Today started in the most usual of ways, I woke up and got my son ready for school. As I poured myself a cup of coffee, I sent him into the bathroom to do his morning business and then I let the dogs out. Predictably, he came bounding out 5 minutes later, giggling with his pants around his ankles, toothpaste smeared on his forehead and the can of air freshener, I keep hiding from him and he keeps finding, spraying at full blast. I struggled to breathe through the fog of tropical scented Febreeze as I wrestled it away from him, all the while he laughed uncontrollably and tried to protest my taking the “poop spray” away. After the scuffle, I wiped the minty freshness off his face and continued to collect his things and get him prepared to learn.
Our small, gray, reserve dog, Chrissie, barked at me through the sliding glass door. I assumed her vocal outburst was Miniature Schnauzer for “Hey, Food Lady! Let me back in”. I really need to brush up on my Schnauzer, for what she was truly saying was “Tiny is on the trampoline again, trying to bounce into the tree and catch a squirrel”. Tiny is our St. Bernard, she has the coordination of a drunken Water Buffalo. Living with Tiny and Chrissie is kind of like having a furry version of The Notorious B.I.G and Puff Daddy around all the time. Tiny is slow and lumbering, she has a low, rhythmic bark. Chrissie jumps around her, nipping at her ears and pokes her head out occasionally to interject into Tiny’s verses. I imagine that when the house is unoccupied, they walk around wearing matching Rolex watches and waving them “side-to-side” in unison.
For the most part; Tiny is a gentle giant, unless you happen to be a squirrel. If you are a squirrel…and you have internet access and have taught yourself to read…you can rest easy. You aren’t in any danger. Tiny doesn’t possess the speed to catch and cause you any bodily harm. She would probably just slobber on and release you, if you happened to find yourself in her mouth. The squirrels in our backyard often taunt Tiny by throwing small berries in her general direction, while chirping squirrel obscenities. This makes her very mad, and it isn’t unusual to look outside and see her using my son’s trampoline or swing-set as tools to get some leverage and capture them. Sometimes though, she uses his recreational equipment for its intended purpose. I have caught her standing on the platform at the top of the swing-set, tail wagging at full speed, and watched as she launches herself, barking happily, down the slide. I opened the door and yelled “Tiny, get in here!”. Surprisingly, she did as I asked. I then made sure my son’s pants were in the upright position and I escorted him out the door.
Things got weird while en route to pre-school, I flipped through the stations on my XM Radio while I answered the random questions about cows and why the lady next door is always in her nightgown. I was in the midst of worrying about whether the dogs has enough fresh air to breathe after the “poop spray” incident, when an eerie feeling washed over me…I realized I was being radio stalked by Kid Rock and Ryan Seacrest. I tried to ignore it; but it was like they had taken over a satellite and were toying with me, beaming a digitally enhanced game of musically offensive Six Degrees of Separation into my car.
Seacrest has a morning radio show on a station somewhere out of Los Angeles. He consistently bores me with phone calls to his mother and reports on celebrities that have no relevance to anything in my life at all. He also uses the show as a one-man crusade to remind me that he is the host of American Idol. I subscribe to satellite radio specifically to insulate myself from this Shrinky Dink channeling Casey Kasem and his playlist of crappy, studio created pop stars. If I wanted to listen to this swill…well…I’d, first, suggest you have me Baker Acted and then… build me an FM radio out of a potato, aluminum foil, paper cups and wire, because it would be far less expensive than paying for XM radio.
I switched to another station, where Kelly Clarkson, the first American Idol, was yelling something about the color of her eyes. Then another, only to be confronted by Adam Lambert, who was on Idol at one point…but I don’t care enough to remember which season, or if he actually won. I didn’t dare try the Country Music channel, I was sure Carrie Underwood would be broadcasted there, singing about her Momma.
I finally found a station that didn’t appear to be playing anyone who has ever been insulted by Simon Cowell or drooled on by a medicated Paula Abdul. Through my speakers I was assaulted by Kid Rock and his latest duet with a female singer that shares his ability to suck. The lyrics suggested something about change and love, but what the message actually imparts is that Kid Rock has cramps and needs some Midol and a tampon. I remember the days when this man could cleverly combine “questions that don’t have any answers” and “top-less dancers” to a tune angrier than a Chihuahua being forcefully dressed in a little track suit. Although, I used to enjoy his music, I now find him to be the most disappointing thing to come out of Detroit since the Chevy Aveo. Next station; an old duet with Kid Rock and a female singer, whining about pictures, “What’s going on?” I questioned.
The Easy Listening station I tried after my last failed attempt to find something acceptable to my ears was playing Uncle Cracker. Uncle Cracker, although Caucasian, is of no blood relation to me; however, he is a musical protégé of Kid Rock. I changed the station in desperation, this time to Classic Rock. “Ha! There’s no way you can find me here!”. “Curses! Foiled again!!!!!” I shouted, as Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama,” started playing. “Oh, for Christ’s sake! Another song you ruined for me by sampling it in that song that I couldn’t get away from…all…summer…long. I hate you, Kid Rock! You go to hell and you die!” I mouthed inaudibly, as I did not want my son to use this verbiage during snack time.
“Mommy? Do cows run fast?” came floating over my seat from the rear. “Sometimes, buddy. But they mostly just stand around mooing” I said, trying to hide the panic in my voice from my little passenger. “Mooo! Moooooo!” he declared. “Why is that lady always picking up dog poop in her jammies?” my son asked pensively. “Because she’s crazy” I said. Figuring if I sugar-coated the truth and made up a story about those being her “outside” pajama’s, I might someday have to pick up dog waste in my nightgown at the little guy’s request. “Oh. Moo!” he said, and went back to looking out the window.
I was hoping he would continue questioning and it would take my mind off the radio coup. He didn’t, and I began thinking about the last time I saw Mr. Rock. He was on some kind of NFL sanctioned television broadcast, trying to be Bob Seger. Watching him made me sad; he had traded in his trademarked dirty t-shirt and pimp hat for an ensemble that makes him look like the love child of Chief Sitting Bill and Stevie Nicks, or a Hell’s Angel motorcycle club member. “Where did your awesome go, Kid? Did you have to sell it to the Devil when you married Pamela Anderson?”
When we arrived at pre-school, I had never been happier to greet the old Latin woman at the front desk. She doesn’t speak any English and insists on conversing with me every day. I speak very little Spanish, so it’s really less of a conversation; and more of a round of bilingual charades. We both smile a lot; shake our heads in agreement, point at things and walk away confused. “Buenas Dias,” both my son and I said, as she used the buzzer thing to unlock the door and let us in. I walked him to his classroom and lingered a little bit longer than usual at the desk to speak with Ms. Maria. She, as luck would have it, was very chatty and complimented me on my flip-flops or…told me that her goat had an infection and required hospitalization, I don’t really know. I was grateful for the extended banter that was keeping me from returning to my car. After I left, I slowly strolled across the parking lot hoping that if I wasted enough time, it would be “Seacrest Out” and Kid Rock would have ended his morning torture session. I cautiously put my key in the ignition and started the car. Over the dinging reminder to put my seatbelt on, I was actually relieved when I heard the sound of Haddaway asking the philosophical question of the ages “What is love?”. I joined him in song, now fully understanding his directive “Don’t hurt me… no more”.