Unfortunately, we've had some trouble with crime lately in our little red-neck of the woods. There was an afternoon robbery off the country road that accesses my house. The thieves cleared my poor neighbors out.
We also had a very exciting adventure which I totally missed. A dude driving on a suspended license jumped out of his car and fled in an attempt to elude police.
What is wrong with criminals, today? Have they not seen enough Cops?
Because from what I can tell from that genius slice of reality, the po-po get their man EVERY TIME! Especially, when the bad guys are on foot! Come on Criminal! Think about it! They've got dogs and cars built for speed and helicopters with big lights and bad polyester pants that must help them run fast because there's no other explanation for that kind of ugly and they've got infrared detectors and don't forget, guns. Guns of every type. Just. Don't. Run.
Although, on second thought . . . yeah, run. If the bad guys didn't run, Dog would be out of business and I cannot have that. I gotta have my big-haired Dog and Beth fix.
So, I guess this Dumbass ditched his car a few country roads away from my house and decided my woods looked like a great place to hide. Cause you know, squatting behind a tree is no match for scent dogs and helicopters and the heat-seeking infrared gizmos.
When this Fugitive chase scene was going down, I was at the mall with Julia, Haley and their other BFF securing Julia a public school wardrobe.
Tori had convinced her father that a visit to the Land of The Mouse was necessary, so they were over at Disney where the Odawg was meeting up with them. My house sat all alone, filled to the brim with dogs and most likely poo.
Debbie, Haley's mom, called to tell me that our usually quiet piece of country had turned into one steroid-infused episode of Cops. I figured it was best to stay away, so the girls and I did what anyone would do when a fugitive may or may not be hiding in their house —we went to the Cheesecake Factory.
Since, my lovely company of ladies were all around the tender age of 11, I tried to keep the fact that there were police dogs trampling through my woods, with armed po-po and helicopters circling over my house, as light-hearted as possible.
Our 1 of 4 neighbors has a golf cart that they have been kind enough to let Haley take completely over
borrow every once and awhile.
I reassured the girls that the bad guy wouldn't get very far on foot over our appetizers of roasted artichoke, (mine) and fried macaroni and cheese balls, (theirs). (OMG, just writing the words— fried macaroni and cheese balls— has instantly engraved a cellulite dimple into each of my thighs just now.)
Suddenly Haley gasped, "What if he steals my golf cart?"
I reassured her with, "Hon, trust me when I say that would be one high-speed chase of 10 mph he wouldn't win."
And Haley said, "If he takes my golf cart, they better give him the death penalty!"
They caught the dude with the help of my neighbor who spotted him running into her part of the woods. (We have a lot of woods. We're pioneers like that.) She actually got to direct the helicopters through the 911 operator to the fugitive's very location.
Man, I miss all the fun.
Then, the other day in the middle of the afternoon, my quiet, unassuming neighbor came screeching up to my door in her SUV.
Now, when I say quiet and unassuming, I mean she and her husband don't throw huge parties where people are pouring out of the orifices of their house, like clowns in a toy volkswagen. I mean, I never hear them yelling and (unbelievably) I NEVER hear them cussing out their kids. And I certainly don't ever hear them having friends over to sit on the back patio for a little wine and sunset watching which turns into moon watching and more wine and the next thing you know it's 1:00 in the morning.
They have people over for prayer meetings.
So, anyway we don't see much of her and when we do, she isn't yelling random things like, "If you damn kids don't start picking up your damn crap, you are going to send me to an early grave. And when that happens I'm going to make sure your father takes the money for my cremation out of your damn savings accounts. You damn, freakin' CRAPHEADS!"
Things like that.
But, on this afternoon she was all a-speedin' and a runnin' to my door.
When I answered the door, she was wild-eyed and having trouble talking, she was so panicked.
What I finally figured out was, she'd gone to pick up her 3 kids from school and when she returned, one of her garage doors was open—the door she never, ever opens. Never.
I decided there were strength in numbers. I grabbed my cell phone, all the kids hanging in my house that day, the dogs and then I called Debbie's son, Robbie.
Robbie, Haley's brother, is like a brother to my girls. In our world, he is their brother, along with their other brother Nick. Robbie has known my girls since the day they were born. Robbie is one of the only boys allowed in the inner sanctum of Girl World upstairs in my house.
Robbie is now a big, strapping teenager and I figured strapping was in order. I called him up and told him to drop whatever he was doing and help us investigate the scene of an opened garage door.
He zoomed up in his truck and jumped out, his pants unzipped and hanging open. I was all, "Robbie, I didn't mean drop your pants."
And the poor thing said, "You said to come now, Aunt Joann and I was getting dressed for work."
He listens well.
So we all went into her house shouting out a warning to any potential robbers with our threatening gang of moms, kids under the age of 12, dogs, most of them puppies and The Pants on the Ground, Robbie.
We didn't find any robbers.
But here's the thing . . .
It would be safe to say on any given day, if you walked into my house unannounced, you might very well surmise that my house had been ransacked.
Unfortunately, this is the truest statement of my life.
But, my neighbor's house? No one had ransacked even a dust mote, because there weren't any dust motes. In fact, if I didn't see these neighbors on a daily basis going in and out of their house, I would have thought they were living out of a tent in the backyard.
Not only was her turn of the century house insanely gorgeous, she had brick floors, brick!, but there wasn't a single item out of place. Nothing. A big fat Zero! Not a newspaper thrown on the floor after a certain craphead hubby reads it and cannot seem to locate the table next to him. Not a single peanut butter jar with gobs of jelly mixed in the goo, sitting without its lid of course, on the counter. Not a crumb or 500 on the floor. Not a shoe thrown anywhere.
It was my wildest fantasy come true.
We discovered the closet door ajar and Robbie swung the door open wide in our search for robbers.
And get this, Internet, the shoes? They were all lined up neatly and the coats were on hangars, HANGING! They were not thrown on the floor because some little assholes are too lazy to take 10 seconds of their precious time and physical labor, that they must be saving up for something big because trust me when I say they don't expend a nano bit more than they have to, to freakin' hang the coat on its hangar.
Have you ever gone to someone else's beautiful abode, only to come back to your own home and feel like such a loser, slacker in the home department?
Well, after we returned home with my herd of dogs and gang of kids, more than half who weren't mine, I saw this: (Please excuse the quality of these photos. I had to take them with my laptop because I couldn't get the photos in the camera to upload and since My Hubby had the audacity to go to work, I could only cry until Tori had the ingenious idea to take them this way.)
Notice the Pirate Booty, spilling out onto the counter because we like our snacks stale, around here. And also the trash receptacle that must be too strenuous to close since it is ALWAYS open and the pack of Oreos with nothing inside, because it is also too strenuous to throw empty packages into the open trash receptacle.
Here's another angle of what my counter usually looks like, one giant trash hole.
Odawg is home for a couple of days. How do we know this? Perhaps it's her luggage sitting in the middle of the room or maybe her rolling laundry bin also in the middle of the room with clothes spilling out in an obvious attempt to get me to do her laundry.
And then inexplicably, a few minutes before the neighbor pounded on my door, I went to retrieve a pair of scissors and found this:
And I know you're thinking, "I'm not sure what that is." That, Internet, would be someone's dirty footie. Because, I'm assuming that's where we're keeping these nowadays, you know, instead of the laundry.
I looked around and exploded, with a giant, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?"
The group of kids looked at me and were all, "What?"
Because, of course, kids don't see mess. I know this, because I've inspected their rooms after they've "cleaned" them.
I said, "Look, look around you! Look at this dung hole! There's a freakin' footie in the scissor drawer. Did you see their house? Did you? They have 3 kids, too. And their house is immaculate." I hissed immaculate as if it were a holy prayer.
Haley, I guess in an attempt to make me feel better?, piped up with, "Well, that's because they don't let anyone in their house. I know, cause I try to get in there all the time. I ask every day, 'Hey, can I go into your house'? And they always say, 'No. I don't think so.' Aunt Joann, your house is a mess because you let all of us in . . . every day. So, that's why."
I related this story to my sister later, along with Haley's comforting logic.
My sister tried to reassure me that it was true, telling me my house was one full of life and happiness and light and drama and insanity— the kind of house that kids are drawn to. And then she asked me confidently, not even a question really— Wouldn't I rather have a messy house filled with life than an immaculate quiet one devoid of the fun and the kids who are just content to hang out with me, making a lifetime of memories in our happy, messy home?
I dwelled on that as I picked up the shredded tissue box with tissue bits, like fluffs of snow, blanketing my carpet, thanks to two little puppies. I let those words rest in my heart as I cleaned the kitchen for the 3,245th time that day. I thought about it as I snatched that stinking footie out of the scissors drawer.
And as I looked around at my dunghole nest of happiness, the answer came, "Naaawww. Give me a butler and a bubble bath and a pink martini and let those damn kids hang out at somebody else's house. Somebody get me Mr. French's number. Memories, my ass."
Today's Dooo Itttt Download: Oh, I love this song so much. "Wishing Well" by The Airborne Toxic Event. If you don't know this group, go to Itunes and meet them. You won't regret it.
As I picked up the bits of snowy tissue, I played this song over and over. The words could not be more apt. My wish—As God is my witness, some day my house will be clean!
"And the air is thin
And it blows through your skin
And you feel like something
Is about to begin
But you don't know what
And you don't know when
So you tear at your hair
And you scratch at your skin
You wanna run away, run away
Just get on the f*@#g train and leave today...
So you stand on the corner
Where the angels sit
And you think to yourself,
"This is it, this is it
This is all that I have..."