Gentle Humor

I don't offend some of the people most of the time

Month: April 2010 (Page 1 of 3)

Ignorance Is Bliss

Oh the horror. On my way to driving my dog to the park, I saw a giant stuffed headless dirt person. This creature was almost in the road, leaning against a white fence, standing about four feet tall and even without a head. It had on a size 40 million blue denim shirt and painter’s overalls. Someone had gouged large holes everywhere, and out of each hole was a plant. The plants dotting this dirt person looked like green hairs growing out of giant brown warts.

My description does not do it justice. Why do people make a mockery of their own homes by putting hideous things out front for everyone to see? You know what I’m talking about. Toilets with plants lunging out of the bowl like a bidet spurting green water. What is the conversation like in that house?

“Honey, what do you want me to do with this old toilet now that we got the new one?”

“Well, it’s perfectly good. I hate to just throw it away. I know! Let’s put it in our front yard!”

“Now that’s the best idea you’ve had all day.”

“Why thank you, sweetheart. I think it would look really purty to put a fern in the bowl.”

“Oh, I like how you think. But let’s do it one better. Let’s put some flowers in there too.”

“Why, aren’t you just the most clever thing? That’s why I married you. Let’s put it right up by the road so everyone driving by can enjoy it too.”

“Well, that right there is why I married you. You’re always trying to make other people happy. I love you Sally Bob.”

“I love you too Delbert Freddy.”

And that’s how the toilet ends up at the front yard, decked out with plants and flowers stemming from every orifice, and usually surrounded by an impressive collection of nearly every weed known in these parts.

I can understand the toilet. But how can anyone come up with making a giant headless dirt man?

“Honey, since you’re down to 250 lbs., we ought to get rid of your fat clothes.”

“Aw, shucks. I hate to give ‘em up, especially that there denim shirt and overalls.”

“Those old things? They was full of holes. I’m glad to be shed of them.”

“Well, can I hang on to jest those ones to remind me of what I used to look like before I slimmed down?”

“Sweetheart, I’d just as soon get them out of the house. I don’t want you tempted to gain all that weight back. You know what the doctor said.”

“Yeah, I know. Wait, I got an idear. How bout we fill them things up with dirt and lean ‘em up against the fence out front? We could tear them holes a little bigger and plant some plants in there.”

“Well my goodness, how you DO come up with the best ideas. I think that would be just the ticket! And when people drive by, they’ll see how clever you are and it will brighten up their day.”

“I’ll get the shovel!”

“Wait for me!”

Now I’m starting to get a little jealous of these people. Here I tromp, ill-tempered, from store to store to get the perfect hanging baskets or flower pots, and these happy guys don’t have a clue that they should be embarrassed to death. This is exactly what they mean when they say, “ignorance is bliss.”

Stalking the Perfect Parking Spot

I went to Costco today. I’m assuming that everyone knows about Costco – that gigantic warehouse of bulk items that requires a membership to enter the door, and at least a hundred dollar bill to leave. Honestly, I might go in there to get a $9.99 jar of Gummy Vites, and between the entrance and the pharmacy I see 30 items I want – all of them packaged so that I get enough to last two years, BUT IT’S SUCH A GOOD DEAL! I always end up finding an empty cart and worrying if I’ve got enough money to cover everything I pile in it.

Because Costco is so popular, there’s never anywhere to park. Even at 10:00 a.m. when they first open the door, the parking lot is full except for the outlying areas. If you pack a lunch, you can park out there and take a rest break halfway in.

I pride myself on getting good parking spaces, so I cruise around the entrance and stalk someone coming out of the store. I’ll see them pushing the cart out the door, then try to gauge their direction. I’ll speed up and circle around, following them slowly until they reach their car.

Surely these people know they are being stalked. Wouldn’t most people sense the presence of a huge chunk of metal out of the corner of their eye? Knowing that someone wants their parking space, you’d think they’d be considerate and go about their business efficiently.

Today I stalked a woman down the parking lane and saw her push her remote. Jackpot! The lights of a car pretty close to the front went on. It was a great spot, and I got very excited. I pulled over a little so cars could go around me. A car pulled up behind me and just sat there. There was plenty of room for him to go around. I turned on my turn signal to let him know that I was going to be sitting there, and that it was okay for him to go around. I could see in my rear view mirror that he was frowning. He didn’t want to go around. He wanted me to move.

Meantime the lady pushing the cart had her trunk open and was unloading each item, taking her sweet time. “Hustle, woman,” I thought, “before this idiot rear ends me.” She finally gets the cart unloaded and decides to be a good Costco Samaritan by walking the shopping cart back. For crying out loud. There are carts everywhere like freckles on a redhead, but she thinks hers is too good to be put out to pasture with the others. Two cars have stacked up behind the one waiting for me. I rolled my window down and signaled them to go around. The first one refused. The second didn’t want to go either, but the third one whisked around like he was racing a Ferrari.

Meantime the woman comes back and gets into her car. I wait for the taillights to come on but they don’t. The guy behind me is looking very angry. I decide he’s trying to intimidate me so HE can get my space. Who knows why the other car is still there?

Finally the bitch starts her car and slowly backs out. Inch by inch. Meantime, the second car decides at this very moment to make his move, and he whips around to pass. He pulls up next to me and sees the woman backing out. She sees him and pulls back in.

Now no one is moving. It’s like a four way stop when two cars ease forward at the same time and then stop and wait. They both wait the exact amount of time and pull forward again, then stop and wait.

The woman doesn’t move, and finally the car pulls forward and gets out of the way. She still doesn’t move, obviously shaken by the crazy turn of events in the parking lot.

I am this close to saying the hell with it when she starts inching back again. Slowly she eases out of the spot, jerking from applying the brakes every six inches. She backs way further back than she needs to, hesitates while she ponders what gear to put the car into – drive or reverse – then slowly pulls forward out of the way.

I greased into that spot like I was getting sucked by a giant magnet. The guy behind me lunges forward like he’s getting sucked by a giant vacuum, giving me the evil eye as he passes. I didn’t actually see the evil eye, I just felt it.

In the time it took to get that primo parking space, I could have filled my arms, dropped my $100 at the cashiers, and been driving out of there. But I had to stick it out. It was the principle of the thing.

Sometimes Losers Do Win

I have another sports story to share. This involved my son’s high school snowboard team a couple of years ago. Since snowboarding is not a school-sponsored sport, the team is run by volunteers. I was in charge of the whole shebang, which meant I hired the coaches, collected money from all the members, paid for the buses, processed all the release forms and other paperwork, etc. Plus I went to all the competitions, practices, and state competition. Riding the bus up with these kids 10 times during the season (2 hours each way), I got to know everyone pretty well.

I inherited coaches the first year, but the next year I hired three new ones, keeping only Juanita. One of the new coaches was a pretty fun guy named Justin. He was full of ideas, most of them crazy but the kids thought they were cool. Justin would find fallen trees, pack the tops with snow, and have the kids snowboard across them as a way to practice balance rather than starting out on the metal rails. I didn’t totally approve because I’d ski around the five hours we were there patrolling for kids in the trees smoking pot or doing inverts (front or back flips) or not wearing helmets. Once I watched a string of kids flying across a  “tree rail” as Justin called it that was seven or eight feet off the ground. They sailed off the end of it, landing hard about twenty feet down the mountain. I couldn’t watch for long – I just pictured them falling off sideways and breaking their necks. All of them. They broke plenty of other stuff in the three years I was in charge, but never on these little side adventures Justin took them on.

We were having a kick ass season, and then the injuries started piling on until we looked like the Portland Trailblazers – many of our best snowboarders got sidelined with broken wrists and dislocated shoulders – the most typical snowboard injuries. One girl broke both wrists at one time.

State was coming up, and we needed people who could qualify for the boardercross team – a six man group that races down the hill together and tries to get the best average team time. Only the top four times are used, but you were supposed to send six guys down.

Two weeks before state my son broke his collarbone. Then a couple of other guys got injured. Luckily I had fixed it so that a ton of kids got to go to state because we rented a huge house and I wanted as many people as possible to pitch in on expenses. Plus I wanted the new people to get the experience. We allowed up to three alternates to come along with all those who qualified so we ended up with about 25 kids.

The night before the boardercross, one of our fast boarders said his back hurt too much to compete, so that left us with two fast boarders and the rest would have to be alternates who had shown themselves to be anything but speedy. At first Justin tried to talk my son into doing the run with his sling, but I nixed that immediately. With that hope dashed, there wasn’t any way we could finish anywhere but last, which had the two fast guys bummed, and the slow guys felt bad because they knew they weren’t good enough to make a difference. All our heads were hanging low.

Then Justin came up with an insane idea. “If we can’t be the fastest, we can be the coolest,” he said. When he said it, I didn’t realize he meant that literally. He met with the dejected six and explained that the only way they could redeem themselves from finishing last would be to go down the mountain in style – and by that he meant bare backed – no coats, no shirts, no nothing.

“No way,” I said. “You are NOT going to catch pneumonia on my watch.”

They all gathered around and begged. “We won’t catch cold. We’ll take everything off just as we get ready to load in the gate and Justin will carry our stuff down and be there when we get to the bottom.”

“No. End of discussion,” I said. But I was starting to warm up to the idea. They were so enthusiastic, and I could see that it would build team spirit. Plus it would put an end to their moping around, which was depressing everybody. I let them beg and plead a while longer, and then I grudgingly gave in. “But if anyone gets sick, I don’t want to hear about it.”

“Oh we won’t. We won’t,” they said, adding, “You’re the best!”

The next morning was overcast, windy, cold, and miserable. The boys were beside themselves with excitement, and it had infected all the rest of the kids and the chaperones, too. Someone told someone in the crowd, and before long people were coming up to me to ask if it was true that the boys weren’t going to wear shirts.

“Fraid so,” I said. “They’ve made up their minds, and what can you do?”

When it was our school’s time to go, the crowd was cheering like crazy. I was midway down the course, and since it twisted over hills and through trees, I couldn’t see the starting gate but I had an official two-wary radio and heard the crowd up on top get really loud so I knew they had taken their shirts off. I was bundled up for Siberia and was still freezing, so I couldn’t imagine what that cold mountain air felt like on bare skin.

“They’re on their way,” one of the officials said over the radio, “AND THEY’RE NOT WEARING ANY SHIRTS!” We could hear the wave of cheers coming down the mountain. When the first guy rounded the corner, he had his hands over his head, pumping his fists and yelling, “Woooooooo.” The people loved it. I got my camera ready and snapped a few shots as they flew by. They were scattered – the fast guys passed in a streak and the slower ones came into view like they were just moseying along. They all had their arms up to show what tough guys they were, and I got chill bumps when they went by – and not from the cold.

Soon after the last guy passed, two of the coaches snowboarded down, arms loaded with coats, shirts, and fleeces. “Hurry,” I yelled, “they’re going to freeze to death.” Justin grinned like a mule eating briars. “Don’t worry. Those boys are SMOKIN!”

The team came in a distant last, but they did it with style. If any of them got colds, they had the good sense not to tell me about it. When I got home I wrote up a play by play of the race for all 90 kids and their parents and emailed it to them with the pictures. I called it, “The Bareback Boys Win the Crowd’s Hearts at State.” I got a standing ovation at our end-of-season banquet – all because I let those boys turn a bunch of lemons into lemonade.

Powder Puff Power Play

I promised I’d tell about the powder puff football game. Last fall the junior girls were pitted against the senior girls, and it was pre-determined that the seniors would win.  That’s only fair, my daughter explained, because next year when she was a senior she’d get to win.

“How do they manage to guarantee the seniors will win?” I asked.

“Oh, the refs give the juniors a bunch of extra penalties and stuff,” she said.

At first my husband tried to get out of going to the game. “I don’t want to watch a bunch of little girls playing flag football,” he said with disgust. But my friend Gina had a bunch of us over for dinner and we went straight to the game, so he came along.

While we were scrunched in the stands trying to keep warm, waiting forever for the game to begin, one of the dads called out, “Did anyone bring a boda bag?” We all laughed (and secretly wished someone had yelled, “Over here!”)

My daughter’s prom date, Johnny, was the junior’s head coach – chosen by the school’s football coach. It looked like he had gotten eight or nine of his friends as assistants.  They were all wearing the forest green t-shirts with “Juniors Rule” scrawled in sloppy white paint on the front that the girls had made for them.

When I compared the size of the junior girls lined up next to the seniors, and saw all the talent on the junior team, I thought, those poor seniors don’t stand a chance.

The juniors got the ball first. My daughter’s job was to call everyone into the huddle. They plotted for a few seconds, then the two teams faced each other on the line and squatted down just like real football players except they weren’t wearing shoulder pads. The junior’s center picked up the football and stood up, saying, “Hey, they gave us the wrong ball.  Look at this, it’s the wrong ball.”  She turned and handed it to the quarterback.

The quarterback hollered, “Yeah, hey this is the wrong ball.” She looked at Johnny on the sideline and bellowed, “Hey, coach, you gave us the wrong ball.” She started walking toward him, calling out, “We can’t play with this ball, this isn’t the right one, there’s something wrong with this ball.”  Everyone else just stood there, waiting for someone to fix the screw up. I thought, this is going to be one long game.

The quarterback was almost to the sideline, still ranting about the ball, when Johnny yelled, “RUN!” She took off flying down the field, chased by a befuddled pack of seniors, and scored a touchdown on the very first play of the game.

You’ve never seen such carrying on.  Girls were bouncing up and down like they were on a trampoline, ponytails flying in the air, hugging and flailing their arms and squealing with delight.

“Was that legal?” I shouted above the cheering parents.

“Johnny found it online,” Gina shouted back.  “He ran it by the athletic director first to make sure it was legal, and he said it was.”

The seniors sulked and accused the juniors of cheating, and even though the athletic director/referee squelched their grumbling, it’s probably the reason the game got a little rough.  It was supposed to be flag football, but juniors were getting tackled, especially Gina’s daughter, Julia, who was like a cheetah on the field.  She has broken school records in track. The quarterback kept handing the ball to her, and she’d run toward the sideline, gaining several yards before literally getting knocked out of bounds.

Once my daughter ran off the field crying and holding the splinted finger she’d broken in gymnastics. Another time Julia limped off, crying, after being tackled. And several girls stayed down on the field after plays. When it happened, both teams got down on one knee, but since it would take awhile for the injured girl to get up, some of the juniors started whispering. If it went on for a few seconds my daughter belted out, “SHUT UP!” loud enough for all of us in the stands to hear. She later told me that Johnny thanked her and finally told her he’d call the game if the girls did it again.

The seniors scored, then the juniors scored, then the seniors scored again and it was a tie game with a couple of minutes left on the clock. My daughter rushed two times in a row and snatched the senior quarterback’s flag, which led to them turning the ball over when they missed getting a first down.

A couple of quick plays got the juniors in field goal position with two seconds left on the clock.  To make sure the juniors didn’t score and win the game, the referee put the ball way off to the side of the field so it couldn’t possibly go through the goal posts. Nobody could make such a kick.

Aleeta, the six foot tall soccer queen, got in position to kick. We were screaming in the stands, blowing frosty steam and jumping up and down. Aleeta ran up to the ball and gave it a good solid soccer kick at an impossible angle, and it flew like a homing pigeon right through the middle of the goal posts to win the game.

The whole junior class raced out on the field like kids on the last day of school – jumping, screaming, and waving their arms. Parents went down on the field too, though we were totally ignored for the longest time until our daughters came tearing out of the massive hive of kids and nearly knocked us down with excited hugs,  “WE WON!  WE WON!  CAN YOU BELIEVE IT, WE WON!!!!”

“Did you like the game, daddy?” my daughter asked when she caught her breath.

“Best game I’ve seen in a long time.  Beats most college games I’ve seen,” he said.

The next day my daughter was still pumped up.  She was so hoarse from screaming that some words didn’t come out. She showed me all her bruises, and there were plenty because she had played both offense and defense.  “This one senior hit me right in the face,” she said, “and she hit Hannah, too.  And they were pulling girls’ hair from behind when we were running with the ball.  I’ve got this giant bruise on my thigh, and feel this one here on my arm, it’s sticking up.  And one of them grabbed my splinted finger and twisted it. They were really mean, mom.”

After school on Monday my daughter reported that the seniors mumbled the word, “Cheaters,” a lot.  “They need to just let it go,” she said.  “It wasn’t our fault we won.  We just did our best.”

The juniors had a secret weapon. It was Johnny who won the game for them – with that incredible first play. That’s the kind of guy he is. Smart and clever and sweet.

We Found a Dress

If you read my blog yesterday you know about the misery I was going through shopping for a prom dress for my daughter. I’m happy to report that we found a dress, although it was expensive and has to be altered. At this point I would have mortgaged my house if it meant I wouldn’t have to shop anymore.

Let me tell you the story about my daughter’s date. He’s the kind of guy who likes to go the extra mile. They have been friends for many years, and so it didn’t surprise me that he invited her to the prom, even though he could have had his pick of girls. Everybody likes him because he’s just a super nice guy.

A couple of weeks ago the two of them went down to the Saturday Market, an open air gathering of old hippies, craftspeople displaying artwork, photography, jewelry, homemade clothing and so forth, bento stands, and street performers. As Johnny and my daughter were walking around, they spotted a guy doing caricatures.

“Let’s get ours done,” Johnny said. So they did. The guy was rapidly sketching them when Johnny leaned down and said something to him, and told him their names. A few minutes later he paid for the sketch and they looked at it. It was a the typical funny picture with their big heads and little bodies and exaggerated prominent feature – if you read yesterday’s post you’ll know what that feature was on my daughter. Between their two heads the artist had written the word “Prom?” with a question mark. That’s how Johnny asked her to the prom. I went to a mom’s margarita party on Saturday night and everyone was talking about it before I even got there. Women live for these kinds of stories.

Here’s another example of what a stand up guy he is. One time they were here hanging out in the kitchen while I was cooking dinner. I took advantage of their presence to start grumbling about how tired I was or how much work I still had to do. I was going on and on and then I paused and let out a big sigh. At just that pause Johnny said, “I wish there was something I could do to make things easier for you.”

Oh my gosh! Those were magic words. Hearing them made me feel 100% better. You know how most people, when you start complaining, will start offering advice. “Well, why don’t you make your kids help around the house?” or “”Why don’t you go in and tell your boss you can’t work so many hours?” They totally miss the point of the complaining. You’re venting because you want sympathy. You want people to know how hard you work and how no one appreciates it.

You may not know that’s why you’re complaining, but after Johnny said those words and it made me feel better, I wanted to figure out why. I wasn’t complaining to get solutions. I don’t want teenagers to advise me on how to lighten the burdens in my life. I think I just wanted someone to know that my life isn’t a bed of roses. By saying he wished he could help me, Johnny was acknowledging that he understood I was having a tough time and he also understood there really wasn’t anything he could do about it but be sympathetic. Most other guys his age would have said, “Let’s go out in the bonus room and watch TV.”

That’s the kind of guy he is, and I couldn’t be happier that he’s picked my daughter to be his date. The thing that worries me is, what if he’s Eddie Haskell? What if he’s got me totally hoodwinked and he’s really conniving and sinister and is pretending to be my daughter’s friend so…

I’m not going there. He just got elected president of the student body, so I’m thinking he might be the genuine article. It may be easy to fool someone’s gullible mother, but the whole entire high school?

Tomorrow I’ll tell you about what he did when he coached the girls’ powder puff football game. He’s not only sweet, he’s smart.

Prom Crazy

I was so excited when my daughter was invited to the prom by one of her best friends and the nicest guy on earth. She went with her girlfriends to buy a dress but came home empty handed. No big deal, there was lots of time and lots more stores.

Over the next few days she went to most of them. I started getting text messages. “Mom, they don’t have anything at Nordstrom. Where else should I go?”

“Try Macy’s.”

“We did already.”

“Lloyd Center has some good stores.”

“We’ve been to all of them. Nothing.”

I wasn’t bothered because I knew there were lots more places, and worst-case scenario we’d go to bridal stores or order something online.

Today I went with her to several stores. The problem isn’t so much a lack of dresses, although I’m not sure who’s designing these things. Who wants a dress that starts out light green on the top and progresses through several shades to dark green at the bottom? Since when is tie-dye associated with formal wear? We have lots of tie-dye stuff around here – my daughter went through a phase – but none of it is dress up, and all of it is ugly.

The other thing about these dresses is that they’re so revealing. Dresses for 17 and 18 year old girls are scooped out almost to the you know whats or plunging toward the belly button. Some have the mid-section cut out with see-through fabric. There are lace-up backs that look like something old west women of the night might have worn. And the gaudy fabric. Oh my gosh! It’s like a marriage of Wal-Mart and K Mart with not an inch of fabric unblemished by some shiny cheap glued-on silver stuff or woven-in sparkles.

This is what my daughter told me the dresses looked like, and I didn’t believe her until I saw them for myself. Even the really nice Nordstrom ones are super-revealing or else they look like something an old woman would wear to some kind of country club installation dinner.

However, there were a few darling dresses in my daughter’s size, and she tried every single one of them on. They would have been cute except for one structural curse that many women, especially in LA, have paid thousands of dollars to get augmented but my daughter got genetically. Let’s just say that when she looks down, she can’t see her feet. Her girls cannot be contained in a normal prom dress. She needs a size 12 on top and a 6 on the bottom. No manufacturer has the good sense to design like this, even though everywhere you look girls have amassed disproportionate endowment these days, so we tromped from store to store and dressing room to dressing room for hours with nothing to show for it.

At one point, frustrated, my daughter got testy with me, and I got testy back, and she said, “I hate the stupid prom,” and burst into tears. I wanted to say, “Don’t get mad at me, blame your dad’s side of the family. You sure didn’t get it from me,” but for once I had the good sense to keep my mouth shut and suck up my irritation and comfort her so we could press on. We came home with two dresses that will do if we absolutely can’t find anything else, but one is not a good color and the other would require alteration.

I just spent the last two hours browsing websites but since we only have a couple of weeks, I’m scared to order anything. I made a list of all the bridal shops in a 300 mile radius and I plan to gas up my Prius tomorrow and hit the road – and I’m not coming home until I have a freaking prom dress – or a bunch of them on hold all over the state so she can try them on.

Playoffs

I had the great good fortune to attend the Portland Trailblazers playoff basketball game today against Phoenix. We whooped them, and that was exciting. I’m hoarse and worn out from cheering.

Watching the game, I noticed a few things. One was that every player who fouls someone is completely surprised when the ref calls a foul. 100% of the time they raise their arms to say, “Who me? What did I do?” Then we see the instant replay on the gigantic TV screen and see the player push or trip the someone. Yet they all act innocent and even start a fight with the ref.

Another thing they do is push each other when they think the ref isn’t looking. It’s like a constant power struggle going on out there on the court. I saw one player shove another one hard while everyone was running down the court. They’re like little boys on the playground except they’re practically eight feet tall.

When the dancers come on the floor during time outs, all I can think about is that they’re great candidates for chiropractic care. They shake their heads around so much that surely they get whiplash. They’ve all got long hair, and the hair always ends up in their faces as they sling their heads from side to side or in circles. They can’t move the hair off their faces because they have to keep their arms in sync. The TV cameras zoom in on their faces and they have hair in their mouths. It drives me crazy.

I used to think the girls looked so sleazy, but now that I’m going to lots of the games I’ve gotten used to their sexy outfits and camel toes. The shock factor is gone. They’re just girls who have bad taste in clothes. Who wears shiny red bathing suit tops with low-slung black bell-bottom pants with sequins sewn on the waist? They look like models from Frederick’s of Hollywood.

I’m so happy I got to see the game, got to comment on the girls’ outfits, and saw a few jabs that the refs didn’t catch. If I hadn’t gone to a margarita party after it was over I’d probably write more and not hit so many typos.

Go Blazers!

Horrorscopes

I like to read my horoscope. It’s frustrating, though, because I want something specific. If I’m going on a trip, I want it to say, “You will have a safe trip and your luggage will arrive on time.” Usually all I get is some random words strung together that could mean anything at all.

Lately the horoscope person has taken to posting sage advice. Perhaps she moonlights as a writer of fortune cookies and confuse what she’s supposed to be doing. I’m getting advice like, “No one likes a stick in the mud. You must always allow a little wiggle room.”

What does this mean? That I should be more lenient with my kids? That I should not try to do everything perfectly? That I should go dancing?

Today I had a unique horoscope. It said that Saturn and Uranus are in a fight in the sky so I shouldn’t try to start anything for several days. Honest, that’s what it said.

First of all, you can’t think of the name of that particular little planet without laughing. And to think that it’s up there in the sky picking a fight with Saturn makes it all the more funnier.

Let me clarify this. My horoscope said they were at odds with each other. That’s the same thing as a fight, right? Are they getting in a shoving match? Are they calling each other names?

Uranus: “You’re just a big rock surrounded by a bunch of dirty rings.”

Saturn: “Well you’re such a little pebble they don’t even think you’re a real planet.”

Uranus: “Why are you such a jerk?”

Saturn: “You calling me a jerk? You’re the one who started it.”

Uranus: “Did not.”

Saturn: “Did too.”

Uranus: “Well, you are surrounded with dirty rings, so there.”

Saturn: “At least I’m not an asshole.”

Almost as amusing as these two squabbling is the statement that I’m not supposed to start ANY activity. Does that mean I should not shower, walk the dog, or go grocery shopping? Aren’t these all considered activities?

I’m going to cut this out of the paper and show it to my husband. “Look, I can’t do the laundry for several days. You’re on your own.” And, “don’t even think about waking me up at 2 am wanting some activity. You know what my horoscope said.”

Thinking of horoscopes makes me think about the mirror I broke two days ago. I’m supposed to have 7 years of bad luck. In an heroic effort to counteract that, I’ve avoided black cats and ladders. Plus I’ve picked up several filthy coins off the street.

I was at my daughter’s track meet this evening (she pole vaulted 9 feet!!!!), and a girl dropped some change on the bleachers. The bouncing coins made loud clanging noises that was music to my ears because I figured I’d redeem some of that seven years with a couple of lucky coins (“find a coin and pick it up and all the day you’ll have good luck”). I thought that girl wouldn’t bother picking them up because she was so embarrassed. But she soon recovered and said to her friends, “I’ve got to pick all of it up or I’ll have bad luck.”

So much for good luck for me. That darned mirror is probably why my planets are pulling each other’s hair and shooting spit wads at each other through space. And why I’ve got to avoid activity like shopping and getting a pedicure. It’s going to be a long seven years.

Happy Earth Day

Today is Earth Day. I decided not to do laundry, run the vacuum, or wash dishes to save electricity. It was a sacrifice, but I figure if we all don’t do our part, we’re going to live in an ugly grey world pretty soon, and not because all the baby boomers are getting older.

I helped write a book about global warming (www.thebookfootprint.com). What I learned is that this is scary stuff. I would just as soon not know that humans are turning Mother Nature into a real bitch. She’s going to be hot and humorless and cut us all off out of spite. You know what they say about a woman scorned. It’s worse with a woman scorched.

Global warming isn’t such a hard principle to understand. If you’ve ever had a baby, my analogy is nothing like childbirth, although I have some good stories I’ll share one of these days. I’ve found that men especially love hearing about labor and delivery. No, I’m going to give you an analogy that will help you understand what climate change is all about.

New mothers worry that their babies will catch a cold, so they bundle them up from head to toe with little stretchy caps and booties and those one-piece things that don’t let a whisper of air in. Then they put them in a stroller padded with hot foam rubber. THEN they put a blanket over them.

I know this because it’s what I did with my son – my firstborn. He had awful colic and if I wanted even one second of peace from the screeching I’d have to walk him in the stroller. He’d either fall asleep or be entertained by the motion. Come rain, sleet, hell, or shine I’d walk him. If it was nippy, he got bundled up.

Once I remember bringing him in the house while he was asleep, and I was relishing the lack of screaming for a few minutes before he woke up. I can’t tell you how that child would bellow. Soon he woke up, and I took his hat off to discover that his head was soaking wet. Little rivers of water were running down, and his face was beet red. With all those layers of clothes, his body was reacting to the heat by trying to flood his head with cool water and turning his face red to let his stupid mother know she was roasting him.

That’s what global warming is like. CO2 wraps the earth in a layer of too many clothes and blankets. Mother Nature gets hot in there, and she starts to sweat. She’s sweating record hurricanes in New Orleans. This throws everything off kilter. Places that are usually hot get cold (record snows in Washington DC), and places that are wet get dry (Oregon has had more sunny weather this winter than I can ever remember). This is how Mother Nature is showing us that something’s wrong. If she had a face, it would be beet red like the baby’s, but since she doesn’t, she has to throw these weird weather events at us right and left. You can’t go a day without hearing someone say, “This is really crazy weather we’re having.” It’s Mother Nature trying to slap some sense into us.

As kids, most of us listened to our mothers because they protected us and fed us and we trusted them to do what was best for us. As we grew older, we started tuning our moms out. They nagged about the same old things and were so totally not with it. Then when we got even older, we started seeing that our moms had it pretty together and we should have listened to her.

Well, Mother Nature is talking to us big time, and we need to listen now. She’s saying, “Get out and walk instead of driving, turn off the boob tube, hang some laundry out and turn the heat down.”

There’s one thing I’ve learned. If you don’t make your mother happy, she will rain down a holy terror on you. We have to unite together as brothers and sisters to keep that from happening – and the sooner the better.

Today’s a good day to start.

Driving Me Crazy

I don’t know what to think about drivers. I was taking someone home tonight and had to get back on the freeway. I’m rounding the curve on the entrance ramp, sandwiched between two other vehicles like we were boxcars in a train – all going equal speed.

Don’t worry, this isn’t an algebra problem (if three cars are on the freeway, and they’re all going the same speed, which car has a driver picking his nose, which driver had chili for lunch, and which one is illegally talking on her cell phone?) No, don’t you worry that I’m giving you a problem for you to solve, though I’ll give you a hint. The third driver rolls down the windows.

I might have written about drivers recently, though I’m pretty sure I was bitching about some other automobile behavior that annoys me. This is a vast and endless category for consternation.

So here we are swinging around that curve on the entrance ramp, and we get to the opening where we can actually get on the freeway. Wouldn’t you think that we would all merge gracefully like one synchronized unit onto the freeway? I would too. But the guy behind me whipped out of formation and buzzed up right beside me so I couldn’t get on the freeway. I had to either slow way down until he got past or do something else.

Granted, this guy may have been trying to get all the ventilation in the car he possibly could (see hint above), but what did he think I was going to do? Just drive in the grass when the ramp ran out? Was he in that big of a hurry?

I was miffed and annoyed. I yelled out, “What? You got a hemi in that Kia?” His windows were open but mine weren’t so I guess it didn’t do much good, but still it made me feel like I’d stood up to him, and I live for those moments.

After I finally got on the freeway, my nerves were shot, I was cruising toward the bridge that spans the mighty Willamette River (which is not pronounced Willa-met), when along comes a man walking toward me. Staggering really. I clutched my steering wheel like it was the armrests on an airplane getting ready to take off, hoping he wouldn’t stagger into my path. I would have nightmares the rest of my life if my car had gone “thump thump.”

I whished by him but in that glimpse I saw that he was a 40ish looking guy and a fine specimen at that. As I crossed the bridge I marveled that he’d walked all that way because he would have to come from the other side – there were no parked cars.

Once I walked across the Ross Island Bridge and it was terrifying. There isn’t much of a shoulder and the cars are just roaring. It’s deafening. Plus the bridge shakes up and down. That guy walking across the Markham Bridge tonight might not have been drunk after all – the wind from the semi’s could have been tossing him around. I wonder if semi’s have hemi’s?

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Copyright © 2017 by Suzanne Olsen