#funnynotfunny

Mr. Allen, White County High School

Grief is a funny thing. Not funny ha-ha or funny “that is so interesting,” but funny “what the…”

My default for handling things that are generally unpleasant, sad, upsetting, or otherwise is not to handle them. I use what I call the Interpreter Protocol – I close the door on whatever it is,¬†build a wall to keep it out and try not to bother it again. And before any of you point it out, I know that isn’t healthy or at all recommended.

I’ve been saying to anyone that asks me how I’m doing since losing my dad that “I’m okay” and “really, I’ve had the last few years to deal with it” and “He hasn’t known me since about 2014 anyway” as though any or all of those phrases are the gospel truth. In fact, however, those phrases have been my protection – my wall that keeps my emotions safe from interaction with the pain and the guilt and all of those side effects that come with losing a parent.

The other day I posted a picture that I saw while at the farmer’s market that I thought he would have found terribly funny. I can still hear his laugh and see him wiping away tears that always came with something tremendously funny. At the moment, when I posted it, I was not sad. I was not grieving. I was happy that I could see something and have a pleasant memory of my father that made me and Simon laugh to share. But that laughter – that humor – that’s just another brick in my homemade wall.

Today I’ve had moments of profound sadness and I dealt with them the only way I know how – I ran. I pulled out a manuscript to work on, I cleaned out the makeshift food pantry in my desk because my summer hols from work are coming on, I did anything I could to stop thinking about whatever it was that set me off earlier. It worked – I cannot remember for the life of me what the trigger was this time.

But the sadness remains. I still miss him, even though it is not as visceral a feeling as the loss my mother and my sister are feeling. I miss him in the way that I missed both my parents during my first summer working at Camp Glisson, the first night of staff training week when all the fun and noise and laughter faded into the silent realization that I was alone in a new place with strangers. I miss him in the way you suddenly realize that something is gone as you pull away from university after graduation. This new reality is not that different from the one I was in a month ago, or a year ago, or even three years ago – and yet it is completely different and funny – and not funny, all at the same time.

The sign in question is the one on the right. Their tagline, “All Natural. No Doo-doo.
No kidding,” would have made Daddy laugh until he cried, I am fairly certain.

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.

Sunday Funny

Now, normally I don’t care for “pet speak.” I see it all over my greyhound message boards, from people trying to imitate how their dogs (and cats) would type if they could. Grammatical errors abound, spelling is horrible…and often you have to attempt to read the “message” out loud in order to get a clue as to the meaning (sometimes even THAT doesn’t work). To me, it’s degrading to our animals that I believe to be very intelligent. If they could speak English I don’t think it would look like that. It annoys me to the point that I don’t read posts at all from the people that “speak” that way for their dogs…too much work.

However…this is just plain funny, considering that I just watched the interview in question (well, a part of it anyway) this week. Seriously…you can’t make this stuff up.For more animals with English issues (but sound political statements nonetheless), click on the link in this post’s title or on YES WE CAN HAS in my blog roll. Funny, funny stuff.