Friday, February 25, 2011

Of Monty Python, State Inspectors, and Calls for the Dog

At 8:30 this morning, I looked out the window to see a man in a suit and tie, carrying a briefcase, approaching my front door. Not dressed formal enough for a religious man, or cheaply enough for the IRS, I immediately knew he was an Inspector. And not just the regular, every day local inspector either. He was from The State Board of Education!!!!
I've always known they had the right to drop in whenever they want and demand to see my records and observe, but it's still a little intimidating to see the guy pull out An Official Form and start writing while he watches me.
My philosophy on these things, as always, is: I'm not doing anything wrong, so I won't worry about it. And when he was done, he told me I'm doing a fantastic job. So that ended nicely.
After he left, I fed the kiddoes lunch, cleaned them up and put them down for a nap. And then the phone rang.
When I answered, a man's voice said," Valerie? Is Stitch home?" Uh...Stitch is the dog. I had to fight the raging desire to say, " Yep, but he's got no thumbs. No thumbs, can't hold the phone. " Instead, I wisely said,"Huh?" The man then said,"This is Stan, from Animal Control."
Ok, now I'm really out of control, as I battle back the urge to yell,"Cheese It, Stitch, it's the coppers! They must know about that poodle! Ruuuuuuunnnnn!" I even giggle out loud a little at the thought, like the crazy lady I am.
Stan says,"Uh, maam? We picked up a Malamute in the area of your house, and we just wondered if Stitch was actually there with you."
Struggling to regain a little control, I stiffle another giggle, and answer as if I'm not completely out of brain cells,"Oh! Yes, he's right here with me! But Thank You for checking! That is sooo nice!" Stan from animal control says goodbye, and I take a little time to ponder my (apparently) odd sense of humor, and wonder if maybe I should move to England, where I am positively certain that they will get my sense of humor, since I got it watching Monty Python movies. But I know I could never bow to the queen without, say, falling on my face slapstick style and then making a raspberry noise with my thumb wiggling in front of my nose, so I abandon the idea, and go to fold a load of laundry.
Really, so far, a most interesting day.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Spring is coming! I can see the forgotten things on the patio, thawing out with the snow. A forgotten flip-flop, a crushed can, a box escaped from the recycling bin.
A squirrel runs down the back fence, grabs a bite from a forgotten corn stalk. But he's still fat and fluffy.
I find a clump of Malamute hair on the kitchen floor, all by itself. A lone box elder bug crawls up the window.
The grill sits on the only spot of dry pavement in the yard, having been shoveled around all winter.
I itch to clean the backyard out. The garden with the ferns needs clearing, I know the tree in the front yard needs the pavers moved and a few hostas planted around it.
When I reach out the door for the mail, I see the buds on the Russian Sage plants and smile. They've been buried all winter, but now I can see them. I raise the blinds in the living room, turn off the heat during the day.
I'm a winter person, really. Give me a sweater and a hot chocolate any day. But as I sip my morning hot tea, I find myself dreaming of long lazy warm days, grilling on the patio, seeking the shade, staying up until the sun goes down, and planning my garden.
I pet my Malamute, shake the loose fur off my fingers, and dream of a getaway to a beach with my husband. Then I turn up the heat, pull on a sweater, and cook a hot dinner. Spring is coming. I know it is.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


I check the weather channel. Above 32 degrees Fahrenheit, in the Midwest that's good enough. I head for the store, to grab the usual things I forgot the day before. On the way home, with a crazy smile on my face, I pull into the local car wash, and ask for "the works". Later, with the van still dripping, I pull into the local fast food joint, for a quick shake for the current sick child.
Once home, I switch over the laundry, grab a couple steaks from the freezer to defrost, pour a cold drink for myself, and scrub a few potatoes. As I season the steaks, and wait for the grill to warm up, I look out the back window.
The spots where we've shoveled have started to melt. Mostly around the grill and the back steps, there are clear spots, where you can see nothing but concrete. DRY concrete!
Back inside, I notice a few clumps of dog hair; our Malamute is beginning to blow his coat, a sure sign that spring is coming, and that I'm in for three solid months of daily vacuuming.
The steaks are done, the potatoes are done. I look out the window, to make sure I've turned off the grill, and spot a little green where the silver miller plants in my planters are trying to come alive.
"Soon..." I think, "soon..."