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.

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New ways I am failing at parenting and being an expat

I will never get all of my laundry done. Never, ever, never ever ever. I have not yet adapted to doing laundry in the UK. Allow me to contrast the ways that laundry is done in the US vs the UK.

Let’s assume that you have two loads of laundry to do. I’ll stipulate that a washer-full is different in the US (bigger obviously) but let’s just set that aside.

USA:

9 am: put laundry in washer

9:45: Put laundry in dryer, wash a second load

10:30: take laundry from dryer, start second load drying, fold and put away clean dry clothes

11:15: fold and put away second load

DONE

UK

9am: put laundry in Euro-washer-dryer thingy

3pm: take hot wet laundry from the dryer and hang on the line. Put second load in the Euro-washer

9 am the next day: Observe that your laundry on the line has been lightly sprinkled on. It does not yet have slugs or spiders so decide to let it dry off a bit.

Noon: It rains. Your wet laundry is still on the line. Your second load is still wet in the Euro-washer-dryer.

4 pm: pray for better weather

9 am the next day. you decide that the clothes outside are ‘dry enough’ and bring them in. Lay them on the radiators to finish drying. Hang out second load.

10 am: it starts to sprinkle. The cats have lounged all over your clean laundry. The kids have knocked it to the floor. Pick up hairy, linty laundry and just fold the fucking shit.

5 pm: it sprinkles a little more.

9 am the next day. Your second laundry is mostly dry. Only has a few slugs. Bring in, hang on the banisters.

9 am the next day: fold crumpled fucking laundry and put it away.

DONE.

So the score is USA-3.5 hours, UK-5 days. USA-clean, dry, wrinkle-free clothes. UK-slightly damp, fuzzy wrinkled clothes.

What would your laundry situation be of you could only do two Euro-loads of laundry a week?

It is actually worse than this. The piles are bigger and I have not drawn the slugs.

OMFG YOU GUYS, I will never, ever get it all done. How is everyone else dealing with this?? Why can’t I figure it out? Seriously, if anyone knows please tell me!  I have piles and piles of laundry. Some of it I might just throw out. Euro-washers do not remove stains anyway so screw it. Just keeping my kids in clean clothes is a miracle. All of my clothes that are not ‘drying’ on the line are dirty. All of them. I put on a clean shirt today for the first time in 4 days. ‘Clean’ has a new meaning to me. If one of my shirts does not have gravy on it, it is now ‘clean’. I cannot go on like this. (help me)

I have said before that my kids swear like fucking champions. I have no idea where they get this from. But Little Stormbringer surpassed herself today. The White Rose was doing a truly cringe-worthy puppet show. The kind that is great if you are two, but was extremely sub-par for her. It had a dance routine and involved me watching a pipe-cleaner tell knock-knock-jokes. I love this stuff but apparently it makes older sister’s ears bleed.

I watched as my oldest started to twitch. A bead of sweat appeared on her temple. Then she saw my face and started to giggle. I giggled. Even The White Rose started to giggle at her foolishness. Then Little Stormbringer said “OMG fuck-the-hell-off with that shit!”

Then we all collapsed with laughter. I told you that we aren’t right. I was all ‘wow. that was a mouthful of swearing even for me! Tone it down a bit child! Jesus Christ!’

I set such a good example. But then later in the day one of her projects wasn’t going as planned and she said ” Awww STICKS!”

Are you kidding me? Of course we laughed about that too. I told you that I was failing at parenting!

You want to hear something worse? My kids are so gross. So very gross. This they do NOT get from me. One comes down and says that the other is reading a book on the toilet. I can only assume that the door is open. Yuck. Manboy and I eyeballed each other. “we did NOT need to know that, thanks.”

Then the other comes down, wearing only underpants, stretches, smiles and says “ahhhh…that let a lot of junk out of the trunk!”

OMFG SO GROSS. Are you kidding me? This is a little girl. Strutting in my living room in pants and talking about her bowel movement. No one that she has ever met reads on the toilet or brags about the product. Our living room explodes with cries of ‘ NO! Gross! No way! Ewwwww. Jesus! Please stop! Yuck!’ And them hysterical laughter at the absurdity of the whole thing. I cannot be the only one whose kids are disgusting. Right? Right?

How is your laundry today? Have your kids ever done anything that gross? Tell me all about it!

My kids break everything I own and I am bitching about England again.

You guys. My kids are breaking my house now.  It isn’t enough that they have gone through 3 computers (or is it 4?), one TV, one expensive DVR box, one kindle, one couch….no, make it two TV’s…a few door handles, some light-fixtures, one toaster, one car roof, seven bicycles…you get the idea.

Now they just want to break my house. It is a house of bricks people. Like the one that stopped The Big Bad Wolf. Nope. If you build it, my kids can break it. If anyone knows how I can get a bespoke window latch replaced for a few pence, let me know.

Let me just back up to the couch for a minute. How do you ‘break’ a couch, you may ask? I’ll tell you. You wait for mummy to cook dinner, then you jump on it until is is a pile of dust on the floor, then you say…’mum? why is the couch made of sadness?’ yeah. This couch had a welded metal frame. I am not joking. Dust.

And how, just how, did they manage to wrench the latch off of the window in Little Stormbringer’s room? Seriously? If, in a fit of madness, i decided to vent my anger on a window latch, i could NOT pull that shit off. I’m a Big Girl from Detroit, and…and i have issues…but…no way am I strong enough to bend metal, people.

Sure. I am convinced it was easy. So easy.

And yet, my sweet, soft, squiggy little White Rose managed it. Now I cannot close the window. At all. They even stripped the screw, and FUBAR’d the lock. OK…….i’ll just …uh, fix that…somehow….uh…

Add to that…this weekend they managed to break an OAK AND IRON bench that sits in my front garden. Are you Kidding me? Jean-Claude Van Damn with a Seattle attitude, high on Bruce Lee and Bruce Willis could not have cracked that. And yet….

(this is where you go and comment and make me feel better. Please tell me that I am not the only one with destructo-kids)

England, you’re killing me here. I love the UK with extra loves, but you owe me a break for a minute. Last week i had to re-wash several loads of laundry. Two because, well, there are only so many weeks that you can watch your pants be rained on while you are waiting for them to dry, and one because my fresh, lavender-scented laundry is just what Orb-weavers and slugs want to nest in.

Sloe-worms. Maybe it is slow-worms. I do not mind a snake, or even a worm or two. Heck, I am the girl that will stop to save a worm from sidewalk-sun or a snail from dry-death. But there is something that is just gross about a creature that cannot figure out if it is a worm or a snake and just wants the worst of both. Ick. Trust me, they are even more gross when they have been chewed on by a cat and dropped at your feet. Just no.

I cannot stress the superiority of american appliances. I have to sing Mary-had-a-little-lamb TWICE just to time how long i have to push a button on my Euro-stove  to get it to light so that I can cook foods.(you can see that this is not driving me insane) Tell me, what is the best temperature to cook chicken on? Is it 5, 8, 9, 12,  or the series of dots, or the one that says POWER? I have no idea. What is an oven-timer? You know, that  thing that goes ‘beep’ when your food is done? I do not remember. (kill me now)

I even have to adjust my shower in Celsius folks. How hot do you want your shower? Somewhere between 20 and 30 degrees? Yeah, good luck. What that really means is: you must choose to burn or freeze.  Choose burn. Choose freeze. You may not choose warm. Sigh.

Well that wraps up this week. Enjoy your appliances, America. If your kids break everything you own, you can take some solace here.  I’m out.

I get to be embarrassed to be American today. (Thanks) Subtitled: Why there are Slugs in my Pants

Seriously? I just don’t get Americans sometimes. It is on days like today that I can side-eye the people who say ‘why do you want to live here in the UK?’

OMFG YOU GUYS ARE TRYING TO do what ABOUT HEALTHCARE?

This is silly. Stop it. You are embarrassing yourselves. And Me.

What is it that you think will happen if ‘Obamacare’ happens? Even the BBC cannot make sense of your attitude. I do not know if you have noticed, America, but there is a Whole Wide World out side of your little red-white-and-blue bubble and there are bigger issues than whether or not some poor kid gets to go to the doctor. Jesus Wept.

I hope it stays as Obamacare. I think that is a fitting tribute, even though it is  ment to be an insult. I live every day with ‘socialized-nazi-care’ and I haven’t been sent to the death camps yet. Y’all  crazy. Please go have a seat… \_… on the crazy train.

The thing that affects me personally is that i am like the ‘Lone Ethnic In The Room’ here. People will ask me to speak for all Americans. I …I …I JUST CAN NOT defend you this time guys. The next time someone says ‘Gosh, what IS the problem with healthcare?’ I am just going to say ‘You know what? I have no fucking Idea. Americans are Assholes, but you knew that already.’ Christ was a Roman on a Popsicle stick.

Is it too much to ask, that the last remaining sane super-power act less like a toddler and more like an emerging adult? Get It Together America.

Ok, rant over. In other news; we went to the dentist. (OMFG AND IT WAS FREE FOR THE KIDS I KNOW THIS IS SO TERRIBLE) I have to go back. I do so hate dentists. We are getting ready to watch the Euro 2012 finals on Sunday. I have no idea who to support. I guess Italy. I defrosted the freezer again. I hung out my laundry and it rained and then it got all covered in slugs and I had to wash it all twice. I found out that Little Stormbringer can spell ‘fucking’ perfectly. I win at parenting.

Now all i have to do is explain to my kids why america (lowercase) is in the news today. I BET they will be just as clueless as me.

That THING Just Bit Me!

I can tell that this is going to be a long weekend.

If I have to start out a friday afternoon with the phrase:

“NO you cannot bring anymore wild animals into the house!”

then, yeah, long days ahead my friends.

I swear, this is my side of the conversation that I had with the 4 or so children that were here:

NO MORE WILD ANIMALS! What is that thing? Oh My God it JUST BIT ME. no, sweety, that is not an antelope. Stop chopping that onion until i get into the kitchen! Someone open a window maybe it will run out. NO you cannot have glass to start a fire with. I SAID  I WAS COMING. What? NO. What? yes have a popsicle for christs sake. ONE SECOND! Put a wooden spoon in your mouth if the onion is making you cry. WHo needed this bandage? I have no idea if cats see green. Stop chopping the onion! Hi, what did you want again sweetheart?

I dearly love having a house full of kiddy goodness. But there must be some kind of middle ground between full on crazy and playing nicely. No?

Then someone knocked on my door. To panhandle for charity. In the middle of this. And sweet sally-two-shoes asked the 7 hundred kids their ages.

“6,8,9,7,10…”

It was a beautiful moment when she just looked at me, in my flowery apron and said “i think i should go…down the street…i’m sure your neighbors want to give…uh… bye”

And yes, that thing did bite me. It looks…ok. I’ll keep you posted.

 

Gnomes and Nits, a mother’s tale

I just made myself a tea and a glass of water. Sharp kitty broke my ashtray, spilled my tea and drank my water. This is my life. I am a vessel for the taking y’all. Drink of my life juices all of creation! (great, now Cat is puking up my water and most probably a mouse for me to clean up later. huzza!)

So we have gnomes now. Garden gnomes. I am not sure how this happened. I was pretty sure that I was going to make it through life without gnomes of any kind.

Nope.

Let’s just be clear here. I hate garden gnomes with a firey passion of the christ. Unfortunately, The White Rose does not. She found some gnomes in a , tip, bin.. uh..skip? dumpster near our house. Some poor old bird died and they threw all of her ten thousand gnomes into the trash. This made both of my children sad. They needed the gnomes. They wanted to love them and give them new homes. God only knows what my British neighbours thought we were doing going through trash and gnoming it up.

One of the gnomes is a girl gnome. She has a lantern and a beard. (Don’t judge). I now have a girl-beared-gnome that has to come in at night because The White Rose thinks that “her dreams will get wet” if we leave her outside. Copernicus the homicidal monkey is less scary than this gnome-thing. I have to pretend to love it and give it naps and who knows what else the kid will make me do to it before I come unglued.

I can’t type ‘gnome’ anymore. I feel ill.

Let’s talk nits then shall we? Honestly, I am more grossed out by the …lawn ornaments… than I am by nits these days. I hear through the grapevine that kids in the U.S. do not get head-lice anymore. I believe this. I only knew one kid that had them in all my years of (primary/elementary) school. Here? England 2012? Everyone has them. All of the kids. All of the time. I swear that I am not making this up.

I have done everything but shave them bald, but they just keep coming back. I have become like a monkey-mum. I am constantly grooming them and picking at their hair. Oh sure, we do the chemi’s and the combs, but it makes no noticeable difference. I can kill them in my family, but then some nasty kid hugs my kids and REPEAT AND RINSE. Forever. It is like one of the seven circles of hell. And OMG, my kids have bugs. I cannot stress how awful this is.

But the Brit-mums? they are so calm about it. “yes, my daughter had them until she was 14. they grow out of it.” “oh, i know, you just have to keep at it until they are in highschool” “nevermind, just use the comb on them every day!”

YUCK

Since i am not allowed to spray them with kerosene or DDT, I guess this is my life now. Nits and Gnomes.