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Conversation this week On The Ponderosa:

ME:  Lulu, did the Princess tell you we are going on vacation next month?

LULU:  No, she doesn’t tell me anything.  Where are you going?

This is a blatant exaggeration born of teenage angst.  When not physically attached at the hip these two BFF talk no fewer than 10 hours per week, not including text and instant messaging.

ME:  We are going Niagara Falls.  

LULU:  Cool, never been there, I never get to go anywhere.

Please note that Lulu, just last month, returned from a week long vacation at the beach with The Princess.  This was her attempt to procure an invitation to the family vacation.  As much as I love Lulu, my idea of vacation, rest and relaxtion does not include 22 road trip hours with two teenage girls.  Primarily because drinking and driving is illegal.

ME:  Since Niagara Falls is in another country and The Princess does not have a passport,  we will drop her off at the US border each day and pick her up every night after our adventures are over. 

Because, well, I just like to mess with my daughter and when her BFF is around, messing with both their heads is twice as much fun.

LULU:  When did going to Florida require a passport?  

ME:  What?  Passports are not required to go to Florida.

LULU:  I didn’t think so.  I knew Florida was in the southern US.

ME:  Yes, Florida is south from here, but.

As you can see, I was interuppted mid-sentence.  This is SOP should you dare to converse with a teenage girl.

LULU:  Well then, she shouldn’t need a passport to go there.

ME:  Um, Lulu you lost me at Florida.

I was not quick enough on the response draw because The Princess broke one of her 2 connections to the outside world (internet/cell phone) to explain her BFF’s error in vacation spot placement on the world map.

THE PRINCESS:  What?  Lulu, have you been sniffing the Sharpie too long?  Everybody knows that Niagara Falls is not in the South, it is in the northern hemisphere of North America.

LULU:  Well, exactly where is it then if you know so much?

At this point The King & I were observing the scene with parental admiration, since The Princess was about to give Lulu a much needed geography lesson.  Scoff if you will, but when you are a parent your chest will swell with pride when your child is about to display their educational prowess.

Make that your head, because pride does go before the fall…

THE PRINCESS:  Lulu, really.  It is in Mexico, dummy.

This America, are your public education tax dollars at work.  The BFF Tag Team are honors students enrolled in the AP and college bound pathways at our local high school.

The Princess would like it noted for the record that all of the family talking at the same time confused her and she was clearly talking about our last vacation which included a cruise to Mexico.  Lulu would like it noted for the record that at no time did she inhale fumes from her writing instrument.

I would like it noted for the record that, The Princess, is the only member of our family that has ever been to Niagara Falls.  Two years ago.  In fact, she did cross the Canadian border.  Two years ago.  To tour Niagara Falls.  I’m just saying. 

Perhaps Niagara Falls has been moved to South America by the United Nations.  Although I do not recall any international summits addressing the issue.  I could be wrong.  Depends on who you ask.  Because as stated before, I am intellectually challenged, tragically unhip and basically dumber than a rock

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Summertime here On The Ponderosa and school is out.  Who plans this school calendar?  No one trapped in a house will two teenage girls I can assure you.  The Princess and her best friend Lulu (read: BFF Tag Team) had dreams of the lazy days of summer with no classes.  Now four weeks since the last day of school their favorite mantras include, but not limited to the following: 

  • WE ARE SO BORED 
  • WHAT IS THERE TO EAT?
  • WE WOULD LIKE TO GO TO THE LATE MOVIE – But our curfew is too early
  • LET’S GO TO McDONALD’S –  We need some cash

After days of much whining from the BFF Ponderosa tag team, I decided a plan of action was required.  Empower your children I say, offer them choices and if those choices happen to benefit you, then all the better.  Beyond the shadow of a doubt, motherhood has granted me these inalienable rights as compensation for tolerating teenage angst.  My interpretation of the Parents Bill of Rights is broad people.  My story, I am sticking to it.

Queen: What could you two do to earn extra privileges and money?

BFF Team: We could clean the house?

Queen:  Whose version of clean?  (Note:  I have seen their rooms)

BFF Team:  We will mop floors, vacuum and dust!

Queen:  Well, that may buy you a happy meal.

BFF Team:  We will throw in cleaning bathrooms.

Queen:  Okay, well that offer will provide dinner and the late movie.

BFF Team:  (in quiet hushed tones)  We won!  With two of us we will be done in no time.  He he he…we get to stay out late!

Two hours later….

BFF Team:  We are finished!  See our list we did everything!

Queen:  Yes, you did a great job!  Thanks so much.  (hands over cash)

So here I sit On The Ponderosa with a clean house, a quiet house and the feeling that I live in a Mastercard commercial.  Why, you ask?

CLEAN FLOORS…

Cost  $10.00

CLEAN BATHS…

Cost  $10.00

WHEN LULU’S MOM CALLS AND SAYS SHE HAS TO COME HOME RIGHT NOW AND DO HER CHORES…

Priceless

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The King took The Royal Canines to the veterinarian office for their yearly check up after months of polite reminding, leading to eventual screaming “we live in the woods with rabid animals dear and I will not take your for rabies shots after they bite you.”  This responsibility is clearly outlined in that marital responsibilities contract I still cannot locate. 

Mr. Frodo, who weighs in excess of 100 pounds, is hauled up on the table, receives the necessary shots and invasion of his orifices.  The vet begins the usual mantra of why on earth this animal is so large and other items that outline our canine neglect.

Mr. Frodo is 5 years old and has well, let’s say he has never gotten lucky.  The female vet grabs his “sacks” starts massaging them and indicates to The King that she could remove them.  Mr. Frodo is thrilled for all human contact, but this personal service is exceeding his expectations.  The King is speechless, very uncomfortable and unable to make eye contact with the kind lady who has cared for our animals for years.  He swears the site of our vet having foreplay with our labrador is shocking to his manhood moral compass.  Yeah right, this is the same man who volunteered Mr. Frodo’s services to a co-worker if his female lab was looking for a friend with benefits.  Now I know the love of my life has watched his share of porn, but it he swears it did not include animal fondling while discussing heartworms, dietary concerns and flea protection for a full three minutes. 

The King’s annual check-up with our family physician is in a few months, bet he has a flash black.  Especially, if a reminder is casually dropped at the right time, because clearly that is my job.  The King may now be suffering from Post Traumatic Vet Visit Disorder.  Not only because he had to witness one of our dogs getting hot action in the vet’s office, but he was graciously permitted to pay $458 for the pleasure.

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Three weeks ago I was minding my own business feeding the Royal Canines.

The Royal Canines - Mr. Frodo & Jake Man

Cute, harmless looking 200 pounds of  labradors, are they not?

Looks can be deceiving, while they are docile most of the day when afternoon arrives and they are about to reap the dog food rewards from the hard labor of The King & I, they spring in to action.  If you have small dogs this may not be a problem, but when they repeatedly demand your attention by slamming in to your backside while filling their water bucket you will turn around.  Just for a moment, only to stung repeatedly on your right hand by the lovely bees that nest On The Ponderosa.  Normally, I am honored that these bees spend their summers pollenating my lilies, hydrangeas and other floral matter.  My policy for bees is get busy on my flowers, tell your friends, but stay away from me.

Did I mention I am allergic to bee stings?  Not the take a Benadryl kind, the I stop breathing kind.  Never fear Epipen to the rescue.  Immediately after being stung I run to the house and grab the Epipen, inject myself in the thigh.  For those not familiar with Epipen medication, the side effects are similar to drinking a two liter of Red Bull energy drink in two minutes.  Jump around the kitchen, remove stingers and flail about screaming obscenities.  This is helpful to me personally.  Reminder to myself: no more dog treats for a week as this is clearly the Royal Canines fault.

Four days later, I realize something is wrong as my hand and arm clearly resemble one of those giant foam hands folks wave around as sporting events, accompanied by spreading red streaks and severe itching that makes me consider removing my limb permanently.  Clearly I needed medical attention.  Our family physician declares the diagnosis of cellulitis and provides antibiotics with a side of steroids that turn me in to one of the giant mythical characters dancing around in need on the Pepto-Bismol commercial.

Three days later my arm now resembles that of a giant, the red streaks have exceeded their inkpen boundaries designated by my physician.  It is decided hospitalization is clearly required with IV antibiotics. 

If anyone is under the delusion that you will get rest while healing in the hospital, let me enlighten you.  Hospitals are full of people whose primary job responsibility is to keep you awake.  They have secret devices that alert them when any patient has dosed off, no matter the time of day they will come in to your room and wake you up under the guise of performing some necessary treatment. 

As a public service announcement to all women who dream of spending a few days in bed away from the demands of your family while watching tv, reading a bestseller and having your meals delivered to you on a serving tray:  BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR.

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Okay, let me just admit I had a great laugh at The King’s expense last week.  Having feasted on his favorite meal, with fresh jalapenos and margaritas he was preparing to retire.  For the King, this includes removing his daily wear contacts.  He returned from removing his contacts declaring he had a Public Service Announcement for all contact lens wearers.  Since he tends to be a bit on the sarcastic side, I waited for the punch line.  There was none.  His advice “if you have jalapenos for supper and tasted a few directly from your fingers, do not, he repeats, do not ever remove your contacts after your meal.”  He adds that washing your hands prior to removal, which is his habit, will not help in the least.

Being the Guru of All Things Spicy and having intimate knowledge of food preparation, I exclaim boastfully that, of course, you should not touch any orifice after handling hot peppers.  Even though his eyes resembled something from a great horror movie, he gave me an Oscar worthy eye roll.  Ever self-righteous, I added that if he were genetically blessed, like me, he could wear overnight lenses.  Then he would be able to handle all the peppers his stomach desired and never need to consider optical aid removal.  This of course warranted unnecessary sign language from The King for my inspirational words of comfort for his plight.  

On any given month I can wear my contacts without so much as a drop of rewetting solution.  Nor do I normally feel the need to rinse my contacts (I hope that my opthamalogist never reads that sentence.)  Remember me, aforementioned Queen of the ocular blessing?  Reality slap is coming.

This week while mowing the lawn, some insect of The Ponderosa had the audacity to land on my contact.  Rushing to the bathroom I grabbed the bottle of contact rinse solution and flushed the eye under attack.  Did I notice I grabbed the bottle with the clearly marked RED CAP?  Oh no, I will add here that Karma is a great equalizer.  My right eye was no longer concerned with the offending particle, it was consumed by the feeling of battery acid burning out my cornea.  In my haste, I had picked up The King’s contact solution, which clearly is not a lens rinse.  It is disinfectant used to soak his contacts nightly.

Now, I might have escaped HRH’s jokes at my expense had my eye lid not swelled to the size of an egg and my sinus passages not tried to escape my body.  His parting remarks, purely for his enjoyment…he who laughs last laughs the loudest.

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The mind is an enigma.  As I go through life minding my own business, my brain has the temerity to produce, without encouragement or suggestion from me a song that I find on repeat for the remainder of the day.  Every. Five. Minutes.  Seriously, the hook from this song becomes wedged so deep in your psyche that you may be tempted to either start dancing, god forbid singing or kill the next person who looks in your direction.

My current cerebral playlist includes the following, oh please click on these songs, I want to share the love of music.  This list obviously speaks volumes about my taste in music.  Thanks to an insightful and hilarious blogger that I read religiously, I have also added Amy Winehouse to my musical brain shuffle.   

  KUNG FU FIGHTING  I feel the need to break out in to a Jet Li fighting stance.

  SAVE A HORSE RIDE A COWBOY  Don’t ask, fantastic beat.

  MONEY MAKER  For anyone who has seen me dance, be afraid.

It is just wrong for these to be stuck in your mental playback, if you clicked YOU ARE SO WELCOME.  If you hate me now, I understand, I accepted that you would but am having a great laugh at your expense.  Really, forgive me, it was necessary to share my pain.  Feel free to share the love, pass it on to those you love.

Research has enlightened me that this particular disorder is caused by ear worms, catchy tunes stuck in the auditory cortex.  Great now I need a brain enema!  Prayerfully, and The Princess does pray that I do not bust a move at any moment.

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In the grocery store, minding my own business, preparing myself to hand over large sums of cash for my love of carbohydrates, my eye strays to a tabloid headline…”VA Tech Massacre part of Gay Agenda”.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  I typed that in large caps to resist the urge to type WTF?  Okay, I have degenerated to swearing but hand to God, I could have screamed right there in the checkout line.  I knew the finger pointing parade would navigate all points on the compass, but, seriously people.

The media, politicians, religious leaders, bloggers and just plain folk blame those of homosexual orientation for a degeneration in family values, rising divorce rate, decline of public morals, destruction of the world and probably the rising cost of oil.  They need  a scapegoat to make their hate appear legitimate, they need to make you afraid and tell you who you must fear, after all homosexuality certainly is the root of all evil.

The Gay Agenda is a twisted concept.  Those of homosexual orientation are individuals that come from a broad diversity of backgrounds, religious faiths, politicial views, genders, race, not to mention various geographic locations worldwide.  They want to participate in society and contribute to their communities, well they can contribute as long as they dare not to benefit or expect equal rights under the law.  Their agenda is to live, love, worry, rejoice and rest just like everyone else.  The challenges our society places in their paths based on their sexual orientation amounts to pure discrimination.  Can you even begin to imagine the struggle to accept yourself in a civilization filled with mockery, hate and condemnation for what others categorize as an “alternative lifestyle”?  My perspective is that it is certainly not alternative, it is merely not common.  

It is appalling that members of the religious right continue to blame homosexuals for a range of disasters from AIDS to child abuse to hurricaines to terrorism to under the cloak of “God’s retribution”.  They theorize that homosexuality leads to misery and is completely repugnant, however, it is so appealing that when it becomes acceptable many will be tempted to switch sexual orientation, developing a life long addiction.  Seriously, homosexuality is not a disease, a mental illness or a cartoon sponge that lives in a pineapple at the bottom of the sea.  You cannot be infected with homosexuality, they will not convert you, in fact, they do not want you.  Nor will they steal your children, pedophillia does not have the same definition as homosexuality.  

Of course, we cannot leave out the manacial Reverend Fred Phelps who proudly waves signs “God Hates Fags, Fags Die & God Laughs.”  We express outrage at his behavior and  feel proud of ourselves for not buying in to his particular brand of crazy, failing to realize that his lingering stench of hate permeates our world.  Although I am not prepared to put restrictions on freedom of speech, I would fully support a decree that anyone espousing such crazy crap should be sedated and sent directly to an insane asylum.  Karma is a wonderful equalizer, just imagine the turnout at his funeral.

In the United States we have laws banning discimination on the basis of race, gender or religion, we would never tolerate a headline like this directed toward feminism or a specific race.  Sexual orientation is viewed as exempt from equal protection because it is deemed a behavior or a choice.  My sexual orientation is heterosexual, although I do not recall ever having made that decision.  To those who still believe it at choice, why would any person choose a sexual orientation that would subject them to a destiny of inequity, prejudice and stigma?  Left unchecked this bigotry will lead to a specific group of people to be regarded as worthy of persecution.  This is how prejudice and paranoia are born and we are all bearing witness, some silently. 

“We have met the enemy and he is us.”  Pogo by Walt Kelly

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