Tag Archives: humor

A Gross Way To Start The Day

I haven’t had anything in the Quote Corner category in forever, so here’s the first conversation I had with my husband at 6:30 am. 😃

Tim: I just pulled a ‘you.’
Me: (taking out my earplugs) What?
Tim: I just pulled a ‘you’ and stepped in cat puke.
Me: Oh, thank god.
Tim: Although, I don’t know how I missed it on the way to the bathroom. It’s right in my path.
Me: I don’t know how you always miss it.
Tim: I know.
Me: Well, I’m sad to say that makes me really happy.


A Cautionary Tale

This story is dedicated to my loving and wonderful husband, Tim.

This morning I sat down on the couch to put on my shoes and knocked over both beer bottles sitting on the floor. Only one was empty. The scent of a New Belgium Brewing company (Loft or Blue Paddle, which one I do not know) wafted through the air as a decent-sized puddle formed on the floor. The clank and sound of glug-gluging liquid drew Simon into the living room, little paws bounding up to the edge of the puddle. Like any good parent, I cautioned the five month old away as he stuck his nose in it. A few paper towels took care of the mess, and afterwards Simon lay down in the spot where the beer had been.

The following is what could have happened next. (And probably did in some parallel universe.)

Simon and Karly go off to kitten school, where they meet their friends, and spend time running around, chasing tails and string. One of the other kittens, a worried but well meaning calico by the name of Kitty Miss Princess notices how Simon’s fur smells funny. Kitty Miss Princess knows that smell, and proceeds to tell their teacher, Mrs. Whitepaw all about it.

Mrs. Whitepaw takes Simon to see Mr. Graywhiskers, the principal. They all sit down and the adult cats take turns explaining the inherent dangers and evils of alcohol.

The same afternoon, after our adorable kittens return home, I’ve just got them settled down to dinner when the doorbell rings. To my shock, Mr. Graywhiskers, Mrs. Whitepaw and a strange cat are standing at my door. The principal introduces the stranger as Ms. Fuzzybottom.

Ms. Fuzzybottom carries a tiny wooden clipboard, and a monocle hangs from her collar. She’s one of those squashed nose breeds, so glasses are out of the question for this old cat.

The trio stalks into our home, and while Mr. Graywhiskers explains the reason for their visit, I notice Fuzzybottom is examining all the corners of the room, sniffing the furniture, the floor, the doorframe. She makes marks on the clipboard with her claw. To my shock, she comes up to me, tail swishing angrily, and informs me that she is from KFS: Kitten Family Services, and they are here to investigate a claim of parental neglect.

I frantically explain that we are renovating the house, and I’ve been sanding the mantle, so our coffee table is on the front porch, and how my husband has a bad habit of leaving his bottles and soda cans on the floor next the spot on the couch where he sits. I then drift into a tangent about how the porch is screened, and not street level, so people really can’t see the coffee table so it’s not as white trash as it sounds. I plead with the old, grumpy cat, by saying,

“Please, Mrs. Fuzzybottom, it was just an accident!”

Ms. Fuzzybottom,” she growls. “Consumption of beer by a five-month old kitten is no accident.”

“He didn’t consume it; he laid down in the same spot. The floor was probably still a little damp, so that’s why he smelled like beer.”

However much I pleaded and cried and begged, it was to no avail. Ms. Fuzzybottom had the principal take our tiny kitten away, and promised to come back for another home visit, fearing we would further negatively influence our nine-month old, Karly, and branded me as a ‘Bad Human Parent.’

See what happens? Do you see what happens, Tim? When you don’t take your cans and bottles to the kitchen and put them in the recycling bin, I knock them over and a grumpy, old, squishy-faced cat comes and takes away our kittens.

Image

Siblings from another mother – Karly and Simon. Adorably in the way hogging the bathroom sink while I’m trying to get ready for work. 🙂


What NOT to do when planting trees.

Yesterday, we got up bright and early, drove over to my mother-in-law’s house, mowed the yard there, came back home, dropped off the lawnmower, and then made two trips down to the nursery where we picked up our new babies. No, not human babies. Baby trees. Well, two trees and one shrub, technically. 🙂

We’re slowly landscaping the yard. Slowly because we are doing it all ourselves, and also because my husband and I hardly ever have time to work on the big stuff together due to our work schedules. A couple of days ago we finally the hole dug in the front yard for one of the trees we picked out, and decided it was time to pick them all up. They’ve been paid for for about a month and the super wonderful people at the local nursery had been taking care of them for us until we were ready.

The first trip yielded two trees, both put in the back of the vehicle. I had to drive with the back open (is it still a trunk on an SUV??), but we live close, so no worries there. We unloaded said trees in the driveway and headed back. The third tree was trickier.

The front yard tree is a Weeping Blue Cedar, in what they call a Serpentine shape. They are really cool looking. The trunks are wrapped in wire when they are saplings and manipulated into the ‘S’ shape, or even in spiral shapes, and the long evergreen needles drape down. This #%$@!* was planted in an Enormous pot. E-Nor-Mous. The first thing we thought was “We’re going to need a bigger hole.”, and the first thing the guy said was “I know what you’re thinking and the root ball is not as big as that pot.” That was a bit of relief. Only a bit.

He got his two young whipper-snapper helpers, and the trio leaned the tree over and began digging out the root ball. Once it was free, they loaded it onto a forklift (no joke) got it over to the vehicle and proceeded to load the thing horizontally. I was able to shut the back door, but Tim had to sit beside it on the folded over seat because the top of the tree was wrapped around the front passenger seat.

Our first difficulty came in getting the #$@!%^$ tree out of the car. We had an old throw rug under it so we did use that to pull it out, which wasn’t easy as we had to keep it as level as possible. Once it was out, we adjusted our original hole by about five inches, taking it from 19″ wide to 24″. Thankfully, we had made it deep enough as the woman who has been helping us told us how deep it needed to be. The second difficulty was getting the cedar from the driveway to the hole in the front yard. Again, that rug came in handy as we figured out we could drag it. And here’s where we were complete idiots.

Keep in mind that neither me nor my husband has ever planted a tree, except for those teensy-weensy pine tree saplings you plant for earth day or something when you’re like 10, during a school outing. I knew it only needed to planted to the top of the root bulb, not over, and we were further instructed to leave the burlap wrapping, but to cut the strings. So we get the scissors and I’m sitting next to this thing, cutting the strings and going one stupid step further and peeling them away from the roots. We managed to scoot it to the hole and drop it in. Wouldn’t you know, the damn thing is now perpendicular to the house, which means it hitting the front porch. No big deal, just turn it, right? Well, it would have been less of an ordeal if we hadn’t removed the strings. It weighs a freakin’ ton and we can’t lift it back out and the burlap is tearing and disintegrating wherever we grab it. I could get my hands under one side of it, which kinda, sorta, barely helped. It took ten minutes but we managed to turn the tree.

The other two trees were in much smaller pots, one of which I could easily carry. We dug two holes in the backyard, popped those suckers out and into the ground. After spending about 5 hours outdoors getting completely filthy and sweaty, I then showered and after a quick lunch with my husband, went to work. I am getting a start on a tan I wouldn’t normally have, so that’s pretty nice, though my face still feels warm today. We members of the pale club shouldn’t spend from 8:30-1:30 in full sunlight.

I’ve got some before/after pics. The before ones are a couple of months old, as indicated by the time stamp. I finally figured out how to get that to go away on our new camera. I hate having the date blasted across the front of my photos.

So our lessons learned are if you are planting something big and heavy with rope wrapped around a root ball, for the love of all things, don’t cut the strings before it’s in the ground, and if you can pay someone else to do it, then do it.

Front yard before we dug up two inches of sod. Ugh.

Front yard before we dug up two inches of sod. Ugh.

 

Weeping Blue Cedar Tree - the most awesome looking tree on the block.

Weeping Blue Cedar Tree – the most awesome looking tree on the block. Doesn’t look like it needs a 14″ D x 24″ W hole.

 

Backyard before all the blooming.

Backyard before all the blooming.

 

Contorted Filbert Shrub. Also known as Corkscrew Hazel and Harry Lauder's Walking Stick. Looks crazy cool during the winter.

Contorted Filbert Shrub. Also known as Corkscrew Hazel and Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick. Looks crazy cool during the winter.

 

Twisted Locust. His name is Andrew. That's right - Andrew.

Twisted Locust. His name is Andrew. That’s right – Andrew.

 

 

 


Denied Solitude

I have an almost overwhelming urge to make chocolate-chip cookies. They are my favorite cookie, and one of my very favorite dessert foods. The recipe I use is stored in my brain. It’s a task that takes no more than 15-20 minutes. Making this dough is an uncomplicated process.

I cannot make chocolate-chip cookies, and it’s killing me.

I am an introvert, which may not come as a surprise to people who read my blog, and probably isn’t a revelation for anyone who knows me really well. And when I say introvert, in this instance I am talking about the the way I recharge. Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, has a quote that about sums it up for me – “Solitude matters, and for some people it is the air that they breathe.”

We’ve had a house guest since the beginning of April. Our house is not huge, but obviously it can accommodate three people, and more if needed. The problem is that we’ve had a house guest since the beginning of April.

I would say that one of my best female friends is more of an introvert, and the other an extrovert. My husband is more on the extrovert scale, and my other best male friend is way opposite me on this scale. Which makes for an interesting friendship, but I think introverts need extroverts, and vice versa. Again, what I’m talking about here is how people like to regain their energy.

I never understood people that cannot be alone. We all know them, or perhaps one of you reading this is one. There are people I know who absolutely cannot stand to be alone. They feel bored, restless, and unhappy. I always felt bad for this person, feeling that they just don’t know How to be by themselves. But thinking about it in terms of energy, I can see how this might be an unfair assessment, although I think taking time for solitude is something everyone should embrace, even if it’s only a short amount of time.

There are activities I like to do when I’m alone. Minds out of gutters, people 😀  Dishes, for example. I really don’t mind doing the dishes. I like cleaning. I love using a broom. I love doing renovation work on our home. I Love to bake, especially the aforementioned cookies, and I write. All of these things hinge on being by myself. The weird exception to this is my husband. He’s the only person I can be around and still do all of these things, even if I would prefer not doing them while he’s home. Thus enters my quandary of late.

Our house guest is a relative, and for reasons I’m not going into, I understand that this person needed to be out of their own home for a little bit of time, however, not for this length of time. The extra icing on the problem cupcake is that this person really has no clue that I’m an introvert. The only time I’m alone is when I’m in the car by myself, and that is no place to relax. There’s always this person in my house. I can feel it in the air. I am an introvert who hasn’t been by herself in almost two whole months. I tiptoe around and hide my vast unhappiness. My husband tells me that I don’t need to stop doing the things I love, but he knows how incapable I am of breaking past this invisible barrier. Our relative isn’t rude or mean, isn’t trying to be in the way of our lives, and would not care in the slightest if I go about the house stripping paint or sanding the doorways.

I care.

I care so much that I’ve pretty much stopped doing all of these things, and when I do my cleaning now, which isn’t something you can put off, I’m angry about it. We have been spending a lot of time in the yard lately, which is nice. A literal breath of fresh air. I like getting my hands dirty, and my husband enjoys working in the yard much more that I thought he would. I have to say, as he’s the only person in the house I communicate everything to, putting up with my immense feelings of being uncomfortable and unhappy daily makes him eligible for sainthood. We’ve spent a lot more time since April being out of the house, which is also draining to me. Work has been extra stressful lately, which isn’t helping. My work environment is busy and loud, and full of people. No one should ever be happy to be alone in a public restroom, but sometimes I breathe a sigh of relief when I get a chance to step into the restroom at work. Unfortunately, bathroom breaks are an extremely short-lived respite from the world. The other really sucky thing about this situation is being a married couple with someone else staying a super short distance down the hall.

Beside the housework, my writing has stalled. My stress levels continue to stay high, even if I’m not outwardly showing it, which means I can’t write. I’m stunted in my ability to put fingers to keys, or pen to paper, and have anything creative flow out of me. I feel awful. My May Stories stopped, like a car hitting  wall. The novel editing I was doing back in February and March has fallen by the wayside. I don’t even open my writing files because there is no point. I already know my creative limitations when it comes to living in high stress for prolonged periods. The same thing used to happen when I played piano. My younger self would try to submit to the urge to play, try to push through the times when I felt aggravated or stressed or angry, but the music would not sound the same. I learned how my creativity suffers at the hands of mental unhappiness.

Our house guest isn’t going to be here too much longer. Things are getting back to where they need to be concerning this person’s own home, and I have an actual vacation coming up in June, with actual planned visitor/s. Now, one might think that trading in a long-term, unplanned relative for vacationing visitors would be more than I could handle, but I’m much looking forward to having the out-of-towners. People that know me well.

Besides the writing and housework, the thing that really gets me is those damn cookies. I rarely make chocolate-chip cookies with people in the house. Not the baking part. I love to grab the container out of the fridge once the dough is made and drop spoonfuls of heaven onto a baking sheet and 11ish minutes later share the warm, chewy goodness that is dessert perfection with everyone. But the making of them is sacred to me. I don’t make them often. Over the last several years, this cookie has become the thing I make when I get super stressed. It takes it away, and I feel unburdened afterwards.

For now, I’ll continue to go about my days looking normal, while deep inside, I’ll crave tiny bits of semi-sweet morsels, and dough in various stages. Oh, and if someone could do something about all the characters in my head who are indignant about my temporary abandonment of them, that’d be great. Maybe they’d like a cookie.

 


Story A Day, May 8

Aack. I missed two days. I did spend one of them in bed again, curled up next to the vaporizer. I did combine my words from May 6 & 7 into one story, but it’s on my iPhone, so I’ll upload it later today. Swear.

But, for now, you get today’s short story. Yes, it’s true. Yes, I am a klutz. If you hate the sight of wounds, even itty-bitty, minor ones, then don’t look at the second picture. Enjoy!

May 8, 2013

Prompts: lawnmower, elbow, marionette

Word Count: 581

The Idiots Guide To Breaking A Pane Of Glass

We came home from mowing the lawn at my mother-in-law’s house. I stood in the driveway, hosing off the bottom of the lawnmower, using the jet setting on the sprayer. After all the caked on grass was washed away, I moved to my vehicle. Hosing off something shouldn’t be as fun as it is, but I had a blast, (hahaha) doing it. My husband carried the lawnmower down the stairs to the basement.

            Now, on a side note, we inherited a stupid lawnmower. It’s electric. And not cordless electric, either. Cutting the grass involves holding down a lever against the handle while pushing/pulling the mower, while trying to not run over the forty-foot orange extension cord. Stupid. I starred in the ‘hold the cord girl’ role while Tim mowed the grass. It shouldn’t take two people to cut the lawn.

Another ridiculous thing we inherited is the basement door that leads to the outside. The only doorknob is on the inside, and when we first moved in, the lock had been broken for so many millennia that a paint key shoved through what used to be some sort of lock and a long 2×4 propped up against the door kept it shut tight. A paint key. Who knew it was a multi-purpose tool?

My father installed a lock for us, but the damn door is so old that it doesn’t quite line up, so when we go to shut the door, you have the SLAM it to get the key to completely turn the bolt. Okay, Tim slams it. Repeatedly. Loudly. Annoyingly.

I, being a wimpy sort of girl, prefer to do the more painful and barely effective approach of shutting the door and slamming my hip against it until the door lines up the door frame enough for the bolt to click into place.

This works well enough. There is one thing to be mindful about. The upper part of the door has four panes of glass. Anytime I’m trying to close the door, I always think, “What if the glass breaks from us slamming the door?”

Okay—two things, really. The second is during demonstration of my crazy method of door locking, I put my elbow against the door. This morning, my elbow went through the pane of glass.

In the Hollywood version of this event, someone always takes a flimsy shirt and wraps it around their arm or hand, punches through a window or door to unlock said opening, and they are fine. In real life, you will cut yourself, even with a flimsy curtain between you and the glass.

Tim ushers me upstairs and into the bathroom, where he proceeds to clean my wound, and apply liquid bandage. If you’ve never used it, let me warn you – it stings. A. Whole. Freakin’. Lot.

I’m sitting on the toilet while he has my arm held up, bent at ninety degrees, and he’s holding onto my wrist and moving my arm back and forth to “Work the liquid stuff into the cut”. I told him that I felt like a marionette at the repair shop. A cursing marionette, whose arm stung like crazy.

The good part is I did not need stitches. It could have been much worse.

The best part is I got to do that Hollywood move without even meaning to, which is probably why I didn’t need to go to the ER. It was awesome, worth the bloody elbow, and I would totally do it again.

Basement Door Sans Glass.

Basement Door Sans Glass.

Stitches Not Included.
Stitches Not Included.

 


Story A Day #5

I almost didn’t get this one done. To be honest, I’ve been curled up in bed most of the day, watching Netflix on my laptop while I cough up my lungs, blow my nose, and sniffle myself to death. Why does it always seem to work out that when you feel bad it’s on an off day from work? At least it was a rainy day, so even if I wasn’t sick, I still wouldn’t have been able to work outside. Enjoy the story, and I’m going to go suck on another cough drop.

 

May 5, 2013

Prompts: ICEE, garbage, tape

Word Count: 624

 Cold Satisfaction

 

The note was stuck to the machine with a piece of purple duct tape. Elizabeth stared at it, hardly believing the words. All day she craved it. All. Day. Now, some sick twist of fate, written in girly handwriting, was telling her No.

Seconds later, she was slamming the door to her SUV. The engine revved to life, sounding as angry as she felt. Elizabeth knew of another station, another chance of getting what she wanted.

The day of work had been long and arduous, with constant interruptions, which set her back farther than she liked. Only by some miracle did she finish everything she needed to do before leaving. Eleven hours at work was eleven hours too many. Especially on a Saturday. She’d been good today too, sticking to the diet, snacking on nuts and dried fruit—lots of nuts and dried fruit. Sure, she’d dropped a pant size, but Elizabeth was hungry for something with substance. This bird food was, well, for the birds, she thought.

A car swerved into her lane, causing her to slam on the brakes and screech at the top of her lungs. If only it weren’t raining, then she would have the windows rolled down, and she could have the satisfaction of yelling obscenities out the window.

Eleven hours she endured at work, dealing with co-workers and customers, and a hundred drunken idiots wanting to use their bathroom, and now she sat in traffic because she lived in Kentucky and it was the first Saturday in May. The damn Kentucky Derby. The Derby split the residents of the city into two groups: those that attended Derby parties, and those who didn’t. Elizabeth was stuck in the second group. So what if she’d be home in time to see the Run for the Roses; most of her friends had been watching the races all day, snacking on finger foods and drinking. The thought of party food she couldn’t have made her cranky.

The lanes of traffic inched forward. Ten minutes felt like ten hours. Another stoplight and Elizabeth would be able to see the sign. This quest for forbidden goodness consumed her. She bounced up and down in the driver’s seat, willing the cars in front of her to move, praying to whatever deity out there to make them move.

Another minute passed, then five, then ten, and at the twelve minute mark, Elizabeth squeezed past a ridiculous-looking smart car, pulling into the gas station parking space. She stepped out of the car right into a pile of garbage.

She almost lost it right there and then.

Taking a moment to calm down, Elizabeth reminded herself why she was there. All that mattered was getting inside and to the back of the gas station. She scraped the bottom of her shoe against the curb before going in.

There it was. She could hear the hum of it. The electric glow of the ICEE machine filled her heart with joy. It was beautiful.

She grabbed the largest Styrofoam cup and filled it with the most perfectly delicious and refreshing cold beverage in the universe. Cherry flavored.

Sucking on the straw before she even got to the register, Elizabeth felt her anger and frustration ebb. She paid for the ICEE and left, smiling. At the car, she held the cup between her elbow and side while she fumbled with her keys, cell phone and wallet. Not one to be outdone, Fate reared her ugly little head, and the cup slipped from Elizabeth’s arm.

Red splattered on the ground, hitting her shoes and khaki pants. The bottom of the cup was split open like the first teenager to die in a horror movie. Elizabeth closed her eyes, fists clenched.

“Mother—”


Story-a-day #4

Going for sweet and cutesy on this one. 😀  Trying, anyway. Oddly enough, today’s word prompts were given to me by a male co-worker. I went longer than 750 words, but not too terribly long. Enjoy!

 

May 4, 2013

Prompts: leprechaun, unicorn, pony

Word Count: 1,195

Not Imaginary

There had never been time for frivolity in Amelia’s childhood. Her parents called her a princess. They treated her like a princess. Her bedroom looked like it had been decorated by a fairy-godmother. But the problem with being treated like a princess was that her parents expected nothing less than perfect, ladylike behavior. Early on, Amelia experienced the disadvantages of such an upbringing: lack of close friends, nervous habits, and the ever-present compulsion to straighten throw pillows. Even her play clothes as a child were wrong—a dress and a set of black shoes with a strap across the ankle. Neither of those was ever smudged.

She noticed the tiny stain on her daughter’s pre-school teacher’s sweater. The woman was what Amelia thought of as a free-spirit. Her parents would’ve had more descriptive and less kind words for the teacher, but she was a nice woman, and Amelia’s four year-old daughter, Katherine, loved her. Currently, Amelia listened to the teacher gush about Katherine’s latest drawings of mythological creatures during art time, and how Amelia and her husband had a ‘refreshingly non-conventional’ way of raising their daughter to ‘believe in the beyond’. All of it made Amelia very nervous.

She got through the rest of the conversation without having to say much of anything, said goodbye, and ushered her daughter to the car. Katherine started talking the moment they were on the way home, chattering about her day, her friends in pre-school, and how she drew the leprechaun in a purple because it’s his favorite color.

“Sweetie, you know leprechauns aren’t real,” said Amelia, glancing worryingly at her daughter in the rearview mirror.

“Sam is,” said Katherine. “He lives in the painting above my desk. He comes out at night to tuck me in and tell me a story about Rainbow Land where he lives with his family.”

For two weeks, Katherine had gone on about Sam the Leprechaun. At first, Amelia ignored it, figuring it to be harmless. The longer it went on, though, the more disturbed she became. It might not have been so terrible except that her husband wasn’t there to reinforce Amelia’s ruling on the matter. A last-minute business trip had pulled him away twelve days earlier, but tonight he would be home. She felt sure her husband would help with the issue.

Not long after dinner, during which Katherine demanded a plate be set out for Sam, Jason walked through the door. He greeted his wife with a hug and kiss, and swept their daughter up in his arms.

“How’s my Kitty-Kat?” said Jason.

“Hi daddy! We missed you,” said Katherine.

“Oh, you did? Well, I missed my two favorite girls.”

“Daddy, tuck me in. I have to be ready for my story,” Katherine pleaded.

“Are we having story night?”

“Not you, silly. Me. Sam is going to tell me a story. Sam the leprechaun. He said tonight he’s going to bring his friend along. She’s a unicorn. I think she’s like a pony, but taller. And white. And has a long pointy thing right here—” Katherine poked her father on the forehead.

It sounds like you have a busy night ahead,” said Jason. “Let’s get you to bed.” He carried her across the kitchen, and held her out. “Say goodnight to mommy.”

“Goodnight mommy.”

Amelia leaned over for her kiss. “Goodnight sweetie.”

She watched Jason carry their daughter from the kitchen. Amelia finished the dishes, tidied up the kitchen, and headed upstairs to get ready for bed. Jason was in the shower, so she changed into her nightgown and performed her nightly beauty routine.

Jason poked his head out of the shower curtain. “Sam the leprechaun?”

Amelia shook her head as she finished rinsing the toothpaste from her mouth. “She’s been going on and on about him for days. It’s not natural. I never should’ve decorated her room like a scene from a fairytale movie.”

“She’s fine. It’s a phase, that’s all. Didn’t you ever have imaginary friends?” He caught the look on her face. “Never mind.”

With a huff, Amelia retreated to the bedroom. No, she never had imaginary friends. She barely had real friends. Meeting Jason had done wonders for her self esteem, not to mention her ability to relax. Having Katherine forced her to loosen up even more, though at times, Amelia wondered if she were a terrible mother. She hated being stifling, but sometimes it was so hard to be the opposite.

By the time Jason got into bed, Amelia’s light was already off, and she lay on her side facing away from him. He scooted over until he lay in the middle, and she moved too, so her back pressed against his side, letting him know that she wasn’t really mad.

He talked about his trip for a little bit, until they heard Katherine in the next room. Her high-pitched squeal came right through the wall, as did her excited voice. She rambled on so fast they couldn’t make out the words. Seconds later, another voice floated through the air—still high, but not quite feminine. Amelia sat up.

“She’s doing voices now! Voices! This is not normal. Our daughter is crazy,” she moaned.

Jason chuckled. “She’s not crazy; she’s four.” He patted her leg. “I’ll go check on her.”

Amelia flopped on her back, worry renewed about her daughter’s mental state. Light from the hallway lit up their bedroom door. She heard Jason open Katherine’s door, an even louder shriek of excitement, and the unmistakable neighing of a horse.

The next sound was Katherine’s door shutting. Jason never appeared, so Amelia got out of bed, and went into the hall. Her husband stood outside their daughter’s bedroom, looking pale and stunned.

She reached for the handle.

He grasped her wrist. “Don’t.”

“What? Let go.”

“I really wouldn’t,” he said, eyes wide.

She pushed his hand away, and opened the door. Katherine sat in the middle of her bed next to a tiny man. He was dressed in a way that would make one immediately think Leprechaun, only instead of green, his clothes were in various shades of purple. Amelia stared at them staring at her. A flash of light drew her attention, and she slowly turned her head. A unicorn stood in front of the closet.

Amelia slowly turned around to look at her husband. Years of strict upbringing and discouragement of this very kind of behavior kicked in. Sort of. The tiniest part of her that always wanted to participate in this kind of behavior flared up, and for the first time in four years, she knew this was the moment she could give Katherine the best childhood ever.

She walked out of the room, but before she closed the door, she said firmly, “You can stay up for thirty minutes, Katherine. After that, your friends have to leave because you have pre-school in the morning.”

She pulled Jason back to their bed. They settled down, both staring at the ceiling.

“What the …” he finally said.

“Oh, goodness, do not tell the neighbors we have a leprechaun in our house. We’ll never hear the end of it,” said Amelia. “Goodnight dear.”


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