Odd Photos I Found at the Firefighter Office

Fire 1
So then…I try to focus on the comments of the fire officer about the project site plan on the counter between us – but instead, I am staring at the enormous photographs of fires behind her.

We’re in the lobby of the regional office of the county’s fire department and I am stunned by the spectacular fiery images that grace the entry wall.

There are 4 gigantic photos – each about 6 feet tall by 6 feet wide – and each portrays a terrifying blaze.

But here’s the thing.

There are no firefighters in the photos.

No one is putting these fires OUT.

These are just huge photos of unabated, unrestrained, WILD fires.

Houses, hillsides, forests, shopping centers – all ON FIRE.

I look at the fire officer as she continues discussing the fire access roads for the site plan – and she appears unfazed by the bizarre imagery behind her. Other fire officials walk around, talking to other visitors – and no one seems at all disturbed by the photos.

Surely they have some nice pictures of firefighters dousing fires — saving trapped children — spraying flames with enormous blasts of water? Wouldn’t that be more appropriate imagery to show in the lobby of the fire department’s regional center?

Or are they trying to convey the message: “Hey, look at these terrifying ferocious fires! If it weren’t for us, these fires would scorch the earth and you along with it! Mooh-whahahaha!

I mean, these huge photos of raging fires would be like showing giant photos of criminals committing crimes at the police station.

Not cops handcuffing criminals. Or arresting them.

Just big photos of criminals robbing banks, selling drugs, stabbing people.

Unabated, unrestrained, WILD criminals. Committing crime with impunity! Such abandon!

Here again – the subliminal message would be – “You are in the police station – look at these terrifying photos – if not for us, these criminals would rage across the country, annihilating everything in their path, including you! Mooh-whahahaha!”

The fire officer tries to call my attention to the fuel modification plan for the slopes, but I am still thinking about this unusual visual tactic, which is basically:  “Behold the Calamities We Tame!”

Would the lobby of an accounting firm feature 6-foot tall photos of incorrect spreadsheets?

Would the reception area of a beauty salon show 6-foot tall photos of supremely hideous people?

If not for us…. Mooh-whahahaha…. indeed!

— Darcy Perdu

(Do YOU think that’s a bit odd to show photos of raging fires in the lobby of the fire division? Notice anything odd about businesses or shops that you visit? Ever dated a fireman? That last question is not exactly “on topic,” but the answer is sure to be interesting, so – DO tell! Share in the Comments below!)

His Flippant Words May Come Back to Haunt Him — (or ME!)

Funny - His Flippant Words
So then…I wave the papers in my husband’s direction and say, “The lawyer wants us to answer some questions before we meet with him to fill out the living wills.”

“Uh-huh,” he says distractedly, playing with his phone.

“You know – like who gets to pull the plug.”

“OK,” he says.

“So we need to tell him what our wishes are when we die,” I say.

“Yeah,” he says.

“Like, do you want a full Church Mass or a memorial service? Do you want to be cremated or buried?” I ask.

“Surprise me,” he says.

?????????

OK, so I will surprise him.

I will have him taxidermied.

And he shall be my hat rack.

— Darcy Perdu

(Does it drive you crazy when people only partially listen to you while they play on their Iphones, Ipads, Itoys, etc? Any friends or family who have expressed odd wishes for their eventual Departure to the Great Beyond? Share in the Comments below.)
His Flippant Words May Come Back to Haunt Him P2

How I Figured Out My Daughter Was NOT Switched at Birth

So then…she unpacks her backpack on the kitchen table and begins prattling about her school day.

“So Mom, you know Mrs. Reed?”

“Yep – 5th grade English, right?” I say as I cut up an apple with peanut butter for her snack.

Chloe stacks her books on the homework table, then comes over to the counter to face me.

She says, “At the beginning of class today, Mrs. Reed stood up and said, ‘Class, today we’re going to talk about nouns. Different types of nouns, when and how to use nouns, and why they’re important. We’re not going to talk about anything else but NOUNS today. It’s just going to be NOUNS, NOUNS, NOUNS.’ I raised my hand and said, ‘So…no verbs, then?’

I burst out laughing. “Chloe, that’s hilarious! Did she laugh?”

“No!” exclaims Chloe. “She took me seriously. I was mortified! She just gave me an annoyed look and said, ‘No, Chloe, we’re just going to talk about nouns — like I was slow or something.”

I try to look sympathetic, but I’m cracking up.

I can just see my daughter pulling off a mock innocent question like that – “So…no verbs, then?”

But Chloe looks incensed that the teacher thought she was inept enough to miss the point of the “ALL NOUNS, ALL DAY” speech.

I ask her if at least the students laughed. She says, “Only two kids got it and laughed. The rest of them just looked at me with pity!”

I give her a huge hug and laugh softly into her hair. “Oh honey, give them time to get to know your sense of humor. Before long, you’ll only need to silently raise an eyebrow and everyone will crack up knowing what you’re thinking. You are absolutely HILARIOUS.”

She leans back, smiles at me, and raises an eyebrow.

–Darcy Perdu

(So what personality traits did YOUR kids inherit from YOU? What skills, talents, habits — come on, ‘fess up – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Any funny stories you recall about your teachers – or your kids’ teachers? Share a Story or a Comment below. I LOVE to read your comments!)

Colonel Mustard with the Drapery Cord in the Living Room!

Funny Design Tips - Hilarious Encounter between the Interior Deisgner & My Husband #funny #interiordesign #decorate #humor #designer

So then…she curls her lip almost imperceptibly as she examines the heavy brocade drapes on my living room windows. As she lifts the thick fabric, dust motes fly up into the sunshine streaming through the glass.

She casts a disdainful eye at the burgundy carpet and scribbles something in her notebook.

I’ve never interviewed an interior designer before – and I’m not entirely sure what I should be doing.

But I’m pretty sure I know what she should be doing – and that’s not acting all judgmental about the current state of affairs.

I want to shout, “Hey, I didn’t pick out those monstrous curtains – or that hideous carpet! The elderly couple who lived here before us left those in the house. Curl your lip at them!”

But I don’t say a word. To be fair, I have absolutely no sense of style or fashion. When I choose clothing or furnishing, I suppose the kindest description of my style would be: monochromatic.

So I asked this designer Brenda to come give a bid to redo the living room since we haven’t done anything with it since we bought this home in Tarzana two years ago.

As a young couple, we spend most of our time in the kitchen and adjoining TV room. This is the Fancy Living Room for receiving Fancy Guests. We don’t really have Fancy Guests — but maybe we would if we made this room look less like a mausoleum.

She walks to the middle of the living room, sizing up the couple pieces of random furniture. She arches an eyebrow and makes a note.

Just then, the door opens and my husband David walks in the house.

I call him in to join us. “Hey, honey, come over here. This is Brenda, an interior designer. She’s giving us a quote for redoing the living room.”

They say hello.

Brenda consults her notebook and says (in a tone of voice that indicates she’s doing us a favor), “Including furniture, window treatments, and carpet – I can do the whole room for $40,000.”

David looks at her a moment and says, “This is the second time I’ve been in this room since we moved in. That’s $20,000 per visit. Are you insane?”

And she was never seen again.

(I don’t mean she met with foul play. Although David was ready to string her up with the drapery cord. I just mean that her definition of a reasonable amount of money to spend on decorating did not coincide with ours, so we parted ways. When we sold that house, the next young couple inherited the burgundy carpet and brocade drapes. Good luck, dear residents, good luck.)

— Darcy Perdu

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(Any interior design stories? Or vendors who made you feel inadequate – or whose prices seemed outrageous? Any times your spouse interjected with a pithy remark? Share in the Comments section!)

Illustration for So Then Stories by Pedro Kerstitzsch

Dad Buys Kids a Gift; Mom’s Accused of Muuuuurder!

Funny Tips for Family Pets #kids #pets #fish #funny #dad

So then…I open the freezer and see dead fish. Lots of dead fish.

Not the delicious kind that you cook for supper like salmon or swordfish.

No, these are dead aquarium fish of assorted colors and sizes, just randomly hanging out in my freezer.

A couple are in baggies, a small attempt at respect for their little frozen corpses, I suppose. The others are just lying about, exposed to the elements — tucked next to the box of popsicles, or plopped into the little shelf on the inside freezer door.

I sigh.

This glacial graveyard is my husband’s handiwork.

David is not a fish murderer.

But he IS the one who bought the enormous aquarium, 3 dozen exotic fish, cleaning supplies, fish food, and tank instructions – then plopped it all on my kitchen counter.

Flashback to 3 weeks ago…

I walk into my spotless kitchen to see half the counter space taken up with “All-Things-Fish.”

“What the hell?” I sputter.

“Mom, look what Daddy bought us!” Chloe is beaming.

“Yeah, Mom, look how cool this is!” Tucker is beaming.

David walks over to the kitchen with the kids. He is beaming.

I am seething. Inside.

Outside, I say, “Wow! This is amazing! Look at all those fish!”

The kids, aged 5 and 8, press their faces up close to the aquarium.

I steal a quick glare at David so the kids don’t see. He feigns innocence.

David knows I don’t like fish. (Sorry, PETA — and fish people.) Look, fish-tank fish don’t appear very smart; you can’t cuddle with them on the couch; and they can’t fetch anything meaningful. Fish tanks can be smelly, dirty, breeding grounds for bacteria and well…dead fish. And I especially don’t like the idea of this swimming cesspool in my kitchen — next to the food we eat.

“Have you named them?” I ask the kids brightly. They prattle off some names. I appear intensely interested.

But inside, I am sending David a telegraphic message. A message that says, “Why in the world would you buy this elaborate system and all these fish without at least MENTIONING it to me?”

David must be picking up on those brain waves because he blurts out, “The kids and I thought fish would be good low-maintenance pets.”

“Yeah, Mom, isn’t this a great surprise?” asks Chloe.

I agree that is this is indeed, a surprise — and of course, a really great one.

We all ooh and aah over the fish; the kids agree on a feeding schedule; David shows me the instruction booklet about the care and cleaning of the aquarium and filter tank.

I smile. I admire. I ask the kids which are their favorites.

As soon as we’re out of earshot of the kids, I say, “David, what the hell?  This is a very generous gift for the kids, but you know I don’t want this huge monstrosity in the kitchen — and I don’t want to deal with all this tank-cleaning, fish-feeding nonsense for these damn pooping fish!”

He says, “Well, we were at the pet store and they really wanted a pet. At least I didn’t get them a dog.”

I pale. (Again, sorry PETA – and dog people.) I’m allergic to dogs.

So now, instead of being incensed about the fish, I am relieved that dogs were not delivered.

I return to the kitchen and make my peace with the little swimmers.

I am a mother. I shall carry on the tradition of all outwardly-cheerful, internally-long-suffering martyr-mothers who endure daily indignities like cleaning out the frikkity-frik fish poop filter.

OK seriously — the fish make my kids happy — so I’m happy.

Life goes on.

Until it doesn’t. For the fish.

They start dying, one by one.

Not several at a time. ONE at a time.

It’s like a bad horror movie. “No, Rainbow, don’t swim in that corner of the aquarium! Louie swam there last night and was never seen again!” “Crystal, use the buddy system at the feeder. Don’t go there alone!”

So every morning, someone is floating face up to greet me at breakfast time.

And, of course, in David’s eyes, I am the prime suspect.

He interrogates me about the tank cleaning and the water refilling and if I’m overfeeding them. He complains about how expensive it was to buy the exotic fish and their habitat. He reminds me more than once that I didn’t want the aquarium in the first place.

“David, I swear to you. I.am.not.killing.the.fish!”

So he calls the pet store to ask why all the fish are dying.

They put him on hold.

Maybe they’re depressed, I think. Maybe it’s a mass suicide, executed slowly, one day at a time.

But I imagine David glaring at me like: Mass suicide? More like mass genocide.

OK seriously — I am not killing the fish.

So then…the pet store tells him that maybe the mechanical or chemical filtration is off a little. They tell him if he brings the dead fish in, they will refund his money for those particular fish.

I’m surprised that the pet store makes you bring in your dead little fish to warrant a refund. Aren’t your receipt and your word of honor enough during this time of tragedy?

Are there that many people faking out pet stores that their fish have died, when in fact the fish are at home happily swimming and eating and pooping in their tank? And what if you flushed the little fella without realizing you had to bring his dead carcass in to the pet store for the manager to ID the body? Then what?

Would it go something like this?

Customer: My fish died. Here’s my receipt. I’d like a refund please.
Pet Store Manager: Sorry, sir, we don’t believe you. We need to see the body.
Customer: Why?
Pet Store Manager: Autopsy, sir. We need to rule out foul play.
Customer: Foul play? What are you accusing me of?
Pet Store Manager: Sorry, sir, just doing my job. You know the owner is the first and most obvious suspect. Once we rule you out, we can move on to other potential culprits based on the autopsy – teeth-marks from a cat perhaps; toxic cleaning fluids on his scales from an overzealous housekeeper; check his blood alcohol level – you can’t imagine how many times white wine is “accidentally” spilled into the tank.
Customer: Well, I don’t have the body anymore. I flushed it right away.
Pet Store Manager: Company policy, sir. We need to see the body. Or at least a death certificate from your local veterinarian? A picture of the funeral, perhaps?
Customer: [shows manager pics on phone]
Pet Store Manager: Oh, respectful ceremony, sir. The seaweed wreath is a nice touch. Lovely toilet bowl, sir. Is that a Kohler?

I imagine that would work, but David’s not taking any chances. If they want bodies, he will bring them bodies.

So he takes a few of the fish to the pet store and gets his money back. Then when another one dies, he puts it in a baggie in the freezer since the pet store is far away, so he’ll take care of it “later.” And then another dies and another. And “later” turns into a week and another week. And pretty soon, the kids are completely immune to another fish kicking the bucket.

It’s practically like this each morning:

Kid 1: “Pass the cereal and – (pointing) oh, Jazzy’s bit the dust.”
Kid 2: “No, I think that’s Buster. Jazzy croaked a few days ago. She’s in the freezer.”
Kid 1: (takes closer look) “Yeah, that’s Buster all right. Pass the cereal, please.”

So now the fish are stacking up in the freezer and David has already made 3 trips to the pet store for refunds, so I imagine that he’s just waiting for the whole herd to go belly up before making the last Refund Run.

But I’m tired of seeing these little colorful fish popsicles in my freezer, just cast about willy nilly.

If he does not return them soon — I will thaw them, make ceviche, and serve it to him.

— Darcy Perdu

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(Any funny fish stories? Tell us your tales about pets, martyr moms, or well-meaning spouses whose impulsive actions drive you batty! I love to read your comments!)

Illustrations by Aaron Wardell (www.aaronwardell.blogspot.com)

I’m so excited this story features the clever illustrations of the amazing and talented Aaron Wardell!

Ménage à Trois ALREADY?

When you're minding your own business at the playground and your son suddenly asks you a bizarre question, what do YOU say!?  #funny #parenting #kids #humor

So then…Tucker slides down the playground slide and lands with a satisfactory thud in the dirt. He beams and scrambles up the ladder to repeat the rush of the freefall.

I grin at this darling 4-year-old in all his glory this sunny afternoon.

After one more whoosh and a thud, he runs over to plop on the ground next to me and grab a handful of grapes. Such purity and innocence of a carefree child.

“Mommy, can a man marry another man?”

Huh? Suddenly all my senses are on alert, clutching for the politically correct answer for my 4-year-old. Where did this question come from? Maybe one of the kids at preschool has two daddies?

I need to give correct info – but not overwhelm him with too much info. I can’t imagine he’s expecting me to delineate the intricate issues involved in a same-sex marriage political debate. I settle for something simple.

“Well, honey, in some states, yes, it’s possible for a man to marry another man. But in any state, if two people love each other, they should feel free to be together.”

Tucker grabs a cracker with his pudgy little hand.

“Can a man marry another man and another woman?” he asks.

Uh-oh. Where did he hear about ménage à trois? Good grief. What’s going on at that pre-school?

“Um, no, honey, not really. Usually a marriage is just between two people. Why?”

He furrows his brow and looks up at me wistfully. “Because when I grow up, I want to marry you and Daddy and live with you guys forever.”

Oh.My.God. Melt my pea-pickin’ little heart.

— Darcy Perdu

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(OK, your turn — share a bizarre question from your kid – or a heartwarming moment – OR details about your latest ménage à trois. Your choice.)

Sex in a Pan

So then…I cradle the kitchen phone between ear and shoulder so I can spoon the whipped cream into the cream cheese, as the store clerk says he’s not sure if he has the DVD movie of Reservoir Dogs in stock, so he’ll have to check in the back.

As I wait, I click on the mixer to blend the creamy mixture with sugar.

On hold for about a thousand minutes, then I hear a click. Disconnected.

Hang up. I continue making a luscious chocolate/cream-cheese/whipped-creamy dessert dish which David describes as so delicious it’s like “Sex in a Pan.”

Redial. Now a new store clerk tells me that she has to go look in the storeroom. David really loves this movie, so I’m hoping I can pick it up this afternoon for our Big Date Night. The kids both have sleepovers tonight, so after we attend David’s friend’s dinner party – for which I am making the Sex in the Pan dessert – I am hoping we can come home, watch the movie, then make some of our own Sex in a Pan.

Now smashing the pecans into the flour and butter mixture.

On hold for a million minutes, then I hear a click. Disconnected.

Argh! Redial. Now another new store clerk tells me HE will have to check in the back for the Reservoir Dogs movie. I hear Dave rattling around upstairs so I keep my voice low so he doesn’t hear me ordering his favorite movie.

“Be careful!” I warn the store clerk in a whisper. “Two of your co-workers have already gone back there, never to be seen again. It’s like a bad horror movie. Do you promise you’ll come back to the phone? I just need to know if you have the movie. It’s not on Netflix Streaming so I just want to buy the movie from you. Help me help you sell me something!”

He assures me he will be right back. I whip chocolate pudding and milk into a fluffy mixture.

On hold a billion minutes, then I hear a click. Disconnected.

Furious now. I put down the mixer, wash my hands, throw the flour/nut/butter crust into the oven, shove the chocolate/cream-cheese/whipped-creamy layers in the fridge, exit through the patio door and press redial on the portable.

Before the store clerk can even finish saying “Hello,” I immediately launch into a tirade.

“Look, do you have Reservoir Dogs or not? It’s a simple question! Why is it taking you so long to answer me?”

He says, “I’m sorry, what? You haven’t asked me anything.”

Me: “Yes, but I’ve asked everyone else there and they keep DISAPPEARING on me – and DISCONNECTING me! How incompetent are you people? Just TELL me – do you have Reservoir Dogs or not?!!!!”

Him: “I don’t know. I don’t think so.”

Me: “You don’t THINK so? Isn’t it your job to KNOW? You either have Reservoir Dogs or you don’t!! I NEED Reservoir Dogs. I keep ASKING for Reservoir Dogs. Seriously, what is wrong with you fucking people!!?? DO.YOU.HAVE.RESERVOIR.DOGS!!??!!

Him: “Well, um…we have some cats, but no dogs.”

Me: ???

It’s as this point that I realize this may not be a store clerk. I look at the phone’s screen which says “RON MEDINA” – Dave’s friend.

I hang up immediately. My heart is pounding.

I yell upstairs: “David, did you make a call from the upstairs phone a couple minutes ago?”

David yells back, “Yeah, I called Ron about bringing some wine tonight. Why?”

I respond with a cheery, “Oh, nothing.”

David immediately leans over the banister. “What have you done?”

Of course I try to wiggle out of it, but he breaks me with an accusatory glare.

I blurt: “You made a phone call in the middle of MY phone calls – so when I hit redial, I accidentally re-dialed your friend and screamed at him for not knowing if he has Reservoir Dogs or not! And he must be really old because he wasn’t even familiar with the movie title — so he thought I was some deranged woman talking about disappearing people and some strange breed of dog that I absolutely had to have!”

David laughs out loud. “So what happens when he meets you tonight and recognizes your voice as the crazy woman who attacked him on the phone?”

My eyes pop. How mortifying! I don’t want his friend to think I’m the sort of person who would be so rude and profane to harmless store clerks. Even though – clearly, I am.

All night at the party, I avoid Ron and use a faintly British accent whenever he speaks to me. I mumble a bit and add a slight stutter. David keeps grinning at me from across the room, silently mouthing the words, “Reservoir Dogs.”

I am so annoyed at him for relishing my discomfort — and so irritated by the store clerks who still have not returned from the storeroom with the Reservoir Dogs.

At my house tonight, no one is having Sex in a Pan.

(OK, out with it – confess an embarrassing mistake you made. Or share a story about phone calls, store clerks, parties, Reservoir Dogs, or Sex in a Pan! Love to read your Comments!)

— Darcy Perdu

The New Nanny’s Surprising No-No

UH-OH!  The New Nanny's Surprising - Red with Blue Surprising No-No!  #funny #wedding  #cake #humor

So then…we finish chatting about our children, and the talk turns to nannies. My friends and I are grateful to have help with our tiny tots and household chores while we’re working, but inevitably we have some funny moments to share.

(Example:  someone told me the other day, “Our housekeeper has spotty English, so I tried to use my rusty high school Spanish. I’m not sure if I properly explained how my husband likes his shirts ironed – or if I just invited her entire family over for dinner on Thursday!”)

Today, at lunch, my friend says, “So our new nanny apparently likes to have a little something sweet with her coffee each morning.”

Someone interjects, “Yeah, our nanny is like that too. A donut — a muffin or cookie or something.”

“Right,” continues the first friend. “But I don’t keep a lot of that stuff around the house. So I come downstairs this morning and see her at the kitchen table drinking coffee, reading the paper, and eating – are you ready – the top tier of my wedding cake!”

“No way!” We are shocked and laughing at the same time.

“Are you serious? She took the top layer of your wedding cake out of the freezer and ate it? Did she not realize it was from your wedding?” someone asks.

My friend says, “I guess not. Maybe it’s not a tradition to freeze the top of your wedding cake in her country. And she didn’t eat the whole thing, just carved off a hunk of it. She just probably thought, ‘Huh, this looks like a tasty little fancy white cake – let’s check it out.’

“That’s hilarious!” I say. “I guess you won’t be serving it on your wedding anniversary.”

“Nope – and I don’t think my nanny will be having seconds either. She didn’t look too pleased with the frozen hunk she ate. She had a look on her face, like ‘Man, this cake is terrible, it tastes really old, but I don’t want to be rude to my new employers – I better suffer through it and finish it!’

We all laugh at that visual – our friend dismayed to see her wedding cake desecrated for a morning coffee break — and her nanny trying to politely choke it down, worried about offending her boss for not liking it well enough!

— Darcy Perdu

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And to find out how to SHOCK your guests AT the wedding, click HERE!

(Any funny moments to share that involve wedding cakes, coffee breaks — or housekeepers, nannies, gardeners, pool guys, and other helpful service folks? I LOVE to read your comments!)