniably that this was a sign.  Whether it was God’s doing or whether these two little girls, together in heaven, prompted this chance meeting so we can be a support for each other, I’m going to do everything possible to help another family whose has gone through the same tragedy.” 

What a miraculous story.  Dee, thank you my friend for sharing it and allowing others to be touched by your Angel in Heaven and by her new friend, Lily.

In the grand scheme of things, the trials and tribulations many of us have gone through are trivial and insignificant. Experiencing or hearing stories like this can have a positive effect, be a catalyst to make a change, put things in perspective, give you hope, or strengthen your faith.

In honor and memory of Rosie and Lily, let’s make a concerted effort to make at least one change in our life, even if it is a just a small thing …

… Say a prayer for this family grieving the loss of their beloved daughter

… Hug your children extra tight today

… Smile at a stranger

… Don’t sweat the small stuff

… Be more grateful

… Appreciate life just a little more

Remarkably, after hearing this story and in the process of writing this, a saw a beautiful butterfly, an orange and black one fluttering through my yard. This is certainly not a common occurrence where I live.

Thank you for my butterfly "message," Rosie! I hope I have done justice to your incredible and divine intervention.

May God Bless these two angels and their families.

Friday, May 18, 2012

If you weren’t my friend, I would probably hate you…

Really hot friends… who’s got ‘em??  You know the kind… ones that you would totally, totally, t-o-t-a-l-l-y hate if you didn’t actually know and love them.  The kind of people you see once and think, “pfffft, just who do they think they are??”  Souls blessed with an overabundance of gorgeous attributes that you cannot help but feel anything but disdain for them upon first glance.  Ummm, not fair!  I don’t want to call anyone names here (STINGY!!), but didn’t your Mothers teach you people that it’s nice to share?  Spread your wealth around, it would be the only polite thing to do with those less fortunate. Just saying.

Well, I have many friends like this.  A happily married couple that I’m proud to call my friends fall into my bucket of “Easy on the Eyes Friends,” very easy.  They are about to welcome their third and fourth grandchildren!  TWINS!  CONGRATS to my “hot friend Jen” and her equally hot hubby Bob!!  And yes, I did say “GRAND”children!  They both share a unique characteristic that prevents aging, in all its ugly manifestations, and causes them to look like they stepped right off the covers of magazines.  Barbie and Ken come to life!  If the term “GILF”, in both its masculine and feminine variations, wasn’t coined for them, it certainly could have been. 

Now when I say my “hot friend Jen,” that is not only how I address her (which I do, my little term of endearment) but it is also, indeed, part of her legal name.  I have traveled internationally with my “hot friend Jen” twice now; I have checked her passport… middle name… “Hot.”  Not kidding! 

My “hot friend Jen” has the body of a swimsuit model and the hair, oh the hair… long, thick, straight, shiny blonde hair!  “Hot friend Jen” has Hair-of-Barbie, Sherrie Sherrie has Hair-of-Poodle!  I have yearned for hair of such caliber for all of my years on this earth.  I always coveted Barbie’s hair.  Isn’t that even against one of the Ten Commandments, Thou Shall Not Covet thy Barbie's Hair?!?!  I GLOB on an arsenal of products, swing multiple straightening irons around like they were nun chucks and the poodle-essence still creeps back by the end of the day.  Arf!  “Hot friend Jen” jumps out the shower, combs her luxurious hair… DONE!  WTF!!

Now I have spent time thinking about “hot friend Jen” and her household of hotties… husband, wife, children, and grandchildren… all very, very high on the beauty meter.  It’s just not normal.  There has to be some kind of secret, right?  After much scrutiny, I came to the conclusion that it’s in their water!!  They drink it, they bath in it… it has magical powers.  I’m not sure if they got the hook-up from a descendant of Ponce de León or what… but they are on to something here!  

I approached my “hot friend Jen” with my theory, inquiring as to how long you have to actually live in the house for the effects of their mystical water to start to work?  Suggested to her that she should start renting out a room in her house and that I will be on the list of wanna-be renters.  She avoids eye contact and flashes a Cheshire grin.  The bitch is holding out on me!!  OK.  Sorry, "hot friend Jen," I really do not mean that at all!!  Even though my “hot friend Jen’s” perfection can be maddening, I do NOT wish a large pimple on her purty face or cottage cheese under her taut skin. I don’t.  IIIIIII rreeeally dooon’t!  If you know my “hot friend Jen,” she is truly one of the best people you could ever meet in your life… they do not come much better.  So disliking her for any reason is just not possible.  It - is - just - not.

All that being said… next time we have a martini or margarita party at my “hot friend Jen’s” house… I’m having my drinks with... EXTRA * EXTRA * EXTRA water PLEASE!!!  Certainly can't hurt...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Mother’s Day Tribute to the Newest Mom I Know… my Cat!!

Growing up in a house that always had pets, I, too inherited the gene for loving the little (or big) fur balls. My Dad is allergic to cats so we never owned one plus I just never quite “got” them. They seemed sketchy, detached and the thought of a litter box or some of their other behaviors was not remotely appealing to me, in fact, it grossed me out. My kids, however, liked cats. They must have acquired that defective DNA from my ex, right?? I got them DOGS… big dogs! We’ve had two yellow labs, Tibbs and Palomino, and we had a big ole coon hound, Champ. Our home zoo over the years has also included hamsters (lots of them), rabbits, turtles, frogs, fish, an iguana… but wait, this story is supposed to be about a cat, I digress. Enter Kitter Witters (stop laughing).

My daughter purchased a gift for her boyfriend. Not an article of clothing, a memento or some “normal” lifeless present, she selects a little black and white kitten. Her well thought out plan is for this “gift” to reside at our house until she gives it to him. Likely story, yes? Mind you, she did not check with his parents first to see if they would welcome another pet in their home. Common sense would dictate one to ask that very important question before giving a gift that you have to feed and clean-up after on a daily basis and will actually cost you money down the road. Who raised this child?? This was not the first time my little Sweet Tart has brought animals home… stray dogs, wounded birds, even a wild baby bunny which she promptly put in an old hamster cage (do NOT do that by the way)! You can see where this is heading with our “temporary” visitor… days turned into weeks, weeks into months… but sadly, not months into years… only two years to be exact. My daily rants of “when is that cat leaving” eventually subsided and I slowly turned into a closet cat-person, not willing to fully admit that I actually liked any feline. I’d often look at him and, in jest, say “I don’t love you.” Me and my sarcasm, but truthfully, he had melted my heart. His real name was Oreo, however, he was never, not once, called this; he was “Kitter Witters.” A very masculine name befitting any male and one I’m sure this poor guy was very proud to be saddled with? He hung with the big dogs like he was one of them and, because of his dog-like tendencies, it somehow felt acceptable to like him. Poor manly cat-dog Kitter Witter’s time with us was short lived. He became very sick with some kind of rare genetic condition and this non-cat person spent many a night sleeping (or not sleeping at all) on our hard-wood floor feeding him with a syringe. The hospital ward I created in our living room was eventually shut down and he went to the vet. My Dad was having a somewhat routine surgery and I called the vet from pre-op to check on him. Kitter Witters had passed away during the night. Three sisters with their father in pre-op waiting for them to wheel him away, two calm and collected, one, me, hysterical. I’m sure the nurses were rolling their eyes thinking, “she must be the overly emotional one.” They gave me a box of Kleenex. I needed it.

Cat-free now. Who needs a cat anyways? I don’t even like them, right? A received a picture text several months later of a little grey kitten. Three guesses who this text is from. “Whose cat is that?!?!?!” No reply. Here we go again! The grandiose story this time is that she saved this kitten from being fed to a snake. Seriously?? She also had some swamp land in Florida to sell me... cheap... cutting me a great deal since I was her Mom and all.  I didn’t put up a fight this time. “Sophie” stayed with us, I mean, I couldn’t have her being a snake’s tasty treat, could I? Oddly, I am this cat’s favorite. I am pseudo-mom. No one loves me like Soph loves me. Go figure.

Sophia, a pretty good escape artist, loves the great outdoors and sneaks out at every opportunity. She went AWOL in late January, only to return over three days later. She came home, well, she came home knocked up. Where did I go wrong with her?? I’m about ready to mourn another cat but instead I’m going to be adding several more? Not ready for this!

She was kind enough to share her pregnancy with me along the way, literally. Her and her fat belly slept occasionally on my back and I’d be the one to wake up with a nice pregnancy induced backache. Ahhh… thanks Soph. We both made it through, however, and she welcomed three adorable babies on April 2nd, a black one, a black and white one, and a white and black spotted one. Not a single grey one in the bunch. In true motherly fashion, babies come first with Sophia. I tried to help her, because you know, I know so much about cats, but she wouldn’t have it. I moved the babies several times, one by one, to new locations that I felt much more suitable for kittens, only for her to move them back, one by one. Momma knows best. To watch her with them is to truly witness “motherhood” in action. Nurturing, caring, loving and even bossy. Mamista Sophia runs a tight ship! One got a little stuck between two pieces of furniture and was making quite a ruckus. Soph was frantic, her eyes speaking to me loud and clear, “help her!” A moment I, or any mother can relate, to. Must-Protect-Those-Babies.

I woke up today, Mother’s Day, hearing the pitter patter of little feet… little baby kitten feet. Thank you for that Sophia. Truly a gift.

Even greater than my gratitude for tiny kitten paws, I'm thanking my son and daughter for showing me both the joys and challenges that a child can bring into your life. I am a better person for having the honor of being their Mother. The most amazing gift of all.

“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.” ~Angela Schwindt

My children, amongst many other things, just might have taught me that I like cats?? But that little tidbit is just between you and I. Capese?

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY brand new Momma Sophia and to all the other great Mom’s out there! Enjoy your day!


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