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

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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