Coffee Enemas for All

This is a letter my mom wrote to her sister from home while she was on a beach vacation in 2001.  She must have been having a bad day and wanted her sister to remember what was waiting for her in the real world when she returned.  The names have been changed to protect the innocent.   Everything in parenthesis is an explanation from me.

Hello you ole beach bums,

I thought I would write and tell you about my day so you would feel real guilty for having so much fun at the beach.

We started the day by oversleeping.  Gracie (me) came downstairs and said, “Hey, isn’t DeAnn (my sister) going to school today?”  Never a good thing to hear.  I got DeAnn to school and came back home.  By this time, Grandma was awake and SCREAMING for coffee.  I’m thinking to myself, you need one of those coffee enemas mom has had. (Important note: mom believes staying “regular” is closest to Godliness.  Any problem we had growing up was chalked up to being constipated.)  We get through breakfast and then Joe (father) and TJ (my brother) go to the farm (four acres of land my parents owned for several years hoping to build a house out in the country).  This is good because I need to give Grandma a bath and go to the doctor’s office.  While giving her a bath, I hear voices outside.  I look and there is a police car here.  It’s (Dad’s friend and co-worker) telling me Joe needs me to call him on his cell phone. (We had one family cell phone to share and only use in emergencies.) After calling Joe, he informs me he is stuck in a hole at the farm.  His front tire is stuck in the hole, and his back end is lifted up off the ground.  Now I’m thinking Joe needs one of those coffee enemas.

He also informs me that he has called (a family friend) and she is on her way to get him out.  By this time Grandma has a visitor- a lady from Church.  Okay, now I have a minute to pull myself together, but the phone rings. It’s my girlfriend, and she is in Allen County looking for the Amish, and she is lost.  (Allen county is one county over from ours where there is an Amish Community.  They have a few shops where regular folks can go buy homemade baked goods and other items from the 1800’s.  My mom is thought to be an expert on this community among her friends.)  We get really, really bad reception in Allen County; partly due to the Amish not using telephones (that’s not really how cell phone towers work).  After several tries, I have her on the road to the Jam House.

Okay, now I’m back to getting Grandma ready, but by this time Joe and TJ are back.  TJ comes in and I notice a funny odor.  After inspection, I realize the kitten he is holding has sh*t all over his shirt and pants.  Now I’m thinking that cat needs a coffee enema.  I get TJ cleaned up and out the door again.  Now I can spend my leisure time cleaning out the garage.  I finally get that done and it’s time to pick up DeAnn.  She looks so pretty today because she has on a brand new outfit…but what’s that all over her butt?  Upon getting in the car, her teacher informs me that she sat in red paint, which is oil based.  Great.  We come home so she can change and then take her to the Methodist church for an after school program.  After I get back from the church, I get to work on her skirt.  Joe has a degreaser he uses for cleaning guns (yes, my dad was a cop AND gunsmith) that he thinks will take the paint out.   We get the paint out and he tells me to hand wash the skirt.  I wash the skirt in the bathroom sink when my hands start burning because I had the degreasing chemical all over my hands.  I panic to think of something that will neutralize the chemical, and finally soak my hands in vinegar, then soap, then silverdean until they quit hurting.

Grandma comes home and she has brought me some coconut shrimp from Red Lobster.  Finally we get to the table to eat when the phone rings.  I want to ignore it so I can eat, but then I start to worry it’s Gracie, and maybe she’s been in an accident.  I should have known.  It’s Gracie’s boyfriend and he is crying because they are fighting.   I tell him everything will be okay, just let me get back to my coconut shrimp.  I do believe he needs one of those coffee enemas.

Now it’s time to pick up DeAnn, and as usual, TJ is naked.  I put him on a pair of shorts even though he wants to wear blue jeans.  We don’t have time to take off his work boots so I send him to the car.  He comes back in crying because he peed on himself.  Too bad…we have to go right now, and he’ll just have to wear pee pants.  He cries all the way up town and back.  I decided he is going to bed when he gets home.  He finally goes to sleep and now I can go pick up all the toys in the front yard.

As you can see I need a vacation.  But at least I feel needed, and writing this letter has been therapy.  Can’t wait for y’all to come home.


The Crazy Woman in Kentucky

Hope you enjoyed a day in the life of my hardworking mom.  In case you were counting, she issued four coffee enemas out to those making her day a little harder.  This should help explain why I don’t want kids.

The Chickens are on Fire

This is a tale from the days of yore.  It was a simpler time then, following the anticlimactic end of the impending apocalypse that was the millennium.  In a historic white Victorian home, on a quiet street, in a small town, in the South, one morning was about to have a momentous disruption.

My family had purchased baby chicks as an Easter present for the three of us children, ages four, 10 and 15.  Northerners may be unfamiliar with this practice, but in the South, it’s very common to go to farm supply stores  and buy baby animals in bulk.  They have pens, crates and troughs filled to the brim with baby chickens, geese, ducks and most any other small fowl.  This was one of my favorite indicators of Spring because you could just walk in a play with the little chicks without any annoying store clerks breathing over your shoulder.  This particular year, my parents thought it would be precious to add some in to our Easter Baskets.  They even came with their feathers dyed in bright colors like Easter eggs, but this particular batch was au natural.  As you can imagine, we were over the moon to receive the chicks and played with them for several days.

This is when my parent’s plan remains unclear because though there was no real “city” aspect to our small town, we were the farthest thing from a farm, living only two blocks from the town square.  Our modest unfenced yard was no place for chickens to roam, and most likely broke several city ordinances.  The best I can guess is our parents didn’t intend on the chicks living very long after Easter.  (Sorry PETA) Unfortunately for mom and pop, the chicks thrived and grew, and showed no signs of slowing down.  They were living in a large box in my parents’ bedroom, with a dowel rod straddling the top holding up a heat lamp until my dad could build them a proper hen house and pen.

On one particular morning, no different than any other, my sister and I went off to school while my mom started her daily ritual of assorted chores.  It’s still unknown where dad was in this story, but he was not home for any of the events that took place.  As mom emptied waste baskets and made beds, my little brother went in to their room and peeked in at the chicks.  It was then that he noticed the skinny wooden dowel rod- thinking it would make a great sword – proceeded to pull it apart from the makeshift indoor henhouse, causing the heat lamp to fall to the bottom of the cardboard box.

After a few minutes, my mom smelled smoke and ran into her bedroom to find the box of chicks smoking.  Letting her instincts take over, she pulled open the exterior door in her bedroom, and ran outside where my dad’s big red pickup truck was parked.  She placed the box inside the truck while she got the smoke out of the house, first making sure they were all okay.   The little chicks pulled through.  She went back in the house to deal with the situation at hand.

A few minutes later, she heard a loud banging on the front door.  She went to look, but no one was there.  There was another loud banging on another door.  The crazy thing about our old house is that it was converted from three apartments to one single family home, so there are tons of exterior doors.  Each time she would reach a door where she heard banging, it would move on to the next door.  Finally she ran outside in her awful granny nightgown (with no bra) to find whoever was beating on the doors.  It was the local volunteer firemen.   Apparently at this time, since the fire department was not funded by the city, there was a charge to the citizen for answering a call.  To protect themselves from lawsuits, they had to have the resident’s permission before letting their hoses loose.  While more and more firemen showed up in their personal vehicles and parked all over her lawn, she tried to explain there was no fire, only smoke from the chickens in the big red farm truck.

After a lot of back and forth, they finally agreed that they needed to at least be sure the box would not catch the truck on fire before they could leave.  Axes and hoses in hand, the firemen opened the truck door to have a cloud of smoke roll over them.   Someone reached into the truck and pulled out the box.  All the chickens were still kicking!  They may have suffered a little smoke inhalation, but were otherwise fit as fiddles.

After this incident, building the outdoor henhouse was at the top of dad’s “honey do” list.  The chicks grew into mature chickens and even produced eggs for our family.  The next Easter, our dad sold or gave away the chickens without telling us.  Obviously, we didn’t want our pets to be eaten, but he did nothing to reassure us.

I think our parents learned an important lesson about the responsibility of pet ownership, but even more importantly, my mom never wore those ugly granny nightgowns ever again.  She immediately upgraded to mature matching pajama sets that are much more appropriate, and also sleeps in a sports bra in case she ever has to debate firemen in her front yard again.