Double Wide Diva Goes on A Diet

Chub Rub (n):
1: A form of skin irritation caused by the friction between the fat thighs of a girl who loves her brownies and hot dogs.

This is what it’s come to folks.  The Diva is up in the high digits on the scale again.  When I say high, I’m talking Mt. Everest.  And what do you find when you reach the top of Mt. Everest? Elastic pants and under-boob sweat.  I haven’t been this big in a while, but I know the signs of the Big Girl Blues. And they are popping up everywhere.

Sign #1: Nothing fits.  Even Mr. Awesome’s pajama pants are strained to the limit when I try to pack my butt into them.
Sign #2:  You’ve eaten so much, you forgot what all you ate. Laying on the couch reading a fitness magazine the other night, I tried to remember all the stuff I ate that day.  I came up with about 10 items.  Then as I thought about it, I had forgotten one stop at Chik Fil A, two sugar cookies and a large mocha shake.  That alone was more than my daily allotment of calories.
Sign #3: Your kids guard their plates like ravenous wolves to keep you from eating their food.
Sign #4: You pull up to the gas station and a million cups and wrappers fall out when you open the car door.  You know, fast food bags, cookie wrappers….giant empty chicken buckets from KFC.
Sign #5: You sweat.  Like a horse.  From putting on your shoes.  And they’re flip-flops.

You get the picture.  So it’s time to get back on track.  I signed up for a work out and diet program with a coach this week.  I gifted all the junk food in my house to Kevin the Wonder Goat because let’s face it, goats don’t have to fit into skinny jeans, and I am completely incapable of just throwing food in the garbage.  (READ: I will pick it out and eat it later.  Seriously.)

So, I had my first workout with my coach yesterday.  It went well.  Of course I had to coat my inner thighs with Ultra Sexy Shimmering Body Powder from Avon to avoid starting a fire with the friction.  It worked so well my coach asked what perfume I was wearing.  Little did she know the sweet smelling powder was sparing her from a visit from the fire department.

After the workout I felt great and luckily I was in a hurry to get back to work for a meeting – so I didn’t even make my usual post-exercise stop at McDonald’s for a “smoothie”.  (READ: An ice cream cone served with a large cup of fruit punch.)

Obviously the food is going to be an issue.  I am an expert exerciser.  I can do exercise with the best of them.  However, no amount of gym time can make up for a breakfast of egg rolls and half a leftover pizza. And I’ve lost weight before.  Lots of it.  Like probably 500lbs combined.  But unless we renew our minds daily (sound familiar?), old habits sneak in.  Then you’re back on the Triple Chin Train….next stop: Diabetes Valley.

So I’m starting today – and I will keep you posted.  So far so good.  But it’s super early in the morning and I haven’t had a chance to screw up yet.  Say it with me, “FOOD DOES NOT CONTROL ME!”  Now put down that doughnut! (But don’t throw it away!)

 

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What’s Bugging Me

This isn’t really a post about bugs.  I am not afraid of bugs.  I am quite fond of bugs actually.  Except when they eat my garden.  Then I must destroy them.  And to clarify – when I use the term “bug” I am referring to regular insects. NOT SPIDERS. Spiders are demonic creatures from hell and I want them all DEAD.  I HATE THEM.  They are not bugs.  They are the stuff nightmares are made of.  NIGHTMARES.  Are we clear?

 

Anyway….I was planting flowers last weekend in front of my front porch (thank you Mr. Awesome for my new shovel.  Such a romantic.) when I noticed ants crawling up my leg.  I swept them off and ran inside to get the bug spray.  Have I mentioned Avon has THE BEST bug spray with SPF in it?  No DEET so it’s safe for kids and it protects you from the bugs and the burn.  Sorry,  I digress….I was in the house less than five minutes, yet by the time I returned my shovel was completely covered in ants!  I mean COVERED.  I looked around but couldn’t find the ant hill anywhere.  Where were they coming from? 

 

And then I saw it.  A trail of ants pouring out from behind the trellis at the bottom of the porch. I crouched down and took a closer look.  What’s this?  Surely not.  Some child who shall remain nameless had decided that rather than go inside to throw away their half-eaten package of powdered sugar donuts, they should shove it through one of the holes in the trellis to be forever hidden under the porch.  And this discovery led to more treasures.  A small DQ blizzard cup, the scrunched up wrapper from a chocolate Easter bunny, numerous paper plates with assorted food stuffs left behind, two or three popsicle sticks, canteloupe rinds…the list went on and on.  It was like a time capsule full of items from every cookout we’d ever had.

Why do my children insist on putting things where they don’t belong?  Socks in the toy box, movies in the sock drawer, food in the bed, barbie heads on the ends of pencils?  This is not a new development.  These kids were experts even as babies.  Beads in nostrils, rocks in diapers, entire rolls of toilet paper down the toilet…You would think by the ages of 10 and 13 they would be over this habit.  Their closet is overflowing with things that are NOT clothes.  How hard is it to put things in their place?  Clothes go in the drawers or closet.  Food goes in the kitchen.  Dirty clothes go in the hamper.  This is not rocket science.

 

My BFF has managed to turn her kids into super neat little girls who thrive on order and cleanliness.  I have turned mine into trash-hoarding dirt monsters.  Her kids can’t stand to be dirty.  It takes an act of congress to get my kids in the tub.  Her kids LOVE to clean – they fight over the chance to use Windex and dust spray.  My kids don’t even know what Windex is.   How do you get your kids to cross over from pig to pristine?  Give me some advice in the comments!

Trailers and Tornados

I like excitement.  I like trying new things.  I like the smell of rain and the sound of it on my (basically tin) roof.  I’m from Arizona where rain is very rare, therefore I have been programed to really savor it when it comes.  So when we moved to Texas, I really fell in love with all the rain and the beautiful greenery it produces. That said, I DO NOT LIKE tornados.  The part of TX we live in gets them pretty frequently.  I never really paid much attention to them until we moved into our mobile manor.  And truth be told, I should have paid more attention to the kids when they were telling me about the tornado drills they were doing at school and all the stuff they learned.  Cuz I was unprepared during our last tornado warning.

Picture it – Texas – 2014.  The Doublewide Daughters are visiting their dad for the night.  Doublewide Dog and I are fast asleep in our tin can abode. I’m dreaming of french fries, he’s dreaming of the hot little jack russell next door.  Thunder claps so loud it shakes the house and a picture falls off the bedroom wall.  This should have been my queue.  Yet the thought of getting out of bed, putting on pants and driving to SuperTwin’s folks’ house to wait out the night out in their storm room is just asking too much. I lay there and listen to the impending doom ascend upon my little trailer house.

First it sounds like the roof is coming off.  Doublewide Dog and I huddle together on the bed.  He is whining and I’m not sure if it’s because he’s afraid he will get beat for being on the bed, or if the storm is scaring him. Either way it gets on my nerves and I toss him out of the room after about 5 minutes. Just as I make my way back to the bed – my back door gets sucked open by the wind and lightening lights up the entire house just as bright as day.  I run out to close it and realize the latch is broken.  Rain is pouring in, I’m wearing an old white Seinfeld t-shirt and no shoes and all I can find to tie the door closed with is an old resistance band that came with some stupid exercise video.  Since the power is out I am holding a flashlight in my mouth, trying to hold the door shut and tie it at the same time.  The dog sits 6″ away barking his head off at me.  This is how he helps.

I climb back in bed and the noise is deafening.  Thinking this is the sound you hear when a tornado is coming, I check my phone and see that sirens are going off in the north part of town.  “Now, where do I go during a tornado again?  Is it the tub?  How about the closet?  A room with no windows?  Crap.”

Dog and I climb in the tub.  Lightening flashes just long enough for me to see my garbage can blow past the bedroom window.  It slams into the front porch with a loud crash.  Dog hunkers down and pees in the tub.  This is how he helps. I jump out of the tub (too late) and grab a towel off the rack swearing that if we survive this storm, that dog is going to the pound and I am moving to a brick house.  I cop a squat on the toilet with my pillow in my lap and wait.  Twenty minutes later….silence.

 

When I get up in the morning, my yard looks like a lake, my porch furniture is scattered all over town and the goat has a dazed look in his eyes.  I drag myself into the shower, forgetting the “accident” from the night before until long after I’ve lathered up and just decide not to worry about it.  Too tired.  When I get in the car I realize I had left the driver’s side window down so I sit in a puddle and have to go change my skirt.  I drive to work on a towel covered with a grocery sack and survey the damage along my way.  Two or three trees down, lots of power lines swinging in the breeze, a few damaged roofs…nothing too terrible.

 

But just a couple miles away in a neighboring town hundreds of people are waking up to lost loved ones, missing pets, homelessness.  I hear it all over the radio. People pleading for help in finding their baby, an elderly man whose wife was killed in the tornado, a young couple that lost everything.  I thank God that he spared me and my children.  I call the radio station to make a donation.  I walk into the office and pour myself a cup of coffee and smile at my friends.  They are here.  They are safe.  God is good.

I Don’t Want to Talk About It: Death of a Garden

Remember that post about my awesome little garden that Doublewide Dog destroyed, yet I replanted it and I was so optimistic about its future?  Yeah – that dream died.  Add it to the list of my domestic failures.  Like the time I tried to make my own laundry soap and ended up turning all my clothes gray, and the time I decided to crochet a baby blanket and wound up with a 6′ long scarf.  And of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the time I tried to paint a mural of Raggedy Ann in the kids’ bathroom and they refused to go in there until I repainted it because it reminded them of Chucky from the horror movies.

The garden’s demise was the result of a combination of things really.  Bad weather (hail will really mess up tiny seedlings), a late chill (do NOT trust the Farmer’s Almanac), the nibbling of sneaky creatures…it just wasn’t meant to be I suppose.  But in true Doublewide Diva fashion – I have found a way to make use of my considerable garden  investment.  SHALLOW GRAVES.

That’s right.  I tilled over my two garden plots, remounded them in the shape of body-sized pods, stuck a sign between them that reads, “Trespass Here & You’ll be Pushing Up Daisies”, and then for good measure – stuck a shovel in the ground on the other side. I find it important to let the neighbors know what kind of crazy they are dealing with if they show up unannounced.  So far, no unexpected visitors.  Also, Doublewide Dog and Kevin the Wonder Goat enjoy sunbathing in the freshly tilled manure.  Win-win!

Besides, SuperTwin and her folks both have superior gardens where I can get all the produce I need without having to toil under the sun all day.  So, here’s to summer squash, zucchini, peppers, onions, corn, purple hull peas, tomatoes, lettuce – and not having to grow them myself!!

Bread and Butter VS Bread and Butter Pickles?

I love to bake.  Seriously – it’s like Valium for me.  I can get in the kitchen and whip up something sweet and soft and hot out of the oven and the world melts away.  Unfortunately so does my figure.  Because when I bake – I eat.  And when I eat – I REALLY eat.  Go big or go home, right? 

 

So I decided rather than starting a nightly alcohol habit, I needed to update my baking therapy with recipes that were less sugary and more healthful.  This was a mistake.  Because ingredients in “healthy” food are expensive.  And if you ruin the recipe, you just lost your gas money on a loaf of bread you can’t even eat.  Then the goat turns his nose up at it and you find yourself sitting on the porch with a 20lb loaf of bread and 4 hours of your life totally wasted.

 

So, here’s my advice – PICKLES!!!  (Yes, I’ve been reading again.)  Did you know you can pickle just about everything??  And most pickles are like ZERO calories.  NONE!  I read an article about how vinegar is great for weight loss and how pickling vegetables is a great way to preserve them.  Of course you can also pickle eggs, pigs feet, watermelon rinds and other disgusting options…but these things do not have mass appeal and let’s face it – you don’t want to be the chick who bites into a pickled egg in your tiny office at work.  Everyone who comes in there will think you have a serious problem with gas. We’re talking chemical warfare.  Gross.

 

So, in honor of summer and all the beautiful cucumbers popping up in gardens all over town – here is my favorite EASY pickle recipe.  I have used this one for a few years and it’s never let me down yet.  Give it at try and tell me what you think!! (P.S. – Yes, there is sugar in this recipe.  No, I don’t care.)

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
    1 packet pickling spice
    1 tablespoon salt
    2 cups white sugar
    6 cups sliced cucumbers (A mandolin makes the cutting go WAY faster.)
    1 cup sliced onions (Optional, but I like it)

Directions
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring vinegar, salt, pickling spice and sugar to a boil. Boil until the sugar has dissolved, about 10 minutes.
  2. Place the cucumbers and onions in a large bowl. Pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables. Transfer to sterile containers and store in the refrigerator. (I buy the small Kerr jars and this makes about 6-8 jars full.)
  3. Give them to everyone and tell them you got the recipe from me!!

 

If you are really daring – take your pickles on a picnic!!  Check out the super cute picnic items on my website!

Single Male Goat Seeks Love Interest – Serious Inquiries Only Please

Some ideas come to us like bolts of lightening.  They zap us with their brilliance.  We can’t wait to take action, to bring the idea into reality.  It’s like the instant urge you get to spend your tax return on a disco ball for above your waterbed.  Or to get a tatoo of a certain someone’s name emblazened across your chest.  These ideas are just to urgent for words.  This is the type of idea that resulted in the adoption of our very special goat, Kevin.

 

The resons I felt it necessary to own a goat this time in my life are as follows:
A) I had no lawn mower – goats eat grass.
B) I read a book about making goat cheese.  Seemed easy, so why not make some and sell it  FOR MONEY!
C) I hate to throw away food, goats will eat any ol’ scrap you toss out. (Or most goats will.  Good goats will.  Not my goat.)
D) Goat babies are cute and they can be sold for MONEY!
E) Doublewide Dog could use a buddy to play with outside.  He’s turning into a hermit.

 

So, armed with a deep sense of urgency, I set out to find the perfect goat.  And I did.  Bought him from a sweet young man who lives in Arkansas and is keeping a whole farm going all by himself. Super impressive.  Mr. Awesome hauled him home in the back of his truck for us and the rest is history.  But now he is ready for a bride.  Preferably one with an intrest in eating lots of grass and bearing lots of goat babies.  Here is his ad in the personals section:

 

Pushy, Picky, Smelly Yet Handsome Goat Seeking Long Term Relationship
My name is Kevin The Wonder Goat and I am interested in finding the love of my life.  I am 3′ tall with grey hair and demon eyes. 

 

Interests include:
Eating grass (only the good stuff that grows over the septic tank), knocking my water bucket over multiple times a day, standing on the riding lawnmower in order to stare through the kitchen windows at my people ALL. DAY. LONG., eating any form of sugary cereal or pastry, head-butting small dogs who get too close to my sugary cereal or pastry, pooping and peeing in my barrel (where I sleep – cuz I know that’s a turn on), and laying on the porch in front of the doggy door so the dog can’t get in or out causing him to have a full on panic attack and whine all day and night.

 

The perfect girl for me:
Non Smoker, interested in birthing my children, not too interestred in sugary cereal or pastry, lots of energy for disrupting the neighborhood with late night noises, must have your own bank account. 

 

What I have to offer:
One rusty barrel, one old water bucket, 2 acres of grass – including LOTS of dandilion greens, various items to stand on while staring in the house windows, the occasional escape to the neighboring filling station where you can find MANY treasures in the garbage cans.

 

If you or any goat you know fit the bill for Kevin’s future wife, please contact me.  He is very anxious to begin this next chapter of his life and provide his mama with some new sources of income.  Also, he is starting to look at Doublewide Dog with a glint in his eye. 

kevin

Doublewide Diva Gets in the Garden

Let’s talk about gardening.  Not because I want to, particularly, but because I feel the need to warn you about the dangers of it. You could lose your mind. Seriously.   Let’s rewind to the days when I was still married, lived in a richy-rich neighborhood, drove a nice car, ate out EVERY DANG DAY and pretty much never thought about what I was feeding my kids.  My friends and I labored over lunch plans, bought our food at swanky boutique markets with gourmet products that no one can pronounce, even went to wine tastings and learned about things like bouquet and umami. (Don’t ask.) 

 These were the days when I was too busy to cook. Traveling for work meant I bought lots of frozen dinners for the ex to heat up while I was away – and when I came home, I was pooped so we ordered take out from the local Thai restaurant or whatever the weekly paper offered as far as pizza coupons.  The kids were happy, the ex was happy….I was….fat…but happy. 

 Okay, fast forward to my current life which is much different (but still very happy).  I’m a single mom living in a trailer house in the middle of a pasture in a remote corner of Texas.  My financial status is not what it once was. (Read: I’m broke. Like buying-dented-cans-at-Cash-and-Save broke.)  Also, I have more time on my hands than I used to so I actually took up reading again.  Go figure.  I read numerous books on the subject of health and nutrition and the way our food comes to us and the many pitfalls therein.  This made me very aware of what the Doublewide Daughters (DWDs) are eating. Especially the oldest one who believes that the four food groups are chips, soda, chicken nuggets and French fries. The kid drinks ketchup out of the bottle.  For real.  KETCHUP AS A BEVERAGE. I knew immediately it was time for a change.

 I grew up on a farm.  So I figured, hey – if Grandpa could grow food for the family, why can’t I?  Let me tell you why.  First of all, Doublewide Diva is a white girl.  Strikingly, horrifyingly pale.  The sun is not my friend.  There isn’t an SPF high enough, trust me.  Secondly, allergies rule my life.  I can tell you what is in season by what part itches.  So working in the great outdoors poses some problems for me.  But by-golly, I was bound and determined to prove to the DWDs that food does not magically grow on grocery store shelves.  And also there’s the thing about being broke.  A pack of 79 cent (NON-GMO, please) seeds will feed us all summer.  Two birds, one stone. 

 So the youngest DWD and I spent one rainy afternoon putting seeds in old butter tubs and Styrofoam cups and showered them using a watering can that I fashioned from a used tea jug that blew into the yard the night before.  I got all the soil using a Lowe’s  gift card I had been holding onto since Christmas.  So far this was a super cheap endeavor.  The oldest DWD tore herself away from the computer long enough to ask if we were planting any potatoes cuz she wanted to have free French fries, then she left us to our farming.

 Three weeks later, we had 24 little containers of baby plants in varying degrees of green and red.  They were so cute!  Doublewide Dog sniffed them daily and had to be reprimanded for lifting his leg on them at one point.  So we put them up on stools in front of the windows to protect them from his advances.  We protected them like they were our babies.  We talked to them, we watered them and gave them names.  Not just broccoli – but Bob the Broccoli.  Karen the Carrot, Peter the Pea Plant.  These guys were family now.  The best kind of family – the kind you can eat. (Wait, what?)

 Except at some point you have to move them outside.  Into the garden.  Where fruits and vegetables grow best.  The problem with this is – I have no shovel, pick axe,  roto-tiller, etc. And I would rather die than pay to rent one.  And for some reason the stars did not align for me to borrow any of these tools either.  (Mr. Awesome was working and couldn’t get to town to bring me his.)  So I did what any would-be gardener did – I googled the solution.  And I discovered “lasagna gardening”.  That’s right folks, it’s a method of gardening that is named after LASAGNA!  How can you go wrong?!?!  No tools needed, just layer the dirt, compost and newspaper.  Plant your stuff and wait for the food fairy to arrive. 

 This was a dream come true! So while the DWDs were at their dad’s I got to work.  In my fenced back yard I laid out a total of 224 lbs of soil, compost and manure.  By myself.  With no help.  Except Doublewide Dog who kept rolling in the manure and then racing into the trailer to rub his back on his “dog bed” (read: old towel covered with hair dye stains.)  Two hours later, I was done.  Ready to plant my babies!!  I carefully brought each of them outside and laid them out in the positions I wanted to plant them in.  I walked the perimeter of the beds, figuring the exact location each one should go. I openly asked them who they wanted to live by.  Turns out Karl the Kale has something against Lisa the Lettuce so they had to go on opposite ends of the bed.  Who knew coniferous plants were so dramatic?

 Then, disaster struck.  Turns out separating seedlings that have grown together in a Styrofoam cup since infanthood is not easy.  The roots tear, the dirt falls all over the place, the leaves pinch off and get all droopy.  But my Gardening for Dummies book specifically said not to skip this step or we could suffer a terrible condition called root crowding.  I labored on, as careful as possible.  Giving each plant my close attention as the sun began to set and the temps dropped.  By the time it was all over I was using a flashlight, wearing two coats, a scarf and a knit hat that one of the DWDs brought home from school saying, “A friend gave it to me.”  Lice be damned – I was going to finish this garden!!  And finish it I did.  I collapsed into bed at 10PM with the smell of satisfaction mingled with cow manure lingering on my pillow.

 The next morning was glorious.  The sun came pouring into my window.  The birds were chirping.  I took a hot bath, got ready for work and headed out to water my garden on the way to the car.  Only the garden was not there.  Oh, there was a dark spot that looked like it may have, at one time, been a garden.  But there was no defined shape, no edges, no nice little mounds of veggie babies. Doublewide Dog was nowhere to be found – until suddenly I saw his beady little eyes and dirt-covered body peeking out from under the porch looking guilty and exhausted from a night of frolicking in his new poop pile. All that remained were the scattered corpses of Karen the Karrot, Bob the Broccoli, and their kin.  I cried. I screamed.  I sat on the trailer steps and called the humane society to come pick up that stupid dog.  They didn’t answer.

 Then in an act of defiance, I got up like Scarlet O’Hara and stood waving my fist at the sky and declared my unwavering commitment to avenge my veggie babies!  I called into work. I drove to the store.  I bought a shovel and went at it full force.  And that my friends, is how the Doublewide Diva invented the FRONT YARD garden.  Where Doublewide Dog can’t get to it.  And the neighbors can see me in all my sweat pant-clad glory bringing food to life.  I salvaged most of the plants, re-sowed the others, and have so far made a complete come-back.  No actual food yet, but I see it coming.  And who knows, having the garden in the front yard may be a good way to advertise for home-grown produce- I could make some bucks.  Blessings in disguise folks, blessings in disguise.  (But the dog is still dead to me.)

 

Mr. Schmidt the Fence Man

We live in a small town. Really small. There are three companies in town that do fence work. The time has come to put a fence in so I can bring the dog home from the ex’s. Not that I’m super thrilled about it, it’s been nice not having his stench around the house or his snoring at night. But the ex is not happy and has been keeping him out in the cold which affects his arthritis. And this is causing the daughters great distress. So, in the interest of family peace, I have decided to shell out the final dregs of my savings account and put in the dang fence. Early last week the question became, “Who do I hire to put in the dang fence?”

I called all three companies. Company A said they would get back to me with an estimate and never did. So they can forget it. Company B gave me an estimate that seemed fair enough. That was until I called Mr. Schmidt. First, let me tell you how the phone conversation went with this descendant of Methuselah:

“YELL-OW!!?!?”
“Hello, I may have the wrong number – but I am looking for Best Fence.”
“Yep, you got me. What can I do fer ya?”
“Well I am looking to fence in my front yard – can you give me a quote?”
“I reckon I can – where ya at?”
(I proceed to repeat my home address at least 20 times cuz the dude is DEAF.)
“Okay ma’am, I will come out today and call ya back. Good mornin’ to ya.”

An hour or two later he calls me cuz he can’t find the place. I get him straightened out and he tells me he found it and will call me back with my estimate. And when he does, I am surprised because it’s a good $300 less than Company B. I say go for it, he tells me he will have to finish the job he is currently working on first but next week should be free. He says, “Ain’t nobody in town more thankful fer yer business ma’am. We’ll do ya right.” We have a deal. I hang up and wonder if he will live long enough to install the fence next week.

Interestingly enough at Bunco night, the girls from town all mention Mr. Schmidt when I say I am looking to put in a fence. They say he (and apparently there is a son) are local fixtures and that I can’t go wrong with him, even though he is approximately 100 years old. So now I know he’s reliable and will get the job done in one day.

But ah, enter boyfriend. Boyfriend has a superman complex. He feels that EVERYONE is out to cheat me and that he can do any sort of project just as well – BUT MUCH CHEAPER than anyone in the world. He may be right. Actually, I am pretty sure he IS right. Boyfriend insists he can do it for half of what Mr. Schmidt is proposing.   It will only take us two days of digging holes, mixing concrete, cutting chain link fence and driving posts. Piece of cake. However, I want it done NOW and I don’t want to HELP with it. Remember the two weekend porch situation? I’m still picking sawdust out of my ears. I tell boyfriend it’s not fair for me to use him like an on-call handyman. But boyfriend won’t hear of it, HE is putting in the fence. We start in two weeks. Just in time for my birthday. Yay me.

So, I did what any frustrated girl in a hurry would do. I lied. I waited a couple days, then told boyfriend I called Mr. Schmidt and told him I couldn’t afford the fence, and that when I told him this, he made me a deal to do it for next to nothing. Is there guilt? No. Not yet anyway. I am taking the boyfriend out to dinner and a movie to remind him what it’s like to date me instead of just work for me. And I’m going to bake a plate of cookies for Mr. Schmidt and leave them on the porch to thank him for saving my relationship.   Cuz let’s face it, we are one project away from an MTV couple’s therapy reality show.

The Little Porch That Could

When you buy a trailer, they don’t tell you that you are going to spend half of what you paid for the dang thing just to put a porch on it. They also don’t tell you that you can’t just go to Lowe’s or Home Depot and buy a porch and have it delivered. Cuz that would be waaaay too easy. You have to actually BUILD a porch. Like from wood and stuff. So here’s whatcha do:

You get you a handy boyfriend (must have his own tools), a very cold and windy weekend, small children to run around and take off with your hammer and other important items, plus a very tight deadline (read: Bunco night with the church ladies). Then you proceed to bribe said boyfriend with sugary treats and the promise of a steak dinner while batting your eyelashes and showing a little skin (like, maybe your hairy winter knees – cuz they love that). When boyfriend agrees to build porch you head to the seventh circle of Hell, also known as Home Depot.

I would have prefered Lowes actually, but I had a gift card to Home Depot (thank you Aunt and Uncle) and also, they have a hotdog cart at the entrance, and let’s face it, I’m choosing hotdog over no hotdog every time. (Except here in Texas they call’em weenies. Weenie Cart. Weenie Man. You get the picture.) Then you proceed to fork over your life savings for wood and screws and concrete. You pretend you don’t care because boyfriend is standing there in his manliness doing math in his head to calculate the rise on your soon to be stairs and you don’t want to crap your pants and mess him up. But you are dying inside thinking about how much AVON makeup and wine you could have bought with that money. Stupid porch.

Then you haul it all home and begin the building. Boyfriend calls in the brother in law, they do lots of math, you sit on the ground drawing hotdogs in the dirt. The wind blows so hard your head hurts and your fingers are numb. Occasionally they ask you to hold something or hand them something, or go to town and get some illusive screw that can only be found on the planet Mars. But mostly you are no help and the children sense this which is why they keep asking you for snacks and other stupid things like a puppy and a birthday party in Dallas.

The day ends, the porch is half done, you have a screaming earache and unidentifiable filth beneath your fingernails. The boyfriend comes in and you are both too tired to bother with dinner so you order pizza and the children eat it all before you can muster up the strength to get off the couch and get you some.

The next day after work, the boyfriend comes back and the two of you tag team the floorboards until dark. This is your chance to show off your superior drilling skills. Except you suck at drilling and you keep stripping the screws and breaking off the drill bits. Boyfriend kisses your forehead and gives you a simpler task, something like cleaning out the back seat of his truck. You gladly accept because you have had enough embarrassment for one night. The porch floor is done, and come Saturday, you get to put on the rails and steps and post caps. You would be thrilled, except this will require another large donation to Home Depot.

Saturday comes around, the boyfriend and brother in law show up bright and early. You bribe the kids to clean the house for $50 while you finish the porch. You are forced to use the drill again but this time you seem to have a better time of it (maybe because it’s warmer and you can feel your fingers this time.) 30 minutes before the church ladies show up, the porch is finished and you all race to clean up the yard and slap some chips and Velveeta on the table. No one asks why you have sawdust in your hair or why all your nails are broken off and dirty. Bunco is a success, your porch looks great, and the neighbors are all jealous cuz boyfriend bought solar post caps that light up at night. You swear off all future projects until you either win the lottery or have blackmail on a general contractor. And that my friends, is how the Doublewide Diva got her porch.

Doublewide Dog

Dogs are funny. They don’t like change. But they have no choice so they deal with it. My dog has been moved around so much he doesn’t know which way is up, so he has just learned to be happy wherever he is. We should all be like that, but we are people and not dogs, and we have to go to work and pay the bills and nobody feeds us and lets us lay around all day chewing on ourselves and licking our butts. So we are not like that. We are discontented all the time. Maybe it’s the butt licking. Maybe that’s the key. Who knows.

Anyway, Doublewide Dog (or DD) has issues. He is old. He is almost blind and pretty much deaf. He has 4 teeth. For real. Four teeth. He is a weenie dog, so it’s important for them to keep a healthy weight to avoid back problems. He weighs about 200 lbs. Seriously. This dog is fat. I put him on diet dog food, I started measuring the food in the morning and night, we take him for walks (or drags, he hates going for walks. Lazy buggar.) But he’s still a fatty. And to top it off, he has congestive heart failure. So he gets two different medicines twice a day and eats some crazy expensive dog food now just to keep from keeling over.

DD is a lover. He really is. But nobody wants to love on him because he stinks. His breath would offend a maggot. He has bad teeth and the vet says it’s just a daschund thing. I have spent every last dime on dental bills for him until I finally just told them to yank them and leave my 401K alone. Also there is a problem with gas. No matter what we feed him, he stinks us out of the house. His stomach makes the most horrifying noises all day and night. He burps like a sailor and the other end ain’t much better. The dog is GROSS. But he’s our gross and we love him so we are hauling him along for another adventure in our trailer.

There’s only one problem. There’s no fence at the new place. And I don’t have the money to put one in for a while. So DD is going to have to spend a little time with Daddy (the ex) who just purchased a new home with a fence. Ex does not really like dogs in the house. Ex does not really like people in the house. (This is where Thing One gets her social skills.) I have agreed to supply DD’s meds and fancy food while he is living with Ex. But have not gone into detail about the daily regimen and the fact that DD has bad arthritis at this point and can’t really be out in the cold much. Also, DD seems to be having a little trouble making it outside in time, cuz he has peed in front of the doggy door a few times in the recent past. This will not fly with Ex. Ex is a bit of a clean freak. Have you seen Sleeping With the Enemy? The bathroom towel scene? Yeah, I lived with that for 12 years. This arrangement has disaster written all over it.

So the question is, do I put poor DD thru the possible torture of going back to Daddy’s and being left outside day and night in the cold – or do I forget the new carpet in the trailer and build a fence and doggy door for him to come straight home with me? Or, there is always the possibility of selling a kidney. Cuz then I can get the carpet AND the fence. And hey, I bet a kidney weighs at least 5 lbs. And I could stand to lose a few. Decisions, decisions.