Gene’s Spa Vacation…

So, let’s just call it like it is – Gene was on a Fancy, Schmancy Spa vacation!  You’ve already read how Gene came to be there, and if you haven’t you need to or this little story won’t be as meaningful.  So, here’s the backstory, as they say

As you can imagine, Momma and Daddy call Gene in the Bone Booth every day to check up on him (they also speak with those crazy kind ladies at the front desk as well)  It wouldn’t do for him to be unhappy.  I’m wondering what they would have done if the report had come in that he was not enjoying his visit to the “Spa”.  Of course, that starts my mind spinning in ALL sorts of directions.  I can imagine the 911 call coming in that a crazy lady has broken in to the PetSmart and kidnapped her baby at gunpoint cause they weren’t making happy.  Or, a more likely scenario — a frantic call to me to “go get your ‘brother’ NOW – those people are not treating him right”.  Thank the LORD that the reports from Gene were positive.

Anyway…Gene’s human friends at the PetSmart reported that he was just a WONDERFUL boy!  EVERYONE loved him (maybe cause he can’t talk, give attitude or whine about being bored or hungry??? – just sayin!)!  Moreover, they gushed – “he just LOVES playtime.  He’s very social, however he doesn’t seem to be happy when joining the play group already in progress.”  Now how they knew this I have NO idea.  But here’s what just tickled me – this was their solution to that particular conundrum, “we let Gene be the greeter during playtime.  This makes him VERY happy and then he will just play and play!”  And that just seemed to please everyone involved to no end.  I’m seeing a doggie WalMart with brother Gene at the entry way saying “Howdy” to all the other doggies as they come in from the parking lot, hot and sweaty, just trying to get their buggy and get inside to the air conditioning.  But my mind does wonder like that…  At any rate, playtime seems to be a success.

And snack time…oh my goodness – Gene loved snacktime.  What dog, I ask you, does NOT love snack time?  But again – to these sweet ladies – brother Gene is like the Doggie Second Coming with every little thing he does.  His joy at snack time just thrilled them to no end.  Imagine that – a dog that LOVES his snacks.  His morning snack was just a normal snack – but in the evening he got…wait for it…Frosty Paws.  Doggie Ice Cream!  Gene is walkin in tall cotton!  There will be no more walking among the common dogs back home now!

All this to tell you that  – Dogs like dog spa’s.  They are REALLY spoiled there!  I may take my next vacation with brother Gene, but I won’t hold my breath for Momma and Daddy to call ME in the bone booth.


Mean Gene at the PetSmart – Part 2

OK, we left off with Gene’s reservations being made at the PetSmart Hotel, once Momma, Daddy and LN (Little Nephew) were assured that his suite would be to his liking and no Doggie Porn would be shown on the television (click here for the backstory

Fast forward to the drop off day…my phone rings and Momma is telling me that they dropped Gene off.  “He seemed to take it well.  I think he’ll be ok.”  Then she says, quite seriously, “Could you stop by and check on him so he won’t feel abandoned?”  Well of course Momma, let me just toddle my fanny right over to the PetSmart in another town (granted it’s not THAT far) and check on the DOG. 

“LN” and Gene. Gene thinks he’s a lapdog

But being an obedient daughter – I do make it over to check on Gene a couple of days after he checked into the Doggie Spa.  Now understand that Momma had already called and visited with Gene via the “bone booth” at least once by this time.  Anyway, I walk into the PetSmart and make my way back to the hotel.  I wander over to the “front desk” and can clearly see Gene in his “suite”.  The lady at the desk very sweetly and sincerely asks the name of the “guest” I’m there to visit.  I point and say – “Gene”.  Evidently, that is not enough for this diligent employee.  “Ma’am, can you give me Gene’s last name?”  Last name!?!, this is a dog.  OK, I’ll bite, I give the woman my folks last name which apparently satisfies her.  Then she asks, and I kid you not, “I need your name and your relationship to Mr. Gene”.  I become quite serious at this point cause I’m thinking perhaps I’ll have to go through a full body search before I get to see the darned dog.  I tell her my name and then, I’m forced to pick my jaw up off the floor when she says, “Oh, you’re Gene’s sister!”.  Evidently this just delights her, but all I can think is that my OWN MOMMA has listed me as the dog’s sister!!!  Who is this woman??

Well, since we are evidently blood relatives, I’m cleared to see Gene.  He’s brought out to see me and in his own, doggie way seems happy.  The desk clerk and trainer have to tell me how they all just LOVE Gene.  He’s such a joy, he’s SO beautiful (I wanted to tell them he took after me, but they didn’t have much of a sense of humor) and has such a beautiful personality.  The trainer says she’s going to work with him a bit each day, and what kinds of things did he know already?  I told her he was dumb as dirt and didn’t know “come here from sic ’em”.  She didn’t seem to like my honesty, even though I agreed that he was pretty, and didn’t have to be too smart.  She continued to insist that he was a smart boy and she was going to work with him.  What would the family like for him to learn?  I got smart and told her if he’d learn to sit, stay, get down, stay, be quiet and stay – we’d consider it a success.  I think she thought I was underestimating the poor dear, and was pondering turning me in to someone, somewhere.  I tried to make up with her by telling her that we loved him even if he didn’t learn anything except not to eat the house.

At this point, the ladies decided my visit should probably come to an end.  So I told Gene good-bye. 

Tune in next time for the update that the PetSmart folks gave my folks on Gene’s activities.

(Not So) Mean Gene and the Doggie Hotel

 Some days, I just don’t know who my parents are anymore.  One thing I DO know, they aren’t the same people who raised me.  It started when my child was born.  I noticed when raising her that these people were a bit different than those I’d known for the first 18 years of my life.  But I was busy and didn’t pay it much mind. 

When my grandboys came along, I began to think that perhaps different people were inhabiting the bodies and minds of my folks – but since these were MY grandboys, and they could do NO wrong – I was fine with whoever these interlopers were.  However, over the past couple of weeks, I can only assume that UFO’s and aliens are real – and they have taken over the bodies and minds of the people that I know as Momma and Daddy.  Let me explain…

Gene has a tough life – but somebody has to guard the kitchen!

Daddy and Momma got a new dog.  It seems that the animal shelter in town was full and overflowing, and what with them (Momma and Daddy) at home now that they’ve retired – they have more time to pay attention to these stories on the news.  So, after a bit of pondering – off they go to the shelter to “just look”.  Now you know how this is going to turn out.  After a couple of trips, they return with Gene.  Gene is still a pup.  He’s huge.  He’s part golden retriever, part yellow lab.  He was voluntarily turned in to the shelter and we believe was mistreated.  At the very least he has abandonment issues.  So, basically – they have a humongous toddler with self esteem issues in need of antidepressants and therapy.  But, he’s a sweetie, and everyone fell in love.  Momma, Daddy and my little nephew (he’s over 6 ft, a teacher and stays with Momma and Daddy), now have a new addition to the family – and all is well.  That is until their annual vacation comes up.  They were going to leave Gene with the other 2 family members staying home, Freddina the cat (named after my Dad), and Pico the rat-dog.  That all changed when Gene came in to the living room with a rather large piece of baseboard in his mouth.  Seems his chew toys were just not doing it for him anymore.  Since the folks wanted a house to come back to – they had to go to Plan B. 

Enter the Doggie Hotel.  My little nephew searches the web and finds out that PetSmart has a pet hotel and this would be a wonderful place for Gene to spend his “vacation”, and Momma and Daddy agree.  These are the same people who wouldn’t let our dog come in during a tornado when we were kids.  We had to sneak the poor thing in the back and hide him under the table with us.  Anyway, I digress.  So after finding out the details, the terrible trio go to PetSmart to check out the facilities.  (They left Gene at home so as not to traumatize him unnecessarily). 

Upon arrival, they were shown the hotel “rooms” for the large dogs.  LN (Little Nephew) decides that Gene will not be comfortable for a whole week in a single room, so he upgrades to a suite.  This way Gene gets a larger room with a cot to sleep/nap on as well as a TV, I kid you not.  And to top it off, my Daddy asks the lady what type of programming they show for the dogs.  He wanted to be sure that Gene wasn’t subjected to inappropriate content.  Upon hearing this I asked “What did you think Daddy, that they’d be showing Doggie Porn?”  At this point, nothing is going to surprise me. 

After being assured that appropriate content is shown on the tv they move on.  The next perk is that Gene will be allowed to use the “Bone Booth”, this is a special phone booth that my folks can use to call Gene as often as they’d like so that they can hear each others voices!  I think I’ve heard it all now.  But wait…there’s more.  LN also wants Gene to have daily “Play Time” with the other dogs his age, as well as 2 snacks a day (his evening snack is doggie ice cream). 

You are thinking that I’m lyin – right.  The Lord as my witness – this is the honest truth!  And there’s more…but that’s for another day.  Check back to find out how Gene fared during his “vacation”.

Best Burger in Town

I LOVE food!  If you know me, this will NOT come as a surprise to you.  And I’m talking REAL food, not foo-foo food – you know what I’m talking about.  That fancy schmancy stuff that you eat in restaurants with cloth napkins.  I’m talking about what I call “real people” food.  If a restaurant has paper napkins – I’m at home, if there is a roll of paper towels on the table, even better!  Now I don’t want you to think that I’m a total heathen.  I can roll with the big shots.  I’ve eaten in those “cloth napkin, multiple fork” restaurants before and my folks would have been proud.  I didn’t pick my teeth with the knife or spit food back on my plate if I didn’t like it.  I used my “company manners”.  I’m just sayin that my comfort zone is more paper towel and sweet tea, than multiple forks and champagne.

Anyway, I LOVE a good burger.  I’m not totally opposed to a mediocre burger.  I have no problem eating a fast food  burger – I know what I’m getting when I order, but I’m always in search of the amazing burger.  And let me tell you – I’ve found it!  No surprise – it’s not a major chain.  In fact, it’s local, and my family has been eating there since the beginning. 

Now let me clarify – there are a couple types of burgers that I ABSOLUTELY love!  The first being an old fashioned greasy burger.  You know what I’m talking about, fried in a skillet, preferably cast iron – and just about the time the burger is ready, you put the bun on top and close the lid so the bun gets all soft and steamy, and the edges get all brown and greasy.  Then, when you bite into that hunk of deliciousness – the grease all but drips down your arms.  Man, I’m about to have an apoplexy just thinking about it.  But this is not that kind of burger.  This is the kind that’s cooked on a flat top grill.  Still delicious, but not as greasy – therefore I count it as health food!  So, for all you health food nuts out there  – without further ado…

DFW Metroplex – meet Chapps Hamburger Cafe  The burgers are amazing – not fancy, just amazing.  And if you get them with the grilled onions, as I do – those onions are REALLY grilled, not still crunchy as they are at many other establishments advertising grilled onion burgers.  The fries are homemade and to die for.  Seasoned perfectly and made to order – you just don’t want to stop eating!  I always get the “Baby Chapps”, which is the smaller burger and fry combo.  It’s plenty for your average hungry adult!  They also have hot dogs with amazing toppings and have recently added a turkey burger and fish sandwich.  But for me, it’s always the burger and fries!  (Take a gander at that burger – doesn’t it make your mouth water?)

Service at Chapps is always friendly.  It’s counter service, but they do bring the order to your table.  It’s a great place for a great burger.  There are 7 locations in the D/FW area.  We frequent the Arlington locations.  Stop in and give them a try.  I think you’ll agree that they are a great little burger joint!

The Real Story Behind ChristyFest & the Pooparazzi (at least the way I remember it)

You’ve heard my new friend Shellie’s version of this story – but I’d like to present a slightly different point of view.  (NOTE:  If you haven’t read Shellie’s version – you really need to read the post from yesterday before reading this one – here’s the link   What are you waiting for – go back and read it now, I’ll wait.

First off, my dear friend, I’m wondering what your Momma is thinking about you getting into the car with total strangers at the airport.  Oh, you say that you’ve already met them ON THE INTERNET.  Well, that makes it better, now doesn’t it.  I’ve never seen a movie of the week that begins with – “the victim met the crazed lunatic on the internet”.  But I digress.

Let me identify myself as the hapless chauffaur of Shellie and Barbara Debbie (Debbie was christened as “Barbara Debbie” immediately after Shellie met her).  My only goal was getting to where we needed to go on time.  I am VERY punctual, that and I don’t like anybody to be in front of me.  But our dear friends were never in any REAL danger.  I always made sure to stop before the road ended, and no wildlife or people were maimed or injured during the trip.  I will admit to NO sense of direction.  That’s where Barbara Debbie and Edna (the GPS) come into the picture.  I named Deb’s GPS “Edna” a couple of years back.  Edna was my Nanny’s name (you can read more about her in prior blogs), and that dear woman was always telling one of us where to go.  However, Edna has a habit of “losin her signal” at the most inopportune times – in the mountains, at night, on dark roads. 

So, through the years, Debbie and I have found numerous new ways to get in and around Townsend, Knoxville and Maryville.  But I will admit that we have never been lost in Laurel Valley, the small gated community where our cabins were located.  But as always it was an adventure, and we wanted Shellie to enjoy that pioneer spirit.  And the sign that said something to the effect of “you are lost, turn around or call..” – I can’t imagine ANYONE admitting that they needed assistance to turn their OWN car around.  Just one more challenge, I say.

I must say Debbie and I always laugh our way through our ChristyFest weeks – but this year we tripled the laughs with Shellie along.  At one point we discussed marketing ChristyFest Depends – at least for our group it would have made quite a profit!

On behalf of the entire ChristyFest group – I would like to thank Shellie for making ChristyFest 2012 even more memorable than usual!  Y’all listen today, Monday July 30 at 5:00 pm CST to “All Things Southern”.  Just click on this link and click on “Listen Live” to hear more of Shellie’s version of the week!

Be sure to read this, because I do have VERY reasonable explanations for many of my dear friend Shellie’s “experiences”…but that’s for tomorrow’s blog.

Shellie Rushing Tomlinson

**** update open**** Frank Hoyt Taylor has had to reschedule. He won’t be with us today. However, I’m delighted to announce that Austin Moody will be calling in, giving me the opportunity to introduce y’all to a marvelous new talent. See you on the air! ****update close****

I’ve gotten somewhat used to being picked up at the airport by strangers. (Hmmm…that doesn’t sound just right, but stay with me here. As is all of my writing, this post is G rated.) Maybe we should start over…

Last Wednesday I flew into Knoxville, TN where two ladies I’d never met in person identified themselves as my escorts. Being a trusting soul, I climbed into their rental car for the ride to Townsend, TN. These two appeared harmless enough but as the week progressed I began to second-guess that assumption. Suffice to say there was a time there in the mountains of TN that I wondered if I would be going to see…

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Pants are Optional

 So, the family was over a while back  for supper and all was going well.  We had all eaten and were sitting around the table visiting.  The grandboys were all off doing their own thing.  The Ladies Man was in the library playing on Grammy’s iPhone in the quiet, Dimples was watching a movie in the living room in peace for once (Toot wasn’t there in the middle of things switching channels and pushing buttons).  And Toot was…well, we weren’t sure, but everything was quiet and all was well.

After a bit, DD decided that perhaps it was TOO quiet, so she went off in search of Toot.  In a matter of seconds I hear, “MOM!!!”! Off I run, back to my bedroom – certain that a tragedy of epic proportions has occurred.  And there, right in the middle of the room, standing in front of my television set – remote in hand – doing a little dance to a song on the TV…BUCK NEKKID – is Toot.  I looked at him and said, in somewhat of a raised voice, “Toot, WHAT is going on here?”.   Toot looks at me, quite seriously and says, “What happened?”  As if it is the most normal thing in the world to be standing there buck nekkid in the middle of the room dancing around with the TV remote. 

I looked at him again, and trying not to laugh said, “Toot, I asked you what happend?  What did you do?” The little feller looked at me and said, “Take a baff.” 

So, I go on in to my bathroom where DD is attempting to do damage control and sure enough, Toot has taken a baff.  He ran his own bath water and since Grammy didn’t have any bubble bath – he found some really nice shampoo (read, expensive) and used that instead.  It made GOOD bubbles!  He also found some things to use as bath toys and evidently had a pretty good time.   When he was finished though, he chose not to use the MANY nice, clean, fluffy towels that were available to him – instead using Grammy and Grampa’s comforter.

Evidently he’d just finished when he was busted by his Mom.  After surveying the damage, his evil Mom told him he needed to put on pants to which he replied succintly, “No Pants”.  Evil Mom insisted, saying, “Pants are NOT optional”. 

Toot’s final words on the subject, “Pants optional”

Unfortunately he discovered a hard truth – evil Mom’s always win!