Friday, November 30, 2012

There Was Full Disclosure

I'm certain that I've mentioned my dear Hanna, our au pair, before now.  Bless that girl's heart, she has survived living with the Queen and family for 6 months now and appears nearly none the worse for wear!  Now if you aren't familiar with the au pair concept, the US Department of State describes the program as follows:

Through the Au Pair program, participants and host families take part in a mutually rewarding, intercultural opportunity. Participants can continue their education while experiencing everyday life with an American family, and hosts receive reliable and responsible childcare from individuals who become part of the family.

Me, I just call it cheap child care!!!  (Just kidding, Department of State.  I would never say that....when you might be listening.)  But honestly, we've used au pairs to help take care of the little princesses here at home for 6 years now and have been blessed with some of the most incredible girls who have truly become additional family members here with all the rights, responsibilities and complete and total weirdness that comes therewith!  In fact, Marie still lives about an hour from here since she got married while she was here.  Mandy, Alina and Juli continue to come for regular visits "home."  And we keep hoping to see Laura on her next visit to the US.  So see?  This is like evidence that we can't be all that bad.... or that we've brainwashed them all over to our brand of that bad.  Whichever sounds nicest is what I'm opting for!  I also find that it helps if you make them say "The Queen is a joy to be with," multiple times daily.  It worked for MPH (My Poor Husband)!

Here are two of our au pairs with the princesses.  That's Hanna and Alina!

The one thing that none of them can say is that they weren't warned in advance.  You see, I interview all of our au pairs before selecting them.  And this is always an interesting process.  First and foremost, however, I feel compelled to explain to them the way things are around here.  It's easy, really.  I simply say, "We're weird!"  They usually try to laugh it off and I follow that up with, "No, really! We're like weird as shit!  I mean totally screwy, and you really have to be okay with that sort of thing. We won't kill you in your sleep with an ax or anything, but we might as if you're comfortable dangling from the roof wearing a harness and angel wings just because I think that'd be cool for when someone comes to sing Christmas carols or something.... not that I've asked that but suddenly it does sort of seem like a good idea."  About that time I usually get one or two reactions.  Hopefully they laugh in absolute delight at the obvious creative genius they now have the opportunity to come and live with!  Otherwise they tend to do that whole fake static noise, you know the one, "CHKKKKKK You're breaking up!....  CHKKKKK  I can't hear you....CHKKKK We should talk later!" and then they disconnect.  Really, it's all kind of silly especially since we do these interviews on video chat so I can see them the whole time.  Oh well.  Their loss!  But my point here is that these girls get full disclosure before they get here.  Which is why I'm always so proud of them when they just roll with the punches like they always do.  And Hanna has been a trooper!

The bad thing is that I don't usually even think about the fact that some of the things I say and do might be a little odd until sometime AFTER I've said and done them.  Actually, Hanna had to mention a few of them to me the other day before I said "I asked you to do that?  Hmmm, yeah, that might have come across as odd, I suppose... but I had a reason!!!"  The first one she mentioned was that episode when I decided to handcuff myself to different things just to show how it was done because I was upset that Joan Rivers had done it wrong!  (Go ahead and click on it to remind yourself.  You know you want to.)    Apparently she hadn't been here very long at all when I knocked on her bedroom door and asked her if she'd take pictures of me handcuffed to various things.  You see, I'd tried to do it myself but it just wasn't working.  That sweet girl didn't even blink when I whipped out a pair of cuffs and pulled her along with me to figure out what all to cuff myself too!

See?  That's me cuffed to MPH.  I don't think I bothered to tell him what I was doing before I did it and tried to drag him in for a picture.  Poooooooor MPH.

And recently there was the episode when I admitted to her that I'd asked her to do some weird things since she'd been here.  She was a dear and assured me that they'd all been okay.  That's when I said "Good!  Because this last request wasn't my idea at all, but could you possibly take this bag of cat poop to the vet's office? They want to check it for.... stuff."  And I held up the bag in question for her to see.  Frankly, I wasn't sure what they really wanted it for but I'd cleaned out the litter box and these were the results!  If I haven't mentioned it before now, Selene (my new kitten) has been fairly sick since I'd gotten her.  We're still working on it.  But Hanna only paused a  moment, took a deep breath, then took the bag and just said "Sure."  Maybe her English isn't good enough to figure out what all I'm babbling about and she finds it easier to just take whatever I had her and do whatever I gesture for her to do rather than even bother to try to really understand.  That might be a plus around my house!!!

Periodically I tell Hanna that I'm still trying to scare her off.  Fortunately, anyone who has willingly spent longer than 10 minutes in my presence tends to have a pretty good sense of humor so I have failed.  It wasn't until the whole episode with the deer head in the yard the other day that I finally found something that Hanna just wasn't willing to help me out with.  It appears that burying partial carcasses.... carcassi... whatever... in the back yard was that final line that should wouldn't cross... even for the Queen.  This fact I'm planning to remember in case I ever REALLY need someone to help me bury a carcass.  I'm just sayin'.  Looks like I'll just have to call everyone's favorite Butlette, Tammie, to help me with that one, or perhaps the Duchess Donna.  She's my sister.  She HAS to  help me bury the bodies!  It's somewhere in the sister rules I'm sure.

There really was a point to my post tonight, but I'm having a devil of a time remembering what the hell it was!  Oh wait, I remember now.  I am now officially on a mission to figure out what weirdness lies somewhere between delivering cat poop to the vet's office and burying a deer carcass on Hanna's "willing to do" list.  I figure I can spend just hours coming up with odd things to ask her to do before I find the exact limit.  This should be fun!!!  Any ideas?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

And That's Why I Hate Deer Season

First of all, I feel compelled to say that I'm sorry I haven't posted in a while.  Thank you to all of you who've emailed and encouraged me to write again.  I took a break and promise to explain the chaos that took over my life in the form of a tiny kitten and a puppy.  (Words of advice, do NOT adopt both a kitten and a puppy in the same week!  It's just a bad plan if you ever want to do anything else with your time. I'm just sayin'.)  Anyway, I'm back, and I have a HUGE list of things that you just HAVE to hear about that went on during my time away.  Today, however, you get to share in the joy of my lunchtime surprise.  You're welcome in advance.

Okay so today I actually took a break from work, walked to my kitchen and had lunch with MPH (My Poor Husband).  I'll take a moment to tell you now that MPH is a professional... as far as his profession goes.  He wears nice clothes to work and nice shoes and the people he works with prefer that he smell nice.  This fact becomes pertinent later in our story.  So does the fact that I work at home in my usual uniform of yoga pants, a sweatshirt and fuzzy socks.  Since I work in a room that usually contains just me and my new kitten, Selene, it's NOT as important that I smell nice.  But really, that's not the point of the story here... yet.  But it will be!

So anyway, there I was having lunch with MPH.  Actually I was finishing lunch with MPH when I saw a strange dog in my backyard.  Normally this wouldn't upset me but of course THIS strange dog was POOPING in my backyard!  My two dogs were uselessly napping in a sunbeam in the backyard while this was going on, and so I decided to take matters into my own hands.  Off I stormed into the backyard, spurring my furry little warriors into action, whooping and yelling as the puppy took off after what turned out to be three strange dogs (one of whom was of the white, small and yappy variety).  We were defending our territory!  We were fighting off the barbarians!  We were... well we were avoiding dog poop as I was doubled over laughing at my puppy and the white yappy dog as they proceeded to have a stand off.  But still this isn't the point!  The point is that when the whole scene was over and I'd made it to almost the back of my backyard, I turned to return to the house and suddenly saw it.  And MAN was I not prepared!

This is a horse head in a bed... it's from a movie (in case you've been living under a rock for some years and didn't know that).  There was no horse head in a bed in my backyard.... because I don't have a bed back there. That'd be silly.  And there wasn't a horse head at all.  There also wasn't all that blood or that old guy, now that I think about it.  Otherwise, it was a lot like this picture!

So there I stand.  I'm staring down at what amounts to a deer head, part of it's spinal column and its front legs all in a nice, neat little pile.  That was a new one, I'll assure you!  Deer don't usually drop their heads and front legs in my yard and then just forget to pick them up!  So I stared at it and then did what any self-respecting Queen would do.  I started screaming for MPH!

MPH managed to wander out in his nice clothes and took a look at my little discovery.  He did so then pointed out that he was dressed much too nicely to deal with this particular situation right then and also added that he was expected back at his office any minute.  Helpfully he reminded me that our three little girls would also be home from school soon so something should be done.  Then he stared at me.  And I was all "Whoa there buddy!  What do you expect ME to do?!"  Then I figured it out.  I'd CALL someone!  Surely there was someone to call for this sort of thing.  I was a freakin' genius!  They should pay me to deal with deer head crises.  I'm just sayin'.  So into the house I went and grabbed the phone.  I could do this.  I called Animal Control.  Turns out they don't handle this sort of thing. They sent me to  the Department of Highways or something like that.  They told me they'd come if someone had hit something with a car and it needed to be removed.  So I told them that a car had come by, decapitated a deer, skinned part of it and removed its front legs before knocking it all the way into my backyard.  They hung up on me.  People have no imagination anymore.  And apparently that was my last option!!!  That left only one other thing. So I braced myself for it.

I called Tammie, the Butlette, to help psych myself up for my obvious task.  Here's the conversation.
Queen:  I just found a deer head in my backyard.
Butlette:  Oh my God!  Was it dead?
Queen:  No.  It was a LIVE deer head!  It was spouting out prophesies!  OF COURSE IT WAS DEAD!
Yeah, sometimes you have to just wonder about our dear Butlette.  She promised me cupcakes if I got my task done though, so I forgive here these little mental episodes.  And then I went to dig a hole and bury my deer head.  But first I sent out an email to my team at work to let them know that I was away... for a reason that was weird even for me.  One responded and told me she thought that's why I had an au pair, which I thought was a clever idea.  Dear Hanna has handled some really odd requests here at our house in stride before, but this time she simply balked.  I was on my own.

There are a few things you should know now.  1.  There is a lot of hard packed clay fairly close to the surface in  my backyard and it's impossible to get a shovel through!  2.  My upper body workout for the day is DONE!  The hole wasn't terribly deep but I managed to bury the remains of the deer.  I even said some nice things about deer while I was doing it.  It only seemed right.  Then I covered the site with some bricks I found in the back of the yard.  There really is no end to the things that can apparently be found in my backyard if one only looks hard enough.  

So that was my day.  I found the remains of a recently hunted and butchered deer in my backyard and had to bury it before my kids could be traumatized by the sight.  Thank you, hunters!  I didn't like you hunting this close to my house before now and now I REALLY don't like you at all!  I was going to ask for an archery set for Christmas anyway.  Now I know what I'm using for target practice.  Here little hunters.... come this way!  

And THAT is why I hate deer season.  Geeze!