Archive | February, 2018

The Squirrel in the Toilet

11 Feb

Next week on Valentine’s Day my husband, Willy & I will have been married for 21 years. In 2017 we’d known each other for 30. I can’t imagine where those years have gone. I can remember almost every day individually but putting them all together in a string to add up to 30 years seems impossible. The one thing I’m very certain of is that it has been quite a ride!

It’s really hard to sum up a relationship & a marriage. We’ve had our moments but compared to other people, it seems we’ve had fewer than most. Perhaps that’s because we were friends before we were anything else to each other & that friendship remains today. It’s the one piece of groundwork I’d recommend establishing before marriage; you really HAVE to like each other if it’s going to endure.

Willy is unique in the universe. He is calm & logical & is my “balance” when I don’t seem to be either of those things. He’s helpful, resourceful, creative & he loves cats. All that somehow makes us a good match, especially the cat thing.

Way back a long time ago I knew I could never marry a man that didn’t have a sense of humor. It was probably the major prerequisite right up there running neck & neck with love & friendship.

Whether we’re married or not married – however we’re attempting to struggle through this life & especially getting around the bumps in the road, doing it with a sense of humor greases the road a bit & makes the slide through life a little easier.

One of Willy’s best attributes is that he has a talent for greasing the road.

He was able to show me the humor in being “on call” in the OR on our very first wedding anniversary. He helped me laugh while we both cleaned up the terrible mess in my new oven caused by a cake that exploded during baking & we’ve just laughed together over the years at stuff one of us has said because it felt good to be silly together.

Willy’s sense of humor has gotten us through some major difficulties. He was my strength & my teammate when I was going through chemotherapy for breast cancer. I can’t remember exactly what he said that was so funny but I remember how much it helped when I leaned over to get French fries out of a very hot oven & melted my synthetic wig while it was on my head. There were so many moments that I am grateful to him for during that difficult time but perhaps the most memorable was when I began losing my hair after my first chemo treatment.  I tearfully asked him to cut it for me to a manageable length for someone going bald. With scissors in hand on that very difficult occasion he told me he thought he’d found a second career as a stylist, he went through some silly gestures & we both laughed … & then we both cried. It’s that part of his humor that I will be forever grateful for.

Willy really isn’t a practical joker. He’s something close to that but I simply can’t come up with the proper description.  The best way to describe it is that he enjoys “visual” & “auditory” humor.

We went through several years when Willy stumbled across some high-squealing, motion activated small toys that he kept putting in our kitchen cabinets. When I opened a cabinet door, whichever toy was in there would scream / squall / wail & scare me silly. Willy thought it added “interest” to the “cooking experience.” I finally reminded him of my high blood pressure & the possibility of him causing me to have an actual stroke & the “cooking experience” became routine again. While I never got use to expecting those screaming toys to be in my cabinets, once he removed them it took months NOT to expect them when I opened a cabinet door.

There have been other things but I don’t really have a lot of time or space for all of them & I really want to talk about what happened this morning before church.

We have a powder room on the main level of our home & I stopped there before we left. There in the toilet was a squirrel getting ready to climb out of the water & literally scared the, well …. bejesus out of me. On second glance I realized it wasn’t a REAL squirrel but a “squirrel facsimile” attached to the lid of the toilet.  Willy was close behind waiting for my reaction. He’d ordered the vinyl, decorative “Squirrel Toilet Lid Cover” from some goofy magazine, put it on the commode lid in the early hours of Sunday morning & waited patiently for me to see it.

I can’t imagine what reaction our cat would have had if she’d seen that toilet squirrel before I did …

In the end (almost literally), it was funny as hell. Willy took a bunch of pictures of the “me finding the squirrel in the toilet” event. Because it really WAS funny,  I’ve just left it on the toilet all day. We’ll probably leave it there for a while. We have a few friends who will enjoy Willy’s humor after they recover from the fright of thinking their nether regions are about to be attacked by a rabid, toilet-swimming squirrel.

As we get ready to celebrate our 21st. year of marriage I can’t help wonder what the next 21 years will hold & how many other furry creatures I will find crawling out of one of our toilets. If nothing else, life is never dull here.

I’m still forever grateful for a husband with a sense of humor; for his love & for his friendship. I’m only hoping he hasn’t subscribed to catalog completely devoted to toilet ornaments.

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Groundhog Day and Other February Stuff

1 Feb

February is one of those months that just begs for even the smallest hint of excitement. It comes right after January & somewhere around mid-January things start getting very dull & very long.

If it’s a rough winter with a lot of snow that keeps us all inside for days on end, I start getting cabin fever. Heck, if we have very little snow & a fair amount of sun I start getting cabin fever. That stretch from mid-January through the end of March drags & is possibly the longest part of the year. One of my seasonal dreams is that spring & maybe summer could just once seem to take as much time as mid-January through the end of March. Maybe it’s an astrological thing somehow tied into cabin fever…. & possibly menopause.

I was making a lemon meringue pie just now, looking out the kitchen window & thinking about February, here on the eve of that month.  Once I gave it some thought while whipping meringue, I realized it’s really a fairly OK month, even if it is draggy. There’s Valentine’s Day & my husband, Willy & I were married on that romantic day 21 years ago.  At the end of the month we always go to a really cool science fiction convention, so it’s not a total loss. Somehow February redeems itself a little when I really think about it.

Then I remembered that my maternal grandmother was born on February 2 & my parents were married on February 2 a bunch of years later. AND … February 2 is GROUNDHOG  DAY.

As weird as it may seem, I LIKE Groundhog Day. That’s probably because I like furry little animals & the groundhog falls right into that category. I like AND respect him because I like the way he kind of toys with us. For that one day a year the groundhog has the upper hand (or paw). He controls us as surely as if he dangled us on puppet strings because somewhere in his furry little brain he KNOWS we’re suffering from cabin fever & likes to make us squirm. There’s something about having a bunch of people depending on him, at just what time he steps outside on a particular day & what the disposition of the sun is at that specific time & place. He has to be a mathematician, a weather aficionado & a very talented prognosticator. It all adds up to that furry little groundhog-person not only controlling the moment, he somehow controls the WEATHER. It’s all about the power & I respect that.

While there are groundhog SURROGATES in a number of states (not unlike the ones the President of the USA has) & even Canada, only one is assumed to be the REAL Groundhog Day groundhog & that’s Punxsutawney Phil who is an actual resident of Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. He’s rumored to be immortal.

Punxsutawney Phil admirers & members of the Punxsutawney Phil Club swear the same groundhog has been predicting the weather for the past 132 years. Now that’s one really OLD groundhog. Those same club members also swear he’s never wrong, even though we ALL know that’s not true … that he’s not RIGHT even half the time …  but knowing how old he is, we just give him a pass.

Club members credit his longevity to a “hit” of  groundhog punch they allow him to drink every year, or maybe that’s force him to drink. Whatever, I’m happy Phil is still around & keeps showing up at just the right time every February to entertain us, help us speculate about the arrival of spring & to make me happy because I love little furry animals who wear silk top hats, jerk us around emotionally & hit the “juice” a little too heavily once a year.

I’m beginning to think that Groundhog Day was made up by someone exactly like me who was suffering from cabin fever & needed a diversion. Probably saw a groundhog minding his own business out in the back yard scavenging for food. My cabin fever friend probably went out, introduced himself & invited that furry little creature in for a drink. After they both got good & sauced they contrived the whole idea of Groundhog Day. Because the backyard groundhog was pretty bored & suffering from cabin fever, too, he went along with what was to become a universal joke … or at least a joke throughout the US & Canada.

A few years ago our local TV meteorologist held up a sign on the evening weather portion of the news that said, “I’m a meteorologist, not a rodent.”  Beside him stood a groundhog with a sign of his own that said, “I’m a rodent, not a meteorologist” to the delight of the viewing public. A week ago our local weather guy on the evening news started adding at the end of his weather report something he calls The Rodent Report, which speculates from day to day just what the weather will be on Groundhog Day. There are TONS of us “out there” with cabin fever, apparently.

What all this tells me, combined with the delight I feel when I see that wooly old groundhog on February 2nd., is that those 2 old backyard drinking buddies … a craggy old man & a fat old groundhog with cabin fever have done us all a tremendous service by giving us the myth that is Groundhog Day.

My hat is off to you, Punxsutawney Phil for giving  me enough fodder to write about for an hour on a slow, end-of-January day that otherwise might have been spent dreading yet another day of cabin fever. And now my pie is cool & ready for dinner. It’s been a good day.

Thinking of you, Phil. “Fuzzy Buddy … you ROCK!”