30 June 2010

What I've learned moving from city to country

It's been six months now since we moved out to the middle of these Illinois cornfields from the near-northwest Chicago suburbs (where I spent most of my life), so I figure now's a good time to look back on what we've learned.

1. People consider the "neighborhood" an amorphous area of about 5 square miles around you, and everyone within that space and even beyond will know everything about you that anyone can find out.

2. All of those people will do anything they can to make your time on this Earth more bearable, at any time of day or night.

3. When Jehovah's Witnesses don't manage to catch you at home, they will hand write a personalized letter to enclose with the pamphlet they mail you instead.

4. Feed corn is nowhere near as delicious as sweet corn, but feed corn is all anyone wants to grow.

5. If Nature loves you, then a scraggly-looking stand of bush-like trees surrounded by tall weeds can turn out to actually be a few mulberry trees grown together... and mulberry pie is easy to make and extremely delicious*... and because of this, the weed-free stand of noble arbors will begin to look more and more beautiful to you every day.

6. I must get some livestock. I just HAVE to! Conveniently, I also find myself really wanting to.

7. The slow pace of life and constant contact with the cycles of Nature can turn you into an 80-year-old surprisingly quickly. Suspenders seem practical, TV seems unnecessary and loud, everything is more satisfying when done yourself, and a bout of shingles is apparently par for the course.**

8. Children can entertain themselves for a surprisingly long time right in your yard. Just with sticks 'n' stuff.***

9. The ability to do whatever you feel like without everybody looking over your shoulder is intoxicating, and I find myself daydreaming about where would be best to launch my fireworks and set up my shooting range (factoring in my future prairie, forest, giant firepit, pond, 9-hole golf course, and gardens).

10. Wearing a shirt feels like suiting up in a tuxedo or a parka, depending on the weather and the fabric. It's definitely one of the worst parts about going in to town.

* The only troublesome part is removing the little stems from each fingernail-staining berry, though some say you don't really need to.

** I'm pretty sure they'll repossess your house, or at least your land, if you don't develop it within 6 months. I made it just under the wire!

*** Only provided they have no apparent supervision.

25 June 2010

Amusing searches, Vol. 8

Here are more of the most amusing searches that have brought people here, again with the theme of "complaining about your children".

(All search strings are reprinted exactly as they were entered, and the search text links to the post at which the visitor arrived.)

child spreads feces on shower wall (Windsor, Ontario) - Just be glad it was IN THE SHOWER, you whiner.

11 year son monster penis - Has one, or is one? That's an important difference... but I'm not sure which would be more intimidating.

is it normal for a 12 year old to have white gushy stuff coming out your vagina - MY vagina? No, it's most certainly not normal-- why is a 12-year-old storing any of his or her stuff in MY theoretical vagina?? Stay the hell out of there, all of you!

about to kill my kids quotes (Austin, TX) - Are you looking to borrow some good threats to toss out there for effect? Or just wanting to commiserate with some poor bastard who's got it worse than you?

Either way, I've got a few pages from my lists around here somewhere...

can i feed golden raisin to my 18 year old child (Sterling Heights, MI) - Either that was a significant typo, or you lead a strange, strange life. Unless he's an invalid, I think mostly it'd be creepy any way you slice it.

17 June 2010

A conversation between M- and D-: You gotta watch out for those zombie ground squirrels

The following is part of a Monty-Python-esque conversation my 6-year-old son D- and 3-year-old daughter M- had today with their noses pressed against the patio doors, watching the frolicking of the new litter born to our thirteen-lined ground squirrel friends "Nibble Purple" and "Sunflower Stripehead".*

(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Unfortunately, I made the mistake of asking my wife aloud if a little thing near them in the grass was a dead sibling. The flies shortly confirmed this suspicion, and the kids then became intensely focused on this one instead of all the unbearably cute and very alive ones.

M- (trying desperately to find it): Is that the dead one?

D- (patiently): No, it's the one that's not moving.

M-: Is that one it? ...No, it's moving. ...Is that one it? No, it's moving, too.

D- (authoritatively): All the ones that are moving are dead.

M- (buying it, but just trying to make sure she has it straight): All the ones that are moving are dead?

D- (as if she misheard him): No, all the ones that are moving are NOT dead-- they're alive. All the ones that are NOT moving are dead.

M-: Oh.

* Guess who named them.