Sunday, June 29, 2008

My House Is More Ghetto Than Your House: Our Misfit Microwave

It's a heartbreaking fact of life- our deformed microwave will never be able to send out communicative signals across the ether to CB Radio users.
If the microwave suddenly did develop that power ala some bizarre twist of fate that only a complicated sci-fi movie plot can explain, I imagine the conversation would likely go as follows:
CB Radio Operator: "10-4 Little Buddy. What's your handle?"
Misfit Microwave: *sniff* "But, I don't have a handle.....why, oh why must the world discriminate against the hapless handle-less?"

Handle With Care

When the handle unexpectedly snapped off into my hands I vowed to take what was broken and make it whole again. So I did what all mothers with huge herds of destructive children do........I threw it into the pile of broken crap that gets lovingly pieced back together with Superglue or Duck Tape at the end of the week.

Shockingly, not even Gorilla Glue contained enough brute strength to get a handle on this no handle situation.

"I Can't Handle It Anymore!!!" Yeah, literally.

So what does one slightly impoverished Infidel woman do when replacing an expensive kitchen appliance is out of the question and out of the budget? Well, she consults her handy book, Secret Confessions Of A Compulsive Jerry-Rigger for an easy-fix solution.

Epiphany! I can knife the microwave to get it to open up and give me what I want.

It's not what you think......we began implementing the use of our butter knives- sticking the ends of the knife into the microwave door crevice while we pull and tug and pry the door open.

You see, all those crowbar techniques learned out on the mean streets can be modified into some mighty practical domestic skills!

*Yeah, that's our 5 year old, Melody cheerfully knifing the microwave. Our kids learn early on that it's every man for himself around here. If you want your instant oatmeal cooked in the morning you better learn how to manipulate the intricacies of the handle-less microwave. Survival Training!*

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Spectacularly Stupid Things I've Done: Watch Where You're Walking Edition

I whole-heartedly embrace the bare-footing movement. Yes, that's right, my feet are unabashed nudists. Shocking, no? My fat little tootsies are like wild horses-they refuse to be tamed and made prisoner inside some hellishly sweaty footwear prison. On occasion though, my feet do have to endure a few short stints inside a shoe-shaped holding cell.
You all know my dear Vitamin-A enriched bloggy friend, Carrot Jello, right? Well, she's so kind she would give you the shirt right off her back. When I met her last summer we happened to be wearing the exact same shirt so she instead gave me the shoes right off her feet. Really, she did!
Everytime I wear those black and rubbery Croc-knockoff shoes I think of Carrot Jello and delight in the fact that while we don't live close to another at least our foot sweat can co-mingle inside the same pair of shoes.
As most fellow and former Houstonians know, Houston maintains a stifling 100 percent humidity level even during the night hours.
I wouldn't describe myself as having a "lead foot" but a "hot foot" would be wholly accurate.
So as I was toiling away during the pre-dawn hours the salty perspiration dripped from my every pore. Yes, the sweat just rolled off my Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes, and likely from my Eyes, Ears, Mouth, and Nose, too!
Looking for relief I kicked the Carrot Jello Croc shoes off as I got out of my truck to load up some more newspaper bundles from the back.
Humongous curbside piles of discarded pine needles is a pretty common sight around here so I thought nothing of it when I parked next to one such Pine Needle Welcome Mat blanketing the street.
Blithely I walked barefoot to and fro from the back of the truck to the front of the truck each time stepping on the oddly squishable pine needle pile.
It took about the fifth round trip for the neurons in my brain to communicate with the neurons in my feet and in one startling moment they both realized, "Heeeeyyyy, these pine needles aren't crunchy when we step on them. Where's the familiar stabby sensation they usually make on our bare feet?"
So I squatted down to have a closer look at what I perceived as a friendly Pine-A-Palooza Party..........and then I started screaming, for there, lying in the gutter, was a completely flattened one-dimensional squirrel carcass that I'd been traipsing across as though it were a Squirrel Skin Rug.
The poor Mammalian rodent was so steamrolled it could have been used to write stuff on and then rolled up and secured with a whimsical piece of ribbon. The Dead Squirrel Scrolls.
How I wished that I had a private nurse so at that moment I could turn and bark at her, "Nurse, sterilize these, STAT!" as I held out my festering feet.
If squirrel guts hold some sort of mystical power that'll transform dull, crusty skin into a thing of radiantly flawless beauty, then I shall have the most prettiest feet ever.

*This post won Runner-Up in the essay contest, 'The Roadkill And I Joined Together And Became One......'. Elastic was rewarded a beautiful new squirrel skin cap and squirrel nut ear muffs. Congratulations Elastic!!!*

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Emergency Food Storage Furniture!

Entrepreneurial Skills.......I Haz Them!

Sure, my grandiose plan to start a blog two years ago thinking I would hit it big like Dooce so the ad revenue would support me and my merry band of mini-Infidels didn't quite come to fruition-I think Dooce appeals to a larger audience because she never talks about weird things like The Secret Adventures of The Fat Flap Spy Girls- but now I'm channeling my time and energy 100% on my next grand money-making scheme.

Most ideas are borne out of a need. Well, we have 8 people trying to co-exist peacefully in a smallish house which leaves virtually zero space for food storage.
Sitting on cans of stacked-up SPAM proved pointedly painful to our derrieres, so, ever the problem solver, I'm going to start a furniture company- and not just any furniture company- a food storage furniture company.

I'm thinking of calling my new business, 'YOU'RE SO FULL OF IT!'
My first product line centers around gigantic bean bag chairs stuffed with actual beans.
Product testing reveals that black beans and kidney beans make for superior fillers resulting in unabounded squishy bean bag chair fun. Sadly, our surplus of Mexican Jumping Beans failed all product tests as did the Borracho Beans.

Here's some other brilliant ideas I have just walking around in my brain with their thumbs stuck out and a little hobo stick over the shoulder waiting for someone to give them a ride out:
1. Waterbeds filled with clean, drinkable water to fulfill your water storage requirements.

2. Potato Pearl/Flake Pillows (Not recommended for those who drool. We cannot be held liable for any mashed potato damage to your bedding)

3. Inflatable Sofas Filled With Cracked Wheat (They're such a lovely neutral shade of tan sure to match any home decor)

I can't wait to embark on my latest GET RICH QUICK! serious and long-term business opportunity. Whenever someone utters the phrase 'YOU'RE SO FULL OF IT!' I want you to automatically think of me and my ingenious solutions designed to make your life just a little bit easier. Thank you in advance for your support.

With Fondest Regards,

*The baby pictured above is NOT part of any recommended food storage plan. A baby on a bean bag chair is technically a "Beanie Baby" but we're refraining from calling it as such to avoid incurring any trademark infringement action*

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Do You Have What It Takes To Join The Ranks Of The Fat Flap Espionage Elite?

Hello, my name is Elastic and I represent the FFC (Fat Flap Central). We're currently looking to recruit some of the finest fat flappers this country has to offer.
The Flapper movement has come a long way since its inception during the swinging 1920's era. See, back then our covert operatives spirited away top secret documents and other items of interest by concealing them within specially made compartments located under each fringey tier of their flapper dress.
Times have changed though, and to keep up, we've had to modernize our stable of Flapper spies. I guess you could say that we're bringing 'FLAPPY' back. Yeah!
So ask yourself this, do you listen to your "gut instinct?" Do you have a jiggly Jell-O fat roll? Is your belly a flippy, floppy flap of flub? Would you describe your abdominal area as a prominent protruding pouch of pooch? Then YOU have all the qualifications necessary to start an exciting new lucrative career with us!
Stop laying around letting your belly collect dust, lint, small objects, stray kittens and put your flab to work for us.
We will train you how to utilize your girth into becoming the perfect smuggling tool. You'll learn the finest techniques of stealing and then securing the sensitive information underneath the confines of your own gut.
Big baby bellies.....they're not just for hanging over the waist band of your pants anymore!
We'll also instruct you how to use the specialized technology afforded to us by the Ziploc plastic bag company so you don't ruin any of the classified documents with your blubbery sweat.
I've long since retired as a field agent but let me tell you I honed my fat flap concealment skills by sneaking individually wrapped packages of cream-filled Ding Dongs out of the kitchen. If I didn't have a built-in place to hide them then I would have had to contend with my kids pouncing on me and begging, "Mom can I have some of that, pleeeaaassse?"
Sure secret agents look all glamorized in the movies but we're 100 times more efficient than any Bond girl that ever walked the planet.
Think about it, Halle Berry or Denise Richards stroll in and all eyes immediately fixate on them. Meanwhile, people can't look away fast enough from us fat flappers .
It gives us the perfect cover to infiltrate where the stunningly beautiful can't.
We may be portly but we're still patriotic and we won't put up with any double agent activity.
I remember one especially fiendish double crossing operative who tried to play us for a fool. We caught her using her secrety belly roll to secretly smuggle out the secrets to Burger King's secret sauce. She had plans to sell it to the Chinese.
We took swift action to ensure that her Fat Flap spy days were over. Our in-house plastic surgeon gleefully performed a mega-tight tummy tuck on our Commie loving ex-agent. Yeah, that'll show her!
When I read about former Clinton National Security Advisor, Sandy Berger getting busted filching important documents from the National Archives by stuffing them inside his socks, all I could do was shake my head. What an amateur Sandy Berger is. If only he could have harnessed the hiding power that his belly flap had to offer.
We here at the FFC have dispensed with the cliche expression for keeping something a secret. 'Keep It Under Your Hat' has now become 'KEEP IT UNDER YOU FLAP!' Surely, this is a motto to live by......
So if you're interested in joining the FFC team we'll have recruiters out at all nationwide Krispy Kreme locations.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sorry Coldplay, This Is ROYWORLD You're Living In, Baby!

My apologies to any Coldplay fans but I personally HATE Coldplay's new CD, VIVA LA VIDA. I especially dislike the way all the radio stations from FM to XM are whoring up the first track 'Violet Hill' which is the most meh, blah, and tepidly mediocre single from Coldplay in years. But that's the standard modus operandi for most stations- it's all HYPE, HYPE, HYPE for the established bands which leaves little air time for something newer and more interesting.

I found something newer and more interesting anyway. They're called ROYWORLD and they remind me of Coldplay when Coldplay used to rock. ROYWORLD also performs this one song entitled 'Elasticity.' *sigh* Yes, they wrote a song about Elastic City. How could I not be totally in love with them? ROYWORLD's latest release is the melodic and super catchy 'Dust' and it secures a place as the Infidel Jam Of The Month. Oh, and just because the song is called 'Dust' and the video is full of actual, you know, dust it's still completely safe for those with allergies. The video should have a disclaimer....Will Not Cause Watery Eyes, Congestion, Sniffling, Or Wetting Your Pants While Sneezing.


*Check out the piano guy passionately pounding the keys while patenting his smooooooth chicken neck moves*

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Day I Plopped Down In The Bathtub And Plopped Out A Baby!

This is a story that's taken me 9 years and a lot of nagging (elizabeth-w) to write. I guess I never thought to hash and rehash everything out in written form because most of the people I know detect the first mention of an impending 'Miracle Of Life' story and they instinctively double over-feigning a massive diarrhea attack in the hope that they can escape and run far, far away.

We totally planned on delivering Caterpillar at home all along via the two really experienced midwives we hired..........but you know what they say about the best laid plans.

I woke up around midnight on June 21, 1999 with that horrible cramping sensation that only occurs when you eat way too many chili dogs at the Sonic Drive-Thru. It also happens when your labor powers suddenly kick into ACTIVATE mode. Within the hour I knew that this was the real deal and the birthing process had begun. As M.C. Hammer should have sang to expectant mothers, it was STOP! Labor Time!

This was to be our first at-home birth so I really only had the medically invasive experiences of my three prior hospital births to apply towards my Masters Degree in Baby Pushing.
I figured that laboring would constitute a long arduous process so I ignorantly waved Papi on to work around 2:00 A.M. I then harnessed the power of my nesting instinct and set about cleaning the house in super turbo gear. The last thing I wanted was for the midwives to arrive and have to assist me in birthing my baby while standing in the middle of a dirty underwear pile. Apparently, keeping busy and moving around progresses labor much faster than laying in a hospital bed moaning and groaning and cursing at your husband. Yeah! I was single-handedly proving Newton's Law Of Gravity without even realizing it! Plus I didn't have to wheel an awkward I.V. pole to the toilet with me.

I didn't telephone the midwives right away because I didn't want them or anyone hovering over me until it was absolutely necessary. You know, a watched pot never boils is equivalent to a watched pregnant woman never births. Well, by the time that moment of "absolute necessity" arrived it would be too late.(oooh, ominous foreshadowing)

Somewhere around tidying up my ceramic pig collection and enjoying the quiet solitude of my home while our 3 kids under the age of 4 were sound asleep, I got kind of shaky and weak.

I decided to fill up the bathtub so I could sit down and take the edge off the labor pains. I switched on the radio in our room and lowered myself into the tub. Immediate relief whooshed over me as the warm water helped ease the increasing pace of the contractions. Then the soft sounds of Kenny G. and his lilting saxophone filled the room and I was thinking, "Oh crap. How the freak did it get on this lame station?" That sneaky Smooth Jazz station lured me in with the sounds of The Doobie Brothers 'What A Fool Believes' and made me think I was on the lite rock channel. The last thing I needed was a craptastical array of Smooth Jazz favorites to compound my increasing labor pain. I mean Kenny G. may be aight for baby making music but he certainly isn't fit to provide the soundtrack for baby birthing.

Suddenly, I was rocked with excruciating pain so intense I started mini-hyperventilating. I knew I had to call someone NOW so I started with Papi and told him to come home immediately. Then I phoned the midwives and talked to the mother of the mother-daughter midwifery team. She tried to console me as I incoherently babbled about how I felt like my hoo-hoo was a burning ring of fire bigger than anything Johnny Cash could ever imagine.

I guess the midwife knew that was an imminent sign that she wasn't going to make it to the house on time. She very kindly didn't apprise me of that information until much later so she could try to minimize my freak out at being alone and in pain. While she was en route I suddenly screamed at her, "Ohhhh Noooooooooo I feel like I have to push" and then I dropped the phone.

I made a snap decision that if I had to deliver the baby myself, I could see more clearly what I was doing if I got out of the dimly lit bathroom and laid down on the bed. Unbelievably I was still annoyed at the gaggy Smooth Jazz blaring on the radio. Part of my big plan to haul my massive laboring body over to the bed involved throwing the radio across the room to silence it forever.

As I got on my trembling knees in the tub and leaned over the side in an effort to hoist myself up, I started pushing uncontrollably.I will never-as long as I live-forget the tremendous 'PLOP' sound the baby made as she exited my body and landed in the warmth of the tub water. Frantically, I turned around to fish her out.

I'm not exaggerating when I say I was terrified that something was wrong with her, especially since she never uttered even one cry. I sat there, stunned, in the yuck tub water holding her and blubbering all over the place while I kept apologizing out loud to her that she had a stupid mother that was too stupid to even know she was in advanced labor. It's a good thing we're not Scientologists because all my wailing and carrying on probably left a big imprint on Caterpillar.

Ummm, my Caterpillar did nothing but look up at me with these dark grey eyes while she made the perfect crinkle-nosed newborn face that seemed to say "WTF is wrong with you, woman?" It usually takes children until their teenage years to perfect a look that reveals they think their mom is insane and my baby got it down within minutes of her birth. I am so proud.

After I was sure she was breathing okay, I wrapped Caterpillar up in a towel and waited. I mean really I could have gotten out of the tub and started walking somewhere to get help but I wouldn't have ventured too far with the giant dangling umbilical cord still hanging down out of my nether regions. It would have looked like I was walking my pet baby on a weird looking leash. Mercifully, thankfully none of our other kids woke up because I'm not sure I would have been able to deal with that on top of everything else going on.

Papi got home about 10 minutes after the birth. I started laughing as he nervously took the cord clamp, iodine, and scissors out of our homebirth kit with his super shaky hands as he announced he was going to cut the cord. That was anything but reassuring. I didn't need Papi's trembling hands to miss and give me an unexpected episiotomy so I advised that we should just wait for the midwives to get there so they could deal with the umbilical cord and deliver the placenta.

So, the midwives arrived a few minutes later and took care of the rest of the post-birth details like weighing Caterpillar and examining her and giving me the all clear to go and take a much needed shower. We didn't have plans to eat the placenta or bury it under a tree or anything so we graciously allowed the midwives take it with them.....for FREE!

I remember Papi and I marvelling over Caterpillar's body that was so tiny except for her ginormous butt. Papi called her 'J.Lo Booty' and kept telling me, "Wow girlie, I'm not amazed that you were able to squeeze her head out without any help but the way you delivered those giant nalgas took a small miracle!"

When we rolled into Church a few days later with our newborn, word of her somewhat unconventional birth had already gotten around. Church members started calling me 'The Pioneer Woman.'
Dang, that would have made a great blog name. :)

Anyway, as you can see, the story has a very happy ending. Whenever someone asks Caterpillar where she was born she always yells out exuberantly "In The Bathtub!"

Saturday, June 21, 2008

My House Is More Ghetto Than Your House: Window Covering Solutions

The Problem:
Our back door is located in the kitchen area and it faces West. The afternoon sun intrusively barges in through the large rectangular windowpanes practically blinding us while we're trying to stuff our faces at meal time. The back door window also lets in too much heat making an already stiflingly hot kitchen just unbearable. Our back door offers a scenic view of the 2-story home behind us whose bored kids constantly sit in their upstairs window watching our house like they're on some sort of Food Patrol surveillance. I think they want to steal my super secret Tater Tot Casserole recipe so they can pass it off as their own and rise to the top of the Mediocre Cooking TV Show circuit.

Another Problem:
We don't exactly have the money for store bought window treatments right now. Yeah I own a sewing machine but I don't know how to measure or follow a pattern so the solution to our window dilemma will have to lie elsewhere.
(Here's my Stef showing the problem back door and how we're constantly 'Blinded By The Light.' At least we've never been "revved up like a deuce!"

In total hot flash frustration and with beads of sweat dotting his upper lip, Papi spied our large ream of crafty paper. He then set about using his genius-and many, many pieces of duct tape- to engineer us a makeshift curtain so exceedingly fine it would make all of Shanty Town weep with envy!

The Final Solution:
Voila! No more solar penetration! (Why does that sound so dirty?) It's also nice not to have our beastly crotch-sniffing wonder dog, Reagan jumping up on the window with his big, pitiful 'Please Sir, May I Have Some More?' face while he watches us eat our dinner.
You won't find tips for making your home Ghetto Fabulousssssss here. However I do offer the finest advice available if you're interested in a Ghetto Practicality mentality. Ching!

Friday, June 20, 2008

I Should Probably Just Change My Name To The Hypocritical Infidel Now

I'm a big fat hypocrite.
Yes. Yes, I am.
I'm such a humongous hypocrite that I should actually be referred to as a HIPPOcrite
If I was a board game I would be Hungry, Hungry HIPPOcrites.
So anyway the hot, hot Houston heat has been relentlessly stifling the past few weeks- often nearing the 100 degree mark.
It's so hot here that I developed an ugly heat rash right smack in the middle of my cleavage. Yeah, I'm suffering from Booby Heat Rash Affliction and it hurts like a mofo, too.
I placed a folded paper towel in my bra yesterday in an effort to soak up some of the boob moisture with the hope that a drier boobage area would clear up the heat rash.
Let that be a lesson to you. You know how your Aunt Nadine always pulls a Kleenex out of her bra to offer you when you have the sniffles? Don't be fooled, that tissue isn't stuffed in there for mucous purposes. Your Aunt Nadine packs her bra with paper products to try and stem the tide of booby sweat!
Why did I just switch topics from HIPPOcrite mea culpas to the weather and then inexplicably to burning bazongas? Am I trying to change subjects and divert your attention? No. It's all relevant.
Due to the excessively high temperatures I've been trying to work exclusively during the nights. As an added bonus, working during the night as opposed to the day usually means that I encounter less traffic and less people milling about in the streets.
I think that Houston is slowly transforming all my fellow citizens into summertime vampires because right now the reverse is true--the neighborhood streets are empty during the day and people only start venturing out of their homes under the cover of darkness.
So I'm out throwing the free community paper and as I careened around one of the endless cul-de-sacs on my route I spotted potential trouble.
When I see people out in their yard and I know I have to turn around and drive past the house again, I instinctively withhold the paper until the return trip. See, if they're ash holes they won't have the paper to use as ammunition to throw back at me while they spiral down into a full-on temper tantrum.
Yeah, they could call the office and place a STOP PAPER. Or they could, you know, actually bend their butts over and toss the thing into their recycling bin or trash but some people have nothing to live for outside of making this planet miserable for others.
Well, I accidentally tossed the paper at this house before I noticed the old man standing in the driveway in front of his SUV. Unfortunately for me it was also before I was safely turned around to make my escape from the cul-de-sac of doom.
As per typical, the old man was indeed an ash hole. He stood in the middle of the street with the paper in his hands ready for battle.
I don't stop for anyone on my route. Years of dealing with unpredictable crazies has taught me that. Neither will I put up with being harassed or assaulted in any way.
I saw Mr. Ash Hole and started revving my engine and then gunned it. It worked. He was scared enough to step out of my way. Since he couldn't get me to stop he attempted to throw the paper at me through my open window.
He failed. The paper ricocheted off my truck and smacked him instead.
I don't usually use profanity outside of those words sanctioned by the Bible like ass, Hell, and damn. My brand of profanity is sanitizing potentially offensive words and running them through the laundromat of my mind so that they're cleaned up into a more socially respectable form. Ass becomes azz. Sh*t magically transforms into SHEET. And the F word? Well, I don't even venture into that territory outside of using 'freakin'. The really bad four-letter F word for me is FICA. (That's a self-contractor joke)
I don't really know or understand what possessed me but I slammed on my brakes and started cursing a blue streak. A blue streak that began and ended with the F word.
My end of the conversation went as such:
"F*** You! Don't F*** With Me Because I F***in Know where You Live!"
And then I sped off and stopped around the corner because I was shaking so bad.
As I tried to regain my composure my ears were filled with the joyful music still playing on my XM Satellite Radio.
I had it programmed on the Christian Rock station called The Message!
There is nothing like spewing forth the foulest cuss word bile you have in your bad language arsenal to the perky beat of a Christian Rock background.
I know what you're saying. You're gasping and sputtering out something like "Oh Our Lady Of The Filled-Up Swear Jar, Do You Sing Praises To Your Lord With That Filthy Mouth?"
Apparently the answer to that is yes, I guess I do.
I'm horrified at myself and totally repentant as well........ mainly because I don't want to spend my eternity roasting next to Mr. Ash Hole for my sins.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Welcome To Whacked-Out Conspiracy Theory Wednesday!

I am a master of deductive reasoning.
I recently stumbled upon an amazing discovery that completely explains the many questions swirling around Michael Jackson's ever-changing appearance.......

Michael Jackson is obviously part of the secretive underground society that orchestrated The Pop Star Pigment Exchange Program.
Yes, Michael's been a melanin donor for years, giving white musicians a little color in their lives.
How do I know? Well, I have photographic PROOF, my comrades.

Remember Howard Jones, the super-whitey creator of memorable 80's hits like Things Can Only Get Better and Everlasting Love? Yeah well, he looks a little different now today than when you last saw him.

THIS is the new and improved Howard Jones courtesy of The Pop Star Pigment Exchange Program. Wow, what a difference a few melanin donations can make! No more tanning bed marathons for Mr. Jones now.
I hear Howard Jones is currently looking for employment as Morgan Freeman's stunt double.

*I have insider information that Vanilla Ice is still hoping for some much needed street cred to launch yet another career revival attempt. He's currently enrolled in The Pop Star Pigment Exchange Program and is looking for a record deal under his new stage name, Chocolate Ice*

Hi, Do You Remember That I Have This Second Blog Thingie Going On?

Yeah, sometimes I forget about it too. :)
Poor, poor neglected second blog.
Anyway, I just posted a delightfully easy salmon recipe. There's also pictures of me in thongs, instructions to achieve Baked Potato Xanadu, and a special guest, Lyle Lovett posing as our spokesmodel for a very informative post entitled 'Eating Cheap:You're Doing It Wrong.'

Clicking on this linkie ----->THE INFIDEL WOMAN COOKS<-------- will serve as a magical time and distance portal that will send you hurtling through the Internets and right into the land of The Infidel Woman. Enjoy your trip!

Monday, June 16, 2008

When You Wish Upon A Star Pine Needle.....

Most kids are deathly afraid of needles........ but not my fearsome little band of mini-Infidels!
See, they've discovered the potent wishing power packed inside every single rusty-orange pine needle blade.
Lately, the Infidel Estate has felt more like the series of unfortunate events epicenter than a house full of mirth.
Everyone needs a little tangible piece of hope to hold in their hands once in awhile.
So, unlike a traditional turkey wishbone that only two people can squabble over, the amazing, astounding, stupefying pine needle offers a chance at Lady Luck for three, yes count em, THREE wish-filled individuals!
It's like a Wish Variety Pack and honestly who can afford to cook a turkey everyday just to fulfill your average daily wish requirements?
I'm sure you're saying, "But Smiling Infidel, isn't that a little weird to have your children tugging on dead, discarded pine needles and making wishes?"
And to you I say, "Yes. Yes, it is."
With the bad mojo smacking us around lately I'm honestly afraid to wish on a star lest it turn out to actually be a fiery comet blazing a path straight towards our house.
Ditto for throwing money we don't have into a wishing well because we're tempting the Universe to push one of us in.

So I overheard the Infidel girls using the pine needle wish system the other day.
Three of them gathered around and took a separate pine needle blade into their hands and counted down 1....2.....3......and then they pulled.

The oldest Infidel daughter, Sunbum scored the largest piece complete with the crusty little scab top that holds all the strands together.
When I heard them comparing notes on what exactly each one wished for, unexpected tears sprang forth from my eyes and started cascading uncontrollably down my face.
Second Oldest Daughter, Monkey Wished For:
Someone To Call My Daddy And Give Him A Job Because He's Smart And Worked Really Hard In School.
Third Oldest Infidel Daughter, Caterpillar Wished For:
A Vehicle Big Enough To Carry Around Our Entire Family So We Can Go Places Together.
Sunbum Wished For:
Whatever My Mom Wishes For To Come True

After long months of constant interviews and empty callback promises, Papi interviewed with the CFO and the Controller of a company on Friday morning and by Friday afternoon they offered him the job.
Sunbum is a little obsessive-compulsive about her teeth. The first words out of her mouth was, "I can't wait to go to the Dentist again!"
I think Sunbum wants to represent Texas in The Miss Teen Dental Hygiene Pageant.
Of course we don't advocate pine needle wishing in place of good old-fashioned prayer but for people like us who don't have the excitement that comes from playing the Lottery or betting at the Horse Track, it's a nice diversion.
If you believe in the power of magical pine needles I'll be more than happy to bag some up and send them your way....... for a modest fee, of course.

*THANK YOU to all the people who have continuously prayed for us. We have kind of this weird pride thing where we just can't/won't ask anyone for help. Carrot Jello has faithfully put our name on the Temple Prayer roll every single week for months now. Nancy Face and her family couldn't have possibly known about our needs from anyone other than Heavenly Father. Thanks to their family's generosity we were able to buy the things our girls needed to go to Girl's Camp this week. With all these blessings, how can I be anything but completely humbled and absolutely grateful?*

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Blog Post In Which I Gush Over The Brilliance Of My Husband

Speaking a foreign language upon arrival to this country didn't stop my husband Papi. Neither did going through rigorous bouts with the inefficient Immigration Service in order to keep his work permit and resident alien status valid. Being told that most of the college credits already earned in his native Mexico wouldn't transfer couldn't crush my Papi's indomitable sexy-Mexi spirit. No, he soldiered on through his college career sometimes working 2-3 jobs at a time to keep his family fed while enduring a few feckless supervisors and exhausting work hours. Papi has helped to raise and educate his 6 homeschooled children during this time while also serving in his church callings. Any lesser of a person would surely have been stymied by such seemingly insurmountable obstacles but my Papi continued to learn and grow and excel. And now the fruits of his labors have been realized......

Papi graduated at Christmas from Sam Houston University with his Business Degree and again a few weeks ago with his Accounting Degree. He not only graduated, he captured Cum Laude honors.

This picture came via the front page of the Sam Houston newspaper and it shows Papi with the Dean of the Business School who's named appropriately enough , Dean. (You know, like an Ape named Ape there has to be a Dean named Dean. :) Papi scored the front page story as he accepts his shiny medal and invitation into the elite Beta Gamma Sigma business Fraternity that recognizes excellence and distinction in business school scholars.
Just look at my man with his nerdy Accountant hair and round spectacles, he practically oozes out all things scholarly from his every pore.

This is a picture of a picture because while it made the Beta Gamma Sigma newsletter I couldn't find it online. Papi cryptically told me on the phone that some people wearing robes walked into his classroom and asked him to go out into the hallway with them.
I got all freaked out and said, "Oh my gosh, was it the KKK??!!?"
No, it wasn't the KKK. It was instead these Beta Gamma Sigma representatives extending an invitation to only 10 chosen individuals on campus.

The greatest thing about my man is how humble he is. Papi only shrugs his shoulders when I congratulate him for his accomplishments and tell him how proud I am of him. In fact, he didn't even bother to show up for the pinnacle of his college career. Papi opted out of the pomp and circumstance of his formal graduation ceremony last week and chose instead to have his diploma mailed to him.

I feel weird slobbering all over and bragging about Papi like this but since he doesn't ever seek out glory for himself I thought that someone should lift him up and tell him that he's the wind beneath their wings. That would be me. That would be me minus the grating Bette Middler song. :)

(I used to call Papi, 'Senor Senior' but now that his Senior year is over I guess I'll just refer to him as Senor Smartypants. Papi only has 6 more classes to earn his Masters Degree which he'll resume working towards this Fall. A possible 3 graduations in one year. Papi may be secretly addicted to Graduation Cake.)

The Science Of Isolating And Deleting The Hoochie Gene

Nature vs. Nurture: Do you believe in it?
Is it possible to overcome some of our more negative genetic traits and predispositions simply through discipline and corrective behavior?
My answer formerly would have been a resounding YES!!! but now I think it's just much more complicated than that.
We've known a family in our neighborhood for a long time. Their oldest daughter is the exact same age as our second oldest daughter. They used to be good friends as they both shared many of the same classes prior to our decision to withdraw our kids from public school in order to homeschool.
The girl is 12. Her parents chose to let her know from an early age that she was adopted and she's even had limited contact with her birth mother over the years.
Here's the thing.....the mom told me awhile back that the birth mother is the embodiment of all things hoochie including her manner and style of dress. The mom further confided that despite a Christian upbringing in the church and strict parenting their daughter shows a natural inclination towards picking out trashy clothes and acting inappropriately.
Fine, flash forward 3 years and its like the parents have given up all hope. The girl is snotty and shockingly rude as she backtalks her parents and prances around in a barely-there bikini at the neighborhood pool.
The girl has decided that my daughters aren't cool enough to hang out with (YAY!) and snubs them.
Yesterday took the proverbial cake, though.
This girl spent the entire time at the pool hanging out with an obese teenager who also insists on cramming herself into a bikini.
What were they doing together? Why, the jail bait duo were extremely busy FLIRTING outrageously with the lifeguards complete with hair flip sass, sideway hip thrusts, and running their hands over the much older lifeguards . :0
It gets even more appalling. Someone had drawn tattoo-looking pictures all over this girl's body with a Sharpie marker. (Think Goldie Hawn on Laugh In)
I kept waiting for the girl's mom to tell her kid to get her skinny azz back in the pool or they were going home but she did nothing but continue flipping the pages of the book she was reading. Un-Freakin-Believable.
Both of the parents were older and struggling with fertility issues when they adopted the girl as a newborn.
So I wonder if being at a more advanced parental age means they're just too tired to care anymore or if maybe they made peace with the way their daughter is because they want some semblance of serenity at home.
Who's to blame? The sex-drenched media encouraging promiscuity? The public school influence? The parent's seeming surrender? Or do you think there's certain attributes so ingrained in us that we're doomed to be the sum of our genetic quality?

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Curse Of The Pink Pantser

See these pants? I hate them. I loathe them. I abhor them. I despise them. I rue the day they were ever cobbled into existence from Pebto-Bismol stained fabric. To be fair they're not even really pants. No, they're so much worse because they're actually a blindingly pink pair of CLAMDIGGERS masquerading as pants!

Why do I even own such a wrinkly testament to the power of Fug? I'm not sure of all the minute details surrounding the inexplicable purchase but the evidence shows that the frugal side of me passed by the clearance rack at the store, spied the $1.50 price tag on these wretched pants and immediately hatched a plan.

My frugal side chloroformed and tied up the mini-What Not To Wear fashionista that also lives in me in an effort to subdue its small voice of reason so that Miss Frugality Run Amok could then wreak havoc in cheapo pants inspired by the color of pink vomit. That is the only possible explanation.

I try to avoid clothes that stand out at all costs. Owning a pair of clamdiggers that would color match the wadded up bubblegum stuck up underneath a park bench is not the way to blend into a crowd. Everytime I wear these hideous pants I half expect a kindly old lady to comment to me that they remind her of her long-gone beloved Pink Poodle, FooFee.

You know how you have clothes stuffed into the back of your drawer/closet/bureau that's reserved for your worst case clothing scenario option only? Yeah, my pink pants should really be housed in a sealed glass box mounted on the wall with a little mallet hanging alongside it and a note that reads:In Case Of Extreme Laundry Emergency- Break Glass.

I had such a laundry emergency day recently as I hadn't any other alternatives available to me other than wearing the Mary Kay clamdiggers de doom. No lifelines left, no dramatic music, no friends to call, no multiple, donning the pink pants and transforming myself into the ultimate non-superhero, The Pink Pantser was my final answer.

My mini-Infidels understand my deep and abiding pink pants hatred. When they saw me with them on a few days ago, they started laughing. My second oldest daughter, Monkey commented "Ooooh, it looks like it's The Return Of The Pink Pantser." To which I coolly strolled past her in my crusty cotton clamdiggers and remarked that yes it indeed it was the return of The Pink Pantser......and then I turned around and pounced on her while screeching "It's the Revenge Of The Pink Pantser, fool because The Pink Pantser will always strike again when you least expect it."

Well, I guess the drawstring on the pants could be used to tie up mortal enemies of The Pink Pantser in a pinch but mainly my fight-winning strategy is watching my foe fall over, completely paralyzed from laughing so hard when they see me strutting about in my Pink Pantser costume.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Amazing All-Purpose Wooden Spoon.......It Will Stir, Mix, Discipline Your Child And Act As A Makeshift Microphone

There's a family that lives in our neighborhood who suffers from an extreme case of suburbanitis. You know, they look the part, and act the part with their 3 children, mammoth SUV, nice 2-story brick home with a Chemlawn manufactured yard, and endless conversations about getting their toddler into the "right" pre-school. We actually live in the low-end spectrum for this area so the most they can hope to achieve is the title of Ghetto Debutantes.

So, they have a 6 year-old son with an interesting Widow's Peak hairline named Logan. I have a 6 year-old son with an interesting Widow's Peak hairline named Logan, too! We see this family pretty frequently at the neighborhood pool during the summer months and have since both our Logan's were tiny little boys.

The Middle-Class Socialite wannabe Mom absolutely fascinates me. She can go from sharing her favorite meatloaf recipes with her poolside gal pals to shrieking at her son and threatening to beat him with a wooden spoon in seconds flat.

I know, a wooden spoon. Wooden Spoons: The spanking instrument of choice for Betty Crocker devotees everywhere. You can whip up a cake and whip up your kid all at the very same time!

I always figured that the wooden spoon paddling was just an empty threat because I employ the use of empty threats myself. I always tell my mini-Infidels, "Don't make me take off my belt because I'll burn your little butt with it," and then they start laughing uproariously because they know that:
A. Fat woman pants don't usually have belts hence my elasticwaistbandlady screen name.
B. The only belt I own is silky and scarf-like. It would be akin to getting a pounding from a paddle made of dryer sheets. Yeah.
Imagine our surprise when one day the lady stopped her bellowing and actually pulled a wooden spoon out of her purse and gave her son a butt-whooping right there at the pool. (Nothing severe. I don't sit idly by while children get abused. This was just a couple smacks on his rear end for being disobedient.)

I'm working on this theory that ardent environmentalists out devoting their entire lives to saving trees from destruction have ulterior motives. I think they got wooden spoon whippings as children and now dedicate themselves to tree preservation work in an effort to bring the wooden spoon manufacturers to a screeching halt. I wonder if young Logan will grow up to ban wooden spoons from his home like Christina Crawford has likely banned all padded hangers from hers? I wonder if Logan's wife will offer to "spoon" with him and will be baffled when he runs from their marital bed, screaming?

Anyway, it's hot time, summer in the city once again and that means seeing the Wooden Spoon Whipper Family down at the pool. I know this is so wrong but the intrinsically devious part of my mind wants to bring my own wooden spoon to the pool so I can (jokingly) threaten my mini-Infidels with it in front of that family just to gauge a reaction. I have these wild thoughts of maliciously brandishing the spoon and twirling it above my head like a lethal weapon. (Think Indiana Jones and his leather whip)

We saw a 3-pack of wooden spoons at the Dollar Store. They were teak and of fairly high quality for Dollar Store merchandise. Yep, these spoons should carry an endorsement from The Wooden Spoon Whippers Society of America promising that they will never break or crack while being used to correct an errant child. Upon seeing the wooden spoon threesome, that intrinsically devious part of my mind whispered to me again and told me I should buy those spoons and wrap them up with pretty ribbon and leave them at the door of The Wooden Spoon Whipper Family's house.......So far, I've resisted but I don't know how much longer I can hold out.

Monday, June 09, 2008

The Smiling Infidel Drags Private Dancing Onto A Public Blog

I'd like to say that we are a strange but wonderful family whose minds work in strange but wonderful ways.......but the truth is that we're a whole lot more strange than anything else.

Does anybody remember that over-the-top dramatic Tina Turner song from the mid-80's called 'Private Dancer'? I've harbored a very unhealthy Private Dancer fixation since first watching the cheese-a-rific video during my formative years. The shamelessly shimmying Tina shaking it for a dollar really left an indelible stain on my psyche. Of course, these are the kinds of memories that beg to be passed on and shared with the next generation lest they forget the magical oddities of 80's music.......

I've had entire conversations with my kids centered around Private Dancer. Yes, it's true. We've created a Private Dancer back story, a Private Dancer future, and we've tried to answer all manner of Private Dancer questions and implausibilities. Here's a transcript sampling of our scintillating Private Dancer conversation from yesterday:
Sunbum (oldest Infidel daughter): "How come it just costs a dollar? How can she possibly pay her bills when she only earns a buck a dance?"
Me: "More importantly, who puts a dollar on their American Express card? Wouldn't the guy's wife wonder what all the dollar charges marked P.D. are on their monthly statements?"
Sunbum: "Well, maybe the Private Dancer studio is next door to the Dollar Store so the guy can lie and say he blew all the money there."
Me: "I'd like to print up some business cards that say 'Elasticwaistbandlady.....Your Private Dancer'."
Sunbum: "Uhhh Mom, I've seen you dance. You can only be a Private Dancer because nobody wants to see those moves out in public."

Private Dancer obsession has spilled over into other parts of our daily life, too. Every Tuesday I make the long sojourn out to the rural outskirts of Houston for one of my jobs. I often take one of my older daughters with me. Each week we drive past this hand-made posterboard sign taped onto a light pole advertising a place that will provide ponies for your party. In big, bold letters the sign states "We Rent Ponies By The Hour." The sign always makes us feel sad for the ponies being pimped out at an hourly rate like they're some kind of equine prostitute. Whenever we pass by the pony advertisement my girls and I start singing,"I'm your private pony....a pony for money, I'll do what you want me to do.....just a private pony, a pony for money and any old horse feed will doooo."

You know how it's perfectly acceptable within the realm of your own family or encircled by your friends to feel totally comfortable to say/do whatever weird thing pops into your mind without restraint? Yeah, well, sometimes the things you say/do in the comfort zone spills over into the not-so-comfortable zone.

Case in point, there's a lot of deer herds milling around while I'm out working on Scenic Country Roads Tuesday. We never fail to stop and oooh and ahhh over the deer because they're just so stinkin cute though admittedly they're not very bright; but what they lack in brain power they make up for in beauty. As we came across a bunch of deer standing around next to the road, guess what song started playing on my XM Satellite Radio? YES! It was Private Dancer time!! Naturally I stopped my truck so Sunbum and I could gaze at the beauteous deer and then I began serenading them, singing Private Dancer with fervent gusto! I alternated between singing and preaching to the deer as I told them not to be suckered into becoming anyone's Private ANTLER because they are worth so much more than that. Sunbum was in the backseat struggling with manic fits of laughter because while I counseled the deer into avoiding the seedy Private Antler lifestyle I neglected to notice the burly but smiling homeowner standing in his driveway just a few feet away listening to my every word and every song note. Ooops.

Hopefully, that homeowner takes my words to heart as he ponders upon my sage advice. If I can save just one flannel-shirted redneck man from engaging in the thankless Private Dancer trade then my public embarrassment will have all been worth it!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

If You Can Value The Worth Of A Person By Their Birthday Gifts Then I'm Exceedingly Valuable!

Unexpected Presents From People Whom I Adore......I'm Not Sure If I'm Deserving Of Such Niceties But I Sure Do Love It!

The talented Melissa from Mejojac's Memos used her phenomenal jewelry making skillz to craft this lovely bracelet and earrings set specifically to match my new dress.

And as if that wasn't enough she fed my sox addiction just a little bit more with this bevy of sock beauties. Thanks Melissa!

Aubrey sent these scrumptious orange gloves just in time because they'll look amazing with the gown I picked out to wear to the Mean Mommy Ball. Gloves are important when reprimanding children, husbands, competitive clearance rack hags who won't shove off even when you subtly elbow them, and annoying dogs that bark all night because they won't leave any tell-tale fingerprint marks. Thanks Aubrey!

My favorite Arizonians of all time Nancy Face and her stunning bride-to-be daughter, Lauren Face sent this happy little(and VERY generous) Target gift card featuring an oozing, slimy blob. That's right, I'm no longer a blogger. I'm a blobber now. Not pictured is the ginormous bag of Skittles also mailed alongside the card.
If you ever need someone to make candy evidence disappear my mini-Infidels can and will get the job done. There's wasn't even a discernible trace of rainbow colored streaks left behind when the mini-Infidels wrapped up 'The Skittles Hit.' Thanks Face Ladies!

Jean Knee proved conclusively the theory I scientifically hypothesized after watching Saturday Night Live......A Party In A Tube Is WAY Better Than A Dick In The Box. Truly.
The best part was the envelope stuffed full of enough funds to pick out any one thing my heart desires at the dollar store. Jean Knee knows and understands the real me. She also sent balloons with a warning that they aren't to be used as contraceptives. I might have read the note a little too late. Ooops. The tube was also jam-packed with lots of polka dot confetti. I opened the tube while sitting on my bed. I'm now sporting an all-over polka dot look for the Summer 2008 season. Thanks Jean Knee!!!

And in Sox-Crazed Maniacs News I thought you all would be interested to note that almost half of us received or gave a variation of the ever popular faux Converse high-top socks as modeled by my daughter. Several received socks that look like cowboy boots and I noticed a LOT of frog motif socks popping up at Sox Exchange participant blogs. At least two people received the exact same pair of pink-striped seahorse socks and another two received knee-high socks with flames on them.

Maybe Alice can work her graph magic and come up with a funny chart for us to signify the final sock duplicate tally. Think about the enormity of the soxy swap situation. The 22 ladies who participated represent different religions, different ages, different geographic locales and yet we all demonstrated a scary sense of like-mindedness when left on our own to blindly pick out socks for our buddy. Weird.

If you haven't received your socks yet, e-mail me and let me know. I had a great time organizing this, ladies. Thanks. It went so smoothly that I'd really like to get a Christmas Ornament Exchange together in November. :)

Friday, June 06, 2008

Little Known Mormon Statistics Not Yet Released By The LDS Church Headquarters in Salt Lake City

It is a proven fact that roughly 9 out of 10 female Mormon bloggers will feature tracks by Colbie Caillat or Michael Buble on their blog music playlists. It is also statistically probable that said tracks will suddenly assault your auditory senses with no warning as you click onto a blog page maintained by a Mormon woman. Female LDS bloggers in the South will try to thwart the cliche by mixing in a Carrie Underwood song or two.

Oh how we love our mediocre and overplayed music!

(Colbie Caillat and Michael Buble should go on tour together because I like the way their names cutely rhyme with one another. They would be a definite concert sell-out duo in Utah)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Infidel Freak Secret Of The Week: Presidential Edition

As a human species we may come from vastly different backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures, and societal status but the one thing that unifies the brotherhood of man like no other is the fact that we all poop ~Elasticwaistbandlady Wearing A Philosophical Hat With A Little Dodo Feather Plume Stuck In It
Whenever I hear reports about Presidents both past and present staying at the homes of friends I immediately think, "Oh, what would that be like to have the President of The United States of America plop down on your porcelain throne?"
We're a family of humble means and modest toilet accommodations but if the President were to suddenly knock on my door declaring an urgent 'State Of Emergency' I would definitely let him in to cop a squat on our middle-class pot. In fact, I would consider it an honor; so much so that I'd immediately hang a plaque like the one above next to our front door proclaiming the fact that this home once harbored Presidential Poop and that makes it a historical landmark.
I haven't consulted any Realtors but surely a house bearing the distinguished honor of a Pooping President Landmark Plaque will considerably drive up the value.
Former President, Bill Clinton and his charming, easy-going wife, Hillary were frequent house guests of such notables as Ted Danson and Barbara Streisand.
Bill is reportedly the kind of guy, at least back in the day, that could pound down many a greasy-cheesy-over easy know the kind that has you fighting The Battle Of The Bowels a few hours later.
So, would you make a big stink about a President making a big stink in your house?
Would you kindly tell him, "I'm so sorry, but you're just not welcome back until you contribute to the Febreze Fund."
What if your home has thin enough walls to actually hear the Presidential potty time taking place?
Would you then stand accusingly at his next political fundraiser while pointing a finger and saying, "I know what you did last summer- and my plumber does too!!!"
Maybe not. Maybe people in positions of political power are more mature than I am.....but I doubt it.
I actually feel kind of sad that Hillary lost the nomination. With her, the country would have finally been able to jubilantly rejoice in electing our very first "sitting" President!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Everyone Needs A Hand To Hold On To (Brought To You By The Using John Mellencamp Songs As Blog Post Titles Society)

As a woman of faith my religion teaches me to be grateful for all the many small things.....and I am. Most notably I'm grateful for my impeccable gag reflex that never lets me down. It's vitally important to keep all your many bodily components running like a smooth machine. I know that my gag reflex is in perfect working order because it gets a daily workout. Whenever I hear the newscasters start their monotonous drone about "pain at the pump" or how the escalating cost of gas continues to "pinch" and "sting" it indeeds triggers moderate to severe gagging.

My husband, Papi and I both use our vehicles to earn a living. As such, the exorbitant gas prices are not "pinching us" or "stinging us", no the increased fuel costs is more like a very dangerous and very venomous bite slowly "crippling" us. If we don't find a solution fast the next set of quotation marks will be wrapped around the words, "killing us."

On a recent trip to the pump for another agonizing re-fueling mission I realized that some have suffered and lost much more than me and Papi.

It looks like a tank of gas literally cost this anonymous person an arm and presumably a leg, too. I love the way the disembodied hand seems to be rising up out of the ether- or should that read rising up out of the ethanol?

I just can't decide: is the hand there to give despondent motorists a little pick-me-up High Five action? Perhaps the previous owner of the hand positioned it as a sort of symbolism representing a last dying gasp of 'HELLPPP MEEEE'? Maybe the hand once held a cute little white flag of surrender but somebody else stole it to admit defeat when it came time to go pay for their own gas purchase? Ooooh, I know, it's probably one of those mythical HELPING HANDS I keep hearing about set there to give people a hand-up not a hand-out; in which case maybe I should have closed my eyes, rubbed the hand, then spun in a circle 3 times, and made a wish.

* I was going to title this post 'The Hand Job' but my good taste reflex stopped me. I'm also profoundly grateful that my good taste reflex is in solid working order. Some of the stuff I've written lately had me worried that it was broken.*

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Charity Never Faileth......Really, You Should Never Say Never!

I really do try to act as a living embodiment of The Golden Rule- Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.....Weeeeelllll, most of the time anyway. A few years ago I had one of those perfect "teaching moments" fall into my lap while driving home from the grocery store with my truckload of mini-Infidels.
I remember that day vividly. The scorching Houston summer heat bore down upon us and I had to double up the butt towel patrol to protect my truck's seats from the sea of saltiness whooshing out of me. As we drove onto the main street that runs through our neighborhood I could clearly see the trash guys struggling to lift the heavy receptacles at the curb. The two kept taking turns tugging trash cans to the truck while the other stood still, hands on his knees, beet red and panting for air. How I pitied these men and wanted to help ease their burdens.......oh alright, my heart doesn't exactly circulate blood filled with purely altruistic motives. The truth is that at that point I had two kids still in diapers. I knew that it was imperative to keep these guys from dropping with a severe case of heat stroke because that would mean we'd be stuck with the rancid bag of crappy diapers festering in the garage for another week. And then I remembered the box of Fruity Popsicles we just bought at Kroger's.........

I pulled over and got out with the open box of Popsicles to offer to the trash guys. I intended for them to select whatever flavor they wanted because everyone should have their free agency; even in Popsicle flavor selection. Besides I wasn't quite sure of proper cultural etiquette. Gifting a fruity purple Popsicle to an hombre from a Spanish speaking country might be construed as an insult to his manhood and I desperately wanted to avoid that. Both men smiled at me and I was delighted to discover that the language of frozen yumminess on a stick is Universal and requires no words which is lucky since my High School Spanish teacher, Senora Cottle, never taught us the right phrase to use when approaching strange men on the street and offering up our goodies.

The one guy plucked the entire Popsicle box out of my hand. I guess his mamacita never warned him of the dangers of accepting ice cream from strangers. So, I stood there waiting for them to make their selection and give me back the box. They didn't. Instead, the men took the box to the driver which I thought was a really sweet gesture........and then they waved at me while yelling GRACIAS! and took off leaving me Popsicle-less and with a truck full of cheesed-off mini-Infidels. They kept bugging me asking why I didn't give the trash guys something else other than their beloved Popsicles. I tried to reason that waving around a bag full of zucchini or a box of Frosted Flakes cereal might have made the moment a bit confusing for all parties involved. I didn't let the garbage guys get away with it, though. No, I silently cursed them that they would become cross-eyed from an insanely painful bout of brain freeze.

Launch Charitable Effort Round Two:
I'm a slow learner. Later that same year we had a precipitous drop in temperature around Christmas with freezing drizzles of rain showing up at mid-day. By then we had a different team of trash guys. I don't know maybe they have a trash guy time share condo somewhere that the first group gets to enjoy in the winter along with their absconded Popsicle bounty. I watched as the trash truck mosied slowly up the street. The lone garbage picker-upper guy was wearing only a faded blue tank-top despite the harsh weather conditions. I tried to squash that naggy still small voice in my head advocating that I take immediate action in helping this fellow child of God. I lost. Really, what could I do? I ran to get one of Papi's super warm hooded sweatshirts to give to the shivering trash guy. You know what? He happily took it. Then he shook the sweatshirt out and turned it over as he held it up in the air examining it. My moment basking in the glow of charitable goodness was fleeting as he then walked up to the cab of the trash truck and threw the sweatshirt inside. With a big smile and a hearty GRACIAS! the truck lurched forward, rounded the corner, and disappeared out of sight with the tank-top guy holding onto the back rails while still shivering.

I sincerely hope that someone, somewhere recorded these moments into The Book Of Life. I'm sure that I should be able to gain some leeway for my many transgressions due to my selfless act of keeping the seat of a trash truck toasty and warm on a bitterly cold winter's day.