Thursday, December 29, 2011

There’s Something Fishy Going On

Earline’s ringtone sounds: *** Mama said there'll be days like this, There'll be days like this Mama said…
(Mama said, Mama said) Mama said there'll be days like this, There'll be days like this my Mama said.
(Mama said, Mama said)

Earline: Hello?

Voice in phone: MMnnhhhvvpppp!!!  Bbrrfffzzdd?
Argon: Mew (Translation-I’m hiding.) {Scampers under Earline’s bed.}

Earline: I’ll be right there. (Disconnects and dashes out her bedroom door.)

Heisenberg: Meowww Yow! (Translation- Don’t hide. It makes you look guilty.)

Argon: Mrowwwwp !! (Translation- Quick- help me delete this email and turn off her laptop.)

{Kittens scamper about mysteriously then curl up on window seat pretending to nap.}

Mama’s Office:

Earline: I swear I have no idea what all this is.

Mama: Earline- your name is on this bill of lading and there are four trucks outside with a dozen men wanting to know where to start unloading. Now here comes Li’l Einstein’s brother Pepe with his backhoe. Just what is going on??

Earline: I didn’t order anything, no matter what that paper says. What does it say, by the way?

Mama: (looking through sheaf of papers) 14 yards of gravel, 12 pallets of blue slate, 4 cement trucks, several tons of dirt, and an assortment of aquatic plants from Under the Sea Pond Accessories. C.O.D. And that’s just the first two pages. Page 3 is statuary, page 4 is outdoor furniture and page 5 is for Japanese koi and other exotic fish to be delivered in four days. These are all dated yesterday and put on overnight premium delivery. Plus it says to ask someone named A.H. for special instructions.

Earline: But that’s not me. I don’t even know anyone with those initials.

Door opens and Mr. Muscles enters: I just talked to the foreman. He said they were faxed plans last night detailing the design of a fish pond to be built in the courtyard enclosed by the east wing residence suites.

Earline: My window seat looks out over that space, and the suite’s French Doors open onto it, but..

Mama: Well, the area is plain and uninteresting. I was musing about what to do with it a couple days ago. Let me think. Yes, it was in the afternoon when Ta-da and Earline were off to the animal sanctuary again and I was kit… Earline, Muscles- wait here. I’ll be right back.

Mama takes off on a mission. Five minutes later in Earline’s bedroom:

Mama: (Sits down on the soon to be infamous window seat) In the future, you must be much more careful. It is far too soon, and…

Argon: Meeeew. (Translation- I’m really sorry.) {She jumps onto Mama’s lap and places a tiny paw on Mama’s cheek.}

Mama: But all things considered, a pond will be quite lovely out here. You are both right. It will be fully enclosed and safe for you and your guests to play with no chance of anyone getting lost. And the sound of gurgling water is very soothing. 

Heisenberg: Yeeoowww. Mrowff.  (Translation- we were just really excited.) {Rubs against Mama’s arm.}

Mama: We are alone. It is okay.

Heisenberg: We wanted to surprise her as a thank you for adopting us.

Argon: We stayed up all night researching and working to achieve the perfect design. 

Mama: I hope the fountain of Puss ‘N Boots in the middle doesn’t give it away. But I don’t think she’ll figure that out for a long time. 

Heisenberg. We thought it added just a touch of humor.

Argon: We will pay for it all, too. I’ll just fax Catacombs Feline Credit Union and they can wire transfer…

Mama: No, this will be my Happy New Year gift to this expanding family. 

Argon: How will you explain it? I guess we didn’t think of that. Who will A. H. be? 

Heisenberg: Perhaps the pond can be a gift from Zebrudus because he misses Earline. And Ta-Da’s cousin, Ah-Ha is a landscape architect. 

Mama: That will work. I’ll call them shortly. Meanwhile, your next assignment is landscaping selections. Perhaps some cattails, catnip and pussy willows to start. I’ll just get Muscles directing the workers and have Earline bring you both down to my office for kitten sitting. We can order the plants. She can go fetch refreshments.

Argon and Heisenberg: Purrrrfect.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Earline Finds a Purpose

*Knock Knock*

Mama: Come in.

Earline: (very excited): Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Mama: You’re welcome, but a little more information would be relevant.

Earline: Well, I miss Zebrudus very much, but I understand he needs to go home, too, and see his family and he and I aren’t at the “Meet Mom and Dad” place yet although, er, um.. I guess that is too much information, but anyhow, after Christmas Eve and all that… (Stops to take a breath).

Mama: Yes, the Count and Countess are lovely people but why they rumble about in that drafty castle in those gloomy mountains I don’t… Well, I am sure you will meet them someday, dear. But why all the excitement?

Earline: Well, all of a sudden, Ta-Da has gotten to be my friend and now I have a Purpose.

Mama: Earline, I hope you do not think you can join her sisterhood. It is (ahem) genetically restricted for many reasons and frankly, I do not believe you qualify. Ta-da is African and is 6’ 4” tall. You are Caucasian and 5’ 5” tall. In addition…

Earline: (interrupting) No, no, no, nothing like that. All that helicopter stuff is way too scary and have you ever seen her throw a javelin?... and although (breath) the Scrounge and Lounge is the best place for clothes and I now know where she gets some of her supplies to make all those Fu…, er, pretty shoes and skirts and…(stops to breathe again).

Mama: Earline, get to the point. Please.

Earline: Well, she asked me if I could help her out yesterday and I thought she wanted me to help her with the clothes (breath) but I couldn’t figure out why since my fashion sense isn’t the best except for swimwear,  but I am learning (breath) and then she said no, that was under control, but she needed help with something else and I said OK and we went to the animal sanctuary and helped (breath) with the cats and now I have a Purpose. (Pant, pant, pant).

Mama: Indeed? After one day?

Earline: Yup, er… yes, ma’am. Do you believe it? I have discovered that I want to help with the animals and I love the kittens and they like me and cuddling them is fun. But why do some of them have dumb names and others have numbers?

Mama: Such as? 

Earline: Let me show you. (She goes into the hallway and returns a moment later with a large basket.) See? This is Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (Lifts out small buff colored feline with brown tufted ears and hands it to Mama). That is the stupidest name ever for a cat. 

Kitten temporarily known as Dale: Nrowf? Hissssss.  (Translation: You’re telling me? My litter mates were named Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Danica Patrick)

Mama: (looks into kitten’s face and nods). Yes. But he says er…I believe his father was named Dale Earnhardt, so being Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is logical. I am sure he would not mind a different name at all.

Kitten temporarily known as Dale: Rrrooow (Translation: No kidding.)

Earline: And this one (lifts out grey furry bundle) is Cat 4217. Now who names a cat a number? 

Cat 4217: Nrowwt Mew. (Translation: Not me.)

Mama: I am sure the numbers are only for record keeping. The adopter can rename their new pet whatever they wish. (Takes kitten from Earline and looks into her eyes.) This one agrees, er… Just why do you have these kittens, Earline?

Earline: I am adopting them. I know I can take care of them. I promise I’ll do everything right. I even borrowed some books from the library about taking care of kittens and I’ve been reading articles on the internet. And these two just came over to me and put their paws up on my leg and my heart melted. It was like they were talking to me.

Mama:  Ahhh…Let me think for a minute. (Closes eyes while absently petting kittens). 

Earline: Please, please, please.

Both kittens: Mrrrowww, trillllllp (Translation: Let’s get this charade over with)

Mama: Earline, I agree. This is just the correct amount of responsibility for you to balance with your expanding life interests. But- when you are out, they will be with me here in my office.

Both kittens: Brrrrp, mreep (Translation: Finally- we can get some work done)

Earline: Thank you. Now what do I name them? I was thinking something scientific or chemistry because of Zebrudus. The Dale one could be named Heisenberg after that quark guy. It sounds intelligent and he seems like a smart kitty. Maybe he could help me with science stuff. Ha ha.

Kitten temporarily known as Dale: Meow yow. (Translation: Werner Heisenberg- I look like him, too!)

Mama: (looking at kitten, then nuzzling him): I am sure he will be honored.

Heisenberg (kitty formerly known as Dale Earnhart, Jr): Yow, Brrow (Translation: I am, thanks Mama)

Earline: Now Cat 4217 looks grey-blue, so I looked at the Chemistry chart…
Mama: Do you mean the Periodic Table of Elements?

Earline: Yup, that’s it. So, anyhow, I found out that those noble gases burn colors and Argon burns blue. Since Cats 4217 is kinda bluish she can be Argon and that is noble like a royalty person, but not those stuffy boring ones. 

Argon: (kitty formerly known as Cat 4217) Trillllp Yow (Translation: Perfect. I am Russian Blue and you will treat me with respect).

Mama: (nuzzling Argon, whispers): Watch the attitude, Princess.

Argon: Bripp (Translation: Sorry, Mama)

Earline: So are we good to go?  I will set everything up and make sure it is all good. What will Zebrudus think?

Mama: I would not be willing to hazard a guess. Just keep in mind, dear, that care of a pet involves a lot more than finding it a name. And if you are serious about helping at the animal sanctuary and sharing your life with these who furry friends who have chosen you… well, we shall see. Now off you go. 

Earline: Great. I’ll just gather up the basket and litter and kibble and bowls and pans and toys and scratcher and blankets and the kittens. Oh dear- I may need more than one trip. May I borrow the elevator key, please?

Heisenberg and Argon: Mrowff mew yow. (Translated- Maybe we can hide under the bed a lot.)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Mama's Night Before Christmas

Mama’s Night Before Christmas (with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore)

T’was the night before Christmas, and all through North Punty
Few creatures were stirring; tomorrow was Sunday.
The campus was closed, the townsfolk in residence
Engaged in activities without any hesitance.

Earline was wrestling about in the bed
Doing whatever Zebrudus said.
And Mama in her teddy, upon Muscles’ lap
Was just getting into a private “night cap.”

When in the town square there arose such a clatter
They all sprang apart to see what was the matter.
Away to the doorways they flew like a flash
And into the mele to check out the crash.

Moonlight glinted off a tangle of wreckage
That sparkled and glowed like an off-worldly package.
Then what to their wondering eyes did appear
But Ta-Da and her sisters all dressed in their gear.

The stunning tall driver, releasing the stick
Climbed out of the cockpit; Ta-da swore, “Oh Shit!”
“Those sunspots messed up the engine’s capacitor
The GPS tanked, we spun, sinking faster.”

“Now Mama! Now Muscles! Earline and Zebrudus,
This chopper is wrecked, it really is useless.
What are we to do, with gifts to deliver?
Time’s running short, for this lame endeavor.”

“I’ll make a few calls,” Mama said on the fly,
“The night is still young, soon we’ll be in the sky.”
So off to the air base they dashed in a hurry,
The ground crew hopped to it, they moved in a flurry.

And then in a twinkling, the rotors were spinning
The hold filled with packages, Ta-da now grinning.
As she held the collective, Mama’s head turned around,
Leaping up from the skid, Santa came with a bound.

He was dressed all in beachwear from head to his foot
He buckled his seat belt so he would stay put.
“Wouldn’t miss this for anything,” laughed the grand man,
“Gotta keep Ta-da’s secret, the Guardians’ plan.”

“This kingdom of Amazons toil, they don’t tarry.
The elves have retired, but I’m still a bit wary.
The planning and plotting the routes the gals go
We do in the tropics, to heck with the snow.

“Earline’s with Zebrudus, she’ll do as she’s bidden,
She’s too young to know more, this secret stays hidden.”
They nodded and smiled, and winked in agreement
Knowing this was not the time to be lenient.

They spoke not a word but went straight to their work,
Delivered the goodies; none wanted to lurk.
Finished at last, most went home to their bed.
But not Santa nor Muscles nor Mama, who said,

“To our friends round the world, here’s our gift just for you:
Happiness, joy, and a little fun, too.
Be wonderful parents, and spouses and lovers.
What you wish for you, do unto others.

“Never give up; your dreams can come true
Look deep within- you’ll know what to do.”
Raising a glass in the waning moonlight:
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Thirty Necessities for the Worldly Woman- Part 6

It’s Holiday Time. Twinkly lights, sparky trees, Santa photos, snowflakes, caroling, sleigh rides, Grandma’s house, and most importantly- the presents. While keeping in mind that giving is the real deal, somebody has to be the receiver, so why not you? 

23. You never know when you will be asked what you want for Christmas. After your date comes to realize how deserving you are of a little something under the tree, you will need a quick reference list so your wine cellar or jewelry box balances reds, whites and bubblies. The “he d’jour” will also need a vehicle by which to remember what he promised.

In the pre-tech days, a mini rolodex with duplicate cards (one to discreetly slip into his pocket; the other for your reference) made the task easy. But traditional shipping slowed down timely delivery. Now the tech savvy modern gal has at her disposal a variety of options that even the dimmest bulb on the tree can’t mess up. Two simple solutions come to mind.

The first is a label maker. Pre punch pertinent gift info onto strips. Labels are small and you can prepare several in advance so that the selection choice is fluid depending on how the evening progresses. Include succinct details about the gifts and where to purchase/order. Best practice is a phone number and item number if more than one item will come from the same vendor. When Mr. Right Now steps away, affix the label to his keys or billfold. Out of curiosity, he will dial the number the next morning. 

Because of your prep work, a sequence of events will be set into motion. Your beautifully wrapped, personalized gift will be shipped same day and his credit card will be automatically billed a few months down the road as part of the order for his Mother’s Day offering to Mummy (He will never question anything for Mom).  When he actually does present you with a token holiday gift only you will know how genuine the thank you is.

24. Second solution: Text gifting. Text him the next morning and ask him to reply to a different number since your phone is suddenly “broken”. His reply will initiate a similar sequence as above. With a little additional planning, the tag line on his bill can appear as a charitable donation to Save the Grapes or Recycle Green (Bottles or Gems).

25. The weather outside is frightful, so why hang around in the cold when you can party on a warm beach with a little umbrella (or Christmas tree) decked cocktail?  
You: Brrrrrr. I really need to get out of this freezing weather. My libido is shot.

Him: Well, we can’t have that now, can we? I do have a time share available in Bali. 

You: Book it, Danno. (Hands him phone after pushing preprogrammed number on speed dial)

Him: (Five minutes later) The agent said the purchase is all set. I just signed and faxed these papers back. But I don’t understand why it is a purchase; I already bought the timeshare. That didn’t sound like a travel agent.

You: Pack a bag and let’s go. We’ll figure it out on the way. I can already feel my hoohoo starting to thaw. 

Him: That’s great news. But where is Balili , and why does it says you now own a whole island?  

You: Just consider it an investment in my, err… our future. How do you like my new stringless mesh bikini? No tan lines.

Him: That warms the cockles of my...  Stop that. All right, Mummy won’t even notice if I sell a few of her diamonds to keep your skin tone even. Just how does that fabric stay put?

You: Oh- here’s the taxi. Grab that bag of massage products and help me slip this fur coat over my delicate, freezing, pale, supple, needy, throbbing, almost naked body. And close your mouth.

26. Every modern woman needs to eat a healthy diet, so growing your own veggies is the way to go.

You: This should do it. The ad campaign is all in order and I see shoots emerging from the soil already. 

JGG (Jolly Green… {a girl never reveals what ‘Giant’ refers to}): You can expect the first harvest in about a month. These veggies grow fast in the tropics. I love the name, too.

You: I must say it is a stroke of genius, so to speak: Play Food: Six Sexy Servings a Day. 

JGG: The links to yummy recipes, homemade massage oils, spreadable condiments, and your lingerie company make one stop shopping a breeze. I didn’t realize there were so many edible clothing options available.

You: Would you care to sample an appetizer?

27. One can never over accessorize. A quick change of bling can render the plebian office day wear into a stunning evening outfit for a last minute date or venue change. Can’t bring all the options with you? A Bedazzler becomes your best friend. Gone are the huge ‘80’s rhinestones and beads.
The mini bedazzler fits conveniently into a purse or briefcase. Just a couple minutes and a click or two, and that drab pencil skirt morphs into a sparkly mini sure to turn heads at any club. To complete the ensemble, strategically bedazzled crystals on a sheer scarf make a great halter top. 

28. Speaking of bedazzling, with the advent of nanotechnology, tiny microphones, cameras, and other miniscule electronic information gathering devices are easily concealed as sparkly and tasteful additions to cuff links, tie clips, and cell phone cases.  Your original designs make an invaluable (for you) holiday gift for the men on your short list. Be sure your safety deposit box rent is paid up (See # 12) since you will undoubtedly soon add to the stash, err… collection of leverage, er…goodies you are saving for the right moment. 

29. Reliable transportation is always a necessity. For daily needs, auto, bus, train, taxi and feet all get the job done. But when unusual circumstances call for a special ride, don’t be afraid to call in a favor. (See #28).

You: Hello Binky? I know you are stuck at Mummy’s soirĂ©e without me, playing air-kissy with those dull princesses, but I totally need a quick ride so I can get there sooner than later. 

Binky: I just can’t get away. BTW- did you receive the collection of replacement mesh bikinis I had couriered over?

You: I did, and I so look forward to having you help me pick the right ones to match my new bedazzled shoe collection. But right now the limo is stuck in traffic.

Binky: Not again. You know …

You: Check your email, Binks.

Binky: (After a short pause) The chopper will be there in 5 minutes. Do you want Donner and Blitzen piloting as usual?

You: Yes, please. I always feel so safe when they travel with me.

Five minutes later:

You: Good evening gentlemen. I feel about an hour of “engine trouble” coming on. Are you ready for another sojourn into the Mile High Club? The starry starry night awaits.

30. A circle of good friends may be your most valued necessity. There are times when girls just need their time alone (sort of).

Friend 1: I can’t believe you own this island.

You: It was actually pretty easy to acquire. Getting all the details set up took a bit longer than I expected but I think you will find it all worth the wait. 

Friend 2: Who are these 8 handsome gentlemen? 

Friend 3: I love their Santa hats and the red speedos with white fur trim.

You: Ladies- Here are my Christmas gifts to you for this long holiday weekend. Meet Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. Just go a little easy on Donner and Blitzen . They are still recovering a bit from last night. 

Friend 4-: Oh how delightful. I love presents.

Friend 5: But there are nine of us including you and only 8 of them. 

Friend 6: I hear jingle bells.

Friend 7: Here comes a sleigh driven by a red haired god.

Friend 8: He has a bag in the sleigh.

You: This is Rudy. Santa asked him to share these toys “naughty” girls like. Help yourselves. I need to go cheer up Rudy. See you later.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Breakfast Food

Earline elbows open the stately building’s heavy door. Sidestepping, she widens the opening just enough to enter. She walks in, carefully balancing the bakery tray flat, trying not to drop miscellaneous books and papers fluttering and leaning from her hands at awkward angles.  She wiggles one shoulder to adjust her backpack. Spotting a small table just inside the door she plops all the items down just as some begin to fall. Taking a minute, she shakes her hands to restore circulation and rearranges the various items suitably. A small avalanche of papers nestles about her feet, a few strays floating down the hall. She scoops them all up, stopping occasionally to tug down the back of her impossibly short skirt every time it resumes its creeping journey up her backside.

Stuffing the paperwork back into a folder Earline glances up at the hallway’s high ceilings, disappearing in either direction. In the early evening light the unlit corridors appear gloomy and spooky to her, unlike the cheerful bustle and chatter when classes are in session. She takes a deep, shaky breath and covers the short distance to the wide, curving staircase leading up to the smaller classrooms and offices on the second and third floors. 

Cautiously mounting the first flight of stairs she mutters, “How do women walk in these shoes all the time?  I know 4 inch heels are supposed to be sexy, but really- peacock feathers and googly eyes? Oh well, nothing I can do about it now. I hope Ta-Da down at Scrounge and Lounge is really as fashion savvy as she says. Being from the South, where ladies dress up for every occasion, I guess she must be.” 

Rounding the curve toward Floor 3 she mounts the first tread whispering, “Smile”. Second step- “Yes”. Third step- “Smart”. Fourth step- “Give”. Fifth step-“Ask/Take.” She repeats the mantra with each upward step.

Earline miraculously reaches the third floor without further mishap except for the creeping skirt which now resembles a wide belt. With no place available to set her packages and papers she shimmies left then right, flamenco-ing in circles and gyrating with heels clacking on the marble tiles until the offending garment descends into PG territory.  At the sound of a *cough* from a nearby doorway, She spins around and loses her balance.  One shoe flies from her foot, narrowly missing the head of the man just straightening up from leaning against the door jamb. A small squeak escapes her lips as she begins to tumble backward.

Warm, strong arms encircle Earline’s shoulders from behind, righting her and holding on until she is almost vertical and somewhat steady albeit semi-shoeless. 

Earline: Eeeek, errrr, Hi Dr.Z. You can let go now, I think.  (She looks up at him and smiles tentatively.)

Zebrudus: (Smiles): Are you sure, Earline?

Earline: Yeah, I guess so. I mean…Yes, I’m fine, thank you, Dr. Z. ( Zebrudus releases Earline and she wobbles but remains upright balancing on one leg.)

Zebrudus: Alright then, shall I retrieve your shoe? (He picks it up and dangles it from his index finger.)

Earline: Yup, oops, certainly, I would appreciate it. Can we go into your office? Um… Errr… Are you busy? I’d like a word. (She hobbles after him down the hall.)

Zebrudus: Yes, we can go into my office. I had just finished submitting all the semester grades to the registrar’s office when I thought I heard a woodpecker in the hall, thus my stealthy encounter with you. I didn’t mean to frighten you. Now what can I do for you?

Earline (Drops all her goodies on Dr. Z’s desk.): Well, now that the semester is over and you are stepping down as a professor, I wanted to invite you to a little party the class is having. Even though you were a tough teacher, I really learned a lot. I didn’t think I could ever understand all this science stuff, errr complexities, but your stories related to what I know about.

Zebrudus: Thank you, Earline. I can say the past semester wasn’t without challenges, but I do appreciate your kind words. Dr. Wolfram is a fine chemistry professor and she will continue the second semester admirably. We are fortunate she is here. By the way, I want to congratulate you on your hard work. You really brought your grades up. In fact, you have the honor of receiving the Most Improved Certificate.

Earline: Holy sh.. I mean- Wow, um… Thanks. I didn’t know there was one. 

Zebrudus: There is now. By the way, am I keeping you from something? I notice you have a bakery tray containing doughnuts and muffins listing precariously atop my paperwork.

Earline: (Opens bakery tray) No, I am just where I want to be right now. Would you like a sugary confection?

Zebrudus: Now that you are offering, I am in the mood for a sweet treat.

Earline: (Holds tray out): Help yourself.

Zebrudus: (Removes tray from her hands and gently places his hands on her shoulders): I believe I will…

6 AM the next morning:

ZaPing sounds Mama’s phone. She sleepily detangles her legs from Mr. Muscles torso and reaches for her phone.

Mama: Now who is sending me a text this early?

BaZeep vibrates Mr. Muscles phone. He rolls over and picks up his phone.

Mr. Muscles: Only one person I can imagine, and she better not need bailing out.

They both open their texts to reveal a photo of a peacock feather and googly eyed high heel sprinkled with crumbs and containing an empty muffin paper.