Friday, August 21, 2015

Maybe the Wicked Witch was Just Hot

Last night Vince and I watched the weather report on the news and he was surprised to learn that it was in the low 60s. They called it “cuddle weather” and “blanket weather.” 

I just called it “relief.”

You see, I’ve spent much of the last week being hot.  I don’t like being hot.  I’d rather be cold and put more layers on than to be hot, sweaty and sticky.

So you can imagine how much I loved it last weekend when we rather impulsively agreed to meet our friends and their three little boys at the Columbus Zoo.

In hindsight, we definitely should have checked the weather report first.

While it was a beautiful, sunny day, the outside temperatures were approaching 90 degrees with the humidity level hovering somewhere around nine thousand percent.  And if the percentage of humidity can be any higher than that, let’s go with that number.  It was H-O-T, hot. And, even worse, it was horribly humid.

And I – much like the Wicked Witch of the West – was melting.

You think I’m exaggerating?  (She asks after saying the humidity level was 9000%.)

I had applied my makeup that morning as I normally do before heading out in public lest I scare the little children, and by the time we’d gotten to the entrance of the zoo, it had all slid off my face and landed in a big puddle on the ground at my feet.  Yeah, that was attractive.

Fortunately, my hair was pulled back off my face and neck, so that helped some, but I spent most of the day wiping sweat off my forehead to keep it from dripping into my eyes and yearning for central air conditioning. 

Watching three little boys having fun at the zoo helped a lot – as did the ice cold drinks their dad kept handing us.  Of course, the ice in those drinks melted within moments, but it was a relief while it lasted.

Even the boys had issues with the heat. They all wore adorable “Columbus Zoo” hats to shield them from the sun, but whenever we stopped to watch a show or see an exhibit that was out of the sun, they immediately took off their hats.  And the hair on their little heads was all wet with sweat.

Their mom and I took turns blowing on their heads to cool them off.  I had hoped they would think it was a fun game and do the same for us, but no such luck. Hey, by that point, anything cool would’ve been a relief.

After the zoo, we all had tentatively planned to hang out together and have a little cookout, but we were all so bedraggled, we decided it would be better to go our separate ways and peel off our soggy clothes and take showers just to feel human again.

Besides, none of us wanted to cook.  Vince and I ended up ordering a pizza while our friends stopped somewhere on the way home and picked up dinner.

So while it was fun hanging out with our friends and a joy to watch those little faces light up with the wonders of the animal kingdom, I will have to remember that 9000% humidity is just a tad too uncomfortable and from now on we should probably seek indoor entertainment.

Speaking of being a tad uncomfortable, the next day I decided to drive to my elderly parents’ home in northeast Ohio. I had some paperwork they needed to sign and they are not equipped with newfangled gadgets like computers that could eliminate the need for five hour round trip road trips.

On the other hand, I am happy to spend a little time with my parents whenever I have the chance, so I was glad to make the drive.

What I wasn’t so glad about was the fact that my mom is always cold. And my mom rules the roost.  So if Mom is cold, the heat in the house must be on even if the temperature outside is in the upper 80s.

I couldn’t tell for sure, but I think perhaps we could have cracked an egg on the family room table and it would’ve been sizzling within minutes.

Fortunately, I know that mom is always cold and that the heat would most likely be on, so I planned ahead.  I brought with me a paper fan that I had picked up at the Ohio State fair a few weeks ago.

Smart, eh?

Within moments of my arrival, I hauled that paper fan out of my purse and started fanning myself like the most zealous church lady in Alabama in August.

And it helped.  A little.

Dad, who is usually on the chilly side himself, was wearing shorts and a thin polo shirt and actually looked a little warm. 

Finally, he picked up the inside/outside temperature gauge that was sitting on the table next to him and looked at it. Then he looked at me.  And then he asked my mom if it was okay if he turned on the air conditioning.  When my mother protested and asked him why, he said it was 81 degrees in the house!

Once I heard that, my hot flashes started anew.

Mom, on the other hand, was perfectly comfortable in her long sleeve shirt and cardigan with a blanket covering her knees.

Egad.  I know my thermostat these days is broken, but Mom’s must be set on permafrost.  Does the woman not have any warm blood running through her veins?

I suspected that if we had taken my mother to the zoo the day before, she would have said it was a “little chilly” out.

By the time I left their house to drive back to Columbus I was, once again, a soggy, sodden mess. I turned every vent in the car so that it was facing me and I blasted that cold air all the way home.

And then I felt a little better.

So while I am not a big fan of winter’s cold and snow and ice, I am very much looking forward to the changing season when there is a bit of a chill in the air and I can add a layer for warmth if necessary.

You know, I used to think the Wicked Witch of the West was just mean and nasty, but now I’m beginning to wonder if the lady was just plain hot. 

Plus, no one…I mean no one…wants to see green makeup sliding off her face and landing on the ground in a big puddle at her feet.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

“Girls’ Day Out.” Best. Therapy. Ever. Part 2.

Yesterday I was talking about a fun afternoon I had with my friend “S” on a spur-of-the-moment Girls’ Day Out.  We met at the mall during the middle of the day, had a couple beers, did the classic mani-pedi thing, had lunch and then finished the afternoon with a little retail therapy.  It was one of the best impromptu get-togethers I’ve had in a long while – and it was much-needed.

So what’s better than one Girls’ Day Out?  Well, naturally, that’d be a second Girls’ Day Out.  Thus, I segue into:

Girls’ Day Out, #2.

My other friend, uh…"S"… Uh oh, I now see the flaw in my First Initial Anonymity Plan.  Different first name, but it begins with the same letter.
Uh oh. I guess "Q" has completely lost her anonymity.
Clearly, I'm not good at this subterfuge stuff!

Okay, I’m nothing if not flexible.  Let’s call her “Q.”

So, “Q” and I decided to get together last week and head to the Ohio State Fair.  It’s something we’ve done from time to time through the many decades we’ve been friends. And I do mean decades – “Q” and I have been fast friends since our first day of college at Ohio State when we were 18 years old. And that friendship has only grown stronger as the years go by.

We used to take her two daughters to the fair when they were kids. Now they are adults with children of their own - so Grandma and I had to show them that we are not feeble old ladies and could make it from one end of the fair to the other.

Except, um...we didn't quite succeed. The first thing we did when we got there was to grab a map – and then head to the sky glide to ferry us to the far end of the fair.

Sue…oops, I mean, “Q” wanted to visit the Bunnies and they were at the other end of the complex.  And, sure, the bunnies were cute and all, but I was more captivated with the sky glide. I’d never been on it looking down at the fairgoers and booths selling all manner of crazy foods.  I mean, the idea of that whole donut burger thing still makes me a little queasy just thinking about it.  

But I had never seen the fair from that perspective and I was enthralled.

Anyway, we wandered around various buildings and exhibits for a while.  And we bought a couple small souvenirs. 

And then the Ingesting of the Fair Food commenced. 

It took me a long time to realize that you can’t get Fair Food just any old time – and I had never really taken advantage of Fair Food before.  But “Q” initiated me.  She is the Queen of the Fair and has even gone there on her own from time to time. So she had already staked out the best booths to visit.  

And this time I knew the drill. First we stopped at the tent where they made all sorts of sandwiches and we ate something sensible and rather filling.

Then we stopped for cold drinks. I have had the Lemon Shake-ups before and absolutely love them, but they are a bit too sweet for me.  I don’t know – is an entire cup of sugar per glass too much?! 

This year, I discovered that they had a sugar-free version so I ordered one.  And let me just say: “Yum-my!”  Plus, it actually quenched my thirst; something the sugar-filled versions don’t do.

Next, “Q” had to stop at the Fair Fries booth, so we shared some fries as well as the Lemon Shake-up.

We walked around some more letting that sandwich-Lemon Shake-up-French Fries combo mix in our stomachs.  (Not so “yum-my” – but at least we didn’t add anything like deep-fried Twinkies to the mix.)

At “Q’s” insistence, we visited the Bee Tent. Normally, bees are something I avoid at all costs as I’m not crazy about bee stings, but “Q” wanted to see if they had any honey for sale. This was probably my least favorite part of Girls' Day Out because there were a lot of bees loose in that tent, but... what'reyagonna do? It's all in the name of friendship, right? 

Yeah, whatever. All I can say is "Q" had better not give me any grief the next time I ask her to help me dig in the dirt. Last time I tried there was a little snake in the garden and I promptly put down my trowel. And that was the end of the dirt-digging for me.  I don't do well with bugs, insects, or anything that slithers. 

But I digress.

Oh, and, by the way, is three pounds of honey too much for a family of two?  Yeah, I thought so.

We walked away from the bee tent without a single sting (whew!) and without a single behemoth jar of honey and headed toward the exit.  But before we left the building, er, fair, we had one last stop to make.  And that was the Funnel Cake booth.  After all, we had to have something sweet, didn’t we? And you can’t get a funnel cake just anywhere, can you?

Do me a favor and just nod your head “yes.” Otherwise, I’ll keep talkin’ to try to convince you.

At any rate, we shared part of a funnel cake and then had the rest wrapped up for leftovers. 

And we exited the fair tired, hot, full and happy. And it was the end of another fun “Girls’ Day Out.”

If I haven't convinced you about the benefits of getting together with your friends for some much-needed "Girls' Day Out," activities, I'm guessin' that at the very least I've made you hungry.  

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

“Girls’ Day Out.” Best. Therapy. Ever. Part 1.

In recent weeks I’ve had a couple “Girls’ Night Out” get-togethers with good friends.  Except that, technically, they were “Girls’ Day Outs” since we’re not as young as we used to be – and nobody wants to see a couple mid-50-somethings prowling the streets after dark.

It’d be way past our bedtime by the time the nightlife got started anyway, so it was a good thing we stuck to mid-afternoon for our fun. Indeed, no one wants to see a mid-50-something nodding off over her glass of wine in the middle of a conversation.

And in defense of my other friend, she’s nowhere near 50, but she has three little kids and it’d be a lot tougher to arrange an evening out unless it included her husband and children. And even then, it’d be an early evening due to the kids’ bedtime. So, same issue.

Nonetheless, we made the most of our afternoons. 

By the way, I aimed for brevity – but failed miserably – so I will split this blog into two parts.

(You’re welcome.)

Girls’ Day Out, #1.

In the first get-together, my younger friend and I – let’s call her “S” – did the classic mani-pedi thing.  (I’m calling her “S” because I don’t know if she wants her name disseminated all over the Blogosphere. And it’s definitely a name you’d remember.)

Anyway, “S” and I met at a restaurant in the mall. We planned to have lunch and then hit the salon for a pedicure.  Only she’d had a stressful morning involving the dentist, which requires no further explanation, and she wanted to have a beer before we started.

It was the most fun noontime beer I ever had!

We talked and drank beer and thoroughly enjoyed our girl time, laughing over silly things.  What made it even funnier is that “S” was valiantly trying not to drool as she’d had enough Novocaine to numb a horse and she couldn’t feel her face. 

So once I finished giggling and pointing at her…

Nah, I kid.  Fortunately, I’m not the kind of person to make fun of a drooling friend, so she soon got over her concerns.  Or maybe it was just the beer.

I dunno.  Either way, we talked about everything from our past to our future as well as her children’s futures. We covered a lot of decades and tried to solve all the world’s problems.  Not a bad effort, either, I’d venture to say as we totally believed we fixed some stuff. 

Or maybe it was just the beer.

Eventually, we headed to the salon and had our tootsies buffed and polished and then threw caution to the wind and decided to have our fingernails done, too.  We picked out cheery, summery colors that perked up our spirits and brightened our day even further.

Or maybe it was just the beer.
Later, when I looked at my fingernails in the sun, I thought the color rather resembled the color of those Day-Glo Orange Safety barrels, but I embraced the bold and kept the color for almost two weeks.

We then went back to the same restaurant and had lunch, this time sans beer.  We talked some more and admired our snazzy nails before hitting a couple stores at the mall and doing a little retail therapy to round out our afternoon.

It’s not like we really needed the retail therapy because our talking pretty much took care of any issues that crowded our thoughts – but, c’mon – we were at the mall. How could we not do a little shopping?

It was one of the best times I’ve had with “S.” Don’t get me wrong; it’s not that I don’t enjoy the times we get together with our husbands and her children. But there is something to be said for one-on-one time where you can really talk without interruption. Because, let’s face it, chicks can talk.  And, boy, did we ever! Hey, don’t knock it – it’s how we bond.

I drove home in a great mood and happy that “S” called me on the spur of the moment to get together.  And we vowed to schedule another Girls’ Day Out soon.  

I’m looking forward to it.  Hmmm…wonder when her next dentist appointment is scheduled?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Feeling Ancient

The other day I watched one of those BuzzFeed posts about teens who were born in the late 90s reacting to flip phones, like the Razr. 

It made me feel ancient.

And to think that back then I believed I was on the cutting edge with my stylish hot pink Razr cell phone.

Just goes to show you that even if you are “cutting edge” today, you will one day be considered a relic.  And with the technological advances these days, it doesn’t take all that long either.

These kids couldn’t believe that people didn’t have access to the Internet from their cell phone back in the “Dark Ages,” also known as the 2000s (The oh-oh’s? The noughties? The double-oh’s?). Whatever we called the last decade, we surely didn’t understand how painfully old-fashioned our cool little flip phones really were.

These kids also had a hard time grasping the fact that on many of those flip phones you couldn’t take selfies. Or that there were some flip phones that didn't even have a screen. They weren’t sure how to work a phone without a screen.

But the worst part of flip phones? Texting. It was an absolute nightmare! You had to use the keypad and punch the “7” four times to type in the letter “s,” for instance.

Ah, such silly people we were who lived through the 00s with flip phones. We couldn’t imagine that someday our iPhones and Galaxies would be glued to our hands keeping us entertained every second of the day by allowing us to access every social media forum imaginable. Not to mention the gaming possibilities. And the texting possibilities. And the photo opportunities. 

We were goofy because we generally used them to, I don’t know, talk to folks. Texting was used sparingly, if at all. And we certainly didn’t have conversations via text.  We figured that’s what the phone part was for.

So it wasn't as easy or as convenient as it is today.  But neither did we have “Text Thumb Syndrome” or laws telling us it wasn’t safe to text and drive. Before we got the first word typed in, we’d have crashed into a stop sign – so we knew well enough not to try.

The kids were impressed that those old flip phones seemed to be indestructible. Cases were not generally necessary as there was no big glass screen that could crack and render the phone useless.  Hey, score one for us ancient cell phone users.

And the other thing the kids liked about the flip phone was the ability to snap it closed.  They felt the same buzz us old-timers used to feel when we ended a call and snapped it shut.  Or, if we were angry with someone and we wanted them to know it – we got a certain satisfaction when we snapped our phone closed.

Of course, the flip phone was nothing compared to the old-fashioned landline phones we used to have.  There was something definitive about hanging up on a telemarketer by banging the handset back into the cradle. 

We used to know how to “hang up” a phone.  Kids today are not even sure why we say that. 

So, yeah, I sometimes feel ancient. And I worry that I’m going to have to ask the “youngsters” someday soon how to do things like access my contact list or dial a number.  Of course, they might not know.  They might look at me quizzically as if to say, “Why don’t you just send a text, old-timer?” 

If we’re even sending texts in the near future.  Who knows? We might be sending telepathic messages, provided we’re on the same bandwidth as the person with whom we want to telepathically communicate. 

Ack.  I'll bet that set-up will be a nightmare for those of us whose cutting edge days are long gone.

Let’s hope that there’s still a “help desk” – or at least an understanding third-grader – willing to give us some assistance.  

We’re gonna need it.

And, just to stay sane, I think I’m going to stop watching BuzzFeed. Well, at least whenever they feature kids who are supposed to react to something us hopelessly old-fashioned, out-of-touch, old-timers used to think was cutting edge.