Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes.
-- Lewis Grizzard

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Day Time Stood Still.....Really, it did!

Well, it’s that time again…..time for the clock to tic past another year of life for me.  I tend to get very introspective at this time every year.  Don’t ask me why, just like the accident-prone tendencies I have, it just happens that way.

I’m not sure when the “can’t wait for my birthday” excitement of childhood morphed into the “What have I done with all these years” thinking.  I am figuring it was a very gradual change, and maybe like the gray hair and laugh lines I now am the not-so-proud- owner of, it just shows up.  Regardless, 32 years have gone by since the world was blessed (or maybe cursed) with me.  32 years……really isn’t that long of a time, but when I think back and start listing off the things I’ve done, experienced and seen… almost doesn’t seem long enough.

In 32 years, I have managed to learn to walk with my feet strapped together and connected to a metal bar, have had my fair share of kidney stones (the first at age 2), ate a bottle of aspirin, got thrown off a horse, have been struck by lightening, almost drown in a canoeing accident, have had a hysterectomy, accidentally ODed on medications for seizures (from the aforementioned horseback riding accident), got plowed into at a four-way stop by a giant tree-trimming truck, got sucked into a five state/ seven county investigation of drug trafficking (obviously by mistake), got run over by my own parked car, had a giant tree fall into my tent while camping in KY during a thunderstorm, accidentally set myself on fire outside a Ball State dormitory, inadvertently I chemically burnt myself (and subsequently discovered a severe allergy to Black Magic) while cleaning plastic plants at my first job at Chuck E Cheese, and most recently, I have grown several cysts in my eyeballs…..And somehow I have survived them all.  (this is not the complete list…. you’d be reading this until my next birthday if I listed them all!!)

Out of curiosity, I decided to ‘google’ and ‘bing’ my birthday to see who I share a birthday with.  I came up with one (yes, only one…..well, one that I recognized anyway)…..and I’m proud to say that me and Willie Nelson share a birthday.  Upon digging a little deeper, I found some interesting ‘holidays’ take place on my birthday as well.  My birthday falls on “National Oatmeal Cookie Day”, as well as “Raisin Day”….hmmm….made me stop and pause as to why they didn’t just have a “National Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Day”…..too bad I don’t like either one!! (of course my dislike of raisins could have something to do with the fact that I shoved one up my nose when I was a child and proceeded to snuff it deep into my sinus cavity!)  I also share a day with  “Manual Typewriter Day” (I have always enjoyed writing), “World Healing Day” (who doesn’t want that?), “National Honesty Day” (I do enjoy being honest…..sometimes too much so….), “Hairstylist Appreciation Day” (since one of my close friends is my current hairstylist, and I do appreciate her, it fits), and in Thailand it’s also “Consumer Protection Day” (which seems strange to me, isn’t that where some of the recently recalled lead-based paint toys, and BPH-laced sippy cups are made??)

I found that my special day comes in the middle of “National Karaoke Week”, “Lawn and Garden Month”, “Poetry Month”, “National Pecan Month”,  “National Welding Month”, “Records and Information Management Month”, “Stress Awareness Month”.  and finally, the one that made me chuckle the most “National Humor Month”!  My big day is also the day that Bugs Bunny (one of my favorites) was debuted long ago, and also the day that a man named John Clais patented the first scale (okay, not so much a favorite of mine) in 1772.  Another one of my favorites, the ice cream cone made its debut in 1904.  Two crazy records that were set on my special day that I found?  The largest banana split ever, a whopping 455 miles long, was made in Penns, and a crazy woman named Ashrita Furman did 8, 341 somersaults for a total of 12 miles!

My parents, siblings and friends have long teased me about my oddness.  There have been stories crafted that I was once part of some distant alien population and was abandoned when the “mothership” mistakenly left without me, or that I was left on a doorstep by gypsies, or hatched out of an egg.  If I was a more sensitive sort of person, I might have some long-residing issues with these stories and their hidden meanings, but after much self-therapy, I’ve learned they were stories crafted simply because no one knew what else to say in regards to my existence.  And, during my research into other notable events on the day of my birth, I discovered that maybe, just maybe the universe didn’t know what to do with me either.   On the day of my birth Big Ben (that giant clock all of London uses to tell time) stopped working, inexplicably, for 54 minutes….curious, right?  Even more strange than that…..on the day of my birth, it actually snowed in the Sahara Desert for over a half an hour, where the average winter temperature is between 50 and 60!!

I guess all of this introspection and self-awareness brought on by yet another birthday hasn’t really unveiled anything I (or anyone who knows me) didn’t already know.  I’m strange probably always will be, I always have been and will always be accident-prone, I’m not getting any younger, and I am yet another year older.


(p.s.  thanks Mom & Dad for all those years of love, attention and first-aid.  Now that I am a parent, I can truly understand all the love, hard work, patience, hours, tears and worry that goes into having a child.  I can only imagine how I must have compounded that ten-fold.  Thanks for being loving even when I was hard to love, patient when I was incorrigible, and for all the advice you gave (and still give) even when I rolled my eyes in protest.  I love you and miss you both.)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Diary of a Fat Woman---Entry 2

So, I am officially one week into my “attack on fat”.  I must say that I am pleasantly surprised at my zeal and dedication thus far.  I am doing the Zumba class 3 times a week and going to the gym for at least an hour and a half three times a week.  When I am not at the gym or in a class I find myself trying to re-calculate my schedule in my head and find more time to work out.  I have had vivid dreams of working out, stepping on giant scales that teeter between my ‘goal weight’ and my ‘now weight’, and even dreams where I wear work out clothes into the office and then realize I am in the wrong place in the wrong outfit.  I guess most would call this thinking and behavior “obsessive”……. I am affectionately calling it “focused”.

This week’s first Zumba class was easier than the last, but also more intense.  I even managed to sweat through the four layers of ‘boob strappage’ I find myself forced to wear in order to avoid injury to my chin and face with stray breast movements.  I kid you not that the top half of my Zumba ‘uniform’ includes the following assortment of support: an underwire bra, a sports bra two sizes too small, a Spanx-like tank top with built-in bra shelf, and one tight-fitting, “lifting seams” workout top.  I must admit it holds me in and down quite well, although it feels as though if I take a deep enough breath everything might come bursting out, and it creates a most un-attractive, rather large, oval-shaped uni-boob in the center of my chest.  But, fashion must take a back seat to this newfound ‘focus’ on fat-busting.

I’ve mentioned the jinggly scarf we wear during these Zumba classes and I am happy to report that Ginger and I found and purchased our very own scarves at an expo we attended with our friend Martha this week.  Ginger went with a very nice white one to match her shoes, while I chose a more obnoxious, bright orange one that won’t match a thing.  Alas, I am no longer a slave to fashion, but now a slave to the possibility of being able to wear actual “fashions” again.  Plus, if this Zumba thing doesn’t work out, I could always find part-time work directing traffic in all the construction zones popping up in my area!  (It’s always good to have something to fall back on, right?)

I must confess that my initial apprehension to wearing this bell-covered scarf was very narrow-minded of me.  Now that I own one, I find myself wearing it around the house while doing the housework.  I am really enjoying the fact that I can put away the dishes while jinggling myself a tune.  I put in a CD, fold the laundry, and all the while shaking my rear to the beat.  When I make the kids’ lunches, do the dishes, pay bills, or even comb my hair, I shake, shake, shake away merrily.  I wish there were a way for me to calculate how many extra calories I am burning with my newfound enjoyment of being noisy.  I’m sure I look like a lunatic, but again….focus, focus, focus.

Today was ‘weigh-in’ day, and for the first time in my life I was actually excited to step onto a scale.  I had ribbons of memories of the hours I’ve worked out, the buckets of sweat I have shed, and the days of not being able to lift my arms or walk normally streaming through my head……surely those would all mean so much when that number settled on my ‘new weight’.  Proudly I stepped onto the scale, confident in my progress……When the numbers finally stopped, I about fell over!  Only 3.6 pounds???  ONLY 3.6 pounds?  What happened?  Suddenly those ribbons of memories became more intense, quickly breaking themselves down into numbers……..2 hours and 15 minutes of Zumba, 6 hours of gym time, gallons of sweat, and countless hours of moving about like Frankenstein grunting and in pain……..and for 3.6 measly pounds???  The taste of defeat was quickly engulfing me. Ginger, sensing my disappointment jumped in with a quick sets of fitness facts….like how much water I had drank, how long it took me to put on the 50 pounds I want to lose, the fact that muscle weighs more than fat, something about how it might take a week or two before the weight really begins to fall off, and that losing 3.6 pounds a week for the next 3 months adds up to over 40 pounds. This is why you go to the gym with a good friend.

I’m not sure when, but at some point between pulling me back from the edge and putting her shoes back on Ginger noticed a BMI feature on this scale.  Okay, another number with which to measure progress, no worries.  The more numbers, the better the chance that one of them will come out in my favor, right?  I stepped back on the un-forgiving scale, entered my height and waited nervously while the scale calculated a total BMI…Good thing Ginger was there, because I was headed right back for that ledge…….

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Diary of a Fat Woman---Entry 1

It is with shame and disgust at myself that I even should have such a diary to keep, but I must face this dreadful fact in order to correct it.  I am a fat woman.  I couldn’t tell you my ‘BMI’, as I haven’t a clue….. I’m sure if I did know what my “number” was, it would make this whole thing that much more shameful and disgusting.  My weight I do know, but I probably won’t reveal that until I am on the other side of this “Fat” thing and am writing entries in what will, with pride, be referred to as “Diary of a Has-Been Fat Woman”.  But, that is getting ahead of myself……

My girlfriend (whom I will call “Ginger”) and I began this veritable ‘assault on fat’ on Wednesday this week.  We joined a local ‘Zumba’ class.  Basically, it’s the new and improved version of what was the craze known as ‘Jazzercise’ in the 80’s…..Only this version includes strapping a multi-colored scarf covered in tiny bells and miniature cymbals to your rear.  Talk about adding insult to injury…..not only are you fat, but now you are fat and noisy!!  This is another one of those activities that my sense of humor benefits me.  You most certainly have to be able to laugh at yourself while enrolled in such an activity!  You do strange and sometimes complicated dance moves, odd hip thrusts, and other various pumping/circulating gestures using your pelvis.  All while wearing the aforementioned jingling butt scarf.  

As the class progressed, I became increasingly aware of how out of shape and un-coordinated I am.  The head “zumba-er” is quick and agile, while the rest of the class attempts to mimic her precision moves.  It’s strangely comforting to see others in the same boat jingling and jangling to cranked up, peppy and rhythmic pseudo-techno music.  In all honesty, I spent a good third of the class doubled over in laughter at myself and Ginger struggling to follow along with the ‘thrusting this way’ and the ‘wriggling that way’, ‘step-step-hop-ping’ and the ‘pump-pump-kick-ing’.  My girlfriend is a few notches above my coordination level, so seeing her moves made me realize just what I had to be looking like with a sort of brutal honesty.  I fell into another bout of laughter at the fact that as my hips and attached bells are going one way, the flab and fat go in the opposite direction…..Between that and the fact that the two of us nearly knocked each other out in our failure to ‘step-step-punch’ in the same direction, it was an hour filled with noisy humiliation and hilarity.

We have only done this Zumba thing once, but we have plans to participate in two such classes this coming week.  I’m unsure how much jingling and bouncing it will take to lose my giant goal of 50 pounds, but I am assuming with the amount of laughter Ginger and I did, that has to count as some kind of bonus calorie burning, right??

Friday, April 8, 2011

I Couldn't Win Today......I Have Accepted That

There are days in my life when even I am perplexed by the string of accidents and “can only happen to me” occurrences…….

This particular day began like any other…..Alarm clock blaring the day’s start, waaaaay too early.  I shuffle down the hall in my smiling pig slippers to retrieve my first dose of much-needed caffeine.  I shower, put my face on and put my contacts in.  I am standing in front of the closet, picking out the day’s outfit when out of the corner of my eye, I notice an unruly chunk of hair on the back of my head….the kind that is not going to cooperate without some serious convincing.  I plug in the flat iron, set it to the highest temperature, and go back to choosing my clothes.  After much delay and internal debate, I decide on a cream colored jacket, a teal knit shirt and dark jeans.   Pressed and dressed, I begin the task to attack that lump in my hair.  Being the oh-so-coordinated gal I am, as I was attempting to select a portion of my hair’s troubled spot, I managed to flat iron over my fingers as well.   Okay….so a flash of pain, a few moments of “OOOWWWs!!”,  and small blisters forming…. Not a huge deal…  Being the accident-prone, clumsy, oh-so-coordinated gal I am, I have assembled a collection of first aid supplies that rivals any rescue ambulance, so I had just the thing….. Prescription Silvadene (leftover from a previous accidental burnt flesh incident)….perfect for these kinds of minor second-degree burns.   As instructed, I wash the area with mild soap and apply the ointment generously.  First aid rendered, I proceed to get back to the battle with my hair.  A couple of passes with the flat iron, an odd crackling sound and a few whiffs of burning hair, I realize I have transferred half the Silvadene from my burnt fingers to my hair.  Now I not only had lumpy, uncooperative hair, but I had lumpy, uncooperative, greasy, burnt-smelling hair…..And not enough time to start over!  I pull my hair back into a half-pony, sigh, and accept yet another defeat in the on-going, long-running fight with my stubborn hair.

My kids are in the kitchen arguing over which breakfast cereal is whose and who should have the privilege of pouring the milk this morning.  The cat and dog are chasing each other back and forth through the hallway, barking and meowing as they pass us all in the kitchen in a brief flash of fur and wagging tails.  I am trying to referee the kids, refill the pet’s water dishes, pack lunches and switch purses when I hear some odd sounds coming from the microwave.  I look up to see little flashes and sparks of light bouncing around inside…..Like a mini Fourth of July show…..  What in the world???  Suddenly the image of me stirring my oatmeal a few seconds before resurfaces in my head and it occurs to me that I must have left the spoon in the bowl when I put it in for another 30 seconds.  The digital screen is now flashing “error error error” in quick succession, which I find kinda funny and I have laugh to myself…..Maybe I should have just had cereal with the kids.  It’s at that moment I notice that I don’t hear the kids arguing anymore, there is a brief moment of peace, and then the mother’s instinctive “the-kids-are-too-quiet” anxiety kicks in.  I stop the microwave’s insulting message and can hear spurts of hushed laughter and “shhhh’s” coming from the bathroom.  I walk into the bathroom to find my children in the midst of a full-fledged water fight using their brightly colored rubber fish bath toys.  The bathroom has been transforms into a water park!---There is water running down the mirror, streaked across the ceiling, and dripping onto the floor.  My son’s hair is soaking wet and my daughter’s shirt and pants have giant wet spots all down the front.  I quickly end their ‘festival of water’ with threats to take away television for the day, and smile to myself as I walk out at how well that still works.

By now in the other room the cat and dog have ended their game of “parade”, the dog is hopping around whining to be let out, and the cat has disappeared to an undisclosed location somewhere in the house.  I walk out onto the deck with the dog, hook her up onto her lead and stop to watch three spastic squirrels chase each other across the neighbor’s fence.  Apparently the dog was as intrigued as I was and began to run in circles around me expressing her excitement.  Without warning, she darted off in their direction, with eager determination to grab one of those bushy tails… she would have had a good chance too, had it not have been for my legs and feet being tangled up in her lead.  Now, I am the kind of person that trips over nothing and falls while standing still, so when both of my feet are wrapped together with a cord and there is an 80 pound dog at the other end straining to give chase, its not going to end well.  Needless to say I end up on my rear, being pulled jerkily across the deck in spurts of strength as the dog struggles to give chase.  She finally relaxes and gives up the fight as the squirrels scamper off, scared off by all of the commotion, but the damage is done. …..My butt and hip are thudding in bright bursts of pain.
I pick myself up, rub my sore hip and head back into the house, content to leave the dog outside for a few minutes to do her thing.  I sit for a second to regroup……so far I’ve burnt two fingers, and bruised my hind quarters, not to mention destroyed my microwave and witnessed the flooding of my bathroom…..So far, the day seems to be winning.  

I hear my son shriek,  “the bus, the bus, Mom!”  With the speed and precision of an all-star quarterback,  I launch his backpack and lunchbag in his direction, yell “love you, have a good day” and hear a “you too” as the front door slams shut....Okay, one child off to school, one to go.

My daughter emerges from her room dry and wearing an outfit suitable only for a mental patient singing Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’ at the top of her lungs.  A short battle of wills over clothing choices ensues, and after five minutes of deal making, I miraculously convince her to change her clothes.

Returning to the microwave to rescue my breakfast, I find it is cold on one side and burnt and crispy on the other and there is now an oatmeal/cement-like substance covering every corner and cranny of the microwave. It is at this point I decide to forgo breakfast all together.  I finish changing purses, pack up my lunch, let the dog in and load the dishwasher.  Thirty minutes later the bus comes to retrieve my youngest and a golden swath of silence engulfs the house.  I am tempted to just sit down and soak it up, but hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s off to work I go.

Forty-five minutes later I am strolling along the sidewalk toward the office, listing in my head the things on my desk I need to get to first.  For some strange reason my workplace seems to be a popular vacation destination for Canadian geese this morning.  There are geese wandering around the grass, waddling through the parking lot, squawking and honking at each other as they fly overhead.  I am halfway to the door when I feel something drop onto my left arm and look down to find a mushy splotches of unknown origin on what was my clean, cream-colored jacket.  Gross!!!  I shudder in disgust and head back to my car.  Being the accident-prone gal I am, I have learned to be prepared for such occurrences in my life, so I keep a collection of cleaning, grooming, and various personal hygiene items in a duffel bag in my trunk.  Between what’s left of my Tide Stain-Stick and a package of Wet Wipes, I manage to remove most of the offensive spot from my jacket.  Having done all I could do to remedy the situation, I head back for the office.  At this point, I have all but decided to concede to the day altogether.

Six hours have passed and I am back on that sidewalk, ducking and watching closely for any other ‘loaded’ geese that might be flying over, heading for my car.  I am driving home, country music blaring, singing along to “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” and notice a mysterious red warning light has come on.  My mind conjures up images of me standing on the side of the road, trying to call for help and now I can’t quit watching that little light, like it is suddenly going to provide some kind of important information.  I speed along nervously, windows open, trying to ignore the warning light and breathe in what’s left of my ‘me’ time.  I glance up from that dashboard warning light just as something small and furry runs out into the road, swerve into the other lane in a desperate avoidance maneuver, and BAM, a crunchy ‘Thud!’ follows.  I look into my rear-view mirror to see a reddish brown pile of dead squirrel laying in a heap where my tires had just been.  I have just murdered a squirrel.  And to think, earlier in the day I saved one………

Friday, April 1, 2011

Once upon a River

It was mid-July, 1996 and the Weather Channel promised it would be another blazing hot, bake-in-the-sun day.  The sun was just peeking over the horizon when I headed off to meet some friends (Todd*, Mike* and Nora*) for an all-day, much-anticipated, 10-mile-down-river canoe trip.  By the time I reached their house, they had the mini-van stuffed with coolers, life jackets, inner tubes, Super-Soaker water guns, and other miscellaneous gear.   Everyone still had that “it’s what time?” puffiness sagging under their eyes, while I hummed and buzzed along amped up by my continued consumption of un-holy amounts of coffee.  I popped my ‘Weezer’ CD in the dash and cranked it up.  Soon, the minivan was a cacophony of voices singing along to “If you want to destroy my sweater, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, pull this thread as I walk away”.  By the time we reached the canoe rental place, everyone was awake, smiling and ready to embark on what would surely be a great day.

The four of us paired off, split the day’s supplies and loaded up the canoes. One canoe was a putrid, pea-ish green color with what looked like dried seaweed matted to the bench seats (a.k.a. “Nessie”), the other was off-white, had red sun-faded number 5s painted on the sides, and looked as though it could possibly defy the odds and sink on land with the amount of dents it had (a.k.a. “Kujo”).   Vessels aptly named, we set off for the 10-mile adventure.

The river was running abnormally high for July, but none of us complained.  This meant we wouldn’t have to push “Nessie” or “Kujo” at any point of the trip.  We could amble along un-hurried, stopping for as long as we wanted and then be able to make up the time with the speed of the water.

It was a perfect day.  The sun was up and bright and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.  We were four carefree, laughing, jubilant fools soaking up some good old summer fun.  We splashed each other with the oars as we paddled downstream, we tied the canoes together and took turns challenging one another with daring rounds of varying balancing acts and ‘canoe-hopping’.  I, being the most daring one of the bunch, decided I could land a jump in the other canoe, without capsizing either boat; then proceeded to place a bet to make it more interesting.  I squatted down, visualized the jump in my head, pumped my legs a few times and took off… I landed the jump, but as I was landing, my foot hit the edge of one of the coolers and I lost my balance, thus tipping the canoe at such an angle, half it’s contents fell right into the swiftly moving river.  I, without good judgement, quickly reached over trying to rescue my jean shorts before they sank to the bottom, and in doing so fell out of the boat, cracked my shin bone on the side of the canoe and was forced to abort the rescue of my shorts.  I couldn’t do anything but laugh as I hauled my wet rear back into the canoe because I had managed to create all this chaos without flipping the canoe…I had won $50!!   I lost my shorts, gained a giant bruise, and won $50… so at this point I was ahead of the game.

We banked on a sandy outcrop to rest while we ate lunch.  We cooled off wading in the shallow water, squirted each other in an impromptu water gun fight, and spent a good half an hour trying to catch a turtle that had been sunning himself on a nearby log.  None of us knew how far we had gone, but we were all banking of the fact that we were ahead of the time frame due to the swollen river.  We spent another hour or so soaking up the sun, chatting and laughing.  Finally, we decided it was time to push “Nessie” and “Kujo” back into the water and continue on.  We tied the canoes together and attached two giant-sized inner tubes behind them and shoved off.

Todd* and myself were floating along behind in the inner tubes while Mike* and Nora* steered the boats.   I could hear them exchanging banter up front, “steer it this way”, “no, not that way….you have to paddle on that side”….and on and on it went.  A few minutes more of this gentle teasing and differing opinions and then their tones changed slightly.  Todd* decided to swim back up to the canoes and help out, as the water was beginning to speed up a bit.  I was quite comfy in my tube, so I decided to stay put and enjoy the ride.  Todd* restored harmony to the captains and along the river we continued to travel.  I was thoroughly relaxed when I heard one of the guys say, “hey, head’s up…the water is getting kinda rough up ahead”.  I sat up a bit, pushed my sunglasses back onto my nose, and started singing Weezer’s “Sweater” again, in attempts to re-create the sing-along from the morning drive.  To my surprise, no one joined in, and my voice was the only one echoing back from the high limestone walls on either side of the river.  They all seemed to be seriously focusing on the paddling, so I craned my neck to see in front of the boats at what was demanding so much of their attention.  I noticed we were drifting to the right side of the river, even though they all seemed to be paddling intensely.  Todd* turned around and pulled the empty inner tube into the canoe, pulled my tube closer and tied it off so I wasn’t as far behind as I had been, and told me to “hang on”.  “Can do, Skipper” I chirped.   Our boats picked up some speed and began to move toward the limestone wall, I stuck my legs out to push off the wall, just in case.  Just before I braced for impact, my inner tube rotated some and I was now parallel with the wall, and BOOM!  Luckily, I was able to keep balanced on the inner tube, and after a minute of dragging along the wall, we were headed back in the direction of the middle of the river.   Todd* looked back to check I was still in one piece.  I waved back and began singing “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, to which he only shook his head and smiled.   He told the other two that we needed to pull off somewhere and pointed back in my direction.   One by one they took turns looking at me, shaking their heads, and grinning….I decided to lay back and enjoy the rest of my floating, but as I re-adjusted myself I noticed something red running down the side of the inner tube.  What the???  My arm was bleeding.  There was a 10-inch swath of raw, bleeding, scratched up skin…and now that I had seen it I realized why the others were shaking their heads at me…I could just hear them re-telling this one… “and, of course, guess who got hurt?”

We were moving pretty quickly as we came around a bend in the river.  My captains decided on a clearing up ahead on the right and aimed our canoes for it.  We started in one direction, then another, then another and there were heated discussions, some conflicting instructions shouted and a few choice opinions on how best to steer a canoe as we changed course back toward the left side again.  From where I was sitting it was almost kinda humorous, that is, until I noticed we were on a speedy collision course with a rather large stretch of overhanging trees on the right bank.   I got another “hang on” shouted back to me from some genius in the boat, and suddenly I found myself bouncing and smacking into a large mass of branches and trees.  Before I knew it, I was lodged under a fallen tree totally submerged under the water and in desperate need of oxygen.  I clawed, pulled, and kicked at the inner tube, figuring I was better off without it at this point.  I finally dislodged myself and managed to poke my head up out of the water and gasp for fresh air.  I was totally encased in veritable jungle of branches and trees, twisted and tangled in every direction. It was at this moment the wisdom of that last “hang on” began to register in my head.  I grabbed onto a tree branch and clung to it for dear life, terrified I would go back under the water and not be able to get out again.  The river was so strong and moving so fast that the muscles in my arms began to ache from the strain of holding my upper body out of the water.  I struggled to free my right leg then my left.  There I hung, plastered to that tree, upside down, dangling there like a sloth.  My head, arms and legs were out of the water, but the rest of my body remained in the rushing water.  As I was trying to come up with a plan of escape, I began to notice the water pulling the bottoms of my bikini downstream.  Now I have never been one for public nudity, but at this point in the game, I was not about to let go of that tree and go after them.  So there I hung, muscles aching and beginning to twitch, with the bottom half my swimsuit flapping in the swift current around my knees!  One thought led to another and I suddenly became aware that the triangle parts of my triangle-style, American flag, bikini top were now located somewhere under my left armpit.  With nothing better to do, I found myself hanging there, naked, having this mental image of myself being rescued, with a crowd of local reporters giving the play-by-play, live on all the local news channels.  As they pull me out, the crowd claps and cheers, and then the collective GASP!…..

I’m not sure how long I clung to that tree, or how long it was until my friends realized I was no longer attached to the canoes.  Honestly, I am not really sure I remember how the whole thing ended.  The one thing I do know is that by the time I was retrieved, I was no longer in possession of an American flag bikini.  Good thing I won that $50--  I not only had to replace a pair of jean shorts, but I had to buy a new swimsuit as well.

(*Names have been changed to protect the innocent)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

"I Can't Take You Anywhere"

When my mother-in-law calls out of the blue one evening and asks to take the kids overnight so they can have one of their infamous movie/game nights,  my mind immediately conjures up images of my husband and I sitting at a table in a dark, quiet corner of our favorite restaurant engaged in a deep and meaningful conversation.  I happily agree to the sleepover and in a little over an hour I have the kids cleaned up, packed up and delivered to Grandma across town.

I race home, change into a nice shirt, and put on my high-heeled "goin' out" boots.  I am mid-stroke in applying a 'touch-up' coat of mascara when the phone's my husband calling to find out where I want to go for dinner.  We go through the usual "I don't care babe, wherever you want to, you decide" routine until we decide that we'll decide when he gets home in twenty minutes.  Once home, my husband confesses that he has a taste for a hamburger and some cheese fries. Forty minutes later we are sitting at the kitchen counter 'googling' and 'binging' the Internet for "best hamburger in Chicago".  We then come to the conclusion that it is getting late and we still have to run by the store to pick up coffee for the morning, so that quaint, mom-and-pop, voted-best-in-the-city burger joint we found on the Internet is going to have to wait for another kid-free occasion.  An hour and twenty minutes later, after he's handled three calls from work and I have called to check on the kids twice, we're headed out the door.  The plan---stop off at Wal-Mart and then make the ten minute drive down the street to the same place we always get hamburgers and cheese fries.

We are just about half a mile down the road and a friendly sheriff's deputy decides to pull us over and let us know that our license plate light is burnt out.  To prove his concern and friendliness, he writes us a little note that states we are now privileged enough to owe the town $75.  My husband, who has a few small  issues with authority, is beyond thrilled at this and proceeds to unleash a veritable parade of profanities that suddenly makes me grateful the children are not sitting in the admittedly, I am not a saint when it comes to the fine art of swearing, but I was even a bit uncomfortable with his tirade!  Finally we make it to Wal-Mart and after circling the parking lot at least three times to find that perfect spot....which on a normal night I would make some smart-ass comment, but wisely decide to keep my mouth shut tonight.... my husband shoves the car into PARK.

My husband is still grumbling to himself as we make our way through the parking lot.  Just as we are stepping up onto the sidewalk my ankle gives out and down with a painful thud I go.  I am in a heap, grabbing my ankle, laughing so hard I am crying, and launching my own version of a profanity parade.  My husband, somewhere between the car and the sidewalk, has managed to loose his crabbiness and is now bent over cracking up at my expense.  This sets off a chain reaction of the two of us snorting and giggling so hard it would put a 5th grade slumber party to shame. After a few minutes of me flip-flopping between cursing, laughing and crying he musters up his chivalry and helps me to my feet.  I hobble to a cart, grab hold and channel my inner senior-citizen by using it as a walker.

Upon entering the store and being greeted with a sympathetic nod by a fellow senior-citizen, I hear my husband teasing me by going on and on with his shpeel  about why "he can't take me anywhere"........ha ha ha.

Luckily and by the grace of God,  we make it to the coffee/tea/jams/and jellies aisle without further incident.  I make my caffeinated selection and upon turning around, realize my husband has disappeared.  Instinctively, I head for the Frozen Foods section to find him gazing, wide-eyed at the vast selection of icecream.  He senses my approach and tries to hide that boyish grin of his at knowing I have found him, and I can't help but smile at how much I love him and the fact we know each other so well.  He throws a gallon of mint-chocolate-chip and another of moose-tracks into the cart and moves on happily to the next freezer where he finds icecream sandwiches and fudge-Popsicles........Twenty minutes and a cart-full of frozen foods later, we are wandering around Wal-Mart like a couple of nomadic tribespeople.  We end up in the Pets section browsing the shelves for chew toys and rawhides for our dog.

Another half an hour passes and we mutually agree we're both starving and head for the front of the store cutting through Young-Men's Clothing, my husband leading the way.  I am chatting away about something or other, when I glance over and see a vaguely familiar symbol that sparks a sudden memory of my childhood.  I shout out in excitement,  "Thundercats.....Ho-oh!"  Now,  I am moving in a forward direction following my husband, but am totally and completely transfixed by this symbol. (you know the one, the black panther head inside a red circle......)  Just as my husband is turning around to see how far off the deep end I have gone this time,  I plow the cart into a display rack full of baseball hats and t-shirts.  The display rack's four shelves have come undone at one end resulting in a massive, but colorful, landslide of neatly folded t-shirts.  The top of the display that had previously been shelving high stacks of  baseball hats is now twisted with one end on the floor,  and the other end is hanging at a precarious angle, baseball hats scattered at least five feet in every direction.  I am attempting to flee the scene of the crime, head down and face beet-red, but there is my husband, once again doubled-over with laughter, cackling at the top of his lungs, blocking my escape route!  I push forward, nearly mowing him over too, determined to slip into a lane, pay for his frozen foods and my coffee and get the heck out of there.  I can hear him laughing and yelling from somewhere behind me, "crazy woman......I swear I can't take her anywhere!"

The Ninja With Size 11 Feet......

To surprise my husband for our anniversary one year I decided I would plan a little weekend away for us.  Our children were still very young, we had just re-located to a new state with my husband's job, and we were beyond  stressed trying to adjust to yet another city and find a new house.  We were in desperate need of some kid-free,  just 'us' time.  I made arrangements with his parents to watch the kids and got started searching the Internet for getaway ideas.

I didn't want us to have to spend too much time driving anywhere, since we would only have 2 nights and 2 days for this getaway, so I decided Milwaukee was close enough for us to get to, but far enough away for us to feel 'away'.  I searched and searched for a hotel within walking distance to restaurants, museums, shops, etc.  I wanted a big room on a high enough floor to have a nice view of the city.  I wanted a hotel with a pool, room service and extra amenities.  I figured since it was our anniversary and we hadn't gone away sans children in years, why not?  I finally found a Hilton that met all my criteria.  Perfect!  I made the reservations and started the list-making session for things to pack.

After digging through the boxes we were living out of, I started packing up the kids' clothes, toys, stuffed animals, blankies, bottles and formula, and created one overly-detailed "in case of'..... chart of instructions".   I stuffed four large duffles and one suitcase in the trunk, belted in the kids into their carseats and headed for the in-laws.  The kids protested with the customary crying and whining but, I held my ground (at least in front of them) and a mere two hours later I was back in the car driving home trying earnestly to ignore the gnawing, self-inflicted "Mommy" guilt for leaving my children to do something so selfish as quality alone time with their Daddy.  By the time I reached the apartment I had talked myself out of the guilt and shame and had re-newed my focus on having a great 'quality time' weekend with my husband.  My goal was to pack for both of us, Map-quest the quickest route and load up the Jeep all before my husband even got home from work.  All he would have to do was shower and change his clothes.  (aren't I sweet??? )

I had just crossed the "load up Jeep" off my list when the phone rang.  It was my hubby calling to say he had an incident at work he had to straighten out and that he wouldn't be home for an hour, at best.  "Well crap" I thought to myself......

Three CDs and a half a pack of cigarettes later, my husband finally came through the door.  By the time he changed his clothes and we backed out of the parking lot, it is was going on 9pm.  We zipped through the drive-thru at McDonald's and were finally off, on our anniversary adventure to Milwaukee, WI.

Twenty minutes into the drive I dozed off only to awake to the sound of the tires swerving onto those edge-of-the-road, almost-in-the-ditch, rumble strips.  I look over to see that my husband has actually leaned his seat back into a semi-reclined position, with his head resting all the way back on the headrest, quickly succumbing to his own exhaustion.  I could not believe my eyes!  I must be dreaming!   He has totally forgotten that he is driving a motor vehicle on a highway, with the cruise control set at 75MPH!!!  "What in the hell are you doing?" I screech.  In response to my outrage and disbelief, I get the "I've been up since 4am and working all day,  I can't help it" speech.  Of course with me being a good wife, I misinterpret this to mean he's really saying I have done nothing all day but sit around and eat bon-bons while he has been slaving away at work.  Naturally, name calling and arguing ensued.  He pulls off the highway on a desolate exit ramp, we change places in the traditional "Chinese Fire Drill" style, and hop back onto the highway.  Within 3 minutes, he is leaned all the way back in the passenger seat, sound asleep and snoring like a buzz-saw.  I crank the music, slap myself in the face a few times and light a cigarette.  We are off to a great start.

Finally I, the woman, get us to our destination safely.  (to be honest, I did have to do a couple of turn-arounds and one 'off-the-exit-WHOOPS!-back-on-the-highway-off-at-the-right-exit' maneuver, but he slept through all of them, so I consider it a victory for all women regardless)  I pull into the parking garage attached to the hotel, drive around and around and around, all the way to the tippy top "nosebleed" section and put the Jeep into PARK.  For one brief moment I consider leaving him in the Jeep to fend for himself and checking into our stately room alone.  But being the good wife I am, I attempt to wake him. (side note----my husband, when asleep, could sleep soundly while being drug behind a team of wild horses across two state lines and through a  river filled with snapping turtles......)

Half an hour later, road weary and still grumbling at one another, we are standing in front of a man who resembles a strange hybrid of Elvis and Howdy-Dowdy, checking into our 'love nest' for the weekend.  The oh-so helpful Mr. Flaming Muttonchops hands us our keys and immediately goes back to his rousing game of solitaire.  After wandering the 7th floor for what seemed like hours, dragging our matching luggage and bruised egos behind us, we find our room.  It is now going on midnight, and I start to cry.  After blubbering on about "our first night being away without the kids now wasted with fighting and driving" and how "this was supposed to be a great weekend for us" and mutual "I didn't mean it's"  my husband and I find ourselves apologizing to one another and kissing in the hallway.  We decide to leave all of the "bad start" behind us and enter into a great weekend starting..... now.  I put the keycard into the door and nothing happens.......that little red light remains red, denying us entry into our room.  Now we are out in the hallway laughing like a couple of insane, punch-drunk hyennas.....

I leave the luggage and my giggling husband piled on the floor outside the room and set off back down to the lobby to confront Mr. Flaming Muttonchops once again.  I found the 'employee of the year' peering into his computer screen intently, chewing his gum like a cow chewing cud, and chatting away on his cell  phone like a school-girl.  I politely explained the situation to him, to which he muttered something and gave me an obviously annoyed  nod.  He grabbed another keycard, slide it through a machine and handed it to me, without so much as a smile...not that I expected one from this 'personality of a toad' character.  I slide the new key into my back pocket and head off to rescue my poor hubby, who I could imagine changed into his pjs, curled up on top of his suitcase, snoring and oblivious to his surroundings.  I rounded the corner toward the bank of elevators and pushed '7'.  Just as I was stepping in, I turn to see my husband stepping out of the next elevator.  He was laughing so hard he had tears running down his face.  "What are you doing?  Where is all of our stuff?" I ask.  Once he composed himself, he begins to tell me something about making new friends and how our luggage is safe in our room.  I looked at him with a confused and equally concerned expression, which started him laughing hysterically again.  At this point,  I am convinced that the stress of the move, his zealous-like work ethic, the long drive and the late hour has finally pushed him into the realm of insanity.  I make the decision to put him to bed as quickly and quietly as possible and hope he can sleep it if only Mr. Flaming Muttonchop's newest keycard will work.....

My poor, sleep-deprived, on-the-verge husband stops in front of the door, pulls out a keycard and opens the door.  I step in, ready to take in this glorious, spacious room I have been envisioning since I reserved it.......I am stopped dead in my tracks, in total and utter shock.  There had to be some mistake.....this room is barely bigger than a coat closet!!  There is a tiny table and two tiny chairs in the corner slightly to the left of floor-to-ceiling burgundy drapes, and one giant king-sized bed flanked on either side by two teensy bed-side tables.  Everything but the enormous bed and drapes had a doll-house-like quality, making me suddenly feel like a giant lost in some miniature-fairytale-land.  I went in search of the bathroom, hoping and praying the toilet and shower were at least full-sized.  Much to my relief, the bathroom appeared to be proportionate.  Okay, so not the room I had envisioned, or thought I was reserving, but all part of the adventure.  I was determined that this would still be a great weekend.

It was now after 1:00am and I suddenly realized I had no idea where my husband had gone to.  He was not in the room, he wasn't anywhere in the hall........somehow during all my investigating , he had vanished like a ninja.  I figured he would show up eventually, so I began the 'nesting' of our room.  I was putting clothes in the closet, lining up the toiletries on the bathroom counter and in the shower, and I heard a knock at the door.  I open it to find my husband standing there with an armful of cokes and junk food, all smiles.  He had gone down to the lobby and raided the vending machines for a midnight snack for us to share.  I think to myself, "this is why I fell in love with this man...."  I couldn't resist that face and that smile........

Thirty minutes later, we were wedged into those tiny little chairs at the tiny little table, laughing, talking and staring at a pile of empty coke cans and wrappers.  Suddenly it hit had his keycard worked?  I had the new set still in my back pocket......It was at this point my hubby explained that the first room we had tried  to get into was actually the room reserved by a Mr. & Mrs. Thompson from Minnesota.  When I had left to go back to the lobby, Mr. Thompson had opened the door, thinking someone was trying to break into his room, only to find my husband sitting there amid a pile of luggage at his doorstep.  I now realized that my husband wasn't kidding that he had made new friends!  There we both sat, laughing so hard we were crying and snorting at what was surely becoming one of the nuttiest nights of our lives.  It was now going on 2:30am and we were both sufficiently hopped up on sugar and caffeine.  My hubby was wide awake, hyper and restless, so he decided to go off and explore the hotel while I stayed in the room to take a shower and finish putting things away.

I was bent over struggling to set the microscopic alarm clock with my giant fingers, when I heard him returning from his excursion.  I turned my head just in time to see my husband running full-tilt toward the bed, leap into the air, do a forward flip and WHAM!.......I saw nothing but a blinding flash of light followed by the prettiest, most sparkliest stars.......

The next thing I remember is laying on the floor sandwiched between the nightstand and the bed and my husband's face looking down at me.  He, again, was laughing hysterically and in tears, although I hadn't the foggiest idea why.  When he realized I was coming to, he managed to feign a look of concern and then burst into laughter once more.  I lay there dazed, trying to piece together why in the world I was on the floor, and why I had such a throbbing headache, and what could possibly be so funny to him.  I heard the door slam shut and attempted to pull myself up onto the bed and try to make sense of what was going on.  I made it about halfway up and the room began to spin as though I had spent the last few hours on a Tilt-A-Whirl.  What was going on???  Where was I???  Where was my husband?-- wasn't he just here...... laughing?  Why is this bed so big and that table is so small??  "I need to lay down for a minute", I thought.  I had just laid my head down hoping everything would make sense and the room would stop swaying.........was that the door slamming again?  Suddenly ninja-like, my husband appeared next to me with a giant bag of ice, a bottle of Ibuprofen and that sweet smile of his..........He gently pulled me up into a sitting/slouching position, stuffed three Ibuprofen in my mouth, handed me Coke and began apologizing profusely.  He was beginning his sixth or seventh "I'm so sorry, are you okay?" when I faded out again.

The sound of a door shutting woke me up.  I opened my eyes and didn't recognize anything around me.  I sat up quickly in a panic.  Whoa!........why does my head hurt so bad???  Why can't I see out of my right eye???  Where the hell am I???  Out of nowhere my husband appeared like a ninja, with coffee, three Ibuprofen, an ice bag and a cream-cheese covered bagel.  He gave me the strangest, most sympathetic look and began recounting the happenings of the night before,  kissed my head and apologized over and over again.  Holding the ice bag to my pounding head  and swallowing the pills, I smiled, assured him everything was fine and joked that we'd never forget this anniversary.

I grabbed my cup of coffee and slowly stood up, waited for the room to stand still and headed to the window to see the city we would be exploring together.  I pulled the curtains back to find myself staring at the ugly, backside of a giant, brick building.  "Well, why not?" I mumbled and closed the curtains back up again.  I forced my backside into one of the tiny chairs and slugged down my coffee.  At this point, after all we'd been through already,  I was hell-bent on making the most of our only full day in Milwaukee.

We hadn't really made any plans on what to do or when, we just decided to wing it and go where the wind blew us.  I  looked at my was already almost 1:00pm!!!  Why did I sleep so long?
I certainly didn't want to spend my anniversary, venturing out into the city so disheveled, still wearing the clothes from last night, so I decided to take a shower and try to put myself together.  I pictured my husband and I walking hand in hand, peering into store windows, giggling with one another, eating dinner in a dark corner of a lovely little restaurant somewhere.....a happy, attractive young couple, celebrating another year of wedded bliss......

After taking a very hot, very steamy shower my head had cleared some and I felt much better.  I put a towel on my head, stepped to the sink........and......What in the name of all that's holy?????   There I stood squinting into the mirror....staring back at someone who vaguely resembled me......a me with one hell of a swollen and black eye, and a matching bruised cheek and chin.  I moved in for a closer view.....holy crap!  I had a black eye!  What's this???.... The bruising on my cheek and chin looked just like a size 11 footprint.......

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I No Longer Believe in Miracles......

I was the only one in the house awake one night and found myself getting sucked into some goofy infomercial depicting lovely women showing off their smooth, hairless, tan legs.  Some of these women were clad in bikinis, prancing and parading around kidney-shaped swimming pools, others wearing short shorts were wading in gentle, lapping waves on an exotic beach somewhere.  The product featured in this ad promised to be the newest and greatest, cutting-edge technology, idiot-proof hair removal system.  There were clever shots of these aforementioned women tossing various hair removal implements into their respective stylish bathroom wastebaskets.  Out went a razor and an over-sized can of shaving cream.  Next was a half-opened package of sticky wax strips, followed by countless pairs of assorted sized scissors and tweezers.  I thought to myself……”I use all of those things!”

A panel of equally lovely professional and  “licensed” estheticians & cosmetologists used different diagrams and graphics of the skin and hair follicles to explain how it all worked.  I could feel myself being convinced with their "science" and "expertise".  Before long a ‘1-800’ number popped up on the bottom of the screen along with the infomercial standard “Call in the next 10 minutes” double-offer.  There I am, on the couch in my pjs and pink piggy slippers realizing the many reasons I need this product.  I, with dark hair and being of Italian, Greek and Irish decent have to have this product!!   I don’t want to be hairy, what woman wants that?  I want to saunter around a lima bean shaped pool in a bikini totally stubble free.  I want to wear short shorts confidently and frolic in the ocean carefree.   I don’t want to have to shave every day.  I am reaching for my credit card as I wait for the operator that is “standing by” to answer my call.

Two weeks later I have all but forgotten my purchase when the mailman hands me a small cardboard box postmarked Bluffton, Delaware.  The promise of a new, hair-free miracle passed from his hand to mine.

Once homework, dinner, bedtime stories and household clean up was over I barricaded myself in the bathroom open and ready for this hygienic miracle.  I imagined myself emerging from the bathroom with steam billowing behind me, smooth legs peaking out from underneath a flowered silken robe, hair blowing from the force of an unseen wind……..with “I feel like a woman” playing softly in the background…….

I popped in my “PINK” CD and began tearing through the box to find my much-anticipated miracle.   There were two salmon colored bottles of “hair remover” with cartoon legs drawn down the middle, an instruction booklet, two containers of “finishing powder”, two bottles of something labeled “skin prep smoothie”, and two polka dotted “buffing mitts" all neatly nestled in pink bubble wrap.   I read through the instructions cover to cover, pouring over each and every detail.  I laid the bottles, in order of use in a nice, straight line on the counter.  I took a shower and according to the directions, used the only kind of “non-scented, gentle cleanser” I had in the house……the kids’ Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo’.  I was clean and baby fresh as I started the process, eager to begin.  Step One---apply ‘skin prep smoothie’ liberally to area desired.  Okay, without providing TMI here, I envisioned this miracle to include legs and another, entire “area” of unwanted hair.     Liberally and without second thought, I applied.  Step Two---let smoothie soak into skin for 10-15 minutes.  I mentally set a timer according to four song times adding up to approx. 14 minutes.  I grabbed my Sudoku puzzle, struggled with numbers, and waited.  After about 5 minutes I began to notice a slight tingling sensation.  I foolishly think to myself “it must be working!”  Another 5 minutes pass and I am no longer able to focus on Sudoko at all.  Another 2 or 3 minutes and the phrase “no pain, no gain” began to creep into my mind.  Step Three---Shake hair remover solution well and coat entire area.  I shook and coated, shook some more and re-coated the entire area.  Step Four---Wait 5 minutes (note: do NOT wait any longer than 5 minutes).   Now, with my ethnic heritage of Italian, Greek and Irish, I made the executive decision to ignore that note and wait twice as long….I have some seriously thick, dark and stubborn hair.  Step Five---Using buffing mitt, begin buffing area in a circular motion with even and consistent pressure. Once area is totally buffed, rinse solution off area.  ( note: buff area until solution becomes creamy and pinkish in color). Ten minutes go by and I must try earnestly to ignore the fiery, just-short-of-acid-burning torture I was enduring.  Now I have to “buff in a circular motion using even and consistent pressure”.  Easier said than done.  For some of the parts of the leg it’s totally doable.  For other areas it’s physically impossible to evenly buff in any motion, let alone a circular motion, due to angles and various skin sensitivities.  I tried everything, honestly attempting to follow the instructions, but no matter how hard I buffed, I just couldn’t get anything to become creamy and pinkish in color!!

Fast forward a bit and an hour and a half after this entire process began I was desperately trying to buff, scrub, peel and rinse this crap off!!  I was no longer even trying for “creamy” or “pinkish”, I couldn’t get it off fast enough!  I wanted to yell out “Help me! Help me! I’m on fire!”  But, seeing as how my entire family was fast asleep in rooms next door and directly across from the room that had suddenly become my personal hell, that was absolutely not an option.  I found myself biting down on a rolled-up washcloth to keep myself from screaming.  Tears were streaming down my face.   I had millions of pain sensors going off in the entire lower half of my body and now I couldn’t see it either!  Great! Not only is my lower body going to melt off, I’m going to go blind too!  Desperate for relief, I filled the bathtub up with cold water, jumped in and tried to soak it off.  I sat with in freezing cold water, washcloth gag in mouth, tears running down my face, nose running and partially blind, in utter disbelief of how much pain my “miracle” had created.

I was as wrinkled as a 100-year-old lifeguard and thoroughly exhausted.  The pain had subsided slightly, and as I stepped out of the tub and toweled off, I noticed grape-colored blotches were beginning to form all over my lower half.  Against my better judgement I decided to go ahead and use the “finishing powder”.  At this point I was absolutely desperate for something, anything to improve.  Step Six---sprinkle powder onto area and gently rub into skin.  “Okay, what could this possibly hurt?” I thought. The finishing powder was a fine, sparkly concoction to be applied with a feathery sponge/poof.  I poofed and dabbed and a few minutes into the sixth and final step of torture I noticed it didn’t cause me any more pain than the other steps, but it wasn’t providing any relief or change either.  The “finishing powder” had done nothing but highlight my grape-ish, rash-y areas with a thin iridescent layer of sparkles.

PINK had just performed her last song in my bathroom and I had replaced the proud, female-powered anthem music for a more subdued and depressed “my-life-is-in-shambles” Alanis Morissette.   I found myself almost hysterical with disappointment and pain.  There I was, standing in front of the mirror gazing at what was supposed to be my smooth, sexy-legged-and-“area” hygienic miracle.  Instead, I found myself with two puffy, blotch-y, purplish-red legs and one very uncomfortable, purplish, hive-crowded hoo-ha.  I cried and cried, until my eyes matched my aforementioned hoo-ha.

Totally defeated, I emerged from the bathroom without any fog billowing behind me, aloe-covered slime-y legs hidden behind my fluffiest, most modest terrycloth bathrobe,  hair damp with sweat and tears and matted to my forehead, while Alanis crooned on about defeat and pain softly in the background.

I downed three Benedryls, covered the couch with an old set of sheets, curled up into the fetal position and cried myself to sleep.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Homemade crayons and K-Y

There once was a girl named Ray and she had this friend named Martha, who one day came up with the brilliant (albeit painful) idea of hand-crafting crayons.  “Wow, what a great fun we shall have” Ray thought to herself.  Martha arrived early one Thursday morning determined to craft a total of 80 of these wonderfully charming home-made crayons.   Hours were spent chatting merrily and peeling the paper off old, broken crayons.... and laughing and peeling old, broken crayons.... and snacking on Cheez-its and peeling more broken crayons..... and peeling.... and peeling.... and peeling more crayons.  In the end, Martha and Ray lovingly boxed up several dozen beautifully created handmade crayons in an assortment of holiday shapes and colors.
In the wee hours of the very next morning, Ray discovered that on one hand she had two fingernails (thumb and forefinger) that had been separated from the skin (OUCH!!) by the massive amounts of colored wax deposited there by the hours and hours of peeling all those old crayons.  On the other hand, she had a thumb that was purple and swollen and very sore from the repetitive action of snapping those freshly peeled crayons into very tiny pieces.
So, there in those early morning hours, Ray, while performing various self-beautifying and hygienic tasks,  found herself trying to decide which set of fingers on which injured hand she should use to pluck her stray eyebrows …… deciding that the pain in her bruised right thumb was less severe than the pain that would surely be inflicted to one, possibly both, of her eyeballs by using her left hand to implement a sharp object to remove those lost hairs growing in the middle of her forehead, she stuck her right thumb into the hole of the tweezer, only to realize that her thumb was not only bruised and sore but now was painfully stuck into a metal hair removal devise as well!! 
Wrapping up this sad, sad story with a handy moral-of-the-day ……..personal lubricant can be used for more than bedroom activities; and although it leaves a less than desirable, slightly latex-y smell, is a great dry, winter skin remedy!!


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Don't Kiss the Giraffe

Okay, so originally, I sent this e-mail to friend "Sandy" from work, who in my address book is listed one name below my boss, who happens to be the 'Big Cheese' and 'head honcho' of my division ……   Keep this little tidbit of info in mind after reading the following snippet of what I am referring to as “Don’t kiss the giraffe”.........

I awoke this morning, an annoying 5 minutes before the alarm clock went off to the strange, cold and somewhat awkward feelings of a wet nose sniffing and a big tongue licking my right armpit.  (Recently, for some unknown reason, my dog has become totally infatuated with the smell and taste of my deodorant).  After being accosted in such a way, I get out of bed and head off to the promise of caffeine.  In the short trip from the bedroom to the kitchen I managed to fall over the cat, stub my toe on my son’s door frame, trip on the belt of my robe, and lodge a small LEGO between my third and fourth toes.  Making it to the relative safety of my kitchen, I find I just can’t wait until the entire pot of coffee is brewed for my first taste of liquid energy and so I decide I am going to defy the law of gravity and the laws of physics and somehow pull the coffee pot out, pour a mug-full and replace the pot before the next drip.  In the process of cheating physics I burn my hand, drop my coffee cup and find myself standing in a puddle of hazelnut coffee and ceramic nuggets that previously made up my favorite Minnie Mouse mug.  (It’s at this point I begin to think today might not be a great day.) {Lesson number one of this sad, sad story---coffee pots will always win in a head-to-head competition}
After cleaning up the sad remains of a once treasured Disney World gift shop favorite, I mopped up the mess, 'pine-sol'ed the sticky places and forged on. {Lesson number two---Pine-Sol and hazelnut coffee, when mixed smell like horrible!!}  So, with stainless steel travel coffee mug in hand, I gather my thoughts and begin choosing my outfit for the day.  “Hmmm… I feel sassy, serious, gypsy-ish, or casual?”  I decide to go middle of the road with a pair of gray pants and a sweater.  Simple, easy, no fuss-just… what this day called for.  That decision made, I move on to the bathroom for my shower.  While showering I notice there is a mis-guided stream of water spraying almost directly into my left eye caused by an over-sized shampoo bottle in the over-the-shower-head organizer blocking the water’s path. {Lesson number three---while economical, jumbo-sized bottles of shampoo don’t fit properly in the standard shower organizer} In my efforts to remedy the situation I move the giant bottle to a shelf in the opposite corner of the shower, thus upsetting the fine balance of weight distribution of various body washes, shaving creams and conditioners remaining in the over-the-shower-head organizer.  This small and mundane action then set off a chain of embarrassing events that are still being felt at this very moment. The very second I returned to the now un-impeded spray of warm water, the over-the-shower-head organizer slips off its plastic suction cups, juts out from the wall, slides down the shower head spout, and spews it’s assortment of various showering and toiletry items simultaneously landing on my head and foot in a barrage of pain.  I am now doubled over rubbing my sore head and hopping around on one foot, trying to massage my other throbbing foot.   My good “hopping” foot lands on a very moisturizing, yet festive bar of striped peppermint scented soap, sending me into a series of frenzied, amateur-ish skating/dancing/falling movements. {Lesson number four---I keep way too many things in my shower organizer} It is at this point, laying in the bathroom floor wrapped up in the shower curtain—pole still attached, wet and shivering hoping my foot, head and now buttocks aren’t sprained or broken, I realize........ it is, without a doubt going to be one of "those days".

I manage to drag my bruised and battered body through the rest of my morning routine and prepare to leave for work.  I give myself one last glance in the mirror, grab my purse and bag and out the door I go………One step down and off I went…….on a strangely familiar set of frenzied skating/dancing/trying not to fall (again) movements.  Down I went, onto my already sore and bruised rump. {Lesson number five---although stylish, heels are not the wisest choice in footwear when it is snowing and icy outside}  I manage to get to my feet only to realize I have torn my gray pants (those middle of the road, simple, easy and no-fuss ones) right down the seam of my butt.  As I calmly tip-toe/limp/hobble backwards towards the house, in an attempt to hide my neon green and orange checkered undies from my old man neighbor retrieving his paper, I realize I should have just stayed in bed.  {Lesson number six---always make sure your undies match your outfit, you never know when someone will see them}

I emerge from the house five minutes later dressed in jeans, a t-shirt, a zip-up fleece and tennis shoes.

Fast forward to 11:35am....  I'm at work, surfing through animal photos trying to ignore my growling stomach,  just not yet desperate enough to use the communal microwave that just nuked something stinky enough to fill the entire 6th floor with a  nasty clams/garlic/licorice combo odor,  and I find this picture of a cute giraffe going in for a big smooch ......

  and laugh hysterically.  I attach it to an e-mail to "Martha" and send it to "Sandy" as well, thinking I would be clever and make them both laugh.  However, while I was in the midst of hitting the “send” button, the weather alert alarm goes off in our building, causing me to look away for one moment.  (Here’s where the problem and that little tidbit of info I asked you to remember comes in handy……….) I didn’t realize anything out of the norm had happened until I received one of those “message read” receipts sent from my boss.

It was then that I asked myself..…do I laugh, cry or begin packing up my office??

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Warrior Dash--"Predictions of Pain"

{The following is an e-mail I sent to a few friends with whom I am considering entering into an insane competition called "Warrior Dash".   As of yet, a decision still has not been reached......}

Have you looked at the obstacle course map/description??  Here is the link…..    (You may prefer to take a sedative first)

Personally, my concerns are “Blackout” (I’m supposed to jump into what and come out where?  And what exactly is in-between??) and “Hay Fever” (severe asthmatic meets giant mountain of hay… can we say ‘oxygen’?) ; Hopefully my inner ears will be in top form to aid with the balance needed in the “Rio Run”, “Cargo Climb” and “Walk the Plank”; “Knee High Hell” will do wonders for the annoying swelling and pain I’ve been experiencing in my knees the last 7 or 8 years; :Lumber Jacked” should be the easiest one of them all, pending the logs don’t get much above 4 or 5 inches…….; I look at “Muddy Mayhem” and the first thing that pops into my mind is “boy, I hope I don’t lose a contact!”; “Mossy Maze” should be something I might survive, and all those late-night re-run episodes of “Survivor Man” and “Man v. Wild” will be especially useful during the week it will take me to find my way out of the forest; and then to top off the entire experience, the “q” on the tip of the whole thing…..they want me to use my tired, bruised, muddied and bloodied legs and my straw-filled, closed-off, diseased lungs to run fast enough and hurdle high enough over flames and not set myself on fire?  How about I just stand there and let them throw gasoline on me?  I will most assuredly be hairless and a few shades darker after “Warrior Roast”.

The more I think about this  whole thing the more I think, do I really hate myself this much?  Do I thrive on the dangerous, adrenaline-pumping excitement of it all?  Strangely, the answer to both of those is “no”.  Why then am I willing to pay money to end up in the ICU with a laundry-list of physical and mental injuries?  (i.e. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and separation anxiety (Blackout); severe respiratory distress (Hay Fever); numerous broken bones, rope burns and water-log-ed-ness (“Rio”, “Cargo” and “Plank”); severely arthritic knee joints (Knee High Hell); hepatitis C from grogging through mud (Mayhem); dehydration, hypothermia and some kind of parasite from wandering in the woods for days (Mossy Maze); and finally, as if that wasn’t enough, third degree burns on my ass (Roast)
But hell, I say bring it on……I want those Viking horns!!  

Vi snakkes  (that’s Norwegian for “talk to you later”………)

A blogger is born

Let me first say "hello" to those of you reading this, my maiden attempt of the "blog".  (Thanks to Shel for setting this whole thing up for me today, sorry I ditched the jellybeans)

I am thankful for humor and for the fact there are people out there who actually 'get' me enough 
to laugh at the crazy things I write and say.  It is these very people (and you know who you are.....)
who urged me to post some recent e-mails I sent, which is how this whole 'blogging' adventure is  beginning.......

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