Sunday, March 13, 2011

My completely normal, not at all scary infatuation with Chuck Norris

Once upon a time, in the time before bath scrunchees and liquid soap, there were other conveniences we didn't have.

For instance, back in olden times, we used a rake to rid the lawn of unwanted fallen leaves. Actually, "olden times" were as recent as this weekend around our house.

With Jim's new job, I know I'll be responsible for more lawn work. Ours and my mom's, plus homeschooling the kid and taking classes myself. So, time is important. So, two weekends ago I instructed Jim, "Go forth and purchase a leaf blower."

He did, but it rained that weekend and we didn't get to try it. Then the next weekend was the kiddo's birthday. This weekend was perfect, though.

We had to prepare the yard for Syd's trampoline (which I only allow her to bounce on if she promises her feet won't leave the tarp -- no, not really). Any way, Jim had a fallen tree to saw into bits so I volunteered to use the leaf blower. Not that I was trying to be helpful, but I hate those prickly gum balls. They vex me, especially when I wear my Crocs.

So Jim arms me with blingless wrap around sunglasses and ear muff thingies, then shows me how to use the leaf blower. About 10 minutes into it, a writer's block that had been weeklong broke. And suddenly life made sense. The power of this leaf blower was massive. Nothing got in its way. It even lifted layers of old pine needles that had never been raked.

Those mounds hovered overground for a few seconds then were obliterated into hunks of blowable stuff that went neatly into the growing burn pile. The wind began blowing and a cameo of my mom appeared over my right shoulder. She was saying, "You can't rake when the wind is blowing." I looked at the leaf blower and the cameo disappeared. I blew right into the wind and still controlled the debris.

I'm not into lawn work, but control I like.

So after about 2 hours of leaf blowing, we ran out of gas, but had plenty of room for the trampoline.

"What did you think about it?" Jim asked.


"Yeah, it. The leaf blower."

"Oh. You mean him."

"It's a him?" Jim looked amused.

"Yeah. Can we name him?"

"Sure," he said.

"How's Rico?" I think Rico is the name of the pool boy my friend Donna wants to hire some day. As soon as the name slipped across my lips, I knew it wasn't enough. "No, wait! Not Rico. What's a name -- the manliest man you can think of?"

We looked at each other for a minute then both said at the same time -- Chuck Norris.

"So, tell me about Chuck Norris," Jim said.

I beamed. "Chuck Norris really blows. Chuck Norris looked those gumballs in the face and they ran and jumped on the burn pile to get away from him."

Jim was chunking logs onto the burn pile. I sighed. "It's too bad we're outta gas. I bet Chuck Norris could push those logs onto the top of the pile for you."

He smiled, but I knew that inside he was getting jealous. So I told him, "Just so you know, I'm still committed to you and our marriage, despite my new feelings for Chuck Norris."

"Have you been reading The Bloggess again?" he asked.

Well, yes, I admitted I had read a post by my favorite blogger this past week. She's obsessed with Will Wheaton, though. And William Shatner until that whole Twitter incident that probably resulted in a restraining order.

He laughed.

We walked around and looked at the yard and decided which weeds and brush we'd tackle this season. We always try to claim a little more of the land each spring. The land had grown up quite a bit before we bought the house 6 years ago. It's taking us some time to make headway.

"In tribute to Chuck Norris, I think I'll make a Zazzle store and sell shirts that say "Chuck Norris blows," I said.

He gave me that strange look, but over the years he's learned to just say okay and hope that I never have enough time to do these things.

Then, it was time to get ready to meet some friends for dinner. "I can't wait to tell Lori about Chuck Norris," I said.

"You're really that crazy about this leaf blower?" Jim asked.

"Chuck. Norris," I insisted.

So, at dinner I tell Lori, "You've got to come down and see Chuck Norris."

Jim looks at Bryan and explains. "She's named the leaf blower Chuck Norris."

I offered to do some more lawn work today, but we put up the trampoline. Jim was going to mix the oil/gas to fill up Chuck Norris, but ran out of time before going back to work. I told him I could get a lot of lawn work done this week while he's at work. He pointed out that I never offer to do lawn work.

"Well, Chuck Norris is the one who will really be doing it," I reminded. But I didn't want to push because today is his birthday and I figured he'd rather play his Star Trek MMO game instead of going to the gas station.

So, Jim left for work without mixing gas. He knows I won't do it for fear of harming Chuck Norris. I'm afraid I'll put the wrong oil in or the wrong gas, or a myriad of other things that could go wrong when I have a gas can in the trunk of my car that is still filled with Christmas clearance items.

I figured Jim would miss Chuck Norris while he's at work. I know I would. So I went to the shed and snapped a picture. When Jim arrived, he called and asked what was wrong with Chuck Norris.

"Nothing. I just thought you'd miss him. And I wanted to see him, so I thought I'd snap a pic for you."

"So you went to the storage building to take a picture of the leaf...I mean Chuck Norris?"

"Yeah." I said. "That's it. Is that weird?"

"Oh, no. Not at all," he assured (I think).

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Why I have bags under my eyes this week

I didn't realize what was going on when it started Sunday night. Seeing Jim off gets Syd wound up, so I expected we'd be up late. But this one blindsided me. It started at about 8:30.

"Hey, if you were a robot, you'd tell me, right?" she asked.


It was one "Suite Life" later (that's 30 minutes to all those who don't gauge their time based on Disney Channel shows) when the next robot-ish question came along.

"Are you SURE you're not a robot?"

I'm not a robot. I love you too much. Robots don't have emotions.

That didn't nip it in the bud as I'd hoped. There were plenty of other questions before bedtime:

"What if you were programmed to THINK you loved me?"

"What year were you born?"

"What year did they start making robots?"

Finally, we went to bed. She was scared and wanted me to sleep in her room, too, and leave the light on. I'm okay with that. When I'm tired enough, light doesn't bother me a bit!

I feel a tap on my shoulder and manage to open one eye a little. The clock says 12:0something.

"You know how your knee has been stiff? Do you think you just need oil?"

I'm not a robot. Go back to sleep.

Another tap. Another question. I don't remember it or the answer. I just remember saying, "Quit talking."

Many other taps continued through the night. Followed, of course, by various robot questions.

At one point I thought about using my best "digital" voice and saying, "Please repeat. Did not compute." Thank goodness I quickly realized the repercussions it would have and kept quiet.

The last response I recall giving, at 3:14 a.m. was, "I'm mad. MAD. Okay? I'm mad! Robot's don't get mad. I'm seriously mad. Mad enough to send you to your room for time out. You've GOT to quit talking and I've GOT to get some sleep. I. DON'T. WANT. TO. HEAR. ANOTHER. WORD. NOT. ANOTHER. WORD." I rolled over to face the other direction.

I heard a sigh of relief behind me. Her little voice quietly whispered, "At least I know for sure. Robot's don't get mad."


Monday, January 17, 2011

Talking to a brick wall

I'd finally finished cleaning Syd's room. To celebrate, we left the house and went to the place where every self-respecting Arkadelphia citizen would go.


This wasn't just any day at Walmart. This was the day that the local meteorologists predicted snow. That's a big deal in the south. We all scramble to the store to buy milk, bread and potatoes.

Because that's what our mothers did, that's why.

On a really hectic snow day, the staples diminish quickly, creating panic in many shoppers.

"Will we get to see old ladies fight over the last loaf of bread?" Sydney asked. I remember that tone of voice. It was the same tone she used just weeks before when she asked, "Do you think I've been good enough for Santa to come see me?" She's heard the stories Jim and I have told about seeing old women fight for the last loaf of bread on a pre-snow day. She was hoping to witness it herself.

So I strike up conversation with her as we wait to make our way through the meat section.

"Can't we go to the bread first? I want to see the old ladies fight."

The man in the cart jam in front of us stopped and stood up straight. Slowly he glanced back. Yeah. He heard her.

So I changed the subject.

"Now, I've gone through your room and cleaned and organized. From now on, you have GOT to pick up after yourself better."

All I got was a blank look. So I hammered my point home.

"And if you don't, I'll pack up every toy left out and donate them all."

Take that!

"Well you know we spent a lot of money for those toys and the receipt you get when you donate them won't be for as much so that would be a waste of money, wouldn't it?" she asked.

Hmm. Methinks she's heard me talk about tax deductions one too many times.

The guy in front of us hung his head.

I changed my approach.

"See, I don't get paid to clean your room. All that time I cleaned your room, I could have been working to buy you more things. Or we could have been playing together with the toys you already have. Either way, we could have used that time better."

"Well I don't have any money to pay you to clean my room, but I bet I can scrape up some change to give you to pay you not to throw my toys away."

The guy turned my way and smirked.

"You're missing the point. I don't want you to pay me to clean your room. I only want you to pick up after yourself so it doesn't take so long when I do clean it."

"Well, if you gave me more money I could pay you NOT to throw stuff away, but with all that time you spent cleaning my room instead of working, you probably can't afford to pay me enough to pay you to clean my room."


The man in front doubled over his cart. His shoulders were shaking.


"Well, if you don't want me to pay you, what do you want?"


"I'd really rather pay you to just not throw my stuff away. I'll look when we get home to see how much change I have."

The guy turned around, made eye contact and laughed.

"Come on," I said. "Let's go to the bread aisle and see if we can pick a fight with an old lady."