Friday, December 20, 2013

What's So Funny?

Sometimes I worry that I’m losing my sense of humor.  Like the other night when I was hastily throwing together something for dinner before Vince arrived home. 

The water was getting ready to boil on the stove awaiting the noodles and the beef and gravy were simmering away on Low.  Concurrently, I was washing the glass blender cup thingie from our morning fruit smoothie.  Once I realized the water had indeed started boiling on the stove, I left the blender cup thingie in the sink with the water running in order to rinse out the soap.  I figured I’d throw the noodles in the pot and would then turn around and shut the tap off.

Wrong.

Instead, I threw the noodles into the boiling water and then had to stir the gravy so it wouldn’t burn.  “Low” on our stove apparently means “Boil Vigorously.” 

So by the time I turned around to shut the water off in the sink, the blender cup thingie had filled to capacity and was overflowing – all over the sink. And the counters. And the floor. 

Grrrr.

But rather than roll my eyes and laugh at my boneheaded move, I got all growly.  I swear, it was like I’d left the water running all weekend instead of a mere moment.  There was so much water everywhere, I was debating whether or not to get the mop and bucket.  But I figured if I took the time to do that, the noodles would be overcooked, the gravy would indeed be burned and I’d probably smack myself in the face with the mop handle as I wrestled it out of the closet.

So, instead, I unhappily crawled around on the floor mopping up the water with a towel as more water dripped from the countertop above and onto my head.

And, naturally, it was at that precise moment that Vince arrived home and walked into the kitchen.

Sigh.

Fortunately, he was feeling silly and was (eventually) able to get me to (grudgingly) smile.

And with four hands to handle the work, neither the noodles were overcooked nor was the gravy burned.

So as crises go, this was minor.  But there was a time not so long ago when I would not have lost my cool over something so trivial. I mean, it’s not like I spilled a whole bottle of red wine all over the white carpet or sliced off a vital appendage or anything.

Part of it may be that I’m just getting old and cranky.  But part of it may be that I haven’t been getting enough sleep lately.  Instead of “settling down for a long winter’s nap” the night before, I was up at 2 a.m. haunting the hallways like The Ghost of Christmas Past. 

When I awoke the next morning to get ready for my day, I did rather resemble Ebenezer Scrooge, so I guess it all ties together.

Ebenezer Scrooge, by the way, probably didn’t need as much under-eye cover-up as I did.

But at least I recognize that I need to regain my sense of humor. And fortunately I haven’t yet morphed into the curmudgeon-y lady who shakes her fist at neighborhood kids who dare to walk across her lawn. But then, this is probably because there aren’t any little kids living in our neighborhood.  Besides, I’m not the one who is all that concerned about the lawn. No, that would be Vince’s domain, and if he wants to shake his fists at little kids, who am I to stop him? 

Actually, I would love to see that – and it would probably make me laugh.  So maybe I should go out and find some little kids and drag them to our house?

Yeah, on second thought, that’s probably not a good idea.  Prison would be a surefire way to lose whatever sense of humor I have left.

So I will have to work on this regaining-my-sense-of-humor thing. Like I should probably only look at the funny stuff people post on Facebook instead of the controversial stuff that gets everyone all riled up.  And I can only hope that my friends turn into instant comedians and tell me jokes and funny stories. 

And if none of that works?  Well, I could always take a nap.

But just in case, I should probably buy some more under-eye cover-up. Comparing myself to Ebenezer Scrooge makes me cranky.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Is Sending Christmas Cards Becoming a Thing of the Past?

When I was younger, I thought it would be fun to work at the Hallmark Company. I imagined a fabulous career writing greeting cards, especially once Shoebox (a tiny little division of Hallmark) was born because it was the home of the funny cards. 

But then I realized my verbose style of writing wouldn’t work for greeting cards. They would’ve lost profits because my cards would’ve been booklets. And there would’ve been a mass shortage of red ink as copy editors took their red pens to my verbiage. 




So, for the sake of an entire industry, I opted not to pursue that career. Besides, I didn’t really want to move to Hallmark’s corporate headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri. At the time, I couldn’t imagine why anyone would voluntarily move to Kansas City, Missouri. What am I saying?  I still can’t imagine moving to Kansas City, Missouri.

(My apologies if you’re from Kansas City, Missouri, or you live there now. I’m sure it’s a lovely place.)


Now, however, I’d be more concerned with the color pink than red, anyway. As in the dreaded pink slip.  I don’t know statistics, but it would be hard to imagine that the greeting card industry hasn’t suffered as a result of the whole social media thing.  Why send a card when you can wish someone Happy Birthday on Facebook? Why send a Christmas card if you can tweet a greeting to all your followers?

I could, of course, make up some statistics to support my claims.  But seeing as how I barely passed Statistics in college, I wouldn’t even know how to make up something believable and/or realistic. 

So let’s just assume that the greeting card industry has suffered. Just like the USPS has suffered. I mean, if you’re not going to buy a card, you don’t need to buy a stamp either.

My proof?  Well, does a sample population of one (me) count?  No?  Too bad.  It does for my purposes.

I used to frequently get cards and letters from family and friends throughout the year. And I used to frequently send cards and letters throughout the year.  Now?  Not so much. 

I used to look forward to Christmas when it was a pleasure to open my mailbox to collect all those fancy envelopes filled with pretty glitter-covered Christmas trees and Santa Clauses and Nativity scenes.  I loved to read all the newsy news and gaze at the enclosed photos from people I care about. It was the one time of the year when personal mail outnumbered junk mail, sales circulars and bills by about a bajillion to one. 

(See?  Bad at statistics.)

But now?  Not so much.  We have received only a smattering of cards from friends and family. We’ve heard more from people who say they are not sending cards any longer.

So it’s a tradition that I fear is heading toward oblivion.

It’s not that I don’t understand why.  I mean, it’s an expensive undertaking, for one thing.  Buying cards in bulk and purchasing multiple books of stamps ain’t cheap.  And it’s time consuming.  Especially for someone like me because I have to write a long letter to add to our cards.

And I have to print out pretty labels because my handwriting is becoming more and more chicken-scratchy as the years pass. (Legible handwriting. Something else that is heading toward oblivion?) 

So I recently bought labels made for laser printers.  Unfortunately, we own an inkjet printer. You’d think it wouldn’t matter all that much, but believe me, it does.  Printing labels for laser printers on an inkjet printer just makes for a smeary mess.  That’d be a sure way to piss off mail carriers all over the country.

So I had to run out and buy the correct labels and start over again.  That was not only expensive, but time consuming as well. The new labels were in a different format, so couldn’t just hit “print.” I had to copy and paste into a whole new document.  Thus, all the pretty little holly and ornament pictures I had added to each label went right out the window.  We were, by that point, going for utilitarian. 

And let’s not even discuss the fact that an hour after I returned home from the office supply store with the new labels, I ran out of ink for my printer and had to go back to the office supply store.

You can imagine how full of Christmas cheer I was by then.

Fortunately, I’d already written the letter to enclose in our cards so it didn’t turn all surly and Grinchish. (Yuh huh, that is too a real word.) 

When I finally printed out all the labels, Vince and I had to sign all the cards and attempt to write a personal note in each card. Sadly, by the time we got to the last few, we were just signing our names and sending silent apologies to those folks.

But we finished them – and they are all in the mail. So we feel a real sense of accomplishment. And, frankly, a sense of relief.

So now we wait for all those “Return to Sender” envelopes where we had the wrong address on the label or the recipient moved and we forgot to change the label. Then we’ll have to find out the correct address and resend the card, which will then arrive closer to Valentine’s Day than Christmas.

Huh. Maybe it’s a tradition that should head toward oblivion.  But still...  If it does, I fear I will feel a sense of loss every December when I head to the mailbox and it will contain only junk mail, sales circulars and bills. 

I’m gonna miss all those glitter-covered Christmas trees.


So Merry Christmas, everyone!  And if you haven’t received our card yet…it’s in the mail. 


Probably. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Obviously, I'm Oblivious

I’ve been a little out of it in the last week.  Don’t ask me why.  Let’s blame it on being sleep deprived. Or blame it on my lengthy To-Do list. Heck, let’s blame it on my hair color.  Whatever.  I can’t even get huffy about that last thing because there have been some definite blonde moments lately.

Take last Thursday evening, for instance.  I had to run to two different stores to prepare for the surprise party we were having that weekend and it was getting perilously close to closing time.

But first I had to stop at the gas station.  It had been a couple weeks since I’d fueled up and the car was gasping so I didn’t think I’d even make it to the two different stores unless I stopped.

Knowing that time was of the essence, I had already flipped the switch to open the door to the tank and had credit card in hand. I got out of the car and was all ready to swipe my card with one hand while twisting the gas cap open with the other…except there was no partially opened door to the gas tank.  Instead, I was looking at a smooth, unbroken expanse of white paint.

Huh?  I was completely and utterly baffled. If someone were drawing me as a cartoon, there would've been a big question mark over my head.  But…all I could think was, where did the opening for the gas tank go?? 

And then I realized.

The last several times I had filled up a gas tank, it was on my Dad’s car when I drove them back from Cape Cod– and the tank is on the driver’s side. MY gas tank, on the other hand, is on the passenger side.

Yeesh.  Even though nobody was paying a bit of attention to me, I got totally embarrassed and felt my face flush beet red.

And then I hopped back in the car and drove around the station so my passenger side was closest to the pump and I could actually reach the gas tank.

As I filled up, I kept shaking my head and rolling my eyes at my dopey move. But at least I hadn’t already swiped my credit card.  Had I done that, I would have had to try to change directions at the same pump – and I guarantee you that either (a) I would’ve had to perform car maneuvers far beyond my capabilities, or (b) another car would’ve sneaked into my spot.  Confusion would have ensued. And then I would’ve gotten into an argument with a total stranger.  Hey, what can I say?  Gasoline is just too expensive for me to be filling up the gas tank for someone I don’t know.

Despite my misstep, I managed to fuel up and get to my two stores to order party food. And all before closing time.  Happy endings I can live with.

There have been other blonde moments recently, too.  (Wow. Who knew I’d prefer calling them blonde moments, over, say, early senility!)  But I don’t really want to tell you about swiping my Kroger’s frequent shopper’s card instead of my credit card at Costco (and getting frustrated when it wouldn’t accept it as payment), or wearing my shirt inside out for an entire day. The thing that concerned me most about that last thing is that nobody said a word.  Did THEY not notice? Or were they shaking their heads in sorrow for my formerly (somewhat) sharp mind and on my behalf mourning its loss?

Who knows. I am just hoping that I can catch up on my sleep a little this weekend and can brush away some of those cobwebs.  And, heck we have that whole “Fall Back” thing to look forward to.  I will be glad to gain an hour this weekend.  Let’s just hope I remember to change all our clocks so that I don’t show up for work an hour early on Monday morning.  I do that and for SURE they’ll admit me somewhere for testing.

So Happy October, everyone! Enjoy your weeke... Excuse me? What's did you say? 

Heh, heh.  Why, yes, I do realize it's November. I was, um, just testing you to see if you read all the way to the end...! 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Memories

Today is Halloween and we’re supposed to get thunderstorms or high winds or something in Central Ohio. Does this mean that Trick-or-Treating is cancelled tonight?  Dunno. 

I probably won’t turn on our porch light either way.  Last year was the first year in our new house and I didn’t know what the Trick-or-Treat situation was in the neighborhood.  Nevertheless, I bought a ginormous bag of candy in preparation.  And, mind you, it was the good stuff.  Kit Kats and Snickers and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – none of that Dollar Store no-name stuff. 

But it turned out to be pretty dismal.  We got nary a single little ghoul or goblin.  Turns out there are very few kids in our neighborhood and the neighboring areas probably don’t want to bother with cul-de-sacs.  It’s either thru-streets or nothin’. 

I can understand that. I mean, the goal when you’re a kid is maximum candy collection because, frankly, you know there will be shrinkage.  You have to immediately discard the boxes of raisins and dental floss that some houses insist on handing out.  And you have to throw out any candy that has escaped its wrapper.  Probably your parents are going to filch some of your candy after you go to bed.  

But, most importantly, you know there will be candy in your bucket that you don’t like.

For me it was candy corn.  Yuck.  I couldn’t even give that stuff away. Try as I might, I couldn’t broker a trade with my younger siblings.  Even when they were barely old enough to string a complete sentence together, they were still too savvy to trade their Hershey’s bar for a couple pieces of plastic-tasting candy corn. 

I don’t know how much they focus on candy at my sister’s house nowadays, but my niece has spent the past couple years putting a lot of thought into choosing her Halloween costume.  Last year the kid went as “the body inside out” and she wore her “organs” on the outside of her clothes.  Her intestines were made out of panty hose and, well, I’m not sure what the other body parts were made out of. The pancreas and the liver looked particularly yucky.  But I had to give my niece a lot of credit for originality  – and my sister kudos for her creativity in crafting such an ambitious costume.
 
Rich Uncle Pennybags?
This year, my niece went as the little tuxedoed Monopoly Guy or Rich Uncle Pennybags from the Monopoly game. She looked adorable.  I don’t know this for sure, but I’m guessing that my sister was relieved that she only had to come up with a top hat, cane and spats for the dear child. Guts and brain matter not required.

But back when my sister and I were kids, we had to make our own costumes. Mom might have let us use a little black eyeliner, if need be, but that was about the extent of her involvement. Thus, our costumes were pretty amateurish, as I recall, and I don’t think we have a single photo of us as kids dressed up for Halloween.
Or is THIS the real Rich Uncle Pennybags?

I remember only one time getting a store-bought Halloween mask. I vaguely recall it being some sort of happy clown face, but don't quote me on that.  What I do remember for sure is that it had a flimsy piece of elastic stapled to either side of the mask, which was supposed to hold it onto my head. 

Yeah, like that worked.  My eyes were mashed into my glasses, which were mashed up against the eye holes that didn’t line up with my face so that it hurt every time I blinked. 

And it was hot.  With every breath I took, my glasses got steamed up and I had to stop and clear them so I could see. This definitely slowed down the candy collection process.

But I knew I couldn’t utter a single complaint because, well, I had begged my parents to buy me that mask and they had done so only reluctantly.

The mashed eyeballs-steamed eyeglasses problem wasn’t the worst of it, either. We’d gone to only a few houses before the elastic holding that hard plastic mask snapped and broke. Trying to fix it by sliding the now shorter piece of elastic into the space between the mask and the staple while rubbing the welt on my cheek AND holding on to my plastic Halloween bucket so that the candy didn’t spill out was a major undertaking.  Yeah, maybe that explains the “trick” part of Trick-or-Treat.

Thus, that was the first and last time I ever asked my parents to get me a store-bought Halloween mask. They were pretty savvy themselves, no?

While I don’t remember any Beggar's Nights getting cancelled due to inclement weather, I do recall many a Halloween costume ruined by having to wear our winter jackets over our costumes.  I mean, it’s not like we could fit whatever costume we’d devised from the rag bin over a bulky winter jacket. But the integrity of our costume was not of concern to our mother and her word was law, so we wore our winter jackets.  In retrospect, I can’t blame the woman.  She certainly did not want to deal with four simultaneous cases of sore throats, fevers and stuffy noses.

Ah well. Halloween is one of those “holidays” that bring back fun memories, whether you’re the kid ringing the doorbell or the person answering the door.

Hmmm. Maybe I will turn the porch light on tonight – just in case we get any brave cul-de-sac traveling ghouls or goblins. Wonder if I have any extra dental floss or little boxes of raisins lying around the house? Just kidding. At the very least, I think I can scrounge up a few Kit Kats.

So, whether you're escorting your kids as they Trick-or-Treat or you're the one answering the door, I wish you a Happy Halloween! Oh, and stay warm. (Maybe you wanna ruin your kids' costumes and put that winter jacket on over it -  just to be safe? Trust me - they'll thank you for it.  Someday.)


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

SURPRISE!!

We had a surprise 50th birthday party for my brother-in-law and sister-in-law over the weekend and, let me tell you, some people are VERY hard to surprise.  

Oh, not because they’re crack detectives and weaseled the information out of the weakest link in the family who spilled the beans at the first suspicious glance. 

No, some people are simply hard to surprise.  In this case, it was because we ambitiously decided to hold a joint surprise party since their birthdays are only four days apart. 

Now, if the guests of honor had arrived at the party together, that might have eliminated some of the angst from the person who was expected to escort them down to the party room (namely, me) where everyone was hiding and waiting to jump out and yell, “Surprise!”

Instead, my brother-in-law was coming from work. At a car dealership. Where start and stop times are completely ambiguous.  Thus, we had no earthly idea what time he’d show up.

My sister-in-law, on the other hand, arrived promptly at the agreed-upon time.  The ruse was that she and her husband were coming over for an early birthday dinner with just my husband and me.  And we were going to watch Ohio State annihilate Penn State. (Which they did and which we did, but which is beside the point.)

Most of the guests were already secreted downstairs in the balloon-infested party room where all manner of party food and drink abounded.  Fortunately, the acoustics in our house are such that no party-like sounds drifted upstairs.  But, just to be safe, I cranked the music in the living room as a cover up.


Our plan of attack was to be if she showed up and he was still working, we would be forced to hold two separate surprises.  Not ideal, but short of driving to the car dealership and dragging my brother-in-law out of there, what could we do? 

We had a plant inside his dealership who attempted to get my brother-in-law out of work on time, but try as he might, my brother-in-law simply would not leave until the last customer drove away.  Makes for a great employee, but a lousy guest of honor at his own surprise party.

Nevertheless, our plant sent me a text to let me know that our guest of honor had finally left.  And when his wife showed up at our house, she, too, announced that her husband was on his way.  So I made a quick decision to go for the joint surprise. 

I sent a text to my co-conspirator downstairs to hold steady…and nervously chatted with my sister-in-law in the living room, while staring at my watch and silently begging my brother-in-law to hurry.

And then the doorbell rang.  Was it our other guest of honor?

Nooo.  It was some latecomers – a niece with her five (no, not a typo) small children.

So I walked outside and quickly explained that they’d have to wait until my brother-in-law arrived.  They turned tail just as I spied my sister-in-law walking into the hallway to see what was taking me so long. She evidently saw the backs of the little ones scurrying away and asked, “Neighborhood kids?” And I replied, “Yes, they’re always trying to get me to support one fundraiser or another!”

Pretty good seat-of-the-pants response, eh?  Yeah, I have to admit, I was pretty proud of myself.

Of course, the guests downstairs were confused by the latest doorbell. They were getting restless wondering what was happening upstairs and I was receiving constant texts from them.

Ack!  I was trying to keep it all together, but I’m good at subterfuge for only so long.  So I started sweating and getting nervous – so much so that to explain it away, I blamed a hot flash.  And I’m not so sure that was a lie.

Thankfully, just then my brother-in-law showed up.  But did they immediately head for the lower level? 

Nooo.   

First, my brother-in-law – ever the gentleman – insisted that I precede him and follow his wife down the stairs. Well, I knew that I would completely ruin the photos everyone downstairs was poised to take. But, before I could figure out a tactful way to go last, my sister-in-law took a detour to the bathroom.

By this point inside my head I’m screaming, Oh. My. Gawd. You. Guys. Are. Killing. Me!” 

She reminded her husband to get the crockpot from the kitchen to bring downstairs. (Let this be a warning – if you are ever a guest of honor at a party at my house, you’ll be expected to bring food.)

So I stalled him in the kitchen by asking inane questions while she was in the bathroom.

FINALLY, they were both ready to head downstairs and I somehow managed to lag behind.  I even managed to send my niece the prearranged text message to let them know her mom and stepdad were on their way down.  And when I finally heard “SURPRISE!” I all but collapsed in a big puddle on the floor.

In the end, it was truly a surprise. And even if someone had let the cat out of the bag and ruined the surprise, we still would have had a wonderful time. And I think our guests of honor were touched that we would go to such lengths for them.


But next time?  Well, next time I’M going to let the cat out of the bag and ruin the surprise. Hot flashes notwithstanding, I can’t take the heat. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Happy Birthday to My Mom!

A couple weeks ago I spent several days making like the Morgan Freeman character in Driving Miss Daisy as I drove my elderly parents from their cottage on Cape Cod back to Ohio. Well, except that I didn’t have that spiffy chauffeur cap.


Uh oh. I just re-read that sentence and I see a big, glaring problem with it. What – you don’t? Ah, allow me to explain, grasshopper.


Were my mother to read this blog (which she doesn’t), she would take exception to the word “elderly.” She doesn’t like to be referred to as “elderly.” Even though she is. I mean, once a person turns the corner on eighty, they are smack-dab in the middle of “elderly.” Am I right? And, as of today, my mother is eighty-eight-years old, so there’s no turning back.


Personally, I think it’s a badge of honor to be eighty-eight and still kickin’. If I were eighty-eight, I’d probably be as irksome as a three-year-old digging into his Barney birthday cake and poking people with purple frosting-covered fingers crowing about the fact that he was three. I’d be poking people in line in front of me at the grocery store with my cane, and, when they turned around, I’d crow, “I’m eighty-eight!”


Not that my mother (a) carries a cane, (b) pokes people in line at the grocery store, or (c) has ever been as irksome as a three-year-old. Probably not even when she was three. But I can’t prove that.


Nevertheless, I can’t really blame my mother for taking offense at being called “elderly.” Heck, she’d be mortified to learn that I was outing her in the age department right now. Guess it’s a good thing she doesn’t read my blogs, isn’t it?


Of course, all bets are off when you’re somewhat lower on the age spectrum. Like me. During our long drive across the state of Pennsylvania, mom was talking about something or other and she stopped me completely in my tracks when she referred to me as “middle-aged.”


Well, not literally. I mean, I kept the pedal to the metal, as it were, and didn’t cause a chain reaction pile-up on I-80 or anything. But, me? Middle-aged? No wa-…Oh. Yeah, okay, I guess I AM “middle-aged.”


When the heck did that happen?


Probably around the same time mom moved from Middle-Aged to Elderly.


It happens to the best of us, I guess.


Mom hasn't come up with an alternative to the word elderly, however, so I'm not sure what she'd prefer. Eighty-eight and effervescent? Eighty-eight and elegant? Maybe. Just as long as we don't ever refer to her as feeble, doddering or decrepit. If those words ever crossed our lips, she'd find a cane and would start poking us with it. And there'd be nothin' “feeble” about it.


So, mom? I'd like to wish you an elegant and effervescent eighty-eighth birthday today. I hope dad bought you a purple Barney cake and you're enjoying it like a three-year-old. Purple frosting-covered fingers and all.


But if anyone who reads this happens to see my mother in church or at the grocery store anytime in the near future, please do NOT wish her a happy 88th birthday. Eliminate the year altogether. I might even suggest you tell her she's wearing “Middle Age” well. She won't believe you, but a little white lie couldn't hurt. After all, you never know when she might start carrying a cane...


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Case of the Cub Scout and the Missing Tin of Caramel Corn

Last Monday I was accosted in my driveway by a Cub Scout.  Well, perhaps “accosted” isn’t the proper term as the kid didn’t kick me in the shin or pull my hair or trip me as I walked to my mailbox.  Instead, he about killed me with cuteness.

I figured he was maybe seven years old and he was wearing his official Cub Scout uniform with the little neckerchief and everything.  Peering up at me with big blue eyes behind his thick eyeglasses, he asked me if I would consider buying some popcorn to help support the Scouts.  He even had a lisp.  Aw man.  It was the kid from Jerry Maguire reincarnated in a Cub Scout uniform.  I was doomed!

His father was standing back on the sidewalk keeping an eye on our interaction and trying to let his son handle the negotiations.  Probably he was ready to step in and give me more details to convince me to buy were I to initially refuse.

Like he needed to.  I mean, I’m a sucker for this kind of thing.  I have a whole box of breadsticks in our freezer from a coworker’s kid’s football team sales drive that will probably develop frostbite before we even think of eating them.  I always add a dollar to my bill for whatever cause the local grocery store is promoting.  And I have some tacky Christmas ornaments from another school fundraiser that will never be hung on our Christmas tree because they are so, well, tacky. 

So I reluctantly held out my hand for the order form.

Do we need popcorn?  Yeah, not so much. 

We were gifted with a cool popcorn machine last Christmas and Vince spent big bucks on some gourmet kernels. And we enjoy an evening snack of popcorn from time to time. But gourmet popcorn is not something I see the need to spend big bucks on. I mean, it’s popcorn, for cryin’ out loud.  It’s not the same thing as, say, spending big bucks on a nice bottle of Barolo.

So the next time I went to Sam’s Club, I stocked up on a ten pound container of popcorn kernels.  And we haven’t even cracked that sucker open yet.

So, no, we don’t really need – or want – any popcorn.

Nevertheless, I perused the list.  Cheese popcorn?  Ick. Chocolate covered popcorn?  Eh, maybe…but I’m not spending $25 on it.  Ooh, there we go – caramel corn for ten bucks?  Sold!

As I was mentally kicking myself for being such a pushover, I considered who in my life might like a tin of caramel popcorn.  And then it hit me that my parents would soon be visiting and they might enjoy it. So I started to feel a little better about spending my hard-earned money.

Once the father realized the hook was in and I was buying, he came up to handle the financial portion of the transaction.  I filled out the order form with my name and address and checked the little box for caramel corn. I asked him if they needed the money up front and he said yes.  So I fished a $10 bill out of my pocket and handed it to him.

The father said they already had the products and would be back in the next day or two to deliver the tin.  I told him they could leave it on our front porch if we weren’t home.

They thanked me and walked away to locate their next victim, er, customer and I walked to the mailbox to retrieve our mail, which was where I was headed in the first place. 

I had mixed feelings about this little encounter.  I mean, I felt bad because I sometimes feel like I have the word "sucker" stamped across my forehead. On the other hand, I also know my few dollars help organizations or school programs that don’t get a lot of funding and I know some of these families’ budgets are stretched a little tight.  So in that sense, I felt good about helping out.

Eventually, I decided to just feel good about it.  Hey, I helped out the Cub Scouts.  Good for me.

Later that night I told Vince what had happened.  He just looked at me and shook his head.  "Did you get their name," he asked. "Do you know where they live? How do you know they didn’t just take your money and you’ll never see them again?"

Egad – I thought as I mentally slapped myself upside the head.  That thought NEVER entered my mind!  I might have been scammed by a Cub Scout.  Or a kid who found a Cub Scout uniform at Goodwill and he and his scam artist father figured out a way to scam people.  Notably, me.

On Tuesday I arrived home from work and immediately checked the front porch to see if the tin of caramel corn had been delivered. It had not.

On Wednesday I repeated the move even walking outside to check behind the boxwood to see if perhaps they’d carefully hidden the treasure.  No such luck.

By Thursday, I was feeling a little dejected because I didn’t want to believe that the cute kid in the Cub Scout uniform could’ve been a scam-artist-in-training.

And by Saturday?  Well, by Saturday, all my faith in humanity was lost.  I moped around the house all day and even kicked the cat once or twice.

Okay, so not really.  I mean, it was ten bucks, not our entire life savings.  Lesson learned. And I would never kick a cat.  Besides, I didn’t figure I could ignore the laundry and other Saturday chores just because I fell victim to a cute kid in a neckerchief.

On Sunday as Vince and I were busy handling one Sunday task or another, we heard the doorbell ring.  And, lo and behold, it was the cute kid in the thick eyeglasses and neckerchief to deliver the caramel corn!

His father, standing a few paces back on the sidewalk, explained that they hadn’t been able to catch me earlier in the week and had wanted to deliver the tin personally.  I thanked them profusely, closed the door and, turning around holding the tin aloft, I announced, “…And my faith in humanity is once again restored!”

Vince just rolled his eyes.  But I think he was happy for me. I think he is glad I’m not completely cynical. 

And then he promptly opened the tin of caramel corn and he and his son commenced to eat about half of it in one sitting.  It wasn’t a very big tin. 

So much for gifting it to my parents when they visit.  But, hey. Wonder if they’d like a 10 pound container of popcorn kernels from Sam’s Club? 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Am I Past My Expiration Date?

So today is my mumble-something birthday.  Happy birthday to me – right?  Yeah, whatever. 

I’m not feeling really jazzed about my birthday this year.  Not sure why.  Maybe it’s because I’m one year closer to death? 

Ooh, I’m feeling maudlin.  That’s not good.  I need to snap out of it.  (But whenever I tell myself to snap out of it, I hear Cher in my head from the movie, Moonstruck. And then that sort of makes me laugh.)

What’s that?  You’ve never seen Moonstruck because it came out when you were five?  Oh, you… just…hush. (You thought I was going to say something else?  Nah, I’m too old to be mean and in-your-face. Besides, I was never allowed to say “Shut up!” when I was young.  Back in the Stone Age. And those rules are still a little hard to break all these many decades later.)

Vince thinks we should act like we’re not grown up.  Be silly.  Behave crazy sometimes.  And, okay, so there is some wisdom in that. If we act like we’re old and “over the hill,” we’ll truly start to believe it – and to behave like it.

So on the drive to work, I listened to the Jamie Foxx show on Sirius XM. For the most part, it’s a comedy station, but in between bits or interviews, they’ll play music.  Usually, it’s music I don’t normally listen to – so I decided to stick with it to today see whether or not I could stand it. 

Coincidentally, the song that played next was by Rihanna – and the name of the tune was “Birthday Cake.”  Apropos, no? 

Um.  Not so much.  If you’re anywhere near my age, you would probably be shocked by the lyrics.  They are definitely NOT the sort of lyrics that would be sung by the servers at Applebee’s when your friends embarrass you by having servers at Applebee’s sing Happy Birthday to you.

So I had to laugh.  Here I am trying to not act like my age.  Be silly.  Behave crazy sometimes.  And it’s not working.  Instead of being entertained and singing along, I was like a prudish old lady holding my hand over my open mouth and saying, “Oh, my!” in a shocked whisper.

Yikes.  If I’d been wearing a pair of white lace gloves with granny spectacles perched on my nose and my hair up in a bun, I could complete that mental picture for you.

When did this happen?  I swear, I was young and cool about a minute and a half ago. 

Vince and I started watching a new series on Netflix, Orange is the New Black.  It’s by the same creators as Weeds, which we just finished watching.  There are definitely scenes in these shows that I have been a little shocked to see on TV.  Even if it IS Netflix. Seeing people with their drawers pooled around their ankles as they sit on the toilet is perhaps a little too graphic for my old-ish sensibilities. And, yeah, so it’s merely depicting what people do in real-life – but do I really need to see it on TV? 

Whatever happened to leaving things to the imagination?

I’m not sure, but I really do think that ship has sailed. And I blame reality television. (I blame reality television for a lot of things, including my sore left elbow. I don’t know why my left elbow is sore, so blaming reality television is as good a reason as any.) 

It’s not like I want things to go back to unreality TV.  Back to the early days of television when married couples were shown sleeping in separate twin beds so as not to offend public sensibilities.  Back to the days of early television when women wore pearls and stockings and pumps and aprons over their dresses while they vacuumed the living room. 

I mean, who did that? I don’t remember my mom ever wearing pearls. Or even vacuuming the living room, for that matter, although I know she surely must have done it a time or two.  I clearly recall, however, inheriting that little chore when I was old enough and tall enough to push the Hoover around without the handle smacking me in the forehead.

So it’s not like I’m completely yearning for the good ol’ days.  But – I admit – I really would like to wake up in the morning without some new mysterious ache or pain.  Like my sore left elbow.   

Maybe I should follow Vince’s advice. I should go out today and buy myself a helium-filled balloon and tie it around my wrist and look up at it in wonderment and awe. I should buy myself a birthday cake and gleefully plant my face in the middle of it and get frosting up my nose and in my ears and on my eyebrows. 

And maybe I should tell myself that age is just mind over matter. And if I don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

Yeah, right.  Besides, do you know how difficult it is to get frosting out of your nose and ears?

So instead, I think I’ll be a grown-up and look at this birthday as one more year to experience life. One more year to learn something new. And one more year to love my family and friends.

Hmmm. Now that sounds like a grown-up solution to combat my maudlin thoughts. 

But still. I may just have to stop on my way home from work and pick up a  helium-filled balloon.
Wonderment and awe should never have an expiration date.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Things that Shock and Horrify Me

So earlier in the week, Miley Cyrus shocked the free world with her lewd and crude performance at the VMA awards.

I don’t regularly watch awards shows, but the photo published ‘round the world of a horrified Will Smith and his children as they watched the Miley wreck made me want to satisfy my curiosity.  Once I did, I was actually more sad than horrified. 

But, believe it or not, this is not a blog about Miley. Or not entirely, anyway.  I’ve read plenty about her in the past few days and my two cents isn’t really going to change anything. 

Let’s just say that I hope Miley grows up sometime soon and learns that there are better ways to keep the fame train running than by her feeble attempt at titillation.  Like by working on her craft. I never saw Hannah Montana and don’t really know if Miley Cyrus has talent or not, but if she does, she should continually strive for improvement. And if she doesn’t, she should thank her lucky stars for the run she’s had and she should move on. 

Garnering publicity - especially if it's it's in a negative context - really shouldn’t be a goal.  Yet I'm still shocked when it is.

I don’t know why. I mean, it’s not like I’m young and naïve anymore. But I guess I’m not yet completely old and jaded either.  Because people still have the ability to shock and horrify me.

Take last week, for example. There I was, walking from the parking lot toward the entrance to Sam’s Club. I was happy that I hadn’t waited until the weekend when the wholesale club is beyond packed. And I was mentally going over the list of purchases I needed to make so I could get in and out quickly.

Sometimes Vince and I see someone who has just finished stowing their purchases in their car – and we’ll offer to take their empty cart. We figure we’re performing a minor act of kindness by saving the shopper the minute or two it would take them to wheel the cart to the designated cart return. 

Now before you think I'm trying to place shiny halos over our heads, let me also confess that it's convenient for us as well. We can unload my purse and the reusable shopping bags into the cart so we aren't trying to juggle them while digging for our membership card.     

Nevertheless, on this day I saw an older woman who had just finished putting the last of her purchases in her trunk and I was thinking I’d ask her if she’d like me to take the empty cart off her hands.  But she did something so completely repulsive, I got the shivers.  First, she hocked up a big loogie and spit it on the ground in front of her.

Yeah, I know.  Pretty disgusting, right?  I apologize for putting that mental image in your head, but no other phrase could possibly work in this instance.

I was so shocked I stopped completely in my tracks and, with my mouth hanging open, had to reboot my brain.  I went from preparing to get the words, “Would you like me to take that cart…” out of my mouth, to keeping the words, “Oh, GROSS!” from escaping my lips.

But that wasn’t all. Right in front of me, she held her finger over one nostril and blew out the other.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph. I could not imagine doing that in the privacy of my own home – let alone standing in a public parking lot surrounded by people.  All I could think was thank goodness I hadn’t gotten close enough to get any overspray on my shoes.

But my mouth was still hanging open and I was shaking my head back and forth in denial of what I’d just seen as I rushed past her and hurried into the store. And, of course, I immediately revised my list of purchases to include a big bottle of antibacterial hand sanitizer.

Perhaps she is an elderly “Nell”-type character who earlier in life raised herself in some remote woodland cabin and still isn’t familiar with etiquette or the rules of common courtesy. Or maybe grew up right here in Columbus, Ohio, and she simply doesn’t care.  Either way, it was just plain disgusting – and I still haven’t gotten that image out of my head.

Yeah, I’m probably scarred for life.

I was going to come up with a third example of something that shocked and horrified me, but, frankly, after describing that last thing, I lost my appetite and don’t think I can come up with anything else today. But, never fear, I’m sure my arsenal of things that shock and horrify me will be replenished soon enough. 

I’ll bet you can’t wait ‘til I share, eh?!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I’ve Seen the Future and It Ain’t Pretty

Pardon me for taking such a long break between blogs. I’ve been busy aging. 

And let me tell you, it hasn’t been much fun.  My hand has started to permanently attach itself to my lower back whenever I get up from sitting too long.  And by “too long” I mean ten minutes, tops.  And that loud cracking sound? Yeah, that was my neck.  It does that sometimes.  Don’t let it scare you.

Worse yet, I think my internal thermostat is permanently broken.  Air conditioners, cold packs and ceiling fans have become my new best friends.  In our home, running out of ice is about as big a sin as it used to be to run out of chocolate.  Well, about once every 28 days or so, anyway.

To all my older friends: NOW I understand.  It’s your turn to snicker.  Go ahead, I deserve it.

The worst part of all of this is my vision.  I’m seein’ the future, and it ain’t pretty. 

Ha ha ha.  No, really, when I started that line, I was literally talking about my vision, but then I segued.  Probably I should’ve stuck with my actual vision as the other part is just plain depressing.

But back to my vision.  I’ve long since moved to bifocals – so that’s not the issue.  Lately I’ve been dealing with dry eyes and blurry vision by the end of the day.  Talk about a buzzkill.  I go home wanting to take a nap just to give my peepers a rest instead of going out and socializing and having fun.

Part of the problem, I’m convinced, is the ever-increasing demands we make on our eyes.  I’m completely guilty.  I wake up in the morning and the first thing I do is check my smart phone to see if it has gotten any smarter overnight.  And, okay, so I’m really just checking Facebook to see who was dealing with insomnia at 3 a.m. 

Besides me, of course.

And the rest of the day is no different. I stare at a computer all day long.  At lunchtime, instead of giving my eyes a break, I spend the time reading a book.  I’ve loved reading books ever since I sounded out the rhymes in Green Eggs and Ham all by myself.  Since it’s my story, let’s say I was reading Green Eggs and Ham as a 2-year-old.  (I want to pretend like I was a prodigy.)

 
But, anyway.  (See? Another problem. Lack of focus…)

For a while, I was reading books on my iPad, but that exacerbated the blurry vision problem so I went back to the old-fashioned kind I check out of the library.  And most of those books are in Large Print so I don’t have to squint too much. 

Plus, I’ve permanently changed the font size on my iPhone to 24 point.  Could I feel any older or more pathetic?  Well, yeah.  After all, there are several larger font sizes to go – all the way up to 56 point type. I should just turn in my iPhone when that day comes. I mean, do you know how big 56 point type is? That’s like one word per line. 

We might as well tattoo “Fossil” on my forehead and be done with it.

But, seriously.  Things like basic grooming are becoming more of a challenge.  Like, for example, I try to flat iron my hair – and my hand develops a cramp before I’ve even finished one side.  I try to tweeze those weird hairs that have begun sprouting on my chinny-chin-chin – but I can’t see them. I have to go by feel, which is sometimes a lesson in futility. And I have even once or twice left the house without applying makeup – gasp!  I know. Shocking, right? But I figure no one is looking at me anyway, so why bother?

Admittedly, these are not good signs. At this rate, I’ll soon be sporting a short, white poodle perm, wearing big tennis shoes with Velcro tabs, and younger folk are going to be tempted to braid the facial hair I’ll have given up trying to remove.

A few weeks ago I was visiting with a friend and during the course of the conversation I brought up my age. However, I inadvertently subtracted ten years. Temporary insanity?  Perhaps.  But I never realized anything was amiss until she shot me a look of utter disbelief.  When she called me on it, I said, “What age did I say I was?” I seriously had no clue.  It’s not like I was trying to lie to her. After all, she’s three months younger than I am, and I have a rule against lying to anyone who was born in the same year I was. I figure they are pretty much able to do the math. 

So it appears I’m now at the age where I really can’t remember how old I am.  That may be cute when you’re 3. Not so much when you’re getting solicitations in the mail from the AARP.

While I sometimes miss the vigor of youth, I am not planning to give in to old age either.  I mean, I’ve seen some seniors give up – they sit in their rockers and wait for people to visit and make their meals and take care of them.  Their lives can get very small.  But I’ve also known people who have traveled and socialized and enjoyed life well into their 80s and beyond. 

The latter scenario sounds way more fun.

Now I’m not discounting real physical illnesses can preclude traveling and socializing and, frankly, enjoying life.  So it’s not like I’m disparaging anyone here. “There but for the grace of God…” and all that.

But even though I know that age is catching up with me, I feel like I have a way to go before I’m ready for Assisted Living.  And I’m still young enough to want to know what the next chapter in this life brings. After all, you know what “they” say: getting older is better than the alternative. 

So to celebrate life, I may re-read some of those books that Jane, the child prodigy, read at age 2. (Yep, still my story…) 

Hey, I wonder if Green Eggs and Ham comes in Large Print?


Monday, July 15, 2013

The Black Pepper Incident

The other evening Vince called to let me know he was on his way home from work. This is usually my cue to run upstairs and throw something in the skillet and pretend like I’ve been slaving over a hot stove for hours.

Okay, so not really.  I mean, Vince isn’t that gullible.  And, frankly, I’m not that much of a cook.  Oh, sure, I can make a mean pan of lasagna for special occasions and I can stumble my way through a recipe from time to time.  My area of expertise, frankly, is in preparing party foods.  I excel at party foods.

But I can’t exactly serve veggie pizza or seven layer dip for dinner.  Not every night, anyway. 

My years of putting together entire meals with more than one course stopped with…well…actually, they never really started.  I was single for so long I just didn’t see the need to slice, dice, chop, sauté and conjure up a plate full of food with all the fixin’s on a daily basis.  

Give me a bowl of Raisin Bran and I’m good to go.    

As a result of all those years as a single woman, my favorite meal is leftovers.  LOVE me some leftovers.  Especially when it means I have to wash but a single plate and a fork.

Vince, however, was used to the more traditional family-type meal with some sort of meat and some sort of vegetable.  There was probably a minimum of at least three different things on his plate. 

Times, oh how they change. 

Now we usually only have the more traditional family-type meal on Sundays when we’re both home to work the stove.

But I also realize that Vince works a lot of hours and when he gets home from his “half day” of work (that’s 12 hours to you and me), he’s a tired and hungry man and he doesn’t want to spend more time cooking dinner for himself.

So I make an effort. 

The other night, my “effort” consisted of a grilled chicken sandwich and a bowl of cottage cheese with chunks of tomatoes.

Clearly, I was not inspired to make like Julia Child and create some culinary masterpiece. But, then, I also had time constraints working against me. When he calls to let me know he’s on his way home, I have approximately 15 minutes from start to finish to prepare something edible.

Sure, I could make something ahead of time.  But when I do this, it usually ends up being dried out or gloppy because I have never been able to crack the “car guy” code and figure out when a finance manager will actually be done with work. “Whenever the last customer leaves” is hard to plan around.

So the chicken sandwich was fine.  Actually, I’m a pretty good sandwich maker.  Maybe not quite as good as Vince is, as he excels at the “Dagwood-type” sandwich that is so big it’s hard to eat without spilling vegetables and condiments and such down the front of one’s shirt.

But, hey, I’ve been making sandwiches for people since I was in grade school and one of my daily chores was preparing lunch for my siblings.  I got very good at lining up those four metal lunchboxes and tossing in four apples and four single cookies twisted in pieces of waxed paper.  Then I’d slap together baloney sandwiches.  These were the antithesis of Dagwood-type sandwiches.  However, I would’ve been excommunicated from my family if I’d tried to sneak in anything extra. 

No, these sandwiches consisted of a single slice of baloney, a smear of mayo or mustard (depending on the recipient’s preference) placed between two slices of Wonder Bread.  If I was feeling particularly fancy, I might cut the sandwich on the diagonal, but that was about the extent of my efforts.  There were no sliced tomatoes, no slivers of onion, no leaves of lettuce for a little added crunch.  And there was definitely no need for a frilly toothpick to hold the sandwich together. 

Part of it was me being lazy.  But the bigger consideration was my parents’ need to economically feed a family of six.  One package of baloney didn’t last that long as it was and no one was malnourished enough to warrant an additional slice of baloney.

So I wasn’t a bad sandwich maker.  I just wasn’t a very inspired sandwich maker.  And if I had a bad day or one of my siblings pissed me off, I might accidentally (on purpose) throw the apple on top of the baloney sandwich, thus smooshing it into a barely recognizable piece of meat between two paper thin slices of Wonder Bread with the sploosh of mustard oozing out.

Hey, don’t mess with the cook.

Fortunately, for Vince, I lost the taste for baloney and Wonder Bread by the time I hit puberty and I cannot say I’ve ever purchased either as an adult.

So his chicken sandwich did have, as a matter of fact, slices of tomato, slivers of onion and lettuce leaves for that added crunch. 

My downfall was the bowl of cottage cheese and the tomato.

HOW could a bowl of cottage cheese and chunks of tomato be my downfall, you ask?

Well, sit tight Skippy and let me tell you.

See, my idea of cottage cheese is…well…just that.  I scoop out some cottage cheese. And then I eat it.  I do not find the need to doctor it up with spices and such.  Not so with Vince. He likes to add liberal amounts of garlic powder and black pepper to his cottage cheese such that the surface is no longer white.   He may even add other spices that I’m not even aware of. I just know about the garlic powder and pepper.

So, like the good wife that I am (?!), I tapped some garlic powder on top of the cottage cheese. And then I tapped some more.  Because my rule of thumb is: Whatever amount of spice I think is enough, I need to double it for Vince.  So I did. And then I moved on to the pepper.  Except that I inadvertently dumped half the container onto the cottage cheese. 

Ack!

I stood there with a horrified look on my face holding the container of black pepper in one hand and the bowl of pepper-drenched cottage cheese in the other.  I had no idea what to do.  My first instinct was to quickly dump the mess into the disposal and start over.  Except that it was the last of our cottage cheese.  And I didn’t have time to come up with an alternate plan as I heard the garage door begin its ascent, clueing me in that Vince had arrived.

So, I did what any pepper novice would do. I tried blowing the excess off into the sink.  Except that I breathed in too quickly – and I inhaled a face full of pepper.

And then I started sneezing.  And sneezing some more.  I didn’t stop sneezing for another 10 minutes. My eyes were watering and my nose and lips were burning from all that pepper.

Vince is fond of saying that ketchup is about as spicy as I can stand – and he’s not far wrong.  I don’t even eat “mild” chicken wings as I find the mild sauce too spicy for me. 

So you can imagine how happy I was having inhaled a handful of black pepper.

I managed to pull myself together, take a spoon out of the drawer and scoop the top layer of pepper off the cottage cheese and dump that in the sink.  True, this should have been my first solution, if only I’d been thinking clearly.

In between sneezes, I told Vince what had happened and we both had a good laugh.  And he ate the chicken sandwich and cottage cheese without comment or complaint.  Oh, except he thanked me for making it for him.

Which made all those sneezes worthwhile.

But I’ve decided that in the future I’m simply going to hand him the container of pepper and let him spice his own cottage cheese. 


After all, I’ve pretty much exceeded my lifetime quota of black pepper. And sneezes.
                        

Bon appétit!

Friday, July 12, 2013

A RARE AND UNUSUAL PHENOMENON

I had a rare experience this morning that I have to share with you.

See, my alarm went off and I got up.

Shocking, I know. 

Somehow I didn’t groan, roll over and beg Father Time to back it up a little so I could catch a few more winks.

Instead, I got right out of bed, made my way to the kitchen and fed the cats so they didn’t have to beg for food like…well…like dogs.  They didn’t say so, but I’m guessing they were grateful that I didn’t try to confuse them this morning.

After I fed the felines, I made a cup of coffee and sat in the living room to enjoy the sunny morning for a bit before getting ready for the day.

What makes all this rare?  Because it. Never. Happens.

I am not a morning person. Never have been. I don’t understand the concept of sunrise and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one.  Sunsets?  Sure. I even have pictures.  But sunrises?  Not so much.

So I sat on the couch in the living room enjoying my coffee and gazing around my little domain.  Also rare this summer was the sunshine.  I think I read that in the last 19 days we’ve had rain 16 of them.  No matter how you look at it, that makes for one soggy summer so far.

So I enjoyed the sunshine.   And I noticed – for the first time in the year since we’ve lived in this house – that the sun hits the purple crystal hanging in the living room window at precisely 6:47 a.m. where it sparkles for a few brief moments before the sun moves on and highlights something else.  Since I’m all about the sparkle, I delighted in the vision.

But then what happened?  I started noticing that the window behind that purple crystal needs an immediate date with a bottle of Windex. 

And then I shifted slightly on the couch…and I saw a filament of spider web hanging down from somewhere up high, connecting to a glass globe on the coffee table and ending somewhere inside the decorative bowl in the middle of the table.

Ugh.  WHY did I have to shift slightly on that couch?  I would’ve been happy to have been blissfully unaware of that filament.  Not only that, but I am not a big fan of creepy crawly things so removing the filament brought with it the possibility that an actual spider would come out of his hiding place to find out what was happening to his handiwork.

I had to give the arachnid props though. If he had started up in the ceiling fan or on the ceiling itself, he had to create a whole lot of silk to get from there down to the coffee table. It’s a VERY high ceiling.  Poor guy was probably napping after his long journey. 

Nevertheless, I put down my coffee cup, went to the closet to find a dusting cloth and then wiped off the table, the glass globe and the decorative bowl. 

That done, I decided I’d better jump in the shower lest I find even more surfaces that need some attention with a mop, broom, or other cleaning implement.

So it looks like I have some sprucing up to do this weekend.  But don’t I always?  It’s one of those never-ending chores that won’t go away no matter how hard you clean.  The dust and dirt always comes back.

But despite all that, I truly enjoyed those brief moments enjoying the morning sunshine.  Who knew you could get so much pleasure out of taking a few moments like that before starting your day? 

Yeah, yeah, okay – so half the free world recognizes this.  The other half – like me – are affirmed night owls with an aversion to sunrises and spend every possible second snuggled up in bed waking up only to hit the snooze button one more time.

But maybe…just maybe…I’m not quite so averse to sunrises anymore.  I’ll have to test the theory.  Just not tomorrow. It’s my day off – and I’m probably going to want to sleep in.

(Heyyy, what can I say? We can’t push this “early bird” conversion. Change takes time y’know.)


Seriously…have a good weekend all. Enjoy your sunrises. And your sunsets!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Zzzzzzz

I’m sitting here trying to think of a subject to write about – but I’m so sleepy I could pretty much nod off at will. I’ve yawned so much my eyes are watering and I’m wondering how I’m going to make it through the day without a nap.  In retrospect, staying up late the past few nights was probably not such a great idea.

Neither, apparently, was my recent decision to stop drinking Diet Coke.

I’ve spent the last couple lunch breaks reading a library book. Except that I’m not really reading. I’m doing that head bobbing thing where my eyelids get heavier and heavier making it harder and harder to keep my eyes open.

And then, just before I fall into a deep sleep, my subconscious yells, “YOU CAN’T FALL ASLEEP NOW; YOU HAVE TO BE BACK AT WORK IN TEN MINUTES!”  And then my head jerks up and my eyes pop open and I realize that (a) I’m giving myself whiplash, and (b) I have absolutely no clue what the book I’m reading is about.

Sigh.

I’d impose an 8:30 bedtime on myself, but that probably wouldn't work because I'd be wide awake sometime during the middle of the night. Or I could take a nap when I get home, but it seems like there is always some chore that needs to be done. By the time I finally settle down to relax, Vince arrives home and we want to spend some quality time together.

And by the time we finally decide to call it a night and start our teeth brushing, face washing and head-to-toe moisturizing routine, it’s after midnight. 

What’s that you say?  Since it takes so long to moisturize our old, dry, cracked, lizard-like skin, we should probably start that process immediately upon arriving home for the evening?

Hey, that’s not very nice.  “Lizard-like”?  Really?

Actually, I think the problem is that we’ve developed some bad sleeping patterns lately. Like waking up multiple times throughout the night.  I’d blame Vince – but he reads this blog and he can easily point out the many times I wake him up throughout the night with my restlessness.

Don’t ask me when that happened. I used to sleep like a rock and wouldn’t stir until the alarm went off in the morning. And even then I didn’t always wake up. Hey, give a girl only one good ear to hear out of and she can very conveniently ignore things like alarm clocks.

Lately, though, our rambunctious felines have added to our sleeplessness.  They seem to have forgotten every household rule they’ve ever been taught.  Like, for instance, Jinx has decided that the lower right quadrant of the bed is the perfect place to snooze.  This is precisely where my feet go.  And if I move my feet, she pounces on them. So then I move them more. And she pounces more. While she may think it’s marvelous fun, it’s a game that I don’t enjoy all that much because it keeps me from sleeping.

I’ve also noticed that the cats believe their morning feeding time has changed to five o’clock.  In. The. Morning.  Are they nuts?!  To convince me it would simply be easier to get up and feed them, they take turns launching themselves onto the bed and bumping their heads into my face.  This, as you might imagine, startles me awake.  And then I get annoyed.  Plus, then I have cat fur in my mouth and I have to worry about things like fur balls. Ick.

But the cats don’t recognize “annoyance” and they truly believe that I’m going to drag myself out of bed and stumble into the kitchen to dump food in their bowls. 

I’d do it to get them out of my face, but I can’t give in to them. Otherwise, they’d be waking me up every three hours throughout the night like a couple of newborns.   

And we all know that’s not happening.

We could shut the four-legged creatures out of the room completely by closing the bedroom door. Except that inevitably one of the two-legged creatures in the household has to take a middle-of-the-night potty break. And I can see it now. We’ll forget that the door is closed and we’ll smack into it face first. Since  it's hard to accessorize the black eye-and-swollen-nose look, closing the door is not an option.

Hey, I’ve got it!  Perhaps we could feed the felines kitty tranquilizers. If they sleep through the night, maybe we will, too. 

Or maybe not. Because, as Vince will be happy to tell you, my feet are not moving only because Jinx is pouncing on them.  Hunh. Forget the kitty tranquilizers. Maybe we need some Jane tranquilizers?  

Yeah, that idea has merit.  It might not solve all our problems, but maybe we could get a decent night’s sleep. 

It’s either that – or I’m going to bypass the Diet Coke and head straight for the Red Bull.  Whiplash ain’t all that much fun.

Besides, my library book is due back at the library in a few days. It’d be nice to get the chance to actually read it.

Better go.  It’s time for a...cat nap.  (Ooh. Sorry.)