I think I may have committed a dog crime. I need advice.

By now you all know that I was trapped in the USA for almost four months. Yeah, there are rules for immigrants to the UK. (As long as you are American that is) Many , many rules.

Anyway, so I was minding my own  wine business when a hound happened. It was a Saturday and my kids and adopted dog were out playing. suddenly a hound appeared. It had a shock collar on, but apparently it gave zero fucks about that and had just run through the pain. It seemed entirely pleased with life and was happily playing with the other dogs and kids.

Except there are no stray dogs in my mothers gated community. This was now A Problem.

Take off shock collar. Check the hound’s collar. Has a number. Call number several times. Wait.  Leave msg. Wait. Have more wine. Call the pound. Wait.  Call Animal Control. Wait and wine. Use Google maps to find the hound’s house. Tap fingers. (meanwhile, hound is either running around the house eating cats or locked in the garage destroying everything)

So naturally I say to my mother “I’ll just walk it home then, shall I?” Seams reasonable. I can at least put it back in its yard and hope for the best?

This hound is not leash trained. And by Not Leash Trained I mean it is trying to kill itself on a lead. This hound acted like it was on a hunt and needed to Go Faster and/or was a sled dog and needed to Pull All Of The Things. We both nearly died walking down the damn driveway. I am so sure we are never going to make it the three blocks. (this was after the raccoon so I am expecting the worst, people)

One of my mother’s neighbors drives by. She owns many hounds. She sees me basically flailing a hound down the road and stops. I explain and she offers to drive me to the house. With her hounds in the car as well. I am now officially in insaneville and wishing I had either more or less wine. We get to the house. Car in the driveway, garage open. No one home.

The hound is clearly excited to be home! (the hound is excited by everything) There is a similar shock collar in the garage. There are fucking cabbage patch dolls and collectible ‘dolls’  all over the inside of the house. I know, I banged on every door and yelled at every window. No one is home. I check to see if the door is locked. It isn’t.  I put the hound in the house. I leave.

Just to re-cap here: I have put a dog inside of someones house. I realistically have no idea if this house belongs to this dog. I mean, sure, it was an educated guess, but still a guess. I am wondering if this is an actual crime. I still have no idea if these people got home and said “huh. I put the dog out this morning and now all of my dolls have been eaten” or perhaps “Oh good! Benji is HOME!” or worse, “WHAT?!!? Who put this motherfucking dog in my motherfucking house!”

Well? What would you have done? Please, please tell me. I am sure someone out there would have had less wine  is more sensible than me.

The one where we had a Raccoon. And many police.

I have an amazing story to tell you. I have been holding onto this one for months. I think this might have been the most astounding and surreal thing that happened to me while I was trapped in the USA.

So it is a normal morning. For a given value of normal. My kids are outside playing and my step-dad is outside working in the yard. (garden, whatever. I can not translate everything for you. I kinda can not translate anything anymore. shuddup)

There are many dogs barking. Step-daddy (hereafter known as Pat-Pat) goes to investigate. There is a raccoon.

For my British readers; I guess you will just have to think of this as a fox. It is fine to feed it, but only if you know that it is totally possible that the cute little bugger might decide at any given moment that it would rather eat your face than the treats in your hands. Meh.

There is a raccoon in the bushes. It is being all friendly and…oddly thirsty. It is not afraid of the dogs or people. This is a bit strange, but not overly worrying. The Pat-Pat tries to run it off. It just moves into the next yard. All of the barking brings out the neighborhood kids. There are now twenty-hundred kids surrounding the ‘friendly’ raccoon, either poking it with sticks or throwing food at it, depending on the gender of the kid.

This is when I bring my kids in the house. I am sorry, but I do not let my kids play with wild animals that are mysteriously active during the day and wandering around looking both high and sniffy. My kids were FURIOUS about my decision. “But the other kids get to play with it!! It’s *cute*! The raccoon is hungry mumma! ” Yeah. No.

That raccoon wandered around the neighborhood trying to die for about two hours. Where does it decide to live out it’s last few hours? Yep. On our front lawn. Of course. My parents decide to take a nap.

There are many  man-folk in the neighborhood. One plaid-wearing man says ” Welp, i would help you, but i left my guns up in the cabin.” One man-folk sits on his fancy-porch-extension and says “gosh you should do something!”  One man drives buy and shouts: “call this number!” This number  belonged to the local police. I have now called the police on myself. Wonderful.

I am frightened, confused and pissed off. Why is it up to ME to do this? I do not even live here! Do these kids not have parents?

“Oh Hello! Um, i know you can not do anything about this, um.  But I have a dying and probably diseased raccoon in my front yard and there are a tone of kids poking it with sticks, and um, do you know whom I should call about this?”

RRRRuuuuuuRRRRRuuuuu  rrrrruuuurrrr…The Police show up. All 90 of them. At least, in America, you now that when you call the police, they will show up, in force and within minutes.

Now I have 90 police in front of my parent’s yard. I DO NOT EVEN LIVE HERE. I am wearing sweatpants and a Detroit Lions T-shirt. I could have been a front for a robbery.  I did not look like I belonged in front of that house. They never questioned the fact that a white trash girl was taking control of  a high-class neighborhood.

I want you to take particular care reading these DIRECT quotes from the police;

Do you have a shovel?

(uh yeah) Yes,  yes I do. I think we know where this is going. I give the policeman the shovel .

Do you have a box?

(uh…) Let me look. *much looking happens. My parents are still asleep* No, no i do not have any kind of box or pet carrier. I am so sorry.

I need to call my Sargent. He might have a K-9 carrier.

WoooooooooWooRRRRRRRRRRRrrrrWoop

29 hundred police and one Sargent show up. I am astounded that we do not have fire trucks. yet.

The Sargent looks at the dying, diseased raccoon, lying on the lawn of a million dollar housing gated community surrounded by 20 hundred kids  and says  (and I quote..all of this is real) AND SAYS:

Shoot it.

The policeman looks at me, the kids, the big houses and then slowly, back at his Sargent. Then he says, with conviction;  ” NO, *you* Shoot It! ”

I have to admit that I laughed (in my ever crumpling mind) at this foolishness at this point.  NO, YOU SHOOT IT! bwahhaaaaa

They managed to call a k-9 unit with a cage for the poor raccoon. They used the shovel to urge it into the cage. The poor policeman on the scene managed to step in much dog poop during this ordeal. Mr. porch extension offered his help at this point. ” I have a hose if your shoes are dirty”  Yeah, they blanked him.

I managed to assure the kids that THEY WILL TAKE THE RACCOON TO A VET AND HE WILL BE FINE! RIGHT POLICEMEN? They said yes and they were awesome. They made it down to the end of the street and I swear I could hear the gunshots. So, no, then.

I then walked the half mile to a shop/store and bought some wine. I was so done with all of the foolery. The kids came with me. We braved the no-sidewalk/pavement half mile death-walk of the USA. I even bought them snax and ice creams. Believe me when I say that I was done and had laid my burdens down.

I walk in the house. I have a back-pack full of wine and bubble-gum. My lovely posh parents say:

“hey, have you seen that raccoon?”

I fell out. And when I tell you that I fell out, I am not making that up. I CACKLED people. I hit the floor, laughed the laugh where you cannot speak, and just walked (crawled) away with my wine.

I met Mr. Raccoon Policeman at the library a week later. I am thankful for their help. I am also slightly ashamed.

Next up; the one where I put a hound in someone’s house at random. kinda. At least it is policeman free.

.

Why Can’t They Shut Up? The Stream-of-Conciousness Summer

I was lied to. I was told that children do not develop an ‘internal dialogue’ until six or seven. You should expect non-stop-sharing of every passing thought until they grow up a bit. I did that. I listened to every thought that they have ever had for almost nine years.

My ears are tired.

My oldest, Little Stormbringer, never stops talking to me. I am sure she does sometimes, like when she is sleeping, but it seems like she has been talking to me for past four weeks non-stop.

I have begged. I often bribe them. ‘Anyone who can stop talking to me for 5 minutes will get a treat at the shop!’ I have bought craft stuff and toys. I have rented movies. I have got new games. I have taken them to parks. Yet…They NEVER STOP TALKING TO ME!

MOM! Mum! Mummy! Knock knock! MUM! blah blah……

Seriously? I spend most of my time trying to get people to leave me alone. I have never needed non-stop attention. My oldest just wants to feed off of my very life-force every got’damn minute that she is awake.

As I said in this post:

“She needs to possess my soul, squeeze out it’s meaty juices and devour them with her never-satiated heart-hole. It’s excruciating.”

My mother used to spend an hour every night playing with me. And then she would read me a book at bedtime. The rest of the time I fucked-the-fuck-off and played with toys and shit.

The thing is, my kids almost never have anything interesting to say. None of it matters. It is all just made of crazy. The greeting that I got this morning, before coffee happened, was: ‘Do baby owls like muffins?’ OMFG. I only have like 7 brain cells left. You are taxing my wee head. It is now late afternoon. I have completely lost my shit. I gave Little Stormbringer to Manboy and said ‘she is yours for an hour.’ and to the blabbermouth; ‘this is your grown-up for the next hour. Do not come near me.’

This kid is nine years old on Monday. She should be able to… I dunno…do something for half an hour without talking to me??? No?

I have never loved anything as much as I love her, but the sound of her voice is making me come unglued. This precious hour is going to be great. I am willing to bet that Manboy will be a mess at the end of it though. BLAH BLAH BLAH question question question. LORD, that child is tie’some! Deliver me!

I know hope that I am not the only one. Do you have any strategies that work, or are you as brain-sad as me? Comment as loud as you want. I can take it.

Morphine in the UK, and yes, I’ll be fine

I am beginning to develop relationships with the staff in the emergency room. I should have a punch card or a VIP pass at this point. It would not surprise me if, the next time I am in there, that they pull me aside and ask me if I am ‘having trouble at home’. (I’m not)

So I fell down the damn stairs again. This happens to me more often than it should. I am so clumsy that I regularly fall UP the stairs. I am the only person that I know that can manage this feat of grace.

Look, I am 5’2″ and most, no, all of my clothing is too long for me. All of my trousers are at least 4 inches too long and all of my dresses are even longer. I waift around the house pulling up my skirts like a damn Edwardian. This means that stairs are a huge hazard. Especially when I have Doom Cats swirling around my feet begging for food.

So I fell down the damn stairs again. I spectacularly fell down them. I fell down them so hard that I managed to unglue one of my shoulders. This was not cool. Being British, I had some wine and then went to bed with mutterings of “I’m Fine” and ” I am sure it will be better in the morning”. It wasnt.

I got up the next day and was all “OMG I AM BROKEN! SHIT! THIS TOTALLY SUCKS!” I was positive that I had been mortally wounded and would die at any minute. I had probably contracted ebola as well. So of course I had to wake up manboy and demand to go to A&E. (Accident and Emergency. Somehow ER sounds more dire, but that’s Brit life for you)

I hate this.

Now, the last time that I was in A&E it was because I had broken my foot. Would you like to know how I did this? I broke my foot getting out of bed. I am not joking. I awoke  in the middle of the night and wanted to go to the bathroom. So I got out of bed, hit my foot on a bookshelf and broke it. Again, I just went back to bed all “I’m FINE. ” I got up the next day with blood all over me and a purple foot. I had even managed to rip off one of my toenails. I am an idiot.

I had to go to A&E with a leaky foot, toenail hanging off by a string, and broken toes. And I was all…”I hit my foot on a bookshelf because i had to pee” and they were all “yeah, sure you did, ok, that looks really bad though.” Sigh.

So this time I was prepared to look like an idiot, no worries. When they greet you with “oh, Hello! ” at A&E, you know that you fail at life. The first nurse that saw me asked me what was wrong.

I broke my shoulder.

How do you know that it is broken?

It hurts and it does not work. (this is my definition of broken. Broken=not working and oowie)

OK, let me get the doctor.

The Dr says, Ok, now, I don’t want you to scream. I am sure he is going to move my arm or press my shoulder or some other dire test of pain. This is how it goes right? No.

Do not scream, but you have a spider on you.

I turn my head to my not-broken-sholder and shu’nuf, there is a spider. I pluck it off and set it free on his desk. It spiders across his desk, around his keyboard and spiders away. He looks at me as if I am crazy. (WHAT? That is totally what normal people do. Shut up)

Then he prods me and pokes my obviously broken appendage and says, well, we will have to give you some pain medication in order to examine you further. Lets start with some really lame OTC painkillers. And I am all…can we skip that and go right to the Vicodin? I am totally ouchie here.

Now in the UK they only have three types of pain management. Tylenol, codeine and morphine. That is all they have. I do not know why. So he says “would you like some morphine?” HELLS YES, BRING THAT SHIT. I mean, yes, that would be very kind of you. ouch.

Turns out that I dislocated my shoulder, then ripped some ligaments or muscles or whatever I have in there, then popped it back into place and hurted it more. Great. They gave me a strip of cloth with a diaper pin and sent me home. Which is fair enough, I get to go back in a few days and be poked some more. I have no dignity, it’s FINE.

Oh and don’t worry about my hurty arm. I am sure I will break something else soon, just to take my mind off of it. I promise to tell you all about it.

(for a Better pain rating scale; see here)

My Snail Tried To Run Away, I Am That Embarrassing

I did not think this was a funny story until I told it to someone and they tried to choke to death. I do not think my life is funny, but enjoy the tragedy. Ahem.

So the other day…wait, you will have to understand who Sir Humphrey is and why he is called that. It is important. You can click those links now, or, conversely, wait until you are confused and then come back and click them. Up to you. Not Judging.

So my snail tried to run away. I have a pampered Giant African Land Snail and he tried to go on an adventure. Or something. Manboy had one of our good friends over ‘of an evening’ and I wanted to show Sir Humphry off. “My gosh, have I showed you how BIG he is these days?” I go and get the cage and...no snail.

Now, I do not keep a lid upon my snail because he is an emancipated snail and everything, and he never tries to get out. He just has his cucumber and his fruit and his drinks, and maybe a wee dram of beer on holidays…he has no reason or desire to go anywhere else. He never has. Until he did. And then PANIC. I realize that he is named after the “Sir Humphrey, master of obfuscation and manipulation”, but still.

OMG MANBOY MY SNAIL! (I think i squeed) IS IT IN THERE? WHERE is Sir Humphrey? I was totally calm. I started looking behind all of the furniture. Where does a snail go when it goes? I had no idea. I saw something behind the chest where the  water snails live.

MANBOY!

what?

IS THAT A DOUGH-NUT OR A SNAIL?

I… I am not sure. It could be a doughnut.

WELL I NEED TO KNOW. MY BABY IS MISSING.

OK, well…if you can just move this table…

DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING! MY SNAIL! 

I think maybe if I just look over here…gently….

YOU DIDN’T FUCKING EAT IT DID YOU?

Wha? no hunny. Just let me have a look…

I SWEAR YOU ARE GOING TO FIND MY SNAIL

Yes bunny, could you please have a seat?  \_

It was at this point that I realized that we had guests and that I was still acting as Hostess. And then I gave up. “would you care for another coffee?” just didn’t seem like the thing to say.

So when the furniture was lifted up, Our Guest announced: I see a doughnut and a snail! Huzza!

Huzza indeed. I am now the proud owner of a runaway snail, and the kind of house-keeper that does not know if there are doughnuts behind her furniture. Beautiful.

Please go give some loves to our singers of the high seas, Tricorn Shonkey! Woooo! Tell them that the snail sent you. I hear they give discounts for that sort of thing. (really, not really, but totally maybe.)

Mice! Half-dead mice again! (New Zealand)

I should really title this something expat related, except Sharp Kitty is throwing a mouse around my living room and it is gross.

I can not understand the new zeeland accent. at all.  I am not even sure if that is how you spell new zeeland. I am pretty sure that it is off of Australia somehow.

Do not judge me. I used to think that Hawaii was next to California. Then I moved to the UK with the handy BBC and maps. I live on a small island off of Europe now and I can find FINLAND on the map. (no that isn’t where the cheese comes from. sigh. that is Wisconsin) I can find fucking Poland and Austria and even Turkey.

But the New Zealanders? (OK  I looked  it up) I cannot understand them at all. I know three things about New Zealand.

  • They have something to do with LOTR
  • Stephen Fry likes it there
  • Their rugby team is AWESOME (no, go look here if you don’t know.)

I cannot understand the talk that they do. nope. They use vowels in such a novel way.

Masterchef New Zealand, i wish that i could love you.

I have to get manboy to translate everything that they say. I am not sure who is more annoyed by this. Probably everyone in New Zealand, but from what I hear, they do not have the internet, so it should not matter.

Stemming the bleeding (not Rasputin, just not Ice Cube)

When I first moved to the UK, was so steeped in US culture that I could not comprehend anything about life here.

One of the things that shocked me was how the youths here try to be ganstas’. You guys, there is nothing funnier to me than hearing young people with a British accent try to be fucking Ice Cube. No, just no.

You are from Devon. You are not packing, You are not holding. You can wear 3 hoodies and not scare me. You are a 14-year-old weakling. My 7-year-old could kick your ass. The nice nine-year old, yeah her too. Your staffie might frighten me, but you don’t. But you do crack me up. (I hope that I don’t regret this laughter y’all..pray for me)

Oh and there was much blood today. Thank the gods that I am an Old Mum and that I know that a head wound bleeds. Thank you England for NHS Direct, that I can call and talk to A Nurse-Person whenever I want to. For Free.

You see, I am a horrible mother. I make my kids clean up after themselves and clean their rooms. I suck. I know.

Little Stormbringer was sent up to do 15 minutes on her room. The horror. Except that it turned out to be just that. A huge picture frame fell off of her wardrobe (closet in the U.S?) and hit her on the head.

She came down crying. Now, my kids do this whenever I make them tidy anything. I didn’t think anything of it. Until the blood ran off of her hair and onto her hands and puddled on the carpet. I went into calm mother mode. “Ok Bunny, lets just go into the kitchen ok?”

Isn’t it amazing how calm you get? This must be what soldiers go through in combat. You just reach the zone and do what needs to be done.

Lucky for us, no stitching was needed. What is it like for you? Do you get like this when your kids are really hurt for real? Are you disdainful of youths that try to be scary?

I am going to hug my little girls and teach them not to be afraid of fake-gansta’s and teach them to be not-sucky teens.

It’s easy: Don’t break glass in parks. Don’t  litter. Don’t talk back to your elders. NEVER lie to the police. (and for the sake of all that is holy, do not have any babies)

Is there a whole lot more to teach them before they reach double digits? I hope not. This is all I have for now.

Peace out homes.

MUM LOOK!

My kids make me look at them.

That sentence, right there, typed out, seems odd. Unless you have kids. Or more specifically, my kids.

One hundred thousand million times a day I hear the phrase “MOM LOOK!”. It is making me come unglued. Is there ever anything I need to look at when they say this? Of course not.

“MOM LOOK!”

Nothing. Or something so stupid and trivial that I am at a loss for the words of acknowledgment that I am required to provide. This goes on all day. I can not complete a thought, read a paragraph, do a dish without MOM LOOK happening. Do you know what it is like to not be able to even form a complete thought, uninterrupted, for 15 hours? How about 9 years? Gitmo has nothin’ on this shit. My kids could unglue a Taliban operative in the space of a few hours. They make waterboarding look like a day at the spa.

Sometimes I am reduced to begging.

“I am setting the timer for 3 minutes. Anyone who speaks to me in those three minutes is dead will not get a treat at the shop!”

Three minutes. I can almost hold my fucking breath that long. My kids cannot make their mouths stop shouting MUM LOOK for three minutes. It’s insane. And they are on school holiday. For seventeen days. 

Let me give you some examples:

“MUM LOOK!”

huh?

“LOOK I HAVE PANTS!”

“MUM LOOK!”

wha?

“LOOK AT MY TOES THEY ARE SO COOL!”

“MUM LOOK!”

(sigh) what?

“THE CATS ARE CATS!”

omg. I have the timer set for three minutes. They are now ‘talking to each other’ about all the things they want to say to me. My kids are almost nine and seven. They aren’t toddlers. Am I going to miss these days when they are 15 and won’t tell me anything?

Absolutely.