Crap Fairy Tales

Spring cleaning is downright frightening around here despite the superpowers of my alter ego, Crap Fairy. Frankly, I’d rather avoid it, but no matter how I slice it, the deep cleaning must be done.

During cleaning season, Crap Fairy sets aside the regular Modus Operandi of sneaking around secretly in the dead of night to commit grim acts of junk-removal and instead, starts viciously attacking crap in broad daylight. This is a dangerous move, I will admit, and I make sure Crap Fairy works hard not to get caught. Because getting caught mid-crap-theft by a preschooler leads to nothing but a fresh form of Perdition that I’d rather not discuss.

Realizing it couldn’t be put off any longer, last week Crap Fairy donned her wings and summoned up her partner in grime. Mr. Diaz acquired some rubber gloves along with multiple garbage bags and we headed out to conquer the large piles of crud that had built up in hidden places of the house over the winter.

You never can tell what has been hiding in the black hole under large pieces of furniture. It could be nothing. Or it could be noxious gas from a half-eaten jelly donut stuffed into a sweat sock that, once unearthed, lets off a smell that could dropkick a llama. We went in prepared for either. With gloves, goggles, brooms and makeshift hazmat suits, we took our stance and readied for battle.

And so it began.

The crusade against crap.

Protectively, Mr. Diaz gripped the broom and pushed me behind him. He slowly got down on hands and knees to peer into the deadly black chasm known as “beneath the couch.” Methodically he swept several piles into the middle of the floor, where we stood back to gawk at them.

“Death on a wheel,” He cried, “What is all this crap?” He had to take off his gas mask to ask this, or he would have sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher. Whaan-wan-wha-whan-wahnnn-whan.

We had dislodged several dissected Lego people -brutally dismembered by the pudgy hands of a toddler- a broken stapler, a semi-dried apple that bore a remarkable resemblance to a shrunken head and 3 sippy cups ROLLING ON THEIR OWN from chemical gases caused by bacteria-laden fermented juice.

There were multiple discolored plastic balls, an entire petrified waffle that had to be carefully excavated and examined by a team of archaeologists, 4 mismatched batteries, chewed-up popsicle sticks, a manila envelope filled with toilet paper and lettuce, along with half a pound of dirt.

We unearthed a bottle of dried Tabasco sauce, an unopened box of camouflaged bandaids, OJ’s black leather glove and enough hair to weave a Bieber-inspired toupee for Bruce Willis. Not that Bruce would ever want a second-hand wig weaved from crud infested hair. But if he does, I could hook him up.

Several Sunday school name tags stuck to the back of the loveseat silently proclaiming ownership of a stash of stolen goods. There was a busted Wii remote, the crusted guts of a cantaloupe rotting in a dixie cup, 2 paper dollars of Monopoly money, a few half eaten UNO cards, disfigured paper clips, a red poker chip, 4 dice, a roulette wheel and a small black book containing betting records and code names of an illegal toddler gambling ring.

I will be the first to admit that I’ve always thought my children were bright. But clearly it’s less than brilliant to slap your own Sunday school name tag across the black notepad being used to record unlawful betting as an infant bookie.

The entire morning went like this as we delved deep into the belly buttons of the house, sleuthing for prime Crap Fairy plunder and excavating stacks of dusty rubbish.

Crud. Crust. Carburetors. Crepes.

Trash bags were filled and the furniture repositioned. Young children stood locked-out on the back porch foaming and frothing at the mouth, wailing about their hoard of treasures being discovered and discarded. We smiled and waved and kept shoveling.

By the afternoon we moved on to the garage where we ransacked our own space from floor to ceiling the way gang members dismantle a loaded hot-rod. All our junk was hauled out and piled disorderly into the driveway, like a giant Red-nex-ican Garage Fail.

Neighbors pointed and sneered. Dog-walkers snickered. The mailman hid his eyes.

“Look Marty, the Diazes are having a garage sale for all of their trash!” Bertha said loudly to her Chinese crested rat dog as she walked to the mailbox.

Right. If a garage sale was hosted by vandals in hazmat suits.

We worked tirelessly through the day. The junk was sorted and hauled to Crap Fairy Land. Everything was wiped clean and reorganized. The house and garage were once again breathable and fresh. I snapped off my rubber gloves and goggles and looked around at our hard work. Mr. Diaz breathed a sigh of relief, which also happened to be his first deep breath since removing his gas mask.

And that brings us to the end of this story.

This Crap Fairy Tale has a particularly good ending, monetarily speaking, because I opened an Etsy account to sell Bieber-inspired wigs laboriously crocheted from davenport hairballs.

And business is good.

 

This post is also located at: Mom Resource Blog Party

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Goldfish are fun, but you don’t want to pet them.

While I was growing up, my folks didn’t allow typical pets at their house. I might be slightly emotionally scarred from the lack of animal exposure that my life needed back in the fourth grade.

The main reason my parents put the kibosh on pets was that my brother, Uncle Fun, had severe allergies. We weren’t left with many options when it came to finding an animal that he could be around without an injection of epinephrine. Around animals, his asthma would kick in to high gear and send him huffing into a ventilator for several hours, so as a general rule, pets were out. Uncle Fun couldn’t breathe around dust, grass, pollen, mushrooms, Pakistani leather, girls, lawnmowers, oriental carpets or anything that walked. I don’t know much, but I do know this;

All the good pets can walk.

After begging and pleading to share my room with any form of domesticated creature, my mom reluctantly agreed to let me have a goldfish. The excitement was tangible. I scraped up my dollars and coins and mom loaded me into our old, square, 1984 Honda Civic and off we went down to the local pet store.

A glass bowl was purchased along with some blue gravel, a green fish net and some food that looked like flakes of dried scabs. I chose a fat, silver goldfish, gave him (her?) a name and off we went toward home. My very first pet! How I loved that useless silver fish. For about three days I watched that goldfish swim around its glass bowl. I “oohed” and “ahhed” every time it did anything that indicated a modicum of intelligence. “See how smart Sparkles is?” I asked Uncle Fun, “Sparkles knows how to eat fish-food scabs! Isn’t that smart? And watch how he sucks up that blue rock and spits it out because he realizes it’s not  food. Isn’t that brilliant?” Uncle Fun stood in my room, nodded with a look of feigned amusement and puffed his inhaler.

For five months I cared for that anchovy until one morning I woke up to him doing the backstroke atop the bowl. My spirit was crushed and I padded off to school after going through a ceremonial flushing to send Sparkles off to the Great Fish Tank in the sky. My fishbowl was empty and so was my heart. The rain fell, the birds stopped chirping and oven baked fish-sticks lost their appeal.

I learned a very important lesson as a kid. Goldish are fun, but you don’t want to pet them. Being the caregiver of a mini aquarium just wasn’t in the cards for me, and after blowing through several replacement fish, I gave them up all together.

Petless I remained, until one year on a partly cloudy afternoon, I found a small brown lizard at the park with my friends. Refusing to part with it, I hid it in a shoebox and snuck it into the back of my parent’s car. There’s nothing more thrilling to a kid than a secret lizard pet. I hid him in his box deep in the bowels of my parent’s crowded basement. Everything went well until the very next morning when I discovered him missing. The little brown lizard was nowhere to be found. Despite my accusations, neither my mom or dad would fess up to finding it and releasing it into the wild.

Which means that a 23 year old lizard is still living rent-free inside my parent’s hoarded basement. I would bet money on a 400 pound Gila monster chillaxin’ inside their air-ducts, eating pizza and watching old VHS tapes loaded with M*A*S*H episodes. Without a doubt, that reptile is guarding piles of broken junk and picking his yellow lizard teeth with the bones of dead rodents.

By now, I would have made Uncle Fun go down to our folk’s basement to flush-out the elusive monster…

But he can’t.

Because he’s also highly allergic to piles of useless crap.

All this to say that when my little kids asked me recently for pet fish and lizards, my answer was a strong NO. My track record isn’t great and I don’t need anything else around here that poops. I won’t be buying fish unless they come battered and golden. And the idea of a free-loading lizard loose in my home makes me want to punch a gopher and breathe into a bag.

The kids have assured me that they’d never put a leash on a goldfish or let a giant lizard live rent free in the garage, and I’d like to believe them.

But if they don’t stop whining for pets, I’m sending them down to play “Monster Quest” in grandpa’s basement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I survived the roller rink, but the flamingos still scare me.

My petite 7 year old [Spunky] came to me whining because she never gets to go rollerskating with her older siblings at the roller rink. She made it clear that she is always left out. “Why can’t I go skating?” she complained. “I looooove rollerskating, it’s my favorite and I never get to go.” This was followed by pleading and grumbling about her entire life’s circumstances and the unjust nature of my parenting.

Because nothing is fair when you’re seven. *whine*whine*whine* Everybody else has things better. *whine*whine*whine* Being seven is just… the worst. 

Then and there, I made up my mind. At the next opportunity, I would take her down to the local rink for their after school skating session. I’m not often presented with opportunities to break my neck, so I figured now was the perfect time to get back on skates and take my eager kiddo to do some skating herself.

Eighteen long years had gone by since I’d skated and just like riding a bicycle, I imagined it would all come back to me. I have great childhood memories of racing around my old neighborhood on wheels and by the time I was a teenager I was quite good at it. How hard could it be for her anyway, I wondered. I loved it as a kid and I just knew my little gal would too.

Spunky squealed with glee at the news that she would finally get to do something she (apparently) loved so much. A week chugged by and off we went. We handed our dollars over to a man who was dressed in 1990’s camouflaged MC Hammer Pants, a dark zip-up hoodie and four large gold chains. He stamped our hands with black ink and gave us tickets for skates.

I escorted Spunky to the skate rental counter and they handed us run-down, smelly, overused-contraptions with wheels. 20 minutes later, after cinching, tugging and pulling, (then one last trip to the restroom) we finally had them laced on. We carefully maneuvered to the large wooden floor where highly-capable preschoolers whizzed by at warp speed, wicked grins plastered across their soft faces.

You never can tell how a young child will react after having synthetic wheels strapped to their feet. Spunky hung on to my arm and flopped towards the floor like a dying fish as her wheels made brief contact with the deck then leaped sideways. No matter how she moved, the wheels wouldn’t stay in contact with the rink and her feet went flying up into the air.

“I can’t do it,” she whined, “This is way too hard for meeeee.” Several other sentences came out of her mouth, but I couldn’t hear her over the noise of small wheeled-children and a blaring Taylor Swift song. There I stood holding her up while her legs flopped and rolled as she dangled perilously from my aching arms.  Against the thrashing, I tried not to fall over and break my neck.

The room was dark and lighted orbs gleamed out a revolving strobe of colors. Music pulsed from the speakers and vibrated through our legs. A man that could be Ray Romano’s identical twin was completely decked out from head-to-toe in safety gear. The man’s wife, also shielded in protective coverings, skated beside him. They rolled along the rink, methodically twisting their legs and skates into peculiar formations closely resembling the mating dance of flamingos. Flamingos wearing helmets.

I began having flashbacks of Uncle Fun and I as kids. Ever a proponent for safety, our mom purchased every piece of protective equipment available on the open market and forced us to wear all of it every time we came into contact with wheels.

But there Spunky was, flailing and floundering without any protective gear on, as her legs did twists and turns and she proceeded across the floor.

She was rolling, just not on her skates.

“You can do it,” I encouraged her. Normally my little girl adapts rapidly to every new encounter; learning new skills comes naturally and easily for her. Just not this one. And as her frustration mounted, I was forced to say “You may NOT quit. You MUST keep trying.” 

Because I figured a little adversity never hurt anyone.

Especially when the adversity is something you pay $30 for.

And so it was that little Spunky faced the adversity of the eight rubber wheels she was forced (by me) to wear. Eventually I caved and forked out a few more dollars to rent a cleverly designed walker-on-wheels made from PVC pipe that children pushed in front of them in order to retain their balance. She clung to it gratefully and we made our way around and around the rink.

Parents twisted and spun, pretentiously displaying their fine skating abilities to their offspring. Rink referees demonstrated spins and twirls in the middle of the floor beneath the rotating gleam of a large disco ball. Delighted grandparents on the sidelines photographed the blurry movements of their grand-kids from carpeted bench seats. Huge black speakers strategically placed in the far corners of the rink blared out “EVERYTHING IS AWESOME…”

Which was a downright lie.

Despite my pointers, I watched Spunky attempt to “skate” as she placed each wheel-bound foot up over the top of the other in an odd jog. She did this while her tiny frame twisted and flopped and her knees scraped against the floor. Her only saving grace was the makeshift plastic “walker” that she clung to desperately in an attempt to avoid being creamed by nimble toddlers wearing flame covered T- shirts that read “Hell on wheels.”

“I can’t do this,” she wailed, “I HATE rollerskating. Why did you ever make me come here in the first place?”

Why indeed.

The long minutes ticked by while we worked hard at learning basic (and important!) skating techniques such as:
-The act of skating only occurs when you’re on wheels, not your face.
-Standing in front of video-snapping grandparents is not the best time to loudly complain that your skates smell like old nacho cheese.

Little by little, Spunky chugged along with her “walker” and eventually began gliding instead of running. Her confidence elevated, her whining faded. Elsa stood on a cold mountain top and belted out “Let it Go, Let it Gooooooooo…” 

So she did.

The contraption that had been clutched so fondly was shoved aside and little Spunky spent the remaining minutes propelling herself around the wooden floors unassisted.

The session ended with some races, the chicken dance, and of course the Hokey Pokey- where numerous wobbly children gathered into a circle and tried not to topple like dominoes as they “shook it all about.” The referees cleared the floor, the lights came up and we all stepped out of our skates uttering groans of relief.

“I’m sorry you didn’t like rollerskating,” I said in the car on the way home.

“I did so, ” Spunky exclaimed “I loved every minute of it.” 

And there you have it.

Despite the ripped leggings, the bruised hip, two scratched-up knees, and a bleeding lip, she survived. If nothing else, we can take satisfaction in knowing that we overcame a challenging situation, spent time together, and ultimately left our mark on the world.

Because we photo-bombed at least 12 grand-kids’ photos.

Plus a video.