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  • Complementary Psychosis

    November 30, 2006

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    The major difference between Antique Daddy and me is that he will patiently spend six hours fixing a 98 cent strand of Christmas lights whereas I would wad them up, hurl them across the room, stomp on them and then head to Wal-Mart for more.

    Complementary psychosis. That’s what makes this marriage work.

    Therapy With A Side Of Cold Cream

    November 29, 2006

    My mother-in-law, Cleo, has owned a cosmetics and clothing business on Main Street in downtown Tuna for more than 25 years. She has enjoyed a fair measure of success for a variety of reasons.

    One, she can flat out sell. That woman could sell the devil a Bible and then he would order a few more for gifts. Two, Papa George stands squarely behind her, encouraging her and supporting her every step of the way. Three, she understands that she is not selling clothes and cosmetics, but hope and dreams. And four, the good people of Tuna need some place where they can get therapy and a makeover at the same time.

    A bell tied to the front door, clinkles and clankles, announcing the arrival of each customer. She greets them by name. “Helloooow there! Come in!” she calls from behind the counter looking over the top of her rhinestone bifocals. She asks about their children, their grandchildren. She knows them.

    Usually the first customer of the day is some old farmer wearing bib overalls. That might seem odd if you were at the mall, but no one in downtown Tuna blinks an eye to see a farmer in a boutique. His wife has sent him in with an empty powder compact that he pulls out of the pocket on the front of his overalls. Cleo knows exactly what to replace it with without even looking at it. His wife has bought the same product in the same shade for the last 25 years.

    He pulls up a stool at the makeover counter to rest and chat. He leans on his cane and Cleo leans on the counter to hear the latest. His wife has cancer, but she is hanging in there he says. Cleo listens and offers him a piece of homemade fudge. There’s nothing that George’s fudge won’t make better. Cleo rings up the makeup and walks him to the door. “You hang in there now. We’re a’prayin’ for you,” she says as he makes his way out the door.

    Ever so often, some young gal will come in with her head hanging low. She’ll pull up a stool at the cosmetics counter and pour out her woes all over the eye shadow counter. Like a good bartender, Cleo listens. Her husband has left her. He took the dog. Cleo gives her a piece of homemade fudge and pats her arm.

    Fifteen minutes later, her woes have been replaced with a new face and a new blouse. When you’re living your life out in a country and western song, a bag of cosmetics and a new blouse will fix most all that ails you. She hugs Cleo as she leaves the store. “Keep your chin up gal!” Cleo calls to her. She has made a customer and she has made a friend.

    You can’t get that at the mall.

    The entire Tuna series can be found at the Best of Antique Mommy

    Your Personal Tuna Shopper

    November 28, 2006

    While I was in Tuna recently, as a service to my readers, I scoured the retail landscape looking for this year’s must-have holiday gift for that very special someone in your life who has everything. No need to thank me.

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    Today’s featured item is this one of a kind hand crafted item made completely of seashells! Place him jauntily atop the washer or beside the sofa on the front porch to welcome visitors. Nothings says You Are Special like a seashell Collie. $17.50. Shipping not included.

    Check back throughout the season for more weird crap one of a kind hard to find speciality items shipped directly to your doorstep from downtown Tuna.

    Antique Mommy
    Your Personal Tuna Shopper

    The Number One Reason You Don’t Want To Be Eaten By A Bear

    November 27, 2006

    Today Sean and I went to our local library. We like to go there several times a week. We choose a row of books and camp out on the floor randomly picking out books to read. The library for us is a literary buffet – we take a helping of whatever appeals to the eye and we don’t feel guilty if doesn’t suit our tastes and we don’t finish it.

    So, today, we pulled out someone’s version of The Three Bears.

    AM: When she woke up, she saw three bears staring down at her and she jumped out of bed and ran out of the house and into the forest and was never seen again.

    Sean: Why did she do that? Why did she run away?

    AM: Maybe she was afraid the bears would want to eat her.

    Sean: Yeah! Then she would be bear POOP!

    And then someone three rows over snorted.

    It’s Not A Party Without Properly Cleaned Switchplates

    November 26, 2006

    If you’ve been reading this blog very long, you know that Antique Daddy and I are both kind of obsessive compulsive. He is an obsessive wiper downer and I’m obsessive about orderliness. It would probaby be okay if we just limited this brand of craziness to our own house, but we don’t. And that makes us delightful house guests. If you want your bathroom linen closet rearranged and wiped down.

    Over Thanksgiving we stayed with Aunt Jean who is in her mid-80s. Her schedule rivals that of Condoleeza Rice. The woman is busy and does not have time to be bothered with a misfolded towel or a water spot on the counter. Enter the Antiques.

    The day after Thanksgiving, Aunt Jean hosted the annual gathering of the cousins. About 35 people descended upon her house like a horde of pimento cheese-eating locusts. Since we were staying with her, we “helped” her get ready for the gathering. By helped I mean that I arranged the sandwich tray so that it was symmetrical and Antique Daddy wiped down everything.

    The next morning as we were eating breakfast, we basked in the glory of the success of the event. Aunt Jean agreed. “Yes indeed,” she said, “The party was a big success and I think we owe it all the fact that Antique Daddy unscrewed all the switch plates and wiped behind them.”

    Zing! Oh to be so quick and snarky. I bow at her feet and pray that my son might have inherited some of her DNA. And that just a smidge might rub off on me by proximity.

    Blackened Tuna

    While many of you were up at the bobo crack of dawn on Black Friday scoring iPods for $3.99 and flat screen TVs for $30, I was warm and cozy in my bed.  I was in Tuna and in Tuna the stores do not open before 10am for any reason. Whatsoever.

    On the other hand…

    When I got to the shopping district in downtown Tuna, I pretty much had the place to myself. And the merchandise, well, let’s just call it one-of-a-kind and leave it at that. 

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    Who doesn’t want a Ronald McDonald head to accessorize that forgotten corner of the house?  I would suggest adding a cigarette to the the little screw coming out of his mouth for a bit of whimsey. 

    I did meet a nice family of mannequins (whom I may introduce another time, they were really quite lovely and eager to pose for pictures) and I scored a big bag of vintage linens and aprons for just a few dollars. No, I don’t collect vintage linens and aprons.  I have no idea why I bought them.  The mannequins talked me into it.

    Tuna Turkey

    November 22, 2006

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    Over the river and through the woods to Memaw and Papa George’s house we go!

    We are off to Greater Tuna for Thanksgorging! I’ll be back here on Monday with more Tuna Tales. In the meantime, if you’ve missed the Tuna Chronicles, you can read them here.

    Happy Thanksgiving y’all!

    Antique Mommy

    Mercy

    November 21, 2006

    As you know, we humans have a tail bone, yet no tail. Some would say evolution explains this.

    There is no evidence of humans with tails after the Smartassic Period. Scientists believe that what happened was that after a long day with a defiant and back-talking cave kid, some cave mama jerked a knot in his little tail. When God looked down and saw that, he decided that until someone invented Cabernet Sauvignon, tails were probably not such a good idea for the propagation of the human race. And so he started making humans without tails. I know this to be true, because if Sean had a tail I most certainly would have jerked a knot in it on Sunday.

    Sunday was one of those days when Sean wanted to see if he could make his mother cry. And if not for the fact that I am every bit as stiff necked and defiant as he is, I would have. I hope he learns, sooner than I did, that having a stiff neck makes life hard.

    By the end of the day, I was asking God to remind me why I ever thought I wanted to be a mother. It was all I could do not to slam dunk him into bed. After a long hot bath my neck and heart had softened. I crept into his room and looked down into the crib and saw that face, a smaller version of my face, sleeping the sleep of angels. I remembered why I ever thought I wanted to be a mother.

    Mercy. Just in time for another day.

    Baby Proofing

    November 19, 2006

    Three years ago, I may have made this claim: “I am NOT going to baby-proof my house. This is my house and my things. He will learn to live in my house and he’s going to learn the meaning of the word no. Babies are capable of learning the meaning of the word no.”

    Goodnight why didn’t someone slap some sense into me? Or some arrogance outta me? Hold on a minute while I slap myself.

    Ok. That was refreshing.

    Needless to say, we baby proofed our house. Not just to keep Sean safe, but to keep us sane. The second they learn how to roll over on their own, little babies begin plotting how they are going to tear your house apart. Studies have shown this to be true.

    As it turns out, babies are capable of learning the word no, but they laugh at you every time you say it. And that’s the real reason why you lock everything up, so you don’t have to be mocked all day long by someone who does not even speak.

    Some people hire those services that come in and baby-proof your home for you, but we did not do that because we are cheapskates do-it-yourselfers. And we did a half-assed job because we not very good do-it-yourselfers.

    Nonetheless, in their brief tenure, ugly though they were, the locks and gates did the job – they kept Sean safe and kept me from having to get up off the sofa 1000 times a day. From the den I would hear Sean trying to gnaw through the cabinet like some kind of hungry bear and I could rest easy and continue watching HGTV knowing I had cabinet locks from Wal-Mart to protect my little snookums.

    At some point, some time after Sean’s second birthday, we just threw in the towel on the baby-proofing since we were the only ones deterred by the cabinet locks and the gates.

    I had not realized until today how lax we had gotten about the locks. I was standing at the counter and Sean shoved me out of the way like a fireman rushing into a burning building. “S’cuse me!” he said, “I need to get in here.” With a serious expression, he held up the lock to show me. “This cabinet needs to be locked!” he exclaimed. He put the lock on and snapped it shut and then with his hands on his hips he admonished me, “I could get hurt!”

    After that rebuke, I stopped to consider the next step in child-proofing: itty bitty handcuffs. I wonder if you can get those at Wal-Mart.

    Back To The Archives

    November 17, 2006

    It’s a lovely day here in the Dallas metroplex, so Sean and I are going off to have a fun day together and leaving the computer behind. Which means that I’m going to schlufff off (I think I just made that word up) on you something from the archives. I find I do a lot of schluffing these days. But before that, there was this amusing exchange this morning:

    Sean: Mommy, can I drink this? (my coffee)
    Me: No, not until you are bigger, then yes, we will drink coffee together.
    Sean: Daddy don’t drink coffee
    Me: No (shaking head sadly) Daddy does not drink coffee.
    Sean: Then he will have to drink alone.

    * * *

    Concrete or Cheerios, It’s All The Same

    Haven’t we all, at one time or another said, “When I have a child, I’m going to do things differently than my parents.” And then of course, when you are actually entrusted with the responsibility of a pint-sized, uncivilized, miniature human being — you do all the things your parents did, and even make up some new stuff along the way. That way, when your kid grows up he can list all the things he would never do as a parent. It’s the glorious cycle of life.

    Really and truly, there are not too many things my mom did growing up that I plan to avoid. What I am discovering — the longer I’m at this parenting-thing — is that I hope to be more like her and not less.

    My mom was pretty laid back about most matters. It took quite a bit to push her buttons and even when you did reach that elastic limit, she would freely extend grace most of the time. This came to mind the other day when my son had dumped an entire economy-sized box of Cheerios into the sofa. I guess he thought if he stomped on them like grapes, I wouldn’t notice. As I was shoveling Cheerios out of the depths and bowels of the sofa, I really had to focus to keep my humor. My own mother would have laughed about it and then served a mixing bowl of Cheerios for lunch. I mean it wasn’t like he was free-form mixing concrete in the garage or anything like that…

    When I was about 9-years-old, I decided the garage needed cleaned out. The Neat-Freak Gene exhibited itself early on. So I hauled everything out of the garage, including a 25-lb of concrete mix, but since it was 25-lbs and I was 9-years-old and weighed not much more than that, I dropped it and it broke open. That’s when I had the great idea that I would hose it out… And the funny thing is that when you combine concrete mix and water – you get concrete!! I kept working quickly and quietly with the hose and broom hoping to get the mess cleaned up before anyone noticed, but I just kept making more and more concrete until finally my spaghetti-sized arms could do no more. So I ran inside and tried to tell mom that there was a growing mass of concrete in the garage. I now recognize that expression she had on her face. It’s the one where you hear a heavy thud somewhere in the house and then silence. Never a good thing.

    Anyway, I expected when Mom saw my handiwork that she would blow a gasket and blister my behind, but she just grabbed a shovel and made a nice little sidewalk beside the garage.

    Calm and creative. That’s the kind of mom I want to be.