Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Let The Week Of WOO WOO Begin!!!

Delayed, yes, but as promised Woo Woo Week starts NOW! Don't read anything the next few days with the lights out in your home. If a stranger calls on the phone, don't answer it! Don't make out while perusing my blog either, because that will ultimately seal your doom. All horny bloggers get axed first in tales of terror.
This 1970's era French Chateau facade home seems auspicious enough, doesn't it? I spent most of my high school years here surrounded by tree lined streets of suburban Houston middle class bliss. My Mom and stepdad purchased the house rather inexpensively, as the couple who lived there prior to us had decided to divorce, and hastily sold it to practically the first bidders. Upon conversation, years later with the same couple after my Mom had already sold the house too, she found out that the two cited constant, and stressful unexplained disruptions in their home as the reason to their marital breakup. After getting rid of the house, they reconciled. Nice of them to tell us, huh? I knew their mentally retarded son from school, and my Mom immediately found it odd that out of the only 10 homes situated on the cul-de-sac, 6 of them had handicapped children. My young brother included. My Mom believes in the paranormal, but my now deceased stepfather didn't, and offered a skeptic's eye view for all the bumps and creaks in the night. That is, until an apparition started targeting him.

It all began with the usual things of haunted house lore like radios turning themselves on, T.V. sets flicking channels by itself, and doors squeaking open when nobody touched them.

My brother, who has a high functioning level version of a chromosomal disorder similar to Down's Syndrome, was about 5, and he adamantly refused to sleep in the room upstairs across from mine. My Mom decorated it with cute bunk beds, and a Sesame Street motif, and even placed a Nintendo gaming console in there, but night after night, he still crawled into bed with my Mom. Brendon seemed fine to play in the room during the day, but wouldn't even walk past the room when the sun went down.

My stepdad took the guest room at the end of the hall upstairs apart from my Mother because he snored loudly and had to go to work early in the morning, and he didn't want to disturb her. So, Brendon had other family members just yards away from him. He wouldn't verbalize what was wrong, but we all noticed the drop in temperature upon entering the room. A big two story home in Houston is very hard to keep climate controlled in the summer, and yet that room always felt about 20 degrees colder than the rest of the house.

My Mom started noticing that whenever she pulled up in the driveway during nighttime hours, there seemed to be an eerie glow emanating from the upstairs window of Brendon's room. She knew that nobody left a light on in there, because we closed the door at night, and never entered the room. Look at the picture, it's the window on the right with the tree in front of it.

Finally, after a few years of this, Brendon turned to my Mom and told her that he couldn't sleep in his own room because the people living in his closet wouldn't leave him alone. He said that they came out at night, and wanted to talk him, and he didn't like it. My faith teaches that people who are mentally incapacitated are special spirits enveloped in the protection of a somewhat hazy brain to protect them from certain evils. My Papi mentioned that they are the spirits of the strongest warriors in that fight between souls where Satan claimed many, and the rest elected to follow Jesus Christ and his Plan Of Salvation. I believe that this veils them from aspects of the real world, but also makes them more prone to being able to see and hear things others can't. I should clarify though, that he never experienced shadowy people talking to him before moving into this house.

My stepdad, Don, was a 6'6 man of 350 pounds. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, a black belt in Tae-Kwon-Do, and a certified master scuba diver, he feared nothing. After an altercation with my Mom, I lived with my Dad across town one summer, and my Mom reported that after a few weeks, Don refused to sleep upstairs without me in the next room. He claimed to see the ghostly figure of an elderly Native American woman dressed in the traditional clothing, and long braids flowing, wander the hallway. As time passed on, several Native Americans added to the nightly procession of spirits up and down the corridor. My stepdad used the restroom frequently during the night, and I can imagine he didn't like having to fight his way through Indian spirits to get there. All of a sudden, he didn't mock my Mom and I anymore for all the weird things we saw going on.

My teenaged male cousins stayed at the house the next summer while I was gone on vacation to Indiana. Any notion of all the paranormal events pertaining to nothing more than familial hallucinations was quickly dispelled. My cousins saw and heard everything we did, and complained to my Mom about things pinching them in the night. Their departure marked the new occurrence of clothing appearing out of nowhere. My Mom started gathering up baskets of clothes, underwear, and socks that didn't belong to any of us. We would pass the staircase one minute and when doubling back, a pile of clothes would just appear as if out of mid-air. Weirdest of all? A lot of them came from The Gap and were in sizes that none of us wore, so it didn't do us a bit of good, but where did it all come from?

These were far from isolated incidences, and my Mom eventually discovered that creepy things continued plaguing other neighborhood residents. Though, loathe to discuss such things in polite company, my Mom nonetheless continued meeting former and current people from our subdivision who had the unexplainable happening in their domicile just like us.

Next Chapter: Talking Mickey Mouse Terror!

Hey! I Wanna Be Like You Babe.....

I Wanna Walk Like You, Talk Like You Too!

I had a very difficult time deciding on a Halloween costume this year. As I wandered through the aisles at Walgreens Pharmacy at midnight, the thought occurred to me that I could dress up as a "Drugstore Cowboy." I set about to find a cheap straw hat, bandana, and a Walgreens T-shirt, but then a beacon of light shone its way through my lame costume mental fog, and led me to the promised aisle. Yes, the aisle which contains all things holy and half-priced. Some more than half-priced because they really are holey. There, inspiration smacked me upside the head, and I spied the most gorgeous, rainbow hued, built-in-toed socks man has ever created. At the cost of $3.00 plus tax, I made them my own.

Now, what does one do exactly with long rainbow striped socks in a humid place like Houston? The only possibility that sprung to my mind was that they were requisite gear for prancing around in the downtown Gay Pride Parade. That wouldn't do for me though, I knew these socks must be saved for a loftier goal. Now, I know an extremely clever blogger who has mastered more than one language, has amazing insight even though she's only a teenager, writes poetry, creates custom graphics and blogging templates, and I knew then that for Halloween I want to be JUST LIKE SYAR, the crown jewel of Malaysia! No, make that I want to BE SYAR!

I've watched "Single White Female" 146 times, and I find Jennifer Jason Leigh's character to be unfairly stigmatized. Yeah, she wanted to kill Bridget Fonda and take over her life. What's the big frickin deal? Imitation is the most sincerest form of flattery, and I AM SYAR's NUMBER ONE FAN, after all...........BWAHAHAHAHAHA!


Saturday, October 28, 2006

Animal Magnetism..........

We seemed to have loads of it while visiting the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch last week. Animals could barely resist our Infidel allure! Or maybe it could all be attributed to the little overpriced bags of chunky brown feed sold to us that my kids lovingly referred to as "Poop Pellets".

We paid THREE WHOLE DOLLARS for a glossy and colorful animal guide brochure so that we could identify the various species while on our grand drive thru safari expedition. We only glanced at the pictures, and didn't bother to read the text. Big mistake. Thinking that zebras belong to the gentle, docile horse family, we pulled alongside their herd and started feeding them the much adored Poop Pellets. Then, like a nightmarish episode of "Zebras Gone Wild" they started crowding around and sticking their heads into the windows. At one point, I had three zebra heads nudging me simultaneously. Apparently, I wasn't fast enough dishing out the feed because the zebra pictured above bit my arm. You heard me, he BIT my arm! Panicked, I threw the whole bag of food at them, and stepped on the gas (staying within the posted 10 MPH) all the while screaming like a little girl. The kids laughed uproariously at me. We just read today in our trusty brochure, a week later, that zebras are to be considered "very aggressive." Hello? Stating the obvious! Like Spiderman after bitten by an arachnid, I'm starting to display a few disturbing symptoms too. I couldn't control the impulse to buy those ultra tacky zebra print car seat covers at Target, and I watch that wretched movie, "Racing Stripes" on a daily basis while thumping my chest and proudly proclaiming, "That's my herd." I aggressively bit Papi on the arm this afternoon when he took too long preparing my grilled cheese. What have I become??!????!?? Luckily, I look really good in black and white stripes.

We had this little beauty eating right out of the palm of our hands! The extremely friendly African Addax ate the Poop Pellets right up and clamored for more. Check out the rapier sharp points on the twisted horns. We kept enough distance to ensure that none of my precious children would end up shish-kabobed.

Don't let this long legged lovely fool you with those gorgeous fringe lashed eyes, she's as mean as they come. We didn't read the warning about the aggressive nature of the ostrich either. Everything went well feeding them until they started sticking their tubelike necks into the van with us. Sunbum and I felt intimidated by a flock of them, and frantically rolled up our windows much to the chagrin of one ostrich in particular who reacted by squawking loudly, flapping her ample plumage around, and pecking at all the windows and doors. What did we do? Did we face down the wild beast with a countenance of steely courage? No. We screamed hysterically until the ostrich feeding frenzy subsided. I had a lot to panic about considering we were cruising around in a rental van that my $300.00 security deposit was completely contingent on returning it in an undamaged state. How could I possibly explain ostrich beak peck marks all over it?

We saw bison, longhorns, llamas galore, rhinoceros, giraffes, lemurs, antelopes, and things that I can't pronounce nor spell. We only fed the animals that seemed non-threatening. I mean, look how well that theory worked with the zebras. This emu felt particularly attracted to us not only because we held the key to a bountiful supply of glorious Poop Pellets, but also due to our Panic! At The Disco CD playing at a high decibel. It's a little known fact that EMU's love EMO's.

This little goat broke through my security line, and viciously attacked my new ten dollar Wal-Mart hooded jacket. Have you ever eaten deliciously spiced chivo (goat meat) on tortilla? I have! By the way, yes! that is Mr. Jim shoes you see in the picture. Oh so very comfortable. It hugs me tight, just like Mr. Jim's prison cellmates.

Disclaimer: We do not actually own any Panic! At The Disco CD's, neither Fall Out Boy, Snow Patrol, Arctic Monkeys, Hoobastank, or any of the other little poseur bands to come along in the past few years.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Adventure Continues

I told my kids that San Antonio is the perfect place for them. They are of a distinct Spanish/Mexican/German heritage which is exactly what San Antonio is comprised of. They even have a part of the Riverwalk called "Sauerkraut Bend" due to the large number of German immigrants who settled there in the 1800's. It's funny to walk from one street to the next and see signs pointing out "Dolores Avenue", and "Mercado Street", then the next ones over feature "Fredericksburg Road", and "Guenther Place."

We failed Pee Wee Herman in so many ways. Alas, his bicycle was nowhere to be found, but in all honesty, we never even set foot inside The Alamo on this trip. I scheduled to visit on the day we were leaving, but then I saw how much they charge to park on the weekends. EIGHT FREAKIN DOLLARS! We did tour it two years ago, and so I told the kids that we would have to adhere to the old battle cry of, "Remember The Alamo!", because eight dollars and my grubby hands would not soon be parted. I do indeed remember the Alamo. They had sparkling clean bathrooms, a smoking hot tour guide, and buy one get one free Davy Crockett coon skin caps. I stocked up, because you can never really have too many coon skin caps lying around.

Another Enchanted Springs Ranch memento. I am directly related to the notorious outlaw, Billy The Kid. No, I'm not (bad pun alert!)KIDding. Much thanks to Papi's outstanding genealogy efforts for uncovering lots of previously unknown family crap to add to the plethora of known family crap. My kinfolk and I spied the stagecoach with great interest, but as soon as we assembled a proper posse for an old-fashioned stagecoach robbery, the driver declared that strict Union rules stipulates that the horses had to retire for the day. The bandit life ain't so easy in these here modern times.

A photo from our hotel room at San Antonio's Embassy Suites where we ate like pigs every morning at their free breakfast. Yes, the Buffet Gods were smiling down upon us, and we paid tribute to him at the altar of the made-to-order omelet bar. A tip for the frugally minded: Wait until the latest time possible to feed your crew, that way it takes care of both breakfast and lunch at once, and saves you a buttload of money.

The Fountain Of Youth! This gorgeous font fit in very well with the Spanish theme and the shiny saltillo tiled floors. The added bonus stemmed from being able to buy lots of vending machine goodies, and play the nickel slot machines all day long. Cha-Ching! A duffel bag full of pennies for your thoughts......

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch......

They were busy suckering tourists into paying a whole dollar for teensy tiny bottles of water, and laughing at the losers who stepped into the copious piles of animal poop lying around. That would be me. While wearing sandals. Ewwwwww.

This place is Enchanted Springs Ranch just outside San Antonio, and the first tourist trap, er I mean "attraction" we hit after leaving Butt Camp. It's supposed to be set up like a Wild West Town but we saw Indians squatting next to their teepee drinking Coke and using their BlackBerrys, and cowboys with cell phones in their gun holsters, so I'm not sure just how authentic it is. The Rotary Club put on a demonstration using their trained knights. The one in blue is a female knight atop Thor, the supposed Guiness Book Of World Record holder for being the tallest, living horse. They wanted to charge 10 dollars just to take a picture of Thor, but I snapped this when nobody was looking, and I made sure that I remained too far away for the knights to beat me with their jousting thingies. See what a good blog friend I am? I won't charge you anything to gaze wonderingly at the magnificent Thor.

All the kids got a chance to sit on Woodrow The Longhorn. You can tell by his expression that there is nothing he loves more on a 90 degree day than to have a procession of strange kids plop their butts down on his back. In the background is the cotton candy stand where they were whipping it up fresh. It was yummy and stickarific. We practically spent the next hour licking ourselves to get all the cotton candy residue off.

Us on the only free thing featured in the entire place even though we paid an exorbitant entrance fee. The covered wagon ride allowed us to meet some of our fellow ranch hands. They were weird, and asked me if my children were foster kids. WTH??!!!??? The man looked like Jed Clampett in a cowboy hat while the woman resembled a grizzled Willie Nelson with her long braids hanging down off her shoulders. That was an extraordinarily long 20 minutes.

My little cowboy wannabes all tried their hand lassoing a metal calf while mounted on this mechanical horse. I only took one picture because right after Caterpillar got down, my little Boo Boo lassoed me in the eye. I liked this kind of horse because I figured I was finally safe from walking into steaming piles of crap. That is, until, I stepped into a mound of metal shavings located directly behind the horse.

That'll teach them ornery whippersnappers to dare ask for another dollar bottle of water. My daughter, Monkey, cleverly filled her empty container from a spigot outside the saloon. The bar maid did not look kindly upon this act of cunning though. Monkey's just lucky that the gallows stage remained occupied until we left. In my opinion, the scoundrels responsible for serving camp fire grilled hot dogs wrapped up in a TORTILLA should be charged with criminal mischief. I'm sure they had hot dog buns in the Old West and didn't have to co-opt another culture to serve up their weenie creations. It's hot dog blasphemy, I tell you. Blasphemy! The other food vendor charging 8 bucks for a paper plate of stringy barbecue should be strung up for highway robbery.

BUTT CAMP Revisited

Part One:Butt Camp

My clan in their custom family crest shirts courtesy of Mormon Family Man. This was taken immediately after Talent Show night at the open air facility located directly behind the kids. Yep, they participated. What's their talent? Why singing and dancing to cheeseball songs, of course. They truly are MY children. They choreographed their own routine to "Octopus's Garden", and every time the song said something about an octopus they all lined up behind each other and flailed their arms around. Very amusing. Not better than the kids who re-enacted a scene from Monty Python and The Holy Grail, but still amusing.

Infidels minus one. My son Buster was too busy making beaded crafts surrounded by a circle of girls to bother with family photo time. I like this picture because it showcases the loveliness of the Texas Hill Country. We did see several bearded mountain goats during the week, but never while I had my camera with me, of course.

Melody and Boo Boo outside the Ranch House earning their daily bread and butter just by looking cute.

We competed as a family in an obstacle course of different tasks. Our best performance though, was shown in the unwrapping Hershey Kisses using only toothpicks event. We then had to spear and eat the Kiss. Chocolate, the great motivator.
Yes, this camp is a little slice of heaven on earth, but it also meant shaking out our sleeping bags and shoes every day to make sure scorpions and tarantulas hadn't nestled inside. Yes, we did actually see scorpions, tarantulas, and snakes, oh my!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


How George Michael wishes he could spend time in an overnight BUTT CAMP for 4 days like we did........

You doubted me when I said that we traveled to "Butt Camp", didn't you? How dare you impugn my virtuous reputation! As you can see from the sign we did indeed spend the week at HE BUTT's place. Some marketing genius whispered in H.E. Butt's ear and convinced him to rename his chain of grocery stores by his initials, "H.E.B", after much confusion from people telling their spouses that they were headed to the "Butt Store" to pick up a few odds and ENDS.

We had to drive through the Frio River (Rio Frio) just to make our way to camp. Yes, we DROVE THROUGH the river, not OVER the river and through the woods to H.E. Butt Camp we go. Melody kept calling it the FRITO River. Oh, to dream of a body of water comprised of nothing but yummy corn chip goodness. A FRITO River would taste better flowing through Chile though. Frito Pie.........mmmmmmmmm.

Ever wonder how incredibly vociferous six kids and an obnoxious Mom can be while shouting in unison? This picture shows an overview of the camp, with the main ranch house where we ate our meals in the middle, our cabins on the right (we got the nearest cabin to the ranch house because we're super special), and the lovely Frio River adding to the scenic beauty. We sat on the site overlook after we left camp and spied our homeschool director taking off in her car below us. Just for fun we started waving frenetically and shouting, "Bye Irving Family!!!!", never expecting that they could actually hear us at that distance. All of a sudden arms started jutting out the car windows waving back at us. They HEARD us! I guess we don't need that Super Saver megaphone coupon after all.

Here is the cabin in which we stayed, and survived for a whole week sharing one toilet! The cabin featured a large walk in shower, dual sinks, 14 beds, heat and air conditioning, a waterfront view, and two porches. Yes, we're obviously descended from that rugged pioneer stock to make it in such a primitive place.

This is also in front of our cabin. There is nothing sweeter than frolicking on the riverfront and knowing that when nature calls, your private commode is just yards away. The nearest town is called Leakey, and when we passed the high school we learned that they are the "Leakey Eagles." For some unknown reason this gave us fits of laughters for miles. I kept saying, "Kids, grab your umbrellas, the Leakey Eagles are just ahead and flying this way."

Monday, October 16, 2006

I Bid Thee Farewell.....

Until We Meet Again, My Friends.

The kids and I are leaving for a destination deep in the heart of Texas today, where the stars at night are big and bright, and the cowgirls cry "Yippee Yi." Sadly, or gladly, depending on how technologically attached you are, this is also one of the only pristine places left on the face of the Earth that features neither Internet access nor cell phone reception. Yes, we literally are going to "Butts Camp" for a refresher course along with our fellow homeschooling comrades, and then much fun and adventure await us as I handle six kids single handedly in the wilds of the San Antonio metropolis. We're on a special mission to find Pee Wee Herman's red bike in the basement of The Alamo!

Ya'all come back now, ya hear? Yes, peruse these exciting blog events scheduled upon our return back to civilization.

1. The unveiling of a brand new Smiling Infidel. Now with 68.8675% more smileys!!!! Much thanks to the creative efforts of super feiend, Omar, and his gift of a facelift to me. Not that I need a facelift mind you. I need a tummy tuck, electrolysis, liposuction...... Well, to clarify, it's a blog facelift. All the wrinkles smoothed out with nary an injection of botulism.

2. Nestled between the scheduled return of Lianne from France and Halloween, the Infidel will proudly present, "WOO WOO WEEK", as a nod to the Goddess of Woo Woo herself, Lianne. Better gather up your extra Depends adult diapers and nitroglycerin pills, boys and girls, because I'll be retelling all the truly strange, and occasionally horrifying paranormal things that have happened to me and people that I know. Chills and mini freakouts galore!

3. Think you have what it takes to be a member of The Smiling Infidel gang? We'll show you all our covert hand gestures, gang initiations, slang, and the official Infidel gang snack, YooHoo chocolate drink. Yes, if you're prepared for some grueling tasks and learning cornball lingo to hang with us, then have your smiley faced doo rags and bandanas at the ready.

4. The monkey sock mania continues as I once again show off a new pair sure to make Radioactive Jam seethe in blinding monkey socked jealousy. This one had him conceding victory to me, as he sensed my monkey sock supremeness over him.

5. A Tale Of Two Kitties. The youngest of my spawn, Melody, will show off her true fashion loves, her kitty cat dresses.

6. To all blog friends, old and new, I'll miss you. To all you lurkers, you know who you are, and I'm certainly not above employing guilt complex techniques to call you out. Comment already!!! Let's work together to shatter the previous comment record of 36 here. Even if you just stop by and write, "Your blog is a total waste of time for me to read, and yet I can't stop myself from coming back for more.", it's all good, and counts as one more towards beating the all time high of 36.

I'll bring you guys back lots of cheesy souvenirs, and the requisite vacation picture slide show. Yay! How excited are you for my blog return now, huh? And with that, I bid you all a fond adieu.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

As The Worm Turns

And so, it was with extreme trepidation that I answered the phone last Sunday evening. For those of you who lack familiarity with the Mormon faith, Sunday nights are prime Bishropic pickings for catching members and extending callings and speaking assignments to them. I know this. Papi knows this. Yet, he still answered the phone and handed it to me.

Our genial second counselor oozed warmth and enthusiasm as he greeted me. I mumbled a "Hello. Yeah. Doing fine", back to him dreading what was to come next. My seven years of good luck had finally run out, Brother Porter asked me to speak during Sacrament meeting next week. *cue the recorded scream soundtrack* He remarked that when asked for names of fellow converts in the Ward, mine stood out like a beacon above all the rest. Brother Porter informed me that my mission, should I choose to accept it, is to make a short delivery to the Ward regarding how I came to know the Church, what propelled me to accept it and get baptized, and my own convert perspective testimony. During the whole length of his end of the conversation, I kept thinking, "Oh CRAP! Why me?" Visions of my beginnings in the Church flashed before my eyes, and they weren't all that spiritual. No, definitely not the stuff quality Sacrament talks are made of.

So, I knew Papi from work and we became friends. One day he invited me to go to Church with him. Thinking that he's Catholic, I agree. Oh surprise, we pulled up outside an LDS chapel. Papi promptly introduced me to two missionaries, and my 19 year old self promptly developed a crush on one of them. I started feeding them at my apartment every Friday, and taking the Gospel discussions with Papi by their side. I liked one of the Elders, but his companion liked me. During Sunday School when I didn't think that my butt could get any number from 3 hours of monotonous sitting, Elder Gardner started speaking of holy things in my ear.............using a Kermit The Frog voice. Not to be outdone, Papi competed with him by pretending to pick out imaginary monkey fleas out of my hair, examine them, and them eat them. The two broke into an all out GOOFBALL Competition to win my affection. I'm no raving beauty, and I had never commanded so much attention before, so I just basked in the glow of two men and their less than reverent antics. I did feel moved by the words of The Book Of Mormon, and I did feel peace at the organization of the Church itself, and their teachings. However, I made the decision to baptize before I was ready just so the Elder that I liked could be the one to baptize me before he went back home. Thus, I immediately went inactive until my oldest daughter turned 3, and now have found my faith and reverence much stronger than I did as a silly, clueless teen girl.

It's shameful, I know, and not something I want to share with everyone. Papi frowns on rejecting any calling or request made of me by Church leaders. With a resounding sigh, I told Brother Porter that yes, I would give a talk. He sounded thrilled as he told me not to forget October 22 as the big day. "What??!!!??", I asked, trying to keep my voice from sounding too excited. Brother Porter again mentioned October 22 as the date to reserve. To which I laughingly replied, "Oh Brother Porter, I'm soooooooo sorry, but I'm going to be out of town that day." What a reversal of fortune, for now I became the chirpy, jubilant creature while Brother Porter transformed into the sighing reluctant person I had been just minutes before. Ha Ha, I escaped from the nerve wracking clutches of public speaking duty once again. Here's to an additional 7 years good luck without Scarament talk assignments.

Add another entry to my already voluminous Big Book Of Sins.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Manwich Incident

As I lovingly prepared yet another delectable feast of a dinner for my cherished family, my hamburger browning solitude was interrupted by the endless barrage of badgering questions by our resident finicky eater 7 year old, Caterpillar. Meal time is a constant rehash of Caterpillar bugging me about what I'm cooking, and if it's any good, what's in it?, and will she like it? This from a girl who used to eat her own boogers. So, last night the ritual began anew.

Initially, it all started with the Manwich. We don't usually dine on such declasse greasy spoon fare, well at least not from a can because I have a really good Sloppy Joe recipe for the crockpot, but I digress. I made Manwich one night, and Caterpillar started in with her skeptical attitude about my cooking prowess. When she got to the, "What's it made out of?" question though, I simply turned to her and said, "Read the label, honey. It's MANwich, made from 100% real authentic man." Ha, I know my single sister-in-laws would argue that a REAL man is hard to find, let alone to come in a can. Caterpillar gagged and informed me that I was disgusting. Hey, 1 million plus cannibals can't all be wrong, can they? Well, this marked the start of a new family gross out tradition.

Yes, we've incorporated this line of thinking into many of our meals. Thursday evening, the Casa De Infidel special of the night featured hand stuffed manicotti with breadsticks and salad. Of course, it's de rigeur to torment Caterpillar now, so as I cooked I told her that we were going to feast on MANicotti, stuffed with bits and pieces of real man. Caterpillar replied to this news with her sullen voice, "Oh, man." My older daughter, Sunbum then asked me if that makes us like Nelly Furtado's song, "Man Eater." I told her that Nelly Furtado produces filthy whorish songs, and that for every time she listens to one of those Promiscuous Girl ditties , she has to take in six hours of Christian Rock to make penance for it. I'm taking a zero Nelly stance in this household. I then explained that we're more genteel like blue eyed soul singers, Hall And Oates version of, "Man Eater."

It breaks down like this. ZITI is a despised dish in this household because they pronounce it as ZITTY. Nobody wants to eat something with acne connotations to it. When I make my famous stew, I tell them that we're having Little Stew for dinner. We call it that ever since watching the Stuart Little movies. I inform them, "Yep, there's a Little morsel of Stew in every bite." I know it's spelled differently, but it still gives my little non-literate kids pause, and my older kids to question just how far meat from a mouse will go in feeding a family of 8. When we eat chicken fingers, my Papi takes his turn teasing our spawn with, "Oh, poor little chickens, walking around without their fingers because you horrible children chose to eat them." In the interest of maintaining a certain level of couth, I shall refrain from printing what he said about the "Chicken Balls" spotted on the steam table at our local Chinese Buffet.

I know that the feminists are pushing for equal rights in all respects, but I, for one, will rue the day that I see WOMANwich in a can, and a menu describing the delectable WOMANicotti dish. Already, we have to suffer through the consumption of ladyfingers, isn't that harsh enough?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

We Are A Very SPECIAL Family

We, as a family, have developed some rather odd proclivities and behaviors.

1. I can't pinpoint the actual day when it all started, but we are absolutely obsessed with looking at the feet of the UPS delivery people. One day, I noticed that they had the cutest little monogrammed socks, and then I noted that neither DHL nor FedEx personnel had such nifty footwear. Now, whenever we pass one of their open doored trucks, we all crane our necks to see the driver. When those luscious brown, trademarked logo socks are spotted we all yell a victory cry of, "UPS SOCKS........YAY!!!!!!"

2. We love Port-A-Potties. Well, not to use them, mind you. A fateful trip to the India Festival during August cured us of any desire we may ever have to sit inside one again. Two words; humidity and curry. Stinkorama! There's a company here that provides Port-A-Potty rentals called, "Tanks A Lot." That name definitely wins the Infidel Seal Of Approval. When we drive out through the countryside there's always shouts of, "We love you baby cows!", and "We love you horsies!" from myself and my kids. Seeing Port-A-Potties though, inspires the same kind of fervor. Sometimes, we transfix our eyes upon two, side by side in the same color, and we feel compelled to yell, "Awwwww, look at that, twin Port-A-Pots!" After reading about outhouses during a unit study on the Depression, they also call them privies. Melody just finished excitedly yelling, "I Love You Baby Goats!", when she spied a portable potty and finished her declaration of admiration with an "I LOVE YOU TOO PRIVY!" Last week, I took her to work with me only to have her shout very loudly, with the truck windows open, I might add, at an orange cat. Three year old Melody screamed, "I love you owange kitty", until something else caught her eye. Melody then proceeded to yell out, "I love you Mexican man!" to the startled landscaping crew. We grow them politically incorrect in the Infidel household.

3. The entrance to our subdivision is marked by a traffic light and a slight incline that's steep enough to make the car seem like the Dukes Of Hazard's General Lee in mid air slow motion action when crossing it at a high rate of speed. Mostly, though, our exploits are squashed with the crimson of the red light. But on those rare occasions that we make it to the entrance, and the light is in our favor, I recklessly step on the gas to ensure nonstop intersection passage. When we make the light without ever having to stop, and the truck crests the top of the pavement hill, we all throw our arms in the air and scream, "WHEEEEEEEEE!", as though we were on a roller coaster ride. Irresponsible? Yes. A funny tradition? Absolutely.

4. Tuna and macaroni casserole night means we're all required to sing, "Tuna Mac", to the tune of Martha Reeve's classic song, "Jimmy Mack." *singing* "Tuna Mac, when are you coming back? Tuna, oh, tuna. Yeah, tuna mac you better hurry back." Secretly, though, nobody is in any real hurry to have tuna mac nights back at our house for the evening meal.

Our family chant should be: "We're odd, we know it. We're odd, we SHOW it! Don't be frightened, share what makes you and your family "special" too!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Man Against Beast!

Few realize what a perilous occupation I have, for the life of a newspaper carrier is fraught with danger and intrigue at every turn.

A paper comrade once gave me wise counsel when he stoically said, "Giiiiirrrrlll, you don't stop your truck for nobody, and I mean nobody." He went on to tell me that he won't even halt his vehicle for a dog in the middle of the street because it could secretly be a nefarious trap. Given that I'm working in the heart of suburban bliss amongst splendorous homes situated on lush golf course greens, I generally don't feel frightened to step out of my truck, even if it is the middle of the night.

Last week, I threw the notoriously gigantic Houston Chronicle Sunday Edition. Each one weighs in excess of five pounds, and makes a lumberjack's eyes glitter with delight. When I double backed down one particular street I saw nothing but litter mayhem. My customer's newspapers were strewn haphazardly everywhere, and I didn't have any extras with me, so I got out to salvage what I could. While bent over cobbling sections back together, I heard a low, rumbling sound coming from behind me. Usually, that means I'm flatulating, but this proved not to be the case this time.

I turned around slowly to find two vicious dogs growling and baring their teeth at me. One, an obvious mottled brown colored Pit Bull, while the other appeared to be some genetics experiment involving a collie gone terribly awry. They approached menacingly towards me, forcing me to retreat further backwards into the street. Escaping to the safety of my truck wasn't an option because of the distance and my painful lack of running speed. The Pit Bull snapped dangerously close to me, and adrenaline took over. I swiftly picked up two of the gigantic newspapers still in the plastic bag, one for each hand, and I deftly started swinging them around like lethal weapons. Surprised, the dogs continued growling but backed up a little. There's me, wielding two newspaper like nunchucks, flipping and slicing the air with them and yelling threats at the dogs. The collie gave up, and went running like the Hell Hound he is back to his yard. The Pit Bull though, snapped at me again forcing me to bring down the awesome force of the Sunday paper on his back, followed by a shouted expletive laced sentence that startled even me. He turned tail and ran down the street whimpering. Shaking, and scared, with visions of Pit Bull mauling stories running through my head, I climbed back into my truck.

I told my kids about it and even demonstrated my newspaper weaponry stance. Instead of them gasping that their beloved mother almost became a midnight snack for a dog, they laughed and laughed. They told me that I looked like a fat, white ninja on a street corner looking to kick butt, take names, and then hawk the newspapers for a meager profit. That's me, doing proud tribute to the memory of oafish Chris Farley everyday. Well, except no self respecting paper carrier would ever wear an all white outfit because it shows the newspaper ink stains, and we must never reveal our true identities during the daylight hours. (That's mostly because people laugh at the thought of adults throwing newspapers)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

And The Award Goes To.........

From this day forth, let the record show that The Smiling Infidel has advanced past the mere title of "Crass Musings", and shall henceforth be known as an award winning, nay, make that a multi-award winning blog.

The Smiling Infidel was first recognized for its greatness in grossness with the bestowing of the prestigious "Bloggernator" title. The fantastic and unfairly overworked Queen Wendela held a lavish ceremony at Burger King in my honor, where I was knighted and tapped on the shoulders with a scepter crafted from drinking straws, and a paper jewel encrusted crown placed upon my dandruffed head ( I HATE Garnier Fructis). To celebrate the occasion, I wore my nicest T-shirt with the resplendent "State Farting Champion" logo emblazoned across the front. A gift from one of my many admirers, Mormon Family Man. A sumptuous feast culminated this momentous event and we gorged ourselves upon dollar menu flame broiled goodness. Then, flushed with confidence at my new Knight status proceeded to disregard the rules and height maximum regulations set forth at the indoor playground. Rules are for the little people, after all. I took my rightful place at the front of the line for the slide causing some of the children to weep. We were then promptly asked to leave the premises. I wonder if Sir Paul McCartney has to endure this kind of treatment too?

The coveted BLOG GOD AWARD came as a complete surprise to me this week, especially considering I was the darkhorse candidate in the "Excellence In Flatulence" category. Luckily, my breakthrough blog performance that secured me the beautiful gold skirted man I've nicknamed Fergus, came with the entry involving the sweet smelling world of my Papi's armpits. To GLO and the rest of the venerable BLOG GOD Committee, I humbly accept this statuette and I hope you don't mind if I use the podium onstage at the Awards Show to further a few of the causes so near and dear to my heart. First of all I'm begging for all my earthly brothers and sisters to embrace peace and unity. Please, you guys, will you stop fighting with your family and friends over the first Eggo waffle to pop up out of the toaster? "Leggo My Eggo", is so intolerant and divisive a phrase. Can't we all just get along? Secondly, lets remember our comrade in arms so wrongfully incarcerated simply because he was hungry and stole a few morsels of food from a greedy corporation. Yes, please join me in signing a petition in the movement to Free Hamburglar. If we combine our voices, we can truly make a difference.

Thanks again to everyone who made these cherished awards possible. That includes you, the finest blog readers and commenters in the entire blogosphere. You guys validate me, humour me, and reward me with your responses to my meandering nonsense. You complete me.........and satisfy the attention whore within. *lifting trophy high in the air and waving it around triumphantly* I LOVE ALL OF YOU!!!! See you back here next year, same Infidel time, same Infidel place. Peace out.

Dearest Award Committee: Next time will you please honor my request for deep fried Twinkies and chili dogs at the Awards Banquet? Smooches!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I Hate It Even More When......

I didn't intend to create an ongoing series listing the things that I loathe, but nonetheless here's a few more of life's little annoyances, and Part One in case you missed it. But I know that as a faithful blog reader you would never miss any of my insightful and mature posts. I'm practically the next Dr.Phil already, only without the cornball analogies. Well, and I do have the trademark mustache.

1. Using public bathrooms makes me hyperventilate, especially if my kids are with me. There's nothing worse than examining every stall for that one sanctified toilet worthy of you and your cootyphobic rear end. You know the one where you open the door and the angels start to sing, "Hallelujah", and you swear that those are heavenly sunbeams shining down on the glorious gleaming white potty, only to plop down on the seat and find that it's wet. My mind races while sitting there if this is someone else's nasty pee I'm marinating in and now I'm going to die of a dreaded urine based disease, or is it just the droplets of toilet water that sprayed up when the previous roosting person flushed?

2. There's a silent killer stalking my shirts......the dreaded TOOTHPASTE BOOB! I lean way over my sink when I brush my teeth to ensure dental hygiene perfection. Unfortunately, the boobage dangles way over the sink with me. I've lost count how many times I've looked down to see the telltale white frothy streaks across the boobal area. Oh yes, they call me "The Streak!" Between the errant deodorant lines that show up on my clothes combined with the toothpaste drips, The Streak comparison is well deserved.

3. There are those who walk among us that are hiding a most disturbing secret; they lick their fingers while in the buffet line. If I ruled the world, this "special" group of people would be rounded up and sent to their own quarantined little "Hog Heaven Buffet", where they can sit around and slurp their food, cut in line, let their kids run roughshod over the restaurant, and lick themselves clean like an animal instead of using the more conventional napkin. I ALWAYS end up behind these less than genteel folks. ALWAYS. What makes them think that other people want to touch the germy serving spoon they used after lovingly caressing their soiled hand with their own tongue? I saw a grown woman contentedly lick her arm like a fleshy lollipop after dribbling ice cream onto it at the Sweet Tomatoes buffet. My 7 year old daughter, Caterpillar, offered her a napkin and sweetly said, "Here, I think you might need this!" The lady looked mortified. Good. I'm raising my kids in the ways of righteousness and good buffet manners. We're on a Potluck boycott, but that's another horror for another time.

4. Where in Murphy's Law did it mention that if you clandestinely try to pull a wedgie out of your butt, someone will inevitably spy you and your butt picking activities? I'm serious. If the world comes to an end I know that as the last woman left on earth I'll be able to find the last man simply by reaching around to pull out my creviced panties. When I look up, he'll be right there with that jeering, "I know what you're doing" smile. Jokes on him though. Fine, see if I'll repopulate the earth with you now, sucker!

Anything you want to add? This is the place for all those negative thoughts you had to set delicately aside in order to write in your Oprah approved Gratefulness Journal. Come on, let your inner whiny complainer roam freely. Confession is good for the soul and good for blogging too!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Life Really Is Like A Bowl Of Cherries....

But I'm Happy With The Pits!

My husband Papi is most assuredly a delightful man from head to toe, but there remains one part of him that stands out from the rest. His armpits.

I'm going to admit it right here and now, others may be "Naughty By Nature" but I'm definitely stinky by nature. I'd be the first contestant voted off of "Survivor", for sure, because devoid of my beauty routine of extra strength deodorant, mouthwash, and anti-bacterial body soap, I'm a one woman olfactory assault force. Sometimes, I move from the shower to putting on my clothes and I catch an underarm whiff so offensive it makes me gag. I occasionally double and triple layer my deodorant too. Think that's bad? My Great-Grandma was bathed once a week before she passed away in Hospice, using Listerine to kill the bacterial skunkiness. Wanna know something even worse? My Mom and I both have special "butt towels" that we place on the drivers seat of our vehicles to absorb sweaty booty stench. It's a family thing. Just like Fiddler On The Roof, it's "Tradition!"

Papi, by contrast, is a sweet smelling soul. Even perspiring in Houston heat and 100 percent humidity doesn't penetrate his bubble of heavenly scented goodness. Never has he lifted up his arms to reveal an insidious green sweat patch staining his shirts either. Not even one time. The man is a Prince among men, and our marriage is further proof that opposites attract. But there's more, oh so much more to his armpits than just the naturally built in stink shield.

We experienced the joy and wonder of giving birth to colicky babies, so in the ensuing effort to comfort them, Papi would gently rock and cradle the baby in his armpit, where they would promptly quiet down and fall immediately to sleep. Many a night finds my Papi with a sick child or a fat wife nestled into his irresistible armpit. With 7 of us though, those pits are in high demand. We started referring to this strange phenomena as "Papi And His Magical Armpits." Behold the power of the pit, for it transcends even family bonds. Papi took his magical armpit public a few years ago (check NASDAQ listings for more info.) to his workplace. A bunch of his co-workers had squalling infants and newborns that they would bring to the office to show off. Being the only male, they assumed that it would be a bit awkward to offer Papi a chance to hold their babies, but he proved them wrong. Whenever the various infants would cry, Papi confidently held them in his magical armpits and miraculously EVERY SINGLE TIME the babies instantly clammed up and relaxed to the point of drifting off to sleep. Papi was heralded throughout the office for his amazing magical armpit skills. He's made armpit appearances at Church functions and other events too, leaving all those in attendance in abject awe and pit jealousy. The United States should feel proud having won this man away from his native Mexico, he's practically a national treasure!

Yes, all you feminists, marriage really is the pits, and I say "Praise Be!" Oh, what a PITy for all those that desire my Papi though, tough. Him and his pits are mine, all MINE. Forget about Brad Pitt, Papi PIT is where it's at!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

What Did You Say??!!!???

My son Buster just turned 9 years old last week. Unfortunately, he suffers from an ailment that directly descended from the genetics of his Great-Grandma Dee. Buster seems to misunderstand and confuse things with alarming frequency. The problem is that it manifests in his mind as the gospel truth, and he's not easily swayed to the contrary. Sometimes, it does make for a good laugh though.

We went bowling this summer and all Buster could talk about was how much he loved "juiceboxes." I mean, who doesn't enjoy the delightfulness of artificial flavors and preservatives and colors crammed in a box for your drinking pleasure? Buster kept saying that he wanted to put money in the juicebox and then listen to it. I thought, well, ummmm, okay, perhaps the kid is planning to utilize it as a makeshift piggy bank and wants to hear the coins tinkle around inside it. It wasn't until he excitedly scurried over to the JUKEBOX in the corner and asked me if he could have some money to play a Backstreet Boys song that I figured out what he meant. It meant that he both confused "juicebox" for "jukebox", and that he has really crappy taste in music.

Granted, we do live in Texas, self proclaimed Tex Mex restaurant capitol of the world, but Buster even got confused with that, referring to cell phone "text messages" as "TEX MEXages".

The latest in his ever expanding doofy repertoire happened last night. I checked out a Cirque Du Soleil DVD from the library because heaven knows we could never possibly afford 8 tickets to such a grandiose performance. It's the circus where humans perform, not animals, and it completely mesmerized my kids. Confident that this was something they could watch unattended, I turned my attention back to my book reading. Then I heard Buster spitting with built up fervor as he shouted out, "That man is walking on crotches! Look at him walk on those crotches." Immediately, my internal Mommy mode switched into high gear and I snapped to attention. The screen showed only a man dressed as an injured insect hobbling across the stage on CRUTCHES. So, I shook my head and resumed my reading. Then, Buster sputtered out again, "Look, he DANCES WITH CROTCHES!" That struck a nerve and all my girls that understood his error couldn't stifle the rolling fits of giggles that followed. Poor Buster, he just kept shrugging his shoulders and saying, "What? What's so funny?"

My son just single handedly came up with the plot and title for the long awaited sequel to Kevin Costner's classic, "Dances With Wolves." Royalty checks may be made out to THE SMILING INFIDEL, ok' Kev?