And if God is laughing, I might as well laugh too. And for bonus points, I’ll share the laughter with you all!

Last time I tried to mow my grass, I would say the venture was half successful. I declined to share the story here because it seemed a bit like complaining, but it adds a little flavor to my woes of today, so I’ll throw it in for good measure.

I mowed the front yard without incident. I thought “Hey! This is actually gonna be easy! For once!”

Then I hopped off to open the fence to the back yard and the whole endeavor fell apart. I attempted to restart the mower to no avail. I pushed pins, lifted levers, turned knobs, clutched cranked and eventually, almost cried. The darn thing wasn’t even trying to turn over. Nothing I did worked. Nothing was happening. Gah.

Even worse, my eight hundred pound lawn mower was stranded quite some way away from my storage shed. Though I am not a frail little lady or particularly unwilling to get my hands dirty and sweat a little, there was no way I was going to be able to push that mower to the shed in less than an hour’s time. Ridiculous.

Fortunately, I know some clever people and only a couple of days later, it was determined that my battery was not well connected. Or whatever. Anyway, that was remedied and I was able to DRIVE that monstrosity back to the shed.

And today  I was bound and determined to mow both front and back yards again. The front yard was already beginning to look bad again and the back? Oh my, it was atrocious.

So this morning I got started early. I threw open the shed door with enthusiasm for the task at hand. I pulled (with all my might, may I add) the darned thing out into the driveway and started it up. With ease! Oh, finally, this time was going to be easy. Surely I had dealt with all of my mower issues and all would be well.

Once I’d driven into the grass, I engaged the mower blade. No, I take that back. I turned the lever to engage the blade, but nothing happened. Sigh. Of course nothing happened. Why would I ever think mowing my grass would be EASY?

My wonderful Dad suggested the owner’s manual for trouble shooting. Amazingly, MY MOWER BLADE WON’T ENGAGE is not among the trouble shooting topics. Really?

But I began to notice a pattern among the other mower deck/blade questions – the belt. So the belt was a potential problem. Ok, so back out in the front yard, on hands and knees, butt sticking up in the air checking the belt. Voila! The belt was unlooped from the little pulley things. And that’s as technical as I can get 🙂

For real though, for it being as easy as it obviously was for the belt to come unlooped, it was ridiculously difficult to re-loop it. There’s this bar sticking up that’s supposed to prevent the belt from slipping out (obviously a failure) that made it nearly impossible to get it back in place. I ended up using a pair of pliers (ummm… or a wrench? I’m not really sure which is which) to pry the bar away from the pulley so I could re-loop the stupid belt. All the time, butt sticking up in the air in my front yard. So attractive.

BUT I DID IT! I felt absolutely unstoppable after solving this dilemma. I plowed through both the front and back yards,  beautifying my property with ease.

Then I got a little cocky with it. I started taking corners at excessive speed.  I finished the yards proper and there’s this tiny little bit of grass near my shed  that is awfully difficult to mow with my gigantic riding lawn mower, as I have a gravel driveway and the mower blades don’t like the gravel driveway. But I can do anything and so I tried it out. It went smoothly for 0.267 seconds. I made a sharp turn and ran half the mower into a flower bed up against the fence. If you’re having a hard time visualizing this scenario:

Lawn Mower Situation

So don’t worry too much about scaling… obviously the mower in the upper left hand corner is far too large to ever to have found itself in that position, but let’s just assume it did.

 
The barrier into the flower bed (which, let’s be honest, is hosting honey suckles and weeds at the moment, and maybe a few chipmunks) is an old telephone pole laying on its side. It protrudes quite a lot from the ground. I drove over it too fast. I could not build enough reverse speed to undo my damage. Nor could I pull it out from behind. Nor could I push it from the front. That particular attempt resulted in a LARGE bruise on my thigh and quite a few scratches up my leg as I slid rather forcefully to the ground.
 
Fantastic.
 
It was at this point that I started laughing hysterically. Honestly, who else could get themselves into this much trouble JUST trying to mow the grass? I’m pretty sure God is trying to tell me that I just need to let the weeds be. To hell with being a good homeowner.
 
However, I can say with a fair amount of confidence that I am just trying to excuse myself from further attempts to dominate this machine that clearly is intent upon dominating me. Time after time. Not next time! I will prevail!
 
Only… can someone come help me un-stick it first?
 
 
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About a month ago, I agreed to cat-sit my parents lovely, fluffy gray cat Willow while they were in Louisiana visiting my little sister. There were perks. A huge house all to myself for two days, plenty of bottles of wine in the basement, permission to ‘throw a party’ Saturday night, and for all this, I would get paid. All I had to do was let the cat in and out of the house during the day, make sure she was inside at night, and keep her fed and watered. Couldn’t ask for a better set-up!

The bad news was, I had to close the store the Friday night before, and Birmingham is a two-hour drive away. I made it to my house after midnight sometime. Read and wrote for too long, fell asleep around 2 am, woke up at 6:30, packed and headed out the door because, oh, there was one other draw back to the situation – I had to be in Birmingham by 9 to let the cat out because she’d spent the entire day before cooped up inside. For that, I got a cash bonus. Of course I would sacrifice sleep for cash. So I got in my pathetic little car at 7am, freezing my…umm…nose? off, feeling perhaps more physically uncomfortable than I’ve felt in some time, and drove for two hours.

My activities for the day consisted of boring things no one cares to hear about, letting the cat in and out of the house, watching a football game and taking a nap. That night, Dear and Funky friends came over to my parents’ house for pizza and beer, which actually started as pizza and a bottle and a half of wine, then beer, and for me, more beer, to top off the margarita wine cooler I’d had before the girls had even arrived. Knowing as you do from a previous post, I have a very low tolerance for alcohol and sometimes I get carried away.

Also, alcohol has this uncanny ability to make one need to pee. Obviously, I ended up on the toilet. With my phone. Drunk.

Anyone who knows me also knows I am highly ungraceful, and that’s when I’m sober. When I’ve had too much, I’m a walking disaster. Needless to say, my phone ended up in the toilet.

Have I mentioned that I just purchased this phone the day before? Right. I’d just purchased the phone the day before. And it was in the toilet. Effing hell.

Funky friend offered some sage advice. A bag of uncooked rice. Otherwise, she and Dear Friend just made fun of me. I, however, was inconsolable. My phone! My life-line! I do not do well without it. I had to have a replacement. Immediately. I was no longer a happy silly drunk, I was a belligerent and devastated drunk no one wanted to be around. Funky Friend excused herself shortly thereafter. As I was letting her out the door, out also went Willow. You know, the cat who wasn’t supposed to go outside after dark? Yeah. That one.

Gah.

Obviously the only solution was to run around the wet yard in my sock feet screaming after little Willow in the hopes that she would for some reason come back to me. The raving lunatic. Cats just love raving lunatics running around in wet socks. Of course, she ran.

As frustrated as I was by Willow getting away, I had more important things to deal with after Funky’s departure. I  needed another phone. Stat.

The continuing problem was that I was drunk and could not drive. The solution: Dear Friend is also Perfectly Responsible Friend and had consumed far, far less alcohol than I had, and nothing in the last hour of our gathering.

I didn’t have to do much begging before I was in her SUV’s passenger seat being chauffeured to the nearest Wal-Mart.

Which was closed.

Wal-Marts CLOSE?!?!? Who knew.

Anyway, there is another Wal-Mart not far down the road and Dear Friend is quite dear, so she drove me to that one. Where I drunkenly questioned the only electronics worker on duty after midnight on a  Saturday night. He was unhelpful. Apparently some Wal-Marts close and not all Wal-Marts carry the same product. I’d purchased my phone the day before at the Wal-Mart where I live.

Blast and bother.

Dear Friend drove a sullen LizHarrell back to her parents’ home, then left. LizHarrell stood out in the cold and called for Willow for two solid minutes on both the front and back porches. LizHarrell was ignored, or was else the cat was incapable of hearing from the gut of a coyote.

I then got on AIM with Dear Friend who volunteered her spare cell phone. By this time, I was so sober it wasn’t even funny, so I drove over to her house, got the spare phone, and drove back to my parents’.

Called for Willow again.

She ignored me, again.

Quietly, I made up a little bed on the sofa between the front and back doors. I had a cell phone again, and had high hopes for the bag of uncooked rice restoring my brand new phone to its brand new state. But I had failed at my only charge for the weekend. Willow was out in the freezing night, being pursued by large scary animals, and I was to blame.

I huddled into a ball on the sofa and waited with as much optimism as I could muster for Willow to return home. I fell asleep.

And at 7am, Willow came prancing up to the back door as if nothing at all was wrong. Apparently the rule about her staying inside at night was unnecessary. As was my night on the sofa.

As always (knock on wood), I avoided a hangover. My parents returned home to a clean home and were not too annoyed by the missing alcohol. I never told them about the phone… but it didn’t matter. The bag of rice actually worked!

As it turns out, not all mistakes are irreversible or disastrous. Cats come home and phones dry out. Knowing that certain mistakes can be undone is really very comforting. If only it were always so easy as a night on the sofa and a bag of uncooked rice!

I’m going to shoot for under 200 words for this supplementary post. I promise. Already used 15…

  • I like to wear skirts. Have I mentioned that? Yeah. So today was a windy day. I walked a short distance to lunch and experienced a real Marilyn Monroe moment RIGHT in front of a wall of glass doors. I don’t know how much was visible but I sorta freaked out attempting to control the situation. Probably just drew more attention to myself.
  • I had a college student think I looked like a fellow college student this afternoon. What what! 
  • The Boss told me that he had a lot of respect for what I do. And then qualified with, “So far…” Yeah. I’m hoping I took that the right way by laughing heartily. That’s basically how I react to everything, and ‘so far,’ it’s worked for me 🙂
  • OKAY that was going to be it, but I just had a drop in from a neighbor!! Got the full history on my house (scandal alert! will have to post on this soon!) and a veiled suggestion that maybe I have too many weeds on my front steps, if not everywhere. She brought watermelon, too.

BAM! 199 words.

Son of a bitch! Can a lady get a break? I don’t think so.

I returned to my house in Opelika this morning to find that the back door had been crow-barred open. WTF? What on earth do I have that is worth breaking and entering?

Apparently, only three things: a gun, a GameCube, and cash.

Except out in my garage is a whole bunch of stuff that might actually have been worth something – and it was unlocked. Ah, the idiocy of teenagers. Cause some pretty severe damage to a door to steal three things when you could have just lifted the garage door and found a plethora of theft-worthy junk. Well now I’m too freaked out to leave my garage doors (this garage is, of course, completely separate from our house) unlocked anymore, so you definitely missed out.

And as much as I love my cats, the burden they’re causing me right now is so great that my second thought upon entering the house was, “Well, darnit, they could have at least left the door open so the cats could run away!”

I am seriously heartless. An appeal for the sake of the poor kitties – PLEASE someone offer to take them from me before I leave the door open myself!!

Now, for some reason when I got home and saw that my back door easily swung open I wasn’t scared. I hadn’t been home in a week and I really didn’t think any burglar would still be in residence inside. My first thought, in case you were curious from my comment above, was: “Dammit, how can I tell what’s been stolen? This house was a wreck before anyone broke in!”

So it took me awhile to sort through what was just messy and what had been rifled through, which I probably could have just saved until the police arrived because I pretty much destroyed any evidence still in existence before I even dialed 911. But dial I did and two lovely policemen, who likely couldn’t wait to get outside and breathe cat-smell-free air, arrived about half an hour after I got home. I got the distinct impression that the OPD doesn’t get a lot of action (which, to be fair, they really should — there are some scary thugs in the vicinity of my house alone) because I think they actually thought they could solve the case and find the “perp.”

The more seasoned cop even once made the comment, “I wish there’d been some blood or something…” As if the OPD is going to spend the likely thousands of dollars it costs to do DNA analysis to recover the five hundred dollars of property stolen from my home. I doubt it. But I do appreciate their enthusiasm! They even called out a detective who came with his camera and took some pictures to document the state in which the Felon (yes, I said FELON! 2 counts of felony, actually, I found out) left my house. Disturbingly, the only major difference to be found from before and after the burglary was a couple of drawers open on our sofa table and the broken door frame. Oh, and they apparently thought we were Bubba enough to store money between our mattress and box-springs because they did have the mattress slid off to the side.

No, we were just Bubba enough to leave a fair amount of cash in a lockbox on the living room floor. Only, the lockbox wasn’t locked. Brilliance!

Seriously, though, I’m in a remarkably good mood for having just been robbed. Either I’ve just finally gone over the deep end or I’m getting my funny-mojo back!! Let’s hope it’s the second 🙂

Spiders and Roaches and Ticks, Oh My!

Today Hubby and I tackled the garage. We’ve lived in our current home for almost exactly 2 years now, meaning that the build up of detritus hadn’t quite reached the overflow point yet. But we’re having a garage sale. And those sorts of things generally take place in a garage. Or so I’m told.

Anyway, Hubby and I are not known for our cleaning stamina, so all should be sufficiently amazed at our ability to get from the house out to the garage with our willpower intact. This being a feat in and of itself, I expect some shock and awe at the fact that we actually went through (with varying degrees of diligence) every box in the garage. This takes on even more special significance in that every box housed not just our stuff, but a family of creepy crawly things. And I really hate insects. And arachnids.

Most prevalent were the spiders. They (and their icky icky webs) were everywhere. Crawling on everything. Hanging from the ceiling. Crawling up my legs. There was one moment right in the middle of a conversation with Hubby where I responded (seemingly) to him with, “Get. It. OFF OF ME!” There was (I SWEAR) a black-widow/brown-recluse/tarantula/camel spider cross breed crawling right up my leg and I was dancing around like a kid in line for a porta-potty. It was terrifying. I still shudder just remembering it. Of course, it fell off in my frenzy and ran away…pretty harmless after all. But terrifying nonetheless.

Now, the roaches were not much less terrifying, as it turns out they are quite proficient flyers and monstrously huge… corn-fed on whatever they eat that we must have plenty of in our garage. Hubby found a nest. A nest of roaches. The roach spray was helpful…needless to say I was safely indoors while all the spraying was going on. Half an hour later, though, they were still quite agitated. Flying everywhere, wanting to land on my head…ugh. I smashed at least ten roaches in as many minutes. Disgusting. But at this point we’d cleared out all the boxes and I was sweeping up the dust and dirt and roach carcasses. I couldn’t see anymore roaches at this point, thankfully, because this was the point when Hubby decided to tell me that roaches sometimes bite. BITE!!! This is beyond revolting. But I was too close to getting things all wrapped up in the garage to give up then.

It was at this point that I had to start organizing for the garage sale. We got our dining table and deck table out into the now semi-sparkling (okay, still fairly buggy and dusty) garage and arranged what basically amounts to a bunch of junk (unless you are interested in buying – in that case, it’s all priceless, I swear) on them.

Then came the tick. I can’t tell you how happy I am that the tick wasn’t on me, but on Hubby. I love Hubby dearly and hate that he had a tick on him, but he handled the situation a lot more stoically than I would have been capable of doing under the same conditions. He was scratching what he thought was a bug bite on his leg when he felt something “squishy” which he quickly determined was a tick. It fell off his leg and onto the floor (we were back inside for the evening) so, brilliantly, he vacuumed the entire carpet since he couldn’t find it. Then he dug the “mouth” out of his leg. And I hid in the bathroom. Yuck.

But hoorah! The garage is half-way ready for our garage sale at the end of July! OMG guys! After a year of planning, I think this time it MIGHT actually happen!