Monday, June 29, 2009

I Would Have Named Him "Farrah," Were He Not A Boy

We decided to get a cat.

And by “we” I do not in any way mean “me,” I mean “he”(my dear and loving husband, Dave), who thought a cat would be good for the garden. Specifically, he thought a cat would motivate the rabbits to quit feasting upon it.

We were quite surprised by the lengthy application process at the Humane Society, including a waiting period and reference checks, in order to walk out with one of their many, many unwanted adult cats.

So for your enjoyment this week, I have listed a sampling of actual questions and the actual answers Dave would not let me submit to the Humane Society in order to obtain a cat:

Name, Address
Weekly Jules, College Town, USA

If you move, will you take this pet with you? Why or why not?
Definitely. If we remember. And can find it.

Will others be handling or caring for the pet?
There are a few regular joggers in the neighborhood that give me the creeps and would absolutely not be allowed to handle it. I would also keep it away from the kid who lights ladybugs on fire with a magnifying glass.

Do any members of your household have allergies?
Me – Penicillin (I get a rash)
Luke –whatever dye is in Fruit Loops (you don’t want to know)

List the pets you have now:
Mack. I am the poster child for the dangers of drinking chocolate martinis at a school auction.

Have you owned any pets in the last five years not listed above? If yes, please explain:
We didn’t technically “own” the cat that showed up at our door that we kept feeding a couple years ago, and we brought it you all as soon as we figured out the little tramp was pregnant and couldn’t tell us who the father was. And we killed a 75-gallon tank full of fish when my husband mixed up the fish food with his margarita. Looked like a freshwater war zone after a couple of hours.

Are you interested in a CAT? RABBIT? FERRET? OTHER?

What equipment is needed for this particular pet?
Do CATS need car seats?

How much time will your pet spend outdoors?
Why on earth would I let it inside?

Do you have a fence?
For a CAT? Seriously??

If not, how will you safely and humanely ensure your pet stays on your property?
I plan to dig a moat and bank on the cat not being much of a swimmer.

What time period will be needed to prepare for this pet?
I’m not as concerned about having enough time as I am medication. I honestly doubt there is a pharmacy in town well-enough stocked to prepare me for cat ownership. But, just like with human babies, once you hold one in your arms you fall in love instantly, right? That’s what I’m hoping for.

Who will be responsible for socialization and training needs?
I have purchased the “Dog Whisperer” DVD’s and plan to make the cat watch them regularly until he can behave like Caesar’s dogs do.

What grooming requirements do you feel are necessary for this particular pet?
Duh. Nail polish, a flatiron, and hair glitter.

Will this cat share a litter box?
No. Everyone else is potty-trained. Except the dog, who only goes outside. Under penalty of mom goes bat-crazy and threatens to give take him to the family that bid against us at that auction.

If there will be other cats in the household, will you be interested in discussing multi-cat issues with a staff member?
If I ever, and I mean EVER, come in here and ask for more than one cat, I beg you to take me in for a full mental evaluation, for I will obviously be operating outside of my norm.

(But, alas, I was not in charge of completing the application, and we are now the proud owners of an orange tabby.)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Queen Trish: Using Her Powers for Good

Summer is here, and I’ll tell you the truth. I don’t miss getting four kids out the door to school by 8:00 every morning. I don’t miss worrying if the school uniforms are clean or if we have enough bread and peanut butter to scrape together a sandwich. I don’t miss the homework, the early bedtimes, or the onslaught of activity at 3:30 every afternoon after an otherwise peaceful day alone in my house.

But every summer, I do miss Trish.

(That is her real name, she told me I could use it.)

Trish is the most undersung hero at our kids’ school, holding the all-powerful role of school secretary.

Any parent who has ever forgotten a lunch, field trip forms, or bake sale money; any parent who has ever tried to pull a kid from school early the day before spring break; any parent who has ever wanted the rest of the story (including names) that only partially made it home from school knows what I’m talking about.

Trish is all that and a bag of chips (usually from Jimmy John’s). And one bad-ass mom.

When her older sons (1st and 2nd grade at the time) told her, during the ride home from school, about a classmate “doing it” with someone, she immediately asked, “Do either of you know what ‘doing it’ means?” Upon seeing their little heads shake side-to-side in the rearview mirror, she filled them in with details about “doing it.” Who, how, and with what. She had a captive audience in the back seat growing more and more nauseous, educating those boys like no nun ever had at their Catholic school and swearing them to secrecy within an inch of their lives.

As she pulled into the driveway she asked, “So, do you think your friend is really ‘doing it’ now?” They held back tears, squeaked out “no,” and ran to their rooms for the rest of the night. Voluntarily.

Years later, she had a similar conversation with her youngest boy, a 3rd-grader at the time, when he asked his mother on the way home from school if she had ever been hit in the balls at recess.

“I don’t have balls!” she laughed from the driver’s seat.

“You don’t have BALLS?” he said, wide-eyed with surprise and horror. “What do you HAVE then?”

This is the same son who, since he was five years old, had been trained by Trish to leave any lost teeth on the stairs leading up to his bedroom so the Tooth Fairy won’t have to wake him up at night (or forget to come up and make the swap before going to bed herself).

But my favorite Trish moment came while I was filling in for her at the secretary’s desk one morning.

A beautiful, sweet-looking young student walked into the office from recess, forcing tears out some very blue eyes. I noticed the little child’s face looked disappointed to see me, rather than Trish, sitting in the hot seat, but the kid stuck with the plan, saying, “I think I broke my elbow.”

I sat the child down and gently touched the allegedly afflicted appendage. My patient gave a B-movie performance (at best), with a delayed flinch and minor whimper.

Knowing this was a frequent flyer to the school office, I proceeded with caution. “Well, I can tell it hurts, but the good news is that it doesn’t look broken.”

Savvy to the inner-workings of Trish’s arsenal, the child pointed to the medical supply cabinet and said, “I think I need a cast. Can you look on the 3rd shelf down and get one for me?”

Having four kids of my own, I was not about to get played by this one. “You need a real doctor to put on a cast. Should we call your mom and have her take you to the emergency room?” I said with feigned concern, offering an ice pack instead.

This did not satisfy. We were at a deadlock.

Just then, the phone rang. Trish was on the line. I told her about her little fan and my failure to comply.

“Let me talk to the kid,” she said.

I handed the phone to the child who changed expressions to one of defeat.

This is what I heard on my end:

“Yes..... Yes…… Okay….. (looks up at me) Thank you Miss Jules (back to the phone)….. okay.”

And then they hung up.

“Miss Trish says I have to go back to my class now,” the child said, handing me the unused ice pack.

I stood there, dumbfounded, ice pack in hand, and watched the kid head out the door without another word.


When I grow up? I want to be just. like. her.

Dedicated to Miss Trish

Monday, June 15, 2009

Pimp My Ride

(Readers, please review the following and let me know if you have any ideas you would like to add on our collective behalf.)

Dear General Motors:

My name is Jules, and, according to’s most recent tax payer headcount and my limited math skills, I now own 0.0000005% of General Motors.

Naturally, this grants me both the privilege and responsibility of having some say in your – I mean our – company’s operations.

In preparation for my new role as part-owner, I have taken a personal inventory of my skills and interests as well as several dozen Facebook Quizzes, including an IQ test, a personality test, and “What 80’s Movie Best Defines You?” (“Breakfast Club,” btw, which came as no surprise to me) to determine how I might best be of service to you.

After an exhausting four or five hours online, I was able to rule out anything that has to do with accounting, welding, and ghost-busting. Plus, after scoring only 20% on the “How Well Do You Know Fredrick Henderson” quiz, I can also rule out personal assistant to our CEO.

This leaves two areas where I might be able to lend my expertise, marketing and product design. But, since Tiger Woods was my only really strong marketing idea as well, I decided to focus on product design.

So, GM, I write to you today as a woman who, with her husband, has a combined 27 years experience driving Pontiacs and has taken a few notes across the many miles should an opportunity like this one present itself.

Which reminds me, who do I talk to about my broken DVD player?

My Vision for the New GM:

For the Mom, I’m thinking a rolling sign for the back bumper, similar to the one I saw at the judge’s table during Game 19 of the NBA Finalbowl, that rotates between Baby on Board, the standard soccer ball, Honor Roll Student, and My Kid and My Money Go to College at the touch of a button. Let's simplify life for poor Mom.

I would also add that a pop-up PC in the center console with internet access so Mom can shop, read TMZ, and Twitter while waiting in the carpool line and GPS upgrade that voluntarily announces at 2-minute-intervals exactly how much time remains in the trip should come standard as well.

As for the Athlete, I would like to see a rolling sign, similar to the Mom’s, but with an assortment of numbers to choose from… 13.1, 26.2, 70.3, or 140.6, depending on how much the driver wishes to lower the self-esteem of those around him.

Obviously, people like these have no need for passenger seats, as no one wants to be around them, which would free up plenty of space for a creatine smoothie-maker, a Goo dispenser, and an iPod.

Now, it has long been hoped that an auto maker would make it standard on any car purchased by a senior citizen to include a 90-second turn signal auto shut-off feature.

But I would like to add a sound package that automatically plays the theme from “Rawhide” upon starting the engine and switches to talk radio after the final “hee-yah!” (Happy Father’s Day, Dad!)

In an effort to go green, I will leave it up to the engineers to design the environmentally friendly hybrid, electric, biofuel, E-80, flex, solar, lithium ion, all-natural, gluten-, dairy-, and hormone-free engine. But I do recommend throwing in a free bike. Just to keep it real.

Best of luck to you with your new management. And don’t worry, we’ve done a fantastic job with AIG, and most of us don’t even know jack about finances; the auto industry should be a piece of cake for us Americans to fix.

See you at the summer picnic!


(Dedicated to my daddy and the 247,836 miles he put on the GMC Safari; my babies’ daddy and his three Grand Prix’s; and my babies’ daddy’s daddy and his 40 year love affair with GM and its parts)

Monday, June 8, 2009

It's a "Faerie" (with an "E")

It was a hot and humid weekend here in College Town, giving us a perfect taste of summer during Amelia’s softball double-header Sunday.

By the end of the first inning, the late afternoon sun had induced a heat-coma of sorts. I found myself less interested in the game before me and more interested in the world around me from the top row of the relentlessly uncomfortable metal bleachers.

In particular, a merry band of 8-year-olds, led by a darling brown-eyed, brown-haired, little boy I will call Henry, just as his mother did.

As my thoughts drifted from a mental inventory of the cereal in our pantry to Zack’s last name in “Saved by the Bell” (anyone?), Henry’s enchanting little chatter caught my ear.

“Look what I caught!” he exclaimed to his buddies. “It’s a Sprite!”

I glanced down at the gang on the ground behind me to see Henry, his eyes wide and bright, carefully cradling a 2-inch-long dragonfly in his little hands before a half-circle of boys and girls, all in awe of the find.

“How do you know?” asked one little skeptic, a girl.

Henry gingerly placed the dragonfly/Sprite in a plastic container marked “Sprites I Found” and closed the lid, pre-cut with air holes, on the container. He then pulled out a book, Spiderwick Chronicles: The Care and Feeding of Sprites, and opened to an illustration in Chapter One.

“See?” he said, pointing to the dragonfly-like creature on the page, “it shows it right here. It’s a faerie [I looked up the correct spelling], a magical creature called a ‘Sprite.’” He began to quote, “’Bright, clear eyes; unbroken wings; an even number of appendages.’ I’ve been hunting for one for WEEKS!”

“Do you think it can breathe okay in there?” asked the skeptic. I looked at Henry’s plastic container and the knife-blade-sized slash in the top. I concurred with the skeptic; it looked very humid inside to me. But I was not about to argue with Henry, a clear expert in the field of Sprites, who had dedicated weeks to hunting one down, apparently even carrying a “Sprites I Found” container with him at all times. Just in case.

Having captured and correctly indentified a real-live Sprite, Henry flipped to the page that referred to the feeding of Sprites and soon had his co-keepers searching the concrete grounds for drops of water and tiny green leaves.

Desperate not to let the faerie down, the children called out hopefully to Henry, “Would it like the rest of my Ring Pop?” and “Can it have Gatorade?”

After gathering an assortment of possibilities for the Sprite to choose from, the children once again circled around Henry on the ground behind me.

“Open it so it can come out!” they whispered, “Let’s see if it will eat!”

A series of “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” filled my ears as I turned back around to watch the game. Memories of hanging out in the cul-de-sac as a kid flooded back to me, letting our imaginations run wild with the games and stories that used to fill our summer days.

Just then another breeze rolled in, bringing a few mosquitoes with it. I looked down at my leg and smashed one, then reached around to brush one off my back.

It felt pretty big.

It seemed to have long, wispy wings that crumpled up under my touch.

The happy chatter of the happy children behind me came to a sudden halt.


I slowly turned around, still reaching for my back, to see Henry catch the mangled dragonfly falling from my shoulder blade, staring up at me with the eyes of a child face-to-face with a monster.

Apparently, it was not a mosquito I had brushed away, but a faerie. With magic powers. None of which involved self-preservation.

So much for the “unbroken wings” and “even number of appendages.”

I looked at Henry and apologized profusely for squishing his Sprite. He was too horrified to speak.

The skeptic spoke for him.

“THAT LADY KILLED YOUR SPRITE!” she declared for all to hear, pointing at me with conviction and distain.

I smiled and tried again to apologize.

The children ran away, screaming.

(Thankfully, Henry’s mother burst out laughing.)

And for the next two hours I endured the nasty glares of children who had seen the face of evil and lived to talk about it.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Will Eating Mentos With Pepsi Really Kill You?

Congress has been hard at work this year with one stimulating package after another (did I say that right?), but there is one area in my life still in need of a massive bailout: my email’s inbox.

I propose we ask Congress to pass a law making it illegal for mass emails to be distributed without verification, punishable by a 2-week ban from their “forward” button and mandatory community service involving mending broken novenas and assisting 4th graders with their school e-projects.

I thought by now we would all be street-wise enough to know when we’re being e-duped. Unfortunately that is not the case, as I’m still sorting through piece after piece about – among other things – the likelihood of Mountain Dew lowering my husband’s sperm count (I wish!).

So, as a service to you all, I’m giving you the truth about the current Top 10 mass-distributed emails according to

Baby Carrots Aren’t Really Babies, AND They Probably Cause Cancer: “Baby Carrots” are baby carrots. “Baby-Cut Carrots” are grown-up carrots that are whittled down to look like baby carrots. (Think Brad Pitt in “Benjamin Button.”) They ARE cleaned with chlorine, as are all fresh-cut veggies that we eat, and the chlorine is then washed away. And they are infinitely better for you than pork rinds.

New Dollar Coins Are Godless: No, the new dollar coins have “In God We Trust” encircling the coin around the outer rim. Trust me. God’s not going anywhere. (Though, FYI, He is not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution, and only "Nature's God" is referenced in the Declaration of Independence. Let's start a petition!!)

Asparagus Will Cure Cancer: Scientists have not been able to prove this. But I’m pretty sure they have been able to prove it will make your pee smell funny.

Jesus is Hitting the Silver Screen in Drag: Okay, maybe not drag, but the email states that Jesus will be portrayed in an upcoming film as a homosexual. Although there is an amendment to our Constitution that would allow this and nothing that would force anyone to watch it, we can all breathe easy. For this rumor is, as it has been for the past 25 years (yes, it predates the internet) unfounded. False. Not gonna happen. Which means “Gigli” still ranks as Hollywood’s #1 atrocity.

Obama Will Pay For College if You Quit Going to Church: Nope. But if you are a college student who would like a little financial assistance in exchange for doing a little volunteer work, the GIVE Act is for you. And you can still go to church.

Lemon Fresh Joy and Listerine Will Kill Mosquitos: No. But, used properly, they will clean your dishes and freshen your breath, respectively.

Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act: This one is true. And if you love boobs, whether you are an owner or just an admirer of them, you should contact your senator and representative to be sure they are handled with care.

(Insert Company Name) is Giving Away (Free Stuff): Sony is not giving away laptops, GAP is not giving away gift cards, Bill Gates is not paying you to hit forward, and every time you send this email to your friends, the terrorists win.

Mars is Coming! Mars is Coming!: That one is soooo August 27, 2003, when Mars actually did come breezing by within mere millions of miles of the earth. Sorry if you missed it. If it makes you feel any better, the “glowing red circle” was the size of a pinhead, and it will likely happen again in 15 years.

Telemarketers Will Call Your Cell Phones: False. They will, however, still call you while you are eating dinner.

Furthermore, Snopes has debunked the effectiveness of all mass-boycotts, so if you want to join a movement to lower your fuel bill, ride your bike. Also, there is no promise that pushing any poem, prayer, picture or prose will prompt prosperity, so please… don’t burden your buds with such bull. And, for the love of all that is good and holy, please get it through your head that no one is trying to give your Social Security Benefits away to illegal aliens, and Aunt Edna is probably not qualified to spread any information about any of it.

That said, should any of you come across anything that resembles the truth about Jon and Kate swinging with Brangelina or anything at all related to a possible Facebook fee, PLEASE forward!