The Parlor

It Ain't Over Till The Paper Works Done

The Revenge Of Doctor Samuels

In an effort to prove that my progeny come by their oft times spontaneous, devil may care, what the heck, let's throw all caution, common sense and maturity straight out the window, attitudes, through heredity, I will now tell a tale in which Mom was the catalyst.

First, you must meet the Assassin. She and Dr. Samuels are sisters. They are exactly 5 years and two days day apart in age. The Assassin is not difficult to look upon. Heads turn when she walks in a room. It's the height, the hair and the eyes. She is 5'9'' tall. She has black eyes and red hair. I'm talking "Oh man, would you look at that!", red hair. She was not born the Assassin but the persona was in evidence at a very early age. The Assassin does not smile. She smirks. The Assassin has "a look". The Assassin has an "attitude". She has taken these attributes and developed them into an entity. Elderly people will suddenly cross to the other side of the street as she draws near and not know why. Small children will grow quiet and withdrawn. You would feel the hairs on the back of your neck tingle and a suspicious unease. She is a woman of few words. She IS the disturbance in the force. Mom does not like to reflect upon this but Dr. Samuels and the Assassin are her daughters. If Dr. Samuels is Mom's "inner child", the Assassin is her "dark side".

The Assassin is a paralegal bent upon getting her law degree. This frightens Mom. It does not frighten Dr. Samuels. She's been keeping a list of transgressors. This story is about the fate of one such transgressor. Several years ago Dr. Samuels called home and relayed a tale of woe to Mom. We will not linger on the multiple transgressions of the transgressor (Dr. Samuels is saving those for the trial). Let it suffice to say that he 'done' her wrong -- REAL WRONG -- "Hell hath no fury" wrong.

 Mom knows the transgressor, he lives in the same ordinance laden burg. After a full 48 hours of reflection, Mom devises a plan. Got that? Mom devised the plan. At about one o'clock in the morning Mom calls the Assassin, proving she's not really afraid of the Assassin at all.

Assassin:  Hello.
Mom:  You awake?
Assassin:  Uh huh.
Mom:  Have you ever TP'd a house?
Assassin:   Why?
Mom:   Ya Da, Ya Da, Ya Da.
Assassin:  You're serious?
Mom:   Yes.
Assassin:   You got another plan?
Mom:   Nope.
Assassin:   What if I say no?
Mom:   I'll do it without you.
Assassin:   Give me an hour.

The Assassin pulls up an hour later to find Mom trying to load a ladder into the back of Pop's pickup. There is a 12 pack roll of Scott bathroom tissue on the ground. Every outside light, including the motion detector, is blazing. The Assassin is not amused. She gets out of her car. She is wearing black pants, black turtleneck, black shoes and her hair is pulled back and tucked into her turtleneck. Mom is decked out in khaki shorts, white sweatshirt and white socks. Since this is a special occasion she has eschewed her usual white Keds for white Adidas running shoes with reflector strips. The Assassin grows less amused, as she rips open the 12 pack and removes 3 rolls. 

Assassin:   You planning on doing the whole street?
Mom:   No
Assassin:   Get in my car.
Mom:   I thought we'd take the truck.
Assassin:   You've never done this before have you?
Mom:   No.
Assassin:   Get in my car. 

During the short ride to the transgressor's house, the Assassin patiently explains to Mom, why you do not wear white, you do not take a known vehicle and you don't take a ladder. Mom, flush with the anticipation of a grand adventure, just nods while singing along to MMMBop on the radio. A few hundred yards from the transgressors house the Assassin turns off the radio, stopping Mom in mid bop and lays out the facts. The Assassin will not get caught doing this. The Assassin will run like ****. Mom is on her own. Mom agrees. 

Within seconds of the papering commencement, the Assassin has to pull Mom up short.

Assassin:   Look, Martha Stewart, we ain't trimmin a Christmas tree. Just lob the roll over the tree and I'll lob it back.
Mom:   Got it.

The Assassin spent the next few minutes diving after lobbed rolls like a soccer goalie because Mom kept chucking them at the transgressors house. Patience that had been stretched thin, finally snapped and Mom was told to sit down and be still. The Assassin, a world ranked TP'er completed the job
with 2 rolls and looked up to see Mom, third roll in hand, headed toward the transgressors pier and boat. The Assassin weighed her options and deciding that even she couldn't strangle the person who had given birth to her, chose the lesser evil and simply got in her car and left Mom there. Some leftover vestige of conscience kicked in several blocks away and the Assassin went back. She had not been missed. Mom was still on the pier, carefully draping the toilet paper from post to post like garland. As the Assassin literally drug Mom out to the street, Mom paused to reflect on what a fine job the Assassin had done. Mom has always believed that positive reinforcement should be dispensed liberally.

Since this little escapade, Mom has never again taken up toilet paper in an act of retribution. Mom does not normally condone or sanction such activities but sometimes a Mom has to do, what a Mom has to do.

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The Squirrel

Before hitting the shower this morning, I opened the sliding glass door in my bedroom, as I do every morning. This allows the 2 dogs and cat to come and go as they please. While submerged, in the tub, I hear Bailey (cocker spaniel) begin ooffing. Sort of a pre bark. A few throat clearing ooffs are generally followed by a volley of high pitched arfs. Noticed the ooffing didn't sound exactly right. Knew that sound but what was it exactly?

Understand, I have never been the type to investigate strange sounds. If something goes bump in the night, I will not throw a flimsy wrap over a flimsier off the shoulder gown, grab a flashlight with a dead battery and rush off to certain doom calling, "Here I am bad guys, crank up the chainsaw." But it was broad daylight so I hauled myself out of the tub, wrapped a towel around my dripping person and went in search of the sound.

I was creating a petri dish for future mildew growth on the carpet. And that's when I first saw (really need Jimmy Buffett's voice here) "the squirrel". He was sitting on his haunches eyeing my bedroom as if questioning my over use of the color burgundy.

Having grown up with an older brother who had a propensity for bring home varmints and critters, I know what a panicked squirrel can do to a house. I switched into clear thinking ER mode. If I shut the bedroom door quickly and quietly I would leave "the squirrel" one way out. It was a good plan. It was a viable plan. It would have worked except that Ferris, the cat from Hades, chose that moment to stroll in off the deck. "the squirrel" sees Ferris, still hasn't seen me. Okay, I'll sacrifice this one room by sneaking out the bedroom and closing the door. Bailey makes her entrance from the hallway.

There followed that brief shimmering moment when you see the predictable mayhem and are powerless to stop it. The stage is set, the actors are in place and you hear the dull whirl of the curtains being opened. "Let the games begin!"

Ferris spits and hisses as Bailey cuts loose with a series of arfs and yaps, no ooffing, while hiding between my legs. "the squirrel" surveys the situation, decides he can take all of us and opts to stand his ground. Ferris, a closet Tyson fan, stands up and starts throwing left jabs while screeching. Bailey, who really hates Ferris, throws her support behind the squirrel and advances towards the cat. "the squirrel", unaware of our feline/canine infrastructure, sees this as an act of aggression and lunges toward Bailey with Ferris in hot pursuit. In an effort to keep the inevitable "throwdown" from taking place around my legs, I sidestep, clearing the path to the bedroom door and the rest of the house.

As the melee of arfs, yips, hisses, and chatter relocates, Gypsy (old dog) decides she has one good fight left in her and it might as well be this one. Me and my towel follow the revelers down a flight of stairs making silent deals with a higher being. "Not the bookcase. There are about 27 picture frames on the bookcase. And not the lamps." I got to "And not the open bottle of Fruitopia on the dining room table", too late.

With obvious forethought and malice, Ferris was herding "the squirrel" towards the chamber of horrors, aka Court's room. Down a second flight of stairs where "the squirrel" got his terror tweaked by running smack into a 24 inch rubber rat and a pink flamingo that Court purloined from a neighbor's yard. I got there just as "the squirrel" flung himself at a 6ft. cardboard cutout of Hans Solo. Hans lost his footing and went down landing "the squirrel" on the bedside table amongst the Disney water globe and music box collection. The delicate strains of Pachelbel and " It's a Small World" added a surreal texture to the tableau.

"The squirrel" catapulted the bed and zipped through the closet into the bathroom. I slammed the bathroom door shut. Ferris, having set this whole disaster in motion, suddenly found the ruckus tedious and repaired to the upstairs to groom. Gypsy had all 6 cylinders running and was advocating Bailey's entreaties of "Okay ma, open the door. We can take it from here."

I hauled 'em both out of the bedroom and shut the door. I had another plan. I'd open the sliding glass door, open the bathroom door and surely "the squirrel" would follow the path of egress.

It was frightfully quiet in the bathroom. No chattering, no barely perceptible rodent panting. Captive animals are not usually quiet. What was he doing in there? The silence persisted and I figured he was doing a Clinique makeover or enjoying an apricot mud masque.

I executed my plan and went to the far side of the room and sat down under a Troy Aikman poster. "Please don't let him be a Cowboys fan." After a bit "the squirrel" crept out. He did not immediately bolt for freedom. The little twerp sauntered toward the door, checking out the book and CD selections like he was taking notes. He turned, gave the room a final quick inspection and I could have sworn he nodded at me, "Glad to be of service, ma'am.", and left.

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