Monday, November 17, 2014

I'm sorry in advance.

When I went to Wal-Mart to buy a noise machine to help with the train incident mentioned here, a man in a wheelchair called me over as I got out of the car. Initially, I thought he was going to ask for money, and after living in Chicago, I NEVER give money to panhandlers. To my great surprise, instead of asking for money, he said, "Would you mind picking me up some food? I live outside and would really love a bag of grapes or something." I told him I would absolutely do that for him.

As I walked through the store, my mind was filling with all of the other things I should also get him. Knowing that he is in a wheelchair and doesn't have a fridge or pantry, I decided it would be best to limit my purchases to just a couple things. 

When I left the store and walked back to my car, the man was nowhere to be found and was very disappointed. I was putting his food in my car when I heard someone yelling, "I'm right here ma'am! The manager ran me off." Never mind all of the creeps inside who aren't buying a thing, let's run off the needy man in the parking lot who is politely asking for food and not harassing a single person. I gave him his bag and he was so appreciative. 

This whole situation really touched me. I have offered food to panhandlers before only for them to turn it down claiming dietary restrictions or that they simply "didn't like it." Living in Chicago, I lived at a 5-points intersection where the same panhandlers would sit on their respective corner every single day, most of them with some sort of an ailment. One night, I heard a lot of commotion and saw one of the corner's regulars, who had a bum leg, drunk and fighting with two guys in a BMW only to have his son run out from the house ACROSS THE STREET and drag him home.  Oh yeah, his limp appeared to have been cured too. I could go on and on with stories of terrible encounters with Chicago panhandlers (this was just a more tame tale).

There were several newspaper articles about how panhandlers would take the train in to the city from their homes in the suburbs and earn over 6 figures a year preying on the tourists. Then two days ago, I read a story about a pregnant woman in California with her young son who would panhandle and then get in their new Mercedes counting their money as they moved on to another corner. 

I don't believe that all panhandlers are frauds, but unfortunately most seem to be. Houston seems to have just as many as Chicago did. They are at practically every intersection. Under I-10 by my house, you will see the same people there for about a week or so, and then a new crop will show up. Rumor has it that a group in town will hire people from the homeless shelter to stand on the corner and then take a cut of their earnings at the end of the day. 

I don't really know where I am going with this post. My original idea was to crack a joke about how the man at Wal-Mart was a genius and that maybe I should start grocery shopping that way (it just might get weird when I request things like a 20 lb turkey), but this has obviously taken a turn. 

During this sudden cold front, all I can think about is that man. I hope he has somewhere warm to sleep. I hope he is a good, honest man who is just down on his luck and will find help soon. Mostly, I just hope I haven't been conned once again so I can restore a little faith in humanity.

Thanks for indulging me. Sorry this wasn't funny.

Debbie Downer

Friday, November 14, 2014

Chugga, Chugga, Shut the Hell Up!

I need to know who I should contact to file a formal complaint. Lately, the trains that run about a mile from our house have decided it is necessary to blow their whistles as loud and as much as possible beginning at 2am and continuing until close to 5am.


For the life of me, I can't figure out why this is necessary. Here are some of my top theories:

1. There is a nightly parade from 2-5 each night, and they have to clear the tracks.

2. The Caribou scenario from Polar Express is taking place.

3. The conductor is having trouble in his marriage and needs some attention.

4. The people who work the night shift have requested a wake-up call.

5. Obama has made an executive order demanding this practice.

6. They hate me.

I bought a sound machine for Davis' room because the first night he woke up 2 or 3 times. Guess how happy that made me. Mama needs her sleep!

So, if you know someone with the railroad commission, please forward me their contact information so I can draft a strongly worded letter. The long and short of the letter will be, "Shut the F#$k up! If someone or something is dumb enough to be on train tracks at 2am and can't see you coming, they deserve what they get. We can call it natural selection!"   

Thursday, November 6, 2014


Halloween was quite the event in the Callaway house this year. Davis decided he HAD to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Not only a ninja turtle, but the Pur-po one. He and I had never once even talked about TMNT, so I have zero idea where he learned about them. Probably school...that's what I blame for everything now.

Since Davis had never watched TMNT, I let him tune into the cartoon and quickly decided it is far too violent for a 2.5 year old. I might be ready to let him watch it again in about 5 years. 

I didn't see much harm in letting him dress as a turtle though so I turned to my BFF, Amazon Prime, and found a costume, t-shirts for Steve and I, and plastic versions of each turtle's weapon (again, maybe not the best idea).

Leading up to Halloween, Davis wanted to play with the weapons and immediately started beating the crap out of us, the furniture, and the walls. Those were quickly confiscated for fear that he would seriously injure the nanny. She is such a push-over when it comes to him, that she would probably just sit there and take the abuse too.

Sizing for this costume was a little challenging. The toddler size came in 2T-4T, and Davis is barely a 2T. I went ahead and ordered the infant size so he wouldn't have extra fabric dragging on the ground and inevitably tripping him, and an extreme moose-knuckle resulted. 

You can't get the full effect in this picture, but it gives you a little taste.

I think if Halloween had been even a week later, we would have had to do some serious adjustments to the costume.

He had 2 Halloween parties at school where he wore his costume and then trick-or-treating on the big day. It was so nice to actually get our money out of it this year. 

He had such a blast trick-or-treating with his friends! If only we could get him to control is bow staff.

His pace was a bit slow, as usual, but I think he got more candy than any other kid. This little con-artist made a habit of pouting at the door after he was given candy until his mark (the homeowner) gave him more candy. Thanks for reinforcing bad behavior guys! 

Near the end of the night, he started to fade a bit and we still had about 6 more houses, so we dipped into his spoils and he quickly bounced back. 

Speaking of bouncing back...that's what I'm going to work on next since I can't control myself around all of this Halloween candy.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Greed will get you nowhere....well this time at least

Steve and Davis went up last weekend to check on the progress of the ranch house while I was busy judging a beauty pageant for my rodeo committee. Yes, you read that correctly...I'll have to write more about that another time.

Anyway, (Stop distracting me! I'm trying to tell a story!) these are the latest shots of the progress:

If you are thinking to yourself, "Gee self, it sure doesn't seem like a ton was accomplished. Especially since Kristi said the roof and siding would be done this week." then you would be correct.

It has come to our attention that our framing crew decided mid-job that they would like more money. Isn't that nice? I mean the whole idea of finishing a job you have committed to is highly over-rated anyway. I'm going to try this method the next time I sign on for a job and see how it works out for me. 

Actually, on second thought, maybe I won't because it will probably end up the same way it did for this crew...they have found themselves without a job. 

Our builder has another crew who is finishing a job and should be over ASAP.

I just hope this won't set back our plans to stain the floors this weekend. Want a sneak peek of the color?

It should look something like this.