Wednesday, September 24, 2008

When stuff happens it gets settled

And it all settles in ONE week of my calendar. I will survive. I just do not know if I can bank on surviving my daughter's PMS. Rather, I should say, that I hope and pray the males can survive her PMS. She was hellified EEEEVOLLLLL today, and I STILL have a headache from it. Tomorrow, I might have to throw chocolate in her direction from around the corner and wait for it to kick in to get near her. I chuckle to think that my husband WANTED a girl, and he got one. She is every bit my clone. Except a few years experience taught me how to deal with my own PMS. I just hide in my corner and let him tend to the PMS laden little girl - that he wanted all while forgetting that girls get PMS and make his life hell. In a few years he's going to think boys were a good idea like I did 7 years ago. Him: old man. Her: Teen with hormones gone terribly awry. Me: Menopausal mother of teen with hormones gone terribly awry. Yeah, things eventually settle.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hair Dropping

I just spent the first day of my two week "reset run" as I call it, wondering why I do this job I do. It's decent pay, for a decent company, I haven't COMPLETELY ticked off my boss, and I've been doing it for almost five years, so I have a clue, and it's easy enough for me. The exceptions would be those other particpants that keep finding their way back out of Darwin's waiting room. It was an incredibly frustrating workday. I have a regular merchandising job, and I'm helping a coworker who has a situation meriting my help with resets. Reciprocation isn't permitted though, otherwise I would've been outta the store before dinnertime today. I hope the rest of the resets are not NEARLY as frustrating or as many hours. This is just "one of those weeks". The resets got pushed back again and again, then some training that was rescheduled due to Fay's Florida Vacation takes place this week, across town, at the height of rush hour traffic going en masse into the next county. Plus those two rescheduled items crunch up with the rest of my calendar. I'll be needing a new bottle of Whaler's as soon as the resets are finished. My last bottle was emptied at the pajama party. I'll REALLLLLY need it by then. REALLY. I want to think that today was the worst because it was the first reset, the product didn't get sent to the store in time for me to start on it earlier than noon, and somehow two carts full of books that aren't going to be returned, nor put anywhere on the sales floor will somehow magically fit into the little bit of storage space available to me. I MacGuyvered some things so I wouldn't have to fenagle more space for heavy printed material. Yes, I deviated from the PlanOGram. Go lose some hair over it.

Friday, September 19, 2008

It's Friday alright

It's been a busy day, with a couple of really irritating things, and one really good thing. I am going to a PJ party with my girls. Grown women in sweats and yoga pants, lounging on air mattresses, hanging around drinking wine and other adult beverages, stuffing our faces with the various sweets, treats and snacks contributed, and having a good time of it. We haven't seen much of each other in several months and I'm ready to go. Except...I can't find the overnight bag that is big enough. I need to bring bedsheets and a blanket. It doesn't take much to heat or cool me, and there are some menopausal women in this gaggle of girlfriends of mine. They will likely keep the place like a meat locker. But it's fine for tonight because I need a Girls Night Out. Regardless of whether it's a Friday or not.

Losing your pants

It appears that I would be wise to avoid shopping for my son till after school starts next year. It seems that the size of his waist the week before school started is now different, a mere 5 weeks into the school year. When we went shopping I measured his waist, handed him pants of that size and sent him off to try them on before buying them. They fit reasonably well, no pinching of tender parts, and no falling off his backside like a ghetto hood rat. Till now. They fall off his backside like a ghetto hood rat. There is a SIZABLE gap between his body and the pants. I asked if they fit when we bought them. "Yes mom. But the scale said 140. Then it said 135. Then.." "Did you lose weight or something?" "Yes mom." The conversation ensued about a belt. It is not something he likes to wear though, he prefers to just keep hiking up his pants. I suppose football tryouts, walking around school, to and from the bus stop, and not sitting in front of the tv all day like he did during the summer had an impact on his waistband. At least he hikes the pants up, and doesn't walk around losing them.

Losing your place

I was talking to my aunt R and asking how my pregnant cousin J is doing, if she's had a sonogram etc. She said that my cousin wanted the 3D sonogram, and I commented that they first appeared on the scene about the time I was pregnant with my youngest. And from the other side of the den my clone said "oh stop talking about that." Thinking she meant that she didn't want me to talk about her, I said "I wasn't talking about you"

"Noo, I don't wanna hear all that pregnancy stuff."

Aunt R said "hmm...somebody doesn't want to lose their place." I'm inclined to agree.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

some companies really should change or stop operating

And I'm specifically talking about a certain appliance company that has been around for generations. I foolishly thought taking calls for this particular work at home company's client was a good idea. At every turn the devil is against me, trying to keep me in hot water with the companies. I'd love to smack the bean counter that prompted the constraints put on agents to do their jobs. This appliance company expects agents to get the customer profile, empathize with a distraught and irate (mildly stated) appliance owner who just got this hunk of poo 2 or 3 years ago, sell the repair service and get off the phone with the customer in four minutes. Yes, FOUR. Some customers can't even finish venting inside of four minutes. Between the appliance itself, the incredibly frustrating phone prompt system (I've personally attempted to navigate it), and then the lack of empowerment the agents are given, plus the high cost of the repair - customers are NOT happy. And now *I* am REALLY not happy. I checked my performance log and see that it says I missed 4 calls - kind of hard when my phone did NOT ring 6 times in that half hour. But somehow this company figures that it's acceptable to count those 4 calls that never came to my phone against me. Then I look again, and I have a "Personnel Infraction Notice" or something of the name. Because I took too long on the phone (fine, I know I do that) and because my conversion is 33% since the ghost calls counted against me. Oh I'm just livid about this and because I'm a remote agent, there is not a human resources person for me to rant to in person. I'm not signing those write ups till some attempt is made to clarify things for me, and even then I don't think I'm going to sign the write ups at all. I contacted the supervisory line to get clarification, and I get a response about pay - which wasn't what I asked. I want to know why calls I never even GOT can be counted against me.
This particular line sucks the life out of me, and I'd rather be broke than have no soul for having worked this line. I'm done. I'm so done, I'll stick the fork in myself.

Don't need tickets to the circus

Because I have my own personal freak show right at home. My middle child...the adventure never ceases. Today as he downloaded his school day to me, I was thinking in the back of my mind..."I'm glad he feels comfortable telling me about his day...but man oh man...some days I'd really like for him to go call a friend and just give me the Reader's Digest version." Then he got to the part about bending his arm so that his bent elbow is pointing in front of him (said something about checking his sunburn peeling) and one of his classmates was just amazed and brought this little feat to the teacher's attention. The teacher gave an incredulous look apparently. Then as word spreads like a fire in a gas line at any middle school, the next period someone said something about Middle-child-itis's ability to bend in funky fashion, and someone else commented about fists in faces.....yes, my middle son can do that too. He proceeded to stick his fist in his mouth. Then wanted me to take a picture. I told him that since someone did something with my battery charger, rendering it lost so I can't use my camera. (that someone kid has got to stop moving my stuff, because someone's sibling I don't know is gaining popularity around here too)
The boy grabbed my cellphone, went off to the kitchen for better light and took pictures with it of himself...fist in mouth. He showed it to me and I told him it looked like a foot in his mouth.

"I can probably do that too"

Monday, September 15, 2008

I've always been blamed for stuff

Recently I was trolling on my usual blog haunts and came across the intrepid Suburban Correspondent's post Home Remedies (Geopolitical and Otherwise) where Heather said she had a millionty gallstones removed from her person some moons ago. Well she offered a picture...I politely requested to see it. Hey! She OFFERED! I'm often up for a good trainwreck, including the medical variety. So, she obliged. Then blamed moi for it. I did mention that she OFFERED to share the picture right? It's a good thing we aren't siblings...somebody could've lost an eye or something. She's lucky it was just GALLSTONES.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Getting all wanton about it

OK, so my pals over there Chris and Shannon sent me this link to Black Heels to Tractor Wheels
in chat last night, and I stayed up till 3 in the morning reading the whole saga to date. You'll have to scroll to the bottom to get the beginning and work your way up. Holy crapitoly this woman has a way with words. Plus she's got tons of stuff on her blog site. I'm telling you the way she tells the story and then further digging around in her blog for pictures...whooooo honey! I can see why she feels the way she does. I um...probably should go to confession sometime soon too.

Friday, September 12, 2008

My staff & my minions

I've had this blog for about a year so far. I may start moving posts from my old blog to this page and close the other one down. Some posts I should delete and leave them a memory.

I share the people of my life with my reader(s). I tend to assign nicknames to those around me for the purpose of blogging about them. They didn't ask to be my blog, so I need to give them some modicum of dignity *snort*. It could be argued that if they didn't do something blog-worthy, they wouldn't need a nickname either. But since they do, here are my staff of minions that never listen to a word I say, or if they do, they disregard it completely and suffer the pain of my shrieking at them for it. Since I talk about them, I may as well explain who they are and stuff.

DevilDog/DH - the Dear Husband now on Couch Company after his adventures in the Marine Corps and then the National Guard (to show them what squared away looks like). Sixteen years ago he stopped me in the middle of a sentence, and I lost cognitive function for at least 5 minutes - all with his eyes. I'm a sucker for eyes. I joke that he bleeds orange. Some have called him Mr. Feisty, but honestly people...he's not suited to the word.

Oldest- Teenage son who is um....not normal (can't imagine where on earth he gets it) and lives with MIL in another state. I love him dearly and miss him immensely.

Wildebeast/Beast or Middle Child- Second Teenage son who is even more off kilter than his older brother, and has a propensity to smell. He's currently named because of this event.

Clone - the youngest spawn that is so much like me the DevilDog is reallllllly in for it. He brought it on himself quite honestly, by wanting a girl. I wanted another boy. I commented the other day "God help whatever mate you have!" after a particularly attitude filled moment of hers. DH gave me a look and said "She's JUST like you...." hinting at the need for sympathy for him. None granted, he pursued me first.

Persnickety Ticker - someone who knows dark secrets about me and I keep her around so I can make sure she doesn't spill any beans. Actually we went to high school together, and she just gets me without explanation. She thinks it's great to have a friend to grow old with, and told me to go first since I'm 2 weeks older than she is.

CC - someone who I met right before Clone was created, and we just clicked like sisters. Oddly enough she's got a stranger bent of humor than I have. If I could've picked a big sister, this one would've been it.

Dad - Sexy Senior Citizen that co-spawned me at a late age.

Siblings - Dad spawned 6 of us between 2 marriages. I don't mention names, because there's enough drama that name calling really is not necessary. I tend to talk to the younger two more than the older ones. I have a single younger sister with a traincar full of her own baggage, and a younger brother whose daughter is 3 months younger than mine. He has the whole damn train.

Then I have lots of imaginary internet friends (phrase shamelessly stolen from another blog) and they can speak for themselves, since most of them have a blog of their own that I stalk.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It's a trackless Thursday for me

I am here today not to give you a funny story about my offspring, though they are entertaining on a regular basis. It's rather random today, hence I'm not on track, I have no track, it seems that everything is OFF track. Therefore it's Trackless. I started my day rather normally except I got a really gross text message from my sister.
It said ( "Dad's eye has been irritated for weeks by... A roach leg....") I think I urched in my mouth a bit. And SHUDDERED. I later called her and she regaled me with the disgusting details.
Ew. Just EW. This is worse than the sibling toothbrush situation (which incidentally has been remedied by a new supply of brushes)
Later, I was sitting here listening to a show on Blogtalkradio and heard a bunch of heavy equipment, enough that it rattled and shook my concrete block house.

I went outside to find small machines moving storm debris piles into one big my yard.

It was then collected by the big truck with the claw scoop on top of it

And then the claw scoop operator stayed on top of the truck and rode down the street to the next consolidated pile of storm debris caused by Fay's Florida Vacation (he's that fuzzy white dot on top of the big black truck)

And now I'm off to start dinner. I'm starving(because skinny wenches like me have to eat 10 times a day or we become a word similar to wench but not nearly as nice....)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Brought to you by Lowe's

(If you're wandering here from the Suburban Correspondent, Welcome...I don't have as much to play with on my blog like she does. I have this issue with ADD, and have to abide by the K.I.S.S in Keep It Simple Sherlock!)

Brought to you in part by Lowe's....

Let's ... something together. OK, but I really don't know how qualified the dragonfly is to use the 5-in-1 scraper tool in the paint department.

Back story: I service the books and magazines at a few Lowe's stores and remembered that I forgot to do something at store #1 while in store #2. So, on the way home, I returned to store #1 to do what I missed the first time. I was walking down the paint aisle and two employees were eyeballing this peghook a little too much. I stopped to see what they were gawking at, and found a dragonfly for $6.98. It perched on the peghook for the 5-in-1 scraper tool.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Um, yea this too

You Are a Plain Ole Cup of Joe

But don't think plain - instead think, uncomplicated

You're a low maintenance kind of girl... who can hang with the guys

Down to earth, easy going, and fun! Yup, that's you: the friend everyone invites.

And your dependable too. Both for a laugh and a sympathetic ear.

What Kind of Coffee Girl Are You?

(I wish whoever creates these goofy quizzes would learn to proofread and spell things correctly, because it's REALLY annoying)

Um...I guess it's kind of right......

You Are 70% Boyish and 30% Girlish

You are pretty evenly split down the middle - a total eunuch.

Okay, kidding about the eunuch part. But you do get along with both sexes.

You reject traditional gender roles. However, you don't actively fight them.

You're just you. You don't try to be what people expect you to be.

How Boyish or Girlish Are You?

This is starting to make a little sense. Sort of...

Life according to my tart teenager

My son apparently felt a need to download his day with me. He's obviously not discovered the world outside of Mommy like his brother had at this point, which rendered my home phone useless from excessive calling a hundred others outside the house and talking till the battery said "awww crap" and died. Nope this boy still likes me, and provides entertainment that I in turn share with you.

Story #1:
Middle boy came to the kitchen detailing how his apparent partner for a class project failed to complete her share of the work, resulting in a craptacular grade. This partner said a couple weeks ago that she almost failed before and she didn't want that to happen again (psst! actually DOING the work helps prevent that). Boy said "see..i dont think she likes me very much, but she said i'm her friend ::confused look:: I think she's bipolar"

Story #2:
Middle boy is also taking Spanish at school, and since I took Spanish he comes to me saying stuff in foreign words to practice. Fine by me, I don't mind the practice. He came to me and said "la boca" and asked if I knew what it meant. (that was a simple one son, Dora has more complicated vocabulary)
"your masticator"
"la boca"
"your masticator"
"in English"
"I used English"
"The redneck word for it then"

He's gotten rather chatty with me recently....not sure what to make of it entirely. I may have to start eyeing him suspiciously for some additional entertainment.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Third Anniversary

I have to preface my post with a disclaimer of sorts. I'm not posting this to ask for your condolences. Actually I ask that you not offer them because quite honestly I don't need them. I am posting this to honor the memory of my mother, who I didn't get the chance to be friends with like most adult daughters grow to be friends with their mothers often get to do. My mother, unlike many I've heard about, let me go into the world even though it must have been incredibly difficult. She had abandonment issues, and subscriptions to other personal caveats that made our lives as her offspring more difficult than our peers' lives. I was not the teenage daughter my mother thought she had once I turned 16 and met the guy who later became my husband. He didn't care much for my mother, mostly because he was an outsider and his empathetic gene got implanted in his backside (this observation stems from 16 years personal experience with him). It added to the situation that my mother's subscriptions hindered the relationship he and I tried to build. He respected her simply because she was my mother, and knowing her even a little may have allowed him a glimpse of why I am the way I am or have been in the past. He amazed me when she was in her final days. He got out of my way, and did what he could to alleviate things around the house so I could focus on my parents. Dad always expected to go first since he was born 20 years before Mom. Dad also wasn't born with a reversed bowel to an abusive alcoholic and manipulative mother who didn't really want children in the first place. I learned more about my mother in her death than I did while she was alive. She kept her story a secret to protect herself, bandaging her wounds in much different fashion than I bandage my own. I vowed that my children would have the opportunity to know more about me while I was alive than they would find out from other places and people when I was gone. I'd like to think that I made peace with my mother's death even before she left this earth, or maybe soon afterwards. I don't know. Maybe I'm just darn good at shoving that stuff aside and I haven't triggered a stampede of emotions. I process things differently than most others I know, so anything is possible. I will tell you that I won't have the same kind of transition when my 82 year old father dies, that's for sure. He literally is the glue in the family, and I fully expect that his 6 children will splinter and polarize. My mother was his second wife, and Dad outlived both wives due in part to that hardy Irish stock from whence we come, and sheer stubbornness I think. There was always animosity between my mom and Dad's first wife, and 2 of the 3 older siblings. One liked to egg her on, the other never understood the dynamic of my parents till Mom died. Dad relied on Mom, Mom relied on Dad. She made him happy after so many years of sadness, and he lived for my mother and my mom lived for my dad. Dad's first marriage was not on that same level, so my sibling was always full of anger, self-pity, and selfish blindness that they lacked the ability to truly see the light till it was no longer there to see. This anniversary, I wanted to finally visit my mother's grave in the Veteran's Cemetery 3 hours south of here. Lots of circumstances, mostly financial, kept me from that. I can go visit anytime, since she's really not going anywhere any time soon. At least, she won't be for a little while. The VA has nearly completed the construction of a new Veteran's Cemetery here, and Dad wants to move Mom as soon as that's possible. I want to visit the current resting place at least once before he does move her. I also fear that as soon as she's moved, we'll be putting Dad there as well soon after. Dad went to Mass this morning, and I was asked to go. Selfishly I did not. Some of it is a financial issue leaving me with not enough gas to get around nearby, much less across town. Plus my daughter needed to be dropped off at school at the same time Mass started. Most of it though is that I can't and just don't want to deal with my father's emotions today. I've been the dumping post for several relatives and their issues. I don't mind really, but it came all at once, coinciding with a raging bout of PMS, and I can't help solve any of it. I can pray for their situation, and that's it. Emotionally it's been a bad week for me and I really didn't feel that taking on anyone else's weaknesses (because I'm overly empathetic that way) was going to be wise for my own and my immediate family's well being. They're the ones that have to live with me day to day, and I can't be torturing them with my own mood swings any more than a normal PMS week would hold. So I left my father and my siblings hanging and did not join them. I told Dad and Sis ahead of time that I wouldn't be there. I got a call from my younger brother asking about it, I think mostly because he couldn't find the chapel where the daily Mass is held in the mornings. I wouldn't know anyway since it's Dad's beautiful, historic parish. Mine is closer to my house, distinctively modern and assaults my sister's sensibilities and sends her into an anxiety attack. I've pondered a variety of things about my mother, including numerous comments from my dad about how much like her I am. Because she bandaged her wounds differently, Dad didn't see that my younger siblings bear part of her as well. He merely sees that I have the tendency to be comfortable with a variety of tasks that my mother did as well. As I repaired a friend's coffee table one Sunday, he said that Mom was like that too. He was impressed when he was informed that I aided the installation of my kitchen cabinets (DH did most of the work though), saying Mom helped him with their home improvements during their 35 year relationship. Yes, Dad, I know. What he forgets is that I learned it by watching him too. I learned what a good husband should be like by watching how he treated my mother. I learned what NOT to do as a parent by watching my mother. I also know she was handed a salty lot in life, and the fact that she handled things as she did really shows that she was stronger than most perceived her to be. She did better as a parent than her own mother did. Likewise, I too am a better parent than my mother was to me most times. I'm not flawless, but I'm more human because of it. Each of her children has a piece of her in them. My brother has her hair, and some of her little quirky gestures. Sis has a lot of mom's mental health stuff, a few gestures and a couple physical features that I lack (as in mammaries with substance). I got mom's food allergies, and temper. We all have both our parents' handiness. So as each year passes since Mom's death, I have come to appreciate my gifts from her. I no longer resent my siblings mean-spirited commentary from several years ago about how I'm "JUST like Mom" because once I got to know her better posthumously, I now take it as a compliment. I'd still like to think I'm more like Dad though, but ultimately every child is a mix of their co-creators and their experiences.

Sometimes I do miss my mother, but she raised us to be independent of her for good reason. I often find myself a little envious of most of my friends who still have their mothers around to dislike and be frustrated by them, because three years ago, I lost that privilege. So when I embarass my children, or frustrate them, or whatever it is I do to them because you know mothers push the buttons (hey we installed them!), I hope that someday my children will relish those moments with me in their lives even if it doesn't happen till I'm a memory.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Oh would you just get off the girl!

I awoke this Tuesday morning to news that reaffirms why I don't watch the news, or listen to it, unless someone tells me there's excessively tropical weather nearby. However, the alarm clock is set so the radio comes on before the obnoxious beeping. I hit the snooze less often that way. Then I get up and alllll over the news is blabbety blabbety about how a candidate's teenage daughter is pregnant........aaaannnndddd? This is your big news story? It's DRIVEL for criminy's sake! Girls younger than that get pregnant all the time, and there are no cameras in their faces. Well, there were cameras eyeballing Jamie Lyn Spears, but it's probably because the rag mags were tipped off by "reliable sources" close to the teen. Are the members of the media in other parents' faces asking, asking "where was this child's mother?" Oh well I can assure you where she was NOT - and speaking from experience, she was not wherever that baby was made. I have pulled some stunts in my life, and I will not disclose them here, but only to those I know, and generally fair amounts of alcohol are involved for me to tell them. My parents gave me the foundation and I was taught probably the same things this candidate's daughter was taught. My parents RIGHTFULLY trusted me, because I had not done much to prove them wrong about their trust for me. It's entirely possible this was a similar scenario with this teen of new notoriety. Well then along comes puberty and makes a girl a little grown up and a boy a little grown up and well lookie here....they do some grown up stuff. Oh look, that's not a new and noteworthy story either. What on earth makes it acceptable to cast judgment on a young man and woman who are willing to take the RESPONSIBILITY for the child they created?? She's going through with the pregnancy, like so many others do on a regular basis. He's not like most every Junior Schmuckatelli and saying "dat ain't mah babeh" and being splayed all over Maury and the like with a paternity test to prove where he'd been stirring his Kool-aid.
I'm speaking from personal experience that I still carry on my heart to this day. Do not judge this girl and her child's father (go see Matthew Ch 7 in case someone wants to just entertain a Biblical reference for poops n giggles). I knew the odds were stacked against me like a surfer's chance of staying dry in a crashing wave. I knew there was lack of sleep, and difficulty finishing high school, and getting a job to be able to care for my child, and not being able to earn as much because I didn't go to college, and the risks to my child's well being long term because I was a young, financially ill-prepared teenage mother.
I had an advantage that so many other girls like me lacked. I was raised with a moral backbone, and I was not left to fend for myself 100%, I was aided by my child's father, my family and my child's father's family. My child's father WANTED to be there, and he was. My family was angry with me and hurt by the circumstances, but they helped me - provided I was going to school and working. I did get some assistance, but I certainly was not getting a check to pay my rent and bills and sit around doing nothing. I worked and I went to school while someone else cared for my child. My child's father ended up enlisting in the Marine Corps because he wanted to make sure his child was not going to lack basic needs being met.

We did a grownup thing, we got caught in a grownup circumstance, we did the grownup thing and made it work. We didn't throw in the towel and walk away from a responsibility we created. But along the way, so many others were so willing to make an attempt to remind us of what we did wrong, and expected us to fail. Those individuals are STILL amazed that 16 years later, we're still together and we haven't completely failed. We're not perfect, never will be, but you're not going to catch me casting judgment on a young girl and her boyfriend because they are going to have a child together. Save the judgment for when it's truly due - as in when you're looking at your own screwups and realizing just how much an impact they had on yourself and those around you.
The opposing party's candidate was born TO a teenage mother in case anyone wasn't paying attention. Plus that other candidate plainly said "kids are off limits" in the campaign arena. However AFTER their parent is elected and they drive drunk, then the kids brought that crap on themselves.
Till then, just get off the girl. She's a rare one, and you'll not find many like her. She's not running for an office anyway, she's ineligible. Let her stumble into adulthood with some semblance of dignity. She just might surprise you.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Good Ole Labor Day

The whole REASON for the labor unions lobbying for Labor Day was to recognize the human cogs in the mechanical wheels of the factories, and give them a much needed break from working conditions that by today's standards would be worse than that of some third world factories of current times. But being the capitalist market that it is, every store has their big sales to lure you out of your hard earned paychecks.

I found some humor today though, when I came across this:

One only needs two tools in life: WD-40 to make things go, and duct
tape to make them stop. G.M. Weilacher

I am very familiar with the duct tape, as I have used it to secure my children to trees and exterior walls during hurricanes and we've all used it to stop our halos from collapsing to the floor in a million pieces, and keep them attached to the horns that hold them aloft.