The Birds and the Bees and Sticks

My mother and I were on the way to my tap dancing recital. We didn’t know then about my inability to dance. I was hog-tied into taking the class because my mother and my bbf’s mother decided that both us tomboys needed a good, hard dose of femininity and fast.

I had heard some older girls at the dance studio talking about the birds and the bees and it raised a few questions in my mind. “Mom, what’s all this stuff about the birds and bees? I don’t see the similarities. I’m certain that it’s a euphemism for something else. But I don’t get it.”

This was one of those moments when my mother thought perhaps the hospital had given her the wrong baby. I had learned long ago to recognize the look on her face.

She hemmed and hawed and must have been considering her options. Evidently, she decided now was the time to have “The Talk.”

While she was deciding how to approach the subject I’d moved on. “And why do girls grow hair down there?” I pointed at my pre-pubescent crotch.

She hemmed and hawed again. “Well, a long, long time ago people didn’t have toilet facilities so they went pee outside. So we have hair down there to keep the sticks out.”
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“Sticks? Would that include grass and other woodsy things?”

“Yes.”

When I got hair down there I was going to test her hypothesis. By now I had realized the lack of veracity when it came to adults. “Now, back to the birds and bees.”

My mother sighed. She’d already figured my tangent hadn’t waylaid the question, rather it was a segue. “Well, you know the puppies next door…”

“Yes, the five Huskies.”

“Well, you see the daddy dog puts his magic stick into the mommy dog and then the babies come.”

“You mean if I get a stick in my vagina I’ll get five babies? I had no idea sticks were so powerful.”

“Just stay away from all sticks until you’re married.”

“But what about the birds and the bees? Should I stay away from them too?”

“Yes.”

Luckily for my mother we’d arrived at the dance studio.

“You know, I can’t dance. So if you get embarrassed by all means wait for me outside.”

“All right.” Evidently the question and answer session had zapped all her energy.

“Break a leg,” she said.

“Why would I want to do that? Are the others dancers going to do that if I mess up?”

My mother sighed. “Never mind. I think I need some alone time.”

I did mess up the recital and my mother did wait out in the car. I really couldn’t blame her. But the other girls didn’t break my leg so I figured my mother did tell the truth on that one.

The other stuff I’d have to research. The Encyclopedia Britannica would certainly have a better explanation. I decided to test my mother’s knowledge with another question, “What’s an orgasm?”

The Joy Luck Plant

I stared at the joy luck plant and pondered, ruminated, and feared my options. I bit my lip. There were several yellowing leaves on the plant. It had grown tall since Emma brought it home from the Tulsa State Fair. She’d given off caring for it so I felt obligated to assume stewardship. You didn’t purchase a joy luck plant on a whim. It was a serious responsibility.

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“What are you doing?” Layce asked me.

“We’ve got a major decision to make,” I said, pinching off a yellow leaf.

“And that would be?”

“The spiritual nature and inevitable demise of this plant. We’ve had it every since I came to live with you all. It’s like our family mascot, our floral equivalent of a lucky rabbit’s foot, the Feng Shui of our house. I don’t know how long I can handle the responsibility. What if it dies? What should one do? Will we be cursed?”

“It’s just a plant,” Layce said. “Plants die…” she noticed my distress, “Eventually.”

“Curses can be quite serious. Remember Pele and the black sand? People have brought sand back and had horrible luck. They sent it back once they realized what was causing the bad luck and they profusely apologized to Pele.”
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Layce considered this. “We could give it a proper burial when the time comes.”

“I hope you realize this is as serious as getting a chain letter,” I continued.

“What if we get the joy luck plant a friend?”

“We might be able to take this shoot and give it eternal life.”

“That could work,” Layce said.

I noticed she was staring at the plant intently now. “But what if that doesn’t work?” I said, squinting at the plant as if narrowing my eyes might make less of a dilemma.

“I say we get two more bamboos and that’ll make three—your favorite lucky number upon which you manage most of your life.”

I disregarded her statement. I didn’t think three was going to solve anything. “I wonder what other people have done if they killed a joy plant by lack of care?”

“Where are you going?” Layce asked as I picked up the car keys.

“To get twenty-one plants.”

“Twenty-one?”

“I looked it up.  21 joy luck plants are like a super charged blessing. It should offset things. And then I’m going to burn some sage and hire a holy man. That should do it.”

Layce sighed. “Do we really want to get into joy luck farming?”

“Yes, if it means keeping our house from being cursed.” I heard heavy sighing and something that sounded like “Ugh” as I exited the house. Maybe I would pick up a lucky rabbit’s foot while I was at it.

 

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Scents and Sensibility

Emma lost her glasses under suspicious circumstances in a hay maze. She’d been hinting around about wanting new glasses and low and behold hers went missing. She apparently was well-versed in the “trying to find a needle in a haystack” only she went one better—a labyrinth of hay.
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She attempted to negotiate her loss via text message.

Emma: Are you mad?

Layce: No, I’m ecstatic.

Emma: What’s my punishment?

Layce: We’ll talk about it when you get home. It won’t be pretty.

Emma arrived home, having discovered she didn’t have a passport so she couldn’t defect to a Slavic country with no extradition policy. She brought her chaperone up to the door in a blatant attempt to diffuse the parental bomb. Tick, tick, tick.

While Chaperone Lady (her name is being withheld in order to protect the innocent) and Layce discussed the logistics of the lost eyewear, Honey Bear darted out the open front door.

She’d spotted a skunk across the street and now had it cornered. I ran after her thinking she might have a cat. It looked like a cat but I didn’t have my glasses on so I went in blind. Honey Bear took a direct spray to the face and backed away, yelping. I grabbed her collar so I could safely get her across the street. I was now soaked in skunk juice as well.
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Layce and Chaperone Lady backed away from both of us.

“Don’t let her in the house! Or you!” Layce said.

“What am I supposed to do?”

“Take her out back and take off your clothes,” Layce said.

“Really, I don’t think now is a good time to get amorous.”

“I should be going,” Chaperone Lady said as she lept in her SUV.

That night, Honey Bear had three baths and stayed outside. I had two showers and Layce had one. We laid in bed.

“I still smell skunk,” Layce said.

I sniffed her. “Did you wash your hair?”

“No,” she said, getting out of bed. She took another shower and got back in bed. “Better now?”

“I think it’s in the sheets.”

We washed the sheets and went back to bed.

In the morning a contrite Emma inquired about her punishment.

“You’re grounded until you’re eighteen,” I said.

Her eyes went big as saucers.

“Just kidding,” I said.

“You’re grounded for a month and you might get your allowance back around June. Or maybe not,” Layce said. She wasn’t kidding.

“And you have to wash Honey Bear a lot,” I added, “And spend quality time with her since she’s banned from the house until she smells better.

“But she stinks,” Emma said.

“Really? I hadn’t noticed,” I said, handing her a bucket and soap.

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The Splooge Effect

It was one of those mornings.  My inner Luddite had become a Tasmanian devil.  I glared at my computer screen.  I sighed.  I swore.  I let out a definite splooge.  I couldn’t help it.

“You’re doing again,” Layce said.

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“Doing what?” I asked, trying to hide the splooge.

“You’ve been splooging ever since your Dad’s email didn’t go through,” Layce said.  “Give me your computer.”th

“I’m not splooging at you. I’m splooging at the Universe at large and technology in particular,” I said, handing over my laptop to see if she could sort it out.

“Well, some of the splooge splattered on me.  Did you send your dad’s email to the correct address?” Layce inquired.

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“Yes and no.” I replied.

“What does that mean?  It’s either one or the other.”

“It means I sent it to the address on my contact list but it came back.  What I am attempting to do now is keep the email and see if I can find out the correct address otherwise I just wasted my time even bothering to write it.”

“I don’t understand Yahoo mail,” Layce said, scowling. She handed my laptop back.

“What do you use, Google?” I asked.

“No, I use Outlook Express through our internet provider,” Layce said.

“Don’t even get me started on Outlook Express,” I said. I pulled up Facebook and sent a private message to Lorene (my sister-in-law extraordinaire—she sorts out all the Bennett muddles.)

“Wanna listen to the email I just wrote Lorene?”

“Sure.”

“Dear Lorene, the new baby is adorable. I hope work is going well. WTF is wrong with my dad’s email? My email keeps getting returned. WTF has he done to his computer this time? Have a nice day. Hugs.”

“Nice,” Layce said.

Next, I tried to share a photo on Pinterest. “Ah! I can’t even download a stupid picture on Pinterest.” I’m trying not to look like I’m splooging.

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“Step away from the computer,” Layce ordered.

I didn’t listen to her and succeeded in downloading two of the same photo on Pinterest.  Okay, well that was better than nothing, I thought.  I glanced over at Layce who appeared to be having her own computer issues.  She sighed.  She swore.

“What the hell? I can’t get the new book cover to come up,” Layce said.  “It’s lost somewhere in the ether and that is not where I wanted it.”

“I think you’re splooging on me.”

“No, I’m splooging at the internet,” Layce said.

“Well, I think I have a piece of splooge right here. Yes, this is definitely some splooge right here on my shoulder.”

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My Wife’s Panties

“What the hell is that?” Layce asked. We were standing in the produce aisle at the grocery store. I was picking out apples.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said, focusing on the bag of apples to vet the squishy ones.

She pointed at my neckline. I put the bag of apples down and felt where she was pointing. “WTF,” I said.
I pulled on an errant piece of fabric. I felt like a magician pulling a scarf out of his sleeve, but in this case it wasn’t a scarf. It was a pair of panties. I had been wearing a pair of panties around my neck! My wife’s panties to be exact.

I held the panties out in front of me. The produce guy smirked.

Layce gawped. “Are those what I think they are?”

“Fucking static cling! I can’t believe you let me go out like this! We’re married. You’re supposed to check me out before we leave the house. It’s one of your conjugal duties,” I hissed. I was holding the panties, well, waving them around, gesticulating wildly.
People were staring. I came to my senses and stuffed them in my pocket. “They’re not even mine! What were your panties doing in my shirt?” I asked.

Layce laughed.

“I’ve been wandering around the store, thinking wow, I must have picked out a nice outfit today because people sure are checking me out—probably thinking, you know, for someone approaching her senior citizen discount days, she looks damn good. But no, they’re staring because I’m wearing a pair of panties as a scarf.”

“Maybe they thought you were wardrobe challenged and didn’t know the difference,” she sputtered between giggles.A full-blown fit of laughter was just around the corner. I could feel it like how barometric pressure drops right before a storm.

“Or maybe they think you’re a fashionista and panties are the new infinity scarf,” she said, tears forming in her eyes.

“Or maybe I just invented the first traveling panties. I could do an infomercial: Ever find yourself in need of an extra pair of panties—this amazing pair of panties”—I whipped them out of my pocket for effect— “Can go anywhere and be anything. Look, it’s a hat, tilt it slightly and you look French.” I put the panties on my head. “Or you’re out eating lobster and you need a bib. Here it is.” I tucked the panties in my neckline. “Ever find yourself in need of a fanny pack? Just stick this amazing piece of modern engineering through your belt loops and you’ve got yourself a fanny pack. Or how about flagging for help when your car breaks down?” I waved the panties in the air.

A crowd had gathered. People were staring. Layce was gasping and bent over. “I think I just tinkled in my panties,” she said.

“Not a problem.  I’ve got a spare pair.”

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The Vagina Dialogues

“How about the word moist?” Layce said.

“No, how about the word vagina?” I said. We were sitting at the kitchen bar discussing icky words and why they even existed.

“It’s not so bad if you shorten it to vag,” Layce said.

“I just can’t see using vag for my nether regions. If feels like I’m a home girl calling out to my buddies on the street. “Yo how’s your vag hanging?” I said. “It just doesn’t work for me.” I sipped my coffee.

Emma walked by. “Some people don’t have boy parts.”

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“I thought that meant you were a girl,” I said.

“No, silly they don’t have any parts. You know like a Barbie doll.”

“Wow, that makes me feel glad to even have a vag,” I said.

Layce rolled her eyes. “I think penis is a pretty icky word too.”

“Did you know they make canes out of bull and elephant boy parts?” Emma said. The child was a veritable fact finder.

“Are you messing with me?”

“Would I do that?” Emma said.

Layce rolled her eyes again. “I think I need more coffee.”

“Yes, you would. Remember that time you two told me we had a furry snake in the back yard? You said it was indigenous to Oklahoma which is why I’d never seen one before,” I said, giving Layce the stink eye.

“No, they really do make them,” Layce said.

“Make what?” I’d lost focus.

“Bull penis canes,” Layce said.

“I’m googling it,” I said, giving them both a suspicious glance.

I googled and then I shopped. “They really do make them! And I want one. Look this one even has a inlaid buffalo coin. It says here you can send them your own special trinket and they’ll put it in your cane. How awesome is that?”

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“Why in the name of God do you want a bull penis cane?” Layce asked.

Emma had plugged her ears by now. Evidently it was too much genitalia talk for her.

“So if muggers attempted to mug me I could brandish my cane and say ‘Don’t make me beat you with my penis.’”

“That’d throw them for a loop,” Layce said.

“Good self defense is built upon the element of surprise,” I said.

“They’d be surprised all right.”

“I wonder if there’s an candy dish made out of a vagina?” I typed furiously. When I looked up, Layce and Emma were both gone.

 

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Playing Possum

“Jesus H. Christ! What the hell is that?” I yelled. It was five thirty in the morning, I wasn’t wearing my glasses and I hadn’t had my first cup of coffee. I was not at my best. I was not in high alert mode. I wasn’t even close.

Our dog, Bear, had a possum in her mouth. Or what I ascertained from the fur and long tail. And size. For those of you who do not live in possum country, let me educate you. They are the size of a cat, not a cute kitten, a full grown cat, with a long hairless tail, a prodigious snout and pointy teeth—lots of them. And IT was in our dining room.
possum
“WTF!” ( you all know what I really said, but this is a family blog)I screamed and backed out of the kitchen and right into Layce.

“What?” Layce said. She wasn’t wearing her glasses, hadn’t had her first cup of coffee and wasn’t in high alert mode either.

“Bear has a possum!” I pointed as I retreated further into the living room.

Layce squinted into the dining room. “Bear, drop it, right now.”

Bear wagged her tail, dropped the possum and sauntered into the living room–her pride self-evident.

“That’s a good Bear. You just stay right here next to me while Alpha,” I pointed at Layce “Gets rid of that THING you brought home,” I said, patting her head.

Layce poured herself a cup of coffee.

“What are you doing???” I said.

“We’ve got a good fifteen minutes,” she said.

“For what?”

“Before it wakes up,” Layce said. She sipped her coffee.

“What do you mean, it’s not dead?” I eased toward the coffeemaker. Layce poured me a cup.

“It’s ‘playing possum,’” she said. “They faint so their predator backs off. Bear thinks she killed it.”

“Oh.” I crept toward the dining room. It did look dead.

Layce put her coffee cup down and started for the back door.

“Where are you going?”

“To the garage to get a shovel or did you want Bear’s friend to stay for breakfast?”

“No, I don’t. Hurry back,” I said.

I kept an eye on the possum. I checked the clock. We still had ten minutes.

Layce came back in without a shovel. “I need a flashlight.”

“Why?”

“Because I can’t see to find the shovel.”

I ran to the office to get my ever accessible LED flashlight. I’d purchased three having discovered during a power outage that we didn’t have a working flashlight anywhere in the house. I gave her the flashlight. I checked the clock. We had eight minutes.

Layce returned with the shovel.

“OH, MY GOD!” I screamed at the possum rose up and scurried toward the kitchen. I ran and hurdled over the love seat.

“Get Emma,” Layce said. She headed the possum off with the shovel.

“Emma! Wake up! Hurry!” I said, frantically knocking on her door.

Emma opened her door, blinked twice and said, “What?”

“There’s a possum in the dining room,” I said, and leapt back up on the loveseat.

She ran to the dining room where Layce was playing hockey with the possum and a shovel.

Emma ran straight at the possum, planted her feet, made moose antlers on her head and hissed.

The possum stared at her. Emma hissed again. Layce came in from the side with the shovel. The possum was trapped. It turned tail and ran out the open back door. We watched it run into the dark of night.

“It was kind of cute,” Layce said. “It had a very nice pelt.”

“We could’ve kept it and named it Fitz Herbert,” Emma said.

“Or Sylvia if it was girl,” Layce said.

I collapsed on the loveseat.

“Good hissing, by the way,” Layce said.

“Thank you,” Emma said with a little curtsy.

“Oh my God, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to this Oklahoma living,” I said.

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