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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming To Bring You This Severe (St. Patsy) Weather Alert...Whether You Need It Or Not

Ever since I was a little girl, my mother has been an alarmist about The Weather. As soon as skies would darken with storm clouds, she'd start scanning the horizon for low-lying, purple-black ones and a well-defined, heavy cloud deck. She'd peer out the windows, sometimes even venturing out on the porch to check the skies for lightning and to listen for that telltale "freight train sound" that foretold the one Terror Above All Else, a Tornado. In the days before The Weather Channel, the Internet, and even before network meteorologists broke into regular programming to report a simple summer storm, my mother's own Weather Alert System was often in overdrive as she looked for signs of Apocalyptic Weather Events.

Her precautions were many and legend, and we had no choice but to follow them: Don't talk on the phone during a storm! Don't take a bath when there's lightning! Get your hands out of the dishwater--there's lightning out! Turn off the TV; can't you see it's storming out? Every one of you kids get in here now; I saw lightning and it's coming this way! I don't like the look of those dark clouds over there; I think we'd better get down the basement. The weatherman says to take shelter; let's go down the basement right now.

And lest you all forget: I did not grow up in Oklahoma, Kansas, or Nebraska. I grew up in Northeastern Ohio, where, yes, there was actually a tornado in my hometown in 1924 (and, ironically, the Lorain Tornado was my father's nickname when he was a professional pitcher many years later), but my mother's fears still seem excessive. Especially since she grew up in Ohio, too.

Things have not changed much, as I found out not too long ago.

Scene opens on Rick and Nance at the lakehouse. They are chatting, finishing up dinner and talking about heading out for a boat ride. Nance's phone chimes, indicating a text message.

Nance: It's Mom. (reads aloud) Bad weather in your area. Watch out! Stay off the boat!!! That last sentence had three exclamation points. (looks outside at the calm lake and cloudless sky) Wow. I'm confused.

Rick: I'll put on the local radar channel. Maybe something is headed this way.

Nance: (types back) Really? It's nice here right now. Nothing threatening that I can see.

Rick: The radar is absolutely clear. I don't know where she's getting this. I'm confused.

Nance: Well, she says (reads aloud) They have tornado warnings for the Mansfield area and a tornado watch for Wayne and Ashland Counties, so you are in the area! Watch the sky! Stay off the boat!!!! That last one had FOUR exclamation points. And no emojis. She is really exercised about this. Let me bring up my app. (brings up weather app as Rick sits, exasperated, in front of television radar, still seeing nothing) I don't see it, either! What the heck is going on? This is like a Twilight Zone moment.

Rick: I'm getting the boat ready.

Nance: (types) Ok. We have the TV on and have not seen that. I just checked my iPad weather app and didn't see it there, either. You have the scoop, I guess. (to Rick) I can bring down my own wineglass and water bottle if you can carry the wine and your glass.

(Nance grabs a bottle of water out of the fridge; she checks to make sure the cats have water. She grabs her phone, wineglass, water, and heads down to the dock. Once on the boat, her phone chimes with a text message.)

Nance: (reads aloud) I am sorry. We were watching the soaps recorded from yesterday and that was the weather for yesterday! I just realized that!! Sorry!!!! (laughing hard) I'm not even going to tell you how many emojis and exclamation points are on all of that. Oh, brother. That's so great.

Rick: (laughs, shakes his head)  Doll. That may be her best one yet.

Nance: Wait. One more message. (reads aloud) Senior moment!!

Finis.



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Wednesday, August 02, 2017

My New Mantra When Things Get A Little Too Real

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Even though I don't feel at all ashamed about Getting Real last week (it was so Cathartic), I have to tell you that my problems pale in comparison to this woman, who lives in a town not too terribly far from where I live. Longtime Readers already know you don't even have to click that link because I'm going to tell you everything you need to know.

While I'm bitching and moaning about cat hair, bathroom hair, English Language abuses, and other non-life threatening mundanities, a middle-aged woman was lying in her front yard telling a 911 operator, "I have a boa constrictor stuck to my face".

I know, right?

And you think you have problems.

Because the nine ball pythons she already owned were lonely, perhaps, the woman had adopted two boa constrictors the day before (or "rescued", as she terms it in the 911 call, at first amusingly misinterpreted as "arrested" by the operator). She decided, apparently, to take one out and give it a cuddle, and it...reciprocated, as five-and-a-half-foot boa constrictors are wont to do. Unfortunately, “it was wrapped around her neck and biting her nose and wouldn’t let go,” Fire Chief Tim Card said. “They had to cut its head off with a [pocket] knife to get it to let go of her face.”

Yikes. I mean, who would have thought it? Everything I know about snakes is that they're so nice and sweet. So easy to train and so obedient. Just the best pets, ever.

The snake (with its head, I presume) was summarily tossed in the town's garbage bin out back of City Hall.

One local animal handler opined that perhaps the woman handled the boa constrictor too soon after rescuing it; that a waiting period of at least one week is advisable to prevent trauma. He also felt the snake could have been saved if they had just used a few drops of rubbing alcohol on its head, which may have gotten it to release its jaws. Sigh. Coulda, woulda, shoulda.

All I know is this: I had a few rough days last week, but at no time was a snake stuck to my face. Also, thank goodness snakes can't walk or fly. Or drive. That town is pretty close, and obviously, that woman is...a Little Bit Goofy when it comes to snakes.  But bless her, I'm glad she's okay.

This reminds me of back in 2014 when I wrote about the house near me that exploded right before Christmas. Remember that? I used "at least my house didn't explode" as my mantra for months, helping me to have perspective when anything went wrong or I had a setback or a bad day. It worked pretty well for a while, especially during the holidays.

Well, now I have a new mantra for when things get rough and I'm not feeling up to par. At least I don't have a snake stuck to my face!


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