Friday, April 30, 2010


Lacy, my niece, just turned twenty.  The fact, I think, bummed Greg out a little.  You know, the whole "it all goes too fast, blink and they're twenty," thing.  I started playing the numbers game in my head: Greg's fifty, Lacy's twenty.  When Dylan's twenty, I'll be fifty-five.  Fifty-five!  I'll probably be wearing those gigantic side-flap sunglasses that old people get at the optometrist's office and peeing ten times a night by then.

Dylan just turned three.  This fact didn't bum me out at all, although I couldn't quite match her enthusiasm for a birthday party.  We decided to combine everything Dylan loves into one party: cupcakes, Easter eggs, and presents (basically: candy, candy, and presents).  Her presents were a great representation of her very princess-girly side and her country-girl side.  Along with a ton of dolly's and dresses, she also received a pair of chinks (Chaps, for you city-folks.  Quit dialing the ACLU.) and a huge Lego set.  The day after her party, I thought I'd step out the back door of the house and shoot a few squirrels.  Dylan was still in full party mode and wearing, I think, her party dress from the day before.  When I told her what I was doing, she wanted to come with me.  "Let me get my dolly first, Daddy," Dylan told me.  Dolly's and dead squirrels, together at last.

Grady, too, has hit a milestone.  Sort of.  I'd written about Dylan at nine months (75% in weight, 95% in height) and I remember her as a pretty big baby.  Maybe big isn't right: solid is more fitting.  She was often called a boy by strangers, and on several occasions, I got a, "Oh, he's going to be a good football player."  Grady is just big.  At his nine-month check-up last week, he was 95% in weight and 60% in height.  Kind of a flip-flop of Dylan, and he's never been confused for a girl, but I do get, "Oh, he's going to be a football."  I hope they mean football player, but he very well could be the football.  He's shaped for it anyway.  He's all hips, thighs, and smiles.

This morning, Regina and I watched Grady as he toppled over from a sitting positing, then struggled, like an upside down turtle, to get himself righted.  He finally got himself in a comfortable position and grinned at us.  "I love that he's staying a baby for so long," Regina told me.  I hadn't thought of that.  I'm always wondering, "What's next?" -- teeth, crawling, school, girlfriends, cars, graduation, twenty -- when I should be looking at what is now.  Maybe I'll do that a little more often, as soon as I can find my giant side-flap sunglasses.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Zombie Raccoon

I've mentioned the raccoon before -- it was one of the scattered animal remnants in our yard and the same vicious beast that attacked Chowder the day after Christmas (a result of coal in his stocking, I'm sure).  This guy was certainly more tenacious dead than alive.  He's been buried (twice), hit with a tractor and disc, run-over by traffic on our lane, dragged, stampeded, chewed up and barfed out, burned, and finally, bagged.  He has been, needless to say, a lesson for Dylan in ... something.  Probably something gruesome that will scar her.

"There's the raccoon that bit Chowder, Daddy," she'd tell me, every time we passed its bloated figure.  "He's dead now, sis."  "Yeah, you shot him."  This was the conversation we had, almost daily, as we watched Mr. Raccoon stay perfectly preserved in the cold months of January and February.  I should have tossed him in the dumpster then, but he made such a great conversation piece.

By March, I'd buried him in the alfalfa field, but the disc unearthed him and helped speed up the decaying process.  The dogs decided, then, that he was sufficiently rotten and would make a fine meal.  Dylan quit talking about him until the spoiled meat nearly killed Scout (Raccoon - 2, Dogs - 0).  That's when I decided that a good old-fashioned witch burning was in order, not to exorcise any demons, but I figured cooked raccoon had to smell better than the decomposing one the dogs unearthed.

Dylan was stoked.  "We're burning the aa-coon, Mommy!"  Regina didn't ask any questions -- she's learned she's better off not knowing -- and Dylan and I set off up the lane with a gas jug and a lighter.  We piled on the sticks for the cremation and watched the black smoke climb.  For a week Dylan told everyone she met that she'd burned a raccoon.  I shrugged like I had no idea what she was talking about.

Today, nearly four months after its demise, I found half of the raccoon in our yard.  The fire hadn't done much for its looks or in cooking it; it stunk.  Dylan was glad to have her old friend back, but I told her to stay away.  This thing is not real.  I'm at the end of my list for ways to dispose of dead varmints.

I have to look on the bright side:  Dylan's learned about life-cycles, the meanness of cute wild animals, proper grilling techniques, and the perils of eating rotten meat.  All valuable lessons for a country girl.  The raccoon will offer one last lesson: plastic is better than paper for bagging up zombies.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Merry Easter

Originally, this post was going to be titled "March Madness" (despite the ever-looming threat of a *gasp* copyright infringement lawsuit from the NCAA) and I was going to write about what a nutty month March was.  By nutty, I mean plagued with illness.  Dylan and Grady fought through fever, bronchiolitis, pneumonia, breathing treatments, ER visits, antibiotics, and giant boogers.  I thought April would bring wellness to the Eastside gang, but apparently bronchiolitis follows the Aztec calendar and doesn't give a rat's ass about April.

So, instead of writing about the hilarious and wacky adventures of two tired parents with their sick kids, I thought I'd write about Easter.

I'd forgotten how fun Easter is for kids.  It's a candy-fueled melee that ranks right up there with any holiday that overloads children on chocolate and attention.  Our cousin Julie tried to explain to Dylan that Easter wasn't just about the Easter bunny and candy.  She told Dylan about Jesus and the resurrection.  Dylan listened, then said, "Julie, that's weird."  I think the Jesus side of Easter finally stared to sink in on our way to the Thamer's for our Easter party.  It started snowing pretty heavily and definitely looked more like Christmas than Easter.  Dylan conveniently combined the two and sang, "Baby Jesus is Coming to Town" the whole way up.  It felt like Ricky Bobby was serenading us from the back seat.

Dylan skipped any food that wouldn't give her a sugar-high.  Regina and I kept waiting for the crash, but (Easter miracle) the meltdown never happened.  She waded through mud and poop so she could pet a newborn lamb and didn't care that her shoes got mucky, she hunted Easter eggs in a blizzard and didn't freak out over her new frilly socks getting soaked, she actually had competition in hunting eggs this year and didn't care that every egg wasn't labeled "For Dylan Only," and she ate jellybeans instead of ham and didn't care ... okay, maybe that was the secret.  Jellybeans to kids are like bourbon for adults, they make you not care.

We finally came home in our one-horse open sleigh and, now, despite that it's April and we were supposed to leave the bad voodoo of March behind, both kids are back on antibiotics, steroids, and breathing treatments for round two of bronchiolitis.  But it's better this time around.  We have baskets full of candy, a little sunshine has melted our April snow, and I won't have to worry about any copyright infringement lawsuits for using "April Madness" in a post.