It’s been a goofy month and it ain’t over yet.

Nothing bad…just really busy.

We had a vacation. We went to Emerald Isle for a week. I accepted the fact that airfares to the islands were never coming down so we stayed local for the week. We had a really good time. I dare say it may have turned out to be the best vacation I’d ever taken. The water in the house worked, no termites attacked, no bags got lost, I didn’t work and we just had a good time.

The weather was mostly cooperative, but on the rainy days, we stayed inside and played games and watched movies. We even took a very cold boat ride to the Shackleford Banks and saw the wild horses. While there, we even convinced Shmuppie that it was Ok to poop on the beach. Story? OK.

The island has nothing on it but sand, plants, and horses. You ride over on a “ferry” that’s really no more than a Boston Whaler/Skiff type of boat. They drop you at the “dock” (a large orange stick” and then come back in 3 hours. The day we were there was chilly and windy, so after fighting the wind for a little while, we headed inland to find some calm. We headed back towards the beach after a little while, JewelrySlut and I walking on the beach and Shmuppie up in the dune above us. All was well.

Then, Shmuppie looked down at us and made a face and pointed at her belly. We figured she just wanted another snack. No…she had to poop. On a deserted island. With no services. Fortunately, I seem to have grown into quite the little Boy Scout. Just before we got on the boat, we went to a restroom and I grabbed about 4′ of paper towels. I had a feeling. I told Shmuppie that we needed to get in out of the wind and dig a hole. Finding a less-windy spot, I put the kid to work digging her latrine. She dug a hole, pulled down her pants and let loose. We wiped, covered the hole and I marked the spot with the shovel-shell, inscribed with the work “poop”. Yup…father of the year. I also took pictures.

Beach Pooper

The rest of the week went by without any out of place pooping. We sat on the beach, played mini gold, drove go-karts and just had fun.

Then I had a normal week of work.

Last Monday was the home opener of your Carolina Mudcats. A slightly less than sellout crowd of about 1700 came out to watch the Mudcats win. (The stadium seats over 6000). We sat in our usual front row seats and had a good time. JewelrySlut ate 2 or 3 hotdogs, a fried catfish sandwich and 2 funnel cakes. We even got to see the great Johnny Rayburn…making an appearance this season for the Huntsville Stars. The man must think we’re stalking him. He played here in 2007 and then we saw him on the Biscuits last season. He’s making a career out of playing in the AA Southern League.

Then, on Wednesday night, I was off to RDU to pick up ChurchBomber. She was in town for Thursday’s Buffett show.

I spend a very wise $20 and got us into the Premier Parking lot. Good choice by me. We were right in the front of the lot. We arrived nice and early and got a great spot in the parking lot next to some little trees. The weather was fantastic and the atmosphere was fun. We parked right behind some serious tailgaters. They had a big truck with a mobile kitchen attached to it. They kept us fed all afternoon. Shmuppie found a nearby family with kids her age and ran in circles for about 2 hours.

We found good lawn spots and enjoyed the concert. Shmuppie had a ball singing along to the songs. It was a much calmer crowd than in June of last year. Some 20-somethings in front of us adopted Shmuppie as their mascot and made sure that she had an open view of the stage all night. They were amazed to see her belting out the lyrics and kept applauding our parenting skills. Little did they know that we now call her “Beach Pooper”

Then, last night, my father had tickets to the Hurricanes/Devils Game 6. Off to the RBC Center we went. His bank gave him seats in their box. Sweet. We were at center ice and had a fully stocked suite to share with 15 other people. There was a lot of beer that I helped myself to, hot dogs, pulled pork, egg rolls, chicken tenders, cheese, fruit, cookies, etc. It was a lot of fun, but can spoil a person. I’m not a hockey fan, but seeing a game in person can turn a person. Hockey is not meant to be watched on TV. It’s meant to be watched in a posh luxury suite with a beer in one hand and a sandwich in the other.

Let’s go Canes?

Wrapping up the month, we’re all getting on a plane on Thursday night to go to FLA. I need to go down to set up the laptop we bought for JewelrySlut’s father and Step mother (Is that what we call her?). I have a printer waiting for them and a router already at the house. I really hope it goes smoothly, but the thought of leaving a Windows Vista-powered laptop and a wireless printer in the hands of 2 70-somtthings scares me to death. I’m not really sure how to troubleshoot anything. It shall be a test of my…skills?

I also have to pick up my new car. JewelrySlut’s father isn’t driving any more due to his condition and, rather than just sell the car, we offered to buy it. So, I’m going to sell the Intrepid and trade up to a Ford Taurus with half the miles on it. I don’t need a new car but it’s probably going to cost us about $1000 once we sell the Intrepid and I now have a car that’s in excellent condition and only has 57K miles on it. That beats the 125K on my car. So, I’m driving home on Saturday/Sunday and leaving the girls…all 3…in FLA for 2 more days.

They get home on May 4, the night before Shmuppie’s birthday.

It’s been a fun month.

I also cleaned all the carpets in the house, planted a lot of plants, tore down the greenhouse and suffered through another April of pollen.

I’m tired but feel a sense of accomplishment.

In other news, the little one is kicking/punching/stabbing up a storm. We’ve been able to feel her through JewelrySlut’s belly for a few weeks now. She’s off to the doctor tomorrow where she’ll get yelled at for gaining weight. I’m still not a fan of her doctors. At some point, I think we’re gonna have to think about this baby and all the stuff we need to do between now and Sep 1. I just need to get through this week first.

This whole thing really has no purpose other than to be a rambling tale of oddity

I haven’t talked about our neighbors lately.

The FHP’s (Filthy Horse People) moved in just about 3 years ago (A single mother and her teen-aged daughter) and we’re still waiting for them to unpack. (And…FHP’s because they own a horse. It lives up in north Raleigh and they seem to spend a lot of time out of the house (presumably doing horse-related things)). They still tell us on a semi-regular basis that they’re going to do so soon. When they moved in, we were astounded to see what was moving in. Sure, there was the usual stuff; furniture, but also an odd collection of just really random shit. I can’t even describe what they unloaded because it was just such an odd assortment of crap. If you’d like to see, come on over and look through the front windows of their house. You can see it piled up there. Or, look in the back of their truck. There, you can find several games of Boggle. Because, when you boil it all down, who doesn’t need multiple Boggle games?

Side note: Mom is “a teacher”. She doesn’t work at a school…or at least we don’t think she does. She may teach at a street corner for all we know. The kid, now 16, does not go to school. We’ve been told that she doesn’t go because she’s allergic to school. Or, maybe, because the other kids pick on her. We’re not really sure. All we know is that the child of a teacher is somehow permitted by the state to just hang out at home and not receive an education.

3rd side note: Mom is also very afraid of copper thieves. And plant thieves. She’s constantly convinced that people are going to break into her backyard to pull the copper pipes from her A/C unit. She’s also afraid that these same people will steal her heirloom flower bulbs.

Side note 3A: We’d heard about these bulbs roughly for ever. In fact, at one point (before the family sold off some land (???)) they had to go to the property to dig up these heirloom family bulbs. They were going to plan them some day. Last summer, they did. You know those lilies you buy at a gas station or supermarket? They’re in no way fancy. In fact, at the NJ house, I pulled roughly 4 tons of these bulbs out of the backyard. These are the heirloom bulbs.

Why do we know all about these bulbs? Because they told us about them for over a year.

Side note 4: They have a dog that shits a lot. It is allowed to roam free in the backyard. It makes a lot of shit out there. They don’t clean it up. We’ve also learned that the dog is permitted to use the basement as a toilet. I’ve had to go to their house to request that they clean up after the dog because it prevents us from going outside. When I even offered to clean up after the dog myself, I was told that I could not because then I’d need a key to get in the backyard (through the enormous chained-shut lock). This lock keeps copper thieves, plant thieves, and her brother out. Apparently, the brother wants to steal her furniture. (???).

Side note 5: They think, again, after they unpack, that maybe they’d like fake grass like we have. This will make dog shit cleanup easier. How, you ask? Because the grass is green and the shit is brown. Better contrast. Mind you, I can stand in my bedroom, 3 floors up, and spot the mountains of dog shit out there, but they can’t see if from ground level. As a result, they don’t clean it up.

Side note 6 (and then, I’ll get back to t he story…but these little notes are needed to paint the full picture). Last summer, they had bird feeders up on their deck. No birds visited the feeders. Squirrels did. They’d eat the seeds and then launch themselves onto our deck. There, they’d knock over JewelrySlut’s plants. This would make my delicate flower of a wife livid. Especially when plants started dying. So, I asked that the feeders be moved. They were…but not because I asked. They were moved “For the children”. What?

Side note 7: Once, over a year ago, Shmuppie threw a ball over our fence into their yard. I knocked on their door to go get the ball. I found the 2 idiots sitting in their living room. Of course, to get to them, you had to walk a twisting path through the mountains of boxes and crap. They were sitting there, sorting pennies. Why were they sorting pennies? It’s simple. They were no longer trying to figure out how to suspend a model train from the ceiling.

Unpack? Nah. They noticed the look on my face and did comment that as soon as some inheritance money came through, they’d be unpacking. What now?

So…to make the whole situation even better, about 18 months ago, Mamma came to town. Mamma had been happily (we have to assume) living in an assisted living facility. For one reason or another (likely to collect her SS payments), they moved her into the house. The poor old woman is ancient. She can barely walk. She’s got a little scooter she’s supposed to use to get around. Except she can’t. The scooter can’t get through the door to the house. So, whenever they move Mamma, 2 days in advance, they need to park their minivan (outfitted with a ramp) in front of the house and run a big extension cord to it. This charges the scooter apparently.

They also put in one of those stair chair things like the old lady in Gremlins had. We suspect it’s left at the bottom all the time because Mamma is confined to the 2nd floor.

In our house, the master bedroom is in the back and we have 2 bedrooms in front. Their house is the opposite. So, our bedroom walls are shared with Mamma’s room. We learned that when they moved her in, she was provided with everything she’d need: a TV, a microwave and a mini fridge. This poor old woman is held hostage on the 2nd floor of this house with nothing but a TV…that she plays very loudly 25 hours a day. The other 2 seem to come and go at random times throughout the day. They are often spotted running in the house with a bag from Hardees’s or some other fine eating establishment and then vanishing. We don’t know where the line is that separates elder abuse from just plain old “mother-hating neglect”, but they’ve got to be close.

Side note (again): Last spring, when we went to the DR, we came home to find an email from them. They were going to be out of town and wanted to know if we’d look in on Mamma. They didn’t come over to ask, they emailed me…while I was in a different country. So, we have to assume that the poor old woman sat up there for the week without any food.

So…today, they start construction at the house. Apparently, they’re finally putting the ramp to the front door. This will likely afford Mamma with greater mobility. They’re also building a ramp out to the deck. This is gonna be tricky because our decks are only about 7 feet deep. I’m not sure where the ramp will go. The HorseChild is upset about this because, apparently, she likes to sleep on the deck.

Side notes: 1: No she doesn’t. 2: If she did, I can assume she does so in order to ward off copper or heirloom bulb thieves.

The bottom line of this tale is that these people are really weird. I don’t think they’re mean people or bad people; just 3 of the dumbest people ever to walk the Earth. I’ll make sure to keep everyone updated on the progress and insanity that brews over there.

Another pointless ramble

I get scared and nervous about a lot of things. The basics: clowns, carnies, Tanya. You know.

I don’t often think about how weird the world has gotten because I’m not usually aware of much going on around me. I exist in my own little world and occasionally come up for air and to look around. When I do this, I tend to get shocked.

We did a bunch of yard work. Yes…the townhouse owners insist on doing yard work in the common property. If we don’t clean up the sticks and leaves and such, who will? Plus it inspired me to try to plant wildflowers behind the house. It beats looking at pine needles.

Anyway…we finished and told Shmuppie that she needed to write in her journal. Her teacher has given them journals and they write back and forth to each other. JewelrySlut was vacuuming the first floor and I had just finished in the basement. Suddenly, the kid was gone.

I wandered upstairs to find her, looked under her bed, and couldn’t find her. I came to the basement and didn’t see her in the family room. OK…I was confused. I happened into the office and there she was, at the desk, diligently writing about how she’d found 47 worms out behind the house.

Sidebar: This was fun. I was hauling off about 57 tons of leaves and pine needles and JewelrySlut was sitting in the sun on the deck. Shmuppie was digging up worms. For every one she’d find she’d announce: “Mommy! I’ve found XX worms!”

This went all the way to 47. Needless to say, JewelrySlut wanted to kill herself after about #12.

Back to the journal. She’s tucked herself away in a nice quiet part of the house and is writing.

I went upstairs to tell JewelrySlut and we’re both proud and bewildered. Most of the time, Shmuppie is a normal kid (and by that, I mean a raving lunatic). Then, from time to time, we’re reminded that she also seems to be brilliant. I went downstairs, kissed Shmuppie on the head, and went about watching basketball.

2 minutes later, Shmuppie appears in the family room. A scary conversation ensued.

Her: Daddy?
Me: Yea babe?
Her: Is it OK that I used Google to see how to spell a word?
Me: (regaining consciousness) What now?
I walked into the office as Shmuppie was pointing at the computer. She’d opened up Firefox and started typing the word “Shovel” into the Google search bar in order to make sure she spelled it right.

Shmuppie: That’s OK, right?
Me: (dumbfounded)…Um…yea. That was good thinking.

I went back upstairs, told JewelrySlut and she too was dumbfounded.

I guess it makes sense. The house has 3 computers in it and one is almost always in use. We’re constantly running to one or the other to look something up; be it a recipe or the names of the cast members to some obscure 80′s movie. I tend to blame the internet for my perpetual confusion; my brain is just too damn full with crap I didn’t used to “need” to know.

I guess it’s rubbed off. My kid, at age 6, knows that if you don’t know something, you ask Google. I tried to explain to her that when I was 6 we didn’t have computers. She then asked me if when I was little, we wrote with feathers.

No honey, I’m not that old.

Grampy is though.

It’s a scary world our kids will grow up in. I can hardly remember a time before the internet, but it did exist. Dictionaries, libraries, encyclopedias…all those things we used to use in order to find stuff.

I recently asked JewelrySlut what she thought it would have been like if we’d had email in 1992.

We were at different schools and sent each other these long-ass letters just about every day. Long letters… They were mostly stupid stuff like “We got drunk again and then Pete farted real loud” but they also were how we built our relationship. Could we have done that 140 characters at a time via Twitter or FB posts or whatever the fuck kids do these days? It was a more innocent time. Then again, we had no internet porn so life was a little duller.

I don’t know. It’s an odd world we live in. and, as usual, I don’t have a point.

On another note: It’s still a girl and still a baby. The yungun is growing and making JewelrySlut crazy. We’ve entered the discomfort during sleep phase of the pregnancy.

We’re off to the beach next week. That should be fun. I need to get out of this damn office for a little while.