Monday, October 27, 2014

Coming Out of a Dream

I just had a crazy dream, or at least I hoped it was a dream.

At first, I was in different houses, my grandma's house, my house, and then a freind's house where I'd been taking care of plants. Then, I woke up, or at least I thought I woke up. I was trying really hard to drag myself out of my unconsciousness because someone was in my kitchen making noise. My kitchen. It had registered as Mike since the person was making himself comfortable. I even heard creaking on the steps as he went back downstairs. But it dawned on me that Mike wouldn't be home yet. I heard footsteps downstairs. By now, I had my eyes open but I wasn't awake. Do you know that agonizing feeling when you're trying desperately to drag yourself out of sleep but you're still paralyzed except for your eyes?

Then, I heard growling from our bedroom. It was a deep warning. I wondered why Teddy had been in there without me. But my open eyes saw that Teddy was on the couch next to me, calmly looking at me. Ears dropped, eyes sleepy. Some of that desperate fear subsided, but not all of it.

I actually thought the steps and the growling were real and I'd woken to some strange stuff happening in my house. But the dog was calm. Where was the cat?

I still couldn't get up. I still could only move my eyes. The house still had a smoky smell from a back-draft in the flue. When power went out, we had started a fire, but had to crack some windows open to clear the air. A few windows downstairs were slightly open, but upstairs, it was pretty thick. I wondered, as I tried to clear my head, if the smoke was getting to me. I was still too groggy, but coming awake faster now that I thought the noises might be real.

And then, there was silence. My ears strained to hear something more in my house. Isn't it funny how the suspense raises the hair on your neck when there's a prolonged silence in a room after a strange noise?

Since Teddy was still calmly lying next to me, I told myself it was all a dream. Teddy didn't go nuts when someone came into the house, but he didn't just lie there with his ears hanging limply on his head either.

Our last dog, Indiana, used to go nuts. She even knew if it was friend or foe, mostly. She was good at distinguishing friends from strangers, even through the door. But she hated people in uniform. How could she tell that through the door? I guess Jehovah's Witness folks are as good as uniformed, because she hated them too. Police? No good, even though I tried to get her to understand that they were using their power for good. And delivery guys?

Oh, she hated delivery guys the most, with one exception. She loved our mail man. He gave her cookies. So, without even looking out the window, I could tell if it was the US Postal Service wherein she'd emit happy dog noises, or some other delivery people. With the others, she sounded vicious. How could such a nice dog in general sound, through the door, like she was going to tear the person on the other side apart? I tried to tell her that I wanted those packages. Indiana hated Fed Ex and UPS equally though I always had a softer spot for UPS. Don't ask me why. I tried to tell her that she didn't have to protect me, but she did anyway. Once, as I stood on the back deck in the night, just breathing in the cool air, she growled into the darkness. I have to tell you - that dog would have taken a bullet for me. I'm glad she never needed to.

Teddy is equally nonchalant about any of our delivery guys, even the water guy. If they don't ring the doorbell, I'd never know they'd came. Oh, he might get riled up a bit when a dog jumps up on me too vigorously at the dog park, but he doesn't really have the air of a protector. He's more of a kid that way, more innocent. But I've noticed that I can trust Teddy to be alert when there's a bear or some other creature in the woods. He might not have been appropriately cautious about that bear we saw in the woods last month, but I could tell we weren't alone. He looked more excited about her and her cubs than protective.

So, I looked at Teddy again as I quietly got up from the couch. Teddy was ready to go back to sleep. I casually checked that the cat was also calm. Not upstairs. I tried not to let the steps creak as I went downstairs but it was futile. Calm cat? Seth has been known to get protective, once growling and jumping up onto a relative who was playing too roughly with Nick. I love that about Seth. He's also been known to wake us up in the night when the pack of coyotes run across the back deck. Once, he woke me up and I went to the door and smelled cigarette smoke out there. So was Seth on alert?

Nope. He was curled up on the futon downstairs by the wood stove which had recently been put into action because of the power outage. After the power came on, I had fallen asleep upstairs in my usual spot after getting the water pressure started and checking the stuff in the freezers before they refroze. Then I had gone back to sleep in a warm house. It was a luxury I needed after sleeping poorly in a cold house for two nights.

So, when all the footsteps and the growling happened, I assumed that what I'd heard was my dream. Just to make sure, I opened the front door.

Yes, I am one of those people in a horror flick who always open the front door when they're wondering if there is trouble outside. I do. I admit it. I'd probably be the first one killed in one of those movies.

And there was a package. UPS!

Footsteps? Growling? I had probably heard all of that through the downstairs window which was slightly open. I wasn't used to hearing outside sounds. I had translated them into my dream. I had changed the truck's engine into a protective dog.

Well, I'm awake now.

Thank you for listening, jules

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


In thirty minutes, I have to take the boy to school. Yesterday, the dog bounded into the car with us, as usual, and on my way back into the house afterward, I forgot anything but an extra hour of sleep and forgot that he was still in the car. In the house, as I snuggled in, I didn't even notice his absence.

What does it feel like to be forgotten?

When I was a little girl and got upset, I'd run out into the woods and climb as high into a tree as I could. Usually, I had arrived there in a fury over the fact that no one had listened to me or taken me seriously. In the tree, I'd imagine their grief over their mistake. I'd imagine each member of my family and their remorse at the horrible way they'd treated me, or worse, ignored me. I believed I'd get revenge just by waiting.

The problem with my method was that I was never patient. I am still not patient. So, I'd sit in that tree, crying, and hoping, no, praying, that someone would come looking for me to apologize for the way they had treated me. I imagined the way they would call for me, never seeing me because I was so well hidden in the leaves above them. I would imagine watching their fear that they had lost me.

They never came. Not once do I remember anyone searching the woods or calling my name during one of these episodes.

Eventually, I'd climb down the tree, still hurting, and walk back into the house. It was agonizing knowing that they hadn't even acknowledged that I had been gone, that I had had my feelings hurt so blatantly. It burned, knowing that I hadn't even been missed.

That was the worst feeling, thinking that they cared so little that they never wondered where I had been all that time, that they had never considered their actions and my feelings. I was like a stuffed toy, forgotten in the back of the closet for years while the child grew up and moved away.

When woke up, I went outside and found my dog waiting in the car. He was curled up on the driver's seat, on my seat. He looked up at me with baleful eyes. I apologized, let the rain fall on the back of me as I leaned in to pet his belly and tell him how much I missed him. We spent a long time at the dog park yesterday afternoon.

I don't even want my dog to feel as lost as I had felt when I climbed down from those trees.

Thank you for listening, jules

Friday, October 17, 2014

Not Sorry at All

She parked too close with her silver SUV.  She bumped my door as she got back in. 

She looked me in the eye , no acknowledgement of what she'd done, and then backed out of her spot. When I got out of the car, she rolled down her window, rolled her eyes, and said, "What? It was an accident. All I did was bump your car a little."

"The least you could do is apologize."

"I'm sorry," she said, rolling her eyes again. She looked like a fourteen-year-old, being forced to apologize for telling her younger sister that she was ugly and fat. 

"You don't sound like you mean a bit of it," I said. 

"I'm sorry." She rolled her eyes again and put her SUV in gear. 

"I'm still not convinced by your tone of voice."

"I'm sorry," she yelled at me. She squealed her tires as she sped across the parking lot. 

I have been the mom of a teenager for too long. I should have known that this woman didn't give a shit and nothing I said could make her sound like she did. 

Thank you for listening, jules

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Paying for Air

I meant to tell you how much I dislike corporations that work squeeze more money out of its customers than their product is worth. You know which ones I mean - the people who fill a bag of potato chips two-thirds with air and expect you to be happy because it looks full on the shelf.

I bought a bottle of vitamins. Three quarters of the bottle was empty and there were only thirty tiny capsules sticking to the bottom.

I bought a ream of paper for my son. It looked normal. Eight and a half by eleven, right? It was actually eight by ten and a half. What a load of crap!

Sixt Rental Car company did that to me too. They quoted a price to me and then nearly doubled the cost by adding surcharges to my bill. A sympathetic representative from my credit card company told me not to rent a car without having the representative add up the total cost, including tax, insurance, extra coverage and anything else. That's actually good advice.

I have a better piece of advice for you. Rent from Enterprise, from National, from Budget. They're all good car rental companies, but do not rent from Sixt. You will regret it. I've read complaints that they added charges to someone's bill well after the rental car was returned. For me, they quoted a price then had me sign a million times for extras they assured me I needed while I was in France.
Who knew what I needed while I was in France? I knew I did not need to nearly double the cost of my already expensive rental car.

There are predators out there, lots of them. If you have a wallet, you are prey. Don't let corporations eat you for dinner. I know, Sixt Rental Car ate me for dinner.

Pretty soon, someone will have us paying for air. Whoops! They already did.

Thank you for listening, jules

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Distracting Myself with What Might be Food

The slugs have eaten all the blooms and greens off my petunias. Oh, I don't blame them. Sometimes I imagine that those leaves are delicious. Are petunias even edible? I like nasturtiums, but the first time I tasted them, I was surprised at their tangy and peppery taste. What had I expected? Spun sugar, I think.

It turns out that petunias may be edible, at least according to these people. Do I believe what I read on the Internet? Well, there were a couple of sites that said the same thing, but don't go using my post here to figure out what's true and what isn't. It might be a while before I go outside and sit with the slugs and snack with them. But it is good to know just in case there's an apocalypse and I have to look at my yard to see what's cooking.

It would be nice to eat as I stroll through the woods though. I imagine that's what people used to do. When do you think people settled down to a home-cooked meal at breakfast and lunch? Were they one meal a day people? Nah, the people foraging probably ate as they picked and the ones hunting with the dogs probably did too. Wouldn't surprise me if they had some kind of stone soup method of cooking an evening meal, though. What do I know? If I read it in 'The Clan of the Cave Bear,' does it mean it's true?

Yup, this is stupid stuff, but bear with me. I'm trying to distract myself from the fact that my arm is still fractured, my shoulder doesn't function, and my doctor thought it was okay to wait two weeks to get around to having a deeper look at it.

By the way, I have a new plan. I'm going to get a different doctor. Good plan, huh? It still sucks to have waited. I hope a different guy will be interested in my shoulder.

Back to edibles. I know dandelions are good for you, but have you ever tasted that shit? They taste bitter as if they're poisonous. They really do. Maybe they taste like something that's good for you too. Do you know what I mean? Cod liver oil, beets, spinach, kale. It might be worth saving all that money on pesticides and just digging the damn things up and eating them, root and all.

Now that's good revenge. Nettles are edible too, but only after you boil those nasty little stingers. I could eat for a long time in my yard. Too bad buttercup and morning glory are poisonous.

What's are you having for lunch?

Thanks for listening, jules