Thursday, December 11, 2008

If we all put our heads together.

The only thing that makes my ass itch more than regular meetings are “brainstorming meetings." Dude, I hate brainstorming meetings. Mostly because I am pretty sure I could come up with perfectly great ideas ALL BY MYSELF and save a hell of a lot of time sitting around a table gently explaining them to others, watching them ponder them, listening to them say I’m wrong, and then, eventually, after five hours and twenty-three cookies later, presenting my own ideas back to me as if they had just come up with them. This is what's called "teamwork."

I could give a crap about teamwork, frankly. For several years of my corporate life, during big ginormous planning meetings, I would volunteer to be the “Scribe,” which is teamwork speak for “the person with the giant Sharpie and huge pad of paper on an easel." No one else ever wanted to be the Scribe, because you have to stand up. And it’s more obvious that you’re only there for the cookies when you keep leaving the easel to grab another one. But mostly it’s because you have to stand up. Whereas my "teammates" saw the Scribe as someone who had to listen to everyone else and write down their group thoughts, I saw it as The Person Who Gets the Sharpie and Doesn’t Have to Listen At All. It was rather wonderful standing in front of a group of 12 people waxing poetic about customer service intiatives and smacking hotel baked goods while I was writing down my own personal and private thoughts without their permission. And, at the end of the day, it had exactly the same result as actually discussing it with them, we used the ideas I wanted to afterall.

Nowadays, I work for a family-owned much smaller organization. We don't waste time or paper, and I'm good with that. In honor of those extra good times with extra big paper, the theme for today’s Half-Assed Haiku Thursday shall be: Meetings.

Forbidden words: Post-it, Tony Robbins.

Here’s mine.

Think out of the box!
We will greenlight everything!
Except that. It’s dumb.

Happy Thursday, Internet.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

You can still rock in America.

I recently wrote about some non-festering granite in my foot (note to self: name my rock band “Festering Granite”) and readers of this drivel commented that 1) I’m probably going to get gangrene, and, b) Go to the doctor right away, even though that reader still has rocks in their knees from the early 80s.

Well, the current podiatrical update is that the granite is still in there, and it doesn’t really hurt anymore. Also I don’t have gangrene. Unless gangrene begins with minor sinus pain and the desire to stay home from work drinking hot buttered rum, then baby, I got the gangrene BAD. But my best pal “anonymous's” story reminded me, that I too, am walking around with gravel rattling in me, apparently causing me no more harm than the granite in my foot.

When I was 7 years old, I wrecked my sister’s sweet ass purple bike with extra long metallic banana seat and ape hanger handle bars. (Secondary note to self: Banana Seat would be an awesome band name, but it's already taken by some dudes in Oklahoma.) This bike was so cool that if it had windows, they’d be tinted super dark. I rode it periodically WITH PERMISSION ONLY. My sister didn’t ride it anymore because she had short-shorts, knee socks and feathered hair, which required a ten-speed. Believe me, at the time it was relevant. It was much too big for me, but by sitting on the very tippy end of the seat, and using my very tippy toes to pedal, and stretching my arms as faaaaar as they would go, I could manage it. Kinda.

So, one day, I walked the sweet purple machine two doors down from my house to the concrete driveway of the volunteer fire department station, because the only smooth surfaces in town to ride bikes on were the blacktop at the school, the firestation driveway, and the state highway. I spent as much time as possible riding in circles around and around and around a this fabulously flat chunk of concrete. It was smooth sailing, so to speak, in contrast to the rutted mud and oiled dirt the rest of the town provided for my entertainment.

There was often gravel on the driveway – understandably – and it took careful coordination and super steering ability to maneuver the circles at high speed. Or so I imagined. This particular day, I was doing amazingly well, and imagined that all passing grown-ups were probably saying, “My! What a skilled child that is! I bet she’ll be an amazing driver when she’s bigger! I wonder if she’s a child race car driver NOW? Should we get her autograph?” When a jerky kid caused my accident. This jerky kid, who I will give the fake name, hmm, let’s see, how ‘bout we call him “Donny S.” rode his bike really close to mine for a few circles, causing me to wobble since the bike was way too big for me, and I eventually banked my turn a little too hard, slid sideways on the gravel and crashed. Well, “crashed” is really not it, I just sort of hit the ground and kept sliding. For awhile. When I eventually skid to a stop in a pitiful heap of plaid shorts and uneven ponytails, “Donny S.” laughed really hard. He was at least 6 years older than me, so it was an especially rotten thing to do.

Luckily, my head took most of the impact. So I was okay. Mostly. See, the sliding across the gravel and concrete on the side of my head part? Turns out that sort of embeds gravel in your head. Which my mom had to remove with a pair of tweezers while I sat screaming on the kitchen counter. To quote my 7 year old self, “Neato Kapeato.”

At least one piece of gravel remains under my left ear, because both my mother and I very quickly tired of her digging around in my skull with tweezers. Later that week, I confronted “Donny S.” in his front yard, right in front of his grandma, too, and told him how dreadfully injured I was and that he was a very rotten and jerky guy for making a little girl wreck. I am sure he and his grandma felt really badly when I growled through clenched teeth, “AND NOW I HAVE ROCKS IN MY HEAD!”

I’m thinking that I should get a disclaimer on my drivers license weight due to heavy mineral content.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Comin' in under the wire.

It's Haiku Thursday. True dat. But, where I live, it's also Snowstorm Thursday. Not usually a big deal in these parts, but I do an 160-mile round trip commute every Thursday to a sweet little spot in the Colorado mountains, charmingly referred to as "the Icebox of the Nation," conveniently located at an elevation of 9500 feet.

So. It kinda snows more there. But I still have to go. I'm THAT important and needed. Anyway, today, I've spent a total of about six hours creeping along with very little radio reception with snowflakes coming at me like stars come at the Millenium Falcon. Guess what I did the whole time? If you guessed "wrote some super bitchin' haiku," you are SADLY mistaken. I did, however, manage a couple of text messages, and perfected my Lenny Kravitz imitation, since I couldn't reach any other CDs. I am so serious about this. If Lenny ever has a concert scheduled in your town, and suddenly comes down with laryngitis...just call me. Excluding that I'm white, not half-Jewish, female and cannot play the guitar, I AM TOTALLY LENNY KRAVITZ. You won't know the difference.

So - I did come up with a few half-assed haikus, which I am still considering. But even more, I am considering changing the name of Haiku Thursday to Half-Assed Haikus. AND, I'm considering trademarking it, so don't you even think about it. It's officially copyrighted right this minute, you big stealers.

Okay, down to business.

Topic: Weather Reports
Forbidden Words: Stormy, Barometric pressure.

Watch out for black ice
the weatherman says to me
Sorta racist, huh?

Toddy time.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'.

Behold - my Great Grandmother's china, and the "secret ingredient" in pretty much everything I make on Thanksgiving. Not really super secret, since I wear two bottles in gun holsters on my apron all day.

I once attended a Thanksgiving dinner where the guests applauded the turkey and the woman who cooked it. Let me say that again in case you were reading quickly. When this woman set the turkey on the table, before anyone had even tasted it, the people looking at it CLAPPED THEIR HANDS IN DELIGHT. Because they were hungry? Because they could already tell it would be the best meal of their lives? Because it had a little flashing sign over it that said “APPLAUSE”? Nope. Just because she managed to put a big bird in an oven and take it out again. I distinctly remember this particular thanksgiving because 1) the turkey was wretchedly dry, and 2) I was asked to bring rolls.

Yeah, you heard me. As in anyone in-the-know knows, rolls are the suckiest assignment there is for Thanksgiving. Next to ‘sodas.’ By assigning rolls, you’re basically saying, “Listen dear, we know you can’t cook worth a damn, and rather than eating whatever crap you’re going to dump out of a can and sprinkle fried onions on, please, for the love of our safe digestion, bring rolls.” You cannot mess up rolls. It’s the assignment you give your in-laws' youngest son’s girlfriend, or the tottering drunk from work who you’re only inviting to be nice. To assign rolls to anyone capable of operating a microwave is ginormously insulting.

Note – if you have been assigned rolls for more than one year in a row and are now reading this and thinking you’ve been insulted by your friends and family, I’m sure that I’m terribly wrong just in your case only and you probably are the most fabulous roll-bringer ever, and THAT is why they keep having you bring the rolls. They like you a lot and trust you. Really.

The thanksgiving of the applause vs. roll-bringing was the very thanksgiving I swore to never leave the house again on thankgiving day. I also swore that our thanksgivings should be a relative-free zone, friends only! But that is mostly because our relatives want nothing to do with us on thanksgiving since I only assign them to bring rolls.

Our friends, on the other hand, can be trusted to bring good attitudes and sturdy drinking shoes, therefore, they may come without limitation. The week before turkey day, I shop and plan and make at least three spreadsheets with the exact timing required to pull off a meal for 20+…mostly just because I like spreadsheets, but also because I am pretty sure, with me telling everyone what to do nothing will go wrong. So far so good.

Instead of thunderous applause at the very sight of me using the oven without burning myself or poultry, my reward is people happy to return year after year to enjoy the day with us. And for that, I am thankful. If you were here this year, I'm glad. If you weren't, please show up next year, I'll pour you a mimosa and serve you a roll.

As a side note, I met the Big Dude on a thanksgiving day many years ago, another thing I am thankful for, and since, we've spent every single thanksgiving together.
Seventeen thanksgivings
Twelve years of marriage
Four wedding rings (super sorry about that losing/breaking thing I do)
Two sons
And One Dude. Happy thanksgiving to you.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wherein I randomly connect HGTV, 1970s Soap Operas and footwear.

In the old days, they didn’t have home improvement television shows, so if you were interested in interior design or remodeling or were just particularly nosy and wanted to see Other People’s Houses, you had to become an Avon lady. I was a lucky child of an Avon lady, so I got to see OPH all the time, as well as be extremely informed what shape of cologne decanter (Antique car? Pheasant? Steam engine?) each man in my small town was getting for Christmas/Father's Day/Arbor Day etc. I still kind of wonder how thrilled the farmers weren’t on Christmas morning, hoping for some shiny manly thing they saw in the Cabela’s or Wards catalog, but EmmaClaire and little LukeLeroy hand over a thick glass tractor bottle with a plastic lid where the exhaust should be and 6 oz. of Wild Country cologne inside…but I digress.

Some day I’ll tell you all about how wrapped presents sitting around simply Make. Me. Nuts. I don’t care who they’re for, I really just need to know what’s inside. I remember a particularly impossible holiday season where I was stuck at home sick on a sofa while my mother folded laundry with soap operas on in the background. Each show had a tree loaded with presents…that had NOTHING to do with the storyline. No one was even TALKING about the presents. I kept squawking at my mother through inflated tonsils about it, and she didn’t know what was in the boxes, and eventually the episode would end without ANYONE even opening them or anything. I’d force myself to stay awake the next day to see if someone opened them, no dice. Eventually, Christmas passed and instantly both the trees and presents were gone and no one on the shows seemed to give a shit about it or even mention, “Oh Dr. Thad, thank you for the lovely mink stole that you put in the big square box with gigantic bow! It’s perfect!” Finally, my mother broke it to me that very probably, they were empty boxes just wrapped to look like presents, and no one was EVER going to open them. EVER. Gives me hives thinking about it to this day.

Again with the digression. Back to home improvement television. Do you know that you’re supposed to be barefoot when painting walls? I am not sure who I learned this from, some very talented television designer no doubt…One of the ones that can do things with 48 hours and $200 bucks that a normal person needs 9 permits, 8 months and a second mortgage for. The theory is you’ll feel wet paint on your foot and therefore not track it everywhere like you would if you had shoes on. These are the types of tips I file away and rarely use, but dole them out to others as if I made them up. Anyway, I was painting recently AND wearing some of my very favorite and adorable Sundance leather sneakers (the red ones) so I took off my shoes to avoid dripping on their cute suede toes. I then prided myself for remembering the valuable tip about the paint tracking like that was the ingenious reason I’d removed them. I painted an entire room, and then, wanting to be clever AND tidy, I tippy toed all barefoot to the kitchen to clean the roller…completely forgetting that our pal (Hi Bobby!) had been in there all day cutting granite tiles.

Here’s a factoid Ty Pennington has never once mentioned on Trading Spaces or Let’s Build a House in Two Days for People who Probably Won’t Take Care of It Because They Certainly Didn't Take Care of Their Last One: granite tiles + tile saw = MILLIONS OF LITTLE GLASS-LIKE SHARDS. Made of granite.

They’re all about the eye protection on HGTV, but not once has anyone said, “Oh, and hey - make sure you you’ve got shoes on when you’re redoing countertops!” Good news is that these glasslike shards are thin, yet strong! Like nature’s own needles. You can’t even feel them until there’s about a dozen of ‘em all ready in ya! Handily though, they do eventually break off, at least the part sticking out does. The centimeter or so that’s in your foot, well, in ain’t going nowhere.

So I’ve got a zillion or so in there, or at least three, and it’s been a couple of weeks and even though the Big Dude with Little Glasses says they’ll fester out, they’re not festering. I really tend to believe him on this, though, because if you ever met some of his ancestors you’d understand that he knows A LOT about festering. I shouldn’t complain, because my foot really only hurts when I step on it. Or move my toes. Or go down stairs. Or drive. Or bump it with anything. The only relief – ironically - is wearing the cute sneakers. (Thanks, Bob Redford! Guess if I like you more than Ty Pennington?)

I am a little worried that the promised festering might occur whilst wearing cute sneakers, but it’s a chance I’ve got to take.

Friday, November 21, 2008

May I help you?

I generally avoid drug stores as fervently as I avoid Las Vegas, but since I recently sucked it up and went to Vegas because of an event being held there, I figured I could handle the brand-spanking new Walgreens near our house. When I was younger (like 8) I loooved drugstores. They had all kinds of things that were either in my price range (49 cents) or at least not so expensive that I couldn’t beg my mom for them (99 cents). From smelly lotions to cough drops, crayons, and chapstick to cheap toys on cardboard backers, drug stores rocked my pre-adolescent world. Now I recognize they’re just a depressing, fluorescently-lit club for old people. Really old people. Who like to discuss nickels. And prescriptions. And how young people suck. Now that I think of it, trade out the fluorescent for neon, and Vegas has a lot in common with Walgreens.

Necessity called, though, so I steeled myself for easy listening instrumentals, lineoleum and well-worn citizens with time on their hands and their ailments on their minds.

I ducked in without being seen by anyone I knew or security cameras, found what I needed, and was about to make an escape to the register, when two ladies in walkers approached me. I already knew what they would say. Since the age of 15, I’ve somehow had the look of a retail worker who is slacking off. It doesn't matter if it's a grocery store or Neiman Marcus, auto parts shop or ski rental outlet. I can be wearing a coat or hair curlers, carrying a purse or an infant, it doesn’t matter. Some person is going to walk up slightly irritated and ask me, “Excuse me? Do you work here?” with a tone that says, “Oh yeah, I know you work here, and I just caught you ignoring customers and filling up that cart with items! Gotcha. Now help me, dammit.”

So, my elderly pals rolled on up side by side, completely blocking the aisle and trapping me. One of them asked me the question. I answered, “No ma’am. I’m sorry. I don’t. Can I help you find someone that does?” Which I thought was pretty big of me considering their scowls.

They looked at me with disgust, knowing full well that I was in fact LYING to them boldface, that yessir, I did too work there and I was just trying to avoid doing something helpful. Damn youth of this generation. Don’t know how easy they’ve got it. You know what we’d have done to score a fancy job in a Walgreens? But back then, women weren’t allowed out of the home to have ultra luxurious high powered Walgreens jobs. We had to stay home and sit under giant hair dryers and drink rob roys and listen to vacuum cleaner salesmen interrupt The Edge of Night.

They thought all of that. I swear to you. But what one of them said was, “Where are the Christmas cards?” And not in a sweet Aunt Bea sort of way. More in a mean, Dieting Lunch Lady sort of a way. Since we happened to be standing in the card aisle, I said slowly, “Ummm. Well, probably right around here somewhere…?” while pointing all around us.

To which Gladys Evelyn Whooserass replied, “No. Not these. Where’s the ones on sale?”

Now too damned deep to get out of it, and still trying to remain somewhat helpful, I said, “Oh, did you see an ad or something?”

Matilda Maybell Whatserbucket scolded me. “NO. We did NOT "see an ad” miss. We are just not going to pay these kinds of prices for Christmas cards! Now, show us where the clearance ones are!”

Now, I like grouchy mean old people as much as the next person who has been evilly trapped by them, but I was growing weary of them. I quickly gave a little bitty lecture on supply and demand, pricing and promotion, the Gregorian calendar, the officially recognized date for Christmas, the current date, and suggested that maybe, just maybe, the Christmas cards would not actually be put on clearance sale until AFTER Christmas.

They looked at me with complete contempt. Then, Matilda turned to Gladys, rolled her eyes and said, just loud enough for me to hear, “I guess we’re going to have to find them OURSELVES.”

And that is why I will only shop on-line for the next 30 years. After that, I’m rounding up some buddies and hanging at the Walgreen’s just to annoy people.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Spellcheck thinks "otherside" is two words, but I don't care.

Hey kids…you know what today is? You bet you do. It’s Haiku Thursday, officially the most popular day on the ENTIRE INTERNET! At least in public middle schools in Whyoming anyway. And, yup, that misspelling is completely intentional.

The last winner of Haiku Thursday is Old Dude Thick Glasses. Otherwise known as my dad. He wins for going the extra mile and completing a multi-stanza’ed entry, as well as really getting out of his comfort zone, since he usually prefers a much more sophisticated type of poetry. Specifically, the limerick.

So, congratulations ODTG. Your prize shall be school pictures of your grandsons.

This week’s haiku topic will be: sleeping. And that is because while I was sleeping very early this morning, dreaming of, I’m not kidding, sleeping, I was awakened by Evil Paperguy, who likes to park his Cutlass under our open window, crank his rockin' Best of Yanni CD, and then walk up and down the block tossin’ papers at steps. After he casually walked our block at his leisure and then drove away, his muffler rattling gently into the predawn fog, I attempted to regain my cozy space in slumber…and this poem came to me. Really. Right then. I was counting syllables in bed. Which is way more interesting than sheep, by the by.

Okay, here goes:

Warm bed calls to me
Otherside of pillow cools
Wearily I sink.

NOW. Here’s what’s weird. The otherside of the pillow was, in fact, NOT COOL. It was creepily uncool, as in...body temperature. Apparently, before the harbinger of Yanni appeared, I was either sleeping with an arm under the pillow, or, and this is the creepy part, some type of coolness-sucking creature lives in there sucking the very coolness from the otherside of my pillow. Which really freaks you out when you’re half asleep. Dreaming of sleep. And Yanni. And Haiku. The shock of a warm otherside of my pillow, combined with all those other external factors woke me up to the point where I realized I ought to just forget it and get up.

Anyway – your challenge is to write me a haiku about sleeping and add it to the comments. Forbidden words: peaceful, Yanni.

Ready, set, count syllables. And no, Old Dude, I do not know how many syllables are in “zzzzzzz.”

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Good, the Bad, and the Absorbent.

I told you here about the efforts of my third grader to upgrade the butt-wipe in his elementary school bathrooms. Think back on that while I relate this most recent story from the hallowed halls and playgrounds of his school...

Seems all the third grade boys at his school play a game called “Blocking.” This is a football skill, and no-it-is-not-either-tackling, it is blocking, which is sort of like one-on-one red rover, only not, because as you all know, RED ROVER IS DANGEROUS and is NOT ALLOWED. KIDS COULD DIE FROM RED ROVER.

So, they’re blocking and running into each other like always, only one day last week this little short weenie kid loses and gets knocked down. He proceeds to go totally batshit on my 8 year old, known by all as Pete, scratching and clawing at him like a crazed feral kitten. My boy came home with gouges on his face and reported that the Napoleon Syndrome-afflicted moron who apparently cannot handle the game had been screaming “I’m gonna rip your eyes out...I'm gonna rip your nose off” as he whacked at my intelligent and good-looking child’s cute little face. Which kinda makes me wonder what the hell this kid watches on TV? Because I'm thinking he should seek out some WWF or Cage Fights, and lay off the Hello Kitty.

Anyway, here comes the good part. When he told Big Dude about the whole ordeal Pete said, with teeth and fists clenched, eyes squinting in absolute fury, looking and sounding not unlike Clint Eastwood in Fist Full of Dollars except he didn't have a backwoods smoke: “Dad. I want to t.p. his house. With the really thick stuff. Will you help?”

Considering the level of importance he bestows upon high-quality toilet paper, that’s some serious level of pissed-offness. So, I'm off to buy cigars and triple ply Charmin for the kid. I knew that school directory of student addresses would come in handy someday.

Current Events.

Headline from the Nixa, Missouri newspaper: “Missing Boy Found Under Bed.”

In the article we learn, "A missing Nixa boy is safe at home Oct. 15, after searchers looked for several hours before finding the youngster under his bed."

Umm. I don't want to assume anything about this family, but I'm thinking either they aren't the brightest knife in the shed, or maybe, THEY WEREN'T LOOKING VERY HARD.

Seriously, isn't "under the bed" like the first place you look for anything? And, it took them "several hours" to think of it? In fact, instead of looking under the bed, they chose to alert authorities instead.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Cut and Paste.

One of the best creepy stories I know I learned in a graphic design class. Creepy stories in graphic design classes generally all revolve around the X-Acto knife. My favorite is one wherein a man was up late at night pasting together a layout in a print shop. Oh, sorry. For you kids out there who didn't understand anything I just said…Go watch an episode of Bewitched, and when Darren is at work with big sheets of paper and markers and light tables, you’ll totally get it. An X-Acto knife is kind of like the “crop” icon in Photoshop, only it’s razor thin, three dimensional, and super sharp. Imagine a tiny razor-sharp knife on the end of a pencil.

Anyway – so this guy is holding his tiny razor-sharp knife on the end of a pencil in his right hand when the phone rings. This gets weirder..,his phone is permanently ATTACHED TO THE WALL and he had to get up and walk over to it. So, he gets up and walks over to the phone, but Caller ID hasn’t been invented yet, so he totally cannot tell if he’s should answer it or now or not. He’s all “maybe its my boss” or “maybe it’s my wife,” and he’s totally distracted from the whole getting upness and from Caller ID not being invented yet, and he picks up the receiver (that’s the talky/listeny part) and brings it up to his face WHILE THE KNIFE IS STILL IN HIS HAND.

And he completely stabs himself in the eye. Grody, huh?

Two parts I’ve always been curious about. 1) Did it stay in there and he had to pull it out? Like, if he put his hand down, would it be sort of flopping around? And, 2) Who was calling? Because I wonder if it was someone he knew well so he could be all, “OW. I totally stabbed my own eye just now, ow, seriously, help me, but don’t call 911 because it hasn’t been invented yet,” or, if it was the client calling who was waiting for his paste-up because the newspaper needed the ad and so the guy with the knife in his eye had to act calm and reassuring and say, “Oh, hey, Bill. Yep, we’re almost done here, buddy. Oh, it’s lookin’ great, I’ll tell you that! You are gonna sell some sofas this weekend!” WHILE EYE GOO IS SPURTING ON HIS HAND, THE PHONE AND ALL OVER THE SUNDAY "SOFA CITY" CIRCULAR.

Skip forward a little bit and you learn the guy is now resets bowling pins for a living and is nicknamed Patch, and everytime someone asks him about his past, he looks off into the distance (with one eye) and says, "Arrg," (because he was afflicted with pirate-speech the minute the patch went on), "Damn that Adobe corporation for inventing Photoshop 20 years too late to save me eye."

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Haiku Thursday.

It's that time again...the most exciting day on the Internet!

Please remember to comment in haiku. The best comment I get will win a fabulous prize. Okay, not really. It will just be some kind words of praise on a blog with tens of readers. Oh, and I might send you some dryer sheets if I get around to it. (But not that kind with the little bear on it, he creeps me out.) Because this week's topic is....

LAUNDRY.
Forbidden words: Agitator, Lint Trap

Okay. Here's mine:

Polyester sock
Tumbling in the dryer's heat
Damn you, static cling.

Alrighty then. It's your turn.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Civic Duty.

I don’t really like to talk about politics. I’m a good citizen and all, but arguing about policy with friends or pounding signs into an otherwise healthy lawn has never really appealed to me.

This is different. It’s just too important, and really involves all Americans on a very basic level. From Joe the Plumber to Big Oil, this issue is really at the bottom of all humanity. It affects each and every one of us. But it especially affects my eight year old, and he is the one who brought it to my attention.

Our boy Pete was recently elected to Student Council Representative of the Third Grade (B). That “B” is for his political party, which is Boy. There is also a (G). Apparently, they have very different priorities and thus require separate but equal representation. He’s understandably very proud of his position, and looks forward to weekly meetings over lunch where he’s been issued his Very Own Binder in which he takes diligent notes.

Thus far, the group has organized several spirit days (Wear Your Clothes Backwards!) and has purchased some new playground balls. But Pete has higher aspirations. He wants to solve problems. And, today, I bring to you one of the biggest issues facing his school.

They need way Softer Toilet Paper.

It seems the toilet paper at school is scratchy and (ahem) rather thin. My son argues that students either a) avoid using the facilities, or b) use MORE toilet paper than they would a higher quality, softer version because of the THIN-NESS. He states that softer and thicker toilet paper would be beneficial for the environment AND school budgets, since less would be used. The benefits to his constituency are obvious. And, since he realizes that this year’s janitorial supplies have likely already been purchased, a SOFT THICK TOILET PAPER DRIVE is in order.

Won’t you help the children? A roll or two of the good stuff from a few dozen folks will really benefit the bottom line, if you know what I’m saying.

Please send your extra rolls to:
Bromwell Elementary School
C/O Student council TP Drive
Attention Third Grade Representatives
2500 East Fourth Avenue
Denver, Colorado 80206

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

And not a drop to drink.

Way back in the old days, before the world realized that water is actually good for you, children were not allowed to have very much of it. At nighttime, I’d have to beg for a sip of water. During the school day, there were three fountains for 326 students, and we could only use them for a brief moment to get a sip of lukewarm, slobbery wetness before a bell would ring and you’d wipe your chin and run. If you wanted a drink during class time, they answer was a definite NO. Probably because then you’d want to go to the bathroom, which was also not allowed during school hours, which was likely the same reason that I couldn’t have any water at night. In the 1970s and 80s, grownups were apparently very concerned that children were going to pee too much and interrupt other things (sleeping or sentence-diagramming) by said peeing. There was no such thing as water bottles unless you were on the basketball team, and then there were six to share amongst everyone.

Those days are gone. Now we’re all supposed to drink, at minimum, 43 gallons of water a day - peeing be damned. In fact, doctors recommend sitting on the toilet and ingesting water with a beer funnel if you have the time. My children get sent home with desparate pleas from their teachers to “PLEASE SEND WATER BOTTLE!” I don’t get this need for all children to have a potential spilly, leaky, wet thing on their little desks, but it’s probably just the era I was raised in. Keep in mind that gum, shorts and ball caps were a huge threat to proper education back then as well.

Anyway, in order to keep child protective services out of it, I send water bottles. And, even before the big BPA scare of ’08, I figured that mushy plastic capable of absorbing sharpie ink was probably not super good for their cute little livers, so I sprung for obnoxiously expensive stainless steel. Besides looking like nifty shiny thermoses, they’re great for making all kinds of noise. Perfect for school. And, they worked just fine until the linebacker started middle school. He came home the first day and said he could no longer use the sweet silver bullet-shaped bottle.

The ensuing discussion confirmed that I am probably not really all that qualified to be a parent.

Kid: Mom, they said I can’t use this water bottle at school.

Me: Why not? It was completely expensive and BPA-free! Also, did I tell you that it was completely expensive? Oh, I get it. This is like that stupid peanut butter shit, isn’t it? Some weenie in your class is allergic to stainless steel.

Kid: No, it’s because it’s not see-through. It has to be clear. I guess they don’t want us to bring beer to school or something.

Me (ruffling his hair): Oh you, Silly. That’s not it at all. You can’t bring beer to school because it is carbonated. You should only take hard liquor to school, and then something clear, like vodka. You have so very much to learn, sweetie.

Kid: Um, I want Daddy to drive me to school from now on.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Because every syllable counts.

Introducing the newest and most exciting theme day on the Internet that I just made up: Haiku Thursdays. Please leave me comments - but only in the form of the ancient poem known only by the most astute Japanese scholars, and all American second graders: Haiku.

You may choose the 5-7-5 method, or the 7-9-7. But I will like you more if you choose 5-7-5.

If you don’t comment, then I’ll know you’re JUST PLAIN SCARED.

Today’s topic: Puppies.
Forbidden words: Cute, Love.

Here's mine.

Puppy Chow breath wafts
Fuzzy balls have not yet dropped
Still you hump our guests.

Happy Haiku Thursday!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Death of Poon the Gecko.

Sorry, Googlers. It’s neither a Spanish painting nor a sexual reference. I’m reporting today the sad news that the Little Dudes’ leopard gecko has gone on to the great aquarium with wood chips and plastic plants in the sky.

It’s not my fault, so stop looking at me that way. Sure, I groused about taking care of a tiny snake-with-legs, but I cared about Poon, dammit. Sorta. I gave him water. I purchased live crickets and dumped them in every Saturday. Poon was a terrible cricket hunter, that’s all. I mean, at first, he was all sneaky and pouncey, but for the past few months, he lost his will, and possibly his eyesight. Crickets would sit right in front him, wagging their teeny cricket tongues, but Poon couldn’t seal the deal.

When I found him recently, belly-up, spiky little toes curled in a final farewell, I couldn’t help but feel slightly relieved. No longer will I have to visit the geek department of PetSmart to buy live bugs for a reptile. True, I’ve met some really interesting and hairy people there. You have no idea how many Star Trek fans own lizards. But mostly, I was relieved that I no longer have to tell visitors to my home that the speckled thing behind the glass is named “Poon.” Go back with me in time, won't you, to the arrival of said Poon, two years ago…

It was December 21st, A fierce blizzard ravaged Colorado, stopping all activity, including sleighs and FedEx trucks. All scheduled deliveries to the state sat idling in on closed highways, hundreds of miles away. Mommies and Daddies frantically called UPS and Amazon.com. Where were the presents? Would they make it? Sadly, the answer was no. There would be no holidays for the children of Denver. December 22nd, another blizzard hits the Front Range, pretty much insuring that only prudent thinker-in-advance-types (whatever, brown-nosers) or super creative parents able to craft Nintendo games from toaster parts would have gifts for their children. December 24th, the clock is ticking. Loudly. My charming husband, being a loving and brave man, digs out a vehicle. Determined, I set off in search of any open retail outlet, fully planning on creating gifts from the pharmacy and liquor store.

Through the drifts there was a glowing red light. I crept towards it, thankful for four wheel drive and new wiper blades. A few brave souls had dug out the front of the PetSmart so that doggies and kitties across the Denver metro might get their kibble. Inside, I slipped on wet lineoleum floors around the "careful slippery floors" sign and slid into the reptile department. After years of saying NO FRICKIN WAY to owning a snake-with-legs, this would be the ultimate surprise for my darling babies! I left with lizard, ugly lamp thing, glass box, initial supply of nasty little crickets, and an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction. Yes, Virginia, there is a gecko.

The next morning, after the hot chocolate and mimosas had been polished off, and all the wrapping paper cleared away, I had the following conversation.

Happy Six Year Old: Oh, Mom! I cannot believe we got a lizard! We will call him Poon!
Mimosa’ed Mommy: What? Huh? No. No, you can’t call him that.
Happy Six Year Old: Why not? Poon is a good name!
Mimosa’ed Mommy: No. Dude, it’s not nice.
Happy Six Year Old: Why is it not nice? What does it mean?
Mimosa’ed Mommy: Well, ummm. Uh, forget it. Poon is a great name. Does it say in there how long they live? And, where’s my glass?

Some things are better left unexplained.
So long, Poon.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Proceed with caution.

Last night I drove by a construction site downtown where they’re putting up a huge hotel. Traffic was squished down to one lane because a crane twenty stories up had just scooped up an enormous dumpster, like the size of a truck really, and was raising it to the top of the building. This massive hunk of a dumpster was hanging from cables and swinging around high over the street. As I crept along, a guy in hard hat and an orange vest scowled and frowned at me. He pushed his hand to the ground in that universal sign language for “slow the hell down” and then yelled in a yodelesque voice not unlike Tony Randall, “SLOOOW DOWN!” His eyes met mine and I dare say, his were filled with fear and hatred.

Really, Hard Hat Guy? You think? You guys are dangling tons of steel over the street, but if there’s an accident it will be because I’m going 7 miles an hour? Oh, and tell me again why should I slow down? So that the crane operator guy has a better chance of lining up right on top me before he releases it? Wouldn’t it make more sense for us all to go really damned fast and get the hell outta here?

What sort of training do you get, Hard Hat Guy? Any statistics or logics involved? How about some engineering studies to show how well a little plastic helmet protects under the stress of a falling dumpster? Any of that type of stuff? Or do they just tell you about dangerous vehicles hitting skinny guys in orange vests? Say, here’s a plan: You may be able to conquer your fear of oncoming traffic by NOT standing in it. Just sayin.

I wonder if your wife thinks you look hot in your "uniform." I wonder if she rubs your back at night, and is turned on by your life of danger. I wonder if you would instruct her to linger under the dumpster. Maybe you would because secretly you know she mocks you and your dayglo vest to her friends and mother. Come to think of it, you're just plain sick of her shit. She's probably home blogging while you're out in all kinds of weather and speeding cars just trying to support her lazy ass and that of her ungrateful no-good kid who's probably on drugs. And maybe I look just like her…and maybe you’re on your two-way beepy thing telling the crane operator to LET IT RIP! End it. End it today. You’ve had enough of the bitch and this time, no one’s getting out alive, not while you’re in charge of traffic flow anyway. This orange vest isn't just for the ladies, you know. Yeah. Maybe that’s it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mother's Little Helper.

Generally, Big Dude Little Glasses and I discourage the boys spending quality time with electronics. We’re kinda “go play outside” people, so the Little Dudes don’t watch much TV, they don’t play on the computer, they own a completely outdated and somewhat embarrassing PS2 rather than a cool Wii…and, this next part is bordering on cruelty, so if you’re a social services officer, please hop over to one of those scrapbooking blogs now…THEY HAVE NEITHER GUITAR HERO OR ROCK BAND. I know. How will they get by in college? We’re sorta counting on their skills playing real instruments to carry them through, but I admit we are indeed taking a risk with their social success.

The only reason we even own the PS2 is so we can have “alone time” while they’re awake. Getting lucky during daylight hours involves first saying “Hey guys…wanna play video games?” (when they were little it was the only reason we purchased Blues’ Clues videos.) In our house offering permission for video gaming is akin to grabbing your spouse in the small of the back, pulling them towards you and whispering breathily in their ear, “Dang baby. You hot.”

However, I just walked through a perfectly silent room with children in it. They both had little white earbuds in their heads, and lovely, cult-induced trance-like stares. They didn’t even know I was there. I could have had a grownup conversation right next to them with zero interruption. They didn’t need me to get them anything to eat. They weren’t begging for an air soft gun. They weren’t whining for a sleepover. They had absolutely nothing to say to me and they didn’t need a thing from me. Which begs the question: Where the hell were these things when they were babies? I was supposed to be thankful for the advanced technology of a stupid diaper genie and somewhere in Steve Jobs head there was the iPod? I have seriously bad timing.

I suppose I should make them take them off and interact with their family, but why? It’s so damned….peaceful. I guess that’s why my parents always encouraged me going to my room and listening to my music. They even got me a super cool stereo with tape to tape recording capabilities AND a record player. I was lucky, because while my friends moms were saying “turn it down,” MY mom was surprising us with bigger speakers and new Rick Springfield records. It was really…EEWWWWW! Oh holy crap, I just realized they were doing it WHILE I WAS IN THE HOUSE. And enticing me with electronics to get me out of the way. How sick. It’s just wrong. And brilliant.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

An Open Letter.

Hello Lady Driving in the Lane Beside Me.

It’s cute how you go the same speed as me whether I speed up or slow down. You’re somehow drawn to me. It’s very flattering. The thing is, I kind of need to get in your lane so I can take The Giant One to middle school. So, if you could just maybe choose your own speed so you’re either passable or get-behind-able, that’d be super.

You’re probably a teensy distracted by the large mass of mail you’re storing on your dashboard, so I understand you not really being able to notice traffic around you. Wow! That’s neat how all the mail reflects in your windshield! It’s like those cool laser displays in Air Force jets. You must feel like a total badass. I bet you can’t even see in front of you through it all, so I don’t know why I’d expect you be able to see off to the side. That’s just asking too much. I’m sorry.

Here, I’ll fix it. I’ll come to an almost complete stop over here on your right while you’re reading the Crate & Barrel sale flyer sliding in front of you as we round this corner. Then, a sharp left, and I can pull in behind you.

OK! Got it. You’re in front of me, whew. Oh, ummm. Pssst. This is kind of awkward. You still kind of have a John Kerry sticker on the back of your car. I, uh, don’t really know how to break this to you other than to just say it…well, it’s in great condition and all, but I am pretty sure that swift boat has kinda sailed, if you know what I’m sayin. Good news, though. I think you can get Obama ones, now. They’re shiny. And free! You just have to find the website or something I think.

Well, this is my left turn. There’s no pedestrians, so I’ll be going. You enjoy that passing lane now. Don't you worry about a thing. B’bye.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ted Williams' head is spinning in its freezer.

The only reason baseball was invented was to give people an excuse to drink beer and eat hot dogs in the sun on weekday afternoons, so I generally don’t watch it on television in October, since every one of those elements is missing. However, I’ve been seeing replays on SportsCenter and am troubled by one particularly odd thing. When celebrating in the locker room after a win, before dumping champagne all over each other, the winners of the playoff games stop and take the time to put on swim goggles.

You heard me. They’re completely exuberant from advancing in a playoff game. It’s the best day of their lives. They’ve worked all season for this very moment. It’s what they dreamt about as children in Little League. And then, just as their whole life culminates into an apex of glory…they pause. “Oh, just wait a sec here guys while I slip on my swim goggles. OK. THAT’S BETTER. Hit me with your bubbly! Wheeee! We won! We are the champions, my friend!”

This is very likely the weeniest thing I’ve ever witnessed.

I asked my pal in Boston about it, figuring as a loyal Red Sox fan he’d have some insight. Maybe the team was sponsored by Speedo or something, and they had to do it for product placement. His response? “Aww, c’mon! Champagne is carbonated alcohol! That would burn!” What a homer. Then why don’t they take the time to put on nose plugs and elbow pads, in case they slip on the wet locker room floor? Wouldn’t want to take a nasty hit to the funny bone when there’s baseball to be played!

Sure, I was raised an an era of no helmets, no seatbelts, no sunscreen. But when I was a kid, our Olympic Champion (who won seven medals, btw, one less than that other guy) was a fella named Mark Spitz. He had no form fitting space-age suit, and he had NO GOGGLES. Hell, he even had chest hair and a moustache. Did it slow him down? No sir. Did he worry about a silly little thing like chemicals from third-world pools getting in his eyes? No. No, he did not. He was going too damned fast. But overweight, Copenhagen-slurping baseball players are concerned with sparkling wine? I’m no sommelier, but is flying champagne really so effin’ toxic? If it’s that painful, here’s an idea - DON’T SPRAY IT ALL OVER THE DAMNED PLACE. I’m sure the janitorial staff will thank you, and you won't have to endanger your vision and shit.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

How to tell if you live next door to us.

1. You find golf practice balls in your shrubbery and on your roof.
2. You know all the riffs to Sweet Home Alabama as heard through a Stratocaster Jr.
3. You have woken to see naked children jumping on a trampoline over the fence.
4. You have been attacked by water balloons while relaxing on your patio.
5. You have heard polka music wafting over the sounds of a family reunion.
6. You have helped carry a keg up the steps for a family reunion.
7. You have seen a bulldog sleeping on the back of a sofa like a 50 pound cat.
8. You know that Labor Day weekend there will be a CSU Rams flag flying proudly even when the CSU Rams suck, because there’s just no reason to like the Buffs even if they're better.
9a. You can tell what hunting season it is by what type of camouflage is drying outside.
9b. You can tell it’s early bow hunting season if the lawn is being mowed by a girl.
10. You’ve had children offer to exterminate pesky pigeons /squirrels/ mice / racoons for you with a Red Ryder BB gun.
11. You have at least one window with a pockmark from a Red Ryder BB gun.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A rose by any other name...might really stink up the joint.

Conventional wisdom says that mothers yell out their children’s full names when the kid is in trouble. I’ve never done it to my children and I likely never will. Wanna know why? Well, do you? Okay. It’s because I have a darned good theory that if you go screaming your children’s full names down the street, your kids turn into notorious bad guys. And if you call them by their initials rather than their name…they’re going to be jackasses. Whereas if you simply call them by their names, they’ll either be saints or rockstars. Here, let me offer you proof.

Murderers and assassins have first, middle and last names. Lee Harvey Oswald! Get off that grassy knoll right this minute! John Wilkes Booth, did you sneak out to the movies again? (The only anomaly in this example is if the child is named Theodore, nicknamed Ted, which guarantees they’ll be a psycho and/or a murderer even without a middle name, see: Bundy, Kaczynski.)

Jackasses go by their initials. “No, O.J., you may not use T.O. as your one phone call.” Sidebar examples to this point include Dubya and Eminem. And, depending on the appeals proceedings, we may have to start using Orenthal James soon.

Presidents and presidential candidates only have last names. Even though usually reserved as a method for high school boys to address each other, it’s perfectly acceptable for media, constituents, or anyone really, to call the leader of the free world by their last name only. Yo, Bush, what up? Where Obama at? Didja hear Clinton is taking a freshman to prom? Word.

Religious figures and rock stars only have one-word names that can be either be their first or last names, or even a cool noun. Hey, Ghandi, you seen Edge? Yeah, he’s at lunch with Bono, Buddha and Diddy.

This is probably why Hillary would’ve found more success on a world tour with Madonna or Prince than by campaigning for the presidential nomination. I could’ve told you that would never work. No one takes a first namer seriously in politics, only the music industry.

So I’ll just go on calling my boys Pete and Mike, thank you. Even though that’s not their names. It’ll keep them out of trouble.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Not cut out for this.

Helping my offspring with their homework makes me realize that home schooling at my house would probably end with a lot of expulsions and government investigations.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Heavy man. Real heavy.

The day I turned forty-one I gained ten pounds. I suppose it’s possible that I’d gained it progressively since the last time I’d weighed myself, but I’d prefer to think I simply woke up 10 pounds heavier on that day. “Whoa? What the? I’ve not seen a number that big since I had a linebacker in utero! This scale is a piece of shit.”

I described this sudden and irreversible weight gain to my sister in law. She’s in pharmaceuticals, which means not only does she know a whole bunch about medicine and diseases and all kinds of creepy things that can kill you, she also gets a free minivan every couple of years. She suggested an immediate trip to the doctor to get bloodwork done. Then she said “and you better pray it’s diabetes or thyroid disease so you don’t have to start exercising.” Amen, sister, amen.

Rather than spending the $25 co-pay, though, I’m thinking I could find out what’s happening by getting a hold of someone from the GAP. The same strange expansion of body size has also occurred in their corporate offices, I think, because I still wear the same size jeans I’ve worn since my weight was correct on my driver’s license. Which would be about 15 pounds ago. I think it’s called “vanity sizing," when they make clothes bigger than they should be so that forty year olds can walk around thinking they've got a size four ass when it's so very clear to everyone that they've got a size eight ass... it's either that, or I am simply becoming more dense with age. Like a fruitcake.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Bipartisan Punctuation.

Just wondering if I have to be registered as a democrat to use commas liberally.

Friday, October 3, 2008

A tender tale of childhood.

This could surprise you, but I was raised by smart asses. Loving, kind, generous people to be sure, but they are also tremendous smart asses. My father’s standard answer to most questions from “Can we go to Disneyland” to “Can I have a slumber party?” was LET’S NOT AND SAY WE DID. He found great amusement in this.

One of my greatest days was when I heard a bible verse that said “Fathers, do not be irritating your children.” It became my standard answer for Let’s Not and Say We Did. (And most things my parents said and did from 1974 to 1988.) But in the end he got his way, because I was not only irritated but I also didn’t go to Disneyland or have the slumber party. And so the win goes to Daddy.

But surely the thing I heard most growing up was, (make sure you say this slowly, and pause a great deal at each comma) “Why is it that, whenever you have nothing to say, you open your mouth, and say it anyway?” This has the potential to be terribly disheartening and esteem-crushing to a regular kid. But to a child raised by smart asses, it is simply a challenge. So - I’d like to announce I no longer just open my mouth and say nothing. Now, when I have nothing to say, I type it up and post it on the Internet. So there. One point for me, Daddy.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

One from the archives.

I wrote the following in 1985 when I should have been writing a critical analysis paper on the "Peloponnesian War" by Thucydides. Note to readers - do not be hungover and late on the morning of your university registration, or you'll end up taking "History of the Ancient Greeks" because nothing else is left. Hard to believe, but knowing the intricate details of a civil war fought in 430BC has not really come in handy in my life. Thus far, anyway.

Behold! The genius of my youth:

The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog. Don't ask me why he did, perhaps the lazy dog was on fire, and the quick brown fox was running to get some help or water or something. Or maybe the dog was really smelly, and the fox wanted to get away from it as fast as he could, and even though the fox was really quick, the fastest way was still to jump right on over him. It's really hard to say, I mean, we don't know the circumstances or anything, we are just assuming he jumped over him for fun or something and that is not fair to the dog or the fox. And who decided that the dog was lazy, anyway? Maybe he was just tired from putting up with that damned fox all day. Maybe he was just being polite, and pretending to be lazy, when actually he could have gotten up and kicked that stupid fox's ass. Maybe the fox was jumping because he knew the dog was going to get him sooner or later, and he might as well get a head start. It's really hard to say, and I wish people would think before they type.

There you have it. That right there is why I'm not a highly paid, tenured professor of Ancient Greek History today.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

And when did we stop calling them "thongs?"

When we remodeled our kitchen several years ago, we wondered if it was overkill to have a big double sided sink as well as a smaller prep sink just feet away. A few folks even advised against it, saying the counter space was more important than having yet another sink in a not-so-huge kitchen.

Obviously, they don’t have to hide their tasty flip flops from bulldogs.

I guess their feet just aren't as scrumpdillyicious as mine.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A thought.

I bet the saying "A picture is worth a thousand words" is just part of an elaborate PR campaign by an illiterate caricature artist.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Peaches & Herb. Only, there's no Herb.

Autumn in Colorado is about the most fantastic thing you could imagine. Perfectly warm days with no bugs, cool nights with great sleeping weather, pretty gold leaves falling on still-green grass. Nirvana. But to just make it even greater, there are peaches. The western slope of Colorado yields some of the juiciest, yummiest big wonderful fruit you could imagine. Denverites and front range dwellers place their orders in August and get back big boxes of fuzzy yumminess in mid-September. It's a ritual.

Now. Let's pretend you are a smooshy-faced, round-eyed dog. Let's say a nice lady brought a big bag of fuzzy round things up to your house. What would you do?

You would go nutty because there's 1/2 a crate of tennis balls sitting on the table, oh my god, tennis balls, right there, there they are, tennis balls, do you see them, give me one, tasty lovely tennis balls yum yum yum! That's what you'd do.

Only it's just a bag of peaches. A bag of peaches that an 8 year old moves off of the counter because he needs the space for something else, and very wonderfully, a gigantic, perfect peach rolls across the floor. No one is looking.

Pretend you are a smooshy-faced, round-eyed dog. What would you do?

I'll tell you. You would skulk across the floor very carefully, and smoosh your smooshy face against the tennis ball looking object and ever so slightly wrap your raw-steak-like lips around it and sneak into another room, carefully...quietly...can you even believe you just scored the biggest tennis ball ever created, and man, aren't those labradors gonna be jealous? That's what you'd do.

Then, after biting into said tennis ball and discovering its peachy goodness, you'd practically die and go to heaven. You'd tenderly devour the most delicious tennis ball on the planet, its juice staining your big lips as well as the tops of your stumpy wide feet where you held your bounty, until there was nothing left but a little stone, a hard pit. No fun, and not bouncy, nothing left to chew on, so you'd just quietly spit it on the couch so that feeder-lady would clean it up.

A postscript from the smooshy faced one:
Oh delightful juicy peachy tennis ball. You surprised me. I expected the dependable rubbery friend I've come to know, but you were something different, weren't you? Will you surprise me again later and cause me to soil rugs and keep feeder-lady up scrubbing bulldog processed peach goo? Will my sensitive belly reject you at 2am? Actually, no. For we are soul-mates. We are round and we are lovely and we are ever so fuzzy. I sit, at the edge of the counter, using every bit of my bulldog determination to will one of your soft, friendly co-horts to escape the fruit bowl and lavish itself against my furry lips. I can smell the sunsets of a thousand summer nights wafting from high above my reach. I smack the ever present slobber that just thinking of you creates, and swallow hard. Come to me, peachy ball, come to me now.

I'll wait for you always.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Camouflage and Neon Lights.

Every fall, the guy I live with, aka: Big Dude Little Glasses, takes off for a week of what he calls “Elk Hunting.” He leaves with a bunch of food, camoflauge fleece pants and a bow. As in bow-and-arrow. Like Cupid. This is what he says he is going to aim at the elk when he comes across it. Most folks we know in our completely white collar neighborhood are very relieved to know he only takes skinny little arrows to kill a 1000 pound animal, because it “gives the elk a fair chance,” but after several years and many thousands of dollars, it is obviously not fair at all. THE ELK HAVE A DISTINCT ADVANTAGE. I have taken to whispering in his ear while he sleeps, “You will know untold husbandly pleasures if you will just once, for the love of all that’s holy, use a frickin’ rifle.”

I say this because not one time has my sweet betrothed returned with a dead elk. Not even a little piece of a dead elk. Not even an elk steak purchased from a meat market, unwrapped and stuck in dirt to trick me. I would very much like 1000 pounds of high mountain grass-fed organic meat in the freezer after the investment that we’ve made. It would be like if you went to Hawaii five times and didn’t take any pictures, pick up any shells, get a lei, or pay $9 for a Big Mac. Why the hell go?

I admit that a week in a cabin with beer and three men sounds mighty appealing – but could we pretty please have an elk? I’ve been patient, but after many years of this, evidence seems to be building that he’s not even going hunting at all.

I suspect he’s actually just going on a week-long bender to Vegas with his buddies.

Consider the facts:
1. Well this one’s a biggie…there’s no elk. Not even a picture of an elk. There are good stories about elk, but he could have easily gotten those by watching the hunting channel. IN VEGAS.

2. He leaves clean shaven and showered and he comes home with six days of beard, a duffle of dirty underwear and smelling of elk cow urine. An obvious cover up so the scent of smoky casinos and hookers doesn’t linger on his camo. Have you ever been on a return flight from Vegas? Everyone on there looks tired, needs a shave and smells like piss.

3. He mails $500 to his friend in early summer and gives him another $500 when he leaves. Why? So there’s no receipt to the Bellagio IN VEGAS, I’m guessing. The first payment is a hotel deposit, the second an installment for blackjack. His single friend handles it so none of the wives figure it out. It’s the same concept as strip clubs who have their visa receipts say “Glory Be To Him Christian Bookstore” instead of “Dirty Merle’s Nekkid Cheerleaders.”

4. He leaves with a bunch of canned goods and groceries…and returns with…almost all of them. He claims it’s because all of the guys brought too much…I contend he’s too full of $2.99 all-you-can-eat prime rib buffet to eat canned stew and granola bars.

It’s all just so…well, obvious.

Pookie – if you want to continue the charade, I’ll play along. You work hard and you certainly deserve a week off now and then to wear fleece pants and drink beer with the fellas. Go ahead, call it “elk hunting.” I’m all for it. If you could just do me the favor of showering at the airport it’d be super. Oh, and you should know…I’m considering joining a “book club.”

Flip-flops must be completely out of the question.

If you think about it, elephants have REALLY small feet. Relative to their leg size, that is.

I bet it’s a bitch to keep their socks on.

Monday, September 22, 2008

It would more kind to call them "special."

Listen, I make fun of my kids as much as the next person...neither of them is going to get a spelling scholarship, if you know what I’m saying. But putting a sign out on the street telling the world they’re slow? That's just plain mean. Thanks for the warning, though - I'll be sure not to yell algebra problems out the window as I pass your house.

Say, here’s a thought: maybe if you didn’t dress them in those creepy “See Dick” outfits they’d be a little more with it. Perhaps it's the lederhosen holding them back.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

M-I-C...See ya real soon...NOT.

My friend Scotty emailed to see how the mouse hunting was going.

As much as I hate to admit it, the mice won a round. ONE round.

My delightfully and tastefully adorned trap, previously mentioned on this here blog, did no good, because these are the teeniest little rodents you've ever seen. Apparently they can climb on top of a trap, eat until they're ready to burst and then waddle away unharmed, stopping only to poop in my kitchen. While I'm not the kind of person who jumps on a chair and screams when they see a mouse, I'm also not the kind to think gerbils are house pets and prairie dogs should be relocated. They're all basically rats, and I see no reason for them anywhere near me. (If you have a reason that they somehow help the eco-system in some manner other than that they provide a home for fleas, please feel free to let me in on it.)

So...I stopped using traps. I went for the slightly less humane, slow, hideous death of a glue trap. And not an ordinary glue trap, either. I purchased a metric ton of extra sticky peanut butter scented glue traps and put greasy bulldog nuggets in the center of each one.

Did they work? Mwah ha ha. Did they EVER. My children now call me Mouse Vader. Mice all over the block are madly running their little miniature mimeograph machines to print itty-bitty posters warning of my singular evil.

Does it bother me to hear their tiny screams in the night as they struggle for their lives, each movement only further insuring their doom? Eh, not really. Not nearly as much as it bothers me to see mouse poop in my house, anyway. Scream away, Mickey. See you in hell.

(Oh, and Scotty - for your benefit - the picture is my two-day tally posted on the refrigerator, to frighten and intimidate potential newcomers.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Here's the apple, right under the tree.

The ginormous middle schooler is doing homework. The assignment is a cute little “get to know you” self-assessment sheet with questions about what you’re good at, what you want to work on academically, etc.:

Kid: What’s something I don’t understand?

Me: Phonetics.

Kid: What’s phonetics?

Me: Dude, see what I mean?

Kid: Seriously, mom, What don’t I understand?

Me: Ummm. Spelling? In English.

Kid: I understand spelling, I just don’t care about spelling.

Me: AH-HA! Then you don’t UNDERSTAND the IMPORTANCE of spelling. Hiii-yah! You may be as tall as me, but I can still beat you mentally!

Kid: Rolls eyes, completely unimpressed with my awesome cerebral-judo skills, and writes: “I don’t understand…how people can watch NASCAR all day.”

Which was almost as amusing as his response to “I think yesterday was...” His answer was the poetic and philosophical: "Wednesday."

I love that boy.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Entreprenuerial Spirits.

Currently working on my business plan for an in-home liquor delivery service. So far, even after aggressive capital infusion, the 24-month revenue projections show huge losses due to abuses in the owner/employee discount program. My recommendation: Greenlight the bastard.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Ides of September.

I know a lot of people (and one extremely intelligent smooshy faced bulldog) with birthdays in September. My cool pal Benny, who I first met when he was playing Little League, and who now is all grown up with a job and tattoos; my older sister Genny, who somehow survived not only being a teen in the '70s, but also being the practice kid for my parents; my friend Bernie the Attorney, whom I respect deeply for choosing a profession that rhymes with his name. There’s loads of ‘em. Apparently, December/January is a good time for snugglin’ in and baby-makin.’

Out of all those friends and doggies, though, I have been obsessed for weeks with the birthday that falls today, the 15th. It is the day my sweet friends Dorothy and Tracy were born. Identical twins, brunette and beautiful, with wide smiles and good hearts. While most of the people I know are sarcastic, jaded, caustic and inherently rotten (but loads of fun), Dorothy and Tracy are genuinely kind, thoughtful, graceful people, who, coincidentally, are also loads of fun. I met them in middle school and have adored them ever since, but not nearly as much as they adored each other.

Today though, Dorothy celebrates their birthday alone. Tracy died June 1st from complications of leukemia. They didn’t even know she was sick until a few days before she was gone. There was no time for those of us far away to see her or talk to her. A care package I sent with cozy jammies arrived on the day of her funeral.

I’ve been anxious and nervous about today ever since. I've felt like a parent trying to keep danger and sadness away from a child. But, for the life of me, I could not figure out a way to keep September 15th from coming to Dorothy. I brightly told her to “celebrate for both of you!” and “Tracy wouldn’t want you to be sad!” Both are true, but both sound so empty, so very, very stupid. Fortunately, Tracy was the kind of person who not only sent cards and letters and gifts to her sister all the time, they all had heartfelt special notes, little drawings, lovely words in her tiny, perfect handwriting. So, Dorothy knows she was loved. And I think she knows that Tracy left this world feeling very loved. That must be of the smallest comfort, I hope, when she looks in the mirror everyday and sees her lost other half.

I know there’s nothing I can say to change how Dorothy feels today. But – I can tell the other six or so of you who read this to squeeze your parents tighter and smooch your husband harder and call your friends more often even when there’s nothing to say. Smile at the mailman and kiss your dog on the lips. Send cozy jammies to someone healthy. Wear cozy jammies, and eat birthday cake for Tracy. It's all just too uncertain to live any other way. Happy Birthday, Dorothy & Tracy. I love you both.

Football Mom.

Realized over the weekend that in the last six years I’ve spent more money on folding camping chairs than I have on real furniture. And why the hell don't they sell them with two cup holders anymore? I have a frappacino AND a phone, thank you.

Friday, September 12, 2008

High Maintenance.

This will come as a huge surprise to those-of-you-who-know-me: I’ve never been someone really dedicated to fashion or beauty. (“Damn good thing, since you’re not really good at either of those things,” those-of-you-who-know-me are saying right now.)

Whatever, smart asses. I just mean that I tend to take the tomboy approach to things. Makeup routine: Mascara. Chapstick. Done. Facial cleansing routine: Water. Towel. Done. Clothes shopping: Run through Sports Authority. Grab pants. Done. If Safeway sold pants, I'd have a couple pairs.

I choose clothes and shoes based solely on their comfort factor. Although I do prefer that the colors are in the khaki family if possible. I have gone out on a limb recently and gotten some black things for formal occasions when khaki just won’t do. I tell you all of this so that when I say I was reading a magazine article on beauty secrets and regrets you will realize that I must’ve been extremely bored in line at the grocery store, DMV or in the waiting area at the emergency room. (There’s a blog topic for another day…should there really be places to WAIT at a center for EMERGENCIES?) You can tell I was not getting my hair cut, because I only read People and US when I get my hair cut. It’s important to get updates every six weeks or so on how many illegitimate children Angelina Jolie has currently, and how big Mary Kate’s giant purse is…has to be big enough to keep Ashley in, I think.

So, there I was, Somewhere Boring, reading this article on the things women regret not doing in their youth that would’ve practically guaranteed their future beauty. Because that's possible. It was really complex things like, “I regret not wearing sunscreen as a teenager because now I’m 70 and have wrinkles” or “I regret getting that Dorothy Hamill haircut when what I really wanted was the Princess Di haircut with Nadia Comaneci bangs” and “I regret purchasing a condominium instead of really good moisturizer, nobody marries women with their own condominium.” Which got me to thinking, “Hmmm. Why the hell can’t boring places at least get The New Yorker? It’s weekly, so there’d be plenty for everyone, they have cartoons…”

Much, much later, I wondered how I would answer the question of my biggest beauty faux pas. And, here for your reading pleasure are my answers. The personal, innermost beauty-related regrets of ME. But don’t read them now. Print them. Save them in your handbag until you’re waiting for your automobile emissions test/prescription/parent-teacher conference, and are looking for something really compelling to read in your samsonite molded plastic seat.

I REGRET:

1. Using baby oil as sunscreen from 1979 to 1990. But only because I ruined several pairs of shorts with my greasy ass. Otherwise, it was a pretty good idea and very effective. I was always very tan and youthful looking. (Especially in 1979.) I think my lemon juice highlights accentuated my golden brown shoulders in such a manner that most folks did not notice my greasy shorts anyway.

2. Drinking 9 beers the night before a job interview(s). I got the job(s), but I always look a little rough on my ID badges.

3. But here’s the one that would really make a difference: I regret not marrying a plastic surgeon, or the brother of a plastic surgeon or the son of a plastic surgeon. Pretty much anyone with a family discount for plastic surgery woulda been good. I think that’s what would ultimately make the biggest difference in my overall appearance today. Well, besides diet and exercise. And moisturizer. Blah, blah, blah, whatever.

POST SCRIPT - several days later - it occurs to me that I may be inferring that I'd rather not be married to Big Dude Little Glasses, and that was not my point at all. I love him dearly, it's just that he would have to pay retail for any surgical improvements. Also, the big galoot seems to love me the way I am, so I'm probably sticking around for another 5 decades or so.

"I base most of my fashion taste on what doesn't itch." - Gilda Radner

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Unsubscribe.

J. Crew just sent me an email with the subject line: “A new cardi for your collection!” I think Mr. or Ms. Crew...or shall I call you the more folksy and abbreviated “J?”...is maybe going a teensy bit out on a limb with that one.

a) J is assuming my skin doesn’t crawl when people unnecessarily shorten words to be cute. Wrongo, J. (Case in point, the rafting guide this summer who said the rapids were “gnar” and then felt the blunt end of my paddle knock across her REI bandana-ed head.)

b) J is assuming I know ‘cardi’ is short (and CUTE!) for “cardigan” and not, say “cardiac arrest” or “cardinal sin” or “cardio workout.”

c) J is assuming I not only wear, but actually COLLECT frumpy sweaters with buttons on the front to be ironic. Ummmm. No. No, I do not. Past age 26, a grandpa sweater on a female is no longer clever and hot in that naughty librarian kind of clever and hot. It's just weird. And I don't have enough closet space for non-wearable collections.

It’s bittersweet, but I think just maybe I’ve passed the target demographic for J. Crew.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Note to the merchandising folks at 7-Eleven Corp.

My life would be so much easier if 7-Eleven sold ground beef.

And if they really want to earn the loyalty of this customer - they would add a whiskey button on the soda fountain. That's the type of "convenience" I'm looking for in my neighborhood "convenience store."

Might wanna pull a focus group together on that.

Monday, September 8, 2008

You gotta play to win.

Pretty much every time I buy lotto tickets I just go with the “quick pick” option because I don’t want the people at the grocery store to think I’m some kind of strange freak who is so into the lottery that I actually think I’m going to win, so I superstitiously choose lucky or important numbers. Because that would be weird if I was like that. It would be wrong. So I’m not like that at all. Ever. Unless of course I’m in a different neighborhood where I’m unlikely to be recognized by staff or patrons – in which case, I am all over it.

Unfortunately, you only get six numbers, and I’m constantly thinking of seven numbers that are super good. I’m mean, really great, excellent numbers, all with fantastic purpose, and then the person working the machine has to hand it back with a “HULLO - you have too many numbers” and I have to sit and decide which number is less meaningful than the other six. My birthdate? Uh, no. The age of my firstborn? 'Fraid not. The address of our first house? That's not right. Not eleven. That’s the best number ever. Gotta keep eleven... As you can imagine, it’s painful, really. For everyone involved.

Nobody wins with a ticket purchased from their home grocery store anyway. The big “We Sold the Winner” signs are only at places that sell nothing but wiper blades and grain alcohol. (There’s also usually tumbleweeds blowing by and harmonica music being played by a husky man in overalls sitting on a barrel should you be looking for them.) That’s why I stop at strange out-of-the-way gas stations even if I don’t need gas. Here's a little secret for you. The stranger the place, the better the odds of winning. You’re not ever going to hear, “And the 8 million dollar jackpot went to a 41-year-old mother of two who buys ten tickets each week with her two hundred dollars of groceries packed neatly in reusable bags at the Cherry Creek Safeway!” It’s more “Ninety-two-years-young Delores had never gambled, save for Wednesday night bingo down at the First Baptist Church, but something made her pull into the Gas-n-Getum in Hotchkiss last week where she spent $1 that’ll change her life forever.” Yeah? I bet Delores picked the annuity payout, dumb bitch.

Anyway, even though I tell my children I buy lottery tickets “to support our state parks and to help build wheelchair accessible trails so that the beauty of our state may be enjoyed by everyone, even the handicapable,” it’s really because I WANT TO WIN A LOT OF MONEY. I know that I probably won’t. But wouldn’t it be really cool if I did? That’s the best part of buying them, the dreaming part. The fantasizing that it might be me holding the ginormous cardboard check. I save up the little slips of paper with my numbers for several weeks, and then check them all at once… so far, nothin’ – but the anticipation is juicy and sweet. The weeks I don’t buy them, yeesh, it hurts to see the numbers then. They are invariably numbers I would’ve chosen. I am so not kidding. As the tuxedoed dude with the long Match Game ‘74 skinny microphone reads the little balls after the news, they sound so familiar. And I’m all, “Ohmygawd! Two! Our first house started with a two! I was totally going to pick two! Oh, fourteen! For the love of all that’s holy, that is my son’s birthday, and I ALWAYS pick fourteen! Damnity damn damn! Don’t do it, DO NOT BE 20… Can you even believe this shit? Of course it’s twenty. I used to be twenty! Who the hell didn’t let me buy tickets this week? That damned Safeway customer service desk is too crowded with friggin' old people!” And so on.

It’s a vicious and terrible addiction, but not one I’m likely to give up soon. I’d love to call in rich to work, but in the meantime, odds are good that I need to pay attention to some looming deadlines. Besides, eventually I’ll be an old woman with only a dollar to spend, cruising in my Crown Vic looking for petrol, and then check it out, hombre. You will be looking at a winner.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What are you talking about under there?

My friend and neighbor – who for purposes of anonymity we’ll call…hmmm….how ‘bout we call her “Nicole,” well, Nicole says that, properly fitted, babydoll tops are cute on anyone. And if they’re not, it’s easily solved by a product called SPANX. The official Spanx website says they're “shapewear,” but what they are is a modern day spandex version of the corset and girdle. And chasity belt, because they’re very hard to remove after drinking.

I’ve only ever owned one pair of Spanx, and then just for a few days. I got them on the recommendation of not only Nicole, but also a bearded drag queen that I met at a 50s themed birthday party. He and a lot of his friends were having a super good time being over 6 feet tall, 200 pounds and pretending they were Marilyn Monroe. I figured that was a pretty good reference really, so I paid more than I did for my first car for some “power panties” and wore them under filmy black pants to the Country Music Television Awards in Nashville last April. Yes. My life is THAT interesting. I go to awards shows with celebrities all the time. Not really, I just sort of ended up with free tickets, and figured it was one of those life-list things I should cross off, even if it was never technically on the list of things to cross off. On a side note, it was a pretty fun time, Big Dude Little Glasses went along and it was like a 24 hour date on a school night. In Nashville. With our close friends Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman. Anyway, the trip was rather whirlwindy, and I accidentally forgot my Spanx in at the hotel in Nashville. I have not yet written the smash country hit “I left my Spanx in Nashville Now My Pants Don’t Fit No More” but I plan to very soon.

Back to the babydoll, Nicole and I discussed at depth whether wearing tight undergarments to essentially stop the muffin top under babydoll tops was ironic or just sadist, as well the overall efficiency of Body Shaping. We determined that if they ever made a full-body Spanx catsuit, we’d both save up for them...I suggested that I would pay extra for a flesh colored one with nipples and abs airbrushed on it and it would be good if it was quick drying so that I could shower in it as well. (Who the hell designs a bathroom with a huge mirror across from a glass-doored shower anyway?) Nicole decided it might be too hot to wear it all the time…but then acquiesced that if it had pit zips it would be completely tolerable, and less expensive than a tummy tuck.

I'm going to forgive the babydoll because I trust Nicole’s undergarment advice even more than that from the drag queen. She comes from good people. Her mom (shout out to my homegirl Anita in KC) told me she didn’t need to be professionally fitted for a bra because she already knew her size. 34 Long. I almost didn’t type that because I really was hoping to save it and use it as my own one day.

If you were wondering what women with cocktails on stoops talk about, now you know.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The babydoll top. A story of love and betrayal.

Way back in the 1990s, when I was pregnant for a total of 81 weeks of my life, there was none of the cute tiny belly-hugging maternity wear there is now. Let me officially take this opportunity to thank the universe for that. Perhaps the best thing about being pregnant (besides stopping everything to take naps whenever and whereever you want) is that no one expects you to have a waist. There are no belts, no tucking in, and therefore no sucking in. Abs? Don’t need ‘em, and I’ll have more lasagna, please. Eating for two, don'cha know.

Of course I had to pay with a lot of sailor collars, polka dots and obnoxious bows on my backside, but the ability to relax and breathe was really quite worth any duckie prints. After two children, though, there was a choice to be made. Convert to Mormonism, or start standing up straight again? Since I refuse to own a passenger van, wear jumpers and cut my bangs too short, I decided two children were enough, and I went back to sensible eating and buttoning the top button of my jeans.

Just in time, too, really – because celebrities started wearing tiny t-shirts to show off their growing tummies. Princess Di sported a bikini whilst preggers, gals even revealed the turkey thermometer phenomenon of pregnant belly buttons. No longer content to hide and slouch, tall thin models and actresses made it so hip and hot to be pregnant that the Gap started selling maternity clothes. What the? Now, regardless of being pregnant or not, my belt-free days of comfort were over.

AND THEN… About a year ago, I saw a woman wearing a babydoll shirt. She was sooo not pregnant. She was just wearing a tent. Just because. And she looked really happy. I looked happier, and breaking my vow to only enter a mall if my city is under threat of alien attack, I dove in and went shopping.

Oh delicious babydoll top! I could exhale. All the way. True, at first, my youngest son asked if he was getting a baby brother. No worries. All I had to do to keep friends and strangers from wondering was make sure I’m always holding a beer. Then I’m obviously not pregnant, or so completely unaware of fetal alcohol poisoning that most people are scared to approach me.

This whole summer has been a delightful retreat as cool, gauzy fabrics swirl around me. I stand over air conditioning vents, swollen and blossoming, fresh as a daisy. Go to hell, Abdominator. I don’t need you, Tony Little Gazelle. Gym membership? Unnecessary. I have a big, big shirt.

UNTIL today. I’m walking down a busy city street, flowing and glowing. Coming towards me is a small, skinny 20-something lovely thing. Her baby doll top is cute and floral. Her tiny French-cuffed jeans poke out from beneath it. Her tippy toes poke perfectly from teeny stilettos. She trots with the very essence of Barbie herself. The breeze changes direction, and the fabric blows against her, revealing…THE SAME DAMNED MUFFIN TOP AS IF SHE WAS WEARING A TIGHT SHIRT. Oh crap.

Betrayal. If Kelly Ripa’s twin sister looks that lumpy in her size XXS, what the hell must I look like? Oh…the agony. Once again, screwed by fashion. I might as well be wearing Jordache hip hugger cutoffs with a comb in the back pocket and a homemade fringed half shirt with “Foxy Lady” ironed across my chest.

I went home, determined to right the wrong and clear out the yards and yards of flowing fabric I’d grown dependent on all summer. Perhaps I could donate them to Colorado Home for Convalescent Hippies…or to an orphanage that’s lacking curtains.

For old times’ sake, I pulled on the gauziest of them all…a white, sheer jersey one that made me look positively ready to deliver sextuplets. I cracked a cool frosty and went out on the front porch to say goodbye. Goodbye to summer. Goodbye to what was. Goodbye to the pursuit of six-packs and hello to the pursuit, once again, of six-pack abs. The slippery ale slid down my throat. I belched. I exhaled, for perhaps the last time. My shirt billowed proudly like the final lowering of a flag of freedom as the sun slipped beyond the horizon. You were very good to me, babydoll top. Very, very good.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Dermatology D-I-Y.

For safety's sake, as well as the safety of those around you, please refrain from digging at your pimples in the rearview mirror of your teal Kia Sephia. At least when you're in front of me.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

This post does not condone illegal drug use.

This is an antique Nelson McCoy Windowpane Yellow-ware bowl that was made in the 1920s. Our house was built in 1922, and I think both are great representations of solidity, craftsmanship and form marrying function. It is valued at approximately $130. The bowl, not the house.

When I bought the bowl for $18 in one of those antiquey mall places with a zillion booths, I didn't know any of that - what I knew was it was green, and it was square. I have a thing for green pottery. Not a big thing. Just a thing that I like it, buy it, bring it home and then go, "OH, I kind of own something almost exactly like that." I do the exact same thing with tennis shoes.

The square obsession is different. I just prefer the square when given a choice of shape. They're symmetrical, they have pointy corners, they're not all prissy and rounded and all that. So, when I came upon a bowl - a round thing - that is sort of square, with squares all over it, wow. Had to have it.

I intended it to be a water bowl for the bulldog, but decided after bringing it home that it looked better on the buffet in the dining room than on the kitchen floor. And I am so glad that I did - because shortly after moving it, I came to know the most important feature of this bowl.

When you walk by, the square base wiggles on the buffet, ever so slightly, and sounds exactly like the synthesizer and bass line intro to White Lines by Grand Master Flash with Melle Mel. This lends a funky old school rap rhythm to my ENTIRE DAY. I am convinced this is what the original craftsman had in mind when creating it in 1920-something. With a cool backbeat in the forefront of my cranium, it's impossible to feel frumpy and 41. Even if my day consists of sciattica pain and driving huge offspring to middle school. Am I square, like the bowl? No, brother. I am not. For inside, I am superfly with a sweet beat. Rang dang diggedy dang di-dang.

PS - When fact-checking for this post, (eg: how to spell Melle Mel) I came upon this youtube post of a guy wearing stripey pajama bottoms in his room playing the bass to the GMF recording. For some reason, it's more entertaining than the original video to the song, maybe because I'm secretly happy that I'm not the only person with a soundtrack to life that was written in 1983. Get higher, baby.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLG7mHYU7O4

Monday, August 18, 2008

This means war, wiseass.

Hello, you weasley little bastard. You really think you can make yourself at home in my kitchen and have me not notice? Or did you think I’d just make a batch of brownies and leave them on the counter for you?

Perhaps you’ve not heard from your peeps about the “Great Rodentia Dachau Reenactment of 2007.” Let me remind you. It had been snowing for days. Your third cousin Mervin and his missus had been huddling in the garage trying to stay warm. She was ready to deliver, and they were both worried that the hostile and dangerous environment wouldn’t be good for the children. One day, he saw his opening behind some loose mortar, and after much scratching and clawing, he and the little woman made it into the house.

They were amazed by the sights, sounds, smells, and huge bowl of bulldog nuggets by the door – free for the taking! It was mouse nirvana. They made their home under the stove. There was a veritable ladder system behind there allowing easy access to all kinds of delicious oven-drippings, as well as a toasty place to bring yo’ baby mama when she’s ready to drop the next litter. One Saturday as I prepared to bake a chocolate cake, Mervin, all pumped on the good-life and fatherhood, gets all ballsy and waddles out into the middle of the kitchen. He looks up at me and belches. The tiny breath wafting from his whiskered lips smelled vaguely of bulldog nuggets. He smiled, scratched his belly, then returned to his Shangri-la in my Viking range.

It was at that moment I turned the oven to 500 degrees and flambéed his fuzzy ass along with those of his entire gene pool. Later, I spent tens of dollars on expanding spray foam which I used to liberally seal the entire house. Not a wire hole, pipe or crack went unfilled. I had destroyed the enemy, secured the perimeter and it felt good.

But you. You’ve found a way in. The torrential rains have made you a super intelligent mouse, with extreme crevice-finding abilities. And then, after discovering the only orifice not controlled by a doorknob, you’ve stumbled upon my kitchen. But I knew you were coming. I anticipated your arrival. I wanted you to feel at home, so I left you a tiny morsel of bulldog nugget on a death trap under the stove. Which you stole. Without the trap going off.

So, tonight, I present you with a lovely last meal of raw chocolate chip cookie dough. Gnaw it baby, gnaw it good.

Enjoy.

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