Sunday, September 28, 2014

How to Mail a Letter

My family is filled with Type A personalities.  There is a Way to do everything.  It doesn't matter if you get something done, it has to be done the correct way.  My father is Mr. Process.  This is a really good trait to have when you are a Pharmacist.  Wouldn't want those drugs made the wrong way you know.  He is meticulous when it comes to home improvement.  I swear that Zillow could use the marketing term- "House Remodeled by Greg Little' and it would increase the value by 10%.  His craftsmanship is amazing.   I appreciate his attention to detail, and find that I have inherited some of it, but I definitely fall short.  It drives him crazy when my brother and I don't do things the Way it should be done.  I am not allowed to make pancakes at his house.  I do not start my stirring gently with a fork in the middle of the batter slowly moving outward to make sure each and every grain of flour is blended at it is perfectly smooth.  I throw the hand mixer in there and always end up with some un-blended mix on the bottom.  Now, I have to say that his pancakes are generally better than mine, but mine are good enough.  (Good enough is not a term in Greg Little's vocabulary as you can imagine).

I am very lucky that my father has taught me how to do many things.  My first memory of one of these lessons was brought to mind the other day while Caroline was watching the Bubble Guppies.  (Bubble, Bubble, Bubble, Bubble, Guppies. Bubble, Bubble, Bubble, Bubble, Bubble Guppies.  You have to sing the song every time you say it)  One of the creatures was trying to mail himself to his friends house.  The whole episode was about mail and how a letter or package gets mailed.  I am glad Dad wasn't watching because they of course got it wrong.  I know because when I was about 5 or 6 I was shown the right way to mail a letter.  This is how it went.

Scene- Two story colonial house in the suburbs.  Tree lined street.  Little girl playing sweetly because she is an angel child that never did anything wrong.  Scene opens with father coming into the room

Greg: Daughter, grab your jacket.  We are going on a walk and I am going to teach you a very important life lesson today.

Megan (pre-"h"): Ok Daddy

Greg:  Daughter, mailing a letter is like life.  If you are doing it right you will succeed.  Do it the wrong way and who knows where you will end up.

Megan: Ok Daddy

Greg:  First you make sure the letter is addressed properly with a return address and the stamp placed perfectly square in the corner.

Megan: Ok Daddy

Greg: Next you walk to the mailbox.  In our neighborhood there is one on 17th street and one on 15th street.  They have pickups at different times so do your research to make sure you are going to the right mailbox where the letter will be picked up the fastest.

Megan: Ok Daddy

Greg:  Now we are here at the mailbox.  First you pull down the handle and check what time the pickup will occur.  You should usually have this memorized from previous visits, but sometimes the government does crazy things just to mess things up. (he says the same thing about Obamacare).  Once you have your time established, carefully lay the letter flat on the tray and close the lid.  Reopen the lid to ensure that the letter made it into the chute.  If the OCD is kicking in especially bad you can do that a couple of times.  Oh wait, he didn't say that it is just what I do.

Megan: Ok Daddy.  Can I have a cookie now?

Greg; Ok.  Sigh (as if he wasn't sure I was listening)

I was listening.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The day my brother saved my life????

Today is my 42nd Birthday and I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for my favorite brother Graham.  Or at least that is how he tells the story.  First, the backstory.  I was at UT and was having LOTS of fun.  Let's just say that I was rarely making it to bed before 2 or 3.  I was waiting tables and after our shift we would go out and spend all that cash.  I was still making it to class and holding down an acceptable GPA, but needless to say I was burning the candle at both ends.  I woke up early one Saturday morning after a few short hours of sleep and headed to Bristol because the Sphar's were coming to visit and I hadn't seen Sarah in quite some time.  When I got home Graham and I were hanging out in the family room downstairs when we heard my parents announce that the Sphar's had arrived.  We headed up the stairs to meet them.  This is where is goes fuzzy.  Graham says I was in front of him and kind of "fell" backwards and he caught me.  (I can' t help thinking if maybe he pushed????)  Anyway, somehow I ended up hitting my head on the top stair. After I hit I started to walk across the kitchen but didn't make it because I fell to the floor and had a grand mal seizure.  Yep- pissed myself and everything.  All this right as the Sphar's come walking to the door.  Welcome to the Little's, so good to see you, come on in and wait for the ambulance with us.  I can only imagine what everyone was going through.  I honestly only remember coming too, seeing sparkly lights  and hearing voices. (I think those voices were telling me to get my s*** together and slow down).  I know my parents must have been out of their minds, but they knew to keep things lighthearted so Graham and I wouldn't be scared. In true Little fashion we were all cracking jokes by the time the ambulance got there.  I had all the tests to see what had happened.  CAT Scan, MRI, EKG, and EEG.  Everything came back negative.  The sleep deprived EEG was no fun.  I had to stay up all night.  I was used to staying up all night, but at a party, not at the hospital.  Thank you Sarah and Rachel for keeping me company all night.  It was determined that I just fainted.  No real reason, just exhausted.  When I fainted I hit my head and got a concussion which caused the seizure.  I do forgive you Graham for pushing me.  I do thank you for saving my life Graham and letting me celebrate this birthday today.  

I do have to say there was one good thing that came out of all this.  When I went back to waiting tables with my black eye people felt really sorry for me and I made some killer tips.  Here is a picture of my shiner.  After we found out I was going to be ok we had some fun making up stories of how it happened. 
 I need this caption to read, fainted and hit her head, NOT dating an NFL player.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


I have been thinking a lot about Aunt's this week.  Will's Aunt Uneva passed away last week and the funeral was Sunday.  I haven't known Uneva very long, but I could tell from the first time that I met her that she was a wonderful person and someone whom I would have liked to be my Aunt.  I am lucky.  I got some really good Aunt's.  First we need to get one thing clear, when I say Aunt I say it like the little crawly worker insect, not the other way that honestly I can't even think of a word that rhymes with it.  I have been in the South for over 25 years and I still can't get used to how Aunt is said here.

Now to my Aunts.  I could go on for pages on each of these remarkable women, but I am going to try and keep it brief.  I will start with my mom's sisters.

The first born (notice I did not say oldest- do I get brownie points for that?) is Bonnie. Christian name Margaret, I think, but the Church wouldn't let you baptize a Bonnie, so she got named after her mother.  I never have figured out why the Church cares what your name is, pretty sure God doesn't, but I digress.  Bonnie is one of the most amazing cooks I have ever met.  I remember her selling her cookies at Christmas and it was great because so many of the relatives bought them.  We got to eat them wherever we went.  The woman has been in charge of more than one community cookbook and I still use them. For my friends whom I have cooked for- she is responsible for Cream Puff Cake, Sour Cream Cookies, and Bourbon Slush.  She also bought Kraft Chicken Noodle Dinner and my mom would never buy it.  I have vivid memories eating this in her kitchen.  Weird, I know, but it makes me feel good just thinking about it.  

I get confused if Mary or Sue came next.  I didn't really know Sue because she passed away when I was young.  There is something about Mary.  No really there is.  Mary was like Pinterest before the internet.  One of the craftiest people that I know.  She can sew, she can cook, she can arrange flowers, she can do it all.  My kids have tents, sleeping bags, blankets and clothes that were lovingly made by her. I have very rarely heard Mary say a bad word about anybody or anything.  I think my favorite thing about Mary is her voice.  She should be a narrator of children's book.  I swear if she read me a book it would lull me to sleep with a smile on my face.

The youngest (notice I said youngest- do I get brownie points for that?) sister is Fran.  Fran is closer to my age and her kids are closer to Liam's age.  Frances Ann Gallager is her full name.  Imagine the snickers when my grandmother put her initials FAG on a bag.  Grandma didn't get it, but it has been the butt of many jokes.  Really I think Grandma should have just marketed the FAG BAG.  I would think they would have sold very well in some areas of the country. Fran is one of the coolest motorcycle mamas that I know.  She isn't like so many women that buy the fancy Harley Clothes and ride on the back of bike.  She can actually fix a bike.  I am pretty sure that she could fix just about anything.

My dad didn't have any sisters but he did have an Aunt that was like an extra grandmother to me.  Her name was Muriel, but she was called Minnow from the time my uncle was a baby and couldn't say Muriel.  Everybody called her Minnow.  Her CB handle was "The Little Fish".  She did not have any kids so Graham, Ness, Jason, Ashleigh and I became her surrogates.  I think she worked early in her marriage, but not during my lifetime.  For somebody who didn't work she had quite the routine though.  Breakfast at Bob's Big Boy which sometimes turned into lunch because the waitresses at Bob's became like family to her.  I am pretty sure she never cooked a dinner my entire life.  She always ate out.  She was always going to Kmart and always running around.  Really not doing anything, but always in a hurry.  We would tell her that a party would start at 2 when it didn't start until 4 because the woman was always late. She had a heart of gold, but she was the person at the party that you didn't want to get stuck by because she could have an hour long conversation about the most mundane things.  She was forever cutting out news articles and giving them to us.  Now I wish that I kept some of these, but at the time I was like "what in the world?"  The picture above is of her at my grandmother's house.  Don't get excited, the cake was one of those square frozen Pepperidge Farm  cakes.  You didn't think Grandma baked a cake did you????  Minnow was always the last to get the joke and when she did she would yell "oh for crying out loud" or if it was a particularly bad one "you are a horse's ass".  She was obsessed with our teeth and would grab our chins and look in our mouth's and say "you better be brushing those choppers".  I would like to send a message to her in heaven - I had no cavities at my last checkup. And yes I go for a cleaning two times a year.  I would go more Minnow but the insurance won't pay for it.  Yes I know that I only get one set of teeth.  Yes, I know how important a good smile is.  Yes, I will make sure the kids brush their teeth.  No I didn't know that the waitress at Bob Heaven's just got a new cat.  Yes, Fluffy is a cute name...

 I don't have a sister so my kids don't get "blood related" aunts.  I am really lucky to have two amazing Sister In Laws, Hye and Rachel,  that I am proud to call my kids Aunts. They are like sisters without all the sibling rivalry.  I get to be an Aunt to some pretty amazing kids too.  I am not crafty like Aunt Mary and I think we would all bust out laughing to think of me fixing a motorcycle like Aunt Fran.  I will probably never be as good of a cook as Aunt Bonnie (although I can make some mean Kraft Dinner).  I hope one day these kids feel as much love for me as I feel for my Aunts

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Molly the Kitten Killing Dog (Graham made me do it Mom)

This may look like a picture of a happy family with their beloved pet.  It's not.  This is a picture of a happy family with a dog named Molly that really only liked my mom, sometimes my dad if my mom wasn't around. Let me say first that I am not a dog hater.  I am pretty sure that Graham and I begged to get Molly.  She was born in the house next door on 25th street.  Mom assisted at the birth. She was so cute and cuddly and we couldn't wait for her to be old enough to come live at our house.  I am sure that once the newness wore off Graham and I did not want the responsibility of a dog.  We totally lost interest in her so her care fell on my mom.  What we didn't know is that cocker spaniels tend to get very attached to one person and just seem neurotic to everybody else.  Around this same time I found a stray ginger kitten that I was able to keep.  I named her Lucy.  Lucy wasn't really the smartest cat, but she was sweet and I loved her. Even better, she would actually use the litter box and didn't scratch the furniture so she didn't have to go live at the "cat farm" like some of my other kittens.  - There is another story here, but let's just say if things became undesirable at our house they just disappeared.  Cats went to the "cat farm" and dad's old clothes that he refused to throw away got picked up by the "bag lady".   Graham went to "camp" ( just kidding Graham you weren't really undesirable most of the time).

Anyway, when we moved to Tennessee Molly and Lucy went with us.  When we crossed the Mason Dixon line hormones started kicking in.  First it was Graham, the fresh meat at Vance Middle School, and then it was Lucy.  She had always been an inside cat in Ohio, but the fresh mountain air and big yard allowed her to be an outdoor cat in Tennessee.  She was the new hot thing in Bellebrook and soon she was pregnant.  Not a planned pregnancy, but we were excited none the less.  She had a litter of 4 or 5 kittens.  My friends and I watched them grow to be cute little furballs.  One day we were sitting around and decided to name the kittens.  The only name I remember was J**** S***** ( name blacked out to protect the stupid)  We named this particular boy kitten after this particularly obnoxious meathead at school.  He had the mullet with spiky on top, shaved on the sides and long in the back  ( is this a Mullhawk?).

This fine specimen would stand in the main hallway at Tennessee High with his obnoxious friends bullying me and all my friends.  I saw him knock kids into lockers and I think I would throw up a little in my mouth every time I saw him.  One day he knocked into me and I sarcastically said back to him "Excuse you!!!!"  He walked a few steps away, probably more than a few because it would take him a while to come up with a comeback.  He yelled back" YO MEG... SUCK B***" Need I say more.  What a perfect name for the kitten that bullied his siblings, pushing them out of the way and walking all over them.  

One evening we were cleaning up after dinner. The kittens were wandering around and Molly was spastic because there was food around.  J**** S***** ventured a little too close to the food dish and the fierce animal attacked.   She had him in her mouth and wouldn't let go.  Needless to say I lost it.  Who knew a smelly black cocker could have such a taste for blood.  She whipped him all around and dropped him on the kitchen floor to flop back and forth until he died.  I didn't know what to think.  Was this divine intervention getting back at J**** S***** for being such a bully?  Or was it the dog who hated me killing one of my kittens that I loved to show me who was boss?  I know, I know, it was just a dog acting naturally protecting it's food source.  Whatever!!!!  I never could fully forgive Molly.  Even when she grew tumors all over her body and looked like a cocker with elephant-its.  Even when the tumors  in her ears would get infections that smelled so bad you couldn't be in the same room with her.  Even when my parents nursed her back from kidney shutdown with peanut butter crackers. Ok- maybe I did forgive her when they finally put her to sleep.  But I only did it when I saw how much my mom loved that lumpy, smelly kitten killer.  When Molly died she took a little piece of my mom with her.  Mom swore she'd never get another cocker, but a few years later came Lady, another black cocker.   She was neurotic of course, but never did hit the level of crazy that Molly did.  Now my parents have Max, a multi colored cocker mix who is probably one of the greatest dogs I have ever met.  He completes their family and if you call their house you will get the message that Greg, Kate and Max are not in.  

You may ask whatever happened to mullet man?  I see him from time to time in his police cruiser.  His son and my son were briefly friends (awkward) but luckily I only had to speak with his mom to arrange sleepovers. Hopefully he won't figure out that I named a martyred kitten after him, pull me over for speeding and say Yo Meg... Here's your ticket.