Posted in Tuesday Tales

How NOT to Make a Bird Cat Friendship

When I was a little girl, my sister Brenda took care of me in the summer while our parents worked.  We got in trouble – A LOT!  If we weren’t fighting each other; we were scheming together.  But I tended to drive her a little batty sometimes.  One such instant played out with our pets.

Brenda had a parrot named BB, and I had a cat named Tiger Wayne.  Yes, I picked that name myself.  Cause no one should be without a middle name, right?  That thought process tells you a lot about my shenanigans.

To say the cat wasn’t fond of the bird is a gross understatement.  You know the scene in the movie Madagascar when Alex the Lion looks at Marty the zebra with steaks in his eyes?  That was Tiger Wayne to BB.  Well, of course I knew how to fix it.  Don’t I always have the answer?  

I snatched up Tiger Wayne and put him in the bathroom.  Then I retrieved BB from his cage and had him join Tiger Wayne in the bathroom.  I admonished them to be friends, then locked the door, shut it and stepped into the hall.  Immediate chaos.

With partially clipped wings BB lacked the ability to fly to higher safety.  He could airborne for a second then crash to the ground.  He was squawking and banging into the walls as Tiger Wayne pursued him with screeching of his own.  Realizing I’m a stupid little kid complicit in pet homicide, I started screaming.  Brenda, who up to this point was enjoying her day lounging in the sun, came racing in.

“What’s wrong?!”  Her voice full of fear she scanned me.  Judging by my level of screaming, she was certain she’d find my arm cut off or something equally terrifying.

“Tiger Wayne is going to eat BB.”

That’s the precise moment the noise from the bathroom penetrated her fear of me being hurt.    She rattled the doorknob in panic.  “The door won’t open.”

“I locked it.”

If her bird’s life wasn’t in danger, I swear she would have throttled me right there.  Instead, she wrapped up all my stupidity into a single sentence dripping with disbelief.  “Why would you do that?”     

Just when she thought I couldn’t shock her more, I answered through quaking sobs and large gulps of air,.  “I wanted them to be friends.”

“You locked them in the bathroom to be friends?”

I nodded.  She practically growled.  A solution arriving in my sister’s brain spared my life. She tore off into the other room and returned with a hammer.  Before I asked her intent she began whaling away on the wooden door.  Once she made a hole, she reached through and unlocked the door.  Because BB was still intact Brenda allowed me to remain that way.  Not to mention, beating a hole in a door went a long way in relieving her fear and anger.  

With Tiger Wayne and BB safely separated, Brenda determined we were in big trouble with Mom.  So, what do we do?  Lie of course.  I wasn’t in full agreement.  However, I thought locking our pets in the bathroom together would make them friends.  So, maybe I’d go with Brenda on this one. 

Brenda told Mom I got locked in the bathroom and couldn’t get out.  Ronnie, a neighbor up the street, came down and knocked the hole in the door to save me.  It offended me Mom bought the story.  How dumb did she think I was?  Sure, locking a barely able to fly parrot in the bathroom with his greatest predator wasn’t my best idea, but good grief!  I could work a doorknob!   

Everything was fine until Mom thanked Ronnie for saving me from a door I mastered.  Ronnie was clueless.  Brenda, operating on same genius level as I, didn’t consider the possibility of Mom mentioning it to Ronnie.  Even though Ronnie lived only three houses away.  And she and Mom talked.  Every day.     

Mom picked our story apart.  Brenda and I may not have been the brightest crayons in the box, but we knew when Mom was baiting us.  We confessed. 

Mom believed in creative punishment.  She made us paint the side of the house.  And that’s where Mom’s crayon lost a bit of brightness.  A hot summer day, frustrated sisters, and house paint?  Mom was asking for it.  That’s a tale for another Tuesday.

Posted in funny, YouTube

Joan Zone YT Channel Up & Running

The Joan Zone YouTube is brand new.  Check it out for new informative and humorous video content. Take a peek at our latest video. The Naughty Wheel

Posted in funny, parenting, Tuesday Tales

Failed Hit On A Guinea Pig

As an adult, my son Dalton and I swapped stories we’d kept from each other. When Dalton was about seven, he wanted a guinea pig. At the pet store, his older brother, Colton decided he wanted one. Dalton named his Lilly, and Colton named his Diamond. As a child I raised hamsters and wrongly assumed guinea pigs were the same, just a bigger model. So, I skipped researching them. Bad move.

While we were on vacation, my mom took care of them at her house. By the time we returned, she was as attached to them as the boys. A few days later Dalton announced one morning that something was wrong with Lilly. I sent Dalton to school and took Lilly to the vet where I got the grim prognosis.

Guinea pigs have very sensitive airways and tend to hide when they’re sick. By the time you realize your pig is sick it’s usually too late. Their respiratory system can’t tolerate smoke. My heart sank. My Mom smoked like a freight train. Lilly didn’t have a chance.

Dalton was crushed. The first thing my Mom said was, “Do you think I did something to it?” I could hear the anguish in her voice. I didn’t see the need to worsen the situation with the truth, so I lied.

Dalton wrapped Lilly in a towel and walked around holding and talking to her, begging her not to die. It was awful. He lashed out at Colton, saying it wasn’t fair. Colton only got Diamond because he wanted Lilly, so it should be Diamond dying. Now, Colton cried. When DJ, my youngest son, saw all the tears he joined in. It broke my heart seeing Dalton so upset and I couldn’t do anything. Or could I?

The most humane thing for everyone was ending the suffering. Alone with Lilly, I wrapped the towel around her head to suffocate her. But the second she squirmed, I let her go. I took a deep breath and reminded myself the purpose was to end Lilly and Dalton’s suffering. I tried again. Nope! She wiggled I let go. By the third attempt I accepted the fact I couldn’t do it.

Now I was crying. When my husband appears I told him I was a horrible mother because I couldn’t kill a rodent to end my son’s pain. He looks at me like I just dropped out of a UFO and said, “There has got to be a better way.”  He says that to me a lot.

Dejected and feeling like the worst mother in the world, I went to comfort Dalton as best I could. Sometime during the night Lilly died, and we buried her the next morning. A few days later, Diamond got sick, and we started the entire process over. Well, not the entire process. I didn’t bother trying to take Diamond out. And my Mom died years later, never knowing the truth.

“Mom!” Dalton yells. “You tried to kill my guinea pig?”

“Yes, for you honey.”

“Mom!”

“You were so upset I wanted to help you.”

Days after we had that conversation Dalton called me “Mom, I’m calling to tell you that I’ve told several of my friends about Lilly and we all think you’re crazy.”

“It’s not like I was trying to kill you. And what about the part where I couldn’t do it.”

“That’s the part where you’re a good mother.”

“You’re the one that wanted to share stories.”

“Yeah. Share not scare!”

Posted in funny, Tuesday Tales

When Email Goes Awry

I think it’s important to always keep a sense of humor. Laughter decreases stress hormones and releases endorphins which make us feel good.  I’m starting a new blog group titled Tuesday Tales. I’ll share some of my crazy antics, past and present. If you have a funny story you want me to share email me at jmariegvs@gmail.com. If your story needs names changed to protect the guilty I can do that. Since my tales tend to be quite colorful I’ll break ya’ll in easy.

My father-in-law and I tend to get into mischief.  We don’t do anything really bad but we think we’re hilarious and that’s usually where the trouble begins.

Years ago when Steve and I first got married we lived in Nicholasville and didn’t see my in-laws as frequently as we do now.  Steve set up email accounts for his Dad and me and we emailed on a regular basis.

Anyone who knows me knows I am anything but tech-savvy.  At work, the IT department spent the vast majority of their time at my desk muttering things like, “how did you get it to do that?” They called for backup. Sometimes the backup called for backup. Other times they made me leave.  But how hard is emailing, right?

My father-in-law and I emailed each other jokes we found online.  I don’t recall what joke I sent to set this in motion.  But I got a response along the lines of, “why are you sending me this?”  I thought it was odd it needed explaining but he’s all old and stuff.  So, there’s that.

The next day I got a follow-up email on my explanation reading, “Who are you?”  Oh, I get it now. He’s playing a little game of pretending he doesn’t know who I am. I’ll play along.  Meanwhile, on a daily basis, I said to Steve, “You’re Dad is so funny.”  But I never fully explained the statement.  He didn’t question me because as I said, his Dad and I are always up to something.

Around day four of the back and forth I received an email stating, “Who are you and why do you think I’m interested in this?” I respond with, “It’s your favorite daughter-in-law.”

He responds, “I don’t have a daughter-in-law.” Now, normal thinking humans would pause and consider the situation.  However, I’ve never claimed normalcy. And that’s why the conversation unraveled.

“I don’t have a daughter-in-law.”

“Well, you better call the police because I’ve been sleeping with your son for the last six months.”

“Lady, my son is six years old and you better stop emailing me.”

No need to tell me the last part.  I not only wouldn’t email him again but contemplated tossing the computer out the window.  Not understanding technology I imagined the man sending police to my house, me registering as a sex offender, and my “most wanted” picture at the post office when I refused.

“I’ve done something bad.”  My exact words when Steve walked in.  When he finished laughing he assured me I wasn’t going to jail for cyber molestation and showed me the single different letter between my father-in-law’s email and the random stranger.

The moral of the story? Make certain you’re inappropriate jokes go to the person as crazy as you are.

 

Posted in Uncategorized, YouTube

YouTube Scares Me More Than COVID19

When you’re a freelance writer or indie author you’re a business. You’re out hustling every day. Social media makes it simultaneously better and worse. Access to agents, publishers, and other writers is fantastic. But now before publishing a book or getting an agent you must create your brand and build your author platform. (insert eye roll)

I don’t want to do any of that. I want to play with the people in my head. The ones I created out of thin air but feel so real. The world they live in is more fun than mine. None-the-less, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. And this girl created a YouTube channel to help with that platform everyone in the industry harps on.

The problem is I despise being in front of the camera. I stuttered as a child. It took six years of speech therapy to overcome it but it’s still a raw nerve. When I’m in front of the camera speaking I worry the stuttering child in me will appear and trip me up.

Coronavirus drives people to the internet. When our entertainment options are eradicated we go online. I knew I had to make a video. It took me all day to work up my nerve. But alas, I finally did. Reward my strength in facing my horrid fear by watching my videos, subscribing and ringing the bell to get notifications. This is the ultimate social distancing. Until next time, take care of yourself, be kind to others and wash those hands! Click here for video

Posted in In The News

The Blood is Yours Harry

The all-knowing Harry got himself punked. Too obtuse to see the plethora of red flags, he turned into a Chatty Cathy. He revealed himself as a disturbed, arrogant child. His rudimentary knowledge of coal set me off.

I live in Kentucky. Unlike egotistical nonsensical Harry, I know about coal. Coal is to Eastern Kentucky what actors are to Hollywood. We have the most mines in the country. Closing coal mines means literally wiping out entire communities. Those who don’t starve to death or commit suicide will turn to government assistance. Not only are we the fifth largest coal producer, but we are also the fifth poorest state.

Thanks to politicians robbing Peter to pay Paul, Kentucky is in financial crisis. Much needed support and programs are being cut. My son DJ is special needs. Kentucky doesn’t have the funds to help parents of special needs kids remain in the workforce like other states. Therefore, I left my lucrative job to care for DJ. The lost income forced my husband to work three jobs. Our four other sons were under age 11.

DJ spent more time in the hospital than out and I got cancer. The loss of my job meant losing excellent healthcare coverage that would have paid 100% of all medical bills DJ and I needed. I felt certain if the cancer didn’t kill me, the stress would. It took almost 20 years to crawl out of those black days.

Harry wants to take my personal tragedy, amplify it by ten and inflict it on over 700,000 Kentuckians all in the name of climate change. While Kentuckians lose everything, Harry will be private jetting around the globe on Daddy’s dime and British taxpayer money giving million-dollar speeches to fracking supporting companies.

Pikeville proves Kentucky can escape the coal mines. Once known as a coal town, Pikeville now thrives in the medical field. How? A wealthy man put his money where his mouth is and rallied support from others. He turned around a struggling hospital and built a medical college. Knowing the key to success is investing in people, hospital employees enjoy free healthcare and great pay. That is the epitome of being committed to your cause.

You going to do that Hollywood Harry? Are you so committed to an anti-coal world you’ll sacrifice your mansion, private jets, overpriced clothes, celebrity hob-knobbing, and million-dollar speeches? I didn’t think so.

So, in the words of your little BFF Greta Thunberg, “How dare you!” How dare you think you know all the answers. How dare you contribute nothing but take everything. How dare you devalue people. How dare you present as climate control pious while raking from fracking supporting companies. Most of all, how dare you attack my state, my people, when you have never stepped one designer shoe here.

You sit on your holier than thou throne in your privileged life, calling for the destruction of thousands of lives. That Nazi costume you wore wasn’t a costume at all. It was an expression of a warped sense of self. You have the audacity to attack our president for preserving lives, yet you’re too spineless to walk the coal mines as you did the landmines. The only one with bloody hands is you, Pontius Pilate.

 

Crap Sign From God

The Joan Zone

At a family reunion out of state, DJ’s service dog alerted to an ear infection. Since DJ gets ear infections like a frat boy in a dare, Duke got a lot of practice honing his skill. Duke is gone over the rainbow bridge now but his perfect legacy of diagnosing ear infections lives on.  However, Duke was a bit quirky. He tossed condescending looks better than any human.  He was all business in his service dog role but every once in awhile he did something nutty. 1913644_1080683317253_408245_n

My husband Steve has a freakish ability to find his way around any town. Even using old school paper maps he rarely got lost. But when he is lost – he is REALLY lost. And he does not cope with it well.  Suddenly, the boys and I are not funny.  We dispute this.  Some of our best zingers are triggered by Steve’s directionally challenged…

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Posted in Uncategorized

Are Your Afflictions Eclipsed By Glory

Click here to read my latest Winchester Sun column

 

Posted in Faith, Healthcare, parenting, The DJ Journey

20 Years of Loving DJ

A doctor, we’ll call Dr. S, said awful things about DJ. Things no one should ever say about a child let alone a patient. She felt compelled to perversely tell me how inadequate my baby was. She ended with words I never let permeate my heart. “He’s a blob. He’ll always be a blob. That’s all he’ll ever be.” Dr. S lives today because my husband physically restrained me long enough for her to scuttle from the hospital room never to be seen again.

Each candle added to DJ’s birthday cake serves as a tangible reminder of an invisible faith manifested through the most unlikely of people and circumstances. So, on his 20th birthday, I want to bring Dr. S up to speed on her dire predictions. And remind her that while she looked into this little face and saw doom and hopelessness I saw potential, love, and hope incarnate.  382819_2066102232110_512707139_n

DJ demands personal growth. You can’t be too cowardly to look boldly within. You must forget what you want, expect, and plan. Me holding onto expectations and comparing us to others propelled us nowhere. So, when public school and DJ weren’t a love match I became what I never wanted to be – a teacher! No offense to teachers. I just never fancied being one. As a little girl, I was the only one on our street who preferred being the student when we played school.

It took us a couple of years to find our groove but DJ thrived in homeschool. Shock to me, but I enjoyed teaching him. The fuel to higher learning is individualization. Crafting lessons to his needs, incorporating sensory-rich field trips, and teaching by a grasp of subject matter rather than a perceived grade level, proved to be the ladder to his higher learning window.

 

With education came books. Books taught me as much about DJ as they did him about the world. Through books, DJ told me how he loved Kentucky history and opened a path for me into his nonverbal world.

 

DJ views history as a learning tool. Dr. S viewed history, at least medical history, as an inescapable future. Dr. S’s encapsulating DJ into a sports-less world only made us determined to try it all. It should be mentioned that Dr. S did not include sack racing in her list of sports DJ couldn’t do. DJ and his Daddy just threw that in as a show-off manner for Aunt Neen and Maggie.

 

He also learned to swim, ride a bike, and even find his way around a kitchen.

 

It didn’t take long to figure out that the best things for DJ, cost us the most. Giving DJ basic life experiences we all take for granted, means expending physical stamina, mental stress, and emotional shifting. Yet, it’s menial compared to love. The more experiences DJ has the more he learns. The more he learns the more he grows. The more he grows the more he overcomes. And the more he overcomes the more hope he infuses into our crazy world. So, we do the things Dr. S said couldn’t be done;  eating out, camping, peaceful public outings, air travel, and even a journey across the Purple People Bridge.

 

It all matters; dressing up and turning his wagon into part of his Halloween costume, riding a scooter board, carving a pumpkin, reaching higher for the elusive Easter egg, training a service dog for him, building therapy tools like a platform swing for him to chill on, it’s all relative. Nothing is too much. Dr. S’s medical knowledge may have been correct. She didn’t factor in how life-altering unadulterated love is.

 

Of all Dr. S’s wrongs, her greatest was predicting I’d never hear I love you from DJ. Granted, I’ve never heard it verbally. But what I’ve learned is that the deepest of love isn’t said, it’s shown. And no one shows his love better than the little boy who supposedly never could.

 

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