Forgetfulness Strikes Again…

I’m old and slightly forgetful. Did I say slightly? That might be a lie. I have been known to forget the correct spelling of my middle name. Truth be told, my mother spelled my middle name wrong to begin with and then taught me to spell it wrong too. So, technically when I spell it wrong, I’m actually spelling it right. Still, after 39 years and counting, I should know by now how to spell it the way it was spelled on by birth certificate even if by common standards that spelling is wrong. But I digress. The story at hand is not about the unusual spelling of my middle name and my unexplainable knack of forgetting how to spell that unusual spelling. The story at hand is about my sick Beetle and my annoying forgetfulness.

Now, as you all know, my green machine was a perfect princess affectionately named Fiona for the first three days I had her, remember? And then, the fates cast their evil eye my way, and Fiona became Christine after an unfortunate mishap with some oil monkeys. Christine has been trying to kill me ever since. I’ve had her worked on more times than I can count, but no one can seem to banish the evil that is Christine and resurrect the princess that was Fiona. It’s been very traumatic to say the least. Finally, someone tested the catalytic converter and ding, ding, ding — we have a winner — it was dead.

Great, I had a diagnosis. I just needed a car doctor to perform the seance and exorcise Christine from Fiona. The first car doctor claimed the part I needed only existed in Germany. Look, I know Beetles are foreign cars. I get that. But I live state-side, and I see Beetles bee-bopping up and down the pavement every day. None of them look overly wealthy. If they had to special order parts from Germany every time they needed to change a wiper blade or an oil filter, it stood to reason they would have to be either really wealthy or really stupid to be driving these cars. But then, I sometimes forget how to spell my middle name. Who am I to judge? Still, I was betting the quote of $1,400 he gave me for the special part from Germany was a bit astronomical. I decided to shop around. Two calls later, I had a car doctor willing to zap Christine back into Fiona for a mere $600. Color me sold.

The next day I was ready to take the beast to charm school, but as I fired her up I noticed she was looking a little dirty. I didn’t want to take her in broken and dirty. The car doctor guy would label me a bad Beetle owner. Oh the horror! No problem, I thought. I’ll just buzz by a car wash and give her a quick once over. So, I headed to an ATM to grab some green.

Now, here’s where my forgetfulness comes into play. I slid the little square piece of plastic in the machine, punched my pin in, and waited for the bills to come out. The monitor said, “incorrect pin number entered.” Well, crap. I was sure I entered the right number. I tried again. Same response. I tried a different combination. Nope. I thought really hard. I was certain I had all the right digits. Maybe I was just putting them in the wrong sequence. I tried a few more times. And guess what? “Your card is being held for your protection.” Yep. The bank just cancelled my card. And I had an appointment at the car doctor in an hour.

So, I called the bank, like an idiot. Banks can’t talk to people over the phone who can’t remember their pin numbers and spell their middle name incorrectly. Hello? Wake up, genius! They know you stole your own card and are trying to rob yourself this very minute. They weren’t born yesterday. They see this all the time!

I had precisely one hour to drive clear across town during the tax-free back-to-school holiday to the only open bank in my chain and have my card repinned to a number that I would remember (Ha! For like a day maybe!) and then drive all the way back for my car doctor appointment while Christine laughed at me the whole way. I kid you not. She laughed. I heard her.

Later that evening, I related this story to the manchild. His response? “Gosh mom, that’s the worse. I hope you don’t forget you have a child and a husband one day. That would suck.” Selfish child. It’s always about you. What’s your name again?


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From Fiona to Satan…

So, I bought a car. Exciting, I know. I’ve been wanting one for awhile, but I’m cheap. I don’t like the price tags that come with new cars or the payment plans. I also don’t like the words “full coverage insurance.” Those words are generally followed by “give me your credit card.” But, alas, my car was on its last leg. It was tired. It was ready to retire. It needed a nap. Yes, it was time to put on my big girl checkbook and make a deal. Sigh.

My heart has been set on purchasing a Volkswagen New Beetle for forever and twelve days. I don’t know why. They’re tiny. They’re foreign. They’re impractical. And my son hates them. Yet, the heart wants what the heart wants. So, I got this one and named her Fiona, for obvious reasons. If you don’t know those obvious reasons, I suggest you rent the movie Shrek. 

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Cute, right? She’s a convertible. I’ve always said I would never own a convertible. Look at me painting myself a liar.

Fiona is lots of fun. She has a flower vase built right inside her dash. What? Your car doesn’t come standard equipped with a flower vase? Sucks to be you. And when the air is on, the flower inside the vase dances. See?

Dancing with Fiona

Yeah, so me and Fiona were having a mighty good time, as long as I didn’t dwell on the fact that Fiona was dipping into my checkbook. Then, tragedy struck. And Fiona turned into Satan. Now, I hate her.

Here’s how it went down.

I thought I would be the responsible grownup and take Fiona in for a little casual maintenance. Nothing too serious, mind you, just a wee oil change. The boys at the shop frowned.

Oil Monkeys: Um, we can’t change her oil.

Me: Yes, you can. You’re oil monkeys.

Oil Monkeys: Well, yeah. But your green girl has a damaged skid plate, and the oil plug is blocked.

Me: What’s a skid plate?

Don’t judge me. At least, I told them the right year of the car this time when I gave them the keys. That’s a first for me. Usually, I just tell them the paint color.

The next day, I had the skid plate repaired and buzzed it on over to another oil place. They didn’t waste any time swapping the oil out. I was back on the road in under thirty minutes only to have the check engine light come on. OMG!

“Fine. Be a brat, Fiona,” I thought, and I headed to the local automotive parts store to check the codes for the problem at hand. Guess what? Their code reader didn’t speak German, but they were confident that the problem was related to the oil change, probably a loose bolt or something or other. I don’t speak car. They lost me a little in the details. But they said to head back to the oil place to get a good once over to make sure they didn’t forget something.

The oil place gave me their best “we didn’t do it” face and tried to check the codes. Their machine also didn’t speak German. Did no one speak German?

It took some time, but finally someone coaxed the codes out of Fiona. It was just a random misfire. I was told I needed new spark plugs. Awesome. And off I went to get spark plugs, and all was well in the land of me.

Until, the next morning when the check engine light came back on, and Fiona felt like maybe she would start or maybe she would just shake apart and die. Then, we had a whole new set of codes to read. Misfires across the board. Oh my stars. Now I was told there was no way all four spark plugs were going out at the same time. It was more likely there was a vacuum leak. But I don’t even own a vacuum. I have hardwood floors.

So, the search for the vacuum leak began. Did you know that when you pop the hood on a beetle about 90% of the stuff underneath is just hoses? Consider that your useless trivia knowledge of the day. Maybe you can use that the next time you’re on Jeopardy. Needless to say, no leak was found that day, and this morning Fiona was still grumpy. But this time she was extra grumpy. On the way to work, she decided to throw the EPA light and cut all engine power WHILE I WAS DRIVING. I can’t even begin to describe how much fun that was.

Now, Fiona is in the shop. So far, they have discovered her air filter is filthy. The same air filter the oil monkeys told me was brand new and didn’t need to be replaced. Instead of replacing it, they just blew air on it. No telling where all the dirt went. Several hoses have been replaced, though we aren’t sure if they had leaks or not. Those hoses are just known to cause vacuum leaks. And the screw the oil monkeys left off when they changed the oil has been replaced. Sadly, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Who knows what they’ll do next.

I would say, “Poor Fiona,” but I’m really mad at her. I thought we were BFFs. I thought she had my back. I thought she understood me. But no. She’s a total diva. She hates mornings, has expensive taste, and only works when she feels like it. I knew I should have bought a horse instead of a car.

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Is It Safe Yet?

The last few months have been a whirlwind of nothing but catastrophes. In retrospect, I have no one to blame but myself. In a moment of what I thought was pure genius, I decided to change things up and chase a childhood dream. This dream required a touch of higher education. So, with my sights set on the stars, I enrolled in college. Mistake number one. Under normal circumstances, a few on-line courses would be no big thing for the average working mom, but for anyone that knows me, my life is far from average. And signing up for on-line classes in the midst of the busiest time of year at my place of employment? Oh dear. Let the games begin…

First things first, my precious angel puppy felt very neglected the moment I chose my laptop over my lapdog on Saturday afternoons. I felt certain my lap was roomy enough for both objects of my affection while I studied from one thigh and petted from the other. Lady, however, felt the knife of betrayal. She took every opportunity to swipe the keys on the keyboard, stomp muddy paws on expensive textbooks, rearrange neatly stacked notes, and anything else her furry mind could think of to discourage this new study trend that had invaded her mommy and me play-dates. When all of her attempts were thwarted, she resorted to self-mutilation. Yes, you read that right. The crazy dog actually tried to dig her own eye-ball out of her head. OK, so according to the vet, she only scratched her retina, but basically that’s the same thing. And she did it on purpose in the middle of mid-terms. All the studying came to a screeching halt to rush the poor pitiful puppy to the emergency vet, ensuring her eyeball didn’t actually fall out. Score one for the dog.

Then, the manchild was feeling left out. He’s thirteen now and really into this crazy thing called parkour. He says it’s a way of climbing. I say it’s a way of breaking your neck with style. Guess whose version is more accurate? Bingo! Not a week after the popped eyeball incident, I’m getting a call from the school nurse. So which stunt did he try you ask? He ran up a wall, right up a wall. Defied gravity. Became a human spider. Made it all the way to the top too. He just made one error in all his parkour glory. He forgot about the ceiling. He’s sporting a pretty blue cast now on his broken hand, and the doctor is still shaking his head trying to figure out the child managed to run up an entire wall. Score one for the manchild.

The next week, the bathroom light broke. No, not the bulb. Give me some credit here. The actual light quit working. Not to be outdone, the kitchen sink broke the very next day. And just to keep the punches coming, the dishwasher handle broke the day after that, trapping all the clean dishes inside until the husband came home and managed to pry it open. It took some work, but all three have been repaired. Still, score three for the wicked house.

In the meantime, I was just ticking away with school work and actual work, sixty hours per week at work mind you, and trying not to lose my mind. And then, the rug was pulled out from under me as I developed a sinus infection. Now, you guys know, I’m the worst about going to the doctor. So, I tried to treat it at home for a week or two, but finally gave in and headed to the doctor. Turns out, it was bronchitis and a sinus infection. Yay! And because bronchitis is never enough to deal with during the last three weeks of a semester and the busiest season of your job, my body decided to let that progress into pneumonia.  Score two for my back-stabbing immune system.

I took my finals with pneumonia and….I finished the semester with all A’s. Ha! In your face pneumonia! The dust is just starting to clear. Life is beginning to return to normal. The semester is over. The season is winding down. The dog’s eye is firmly back in place. The manchild’s cast comes off in two more weeks. No more appliances or light fixtures have gone on strike. The pneumonia is nothing more than a memory. I can breathe again. And I’m slowly making my way through all the paperwork that fell to the wayside at work while I was out sick. My childhood dream is far from recognized, but I’m on the path. Score one million for me.

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The Most Epic Debate of Our Time

Sunday night at my house is ‘The Night.’  Phones are turned off. Knocks upon the door will not be answered. Speaking during non-commercial breaks will result in banishment from the TV viewing area. Mocking, sneering, or any other derogatory comments will also result in banishment. Why? Because ‘The Show’ is on. I’ve waited all week for this show. I’ve fretted for seven endless days over who will die, who will live, who is getting cookies, who will look at the flowers, and if Daryl is ever going to fall in love. “The Walking Dead” is sacred in my house and must be respected.

So last week, something about the walkers struck me, and it’s been bothering me all week. I can’t get it out of my head. I’ve talked to all of my friends about it. I’ve talked to my husband about it. I’ve talked to my mom about it. I’ve even talked to my coworkers about it. It’s sparked a debate of epic proportions. And now, I’m bringing all of you in on it….

Why are are so many women in long dresses?

Have you noticed it? Think back. No, really think back. There, now you’re thinking. Remember all the women in those long tattered dresses? Yes. Now you see them, don’t you? All of them, in long dresses or skirts. Why? I’m a woman, and I know lots of women. We don’t run around in long dresses or long skirts like that. In fact, those kind of long dresses and long skirts aren’t even the ‘in’ thing in fashion. Are they? ARE THEY? Where did all these long skirted women come from?

One of my friends swear these women are from the Amish community and have migrated for fresher meat. Another says the women are all in nightgowns. My husband believes all the women are ‘ladies of the South’ and therefore wear dresses all the time. I know, I died laughing too, like ladies still exist. My theory is that the zombie apocalypse happened on a Sunday right after church. The subsequent zombie fashion we are seeing is clearly church attire. I’ve since expanded on this theory after taking into account the men’s layered ensembles. Now, I’m of the mind that it happened on a Sunday afternoon in late Fall, hence the layered look.

I’m driving all my friends nuts with my focus on the zombies’ fashion choices. They would prefer that I just watch the show and not focus on such trivial things. But now that I’ve noticed it? It’s like that saying: What’s been seen, can’t be unseen.

Next up on the debate box? Footwear. Why are all the zombie girls wearing flats? I wear boots and heels all the time, some of which require actual effort to remove. I especially wear them to church. If the zombie apocalypse happened on a Sunday afternoon in the Fall, I bet half the congregation would be wearing some sort of fashionable high boot or heels or even a heeled boot. So, where are they? Why are the zombie girls in ballet flats? Annnnddddd….discuss.


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Because Sometimes You’re 5…

The manchild is all about keeping the Sabbath day holy these days, and that means we simply must attend church on Sundays. In a perfect world, I would have found us a church home long before now, but I have a tendency to procrastinate the finding of a church home. I’m picky and judgmental when it comes to churches. I know, that’s rotten of me, but it’s the honest to goodness truth. So in lieu of getting off my bum and doing the right thing, I’ve been taking him to my mom’s church on Sundays. The manchild loves my mom’s church and likes to believe it’s his church home anyway. Hey, if it makes him happy, it’s good enough for me. Plus, we’re in church. Win/win. Yet, some days we skip because the parental units can’t attend service that day, and I don’t know anyone at her church. The manchild can’t stand this. “How can I keep the Sabbath day holy if we’re skipping church, mom?” he bellows at me. This Sunday he demanded we attend the church behind our house and make that our alternate church for when the parentals are MIA on Sundays, and we did just that. I’m pretty sure we left a lasting impression on the good folks at the little rock church behind our house. Not a good impression, but an impression none the less.

It all went down a little something like this….

Mom and dad decided they would attend this little rock church with us the first time just so they could assess the congregation that would be influencing their precious grandson. OK, so that’s not true. They went to provide support to their grandson as he made the monumental decision to pick a church all on his own and commit to attend it on the Sundays he couldn’t attend his regular church. (And partly to assess the congregation. Hey, we like to know all the who’s and what’s in his life. We’re nosy like that.) Dad led the way and made all the introductions as the members of the church randomly came over to greet us. This is where the fun began.

Dad: And this is our daughter, (insert my middle name and maiden name here).

Me: (Leaning in to whisper to dad, as they walk away) Hey dad, you know I go by my first name now, and I got married right? (I’m going to throw in a sidebar here to let you all in on the little known secret that I went by middle name all the way through grade school and middle school. Then in high school, my drama coach thought my first name had dramatic flair and insisted on only calling me by it from that day forward. It stuck. No one has called me by my middle name since, except the parentals.)

Dad: Oh yeah…(confused look on his face as the next person comes up and he starts the introductions over again) And this is our daughter, (insert my first name and maiden name here).

Me: (Leaning in to whisper yet again, as they walk away) Seriously, I got married. You were there even. We danced and everything.

Dad: What? Oh yeah, you did get married, didn’t you? (More introductions) And this is our daughter, (insert my correct name here).

But wait, just when I thought he had it down…

Dad: And this is our daughter, (insert my middle name and maiden name here).

It’s safe to say, they all thought we were a tad off our rocker with the whole ‘we don’t know our own name’ thing going on by this point, which is totally OK, because I’m fairly certain some of them were off their rocker too. With almost every introduction, the fine folks of the congregation spoke directly back to my mom, my son, and my father, but not to me. Why? Because suddenly I was 5.

When dad finished introducing me, half of them would turn back to my dad and say things like “what a lovely child you have” or “what pretty hair she has” or “look how pretty she’s dressed” or “you’ve done a lovely job raising this one” and so on. Never mind that I’m pushing 40, because in this church, I’m 5. I’ve thought about it non-stop since yesterday, and there is but one explanation. There was a magical transdimensional doorway leading into the sanctuary. When I passed through it, I was transported back to a younger version of myself. How I was the only one affected by the doorway is a mystery. Maybe it only works on redheads, but whatever the case may be, while I was in their church, I was 5. When I stepped back outside into the parking lot after the service, only then did the members of the church recognize me as the adult I truly am and address me as such. Weird much? Yes, I believe so.

The manchild loved the church, probably because he was unaffected by the age-altering doorway and remained the 13yr old version of himself. He wants to go back next Sunday. I agreed to take him, but if I’m going to be 5 inside their walls, I’m taking crayons and a coloring book. I was ill prepared to be a 5yr old last time. I won’t make the same mistake twice.

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And So Begins The ‘I Do What I Want’ Stage…

I’m a grown up. Well, technically I’m grown. The up part is iffy as I only stand a measly 5’2″ tall on a good day. But being grown comes with certain benefits. I get to say what I wear, where I live (as long as I can afford it), what I drive (again as long as finances permit), what I eat, when I eat, what I watch, who I watch it with, and so on and so forth. I’m my own boss – outside of work of course. I’m a free woman in a dog eat dog world. And I worked my tushy off to obtain that status, suffering incredibly painful, sometimes awkward, years of growing up, checking off all the mandatory rights of passage in the name of becoming an adult. My son however is not an adult. He is a manchild. He does not have my adult luxuries of doing what he wants when he wants.  He does what he’s told.  Or he’s supposed to. Or at least that’s what I thought. It seems I forgot about that mandatory teenage phase of growing up when non-adults quit doing what adults tell them to because suddenly they believe themselves to be smarter than their adult counterparts and therefore superior. The manchild has reached that stage. Shoot me now.

Case in point – We were invited to a swanky Christian concert last Saturday.  I say swanky because it was a sit down concert complete with a fancy smancy meal. There were waiters in suits and oo la la table decorations. There were candles and linen napkins. They even served coffee after dinner. It was far from your average concert venue. It was swanky. And the dress was clearly defined as casual business attire. I took this to mean don’t wear t-shirts and jeans. The manchild took this to mean wear whatever you want because it’s a concert and who cares?

He came out of his room dressed in a neon blue Christian t-shirt with huge white lettering and blue jeans. The blue jeans were a dark wash and I thought he could probably get away with those. He had recently went through a growth spurt and I was fairly confident we didn’t have any dress slacks that would fit him anyway. But the glaring blue shirt had to go. I told him to change his shirt.

Me:  It’s business casual. That means church clothes. Put on one of your dress shirts.

Manchild:  This is a church shirt.

Me: No, that’s a Christian t-shirt. It’s not the same thing. Put on a button down shirt in a solid color.

Manchild: It’s a Christian concert though! Everyone wears Christian t-shirts to Christian concerts. (In his defense, that’s probably true.)

Me: This is a sit down concert though. It’s different. Change your shirt.

He grumbled and stomped off to his room. A few minutes later he emerged with his jacket on zipped all the way up to his neck still complaining about how dumb it was that he had to change his shirt, and he continued complaining all the way to the car. After listening to him moan half way to my mom’s house, I finally asked him which shirt he decided to go with and this was his response.

Manchild:  I don’t remember.

Me:  What do you mean you don’t remember? Of course, you remember.

Manchild:  No, I don’t. I just grabbed one. I didn’t pay any attention to which one it was.

Me:  That’s silly. You know which shirt you put on.

Manchild: No, I don’t. I didn’t look.

And that’s when I noticed the neon blue collar peeking out from neckline of his jacket. The little booger didn’t change his shirt at all. Here he was complaining about how mad he was that he had to change his shirt and he was still wearing the same shirt the whole time. Color me stupid.

Me:  You didn’t change your shirt, did you?

Manchild:  No, I did not! (Very emphatically)

Me:  Why not?

Manchild:  I’m just going to keep my jacket on all night. No one will even know what I have on.

Me:  But you didn’t do what I told you to do. Why didn’t you change your shirt?

Manchild:  Because I’m leaving my jacket on.

Me:  That’s not a reason for not doing what I told you to do. Why didn’t you change?

Manchild:  I don’t know. (Very huffy with his arms crossed.)

Me:  You’re supposed to do what I tell you to do. Next time do what I say.

Manchild:  Yeah, OK. (But in the underlying tone I hear, next time I’m just wearing my jacket again because dress codes are dumb.)

Now, I’m just going to go ahead and admit here that I was biting my tongue the whole time in order not to laugh. I’m not the worst parent in the world, but I’m far from the best. And truth be told, I thought the whole situation was hilarious. Plus I had to admit, he pulled this trick off beautifully. By the time I figured out he still had on an inappropriate shirt, it was entirely too late to do anything about it. GENIUS! Kudos were certainly in order if it weren’t for the huge problem that he had blatantly disobeyed me.

When we arrived at mom’s house, I tried to explain why he was dressed in the wrong attire. And of course, I got scolded. Not for allowing him to wear the wrong clothing, but for insisting that he attempt to dress appropriately in the first place.

My mom:  He’s a kid! He can wear what he wants! And it’s a Christian shirt for Heaven’s sake!

Manchild:  (Feeling vindicated) See?

Grandmothers always side with their grandchildren. It’s pointless to even try to reason with them. Just nod and agree and back away slowly.

I didn’t press the issue about the t-shirt and I didn’t punish him either. In the grander scheme of things it’s only a t-shirt and I prefer to choose my battles. But I recognize it for what it is. The beginning. Oh yes. The beginning. He has officially entered the stage where he believes he’s smarter than me and therefore knows more than I do. The battle lines will soon be drawn as the struggle for power erupts.  He may have youth and endurance on his side. But I have wisdom working in my favor. Plus I retain complete control over the pivotal XBOX subscription. So let the games begin, young manchild. You have much to learn…

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Dude, Put Your Clothes Back On…

So, tell it to me straight.  Am I the only one noticing that everyone on planet Earth is suddenly well, naked?  When did that become so normal?  So in?  So today?  So mainstream?  And am I the only one sitting here thinking – dude, aren’t you cold?  I don’t know if you haven’t noticed or anything, but it’s like Winter up over here in this part of the worldwide kingdom.  We’re pushing single digits with that windchill factor thing and the weatherman has been using the ‘S’ word and the ‘I’ word for weeks now.  (That’s snow and ice for you good for nothing so-and-so’s that live way down south by the equator that don’t even know what the word cold means.  But seriously, you should put your clothes back on too.  If for no other reason than to avoid skin cancer.  It’s a thing, skin cancer.  I’ve read about it.  So yeah, clothes, wear them.)  But for reals, why is everyone suddenly naked?  Everywhere I look I’m hit in the face with some story related to nudity in one form or another.  Every movie I pop in the DVD has some sort of nude scene.  Even the commercials on TV have some level of undress these days.  It’s like no one wants to wear clothes any more.

I think I first noticed this trend in Walmart.  In fact, I think a lot of these trends begin in Walmart.  The manchild was maybe 4ish.  I monitored all of his TV shows and movies carefully back then because he was a sponge.  Monkey see, monkey do was his motto.  So it was very important to control his data input to materials that were age appropriate.  This was quite the challenge when we ventured out in public, especially if we ventured to a Walmart.  On this particular day, we encountered a girl who was only half clothed.  I say a girl, she was probably in her twenties.  But any female younger than me in my mind is a girl.  You have to be at least my age or older to qualify as a woman, otherwise you’re still young and dumb.  Unless you’re one of my besties, and then you’re given a free pass to womanhood.  I’m judgmental and flaky.  Sue me.  Anyway, this girl had on a t-shirt.  And that’s it.  Oh, wait, she had on flip-flops too.  But that’s it.  No pants, no shorts, and NO UNDERGARMENTS.  How do I know that you ask?  Did I look up her shirt?  Did the manchild look up her shirt?  No, neither of us is a pervert…yet.  The manchild is only 13, so there’s still time the pervert side in him might come out.  But I knew she didn’t have on any undergarments because the white t-shirt she had on was completely see through.  And it barely covered her rump.  She pranced all over Walmart in it.  And as she pranced by us, I quickly diverted the manchild’s attention with ‘Look, a ball!’ which I then had to buy because that was the manchild’s favorite toy back in those days.  Back then I thought what she was wearing to be super risqué.  Today, I think she was practically drowning in clothes in comparison to what people aren’t wearing in public these days.

A few months ago, I was driving home and passed a lady on the back of a motorcycle wearing jeans and a bra.  A bra.  She had a fish net something over it.  But it was a bra.  The fish net thing didn’t cover anything on her body and it certainly didn’t cover her bra.  And that’s what my son saw as we sat beside them at the stoplight.  Her black lace bra.  The sad thing is I’ve had people apply for jobs dressed exactly the same way.  I would never apply for a job in just my bra, whether I had a fish net something or other over it or not.  No one is going to see my bra but me and the husband and maybe my dog.  Am I alone in this thinking?  Or is showing your bra in public really the new cool, hip thing to do?  I see it all the time now at the mall,at restaurants, at the movies, and of course, Walmart.  I find it vulgar and completely inappropriate.  There are kids everywhere.  Kids shouldn’t see that.  And I totally want to shout – Dude, put your clothes back on.

And then we have TV, movies, and the internet.  OMG.  It’s not just bras and undies there.  Oh no.  It’s full on, in your face nudity.  All the time.  It’s not like the nudity enhances the story line is it?  It’s still the same story whether you throw a willie in there isn’t it?  So in theory you could totally leave that willie out and it would still be a great story.  Next up is everyone posing nude for this cause or that cause.  What?  Why?  Whatever happened to just giving money to a cause or hosting a 5K for a cause or having a telethon for a cause?  Now we gotta strip down to our birthday suit to raise awareness for something because nothing gets attention quite like the tatas on display?  Well, kudos for you, but my kid ain’t visiting that website or reading that magazine because he’s forbidden from seeing tatas and willies until he’s 18, mama’s rules.

A few days ago, a friend of mine posted a picture of her pixie cut that she’s growing out with the hashtag ‘pixiegrowout’ on a picture posting platform.  I love hashtags.  One click on a hashtag and you’ve opened the floodgate to a world of pictures from all over the globe on that topic.  I clicked on the ‘pixiegrowout’ because I also love hair and hairstyles and seeing how people combine their hair with hairstyles.  (Yes, I’m nosy.  I also like to look at real estate online just to see how real life people decorate their houses, not because I want to actually buy a house.)  One picture in particular caught my eye.  She had red hair of course, with a seriously super cute bob cut.  I’m a fan of the bob cut.  And I clicked on her name and her whole account popped up.  I closed it immediately.  Why?  Because there was SO MUCH SKIN, not completely nude, but seriously close enough to hurt my eyeballs!  Why would anyone do that?  On a completely open forum?  Where anyone could see?  I see that all the time on social network sites.  UGH!  Dude, put your clothes back on!

Another friend showed me a picture of her teenage daughter’s best friend on a photo sharing site and said ‘Isn’t she the cutest little girl ever?’  As soon I saw it, I was instantly in mom mode with ‘Why is she only wearing her bra?  Is this online?  Can anyone see this?  Does her mom know she posted that?  How old is this kid?’  My friend was shocked.  She had only seen the little girl’s sweet face and hadn’t even noticed what she had on.  And to answer the question – yes, the picture is posted online, but no, only her friends can see it.  Still, why is it even posted online?  Why isn’t someone monitoring her account?  The manchild would be grounded until he was 42 years old if he posted a picture of himself in his bra!  No one is allowed to see him in his bra!  No one!

I don’t know.  Maybe it’s just me.  Maybe it’s because I’m old.  Maybe I’m just not in the ‘now’ crowd anymore.  I just hold the strong opinion that clothes are meant to be worn over your undergarments and shouldn’t be see through.  And I think you shouldn’t be running around naked.  Those are standard society rules that have been in place since the day Adam and Eve ate the apple.  I know some rules you can bend and some can even be broken, but this one?  This one rule? (OK, so technically I listed two rules, but they make up one total rule regarding covering your naked butt.)  You’re supposed to follow it.  If for no other reason than to avoid skin cancer.  Plus if you’re hiking in a super wooded area, you’ll thank for me for reminding you to wear clothes.  Seed ticks roam those parts and they are a royal pain to remove.  Boots, socks, long pants, and long sleeves shirts are a must in a super wooded area if you want to avoid those pests.  Oh and if you are deep in the south, clothes are great protection against mosquitoes.  Let’s see what else?  Oh duh!  It’s still WINTER!  You’re all going to freeze to death and DIE if you don’t put your flipping clothes back on.  See?  All very good reasons to wear clothes.  So seriously now, all together – Dude, put your clothes back on!  And for you super weirdos out there with baggy pant syndrome – Buy a belt.  Thank you, that is all…

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So How About This Yoga Thing…

I have this friend that has been trying to get me do yoga with her for forever and twelve days.  She swears it’s the best thing ever.  ‘Try it,’ she’ll say in her best friendy voice that I love but always tell her I hate because it usually ends up with me getting tangled up in something sketchy.  OK, so that’s not entirely true.  She did introduce me to knitting.  And I love knitting.  But I also know her and everything about her screams sketchy.  One of her favorite past times is knife throwing.  Well, OK, that actually sounds really cool.  But can you imagine me throwing knives?  I’d completely miss the part where you actually throw the knife and just stab myself in the foot.  Alright, alright…truth be told, she’s actually the coolest friend I have and I’m just afraid if I show up on the yoga mat beside her I’d look like a giant goof while super yoga star next to me would be power warrior pose queen and shine like the diamond she is while in my angst to measure up I’d kick the girl behind me in the face doing whatever that pose is called where you extend your leg behind you and reach for your dreams in front of you.  And then they’d kick me out.  So instead of admitting the truth, I just said ‘yoga is for weirdos, weirdo’, or something equally mature like that.

But deep down, I kind of wanted to try it.  She really did make it sound fun.  And the poses she did were kind of cool.  I tried some of them at home, and fell flat on my face most of the time, but the ones I stuck felt so good.  Still, mustering up the courage to show up on the mat in an actual class?  Yeah, that wasn’t going happen.  Especially not when she added the word ‘hot’ in front of the word ‘yoga.’  Hot yoga didn’t sound nearly as inviting as just plain yoga.  That sounded more like torture, and I opted out of torture when I signed up for the game of life.

The last year or so my asthma has steadily been getting worse.  I never had asthma when I was a kid.  I developed it as an adult and until recently, it was only exercised induced.  As my allergies have increased over the years, the asthma has increased in kind.  Now anything can set the asthma off and I’m constantly reaching for the inhaler.  It’s the most annoying thing ever.  I can be happily checking the items off my list at the grocery store, catch the scent of someone’s overpowering perfume, and boom!  Asthma attack!  Or I’m jetting out the door to head off to work and a blast of cold air hits me square in the face and Oh Snap!  Asthma attack!  And of course, a healthy round of sneezing and a lovely headache will undoubtedly follow.  Both of those I’m used to.  It’s the not breathing part that kills me.  And I hate using the inhaler.  I hate the head rush after.  But what’s the alternative?

And that’s what led me back to this yoga thing.  Yoga is all about breathing right?  Controlling your breath.  Bringing more oxygen in.  Maybe now was the time to get into the yoga vibe.

But not in an actual class setting.  And not with the warrior pose queen.  Maybe just in my living room with my dog.  Surely I wouldn’t kick my dog in the face.  And even if I did, she’d probably still love me if I gave her ample treats afterward.

So, I bought the mat and a DVD with 5 different workouts on it.  Not because I plan on doing all 5 workouts necessarily, but because it had a workout entitled ‘Beginning Yoga’ with the description that read something like ‘perfect for the person doing yoga for the first, learn the poses, learn the techniques, start from the beginning.’  Perfect, yes?  Yeah, that’s what I thought too.  Til I tried it this morning.  Turns out beginning yoga is HARD.

My body doesn’t bend into a pretzel.  Or a trapezoid.  Or an octagon.  Or a squiggly line that kind of looks like a jelly fish being attacked by a great white shark being eating by a mega alligator.  Nope, my body doesn’t bend into any of those shapes.  And the instructor on the video kept saying, ‘You can modify this pose if you need to, just do what feels best for your body.’  And there I am in a half trapezoid thinking ‘oh yes, please, let’s do the modification!’  But she NEVER once demonstrated the modification!  So I was left trapped in the semi-trapezoid pose with my mouth gaping open thinking I was going to fall over and go head first into the TV at any moment.

I did manage to modify some of the poses, mainly because my butt just couldn’t hang in the air anymore and landed with a loud thud on the floor and remained there through the rest of those sequences.  And I actually made it through the entire video without falling head first into the TV.  Though I will admit on hitting the floor a few times.  I avoided the ‘hopping’ poses after crashing and burning the first time.  I’m not sure those are even real yoga poses as much as just stuff she threw in there to play with the beginner yogaette (or yogaer whichever the case may be) to make them fall on their face for her own sadistic enjoyment.  No real beginner can pull off such a feat.  (Just to give you a visual, imagine if you will…a newbie to the yoga world down on all fours on their fresh off the shelves yoga mat, so new in fact it still has that new from the store smell.  And the instructor says, ‘now lift up to the downward dog pose’.  Don’t know what that is?  Neither did I.  That’s OK.  I’ll explain it.  Your hands are flat on the ground. Your butt is straight up in the air.  And your feet are planted firmly on the ground behind you, shoulder width apart.  Now make sure your legs are straight too, got it?  Great.  Now on to the next step.  ‘Now lift your left leg straight up in the air, make it as straight as you can.  Make sure your leg goes up to the ceiling, not just straight behind you.  Great.  Now give a little hop with your right leg.’  Did you do it?  What?  You can’t?  You fell on your face?  No way!  I did it perfectly on the first try, the falling on my face part anyway.  I did that part perfectly on the very first try.)

My heart was racing more than any cardio I’ve ever done by the time I was done, and remember I used to be an avid runner (up to 14 miles on a good day).  BUT, no asthma attack!  Maybe this yoga thing is the golden ticket after all.  I’ve been doing the breathing thing all day.  And the back alignment thing.  Turns out the back thing and shoulder thing is all part of the breathing thing.  Obviously that’s why people who do yoga have such great posture.  And the reason they all have such great shoulders and collar bones and abs is because the other big thing in yoga is a lot of the movements are one continuous, non-stop push-up.  My whole body is sore.  Whoever said yoga is easy lied.  And I hate them.  But whoever said it was great for controlling breathing is awesome and I love them.  They were right.

I give yoga my gold star seal of approval.  It’s worth trying.  Maybe not in a classroom setting.  I’d still probably kick the girl behind me.  And maybe not with my warrior pose queen friend.  She’d definitely laugh at my downward facing dog pose and every other pose I’ve tried thus far.  And definitely not Hot Yoga.  I’m still not into anything resembling torture.  But at home, in the comforts of your living room, with the curtains drawn, while the husband and the manchild are tucked safely in bed soundly sleeping, then by all means…try it.  Just don’t kick the dog.  Unless you have ample treats.  And try not to fall into the TV.  And if the instructor on your DVD or youtube video or whatever platform you choose to use to learn yoga says ‘go ahead and give a little hop here,’ don’t fall for it.  It’s a trick.  She’s just being mean.  I know.  And the floor hurts when it hits your face.  Trust me on that one.  Would I lie to you?


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Don’t Try This At Home Boys And Girls…

Once upon a time a really long time ago before the dinosaurs roamed the Earth, before the continents shifted and gave way to the oceans, before Adam and Eve ate the apple and doomed us all to forage the wilderness on this never ending quest for food and happiness, I had perfect hair void of dull gray strands that betrayed my youth and proclaimed my age to all of mankind.  Curse you serpent!  You single-handedly destroyed my hair.  I hate you.  And not the I hate you that really means I love you that I say to my dearest and closest friends either.  But the real I hate you that just means I hate you.  I hate you like that.  And I hate you a lot.

Back in those good ole days, my hair was long and luxurious and glorious.  It was shiny and thick and grew inches overnight.  I hated it.  It drove me crazy.  It was always in my eyes or in my mouth or in my face or I was sitting on it or it was tickling my arm or getting tangled in a giant rat’s nest that I had to pick at for hours with a brush to try to untangle.  It was an unruly, untamed mess of a nuisance that would never do anything I told it to.  Nine times out of ten I would shove it all up into a ponytail in a mad huff because nothing else I tried seemed to work.  And you bet your sweet arse as soon as I walked out the door, the wind would catch the end of that pony and whip me half to death all the way to the bus stop.  UGH!

So then I would cut it, thinking a nice bob cut was definitely the way to go.  Except I had super curly on one side and super wavy on the other side kind of hair.  So I looked utterly ridiculous.  Cue the painful grow out phase.  It was a never ending saga.

If I had had half a brain back then, I would have put in some curling gel and let my hair work its own magic.  But I have this adversity to anything even remotely sticky.  And the first gel I tried felt sticky.  Probably they had other gels that weren’t sticky, but I was already traumatized and couldn’t possibly try another one.  It might seem silly to be traumatized over hair gel to you but stickiness is one of my phobias.  Seriously.  To this day I still have nightmares about getting something sticky on me and not being able to find a single faucet with running water.  When I wake up, I have this insane need to take the longest shower ever to get off the memory of the sticky dream residue.  True story.

Thankfully, I’ve grown up a little.  At least an inch anyway according to my doctor, and the hair lady at the local beauty supply place was able to talk me into a non-sticky version of curling gel for my uneven curling hair.  I was skeptical.  But I was skeptical about trying vegetables in my twenties too, and now I love vegetables.  So, I thought, what the heck and gave it a go.  Turns out, she was right and the gel was actually more like a moisturizing lotion.  AND I didn’t have weird half curled, half wavy hair anymore.  Shazam!

Unfortunately, with age also came gray, dull hair.  BLECH.  I blame this all on the serpent and that damn apple.  If you really look at my gray, up close and personal, it’s more white than gray.  That might explain why some guy came in and asked for ‘Gandalf, the hiring lady’ one day.  It’s easy to be mistaken as a wizard in charge when you have long curly white hair, you’re all-powerful, and you decide their fate.  The only thing I was really missing was the hat.  Oh, and the boy parts.  And maybe the age.  I’m not nearly old enough to be Gandalf the White.

And so I dye my hair.  In a perfect world, I would go to a stylist to have my hair dyed.   Also in a perfect world, it wouldn’t cost an arm and an eyeball to have a stylist dye your hair.  I used to dye my hair the exact same color it was to start with.  But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten bolder.  Why stick with the status quo when there are so many colors out there to try right?  I’ve been brown, brown/black, burgundy, mahogany, super red, and even blonde.  I make a horrible blonde, fyi.  Probably because it came out more orange than blonde and I looked like a pumpkin-head for months.  My favorite color seems to be the super red though.  I always go back to it.  I’m naturally red.  Not super red, but a version of red.  Red just looks best with my skin tone.  And even when I dye it another color, the red finds a way to peek through.  It’s like my hair just wants to be red.

Now, I only dye my hair every 6 to 8 months because I’m always afraid I’m going to permanently damage it and it’s going to all fall out.  Sometimes I only dye it once a year because I’m lazy and forgetful and don’t care enough and it’s a lot of work to dye your own hair.  There’s all that mixing the dye with that other bottle and shaking it and putting on the gloves and working into your hair and making sure you don’t miss any spots and it drips all over your face and then you’re frantically grabbing the paper towels because you’re thinking ‘Oh no, I’ve got it on my entire nose!  What if I just dyed my nose red?  I’m going to look like Rudolph forever!  I don’t want to look like Rudolph!  None of the other reindeer played any reindeer games with Rudolph!  I know!  I sing that song all the time at Christmas!’  Then you have to wait 25 minutes and you have to sit straight up because you don’t want hair dye on your furniture and your back starts to hurt and you’re like ‘maybe if I just let my lower back rest against the couch it’ll be OK’ but before you know it, your whole back is on the couch and your hair is touching and you’re like ‘OMG I just ruined the whole couch!’ and you’re grabbing towels to clean the couch and you’re thinking ‘maybe no one will notice this huge red spot’ and ‘I don’t know, the red is kind of a nice contrast on this tan suede.’  And then you remember the dye has been in your hair for like an hour now and you think ‘OMG my hair is RUINED!’

Yep, that’s me.  EVERY TIME!  And that was me this weekend too.  Except this time, I was making dinner while I dyed my hair, because I always think I can multi-task my way through these things and I never can.  I ended up with the dye on my hair about 15 minutes longer than called for AND I missed a huge chunk of hair RIGHT IN FRONT.  Yeah, because that’s the easiest place to reach and see.  So that’s the place I forgot to put dye on.  I’m choosing to call that section my highlights.  It’s not, but I’m going to say it is.


Isn’t it pretty?  Pretend you don’t see the faux highlights and ignore the fact that my hair is still slightly wet and we can keep being friends OK?  (For those of you that are missing the huge gap in color, it’s right there at the scalp, right there in front, at the part in my hair.  See it now?  Yeah.  It’s hard to miss.  Unless you’re me and you’re coloring your hair.  And that’s the very first part of your hair you color.  Then it’s easy to miss.  Cuz you just skip that part.  Cuz you’re a great big bumbling idiot.)  Great.  Just admire the awesome color.  Now don’t you agree super red is my color?  Yes, I thought so too.  Obviously, you shouldn’t try this at home. Only the great and powerful Gandalf can pull something like this off.  It takes skill.  It takes talent.  It takes cojones.  It takes lack of eyesight and stupidity and complete and utter failure to pay attention to the task at hand.  Oh and it takes a serpent and that damn apple.

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If You Insist, I’ll Make You A List…

Well crap.  It’s the end of the year…again.  Seems like it was the end of the year just the other day and yet here we are once more celebrating another year on good ole mother earth.  Ringing in the new year, breaking out the bubbly, vowing to be skinny, swearing to eat healthy, promising to be better human beings, rattling off resolution after resolution that we have every intention of keeping until that yummy piece of chocolate cake mysteriously pops up on the dessert menu at our favorite restaurant two weeks later.  Oh dear, when I put it that way, I do sound a bit like a New Year’s Grinch don’t I?  Busted!  I can’t help it.  I’m just not a fan of New Year’s.

Maybe it’s the assumption that you must drink alcohol to celebrate the passing of the year ‘correctly’. For those of us that don’t drink, that first ‘rule of thumb’ is a hard one to swallow.  Maybe it’s the general consensus that you simply must make a handful of resolutions in a good faith effort to better yourself in the coming year and then suffer for months until you realize that sometimes old dogs really can’t be taught new tricks.  Maybe it’s the crazy notion that you have to stay up til midnight to see that infernal ball drop to receive the magical New Year’s kiss.  Maybe it’s the super loud neighbors that party til the sun comes up and keep my dog barking all night long.  Probably, it’s just me.  A lot of my hang ups in life are just me.  I’m a red head with a temper.  I have serious issues all on my own, promise.  But whatever the case may be, I’m a certified New Year’s Grinch.

When people ask me all smiley and googly eyed ‘So what are you doing for New Year’s?’  I’m all straight faced ‘Um, sleeping?’  And the only reason there is a question mark in my answer is because the sleeping part is entirely dependent on those neighbors I mentioned and how loud they get on that given year.  Honest.  And when people ask me all smiley and excitedly ‘So what’s your New Year’s resolution this year?’  I’m just as straight faced when I answer ‘Not to make a New Year’s resolution.’  Because I don’t make resolutions.

But this year, just for argument’s sake and just to be less grinchy I thought ‘what the heck’, I’ll play your New Year’s game.  So I made of list…

1.  Say I hate you more.  (This is a key ingredient in all of my most valuable friendships.  In my world it means I love you.  It’s an inner circle thing.  I hate you too by the way.  Consider yourself an inner circle friend.  Welcome to the club.)

2.  Finish writing the book I’m working on now.  (No you can’t read it.  OK you can.  When it’s done.)

3.  Finish the bathroom remodel…..eventually.  (hahahahahaha, like I’m going to commit to doing that in just one year.)

4.  Make more lists that start with I hate you.  (My friend and I do them on facebook all the time.  Try them, they’re lots of fun.)

5.  Fight with the husband more so we can make up.  (I hear making up is lots of fun.  Since we never fight, I have no experience in this ‘making up’ thing and I feel cheated somehow.)

6.  Laugh more.  (This will require you all to be more funny.  Start practicing your jokes and falling down stairs and running into walls and stuff now, OK?  Remember, it’s for my resolutions and you want me to succeed this new year don’t you?  Well, don’t you?)

7.  Love more.  (Hate is vile.  We all need to let that part of us go.  I have an especially hard time of letting it go.  It’s the red hair.  And the horns.  Plus I’m just mean.)

8.  I forgot what 8 was.

9.  Nine is just here to get to 10.  (I’m slightly OCD and I like my lists to be even.)

10.  End all lists on 10!  (Look I accomplished number 10 on my list of resolutions and it’s not even the first of the year yet!  Winning!)

This is the way resolutions should be.  Not that anyone is making their resolutions wrong.  Trying to better one’s self is always admirable.  And major kudos to those who accomplish their goals!  My hat’s off to you!  But there’s also something to be said about loving yourself and enjoying life and well, just living.

Personally, I think people are fine the way are.  (Well, most people.  Some people I think should be hit with the do-over stick.)  But really, think about it.  You survived 365 long, long days with a LOT of weird and crazy people and didn’t stab any of them in the eye with a fork.  Man, you rock just for that alone.  You’re practically perfect!  You sailed through 12 grueling months squished on a planet with a bunch of people who can’t drive, yet refuse to get off the road.  But did you run them over with your SUV?  No.  It’s like you already have a halo.  Dude, take it from me.  You’re good just the way you are.  No resolutions needed my good man.

All kidding aside, resolutions are a long standing tradition and I know a ton of people out there are making real ones right now.  And if that’s your thing, go for it.  But don’t beat yourself if you fall off the wagon.  Smile, laugh it off, and tell your best friend you hate them.  Because the important thing is you still haven’t stabbed anyone in the eye with a fork, right?  And even if you did stab someone in the eye with a fork, it’s not like they don’t have two eyes.  Then next year, you can make your New Year’s resolutions more like mine.  Maybe you’ll even remember what 8 was.  And you’ll sit back, reflect on what a great year it was (minus stabbing the guy in the eye with the fork of course), drink some non-alcoholic bubbly, go to bed before 10pm, pray the neighbors are quiet enough you can actually sleep, and wake up at the crack of dawn because your furry family member really has to pee and also needs to chase the squirrel in the back yard.  It’ll be just another day in the life of you, but with that super annoying new year part that you won’t remember for at least a month every time you have to write the date on anything.

Happy New Year!

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