Friday, September 21, 2012

Iyov and the No Good, Terrible, Very Bad Day

Iyov woke up with excitement. Today would be a fantastic day of outdoor adventures. His tractors were calling him to come scoop the driveway dirt. Right Now! He leaped out of bed and decided to find an accomplice. Beya would be up for it. She always wanted to play outside. And off they went.

Never mind that Mom was still in bed, the two ran off into the sunrise, dreaming of grasshoppers to be caught, and caterpillars to befriend.
The one sure thing to ruin a perfect morning outing is a mom to admonish the carefree spirit for being so wreckless.
"You know you are not allowed outside without permission!" she cried upon discovering their unauthorized escape. "You two will not be able to go outside today! At all!"

Spirits crushed, the two took their dose of discipline with acceptance. Except for Iyov. He stood longingly by the door, as close as possible to that place of freedom and abandon. Outside. What would he do now that his plans were ruined? A perfect day. And now he had to spend it inside? How unfair! Mom would pay for this offense, he would make sure of it.

He decided that the bathroom looked appealing. There were all kinds of fun things in the bathroom. Water, with its many fascinating qualities, would make a fine basis for experiment. An empty bottle promised hours of fun at the tap. Who cares that such endeavors meant water all over the counter and floor? If he was going to be forced inside, he didn't care what kind of destruction his actions caused!

Of course, as she always did, Mom caught him. And as she forced him to clean up the mess, he wondered, Just what does she expect me to do inside then?

Once finished, he decided to go see if any amazing kid-friendly food had shown up in the fridge overnight. Who cares if the fridge only ever has the same boring things. After all, one never knows when cookies and candy will show up just when you aren't paying attention. And besides, looking in the fridge is something to do. Maybe while he was at it, he could open some yogurt and only eat one bite just to punish mom for continually ruining his fun. That always got her riled up. Perfect.

Mom caught him before he could leave the evidence behind... again. And made him eat the whole thing even though he told her at least ten times that he didn't want it. He hissed at her and then yelled, "I don't like you, mom!"
Mom sent him to his room.

On his way there, he noticed mom's pink spray bottle that she uses to spray on Beya's hair to detangle it. He doesn't know what Mom keeps in there, but spraying water is great fun! Another perfect bathroom activity! So under the guise of going to his room, he snatched it up, and spent his "time out in his room" time playing with that fantastic invention: the spray bottle.
And why not dump the bottle out and experience the joy of filling it up himself? Score!

He managed to not get caught by mom this time. He really fooled her into thinking he was spending his time dutifully in his room. So he decided to be a bit more daring after re-emerging from his room. So he got his Legos out and dumped the entire contents on the living room floor. Legos are for dumping. That's what he thinks anyway.

Mom found him. Again. And she told him to clean them up. So he yelled at her. He was not going to clean up that mess! Doesn't mom know how many Legos that is? It will take him at least five minutes.

He had much better things to do. Like instigate fights with Novan and Beya. He knows they like it. Even when they yell at him to stop over and over and over and over. Who wouldn't want to play fight with him? Who cares if Beya was busy coloring a picture?

Novan and Beya screamed too much though. And mom found him. His legos still weren't picked up. Why not? He thought Legos picked themselves up if you leave them long enough. And Beya and Novan acted so unreasonable about being wrestled with. Mom promptly smacked his bottom and stood there while he picked up every last Lego. He was wrong about the time though. It actually took more like ten minutes. He forgot about the extra time he had to spend whining all through the job. Everyone knows you can't get anything done without whining about it.

"I can't take this anymore!" Mom declared. "Go to your room and stay there so I don't strangle you!"
"You're making me mad!" Iyov yelled back.
But he complied because mom is bigger, and she looked really angry.
But the bathroom distracted him again on the way. He forgot about the soap dispenser in there that is great fun to play with. So on the way to his room, he stopped and emptied it, foolishly leaving the evidence in the sink.

This time, while in his room, sans Legos to dump, Iyov spotted Squeaky, the Guinea Pig. Mom never lets Iyov hold him because he picked him up by his legs once. Now would be the perfect opportunity. Except he couldn't get the cage door open. So he opted for pulling the entire cage off the dresser and onto the floor.

Guinea pig litter, hay, poop, and food pellets crashed to the ground, all over everything. Iyov wondered if mom heard... his door was closed, so maybe not. He couldn't see Squeaky anywhere. Maybe he escaped. He'll be in real trouble when she sees this. But she's not here now...
Well, all that naughtiness was exhausting. Time for a nap. And as he fell asleep, Iyov thought what a terrible day it had been. Mom didn't let him have any fun.
But yet Iyov realized he may have actually accomplished what he set out to do: make mom regret keeping him from playing outside. I bet she won't do that again, he thought as he drifted into peaceful slumber.

*Photos depict only reenactments of actual events that occurred. Photographer was too angry and horrified to photograph events as they happened.
*All children depicted herein were played by themselves.
*All events occurred in the same day, between the hours of 7 AM and 1 PM
*Note, no animals were harmed in either actual or reenacted events. Squeaky was found later, unharmed, under a pile of bedding.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Writing prompt this week: HOME.

I don’t know what home is. My mom told me once that she’s always thought of Cissna Park, IL as home. Where you were raised, that’s home. I don’t agree with this.  Sure, New Bern, NC has a certain nostalgia to it that breeds a kind of familiar, predictable comfort, but it’s not home. 

Perhaps the distinction lies in how a person thinks home should feel. So how should home feel to me? I can only do this by deciding how I want to feel first. I like to feel adventure. I like unknown, to an extent. I like surprises, so long as they are surprises of self-discovery. Like moving to North Dakota. I thought of it as an adventure in which I would discover all kinds of new things. That’s what I like. I like discovering myself. 

I place myself against different backdrops to see what happens to me. Maybe like a chameleon: trying out different camouflage to see which one fits best.  I fit myself into the surroundings, adjusting, changing, and contorting parts of my mind to fit with a new reality. I like to adjust. I like to see how I can fit.

Strangely, this feeling is freeing. I might be trying to fit myself into a given confining box, but in the end I always surprise myself with how well I can fit into it. I relish the feeling of fitting. And then when the feeling fades and gets old, I climb out and move on to the next shape. This surprise and opportunity to self-discover moves me and motivates me. I feel at home. I connect to myself more than at any other time.
Home is only where the different lighting of a situation shines on some undiscovered part of myself.

So put me in a new box. I bet I can fit into it.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Hamster Tragedy

Where have I been? Writing. Duh. Get off me ok? And listen to the following funny/tragic/off-the wall story I'm about to tell you.

A little background because you may find some of this free-write stuff on here in the future. I'm pursuing a Master's in Creative Writing in case you forgot, and my current instructor gives us writing exercises to get the juices flowing. She gave us the following topic and told us to write whatever came to mind and I thought this story was blog-worthy. It made me laugh to remember it. And cry a little bit. And feel a little bit of guilt.

My first pet.

As kids we had animals all the time on the farm, but I guess the hamsters we had qualify as “official” pets, right? Because we went to a pet store and stuff to buy them? Ok, yeah. 


We had two. I guess my mom figured the three of us girls wouldn’t share one between us, so she got two. Well they were supposed to both be male. That’s what “Bill” said. (The name of the store was “Bills Pet Shop,” I’ve had this idea in my head of what “Bill” looks like for years now and I still don’t know if I’m right). But they weren’t both male. They were male AND female. And they made some babies. Lotsa babies. 

My mom took those babies back to Bill’s Pet Shop because she decided since Bill couldn’t tell whether a hamster was a boy or a girl, (which, frankly I can’t really understand either because if you’ve any experience with rodents, they have BIG nads if you know what I’m sayin’), they became his responsibility. She figured it was up to the pet store to take in homeless baby hamsters that resulted from gender negligence. Or so she told us anyway. I think she probably flushed them or something. My parents could be kind of… well… the kind of people who shot the dog if it barked too much.

But anyway, we were stuck with those two hamsters, a boy and a girl. And we had to figure out how to stop them from copulating because I think we could have probably kept Bill’s hamster stock regularly supplied if we’d allowed the promiscuity to continue. So somebody, my mom maybe, got some chicken wire and made a partition in the cage so each hamster had its own space.
Well the “cage” we had was really an old glass aquarium we had lying around so there was no top. We just jimmy-rigged that thing with a chicken-wire partition.
Now in the meantime we had re-named our two hamsters Bernard and Miss Bianca (you know from the Rescuer’s animated movie?). Originally, prior to the non-double-scrotum discovery, they were Bernard and Jake. Anyway, Bernard made short work of our chicken-wire partition by simply climbing over it. So that wasn’t going to work.
Then we built a chicken-wire top, (in addition to the partition to prevent climbing over it), and secured it somehow. I can’t remember how now because the memory turns a little tragic from here, so maybe I’ve blocked out certain key details that may or may not have implicated me in the ensuing tragedy.
Well, long story short, Bernard was so besotted by Miss Bianca that he attempted to squeeze his hamster body between the partition and top of the cage--I mean aquarium--and not able to fit more than just his head, he consequently hung himself. That’s how we found him in the morning. Tragic. I told you.
And so we buried him or something. And Miss Bianca, now husband-less, became our one and only pet (officially).
I guess we should have started out with one hamster to begin with.

Lesson’s learned:
Jimmy rigging is called that because Jimmy probably hung himself too on his own rigging.
Force your kids to learn to share just one pet, otherwise you might have a tried-and-true Romeo and Juliet story on your hands.