Fight Free Fridays

I have never been so happy to see a weekend in all my life! Tuesday I fought the Cobb Board, Wednesday I fought co-workers, and Thursday I fought Moon. I’m pretty sure Moon won. At least I think she did, it’s all a mad blur of squawking, and clucking and flying feathers. Or maybe that was the chickens – it all runs together.

I did get to rest a few minutes in the presence of my Radigals. We started a study of Deuteronomy, which means “Second Law”, “Words” or “*Beer” depending on if you’re studying the Greek, Hebrew, or Zolli. Again, it all runs together.

Speaking of God and all that jazz, today was the Pope’s last day. I so get you Benedict. If I had a big fancy house to retire to in Italy, I’d be out the door tout de suite, which is French for “Later Losers!” Which wouldn’t be helpful since they’re Italian, but still.

I also got to play bridge tonight which I haven’t done in WEEKS and despite my bad mood, no one got hurt. I felt like a tool being in a mad mood after Positive Patty told the story of how a few weeks ago she was leaving her house to take a meal to a friend in the hospital, fell down, broke one ankle and sprained the other, picked herself up and delivered the meal anyway! She WALKED from the parking lot to the room and back – on a broken ankle.

I’m going to go to bed and maybe I’ll wake up with Patty’s attitude. Or in a fancy house in Italy. I’d say they’re both as equally likely to happen.

*If you studied Deuteronomy for all of 40 minutes like I did today, you’d know that Be’er is a Greek or Hebrew word for something like “explaining in detail.” Hey, I didn’t catch everything -I’ve got a lot on my mind.

Chicken Poop Rolls Downhill

This day, I can’t even. Let’s just say that I woke up mad and it was the best I’d feel all day. I could write about it, but lots of people before me have gone down that path and ended up with an interesting blog and no job. So I’ll just show you this. It’s what I plan on buying right after I purchase a house with 2 acres next to Cobb Commissioner Tim Lee.

Cluck Cobb County

Kittens, I’m not gonna lie. You may need to come over and walk me off the ledge. I learned something very valuable tonight – government sucks at every level. For some reason, I thought it was just our national politicians that were corrupt – boy HOWDY, was I wrong.

The night started with such hope. There we were, dressed all in yellow and wearing our backyard chickens buttons, ready to make a difference. I’d never been to a Cobb County Board of Commissioners meeting before so I don’t know how many people usually go, but the room was PACKED. The Board read a bunch of boring amendments, blah, blah, blah, something about immigration, and then finally the important stuff – backyard chickens! Then they opened the floor for the “HEARING”. It’s a confusing name for this process where people get up and talk and the Cobb Board of Commissioners sit there and try to stay awake. I’m talking to YOU – Bob Ott.

Truthfully, I expected the poultry people to be wearing overalls and talking about how many eggs they needed for a fluffy omelet, but they were GREAT.  A veterinarian gave facts about the diseases that dogs carry (26) or cats (34) vs. chickens (6). A grad student talked property values. Person after person got up and spoke about freedom, and caring for the earth, and the nuisance law. I was prepared to speak but after seeing how impressive everyone was, I chickened out. See what I did there?

But then I said, what the heck, and spoke anyway. I took Moon up to the podium with me, announced my name, and gave them my two cents. Which is how I know that there was really only one commissioner listening – Lisa Cupid. You can tell when someone is paying attention and they were not. Still, I killed. I got a big laugh when I said that while chickens may be unusual pets, they aren’t dangerous.

I read the news every day and I’ve yet to read about a child being mauled to death by a chicken!

I should have stopped there. But no, I went on to say that people usually present two arguments against chickens. The first, what if their neighbors has too many chickens, and secondly….

Yeah, I couldn’t remember the second. It was Rick Perry all over again. After staring wide-eyed at the Board for what seemed like forever, I finally remembered and mumbled something about fancy subdivisions and houses being too close together, then showed them Moon, told them she needed real food and ran back to my seat.

I didn’t matter. I could have perched on a chair and pooped an egg in front of them and they would have remained firm in their votes. It was SO obvious that they could not have cared less about what we had to say. Their minds were made up.

To have backyard chickens- even ONE – you need 2 acres. If you don’t have 2 acres, you can pay $150.00 to apply for a variance, then have all of your neighbors sign something saying they don’t object, put out SIGNS so that everyone and their uncle can have a say about what you do on your own property, then MAYBE you can get approval and have chickens. For two years. Then you can do it again. The fact that this is a victory shows you how little we expect.

PATHETIC. What really got me was when Chairman Tim Lee said that the Board represented 700,000 people in the county and that a large number of people in the community, especially the real estate community, did not want the law changed. It was all I could do not to yell out, “ISN’T THIS A HEARING? WHERE ARE THEY?”  There must have been 25 people that spoke in favor of chickens. Guess how many people spoke against? ONE.

One goofy lady. She cornered me and Moon in the Ladies Room and told me how her neighbor had chickens and she couldn’t even take her dogs outside because of chicken hawks. I told her that I couldn’t take my cats outside because of dogs, so maybe she could help outlaw those too. Then I gave her a swirly.

When the Cobb County Board of Commissioners prepared to take a vote, only Commissioner Lisa Cupid stopped to ask questions. Questions like, “Is there a way to waive the $150.00 fee since it seems a lot of people want chickens because of financial hardships?” and “Have we given this enough thought, and talked to other cities to get their input and to look for alternatives?”

The Board replied, “Oh, yeah, sure. Whatever. Just vote already.” I might have paraphrased that last part. Anyway, they voted to approve the amendment.

The bottom line is I’m not getting chickens. It was a total waste of time.

And unless I find that Party City receipt, a total waste of money.

And the Oscar for Best Blog goes to..

I’m not gonna lie – that was some crap Oscars. Seth MacFarlane had about three good jokes and the rest was a total snooze fest. Even the acceptance speeches were rushed and stupid. If I had won an Oscar I would have started with this:

I saw Jaws when I was 12 years old and it ruined the ocean for me forever. If I hear that theme in the middle of my Oscar moment I am going to LOSE IT Spielberg.

It’s good to be prepared.

Watching the show made me a little tired this morning, but I managed to write, work, and clean house. I use the term, “clean” loosely. Also, “work”.

I won’t have time tomorrow for any of that craziness as I will be much too busy preparing my speech for the Board of Commissioners. It goes something like this:

When I was 12, I read the book, Chicken Little and have loved chickens every since. And if you people don’t give me my chickens, I am going to LOSE IT.

It’s a very versatile speech.

Deep Revelations

I am worn OUT. I left Friday for a weekend retreat in the mountains. I’m on the Board of Directors of a local ministry and we spent the weekend discussing deep moral issues and playing Spades until midnight. For the record, abortion is bad, “Going Nil” is awesome.

Also, I am huge.

Here’s a sample of what I ate: Chicken Salad, Rolls, Chicken, Scalloped Potatoes, Green Beans, Tortilla chips and Velveeta/sausage dip, Crackers and Corn Dip, chocolate-chip cookies, white-chocolate cookies, sausage casserole, biscuits, bagels with cream cheese, pita chips and spinach dip, chile with sour cream and cheese toppings, and Chex Mix Peanut Butter mix. Not including Sunday.

The board meeting was a great success, due mainly to me.  A couple of years ago they made me Chair of Board Governance. At first I was all like, what’s that, but then I figured out it had something to do with RULES and I am all about following the rules. Unfortunately, the Board is not. Oh sure, they follow the by-laws, but when it comes to Spades, they are REBELLIOUS.

For instance, the official rules state that every over-trick is called a BAG and when you get 10, you go back 100 points. It’s to keep you from underbidding, obviously. Only none of them would play it that way! Also, some insisted on playing the 2 of spades as the highest card, higher than the ACE. Yeah, that’s not confusing. It’s also not the RULE.

Next year I’ll ask to be in charge of the agenda. Less of that whole “financial stewardship” talk and more “Hoyle’s Book of Card Games.” It’s a good think they have me, amiright?

Neighborly Love

I’ve realized my posts are basically a Dear Diary recap of my day. Maybe I should just wear a head-cam and let you guys share in all the fun in real time. This morning you would have seen me wasting time on the computer until we barely had time to go to the gym. By the time we got there, we only had a few minutes to work out before we had to leave again. Darn.

JD wanted to get home quickly so he could blah blah blah on the computer, but I needed to stop by Walmart because my daughter has out grown every single thing in her closet. The kid wore MY pea coat to school today. I had to buy her some new underwear. The other day she was running around complaining she couldn’t find a bra. JD told her he’d seen “a tiny, black one” in the bathroom. Yeah, that was mine. Thanks, Honey!

We finally made it home and into the office and it was as exciting as it sounds. I worked, I cleaned house, I packed for the weekend. I’m going to Ellijay for the weekend with Lori Parker. We’re SUPPOSED to be there for a Board retreat where I’m doing an hour and a half on board governance, but last time we traveled together was for a Christian leadership conference and that didn’t stop us from laughing so hard Lori peed her pants. Twice.

I was in the middle of packing, clothes and snacks everywhere, when someone knocked at the door. Normally, I would have gotten my gun and popped a few rounds through the wood, but my elderly neighbor HAD mentioned she might come by this week. Lucky for her she also mentioned she might be carrying a plateful of candy.

And then I ate like I’d never seen food before. Maybe a head-cam is not such a good idea after all.

Chicken %$&*#

The Cobb County Board of Commissioners are a hoot. And by “hoot” I mean that I’m pretty sure my blog is being monitored by Homeland Security so let’s just leave it at that.

Here’s what I strongly dislike about the government – we are holding hearings and gathering names for a petition to ask our ELECTED officials if we can please, pretty please, have chickens on our very own property! Currently, the law states that in Cobb County you must have 2 acres. Due to public pressure, the BOC put together a proposal that said you STILL had to have 2 acres, but for a $1000.00 NON-refundable application fee, you might get a special land use permit so you could possibly have chickens. If they agree. As you can imagine, that was not well received.

Now news comes that they have put forth a new proposal. From the Chicken Chatter Newsletter:

They revised their Code Amendment concerning Poultry. The dumped the Special Land Use Permit for a Variance Permit. This would lower the fee from $1,000 to $150. The Variance request would have to be approved by the Board of Zoning Appeals, and then by the Board of Commissioners. There is language that defines ‘Poultry’ as the hen of a chicken- no roosters, no ducks. They limit the number of hens to ONE per 5,000 square feet of property. The proposed language does not get around current language that would only allows Variances for ‘Poultry’ on lots 1.5 acres or larger. This is as bad or worse than the original proposal.

Is $150 better than $1000? Don’t answer that. If you do, you’ve accepted the premise that you should have to PAY the government to use your property as you wish.

I wrote my commissioner AGAIN. You can write yours here.

The bad news is that I don’t know that it will make any difference. The good news is with the Presidential election 4 years away, I have ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD to involve myself in local politics. And by “involve” I mean “work really hard to change the system.”

Move along Homeland Security, there’s nothing to see here.

Exciting stuff, like dinner.

I don’t want to brag, but I actually ran 1.5 miles today. Without stopping. Sure my face was red and blotchy and I almost passed out, and I had to go sit with my head down at the tables conveniently located at the entrance where everyone can see, but I did it. Success!

Afterward I was much too tired to do a lot of work, but I did manage to cut some coupons and go grocery shopping. Did you know that Lay’s has a new temporary flavor of chip called Chicken and Waffle? I’m not going to lie – it’s awesome. And unlike real waffles, you can eat like 50 of them and still not be full.

While I was at the store, I picked up ingredients for dinner. Earlier in the day I’d seen a recipe on Tasty Kitchen for Seared Sea Scallops with Golden Raisin Puree and Bacon Braised Brussels Sprouts, and I thought – how can I get my husband to make this?? Turns out all I had to do was show it to him. Who can pass on anything Bacon Braised? Not us.

DE-LISH. Then I topped it off with a couple of Girl Scout cookies and a fruit Popsicle.

Now I’m going to lay on the couch, watch TV, and complain that despite killing myself on the treadmill, I’m still fat. They typical end to a Team Tyre day.

House of Cards

A friend recommended that I watch the Netflix series, House of Cards, so I decided on Friday to give it a try. Several hours later I emerged from my bedroom, shielding my eyes from the sun streaming through the window and wondering what day it was. Yes, it was that good.

Unfortunately, the trailer doesn’t do it justice.

Seriously, it’s a REALLY good political thriller and it couldn’t have come at a better time.  I am absolutely ready to believe the worst in our politicians and/or reporters so watching the horrible people doing horrible stuff rang true.

Politicians involved in blackmail, prostitution, drug use – of course! Sex in exchange for news scoops? Sure! I always wondered how Katie Couric made it big. It all makes perfect sense now.

About three of the thirteen episodes contain some graphic sex, so you might not want to watch it with your mother-in-law, but for the most part it’s more about political manipulation that anything else.

If you’re looking for something good to watch – give it a shot. The bad news is that it’s probably closer to reality than we think. The good news is, unlike the actual Congress, you can turn it off if it makes you ill.

Big News

Oh Kittens, where to begin. Let’s start with the really big news – I colored my hair. And it’s DARK.  So dark that when I walked in the door my husband put his hands over his eyes and screamed. So I told him we’d go back to the salon and I’d have them match HIS color and he shut up.

Bald men are easy to mock.

It’s no wonder he felt like screaming. Moon brought two friends home again this weekend and believe it or not, they hadn’t mellowed. Since there was no school on Friday, they came home with her on Thursday, also known as Valentine’s Day. Which explains why all three of them were carrying bags of candy. And why I had to get up at 3:00 o’clock again to turn off the TV and the lights.

Not that I could sleep anyway, what with the big, important phone call I had scheduled. You know, with the EDITOR. I would love to tell you all about it but it’s kind of a blur. I remember answering the phone and then babbling on about Tennessee and the Civil War, and how my great-great-great grandfather fought with General Zollicoffer, on and on and on, until at one point I kept thinking to myself just shut up already and let her talk and then she said something about getting me some notes in a few weeks and, oh yeah, she’s going to the OSCARS. Of course she is.

Sunday, I went to the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival to see Tiger Eyes, based on the book by Judy Bloom. It was directed by Bloom’s son, Lawrence, and the two of them were there to answer questions. Afterward, I went to the bathroom and used the stall right next to the one Judy Bloom was using! I almost had to hand her toilet paper.

My almost-editor is going to the Oscars and I urinated next to Judy Bloom. I’d say we’re a match made in literary heaven.