Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Everybody Just Calm The Hell Down

That was a cheap shot...the title of the post, that is.  I just did it to get your attention.  'Cause I have become a negligent blogger - as in neglecting my blog - and probably some of y'all don't even remember me.  So I used an Alarmist! Strategy!

But seriously. There are several things that were causing excitement around here that I could tie into my bogus title.

A. The Snake Has Been Found.
     A few weeks ago Jasper informed me that he had seen a large snake (looked like a rattler to him) slither beneath my leather sofa.  I can tell when Jasper's fibbing (I've had practice at making this discernment) and he didn't appear to be fibbing.  So I told him and his sister to guard the couch while I went and woke up the boys.  The boys are generally hard to wake up if it is before noon - but the promise of pulling a rattlesnake from beneath the sofa was a good carrot to dangle beneath their noses and they very shortly made their way to the sofa in question and pulled it away from the wall.  No snake. Jasper swore it hadn't come out on his watch.  So they flipped the couch over.  No snake. Possibilities were discussed.  Maybe the snake slithered away while Jasper and Camille shared a simultaneous group-blink.  Maybe Jasper was fibbing.  Maybe the snake had CRAWLED UP INTO THE COUCH.  The boys went back to bed (thanks for nothing) and Jasper worked at sustained indignation when it was suggested that he had maybe mistaken a shoelace, sock, or pair of Spiderman briefs for a snake. 

We forgot about the snake - I had dispensed with the notion that it was a rattlesnake - as rattlesnakes tend to hold their ground and say "Come and get me you stupid dumbass....I can KILL you with my tiny little teeth....that's right MoFo...just bring it...I'm not going anywhere but right here..." rather than slink off to hide in sofas.  Also?  They rattle.  I did, however, avoid sitting on the sofa, preferring to offer it to guests.  'Cause I have what we call Southern Hospitality. Anyway, a couple of days ago the situation was resolved as the snake in question (turned out to be a bull snake) was found curled up beneath the bench in our hallway by the back door.  Jasper was vindicated....I TOLD YOU SO....the snake was escorted outside....and the You Know I Seem To Recall Seeing Something Out Of The Corner Of My Eye stories began. Jeff says he heard something slither away when he picked up a pile of dirty clothes to put in the washer and I was like Holy Cow No Way....you picked up a pile of clothes to put in the washer??  I'm pretty sure the thing slithered along the wall in my little meditation nook while I sat in a chair writing....everyone else is pretty sure they almost stepped on it in the middle of the night.

Now you might wonder how a snake managed to find itself in my house.  This is not the first time we've had a snake loose in the house...but it is the first time my sons were not directly involved.  Snakes do like to curl up by our back doors (I always say stepping out the back door is more dangerous than walking barefoot in the tall grass around here) and I guess one could have slithered in on somebody's heels.  And occasionally, our doors remain open for indeterminate periods of time.  I'm not going to name names or out any fellow bloggers / homeschoolers....but let me just say that there is a specific mom who shall remain annonymous and whose identity I shall take great pains to protect who has 9 stinkin' kids, all of whom suffer from an unfortunate genetic infliction that apparently renders them incapable of shutting doors.  Just somethin' I've noticed in passing, is all. Not that there's anything wrong with that.  Unless you live in Texas and have a general dislike of cohabitating with snakes. (The family with the unfortunate genetic predisposition is a transplant family - dang Yankees every last one of them except for the littlest 3 - so I'm cutting them some slack. After all, they called the police when they found a snake in their garage. And I'm pretty sure the police are still talking about it.)

Let's see....what else to calm down about?

B. The World Did Not End
     Ellie and I were in Wyoming the day the world was supposed to end.  She was in a practice room at the University of Wyoming and I was napping comfortably in a hotel room.  I woke up to see that it was 5:00 Wyoming Time...which meant it was 6:00 Texas Time...so I called my husband to see if the End of The World had begun at home.  "What's shakin'?" I asked.

"We found the snake!" he said.  See Above.

And that was that.  Not even an earthquake.

Ellie and I were in Laramie, Wyoming for the Snowy Range Piano Competition and let me just say that people in this particular town are freakishly nice.  And speaking of freakish - it was snowing - and it had been something like 96 degrees when El and I had left Texas....so we did indeed assume the freakish snow was a preclude to the end of the world.  We had some discussion about whether the predicted End Times consisted of the Actual End All or just The Rapture.  Or does The Rapture involve the Actual End?  We didn't know and we were highly curious, because if it were The End of The World - it might actually affect us, whereas if it were The Rapture, we intended to go about our business minus a few more or less irritating people.  Although, seeing as how dang nice the people in Laramie were, we might have found ourselves quite alone - but maybe Ellie would have placed 1st instead of 2nd in the piano competition.  Either way, it is my understanding that the Big Event has now been postponed until October 21. 

Laramie was a lovely town surrounded by mountains.  I bet they are prone to the occasional snow-in and resulting isolation.  They are, Ellie pointed out, highly susceptible to a zombie attack....or at the very least....a Shining Type of Mishap where someone goes stark, raving insane with an axe during a snow storm.  That's why they were all freakishly polite - it wasn't so much that they were happy to see us as they were just hoping we wouldn't murder them in their sleep or bite them and pass on the zombie virus.  Throw in the possibility of the Apocolypse and you can see why those folks tiptoe around like they're walking on eggshells.  Delightful people - and the town also seemingly contained a higher than average number of extremely good looking Wyoming men.  Not that I noticed.

Ellie performed in the semi-final round and was chosen as one of the five finalists.  I heard she played very well....I wouldn't know.....I sat in the car.  The little stinker prefers I not listen to her during competitions.  Recitals and other performances are okay....but competitions are not.  "I just don't like walking out on the stage and seeing YOUR FACE, Mom."  Some moms might take offense at that - luckily I'm not one of them. 

The young man who placed first was delightful.  Originally from Korea, he now lives in Texas with his piano teacher.  He holds both a bachelor's degree and an Artist Certification in Piano Performance (an advanced degree).....and here's the kicker....he's ONLY SIXTEEN.  When I commented on how impressive this was, he shyly shrugged his shoulders, gave me a little-boy-look and said, "Well, I'm Asian."  Ellie wants to be Asian but like Mick says, you can't always get what you want.  You can, however, freakishly play the piano and pretend to be Asian....even if your mom insists on behaving in a very un-Asian manner by banging on the practice room door and saying, "Hurry up! Justin Timberlake is hosting SNL and I want to get back to the hotel!"

The finals were held in the recital hall / auditorium at the university, audience attended of course, and I was asked to stay below in the dungeon where the practice rooms were.  I did sneak up at one point because I didn't want to miss the awards announcement - but when I heard, from the lobby, that Ellie was still playing, I obediently stuck my ear buds in and listened to Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik - which is what I like to listen to whenever I'm anxious.  I try not to bop my head or make facial expressions or move in general as it tends to mortify anybody within a hundred-mile radius who happens to share any of my DNA. But if I'm feeling extremely anxious, I might tap my foot.  Ellie says I have "anxiety."  I do not have "anxiety."  I simply like to imagine the worst case scenario and then repeatedly play it in my head until I find it necessary to listen to Blood Sugar Sex Magik.  Ellie did not pass out, vomit, fall, or begin a round of hysterical laughter at the piano.  Not that I thought she would.  Well, maybe I did a little...but that doesn't mean I have "anxiety."  She played (according to the strangers who watched her) beautifully.  One of the judges told me she was mesmerizing.  An elderly gentleman (good looking guy) told me she made him cry.  She won a sh*tload of money - and worked dang hard for it. It was a great trip and I enjoyed every minute of it....always grateful for any time I get to spend one on one with my little girl before she leaves me in the dust.

That's it for now.  You can just calm the hell down because I'm done blogging.  Hopefully, I will blog again soon.  I've been asked to blog about the soon to be released picture book called Go the F**k to Sleep.  I have perused said picture book and am anxious to share my Solicited Opinion.  It isn't very often that one gets to share an Actual Solicited Opinion, so I don't want to pass up the opportunity.  I've also still got to come up with something sappy about the two youngest kids - or the earlier post will be something else for them to hold against me. God knows we don't need to add anything to THAT list.

Signing off as a very calm, peaceful, and non-anxious Sardine Mama.


  1. Hey, it was a coral snake and we had only been here a few months....cut me some slack :P

    now the door shutting disability...I don't know what the problem is with that. And it just seems to be your doors as they slam all mine hard enough to rattle windows...and wake babies. i'm sure they shut Ginger's doors perfectly and quietly and every.single.time...because well, it's Miss Ginger

  2. and now i'm really jealous, because i want that go the eff to sleep book.

  3. As soon as you wrote that Jeff picked up dirty clothes to put in the washer, I had the same reaction as you. Totally forgetting that there was a snake in your house. Love it!
    Congrats to Ellie on being so cool and eventhough she's not Asian, she still plays pretty damn well.
    Yes, where is the follow-up for your two youngest kids. Don't you like them as much? If not, send them my way. Claire wants a sister. And the boy will blend right in. I'll probably just figure that he's been here the whole time. m.

  4. Huh, my brother lived in Laramie for a bit and commented to me several times on the niceness of people there. I assumed the people were just normal but seemed extra nice because we come from the Detroit area where, well people aren't so nice. I guess I was wrong.

    Congrats to your daughter!


  5. K - who says I'm talking about you? Maybe I know another woman with 9 kids who can't close doors and who called the AUTHORITIES over a tiny little massively poisonous snake.

    Mark - K read your comment and laughed her rear off. "Like Jasper could blend in..." She said that to me today while her kid stood there with my front door open.

    Pamela - who can I give that book to? I have to give it to someone!! What a shower gift, right? But some serious-types are getting all kinds of offended over it...

    Carri - that is WEIRD about them all being so nice. Not just polite...but NICE. I'm back home now and an angry person with obvious unresolved childhood issues honked at me in a parking lot today. I drive a BUS. It's not like I can actually see when I'm backing up...in Laramie they would have apologized for being in my way.

  6. Even tho i am transplanted to CT from Texas and still see snakes here, I remember those snakes! No biggie....
    Oh on the world's end, i heard it was another miscalculation (this guy has done this before) and now it will happen in October!

  7. LOL...

    I think I would have been a bit more freaked over a snake under my couch. But, smooth move on offering it to guests!