my woods

 

I grew up on the edge of woods. It was extensive and I spent a lot of time in it. When I headed off to college, my parents left their empty nest and moved to the city. I didn’t revisit my beloved woods for years.

Out of school, I went to work. I had ideas. I made a lot of money. Three-hundred billion dollars, in fact, which is… a lot of money.

When I finally returned to my woods, I found a subdivision. Average price of the midwestern homes in it, three-hundred thousand dollars. That is, one thousand homes per billion dollars.

Over a decade, I bought thirty-billion worth, thirty thousand homes. I built a twelve-foot wall around them. Removed the homes and built one for myself.

With the tracts for about forty-four homes per acre, the wall enclosed about one hundred and fifty thousand acres, or two hundred and twenty square miles. In the portions of the wall facing still-existing woods, I added portals that could be opened from sunset to sunrise, for the wildlife.

I had a new forest planted, and added a plank path that ran through it.

Now, in my dotage, I ride a golf cart out into my domain every morning.

 

Photo: Mike Vor
For Sunday Photo Fiction

Lecture

You have to lecture your kids. You also have to lecture your husband — and sometimes your neighbors or the mailman or a solicitor or the Jehovah’s Witnesses — or even, on a very bad day, Jehovah Himself.

That’s just the way it is.

I use a lectern. Lecterns have one purpose and lecturing is it.

I have an indoor lectern on wheels, for moving around the house, and an outdoor mobile lectern for trips to school, where my kids sometimes need my advice or a good scold during classes or recess. (Props to SNL and Melissa McCarthy for the outdoor mobile idea. That lectern is especially useful for following older my kids on their dates.)

The workers in my husband’s office are well familiar with my lecterns. The indoor lectern attaches to the larger outdoor lectern so that once I get to the skyscraper, I can just roll on in.

The White House has the most famous lectern, with a big seal on its front representing the President or the U.S. or whatever. My seals are nothing fancy like that one. Just my face with a stern look on it.

The main thing about lecterns, and you should remember this in case you’re ever standing behind one, is that you don’t necessarily have to tell the truth to your audience while you’re there, whether it be your family or anybody else. You’ll notice this with the Presidential Lectern, for example. There is something about fielding tough questions from your listeners that requires an occasional slide into fabricationhood.

How many times, oh Lord, have the kids or the hubby called out, “Yeah, but what about you?”

“What about me?” I reply. “Let me tell you how much I love you. I have been teaching you, guiding you, explaining things to you, badgering you, threatening you,  reporting you to the police and other authorities, snitching on you to your best friends, and posting embarrassing homecam shots of you on Facebook since the day you were born, or in the case of Frank, since the day we were married, and have I ever asked for thanks? No. This lectern is three inches shorter than when it was new, from me pounding on it.”

But I’ve got to go. I’ve had the bathroom door widened so I can get this thing through it when a family member requires a lecture while using the facilities.

For Daily Prompt

The Budget Will Pass Before Midnight

Boy we’ve had our troubles passing our annual budget this year.

Times are tight. Al wants this and that. I want the other.

So far we’ve kept our tempers, but it seems neither of us wants to compromise.

We’re sworn to settle this. To write a budget and sign it before the sun comes up.

Deadlock.

The kids are over at Grandma Jane’s, out of the way.

Then Bob comes by and asks Al if he wants to walk down to the VFW for a beer. Go on, I say, it’ll do you good. Order yourself a shot and let the beer chase it, I say, and they’re off.

Now I sit down and open the spreadsheet on the Mac. I’m alone and suddenly I’m in the mood to compromise. I give Al some of what he wants. Why not? We’re a team, aren’t we? Married thirty-five years. I give myself some of what I want.

Time passes and the budget is finished. I print it out. When Al walks in, he’ll be three sheets to the wind but that’s ok because Al is a pleasant drunk. I’ll sit him down and rub his shoulders and give him a cup of coffee and a piece of coffee cake and he’ll sign and I’ll sign and we’ll turn in.

Our version of the government.

Memo Released to Public

I am releasing this memo to the Congressional Grammar School in Washington, D.C. because it shows that my daughter, Sue, favors my husband over me. She should be ashamed. Let the teachers and students at CGS make their feelings known to her! As for my boys, Bob and Fred, they’re ok but they could show a little backbone once in a while.

Memo

From: Sue

To: Bob and Fred

Security: Classified!

Mom is a real jerk! A boob! I like Dad a lot more.

Dad lets us do what we want, as long as we make a few bucks and don’t bug him for $$. We can litter, he don’t care. A little weed. Whatever. Let him watch TV and play golf and that’s all he needs.

Mom cares more about the poor kids next door than she does about us. She’s always out demonstrating or “organizing.” And she’s low energy. Why doesn’t she organize Dad’s sock drawer if she cares so much?

I know you guys are “older and wiser” but jeez, I’m five years old. I got my rights!

Ask Sister Theresa: Can This Marriage Be Saved?

Dear Sister Theresa,

We are five lovers, recently married in Goosefeather, California.

We are:

Carl,  assigned sex = male, gender identity = male, sexual orientation = cis

Eunice, assigned sex = female, gender identity = female, sexual orientation = cis

Nancy, assigned sex = male, gender identity = female, sexual orientation = cis

Tom, assigned sex = female, gender identity = male, sexual orientation = cis

Brad, assigned sex = male, gender identity = male, sexual orientation = gay

Our problem is that Brad, our only non-cis marriage member, is having trouble fitting in. Or adjusting, might be a better way to put it.

We have “hit the social scene” searching for a solution and have found 4 new potential marriage partners:

Paul,  assigned sex = male, gender identity = male, sexual orientation = bi

Cheryl, assigned sex = female, gender identity = female, sexual orientation = lesbian

Lucy, assigned sex = male, gender identity = female, sexual orientation = intersex

Gordon, assigned sex = female, gender identity = male, sexual orientation = polysex

Do you think Brad may find a more complete true-love connection if we add these prospects to our marriage?

Sister Theresa responds:

Wow. You guys have got me in a bit of a pickle here. When I was Brother John, I had some strong ideas on this subject, but now that I’m Sister Theresa, I’m lucky to get my wimple on straight in the morning.

Shutdown!

We have one last day in the Verma/Wong household to pass a budget. Shutdown looms.

Once initiated, the shutdown will end only when a damned budget is agreed upon between Ms. Verma and Mr. Wong, with Mr. Wong and his boat and his poker nights taking it seriously for once!

Closures

Upstairs and downstairs baths, showers, and sinks will be shut off.

Toilets will be kept on for the first week of shutdown. Outhouse remodel should be complete by the second week. Sears catalogs are ready to be deployed in it.

Medications, medical equipment, and sanitary paper supplies will be limited to the first-aid kit and box of Kleenex in Ms. Verma’s Prius.

The TV and all iPads are locked in mom’s closet.

Actual, real books, with pages and covers, will remain available because apart from mom, who really cares?

Reduced Services

Pets will be fed. The children will be put out in the neighborhood to forage.

Infant nursing by Ms. Verma will no longer occur in public.

The house will be locked at night, although in Ms. Verna’s view there is no longer anything in it worth knicking.

No WiFi. This is the final post.

Budget Talks

Budget talks will follow the same protocols as those set for North Korea/South Korea talks. The Goldfarb house next door will be our DMZ. (Mr. Goldfarb will continue as Ms. Verma’s potential divorce lawyer. Ms. Goldfarb will cover it up around the house for once.)

Post of Shame

Why, why, oh Lord, am I doing this? Riffing in… what is it…WordSmith? WordPress? Improvising anonymously, away from the prying eyes of my public?

My God. Peace and quiet, that’s why.

So afraid that the hounds of FaceBook, the shrews of Pinterest, the… the somethings of Instagram… and that SnapChat thing… will find me. And Tinder. And Grinder. What was I thinking?

And what are they putting in this weed?? Absurdly strong. Absurdly cheap. My fingers are numb. I’ve got to pull over. Typing one-handed on the freeway like this is nuts. Traffic is light though, for LA. Not counting the 101 closures caused by the mudslides.

Hello, Baby. It’s just you and me here. Alone at last. Better than meeting in that Whole Foods parking lot, surrounded by SUVs with the fully tinted windows.

This will sound crazy I know, but it’s the legal pot talking: when I lecture tomorrow at the studio in Culver City, and I start to work my way through the PowerPoint script deck, I’m going to plant that picture I took of you cooking in nothing but the blue apron, halfway through my spiel.

Don’t hate me. I just got a Like on this site from someone suspicious. That’s one good thing about Whole Foods. Nobody has ever Liked me there.