Real Life Sheldon Cooper…Or Lucy without Ethel

It was nowhere near this cordial.

So, it’s Winter Break from Clemson (Christmas, Hannukah, Eid, Kwanza, etc. etc.) and I have literally not left the house since Monday, Christmas Day, when we went to Atlanta. This is a good thing, as I spend a great deal of my time Not Home and Commuting and At Clemson, so in a way, this has been a welcome break. The girls haven’t had to stay crated as much and I’ve gotten some long overdue cleaning done (more on Beetle later).

Yesterday Hubs came home early from work because he had pulled a pretty significant muscle in his back. He did what everyone on earth save me does in that situation – ibuprofen, hot shower, bed in that order. I was out here in the den with the girls (who had just come in from the yard, leaving the basement door open) when I heard him say (not shout) with absolutely no alarm in his voice whatsoever:

“Nancy, there’s a bird in the house.”

No alarm at all. I thought he was kidding.

“What?” By this point, I paused the episode of The Flash (I’m binge-watching in between housework, hence the HAVE NOT LEFT THE HOUSE IN FOUR DAYS I mentioned earlier) and he said it again, in the same calm tone like he was telling me we might have spag-bol for our tea tonight.

“There’s a bird in the house.”

Okay, y’all, I love animals. All of them. I do not love all of them being in my house. I also do not love birds in the same I NEED TO SNUGGLE YOU LIKE YESTERDAY way that I love my dogs or cats or cute little critters of many different species. I have a healthy respect for birds that borders on abject fear. Okay, let’s be honest, it is fear. The time my ex-husband took my hand while I wasn’t looking and led a cockatiel onto my arm I nearly wet my pants in public. I thought I was brave at a pet store in Keighley when I held an owl, but I really wasn’t. If you know me well and you have seen the photo of me and that owl, you can see that I was unable, in that moment, to move any part of my body except my eyes.

Also, if you are my friend Anne, aka Lucy to my Ethel or Ethel to my Lucy, you are probably already remembering the time that we tried to get a bird out of the rafters of the garage of your house when I lived with you after moving back from the UK. Why we decided to help a bird out of a garage THAT HAD NO DOOR with only a ladder, a broom, and a beach towel I’m not sure, but the results were pretty much the same as they were yesterday (only without any of those implements).

I came down the hall and asked where the bird was, to find Hubs still comfortably in bed (although sitting up at this point). “Out there,” he says, as though he is telling me where Beetle’s charging station is or which way to go to find the dog room. I looked into the dog room and there it was, a little bird of the chickadee/wren/finch body type and size, and it was sitting on the top of Willow’s crate. So I did what any normal person would in my case.

“What should I do about it?”

After a few wisecracks about not leaving it in the house, Hubs and I decided that I needed to catch it and put it outside. And when I said we decided that I mean he did and I continued to try to avoid screaming.

Did I mention that the girls were in the house at the time? No? Well…I managed to take the baby gate that keeps them out of the dog room and the one that keeps them out of our bedroom and put them at the other end of the hall to keep the dogs in the kitchen…because both of them were now staring down the hall at me. I think the hungry looks in their eyes were all in my imagination, but I certainly did NOT want to get in between them and a nervous bird.

The bird hopped and flew about in mad fashion and, as you (and certainly Anne) can imagine, I did NOT catch it in the t-shirt that I was waving around like an insane matador. Finally the bird had had enough of my shenanigans and flew into the bedroom. By this point, Hubs was out of bed and trying to help – he planned to catch it with his bare hands! It flew under our bed, which is unfortunate for the bird because I can’t tell you the last time I cleaned under there, so I pushed on the mattress. Another normal conversation ensued:

Hubs – “What are you doing?”
Me- “Trying to make mattress noises so that it will come back out.”
Hubs – “Mattress noises?”

I was about to explain that when you so much as LOOK at our mattress, the entire cheap bedframe (seriously, do NOT buy any furniture from Rooms To Go, it’s all cheap) squeaks, but I didn’t get a chance to do that because THE BIRD FLEW OUT ON MY SIDE OF THE BED. I hit the deck, Sheldon Cooper Style, and nearly shouted “Bird in the apartment! Bird in the apartment!”

I was not helping at all, and the poor thing went back under the bed for a moment. We had decided that we had to shoo it out an open door rather than catch it, and you should remember that by we I still mean Hubs. In a moment of sheer brilliance, I remembered that we had opened the windows in the bedroom the last time our AC went out and that one of them didn’t have a screen.

It was not the one I opened. Of course it wasn’t. However, I was able to get the screen pushed out just a bit and left an opening that was just exactly bird-sized but didn’t knock the screen out and crashing two stories down to the work site that is Hubs’s planned firepit and seating area. Back to shooing. The bird flew back out, I hit the deck again, and Hubs shooed it to the window where it escaped.

As soon as the girls came back in from the yard this morning I shut that basement door. I also locked it, though I know that birds can’t generally operate doorknobs. Better safe than sorry.

Holiday Greetings and A Countdown, from the Lettuce

Christmas 2010 by Nancy Dunne
Christmas 2010, a photo by Nancy Dunne on Flickr.

In just under 12 hours I will be on my way to my other home, England.

In just under 24 hours I will be in our little house in Keighley, with Simon and Daisy.

It is strange to be leaving on Christmas Eve, when everything in my life has been leading up to today here at Allen Mountain. It is even stranger to think that by this time on Boxing Day my sister and her family will be in the UK as well, and only a few hours down the road.

Happy Christmas to all my Lettuce readers, and a prosperous New Year as well. 2012 is going to bring so much hope and joy and happiness to all our lives…I just know it. Keep warm and safe and happy, y’all.

xx
Nancy

On Families, Ramps, Sprouts and Sock Puppies…

This weekend was the annual Christmas gathering of my mother’s side of the family. In fact, they get together four times a year, but the Christmas gathering has been special in my mind since I was a child. While it was always good to see my extended family, it was especially good to see my cousins…specifically my cousin Sandy. He is about 11 years older than I am, and is the youngest of the cousins on that side of the family.

My sister and I have always been in between our cousins and first cousins in age. Susan is closer to our first cousins in age, especially on my father’s side of the family, but I’m sort of out on my own. I was too little to hang with my teenage cousins, and by the time they had kids I was too big to do anything but babysit those kids. But Sandy always treated me like an equal, and as a result was one of my favourite family members.

I remember once he came to visit me at Young Harris College. We hung out and talked and then later he sent me a cassette tape recording of a song he’d written for me, inspired by that afternoon. I mean who wouldn’t be totally chuffed to have a cousin like that?

Sandy has a physically debilitating condition that lately has caused him to use a wheelchair, and as a result wasn’t going to be able to come to the family gathering this Christmas because there is no way into Mom and Dad’s house that doesn’t involve steps. Mom and Dad started calling around and found a place that would build them a ramp, free of charge, for Sandy to use to come in the house. Dad and I put it together and got it all strapped in and sturdy, and Sandy got to join the rest of us for Christmas.

Of course, in typical Nancy style, as he rolled into the kitchen grinning ear to ear I said “Oh, did the ramp work?” Um, duh. He’s IN THE KITCHEN, dummy.

I sort of feel a sense of let down now that this event is over because for the past week I’ve been eating, sleeping, and breathing McDonald Family Christmas, trying to help Mom and Dad get ready for Saturday. I ordered my presents early so that I could concentrate on this and on getting ready to go see Simon (a week from right now I’ll be there…), and two of them, both from Barnes & Noble, gave me fits trying to get sorted. Mom’s gift was reported as on back order and I was given the option to cancel it. I did, and then got an email that it couldn’t be canceled because it was on the way. Mind you, between canceling and receiving the email, I went out and bought another one. Grr.

The last straw was Joy’s present. I had ordered the most perfect neck pillow for her to use on their impending trip to the UK after Christmas. It was a tiger, and was pink and purple and had a big, cartoony face, and, as you will remember, was perfect. In the mail I got an ugly yellow tiger that wasn’t even remotely like the one I ordered. So on Friday night, Dad and I went out to find something else for Joy. The look on her face the next day when she saw what would come to be named “Sock Puppy” was worth all the angst over the neck pillow gone wrong (as was her reaction to her Dora Umbrella and matching pink neck pillow from Auntsie and Uncle Simon).

One tiny note: I made roasted sprouts and bubble & squeak for my family to try as representatives of British cooking, thinking that I’d be eating all of it and honestly being pretty pleased to do so.  It isn’t easy being a vegetarian during holidays that revolve around food.  To my surprise, by the time that I got to the food, a great deal of the sprouts and potato cakes were already gone and there was nothing left of them at the end of the meal.  They liked it!  Next Christmas I hope that Simon will be here to cook his own British food for them.

So one Christmas down…and one very, very important Christmas Day with my very, very perfect husband to go. Happy Yule, y’all. Happy Yule.

Oh Christmas Tree…and other traditions

Sparkly!!

All my anti-holiday sentiment seems to have reversed itself in a fiery blaze of lights and stockings and tinsel and I’m all about Christmas now!  Amazing what one most-certainly overpriced plane ticket will do for one’s outlook, isn’t it?

I’m noticing the Christmas decorations in the stores.  I even purposefully turned the radio to one of those stations that thinks it’s a good idea to play Christmas music 24-7 from Thanksgiving till New Years.  I’m not sure what’s happened, but this Grinch’s heart has grown more than two sizes in the past week.

I was thinking today about my favourite Christmas traditions, and realised that other than some that revolved around going to church on Christmas eve my family doesn’t really have anything that we all do year after year at Christmas.  That made me a bit sad, but at the same time I think about how that give me and Simon a chance to create our own traditions and that, as my friend Lynne would say, makes me wickedly, wickedly happy.  I feel like so much of our married life has been…up in the air, I guess?  We haven’t settled into “Our First Married Home” because we were trying to sell it.  We didn’t know where we were going to end up, so I think we’ve sort of put the memory making part of being newlyweds on hold.  That includes Christmas traditions.  We eat our own little Christmas dinner for two, watch Christmas telly, and generally act like slugs all the way from the Queen’s speech to Doctor Who.

What are your family traditions?  What do you do every year without fail?  What makes Christmas feel like Christmas to you?  Mine will start with seeing my Mister’s face on Christmas Day.  Happy Two Weeks till Christmas Eve, y’all!

And once again, my universe rights itself…

Smooth Sailing by Nancy Dunne
Smooth Sailing, a photo by Nancy Dunne on Flickr.

I worked a LOT in November. A LOT. Many, many hours. As a result…

I’M GOING TO KEIGHLEY FOR CHRISTMAS!!

I’m sort of chuffed, in case you couldn’t tell? All of my angst and depression goes away when I think that I’ll be with my Mister (and my MeiMei) in just about 22 days. Ho Ho Ho Happy Christmas to me!

Mind you, the flight could have been cheaper, but it wasn’t to be…nor did it matter. See above working a LOT in November. See me grinning like an idiot.

Yeah, so, that’s good news. Yeah. Apologies for the Nancy you’ve come to hate over the past few months. She’s MUCH better now.

See ya later, autumn…roll on January.

Gradient by Nancy Dunne
Gradient, a photo by Nancy Dunne on Flickr.

Well, that’s one down, five to go in the 2011-2012 Anti-Holiday season. Thanksgiving 2011 is in the history books now.

Oh, sorry Lettuce readers, I guess you didn’t get the memo because I’ve been trying to be a bit more positive around here…I suppose the end result is that I haven’t been posting much at all and that’s why you may not have known about the Anti Holiday Proclamation of 2011.

Let me recap: There will be no holidays recognized until I’m in the same country with my husband. I’m not out to tell anyone how to behave in their own homes, mind. If you want to celebrate then I hope you have all the blessings and happiness the season can bestow. But as for me and my house, we will pass, thanks.

I’ve been told on loads of occasions and by scores of people that I need to get over it. Simon will be here soon enough. We can celebrate everything that we’ve missed once Simon has moved. Um, no thanks. I’d rather just skip it and try again next year.

And no, for those who have hinted both subtly and otherwise, it has nothing to do with the fact that I’ll be 40 years old in a day and half. Nothing at all. It has everything to do with the thing I love the most being four thousand miles away.

So that’s what’s up at the Lettuce…basically a whole lot of purposeful nothing, until our birthdays, Christmas, New Year and our 3rd wedding anniversary are over. If that’s difficult for you to accept, and you feel the need to try to convince me otherwise, can I please invite you to focus on your own holiday season? I promise, I’ll be just fine here when you get back in January. Just. Fine.