• Tina

I have superpowers. You see, dear reader, there are certain things that only I am capable of doing. It is not because I choose to do them, but because the people I live with have decided, I can do them. Are these tasks saving the world from evildoers? No. Do they need superhuman strength to be completed? No. They are generally things that nobody else wants to do, so they assume I will do them. Again, let me entertain you with my lamenting on the evils my family faces and can only be saved by me.

First, there is dog vomit. Our pitbull, Chubby, who is anything but chubby, takes several jaunts around the farm each day. He brings back some form of disgusting treasure with each jaunt and leaves it in the front yard under the arborvitae trees. On any given day, our front yard looks like a boneyard or the scene of a massacre. Chubby frequently ingests these disgusting treasures and ultimately ends up with an upset stomach. I, dear reader, am the only person in our home capable of cleaning up dog vomit. The Bibbed Wonder will see it, will throw a paper towel over it, will walk by it, and will keep walking out the door, leaving the lovely gift for me to find upon awakening and stumbling to make my coffee. It is always atrocious but add the random paw sticking up out of the center of the putrid mess or the occasional ear, and it is downright vomitous. When questioned as to why he did not take care of the mess, The Bibbed Wonder responds, "Uh, you know I can't handle that kind of stuff! It's just too gross!" Seriously, you stick your hand up a pig's vagina? You shovel hills of manure of all kinds, but you can't handle dog vomit? Sigh...because I have a stomach made of steel.

Also, I am the only one who can feed, water, and let the dogs outside. With my x-ray vision, I can see from across the house that their water or feed dishes are empty. Only I can hear them whine at the door with my superhuman hearing abilities and do their noisy little pee dance. As I stomp down the stairs, I see my bean lounging in the living room. When asked why she did not let the dogs out or feed and water them, she responds, "Oh, I would have, but I didn't hear them." Insert annoyed eye is true; I do have superhuman hearing.

I am also the only one in our home capable of putting laundry away. You see, laundry is my arch-nemesis. I do battle with the dirty mounds every single day. However, once I have tackled and defeated the mountains of filth, I foolishly expect my trusty sidekicks to put said laundry in its appropriate place. The Bean, who is the most intelligent and capable of children, cannot figure out a clothes hanger. Her dad, not any better. Even when said clothes are placed on said hangers and then placed on the bed waiting to be hung in their appropriate places, these two cannot overcome their fear of the dangerous clothes hanger and mysterious closet. I have called their bluff on several occasions to find folded clothes left in laundry baskets for weeks and clothes on hangers thrown on the floor to be riffled through when needed. It is a good thing I don't have the ability to blow things into outer space with my mind. These two would have multiple trips to the moon.

Next, there is the dastardly toilet paper roll. This seemingly innocent tool of necessity and cleanliness baffles The Bibbed Wonder and The Bean. That little plastic tube fitted with springs is beyond the comprehension of two of the most intelligent people I have met. Once the roll is empty, it is left on the springy tool of mystery, and a new roll is set on top of the empty roll. We are making progress. In the past, it has been placed on the windowsill or the floor. Small victories, we celebrate small achievements.

Lastly, there is the toothpaste tube of doom. When said tube is empty, it makes perfect sense to throw it away. However, in my home, with my superhuman powers, only I can replace the toothpaste, throw the old tube out, and put the new tube in the drawer where everyone can find it. I cannot tell you how many mornings an empty toothpaste roll has been left on my counter by my sink as a signal to replace the tube at The Bibbed Wonder's sink. When confronted with the empty tube at my sink, The Bibbed Wonder responds with, "I just wanted you to know we were out of toothpaste." Because with my superhuman powers, I am the only one who can open the drawer and get a new tube?'s tough being a superhero.

I love these mere mortals I cohabitate with and share a home. However, I find their chosen incapabilities excessively annoying. They are indeed fortunate I use my superhuman powers for good. There are days when these two could drive one quickly to the dark side. As always, dear reader, stay safe, stay smart, use your superhuman powers for good, and keep washing your hands...especially if your superhuman strength involves dog vomit...insert retching noise.

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  • Tina

As I sat watching my darling girl slurp her homemade vegetable soup and take large pieces of "homemade" bread, ball them up and pop them into her mouth, and then audaciously open mouth burp, I lost my sh**, as they say. The Bean and The Bibbed Wonder both got a tongue lashing for their lack of manners and polite decorum. Because we NEVER go anywhere, and we NEVER see anyone does not make it okay to lower one's table manners to that of a barnyard animal. They both went to bed early to escape my dagger bearing gaze and quick, sharp tongue. As I sat in now peaceable silence, I began to think about what has suddenly become acceptable since we have avoided going out in public. Following is a list of things that have definitely taken a nosedive since this pandemic began.

First and foremost, table manners have been in steady decline. Allow me to be honest; table manners were mediocre at best before the pandemic. Sitting still, not reaching across the table for whatever one wants, and keeping one's mouth closed while chewing has always been a challenge for The Bean. However, after being around several older children and a plethora of adults, my kid wasn't the worst. Welcome Covid quarantine, and suddenly meals became a free for all. Suddenly, talking with one's mouth full occurs on a regular basis. Reaching across the table is now acceptable. Inhaling one's food as if it will run away has become the norm. Burping, oh yes, burping is the newest and latest trend. It's not an accidental, uncontrollable bodily function. No, it is; I feel it rising from the depths of my bowels, embrace its journey, and open my mouth to allow it to escape. Then sheepishly say, "Excuse me!" makes it acceptable. Now, add The Bibbed Wonder clapping his hands and giving it a score of 1-10, and it looks like a tribe of Neanderthals. Sigh...I really do try.

Also, the care of one's personal appearance has hit an all-time low. I have lamented before on The Bean's aversion to soap and water. Not only does she wish not to bathe, but she also prefers not to comb her hair, brush her teeth, wear deodorant, or wear clothes that: match, fit, or are appropriate for the time of day. If permitted, the child would stay in her pajamas 24/7. Our morning routine now consists of my nagging her repeatedly to: wash her face, brush her teeth, comb her hair, fix her hair, put those clothes in the donate basket, find an outfit that doesn't clash, and for the love of God, find socks that match. These behaviors should be lather, rinse, repeat for a twelve-year-old. Sigh...she was more hygienic and fashion-conscious when she was a toddler.

Differentiating good clothes from play clothes is now a skill that seems to be lost. Living on a farm, we have our "good clothes." Good clothes are recent purchases, name brand, not covered in: soap, grease, bleached, holey, or look like they have spent their life in the barn. Barn clothes or play clothes are inexpensive clothes, have suffered a tragedy, and are no longer in the good category, items I will not cry over if they are covered in: poo, mud, grass stains, soap, grease, or bleached. The most recent example is the new Columbia snow gear. New pants, a new jacket, matching gloves, and boots are to be worn for sledding, snow play dates, and rare public appearances. New Columbia snow gear was worn to the barn to deliver baby goats, feed baby goats, and play with baby goats. None of those are on the "good clothes" list of approved activities. Now splattered with mud and covered with little hoof prints, The Bean wonders why I am loudly lamenting that I will never buy her anything nice again. As I stomp to the already overcrowded laundry room, she says, "They're just clothes, mom. They will come clean. It's not like we ever go anywhere anyhow." Insert angry face, loud sigh, and a look that sent her searching for her dad and his protection.

Lastly, the need to pick up after one's self is in the gutter. Again, picking up is not in the stellar category when there is no pandemic, and we actually entertain people other than ourselves. However, with the knowledge that no one will be coming over, our ability to tidy up and the desire to do so is at an all-time low. I didn't believe things could get any messier, but low and behold; I am proven wrong. Again, when I go on a tangent and demand things be put away properly, I am met with a confused gaze, and exasperated sigh, and the phrase, "It's okay, mommy. No one is coming over." Although true, it is no less infuriating and definitely not an excuse to take pride in being one curly tail away from a piggie. Let's be honest; the piggies are more neat and tidy.

I am unsure of what the outcome of all this time alone will be. I am enjoying our time together, and I truly do view it as a gift. However, I question whether our social skills will suffer and if we will again join civilized society without some embarrassing atrocity. Some day far, far away, she is going to go on a date. Is she going to talk with her mouth full, burp, pat her tummy, and ask for a score of her eructation? I shudder to think...

As always, dear reader, stay safe, stay smart, please mind your manners, and wash your hands.

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  • Tina

Well, dear reader, I have reached a point that I knew was inevitable. A point that I dread, but I will face it with staunch determination. I will muster all my courage, dig deep into my reserves, and brace myself for the next few months or longer. With sheer determination, I face the road ahead of me. You find yourself asking, "What is wrong?" Well, dear reader, allow me to tell you my plight of woe. I have decided to start growing in my hair. There, I have said it out loud. It is such a relief to get it off my chest. Whew!

I jest...mostly. However, I feel it is important to jest and laugh in light of what is going on around us. So, please allow me to entertain you with my tale of woe and my lamenting of the poor life choices I make. You see, this is not the first time I have cut my hair short. Over the years, I have dabbled with various lengths of hair and a variety of colors because A) I am impulsive and don't think things through from beginning to end B) Believe my parents...mostly my dad, stifled my freedom of expression as a child C) Like least this is what I am told, I forget how painful it is to grow my hair in after I have cut it all off.

As a child, I had long, straight, dark hair down to my waist. My dad loved my hair. I suppose as far as hair goes, it was a nice, healthy, shiny head of hair. However, I hated it. I wanted a cute cut, a style, something different than what I already had. I tried negotiating hair cuts with my parents, and I could only make them concede to bangs...sigh. You see, I have an especially high forehead. Not only do I have an especially high forehead, but I am also very fair-skinned. I looked very much like Wednesday Adams as a child. I have always had a somber expression add to the dark hair and fair skin; I could have passed for Wednesday's twin. I would have to sit on a chair in the bathroom while my mom and grandma combed out my hair. Of course, I had to be dramatic and caterwaul like they were murdering me. Then, my grandma would pull out the dreaded metal comb. It would stab me in the scalp like a million tiny needles. Not only did it prick my delicate little head, but it also dragged the knots tugging and pulling to the very end. Lastly came the braids. Oh, yes, the braids. My grandma would braid my hair into to even plaits going down my back. I would bawl the entire time...loudly and dramatically. My mom would say, "Oh, you will look like a little Indian girl riding your pony with your braids flying behind you!" I would bawl loudly with snot running down my face, "I don't want to look like a little Indian girl!" Ah, good times.

Move ahead to ninth grade. Finally, the summer before I went back to ninth grade, my mom gave in to my begging. She made a covert appointment with a grandma's hairdresser...and took me to get my hair cut AND permed. Oh, yes, the spiral perm. My hair was now up to the middle of my back and hung in perfect, tight, spiral curls. I loved it. My dad, not so much. He blew a gasket, went to the bar, got drunk, and then ignored me for two weeks. The only thing he said to me in that two week period was, "I can't believe you did that to your hair." and "How could you disappoint me like that?" It all seems ridiculous now. To be honest, it seemed ridiculous then. It's hair, it grows. After that first initial step into the world of hairstyles and fashion, I dove into the deep end. In college, I cut my hair short for the first time. I liked it a lot. I felt edgy, cool, and grown-up. Over the years, I have dabbled with different shades of dark chestnut to auburn. I even did the Sharon Osborne magenta. I hated it. Thank God Brookville got hit with a snowstorm, and I had a week off school to allow it to wash out before my students saw me! Kids are mean.

The last time I cut my hair short willingly was several years ago. I loved it for six months or so, and then I decided to grow it in. I remember distinctly telling Mandi, my stylist, if I ever say I want to cut my hair short, slap me across the head. She has indeed slapped me across the head a few times. This last time of hair butchery was not impulsive, nor fueled by residual rebellion; it was necessary. However, I knew eventually I would become weary of my short coiffe and allow it to grow. Because I am now old-ish, I have begun taking a vitamin for my hair. The Bibbed Wonder is annoyed with me because he says I can't remember to take my medication daily, but I will religiously take a vitamin to help my hair grow. Silly man, he truly has no idea the depths of a woman's vanity. I think my depth may go even deeper than most.

I know I am facing several long-lasting episodes of bad hair. The very act of growing out my cut out ears is going to be painful. I know I will have to look like an Amish boy with a bad cut. I know my bangs are going to have to hang in my face and drive me to the brink of insanity. I know I will have to walk around with a "ninth-grade bob" for an extended period of time as my layers all catch up to one another. It will, indeed, be a painful process. My goal is to get the painful parts mostly out of the way this winter while we are still hiding from the virus. Until then, I will fantasize about a ponytail and using the new curling tool I got The Bean for her birthday. One must have goals to strive for.

As always, dear reader, stay safe, stay smart, be kind to those with bad hair, and of course, wash your hands.

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