Welcome to Dee's Pad

My life as a writer, and as a wife, mother, and grandmother.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Those darn pantyhose

Those darned pantyhose ©
By Dee Gatrell

I don’t know if any of you still wear pantyhose. I know I gave them up years ago. Why?

First they were miserable to put on and to wear. There I’d be in the middle of the day and somewhere around my middle thigh I’d have a bust out that by the end of the day would leave a sore spot. Or somehow I’d manage to get a run down the leg.
But worse than that were the times when embarrassing things happened. 

I was younger and thinner in the days when I worked at the college’s Hunt Club facility. We were very small and had to do everything from admissions to registering students to advising and we even had to sell books. 

There was one day when I had a dress on and had to climb on a chair to get a book from a top shelf of the area that was the bookstore. My backside faced the area where the cashier took the money. I heard my co-workers snickering, but didn’t know why.  By the time I got off the chair and walked out to the counter with the books, my co-workers were laughing hysterically.

I glared at them and hissed, “What’s so funny?”

After I handed the book to the still giggling cashier, my co-worker pulled me into her office. 

“Turn around and let me fix your dress. You just flashed those folks waiting in line. Your dress is tucked into your pantyhose.”
“I’m not going back out there.” I could feel the heat rising up my neck, and it wasn’t from a hot flash. “I’ll see students in my office.”

A month later I was decked out in my red power suit and attended one of my writers meetings. It was held at one of those restaurants where you lined up and ordered food. After the meeting we’d buy lunch and eat together. So I had visited the restroom first and waited in line. A woman standing behind me in line said, “Honey, is your slip supposed to be showing as part of your outfit?”

I reached behind me and pulled my skirt down. “Thank you. No, it isn’t. I thought I had made sure it wasn’t tucked into my pantyhose.”

I decided to quit wearing dresses and pantyhose and went to slacks. One day after my restroom visit I was walking down the hallway to my office when the security guard said, “You have something hanging out of your pants.” And before I could find out what it was, he pulled it out and handed it to me. You know those paper things you sit on in public restrooms? It seems it caught up in my undies and there it was for all the world to see.

Dang pantyhose was bad enough, but now I have to always check to make sure I’m not attached to those seat covers. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

© Rocky goes to Obedience School
By Dee Gatrell

Rocky was a German Shepard given to us when we lived in Ohio. One of our friend’s daughters couldn’t keep him anymore.  We lived on 10 acres and said we’d take him.

A few weeks before we got Rocky, our son and his two-year-old daughter moved in with us. Rocky was a sweet dog and we didn’t worry about his temperament. What we didn’t know about him was he was a cookie thieve. Ashley would walk around with a cookie in her hand and Rocky would snatch it from her. She’d get mad at him and try to get it back. It was a constant battle for a while.

Not only was the dog a cookie thief, but he had no manners. We’d put him out to use the bathroom, and if someone was taking a walk by the house he’d run down the long driveway and bark and scare them. We tried keeping him in the house but he’d want to go out to romp, which was fine as long as one of us was with him. After all, he had all that land to run on.

I read in the paper that they were holding dog obedience classes in town and signed him up. I think I was more excited about going to them than Rocky was. The first night of class, I drove my husband’s Chevy S-10, which is a pretty small vehicle. Rocky sat beside me and was behaving. When we arrived at our destination, there were a lot of dogs.

Our first assignment was to get in a line and walk in a large circle. One wall was lined with mirrors. We would walk, then told to have the dogs sit. Most of the time Rocky would sit, but while the others dogs ignored the “doggie in the mirror” Rocky fell in love with himself. He would sit and stare at himself. It wasn’t easy to get him up and moving again. I swear if he could’ve talked he would have said, “Look at that handsome dog in the mirror. I think I’m in love.”

At the end of the night, the instructor told us repeatedly to make sure we praised our dogs on the way home and when we got home. We get into the truck and Rocky decided he wanted to sit almost on my lap. I kept pushing him over, but again, he wanted to be close. So I told him, “You were such a good dog. And you are going to learn to have manners.”

It was about a fifteen minute drive to our house. I turned onto the street where he lived, again assuring Rocky he was a good dog, but I’d like him more if he quit trying to get into my lap. Nearly to our house, Rocky laid his head in my lap and threw up. A lot. All over my legs.

I pulled into the garage and told him he really wasn’t a good dog for doing that. I walked into the family room and my daughter, Michelle, and my husband, Larry, took one look at me and started to laugh.  I told them I was supposed  to tell Rocky he was a good dog, but right now I didn’t think he was.

Six weeks later we were finished with obedience school. But Rocky still didn’t listen when I called him and he still swiped cookies out of Ashley’s hands.

Then my husband was transferred from OH to FL and we had to find a home for Rocky. We were having a house built and had to rent an apartment until it was built. I took Rocky to the vet for his checkup and asked if he could help me find him a good home. The next day I got a phone  call from a young woman who was recommended by our vet. She was really excited and came to visit him. They fell in love instantly.

Rocky went to live with her and her roommate. They had someone try breaking into their house and wanted a big dog to protect them. She took him home and called me the following week to report in.

“He is absolutely wonderful,” she said. “My roommate has a little girl and they get along well. But the best part is that I work for my dad and he lets me bring Rocky to work with me every day. We all really love him.”

I was so happy to hear that. I hated having to give him up, in spite of his bad habits. 

Oh, did I mention after the vomiting episode I didn’t feed him dinner before we left for class?  No more vomiting on the way home!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Parenthood ain't for Sissies

© Dee Gatrell 09/25/2012
Parenthood Ain’t for Sissies

My husband was serving in the Air Force when our first three children were born. When Chris was three and Michelle two, we rented a nice two bedroom house with a basement.
In the winter this made a good place for the toddlers to ride their tricycles. The basement door was off the kitchen, and I could cook or clean and listen while they played.
It was a snowy day and I was pregnant with baby number three when the toddlers walked up the steps rather quietly.
“Hey, are you finished playing?”
They nodded.
I looked at Chris’s mouth and it didn’t look right. I bent down and asked what happened.
“Sissy made me drink something.”
“There’s nothing to drink down there.” His lips were blistered. “Come on, show me what you drank.”
We went downstairs and they took me to the trashcan. Michelle pulled out an empty bottle of ammonia. I looked at the bottle and it was empty, except for a few drops. Then I panicked. “You drank ammonia? Come upstairs.”
I called the base hospital and was told to bring my son right in.
“His lips are blistered, but it doesn’t look like he drank any amount of the liquid. He’ll be okay. Here’s some ointment to put on his mouth,” the doctor said.
I thanked him and once more scolded the kids about touching things they shouldn’t.
The next few months went well.
Until Christmas Eve.
My husband worked the four to midnight shift that day. I decided to take Chris and Michelle to Christmas Eve services at our church. In my head I saw myself as this perfect mom with perfect kids, sort of like June Cleaver. We’d go to church and when we came home I’d read them a story, and let them put milk and cookies out for Santa. Then I’d make them hot chocolate and they could eat  cookies while I so sweetly read to them. Visions of sugar plums danced in my head, so to speak.
I bathed the kids after dinner, had Michelle’s hair rolled in spongy pink rollers, and then I filled the tub for me to take a relaxing bath before leaving for church. I left the bathroom door open so I could keep an eye on the toddlers playing in the living room. I hadn’t been in the tub for more than five minutes when Michelle came running into the bathroom, pink rollers bouncing on her head.
“Mommy! Mommy! Chris has fishies on the floor.”
“What do you mean he has fish on the floor?” I crawled out of the tub, wiped myself off and wrapped a towel around myself. I walked into the living room and there on the floor were three of the black mollies flopping around on the carpet. I’ve never been a fan of touching wiggly fish, but I managed to scoop them up and get them back into the fish tank.
“Christopher Todd! You know you aren’t supposed to mess with the fish. Now go sit on the sofa until I get dressed.” I looked at the fish and hoped they wouldn’t die. Flushing them down the toilet and having my friend Rosie come over to do the burial prayer for them didn’t sound much like fun on Christmas Day.
Finally, the kids were dressed and we made our way to church. I let Chris take a matchbox car and Michelle took a baby doll. Things were going okay until the sermon started and Chris got bored. I looked at my son sitting beside me and there he was, running his car up and down an elderly lady’s leg. I pulled him closer to me. “That isn’t nice. Leave that lady alone.” I smiled at the lady and mouthed, “Sorry.” She gave me half a smile.
Michelle crawled into my lap and turned backwards, which I thought was okay until I realized she was sticking her tongue out at the people behind us. I turned her around and told her to sit still.
At last church ended and we headed home. My little darlings fought in the car all the way to the house. When we got inside and I got their coats off, took them to their rooms and got them into their pajamas.
My good intentions of being the perfect mother went down the drain. All I wanted was for the kids get into bed and go to sleep so that Santa could arrive before my Santa got home from work. I put them to bed, sat on the couch and took a deep sigh.
When I knew they were sleeping, I went to the closet, pulled the gifts out  and put the presents around the tree. Half way through it dawned on me. I forgot to read to my children or have them eat cookies and drink milk. What a horrible mother I was!
My in-laws had sent two rocking chairs for the kids, disassembled. When my husband got home after midnight, he got the tools and went to assemble them. Except there were parts missing. He called his parents in another state and told them about the chairs. It was days later before he could find the screws and bolts needed to get the rockers together. But with their other presents they didn’t miss a thing.
Several years later when my husband was out of the service and we bought our first very small house, I listened as my three children sat in the small bedroom playing while I mopped the floors. I heard a thump and then a screaming child.
I raced to the room and looked in to see my youngest daughter, Diana, lying on the floor wailing, while Chris and Michelle stood wide-eyed staring at their sister. “What’s wrong?”
“She fell off the bed,” my five-year-old son said.
I went to pick Diana up, but she screamed that her shoulder hurt. “How did she fall off the bed?” I asked.
Four-year-old Michelle said, “She climbed on the rocking chair and fell off.”
Diana continued screaming in my ear and I patted her back. “What do you mean she fell off the rocker? Did one of you put it on top of the bed?”
They both pointed their fingers at the other one. “He did.” “She did.”
My husband had been working in the basement getting it fixed so the kids would have a play room. He came upstairs to see what the fuss was all about.”
I explained what happened. “I think she may have broken her arm. I’ll need to take her to ER.”
The 20-month old didn’t break her arm. She broke her collarbone. She spoke pretty well for someone her age and told everyone who would listen that Sissy and her brudder made her fall off the rocker.
Being a mother and now a grandmother, I realized June Cleaver and Harriet Nelson were figments of someone’s imagination. Men must’ve scripted those shows. All moms know being a perfect mother with perfect children just doesn’t happen.
We managed to raise four children who turned out to be good people. But I laugh when I hear what their little darlings did to drive them to despair.
Being a parent just ain’t for sissies.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Space Coast STAR

Good Morning!

Fall has arrived.Of course, I live in FL so the weather is still pretty warm. Well, hot.

Yesterday I attended to Space Coast Star Super Saturday with five of my Volusia County Romance Writer friends. It was a great mini-conference.

Speakers were Agent Michelle Grajkowski and Author and Editor Anna DeStefano. What was great about this conference is that we not only had a chance to pitch our stories, but we had the chance to chat and ask about what's new with the writing industry. Both Michelle and Anna are very approachable and fun to be around.

Anna suggested since I write stories for the confession magazines that I start posting short stories here for people to read. I think that's a good idea and hope you will suggest my blog to others.

I pitched The Obitch Queen novel to Michelle. Let me tell you a little bit about how I came up with the idea. I once worked at a small newspaper in Ohio. One of my jobs was to take calls from the morticians and write up the obituaries. 

Really, I thought these guys would be very serious. They weren't. And since they said most of the people at the papers hated talking with them, they'd tell me things of interest. One of the guys sometimes would make up stories while giving me the obit and I would end up laughing. I mean, how could I not envision two men carrying a gurney with a large person on it down several flights of steps and slipping and dropping the person? Or what about on the count of ten when the guys were to bend on a knee and close the coffin only to have their tie get caught and nearly go down with it?

The younger folks I worked with referred to me at the Obitch Queen, and soon the morticians were calling me that. That is how I came up with the story. 

Ellagrace Gosdin's contented life changes overnight when her husband dies in the arms of the owner of an escort service. Destitute, homeless and the talk of the town, she moves on to accept a job at the local paper. She uncovers town secrets of illegal activities  of her husband and some of his friends. Scandals. Bribes. Murder. Tagging along with her new love interest, Gary Thompson, her new exciting mission in life begins.

The Obitch Queen is a humorous Southern Woman's Fiction.

Have a wonderful day!