Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Don't get me wrong: I love Middle Tennessee. I love the gorgeous hills,

I love the people,

And, normally, I love the weather. Very temperate, and we have actual seasons, unlike when I lived in South Florida and it was just hot all the damn time.

But here's the thing about Middle Tennessee people and weather: we can't handle snow. Especially when you combine snow and ice. Snow and ice and schools. We close school if someone is overheard in a grocery store aisle saying that it was icy and there was light snow when they visited Aunt Marsha in Minnesota last week. BECAUSE IT MIGHT COME HERE! THE WEATHER MIGHT DRIFT HERE AND IT MIGHT SNOW AND WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!

But we don't die. No, we cancel school three days before the "winter event" gets here, we go to the grocery and buy ALL of the milk and ALL of the bread. And maybe some shrimp cocktail and batteries, just in case.

And this happens every time. Every single time. And trust me, I like snow. A lot. I like how everything looks so clean and stark on a snowy morning. And we don't get enough snow here to take it for granted. But the weather people on TV start predicting it days in advance, and so we have to wait and see. And it's all anybody can talk about: the SNOW, when is the SNOW coming, how much will it SNOW, will they cancel school (yes), how many days will we be SNOWED IN? Stranded! Trapped in our homes! Thank God for the shrimp and batteries!

So here's what I propose: calm down, people of Middle Tennessee. Even if it does snow (and we all know that when you discuss it to death, and when the weathermen actually predict it, it rarely happens, we know this) then just don't get out and drive in it unless you have to, because if there's anything worse than Middle Tennesseans freaking out about snow it's them attempting to drive in it. Stay home, curl up with your kids or loved ones or pets, and relax. Spend some time together. Talk to each other. Play games, cook a meal together, watch a movie.

Snow days, I think, are the perfect excuse to do nothing but chill. Seems appropriate, don't you think?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

On Motherhood: Sometimes getting fired is the best thing that could happen

So, there goes a New Year Goal (I refuse to call them resolutions, that sounds so... FINAL - "You MUST do this, you made a resolution!") to blog at least a few times a week. Oh well, there's always another chance - that's what I like about days: they just keep coming, and with each morning you have a new chance to start over. Who needs a new year for that? (Hint: I do.)

I have made good on a few of my New Year goals, namely this one: to start writing down some of the stuff The Dude says, because 1. people keep telling me to do it, and 2. he's really, really funny and says surprisingly smart things. He also tells these long, drawn out stories with the greatest facial expressions and hand gestures.

A week or so ago I was talking about someone I know who is about to get fired from her job. I can't remember if I was telling Mom or The Dude about it, but it must have stuck in his head, because this weekend, in one of our marathon movie-watching-and-Connect-4-and-or-Operation-SpongeBob-game sessions, he launched into the following story (and if you know The Dude you can hear his pipey little high-pitched voice, which, consequentially, sounds a lot like mine, with my cadence and lilt):

"So last week when I got fired from my office job I set up an office in my closet. And that's where I write the SpongeBob episodes. Did you know that I write SpongeBob episodes now?"

"I didn't know that. What is an episode?"

"It's one TV show."

I shrugged, dropped a red disk into the Connect 4 grid. "Okay."

"So I set up my office, and that's where I'm writing them. I'm pretty good at it. I've found my talent, and it's writing SpongeBob episodes."

"I'm sure it is." (The talent question came up also during last night's American Idol premiere. Apparently his talent is telling stories, but only until he "really" learns how to write, and then he'll write stories, just like me.) "You've certainly seen enough SpongeBob episodes to be able to have the tone down pat."

On a SpongeBob blanket, wearing SpongeBob shoes, most likely watching SpongeBob with his friend Kendall.

"I do. And sometimes Goose
would come into my office in my closet. He would come down from the ceiling, on ropes, and he would swing down into my closet office and he would write the SpongeBob episodes with me."

"Wow. I had no idea Goose was so athletic and talented."

"He's not. I had to fire him."

From the floor of my bedroom, where Goose himself has slept since Middle Tennessee weather decided to take on the characteristics of Minnesota, Goose grumbled and shifted, stretched.

"I had to fire him because, well, he wasn't that good of a writer."

I leaned over and looked at the dog, who has been known to run, full-speed, into the side of the house. "I can't imagine he has much of an imagination."

"He doesn't. And all he wanted to do was eat all the time. He was always sneaking off into Dah's bathroom to eat Blair's food." The Dude shook his head. "I couldn't trust him."

"Yes, I can see how that would be difficult to deal with and grounds for termination."

"But I think me firing Goose was probably the best thing that could have happened to him," The Dude continued, almost wistfully.

I dropped my final red disk into the Connect 4 grid. He hadn't been paying attention, and four red disks marched proudly in a diagonal line. The Dude glared at me before turning his back on me.

"Well, look at him."

Both of us leaned over the side of the bed and looked at the large copper-colored dog, stretched out over two of the six rugs I'd laid out to try and protect my new carpet from his outside-dog invisible dirt and germs. He snored softly.

"He's just so happy."

We both leaned back, and I released the Connect 4 grid so that the disks fell out of the bottom. The Dude swept them together, began separating out the colors for the next game.

"Of course he is," I said. "He's a dog. What's he got to be worried about?"


"Well yeah, besides that."

"Getting fired."

"Well. Doesn't look like he's losing much sleep over that one."


"Yeah babe."

"Do you worry about getting fired?"

"Not really, no."

"If you did, I'd let you work in my office and write SpongeBob with me. I bet you're better than at than I am."

"I'm sure I would be."



"I might be better. Just let me win every once in a while."

I frowned. "Win at what? At writing or Connect 4?"

"Connect 4."

"We've had this conversation. I will not let you win. You will learn how to play and then you'll win on your own and it'll feel so much better when you do."

He dropped a yellow disk into the grid, a bit dejectedly.

"It was a lot easier working with Goose."