Friday, July 29, 2011

Odes To a Dead Elm

There once was a tree in our garden
Whose trunk was not exactly hardened
To prevent destruction
We gave pros instructions
To cut down the fucker (with our pardons)

large rotted tree sways
a storm blows fiercely through town
flattened saturn vue

'Ere the dawn of Saturday morn,
Sir Ryan did ride forth from the quiet still of his garage.
Bearing his saw of chain, Remington, the morning sun glinting upon the links.
Gazing upon the Elmbeast,
And raising the visor of his cap,
Sir Ryan spake unto the tree of trees and declared,
"Elmbeast! Thou hast been as a plague
Upon this verdant land! I mean to end you."
Elmbeast rocked gently through the thick air,
And deigned not a reply.
Sir Ryan's fury was thereupon stoked fullest,
And he strode toward the electrical outlet
From whence Remington could pull that spark
That wouldst be the undoing of Elmbeast.
Unfurling his extension cord,
Sir Ryan made toward the Elmbeast.
And declaring himself at the undead tree,
He depressed the lever to give life to Remington.
Remington wailed unto the morning
The tale of his one-thousand watts of power
And did bite into the bark of the Elmbeast.
The Elmbeast was unmoved, 
And resisted not, was wounded not.
Remington's wail continued unabated
As it smote the Elmbeast again and again, fruitless.
And when the Elmbeast did succumb
With a crash to alarm the neighboring land's Yorkie and Wiener
Sir Rigo of Midstate did grin.
And from the air-conditioned luxury of his den,
Sir Ryan quaffed his ale,
And declaring his approval of the seasoned tree-feller's work,
Sir Ryan did offer forth his credit card.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A souvenir worth keeping

This year's trip to Florida ended with a few days' worth of seafood bingeing.  We had a great time scarfing down fresh shrimp, fish, and my personal favorite, oysters.  The family spends a week a year on St. George Island, which is right next to one of the richest oyster beds in the nation: Apalachicola Bay.  So leaving without a good oyster fest is downright shameful.  Our new landlocked locale in Kansas City also makes for supreme motivation to gorge ourselves on the fruits of the sea.

But every year we go, I vow to find a souvenir that will last.  I hate tchotchkes, and while t-shirts are OK, they just don't have much stamina, especially now that my t-shirt collection is down to a few overused rags that I wear twice a week.  So I go home empty-handed every trip.

Leaving St. George this year, though, was quite satisfying because I found a fantastic way to commemorate our visit: ART.

And of course, it says just about everything you can about our trip to the panhandle.  We ate.

We found this fun print at The Bowery Art Gallery, founded and run by local artists in Apalachicola.  And now it's hanging in our dining room.

I love how the piece is framed. Playful.  Not anything like me.

Of course, this piece of art is free.  Glad we took him home, too.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Public Service Announcement

Greetings. We've been "on vacation" the past two weeks, which means we're exhausted and in need of rest.  Ryan drove the family 2800 miles, and yes, I've notified the Pope to start the canonization process on his behalf. Sure, he's not dead (yet), but I'm sure all that driving took a toll.

Of course, this trip has left the house in the same state of chaos in which we left it.

So I'm interrupting our usual fare for this PSA on an extremely important topic.


For years, I've slathered on poisonous aluminum-based products to keep the stinkage at bay.  While at the Hyvee recently, though, I decided to venture into the natural deodorant world.

I thought, 'Ello gov'nuh.  Step in time over to the bloomin' toilet aisle.  

What a lovely array of products.  I'm sure they're all great. But I only had one concern: Price.

Blimey!  I'll be righ' gobsmacked at'eez prices!  8 quid?  9 quid?  For that price, this bloody stuff better be edible! And more scrum-diddly-umptious than the Queen's own crumpets. 

Oh, as you can see, I think in a British accent.  Preferably that of Dick van Dyke from the masterpiece "Mary Poppins".

Ah, just 2 quid.  That'll do, pig. That'll do.

So I picked up Herbal Clear natural deodorant.  And made my merry way home.

The family's time at the beach tested this product's limits.  Sadly, it failed the test.

Crikey! (A little Crocodile Hunter never hurt anyone either) That mate stinks! Oh, bugger... that's me.  No wonder me mates been keepin' upwind on the shore. Even with a stout breeze, these pits could knock 'em on their bums.

Turns out that 2 quid can't buy functional natural deodorant, just like a spoonful of sugar doesn't actually help the medicine go down. It takes a whole pound.

Or ten.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Art of Painting: A Play in One Act

Scene: The Kiefer Cottage dining room. Midday. Ryan sits at the table, shirtless, unshaven, and generally unkempt, drinking steaming coffee from a mug with a broken handle and reading the newspaper comics.

Enter Starr, dressed to make men salivate and women ball their fists. She approaches Ryan from behind and leans down to whisper in his ear.

Starr: I hate this room. It disgusts me.

Ryan: And? What are you going to do about it?

Starr: We must paint. I will die if this room remains this revolting beige shade another day.

Ryan: Fine. Go buy paint. Take a kid with you.

Starr jerks back, visibly disgusted.

Starr: You lazy BASTARD! I keep these crotch fruit ALL DAMNED DAY, is it so much to ask you to watch them all alone for ONE HOUR? You pig – you *expletive deleted* pig. Men are all the same.

Ryan, never taking his eyes from his comics, takes a sip of coffee while Starr fumes behind him.

Ryan: Fine. If you’re going to blow a gasket about it, leave them all with me.

Starr starts to leave. She pauses before closing the front door behind her and looks back at Ryan, glaring daggers. Ryan ignores her, continuing to sip at his coffee and read his Comics. Starr slams the door so hard the venetian blinds rattle in the adjacent rooms.

Ryan sags on the table, visibly releasing tension.

KB walks up to Ryan, looks at him curiously.

KB: Daddy, you sad?

Ryan: Yes, KB.

KB: You mad at mommy?

Ryan: No, just sad, sweetie. Daddy hates painting...

Later, Starr returns, carrying buckets of paint and smiling broadly. Ryan is lounging on the couch with a High Life in one hand and acknowledges Starr’s presence with an exaggerated belch. KB is napping on the couch next to him

Starr: Hello! Ready to paint?

Ryan: [snorts derisively] No. Am I ever?

Starr:(unperturbed) Haha! No, but I won’t let that stop you! Come on – let’s get the room ready while the kids are still napping.

Ryan groans loudly, but gets up, chugs the remainder of his beer, belches loudly for punctuation, and ambles into the dining room. Starr waits, the broad grin still plastered on. Together, they move all furniture into the middle of the room or out of the room. Ryan shambles from task to task while Starr bounces around.

Ryan: There, now we’re all ready to get started after the kids go to bed.

Starr: Why not now? Let’s start now. Come on! Spread out some newspaper on the floor and pour me some paint – you know I’m no good at that. I’ll start the trim and you can do the roller.

Ryan: Fine.

With the same shambling lack of enthusiasm, Ryan goes about the preparation tasks while Starr watches, still bubbling. He takes position on the largest wall, roller in hand, and begins to cover the wall with the new shade. Starr watches him for a moment before starting to paint the trim.

Ryan completes his portion of the task quickly and neatly, puts down his roller, retrieves another beer, then flops on the couch and turns on the TV.

After a couple of minutes, Starr stops her painting and looks at him. She frowns and whimpers. Ryan gets off the couch and trundles back to the dining room.

Ryan: Do you want me to finish the trim work?

Starr: (smiling, sings) Yes! You’re so much better at it than I am!

Ryan: Yes, dear.

Ryan starts to paint the remaining trim while Starr bounces over to her computer to blog about how lovely the dining room is in its new color.

As time passes, Ryan completes the work, gathers the materials for cleaning, and mumbles as he walks out of the room.

Ryan: Done.

Starr looks up from her computer, smiles brightly, and leaps from the couch.

Starr: Oooooh! Let me see!

Starr walks around the room, inspecting some areas very closely. After a few minutes, Ryan walks back in.

Ryan: Can we go to bed now?

Starr: It looks so good, baby!

Ryan: Okay. Glad you're happy. Can we go to bed now?

Starr takes Ryan by the hand, still grinning brightly. She bats her eyes in mock flirtation and begins to lead Ryan to the stairs.

Starr: We sure can...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Our country kitchen

Because our kitchen is such a masterpiece right now, I just had to share some of the highlights.  And honestly, I do want some input. What should we do with this room?

Our vintage hood sounds like a rocket blasting off.  

Cover your eyes for the next photo. It's not appropriate for young children.

Yes, it's a boob. There are two of them. Lovely ceiling tiles again.

Huge wood-burning fireplace.

The fireplace ain't brick, though. It's all a facade, sadly.  And it's been through a few half-hearted repairs.  

Behold the lovely linoleum flooring, though.  It's actually in great shape.  Too bad it's hideous.

Wallpaper and fake wood paneling.

We only have two windows to the exterior.  Notice the 1980s era roman shade.  And our brand-new faucet.

Gross.  This is above the "office" area in the corner.  (did I tell you there are 7 light switches in the kitchen?)

Our temporary storage solution.  The door leads to the back sunroom.

 Finally, our new fridge.  It is only about 17.5 cubic feet, and you see it fills the space.

And yes, there are dirty dishes in the sink. I have three small children, remember?

So there you have it.  My kitchen.  Any suggestions?  Bring it on. Can be a dream material, something funky, a traditional idea. Whatever. (one final note: the floor is not level. not even close, so flooring would have to be something that could handle it)

I shared this post at Oy Vey Q&A! (Betsy Speert's Blog).

Blogging tips