Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Hairy Situation

The list of things that gross me out is long and, for the most part, not particularly original:

I don't like bugs (or, really, most creatures outside the mammal class); the smell and feel of raw chicken and-- shudder-- the "juice" inside the package makes me seriously consider becoming a vegan; I support corporal punishment for people who spit or blow snot rockets on the street; I'm gagging just from having typed "snot rockets" (all the words related to mucus are on my list); I'm not the one to go to if you need help baiting your fish hook; newspaper ink on my fingers sets my teeth on edge; and on and on. You get the idea.

My husband, on the other hand, is less easily shaken. Or he is better at hiding it. There are only a couple of things that really make him shudder: slimy things (like lotion, conditioner, or Carl Paladino) and cleaning out the kitchen basket strainer/stopper.

Unfortunately for my husband, he married the human equivalent of a golden retriever. I have crazy hair. And lots of it. And I'm a shedder. I could never be a criminal because I can't go anywhere without leaving behind a curly strand full of DNA. Sometimes I'll stop to say hello to someone and halfway through our conversation I'll notice that one of my hairs has somehow made it on to their coat. It's insane (and has, in all likelihood, earned me a spot on someone else's gross out list).

In the shower I use a hair catcher, which always seemed to do it's job. But recently I started hearing the tell-tale gurglings of a clogged drain. I tried Liquid Plumber but it didn't help. As time went on the drain got slower and I became concerned that there might be a real Problem (not with a clog but with the pipe itself-- it wouldn't be the first time our house had a hidden surprise for us).

Last night, out of his workroom, my husband produced a drain snake. (Who knew we had one?) And he got to work. What came out of that drain was like my husband's own personal Perfect Storm. A real horror, at once purely vile and purely captivating (especially for those of us-- me!-- who, during the months and months of nursing, derived great personal satisfaction from the removal of baby ear wax and baby boogers).

And this morning, the gurgle was gone. What a guy!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Positive Sign

This sign has suddenly appeared all over our town.

As far as I'm concerned that cat has got nothing on the sign itself.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Weaselsnob and her Amazing Monochromatic Dreamcoat

I'd been dreaming of a new coat; a short black number casual enough to wear at soccer games but tailored enough to assuage my biggest fashion fear of looking manly. I scoured the Internet, poured over catalogues and hit the mall but nothing suited my exacting specs until ... H&M!

It was perfect. It was short. It was black. It had a subtle military look to it without the double-breasted features that scream "SGT. PEPPER!" or the pea-coat toggles that belt out "PADDINGTON BEAR!" (to self-respecting Brits anyway). It was perfect and it was cheap.

But it was too tight! Rifle, rifle, rifle ... OMG nothing bigger than a 6 (and H&M runs small)! Quick, check in the back (there is no back), check another store (nope), I'll order it online (what do you mean you can't order online in the US?!). I left the mall in such a funk, thwarted and cross.

The next day I drove well out of my way to a very sketchy mall in a different county and there it was - Frederik, oh joy, oh rapture! -my coat! Merry Christmas to me! And even though the strap of my handbag often gets caught on the subtle epaulets and I wonder what good I could do in this world if I applied myself with such tenacity to unselfish pursuits, I smile every time I put that coat on.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Travel Mug (Working Title)

There were a bunch of stories in the news this week about product placement and its role in advertising.

Evidently, Days of Our Lives has progressed from merely showing a sponsor's product on camera to working subtle-as-a-sledgehammer advertisements for Cheerios and Chex Mix (among others) into its scripts.

I think product placement can be mildly distracting-- it chips at the fourth wall but doesn't quite break it-- but I get the need for it. With people fast-forwarding through commercials and/or watching content on the internet, advertisers have to find new ways to reach consumers.

I'm kind of wondering if the next step in product placement is books. If we can credit Mark Burnett as the pioneer of prodcut placement on TV (and I think we must: remember that outhouse reward on Survivor that they dubbed the Casa de Charmin?), I think someday we will look back and point to Stieg Larsson as the Mark Burnett of literature.

What's the product that's being pushed? Coffee. The Swedes in Larsson's books drink an inordinate amount of coffee. They drink coffee with and between each meal. They drink coffee when they need to think. They drink coffee when they are tired of thinking. They drink coffee before they collapse into bed. If the plot brings two characters together, they invariably have some coffee. Cups and cups of the stuff (with an occasional espresso or latte thrown in for good measure). Coffee is practically a character in the books.

It's like Larsson made a bet that he could use the word coffee 5,000 times in each manuscript. Or, maybe, just maybe, he got paid by the "coffee."

Could "Stieg Larsson" be Swedish for Juan Valdez?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Could it be... Seven Ate Nine?

Some of the people in my life are habitual (chronic?) email forwarders: they send along jokes; product recalls; pictures of animals sleeping; urban legends disguised as police warnings; lists of myriad household tasks you never knew you could accomplish with a lemon, a pointed stick and a piece of gum; and all other emails that they themselves have been forwarded.

I have yet to follow through on my threat to reply "unsubscribe."

And now I may never.

The other day I received a forwarded email with the dubious subject line "Friendship."

Compelled to open it (I was bored), I braced myself for, at best, some cute animal pairs, at worst, a cheesy poem.

I was wrong.

"Well, here is a series of promises that actually speak of true friendship.

1. When you are sad ~ I will help you get drunk and plot revenge
against the sorry bastard who made you sad.

2. When you are blue ~ I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you.

3. When you smile ~ I will know you are thinking of something that I
would probably want to be involved in.

4. When you are scared ~ I will rag on you about it every chance I
get until you're NOT.

5. When you are worried ~ I will tell you horrible stories about
how much worse it could be until you quit whining.

6. When you are confused ~ I will try to use only little words.

7. When you are sick ~ Stay the hell away from me until you are well
again. I don't want whatever you have.

8. When you fall ~ I will laugh at your clumsy ass, but I'll
help you up.


I have only two problems with this email. One, it sounds like I wrote it and I kind of wish I did. And, two, that's how it ended. Just the number nine. What is number nine? Was number nine cut off by the first forwarder? I'm guessing yes-- and that 10 was cut off as well-- no self-respecting list maker ends at nine (or eight for that matter).

Bad, bad forwarder.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bare Naked Ladies

I could write a book about the weird things women do in gym changing rooms. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit upfront that I am a class-A prude. If I shower at the gym I'll walk into the stall fully dressed, close the curtain and then disrobe. Getting dressed afterwards is always a lesson in "less haste, more speed" as I frantically try to don my ENTIRE ensemble in 0.8 seconds without slipping, tripping or otherwise drawing attention to myself in any way, while simultaneously clutching my towel with one hand.

Most of the other ladies are very free and comfortable with their bodies and to them I say, good on ya, mate! There is a lot of naked toing and froing between lockers and showers and mirrors, whatever the shape and size. Even some who REALLY shouldn't be displaying the Full Monty deserve credit for sheer chutzpah. OK that's a poor choice of words! I just mean that they are fearless.

However, I do object to those who go out of their way to be naked when there's absolutely no need: Example (1) The woman who stood in front of the mirror putting on make-up, wearing nothing but socks; Example (2) The woman who stood with one leg up on the bench and blow-dried (blew-dry?) her private parts; and DEFINITELY example (3) The woman who used one of those paper perfume samples from a magazine to freshen up her scent where the sun don't shine. Ouch.

I wonder if the equivalent goes on in the men's changing room ... Ew.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Hai-kuuuu. Gesundheit!

The bell tolls for me.
Mooommmmyyy, it moans. No escape.
My girl is home sick.

How come nobody ever taught my kids that when you are too sick to go to school you are just supposed to lie in bed, watch TV, and eat toasted english muffins with lots of butter on them?

Don't get me wrong-- I'm glad she feels well enough to get out of bed.... but is it too much to expect that at some point during a day of books, art projects, 1,000 used tissues, and very intricate Little Pet Shop scenarios she might take one little teeny tiny nap?

Have I been had? Or have I just had a sniffly Mommy/Daughter day?

Gotta go. Duty calls. Literally.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Uptight Much?

On Friday, I volunteered in my daughter's kindergarten class. There were several Halloween-themed activities set up. I was stationed at the cookie decorating table.

Cookie decorating is really a misnomer. It was more like sprinkle Jenga: how many sprinkles can you pile on top of a frosted cookie?

There were two of us helping the kids; and we decided early on-- due largely to an insufficient number of spoons-- that the best way to preserve any semblance of control germ-wise would be if we put the frosting on the cookies and then let the kids go wild with the sprinkles.

The kids were evenly split between chocolate or vanilla frosting. And then I asked one of the boys in the class and he said "Both please."

I was tickled. Here was a kid who could think outside of the box. He didn't say it in a bratty or demanding way. He just wanted to have his cookie half chocolate and half vanilla. And why not? That's a tough choice to make. I was proud of him.

I made a comment to that effect to the other mother. "There's a future success story," I added. Or something like that.

Maybe she thought he was my son or that I was somehow insulting the other kids in the class because her response was "I was asking if they wanted vanilla OR chocolate."

Yeah, that's why I said he was thinking outside the box. Geez.