Gentle Humor

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

Month: July 2010 (Page 1 of 3)

Laughing for Crying Out Loud

I went to an open mike comedy club last night. OMG! You talk about painful! (MEAN ALERT! I am going to be hateful right now.)

I did not know what to expect, but it certainly wasn’t this. We arrived a little late so maybe the “headliners” had already gone on. There were about eleven more people, and despite the emcee’s bubbling introductions that roused warm welcomes and cheers, these guys did not bring a lot of laughs with them.

It might have helped if there had been a few more people in the crowd. There were about 15 people there, and they had all been, or were planning to be, onstage. I only saw one guy with a girlfriend there – they left as soon as he bombed onstage.

Coming from me this might sound hypocritical. There have been many, many, MANY of these posts that I didn’t think were very funny and I’m sure you wholeheartedly agree. Most of the misses were because I was tired, I had eaten a big plate of beans for dinner and my stomach was gurgling, distracting me and making the air was hard to breathe, so I’ll admit I didn’t put a lot of thought into them.

Some of my posts have made tears roll down my eyes (although that might have been the beans, too). But last night at the open mike, I had tears but not from laughing. It was a crying shame how bad many of those guys were.

You could tell they had the talent to be funny – nice voices or great smiles or a rapport with the audience. But their problems were similar to mine. They didn’t put enough time into it.

They came up to the stage carrying notebooks. Oh boy. It’s always nice to see a comic come up on stage and read jokes. After awhile I was hopeful that at least some of these pages contained something that could make me laugh, but alas, ‘twas not the case.

The notebooks, I think, were security blankets. The guys glanced at them, pondered, cocked their heads, cocked them to the other side, and then looked up at us perplexed because maybe the lighting on stage made it so they couldn’t read what they’d written. Whatever the reason, there was nothing on those pages to help these guys in their struggle to be funny.

One guy got onstage and said, “Well, I put my name on the list because I’ve never gotten up in front of a crowd and I wanted to see how it felt. Hmmm, feels pretty strange and pretty scary. Hmmm, I guess it would have been, uh, nice if I had prepared something…” He went on like this, rambling about how he should have prepared for five of the longest minutes in recorded history.

Then a guy got up and said, “I had sex last night with an 80 year old woman.” We groaned because he was about 18 and we all started picturing it in spite of ourselves. The alleged comedian said, “Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.” More groans. It was even worse when he started describing the sponge bath.

Somewhere in their lives someone must have said to these people, “You’re a funny guy.” Being funny at a party is not the same as performing comedy onstage. Funny stand-up guys actually write jokes and present them in a logical, funny order. They work at it, and this is where the difference comes in.

Another thing these guys did was say, “uh” every 4th word. “So I…uh….went down to the…uh….corner store and found….uh…..a magazine full of naked….uh….women who were….uh….naked and I….uh…. was….uh….thumbing through it when….uh…..”

The emcee couldn’t take it either. He got up after about 8 people and said, “You know, you see a lot of comics on TV. That’s where all comics want to end up, on TV. And one thing you might want to notice about these comics on TV is that they NEVER have a notebook when they go onstage. Just never see it. Just thought I’d mention that.”

So the very next comic brings his notebook up, but the one after him went onstage empty handed. “Ooooo,” I thought, “maybe this guy is going to be good.” He gets up there and fumbles around with his “uh’s” and “everybody doing okay tonight?” Then he starts contorting his hand around, twisting it this way and that as if he’s trying to find a freckle just below his elbow. Finally he says, “Oh hell, I heard what you said about the notebook and so I wrote my set list on my arm but now I can’t read it.” That got one of the rare laughs of the evening.

Actually, that’s not true, There was an older woman who laughed at everything. You could tell she thought her mission was to help bolster these budding talents. I thought it was very sweet, and I laughed a few times too – but mostly to keep from crying, as they say.

If open mikes are supposed to be funny, they should have “closed” this mike. Ha ha. I think anyone who could remember a few simple jokes would be a great hit at this place. For instance, these jokes would have brought down the house: What do you call shoes that a frog wears? Open toad shoes.  Or what do you call a cow that’s had its calf taken away? De-calf-inated. LOL – I could be a comedian! Maybe you’ll see me up there next week.

The South Bugged Me

I grew up in the south but I don’t miss it. Actually I miss some of the people – a lot – but I don’t miss the summers. Everybody talks about the heat and the humidity, but the bugs are what did me in.

I’ve been afraid of anything buzzing or crawling all my life. If a bee, just minding his own business, flew too close to me I took off screaming into the house.

The boys knew I hated bugs so they made a point of catching every one they could when I was around. They’d hold a big, squirming beetle with all 6 or 20 legs swimming through the air and slowly come right at me. I’d run screaming with that little girl shriek that could break windows. The boys would be right behind me laughing their spiteful heads off with that beetle held out in front of them.

That’s how I got to be so fast. None of them could catch me. Just when they were too tired to run any further they’d fling that beetle through the air and I’d feel it bounce against my back. I screamed like the tall actor in the first Home Alone movie. If you’ve never seen that guy scream, you’ve missed out on one of the funniest moments in movie history.

The boys used to catch June bugs. They were big, green flying beetles about the size of a 747. Somehow they tied a string to the June bug’s back leg (I was never around to see that part), then they’d let it go. It would fly off until it reached the end of the string, and then climb as high as it could and fly in a circle as the boy held onto the other end of the string. They would fly in circles as long as anyone cared to keep holding them. I only ever saw this last part because the minute one of them said, “Let’s catch us a June bug,” I warped into the house and cowered behind a grown up.

I had no curiosity about any of it. I knew I’d end up running a foot or two in front of a June bug that would fly down my shirt if I slowed down or fell. All I saw through the screen door was the boys huddled around working with their hands, and then the bug flying in a circle.

In the absence of a real bug, boys would pretend to catch one and chase me with it. I could have called their bluff, but if I was wrong, and they had a real bug, I’d be at the mercy of the giant spider they’d fling at me.

In the south they also have horseflies that would buzz your head like a kamikaze pilot. They would bump you in the ear or back of the neck to see if you were a fast swatter. If you didn’t swat right away, they knew they could get in there, chomp down on you, and buzz off before you knew you were being attacked. They drew blood and their bites hurt like a son of a gun. Whenever one started dive-bombing my head, I’d grab a limb full of leaves or pine boughs and swish it all around my head. Sometimes when they came in really close I’d slap my own face with a scratchy pine bough and end up with scratches everywhere, but it was better than getting bit.

They have very, very tiny mosquitoes in East Tennessee with lethal venom. When the sneaky little mosquito got done having its way with you, you had a giant red welt the size of a quarter that itched three times worse than poison ivy.

No, I don’t miss the bugs down there. The boys, either.

The Injustice of Ladies Golf

If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all. I played in a golf tournament today. I realize that the word “tournament” makes me sound like a “real” golfer, but nothing could be further from the truth. Women like me get together in what we call “9-hole groups” because we are either (a) too lazy to play all 18 holes or (b) too lousy to play all 18 holes. These women engage in what we call “Hits and Giggles.”

To make things interesting, we create little “tournaments” for ourselves. These are merely excuses to get a bunch of women together for socializing, eating, drinking, and winning prizes. Yes, we do hit balls, but the nature of these tournaments is to get the competition over as quickly as possible so we can get to the lemon drops and buffet table. Thus we play “Scrambles,” which I suspect were invented by a male golfer to herd women through 9 holes quickly so that the real golfers (men) can have the course back.

The male golf pros put us together in teams of four of varying abilities (from bad golfer to really bad golfer). All four women hit their balls, which makes the pros buckle to the ground clutching their privates. (Snicker). Then the ladies hit their own golf balls. The ball that goes furthest without landing in the water is the one that all four women get to place their balls beside and hit from there. Everyone hits again, they walk to the best ball, and all hit from there until they finally get the ball onto the green and into the cup. Some lucky teams manage to par a hole here and there, and they usually win the tournament.

Today my team had two very bossy women who were driving me and the 4th team member nuts. The 4th team member, Pat, was 81 years old and wasn’t about to be bossed around by some 50 year old whipper snapper. Things got testy. When Karen started giving Pat advice, Pat snapped, “Who’s hitting this ball, you or me?” It was a tense moment, but luckily Karen backed up and said, “Whoa. Have at it,” and bloodshed was avoided.

Despite the barrage of advice (you can always tell an “amateur” golfer because they love to give advice to everyone even as their own balls ricochet off trees and hop from sand trap to sand trap. One of these days I’m going to slap one of them – I came this close to doing it this morning).

We managed to finish without snatching each other’s hair out and actually started having a good time once Pat and I stopped pouting. We joined all the other ladies in the dining room and anticipated the awards. They give prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place teams. We waited to see if our names were called but they weren’t. I wasn’t really expecting it, but our game didn’t totally suck and I thought we might come in third. It’s hard to tell when they figure in the handicaps how your score will stack up against the others.

Are you sick of golf? Just bear with me for a couple more minutes and I’ll wrap this puppy up.

After everyone got their prizes and the raffle prizes were awarded, I ended up with zip. I said to my teammates, “I used to win a raffle prize every single time but lately I haven’t won diddly.”

“What would you do with diddly if you won it?” Pat asked. She’s one sharp 81 year old woman.

“I bet we came in 4th,” I said, lacking a clever comeback, as usual. “Probably just one point off the money.”

“Let’s go see,” Karen said. “The board is over there.” I hadn’t noticed the board, which the golf pro had written all our scores on. Many of the women had already gotten up and left – anxious to get to their soaps. The four of us filed over to the board and looked for our score. “23.7” Karen said.

“What was the winning score?” I asked.

“23.9,” Wendy said.

I’m looking at that and thinking, “Hmmm, now in golf the goal is to get the LOWEST score, and isn’t 23.7 lower than 23.9?” I said this out loud.

“Yes, it is lower,” Karen said. “We should have been the winners!”

“Oh my gosh, how did they screw that up? We won and nobody even noticed?”

We called the two ladies who planned the tournament over and showed them the numbers. They both raised their hands to their mouths and said, “Oh my. There’s been a terrible mistake. What can we do?”

The answer to that was obvious. We split up right now and run out to the parking lot and snatch our winnings off of those other women. We throw pies in the face of the golf pro who made the mistake. And we sue the place for whatever reason an ambulance chaser can come up with like wrongful neglect of proper scoring, mens rea and gluteus maximus ad infinitum.

This is what I was saying in my heart, but since golf is a genteel sport, we all said, “Oh it’s okay, we’re just happy we won, don’t think anything of it,” and other assorted BS that none of us meant. We came away empty handed without a shred of glory.

There is no justice in this world, or my luck is so bad that I can’t win even when I do win. Pitiful.

Salt in the Wound

I went with my daughter to see Salt. It’s a pretty good movie, full of suspense. When the movie was over my daughter says, “I think Angela Jolie is crazy.”

“Crazy?” I said.

“Yeah, crazy. She’s always playing these parts where she gets beat up and stuff.”

It’s true. She got whaled on in Salt, and in Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and in those Tomb Raider movies. She’s like the women’s action hero. She’s TYPECAST.

Which I think is a shame because she’s a good actress as far as I can tell.

But you didn’t come here for my musings about Angelina Jolie, did you? Because I have other pressing things to talk about, i.e. why I went to the movie with my daughter in the first place. The reason is that we went to church yesterday morning, and she came out of the house wearing a tank top that I felt revealed way too much Catholic boobs. Lest you think it’s just me, every mother I know has this same feeling about our daughters – not that they need to dress more conservatively at church – they need to cover up more all the time.

Oh my gosh, I sound like such a MOTHER! I’m sure all the moms back in the day were beside themselves fretting about our mini skirts.

My daughter thought I was an idiot and freak for mentioning her tank top – AGAIN, which made me defensive and her mad. Being a teenager, her anger turns immediately into rage and then it’s just a teeny tiny baby step to sobbing, breathless tears.

I had to walk a very fine line to keep her from reaching that point, which in turn made me angry that I couldn’t tell her flat out that I don’t want the old men at church lusting at her cleavage.

I couldn’t help myself and said it anyway, which then made her call me a pervert. It was not going well, and I shut up.

When we got to church, I noticed that every teenage girl in the place had on the same tank top and revealing the same amount of cleavage, and that my daughter would not have stood out in a lineup of American girls imitating Britney Spears. However, I couldn’t tell her this because she wasn’t speaking to me.

She continued not speaking to me for most of the day. I mentioned on the way home from church that I wanted to see Salt. She didn’t reply. In general, she will only consent to go ANYWHERE with me if she has absolutely no other prospects on the horizon, including being beaten with a rubber hose, but it was the best way I could think to try and smooth things over. About 4:00 in the afternoon she came into my office and said, “Salt’s playing at 4:20.”

That’s how we made up, without any apologies, just going to see Angelina Jolie. So I have her to thank for our reconciliation, which is ironic because the movie itself is about tearing things apart.

The movie is set up for a sequel (that’s all I can say without ruining the whole twisted plot), so I hope I can hold my criticizing tongue until Salt II comes out. I wonder what it will be called. Salt and Pepper? When Salt Met Sugar? Ha ha.

DISCLAIMER: If my daughter finds this blog and realizes I’ve been telling the world about her life she will smack me up side the head with a 2 by 4. So I officially deny that I wrote this post or that any of this ever happened. It’s just fiction – like most of my stuff – a figment of my imagination. Honest.

I’ve Become My Grandmother

I have become like my grandmother. We called her Gramps, and I liked just about everything about her except one thing, and that seems to be the thing I imitate.

I could have imitated her cooking and my family would be pleased as punch. Instead I have imitated her most irritating habit. She could NOT go out a door and climb into a vehicle in a single trip. Even if she’d been offered a million bucks to NOT go back in the house, she’d say, “Wait, I just have to run back in and get a grocery sack to hold the money.”

My grandfather, who we called Pops, and I would be in his ancient white Dodge Dart with the motor running, and he’d start grumbling, “that damned old woman,” because she wasn’t getting out of the house quick enough to suit him. He could barely see because he’d gotten lye in his eyes making soap decades earlier, so we had to leave about 45 minutes before church was scheduled to start in order for him to drive 25 miles an hour and get us into town in time – on time being with about twenty minutes to spare.

My grandmother would come out the back door, step down the first step, turn around and lock the door, step down the second step, close the screen door and make sure it latched, step one foot on the sidewalk, hesitate, look perplexed, arch her eyebrows into a V, roll her eyes skyward slightly like she was pondering something. Then she turned around.

Right at this exact moment, every single Sunday, my grandfather would unleash a string of obscenities that would make any sailor proud. “That damned old woman,” and then start listing every flaw she had, “she comes out the damned door looking like an idiot and forgets some son of a bitching something. Every damn time it’s the same old shit…”

Meantime she’s unlocked the door and disappeared inside. We wait a couple of minutes, me in the back seat snickering at his rage and that delightful cussing, thanking God for the wonderful entertainment He has given me on this fine Sunday morning.

The car is still running, and my grandfather leans his whole body forward, elbows all the way up in the air, and LAYS on the horn with both hands as if he can get it to sound louder and more insistent by putting his whole body into it. Still no Gramps.

“DAMN HER!” he shouts. “DAMN HER TO HELL!” As I’m typing this I am laughing so hard I can barely continue because I can see the empty doorway of that white house, hear the engine knocking, and see the back of my grandfather’s balding head with the wispy white comb-over, the air heavy from his rising blood pressure.

Finally Gramps appears in the doorway, opens the screen door, steps down on the first step, turns and locks the door, steps down on the second step, closes the screen door and latches it, steps down on the sidewalk, hesitates, looks pensive, tilts her eyes up and to the right, and my grandfather LAYS on the horn again. I have tears rolling down my eyes I’m laughing so hard in the back seat. My grandmother scowls at him and waves a dismissive hand toward the ground. He stops the horn and yells at the top of his lungs, even though the windows are rolled up, “COME ON, OLD WOMAN!”

She just looks at him, trying to remember whether she’s forgotten something else. She takes a hesitant step forward, then another. Stops, looks worried. Turns around and heads back toward the steps. I lay down in the back seat with my knees in the air and hold my chest, rocking side to side laughing.

My grandfather bangs the dashboard about six times with his fist as hard as he can. She goes back into the house and comes out a few minutes later with a dime-store see-through scarf thrown rakishly around her neck. Pops has not stopped cussing and ranting since she headed in.

Gramps walks toward the car with determination, head held high and shoulders back as if she is some dignitary with places to go and people to see. She opens the car door, hesitates, looks back toward the house. My grandfather yells, “Get in the car, damn you!” She waves her hand toward the ground again like she’s warding off some pesky child or swooshing at a fly, harrumphs with indignation, and climbs into the car.

“Let’s go then,” she says in a voice that leaves no doubt that she’s disgusted but it’s beneath her, on Sunday morning, to say so.

In the back seat, I’ve laughed and snickered so hard that I’m exhausted, and none of us talks on the way to church except for my grandmother mumbling under her breath, “I just don’t see why…what’s the big hurry…plenty of time…” She’s nearly deaf so she thinks no one hears her.

We get to church twenty minutes early – just like clockwork. My grandfather waits in the car while Gramps and I sit through the long Latin service. I amuse myself by reliving the morning’s entertainment. When church is over, everyone is cordial as if cussing and damning and yelling and horn-blowing hadn’t been going on earlier.

I have enjoyed some belly laughs writing this – my mascara is running. What I’ve described is the habit I’ve picked up from my grandmother. I never climb in the car and leave – I always forget something. Sometimes I get out of the driveway, but I have to go back, turn off the car, grab the keys, unlock the door, run through the house looking for whatever I forgot, and run back outside. The sad thing is that my kids are NOT amused waiting for me in the car. I wish Pops were here to entertain them.

Movie Madness

Yesterday we went to see the movie, Inception, which was really good. I talked my husband into going. He’s not a big fan of movies because they cost so much. “I’ll see it when it comes out on video.”

But I told him how good this movie was supposed to be and he consented to go. We got in the lobby and he wanted some popcorn. “Just get a small one,” I said.

“Why, it’s only a dollar more to get the medium.”

“Because the medium is huge, and I’ll eat the whole thing.”

“I’m starving,” he said. “I’ll eat most of it.”

I know this isn’t true because he only likes the top and middle layers that are dripping with that fake movie butter. He’s not going to eat any more than that, and then I know I’ll eat all the rest because I have zero willpower when it comes to popcorn.

“Look, just get the small. It’s plenty of popcorn,” I whined, but he ordered a medium because it was a better deal.

“Lots of extra butter, too,’ he told the clerk, “and a medium diet Coke.”

The concession stand girl gets a bag the size of a grocery sack and starts shoveling in popcorn. Five minutes later she’s got it about half full and she starts pumping the butter on it. Pump, pump, pump, pump…these dots stand for about 30 more pumps. Then she starts shoveling in more popcorn. She’s staggering under the weight of the bag as she pumps more butter over the top.

She hoists the bag up onto the counter and starts filling a cup with at least two gallons of diet Coke. She has to lift it with two hands.

“That’ll be $13.50,” she says.

My husband pays, complaining the whole time. “Seven bucks for a bag of popcorn.”

“You could have gotten the small bag,” I said.

“Yeah, and just saved a buck. It’s a better deal with this one.”

As we walked to theater number 6 – on our right, I’m worried that the popcorn bag isn’t greaseproof and a waterfall of butter is going to flow out the bottom.

We found decent seats and my husband starts in on the popcorn. I am not joking, he plunges his big fist into the top and crams the greasy kernels in his mouth and dives in a second, third, fourth and fifth time. He’s after the butter, and he’s not going to offer me any of that popcorn until he gets the lion’s share of it. Then he hands me the bag.

I grab a mouthful and it’s as dry as Death Valley. It doesn’t taste good but I keep eating because popcorn and potato chips are the two things I can’t stop eating until the whole bag is gone.

I munched my way through that bag until I struck oil – the second layer of butter. I tried to be nonchalant so I’d get to enjoy some of that delicious grease but my husband caught on quick. My slick fingers kept reflecting off the movie like they had a flashlight shining on them. He again snatched the bag away, gobbled up the butter, and then handed the bag back to me when the well ran dry.

Just like I knew I would, I continued to eat that popcorn even when the button flew off my shorts and hit a bald man in the back of the head. Even when the zipper unzipped itself. Even when the muscles in my arm were getting sore from the repetition. I finally put the bag down, but only because I just couldn’t lift my arm again to grab another handful.

Of course I was thirsty after eating all that, so I drank practically all of the pop. Diet Coke makes me need to go to the bathroom RIGHT NOW. The movie was so complex and captivating, though, that I didn’t want to get up. I sat in misery all the way through it, and when I got up I knocked down and trampled several people to get to the bathroom.

All in all, it was a great evening except for my discomfort. I highly recommend the movie, but do yourself a favor and get the small bag – or else make sure you bring a safety pin to close up that zipper.

The Too Big Chill

I got a new refrigerator today. It was a very tight fit in the built in space we had for our old refrigerator. I measured the space front to back and knew I had about 32 inches, and this new one was 31.5 so it was perfect.

I loaded all my food in, and there was plenty – mostly jars. My husband thinks jars are like dollar bills – it’s better to have too many than too few. We have 10 different jars of jelly. Nobody even eats jelly in this house but me – about once a month. There are six jars of horseradish! Eight jars of mustards. Three tubes of wasabi. It took me an eternity to get all that stuff into the new refrigerator because I wiped off all the sticky on the jars. But It sure looked pretty in there when I got done.

This evening, when I went to pull a frying pan out of the drawer, I couldn’t open it because it bumped into the new refrigerator. F-word! So I pulled the refrigerator out and measured it. 31.5” – it should fit. I pushed it back in as far as I could and tried to open the drawer. It hit the refrigerator.

“Uh-oh,” I said. “The refrigerator doesn’t go in deep enough.” My husband pulled it back out and we looked closely. Where the water line comes in, there is a one inch metal protector that added, duh, one inch to the depth. So the refrigerator was actually 32.5” deep. I kind of wish someone had pointed that out in all the stuff I read online during my hours of research.

I called the appliance store and they will take the bohemith back if we pay a 15% re-stocking fee.

There is a very small silver lining in all this, however. When the appliance guys were here, I asked them if they’d move an old freezer out to the driveway because I’d never get my husband to do it. One of them said, “Oh, he’s that kind of guy, huh?” and I said, “Yeah, he’s pretty good with the remote control but he doesn’t want to do too much more than that while he’s home.”

“I’m like that,” the guy says. “I just tell my wife I don’t know how to do something and then she quits asking me.”

“Really?” I said, intrigued.

“Sure, or else I do it wrong and then she thinks I’ll just screw it up if she asks me to do it again.”

“I think that’s EXACTLY what my husband does!” I said. “I ask him to do something and he never manages to do it the way I want him to, even if I give great directions.”

“Yep, he’s doing that on purpose,” he said. “I do it all the time.”

“Do tell,” I said.

“Well, I better not say anything more, I’ve already given away a big guy secret.”

I started thinking about all the times my husband, and for that matter my kids, have whined that they didn’t know how to do something, or say, “But mom, you do it so much better,” and I quit asking them. Now it’s all very clear to me what they’ve been up to.

From now on I’m going to be on the lookout. When somebody around here does a lousy job I’m gong to accept it rather than thinking I need to do it myself next time because I want it “done right.” It’s better to at least get a halfway job than none at all.

I hope I get the same delivery guys when they come to pick up the refrigerator. If I get more insider tips on the conniving behavior of men, I’ll pass them along.

Sad Little Good Memories

Today we got a new refrigerator to replace a refrigerator and separate freezer in our bonus room that are old energy hogs.

I don’t go out to the bonus room much anymore. It’s my daughter’s lair. I swoop in with a vacuum on occasion, so I only look at the carpet. Today as I was rearranging the space for the new refrigerator, I started noticing things that I hadn’t “seen” in a long, long time.

I noticed my son’s snowboard and remembered how my son, daughter, and I used to go up to Skibowl on Fridays when they had cheap night skiing so we could learn to ski. My husband is a good skier, but I learned at the same time my kids did. My daughter was only five years old and had a neon pink one-piece ski suit. Both kids were fearless and zoomed down the hill with me trying to catch up between my constant falls. They looked like cartoons of speeding streaks while I had skis and poles flying through the air. We’d ski until 11:00 at night under sparkling stars, freezing on the excruciatingly slow lifts but having too much fun to go inside.

I saw the skateboard and remembered getting up at 4 am and going to the skate park hauling my son and six of his friends in our old Ford Taurus station wagon. That early, they had the whole place to themselves. My daughter and I would roam around the adjacent pastures with the dog and then fetch French toast sticks at Burger King for everyone. That was before I quit eating there because of their tacky commercials.

I saw my son’s lacrosse stick and remembered tossing that forty pound ball with him, worried that it would miss the tiny little net in my stick and knock me out cold.

I saw the boogie boards and remembered going camping at the beach and playing with the kids in the ice-cold Pacific ocean. We would go in an inch at a time and let that part of us get numb before going a little further. The legs weren’t so bad, but when the water got to my waistline it was SO cold on my back. I didn’t want to go any further but they’d splash me until I was wet enough I might as well dive under the waves.

I looked at my son’s drum set and guitar and remembered the garage band practices and how the walls in the house literally shook from the loud vibrations. I saw the wooden blocks that they used to build roadways and ramps. I noticed the two big bins of Legos and remembered the castles and spaceships they worked hours building, and stepping on those tiny pieces barefoot in the night, silently cursing that Legos were always everywhere.

I saw an old blanket and remembered how they’d would gather every blanket in the house and build elaborate multi-roomed forts, and how they’d make me crawl on the floor and go inside.

Holy crap, it was a tidal wave of memories that knocked me down and left little streams of tears rolling down my cheeks. 

What happened to those fun little people? They used to always be right by my side. We had new adventures every day – building obstacle courses, doing cartwheels in the back yard, playing hide and seek. They disappeared and left their memories to collect dust in the bonus room as thick as the dust under the old refrigerator.

If you are still with me through this soulful trip down memory lane, I can only say that this one little day of boo-hooing is a very small price to pay for years and years of great memories. My kids may not give me the time of day now, but not so long ago they were like little planets orbiting around me, and I was the light of their lives.

Excuse me, it’s midnight and I hear a car door slam. Let me drop EVERYTHING and greet my baby girl who’s all grown up now.

sigh….

Want Some Advice? Don’t Take Mine

I just read a note on this blog from someone asking me for advice. I must say that even though I’m quite flattered, I never meant to come across as the type of person who has a handle on life. My life has been one rocky road full of trips and falls, skinned knees and black eyes, stubbed toes and swollen lips, falling down hills and running into doors, metaphorically speaking. I have pretty much done what I felt like I needed to do one minute, and then spent the next year or two trying to get untangled from the consequences. I have rarely taken anyone’s advice unless it was something I was going to do in the first place.

The problem with trying to give advice is that most people won’t listen to it, even if they’ve sought it out, and if they listen they won’t follow it, and if they follow it, they only get a 50/50 chance that it was good advice to begin with. History is full of people who took the wrong advice. Just ask the Donner family.

When I was young I wouldn’t listen to anybody. I bull-headed my know-it-all way through every foolish decision imaginable, and it took me a couple of decades to realize that I could have saved myself a lot of time and energy if I would have just listened.

I see my kids doing the same thing. I say to them, “If you get your homework done now you won’t have to worry about it all weekend.” But they always say, “There’s plenty of time, I wanna hang out with my friends.” Then late Sunday night they’re melting down, stomping around saying how stupid the teacher was for giving them so much homework.

I have a friend who is constantly complaining about her husband or kids. I see how she could fix things so easily. “Why don’t you just….” I say to her, but she has NEVER ONCE followed any of my suggestions, no matter how I liberally I dole them out. So to have someone ask me what to do is pretty amazing.

Sometimes I’ve thought about being an advice columnist, but I fear I lack tact.

Dear Suzanne: I found out my mother wants to have an affair with my boyfriend, and he’s okay with it, what should I do?

A: Get your white trash rear end off of that flea-bitten couch and walk right out the holey screen door of that rusty trailer and don’t look back at either one of them. And take their Twinkies and pork rinds with you.

Dear Suzanne: My neighbor’s dog barks all night long. Before I die from LOS (lack o’ sleep) what should I do?

A: Get a tape recorder and go to the Humane Society and find you a German shepherd or Mastiff or Rottweiler – something with a mean, fierce bark. Record about 20 minutes of it, then call your neighbor every night around 3 am and play the tape. Be sure your name is blocked on caller ID. This works  – trust me, I know. I can now sleep with my windows open.

Dear Suzanne: I’m a Mac but my boyfriend is a PC. Will this relationship work?

A: Hell no.

Dear Suzanne: I am a woman in my 80’s. My husband has started using Viagra and he sleeps on his back. Our bed has now become a tent, letting the cold night air in. What can I do?

A: Bless your heart. Before you catch pneumonia, go down to the fabric store and buy you some sticky-back Velcro and lash that one-eyed stake to his belly so you can get some sleep. A day or two of peeling off that Velcro should do the trick. If not, hide the Viagra.

Well, you can see that I would not be much of an advice columnist. I lack the patience and the couth to be giving anyone direction in their lives.

Now if you want to know how to screw up. I’ve got ample expertise in that area.

Relatively Clean – In Spite of My Family

Recently I wrote about the carpet man moving furniture and discovering multiple messes, and you were probably thinking, “That woman is a pig.” I’m not denying it, but clean IS relative. As the carpet man said, “Your house is immaculate compared to the one I did before I came here.”

He described yellow stains all over the customer’s long white shag carpet, and the guy didn’t have any pets. “When I put the oxidizer on it, urine smell rose up like fog in a swamp. I know pet urine, and that wasn’t no pet urine.”

So I guess I can be proud that my house is not as disgusting as some guy who mistakes a white carpet for a white toilet.

I’d say my house is more neglected than dirty. I like that word – neglected. It sounds like I’ll get around to doing something at some point in the future.  A filthy house implies that the place has crusty dishes and Burger King wrappers scattered like confetti.

Speaking of Burger King, I hate those commercials. Have I mentioned that lately? If so, it won’t hurt to touch on it again. If not, I’m WAY past due. That plastic headed King of Burgers is about the dumbest thing on the planet, and he’s got no personality whatsoever. He just appears in a bedroom or stands around waiting for someone to tip him over in a cow pasture, then rolls down the hill through cow pies wearing that stupid grin. I just don’t get those commercials. They had some other commercials before the King that I can’t recall except that they were insulting and/or tacky. I refuse to go to Burger King anymore because of them.

I bet whoever is doing their ads thinks they are luring in a new sector of the population, but surely ads shouldn’t drive existing customers away.

I worked for one day while I was in college at a Burger King. The floor behind the counter was SO greasy. I guess it was because of the “flame-broiled” burgers the sizzled grease must have risen up into the air and drifted back down on the tile floor. The tennis shoes I wore were Keds with flat, slick soles. The first time I walked behind there I felt like I was on black ice. I had to keep gabbing the counters and other employees so I wouldn’t fall and break my coccyx. To move anywhere, I glided my feet across the floor like I was on roller skates. I was forced to abandon my minimum wage service to the King so as not to risk my life.

I realize this has nothing to do with the tidiness of my house, but I could tie them together given enough time. Segue’s are my specialty! Oh, I know. That Burger King I worked at was actually a clean place. They mopped the floor several times a day, but due to a continual influx of customers, the burgers kept spewing grease on the freshly cleaned floor. A vicious cycle.

It’s like that at my house. If no one ever came through the door, it would be spotless. Instead, I’m over my head in laundry with my daughter changing every couple of hours because she’s a TEENAGER. Nobody in this house can butter a piece of toast without getting crumbs everywhere. The dog rolls in fresh-mowed grass and comes in the house to shake, creating a green area rug that gets tracked through the house. My husband uses the dining room chairs as his coat closet. Friends drop brownie chunks on the floor and step on them, leaving little trails of squashed black doughy stuff as they travel from room to room.

Yes I have nagged, but no one listens and I don’t enforce with the consistency advised in those “natural consequences” books. My husband and dog ignore me flat out. My daughter will do whatever I ask during each nag session, but later in the day she leaves her dirty dishes in the sink and I have to nag anew.

So my house is like Burger King. The continual flow of “customers” is what causes the “grease” that I have to “mop” all day and night. If I didn’t have that to do, I’d have time to keep up on the deep cleaning like clearing the cobwebs and getting a toothbrush into the cracks and hard-to-reach places I was so embarrassed about when the carpet man was here.

I wonder what he told the next customer after he left my house!

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Copyright © 2017 by Suzanne Olsen