I’m not much of a rule breaker. I had an evil twin in my youth who skipped school from time to time, may have broken curfew on occasion, and who might have mastered the art of forging her parents’ signatures, but that twin is long gone. These days, thank goodness, I only have the one personality to deal with, and this Sarah is such a well-behaved, conformed member of society.
(Excuse me while I pause to take this phone call from my mother.)
Anyhow, as a rule abider, I try never to cross lines, go over the speed limit, or park illegally. Mom and Dad are so proud. Of course, I am human, and some days are more difficult than others…
For example, when I saw this eagle the other day, I spent four minutes trying to find a parking spot but couldn’t find even one. The only chance of parking would be by either parking illegally on the side of the road or by parking in the private lot of a hotel. As I drove up and down the road, I sighed in frustration. Why couldn’t I have been on my bike today? Why is there never any place to park on this island? Why do the police here seem to focus on traffic violations and not the bikers who cross the road wherever they like?
Just as my shoulders slumped in defeat and I accepted that I would not be getting a photo of the bald eagle, that evil twin mysteriously resurfaced and whispered in my ear…
“Park illegally, Sarah. It’s a Bald Eagle.”
“But I can’t park illegally. I am conformed!” I reminded her.
“But how many times have you seen a Bald Eagle up close?” she countered.
I thought about it. Maybe, she’s right. How rare of an opportunity is this?
“You’re wasting time, Sarah. The eagle could fly away at any second,” she coaxed.
Man, for someone who has kept quiet for so long, she sure is convincing…
“It’s not as if your mom and dad are going to ground you…You’re already thirty-”
“Okay, zip it, sister! I know how old I am! I give!”
I couldn’t take it any longer. I turned the car around and searched for the perfect illegal parking spot. Conformed rule breaker aside, I needed that eagle photo! My evil twin cheered me on, “That’s the spirit!” Thirty seconds later, I found the one…
My car successfully parked in an empty condo parking space, I told myself I was just borrowing the spot and made a mad dash for that tree with the eagle. It’s not the best photo in the world, but I sure won’t forget taking it any time soon.
If any of the rule checker uppers are paying attention, I would like to point out that I took that photo and was back in my car and on the road within three minutes…
Okay, maybe it was five. 😉
While it was kind of fun to see my long-lost evil twin again, if only for a moment, I sure hope she goes back to her dormant state. After all, I have to be a good example for my children now and who knows what kind of road to destruction I could be on, borrowing parking spots and all…Like I said at the beginning of this post, I’m not much of a rule breaker. Well, not much anyway. 😉
I don’t know what it is about eagles, but whenever I see an American Bald Eagle, I lose the tiny fraction of sanity I am barely clinging to and act like a complete and total idiot. That ruse of cool, collectiveness I attempt so much to maintain washes off of me faster than you can say Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, and I scream at the top of my lungs, “It’s a Bald Eagle!” Sometimes, it doesn’t come off quite so poetically, as in the case I’d love to tell you about. Now this happened over two months ago, but I remember it clearly. Allow me to set the scene…
It’s a Sunday afternoon. My husband and our pirate children are hanging out in the living room while I attend to my chores. More specifically, I am folding laundry upstairs. No, I don’t get paid for this service, despite my attempts, which explains why I am putting fifty percent of my efforts into folding the laundry neatly, (fine, kind of neatly,) and the other fifty percent of my energy into animal watching out of my bedroom window. Animal watching is an activity? Well, in Southwest Florida it is…We live on alligator lagoon, so let me assure you the likelihood of spotting something that this native Hoosier would consider animal-like or wild is pretty good. So, I am sort of tackling one of my household duties, as my eyes periodically roam to the window.
Suddenly, I look up and out of the window again. As my eyes land on the bank across gator lagoon, my breath sucks in sharply. The shirt I am folding slips from my fingers, and I belt out my very natural and perfectly acceptable Midwesterner-transported-to-Southwest-Florida-response, “HOLY SHHHHH*******T!”
That little pest of an angel, who attempts to perch on my shoulder from time to time, whispers is my ear, “Sarah, the little pirates definitely heard that…” Of course, she is correct, but I don’t have time for lectures. I’m already in my pajamas. (Sure, it’s only three p.m., but this is customary in case you haven’t heard.) I flick the angel off of my shoulder and take off running. Being in pajamas means I need to find my shoes, my bra, my camera…my bra!!!
Where is my bra?
I think of what my sister would say…
You don’t even need a bra, Sarah!
She’s right! Forget the bra. Grab zip up hoodie! I push my arms through the sleeves and take off for the steps.
I run, slide, half fall down the staircase and slam into my husband as I stumble off of the bottom step. He looks horrified, worry covering his face. “What’s wrong?” he blurts.
Wrong? He thinks something is wrong? The man doesn’t know me at all. If there is danger, I scream danger. The two times there was a snake inside of our house, (yes, I said two,) I clearly yelled the word SNAKE at the top of my lungs. I dash past him and run for my office. I must find my camera. I hear him calling after me. I yell over my shoulder, “There are THREE Bald Eagles outside right now! I’ve got to find my camera!”
The camera isn’t in my office. Maybe, it is in the dining room. As I whiz past my husband again, I catch the expression on his face, which indicates he does not find the situation sufficient reason to scream an obscenity at the top of my lungs. I don’t have time to chat about my inappropriate language. The man can take a number and get in line with that pesky angel! There are three Bald Eagles behind the house!
No sign of the camera in the dining room. I race to my office again, locate my trusty Adidas flip flops, but there is still no camera. I put the shoes on as I yell, “WHERE IS MY CAMERA?” As I race through the house again, I can hear Charles talking to me. “I think we need to have a conversation about when, exactly, you screaming something like that at the top of your lungs is appropriate.”
I ignore him and continue in circles, my eyes scanning the interior of our home. He continues as I dash past him and something in his voice changes, “Ummm, Sarah, not to alarm you further, but there are actually four Bald Eagles out there right now.”
Four Bald Eagles?!? My heart races to unchartered territory. Suddenly, it hits me. “MY CAMERA IS IN THE CAR!” I yell louder than necessary.
I dart past my pirate children, who I hear giggling in the excitement of their lunatic mother dashing through the house, into the garage and grab that camera. When I return from the garage, I run past my family and towards the patio door, going over my checklist…Camera, check. Shoes, check, (well, flip flops.) Bra, negative. But I have gone out into the wild wearing only a bath towel before, so this is substantially better. Once past the door, I am vaguely aware of the farewells coming from the little pirates, “Be careful, Mommy!”
As I trek through the overgrown foliage beside gator lagoon, I notice voices around me. Loud ones. Not the mental ones or imaginary characters who keep me company and inspire my fiction novels. Real, actual human voices. How rare. I never hear people out here…I can hear them talking about the eagles. They are making entirely too much noise as far as I am concerned, but there is no time to investigate the human intruders. I must get a photo of the eagles.
I barely make it in time. I step through a sticker bush on the way to the water’s edge and see four Bald Eagles as I lift my camera. One flies away before I can get the photo. I silently curse out the people making all of the noise. (Silently, People, sue me.) But there are still three eagles on the bank. On the edge of gator lagoon, I snap as many photos as I can. I get a few shots, and then the Bald Eagles take off, one by one, returning to the sky.
Alone on the bank, I take a moment to smile victoriously. My foot is slightly irritated from the collection of burs I picked up on my adventure, I am wearing my pajamas, no bra, and my mysterious neighbors, who I have never even seen before, are suddenly outside. I figure today isn’t the day we should meet and head back inside.
As soon as I open the door, Charles has that look on his face…You know the one. I figure it is time to own up to the error of my ways and apologize for my sailor mouth, but I’ll feign ignorance for the moment. “What is it?” I politely ask.
“As soon as the door closed behind you, Audrey yelled, “Holy Sh*t, there are four Bald Eagles behind the house, Daddy!”
I bite my lip as I gage his level of irritation. I realize this is the part where I am supposed to feel terrible about the potty mouth my six-year-old has suddenly developed because of me, so I try my best to hide my smile. (No, I don’t think it’s okay, but I’m still riding high from my Bald Eagle experience. This was my first time to see more than two at once!)
“I’m really sorry,” I offer as I sit down and begin pulling stickers out of my ankles and socks. Audrey looks at me, and I try to look apologetic. “Mommy shouldn’t have said that word. It’s a bad word, okay?”
Charles takes over and gently explains to the pirates about not repeating the S-word again. I hear the lecture but it’s more of a muted sound, playing in the background. I’m in a happy place. Charles looks back at me, and I happily proclaim, “There were just four Bald Eagles out there!” Giving up on his reform-the-mother-of-his-children-lecture, he goes back to the computer, and the pirates go back to their quest to commandeer a ship in choppy seas.
Alone, staring out the window, I can’t stop smiling.
I may not be the recipient of a parenting award any time soon. I might not win that award ever. So at the risk of irritating my mother, that pesky angel, and the father of my children once again, I must tell you…
I got a photo of three American Bald Eagles…right behind my house…and HOLY SUGAR it was cool!
You didn’t really think I was going to curse again, did you? 🙂
Enter to win a combo pack in paperback of PRISMATIC and OPALESCENT at author Katheryn Lane’s site. While you are there, you can read about the inspiration behind the HARMONY RUN SERIES. This is the link. Thanks for hosting me, Katheryn! xo
I grew up hearing stories about how bad I was as a little kid…I’m talking from birth to age five. “You were a little brat,” they would inform me. (All of them…grandparents, aunts, parents, you name it. They all had a story about bratty little Sarah.)
Now that I am an adult, (amazing I survived, but Mom assures me it was only because I was cute that she didn’t kill me,) Mom has it all figured out…
“You were suddenly fine when you turned five, and we had a good ten years during which you were good. Then, you turned fifteen.”
As you can imagine, the stories and bad reputation pick up again around age fifteen. Mom says that I tricked her. That ten year period was a break I gave them, but I was just being nice…planning the miscreant behavior I was about to pull on good ol’ Mom and Dad. What can I say? She’s probably right. I was a horrible, wicked, up-to-no-good kind of teenager, and I will never be running for office of any kind. If my children turn out to be trouble makers, everyone can just go ahead and blame it on me. Anyhow, we all survived, didn’t we? I’m fairly responsible and conformed these days, right? (Mom, that question, if you are reading this, was not intended for your response.)
Yesterday, I couldn’t help but laugh when I checked the analytics of my blog, “My Name is Sarah,” and the search engines revealed to me that someone had found my blog this week by Googling, ‘tattoo artist named Dusty in Venice, California.’ Somewhere in the archives of My Name is Sarah, I revealed my first tattoo experience and the name of the leather-clad man who gave that tattoo to me on a trip to Venice Beach, and apparently, someone found my blog because of it. After I stopped laughing, I called Mom to inform her. Mom will be so proud, I thought.
Mom instantly recalled the story of her suspecting I had gotten a tattoo and how she discovered me. I had to share her memory. I remember it well myself…
Picture a sweet, young Sarah, age sixteen, sugar and spice and all things nice. Okay, fine… Picture the sixteen-year-old trouble maker my parents tell everyone about. We’re at the mall…(Don’t all good teenage stories involve a mall?) Mom has a bad leg. (She’s not a pirate or anything. She had a running injury when I was in middle school and dislocated and tore everything in one leg in particular.) She is so graciously taking her teenage terror shopping for clothes, but she keeps asking to come into the dressing room as her old injury is acting up.
Of course, I can’t let her into the dressing room. I have just returned from spring break in Los Angeles, where I got a lovely new tattoo, thanks to Dusty the tattoo artist!
I remember her knocking on the dressing room door. “Sarah, let me in. I need to sit down.”
“No, Mom. I’m almost done.”
“Why won’t you let me in?”
“I don’t want you to see my new tattoo, Mom!” I tease and burst out laughing.
Mom replies, “Well hurry up, then.” (And hurry up, I did.) Obviously, her sweet, darling Sarah wouldn’t return from California with a tattoo, so she doesn’t even question me.
The next day, I return from school, and my sister is standing with Mom in the kitchen. My sister doesn’t live with us at the time but has stopped by to say hi. I walk into the kitchen and suddenly feel like a trap has been set. I’m already on nerves. My sarcasm can only save me for so long. Summer vacation is coming up, and my family lives on the river…swimming and water skiing all summer. They WILL find out about the tattoo…I eye my sister warily. Has she told Mom? I had told her about the tattoo after all. Was she a traitor?
Mom looks between us slowly, and suddenly a suspicious look crosses her face. She grabs my shoulders and says, “You have a tattoo!”
It was not a question. It was a statement.
My eyes dart to the traitor. “Coleen told you!” I accuse back. (As if I am in any place to be making accusations. What can I say? I was a little punk.)
Mom looks at me threateningly. “No…but you just did.”
Sigh, inward groan, defeat…all at once, I feel it all. “You tricked me.”
I won’t share the rest of the details from that day. I’ll leave it to you to imagine the conversation between mother and sixteen-year-old teenage hellion, recently returned from Venice Beach with a detailed account about the tattoo artist who DID NOT I.D. her.
Don’t worry about me getting mine, because I am definitely getting paid back for terrorizing Mom. Mom vowed it would happen eventually. I’ve mentioned it on my blog before, but I have to again… I recall the day she waved her finger at me threateningly and spoke the curse, which instantly was cast upon me. “I hope that when you grow up, Sarah, you have a daughter…just….like…you….”
The words still send shivers down my tattooed spine.
My little ‘Sarah’s’ are both up to tricks already…Why just last week my youngest poured egg whites into my coffee, colored the bananas in the kitchen black with a marker (thank goodness it wasn’t the wall,) and hid my car keys. And she is only four. Who knows what she’ll be like when she’s fifteen. Lord, help us… And if she shares her mother’s sense of humor, I am in even more trouble…
Yes, I feel bad about what I did to my parents, but do I find any of it amusing now that I am a conformed and recovered mischief maker? Moi? Of course not…
Well, there is the other part of the Los Angeles story…It was revealed after a parental unit searched my room later on that year. I will never forget the day Mom discovered there was another Sarah, who looked JUST LIKE ME, living in Malibu, California. Accepting the defeat and the loss of my fake I.D. all at once, I let her hear it all, including the very exciting tale of buying a fake I.D. from some very nice gentlemen in south central L.A. I can still recall the look on Mom’s face…
Oh, I was a bad kid, yes. And I feel awful about it. (Mostly.) But the memory of Mom discovering my 21-year-old California twin? Now, that one still makes me laugh. I can’t help it. Sorry.
If any of you would like to send sympathy messages to my dear mother, Jacque, feel free to leave a comment below. That poor woman could use some sympathy. After all, I was one of three kids, and one of them, no names mentioned here, ha ha ha, ran neck and neck with me! 😉
(Originally posted September 2012 on My Name is Sarah’s old site.)
I’d like to welcome a guest blogger to My Name is Sarah for this week’s post. H.H. Fly, (Head Household Fly, from The Sanctuary, Sanibel Island) is known for his keen observations and insights into human behavior and has devoted his life to the study from his spot on the wall, obtaining the prestigious status of Head Household Fly due to his lifelong commitment to his research. As always, thanks for stopping by my blog, and leave me a note in the comment section. Thank you, H.H. Fly, for this week’s post. (I needed a break!)
A fly on the wall’s journal, week one of new residents…
A most troubled group of humans has moved into my house, and I fear the worst. The tallest female amongst them seriously concerns me. (The short females, of which there are two, spend most of their time pretending to be fairies or pirates, which would concern me more were it not for the undoubtedly neurotic female, who appears to be responsible for the shorter ones.) Prior to their move-in, as Head Household Fly, I met with the welcoming committee, and we planned a most detailed and royal welcome for our new tenants. We wanted to welcome them with open arms, (well, legs, and some of us have many more than others,) but besides that, we love a chance to entertain.
Unfortunately, the new humans were so busy unpacking and rearranging, they did not notice Fred and Ginger, the dancing frog and gecko duo, who so gracefully performed the Viennese Waltz on the living room mantel upon their arrival. Let down by the humans lack of interest in their performance, I spent the next eight hours attempting to calm Fred and Ginger down and reassure them of their superior showmanship and talents.
Determined to overcome our small setback, we rolled out the red carpet and had Damion the scorpion and his partner, Sorsha, prepared to dance the Argentine Tango in the laundry room for the tallest female, who I will from this point on refer to as, the unstable one. Sadly, one of the humans must have stomped on poor Damion on their rush from the garage to the laundry room, and Damion, well, let’s just say Damion’s dancing days are over. Sorsha, overcome with sadness at the loss of her dancing partner, fled to her dressing room. Upon discovery of Damion’s lifeless limbs in the middle of the garage, the unstable one immediately began shouting obscenities and pointing her index finger at her mate, a taller, quiet human. This struck me as an odd reaction to Damion’s passing, but I reminded myself the new humans are from out of state, and perhaps their burial customs are different than the ones we are accustomed to in southwest Florida. I was counting on the quiet male human to calm the unstable one down; however, he muttered an obscenity himself, before sweeping Damion into a dustpan and throwing him into the trash. That was most indecent of him, I assure you, and the committee and I spent the remainder of the night retrieving Damion’s lifeless body from the endless depths of the garbage can, before at last carrying the poor fellow to our pond side graveyard by the royal palm trees. It was such a tremendous undertaking we had to enlist the help of our neighbors, from the adjoining duplex. Normally, we wouldn’t even bother them for a teaspoon of sugar, but desperate times…as they say. Sorsha somehow managed to pry herself away from her chambers for the ceremony.
Before the humans awoke, the committee and I met, and though Suzette the slithery snake suggested we hold off as our efforts were going unnoticed and with the untimely death of Damion, majority ruled to remain on course with our plans. The unstable one awoke quite anxious, and spent a great deal of time pacing in front of the dining room window overlooking the pond. She referred to it as Alligator Lagoon, and I heard her warning the short females they were not allowed to play by the water. It appeared she was trying to catch a glimpse of one of the alligators, so this pleased the committee tremendously. After all, Alexander the Alligator had been practicing his welcoming performance for days. Of course, he wasn’t set to perform until day four, and we were determined to stick to our schedule.
Sorsha wasn’t exactly thrilled about performing solo, but fueled by her passion for Damion, she decided to do her Flamenco dance as a tribute. Unfortunately, moments before show time, the unstable one discovered Sorsha waiting backstage, where she was getting a final makeup check in the kitchen dishwasher, and she had a most disturbing reaction. She began some sort of tap dance, immediately phoned her mate, and she informed him in a very frantic manner of the discovery of Sorsha. Uncomfortable with the high level of alarm and panic in the unstable female’s voice, Sorsha immediately fled to her dressing room and refused to go on.
The unstable one paced back and forth for the next hour, consuming an extraordinary high amount of chocolate and complaining on her phone to anyone who would listen. Apparently, of all of the places she had lived before moving to our sanctuary, she had never seen a scorpion before, and for some reason, she found them revolting. Rather than hurt Sorsha’s feelings further, I asked the committee to keep this information to themselves. Sorsha has been dealing with enough as it is.
Suddenly, the doorbell rang, and the unstable one opened the door in a hurry. She visibly sighed, and I couldn’t believe what happened next. How could she do this to us? Maybe, she wasn’t going to let him in. Perhaps, he had the wrong address. Unfortunately, my worst fears were confirmed as she let the overly excited pest control human inside our home, and he immediately began spraying poison and looking for scorpions. He informed the unstable one he wanted to capture a live scorpion to take back to his home for imprisonment. Immediately, my fellow committee members and I fled to Sorsha’s side, and we evacuated her through our secret underground security tunnel. There was no time for Sorsha to pack up her belongings, but she understood that her safety was most important with Tommy, AKA Dr. Death, in our domain. It turns out, Dr. Death was not looking for Sorsha only. Many of my comrades were forced into hiding. The strange man appeared greedy and overly excited about his death mission. Clearly, the human has ingested too many of those toxic chemicals he so eagerly spread about our home. After he left, an eerie silence prevailed throughout our once happy home, and I flew around to survey the damage and organize rescue missions for any of the survivors. The ghost ants were the only ones who didn’t need to evacuate. Nothing can kill them. They are most fierce.
That night, the committee held an emergency session and debated over day four plans. Alexander was ready to go on, despite the loss of lives and the unexpected hostility of our new tenants.
As the morning began, the unstable one walked hesitantly throughout the home, always looking at the floor, the walls, and out the window. She tiptoed everywhere she went and stood unnaturally far away from the countertops and drawers of the kitchen as she removed items. If she thought she might see Sorsha, she was wrong. Sorsha has taken refuge with the neighbors until Dr. Death’s dangerous chemicals wear off, which eventually they will.
When Alexander began his show by swimming in full view from one end of the pond to the other, I thought I would fall off of my spot on the wall for the first time in my life. Such a start that neurotic female gave me with her crazed yelling. She had appeared deceptively under-caffeinated and slow the entire morning, but when Alexander began his swim, she ran nearly as fast as my fellow committee member, Patricia Panther, when Patricia is on the hunt. She ran up the stairs, taking four steps at a time, pushing buttons on her cell phone as she ran. I heard her yell into the phone that there was a big *@& alligator swimming in the lake and that it was much bigger than four feet before screaming another obscenity and then hanging up her phone. At this point, I didn’t feel the need to observe from the wall anymore. I could have been sitting on the unstable one’s shoulder, and she wouldn’t have noticed me. I followed close behind her and watched as she snapped photo after photo with her cell phone, cursing loudly the entire time, muttering her mate’s first and last name, over and over again as she took pictures. “Why don’t I have a real camera with a zoom?!” she yelled.
The committee was finally pleased with our efforts to entertain the new tenants. Why would the woman have been snapping so many photos of Alexander if she wasn’t truly entertained? Deciding to put Alexander on the line up again, we asked him to perform day five as well. Clearly, he was one of our strongest acts. Patricia and Suzette were disappointed to have to postpone their acts, but they agreed nonetheless.
The tenants were gone a lot, and Alexander decided to do some sunbathing while he waited for show time. However, upon returning home and discovering Alexander sitting on the side of pond, the unstable one yelled louder than any of the previous times, and the entire house watched in horror as she ran for her cell phone, made yet another frantic phone call, and began taking pictures of Alexander merely lying in the sun. Alexander decided to postpone the show. Clearly, the female had soaked up too many UV rays at the beach earlier that day, and we agreed she was not ready for his entire act.
The committee voted to monitor the humans’ behavior before any more acts go on. This is a strange breed of humans. The unstable one is disturbingly jittery. Today, when her mate walked into a room she was picking up in and they nearly collided, she screamed so violently, we were sure that Suzette or Patricia had already started their acts. She spends a lot of time running back and forth between her computer, where she types in a frenzy, and her coffee pot, where she consumes cup after cup of caffeine. Periodically, she turns up her music to an unnecessary high volume and dances like a maniac across the kitchen floor. I am certain a medical professional would advise her to cut back on her caffeine intake. When golfers go near Alexander’s favorite sunbathing spot on the edge of the pond to look for lost golf balls, the unstable one yells, “Dead Golfer Walking!” When ducks or birds dive into the lake to cool off, she yells, “Get out of the lake! Fly, fly away!” Frankly, her behavior is most disturbing.
Mid morning of day six things got rather chaotic. Evidently, word never got out to Sammy Snake, one of our neighborhood friends, about the new tenant situation, and on his habitual morning slither, the unstable one spotted him from her upstairs window. What she was doing looking out of her window in her bath towel, alone, instead of getting dressed right away like a normal human would have after a shower I didn’t even try to figure out. The woman is clearly unbalanced. She screamed snake at the top of her lungs and took off with panther like stealth down the stairs of the home, through the kitchen, where she grabbed her cell phone, and was out the patio doors towards Sammy Snake in seconds. Before she could turn the photo feature of her cell on, Sammy escaped, and she stood panting heavily on the edge of the pool, barefoot in her bath towel as the neighbors’ landscaper looked on in anxious wonder. The quiet mate appeared seconds later with a rake in his hand.
“What are you going to do with that?” she asked him.
“I’m going to move the snake. That’s a little too close for comfort.”
“What are you doing?” he asked the unstable one. (I was a little curious myself, so I flew closer.)
“I wanted to get a picture of the snake, but it disappeared.”
“Are you going to stand outside all day in your bath towel?”
“Just a few minutes more. I want a picture of that snake.”
The committee is trying to get word to Bo-Bo the Black Bear about cancelling his performance before he wanders back home again. He was away this week entertaining tourists near the light house, but he’ll be back soon. We fear the unstable one is not ready to meet Bo-Bo. She might scare the fish out of the lake if she screams like that again. And this is The Sanctuary after all. We like it quiet here. If we can not learn to coincide peacefully with these new tenants, we will be forced to evacuate them. If won’t be a pretty process, and much unnecessary screaming will certainly escape from the unstable one should we have to initiate this emergency plan, but we must do what we must do to preserve our habitat…
~This is H.H. Fly, (Head Household Fly,) from The Sanctuary on Sanibel Island, signing off…
(*Note: This was originally posted summer 2012 on My Name is Sarah; Welcome to My Name is Sarah’s new site!)
*Originally posted on My Name is Sarah’s old site in January 2012. (http://www.sarahelleemm.blogspot.com) I am moving a couple posts from my archives over to my new site…a handful from over 100 posts. This one is kind of interesting for me to read now…since I am now living in Florida and dealing with palm tree rats in my attic, among other things…After I transition a couple oldies over here, I will post some ‘new’ rants!) 🙂
My mom went to Jamaica recently. She was gone for the week. I found this to be a severely self-centered act on her part. What is a woman to do for an ENTIRE week without her mother? I left the Caribbean to be closer to her, people!!! (Okay, so there were some other factors in that whole process, where my family and I relocated to central Indiana, but come on, it was mostly because Mom is here. It was not for the 14 degree temperature we experienced last week. I am a flip-flop and sundress type of woman, period, and my husband certainly wasn’t crazy about moving to this climate either.)
I tried to talk Mom out of going to Jamaica. I guess it’s not very surprising she didn’t change her mind. I suggested she take me with her. This didn’t happen either. As if that wasn’t enough on her part, she even refused to listen to my third suggestion, which personally I don’t think was that big of an inconvenience…to take her cell phone with her.
I told my husband this is why she wouldn’t take her cell, and he laughed and even suggested my mother deserves a vacation and needs a break from her children, (but he was referring to me, the middle child.) Fine, I call my mother frequently throughout the day. Life is short, and I really, really love my mother so you won’t stop my phone calls! (Unless, of course, one were to go to Jamaica without their cell phone.) There is also the fact that calling my mother is much more affordable than paying for therapy, and let’s be honest, every phone call to Jacque is pretty much like a therapy session but a lot better because it ends with the therapist telling me they love me. (She is required to love me. It’s a maternal thing.)
Three days into her vacation, I really, truly needed Mom to answer her phone…A mouse had practically eaten my toe on it’s way to my stove from my dishwasher! In the midst of my emergency, I instinctively began to call her, only to moan in frustration as I recalled she was on an island far, far away…
I hesitated to call my husband, noting the fact he would be busy at work. Five p.m. eastern time, is kind of like, ‘game time’ in restaurants. I also recalled the outcome of my crisis call to him in October, when I reported the wild coyotes surrounding our home. (Check out my blog, “Coyotes, Paranormal Activity, & Paralyzing Fear,” for the details.) I called him anyway. I mean, I was having an emergency, right? He is, after all, my ‘protector.’ In our vows, I heard, ‘in sickness and health,’ yes, but wasn’t there something about, ‘Sarah is stuck on top of a table because of a rodent invasion?’
Well, he didn’t answer the phone but called me back right away. I was so relieved! This is what happened next…
I blurt my emergency, (from the top of our kitchen table…) “There is a mouse in the house!!!”
“Okay.” He sounds very unconcerned.
I raise the level of alarm in my voice. “There is a freaking mouse under our stove! I am freaking out!!!! It ran right by me!!!” (Ran? Scurried? No…moved with stealth-like speed.)
He responds quite calmly. “Are you okay?”
“NO! I’m NOT okay!” I reply, quite rationally. (ha ha ha.)
“Sarah, it’s just a mouse. Calm down.”
At this point, I brave my chances with the invader and get off of the table. I tiptoe closer to the stove to see if the coast is clear.
“Sarah, are you hyperventilating?”
“No, I’m freaking out, Charles. There is a aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!”
(This is the part where I jump back up onto the table top as the mouse reappears.)
“There it is! It’s running! It’s on the move! It’s, aaahhhh! Now, it’s under the dishwasher!”
Can mice climb? Mom told me that a mouse ran across her chest in bed once at my Grandpa’s house. That bed was high, I recall. Oh my gosh, the mouse can climb!!
“Sarah, calm down. You’ll scare the kids!” my protector and defender suddenly sounds alarmed. “It’s just a mouse, Sarah! Stop freaking the kids out!”
The kids? He is worried about the kids????
The kids are LAUGHING, (hysterically.)
I hang up the phone quite frustrated by this point after he has to get back to work, which is obviously much more important than the serial killer rodent under my stove. From my unsecure place on the table I start planning to rewrite my wedding vows to include pest control of any kind and forcing my husband to re-marry me with my new stipulations…
“What are you doing Mommy?” asks my eldest.
“I am…having a moment,” I tell her from my spot on the table.
“Can I see the mouse, Mommy? I have never seen one before.” She says quite calmly.
At this point I am mentally cursing out the island of Jamaica…
Just had to get my mom down there…Thank you, Jamaica. This week of all weeks…
Mom would know how to handle my craziness. She’s been doing it my whole life! I think about my sister. If I call her, she will likely remind me of what a huge chicken I am. No. Not calling her. If I call my dad or my brother, they will do the same. If I call my mother-in-law, she will probably have the same reaction as her sweet little grandchildren…
I call my grandmother. Her reaction shouldn’t have surprised me, (since she is the world’s kindest human.)
“Hi, Grandma. How are you? There is a mouse in my kitchen, and I’m freaking out.”
“Oh, the poor little thing. He’s probably trying to escape the cold. Probably hungry, the poor guy….”
Immediately I start envisioning the cartoon mice from Cinderella, Jaq and Gus. They made a dress for Cinderella when her wicked stepsisters ripped her dress to shreds… I thank my grandmother for her perspective and envisioning the mice from Cinderella under my dishwasher, making a dress out of twisty ties from bread bags gets me through the rest of the night. I decide to pretend I am strong and brave for my children. Maybe the memory of their mom jumping on top of a table and screaming multiple times won’t stay with them.
Naturally, I turn to Facebook for comfort. Thank you, social networking…I receive heaps of sympathy from women around the world, (with the exception of my sister, who calls me, ‘a big chicken.’) I take an opinion poll on my Facebook page. The results strongly agreed with me that Prince Charming should rescue his damsel in distress. Many people suggest I get a cat. I admit, during my kids’ bath time I sit on top of the bathroom counter while they play with their toys. My imagination runs wild with possibilities. What if the invader isn’t alone? My eyes keep darting towards the open door, envisioning hundreds of mice running down the hall. By the time Charles gets home from work, it could be too late for us. Where am I going to hide the kids? Can I barricade the door? Will we survive in the bathroom? The tub is our go to place during tornado warnings after all…Wait, this is not an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Deep breath. One mouse. My sister had a point in her Facebook comment. I had spiders bigger than this mouse in my apartment in Mexico. Jaq and Gus, I remind myself. Maybe, I can put my broom down? What am I going to do with the broom anyway?
After the kids fall asleep, I let the insanity out again. I am dressed in my pajamas, with my running shoes on, and the broom still held firmly in my hand. Charles finally calls me on his way home around 9:30.
I ask him about the mouse traps, and he says, “Oh I forgot about the mouse. Do you want me to stop and get a trap?”
Excuse me? He forgot about the mouse? Do I want him to get a trap? I have been obsessing about our home invader since I first spotted him at 4:45 p.m. I didn’t even eat dinner. I paced throughout the house.
When Charles walks through the door he looks up and down at my pajamas, and his eyes do a double take when he notices my feet. “Why do you have your tennis shoes on, Sarah?”
“Why aren’t you setting the traps yet?” I counter.
Seriously, he wants to know why I am wearing my shoes? I can run faster in them, the better traction provides a speedier climb onto the kitchen table, and I might even be able to scale a wall if I really need to…
Well, that’s how it happened, and my defender did, in deed, set traps. The next day, I insisted that our pest control company come over and set additional traps. I couldn’t wait to tell Mom about my crisis and hear her soothing and sympathetic words. Between the mouse living in my kitchen and waiting for Mom’s Jamaican get-a-way to end, I was a nervous wreck for days…
The day Mom gets home, she finally calls me, and I can’t wait to tell her about what she missed and my crisis. I answer the phone, ready to spill the details, “Mom! You’re finally home!” I begin.
“So, did you ever get down off of the table?” she asks, with a chuckle.
“How did you know about that?”
“My friends had their cell phones with them. They saw it on Facebook.”
Turns out, my dear mother, Jacque, was the only one in the group who did NOT take a cell phone…Hello, again, sting of rejection. Nice to see you…Mom explained to me that the other people in the group had, “children.” When I pointed out that I am one of her children, she informed me that she has adult children…
And in case anyone out there is curious…Mr. Mouse is no longer living in my kitchen…Thanks to my defender and protector…Plus, I have a new cat protecting my kitchen, (pictured above.) J
(*Originally posted on July 30, 2011 on My Name is Sarah’s old site)
When Mom pointed her finger at me during my sixteenth year of life, vowing that one day I would be paid back for a list full of deeds, (not worth revisiting for the moment), I must admit I was certain she was referring to a time when I would have teenagers, not preschoolers. All of a sudden, the inquisitive four-year-old in the house has become a teenager…No, she’s not breaking curfew or skipping school, activities which I certainly know nothing about, but she’s opinionated about everything, from the socks she wears to the news report flashing across the TV. She has to have the last word, she wants to know how, exactly, she and her sister got out of Mommy’s belly, and heaven forbid you politely suggest how you could do her hair. She likes it tangled. Do not touch.
The three-year-old may not share her sister’s constant interest in talking, but she has her own way of communicating. From placing her sweet, little hands on either side of my head in the morning and not-so-gently shaking it from side to side, saying, “Wake up!” to sporadically throwing toys at my head, she is quite skillful at expressing herself. How does one cope with this insanity? Coffee… the flavorful godsend, finally back in my life, after a six month absence. The results are in: dodging projectile objects aimed at your head is much easier with coffee in the system.
Six months of being in a zombie-like state would have been perfectly acceptable, maybe, as an undergrad, (and let’s be honest, it may have happened), but while serving as the protector, guardian, and responsible party, AKA stay-at-home-mom, of two completely unpredictable, wild creatures, I meant children, caffeine-induced coherency is highly recommended. No harm was done during the aforementioned experiment, both of my children are healthy and accounted for, but the haze has been lifted. Clarity rules, and I can keep up with my second born when she runs through the house with a five pound bag of flour or all of the batteries she has swiftly removed from the TV remote.
Already today, I was licked on the face by a little sweetheart pretending to be a puppy dog, my eardrums were tested for their ability to withstand close-proximity screaming, I have already vacuumed up one child-made mess, and I was reminded as both of my children barged into the bathroom that I will never again pee in private. Haven’t for over four years and won’t be anytime soon.
After the first cup of freshly brewed Starbucks, (oh how I missed you), Audrey wants to know, again, why we decided to have a second child. She liked it, “with just one!” (Obviously.) What kind of children am I raising, you might ask? Well, let’s just say, so far, Mom’s delightful promise from years ago, which is sometimes referred to as a curse, might be coming true.
My sister was the perfect child. I know this not because I was a witness. Ahem, she is the oldest! I know this because I was constantly reminded of it as a young, mischief-maker. What goes on in my sister’s house in Boston? Why there you might find my three-year-old niece politely sipping from an antique tea set while solving a Sudoku puzzle. This proves my theory of the powerful Mom’s curse that was cast on me sixteen years ago. (Yes…do the math…Wow, I’m getting old!) Evidently, older sister was perfect, and therefore, gets perfect child. Sweet sixteen-year-old Sarah was…well, you get the picture.
Do I really believe in curses? No. But I’ll tell you what I do believe in…Coffee…Now, you must excuse me…There is a stampede running through my living room requiring my immediate attention, and someone has to be responsible here. (Mom would be so proud.)
(*Originally posted on July 29, 2011 on My Name is Sarah’s old site…By the way, welcome to my new site!)
“Wow, Mommy, your butt is huge!”
The words cheerfully escape my four-year-old daughter’s mouth as I dry off after a delightfully hot, “de-stressing” shower.
Huge. I feel my stress level begin to rise again as the word dances around in my head. Maybe I should take another hot shower. “It’s not nice to say things about someone’s body, Audrey.”
“But your butt wobbles when you walk, Mommy!” Her eyes are wide and her expression quite assured as she stares at me unblinking.
I point towards the bedroom door. “Go watch cartoons while I finish dressing… please.”
‘Said’ butt might be larger than it was, say, before child number two, and if we’re really going to make comparisons, substantially larger than a four-year-olds’ behind. Still, in the ongoing battle with insecurities that I wage, the statement could have been a little easier to handle, perhaps, without the explanation points and excessive enthusiasm.
Maybe I should join a gym so my commitment to exercise can be guaranteed by a financial obligation. Of course, then I would have to leave my three-year-old in a room with strangers, which would totally freak her out, since she’s attached to my side…which, oh my gosh, I wonder what she’s been doing while I took a three minute shower?!?
I run into the toy room, comb in hand, as if it may somehow help with whatever disaster awaits me, and both of my girls are quietly playing together with their collection of dinosaurs. Relieved, I begin combing my hair. The dinosaurs are an obsession and mystery I’m not really interested in figuring out at this point. If they prefer dinosaurs over Barbie dolls, the better off they’ll be, as far as I’m concerned. Why should I teach them that less than size zero women, with hardly enough weight to make the scale move an inch, is the body type they should identify with and long to have? Not that they notice these things at such a young age…I mean, what preschooler notices weight and…Oh yes, mine…Sigh.
Oh well, no gym membership for me, not yet anyway. Being married to a chef-slash-new-business-owner requires penny pinching while my husband works like a madman to build and save for our future…It also requires exercising within the walls of your own living room. It’s Denise Austin, Zumba, and Billy Blanks Taebo, for this stay-at-home-mom. Well, thirty to forty-five minutes of it at least. After all, I have an agenda to keep up with daily.
First, there’s the part where I try and raise happy, educated, balanced, ‘un-screwed-up’ children, and then there are the Mom chores…laundry, unplanned messes, cooking, etc. And then we arrive at my favorite part. Writing. It’s a daily chore, a daily thrill, and occasionally, a heartbreaking process. During my three-year-quest to find a literary agent, for the manuscripts I have written, I have mastered one thing for sure…the art of handling rejection.
Mom pointed this out to me the other day. I had just received the hundredth (real life figure which I will refrain from mentioning) rejection letter from a literary agency regarding one of my manuscripts and was feeling the usual gut-punching, sting of rejection. I mean, they don’t even read any of my actual books. These rejections are based off of query letters about my book, which despite reading numerous articles and blogs on writing the, “perfect query letter,” I obviously, have not mastered.
“Well, at least you are learning to handle rejection well,” Mom said, oh-so optimistically.
Suddenly, it occurred to me, that this, alone, could be the engraving on my tombstone. “Sarah was the master of dealing with rejection!”
Panicking, I immediately returned to my favorite internet site to launch a search for literary representation again, either fueled by my determination to master rejection or perhaps find that one agent, who is somewhere in this big, ugly world of publishing who just maybe for sixty seconds will consider reading one of my books.
And then, it’s as if everyone got the same idea at once. Dark clouds gathered above…No, wrong story…The sun came peering through the cloudy abyss above, and… my husband suggests I start a blog. My mother suggests I start a blog. And then, my sister suggests I start a blog.
My mother and husband were kind of easy to ignore. I came up with a million excuses. Not entirely bad excuses, but still excuses… (“I am editing a manuscript and trying to pay attention to my children,” I argued.) My sister, well, she’s another story, but let’s just say she’s impossible to ignore and extremely difficult to turn down. She missed her calling as a motivational speaker and would be a highly respected CEO… (Just saying.)
So here I am, dear sister, officially starting a blog…I am a story teller and aspiring novelist…sharing what’s on my mind with the blogging world. I may seem quirky, and at times, unbalanced, sharing endless, perhaps meaningless, real-life catastrophes and thoughts, but this is who I am. My name is Sarah, and I’m a blogger…