Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Hand Flapping in the Ladies Restroom

I recently attended a “Girls’ Night Out” event with a good friend. It was at a local movie theater where they had free appetizers, free drinks and featured a free movie, Julie & Julia, starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. Sure, it was a flick I’ve seen before, but I knew I would enjoy watching it again. Plus…did I mention it was free?

The event was sponsored by a local  bank and, as mentioned, it was a “Girls’ Night Out” gathering, so, naturally, there were only women in attendance.  (All together now: “Du-uh!”)

You know what they say about groups of women – that we all go to the restroom together?  Yeah, well, I was grateful this did not occur because, believe me, it would’ve been utter chaos.

One of the dispensers ran out of paper towels, so hordes of women had to hold up our dripping hands as if we’d just scrubbed for surgery and cross the room to the second dispenser to find paper towels.  It was either that, or dry our hands on our clothes – and genteel ladies such as ourselves simply don’t do this. Very often, anyway.
By the second time I used the restroom, there were big puddles of water on the floor where hands had dripped whilst on the walk across the room to the second paper towel dispenser.  Thank goodness no one slipped.

In retrospect, it would’ve been a good idea if even one of us mentioned to movie theatre personnel the paper towel shortage situation. But evidently none of us did.  Perhaps our minds were on the free drinks. Or the free jalapeno poppers. 

But a rather curious phenomenon happened during my first potty break.  See, the toilets were of the automatic flushing variety, so I assumed everything else in the restroom was modernized. 

Not so much.

I walked to the sink and held my hand under the soap dispenser thinking it was automatic.  But then I pretty quickly noticed the button I needed to push to dispense the soap. Oops. I furtively looked around to see if anyone had noticed my gaffe and, when I saw the coast was clear, I quickly pushed the button and started lathering up.

But then, when I held my soapy hands under the faucet waiting for the water to automatically start flowing, nothing happened.

As we all have experienced from time to time, automatic sinks are sometimes uncooperative. You can flap your hands underneath them forever and they simply won’t work. So you move on to the next sink.  And – voila! – water flows over your hands that by now have dried soap sticking to them. But of course the water doesn’t run long enough to scrub the dried soap off your hands and you have to redo the flapping thing at least once more.

These sinks, however, were not of the automatic variety.  And there I was looking like a fool flapping my hands under not one, but two faucets.  Sheesh.

Fortunately, I still had the room to myself. So I didn’t appear foolish to anyone but myself. And, well…now, you.

At any rate, I finally decided that the only automated equipment in the restroom was the toilet. So I stepped over to the paper towel dispenser determined not to make the same mistake. So I searched for the handle, to no avail.  Ack!  Okay, so automatic toilets AND automatic paper towel dispensers. Got it. 

Yet, waving my hands in front of this one produced no paper towels since the thing was empty.  Heaving a huge sigh, I seriously considered wiping my hands on my slacks and getting the heck outta there.  But I didn’t.

Instead, with dripping hands I walked over to the dispenser across the room, flapped my hand in front of the box and, magically, a paper towel appeared.

Who knew the simple act of washing one’s hands required a degree in engineering?

As more women entered the restroom, they all duplicated my moves. We looked like a bunch of crazy people, flapping our hands under appliances trying to get them to work and, finally, manually turning on and off faucets and soap dispensers.

I tried being helpful by telling people that the first towel dispenser was empty, but did they believe me?  Nooo. They all had to prove to themselves that the dispenser was, indeed, empty.  And then they walked over to the full towel dispenser and searched for the handle. 

It was kind of comical.

But I’ve decided that there should be rules when restrooms are designed. If you’re going to have an automatic flushing toilet, then everything should be automatic. Or, if you’re going to have a manual soap dispenser and faucet, the paper towel dispenser should also be manual.

Modern life has its advantages. Like theoretically there would be fewer opportunities for germs to hop on and hitch a ride if we aren’t touching toilet handles and soap dispensers and water faucets and paper towel dispensers all the time.  But I sometimes long for the simpler life when I could walk into a bathroom and know exactly how everything operated.

No excessive hand flapping required.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

It’s All the Fault of Netflix (That’s My Story, Anyway…)

Vince and I have started watching the series, Friday Night Lights on Netflix and, unfortunately, have been staying up later and later as we chew through Season 1. 

“Just one more episode,” we say. And then we end up going to bed so late, there is no way we’re getting the recommended eight hours’ sleep.  Heck, we’re not even getting six!

So it’s silly – especially considering that the series has been over for a couple of years.  I mean, it’s not like we have to catch up on previous seasons in order to be ready for the new season to start. 

Ah well. I suppose it’s better than watching regular TV.  Why?  Because for one thing, there are no commercials on Netflix. And for another, whenever we watch an episode of a current series we’re following and that episode ends, we look at each other like, That’s it?  There’s no more?  Whatta ripoff!

Clearly, we are not fans of the cliffhanger.

But we started this trend a few years ago when we rented DVDs of an entire season and watched all the episodes in a row. No, silly, not all in the same night – we did spread them out over a week or so.  But we didn’t have to rely on our (sometimes) faulty memory as to who was doing what to whom and why.  And then we’d rent the next season.

Now we have that marvelous invention, the DVR. And we have Netflix. And if we’re not careful, we’re going to turn into those dreaded things called couch potatoes. This is especially troubling because we really don’t follow very many episodic television series. We don’t watch American Idol. We don’t care which star dances better and wins a disco ball trophy at the end. And we’re woefully ignorant about what the big scandal is on Scandal.

Fortunately, last night we had a diversion. Family came over and we had a nice, chaotic evening together of food, frivolity and fun. Throw in a little hair styling and getting the chance to meet the newest member of the family and, well, you have a recipe for a great evening.

And tonight? Well, tonight, I’m on the fence. I could either join some friends for a music trivia night at one of the local watering holes in town.

Or I could go home and take a nap. 

Right now Plan B is winning because I haven’t had enough caffeine to open my eyes beyond mere slits. And I’m grumpy.  Grumpy is not a good thing.  Just ask Vince.

But I suspect I will wake up as the day goes along and I will start thinking that hanging out with friends is far preferable to a nap.

We’ll see.

As long as I do NOT pick up the television remote. There is, after all, more to life than finding out if the Dillon Panthers win the District Championship.

If you don’t know the answer to that question, is your life any less fulfilling?  No, of course not. 

I can only hope that Netflix loses its appeal soon enough because, y’know, we have exciting lives to lead. And trivia to pursue. And flowers to plant. (Sigh. More on that one later.)

So here’s to a Netflix-less evening. Say it with me now: “Jane, put down the remote!”

Monday, May 13, 2013

I Spy Something Bizarre

Every so often I see something that makes me either laugh or shake my head in consternation. Sometimes I do both at the same time.  And sometimes I even have to wonder if I really saw what I think I saw. 

Like, for instance, the other day I was driving home from work. I was still on a side street heading toward the freeway.  Once the light turned green, I made a left and noticed a motorcycle slowing down for the red light. The rider looked – to me – like your typical biker. Big black boots, heavy denim pants. His shirt was sleeveless since I saw a lot of ink covering his big biceps. And he even had a handlebar mustache.  So in that brief flash I thought, He’s not a guy I’d want to mess with!

Not that I would “mess” with anyone – let alone a biker dude, so I’m not really sure why I had that particular thought.

And then in the next instant, I burst out laughing.  Because he had a big teddy bear strapped to the back of his cycle. It was sitting up and facing front and everything. At first I thought it was a live animal – possibly a brown dog.  But then I realized, no, it was in fact a stuffed toy.  And an extremely dirty one at that. I figured it must have logged in an awful lot of road miles to get that filthy.

Why this tough guy had a stuffed animal on the back of his bike is something I’ll never know.  Had someone he loved and lost cherished that teddy bear? Was he just lonely and figured he’d look a little less crazy talking to a stuffed animal than he’d look if he were seen talking to himself?  Was it a sign that only other bikers recognize – or some sort of initiation rite to get into a biker club?

I don’t know – but it was a little bizarre.

And then a few weeks ago when we were in Chicago I saw a sight I’m still puzzling over. We were sitting in the shuttle van at the airport waiting to be taken to our hotel. The van driver had let us board and then he disappeared. While we were cooling our heels, I started people watching, which is what I do when I’m bored and I can’t reach my iPad. The first person to catch my eye was a professionally dressed woman wheeling her suitcase into the airport. Well, that wasn’t the bizarre part. We were, after all at the airport. But nestled inside her purse, which she was cradling with her free hand, was a big leafy green plant.

Now that is a little bizarre, I thought. Since she was walking into the airport rather than toward the parking garage, I deduced that she planned to board a plane carrying that plant. (Hey, I’m good at this deduction stuff, aren’t I? I mean, who else could’ve figured that out??) But the plant did not look exotic in any way. It simply looked like your regular garden-variety (ha) plant that you can pick up just about anywhere. 

Was she hoping to purify the air on the plane? Was it her lucky plant that always accompanies her as she flies the friendly skies? I will never know.

But then I wondered (a) if the plant would make it through security, and (b) was she putting it in the overhead compartment – or shoving it under the seat in front of her? Either way, I couldn’t imagine that there wouldn’t be significant soil spillage.

Airport security is not very consistent these days. For example, I had dutifully packed my liquids in my plastic Ziploc baggie and intended to put the bag in the bin to go through x-ray. But while we were standing in line waiting to reach the conveyor belt, I couldn’t find said baggie of liquids.  So I gave up looking with the understanding that I might be pulled aside to be searched more thoroughly because I wasn’t following the “rules.”  But…nothin’. I sailed right through security. Later I found that baggie of liquids inside my carry-on bag. Tsk. Tsk.

On the other hand, Vince’s bags were pulled off the assembly line and more thoroughly searched because he tried to get a half-filled bottle of drinking water through security. See? Not consistent.

Thus, I couldn’t imagine what sort of search would be required for a green plant. Would they have to dig through all that dirt to make sure there wasn’t anything hiding in there other than a little Miracle Gro? 

Ah well. Bizarre sights simply add some diversity to our everyday lives. We get to stretch our imaginations a little bit as we speculate about the bizarre sights we spy. And, if nothing else, it makes the evening commute or the wait in a shuttle van a little less mundane.

So as my own little act of public service, I think I’m going to strap a big fake alligator to the roof of my car tomorrow. Just to entertain my fellow commuters.

Why, yes, I AM a little bizarre.

Oh, and to those bored commuters on Route 71 tomorrow?  You’re welcome.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Pssst! Did you Know That Sunday is Mother’s Day?

Unless you’ve spent the last few weeks  climbing a really big mountain in some remote part of the world with no WiFi access whatsoever, you’re well aware that Sunday is Mother’s Day.

So let’s assume you’ve been on solid ground with plenty of media access. That means you’ve been bombarded lately with ads telling you that to be a good child, you have to shower Mom with all manner of gifts – flowers, chocolates, jewels. I even heard an ad today that a laser hair removal gift certificate would make a great gift for mom.


Yeahhhh, I’d love to see the perplexed expression on that mom’s face as she opened the card and said: “This is for…what?  Are you trying to tell me I have excessive facial hair, sonny?”

In my opinion, that would be an epic FAIL, but I suppose there are all sorts of people out there.  And perhaps there is some mother somewhere just itching to have her underarm hair permanently removed.  I don’t know…

Nevertheless, I would be willing to bet that mothers everywhere simply want their children to express their love and show a little gratitude on Mother’s Day. Maybe throw in a little breakfast in bed. This would be a great gift – as long as the kid makes sure to clean up the mess in the kitchen afterwards so mom doesn’t have to.

Motherhood is not an easy job. Yeah, and that’s the understatement of the year.

Just ask my mom.  Well, no…on second thought…don’t.  I don’t think I’d want her to share with you any stories about my bratty teenage years.  Not that I was a colossal brat – but, like most teenagers, I had my less-than-stellar moments.

Yet Mom never brings up any of my bad behaviors. Frankly, at this point, I don’t think she can remember my teenage years. And I’m okay with that.

Moms somehow have the uncanny ability to love their children unconditionally.  She may not always love the behavior, but she always loves the child.  No matter how old they are or how bad the behavior.

That ability is the very reason your mom deserves to be celebrated.

As for me, well, mostly I’m grateful that my mom is here with us and we can celebrate together. I don’t take a single moment of time with her for granted.

So Vince and I will drive to Alliance on Sunday. We’ll bring some food, a sweet treat for dessert and probably some flowers. We have a little gift for her. And, while she’ll be grateful for all of those things, I know that mostly she’ll appreciate that we took the time out of our weekend to come see her.

If I’ve learned anything through the years it is this: cherish your mom while she’s here. As I’ve heard from so many people whose mothers are no longer alive, they would give anything to have one more conversation with her; one more chance to hug her and tell her how much she is loved.

To those people who can no longer celebrate Mother's Day with their moms, my heart goes out to you. I hope you feel comforted with the knowledge that your mom knows how much you love and miss her.

And to those who still have their moms, please don’t squander those opportunities.  If you can celebrate in person with your mom, do it. If she’s too far away for a visit, call her. 

Just…well…just don’t buy her a gift certificate for laser hair removal. I still think it’s an epic FAIL.

We love you, Mom. Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The World We Live In

Like everyone else in the free world, I’ve been reading and watching the news about the three young women who were held captive by three deranged brothers in Cleveland for the last ten years.  Oops, I meant to add, “allegedly” to that sentence. Just not in front of the word “deranged.”

Charles Ramsey, the neighbor who freed Amanda Berry and called 911, has been hailed as a hero.  And he is – especially to those women who had been held against their will for so many years. 

His interviews have been played and replayed all over the world. His words have already been remixed on auto-tunes. Facebook is filled with photos of the guy. And when he was told that there was a reward for finding the women, Ramsey said that he didn’t want it because he has a paycheck and said that the money should go to those women. 

People have been thoroughly entertained by Ramsey’s interviews because he is unintentionally funny.  (Plus, he has a funny hairdo.)

But I must be getting cynical or something because I keep waiting for a tabloid-type reporter looking for his fleeting moment in the spotlight to dig up some dirt on Charles Ramsey.

I’m waiting for him to report about Ramsey’s early brushes with the law. Or an ex-wife to pop up and say that she could use the reward money because he never paid child support. Or even that Charles Ramsey owes beaucoup bucks in back taxes.

To my knowledge, none of those things is true. Charles Ramsey might be the epitome of a fine, upstanding citizen.

But someone will find something negative to report on the guy.

I wish I didn’t feel that way.  And I hope I’m wrong this time.  But it seems like whenever you have a plain ol’ ordinary citizen – Mr. John Q. Public – who puts himself out there to do something heroic or notable, people first rush to laud him…and then swoop in to denigrate him.

Why do we do that?

It’s not like any of us have a spotless record. Most everyone has had a black mark or two in their backgrounds. Heck, this is precisely why there are sayings such as, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Right?

Even if Charles Ramsey has a blemish or two on his record, I hope people leave him alone. I don’t need to know about it. And neither does anyone else. 

We should just thank this man, let him have his moment in the spotlight, and then leave him alone. After all, it’s harder and harder for people to get involved with their fellow man these days. People try to help an accident victim and get sued for moving the injured out of harm’s way when they shouldn’t have. Or people try to help someone in distress and their own lives come under the microscope.

It’s no wonder we keep to ourselves these days. 

People don’t seem to know their neighbors anymore. We’re afraid to get involved. Oh, sure, there are neighborhoods that are friendly and open and everyone seems to know each other. But – like the neighborhood in Cleveland where three young women were held captive for years - it’s becoming more frequent that neighbors don’t know what sort of monsters live next to them.

I’m grateful that we live in one of the friendly neighborhoods. We wave every time we see a neighbor drive by. We greet each other when we pass them on the street. These are neighbors who become friends. So we’re lucky.

As a matter of fact, our garage door was inadvertently left open all day yesterday because someone forgot to close it. (And by “someone” I mean, “not me.”)  But it’s one of those things that happens from time to time. Fortunately, we live on a court and there is not a lot of traffic other than the residents driving in and out of the development. 

So no one took advantage of the situation and helped themselves to our stuff. Frankly, I don’t think Vince would’ve minded if someone walked off with our electric lawnmower. It would’ve given him an excuse to ignore the scruffy lawn.    

But I’d like to think that if our neighbors saw someone stealing our electric lawnmower, they would have called us. Or the police.

So I’m glad that there are people out there like Charles Ramsey who was willing to get involved. My heart goes out to those three young women who had years stolen from them. And I hope that neighbors can learn to be more diligent and report suspicious activity when they see it.

We have to look out for each other.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

From Camouflage and Automatic Weapons to Tiaras and Poufy Dresses

Yesterday I blogged about the movies Vince and I have been watching of late – and they have all involved men wearing camouflage and carrying lethal weapons.

So guess what we watched last night?  Mirror Mirror – the Julia Roberts movie about Snow White. 

I ask you, how much farther could we have gotten from war movies than a movie involving princesses and based on a fairy tale?!

Somehow Vince managed to endure the entire film, although he was pretty antsy. He got up a couple times and even walked out of the room for a while.  Ostensibly to clean up the dinner dishes, but I think he just needed a break. Probably he wanted to get the image of Snow White out of his head by replacing it with, oh, I don’t know – images of machine guns and rocket launchers.

It’s hard to blame the guy, though.  I mean, he was probably going through war movie withdrawal.

Sadly, the fight scenes with the seven dwarfs just didn’t seem to cut it for him.

I, of course, enjoyed the movie, even though it didn't get very good ratings. Hey, I just wanted to be distracted and entertained for a little while and I didn't want to spend a couple hours cringing whenever someone got shot or blood spurted in all its gory glory.  

Besides, I liked watching Julia Roberts play mean. She had a lot of sarcastic and biting lines. I was curious about the actress who plays Snow White, Lily Collins. She’s the daughter of Phil “In the Air Tonight” Collins. She was a pretty good Snow White and she never once broke out in a verse of “Sussudio.”

But I was a little confused and started searching the recesses of my mind where the Kids Fairy Tales memories are stored. When I finally locked on to Snow White about halfway through the movie, I turned to Vince and said, “Isn’t there supposed to be some sort of poisoned apple situation here?”

He didn’t bother to respond.

My next moment of confusion was when the seven dwarfs arrived on the scene. In the Disney version, they were all cute, friendly little guys. Well, except for Grumpy. But they were industrious and whistled while they worked and all that.

Not these dwarfs. They didn’t even have the same names. There was no Bashful. No Sleepy. No Doc.  Instead, they were Grimm, Butcher, Wolf, Napoleon, Half Pint, Grub and Chuck.

Chuck. Puhleeze. What kinda name is “Chuck” for one of the seven dwarfs? Did they run out of creative names by the time they got to the seventh one?

Nevertheless, I enjoyed our little diversion from the shoot ‘em up movies we’ve been watching. And now I’m curious to watch the other movie based on Snow White, featuring Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen. Looked it up and everything – it’s called, Snow White and the Huntsman. Hmmm…wonder if it’s on Netflix yet?

Vince is cringing right about now. I’m guessing he’ll suggest we take a Netflix break tonight and instead play a rousing game of Scrabble. Or maybe he’ll drag me outside in the dark so we can start pulling the weeds that have infiltrated our flower beds. This is because no Fairy Godmother has magically planted any flowers in those flower beds, so the weeds have had free reign. Darn Fairy Godmothers. Where are they when you need ‘em?

Yeah, I’m guessing they’ve used up all their magic by showing us Mirror Mirror on Netflix last night instead of, say, Act of Valor.

On the other hand, I think we’ve already seen Act of Valor.

So, hey, Fairy Godmother – you owe me one.  A coupla impatiens and maybe a petunia or two in those flower beds. C’mon. You can do it!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

I’m So Over Camouflage

I was so tired this morning that my daily dose of caffeine was not sufficient to wake me up. Of course, what I drink barely qualifies as coffee since it’s Hazelnut with an added shot of sugar free Hazelnut flavoring and a dollop of soy milk. As Vince says, it’s girlified coffee. And it doesn’t pack much of a punch in the way of caffeine.

I briefly considered making a stop on the way in to work to pick up a can of Red Bull, but dismissed the idea since I cannot stomach Red Bull. Actually, I’m not really sure I know what Red Bull tastes like because the last time I had one it was accompanied by some sort of alcoholic shot. And it wasn’t my kind of drink. So, alas, no Red Bull for me.

Vince and I have been staying up later and later at night watching movies. Yes, we’ve discovered Netflix. And we peruse the titles every evening after he gets home from work. So this means that we don’t even start watching a movie until about 10 o’clock, which, for people our age, really should be about the time we start thinking about heading to bed.

I took a quick gander at my watch last night and realized how late it was, but still gamely hit Play on the remote so we could watch the latest war movie.

That’s another issue.

Our Netflix “favorites” are filled with war movies and action flicks and violent films.  Not a comedy or girly movie in sight.

And then I realized that Vince’s almost 17-year-old son set up our Netflix. I’m guessing he selected the genres. For all I know he may even have blocked anything remotely resembling a chick flick.

And the worst thing is that somehow the screen says, “Jane’s Favorites.” Huh?  Listen, people, I enjoy an action film every now and again and I am not opposed to a shoot-em-up movie on occasion, but not every single time we watch a movie.

Last night’s selection involved guys in fatigues dropping out of helicopters and invading Pakistan to rescue some French reporter from her Taliban captors. There were even English subtitles that we had to read amid bursts of gunfire. And, considering we have Surround Sound, it was as if the terrorists were surrounding our house.

Ah, yes. Just EXACTLY what I needed to watch to lull me into a gentle, relaxed sleep.

Not so much.

I told Vince that he owed me big. That I might even force him to go to an actual movie theatre to watch a romantic comedy of my choosing.

Not that this plan worked the last time we went to the movies. We bought tickets to the Silver Linings Playbook, which is the movie I wanted to see. We started to make our way to the correct theater holding our $20 worth of popcorn and soda and tiny bag of Twizzlers. Suddenly, Vince noticed that the new G.I. Joe movie was starting in a few minutes on the 70 foot wide, 3 story tall UltraScreen. He looked at me beseechingly with big puppy dog eyes and suggested it might be fun to watch a movie on the big screen.

Sighing, I realized I was about to watch more guys wearing camouflage.  But I gave in.  Mostly because Vince was carrying the Twizzlers.  Plus, I figured I’d get a little reward because Channing Tatum was in this movie along with The Rock, who these days goes by his given name, Dwayne Johnson.  Doesn’t matter what he calls himself, that right there was going to be a little eye candy for me.

Except that (spoiler alert!) Channing Tatum dies early on in the movie. So I spent the remainder of the movie mourning his loss. And chewing on Twizzlers. 

So while it was a fun date night with my husband, it has been far too long since I’ve gotten to watch a girly movie. And I realize that I really miss the color pink. But it sort of scares me…because I’m starting to think in terms of pink camouflage.

That can’t be good.

Didn’t Honey Boo Boo’s mom just get married wearing a camo wedding dress? Let me check…

Aaaahhh!  My eyes…my eyes! 

Okay, that does it! I’m going to Redbox immediately and renting The Notebook. We’re going to watch it at a civilized 8PM. And we’ll be sleeping by 10PM. And I will NOT be dreaming of camouflage. Pink or otherwise.

Oh, and somehow or another, I'm going to figure out our Netflix password and change our definition of "Favorites." 

Who knows? Maybe one of these days we'll even get to watch Silver Linings Playbook. Let's just hope there are no scenes in which Bradley Cooper is wearing camouflage.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Stupid Is as Stupid Does – The Sequel

So on Friday, I wrote a blog and titled it, “Stupid is as Stupid Does,” which was a line from the movie, Forrest Gump. 

In it, I said that we all do stupid things from time to time. I wrote about several stupid things people I know have done.  And because I know karma is a you-know-what, I added a couple anecdotes about stupid things I’ve done, although they were from long, long ago.

I mean, it was difficult to come up with anything stupid I’ve done recently. Me being such a smart…er…cookie, and all.

Yeah, and what did I just say about karma?  Uh huh.  So let me tell you the stupid thing I did just Saturday.

Vince and I were invited to a friend’s birthday celebration. There were three parts to the birthday – a happy hour, followed by the movie, Iron Man 3, followed by wings and beer at our favorite wings and beer place. Guests were invited to attend any or all activities and no RSVPs were required.

Well, Vince had to work on Saturday, so I figured we’d skip the happy hour. And movies based on comic books are not my favorite, so I decided to stay home for that. Besides, I hadn’t seen Parts 1 or 2, so I thought the plot might go over my head.  (Okay, not really. I mean, sure, I might not know prior antagonistic and/or romantic relationships, but I assumed there was going to be a lot of stuff getting blown up and a lot of bad guys getting punched – and I figured I could follow that plot-line.)

Nevertheless, I opted out of the movie.

So Vince arrived home just in time to head to the wings and beer place. We got there about 15 minutes before the stated start time, so we informed the manager that we were evidently the first people to arrive and that others would be there soon. Fortunately, the place was empty enough that they would be able to accommodate a larger group fairly easily. So we sat down and placed our order because it was getting late and neither of us had eaten dinner. 

After a while, Vince said, “Did you confirm with anyone that they were still planning to come here?” 

I said, “No…” and looked at him like I couldn’t believe he was questioning me on matters such as our social calendar.

I did say that it was a long celebration – and beer could be ordered throughout the movie, so who knows? Maybe they all decided that it was time to end the party after the movie.  We aren’t after all, spring chickens anymore and three-part birthday celebrations might be pushing it.

Well, Vince never leaves anything to chance.  So after a few more minutes, he sent a text to the birthday boy.  Immediately his phone rings and it’s the birthday boy’s wife – the one who set up the whole shindig.  Vince listens to her for a brief moment and then says, “Hold on…” and hands the phone to me.

So the first thing I hear is, “Jane…the party was last night.”

Wha…?  LAST night?  Arrrrgggghhhh! 

I couldn’t believe it! I mean, I pride myself on my organizational skills and I simply do not make these types of stupid mistakes! 

Not only that – but earlier in the day I’d even searched my emails to find the invite so I could confirm the correct times for all the activities.

Evidently, karma found me quicker than I imagined possible.

It wasn’t until today when I actually looked again at the email that I realized it's even worse than I thought. I mean, the date of the party is stated in the subject line. And it’s even typed in CAPITAL LETTERS.

Holy crap, I must be losin’ it.

The only thing I can say in my defense is that the birthday boy’s wife and I had discussed this birthday celebration only a week or so ago. And she told me she was planning it for Saturday night, which was the actual birthday of the birthday boy. Well, somehow between then and the day she sent out the invite, the date changed, even though the specific activities had not changed.

And I didn’t pay attention.

Our friends were just returning from their early Cinco de Mayo celebratory dinner and happened to be down the street from our location, so they came over to keep us company. I think they just wanted a chance to laugh at my stupidity, but were too polite to actually say so.

So we bought the birthday boy a beer to celebrate his birthday and we shared a few laughs, so it ended well.

But for the rest of the weekend, I mentally head slapped myself so much I gave myself a virtual headache. 

And in random odd moments, I’d heave a heavy sigh as I thought about what a stupid thing I’d done. After about the third heavy sigh Vince stopped asking me what I was sighing about. He knew.

He also knew that Part II of the Stupid Is as Stupid Does blog was going to have to be written. After all, what choice did I have? I needed to get karma off my back.

On the other hand, karma might have hopped off me and onto Vince.  Maybe once too often he rolled his eyes – or silently agreed a little too often that I’d done something really boneheaded stupid.

Because this morning when he was making our chocolate breakfast drink in the blender he forgot to put the lid on before pressing the Start button. Half our breakfast shot out of the blender. Yep, there was a veritable explosion of chocolate liquid coating the ceiling, window and cabinets. Not to mention the counter, mini-blinds and the liquid soap dispenser. Oh, and the bamboo plant, all our windowsill tchotchkes and…

Well, you get the point.

I guess what they say about karma is true.

Probably tomorrow I’m going to write a blog about bunnies and rainbows. And I won't say a single mean thing about either bunnies or rainbows. That shouldn’t pique the interest of karma.


Friday, May 3, 2013

Stupid Is as Stupid Does

Someone sent me an email with the caption “No Longer Feeling So Stupid.”  (Thanks, MC!) The photos in the email were of people doing silly or, okay, stupid things.  Like driving their truck head first into a lake rather than backing it in so the actual boat was in the water.  Or leaving their grocery bag, purse and coffee on top of the vehicle and driving off into traffic.

It reminded me of the time when I was a kid and heard a similar story about my uncle. He had some sort of station wagon-type vehicle that came with a permanently attached metal luggage rack on the roof of the vehicle. Such vehicles had to have luggage racks on top because chances are the inside of the vehicle was crammed with people and there was no room for things like luggage.

Hey, back in the day, people had way more than 2.5 children. Unlike today. Well, unless your last name happens to be Duggar. 

Anyway, my uncle put all their suitcases on top of the vehicle, loaded up the car with my aunt and their five kids, and took off for vacation.

He didn’t, however, strap any of those suitcases down. 

Once they moved off side streets and reached an actual freeway, every single suitcase flew off the top of the car and popped open once they hit the ground. Underwear, socks, bathing suits and all manner of vacation-type clothing was strewn along the side of the highway. For miles.

From what I remember, they didn’t realize what had happened until they arrived at their destination. They had no clothes. No toiletries. Nothin’. 

I suppose it made it very easy to get settled in since they had nothing to unpack.  On the other hand, there were seven of them and it must have cost a small fortune to replace all that stuff. This was back in the day before cheapie megastores like WalMart could be found in just about every town in America.  Probably the kids all got a souvenir t-shirt, pair of flip flops, a pair of shorts and a bathing suit and had to make do for the duration.  Still – an expensive lesson, I imagine. 

Kind of stupid, wasn't it?  Well, the thing was, my uncle was assuredly not stupid. He was a physician. But, um, perhaps he didn’t have a whole lot of common sense. Or at least he didn’t on that day.

So I tried to think of stupid things I’ve done in the past. And, of course, I couldn’t remember a single thing.  Me?  Do something stupid? Surely you jest!

Welllllll…there might have been one or two things…

Okay, time to ‘fess up. 

There was the one time I parked my car in my spot in the parking garage, walked the two blocks to work and then wondered why I couldn’t find my office keys. Someone arrived at the office around the same time and unlocked the door, so I didn’t worry about it too much. But a couple hours later, I started thinking about it – and I realized that my office keys were on the same key ring as my car key. And if I didn’t have my office keys…  So I walked back to the parking garage and reached my car. When I looked in the window I discovered that, sure enough, I’d left the keys in the ignition and then had locked the doors.

It took me another few minutes to realize that the car was still running! Yeesh.

Lesson learned. I now obsessively double- and triple-check to make sure that I have the car key in hand before I close the door. On the other hand, cars today have all sorts of alarms and bells and whistles to ensure that people don’t make this same sort of boneheaded mistake.

Another time I baked a cake and used granulated sugar instead of powdered sugar when I was preparing the frosting.  No matter how much I mixed the stuff, it was still grainy.  And I could not figure it out.  Now, in my defense, I was only 10.  But, still.  My family gamely tried to eat the concoction, but everyone ended up scraping the frosting off and just eating the cake. 

Live and learn.  Never goofed like that again either.  But I cannot tell you the last time I baked an actual cake. And I won’t swear to it, but probably I used a tub of that ready-made frosting.  It’s easier. And there is no chance that the wrong sugar would get added.

More recently, I saw someone make a stupid mistake.  I swear – it was not me.  I was filling the gas tank during my lunch break when the car in front of me drove off with the pump still attached.  Yes, it was a woman. And, yes, she was blonde.  Drat. More fodder for those blonde-jokesters.

But at the time, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I mean, she hopped back in her car. I figured she was looking for her wallet or something. But then the car started up and she started pulling away.  Even though I tried yelling and wildly gesturing at her, by then it was too late.

And the next thing I see is the clerk from the gas station racing after the car with the pump still attached.  

It was, by turns, shocking and funny. 

But I didn’t stick around to see what happened next. I wasn’t sure if there was gasoline spillage and I wanted neither to hear a big boom nor see a big fireball.

We all make stupid mistakes. Hopefully, they aren’t life altering stupid mistakes. The better kind of stupid mistakes are the kind that makes you feel, well, stupid at the time you make them. But then later you have a funny story to tell.

So here’s to the funny stupid mistakes we all make. And can't we all use a good laugh now and again?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Safety Razor Incident

We were in Chicago last weekend for a cousin’s wedding. And we had an absolutely wonderful time – from beginning to end.  Well, except for the part where I nearly sliced off the tip of my finger.  With a safety razor.

Who does that?

Yeah, I know. The answer would be “me.” 

We were getting ready for the wedding and, because I was wearing a dress and not planning to wear hosiery, I decided it was time to haul out the ol’ weed wacker and scrape off some of the leg hair that had been keeping me warm most of the winter. 

Okay, so it wasn’t really that bad, but – y’know – for the sake of dramatic effect, I needed to make it sound worse than it was.

On the other hand, it’s not like it was mere stubble either. The bad thing is the hair on my legs is blonde, so it’s hard to see if I’m getting it. And, worse, I don’t generally wear my eyeglasses in the shower, so I can’t see anything anyway.  Basically, using a razor is a dangerous proposition for someone like me.  I have to go by touch to see if I’m making any progress.

Eventually, I decided I’d done a good enough job. I figured the dress I was wearing was “tea length,” which is code for “a dress long enough to cover up those lily-white legs and hide the missed patches of leg hair.”

So I started to set the razor down on the edge of the tub. Don’t ask me what happened or how my other hand got in the way – but suddenly, the tip of my right index finger was bleeding like crazy and was stinging as if I’d, well, “shaved” off the tip. Which I had.  Took off several layers, anyway. I suspect I caught the corner of the razor, but I didn’t stop to analyze the situation just then. 

I grabbed a clean washcloth and wrapped it around the appendage. And what color is every hotel washcloth?  White.  Only within a few minutes, this one was pink.

So there I stood dripping wet, with a pink washcloth wrapped around my finger and wondering how the heck I was going to dry myself and get dressed without inadvertently adding a lot of red droplets to my blue dress.

I asked Vince to throw a towel over my head to absorb some of the water from the soggy strands of hair. I cannot tolerate dripping hair so flipping a towel turban style over my head is the first thing I do when I get out of the shower.  Besides, it’s a lesson in futility to dry one’s body if one’s hair continues to drip.

And then, of course, I showed him my injured appendage.  Well, no, truthfully, I showed him my finger first. He just shook his head and asked how in the world I managed to cut my finger so badly with a safety razor. 

Not helpful.

His second comment was to tell me to sit down and put my hand above my heart to get the wound to stop bleeding or at least slow it down a little. 

So, okay, that was a little more helpful. And I managed to sit in the chair for about a minute and a half before jumping up and declaring that I simply had to get ready for the wedding. I couldn’t imagine what sort of sight I’d make wearing my tea length dress and sporting a a big white towel wrapped around my head and a pink washcloth wrapped around my finger.

Vince warned me that the finger would continue to bleed, but I slapped a Band-Aid on it anyway and went to work. And, of course, he was right.  I had to supplement the Band-Aid with nearly every tissue in the box on the counter as bright red blood kept seeping through the top of the bandage. 

Despite such a handicap, I managed to get dressed and didn’t spill a drop of blood on my clothing. I don’t think so, anyway. I mean, I didn’t really check all that closely.

The trash can in our bathroom, however, looked as though someone had performed major surgery in there. If I’d had had more time, I would’ve tried to find a bag so I could hide all the bloody tissues. Vince said that the maid who came in to empty the trash was going to call 911 or at least look around for the dead body.

Eventually, the bloodletting slowed enough for me to replace the bandage. But, just to be safe, I applied three Band-Aids. And, yeah, I had a big wad of tan bandages around the tip of my finger, but at least I wasn’t dripping drops of blood on the carpet. And I was happy that (a) I had decided to toss those Band-Aids into my makeup bag at the last moment, and (b) I had no need of any fine motor skills that evening. Anything more than holding a fork or a wineglass was going to require assistance. Oh, and (c) I only had to polish nine fingernails instead of 10.  Saved some time.

I continued to wear a bandage the first couple days after “The Incident” because the tip of my finger was sore and tender. But now – a mere five days later – it’s almost all better. It’s amazing how quickly the human body heals itself, isn’t it? 

But I’m thinkin’ it might not be a bad idea to take an iron supplement for a few days just in case I’m now anemic.

And I’m also re-thinking the whole safety razor thing. Perhaps there is a course I could take: Shaving 101. Or maybe a manual I could read: Shaving for Dummies.  Or maybe I should just do the safe thing and put down the razor altogether.

After all, cavewomen didn't shave. And I'd be warmer in the winter.'s only May. Probably I shouldn't inflict hairy legs on the masses throughout the entire summer.


Okay...guess I'd better sign up for Shaving 101. Let the remedial training begin!