#21

Dear Diary,

Snailo was found! ‘Tis true! At the last water test, we found out that our tank water contains too much ammonia from fish waste (ew).  My darling husband took the natives to the pet store where they were instructed to do more frequent water changes to help eliminate the high ammonia levels.

During water changes I remove the tank decor to better clean the gravel.  As per usual, the casual beach bungalow and Hawaiian mountain waterfall were placed ever so gently on a towel on the ground.  As my husband siphoned the gravel, I began inspecting the tank decor, still in disbelief that Snailo could just “disappear” from the tank.  Using my phone’s flashlight, I looked in all the nooks and crannies, not seeing any sign of Snailo.  Resigning to the fact that I would find a dried up Snailo under a bed during our next move, I began putting the tank decor back into the water.

Soon, screams from my very excited natives are resounding throughout our walls.  Shouts of “IT’S A SNAIL! IT’S THE BLUE SNAIL” were muffled only slightly by my frightened screams of “WHAT HAPPENED?!”.  Once I realized I wasn’t about to be attacked by something scary, I looked down on the towel and see Snailo.  Just this little blue mound of a creature.  My instinct was to throw him back into the fish tank so I grabbed him gingerly, yet with a quickness, and plopped him into the tank…. only later realizing I should have checked if he was even alive.  No one needs a dead snail rotting in the water when we already have an “unstable environment”, as my friend S said upon my announcement that the fish water contains high levels of ammonia (she’s in charge of fish and snail sitting during our absences, so she’s justifiably concerned).

After placing the tank decor in their respectful places, of course trying not to place the decor on my once again two snails who reside in the tank, I decided to remove Snailo from the water.  I was desperately in search of a cup.  I excitedly yelled, “I NEED A CUP!”, in hopes that the nervousness of the potential mortality of a snail is not detected in my voice by my natives…. Not only did I not want to confirm the death of the snail because of my fears of shattering my native’s young minds, but I also did not want to do what is required to determine if a water snail is dead.  I’m an expert in this because I have extensively searched the internet for answers when Snailo appeared to not move during the day.  For those who do not know, and most of you seem to know, snails are nocturnal…. not dead during the day.

I digress….

My natives followed me hurriedly down the stairs to the kitchen to find a cup.  This could not be just any cup.  It needed to be small, never have been touched by detergents or soaps, and not currently occupied by curdled milk or moldy juice #kids.

I found a paper cup and decided it’ll do, though I’d have preferred a clear plastic cup, but ain’t nobody got time to run to the basement to find a plastic cup when a snail’s life rests in my hands.  I ran back upstairs, natives in tow, grabbed Snailo and started Snail Watch 2017.  It was much like watching April, only not for two months. #wasteoftime.

I filled the cup with tank water and tossed the snail into the cup.  The natives and I decided that the snail is either dead or shy.  My darling husband, being ever so brave, grabbed the snail to definitively determine if it is indeed alive or dead.  Typically, the procedure includes touching its “foot” and smelling it, neither of which I was looking forward to doing.

My darling husband determined that the snail did not smell foul (insert explaining the definition of foul to my natives), and plopped him back into the paper cup of fish tank water.  I decided that we need a clear container because the snail is now determined to not be dead, but just very shy.

The snail is transferred to a clear container for optimal viewing.  I told everyone to exit the room, I turned off the lights, and I waited. and waited. and waited.  I got bored and left the room.  Kinda like watching April #whydidwecaresomuch

I returned later to find that the snail had come out of his shell, and not in a “laying half way out of his shell because he’s dead” kind of way, but in a “What container am I in? This is not my bungalow” kind of way.  I threw in some fish food because I have no idea how long he’s gone without eating since he was stuck inside of that bungalow for so long.

By this time, my natives had gone off to school for the day, so I shouted with excitement to myself, triumphantly with my arms lifted in the air, “SNAILO LIVES!”, threw him in the water and continued with my day.

Sincerely,

Snail owning is rough.

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#20

Dear Diary,

Alas, we have lost Snailo.  He is no longer with us, and I wish that I could say that I found him laying peacefully at the bottom of the fish tank.  However, I cannot find him at all.  He is not in the casual beach bungalow.  He is not in the Hawaiian mountain waterfall…. and he is not grazing ever so slowly on the plastic blue plant.  Through two water changes, Snailo has been missing.  I am almost certain that he used the plastic blue plant to climb out of the tank, upon which he would reach his most certain death.  If not by being out of the water and finding himself on a bookshelf, but by the mouths of Franklin and Chuck.

Sincerely,

Oh, Where, Oh, Where, Has My Little Snail Gone….

#19

Dear Diary,

So ensues the endless cycle of emotions that is snail ownership.  Thus far, I’ve thought our two snails, Snailo and Snailee, were dead about three times.  This time I think it’s legitimate.

From day one I had to search the internet for exactly this phrase: “Is my water snail dead?”.  The answer on day one was a relieving, “No”.  However, today is another story for I fear they are indeed dead.  All the information that I gleaned from my day one search revealed the signs and symptoms of snail death, of which both snails are exhibiting at this current time.

As I write this, they are laying limp, half way out of their shells…. this was after searching the fish tank for them.  I found Snailee in the highest inside pocket of our Hawaiian waterfall mountain, and Snailo was found tucked inside the casual beach bungalow.  After using a fluorescent orange Lego sword to get them unstuck from their respective holes, I placed them near the baby carrot that they have not eaten since I plopped it in the tank four days ago.

Alas, the only thing that has proven me wrong is time.  An exercise in patience, of which I have none.

Sincerely,

Me.

#18

Dear Diary,

For some reason I am continually let down when my children snub their noses at our car, and fawn all over the rental cars we seem to possess quarterly.  Their shouts of “Oh, Mommy! Look at this cup holder! It’s so much nicer than our old cup holder!” make my skin crawl, for I’ve done a very poor job at letting them know how blessed they are.

I understand that something “different” may seem “better”, but I’d rather them be grateful for the car we have, and for the rental car that we are blessed to receive while their “old” car is being repaired.

Sincerely,

Remember, they are kids….Jennifer

#17

Dear Diary,

Rental car pick-up day is always an exciting day.  Especially when this seems to happen quite frequently.  The last time I had a rental vehicle it was due to a woman reversing in the drive-thru into the front of my car.  This time, it’s from a tree branch falling on the roof of my car.

Alas, Enterprise and I meet again.  As I sat in the passenger seat of Enterprise’s convenient “We’ll pick you up” vehicle and pulled into the rental center, I noticed a very beautiful looking Volvo station wagon not unlike the station wagon that I currently own.  When stepping inside with the ever-so-friendly Enterprise employee, I asked enthusiastically “Can I get THAT one?!”.  To which the employee responded, “Let me take a look at what your insurance will cover”……..after some clickity-clacking on the keyboard she stated, “Yes! They will cover it!”. OH HAPPY DAY!

We go through the process of filling out the forms, checking the vehicle for damage, and handing the keys to me.  I get inside and get acquainted with the vehicle then set out on my journey home.

I’m driving.  It’s going well.  I make a few stops for errands.  I’m driving some more.  I get to around the last 1o or so miles to my house while driving on a two lane highway.  I hear these random beeps.  *beep, beep, beep*……Hmm…..is that someone calling me? I look around at the instrument panel….No, it doesn’t seem to be the phone.  I’ll just continue about my business.  Then it happens again *beep, beep, beep…..beep*…..What in the world?

Hmmm…..I think this thing might be equipped with a lane departure warning….let me just go outside of the lane a little bit and see if it happens again…..Sure enough, *beep, beep, beep*……..

Yes….it is a lane departure warning…and that is how I confirmed the complaints of anyone who has ever driven with me that I am indeed a lousy driver.

Sincerely,

Oh, not again….Jennifer

#16

Dear Diary,

I am not often frightened by much, except perhaps the occasional spider.  A fear of which I am slowly overcoming.  Though, my husband reminds me otherwise.  However, what he does not realize is that I smacked a spider out of my friend’s hair while our natives played at the park.  Not once, but twice.  It was quite the resilient and stubborn spider.

I like to believe that my friend is eternally grateful for my act of heroism.  Might I add that she received my smacks against the head like a proverbial champ, with a wide stance and being fully prepared for me to kill a spider in her hair.  No fear of bug innards touching her scalp, just a warrior mentality to complete the mission.  I sprung to action without much hesitation, just maybe some leeriness about how hard to smack my friend against the head in order to kill this arachnid barrette.  The questionable nature of my smacks causing us both to scream “Is it dead?”, “Did you/I get it?”.  The first time, no, I did not kill. I know this because several minutes later, upon feeling the creepy-crawliness of an all too familiar 8-legged sensation, my friend jumped off of the park bench, already knowing what to do in preparation for the spider killing.  The second time I attempted to kill the spider is a mystery on if I actually killed the spider, but for the duration of our time at the park it had not crawled its way back into my friend’s hair.  I will count that as a success. Mission accomplished.  Team work. Yeah!

Spiders aside, it never fails that every morning when I pull open the curtains in the male native’s bedroom, I am startled by what appears to be a man clinging to his window.  This man is always accompanied by what appears to be a rather large fly, or heaven forbid, a giant spider.  I must use the term “giant” loosely, as spider size seems to be somewhat subjective when I am speaking about the matter with my husband.

After the initial shock, I come to my senses and realize that it is indeed a man clinging from my male native’s window.  Spider-man, that is….and this gargantuan spider is a smudge of dirt or oil from the window repair work performed over the summer.

I’ll let you be the judge.

Sincerely,

Oh God, what is that? Oh….never mind, Jennifer

 

%22Spiderman%22

#15

Dear Diary,

The canine family member is still escaping from the back yard.  This time, he had been gone for so long that my husband and I prepared ourselves for “the talk” with our natives.   You know, the talk explaining what a stubborn animal is capable of and how it’s his own fault if he gets eaten by a coyote.

Prior to this escape, as mentioned before, he had escaped many other times.  The hole in the fence is to blame.  I submitted a maintenance repair request only for the maintenance man to arrive and tell me that our housing department is not responsible for the loose fence.  Though, they own the fence and it is their or the contractor’s shoddy workmanship that lead the fence being loose.  He suggested that my husband place tent stakes into the fence to secure it to the ground.

Fortunately, being a resourceful  man, my husband had plenty of tent stakes, which are now firmly in place in the back yard.  How did this mutt escape, you ask?  After biting the fence without any luck, unbeknownst to me, he simply climbed over it. Like a jerk.

Of course the wild animal chooses to escape during the most inconvenient of times, like when I’m about to leave the house for something important.  This can range from picking my natives up from school or carting them around town for various dance lessons to getting coffee or trying to procrastinate.  #priorities.

In a separate but related event a few days later, my husband and I were eating lunch in our dining room. He looked out the back door and said, “Why does the dog look weird? Like there is something between him and me? SON OF A! The dog got out!”.  My husband, being ever so manly, hopped the fence with such agility that I thought surely he had been a freerunner in a past life.  He quickly grabbed the canine family member, tossed him back over the fence, then hopped back into our yard like a parkour professional.

Sincerely,

Thoroughly Impressed Because My Husband is so Tough, Jennifer

 

#14

Dear Diary,

The female native is home from school today.  She had a fever over the weekend and yesterday afternoon.  Per school policy, she has to be fever free for 24-hours before returning to school.  She has since perked up and began eating me out of house and home.  To ensure that she has no desire to stay home from school again, I decided to start vacuuming the living room while she was watching “Doc McStuffins”.  Her shouts of “MOMMY! I CAN’T HEAR IT!” only confirmed that I made the correct decision.

Her recent illness would explain her supreme lack of energy over the weekend.  She had barely enough energy to hold her head up, let alone perform her monetarily-based reward system duties, which include dusting the downstairs, with or without the use of Pledge.

My not-so-cat-like reflexes are thankful for this reprieve from her weekly chores, as I’m still slipping across the back door entryway from what she had done the previous weekend.  Yesterday, the postal service delivery man dropped a box off on our front door step.  I had momentarily placed my cross-stitching project down to bring the box into our house.  Upon picking up my cross-stitching and my return to sitting down in the chair, which is next to the back door entry way, I slipped across the floor landing with my knees butterflied open on the floor.  My female native mustering enough energy to ask, “Are you ok Mommy? You should be more careful”.

Sincerely,

Pledge Should Not Be Effective for This Amount of Time, Jennifer

Want to know why the floor is so slippery? Catch up here.

 

#13

Dear Diary,

There are moments in one’s life when one realizes they are not as young as they used to be.  That moment was Friday evening when my husband and I went on a double date with our friends across the street.  We thought it would be a lot of fun to go tubing at the local man-made snow hill.  And tubing we did.

The evening was going well. We opted to eat some dinner in the food court before sliding down the hill, then as per usual, we all went “to the potty” before making the trek to the tubing area.  I’ve found that since I’ve been a mother, I reference “the potty” more times than I’d like to admit.  My dogs go “to the potty”, my children go “to the potty”, and even I go “to the potty” even when my children are not with me.  On more than one occasion I’ve been out to lunch with a friend only to excuse myself because “I need to go potty”.

I digress. I ever so smartly dressed in multiple layers, which proved to be difficult to do in the reverse in a small bathroom stall.  Frightened that an article of clothing might fall into the toilet, I stuffed my gloves inside my hat and my hat inside whichever pocket I could find that would fit them.  I’ll spare you the rest of my experience undressing.

Once layering back up, we went to the ticket counter upon which I saw a sign that said “The tubes are running: FAST!”.  I asked the attendant, “What does that mean?”. She answered, “The tubes are running down the hill very fast…. but there are bails of hay to catch you at the bottom”.  Oh, well, thank goodness for that…Dear Lord, what have we gotten ourselves into?

My friend and I made plans to get hot chocolate on the way back home so that occupied most of our time when walking to the tubes, trying to hide my fear of crash landing into the bails of hay.  During the walk, it was unanimous decision between my husband, me, and our friends that my children would not last the death march to the tube hill.  Therefore, we will not take them until they are much older, as I do not want to listen to “I’m tired of walking” a million times until we reach the tube hill.

Truth be told, the walk was not bad at all, but for my winey children, it would be.  They’ll have flashbacks of when we went on the death march lead by my husband into the snowy trails at the back of our old house.  I can hear my daughter now: “Mommy, this is like the time daddy took us on that walk in the woods and there was no where to walk so we had to hug the wall or we’d fall down the cliff”.  Me: “Yes, honey, this is just like that, only no cliff. Keep walking”.

Once we arrived to the tube hill we all grabbed a tube and headed to the moving sidewalk-like contraption that takes you up the hill.  A teenager at the entrance, with his nose buried deep into his phone, could care less if we were not following the rules, which consisted of “no exposed hair”. My friend and I quickly tuck our hair into our hats, as if that teenager would care.  We are of an age where we follow the rules. #sorrynotsorry

After stumbling onto the people mover with our tubes and trying to maintain my balance, we all discuss how fast people are traveling down the tube hill. Yes, they are indeed fast….Oh my! Look, those people got spun down the hill….I don’t think my heart could take that. So ensued the conversation of my heart.

Little known fact about myself: I pass out on roller coasters. It’s something that developed as an adult, disappointingly. In the days of my youth I could go on any roller coaster and be unaffected. I would go repeatedly on them! Get done, run to the back of the line, do it all over again. It was amazing.  Until one summer, as an adult well into my 20’s, when the roller coaster ride came to an end and my heart started fluttering, I got nauseous, then passed out.  The car I was in was about 3 sets of cars behind the exit of the ride, maybe 100 yards away. When I woke up, my head was stuck in the shoulder harness and people were pulling me off, splaying me out on the platform. The park medics came and brought me back to their station. Upon returning home, I promptly made an appointment with a cardiologist.

Years later I thought I’d attempt another roller coaster, because well, time heals all wounds….or an increased vagal tone with PVCs….or not.  Though determined to be benign, it’s still something I need to be cautious of because no one likes to pass out in front of a crowd.

This story was then retold to each teenager at the helm of the tube lines.  When they asked “How do you want to go down the hill?”, I responded in my head with “Safely” but spat out “What do you mean?”. They would say “Do you want to be spun?”. I would say “No, just normal tubing, please”. They always had a smirk on their face like “Yeah right, I’m going to spin this tube so hard!”. So I said, “No really. No spinning. I have a heart condition” …. each. and. every. time I went down the hill I had to tell this because there was always someone new at the top waiting to propel me down the hill.  I’m sure I thoroughly annoyed everyone within ear shot of my loud voice.  By the end of the evening, one of the last hill attendants says, “Yeah, I’ve heard”…..

Back to the going down the hill for the first time: It was terrifying. I honestly thought the tube was going to flip over the snow embankment. Luckily, it did not.  When my friend and I got to the bottom, my heart was racing, I was dizzy, and thought for sure I was going to pass out. I took a breather, let my heart rate slow down, then did it again. It was fun, but it took a couple of times down the hill for me to realize that I wasn’t going to pass out.  We took turns going down the hill in different combinations: me and my husband, my friend and her husband, me my friend and my husband, then the most fun of all was me, my husband, my friend, and her husband.  The men, going down the hill backwards and my friend and I going forward. All linked up zooming down the hill. Ice spraying into our faces. It was hilarious and painful and exhilarating all at the same time.

However, we all decided that eating greasy bar food before tubing was a bad idea.  We were reminded of how old we are not only by our gastric upset but also by the gaggle of children wildly running by us on the human sized conveyer belt.  The excitement of tubing down a hill at lightening speed in their eyes.  My friends and I all looked at each other and agreed that we are indeed getting older.

If I didn’t fully realize my age then, it happened the next day when my entire body was sore. My shoulder hurt from dragging the tube behind me. My tailbone hurt from my body battering against the hard ground.  My legs hurt from walking up the small hill at the end of the people mover. I am getting old. And out of shape. But I can’t wait to do it again.

 

#12 Part 2

Pardon me, I had to take a break to yell at the older of two canine family members for biting on the fence in the back yard in an effort to escape. My voice has both death-inducing and escape thwarting abilities.

Now, I am saddled with the decision of writing my paper or attempting to purchase a Molten Chocolate Frappuccino from the local military-franchised Starbucks. Not to be confused with a real Starbucks, which will assuredly have said promotional drink.

Sincerely,

Thirsty, under caffeinated, and sweaty Jennifer