Feb 25, 2016

Angry Birds

Posted by Tonia at Thursday, February 25, 2016 0 comments
by Tonia

For several years sparrows have been nesting under the eaves of my roof. This “home inside my home” may be home-grown but it is NOT homey! It is an intrusive declaration of war - a survival of the fittest.

Those fucking birds are like dive bombers coming through the patio. I’ve had injuries trying to take cover.

And the incessant chirping of hungry baby birds at 4:00 a.m. is enough to make me want to be a gun owner.

And did I mention the bird poop all over my patio furniture? It’s like my patio table is an avian shit magnet!

And, my favorite fowl remnant - the occasional “dumping” (splatting) of a least-favored newly hatched naked baby onto the patio – usually in the early morning hours - so that I can step on it as I start my day. Yes, I’m a bird hater.

I’ve tried to keep those birds from nesting. Really. I’ve tried -

-- I’ve stuffed tubular inserts into the cracks of the eaves. RESULT: tubular inserts removed  and tossed on my doorstep as humiliating evidence of my defeat.
-- I’ve taped reflective psychedelic flapping-in-the breeze ribbons to the eaves to scare them. RESULT: wild dance parties with a disco ball and loud music.
-- I’ve put garlic and other bird-repelling herbs under the eaves. RESULT: garlic-belching birds flying by thanking me for the new bird food recipe.
-- I’ve tacked wire mesh over favorite nesting spots. RESULT: wire mesh reconfigured as a barbed wire fence to keep ME out.
-- I’ve left them notes that they are going to have to start paying rent if they don’t leave. RESULT: shredded notes as part of the nest.

But this year, with unseasonable warm weather for February, I decided I’d better declare war early. With just a few pieces of straw protruding from the eaves, I climbed up on my shaky ladder and caulked every single tiny GD space I could find under those eaves. It now looks like my roof has been glued to the house by a 2 year old.

After my caulking frenzy, I looked up to admire my handiwork and there were two birds sitting on the guttering near their former nesting spots. Glaring. No, SERIOUSLY glaring. I mean, PLOTTING REVENGE glaring. I ran into the house as fast as I could. I’ve created my very own angry birds. God help me.

For your next girlfriends’ get-together, have a slumber party and, in the middle of the night, instead of TPing someone’s house, move those bird nests to your arch-enemy neighbor’s eaves!

Feb 16, 2016


Posted by Tonia at Tuesday, February 16, 2016 0 comments
Estrofests is thrilled and privileged to host guest blogger, Meg Myers Morgan. Meg is author of "Harebrained: It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time." She recently gave an inspirational Tedx Talk "Negotiating for your Life." 

by Meg Myers Morgan

When my husband and I first started dating, Jim planned a romantic evening out for us. This included dinner at a restaurant I had promised myself I’d never patronize again. While Jim’s default is to always let me have my way, that night he refused. He drove us to the restaurant with me protesting the entire way. When we pulled into the lot, he put the car in park, shut off the engine, turned to me and said, “I’m about to give you an overlay experience.”

I blushed at his forwardness, but he then explained what he meant by “overlay.” He believed that all bad experiences can be redone, with the hopes of having a better experience the second time. So by taking me to a restaurant in which I’d had a bad experience, he was determined to overlay it with a good one.

And it worked.

We had such a fantastic date that night, the restaurant is now one of our favorite spots.

While this seemed small, Jim’s overlay idea became a substantial component of our relationship. We re-experienced numerous restaurants, trips, and movies together. But it also became somewhat of a philosophy of our life together: no bad experience is the final word. Sometimes the overlays were small: Jim re-watching Annie Hall with me and finally agreeing it had merit. And sometimes they were significant: the birth of our second child overlaying the experience of our first.

The experience birthing our first child was a bad one. Incredibly long labor, hours of pushing, extreme tearing (men, your life is a cake walk), excruciating PUPPS rash after delivery (Google image this, but not before dinner), no milk supply leading to my daughter’s severe dehydration and readmission into the hospital, the horror of trying to defecate after a vaginal delivery (seriously, as a gender we need to talk about this more), and postpartum depression.

The gamut of horrible experiences.

But on the eve of our second daughter’s birth, my husband assured me the experience would overlay the first. He even argued the more horrible the first experience, the greater the overlay.

And dammit if he wasn’t right again.

I hardly even noticed I’d delivered London. Short labor, only a handful of pushes, no tearing, no rash, no dehydration issues, and I didn’t even bat an eye taking a shit after birth. I came home with a quiet, sweet, sleepy baby who politely existed in our lives the first few weeks as if she didn’t want to bother anyone. This made me believe I was ready to take on one of life’s greatest challenges:

The family vacation.

We decided that an overnight stay somewhere close would be the perfect way to spend our first vacation as a family of four.  The night before we left, I packed more brilliantly than I’d ever packed before. I had all the baby’s gear; I had all the toddler gear; I had swimsuits; I had sunscreen. I had the double stroller. I had chargers for all electronic devices. I even had the fucking Frozen soundtrack.

The morning we got on the road at the exact time for which we had aimed and synchronized our watches. During the drive, the uninterrupted conversation and peacefully sleeping children lured us into a false sense of security.

And the first destination—the science museum—was a huge success. But before dinner, things started to unravel. It began with a slight burning in my right eye. My husband joked that I had pink eye. I laughed, until I looked over at Lowery and noticed her left eye was gunky. And pink. Luckily, my brilliant packing included every single medication in our bathroom, even a half empty bottle of antibiotic eye drops.

I’m not implying that trying to get eye drops into an uncooperative preschooler ruined the trip. But it sure worked up a nice sweat before dinner.

Once all infected eyes were treated, we decided to walk to a nearby restaurant. I had London strapped to my chest, and Lowery held my husband’s hand as we strolled out of the hotel to discover it was sprinkling. Slightly.

As we walked, however, the slight sprinkle turned into a deluge. By the time we got to the restaurant door, rain was falling in a manner most often seen during hurricanes. Or movies about shipwrecks.

I’m not implying that getting drenched with rainwater on our walk to the restaurant ruined our trip. But it sure cooled us off from all the eye-drop wrestling.

When we were safely inside the restaurant, we were told there would be a thirty-minute wait for a table. This didn’t worry me. In my brilliant packing I had managed to bring a small backpack filled with coloring books and stickers to occupy my three-year-old. But after we had been waiting more than an hour, all the stickers were placed and all the pages were colored. 

I’m not implying that waiting more than an hour for a table when there were clearly no other people occupying it ruined our trip. But it certainly allowed us time to work up an appetite.

Another hour passed before our meal was delivered. The only bright spot of the meal was a balloon artist who came to our table. Lowery was so excited that she leapt out of her seat to come show me her new animal, tripped over the balloon artist’s foot and collided with the concrete floor. She screamed a scream not normally possible from such small lungs. This awoke our infant, who promptly tried to rival her sister’s volume. I scooped up my three-year-old and headed to the lobby with both children screaming uncontrollably. With no option, I sat down on the floor to feed the baby while using my one free arm to wipe the blood off of my other child’s knees, all while my husband finished paying the bill.

The screaming from both children lasted the entire walk back to the hotel.

I’m not implying that the extremely awful restaurant experience ruined our trip. But I do think it was responsible for putting all four of us in a pretty foul mood.

Back in our hotel room and in dry clothes, Lowery was beginning to exhibit signs of mental instability. She pulled everything out of every bag, all the pillows off the bed and then ran to the bathroom and attempted to lock herself in. I tried to help my husband with her antics, but I was occupied by our inconsolable infant.

For over an hour I worked to calm my inexplicably crying baby, while my husband resorted to every disciplinary tactic ever invented to try to calm down our wound-up child. Lowery is strong-willed and independent. But this night was like nothing we’d ever seen. She had gone full-on Linda Blair.

Meanwhile, our infant, who had barely uttered a peep in her first few weeks of life, was screaming as though she’d just realized she had exited the womb. At one point, the front desk called our room to raise concerns about the noise level. We could barely hear each other over the two screaming girls.

“I don’t negotiate with terrorists!” my husband screamed at one point as our three-year-old attempted to stick her head through a coat hanger.

“When is your vasectomy scheduled?!” I yelled over the high-pitched screech of our infant.

Lowery, who had opened the two complimentary bottles of water and poured them in the toilet, fought our demands that she get on the bed and go to sleep. She cried and screamed and pouted and, to my complete horror, spit.

Watching my child—my sweet, typically well-behaved child—literally spit at us made something inside of me snap. And I yelled. I yelled louder than the screaming children. Louder than I’d ever yelled. And when I stopped, Lowery looked at me, completely unfazed by my outburst, and yelled back, “I’m just not tired!”

With that pronouncement, she threw herself dramatically on the bed. And as her head hit the pillow, even before the rest of her body had landed, she was completely asleep.

My husband and I looked at each other in shock, not even realizing that London had miraculously stopped crying as well and had passed out asleep in my arms. Jim tip toed over to Lowery’s bed and covered her with a blanket. I laid the baby gently down in the crib. And we silently crawled into bed together, trembling while we held each other like Leo and Kate in the icy waters.

I’m not implying that our three-year-old ruined our family vacation, but she totally did.

The next morning, Lowery popped up looking refreshed and happy. She bounced over to our bed to give us kisses. We rose up like two hung over frat boys to kiss her back.

Ten minutes into our journey home, a mere 18 hours after the trip began, Lowery said she needed to use the bathroom. The last sign we passed said the next rest stop was 30 miles ahead. Lowery began to cry, yelling that she really needed to go and couldn’t hold it. We sped up, promising Lowery candy if she could hold it. (I wasn’t going up for Mother of the Year this trip.)

When we finally made it to the rest stop, Lowery bounced out of the car and ran next to me holding her crotch. She perched herself on the toilet, but I heard nothing. Pure silence.

“I don’t have to go any more,” she smiled up at me.

Rather than leave her there on the toilet, get back in the car and drive away, I’ll always praise myself for deciding to take her with us.

Back in the car and ten more minutes down the road, London began screaming. Loudly. We contemplated our options. Me crawling in the back seat while the car went 90 down the highway, or pulling off to the side of the road. Neither was advisable, so we drove another 20 solid minutes with our infant screaming in the dog octave.

When we finally stopped, I jumped in the back seat, and the moment I placed the pacifier in her mouth, before her lips could even seal around it, she fell asleep.

Back on the road again, Lowery softly said, “Okay, I really do have to go this time.”

What seemed like hours later, we pulled into our driveway and sat there with the engine still running and rain beating down on the hood. Both children were finally sleeping in the back seat. Tears began rolling down my cheeks. When my gentle crying became audible sobbing, Jim turned to look at me. At first his face was twisted with concern, but then it morphed into an enormous grin.

“Why are you smiling?” I said, as snot started to collect on my upper lip.

“Because,” he said with a laugh, “just imagine the overlay.”

For your next girlfriends' get together, play When I Say/My Kids Hear. Take several long sheets of paper and write a different "When I say...." sentence-starter on the top of each sheet. (Examples: "When I say 'Go to bed,' my kids hear _________" or "When I say 'Pick up your room,' my kids hear ________.") Pass the sheets around so everyone can write on each paper. After everyone has written on all of the sheets, read them out loud. 

Meg is a woman with too little time on her hands to write as though she's got nothing but time. Even still, she's written a humorous blog since 2010 and she has been published in print and syndicated online. Her book Harebrained: It seemed like a good idea at the time, came out in 2015 and ranked in the top ten humorous books on Amazon. She recently gave a Tedx Talk "Negotiating for your Life" (available online in March of 2016). An Oklahoma native, Meg received her undergraduate degree in English and Creative Writing from Drury University, and her MPA and PhD from the University of Oklahoma. Meg lives in Tulsa with her husband and two daughters. She works as an assistant professor of political science and writes feverishly in the minuscule time after her children go to bed and before her nightcap. 
Buy her book HERE 


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