Saturday, June 30, 2012

Smackdown: Chili's vs. TSA

Place your bets, ladies and gents. Who do you think is more likely to let you accomplish what you're attempting to, but without your ID? The Transportation Safety Administration of these United States, or a restaurant?

Betting is now closed.

I recently flew stand-by, which is a sad tale of woe no one wants to hear. The point is that I did finally, finally, finally, after two asthma attacks and my subsequent frightening of pilots (my grey appearance and completely soaked-in-sweat body, coupled with the wheezing and inhaler apparently isn't the norm around jetways)got on a plane to my layover destination. However, I got on that plane without my wallet. Which had my ID. Of course I did not know that at that time.

I arrive at Houston International, sit down at the Chili's, chosen from a wide variety of options because it serves a damn good margarita, and I'm planning on a nice dinner, beverage, book, relaxation. I have three hours until I hop on the puddle-jumper to The Sticks, a plane that is booked half-full so my odds are good I'm getting on it. In other words, I think that my hellish day is over. I hate it when I'm wrong.

May I see your ID please?” I've spent the day at DIA. I've been to two different bars there (I guess you are getting some of the stand-by story...sheesh, I should have packed my BREVITY card...) and I know full well that it's policy to card EVERYONE. I reach for my wallet. It's not there. I panic, I search; kind man next to me allows me the use of the bar space in front of him to literally dump out my entire purse and laptop bag. No wallet.

Maybe my ID is still somewhere tucked with my boarding passes (I had amassed a collection). Nope. Maybe it's in my roller bag, which I was forced to check at the gate which caused me a mad scramble of re-arranging items. Perhaps during a three hour lay-over, they'd be able to retrieve the bag, probably already sitting at the terminal, waiting to be loaded onto my tiny plane. I have hope.

However, the I-Have-A-Problem-With-My-Luggage Office is downstairs, near, baggage claim. I'm not saying that they've chosen a bad place for said office, it's just that it's OUTSIDE SECURITY WHICH I WOULD THEN HAVE TO GO BACK THROUGH WITHOUT AN ID. I'm not stupid, though by this time I will admit to being completely wiped out from travel, and asthma and my blood-sugar is dropping, so I ask for advice. From the supervisor of the entire TSA team. He says that getting back through security will not be a problem because, “Robert's gonna come with ya' honey, it'll be fine.”

I take this to mean I'll be escorted, and the magic gates opened, and I'll waltz right back through, like an employee. I hate being wrong, did I mention that?

Turns out that pulling the bag would “take a minimum of four hours ma'am” so I head off into the sunset, just looking for a margarita. I'm willing to skip dinner at this point since I only found a ten in my purse. I have priorities.  They are at this point TEQUILA.

An hour later, after being interrogated by the “good” cop and the “bad” cop, a phone call to some mysterious office, where questions to prove my identity were generated, and then my providing the correct answers to these questions, I am through security. Robert (big surprise!) mislead me. No VIP escort.

Back to Chili's. May I see your ID? “I'm sorry, it's our policy to card everyone. I can't serve you anything without an ID.”

Sigh.  I love traveling.  I hate stupid rules.

P.S. Don't worry. The Engineer overnighted me my passport so I'm good to go home tomorrow.  You've been hearing this all week, but I WILL respond to comments on Monday.  Thanks for sticking with me.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

WWCD: What Would Campers Do? Part 2

You need to read yesterday's post first. I'll wait right here. 

We decided to help. Clad in our pajamas, carrying only a flashlight, we set off in the direction of the trouble. It was by then about 4:30 AM.

We arrive on the scene, which is at a private residence between the campground and the road. The Engineer turns the flashlight on, shining it directly at the scene, as if to show that cops have arrived. A blonde woman appears, sees us, and at first she's angry, “What are you doing here?”

We say, “We heard you scream for help, so we came to help.” She collapses on me, in tears, and starts to explain the situation. “I want to leave, they won't let me, they've taken my keys.” She swears she hasn't had a a cocktail in two hours and is fine. I'm thinking to myself, “All evidence to the contrary, ma'am.”

Pretty soon another woman joins us. Let's call her “the wife”. She's somehow even drunker and she's alternating between, “I love you, how sweet of you to help!” to me and The Engineer, to screaming at her friend, “We're just trying to help you! You shouldn't drive!” I try to reason with them and offer a solution. You've tried reasoning with drunks, right? Fairly pointless. The Blonde can come sleep in our car (it's a 12 passenger van) and in the morning, we will give her the keys and she can leave. No takers.

Of course The Engineer, who is a reasonable man, realizes there is no reasoning with drunks (of any gender) and has taken the time to assess the situation while I've been trying to get “the story” from “the wife” and “the blonde”. Suddenly no one wants to talk, because out comes “the son”. He's all of maybe 24, scrawny, and you guessed it, drunk. He is full of crap and claims to own all the property surrounding “this house” and and “over there”, and “over there too”, and we have 5 minutes to leave his property. He starts counting down backwards from 4:59, 4:58 and staggers back to the house. I'm not paying much attention to that, because I have “the blonde” still in my face asking for help. However, she's switched to, “Why didn't anyone come help me, I've been honking this horn for two hours?” Um, yes, and once you screamed “help” we came. That doesn't seem to register with her. “Society sucks.” It sure does, ma'am. It sure does.

The Engineer says to “the wife”, “You have two choices here: give me the keys and we'll take her to our place or I'll just call the police and they can straighten this out.”
The blonde: “Yes! I want to press kidnapping charges!”
The wife: “No, I just got out of prison last week!”

Now here comes “the son” with a big stick. We don't bother to listen to how far he's gotten in his countdown, The Engineer just takes my hand and says, “We're getting off your property now and we're calling the police.”

On our walk back to the campground, we meet another man who has come to help. We join forces and head for the campground host, who surely must have some sort of communication capabilities. How could he effectively administer his hosting duties if he couldn't summon professional help if needed? You'd think so, right?

He has no communication system, but we do learn that there's an emergency call box a mile down the road, which is a far better solution than driving down the canyon until we find reception (probably about a 45 minute jaunt). Our new companion volunteers to wait at the “T” that send the cars either to the campground, or to “dueling banjo country”, and to show the cops where this whole fun incident is taking place. By the way, as we're walking back to our campsite, we're hearing more car-horn, more yelling. Sigh.

We find the call box. Have you ever used one? It has one button, which dials 911, and then after two minutes, hangs up. We had to call back four times.

Boulder County Sheriff Joe stops by our campsite to get a brief, um, briefing, and heads off to meet his partner who has already approached the property.

Joe, the sheriff, and former marine, stops back by our place after having assessed the situation. He says, “We're not doing anything now because they're all too drunk to talk to, but I'm going back around 2:00 this afternoon and will have a talk with them then. As he leaves, he adds, “Next time, your first action is 911. Never approach anyone on private property, especially in a situation this volatile.” The Engineer can't help but defend our actions with, “I delivered pizza for many years. I've seen it all. I wasn't worried.” Joe smiles and says, “Oh, so you're a combat veteran. That makes sense.”

What would you have done? And at what point? Is it weird that no one else except the three of us were concerned when a woman was screaming for help?   

P.S Still on vacation.  Thanks for your comments.  I'm really interested in how you would have handled this situation.  I promise to respond to all comments when I return on Monday.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

WWCD: What Would Campers Do? Part 1

What would you do?
We did the wrong thing, but I think I'd do it again, if I didn't know what I know now.

The Engineer and I are camping without kids, 20th anniversary trip. 3:15 am, I am awakened. At first I think it's because I need to use the bathroom. Soon it becomes very apparent that it's a car horn that woke me up, being used as a signal of some sort. Sometimes one long, sustained, minutes long sound, then silence for, oh just about enough time to almost fall asleep. Then it's a staccato, repeated over and over, for several minutes, and next, maybe 15 minutes of silence. Repeat cycle, yet with various, um, variations. Symphonic movements, if you will. Obviously, someone wants attention, but who? And why? And what, if anything, should we do?

We choose trying to go back to sleep, but that's impossible. Instead, The Engineer and I are discussing what might be happening, and what, if anything, we should do. Analyzing.

We don't think it's coming from somewhere in our campground, because we're on the road edge in the most secluded loop. Instead, it seems to be coming from the road, because we can hear cars driving by where we hear the ruckus. We know that there's no cell-phone service. Stranded motorists usually try to flag down a vehicle. They don't sit at the side of the road and honk. At least not sane ones, but we'll get to that later.

Soon the yelling starts. Drunk voices yelling unpleasant things, peppered with the F-bomb. Listening, (how can we not – we can hear them as if they're in the campsite next to ours!) it soon becomes very clear that it's some sort of “domestic dispute”. There are certain phrases that make that obvious. We feel a bit relieved in the decision making department, because that's the sort of business that's out of our control and we're not cops.

Suddenly, there's no more horn, instead, just a woman screaming, “Helpmehelpmehelpme won't ANYONE come and help me!”

Decision time, what would you do? I'll let you know what we did and how it turned out in my post tomorrow.

P.S Coming to you from The Sticks, TX.  Thank you McDonald's for the internet.  I'll be home Monday and respond to comments then.  

Sunday, June 24, 2012

MMM: Monday Movie Meme @ Nicole's Place, The Madlab Post

I'm totally loving Nicole's MMM: Monday Movie Meme. Especially since I keep kicking ass in the scramble games (Fridays at the A-Z Blog) and get to choose the topic for MMM. Last time I picked it was “uncomfortable dinner scenes.” Today I picked HUGE plot twists at the end. Gotta tell you, I'm totally torn between revealing the plot twist (because these are by no means new movies so it's not like the news isn't out there...) but as someone who records football games and answers the phone with, “Don't mention ANYTHING ABOUT THE BRONCO GAME, hello?” I also want to honor those who might have passed these up for various reasons. So OK, my post will have no spoilers. I will try to tantalize you into watching these. If you dare...they're not all scary, but the plot twists are of the goose-bumps variety.

The first movie that blew me away with the ending was “The Usual Suspects”.
Don't click on that link unless you're willing to perhaps see some spoilers!

My next choice is "The Sixth Sense."  (Remember?  To avoid spoilers, no clicking!)  I don't do horror. I don't do scary. I don't do scary movies with kids. However, I do like Haley Joel Osment. Bruce Willis is on my top five list. So I decided to watch it. So glad I did. It's worth the pay-off, which some say they saw coming, but I sure didn't. Watch it.

Not to get stuck on one director (though he is a favorite) I will pick as my third entry, “Signs”.   Like I've said before, I don't do horror, but this movie defies categorization. It's many genres at once, and one of the most powerful films I've seen.  M. Night does an absolutely masterful job of scaring the bejeebies out of us without showing us a thing. That takes skill. Lots of Hollywood types can make monsters which live in your nightmares (Aliens for example).  Lots of folks can scare you with the “just in the nick of time escape”. But to keep me spellbound for two hours wondering if it's all in his head or is it real takes some serious skill. He has them. See the movie.

And I'm off. Heading to the The Sticks, TX, to spend a week with a friend, and though I know her house has cell reception (and hence email) I do not know how many G's she's got, so I unless during my five hour layover in Houston I get a bunch of posts in the hopper, I'll have to catch up with you later. Hope you're having a great summer.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Worlds Colliding

I think I found the title of my book. My first book. The one I'm hopelessly slowly though nonetheless working on for BuNoWriMo.

Worlds Colliding

It's got a lot of personal meaning for me from an earlier portion in my life when I had to make the decision whether I was going to continue to play these parts, one person to each group of people, or I was going to come clean, become whole, become one, and let all my worlds collide and see who I really was. Still Am. I did it.  Not easy.  Especially not when it's your bridal shower...but I digress.

Of course it's not a new phrase, it's a stolen pop-culture phrase. You recognize it from Seinfeld. The guy who posted the exact clip I wanted won't let me imbed it, but here's the link:

It fits my book because Leah, who's a secret agent, not only operates, literally, on many worlds. It's sci-fi after all, but the whole secret agent thing is a bit more complicated than just being say an FBI agent. She's a secret agent infiltrating another agency...and everything is falling apart because the demons from her past are coming back to haunt her. Personal issues are clouding her judgment, causing her to behave in dangerous ways, and that all may just blow her cover, not to mention the conflicts that are building in the race to fill space with floating worlds...which in the wrong hands, could be on a collision course.

I've mentioned this before, but you might have missed the post. I wrote an unfinished, short story version of this in 2/11 so if you want to get a pre-view, you'll find where the story starts here.  There are five parts, links to the next one at the bottom of each.

So what do you think?  Would you read this book?  Do you have a title suggestion?  Did you have a nice Father's Day?  We spent it with my in-laws, and today I'm taking my Dad (and Mom) to lunch.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tina's Ten Tidbits #2

  1. Why doesn't open office realize that I write everything in papyrus 14 and just default to that? What is it with this world's obsession with Times Roman and why is it the default? (Yes, I've looked for settings to “customize my experience”, and this free, pretty good, but wonky from time to time software has none that I've been able to discover. )

  1. Speaking of “customize my experience”, that is a phrase that puts fear in my heart and gives me the creepy-crawlies. To me it's saying, “We're watching you, and we'll make sure everyone else knows every song you like, every video you watch, and tell you what you have in common with your friends.” No thanks, I know my friends, and I like my privacy.

  2. You scoff when I say privacy, thinking, “This girl let's it all hang out at Life is Good.” Yes, I'll blog about anything from anorexia to Zoloft, but that's my choice, my blog, and besides, my mom can't remember how to get here, so I'm pretty safe. (I have it book-marked in her favorites. Let's call her not quite so computer literate...)

  3. Computer literate? It's amazing what they're teaching our kids these days. “Don't worry Mom, I just have to submit it through google docs by midnight.” Jake wrote his own song on Garage Band. YellowBoy made a video, complete with voice over, graphics, and credits. By himself. Not like I could help or anything...And my favorite? It's called Infinite Campus and I can see every assignment and its grade, or as is the case with my former freshman, every MISSING assignment. If I'd had that tool when I was teaching, helicopter parents wouldn't have taken up so much of my time. (A helicopter parent is one who hovers, calls almost daily, wants notes sent home about what their child is missing, wants a behavior report every week, basically drives you nuts as a teacher. Now I can be one and no one knows ;-)

    And here's where I ran out of nice transitions...

  4. Would you eat glucosamine chondroitin that you found during a cleaning spree, but expired in 2008? I'm not going to. I do feel that some expiration dates are there just to sell more products, (diet soda expiring? Yeah right...) but when it comes to supplements, I'm not willing to gamble. Just getting my health back. I'm not going to be the one to ruin that miracle

  5. YellowBoy is at summer camp. As in sleep-over camp. As in he won't be here for a week. Not sure this mama is surviving this too well. He's my baby. Was. He's almost 13. Been weepy all week.

  6. Jake, on the other hand, is at summer school. Seems he had some trouble in his native language. You know, turning in assignments and things.

  7. I was really bothered in school when someone didn't like me. Why don't you like me? What did I do wrong? How can I fix it? Come to think of it, still haven't really gotten over that. When a follower stops following, I get paranoid and want to ask them why? Why don't you like me anymore? I mean, I've certainly stopped reading blogs, but I haven't gone there and removed my name. That might hurt someone's feelings.

  8. How are you doing on the Post A-Z Road Trip? I hit 15 stops before 5 am today. Insomnia sucks. (See previous post for more info.) At least I have something fun to do when I have to get up at 3:45 am or go nuts.

  9. A new season of Masterchef has started, a new season of Hell's Kitchen has started. I'm very happy. I love cooking. I love competition. Hence, cooking competitions are the best.


    What shows do you watch? Are you a helicopter parent? Do you un-follow? Do you obsess when you're un-followed yourself? What's your favorite font?

    P.S Between me hitting "new post" and publishing this, someone un-followed me.  Sigh.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

One More Won't Hurt You

It's a sneaky one,
this insidiously slithering
slowly sliding
silently hissing
satanical siren song
of promised relief

I don't need it
I don't need it
roll over
switch position,
scrunch the pillow,
draw the sheet

Now he's sliding up my spine
a vertebrae at a time
I want to scratch, want to grab
want to fling the fucker at the wall
and watch him shatter to nothing
I mean, he doesn't really exists,
so what harm is there in that?

I'm strong
I'm capable
I've come five weeks
It's almost over
It's almost over
It's almost over

It'll never really be over
I'll always be here
sure, I'll leave you alone,
like I did when you thought I'd left
for good
that's my best trick, you know
make you think you've won
battle over, let down your guard

That's my best time to strike, to
insidiously slither
slowly slide
hissing, silently
my satanical siren song
just take one
just one

Silently praying
I ride it out
Get up, read
watch, write, cook,
slither around the silent house
until he leaves.
For today.


I'm linking up at my new favorite watering hole, dVerse. Head on over for a beverage and some bards. Good times, all are welcome.


No, I didn't quit smoking. I quit amitriptyline which I've been taking for over three years to help me sleep. Withdrawal absolutely sucks big time. And it's so unfair. Over the years, I've taken just about every narcotic out there, and stopped taking them with absolutely no problems. Try to stop some stupid, practically over the counter “non-habit forming, really safe” med? HELL. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

BuNoWriMo! I'm in.

Some housekeeping items before I take off for the gloriously cool hills in our vintage camper.

  • I'll be gone all weekend. Off grid. Going to work on my book! Love writing outdoors.
  • It needs a title. If you'd like to get the gist of what it's about, I wrote an unfinished, short-story version of it in February of 2011. Please help me out and suggest titles. Genre: space opera, with a generous helping of spies, double-crosses, competing agencies, and set in 2149.
  • Yes, I'm once again attempting BuNoWriMo. You can check 'em out on facebook. It's like NaNoWriMo, only in June. I figured I don't have enough to do what with the house full of teenagers and all, co-hosting the A-Z Challenge blog, blogging here, the Post A-Z Road Trip, and general life responsibilities.  Seemed like a good time to write a book.
  • Have a great weekend!

If you were to write a book, or are writing a book, what genre would you choose?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Lovely Blog Award

Bloggers who have been reading me for a while know a thing or two about me and awards. Recently, I've been having horrid insomnia, so I finally gave up and got up at 1:37 am this morning (that was yesterday, just to be completely accurate) and was so thrilled to find that loverofwords who writes at Of Shoes and Ships and Cabbages and Kings has given me the One Lovely Blog Award.

 Thank you SO much, "love". It was just the pick-me-up I needed.

The rules are:
1.  name and thank the blogger (check!)
2.  List 7 facts about yourself (see below)
3. Award 15 other bloggers this award (Ok, gotta break this one, or I break one of my own: brevity) I'm awarding 9
4.  enjoy (this will not be a problem!)

There are a lot of facts about me in my “About Me” tab, so I'm going to add these there after posting. But keep in mind it's 2 am so my brain is NOT on its optimum setting. (That was yesterday when I wrote this.  Still stuck on insomnia setting, it's summer vacation and I got up at 5 am today.  Need I say more...)

I have a weird sense of humor so one of these facts will be a total lie. This is in keeping with what I promised when I started the “About Me” tab. I fully expect you to read everything under that tab when you're done reading this post. I mean it ;-)

I love to watch old movies I've seen a million times while I'm knitting. I love knitting. It's the most relaxing thing I know of besides sailing, which is a bit harder to come by in Colorado than on the Chesapeake Bay where I spent my summers growing up.

 "Lost in Translation" is my all-time favorite movie. Scarlett Johansson is my favorite actress and Bill Murray is my favorite actor, part of why Lost... is my favorite movie.  SEE IT.

When I was a kid growing up in Sweden, we played outdoors a lot. My best friend, Ann-Charlotte, was two years older than me and taught me many life skills, like making cheese by collecting various plants, grasses, and flowers, wrapping them in plastic wrap, and hiding them under a rock for a month. Yum.  Especially the dandelions.

If I could change one thing about my house right now, I'd paint these cabinets. (P.S That rack that wraps around goes under all 7 sections.  We have a lot of spices.  Yes, they are in alphabetical order.) (Don't laugh - how would you find what you wanted if it weren't for the alphabet?)

I'm a Food Network addict and my favorite show is Chopped.

I love kaviar. (That's the Swedish spelling) In Sweden it comes in a tube just like toothpaste. It's their equivalent of peanut butter, which Swedes find very strange.  I've found that Americans find my kaviar (Kalle's of course) strange.  WhatEVer!

It's going to be hard to pick winners to pass this award on to, because I have so many wonderful blog buddies, but I'll give it my best effort. In no particular order:

  1. Polly @ 5th Sister. She's an amazing poet and writer and great friend.

  2. Julie @ My Good Babushka. She's ridiculously talented in many forms of art, and I love her slightly snarky attitude.
  1. jenn @ quirky pickings. Speaking of snarky...besides, no list of lovely blogs could be complete without hers. I've been reading her for years, and she's not to be missed.  Yes, I've given her a lot of awards.  Sue me.  She's that GREAT.
  1. H @ Little Sealed Packages. I've given her several awards too, but she deserves every single one. Her photo blog is amazing.

  2. Nicole @ The Madlab Post. She's a film-maker and wherever I see her comments, they are encouraging and show that she's really thought about what the blogger wrote, and taken the time to really interact.

  3. Laurita @ Writing Away. She read every, single, one of my Swedish lesson posts. 

  4. Anna @ Anna's Adornments. She's a fellow Swede and also read all my Swedish lessons, AND helped me when I goofed. She rocks, writes, and makes pretty jewelry!

  5. Amanda @ House Revivals. We've been buddies 20+ years and she's the one who helped me launch Life is Good. She doesn't do awards, but there's no harm in putting her link here. Right, Amanda? She's the queen of crafts, an interior designer, and her blog is immensely popular.

  6. Hart @ Confessions of a Watery Tart. She's hilarious, supportive of all levels of bloggers, just published her first book, The Azalea Assault, which releases TODAY!  Go Hart!  Congrats, and best of luck.

    Thanks again, loverofwords.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Monday Movie Meme: Memorable Dinner Table Scenes

Today is my first time participating in the Monday Movie Meme, AND I got to choose the topic. I love to cook, so I chose dinner table scenes. Here's the scoop direct from Nicole of The Madlab Post, our hostess:

Share on your blog or in the comments section, movies that feature dinner table scenes that are either “uncomfortable, have weird food -- whatever made it stand out from the usual, ‘Let's put in a dinner scene so that the characters can discuss X’." Remember, to also visit the blogs of fellow Monday Movie Meme participants and if your film choices for the meme are on your own blog, link back to this (that would be Nicole's) blog post.

As I was contemplating what scenes to talk about, I realized how many there are that stand out. I also remembered my vow of brevity, so I've chosen three that are each memorable for their own reasons.

Weird food: Mermaids 

Mrs. Flax had one cookbook it seemed, and it was about party appetizers. If you look closely, even when Charlotte isn't talking about the strange items they eat, you'll see them in the background of scenes. Almost every meal had something on a skewer, and often ordinary items were cut into unusual shapes with various cookie cutters. Personally, I think that would have been a great way to eat as a child. My mother had a schedule of meals on a two week rotation, and that was predictable. I would have enjoyed a salmon spread sandwich in the shape of a fish, that's for sure.

Uncomfortable: When Harry Met Sally 

I think we all know the scene I'm talking about, but for those of you who haven't seen it, I'll try to describe this as PG as possible. Harry and Sally are discussing women faking feeling satisfied after certain male/female activities, and to prove her point that he can't tell the difference, fakes satisfaction. In the middle of a very crowded diner. The memorable line is, “I'll have what she's having.” (I love to watch the commentaries. It's Rob Reiner's mom who utters that famous line.) I'm pretty sure that Harry was uncomfortable while this all took place.

Stand Out: Talledega Nights
Movies with this type of humor aren't usually what I'm drawn towards, but a friend made me watch it and I laughed. A lot. This scene is my favorite: Ricky Bobby says grace to, “Sweet Baby Jesus”. Others at the table argue that Jesus is grown up and has a beard, etc, but our hero likes the baby Jesus best. “So tiny, yet omnipotent.” I couldn't help but include the video. The movie is rated PG-13, but this clip is PG, in my opinion.

What are some of the dinner table scenes from movies that stand out for you? Do you have a favorite? Most cringe-worthy? Please share. Or you can write your own post and link up at Nicole's place.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Summer House Rules

We've always been The House where the neighborhood kids gather. I love that. LOVE IT. Secretly wanted it since I started planning my family. I like kids, I really do. I also like knowing where my kids are, and what they're doing. Over the years, the concerns about their activities have changed of course, but being able to supervise them myself is still what I prefer.

We picked this house for many reasons, and one of them was that the neighborhood was in transition. The houses were built in 1974, and the kids who moved in here were for the most part now grown and gone, and the parents left behind were leaving for patio homes and places without kids running around. A whole new generation of families were moving in, and when we got here there were seven boys, all about the age of my boys, living on our short street. It's a semi-circle, and the only reason for someone to drive it would be to get home. There are other streets for cutting through the neighborhood. Perfect!

I do know that one of the reasons we're The House is that I feed them, so I thought I'd share my summer food rules, 2012 version, in case you are in need of some ideas for handling the hordes of teenagers camping out at YOUR house. Or so that you can laugh and say, “She's nuts. But kinda funny.”

  1. Use the paper plates and plastic cups I've provided, and hence, the trashcan.

  2. You must leave no trace of your presence behind. I should be able to look at my kitchen at the end of the day and wonder, “Did anyone eat anything?”

  3. Certain foods are off limits, but they've been marked. Eat them and you lose food privileges for a week. I don't want to start making dinner and realize they ate all the veggies for my stir-fry. With teenagers, I realize veggie stealing is only a remote possibility, but I also like to mess with them. “But Mrs. Downey, I don't even know what that is!” (lemon grass). No, I don't make them call me Mrs. Downey, but some of their PARENTS make them do that. I prefer they just call me Tina. It's my name.

  4. One pop per day. They are marked. You will NOT get away with it. And don't commit the unforgivable sin of taking my last diet Mountain Dew. You will be my manual labor slave until you drop dead. Or The Engineer gets home. He frowns upon this rule, not for the limiting of pop, which he believes shouldn't be in the house anyway, but in the slave labor. He pays them for chores.

  5. You must contribute one chore a day. If you can't figure out what that might be, there are large paving stones that need to migrate from the utility trailer to the pallets where we are gathering them for the eventual rebuilding of the back patio.

  6. I shop on Mondays. Whatever is in the house on Monday will not be replenished until the following Monday. Share and ration.

This was taken during Christmas vacation. They're all taller now, but that's about the only change. Mine are first and second from the left.

Are you The House?  What rules do you have?  Enjoy your weekend.  I'm headed for my continual thistle battle.  I'll show you the scars that are surely going to result later...